2nd ski workout

45 minutes, double pole and striding. My arms and abs were tired after just about 25 minutes, how sad! A couple weeks back Nate did a 3 hour OD ski w/ Vakava where he double poled the entire thing (and there are some big hills there). Hmm.

But, I guess you have to start somewhere! I went out at 9 pm (another late night at work, this is starting to not be fun anymore...) -- what a gorgeous night!! I'm sure I looked great. I was too lazy to take the time to put in contacts so went out in my glasses, and needed a headlamp to see where I was going. Plus, I could only find one of my knee pads. Ha! I'm sure I looked like a real winner.

I enjoy the challenge of skiing. I'm constantly thinking, trying to do things better. But I sort of miss the "turn on the headphones, tune out the world, don't think" aspect of most of my running workouts. That's really fun & I enjoy the time to decompress. Maybe skiing will eventually get that way? I hope so -- when you're tuning out the world, time seems to go by quickly. The time from about 20-30 took an eternitttyyyy.

During the middle of the workout, I wondered to myself: what would I do if someone decided to chase me? I'm skiing alone, in the dark, I'd be a pretty easy target. When I'm running, I'm pretty confident I could get away on foot from most people. Given any headstart at all, I could put some good distance on them quickly. On skis, though? I honestly don't think I could pick it up much more than what I was doing, and I couldn't hold that for any sort of distance. Note to self: I need to work on that. Not because there's ever a real threat that someone's going to come after me, but because I *should* have a 2nd gear. Where I'm at now is pretty pathetic.

So, on to another day. I really, really hope I can leave here while it's still light (even if I have to come back afterwards). I'm excited for another ski workout! Not sure what that'll be yet (other than it'll be skate becuase that's the stuff I brought with me).


Goal Setting & Sketching out a New Plan

I've given myself a week completely off from training. I wasn't able to totally enjoy it because the work week was horrendous, but still... it's nice not to have life revolve around my workout for once!

On Sunday I headed out for my first workout back, and first ski workout in a really long time. Wow -- talk about feeling awkward and unstable!! :) I went for a little over 2 hours, nice and easy. My legs are completely recovered (at least I think). I don't think they were ever really sore after the marathon, which is probably a sign that I was well prepared for the race. There's nothing quite like that "unprepared/didn't race smart" soreness you get after a marathon :).

I'm not sure what I'll do today -- 45-50 minutes double pole? Is that considered a wimpy workout? I have no idea. I'm used to having a day to day plan (with an end goal), so simply making up my workouts every day is a little hard for me :) -- especially when I don't know what I should be doing, in the case of skiing! Oh well, I figure just getting out there and doing something every day is better than what I've done in the past (aka, very, very little).

On the subject of workout plans and goals...

I'm tentatively planning on 2 marathons next year, one in the Spring and one in the fall. Not sure which ones yet (Fargo again? That was a blast. Grandmas? TCM? A new fall marathon?). My time goals for the spring would be either a 2:52.30 or a sub 2:52, haven't quite decided. There's not a ton of difference between the two, but I feel the need to lock in a pretty specific goal :). If I could hit that, the goal for the fall marathon would be sub 2:50. I'm pretty excited about being able to make goals like that -- I'm very lucky to be healthy and able to race fast. These goals are pretty agressive, though, so I know I'm going to have to work exponentially harder for every minute from now on -- getting to the 2:50 mark is no small feat. I think I'll contact Jenny again, see if she'd be up for training together. Some of the faster, long marathon pace stuff I'll have to search for a partner -- there's enough of a difference between Jenny and I now (she's a 3:01 marathoner) that I don't think it'd work. That's really sad :(...

I haven't laid out a plan yet, and I don't know if I will for a while. I'm a little burned out & need some time just to do "my thing" & to force myself to do workouts based on what I'm feeling that day. Although uncomfortable for me, it's healthy. There's only so long you can follow an intense plan day-by-day.

I'm leaning toward sticking to the same training plan, but I haven't thought too much about it. I think it's worked well for me so far. I guess I don't even know what I'd switch to if I wanted to. I haven't followed it from day 1 - the end yet (and maybe never will be able to?) -- this year because of injury, previously because I decided to change to it half way through the cycle. So, I think my goal will be to attempt to follow it again, concentrating on having a few more weeks at the medium-high mile mark (85-90).

I also need to work to find a good balance between running and skiing. I'd like to concentrate more on skiing now that fall/winter is upon us, but would also like to keep up the mileage so I'm ready to train hard late winter/early spring when I need to. Question is, how much mileage is needed to prepare for a fast spring marathon? How much skiing can I get away with?


2:55.52 -- Not a great day, but I'll take the new PR :)

I'm neither happy nor unhappy with my race. On the one hand, it's a 2:55.52, which is a 2 minute 16 second PR for me. Not too shabby. On the other hand, I know I'm capable of much more... yesterday just wasn't my day :(.

The combination of not being able to split well, stomach cramps, and a stride that never really felt effortless.... I guess I should be pretty lucky to have muscled my way to the time I did. The gun went off, and my first mile was pretty controlled. 6:40 (6:36s was the pace for a 2:53 marathon, and I wanted to start out just a little slower than that, work into that pace). I'm glad I had my watch -- the 3:00 marathon pace group was ahead of me by about 10-12 seconds at that point! I felt bad for the people relying on their pacer... going out in a sub 6:30 when your average should be 6:52 can only mean trouble later on :(.

That was the extent of good pacing for me. How frustrating to look down at your watch and see that you're running all over the place! 6:50 for mile 2. 6:21 for mile 3. What?? I am usually a REALLY strong pacer. Get me in a rhythm and I usually only deviate from pace (without really looking at a watch) by about 2 seconds a mile. I never swing 10-20 seconds. Part of it was that it was a pretty hilly/rolling course. Don't let the fact that it's Des Moines fool you! I know you can't rely on your watch as much when it's hilly. Problem was, I couldn't even "feel" the pace I was supposed to be at. Hmm..

At about mile 4, I get a pretty bad sideache. Nooo! I almost never get these anymore. I still don't know why -- did I eat too much that morning (1.5 bagels with jam, 1 packet of oatmeal... 500-550 calories?)?. They are so thought-consuming and distracting! At 12 it finally went away, the course flattened out, and I found a little bit of a rhythm. Thank goodness. Here I had a lot of miles at or close to the 6:36 mile mark. Then came the lake at mile 18ish -- and the wind! We had been warned that the wind would come on stronger mid-day, and it definitely did. I slowed from 6:30s to mid 6:40s going into the wind. Where's someone to draft off of when you need it?? :) Mile 20 came and my stomach began to hurt again. Ugg. It didn't get better, either. Even today I've had a hard time eating. I'll either get a really nauseous feeling or the same mid-section/side cramp will come back. I spent 10 minutes sitting at my desk praying to keep down my lunch today while at work. Yuck.

It was a really lonely race for me. I didn't run with anyone for more than 20 seconds. Was that because there weren't many people around my finishing time? Or because I was pacing poorly? I really missed racing with Jenny and Nate at Fargo. That was a blast. I'll have to find a training partner for my next marathon -- both to train with, and to race with!

With 3 to go, I let myself ease up to 6:50s pace. I felt terrible, and all I could concentrate on was my stomach. Need to work on my mental toughness here. I was actually looking around to see if Nate was nearby -- I was going to ask him if I could walk. Good thing I didn't see him! Then the turn to the finish happened. I was still pulling out sub-7s, but after the turn I could tell that my legs all of a sudden weren't able to keep up with my upper body's momentum. Uh-oh, I've had this happen before, and it doesn't ever end well (ask my dad :). I was weaving a little bit, eyes up and just willing that finish line to come. I eased up instead of trying to get my legs to turn faster. Probably one of the best decisions I made. Otherwise I honestly think I would have fallen.

So, what can I improve upon? First, I can't plan to race well in a marathon when I'm working 12-15 hours a day, in the middle of a move, amongst other things. All of that was obviously not conducive to running at my best. My legs never felt like they were moving effortlessly, probably because they didn't really taper correctly. I also don't think I want to raise my goal time so late in the game. Pacing is so important in a marathon; I think you need to "know" that pace inside and out. I did all of my marathon pace work at 6:40-6:42, which is probably part of the reason I couldn't hit or "feel" out a 6:36. I also probably didn't monitor my eating during my carbo load. I actually lost weight (which almost NEVER happens with me). I'm supposed to gain weight because I'm storing much more glycogen and water. That's probably a sign that I didn't carbo load correctly.

So, all in all, I'm decently satisfied with my time. It's nice to know that I was strong enough to still eek out a 2:55 (even if it's a high 2:55!), and I guess it's also encouraging to know that I KNOW I can take off another 2-3 minutes if I had one of those springy-effortless-everything-running-smoothly type of days. It's cool to see my name with the likes of the top 7 women, though. All except me have run at the trials. I used to think Erin Ward, who finished 4th in 2:52, was untouchable. Now I'm at least within sight.

So, I'll take this week to really think about what I think I could do next time (yes, already looking ahead to a next time :). I want to make sure my body and mind are completely recovered before I draw up another training plan. Nothing like a little time off to help you realize how bad you want to achieve something or how much you love what you're doing.


Move - a success!

Yeah, we're "moved in" to our new home (or should I say new rental property, since that's what it currently is??)!! How nice -- the movers packed everything, loaded it, and then put everything into the new house into the right room. I can't imagine how long it would have taken to do this ourselves. 1.5 weeks? I can see why people wouldn't want to move very often :).

I was pretty sad to leave our house in Eagan since it was our first house and we had poured so much time/energy into fixing it up and remodeling it. There were so many memories in that house. Plus, it just fit us so well!! I teared up a bit (or more than a bit...) when I left...

But, once we started moving our stuff into the new house, I felt a lot better. The new house is absolutely gorgeous. I kept saying "unbelievable" as I walked through the first night. Everything is quality!! It's much more than we need, and may ever need, but it'll be a great place to grow into over the next several years. I think it'll be really fun to explore what it's like to live in a small town. I already found that they keep the track at the high school unlocked (yeah!) and that it's only a 1 mile run over to it. Nate and I also found a really gorgeous bike trail along Flower Valley Trail -- what gorgeous terrain around here!!!! We found a good 1 mile gradual hill (steeper the second half) that we're planning to do double pole/V2 repeats on. Plus, the leaves are changing; the views are really stunning.

The only bad part about moving has been the constant movement/being on my feet so long each day. NOT GOOD. Today I'm planning to stay at work until late just so I'm off my feet. I've been absolutely exhausted the last 3 nights because of the move. Yesterday's run reflected that -- I tried to pick it up to marathon pace (or marathon effort), but that effort was only a 6:55 mile pace. I was hoping that 6:35-6:40 was going to feel easy. Hopefully resting all day today and tomorrow will help the legs come around. The lungs feel great, running is pretty effortless now which is fun :). I just feel bad sitting around, there are so many boxes to unpack!!

As far as goals, I think I'm still going to try for the 2:53. If I don't try, I won't get there. But, I'm running more on feel than trying to pace myself exactly -- which may be a really good thing since most of my all-time PRs have been run on days where I've just run based on feel. I've started my somewhat physco carbo load regime from my previous marathon (ONLY carbs for 3 days). Nothing like plain pasta and plain bagels to satisfy you! :) I'm trying to give myself any advantage I can. My weight is where it should be -- strong but on the lighter side, the weather's supposed to be GREAT, and I'm mentally prepared to hurt pretty bad during the race -- the combination of all these things *should* make for a great day! I just need to SIT and rest for the next two days :).

Better get back to work :). Send your positive thoughts my way, this will probably be my last entry until after the race!!!!!


Nothing like letting 'life' get in the way...


15 hours at work on Monday. Left at 11 pm. I actually spent the night in Red Wing -- wahoo, camping out in the empty house.
Followed up by a 10 hour day today, where I left only because I knew I had to get home to prep the house for the movers tomorrow (and get a run in!!). I feel like I need to put another 15+ day... for the next week and a half straight. Ug, this budgeting cycle is almost done. Thank GOODNESS.

So, now, a quick run, then more cleaning/packing ... then sleep, wake up & pack and load stuff. Sad! I don't want to leave my house!!!!!

I don't think this schedule is conducive to a fast marathon.......


Goal Setting

I hadn't pinned down a definite goal for the marathon until this week. When I first started training after Fargo, I think I told myself I was going for a 2:55 or 2:56.

The dilemma was: I've been racing better than I ever have. I've surprised myself in 2 5ks, running in the 17:40s, and in the 10 mile, running a high 1:01. Did that mean that I was faster than 2:55/2:56?

The other dilemma... how do you start out? Do I start out in a 2:55 pace and then pick it up after half way if I'm feeling good? I ran a 1:49 minute negative split at Fargo, but you can't count on that fast of a second half. Even if I did, going out with a 2:55 pace meant that my maxium potential was about a 2:53.30-2:54. Again, that's assuming that I was able to negative split (which I'm almost always able to do... but you never know!!). Argh. I went back and forth. I want to race a little conservatively, but not too much so that I can't run to my potential (like what happened in the 10 mile).

I was really glad to see Dave Christopherson (the Vakava coach) at Finn Sisu on Friday when I was working. He talked to me about my goals and helped me to decide: I'm going to race a little more aggresively than I'm used to, with a goal time of 2:53.

Reasons why: In the last month, there have been 2 races where I've started out with a goal time that I thought was reasonable, but found out that I was capable of a lot more. Because of that, I wasn't able to see what I could really do. My only goal with my running now is to "see what I can do" -- and there's no way to do that if I'm racing conservatively all the time. Plus, I am in the shape of my life.

Another way Nate put it: I ran 6:08s for the 10 mile (if you count it by the Garmin distance). So, 6:36s for 20 miles *should* feel pretty easy. Then, the real racing starts. I think I believe his reasoning... but then I think to myself, 6:36s? For 26.2 miles? Wow... that's really, REALLY fast...

So, I'm mentally preparing myself for this weekend. I have to prepared to HURT, I know this will be easy. I have fond memories of Fargo because it felt so easy (and didn't hurt!), but I know I won't have that & shouldn't have that again. Not if I'm going to go for it. But, I'm good at out-hurting my competition :).


Last Vo2 Max workout

Bittersweet to have finished my last repeats. I did 3x1 mile on the track yesterday, running them in 5:40, 5:35, 5:29. I'm not sure, but I think that's a pretty solid workout for me. I can't compare it to Fargo because I was sick then and missed this workout... it'd be nice to know if I was faster/slower than earlier in the year at the same time!

It's nice to be winding down and feeling fast. The fastest mile I've ever done is a 5:20, so to pull of a 5:29 is pretty good for me (I am NOT a miler!!). I can tell things are just working like they should -- lungs are strong, legs can handle the pace, etc. There's no comparison between this hard workout and when I started the VO2 max cycle a month and a half ago.

What's not fun is the fact that these are finally fun -- and then I'm shutting things down! I also always freak out a little bit during taper time. What, just 6 miles today? I think to myself. Gosh, that's like nothing... shouldn't I add a couple more miles? Or another workout in the evening?? It just scares me to see so little on my plan for the next week and a half...


What a busy time...

Unbelievable how things tend to all happen at once. First, it's budgeting season at Red Wing Shoes. I present to the President and CFO on the 21st and 22nd of this month. I'll present budgets for Europe, Japan, North America for 3 different brands. At the same time I'll give recommendations on how to change our European Lifestyle brand -- looking at three different strategic plans. Eeek! It's been a lot of OT for me, but I know that after this month things will get better. Plus, I know that I want to impress -- I'm new, young, etc, and it's nice to pour yourself/energy into a big project like this to show everyone that you really are capable.

At the same time, we're planning to move. We have the move scheduled for the 14th and 15th this month. Eeekkk!! originally it wasn't going to be until November 6th, but the buyers of our house wanted to move up the date & we were able to make it work on our side w/ a temporary living arrangement. We're actually going to be moving into the house we made an offer on (short sale, it's vacant now)... so I'm just praying that it goes through and that I won't be moving into this gorgeous house now and having to move out later. Wouldn't that be hard? :) The other option was to store all of our stuff, which costs $450/month. Outrageous. I said we'd just take the chance :). Beyond trying to figure out the temp living situation, there are just a lot of details to take care of: cancelling utilities and setting stuff up at the new house, figuring out what we want to get rid of in our current house, etc. I can see why people don't move very often (if they can avoid it). I'm really pumped about the house, though. It's WAY more house than we need, but it was just too good of a deal to pass up. It's nice we were able to take advantage of the downturn in the economy -- this house sold in 2006 for $115K more than what we offered on it. Not to mention the fabulously low interest rates right now! I can't wait to move in -- it's going to be great!!

Nate's also swamped w/ school -- senior case presentation today, boards coming up in November. Also trying to job hunt and network. Hmmm...

Finn Sisu is crazy busy as well. Clothing is in (which is SOOO fun!), internet and POS upgrade in full swing, and trying to stay on top of new lines as well. I met with the trail team coaches the other night and they brought up a ton of really fun ideas. I'd love to donate even more time to the shop and my departments there, I really think I could do some fun things with it. But, I need to remember to keep what I do to a "manageable" level. I can't do everything, as my husband reminds me.

When it rains, it pours! I'm just taking it one day at a time, trying to keep a smile on my face for as much of it as I can (which isn't too hard... I really love everything I'm doing :).



(Last mile of the TC 10 mile)

What a GREAT day for a race. I did the 10 mile, and finished in a 2:10 personal best of 1:01.54. The best part: I finished and felt like I could have raced harder! Sitting here tonight, my legs feel like they have a lot of energy left in them -- I want to go out for another run! That's always the sign of a great race; a race where I raced smart and was able to finish strong.

My previous personal best was 1:04.03. I was just hoping for a 1:03ish (high), so started in about 6:20 pace. I found a Gustavus teammate (Laura Edlund) early on and began to run with her, along with Chad Giese. Fun! It's really great to know people you're racing with. Chad kept with us until mile 4. Laura and I talked most of the race. "You feeling good?" "Yeah -- let's pick it up a little" That sort of talk back and forth. She was the sole reason I was able to pick it up so much the second half of the race. Otherwise, I would have doubted the pace. I felt great, but when we started to pull off a 6:08 6th mile, 6:12 7th mile, 5:58 8th mile... you sort of wonder if you're going to be able to finish strong. I felt great, but gee... this is quick! This is practically my 5K pace!! We talked about it and decided it was OK. So off we went. Nate took some pictures and it's funny... we ran stride for stride together! And yes, her legs are about 7 inches longer than mine, we must have looked a little funny :)

(Me and Laura, running stride for stride)

Turns out, I was just fine. If anything, I started too slow. My 9th mile was in 5:59, the 10th in 5:37 (!!). We just FLEW by people. Laura dropped off a little bit the last mile (well, might have been that I picked it up by about 20 sec/mile :). My last 5K was in around 18:10, and my last 8K was a 30:10, which is a PR in the 8K for me.

Where did this come from?? :) I hadn't been feeling great during the week, struggling to get over a cold. That might have been a blessing in disguise, forcing me to take it easier than I otherwise would have.

My hamstring is bothering me a little bit and I felt it twinge and lose a little power about 1/2 way through, but it's run-able... just get me through these next two weeks, please!! Then I promise I'll give you a good rest.

CAN'T wait to race in Iowa. There will be really good competition (3 women who have PR's of mid 2:40s), and it should be a fast and flat course. My recent times show me that I'm really fit -- let's show that in Des Moines!!! :) :)

Ahvo came to watch!!