Sunday, March 31, 2013

Danger - Social Butterflying and Half Training Do Not Mix!

It has been almost a week since my last post, because well, I've been out and about enjoying the company of friends. Doesn't sound like a bad thing, right?  In a completely unrelated set of circumstances, I missed one of my runs this week and did my long run today, instead of Saturday.

Image Source:

OK, maybe the two issues were related...missing my 5 mile midweek run didn't seem so bad until I tried to run today.  The result was 7 ugly miles at a slower than I want to think about pace...that had a lot to do with 60-90 sec walk breaks starting after mile 3.  Yes, I know I can run 4 and even 6 miles without stopping.  Yes, aerobically it was fine.  The sad truth is my legs were dead today, which I attribute to the skipped run.  Not sure if that really makes sense, but that's how it felt.

On the good news side of things, the run was completely outdoors!  Varying terrain and mixed running surfaces and wind, so it was a much better training day than any day on the treadmill.

Also ran into a numb foot issue again, primarily with my left foot.  Will try lacing a little differently for the next run...more on that later.

Half Marathon Training Progress Report (Tues) -
Note - Run Club day, with GPS operator error...
  • Ran about 3 miles
Total Distance - about 3 miles
Total Time - about 32 mins

Barefoot Progress Report (Thurs) -
  • .25 mile walk
  • 1 mile run (10:00 pace)
  • .25 mile walk
Total Distance - 1.5 miles
Total Time - 19:17

Half Marathon Training Progress Report (Today) - 
  • 5 min walk
  • 7 mile run (12:04 pace)
  • .5 mile walk
Total Distance - about 7.75 miles
Total Run Time - 1:24:29
Total Time - 1:38:48

Monday, March 25, 2013

Numb Foot? Weird...

Saturday's run was indoors due to chilly weather (defined as anything below 42-degrees).  It was another good run and my first 2 mile jump in the Long Run!

The strange thing was as I hit mile 4, it started to feel like my left foot was falling asleep.  I tried to alter my gait a bit, but that's kind of difficult on the treadmill.  A little later my lower left calf started to feel the same way...sort of numb, but tingly at the same time.  It wasn't a major issue, just odd.  It cleared up almost immediately when I moved to a barefoot running stride (forefoot strike) for the last .75 miles of my run.  Did I mention it was 6 WHOLE MILES...without stopping?!?!?!

There is, of course, a whole host of medical things that could cause this - vascular problems, flat foot problems, the ankle equivalent of carpal tunnel syndrome, tight calves issues.  But I'm not ready to run to the doc quite yet.  Some articles say the falling asleep sensation is a common issue for treadmill running.  I imagine that is more likely when the pace and elevation don't really change, which is the way I run indoors.  Other articles say it's not too common, but don't advise an immediate doctor's visit either.  It could be as simple as me tying my sneakers too tight.  Maybe a good foot massage will help...mmmmm...feel better already...
Image Source:

So for now, content to just try it again and see what happens during the next indoor run.

Half Marathon Training Progress Report (Saturday) -
  • .25 mile walk
  • 6 mile run (10:30 pace)
    • .75 mile barefoot run
  • .25 mile walk
Total Distance - 6.5 miles
Total Time - 1:12:00

Note - When my treadmill rolls over to hours and minutes, it no longer has room to track the seconds.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Today Was A Good Day

No particular reason...a couple of meetings at work, but they went well.  Lunch out of the office (a rarity) to get caught up with a friend.  A productive, but not insanely busy afternoon...broken up by the occasional text from my lovely daughter and my favorite guy.  Crossed some things off my To Do List, treated myself to some Skittles (definitely not part of my clean eating regimen).  Can't quite put my finger on it, but it all worked.

Was curious (read: hesitant) about today's 4 mile run.  It was too cold and windy to think about doing it down to the basement I went, and I began to run.  And it was good.  Not my fastest or my farthest run in this training cycle, but just good.  It was my first 4-miler with no stops.  I did have have to slow down a bit during mile 3, but ended with my usual 10 min/mile pace.
Image Source:  Nurse On The Run blog

Now I'm sitting on my couch, with Rex the Wonder Dog curled up by my feet and all I can come up with is good...

Half Marathon Training Progress Report -
  • .25 mile walk
  • 4 mile run (10:20 pace)
    • 1 mile barefoot run
  • .25 mile walk
Total Distance - 4.5 miles
Total Time - 50:33

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Training While Sick

I have been feeling sick for about a week now...I won't get into the details, just not myself, exhausted and food has not been my friend.  I skipped yesterday's optional barefoot run, but I did manage to get both my "required" training runs in, Saturday and today.

Despite feeling not up to par, both my runs had acceptable times.  Sadly, I can only conclude that I am sandbagging when I feel healthy, i.e., not really running to my capability. Not sure what I should do about that...I could intensify my training - pick up the pace in general, start adding speed work (intervals), and resist the walk breaks that I am generally fond of during anything over 3 miles.

I weighed the Pros and Cons and decided I'm not going to work any harder.  I have a training plan that will accomplish my goal for this keep a (slightly slower) friend company and finish the race.  If I start training harder, I run the risk of injury.  I also run the risk of frustration...thinking I could have run the race faster.  So, the game plan is to just focus on the distance and a training pace between 10:00 and 10:45.

In June I can plan for the next Half - assuming that sounds like a good idea when I've actually done one!  If that's the case, I can train a little harder and see what I have to offer the Half Marathon gods.

As far as this past week went, this is how I felt...
Image Source:

But this is what I did...

Half Marathon Training Progress Report (Saturday) -
  • 4.5 mile run (10:43 pace)
Total Distance - 4.5 miles, plus unmeasured cool down
Total Run Time - 47:57

Half Marathon Training Progress Report (Today) - 
  • 2.9 mile run (10:32 pace)
  • .1 mile walk
Total Distance - 3 miles
Total Run Time - 30:46

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Minutes and Seconds Are Not Always Minutes and Seconds...

I have been using what I thought was old fashioned, but correct, notation for minutes and seconds on this blog, and pretty much for my entire time-telling life.  Just found out I have been completely wrong.

Apparently, there are two situations in which 10'30" is correctly read as "ten minutes and thirty seconds."  Specifically:
          1) When you are measuring angles, and
          2) When you are indicating latitude/longitude (which is technically measuring angles).

The most "famous" use of this notation is not by any mathematician or global explorer, it's by Angelina Jolie as seen below...

Image Source:

Angelina used the 10'30" style notation to mark the locations of her children's births (or where they entered her life, I've seen it described both ways).  So, there you have it - purely positional and nothing to do with time.  Who knew?

Well, I'm way too lazy to go back and change all my previous posts, but moving forward I will use the correct notation of 10:30.  Proving that you are never too old to learn new things (or unlearn wrong things)!

On a training note, I ran today and had a less than great run because I've been sick.  I had to slow down twice (no stops), but I still did it.  It clearly impacted my time, but not stopping is more important to my mental training than my speed right now.

Moving right along...and now that song is once again stuck in my head.  Still, you have to admit there are worse things!

Half Marathon Training Progress Report -
  • .25 mile walk
  • 3.5 mile run (10:23 pace)
    • 1 mile barefoot run
  • .25 mile walk
Total Distance - 4 miles
Total Time - 45:37

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Technologically Challenged

I freely admit it, but not sure today's issue was completely my fault.  Today was my first day with a running club.  We gathered, we ran what was advertised as a 5k distance, and we socialized afterwards.  Fun and friendly people, so I will definitely go again.

The challenge comes in when I try to see how well I did today.  My Garmin tells me I ran 4.3 miles.  Would be very impressed with myself if that were even close to being true.  Sadly, when I mapped it, the starting point for this run was way off...about a mile...

Image Source: blog

So with clearly faulty data, the best I can guess is that I ran about 3 miles in about 30 mins, which is my training pace, so that's a positive.  I did stop twice...once when I thought I had hit the 3 mile mark, and once to wait for a light change so I didn't become roadkill.

Another positive is that I transitioned back and forth between traditional running and barefoot style running.  I have to say, it is very hard to move back to traditional running after I give my quads a break with the forefoot strike.  I had to make the effort to ensure I didn't overdo the barefoot running this week, so all in all I maybe ran half a mile that way.

My goal hasn't changed.  In time I will run exclusively barefoot style and eventually get back to my Vibrams.  Until then, I have to be very careful not to overdo it.  I cannot afford an injury until I complete the Half in May.

Barefoot Progress Report (Monday) -
  • .25 mile walk
  • 1 mile run (10'00" pace)
  • .25 mile walk
Total Distance - 1.5 miles
Total Time - 19'18"

Half Marathon Training Progress Report (Today) -
  • Ran about 3 miles (about a 10'00" pace)
Total Distance - Not really sure
Total Time - About 30 mins

Saturday, March 9, 2013

First Race!

The 2013 Four Courts Four Miler is officially history.  My run was too fast in the first half (all downhill) and too slow in the second half (back uphill).  But my goal was to maintain a pace between 10'00 and 11'00 mins per mile and I did exactly that!

For a minute or maybe two I wasn't sure this race was going to happen for me.  It was kind of a comedy of running partner (also my boyfriend) signed up for a different race accidentally, but, decided to run anyway to help pace me.  Then I was late getting there, because I cut it too close and the metro took FOREVER to show up.  Finally as I was rounding a corner, I bumped into a leprechaun, dropped my iPod (only 3 months old) and the screen shattered!  Those little guys are not so lucky.  Thankfully it still worked, because the thought of running the race without music did not make me happy.

We actually started the race about 4 mins after everyone else (because I absolutely could not run without a bathroom stop).  My last mile was a challenge and too ugly to even share that split time with you.  It involved hills, too many quick walking breaks, and the determination to not let one particular woman cross the finish line in front of me...which she did not.

We ended up having a fun "recovery" at the Four Courts Irish Pub and got my iPod fixed while we had lunch.  All in all a great morning.  Hitting today's milestone, especially after my horrible training run, makes me feel like the Half is definitely within reach.  As for this race, it was a lot of fun.  In fact, next year, I might dress up...we'll see...I am Irish after all!
Image Source:  Swim Bike Run Photography

Half Marathon Training Progress Report -
  • 4 mile run (10'34 pace)
Total Distance - 4 miles
Total Time - 42:13

Friday, March 8, 2013

My First Really Crappy Run

Today I ran 3 miles...a distance I have run before with no problem.  Yet I really struggled to complete the last mile.  This was the first time I've changed the tempo of my run, and the first time I increased the tempo of my run to compensate, and the first time I really had to force myself to finish the prescribed training distance.

Why?  Could be a thousand reasons.  I woke up with a migraine...but I took my meds and ran in the afternoon.  It's that time of month...but not a bad day.  I had a big lunch...but I waited just over 2 hours before I ran.  This week I increased the incline on my treadmill from 2% to 3%...but surely it's not that much harder.

If I'm being brutally honest with myself, I think it's because my first Burke Lake run didn't go as well as I hoped.  I think I psyched myself out a little, because I have my first race in two days.

My reading/research over this past year tells me that sometimes you just have a bad day.  I can accept that.  I wish it wasn't my last run before my race, but I can shake that off.  I did complete my 3 miles today.  I am still excited about the 4 mile race on Saturday...I just have to remind myself...
Image Source: Elena Aitken's blog, Don't Forget to Breathe

Bottom Line:  I ran.  I'm still on track for the Half marathon in May...and am now signed up for a 10K "Recovery" race a couple weeks after that.  Hugely optimistic that I won't be crippled after the Half!!!

Half Marathon Training Progress Report (Monday) -
  • .25 mile walk
  • 2 mile run (10'00" pace)
  • .25 mile walk
Total Distance - 2.5 miles
Total Time - 29'18"

Half Marathon Training Progress Report (Today)
  • .25 mile walk
  • 3 mile run (varied pace)
    • 1 mile barefoot (10'00" pace)
  • .25 mile walk
Total Distance - 3.5 miles
Total Time - 39'38" (blah)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Great Article With Transition Tips

This Running Times article is clearly meant for people who have been distance runners for a while, but has good body mechanics info that is useful for any level runner considering minimalist running.  This graphic demonstrates one of the exercises recommended in the article.

Image Source:

My Achilles tendon really gave me trouble last summer when I first attempted to barefoot fun in my Vibram KSOs (i.e., virtually no padding).  Plus, I didn't realize that as a female who routinely wears high heels to work, I needed to concentrate on lengthening the range of motion for that tendon, BEFORE I started to barefoot run.

My Doc prescribed stretches work my calves, hamstrings and Achilles tendons, so doing them before and during transition attempt #2 has definitely made a difference.  Then again, so has changing to a shoe with some padding (4-mm drop) and slowing the increase in mileage.

The Image Source link above contains some other stretches that would be helpful to the transition as they target the same areas.  Work them in early and often to help prevent strain later.

Remember - What you can do aerobically is not a measure of what you can do physically with minimalist shoes!

Barefoot Progress Report -
  • .25 mile walk
  • 1 mile run (10'00" pace)
  • .25 mile walk
Total Distance - 1.5 miles
Total Time - 19'17"

Saturday, March 2, 2013


One week out from my first race and I finally get an outdoor run under my belt.  Around a wind swept lake, in 32-degree weather...while it was snowing!

Image Source:  Hot at Home article

OK, it wasn't snowing that hard, but still, it was actually snowing at the beginning of our run.

I am proud that I did the run around Burke Lake, but not as happy with my pace.  I averaged about 10'48" per mile.  I knew it was going to be slower than my treadmill time.  The running surface is different - dirt, gravel, and pavement at various points, there are small hills and gradual inclines/declines, and wind.  All of which would naturally add to my time. However, I didn't realize I would feel the need to walk (no more than a minute) a few times....arrrggghhhhh.

Regardless, it's done.  I feel good and I have a better sense of what to expect for next week's race.

Half Marathon Training Progress Report (From Thursday) -
  • .25 mile walk
  • 3 mile run (10'00" pace)
  • .25 mile walk
Total Distance - 3.5 miles
Total Time - 39'20"

Half Marathon Training Progress Report (Today) -
  • .25 mile walk
  • 4 mile run (10'48" pace)
  • .25 mile walk
Total Distance - 4.5 miles
Total Time - 51'57