Monday, September 25, 2006


Oops... in my bad mood, I tried to train too hard and change my form all at once... I strained my left hamstring a bit, and had to cut back. I ran easy a couple days, and took quite a few days off, stretching lightly. I ran a semi-hard 6 mile run yesterday, and my leg felt good, so I think I'm back. Just a speed bump for a week or so... hopefully, it won't happen again. Overtraining, here I come!


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Chomping at the Bit

I have been feeling pretty pumped in my training runs the last couple days, because of my 5k disappointment. I have been having to mentally restrain myself from running faster (ALWAYS a good feeling). I had been avoiding morning runs, since I am not a morning person, but I have enjoyed them immensely the last couple days... the weather has been nice, I have been motivated, and there aren't many other people up to ruin your experience.

I have been trying to find the perfect workouts for me, but it is eluding me. To make up for it, I end up running hard, trying to make up for my knowledge of workouts. I am hoping to work with a coach who can help me figure out how to maximize my strengths, and determine the weaknesses that I need to focus on. I also want to look into other ways to improve my running, like weights, particular stretches, plyometrics, etc.

My near term goal is to get back down to where I was before for 5k time (sub-18). I will post my longer term goals when I achieve that, as I want to be singularly minded till I get back to where I was a few months ago!!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

5k Disapointment

After progressing well for a year, I took a big step backward on Sunday. I ran the same Corporate Challenge 5k that I ran for the past 2 years, and ended up running over 30 seconds slower than last year, even though they shortened the course to be more accurate. I ran an 18:59. It makes no sense to me with all the gains I have been making and the work I've been putting in that I could do so poorly.

On the plus side, it has me very motivated again to train hard. I have been doing two-a-days... I run 6 miles in the morning, faster than a recovery run, and focus on my form, which I think has suffered. I run 3 miles in the evening at a faster pace. I am trying to work out all the details of what I plan to do... at this point, I think the schedule will look something like this:

Sunday - Off
- morning - 6 miles medium-easy
- evening - Capacity or Speed workout (4x1 mile, 3-5 minute rest or other)
- morning - 6 miles medium-easy
- evening - 3 miles medium
- morning - 6-8 miles medium-easy
- evening - 3 miles medium
- morning - 6 miles medium-easy
- evening - Tempo run (2-3 miles @ :20 slower than 5k goal) - add Hills
- morning - 6 miles medium-easy
- evening - 3 miles medium-easy
Saturday - Long Run (10 miles now, up to 16 later)

One of my running friends has encouraged me to run a 15k with him on Saturday... I may bandit it, and just run 10k of the race to see what I can do.


History, part 2

I ran on and off for several years. I ended up becoming very sedentary because of my job, and gained a lot of weight... after realizing my gain, and working to lose it, I started becoming interested in running again. After my daugher was born in 2001, I decided to do a whirlwind 4 month training program to run the Dallas White Rock Marathon. Dumb idea. I went from not running at all, to running 40 miles a week within 4 weeks - plus, made the mistake of doing most of my running on a treadmill, thinking it was better for my bones and joints. I did something weird to my knee, and it swelled up and caused me problems for the rest of my training (and I stupidly ran through it, not wanting to let another injury thwart me). I also got stress fractures in my shins from ramping up too quickly. I ran through my injuries for 3 months, ramping up my long run, and running the Dallas Half marathon (poorly). After The Half, my knee no longer cooperated - normally I could warm it up in 10-15 minutes of running to run without pain. After The Half I would run with knee pain constantly, and shin pain for about 1 mile. I tried cross training by riding a bike and swimming, but nothing seemed to work. I gave up on the marathon 2-3 weeks before the race, and didn't run for about 6 months. I had attained a speed of about 7:30-8:00 minute miles for a 10k.

That 6 months worked great for me... it gave my body a chance to heal up, and reminded me that I needed to be smarter about my training. When I came back, I started by being over conservative. I ran 1 mile a day for a week.. even though I was SURE I could do more, I wanted to be careful. I then stepped it up to 1.25 miles a day the second week, 1.5 the 3rd, and 1.75 the 4th. Everything was going well, so I worked up a little quicker to 3-4 miles a day (alternating) I was training 15-20 miles a week, and lifting weights and playing basketball. This was my routine for a little over 1 year. During the summer of 2003, I tore my ACL playing basketball. This was an injury that really messed up my right leg. After sugery, the muscles atrophy and shrink as a protective mechanism.

I was VERY motivated to work hard and get back to where I was before I hurt my knee. The typical recovery back to 100% takes 6 months, and mine took 4. The first month was the hardest, since my knee was sore, swollen, and had very little strength. Once I received clearance from my surgeon to start running again, I took it easy. With basketball no longer in my routine, I started focusing more on running. My work director was a captain for my company's corporate Track team and encouraged me to try out for the track team, or run in our company's city corporate challenge 5k. In 2004, I ran the corporate challenge 5k, and ran a 19:45 5k. I ran a small 5k in a neighboring city and came in 2nd with a low 19 5k.

By 2005, I was feeling more confident with my fitness, and listened to my director and tried out for the team. Although I was not really a competitive corporate 5k runner, because of being in a weak age division, my company took me along for the trip to the San Ramon, CA Corporate Track meet. I ran the 5k and 10k for my company, and managed an ok 5k time of 18:27. Encouraged by this, I ran the city Corporate Challenge 5k again, and came in 2nd place for my team. I ran the same small 5k I had the previous year and won in a time of 17:42. I continued training and was part of my company's record-breaking corporate Dallas Marathon relay team.

By early 2006, my base training was 60-65 miles a week. My surgically reconstructed knee started bothering me in February, forcing me to take 2 months off, and only doing cross training. I stepped it up in May, since I was training for my company's Corporate Track team again. Running at some Dallas track meets, I set post-High School personal records in the 800 and 1 mile of 2:13 and 4:59 respectively.

I made the Corporate Track team, and our national meet with other companies was in Golden, CO. Because of my training focus, I did not run 5k and 10k, but was part of 3 different types of relays, running an 800 meter for each, my fastest being a 2:11.

After that, I took off some time from training to train for climbing some 14ers in Colorado (Mount Elbert and Longs Peak), and just got back into training again 2 weeks ago.

History, part 1

Well, I had plans for this blog, but it hasn't happened until now... I will start with a quick running history for myself.

I ran competitively in high school from freshman to junior years. As a freshman, I worked all year to make the varsity cross country team, and finally achieved varsity by finishing fifth for my team at the Arizona 5A Cross Country state meet. My family then moved to Florida, where I ran 1 and 2 mile track events for my high school. During my sophomore year, I ran cross country and did marginally well, usually placing 2nd or 3rd for my team. My family moved to Georgia, and I ran 1 and 2 mile track events, usually placing 2nd or 1st for my team in those events.

I had my best competitive year my junior year in High School. I ran cross country and was usually the first place finisher for my city's 3 high schools, and usually placed very high when we ran against other region opponents. My best 5k cross country times were in the low to mid 16's. For track season, I consistently won the 1 mile race, and won or placed high for the 2 mile race. I ran the 800 meter race once, and ran a 2:02, beating my two teammates by 3 or 4 seconds, but my coach still felt I was better placed in the 2 mile instead. I ran 3 events in our Region event - 1 mile, 2 mile, and 2nd leg of our second team 4x400 team. I won the mile race with a time of 4:32, and I won the two mile race with my personal best time of 10:02 (beating my previous best by about 20 seconds). I ran the two mile in the state meet that year, placing 8th for Georgia 5A schools - my time was 10:17, and not my best effort... I did not run the 1 mile that year.

I ran cross country my senior year, but did not train to the levels I had before... I typically ran low 17 minute 5k times, with a couple high 16 minute 5k times. I was typically the first place finisher for my team and in my city.

After junior year, my established best times for running events were as follows:

400 meters - 0:52.9
800 meters - 2:02 (only ran once!)
1600 meters - 4:28
3200 meters - 10:02
5k - 16:25

I did not run track my Senior year, since I graduated early from high school - I spent my time working and saving for college, and let my running fitness drop off. Also, I had the unfortunate luck of working in construction, and injuring my foot - subsequent doctors and therapists diagnosed me with plantar fasciitis, though many of my symptoms did not line up. My therapy was ultimately ineffective, thus dulling my desire to run. When I would train or run, starting off running would be very painful near my heel... then my foot would go numb, and would be fine for the remainder of the training run or race. Shortly after the race or training run, the pain would return, and would often feel like sharp stabbing pains in my plantar fascia. This spilled over to my freshman year of college, and effectively discouraged me from running.

I have two disappointments about my high school and college running. I did not push myself to see what my maximum potential was. I trained just enough to place well or win my district and regional races. Then, when I went to college, I did not work hard through my injury, and ended up not running for several years. Looking back, I wish I had pushed myself to see what my maximum performance was... even if it wasn't much better... so I would know that I did my best, and what my best was.

I will continue History later, and my "comeback" training.