Monday, July 31, 2006

Weekend Long Run + Change of Plans

Saturday was the Philly Fit long run -- we did about 11 miles and it was a good day.

The group got started a litte bit ahead of schedule and we weren't quite ready to pull out when the bulk of the group left so we started out on our own behind them. It was a good thing it worked out this way I think because I started out at a nice and easy pace which was good because the weather was really hot and humid. After a mile and a half or so we caught up with one member of the group who happens to work at my company. Brian went off ahead of us and I ran with her taking the same 5/1 walk breaks that she was taking. I don't usually do that but it didn't bother me to do it and I think it helped her to have a little bit of company. She said we were both running and walking faster than she was used to and I'm not sure if that was good or bad for her.

Anyway, we stuck together for the next 6 or 7 miles or so until she was more winded than I was and I pulled off on my own. I ran by myself the last stretch, passing a few people and generally taking much fewer walk breaks. My total time was 2:10 and I'm not unhappy with that considering the conditions and all the walk breaks. If it's true that long runs should be a minute slower than marathon pace, I was right on.

I drank a TON during the run. I bought a new Nathan Speed 4 water belt that holds 40 oz of water and I couldn't believe how totally comfortable it was! In addition to the 4 bottles it has two pouches for holding gels and keys and stuff and I love it! Anyway, I had 3 of the 4 filled with Gatorade Endurance and one with plain water and I had finished all of it by the time the run was over. Brian had a 34 oz belt on with a similar gatorade/water ratio and he was done too. Once we finished we polished off another 34 oz bottle of Endurance and a big bottle of regular gatorade (32 oz) plus two small (12 oz) bottles of water each. That's a lot of liquid. He did two extra miles to catch up with his marine Corps schedule but I just sat around and talked.

This is a snazzy little fluid loss calculator from Gatorade which suggests that we were right on with the hydration plan. 12 oz of fluid for every 15 minutes of moderate/hard running in the conditions we faced on Saturday. Interesting.

I was pretty wiped afterwards and even had to take a nap. Brian resisted the nap but did mention that he considered one which is very unusual for him.

Over the weekend we also decided that we're probably going to skip the Lake Tahoe Marathon after all. It seems like a good idea but we realized we would have to sacrifice more of Yosemite than we're really willing to do for the workout. The way I see it we can still probably decide to do it at the last minute if we really want to but we probably won't. We're pretty wishy-washy though so we might change our minds again by next week!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Tuesday Night Loop at VF

I'm not sure what to make of last night's run.

I ran a little more than 4 miles, on hills, and I mostly felt OK but I never felt good and I didn't have enough gumption to tackle the final hill of the loop and instead took the flat, slightly shorter finish back to the car instead of the full loop like I usually do.

My time was 45:53 which is OK not great not awful either. Just blah. I was really sweaty and uncomfortable so I think it was more humid than I thought. I'm not going to worry about it.

My NYRR trainer says I should be running 6 out of 7 days. I'm not that motivated. Tonight calls for an easy 3 mile run but I think I'm more inclined to go to the library and watch some TV instead of hitting the trail again. I will probably run tomorrow but I think I'm going to opt for flat instead of hills. It's going to be hot and I don't want to wear myself out too much before the 10 miler on Saturday. I might even be doing more like 11 or 12 if Brian and I go early to catch up with the MCM schedule.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Awesome Run W & OD Trail in Virginia

Believe it or not we did actually run!

The W & OD trail is very near my sister's house so we drove over there hoping to do five or maybe six miles. The trail was so nice that we ended up doing more like nine! We started near Purcellville and headed out along a nice shaded mostly flat trail. There was even a llama farm (ranch?) next to the trail for interesting wildlife viewing! We even got to refresh ourselves by picking wild raspberries at the turn around point. Delicious!

The whole outing, including the raspberries and the llama viewing took 1:53. Considering that it was mid-day I'm pretty happy with that.

We got home to find that everybody else had gone out so we threw ourselves into the pool and hung out until the rest of the gang got home and then we had lunch before heading back to Pennsylvania.

I am convinced that this week of low milage made me feel really good on all the runs I took this week. I'm happy with my progress so far!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Saturday July 22nd - 6 mile run

Today is my Mom's 75th birthday. We're supposed to be driving down to Virginia for her Birthday party at my sister's house. Since it's unlikely that I'll actually run once I get down there Brian and I decided to try to do some miles before we headed down there.

Same boring trail -- Oaks to VF. We did about 6 miles. It was hot and humid and kind of gross. But we got it in.

Came home to watch Floyd Landis and his awesome TT and then drove down to VA. It should have taken 4 hours or so but because of some stupid decisions involving Starbucks iced coffee it took more like 5.5. YUCK!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Fake 5K

I was supposed to be running a local 5K last night but it was postponed because of the horrible thunderstorms we had on Tuesday evening. The storms trashed the county where I live and there were downed trees and powerlines all over the place. My own electricity was out for a long time and PECO was saying that it might not be restored until Sunday afternoon! Thank God that was a false alarm and my power came back yesterday afternoon.

Anyway, since I didn't have my 5K to run I considered doing nothing but reading my book in the 5K time slot but since I haven't run at all since Saturday I decided that was a bad idea so I put on the sneakers and hit the trail.

I guessed the distance I ran but it was at least 3 miles and less than 3.5 I think. My sportbrain (not the most reliable tool in the world) clocked the run at exactly 3.1 miles. How convenient! In any event the run took 32 minutes and felt fabulous.

It would have even been a little faster except some guy on a bike stopped me mid-run and asked me to look at a bee sting he had on his face and asked if I thought the stinger was still in it (no) and if he looked abnormally swollen because he had never been stung before (no). He had to ride pretty far to get back to his car and he needed to know if he should stop and beg a park ranger for a ride instead of trying to make it on his own.

After that I think I ran even faster back to my car because all I could think about was that Ted Bundy movie starring Mark Harmon where he is always tricking his victims into helping him by pretending he had a fake broken arm. This guy didn't seem the least bit scary and he did seem to have a giant swollen cheek but Mark Harmon/Ted Bundy seemed pretty harmless too.

Anyway, the run felt great which I'm sure was due to the extra rest and the low humidity but it made me anxious to run some more tonight. Unfortunately, the humidity seems back in full force, and it's pretty cloudy so my run may be rained out. I am totally uninterested in running in the rain.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Candy Machine Jackpot

After lunch today I stopped at the candy machine because it's stocked with Goetze's Caramel Creams which are one of my favorite types of candy. I was excited because the pack I bought today was the last one in the machine. When my pack of caramel creams dropped it revealed the candy behind it -- something new and exciting!

Dark Chocolate Raisinets! Of course, I had to get them and planned to eat them right away instead of the caramel creams. Since I had enough money I figured I'd buy a second bag to take home for Brian.

At this point I had a handful of change and no pockets so I decided to buy a bag of red swedish fish since they were available and would leave me with just a single nickel to carry and they are always a good stash to have in the desk.

Imagine my awesome good luck when for some reason my falling swedish fish dislodged a packet of Peanut Butter M & Ms from the slot next door!

So now I have a huge and delicious stock of candy in my desk at work! Lucky me!

Why did this have to happen during a week when the heat is going to make it impossible to run?

Lake Tahoe Marathon scheme

I think I've mentioned before that our vacation plans are to go to Yosemite National Park in late September. We chose the time of the trip because we were (are?) thinking about going to see the Eagles play the 49ers that Sunday in San Francisco before we head to Yosemite.

Since we made the plans, Brian decided to do the Marine Corps Marathon and that means that one of his long runs is supposed to happen the day we leave for vacation. One of my long runs for NYC is supposed to be the weekend we arrive back home. As much as we both love marathons neither one of us has been willing to schedule/change our vacations because of training. We'll be fit enough to finsish our races if we skip one run, even a long run. Especially since we'll be hiking all over the Sierras and not just lazing on a beach. But then this weekend I noticed an ad for the Lake Tahoe Marathon on the back cover of Marathon & Beyond magazine.

I noticed it at first because it's a week long sports celebration at the Lake. They have several bike rides, kayak and other paddling events, tons of running -- including four different marathons, a 20 mile "power walk", and a 72 mile ultra. Then I noticed that this week of sports was the same week that we're going to be on vacation in California, not too far from Lake Tahoe.

Hmmm. This could be interesting. They say it's “From start to finish, maybe the most beautiful set of events you will ever do”.

I'm not quite crazy enough to want to run a marathon that close to my main event but a 20 mile walk sounds quite nice. Especially for Brian. So I check out the scoop on the walk. It sounds ideal. "20 miles of non-competitive training and fun plus a finish line picnic". It also says that "This is designed for the power walker, but a runner can use it as a long training run for a future marathon event". Could this be any more perfect for us?

So our new scheme is to blow off the Eagles game, which probably has less payoff for us than the Lake Tahoe thing, and head right to Yosemite. Then we can get four solid days there before heading to Lake Tahoe on Thursday. Then we'll have a day to check out whatever there is at Lake Tahoe followed by the 20 miler on Saturday morning before driving back to San Francisco Saturday evening. We fly home early in the morning on Sunday.

We get an extra bonus destination on our trip and our training in to boot. All we have to do is figure out where to stay as we adjust out hotel plans but I think we're going to do this.

Marathonguide says good things about the marathon but does speak kind of harshly about the effects of altitude but since we're doing it as training I don't think the slow times will bother us much.

I am the worst blogger ever!

Seriously, I totally stink! Here's what you've missed:

Saturday - Philly Fit group run 7 miles

Group met at VF to run early in the morning to try to beat the heat. Things went quite well on this outing - I kept a nice easy pace running with a couple other people and everything felt great and easy despite the high humidity. I had a very slow middle mile when I spent some time running/walking with a couple of walkers who are hoping to turn into runners. Overall it was really good. My watch told me the whole outing took and hour and 10 minutes but I know I didn't start the watch right away so it was probably more than 1 hour 13 or so. That seems so incredibly fast though, that I think that the milage must have been miscalculated. Andrew, one of the coaches, measured it with his GPS and swears it's right so who knows for real what the scoop was.

After the official run Brian and I decided to skip the injury lecture and walked a few extra miles just to get closer to our marathon schedules. We only did two miles and they were slow miles so I don't know that we did much except take in some fresh air.

Later on Saturday it turned into a monsoon day so we were glad to have been outside working out before things got ugly. We've learned that even when we hate getting out of bed in the morning it's usually worth it to do it.

Sunday - 15 miles on the bike

I let my sister & the girls off the hook on the walking since the temperature was supposed to be way over 90 on Sunday. Instead we went for a bike ride and it was AWESOME! I bought my bike about a month before I got into walking/running and I've never really used it as much as I'd like to. Brian loves to ride and says it's the perfect activity for really hot days and I think he's right. We were out for a couple of hours and it only felt hot when we were stopped.

We were mostly on the gravel trail but there are easy paved sections and a couple of places where we could go "off road" and try my luck at a very baby-ish level of mountain biking. It wa totally fun -- even the parts where I got covered in mud. I also felt very cool when I took my bike apart to get it into the car and was able to put it back together again at home. I'd much rather have a bike rack though so I don't have to pop the wheel every time.

Since the bike ride I've had some minor seat related soreness but the rest of the body felt great. I think I might have to make this a regular part of the cross training plan since my Sunday running schedule said to cross train or to run easy. The bike was way more fun (and probably better for my legs) than the run.

Tuesday - HOT HOT HOT

Tonight is a running night for me but since it's supposed to be close to 100 degrees today and since I hope to run a 5K tomorrow night after work I'm skipping it. Maybe I'll do Tae Bo or yoga or something when I get home from work instead.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Catching up on the past week

Wow! I've been a total blog slacker! The good news is that I haven't totally slacked off on running. To re-cap:

Last Sunday I met my sister and her two teenaged daughters to walk with them down at Kelly Drive. This was their first outing to start getting ready for the Philadelphia Distance Run in September. They're all semi-excited about the idea but mostly horrified when the see how far the distance actually is. My sister thought that she had signed up for a 10K. When I explained that it was a half-marathon she says "how far is that, again?" and then she says "and how far is a 10k?". Yes, they do have much to learn! Anyway, the walk went fine after we got started. We had forgotten that there was a women's triathlon being run at Kelly Drive that day so we had a tricky time parking and finding one another but the race added an extra element of run to thier experience. Here's hoping I get them outside this Sunday too!

Tuesday is my normal running night but it was rained out by a thunderstorm so Brian & I went for a short neighborhood walk after it blew over. It was still hideously humid so we didn't even walk fast but it was still walking so I put it on the calendar. We probably covered about three miles or so. Much more of a stroll than an exercise outing.

Wednesday we went for a good outing from Indian Head Road on the oaks trail to Valley Force. This was a good four mile run at a steady, slowish pace. I screwed up by hitting the wrong button on my watch so I don't know the real timing of the run but I tried really hard to stick to the being able to talk rule. I'm guessing it was between 11 and 11:30 minute miles.

Last night was our VF loop run. This was awesome! Brian had to work later than usual and that turned into a particularly good thing because it had cooled off quite a lot while I waited for him. We didn't really get moving until about 7:15 and by then the sun was low and there was even a breeze along parts of the trail. I stuck with him in the early stages of the loop but somewhere about two miles into the running section I found my legs and pulled away from him and finished the loop actually getting faster as I went along. It was totally bizarre! I finished in about 50 minutes which is awesome for me on that trail.

Today is a much needed rest day and then tomorrow I have my long run. I'm confused about what milage to do since my NYRR Trainer says to do 7 miles, my Philly Fit adjusted schedule says 10 miles, and the group is doing 6. Brian and my sister are supposed to do 12. The weather is going to be HOT (over 90) for the next 10 days at least but I think tomorrow might be low humidity so it might be good to get in longer miles while it's not quite so painful but I suspect I'm going to wind up on the low end of things tomorrow. I'm sure I can get in 8 but I don't know that I'll make it all the way to 10.

Stay tuned....

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Awesome Run - 8 miles +

Arrived late to Philly Fit and spent the first four miles trying to catch up with the pack. I never quite got to them until they slowed down to walk at the turnaround point.

The run back was great since I had two people to run with who kept my pace easy and steady. Average pace was just over 11 minute miles.

We walked two easy miles after the nutrition lecture so Brian could get 10 miles under his belt for the day.

Tomorrow I'm meeting Retie and the girls for their first practice for the PDR.

Friday, July 07, 2006

You've gotta love the low humidity!

Valley Forge loop -- only this time it seemed effortless!

I can't see any reason why it would have felt so good except for the change in humidity. It had to be 80 degrees and there was bright sun and yet it wasn't exhausting and I wasn't disgustingly sweaty when I was finished.

I followed the NYRR trainer schedule instructions so I stuck to my 11 minute miles and it was just a pleasure the whole time.

Philly Fit is tomorrow at 7:15 and we have 8 miles on tap. The NYRR trainer says I should be doing 7 at just under 12 minute pace. Brian's schedule (adjusted for MCM from PhillyFit schedule) has him down for 10. I think the weather is going to be great so we might actually do the extra miles together. I'm actually looking forward to it!

I finished an interesting book yesterday all about Gatorade and their amazing market share / marketing scheme. It was like reading a breezy magazine article only it was book length. It's called First in Thirst.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Horrible smell update

I did a little research today on how to remove the revolting milk smell and the news is not good! Luckily the spill wasn't all that big and I think it's probably only on the floormat so I can probably just throw it away if I can't clean it. Look at some of this blurb:

Overall Warnings:
If a substantial amount of milk has spilled and gone sour, or if the milk has soaked deeply into the seat or carpet, you may need to seek professional help from an auto detailer.

The Smell From Hell

Yesterday I got into my car to drive to the supermarket and was nearly overcome by a horrible stink that nearly defies description. I thought it was coming from the garbage can in my garage that I have to park really close to, so I pulled out of the garage as quickly as I could and put down the windows for my short drive to the store.

I get to the store, do my shopping, and get back in the car only to find that the stink is still here! It's not the garbage can at all -- it's something in my car! What could it possibly be?

I drive home, unload the groceries, and head back out to the car, bottle of Febreeze in hand. I decide that the stink must be coming from the pile of used supermarket plastic bags that I've been meaning to return to the store but keep forgetting. I throw them away, febreeze everything in sight, and then lower the windows hoping for the best.

Today, on my way to work it seems OK until I close the windows and the I can smell it again. Horrible stink that is so awful I worry that it's permeating my clothes and that I will stink when I exit the car. I crank the air because that makes it slightly less gross and crack the windows as much as I can without getting wet (it's pouring rain) and it's bearable but this is really quite troubling. What can it be?

And then I remember stopping for a gallon of milk on the way home from work on Monday. Somewhere between the WaWa and my house the gallon had tipped over and must have sprung a leak during the fall because when I grabbed it to walk into the house I realized that it was leaking into the plastic bag and it was a big mess. So the horrible smell is rotten milk all over my floor mat. I feel better knowing what the source of the horrible smell is but I am powerless to fix it today. I can't leave the car windows open because of the pouring rain (it's supposed to continue all day) and I can't bring the mat into the office becuase it's too gross. I guess I could have taken it out and put it on the roof or something to get washed by the rain but that seemed too messy too.

In the end, I just left it where it is. I hope I can make it home without passing out from the fumes.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Burning in the Sun

For some strange reason I awoke bright and early on Sunday morning at seven. I was wide awake and I hopped right out of bed. This NEVER happens to me. Was I a smart cookie who popped on her running shoes and headed out in the cool temps to get in my three easy recovery miles? Of course not! Instead of running, I sat on the back porch, drank coffee and finished my book. I didn't decide to go running until nearly NOON!

Brian was heading out for a bike ride and suggested that I could give him a ride home if I was planning on taking a walk or doing any running. I thought this was a good plan so after he left I packed a cooler with a bunch of water and Gatorade and headed to the park. Did I decide to run on the scenic shady section of trail? Of course not! I chose the unshaded, boiling hot black asphalt section that runs alongside the noisy highway. What else would you do on a 90 degree day with high humidity?

To be fair, this wasn't quite as bad as I'm making it sound. The first mile and a quarter I totally walked because I was just warming up and I wanted to walk to a real mile marker. There was also a slight breeze so it didn't feel so bad. Once I got to the mile marker I started to run but I was aware of the high heat and really tried not to push myself -- I was trying to sing along (quietly, I swear) with my iPod so that I wouldn't get too fast for my own good. I ran the next two miles without a whole lot of trouble and took my standard walk/drink breaks. The third running mile was kind of tough but I powered through it with just one extra walk break. I strolled the final mile+ back to the car. This was where I really felt the boiling hot asphalt. Man, it was HOT. I finished my drink on this section of the trail and I didn't think I'd get back to the car without melting.

I grabbed the cooler and quickly ran into a shady spot under a big tree and sucked down as much orange gatorade as I could. Then I finished a whole bottle of water and over the next 40 minutes or so the rest of the gatorade. Brian returned soon after I sat down in the grass and we both hung out drinking and relaxing in the shade. It's really amazing how much different it was in the shade.

My running splits got progressively slower: 11:07, 11:24. 11:48 but they're OK overall. The walking portions were both quite slow but amazingly the return to the car was a little faster than the walk to start the day.

My legs were feeling good and had I done this run in the morning I think I would have felt great.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Saturday Philly Fit Run - 7 miles

Saturday Morning was the weekly Philly Fit run. We were supposed to start late and follow the run with a picnic but the recent floods forced us to cancel the picnic. We still started at the late time (8:45) which was hot but let us sleep late so I still was happy.

The run itself went quite well. We were on the shady part of the Perkiomen Trail which is mostly soft gravel so it was easy on the knees and cooler than the Oaks trail to Valley Forge. I fell in with a pack of runners who were chatting with me and they helped me keep an easy, even pace. I was sticking to my plan to walk/drink at each mile and that went pretty well for me until the last section where I got a mild side stitch and walked more than usual. For the last mile I hooked up with a woman who was having a really hard time and was commenting on how discouraged she was by being left behind by our group (she was with us totally on the run out but was struggling to keep up on the return trip.) Anyway, I stuck with her and ran/walked with her for the last mile. I didn't mind doing it and she was grateful. My plan was to do two extra miles with Brian after our official seven but it was really hot so we decided not to do the extra miles.

We covered 7 miles in about 1:16 which translates to just under 11 minute miles and I'm happy with that outcome.

Post-run we guzzled the Gatorade Endurance I'd collected on Friday night and then headed home to enjoy the nice day.