Thursday, July 31, 2008

Casualties of the tempo run

Today was the first tempo run of the marathon training schedule. 10 minute warm-up run followed by three cycles of a 5-minute tempo pace and 1 minute recovery walk, ending with a 10-minute cool-down run. 

During the warm-up, my legs felt like bricks, so I was a bit worried -- and probably worrying Tiffany! I was proud of us, though, we ran the tempo portions at about a 8.30 pace, which is two minutes FASTER than I'd anticipated. It felt remarkably good. Something about running at a pace where it is hard to br
eathe is rather exciting -- even if my "really stinkin' fast" pace is rather average for many. 

My left foot, on the other hand, is not doing so well. The blister went into hyperdrive along with the rest of me, leaving a gigantic sore spot on the bottom of my foot. Hope you're okay with gross things, since I posted the picture =0) Since there isn't much perspective in the photo, I just measured the thing -- the blister is 2 inches long.

I've got to figure out how to keep this from happening. I've been wearing double-layered wicking socks that are supposed to prevent rubbing. I've tried wearing thick wicking socks... and I've even tried the single-layer thin socks... so I know THEY aren't the problem. My feet are apparently just too narrow for my own good... having a high arch that collapses when I run doesn't help either. 

Here's hoping a simple insert will solve the problem.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sad shoe news

I just discovered that Mizuno is discontinuing the Wave Alchemy 7s AND Asics is discontinuing the G2120s. Sad day in the life of my feet! I've been wearing the Mizunos for about a month and a half now, and really like them... I was planning to use the 2120s for my backup shoe -- and maybe even go back to them with an insert to fix my blister problem. 

Now it looks as if I need to find new shoes altogether. Sad day.

Mental training

The crazy hard mental aspect of training has begun. On Saturday, T and I ran 9 miles in 100% humidity. As we finished the 7th mile, I was absolutely exhausted. My body wanted to quit. In fact, it not only wanted to quit -- it wanted to fall over, collapse and not move again for a week. Caffeinated gels and copious amounts of sports drink could do nothing for me at this point. Each step, instead, had to be willed. 

And we persevered. We were coated in sweat and resembled limp noodles, but we completed the 9-miler and gained a nice level of giddy endorphins (yeah, AFTER we stopped) to last until we each got home and crashed. 

In less than a month, our long runs will be beyond what I've ever done. And I'm so thankful I have a running partner who inspires me to keep going just by showing up and pounding out these miles with me. I'm becoming more and more impressed with the mental strength of those who train for endurance events alone. I would have quit a thousand times already. 

This business is stinkin' hard. Yet somehow, every step is worth it.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Too important to do alone

I thought I enjoyed my alone-time runs until the 5:30 a.m. running group started. There is something about knowing that others are depending on you (which really isn't as true with the group as it is with Saturday long runs, but still -- let me dream!) to show up and the communal aspect that makes running easier and more fun. 

When I interviewed him for my faith and distance running story, Hugh mentioned that running is like church in that it is far too important to do alone. As more and more of my weekly runs become group runs (only 1 run a week is alone now), I'm finding that I am beginning to ascribe to that idea. Perhaps this is too important to do alone.

Running with a group also gives me far more reason to push myself. I always joke that Tiffany is my personal trainer, because she challenges me to run, rather than walk the crazy hills. 

Our new RouteMaster and his assistants designed perhaps the hilliest route I've run for this morning's adventure. And yet, somehow, it isn't seem all that hard. T and I kept a 12.3 minute pace, which, while slower than our average non-slow day, was pretty darn impressive for us on the route! 

We were a group of 7 this morning, which amazes me. I'm not sure I ever really believed this group would materialize, and now new people are beginning to show up! We actually had 3 (or maybe 4?) different pace groups this morning! It's exciting!

This Saturday is a 9-miler. And amazingly, it doesn't sound terrifying! 

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Day 1

Today was the first gathering of the Jeff City Tuesday Thursday 5:30a.m. Running Group. Long name, but at least we know when we meet! Five of us showed up to run -- and we had one oversleeper (*cough*dulce*cough*). Not bad for a start-up! 

The alarm going off at 4:45 was not a pleasant experience, but running while the sun comes up makes summer training MUCH easier. Don't know why I didn't think of this earlier... oh, right -- I like to sleep!

Covered 3.75 miles in 45 minutes, putting me right at a 12 minute mile this morning. Not too bad for being out there before God is awake... =0)

Note to self: forgetting to stretch after running is a BAD plan. I can feel my legs getting stiff. Oops!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Let it Out: The Movie

Due to the success of the "Let it Out" Kleenex campaign, "Let it Out: the Movie" will be released for the start of the Olympics. The film documents memories of former Olympians. You can watch the trailer here

Note the musicians who pop up in the trailer -- they are the reason why I am truly excited about this documentary. The guys are my buddies StarrFadu, a southwest Missouri band that received international attention when their song "Let it Out" was used for the campaign. 

You can check out their myspace page (for some tunes and another look at the trailer) at Leave a note and tell them I said "hi." 

Monday, July 14, 2008

Tuesday/Thursday running group

It's official. As of Thursday, July 17, the Jefferson City chapter of the Tuesday/Thursday 5:30 running group be will in existence. Anyone who wants to wake up insanely early and join the fun is welcome to meet at the Greenway parking lot on Edgewood. We already have at least two pace groups -- the penguins and the Bostonites =0) 

I'm excited! Remind me of that when my alarm clock tries to wake me before 5 a.m.!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Thank you, Runner's World!

I've been struggling with slower runs being tough recently -- even a slow pace seems draining. Enter Runner's World to save the day! The new issue, which I received yesterday, mentioned that a person should slow down 30 seconds per mile for every 5 degrees above 60. 

Turns out, I'm not slow after all and may, in fact, be building speed. Reminder that I may be pushing myself too hard when trying to run at my good-weather pace. I imagine I'll build up to it naturally as training continues and I add tempo workouts in. 

This is a rest week, meaning I have only 3 running days (instead of 4), and my long-run mileage goes down. Gotta love these little recouping breaks!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

And the angels sing...

Did NOT want to run this morning. Got back into town around 1:30 after roadtripping with the lovely Kate Murphy to Troy. We went to see some buddies of her and enjoy the fantastic Troy fireworks ;0) Good times were had.

But the idea of running at 7:30 seemed INSANE. My alarm went off in the middle of a bizarre dream (which had suddenly become a musical... go figure), and the zombie-version of me climbed out of bed to eat half a clif bar and prepare my fuel belt. It is amazing how close I came to leaving the house without shoes.

As usual, as soon as we hit the trail, I was awake. Today was a 7-miler, which reminded me of how close we are to surpassing what we covered in half marathon training. In a few weeks, 10 miles will be a rest day. Scary thought.

We made it to the top of both sides of the scary Edgewood Hill, and during the last mile, I realized that running felt GOOD. I was enjoying it. It had to be our fastest mile of the 7. Had I not been wearing the evil pair of running shorts that left me with chafing, running another few miles would have seemed like no problem. 

YAY! Running is FUN again =0)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Don't stop believing

I'm finding the desire for training difficult this week. The days I want to run, I find a thunderstorm pushing me inside. The days that are beautiful running weather... well, the swimming pool looks so inviting. So last night, I swam. I promised myself it would be okay if I crosstrained instead, but it is always bad news for me to stray away from my schedule.

I think I'm still scared I don't have what it takes, and am therefore trying to sabotage myself. Why is it that we are so good at believing in others, but find it so difficult to believe in ourselves?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

They like Jesus...

After months of recommendations from my friend and partner-in-crime Jeanie, I finally got around to starting Dan Kimball's "They Like Jesus, But Not the Church." I'm about halfway though at this point and finding myself resonating with a lot of what Kimball has to say.

His point is that many in the "emerging generations" (those between 20-35) are really open to Jesus and his message, but not the church or what they view as organized Christianity.

This is something I've thought about for years on a personal basis, and something I ponder a lot when I run. How is it that the Christ I read about in Scriptures seems so different from the image I see projected in the larger church?

I wonder how it is that I've stuck around when so many of my friends have given up on the church. I used to think it was because I grew up in the church and have always been familiar with the mess. But as I've pondered this question recently, I've realized it has far more to do with who I am than my background. I can't walk away from problems. If there is any hope whatsoever, I cling to it and fight to make the hope a reality. I'm not necessarily good at it -- truth is, I'm a coward -- but I long to be a proponent of all that is good in Christianity and inject that back into the church.

I'm lucky in that I am part of a fantastic congregation. My pastors are true examples of what I believe Christianity is all about. As Coach Rod pointed out at a recent meeting, our church -- at its best -- is a place of grace. It encourages the messy kind of faith that I love; the kind of faith that is strong, but realizes it isn't always right. The kind of faith that is open to dialogue, correction and disagreement. 

I've privileged because I've seen enough of the good to know that it is worth facing the bad -- even when the bad is a big, ugly mess.