August 3, 2010

Only 5 Sundays to go until the Disneyland Half Marathon. This will be the 4th year in a row I’ve run this event – and the first year I’m not going to be running it injured! OMG.  I have really been turning up the intensity over the last 6 weeks. I’m getting in 24-27 solid quality miles in every week. Added some speed work and hill intervals on the home treadmill on the weekdays. It is too damn hot to run outside around here without driving out of the Valley, and I am admittedly still protecting my IT bands by avoiding the pavement. We have this awesome treadmill that has a belt with varying levels of firmness, ranging from wet sand to asphalt; killer sound system and a little t.v. to watch concerts, videos, or whatever. I am somewhat worried that the belt firmness controls aren’t calibrated. I’ve been having some right hamstring/glute pain and I really only feel it when I’m on the treadmill. It’s time for an annual maintenance check anyway so hopefully we can get someone out to take a look at it early next week.

My goal for this race is to break 2 hours. Ideally, I’d like to see a final time of 1:55. My challenge leading up to the race, as usual, is to have the discipline to stick to my planned workouts. No faster, no longer, no slower, no shorter, no more hills, no less hills.  I had a goal of 10 miles in 100 minutes a couple of weeks ago and I came in just 22 seconds faster than the plan – YES!  Stuck it.

The last two weeks have gone really well but it was tough keeping a regular schedule going with Comic Con happening 7/22-7/25. I’m seeing my level of effort has been, on average, about 7/10 which I feel great about. I’m working comfortably hard. That’s not to say it’s immensely enjoyable all the time. I had several days of not eating enough and/or not eating regularly, which makes tough runs feel even tougher.

I’ve increased my run/walk intervals to 4:30/0:30 which is feeling terrific. The one minute walk breaks were starting to feel too long and now that I’m not having any IT band discomfort, a 30-second walk break every 4.5 minutes is perfect. I may consider moving up to 5:00/0:30 but not until next year. 
This past Saturday I ran 12 miles in 2:05.  10 minutes faster than I had planned.  Before I started out, I decided I wanted to pick up the pace for the last 2 miles if I was feeling good. My target pace for whole run was 10:45. I did stick to that pace for about the first 9 miles, and then started increasing my pace incrementally over the next 3 miles.  Mile 10 @ 10:29, mile 11 @ 9:49 and mile 12 @ 8:43. It was more work than I ‘should’ have done but I felt safe pushing harder at the end because I had a lot more to give, and honestly, I'm still learning about what my body is capable of now that I'm not injured. I had zero IT pain and no hamstring or butt pain. Whew.  Just to be safe, I’m not giving up my ice baths after long runs. I frequently rush out into the ocean before getting back in the car to slow my circulation down and keep any inflammation to a minimum until I can get home. There is nothing better than ending a long run with an ocean plunge! 

Yesterday was probably the first Monday that I felt like running - ever. I’m usually so worried about giving myself time to recover from a weekend run that my body is just used to resting on Monday. But not yesterday. I couldn’t wait to get home and get on the treadmill. Huh? A planned 4-mile easy run turned into a 6 mile tempo run, 4 miles of which were run at a 2% and 2.5% grade (uphill tempo run). I stopped myself at 6. “Don’t fall into this trap again Vera!” Stick to the plan, stick to the plan...

Here’s the workout:
Mile 1 – 6.2mph @ 1%
Miles 2 thru 4 – 6.2mph @ 2%
Mile 5 – 6.5mph @ 2.5%
Mile 6 – 7.0mph @ 1%

Today is an easy flat 3 miles because tomorrow is a Jillian Michael’s Treadmill iFit card day. I may not be out of shape like the Biggest Loser contestants, but I am damn sure I know exactly what it feels like to have Jillian in charge of your workout. Leave your pitiful excuses at the door and bring something to puke in. It’s time to get to work. ;-)

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