Friday, September 30, 2011

Run Less, Run Faster --- Weeks 5-10

I’m {more than} halfway through my 20 week training plan for the Urban Cow Half marathon and the California International Marathon {as well as a few other races}.   

Since my last update my running has continued to improve.  I’m frequently blowing my pace times out of the water, I set a new 5k PR and a new 10k PR, I ran a new race distance, I ran an impromptu hometown race, I added another half marathon to my race schedule, and I’m getting ready to run my first “A” race of the fall season.

Wks 1-5 = 144.96 miles

Wk6 = 37.01
Wk7 = 34.60
Wk8 = 29.22
Wk9 = 37.28
Wk10 = 19.55

Total = 157.66

# of missed runs {wks 6-10} = 1
# of missed runs overall = 2
# of days cross training {wks 6-10} = 9 
# of days cross training overall = 16
# of strength workouts {wks 6-10} = 6
# of strength workouts overall = 12

During the sixth week of training I continued to incorporate the NROLFW workouts into my strength routines.  I also surpassed the 100 mile mark {in a single month} for the first time ever!  I ran a 5k tempo run which was dubbed my “fastest 5k time ever” {until a 5k race a couple of weeks later}.


During the seventh week of training I ran a 5k race and set a new PR.  I had talked about my goals before the race and was hoping for a 30 minute 5k {based on my speedy tempo 5k run in week six} and was amazed when I crossed the finish line with a sub-30 time and an sub-9 minute/mile pace overall!


During the eighth week of training the husband and I spent an afternoon riding our bikes around town.  I started to experience some tightness in my right quad/groin that I’m still dealing with.  I also ran a new race distance


During the ninth week of training we added an additional half marathon to our race schedule for the fall and I ran the 5k distance in the Racing for Babes 2nd Annual Rock Your Socks Virtual Race.  I also ran a 16 mile training run where I surpassed my Urban Cow Half marathon goal {2:30 or under} at the 13.1 split!  This was also my highest mileage week to date :)

And finally during the tenth week of training I had a few setbacks.  I took some extra rest days due to my right quad/groin still bothering me and a mid-week migraine.  Even though I skipped my tempo run I still managed a great speed workout and ended up running an impromptu 10k race in my hometown where I set a new 10k PR


I’m still very happy with the way my training is going.  I missed another run during week 10 and a few more cross training sessions but I’m listening to my body and continuing to remain flexible and adaptable.  I continue to surprise myself with setting new PR’s, surpassing my goals, and exceeding my pace times --- as well as continuing on my weight loss journey.  My strength training has started to slip a little but I’m trying to keep it in my routine as often as possible. 

I know some people talk about how hard the Run Less Run Faster FIRST Training Plan is.  However, I do not feel this way.  I think this was the perfect program for me.  I don’t know if its because I had so much room to improve {with my running} and that is why I have not struggled with the pace times/goals of this plan or something else entirely --- but I’m happy with my adapted training plan from this program, and the improvements I’ve seen.  I’m very eager to put it to the test, again, in my first “A” race of the season this Sunday at the Urban Cow Half marathon. 

2 sleeps till half marathon day … and less than 9 weeks till marathon day!

What are you thoughts on the FIRST Training Program?  Have you heard about it before?  Any personal experiences?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Easy Run #2 – Race Week: Wk10 {Fall Race Training}

This mornings 5 miler was my last training run before the Urban Cow Half marathon.  I know I’ve got a lot of races on the schedule for the fall but the Urban Cow Half and CIM are my two “A” races --- the races I’ve been training for.  Everything else is just for fun :)

I ran the same route as Tuesday minus the two extra miles plus a longer warm-up & shorter cool down and a long walk with the puppy afterwards :)

I got up early again and got started just as the sky was starting to get light.


Warm-up:  0.93 / 15:00 {walk/jog + plyos}


My goal for this run was the same at Tuesday’s --- 5 easy miles at a comfortable pace.  Today I felt sluggish but its not really reflected in my splits.  My right quad is feeling substantially better but not 100%. 

I mostly zoned out on this run and just cruised along.  I took a few untimed walk breaks, mostly when crossing streets at cross walks and one long walk break {about 3-5 minutes I think} when I took off my arm sleeves around mile 2. 

I didn’t take very many pictures --- just the two above and the one below --- but I ran the same route at roughly the same time as Tuesday and I took a lot of photos that day.

  • 11:05
  • 11:08
  • 11:02
  • 11:11
  • 10:27

Overall:  5.0 / 54:55 / 10:59 avg


Mile 4 was the roughest mile --- I was feeling really tired and running down a high traffic street with lots of head wind.  Once I turned off that street and onto the frontage street along the freeway the wind was gone and I started to feel better.  I picked up the pace for the last half mile and finished strong.

Cool down:  0.28 / 5:33
Walk with
Lucy:  2.32 / 45:00

I was pretty close to my house so I walked home, grabbed Lucy and off we went for a long, slow walk.  I really enjoy my walks with Lucy especially when I can incorporate them into extra long cool downs after a run :)

Only 3 more sleeps till race day :)

My Facebook status after my run this morning:

09.30 FB status

Three Things Thursday

1.  Race Goals

I’m running a half marathon on Sunday!  This will be my third half marathon and my second time running this race.  I’m kind of looking for redemption from the Urban Cow Half since I crashed and burned last year.  I finished and that is my current half marathon PR but it wasn’t pretty.  I ended up walking a lot more than I planned and my official race time was not as good as some of my training runs at this time last year.  I didn’t fuel properly during the race and paid for it.  This year its going to be different!  I’ll also be running “solo” --- the husband and lots of fellow running buddies as well as two of my cousins and my SIL will be at the race but I’m not “running” with anyone. 

  • “A” Goal --- finish in 2:30 or under {this is what I’ve been training for}
  • “B” Goal --- finish in under 2:42 for a new PR {2:42:49 is my current PR}
  • “C” Goal --- finish {before “the cows come home”}

Other goals:  use the restroom before the start so I don’t have to go right away like last year, don’t go out too fast at the start, walk if/when needed, fuel early and often, drink plenty of water, walk through the water stops if needed, pick up the pace and/or fartlek for the last 5k of the race if possible, enjoy the experience and HAVE FUN

2.  Race shirts

We picked up our training group shirts last weekend for the race this weekend and they are so awesome.  I love them!  They are neon green with black cow spots all over them.  BUT we don’t know yet if we will be wearing them on race day … the SIL was working with a friend of hers to get me, the husband, and herself custom tech shirts made to wear on race day --- but I haven’t yet heard from her if they got finished or not.  I guess its going to be a last minute decision.  {I don’t really follow the “don’t wear anything new on race day” rule for shirts --- bad, I know}.

3.  Race nightmares

Last night I had a dream that we were in the port-o-potty line when the race started and then had to huff it about a mile to the starting line.  Yikes!  Thankfully there are lots & lots of port-o-potties at this race and they are actually right next to the starting line.  I’ll be making sure to get in line ASAP. 


Happy Thursday!
Have you had any pre-race nightmares?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Let’s Talk About: Running Gear

Every runner has their own personal preference when it comes to running gear.  Today I thought I’d share some of my favorite running/fitness items!

Most of these items are my “never leave home” without items
I say “most” because I don’t always use my Camelbak. 

Garmin 205image

I received my Garmin as a birthday present from the husband in 2009.  I absolutely love it.  Its nice to know my pace, how far I’ve gone, how long I’ve been running, etc.  Unfortunately my Garmin Training Center crashed a few weeks ago so I only have data from the first of this year on my computer.  I keep a spreadsheet of my mileage though so I can always go back and look on that if I need to.  I’ve recently started thinking about uploading my data to Garmin Connect but I still need to figure out how to do that.


iPod Shuffle + Sony Active Headphones

I recently replaced my iPod.  I had an older version of the shuffle that had the controls on the headphones.  Since I don’t like to use the iPod headphones when working out/running I had bought an adapter to use.  Over time I have gone through two adapters {at about $30-40 each} so it made more sense to purchase a new iPod shuffle instead of continuing to replace the adapter piece.  I gifted my old iPod shuffle to my mom and now I’ve got the newer version of the shuffle that has the buttons on it.   I love the super short cord on my headphones and that they wrap around my neck.  The buds are comfortable inside my ears and are noise-reducing. 


Nike Capri’s – Be Bold Dri-Fit or Be Strong Dri-Fitimage

I love Nike loose fitting capris.  I got my first pair in the summer of 2010 and I used them for all my long runs while training last summer/fall and race days.  I recently purchased more since I’ve come to love them so much.  They are comfortable and I’ve never had any problems with them.  I also own a few other pairs of capris, shorts, running skirts, and bermuda shorts but for running the Nike capris are my go-to item.  I use the rest for walking, going to the gym, other sports, etc.


Hat + sunglasses

I almost always have a hat on when I’m out running or walking.  I like that it provides protection from the sun and can keep sweat out of my eyes and off of my face.  I have a black Adidas hat that I’ve had since 2007 that is in okay shape and I recently replaced my white Brooks hat {that had a shamrock logo on it --- I got it after completing my first half marathon, the Shamrock’n Half Marathon} with a plain white Brooks hat.  The shamrock one was turning yellow … ewww!  My sunglasses I got on sale at a sporting goods store a few years ago --- they are just a cheap pair with good UV protection. 



Road IDThe Shoe ID

I’ve had my Road ID for a while now.  I highly recommend that all runners/walkers get one or at least carry some form of ID on them at all times.  I have The Shoe ID, as does the husband.  It was affordable and attaches easily to your shoe laces.  I never even have to think about it; its just there.


Camelbak – Women’s 50 oz Annadel Hydration Pack

I bought my Camelbak on sale at REI when I was training for my first half marathon and I’m so glad I did.  I’m not really a fan of handheld water bottles, although I do own a few, and I tried a fuel belt once but it was not comfortable for me.  My Camelbak is light weight, even when its full of water, comfortable and convenient. 


What is your favorite go-to fitness/running item? 

What items do you “never leave home” without?



All opinions are entirely my own – I am not affiliated with these companies nor was I compensated to write about these items; these are just a few of my favorite things!

Easy Run #1 – Race Week: Wk10 {Fall Race Training}

Originally I had an easy 3 miler schedule for yesterday and an 8 mile tempo run for Thursday.  But since its half marathon race week {the Urban Cow Half is this Sunday} I decided to switch both my mid-week runs to easy 5 milers.  I don’t know what I was thinking when I scheduled an 8 mile tempo run for race week … I think I must have forgotten to change it after I added my races to my training schedule. 

I got up bright and early yesterday morning so I could leave the house just as the sky was turning from dark to light for an early start.

I started with a walk/jog {or jalk as Heather calls it} and some plyos.

Warm-up:   0.59 / 10:00

I didn’t have a particular plan for this run --- I just wanted to run at an easy and relaxed pace for 5 miles.  The weather was chilly when I left the house so I got to wear a pair of arm warmers for the first time {I recently purchased these for the upcoming fall/winter running season}.

It was bright enough out that I was visible and I could see well but I still wore a shirt with reflective strips on it and my Camelbak has reflective strips on it too.  And I wore my reflective ankle strap.  Safety first, you can never be to careful!

I wish I could say it was quiet and peaceful out but it wasn’t.  There was actually a lot of traffic on the main streets and a decent amount of traffic on some of the side streets most likely due to everyone heading to work or to drop kids off at school.  Plus I ran on the frontage road along the freeway for a while at the beginning of my run and again, on a different section, for most of mile 5. 


I timed my run today much better than last weeks speed workout run --- today I ran by two different schools {there are a lot of schools in my area} but since it was early enough there weren’t many kids around yet.  The sun was rising as I was heading up the main boulevard.  It was beautiful. 

CIMG7357 CIMG7360 
And then I got stuck at the train --- but it was only Amtrak so it was only about a minute total.


Once I turned off the main boulevard and wove my way through the neighborhood and towards the little trail I run on frequently I was starting to get warm so I stopped to push down my arm sleeves.



But eventually that got annoying so I stopped again and took them off.  I hung them off the strap of my Camelbak --- and eventually I tied them into a knot because they kept sliding around and I was afraid they would fall off. 

Do you see that pocket on my shirt?  I love it.  I carried my Gu Chomps in there today!

I felt really good, overall, during this run.  I didn’t push it until the last couple of miles and tried to stay at an easy steady comfortable pace.  My right quad felt tight but nothing like it has the past few weeks.  It was even feeling better than it did at the race last Saturday.  At mile 5 I decided that since I was feeling so good I would keep going.  I ended up with 7 miles and I had picked up the pace for mile 5 already since I thought I was almost done so I keep the pace faster during mile 6 and 7 too. 

  • 11:08
  • 11:01
  • 10:58
  • 11:14
  • 10:32
  • 10:23
  • 10:11

Overall:  7.0 / 1:15:31 / 10:47 avg

I felt really good and finished strong.  I definitely felt like I could have kept going and that I could have maintained that pace which adds to my excitement for race day this Sunday!

I about a half a mile from home so I walked for a cool down. 

Cool down:  0.50 / 10:00

Only 4 more sleeps till race day … and only one more run!  I’m very excited :)


Carrie @ Maine Mom on the Run commented on my Salmon Run race recap that she was “impressed” that I can take “such great pictures while running” so I wanted to comment on that … I take a lot of photos, always, and lately I’ve been trying to remember to especially take a lot when I’m running and I know I’m going to blog about it.  Anyways, a lot of the photos turn out blurry.  In order for me to get a good, clear shot I usually stop and walk a step or two while I take the photo.  I think of it as just another walk break even if its only 2, 3 or 4 steps.  Sometimes I’ll carry my camera in my right hand with the wrist strap wrapped around my wrist but most often I store it in the little zipper pouch on my Camelbak – where I also store my fuel.  Its easy to access and I can fit both the camera {without a case} and fuel in there.  If I’m not carrying my Camelbak then I usually just use my iPhone to take photos since its easier to carry in my Spibelt.  {My Camelbak has two zipper pouches --- one “bigger” one that I can’t access without taking the Camelbak off and one “smaller” one that is lower and I can easily reach around to open while I’m running/walking.}

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fall Race Training: Wk10

Hmph.  What a week.  I only made it to the gym one day due to a mid-week migraine and traveling on Friday and I skipped my tempo run due to my quad/IT band/groin issue on my right leg that is still lingering.  I ended up running a spontaneous race on Saturday in my hometown and wound up with a new 10k PR so at least the week ended on a high note. 

Less than one week till half marathon day!

Wk10:  09.19.11 – 09.25.11

Monday 09.19 ~ Cardio @ gym + walk


  • Stationary Bike:  32min / 5.96 miles
  • Elliptical:  35min / 3.06 mile

Core + Glute Exercises {41min}

  • 3x30sec plank
  • 3x60sec pelvic bridge
  • 3x10 lateral leg lift, each side
  • 3x10 clam shells, each side
  • 3x10 door knob assisted deep squats
  • 3x12 side steps with resistance band, each leg
  • 3x30 monster walks


  • 2.03 / 39:00 with Lucy & the husband

Tuesday 09.20 ~ Run 5x1200 speed work

Run ~ 5x1200 @ 7:25 with 400 RI

Speed Work:  Wk10 {Fall Race Training}

  • Overall:  5.0 / 56:50
  • Splits:  6:59, 6:47, 6:46, 7:06, 7:02
  • Warm-up:  1.0 / 14:09
  • Cool down:  0.40 / 8:00

Wednesday 09.21 ~ Cardio @ gym + walk REST

I was struck with a migraine on Tuesday evening.  I was feeling better in the afternoon and contemplated going to the gym but decided rest was probably best.  Lucy has a strange limp in one of her back legs so she is on rest from walking until it is better. 

Thursday 09.22 ~ Run 8 tempo miles REST

I skipped my tempo run.  My right leg is really bothering me.  It manifests differently daily --- some days it hurts in my groin muscles, some days in my IT band, some days in my piriformis, some days in my hamstring.  Its very strange.  I’m beginning to get worried that this is going to continue to linger and with my half marathon only 1.5 weeks away I decided it was well past time for me to take a break and see if I can get past this. 

Friday 09.23 ~ Cardio @ gym + walk REST

More rest.  Spent the morning packing and traveling, the afternoon on the lake, the evening relaxing in the hot tub.

Saturday 09.24 ~ Run 10 miles

Run ~ spontaneous 10k + 4 miles pre-race

Race Recap:  The Salmon Run 10k {09.24.11} + a NEW 10k PR + a 4 mile pre-race run [Long Run:  Wk10 {Fall Race Training}]

  • Warm-up:  0.54 / 10:01
  • Cool down:  0.40 / 13:29

Pre-race 4 miler

  • Overall:  4.01 / 45:11 / 11:15 avg
  • Splits:  11:03, 11:18, 11:08, 11:27,

Salmon Run 10k

  • Overall:  6.17 / 1:04:19 / 10:25 avg
  • Splits:  10:08, 10:17, 10:45, 10:30, 10:25, 10:26, 0.17 = 1:44 {10:02 pace}

Sunday 09.24 ~ Rest/Walk REST

Rest.  Spent the morning and afternoon with my mom then traveled home and unpacked, did laundry, grocery shopped, etc.

Total Miles = 19.55

  • Running = 17.52
  • Walking the dog = 2.03

Daily Mile Stats:
Total Time = 5hrs, 59mins 
Calories Burned = 2582

Weight Watchers Activity Points Earned = 37

Race Recap: Salmon Run 10k {09.24.11} + a NEW 10k PR + a 4 mile pre-race run [Long Run: Wk10 {Fall Race Training}]

Whew, that’s a looooooong title!  Also, there are LOTS of photos :)

With only one week till our next half marathon, the Urban Cow Half, we had 10 miles planned as a step back/taper for last Saturday.  We knew we were going to be out of town so we planned our 10 mile long run for Saturday morning in my hometown along the river.  We knew we’d have to do 3 out and backs with rolling hills but its the best place to run back home.  Unless you want to run on the Dam, which is fine, but its only 1 mile across.  So that would have meant 5 outs and backs.  On the Dam.  Flat.  With lots of wind.  Um, no.  So the river trail it was.

CIMG7260 CIMG7270 
Now, let me back up a little bit more.  We headed out of town on Friday morning.  It was the first day of fall, with temps forecasted to be in the high 90s, so the husband took a sub day and we made plans to go out on the lake with my dad & step-mom.  We dropped off Lucy with my mom then headed to my dads house.  We spent a few hours out on the lake --- cruising around, swimming, and the husband went tubing.  Once we got back off the lake we headed back to my dads for a pasta dinner {pre-long run go-to meal} and some relaxing time in my dads hot tub.  On our way from the boat launch back to my dads house we heard a radio ad for the Oroville Salmon Festival.  I don’t really remember this festival from when I was growing up and I have no idea how long its been going on.  I do know that there is race, The Salmon Run, associated with the festival and that I’ve talked with the husband before about wanting to run it someday.  So, when we heard the radio ad for the festival I knew that meant the race was this weekend too.  I also knew that meant that the race was being held on the exact trail we were planning on running on Saturday morning.  Once we were back at my dads we looked up the race on the internet and confirmed that it was in fact this particular Saturday, and on the trail we were going to run.  Now all we had to do was decide if we were going to run it or run some place else …

Since we have never run a race in my hometown we decide to go for it!  But since we had 10 miles planned we decided to get there early and register then head out for 4 miles before the race.  And, thankfully, this ended up working perfectly. 

Pre-run Warm-up:  0.54 / 10:01 + plyos

After our warm-up we headed out to run 4 miles.  We ended up running more than half the course and got to get a preview of the first 3+ miles of the 10k that were going to be a “trail” run on river roads.  The last half of the 10k course is on the paved bike path and we’ve run it often so we know it pretty well.  I said earlier that is rolling hills.  Well, not really.  Its more hilly than rolling hilly and has a few long uphill's, in both directions. 


CIMG7259 CIMG7264

CIMG7265 CIMG7266 

Pre-race miles: 

  • 11:03
  • 11:18
  • 11:08
  • 11:27

Overall:  4.01 / 45:11 / 11:15 avg

We made it back from our pre-race run with time to spare.  We used the restroom, wiped sweat from our faces, put on our bibs, and still had time to stand around and stretch before the 10k race started at 9am’ish. 

There were 67 racers doing the 10k.  There was also a 5k run/walk and two kids races --- a half mile and a mile.  The kids races were held first, then the 10k started, then the 5k about 15 minutes after the 10k’ers.  This ended up working out well for us since by the time the 10k course merged with the 5k course the runners/walkers were spread out and it wasn’t congested at all.  There were 108 5k runners and 44 5k walkers. 

CIMG7275 CIMG7283



CIMG7298  CIMG7300    CIMG7302

The 10k course started out on a paved bike path for about half a mile then we cut over onto the “trail” part which was essentially dirt roads.  Thankfully it wasn’t too rocky for the first couple of miles and most of the runners ran in the tire grooves which were smooth and mostly free of rocks.  There was a water station at about mile 1 and then we kept going for about another half mile until the turn-around point.  We passed back by the water station then around mile 2 we cut off onto another older dirt road that looked less used.  It was much more rocky and very hard to run on.  By mile 3 we were back to a dirt trail and shortly we were on the paved trail where we remained for the rest of the race.



CIMG7306    CIMG7267 CIMG7258 
Mile 1 and 2 had been right on with my Garmin but mile 3 was 0.12 short and it stayed that was for the rest of the course.  Somewhere after the mile 6 marker the distance was made up because my Garmin said 6.17 when I finished.  Once we were on the bike path it was smooth sailing.  Sort of.  I continued to keep a good pace and new I was heading towards a 10k PR.  The hills were a little rough but I powered up and over and back down and keep on going.  At the turn around point on the bike path, with less than 2 miles to go, the husband said we needed to start picking runners off.  We knew the 5 people directly in front of us were 10k racers so we set the goal to pass them.  We ended up passing 4 of the 5!  The last 0.20 of the race is downhill then flat which made for a pretty good finish and I PR’d by over 5 minutes!

  • Mile 1 – 10:08
  • Mile 2 – 10:18
  • Mile 3 – 10:45
  • Mile 4 – 10:30
  • Mile 5 – 10:25
  • Mile 6 – 10:26
  • Last 0.17 – 1:44 {10:02 pace}

Overall:  6.17 / 1:04:19 / 10:25 avg

Official Results:
44/67 overall
5/13 in age group 30-39
17th female overall


We walked around for a while after the race while we waited for the awards ceremony.  They didn’t post results after the races so we had no idea how we did so we decided to stay for the awards.  The husband ran this race with me and ended up 4th in his age group; if he would have ran his pace he could have gotten at least 2nd!  And, based on the results, he could have won his age group in the 5k.  I was lucky to have him by my side to pace me to a new PR.  And he said he was happy that he ran with me because if he would have ran his pace he felt like he would have been paying less attention on the dirt/river/rocky roads which could have lead to him re-injuring his ankle.

Cool down:  0.40 / 13:29