22 July 2012

I ran a mile!

Running a mile isn't normally something I get excited about, but today I ran a mile race! It was really really REALLY really fun. My goal was to run it in 7:00, and I ran 6:59! How's that for pacing. 

The inaugural Mass Ave Mile went from Porter Square in Cambridge to Harvard Square. They had us line up about 10 minutes before the start, and I appreciated their informal line-up procedure, "If you're going to run 5:20 or less, toe the line; otherwise line up behind the line." I got behind the line. The course was slightly downhill, and it was a small field; only 339 runners. There was no pistol at the start, just a guy yelling "GO!" through a megaphone. 

I quickly caught up with a fellow running club member and ran with him for about a half mile. At that point I was all, "I can go faster than him, he's 68!" I pulled slowly away from him and tried to focus on my cadence and form, while trying not to step in any potholes. Despite all my recent efforts to improve my form, I still felt like an out-of-control gorilla. 

There were clocks at every 1/4 mile, and I was slightly ahead of schedule at the 1/4 and right on at the 1/2 and the 3/4. I had planned to start kicking at the 3/4 but I felt a little sluggish so I thought I'd wait a few seconds. I saw Tom burning by me on the outside and I was all "Jesus Lord he's 68!" I think I got distracted when he cruised by, and once I realized I should start the kick, I could see the finish line and then it was over. 

I kept saying all week that I can do anything for 7 minutes, and it turned out to be true. I can't wait to run this race again next year. Predictably, I'm now second-guessing my goal. Should I have aimed higher? I might have been able to go a little faster, right? 

After every race, I put my time into the awesome McMillan Pace Calculator, which tells you what times you should be able to run at different distances, assuming the same effort as your recent race. Today's race was the fastest I've run according to the calculator, which is awesome and uplifting and immeasurably satisfying. And sort of awful. Awesome because it says I can run a marathon in 3:57 (and a 100-miler in 22:50!), and awful because it also said I should do tempo runs at 8:05 pace and a long run every week in the 9-10:00 range. But if this is what I need to do to get faster, I will do it. 

I'm proud of this race because it proved to me that I can get faster. I may have no natural talent for running at all, but I am not completely broken. I did 8 speed workouts over the past month, and even with the week off (from speedwork) after my spontaneous half marathon, I still went faster than the 7:15 that the calculator predicted based on my June 5k race. A whole 4% faster! I believe I can improve my mile time with more speedwork, which I am going to do every week for the rest of my life. 

Now I'm entering no man's land; where it's too early to start training for my next marathon so I have nothing to live for. I obviously need to sign up for another race. I'm thinking of doing a half marathon in October, and I've narrowed it down to the Cape Cod Half Marathon or the Baystate Half Marathon. I have to get out a calendar and see what makes more sense. 

But for now I'm going to do what I do best after a race: lay in bed and sigh.

14 July 2012

Life of low mileage

I swear I'm cursed to live a life of low mileage. I'm chronically injured! Last fall, while training for my first half (which I couldn't run), I got tendonitis in my ankle. During marathon training this year, IT band syndrome. And about 10 days ago I pulled my quad, which didn't seem like a big deal at the time but I ended up taking 2 days off this week to let it rest. So that's the bad news.

The good news is that I did take 2 days off this week and I ran today and felt good! My IT band and quad were both pretty quiet. I didn't quite hit my paces during all four 600m repeats, but I hit two of them, and I've had a rough week so I guess I am not surprised.

So remember last weekend when I was all excited to force myself to spectate that marathon? Yeah. I didn't. Sean encouraged me to run the half, and they just happened to have numbers left when we went to pick up Sean's number. So I ran my second half marathon. It was massively hilly and I didn't really try to race it. Mostly I wanted to see if my IT band would hold up, and it did. It was slower than my PR by about 12 minutes, but I had a lot of fun. I even got to run with Sean for about 5 miles. Forever memories there. And here is a picture in which I look like I'm Sean's special needs sister:

Sean ran his marathon in 4:31, which was faster than he thought. I was so proud! He was plagued by some IT band and/or knee issues, but I think he did really well in his first ever marathon. (He ran an ultra last year but had never done a marathon.) How cute is he? I think the fact that he ran a marathon in Ray Bans is the coolest thing ever. 

Maybe it had something to do with the spontaneous half marathon, but I was really dragging this week. I went to the neurologist on Tuesday and he told me that my brain (in the MRI pictures) looks exactly like it did last year and he doesn't recommend medication. Wow. That was a surprise. I thought for sure things had declined, since I've been feeling more tired than in previous years. He said the combination of running marathons and just having MS is probably fatiguing me a bit, but that I'm doing very well. 

I was so excited about the brain news that I didn't think I'd ever feel bad again, but the next day I tanked. I just didn't have any energy, and things stayed that way for a few days. I left work a little early for those days and didn't do much at home. This coincided with the quad thing, so I just rested everything. Then this morning I went to the track and did speed work! I think I'm on the mend.

I ran in my PureCadence shoes today and I love them so much. If I didn't look at my feet, I'd swear I was running in big puffy bunny slippers. So cozy. I'm going to try running in them more because the Ravennas are hurting my super long second toe.

I'll leave you with this picture - it's my new favorite picture of me because I think I look like a "real" runner (whatever that means):

How's your summer running going?

04 July 2012


I've been taking a break. I worked hard during marathon training, and then maybe harder to overcome my IT band issues, and now I'm a little burned out. I'm still training for the Mass Ave Mile in a few weeks, but my weekly mileage barely climbed into the 20s a couple of weeks ago, and then dropped back to 15+ last week. I guess this is sort of in my plan; I'm doing two speed workouts a week, so I'm not pushing the mileage so that I don't injure my old lady self.

This weekend we're traveling to Vermont for Sean's first marathon! I'm very excited for him. He's worked so hard this year, doing massive cross training before his actual running training started, to shore up his old man joints, and now he's running 40-50 mile weeks. I was initially going to run the half when he runs the marathon, but my PT convinced me not to do it unless I could take it really casually and use it as a training run. I don't think I can line up for a race and take it easy, so I'm feeling really good about just being a spectator. 

Okay, that's not exactly true - I feel like a total slacker piece of shit, but I am glad that I'm forcing myself to be a spectator anyway. It'll build character.

Yesterday's speed workout was 10x100m around 5:25 pace. That was huge for me. I've always thought of myself as slow, and running at a 5-something pace, even for 100m, feels like lightening. I ran most of the intervals barefoot on the football field. Righteous! If you don't usually run barefoot, I highly recommend it. Running barefoot encourages me to pay attention to my form, and it forces me not to heel strike. The best part is that it feels great. Being connected to the ground is much better than wearing shoes, and I hate putting my shoes on for my cool down. They feel like giant foot casts. I don't think I'm going to become a real barefoot runner, but I really enjoy doing it on grass. Wait that sounds wrong.

I found some hilarious pictures of myself from the last 5k that I did. I have this uncanny ability to look like I'm dying (in the face) while hardly picking my feet up off the ground such that it appears I'm actually walking. I also run like I'm on a runway (work it girl!) and it's really obvious that my knees weren't put on right. If there is a God, he was passed out drunk when he made me. Check it out.

Death Mask:
Ghost Stride:
Dip the hip!
Knee goes in:

So I might have the worst running form ever, but who cares. I'm still running. Right now, in fact.