Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I'm Making it a Kenyan Summer

What I wouldn't give for a nice 45 degree day. I spent a lot of winter wishing for hot summer days. But now that they're here, I can't wait for crisp fall weather. I guess it's as the saying goes, watch what you wish for. 

However, these hot temps do seem quite appropriate for my newest purchase. I found this on my desk yesterday:

And inside, was this:

Running Times Magazine recently did an article about making this summer a Kenyan Summer. Although it was geared toward helping high school students prepare for the fall cross country season, I thought it had some good tips for older runners training for key fall races. It definitely inspired me to run more, get fitter, and power through fatigue. You can read the article here.

And the good news is, my training is back on track. This week I should once again hit 50 miles, which is where I want to be right now. Here's the plan:

Afternoon: 8 mile easy pace run, including strides

8 miles speedwork, including 4 half marathon pace miles and 4 quarter mile repeats


Afternoon: 6 mile easy pace run; 45 minutes strength training

Morning: 6 mile easy pace run

Afternoon: Boot camp class

Afternoon: 4 mile easy pace run

Morning: 18 mile easy pace run

Rest Day

Now I just need to learn how to make ugali . . .

- ST

Friday, June 15, 2012

Race for the Bacon 5k Recap

I think it's safe to say that any race that ends with bacon is a good race. 

Last night was the inaugural Race for the Bacon at State Fair Park and it was such a fun event. There was a 5k and 10k race. Both ran the same course, the 10k racers just taking a second loop. I opted for the 5k race as I'm still trying to hit my time goal of sub-22 minutes. 

Here's how the race shook out:

Time: 22:46
Average Mile Time: 7:20
Division Place: 1/41
Gender Place: 7/???
Overall: 28/282

I was pretty nervous at the start because I really thought I could meet my goal. I knew it was a flat, fast course and that made me pretty optimistic I could run a good time. I ran the first mile in 7 minutes flat. Mile 2 was a few seconds slower, but I knew if I just maintained my pace I could kick in the finish and meet my goal. 

Trying hard to pick up the pace

But not quite halfway through Mile 3, I felt a small twitch on my right side that has become all too familiar to me. You guessed it - the dreaded side stitch. Although nowhere near as bad as the one at last weekend's Lombardi race, it still forced me to slow down and walk a bit. I was able to run again but the momentum was gone and I was really happy when the finish line came into sight.

Although I was disappointed about missing my time goal again, I was pretty excited to find out I won my Age Group!
Cute, right?
And of course, there's nothing quite like a Bacon Bash with a full bacon spread and live music to boost your spirits after a race!
My mom also did the 5k race (and won her Age Group!) and we agreed it was a great, well organized event. I think this race is going to be a yearly tradition for both of us. 

Did you race for the bacon last night? If so, how did you do and what did you think of the race?

- ST

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Surviving the Gym Dreadmill

Given the super hot weather earlier this week, I decided to hit the treadmill last night. Turns out, the gym cardio room wasn't much better. It was steamy, sweat-through-your-sports-bra-and-shorts-within-10-minutes hot. It wasn't pleasant, but I managed to stick it out for my planned six miles. 

When I run outside, the time passes by quickly. On the treadmill, this usually isn't the case. Here's a typical run:

Start: Treadmill on at incline 1.0 and a slow 10:00 minute/mile pace. Quickly decide this is too slow and turn it up to 8:49 min/mile pace.  

Mile 1: This isn't so bad. It's hot, but manageable.

Mile 1.5: Almost to the two mile mark. Which means . . . I still have more than four miles to go. 

Mile 2.25: Okay, it's way hotter in here than I thought. Maybe I should start adding short pick-ups to get this run done faster. 

Mile 3: First 5k pace pick up done.

Mile 3.6: There are dried sweat splatter marks on the mirror in front of me. Looks like someone else sweated as much as I am right now.

Mile 4.5: Why must a creepy/weird guy that stares always hop on the treadmill next to mine? There are about 10 other open machines. If I were outside, I would totally outrun him.

Mile 5.15: And now he's talking/muttering/humming to himself. Excellent. 

Mile 5.5: Almost done! I should practice my 5k race kick tonight. 

Mile 5.7: Speeding ahead at 7:03 min/mile pace.

Mile 5.8: Hitting 6:39 min/mile pace.

Mile 5.9: Holding a 5:45 min/mile pace - only a tenth of a mile to go!

Mile 6: Just a quick cooldown and I'm done! 

Mile 6.2: It better be nicer out tomorrow so I can run outside. 

How do you survive the treadmill? What do you think about? Do you listen to music, read or watch TV?

- ST

Monday, June 11, 2012

Lombardi 5k Run for Cancer Race Recap

Saturday just wasn't my day. 

I arrived at the Lombardi 5k Run for Cancer at 7am to warm up and it was already quite warm and sunny. This seems to be the theme for my recent races! Because I've had a bit of quad soreness lately, I wanted to do a really good warm up, so I ran two easy pace miles around the course, followed by some dynamic stretching and strides. I was feeling pretty good as I walked over to the start area.

As always, I started a bit too fast, but soon fell into a comfortably hard pace. I knew from where I lined up that there were only six women in front of me and my goal was to not let anyone pass me. I ran with another woman for awhile but was able to get past her with a mini surge as we finished the first loop of the course.

Things were going well and I was starting to think about when I was going to start my kick to the finish when I was hit with the worst side stitch I've ever experienced. I was about 0.5 to 0.6 miles from the finish line. I tried running through it. I tried shoving my fingers into the pain and massaging it out. I tried a hard exhale as my foot opposite the stitch hit the ground. Nothing worked and it was just getting worse. So I had to pull over to the side and start walking. 

It was so frustrating being forced to walk and watch others run past. One woman passed, then two more. Then a couple more. I kept trying to run again every time this happened but it was pretty hopeless. Finally, about a tenth of a mile out, I gritted my teeth and "ran" the rest of the way in.

Although I went into the race with the mindset that it was a speed workout, not an all out effort, I was still looking for better results than these:

Time: 24:20
Average Mile Time: 7:50
Division Place: 6/111
Gender Place: 18/409
Overall: 71/649
I've been reviewing my days leading up to the race thinking about what may have caused the stitch and I have it narrowed to the heat and my terrible diet leading up the race. Two lunches and two dinners out last week probably wasn't the smartest idea. 
I'm determined to finally have the 5k race I know I'm capable of running. After striking out at Luck of the Irish (side stitch) and the Lombardi race (side stitch part 2) my sights are set on the Bacon Race this week. Fingers crossed it's a good one!
And sorry for the lack of pics with this post. I didn't get any before, during or after the race!

I want to know: What do you do to prevent a side stitch or deal with one during a race?

- ST

Friday, June 8, 2012

I Need to Get Back in the Game

It's week two of logging fewer than 40 miles and I'm not happy. 

I remember a time when I would have been thrilled to log more than 30 miles in a week. But those days are long past. When you still have three major goals to hit yet this year, 30 miles per week (mpw) just won't cut it.

When you set goals for yourself, you need to do the work to reach them. No slacking. No excuses. With running, what you put in is exactly what you get out of it and doing what I'm doing now is not going to get me where I want to go.

After the Rockford Half Marathon, I had to take a week off. I put in 16 solid weeks of training for that race and I knew it was time for a mini break to avoid burnout this summer. First week back - last week - I ran 31 miles. This week I'm going to hit 38 miles. Week one fell short when I couldn't complete my planned speedwork and skipped a short run. This week, I've had quad muscle issues and had to cut my Wednesday run a bit short and take Thursday as a rest day.

I look at my calendar and it makes me nervous. A 5k race tomorrow (I'm using it as a speed workout), a 5k race on Thursday (racing all out), and Chicago Rock n Roll Half Marathon in just six weeks. I'm not even looking at races beyond those at the moment even though training for Lakefront Marathon has already technically begun. 

So it's time to get motivated and time to stop slacking. No more skipped runs. No more excuses. It's one thing to fall short because of factors that can't be controlled, but it's quite another to fall short because of not training hard enough. I need to remember that what gets done today will affect tomorrow. And tomorrow is right around the corner. 

What do you do to get yourself back in the game physically and mentally?

- ST

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

In Search of Bialys and a Fast 5k Race

It's Tuesday morning and I'm totally craving a bialy. What's a bialy, you ask? Bialys are small rolls, that are similar in texture to a bagel. In place of a hole, these rolls have a small indention in the middle, usually filled with diced onions, garlic or poppy seeds.

If anyone knows where to find bialys in Milwaukee, let me know ASAP :)

Anyhow, on to running! This week is the first of two 5k racing weeks. Saturday, I'm racing the Lombardi 5k Run for Cancer at the Milwaukee Zoo and next week Thursday, I'm racing the Bacon Race at State Fair Park. I would really love to PR at one of these races - and maybe even make my goal time for this year of 21:XX. 

But I'll admit, my confidence in my ability to run a fast 5k right now is a bit down. In prep for the Rockford Half Marathon, I didn't do a lot of speedwork other than HM pace tempo runs. And after taking an 8 day break from running, I hit the track for 400m repeats and the workout kicked my tail. 

I plan on running all out for both races, but a new PR may have to wait until later this summer or fall. 
Last week I fell a bit short on miles after having to cut my speedwork short and skipping Friday's run. This week, I'll add a few more miles to get a bit closer to last cycle's peak training. The goal is to be back at 50 mpw later this month!

Afternoon: 6 mile easy pace run; 45 minutes strength training

14 mile easy pace run


Afternoon: 6 mile easy pace run

Morning: 6 mile easy pace run

Afternoon: Boot camp class

Rest Day

Morning: Lombardi 5k Race (Plus 2 mile warm up and 3 mile cooldown)

Rest Day

Total: 40 miles 
I think that's it for now! Anyone care to share tips for running a fast 5k race? Oh, and Happy National Running Day a day in advance :)

- ST