“Long” Run

Today I did my first long run in awhile–8 miles. Even though it was really nice outside, I chose to run on the treadmill so I could watch the T.V. show Scandal on Netflix (2 episodes). Chris and I started watching it on Netflix a few weeks ago and it’s so good! I want Olivia Pope’s whole wardrobe. Here’s my set-up: Kindle covering up the treadmill display, headphones, coffee cup of water (it stays cooler in there), and honey straw.

I consider anything over 6 miles to be a long run. It takes me roughly an hour to run six miles, and more than an hour of anything is “long”. I would like to do a weekend run of 8-10 miles every week. I’ve said this for over a year but have yet to stick with it. I just think having one long, easy run a week is such an important part one’s running health. Here are some benefits from a Running Times article:

According to Running Times columnist and coach, Greg McMillan, there are three key physiological adaptations that occur in the body during a long run: enzymatic, capillary and musculoskeletal. When you run long, you increase enzymes in your muscle cells and grow capillaries, which are the small vessels that surround the cells. These important changes allow more oxygen to be delivered to working muscles. You also strengthen your muscles, tendons and ligaments. “These adaptations help you in shorter races like the 5K because it’s still primarily an aerobic activity,” McMillan says. “The more oxygen that you can deliver to the working muscles, the better your performance will be. And the stronger your muscles, tendons, bones and ligaments become, the more you are capable to conduct better race-specific training like intervals.”

When I run long runs, I get sick. Not during the run, but after. I thought this was my own weird problem until I read about it on someone else’s blog. They called it the “runner’s flu”.

Since I’ve never had food or drinks besides water during long runs, I’m going to start playing around with nutrition to see if that helps me feel better after. Awhile back I lamented how hard it is to find “real” running nutrition that wasn’t processed and didn’t contain artificial flavorings or colors. Today, around 50 minutes, I tried a honey straw (pure honey). It was very tasty and went down smooth. It didn’t upset my tummy at all. I also had about 16 ounces of water. Now I only ran for 76 minutes, so I didn’t NEED nutrition, but I wanted to practice. Honey straws are real food and are easy to carry. One would fit in my Spibelt. I need to stop back at the coffee shop where I bought the honey straws to see how many calories they are…if I remember correctly, maybe 50, so I should probably have two. Aren’t you supposed to eat around 100 calories at a time while running?

After my run, I had 16 ounces of Shaklee Performance, which is the only sports drink I’ve found without nothing artificial. Even though I started running at 11:30 and I haven’t had lunch yet, I am feeling really great. I won’t know for sure if this system works until I try 10 miles. If I remember correctly, 10 miles is when things go south for me.

And here’s a picture of my treadmill screen after, because if I don’t take a pic and post it to Instagram, it didn’t happen.

Did I mention I want Olivia Pope’s wardrobe?

The Harvest Hammer Duathlon Part II

I was so excited to brag about my own PR yesterday that I failed to tell you about Evan’s! He and his grandpa did the team duathlon again this year (3rd year in a row I think). Evan ran the 5k part in 21:37!

Here he is finishing up his part:

And here’s Grandpa!

After the 5k, Evan did a color run. There’s another event in town the same day called Paint the Town, so after the regular 5k & duathlon, they did a little 1/2 mile color run up to the painting area. It was a fun way to connect the two events. Evan decided last minute to try it. He wasn’t a huge fan!

But he did smile at the end!

My New 5k PR! {Harvest Hammer in Morrison}

The most amazing thing happened today: I got a 5k P.R.! This was completely unlikely for the following reasons:

1. My “old” P.R. was from August of 2012 when I was at the peak of half marathon training
2. I had nerve/hip issues from July until about 10 days ago, and was only running easy every other day
3. The last 5k I ran in which I actually tried was 26:44 back in June and that seemed really hard
4. The course I ran today is hard and known to be slow

But I did it, and holy cow was that an amazing feeling, especially since I wasn’t at all expecting it!

Every since I first tried Flintstone running (my nickname for runs with shorter strides and a faster cadence), I knew I might be on to something. Running in this way is so much more efficient and made me realize how much up-and-down movement I had before. Last Saturday, I had an outdoor run in which I focused on increased cadence and moving forward and not up and down. I really focused on pushing off with my toes. I was able to hold a pretty nice pace (9:04) without much effort. I had two other runs during the week with a friend in which I also ran in the 9’s without much effort.

I knew that four fast runs with my “new stride” wasn’t a fluke and that I had probably figured out a way to run faster. However, for a 5k PR, I knew I had to average right at 8-minute pace. Running 9-minute pace easy is a long ways from 8-minute pace on a challenging course. I figured I might be able to hold 8 flat for a mile, but I also expected to die shortly after due to being out of shape.

Here’s how it all went down: I lined up next to two running buddies, my friends Lori & Myra who ran the half marathon a couple of weeks ago. I was sooooo nervous because this race is in my TOWN and I know so many people in it. Both Lori & Myra are in great shape right now. Myra hasn’t run a 5k in awhile, but the last one she ran was just over 25:00 and I knew from all of the half training she’d be a bit faster today. I planned to hang with her for the first mile, maybe two. She’s a very steady runner, and unlike me, she doesn’t shoot of the line and run too fast the first mile and die the rest of the way.

The three of us took off as planned. We jostled through traffic the first 1/8 mile or so, then found some breathing room (that’s the best part of small town racing). The first mile is mostly a long gradual downhill with a short hill at the end, making it pretty fast. We did, however, have a decent headwind. I know that Myra attacks hills and I also know that when she drops me, I mentally cannot get myself up by her again, so I ran hard up that hill and she was on my shoulder at the top. We ran the first mile in 7:48.

The second mile is flat-ish for a short bit and then you hit the worst climb on the course. It’s a downright nasty hill, not so much for its grade, but for its length and annoyance factor. Plus, did I mention the headwind? Then, you get to the top and have to turn around (my least favorite thing). We ran side by side up the hill, and then I said, “Let gravity pull you down…we can rest at the bottom!” and I took off down the hill. Mind you, I was still dying from the climb, but I wasn’t going to give up that chance to have gravity work in my favor. I knew I could tolerate discomfort a bit more until the bottom. I edged ahead again here but we were side by side again once it was flat.

Here’s the elevation. You can see that right at the turnaround we’d just climbed the biggest hill and would be descending to just past mile 2, when we’d climb gradually to the finish.

We ran mile 2 in 8:08, which wasn’t bad for that hill. Those are, however, 8 seconds I want back. The end of the first mile and the beginning of the third are kind of fun because this is when you are passing a lot of the people behind you coming from the other way. Since this was our home-town race, between the two of us we knew at least 80% of the people who yelled at one or both of us. This is also what makes me incredibly nervous about the race. But, when it’s going well, it feels awesome, and of course, when it’s not going well, it really, really stinks. Luckily it was going well. I saw a lot of past & present students, parents, friends, co-workers, and relatives. The water stop right on the corner before the second mile marker was manned by several of my current students, so it was fun to give them a little shout-out as we went by.

We came down the final hill, and once again, I took off down it, knowing I needed to because it was the last easy part of the course. “Gravity!” I said as we went. Long gradual uphills are so hard at the end of races, and this one sucked as much as I expected it would. This is the first part of the race where I was really starting to feel uncomfortable. I was dying on the steep hills, but that is to be expected in a race. Now, I was hitting that, “When is this race going to END” feeling. Also known as that “Am I going to puke?” feeling. I told myself I had to stick with Myra until the final stop sign/corner, about 1/4 mile from the end. I did, and then I let her go. I didn’t back off too much, but she did put around 15 seconds on me, so I definitely slowed.

I did pick it up at the very very end, once I saw that the clock said 24:45. I wanted that sub-25! I finished in 24:58. I know it’s only 2 seconds under 25 minutes, but I’m totally counting it as a 24-something finish. My running, my rules. ;) Here’s a super awesome picture of me looking ready to collapse (literally) at the finish:

My cadence was an average of 175, which is my highest yet, and closer to that magical 180. The best part of the way I’m running now is it doesn’t hurt. My legs aren’t sore or stiff hardly at all. I have a tiny twinge in one leg, but after a 5k, I am typically stiff and limping around.

I have been elated about this PR all day because, like I said, I wasn’t expecting it, and also because I don’t consider myself in shape and this was a tough course. I’m excited to see what I can do with some more training and on a fast course! Low 24’s here I come!

Here are a couple more pics. Lori and I:

All of these people in my running group got a PR today!!

Here is most of the group (it’s hard to find everyone for pictures):

Somewhere there is a picture of Myra and me, and I need to find it, because without her I would not have achieved that time! We were pushing each other back and forth the whole way, which really helps.

Who else ran today? Did any of my readers run the Harvest Hammer? Time to come out of lurkdom! :)