Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Busy Week

This week has been crazy so far and will continue to be crazy into the weekend. I did manage to stay on track with my scheduled runs and the new shoes were exactly what I needed. I ran 5 miles yesterday at a slow pace, and no aches or pains, even my hips felt okay. Yay for new shoes! I've been running really early in the mornings, around 6 am and I really enjoy it. There's been a heavy fog that almost feels like a light rain when you run through it; extremely cool and very quiet. If I can continue to drag my lazy butt out of bed at that hour, I will.

I spent all day yesterday at the county fair with the nephews. We went on all the rides, ate crap all day long, and had great fun. When I go to the fair with Hubby, it's a completely different kind of day-we look at the displays, go through all the animal barns (I love critters), admire the quilts and table settings, and we usually pack our own lunch because we don't eat fair food.

With the nephews, I learned to appreciate a completely different aspect of the fair. They have no interest in quilts or table settings. The boys are much more impressed by the world's biggest hog and the roller coasters. Give them churros and some rather nasty looking lemonade (it's almost neon yellow, I doubt there's any actual lemon in the stuff!) and their day is perfect.

I'm swapping my run today with a rest day; I didn't get home til almost midnight and I'm feeling the lack of sleep.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Cross training

I did my cross training today. I didn't like it but I did it-30 minutes on the elliptical then 30 minutes of walking at a fast clip on the treadmill, my two least favorite ways to exercise. However, by splitting it up it wasn't quite as bad as a whole hour on one or the other, so maybe this is the way to go in the future. I can skip back and forth as the spirit moves me.

We saw X Files today. Spoiler alert-if you intend to see the movie, stop here.

It wasn't what I expected. I thought it would be a continuation of the last movie. Instead, it was really just an episode like they would have shown on the TV series, just longer. No aliens, no black goo oozing around in someones eyes, and unfortunately no mysterious smoking man. They did finally have Scully and Mulder hook up-it's about time!

I miss the series; I was seriously addicted. Hubby and I joke to this day about the Peacock family and their interesting use of a mechanic's dolly.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

New shoes!

I made it to my friendly neighborhood running store this morning, which means new shoes for me-yay! I love new shoes. It amazes me how much difference they can make. My last couple of runs really sucked, my legs just really ached afterwards, so I'm hoping the new shoes are the answer. I'm dying to try them out. I got exactly the same kind I've purchased the last 2 times, so these will be my third pair of trusty Asics gels, same size, same everything, even same color. I tried on some shoes on sale, considered a pair that were a half size smaller than I've been wearing, then talked myself out of them. I would have saved about 20 bucks, but then, why change something if it's working well?

I just wish I had taken one of my old pairs in to the store. They have a big bin for used running shoes that they donate to the needy. I guess Goodwill will serve the same purpose..

Friday, July 25, 2008

I need new shoes

At least, I think I need new shoes. I did 8 miles today and even with walking breaks it was tough. My legs feel like crap. I took a really cold shower when I got home (my version of an ice bath) and it felt so good on my legs. I've got right at 300 miles on my trusty Asics and that's just about the point where the last pair failed. So it will be a trip to my friendly neighborhood running store, probably next week, hopefully I can make it on Monday.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Today was a nice relaxed 5 miler. The mornings have been cool and overcast, perfect for running. And the quail are everywhere! They crack me up. The get so frantic and they just don't know where to run when they see me coming.

We got a call from a friend telling us that a picture of Hubby's Allard was printed in the latest edition of Classic Motorsports, a vintage car magazine. The picture was taken last year at the Carmel car show we attended. I was glad to see the Allard get a little recognition. The Allard is the yellow car in the foreground; the car we were parked next to is a beautifully restored Cunningham.

I never drive the Allard. It handles horribly and it's very unpredictable; that's why we've named it Grendel. I can pretty much drive anything-stick, right hand drive, you name it, but I know my limitations as a driver and I have a healthy respect for the Allard. Even the guys that drive in vintage races talk about how hard it is to drive Allards. They are amazing to watch on the track. You hear them before you see them-a deep, earth shaking rumble. In their day, they were the fastest cars on the track. We go to Laguna Seca every year for the vintage races and the Allards are always a highlight for us.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Party like it's 1582

I didn't run today or yesterday. Yesterday was a rest day, today is crosstraining; and I'm so tired right now I'll have to think about doing the elliptical. If walking counts as crosstraining then I've done more than enough.

We spent all day today at our local renaissance fair. Yes, we dress up, me in my home made period dress for a lower class merchant woman, Hubby in his kilt. It's just so much more fun to go in period dress. It gives adults an excuse to dress up and act out of character. Everyone is very friendly and I love watching the performances, especially the jousting. Most of the people there are adept at speaking in the true manner of the Elizabethan period and it never fails to make me giggle when they greet me "Good morrow, my lady".

If you have a renaissance fair near you, you should go. You don't have to dress up unless you want to and it's lots of fun.

That's why I'm so tired-I spent the whole day walking. To heck with the elliptical.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Walk breaks, pt 2

I did my first long run using my new plan today, a 7 miler with 1 minute walk breaks between each mile. I had an average pace of 11:10; when I checked my log, that pace is pretty average for a 7 mile run. So walk breaks didn't slow me down at all; didn't speed me up; it just meant I managed to complete the miles without feeling dead tired at the end. And the run seemed easier. Whenever I started feeling tired, I could just remind myself that I only had x distance to go before I had a break. As I ramp up the mileage on the long runs, this could make a huge difference.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Practice makes perfect

I have nothing interesting to report, running-wise; 3 miles yesterday, 5 today, 3 tommorrow. The fun will be on Friday when I do my first long run of my new plan. I'll be running 1 mile, walking 1 minute and I'm really curious to see how my time is.

It seems to me that new runners try to do way to much running in the beginning-either too many miles, or running too fast. I was guilty of this when I started; I thought I should be running every day, and increasing my mileage every day in order to become a better runner. When I finally talked to an experienced runner and told him my plan his reply was "If your goal is to injure yourself, you're right on track".

I've come to the conclusion that we think this way because this is how we train for other sports. When I was a teenager, my sport of choice was horse shows. I rode every day, rain or shine, hours at a time constantly trying to improve my skills. It's the same for lots of other sports-you want to be good at basketball? Then you spend hours on the court practicing shots. Golf, baseball, tennis-all the same. Hours of practice equal better performance. Running is different. I now know that running damages the body. It's those rest days that allow the body to repair itself and be ready for the next run. When I finally learned that lesson, my ability to run really started to improve.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Car Show

Today was a rest day, no running which was nice because my day started around 5:30 am. We took the Allard to a car show; it was in San Luis Obispo, and all European cars, sponsored by the Mercedes Benz club. I like European shows; that's what we are most interested in, as opposed to hot rods or American cars.

So the mix of makes and models was really nice-lots of British and German iron, a few Italian cars, and some very nice vintage motorcycles. I spent a whole day this week detailing the Allard. It's hard work but one of my favorite things to do. I have the radio on my favorite station and it's just me, the car, and a toothbrush-now that's detailing a car.

We knew a lot of the people at the car show. It's just one of those things-if you spend 30 or so years going to car shows, vintage races, and auctions, you get to know a few people. And the Allard won best in class! So we spent the day visiting with friends at a beautiful park, had a nice lunch, and came home with a trophy-it's all good!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

New plan

Today was an easy 5 miler; tommorrow I start a new base building plan. I'm excited! I've been on the run since 6:30 am and I'm really tired and I still have to babysit the nephews so I won't be home until 10ish. I thought retirement was supposed to be easy going and relaxing..

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Today was an easy 4 miler, the first run since my half mary on Saturday. I ignored pace, hr, everything and just ran and it was terrific. I'll spend the rest of this week just running for fun, no longer than 6 milers, then next week I start a base building plan. I downloaded a marathon training plan by Hal Higdon for advanced novices and I really like the plan, the good thing is that since I'm using it to build mileage and not train for a race, if I have trouble with a particular week I can just repeat it until I feel comfortable with it.

I've discovered that my personal weak point is my hips. I have absolutely no pain at all in my ankles or knees; if a run is going to be painful I feel it in my hips. So Hubby knows this and will ask me how my hips feel after a long run. After the race my hips ached all day and into the next day. Hubby told me that maybe I have hip dysplasia and if it gets worse, maybe he'll have to take me to the vet and have me put down. He was just joking.

At least, I think he was just joking..

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Walk breaks

I've been researching the benefits of taking walking breaks during a long run. Now that all the hard core, you aren't a runner if you walk, just stay out of my way during a race cuz I'm a real athlete runners have signed off (and probably deleted my blog permanently) let's look at the issue logically.

What I've learned is that if you are a fairly fast runner you probably won't benefit much from walking during a long run. This is because you will lose too much time during your walking breaks. If, however, you are a very slow runner like myself, there's a lot to gain from walking. The idea is that you'll maintain a better pace throughout the entire run instead of running out of gas early and being forced to go so slowly that you're pretty much at a walking pace by the end of the run anyway. The key is to start the walk breaks right from the beginning of the run instead of waiting until you're so tired that your body forces you to walk. I've also learned that the benefits from a stamina viewpoint will be just as good with walking breaks as without when it comes to a long run. Even my new running hero, Hal Higdon, suggests using walking breaks during the long run in his training plans.

I wasn't going to admit this here, but there were 3 people who started with me at my last race, who were incorporating regular walking breaks into their race strategy, and all 3 beat me to the finish line. I'm going to try this on my long runs. I'm going to start with 8 milers. According to Galloway, my ratio should be 5:1 (5 minutes running to 1 minute walking). I'm going to try a ratio of 1mile:1 minute, mostly because it's easier to track during my runs. The good thing is that I don't have any races on the horizon so I can really play with this plan and see how it works.

I read on a forum somewhere that at marathons, if you're taking walk breaks early in the race, you have to be prepared for derisive comments from some of the runners passing you. Can people really be that mean spirited and small? I would hope that most runners would recognize the efforts made by others to run a marathon regardless of the method they choose to complete the race.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Post race analysis

I've been thinking about yesterday's race all day today. I'm kind of an analytical person; I like breaking a problem down to it's most basic elements and examining them one by one. So the question is, why was yesterday's race such a failure? I thought I did everything right. I pretty much followed my training plan every week, the only big exception being that my last long run was 11 miles instead of 12; but I wouldn't expect one mile on a long run to make that big of a difference in my race. And the race course is actually easier than my training course since it contains no hills. and the race course is hard packed dirt which should be easier to run on than the pavement I'm accustomed to, and the weather was perfect for a race, except for the wind during the last 3 miles. So why was the same race so much easier last year? What was different?

I've come to the conclusion that the biggest difference was the training plan I used. Last year, I used a beginner's plan in which I ran 4 days a week, 3 days rest, and no speed work-just a focus on increasing mileage with a mix of short, medium, and one long run weekly. So this year I tried an intermediate plan with fairly short runs during the week, 2 rest days, one xtraining day and one long run. and at least one, sometimes two of the short runs were speed work. I've been worried that I wasn't running enough miles during the week to build stamina for the long runs and I'm pretty sure that was the case. My long runs during training were all tough. That should have clued me in that the plan was wrong for me.

The other major mistake was my pacing. I remember checking my Garmin at mile 4 and seeing a 10:20 pace and thinking,"Wow, that's pretty good, and I still feel strong; I'm going to really pay attention to my pace and try to maintain 10:20 or so." What was I thinking? If, instead of trying to maintain that pace, I had pulled back to a more reasonable 11+ pace, I may have had gas in the tank at mile 10.

So it was a good learning experience, if nothing else. I'm kind of looking forward to not racing for the rest of the year. I want to just focus on building a good base and enjoying running for the sake of running again, as opposed to running x miles because the plan says I have to. I want to build back up to 30 mpw with a 10 mile long run. I want to experiment with walk breaks during my long run, and continue with one day of speed work weekly.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Guadalupe 1/2 Marathon

So, today was the big race I've been preparing for now for several weeks. I wish I could report that I improved on my time last year, but sadly I was slower. Today dawned foggy and cool-perfect. I got to bed early last night after a really good dinner-perfect. Got up at 6, had my usual breakfast, and got to Guadalupe half an hour before the race start-perfect.

One of the best moments of the race actually happened before the gun went off. Hubby had triple dog dared me to do something at my next race so of course I had to do it-I waited til everyone was at the start line with just a couple of minutes to go, and in a loud voice I asked "Does anyone here have a cigarette I can bum? Anyone?" Boy, did I get some horrified stares. Most people realized immediately it was a joke, but honestly, there were a few people there who maybe need to get a sense of humor. Seriously.

So the gun goes off, we take off, with me at the back of the pack where I belong. And I'm really paying attention to my pace because I would like to be at least a little faster than last year when I barely managed an 11 minute pace. All is well the first 7 miles or so. I start to slow down around mile 8 or 9. Then I pretty much completely bonked at mile 10. I could give you all sorts of excuses for the bonkage. There was a pretty stiff wind the last 3 miles-the kind that makes you feel like you aren't making any progress forward even though you're running. And I got a side stitch that just wouldn't go away. I tried deep breathing, walking a little, slowing way down; nothing worked so I just ran really slow and toughed it out.

The biggest thing I learned from this race-maybe I shouldn't have done the speed work. Maybe I should have stuck to a plan that had no speed work and more mileage. I felt undertrained and obviously the speed work didn't make me any speedier. I still want to do speed work, but more to improve shorter races. Anyway, I'm taking 2 days off (maybe 3) and I have lots of time to figure it out. I'm still learning.

Oh, and Hubby actually got involved as a volunteer, sort of by being in the right place at the right time. The course has 1 road we have to cross and last year the CHP was there for traffic control. They didn't make it this year so the volunteers had to leave the water table to stop traffic so we could cross. So, anyway, Hubby drove over to the road to get pictures of me, and while he was waiting he saw they needed a little help so he started doing the water table thing-pretty cool, huh!

And I'm happy to report that I did not take last place honors this year. I was next to last.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

Today is a rest day; tommorrow, after a very short run, Hubby and I will travel a short distance north to Templeton to take in the local parade. It's everything a parade should be-lots of Boy Scout troops riding on flatbed trucks; teenaged girls on horseback, and church groups with homemade floats.

In honor of the occasion, today's post is about one of my favorite founding fathers-John Adams. I've read several biographies about him, and if I could spend a day with any historical figure, he's the one I would choose. I very much admire his integrity and his moral compass. He had lots of self doubts as we all do; he was vain and temperamental. He took on court cases that were extremely unpopular because it was the right thing to do. He had a deep abiding love for his wife, Abigail, and he valued her opinion very much regarding the politics of the time.

I wish we had someone like him running as a candidate in our current Presidential race.