most disappointing PR ever!

On Sunday I ran my 7th half marathon, in perfect running weather, very San Francisco-like, 60 degrees, overcast.

It was also my:

  • 4th race in the Sacramento area.
  • 12th race.
  • 2nd half marathon of 2012.
  • 1st race in my Nike Zoom Elites.
  • 2nd race that’s finished in a baseball stadium.
  • 3rd half marathon I’ve run in 1 hour and 56 minutes.

And a new PR: 1:56:09!

Yes, a PR by 2 seconds.  But still a PR!

The official time was a little bit disappointing to be honest.  I thought I had run a better race but it is what it is.  I met with my physical therapist today to discuss some aches and pains and strategies for improvement so we shall see…on April 8 🙂

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This week’s runs were tough.  I’m not entirely sure why but they all started out the same way…sloooooooooow and uninspired.  They felt more like items on my to-do list that needed to be crossed off than the usual welcomed part of my day where I get to escape into the jungle of my brain, race joggers who don’t know we’re racing and push my lungs to the limit.  No, this week I felt like a turtle with three legs trying to run in quicksand; three legs that each weighed four hundred pounds.

The Karen Queally pep talk used to work on its own but it hasn’t been cutting it lately so I’ve come up with some other mind games to play on myself.  I should have majored in mind games.  I needed a lot of help getting started this week so I tried to remind myself of the usual self-motivating facts – that I’ve never regretted going on a run and I always feel better afterwards.

Sometimes this works and other times I need to bring in the reserves.

I bought these compression socks a couple of weeks ago to help with recovery.  I decided to run in them one day, mostly because they’re super cute and HOT PINK! and I’ve since convinced myself that I’m faster when I run with them on.  Plus they make me feel like Shalane.

According to the science behind the socks, it’s still up in the air whether they actually impact performance or if the PRs are due to a placebo effect.  Whether it’s the perceived improvement in execution or the cuteness factor, they work!

My other “go-to” is the rule of half.  I tell myself that I just have to get out there and if I don’t want to run the entire planned mileage, no worries, I just have to run half.  Half always seems much more manageable.  I end up completing more than half, if not the entire planned distance, every time.

And yes, every clock in my house is set five minutes fast to trick myself into always being early.

For the record…it doesn’t work.

But the running tricks do! 10 miles today, 20 miles this week, soccer tomorrow!  Here’s how February has been so far…

Month Week Miles
Feb 1/30 – 2/5 24.2
2/6 – 2/12 16.13
2/13 – 2/19 24.63
2/20 – 2/26 20
Total 84.96
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January Miles

I had planned numerous topics for today’s post (teaser: new CSA, compression socks, Nike shoe reviews) but got suckered volunteered to help at the family restaurant tonight so instead a quick mileage update!

I realize it’s almost March but better late than never!

Month Week                          Miles
Jan 1/1 – 1/8 30.39
1/9 – 1/15 21.14
1/16 – 1/22 15.1
1/23 – 1/29 24.03
Total 90.66
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Davis Stampede | Half Marathon

When I was in high school, good grades came pretty easily.  It may seem like a blessing but when I entered college I realized it was a curse; I didn’t really know how to study because I hadn’t had to up until that point.  (And learning how to study while you’re also trying to figure out alcohol consumption limits and explore a new independence is exhausting!)  Like most teenagers I took the SATs to position myself well on college applications.  I took an SAT prep course and bought all of the Kaplan materials and test exams.  My Dadtober even sat in on one of the classes for me when I had a soccer game so I didn’t have to miss out on the information reviewed.  I paid attention in class and took some practice exams, scoring pretty close to the 1600 point maximum (not like 1580 close, but close ;)).  So I was hopeful when Test Day actually rolled around, but I hadn’t really studied.

My high hopes were immediately deflated when I received the results weeks later.  It wasn’t a bad score by any means, but I knew I could do better, so I decided to give it another try.  I can’t remember if I studied in between the first and second attempts; my feeling is I probably did a little bit but it couldn’t have been more than flipping through material I felt I already knew.

I was more nervous the second time around; I now had something to prove to myself.  When the results of the second SAT came back I couldn’t believe it!

I scored EXACTLY the same!  Not even 10 points higher or lower.  exactly.the.same.score. =\

So I threw in the towel.  Most of the people I knew only took the test once.  I took it twice to try to prove something that clearly didn’t work out, so I was done.  I ended up getting into every college that I applied to, except the one that I thought I really wanted to go to.  How you get into UC Berkeley and not UCLA will always be a mystery to me but I ended up at UCSD and as they say, everything happens for a reason.  For real.

I bring this story up because on Sunday I ran a 1:56:32 at the Davis Stampede Half Marathon; 20 or so seconds slower, but basically exactly the same time, as my current PR.  I didn’t study prepare well at all the day before and now regret that minute-long restroom detour, but mostly, I know I could have done better.  So next time I will 🙂

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2012 Q1 Training Plan

My first half marathon of the year is coming up this Sunday so it’s about time I shared the plan for the first couple months of 2012 with you guys.

As you know, one of my goals for 2012 is to be more consistent with my running.  I’m not running any full marathons this year and have five half marathons already scheduled!  I wanted to try to run one per month but weather, travel schedules and available local races haven’t made that totally possible.  I’m still lookin’ though so we’ll see!

The aggressive race schedule should help me maintain a great fitness level and also increase my speed which will hopefully improve my chances of meeting another 2012 goal, to PR in the half.

Here’s how I plan to do it…

I’m running 4 days a week.  The three runs during the work week are about 5 – 7 miles each on average and the long run on the weekend varies from 8 to 14 miles depending on where I am with my racing schedule.  Last year I had a “yoga/stretch” day on Mondays and a rest day on Fridays and found that I basically made both into a drink-lots-of-wine do-nothing-at –all day, defeating the yoga/stretch concept completely.  This year, Monday and Friday are yoga days and thanks to my physical therapist  I’ve finally realized that I don’t need to let my publicworkoutclassphobia hold me back from practicing so I bought a couple DVDs and practice yoga in the comfort of my own home.  Lastly, as you may have
just read I joined a women’s soccer team and for the next couple months Sundays are for soccer!

I work with physicians so my meetings center around patient office visit hours and can start as early as 7 AM and end as late as 10 PM.  With this kind of schedule, making sure I cross things off daily on the training plan can be a challenge so I don’t obsess over whether  things are completed on the exact day that they are scheduled for or not.  I try, but I don’t trip if it doesn’t happen.  For example, Tuesdays are a running day but with work it’s tough sometimes to make sure I get the miles in when I have so many early AND late work meetings in the same day.  So, I may do yoga (in my house at 5 AM instead of run outside in the dark) and swap my run for Friday, which is how the schedule can end up looking like this…

(The Chef apparently added an inspirational note to the schedule this morning.  He also did the dishes which means 1 of 2 things: 1) he did something he needs to make amends for, or 2) I really do ROQ! ;))

X = completed
— = not completed
\ = (not shown but means…) half completed

A couple of things to note – if I miss a run during the week I still try to make it up (if that seems reasonable) the following week (but if not, that’s OK).  As you can see above, I missed a couple runs (I also missed some soccer!).  I was sick and it didn’t make sense to run so many miles the next week so I let it go.  Yoga however, is non-negotiable.  I HAVE to make it up.  This is only because I know how much it will benefit  my running, it’s only 30 minutes at the minimum and I can do it at home, whenever I want – how can you make excuses NOT to complete that?!

I’ve learned a lot about excuses in the last year and this year, I can’t be bothered with them 😉  So here’s to 2012!  And I’ll let you know how Sunday turns out.

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Back in the game!

I’ve run almost 100 miles so far in 2012.

Yesterday I played my first soccer game of the season.

 Today I am so sore I can barely walk!  Aaaaaaand I even took an ice bath afterwards!

Those four sentences don’t even make sense next to each other!  But it’s true.  You’d think after 100 miles in one month my body could handle two hours of soccer playing but it’s a totally different ball game.  Pun intended 😉

I’m playing in an adult women’s league here in Sacramento and felt like I was 15 years old again on the field.  Off the field my joints feel more like 51.  I grew up playing soccer.  I played until my senior year of high school when I decided boys and “free time” after school were more important.  I only had 5 classes my senior year (all Advanced Placement “AP”, thankyouverymuch!) so my school day ended around noon, clearly leaving enough time for boys, free time AND soccer but my priorities were a little bit, shall we say, unfocused.  There are so many things I’d like to go back and tell my adolescent self, probably the very same things my parents were telling her at the time.  Perspective is a beautiful thing 🙂

Soccer should prove to be an excellent cross training tool incorporated into my running schedule this year.  I’ve built a pretty balanced plan that I’m excited to share with you later this week!

Even though my muscles are screaming now, I like to think they’re saying “THAAAAAAAAAANK YOUUUUUUUUU!”

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Tracked Changes

Just when I was ready to hop on the marathoners short bus, someone else posts a blog that totally redeems me!

(If you don’t know that movie reference, we have not spent enough time in each other’s company. ;))

Apparently the first step in being able to achieve your goal of running X amount of miles is to actually begin tracking your mileage!  Brilliant!

This opens up a whole new world of things I’d better start tracking…

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