Saturday, December 31, 2011

Racewalking Year in Review

It's fitting on the last day of the year to look back and reflect. Here goes!

January started off rough, as I was still recovering from a mysterious viral illness that had me out of commission for most of November and December of 2010. However, by the end of the month I was training well again and that continued through the end of February when - SURPRISE! - I discovered I was pregnant. I had to stop training hard, but kept walking; sadly, I miscarried 3 weeks later. In retrospect it's still sad, though somewhat of a relief - mixed feelings.

So, in mid-March we resumed training, and I did the Salt Lake Half Marathon in April to get things going, under strict orders to take it easy. I did, but still set a 4-minute PR! This was just the beginning of great things to come this year.

But first, another test. I was training well for the national 15K in May in Riverside, and just 6 days before the race I incurred a shin injury. MRIs later would show it was a tear of my anterior tibialis with tendonitis in the front of my ankle as well. I rested up for the race, did it anyway, and set a new PR (well, OK, it was my first 15K race, so it was going to be a PR anyway!) of 1:29:03. I was quite happy with the time, which earned me a silver medal in the OPEN division (!) as well as a gold medal in my age group.

After resting and some physical therapy, I was able to start training hard again in June. I only had about 6-7 weeks until the World Masters Athletics Championships in Sacramento, CA. Not enough time to be as fast as I wanted to be, but still enough to do well if we trained through the 5K and 10K races. I worked really hard and pulled off three new PRs at WMA: 28:04 in the 5K, 57:35 in the 10K, and 2:00:37 in the 20K. I had wanted to break 2 hr for the 20K, but I was just too fatigued from the previous efforts. Still, I was very pleased to have three PRs and three silver medals, coming in second to my good friend and training partner Nyle Sunderland from New Zealand in all three races.

A few weeks' recovery were in order, including a week in Disneyland with the family. After that, it was time to start training again, as I planned on doing a marathon in September, and there was not much time to get my mileage up. Jim wrote me a great program that got me ready in time; however, because of the short training time it was a tough race. At the Top of Utah marathon in Logan, UT, I smashed my marathon PR by 9 minutes. It would have been more except for the last 5 miles - I hit the wall and got glycogen-depleted, and it hurt! I was still ecstatic to break my PR by so much and to know I could keep training for more.

I continued hard training, this time with the goal of being ready for a fast 50K in January, 2012. Our walking club had our first judged race in October, and though it was a short 3K I really wanted to do it to support the club. Despite training for longer distances and not doing much short fast stuff, I broke my 3K PR in that race with a 16:24.

Continuing my training for the 50K, I had a few key races along the way, the first being the Two Cities Half Marathon in Fresno in November. Since I was traveling to do the race (as well as to visit my husband's family in Bakersfield), I wanted to race it hard and do well. Coach said I could do that as long as we trained through it and didn't taper, which was fine with me. I figured my half marathon PR was ripe for smashing, and it was! I won the racewalking division with a new PR of 2:05:33 and also won a beautiful necklace, a plaque, and a free pair of New Balance shoes.

Some friends suggested I racewalk the Mesquite Marathon with them in November, and I thought that sounded like a fun girls' weekend. It was! Jim said I could do it IF I approached it as a training walk and took it easy. Cool. I was very careful not to push hard (except the last km or so!) and on this nice fast downhill course I smashed my PR with a 4:19:27, even taking it easy! Wow. I was gaining confidence for the 50K with each workout, and this race showed what I could do. Now I just had to continue to work hard for a few more weeks and increase my fitness as much as possible before the 50K.

I've trained well the last month, continuing to break PRs in various workouts that Jim gives me, and I feel my confidence growing. It's been a great year! Total mileage for the year, despite illness and injury, was 1560 miles or 2510 km. That's a lot better than 2010 :). And I set new PRs at every distance: 3K, 5K, 10K, 15K, 20K, half marathon, and marathon. I'm ready for the 50K just one week from today. Bring on 2012!

10K fartlek - 41 second PR!

The stomach flu is going around in the family. First my brother and sister-in-law and niece had it. Bad. Then my husband and my dad got it. Then last night poor Calvin was throwing up repeatedly.

I woke this morning feeling queasy and with a roiling stomach. I knew I was to do a 10K fartlek, and I figured I'd better at least try to eat a banana. It went down OK and I went to work for an hour to stain some slides. The slides have to incubate with the primary antibody for at least an hour so I figured I'd go do my track workout during the incubation and then go back to work to finish up the staining after the workout. At work, I felt OK and ate a few crackers. Still queasyish but I felt up for a workout.

It was sunny and clear and beautiful at the track, albeit a bit windy and not terribly warm at 34F (~1C). The wind chilled me every time I went around the north side of the track. I did have some entertainment though, as Roland, the coach of Central City Cheetahs track club for kids, was there with a bunch of kids working on jumping skills. They were jumping on a springboard and then onto a padded mat, without a bar at first and then with a bar. Later, they did small hurdles and some other stuff. They were still there when I finished, and I chatted with Roland a bit about teaching some of the kids to racewalk in the spring - he seemed quite amenable! Calvin and Michelle will both be in the club this year (it's for ages 6-18) so that should be fun.

I warmed up for 1600m in 9:51 and felt OK, though slightly tight and with some minor soreness in glutes and hammies. I stretched out with some good dynamic stretches, and then got going. The first 4K or so felt a bit strained, though I was fast enough. I had to stop briefly at 4K to remove my fleece, as I was getting hot despite the wind (the wind makes it really tricky to decide how to dress for a workout!). After I took the fleece top and pants off (I still had on tights and a long-sleeved shirt and gloves and a hat) I felt much smoother and faster. Weird. Not sure if it was just being more warmed-up, or if it was that the fleece inhibited my motion, but I felt better. Lots better. By 5-6K I was feeling stronger and better and as the workout went on I just felt good, amazingly. The only caveat was that I had some GI cramps around 8.5-10k, but they weren't too awful and I was able to continue without slowing or stopping.

My times were nice and fast - the first km was 5:29, all of the recoveries were 3:00 or less, and all of the fast segments were 2:49 or less except for one, which was the 4th km in 2:52 (but then I had a fast recovery there because of the rest while removing the fleece). My 5K split was 28:32, 8K was 45:53, and the 10K was 57:28. Wow, fast! This is actually my 2nd fastest 10K ever. Today's time was 7 seconds faster than my time at World Masters in Sacramento, and only the very-much-downhill Deseret News 10K this July was faster, at 56:32. I felt really strong today, too, and my average HR was not that high at 162. That's probably about where it ought to be for a hard 10K workout, actually.

I'm VERY happy with this workout. I am feeling confident about next Saturday's 50K, but this gives me another boost going in. Now if my stomach will just settle's actually feeling OK right now so maybe I can avoid the stomach flu? Maybe? Hoping so, because now would be a bad time for it.

Garmin connect data here.

Friday, December 30, 2011


It was amazingly, gloriously gorgeous outside this morning. Sunny, with a temperature of 40F (4C) when I hit the Jordan River Trail at 8 am. I went 4K before meeting up with my friend Sue for another 8K. I've talked about Sue before I think...she's a friend from Team in Training and a very good runner. She's qualified for and run the Boston marathon and I really enjoy racewalking with her and chatting. She was a bit apprehensive about keeping up with me today, but she needn't have been - she was fine. She's been sick and hasn't been running much, so we did walk for a minute to give her a breather at 4K (8K for me).

Brief tangent - go look at Sue's artwork - she's very talented. I'm thinking of buying a couple of her paintings. I have one in my kitchen and love it, so now I "need" another one :).

Anyway, I felt great today until about 9k and then I still felt good but my legs were a little tired, probably because we had a nice fast pace going. We kept it up and I could have gone longer at that pace easily, but it was good to stop and save my energy for the 50K next Saturday. Wow...only 8 days left.

Total: 12K in 1:14:03 for 6:10/km (9:56/mile) with ave HR 141. Low HR for that speed :).

The taper always makes me feel weird. First I am glad to have some rest. Then I start to wonder if I'm getting out of shape from fewer miles. Intellectually I know that is not true, but you still have silly nagging doubts. Add in the holidays this time and having off work this week and I feel very well-rested. Good, but odd. I feel fidgety and nervous and just want to get it all over with already! But I'm also excited for the trip and looking forward to a good time.

Garmin connect data here.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Easy 10K today, and I felt terrific. It didn't hurt that the weather was glorious (for December!). It was 37F (3C) and overcast, but a nice rain (rain! not snow!) had cleared out the inversion and the air was clear and clean. Lovely! I didn't even need to wear fleece on my workout and it felt so nice just in tights and a long-sleeved shirt and gloves.

I felt smooth, fast, and strong today, like I hope to feel next Saturday at the 50K (at least for the first 30K! after that, I know it's gonna hurt!).

Total time: 1:01:48 for 6:11/km (9:57/mile) with ave HR 150.

Garmin connect data here.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Today I cross-trained sensibly. My legs were (understandably) a bit sore this morning. Not bad, but definitely sore. I got on the elliptical and it did take about 5-10 min before I settled into a pace that was comfortable; my legs felt better when I was done. I opted to only do 30 min because I felt like I needed to take it easy, and besides, I had to go to work and inject some embryos this morning, so I didn't have a lot of time.

One thing I'm loving about this week is the extra sleep I've been getting with not having to be in to work so much. Last night, for example, I slept from 9:15 pm to 6:15 am. Ahhhhhhhhh. It felt good. I like not having to get up at any specific time, and I've been relaxed enough that I can sleep a bit later (for me). Sleep is good. :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

15K kickdown

I'm glad this one is over.

I felt fresh and ready to go, but I obviously wasn't, because even in the first 5K, I knew this workout was going to hurt a lot. The good thing is that I stuck with it and finished it.

I was to do a 15K kickdown, in 3 progressively faster 5K splits. I did actually accomplish that, though I was much slower than I would have liked. And it hurt. A lot. Really a lot. By 12K, I felt I was racewalking through molasses, and that someone had one of those giant PT elastic bands around my hips and was pulling me backward with each stride. Ouch. Slog. Painful.

Here are my splits:

31:12, ave HR 148; 30:29 ave HR 157; 29:52 ave HR 163. Yeah, for me in the shape I'm in right now, that's really ugly. A 29:52 5K should feel pretty easyish...not today, it didn't :(.

I don't feel so good now, about 2 hr after the workout. I just feel really tired and like all my muscles are Jell-O. I almost wonder if I am coming down with something, but I think I'm just very tired.

Jim says that I left my legs in the pool yesterday. An hour of swimming on unaccustomed legs was a bit too much in his opinion. I did kick quite a bit, as we had 2x200 kick intervals, so maybe he's right. I didn't feel sore at all from the swimming, but I guess I didn't have to for it to affect me this way.

I'm tired. Now I have a dinner to prepare for 9 people and my house is a mess. I'd better get to work.

Garmin connect data here.

Monday, December 26, 2011

rest day, cross training

Sunday: rest day


Today: cross-training. I went to the gym in the morning and did 30 min on the elliptical. Later in the day I went back with my sister-in-law, Erica, and we did a masters swimming workout. I hadn't been swimming in a very long time, and it was decent. Still not my favorite, but a good solid workout and something different as I approach the 50K. My legs are feeling really good after a couple days off of racewalking. Anyway, I did about 2300 yd of swimming in an hour, including some freestyle, some kicking, some breaststroke, some intervals.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

10K kickdown - HUGE PR!

I felt fresh and rested this morning. My legs weren't really that sore after the 25K on Thursday, and so I felt pretty good even yesterday. By this morning, I felt great. I was to do a 10K kickdown in four splits of 2.5K, each progressively faster and the last all-out.

I decided to go later than usual so it would be slightly warmer and the sun would be out. Then I wouldn't have to wear all the reflective gear, and it's mentally so much better to be in the sun than in the dark. I just had to teach a couple piano students later in the morning, so I figured an 8am-ish start would work. It was more like 8:45 by the time I started though!

It was quite cold this morning. My thermometer at home said 16F (-9C). By the time I got back home from the workout it was up to 24F, which is still pretty cold! Still, with the sun out, it wasn't too bad. I wore my tights and a long-sleeved shirt, with fleece layers on top of that, my balaclava, and my fleece headband, plus my gloves. It was just right.

I started off a little awkwardly for the first 500m but soon settled in and once my HR monitor calmed down my HR was in the low 140s and I was doing a good 6:10/km. Nice! My first 2.5K was 3:04.0, 3:07.7, 3:05.5, 3:04.0, 3:02.6 for a total of 15:23.8. (Oh, and the little HR dip was when my piano student for this morning called me...I had to stop and take care of business quickly!). That first 2.5K was faster than I'd planned, but my HR was low and I felt good. The next 2.5K was the slight downhill (very slight) into the park and I took advantage of it, doing 2:56.3, 2:59.4, 2:58.8, 3:04.5 (this split on this part of the park is always slower - weird!), 2:59.6 for a total of 14:58.6 and still feeling great. Now I was thinking this was gonna be a good one! I was psyched!

I knew I'd have to work the third 2.5K as it's a very slight uphill grade, and I did kick it down faster, going 2:56.1, 2:57.2, 2:55.6, 2:59.0, 2:53.4 for a total of 14:41.3. I knew I still had just a little left, and the slight downhill helped as I raced back into the park. I was really working it hard and it felt tough but I felt strong and knew I had it in me to finish well. I was surprisingly fast, doing 2:49.3, 2:46.2, 2:48.4, 2:55.4 (that's that slow split in the park!), 2:49.2 for 14:08.5! Average HR for the workout (substituting 142 for the funky spiking intervals at the start) was 156, and I was up to a max of 175 at the end, which shows how hard I worked this one. And yeah, the last 5K was 28:50 :).

These hard workouts mess with your brain - at the end, I was looking at my watch and thinking I wasn't going to break 60 min and was disappointed...then the watch turned over from :59 to :00 and it was at 59 not 60! Haha couldn't even read my watch!

Total time was 59:12.2, smashing my old PR of 60:28 by over a minute and giving me lots of confidence in my body and my training as I approach the 50K race, which is now just 2 weeks from today.

Friday, December 23, 2011


Today I was happy to have a little break from racewalking. I did 30 minutes on the elliptical and then some core exercises and stretching with Lisa.

Jim has rewritten my taper, so now I have a 10K kickdown tomorrow instead of 20K. I'm not complaining!!!!!


Funny Michelle prayer the other night when she was at my parents' house, "Dear God, I hope we have a good dessert and help me to be good because Santa's coming soon. In Jesus' name, Amen."

Thursday, December 22, 2011

25K on the indoor track

It snowed last night. Not very much; about 1 inch (2.5cm), but that was enough to make the streets slippery. They did plow, and the big streets were clear, but the smaller streets that I'd be walking on were slick for sure, so I opted for the indoor track. I drove over there, paid my $3 fee, and got started.

I felt basically pretty good this morning, and was able to keep a pretty consistent pace throughout the workout. Since the track is 442m, I had to extrapolate a little bit to get my 5K splits. They were: 31:30, 31:13, 31:13, 31:33, 31:36. Despite the consistency of the workout, my legs were quite tired at the end of the 25K, and I was glad to be done. That is surely attributable to the workouts I've already done this week. Still, I was reasonably fast today, completing the 25K in 2:36:05 for 6:15/km (10:03/mile). It was a fairly good effort to keep that pace today, though. My watch said my average HR was only 145 but it felt harder than that. Go figure.

I just looked over the last week - from Saturday's 35K through today's 25K, I have done a total of 95km (59 miles) in 6 days. No wonder I was tired after today's workout! I'm looking forward to a bit easier week next week...though first I have a 20K kickdown on Saturday. No rest for the weary, I guess.

Garmin connect data here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Only 10K today, and the weather was decent for December, with temps of 27F (-3C) and calm. I wore my balaclava but got too warm and had to take it off.

I started off feeling a little heavy-legged but with plenty of energy. About 7.5K I started to feel the effects of yesterday's 12K fartlek and it definitely slowed me down going back up the gentle hill. Up until then I'd been keeping a 6:13/km pace, but my total today was 1:03:08 for 6:19/km with ave HR 142.

Garmin connect data here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

12K fartlek

Today's workout was a tough one: 12K fartlek. I slept a little funny last night because I drank a lot of coffee. I was having a girls' night out with Michelle (while Loren and Calvin watched Monday Night Football at my parents' house) and I took her to IHOP to have breakfast for dinner :). I drank about 3 cups of coffee there, and then took her to Starbucks for tea and cookies, and I had a skinny peppermint mocha there. Yeah, that was a lot of coffee. I fell asleep just fine (coffee never seems to keep me from falling asleep!) but woke up around 2 am to use the restroom, and I was feeling a bit wired. I settled back down to sleep and woke up again at 5:15 am, and tossed and turned a bit. I got up at 5:30 so I could get to the track and do my workout. My legs felt a bit shaky (caffeine probably) so I had a banana before heading to the track.

Weather: 27F (-3C) and fog, but with a slight cutting breeze every time I went around the south end of the track. The track itself was mostly clear with a very few icy spots on the south end; I lost a little toe push on one or two strides only each time I went around, but I don't think it was enough to make a significant difference in my performance.

I warmed up for 1600m in the low-10-minute range, and felt slightly sluggish. I knew I'd have to start conservatively, so I did, doing the first 1km in 5:38. I struggled a bit to settle into a comfortable pace, and was slower than I wanted to be on my fast 500s. Other than the first one (the fastest, at 2:49), they were all 2:50-2:54. However, my recoveries weren't too bad, with 8/11 3:04 or faster, and the other 3 at 3:06, 3:06, and 3:08.

This workout was hard for me today, though. Like I said, I struggled to find a comfortable pace, and didn't feel like I settled in very well until about 7 or 8k into the workout. At the beginning of the 7th km, I actually stopped for about 15 seconds, and had a little chat with myself. It wasn't going the way I wanted, with 5K in 29:10, and feeling a bit flat, and so I told myself I HAD TO FINISH this one. I knew I had to be mentally tough. The 50K demands it. I started repeating to myself, "national champions don't give up" and continued that mantra in my head for the rest of the workout. If I want to be the national champion, I have got to be in the game mentally as well as physically. This workout for me was more about the mental toughness than the physical toughness. Of course I'm sure I'm benefiting physically from the workout, but to know that I hung in there, did not give up, and worked it hard to the end is gratifying.

My self-chat seemed to help me settle in, and I felt a bit smoother and stronger and finished just fine. In fact, I thought I could have done a few more if I'd had to at that same pace. I was glad I didn't have to, though!

Oh, and since this is the first time I've done a 12K fartlek, I guess it's a PR for this workout...for whatever that is worth!

Total time 1:10:50 with average HR 162.

Garmin connect data here.

Monday, December 19, 2011

slow and slippery 12K

On the agenda for today: 12K.

Weather: a huge factor today. It was 24F (-4C) with a slight wind and fog (yeah, weird but true) and light snow. There was a dusting of snow on the ground but definitely more than last week's dusting of snow. It was very, very slippery. Seriously, I had about zero toe push-off today. How important is toe push-off in racewalking? VERY important.

So, I knew I'd be slow, and took it really easy. My legs felt fine. My right knee is slightly petulant (I suspect it's residual IT band issues?). It doesn't actually HURT, but it feels a little "off". I'm being really careful with my form, but today's slippery snow probably did make my form a bit odd, so I'm sure that explains it.

All that matters about this one is that I got the workout are you curious how much the snow slowed me down? Drum roll....

Total time for 12K was 1:21:55, for 6:49/km with ave HR of 140.

I might have been a bit flat today anyway; hard to say, though. I felt fine! But yeah, this was at least 30 sec/km slower than I'd have been with a dry road. No matter. I got in the km.

Garmin connect data here.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

35K - last one!

Today's task was 35K - last really long one before the 50K!

The weather was decent for December; it was 20F (-7C) and foggy with lots of frost on everything (including my eyelashes!). By the end of my 35K it had warmed up to 33F (1C). I started out wearing shorts (the ones I plan to wear for the 50K - testing them out) under tights, with fleece pants on top. I wore 2 shirts and a fleece top, with my balaclava, hat, and gloves. I stayed warm enough in that, though my feet were a bit numb until about 8K when they finally thawed out. At 25K when I stopped at my car to refill my water bottles, I took off the balaclava and the fleece top, and that worked out well.

Frost photo - taken a few days ago, but the grass looked like this today too:

I felt good today - much better than last Saturday. I got tired, yes, but it was a normal tired for 35K and I felt that I could keep a decent pace today. I did have one 500m that was 3:18 but that was because of a very slippery spot on the plastic boardwalk on the trail. Anyway, I did feel that I could have kept going when I finished. Did I WANT to do another 15K? No, I didn't, but I felt I could have continued for at least another 5-10K without totally wasting myself, so that was good. I am still intimidated a bit by the distance, but I figure I've done 42.2K (marathon) enough times that I've got the distance in there somewhere. One thing I'm sure of: it's going to hurt. A lot. But that's part of the insanity of it all!

Interesting things I saw on the trail: 1) a woman pushing a dog in a stroller (have seen this before...yikes! Spoiled little dogs), 2) a guy wearing shorts (brrrrr!), 3) between 4500S and 3900S they are laying pipe that is about 2 ft across; I had to step over it going each way, 4) my friend Diane and another woman (who is a new member of our walking club) at 13K and then again at 23K - of course I stopped to talk to them :). Diane was very encouraging and reminded me that they are all so excited that I have a shot at the American record for my age group.

5K splits: 30:30.9, 31:27.8, 31:11.4, 31:10.3, 31:39.3, 31:29.9, 31:27.0
Total: 3:38:56, 6:15/km (10:04/mile), ave HR 152.

Garmin connect data here.

Friday, December 16, 2011

5K fartlek

First, something I forgot to mention. I was to cross-train on Wednesday, and I DID do it. I did 45 min on the elliptical.


Here's the link to my aborted 5x2K workout from yesterday, for Jim if he wants to see it...I recommend ignoring it :).


Today Jim changed my workout to a 5K fartlek so that I could get in some speed work this week, since I aborted the interval workout yesterday.

The weather was decent for December, at 27F (-3C) with a slight wind. I wore 2 shirts and a fleece on top, tights and fleece on the bottom, and a hat and gloves. Usually I peel off the fleece but that wind was chilling so I left it on.

I started off well, warming up for 1600m in 9:33 (fast!) and then with the 1st km of the fartlek in 5:26. My legs felt very fresh and rested and I was ready to go. I thought I'd have a nice fast fartlek, but it ended up being just OK. My heart rate was much higher than usual (average 168 for the 5K!) and I'm not sure why. I felt really good the whole time, though I knew I was pushing pretty hard.

Here are my times: 5:26, 2:55, 2:45, 2:59, 2:47, 2:59, 2:47, 2:59, 2:45. Total time 28:25. Nice and consistent anyway, if not super speedy. It was a good, solid workout. Later in the day, my legs feel pretty good, which is a relief as I have 35K (22 miles) tomorrow. At least the weather looks cooperative.

Garmin connect data here.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

5x2K - NOT!

I suppose this had to happen sooner or later.

I gave up on a workout, for no other reason than that I mentally just could not do it.

I woke up a bit late and rushed over to the track. I started my warm-up, and 10 steps in we had a problem. The track was slippery, like a skating rink. The thin layer of snow had melted yesterday and refrozen overnight leaving a very fine layer of ice and leaving me with no toe push. (It was 25F (-4C) this morning and foggy).

What to do...what to do?

I drove down to 800 East, a nice flat stretch of road, and did an abbreviated 1km warm-up. I felt sluggish. I started the intervals anyway: 500m in 2:52 (slow), 2:50 (still slow) and 2:56 (even slower). My heart rate was not budging form the low 150s. When I saw the 2:56, I gave up mentally. The thought of 4 more intervals like this was daunting, like a horse looking at a jump that is just too high and balking. I balked. I walked slowly back to the car (1.97km in 11:58) and drove home. I spent a while beating myself up, but at the sight of my kids and how cute they were this morning, I cheered up a little.

I texted Jim to call me if he was awake. He called about 90 min later and sounded very sleepy. Oops. I had woken him up (his phone keeps beeping every so often when he gets a text, which I didn't know or I wouldn't have done it). He told me it would be OK that we could sort it out. So now I'm to do a 5K fartlek tomorrow (instead of 10K recovery) and then continue with the regularly scheduled 35K on Saturday.

I still feel disappointed in myself. But maybe it was the right thing to stop. I don't know.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

14K kickdown

This was supposed to be a 15K kickdown, but I overslept my alarm a little bit (was up late helping Calvin on his class project) and I had to cut out 1K - as it was, I barely got the kids to school on time. Whew.

I was to do 3 splits of 5K/5K/5K, but I did 4K/5K/5K instead. The weather was OK; 31F (-1C) and light snow, with a dusting of snow on the road. Mostly it wasn't terribly slippery, but at all the intersections it was a bit iffy, and in a few other places as well. I don't think I lost much time due to the conditions, but I'm not really 100% sure.

I started off slowly and sluggishly. I was not mentally into it - still sleepy and a bit groggy I think. The first 4K I had a watch issue - pressed stop for a second and somehow didn't restart and lost a little more than 0.5km - that 3:40 in there isn't right because I wasn't moving for part of it while I was figuring out what was wrong, and thought the watch was stopped though it wasn't. Oops. The average of my other 500s was 3:08 (6:16/km), which would have been a 31:20 5K. My heart rate was low this morning - Jim says that sometimes when you work out in the morning you have a slow metabolism and no matter what you do the HR won't budge. That's kind of how it was - I gave it 90%+ effort at the end and my HR was about 160, which is low for this workout. No matter.

The second 5K I felt quite good - surprisingly. I told myself I had to get my mind into the workout, and it worked! I just ticked off the km and felt good, finishing that 5K in 30:09 for 6:02/km. I paused for a second before starting the third 5K and told myself "It's a 5K race - go for it!". My legs were moving but the heart rate wasn't; I felt I should have been faster and it was frustrating. However, I did manage to finish in 29:20 for the last 5K, which is pretty good for a kickdown workout. Jim says usually the last split of a kickdown is a bit slower than race pace for the distance. My 15K race in May was 1:29 (29:40/5K) and so this was faster than that by a good bit, reflecting my improved fitness. Still...I think if I'd felt 100% this morning I might have had a sub-29 in me. Well, I get to try again next week for a 20K kickdown!

Average HR for the workout was only 144, with a max of 163.

Garmin connect data here.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Weather: pretty nice for December, at 27F (-3C) and hazy. We are in inversion season, which means a lot of polluted air gets trapped in the valley causing the temps to be lower here than up in the mountains, hence a temperature "inversion". It's probably not good for my exercise-induced asthma, but I had no problems today with coughing, so go figure.

12K was on the agenda for today. I felt well-recovered from Saturday's walk and ready to go. I started off well, but I did slow and get a little tired in the legs by about 7.5-8K. I was able to pick it up a little, but then heading up the slight incline at the end slowed me down again. Still, not bad for 2 days after a long 35K. My legs feel great now (3:30 pm) and hopefully they'll be fine for the 15K kickdown tomorrow.

Total 1:15:32 for 6:18/km with ave HR 149.

Garmin connect data here.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Weather: 20F (-6.7C) to start, and 38F when I finished; no wind or snow, so it was a good weather day for December.

How I felt: Felt rested and fresh to start, but around 10K-14K I really felt fairly lousy. I wondered how I'd finish. Jim called me 3 times, once at 8K (I didn't answer), once between 8K and 14K (I didn't answer), and then once at almost 14K (I finally did answer). I was so annoyed with how I was doing that I really needed to talk to him. He said what I expected: that I was a bit flat from so many km this week and not to worry, and to stop if my legs really died. Well, lucky for me they didn't. I felt a bit better within a few km; Jim called again about 18K and I told him I was doing OK. Then I figured I'd be able to finish. From 14K-the end, I made it my goal to think positive thoughts and not dwell on any negative ones that crept in (i.e. how the heck am I going to do 50K when I can't even do 15K?). I thought about the cute drawings my kids made for me this morning, and about how nice the weather was (cold, but nice for December), about how I was going to finish and get this one in the books, how happy I was that I had no GI issues, no chafing or blisters, etc. It actually helped - yeah, I know it's cheesy, but it did work.

Totals: Though I stopped multiple times for phone calls (thanks, Jim! sorry I was ranting at you at 14K!), nutrition, water bottle refills ( 29.5K I really needed H2O and the bathroom on the trail was locked! Grrrr! Had to wait until 32.5K to get water - wow, that was the best water I've had in a while!), stretch breaks, etc., I pushed stop on my watch, so my actual moving time was 3:41:44 for 6:20/km (10:12/mile) with ave HR 154. That's not bad considering I wanted to quit at 14K. 5K splits: 30:48.7, 31:47.7, 31:57.2, 31:21.4, 32:01.3, 31:32.2, 32:16.5. A bit variable, but that was how I was feeling today - variable.

Miscellaneous: My water bottles froze up again. I have got to remember to make my water and zipfizz with HOT water so that they don't freeze. Fortunately I had larger bottles in my car, and I was able to stop at 16K for a refill and it thawed out my bottles a bit and I didn't have any more trouble (also, it got warmer!). Around 31.5K, I met a couple ladies on the trail who shouted to me, "Hey we know you from Weight Watchers!". I stopped for a couple minutes to talk to them - they had met me last week when I got my key for another year at Lifetime, and I had told my story, including how I am going to do the 50K. They said that I was really inspiring. Standing there all sweaty and feeling icky tired I didn't feel very inspiring, but it did buoy my spirits to talk with them. They said they really want to know how the race goes, so of course I'll have to show up at my meeting after the 50K to tell everyone. Also, I saw at least 3 guys out there today in SHORTS (they had long-sleeved shirts and gloves on, but still...). Pretty crazy. One of the guys is someone I've talked with before - last year he did the Top of Utah marathon and then 2 weeks later did the St. George Marathon, so yeah, he's hardcore.

I'm glad this one's on the books. It's a hard week ahead (Jim just sent me my schedule until the 50K) with another 35K next Saturday, but I have tomorrow to recuperate and reset. One day and one step at a time, I will get there. I'm determined.

Garmin connect data here.

Here are the pictures my kids drew for me.

Friday, December 09, 2011


I was to do 10K today. Weather was decent for December; 21F (-6C) with no wind or snow. I'll take it.

I felt pretty good today, surprisingly. I wasn't very fast, but I did feel all right, and my legs seem to have recovered well from yesterday.

Totals: 1:02:58 for 6:18/km with ave HR 150.

Garmin connect data here.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

biology humor

I loved this:

My favorites? Dry ice grenades...callus on toothpaste with one're very good at transferring small amounts of liquid between've used kimwipes as kleenex...timer clipped to the hip...


At least it's done. That's all I can say about this one.

The weather was OK. It was chilly but not as cold as it's been; it was 24F (-4.4C) but very still and calm. In fact, there was a bit of fog at the track (cold fog!). My legs felt recovered from Monday & Tuesday, and I was ready to go. I felt a little sluggish on my warm-up, but when I started my first 2K I felt pretty good. That was the last time I felt good until I was done...

The first 2K was fine; I finished in 11:14. I forgot to turn off the auto lap so had to stop briefly at 500m to turn the darn thing off. I started the second 2K and by a few laps in I knew this was going to be a tough day. I did finish it in 11:17, but I'd had to work pretty hard to get that time, and I still had THREE 2Ks left. Uh-oh. Well as you might guess, it just got harder. The 3rd one was 11:25, and the fourth 11:34. My legs just had nothing. I really wanted to quit after the third one, but I knew I had to finish the workout no matter how much it hurt. The most benefit is achieved from enduring despite the pain. During the rest interval after the fourth one (only 2 minutes between each!), I actually started to cry a bit out of frustration. I really felt bad that I was doing so poorly. I was trying not to be too negative, telling myself that I was doing the best that I could, but I could not help worrying since I've had a few poor workouts now - Monday's 30K was solid, but with a high HR; Tuesday's workout was a disaster, and then today. Anyway, on the last 2K my legs just felt like stumps. I was just hanging on for dear life and finished in 11:36. Ugh. It's not like I wasn't working hard - my ave/max HR for the last 4 intervals was 163/168, 164/170, 164/169, 164/170.

There is less than a month now until the 50K. I have to stay mentally strong. I can do this.

Garmin connect data here.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011


Michelle and I graduated from our figure skating classes!

I finished Adult levels 1 and 2 in one session :)!

We plan to take the next set of classes in January. I'll do Adult level 3, and Michelle will do Snowplow Sam level 2 (kids 3-5). Calvin says he wants to join us, taking Basic 1 (for kids older than 5).


Training today: cross-training; I did 30 min on the elliptical. Yeah, should have done more, but I was a little pressed for time. I feel I'm recovering well from Monday's 30K and hopefully will be ready for a good interval workout tomorrow: 5x2km (gulp!) with only 2 min rest. Jim says this is for endurance more than for raw speed. It's a hard one, but I think it will be OK. Still cold here, but at least it's not windy or snowing.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

very slow, but OK with it

Today I was to do 12K; originally it was 12K with 2x6' fast segments, but that was before we had to switch today's workout and yesterday's workout due to a work meeting I had this morning at 9 am.

My legs were really beat-up after yesterday's workout. 30K at 80% effort will do that to you! I was seriously tired and sore. When I started out today I knew it would be slow, and happily I didn't really care too much. It was very cold (14F; -10C) but calm. I dressed warmly, wearing my balaclava (essentially a ski mask that just shows eyes, though I pulled it down over nose and mouth to aid breathing), but my face still got fairly cold. I talked to a crossing guard and my words were all slurred because my mouth was so cold! However, there were lots of people out despite the cold. I saw about 10 runners (including my friend from church, Pete), along with a few dog-walkers, a fitness walker, and lots of people waiting for the bus or walking to school.

Anyway, yeah, I was quite slow. Ridiculously slow. My legs just felt tired, sore, and heavy, but I'm glad I went because I think it really loosened up things quite a bit to do the walk. I ended up cutting the 12K short a bit - I did about 10.75K; it got late (partly because I started a few minutes late and partly because I was so slow that the walk took longer than I'd planned) and I had to take the kids to school. I also felt like my body had really had enough. It was the right amount to stop when I did.

Totals: 10.77 km at 6:38/km; 1:11:24 for the workout. Ave HR 136 - obviously my legs were the problem here not my cardiorespiratory fitness!

I'm glad for a cross-training day tomorrow. I obviously need it.

Garmin connect data here.

Monday, December 05, 2011

30K on the indoor track - 442m

It wasn't quite as cold as they predicted; instead of 15F it was 18F. Still, with the wind, it was most unpleasant outside, and I didn't want to spend 3 hours freezing. So I drove the 25 min to the Olympic Oval and did my workout there on the 442m track located just outside of the 400m long-track speed skating course.

30000m/442m = 67.87 laps. Oh yay. However, it was climate-controlled to 63-65F year-round (17.2-18.3C) and there were plenty of things to look at while I walked: other runners (a few), short track speed skaters, the Zamboni (spent a while "chasing" it), and long track speed skaters. A few school groups showed up later in my workout, and I was amused by the kids walking backwards with bean bags on their heads (not sure why!), doing push-ups, sit-ups, and touring the facility.

Before I left, I calculated that 2:45.75 per lap would be 6:15/km, so I decided to try and keep my laps at 2:45 or faster if possible. I started off well and it wasn't too hard at the beginning to keep them there with a reasonable heart rate. I was to do an 80% effort today, and that was good, because I needed to in order to keep that pace. By the end, my HR was in the low 160s (though honestly it FELT like mid-150s) and I was working pretty hard to churn out laps that fast. Still, I achieved my goal, finishing the 30K in 3:07:18 for 6:14/km (10:03/mile). I still have a bit of a cough from that cold last week, and I felt a bit tired this morning, so that probably explains the higher HR, but who knows?

When I finished my legs were VERY tired. I stretched a bit and drank a chocolate milk for recovery; I'd stopped briefly to take gels at about 8K, 15.5K, and 23K, and I did drink a lot of water. I think it was pretty dry in there.

Edited to add: I thought my watch said ave HR of 154 this morning, but when I downloaded it actually says 149...odd...looking at the HR graph, it appears that 154 is more accurate. Whatever...

Garmin connect data here.

Some photos of the facility are below. I have to admit that it is more inspiring working out in an Olympic venue with serious athletes training there.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

how cold is too cold for 30K?

Our weather forecast for Sunday night and Monday, with temps in F:

Tonight: A 40 percent chance of snow before 11pm. Cloudy, then gradually becoming partly cloudy, with a low around 15. Wind chill values as low as zero. Blustery, with a east northeast wind 10 to 13 mph increasing to between 20 and 23 mph. Total nighttime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Monday: Sunny, with a high near 25. Wind chill values as low as -2. East northeast wind between 10 and 20 mph.


Well...I think that is too cold for me. I'm going to the indoor 442m track tomorrow. I could do 10K outside tomorrow, maybe, but not 30K. With that wind, it's just going to be way, way too cold. 68 laps of the indoor track is preferable in this case.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

catching up

I haven't blogged in a few days. Time to catch up!

Thursday: this was an optional day, so I opted for 30 min on the elliptical - busy day at work but still managed to squeeze something in. Very glad I did the 5K fartlek on the track 1 day early, because the winds were unbelievable, toppling 16 semis on the freeway, and gusting to 100mph (160kph) in Centerville, not far from here.

Friday: x-training day; did 55 min on the elliptical.

Today: 10K with 2x6' at 20K race pace. It was cold this morning; 25F (-4C) with a light dusting of snow on parts of the road and sidewalks. I don't think it slowed me down too much; maybe 30 sec for the whole 10K? More problematic was the fact that I just did not feel good this morning. My legs felt tired, heavy, sluggish. I have no idea why, as I have had the easiest week in a long time this week. I'm supposed to feel rested! Maybe it's the lingering cold? I am still coughing up phlegm, but other than that I feel totally fine. I didn't get enough sleep last night and feel a bit off because of that, too.

Anyway, it was not my best day, and I'm now feeling anxious about things. Silly, because it's just one workout, and I wasn't that slow. But the perceived effort was pretty great for the time I got. I did the 10K in 1:02:32 for 6:15/km, and my 20K pace segments were my 4th km (2:56, 3:01) and km 6.5-7.5 (2:54, 2:56). That all looks fine on paper, but I felt I had to work really hard for those relatively slow 500s, and now my glutes are sore. I feel cranky and out of sorts. I kept thinking "what if I had a day like this on race day?" as I walked. Not good.

The pressure is starting to get to me. I'm anxious about how I'll do the next 3 weeks of hard training, with Christmas approaching, busyness at work (things are good at work, but there's lots to do and our lab is moving to a new (nicer!) location in 2 weeks), and lots of stuff for the kids going on. I'm worried that I'll have a bad day on race day and totally tank. That would be so depressing after all the hard work I have put in to get this far. I should feel confident and ready to go, since I'm turning out all these fast times in workouts and races, but for some reason I keep focusing on the things that can go wrong.

Good news: the 50K race organizers are paying for hotel rooms for 2 nights for those who can show that they are likely to finish the 50K in under 8 hours (ouch...8 hours? I'd better not be out there that long!). All I'll need to pay is plane and food then, and maybe a car (but maybe not?). There are cash prizes, too - $300 for first, $200 for second, and $100 for third. Hopefully I can win some cash to help pay for the plane ticket!

Garmin connect data here.