Karen clutters up her little corner of the internet with her love of running

Thursday, December 18, 2014

And the Winner is...


This is turning into my favorite workout of the week. 
The short fast bursts = rainbows and sunshine in my head. 

"With high endorphin levels, we feel less pain and fewer negative effects of stress. Endorphins have been suggested as modulators of the so-called "runner's high" that athletes achieve with prolonged exercise. While the role of endorphins and other compounds as potential triggers of this euphoric response has been debated extensively by doctors and scientists, it is at least known that the body does produce endorphins in response to prolonged, continuous exercise."

A mile and half in my legs felt warm and ready to go. I really tried to focus on holding my strides a consistent speed and distance. Those short pick ups are really energizing and make a quick spike in your hear rate, but the best thing is, they take me to that endorphin filled happy place.  

I got about twelve decent strides in; some were a little slower and a few, I belted out pretty strong. I know it's kind of like cheating, but seeing the speedier splits makes me smile too. 

I did have some tightness in my left calf, that I didn't feel till the last mile of my run, but it was feeling better within an hour. A little stretching and easy walking at the gym made it feel a lot better. 

Look at my happy workout partner :-)

My hubby's hours at work were cut (booo) but, it enabled him to change shifts (yaaaaa!), so he's home with me at night now, and we started working out together  

We spent about an hour doing a light upper body work out...and then I came home and chowed :) whistling the whole time lol (I'm kidding) 
Sweet endorphins :0)

So, if you need to feel like a superhero, or need a little boost, throw a few strides in.  

When was your last awesome runner's high? have you noticed a little speed work helps you to get to that happy place? 

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Training Team

I went out to meet the training team for my long run again last week. The young girl that is registered for the same race I would like to do, showed up with a buddy, said hi, and they went and ran on their own.

I ran again with Kim, the nice person who dropped back for me last week. By mile 2 we couldn't even see anyone else running, and neither of us know the area very well, and we missed a turn on the planned route.

Of course we didn't realize we missed a turn for quite awhile.
I had the route on a small piece of paper and saved on my phone, but we could't figured it we just ran our own route.

I am a little frustrated with myself that I can't keep up, and I am beginning to realize this isn't really a team designed to help someone train for their first marathon. This seems more like, lets meet up and run together so we aren't lonely while we train kind of thing...
There are "coaches", but we aren't assigned to anyone, so there isn't really anyone for me to talk to. I have chatted with a few folks as they run by me in the beginning of my run, and that's about it.

It seems, I am the pokiest of the bunch for sure. I am not sure what to do in the weeks to come, I guess, I will have to see if my sole run buddy is willing to run with me, even if we get lost.

The problem with getting lost wasn't getting the miles in, it was missing the water stops.

I was fine running ten miles with no water, but my run buddy was pretty thirsty. I actually ran all my 12 milers in half training with no hydration. I am just used to it, but two hours is about my limit.

I do need to experiment with carrying hydration on long runs, and a few different kind of fuels, on top of running distances I have never tackled before. I was really looking forward to the group motivation, because those experiences will be pushing my comfort zone for sure.

I think I am going to skip group this Saturday because there is a 100% chance of rain, and the thought of running two hours in the rain doesn't appeal to me. Friday, after work I am going to try to knock out the 12 miler on my plan.

I am torn...I am not sure if I should try to keep going to meet with the group, and see if Kim will still run with me, or just plan my routes near home, drive ahead, stash some water along the route and do the best I can. Trying to tackle 16, 18, and 20 miles alone seems pretty daunting...

The one great thing about the actual race (the road race) is water every two miles :)  I keep telling myself it will feel easier race day, if I can just figure out the training.

So, any wisdom, thoughts, or tips that got you through training? Would you just train on your own? try to hang with the group? Would you run two hours in the rain on purpose?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Training, Training, Training

Week one of training - managed 25.7 miles of running (all easy paced), 2 upper body sessions and one core work out and 2 full rest days.

Week two of training wasn't bad...managed 30 miles of running, threw in those strides, 1 upper body session, 27 miles of biking, one short strength session, and 2 full rest days.

A highlight was Sunday, when I finally broke 1,000 running miles for the year...1,004 is my official count. 

Tuesday night 8 miles @ 10:08 average pace in my night gear

Thursday night - strides 

Junior has healed up just fine and is back to normal- no more window diving for him
Saw Santa in golf cart on one of my runs last week

I had logged 10 miles for my long run (10:12 avg. pace) before we hit the trail to bike 
But we had to take advantage of the 50 degree, sunny day :) 
Usually this view is completely green 
Saw some festively dressed horses on the trail 

A nice little 20 mile ride on the trail
I slept like a baby Saturday night, all that running and biking had me worn out.

Sunday, after my recovery run (5 miles 10:35 avg. pace), we headed out again for a shorter ride

in a quiet paved area, just 7 miles to soak up the sun. My legs are really feeling it today, but the weather was so pretty and sunny, we wanted to take advantage of it while it was here :) 

How was your weekend weather? Did you get to enjoy any outside activity? 
Do you sleep a lot better on nights you have a bunch of physical activity?

Sunday, December 14, 2014


Strides should be about 100 meters, which equals 0.0621371 in miles  

which I discovered takes me about 25 - 26 seconds

 time   :25.8distance   0.06avg. pace   7:00

I don't think it needs to be a perfect science, but I had to figure it out to make sure I was in the ballpark. 

Here's the link to a good short article if you want to take a look. Most sources seem to recommend you do strides at the conclusion of a run, but I am doing them randomly through out my run. If you know any reason why I shouldn't fill me in! 

I didn't decide to add strides into my routine because I am worried about my time for my first marathon. I just want to wake up those fast twitch muscles, and work on making my overall running stronger, which, of course, I hope will help me to cross the line on marathon day. 

I did random strides for my Thursday night run. You can see on my pace chart I managed about six good attempts at really upping the speed.   I don't feel I held the first few for as long as I should, so maybe next week, I will try to actually use my Garmin, or count in my head, and be sure to click off closer to 30 seconds each time, but I have plenty of weeks to try to master this a little more.  It did help me to improve my average pace a little, and I felt really good when I hit the four mile mark. 

My splits looked a little speedier than anything I've seen in awhile
Avg Pace

In fact, I was feeling so spunky after my work out, I walked a few minutes and decided to run an all out mile. I do this every now and again to see how I do.  It does engage different muscles than easy paced running, and the strides had me feeling pretty good...and I ran a PB best for me, 8:36:33 

My best mile during a race is 8:40 (a 5K). I can not sustain that kind of pace for any significant length of time. Trust me, I marvel at you all that have done for a marathon, or a half, or you crazy people that can run sub 45 10k's - when I run that fast, all I can think is, "How the heck do they do it?!" 

I am just working off a novice marathon training plan, but I do have a short threshold run on the calendar each week, and my stride work out is what I will probably do to fulfill the faster pace work, and leave the more formal interval and progression runs out of the mix. Last winter I did a lot of speed work, and I did get faster, but I was also hurting a lot more, so this may be the perfect answer for me as I up the mileage in the weeks to come. 

The best part of this workout, my legs only feel slightly tired the next day, not sore, achy, or in need of ice.

Have you done your strides recently? 
Do you ever go out and run a mile as hard as you can? 

Go ahead and try it out and let me know what you think! 

Thursday, December 11, 2014


More Liebster! 
Thank you to Marie Alessandra for nominating me

My 11 questions are:

1. What’s your favorite holiday?
As a kid Halloween, what's not to love about free candy?!
Now...I am not a big holiday person, I just like being off work

2. Do you have any hidden talents?
Cat whisperer ~ not really, they actually rule me
(L to R) Misty, Otto, Junior, Tweek 
and yes there are more of them...

This is a good picture of Baby, my tortoiseshell  - with Otto

BooBoo - our hurricane Sandy cat - we let him during the storm and he never left. He's our only kitty that goes outside.

3. What is one of your greatest fitness accomplishments?
Just the half marathon distance, this old gal seems challenged at 13.1 
I am at least taking steps toward training for a marathon..week two of training in progress

4. How did you get started running?
It's all run buddy's fault. She ran for a year before I finally decided to try. I had been hiking and walking long distances, and finally realized I should challenge myself. I seriously lacked confidence about running.  
My first 10K I power walked/jogged beside Kasey, while she ran until the last mile and then I ran. 
2012 Monument Ave 10K I mostly walked

My Henrico 5K post
My first 5K post. I was really excited I actually ran it :) 

5. What are your hobbies, besides running?
I go to work, the gym, run, eat, do laundry, repeat. There isn't much time for much else, I guess biking would be my other hobby. 

6. If you could run with anyone (dead or alive), who would it be?
Princess Diana 
I would love to run and chat about life with her. 

7. If you could run any race in the world, which race would you choose and why?
Okay, so I am not capable of running mountains, but... I dream about running up them. 
Mount Hood 50 in Oregon
The Rut in Big Sky, MT

8. What’s the weirdest compliment or advice anyone has ever given you?
When I was younger everyone would tell me I looked like Molly Ringwald. Compliment or insult...I'm not sure lol 
I never thought I looked like her. 

9. Name 5 of your favorite songs right now.
My five favorite running songs right now would probably be:
Counting Stars - One Republic
Dreamer - Livin' Joy 
Blown Away - Carrie Underwood
Set Fire to the Rain - Adele
Show me - Cover Girls

10. Who do you admire the most and why?
My hubby :) He's retired now, but he was a damn good police officer. He takes good care of me and I couldn't live without him. 

11. If you could be any character from a tv show, who would you be?
Amy Farrah Fowler - she makes me laugh

Chime in and answer any question you want! I always love hearing from you 
I feel like so many of us have done a Liebster post lately I am not sure who to nominate!
I enjoy reading all your blogs and you are all worthy of a Liebster award :)

You can use my questions or any combination from these :)
What is your current health/fitness goal?
Do you have favorite blog post you wrote?
When you have spare time, or you are on a rest day, what’s your favorite past time?
Do you have sisters or brothers?
If you could live anywhere on earth, where would it be?
Do you like gold or silver jewelry?
Pet peeves?
Favorite cereal?
Do you remember the day you found out Santa was not real?
Piercing or tattoos?
Favorite mode of transportation?
Name a few stores you shop at regularly.
Any other random fact you would like to share!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Training Team and Strides

I really,  really appreciate all your ideas and input about marathon training. I am still mulling things over, trying not to be too hasty in making up mind. Both race opportunities have their advantages. I am happy to hear my experienced marathon buds say I will be okay one with one 20 miler. I will work on making that a priority, as I rearrange a little since I will only be doing 13.1 (Disney) on my key long run week.

Training team is a big group, ninety nine have signed up. The pack look massive when we took off running. No pic fail - like my feet are more interesting lol

My first few miles I was looking around for someone to pace with, and honestly I didn't think I would find anyone, the only group in my sight was going faster than I could maintain. A very nice lady who has been part of team in previous years, dropped back and started chatting. She could probably hear my huffing and puffing lol We picked up a younger gal who was running about my speed, and discovered she had just ran her first marathon the same day I did the Richmond half. She is signed up for for the road race I have been thinking about doing. I am hopeful she will there this week and we can run together again. We ticked off the miles last week with no one else even in sight. This could be a decision tipper toward the road race. It would be great to have someone I did training runs with to actually start the event with. I rarely ever have anyone at a race I know. 

During my half training cycle, I rarely ran back to back days at all. Most weeks were three runs, and my fourth run was really only a treadmill warm up that was 1-3 miles at the most before a weight session. 

I don't want to overwhelm myself with to many goals, other than survival for training, but I do think a few key changes may really help. 
Last week, I decided I need those back to back days, so I will add in a fourth run day.  Since training team will be on Saturdays, I will do some type of recovery run on Sunday, of at least three or four miles.  I need to make my tired legs work. 

This past Sunday was a pretty, sunny, inviting run day, so I did the hillier side of my neighborhood and knocked out four easy pace miles.

The wind was roaring a bit Sunday, but I didn't mind. 

Hear the wind :) 

I hope adding in the extra run will help my overall strength. 
A time goal is not part of the process when I think about running a marathon, but I am trying to focus on a few small changes I can make to improve my overall strength and get me to the finish line. 

This little tidbit from came to my inbox today when I was trying to weed through what is most important for training. 

"One last thing I wanted to pass along is a strategy I have used for years and helped me droop nearly 25 minutes off my marathon time. You may already do strides. They are short bursts of about 100 meters and are too short to build up any lactic acid in your legs. What they do is recruit more fast twitch muscle fibers. The more of these your body can utilize the faster you will run and with less effort.
The secret is something you don't notice. If you do 5-6x100m strides after two of your easy runs throughout the week, over months you will have spent MILES at sprint speed." 

How do you all feel about doing strides through out a long run? toward the end of a run? If you do them have they really benefited you? 
Would you do the recovery run on Sundays? 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Training Time

Training group week one down.  Just an 8 mile run to start, and I know I said I was going to make a decision about signing up for the full marathon after I actually got some some longer runs done...

but I think I just need to dive in and sign up, so I took a serious look at the schedule and realized doing an earlier race makes conflicts with the training plan. 

am looking at a marathon (7 a.m.) that is about hour and a half drive from home. The elevation is minimal and water stops and port-of-potties are set up every two miles. Seems like a great course, and you only have to be able to maintain a 16 minute mile to finish before the cut off.  However, highlighted in yellow below are the issues. I am going to be away for one of my 20 milers and the other is the week before the race so that will not work.

My other option is a trail race very close (like 15 min. ) to home, but it's a full of tree roots,  very narrow in some spots trail,  not a nice packed one, so I anticipate more run/walking to get to the finish. 
Some sections are a little wider like this, but there is a 7 mile portion that is almost single track trial. 

The date is perfect though for the training plan because it's 3-21-15. No adjustments really needed. 

Training Group Long Run Schedule

12/6/2014 8 - Done :)   
12/13/2014 10  
12/20/2014 12  
12/27/2014 13  
1/3/2015 14  
1/10/2015 15  
1/17/2015 12  
1/24/2015 16  
1/31/2015 18  
2/7/2015 12  
2/14/2015 18  
2/21/2015 20 This is my Disney weekend 13.1
2/28/2015 16  
3/7/2015 20 The week before my race
3/14/2015 8 3-15-15 is race week 

I am seriously wondering if doing a trail race for my first marathon is a good idea. What are your thoughts about doing the trail race verses the road race??

My other idea is to make the two 18 milers, on 1-31 and 2-14, my two 20 milers...and just sign up. 
Would that be your pick on how to tweak it for your 20 milers? 

I am not worried about my time in Disney, that is a just for fun run and we are planning to Galloway (4 x 1 ) it. Do you think doing a 20 miler a week before is crazy? 
I am all ears :)