Thursday, April 29, 2010

someone please turn off the snow!!!!!





Yes, I know it always snows in April in Salt Lake City. But it's almost May. It's time for this madness to STOP!!! These are photos from this morning's walk. Later, when I walked in to work from the parking lot, it was snowing very hard and blowing in my face. UGH!

On the other hand, it was very beautiful for my walk this morning. Snowing lightly, and COLD, at 34F (1.1C), but beautiful. I was to do 8K easy, so I walked to SugarHouse Park and did the park loop 2x before heading back, for a total of 8.04 km in 54:59, 6:50/km (11:00/mile).

My foot has been great this week! Of course, it's been an easy recovery week after the hard training of the last 3 weeks. Next week will be a real test for the foot, with the hardest series of workouts yet. I'm gearing up mentally to do them. One at a time...just take it one at a time.

Tomorrow, cross-training. Saturday: club 5K race. Sunday: easy 20K. FUN!

In March my total mileage was 58 miles, and since I am not RW tomorrow, I can report that my total mileage for April is 127. Dramatic increase, and yet my foot feels good. I am very grateful!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

pushing my limits

My toe felt OK enough to RW today! It is still a bit sore, but not enough to keep me from RW. And believe me, today my toe was the least of my worries.

It was raining hard and windy so I hit the gym at 5:30 am to do my hard workout. I was to do 5x800m (0.5 miles) hard. I know that is a short workout compared to what I have been doing, but it was very hard today. The gym was kind of hot, and my HR was really high, and my legs felt like Jell-O on the 3rd 800. AND then I still had two more to do. I gave it all I had, and seriously, there was nothing left when I was done. My legs were toast, my face was red and salty, and I felt trashed (in a good way I guess).

On the first 800, I did most of it at 6.7 mph, but did the last bit at 6.6 mph when I saw my HR was in the low 170s already. Um, oops. I guess I did that one too hard (yeah...it only took 4:23! I was not even that fast last summer on repeat 800s! oops!). The next one I did at 6.6 mph, but turned it down to 6.5 at the end. Still too fast. I knew I was in trouble. I gamely did the next one at 6.5, with legs and lungs burning. The last two I only managed 6.4 mph. But I pushed absolutely as hard as I could for those last two, focusing on my breathing and trying to get in a zone (yeah, a painful zone!).

Summary:
10 min warm up at 5.5-5.8 mph
4:23 ave HR160/max 168; 6.7 mph
2:36 recovery
4:29 163/173, 6.6 mph
2:34 recovery
4:36 166/175, 6.5 mph
3:21 recovery
4:45 165/174, 6.4 mph
3:04 recovery
4:43 167/175, 6.4 mph

I have to say that this was the most painful workout I have done in a while. Not because it was really so hard (5x800 isn't much) but because I pushed so hard and really worked it. I hardly noticed my toe for the burning in legs and lungs. It really, really hurt.

After that I went to weight training and did heel raises, PT exercises, bench press w/dumbbells, lunges (part of my PT exercises), cable abductor and adductor, bicep curls, tricep extensions, and a bunch of core work.

Now I am recovering with a soapy water foot soak (3x/day...oh yay) and a bowl of Kashi GoLean Crunch with soy milk and mixed berries. It has a good protein/carb ratio for recovery and is delicious :).

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

toe update; losing weight = happiness?

The toe is doing much better today. I was actually able to wear shoes! I was limping a bit, but made it through the day at work OK. Feet are pretty tired now, though. Lots of standing & walking in my job.

I'm hoping that tomorrow I will be able to racewalk. I don't think it's that farfetched, as I am a LOT better today than I was yesterday. Let's hope tomorrow brings more of the same. If I can't RW, I'll be able to do the elliptical or the bike for sure.

***


Several friends have posted this article about weight loss and happiness. My two cents is that though I do not believe weight loss = happiness, I do think that I am a lot happier after losing the weight. There are several reasons for this: 1) I was pretty well-adjusted before I lost the weight, and so it wasn't like I lost the weight but then had a lot of other problems to deal with (other than the usual life issues), 2) A lot of the negative emotions I did have were related to the weight - guilt over poor treatment of my body, anxiety over possible consequences, stress caused by loss of control when it came to food, etc., and 3) I didn't have the mood-elevating effects of good cardio exercise.

Now that I have lost the weight, I no longer have so many negative emotions related to food. In addition, knowing that I look good is a very liberating experience (one I have never felt before, because though I wasn't heavy as a teen, I was very self-conscious and unpopular, and never felt confident in my apprearance). Finally, and most significantly, finding a sport that I am good at has made a huge difference in my life. I have enjoyed so many wonderful experiences linked to racewalking, and they have truly enriched my life over the past few years.

Weight loss does not = happiness. My life still has the usual ups and downs. Weight loss has made things a lot better, but life is what you make of it, in large part. I think weight loss has contributed to my improved mood and outlook, but it is not a cure-all. Still, it surely beats the alternative. I would not ever want to go back to the way I was.

Monday, April 26, 2010

My excuse for today

 I didn't work out today. But I do have a good excuse. For the past week or so I've been nursing a bit of an ingrown toenail, which resulted indirectly from the Seattle RNR marathon last summer. That part of my toenail finally grew back in, but a corner of it chipped off as it came in, leading to the ingrown toenail. I've had these before (they run in the family) but they always resolve after a few days. This one didn't. It felt fine during my bike ride yesterday, but last night it started to hurt a little more. I went to bed and was able to fall asleep OK, but at 3 am I woke to throbbing pain in my toe. I looked at it, and it was abscessed. Uh-oh. I woke up Loren and had him take a look at it, because I wondered how urgent it was. He said that it definitely needed to be seen, but that it could wait until morning.

I tried to go back to sleep, but it hurt way too much. I remembered that I had some Vicodin left from last summer's Portland-to-Coast incident, so I took one and was able to get back to sleep by about 4:30. Loren was up for a couple hours, because he couldn't fall asleep either. I felt bad for waking him, but what was I to do?

I called my parents at 7:15 am, and my dad graciously came and picked up the kids so that I could go to the urgent care without Loren having to take a sick day to take care of the kids for me. The urgent care opened at 9 am, and I got in quickly, as they weren't busy yet. I'll spare you all the gory details, but I did have to have minor surgery on the toe to drain the abscess. It feels a lot better now, but I'm still not walking very well, and I think it might be a couple of days before I can even think about racewalking. I had to call & cancel my PT appt for this afternoon, too. I'm resting with my feet up this afternoon, and hopefully will be able to get to work tomorrow.

Nothing like a little unplanned adventure, is there? I'm just thankful that I have insurance and that I could get treated. I need that toe to be in good shape!
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, April 25, 2010

bike ride outside!


Today I was supposed to do some cross-training. My friend Dorothy was thinking to bike with me, but then she couldn't, so I decided to go alone. I enjoy biking up Emigration Canyon, and barring a flat tire or something, figured I'd have a good time. I had Loren keep his phone handy in case I needed help, and off I went.

Disclaimer: remember, I'm not much of a cyclist, so if you are, you will laugh at my slow speed! Also, I ride my husband's very heavy & clunky mountain bike; the plus is that it has a lot of low gears which is nice for climbing the canyons.

It's about 590m (1935 ft) vertical change from my house to the top of Emigration Canyon, and it's about 17.75 km (11 miles) to the top, so round-trip it was 35.5 km (22 miles). It was about 57 degrees out when I left (14C), but quite windy, and I knew it would be much colder up at the top. I wore a long-sleeve shirt, bike shorts with tights over the top (I don't have any biking tights and wanted the padding on the behind!), and brought a fleece, a windbreaker, and gloves for the ride down. I was a little warm down in the valley, but not bad, and was glad I dressed warmly with the wind and the temperature change at the top.

I took it pretty easy and kept my HR about 140 for the ride. The ride up was not too hard - the wind, very strong, was at my back and it really helped. There were a lot of bikers out there today, both of the bicycle and the motorcycle variety. It really was a gorgeous day, and so nice to be outside. It took me 20 min to get to the parking lot at the mouth of the canyon (just past the zoo) and then another 52 min to make it to the top, for 1 hr 12 min up. My muscles felt a bit tired, but not bad considering I haven't been biking in a while (I've been racewalking a lot, which is a very happy thing!).

At the top I took in the view (see photo of me above) and then bundled up w/jacket & fleece & gloves for the ride down. The gusty winds at the top had me a bit scared on the descent, but it calmed a little as I went down into an annoyingly strong headwind. Better a headwind on the way down, though, than on the way up.

I got back in 1:52 total, so it took 40 min to get down. Ave HR on the way up was 139, but on the way down it was only 112. All in all, a great ride, and I enjoyed getting out in the sunshine.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

goals

I set some goals about 6 wk ago. I didn't reach them. Perhaps they were unrealistic? I don't know, but I do know that I need to lose some weight for my races, which are now 13 weeks away. 0.5 lb/wk would put me in the right spot. I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but in my experience, that's about the fastest I can expect to lose consistently. This morning my weight was down to 149.2, which is lower than it has been; I did have a good week last week, but I think some of the apparent loss is water weight due to drinking a lot of coffee last night with dessert :). I went out with Loren, because my parents had the kids, and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly!

New goals...what to do? I liked the sleep goal, but never seemed to be able to do it. I think it's a key to a lot of the other things, though. The problem is that I have to get up pretty early to get in some of the miles before Loren has to go to work, and then that means I have to go to bed really early and have very little down time after putting the kids to bed. Well, I guess I will just have to live without that time a few nights a week if I really want to meet my goal, which I do. And I NEED the sleep for the hard training I'm embarking on.

All right, let's keep this simple. Sleep right, eat right = Lose weight. I've got the workout part down :).

2 goals for the next 6 weeks:
1. Sleep 8 hr per night at least 4 nights per week.
2. Lose 0.5 lb/wk so that by June 5th my home scale says 146.2 or less. Can't go by the WW scale since though I went to the meeting this morning I did not weigh in - too crowded.

That's it. I am still going to reward myself if I meet these. So, let's get to it!

8K kickdown

My coach promised that this was a very hard workout. He was right, though at 8K it wasn't as hard as I thought it might be. These are going to increase quickly to 12k over the next few weeks, and that will be much harder.

So what is it? Basically, an acceleration workout in 4 parts: start easyish for 2 km, then kick it down 10 sec/km for the next 2 km, then 10 sec/km faster for the next 2 km, and finally on the last 2 km give it all you've got - pedal to the metal, essentially. My coach said the last 2 km of these are often slower than race pace, despite going all out, because you are pre-fatiguing the muscles. My guess is that the easy pace sets you up for more slow twitch muscles being active, and then when you turn it on harder it's more difficult to recruit the fast twitch muscles. Or something like that.

I started off downhill slightly to Liberty Park, a favorite flat place to do hard workouts. I'm easily bored, so don't want to do all of these hard workouts on the track, and really, it doesn't matter if the 2 km are exactly correct, or if my times are perfectly accurate. They probably aren't...I'm using GPS to monitor them, and it's close, but it can be off by 1-2% in my experience. What's important is the effort, and getting the hard work done.

Side note: I took my dog Copper with me. She's fast and fit, and can do the hard miles. I think if pushed that she is much faster than I am...sad but true!

The first 2K felt very easy, because I was fresh, and it was downhill (Garmin says about 40m, or around 125 ft); I did it in 13:16, HR 136 ave/143 max. The second 2K felt good, too - moderate effort, flat as a pancake around the park, 12:43 with HR 151 ave/158 max. The third 2K was where it got interesting. It was uphill (slight, but noticeable!) from about 550 East to 800 East along 1300 South, and then left on 800 E where it was essentially flat for the remainder. I put in a moderately hard effort, and did it in 12:37 with HR 160 ave/164 max. I was trying to keep it comfortably hard, though, if there really is such a thing. I wish the 3rd one was a little faster, or maybe the 2nd one a little slower, because the times were close. However, with the hill (18m; about 60 feet), I think I actually was probably right on pace for the 3rd one.

Then the fun began. Yes, this is a hard workout, but it's not THAT bad, because the only really painful part was the last 2K. I figured I could do anything for 12 minutes (however, when these get to be 12K and I'm doing 3K for the last one, it will hurt a lot more!). I pretended I was racing and chasing down some of the fast ladies I have raced. It was a very hard effort; probably about 95% or more. Breathing was very labored and I concentrated hard on maintaining the most efficient form possible. I felt slow and wondered what my time would be (too hard to calculate it when working so hard!). When I reached the end and hit the lap button I was surprised: 11:43! Wow! Not bad. Ave HR 169/max 173, and yes, that really hurt.

I walked 2K to get home, easy (uphill, 14:38; Garmin said 1.95K so that was a very slow 7:30/km). I stretched (ahhhhh) and felt very satisfied with my hard work.

Next week is an easy recovery week. I think I need it, though I'm going to go a little stir crazy with two rest days in the schedule. They say "optional" so not sure I have to rest...just e-mailed the coach to find out if some x-training would be OK on one of those days.

Oh, and my foot? Didn't even think about it. When I got home it was a little achy; I did my PT exercises and iced it. It's really improved a lot over the past 2 weeks!

Friday, April 23, 2010

rainy 12k

This morning I was to do 12k. I looked outside at 5:55 am, and it was not raining. 5 min later, it was drizzling slightly, so I grabbed my raincoat and threw it on as I went out the door. I needed it. The drizzle gradually increased, and it was somewhat windy at times as well. It was only about 40F (4C), so it was pretty chilly. By the time I was 30-40 min into my walk, it was raining quite hard, and it rained steadily until I finished in 1:21:46 (6:49/km, 10:58/mile; ave HR 143). It was raining hard enough that my rain jacket with its sealed seams did not quite do the trick. The shirt underneath was wet...ugh! I guess I should get a gore-tex jacket or something (recommendations, anyone?).

I didn't see very many people out there. I saw one runner about 6:10 am at the entrance to SugarHouse Park, and about the same time I saw the Army ROTC guys (about 50 of them, +/-) just behind me as I entered the park road. The runner called out to me as she went by (she was doing maybe 8:30-9:00 miles with her dog; she must be a decent runner because it looked pretty effortless) and said something like "Isn't it motivating to have them here?" and I replied, "Yeah, it's fun to try to stay ahead of them." I picked it up a notch to see if I could do just that; I mean, I might as well have some fun out there! I probably did 10:30ish around the park (or maybe 10:15 at some points), and they did not catch me. I think they stayed about the same distance away. After I left the park, they went around for another lap. It was pretty entertaining to hear them chanting all the way around the park as they ran, and trying to stay ahead of them was fun too. I missed them when I left the park!

Then I made my way to Liberty Park, and in the pouring rain I only saw ONE other person all the way over there, around the park, and back to my house. There was a guy walking in the park with a backpack; he looked like a student. I felt virtuous for being out there despite the rain. I didn't get cold, except for my legs. I was wearing tights on the bottom and a long-sleeve and my jacket and gloves on top. My legs felt good for the first 40 min or so but then got a bit cold. Oh well. It was nothing too bad, and it beat the heck out of doing a 12k on the treadmill.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

ugh...slow day

I knew I'd be slow today because of recovering from being sick. But I decided to do the hard workout anyway. After all, it's not how fast you go, but how hard you work that matters. The speed will come when it comes.

Today I was to do a 5K fartlek again (I did this 2 weeks ago, and one week ago I did a 6K). I warmed up and stretched a bit, and this time I did the fartlek on 800E instead of at Liberty Park. There are some slight (very slight) hills on 800E but it was enough to be annoying. Maybe next time I'll do Liberty Park again.

The first 1K was in 5:58, and my legs felt kinda weak & wobbly. I knew it would be a slow day. Ave HR 157/max 166.

The rest of the workout was like this:

500m medium 3:19 (151/166)
500m hard 3:06 (162/166)
500m medium 3:13 (155/166)
500m hard 3:07 (163/166)
500m medium 3:27 (151/165)
500m hard 2:56 (160/166)
500m medium 3:16 (156/163)
500m hard 3:03 (166/170) I really laid it all on the line on this one, hoping to break 3:00. But no dice.

Other than being slow and having weak & wobbly legs, I felt fine. My lymph nodes are back to normal size and I feel all right. A little tired, because I tossed and turned a lot last night after napping in the afternoon, but the nap was needed.

I did not even think about my foot, except once, noting that it felt great. Yay! I am not even icing it now - it feels fine.

Mentally I am OK but could be better. Trying to remember that I was slow because I'm recovering and not because I'm lousy at this. A whole minute slower for 5K this week is not a happy thing! Also, the weight thing is not going well. Still 5-7 lb above desired racing weight and still eating too much crap. Last night I made some delicious artisan bread (for us to eat tonight after I work) and Loren and I ate almost a whole loaf. Ummmm, oops. Not good. Well, I still have probably 13 wk to the race, so I can still lose the weight but I have to get serious. Loren suggested that emotional eating was a problem for me, and that I need to try to avoid certain situations. Definitely true, so will be working on that.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

under the weather, but still getting faster :)




I didn't feel very good last night or this morning. Really tired, congested (runny nose), and lymph nodes the size of eggs (not really, but feels that way) under my chin. I really debated whether I should train hard. But generally I follow the rule that if it's not in your chest, then go for it, so I decide to go anyway.

Surprisingly, I had a good workout. I warmed up for 1600m in 10:10 (pretty fast! and I wasn't pushing too hard!) and then did some dynamic flexibility drills. My left groin was a bit sore yesterday, so I stretched it pretty well, and it was feeling OK today. Then I got started on the 3x2k I was supposed to do.

The first 2k felt great. I was pretty fast, and it wasn't too taxing (I did keep to the 85% effort that my coach wanted). I pushed a little at the end and finished in 11:43 (HR ave 151, max 168). After my 3' recovery, I tacked the second one. It wasn't quite so pretty. By the last lap (5 laps = 2000m), my legs were quite tired and I wondered if there was much left for the third one. I did finish in 11:55, so that was decent (HR ave 161, max 168). However, I was pretty sure the last one was going to be bad news.

I think I was starting out too fast on the first two, so I decided to start more conservatively and just shoot for 12:00 for the 2K. I planned to check every 200m to make sure I was on 1:12 for each. That was a good plan. I probably did give more than 85% on this last one, but I finished in 11:54! HR ave 162/max 169. I felt a sense of elation that I had finished well despite being sick.

I cooled down for 1600 easy (12:21), and stretched, and took some photos of the track (and a couple of my kids when I got home :)!). You'll notice that it's a beautiful place to work out, ringed by mountains and with a great view of the valley. The weather today was perfect - 55F (12-13C?) and a little breezy. Nice!!!

My times are definitely improving. I hope that continues! In the first set of 2Ks I did a few weeks ago I was unable to break 12:00, and in this set all were under 12:00. I still have a ways to go to get back to where I was last summer, but things are moving in the right direction.

Best of all, my foot did not hurt at all. I'm icing it now anyway prophylactically, but I think things are good.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A couple easy days

Sunday I went for a swim at the Master's workout at Steiner from 11:30-12:30. It was a very technical workout with lots of drills and not too much on the endurance end, which was perfect for the day after a 1/2 marathon. I did do several 50-yd intervals in only 45s :) which is fast for me, and so I was pleased.

Today I was to do an easy 10K, and I felt pretty darn good. I felt like I was going fast, but I wasn't particularly speedy, finishing in just over 1:08. I was glad to be feeling good, and my foot didn't hurt, so it was perfect. After my 10K, I went to weight training, and did a bunch of exercises my coach recommended, both for core and also for glutes/hamstrings/etc. I liked a lot of them but too tired to list them now. Need some rest. I've had swollen lymph nodes under my chin yesterday & today and am feeling draggy, so I guess I'm fighting something off.

I've been a little sore after the race; nothing too bad, but noticeable. My trapezoids (top of shoulder) are the most sore --- weird, but you never know what is going to hurt, and I haven't gone 13.1 in a while, so it's not surprising. The most noticeable thing is that my foot is NOT sore at all. Yay!

This morning after weight training I went to the podiatrist and had my orthotics adjusted so they don't rub my L foot any more. Hopefully that will do the trick.

This afternoon I had a physical therapy appointment, which went well. The PT is very pleased with my progress - last week was virtually pain-free, and though he thought my doing the 1/2 marathon was a bit risky, he was glad that I didn't have pain and felt that was indicative of my progress. He said if things keep looking good for a few more weeks then maybe I can stop visiting them so often, if at all :). That would be helpful from both a time and money standpoint, as each visit is a $30 copay. Ouch. AND I have to find a sitter. Thankfully, my parents watched the kids today and can probably do it the next couple of weeks.

Way tired and I am supposed to do 3x2k at 85% tomorrow. Off to bed. Hoping I will wake up feeling up to a hard workout.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

SLC half marathon 2010

I was SO excited to get to do a 1/2 marathon again :)! Have not gone 13.1 since October at the Nike Women's Marathon. Plus, despite the fact that this race is generally somewhat poorly-organized, I like the course a lot, and I love being out in the great spring weather.

The weather was PERFECT this morning. 50F (10C) and sunny, and a gentle breeze. By the finish it might have been 60F, but I wasn't too hot. It was very, very nice. Loving it after the winter and the snow.

I met Leah and took the train from 21st South to downtown, but we had a bit of a snafu getting to the start as the first train that came by downtown (we had to switch to the University line) was full. The 2nd train was almost full. We got on and pretty soon it was totally PACKED. It was a long 15-min ride to the U! Got off and dropped my gear bag, and then it was race time - yeah, that was cutting it pretty close. Next time we'll take the train from the Gateway.

The start was crowded but since the race is chip-timed I didn't care. Took about 6 min to cross the starting line. This race is nice because it is a very easy course - lots of downhill in the first 6 miles. Then mostly flat until mile 11, which has a long hill to mile 12, and then downhill/flat to the finish. With all the adrenaline and everyone around having so much fun, I got off to a fast start even though I thought I was taking it easy. First mile was 9:46 (sorry, no km splits because they didn't have km signs in the race). Oops, kinda fast, but considering the downhill, not bad. The 2nd mile is flatter and I did that in 10:31. I think I'll list the rest of the splits below. Basically, through mile 6 I was faster than planned because of the downhill, and then I was pretty much on pace (had planned on 6:50/k or 11:00/mile) for the rest of the race. Remember, I was not trying to actually race this - was taking it easy since I have not trained to race this distance since injuring my foot.

I felt awesome through about mile 8, and then my legs were a bit tired. Lungs were good, though, and it was quite enjoyable to do this race without pushing the pace at all. I enjoyed catching tidbits of the runners' conversations, looking at the spring flowers which were bursting out everywhere, hearing the cheers of the many spectators, and seeing a few people I knew. Pete from church waved and said "Go Tammy!" about mile 9, and my swimming coach (who finished the race WAY before me - she is a pro triathlete) cheered me on about mile 11.5 as I was going up the hill on State St.

I did push the pace just a little - instead of taking it totally "easy", I probably did easy-moderate. But it felt SO comfortable compared to how I've raced this one in the past. Much more enjoyable (in some ways) to take it slower, though of course I enjoy racing hard too :).

A few gripes - less-organized than usual (scary!) - the aid station at mile 6 had NO WATER (and I really wanted some) and many of the others were behind on pouring it or handing it to you. The gear check pick-up was horribly horribly disorganized with a LONG line. I was lucky to find my bag in a pile instead of waiting for it (this was a small miracle). I like this course a lot, but the race management is obviously not that great.

I got lots of fun comments from runners today. I usually do, but today they were funnier than usual.

"Wow, she'd be really good at Zumba!"
From a runner I passed, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, "I'm mad at you!"
"Look at those hips!"

And the usual comments,
"Awesome!"
"Wow, you are fast!"
"She's walking faster than I'm running!"

Even got one "Good form!" from a spectator. Not sure if they actually knew anything about RW, but it was nice anyway.

Here are my splits, ave pace/km, and HR for each. I didn't get a split every mile (somehow missed some of the mile markers). Remember that there were significant downhills on miles 1, 3-4, and 6.

Mile 1 9:46, 6:19/km, 153 (I think my heart rate monitor wasn't quite sweaty enough yet, because I know I was not pushing that hard - it was registering cadence, or interference or something)
Mile 2 10:31, 6:33/km, 143
Miles 3-4 20:22, 6:21/km, 143
Mile 5 11:04, 6:47/km, 142
Miles 6-7 21:23, 6:37/km, 142
Miles 7-8 22:11, 6:54/km, 140
Mile 9 11:07, 6:52/km, 145
Mile 10 11:03, 6:50/km, 144
Mile 11 11:28, 7:12/km, 145 (big hill)
Mile 12-13.1 11:37, 6:22/km, 149 (downhill, and I accelerated a bit to the finish)

Final time: 2:20:27, 8 seconds faster than my first 1/2 marathon in 2007. Guess I've improved a bit since then...taking it easy, I was faster :).

My foot feels pretty good. It's slightly achy and a little warm, so I'm icing it. But I think it's going to be 100% fine. I plan to swim tomorrow to give it a little rest. I'm really glad that it held up so well :). Things are definitely looking up! Now to get that eating under control and lose the 7 lb I have put on since the Portland Marathon. But that's another story.

There are lots of pictures from the race here. I took more pictures this time than usual, since I wasn't racing hard. Not bad shots considering that I was RW at the time, and it's a teeny little camera.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Gymnastics meet


Last weekend we took the kids to the NCAA regional women's gymnastics meet. It was incredible to watch 6 teams competing all at once - so much to take in at a time. We had a great time, though the meet was long (3 hr) and I was glad we had brought our iPodTouches to entertain the kids with. They watched the meet for a while but did get bored.

Here are some photos - my lenses aren't good enough to capture the motion w/o some blurring, but I still got some interesting pictures.

Utah came in 2nd place in the meet, ensuring a berth in the national meet next weekend. Florida was 1st, and they were truly amazing to watch. All in all, a great time.

my kids are gonna be science geeks :)

I brought home some dry ice to play with. It's really fun when you add water and some soap! We taught them that dry ice is made of carbon dioxide, and that it sublimates from solid to gas at atmospheric pressure. Don't know how much they will remember, but they had a great time.


Liberty Park 6K fartlek

Yesterday I did 10k VERY easy racewalking (ave HR 133!) in 1:08:30ish. I felt sluggish and decided not to push it. Then did my PT and some weight training --- hamstring one-legged dead lifts, some one-legged squats, calf raises (which are part of my PT), and a bunch of other stuff, including lots of abs.

***

Today I warmed up with 2K over to Liberty Park in about 12:50 or so; forgot to push the lap button before my first hard 1K of the fartlek, so I don't know for sure how long it took but I think about 5:45. Here's a summary of what I did. The # in parentheses are average heart rate OR ave/max HR for an interval. The recovery intervals (medium effort) I only put ave HR.

2k w/u in 12:50 (downhill), then 6k fartlek (1k 5:45, 500m med 3:12 (148), 500m hard 2:56 (161/164), 500m med 3:24 (151), 500m hard 2:49 (162/168), 500m med 3:20 (149), 500m hard 2:56 (162/167), 500m med 3:37 (149), 500m hard 2:52 (161/166), 500m med 3:26 (150), 500m hard 2:58 (162/166), 2.14k c/d uphill 15:42 (141).

I did not push quite as hard as I did last week on the 5K fartlek; close, but not as much. I felt I pushed too hard on the last one last week, and it left me not wanting to do it again. So this time I went comfortably hard (if there is such a thing?). I felt great when I was done, and guess what? My foot was feeling VERY very good almost the whole time. On the last hill up to my house I felt a little something. I really am thinking that maybe, just maybe, I might be turning the corner on this. We'll see how it feels later today. Now I'm icing it and then off to work.

I feel GREAT this morning. I woke up in a decent mood despite several things that are bugging me (excess weight I can't seem to shed because I keep eating too much junk, some job issues for the husband, etc.). I didn't really want to do a hard workout, but once I got warmed up, I felt really good and was ready to go. My legs got pretty tired by the 5th interval or so, but not too bad...better than they have been.

It probably helps my mood that the weather is GORGEOUS today. It was 42 and calm when I left the house, and now it's up to 47. Supposed to be in the 70s today! Spring here is so weird. Days like this alternate with snow like we had on Tuesday.

I work today but not tomorrow this week, so I'll have off until Tuesday. Plus I get to do the Salt Lake City 1/2 marathon (albeit at an easy pace) on Saturday. I'm psyched! Going to be a fun weekend.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday track - scratch that - treadmill workout

Today there was 2" of snow on my lawn. It always snows here in April, and it's generally annoying. We need the water, and the skiers love it, but me? Not so much. The track was likely to be under snow, because though my sidewalk was clear, the track is a few hundred feet higher in elevation and usually has more snow. So I opted for the treadmill.

The treadmill in my basement does have certain conveniences. 1) Proximity to the bathroom. I wasn't sure my GI system was fully recovered from whatever was bugging me Sunday (it turned out to be fine). 2) No drive required. 3) Clothing is more flexible - I can wear a sports bra & shorts and no one will stare. 4) I have a nice fan, and our basement is cool in the winter (about 60F unless we turn on the space heater). 5) I can put the TV on any channel I like.

I got started, warming up at 5.5 mph for 0.9 miles in 10 min, followed by some flexibility drills. Then I cranked up the speed to 6.4 and let 'er rip. I did 2K (1.24 miles) in 11:30 or so (but remember, it's a treadmill and therefore the distances are approximate). Then 4-min recovery (supposed to be 3, but I messed up somehow!), then 2K at 6.3 mph (turned it down because I was supposed to keep 85% effort, and 6.4 was a little fast) in 11:58 (obviously that lap time was a little long - probably pressed it before belt fully accelerated). After 3' recovery, I did 1K, 2' recovery (supposed to be 3, but Michelle came downstairs and I changed the channel for her (to the Disney channel :)!) and then in my distracted state thought it was time to go 1 min early), and finally another 1K. Both 1Ks were at 6.3 mph, and I did them in 5:58, 5:53 (should be the same, but lap timing and acceleration to 6.3 from slower pace make this off a bit).

Average HR for the intervals/max HR:
2K 155/163
2K 158/167
1K 158/166
1K 159/167

A good, hard effort. It was tough, but not impossibly hard. I was definitely feeling the pain, but that's where you want to be to make some gains. My legs are not quite as tired as they were a few wks ago on these workouts. Lungs still hurting though!

I cooled down with about 10 min of a slower pace, keeping HR in the mid-130s, and then walked slowly for a couple minutes to finish.

Afterward I iced my foot for 15 min or so. It felt totally fine during and immediately after the workout. Later this morning it was ever-so-slightly-achy so I iced it at lunch.

***

Forgot to post yesterday's x-training: 30 min on bike, 45 min weight training (total body supersets --- chest, hips, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, back, lats, etc.) plus abs & my PT exercises. Later in the day, 10 min bike at PT and some new PT exercises. Foot was slightly achy after PT but not bad.

***

Drove by the track on the way to work. It looked slushy, so I was glad I stayed indoors this morning. Better not to risk injury.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

15k Sunday

Today was my longest walk in a long time. I think the last time I did 15k (9.3 miles) or more was in October at the Nike Women's Marathon. The weather was good --- warm at 55F; I wore SHORTS and a short-sleeved shirt! No gloves or hat, either! Nice :). Supposed to get colder & rainy again this week though.

It felt good to go long again...sort of. I had some serious GI issues that I think might have been a virus, or something weird I ate. I didn't have any dairy yesterday, so not sure what the deal is. I had some pain starting 25 min into workout and it continued on and off for the rest of the workout, sometimes so intensely that I had to stop. Ugh! It did ease a bit by an hour or so into the workout, but bothered me most of the rest of the day :(.

The other problem was my orthotics. The left one from the podiatrist started rubbing my foot on the outside (opposite where it has been hurting from the tendonitis). Annoying! Will have to call and get that fixed, because it was causing a blister.

The injury site didn't hurt at all during my walk. Later in the day after standing a lot at a birthday party it was bugging me, but I iced it and think it's OK now. Am not going to RW tomorrow so that should help. Maybe some biking then my weight training class.

Today's summary: 15k in 1:42:36 for 6:50/km (11:01/mile), ave HR 139.

***

"Outing" the coach :). I got permission...I guess I am not too embarrassing despite my rank amateur-ness. Seriously, I think he is interested in new clients who love RW, even if they are amateurs :). So if you are looking, tell him I sent you.

He's an Aussie named Jim Leppik, and he coaches Erin Taylor, who won the 50K national championships in February in Arizona. She also raced Portland-to-Coast last year, on the winning MEN'S team (they are allowed 2 women on a men's team), the only team to beat the team I was on (we were the winning women's team). He's quite knowledgeable about RW and biomechanics, and has written me a challenging schedule to prep for July's USATF Masters' National Championships. He seems to get the psychology end of things too...so if you are looking for a coach, you should consider him.

***

Weight Watchers this week: up 1.2 lb :(. Yeah, Easter candy. I know better. 2 more weeks to try to salvage my goals for 6 weeks. Not sure it's going to happen, but at least let's get things moving in the right direction again. I'm feeling optimistic.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

5K fartlek, and a little surprise :)

This morning I was to do a 5K fartlek. "Fartlek" means speed play, and usually it is short bursts of speed followed by brief recovery; however, my coach wanted me to do a very specific fartlek. I was to warm up, then do 1 km hard, 500m medium, 500m hard, and alternate 500m med/hard until the end. And so I did.

By the way, I have not "outed" my coach yet because I'm not sure that my coach wants to publicly claim me yet, seeing as how I'm a pretty rank amateur at the moment. I have to make sure it is OK first. But I guess it's kind of obvious that my coach is not an American, since my workouts are all in km :).

Anyway, back to the workout. I warmed up by walking to Liberty Park (2.14 km to the south middle entrance - in 13:31, for 6:19/km for the warm-up - note that it is downhill, so not really as fast as it sounds!) and then did some dynamic flexibility drills. Right piriformis is still tight :( but not bothering me too much. The drills help with that a bit and keep things looser. Then I started the fartlek. The distances are all by my Garmin, so they are bound to be off by a bit.

I did the first 1K in 5:51 (ave HR 159), then 500m medium in 3:08 (oops, a little fast, w/ave HR 157).

Then 500m fast in 2:58 with ave HR 166 (now we're getting a workout!), and 500m medium in 3:24 (ave HR 156).

Next, 500m fast in 2:54 (ave HR 167), 500m medium in 3:18 (ave HR 156),

Then 500m hard in 2:50 (! wow ! I'm getting faster! That's 5:40/km! ... and ave HR 167) and 500m medium in 3:42 (recoveries getting longer...ave HR 155)

Finally 500m fast in 2:56 (ave HR 168). That last fast one was a killer; max HR was 172 and it really HURT. AND it wasn't all that fast. Guess I got tired, but I got tired later than I would have two weeks ago, that's for sure.

Hopefully the hard workouts will start paying off in terms of faster times. These are faster than I have been doing, but not sure the Garmin is accurate enough to tell. Will be at the track Tuesday and that's the gold standard.

After the 5K fartlek, I was a little ways around the park, so I had to walk about 2.31K easy to get home. That took a long time, because it's uphill and I was tired; I did it in 17:31 at 7:36/km (very sloooow but that's fine after a hard workout like that).

I'm pleased with the workout. My foot felt totally fine during the workout and is a little sore now, 7 hours later, but I iced it and am going to take a short nap. I'm glad the foot is OK but not sure how it will take this back-to-back with the 15K I am supposed to do tomorrow. I think it will be fine...I hope.

***
Later in the morning, I took Calvin to the newly remodeled Highland High track for a workout for him. He has a 1K kids' race on Saturday, and I want him to be able to run the whole way. After today, I'm not worried about that - he can totally do it. He did 2.5 laps (1K) no problem, running the whole way, and didn't seem that tired at the end. It took him 7:30 (not bad for a kid his age, I think!). Afterwards, he wanted to run around on the letters on the hill next to the track (HH and RAMS, for the Highland High Rams), so I let him. Then he did not want to go home, and wanted to go play in SugarHouse Park (adjoining), so we went over there (Michelle too) and played on the playground for a while. Oh, the boundless energy of youth.

***

A little surprise :). My schedule has me doing 20K on Sunday 4/18, and since the SLC Half Marathon (13.1 miles, or about 21K) is on 4/17, I decided to sign up for it. A half marathon? Am I crazy? Nope. I am going to do it EASY, and I really will. I realize that to do it fast might hurt my foot, and besides, I can't do it fast - I am nowhere near trained to go fast at that distance. I just thought it would be more fun to do an easy half marathon with lots of spectators than to do the easy 20K by myself the next day. Some of my friends are doing the race, and I really enjoy that course, so what the heck. Why not?!? I signed up today. Even an easy pace should land me at the finish in about 2:24, in plenty of time to see Calvin do his 1K race at 10:45 am (the 1/2 starts at 7:00 am).

Friday, April 09, 2010

ticklefest

Michelle was trying to put watery milk in Loren's mouth :). He was tickling her to prevent it. It was all hilarious!!! video

no foot pain :)

My foot didn't hurt at all today :).

I did an easy 8k racewalking, which for some reason did not feel easy, despite the x-training yesterday. Muscles felt sore and tired, but it was still so great to be out there. I did the 8k in a little over 55 min; my Garmin said 6:58/km which is maybe 11:10/mile. That's pretty darn slow, but oh well. At least my foot didn't hurt!

I then went to weight training and did a LOT of core work plus my PT exercises. I felt virtuous for doing all of that :).

Tomorrow? A hard 5K fartlek is on the agenda. I hope my foot is up to it. I've had a few setbacks since starting my hard training almost 2 weeks ago, but overall things are going well I think. It's 3 steps forward, 2 steps back, which seems to be typical for recovery from injury. I'm learning this the hard way, having been injured a lot in the last year.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

resting the foot

Yesterday I did an easy 12k, but it didn't feel very easy after the tough interval workout I did on the treadmill on Tuesday. My legs were heavy, and my obliques and hamstrings were pretty sore. I was slow, too; had trouble pushing hard enough to get my heart rate in the usual range for my easy pace. Usually I keep it in the upper 130s to low 140s, but the average yesterday was 134. I'm out of shape for RW I guess, despite all the cross-training. Oh well.

My foot was pretty sore last night, so I iced it a lot and rested. I decided to play it by ear as to whether I'd RW or swim this morning, and when I woke, my foot was still a bit sore, so I opted for the swim.

My swimming was not so good today. The workout was challenging, and I just couldn't keep up. I did about 400 yd for the warm-up, and then we launched into an endurance workout of sorts. 400 easy, then 400 hard (goal was 1:45 for 100 yd on the hard segments), 300 easy, 300 hard, 200 easy, 200 hard, 100 easy. I would have been able to hit 1:50 for 100 yd on the hard segments OK, but today just didn't have it in me to do the 1:45 for those distances. I would do the first 100 in 1:45, but then the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th 100s (or however many there were in the set) would be slower; say 1:50. Ugh. My lane-mates were much faster and had no trouble making the intervals, though they were saying it was a good hard workout. Still, it was demoralizing not to be able to come close to keeping up. Oh well. I had to drop a couple 50s to stay with them :(.

The good news is that my foot felt pretty good the rest of the day, and I think I am ready to walk the easy 8k on my schedule for tomorrow (well, it was supposed to be today, and x-train tomorrow, but I switched them). Then on Saturday I have a harder workout, so hopefully the foot will be up for it.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

very snowy day = treadmill time!

At least we knew it was coming. There's about 4 inches (10 cm) of snow on the ground here right now at our house, and a bit more at the track & at the gym (higher elevation). There's not much on our sidewalks because it isn't all that cold (30F, -0.8C), so I did drive by the track to check & see if maybe it would be possible to work out outside. No dice...the track was covered in snow. I didn't bother to look at how much, because workout quality would be diminished with the snow out there. I'd do a recovery/easy day in the snow, but not a quality workout like I was to do today.

So, off to the gym I went. Yes, I do have a treadmill at home which I can use, but my husband had to go to work really early today and I wanted him to get as much sleep as possible before he had to go in. The treadmill isn't terribly noisy, but it just seemed better to go to the gym. I warmed up for 10 minutes (0.85 miles - walked very easy to start while fussing with my iPod), did some flexibility drills, and then started the hard workout.

I was to do 2k/2k/1k/1k at 85% effort with 3 min rest in between. Treadmills are all calibrated a bit differently (bummer!), but I picked one that I thought was fairly accurate based on previous experience. It was close enough :). You get a little advantage from the treadmill, in general, due to no wind resistance and also due to a little assist from the belt with each stride (however, on my home treadmill, which is not calibrated right, I am usually slower than outside with equivalent effort). The treadmill today at the gym seemed easier. I did the first 2k (1.24 miles) in 11:40 with ave HR 158/max HR 164 (treadmill speed 6.5 mph to start but pretty quickly moved it down to 6.3 mph). That was faster than on the track last week, but who knows if it was really faster. The important thing was the effort, which felt pretty hard and was reasonably close to 85%. The second 2k I did have to slow down a bit and set the treadmill to 6.2 mph (10 kph), which is where I kept it the rest of the workout. The second 2k was in 12:00. The first 1K I did in 6:00 and the last 1K in 6:03 (should have been 6:00 based on 10 kph, but something got a little off with the lap timing or something).

My legs were tired, but not as tired as they were last week at the track. That's good I guess. Today's workout felt pretty good. It was hard, and I was sweating a lot, but I was able to focus on a light on the wall and felt like I was really concentrating well on my form and my effort. I felt focused and strong, which is good. I needed a little confidence.

My foot? One small twinge at one point but no other problems. I'm icing it as I write this and hoping for the best. I do have PT appointment later today which is sure to make things more interesting, but I think the foot is fine for now. I'll see how it feels later this morning and then will let the PT know how hard to work me :).

Oh, and yesterday? I had an "optional" day on the schedule, so I did some stationary bike & elliptical for an hour, along with some PT exercises and some hip abductor exercises. Should have done some abs too, but was pressed for time.

OK, time to shower and get the kids ready so I can go to work. Thankfully, the roads are relatively clear so it shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Easter 12k racewalk with snowy scenes


There was fresh snow last night, just in time for Easter. It looked more like winter than spring this morning. At least there wasn't any snow on the roads, just on the grass, so it was no problem to walk. It was chilly at 29F (-1 or 2C?) but it wasn't windy, so it didn't feel too bad; I wore tights and fleece on my legs and a long sleeve and my Wasatch Walkers jacket on the top, plus gloves & hat. I thought it was snowing lightly when I left, but it actually wasn't.

I was to do 12k today, and after yesterday's hard effort I was a bit sore in the hamstrings and obliques. I felt pretty decent until 7k, and then the last 5k was tougher. I felt pretty tired and my legs were heavy. But I still finished at a 6:50/km (11:00/mile) pace, in 1:22:22. It was wonderful to be out there so long, and my foot didn't bother me. I noticed that it felt a little warm, but it has basically felt fine the rest of the day, including after playing the organ this morning for our Easter services at New Song. I did ice it twice, just to be sure. I'm planning to do some light PT exercises tonight before bed, since it's feeling OK.

I took a bunch of pictures, and some of them are pretty decent. They are here if you are interested in the snowy scenes along my favorite route, which includes Sugar House and Liberty parks.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

record slow 5K race :)

The Wasatch Walkers (well, the ones who raced this morning): Carol, Shelly, Boyd, Nancy, Madeline, Diane, Tammy

I had my slowest 5K ever today. OK, well, it was faster than the one I raced while pushing Calvin in the stroller. And it was faster than the hilly 5K (that was really farther than 5K...) that I walked before I took Dave's RW clinic. But it was the slowest 5K I've done since taking Dave's clinic for the first time in April 2007.

I'm not at all surprised by how slow I was, given my lack of training. I thought I'd be really disappointed, but I'm not. More about that later.

Brief race recap: I tried to start out pretty conservatively, because I remembered how lousy I felt during my track 2Ks on Tuesday. I did 6:10 for the first 1K, with ave HR 159, and felt OK. I tried not to speed up too much on the 2nd one, and did it in 6:06. I was starting to feel my legs getting tired. Though my coach had told me to keep it to 85% effort, I just couldn't resist pushing it. Yeah, I know, not a good idea, but I just couldn't help it. I pushed and did the 3rd 1K in 6:03. I was tired, and remembered that I was not supposed to push so hard, so I did back off a little on the 4th 1K (6:09). Finally, I saw the club members (who had started anywhere from 6-14 minutes ahead of me) just ahead and I tried to catch them. I only caught up with one, and it turned out that because of some timing errors, she hadn't started far enough in front of me, and so I didn't actually beat anyone...no big surprise since I figured I'd be more out of shape than everyone else. The last 1K was in 6:03 for 30:31 total.

I am a bit sad to have raced 5K over 30 min, but had a good chat with my coach, who told me that things would take a little while, but that I'd see a little improvement here and there, and that once my fast-twitch muscles and my nervous system remember how to do all of this that I will see rapid progress. It's going to happen, but it's just a question of when it will happen. I hope that things will turn around before July, but it is going to be what it is. Meanwhile, I'm just hoping to get under 30 minutes for our next club race on May 1st. I'm actually feeling pretty positive and looking forward to seeing what happens.

Edited to add: my foot felt fine all morning, and is slightly sore tonight. I'm skipping the PT exercises and icing it for the 2nd time today. It's doing pretty well, considering. I'm still planning on an easy 12k tomorrow morning.

Friday, April 02, 2010

easy 8K

I was to do an easy 8K (5 miles) this morning. It went fine; I didn't set any land speed records, but I wasn't trying to! My foot actually felt pretty good the whole time. I ended up doing 8.28K by mistake (miscalculated return distance at one point) in 56:28, for 6:49/km or 10:59/mile.

After that I went to work to pull some plates. No colonies :(. Grrrr. Something is wrong with my @#$(*& site-directed mutagenesis and it's really annoying. Oh well...can't do anything about it 'til Tuesday so best to put it out of my mind.

Then I headed to the gym for some weight training. I did a good hard abs set, a good set of hip exercises (hip flexor, abductors) on the hip cybex machine, some cable crossovers for chest, and some heel walking. I got there late (due to having to stop in at work), but I also managed some light PT exercises. I tried to take it easy to avoid more foot pain. I did heel raises (those don't seem to hurt at all), some balancing on the dyna disk, some windmills, some lunges on the Bosu, and some dynamic lunges on the Bosu. I did 2 sets instead of the usual 3, and was generally cautious about things.

Next I drove over to the chapel our church is renting (at a school) and practiced the organ for 30 min. Gotta be ready for Easter, y'know?

Whew. 8:00 am and time to head home. That was a lot of activity for the morning! Later this morning, practicing with soloist for Easter, and then heading over to my parents' house. They are going to watch the kiddos for me a little bit so I can go shopping for their Easter candy :).

Thursday, April 01, 2010

easy 10K

I feel amazing. I never feel like this after a swim. I'm glad I got to do an easy 10K this morning!!!

It was cold (32F, 0C) and snowing lightly. The footing was still pretty good in most places, though slick in areas. I was sure I'd be slow because of that, but I didn't care. After about a mile, my foot felt slightly achy, so I thought about turning around. I'm so glad I didn't! Maybe it was the endorphins, but the foot started to feel better soon, and it was a winter wonderland out there. Gorgeous. The snowflakes in my face and the wet feet were somewhat annoying, but did not dampen my enthusiasm. I felt so alive out there this morning, so smooth, and wonderful.

I am now icing my foot while eating breakfast, and then it's off to work. The foot feels totally fine, but I figured some ice was probably in order, since it seems to hurt after the fact rather than during activity. I will try to ice again at lunch and maybe once this afternoon too while I'm at work, if I get a chance to sit down (being on my feet a lot at work is probably not helping this whole thing).

Time for my workout? A surprising 67:20 for the 10K, one minute faster than Sunday, and ave HR was 139 (lower than Sunday I believe). Some days are just good days.

More snow photos here - they are great, so check them out.