Friday, February 27, 2009

Preparing for the longest run

Ahh. I am on week 7 of the training schedule currently and a little goof ups. First of all, we finally had a rainy week and on the day it is actually sunny, is my day of rest (figure, eh?). I guess this is a hint that I have to toughen up more.

So with 2 months to go, I need to start adjusting to morning runs instead of late afternoon/evening when the event will have long been over for hours. A week ago Tuesday I attempted my first morning run getting out to the trail an hour later than intended. However, Katie and I did better than I had anticipated and completed an hour and 10 minute jaunt.

"Alright! (smile), I thought. The week prior I had missed a leg work out as I did not want to be too tired for the 8 mile run. Also, one of my favorite water aerobic instructors came back after about a year to teach tuesday night class. So that tuesday evening (after running at least 5 miles in the morning), I attended the water aerobics class and then did a leg weight lifting workout. By the following morning I was dead tired which spilled over to my thursday run in which I just could not motivate myself in the morning and did a 38 to 50 minute run that afternoon on a new trail connecting to an old one in town.

Being tired, the yanking on leash Katie was pulling was not helping matters. I discovered that a crushed gravel pavel that you sort of sink into is not the best substrate for her. She tended to want to run directly behind me where it was more compact instead of to my side where it was softer. The result was the leash hitting the back of my calves and I stressing that at some point my legs would become entangled with the leach. Therefore, for my training when I am with her, I have ruled out the crushed gravel East Lake Sammamish trail. I think the rocks may hurt her paws and so she runs slower causing me to pull her along on the leash (which is VERY irritating when trying to stay at a pace!).

Fortunately but Saturday morning I was all set and motivated for my 10 mile run which took me roughy 1 hour 42 minutes (I could not remember the exact time on my watch when I started but I know the time I arrived the trail and when I got back to the truck). I still got out late (on the trail at 9:30 am) but the run went really well! It was a very crisp morning in the low 30s but an absolutely lovely day! I ran on the Snoqualmie Valley trail which is gorgeous in this area in morning time as there is more sunlight. I have not seen it like that since last summer when I did training walks for our hike.

To fuel up, I had 2 ounces of FRS energy concentrate mixed with 8 ounces of water and an english muffin (one half with strawberry cream cheese and the other half with peanut butter) for breakfast. I also had 2 FRS sport chews before the run and had taken 2 reservatol tablets, an iron supplement, and a potassium supplement earlier in the morning.

This week I have been hindered by the rain and did not meet my morning runs. (well Monday was a different excuse - I was waiting to go with Harley so he could walk while I ran; It turns out after a 39 minute run and walking back to find him, we got caught in the rain and I was getting cold. Therefore, I just ran all the way back to the truck which was about another mile at least. That is okay because I screwed up the schedule and was actually supposed to run 4 miles for short runs this week. At 39 minutes I was just a hair shy so the extra mile made up for it.)

Tuesday morning it was raining pretty constant and I was worn out from getting cold and running in the rain with no jacket the night before. Thus, I waited around all day for it to let up (finally getting out at 4 pm for a 6 mile run). When I first ran 6 miles, I did so in just under 58 minutes. That was when I ran without Katie on the exact same trail. This time I ran with her and it took me 3 minutes longer. While she was better than when we ran on the soft crushed gravel path, she was still lagging behind and pulling on the leash. It appears that 5 may be her limit and 6 is too much. So I will drop back to running with her on short days and walking on fridays and other days off if I feel up to it. With the increased mileage of the short runs, I think 6 is too much to ask of her. If it were only 6 once a week she could do it but with more runs a week, it just appears too much (even though she is very excited to go with mommy; she knows though, that when I leave her home it is for good reason and I am going on a very long one.)

The day I actually wake up early enough to make a 7 am run, it is snowing and there is snow on the ground! LOL While some people may be able to run in the snow, it is not a good idea and can be dangerous for me due to my balance. Plus the idea of snow hitting me in the face sound too appealing. The chances of these conditions happening the morning of my half marathon are VERY unlikely. Hence, I decided there really was not a good reason to put myself at risk of an injury, a vehicle accident while driving to the trail, or getting sick from running my immune system down in such conditions. Therefore, I got out the very LATEST of my entire training at a trail start time of almost 5:30 pm. By that time, most of the snow was melted and the paved trail mostly dry with the exception of a few puddles in low spots close to the river.

As I mentioned earlier, the mileage of short runs this week increased from 3 to 4. On the east lake river trail I am uncertain of my mileage and it is not easy to look down and read my watch. So whenever I run there, I just estimate distance from doing previous training and events. Normally the distance I go out and back takes me 36-38 minutes (my 5 Ks last summer took me 28 minutes). So at a time of 36-38 minutes I am ensuring that I did indeed run 3 miles. This time we just kept running further to another spot I was aware of from when I was in the team in training program to walk the Seattle marathon. By the time I reaches that spot, I had been running for about 24 minutes. When I got back, we had been running continuously at a pretty good pace for 46 minutes. So based on all of this previous experience and knowledge, I ran for at least 4 miles yesterday (I guess I made up for stopping too short on monday).

I have been very dilligent about keeping up with the training and not skipping out on any mileage. However, training for the tower climb and keeping up with weight lifting has been really challenging. I climb the tower on March 22nd. During my training, I have only practiced on the stair climber a few times as I did not want to be too tired for the long run at the end of the week. I was able to do it when the mileage was shorter (a stair climb of 15 minutes at level 11- I think that brought me to 81 floors, weight lifting 3 days a week, water aerobics once a week, walk once or twice a week) all while running 4 days a week. As my weekly mileage surpassed 15, I was becoming too exhausted and it seems I have slipped on trying to fit the stair climbing in there. Out of 8 weeks of training, I have missed 3 days of weight lifting and made up 1 the following week and I will try to back up a 2nd one today.

I must say that the first month was rather difficult and I doubted whether I would be able to do the longer runs and wondered how much walking I would have to do. My calves were very tight. My friend Bob sent me some links to check out and I came across an article on tight calves. I discovered I was not doing enough stretching. I was only holding stretches for 10 seconds when they recommended 20-30 seconds. Therefore, I started allocated more time to stretching immediately following a run (about 15 minute worth - each stretch is held for 30 seconds). When I reached my 6 mile run I hit a breakthrough. I was actually getting into a mode and pace of running like I do distance walking where my mind is able to escape and think about other things for peroids of time. Before, all I could think about was the run and finishing it! It was hard to think of anything else but the physical work I was doing. :o)

So depending on how the weather turns out tomorrow, I will be shooting for my longest run of 12 miles. I have to admit a little that the 10 mile I drifted in and out of thinking about the physical exertion. While thinking about motivational chants, the "Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy" song on the Ren and Stimpy song kept playing over again in my head!

Here is what I have covered so far since the week of January 5th (note my mileage sometimes in a little over because I am estimated distance while I run; only the long even runs are accurate as I am using mileage markers on one section of trail):

week 1: 3 Rest 3 3 Rest 4 Rest 13
week 2: 3 Rest 3 3 Rest 4 Rest 13
week 3: 3 Rest 4 3 Rest 5 Rest 15
week 4: 3 Rest 4 3 Rest 6 Rest 16
week 5: 3 Rest 5 3 Rest 8 Rest 19
week 6: 3 Rest 5 3 Rest 10 Rest 21
week 7: 4 Rest 5 4 Rest 11 Rest 24
week 8: 4 Rest 6 4 Rest 12 Rest 26

Wow! Looking back at the schedule, I can hardly believe I ran 24 miles last week!

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