I ran the 3.4 mile jog in the fog “5k” this morning, mostly to get myself reacquainted with racing before doing the Manhattan Beach 10k on October 4. The race environment was incredibly relaxed, which was nice because I wasn’t going in with any real goal except have a good run and practice the psychology of race running.
My only real goal except obviously finishing was to try for negative splits, which in the context of a race really means “don’t get hyped up and go out too fast.” I queued up a few slow songs to start with and kept a careful eye on my watch to consciously pull back the first mile and just run my own race. After the first half mile it was a slow, steady incline up onto the trails. It wasn’t anything serious, but given that I currently don’t train hills (I’m planning to in the long term, but one thing at a time) it did slow me down a little and I do feel it in my calves. By the 1.5 mark I was feeling good and ready to stop pulling back and just run like hell for the rest of the race. This happened to be the exact point at which I discovered that when the course description mentioned “a few stairs near the end” it actually meant around .8 miles of stairs. .8 miles of stairs. For a race that was just a casual run, I wasn’t about to risk an injury trying to fly over uneven trail stairs, meaning I power walked a decent portion. But hey, it’s cross training. But had I known the course would have so many stairs which couldn’t really be run over I would have just shot out the gate and gunned the first mile and a half instead of being so conservative. Still, as it was I managed to fearlessly lead the over-70 and under 7 pack, and isn’t that every 20-year-old runner’s true ambition?
I was in a good rhythm by the last quarter mile, which ended with about a hundred vertical feet of stairs (narrow ones, not wide trail stairs). I said fuck it and sprinted them, only to find out that there were about 300 more yards to be run at the top. Spoiler alert, I spontaneously vomited about a hundred feet before crossing the finish line. Like a champ. This makes me 2 for 2 for finish line barfing, which is a little bit curious given that I don’t treat races all that differently from any other run. But I guess both times there has been a reasonable explanation (having four tubes of blood drawn less than 24 hours prior, sprinting a shit ton of stairs) so we will just have to see if this is a pattern that continues. In which case I get to make a lot of jokes about it, so it could be worse.
All in all it was a gorgeous run on a nice day (foggy obviously, but really mild and pleasant) and forced me to run some hills and do some trail running which I probably wouldn’t have done otherwise. The race had a really relaxed atmosphere, which is just what I was looking for in a September 5k. So I’ll call it a win.
Onward and upward. Tomorrow is technically my long run day to do 5.5-6, but I’ll see how much today’s hills are still on my legs. PLUS, I’m going over to ARM tomorrow to get fitted for shoes for the first time since I got my orthotics. I have mixed feelings about this because I’m very attached to my current pair and they are comfortable, but looking at the ways they are wearing it is clear that I should get re-fitted to work with the orthotics. Plus, they are still good for some more miles if I still find them comfortable and it’s good to rotate shoes for injury prevention/ letting each pair fully decompress before wearing again for tight turnarounds between runs.
One thing at a time, it’s all happening.
2.1 in the books this morning. Muscles tight and stiff, making my legs feel more tired than they were. I took a couple quick stretch breaks to hit any muscle that was fussing and one longer one halfway through, which helped a bit. I thought about calling it at 1.5, but made myself push through the last .5. It sounds silly to treat .5 like it’s any kind of distance, but that’s what early running does to me right now. But anyway, I did the .5 and then forced myself to run .1 extra to prove that I’m better than having to push for two miles / ready to kick up my mornings to 2.5 next week.
I had a clif shot about 10-15 minutes before going out. Overall it was good - no blood sugar dips - but it was a little bit of a rock in my stomach, even moreso now than when I was actually running. So I’m going to try a half of one next time and see if that is better.
In the meantime, stretching stretching stretching and some foam rolling before work. I might try to sneak in a double shot tonight, but more likely I’ll come home from work and just collapse because running once today was enough (though counting these baby 2 milers as running days takes a toll on my overall mileage) then tomorrow will be a rest / road trip and Sunday morning I’ll race the 3.4. Good plan.
I have to start working in a better core regimen into my running, which I’ve known forever but has become especially clear to me after some light back aches after long runs. So here’s where I’m starting. 15 minute workout, 3-5 times a week. Aight.
Two 6am miles this morning… still working on morning running, but I’m going to have to get used to doing some weekday morning runs if I have half a shot at getting through marathon training. Right now two is about my limit in the morning, so I’m going to try to work that up by doing 2.5 next week and 3 the following week while experimenting with some other variables.
I ran with music for the first time since April or May this morning in an effort to combat the morning boredom. The current idea is to let myself use headphones for morning runs and long runs once they get over 10 miles. The music definitely helped me stay a little more interested, though I actually found that I hadn’t missed it all that much.
My biggest issue right now is that my muscles are so stiff and tight in the morning, even with stretching and foam rolling the night before, before, during and after. Tight muscles is something I have struggled with my whole life, so with the added morning stiffness it’s not great. But I’m working on it. All I can do is keep doing it and pushing my muscles to get used to it.
I’m also working on properly fueling. Two on an empty stomach is fine, but by the end I started to feel the dip in my blood sugar. I’m thinking I’ll experiment with having half a banana right when I wake up, having an energy gel before I go out, and mixing a little gatorade in with my water and see what works best.
Oh, also I’m racing a “5k” (they call it a 5k but the course is actually 3.4) in SF on Sunday morning, so I’m excited about that. I’m mostly doing it to flex my race muscles before the 10k on October 4, which is doubling as my first long run of training, but it looks like a pretty course and should be fun.
Also I did my five mile long run on Sunday and felt really strong. Slow, but strong. So kicking it up to 5.5-6 this week - pretty excited.
And now, off to work. Ah, morning running. If nothing else I’m already feeling productive.
Some shots from my San Francisco running last weekend, plus some of “cross training” ie some light hiking with the fam because my dog is the cutest. Also I broke 200 all time miles on Nike+, which I felt warranted a screenshot. Though the number is a lot smaller than I would have wanted / expected by now, I’m pretty proud of it considering everything. Plus, to realize that I’ve run over 200 miles in under a year is pretty cool.
Pretty much over the course of three days I hit Crissy Field twice (leaving my shoes sufficiently dusty), both times just for a relaxed, run-as-long-as-I-feel-like-it type deal. Despite an unforgiving wind, I felt pretty good about it. Both ended up falling a little over three miles, which is a good place to be in as my default comfort distance. I would like to see that be more around 4-5 by the end of September, ie the beginning of marathon training.
Meanwhile, back in LA I’m adjusting to what I’m affectionately calling my Afallcolypse, or this semester in which I am working four days in addition to being a full time student, totaling to about 60 hours a week in class and work before any homework, side projects, etc. I’m still working out how running fits into that, but I’m determined to make it fit.
My goal this month is to run around 40-50 miles, which will get me in an okay place for the 65 of Higdon month one. I’m trying to up my miles and get in a good routine where training won’t be a shock, but also let myself take liberties with rest days, diet, etc that I won’t be able to take beginning in October.
Given the state of my life right now, I really don’t know how marathon training is going to go. I may have to bow out and set my sights on a fall marathon which I’ll have more time to train for. Usually I try to eliminate the arrival fallacy, or the idea of “I will be less busy/happier/more productive when x happens…” but the bottom line is that I’ve been given some incredible opportunities this semester that I just couldn’t turn down and the subsequent insanity is worth it, however I won’t do this to myself again. I’m going to go back to my more traditional, albeit still pretty chaotic, college student life after this semester. But I’m still going to start the training. I still want to finish it. I am still going to work hard at it. And if nothing else, it will force me to run. I need to let go of the constant need to pad myself and everyone I mention it to for the eventuality that I may have to quit. I’ve gotten it out. If it comes to that, okay. I’ll be able to live with myself. But for now, full speed ahead! (or, you know, slow but determined speed ahead … !)
And now I’m going to go force myself to run the five miles I’ve been fear-procrastinating all day and everything will be awesome.
Tonight I ran four miles - the longest since February. Not only did I do the distance, but I’m pretty proud of those splits. I went out calmly, knowing I had a long way to cover, but still you can see in the second mile I started to panic a little bit about how much further I had to go and pulled back too hard. I was prepared for the third mile to be tough, but I was determined to keep a strong momentum and got myself back on track pretty effectively.
Somewhere in the third and fourth mile I found something in me that I don’t think I’ve ever felt before. My mind and body became a machine with a stone cold, certain determination. I felt the tiredness in my legs, but it was sort of something exterior to me. Every part of me was just running. I knew that mile would probably be the fastest, but 11:52 is really fast for me, especially in a long run.
Feeling the way my body settled into the run really makes me think that I should start paying more attention to working towards negative splits. Conscious pacing is tough and not something that happens overnight, but it’s worth being mindful of.
I know I’m a slow runner. And though I do think I won’t always be quite this slow, I know I probably always will be. But just because I run slow doesn’t mean I can’t run strong. And hard. And far. Really, really far. And that’s what I’m aiming for.
Somewhere on the road I realized that tonight’s run was further than the distance between where I get on the I-10 after work and where I get off it to get home. Even though I know four miles isn’t that long in the scheme of things, laying it out like that in my mind was a cool way to visualize the distance and realize that this really is pretty significant.
I’m trying to balance feeling awesome and on a roll with knowing that I need to keep my mileage increase gradual. So I’ll either rest or just do 2-3 tomorrow, then go from there. Hopefully I can get one more long run in before I leave to go back east on Sunday.
I’m feeling really strong tonight. This run was comfortable and meditative. I felt like I was gliding over the miles. Nothing was or felt particularly fast, but everything about it just felt consistent. I just kept thinking, this is distance running. I know I haven’t reached some kind of permanent nirvana state of running, but I caught a glimpse of it tonight and I am letting myself enjoy that.
It’s also becoming very real to me that if I want to run a spring marathon (I’m thinking LA or Napa, I’d rather run Napa because it’s pretty with cooler temps and close enough that I could stay with my parents, but LA would be a lot more convenient) training would start October 1st. I think I’m going to do it, it’s just daunting that it’s so soon. But I figure I would like to be comfortably running 10k by the beginning of training and my goal is to be running 4.5-5 miles by the end of August, which makes that a comfortable goal. It’s scary to realize that I am casually talking about training for 26.2 when 3.5 feels like an awesome accomplishment, but I really believe I can do it. So what’s the worst that happens? I realize that maybe I’m not ready just yet and turn my attention to the half and just generally enjoying running.
In the meantime, I’m just enjoying how great I’m feeling about tonight’s smooth miles.
After a day of a 21 item to-do list (most of which actually got done) I really needed this run. I did 3 miles and found a nice cozy runners high. I wanted to stop at two, but after pushing through the initial part I actually felt at my strongest in the third mile, which is something I’ve noticed a lot. More evidence that I just need to do it and it will fall into place.
I’m definitely going to push for a 3.5 this week because I’m really scared of stalling. I have another nike mileage goal set, but it’s really just a softball to make sure I hit silver this month. So far I’ve run 7/18 miles and I have seventeen days left.
I’m trying to kick up my mileage this week to leave room for next week, which will definitely be a dip because I’m going back east so I’ll be busy frantically seeing people, etc. But it’s all good. All exciting.