Monthly Mileage: April 2013

I posted a nice wrap-up of my March training here, and thought it’d be nice to keep it going. So I’m hereby creating a “Monthly Mileage” post. (If the posts stop, it’s because I’ve pansied out and the running has stopped. I’m hoping that won’t happen.)

April held 45.5 miles all totaled, in 13 runs!

April also included the Ukrops 10k.

I’ve got the Heart of Virginia 10k this Saturday, and no more races scheduled after that! I think that needs to change, because this time around, it’s proven necessary to have a race on the horizon to keep me consistent. If I’m not training for something, I’m afraid I’ll stop running.

I have a few options in mind:

But I’m sort of disappointed in the lack of local races (especially 10ks) in the next few months! I might have to do a little digging. Or traveling.

And then, just as something to think about, I’ve been eyeing the following:

But I’m not quite ready to commit to another half marathon yet. We’ll just have to see how the summer goes!

2013 Ukrop’s 10k: Recap

Spoiler Alert: On Saturday, Dad and I completed the 2013 Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k, while also successfully achieving our goal of beating our time from last year!

We got off to a bit of a rough start, as our wave started at 9:20, and we were still looking for parking in downtown Richmond at 9:11. We wound up snagging a primo parking spot only a few blocks from the starting corrals, but we missed our wave start and had to hop in line with a slower group. (I didn’t mind, but being surrounded by walkers and slower joggers really put my dad on edge…and brought out his running road rage.)

I’ve run in quite a few races (from high school cross country to my “adult” return to the running scene), and the large-scale events are by far the most fun. When you’re running with 38,685 other people, it’s hard not to feel the energy. It also helps that Sports Backers really knows how to put on a good event.

the starting corral

the starting corral

The music was pumping and the announcer’s commentary had everyone cheering and clapping as we waited for our wave to be released. Flo Rida’s “Good Feelin'” started playing–which was perfect, because my dad only recently discovered (and loves) that song–and then, right around 9:30, we were off!

Our plan was always to take the first mile slowly, to get warmed up and acclimated. Dad, however, forgot this as soon as we started, and took off, dodging through people and getting more and more worked up by every walker in his path. I tried to hang with him, but quickly realized that his jog-sprint-jog madness wasn’t jiving with my slow-and-steady mindset (or training). I told him that he could go as fast as he wanted, but I was sticking with the plan and wouldn’t be going much faster. Like a good partner, he adapted and slowed down for me.

Somewhere during mile 2, I got a cramp in my right obliques, which nagged at me for about 10 minutes. For whatever reason, it just wasn’t my greatest running day. The cramp went away, but I didn’t have the energy I wanted. For most of the race, I felt like giving up and walking, as my body wasn’t cooperating and I just felt s-l-o-w. Thankfully, though, Dad was there to pull me along, as I did for him last year. (Last year, I was in better shape than he was, and I was there to motivate him and pull him through. This year he did the same for me.)

The 3 mile mark for this race is the turnaround point (it’s an out-and-back course), and right around then is when I finally started feeling better. At that point, I felt like I would make it, and based on our 5k split, I knew we’d beat last year’s time! Then, around mile 4, things went downhill again. I asked dad several times during the 4th mile “where the heck is the 5-mile marker?!,” because things were feeling bleak.

We made it through, though. In one last spurt of dramatics, there was a minor freak-out on my part when we passed the 6-mile marker and Dad (trying to be encouraging) said, “only two-tenths to go!” For some reason, I had been calculating our time throughout the race based on a 6.1-mile course, instead of 6.2. I was pretty pissed when I realized that I had closer to 2 more minutes to run than 1. Minor oversight on my part.

Suffice it to say: it wasn’t my greatest race, but it was still a good time. It’s always fun running Sports Backers events, because they organize things so well, with bands and motivation all along the way. There were bands on literally every block of the race, and different organizations lining the streets to cheer the runners on. It helps to have a plethora of things to look at, to take your mind off the task at hand.

We crossed the finish line for an official time of 1:06:44, which is a full 6 minutes and 4 seconds faster than last year–nearly a minute faster per mile!

victorious!

victorious!

I’m excited to be back in the swing of running, even if this race showed that I’m far from being back in top form. It’s hard not to be frustrated when I look at the differences between my times during my half marathon training in 2011 and now, but I try to remember that simply getting out there is healthier and better for me than not!

6.2 miles later, I'm all smiles!

6.2 miles later, I’m all smiles!

I’m registered for the Heart of Virginia 10k in 3 weeks, so I plan to add a few more speed and hill workouts to my routine. It’s never the distance that gets me, it’s the speed. I definitely need to improve in that area. I’m also considering attempting a Paleo diet, since it’s proven quite effective for some runner-people out there in the blogosphere, but I plan to do a little more research first…

Overall, it was a great day and a great race. I’m glad to have done it, as it gives me a baseline to start a new, healthy phase of my life. (I’ve majorly slacked off for over a year, so this has gotten me back on track.) Dad and I plan to be back next year, and he’s already talking about breaking an hour!

4 days til Ukrop’s!

The 2013 Ukrop’s 10k is on Saturday!

Dad and I headed out for our last pre-race long run on Saturday. I had us slated for 5.5 miles, but we decided to add an extra lap! 5.75 miles on the books. On Saturday night, I registered for the Heart of Virginia 10k!

Neither of us has had a working watch during our entire training, so we’ve been relying on one of our cell phone stopwatches to time each run. On Saturday, we used Dad’s phone. When he took it out of his pocket to check our time after one mile, the timer had stopped. Doh. So we headed to WalMart on Sunday and we both bought new watches. Now we’re ready for race day!

We were going to do a quick easy run on Sunday, but neither of us ended up feeling up for it. (At about 5pm, I fell asleep on the couch.) The new HomeGoods in Charlottesville opened on Sunday morning, so we went to check it out instead!

HomeGoods finally comes to Charlottesville!

HomeGoods finally comes to Charlottesville!

The temperature in Charlottesville peaked at a scorching 87 degrees today, which is insane considering that it was snow/sleet/raining under a week ago. My training plan called for 3 fast miles, so we headed to the gym. I guess someone in the apartment complex didn’t get the memo on the weather, because it was stiflingly hot in there. It was tough to eke out the miles, as I was quite literally dripping sweat about a minute in, but I got it done.

nice, right?

nice, right? this doesn’t even capture it.

My training plan calls for 2 more easy miles on Thursday. Then on Friday, Dad and I will head to Richmond!

As I’ve previously mentioned, my goal for the race this year is just to do better than last year. As this is week 10 of training (versus 3 last year), I feel like I’ve done a good job to make that happen. This will be the first race I’ve run in a year, and I’m feeling good and looking forward to Saturday!

12 days til Ukrops 10k!

Dad and I returned to my high school track for another long run on Saturday. We set out for 5 miles, but from the very first step, I was ready to stop. I struggled with literally every single step, my feet and legs were heavy, I’ve never felt more slow, and I wasn’t feeling it mentally. I can’t remember ever feeling that way during a run before. (I’ve felt tired and out of shape, but never so physically and mentally heavy.) It also didn’t help that somehow, we were running into the wind the entire way around the track.

FINALLY, about 3 miles in, something clicked, and I started feeling good. Our final time for 5 miles was something like 55 minutes, so we estimate that our 6.2 mile time will be right around 68 minutes…or 4 minutes faster than last year!! I’m starting to get pretty excited.

***

Tonight, I headed to the gym for a 3.25mi easy run. I didn’t feel like going at first, but once I was there, it quickly became one of those rare and awesome workouts. I ran it slow and steady, with no pain and no fatigue. I had A Knight’s Tale on TV, and I sweated like crazy. It was one of those runs that helps to remind me how nice it feels to be getting back in shape. Sweating a ton, feeling strong and relaxed and like I could keep going for miles is what it’s all about.

***

I think it’s time for a recap.

In January, I ran 1 mile on New Year’s Day.

In February, I ran 15.75 miles total.

In March, I kicked off the month by taking over a week off completely, but then came back strong for a total of 27.75 miles.

We’re one day into April, and I’ve started it off with 3.25 miles on the books.

what was that I said about “spring” training?

I was supposed to follow last week’s awesome 4-mile long run with a 4.5 miler this weekend.

Then it was 32-39 degrees today with snow, sleet, and rain in the forecast. All. Day. Long.

Dad dragged me out around 2pm this afternoon, when it was just starting to snow/rain/ice pellet. Yuck. We wanted to do another run outside, so we headed to the track at my old elementary and middle schools. After 2 miles, I was done. (Actually I felt done after 1 lap, but stuck it out for a while longer.) Dad hung in there for 3 miles, but by the time he had finished, it was full-on snowing. And it was cold.

We called it a day, hopped back in the car, and went to the grocery store to grab all the necessities for some delicious spaghetti. Then we went to my grandma’s and cooked dinner for her.

By 6:15, it looked like this outside:

snowfall on Gram's [budding] magnolia tree

snowfall on Gram’s [budding] magnolia tree

It’s MARCH 24TH. The first day of spring was last week! I’m ready for Mother Nature to take the hint.

PS: You can now follow me on Instagram! I added a link over in the right sidebar. (There’s not much going on over there yet, but maybe soon…)

spring training… and spring fashion

After a long hiatus, I’ve slowly started running again. (‘Slowly’ describes both my buildup and my speed.) My dad and I are going to run the Ukrop’s 10k again this year, and we’re going to try to do it better than last year. That’s my only goal: to do it ‘better.’ I want to train better (last year I think I did 3 weeks of “training”) and I want to finish faster (last year we ambled across the finish line in 1:12:48).

The reason I stopped running for so long after my (first and only) half marathon in November 2011 is because I think that that race might have done some lasting damage to my left hip. The last stretch of the course was downhill, and I (stupidly) threw myself into it. (I don’t know the actual distance, but I’d guess that it was close to a quarter mile or so.) I pounded down the hill to the finish line, and my hips and knees killed me for the next several days. The pain went away in a few days, and I took a few-week break from running to recover from my months-long training, so I didn’t think much of it. But every time I’ve attempted to ease back into a running routine since then, I’ve been plagued by pretty severe pain in my left hip for a day or so after each run. I know I should probably see a doctor, but I don’t have the best history of keeping up that particular relationship. So I’m taking it slow instead.

I ran twice for a grand total of 2.25 miles in January. I’ve already run 15.75 miles in February. I’m feeling confident.

So this is my training plan. The grayed-out days are complete. Some of the runs will shift in distance and by date, but I intend to stick to something that looks like this:

2013 Ukrops 10k Training

2013 Ukrops 10k Training

I’m going to try a 5k in two and a half weeks, just to get back into the swing of racing. I’ll be running the Fix A Leak Family 5k on St. Patrick’s Day, which is billed as “a trail race on rough terrain.” All of my running thus far has been on a treadmill, because it’s far too cold to run outside. Maybe I’ll try to get one run in outside before then. Either way, I plan to take it extremely slow.

The only crappy part so far is that I wanted to return to running in order to get into better shape. The last time I was running regularly, I peaked at what was probably the best shape of my life. I lost weight (the fatty kind), built muscle, and I really liked how my body looked. This time, I’ve gained about 6 pounds, and I actually see more of what looks like fat around my midsection. Maybe one month is too fast to see real results, but so far I’m feeling a bit defeated. Luckily, it makes me want to try harder. And it feels good to be back in my spandex and V-necks! This Spring, fit is in!

you can't see it, but my head is glistening with sweat!

you can’t see it, but I’m glistening with sweat!

What about you? Any tips for sticking with it? Any favorite training plans or workouts? Is anyone preparing for any spring races?