Tag Archives: speedwork

Shoe Switcheroo and Speedwork Surprises

Oh alliteration, I will never get sick of you.

Hey people! Happy Friday!

Jumping onto the blog for a quick update on running things, plus a couple of recent kitten pictures since I’ve been getting requests (and I’m a shameless mama who wants her baby fawned over by the internet 🙂 )

Unrelated photo of Lady Rainier from this past weekend in all her glory.

Unrelated photo of Lady Rainier from this past weekend in all her glory.

Shoes

I’ve recently been cheating on my Brooks Pure Connects. And it wasn’t me, it was them.

Oh dear, sweet, beautiful baby blues...I wanted so hard to love you.

Oh dear, sweet, beautiful baby blues…I wanted so hard to love you.

You see, when I first slipped into the first version of the Connects, it was like sunshine had broken through a metaphorical shoe cloud, and I was finally seeing the light. They were perfect for my foot, and I went through more pairs of them than my paycheck was happy with. Then came the Pure Connect 2s, which I figured, obviously, must be even better! I bought my first pair, and things seemed fine, except for a little nag that started in my right foot. At first, I thought it was just basic plantar faciitis that was coming from having a new shoe, but no matter how much I stretched and iced my foot (both go-to remedies for PF for me), the ache remained after most of my runs. It wasn’t anything serious, but it was annoying and although it took me a while to admit it…I had a feeling it was the shoes. Whenever I’d switch back to my older pairs, I had no issues at all, which only confirmed my suspicions that my beloved Pure Connects were no longer my ray of sunshine.

After a few months of refusing to admit the truth, I started looking elsewhere for a comparable replacement. I considered the Pure Drift, the more minimal in the line, but they were just too low. Good for short, speedy runs—not so much for long runs. And I’m a girl that likes my shoes to be able to do both. Basically, I needed all the qualities of the older Connects but without the new adjustments that were pulling on my arch.

So, I ventured outside of the Brooks family and started researching the popular Saucony Kinvaras. It sounded like they were pretty similar in terms of ride and drop to the Connects, and with so many rave reviews, I figured why not? I also found last year’s model on sale and I already had an REI gift card—making them a $20 purchase. Score. Okay Kinvara 3s, let’s try you out.

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Full disclosure: I did not love these on my first run. My feet didn’t feel very supported, and generally I just kind of felt— as Nicole puts it— like I was running in flip-flops. However, I didn’t want to write them off yet, so I stuck with ’em. It wasn’t until my 4th run that I realized that the shoes actually did feel good. It took my foot a little adjusting to not be hugged as tightly as the Connects do, but I think that once that hurdle was crossed, my stride and strike started to really like the Kinvaras. And so did I.

I definitely still feel like they’re not the best in terms of support, speaking even as a more “minimalist” runner, but they do offer what I was seeking all along—no arch pulling! I have a wide foot, and so I think by allowing my foot to spread out a bit more than that Connect 2s has made all the difference.

But, the Kinvaras haven’t (yet) gained long run or race approval. So, until I find “the shoe” that once again fulfills all my running desires, I’ll be alternating between my Connects and the Kinvaras. I raced in the Connects in Bellingham after having worn the Kinvaras for three-ish runs in a row and didn’t have any arch pain, so I think that this whole “shoe rotation” idea could be the ticket to happier feet.

This is now my life when I try to put on my shoes in the morning. Also, TEASER JASPER PIC.

This is now my life when I try to put on my shoes in the morning. Also, TEASER JASPER PIC.

I’m still hoping that the next version of the Pure Connects are closer to the originals, but for now I think Saucony can stick around to play.

Suggestions??

All it takes is one

One workout, that is. At least for me.

You see, one workout—whether good or bad—can make or break my confidence in terms of my running fitness. I’m certain I’m not alone in this, and it’s definitely something that’s both bad and good in different respects. However, I’ve found that the good workouts tend to outshine the bad ones, so I’m taking this trait of “it only takes one” as more good than bad.

Moving on.

Wednesday’s workout was a good one, a really good one. And it’s kind of helping me go back to the drawing board for both my short term and long term running goals—in a good way.

Due to some scheduling conflicts on Wednesday, I begrudgingly had to do my run in the afternoon, and we all know how I much prefer those early miles. My stomach is always wonky when I run in the afternoon too, which gravely thwarts my desire to do PM speedwork.

Nevertheless, Wednesday afternoon I had an unusual sense of enthusiasm and motivation to have a good, fast run—so I planned out a little tempo. I hadn’t done a real workout since Bellingham, so I was feeling anxious to reacquaint with my Garmin and my turnover.

Unrelated photo #2 from Bellingham. Not too horrible somehow.

Unrelated photo #2 from Bellingham. Not too horrible, somehow.

CONFESSION: I have a very, very bad habit of doing all speedwork on the…wait for it…treadmill. I know! It’s not good. And as a 90%-of-the-time outdoor runner, I’m embarrassed by this little handicap. There’s a few justifiable excuses for it…but more than anything: speedwork scares me, and it scares me less on the treadmill. That’s really all there is to it, and it’s a habit I’ve consciously decided to try and break.

And Wednesday would be the start of that scary adventure. On the docket: 1 mile warm up, 6 miles between 7:25-7:30, 1 mile cool down. I thought it would be manageable but still a quality run. I had high hopes, which helped fuel my fire to work hard. Furthermore, the results were both surprising and encouraging:

speedFirst of all: I clearly suck at following workout directions. This turned into a tempo+progression+fast finish apparantly.

Second: What the what? How did that happen?

I was definitely working for those last miles; they were not in the realm of “comfortably hard” like a tempo is supposed to be. But I went for it anyway, and I can’t say that I’ve seen speeds like that during a training run, well, ever. The most encouraging part was how comfortable those first 4 harder miles felt. It felt like I was working, but not with the same discomfort that those paces brought not too long ago. I’m not really sure if it was the perfect weather, the motivated attitude I started off with, or simply that it was a good day—but this was one of the most encouraging runs I’ve had in a long time.

First time running 8 under an hour too!

First time running 8 under an hour too!

I think the biggest difference I’m learning when it comes to speedwork, which I certainly tried to apply during this run, was to let it be okay to be uncomfortable. Not that I should relish the discomfort—but I shouldn’t hide away when it shows up. I tried really hard to keep this in mind, and I found that there was a sense of strength in hurting a little that I haven’t recognized before. It goes right along with all the cliches—what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, yada yada—but, there’s a lot of truth in it. What seems to work for me is staying in the mile and remembering that it’s outside of our comfort zones that the real progress occurs.

After runs like this, that scary 3:35 half goal suddenly feels a little closer than it did before. And yes, all after one little 8 mile run. But sometimes, all it takes is one.

That said, I’m realizing that if I want more of these speed-highs and if I want actual progress, I’m going to need to up the ante in my workouts. Setting the bar high shouldn’t just be reserved for race days, and I’m definitely going to try to break away from the comforts of my watchless, easy, go-to runs and seek out a little more hurt.

Jasper

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15 weeks, still as cute as can be. I go back and forth between thinking he’s the most wonderful, precious thing in the world and wanting to lock him in a closet. Little dude is so fun, but still a playful kitten, and he can turn into a rabid tiger at times—particularly right before bedtime and often at 3 am. Yes, he sleeps in our bed. And I refuse to lock him out. Good baby practice? Although I doubt little babies eat your ponytail whenever they get the chance. I’m certain though that he’ll outgrow his constant playful energy, especially when he has his special male kitty procedure in a few weeks 🙂

But really, how can you resist this face?

Just hanging out in the underwear drawer.

Just hanging out in the underwear drawer.

"My bed, not yours."

“My bed, not yours.”

His state of existence when not sprinting all around the house.

His state of existence when not sprinting all around the house.

"Pick me to scrub in Bailey!"

“Pick me to scrub in, Bailey!”

The calm before the storms... And fave Oiselle sweatshirt btw, coming soon in this color!

The calm before the storms… And absolute fave Oiselle sweatshirt , coming soon in this color!

Okay, okay…I’m done. For now. In case you couldn’t tell, all I do anymore is take cat pictures.

So, basically you get three blog posts in one. I wish I had time to separate them all out, but hopefully you can accept my random smorgasbord of posts.

Which shoes do you wear? Do you rotate shoes?

Best workout you’ve had recently?

Who wants to babysit my demon sweet kitten for the night ;)?

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So about that half-marathon goal…

Remember that big, scary goal I wrote about a while back? The one I was over-the-moon ecstatic and horrified to starting working toward?

Right. Well, in case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t done a lot of talking about how the steps toward that goal are going. This is partially because I haven’t had any time. Between working, running, relaying, traveling, and the life in between, my blog-updating time is limited and I’ve had to focus on the current happenings rather than the far-out goals.

So here’s an update on the 1:35:xx half-marathon goal I’m pining for before the end of this year:

I’m not feeling great about it.

It’s not that I don’t want it, and it’s not that I don’t think there’s potential in it. But the commitment and enthusiasm I felt when I initially began this scary endeavor hasn’t really been there recently, and frankly…I’m not surprised.

I don’t think I gave the magnitude of two ultra relays in the same month the credit I should have from the onset. They both required a lot of slow and long miles to prepare for, a week of taper beforehand, and a week of recovery afterward. I suppose I felt like the relays would simply “fit into” my training for my goal half. Instead, it became the other way around; I was trying to fit half-marathon training into preparation and participation in two ultra relays. And let me just tell you…the training regimens for each don’t necessarily fit together.

It’s the same reason why it’s really hard to focus a lot of attention on speed work during the peak weeks of marathon training. You can try and bust out a few tempo miles, but ultimately it’s the mileage count that reigns supreme, and we must abide by the desires of our already fatigued legs.

With that said, after a weekend of running over 35 miles in 24 hours, my legs were not going to be okay with 800 repeats, or goal paces, or anything other than a humble jog for that matter. And that happened to me twice.

Ultimately, I was more concerned with recovering adequately from the relays than checking off every half-marathon specific work out. And IMHO, this was definitely the right way to go. Sure, long term I probably care more about increasing my speed and my half-marathon PR than I do about relays. However, I definitely care more about running injury free above anything else—so it was in the end a matter of maintaining health.

The other part of this whole training-not-training deal (the part I’m more embarrassed to admit) is that the paces are ridiculously intimidating. It feels like I’ve just become mostly-comfortable with the idea of a 7:30 half-marathon pace (my old PR), and all of a sudden I’m supposed to be working on a 7:15. Those numbers, “7-1-5,” have kind of been haunting me, and it’s become obvious that I need to not only up my mental game, but I need to practice this pace to the point where it’s a little less daunting.

With that said, I have been practicing! What’s funny is that I “wrote” this post (in my head, on an easy run) on Monday , and then yesterdays run kind of changed my perspective on the whole “lack of confidence” theme. Which subsequently changed the ending of this post…as you’ll see below.

For me, tempo workouts at goal pace are my favorite way to gain some confidence about a goal race. Before Eugene, I practiced the feel of 8:00 miles so much that I guarantee I could have done them without a watch. So for Bellingham (the next half-marathon on the horizon), I’ve been playing with 7:15. Not a lot, but just enough to where my lungs and legs can start to know how it feels.

On Wednesday, however, it was time to step it up: I set out for 5 tempo miles, sandwiched between a warm-up and a cool down. The goal of those miles was to simulate a race plan (start slower, finish faster) and mimic the pace I would ideally hold for a 1:35:xx finish. I was nervous, I was unsure, but it had to be done:

Here are the results:

8:20 (w/o)

7:19

7:19

7:13

7:13

7:07

8:20 (c/d)

I’m not calling it a game changer, but that one workout gave my self-doubt-filled brain a jolt of inspiration. Maybe, it turns out, this goal isn’t too far-fetched. It might take a little more time and more races than just Bellingham (9/29), but I’m starting to feel a little more like that giddy, speed-hungry girl from a few months ago.

And yes, it really only took one workout. I can’t explain it, but yesterday—those paces that have felt way too fast and way beyond my capabilities felt a little more like mine. Instead of thinking those paces belonged to more experienced, faster runners that weren’t me—I felt like maybe I’m a little more entitled to them than I previously thought.

The goal now is going to be to really embrace that “ownership,” and I know I might need to be patient. From the onset, I had it in my head that Bellingham was going to the *the* race to make that 1:35:xx happen. There’s still a chance, but instead of putting all my eggs in that basket, I’m going to work more toward really getting stronger and more comfortable at those paces than just gutting them out for one race. The ultimate goal is to improve my speed overall, that’s what my goal was for this fall, and while a half-marathon PR is a good tangible step during that process, it’s not the end-all finish line.

The reason I’m not running a fall marathon this year is two-fold: one, I’ve run a marathon during the past four racing seasons, and I want to stave off burnout while resting my legs for a (potential) Boston Marathon run next spring. The second part, however, is to focus less on mileage and focus more on speed. So far, that hasn’t necessarily been the case considering the distance I had to put in for the ultra relays. And that’s fine! I had such a fun time at those relays, and I feel so fortunate I was able to participate in them.

However, it’s time to get back to work. Kind of like school starting again, it’s time to get a little more regimented if I want to get serious about improving my speed. It was hard to say no to a fall marathon this year, even though I knew it would ultimately keep me healthier and keep me moving toward my goal of getting faster.

That said, I don’t want to waste this opportunity. I’m a big believer that our comfort zones are meant to be broken, and our limits are supposed to be tested, and it’s time to practice what I preach.

Fall is here folks, and it’s time for this birdie to put on some big girl wings.

Tempo Love and A Happy Birthday

Happy 5th of July! (Betcha that one’s not overused yet…)

I hope everyone had a great holiday yesterday filled with sun, friends, fireworks, and food. BF and I had a grand time, and I even manged to make it a double run day on top of all our shenanigans. After being out late last night and somehow making it into the gym this morning, it’s an Uncle Sam miracle that I’m sitting upright. But that’s the point of the summer, right? I can sleep when it’s rainy and dark in 3 months.

The double run was a huge confidence boost. The miles felt strong, my legs felt loose, and things were just clicking. I’ve been switching both shoes and paces when I do a double run—which seems to be helping. Slowing down the second one is clutch, and I actually really enjoy the variety.

Yesterday, though, is not the workout I want to talk about. I suppose it’s my lucky week or something, because I’ve managed to have multiple encouraging runs. Most weeks, I’m lucky if there’s one. So let’s look back at Wednesday, since that was really the pot-of-gold run of this week for me.

As I stated in my check-in post, I’m trying to do speed at least once a week nowadays, which hopefully will pick up after Ragnar. For now, once is manageable and I try to be very specific about that singular workout. This week I wanted to tempo some half-marathon pace miles, using my current PR pace. My current PR is 15 seconds slower per mile than my goal for Bellingham Bay, but it’s a good starting point.

After a 1 mile warm up, I picked it up to an even 7:30 pace, and after just a little over a mile of this, I knew I could/should push it a little more. So I hung around 7:25, and it felt…completely manageable. I was a little shocked, but more so really happy. It felt like a race pace, but it also felt like one I could hold without a lot of pain.

7:30, 7:24, 7:24, 7:25, 7:25, 7:19

That last mile cooked me a little bit, but I was too high on speedwork euphoria to notice. This was the workout I’d been waiting for. I’ve been needing to feel like my goal race for this year isn’t too much of a stretch, and although the paces above are still slower than I’ll need to average, it feels like a good start. I couldn’t have done this workout a month ago without a lot of pain and fatigue, and the fact that it almost felt easy on Wednesday makes me excited to keep pushing those paces lower.

….

In other news, I want to wish a very, very happy birthday to my main man!

image (2)

Welcome to the 25 club babe, glad I’m not the only old-timer anymore 🙂 xoxo

Have a great weekend everyone!

“What’s Next?”

That’s the question I can’t quite get out of my head lately. Since finishing Eugene, I’ve had a hard time coming up with exactly where I want to focus my goal-setting energy. There have been lots of potential ideas out there, but none of which have really stuck. The only thing I do know for sure is that I’m someone who needs a goal, even if it’s in the distant future. And right now, considering I’m goal-less, I’m going a little stir crazy.

And the relays don’t count…those are really just for fun/I’ll be happy if I simply survive.

There are lots of factors to consider, some of which are out of my control, but here’s my attempt at conveying the big, jumbled picture. Be warned, it’s somewhat all over the place and almost doesn’t even make sense to me.

Since even before I ran Eugene, I was not planning on running a fall marathon. Assuming I got into Boston, I wanted a break for a little while from the 26.2 distance and to save my legs for Marathon Monday in 2014. Had I not qualified, obviously this would have been a whole different story 🙂

There was one exception to this plan though: if I got into the NYC Marathon.

I entered the lottery, just like everyone else, and honestly didn’t expect to get in. That didn’t stop me on Wednesday though (the day of the marathon drawing) from refreshing my bank transactions and NYRR status way too many times. Spoiler: I didn’t get in. As expected.

But what surprised me was just how bummed out I was about it. It made me think that if my one fall marathon prospect gave me such high hopes, maybe I want to/should do a fall race after all?

Who knows.  I do really like the idea of a fall marathon. I absolutely love fall races (way, way, WAY more than spring), and undoubtedly I will be seething with jealousy if I don’t get in on the action.

However, this desire is not at the expense of Boston. I really do like the notion of bottling that 26.2 energy and focus up until next April…and if I was guaranteed an entry, this decision would be a no-brainer.

But that’s the thing. I’m not guaranteed an entry. And with every article and headline that comes out about 2014 being the “Biggest Boston Ever!” I get more and more skeptical of the likelihood of getting in. That would suck, frankly, but it’s a fact that everyone who qualified will have to face. Except probably Shalane…homegirl doesn’t need to worry,

Essentially, then, I don’t want to sacrifice a fall marathon and then not be accepted into Boston. We don’t find out about Boston until the end of September, leaving little to no room to “salvage” a fall/winter marathon.

Then there’s the other options: the ones that completely eliminate any thoughts of a fall marathon in favor of other sports.

There was a point in time when I declared 2013 “the year of the triathlon,” and in case you were curious on how that plan is going…it isn’t.

But! There is that option. Which both excites me and further confuses me. It would be a huge change in gears and a complete overhaul in the training I’m used to. And while I absolutely love the idea of competing in triathlons, I’m not quite sure if I’m up for it right now. Maybe that’s just fear of the unknown talking (or laziness) but something just doesn’t feel quite right about it yet.

So that leaves me with the next choice (the third choice? I lost count): getting away from distance and working on speed.

This is the decision I find myself leaning toward, as I feel like it’s something that I’ve wanted for a while but haven’t really had the chance to really take on.

I constantly feel like there’s an untapped reservoir of improvement that I have yet to really dig into. At the risk of sounding like a total d-bag, I’ve relied a lot on natural ability ever since I started running and racing. Yes, I put in work, but more often than not, I shy away from anything that sounds too “hard.” Essentially, I stay in a comfort zone. And while it seems silly to call the still relatively high number of miles I run a “comfort zone,” it is what I’ve been used to over the past few years.

I really hope that last paragraph didn’t sound too jerky, because that’s not at all what I intended. In fact, my intention was to state that in a lot of ways, I don’t try as hard as I think I could be. And I’m becoming more and more anxious to get over my fears of the unknown and bust a gut for a little while.

I recently realized that I’ve either been training for a marathon or injured for the past three years. Neither of which is very conducive to really working on speed. And it’s kind of funny, since sprinting and speedwork were the only types of running I did when I ran track so many years ago.

The times when I have done a little speed work here and there within marathon training—I actually loved it. There’s something so rewarding about a hard interval workout that feels so different from a long, single-speed run, and despite my self-proclaimed love for the long run…I think I’m ready to shake it up.

…..

I suppose my little narration about the confusion that is my running brain actually turned into a little bit more clarity than I expected. Isn’t writing nice that way? 🙂 Essentially, I think what I’ll do is a combination of all ideas, in smaller proportions. There are some races out there that I’ve all but pulled the trigger on, and I think once I do that, the rest of the specifics will fall into place.

Eugene Marathon Training Week #8

M: Rest

T: 10 mile,s easy

W: 7 miles w/ 6 x 800 in ~3:30s + Maximum Sculpt

T: Spin

F: 7 miles @ hmgp (7:30/mile) + Maximum Sculpt

S: 17 miles

S: 7.5 miles easy

Total= 48.5 miles

Mini step-back week last week. If you consider 17 miles a step-back, which I hardly do. But, it was nice to have a long run ahead of me without a “2” in the front of it.

The two most notable workouts for me were Wednesday and Friday. I decided that I really enjoy 800s as speedwork. They’re long enough to do the work, and short enough to not make me want to cry. The 6 that I did were all at about an 8.5-8.6 mph pace, and I felt great. In control, strong, and probably could have a few more. Afterward, my legs were the perfect amount of tired, and I think I’ll probably try to get in an 8×800 before taper starts.

I was feeling all kinds of happy after Friday’s workout as well. I was a little bit anxious about 7 straight miles at hmgp at O-500 on a Friday morning, but I was reminded—again— that I should try and trust myself a little bit more. The miles actually felt easy, which was pretty darn encouraging. I followed the effort up with my favorite lifting class at my gym, which together yielded more sweat than I knew how to handle.

The class instructor started posting the workouts on her FB page before class, so here’s a look at how Friday’s went (which is a good carbon-copy of how most of my Maximum Sculpt classes look):

photo

It’s a lot like BodyPump. I really, really love this class, and I’m certain it’s helped with a lot of imbalances/weaknesses I have as a runner. I’m not really a class person, but when it comes  to strength and lifting, I’d much rather have an expert instruct me.

Saturday’s long run was fine. Not great, not horrible, just fine. I didn’t wear a watch with the intention of it being an easier effort, but I think this may have had the opposite effect. It didn’t feel top-notch, which I think was due to it being a little too fast. Of course, it could have been to my negligence for ideal fueling/hydrating/etc., but from now on I think I’ll wear the watch on my long runs even for the purposes of staying slow.

But, truth be told, I actually wanted to get a less-than-stellar long run out of my system. I’ve been having a really successful jaunt of long runs recently, which was making me nervous that I wasn’t saving my good mojo for race day. It’s silly, really. But getting in a harder long run actually makes me feel more in-balance with the long-run juju…or something like that.

We all have our running quirks.

A few more snapshots from this weekend. In case you hadn’t heard, Seattle was all dressed up in her springtime finest:

image

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First roller-blade + taco-truck date of the season. Friday afternoon splendor.

The Easter bunny knew their recipient very well. Football-shaped eggs, yep.

The bunny loves you BF, you’re welcome. Football-shaped eggs, yep.

Easter yesterday was perfect. Run with BF, brunch, Ballard locks to see some boats, reading outside, cooked a ham, Breaking Bad, and lots of chocolate. It couldn’t have gone better, really.

Happy Monday!

How was your Easter? Weekend? Long Run?

The Hardest Workout I’ve Ever Done and a Race Weekend

Something crazy is happening, I’m posting three times in one week! This would have been a little light for old-school “I’m a new blogger and need to establish content!” RBR, but for this currently lackluster, unmotivated, very busy person who’s taken over, three times is a big win.

I still love running. I still love writing about running, I still love blogs and bloggers. I just want to live my off-internet life a little more right now.

Which brings me to the topics of today’s post—both of which (excuse my horrid play on words here) are both very topical.

Topic number 1: Today’s workout.

I’ve gotten away a bit from posting the details about all my runs and workouts because…hey-o, that’s boring. The weekly recaps work much nicer for that. However, some workouts jolt your system to the point that you can’t help but gab about it to other running kin.

On the schedule: 10 miles with 5 x 1000 meters @ 5k pace

I have been scared of this workout ever since I wrote it on my training schedule. You see, I decided to do something stupid late last year and get a new 5k PR, which consequentially lowered my “5k pace” approximately 15 seconds. (I know, I know…I am happy with my 5k time and I’m just being a brat right now). I normally correlate 5k effort with a 7-minute mile for my current fitness. I can handle that. I can wrap my brain around that. But a 6:47 pace? That shit cray.

I have just recently become accustomed to being comfortable in the 7s. I’ve had to be very deliberate in not letting a 7:xx on the clock scare me back into my 8:xx comfort zone. It’s mostly been working—which is good. However, it does not, in any way, further prepare me to face anything with a 6 in front of it.

To this day, I’m still a little shocked by my 5k time. I’m proud of it, but I’m honestly unsure as to if I could do it again. BUT, it is what it is…so when a workout calls for 5k pace, that’s what I’ll stick with.

Back to business. I decided to do this run on the treadmill (cue ominous, threatening music) simply because it was going to be a hell of a lot simpler to watch my splits/time on a self-regulated machine than on my own outdoor route and shoddy Garmin stalking. It wasn’t the treadmill that scared me though…it was the distance. I have never, ever, ever, ever run this far on a treadmill, mainly because I love being outside, but also because the thing that goes hand-in-hand with treadmills (other than boredom) is HEAT. Gyms aren’t ventilated like a 45 degree breeze keeping you cool throughout the run. No, a treadmill run is an unforgiving, unwavering torture mechanism in which your temperature just keeps going up and up along with the distance ticking slowly upward on the dial.

But, convenience won, and off I went on my speedwork endeavor. And by “off I went” what I mean to say is…I very unhappily got out of bed, blindly put on clothing, somehow drove to the gym, and just managed to fully wake up after the first warm-up mile. It wasn’t a pretty morning, folks.

As for the workout? Well, I kind of hated how right I was to be afraid of it. Because this sucker kicked me right in the pants and left me sweaty and beet-red crying on the ground next to the treadmill. <—find the exaggerated part of that sentence.

Here’s how it went. I did a .38 mile recovery between each 1000 meter interval, making each interval an exact mile:

3 mile warm up in 8:20s: Happiness! Easy! Bring on the sprinting!

1st 1000 meter @ 8.9 mph: Um, yea. Okay then. 4 more of those?

2nd 1000 meter @ 8.9 mphHey! Still super hard! How the effing f did I do a 5k this fast?

3rd 1000 meter @ 8.9 mphHATE. HATE. Have I ever quit a workout? Okay, I’ll just step off for a few seconds..

(I’m not proud of that one…it was only maybe 5 seconds, but still…not cool Broker)

4th 1000 meter @ 8.7 mphIf you’re going to jump off, you can lower the speed a little bit. It needs to be do-able. Okay…this is a little better. Still hate life.

5th 1000 meter @ 8.7 mphThis is it…the end. You can finish the workout or you can stew all day about not getting it done. HOW IS THIS ONLY .1 miles through???

2 mile cool down in 8:30sThis run is “never ever ever ever” going to end. I love Taylor Swift.

All said and done, I’m glad I finished the prescribed workout.

I’m not, however, happy with

a) briefly stepping off the treadmill while I was supposed to be interval-ing

b) turning down the speed for the last two 1000s

I realize that using a PR 5k pace may have been overambitious—maybe I was in better speed shape back then? But it still stung a little to feel so wiped by that pace. However, this was a VO2 max workout, which translates into 90% of max effort…which I definitely feel I was at.

It also could have been the longer distance that was spread throughout the run, the fact that this is my 4th day of running in a row, or the fact that I was in a very hot gym. Or it was an off day. Or the Girl Scout cookies have stolen my 5k pace. Yea, that’s it…let’s blame the samoas!

At any rate, this workout was no joke, and it really changed up the medium-long runs and recovery runs that I’ve been so merrily skipping between during the weekdays.

I really do like speedwork, and as difficult as it is, between the wheezing and the “Oh please do not puke” thoughts, I always tell myself that there is progress being made. I try and remember to embrace the discomfort and that it’s only temporary. You know, just to reflect on what every single sports quote of all time tells us.

Topic number 2: This weekend.

Surprise! I’m racing this weekend. Well, not racing-racing, but I will be doing a tune-up race of sorts at the St. Paddy’s Day Run Half-Marathon in Tacoma. Is “racing-racing” the runner’s equivalent of “like-like” instead of just “like” in middle school?

It works out rather perfectly. I’m supposed to run 20 miles for my long run that day, with 12 of those miles at marathon goal pace. Meaning, I will plan to run the half at the exact pace I’m hoping to run in Eugene. Bonus! I get to wake up hours before the race to run 7 additional miles. That part won’t be awesome, and running MGP for 13 miles afterward won’t be especially awesome either, but it’s going to be a great test to see where I am. I feel like I’ve gotten pretty lucky in the last two halfs I’ve run, so I hope that luck hasn’t quite run out. I mostly care about running a very even-tempo’ed pace the entire time. I’m going to be very happy with even 7:55 splits and a quality race “practice.”

This will be the first time I use a race as a part of a long run, which isn’t exactly ideal, but I like to think I’m killing two birds with one stone. The race environment in general is good practice—IMHO—and I plan on using it as a reference point.

Plus, I have a bad running taste in my mouth from Tacoma, so I’m hoping I can redeem myself a little bit.

Best part? BF’s running the half too! Post-race St. Paddy’s beers for all! Not like that wasn’t going to happen anyway…

So there you have it. A very long-winded post detailing how I almost threw up on the treadmill and how I’m running a St. Patrick’s Day race this weekend. I’m such an original running blogger, sometimes I amaze myself.

Happy Thursday!

Tangent Tuesday

Hello!

While this is a running blog, and the majority of what I blubber on about is primarily about running, there are other miscellaneous things in my life that I like to share. The problem is they never really fit in anywhere—which is why I’m bringing you Tanget Tuesday: A random collection of the tid-bits going on in my life.

We now have a pet.

Here’s lookin’ at you, fish.

Meet Gregory. Now, he may just look like an ordinary $3.00 beta, and in many ways he is—but the way BF and I act around this guy, you would think he was a million dollar fish who spoke and pooped out money.

We LOVE Gregory. Unfortunately we can’t get a dog or a cat right now, which is a big bummer because we’re both crazy animal people (see paragraph above). So, essentially we’re channelling all our pet-fawning energy onto Greg the fish.

 

I met a celebrity.

Some of you may not recognize this handsome man—but let me tell you, any 7th Heaven fan would dream of this situation. He’s George Stultz, and he played Kevin Kinkirk who was married to Lucy(Beverly Mitchell). He was at my mom’s Film Festival this past weekend, and I tried as hard as I could to act cool while still getting a picture with him. Spoiler alert for anyone who ever attempts this with famous people: it DOESN’T work. He saw right through it.

 

BF and I are going on a real vacation.

I am so stupid excited about this I can barely contain myself. When I hit “purchase” and our tickets were officially booked, I yelped a lot and immediately started Google imagining photos of Maui. The trip isn’t until March, but I love having something to look forward to. We’ve never gone on a vacation together just for the sake of going on a vacation, so this will be a treat. Now to get bikini that isn’t 5 years old. And abs.

PS: My flight was only $15 less than the flight I booked for Thanksgiving in California. Non-peak season rates FTW.

 

I ran this morning, and it sucked.

This photo is a LIE. I was not smiling at all this morning. And in fact, it’s legitimately a lie because this photo was from a different run. But it’s relevant because I am sweaty in it and I was sweaty this morning. Booyah.

Yes— this tangent is about running, but it’s a tangent that admits that not all running is a happy dance. I went out with the intention of running at least 5 miles with a sub-8:00 pace and to knock out some hills afterward.

In the end, I think I had maybe 3 sub-8:00 miles, and they felt like sub-7:00 miles. Oh, and they were mostly DOWNHILL. I only did one of the two massive hills I had planned on and called it a day a mile short of what I was aiming for.

Frankly, I felt like crap, and no matter how much I willed my legs to turn faster—they just didn’t want to. Which obviously is discouraging, because a 7:50ish pace has been getting easier and easier for me recently. But, the reality is—not every run is awesome, and in fact it’s the shitty ones that make the awesome ones even better. Djd I mention how pumped I am to continue these types of runs during the Robyn Gets Faster Fest of 2012? Bleh.

No pain no gain though…I’m realizing this whole “speed” thing is going to take some time.

That’s all for now! Perhaps I’ll pop in more often for tangent posts—personally I think they’re always sometimes  more fun to read than the picture-less humdrum I tend to post (ahem, yesterday’s post).

Happy Tuesday!

Now, tell me something random about you and YOUR life!