Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sidewalks, bike lanes and flatness

This week I've been in West Sacramento. Yesterday I only had to go 12 miles and today 3. No hills, sidewalks, AND ginormous bike lanes!! And if there aren't either of those, the shoulders are decently wide...at least where I was running. Holy cow, running in West Sac is so...safe...and nice! On one particular street I ran, if it wasn't for the picture of the bicycle on the asphalt I would have thought it was another car lane. I could have lied down across it and still been clear of car traffic, it was at least 5 and half to 6 feet wide not including the sidewalk. The bike lane itself was the size of a two way street where I'm used to running. So spacious.

Yesterday I tried taking my water bottle belt instead of my back pack. I never learn that that thing is awful. I should have just taken my back pack. I put tape around the bottle to make it thicker so it would stay in its holster a bit better and did a few "practice" jaunts with it to make sure the bottle wouldn't fly out, and it seemed to stay put, but sure enough once I started running for real, it popped right out of the holster. So annoying. I decided to just carry it in my hands until I drank half of it (once it's half empty it stays put just fine) so I ran with a full water bottle being passed between my hands for about 4 miles. After a while my arms started to get tired of holding it and I figured I really only needed about half that water anyway if I wasn't going to drink much my first hour, so I tried to dump 1/3 to 1/2 out only I accidentally dumped more like 3/4ths of it. Ah geeze. I knew I was in for a rough rest of my run. At least my arms got a break. I finished the first half (10K) in about an hour and 8 minutes which averaged out to just over 11 and a quarter minute miles. At that point I ate my energy gel and drank probably half of the precious water I had left. By the time I was finishing I was looking for sprinklers left on or an abandoned hose in someone's yard or something. It was awful. I finally did find sprinklers on in a yard, but I was so close to finishing it wasn't worth it. I finished the whole thing in my goal time of 12 minute miles: 2 hours 24 minutes 3 seconds. I went 12.07 miles so really I made it in just under 12 minute miles. I'm happy with this, but I feel like I might have done better if I hadn't dumped most of my water like an idiot.

12 miles is an awkward distance for me because I usually let myself have an energy gel about every 50-60 minutes, so by the time I'm hitting mile 9 or 10 I feel like I need something, but I'm too close to finishing to justify eating another one. If I run 10 miles I eat one energy gel half way. If I run 12 miles I eat one energy gel half way...and it feels really hard at the end and I'm a little more worn out at mile 6 than I am on my longer runs at mile 6.

Today was my 3 mile (5K) run. I went 3.06 miles in 32 minutes and 17 seconds which is about just over 10 and a half minute miles. I was tired and it felt hard, but it was nice to not have any hills to fight with. I'll be back in West Sac next week and plan to go 24 miles on Monday and after that I won't go any more new longest distances. May is getting closer!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

22 miles

Monday I went just under 22 miles (21.85). I was in Rio Linda, so at least I didn’t have any hills to contend with, but I was still exhausted. Usually I hit hills and have to walk up some of them and get relief in my calves as I go down them, but in Rio Linda there were not any significant hills so I never had to walk which made my legs work in a different way for longer than they were used to. I never got the strain in my calves the hills give me going up, but I never got the relief the down hills give me either. I felt ok for the first half of my run and only had to stop for traffic lights until my last hour and a half or so but my last hour was spent walking as much as I was jogging…if not more. I got so tired I just wanted to sit down and not move any more. I wanted to cry a couple times, and then I yelled at myself in my head to knock it off because I’m not a pansy. There was a free couch on one street that was so tempting, and it killed me to pass up that bench at the bus stop on Watt Ave. I imagined a delightful rest and conversation as the lady that was sitting there would tell me her life story whilst sharing a box of chocolates that would just magically appear. So hungry!

It took me 4 hours and 34 minutes for about a 12 and a half minute per mile average pace. I took 6 energy gels and ate 4 of them, took about a liter and a half of water in my hydration back pack and drank all of it and wished I had brought more. I rationed the last of it so I only had about a half a mile to a mile left when I finished it, but it would have been nice to have had an extra 8 oz or so- I just wish water didn’t weigh so much. It will be nice on race day to have aid stations with water and not have to wear that back pack.

Usually after a good work out sore muscles show up the next day, but I was feeling it even before my run was done. My soreness and stiffness was the worst that night. I couldn’t touch my toes with straight legs, I had to get up and down really slowly and I was walking funny. No significant blisters, just really really tired feet. Yesterday I was still a little sore, but I could walk normally. I didn’t do my recovery run yesterday. Today my muscles were fine. Wednesdays are usually a rest day, but since I didn’t do my 3 miles yesterday I did them today instead and got a personal best time on my 3.4 mile hilly route with 11 minute 18 second miles. I thought for sure once I hit that first big hill my legs would die out after my big run on Monday, but they didn’t.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

An arm and a leg

The weather has been so nice lately! It's gotten to the point where I have to put sunblock on before I go out for my runs. I've developed some fun(ky) tan lines right where my running socks cut off on my ankles. Mostly I'm impressed that the skin on my legs have learned how to hold some color. After my last long run I took off my socks and saw a bunch of dirt on my legs especially around my ankles and tried to scrub it off in the shower only it wouldn't all come off. My arms are trying their best to have a farmers tan, but the line is less definite than the sock line. It's a little easier to see in person, but here are a couple pictures.Check it out! Hahaha.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday night lament

I’m trying to decide if not keeping junky food in my place is the result of love or hate for myself. I think it’s love…but sometimes I really hate it. Like right now. All I want is a chocolate brownie, or a chocolate anything, but alas, I have chocolate nothing.  When I passed up that brownie mix on my last grocery trip I knew I’d feel like this at some point, and yet I still didn’t buy it. I’m so cruel. I’m not even on a diet, or being super careful in watching what I eat (dinner was pancakes and an egg), but if I had it or if it was available, I’d eat it and not feel all that guilty about it either since I know I’ve got a 12 mile run tomorrow. I guess that’s why when I go shopping I don’t buy empty calorie treats, at least not on a regular basis. And again…because I love myself? Yes. Because I love myself. Tough stinkin love. I'm pretty sure I'd be the size of a house if I ate everything I ever wanted to. I would have whipped that brownie mix up in a heartbeat tonight and probably eaten a quarter of it, (and then continue to eat it over the next couple days all by myself), but instead I ate raw veggies, some grapes and a little packet of fruit snacks I took from my   parent’s house last week and a cup of Postum for my dessert/snack tonight. Who needs brownies when you’ve got carrots, cauliflower and broccoli? Psh, not me. I LOVE myself. On a more serious note though, I’m so happy Postum has made its way back into my life. Postum is good. But you know what’s better? Postum with a brownie…or 5.  

Thursday, March 7, 2013

20 miles

I feel like I should be in better shape at this point. Oh well. I’ve got just less than 2 more months to get there. I went 20 miles on Monday, but it was really more of a glorified 20 mile walk than a 20 mile run. The total elevation gain was supposed to be only about half of what it was on my 18 mile run so I thought it would be a great run, but it was not. It took me (including traffic lights) a little over 4 and a half hours. I can’t know the exact time because my ipod died towards the end. I don’t know if it’s because I only ate half a banana and left 20 minutes later, if it was because I took more water than I have before and that weighed me down, if it was because it was too soon after my 12 mile run I did on Thursday, or if it was because I’m just a pansy of a runner, but the whole thing was hard and after my first 5 miles I remember walking more than I remember jogging. Usually I start out a run feeling super tired and not wanting to run, but I get out of my funk after a few minutes and think it’s not so bad, and then don’t feel really awful for at least the first little while, but Monday I never got out of the funk as I expected to. I don’t know what to blame, but it was probably a combo of all the reasons listed above. One of my biggest fears is that I’m turning mole hills into mountains and that the hills I think are “so hard” are really only so-so that any runner could easily traverse and I’m still going to die on a flat or minimally hilly route.

If anybody is familiar with Antioch, my run on Monday went from the Eagleridge neighborhood out Deer Valley road all the way until it dead ends at Marsh Creek Rd, then I turned back around. I was ready to be done when I hit Balfour…only 5 miles or so into my run...and ready to die a couple miles after that. I was so tired I had to walk not only inclines, but some flat and even some decending parts of the run. I got nauseated at one point and just plain tired of being upright. I tried to figure out if it was my legs that were tired or my lungs and I couldn’t figure it out except I was just TIRED. I should have had a better breakfast, but I woke up too late and it was already late in the morning and I didn’t have time to wait the 2 hours eating a decent breakfast before a run like that would have taken. Guess I learned my lesson. I finished never wanting to run again. The best part of the run (aside from finishing) was on the run back, passing a big group of cows near Kaiser hospital that all started running when they saw me coming. It made me feel powerful and was kind of exciting to have them all running next to me…even if there was a barbed wire fence between us.

Tuesday I did my 3 mile easy run on a mostly flat route and was surprised I completed it with a 10:40 min/mile average considering how tired and sore I was from the 20 miles the day before. That’s faster than I’ve ever completed 3 miles. I’m going to attribute it to no major hills.