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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A Tale Of Two Races

It was so hard not to type Tail in the subject line of this post. This post is, sadly, not about this guy.

Tail Cat Stares At You

It is about running, which I have been doing some of lately.

Running in the Florida summer is tough. I never have any luck getting up before the sun to run (mainly because I am afraid of running in the dark alone and also because it is really early) so I tend to run after work in the sweltering heat and on the treadmill on the gym. Keeping the motivation high, I need to have something to aim for. Luckily, the Lakeland Runner’s Club has the same idea.

Lakeland-Runners-Club-Watermelon-5K-2013_

Lakeland Runner’s Club Watermelon 5K Race One

This series takes place around the beautiful Lake Hollingsworth area in Lakeland. Amazing houses, water views, and all kinds of ducks. It is such a treat to run in the area.

Lake Hollingsworth Lakeland Florida

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This race started like pretty much all races in Florida, hot and humid. Luckily, the 7 AM start is just when the sun starts to come up. The race route is mostly on the path that goes all the way around the lake (there is a little road running at the race start.) It can make parts of the race a little congested but I am usually able to get around people if needed.

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Garmin Map Race 1 2013

Sadly, the same cramps that plagued me last year, happened again during this race. This lead to a few walk breaks (so I could breath) and missing my sub-30 minute goal.

Splits Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Race 1 2013

My official time chip time is 32.39. Not my fastest by far but a starting point to get my time down over the course of the series.

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Race 1 2013

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Lakeland Runner’s Club Watermelon 5K Race Two

I made great time and parking was a breeze. (The more often I run this race, the better I get at deciding which side streets are the best to park on.) I did have to choose between warming-up and using the bathroom (the bathroom won.)

Having learned my lesson from Race One, I started this one in 9 minute mile area. What a difference that made! It seems obvious but starting near people who run your pace makes so much more sense. Especially in a race where people run with strollers and dogs.

Lakeland Runner's Club Watermelon Run #2 2013

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Number 2 Splits 2013

Again, there were a few walk breaks but it helps prevent cramping. I am happy to say that race was faster than race number one, so at least the numbers are going in the right direction.

My official chip time is 30:55 which is just so close to a sub-30 that I hope race number three I can get there.

Dina Runs Lakeland Runner's Club Watermelon 5K Run 2

(Photo taken from the Lakeland Runner’s Club Facebook group)

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.

Weeks Three, Four, And Five To A Sub-30 Minute 5K

This five-week plan feels like I just started it. One benefit in training for short races, is that five-weeks goes by so quickly when most of your past training plans are 16 plus weeks.

Week Three

Week Three To A Sub-30 5k

Speedwork: 4×800 Meters at 4:35 to 4:40 I walked instead of jogged in between the intervals

Easy Run: 5 to 6 Miles & 2 to 3 Miles I ran five on Thursday and skipped the 2 to 3 on Saturday.

Tempo: 2 x 1.5-mile tempo at 10 Jog 30 to 45 seconds between each. I walked in between instead of jogging.

Long Run: 8 Miles I ran 7 but meant to run 8. The treadmills at my gym automatically stop when you reach one hour. If you want to run longer than an hour you have to start a new run. Well I obviously have great math skills because I thought both of runs added up to 8 miles but realized when I actually added them together at home, they came to 7. Need to bring a calculator to the gym moving forward.

Cross Training: None I really need to work on this.

Weight Training: One

Week Four

Week Four To A Sub-30 5K

Speedwork: 5×800 Meters at 4:35 to 4:40

Easy Run: Both were for 3 Miles

Tempo: 3-Mile tempo at 10 I fell apart on the third mile of this run. There was some walking involved. I think it had to do with being tired but this workout felt really difficult.

Long Run: Five Miles

Cross Training: None

Weight Training: Two Getting better!

The terrible tempo on Thursday was not great for me mentally. It really made me wonder if there would be anyway I could run a 5K at 9:40 if three miles at 10 felt so difficult. I know some days are just bad and any run would feel difficult, but this one really messed with my head.

Week Five

Week Five To A Sub-30 Min 5K

Speedwork: 2×1-Mile Tempo at 9:40 I did actually jog between the two repeats.

Easy Run: 3/4 Miles & 2/3 Miles I skipped both of these workouts this week. My first race, out of a series of four, was on Saturday and I needed to appreciate the training for this week so I was rested for the race.

Tempo: 6×400 Meters at 2:25 (race pace.) Jog 1:30 between each. This workout really helped with my confidence going into the race on Saturday. After my terrible tempo the previous week, I needed this workout to go well.

Cross Training: Body Flow I always need a good stretch after a race and this felt really great.

Weight Training: Two

Race: 3.10 Miles I will get more into how this went in a post to follow

If you are looking for a great plan to reach a sub-30 Minute 5K, this five-week plan from the June 2012 issue of Runner’s World is a great plan. I have gotten faster in five weeks than I did in a year of half training. It really helped me to push myself. Most of my training has focused on base building for longer distances but spending the ridiculously hot summer months working on a racing shorter distances is ideal. This may be a way in which I focus my time between a spring and fall half moving forward.

Half Marathon Training Week Eleven

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.

Half Marathon Training Week Eleven

Key Workouts:

Easy Runs: 5/5

Strength Training: 1/2

Total Miles: 29.27

This week was a step-down week that only contained easy runs. It was a nice mental break from a long run that eats its way through a huge chunk of my Saturday. I felt strong and rested throughout the week and my body responded well to the lighter week. I did do Jillian Michaels No More Trouble Zones on Wednesday which did leave me sore on Thursday and Friday.

I have speed on my mind a lot lately. Obviously, the goal in racing is to improve your time which I do think I am right on target for a faster half this time around than my first. What I have been thinking about is how to proceed after this training cycle to improve my speed. I do want a sub-30 5K. Being at the end of a training cycle, it can be difficult to remember how you felt at the beginning. Are these miles getting easier? Is my body stronger from adding the additional day of running?

Going back through my Garmin data, it does look like I have gotten a bit faster. With my easy runs, I do not aim for any particular speed but run what feels like a comfortable pace. This can vary based on the temperature and how I feel but seems to vary by a minute per mile either way.

This is my average pace for my most recent easy runs.

Average Pace 2-6 to 2-14

This is my average pace for easy runs at the end of December.

Average Pace 12-26 to 1-9

Longer runs with slightly faster average speeds all run at a comfortable pace means I’m getting faster, right?

I guess time will tell on March 4th.

Half Marathon Training Week Ten

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.

Half Marathon Training Week Ten

Key Workouts:

Easy Runs: 3/3

Tempo Run: 1/1 Five Miles at Tempo with one warm-up and one cool-down

Long Run: 1/1

Strength Training: 0/2

Cross Training: 0

Total Miles: 33.21

I did well with my runs minus cutting my long run short by four miles but I still did not do any strength training. This week I will do strength training on the same day as one of my easy runs.

I think one reason that I cut my long run down is because I am slow. Yes, you are supposed to run long runs quite slow to benefit from them but I am such a slow runner that my long run pace is like molasses. After this training cycle, the only thing I want to work on is getting faster. I find myself during tempo runs or speedwork, almost afraid of pushing myself. Afraid of being uncomfortable, of feeling out of breath. I need to get over it and trust that I am in good shape and feeling some discomfort is normal. Just need to get there mentally and trust in my training.

I am at the tail end of this Half Marathon training cycle and it will be interesting to see how/if I benefited from the speedwork I have done and the mileage increase.