Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Friday, May 22, 2015

Soldier Field 10M - 16 Hours and Counting

Oh, yeah, I'm running a race tomorrow. The Soldier Field 10M.

I've run it before, but I was a few months pregnant then, and just interested in running it smoothly.

I am actually taking this very seriously. I have been careful not to do too much during taper, and even trying to carbo-load (I hate carbo-loading). I have been making my plans for my schedule and for transport and for fuel. I have my playlist and have even had time to fine tune it. I have been watching the weather very closely (it should be okay that early in the day). I have eschewed my usual dark chocolate break today so I might have no trouble going to bed a little earlier tonight.

My "A" goal is to run at a 9:25 pace. My A+ goal is to run faster. I don't have a B or C goal - just to enjoy myself if it's clear I won't be able to make my other goals. I plan to start just a little slower than goal pace and run as my splits as evenly as I can. My times on this will determine my training paces for my marathon training, which I start next week, so really, I just want to start out strong and push myself to keep going, regardless of how I feel (barring injury, of course).

Time to go pick up my packet and then get off my feet.

See you on the other side,
Annie


Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Yummy Snack

I've been trying to figure out what's in our garden as the plants take off (and in some cases, take over). We moved into a fully planted perennial garden so there's no shortage of growing things, but we weren't paying a lot of attention when we moved in and some things aren't recognizable yet. (A weed? Not a weed? I don't know sometimes.)

This last weekend it was finally dry enough to spend some serious time out there, and at the end of day, when I was too tired to do any more work, I started looking up some of my unidentifiables in a perennial book I have. And realized that we have a lot of different kinds of hostas. On further reading I saw that most people with hostas fret about slugs getting to them. I'd already seen that we have slugs in our garden - little ones, not the monster ones my Opa used to scare me with - but aside from some damage to our tulips (which survived just fine), I really hadn't seen any damage to the many (many) hostas planted here. Why wouldn't they be suffering from the slugs?

I had a guess...

Photo: An opossum peeking around the stump of a tree
This is not our possum, we haven't managed to take any photos of it.
This lovely photo comes to us courtesy of National Geographic.
And a little internet research confirmed it - opossums eat slugs.

Yes!

I can live with a little possum poop if it means fewer slugs.

Investigatingly,
Annie

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Little Wins

I ran a 7:50 mile in my workout at the track today. Fastest ever. Last run before Saturday's race. I was even holding back a bit since this was just meant to be a little reminder of what it feels like to go fast, and not an actual speed workout. (I'm shooting for a 9:25 pace for the race - it's a 10-miler.)

On my way to the track I had to stop at a crosswalk. While I was waiting for the light to change an older woman came up to me and said, "What I would give for your legs." (She was thin but not muscular, and I know that my legs were looking particularly "runner-esque" in the kit I was wearing.) I thanked her and said, "Years of running."

It made me think of how when I was a kid someone must have said something to me about my legs - I don't remember what it was - and my dad told me that I have strong legs. And I managed to carry that with me through years of hating my body. This past year has been the first time that my ideal image of how I feel in my body - that is, what I imagine I look like at those times when I feel most capable and strong - actually matches how I do, really, look right now. (Minus the winter fluff I'm still working to shed.) It's nice to get random, unsolicited confirmation of that.

And happy news on the running fuel front:

happy-earth-day-gu-energy-gel-vegan

I've tried a lot of gels and GU has always been the one that worked best for me during a run - I was disappointed last year to find out one of the animo acids used in their formula was sourced from animals. But no longer! Now I can try some of the yummy new flavors my online groups are always raving about.

Happily,
Annie


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

It Was Beautiful

I ran 10 miles in to work today and it was marvelous. My legs were tired and sore and still it was marvelous - I felt like I could have run all day.

Well, it helped that it was a beautiful sunny cold day - so pretty and bright but I didn't get hot - and that I was running by the lake.

But what was really exciting to me was that my pace felt easy and my energy felt good despite my legs being tired and sore.

I'm trying a new training plan this year for the marathon, the Hansons Marathon Method. It calls for a lot of running. A lot. Six days a week, with all the main workouts being done on tired legs. I'll probably refer to some of the science behind it as the summer goes on, but here's the description that attracts most people to it:

Hansons Marathon Method does away with mega long runs and high mileage weekends—two outdated traditions that make most runners miserable. Instead, runners using the Hansons method will gradually build up to the moderate-high mileage required for marathon success, spreading those miles more sensibly throughout the week. Running easy days mixed with precisely paced speed, strength, and tempo workouts, runners will steel their bodies and minds to run the hardest miles of the marathon.

Of course, that description doesn't mention the six days a week of running involved. Or running long runs (or speed workouts or strength or tempo runs) when you're already tired.

Or that, and this I think is really key, all runs that are not speed or strength or tempo focused are to be run slowly. Much more slowly than I am used to. More slowly than a lot of us who are trying to get fast would feel comfortable doing.

I haven't started my proper marathon training yet - I have a race next weekend to do first - but since reading the theories behind this method I've started bringing them into my current training. Both because I believe they'll work and because I want to be able to ease right in to marathon training once this race is over, no nasty surprises that could lead to injury.

So I've been running five days a week (up from my usual 3-4) and planning it so that I'm running in the days before a speed workout or a tempo run or a long run. But what I'm running in those days are easy runs - nice and slow and even pulling myself back if I find myself wanting to get ahead or worried about time.

(By the way, I'm doing this because I'm tired of finding that my performance in longer races - half marathon and beyond - don't match what I "should" be capable of based on my performance in shorter races and in speed and tempo workouts. Nutrition has been part of this - not carbo-loading sufficiently in the days before a race and not taking enough in during a race - but I also think I just haven't been putting in the miles. And those weeks when I have I've felt really good, which is why I think I can even attempt this in the first place.)

And I think it's working, because today I got up, thought, "Wow, I'm really not feeling bouncy," made sure to eat more than I usually do and to have extra on hand for on the way, and then just got going. Slowly and steadily. And while my legs may have been tired my heart and mind were light and I felt good - all the way.

And now I get to taper until my race and I'm looking forward to that too.

Contentedly,
Annie

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Exciting Developments, Part 2

Chicago, Chicago, is my kind of town...

And I'll be running through a lot of it on October 11, 2015.

That's right, baby! Early morning running = more running possible = I am signed up to do the Chicago Marathon (and raise funds for this awesome organization - more about that later).

I hadn't realized how much I was missing long runs and marathon training until it suddenly become possible to do it again. I am over the moon happy.

Time to line up some good podcasts and running tunes. And try out new gels and energy bars.

Happily yours,
Annie

Friday, April 17, 2015

Exciting Developments

At about the same time I hurt my shoulder, I realized that Goo has consistently been sleeping later in the mornings (probably because he no longer naps). And that it is Buddy who is the first one up, after me, of course. But Buddy is in kindergarten now, and able to take care of himself in the mornings - get himself fruit from the counter if he's hungry and water from the sink, entertain himself and make halfway decent decisions about whether or not a parent needs to be woken up for something. Which means...

I can go running first thing in the morning!

I can literally say I have been waiting for this moment for six and a half years.

I've been heading out early for two weeks now and have been loving it. I'm still doing my longer runs and speed/tempo workouts later in the morning, after dropping off Goo, but it gives me so much more flexibility and opportunity to be able to head out first thing and be back before the rest of the household is up. And what a fantastic way to start the day for me.

This opens up a whole new world for me and my training... what might I do next?

Ecstatically,
Annie