Friday, August 29, 2008

Going to the French Riviera....

....Gym. I know. The real Riviera would be so much nicer :) I decided that since it will be hot until, I don't know, forever, that I needed to look into somewhere cooler to work out. Plus a gym would give me the option (and hopefully nudge) to actually do some cross training. So I found a local gym here that is actually affordable. It doesn't have locker rooms or showers or group fitness....or a pool or beach volleyball or a bar...all things I loved about my last gym, but hey- it's like a third of the price so I'll take it! And it's close to work, and has 24 hour access. This may be especially good considering then I could work out late or early regardless of gym hours. Kinda scary, but they have cameras and apparently people are in there at all hours, so we'll see. But anyway I'm excited for air conditioning!

So yesterday was my first day there, and I just wanted to use the treadmill for my four mile run instead of dying of heat stroke. Seemed like a smart trade. But I haven't been on a treadmill in 2 years, so it was a little weird. I played around with the incline and the pace, which is why I love treadmills. You can create your own hills and push yourself to go faster all while distracting yourself from how long you've been on the thing. I tend to start at 5.5 mph and work up...I go up .2 mph every two minutes. My highest yesterday was 6.8 (8:49 min/mile pace). I would have liked to increase the speed more, but early on a did a half mile at 5.0 mph on a 4 degree incline, so Iwas dying. I don't know what the incline levels correspond to in real life, but if felt like a steady medium climb. I should have looked at the elevation covered in feet or meters or whatever it measures that in, but I forgot. All in all I did my four miles in 39:57. I was happy with that because I was playing with the speed so much and did the half mile at only 5 mph (12 min/mile pace) that I was surprised it didn't average to more than 10 minutes per mile. But it was surprisingly difficult and I was definitely sweating. This shocked me as I thought it would be a walk in the park after running outside lately! I'll be back there Monday and hopefully find out how much it actually costs to join. I hope it's not more than I've heard through the grapevine- it's a cute, quiet little gym and I think I would like to go there.

In other news, my race Sunday has been cancelled :( I was registered for the Crescent City Connection 4 mile Race, which goes over the bridge of the same name from the west bank to the east bank of the Mississippi in Gretna, Louisiana. Tropical Storm Gustav (let's hope he keeps that name) has threatened New Orleans enough that city officials decided it might not be smart to have one of the major bridges closed while people might be trying to evacuate. So let's hope this storm fizzles out....Louisiana needs a break from hurricanes for a few years at least!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

When does it get easier?

I wasn't feeling well yesterday, and slept a few hours in the afternoon....I think the rest really helped me, but I still wasn't feeling TOTALLY refreshed. At the least it prevented me from heading out until 6 which time it was still 88 degrees! I have truly had enough of summer, but unfortunately I don't think I can really expect the weather to change drastically (in the afternoon anyway) for two months at least. Which may mean switching to morning runs, which would be really difficult during the week since I start work at 7....Who knows...maybe things will cool down sooner than I think.

So anyway, had four miles planned for yesterday, but I just wasn't feeling it so I stopped at 3.14 and walked the rest of the last mile. I was only wearing my new (too small) shoes for the second time, and by three miles my left toes felt bruised. I am hoping this is only because my toenails are so short right now, or that the shoes are just new. I know a little of it is psychological- I would've thought they fit fine a month's only since I read that your shoes should be a half to a full size bigger than what you normally wear that I feel they're too small. Needless to say- I can't return 'em since I've worn them twice, so in a worst case scenario I'll use them only for really short runs or for everyday wear. But I'm still hoping they'll break in a little. So the three miles went like this: 11:04, 10:42, 10:51....still far off my past training pace, but what can I say; I've never been fast! My hope for the marathon isn't to be fast either, but rather just to finish feeling relatively good, so hopefully that's possible.

I think some strength training and cross training will help, so I'm checking out a gym this afternoon. It's right near my work, which might make it possible to work out in the am, since we have showers at work...something I'll have to keep in mind if the high temps do persist! If only I'd joined in May I wouldn't have lost three months....grrrr....hindsight.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Thank you, Fay...

For some cooler, wetter weather! Well, Sunday, anyway. I shouldn't really be happy for tropical storms in Louisiana, but I guess it's ok since Fay didn't amount to much....

So Friday was a good rest day, other than the fact that I worked 15 hours...with 7 of that running around at the restaurant. I really need to make better work shoes a priority- it's pretty stupid to be so careful with running shoes only to work 30+ hours in shoes that will soon cripple me they are so painful. And speaking of shoes- my new shoes came on Friday, which I was happy about, and I was able to try them out on Saturday. Of course because I never have luck with online ordering, they don't fit the same as the ones I tried on in the store. Even though they are the SAME size and MODEL. Totally annoying. They are supposedly 1/2 size bigger than I normally buy, but actually feel tighter than my last shoes! Totally disappointing considering how much they cost. :( My only hope is that my feet are just swollen from the heat lately and that they may fit a little better soon...I think this is wishful thinking and I'm probably going to have to go buy the ones I tried on anyway....I'm hoping I could use the tight ones for short runs and the others for the long days.

So I didn't exercise on Friday, but my legs and feet were still pretty fatigued on Saturday. I suppose going from no running at all the past three months straight to a 20 mile week was probably a bad move. Needless to say, I had three miles planned for Saturday, and was excited to try my new shoes (even though they felt snug), but as soon as I started I just wasn't feeling it. It was 9 am, but was already super hot, so I quit after a very rough mile. I walked back, and was glad I quit. I think sometimes you need to listen to your body. Besides I worked a double shift on Saturday, so I had plenty of running around to do anyway!

Sunday was the New Orleans Track Club 45th Anniversary race, a three miler in City Park. Getting up at 6 was pretty tough considering I didn't even get home from work the day before until 10. I think I was in bed by 11:30, but I was still tired. I was glad to do this race, however, because it was the same course we ran for the Al Briede Gold Cup in May, so made for a convenient comparison. I ran it in May in 26:46, and yesterday in 28:16, so that's not too bad I suppose. I've lost 1:30, but I've had three months off!

I worked after the race, and was limping by the time I got off...I really need new shoes! I relaxed the rest of the day and even went to bed by 9, so I feel a little better today. Luckily today is a rest day too, so hopefully I will feel a little refreshed by tomorrow.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The bright side....or should I say the hot side?

Wow. Yesterday wasn't good, but looking up the hour by hour temps for yesterday in Abita now I know why- it was 97 degrees!!! Knowing that I actually don't feel as bad about my three mile run taking 34:10....Man no wonder I ALMOST DIED when I finished...I went in the house and seriously nearly collapsed! Even though it was such a short workout I don't think I recovered for about an hour air conditioning.

In realizing this I looked into a couple of the other days this week and realized I was underestimating temps by 5 degrees or more...which is actually good- should mean that as September brings some cooler weather I will greatly improve. I am actually surprised I am able to run at all in 97 degree weather...

So yeah, 34:10 (11:39, 11:41, 10:50). A step back time-wise, but still felt good, even though I was drowning in sweat :-) This is something I really hope continues. I am really curious with this week's times how I'll do on Sunday. I had been hoping for a sub-30 minute time, but now I'm not so sure....of course last Saturday it was rainy (as it will be on Sunday) and I was able to do 30:27 even though it was my first run in months, so who knows? It's early, too, which should help. I 've always done better running early. I'm hoping that by the 9/27 5k I will be able to match my previous times, somewhere in the 27 minute range, but that may be wishful thinking...the spring is much cooler (and less humid) than the fall, and at that point I had been running 3-4 times a week for months...we'll see, I guess.

In other news I figured out how to link my training log to this site! Yay for me! Computer stuff is really not up my alley, so this is actually an accomplishment. Now if only I could link my schedule....I would love to get feedback as I've tweaked it a little...sort of combined what about 5 different sites reccommend, and reorganized around races I wanted to do. In time, I suppose.

Later last night I met Lauren (marathon partner), and while we talked alot about running, we each put away a bunch of buffalo tenders and queso dip :( The nutrition aspect is something I definitely have to work on...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Cold Front- only 85 degrees!

So after my abysmal run on Monday, I decided I would go out slower for the 4 miles I had planned for yesterday. Aside from making me feel like the slowest person in the world, this worked, and I was able to cover the whole distance without walking even though it was probably 85 degrees out. So good and bad, I guess.... I finished it, but in 46:20! This made me feel rather pathetic, but at least the miles went like this: 12:27, 11:39, 11:23, I did improve. (I must also add that for the first mile I had to go back in the house because I forgot to give my husband $$ to take the cat to the vet, and I didn't pause the garmin...I know- excuses!). So I did improve each mile, and actually it felt pretty good, which is something that's been missing from my runs since March.

When I first started training for the Crescent City Classic back in January I got to a point where I enjoyed running and it actually felt comfortable. Gradually, however, that feeling disappeared and was replaced by typical running aches and pains....that never went away no matter how much rest, icing, stretching, etc. I was doing. Ankle pain would gradually travel to my knee and hip in my left leg, and what I thought was a hamstring pull in my right leg I now think is a lingering case of sciatica....So it was nice that yesterday actually felt pretty good- huh...maybe those running experts are onto something! I definitely think doing more pilates this time around will help, and I'm also trying to get used to running without music. I think many of my previous problems were form-related, so this time I'm trying to focus on breathing, pacing, and form, and for me that means no music. If I listen to music, I am always faster, but often this is at the expense of good posture and breathing. I am trying to do this injury free, so I want to be as by-the-book as possible. I expect this will be really difficult once I get into 10+ mile runs...unless I find a running partner....too much silence!

So today I have 3 miles planned and will hopefully see some improvement. I am definitely impatient, given the mileage and pace I was running up until the end of May I am hoping muscle memory will get me back there relatively quickly....That and my new shoes which should be here Saturday...then I will be so fast :) Mostly for now I am happy that I have made it almost through the first week without skipping any planned workouts. I feel very motivated and hope this feeling continues, though I am sure there will be bad weeks.

I hope to soon figure out this whole blog-thing as well, and will be linking my training schedule, workout log, and pictures of my routes and stuff, but it will probably be slow going considering my complete incompetence when it comes to computers!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I love/hate Ana Caban

So yesterday was going to be a rest day (I know- in my oh-so-intense workout schedule!) but I decided to at least go ahead and do a 25 minute pilates tape. Now I have loved pilates for years, and have been partial to tapes/discs by Ana Caban, but man can I not stand her voice and silly phrases. I have a couple different DVDs of hers, and of course she uses the same annoying analogies in each one (be long like a noodle!... imagine you are using an ice cream scoop...scoop out the abdominals...). But I've tried other instructional pilates mat workouts and don't like them as obviously there's something I like about her! So even though it wasn't much of a workout, it did give me some very necessary stretching...I get so locked up I can't even turn my head to look over the backseat when I'm in reverse! So hopefully incorporating this regularly will really help.

I've also started a training log that I discovered on Runner Leana's (another fitness blogger) page. I started reading her page before the Minnie Marathon, and man does that girl work out! Anyhow, she has a link to a training log on buckeyeoutdoors which I have yet to figure out how to link here....I am so technologically incompetent it isn't even funny. I imagine my sister can help me figure it out, but we'll see. Anyway- I started the training log and that's a really good place for recording my daily workouts. I still need to figure out if I can link my garmin info here, but one step at a time, one step at a time.

Yesterday I picked up Hal Higdon's Marathon, a wonderful and motivating book about the process of deciding to enter, training for, and eventually running (or should we say jogging?) a marathon. I have read almost 25% already, and find it very inspiring. I am also less apprehensive, having read the many tips and words of wisdom he collected from others regarding running their first marathon. I can do this, I know it!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

When does summer end again?

Okay, so yesterday was supposedly Day 1 of getting back on fitness wagon....hmm....getting on any sort of motorized transportation would have been nice, it was so damn hot! I went out to repeat my Saturday route; it is a flat 3 mile loop through my neighborhood and part of the trace (paved running/biking route through several towns in this part of Louisiana), and needless to say it was MUCH more difficult this time in 90+ degree heat and sun compared to Saturday's 75 degrees and rain. Basically I thought I might keel over and realized just how out of shape I am :( Though I do give myself the excuse that I always prefer exercising in the morning (yesterday was afternoon), and at least I can still MOSTLY do it...I actually only ran the first 2.5, I seriously thought I might faint. So it was a very SLOW 26:31 for 2.5 miles...again, definitely not my best day, but only room for improvement from here, right? On a positive- I must say that tech fabric shirts DO make a difference! I got one from the last race I did, but rarely wear it as it's short sleeved and I prefer tank tops, but it really does wick the heat away from you and did (at least at first) help me stay cooler.

Last night turned into a Bad Day in terms of I am trying to get healthy and I ate half a cheesecake. Yep, you read that right- HALF. Oh well. All that means is now it's almost gone so hopefully I won't be tempted by it again! Today will also not be great as I am meeting Lauren, (marathon partner) not for training but rather more eating and drinking.....small steps I suppose....I'll get there eventually! So today I'll be lucky if I pull off a quick pilates video?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Day 1

So this is my first time blogging, and we'll see how it goes! Hopefully I will stick with it. I have been a casual fitness runner for quite some time, but earlier this year I became interested in races as well. Of course that's misleading, because I have never 'raced' but rather just 'finished' but hopefully that will change this year! A friend and I did the Crescent City Classic here in New Orleans in March, and both of us were really turned on by it. The CCC is a 10k, and the two of us did that race as well as a couple of 5ks before signing up for Disney's Women Run the World 15k in early May. I enjoyed (if you can truly enjoy exercise!) training for these, and planned to continue but then summer hit. I do not have a gym membership....and I wouldn't advise running outside in Louisiana in the summer unless you have a deathwish! So unfortunately I have had the last three months off. I have half-heartedly gone out a couple of times, but have not been motivated.....Until Now!

So the same friend and I have decided to do the Mardi Gras Marathon here in New Orleans on February 1, 2009. This terrifies me, but by signing up now I will be locked in and forced to follow through. Since this will involve much more intense training than I have previously done, I thought a training blog would be a good way to track my training progress and race results leading up to the marathon. Hopefully seeing it in black and white will keep me motivated and on schedule. I have also decided to enter several races leading up to the marathon, which should also keep me on course.

My first one was Saturday, a virtual run through my neighborhood for World Run Day. It was register online and then run where you live. You pick the distance and time yourself. Not truly a race obviously, but still, by registering I felt locked in and went out for 3 miles even though I was completely soaked by the torrential downpours. I did it in 30:27, which is several minutes slow for me for that distance, but given I have only run twice since 5/9/08 I figure I can't complain too much! Today I will do the same route...hopefully a little faster?