Daily Run: Meh

January 24, 2009 at 3:37 pm | Posted in Daily Run | 4 Comments

Time of Day: 7:25 AM

Weather: Gusts of 20-30 mph brought the wind chill to 28*. Yesterday’s high: 80*

Duration: 2 hours 4 minutes 53 seconds

Distance: 16 miles

Average Pace: 7:48/mile

Average Heart Rate: I didn’t wear my HR monitor. I’ll probably just wear it for speed workouts now.

Notes: It’s a dreary day here in Central Texas, a stark contrast to the gorgeous, sunny, summer-like Friday. A cold front with a harsh wind just in time for the weekend, and just in time for my long run.

I don’t feel like I had a particularly good run today. It wasn’t bad, but I ran quite slowly. Maybe it was the weather, maybe the hills, or maybe I’m just comparing it to last weekend’s fantastic 15-miler, but I felt lacking in energy today. My legs felt fine, my knee held up well, but I felt lethargic.

Last night I went to bed ridiculously early for a Friday night and woke up before my alarm. Despite my full night’s sleep, I think my body is tired. It’s likely that my two speed workouts and cross-training on the reject elliptical tired me out for my long run.

But like I said, not a bad run. Sometimes that’s all we can ask for, right? I got my 16 miles done in a strong wind and a hilly course.

By the way, Snickers Marathon Energy bar is still my pre-long run bar of choice. I tried a Gu gel for the first time today in Chocolate Outrage. Yummy, for a gel, but I’ll have to try another Gu before I can determine if they work for me or not. My refuel method: No Sugar-Added Carnation Instant Breakfast in Chocolate, mixed with soymilk and canned pumpkin to make a Chocolate Pumpkin Smoothie. Delicious. Thanks for the idea, Lacey!

And yes, my pre, during, and post run fuel all contained chocolate.


Daily Run: Tempo? Still No, but a New Personal Record

January 22, 2009 at 1:16 pm | Posted in Daily Run | 7 Comments

Time of Day: 5:50 AM

Weather: 41* Gloves came off!  Sleeves rolled up!

Duration: 1 hour 8 minutes 19 seconds

Distance: 9.25 miles total with 2 x 15 minutes tempo, 5 minute jog between

Average Pace: 7:23/mile overall; 6:34/mile for first tempo section; 6:40/mile for second tempo section

Average Heart Rate: 164 bpm overall; 176 bpm for first tempo section; 177 bpm for second tempo section

Notes: Well, I’m a little closer to finding my 7:10 per mile marathon tempo pace; a whole 8 seconds per mile closer, in fact. My new tempo motto: ‘Tis better to be too fast than too slow. Yes, you can quote me. Matt, I want to be at the top of your next blog post.

I enjoyed the warmer weather this morning. Granted, 41* is a far cry from the 80* high for today (God bless unseasonably warm weather). Granted, tomorrow morning I’ll be on the elliptical for the warmest morning of the week (how does that keep happening!?). However, I’m lucky. I know many people are suffering through cold weather right now. I feel for you, I just don’t want to be you. 🙂

I am also enjoying the ever-so-slowly increasing light in the mornings. The long road where I do my speedwork is highly elevated and gorgeous. On my right, I see the city lights and a pink horizon; on my left, a lake. This may be why I’ve managed to complete three whole weeks of speedwork. I do believe that’s my Post-College Speedwork-Adherence Personal Record.

What am I not enjoying? Being tired at work. But it’s worth it.

Daily Run and Strength Training: Slowness and Vanity Achieved

January 21, 2009 at 3:09 pm | Posted in Daily Run, Strength Training | 8 Comments

Strength Training – Tuesday Evening, Jan. 20th

Time of Day: 6:40 PM

Weather: Climate-controlled

Duration: About 35 minutes

Notes: My hair appointment took longer than planned (my stylist is good, but she is slowww), and I definitely did not want to go lift weights afterwards.  But…I didn’t want to have to go today either, and I was in the neighborhood anyway, so I went. I was not rewarded by a nice, empty gym. Quite the opposite, in fact: I didn’t do use the lateral pulldown machine like usual because a man was on it literally the entire time I was there. Lifting a little, resting, lifting a little, being lazy and in the way, etc. Some people have no gym etiquette.

But I got it done and had a good workout in a relatively short amount of time.  Here’s what I did:

2 x 15 reps of the following:

  • Lat row
  • Chest press
  • Vertical butterfly

1 x 15 reps of the following:

  • Biceps curls on stability ball
  • Tricep dips
  • Lateral shoulder raises with a dumbbell
  • Dumbbell shoulder press on stability ball

Core exercises (all of these in Ultimate Abs):

  • Back extensions, 25 reps
  • Birddogs, 1 set of 24 reps each side
  • I did planks and side planks in the morning before running, so I didn’t do these at the gym last night.


In lieu of the lat pulldown, I put my feet on a stability ball and did push-ups until I had to stop at 31 reps. Then I took a short break and did 10 more. I wore my heartrate monitor as an experiment. Conclusion: lifting weights doesn’t get it up very high, except when doing push-ups, but does raise it a fair amount.

Then I finally went home to my DVRed coverage of the Inauguration. I envisioned myself sharing the story with my grandchildren: that long ago, Grandma made a veggie burger while watching the inauguration of the first African-American President, and ironed her work clothes while listening to him speak, but was touched and inspired despite the mediocrity of her food and chores. Maybe my grandchildren and I will be watching the inauguration of the first female, homosexual, Muslim President while I tell them the story, and they’ll think, “Wow, we’ve seen Presidents of all races and walks of life; Grandma must be really old if she remembers the inauguration of the very first black President. And yet, she doesn’t look a day over 25.” And then maybe they’ll ask, “Grandma, what’s ironing?”, because hopefully we’ll have invented a much better method of getting creases out of clothing by then.*

Daily Run

Time of Day: 5:50 AM

Weather: The high today will be in the 70s, but it was 27* for my run. Thanks, Mother Nature.

Duration: 48 minutes

Distance: 6.12 miles

Average Pace: 7:51/mile

Average Heart Rate: 151 bpm

Notes: I needed a slow, easy run this morning. Thankfully, that’s exactly what was on the schedule. I don’t have much to say about this run: it was cold and dark, but I was grateful for a chance to run slowly and therapeutically. Also, my ART appointment went well today. I’m sure my doctor thinks I’m a hypochondriac by now.

I hope the recovery run refreshed my legs. Tomorrow’s tempo run looks much more intimidating than last week’s.

*Bonus Jess Fact of the Week: Ironing is my most lacking domestic skill. 

Daily Run: Hitting Those Times

January 20, 2009 at 2:06 pm | Posted in Daily Run | 12 Comments

Time of Day: 5:50 AM

Weather: 45* and breezy

Interval Workout: Warm up, 2 x (800m, 600, 400, 200) with 1 minute jog between intervals and 5 minutes jog between sets, Cooldown

Total Duration: 1 hour 0 minutes 36 seconds

Total Distance: 8 miles

Average Heart Rate: 162 bpm

Notes: This workout marks week 3 of the Great Return to Speedwork, and I finally hit all my goal times. This is exciting because I was very intimidated by this workout because at 5K-10K pace, it’s faster than I’ve had to go in awhile. Also, I’m still having some leg pain (ART appointment tomorrow).

It appears, however, that I had nothing to worry about. Yes, the speed intervals were uncomfortable. Yes, they made me cough up a lung. But no, the leg wasn’t bad and I racked up some nice data:

First set
800m (goal 3:00-3:07): 3:01
600m (goal 2:22-2:30): 2:17
400m (goal 1:30-1:34): 1:31
200m (goal 0:45-0:47): 0:46

Second set
800m (goal 3:00-3:07): 3:03
600m (goal 2:22-2:30): 2:16
400m (goal 1:30-1:34): 1:29
200m (goal 0:45-0:47): 0:45

The 600 meter intervals were the hardest. I was decently fresh for the 800 meter intervals, but had to do the 600s just one minute after completion. For me, the best part of a speed workout is the cooldown. I’m tired and slow, but I know all the hard work is behind me and I can jog to my heart’s content.

I feel compelled to go to the gym this evening and lift weights, since I didn’t get to go yesterday. However, I also have a hair appointment, so it may or may not happen. I’m vain about my hair, but I’m also vain about my muscles, so I’ll try to make it an evening of vanity and squeeze in both.

Daily Run: 20.2 Miles Less

January 19, 2009 at 9:20 am | Posted in Daily Run, Racing | 1 Comment

This post is for YESTERDAY’S run

Time of Day: 8:15 AM

Weather: Perfect!

Duration: 46 minutes 4 seconds

Distance: 6 miles

Average Pace: 7:40/mile

Average Heart Rate: 151 bpm

Notes: No blogging yesterday–I ran and then MSB and I left to go watch his dad race a car. During my run, however, I stumbled upon another kind of race: the Chevron Houston Marathon. I ran by the aid station at about mile 10 and was humbled by the fact that so many people did 20.2 miles more than I did on Sunday. The course record was broken in both the men’s and women’s race, so I guess the gorgeous weather made for a great marathon day.  

My gym is closed for MLK Day (Happy MLK Day, everyone! Unfortunately, my workplace is open), so I did not lift weights this morning. I got less than four hours of sleep on Saturday night, so I think the extra sleep last night was more beneficial than strength training anyway. My body badly needs this day off. The back of my knee, which was getting better last week, is hurting again. I  blame the 15-miler, but I think I can roll out this slight injury and be good to go. If I stopped running every time something hurt, I wouldn’t run at all, right?

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