Track? Sprints? huh?

 

I grew up a swimmer. Just by saying that, you should know: One, land activities were never a favorite and two, the thought of swimming a 500 staring at the underwater black line sounds more appealing than running in circles on a track.

 

When I entered college, and put my swimsuit on hold for awhile, I tried out running. Obviously, weirdly, it stuck.

But not growing up as a running kid, I missed out on a lot that I am now realizing, ‘thank goodness I did!’

Every week I have a track or sprint workout. It falls on Tuesday, and with my work schedule/horrible Indiana weather, I have been attacking these workouts via treadmill.

Last week, the workout was not too bad. 4×1 mile at 10k pace, so about 6:30-6:40.

On the way to the gym, as Ken my bf, chatted away about his day, I sat rigidly fearing what I was about to do. And, it was only 4 miles!

Just for some history, as a swimmer I was never a good racer. I hated racing and swim meets and actually swam faster at practice than I would in competition. Luckily, this affliction has not popped up since I began running. However, I think ultrarunning and the long distances have contributed to that.

Speed. Pain. Sticking to a time. I was not looking forward to it.

 

I began with an easy mile that ended way too quickly. I jogged for a bit then Ken and I started.

Bumping up the treadmill to 9.0 mph, my legs flew with the 6:40ish pace. Then jogged and walked two mins before starting the next one. The first one was tough, just getting into it and ignoring the soreness.

But the three flew by, and I dropped my pace down to 9.3, 6:27 for last one. All in all, I was happy. I finished it and thought, it wasn’t too bad, and I could probably go faster next time.

 

Flash forward to the next Tuesday, Jan. 19.

8 miles, with 7 x 1200meters at 10k pace again. I upped it to 1200 instead of 1000 because I didn’t want to do .65 on a treadmill, figured this was easier to manage.

I pulled out some of tricks to gear up for this-cute pink hat, tank top, water bottle full of Watermelon Nuun, and my good compression socks.

The first one was pretty good, and I kept cranking them through. By the 5th one though, I was getting tired. By the 6th I covered the screen to help, and the 7th was all I had mentally. Physically, I think my legs could have done a bit more, but I was happy with my splits. I didn’t keep track of time, but tried to lower my pace throughout the 7.

 

1&2@ 6:35 pace (9.1mph)

3&4@ 6:31 pace (9.2)

5&6@ 6:27 pace (9.3)

7 @ 6:22 (9.4)

It occurred to me while running that the treadmill isn’t sooo bad, especially since I was trying to keep a pace rather than a time.

After the run, I did an easy mile cool down and did a few sets of core work and calf raises.

 

I was proud of myself. For someone who doesn’t even know how far along the track a 1000 meters is, I was proud that I am getting out of slow, long distance mindset and into something new. I am becoming faster and not to sound too cocky, but realizing that maybe I am pretty fast at this sport. Or at least, getting within the “fast” level.

 

Tomorrow’s workout is more my kind of thing, 9 steady miles. I’m hoping to run this outside, but depends on the work schedule how late I will be out.

Guess, we’ll see tomorrow.

 

 

Beginnings of a 3:15 Marathon Plan

I said it. The main goal; the A time. I guess the cat is out of the bag.  Some people go around preaching that goals should be written everywhere-mirror, car window, tattooed on your arm-wherever you will see it and be reminded what you’re working for. Then there are others who believe goals should be more private so that you are the only one accountable. If you tell the whole world you plan on winning the Olympics people will be expecting some proof, and doubting or praising you all along the way.

When you tell people your goal does it make it seem more real? For me, yes. In my mind, I think a 3:15 marathon or faster is a legit goal, yet hard enough for me to train for and actually perform, both for mental and physical reasons.

When I tell people that I am running a fast marathon it gives me the confidence I need to keep training, and on the other hand, it gives me one more person to prove it to. In the end does that really matter? No, but you need the kick the butt sometimes too.

So, it is out there for anyone to see. A 3:15 (or faster) marathon.

Training started two weeks ago, and though I told myself I was ready to get going and get after this, I still struggled. I did not do any of my cross training workouts, and my both my speed workout and long run was altered (and not in a good way) during the first week.

Instead of the 43-45ish miles I was shooting for, it was really 40. Instead of a long run I should have done on the roads or trails I did on the treadmill and could only do 10 before my shorts started bothering me and my brain was going to explode. I have found out that my max on a treadmill is 10 miles. I’ll take it.

Last week wasn’t much better…

I feel like I have great runs during the week, then the weekend comes and it/I fall apart.

I was shooting for a 15 mile run on Sunday. Sunday, the day it was going to be negative whatever in the morning and then I was going to go to Church and work at the running store until 5 p.m.

As the week approached the weekend, it never crossed my mind to say, “Jess, it is going to be 40 degrees Saturday, why don’t you change and do that 15 on Saturday?”

Why didn’t this occur to me? Because I was so focused on not thinking about the 15 miler, and not wanting to change from the easy 5 miles I had planned for Saturday that I was sabotaging myself anyway.

So, last minute, I jumped into running clothes on Saturday and attempted 15. Thanks to blisters the size of quarters that I received from wearing new shoes without socks the day before, my 15 miles turned into 12 since my shoe had turned from the color white to red and the blood was making my feet slide around.

No socks? Yeah, stupid decision number one that week, then thinking running 15 on fresh, bloody wounds was bad decision number two.

 

As I pouted to my mom about my inability to focus and get a decent long run in, she reminded me how I used to be about my runs. The weekend long run was IT, the main event. I ate right, went to bed early and had everything ready to go. What happened from then to now? Do I think I do not need to prep for a run? Do I think that I am too good to be nervous for a 15 miler? Or am really that nervous to start really training for this marathon?

I think it is a mixture of all.

Another factor is that since I am training for this marathon, my runs are done by time and pace, rather than just heading out to the Dunes shooting for a number of miles. I do not have my regular running group, and instead am by myself or on the treadmill.

It’s another form of the sport: marathon vs ultra trail running.

I made my choice. This Spring is going to be a marathon, and I need to accept that things are going to change to get me there.

My pace will change, and my times will be faster but it is still ME running out there.

Let’s get after this the Jessica way.

More updates will come throughout the weeks on training!

Running in 2016

My goals for 2016 have been on my mind a lot in the past few weeks. Mostly because I have dealt with another small injury, a bad race, and now getting back into it. I was named an ambassador to a company and just got new cordless headphones to wear while zone out on the treadmill.

Needless to say: I am ready to run in 2016.

The first thing I have to touch on, and which I touched briefly upon in my last post, is what I learned about running and myself in 2015.

I feel like the majority of the year, I took it easy and ran comfortably without stressing my ankle. I had good shoes, Altra brand, am at the skinniest I have ever been, and lifted and did yoga like it was my job!

I ran and won two races, recovered well after them and continued to run throughout the fall. Then, my overbearing, you’re not doing enough mindset came back. I ran faster than I ever ran during road workouts. I ran the treadmill more than outside (maybe not more, but alot!), and began lacking on my stretching, foam rolling. I became lazy in my running form, and paying attention to what is the most important issue in my body.

Thus, I ran on ice and upset my ankle. I badly bruised the foot and continued to run on it. I attempted to run on the badly bruised foot, freezing cold and without proper food and water for a 50k. I’ll save the details but the race for me barely lasted over 15 miles.

Taking all this into account, I don’t really regret anything because I think i have finally accepted, or am still accepting as I go into the new year, that for me to be successful in running and in any athletic endeavor, I need to tune into MY OWN BODY. I need to fun me, and not compare myself or try to copy anyone else’s running plans.

If Paul (NWI runner) runs two/three ridges, and I know only one is enough for me then fine! If I read that a local NWI runner peaks at 100 miles a week, that doesn’t mean I need to do that too. Even though, the sound of that and self-confidence that would bring me would be amazing, I know that my ankle may not have the ability to sustain that long term. One year? Maybe. But 10 years down the road? Probably not.

So, looking forward to 2016, this is what I have in store.

With the help of my bf, who does Ironman races, we have designed a plan to incorporate those 100 mile weeks, but with biking and swimming. As a former swimmer (or swammer as my sister calls me) swimming will be mainly done as recovery. Biking will be added to long runs on the weekends to get in another 20 or so miles. I will also add in a few fast shorter bike rides during the week to get in more cross training if my legs are sore from running.

What I had to keep stressing to him, just to make myself understand and not freak out, is that I am still a runner. My running will still be the main part of workouts, but reaching 60/70 miles a week may be the max.

In addition to the endurance work outs, I will work on speed and interval training and incorporate 2/3 strength training sessions a week.

Starting the year off was my first ever brick workout. A brick is a triathlon term in case you didn’t know, because I ad no idea.

After 6 hours sitting at work, I came home and changed for my bf and my 2016 challenge: 1 mile swim straight, 20 miles cycle and 6 miles run.

The swim went by pretty quickly and easily-my main goal was just to get as far ahead of Ken as I could because I knew he would come back on the bike and kick my butt. After the swim I rushed into clothes, braided my hair into a very wet hairdo and hopped on a stationary bike usually used by the “older” people of the club. (We dont have great stationary bikes at the health club). Within a mile I realized I forgot my water bottle, I didn’t put my socks on because I didn’t want to waste the time and my hair was leaking out so much water onto my back I felt like I was back in the pool. Within 1.5 miles of my get ahead of Ken plan, he came out and hopped on (and within 6 miles he was passed me). The first 10 miles were painful. Just sore and tired legs after lifting the previous day  were bad enough, but mentally, I was struggling. I thought, “how in the world am I going to get through 20 miles? I can barely do 9?!”

I didn’t talk much to Ken during the bike, but every so often I looked over and he smiled at me, which helped a lot. I just tried to keep it in 90-100 cadence, or however you call it.

Ken finished about 2 miles ahead, but stayed pedaling until I caught up. Getting off, I was tired but ready for the next one: run fast(ish) 6 miles.

We nabbed the good treadmills, warmed up at an 8:15/00 min pace for the first mile then just flew. I did the second mile at 7:40, placed the towell over my screen when I hit 3 and did the next 3 miles at 7:30. By the end of that, it was all I could do from not peeking and keeping moving. My legs didn’t hurt, but were just fatiguing. I finally allowed myself to lift the towel and I almost cried with relief. I was at mile 5! I dropped the treadmill speed to a 7:40 pace for about .25 of  a mile, but the need to be done, and Ken sprinting to meet my distance (he had to back down for a mile, because he pulled something) pushed me back to the 7:30 pace.

We finished the run in 46 mins I believe, the bike took about 1 hr and 5 mins, and I am not sure on the run.

The best part of the workout? It was something new, something that pushed me and when I looked over with .25 of a mile left Ken smiled and high-fived me as we sped off toward the end. I think I can do more of these workouts, was one of the first things out of my mouth.

Afterwards, we stretched and rolled a little-or rather flopped on the ground. Then went back to my parents house and they ordered a pizza and I made everyone a small salad, and I proceeded to eat a salad bigger than my head like always.

I am happy I did the workout, especially since I struggled mentally with the bike portion. I look forward to more workouts like that as I train for the marathon in April!

A look at 2015

Yes, the typical “year in review” kind of post, because why not?

Looking over the year, I feel like I am seeing the choices I made as either difficult, cannot decide what to do with my life, versus some that were made with no thinking at all. Does that make sense?

Let me start off that I am not good, and hate making decisions. I am a pro/con, “mom, help me” kind of person. It is not a good quality to have (or not have) but it is something that 2015 has helped me improve upon.

For example, this May I graduated from college with two degrees and no plans forward except working at the local running store in NWI. I looked at teaching, grad school for English, grad school for Library Science-that last one I went pretty far in my thinking. I enrolled in the school, I bought an apartment for next year and told everyone my plans, well explained to everyone what exactly a person does in and with a degree of library science. I made it so far, thinking this is what I wanted to do, I mean classes on books, research etc, that was all me right? But, when it came down living two more years at IU, paying a lot more money and again, not having a job when I graduated, I began to dread the decision I was making. It was the week of graduation I frantically got out of my lease, frantically got ready for graduating from undergraduate school and frantically moved home.

So, all in all: Jessica fails in decision making 1.

At home, I had about two/three months before I saw the ad for the editor position at Michigan City. I applied, mostly as something to do, something to show that, “yeah, I am a journalism major, maybe I should work in journalism” and my mom kept asking me. But when I interviewed, and got the call that I got the job (not the same one, but still a job) I was thrilled, excited and knew that I had a plan now. Saying yes was a no brainer.

Jessica does better in decision making 2.

That was all work stuff. When it comes to finding my bf, I think my decision making was on point for once. I saw him, we talked, and we haven’t been a part since. And, that area is as good as done, if you want all the details.

Jessica overcomes decision making 3.

Now, running. Running, running, running. The thing I love, and the thing that will kill me. Jk, maybe. I spent the year overcoming surgery, overdoing it and injuring something else, lazily training in the summer, winning two races in the summer, pushing myself more than I have ever trained in this sport this fall and quitting my last race of the year within the middle of it.

Yeah, it was a treat.

But, what running has taught me this year, is that I need to train for ME. I have issues and weaknesses that others running 100/week don’t. I have a job that may force me to run in the morning or night on the treadmill, and thats ok. This is all going to be another blog post about running in 2016, but I just wanted to add in how running has transformed me this year and last. I was smart in not pushing myself toward another injury in the summer or at the race a few weeks ago. But, I also was stupid in even going to that race!

So, for running my decision making is still getting tweaked and worked on, but is slowly getting better. If I had to pick though: Jessica levels out in decision making.

This year was a whirlwind of new things and choices that will set my future life. I made the career choice of being a writer. I made the relationship choice of being with my bf for the rest of my life.

I began attending Church, and allowing myself to learn and experience a new way of doing and believing things. I began swimming more and doing more yoga, and making it a part of my future athletic goals. I have decided to stick to more plant-based foods, while still being open to trying new foods. And, most of all I learned that everything falls into place. Everything will come together, whether it is suddenly or takes years, whether it is something I have to stay awake about and write a pro/con list about or know instantly what my choice is.

2015 was a big year. Now onto 2016: bigger and better.