Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Do It with Your Heart

As I runner, I often criticize my legs for not going fast enough. I blame myself beat myself up for giving in and giving up. I review my times, my average pace, how I felt. I get caught up in the details about how I don't  measure up to some idealized version of me.

Then I read the story of Gunhild Sawnson who completed the Western States 100-mile race with just 6 seconds to spare before the 30 hour cut-off time to earn the finisher's buckle and the title of the oldest finisher in the race's 42 year history.

Read the story. Watch the finish line video. I dare you not to get teary-eyed and inspired. It reminded me about why I run. It's for the love of sport; it's for passion; I run with my heart. I just needed a reminder

Monday, June 29, 2015

Valuing sleep, but OMG the HEAT.{base-training: week 4}

Sleep. I need it. I don't get enough of it. I go to sleep too late and wake up too early. If I get 6 hours that's a good night, but usually it's less than that. When I was writing out my goals for 2015, improving my sleep habits was one of them. 

For most of this year, I haven't done much to improve my sleep. Bed by 11 pm each night has been the extent of it. Usually my alarm goes off and I wake up before 5 am, meaning less than 6 hours of sleep. In the last month or so, I've dusted off my sleep goal and decided I need to rest like a champion. A full-time job with a longish commute and family/home/social obligations don't leave a lot of opportunities for training and sleep (nothing unique). The last month or so on days I don't have work or the weekend when I don't have early plans, I've been sleeping in (for me this means 7 am). This also means I'm starting my morning runs later and OMG the heat. 

The heat of summer to not bother or concern me. I would wake up early and be done with my run before the sun was out. Now that I'm valuing sleep I have to deal with the heat (and this week the humidity) and make adjustments. I may not run as long or as fast as planned. Yesterday's long run was brutal with lots of stops for water or just stopping to catch my breath. I plan to run after work today (I slept in/rested this morning!) when temperatures are hopefully a little cooler. If not, to the treadmill I go. 

Base-Training: Week Three Recap

Monday: 5 miles recovery run with Nani
Tuesday: 6 miles run with Nani + sleep late
Wednesday: 7 miles with three miles at tempo + sleep late
Thursday: 4.4 miles + Cycle class
Friday: 1.0 mile warm-up jog, Tabata class, 4.3 treadmill miles 8x30 seconds @ 6% incline, Cycle class. 5 miles, hills
Saturday: 4.0 miles easy run with Nani + Cycle class
Sunday: 13.0 miles long run with 8 x 2 min hard/2 min easy

Total Mileage: 44.9 miles

Base-Training: Week Four

Goal Mileage: 46 miles
Monday: 5 miles recovery run (bpm<143) Or not! I took a day off. :)
Tuesday: 4.4 miles + 45 min cycle class
Wednesday: 6.4 miles, 3 x (1000m, 200m) at 1/2marathon pace & 5k pace speedwork on track
Thursday: 7 miles + 4 x 20 second strides 4.5 miles (treadmill) + cycle class + 2.5 miles (treadmill) + TRX class
Saturday: 4 miles easy
Sunday: 14 miles long run with 4 x 20 second strides  10.5 miles long run

Friday, June 26, 2015

META-Review (or am I lazy?)-Ragnar Wasatch Back

We all started off wearing  Oiselle
singlets for our 1st leg. 
A meta-analysis is a type scientific study that batches the results of multiple studies to look for patterns, similarities and/or differences. It's good for combining the results of smaller studies to get more statistical power (Together we're stronger!). A proper meta-analysis has specific methodology and takes into account some assumptions. 

This is not a proper meta-analysis. This is me being lazy. Hey, I'm recovering! 
Ragnar Wasatch Back is the founding race of the Ragnar series. It is also the most challenging course (Hills! Elevation! Heat!) and the most beautiful. I would definitely run it again. I ran as part of the Oiselle Bird Machine team.

Bird Machine Reviews

Runner Leana Race Report: Ragnar Wasatch Back

Running is Democratic Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back Race Recap 2015

Travis and Marilyn Keys (Adventures in Life & Running) Ragnar Wasatch Back

Just Keep Running Ragnar Wasatch Back Recap

Non-Bird Machine Reviews

Blognar 70 Photos from Ragnar Wasatch Back that Capture the True Spirit of Ragnar

Live Free and Run Race Recap: Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back UT (Colleen was part of  Team Nuun. We had a friendly competition with them during the race because a few Oiselle Bird Machine mates are Nuun ambassadors as well & they had their team pre-race dinner at Squatters--the same brewery we went to!)

Scoot-a-DOOT Baby Got Wasatch Back

Bird Machine Blogs to follow

Leana: Runner Leana

Luisa: Running is Democratic

Emily: Life, Fitness, and Me

Paulette: Just Keep Running

Of course, typical of laziness. My meta-review may have been more work than just writing one myself. When will I learn?

I will update this post as I find more reports. 

My only night picture

Monday, June 22, 2015

{base training: week 3}

Two lessons learned during week two

One: I need to run/train at elevation more often.
Two: Hills. Do more hills. Do more hills on trails.

I'm still buzzing from Ragnar Wasatch Back. I'm still in awe of the strong women of the Bird Machine (3rd place in women open division).

I upgraded to Strava Premium (although the free version still rocks). Now my runs receive a suffer score which rates how hard I worked. My Ragnar runs were rated Extreme and Epic

Base-Training: Week Two Recap

Monday4.3 miles recovery run (using heart rate monitor, bpm <143. This is hard, especially when running uphill.)
Tuesday4.3 miles easy run on treadmill
Wednesday6.5 miles speedworkprobably fartleks pre-race workout on track 
Thursday6 miles + 4 x 20-second strides
FridayRagnar Wasatch Back 1st leg-7.2 miles, hill run
Saturday: Ragnar Wasatch Back 2nd & 3rd legs-9.6 miles + 4 x 20-second strides & 3.1 miles
Sunday: Rest or 3 mile easy run HA! What was I thinking? I rested like a champ.
Total Mileage: 41.2 miles

Week 3 is unusual because I am off work Monday-Wednesday  to catch up on sleep and recover from the weekend. Moving from the track to the road for this week's speed work. 

Base-Training: Week Three

Goal Mileage: 44 miles

Monday: 5 miles recovery run with Nani
Tuesday: 6 miles run with Nani + sleep late
Wednesday: 7 miles with three miles at tempo + sleep late
Thursday: 4.4 miles + Cycle class
Friday: 1.0 mile warm-up jog, Tabata class, 4.3 treadmill miles 8x30 seconds @ 6% incline, Cycle class. 5 miles, hills
Saturday: 4.0 miles easy run with Nani + Cycle class
Sunday: 13.0 miles with 8 x 2 min hard/2 min easy

Monday, June 15, 2015

Moving to my heart {base training: week 2}

Utah: Ragnar Wasatch Back
From my Believe Training Journal question of the week: 

I respect my one and only body by...
  • Fueling for strength
  • Resting for recovery
  • Believing for magic
Shift from thinking to feeling--feel yourself accomplishing your goal. Take that feeling out of your head and put it into your heart. Embrace it as the reality.
 ~Erin Taylor, Founder & Head Coach of Jasyoga

My first week of base training went well. No hiccups or surprises. I ran a bit more than I intended and didn't run a traditional long run because my mileage for the week was good. My goal was to run 39 miles and ended up running 41. 

Base-training: Week One Recap

Monday3.1 miles easy run (using heart rate monitor, bpm <150)
Tuesday7.4 miles easy run with 4x20 second strides at the end of run
Wednesday6.5 miles run, speedwork (Strava WoW: The #Moneghetti)
Thursday5.4 miles easy run (run on treadmill) + TRX class
Friday6 miles, hill run (+1 mile warm-up run before Tabata class)
Saturday3-5 miles easy run 3.4 miles easy run + 5.2 miles group run
Sunday10-12 miles long run  3.2 miles easy run

Total mileage: 41.5 miles

Week 2 is a bit unusual because I'm traveling to Utah for Ragnar Wasatch Back. It's my 4th Ragnar race and my first with an Oiselle team (Bird Machine). My long run will be my 2nd leg of the race (9.5 miles) estimated to start at 12:30 am Saturday. 

Base-Training: Week 2

Goal mileage: 41 miles

Monday: 4.3 miles recovery run (using heart rate monitor, bpm <143. This is hard, especially when running uphill.)
Tuesday: 4.3 miles easy run on treadmill
Wednesday: 6.5 miles speedwork, probably fartleks pre-race workout on track
Thursday: 6 miles + 4 x 20-second strides
Friday: Ragnar Wasatch Back 1st leg-7.2 miles, hill run
Saturday: Ragnar Wasatch Back 2nd & 3rd legs-9.6 miles + 4 x 20-second strides & 3.1 miles
Sunday: Rest or 3 mile easy run HA! What was I thinking? I rested like a champ.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Live, Laugh, Play: My Favorite Running Activities

I previously shared with you my favorite running-related food items and swag. It's now time to share the different types of running-related activities. I love running (d'uh) but the following activities add more fun to the run.

Running Workouts

I'm an endurance machine with lots of slow-twitch muscle fibers and don't have a natural 'kick'. Adding track, hill and speed sessions to my weekly run rotation has been one of the better things I've done to improve my running economy. 

It has also added a lot of fun and challenge. Heavy emphasis on the challenge {in case you didn't notice}.  The workouts are not easy and while I'm doing them, they are not fun (usually when I first start and think:quit! quit! quit!). The fun comes after when I've completed a workout. When the endorphins are flowing and I'm cooling down with a slow jog to coffee (#willrunforcoffee). I feel like I can accomplish anything. I'm Super Wendy! And then the hunger comes...

There are so many different types of workouts and they all work on different aspects of running to improve speed, strength and efficiency. In a future post I will describe some of the types. All-levels of runners can incorporate some sort of speed training to their rotation. If I can add speed, you can too. 

Running with Nani

You may have noticed reading my blog that there are more pictures of my dog, Nani than my husband, Paul. The truth of the matter is that Nani loves, loves, loves to go running with me. He probably loves running more than I do. Paul tolerates running with me and will occasionally go on short runs and races with me. 

Nani is a smart boy and knows my running clothes/shoes and habits. He gets super-excited when he notices me getting ready for a run and gets super-disappointed when he figures out I'm not taking him (usually long runs or speed workouts). Like the teenager he is, he throws tantrums and will ignore me when I return. I've run up to 10 miles with Nani but usually only take him on runs less than 6 miles. He knows our routes, knows the houses we pass with barky dogs, knows that we usually end our runs at Starbucks (where he sometimes gets a puppuccino and I always get a coffee #willrunforcoffee).

I use the Ollydog Mt. Tam Running Leash with Nani. It's great because it fits around my waist so I can run hands-free and has reflective handle to grab when we're at a stoplight or for control. I've also started to use the Kurgo Wander Dog Backpack with him for trail runs. He doesn't like it so much but tolerates it because he knows it means he gets to go running.

Training with TRX

Obviously TRX isn't running. Developing a strong core is important essential for running though. A strong core helps stabilize your torso so you can run more efficiently and not waste energy. It helps with balance and posture, also important for running. A strong core means I can go faster for longer. I especially notice my core assisting me on long runs when my legs are starting to get tired. A strong core isn't just surface abs. It includes glutes, back, hip flexors, pelvic floor and deep abs. All of which, if under-developed or weak can lead to injuries in runners. All of which, TRX helps strengthen. 

I've been taking TRX classes, using both the original suspension trainer and the rip trainer at The Energy Lab, a personal training, small-group exercise and wellness studio, for approximately 4 years. The classes are fun and great for all-levels (it's easy or hard depending on how you position yourself or your base). You can also train away from studios or gyms. You can take TRX anywhere--parks, home, hotel rooms while travelling for work. I believe improving my core strength has been key to becoming a faster and stronger runner post-knee injury

This is it for my 3-part favorites series. I hope you've enjoyed it! And I hope it will inspire you to try something new. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Let's Get It Started {base training: week 1}

Today marks the start of my fall marathon training cycle and 8-week base building phase. I currently run an average of 40 miles per week and my goal is to build to a strong 50 miles per week.

Base building isn't just about building mileage. It's also about improving my strength and aerobic capacity to prepare my body for the rigors of marathon training. Re-reading what I just wrote, I realize I sound like I know what writing about.  Let me reassure you, this is new territory for me.

The base plan I'm using is a hybrid of a winter base-building plan pulled from an old issue of Runner's World and Hal Higdon's spring plan. I've made changes to best fit my lifestyle and schedule (hello, job), current and goal mileage. 

In addition to running, I am learning to embrace my rest/recovery, fine-tuning my pre/post-run nutrition and developing skills for mental toughness.  My goal is to not only share with you my weekly training plan, but to also share with you my triumphs (Nailed that workout!) and my misses for the previous week. 

Base-training: Week One

Goal mileage: 39 miles

Monday: 3 miles easy run (using heart rate monitor, bpm <150)
Tuesday: 6-8 miles easy run with 4x20 second strides at the end of run
Wednesday: 6 miles run, speedwork (Strava WoW: The #Moneghetti)
Thursday: 4 miles easy run (run on treadmill)
Saturday: 3-5 miles easy run 3 miles easy run5 miles group run
Sunday: 10-12 miles long run  3 miles easy run

{Update: Schedule is updated to include links to my completed runs on Strava}

Thursday, June 4, 2015

GEAR: Stuff that rocks my {run} world

Last week's post dealt with my favorite fuel for running. This week I'm writing about the stuff.

Garmin Forerunner 220

Let me count the ways I heart this watch. One: It has the perfect level of functionality for me. It's not missing anything and I pretty much use all its functions. Two: Quick pick up of GPS signal. I'm not left waiting waiting waiting. Three: Bluetooth automatically uploads to my phone. Four: On the fly interval programming or I can upload workouts I design. This is especially helpful for track workouts. It's hard to keep count sometimes. Five: Ability to turn off GPS for treadmill use or for other indoor workouts. On the treadmill, the built in accelerometer is able to keep track of mileage. For cycle classes and other indoor classes, I can use it as a standard heart rate monitor. Six: Alerts. I can set up alerts for heart rate or pace. I've been using heart rate alerts to practice even-effort runs or to help me stick to recovery run paces and not push myself during scheduled recovery/easy run days. I use pace alerts for some intervals or during races. Seven: Easy charging and long battery life. I charge my watch once a week or so. It comes with a USB charger that fits into a standard iPhone plug. 
And other little things like size, screen etc make it a great purchase. It took me a while to finally decide and buy it six months ago, but I've been very happy with it.

Brooks PureCadence

To give you an indication about my level of appreciation for these shoes: I just ordered my 8th pair. I started wearing them at version 2 and I'm now on version 4. I buy a new pair every 3-4 months. I don't really pay attention to mileage and use feel to gauge when I need new shoes. To me they feel like I'm running on a cloud--comfy enough but I can still feel the road. I notice my feet more when it's time to buy a new pair. They are a minimalist type shoe but still offer a bit of support for mild overpronation. 
These shoes are not for everyone and they have an adjustment period. I've read that they run narrow so they don't work if you have wide feet or if you need more support. I use PureCadence as my daily run trainers, for easy and long runs. 

In general, I do like Brooks Pure Project line of shoes. I use PureConnect for speed and track workouts and for races. PureGrit for trail runs. 

Oiselle Rogas and Pockito Running Shorts

It was love at first Roga--shorts that don't poof with a super-comfortable yoga-style waist band--for me. So I bought a second pair. And then I tried the Mac Roga, the shorter little sister of the original. I fell in love again. So I bought a second pair. And a third pair {pictured}.
Most recently, Oiselle released the Toolbelt Roga and I fell head-over-heels.  It's the same seam-length as the Roga. It has what the previous two lack--pockets galore! Three (3!) open pockets outside the back waistband, perfect for GUs, my phone, Kleenex, Picky Bar.  One back zip pocket--for cash, keys or DL/ATM--and one front internal pocket. It's perfect for my long runs. I only wish there was a more diverse color selection for the Toolbelts.  The Pockito, as it's name implies, also is pocket-ful.  It has two back zippered pockets and two open pockets on the front. In case you haven't realized, I love pockets. Super-lightweight and breathable, make it perfect for hot summer runs.  In terms of seam length, it's little longer than the Mac Roga and a little shorter than the Roga. In case you lost count, thats 6 Rogas and 1 Pockito. It's only through utmost restraint that I haven't bought another Toolbelt or Pockito. Maybe you can buy some and I can live vicariously through you?

What gear do you like?

Coming up in a future post....activities! My favorite ways to move.