Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Little Pacer that Could

 I think I can..

Sometimes a 20% chance is all you need to make something work.
Tired of feeling tired, I decided this was the best thing for me. I tried to look at the bigger picture, and I seriously thought about what the universe was trying to tell me through all the running articles directed at the importance of a long, slow run. 

I really had to forget about my pace this time.

This ringing in my ears since Hurricane Sandy, my increasing heart rate, eating improperly - things just seem like they're going downhill. Where is all that energy I had just a few months ago? And that weight that I lost? (Well, I have Breyer's and my lack of will power to thank for that) Could all this be partially because I'm trying to run faster than I was built for? 

If I think back to when I started running, the first thing I remember wanting to find out is if running would lower my resting heart rate. I think at the time, my RHR was between 76-84 BPM. All it took for me to hear it pounding in my ears was climbing a flight of stairs, or lifting weights with 15 second rest in between sets. I wanted to be healthier than that. I was also carrying around an extra 12 pounds for a year or two. I wanted to know if running would help me loose that weight. It turns out that running alone brought my heart rate down.  Eating less calories AND running, and then cycling as cross training- helped me loose those pounds.
So, here I am at the end of the year, having started running 9 months ago with a new set of issues. I'm so glad I stuck with my plan to slow down and go long to see if anything changes.

I went back to that lovely neighborhood with the Italian residents. I learned today that they don't like to get into a cold car. I counted about 9 cars that were running, without a driver, in driveways and on the streets. Cough, cough.  Early on in the run, I waved to a police car with two officers in the car. Surprised, I got an enthusiastic wave back from both of them. I said a silent prayer of thanks that they were patrolling the streets and protecting lone runners like myself.

Now, being only slightly embarrassed,  I will tell you that I went out with Runmeter on my iPhone, my Magellan watch, AND MapMyRun on my old HTC EVO.  One of the guys I work with is running with MMR, and we are sharing info. I felt a little obligated to give him something to look at and help encourage him. I turned it on, stuck it in my coat pocket and forgot about it. I played a bit more with Runmeter, and set up an activity to run for TIME, and even though I tried to ignore pace, I did tell it that I wanted to remain between 9:45 and 10:30 per mile. So, I had some feedback which kept me somewhat accountable.

I felt really, really good. I brought water with me, and I drank a few ounces every time I came back around to the car. At one point, I was so HUNGRY that I figured taking more water would take care of the hunger pains - and I was right. I slowed down to a walk for about 10 seconds that only time. At about mile 8.5 - 9, my left knee started bothering me laterally, and my plantar fascia was tightening up on my right foot. I tried super hard to vary my form, trying everything I learned over the last few months. At times, for a few yards, the pain would dissipate, but then return again. I saw that I had about 12-15 mins left out of my planned 2 hour run - but I didn't want to take a chance. Cardiovascularly, I could have gone on, which is different than my usual runs. My legs were getting heavy, and the pain I was experiencing was putting my head in a negative place. It was time to stop. 

Getting into the car I found that I was just as soaked through as if I had run a race. But, my breathing was steady and slow, I did not feel like I overdid anything. On the ride home, I fought that nagging feeling of 'coulda, woulda, shoulda'. Maybe I should have tightened the time on that activity. Really? 10:30? I could have come in much sooner, and maybe finished the 2 hours before the knee pain.(ha)  I tried to remember my previous long run times.  I told myself that everything is variable, and to let it go.  But then, I could not resist looking back at the numbers.

All this data was taken from MMR for consistency sake. These were all runs above 8 miles.

Yeah, so I'm slowing down. But I can run 10 miles!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Know Thyself

Using MiCoach again this morning, I was hoping I could self-regulate. I forgot to turn my music on, and it turned out to be a good thing, I think. With less to distract me, I tried harder to focus on how I was feeling at different points during my run this morning. Since the update of the Magellan, I haven't re-programmed my screens, so I was unable to see what my heart rate was during the run. It pissed me off a bit (why can't I remember to fix that?) but it could have worked in my favor as well.

I was happy to see that my green zone running is a little more accurate, but now I'm having issue with reaching and staying in yellow. I'm also needing to walk periodically for 10 seconds at a time after the halfway point.

It seems everything I'm reading lately reiterates the fact that I shouldn't be relying so much on my gadgets. That could be the reason why I'm having such a hard time understanding my perceived exertion, and what changes I should be making to return my breathing and heart rate back to a steady-state as I run.

I think I'm going to figure out how to get Runmeter to keep my pace between 9:30 and 10:00 and just go long this Saturday. 

OR, hey! This is a novel idea for me, -  maybe I should just run EASY for 2 hours, forget about my pacing... and see what values I end up with. (I give that a 20% chance of happening)

My resting heart rate has been high lately.  I'm thinking :
 1. I'm eating like shit again, too much fat and sugar
 2. I'm running too fast when I train.

I think I will do some more creative visualizing before bed tonight and tomorrow, seeing myself running very easy, and having abundant energy during the whole run.

You can be sure I'll let you know how it goes.

Magellan Data

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Easy does it..

Christmas morning I'm up before my daughter and her boyfriend. A cup of coffee, and I'm set to go. I fiddled more with Runmeter, fired up the Magellan and headed out, in my own neighborhood. It's so quiet. Empty. Solemn. 
I've got plans I'm sorting out in my head - how long do I have before they wake up? What am I making for breakfast? How much time do I need to finish the dish I'm bringing to my sister's at 2:30-3:00? Will the kids like their gifts?

Just run.

I felt tired. Great opportunity to take it easy. I took a different route, making sure to stay away from that steep incline/decline from a few days ago. I appreciated the new surroundings I ran on Sunday, and realized I really need to run more often in different places. This morning I mixed up my route locally, just going where my subconscious brain took me while I was thinking about other things. The weather was damp, but 38 degrees. Very agreeable. 

Three plus miles and a short cool down later, I walked back into the house. My daughter was up, getting ready to work out herself.

I uploaded the data, and here is what I saw.

Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays to all. 

Magellan Data
(inital date and time is incorrect because of a recently installed update)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Double your pleasure, double your data.

Even though I said I wasn't going to splurge for the iPhone5, I did. I am a sucker for technology.

In my excitement of playing with all that is my first iPhone, including Runmeter, I didn't do my homework with the program the way I should have. I had Runmeter only partially set up when I went out for my run this morning. I did go to the neighborhood that is now my new favorite place to run. What a pleasure. The roads were smoother, less camber, less traffic, and for every 2 - 3 blocks there was only ONE stop sign. The neighborhood west was primarily old world Italian - and everyone, either walking their dogs or couples out for a stroll had Italian accents. And they were SO friendly. Smiles all around. It was a great experience. There was a breeze coming from the west, so for a while it was a tad uncomfortable.  I did not use MiCoach today, and I have to say, it was a very relaxing run. 
I started my Magellan watch, and then Runmeter. Tracy's voice  told me to start, so off I went at an easy pace. The sun was behind me warming my back. Delightful.

Somewhere after 2.5 miles, I lost my music. After I managed to restart it, Runmeter stopped announcing my stats. I was bummed, but the stopwatch Runmeter displayed was easy to read and I was getting my info visually instead.

I was planning on a nine mile run today, that would have been my newly formed route, three times around. But I was feeling poorly as I was making my way back to the beginning of the loop. And I started growing more frustrated at not being able to hear any of my stats. After 3 miles, I got back into my car. I was having a bit of an arrhythmia, which I get every so often - so I decided to take a short break, reset the program and go back out again. The windows inside the car started to steam up a bit - I was putting out quite a bit of heat, no doubt. I hydrated, left my gloves in the car, and started out again.  I had started to cool down a bit while in the car, so now, I had gone back out into the cold being wet with a lowered body temp. I was getting chilled and thinking about calling it quits, but I really needed to get in some miles. I had hoped that after the first mile I would start warming up again, and that's exactly what happened. For a month or so, I have only been running 5ks, and I knew my endurance was suffering. I went around for another 4 miles, and called it a day.

So, I have 2 separate data sets - 15 minutes apart. A total of 7+ miles. I'm happy. My heart rate, although a little fast even now,  8 hours later, is beating regularly.  So it's all good. I'm looking forward to running Christmas morning after gift giving and before going to my sister's house. 

Magellan Data, 1st run   Runmeter 1st run

Magellan Data, 2nd run  Runmeter 2nd run

Friday, December 21, 2012

Do not go to the head of the class.

I've been so busy that I haven't had the time to post about my last run. I'm going to post something short and sweet, so that I can get it done and then just worry about blogging about a longer run I have planned SOMETIME this weekend. I have to work Saturday, and then I'm going to spend time with my daughter afterwards.  I doubt I'll even remember in another few days that I ran yesterday. I'm tired and ready for bed, so I'm foregoing the minutia and just posting the main shizzle now.

I got up extra early because I had to work an hour earlier, and I was fine with that. Less cars. I took a different route too, that had me running down a very steep hill, only to have to come back up to the elevation I started at. I apparently don't learn from previous lessons. Please refer to this post if so inclined.

It was a MiCoach run. (aren't they all, lately?)  Here is the graph. I overlaid the elevation data.

I walked UP the hill. Oh, it was steep. The view was different. But look how I stayed in the blue zone at the start! Booyah!
I decided for my long run I'm going to drive over to another residential area (the next town over) -  that is much more flat, and the roads are paved much better, and it appears to have less traffic. It's supposed to be cold and windy this weekend. We'll see what transpires. 

Over and out.

Magellan Data

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mind games.

I should think twice about complaining about the neighborhood I have to run in..

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Fishy Feet.

I hope I'm back to running 4 times a week at this point.  I'm feeling better and I don't have a race coming up, which tends to distract me. I think impending races make my training runs feel like 'all or nothing'. I'm finding I'm enjoying them less these past few weeks, and I'm not sure why. It could be because I'm using the MiCoach. Although I think it's a GREAT tool, (especially because I've found some new ways to manipulate the graphs which give me different ways to look at the information) I can't help but think that it dampens my mood a bit. I think I beat myself up too much psychologically as I'm listening to it tell me that I'm not maintaining the expected pace. Then I second guess myself because the pace intervals are so large within each of the zones that I really don't know how to gauge my exertion at any particular point in time. I'll have to see if I can fiddle with the settings some more. 

Meanwhile, Runmeter has just had an upgrade to 8.1.1 which now includes updated FB support. It looks really cool. I'm not yet ready, though, to upgrade to an iphone.

I'm also not ready to purchase a treadmill for myself, for a few reasons.

I was looking forward to my run this morning  and was happy to see that it was 48 degrees and it had stopped raining. Everything was still wet outside, but that didn't bother me. I dressed in only one long sleeve, high collared 1/4 shirt and my long pants. By the time I got down to the end of my driveway, I realized it was misting. A lot. Almost a drizzle. My sunglasses were already wet. I surprised myself by not turning around to get my rain jacket. It's just water. One of the things I like most about becoming a runner is that I recently realize that I'm tougher than any previous notions I had about myself.

But, being tough does not mean that all my runs are optimal. Today, my feet felt floppy. Like two fish flopping around on my sister's dock in Minnesota. No pain, no discomfort - just a lack of form. It felt like I was landing flat foot, from toes to heel, instead on my mid foot. I needed to land with a little more bent knee to provide a spring effect, and try to extend my leg out in back more. I knew that. I tried to do that. But it wasn't working. I was also aware that when I concentrate on my legs, my arms stop moving. Wtf is up with that?

I had to walk 4-5 times, I think, but I kept them to about 10 seconds a piece. It seems I was having a hard time with my heart rate going above 175 today. Usually, 180 is my upper limit. But a 10 second walk is all I needed to come back down to 170.

All in all, a good run. 85% according to MiCoach. The Magellan Switch UP remains a faithful servant. The best GPS watch ever.

Magellan Data

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Ho Ho, hee hee.

This was my first Ho Ho Ho Holiday 5k. It was held in Bethpage. I believe the loudspeaker guy said it was the 23rd? 24th? After a moment of semi-silence (not everyone of the 1200 participating was paying attention) in honor of the children and teachers we lost yesterday, the gun went off.

Broadway was narrowed considerably by cars lining BOTH sides of the street, even though the brochure stated NOT to park there. People were running on the sidewalk, and at one point a wave of people swept over to the right, I was lead over, and my right shoulder found itself slammed into some SUV's side view mirror.  "Ouch! F*&% n' A" -was all I said out loud to that! Sorry to any children that were running within earshot.

I can't believe I did not check out the route before the run. Where was my head? I don't think I like not knowing where I'm going. I probably could have calculated my energy expenditure better. As it was, I remember walking 2 times.. I think it could have been 3. That's what it looks like with MiCoach. They were all under 30 seconds, just enough to get my heart rate down. I was up in the 180's at the time, and not comfortable. At my age, that's WAY above where I should be, according to some of the info I've read.

The route took us into a residential loop. At one point, a woman was trying to back out of her driveway! Most runners passing and coming up to to the car were screaming at her. She and someone at the front door of the house were screaming something back.. I missed most of the drama because I was not going to slow down.

Otherwise, it felt like it went pretty fast. I did not PR, but I also did better than I thought I would since I was laid up with that neck issue for a good part of the previous week. I thought for sure I would come in just under 30 minutes. I tell ya.. I feel very competitive in a race! Did I mention that yet? I hope I don't kill myself during a race one day.  I guess since I don't feel too badly about slowing down or walking when I need to, there is less of a risk of that happening. :) I am happy too that I no longer get jitters before a race. I think the last time that happened was at Cow Harbor. Who knows?  I may get nervous again for my next 10k. 

This is my last race for the year. I started running in March. I've done 7 races in 10 months. I don't think that's too shabby. Although I've put on some weight after dropping a lot over the summer, I'm happy with my performance overall. 

Next year, a 5k here or there, 10k's will be my staple - I hope to complete a half by the end of fall '13.

Here are some poorly taken pictures for your perusal.

I love shepherds.

Really neat equipment.

I started out too fast again, and didn't slow down enough before the sprint home.

That's probably why I had to take walk breaks.

Have a great weekend!

Updated stats from Athlinks 12/22/12
26:53 8:39 avg pace
9/54 Age group 
124/620 overall women
363/1155 overall combined

Jack McCoy Photography: Finish-between 24min25sec-27min55sec  Finish_0375

Friday, December 14, 2012

I'm so sorry.

I pray for strength for the friends and families who were involved in today's tragedy in Newtown CT.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


I've been steadily feeling better. Decreased pain, increased range of motion in my neck and upper back. I've stopped taking ibuprofen. I was all set to get up and run early this morning.

But I could not open the kitchen door leading to the backyard.

I needed to go through my routine. Come downstairs, let the dog out, turn on the computer. Turn on the Keurig. Put dog food in the bowl. Fill the little plastic Keurig pod with coffee (I try not to buy the prepackaged pods anymore). Start the Keurig. Let the dog in. Add condiments to my coffee. Sit down at the computer, drink my coffee - head upstairs, get dressed to run - out the door 30 minutes after getting up.

But I couldn't open the kitchen door to let the dog out into the yard.

 I had to go put sneakers on, bring the dog around the house, open the gate, and let her in the yard that way.  Now my whole morning is off kilter. And of course, instead of continuing on with my regular routine, I spend an hour taking apart the door knob. It is very difficult to re-assemble said door knob when the door does not open. I had to tape the outside handle in place in order to screw in the handle on the inside. To facilitate that, I opened the window onto the deck so I could shorten the distance to the backyard. I must have looked ridiculous climbing in and out of the window with my PJ's on.

Now, the question was, do I run, continue to fiddle with the door knob, or run to Home Depot and buy another one? It took me another 30 minutes or so of fiddling, another 15 minutes to make the decision to run. Just do it, Celia. Forget the door. 

So, I ran. But my heart was not in it. All I kept thinking about was that freakin' door knob. "I'll have to look up 'door knob mechanism' when I get home." "Will I have time to run to Home Depot before my 10 am patient?" I decided I could probably do that if I ended the run early - I was having a hard time as it was staying in the green zone today. Forget about the yellow. You'll see the graph.

I got home, and the office texted me telling me to cancel my 11:00. I promptly called my 10:00 and asked if I could see her at 11:00. No problem! 
Off to Home Depot. Found the same door knob. Talked briefly with the aisle guy. He explained how it worked, and what he thought I should do. Got home, tried it - didn't work. I can't get a handyman down until the weekend. 

My HO HO is gonna be a HA HA - insufficient training because of, well, life getting in the way. I'm kind of relieved. I don't feel pressured for a PR this race. I'm giving myself a break. I'm just going to have fun. Maybe I'll even take some pictures this time!

Ok.. that's it. I've got to go back outside to bring the dog in.

32 degrees. Clear sky, no wind.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I've been suffering a bit from some neck pain as a result of a poor sleeping position on Thursday night. I originally acquired some kind of probable cervical vertebral injury (never diagnosed, this is my feeling only) about 6 years ago on a jet ski. Since then, at least once a year, my neck acts up.. I loose range of motion, some of my muscles spasm, and I develop either a torticollis or pain with all planes of motion. I had planned to do at least one long run this weekend, but on Saturday, just climbing stairs was god-awful. Sunday evening I started feeling a little better, but Monday morning, I did that arms-over-the-head stretch in bed, and felt something 'pop'. My head fell back on the pillow, and I had no strength to lift it up again. Fighting panic, I took many deep breaths until the pain subsided. I still had sensation and movement in both hands, so that calmed me down. I managed to shower, but could not blow dry my hair because any additional tug of the brush forcing me to stabilize my head was very uncomfortable. I took 400mg of ibuprofen and got my ass to work. My friend Trish taped my upper trap to inhibit it, and I started to feel human again. When I woke up this morning, I was suffering all over again, but this time, my left shoulder blade was numb! As I drank my morning coffee, and tried desperately to ignore the lack of sensation, I was actually thinking about running. It had just rained, I heard it on the skylights in the kitchen. It was 45 degrees. But I needed a reason to make me believe I was going to get over this. I've gone as long as 2 weeks with remnants of cervical dysfunction, but  every time it happens, I think this is the time it will do me in. This was my running day, and I had to at least try. 

Getting into my sports bra and tight base layer top was a struggle. The rain had stopped, but I decided I would need a light jacket to keep  me dry if it started again. I really don't remember putting on all my equipment, I think I could do it in my sleep now.
I jogged out the back door, around the house and to the driveway, and felt ok. I started out into the street. Every foot strike caused me to wince a bit, but I found I was feeling it less and less the further I went. I was following miCoach so my attention was attuned to the fact that the UK lady was telling me that I was out of the blue zone again, and to slow down.
It's a little disconcerting running in the streets and having to cross when you can't turn your head. I thought briefly about running backwards a few yards to see what the traffic behind me might be doing, but then I'd loose sight of the traffic in the other direction. It was a little tense and awkward, but I managed. Because I hadn't run in 4 or 5 days, I did have to stop about 5 times and walk - but that didn't bother me like it usually does. I was grateful I had just gotten out.
By the time I got home, my neck felt a little stiffer, if that was at all possible - but by the time I settled in front of the computer with my Shakeology recovery drink, I first noticed that I was able to drop my chin down to my chest farther. About 15 minutes later, as I was getting undressed, I was able to pull everything over my head with very little pain. Coincidence? Blood flow? Endorphins? I don't feel like I'm in the midst of a runner's high...

3 hours later, as I'm driving to one of my home care patients, I'm actually giddy. Happy and feeling GREAT! Watch me turn my head! See how I can push my long ass Mini Cooper driver's side door open without feeling a thing!?  Is THIS a runner's high? Hours later? Or am I just so happy I'm feeling good after 5 days of misery?

It doesn't matter. I took another Advil a few hours ago.  I still have 50% limited rotation to the left, but the pain is substantially less. I may get all stiff again tomorrow morning. But I think this is finally the beginning of the end. I want to run again on Thursday, and now I feel I can HO HO over to Bethpage on Saturday.

Today's miCoach.

Magellan Data

Some how the Magellan did not map the beginning of the run, but the data seems to be all there, regardless.

Over and out, but not down and out.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

But I NEED my fingers...

The morning was clear, with a light breeze. But at 7:00 am, it was 29 degrees. Should I even attempt to run? I knew once I was dressed, I was going out. So I shut out all the negative self talk and just started pulling running clothes out of drawers.  I wore 2 long sleeve layers, and a running jacket. I had my Lululemon ear band on, and also my neck warmer that I brought up over my head. Halfway down the street, I was just fine! The only issue I'm still having is with my fingers. One morning they will freeze and promptly fall off into my gloves.

Another miCoach morning. I had some sprints to try. Didn't make it into the red zone. They were only 45 second sprints, and it seems that I took too long to ramp up to attempt to get to where I should have been. That must be why the peaks are actually past the end time of the zones.

I had almost reached red by the fourth try. I was also supposed to be in the blue zone the whole time, and I did not succeed with that either. Maybe it was because it was below freezing? I don't know. I remember feeling comfortable except for my fingers. I'm writing this 2 days after the run, and I'm not remembering much of it.

I slept wrong on Thursday night, so I'm suffering with a severe wry neck - with limited rotation and neck flexion. I only just now took a muscle relaxer (I've had this before), and 2 hours later there has been little change. Between that and this tinnitus I've developed since after Hurricane Sandy and that head cold I had, I don't think I'll be in any shape to run again tomorrow, either.

Seems like a good weekend for a Sex and the City viewing marathon.

Magellan Data

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Me likey.

My first workout with miCoach after the Hot Chocolate Run did not feel easy. I had 5 minutes in the blue zone, 20 minutes green, and 5 in the again in the blue. I thought I was running too fast in the blue, but the UK lady was not letting me in on how I was doing. The coaching sounded different,  I wasn't receiving the information the same way I was with previous training. I thought perhaps I had fiddled with the settings, and screwed up some part of the audio coaching.

The outcome was that my phone didn't find a GPS signal before I started. So, no info. Damn. I was however, wearing my Magellan, and I was really surprised with my pace. I don't think I've ever achieved as fast a pace training before. 

This run was also after work. I couldn't get out this morning because of the rain. I usually run better in the morning.

I really have nothing else to say, except I'm so surprised at my results.

Magellan Data

P.S.  Magellan put my time at 26:13 at 3.1 miles. I beat my fastest 5k by 18 seconds today.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Not a fluke!

I ran my first Seaford Hot Chocolate 5k this morning. The temperature was 41 degrees, with a north-northeast wind, felt like gusts around 10 mph. We started running north, so running into the wind was sucky, and since we went in a circle, we finished the same way.

There were 780 runners. Most seemed to be over 30 years old. Some were running with bells, antlers, colors of red and green. I saw some elf and Santa hats. It was briefly amusing. There were some children running, but nothing like the Turkey Trot last week.

I felt somehow that last week's race finish time was a fluke, because I had lost control of my pace before the end of the first mile, and being caught up in a race, had a hard time gaining control again. I felt terribly unfit during most parts of it. Although I was thrilled with my time, I felt as if I had earned it as a mad woman, running without thought or consequence. I wanted to feel skilled and athletic.

This race was a different story. I had decided to forego MapMyRun. I used miCoach to verbally pace me through different stages of the race. I reasoned that even if I came in slower for this one, I would run a race knowing what it felt like to be in control - and that would be a valuable lesson. I was real happy to learn that I could create my own workouts with miCoach, so I made one for the race. It looked like this:

 My goal was still somewhere around 26 minutes, even though I wanted to finish around 25:00 or 24:00! (I'm hoping that will happen sometime in the spring of 2013)
You can see I've forced myself to start slower in the beginning, slow it down at the end before I try again to achieve a 7:30 pace at the last minute before the finish. It almost worked!

Here is what the actual run looked like:

Click to enlarge

The UK woman was telling me to slow down in the beginning, and I managed to stay in the upper limits of the blue zone only briefly. I was most comfortable in the green zone! She had shut up most of the way, except to tell me to stay out of the elusive yellow zone, and RED zone halfway through! I had a problem again slowing down toward the end. Had I slowed my pace to the middle of the blue zone, I probably could have ramped up to the yellow 8 minute pace for a full minute at the end. As it happened, I was only able to do that 10-15 seconds before the finish line, when I forced myself to look at the ground 10 feet in front of me, and concentrate on my hamstrings and gluts providing the power to cross me over the finish line. Everything else around me seemed to be a distraction. I did, however, hear my name and finish time called out over the PA system. That was a first!

So, I was 71% accurate, but if I had been 90% accurate, my finish time would have been slower. As it was, I walked for 20-30 seconds right before I eked out that burst at the end. It would have been another PR had I not. I was only 1 second slower than the OB Turkey Trot! But I did feel SO much better during this race, and I really prefer that. I did feel like a skilled athlete this time around. I'm working hard for it, and I appreciate what my body is returning to me. 

I also did something else different for this race. ( I know, you're not supposed to try anything new, but it seemed like the thing I needed). I read this article, Can a Shakeout Run improve race day performance? a few days ago, and decided to give it a try. I was up at 5:30am (my usual time, 7 days a week) and out the door by 7:00am (I was ready to go at 600am, but it was still dark). I felt no worse afterward for doing it. I took that as a good sign, and had a much more positive expectation for myself and the race as a result.

00:26:32, 8:33 pace - missed a PR by 2 seconds.
10/54 by Age, 251/780 overall

Magellan Data


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Not Unexpected..

My first venture into the dreaded 'yellow zone' today with miCoach from Adidas.  Well, I should say, first ATTEMPTED venture into the yellow zone. I never quite made it. After running 15 minutes trying to keep pace with what that UK woman was repeating to me over and over, I was SHOT! Let me tell you something, it's hard work trying to keep a certain pace over x amount of time! I felt as if I was participating in a race!  Basically, what this is all telling me is that I really need to calm the f*$% down. Sure, I need to train, but stop taking it all so seriously. It's not as if I'm earning a paycheck from it. 

Anyway, my next run is the Seaford Hot Chocolate 5k on Saturday.

Over and out. Really.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I was able to convince myself to step out the door at 7:00 am this morning, before the threat of rain/snow started. It was 41 degrees, and I think I'm getting the hang of this dressing-for-the-cold thing. I was comfortable. I had a sinus headache, so I cheated a little, and took an Advil Cold and Sinus about 30 minutes before I ran. I can swear that stuff is like high octane to me. So, with drugs in my system, including a cup of coffee, and my headache waning - out I went. I was doing my 24 minute miCoach run. 5 minutes in zone 'blue' , 14 minutes in zone 'green', followed by 5 minutes of zone 'blue' again.
 Here is a description:

These were determined by the assessment run I took the day after I ran the OB Turkey Trot, and also after imbibing on alcohol and sugar instead of real, live food. The blue is my 'easy' effort, where I build my aerobic base and recovery,  green is 'medium' which extends my endurance and where I burn the most calories, yellow 'hard' for cardiac strength, and red 'maximum' for power and speed, or, 'arrhythmia leading to cardiac death', as far as I'm concerned. 

Whereas the 40 minute run I did on Sunday totally did me in, to the point where I couldn't finish and only achieved 44% effort- I rallied today and achieved an 82% - I managed to really stay in the green zone for a longer period of time, with less straying back into the blue zone. I also did not walk today. Love that pseudoephedrine.

Training this way is supposed to build my recognition and subjective feel of my pace, and condition me to stay steady on that pace at any given time. I'm supposed to be able to have more control - (less apt to starting out too fast) and to anticipate managing my comfort level better. I sure hope it pans out.

I don't know how to link to my account publicly, so here is the graph for today.

You can see that I tend to periodically drift into zones I shouldn't be in. I'm hoping using this program will change that. The verbal coaching is exactly what I've been looking for. That dip at 2 minutes I think was the GPS dropping out, because I did not stop once. I also slowed down a few times to cross the street and turn, so those could be some of the dips in the green zone. (edit - yes, those were the points where I slowed to cross the street and head the opposite way, 3 times.)
I'm wondering if I should ask for the proprietary heart monitor and cadence pod from Santa, but I really should be saving for a treadmill.

My next 5k is coming up this Saturday already, so my last run until then will be Thursday, which will be 30 minutes. This run takes me into the 'yellow' zone for 5 minutes. Good lord.

Today's Run


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Try something new.

Because of the holiday, I admit it, I've been eating rather poorly. Too much carbs, too many sweets, to much alcohol, and too much sitting on my ass.  Friday I downloaded a mobile app call miCoach from Adidas. It uses the GPS in your phone to coach you based on your pace. If you pay for their proprietary heartrate monitor and cadence foot pod, you can get coaching based on those values.  Adidas says that is a more reliable method, but I'd rather wait and see how the 'free' coaching works.
I told the app I wanted to train for a half marathon. It sent me out on a 12 minute run, to calculate what my upper and lower pace limits are for 4 zones. This program trains me to subjectively cue myself into how fast I'm running and how I'm feeling during the run. The 12 minute assessment run started me out running at a level '4' from 1-10. Then, it progressed me from 5-9  over the remaining time. It was not easy. I ended up not being able to finish,  because I was running my 9 out of 10 pace like a 10. Or an 11. I was exhausted.  The program told me that my high end red zone pace (the highest zone) was a 6:30! WTF?  I can't ever imagine running that fast for any length of time. But, I'm trusting that experienced people have written this app and know what they are doing. I told the program I would run 4 times a week.

I missed the first 20 minute  run on Saturday, as my parents and daughter left, and I spent the day cleaning and doing laundry. Oh, and eating leftovers. That includes pie.

Today, Sunday, I was ready to try the 40 minute run. It had me run in my blue zone for 5 minutes,  my green zone for 30 minutes, and my blue zone again for 5 minutes. I did not finish this workout either. I dressed warm enough for 40 degree temperature with a brisk northeast wind - but I fatigued too easily. During my first blue zone trial, it told me I was going too fast, into the green zone. During the green zone, I had to be reminded to speed up, several times. I had to stop and walk at least 4 times. The coach told me I had slowed, and needed to pick up my pace. It was very helpful, and I was starting to get the feeling at least for the 'zones'. Ultimately,  I had to stop at 23 minutes. I barely made it halfway through. I'm chalking it up to eating very poorly all week. That's what I'm hoping, anyway.
I ran 44% of my training run, 2.54 miles.  It tells me I will get better over time. I'm keeping an open mind.
My next run is a 20 minute run again in blue and green zones, on Tuesday. But I hear we will be getting our first significant snow fall on Tuesday. I wish I had the money to buy that treadmill.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Oyster Bay Turkey Trot

I took part in the first Oyster Bay Turkey Trot, sponsored by Citius Athletics on Thanksgiving morning.  I had become a member of The Greater Long Island Runners Club sometime after Hurricane Sandy. The storm forced cancellations of the Bayville Turkey Trot, and the Long Beach 10k. Looking for another race to keep my motivation up in the ensuing colder weather,  I ended up finally perusing GLIRC's website and found the OB Turkey Trot as a replacement. My friend Trish also signed up, even though her last race was in June - and she really had not been running much since then. But she is a true athlete, and also a certified athletic trainer.

 The race seemed well organized, parking was limited for the amount of people there, the start was crazy slow, the course was fast and scenic. The first thing Trish noticed, as did I, was that there were a lot of younger people there. I'm 52, Trish is 31, but it looked like the majority of runners there were in their teens and 20's.  I thought I'd have a better chance of placing in my age group, if that was the case! I have not been running very long, it's my first year, and this would be my fifth race. I'm assuming that a race called a 'turkey trot' would be a family oriented fun run, and that the presence of young children and teenagers would be greater than any other type of race.  I also expected to see people running in turkey outfits, but that was not the case here.  Indeed, with regard to turkeys, I saw nary.

According to the Start2FinishCorp's website, there were 510 applicants, 491 actually ran. The starting line was nestled on a narrow, tree and house lined undulating side road that was about a few thousand yards back from the main entrance to the OB High School. The parking lot was on the left, the school was on the right. I expected the road to lead to another parking lot and field behind the school. I was surprised to see it turn into a residential area. There were no corrals, but Trish, knowing how she ran, knew she needed to be at the front of the pack. I meandered through the throngs of people, trying to figure out where I belonged. When the gun finally went off, we were sardine-like, and I ended up within various groups of runners - children bounding around without structure, women deep in conversation, others walking, and I found no way to get out from within.  This, however, afforded me the time to start my devices pretty much together, and I was FORCED to start out slow. I mean, it was SLOW.

After what seemed like the first quarter mile, I was out on the main road, which became fast because of a -2% grade. Unfortunately, there were still a lot of young kids even that far ahead, some criscrossing, and some just stopping and/or slowing randomly. I realized that I still have so much more to learn about the whole sport. What are my goals and expectations for each race I run? What will the climate of each race be, and does it support my plan?

I appreciated the clocks at mile 1 and 2. I can remember seeing only one water station. I dressed warmly, without gloves, but I wore a heavy, ear warmer head band. I had forgotten to leave my jacket in the car, and opted to take a chance and left it thrust through a chain link fence at the starting line. Hopefully, it would be there on my return. By the time I passed the water station, my hands, the coldest part of my body, were warm. Only at the beginning of mile 3 did I start to sweat a bit, but not uncomfortably so that it distracted me.

I was cardiovascularly challenged, and that was before the end of mile one. I was concerned.  I was forced to start out very slowly. Why was I already exhausted? My legs felt fine, but my shoulders were tight. I had to force my arms at my sides to release the tension. I felt as if people (including the kids, - but don't get me wrong, kids are people too) were passing me left and right. As I came up on the first clock, I realized why. I had just run my fastest mile. I saw the clock read 8:30 when I was close enough to see it. It was 8:40 by the time I had passed it. I must have subconsciously picked up the pace trying to make up for lost time on the start. Indeed, my magellan clocked my 2nd quarter mile a whole minute faster than the first quarter, and then 30 seconds faster a quarter mile later.  I did start out too fast again the first mile. 

I would suffer for that the entire rest of the race. My legs were willing, but I needed to utilize mind games the rest of the way, having to talk myself out of walking on several occasions. I watched people stopping left and right, some walking to the right to get out of the way, and children stopping dead in their tracks, one directly in front of me. I ran into him, felt badly, but did not stop. I instinctively put my hand on his shoulder as I ran into him, and I realized he was still on his feet. I didn't need to look back. 
I tried my best to slow my pace instead of walking. I did not feel successful. My chest was burning, my heart pounding - I was very uncomfortable. Some of the tight turns in the park diverted my attention for a small while. I was trying to take the straightest path through the turns, trying to shave some precious seconds off my time.
By the time I made the turn back onto the road that lead to the finish, I was flummoxed. How could I feel so shitty? I told myself it was okay to slow down to a crawl so I would not expire on the course! How embarrassing would that be to drop dead right before the finish line, and on Thanksgiving morning? But Trish had finished before me, and was waiting on the sidelines telling me to get my ass in gear, and I sprinted, as well as any 52 year old, cardiovascularly challenged person could, through the finish gate. That saved me an additional 5 seconds. Thank you, Trish. 

My coat was still there, I walked/jogged straight on to the starting line to retrieve it. Trish and her husband were back at the finish line, and she had water and a banana for me. We chatted a bit, and she headed home.  I stayed, needing to see if I placed. Out of 13 in my group I placed 2nd, out of 491, #155 overall. I was tired, dazed, yet very happy. I wanted to hang around for the awards ceremony, but I had my parents back at my house preparing for the big meal, and I felt compelled to get home.

Official time: 26:31  pace 8:33 A new PR!

Magellan Data
MMR Data

Finish Line Video

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wise words..

Here is a quote from one of the runner blogs I follow,Shut Up + Run :

On being grateful, everyday..

"Stop comparing yourself to others. This is the single most important thing to do if you want to feel better about your life. This is your day, your journey, your race, your family, your relationship, your job. Make it a point to be the best person you can be, and refuse to feel less than because someone else is stronger, richer, prettier, faster, smarter or more intelligent. If you feel envy, use it to your advantage. Being jealous of someone tells us what we might want more of in our lives. Figure it out, and go get it."

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

No Control.

Two days before the Oyster Bay Turkey Trot, my plan was to run two miles. The first mile slow, second mile fast. Yeah.. right.

 I set my Magellan to 1/4 mile recording, just to see how much my pace varies each mile. It was interesting to see that I started out at a 9:45 - but then I came up upon another woman running, and I tried not to watch her, because I didn't want to match my pace with hers. It ended up that she switched to the other side of the road, and I started to speed up to pass her, so I wouldn't be running along side of her and to avoid seeing her in my peripheral vision. Well, by the second half of the first mile my cadence picked up and I was running much faster than I wanted to. At the end of the first mile I had to walk, an indication to me I went too fast. I was running negative splits..which is good, -  but I'd like to know that I'm doing it at the time. I just have a terrible subjective feel of the whole thing.  I lost my discipline, my train of thought, while chastising myself for not sticking to the plan again.

Maybe I need a coach? Or better utilization of my watch? 
Here's the Magellan data, since it has more info than MMR.

I'm going to try visualization of the run for Thursday, picturing myself running negative splits again, coming in at or under 16 min at mile 2, and pulling it out at the end.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


I had a lousy night's sleep last night, and I had to be at work at 7:30 am this morning. Thank goodness for Erin, the young woman who is trained as an art therapist, but makes one hell of a PT aide. She keeps the place humming while I do my thing.

So, I got home around 12:20 after picking up a 20# turkey at a local Stop&Shop. I had a bite to eat, and noticed at about 2:00 that it probably wasn't going to get any warmer than 54 degrees. I put my long c9 pants and compressions on, and just my neon pink long sleeve tech shirt with my gator, and a headband. One day I'll remember to take a picture so I don't have to type out what I wore.

I got stuck in the driveway with my magellan trying to find my foot pod and a satellite signal. My phone with MapMyRun had a signal immediately, but something was not right with the watch. I started jogging in place trying to warm up, and trying to stay in the sun - because I found I was cooling off very quickly. I finally decided to turn the watch off and on again, and that seemed to do the trick. Off I went on my usual route.

About mile 2, I realized I was not recording my heart rate, and I had no info about my cadence. It must be time to replace the batteries already.

The run was pretty much unremarkable. I was practicing turning off the negative thoughts in my head. I think I got it down. I switch my thinking to concentrate on improving my form - and for a short while I forget that I'm fatiguing, or ready to give up.

I took some extra turns on the route, trying to change the scenery, and   accumulate some extra mileage before having to do the circle around the neighborhood again. Too many stop signs. The extended route took me running down faster, main roads. I'll no doubt do it again.

As the miles ticked off, MMR was telling me I was coming in faster at the end of each mile than I previously remember. My memory sucks, though, so I'll have to do some research later. 2 miles at 17.59, 5k at 27:21, 4 miles at 35 minutes, 5 miles at 43 minutes. On a whim, I had told my magellan I wanted to do a 10k in 52 minutes. I knew by the way it was beeping during the run that I was not keeping pace, but when MMR told me I was 43 minutes at 5 miles, I got kinda happy. Too bad I was coming up to some inclines on the last mile. I was tired. But I also wanted to pull it all out. I did my best. I almost had it.

If I had run it like this in the morning, I could have come closer to that 52 minute goal. I do my best running in the morning, and the lack of sleep and then working just before the run did not make it happen for me. The good news is, I understand and accept that. So, it was a good run, regardless! 6.22 at 54:37, 8:47 pace.


Today's Run

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I can fly in the cold!

I went for it. 37 degree temperature, barely a breeze, blue sky. Why not give it a try? If it's too cold, I thought, I'll just come home.

Long C9's, compressions, sports bra, long sleeve high collar shirt, grey C9 jacket, gloves, motorcycle gator pulled up over my head.

My face, nose, lips, and fingers were cold. By the end of the first mile, my hands were fine. I had pulled up the gator over my mouth because  the air I was pulling in was chilling my chest a bit. As soon as I warmed up again, I tucked it away and I was fine. 

I felt I was alternating my speed, starting out fast again, took it steady up the inclines, and slowed down a bit on the declines. All I had was a cup of coffee this morning, so I did not fuel properly. The main reason for this run was just to test out the temperature.  I came in under a nine minute mile, so that was icing on the cake! I started walking back  to the house, and I felt like I still wanted to go, so I just ran up and down my block doing a quarter mile of fartleks. I really should have a more solid training plan.

I forgot to charge my phone last night, so I lost my MapMyRun data. I've got the Magellan data instead.

Today's Run

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Maybe time to sell the Sunfish..

I think I've decided on a treadmill, but I'll be waiting until after our staff meeting on Friday to see if I should make the purchase.  I tried it at Sears, and I liked it a lot, except for the fact that I really should be an inch or so taller to see the screen properly. After chatting up the folks at Nordic Track tonight, I was told that I could   export the video to a tv connected to the internet. I'm not sure if that means I could export ALL screens to the tv, or just the data shared through So many questions. I guess I could go back and ask the Sears dude.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

This could be risky..

I just added a 5k race on Thanksgiving morning. I wonder how that will go over with my family?

Expanding horizons

Yesterday I had the pleasure of working with a patient who is a phys ed teacher at a local school and who is also a runner. She's a decade older than myself, and has many, many years of running behind her. It was so much fun sharing notes - and I love to learn new things about a topic that I have a current interest in. We talked about my toe pain, and she knew right away what advice to give me - just like my sis and store clerk did. We talked about the upcoming races we had planned, and which ones were cancelled because of the storm. I had pointed her in the direction of, the collection site for all things racing, and she suggested I join The Greater Long Island Running Club, with it's monthly meetings, race information, monthly magazine and clinics. So, I joined last night, and I'm looking forward to going to the first meeting to see what it's all about.

I wonder if it's bad etiquette to ask what a person's average pace is? I did not ask her, but I was dying to know.

It's raining here this morning, my usual run day - but I'm recovering from that plantar injury on Sunday. I have to say that my early intervention really helped. I've gone barefoot in the house, and wore sneakers to work yesterday. I can still fell some pulling, especially after being off it for awhile, but it works itself right out. I had some funky paresthesia in the ball of my foot during work for an hour, but that went away too. The weather is supposed to clear up by the end of the day, but I think I'll stay off of it regardless. I really should get back to weight training. Maybe I can steel myself toward starting again this morning.