Sunday, April 24, 2011

Suzanne: Vacation is Over, Had a Lousy Long Run and Next Saturday is the Parkway Half

Our vacation to San Diego is over! It was beautiful, we had a great time and I was even able to get a 5.15 mile run while on vacation which made me happy. It was one of those runs that I could have kept going for a long time as I was so distracted by the gorgeous beaches. I was worried about whether I was going to be able to fit in a run (yes, running has turned me into a crazy person) so I was proud that I did. The day before we left I was really grumpy as I was NOT able to squeeze a run in that day (I've also become the person that is moody when I don't get my runs in - anyone else the same way?) but was able to get a run in the morning before we left and I was relieved.

We returned yesterday and I needed to do my long run today. The goal was to run 10 miles. Let's just say it was a lousy run...it's been awhile since I've had such a horrible run. Not sure if it's because I did the long run by myself or if I was in a bad mood or what...but the run seemed to take forever. Just mentally was not able to get it together. I felt like I walked most of the run but in the end my time wasn't as horrible as I had thought. It seemed the more I stopped to walk for a little bit the more I kept stopping. When I finally made it to the 6 mile mark I knew 10 miles was just not in the cards for me, so I decided if I made it to 8.5 miles I could stop. And that I did.

I also promised myself that I was NOT going to beat myself up about my lovely long run. I'm trying my best but let's just say that this has made me a little nervous about this week's half marathon. Am I going to be able to run 13.1 miles after barely being able to make it to 8.5? I guess we'll see but I keep telling myself that there's nothing else I can do now.

Here is this week's training schedule:
Monday: 3.5 miles
Tuesday: 5 miles
Wednesday: cross-training
Thursday: 3.5 miles
Friday: REST
Saturday: 13.1 miles
Sunday: hot yoga

I'm actually looking forward to a race being on a Saturday. All of my half marathons to date have been on Sundays. It will be nice to get it over on Saturday rather than worry all day Saturday about running the race on Sunday. Yes, I'm a worrier and control freak....can I do 13.1 miles, am I ready, do I have everything taken care of, is my alarm set to the right time, am I eating/hydrating correctly, how will I run, etc. But once the race starts I have a singular focus and just run.

In the past, tapering has not been my strength. For some reason it should be easy to do but I always "feel" like I should be doing more. I'm getting better at it.

Oh and guess what? Next week - when I'm back to the Fleet Feet training group schedule for the Fiesta Days half marathon on 5/21 - our long run is 13 miles. So that means I'm running 13 miles two weeks in a row. I'm trying to not even think about that!

Hope everyone else had a good week and I'll be sure to post a race recap next weekend.

Happy Running,
Suzanne

Monday, April 11, 2011

Jenn: Shamrock Shuffle Race Report

Before I get into the Race Report, let's give Suzanne a minute to gather herself. I wouldn't be surprised if she just took a peek out the window to make sure pigs aren't flying overhead since I'm finally back to blogging like a good blog partner should :)

This weekend was Chicago's Shamrock Shuffle, the annual start to the Chicagoland racing season. Or as I like to call it, an annual reminder of how much out of shape I truly am.

I wish that was a joke.

Mike and I have done this race for three years in a row, and it's a lot of fun. It's a big race - - they bill it as the "World's Largest 8k" -- and the atmosphere is great. The organizers were well-prepared for 30-some thousand runners. Historically the weather has sucked; maybe that's why it was moved to April this year instead of late March. How much has the weather sucked? Allow me to present Exhibit A:




This was 2009 and what I remember most about that Shuffle was getting pelted with sleet in the face and not being able to feel my toes because we were standing in slush for 40 minutes waiting to start. Last year's race was just downright cold.

This year, we had better weather - - but too hot, an 83 degree day. I think it was in the high 70s when the race started but it was humid. I don't run well in hot and humid. We were hoping for grey skies, cool breeze, 55 - 60 temp. Not too hot, not too cold, just right. We didn't get that this year; maybe next year.

Waiting in the Start Corrals. If you look really close you should be able to see the red START banner up there.


Misting fans at the Finish:

I'm a turtle to begin with but add on the heat and humidity and my chances of finishing under an hour were slim to none. Throw in somewhat inconsistent treadmill training with no outside runs (ankles ow!) and my chances of beating my best time (1:00:06) were zip. Instead, I finished with my worst time, (1:04:something something). Egads. I have a lot to do before Suzanne and I run together.

That said, I still enjoy this race immensely. It's a good chance to catch up with friends, and a hotel stay downtown sans kids and dogs provided for a very relaxing race morning.

Me, Mike and my cousin Kim before the race:


View of Chicago's famous Water Tower from our hotel room:



I am grateful for two positive things coming out of this race:

1) I've been bit by the running bug again. Finally! One reason I haven't blogged in months is because it's kind of hard to blog when you hate running. I can't point to anything specific but I was in a real running funk. I did run some here and there, but nothing that helped me get excited for races coming up.

2) The pre-race photo was another wake-up call for me (actually it was a "holy shit who the hell is that" slap in the face) to get my ass in gear and get focused on losing weight. I am an expert in losing and gaining the same 5 - 6 pounds. Over and over again. I'm sick of running these races carrying the extra weight and quite frankly, I'm sick of lining up to pick up the running shirts in the "women's large" line. Someone (Oprah?) once said that you need to fail 1,000 times before you stick with healthy eating/exercise habits. Don't know if that's true or someone's excuse but I've failed about 1,186 times and I'm done. As luck would have it, my gym just started their 90 Day Weight Loss Challenge. I signed up, got my "before" picture taken today with a goal of losing 24 pounds (or two pounds per week) by July 9. The gym has several events and activities for partipants so the first one is a 5k (outside) tomorrow morning, 6 a.m.

So another race report will be coming this week or, as Suzanne might be thinking, pigs fly and hell froze over in the same week :)

Are you on Twitter? Follow me @jennrunschi.

Jenn

Suzanne: Three Weeks Until Parkway Half

Three weeks to go! Wow...seems like it's coming up fast. These next two weeks I need to really make sure I continue to get my miles in and increase my long runs. The goal is to try to run 11-12 miles this weekend so I almost get a 13 miler in two weeks before the big day.

On Saturday our group ran 9 miles. We did the same course as last week with lots of hill and while it certainly wasn't easy it was a much better run for me. Felt good and pretty strong throughout. The plan was to possibly extend the run to 10 miles but I had the pain again on the right side of my knee (I think IT band related)at the exact same spot - 7 mile mark - as last week, so I didn't want to aggravate it any further. I was able to run through it to finish and the pain was not as bad as last week. It's a little concerning but I'm trying not to freak out about it. When I got home I iced it and had no further pain the rest of the day walking around. When running flat routes, I don't experience this at all so I'm not sure if the hills play any factor?

Here's my training schedule this week:
Monday 5 miles
Tuesday 4-6 miles speed training (warm-up, 6x-400m, cool-down)
Wednesday cross training
Thursday 4-5 miles
Friday rest or maybe hot yoga if I'm feeling up to it
Saturday 10-12 miles (training group is scheduled to run 9 miles again)
Sunday hot yoga

Congrats to Jenn on running and finishing the Shamrock 8k on Sunday! She promises a race recap soon.

Next week will be interesting to schedule my running as we'll be on spring break. My plan is to try to get as much in before we leave and just "plan" the rest and stick to it. Hopefully it will all work out.

Happy Running,
Suzanne

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Suzanne: Getting Back into Training Mode

Finally starting to feel like I'm starting to get back to the running shape I was in before I got sick. It's really tough - mentally and physically - to get back into the grind but I've had a good week so far. In 4 days (Saturday-Tuesday), I've managed to run almost 22 miles.

Saturday's group training run was 8 miles. Unfortunately for me, it was a hilly run. We started with hills right off the bat and they kept coming. Oh, and we ended with a hill as well just to top it off. It was a tough run but I was glad to have finished it. Supposedly we're running a similar course this Saturday so wish me luck!

The half marathon (Fiesta Days 5/21) that the Fleet Feet group is training for will have hills, so I've heard that the training will over prepare you for that. It actually is a good thing as it definitely will be a change up from my Shamrock half marathon training which was relatively flat (my preference). So at least I know this will take my training up another notch.

Here's my training schedule this week:
Sunday: 4 miles (done)
Monday: 4.25 miles (done)
Tuesday: 5.6 miles - speed training with hill intervals (done)
Wednesday: cross-training
Thursday: 4.5 miles
Friday: cross-training
Saturday: 9 miles
Sunday: hot yoga

In the next few weeks, I'm planning to increase my Saturday runs so I can get a 12 or 13 miler in prior to the half marathon on April 30th. Then I'll resume the Fleet Feet training schedule for the Fiesta Days half marathon on May 21st.

Last week, I had a little pain in my right knee. It was a first for me but it was the side - most likely IT band related from what I've read and can tell. It happened again at mile 7 on Saturday but I was still able to finish the run after stopping briefly to just stretch. I haven't experienced it again but I'm hoping it isn't something that will be occurring on a regular basis.

On the music front - Jenn has introduced me to My Chemical Romance. Here are my favorite songs to run to (in order): Sing, Na Na Na Na, Welcome to the Black Parade, Teenagers, and Famous Last Words. Jenn pointed out to me that in the song Sing - he says "keep running" at one point which is really cool.

The other singer that I have just found and absolutely LOVE is Adele. Beautiful voice and I really enjoy running to: Rolling in the Deep, Rumour Has It and Set Fire to the Rain.

Happy Running,
Suzanne