Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tonight's running class

Blah, tonight's running class was really disappointing. First of all, it's freaking hot out there - 90+ degrees. I prefer to run at 6am when it's not so gross outside yet. But I didn't run this morning because I knew I had the class tonight.

So we get to the class and all they did was send us out to the streets to run 4-6 miles! The two coaches took off with the fast runners and left us slower people behind. What a waste! If I'd known that's what we'd be doing, I would have run this morning and skipped the class. Seriously, what am I paying for here? I hope it's better next week. They say they will give us our personalized training schedules next week.

After the running portion of the evening, we went into the running store and they gave us a seminar about choosing proper shoes and socks. Interesting stuff, I guess, if you were brand new to running. Personally, I didn't learn anything new.

Blah! I am whiny today!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Running Class

I signed up for a "Marathon 501" class through a local running shop. My marathon training partner Vicki was going to do it, so I figured I would too.

The group meets twice a week, on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. Wednesday night will be hill work or speed work, while Saturday is the long run. We have two coaches and we also get emails a few times a week from the head coach of the whole program. (They run this class out of several locations.) Plus they have a website with different training schedules we can use, and where we track all of our workouts so the coaches can review it during the week and give us comments when we meet for class.

Last Wednesday was the first class where we actually ran. The prior Wednesday was orientation and they didn't have a Saturday meeting. Not sure how I feel about the class so far. We met at the running store, then ran two miles to a middle school that has a track. Once on the track, we did a two-mile timed run that the coaches will use to help us determine what our training pace should be. Then we ran two miles back to the store, got some initial comments from the coaches about our workouts we'd posted online, and that was it.

I was hoping that we'd be getting some tips on running form and that sort of thing during the class, but so far it hasn't happened. This thing will run through October (most people in the class are training for the Detroit marathon that happens in Oct.) so there's still plenty of time for that, I guess. But the coaches seem a little disorganized and I'm hoping that improves, too. If nothing else, though, at least it will force me to do some hills and speed work which are two things I tend to avoid on my own.

I won't be attending the Saturday long runs because they take place at a park which is way too far away from David's house where I spend the weekends. I don't want to drive 90 minutes to meet for a 6:45am long run. Vicki and I meet at a park and do our long runs together, and there's a huge Team in Training group that meets there so we always have people to run with if we want.

Overall, I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that I didn't waste $150!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Flirt with Dirt 5K Race Report

Yesterday was the Flirt with Dirt 5K at Lakeshore Park in Novi. The park has mountain biking and hiking trails. The race took place on the bike trails.

The temperature was in the low 50s so in other words, perfect. The skies were cloudy. The park is small and we arrived early because we figured parking would be a nightmare. We were wrong - they were very organized and we parked quickly. I'd already picked up my race packet on Friday so David and I just milled around until it was time for the race to start.

They started us off down a grassy hill and we ran a lap around a soccer field, then along the driveway to the trailhead and finally onto the trail. I positioned myself about midway back in the pack and I really don't know if that was a good idea or not. The trail was mostly very narrow singletrack so there weren't a lot of opportunities to pass or be passed. There were a number of times that I was right on someone's heels and could have been going faster but there was no way to get around. Of course, there were also times when someone was on my heels and couldn't get past me, so I suppose it all evens out in the end.

About 3/4 mile into the race, it started to rain. Fortunately, it wasn't raining very hard and the trees shielded us from most of it, anyway. I quickly forgot that it was raining and never even noticed when it stopped.

At one point the girl in front of me tripped on a root or something and fell forward, arms splayed out, right on her face. Ooof! I stopped to ask if she was okay and she said yes, then apologized to me for blocking me! Sheesh, I was just glad she didn't get seriously hurt. We continued to run and she said "ouch" and kept looking at her left palm. I bet she ended up with some fun bruises and scratches.

The trail had hills but not any that were as long as the hills on the first trail race I did, so I didn't have too much trouble. I was really pleased that I didn't walk during this race at all, unlike the previous trail race. It was uphill to the finish so I was huffing and puffing by the time I got there and didn't exactly cross the line in a blaze of speed, but that's okay.

I had two goals for the race:

1) Don't fall. (I fell during the first trail race, ugh!)
2) Keep a faster pace than the last trail race.

Mission accomplished on both counts! Woo hoo! I finished 10th in my age group, which sounds pretty awesome until you find out that there were only 15 racers in my group. :) I finished 96 out 155 overall. Good or bad? I don't know, but I was happy with my performance.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Nice and slow

Went out for a run this morning. I turned the Garmin on when I started running and then didn't look at it again until I was done. I wanted to run nice and relaxed without pushing myself to go faster. My goal was to do something a bit longer than the 3-milers I've been doing since the Bayshore half, but I didn't want to go all out since I have a race tomorrow plus it just felt like a good day for a relaxed run.

I hit the rail trail and ran until I felt like turning around, then ran some more and did a little random neighborhood running, too. When I bought my condo 15 years ago when I was tubby and inactive, I had no idea how wonderful it would be to have that rail trail a mere 1/4 mile from my front door. I love it! They've expanded it in the last several years so I could go a good 12-14 miles or so from end to end if I wanted to (with a couple of scary-ass road crossings in there).

Weather was perfect this morning - low 50s and sunny. A delightful day all in all, and lots of people out enjoying the trail with me. When I got home I expected to see maybe 4 1/2 miles on the Garmin, but it turns out I ran 5 1/4. Loved every minute of it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Today's run

I ran three miles today at a 9:57 average pace. That's faster than the 5K we did on Saturday. What is happening to me? I honestly never thought I'd break a 10-minute mile. Now I want to see how much faster I can go.

But I'm taking tomorrow off from running. Partly because I don't want to overdo it, but mostly because I have an appointment at 7:15, then I have to work, and then right after work I go to my first Marathon 501 class! Time to start getting ready for the Free Press Marathon. I'm excited and terrified.

Monday, June 8, 2009

More running with David

Since the 5K on Saturday, David and I have had two more opportunities to run together. On Sunday, we headed to the park where I'll be doing a trail 5K on Saturday. I just wanted to check it out and see how crazy it is. We did about 1 1/4 miles there. I think I can handle the terrain, but I'm a little worried about being able to pass people or let them pass me - it is mostly narrow single-track. Hmmm, should be interesting!

After we left the park, we went to my house and did another 3 miles on my local rail trail and got done just before it started raining. A good day of running!

I stayed at David's house last night and we headed out for a run at 6am today. We have a good three-mile route in David's neighborhood that we've run before. We headed out really fast (faster than our race pace from Saturday) for the first 1.5 miles. After that, we knocked it down a notch so as to avoid a heart attack. :) Our average pace for the three miles was nearly as fast as our 5K. I'm excited about the next 5K road race we decide to do, because I think we will kick some major butt.

I have to say once again that I love running with David! What could be better than sharing my favorite activity with my favorite person in the world?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Dow 5K Race Report

Yesterday was a big day because it was David's first 5K. We ran the Dow 5K in Midland, MI. Since the race started at 8:15am and we live about two hours away from Midland, we drove up the night before and stayed at the lovely new Springhill Suites. I love staying in new hotels - less opportunity for other people to get gross things on every imaginable surface! Best thing about the hotel is that it's entirely non-smoking. Ahhhh, I love to be able to breathe!

We woke up around 6:30am on Saturday so we could get over to the Community Center early and pick up our race packets. Turns out neither of us slept very well on Friday night. I think we had a case of pre-race jitters.

After packet pick-up, of course we had to commemorate the occasion with a pre-race photo opportunity. One of these days I'll shower and do my hair before a shower so I can look pretty in a pre-race picture instead of greasy and unkempt. :)

Then we met up with Michelle, a friend I originally met on a papercraft forum. It was her first 5K, as well. Michelle was the reason I registered for the race. She lives in Midland and I told her I'd run the race too, to provide some moral support.

David later decided this would be a perfect race for his first one since he grew up in Midland and his parents both still live there. Ultimately Michelle decided she would prefer to run her own race rather than have me run alongside her, because her pace is a little slower than mine and she was worried about holding me back. David and I love to run together so we decided to stay side by side for this one and it was awesome!

The race started right on time. We were about halfway back in the crowd so it took us a couple of minutes to cross the starting line. But once we started, the nerves finally dissipated like they always do. We were both really excited and started out way too fast. We'd anticipated running a 10:45/mile pace but we were doing well below 10 for the first mile. We kept telling ourselves to slow down but that didn't work very well!

David's dad lives right on the 10K course and very near the 5K course, so he came out to cheer us on and snap a couple of action photos. We both got a great boost from seeing him and I'm just so pleased that he was there.

We pretty much kept pushing the pace the whole time even though we kept saying we should slow down. We were both feeling good, though, so why slow down, right? When we got down to the last quarter mile I said "Let's go, leave it all out on the course" and we pushed it even more and crossed the finish line together. Ultimately when the official times were posted David ended up finishing two seconds ahead of me. I think I crossed the start line just ahead of him.

The final result was the fastest pace I've ever run for any race (even faster than the Corktown 4-miler in March where I busted my butt) and we finished with a 9:59/mile pace. Yeah! For me, that is a super-freaking-fast pace. David and I both realized afterward that we could have run it even faster but we held back a little because we were afraid we'd be dying at the end.

David loved the whole race experience and I think he'll sign up for another one down the road. And we'll be sure to push hard the whole way and leave this race in the dust!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Another day, another run with my boyfriend

David and I got up early before work today and ran three miles together. I love running with him! :)