Hill Training

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

We were on this beautiful evening run when Ben said, "Do you want to do some hill sprints at the end?"

Does anyone really want to sprint hills?

5.5 miles later, we were sprinting up this hill.

I'm used to hills, but sprinting is new to me.  It's intimidating, but I'm so glad that Ben pushed us to do this training.

It made sprinting on flat ground seem way easier and also made regular hills seem not as bad.  I guess we all need someone in our life to say, "Hey, let's sprint up some hills!"

A Runner's Perspective


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

If you're a runner you've probably had someone give you that 'look'. The look that asks, "why are you running now?", or "isn't it too cold/hot to be outside?" The look asks if their long held suspicion about you is true; you are crazy. If someone has accused you of being crazy because you run, it simply means you are doing it right.

I seem to get that look from people quite often. Mostly it's because I run outside all year. There are actually very few weather conditions that I won't run in. If it's raining and under 50 degrees I won't run outside, and I won't be happy about it. Me and the treadmill are not friends. That's not to say I won't shift my running time or shift my long run day to a day with better conditions, but I won't hesitate to lace up even if it's 'crazy'.

Oh what a difference a day makes in the weather. This is Monday.
And this is me on Tuesday.
So many people today live 'indoor' lives. They go from one climate controlled place to another and never venture into the weather. I think these people miss out on an quintessential experience in life. One of the things I enjoy most about running is being outside. I see nature, I experience it. I feel the wind in my face and the sun on my back. Yes, sometimes nature is cold. Sometimes nature burns my skin and makes me feel dizzy with heat, but I get to face that discomfort and it makes me feel alive. When it's cold and I run, I feel the cold. But the simple pleasure of a hot shower becomes so much more real to me. When it's hot, I definitely experience the miserable feeling of being toasted by the sun, but a glass of cold water becomes so much more satisfying. The highs inherently come with the lows. And the lows bring the highs into vivid contrast.

I don't mind if people call me crazy and give me that 'look' and ask if I'm "really going running now?". When they do I'll just smile and say "yeah, I'm going out now and I guess I am a bit crazy". But I'll take being crazy any day because with it comes a cornucopia of experience that makes life so much more interesting.

The debate is open

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Monday, February 15, 2016

 Who's workout was harder today?

Ben ran 10 miles in the snow.

Packers come in 9 days and there is no way I am chancing sickness or injury, so I stayed inside.  Plus, I don't have the proper snow running shoes and the roads were a little dicey so I didn't venture out to the Y.  While Ben was on the road and the kids were having "quiet time", I turned on my favorite HIIT workout.  Why is that kids are drawn to you the second you want to be alone?  My workout was quickly surrounded by little boys pretending to play Super Mario and all the couch cushions turned into tunnels and ladders.

Then there was the "Hey Momma!  Look at this very dangerous thing I can do!"

And when Mario defeated the castle, Colin decided to join me in exercising.

"What? climbing on your back doesn't help your leg lifts?  That crazy." 

I even had to pause my workout to help Eli find a Lego!  Home workouts are usually a fail for me, but it's time to get creative as we enter into "transition period" of our life.

Let's recap.
Ben's workout: quiet and what he planned, but cold
My workout: loud and interrupted, but full of cuteness

Moving, 5k, and Training


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Life's been busy for us. We are moving across the country in two weeks and I'm training my replacement at work, working on moving details like setting up utilities, and purging our attic by making runs to the county dump. So how do you workout when moving 2,500 miles with three kids? We don't know! We may not get a chance to do much while on the road. Our tentative plan is to alternate running (one watch the kids while the other goes out) and use the exercise room at our hotels at night. I made sure to book hotels that have an indoor pool so the kids will get to burn some energy each day. We will survive just fine even if I can't run the miles I want or eat as healthy as I'd like. Although it may feel like it, it's not the end of the world if I have to go two weeks without doing much.

To keep things interesting me and Jen signed up for the Shamrock Shuffle, a 5k in Kansas on March 5th! We'll be in Kansas for a few days seeing family and resting up before making the second leg of our cross country move. Are we crazy to run a race midway through a cross country move? Maybe! But it just sounded fun.

The race is a small local race (>500 people) and it's a flat out-and-back. It should make for a good course to set a PR. I'm actually excited to run this race. I feel like my fitness is at a very high level and, Lord willing, I can run my best 5k ever.

For training I've been doing two new things. First, I'm doing one long run a week. This run is at an easy pace and is about 10 miles long. The purpose of this run is to simply build my aerobic capacity. Second, I'm doing speed work. This has taken many forms. Most recently I did a 2 mile warm up, 6 x 400 with a 60 second recovery, and a 2 mile cool down. The purpose of this is to get my body used to a fast pace and to develop my fast-twitch muscle fibers.

Over the past few months I've also increased my weekly base to 37 miles per week. Over the past 8 weeks I've run, 32, 31, 33, 27 (8k race week), 33, 34, 37, and 37 miles per week. I have really noticed a difference in my speed and ability by running more miles per week and doing some speed work. Last Monday I ran 10 miles at 7:29/mile. This was comfortable for me and I felt like I could have kept going for another 3 or even gone much faster if it had been a race. In November this pace would have been my goal HM pace. Now, due to logging more miles, it was just a good ordinary run. It's been encouraging to see the work pay off. I've always read that if you want to run faster just log more miles. I'm here to say, it's true!

Lastly, I bought a pair of racing flats. Apparently, if you're looking to set a PR this is what you want to wear for a short distance race. Racing flats are ultra lightweight shoes designed to make you go fast. They are not meant for your weekly mileage. They don't have the cushion for that. I got the Mizuno Wave Ekiden 9. They were less than $40! The are extremely light. Wearing kind feels like taking a weight vest off my feet.

I did my last speed workout day with these on. I logged a total of 6 miles which was probably 3 too many. My calves were sore for a few days and my arch was a bit tender on my left foot. I'm hoping this soreness goes away soon. I definitely felt faster with them on. I think they will help with a 5k but I won't wear them unless it's a race, not enough support for my size 12 feet. So far, I'd say they are a good investment.

This is my "why did I wear shorts?" face
This week the weather turned cold, like really cold. For some reason I brought shorts to run in this past Wednesday during my lunch break. It was 28 degrees with 15 mph wind. Mistake. Oh well, live and learn. I'm not letting the cold bother me though because in two weeks we will be living in permanent summer in the sunny Arizona desert.