Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"Long" Run!

So PT has been going well - I've cut down to once a week, now, though I'm making sure to do what I can on my own, too. On Tuesday, Todd (my PT doc) told me I could run 4 times this week! Huzzah! Also that I should start structuring my week like I would normally be doing, ie a long run, a more tempo-y run, etc instead of holding around 4 miles. So today I did my long run - 8 miles. It felt quite great - the weather was beautiful and called for shorts and a t-shirt. I did the first two miles on my own and then joined up with the usual Wednesday group and did the last 6 with Leslie. It's really nice to be able to run with my friends again! I'll probably hold at 8 miles another week and then try 10.

I've been trying to maintain a good weight lifting schedule, too, under the thought that if I'm going to be injured then I'm at least going to get good arms and abs from it! Hopefully I can keep it going as summer comes since I love having weight room access again and I've always been very lacking in the arm strength side of things. On a side note, when you start adding weight to your lunges, you start to feel it in your butt . . . Actually, Todd added the weight in PT yesterday, but I added some lighter weight to my second set this morning, too.

I'm also getting stronger and smoother at swimming, too, which is fun. On Tuesday I forgot to bring my watch to the pool with me (I like to leave it on the pool edge so I can check in on the time every once and a while - no timing repeats for me, yet) so I decided to just swim a mile and see what the wall clock said then. So I start slow and then pick up the tempo and just see how long I can go a little faster for. I hit my mile and check the clock and it's just around half an hour! Now, I have no idea in the scheme of things what kind of speed that is, but it feels really fast! It also makes me wonder if I lost count in there somewhere but, ah well, it feels pretty cool right now. I'll give it another go Thursday night and see where I stand. Theoretically, I'd love to do a triathlon this summer but I have no idea where I'm going to find the time to shove that in (especially since the main one in town here, I'm doing as a team with my team from last year) so maybe it will have to wait. Actually, a friend of mine (part of Team MegaTough) is directing a triathlon in the UP, which would be fantastic. However, it's a 1.2 mile lake swim, a 56-mile bike course, and a half marathon. I think that's probably too ambitious for me right now. I'm trying to keep my focus on two (well, three) main things: A) get that mileage up and keep it up ALL YEAR B) first ultra!! and C) Wave 1 for Boston 2011.

I'm not so sure how C is going to go now that my main chance isn't even going to happen anymore (Eau Claire Marathon) but I still have Grandma's in June (maybe, depending how happy my knee stays and what kind of condition I can be in by then and whether the weather cooperates this year) and if that fails, there's others in the summer I could try, I'm sure, it would just mess with some of my shorter race plans.

Also - with the exception of the yummy chocolate milkshake I just made for dessert - everything I ate today was breakfast food. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

From NR: How 3 miles turned into 4.5

Happy news - I get to run 4 times this week! Things are looking hopefully for at least running the Half Marathon at Eau Claire. Presuming they let me drop down. My long run this week will be 8 miles, I think.

So I ran on a treadmill Friday (ew) and was planning on doing 3 miles since I did 6 on Wednesday. So I'm going along with my music - I definitely try to bring my iPod along for treadmill runs, it makes them so much more do-able - when not a couple minutes in, I jerk the cord and iPod goes flying off the end of the treadmill. Oops. So I stop, pick it up, jigger the cord under my shirt to avoid getting caught again and continue on my way. A few minutes later, I realize I never restarted my watch. Nargh. Okay, so the treadmill is going to say 3 miles before I've actually DONE 3 miles since I let it run until it hits the speed I want and then I jump on. It's not that big of a difference, really, but I like to know, via my watch, what the time discrepancy is. Hm. Okay, I'll play it on the safe side and run a full minute after the treadmill hits 3 miles. Good plan!

So I'm going along on my merry way, upping the pace from time to time (hitting just under 8 min/mile pace at 2.5 miles!), when I hit 3 miles. Okay, just a bit more and then I'm done. Except the next time I look it's something like 3.7 miles. Might as well just do 4 miles! Especially since treadmill time is usually horrific for me, so it's nice for it to go by more or less easily, for once.

Well, just before 4, my iPod keeps shooting out slow songs. I go through shuffle right now so I need to make a playlist for just good runnable songs, I guess. So I'm hitting next, next, next and nothing good is coming up. Then I decide I really want to end with some Mindless Self Indulgence since it reminds me of my first Ragnar :) So I start searching for it and by the time I find it, I'm around 4 miles but I really want to run this song so I might as well just do 4.5, right? Of course!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

From NR: A more happy knee

What a beautiful weekend! We were pushing 50 degrees both days, I think. Yesterday I did a nice long walk and then a two hour nap . . . I think I might be fighting off some crud. I feel fine but I've been tired and sleeping a lot the last few days and there's some bad stuff going around work. It could also have to do with finally getting a membership to the Fitness Center at St Marys (I was waiting for March to start so I could start at the beginning of the month) and jumping back into a normal level of moving. I've rediscovered the weight room - bench press for the first time in 5 years!

Wednesday brought an hour in the pool (10 laps warm up, 5 times 4 laps hard, with 4 laps in between, 14 laps cool-down), an hour and a half trail walk with my dad and puppies and a try at running at the lakewalk. I also changed my own oil for the first time, with my dad showing me how! When I first started my run, my knee had a couple of sharp pains and I almost stopped right there and turned around. I decided to give it just a little bit longer, though, and things seemed to be fine. I ended up doing 40 minutes, total. Next day - no pain!

So the plan was to try again this weekend, presuming no major pain between Wednesday and today. So after work this afternoon, out I went! What a beautiful day! I ran in a t-shirt! I did make sure to wear pants and bring a long sleeve, though, just in case walking home became necessary. I am very happy to report a completely pain free 4 mile run at a decent pace. Here's hoping this trend continues.

In marginally related news, I had a crazy dream last night! I did a short course triathlon (I think it was supposed to be Brewhouse, but had nothing in common with it) as my first triathlon and did awesome so I decided to give the long course a try the next day (they were on different days). Well, the long course had nothing to do with the short. It started with a short run from the start to a kitchen. There we had to compete to make the fastest and best combinations of pizza from slices that were already mostly made. They were to be judged later. Next came the swim. Only it was a loop course on a river (yeah, the river made a loop apparently). It was dark out and just around the end of winter. It wasn't a great river, it flowed fast, was polluted and had rusty junk stuck in it that you had to watch out for. I originally thought we were to bike on top of the river and just as I was realizing that it was weird dream logic and biking on the surface of a river wouldn't work, it turned into a swim course.

So we went onto the river boat where we had our gear bags set and we had to change for the swim. Well, it was cold water so I didn't know what to wear and was looking around at other people. Many seemed to be wearing what looked like skin suits for skiing as a base layer with various things on top. So I settled for my Icebreaker base pants and my yellow Boston long sleeve with a hoodie over the top. I very specifically grabbed those pieces of clothing, which was interesting - I had this big bag and I was digging through it, trying to find what I wanted but it was dark out and hard to see. Then I found out we had to run a bit to get to where we went into the river, so we needed something on our feet as well. I ended up with these weird Vibram/flippers. I distinctly remember having three or four separate flippers on each foot. So we ran around a town for a bit (I remember I was right behind a woman I work with and it was daytime, now) before hitting the water. It was super crazy water, with fast currents and whirlpools and I caught up with these two other girls and we made ourselves a mini team to help each other along. It ended with us taking a quick rest at one of their houses (which was right OVER the river) to change clothes and they didn't want to go on but decided that I needed to since it was my first one and I was trying to convince them that if I could do it then they should come with too, when I woke up.

And I wonder why I slept poorly last night!