Friday, July 1, 2016

Its the 4th of July!

Last year was a washout as far as July 4th races went. This year I am a little more organised. I still have my star-spangled running capri skirt, which didn't quite get the outing it was promised. Also, it's pretty hot here, so I am not sure I can wear this.  So far the options are the skirt plus t-shirt:


So anyway, it's a 5K, and for once I actually feel a bit more excited about it.  It has been many years since I actually felt like I'd done some work and not just turned up on the day.  It's been a long, long time since I've felt any real enthusiasm for my running. But, I am out of the funk, and I'm curious to see what Monday brings.

Running in the morning

I am not generally a morning person, though I have run regularly in the morning in the past. It seemed a lot easier then.  But it's been a long time since I have been for a daily morning run before work. What changed was that I realised if I wanted to get back into a regular running pattern, I needed to go in the morning as I usually prefer cross training in the evening.

It was a bit rough in the beginning.  I had to get used to getting up early again.  I didn't make the decision and then spring into action the next day.  It took me a few weeks of waking up early.  Once that became easier, I could get up and get out the door. I used to put out my clothes the night before, get dressed, have an espresso and then out the door. It's been interesting! I see a lot of the same people, doggies and runners.  It's busy out there!

This week has been particularly hot, so going out first thing, has been a blessing. OK, we did have one overcast day, but that cleared very quickly, and it was back to baking hot temperatures. I even managed to get a few cross training sessions in.  And then one evening I had crossfit - with a lot of running.  Although it was 6pm, it was still 32*C or rather 89*F. In between all the burpees and other nightmare stuff, there were 4x400m! It was excruciating, and I was ever so slow, but got the job done. I also feel that slowly my fitness is starting to improve.  Now all I need to do is be consistent.  Today is a cross training day, so one possibility is to run to the gym and do some weights. Tomorrow is a long though, and I don't want lead let's see what I can invent today.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

New training cycle

So the first race of the Golden State Series comes up in August. It's a half marathon on a fairly flat course.  Since my last half was run after a week of being back from a year long foot injury, I am hoping to do a little more training for this one! See Jan Run was just about getting out there, and doing a long run.  There were no expectations - as I hadn't been running properly for a year, and still had the odd twinges of pain.  In fact, I had to run the last mile barefoot as my foot was in agony.
I've started running in the mornings again - just like in Boston, and it's very proving to be a good thing. It forces me to do a short little run, and then the work day gives me enough time to recover should I decide to go to the gym in the evening. Right now I'm trying to get my fitness back up, and to try and run more consistency.  

My first week back from injury saw me run 26 miles. Had I continued, I would have been at the 100 miles/month that I had been doing prior to the injury.  It felt a bit excessive, so I've made a conscious effort to cut back on the weekly miles (~15) and do more cross-training. But I feel that it's not enough.  I need more miles! Not to mention the principle of sport-specific training. Still, I believe that  my fitness is slowly improving, I am feeling a lot better, and have understood that patience is indeed a virtue. But now it's time to move things up and along - hence the new training cycle.  

I found a great program that I am using as a basis, but I am going to adapt it a little as I need a longer training cycle than just 7 days.  I also want to train a bit harder, so maybe 10.  But I'll look at it tomorrow and work it out. Whilst I like the military precision of a 7 day cycle, it's just a wee bit too short, and I found previously that I was a bit better with a longer cycle.  Still, that was then.  But I am curious to see what happens with this half!  I only have 7 weeks so am also on a little bit of an accelerated curve, so I have to get it sorted quickly.

I am feeling a lot more positive about my running life - my morning runs are slowly improving, and last week I had a run at 9:24 average pace.  Nothing fancy, but to see these numbers after such a long time, was bliss.  And I ran pain-free! Still, this past Saturday I was hoping for 8, but I set off too late and it was too hot.  So I ran to 2 miles to the gym, ran 3 on the treaty, and ran 1 back as I was waylaid by the farmers market. It was a bit tiresome, but then I had a shakeout run this morning and feel a lot better. So tomorrow is cross fit and no running - Yes, I've rejoined my cult! Finally I feel like I am back in my old skin.  And the people I am training with are just as amazing as those in my previous box. #rungrateful #runhappy

Friday, June 17, 2016

My first half since the woods.......

It was hard not being able to run.  Last summer I was running 100 miles per month (or at least I did for 3 months until my achilles completely collapsed). I tried everything - except resting.  I refused to stop running.  And so the inevitable collapse came - and it wasn't pretty.  It came at a moment when I most needed to run.  See, I was training for my first ultra - the Two Oceans marathon in Cape Town. Traditionally this 56K road race is run on Easter Sunday.  And last summer I was in a good place with my training. When the achilles gave in, I could not think outside the box and keep up my fitness. Instead, I felt really down, and stopped doing anything.  I still tried to run on and off, and I guess I ended up making matters worse.  I don't know how I ran those other races listed above, but it was in tremendous agony. 

Well, I finally got cleared to run 3 week ago.  Not fast and for long the podiatrist said.  I have an overuse injury and we are trying to avoid surgery. Anyway, at the end of my second week back, I went for a long run - See Jane Run half marathon.  I've always wanted to do that one, but have never been organized enough to. 

It's a small race, over in Alameda. It started promptly at 8am on an overcast Sunday morning.  Thank goodness!  I ran steadily, but rather slowly. It was actually quite tough going, and the last 2 miles were really sheer guts, as I had long run out of gas.  My foot held up well, but around mile 10 started feeling a bit iffy.  Then started the slow descent - well it accumulated speed rather rapidly, and by mile 12, I had taken off my shoes and was running in my socked feet.  I should have done that ages ago!  It felt so much better.  I think I need to look into this barefoot running thing again.  My foot can't get any worse than it already is, right? 

Anyway, I finished, I didn't have a time in mind, as this was a long run for me, and since the longest distance I have run in a very long time averages around 3 miles, I was fine.  Of course the time wasn't brilliant, and I know it will start improving.  Might take a bit of time, but running is about being in the moment, in the here and now - and I was present and accounted for that Sunday.