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I’m sick of being a 10:00/mile runner.

There’s nothing wrong with running a 10:00/mile pace.  I’m just tired of it.  At some point last year, I mentally decided that was my “comfortable” pace, and I never really deviated from it.  So I ended up in a pace rut.

When I started training again in January, I went straight back to that 10:00/mile pace.  It was what I knew, and what I felt comfortable with.  I could breathe easy, but still feel like I was putting in a decent amount of effort.

Now that I’ve gotten back into my running groove, I decided to start pushing myself and testing my limits.  I want to see what I’m really capable of.  So last week I started running my first mile at 10:00/mile as a warm up, and then consistently picking up the pace from there.

My short runs last week were: 4 miles @ 9:45/mile, 4 miles @ 9:45/mile, and 4 miles @ 9:42/mile.

When I got to my longer (but still fairly short) run on the weekend, I knew I was comfortable with 9:40s, so I picked it up again, and ran 6 miles at a 9:26/mile pace.  It was awesome!  I still felt comfortable, but was pushing myself significantly more than I used to.

For my run tonight, I upped it again.  I skipped the warmup mile at 10:00/mile and did 4 miles at 9:14/mile.  hooray!

I’m really proud of myself for going outside of my comfort zone and pushing myself.  It’s so easy to get stuck at some pace because you’re afraid of being uncomfortable.  But there’s a certain kind of satisfaction that you get by pushing yourself beyond what you thought you could do.

I’m looking forward to my runs this week and seeing what I can do – particularly for my 8 miler this weekend.  My 6 miler felt great at 9:26/mile, so I’m hoping for more improvement.

Next week I’ll start lifting again.  That should increase my speed as well.

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Wohoo!  This has been a good week.  First, it was gorgeous out!  It’s so exciting when it gets warm after a brutally cold winter – even if it is just a teaser.  Everybody was so excited this week when it hit the 40s and then the 50s, and then 60!  But I kept having to remind myself that it wasn’t going to last, and winter will be back to hit us at least one more time before spring arrives.  That’s how it always works.

With this gorgeous weather, I was actually able to get an outside run in this week!  It was very exciting to be able to run with Chelsea and our dogs (they are best buds and loooooooooove to play for hours on end).  And the dogs absolutely loved it too.

So far this week I’ve gotten all my shorter runs in.  Here’s the recap:

Run 1 – 4 miles at 9:45/mile, 2 miles in my Vibrams

Run 2 – 4 miles at 9:45/mile, 2.5 miles in my Vibrams, outside with Chelsea and the dogs on a beautiful 60 degree day.  Yay!

Run 3 – 4 miles at 9:42/mile, this one was completely in my Vibrams.

Tomorrow I’ll do my longer run for the week – 6 miles.  I’m still painfully behind where I hoped to be at this point, but I’m still on track to be ready for Buffalo.  I just won’t have as much cushion (extra weeks) built into my schedule in case of illness, etc.

I’m trying to keep my pace on my runs consistently below 10:00/mile, and so far it’s going well.  I’ll have to see how it goes when I get into my longer runs in a few weeks, but I think it will be good.  Now that I have one marathon under my belt and I know I can do the distance, I have some other goals besides just to finish.  I like to put them into a little progression (bare minimum for me to call it a success -> ideal perfect day).  So here they are:

Bare bones: Finish, run pain free, have fun, run faster than I did at the Adirondack Marathon

Good day: Finish under 4:30 (under a 10:18/mile pace – totally do-able)

Great day: Finish under 4:15 (under a 9:45/mile pace – also do-able, but tougher)

So far things are going well.  My heel is a little sore, so the plantar fasciitis isn’t completely gone, but I know how to keep it under control, so it should be alright.

The other big challenge I’m facing is improving my food intake.  Since it’s winter, I’ve been eating horribly – lots of comfort foods (read: toast with peanut butter), and not many fruits and vegetables.  But now that I’ve realized that, I’m focusing on changing it.

Also, a house update:  We are done with attorney review, and have done our inspection and appraisal.  I haven’t heard about the appraisal outcome yet, but that should be fine.  Our inspection went really well, and now we’re just waiting on the mortgage paperwork to be processed.  I’ve already got all the projects I want to do in that house planned out, and I’m itching to get into it and make it our home!

The other night I was talking to my husband about finding the motivation to start working out.  I love him dearly, but he is not an active person at all, and that is the one thing that always drives me nuts.  He says he wants to do things like run, but then he won’t do them.  He can never seem find the motivation to break out of that sedentary lifestyle that he’s become accustomed to.

When we were talking about this the other night, I found myself saying “Sometimes, the motivation just isn’t there, and you have to FORCE yourself to just do it.  The motivation comes with time.”  Now, I’m not sure if that’s really the best way to describe it.  I would think that if someone is going to make a change in their lifestyle, it’s for a reason.  The hard part is finding the WILL to stick to that change.  And I think that’s what I meant when I said that.  Just because you have a reason to get off the couch and do something doesn’t mean that you have the will to actually see it through.  And that’s where you just have to say “I have to do this.  I don’t have a choice.”  And then after you do it for a while, it becomes a habit, and you find yourself having to force it less and less.

Sure, there’s still days where you just don’t want to do it, but they’re not nearly as often as they were in the beginning.

This has been something I’ve been struggling with lately as well.  Since I’ve started up my training, I’ve been finding it tough to make myself do my runs.  I’ve gotten better in the last week or so, but there always seems to be an excuse lurking somewhere.  I need to kick that habit.  Between it being winter and crappy weather and dark by the time I get home, and having long days at work, and trying to work on Ph.D. stuff too, by the end of the day, I just don’t want to run.  Also, I absolutely ADORE my clocky, but it seems to give my husband a heart attack every time it goes off in the morning, so I feel extremely guilty using it all the time.  But MAN does that thing work!  He’s getting better about not freaking out when it goes off though, so there’s improvement…

But with all those factors, it’s so easy to say “oh, I’ll do it tomorrow…”  And then the next day, and the next day.  Until you find you haven’t done anything you wanted to do or needed to do.

I decided that I was overwhelming myself with starting up my running, lifting, AND swimming all at once.  I need to get some confidence back first.  I was setting myself up for failure by trying to do too much at once.  And when I would get overwhelmed, I just wouldn’t do ANYTHING.

So for February, I am just getting my running groove on.  I’ll start lifting in March, and I’ll work my swimming in beginning in April.  I think that should work out nicely.

I’ve had a good week this week with my runs.  I had to push them back a bit so my long run for this past week will actually be tomorrow night, but then I’m right back on schedule.  I’m feeling much more confident now that I’ve gotten a solid week of scheduled runs in, and I’m thinking this coming week I won’t have to force myself to get on the treadmill as much.  It’s been a long time since I’ve really trained consistently (since the end of September!), and I’m starting to remember how good it feels, how happy I am, and how strong I feel when I’m running.  And, for me, THAT’S where the will to run comes from.

Also, house update:  after several days of negotiating, the sellers accepted our offer on Saturday!  So this week is attorney review, inspections, and mortgage paperwork.  We’re not anticipating any surprises during the inspections (everything looks pretty solid), so if all goes smoothly we should be closing sometime in mid-March!  Yay!

Or should I say yum yum?

We are about to get blasted with snow!  The little kid in me is extremely excited.  I figure, as long as I don’t have to go anywhere, big snowstorms are really fun!  On my way to work today I was listening to the weather report on the radio and they’re predicting somewhere in the range of 2+ feet for us.  When I heard that, I decided that it’s just not worth trying to drive in to work tomorrow, so I canceled my classes for Wednesday and Thursday.  (They are the same class, so if one day is canceled, the other has to be canceled too.  It’s a little present for the Thursday folks.)  I’m calling it a preemptive strike.  After teaching my classes for the day, I headed home and dug out all our flashlights and batteries just in case we lose power tomorrow from all the heavy snow.

Tonight’s meal plan called for the PPK‘s tempeh “crab” cakes – a much-loved standby in our house.  But I am nearly out of veganaise (a tragedy in our house), and not about to go outside to get some.  I actually plan on staying inside until Thursday morning, thankyouverymuch.  So I decided to make Thursday’s dinner a little early – an adaptation of Sweet Chili Lime Tofu from Vegan YumYum.

The recipe calls for quinoa and collard greens.  However, I had a pathetic amount of quinoa left and no collard greens.  So it was orzo and spinach for us!  It came out great.  I have no idea how it would taste with the quinoa, but I absolutely loved the orzo.

Definitely a make-again recipe.  I enjoyed watching my husband scrape every last bit of food off his plate.  That’s always a good sign.

In other news, we put an offer in on a house tonight.  Hooray!  We’ll see what happens…  Keep your appendages crossed.  🙂

Need to contact me?

geonerdette at gmail dot com

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