Saturday, May 19, 2018

Run Streak Day 53

Even on the weekends, I have to remember that it gets warm very quickly as the sun comes up. This morning I woke up early enough, but I rolled over a few too many times. 

I was making sure that it wasn't going to be raining. A few days of strength training have left me legs and body feeling tired and weak. I knew I was going to have to push through these five miles, but I didn't know I was going to have to push this hard. It's been a pretty decent week with the new shoes. I've felt strong and refreshed...until today.

We started out strong enough. I seem to push a little in mile one, to start at a good pace, which tends to wear me down just a little bit in mile two. Unfortunately, mile two always brings us to the park. Sometimes I can get through the park with little struggle. I decided to do two loops through the park. I don't know why. I do this to myself.

Overnight rain had kept the sun at bay for a little longer, but the clouds broke just as we were running through the park. I had already been wiping the sweat off my face repeatedly. I was drenched. Henri wanted to lay in the shadow of the skate ramp. I became concerned that I wasn't going to make three miles, let alone the five we had set out to do. 

We slowed down. Miles run are the same, run slow or fast, strong or weak. Thankfully, we pulled out of the park and I felt much better. Maybe it was just the fact that coming out of the park means we are on the final stretch home. Sure, two more miles, but they were two miles not run in the park, a fairly straight shot home. It was a mental game. I was now winning.

We finished. A little slower than I would have liked, but not by much, considering. We're just not good with heat. It's going to be a long summer.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Run Streak Day 50

Dang it! I keep writing these blogs and falling sleep before I add the picture, but who wants a blog without a picture?

This is the weather I was looking for when we switched to early mornings. It is still May after all. With threats of rain overnight, I wasn't sure we were going to get it in, but, of course, the weather report was wrong and we got a nice, breezy sunrise run.

I'm still breaking in my new shoes. Since I've never been running the amount of miles that I am currently running when getting new shoes, I'm not one hundred percent how to do this, so I'm just letting my body tell me what to do. It's difficult to tell the difference between strength training muscle soreness and new shoe muscle soreness, but I think I'm liking the new shoes. Four miles run today, four consistently paced miles that felt pretty good. If I had realized it was Run Streak Day 50, I probably would have pushed for five miles. It's probably best that I didn't, but still.

Henri was enjoying himself. While he was sniffing around quite a bit due to some drizzle, he's also enjoying the pace that we've been keeping. I'm sure he's thrilled with the cooler AM temps as well. He's having fun and that's what matters the most. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Run Streak Day 48: Early Rise

(From Monday because I feel asleep before posting this. It's like I got up early or something.)

New shoes, who dis?

Yes, I finally got new running shoes. They were long overdue. My body has been complaining for at least a month. I went with the intention to have them order me a pair of my current Asics in a different color. I could have ordered them on Amazon, but I got a $20 coupon after the half-marathon. I was hoping they would be able to order me a pair of my current shoes in a different color. As I sat there, looking at this wall of shoes, I wondered if there was a better pair of shoes for me. I tried this once before and I made the mistake of getting my Mizunos, which I love, but they hit my ankle bone wrong. As soon as I put Asics on again, I felt like I was home. Did I dare try something new again?

I did. I bought a pair of Brooks. I tried them and the Asics. I ran on a treadmill with both, first the Brooks, then the Asics. I'm sure that any pair of shoes was going to feel good after the time I've spent running in these old shoes, but the Brooks felt better. Today was the official "test run".

Unfortunately, our attempt to avoid the heat by running in the morning brought us face to face with a lot of humidity. I guess we were lucky that we got out before the sun heat things up any more. I had the time to run five miles, but I wondered if that would be too much as I tried to break in my new shoes. I talked myself down to a simple three and a half or four miles. I was enjoying my new shoes. They squeak a little as they hit the concrete. They were light. I was feeling fast. My body was feeling pretty good, until a little into mile three. My legs started to wonder what was going on, so I decided three miles was going to be the best I could do.

Henri seemed to enjoy the new shoes, or at least the speed I was running in them. Despite the heat, we were moving at a pretty decent pace, until my legs got confused. Henri was looking up at me with joy on his face. For a boy who hadn't gotten his breakfast yet, he was in a pretty good mood. It had to be the shoes.

My legs are sore. My left ankle/calf/something cramped up real good as I was cooling down, but I'm happy with the shoes thus far. I mean, they're many colors of blue. I might be a Brooks convert. 

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Run Streak Day 46

Finally, I was able to run with Henri again. It has been far too hot for my Henri. It's been far too hot for me, but I have kept up my run streak with one mile runs, one day at a time. I did have a unplanned three mile run in there, but mostly it's been one hot, miserable mile a day. I still need new shoes, which is not helping even my one mile runs. My body is not being protected and as I have been working it hard with strength training, half-marathon training and run streaking, I'm ready to give up on something. Today, I just wanted to run with Henri.

Running with Henri now means running in the morning. Next week I am planning on making the switch to early mornings, but for today, just morning would do. Henri was kind enough to let me sleep until 9, which was needed, but as soon as I opened to door to let him out for his morning potty break, I knew we had to get out there. Sixty degree weather is way better than eighty.

The first two miles were pretty decent. I mean, the first mile was great, but I'm getting really good at one mile. The sun started to come out from behind the clouds after that. I knew Henri was hot. I was getting annoyed wiping he sweat from my face. He stopped to roll in the grass to cool off. We were getting so close to five miles, the farthest I've run since the half. I coaxed him along and we slowed down a little bit more to finish and hang out in the shade by the lake. Looking at our pace, we actually did really well and I'm so glad I got to do it with Henri.

Not currently looking forward to early mornings, but if it means that I get to run with Henri more than once a week...any bets on how long until I say I love running in the early mornings?

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Run Streak Day 35

I sweet talked Henri into a run today. It was 84 degrees. I didn't want to go either, but I knew we both needed it. He tried to lay down and refuse to go. That's where the promises start. "You can stop when you need to." "We'll eat dinner when we get home." "We'll just run a mile." Then we ran three miles.

It was fine. Honestly, I have been sore since I ran my one mile streak run on Sunday. I don't know if it's half-marathon soreness that didn't get activated until that one mile. I don't know if it was the new strength training that I started on Monday. The point is, I was perfectly fine taking it a little slower in the heat to be able to run with my boy and shake out my muscles. Of course I kept an eye on Henri and would have stopped if he seemed to be struggling. We stopped frequently enough and he rolled in the grass to cool off. He didn't want to stay there though. Must have been the promise of dinner waiting at home!

I was doing a little math - because running is all about the math - and I ran 110 miles in April. Only 44 of them were with Henri due to the rising temperatures, half-marathon training and my little one mile warm-up runs that I don't always take him on. That's a lot of miles though. I know a lot of people run many many more, but that's a record for me. I ran 34 miles last week alone. Yeah, that probably explains the way I felt running the half-marathon. And maybe my soreness now. Maybe.

Medal Monday

Don't worry. I have continued my running streak. Yes, even the day after running a half-marathon I took Henri out for a quick mile. I am now on day 34.

I forgot to point out that I added a special touch to my outfit for the half-marathon, because I cannot run without my Henri. I took his pawprint, cut it out of an old running shift and put it on my leggings for a dose of puppy power when needed. Whenever I needed him, I just had to reach down and there he was.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Illinois Half-Marathon

The day had arrived, my first half-marathon. 13.1 miles. It's the furthest distance I've ever run.

It was an early morning, as most marathon mornings are. Start time was scheduled for 7:03am. It was more of a mental preparedness and hoping that what I was fueling my body with was the right thing and enough. I don't think I got it right, but I also think I was thinking too much about it. I know I was thinking of it more in terms of "when I run the marathon..." and obviously I did not have to be ready for that yet. I think most of the preparation for the half-marathon was really preparation for the marathon in October, never having done this before and still learning about proper fuel for before, during and after running distance like this.

All in all, marathon-preparedness aside, I was ready. I was feeling pretty comfortable with the distance. There wasn't much more I could do at this point. It was time to run. It was time to move. It was time to prove to myself everything that was in my head. I could do this.

We three amigas met up near the starting line. Thankfully, we are all in a pretty similar head space. We are preparing for a marathon. This is just more training. Two of us have never run a half-marathon before, so we were all planning on PR-ing :) While we would have loved to be under 2 hours, at least two of us, myself being one of them, needed to be realistic and realize that our speed was not there yet. We had selected a finish time of 2:11-2:22. 2:15 sounded like a good goal for myself and that's what I chose as my goal.

As the race began, my legs felt like led. They were moving, but they were not moving as quickly or as easily as I would have liked. It took a little bit for them to feel a little better and that can be normal for me. It was still okay. Like I said, they were moving.

Honestly, I needed new shoes. I knew that, but it was too close to race time and I would get a $20 coupon for new shoes after the race. This is where most of my pain had come from in the last few weeks leading up to the half. This is where most of my problems came from on the day of. I actually didn't have a lot of the normal pains that I'd been having, but my feet did hurt. I was moving and pushing, but I was falling behind my friends. Occasionally, I caught up to them again, but once we hit Meadowbrook park, I knew I would lose momentum. I stayed with them through most of the park, but after the second incline, my back started to hurt and I started to lose it. Then, there was a third incline. Perhaps this was all a mental battle that I lost. While I have run Meadowbrook with Henri many times, it is a challenge. The fact that it was mile 8 and 9, probably not the best timing for me. I fell behind my friends for the last time right before mile 10. I had them in my sights for most of the rest of it, but I knew I would not be catching up to them again.

I was still okay though. I was still moving. My back was sore, but it wasn't a pain that was stopping me. Maybe I could have pushed and caught up with them and kept up with them. Maybe that would have been a little bit of help in the motivation game, but I was also okay being where I was. I didn't want to push too hard and have horrible pain. I didn't want to not be able to run the whole thing. I just had to keep moving and to finish. It was my first half-marathon. I wasn't feeling like I couldn't do it. I was just facing some challenges.

I finished. I did it. I ran 13.1 miles without stopping. Meadowbrook park didn't stop me. That last stupid incline right before the stadium didn't stop me (though it freakin' tried). The people stopping and going and getting in my way didn't stop me. I ran across that finish line and there my friends were. 2:18:06, a time completely acceptable to me. Later, when I looked at my splits, my pace was much better than I was feeling it was. I only had 2 miles over 11 minute miles. My average pace was 10:33. These are all things I can be proud of. I can beat 2:15 next time (and I will). 

We did it! Time for a nap with my puppy.