A baseline and a stretch

Sub 60 10k
A PR! Or...
A PR! Or…

It was supposed to be an easy run. That’s runnerspeak for conversation pace, or kind of slow.  As in taking it easy.

We began that way, running a 12-minute mile to start. We sped up as we ran, and actually I started to tire out. We walked in a couple of places near the end.

With all of that, I still ended up running a PR!

Well, sort of.

I’ve only completed a handful of runs at 10k (6.2 miles) or longer. The first time was November 2013. I didn’t run that distance again until this year.

RunKeeper has my data since 2011. It  knows the truth – my 2013 run was faster. Garmin only has data since February 2016, so today’s run is the fastest it knows.

That said, today’s run was still a milestone. It serves as a great baseline for my training program. My goal is to run 10k in less than an hour. With 10-weeks left to train, I’m aiming to cut a solid 8 minutes off my current 10k pace. It feels doable, although a stretch. And that’s the reason I chose this goal in the first place.

My training runs have all gone according to plan, so I’ll trust the process and keep on keeping on.

New blues in the Big Peach

Sub 60 10k

IMG_9034I journaled in Aspen, but chose not blog. In fact, I only touched my computer once during the trip. I do want to recap my adventures here, especially my new appreciation for theoretical physics and cosmology. But today, I’ll stick to running.

Typically, I run four days a week: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Because I traveled last Sunday, I ran my seven miles on Saturday instead.

Due to altitude and conference proceedings, I didn’t expect to run much in Aspen. I did attempt one run, and as luck would have it, the trail from my hotel was uphill.

It took a lot of work to eek out 1.5 miles, but I was proud by the end!

I returned home late Thursday, and Friday I visited a local running store, The Big Peach. I purchased a new pair of running shoes. They’re beautiful, I must say. My “old pinks” were Pegasus 29 and the “new blues” are Pegasus 33. They’ve radically changed the shoe, and it’s comfy, lightweight and responsive. I’ve seen these words in shoe reviews, but had no idea what they meant in practical terms. At the Big Peach, I ran outdoors in a couple of brands, and the words sprang to life.

Striding.
Striding.

Although these feel great (!) I’m concerned the responsive feeling may mean I don’t have enough support for the 8, 9 and 10 milers coming up in a few weeks. I won’t know until I put in the miles… I do know I’m retiring my “almost new” Brooks Launch. Hopefully they’ll find a loving home.

Today I picked up the miles I left behind last Saturday. Blue came with, and we ran three miles and three strides. Tomorrow we’ll do an easy six-miler, and restart my Sub 60 plan next week.

#Sub60 10k: Seven and long

Sub 60 10k

Today’s 7-miler had a twist. Last week’s goal was simply to run 7 miles at a steady pace. Ha. Simply. That was just my third time at that distance…

Today’s work was quite a bit more challenging. The first three miles were steady (11:00-11:45 pace), the next three were fast (10:15-10:35), and one more mile at steady/cool down pace. It kicked my ass, but I made it. Better than made it. Blue and I ran negative splits for the six miles, even though I had to walk a few seconds just before mile six.

We stopped during the last mile to chit chat with some friends at a water station (shout out to North GA Running!) and then brought it in for the finish. Last week I said I wouldn’t try for another personal long; I’ve hit the same “long” twice now at 7.27, and a few weeks from now the plan requires 8! But after the water break, I had a little (just a little) energy left in the tank. So we squeezed out a few more steps and hit 7.35!

First 7-miler, Jan 2016. Personal long at 7.35, June 2016. Same finish line, but different route.
First 7-miler, Jan 2016. Personal long at 7.35, June 2016. Same finish line, but different route.

To avoid injury, we dial back the mileage the next couple of weeks, and my first 8-miler is scheduled for July 10, if everything goes as planned. So stayed tuned for my new PR then.

I haven’t had time to soak in a salt bath, and I think that’s the key to last week’s quick recovery. I plan to remedy that sometime later this evening. Sometime before I pack.

Tomorrow morning I’m Aspen-bound!

At the track

Sub 60 10k

Speedwork at the track this morning! I ran:

  • 1 mile warmup
  • 5 min @ 9:34-9:45 pace then 2 min slow
    • ^^repeat 4 times
  • 1 mile cool down
Alysia Montaño

That’s 4.65 in the books. It took effort, yet I felt strong throughout. My legs, a little fatigued from strides on Tuesday and strength training yesterday, held up with no problem.

I haven’t gone shoe shopping yet, so I’ve made due rotating my old pairs. I have another long run coming up soon. In fact, it’s supposed to be Sunday, but I’m flying to Colorado for the week. I’ll skip the official Saturday workout and do Sunday’s 7-miler instead. Based on my travel schedule I may basically skip one whole week of my plan, or at least delay it. Having been to Aspen before, I know it takes a few days to get used to the elevation, making exercise of any type very difficult.

I’ll play it by ear (or breath) and look for blogs about my adventures there.

Steps and Strides

Personal Narrative, Sub 60 10k
The view during my first three miles.
The view during my first three miles.

Today was workout 21 of 61, and I ran 3 miles, 5 strides.

The three miles is old hat this point, but we’ve upped the strides this week. That last stride just about did me in! I wanted to give it my all, and I did, but rather than running through the tape, I pulled up at the final split second. I felt disappointed as I heard the last chime, but I gave all I felt capable of at that moment.

All day I assumed the last stride was slower than some of the others, but now I’ve checked – it was fastest! By far! Goes to show, perception is not always reality.

Still, I plan to work at  running through the tape. It’s easy for me to do when I’m somewhat tired, but when I’m truly fatigued, I stop short. If I ponder this long enough, I can probably think of many life circumstances where this was true as well.

Me on Snapchat, after mailing my manuscript.
Me on Snapchat, after mailing my manuscript.

In other news, I hit a writing milestone. Yesterday I polished a children’s book I wrote years ago, and today I sent it out into the world! Very exciting.

Knowing that it takes anywhere from 3 months to 6 months to hear from some publishers, today’s step motivated me to write more. Several things can happen at this point:

  1. No response
  2. Form letter rejection
  3. Personal rejection/ editor’s encouragement
  4. Rejection with request to revise and resubmit
  5. Acceptance

Obviously I’d prefer options 3-5, but I feel liberated. My only choices are to wait or write. Having this story circulating, no matter her fate, is freeing. I choose to write.

7 more miles in faithful pinks

Sub 60 10k

I ran 7 miles today. It’s not my first time, but it’s still a milestone. It’s the longest duration (1:22:45) and tied for my longest distance at 7.27. I mistakenly thought 7.22 was my longest, or I would’ve held out for another hundredth of a mile.

Either way, I felt accomplished by the end. It was a challenging run, to be sure, and hills of mile 5 showed in the mile 6 split. We came in strong on mile 7, and claimed the win.

Nike Zoom Pegasus 29 – my “old pinks”

The biggest news: my feet held up. I ran in my old Pegasus 29s, which have over 500 miles! Not surprising, I had overall leg fatigue and my foot started to peter out at the end, but nothing like the pain and discomfort I felt with new Brooks Launch. This means those Brooks are as good as gone.  I wish there was a way to give running shoes a 20 mile trial period before committing to them.

It’s clear a life of running is in my future, so my approach to shoes will be a little different moving forward. I’ve scoped out some  potential replacements, and I’ll get a new pair before my next milestone, an 8-mile run coming up soon.

#Sub60 10k: 19 of 61 – Old shoes.

Sub 60 10k

Tomorrow I run 7 miles.

It will be my third time ever going that distance and I’m sort of excited and sort of nervous about it. Since I’ve accomplished it before, I know I can finish. But foot fatigue worries me.

Several recent runs have been uncomfortable past the 35 minute mark, and although I haven’t figured out why, it’s not a completely new problem. That said, I wore a pair of old running shoes during today’s run to see how they felt. It was a short run, and just shy of the 35-40 minute fatigue mark. I can say they are much more comfortable than my current shoe, and unlike my current shoe, I didn’t even have a hint that pain was imminent. All signs are pointing to a need to revisit my shoes.

I’m going to tackle the 7-miler in my old pinks to see how it goes. I do anticipate some discomfort before I hit 7, but hopefully it’ll be minimal. If that’s the case, I’ll be clear about what to do next.

#Sub60 10k: 18 of 61 – Stepmoms Run

Personal Narrative, Running Buddha, Sub 60 10k
Memorial Day Race
Blue & Lil Blue post 5k

Thursday morning, I ran with the youngest. He’s 11 and likes a good adventure as much as the next kid.

After a strong finish during a recent 5k race, he agreed with his father and I that running would be good summertime pursuit. He’s athletic, with a determined heart, and was undaunted by my description of Thursday’s running plan.

Eleven (almost 12) is that interesting age where some are still open to public kisses from parents, but are pretty sure they’ve got this thing (life) all figured out. Or at least they want you to think so.

As a veteran classroom  teacher turned new stepmom, it’s an interesting tug-of-war watching this play out, even as you know what’s going on. I know how kids generally work. I know where mine is on this or that developmental scale. But I (and every other parent) constantly wonder – am I doing the right thing? Stepmomming while running is no different.

He jogged the warm-up mile with no problem, and then it was high-low intervals on the track. He ran out of steam early (11-year-olds don’t sleep during the summer), so I left him to walk/run at his own pace while I continued mine. I knew from our earlier talk he was fine with this, and yet seeing him on the other side of the track, small and alone in the distance tugged at my heart. Should I sprint over to him to catch up and check in? Should I slow down on the next lap so we can run together?

Laughing while warming up today.
Laughing while warming up today.

Ultimately I stuck to my plan, checking on him and slowing a wee bit when we passed naturally. Each time he assured me he was fine, and on the way home, when I asked once more, he gave me a “knock it off” look. A polite one, a few steps below tween exasperation and eye rolling, but hinting at it all the same.

He didn’t join Blue and I on today’s 3 miler, opting for Saturday sleeping instead. Just as well. Starting this afternoon he has a big weekend-long sleepover with this friends. I’m sure he needed all extra rest he could gather.

#Sub60: 16 of 61

Sub 60 10k, Temple Building
new brooks
First day in my new Brooks Launch.

Sunday’s long run tested my shoes, my stride and my insoles.

I have an ongoing challenge with shock/fatigue effecting the ball of my right foot. Over the years, I’ve dealt with the symptoms successfully for the most part. In the past two years, it hasn’t flared up at all, so I’d forgotten about it until earlier this month. That was about the time I ran out out my old shoes (500+ miles) and purchased news ones. Somewhere in that transition, my foot reminded me of the way things were.

The new shoes haven’t helped, so I tried new insoles this week. I did a short run with them, but Sunday’s long run was the official new insoles trial. Would my feet hold up for over an hour of running, or would they start to complain?

They complained.

I adjusted my foot strike throughout the run and found some shifts helpful. I realize much of this will be trial and error until I’m ready to go see a specialist. I’m not, yet, so trial and error it is.

Aside from foot fatigue in the last mile, the run was a good one. I kept a steady 11 to 11:45 pace as prescribed, tending toward the lower end of the range. I locked into the pace easily, and found the only real work happened when expected: tackling the one or two hills along the trail. I backed up the pace a little bit to recover, but it was still within my target intensity.

Tomorrow’s run is another easy one, but I’m really looking forward to Thursday’s challenge. It’s speedwork, and I plan to become good friends with  track.

#Sub60: 15 of 61

Sub 60 10k

IMG_8625Last night, I decided today’s run would begin at the park. The park trailhead begins/ends right beside a track, which is perfect for strides at the run’s end.

This area is full of runners and bikers. It seems every other week there’s a 5k/10k and the like. There was one last Saturday, and just to be on the safe side, I checked for this Saturday. Nothing on tap! All clear!

Yet I arrived at the park shortly after 6:15 a.m., greeted by a tell-tale Start banner.

I drove around to investigate. Yes, a race would be underway in little over an hour. And worse, the track served as a staging area. I could be done with the main course before the race began, but the track was off limits, and the track was the only reason I came to the park.

Wasting no time, I headed to my usual spot and got my miles. Three slow miles culminating in three strides. I felt good overall, and it was fun to note how easy it was to lock into my target pace. It’s definitely familiar and comfortable.

Tomorrow’s run is 6 miles steady – 11:00-11:45 target pace. Looking forward to locking in on a pretty spring morning.