9 Mile Magic

The last three weeks I've been doing 9 mile long runs on the weekend with the goal of eventually getting back to 10 mile runs at an 8:30 pace.  I've only been running one or two days a week but it's been going well.  In fact, I think I've been running better in the last few weeks than I ever remember.  After my last post, I think running is suddenly trying to sweet talk me back into training for a running race.

Well, I'm listening.  It's hard to ignore my last 3 runs.  Three weeks ago, I ran 9 miles @ 8:35 pace; two weeks ago I ran 9 miles @8:17 pace; today I ran 9 miles @8:12 pace and just for fun, I ran mile 8 at 7:36.

I don't know where these paces are coming from.  Two weeks ago, I swore my Garmin was broken for the first 2 miles.  Today's run went really well.  The 7:36 mile was hard, but give me a break!  I ran a 7:36 after 7 miles at an 8:12 pace!  I'm stoked!  And for the record, I don't use words like "stoked".

My plan is to run 9 again next weekend and then go up to 10.  I should probably start running more than one day a week, but I'm trying my own version of "Run Less, Run Faster."  I seem to be running better on super-low mileage so why ruin a good thing?

I think I see a 1/2 marathon in my near future.



I have a confession to make.  This may come as a surprise, but after the last few months and the last week in particular, I feel like I need to get this off my chest.  Please don't judge me.

I don't love to run.

Don't get me wrong, I like running well enough but for me, running is more of an activity that I know I should do as opposed to one that I really want to do.  I've had individual runs that I loved and I always love finishing a run but I don't necessarily love to run for the sake of running.  And I have definitely had runs that I hated, that I suffered through, that made me miserable for hours after they were over.  So I'm pretty convinced that even though I don't love to run, running doesn't really love me anyway.  We more or less tolerate each other.

Since a 5k is the only thing I'm signed up for right now, I'm not really training as intensely as I usually do.  I run when the weather is nice.  I spin at least once a week.  But I'm not obligated to maintain any real training plan since it's only a 5k. 

The upside to my non-training training plan is I have been doing whatever I want.  On Thursday Kelly and I went to Emerald City for Ladies' Night.  Every time I go back to the climbing gym after an extended break, I am reminded how much I love climbing.  And I do love climbing.  I've never had a bad day climbing or finished a climb in a bad mood.  Climbing has never given me the runs.  Running, on the other hand... well I'll spare you the details but I've had more than my share of bad runs, I've had runs that made me want to throw away my running shoes, and if there is one thing that goes along with 20+ mile long runs, it's an afternoon spent in the bathroom.

Then on Friday, I tagged along with Kelly and her beau up to a local skiing hill (mountain is being too generous) and tried my legs at snowboarding for the first time.  I had a blast!  I had more fun between Thursday and Friday than I've had in the  last 3 months.  Sure my butt is a little sore from falling and I may have bruised my palm but snowboarding has also never given me the runs.

It's not like I'm going to stop running.  I do appreciate the stress relief and the time to clear my head.  Sometimes I do just want to run.  I like to run, I just don't love it.


I still got something in the tank

I won't say that I've been training for anything or even running a lot.  But I've been trying to do kinda-sorta speed work or at least run fast when I can.  The good news is that I still have a little something left in the tank.

Last week I was short on the time so I went out for a fast 3 miler with the goal of sub-8 min miles.  I managed it in 23:22.  That last mile hurt, but I knew I only had a mile left.  Since the next race I'm signed up for is a 5k, I wanted a pre-training benchmark.  7:47 min averages made me feel pretty good.

I'm trying to work back up to 10 mile long runs on the weekend as well.  Except I'm trying to work up to 10 miles at an 8:30 pace like Kelly and I were running 2 years ago before my last 1/2 marathon PR.  This Sunday I did 9 miles and my goal was sub-9 min.  It was a perfect day, so I managed 8:35 average pace.  It was actually a little slower than that because at 7 miles, I picked up the pace and ran a mile in 7:54 before my cool-down.

Man, was I excited that I can still run at a respectable pace.  I start a 5k training plan next week so I'm trying to get back into a training mindset.  Speed work, spinning, etc.  Even better, I felt great today.  My hamstrings are tight, but I'm not sore and I didn't feel fatigued after the run.  Maybe I'm finally getting back to normal.



First, I am going to throw out two things:
1) This is in no way directed at anyone personally.  I am not trying to call anyone out.  Please do not take anything I write personally.  I am merely stating my opinion on the issue of punctuality.
2) I apologize in advance to anyone who takes this personally.

I've thought about writing this post for a long time but I have never wanted to offend anyone.  Oh well.  One of my biggest pet peeves is people who are late for group runs.  I don't care if you show up 30 min late to happy hour.  I don't care if you don't make it to our Tiki Party until 11 pm.  I do, however, become extremely annoyed when I end up standing outside in the cold for 30 min waiting for a group run to start because people are running late.

For me, when people show up late (especially to something like a group run where there may be several people waiting) I think one of two things:
  1. Whatever it is, whether a meeting, conference, or running event, is not important enough to the late party for them to ensure they are on time.
  2. The late person values his/her time more than the time of everyone else they are potentially delaying.
Yes, that's right.  When someone is late to a pre-set meeting, I take it personally.  Would you be late to an interview?  Of course not.  What is the difference for group events with a definitive start time?

I'll admit, this is probably because my mom habitually forgot me at band practice in middle school.  I was always the last kid picked up and on more than one occassion I was forgotten completely and had to call collect while the band instructor waited so I wasn't alone.  As a result, I am a very punctual person.  Nothing says "I care" like being 15 minutes early.  And if I am even 5 min late, there is guarenteed to be a reason.  One reason Kelly and I work so well as running buddies - we're always on time.

Now, before you start thinking "Wow!  She is a complete tight-ass!" I do make exceptions.  I cut slack to anyone with kids.  I also know my close friends and some of them tend to run late so I expect it.  I'll admit, I *sometimes* adjust meeting times based on who I'm meeting and when I actually want to start.  For a while we had "Shelly-standard time" for my friend Shelley (who has kids anyway) since she used to ran late.  But in Sheley's defense, she hasn't been late to anything in a long time and she has NEVER been late to a run. 

But I don't cut people slack when it comes to group events.  It's unfair (and rude) to expect the collective to wait on one person.  I know life gets out of control and things come up.  If you're running more than 5 min late, give someone a call.  That is just common courtesy.  If you're running 15 min late or more, the polite thing would be to call someone and tell them you'll catch up.  If you don't know anyone to call, then I suggest being on time.  When a run says 6:30, that means you should be there, shoes on and ready to run at 6:30.  There's a reason for the Christmas Lights run I said to meet at 6:15 and we'd leave at 6:30 (and we still waited until 6:45.  See, I'm not a total tight-ass).

So... well I hope I don't sound like a total bitch.  But during the week when I'm working late, the last thing I want is to waste another 30 min. when I could be running.  So please, PLEASE try to be on time to the next group run you attend.  And if you don't see me at any group runs until it's warmer out, you'll know why.


Baby Steps

The new year is here and in my corner of the world, 2011 quietly slipped out the door and 2012 slid in without much fanfare.  Maybe it's a sign that I'm getting old, but I enjoyed a quiet New Year's Eve and I'm only slightly embarrassed (but not much) that we were in bed before 11.

I made it through New Year's Eve and the celebration of two new births in our neighborhood without a beer.  I think the hard part is over for my 45-Day Beer Free Challenge.  From here until my birthday, it should be smooth sailing.  Salads and veggies were easy.  Actually, my diet has been my only saving grace lately.  Working out 5 days a week?  Not so much.  Ah well, 2 outta 3 ain't bad, right?

But I think I'm finally moving in the right direction.  Baby steps.  I have gotten to the point I would like to find a race to sign up for this year.  The problem?  Nothing sounds fun or exciting.  I just don't really care.  I don't remember the last time I was on my bike.  After a mile or two of running I'm bored.  I don't want to wear my Garmin because I'll be depressed at how slow I am but if I don't wear it, then I have no idea how long or fast I'm running and that seems pointless.  I can't seem to shake this funk.

Enough with the pity party already.  This is stupid and I clearly need to do something so I signed up for a 5k in March.  Baby steps.  It's just a small local race that cost me $22.70 with internet processing fees.  I found an 8 week training plan which I'll start at the end of the month.  I figured 1) It's a 5k so I can "train" without the huge commitment of longer distance races 2) It's cheap and local so there are no additional costs to travel 3) I don't have a real 5k PR anyway 4) Our spring vacation is the week after and we're going to Belize, so even if I'm not excited about a 5k I am excited about a Caribbean vacation, bikini and all.

I emailed my running buddy Kelly and noticed that I was using a lot of quotations: "long run" "speedwork" "base building" "run".  All of these things are relative and when you're pretty much starting from scratch, it's a little humbling at what is considered "long".  I think 2010 Sam would kick my ass if she knew the kind of shape I'm in now.  But I shouldn't be running from Ghosts of Races Past.  That's a race I know I won't win.