Archive for the ‘Training’ Category

Ready… Set…

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Tomorrow’s the big day! My longest ever race – and run – a half marathon (13.1 miles)!

The thing I’m most nervous about at this point is the logistics of the day, because it’s hard to really prepare. My husband has offered to drive me (so awesome) even though we’ll have to leave at 6am at the latest. That definitely takes a big load off. It’s still a little nerve-wracking though: There are a ton of roads closed and the garages are closed for a number of hours – the hours I would want to get in or get out (still not sure how that one works…).

There’s also meeting up with my friend, Fast Willy C, who’s doing the race with me. Have I mentioned yet how fabulous he is? He ran his first full marathon this past Fall (at 47!). He was planning on doing the full this time, too, but didn’t feel like he got in enough training, so he switched to the half with a new goal: Get me to the finish line. Pretty great, right?! He’s easy to pick out of a crowd since he’s so tall, but that means he has long legs, so he’s clearly faster than me. I worried about this for a while, but I’m not going to spend any more energy worrying about holding him back or not being able to keep up. I’d love for him to run with me, but if he’d rather run on ahead, he knows he’s welcome to do that too :)

All of these logistical things are pretty minor, though. It’ll all work itself out. I love that my husband is driving me: If worse comes to worse, he can just drop me off and then go off to find a parking spot on his own. Again, so awesome.

I’m currently working on doing the things I can do to prepare: I have my clothes in the washer. I’m about to make – and eat – the same delicious pasta dish I had last Saturday during my practice ‘run’. I’ll be updating my iPod (and charging the battery!) after dinner, as well as laying out everything I need for tomorrow morning, so I don’t have to do it at 5am (when I’ll instead be spending time in the bathroom, if you know what I mean…). Oooh – and I got a massage yesterday, which eased my sore muscles nicely!

I’m feeling pretty calm and confident about the actual race. I definitely feel ready. Over the last 12 weeks, I’ve missed only about 5 runs from my training schedule, and I’m damn proud of that. The vast majority of my runs have gone very well, too – even the long ones.

I don’t think there’s much more that I could have done. I’m prepared. I’m ready. And I’m going to go out there and have fun! You only have one first half marathon, right?!

Wish me luck :)

By the way, I’ll be using TweetMyTime to automatically update people on my progress, in real time, while racing. If you’re interested in getting those updates, you can ‘like’ Watermelon Waistline on Facebook or follow me on Twitter (@_kimbolina) – or both!

Practice Makes Perfect

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

It’s exactly one week before the half marathon. Just 7 short days left!

I used this weekend to “practice” what I’ll do next weekend. For instance, last night, my husband and I made a delicious whole wheat pasta dish with olive oil, shrimp and vegetables. (Carbo-loading!)

This morning, I got up early, had a quick breakfast of a whole wheat english muffin with all-natural peanut butter & jelly and a small cup of coffee, did my… ahem… business, rubbed some biofreeze onto my bum, took an Ibuprofen, and went for an 11-mile run.

Two hours and seven minutes later, I returned.

I ran all 11 miles without stopping to walk at all. As always, it was challenging, but I did it! And with hills! Prior to this morning, the furthest I had run was 10 miles – all flat. Before that it was 9 miles – with hills – and I had to walk some of it.

So today’s run was a huge success!

I am now feeling much more confident about the half next week. I am now convinced that I’ll be able to run the entire thing! Especially since I just looked at the course for the first time, and it seems surprisingly un-hilly… at least for Pittsburgh. Maybe all this training on hills – difficult as it has been – will pay off!

Since today’s run went so well, I’ll eat the same thing for dinner next Saturday, and have the same breakfast on Sunday. I’ll also repeat the biofreeze/Ibuprofen combo if necessary.

Oh, and I’ve decided to get a massage on Friday to work out any knots I’m carrying around.

I’m still a little nervous about it, but now I’m more excited than worried.

11 miles. Wow.

By the way, I’ll be using TweetMyTime to automatically update people on my progress, in real time, while racing. If you’re interested in getting those updates, you can ‘like’ Watermelon Waistline on Facebook or follow me on Twitter (@_kimbolina) – or both!

Pain in the Butt

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Thursday was my glorious return to softball! When I say “glorious”, I mean that it was wonderful to play again, not that I played wonderfully. Well, I wasn’t too bad, actually, but there’s always room for improvement!

I pitched the entire game. It’s a lot of pressure, but I enjoy it. I did pretty well, too. Again, it could have been better, but I only walked a few people, I struck a few people out, and I did a decent job of fielding. (Though there are two balls that I really wish I had caught: One a line drive to my head (eek!) and two, a piddly pop fly that came down between me and the short stop. I could have had them both if I was a little quicker. Next time.)

Here’s the thing: All day yesterday and today, I’ve been suffering from what seems to be a pulled muscle in my left buttock that I believe is the result of the repetitive pitching motion. It’s incredibly painful. Incredibly.

Simply walking around my house makes me cringe, but I still had to do my run yesterday: 5 miles. I went out before dinner with the best of intentions.

And it hurt like hell.

I thought: Just keep going and eventually it will go away.

It didn’t.

I thought: How upset will you be with yourself if you stop halfway through?

A lot.

But I stopped halfway through anyway. I didn’t just stop as in walking. I stopped as in doing one loop instead of two and immediately going home. It was the first time ever that I did this, and I still feel miserable about it.

I know why I did it, and I know that it was probably the right decision: There’s no reason to push too hard during a training run and risk worsening an injury. But that doesn’t change how I feel.

Worst of all, I’m still in pain, and tomorrow I’m supposed to do 11 miles – my last long run before next Sunday’s half marathon.

Did you hear that?! The half marathon is one week away and I’m nursing a pulled muscle in my butt!

Geez louise.

I’m going to try a few tips my massage-ynist mother gave me: Sit in a hot bath for 10-15 minutes, rub the affected area, and treat with biofreeze. Hopefully that does the trick!

In case it doesn’t, does anyone have any other suggestions?

Ten miles? Check.

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

My run this morning was fantastic. FANTASTIC.

It was challenging (obviously), and toward the end I was really tired, but overall, I felt great.

I ran with two other girls: Friend #1 and M-Cat. Both are training for their first half marathon like me, but theirs isn’t until the end of May, whereas mine is May 2. That means I’m a few weeks ahead of them in training. As you know, 9 miles is the furthest I’ve run. That also happens to be the longest run for Friend #1, though she hasn’t run that far since the fall. M-Cat’s furthest run was 6 miles, and she has a knee that’s been giving her problems, so this was an ambitious outing for her, but she was willing to try it!

We set off running from M-Cat’s house at 9:06. It was a beautiful day – lucky, considering we’re in Buffalo and there was actually snow yesterday (Snow! In April!) – the blue sky was perfectly clear, the sun was out, there wasn’t much wind, and it was a great temperature, not too hot or cold. Beautiful morning for a run.

The girls told me to set the pace since it was “my” run. I started out a bit slower than I usually go, and they were both happy with that. I was afraid of going too fast since in my 9-mile run last week, I was out of energy after 6 miles.We ran out five miles, then turned around and ran back. At the halfway point, I was still feeling pretty good, and started thinking maybe I should speed up. M-Cat’s knee was starting to give her troubles though, and I didn’t want her to push harder than necessary.

Around Mile 7, we all put on our headphones to help us with the final three miles. Unfortunately, M-Cat’s knee had enough at Mile 8 and she had to bow out of the final two miles. She called in her back-up plan (aka: husband) who came and picked her up, while Friend #1 and I continued on.

We picked up the pace a bit, and I could really tell the difference. It felt good for a few minutes, and then the excess energy expenditure started to catch up to me… not to mention the fact that I had already run eight and a half miles. At about 9 miles, I told Friend #1 I had to slow down a little, knowing I wouldn’t be able to finish the final mile at that speed. She was happy to do so. (Incidentally, she didn’t seem tired at all – she was actually TEXTING at one point! Machine!)

It’s usually said that the first mile is the hardest. I agree, but only for shorter runs. On longer runs, the last mile is the hardest for me, so mile 9 was tough even at the slower pace. Friend #1 could tell that I was having problems (probably from my loud grunt) and told me that our finish line was “just around that corner.” That you could “see my car shimmering in the sun.”

I searched and searched for that damn car. It was nowhere to be seen. I swear she lied to me. It was another 3 or 4 minutes before I could see the car. Her vision can’t be that much better than mine! True or not, though, it worked: Thinking that it was so close kept me moving. SHE kept me moving. In fact, she asked me afterward if I thought I would have finished without walking if I was on my own. I’d love to say that I would have, but I’m not sure that’s the case. Maybe, but I was damn tired in that last mile. But now I know I can do it, so there’s that :)

I felt so good when I crossed the threshold of M-Cat’s driveway (at 11:03, 1:57:ish after our start), who immediately came out with big cups of water for us – so nice. Of course, as is pretty standard for me, the good feeling was replaced by a feeling of sickness. The sickness subsided once I was in the car for a few minutes, and went away completely within the hour.

Then I was just back to feeling good. Sore, yes. But still good!

I feel so proud of myself… of all three of us! M-Cat feels a bit disappointed that she couldn’t do all 10 with us, but her 8 was a HUGE accomplishment for her. Two miles further than her previous longest distance – and with a bum knee! Crazy. And now she knows she really has to get that knee looked at by a doctor, so that’s an added bonus.

Friend #1 kicked some serious butt, too. She said she probably could have gone at a slightly faster pace, but we were just concerned with finishing, and not overly concerned with how long it took. I’m glad I didn’t push to go at a faster pace even though I felt like I could go faster at times because it was so hard at the end that I may not have finished at a faster pace. It was a good call.

And now it’s time to go to bed, knowing I did an amazing thing today. Ten miles. Wow.

Psyched

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

You could say that Sunday’s run psyched me out. More than a little.

Monday is an off day, but Tuesday is supposed to be five miles. Well, this past Tuesday, I simply wasn’t up for it. So for the first time in over a month, I skipped my run with no plan for a making it up.

Yesterday, I was still wallowing in self pity and – once again – wasn’t up for getting back on the proverbial horse. Even with everyone’s support and encouragement, both in the comments on my last post and from a few folks in person (THANK YOU!), I just couldn’t bring myself to get out there again.

And then my husband said something that struck a chord: Even though I knew I wasn’t “giving up” he pointed out that people rarely choose to give up. Rather, they put off whatever it is they want to do one day. And then another day. And then before you know it, they’ve given up.

I knew he was right. I don’t necessarily think if I skipped one more day I would have stopped training for this half marathon altogether, but it’s a slippery slope, and I didn’t want to cross that line. Plus, I knew that with each run I skipped, 1) I would feel worse about myself and 2) it would be that much harder to get back into it when I eventually did run again.

So I did my best to psych myself up, rather than out. I went for a 5-mile run at 9pm and spent the hour thinking about all of the encouragement and wonderful advice I’ve received recently. I shortened my stride and slowed my pace (a la Rachel). I cranked up the motivational tunes when it got particularly difficult. I considered how far I’ve come and how it’s truly not the end of the world if I do have to walk, but did my damnedest to push past those feelings, since – for the most part – it’s a mental thing not a physical thing at this point. I got in the “zone”, so to speak.

I ran all five miles. Slowly, but without walking. I felt much better when I returned home than before I left. So, as per usual, I was glad I did it… even though every fiber of my being was screaming “No! Stay on the couch in your jammies!” Now I’m back on track, with just one run missed this week. Not too bad, considering.

Saturday is the epic 10-miler. My first double-digit run ever. And I can do it.

I can do it… I can do it… I can do it…

See? I’m getting psyched!

What Was I Thinking?

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Longest run to date yesterday: 9 miles.

It was completely unfun.

I wish I had enjoyed it more. Or that I didn’t have to walk a WHOLE  BUNCH during the last 3 miles. Or that when I was done I didn’t feel ill and sore all over.

But that’s not the case. I was miserable most of the time, and for no reason that I can pinpoint like in other runs that weren’t my best. There were hills, but they were all very doable hills that I’ve conquered over and over again. I didn’t eat a butt-load of terrible food that day. I wasn’t dehydrated or overtired or underprepared.

I just felt tired and weak. I got a few cramps in the final third of the run, and that certainly didn’t help. (I really need to try some of those core workouts from Runner’s World recommended by a commenter last week…)

When I got home, I took a shower and then a two-hour long nap. I wasn’t sleepy; the nap was accidental. The kind of nap that just happens after a period of laying in bed because you can’t force your body to move anymore and there’s nothing else to do but sleep.

What really worries me is not this one run, because – really – it’s just that: ONE run. It’s the next bunch of runs. I’m supposed to do ten miles with Friend #1 and one of her friends (the one I ran with at last year’s Turkey Trot) on Saturday. What if I can’t do it?

The week after that it’s 11. Then 12. Then the half marathon, which I really want to be able to complete without having to walk.

Am I being unrealistic? According to all sources, this is a totally reasonable goal. Maybe – for me – it’s not realistic. Maybe I need more time. Maybe I’ll simply never be a distance runner.

I don’t know…

Maybe this is just too ambitious of a goal for me right now. I’m not sure I can do it.

I don’t intend to give up based on one bad run. Or even 5. But man am I feeling more than a little discouraged.

Now accepting words of encouragement. Go.

Chilled to the Bone

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

No beating around the bush: Today I successfully ran 8.5 miles :)

I went back to the park I ran in yesterday and did the 2-mile-long trail twice (out & back, out & back), plus a little extra around the parking lot for that extra half a mile. It was so flat – I was so happy.

Except that it rained… the entire time. It started out as just more than a sprinkle and then got steadily more intense. And it was cold. There weren’t many people out today, but there were a few, and you could tell by looking at them they were all super hard core. You know – like me.

My husband was among those super hard core folks. He’s not big into running (especially 8.5 miles!) but he enjoys a good bike ride, so he took his bike. He would ride off on one of the side trails and then come back to see where I was and give me some encouragement. Let me tell you: It was so nice to see his smiling face coming at me every half-mile or so. He has a bell on his bike, too, so often I’d hear a bell ringing behind me and I knew I’d soon be greeted by him. So nice!

After a while, he rode beside me and we talked. It was a great way to spend a morning. Except for that darn, cold rain.

About halfway into my run I had to go to the bathroom. Like, wouldn’t make it the entire way if I didn’t go. Luckily there were porta-potties dotted along the trail. I reluctantly (for a multitude of reasons…) used one and learned how incredibly difficult it is to get wet Tek gear back into place after taking it off. (A lesson also learned today by fellow blogger, Krissie, who ran her first half marathon this morning! Woo hoo!)

I also went through 7 tissues. And when I say “went through” I mean that I used each of them at least three times. So gross. At least I could imagine they were only wet from the rain, though!

Besides the 2 minutes in the bathroom, I ran the entire thing without too much difficulty (total time: approximately 98 minutes). In fact, most of the discomfort came when I stopped running. I was so very cold. I brought a sweatshirt to change into in the car, and exchanged my socks and sneakers (which were soaked from about the 5th step to the end) for flip flops, but I still had so many wet clothes on that I couldn’t warm up. Until I took a very hot shower after getting home. At least I didn’t have to operate a motor vehicle while so cold; my husband handled that. Such a good husband!

The other post-run difficulty is that of soreness. Considering I was sore before starting, though, I can’t say that I’m surprised.

But I ran 8.5 miles today! It’s worth every sore muscle I have to be able to say that.

Next week: 9!

Running Ragged

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Lately I’ve really had to force myself to do my run. It’s just so exhausting! Not the runs themselves – though obviously they’re tiring – but the entire routine: Making sure my running clothes are clean; figuring out a route (often this is the most difficult part); planning a time in my day to go that coordinates with the rest of my life; the actual run; recovering; showering… repeat.

Tuesday I worked too late to get my run in before Kung Fu. I didn’t really feel like it anyway, and there’s a little give in my schedule since Friday is a rest day: I just moved the rest day to Tuesday and pushed the three mid-week runs back one day.

Which meant that yesterday was a 5-mile run. I worked late again, then met with a painter about the possibility of having the exterior of our house painted (so exciting!), and then all of a sudden it was 7:30. And I was tired. And it was getting dark.

It took everything I had to get out there. I decided to do two laps of an easy 2.5-mile route I like. Once I was committed and actually doing it, it felt good. I felt like I was running pretty fast (comparatively speaking), and I didn’t get tired as quickly either. This was particularly good news considering the run before this was so disappointing.

I did get tired, though, and when I finished the first lap I briefly considered not doing the second. Barring an injury or other emergency (knock on wood) I don’t think I’ll ever do that though. I’d beat myself up about it forever. I know myself too well.

So I finished my planned route. I really felt like I was moving quicker than usual the entire time. That’s may be why with just a mile to go I got the worst cramp ever. I get cramps, but not like this one. This was a sharp, debilitating pain. I wanted to gouge my eye out, but instead I tried all the usual tricks: Inhaling on left steps; raising right arm over head; shoving fist into it. Nothing really worked. The fist thing helped a little, but I had to walk a few minutes here and there in that last mile. Annoying, but there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. The pain wasn’t there when I walked, and made me want to hurl when I ran.

After a minute or two of walking with my fist shoved under my ribs, the pain subsided enough to finish the last mile at a run. Even with that little bit of walking, I still felt like this would be a fast run for me overall – I thought at the very least it would be under an hour, which is standard. Longer than an hour for five miles is much slower than my typical pace.

I’m sure you can imagine my dismay, then, when I arrived home to see that it had been an hour and eight minutes. What the what?!

Un-freaking-believable. Apparently, I’m so slow that even when I feel like I’m going fast, I’m basically crawling.

Or so I thought.

When I logged into runstoppable to record my run, I found that I had mistakenly run a 3.08-mile route twice, instead of a 2.5-mile route twice. So I did 6.16-miles in 1:08:ish, which is roughly an 11-minute per mile pace, which IS fast for me… at least when running the hills outside – and 6 miles of them!

I can’t believe I accidentally ran 6 miles when I was dreading 5. That’s pretty awesome.

Today was tough too. Again, so tired. I had to force myself to run, and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it outside in the cold rain. But again, it was an awesome run: Three miles in UNDER THIRTY MINUTES. 29:15, to be exact. That means I sustained a less than 10-minute per mile pace for three miles! Woo hoo! (Obviously running on the treadmill is easier than running outside, but why split hairs?)

I’m so glad that my last two runs have been so good. I needed some positivity since I’ve been feeling a little burned out. If I’m forcing myself to go and not enjoying it once I do, I’ve got a problem. But just like when I don’t feel like going to Kung Fu – or any other workout, for that matter – afterward, I’m always glad that I pushed myself to do it.

That means it’s just a matter of lethargy, and that can be beaten. The old me would have given in when she was tired and just stayed on the couch. (That is, if the old me even considered working out in the first place, which she rarely did.)

I like the new me a lot better. Even if it is exhausting.

High Standards

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Sunday was 8 miles.

I have mixed feelings about my performance. Well, they’re not that mixed: I’m pretty solidly disappointed with myself.

I couldn’t run the entire way :(

I had to walk up three hills – all on the same road – in miles 4 & 5. What a bitch of a road, too, let me tell you. Each walking spurt was probably between 1 & 3 minutes, so not too bad, I suppose, but still really disheartening. Especially since I’ve been getting pretty good at hills, which is inevitable being that they’re freaking everywhere in this damn city. In fact, many of the hills that used to kill me I can run up without too much trouble.

But I had never run up this road, and its hills are intense. Hell, it’s hard to DRIVE up this road.

The other thing I’m blaming for my poor showing is insufficient planning. I went out about an hour and a half after breakfast, which was a delicious husband-made sandwich of ham, egg & cheese. And thai hot sauce. Not a good idea before running 8 miles, if you know what I mean, and I think you do…

It also occurred to me about 2 miles in that I hadn’t had any water all day. Who does that?! Who embarks on their longest run ever without having so much as a sip of H2O? I was so incredibly thirsty that I kept looking for water fountains, which I never found. Every time I passed a restaurant I considered going in and begging for a cup of water (I never carry money with me when I run. Maybe I should start?)

I did complete the entire 8 miles, but again, with a few walk breaks up crazy hills in the middle. My overall time was roughly 1 hour and 41 minutes, which is an average pace of 12:36 per mile, significantly slower than usual.

Damn hills.

And yes: I’m disappointed with my 8-miler because I couldn’t run the entire thing, and yes: I’m making up excuses for it. I’m sure some of you will think it’s ridiculous that I’m not proud of myself for just DOING it, but what can I say? I have high standards.

Next Sunday: 8.5 – and NO walking this time!

An Object in Motion

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Sundays are generally my long-run days, but this past Sunday my husband talked me out of it. Ok, full disclosure: I practically begged my husband to talk me out of it. Between the cold rain and the late night on Saturday filled with Disaronno on the rocks, I was not feeling it.

I made up for Sunday’s laziness yesterday, though. It was such a busy day! I was super-productive work-wise in the morning, ate an early lunch at my desk (which I never do), then headed out for my long run at noon.

Seven point four-one miles. My new longest run to date. It felt good, too. Mostly.

I certainly wouldn’t say that it was easy, because it wasn’t, but it was most challenging mentally. I get all in my head and start thinking about how far I’ve gone and how far I have left. And about how tired I am.

Last week when I ran 7 miles, I was completely spent for the entire day. My husband and I had plans to run some errands, but I just couldn’t do it. I felt a little sick and had zero energy left.

But yesterday was completely different.

I did the 7.41, spent 10 minutes recovering, took a quick shower, and was out the door for the next item on my schedule: Visiting with a friend and rooting through her discards of “skinny clothes.” (I’m not proud – I’ve happily taken a lot of people’s discards, but before this they were always “fat clothes” not “skinny clothes.” This friend is pregnant and won’t have a need for business casual size 12’s for quite some time… and is nice enough to let others benefit from her decision to procreate, in the form of free clothes. She’s awesome.)

After a few hours with her, I went directly to my hip hop class and busted a move for an hour. It was a reasonably aerobic class, too, and I was actually feeling good, rather than exhausted!

When I got home, I still had energy: I cooked a delicious and healthy dinner (thai chili salmon over brown rice with green beans) and did some cleaning before heading to bed at the end of a very active and productive day.

A very good day.