Friday, July 29, 2011

If It's Not One Thing....; Week 8

Sunday:  10 miles @ 9:21 pace;  I have decided to make Sundays my "Speed Play" days. Tuesday has always been formal speed day on my current training plan (changing between tempo runs and mile repeats week to week).  I am trying to elevate my running a notch so have been trying to incorporate more quality running.  I figure I'll mix and match from hill repeats, fartleks, and marathon-pace miles.

This Sunday I did 10x30 second pick-ups w/30 second recoveries, one "easy" Strawberry Hill ascent, and finished it all off with 2.88 miles of MP (8:51).  I sort of like the idea of doing short, fast, hard efforts and finishing off with MP miles to learn what that pace feels like on tired legs.

Tuesday:  10 miles, including 8 miles @ 8:28 pace;  This is the hardest workout I ever do on my current plan.  Eight miles is a long way to go at an aggressive pace.  I tried to look at it in chunks but got a little psyched out mentally before the run even started.  I could feel some deep fatigue in my legs from the get-go and had to work harder to keep my pace (my goal was sub-8:30).  I didn't hit the same tempo pace I did the last two weeks, but given my harder workouts lately I am really happy with this run.

Wednesday:  8 miles @ 9:48; My legs were super dead this morning.  Super dead.  I guess all those faster miles caught up with me.  It was pretty much all I could do to keep running, but I still managed to keep up my normal recovery pace.  I love how these long recovery runs the day after hard workouts teaches my mind that I can run a fairly long time on tired legs.  I find it amazing every Wednesday morning how they feel so heavy but just keep trucking.

Friday:  Well, I've had some strange, niggling issues in my left leg for a few weeks which are at the point I realize they aren't just going to go away.  I probably could have gone out and run my 20 miles today but I decided to play it smart and take the day off.  I'm postponing the 20 until Monday or Tuesday of next week.  Pushing the long run out a few days did miracles for my recent calf issue, so I'm hoping it will do the same for this quad thing.  It is hard for me to do stuff like this, but I'm trying to save a few weeks of quality running by sacrificing a few days of it now.  RG mentioned how it was nice I was getting faster and not getting injured.  Not true, I'm always dealing with this or that.  I feel like I've always got something bugging me, and once one thing heals another thing flares up.  Boo.  I've got an appointment with a sports chiro today and will probably start seeing someone regularly for maintenance down the road.

I took a photography workshop last week.  This was one of the photos up on the wall that the teacher had snapped.  I was mesmerized by the darn thing.  Something about it made me want to jump right into the picture and go for a run.  It was for sale.  $1200.  Boyfriend says I can snap my own foggy shot somewhere.

I have a question for everyone:  I am planning on taking part in an indoor marathon in January.  You basically run a kazillion laps around an indoor track until you run 26.2 miles.  I know it sounds like torture, but these events get RAVE reviews. Supposedly they are tons of fun because you see all the other runners and you get a cheering section every single lap (plus an aid station and bathroom every lap, too!).  So my dilemma is this:  The event I am looking at has the marathon on Sunday and also a half marathon on Saturday.  Just like the Goofy Challenge you run the half Saturday, the full Sunday, and you get a third medal for doing them both.

Initially I was all in for this Gold Challenge of a half and a full.  But I am starting to have some reservations.  I'm sure the full will be fun, but I'm not 100% sure doing a half AND a full on an indoor track would be quite as exciting.  At Goofy you get to run through the parks which I adore so that makes me pumped to run two days in a row.  I'm not sure an indoor track has that sort of allure.  At the same time, I'm flying my butt to Wisconsin and there won't be much else to do except run these races.  And I'm not planning on setting any PR's at any event so what's an extra 13.1?  On the other hand, I've done the Goofy Challenge three times so not sure there is anything to accomplish or prove to myself here.

Registration opens soon so I have to make up my mind pronto.  Any input?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Race Decisions

I don't know if anyone but me pays much attention to the sidebar of the blog on the right.  I only add races to the sidebar when I've actually registered.  I pretty much have the entire 2012 year planned out, but I'll save the big reveals for much later.

As far as races I've recently signed up for:

  • Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Marathon 2012:  I was sent a wicked coupon code which made the price of this race a good deal (RnR events are notoriously expensive).  Can't say I ever had a desire to do this race so it was a total spontaneous move.  I went from not even thinking of this race to being registered in a matter of 30 minutes.  I coerced a handful of friends to sign up, too, so it should be a fun trip.  I love Seattle and can't wait to go back for another visit.  I am willing to strike this off the docket if things don't work out, but I'm hoping they will.
  • Big Sur Marathon 2012:  I consider this race to be the marathon I plan to run every year for the rest of my marathon running life.  So I bit the bullet and signed up on opening day.
  • ET 51K:  A slight change of plans happened.  I got cajoled into upgrading from the marathon distance to the 51K distance.  It wasn't like they had to twist my arm too much, though, for a few reasons.  First off, I'm flying out to Nevada for this race. The bigger of an event I can make it the better.  Two, it is a road 51K.  Road ultras are pretty rare and being a total trail weenie this may be one of my few shots to get an ultramarathon finished.  Three, the race is run near Area 51. To do a 51K out there appeals to the number geek in me.
In order to make room in my running schedule for a 51K I have slightly readjusted my goals for Half Moon Bay.  I was leaning more and more towards going for a PR at Half Moon Bay.  My paces have been consistently faster for all types of runs in this training cycle versus my Texas training cycle.  So I feel as if I probably have a good marathon in me if I can keep it up.  However, I don't want to force myself to do too much too soon after the 51K.  I want to have the option to lay low a week or two to recover.  I am not planning on setting any speed records at ET, but I'm sure the endeavour will set me back a bit.

Two Cities was always on my radar as a PR attempt (November 6th) so I've decided to declare that my next A-race.  I will be setting a semi-aggressive time goal for Half Moon Bay and who knows?  Maybe my legs will bounce back and I'll decide to go for it.  But I needed to free myself of that idea to make the 51K palatable.

So yeah, I'm going to do my first ultramarathon in 2.5 weeks!  Uhh...

I was asked what training plan I use.  I've been using a plan that Runner's World Smart Coach spit out for me back in 2009.  It has me running only 4 days a week which has kept my injuries down (I struggle, even now, with a few chronic issues).  Even though I'm only running 4 days a week, there are no low mileage days. As you can see I run a fairly moderately long distance every time out plus a long run.  Recently, I think Smart Coach retooled as I can't get the same plan to come out inputting the same info I usually do. I can try to get a post up showing the whole plan soon.

Oh, and yes, those shorts from my 20 miler are from Lulu (speed shorts).  I love them!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday Mario

So a quick update on Mario's situation:  I've decided to definitely go the most conservative path first.  I've restarted the antibiotics.  D. Moll has suggested a few holistic ideas which I am giving a go while we play our litte waiting game.  As I told her, I am not normally big into non-Western medicine, but perhaps Mario is a Qi bunny at heart :)  And if it won't hurt him, I'm all for that versus knocking the little guy out.

Glenna, your friend was also very helpful. Thank you so much for the connection.  I am going to do a bit more sleuthing on my own as far as vet options and whether Mario seems to be favoring one side of his jaw to the other (in my light assessment, no, but I will do a more careful observation).  I'm also going to go the route of humans with this issue:  Warm compresses and artificial tears.  In fact, after the first day of ointment I felt things looked a little better and even remarked to Boyfriend that perhaps Mario just had nasty dry eye.  Glenna's friend suggested this is a possibility so I'm going to work up that avenue as well.

Both D. Moll and Glenna's friend gave me more vet insight into similar cases and I'm definitely considering how it all applies to Mario.

I'll keep everyone updated.

Still the weepy eye. It gives him such a sad look :(

Friday, July 22, 2011

Rungry!!; Week 7

I'm so hungry I could eat twigs

Sunday:  9.5 miles @ 9:50 pace; I had a fun run with two great ladies.  Audrey came up to SF to run so I stuck with her the first 2.5 miles as a nice warm-up.  I then got passed over to Alyssa who was out doing a mellow recovery run (the only way I keep up with this lady is if she is on a recovery run).  We did one Strawberry Hill ascent together then I knocked out two more by myself (9:34 pace PR on the second ascent).  After that we finished off the run with some flat miles around Stow Lake.  I clocked sub-9:00 minute miles the last 2.7 miles and am happy to report they felt like a comfortable working pace.

Tuesday:  9 miles including 7 miles @ 8:22 pace; Knocked another tempo run out of the park.  I looked back to my Texas training cycle runs and this same run in that cycle I ran the tempo portion at a 9:04 pace!  That is quite an improvement (later tempo runs in the Texas cycle were done in the upper 8:30's, but I am still very impressed). And if you want to see how far I've come in 2 years, here is the same week of training for SFM back in 2009.  Wow.  Also fun to note how this week of the training plan is where I realize the mileage ramps up.  The 2009 SFM training cycle is the first time I used this training plan and I've stuck with it ever since.  I've been getting faster and am generally less injured on this plan.  It works for me. I've been tweaking the paces and adding more speed work in, but the mileage base of the plan has remained the same.

Wednesday:  9 mile @ 9:38 pace; Ah, the longer, early morning pre-work runs.  Always a favorite around here *eye rolls*.  I've found with these day-after speed work runs, it takes about 4 miles to get into a groove, but once I hit it, the legs come back to life a little.

Friday:  16 miles @ 9:18 pace;  Did the following plan:  1 mile easy, 2 miles MP, 2 miles easy, 2 miles MP, 2 miles easy, 2 miles MP, 2 miles easy, 2 miles MP, 1 mile easy.  I'm considering MP to be 9:00 pace give or take 10 seconds.  I nailed the MP pick-ups at:  9:01, 9:01, 9:03, 9:00!  9:00 pace is working for me, but it feels comfortably sustainable.  I have over three months to get in shape to hold it for 26.2 and I'm starting to think it is realistically doable.  My PR marathon pace is currently 9:12...  Did pretty close to that over the 16 miles and it felt pretty easy.

Garfield Garmin is still being a major pain in the arse.  He consistently measures the first half a mile long which means my pace is all wonky AND I've had to add on extra distance at the ends of runs to make up for it.  On Friday's run, he was wonky the first half a mile as usual, but then my lap pace was jumping all over the place in later miles.  Since I was running off of pace it was throwing me off.  I had to stop and reset it.  I'm still experimenting with what makes it work and what doesn't.  I have one more trick up my sleeve before I give up totally.

The mileage kicks up a bit from here on out -- and this week my hunger finally showed up.  I've been rungry all week!  I've had so much pasta this week (I literally eat pasta at least once a day every day of the week).  I feel as if my hunger stabilizes out as the training continues but I guess this was the week my body decided change was in the air.

Most importantly, thank you, for all of your comments regarding Mario.  I will have an update on Monday.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Teary-Eyed, Both He & I

Mario has had a weepy right eye off and on for months now.  Last month I took him into the veterinarian who irrigated his tear duct and put him on an antibiotic ointment.  One of those two things seemed to help things improve but it never fully resolved. I spoke to the veterinarian today who gave me two options:

1) Do a series of skull x-rays to see if there is an underlying issue causing his tear duct to be clogged (think dental issues, abscesses, tumors).  This however, requires Mario to be put under anesthesia which makes me very nervous.  We can run some blood tests to minimize the risk of anesthesia.  But the vet, quite frankly, told me death is a possibility.

2) We can try the ointment for a longer course of treatment.  The vet said it is rare but some bunnies do have more involved infections.  I know a little bit about eyeballs and it is not an eyeball infection (the vet also agrees).  If he has an infection it is in his tear duct.  My gut tells me it is a noninfectious issue (perhaps there is a secondary infection but I feel there is something more sinister causing the clogging) but I am leaning towards retrying the medication since it poses less risk to Mario.  However, I am also worried that delaying the x-ray could allow any underlying issue to worsen (she's thinking 14-21 more days of ointment).

Does anyone have experience with older rabbits being put under (Mario is at least 8 years old. Possibly older since I adopted him full grown)?  Mario is 100% unfazed by all of this and doesn't even seem to be bothered by the tear overflow.  I called a renowned local rabbit vet's office (we are currently getting care from an avian vet with a special interest in rabbits) hoping they could do x-rays without anesthesia but was told they generally put bunnies under as well.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday Mario

I slept for almost 11 hours last night.  Mario approves.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Week 6, Plan Deviation

This week was a cut back week where every run was supposed to be an 8 miler of easy pace.  Things got sort of turned around and I didn't do one run as planned -- but I think it turned out pretty good.

I ran over 30 miles this week with this lovely lady.  Photo from our 20 on Sunday.

Sunday: 20.2 miles @ 10:01 pace;  Alyssa had the awesome idea of participating in a 6 hour race (you run a 1 mile loop as many times as you like in the 6 hour time frame) to get her last long run for SFM done.  Her idea snowballed and before you knew it, there were TONS of Bay Area bloggers coming to take part. A few of us decided that in order to break up the monotony of scenery and flat elevation we would arrive a little early and run out to, across, and back from the Golden Gate Bridge.  That clocked us 7 miles so we did 13 loops to finish with 20 miles.  I stuck with my pal Karin the entire 20 miles.  My fastest 20ish miler to date was at this same pace pre-Texas Marathon.  But today I felt like I was holding back.

Tuesday:  8 miles including 6 miles @ 8:22 pace;  I wasn't supposed to be doing any speed work this week but I missed this run when my calf was acting up.  Next week I have 7 miles at tempo and I felt I needed this 6 mile effort to get me mentally ready for next week.  I beat my tempo pace from the other week and overall felt really strong the entire time.

Wednesday:  7 miles @ 9:45 pace; My legs were very heavy this morning so I took it easy.

Friday:  10.3 miles @ 9:34 pace; Karin was doing her long run of 16 miles today.  Since no long run was on the docket and I thought we'd be running at a 10:00 pace again, I offered to run a couple extra miles with her.  But then she said she wanted to push the pace a little.

Holding off a couple of days on the 20 miler that should have been done last week kicked my sore calf to the curb.  It was 100% normal for every single run this week.  After this cutback week my training plan really starts to take off in mileage.  Put on your seat belts!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday Mario

Mario wants strong ankles, too.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Week of Sevens; Week 5

Alyssa shot this while we were waiting to start our run Sunday.  Notice how we are all gathered in the shade in SF.  It was a warm day.

Sunday:  7 miles @ 10:15 pace; Easy, fun run with lots of Bay Area ladies around GPP.  My leg was a little tight and mad about the 17 mile Friday, but overall not too bad and I was able to stretch it into submission.  We even ran up Strawberry Hill once (I've been a bit nervous to do this since that is where my leg started acting up) but it didn't give me any trouble there.  We finished off the run with ramen which I've decided is the best post-run food (second perhaps to saimin, but that is rare strain of noodle dish found mainly in Hawaii).

Tuesday:  7 miles, including 3x 1600m in 7:47, 7:51, 8:09; The last time I did mile repeats, Garfield ate my data so I was curious what I would be able to do.  The first repeat is my new unofficial mile PR!  The second repeat also beat my previous PR by a few seconds.  That third one... err... Not sure what happened there.  I don't recall feeling so terrible but I guess it all caught up with me.  I haven't done any speed work in two weeks due to my calf so I'm still really happy with the way this run went.

Wednesday:  7 miles @ 9:46 pace;  The legs were pretty heavy this morning but I kept on trucking.

Friday:  7 miles @ 9:48 pace, including 2x Strawberry Hill; I keep track of the pace I log up Strawberry Hill versus the time it takes me mainly because I don't always run the same line of curve up the hill.  Posted my fastest pace yet the second time up today.  9:38!  After this run I met up with Alisa who is visiting from Portland.  We did an easy 4 mile walk/run over the Golden Gate Bridge.

I took Alisa and Mr. Pi on a brief sightseeing tour of SF.  The view from Twin Peaks today.

I normally do my long run on Fridays but skipped for three good reasons:  1) Alisa was in town and we decided to go check out the Golden Gate Bridge.  Alisa's been dealing with some injuries but she was running at great pace!  It is always great to see her and her hubby.  2)  There is a huge group of awesome runners participating in a 6 hour run this Sunday.  I'll be there to knock out my 20 miler.  The course is a one mile loop and you can run as many as you like in the 6 hour time frame.  3) My calf is feeling better every day and I figure the extra two days before I throw 20 miles at it can only help.  Last week I made huge improvements and had a slight setback after my 17 miler.  So it seems as I keep running on it I get two steps forward, one step back. Hopefully this week I take enough steps forward that I am in the clear.

The above shot is from July 4th.  Alyssa came out to meet Rowdy and then we went to the beach to chillax and fly our Rainbow Brite kite.  Here is Boyfriend showing me how it is done.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Monday Mario

I gave Mario his paper bag toy from BunnyFest the other day.  He wasn't too intrigued with it right away but by early morning I could hear him ripping away.

Sadly I missed the shot where his head was stuffed inside the bag.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Like A Duck Out of Water; Weeks 3 & 4

Wow!  Two more weeks have come and gone.  Week 3 was filled with both awesome runs and skipped runs due to injury.  I've bounced back quite a bit in Week 4 but am not quite out of the woods with this calf issue yet:

Sunday:  7 miles @ 9:43 pace; I did three Strawberry Hill repeats.  Somewhere on the descent of the second one my calf was getting tight and achy and of course I ran back up and down the monster hill again.  Calf successfully trashed.  At the time, though, I was having so much fun. I love doing repeats on that hill.

Tuesday:  7 miles, including 5 miles @ 8:24 pace; As I posted before, I tried to do as much damage control as I could Monday for my calf.  The first few miles of this run were pain-free but somewhere around mile 4.5 it started getting achy and I kept pushing through it.  Calf issues aside, I had an awesome tempo run.  This is the first time my average tempo pace has fallen into the 8:20's.  I am so tickled with my progress.

Saturday:  2 miles @ 9:55; So I guess running my fastest ever tempo on a questionable calf wasn't one of my better ideas. I had to skip a couple of runs (including my long run) to let my calf heal up.  This was a short test run to see how it was doing.

Sunday:  7.1 miles @ 9:48; I decided not to try to cram my 16 miler into the weekend and to just continue on with Week 4.  My calf got a little tight about halfway through the run but I stretched it for a bit and was able to finish pain-free.

Tuesday:  8 miles  @ 9:49; This was supposed to be a tempo run but didn't do any speed work this week.  My calf was a little tight but still better than it had been Sunday.

Wednesday:  6 miles  @ 9:22; My calf felt 100% normal this whole run.  I let myself push the pace a little bit.

Friday:  17 miles @ 9:43; This was supposed to be an 18 miler but with the skipped 16 miler the week before I decide to split the difference.  Endurance-wise I felt amazing and could have easily gone the whole 18 miles.  But my calf got a little cranky for a few miles towards the end and I didn't want to push my luck.  We'll see how much this long run has set my leg back.  So far it doesn't seem any more achy than it did after Tuesday's run.

On my 7.1 miler Sunday, Boyfriend came with me to Stow Lake to test out our new DSLR camera.  As I mentioned, race shots were on my list of things I want to be able to do with this camera.  It has a continuous shooting setting which takes 6 frames a second. SIX FRAMES A SECOND!  I passed him 7 times on the one mile loop and he got over 700 shots of me.  If you ever want to know just how crappy your running form is, sit through a presentation of 700 shots of you running at 6 fps.  Gah.  I have LOTS of stuff I need/want to work on and I don't even know where to start.

While he was waiting to see me, he took this sequence of a duck jumping onto a log:

My favorite is of Mr. Duck shaking off the water:

(click on the photo) Look at those water droplets!

Anyhow, imagine a runner instead of a duck jumping out of the water and you can see what this camera can do.  And as Boyfriend said, "I don't even know how to use it!  I am just pointing and shooting."

For those of you who asked, it is Nikon D7000.  I also got an upgraded lens.  It is not light and I wouldn't love to walk around with it for hours.  However you have to remember I am coming from the days of a metal SLR and a metal zoom lens so this thing feels relatively lightweight to me.  It isn't so complicated to use on auto setting, but there is no point in getting a camera like this if you are only going to use it on auto.  I'm hoping to attend a workshop this month to brush up on my photography skills and learn some of the quirks of a digital SLR.  Because anything BUT auto setting is pretty intimidating at this point.