What’s Beautiful: Training to Be Faster, Week 1

As I mentioned last week, I am participating in the Under Armour What’s Beautiful campaign, which is sponsored through my relationship with Fitfluential. The What’s Beautiful project is a competition with the goal of redefining the female athlete. Women are invited to set goals for themselves and then go out and achieve them.

Underarmour Collage2My goal is to run a half marathon in under two hours for the first time since I turned 50. The last time I ran under two hours was in 2007 and I was 49 (less than a month before my 50th birthday). I ran the Long Beach Half Marathon in 1:59:04. Now I want to do it again, six years later, at the Costume Party Run on July 7.

I know what I have to do (I wrote about it in that previous post), and this is week one of my new and improved half marathon training program. Here is my recap of my first week.

Strength Training

For the last few months, all of my strength training has been completed during the classes that I teach. I am fortunate that I can get a decent workout in while I’m teaching, but it still isn’t the same as getting it done in the gym. Now that my work will be slowing down and I’ll be teaching fewer classes, I will need to get back in the gym, and Alan and I plan to get there next week. In the meantime, I taught two Superball classes this week. The first one was a little different. I made a list of exercises and arranged them by muscle groups. I hung the list on the mirror. Each student got to pick an exercise as we went around the room, doing the class circuit style. It was a lot of fun and I loved that each and every one of them picked challenging exercises! No wimps in my class (and remember, they are all in the 50-70 year old range!).

I also taught two Fast and Furious Classes. Friday’s class was a challenging Tabata workout, which almost left me lying on the floor when we were done. Good stuff!

What's Beautiful - Recap

Running

This training cycle I plan to change things up a bit and increase the intensity of some of my workouts. I’m going to add in one 14 mile run (13 was my longest last time around), alternate longer tempo runs with my interval workouts, and spice things up a bit with some negative split long runs. Since this is week one, my tempo workout was to run two miles straight at my lactate threshold pace, which was right at 8:42. I took Penny out first (because I truly can’t get out the door without taking her for some part of the run, no matter what my goals are). We ran three miles together, pretty slow, especially the second half. She is 12 now, and I can really tell now that she’s getting older. It breaks my heart a little, but she is still so happy on the run.

After the three miles, I dropped her at home, then did the same route on my own. After a half mile, I picked it up to my tempo pace and sustained it for two miles, then slowed down a bit to cool down.

What's Beautiful - Recap

 Saturday is scheduled for my long run, but I got up late, and we are finally at that point in the desert that we can’t do that anymore. We left the house about 7:10 and it was already getting hot. I decided that since I had a lot of things to do around the house anyway, I’d cut the run short, get my errands done, and get up early on Sunday for my long run.

Which I did, but somehow I still didn’t get out the door until 6:20 or so. It was already in the 70s, and warming up fast. I did the first three miles with Penny, dropped her off and headed back out for the next six. It would have been so easy to cut it short. It was getting really warm, my legs were tired, my back was a little sore from some of the housecleaning I’d done on Saturday. Add to that the route I took passed several “cut off” points, that I could have used to shorten my run, and I was really challenged to stick with it.

What's Beautiful - Recap

I’m happy (and a little proud) to report that I did stick with it, even though it probably looked like a death march for the last five miles mile.  I had refilled my electrolyte drink when I dropped Penny off, but I ran out of fluids about a half mile from home. I did stay hydrated, though, as evidenced by the sodden mess of sweat I was when I finally finished. I actually made myself another cold bottle of my electrolyte drink as I sat and cooled down.

What's Beautiful - Recap

Now, while it was pretty warm (79 degrees when I finished, plus I was in the sun), it is nothing compared to what it will be in a few weeks. Soon, 79 will be chilly! So I’d better get used to it. Last summer, we had many humid 90 degree mornings even when we started running at 5:30 am.

What's Beautiful - Recap

I found that the run pretty much pooped me out. I made a smoothie for Alan and myself (he got back from his 25 mile bike ride minutes after I finished my run), and that helped me refuel and rehydrate, but my legs were sore and tired. I spent the rest of the morning taking it easy. It was Mother’s Day after all, so this mother took a little nap.

What's Beautiful - Recap

I did talk to both of my sons, of course. Nathan and Sarah are celebrating her first Mother’s Day at home, but we did a little Facetime (I love Facetime so much!), so I got to make kissy faces at my grandson. My younger son David and I are going out to lunch tomorrow. And I spent some time thinking about my mom, who was an amazing woman and mother. (Love you Mom!)

I also spent some time with my younger “children.” In addition to my run with Penny, I spent some quality cuddling time with Lily, Buddy (in the picture below), Olivia, Goldie, and Sydney.

My dogs

Have you joined the What’s Beautiful challenge yet? It is easy to do, just click here, sign up and get ready to challenge yourself. You can also follow me as I train and take on extra challenges. Come on! What are you waiting for?

I hope that you mothers enjoyed your day (there is no way to say that so it doesn’t sound funny). How was your training week? Any events, races, or other competitions?

Weekly Training Recap, Week 13: Taper Time!

Well, the hard stuff is over (except for the actual race). For the next six days, I’ll reduce my mileage and my effort. On Wednesday, I’ll run a little tempo at race pace, then that will be it until the race (I’d actually like one extra day, but my schedule doesn’t allow it except Saturday, and I’m choosing not to run the day before the race). I’ll be careful with my strength workouts this week, especially my Friday Fast & Furious class, which tends to leave me sore and tired.

I have to say that I’m pretty proud of the training that I’ve done for this race. While I didn’t manage all my workouts, usually only completed one speed workout a week, and totally failed on the yoga, my training was much more intense than it has been for years. When I found it difficult to get to the track for interval work, I made up for it by doing my intervals on the road. I stayed on track with all my distance training too. I’m pretty excited to see the results next Sunday. Here is my weekly training recap.

Strength Training

More of the same on the strength training front. Two Superball classes, which provide a moderate workout, and one Fast and Furious Class, which was challenging, added an extra mile to my running total, and left my back kind of sore for a day. I will definitely skip it next Friday! See the photo below for the workout (we did jump squats instead of split squat jumps).

weekly training recap

Running

As many runners and bloggers did this past week, I dedicated my Tuesday run to Boston. I wore a race shirt and ran three miles with Alan and the dogs. Easy pace on the way out, uphill, pushed it a little on the downhill portion.

weekly training recap

I knew that Wednesday would be my last speed work day before the La Jolla Half Marathon, so I made it a good one. After running three miles with Penny to warm up, I took her home then went back and did three-one mile repeats on the road. The first was 8:15, the second was 8:09, and the third, in which I had just a little breathing (asthma) difficulty, was 8:19. I was happy with that. It still kind of makes me laugh to think that I once did a whole marathon at a 7:30 pace. Age Time will tell!

I skipped my Saturday run. Because I had to work, it was only going to be three miles, but I woke up with a slight headache generally feeling yucky. So, I took an extra hour of sleep instead of the run. When I got home from work I had a package from Roadrunner Sports. New Shoes! I had just ordered them on Friday and I had them in my hands by Saturday afternoon. That’s the RRS VIP treatment alright!

mizuno wave rider 16

My new Mizuno Wave Riders. Aren’t they pretty?

On Sunday, Alan was announcing the Run Through Redlands Half Marathon, 10k, 5k, and Color Splash Run. I only had eight miles on the schedule, so I just took off along the course before the races started to do my run. Redlands is very pretty. My grandparents used to live there, but I don’t remember exactly where. I kind of rambled during my run, got off the race course, and ended up with what felt like my first hill work of my training cycle! There are some beautiful homes in Redlands. I took a lot of pictures last year when I did a similar run, so I didn’t plan to take any this year, until I saw this house and couldn’t help myself.

weekly training recap

When I headed back toward the start, I ended up running alongside the 10k runners, which gave me a little push (plus it was finally downhill!). I ended up with 8.5 miles. After my run, I hung around the little expo while Alan worked until the last runner finished. It was getting warm near the end, so I found a place in the shade and watched Alan work.

weekly training recap

weekly training recap

Even though I didn’t run the half marathon I checked the results. The woman who won my age group ran 2:17! Last week I ran 2:09 in my training run. I think Redlands has a tougher course, but even based on my pace today I would have done quite well. Oh well.

Here are a few more pictures of my Sunday:

mizuno wave rider 16

Before my run. Because they never look this good again.

weekly training recap

Because of the tragedy at the Boston Marathon, runners were asked not to leave bags or backpacks on the ground. This got me thinking though. A helicopter hovering very low, then rising with something big and black on the end of a long cable. I learned after the run that it was lifting an air conditioning unit to the top of a bank building, but still strange to see at 6:30 on a Sunday morning.

Week13_9

If you are interested, here is my complete training log for last week (click to enlarge).

weekly training recap

How did your training go last week? Any events, races or competitions? Share!

Weekly Training Recap: Week 9. Including Las Vegas Workouts and a 5k!

Well, from Las Vegas to a 5k race, my training has been, well, interesting this week. I always know that traveling can be challenging to workout plans, but, as I was heading to a fitness conference I thought that gave me an edge. While the IHRSA Convention does offers a multitude of workout options, several of which I had hoped to attend, instead I opted for a few shorter, at-the-hotel sessions. I finished the week with a 5k. As I wrote over a month ago, I was excited to run this race in week nine of my program because it was on a similar course to the 5k at the Palm Springs Half Marathon, which I ran in week three. Here is my week nine training recap.

 weekly training recap

Strength Training

I only did one strength training session, a Fast and Furious class on Monday before I left for Las Vegas. It was challenging though, and I’m okay with missing my other classes during the week. I’m back to work on Monday, so I’ll be back on track with my classes. Still haven’t made it to the gym for any “real” training, though.

weekly training recap

Yoga

While I didn’t make it to a “regular” yoga class, I did two short workouts in my hotel room in Las Vegas. I had a huge room, at the Tuscany Suites (an awesome deal, by the way), with plenty of room to lay down my yoga mat. I used a couple YogaDownload.com audios, so I could choose the length, level, style, etc. By the way, I chose short, intermediate, vinyassa.

weekly training recap

My other yoga-style workout was at the trade show. While I was wandering with a couple friends, who manage fitness facilities near me, we got to the Anti-Gravity Yoga booth just as the class was starting. I’ve wanted to try aerial yoga for a while, missed the classes at last year’s convention, so I was on it.

weekly training recap

weekly training recap

weekend

weekly training recap

weekly training recap

Sorry for so many pictures, but I loved this so much. It was challenging, especially because I felt kind of awkward and tended to get caught up in my hammock. The core work was amazing, imagine doing a crunch as you hang upside down. The handstand, something I am nowhere near to doing in regular yoga, left me feeling elongated, like I’d grown an inch. I haven’t had a chance to check to see if Anti-Gravity Yoga is available in my desert area, but I truly hope so. I’m hooked!

Running

While my mileage was down for the week, I was happy that I did at least get in one run in Las Vegas. As you know, I’ve written about running on the strip, and I love the experience. But I found that it was just a little too dark in the morning for me to feel comfortable running outside. So, on my one run in Vegas, I took to the treadmill. The Tuscany Suites had a nicely set up gym, which is always a nice find at any hotel. I managed four miles on the treadmill (a miracle for me), and added four 1/4 mile intervals at an 8:00 minute pace. Not much, but better than nothing.

IMG_4420

weekly training recap

I was so happy to be home for my Saturday run, and back outside where I belong. Alan and I took Penny and Buddy out on the trails for our run. It was so good to be out there with my favorite running partners. We ran about 5.3 miles, then dropped off those two dogs. While Alan took Sydney and Goldie for a walk, I took our other two little dogs, Lily and Olivia, for another mile and a half run. Everybody was happy and well-exercised!

weekly training recap

So finally, on Sunday, I had the Women Running Wild 5k. Alan was announcing, as he has done for about 10 years. I was excited to see what changes my training had brought. It is so funny. I know that the training makes a difference, obviously, but I didn’t feel like I was faster. I guess it is partly because as you adapt, increase your V02 Max and your lactate threshold, you keep pushing yourself, so the workouts are always hard. I was afraid that after all my talk, my time would be the same or even slower that my last race.

I needn’t have worried, as it turned out. I felt great through the race, though I worried a little at the start of mile three that I wouldn’t be able to sustain my pace. I finished the race in 25:07 (my official time), which is an average of 8:04 per mile. Compare that to my time six weeks ago of 26:55, and you can see why I’m feeling pretty good tonight. Any time you take off almost two minutes feels pretty good. I may not have any PRs in my future (don’t think I’ll get back under 20 minutes), but I am happy to have a new PR as a 55 year old.

weekly training recap

weekly training recap

Women Running Wild raises money through the Jody Klein Memorial Breast Cancer fund for the City of Hope. I have been involved with the event for years, either as a participant, volunteer, or, for five years, as the volunteer coordinator. It is a wonderful event, run my my friend Greg Klein (Jody’s sister). The women’s race is separate from the men, which is fun, and has many divisions, including walkers, baby joggers, big and small dogs, and pregnant women. I was excited to finish second in my division (and 40th overall, not too shabby!).

It is also quite an emotional event. Greg lost his sister to breast cancer about seven years ago, his mother is a 10 year survivor, and this year was the first without his step-dad, Cy, an amazing man who raised thousands of dollars for the event and died last year at the age of 100. There is always a balloon release before the awards ceremony, where people write the names of loved ones they have lost on the balloons before the release. This year they had a special gold balloon in honor of Cy. My sister Susan died of another type of cancer, but I always send up a balloon in her honor.

weekly training recap

weekly training recap

Also present (and participating in the race), were Jeff and Amy. Remember them from the post I wrote in December. Jeff was diagnosed with brain cancer last November, given basically no hope of surviving the surgery that removed the tumor, and yet here they were.

weekly training recap

Alan was there of course. There is nothing like hearing him announcing my name as I finish. He always says, “Here comes my favorite person in the whole world!” Here he is with another fried of ours, after the race.

weekly training recap

All in all, a successful week and a great event.

week9_14

If you are interested, here are the details of my weekly training:

weekly training recap

So, how was your training week? Did you participate in any events? Go anywhere fun (though it’s hard to beat Vegas, isn’t it?)?