Thursday, April 30, 2009


People laugh for so many reasons. Maybe they find something to be funny, or they're tickled, or, sometimes, they laugh for no other reason than that they are completely and utterly delighted. I rode my bike this morning before work and thought about that last reason, because I found myself laughing. (And not in a creepy, weird sort of way, either.) The trees are blooming and some have already begun to grown green. The air was cool and the sun was bright, and I was so lighthearted and absolutely delighted as I pedaled down the path that sometimes I just laughed. It was a great way to start the day, not unlike the day before, which started out with a 2-mile run on the boardwalk at the beach. I was at a convention for work, and I'm so glad I managed to get in a run early in the morning. Every moment I took in and savored the atmosphere -- the sound of the ocean, the smell of the air, the warmth of summer, and all of the other people on the boardwalk enjoying it with me.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

2nd race of the year

5K time: 26:49 pace: 8:38

I'm not sure what to say except that I was expecting to do a lot better in today's race. I was very optimistic when the race began. I started strong without using too much energy, since the first half was, for the most part, downhill. In fact, my first mile split was 7:45. When I saw that, I was pumped. I kept the pace and passed people while still holding back a bit to save up my energy for the second half of the race. When we came to a steep hill, I slowed down a bit, but not too much. We then turned onto a road that climbed up to pass over the highway a few times. At mile 2, my time was 16:09. I was still optimistic, because at that pace I would beat my PR by a minute and a half. But I slowed down a lot. The terrain was a sustained hill from before the 2-mile mark until the 3-mile mark, and I couldn't step up the pace until the last minute, when the finish line was right in front of me. I didn't do badly, but I was really hoping to beat my record. I came in 6th in my age group and 41st out of the 288 women who ran in the race. (For me this was a big race. There were 554 total participants.) Anyway, it's another experience. One thing I have learned from it is to keep a large supply of band-aids with me. When I took my timing chip from my shoelaces I took the whole shoe off as well to give my pinched toes some room. Unfortunately, the pinching had given me a broken blister that had covered my entire little toe, and once I took the shoe off, I couldn't (nor did I want to) get it back on. So I hobbled around with one foot in a sneaker and the other in a bloody sock (it was quite gross). It was so bad that my dedicated support staff and I did not stay for the awards ceremony. Anyway, it was still a good run. I need to keep running with my friend so I can learn to run at her pace and finally beat that PR!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Getting psyched up for Saturday

After my run on Tuesday, I'm feeling confident and very excited about Saturday's race. I think that I'm in good shape to reach another PR. In a few minutes I'm going to go for an easy run. I'm not going to time it -- just go out and enjoy the day.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Good run today

I ran with a friend today and had a great time. We did a 3.3-mile loop by her house with a lot of hills that were both long and steep. I took a brief walk break after the worst hill, to insure that I could make it up the next incline, but we kept up a good pace the whole time we ran. We even finished strong. She's training for a half marathon, so we'll probably be doing a lot of long runs together. I suspect that even her long-distance pace is faster than my 5K pace, so it will do me good to train with her.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

5K results

5K time: 27:03 pace: 8:42

I have very mixed feelings about these results from yesterday's race. For one, I'm disappointed in myself, because I walked some of it. I've never done that before during a race. On the other hand, my pace was fast enough that I was only 20 seconds slower than my last time. In fact, the last 1.1 miles was at an 8:13 pace, which is really good for me.
The weather was cold and rainy. I wore a long sleeve tee, with a short-sleeve tee over it, and shorts. I was pretty excited, because I had been working up to this race for so long. When the gun went off, I felt pretty pumped, but in about 5 seconds I realized that my right shoe-lace was unraveling. What kind of runner doesn't tighten up her shoelaces before a race?! I pulled out of the mass of runners and tied it as quickly as I could, knowing that precious seconds were ticking by. Then I sprang back up and tried to recover lost ground. My thought was that any chance of a PR was gone, but I remembered the runner from Chariots of Fire who fell during a sprint race but got up and overcame a 20-meter deficit to win. Keeping that in mind, I passed a few people before finding a rhythm I thought I could manage. I reached the half-way point at 13:00, which is about an 8:20 pace. If I had kept that pace, I would have shattered my PR by 45 seconds. I made the turn at the half-way point very nicely. The traction on my shoes made it nice and efficient, without wasting too much energy. I felt good -- and then the cramps hit. That dull, heavy, overwhelming feeling in my my lower abdomen. I pushed on, hoping to run through them, but after about 200 meters or so, I gave up. I walked, I re-tied my shoe, which was loose again, and I walked some more. It wasn't too long before the cramps started to pass. When I was sure I could run again, I continued on, seeing how many of the people I had let by I could pass. I leveled off at a manageable pace again. I was behind a man in an orange jacket, and in front of him was a woman with curly hair. My goal by the end of the race was to pass them both.
At the 2-mile marker my time was 18:00. I kept my eyes on the orange jacket and kept going. This part of the course was through a campground in the woods. There were a few hills, but nothing too difficult. At the bottom of one of the hills, I passed the guy in the orange jacket. My lead didn't last long, though. He pulled ahead again about a minute later. I did my best to stay on his tail. The cramps were not bothering me anymore, but I was exhausted and felt like I was dragging myself. I did the best I could to imagine myself running lightly and easily. I continued to follow the orange jacket, and we passed the curly-haired woman. The end was in sight, then, and I knew that I had to turn on the power soon if I wanted to pass again and sprint to the finish. The last stretch was flat and smooth. I opened up my stride and gradually built up speed. I passed the orange jacket and left him behind. Ahead, people were cheering me on, and I finished strong at 27:03.
I don't know if I would have had the breath/strength to keep pace through to the end of the race if I hadn't taken the walk break in the middle. Maybe my pace would have slowed and I would have had about the same time I usually have. Or maybe I have improved and would have made a new PR if I had run it through. I don't know, but this year will give me a lot of opportunities to do better. The next one is two weeks away.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


The race is in two days. I went for one last hard run yesterday and am planning on going easy today and tomorrow with walking and light jogging. Unfortunately, yesterday's run wasn't that great. I tried to do 3.1 miles at race pace and again had to stop and walk because I thought I'd be sick. Overall, my time was 29:26, which works out to a 9:28 pace. That's not too bad considering I was walking for some of it, but I had much higher hopes. I was shooting for 8 minute miles, but I see that I'm going to have to work on that all spring and summer. Saturday's run is going to be the first of many this year.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A perfect day

Yesterday was a perfect spring day. The temperature was in the mid-60s, the sun was shining, and it just felt good to be outside. I took the Trek out to the trail with the intention of taking it for a 10-mile ride. Once I got on the trail, I thought that maybe I'd go a little farther, since it was so nice out. When I got to the spot at which I thought I'd turn around, I thought that I'd go a little further. When I got to that spot, I passed a woman on a horse, and I'd feel silly bothering her again by turning around right away, so I decided to go to the next road-crossing...and the next...and the next. I knew that every mile I continued would be re-traced on the way back, but I felt so good that I didn't want to turn around. I gradually downshifted and built up speed without tiring myself out. Every time I shifted, it was a little more difficult, but I found a rhythm each time. That's what I need with my running - to find a good rhythm at which the speed will come naturally.
My entire ride ended up being 17.7 miles. I rested completely today because I was exhausted, but I look forward to running tomorrow.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Can't wait to cross-train

One week ago I came home with this white and red Trek 6000, and I am so happy with it. It's so light that I can easily lift it above my head (which is more than what I can say about my last few bikes). The brakes are disc brakes, which I've never used before, and they're awesome -- I won't be as scared of coasting downhill now. And, it has front suspension, so my shoulders will get a big break. In fact, that slight give in the front -- easing the jarring on my arms and shoulders -- was one of the first things I noticed about it when I first rode it. My only complaint is that the saddle is uncomfortable, but I could easily replace that.
I'd really like to get out on the trail for a bike ride now. The sun is shining and just calling for me to head outside...

Friday, April 3, 2009

5 weeks in

I've been following the training schedule as well as I could and am nearing the end of week 5 now. The race is 8 days away, and I don't actually think that I've improved. This past week was terrible because I missed every single workout due to schedule conflicts like a dentist appointment and an after-work meeting, and yesterday's freak I'm-so-tired-I-can-fall-asleep-standing-up-even-though-I-haven't-exerted-myself-in-the-least feeling. Today I finally laced up my sneakers again. I figured I'd just do a fast 3.1 miles to see how I've come along. Approaching mile 1 I started feeling terrible. I pushed to the mile point and marked the split on my watch: 8:20. Not as fast as I had hoped, especially since I felt ready to collapse. I actually felt sick. I slowed to a walk, thinking that I'd walk a little while and then run on the way back. When nausea really started to sweep over me, I just turned around and started walking home. Cramps gripped my lower abdomen and it reminded me of the last time I felt that way -- when I ran with one of my running buddies for the first time and was sick right there on the side of the road. So I walked, and what do you know? After a few minutes of walking, the nausea went away. It just disappeared. I realized that it was gone, and I had fully recovered my breath, so I ran the rest of the way home. The whole run/walk lasted 21:37, which isn't that bad considering I was walking for so long. I think that's the kind of training I should have been doing all along -- fast running, with some walk breaks, with the breaks getting shorter as I progress. I did do several interval workouts on the track, but I think I would have benefited more from fast running on the street with longer intervals. I'll keep that in mind as I make my way to the race next week. It's only the first run of the year, and I still have a lot of time to improve.