Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August Recap

Where, oh where, did August go?  If you know, please tell me.  Although I'm enjoying my new class, I greatly miss sleeping in every morning.  August was a good month, but I'm thinking September will be even better.

August Running/Work Out Stats:

Running Miles: 172 *Most of the year
Biking Miles: 73
Walking Miles: 18
Elliptical Miles: 23.9
Stair Master Miles: 0.8
Weights: 6 days

* * * * *

Book of the Month: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.  This was my favorite Hunger Games book by far - I loved it. 

Song of the Month: Falling In by Lifehouse

Drink of the Month: Coffee.  I need a warm drink to consume in the morning because I am always so cold, no matter what the temperature is outside. 

Current Wish List: To be miraculously cured of my awful cold before Monday morning when I race.  But, I also want a hook to hang all of my medals on. 

Triumph of the Month: I think I've had a few triumphs, including my first 20-mile training run for Chicago and PR in both the 5k and 8k distance.

Current Bane of my Existence: Other teachers not doing their job correctly and having to do their work for them because they don't know how or are clueless.

Current Blessing: Being injury-free during marathon training.

Current Excitement: I am running in a hilly half marathon on Labor Day with my brother, who has offered to pace me.  My legs are feeling the best they've felt in a long time and I am excited to run the race.  My parents ran the same race when they were engaged.  My dad ran the whole race, but my mom had to stop to walk up one of the hills around mile 8, which my brother and I always give her a hard time for.  They ran in the very first half marathon; this year it will be year 34.  Unfortunately my parents don't remember their times...although I would be really interested in finding out.

Current Indulgence: Peanut Butter Panda Puffs Cereal.  I am not a cereal person, but randomly bought this cereal at Whole Foods last week and love it.  So good!

Goal for September: I am starting to feel like a broken in the 1:30s for my upcoming half marathon. 

How was your August?  Do you love any cereal?  Growing up I didn't like eating cereal for breakfast, and still rarely eat it.  However, Panda Puffs at night is great. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What Works for Me Might Not Work for You: Diabetes and Marathon Training

There is no doubt about it: training for a marathon takes lots of time, dedication, and is hard.  However, it is also incredibly gratifying and exciting.  I can't wait until the Chicago Marathon.  It will be exciting to run a new type of race. 

One thing I've thought a lot about in my training for the marathon is how people train.  What work for me might not work for you.  This can be implemented on the running front and when talking about diabetes. 

I know that I am not the best diabetic out there.  Yes, I test my blood sugar quite frequently, but that is about it.  How I prepare for long runs and races and what I do during them would cause many people to condemn my methods.  However, it works for me.  I think that is both the greatest challenge: there is not formula.  Even if something works for me one day, that does not guarantee it will work for me tomorrow.

Since I started training for the marathon, I have done things differently. 

  • I do not set temp basal rates, ever.  It does not matter how fast or slow I am going or how many miles I'll be doing, I leave my basal at 100% all the time. 
  • On my long runs (12+ miles/1 time a week), I have been eating a Gu or two and giving myself a very, very small bolus for it.  I've noticed that if I don't bolus at least a little for it, I'll be incredibly high post-run.
  • In addition to eating my normal breakfast prior to my long runs, I have an additional granola bar before the start.  I don't believe in the "carb-loading" philosophy the day/night before, but I need extra calories to have energy to complete the long run.  This has helped.
  • My running club provides Gatorade every 3 miles on long training runs.  I typically drink a cup at each station.  I do not drink Gatorade when I have my Gu, though.  Then, I'll opt for water instead.
  • My body has become extra sensitive to insulin and carbs recently.  I've always been sensitive, but now it is even more so.  This has been rather frustrating.
I don't do things like the typical diabetic runner, if there is such a person.  However, it does not really bother me.  I'm comfortable with what I do and have pretty good luck with it during this training session.  Maybe next time it will be different, but this time it has worked, something for which I am very thankful.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Importance of Sleep

I like to sleep, a lot.  This summer was wonderful on the sleep-front.  I got a glorious 8 or more hours every single night.  And then school started last week, and I got a mere 6 or 6.5 hours of sleep. 

Then, I woke up with cold-like symptoms on Sunday morning, which made for an extremely hard 12-mile cut-back week run.  Not the type of run I really wanted to have prior to my upcoming half marathon on Labor Day.  However, it is what it is.  I've got a good feeling about my upcoming half, but know that I need to be healthy on race day to achieve my goals. 

This means, I need to get more sleep.  Resting more will help me overcome whatever ailment my body is currently fighting quicker.  Plus, I'm extremely tired.  I didn't get to sleep in one day this weekend, although it was my own choice (racing a 5k on Saturday and marathon training on Sunday). 

Although it is 8:02 right now, I can honestly say that I am tired.  And I'm going to bed. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Nightmare of a 5k Race Report

I do my best to keep things honest on my blog.  Some runs and races go well, others do not.  If you live with diabetes, you (most likely) know that some days will be great, and others will be less than stellar. 

SMG 5k Race Details:
Time: 21:12 ) *1 second PR
Pace: 6:50/mile
Overall: 17/187
Female: 5/89
Age Group: 1/7

The short version of the SMG 5k race report:

My legs felt heavy when I was doing my mile warm-up so I tested and was 47.  I took 4 glucose tablets and attempted to open a miniature Gatorade I keep in my car, unsuccessfully. 

The first mile of the race I felt pretty good.  The second I started to get tired and knew my blood sugar was doing down.  The third mile was awful and I wanted to stop.  I knew I was low, and all I wanted to do was finish.

I ended up finishing with a blood sugar of 50 and feeling disappointed that I had such a bad race because of my blood sugars.  I hate it when diabetes gets in the way of my running.  I am happy that I PR'd under unideal conditions.  It makes me wonder what I could do even more now.

SMG Long Version Race Report

I still wasn't sure if I was going to run this race on Friday morning, but after school got out decided to run it.  I wasn't tapered at all.  I didn't run on Friday, but did 8+ miles on Thursday.  I got to the race later than I wanted to considering I had to register that morning.  I arrived at 7:30 and got back to my car to put the bag in there a few minutes later. 

I was going to do a mile warm-up, but decided to stop at 0.7 because I was feeling so sluggish.  I went back to my car to test my blood sugar, thinking it was around 80 or so.  It was 47.  I took 4 glucose tablets and wanted to drink some Gatorade, but couldn't get the lid off of it.  I am a person who gets frustrated incredibly quickly when I am low, so I was upset about it.  I thought that the glucose tabs would be enough.  My blood sugar is very sensitive in the morning.

I walked to the starting area and stretched out a little bit and attempted to calm myself down.  A PR was still attainable, even if my blood sugar was not ideal for starting the race.  Quickly, the gun went off and the race started.

The first mile went well.  I felt strong and just kept thinking about a new PR.  I was near the front.  I kept telling myself that all I had to do was run hard for 20 minutes, and then it would be done.  Running a 5k vs. half marathon and beyond requires me to have a different mentality. 

At mile 2 I started to feel tired.  There was a long incline that seemed to take a lot out of me.  I realized that I was low based  on how I felt and how I was running.  When I am low, I tend to think only negative thoughts and beat myself up.  I contemplated stopping, but then realized that it is only a 5k.  If I stop, my time would be ruined.  At this point, a PR was still a possibility.  I decided to keep running as fast as my body could go. 

During mile 2 to 3, I really just wanted to be done.  My legs felt like they had bricks attached to them while my brain was elsewhere, out in "low land."  It definitely was not focused on the task at hand.  I was so happy when I could see the finish line.  After looking at my watch, I knew I would be close to the time I ran at my 5k PR race in March.  I attempted to sprint in to the finish and ended up PRing by 1 second.

I kept thinking about the race throughout the day yesterday.  I did PR, so I should feel good.  But, I wanted to run in the 20s, not 21s.  When I think about my performance and the conditions that my body was under, I think a 20-minute 5k is attainable for me.  Naturally, a person runs slower when they have a low blood sugar.  I think I could have gotten it if my blood sugar was higher.  But, that didn't happen.

It is times like these that really makes me frustrated.  I ate my normal breakfast, took even less insulin that normally, and was low.  How did that happen?  Sometimes I do not understand my body.  There was no explanation for what happened. 

But here is the thing: it is only a race.  There are 5ks all the time.  I could run one in a few weeks and PR if everything goes well.  One crappy blood-sugar wise race does not define me as a runner.  It motivates me to work even harder to prove myself that I am more than my disease.   

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Racing in trainers vs. minimalist shoes

Decision, decisions, decisions.

I'm currently contemplating running a 5k on Saturday morning for time.  I know I'm in better shape than I was in March when I PR'd (21:13) and want to see what I'm capable of running.  But, I'm totally not tapered for it at all.  Tonight I ran 8+ miles.  I could take tomorrow off.  Ah, what to do.  The benefit of the 5k is that it is small and chip timed.  I can sign up the morning of the race, which is what I'll have to do if I run it.  What would you do?

* * * * *

Today's topic: racing shoes.  I currently train in 3 pairs of shoes.

I have minimalist shoes that I wear for my weekly Tuesday speed workouts: Saucony Kinvara 2.

One pair of gold Saucony Triumph 8s that I do all my other runs in.

Finally, a pair of blue Saucony Triumph 8s that I do all of my cross-training in.

Although I've done all of my speed work in my Kinvara's, the most I've ever run in them is 9 miles, which included a warm-up and cool-down mile.  I've raced in them a few times - my 8k in early August and then my first leg of Ragnar NW passage, which was a 10k.  My feet have felt fine during both.

On Labor Day, I'll be racing a hilly half marathon.  I am going to PR - getting that 1:3X time.  I'll be tapering for it starting after my long run on Sunday and I can't wait. 

There is just one thing I can't decide - which shoes to wear - my gold Triumph's or my Kinvara's?  Is it healthy to run a half in minimalist shoes?  I know Kinvara's are supportive minimalist shoes and nothing like the Five Fingers shoes, but still.  Ah, what to do?!?!

Do you have any advice for me about what shoes to wear?  Would you do a 5k on Saturday just to PR? 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

First Day of School

Today was the first day of my 5th year of teaching, which makes me feel old.  I know I look like I'm in high school still, but today I felt old.  I was 16 when my students were born in 2000 and 2001.  When I started teaching, I was in 6th grade when they were born.  Honestly, though, the past 5 years have gone by extremely fast.

Although today was not a "teaching" day, I still had to be at school bright and early at 7:30.  Meet the Teacher started at 8, where students had the opportunity to come and see which homeroom they are in for the upcoming year and meet their teacher.  It is always an interesting day, filled with some quality comments. 

Before I get to the best comment of the day, I need to admit again that I hate the morning.  Me and mornings just don't get along.  I like to sleep.  A lot.  I like need to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night or I'm tired and highly cranky.  Yes, I am similar to a baby in that way.  I also throw a fit when I'm hungry and don't get to eat.  Just kidding (sometimes).  It is a really hard adjustment for me getting up at 5:43 in the morning, as opposed to my lovely "I don't set an alarm clock" summer mode.  Hopefully I'll be less tired and more acclimated to not quite as much sleep next week.

The best comment of the day is actually a funny one.  Here is the conversation:

Parent: You know, my daughter really didn't want you for a homeroom teacher.

Me: In 5th grade they spend about 60% of their time in homeroom and 40% in the other classroom.

Parent: My daughter really wanted the other teacher for homeroom. 

Me: (thinking: is  she really telling me this?)  hm....

Parent: But I told my daughter that they probably put her in your room because you are best for her, even if she doesn't want to be in here.

Me: I'm sure they did it in the best interest of your daughter.

Parent: I hope so, but she was just hoping to be put in the other homeroom.

* * * * *

Yes, I understand your daughter wishes she was in the other homeroom, but she is not.  I think those comments would have really bothered me my first couple years of teaching, but now I can just laugh them off.  I know I am a  pretty good teacher.  I expect a lot out of my students and hold them accountable both academically and behaviorally.  They can't get away with things.  Their actions determine how many fun things we can do.  if they cannot show me they can handle doing fun things, they they cannot do them. 

Last year, I had the best class ever.  I loved my homeroom students.  It was so nice to see that about half of them came back to say hi to me today.  Some even asked about certain projects and if my new students were going to do them (like building miniature catapults - my homeroom kids loved that).  I hope so. 

I am hoping for a great year.  I've decided that although there is a fair amount of stress at the school, I will be living in my own happy homeroom bubble. 

What grade in elementary school was your favorite? Why?  I really like 4th grade because of my teacher.  She was so nice and fun.  I can remember in math class when we were learning about fractions she brought in a cookie pan and taught us about fractions from the cookie. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Tough 20

A new day, a new distance conquered on the way to 26.2.

My Sunday started off bright and early, with my alarm clock gong off at 5:14.  I never set my clock to go off on numbers that end in 5 or 0...weird, right?  I was already feeling tired, but thought after some breakfast and water I'd be in the mood to run 18 or 19 miles. 

When I met up with my running club, it was apparent that most people in my pace group were doing either 18 or 20, which was perfect.  Our typical pacer, R, is out of town for the next 3 weeks so I got promoted to pace with M.  I've gotten to know M quite well this summer, having completed the majority of my long runs with him. 

The first few miles felt good, and then they started to feel harder.  The 8:22-8:28 pace that we were running felt harder.  At mile 7, I took a Gu.  I think I'm getting better at taking them.  This one went down fairly easily.  My current problem is that I cannot get the package open.  Seriously.  Last week and this week I've had to have other people open them for me.  I think I need to practice to get the hang of it.  It also doesn't help that I don't want to bite the package, which was what M suggested. 

Mile 14 came and our group divided, with the 18s going back to our starting point and the 20s continuing on.  However, there were only 4 of us that continued on.  M and I ran together for miles 14 - 16, but they were faster than I wanted.  We were running 8:05 pace, so I told him to go ahead and I'd run the last few with the 2 others that were behind us. 

I waited for the 2 others at a water stop and ran with them.  They were going much slower, a 9:00/mile pace.  It was interesting because I slowed down to that pace as well and it felt tough.  I know running is mostly mental, so I decided to continue on without them for the last 2 and was closer to an 8:30/mile pace. 

I ran a total of 20 miles and am pretty happy.  Last weeks run went better and I felt better, but not all runs can be great.  After looking at my Garmin, I realized I averaged exactly an 8:30/mile pace. 

I came.  I ran.  I conquered my longest distance of 20 miles.  Now, I will rest.

Do you have trouble opening Gu?  Do you have any suggestions?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Flowers and Books

This is the last weekend of summer for me.  As always, I am wondering where it went?  Summer always goes by so quickly.  Although the first day of school is not until Thursday, we have mandatory meetings Monday and Tuesday and then "Meet the Teacher" on Wednesday, where I'll get to meet all of my new students for the next year.  I've heard wonderful things about them and am excited for a new year of teaching.

The past week I've been trying to fit in all of the things that I wanted to do this summer that never got done.  I went to the Chicago Botanic Gardens and greatly enjoyed it.  It was beautiful.  A few of my favorite pictures were:

While at the Gardens I was able to read some of Mockingjay, the third book in the Hunger Games series.  I finished Catching Fire last week.

Loved Catching Fire.  It was by far my favorite book in the series.

I thought Mockingjay would be even better than Catching Fire, however, I was disappointed.  It was really slow and my least favorite.  The end was really rushed, too.

I really didn't enjoy reading for pleasure until after I was done with college and grad school.  The summer I got my stress fracture (2009), I really started to read and decided to keep a book journal.  Another person I know had started one and I thought it sounded like a good idea, especially if you read a lot of books.  Each entry has the title of the book, author, a small caption and if I liked it or not.  It is neat to look back and read what I thought of certain books.  Everything is also dated by month and year.

Page 1 of my book journal.  I always think it is funny that the first book I recorded in it is People are Idiots and I Can Prove it.  Mockingjay  was book #72 for me.  

What am I currently reading?  I've read a lot of fiction this summer and wanted to read something a little different.  My current book is...

The Greatest: The Hail Gebrselassie Story by Jim Denison.

I thought the book would give me some inspiration for running leading up to the Chicago Marathon.

Have you read The Hunger Games?  Which book was your favorite?

Do you have an all-time favorite book?  My favorite book is Still Alice.  It is so sad, but changed the way I think about things.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


One thing I've  noticed, and found rather bizarre, during my marathon training is that I am craving certain foods.  I feel like I've run enough in the past that I would have experienced something similar, but no. 

What am I craving?  Salty foods.  Pretty much anything with salt sounds good.  Also, cheese.  Anything with cheese on it makes it taste that much better. 

I eat more or less the same food every day.  I don't buy things that are "bad for you" because I like to eat healthy.  This means that I really don't have anything salty around when my salt craving kicks in.  Therefore, it never gets satisfied and the craving continues on, and on, and on...  Maybe I should just cave in and buy something extra salty.  Or, is this my body saying "you need more salt."  I'm not really sure, or how I would find out.  Is there a "salt test"?

The cheese craving is better than the salt, because I actually buy cheese to put on vegetables.  However, instead of the normal amount I have been putting on extra just to satisfy the craving.  But, then the craving goes away...until the following day post-run. 

I don't really know if this is normal or not, but it is what is happening.  Training is all about learning, and that I have done a lot of recently.

Do you get cravings during your training sessions?  What food was it for?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

6 Year Streak...Ended!

After 6 years of being a vegetarian, I can officially announce that the streak has come to an end.  If I was a good blogger, I would have pulled out my camera to take a picture of the meat I consumed.  However, that did not happen.

The food that ended my vegetarianism? 

A turkey sandwich from Panera. 

* * * * *

Back in January, I made it one of my New Year's Goals to stop being a vegetarian.  Out of my friends, I am the only one who doesn't eat meat.  It wasn't really an issue if we were to go out to a restaurant, since most places have salads where the meat can be left off.  The issue came into play when I would go to people's houses for dinner.  I don't like it when people feel like they need to do something special for me - being a vegetarian or diabetic (which, as all the diabetics know, is false since we can eat anything). 

It took me a long time - 8+ months - to get the courage to try meat again.  Also, it had to be at the right time.  I would never eat meat before I ran because I didn't know how it was effect my stomach.  Then there was always the issue of eating where I live.  I don't buy meat for myself (obviously), and I really don't like eating out, so therefore I'd never eat meat.  However, tonight everything just happened to fall into place.  I didn't wake up thinking "this is the day I will eat meat."  It just kind-of happened.

As I pondered the menu, I thought I should try meat.  If you know me in real life, you might say that I'm rather picky.  The two kinds of meat that I ate before becoming a vegetarian were chicken and turkey.  I never really liked anything else.  Turkey seemed safe, so I ordered it. 

It was rather weird to be eating meat again.  I had to distract myself to not think about where it came from (the reason why I became a vegetarian in the first place).  It tasted okay...not awful, not brilliant.  The good news is that my stomach wasn't upset, which pleasantly surprised me. 

Will I go back to being a vegetarian, or be a meat eater? 

I don't really know.  I like vegetarian foods a lot, but I think meat is necessary for me now.  I'm training a lot and need it.  I'll probably just get it when I go out to eat to start. 

Who knows?  Maybe in a month I'll start cooking with it.  I take that back.  I've never done a post about my culinary abilities.  You'd be laughing right now if you knew them.  I'll save that for another day.

Have you ever been a vegetarian, if even for a short period of time?  What was the reason?  Do you think you could ever be one?  I never thought I would be one. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Running The Numbers

I'm a math person.  I like numbers, solving equations, and always have.  Growing up my favorite class was always math, and now that I'm a teacher, it is by far my favorite class to teach.  I found this article, posted on Runners World, interesting because it is all about numbers.  Here are some numbers of my own.

*  *  *  *  *

Races in 2006: 2

Races in 2007: 1

Races in 2008: 1

Races in 2009: 3

Races in 2010: 7

Races so far in 2011: 10

Miles Run in 2011: 1,076.32

# of Races thinks I've done: 6

# of Races thinks I've done: 14

# of States I've Raced in: 7 (IA, WI, IL, MN, OH, IN, WA)

# of Shoes I'm currently training in: 3

Percent of people in my immediate family who've run a half marathon: 80%

# of Race Medals/Trophies: 21

# of Times I've Run on the Treadmill after June 1, 2011: 0

# of Times I Ran Outside Prior to June 1, 2011: 50 at most

Year I Became a "serious runner": 2009

# of Currently Bruised Toenails: 1

# of Running Shorts I Own: 28

# of Marathons I've Done: 0

# of Times I Hear "I'm so surprised you've never run a marathon before" when people find out that I have not run one: Hundreds

# of Days until the Chicago Marathon: 53

# of Weeks I've been training for the Chicago Marathon: 10.5

# of Weeks left to train for Chicago: 7.5

Experience of training for my first marathon: Priceless

Sunday, August 14, 2011

18 Golorious Miles with Gu

When I woke up this morning for my scheduled 17 mile run, I felt both nervous and excited.  How would my body react to a new, farther distance?  I thought it was going to be a good run given the fact that it was the coolest it has been in a very long times - in the low 60s.  It.  Felt. Amazing.

This week I decided to try a new kind of Gu, based on the comments from my last experience. 

My friend joined me at the running group today as well.  It was nice to run with him.  He's also doing the Chicago Marathon, but doing a different training plan.  My running group today was small - only 8 people started and by the end we were down to 4. 

Originally, I was going to run 17 miles, given the plan I'm following.  However, my friend only did 14 and I really wanted to run with people today.  The others were doing 18 or 19, so I decided to join them.  I was feeling great and thought 1 mile wouldn't be too big of a difference. 

The miles went by quickly and fairly effortlessly.  Before I knew it, the run was over.

Run start time: 6:40 a.m.
Time: 2 hours, 32 minutes, 34 seconds
Pace: 8:22/mile
Distance: 18.24 miles

I took my Gu at mile 12.5, which was a little late.  I should have taken it earlier - perhaps at mile 7 or 8.  Good thing training is all about learning.  I had to mentally prepare myself for it.  The people in my group found it funny, since they all take Gu regularly.  My friend was laughing at me.  I decided that the faster it could go down, the better it would be.  I finished almost the entire pack and then had a heaping amount of water to wash it down.  I hope to be able to eat them without too much pain in time for the marathon.  I'm going to stick with this kind of Gu since it is the kind that is offered at the marathon. 

I'm so happy with my run today.  It makes me excited for next weeks long run.  Next week I decided I'll be taking 2 Gus on the run.  I can honestly say that I thought it helped me and gave me more energy to complete the run.  I know I'll definitely need that energy for the marathon.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, August 12, 2011

When Manners Don't Matter

This story still has me laughing as I type it out. 

Yesterday, when I was lacking the motivation to run but went because my running group was running, I ran with friends.  There were 5 of us running together - me, S - who I've run with a few times before and is really nice, A - a bit quirky, J - makes me laugh every time I see him, and G - an old guy who talks incredibly loud while running - truly, quite amazing! 

Out of the group mentioned above, J is the one I am closest with.  To give you a picture, he is talkative, not serious at all, and has only been running a few years.  He's not very competitive, but just likes to have a good time.  We've debated many times who eats more peanut butter in one week.  I think I win the prize, but he claims he eats more. 

So our little group of 5 is running along and we get to mile 3 or so, still going out on the path.  At this point in the path, there are quite a few side streets to cross.  There are not usually cars, so we don't have to stop.  As we finish crossing one of the streets, J lets out the biggest fart I've ever heard.  I kid you not - it was loud.

The quality element of this story was his reaction.  After it happened, he looks to his right - where A and G were running.  They continued on with their conversation.  He then does this little look over his should at me, as I was directly behind him and S was to the right of me.  When he looked at me, I couldn't help but burst out laughing.  He then proceeded to come run next to me, saying that didn't think anyone would notice. 

Needless to say, it provided our group with a good laugh for the next few miles.  It also lead us to converse about how random topics come up while running, especially when doing high mileage runs.  I've never run more than 15 miles, but according to them, when you are running 18 or more, you just reach a point where you say whatever is on your mind and just don't care. 

Sunday will be my longest run - 17 miles.  I'm excited to run it.  I am taking a different Gu with me, and hope that I'll be able to tolerate it. 

What do you talk about on runs?  Do you have any fun or funny stories? 

Thursday, August 11, 2011


I feel like 98% of the time, whatever my training tells me to run, I run, and run it happily.  I do love to run.  It is that other 2% of the time where I feel like I need a little extra motivation to get the miles in.  Tonight, my run was one of "those other 2%" types of runs.

Tuesday I completed a Yasso 800 workout in which I ran over 9 total miles.  Wednesday I did 4, which were supposed to be at a recovery-type pace, but ended up being sub-8:00 miles.  If my legs could talk, they probably would have yelled "what were you thinking?" at me when I looked at my plan that said "Thursday: 8 miles." 

After having a busy day, the last thing I really wanted to do tonight was go out and run 8 miles.  However, my running club meets on Thursday nights for group runs.  Seriously, the only thing that got me to the path where we run was the fact that I wanted to run with some of my friends.  I knew I wanted to run slow - 9:00-9:30 pace, which is what they typically run.  Running 8 miles with friends is so much better than running 8 miles by myself. 

The miles ended up going by quickly and it turns out that I averaged exactly 9:00 mile pace for the run.  I cannot count how many times I have thought about my running life before my club and after.  It has made a world of difference.  It has given me some extra motivation when I am lacking in that department. 

Have you ever struggled to get the miles on your training plan accomplished?  What has motivated you to complete them?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Yasso 800s

I was thrilled driving to my weekly track workout today because my car only said it was 84 degrees outside.  It felt so cool compared to the heat we've been having.  I feel like I've been struggling a lot lately, but today I told myself that it was going to stop and I was going to have a phenomenal workout.  Running is mostly mental, right?  On tap tonight was 10 Yasso 800s with 400 recovery in between. 

Yasso 800s are great for marathon training.  The idea is if you want to run a 4:00 marathon, then you would run your 800s at 4:00 pace.  If you goal is 3:45, then your 800s are done at 3:45.  Simple math.  I'm the only one in my track group that has never run a marathon before.  I haven't thought it through yet as to what my specific goal time is.  All I know is that I want to run a sub 4-hour marathon.  Other than that, not quite sure. 

I decided to start and just run and see how I felt.  I stuck by the girls that I normally am around, and the first 800 felt good.  The majority of the guys were running sub-3:00 pace for their 800s, so it was obvious that the 3 girls who were there were going to do the workout on their own due to the fact that we needed rest time and would not get any if we went with the guys.  After 6, one of the girls stopped so it was just me and another.  We ran all of them together, and there was a group of guys that ran the last one with us because they had finished their 10. 

The last 800 was the toughest, but the fastest (see results below).  We clocked 3-flat for 800 #9, and one of the guys told us we should aim for a sub 3:00 for #10 and that he would run with us.  As it turned out, there were 5 guys that ran with us.  We started off blazing fast (for me), and by the 600 mark I wanted to die.  I did end up getting a sub 3 though, which felt good, especially after doing 9 previous 800s. 

My splits were:

1 - 3:17
2 - 3:08
3 - 3:15
4 - 3:12
5 - 3:15
6 - 3:04
7 - 3:08
8 - 3:10
9 - 3:00
10 - 2:56

I'm so happy to finally have a good workout.  However, I realize that these were not run in true Yasso form because I know I don't have a 3:17 marathon time in me.  I overheard someone once say that "they" say Yasso 800s are the best indicator of what your marathon time will be.  Hm...  I'll just think that I had a good day on the track.

Do you run Yasso 800s for marathon training?  Do you think they are a good predictor of what you'll run for your marathon time?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

8k Race Report

Uh....what a race.  I can honestly say that this was the first race where I thought and really wanted to quit running in the middle of the race.  I've struggled before in races, most notably in miles 10+ of half marathons, but never anything as big as this in shorter races. 

8k Race Results

Time: 36:55
Pace: 7:25/mile
Overall: 18/68
Female: 2/32
Age Group: 1/???

Race day morning started off like every other....with my alarm going off three hours before the race to eat some breakfast.  After eating and deciding what I was going to wear, which took far too long, I left for the race.  The race was in Iowa, about 20 or so miles from my parents house, so my mom took me and was my race photographer.  It was so nice! 

I  knew it was going to be a rough morning when I got to the race and only ran 1/2 mile for a warm-up and was drenched in sweat.  It was incredibly humid and hot.  The race started at 8:00 from a high school and was very, very small.  There were only 68 people who ran the 8k, and 101 that ran the 2 mile, which started at the same time.  After much thought, I decided to run with my music because the race was so small.  Even though I've been running without my music this summer for the majority of my runs, I thought I would need it, given the conditions.

The start of the small!  Can you spot me?

I felt pretty good for the first two miles of the race, but then at mile 3 the wheels came off.  I knew, after looking at mile splits from last year, that mile 3 was incredibly hilly, and 4 is just about the same.  At mile 3.5, I started to feel sick.  I got really hot and thought I was going to puke.  I thought about how I might possibly earn a "Pukie Award", even though this race was a running race and not a triathlon.  (Can you get a Pukie Award if you think you are going to puke, but don't actually puke?  Perhaps a 2nd place Pukie Award?  Or a "I want to be part of the Pukie club but just didn't quite make it" award?)  It provided me with some distraction for a good 1/2 mile or so. 

At mile 4.3, I saw my mom, cheering for me.  I knew I had one more small loop to do which was all uphill and then just finish.  As I saw my mom, I told her that I felt awful.  Being the kind person that she is, she went back to her SUV and got my water bottle to give me right after I finished, in case they weren't handing out cold water.  They were giving out water, which I drank in about 3 minutes.  Perhaps I was a little dehydrated....

I compared last years results with this years, and it appears that everyone ran slower.  The girl that won the race last year and this year ran faster last year.  The fastest men's time this year was also slower than last years time. 

The good thing about running is that there is always next race or next year to do better.  A PR is still a PR, even though I'm not very happy about it.  I'll chalk this one up to a learning experience and know that I need to hydrate better.  Next race....a half marathon on Labor Day where I'll be attempting for the 3rd time to get into the 1:30s.  Third times a charm, right?

Have you ever earned a Pukie award?  What do you think the award for a person who thinks they will puke but doesn't actually do it be called? 

Medal and race number...the race was so small that they didn't have chip timing. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

8k Goals

On Saturday I'll be running my second-ever 8k road race, back in Iowa.  To refresh my memory, I reread my post about the race last year.  This is one reason why I like to blog about races - I'll never forget them.  My time last year was 40:21, but this year I think i can run much faster.

My goals for the hilly 8k (5 mile) race are:

Goal A: Run a 35-something race.  Everything goes right and I feel great.  The temperature is good, not too hot or humid like it has been.

Goal B: Run a 36-something race. 

Goal C: Run 37 or 38-something.

To be honest, any time above 38 minutes will be a complete let down for me.  I want to run well.  And, I feel like I need to run well to prove to myself that I am still a decent runner.  Let me explain....

I don't know if this is normal or not, but ever since I stopped training for half marathons and started to train for the full Chicago marathon, I have felt incredibly slow.  My long runs are done at an 8:30 pace, and I am doing tempo runs and speed work throughout the week, but I feel like I have lost a lot of my speed that I had in the spring.  Did it disappear?  I am not sure, but many days I feel like it has.  I know that I am hard on myself and am a perfectionist and I need to take into account the heat and humidity that we have had this summer, but it still sucks.  When I run fast, I feel better about myself and my ability.  When I run slow, i lack confidence in myself and start on a never-ending path of self-doubt, which is not healthy.

I have a lot riding on this race for my own running confidence.  I need to run well to prove it to myself that I have retained some of my spring speed.  With saying that, I realize that I have set the expectation bar incredibly high.  Hopefully I'll run super well and hit my A goal.  That would be amazing.

Did you feel like you lost speed when you trained for a marathon? 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Interesting People Who Find My Blog

I'm not sure about you, but I really enjoy the search terms that find this blog.  I've had a few interesting ones this week, including:

"I am unique not tanned" - why, yes you are!  Being pale is are less likely to get wrinkles and skin cancer.

"how to keep a farmer's tan" Are you a farmer?  I have kept mine by continuing to run outside...that does the trick. 

"creative tan lines" I would have to say that mine are rather creative.  It is a bit bizarre wearing shorts and sandals given my tan lines.

"insulin pump shirt" Do you want a shirt that has an insulin pump on it?  Or, a place to put an insulin pump in your shirt?  Not quite sure...I don't have either.

"graffiti piece letters" hm...I don't know graffiti.  Sorry, you are just out of luck.

"do golf compression sleeves work?" I'm not sure...I only wear the running ones.  I didn't know they had some for golf.

What unique phrases bring people to your blog? 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Worst Workout Ever

I went into my Tuesday workout with high hopes.  As I've talked about before, there are two groups for Tuesday Track - a faster one that caters to the more serious runners, and a slower run, for everyone else.  I realize that that sounds harsh, but it is reality.  I run with the fast group, which is much more structured as well. 

Today my group was doing a hard ladder, while the other group was dong hills.  I signed up for a half marathon on Labor Day, where my brother is pacing me, and it is super hilly.  I need to get in a lot of hill work, so I decided to run with the slower, less structured group today. 

It was a lot different, and even though I was doing the workout with other people, I felt like I was doing it by myself.  Let me explain.  In my typical group, we do the warm-up and then another two laps to get our legs loosened up - together.  Our coach brings a clock and sets it on a table so we are able to see our spits.  Before we begin, he tells us what our recovery time or pace should be.  Lately, we have been splitting in half - a super fast group (all guys) and then a slower fast group (all the girls plus a few guys).  Our coach encourages us to work together, and it works.  I've had some phenomenal workouts that I didn't think I was capable of doing because of this. 

The slower group does things much, much different.  The workout was 8 long hills.  After the warm-up, people  just jogged over to the hill and started going up them.  There was no instruction given, although the coach was there, standing at the bottom of the hill.  He said "good job" a few times as I came down the hill on my recovery part of the run, but didn't encourage us to work together up the hill (0.23m/+55 ft. elevation gain). 

When I look at the stats for the hill (0.23mi/+55 ft), I don't think it should have been as tough as it was for me.  I ran slowwwwwwwwwww.  Much, much slower than normal.  My average pace was 8:38/mile for my 12 repeats.  I realize that I didn't just time the up hill laps, so it is an average, but still.  It is not exactly a confidence booster going into my hilly 8k race on Saturday and half marathon in a little over a month. 

So...what went wrong? 
  • I was not running with anyone.
  • I did more hills than everyone else.  Most people stopped at 8, one other guy that runs with me on Sundays stopped at 10, and then I did 2 more on my own when everyone else went to cool down.
  • I need to attack the hill and visualize going up them faster.  Love the hills, don't hate the hills.
  • There was no clock.  I'm a big believer in doing things according to time.  I only had my Garmin to rely on, which is good, but it is nice to see a bigger clock when I cross a line.
  • This was my first hill workout ever. 
  • My legs were still tired from my 15 mile run on Sunday.
Now that I feel like I adequately complained enough about the workout, there were some positives:
  • I got to run with other people that I don't know.  It is always nice to see different people.
  • I was the fastest person in the group. 
  • The people in this group are really encouraging.  The people in my normal group are encouraging, but these people are just not as serious.  I was told "nice job" by some of my friends in the group as well as some of the other people that I don't even know.
  • One of my friends did his hill workout a little earlier, and had finished his cool down when I stopped to take a drink after hill #5.  I was was over 90 degrees today.  He had a full water bottle and squirted me multiple times with it, which felt so good.  He's a pretty funny guy, so talking to him after 5 hills was a good break for me.  We also debated the best way to mark your Gatorade cup so no one else uses it.  He thinks the teeth method is good, based on college parties.  I personally like to just flip it over and put it next to my keys.  I did end up making a nice teeth pattern in the cup for him. 
The good thing about today is that although it was my worst workout ever, I still have 4 weeks to conquer the hills in my half.  It was a good learning experience.

Have you ever had a terrible workout?  How did you gain your confidence back after it? 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Reviewing July

Thanks for all the comments on my gu/gel experience.  I'm going to try Clif gu on my next long run, but next freezing it first.  Perhaps gu in its normal state will go down easier, like Jess suggested.  I do find the consistency odd, and thought is was too thick.  Hopefully I'll have better luck next time around.

*  *  *  *  *

I think I just blinked and July was over.  It was so fast! 

July Running Stats

Total Miles: 253.9
Running Miles: 157  <-- highest mileage month of the year
Walking Miles: 29
Biking Miles: 39  <-- epic fail!
Elliptical Miles: 27
Stair Master Miles: 1.9
Weights: 7 days

*  *  *  *  *

Book of the Month: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  Awesome!!  I read it in Washington.  I'll be starting Mocking Jay soon.

Song of the Month: Give Me Everything by Pitbull

Obsession of the Month: Getting enough sleep every single night.  I'm a person who needs a ton of sleep to not only function, but also run well.  I've been in bed early many nights, including Saturday nights because Sunday is my long run day at 6:30 a.m., which is early for me.

Drink of the Month: Greater Than Lemon Lime coconut water.

Current Wish List: To run well and be injury-free. 

Triumph of the Month: Completing my second Ragnar Relay in as many months.  These races are hard on my body.  Also, completing my first 15-mile training run of marathon training alone and in awful heat. 

Current Bane of my Existence: Gross toenails.  I've got two that are really nasty right now. 

Current Blessing: Being injury-free and my running group.

Current Excitement: I'm running in an 8k race in Iowa on Saturday and hoping to do really well.  I ran in it last year and the course is fairly challenging, with lots of little rolling hills, but I'm hoping to do much better.

Funny Story of the Month: My principal asking me what I've been doing all summer, and me responding by saying training a lot.  She then informs me that I should think about giving up running because "Person A" has had to have 2 hip replacements because of running and "Person B" ruined her knees and ankles from running.  This coming from a 60-something year-old lady who doesn't run or exercise. 

How was your July?