A Simple Running Log

December 31, 2012

Training for 12/31/12

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 5:37 pm

This is it, my last post of 2012!

I’ll post first about my final three workouts of the year.

Saturday morning, it wasn’t raining yet when I woke up. It was gray and cold and looked like it might start raining at any second though. On the plus side, there was no wind.

I put on a fitted mock neck top, tights and my Zeroes, and set out for a trip around my 8.2-mile loop at goal marathon pace.

Recently I decided to drop my goal pace in the marathon to 7:50/mile, a 3:25 finish, based on how easily I’ve been pulling off 8:00 miles in long runs and much faster paces in supposed pace runs. So I was going for 7:50/mile during Saturday’s run.

It was misting a little when I started out. I hit the first mile in 7:26. I made an effort to rein it in somewhat. The mile had felt good, but not like a pace I could sustain for another 25 in a row.

It was in that second mile it started raining on me, but by that time I was warmed up and the rain wasn’t a bother.

I wound up cruising through the rest of the run, finishing the loop in 1:01:33, a 7:30/mile pace. I’ve never run that loop that fast.

I felt pretty good about the run when it was over, and I was glad to get out of the rain, which had picked up considerably over the course of the run. It rained the rest of the afternoon.

That night, Clark and I went to Salisbury to use one of the Evolution Brewery Public House gift certificates Mom gave Clark for Christmas. Before we went to dinner, I wanted to stop at VP Shoes, to see if I could finally use a $50 gift card I’d won in a raffle after a race I ran this past summer.

I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, until Clark asked if I thought anyone would make fun of him at the Surf City Half Marathon for wearing the Nike gym shorts he’s had since ninth grade. I pointed out the elastic waistband has pretty much disintegrated. Clark insisted it didn’t matter because the drawstring still worked. That decided it — I was spending the gift card on a new pair of running shorts for Clark.

Clark found a pair of lined Nike running shorts on the clearance rack he liked that were only $20, so I spent the rest of the card on my own pair of clearance Nike shorts, a pair of Balega socks just like the pair I liked so much that got ruined by that mud marathon in June and another pair of Balega socks for Clark. Now Clark’s all geared up for the half. It was a successful shopping trip in my opinion.

Sunday morning, I woke up to all the howling wind that had been promised. I really did not want to run 16 miles in that mess, but I had to do it.

It was at least a sunny day, but the feels-like temp was below freezing with the wind chill, so I added a running jacket to block the wind on top of the fitted mock neck top. I took an Imodium before leaving, filled up my water bottle, put a package of Jelly Belly Sport Beans and another Imodium in the water bottle’s pouch, turned on my new iPod with the running playlist I’d made up Friday night and hit the road.

The wind was insane. I didn’t look at weather.com until I’d made it back home, but we had sustained winds of 25 mph, with gusts up to 40 mph. It was absolutely miserable in the areas surrounded by nothing but open fields, which is a good chunk of my route.

After three miles, I was seriously considering running a shorter loop on the road and then taking the rest of my miles to the trail, just to get out of the wind. But I really didn’t trust myself to actually drive out to the trail and run another five or six miles after I’d been home, so I stuck to my original plan to run all 16 miles on the road.

The closest complete loop I had to 16 miles was only 15.5 miles, so at first I’d planned on running my 9.5-mile loop and then my 6.5-mile loop. But again, I didn’t trust myself to keep running if I passed my house before I was completely done, so I decided it was better to just do the 15.5-mile loop.

There were some points in the run, when I was surrounded by trees or near some houses, that it really wasn’t that bad. There were other points when I was being blown to a near-standstill by the head-on wind. I forced myself to keep going.

Around eight miles, I ate my Sport Beans and took the other Imodium. I hadn’t had any gut trouble to that point, but I’d had to stop around 12 miles the first time I’d tried it, so I hoped taking a second one mid-run would prevent that.

Just past 9.5 miles, I hit the section near Galestown and then Line Road. That was probably the worst part of the whole run. The wind was just relentless. When it was coming from the side, it was practically blowing me across the road. When it was coming from the front, it was hard to even keep moving forward.

Finally, around 11.5 miles, I made a turn off Line Road and had the wind at my back, and then got into a tree-lined section of the road and really couldn’t feel the wind at all. Right around mile 12 again, I had to stop in the woods. Sigh. Again, it was the only time the whole run I had to go. I’m going to keep experimenting with this Imodium and get it right.

The next couple of miles were pretty pleasant. Usually I would turn on Matts Road and head home that way, which would have gotten me home in 15.5 miles. But at some point before that, I realized if I just ran past Matts Road and made the next left turn, that would get me the extra half-mile I needed to make it a true 16-mile run. So that’s what I did.

When I made that left turn, however, I was back in the direct path of the wind. The last couple of miles of a long run are tough enough, but they’re much worse in wind like that. I kept pushing against that stupid wind, and finished 16.1 miles in 2:17, an 8:30/mile average, exactly what I was aiming for.

I was pretty happy about hitting my goal pace in spite of the wind, but I could tell my calf muscles weren’t happy about how much harder they’d had to work just to keep me moving forward. I had worn the Zeroes for that run again, since I want to wear them in the marathon, and while my feet felt good, my calves were screaming.

Oh well. That’s the point of training right? I did plenty of stretching and foam rolling at home.

I watched some football yesterday, and last night, Clark and I took back to my parents’ house this enormous picnic table that had been taking up space in the garage since we borrowed it for our Fourth of July party. We stayed long enough to eat dinner with my parents and younger sister.

This morning, I had to get up early to do my workout, since I had to work today. I went outside first for an easy 3-miler. There was no wind or rain, but it was butt-numbingly cold! I wore my cushy 890s and ran a very, very easy pace, and by the end of the first mile, my calves didn’t feel too bad.

When I got home, I ate some breakfast and then went upstairs to the equally freezing cold attic for push-ups, ab exercises, invisible chair-sitting and weights.

First, I’ll do my December summary:

Mileage:

  • Week 1 (Dec. 1): 9 miles
  • Week 2 (Dec. 2-8): 33.6
  • Week 3 (Dec. 9-15): 18
  • Week 4 (Dec. 16-22): 46.7
  • Week 5 (Dec. 23-29): 34.9
  • Week 6 (Dec. 30-31): 19.1

Total: 161.2 miles

The first few weeks were low as I tapered for and then recovered from the half marathon on Dec. 8, but the last couple weeks started climbing again, as I got into Shamrock Marathon training. The half was the only race I ran this month. I felt like I had a shot at a PR, but my digestive system had other ideas. I’m sick and tired of it, hence the Immodium experimentation on my long runs since then.

And now, the big one — my 2012 summary.

Mileage:

  • January: 230.1 miles
  • February: 31.3
  • March: 80.5
  • April: 87.5
  • May: 157.4
  • June: 163.3
  • July: 176.1
  • August: 230.8
  • September: 212.5
  • October: 172
  • November: 182.5
  • December: 161.3

Total: 1,885.3 miles

I ran nearly 350 miles less than 2011. I think it’s pretty obvious where the problem was though. February, that is pathetic. And March and April, you’re not very impressive either.

When last year ended, I had completely obliterated all of my goals for the year. Today, I look at the goals I made for 2012, and there they stand, smirking at me, as well as all the PRs I set last year. This just wasn’t my year.

Let’s take a look, shall we? Here were my goals for 2012:

  • Stay injury-free. Not even close. I missed just about all of February and a lot of March due to a mysterious pain in my right foot. Somehow I doubt it was the “joint imbalance” diagnosed by that quack chiropractor I saw.
  • Run my first ultra, a trail 50K. Actually accomplished this one, on Nov. 10.
  • Run a sub-20:00 5K. Nope. Didn’t even beat my PR of 20:38. Closest I got was a 20:49 in November.
  • Run a sub-1:35 half marathon. Nope. Felt like I had a shot twice — hot, humid weather killed my chances in Virginia Beach, and I was off pace in Rehoboth. The stop in the woods ended my PR shot, but I was already off sub-1:35 before that happened.
  • Run a sub-3:30 marathon. It didn’t happen at Shamrock after the foot injury screwed up training, and then it didn’t happen at Twin Cities after I somehow managed to underdress for a marathon.
  • Run a few small races with Pepper. I only got to do two with him this year, but one was a trail 5K, which was fun.

It seemed like there was always something working against me. In every race report I wrote, there was a line like, “I could have done a lot better, if…” The “if” was usually followed by a rant about an injury that derailed training, or terrible weather or a hateful digestive system that ruined race day.

It started in late January. I was training for the Shamrock Marathon, where I hoped to run sub-3:30. Instead, I twisted something in my right foot at the peak of the training schedule (I think because I ran in the same pair of shoes way too long), sat out most of Monster Month, eked out a few miles during the taper and then ran a 4:07. (It should be noted, I also successfully ran the 8K the day before the marathon, so that was something.)

shamrock finish 1

Right after finishing the marathon. Guess what word I’m about to use to describe how my legs felt?

 

My foot felt great for both races that weekend, and I thought my woes were behind me, but a week later, a new pain cropped up in the same foot and I had to take off another two weeks.

That seemed to set the tone for the rest of the year for me. I feel like I lose fitness faster than a lot of runners, and have to work a lot harder to get it back after a layoff, though I admit a lot of it is probably in my head. I get so scared I’m going to reaggravate old injuries that I let myself use “I’m coming off an injury” as an excuse to back off in workouts a lot longer than necessary.

Once I started running again in early April, after the second round of mystery pain in the right foot cleared up, I didn’t suffer any more injuries this year.

I got back into racing with a promising 5-miler on May 5, in which I equaled my PR. I ran a 10K two weeks later, but I couldn’t get myself to race it, so I just cruised in to a finish time five minutes slower than my PR. That was my only 10K all year.

I did get some awesome pictures from that race though:

Next on my schedule was a trail marathon. How hard could it be, right? Really hard! I was undertrained, for one, having just come off that injury, and then it rained its ass off the night before and turned the entire course into an ankle-deep mud bog. I finished it though, in 5:51. To put it in perspective, it took me 20 minutes longer to finish that 26.2-mile race than it took me to finish a 31-mile trail race in November.

Hmm. Where's that smile now, huh?

My unhappiest marathon finish line shot, haha.

Then it got hot, like record-setting hot. I ran a bunch of 5Ks over the summer. The best I could manage was 21:25 on the hottest weekend of the summer.

Coming to the finish line. I like the weird sweat pattern on my sports bra. I don't think I've ever seen that one before.

Coming to the finish line of the Beach Paper Firecracker 5K on June 30.

By the end of August, I felt fast again, and I was looking forward to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon on Labor Day weekend. But the weather was absolutely atrocious for a distance race. I’ve raced on hotter and more humid days, but only a couple, and only 5Ks. That half marathon was just unreal. I ran 1:43, eight minutes off my goal time, and still finished in the top 10 in my age group (of 1,125 runners.)

kara and me after the race 2

Kara, who ran her second 5K that day, and me, after our races.

The next big thing for me was Twin Cities. I was finally going to get that sub-3:30 marathon. Training went great. In spite of eating curry the night before the race, my digestive system was quiet the whole race. And it wasn’t hot — quite the opposite. It was freezing cold! I was way underdressed, and never warmed up. My fingers were so frozen I wasn’t able to open anything to eat it. I was a wreck by the final 10K, and limped home to a 3:44.

JB's shot around mile 23

Shockingly, I’m running in this shot. It was taken around mile 23, when there wasn’t much running going on for me anymore.

In November, I finally checked off the only goal I actually accomplished this year. I ran my first 50K, the Rosaryville Veteran’s Day 50K. It’s a good thing my only goal was to finish, because I’m pretty sure the six stops for digestive issues would have ruined any time goals. I was later able to attribute those gut problems to sour milk I ate for breakfast.

Thirty-one miles, done!

Thirty-one miles, done!

Later in November, I ran my only sub-21 5K of the year, a 20:49.

My last race of the year was the Rehoboth Half Marathon on Dec. 8. I really felt like I was going to PR, and I was on track for it too until mile 8, when, you guessed it, I had to stop in the woods to take care of my stupid digestive issues again. I finished about a minute off my PR.

Erin and me approaching mile 5. We haven't spotted JB yet.

Running with my friend Erin around mile 5.

So, 2012. Meh. Good riddance.

But! There’s a bright spot.

Two years ago, I had a similar year. Got injured early, milked that excuse way past its expiration date, didn’t do anything spectacular the rest of the year. Then I followed it up with an amazing year in 2011.

I’m determined to make that happen again. First thing is to stay healthy. I already started that recently by actually replacing my worn out Zeroes instead of waiting until they caused a big injury.

Next thing is to get my gut under control. While I know I have trouble if I eat sugary or fatty foods the day before a long run or race, I’ve also had really bad experiences after eating bland foods that have worked before. It’s frustrating, like the solution keeps changing. The Imodium has helped the two times I’ve tried it on long runs since, but it hasn’t been the magic bullet I was hoping for. Of course, the night before both of those runs, I had good beer and bad food for dinner, so there’s probably a dietary component to get under control too. Which sucks, because, in the true American spirit, I’d rather just take a pill than actually watch what I eat!

The last thing is to train smart. Run appropriate paces on recovery days so I can run harder on speedwork days. Get out of the “more is always better” mindset in regards to mileage. Stretch after every run.

I’m also NOT setting any particular goals for any distances in 2013. (Except the marathon — damn I want that sub-3:30!) I’ll just see what happens, and take the pressure off myself to hit some arbitrary number.

Anyway, because 2012 wasn’t ALL bad, here are my 10 most memorable running events from the year, in no particular order, because I really can’t rank them:

1. Running in the New Balance Zeroes. They feel like they were made especially for my feet.

2. My first introduction to my friend Allison, who collapsed to the ground with calf cramps right after we met at the finish line of the St. Michaels half marathon in May! I got to see her at a couple more races this year, including the epicness that was Lady Loopfest in Rehoboth.

Allison and me in the tent after the race.

Allison and me in the tent after the Rehoboth half.

3. All the Loopfests — Lady Loopfest in Rehoboth, Twin Cities Loopfest in Minnesota and LoopRock in Virginia Beach. I love the friendships I’ve struck up online that have turned into real life ones. These are people I’d have never met had it not been for running and the internet.

group shot on the bridge

Group shot on the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis.

4. Kara picking up running. Turns out she’s really fast! And very committed to training. I think that natural sibling rivalry is going to push us to make each other faster. I can’t wait to see how she tears up her first half marathon at Shamrock in March.

The white ribbons are our medals, but who cares, when you get pie!

Kara and me with the pies we won after we both won our age groups in a 5K in November.

5. Completing the Whale Challenge at Shamrock (8K and marathon on consecutive days) and the 50K. I am pretty damn proud of how far I can run, I have to say. I might not have done anything impressive in terms of speed this year, but I did push myself to run farther than I would have believed I could just a couple of years ago.

6. Clark signing up for his first half marathon, now only a month away. Yes, he did it just so he could show me “you don’t have to dedicate so much time to running and still run a 1:30 half marathon,” and he’s quickly discovered that just isn’t the case, but it’s still been fun talking running with him. And secretly, I’m hoping he enjoys Surf City and he does some more racing.

IMG_0260

This is from last April, before he signed up for the half, but it’s a great shot of Clark and Pepper running and I wanted to post it again, so there.

7. Running with Pepper. You just can’t NOT have a good time with him! Usually.

Pepper proudly standing over his favorite "stick."

Pepper proudly standing over his favorite “stick” that he carried for six miles one day.

8. Every time I finished a training run feeling like a badass. They were usually workouts I was kinda dreading beforehand, either because of the distance, the intensity of the goal pace or both. When I killed it, it was the best feeling!

9. Discovering a bit of creepy history in my own backyard, thanks to running. (And Google.)

IMG_0438

Cannon Hall, reportedly haunted AND still looking like it did after it burned two years ago.

10. Meeting Bobby Labonte and getting his autographs on both shoes I wore for the Twin Cities Marathon. The race didn’t go nearly as well as I’d hoped, but it was neat to see a couple of my favorite things, running and Bobby Labonte, intersect like that.

The luckiest pair of New Balance 1600s.

Bobby signing the luckiest pair of New Balance 1600s.

In spite of how relatively poopy this year was compared to last, I feel pretty good about it. Mostly because it’s over, haha.

I’m also really looking forward to 2013. Right now, the only races I’m definitely doing are the Surf City Half Marathon in California; the Whale Challenge again in Virginia Beach, where I really, really want to finally go under 3:30 in the marathon; the St. Michaels Half Marathon in May (signed up early with a discount code for the cheapest possible rate); and the Rehoboth half again in December (registration opens tonight at 9 p.m. with a special discount for the first three hours only!)

I want to do another 50K or two, and I want to run a fall marathon somewhere. I’ll definitely again do that local summer racing series of a 5-miler and five 5Ks. Other than that, the year’s pretty much wide open.

So happy New Year!

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