Running towards change

So after a race I always wonder when/if I should transition to a different thing. Usually I would be sick of running, ready to hang up my running shoes and pull out the squat bar. But this year I’ve been making such good progress with running and I kind of want to keep going! But I’m also aware that my little powerlifting comp in May is not far off and I have a LOT of work to do to get to where I want to be. Maybe a hybrid approach will work, at least while I’m slowly easing back into lifting?

Today I took advantage of the beautiful day to get out for a chill 4-miler. My hips are still unhappy, so I spent some time to stretch really well afterward (I’ve been neglecting that).

Since Thanksgiving is over, our local grocery store had turkeys discounted from $1.59/lb to $0.59/lb (~$12 for a 20lb turkey, not bad!). I’ve never cooked a turkey, but I think I’d like to host my inlaws for Thanksgiving next year so a test run would be useful– plus, we love turkey! The big ol’ bird is now dry-brining in the fridge and we’ll cook it tomorrow, since my husband’s going to be home. Hopefully it turns out okay and we can find room for all the leftovers.

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Race report: annual Turkey Trot 5k

Happy Thanksgiving to my US readers! It’s that day of the year again: time to run my yearly fall 5k to keep myself motivated and honest. This year I really put in some good training work, and I was looking forward to the race– though I wasn’t quite sure what to expect! My training cycle this year has been so different and I pretty much lined up with the mindset of “go as hard as I can handle, because I don’t get another chance at this race”. I felt pretty confident in just trusting the training and going hard.

Now the Turkey Trot itself is real caj; it’s a community event in a small city and everyone comes out to run and walk, some people dress in costumes, it’s very festive. However, it’s also a fast course and attracts some serious racers. Someday I’ll learn: line up as close to the mat as I can, no matter my expected pace, because otherwise I’m going to have to rage around giant packs of walkers in turkey hats blocking the whole damn road. I pretty much ran the entire race on anger at walkers who should not have been out in front of people who lined up when they called for 11 minute pace folks. Not to mention the people who run-walk and stop running right in front of me. These things are all fine, but an effort to not affect people who are out there running for time would be great. (The announcer told people walking to line up at the back, but no one listened.)

Aside from all the dodging, it was a very good race. I came out strong (dodging actually motivates me some, I vroom around people) and held it together until the last 0.5 mile, where it started to catch up with me, but I felt good, if tired and hot, when I finished and even better when I checked my time on my phone. When I got home and checked the chip time I felt fantastic– I finished in 33:24, a full 2 minutes faster than my PR 2 years ago. I’m pretty proud at hanging in there for 5k at 10’45” pace– didn’t even know I could do that! My splits were even too. Good race, gold star.

And my wonderful husband, as always, was supportive race crew, hanging out in the cold holding my crap and waiting for me to get back. (Did I mention it was 28ºF this morning? So cold!)

I hope you all have a wonderful day today with family and friends and enjoy the turkey and all its trimmings! Thanks for reading.

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Almost there!

Last run before the race! I never know what to do with taper runs, so I decided to use it to build some confidence and pushed through the 2 miles at a spirited pace, finishing in 22 minutes flat. It was tough, but I’ll be pleased if I can sustain that level of effort for another ~10 minutes in the race– and I think I can.

Last night I did an hour’s worth of nice stretching and yoga and some more today post-run. My hips have been a mess and someone suggested propping them up with a pillow between my knees when I’m side sleeping. What do you know, it really helped! Lots less hip pain after a couple nights propped up.

Thanksgiving morning is supposed to be brisk: just about at the freezing point at start time. I can wear my warm coat beforehand, and have my race crew (aka my husband) keep that for me while I run in lighter clothes. This year’s race swag is a t-shirt, which is always nice but not particularly useful for the weather, maybe I can use the hat from a couple years ago instead.

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Catching up, taper and race prep

I’ve been slacking on blogging my workouts! It’s taper week now, so for the next few days I’m doing yoga and stretching and going for walks (okay my plan has a tiny 2 miles tomorrow too). I picked up my race packet this morning, so all I have to do now is show up on Thanksgiving ready to run. I’ve definitely put in the work this cycle so I’m feeling fairly confident!

I tested out my new shoes with a quick mile on Friday, and predictably they were just fine (thank you Mizuno Waveriders for being awesome for years and years). Sunday (not Saturday, it rained) I put them to a real test: 8.16 miles, my longest run ever. It wasn’t super fast, but it wasn’t slow either; I was running for 1:43:41, 12’42" pace. I kept running up the stupid big hills, but I did wind up taking a couple short walk breaks to cross streets and poke at my phone. Overall it went really well and ya know, a 10 miler or even a half marathon doesn’t seem so unreasonable anymore. Maybe I can get a little faster so I don’t need to be out for 3+ hours to get those done?

But yeah, I’m really curious to see what will happen Thursday! I might line up with the 11’00" folks…

After that, I need to re-evaluate what I want to do. Should I keep running, go back to lifting, or try some kind of hybrid approach? I think when I go back to lifting I’ll have to start from scratch– I’ve lost so much strength. But because of that I’m looking forward to it, too.

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Shuffling around

Hips seem to be doing better today. I tentatively queued up tomorrow’s 5 miles fast for this morning, with the option of bailing to 3 if everything sucked. But it didn’t suck, and I got those 5 miles on the treadmill done in a tidy 55:35– 5 miles fast indeed. Woot. And I finished up with a nice stretch that got into all the unhappy places.

The reason I moved things around is to give myself 1-2 days’ rest between the 5 miles and the 7 miles this weekend. I also have new shoes to test out so I might run a little bit tomorrow to see how they work before I rotate them in for the 7 miler (new gear on long run: big no-no).

I didn’t sleep well last night. I was all relaxed, and then I made the mistake of checking work email. So I just went through my work plan for the next year with my boss yesterday morning, we definitely packed a lot in there. And then I get an email from an outside person "requesting" 2 months of my time on a project that I’m not supposed to have anything to do with. That pissed me off– there’s nothing I can drop in my plan, and now they want me to do extra clean-up work for a project that can’t get its shit together? And that spiraled into thinking about every work thing I’m struggling with and it all kept me up. No more email before bed.

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Final speedwork

Not for forever, but at least for this cycle. The schedule called for 8×400, but I was severely time-constrained this morning so I wound up doing work interval 7, pausing a minute to catch my breath, and going directly to work interval 8. It was brutal and I pushed too hard (work intervals were at 10’00”, rest at 12’00”). But it’s done.

My hips are still unhappy, even after the extra rest day on Monday. I have some tough choices to make about the last week of runs.

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Long run weekend

I forgot to write about my long run this weekend on Saturday. For what it’s worth, I did come back in, shower, and immediately get to work making a cheesecake so blogging wasn’t at the top of my brain…

1111

Anyway, the 7 miler went well– 7.09 miles in 1:26:59 (12’15”), no walk breaks even on the big hills. I was going to shoot for my longest run ever– had to beat 7.4 miles– but by the end of this run my right side IT band/gluteus medius was very, very upset and the half mile walk back home was more of a hobble. I think all the uphill bits irritated it in particular, even though I tried to use my quads instead of my hips (mantra for the day: “quadsquadsquadsquads”). I’m kind of disappointed; I was hoping to get through this training cycle with no soreness or overuse injuries and it was looking good until this run. Today (Sunday) was a rest day, and if it’s still hurting on Monday I’m skipping that run to give it more time to cool off. I need to get the foam roller out after finishing this post.

It was pretty cold out and I dragged my feet but once I got started I warmed up fast. I was a bit overdressed, or maybe not properly dressed– the jacket that was my middle layer was soaked, I should’ve worn a different top layer because I know the one I used doesn’t breathe.

Today was a chill day. We went to the grocery store and then I made a big pot of collard greens with smoked turkey necks as seasoning. The turkey necks had a lot of meat on them so the greens turned out very rich and tasty. I’ll probably be eating those all week.

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