06 October 2015

10K Training Tuesday: Week One

Monday: 1.6 miles
Tuesday: Spin class at the Y
Wednesday: Speed work
Thursday: 2 miles
Friday: Kettlebells
Saturday: 2 miles
Sunday: Rest Day

First week of 10K training is in the books! As I mentioned in my latest podcast episode, my training plan this time around is a hybrid of plans from Jeff Galloway and Hal Higdon. The weekday schedule is Galloway and the schedule of long run distances is Higdon.

Part of my reason for doing this is because I'm training for 10 weeks. Most 10K training plans are 6-8 weeks while Galloway's is 13. But I've had such a high since the Akron Marathon Relay, I didn't want to lose it by waiting a couple weeks to start training. Plus, this way I can build my October race into my training!

Last week I talked about how I was adding in some speed work to help this slow runner be less slow and my Believe Training Journal came in super helpful with that because they have an entire section of drills. I decided to go with The Biter, only I adapted it slightly due to, well, mostly ability because running full on 200 meters is a bit out of my depth at this point.

That said, there is this small parking lot next to my apartment building with a sidewalk wrapped around it. I've started running there because it has the feel of a track so I don't have to worry about cars. It's smaller than a track though but I've measured it to be 75 meters per side so that's what I did. I followed the same drill only for 75 meters at a time and with only about a 20 second rest in between. I did three sets and walked a lap between each set. My plan is to slowly work up to longer distances.

The Galloway schedule has several Walk or Cross Train days, so I substituted one of those for speed drills. I like the flexibility of "walk or cross train" because it means that I can mix it up week to week, depending on how I'm feeling. During the winter especially waking up early is so annoying so I like knowing that if it's Friday morning and I am just so not feeling it I have the luxury of being able to go for a walk at lunch.

This Sunday is the Great Beer Chase 5K which is my October race and, of course, I'm training for the Christmas Story 10K which is in December. I'm about 95% sure the Turkey Trot will be the race for November. Not only is it one of the few races offered in Cleveland that month but the 5 mile distance fits in perfectly with my training. Bonus: I think BC might be joining me!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

02 October 2015

Face the Scale Friday: Week Seven

Daily Points: 39
Weekly Points used this week: 49/49
Activity Points earned this week: 36
Points remaining at end of week: -4

Weight lost this week: -1.8
Total weight lost: -3.8
Starting weight: 259.8
Current weight: 256

Between the Akron Marathon Relay and 10K Training, this was the first week where I wasn't panicked over eating through all of my points and then some because I knew I had put in a lot of exercise and movement to earn activity points. I was also pretty confident in the food choices I made this week and luckily it all paid off on the scale!

Of course, you'll also notice that +9.8 lbs. So I realized after weighing in that it's been one whole year since I recommitted to Weight Watchers and here I am, 10 lbs heavier than I was a year ago. So, y'know, there's that.

Whatever. I've learned to not focus so much on the big picture like that. I mean, okay, sure, I'm 10 lbs above what I was last year. But y'know what? Between October 2013 and October 2014, I gained forty pounds. So gaining 10 lbs between October 2014 and October 2015 isn't great, but it could be so much worse. A year is also the longest I've consistently been weighing in at Weight Watchers in quite awhile.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that success comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes and sometimes you have to look beyond the more obvious definitions to define it for yourself.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

29 September 2015

Training Tuesday -- Christmas Story 10K

During my Akron Marathon Relay recap, I talked about how I had recently felt like I'd lost my running mojo but doing the relay helped bring it back. Sunday afternoon while giving my legs some time to recover I was thinking of putting together some kind of exercise plan for the last three months of the year and then I realized I am ten weeks away from the Christmas Story 10K! I haven't run a 10K as the complete distance in about two years. I've done longer distances in that time but not a 10K specifically and I don't want to be lazy about it and assume that just because I've done half-marathons and such that 6.2 miles will be easy.

So I decided to start a new series called Training Tuesday that will be like my Half-Marathon Monday posts from last spring.

There are two very big things that are different with this training versus all of the other training I've done over the years. The first is that I've built in one day a week to add in some speed work.

Now, make no mistake. I'm a slow runner and I fully anticipate always being a slow runner. But I can still work on being less slow than I currently am. Lately I've been running 16 minute miles, which I'm happy with considering through the summer I was seeing miles closer to 17 and 18 minutes. That said, when I ran this same race in 2013 I had a 15:42 average which means I need to put some work in if I want to have a better finish this time around so I've built in one day a week to do some speed drills.

The other thing I have that's new is my Believe Training Journal.

I first heard about this from my friend Jamie, who posted about it while training for the Akron Marathon and as soon as I saw a picture of it I knew I had to have one.

This little journal is magical, you guys and helps me set goals of all kinds: food, fitness, personal, etc. Each day I write down my exercise -- and it should be noted this was written by two runners so it's very runner information heavy -- and at the end of the week give a rundown of how the past seven days went. Then after few weeks they have a longer Check In reflection page to see how you are doing on all of your goals. There are sections for writing out Race Day Plans (which helped calm some of my nerves regarding the Relay) and then you write short little Race Recaps, too.

It lasts an entire year and I'm already planning on buying a new one when this one is all done next August. In the meantime, I can't wait to see how it helps me over the next ten weeks as I train for my 10K!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

27 September 2015

Race Recap: Akron Marathon Team Relay

Also known as: that time I finished a sub-4 hour marathon.

Okay. Not really. (Obviously.)

But, I was part of a team that did finish the Akron Marathon Relay in under 4 hours! Specifically, the team made up of fellow CLE Marathon Ambassadors!

Andrew, Me, Dan, Steph, Melissa

The weekend started Friday night when I went to the John S. Knight Center to pick up my race packet and attend the expo, where I also picked up some new shoes. After, I headed to my parents' house, where I was spending the night. I was super excited about my new shoes but knew it would be a bad, bad idea to wear them race day, but I did go for a short 1 mile run before dinner to try them out and to give my legs one final workout before the race. Then it was an early bed time as I had a 5 am wake-up call and was on the road to Akron by 5:45 am.

Earlier in the week I talked about how I was super nervous about this event but it turned out I had no reason to be. Part of it was the logistics of running the relay but this was an incredibly well-organized event. I had the 4th leg, which required being shuttled to the start of the leg, which was at Firestone High School. Andrew was running the first leg and the rest of our team stood on the sidelines to cheer on the full, half, and first leg relay runners at the start of the race.

Photo courtesy of Melissa

Melissa was Leg 2 and could walk to her leg, as could Stephanie at Leg 3. We all had a rough idea of what everyone should be running for their legs so Melissa quickly headed to figure out where she needed to be for her section. Dan and I walked Stephanie to Leg 3 before we found the shuttles and headed to our own legs.

I actually had two friends also running Leg 4 and so for the hour and a half or so I was waiting for Stephanie I was chatting with my college roommate Megan. This is the same Megan who was waiting for me at the finish line of my very first race (which was over three years ago!). We see each other at races every once in awhile, which is always fun. She's also one of the people who inspired me to commit to running one race a month in 2015 and, of course, she asked what my October race is going to be.

We were asked to keep ourselves organized by bib number and as each Leg 3 person started coming up around the corner to the exchange zone they would call out the numbers. They started slow and sporadic but then were coming more and more frequently. When I heard our bib number I stepped out into the road and as soon as Stephanie and I made eye contact we both kind of did a little jump of excitement. She handed off the slap bracelet and I was off!

My team knew that I am a slow runner and I had told them that it would probably take me about an hour to do my 3.6 miles. I'd been experimenting with my intervals lately and been having a lot of success with 30:30 (seconds) run-walk-run intervals so that's what I used. Right from the start I felt strong and knew I was going to rock this, so I just went in my zone and followed that famous Blue Line.

Around mile 18.5, out of the corner of my eye I saw a woman in pink wave at me as she passed and I quickly realized it was Jamie, also a CLE Marathon Ambassador. I knew Jamie had been working her ass for this race so her cheering me on while on the course just made my whole day and made me realize how grateful I am to be part of the Cleveland Marathon organization as an Ambassador. It really is an amazing group of people and I feel so fortunate to be a part of it.

After passing the 20 mile marker I knew I only had about 1/2 a mile left and just kept my pace and intervals. When Dan saw me coming up around the bend, he waved and I waved back. I then picked up my pace for the final .10 of a mile and handed him the bracelet. I then sent my team a quick text to let them know he was headed home and hopped on a shuttle to head back towards downtown Akron.

I finished my leg in 57 minutes and 36 seconds, which puts me under my hour goal! Based on chip time I had a 16 minute average which I am very happy with considering there were some small rolling hills which meant I had to walk a bit more than my intervals indicated. But I finished strong and am very happy with my time so that's all that matters.

The Finisher's Festival at Akron was amazing. Like, for real. The finish line came out right onto the field of Canal Park Stadium and the runners all got to hang out on the field while family and spectators were in the stands. I found my team on the field and was there in plenty of time to see Dan cross the finish line and finish for our team!

Photo courtesy of Stephanie

We had a final time of 3:57:59, which should tell you something about the speed of my team mates considering we pulled that off even with my 16 minute miles. Dan was the only one of us who got to officially cross the finish line into the stadium and not gonna lie, I'm totally tempted to run the Akron Half in 2016 just to experience it. (Plus the weather was far more agreeable than what we get in Cleveland in May.)

Several other CLE Ambassadors were running races at this event, which is really how this whole thing started: we saw it as an opportunity to have a kind of mini-reunion and so those of us not running either the half or full thought it would be fun to be on a relay team.

It's not all the ambassadors, but still felt like a family reunion!

I had SO MUCH FUN being part of a relay team! It was the first time for most, maybe all, of us and I think we all had a blast. I'm someone who likes to run alone but being on a relay team meant I was still able to have that Me Time on the course but also benefit from the team mentality.

My cousin Michele was running the full so eventually I headed over to the spectators section and found  some of my family and got to watch Michele get a PR on the  marathon! She's a total rock star and I'm so proud of her.

I feel like I've lost my running mojo as of late, partly because summer always slows me down and it can be discouraging for someone who is already pretty slow. But this race reminded me of how much fun running can be and that I am capable of so, so much if I just trust myself and my abilities. With three months left in the year, that means three more races and this upcoming week I start training for the Christmas Story 10K!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

25 September 2015

Face the Scale Friday: Week Six

Daily Points: 38
Weekly Points used this week: 49/49
Activity Points earned this week: 19
Points remaining at end of week: -19

Weight lost this week: +2.2
Total weight lost: -2
Starting weight: 259.8
Current weight: 257.8

I feel as if I've lost my mojo lately. I did really well the first three weeks, but then I stayed the same two weeks ago and last week I gained 2.2 and now this. I also yet again went over on my points allowance but at least it wasn't nearly as bad as it was last week. I also earned a couple more Activity Points this week over last, so there's that, too. (And, to be fair, some of this week is possibly left over from last week since I fully anticipated gaining more than the 2.2 I did last week.)

Partly it's weather related -- my seasonal affective disorder kicks in when autumn does (which is just horrible timing since this is my favorite season) so lately I've felt just.......blah. Like, every morning is a struggle to get myself out of bed. All I want to do is just stay under my cozy covers and sleep the day away. When I get home from work I immediately put my pajamas on and crawl into bed. I don't even want to wake up for work, let alone exercise.

Which is why I wore my Suck It Up Bondi Band to the YMCA on Saturday. Because sometimes you really do just need to suck it the fuck up.

I've also been fighting off a cold which has me home sick today which is not super fabulous seeing as how tomorrow is the Akron Marathon Team Relay but part of my decision to stay home stems from wanting to be well rested for tomorrow's 5 am wake-up call.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus
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