Sunday, June 30, 2013

Nighttime running = protein!

Typically Sundays are my rest days.  I do my long run on Saturday and then nothing till Monday.  I realized this afternoon, though, that this week would have to be a bit different.  I know that I want to rest on Wednesday (the day before my 5K race).  Thus, I would like to do an easy run on Tuesday, which is typically a cross-training day for me.  Tomorrow (Monday) is really busy... due to various reasons, the only time I could run would be on the treadmill (hereafter known only as the dreadmill) at the gym at around 9 PM tomorrow night.  I do my best to avoid the dreadmill at all costs, so I quickly decided that I would have to run tonight, and do some cross-training tomorrow while the twins nap.  We were at my in-laws to celebrate the twins' third birthday tonight, so I ended up not being able to get out for a run until after we got the kids to bed, which ended up being well past 9:00 PM.

Let me be the first to say that I am not a nighttime runner. I think I may have done it once before.  I decided to run sans music, which isn't my preference but I wanted to be able to hear what was going on around me.  I stuck to the main roads (well, the sidewalks by the main roads), and wore my husband's headlamp.  He goes night fishing frequently, and I am sure it works great for him.  Not so much for my sweaty forehead; it kept slipping down and got quite annoying.  Add to all this that I got more than my daily RDA of protein from the bugs that I kept swallowing, and yes, we can say that I would much prefer to get up at the crack of dawn and run!  As I said, that wasn't going to be possible tomorrow, so tonight had to be it.

My planned run for Monday was 3 miles, with the first two at an easy 9:45-10:00 pace, and the third mile descending down so that the final half-mile was at my 5K goal race pace (which is 8:12/mile).  Unfortunately, I forgot to set my Garmin to half-mile splits, so I don't know exactly what I averaged that last half-mile, but I think I was pretty close to where I wanted to be.  My splits were 9:53, 9:42, and 8:35.  

Here is my plan for the remainder of the week:

Monday--Jillian Michael's 30-Day Shred + Push-up Challenge (I will blog about this tomorrow)
Tuesday--easy 3 mile run (going to try REALLY hard to keep this one at around 10:15-10:30/mile)

Wednesday--Push-up Challenge
Thursday--5K race!
Friday--bike & weights at the gym + Push-up Challenge
Saturday--5 mile long run (no real pace goal here; just getting in the miles and stretching it out after what I hope to be an awesome PR on Thursday morning!)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Training plan... or lack thereof...

As much as I love plans, I have had the worst time finding a training plan that works for me.  Once I finished Couch-to-5K, I had no clue what to do.  I knew that I wanted to run a half-marathon, and there are zillions of plans out there that would help me train to do it... but which to choose?  For me, the two most important items of consideration are time and injury.  I have very little time to train, and as I mentioned in my first post, I really only want to run three days a week.  This leads into the second item, injury.  I feel that if I overtrain, I will get injured.  Most training plans have you running 4+ times/week.  I found Run Less, Run Faster, which was pretty much exactly what I wanted, but the required paces for this plan scared me.  They were FAST!  Also, the plan called for 2 days a week of cross-training (basically other forms of exercise, like biking, weight training, etc.), and I knew I didn't have time to fit that in as well, at least not during the school year. 

So, I decided to modify the RLRF plan to suit my own needs.  I would do the prescribed three runs, and I would run them as specified (one speedwork, one tempo, one long), but I would "do my own thing" in regards to pace.  After all, this would be my first half, so even though I had a goal time in the back of my head, the pace was secondary to just completing the entire race running and injury-free.

My plan worked well, and I ran in the Cap City Half Marathon on May 4 (more on that in another post).  After that race, I knew that I needed a goal to keep me focused. May was spent recovering and dealing with end-of-the-school-year business. Our family went on our first-ever big trip to Nags Head, NC the first week of June, but upon our return, it was back to running.  My plans include two 5K's this summer (the Westerville Rotary 5K on July 4 and the Ohio State Fair 5K on July 28), the Emerald City Quarter Marathon on August 25, my second half marathon (Run Like a Girl on October 5), and the Hot Chocolate 15K on November 17.  I may throw in another 5K or 4-miler somewhere in there as well.  I also have two virtual races on the schedule (one 5-miler that can be completed anytime between now and December 1, and one "choice" race for July that will likely be a 10K). 

Right now, I am in the midst of preparing for my two 5K's.  I have really been pushing myself on the speedwork, hitting the track and running repeat after repeat at a pace way out of my comfort zone.  I have also been nailing my tempo runs on Wednesday mornings, waking up before sunrise to get 3-4 miles in before the summer heat set in for the day.  My long runs haven't been so long, basically because I am training for what has become a sprint race to me (3.1 miles).  If you were a former swimmer, or know anything about swimming, I liken the 5K to the 500 free.  The first couple of times you swim the 500 free, you work on just "making it", and maybe descending the race.  But by the time you've swam it 4-5 times, you realize that the 500 is basically a sprint.  Not a sprint like the 50 free, but holding the same (fast) pace for 20 lengths of the pool.  That is how I feel about the 5K.  I know next Thursday at my race, I will have to start fast, and never let up, especially if I want to get my goal time (more on that in a future post). 

Today was a "long run" day.  Last Saturday my new running friend Danielle and I ran 6 miles at Sharon Woods Metro Park.  The hills about did us in, and also our goal of negative splitting down to a half-marathon pace was pretty tough!  I followed that up with a hard track workout Monday and a 4 mile tempo run on Wednesday.  My legs have been very angry at me for all of this work, so I knew they would be happy with today's plan: keep it easy.  Five miles around the 'ville (Westerville, that is).  Nothing fancy, just running.  My brain knew the plan, but after about a mile, my legs took over and did their own thing.  I love my new-to-me Garmin Forerunner 110 (got it for a crazy-good price of $60 on Craigslist), as it lets me know my pace at all times.  I knew I was going a bit faster than I had planned, and as the miles ticked off, my brain kept telling my legs, "OK, yes it is way cooler and nicer out this morning than it has been, but HEY this is supposed to be EASY!"  And my legs continued to respond with, "We know, we know, but we feel so good, and we really aren't working that hard right now!"  Which was true.  I didn't feel like I was pushing it... but the watch doesn't lie. 

Anyway, what was supposed to be 5 miles at around 9:30-9:45 pace ended up being a negative split run.  I will talk more about negative splitting in a future post, but let me just say that I adore negative splitting.  OK, so here is the run:

The first three miles were just fine... then my legs just took over.  It's all good, though... every run for me is a learning experience.  I am still so new to this sport! 

A wonderful, no-real-plans Saturday is on the docket for today.  Happy running, everyone!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Introduction... 5 W's and an H!

Well, here goes nothing... or everything... I've entered the world of blogging.  I love to read blogs, but I have never started to write my own, mainly because of time constraints.  More on why that's an issue in a bit, though.

To introduce myself, I am going to use a tried-and-true elementary school summary tool: 5 W's and an H.  I will tell you who, what, when, where, why and how, as it relates to me and this blog.  So, pull up a chair and get comfy, because I can be a bit wordy ;)


I am Marcie, an almost-35-year-old teacher.  My husband Joe and I have four children together--Joey (8), Charlotte (6), and our twins, Abbie and Aaron (3).  I also have a son, Hunter (15), from my first marriage.  Joe and I have been together for 9 years now.  Here is a picture of my husband and I taken last month, at our son Joey's First Communion. 

In addition to being a mom, I am also a teacher.  This will be my 13th year of teaching.  My current position is teaching 6th grade math and science at an inner-city all-girls' middle school, but prior to teaching middle school I taught elementary (grades 1, 4 and 5) for 10 years.  


We live in Westerville, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus.  I have lived in the same ten-mile radius my entire life, and I don't really have plans to move far away from here.  Fortunately my husband feels the same; we both bleed scarlet and gray (GO BUCKS!). 


What is the purpose of this blog?  Good question!  The primary reason I am writing this blog is to keep an accurate journal of my training. You see, in addition to being a wife, mother and teacher, I am a runner.  I have no doubt that I will often post about "family stuff" as well, because being a mom defines me in so many ways. 


Okay not sure how to answer this one.  When did I become a runner, perhaps?  Just over a year ago, in June 2012, I saw a few Facebook friends posting about the Couch-to-5K program.  I had never been a runner.  Heck, I didn't even know what a 5K was!  In fact, I had not worked out in many years.  I was a very athletic child and teenager, though.  I played soccer and swam competitively, and ended up earning a college scholarship for swimming.  We had ran for our "dryland" training for swimming, and I had enjoyed it, but that was about the extent of it.  The problem was, once I started to have children, swimming and really any sort of physical activity went on the backburner.  I was just too busy with my job and my family.  However, last year I realized that I was missing something from my life.  I needed to do something for myself.  For some reason, running spoke to me, and thus began my journey. 


I suppose I answered this already, in a way... I started running in order to find some time for myself.  By following the Couch-to-5K plan, I committed myself to a specific training plan.  Those who know me well will tell you that I am all about plans.  Thus, once I started, there was no stopping until I ran a 5K!  Along the way through my running journey, other reasons for running have come into play.  Running has allowed an outlet for my inner competitive spirit.  I was only able to swim for one year in college, due to the birth of my first son.  I still had such a strong fire burning to race, to better my times, but I knew that my competitive days were over.  With running, I am able to once again work towards a goal (a race, a personal best time, etc.).  Also, my children have started to see me in a different light.  They are young, but they realize what their mommy is doing when I leave for my runs.  My 8-year-old son even went running with me once!  I love that I am showing them that they can work to stay physically fit their entire lives.  


This is probably the question I get more than any other: "How on earth do you find time to run?!"  I will say, it is not easy, especially during the school year!  Right now it is summer time, and it's much easier to find the time to fit in my runs and even do some weights and other cross-training.  Come August, though, it will become much trickier.  This past winter and spring, I did a lot of my training in the evenings once the kids went to bed (our gym has late hours, so the treadmill and I became close friends).  I also subscribe to the "less is more" philosophy in regards to running.  I only run three times a week, but I make sure that each of those runs count.  I don't just go out for a leisurely run with no real purpose.  My runs are designated for speed, tempo work, or distance (depending on the day), and I always have specific goals in mind.  Really, though, the answer to the question of how is simply, "Whenever I can!"  I will say that I am fortunate to have a husband who is fairly supportive of my newfound love obsession for running, and is okay with watching the kids when I am training. 

Okay so this was a REALLY log intro post.  I promise they won't always be this long!  Stay tuned for more entries!