Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Scopin' out the Half Marathon scene

Training schedule called for a 4 mile easy run today.

After work I drove to the park where my half marathon will be this weekend.  I've never been there, so I'm glad I now know where I'm going at 7:30am on Sunday.

This morning I packed my gym bag with my running clothes, my hand held water bottle, my ifitness pouch, and I printed up a trusty course map (see below).  While it wasn't that long of a long run, I wore the ifitness pouch so I could easily bring my car keys (They didn't jangle in the pouch at all!), license, and my cell phone in the event of creepers or getting lost in this park that is brand new and foreign to me.  (But really, I need to get some pepper spray).  Luckily there weren't any creepers.  And I didn't get too lost.

If you have read my blog for a little bit, you may recall seeing that the elevation map for this course is pretty intense:

I wanted to run the part of the course that involved the monster hill that I will encounter twice over the course of miles 5.5-7, and miles 10.5-12 (Once is bad enough...but twice! and at the end!)  So I ran the large loop to the left (not the little off-shoot loop to the right).  I veered slightly off course and missed a turn about half a mile in (whoops!) but I ran the rest of the loop.

An "easy" 4.80 miles in 56:42.  But an average moving pace of 11:02, which is more accurate, as I stopped multiple times to consult the map.

So I actually ran it faster than I realized.  I think I saw my average pace and thought I was doing really badly.  Meanwhile, I was running it somewhere between half marathon pace and easy pace.  My pace was also slowed by stopping to locate the restroom situation near mile 1.2.  And I drank too much water between 2pm and my arrival at the park. Oh and the 30:00 pace? I had stopped and was stretching at my car.

If I do an 11:00 pace while running up hill for 3 miles... that's ok.  That means in order to tie my previous 2:21:10, I'd have to run the remaining 10.1 miles at a 10:41 pace.  Which I think is completely doable.

Let's hope music, and seeing others running around me will pressure me to run a little faster!

Here are some photos from my run:

 This sign was unexpected.
Shortly after this sign (in the "no horses" zone) there was a pile of horse poop.

 Beginning of the hill.

 More hill, 13 minutes after the previous hill picture.

5 minutes later, I was so happy for this downhill.  
When I see this for the second time on Sunday, I'll have only one mile to go!

We're actually getting a whole bunch of rain from Wednesday night through Friday night. But I am happy to report (I know it's 5 days out)-
Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 36. Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 54. (No Precipitation).

There's a mix of sun and shade along the course, and several spots with open fields where I could see a breeze coming across.  Based on the current forecast, I'm guessing it will be around 40 at the start.  I'm leaning towards shorts with a long sleeve shirt.  Not that anyone really needs to know this, I'm just thinking/typing aloud.

Cross your fingers for me that the rain continues to hold off for the weekend!

Recap Training Week 11 + Sunday Long Run

Week 11 Recap...

The plan.

5 mi 
10 x 400  
@5k pace 
3 mi 
12 mi 

The reality.

Monday 3/21: 1 hour of Spin
Tuesday 3/22: Easy Run = 4.05 mi. + 180 crunches + 90 sec plank
Wednesday 3/23: Rest Day
Thursday 3/24: 55 min. of Boot camp + 5x800@10k pace on treadmill =3.5 mi.
Friday 3/25: Rest Day
Saturday 3/26: Pace Run = 4.59 mi.
Sunday 3/27: Long Run = 12.32 mi.

6 days till the half!

Sunday's Long Run:
It was 12 miles; I ran it 3/1.  As per Hal Higdon that means:

A 3/1 run is one in which you run the first three-fourths of the distance at a comfortable pace, then accelerate to near race pace over the last one quarter of the workout. (You should finish refreshed, not fatigued.) 

I wouldn't say I finished fatigued, but I wasn't "refreshed" either.  
  • It was 40 and anywhere from breezy to windy.
  • I ended my run going straight into the wind.
  • I was facing west as the sun was setting, without sunglasses or a hat.  
  • The last two miles were a long gradual up-hill.
  • I was kind of squinty, my eyes were watering, and the fronts of my legs were a little cold because I wore shorts.

I had a mint chocolate gu @ mile 4.5-4.7 (sometimes I take my time!) and then an espresso love gu @ mile 8.9-9.0.

I clearly started off too fast for my eeeeasy run.  
Must remember to slow down at the beginning!

I brought my camera along on my run, here's the wildlife I saw.

Have you ever had a goose hiss at you??  They are not pleasant when baby geese are around (luckily it's not time for baby geese quite yet, but soon...).  They love to make themselves comfortable in the middle of the towpath.



Big Hill that I am never happy to see when returning from running along the canal:

 Not sure what's up with the pink sun spots.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Random Post...including the return of good coconut water and speedwork

Wednesday I got a call from the local bike shop that my specially-ordered Mint Chocolate gu was in!  I stopped there last Friday after work, picked up some Espresso Love gu and they ordered a box of Mint Chocolate for me.  That was super fast.

I was super excited.  And still am.  I'll be having one of these on my long run on Sunday and another NEXT Sunday during my half marathon.

Despite my excitement over mint chocolate gu (did you not know I like mint + chocolate?) I was exhausted after getting home from work on Wednesday so I made it a rest day.  I think the gross weather was making me feel rather blahhh too.  Pup-a-roo felt the same way too:

Oh wait,  I'm pretty sure she naps on our bed every day (I caught her mid-yawn here).  Look at what a number she did to our nicely made bed while we were at work.

I kicked my feet up for a little.  Did some laundry.  And when hubs got home, he seemed to be feeling the same way, so we walked down the street to one of our favorite restaurants for dinner.

These flowers my husband picked up earlier this week will help me remember it's spring even though it's been barely 40 all week.  Oh, and after dinner on Wednesday?  It was raining/sleeting sideways. Hard.  And then it started to thunder and lightning.  Then we had pea-sized hail.  Perfect spring weather.

We were stuffed from dinner, but brought home this delicious macaroon to split.

...minus a couple bites.

In other news, recently I picked up a giant 1 Liter container of coconut water from Trader Joe's.  I used to love the Zico brand, but then they started selling it in plastic bottles instead of little tetra-packs and it tasted different in a not-good way (here's my previous discussion of coconut water).  But I was intrigued by the return of the tetra-pack-like packaging and took a risk.

And I'm glad I took the risk, because the taste of the coconut water in this packaging is good again!  Also, I found an explanation on the tag.  According to the tag (pictured below), the blend of Brazilian, Thai, and Indonesian coconut water tastes like balls.  However, Brazilian or Thai on its own is delicious (my opinion).

I drank some on its own the other day and in a smoothie with strawberry lowfat kefir, a frozen banana, and some frozen berries:

Last night I did my bootcamp class.  As usual there were a lot of planks, crunches, pushups. We also worked on triceps, biceps, did bench presses, and ended with some lunges and squats. (I promise the class was more varied and exciting than my summary though).

Afterward I did the speedwork I should have done Wednesday (by the way, I'm glad I took a rest day Wednesday...I ended up passing out on the couch after dinner and macaroon, somewhere around 9:30).

My speed work was 5 x 800 @10k pace.  You can see my recap on Daily Mile here. But to summarize, my goal pace for the 800s was 9:49-10:07.  I ran them at the following paces: 9:46, 10:02, 9:40, 9:38, 9:42.  I did a .15 mile rest interval between each.  0-2% incline to keep it interesting. Including a short warm up and cool down, I ran 3.5 miles.  Avg HR 167, Max 185.

(Does anyone else find some minor discomfort in the ankle/lower shin region while running on a treadmill...but never while running outside?  I stopped and stretched, changed the incline, and it got better).

Those paces weren't uncomfortable, I was just bored out of my mind because I did not bring my mp3 player, did not have headphones to plug into the built-in tv, and I couldn't figure out how to get closed-captioning on it.  So I watched a tornado special on the weather channel, without any audio or text, for 39 minutes.  There's a cool built-in fan on the treadmill which is nice...but it turns out that if you're 5'2" you're not really tall enough to enjoy the full benefit of the fan.  Bummer.

Anyway, I was pleased with Thursday's workout.  Today was a scheduled rest day.  Tomorrow's a shorter pace run. Eight days to go til my half marathon!

If you run with a Garmin, please check out my post from earlier this week and comment on how you like to use your Garmin during races (what screens you find most helpful, etc).  Inquiring minds want to know!

Enjoy your weekend!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Recap: Training Week 10 + Garmin question

The Plan:
5 mi 
45 min 
5 mi 
11 mi 

What Happened:
Monday 3/14: 100 crunches. Nothing else.  Spinning was canceled because of the college's spring break.  I took one for the team (marriage) and went grocery shopping and made dinner.

Tues 3/15: Easy Run: 5.45 miles

Wed 3/16: 50 min Tempo Run = 4.92 miles

Thur 3/17: 25 minutes of weight machines at the gym (couple sets each of: chest, shoulder, bicep press; hip adduction & hip abduction; glute machine; "reverse" crunches? for your lower back.

Fri 3/18: Easy bike ride (first of the year!) w/hubs: 6.23 miles

Sat 3/19: Pace run: 6.75 miles + 120 crunches + 90 second plank

Sun 3/20: Long run = 13.02 miles.

I can't believe there are less than 2 weeks til the half marathon!
  • While my running routes naturally include some hills thanks to where I live, I am still nervous about the course's severe elevation map.  I am hoping to get over to the park where the half marathon will be on the weekend to do a pace run there (or maybe my easy run next week if I can get out of work on time) so I can run the biggest hill before hand.
  • I know it's early to obsess about weather. But I do anyway.  Excuse me, what is this!? 
    • Exhibit A: Friday it was 79F.
    • Now...chance of snow??  I'm not happy. This is central NJ, not western NY.  Crazy.
    • I will take temps in the 40s for April 3, just no snow or rain, please.
  • Related to the weather, I am starting to think about what I will wear.  This is also why I'd like to check out the park and see how shaded or not the trails are.  40s + shade = crops. 50+ with or without shade = shorts.  
  • Must start waking up earlier in the morning!  And maybe get in a couple runs before work, if the above forecast changes.  The half marathon will start at 8am.  I have not run at 8am since...the fall?  (So why am I still up writing this at 11:30!?)
Question for my Garmin-owning friends--

What information do you like to have on your Garmin?  For training and/or races.  I know the options may vary from model to model.  I usually have...
Screen 1: overall time, avg pace, total distance
Screen 2: lap time, lap pace, lap distance
Screen 3: HR Graph, zone, and time of sunset
And Actual HR flashes on a 4th screen.

-I do autolap at 1 mile increments (Not a problem last April - course was along the ocean, on boardwalk.  September...it got messed up, I blame tall Philly buildings and a tunnel).

-I occasionally use Virtual Partner (debating whether programming VP at 2:21:10 for this half marathon so I can see, as I run, how I compare to my previous fastest time will help me or stress me out).

How do you use your Garmin??

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Long Run Sunday - My favorite!

Good News:  I feel good after my long Run today...13.03 miles!
Bad news: my sparkling white shoes finally got dirty :(  It was going to happen eventually.

It was in the 48-50F range, sunny, and not windy for the first time in a long time!

Here were my splits.

And the elevation-

The first 1.65 was with my husband.  We ran up the hill at an unusually fast pace considering we hadn't warmed up. We walked briefly just after mile 1.0.  Splits 3-5 were slower... I stopped a couple times to check out my surroundings.  Too bad I didn't have my camera...  
I saw a red-tailed hawk.  
I found 11 deer standing in tall grass, perfectly still, staring at me.  
I found 4 wild turkeys.
I found 1 blue bird.
And more mud than I had hoped to find (see first picture of this post).  I tried to dodge muddy spots and goose poop throughout miles 3 and 4.

Once I left the park, around mile 4.6 through 4.8 (:55 minutes) I took an Espresso Love gu.  Whether the effects are real or just in my head...I ran my next several miles faster (but comfortably faster - my heart rate did not increase with the increase in pace).  I slowed down around mile 9 (1:43), and probably should have taken something around that point.

I had a Shot Blok at about 9.4 and 10.0 (1:48, 1:55).  Because that's all I brought with me.  Again, my pace improved for splits 11-14 above.  My plan had been to do around 12 miles, and with that distance in mind, I didn't think it would be worth taking a second gu for the last 2-3 miles.  If I had known I would end up doing 13 miles, I might have brought a second gu.

Also observed on my run, while somewhere in suburbia, was a tanning bed, out at the road, with a For Sale sign.  Not something you see every day!

By the way...are you on Daily MileBe my friend!

After my run I had some of this:

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before, but I'm obsessed with peanut butter filled pretzels.  And I made one of my Starbucks VIA packets with mostly skim milk (instead of 16 oz water it calls for).

Lastly, a picture of my pup tonight.  You'd think SHE ran 13 miles today (she didn't).

PS, Be sure to congratulate Alyssa on her amazing marathon performance today!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Recipe: Grasshopper Cupcakes

Way back on Tuesday, I said I'd post a recipe for a delicious treat.  Here it is, Saturday!  Yikes.

I'll save my workout recap for tomorrow when I review **Week 10** of my half marathon training.  Holy Smokes.

So Wednesday night I made some delicious cupcakes that I guess I first learned about 3ish years ago.
Back in the day before I had even run my first race (a 3k) I stumbled upon this blog because of knitting (a hobby that seems to have been replaced by running).  While I was there for knitting, I came across some fantastic pictures of cupcakes (pictures no longer there).

Here's the cupcake post.

And here are my cupcakes.

 I resisted temptation while unwrapping all these peppermint patties...

 Thumbs up for Butter Cream Frosting.  Whipped.

 I only had neon green food coloring, so the frosting's a little bright.  
There's peppermint extract in there too.

Peppermint patty surprise in the bottom!

These are always a hit both at work and at home.  If you like chocolate +  mint... I highly recommend.

Today I did a 5 mile (half marathon) pace run.  Goal pace was 10:23-10:42.

Range was 10:06-10:34.  Success!
Though I did feel sluggish at the beginning.  And I had to stop during my warm up mile to fix my mp3 player and to get a pebble out of my sock.  Then for the first 2ish pace miles I was running into the wind, and mad that I didn't put lip balm on before I left.  I got out of my funk though.  Not sure why I was flying for mile 5... I slowed myself down to 10:06 half way through when I saw I had been running around a 9:45.

After my run I had a large glass of chocolate milk.  It was delicious.  After making myself presentable, we took a drive up to our favorite Middle Eastern restaurant.  Sad they were out of our favorite appetizer, the babaganough...but we got falafel instead.

(after eating two of them)

Then we got pitas (hummus for me and kufta for hubs).  Not much to see, because they were wrapped in foil, and we scarfed them down quickly.

After that we walked around and got coffee.  And checked out the Delaware River which floods often.  And after all the rain we got over the last two weeks, the water level is really high.

This picture is actually further down the river, where we stopped on our way home this afternoon (and a little history tidbit: it's where George Washington crossed the Delaware!)

Anyway, we had ourselves a nice little Saturday.  Tomorrow I'll be doing my second to last long run before my half marathon!!!  I can't believe it's almost here.

I know I posted earlier about picking up some Clif Shot Energy Gels...but for this half marathon, I decided I'll be sticking with what has worked for my past several long runs...Gu.  I can experiment with the Clif brand after April 3rd.

Friday after work, I swung by a local bike shop to pick up some Gu in favorite flavors.  Much to my dismay they did not have the mint chocolate that I loved so much.  But I picked up a couple in Espresso Love, AND they offered to order the mint chocolate for me, which will arrive by the middle of this week.  Hooray!

Happy Weekend everyone!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Recipe: Olive Oil Pasta with Walnuts, Lentils & Red Peppers

Monday was an unplanned rest day because my gym = a university gym, and because it's spring break this week, there was no spinning on Monday.

I thought about running, but I got stuck at work for about an hour and a half later than I had planned.  Then I had to swing by the grocery store on my way home, then I made dinner.  Suddenly it was 8:00!  I did approximately 100 crunches on the living room floor so I wasn't completely lazy.

Dinner was a recipe from the blog Oh She Glows: Olive Oil Pasta with Walnuts, Lentils, and Red Peppers.

Here are the ingredients for a large serving, check out her blog post linked above for the cooking instructions:
  • 1 serving (3oz) spaghetti (I used Kamut pasta)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, dry toasted
  • 1/2 cup + 1-2 tbsp medium heat salsa (I used Simply Natural brand)
  • 1.5-2 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-2.5 tbsp nutritional yeast (gives it a creaminess)
  • 1-1.5 tbsp ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil (fresh would be lovely!)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chopped red pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1/3 cup cooked lentils
My modifications:
-No idea what kamut pasta is.  I used whole wheat spaghetti.
-Couldn't find nutritional yeast at my store, and I'm not vegan, so I found an asiago cheese described as having a nutty flavor to substitute.
-I skipped the ketchup because we don't own any, minus a couple packets from take out food.
-I multiplied the recipe by about 4 so we'd have leftovers.  And we've each had 2 meals out of it...with more left in the fridge.
-I added 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes...holy hotness. Husband loves it; I need a large glass of water.
-I didn't have pre-cooked lentils, so that added to the prep time.  I think I had this whole thing ready in about 45 minutes.

It was a pretty good protein-packed pasta dish.  Husband gave it a thumbs up too.

Here are some photos from the process.

Finished Product
(I don't know why the spacing is off, I tried to but cannot fix it).

I think Daylight Savings time is evil!  It is making it harder for me to leave work on time, because it's still so bright out, so I think it can't *possibly* be time to leave work yet.

Today I stayed at work later too, because a meeting ran way longer than expected, but at least I didn't have to go to the grocery store, and dinner tonight was leftovers from last night.  So after work I got in a 5.5 mile easy run...in daylight.  Amazing!

Wednesday I'm planning to do some kind of speed work, then make some fabulous St. Patty's Day-colored baked goodies to bring into work on Thursday.  I'm helping it will improve the tone of my Thursday meetings :)  I'll share the recipe & pics after I make them!

How are you adjusting to Daylight Savings Time??

Monday, March 14, 2011

Weekend Activity

So the weather this weekend wasn't as warm as I thought it would be.

I did get in an 11+ mile run on Saturday.  Hooray!

Sunday never warmed up out of the 40s, it was overcast, and very windy. Not the kind of weather that motivates me to get my bike out.

My 11-miler went well.  It turned out to be 11.27 miles!

I brought along my Clif Shot Bloks, in Strawberry, which I loved back the fall.  Now, I'm not so sure I love them though... They are ok, but I have really come around to liking Gu.  I remember reading stuff online where people said they just didn't like chewing the Shot Bloks.  I didn't feel that way 6 months ago, but kind of felt that way on my Saturday run.  I like the flavor, but just kind of wanted to get the process over with faster.

3 shot bloks = 100 calories = 1 gu.
I couldn't deal with eating 3 at a time though.  I had one at 3.8 miles, one at 4.3, then one at 6.5 and one at 8.5.

In order to fit them in my fabulous Camelbak handheld water bottle, I had to cut the package of 6 in half:

Here were my lap times.

My paces are what I would consider to be significantly faster than my long easy run from about 5 weeks ago, when my long run was between 8 and 9 miles.  Improvement in pace: approximately :30.

When I returned from my run, my husband directed me to look in the fridge, so I did:

Ahhhhh!!  Dunkin Donuts Nonfat Iced Caramel Latte.  Such a nice treat for after my run!

Sunday we were lazy.
We went out for brunch at our favorite restaurant a 2 minute walk away.
Then came back home where we waited for it to warm up for our bike ride.  It never did.
Instead, I played Old Lady Neighbor and watched people in the apartment building next to us move.

Does this look like a stable way to transport a couch?
That's right, no bungees.  Cushions loose in the back.

I will make such a great retired person 40 years from now.

Energy gel/gu/chomps/bloks/pbj/whatever question for you:

What do you like to eat on long runs??
Also, how frequently do you eat something on long runs?

As I said, I used to like Clif Shot Bloks, but think I am moving in the direction of gu.  Mint chocolate is a strong contender for my favorite flavor, at the moment.  I was going to pick some up at a bike shop on my way home but didn't remember.  But while at the grocery store today, I found some Clif Shot energy gel in the Nature's Marketplace section:

The Two on the Left are the "new formula."  The one on the right is the old one (it was on sale).  I picked up a strawberry, mocha, and razz.

We'll see which I like better: Gu or Clif Shot Gel.

I think with Gu, I'm learning that I like it around 4.5 miles/50 minutes into my run, assuming I've eaten within a couple hours of running.  My plan for my half marathon is to take something at about mile 4.5 and again around mile 9ish.

I'd love to hear what you do for your long runs!!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...