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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Another last minute race? Sort of.

I signed up for this on June 22nd, so it's not really last minute - not as much as my other races have been lately. It's Four on the Fourth, that fun 4th of July race in Covington that is followed by a bikini beer mile (I will not be participating)!
I love this funky race - the director is goofy, the prizes are silly (last time I raced it I won a shark-shaped bottle opener...ok...), and fourth-place finishers get the biggest prize. This year, me and my slow times might just win fourth. I was third last time - I'm only concerned that I will be too slow to make fourth!
Is any one else racing July 4th? And if so, what are you wearing?
Not the exact shirt, but similar

Coeur Sports sent me an awesome red and blue ensemble I plan to wear - with my flag crop top. I actually bought this top specifically to wear to the race! Got to be festive!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Ten-day training cycle

As I ease back into running, I'm considering moving to a 10-day training cycle temporarily. I've always used 7 days, and it usually has a few key features:
- a long run, always on Saturday.
- an easy easy run, a slow jog on soft surfaces, on Sunday.
- speed work. At least I USED to do this, Mondays at group track (canceled; everyone joined another Tuesday group but it's a farther track and a bad day for me).
- off day or cross-train day

The other days were just moderate running (although at times I was really consistent about a mid-week ten miler at a not-slow pace). The problem with this cycle was that I only got in one hard workout. I've tried two, but I could never adequately recover, and would end up hurt. So one speed session per week it was, and that meant too many moderate miles. See, speed session lead to recovery sessions. One speed session per week means just one easy day per week, too. And not enough variety running: almost all my runs were the same easy pace.
Another problem I foresee with the weekly schedule is handling cross-training. If I try to cross-train more to avoid injury, I can either sub an easy day for cross training and only run 5 days a week (not enough miles to improve) or sub an off day for cross training and never get a day off (hello, injury).

I've put together a tentative 10-day training cycle, and an example looks like this:

Long (long and slow)
Very easy (short and slow)
Easy(regular old running)
Very easy

So let's compare months:
Regular 7 day training cycle                 Ten day cycle
Long runs: 4                                             Long runs: 3
Hard days: 4                                             Hard days: 9
Very easy days: 4                                     Very easy days: 6
Off/cross training: 4                                 Off/cross training: 6
Easy/moderate days: 14                           Easy/moderate days: 6

As you can see, this gives me much more variety, and increases very easy or non-running days by a third. It is, however, a hefty jump in hard days, but "hard" isn't necessarily death-by-track every single day. Hard workouts can be mid-week long, tempos, fartleks, hills, or speed work, depending on the plan. I would definitely be redefining "hard".
The obvious drawback to a ten-day cycle is that your long runs could end up on a weekday. That shouldn't be an issue for me now, as I build up mileage, but if I were training for a half or full marathon, I'd have to reconsider.

What do you think? Doable? Safer? More dangerous? Have you ever used a ten-day plan?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

I love this: magic erasers

Ok, so I actually got the generic. What I really love is "melamine foam sponges".

They are my new favorite cleaning tool, and yes, that's the level of boring to which I've sunk. I have a favorite cleaning tool.
Smudge on wall from clumsy spouse
Scrub, scrub - it's gone!

But it really is a thrill. We have an old house with flat paint, and every little scuff stays on the walls. I finally tried the magic eraser, and it takes the smudges off safely and easily! Hurray for scuff-free walls!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

I almost wore flats.

Last night I almost wore racing flats. In fact, I took a picture, to be all, "Oooh, I haven't worn flats in a year" - but then as I walked out the door with them on, I felt way too close to the ground. I ran back upstairs and put my Kinvaras on.

The D-tag is from Greek Fest 5k...over a year ago.
What was the occasion? I jumped into a 2-mile race last minute. I don't know how it's happening that all my races are last minute, but in this case, half-way through the workday I found out that our evening plans changed. Instead of community group with our church (which I lead), we'd be meeting for a farewell party for a member who was moving away (which was at a bar...which I could be late to, since I wasn't in charge). This will probably be the only summer series 2-miler I can make, so I wanted to do it.
The summer series are free for New Orleans Track Club members, so I just showed up and registered few minutes prior to the start. I got in a 1-mile warmup just running from my parked car, then adding a little extra.
My plan going into the race was 6:30's - I know, not blistering, but I'd run speed work that morning since I hadn't planned on racing! My legs definitely were feeling those 400s, too. So I thought that sounded safe and hopefully doable. The weather was hot and humid, with a storm possibly brewing.
These races are heavily attended by the high school runners, so of course I found myself swept up in a large group of teenage boys early on. I was still able to hold my pace pretty consistently, but it's funny that the race stayed so crowded the whole time and I had to do a lot of weaving. I guess I'm the same pace as the slower high schoolers, so we were together the whole time.
The race went by so fast I don't really have a lot to say about it, except that the air was very heavy the whole way. I crossed the line in 12:56. Not my fastest, but good considering the 12x400's that morning. And pretty good pacing, too.
After the race, they had beer, hot dogs, peanuts, etc., but the impending storm arrived and I left early. I got drenched on the way to my car. Of course, the rain made the temperature so much more bearable as soon as it didn't matter anymore!
As for racing flats, I'm not sure I'll be wearing them again. I used to think these shoes (Mizuno Musha - now discontinued) felt perfect for the track or short races, but they felt hard, inflexible, and uncomfortable last night. I might need to ease into them.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Sister visit!

At the National WWII museum with a Higgins boat replica 
Jazz at the Park at Armstrong Park
$10 lunch special at Bornge
Look closely: we're in a float at Mardi Gras World!
More props at Mardi Gras World. My friend is a sculpture there and took us on a personal tour!
Some of the fam. Missing four brothers here. 
At Destrehan Plantation
By the river
The cathedral

Thursday, June 18, 2015

House Call

Or work call.
My awesome surgeon who moved to Florida was in town for the AVP tournament (his girlfriend, I believe, is an avid volleyball player).
And he stopped by my pharmacy to check on me! How cute is that! I totally wish he'd stayed here. He is the BEST.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

You can almost die on a 6-mile run.

Sunday morning I got up a little late and stumbled out the door for 6 miles of soft-surface running. Since we got a lot of rain over the past week, the outside loop of Audubon park was out of the question: rain turns it into a bog. I opted instead for the streetcar tracks, which dry out faster, and promised to be mostly runnable.
I almost died.
I got out the door at close to 8 am, and it was 88 degrees. Not bad, really; I've run in much worse. But the humidity was stifling. There was a damp dome of moisture above me, through which the sun was beating down. For about a mile, I was just trucking along. Then somewhere in mile two, I decided that I was going to die in about 5 minutes. My clothes were saturated with sweat and being annoyingly clingy. My shoes were squelching with mud and sweat. My head throbbed in the heat. I kept squinting angrily to keep the sweat from pouring into my eyes.
To make it worse, I was running into a steady headwind that felt like a public bathroom hand-dryer. Somehow I survived until the turnaround point, and things got much better: the wind was behind me, and it brought in clouds that occasionally provided respite from the sun. A storm was rolling in, which explained the incredibly heavy air, but the shade was worth it.
Somehow I didn't die, even though I was pretty sure death was imminent, but I felt terrible the rest of the day. I was light-headed and had no appetite, and just moped for several hours. Finally I remembered that whole electrolyte thing and had a pinch of salt. Ah! Revival! That made a big difference. But man, it was still a rough day.

I have a feeling that my new, slower self (never got under 8:30 pace Sunday) is going to struggle this summer.