June 2010


Yep, I really do. Guys, get your mind out of the gutter. I’m not out there shaking my boobs for everyone to see, no matter how much you wish that were the case, LOL. Running topless=running bra only. I think this will be my new Season of Topless Speed! ūüôā¬† Because, honestly, when it’s hot and it’s humid, what is the point of a shirt anyway?¬† A towel that you wear as clothing? POINTLESS.¬† I run much faster without it (if you don’t believe me, see my time below.) ūüôā

Today was Track Tuesday.¬† I’ve started something new at track practice. Running with my iPod. I figure, I’m usually runing by myself anyway, so why not motivate myself by actually listening to music, rather than trying to get a song going through my head just before I arrive, and then use my mental playback powers? You know what? It totally makes a difference.

I’ve decided to start following the mid-distance workouts, rather than those for the folks running long distance, so I can really focus on speed. Tonight’s workout was 6¬† 300s, with active recovery of 200 shuffle, or as I call it “the old lady jog, where it looks like you’re running, but really you’re not because both feet are always touching the ground.” ¬†Water break, then repeat, for a total of 12. While some people hate the shorter distances, I absolutely love them because for me, it’s basically a sprint.

Average 300 meters without tunes: 1:15-1:16. (First 4 done wearing a shirt/top.)

Average 300 meters with tunes: 1:11, with my fastest being the last one, at 1:09. (All done topless.)

Best two songs for this evening: Your Love is My Drug, by Ke$ha, and Untouched, by the Veronicas.

Tonight, I also tried out one of two new running skirts I bought last Saturday when I picked up my number for the half marathon. I figured, we got 13.1% off of what we bought that night, so why not pick up one?  Ok, how about two?

PR Mesh Skort (photo from Brooks Running)

The one I wore tonight is by Brooks, and it’s called the PR Mesh Skort. I gotta say, I loved it!!¬† I bought it in an XS because there is no drawstring around the waist, unlike the Nike one I bought (in a small.)¬† The shorts underneath didn’t ride up at all. The mesh definitely makes the fabric pretty breathable, so my fear of overheating never actually became a reality. (Truth be told, that’s why I’ve never work a running skirt before.¬† I figured wearing two layers would get too hot. It was about 80-82 tonight when we had practice.)¬†

There is a pocket in the back that will take some getting used to – it’s not as¬†deep as¬†I’d like, but I figure for races of 5 miles or less, I can get by¬†with just one packet of sports beans so it should be enough. It closes with a zipper, which makes me feel good about storing a¬†car key¬†in it too.¬†

Oh, an added bonus – it’s girly!¬†¬†Just my own personal opinion, but it appears to be more flattering to the figure than the shorts we ladies get to wear to run.¬† So here’s what I say, ladies:¬† we work hard for these legs, we might as well show them, LOL!¬†¬†¬† There is a retired¬†gentleman who is part of our track workouts, whose name is Bob. I told him I was trying out the skirt tonight in case I run a race on Saturday, and because he’s kind of injured, he was hanging out with our two lady coaches. He yelled out “nice skirt!!” at one point, and then he told me he got some good-natured grief from the coaches.¬† He was¬†like “she’s trying it out, I gotta tell her it looks good!” ūüôā

Too bad I can’t wear it in a race I just got an email about, called the Ladies Night Out at the Great Leg Road Race, in Lowell, MA.¬† (I’ll be out of town.)

P.S. from Wednesday a.m.  My only bad news is that I think I might have plantar fasciitis again. For those of you who have never had this, thank your deity of your choice.  It felt better as I warmed up and ran more last night, but walking Ruthie this morning, it felt like someone was stabbing me through the bottom of my foot. I even wore that ugly-ass night splint all last night too. Felt ok when I got up, but the walk this morning was hell!

View at sunrise of one of the Blue Hills

I¬†usually try to keep a positive face on my races, so I’m gonna try and do my best about the race today. Temps were at about 72 to start, at 6:15 a.m. That didn’t bode well because I don’t deal well with the heat. But thankfully, it didn’t start later in the day. (By the way, I was up at 3 a.m. Bill had complained about how early we had to go to sleep, yet he was snoring after about oh, 5 minutes, making me want to shoot him.¬†¬† I, on the other hand, was awake until at least 10, and then woke up at least 4 times. Sigh.)

It is an “official”¬†PR for me at this distance, I guess.¬† (I say that because I’ve run too far in both half marathon races I’ve run this year, not great with the tangents.) Just wish it could have been a PR by more.

Let me just throw out the stats:

  • Total finishers: 2674 (918 Male, 1774 Female)
  • Overall place 1368/2674 (yep, right in the middle as my blog name suggests)
  • Place among females: 760/1368 (top 43%)
  • Place among division of W 35-39: 88/212 (Top 41%)
  • Ave. time of my division: 2:25:06, so at least I was above the average for that.
  • Official time: 2:14:20, pace 10:16

Me, looking surprisingly normal in running gear (I love my new shades!)

Positive:

My¬†first half split was 1 hour flat and felt really good.¬† I was clicking off miles where I wanted to, somewhere in the 9:12 and 9:16 range.¬† (Some followed my race tweets¬†– those will always be slower because I have to start¬† up my phone, and then my Garmin when I hit the mat, because the Garmin is much more accurate.) This bodes well for me to do 5k and 10K races over the summer and especially in the fall when the temps get a lot cooler.¬† My first 5 miles were in the lower 47 minute range, or high 46s, with a few inclines already thrown in, and with me holding back on speed knowing I had a lot more miles to go. This basically teaches me that I’m a 5K and 10K runner. Unfortunately, as you can tell from my time, the second half was not so great.

Positive: 2 of 3 of the big hills didn’t give me problems. The third hill comes at about mile 10.25ish, and goes until, yep, about 11.6. The friggin thing never ends. I’ve run it before, the whole way, without stopping, but today realized that a girl walking next to me while I was running was keeping even pace. So, I decided to power walk¬†when I did walk.

Me and one of Bill's friends, "Rads" who finished in 2:17:06.

Positive:

Knowing my total running time would have been about 1.5 or 2 minutes faster if I hadn’t stopped to strip off my shirt (yep, ran “topless” for at least half the race, LOL), make a pit stop at a porta pottie or to fix the camelbak tube thingy so I could actually get something out of it after about mile 3.) Of course, the clock doesn’t stop just because I did.

Positive:

First and last miles were under 9 minutes (which means I still have closing speed of some sort, just how fast it is is relative to the distance.) Wish they all could have been that way!

Positive: No obvious fueling errors.  Gatorade Prime ROCKS! (First mile felt not so fast and it was 8:46).  Sports Beans, Endurolytes, and Gatorade seem to work well for me.

Positive: It feels weird to say this, but after all these weeks of not eating Oreos, I think I’m possibly cured of my addiction. I looked all around the car for them this morning, thinking Bill had hidden them, but no dice. There were none waiting for me at the end of the race. He offered to buy me a small pack of them later today, and I was like “nah, I think I’m good.”

Unique cloud forming over Atlantic Ocean, in Hull, MA (we went there for lunch to take it easy.)

Positive:

The race is held in a¬†very pretty area south of Boston, that I’ve really enjoyed running in the past few weekends, even if my runs didn’t always go that great.¬† (See the photo above if you don’t believe me that it’s beautiful.)¬†¬†There’s a lot of shade cover, and the route is very pretty for the most part. (Unfortunately or fortunately, they closed the roads. That meant few or no spectators for most of the race. I run with headphones so unless I know the people cheering, it usually doesn’t make a huge difference to me unless I¬† happen to make eye contact with someone and then there’s a boost.)

Positive: I don’t have to eat Country¬† Pad Thai next week.¬† Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but I need a break after eating it for at least 7 of the last 8 weeks. ūüôā

Few Negatives about the Race Organization:

I am hoping these can be corrected next year – it was an inaugural race.

Storm cloud moving out over the ocean

A few things that frustrated me, and I think just about everyone else: water stops with NO CUPS. Yep, that’s right, they seemed to run out of cups by the 4-6 mile mark. They set up the water stops in the center of the road, since this course had a lot of “turn-arounds” so the water stops would get people running in both directions. If you were lucky enough to grab a cup the first time you saw the water stop, you had better hold onto it because odds were, there would be none waiting for you when you saw it again.

I’m sorry, if you’re going to hold a race in the summer, you can have an overflow of cups.¬† They can always be saved to be used the following year. The volunteers ended up holding out water gallon jugs. That’s right, jugs.¬† People were literally cupping their hands and having other runners pour water into their hands, or drinking straight from the bottle that god knows how many other people had drunk from before them. Talk about gross. I am SO GLAD I run with a camelbak for races of this distance – I never trust the courses to provide enough liquid. People who did were really hurting today. I had a girl ask me for a gel at about mile 11.5 or so – I didn’t carry gels (used sports beans and endurolytes religiously) but offered her some sports beans which she gladly took. Then she asked me if we were getting close to mile 12. I hated to tell her we were¬† only at 11.6 at that point and my Garmin was just about¬†even with the race course at that point.

Bill insisted I include this "artistic" (LOL) photo of myself that he took with a new camera app.

Also, I believe the website said that they’d have sports drink and water at every station. Um.¬† Yeah. NEVER saw the gatorade or whatever it was, honestly.¬† Only water in the gallon jugs. They had GU at only one stop that I saw, and it was about the 5.5 mile point, at the top of the road to the summit, from where you can see the city of Boston at a distance (I did make sure to look today. You could see the skyline.)

And one last gripe – this was a major race for Team Challenge.¬† That’s fine, I ran as a charity runner a few years ago myself, so I think it’s great more and more charities are getting involved. But there was a large number of them who were clearly walkers, who lined up toward the front, and then walked at the start of the race. About 4 or more deep.¬† My husband said he could see all the pissed looks on runners’ faces, as many of us went up onto the sidewalk to get around them.¬† (Seeing as I fell last week, and I know how badly uneven that sidewalk is near the start of that race, I was scared to death of falling again.)¬† My guess is that those individuals were just clueless, as many of the others were running right along with me. I know Jill Will Run’s walkers won’t do something like that in Napa!!

But, to end this on a positive, at least I know now for sure what my strength is – shorter distance to middle distance.¬† There is a line in one of my all-time favorite movies that I’ve seen about 56 times, Top Gun (don’t judge), “I feel the need, the need, FOR SPEED!” And yeah, that’s kinda what I need right now. I’m going to start focusing on the speed workouts our coaches are doing for the middle distance runners, and find some good upcoming 5Ks, 5 mile and 10K races.¬† I feel like I really need to throw the hammer down on¬†speed over¬†the next few months.¬† The 7-minute-range miles need to become the norm in 5Ks, rather than a fluke or once-in-a-while thing. ¬†(I do them at track practice regularly now when we do mile repeats and last week’s first mile at 7:43ish didn’t seem like it was that fast.)

Luckily for me, this is Greater Boston so there’s no shortage of races –I just found a 5 mile race for July 3rd that’s got me thinking, “maybe, just maybe.” ūüôā

(Hope you enjoy some of the pics of the ocean in a town called Hull, on a peninsula, just south of Boston.)

Cliffs at Gay Head, Martha's Vineyard

And a wackadoodle is what I have definitely been the last few days.¬† Moods up and down, feeling insecure, then confident and positive (more like normal).¬† Frustrated at being moody, we all know the drill…

Scallop seashells are my favorite to find, other than conches. Finding a double one like this is unusual

I was listening to the local radio tonight in my car on the way to track practice, and one of the radio hosts (a woman) said “Let me explain women to you. We’re NUTS. We’re hormonal. We don’t make any sense.¬† We’re missing something. We make up situations in our mind and then act on them as if they’re real.”¬† I found myself laughing out loud because that’s how wacky I have felt for the last few days.¬† Women reading this – you have to agree, this is sometimes pretty fitting. Men reading this – you’re probably wanting to vigorously shake your head in agreement,¬†but are looking around in fear thinking that your significant other¬†(or any female) may be standing¬†near you and will give you a smack upside the head. ūüôā

 I am SO glad that if my hormones are going to go totally insane, it happens right now rather than this weekend, because as you all probably know, I am running  a half marathon that I actually care about, this weekend, on Sunday, June 27th!!

Corporation Beach, north side of Cape Cod, MA

Because I normally run in the morning, I have noticed that on days when I have track at night, I just don’t know what to do with myself during the day. But tonight was good for me. There was another guy there, Dan, who decided to also run the 13.1 Marathon this weekend. So, they had the two of us run 6 repeat 800s (rather than 400s like everyone else), and at about what pace we’d run if we were running the half marathon. We did each of them at about 4:31-4:32, and I’m so happy to say that we were totally able to talk in a very conversational way. I actually felt like we were kind of just doing a warm up the entire time.¬† Tells me what a long way I’ve come over the last two years, when that would have seemed impossible.

That was exactly the boost I needed.¬†¬† After the slip-n-fall debacle of the 5K this past Saturday, my last long run on Sunday was absolutely atrocious. I couldn’t get enough sleep the night before, didn’t eat my normal Thai food (Father’s Day celebration the night before at the in-laws) and just all around sucked. I couldn’t keep any focus on my run to save my life.¬†¬†I’ve not been able to do anything consistent on my long runs over the past few weeks, pace-wise, at all. So, knowing those repeats were actually slower than what I’ve been doing on my own, is a good thing.¬† When I got home, Bill noticed a change in my kind of down mood from yesterday afternoon, and I said “yeah, running always helps.”

View at about mile 5.5 of the 13.1 Marathon course, few weeks ago in fog. On a clear day, you should see Boston's skyline.

However,  I know that I can do all of the hills without needing to walk up them, because I forced myself to do that two weeks ago when I ran the entire length of the course. (Walking at one point or another though, may be a different story.) 

I’m hoping that having a lot of other runners around will help motivate me and keep me on track come Sunday morning. Dan, with whom I ran tonight, will likely beat me over the distance, although I can sometimes beat him in the shorter distances.¬† Our coach, Kristina, who some may know as Marathon Mama on the Competitor website, is also going to run it but I’ll never see here once it starts, since she wants to run it in about 1:40! (A time I can only, literally, dream about.)

Hope you enjoy the photos – many are from my vacation on Cape Cod. The water on Nantucket Sound and the ocean was sooo blue.

View from Ferry leaving Martha's Vineyard

This is definitely the boldest of the bunch. Think it's a boy, but haven't been able to get close enough to verify. ūüôā

A few weeks since I blogged. Hmm, that’s been becoming a theme too often lately.¬† Full disclosure: I did have a post written about my running on vacation, but as I read it over, I realized I was boring even myself.

So, I’ll post pics from Cape Cod later, and suffice it to say, I did run over vacation, many times, and even did speed work.¬† One day, because I was not in that great of a mood and needed to work through some things, I ran a second time after doing speedwork in the morning.¬† ¬†The second run was in the rain, and at least my body felt pretty damn good at the end of it. A fortunate side effect was that¬†it told me I can even run at a pace that feels fast, twice in the same day.

Because my half marathon is next Sunday, I’ve been logging more and more miles, and feeling like I’m turning into a snail. So, I decided to run a 5K today. Lis, who I’ve known since 2008 when we ran the marathon together, was also up for it (she’s been running and not experiencing pain, let’s all knock on wood she¬†continues to feel good.)

Notice how big they are compared to the paper plate. Yes, those are 3 heads.

Yesterday¬†was a bit of “bizarro world” for the two of us. (Remember that episode from Seinfeld? I know,¬†I know, I’m dating myself by acknowledging I remember it.) ¬†She’s the one who usually arrives to things early, while I’m showing up just a few minutes beforehand, or late.¬† (In fact, i think I give her a heart attack whenever I’m on time for anything.) ¬†Anyway, she was a bit lost in the town, and followed signs for race parking, which for some reason incomprehensible to both of us, was ridiculously far away from the race start. By the time we met up, it was about 8:15 or 8:20 (race time 8:30), so we quickly threw her stuff in my trunk and started running toward the starting line while putting our bibs on our shorts (she picked¬†up our #s¬†yesterday), and I ran for¬†the 2nd time in 5 minutes to the ladies’ room (peanut-sized nervous bladder, what can I say? LOL)¬† She was like “you can pin stuff to you and run at the same time? Because I don’t think I can!” When trying to decide where to meet after the race, I was like “we both have cell phones!” and then we realized, um, yeah, hers was sitting in my trunk… so yeah, we were both out of sorts…

This one seems to be one of the shyest (sp?) of the bunch.

Oh, and sorry, no race photos other than the one of my bloody knee because of our rushing to the start line. Our “after” photos never turn out as good as the “before” ones, LOL.¬† So, I’m posting pics of the kitties who have taken up residence behind our shed, throughout this post.¬† We¬†are feeding them with the hopes of getting them to trust us, so we can try to help them find homes, or at least get trapped-neutered-returned, when the time is right.¬† I am sorry if any of you reading this are not cat fans,¬†but I just find them way too adorable.¬† If you keep in mind that they are eating off of a regular sized paper plate in these pics, you’ll understand how little they really are.

Debacles to report:

My iPod flew out of its case, for only the second time in all the years I’ve had it. I’m running along and all of a sudden, I realize it’s flying all over the place, near my feet, yet still attached to my headphones, thankfully. I believe the phrase that went through my mind (and possibly aloud as well) was WTF?! (Mom, I¬† know you’re reading this, and, no, I’m not going to explain the meaning of that abbreviation, you’ll just get upset and say “you didn’t raise me to use such language.”)*

I do have MORE color to my legs, believe it or not. Lovely, isn't it?

Who doesn’t love a good “yard sale” right at the finish line right in front of everyone, right?!¬†¬† I was sprinting as is my norm, and suddenly went flying. No idea why.¬† Yep, if I’d been holding anything like, say, a water bottle, etc.,¬†it would have been pretty ugly.¬†I might have taken someone’s¬†eye out, because the field was still pretty crowded at that point. ¬†Luckily, the only thing hurt was my pride, and my right¬†knee. The left is bruised, but isn’t bleeding,¬†the left arm is a little “rug-burnedish”¬†but¬†luckily no sprained wrists or anything major.¬† Only 50 yards or so to the end. I did hear the crowd go “OOOHHH” even over the noise of my headphones, that’s always comforting. People asked me “what did you trip over?”¬† Um. My¬† own two feet? LOL.

Unfortunately, hearing the “OOHHs” kinda brought back flashbacks to when I fell on the cobblestones trying to get around crowds at last year’s Tufts 10K race. Today definitely could have been worse – remember the photo of my ankle the day after?¬† You can see it here.¬†

Bill asked me if I got up faster than I did last fall, and I said “yes! The finish line was right there – I was so pissed!” I know a few choice words escaped my lips, hope there weren’t young kids around to hear them. Otherwise, I guess they learned a few new words to add to their vocab if they haven’t heard their own parents use them already.

Oh, and update on my knee as of today. My band aid finally came off today at about mile 6.5, too bad I still had about 2-2.5 more to go. A second band aid refused to stay on at this point.¬† Sweat rolling into a bloody part of your body (that, as I write this, feels like it’s starting to scab over, just lovely), DOES NOT feel good. It stings like a mother! (No, Mom, not talking about you, I’m just leaving out a word of profanity.)*

Pet Peeve:

I know I was a newbie runner/racer at one point, but um, I think that even then, I knew I wasn’t a 7 minute per mile pace runner if I¬†had to stop and walk after a half mile.¬† I lined up with the 8-min milers today (they had signs posted everywhere re. paces), and there were people who started running in front of me who were WAY slower than 8 or even¬†9 minute mile pace. I found myself inwardly yelling (as did Lis), GET OUT OF THE WAY!¬†¬† Then there were the groups of people running together, 2 or 3 across, just close enough to each other that you can’t get past them without throwing a rude elbow into my face.¬† Because of my fall, well, last Fall, I’m pretty scared however, to jump up and off of the sidewalk to get around people so I just tried to bide my time and try to squeeze between people whenever I could.¬† So yes, there was a bit of the “giant slalom” for me at the beginning of the race.¬† (Lis thinks a lot of these people at the “bigger” races around here are just clueless. I agree.)

Stats:

  • Temps – high 70s, kinda humid, I was sweating before I started running as I listened to the most god-awful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.
  • 455/1487 overall (top 31%) (looks like a lot of people wimped out due to the heat, as 1800 registered)
  • 143/858 women (top 16%!!!)
  • 49/300 F30-39 (top 16%!!!!!!!!!!)
  • Official time: 26:32
  • Garmin time: 26:30
  • imapmywalk iphone app time: 26:44 (I started it after the gun but before the starting mat)
  • First mile – 7:47!!!! wahoo (now, just gotta wait til it gets nice and cool and I can blast them all out at that pace, LOL)

For those of you who followed my tweets and sent me notes, thank you.¬† I started the iphone app soI could start the Garmin right on the mat. I do find the app to be a tiny bit off, GPS distance-wise, and it also¬†eats into my battery, but hey, it’ free. And the battery, well, it’s an iPhone 3G. iPhone batteries suck in general!

Anyway, if anyone reading this lives near Boston and thinks eventually that they might want a way-too-cute and adorable kitten, please let me know!

*For those of yo who don’t know, my mom actually reads every single one of my posts, so sometimes she needs a bit of extra explanation.

** In case you’re wondering, or are a baseball fan, Sharon Timlin was Mike Timlin’s mom and died of ALS. Mike Timlin used to be a reliever pitcher for the Red Sox. I didn’t realize until after the race that he was the person speaking on the microphone before the race started. Damn!

Ok, so if any of you were standing right next to me right now, I’d probably be talking about 500 words per¬† minute. Yep, adrenaline still flowing from track practice, can you tell?!

And you’re probably wondering how the three items mentioned above are related.¬† I can tell you, not at all!

Let’s talk food: ¬†So, Oreo Enablers (and I think you all know who you are), I have¬†a very important question, so I hope you are all reading this. Are mini Oreo Cakesters the same as an Oreo? They have chocolate and a cremey filling, but they are more like a “cake,” a la Little Debbie.¬† The mini cakesters come in 100 calorie packs. Would that be violating my oath to not eat any Oreos until my half at the end of June?¬† At any rate, there is no way I am giving up all chocolate until then. I can’t even go a day without some form of its goodness.¬†

Oreo Cakesters, by The Impulsive Buy, flickr.com

I think someone should stand at the finish line of the half-marathon at the end of June, with a HUGE package of Oreos. That could work for motivation!! 

Sex Lube: Yep, you read that right. Sex lube, as one of my coworkers calls it.¬† She is new to running, and was telling me she always gets blisters between her toes when she runs or works out. So, her thought was to use K-Y jelly between her toes.¬† When she said it to me, I looked at her like “Come again?¬† You want to use sex¬†lube between your toes?¬† They’re going to get aroused or something on¬†your workout?!” (This girl totally cracks me up with her¬†questions sometimes.)¬† I was like, “um, they¬†make something called Body Glide, it¬†sells for $7 or $8 at Marathon¬†Sports right up the street!”¬† I think¬†she thought it would be too expensive, but hello?! Can you imagine that sticky mess of K-Y between your toes?!¬†

And now, I realize I¬†might have just taken this blog to new lows… And I can only imagine the weird spam this blog is going to get now…¬†

Running Bras: Ok, I’m on a quest to find one that fits properly and actually doesn’t chaff.¬† I’m fine with the uniboob look as long as it otherwise does the trick. WhenI was in Marathon Sports after my 12 miler that resulted in major chaffage/hickey-looking kind of spot on my neck that burned like a bitch whenever sweat rolled into it during the 2 90+ degree days last week, I tried on a few. Inside their dressing rooms, they have conveniently placed some signs that tell you if a bra fits you properly or not. Shows cleavage in front or on the side? Too small. That accounts for about almost all of my bras, I now realize. Could be that they’ve shrunk, or just that I never bought the right size.¬†

Anyhow, the options that they had for me to try kinda made me laugh. One was a zip-up-the-front option, that made me think “you must be joking” when I tried on the one for a Size¬† C person. As Lis pointed out last week whenwe got together, that one is clearly made for guys. Um, yeah… Others included underwire.¬† Really? Underwire? And EXTRA padding?¬† Really?¬† I want to look padded while running?¬† Has anyone ever worn an underwire that is TRULY comfortable through multiple uses, let alone exercise?? Somehow, I think not.¬†

So, this weekend I bought one by Moving Comfort, in a size medium. Supposed to fit a 34C-36D person. Does anyone else the difference in those two sizes?! GOOD LORD.¬† When I first put it on tonight, well, let’s just say I found yet another use for the Anti-Monkey Butt powder (which is essentially talc and some other kind of powder) and leave it at that.¬† I wore it to track, which was in very humid weather since we had some lamo thunderstorms this afternoon, and well, um, it’s kinda supportive, but there is movement from side to side. Weird thing is I felt the movement more when I took my shirt off (was kind of serving as a towel anyway), than when I threw it back on after just one lap.¬† I’m going to give it a few more tries and see if it gets any better. Hopefully after one or two runs through the washer, it might also soften up a bit.¬†

Track practice РI say, bring on the humidity, I can take it! 

Yeah, I know, big talk from an asthmatic. 

Occasionally, they change things up at our practices and give people some freedom to run according to how they are feeling that night. Tonight, everyone had the option to do either 800s or 400s, in any combination, as long as they ran a total of 3-4 miles for the speed portion of the evening.  I stuck with 400s the whole evening, because to be honest, I just wanted to run FAST after what I felt was totally abyssmal this past Sunday. 

The twist: we had to give an estimate of our time for each segment and we had to run without watches. They literally gathered up our watches, and we were supposed to run based on feel.¬† If you needed a recovery lap, you could tell the coach you’d run a slower pace, but then you really needed to try to hit it.¬†¬†

I did find (don’t think it was cheating…smirk) that I could count to myself on the straightaways and then do the same thing on the curves, to see if I was speeding up or slowing down. Anyway, long story short, I did the first one at 2 minutes just to see how my legs felt after Sunday, and yesterday’s strength/cross-training, and honestly, I was able to talk with no problem to the two guys running with me.¬† I only did one other lap over 2, and that was what I used as a recovery lap from the one before it. My second and third ones were about 1:55 and 1:53, and after that I wanted them all to be faster. I would say 1:46 as my guess and do 1:43, and then found that in the range of about 1:44-1:47 was my comfort zone. Two of my 400s, including my last (!!) were 1:38.¬†

Mom, I know you’re mathematically challenged. (And yes, I see you shaking your head, asking “Me?” with that wide-open look you get when you know you’ve been figured out.)¬† That equates to about a 6:32 minute mile pace, so about as fast as Jamie runs his marathons.¬† So yep, I can run with him for the first quarter mile, then fall over, and let him run the rest of the way at about that pace, or a bit slower.¬†¬†

Yeah, it’s still kind of sick when I think about how fast my brother is.¬†

What this tells me is that I definitely did not run on Sunday to the best of my abilities.¬† I have really got to work¬† on the mental toughness side of things. So, Thursday morning, my plan is to do hill work. I found a hill this afternoon that is aboutt .3 miles¬† long, and I’m going to charge it¬† as my boss advised, at least 5 times. I’m fine with downhill running, thanks to my brother, but the uphill part is where I need to build confidence. I’ll take a picture of the hill and post it if there’s a way to give it justice, because it’s a hill where you can feel the difference in your car shifting as you drive up it.¬†

Saturday my plan is to get up even earlier than normal and try to be down near the June race course by around 6:15/6:30 and get going on a 12 miler again. (The rest of the course is flat, so I know I can handle that.)  So much of that course is really pretty, I have to focus on that and not the hills that seem endless!