I Feel Famous And Random Thoughts On Running

I was invited to participate in a Today Show Google + Hangout. The book we discussed is The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon.

It was so cool to be able to interact directly with an author and get questions answered that were bothering me about the book answered. I need this to happen for every book I read because I am the worst at not knowing anything (please don’t ever tell me you have a surprise for me or that you know something I don’t, it will make me crazy.)

I have actual proof that I am getting faster.

Track Comparison

The workout was for a ladder:

2×400 1×800 1×1600 1×800 2×400

The first set of splits is from this week and the second from the first track workout of this training season. This week is slightly faster but the main difference is how much easier it felt. A huge takeaway from this training cycle, is that hard workouts do payoff. Especially when you are willing to do anything to get faster, doing track and tempo workouts will give you gains.

I am not getting lost as much on my runs. After running these new (to me) Lakeland routes, I am generally able to get to my car without pulling out my phone and having it direct me. For someone who is as directionally challenged as me, this is a huge relief.

Futurama Running

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Half Marathon Training So Far

I am currently training for InnerAct Alliance Red Ribbon Half Marathon & Run in Lakeland, Florida. It will be my fifth half marathon and the first one that I trained with a group.

InnerAct Red Ribon Half Marathon & Run Lakeland Florida

What is different during this training cycle?

  • Running with a group
  • Track workouts
  • Running hills

My mileage and days running are actually less than in past training cycles. I am really enjoying having one complete rest day and being able to fit in two days of full-body weight training.

Total mileage from weeks two through five.

Weeks 2 3 4 5 half marathon training

The mileage for last week (36) would have been higher but a massive thunder storm stopped the track workout about four miles short.

Key Workouts

Hill Repeats

Hill Repeats August 13 Lakeland

In this workout we ran up the hills and walked back down. It hurt but the Red Ribbon Half is a hilly course, running these repeats can only help.

Track Workouts

8×400 Repeats with 200 walks in between

Painful but helpful to feel speedy (which rarely if ever happens to me.)

7×800 Repeats with 200 walks in between

Painful again but the Lakeland High School marking band practices when we run, so that was fun.

Hills

Hills Sept 3 Lakeland

I didn’t even know they had hills like this in Florida. They are massive and they sure are painful. This is a route I will remember and incorporate when training for future races.

Long Runs

The group is up to nine miles and I am already feeling a difference. Just looking through runs of similar distance from the beginning of 2013, I am significantly faster. As someone who is on the slow side and my number one goal is to get faster, this is really making my day.

Running Motivation Florence Griffith-Joyner

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Everything Must Change

If You Change Nothing, Nothing Will Change

I am making changes.

As I start to prepare my body to run longer, I am slowly, but consistently, starting to base build. I like to take it easy in the summer and run mostly how I feel. The past few weeks, I am slowly inching up my Saturday longish run.

I started running with a group. Living in the small town Florida, there are not a lot of options for me to run with other people. A lot of it is a matter of geography.

Central Florida Map

I live in a large but rural county in between Tampa and Orlando. Lakeland is the only large “city” in Polk County and the only place with a running club. Running with any of the Lakeland groups is difficult for me during the week but on Saturday’s, I can get over there.

Mitchell’s Coffee House in Lakeland hosts a long run on Saturday at 6am. It’s a great  because there is a 3, 6, and 9 mile group plus a few running the half route for the inaugural Red Ribbon Half Marathon. I have never run with other people and did not realize how much I would enjoy it.

I have lots of race plans rolling around in my head. Officially, I signed up for the Town Of Celebration Half Marathon (you can use the code LRC to save $10 on either the Half or Full). I love running in Celebration so much. It is beautiful and usually shady (which can be rare in Florida.) (You can find some of my other posts about my love of running in Celebration here, here, and here.)

Finding My Running Groove

Even though I never intentionally meant to take a running hiatus, I kind of did.

Running Hiatus

Week 8 was the week of the Gasparilla Half Marathon. The past few months I have run but only as much as I felt like. I spent a lot of time in the gym restarting New Rules Of Lifting For Woman. I am racing a bit this summer, you can read my race recap for my two most recent 5K’s here. There are two more races in that series and then I will officially be in training for a fall half.

So after this running hiatus, I feel ready to start a training plan again. Both mentally and physically. I have not decided what that plan will look like yet but am reading ( Run Faster From The 5K To The Marathon by Brad Hudson and Matt Fitzgerald) and working to put together a plan. This cycle, I really need to make sure to fit in at least two full-body strength training a week and one day of yoga. The weight lifting is something I am really starting to enjoy, plus having my arms less chicken-like is a huge plus. Yoga is so helpful with keeping everything loose, especially when you are as inflexible as I am.

So for the tl:dr version of this brain dump on running:

Ryan Gosling Motivation

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Running Around

I hope everyone had a happy and healthy holiday season! Mine was very low-key but full of fun.

J and I Cinderella's Castle Christmas Lights Disney Magic Kingdom

J and I spent a lot of time admiring the lights at Disney which makes even Cinderella’s Castle prettier. (That night was so cold and I actually was able to wear my winter coat. Yes, it does get cold in Central Florida.)

I decided to run Gasparilla again. It was the most fun race I ran last year and I needed to put something on my schedule to keep my motivation up.

Gasparilla Half Marathon Medal 2012 Tampa

My training is going well but strength training has fallen to the wayside. I find that it is easy to stick to either a lifting schedule or a running schedule but putting them together something gives. The Smart Coach plan from Runner’s World has runs five days a week and I have little motivation to go to the gym on my one off day. The solution is probably to lift in the morning before work and run after. I just cannot seem to get up any earlier to actually make it to the gym. So that is something to work on in 2013.

The following are Weeks One through Three of this current cycle of half marathon training. I like that Smart Coach has pace ranges for each run based on your most current race time. Sticking to those paces has helped me feel like I am getting faster. My A goal for Gasparilla is 2:14.

Week One Half Marathon Training December 2012

Week Two Half Marathon Training December 2012

Week Three Half Marathon Training December 2012

Do you have a race on the schedule?

Half Marathon Training Week Two

If you would like to follow my other weeks of training, they can be found on my Workouts page. I break my half marathon training down by week to make it easier to follow.

This week really ramped it up! I did most of my runs on the treadmill at the gym because it has rained nearly everyday after work and the heat is still pretty killer. I am finally watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer on Netflix. Not sure why I missed this show when it originally aired because I am in the target demographic for it (female and was in High School when it originally aired.)

Week Two Half Marathon Training

As I mentioned in my first post, I am following this plan by Nike Coach Magness. It is a plan designed to get you a PR. After running two Half Marathons last year and spending the summer experimenting with speeding up, I am ready to concentrate more on time rather than just finishing.

So how did I do versus the plan?

Total Plan Miles: 36

Total Actual Miles: 29.82

Strength Training: 1

Cross Training: 0

I did pretty well based on the plan minus the missed long run. I planned on running six miles after my 5K on Saturday but decided against it. This early in my training, missing one long run is not much of an issue.

Things I learned:

  • It can take some time to get back into higher mileage
  • I need to spend more time stretching
  • Running on a treadmill can be kind of a drag but watching TV on your phone makes it much better

Next week I would like to concentrate on getting my long run done and doing more strength training.

Half Marathon Training Week One

As summer comes to a close (most places but obviously not in Florida) runners all over the country start upping their mileage in preperation for a fall marathon or half marathon. I am trying a new half marathon trainng plan this year which is from Nike Running written by Coach Magness. The plan is geared towards those looking to PR in their upcoming half marathon.

Half Marathon Training Week One Nike Running

This week is all about base building and I every run was done at a conversational pace. Most of the runs were done on the treadmill because of the intense heat. The exceptions are Friday and Saturday. Friday I intended on running at the gym but couldn’t when I opened my gym bag and realized that I had everything I needed except my running shoes. Not sure why I did not realize that my bag was very light. Saturday was fairly miserable in the last two miles. I wanted to quit and call it every two minutes but forced myself to continue.

Plan Mileage: 22 Miles

Actual Mileage: 21.2 Miles

Strength Training: Two days of full body strength training from the New Rules Of Lifting For Women. (I have four more workouts left in Stage One and cannot wait to move onto some new exercises.)

Cross Training: 0

As I start to get back into longer running, I am starting to think about what to eat before and after runs. I like to keep it quick and simple after my runs because I am typically hungry and ready to jump right into the shower.

I was recently contacted by The Hershey Company and they sent me information about the benefits of chocolate milk as a recovery drink. This is not news to me. I am not a huge milk drinker but can force myself to drink anything with chocolate in it. Besides deliciousness, chocolate milk has lots of benefits.

·         Carbohydrates to help refuel muscles

·         Protein to help rebuild and restore muscle protein

·         Fluid and electrolytes to rehydrate and replenish what is lost in sweat

·         Vitamins and minerals to help build and maintain strong bones

So quick and easy to have 8 oz. low-fat (1%) milk + 2 Tbsp. HERSHEY’S® Lite Syrup with 50% less sugar and only 150 calories per serving. Quick and tasty recovery drink that’s good for you.

Are you training for anything?

What’s your favorite recovery drink?

I was contacted by The Hershey Company to share the benefits of chocolate milk. I was not compensated and all opinions are my own. 

Quest For A Sub-30 Minute 5K Race Number Four

The last race in my summer’s quest for sub-30 Minute 5K, is done. I really enjoyed the series put on by the Lakeland Runners Club. The races were well-organized and the volunteers were excellent. To read about the other races in this series, please see Race One, Race Two, and Race Three.

Running all four races, I earned this snazzy t-shirt.

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Series 2012 Shirt

$30 for four 5K’s and a t-shirt, this series is such a good value.

The race took place around Lake Hollingsworth in Lakeland, Florida. I really need to make an effort to run there more often because it is a beautiful area. The path around the lake has views of gorgeous homes, Florida Southern College (with their many Frank Lloyd Wright designed buildings), and tons of birds. It is worth the drive to Lakeland if you are looking for a place to run in Central Florida.

The weather was clear but as humid as every August day is in Florida. This race I actually remembered to bring my sunglasses, so I could see when the sun was coming up. No major issues but I did have some slight cramping again. I am starting to think the cramping is caused by the humidity. My pace felt comfortable, so it was not that I was running too fast.

Splits:

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Number 4 Splits

I am pleased with how even they are. They need to be a little bit faster for a sub-30 but I am getting there.

My strong finish and Garmin adjustment. (I like how this picture makes me look like I’m flying.)

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Race Number 4 DinaRuns

Clock Time: 32:39

Chip Time: 32:18

This was the final race of the series and I was not able to run a sub-30 minute 5K. Even though I did not make my goal, I learned a lot training for a shorter distance. I did more speed training and tempo running than I ever have before.This has led to an increase in speed. Being a fairly new runner, learning how I feel and react to different types of training helps me learn what works best for me. Seeing the results of these training runs lets me know that I can get faster and my running can improve. I just have to put the work in.

This summer I was able to bring my 5K PR from 35:24 to 31:21. It is not a sub-30 but I’ll take it.

Quest For A Sub-30 Minute 5K Number Three

I can’t believe I already ran the third race of the four race Watermelon 5K series by the Lakeland Runners Club. It seems like it was months ago that I started training for a sub-30 minute 5K. (Links to the Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Race One and Two if you are interested.)

This race, like the others in the series, took place at Lake Hollingsworth in Lakeland. It is a beautiful place to run and if you are in Central Florida, I highly recommend making a stop.

The packet pick-up and parking went very smoothly. I am really getting the hang of navigating the area which may be a benefit from racing a series. (This race I even remembered the street I parked on and did not need to wander around searching for my car.)

The weather was more pleasant than race number two, which was rainy and humid. It was still pretty hot but typical for Central Florida summer weather. Almost all of my recent training has been running on a treadmill at the gym, I know that not being acclimated to running in the heat and humidity is hampering my performance. I do not know how much of an effect it has but I know running feels harder than it did last summer. I will freely admit to being a huge baby and  preferring to run in the a/c. Until I start base building for my fall half, most of my runs will continue to be inside.

The race started smoothly, I felt rested and had plenty of time to warm-up. Everything was fine until just over the two-mile mark where I got another monster cramp (ala race number one.) I do not know why this keeps happening, if it is my pace is too fast or the humidity is making it more difficult to breathe? I was forced to take a few walk breaks and I knew a sub-30 was out of my reach.

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Number Three Race Splits

The splits are not completely awful, if each mile was a little bit faster I could have come much closer to my goal.

Clock Time: 33:04

Chip Time: 32:46

The first race had a clock time of 31:21 and race number two of 33:01. At least this race my time is going in the right direction.

I do kind of love the finish line photo courtesy of the Lakeland Runners Club.

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Number Three

So with one race left I have still not made my goal of a sub-30 minute 5K but the races have kept me running despite the sweltering summer heat.

Avoiding The Sun

It is getting to the time of year again, when it is so blistering hot that breathing while walking briskly can be difficult. There are lots of great reasons to live in Florida, the theme parks and the beaches, but the humidity and sweltering heat for the majority of the year are not one of them.

Inspire Woman Runner

There are two ways to survive running in the Florida summer (and by summer I mean from April to October.)

1. Join a gym or have access to a treadmill that is in air-conditioning.

2. Run early enough to beat the heat.

I really want to wake-up and run first thing in the morning but a few obstacles have always stopped me. For my last job, I had a very long commute (34 miles each way) and I already woke up at 5:15 everyday. I did not think it was possible to wake up any earlier plus running alone in the dark scares me. I live in a fairly rural area and there are wild animals in my neighborhood. (I actually spotted a fox fighting a cat one time which was kind of cool. J  was able to scare the fox off.)

So the obvious solution is to join a gym. There are only two gyms that are remotely close to my house, so my plan is to get guest passes at both and see which one I like better. Then the difficulty will be getting runs done on a treadmill but anything is better than the blistering heat.

How do you deal with running in the summer?