Friday, April 29, 2016

What's Next

The weeks of short runs have shown me that I'm quite content to keep doing that for a while, in fact, it sounds like an awfully good plan for this year. I'd like to see if I can get faster so I've been thinking about finding a couple more 5Ks that I can train for, maybe one in late summer and one in late fall.

However, I did sign up for the Soldier Field 10M on Memorial Day weekend back at the beginning of March in a fit of optimism. Back then I was back up to 6 miles in my Saturday long runs... unfortunately I've barely run any farther than that since then.

For several weeks I toyed with the idea of just not doing it so I wouldn't have to worry about those long runs (it's also a drag having to worry about getting back by a certain time so the kids don't wake up The Dude, whether on purpose or through just being very ACTIVE). But as I've been feeling a bit better it just feels a shame to miss it, I do like that race even if I'm not able to race it. So I will make a stab at it after all, starting with a planned 8-miler tomorrow morning.

With lots of walk breaks.

And enough fuel.

And good tunes.

Wish me luck (and no rain) -


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

What's Been Going On In Running

What's been going on is more of the same as last fall.

To recap: In September I came back from my trip to Germany, ready for my last month of marathon training, to find that running had suddenly become hard. Like, really hard. As in, four miles suddenly seemed as if it was too much. I did not know how I was going to run 26.2 in six weeks time.

I wasn't sick, I wasn't feeling impaired in any other way, I just couldn't run. Not fast, and not far without a lot of effort.

I figured I had been overtraining - I had been hitting some pretty high mileage - so I cut way back for a couple of weeks until running felt comfortable again to me, and then slowly resumed a moderate running schedule. I pretty much stopped training at this point, I just wanted to feel that I had enough miles on my legs that I could cover the distance, but not push myself so much that I flamed out again and couldn't run at all.

And I got to the starting line, and I crossed the finish line, and that was my 2015 Chicago Marathon.

Afterwards I cut way back on my running, just doing enough to feel I was doing something. And then between being sick and the holidays and being sick again and not wanting to get up early and go out running in the dark I didn't run very much at all in January. But I assumed that when I started again I would have no trouble getting back into a comfortable routine.

Only that didn't happen. February came and went and March came and went and April came and I couldn't get any consistency at all. Some of it was scheduling - the usual interruptions of work and kids. Some of it was still having trouble getting up early enough yet having no other time to run than early morning. But even when I was running I couldn't know from day to day how it was going to feel, and it took a lot longer to recover from longer/harder runs than in the past, so I couldn't count on one day's good run meaning that things were better. I had races on my calendar - including a 10-miler in four weeks - and would try to plan a training schedule for them, and then I'd have a string of poor runs and know I wasn't going to be able to maintain that schedule.

I knew I had gained weight over the winter and the year before so that made a difference, but that shouldn't have been all of it - even with the extra weight I'm still lighter now than I have been most of my adult life. And overall I was just generally feeling run down - still needing more sleep, catching more colds than usual and having them affect me more, somewhat achy, just not feeling right.

Finally I went to my doctor (for another couple of issues altogether) and in the visit mentioned that I had been feeling run down for the past eight months or so. She sent me off for a whole slew of lab work - mostly for the other things and it felt as if she were just tossing extra tests in there because, well, why not, I was already having blood drawn. But they came back showing a vitamin D deficiency.

So-o-o... for the past three weeks I've been taking a weekly mega-dose of vitamin D. And I have to say that I'm feeling better in small ways. I'm not as achy. I'm waking earlier in the morning and feeling more alert when I wake. I've been enjoying my runs more and not feeling that I'm laboring as much with them, though I'm still slow. A tickle in my throat here and there but nothing that's moved into being a full cold. And I've felt more able to start re-incorporating yoga and strength training into my routine, albeit in teeny tiny doses. Anything is better than the nothing I'd been doing.

I'm sure the increased sunlight has been helping. I'm sure the sugar fast I've been on has been helping too. But I gotta say, I'm feeling grateful for that little blue capsule I take on Sundays.

Grateful too for health insurance,

Monday, April 25, 2016

So I Ran This Race Yesterday (Ravenswood Run 5K)

I've run it before, a number of times. Four years in a row, to be precise. And The Dude ran it last year when I didn't.

Yesterday was the slowest I have ever run it, aside from the first time (when I was pregnant with G).

I was working it too, training in the weeks beforehand, warming up beforehand (but not too much), managing my energy, pushing myself, shooting for at least a sub-30:00. Which I made (29:35), with a little cushion. That lined up with what I'd been managing to do in my tempo runs and speed workouts.

Training runs aside, I truly did not know if I would be able to run under 30:00 this year. All of my running has been hard-fought this year thus far. And to be honest, because of that, I wasn't sure I really wanted to race this. I would have been quite content if D had decided he wanted to do the full race this year along with me, which would have necessitated a different approach. But he wanted to do the kids' dash this year again - they get t-shirts and medals. The 5K runners just get t-shirts.

(He's quick enough but his strength is in longer distances, not these 100m dashes, so we're not-so-subtly encouraging him to move into 5Ks.)

I've been all over the place in my thinking about my running this spring, which is why I haven't written about it - or anything - these last weeks. Now that I've done this race I have a better idea of what makes sense for me right now.

Not what I want to do, mind you, but what makes sense for me to do.

In the meantime, it was a good race, it was a good family experience, it was a good way to officially start the season.

With some satisfaction,