Running Long on the Treadmill without Losing your Sanity

My husband has been out of town this weekend for so I wasn’t able to get in my normal long run outside.  I was faced with the following choices:  skip the long run, move the long run, or get it in on the treadmill.  All of these sounded terrible so I considered the one that would help my training plan the most – the treadmill.

The cons of treadmill workouts are many:

  1. It’s boring.
  2. No fresh air.
  3. It’s boring.
  4. No sense of adventure.
  5. It’s boring.
  6. No natural hills.
  7. It’s boring.
  8. Nothing to look at… and it’s boring.

There are some pros though as well:

  1. Convenience to home amenities.
  2. You can “bring” more stuff than you could outside – food, fluids, band-aids, technology, etc.
  3. …. alright I just have those 2.

But sometimes you just *have* to do it!  Here is a short video I put together to sum up how I execute a long run on the treadmill when there aren’t other options.

I also filmed a short video recap of my week’s training. 🙂  Hope everyone is having a great week!  Have you ever had to run long on the treadmill?  How did it go?  Would you do it again?

 

Marathon Training Recap – Week 1 (with video)

Yay!  First week of marathon training is done!  Video recap below. 🙂

This week’s workouts were really tough.  I had to push out my usual Thursday run to Friday which put some difficult speed work (for me) the day before my long run.  I will try to avoid that in the future and give myself the rest day between.  Those back to back runs were just a struggle.

Here’s what next week looks like.

training week 2

 

In other news, I took a break off of dieting.  It’s just been one of those crazy hectic weeks and I didn’t feel like logging anything which isn’t like me.  I’m not eating badly, just not counting every little thing. 🙂  Do you ever have one of those days?  Or weeks?

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Also, saw some geese yesterday on my long run.  Cute!

 

Having it All vs. Doing it All

I’ve never no-showed a race.  In fact, I rarely ever no-show anything at all.  If I say I will do something, I do it.  If I say I will be somewhere, I’m there.  If I register for it, I show up and run.  Until this weekend.  A few months ago I registered for the Get in Gear 10k.  Later my husband let me know that our 8 year old would have a hockey tournament – we just didn’t know what time of day.  A couple weeks ago, in looking at my training plan realized that it called for an 8 mile run that day.  It doesn’t take a genius to realize that 6 miles is not quite 8 miles.  I decided to change my distance for Get in Gear to the half marathon.  A few days ago we found out my son had two big tournament games the day of Get in Gear (yesterday).  One at 8:15 am and another at 1:15 pm.  The race was scheduled for 9:00 am.  No way to do both.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t even consider skipping the hockey tournament.  It was extremely tempting.  I really enjoy race days, they are the best.  Sitting in a cold ice arena for hours is not always super fun.  It crossed my mind but in the end I knew I needed to be there for him.  When there’s a conflict – the Mom card trumps all.  I got my first Did Not Start (or DNS in the running world).  Kind of a bummer but I don’t regret it.  I didn’t skip it because I forgot or slept late or was feeling lazy.  I skipped it because my guy needed me.  And he did.  The first game of the tournament was a shut out, 0 to 10.  The second was another loss at 1 to 10.  He was super disapointed and I would have felt even worse if I hadn’t been there to give hugs and encouragement.

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Sometimes having it all doesn’t mean doing it all.  Sometimes the kitchen doesn’t get cleaned.  Sometimes that last minute email gets answered the next day.  Sometimes grad homework is turned in at the last minute (like this week!).  And sometimes a DNS happens.  That’s life as a parent.  We sacrifice our own wants for our kids’ well being and happiness and it’s okay (and encouraged!) to give ourselves room to do that guilt free.

But it doesn’t have to be a total sacrifice.  I skipped the race and am very glad I did.  I gave up the half marathon but didn’t give up my training.  It would have been easy to just say ‘oh well, that’s that, wasn’t meant to be’.  But I still had those 8 miles on my training 8 mile trail trainingplan so I cranked out them out on some trials.  (This trail stuff is growing on me although we ran into several harmless but startling snakes which I didn’t appreciate.)  Had a great workout with a good friend in spite of the scheduling issues.

Sidebar: Looking for some feedback!  I have been watching YouTube videos lately for running, workout and training tips.  Playing around with the idea of doing some video blogging of my own.  Thoughts?  Good idea?  Silly idea?  Have you tried it or have any tips?  Would welcome any comments. 🙂

Hot Chocolate > Hot Dash

IMG_0098Yesterday’s Hot Chocolate 15K race went so much better than the Hot Dash 10 Mile.  It’s amazing what putting in effort and training can do.  The weather was gorgeous yesterday.  My best running friend (I call her “the instigator” – she signs up for these races and I just copy her :)) and I left my house at about 6:30 am.  All went according to our race agenda (we even found the perfect parking spot!) and were at the start with plenty of time to spare.  Even got to meet some friends of hers who are also running fanatics.IMG_0118

I have stuck to my marathon training plan religiously these past 6 weeks putting all of my fitness focus on running.  I was pretty excited for this race.  I have never been in any type of qualifying coral but my previous race time in the Sioux Falls half marathon got me bumped up to Coral J which was the first coral at the 15K race.  It was super fun to start out with all of the fast people.  Most of them passed me quickly but a few of us finished together!

hot chocolateI didn’t feel like I was pushing or going out too fast at all.  Looking at my splits, I probably could have pulled back a little more in the beginning but felt really good at the time.  Usually I die a little every time someone passes me (which is often because I’m slowish) but yesterday my montra was “my race, my pace”.  I focused on going as fast as I comfortably could.  After the first few miles the rest just seemed to fly by.  Every water stop also had gatorade which was really nice.  Since it was chocolate themed, each stop also had candy.  I skipped the sugary stuff for the most part except the very last water stop.  At mile 7.5 Sugar by Maroon 5 thrummed into my ear buds just as I was approaching the break and I took it as a sign.  I indulged with a good 45 seconds of snacking and Adam Levine fantasizing before continuing on to the finish.IMG_0117

Finished strong with an average pace of 10:30 per mile.  A huge improvement over my average pace at Hot Dash of 12:04 per mile for about the same distance.  And no blisters or injuries this time!

To “sweeten the deal”, the post-race snacks were totally awesome.  Hot chocolate, chocolate fondue, bananas and real water bottles.

That’s all I have for now folks.  GOOD LUCK to those of you running Boston tomorrow!  Have a phenomenal race!  I can’t wait to read all about it. 🙂

 

The Art of Not Freaking Out

I was blissfully going about my day yesterday when an email popped into my inbox.  This was the subject: “Welcome to the 2015 Zumbro Endurance Run”.  I immediately felt nauseous, sweaty and shaky.  I hadn’t forgotten about the race I registered for months ago.  Far from it.  I had been purposely not thinking about it (there’s a big difference).  Here’s what enters my brain every time I think about this race.

I’m in over my head.
I’m not this kind of runner.
I’ve never completed a trail race or run of any distance.
I’ve never completed a run or race of this distance.
I’m estimating it will take me about 4.5-5 hours.  I’ve never exercised for that long.  Ever.
And I don’t like mud.

And then there’s my distance running history to nag me as well: Here is how I’ve felt after my previous half marathons.
2013 Sioux Falls Half: I thought I was going to die. I honestly couldn’t believe I finished it. I cried in my husbands arms when it was over.  I was incredibly sore the rest of the day and for two days following.
2014 Sioux Falls Half: Ran fast and hard the whole way, set a PR 17 minutes faster than the same race last year.  Legs and lungs felt great but my feet were killing me.  I don’t think I could have taken another step solely (see what I did there?) due to foot pain.
2014 Monster Dash Half: Went out too fast.  Wound up taking walk breaks around mile 11.  Legs were just dog tired.  Finished 3 minutes slower than my PR the month before.
12.5 Mile Training Run (three weeks ago): Almost didn’t finish it.  I was just really tired.  No excuse either, ran the whole thing slow and easy.

I can’t imaging running another 4 miles (for me that’s 40-60 minutes) after any one of these.

I hate feeling anxious.  Anxiety just feels like poison coursing through my system and I won’t put myself through that for the next 4 days.  Since it’s this Saturday, I know not thinking about it is no longer an option. So I have two choices: 1.) Drop out and just decide to rain check until I feel more ready. Or 2.) Get over myself and find a way to not freak out about this for the next 4 days.

Well, I don’t quit.

Time for option 2.

Positive thoughts for consideration: 
My training has been solid the past couple months.  I have been running.  I’ve been running a lot.  I have in fact focused only on running and dropped the strength training completely (on Dr.’s orders).  Usually that has bummed me out but right now it’s my beacon of hope.

It’s fun to run somewhere new.

I will set a PR (for distance) no matter what, because I don’t quit (see above).  Even if I wind up walking/hiking most of it, it will be the farthest I’ve ever traveled on foot.

Most importantly, this is not the race.  It is a race.  This is a fun way to train on the way to the race.  I can’t get too hung up on races that are not my ultimate goal.  My goal is to finish the marathon in October.  And I know when I’m 4 days out from that thing, anxiety will be back in a very big way. At that point I will be able to remind myself how well I did on a little 17 mile trail race back in April. 🙂

Training Plan #57

Guess what kids?  I have a new training plan!  Shocked?  You really shouldn’t be.  I change my mind on my training every 10 seconds.  When it comes to picking a plan I have the attention span of a 3 year old.

What happened to Simply Shredded and 20 miles a week?  I will spare you the details (because they are boring) but in a nutshell, no strength training (not even body weight training) on Dr.’s orders until mid April.  Definitely cuts out the dead lift, bench press and barbell squat in Simply Shredded.  Also, as it turns out 20 miles is a lot to squash into my schedule each week.

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I have been wanting to run this route for over a year and finally did it! Victory!

And thus, a new training plan is born. 🙂  Since I can’t do any strength at the moment, I have the opportunity to focus on my running.  Last week I ran sprint intervals a couple times, did some cross training on the bike and topped it off with a 12.5 mile run from my house to work with a friend on Saturday.

My BRF just started using a new app called Gipis so of course I had to check it out.  I really like that it gives you an estimated race time and shows how you can improve.  It is super customized to you and your goals.  It adds a good combination of easy runs and speed work.  So I’m going to try the Gipis, spruce it up with a little cross training and some hypothetical strength training days (for later).  And there you have it, my latest and greatest.Capture

Monday: run & strength
Tuesday: run
Wednesday: cross training & strength
Thursday: run
Friday: REST
Saturday: long run
Sunday: cross training

I’d like to say that this is *the* training plan that will support me all the way to marathon day.  But let’s be honest folks, it probably isn’t.  I know I will probably “upgrade” to something newer, better, shinier, fancier.  The good news is, I’m still learning what works for me, I’m still getting stronger and faster.

And I’m not stopping.  Ever.

“3 Walkers, 1 Runner”

As I’m recovering from my ego blow from the Hot Dash last week and trying to ramp up for this 17 mile trail race in April, I set out for a 10 mile training run today.  I left my house doubtful of my ability and still thinking about last week and wondering if I’d even be able to put up 10 more miles today.  As I headed into the park about a half a mile from my house, a woman was pushing her two small children in a double stroller.  I could hear her narrating things they were looking at on the trail.  As I passed she said “Oh look, a runner!  That makes 3 walkers, 1 runner, kids”.  We both smiled and waved.

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It’s amazing what a small phrase can do.  I don’t think she has any idea how her words powered me through the rest of my workout.  Mile 3 when a side stitch kicked in “1 runner”, mile 6 when I was bored “1 runner”, mile 8 when my blister returned “1 runner”.  I am not fast by any means but I did finish the 10 miles I planned on today.  I listened to myself and my current ability and kept it slow.  I felt way better than I did last week.  The weather was great and I even discovered some new trails in my home town.

In other news: I got my grade back for my finance course – A!  I haven’t worked so hard for a grade in a long time.  Feeling pretty happy about that one.  I’ve had this past week off of school but it’s back to the grad school grind next week. 🙂

wpid-wp-1426362125201.jpegRight now though?  It’s burrito time.

Hot Dash or Hot Mess?

Let’s just say yesterday’s race, the 10 mile inaugural Hot Dash in Minneapolis was less than hot.  Here’s a recap of my experience, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the uglier.

I went into this race with the mind set that “it’s 10 miles, I’ve run farther before, no big deal”.  My last race was a half marathon at the end of October ’14.  I figured I’d done a good job maintaining my running stamina by running 2-5 miles, 2-3 times a week on the treadmill.  This was my first mistake.

Woke up on race day, showered, got my gear in order, inhaled a bagel and some water.  As I turned the knob to leave for my car a thought crossed my mind: “Oh shoot, forgot the body glide. No worries, I’ve got my good socks.” Skipped it and left the house.  Mistake number two.

Picked up my friend and we drove down to the cities.  Found a great parking spot (we were an hour and a half early) and chilled in the car for a while.  We headed down to the start with plenty of time to use the porta-potties and get set in the coral.  National anthem, then we were off – exactly at 9:00 am.  (Gotta hand it to Twin Cities in Motion.  Every race of theirs I’ve run has been perfectly punctual.)

At the start line!

At the start line!

Mile 1: Was feeling great but went out too fast for my current fitness level after a winter of short treadmill runs.

Mile 2: Realized I went out too fast and tried to pull back.

Mile 3: Still trying to recover from my initial burst of energy, my Spotify is interrupted and my playlist starts going haywire.  This has happened before – I realize my 8 year old is on our same account trying to play music.  I try texting and calling him but he won’t answer.  I call my husband but my 6 year old answers.  I tell him to tell his Dad to check his phone to get our 8 year old off the darn Spotify account.  Finally the competition for the music ends.  (I find out later it was actually my 6 year old who was on it.)  This whole ordeal slowed me down, I had jogged slowly trying to figure it out, walked some.

Mile 4: Get myself regrouped, pace is back up – enter, the side stitch!

Mile 5 & 6: Just plodding along as best I can.  Wound up taking way more walk breaks than I usually would.

Mile 7: Blister on the left foot, keep on jogging.

Mile 8: Taking even more walk breaks now due to blister.  Get some semi-urgent work texts, so I answer those and some work emails.

Mile 8.5: Hubby texting me that he can see my progress on MapMyRun and is virtually cheering me on – so thankful for that!  Kicked it up and tried my best to get my pace up.

Mile 9.5: Blister is killing me now, start running with a limp just tapping my left toe which causes an increased strain on that calf.

Finish: As I’m rounding the corner to the finish I see about 5 people who Hot dash(somehow) look to be in worse shape than I am.  I figure I can just sprint and at least have passed a couple.  As I’m running like my life depended on it my overused calf collapses.  That’s the best word I have for it.  It just quit working.  I thought I was actually going to face plant across the finish line.  But I didn’t, I finished strong and was never more happy for a race to be over.

My slowest race pace in a really long time.  Later at home I showered, I cried, I slept.  Then I got over myself.

Whenever I’ve made a mistake, my grandmother has asked me one question: “Did you learn something?”  The answer is yes.  I learned many things along this 10 mile course.

  1. Don’t go out too fast!  I say I won’t every time but the race excitement always gets the better of me.  Need to work on that.
  2. Don’t take a significant distance for granted.  Next time I’ll train better.
  3. For goodness sake, DO the body glide!  It takes literally less than a minute!
  4. Be more flexible.  I should have just switched to a different music app or gone without.  I let that slip up mess with my mojo way more than it should have.

Enough of that.  There were some great things about yesterday too.  Had a lot of fun with with my running buddy before and after the race.  The race itself was really well organized – plenty of porta-potties, water stops, parking.  The course was relatively flat (I cannot tell you how grateful for that I was!).  It wasn’t too crowded.  Post race snacks were really amazing: (fresh!) bananas, large water bottles, chips, bread, nut roll, “dash hash”, beer.  The after-party village area was also pretty great: fire pits to warm up and a contest for the best runner in lumber jack costume.

I did run 10 miles.  I did finish the race.  I learned some valuable lessons.

Today I ran 2 more miles, just to prove I could.wpid-wp-1425841333174.png

My next race is a 17 mile trail run.  I’ve never run more than 13.1 miles.  I’ve never run a trail race.  I have a month to take what I’ve learned and get ready for this thing.  Here we go!

Pick a lane? No thanks.

We’ve all seen that driver on the interstate, weaving all over the place, always trying to get in a faster, better lane.  This has pretty much been my approach to exercise from day one of my journey.  I’ve changed my training plan several times to the point where I rarely actually finish a training program.  There’s always something bigger, brighter, shinier around the corner.  After numerous attempts to complete as seen on TV type workout plans and failing, I one day told myself it didn’t matter what I did as long as I did something for exercise every day.  And the freedom in that variety is what got me going and hooked on fitness.  I did the elliptical, I did YouTube videos, I walked my dog, I jumped rope, I swam with my kids, rode my bike, did yoga, took classes etc.

In almost everything else I crave routine.  My mornings are coffee and talk radio in my car.  Every week day.  I buy the same running shoes when my old ones wear out.  I have a 16 year supply of perfume (same one I’ve been wearing since I turned 15).  Exercise for me has been the healthy dose of variety my life needs.10535615_10204454717304821_5735394766138690464_o

Through my trial and error process of fitness I’ve found that I truly enjoy running, paddle boarding, cycling and weight lifting.  I love the strength and physique I get from lifting.  There is no better feeling than the pride and glow of finishing a long distance run or race.  And paddle boarding and cycling are just fun for fun’s sake.  SUP and cycling for me don’t even feel like exercise. I would do them if there were zero physical benefits.  (Lucky for me there are though!)

Yay!  Exercise!  Healthy and wellness!  Where’s the problem?  I’m starting to get more serious about my lifting and my running (26.2 on 10/4/15).  After last week’s sickness and subsequent gym hiatus, I’ve been so happy to be back in the gym and making progress.  I’m getting stronger on my lifts, and I’m really enjoying it.  I’m also starting to look at marathon training programs since Spring will be here before we know it and I know I’ll need approximately 18 weeks of solid training.  Unfortunately some of my 1621786_10204793492373986_702821337161782815_nrunning acquaintances have questioned my low mileage and have made mention that I will need to stop lifting once I start actual marathon training, else I risk losing endurance. There is the concern that the additional bulk of muscles could cause running slowness.  On the other side, my lifting acquaintances have said that excess endurance running will ruin the coveted strength and muscle gains.

I don’t want to be spinning my wheels, putting in a lot of extra work just to have everything cancel itself out.  So are these my choices?  Option A.) Give up the heavy lifting, focus on a textbook marathon plan with some occasional body weight movements, or Option B.) Give up on the marathon and commit to a serious lifting routine with occasional high intensity interval sessions for cardio.  I have never been a rebellious individual.  I pride myself on doing most things by the book.  But when faced with these two scenarios I say “nope”.   Through the magic of wpid-wp-1424402190800.jpegGoogle I am finding there are is a super secret Option C.) – Hybrid training.  This page actually explains it very well.  I can have the best of both worlds without risking exhaustion or stalled progress!  Hybrid training combines specific training runs with heavy lifting.  What I love about this is that there is a way to do it and still have rest days and make improvements. I can have my cake and eat it too (and boy do I love cake!).

What does this hybrid training look like for me and my goals and fitness level specifically?  I’m not exactly sure yet.  More to come on that later.  But again, that’s the magic of the internet.  I know I’m not the first person to want the best of both worlds.  I’m embracing my lane changing habits to find what will work for me.  It may be a little risky, but that’s part of the fun. 🙂

 

Twin Cities Marathon: Registration Affirmation

I’m in!  Today marathon registration opened at 10:00 am.  By 10:30 I was registered with confirmation email and everything.  It’s not until October but it feels very real now.  This is going to happen.  I’m going to run 26.2 miles.  And I’m looking forward to it!

A few years ago my sister trained for and ran a marathon.  I remember at the time thinking that training for and running a marathon just seemed like the scariest, most awful form of self torture I’d ever heard of.  Who runs hours and hours a week for months to train and get prepare for a 3+ hour (if you’re fast) race?  It’s not a run for survival.  Nobody forces someone to run a marathon.  So who does that?

Back when my sister was training if you asked me to jog for even 5 minutes I would have laughed in your face.  Now a 5 minute jog is my warm up.  Now I crave hitting the pavement.  Now I am an athlete (granted, still a slow athlete) but I am going to run this marathon in October.  What changed?  All it takes is that spark.  I’m inspired by my sister (yes you, Pan!), I’m in inspired by my BRF (you know who you are!), I’m inspired by my badass canyon-running idol (you know who you are too!).

So rewind to 10:20 am today.  Entering in all this great information, credit card in my teeth, typing away: name, age, address, phone, shirt size, emergency contact,

Pace & finish time… blank stare, blinking cursor.  Not only do I need to commit to running a marathon today.  I have to commit to actually finishing it.  Stuff just got real.  I thought.  I thought and thought and thought.  I honestly thought the page might time out.  Then I typmarathoned 11 minute miles with a projected finish time of 4 hours 45 minutes.  I know that they won’t come out and drag me off the course if I don’t meet my time but somehow this felt like a pledge.  A pledge to get it done in less than 5 hours.  A pledge to give it my all.  This is my first (and maybe only) marathon and I’m going into it with a goal to finish.  Finishing in 4 hours 45 minutes is my target.  4 hours 30 minutes is my stretch goal.  Right now 11 minute miles are my easy I-could-run-forever pace.  I think it’s doable.  I hope it’s doable.  However, a wise woman once told me “hope is not a plan” (you know who you are too).  So the plan is this:  Show up and run.  Show up and run my heart out.