Thursday, June 28, 2012

Crazy-Long Road Trip, part one

We are now in the first leg of a cross-country road trip to see family. Well, it isn't really cross-country, since the farthest west we get is Little Rock, but we are crossing a lot of states in a crazy triangle of wedding, beach, and family.

We are in Memphis now for the wedding part, which will be Saturday. The Bambino is the ring bearer and Alfie is an honorary flower girl. ( No, she cannot walk or throw flowers. She has a beautiful dress and will be there. Get it?)

The thing about Memphis, besides the fact that it is enormous, is that it's hot and humid. When people tell you that it's not the heat- it's the humidity, they are talking about Memphis. Tomorrow is supposed to be 104. Gee wiz!

I went for a run Monday morning and felt great despite the heat. I guess it was early enough. Today I am supposed to run with someone else, and this scares me more than a little because I have run alone since Alfie was born and because I agreed to run three miles, which I have not done in almost three months. I ran 2.5 last week, but there is a ginormous mental chasm between 2.5 and 3. We will run at Shelby Farms on a trail, so that may help the heat factor. Fingers crossed.

The kids are doing really well with the long drives, especially the bambino. He has a dvd player in our minivan, but this is the first time he has used it. The boy has fallen in love with Charlie Brown! He laughs and commentates, and we don't have to listen to the movie because he has headphones. I love technology.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Feeling like a runner

Yesterday I took Jack on a little run in the woods, and I decided to do an experiment with speed.  Was I ready?  Would it kill me?  I warmed up for five minutes and then added six 30-second pick-ups on the odd minutes, followed by a five minute cool down.  Here's what I learned:

  • A trail is not the best place to practice going faster.  I looked at my feet a lot to avoid roots, compromising whatever form I have left.
  • Retractable leashes are amazing.  Jack has to pee on just about every tree, so even during a fast moment he has enough slack to run ahead, find a nice tree, do his thing, and catch up before he runs out of line.
  • Hills matter.  The first two pick-ups felt amazing.  They were also downhill.  Funny how that makes it feel like you're flying, eh?  Three and four were flat, but numbers five and six were uphill.  I felt fine, but not like I was flying.
  • Running fast(er) feels more natural to me than my slow pace.  Every time I sped up, my torso leaned forward, I landed more on my midfoot than my heel, and my body felt lighter.  My muscles did not seem to care that I was speeding up; if anything, they approved.
  • I am out of shape.  Yes, my legs and feet and muscles felt great, but the lungs did not enjoy this little exercise!  By the end it felt like a workout.  At home, I was pink for half an hour, and I ran in the shade.
Based on all of that, I've decided to do these pick-ups with every run (or nearly every run) until my pace gets closer to my normal.  My body doesn't mind; I am only sore today because I thought it would be fun to do two one-minute planks after the run.  My lungs mind, but I don't care.  They will improve quickly.  Mostly, though, I just like feeling like a runner.  

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Miles for Matthew 10k Plan

Since starting my running career my senior year of high school, I have run countless 5ks, at least 6 half marathons, and 2 marathons.  In addition, I've competed in 4 or 5 triathlons, all sprint distance.  But I have never run a 10k.  Seems silly, right?  I regularly run more than 6 miles, but I've never raced it.

That will change on Saturday, September 15 when I run the Miles for Matthew 10k in Greensboro.  The Matthew in question has Duchennes Muscular Dystrophy, and the race raises money for research.  I have attempted to run it several times, but life has always intervened.  This year, I will run it.  I will.  And since it's my first 10k, no matter how slowly I run will be a PR.

I prefer to make my own training plans instead of following a pre-made one, and this is especially important because I'm coming back from having a baby.  There will be no speed work in my plan, and no specific hill repeats.  In fact, I have vowed not to focus on pace at all and just run the distances set forth.  The plan begins the third week of July, when we get back from vacation.  Sunday, July 15- Saturday, September 15.  9 weeks of training to get to where I can comfortably run 6.2 miles, preferably without stopping.

Until July 15, I will incorporate more and more runs into my week very conservatively.  I've been running once a week for three weeks.  This week, I will run twice (!!!).  I did two miles this morning and will run again by Saturday.  I'll stay at two runs/week for two or three weeks, and then I'll add on a third.

Why am I being so careful in upping my mileage?  Because Alfie is nursing full-time and I don't want to hurt my supply in any way.  I've read and researched, and most authorities say that running does not affect supply, but it still makes me nervous.  I want to make sure I'm getting enough calories for my added exercise, and that I'm hydrated enough.  Not enough calories and not enough liquids can affect supply, and running messes with both of those, you know?

So, what's the plan for the 10k on September 15?

June 24-July 14

We'll be traveling to Memphis, seeing family, and going to a wedding; then, we'll drive across Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey to get to the beach, where we will be lazy and hang out.  The best I can hope for is at least two runs per week and lots of walking otherwise.  I think when we get to the beach I can run three times without much fuss.

July 1-7

Three runs, including a long run of 4 miles

July 8-14

Three runs, long run of 5 miles

July 15-21

Three runs, long run of 5 miles

July 22-28

Three runs, long run of 6 miles

July 29-Aug 4

Three runs, long run of 6 miles

Aug 5-11

4 runs, long run of 4 miles

Aug 12-18

4 runs, long run of 6 miles

Aug 19-26

4 runs, long run of 7 miles

Aug 26-Sept 1

4 runs, long run of 8 miles

Sept 2-8

4 runs, long run of 9 miles

Sept 9-15

3-4 runs, including the 10k!

This is the kind of non-plan plan that has worked for me in the past.  If I make a set-in-stone calendar, I feel guilty for missing a workout and then somehow miss more workouts.  It's like I feel guilty and want to avoid running, like it's a person I have disappointed.  Strange, I know.

With this kind of plan, I have a checklist for every week and fit in the runs when I can.  I managed to run 4 or more times a week while pregnant, so I think I'll be able to fit it all in.