Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012 in review

I started Couch to 5K in the second half of June, and I didn't start keeping track of run data until the second week of July, so I really have less than half a year of data. However, it's still fun to look back even six months ago!

2012 total mileage: 331 miles
July: 23 miles, avg pace 14:20
Aug: 44 miles, avg pace 13:30
Sept: 52 miles, avg pace 13:00
Oct: 63 miles, avg pace 12:40
Nov: 74 miles, avg pace 12:30
Dec: 75 miles, avg pace 12:20

December wasn't quite the growth month it could have been; I ended up taking several days off and trying to regain some motivation in the cold and snowy weather. However, I'm pleased that I at least matched the mileage from the previous month.

I feel like this was a fantastic starter year. While I was still going through C25K, a friend asked what my goal was. At that time, I just wanted to be able to run 10 miles a week. I now run 15-20 miles a week regularly. My mileage has gone up, and my pace has gone down. Here's to 2013 being a good year, too!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Progress - who's a runner?

I've been feeling very contemplative about my running lately. I feel like my improvement is a constant look back at where I've been and a look ahead to where I'm going. I'm approaching my 6-month anniversary of getting off the couch; it's just over a week away. Since I took that first step in Couch to 5K, I've improved my 5K race time by over 3 minutes and run 6 miles twice. I've experienced some aches and pains and little niggling things that luckily haven't turned into fullblown injuries. I've seen my waistline decrease and my cardiovascular fitness increase.

Still, sometimes it feels like improvement takes so long. Sure, I've made big strides (ha ha! strides!) in my training, but I still run slow. I still want to be able to run 10 miles and know I'm a ways away. It's still very hard not to compare myself to others and feel envy in their abilities, although I know a vast majority of them started out right where I am, right now. I buy gear and wear all the right stuff and get out there every day I have scheduled but some days I still don't feel like a runner. When does that change?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sometimes you just gotta sit on the couch

I ran 6 miles for the first time on Sunday. It was a scheduled 5 miler, but after my light week last week due to Thanksgiving and running schedule for the 5K I ran that day, I decided to go for a new distance. I definitely felt it in my hips once I was finished. Most of my runs might be a little taxing but I could go a little further. Sunday, uh, no... I was happy to just stop in my tracks once my Garmin beeped the end of the final mile. It was a push to get through the fifth mile, let alone the sixth!

I put in an easy 3-miler last night, and could tell that Sunday had taken more out of me than I realized. So, luckily, today was a much-needed and already scheduled rest day. Some nights you just have to put on your pajamas and put your feet up and relax.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Gobble Wobble 5K Run

I went into the 5K race yesterday with an A, a B, and a C goal. My A goal, the easiest, was beating 37 minutes. My B goal was hitting 36:30, and my C goal, the stretch, was sub-36.

It was a cold morning, but not crazy. I wore capri tights, calf compression sleeves, a short sleeve t-shirt, and arm sleeves. I felt perfectly dressed. I also wore Brooks Ravenna 3s with my new custom inserts. I was ready to rock... but not sure how fast I'd be. I mentioned to a friend also running the race that I didn't feel fast at all.

The race was the largest I've been in so far. According to the race results, over 900 people were involved. The course involved two loops around a pond; fairly round and a concrete path. The course did not work well for a race of this size... I was pretty much in the middle, and had to deal with dodging walkers both at the beginning and during the second loop around the pond. The elite runners had it even worse since they had even more people to dodge... just about everybody on their second time around the pond. They had a guy in a turkey suit on a bike trying to clear the left side of the path to make room for them to go by; some little girl running with her mom somehow didn't hear the screaming turkey-suited guy and got in his way as he was going by and took the poor guy out. Luckily the fast runners still made it through, but the turkey guy had to jump back on his bike and book it to get in front of them again to continue clearing the way.

I spent the first couple minutes of the race dodging walkers. I'm not sure why so many walkers were in front of me at the start; there were areas for 6, 8 and 10 minute mile runners, and although they didn't have any slower pace time posters to help us penguins line up, I thought I was around where 12 minute runners should have been to start the race. It was supremely frustrating and I used a lot of energy bobbing and weaving. Walkers should have started behind me! Somehow, I still ran my fastest mile of the day.

Halfway through the second mile, I realized I was still pretty much keeping the same pace I'd had for the first mile. I was stoked... way faster than my previous races. By the time I got to the third mile, I was worried about running out of steam. I slowed down just slightly... and when I found my finishing time, I regretted that slowdown. However, I more than met all of my goals... my official chip time was 35:13!

I wondered after the race if I had pushed that third mile instead of letting up a bit, could I have come in under 35? It's hard being that upset, though, when I came in so far under my original goals. Perhaps sub-35 will one of my goals for the 5K in the first week of December.

Mile 1:  11:11
Mile 2:  11:15
Mile 3:  11:31
Mile 0.1: 1:16

After that, Mike and I headed home and made our potato dishes (sweet potato casserole for me, garlic and parmesan mashed potatoes for him) to take to turducken dinner with the rest of our friends downtown later that evening. We even squeezed in an hour long nap, though we could have done with one much longer. I had to put in a few hours of work today and felt tired and lazy when I got home... back to training tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Goodbye Saucony, Hello Brooks... again

I ate too much all weekend. I drank too much on Saturday. We hosted a pig roast at our house, second annual, and I feel like I put on 10lbs. I'm sure it's not that much, but uggghhhhhh...

Due to the overindulgences this weekend, I didn't get out for my "long run" (quotation marks because my "long run" isn't all that different from my shorter runs at this point in my training) on Sunday. I knew I had to get out there yesterday, although inertia had already set in and sitting on the couch just seemed so easy. Somehow I got the gumption to get off my butt and get out there.

I decided to take the new kicks out for run #2. I figured I'd go for 3 miles, today's scheduled run, and see how bad the damage was. I felt really good, didn't go out too fast, and ended up stretching it into a 4 mile run instead. The bad news, though, was that the new kicks gave me blisters. No bueno. I had bought them online at Road Runner Sports, so back to the store they went.

I got suckered into doing their ShoeDog gait analysis. It was fun and I was glad to have my self-analysis mostly verified or any remaining questions cleared up. I'm a fairly neutral runner, medium arches, with just a slight bit of overpronation in my right foot. I'm the line between Neutral and Stability, they said. Ooooh but I spent some money. I got the custom inserts they molded to my foot and replaced the sorry Sauconys with some badass Brooks; the Glycerin 10 to be exact.

Brooks Glycerin 10
I love the color of the new shoes, although the splashing about of the model name on the lateral side is a bit much. I'm planning on taking them out for a run tonight (with the custom inserts) and seeing how it goes. The shoe journey has taught me about my feet, my gait, and the fact that at least for now, I'm a Brooks girl.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Longer distances, new shoes

I made it through the 5 mile run on Sunday. I'd been dreading it for several days... my last attempt at a 5 mile run was draining and felt so difficult. Luckily, this time around was very different! My last mile was my fastest, and I probably could have kept going. It's nice to see progress like that... especially since I'll be doing a 6 mile run in a few weeks.

In the meantime, I've ordered yet another pair of shoes. I got some Brooks Glycerin 9s on ebay, and they're great; however, I wanted to try a shoe from another brand and to mix things up. I tried on a bunch of shoes at a few local stores to get an idea of what works and what doesn't. I tried on a Saucony PowerGrid Triumph 9 and fell in love with how it felt in-store; hopefully that translates into an awesome feel during and post run.
Saucony ProGrid Triumph 9
I tried a few more Asics, giving the brand another try, and really liked the feel of the Cumulus 13 and also the Nimbus 13. Unfortunately, as a general thing, the heels of Asics just don't seem to be snug enough. I loved the cushion and the gel, though. Unfortunately the newer editions of these shoes (version 14 for both) seems to be moving away from that uber-cushioned feel.

The new shoes should arrive on Thursday; they were on sale at Road Runner Sports, and I also got a special price on top of my VIP savings which made it just too awesome to pass up. I'll probably wear them in my easy Friday run to see how they actually are under working conditions.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Running by feel

I've been running for almost 5 months now. I'm no longer doing walk/run intervals like I did at the beginning (thank you Couch to 5K for getting me started), but I'm still no speed demon. I'm okay with that, really, I am -- I know it will come eventually -- but it's hard not to push myself during this time of mileage buildup. My main focus right now should be just logging miles.

I found (well, a friend of mine on found) a great mileage-building schedule that I've adapted slightly for my preference in rest days. I'm not worried about what pace I'm running for this training; the purpose is to build up my endurance so that I can run a 10K at the end of January and not feel like dying at the end. I've never run more than 5 miles, so I'd like to get to running 6.2 with ease and get my automatic PR for a first race at that distance. Eventually I'll move on to the half-marathon training, since my friend Rae and I have officially signed up for the Denver Rock n Roll Half Marathon next September.

However, with all that said, it's hard not to want to get faster. It's also hard not to go out too fast on my longer runs and wipe myself out before I'm done. I've done a lot of reading about how to train, what pace to run at, that sort of thing, and I really need to be taking things slow and steady. I've been working on trying to slow down my first mile and being a bit more consistent with my splits. For example, I went on a 4 mile run today. My first mile was only a second slower than my fourth, which I pushed a bit at the end, and the first mile was quite a bit faster than my second and third miles. I tried to run based on "feel"... I "felt" like I was running much slower than I actually was in that first mile.

Using my Garmin has turned into more of a check/verification than anything else. I want to get the point where I don't have to look at the Garmin to confirm how fast I'm going. Eventually I want to be able to feel the effort, know my pace, and be able to adjust accordingly without relying on the watch. I guess that's another thing that will come with more miles and building up my stamina once the miles are banked.