Sunday, April 19, 2015

Bloomsday Training-ish Week 2 & NROLFW Phase 2 Week 3b


Monday: Bike trainer 3.8 miles (15.1 mph) + NROLFW phase 2 workout B

Tuesday: Easy run 3.0 miles (13:00 pace)

Wednesday: Tax day!

Thursday: Tempo run 2.55 miles (11:24 pace)

Goal: 3 miles around 11:15
1 - 10:42 (mostly downhill)
2 - 11:11 (partly uphill)
2.55 - 12:35 (big uphill and totally spent)

Friday through Sunday morning was spent in Bellevue, a post-busy-season celebration girls weekend with my mom. We did a lot of walking around, plus a couple short workouts in the fitness center Friday and Saturday nights. The hotel actually had a 25-meter lap pool! 

Friday: Swim 600 meters

Saturday: Treadmill mini interval workout 1.75 miles (11:45 pace) - 3 x 0.25 @ 10:00, 0.25 warm-up/recoveries/cool-down at 12:45 - 13:00

Sunday: Long run 6.05 miles (12:46 pace)

Total swimming: 600 meters
Total biking: 3.8 miles
Total running: 13.35 miles

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Hop Hop Half Marathon Race Recap

I always have grand plans for running during tax season. I sign up for Bloomsday and Hippie Chick half for May races, thinking that obviously that means I'll get a lot of running in so I'm well trained. And then I average about 10 miles per week from January through April 15, and do not do well at those May races at all (or conveniently have actual scheduling conflicts so I don't have to prove how undertrained I am). 

This year, I decided to up the ante a bit, and register for a race taking place during tax season. It worked! I've actually averaged over 18 miles per week since January, peaking at 29 miles in a week before tapering for the race. This is not only more running than I've ever done during tax season before, it's actually a lot more running - weekly and long runs - than I typically do for a half marathon at all. So I was crossing my fingers that my pretty ambitious goals might just pan out. I really want to get under 2:30 this summer; I wasn't sure if my specific plan for this race would quite get me there, but I knew it shouldn't be too far off.

The Hop Hop race also included a 5k, which oddly started before the half did. Which was great, in that the half marathon start time was later than I thought it was, so I got to sleep in a little - but I was also heading to work after so this is a case I wouldn't have minded starting as early as possible. I arrived about a half hour before the 5k; over an hour before the half started. Parking was well-organized, but I think if I'd arrived too much later I would have been parking at a lot a block down the street, rather than the main lot closer to the start line. I had Abe pick up my packet at one of the options earlier in the week, but there didn't appear to much of a line to pick up morning of. 

First I found the porta potties, which were plentiful with no real line. I then looked for Karey, and hung out and chatted with her and some of her friends (some already known, and she always makes new friends everywhere - I met her by chatting at a race a few years ago!). We headed to the start line maybe 10 minutes or so ahead of time. 

My plan was to go out really conservatively, around/just under 12:00, for the first 5 miles; step it up to actual goal pace, 11:30, for the next 5 miles; and then whatever I could do for the last 5k. I definitely wanted to avoid going out to fast and then crash and burn, but even sticking with the initial 12:00 pace would give a big PR.

The route started with a mile south on 33rd, then back past the start line, heading towards the river and turning east on a path. That was a little odd, but it was also kind of cool to see the eventual winners run by an extra time. It's all relatively flat, and really pretty, especially on the way out with some fog left from the early morning. After a couple miles, I realized I was leap frogging with one of Karey's new friends who was doing run/walk intervals (I can't remember her name, so henceforth referred to as "Gold Spark Skirt" or GSS). I was feeling pretty strong with my pace right where I wanted it, so I decided to try to pick it up as planned for the next 5 miles.

Miles 1 - 5: 11:51, 12:00, 11:52, 11:56, 11:50

Literally just after the mile 5 marker, GSS caught up to me and said "looks like we're going to be good friends by the end of this"! Which then made me feel bad that I was literally about to (try to) peal away at a pace 30 seconds per mile than we'd be averaging. 

But I surged ahead, and kept up a good pace for a few miles, but was definitely starting to feel a bit tired. Somewhere in here I passed someone who was heading back on the out-and-back who was knitting while running. The skein of yarn appeared to be in a camelbak she was wearing, and the scarf she was creating hung down in front of her. Another woman was passing me and happened to basically right next to me as the knitter went by, and we both looked at each other, "did we really just see that?".

There was kind of a y-shaped out and back around mile 7 - out to a turnaround point, back in about a quarter mile, than back out, then in to head back towards the start/finish line. As we approached mile 10, I was starting to slow down a bit. Around here, GSS caught up and passed me, and we started leap-frogging again - though slower than I wanted I maintained a steady running pass, and she continued run/walk intervals.

Miles 6 - 10: 11:29, 11:30, 11:26, 11:42, 12:08

By around mile 11 I was starting to feel really tried, my feet were aching from the pounding, and I had a weird pain in my left hip flexor. Walking didn't make things hurt less, though, so I continued running with only a few very brief walking breaks to take fuel and drink. Compared to previous half marathons, this kind of pain/aching/fatigue hit much latter - I'm used to this kicking in closer to 8 or 9, making for quite a bit of time left to be miserable; in this case it was less than 3 miles left, so that made it easier to power through it.

With a mile or mile and a half to go, I realized that 2:30 was definitely not actually within reach that day, but my calculations seemed like 2:35 probably was. I was also thinking about my PR, which I knew was 2:48:something, but I wasn't sure what how many seconds over 2:48 it was. I kicked it up at the end, though GSS nonetheless finished just before me. 

Miles 11 - 13.1: 11:43, 11:28, 12:07, 9:40

Official time: 2:34:42 (11:48 pace), which happens to be exactly 14 minutes faster than my previous PR! (I'm only slightly disappointed that I didn't PR by 13:06.) I'm definitely going to gun for sub-2:30 at the Foot Traffic Flat in July. I'm going to pass on doing another half before then; though obviously doable this was absolutely a hard pace to maintain, so I don't think I have it in me to improve by more than a minute or so total without another couple months of work. 

Over all I really like the course - very flat overall, and minimal impact from traffic. There was a point (twice) where you had to cross Marine Drive, a fairly busy street, but they had police officers stopping traffic, and they did a great job timing when they let people through in between clumps of runners. After the race, you get a free goblet and mimosa; there was also lots of food but I didn't really check it out, as I just wanted to get home and showered so I could head to work, and thus leave work sooner.

Definitely a race I'd recommend for any non-tax-preparers; I'm glad I did it at least and it was great motivation to keep running through the busy months this year, but I'm not sure I want the pressure of a race through the pressure of tax season again. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Bloomsday Training-ish Week 1


Monday: Easy run 1.2 miles (13:36 pace) - Needed a run for sanity after a very long day, but my legs weren't up for much.

Tuesday: Easy run 2.6 miles (12:47 pace) - Feeling pretty much back to normal now.

Wednesday: Easy run 1.5 miles (13:11 pace)

Friday: Mini tempo run 1.15 miles (9:51 pace)

Sunday: Long run 6.5 miles (13:07 pace)

Total running: 12.95 miles

Well, I don't want to speak too soon, but I think I'll survive tax season! Went over 70 hours this week, so the running I got in was mostly just 20-minute jaunts to run off the excess adrenaline and caffeine at the end of long days.

Next race on the agenda is Bloomsday, a 12k race in Spokane. (2014 and 2013 recaps.) Since it's less than a month after tax season, I'm usually coming off a time of running 8 miles in a week, rather than 8 mile long runs, so it's far from a speedy race for me. This tax season, of course, I trained for and ran a half marathon PR, so I'd better freaking be able to PR at Bloomsday this year - my best Bloomsday pace is almost a minute slower mile than the half I just did!

Based on my recent half PR, McMillan says I should be capable of a 12k (7.46 miles) at 11:19 pace; based on my recent 5k PR, at a 10:32 pace. Those wouldn't take into account the difficulty of the course, of course - this race has a segment called "Doomsday hill". Based on what I know of the race, my history with it, and perhaps overly optimistically about my current fitness, I think an 11:00 - 11:30 pace might be feasible. Perhaps go out at 11:00 - 11:15, and hope that retains enough to make it up the hill slowly down to only a 12:00 or so, and still average out under 11:30. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Hop Hop Half Training Week 8


Tuesday: Run 2.55 miles (12:33 pace) - easy with the last mile at HMGP - hit 11:34.

Thursday: Run 1.8 miles (12:32 pace) - easy with a few strides.

Saturday: Hop Hop Half marathon - new PR of 2:34:42! By far my best half in terms of training (not just absolute fitness level, but commitment to training relative to race goal), and execution. 

Sunday: Run 1 really slow mile (14:35) to shake out my legs.

Total running: 18.45 miles

Monday, March 30, 2015

Hop Hop Half Training Week 7 & NROLFW Phase 2 Week 3a


Monday: Bike trainer 4.1 miles (16.4 mph)

Tuesday: Progression run 3.05 miles (11:27 pace) + NROLFW phase 2 workout A

Goal: 3 - 4 miles, increasing 20 - 30 sec each mile, starting at 12:00
Actual: 12:01, 11:24, 10:55

Wednesday: Easy run 3.05 miles (13:38 pace) - That was a really hard easy pace. Either my Garmin was malfunctioning, or my legs were. 

Thursday: Tempo run 3.5 miles (11:01 pace) - With coworkers.

Sunday: "Long" run 4.1 miles (12:47 pace)

Total biking: 4.1 miles
Total running: 13.7 miles

An off week, as far as energy and motivation; or we can just say I'm taking the taper very seriously. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Shamrock Run 5k Race Recap

Free race photos, and this is the
least horrible one there was.
I decided to do the Shamrock Run just about a month ago, more for the sake of having a race during March, than meeting a specific running goal. I actually did this race as my second 5k, back in 2011. It was ridiculously rainy and cold and miserable. The next year I signed up again, but ended up just walking it with some friends - again, it was rainy and cold and miserable, and that was the best way to make it a relatively enjoyable experience.

So I kind of swore off of it since then. But, this is the year of racing and aiming for new PRs, so why not? The weather this spring has been remarkably dry and mild, but the weekend of the race was rainy. Still a lot warmer than typical, but wet (and then it was the afternoon after the race that we had a ridiculous windstorm).

I found as much green as I could in my running supplies, plus bought a cheap pair of festive socks at Fred Meyer while we were out the day before - unfortunately they really were cheaply made without much stretch, and didn't fit over my thick calves. I didn't think until during the race that I could have cut off the feet and used them as armwarmers.

The Shamrock Run includes a half (new this year), 15k, 8k, and 5k, and the 5k is last (run first, then untimed walked), so I got to sleep in, relatively, and just catch a MAX into downtown by 8:30. When we were almost to the nearest stop, the train crossed the race course, making some 8k-ers stop during the race. Unfortunately there's not a good way to have a race course downtown without some train issues.

It was drizzling but not too cold as I walked to the start line; I wore a long sleeve throwaway shirt, and was fine in that while waiting. Though it's a huge event overall (35,000 people!), the 5k was "only" 11,000, and being almost the last event, the line for the porta potties was amazingly small. I found a set of 6 or 8 with a line only a dozen or so people deep. Got to that spot maybe 20 minutes before the start time, used the bathroom, and got in the start area by my pace sign (9 - 10 minutes) still about 10 minutes early.

I'm probably getting to the point of pushing myself in 5ks enough that I ought to be doing a warm-up mile or two. I was definitely feeling stiff as I got going; that plus pausing briefly to take off my arm-warmers put my first mile a little slow. Or I was just being conservative, let's go with that. My previous PR, set on New Year's, was 31:52. I didn't think I'm quite ready for a sub-30, but was hoping to go under 10:00 miles. 

The second mile was better, right on target. This is a big enough race that the crowd never totally thins out, so I was doing some weaving around people pretty the much the whole time. Despite the start lineup having pace signs, there seemed to be a lot of slower people, doing lots of walking, ahead of me. Then in the third mile there is a bit of an uphill as you turn in downtown back towards the waterfront. I was nearing the top of the hill when I ended up on the other side of the train/runner conundrum. I saw it about to cross from a half block away; I slowed down as I approached and didn't have to actually stop, but sort of lost a few seconds there.

Then, though, you get a half mile or so of downhill towards the finish line. I was pretty happy as I finished, and saw 9:50 average pace on my Garmin! Sadly, my weaving, lack of tangents, etc., resulted in it measuring 3.17 meaning that my actual pace per the official distance was 10:01. So freaking close! Official finish time of 31:07, still good for a 45 second PR. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Hop Hop Half Training Week 6


Monday: Easy run 2.4 miles (12:42 pace)

Tuesday: Treadmill run 3.0 miles (12:45 pace) - easy-ish steady pace with random incline

Wednesday: Tempo run 4.35 miles (11:27 pace)

Goal: 4 - 5 miles @ HMGP = <11:30
Actual: 11:25, 11:21, 11:31, 11:25, 11:40

I even chose a hillier route for this run! Felt pretty goodl

Thursday: Run 3.0 miles (11:12 pace) with coworkers + easy run 2.10 miles (13:06 pace) + 1:05 plank + 1:05 wall sit

I meant to do an easy run, but Jessie (fast coworker I've run with a couple times) was about to head out for a run when I was walking into the bathroom to change, and invited me along. She's great about slowing down to my pace (which is still fast relative to me, but 11:xx is typical of what we do when I go with her), but I'm afraid we may have inadvertently hazed our tax intern who also ran with us. Apparently she just started running this tax season! She was clearly working harder to keep the pace than I was (and I was working harder than Jessie), but kept up just fine. I definitely couldn't have done that when I was a new runner!

Friday: Rest day

Saturday: Easy run 3.4 miles (12:46 pace) + tennis (25 minutes)

Sunday: Long run 11.1 miles (13:10 pace)

Goal: 11 - 12 miles <13:00
1 - 4: 12:42, 12:56, 13:00, 12:55
5 - 8: 13:02, 13:37, 13:39, 13:05
9 - 11.1: 13:04, 13:51, 13:01, 12:40

Oy. Why did that feel so hard?! Too many miles this week, too many fast miles this week, playing tennis yesterday, the couple drinks I had last night? I'm surprised I ended up only that far over 13:00, but may of my other long runs went so much better at a relatively faster pace. 

Total running: 29.35 miles

Skipped weights this week to preserve some sanity. Now onto taper! Two weeks til the half marathon, and three and a half weeks left of tax season.
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