Sunday, July 19, 2015

Triple Lakes Trail Half Marathon Training Week #1

When I train for full marathons, I run four days a week; when I train for half marathons, I only run three days a week. My body doesn't work well on high mileage, and there's no reason (other than runner's greed) to run more if you've found your sweet spot for a certain distance... in my opinion.

I'm also playing it smart as I'm coming back from injury and not trying to increase my mileage or speed too quickly. I told you here that I've picked my next half marathon to be a trail race so that speed isn't a concern - I'm not going to PR on a trail race, let's be honest.

So my approach for halves! Twice on weekdays, I run between three and seven miles, and one weekend day is usually the long run. I'll have one or two rest days, and I'll incorporate strength training at least twice a week. When I strength train, I make sure I do that first, as it's the priority workout.

Sunday 07/12
REST DAY. Mwahaha, the plan begins with rest. Pretty much aced this workout.

Monday 07/13
5.7 miles + squats + bridges with leg lifts. As I stepped outside for this run, I was super happy. It was cool(er) and overcast. Then I started running and realized that it was cool and overcast because it had thunder stormed that night. Needless to say, it took about 0.003 miles in before I realized the humidity was ridic. Like, I could cut the air probably, microwave it, and use it as gravy... ew, what? Then squats on squats on squats with dumbbells. I wasn't shaking by the last set, which means it's time to up the dumbbell weight! Woo!

On MONDAYS, we wear pink - pink shoes, pink socks, pink shorts. Not pictured: pink headband.

Tuesday 07/14
Triceps + chest + 60 minute elliptical. Huzzah, cross training! Tricep cable pull downs, overhead tricep press, tricep/chest press, chest flys while balancing on a stability ball, then an easy(ish)-peasy(ish) elliptical session.

Wednesday 07/15
1 mile "warm up" + 3.5 miles. Yes, the two need to be separated - they were so not the same run. OKAY. So this day, I flew to California. I was up at 1am east coast time (excitement) to leave at 3:30am to catch flight #1 that left at 6am to get to a one hour layover in Chicago... then four hour flight #2 leaving at local time 8:10am, getting me to San Diego at 10:20am west coast time. Body clock was off three hours meaning legs and hunger were off three hours. Joe picked me up, went back to work, and I explored. I set out for what I planned to be 4 consecutive miles, but for the first few minutes, I headed straight into major people traffic. I was awkwardly dodging all sorts of groups of skateboarders and surfers and children and dogs, and I couldn't enjoy it (plus the fact I was wayyyy out of it from my flights and lack of sleep). Then un-ignorable nature called (TMI?), so I thankfully retraced my steps back to Joe's, equaling about a mile. I set out for a successful take two in the opposite direction, which took me to a bike path along the beach - um, YES. However, I was reminded that I am NOT an afternoon (or after-traveling) runner.

Thursday 07/16
Rest day. This was a big decision, actually. Every race that I've ever, ever, ever, ever done has had a plan that incorporated two rest days a week. After getting hurt, exercising differently, and going to physical therapy, I started working out six days a week. Looking back, that contained a lot of yoga (which I'm no longer doing due to my hip/nerve issues). I hemmed and hawed over what I wanted to do this day for a workout, over-analyzing each aspect from "well, I'm still sort of sore in my upper body from Tuesday and from being upright for like, 24 hours yesterday" to "I really don't want to work my legs today because I need to remember I'm coming back from injury..." I felt like I SHOULD workout, but I didn't want to. That whole addiction thing rang in my head, but the memories of months of crying over painful movements and jogging inabilities were louder.

Saw this sign that day on a walk. Fitting, huh?

Friday 07/17
Biceps + planks + 45 minute stair climber intervals. I felt super rejuvenated this day after my rest day (even though we stayed up until ungodly hours hosting a cook out... er, excuse me, a BBQ... stupid west coasters... anyway). I got a two week membership to Joe's gym down the street and did bicep curls and hammer curls separated by some planking. Then I dominated the stairs. I swear, sometimes stair climbing intervals seem more difficult than running 400 meter or mile repeats. I alternated 3 minutes easy and 4 minutes hard, and I was drenched and huffing and puffing by the end. Oh, and if you're wondering how I got a nice 45 minutes out of those numbers, I began and ended with easy segments. Loved it. On an annoying note though, the machines at this gym shut off after 20 minutes. Rude.

Saturday 07/18
7 miles. We woke up to crashing thunder - like, window-shaking, dog-barking, car-alarming thunder. Luckily, it broke for a bit, so I still got a (humid) run in. I was going to run along Ocean Beach's Sunset Cliffs, but given the slippery ground (and the fact that these are cliffs), I thought it would be safer to run on the bike path I found a few days ago. Positive: I ran through the middle of a 5K! Always a nice bout of inspiration/motivation/competition! Negative: Knee woes. I felt a little tingle in my IT band knee (hip side was fine, praise Jesus). I was told by my first PT that since I had ITBS so badly, I'd probably feel some heaviness and pressure in my knee for the next year or so... I'm hoping this was that and not a re-tightening. I'm planning on going easier with the weekday distances and cardio cross training next week just in case.

What's your favorite cross training activity?
Do you get a little upset when fellow runners don't wave back?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Lies & Triggers & Bragging - Oh, My!

Please know that with this post, it is not my intention to call anyone out, hurt anyone's feelings, or critique anyone's blog. This is just something I do (or rather don't do) for me, and I wanted to get it off my chest.

There aren't really any numbers here on She's Going the Distance.

Running success is measured numerically - like any sport, really - and primarily with speed. The winner of any race has his or her net time noted, world records require the fastest time, and some races hold speed-related entrance criteria.

Then there's weekly mileage (number), races completed (number), years running (number)... you see my point.

I've noted some distances during my recent return to running from injury, and my Instagram has some Garmin/RunKeeper pics on it (but that one's going to stop).

"And why?" you ask. Comparison. And mostly comparison of myself to myself.

There are many times I want to post my race PRs and my training run stats. I honestly sometimes feel that if I had those numbers documented here, I'd be more respected as a runner and a blogger. I occasionally want to join you who have your personal bests written down the side of your home pages; I want to brag about numeric accomplishments of which I'm proud.

Then I'll have a bad (read: slow, read: THIS IS INJURY-IN-THE-MAKING THINKING) run and be thankful I don't because I wouldn't want to post it. But isn't that a lie of omission? Aren't bad (cough-slow) runs just as important as the good ones and deserved to be included? Runs have feelings, too.

Please know: I don't think being a fast runner is the one and only way to be a good runner... not one bit. This is my own being hard on myself stupid thinking. "Slow" and "fast" are so relative to each, they aren't catch-all words. Again, this is MK's voice to MK.

Also I'll see someone else discuss a faster run or a higher mileage week, and I'll be triggered to compare. I'll sometimes feel lesser and unworthy - and it's no one's doing but my own.

So I keep speeds off my blog. I'll most likely keep talking (briefly) about distances (I mean, I'm "going" it, aren't I?), but I don't want to include times.

Remember this feeling I talked about? That's how I want to differentiate a "good run" from a "bad run." As mentioned, only caring about speed got me hurt and set me out of the game for months. In an effort to remove this unrealistic importance, I'm attempting to refrain from making it an aspect on my blog. The time it takes to run a mile shouldn't determine if you had fun during that mile.

If you post your times, your goals, your bests, I'm so proud of you! I applaud your confidence and your success. I just don't think it's a good choice for me.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tried It Tuesday - Valentine's Day or Halloween?

Tomorrow morning (after a 3:45am wake up, yayyy), I'll be on my way to visit Joe in California! But before that adventure, it looks like I'm linking up with Lake Shore Runner again for Tried It Tuesday! I attempted my first Pintrest-esque feat.

Enter foreboding music.

It went... decently.

I wanted to make this cut out heart t-shirt:

Ingredients (supplies?) were simple enough: chalk, scissors, paper, some sort of upper body clothing. I had the first three, and Old Navy graciously sold me a $4 tank for the fourth.

Let us proceed.

Step 1! Trace the heart, leaving a bit of a space between sides.

Step 2! Draw lines where you will cut.

Step 3! Cut!

Step 4! Pull the fabric so the cuts sort of hang loosely.

Step 5! Try on and realize that you did NOT actually cut out a heart but rather a skeletal rib cage. No longer will this be a Valentine's Day shirt... Hello, Halloween!

Any DIY fails?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Feel Good Post!

Namaste, fools.

I wanted to share some good Internet happiness today!

First up - this amazing video, where strangers meet in a dark room and talk... then the lights come on. "Labels are for cans, not for people."

This hilarious BuzzFeed post about why running is horrible, awful, no good, stay away. Enjoy the virtual giggle.

The fact that my high school cross country teammate Ryan Hill is going to the World Outdoor Championships! (Okay, so this happened a while ago, and I'm just now sharing it, but yay Ryan!) Does this make me famous by association?

A reminder that Ryan's fast is not my fast, my fast is not your fast, and your fast is not my fast. Yeah.

And then this is me as a pumpkin from 2007 during cross country season. Relevant.

And while this isn't an Internet find, another half marathon training cycle started for me yesterday (!) ... with a rest day. Killing it.

Happy Monday!

Friday, July 10, 2015

5, 4, 3, 2, 1...

Happy Friday, my dears! Time for a little countdown for the weekend.

5. The number of days until I fly to VISIT SAN DIEGO TO SEE JOE. I'll be there for the majority of July hooray, hooray, hoorayyyy.

Tough Mudder, November 2013. Paint, not blood.

Ohh, the differences in our lives...

4. The number of songs I'm currently obsessed with.

Please note: My blog is a judgement-free zone, thank you very much. And with that...

Skid Row - from Little Shop of Horrors (just smile and nod)
Love Runs Out - OneRepublic (little late on this bandwagon...)
World Championship Finale (2) - from Pitch Perfect 2 (the Bella's winning number ;) )
Platinum - Miranda Lambert (I'm brunette)

3. The number of pairs of shoes purchased recently.

New Balance 775s (left), New Balance Fresh Foams

I'm loving both of these pairs of shoes... which is nice, considering I had a near mental breakdown hoping they were good choices. The 775s took some runs to get used to, but the Fresh Foams felt as if I had been running in them my whole life (in a good way)! Also, I like how this picture makes them seem smaller... cough-I-wear-a-size-10.5/11-cough.

$8.50 from Old Navy, say whaaa!?

And the above are my other current loves. I don't run in those...

2. The number of salad pictures taken this week.

Spinach, tomatoes, onions, almonds, eggs, Sriracha.

Spinach, peas, corn, green beans, carrots, cottage cheese, tuna, BBQ sauce.

1. The number of months left until I start graduate school.

This has been a very weird time in limbo for me, and I'm ready to be done. If you recall, I graduated from undergrad with a BS in math, worked in DC for two years, then quit my job in May so I can start grad school (sport and exercise psychology, woop woop!) in August. For the time between, I have moved home to live with my parents. I guess in my mind I had this picture that coming home for this summer would be like coming home for some sort of break during college - all of my friends from high school would be around, and we'd play and laugh and la-dee-da forever and ever. Yeah, no, they aren't here. I've had travels to visit family, and I have my aforementioned long ass visit to California, and I've had occasional encounters with some other friends and acquaintances from my past, but I'm so ready to have structure again. Give me classes! Give me papers! Give me tests, exams, stress!

On second thought, keep the stress.

Pick a number and give me a fact! Please.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Back to Basics

I'm more or less functioning without pain now, and so I've been assessing my upcoming training and looking back on past cycles.

I have kept one Excel spreadsheet for many, many years where I collect my training plans for races in different tabs. The evolution of these tabs is enlightening.

My training for my very first half marathon is located in the oldest tab. The cells are color coded to depict running days, cross training days, and rest days. Running days have the mileage number - no pace data, no indication of tempo/interval/recovery/base, zippo. The cross training days show "CT" - I don't know if that day was a cardio cross train (elliptical, bike) or a strength cross train (biceps, triceps, back, shoulders, chest, lower body). I didn't get hurt during the training for this race, and I remember enjoying each workout.

Over the years, that format changed. The first huge jump was made when I started documenting specific cross training. I think that was beneficial; now I'd know when I last did upper body versus lower body to even out my gains. Nobody wants to skip leg day...

Then started the running specifics. I think this is a two-way street. On the one hand, I think it's very important to remember when you do hard workouts and when you do easy workouts. Easy, easy, easy doesn't challenge you, but hard, hard, hard can injure you. The other hand will be discussed further down...

I added the same kind of components to my strength training cells. In addition to "biceps, triceps," I also recorded the number of reps and number of sets for each type of exercise.

In short, my Excel tabs have gone from containing cells that could hold at most 4 characters to containing cells that have novels written in them.

I think this kind of detail can be extremely beneficial if used for good and not evil. Unfortunately, I am a creature of comparison, and if there is past numerical data available, you can bet your ass I'll be reviewing obsessing over it. 

Why was last month's 7 mile base run faster than today's? I did 4 sets of 15 reps of bicep curls yesterday, but I did 5 sets of 17 last week! What gives!?

As my Excel chronicles increased in size, my appreciation of my physical ability diminished

And that's why I'm going back to basics. The comparison has officially driven me crazy; I'm going to keep some record of what I've been doing but nothing that can give me the means to harass and negatively critique myself. I think the KISS principle applies to me and my Excel sheet - keep it simple, stupid. 

What kind of detail do you keep for your running? 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Tried it - now what?

I'm relatively new to the actual blogging scene, so I'm not exactly sure how "link ups" work. Do I need permission? Do I just link something in my post to someone else's blog?

Well, I wanted to do a "Tried it Tuesday," (heyyy, Jamie and wonderful creator Sara), and so yeah, I guess I'm linking up...

From last Tuesday night to yesterday Monday morning, I was vacationing with my family. I told you all here about my views on working out while with family, and how I try to get something in, but I'm a lot more lenient with it. So one day, instead of doing my usual 1-2 hour workout in the morning, I decided to try something that I've read a lot about but have never actually tried - splitting it up into segments throughout the day.

I've done two-a-day runs before, but I'm not really talking about that. I'm talking short(er) bursts of energy to sum to a long exercise routine.

There are multiple online sources that discuss the possible benefits of this (like here and here). Let's be honest, I'll always prefer long, grueling distance runs, but in the spirit of trying new things, I experimented.

8:20am - 8:40am 20 Minute No Equipment Workout (printable)

This gave me a great wake up routine! I exchanged the "Frogger" exercise for mountain climbers (because I'm less coordinated and because I wanted to). I also forgot the push up part of the "Push Up and Rotate." Oops. I definitely worked up a sweat... but that might be due to the fact that I was exercising in my grandmother's attic. It's not the most AC-ed area of the house. Morning heart rate up.

The shag carpet helped soak up my drippings perfectly.

11:00am - 11:20am 20 Minute No Run Cardio Workout (printable)

Okay, this one was more difficult. Probably because I had just returned from a very humid, hazy walk with my mom. And because I was hungry. The "Invisible Jump Rope" threw me for a loop (HAHA, I'M FUNNY), and I felt a little awkward... yes, it was already awkward jumping around in my grandmother's attic alone to the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack, but the additional imagined (or lack of real) jump rope made it more so. Also Bunny Hops will kick your ass. Again, nice heart rate rampage.

So far, I felt as if I had put in some quality exercise time in the AM, and these two sessions kept me entertained and energized throughout the morning.

Fast forward through lunch, some day drinking, and a nap...

Basically me, but not as cute.

2:30pm - 2:45pm 15 Minute Bodyweight Workout (video)

Okay, I'll admit I did not like this one as a workout. There's only a bit of warm up, then like 2 seconds of exercise, then a stretching cool down - but this post isn't supposed to be a review on the quality of these workouts (which it's turning into), but rather my feeling for working out in spurts all day. This DEFINITELY gave me needed energy for the afternoon. I mean, I felt totally rejuvenated after drinking and sleeping, like those two activities didn't even happen. Warning: when thrusting your legs out willy-nilly to the side, make sure there aren't fragile candle holders around you... ahem.

4:00pm - 4:10pm 10 Minute Butt Workout (video)

I'll be honest, I did this one so soon after the last one because I really wanted to finally shower. I should have done this one earlier in the day because it's pretty good.

Concluding thoughts: I probably won't be doing this again unless I absolutely have to. I am all for fitting in different sessions of exercise if you can't get it all in at once, but you know what? I can. I have that luxury, so I'll take it. While the time may add to a usual workout (for me - everyone is different), and the intensity was there, I never got that mental satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment from any particular one. The post-inebriated nap workout DID do wonders for waking/sobering me up though! And I love being active throughout the day. Also, this was the perfect day to do it - we were at my grandma's, and she has a nice backyard and pool. It was an overcast day, so I didn't mind popping away for a bit to do these workouts. Had it been sunny and beautiful, I probably would have resented it.

So there we have it. I tried it, and now it's Tuesday, so I'm telling you about it.