The next mission, and one forgotten detail.

31 07 2017

In my last post about June races, I mentioned the Denver/Cheyenne running weekend but forgot to talk about the 5k I ran in Cheyenne the day before the Revel Rockies half.

UntitledSo Wyoming turned out to be the 34th state I’ve raced in when I did the Cheyenne Greenway Foundation’s “Spring into Green 5k” on June 10, 2017.  The race took place at Cahill Park and coincided with the ribbon-cutting of an accessible playground for people of all ages and abilities.  I thought this was incredibly neat!  The playground has not only slides and other standard amenities for kids but also has an outdoor elliptical, pull up bar and a bench where you could hook your feet at the end and do abs.  I don’t go to parks much except to run but I’ve never seen anything like this before, and I found it quite brilliant.  The place was swarming with runners and  ribbon-cutting attendees, so I didn’t get a good picture of it but I found this one with a Google search:


Pretty cool, eh?  The elliptical and the bench are on the lower right.  The pull-up thingie is out of frame further right.  To be able to take the kids to the park, get on the elliptical and crank out some crunches at the same time  —  free of charge  —  gives nobody any excuse to be unfit. And they have a 2k running loop around the park as well.  Very nice.  I did okay in the race too.  They recorded my time at 39:03 which is faster than me and my rarely-accurate Garmin clocking and was pretty impressive for the over-5000 foot jump in altitude, if I must say so myself.  I posted my usual collage below:

Cheyenne Collage

It was a fun event on a cool morning and I appreciated the chance to squeeze in an extra state on the day before my first half-marathon of the year.  Another thing that was an unexpected bonus was that the Kiwanis club sponsored a pancake breakfast before the 5k during the ribbon-cutting for the playground and continued serving until well after the race was over.  So there was a lot of nice food there the whole time.  I don’t often worry about eating before a 5k because they’re so short, but it was a nice perk anyway and the whole event was a fun way to begin my first running trip of the year.

And speaking of running trips….

I started the next phase of training this week for my fall half-marathon season.  I have Rock’n’Roll Philadelphia on September 17 (with a 5k in New Jersey the day before) and Run Crazy Horse in South Dakota on October 8.  I ended up getting rained out of my half last week and so my every-2-week-long-mileage scheme has taken a hit.  Because I work Friday/Saturday/Sunday every other week, I can only do a really long run every 2 weeks.  Starting work at 8:00 a.m. means 5 miles or less on work days (and five is even a stretch for old slow-moving Me) since I’m not somebody who gets up before dawn to run.  5:00 is as early as I can manage it on an ordinary day, and that means running about an hour or so is the best I’ll ever do.  I mean, unless I win a big lottery or something and take up the life of a lady of leisure.  But I doubt that’s gonna happen any time soon.

So given the confines of this life of a working woman, I have worked out a 6 day per week plan to maintain and enhance race-readiness according to the new book I referenced in the previous post “Train Smart, Run Forever” along Matt Fitzgerald’s “80-20 Running” which I’ve used before.  Like I said initially, I do more weight lifting than the typical runner’s training plan includes and I like it that way so I have adapted it accordingly.  But this new method calls for a lot more stretching than I’ve ever done and that will be the challenge.  Since neglecting flexibility work is how I’ve always been injured (I guess you’d call that “training dumb”), it makes sense to aim for 100% compliance with a plan that advertises itself as “training smart”.  And to ensure that I do, I will make myself accountable to the dozen or so people who read this blog by putting all down here and reporting on a much more regular basis than I have for the last 9 years.

Here is the basic framework.  My work schedule is a two week block that repeats itself into infinity and those days are shaded blue with work hours noted above each.  UntitledRuns during the week will flux per the Fitzgerald training plan between tempo, interval, fast finish, speedplay etc.  The Metabolic and Boot Camp type DVDs are also variable.  I have lots of those, all around 45-55 minutes and mostly by Cathe Friedrich, which are strenuous enough to count as vigorous cardio.  I’ve used the Jordan Metzl DVD before and it includes stuff I hate like burpees and mountain climbers, but it does yield results and is “runner specific”. The 10-12 minute AM yoga/stretch will also vary between runner’s yoga DVD/MP4s I’ve used over the years from Runner’s World and Greg McMillan.  Yoga Only Day will get filled with whatever full-length yoga I feel like doing that day (and I have dozens of those too).  Of course the workouts will get shifted around as things come up but I will do the best I can to stick to this outline for the next 10 weeks.  And I will check in here weekly to report my progress.  I generally work out 5-6 days a week anyway, so that’s not an issue.  Sticking to all that stretching is where I need supervision.  And the stupid burpees.  Oh and the planks too.  Ugh!  I hate that shit.  The only plank I’ve ever liked was the one Worf was walking at the start of Star Trek: Generations. 😀

But I digress…

I ran 4 miles yesterday before work (having taken a rest day the day before) and am off to do a metabolic DVD right now (Cathe Friedrich’s XTrain Supercuts).  I will finish out the week and be back to report on Sunday or so.

June 2017: lessons and competition, like summer school at Starfleet Academy

21 07 2017

June was a decent month, runningwise.  I finished the fitness regimen I had called “Spring Training,” ran some races and learned a few new tricks from friends as well as professionals.  It was kind of like summer school in a way, only more fun.

On Saturday June 3, I ran the Walter Payton Sweetness 8k.  Unlike last year when it was cool, rainy and sparsely populated, this year it was hot and crowded with 8k as well as 5k (which I don’t remember from before) runners and walkers.  In 2016, I got an age group award whereas this year I pretty much dragged myself along in the hot sunshine.  I enjoyed it but didn’t take any photos and didn’t stick around for the post-race festivities because I was pretty tired that day.  The photos below are from the race’s photographer and were downloadable without charge at her website:

Sweetness 8k

So that was fun but I didn’t win an award and in fact was slower than I wanted to be.  But my goal since recovering from the last injury was to work on endurance first and deal with increasing speed later in the season.

The following week, I headed west for the Cheyenne/Denver running trip which I described in a separate post a few weeks ago.  Jumping up from a long run of 11 miles the last part of May to the 13.1 miler in mid-June was the pinnacle of my distance push for this year.  The plan going forward is to run anywhere from 10-13.1 miles every other weekend as a “very long run”, and spend the rest of the time with tempo, speed, intervals and the like.  Since I work every other weekend, I will only have time for a 5-6 miler on the workdays and that will be my shorter “long run”. This is how I plan to maintain distance readiness for the halves coming up in July, September and October as well as to build speed for the fall 5k races which will hopefully find me a bit faster.  I don’t want to go out on a limb and say I’d like to PR, but hell, who doesn’t?

Those were the June races which represent the competition aspect of the month.  The lessons I learned as well have been valuable additions to my training.

First, I bought the new book “Train Smart, Run Forever” written by Bill Pierce and Scott Murr (who wrote my fave Run Less, Run Faster) which is geared toward older runners and features a seven-hour workout week that contains a lot of stretching and foam rolling, a small amount of strength training and quite a bit of running and cross-training.  I have adapted their plan for my tastes and am including it in my next training program.  The benefits I anticipate will be the addition of foam rolling which I don’t do at all now, increasing the stretching to include some techniques I have not done and also starting some 5-minute pre-run drills.  I will continue to strength train way more than they recommend and will substitute metabolic/boot camp DVDs for cross-training instead pf rowing and elliptical, but I’m pretty much going to follow their regimen very closely between now and November when distance running winds down for the year.


Also from my fellow blogger The Running Rebel, I learned a posture technique best described as “Pecker Out” in her post about the best running advice she’d ever received. I tried it on a 10 mile run, keeping my hips slightly forward and showing the world my imaginary pecker, and I felt like it did improve my form.

Later my running club buddy Judith and I were talking about our run/walk ratios one day, and she mentioned that she had tried 2:30/0:30 which gave her more energy to resume running than the 3:00/1:00 which has been my mainstay for a couple of years. So I decided to give that a try myself.  I wasn’t sure how I’d feel walking only 30 seconds but it was great!  The only glitch is when I’m running long miles and need to eat a piece of Rice Krispie treat or something.  It takes longer than 30 seconds to scarf it down and then drink some water, but that’s okay.  It’s my new ratio now and I believe it makes me just a wee bit faster.

So that’s pretty much it for June 2017.  I learned some cool new stuff from 3 sources that is making me a better runner and I ran 3 races.  I’d call it a successful month.  If this was summer school at Starfleet Academy, I’d definitely give it a good evaluation and hope I had earned an A.

starfleet academy

July features another 10 miler and another half-marathon.  I’ll be back to talk about that as soon as it all happens.