Friday, August 12, 2011

Two really great runs

Trying to keep things upbeat here.  Will do a memoriam entry about Ernie when I can think about him and not cry. :( 

Onto rainbows and bunnies (happy thoughts).

We went to Idaho for vacation last week.  Not exactly a happy vacation, as the primary objective was to spend time with Will's grandmother.  Grandpa passed away in February, and since then grandma has been declining.  She had a "cardiac event" in early July, went into assisted living 4 weeks ago, and asked to go off of all her medications 2 weeks ago.  I can't say I blame her, she's lived her life and she's ready to go.  Still, it sucks.

Even through we were on vacation, I needed to get some training in.  Swimming is hard to do in the desert (yes, Southern Idaho is a desert).  I could have brought my bike with me, but I didn't see myself trying to figure out which roads were paved in the area of the grandparent's ranch.  So, I made it simple and brought ONLY my running gear.  My goal was to run 20 miles for the week.  I had 9 weeks until the Denver RnR half marathon and I've barely been running*.

What happened to running and biking??
 I still don't have a real run plan.  I'm going to try to run 3x per week.  Tues should be track night, Thurs should be 6 miles, Sat should be my long run (10-14 miles).

Goal for the week was to run 4 times.  Twice @ 6 miles, a 4 mile "recovery" jog, and another 6 mile run.  We drove to ID (10.5 hrs) on Saturday and stayed with Will's mom.  Her neck of the woods is still pretty "country" with farms, dairys, and pig farms (OMG, the SMELL) nearby. The roads are really simple - all based on 1 mile squares.  VERY hard to get lost out here.  Last time I ran here, I broke my foot. So, the running joke this time was that I should NOT break my foot, that it wasn't 15 degrees out, and my MIL's husband shouldn't have to drive around looking to rescue me.  I got up at 6:30 (early, but still sleeping in since I normally get up to run at 5:20) and hit the road.  (full disclosure: I wanted to stay in bed, but the MIL's husband promised to take us out to breakfast that morning.  Pancakes = I need to EARN them by running) I ran on dirt roads the whole time with some decent uphills.  I took the first 3 miles as a warm-up then did some fartleks every 5 minutes to build speed coming back on the last 3 miles.  The first three were decent.  Took a while to get warmed up, but I was happy running with new scenery and smells, as it had just rained and the fields were full (except the pig farm smell - ick!).  Plus, its kinda fun to run with cows and horses as your audience.  Coming back I ran fartleks at my 5k pace (which is actually faster than my 2010 5k pace now), starting at 20 seconds and building to 40 seconds every 5 minutes.  Fartleks are great because you get burst of speed which don't tire you out, and it gets your feel moving faster, which keeps your non-fartlek pace faster than if you were straight-pace running the entire 5 minutes.  For the last half mile, I pushed the overall pace to my 10k pace, to negative split the run.  Really great energy on the back half of the run.  Legs and spirit felt great.  Speed was great.  10:47 overall pace. (My last run of a similar distance was at a 10:59 pace).  Then we went out and had fantastic blueberry pancakes (soooo good) and then I took a 3 hr nap.  Hello vacation!

Monday we migrated to the grandparent's ranch, so Tuesday morning I ran out there.  Again, 6:30 AM.  Sun was out and it was a bit warm (not Houston warm, but warmer than Denver).  Same deal as Monday.  Dirt roads, warm-up the first 3 miles, fartlek back the last 3 miles.  The first two miles really didn't feel great.  My right foot is developing minor plantars fascitis and was pretty stiff.  Actually, my legs in general were pretty stiff, probably from Monday's run.  But knowing my body, I stuck with it, because it usually takes me 2-3 miles to warm-up.  My watch rang at 3 miles, I turned around and started pushing.  Fartleks starting at 30 seconds every 5 minutes.  At mile 5, I was flying and feeling great. I rarely get runner's highs, but I was feeling it that morning.  I felt FANTASTIC.  Running in the country next to a mountain with beautiful skies and happy legs.  I decided to push the last mile, descending from a 5k pace to a faster than 5k pace at the 1/2 mile mark.  I was flying and it was wonderful.  6 miles at a 10:32 pace.  Sweet!  (probably would have been even faster, but its impossible to run across cattle guards, and I had 4 to cross).

Tuesday I pushed myself to run again.  This workout was a recovery run intended to loosen the legs but to also build strength.  I knew it would suck.  But that was the point.  I got up at 7:30 this time (slacker!) and hit the road.  Goal was 4 miles.  Immediately, it was not a fun run.  Legs were very stiff, nothing felt awesome.  When things don't feel great (which is often the case), I stick to my "give it 20 minutes" rule.  If things don't feel better by 20 minutes (usually almost 2 miles), then its time to bag it and head back.  Usually things feel better after 20 min (as demonstrated the previous day).  Today was no such day.  I got to 1.5 miles and simply wasn't feeling it and headed back.  Total run - 3.2 miles @ 12:10 pace. FAIL.

Wednesday was a planned (and needed!) rest day.  Thursday I probably should have gone running, but I didn't.  And then a dry storm moved through on Thursday, causing 30 (!!) range fires in the area.  The air quality was horrible, which meant no more running for the week.

This fire was ~5 miles away from the ranch and 20,000 acres big.  Will helped with fighting it (with his cousin) and they ended up saving a neighbor's house.
fire at twilight
Total mileage: 15.2 
Maybe next week I'll hit 20 miles.  Actually, I've got an Oly on the 20th, so it may be more like 3 weeks before I hit 20 miles for the week.  Training plan???  Good thing I don't have one, or else I'd be blowing it big time!

* Holy hell.  I just charted my weekly distance from late January until now.  Can you say slacker???  Damn.  I knew there would be a dropoff after IMTX, but seeing it graphically is harsh.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Totally impressed by your 10:32 6 miler. Sounds like an awesome run. I can't wait for cooler weather!