MAF Test – 11/5/16


1 13:53
2 14:04
3 14:15

This was my first attempt at a MAF test. I decided to do 3 miles instead of 5 because I have not been religious with my long runs lately. I didn’t want to burn out at the end and either not finish or be too slow. Hubby had the kids over at the park, so I couldn’t take too long.

I use zone 3 on my Polar M400 for the test. This puts my HR between 133 and 151. My maximum aerobic HR is 150 (180-30) I believe. I could be wrong but I figured that it was close enough. My logic is that I am running outside on varied terrain, and for that reason my HR will never be perfectly steady. I am not capable of sitting at 151 and holding steady. More often than not, if I hit 151 I will hit 152, and then my watch will chirp at me.

It was cold! It has been in the 70s when I run and the 80s/90s in the afternoon here. This morning it was 61, misty and humid. My programmed workout didn’t work (again), so I had to improvise. I walked 2 laps (0.5 miles) as my warm up and then got started.

After the first lap I took a short break to pee. I stopped right at 1 mile, walked to the bathroom, and then walked back to the loop to begin again. This lowered my HR and allowed me to run faster at the beginning of that mile.

It felt good. It felt slow at times but by mile 3 I was in my rhythm and not having to think about slowing down as often.

NOT MAF APPROVED: The end of mile 3 was on the back side of the loop (it is slightly bigger than 0.25 miles) and I ran hard back to my water bottle. It felt great. I regret nothing.

Heart Rate Training – Week 6-9

Monday 10/10 – Planned easy run of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 30 minutes work at 1-2 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate. This run got cancelled. I woke a little before my alarm with horrible stomach pains. I won’t go in to detail but suffice it to say I spent most of the morning in the restroom and the rest of the day sleeping on the couch.

Tuesday 10/11 – Planned medium run of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 30 minutes work at 3 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate and BBG. Completed 2.64 miles at 15:33 (Warm up 19:00, Work 14:38, Cool down 18:20). Hubby was home from work this morning to go to lunch with our oldest at school. I was excited when he agreed to go with me. BUT he ended up having achilles issues (a recurring problem for him) so he couldn’t run. He took the kids form me so I could run alone. It felt pretty good. The first half was great! I ran a mile, did my drills, then took off once my HR came down. Drills always make my HR really high. On the way back my stomach started bothering me again. It wasn’t anything like Monday, but it was uncomfortable. Along with the discomfort, my HR got a lot more unstable. I had to slow my run down substantially and even then I was getting above my goal zone. I did my best and got to walk back with hubby which was awesome.
We took Chick-Fil-A up to the school for our son so I wasn’t feeling up to BBG right when we got home. I ended up getting it done after I picked up the middle child and before I picked up the older child. Luckily he had a club after school today, so I had some extra time. BBG went great. I felt especially strong on the first circuit. I completed 2,2,2,1+16 – 2,2,1,1 – 2,2,1+16,1 – 2,2,1,1. We also have a baseball game this evening so I’m happy to get it done so early.

Wednesday 10/12 – Planned easy run of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 30 minutes work at 1-2 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate.  Completed 2.37 miles at 17:22 (Warm up 16:58, Work 17:31, Cool down 17:33). This morning’s run was mostly a walk with a bit of running. We started out heading up to the First Monday grounds. There was a wagon train there and they were getting ready to head out. I paused my run and we hung around to watch them leave. That was really neat for the kids (and for me!). I’m a little sore today (legs yesterday) but not horrible. I’m happy to have gotten it done this morning. Things are pretty busy this afternoon/evening. As much as it works to walk by the school between pickups, I much prefer to go in the mornings.

Thursday 10/13 – Planned medium run of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 30 minutes work at 3 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate and BBG. Completed 2.27 miles at 15:34 (Warm up 18:57, Work 14:39, Cool down 18:19). I got sick to my stomach again this morning. I went ahead with my run because i felt better but then, yikes (again). I still get a kick out of how high my HR goes when my stomach hurts. I’m sure it makes sense but I’m totally A&P ignorant so it’s fascinating to me. I felt better after a stop at the park and was able to finish out, although I did have to take more walk breaks than usual. I can’t say for sure if that was due to my stomach, or because I was having trouble slowing down. I do miss running fast. I completed 2,2,1+10,1 – 2,2,1+10,1 – 2,2,1+10,1 – 2,2,1+16,1.

Friday 10/14 – Planned rest.

***Ok so I thought I had missed a few days in updating this… apparently I had missed almost an entire month. So here’s the quick rundown of what I did. ***

Saturday 10/15 – 1hr 10 minute long run. 4.14 miles at 16:53 (WU 16:07, W 16:33, CD 18:56) and BBG.

Week 6: 10.7 miles

Monday 10/17- Planned easy run of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 30 minutes work at 1-2 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate.  Completed 2.20 miles at 18:05 (Warm up 18:31, Work 17:59, Cool down 18:43).
Tuesday 10/18- BBG and no run.
Wednesday 10/19- Planned easy run of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 30 minutes work at 1-2 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate.  Completed 1.85 miles at 18:37 (Warm up 20:43, Work 18:19, no cool down).
Thursday 10/20- BBG and no run.
Saturday 10/22- BBG and no run.
Week 7: 4.1 miles

Tuesday 10/25- Planned medium run of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 30 minutes work at 3 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate and BBG. Completed 2.64 miles at 15:33 (Warm up 19:00, Work 14:38, Cool down 18:20). *no stroller*
Wednesday 10/26- Planned easy run of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 30 minutes work at 1-2 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate.  Completed 2.37 miles at 17:22 (Warm up 16:58, Work 17:31, Cool down 17:33).
Thursday 10/27- Planned medium run of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 30 minutes work at 3 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate and BBG. Completed 2.72miles at 15:34 (Warm up 18:57, Work 14:39, Cool down 18:19).
Sunday 10/30- BBG and no run.
Week 8: 7.7 miles

Monday 10/31- Planned easy run of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 30 minutes work at 1-2 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate.  Completed 1.86 miles at 21:26 (Warm up 18:33, Work 20:32, Cool down 37:44-running club w/ littles).
Tuesday 11/1- Planned medium run of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 30 minutes work at 3 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate and BBG. Completed 2.58 miles at 15:37 (Warm up 15:57, Work 15:03, Cool down 19:16).
Wednesday 11/2– Planned easy run of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 30 minutes work at 1-2 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate.  Completed 2.28 miles at 18:02 (Warm up 17:34, Work 18:00, Cool down 18:21).
Thursday 11/3- BBG and no run.
Saturday 11/5- BBG & MAF Test.
Week 9: 10.3 miles

Heart Rate Training – The Week that Wasn’t

Ready for some excuses? Good!

The plan, of course, was an easy run Monday and Wednesday, a medium run Tuesday and Thursday, and a long run Saturday. BBG was to be done Tues, Thurs and Sat.

Monday morning I woke up to a sick congested baby. The weather cooled a little this week. It was still 90s in the afternoons, but the mornings were high 60s which felt cold. I didn’t want to get the baby out in that with her not feeling well so… no morning run. I made it up by doing a walk at the school that afternoon. The roads there are so hilly that a walk gets my HR higher than it should be on an easy run. We also had running club that afternoon, but for me this is going to be more of a walk because baby. Heh. I tried running with the stroller but it was just too rough.

Tuesday morning baby was feeling worse. Skipped the run and did BBG.

Wednesday she started showing signs that it may be Croup. I did the walk in the afternoon at the school.

Thursday was rough after she was up more than once in the middle of the night with difficulty recovering from a cough. The weather called for a 46% chance of rain. I called it, but I did get BBG done.

Friday was a successful rest day. I think I did a really good job. I put in 100% effort and really rested all day.

Saturday we had baseball first thing in the morning. My husband wanted to work on the property and had been talking about it all week. I thought my long runs were a set-in-stone part of the schedule but he thought, since I didn’t mention it, I wasn’t going. So I decided not to go so that he could get his work done. The timing was off for the day that there was only a single window of time I could have gone anyway, so I wasn’t really worried about it. I planned to do BBG that night after my mother-son date night. After the kids went to bed I wasn’t feeling well (head and stomach) but I didn’t want to call it. I got started and pushed myself harder than I ever have (because that’s the logical thing to do when you don’t feel well). I apparently pushed myself too hard on the second circuit. I felt ok doing it but during my recovery period my HR didn’t get low enough. I paused my workout to let it fall and got started again when it was in a better (lower) zone. I was on the 2nd time through the 1st circuit which starts with squat + press x15. I did them and felt absolutely horrible afterwards. Recognizing the signs I checked my HR and it was really high – way higher than it should have been after just that. So I paused to rest again. This time I sat down and it took a long time for my HR to come down. It took even longer for the symptoms to go away. I let it get good and low (re: where it normally is when I get started) and stood up. Bam. Up by 40 and instant symptoms again. So I called it. My body was not having me go on.

I  have never called a workout before. I always finish. But I want to listen to my body. That is the point of the HR training (running) for me. It gives me measurable data to compare with how I feel. My HR never jumps that fast, even after a hard workout. I don’t know for a fact that it was “bad” but I know it wasn’t my “normal” and I’m good with my decision to stop.

I’m praying for healthy kiddos next week (and a healthy me) so I can get out there and get going. This month has been a bit of a wash in the running department but it’s all been due to illness. There isn’t really anything to be done about that but to do better once everyone is well. I know I need to be more vocal about my long runs being a priority, but I’m not worried about it as baseball ends this weekend so there will be a lot more free time on the weekends. I also may be able to make up runs missed due to illness since we won’t have baseball in the evenings, now that I think about it. So yea, getting my workouts in should be much easier after this week. And then we remember that we’re going in to the holiday season… ha! Still, this is a priority for me. Even though I’m not training for anything in particular, I am HR training and that gives me a goal. I have 2 weeks until my first HR test run, which I talked about in my last post. At this point, with missing so much, I just need to be able to run 5 miles by then! ha! But really, I can stop when I get too gassed and just make that my test. 5 miles is my goal test length (I think it will be good to see that many splits because data makes me happy), but I can get the same from less mileage, so long as I always get at least that many. So much flexibility.

Heart Rate Training – Week 5

Total Miles: 10.7 (Monday – Saturday)

Back at it this week! Phew! So the week before the race I “tapered.” I use quotes because I didn’t put a lot of thought into what I did, but I did less. The week after the race I rested and went for a run or two just to loosen up. Then we got sick, serious stomach bug sick. The whole family caught it and I was last, so… I got an extra rest week. But now I’m back at it.

I’ve made some changes to my routine. I want to start back with doing some strength and I had great success with BBG by Kayla Itsines before so that’s what I’m doing. The program calls for 3x bootcamp workouts and a few days of low intensity steady state cardio for now (later I will add in some HIIT). I have decided to focus more intensely on my aerobic threshold to make my running fit into this program. So, 2x a week I will do a medium run and BBG, 1x a week I will do a long run and BBG, 2x a week I will do an easy run (LISS), and 2x a week I will rest. Bye bye fast running… for now. When the program calls for HIIT, I will add it in with interval running. On a typical week my BBG days will be Tues, Thurs, and Sat, but until baseball is over I’ll just be doing my best to get it all done.

Saturday 10/8 (not included in weekly total)–  Planned tempo run of 45 minutes. 15 minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 13 minutes work at 3 heart rate, 12 minutes work at 4 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate. Completed 3.36 miles at 14:26 (wu 16:09, lv l3 14:30, lvl 4 11:16, cd 18:35).

Monday 10/10 – BBG only (school holiday + baseball).
This went well. I did BBG Pre-Training Week 3 Legs + Cardio. I’m starting with this week so that I can be on the same schedule as my friend. Last time I didn’t do any pre-training so I figure I’m still doing well. Another change is that I am using my watch. I wear my HR monitor (for data!) but I use the timers on my watch to tell me when to work and when to rest. This is a big change for me, as last time through I would rest a loooonggg time while I played on Instagram or tried to convince myself to keep working. This time I have to actually press pause if I want to rest longer than recommended and my pride won’t let me do that unless I need it (silly but whatever). It makes for a harder workout but also a faster workout. I was done in 30 minutes to the second, and able to move on to the next thing.

Tuesday 10/11 – Planned easy run of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 30 minutes work at 1-2 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate.  Completed 1.78 miles at 19:55 (wu 20:00, work 19:52, cd 20:10).
I am so sore this morning! Oh my! BBG really kicked my booty yesterday. It’s a good feeling, but I do remember waking up in the middle of the night and being so sore as I rolled over to get comfy. I’m happy though. I like this feeling and I remember what I accomplished in the spring. I look forward to getting results like that again!
I ended up getting sick right as we were leaving to take the oldest to school. I had horrible stomach pains and the appropriate issues. Yuck! So Derek took the kids in to town while I huddled on the floor in my closet (true story). I was feeling better in the afternoon and planned to go after I picked up the middle boy, but then suddenly started feeling bad again. What?! I did end up getting my “run” in though! I’m proud of that! We had to get up to the fields an hour early to prep for our baseball game tonight. Normally I mill about while that is done. This time I brought my stroller and we went exploring.
There is a trail I wanted to check out, but it took us over a mile to find an entrance that was stroller accessible. heh. It was nice but VERY HILLY so my “run” turned into a walk, and even at that my heart rate was higher than it should have been. But whatever, I did my best.

Wednesday 10/12 – Planned medium run of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 30 minutes work at 3 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate and BBG. Completed 2.62 miles at 15:57 (Warm up 18:02, Work 14:54, Cool down 20:31). My run felt pretty good. I was comfortable running within the level 3 heart rate which I’m excited about. That is the going to be my maximum range for a while, and the range for my monthly MAF Test. So I’m happy that it felt good (even with the stroller). I decided that, if I’m running slow all the time, I REALLY need to start doing my drills. How else will I learn to raise my knees if I’m pretty much slogging on all my runs (because I have to go so slowly right now… hopefully that won’t always be the case)? About 10 minutes in I stopped, paused my watch, and did the drills. The kids got a kick out of it. heh. I paused again about 15 minutes in to let the kids watch a momma deer with her twin fawns. I love how the deer come check us out sometimes on the trails. They stay back, of course, but they don’t mind being seen and I love that. Right after that I paused for a potty break and then I paused once more on the way back because I had a rock in my shoe. heh. Other than that I did really well. I felt like my perceived effort was more than usual, but it has been a while since I did a regular medium run, so maybe I just don’t remember. I was sweatier than usual, but I thought it would be cold and wore capris and a running tshirt. I really should have been in a singlet and shorts. heh.
BBG was hard. Heh. I did Pre-Training Week 3 Arms+Abs. My wrists hurts from all the pushups. The pushups themselves weren’t horrible (muscle memory? Or just stronger muscles perhaps?) but the mountain climber + pushups were ridiculous. I really struggled to get through them. I feel good for my effort and happy to have both of my workouts done by lunch!

Thursday 10/13 – Planned easy run of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 30 minutes work at 1-2 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate, and BBG.  Completed 2.13 miles at 17:16 (wu 18:14, work 17:02, cd 19:10). I have been so behind on real life with baseball season eating up our evenings and weekends. I woke up this morning to find we had zero bread in the house. oops! So instead of running between kiddo drop offs, I went to the store. That left me fitting in a walk/run between kid pickups. It actually went quite well. I picked my middle child up as early as I could. Literally, I was there 15 minutes early sitting at the locked door. heh. We rushed over to the oldest child’s school and parked in prime carpool territory. I unloaded the stroller, loaded up the kids, and took for for 40ish minutes. There was a lot of walking (re: hills) but I managed to run some. The roads were a bit tore up and there were no sidewalks, but luckily I am used to that from living out in the country so no biggie.

Friday 10/14 – Planned rest.

Saturday 9/10 – Planned long run of 1 hr 5 min. 10 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 50 minutes work at 2 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate, and BBG.  Completed 4.14 miles at 16:53 (wu 16:07, work 16:33, cd 18:56). I had a hard time keeping my heart rate in check for this run. It felt like the worst yo-yo run in a while. I’m happy I got it done and proud I was able to deal with changing schedules and hectic days. I got my run done in the morning BBG work out in the afternoon. I was tired for BBG, but that is to be expected. Before I got to BBG I ran, went to a 4 hour conference and mowed/weed eated the yard. So all in all, I’m very happy for completion and very excited for Sunday rest day!

September in Review

I kinda want to sit down and compare every month and see how things changed. There wasn’t a lot of information to use for comparing yet, but I do hope to add this in to my blogging.

I haven’t been hiding, I just haven’t really been running. My last real post was 9/12-9/18. 919-9/25 was an easy/taper week and the race. 9/26-10/2 has been recovery, although I will be doing a long run today (10/1) to kick off my regular running schedule again. So there really hasn’t been much to report.

September was pretty crazy for me. I actually started heart rate training at the end of August but I held steady to it through September. In September I ran 65.6 miles in 17:02:51. My 2 training weeks I had a little less than 16 miles/week. Taper week had 7 and this week (recovery? lol) will have over 20 because it includes the race and today’s long run.

I feel pretty good about the process. I still hate being so slow. Some days it really gets me down. I wish I was faster, or that I was losing weight or something, ANYTHING to show me real progress. But I know it takes time. I do see some truth to the HR training claims, unfortunately it is not the flashy kind of evidence. I looked at my monthly mileage and I went up substantially in September.

October: 0.0 mi 0:00
September: 65.6 mi 17:02:51
August: 38.2 mi 8:36:47
July: 38.3 mi 8:18:33
June: 22.4 mi 4:13:07
May: 22.1 mi 4:43:34

Looking at the numbers only, I feel like I should be injured. heh. That is a HUGE increase in just a month. I have a theory as to why I’m not hurt. From what I’ve read, HR training keeps you from over-training because you aren’t pushing your HR all the time. Over the summer, I probably ran at a 5  In September, I only had 2 runs/week with a high HR. I didn’t understand how this worked when I read it? Shouldn’t over-training (when you talk about injury) be dependent on feet hitting the ground? What does HR have to do with anything at all? I still don’t know. I wonder if it’s maybe recovery. So when you run hard every day, your muscles don’t have time to recover so you are more prone to injury, but when you HR train and you have hard days and easy days, your muscles get to relax and recover and heal on the easy days and so you avoid injury. That isn’t scientific in the least, just my musings. So anyway, even though I don’t have flashy proof that HR training is making me a better runner/athlete/whatever, I do have proof that there is “something” to this. My chiro confirms that my body looks great. Way better than it did this time last year when I was running:

Oct 2015 50.9 mi 10:42:13 12:37
Sep 2015 57.3 mi 13:39:46 14:19
Aug 2015 27.7 mi 6:39:55 14:26
Jul 2015 29.2 mi 6:57:45 14:18
Jun 2015 24.4 mi 6:17:01 15:26

The end of October is when I was truly injured so I suppose we are not there yet. Still, it’s awesome to hear that, as far as she can tell, I’m not heading in that direction.

The temp has changed this past week. My last long run was at 90ish degrees. The race started in the high 80s, I think. This morning I will start my run at 58 degrees. I’m interested to see how that changes things. Will I be faster? I hope so.

Ok, future month review posts will have more data and musings but I wanted to check in. The sun is rising and it’s time to hit October with a long run!

Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon 2016 – Race Review

That is a long title.

The half marathon is held at 7am on a Sunday. The town is about an hour and a half away from us. In order to get there reasonably early, we had to leave home at 430am. The plan from the beginning was for the kids to go to the inlaws Saturday after baseball. They would spend then night either at their house or at a hotel in the town of the festival, and be there for the starting gun. The balloons launch at the start of the race. The week before we started seeing reports of rain. On Friday, the inlaws cancelled their reservation at the hotel because it was going to storm on Sunday, however the race was billed as rain or shine so we were good to go. Saturday the forecast looked clear. No rain on Sunday until late. We kicked ourselves a little about the kids not being there and the inlaws said they might drive out in the morning.

Sunday morning I woke up at 3am. I made my coffee and drank that while I woke Derek up. He got up about 330 and we started getting things together. I was drinking an (unmeasured) 4 oz of water every half hour or so – basically I drank water but tried not to drink too much. We ate cereal for breakfast and I had a single serving of frosted mini wheats (my favorite). We brought granola bars to snack on before the race since it would be hours before we actually ran. We left at 4:30 and the drive was uneventful. Checking the radar, there was to be rain at home but the skies were clear at the festival. They estimated there may be some storms around 10:30 but nothing showed on the radar heading that way.

We got to the race at 6am and finished getting ready (shoes/hr monitor/water belt/etc) before we went down to the start. It was a nice start. The weather was warm but not hot. 70s? 80s? It was comfortable. Everyone was milling around. There were plenty of potties and no lines to wait in.

The coolest moment (and only balloon moment) was at the starting line. As we took off, a balloon was firing it’s fire over the road where we were running. It was so cool to see and you could feel the heat as you ran past. That ended up being the only balloon we saw, and there wasn’t actually a balloon… just a basket and fire. Still awesome.

We chose to run the same way we did cowtown: 10 minutes running followed by 5 minutes walking.  The beginning felt good. It was a little crowded but not bad. There were water stations about every 2 miles, and we carried our water belt with 4 small bottles on it. I also brought 2 packs of fruit snacks.

We started off on a road with a park on one side. The other side was decently empty. It was really a pretty spot. I mentioned to Derek that I didn’t know you could find places like that in the city. Around mile 3 we started in to a neighborhood. This particular neighborhood happened to have steep hills on every road! I’m sure that isn’t completely accurate but miles 3-6 were rough. A lot of people were walking. We chose to stick with our 10:5 mostly but on one particularly difficult hill I asked to walk. My legs were burning and my heart rate was really high.

Miles 6-8 were in a park. It was really pretty. The rain started somewhere in here. You could hear it before you felt it because the trees were thick. At first it sprinkled then it came into a pour. It dried up a little bit after that. We could hear thunder off in the distance as we ran around the lake.

The rest of the race is a blur to me. I was tired. I hurt. I wanted to finish but I didn’t want to. This was definitely harder than cowtown for me. I remember repeating to myself “run now, suffer later.” Thank you Kelly ( for the great advice.

We went through another neighborhood and through more trees. I remember passing water stations. The people in front were yelling “water water water!” the people at the end were yelling “gatorade with a little bit of rain!”

Going into the woods past mile 9 there was some close thunder. It was loud and splitting and scary.

Looking at the map now, the run back from there must have been beautiful. I’m looking at the map online and it’s wooded on one side and clear on the other. I don’t remember this at all. The rain was coming down heavy again.

We got to the water station at mile 12 and were told the race had been called. The volunteers told us to stand there and wait for a bus to come get us. I started crying. haha! Not bad but I definitely teared up. It’s so hard to run 12 miles and be told “that’s it, it’s over.” It was pouring down rain. Not many people stayed. A lot of runners chose to finish the race and run back. Derek and I chose to run. I think we made it back to the festival grounds before the people who decided to wait. This part was pretty miserable. It was single file with limited visibility. The raindrops were huge and stinging. I got hit in the eye somehow and then chose to run with my arm up shielding my face for a while.

It poured the rest of the way in. When we got to the finish line, there were a handful of volunteers handing out medals as people crossed the line. I’m so thankful that they chose to stay for us.

I ran the race in 2:52:26 (chip time). Cowtown was 2:40:?? but I’m ok with the time. It was a difficult race and my first run in the rain. It was a good old Texas thunderstorm and I’m proud of the time we made running through it. I think I’m still on a bit of a high as I write this. I had a great time and, while I don’t think I would sign up for a run in the storms like that, it was a great experience and I’m happy that we had it.

I realized on the drive home that we never actually saw a balloon, although my kids saw them launch on the tv at home so apparently it happened. How’s that for irony? We’re all bummed the kids can’t go to the festival and they are the only ones who see actual balloons. And they stayed dry!

I do have a few complains about how the cancellation was handled, and I will be contacting the race organizers about them. Firstly, when the race was cancelled (remember we were at the water station near mile 12), the volunteers immediately started dumping the water and gatorade. There were a lot of people coming in behind us. All of us had run 12 miles and arrived to “the end” with no water for us. I was thankful that we brought water with us because I needed a drink at that point. Also, when we arrived at the end, there were no volunteers to direct us to water/aid/anything. It was a rainy ghost town other than the few people handing out medals and a group of runners crowded under an awning. I am thankful that we had thought to bring snacks in the car, but I cannot imagine how hard it must have been for others to run 12-13.1 miles (depending on if they ran in or took the shuttle) and then be sent home without even a banana. I know there was food because the early finishers were walking around eating and came to the course to cheer us on. I was disappointed that it felt like once the race was called, everyone closed up shop and we were left to fend for ourselves.

That said, I had water and snacks in the car so Derek and I were fine and finished the race in a decent mood. The above complaints are just things that struck me as odd possibly not the best practice for cancellation.

Ok but complaints aside I had a great time. The start up was great. The course was great, although difficult. There were volunteers and police officers stationed EVERYWHERE along the course making sure we didn’t go down the wrong road or the wrong split in a path. These volunteers were out there in the rain and storms with us and I appreciate them so much! I particularly liked the PSHS cheerleaders who were cheering in the rain. I don’t remember what they said exactly but I remember they were towards the end and their cheer involved “yea yea yea!” They were laughing and we were laughing. It was pouring and it was cute and I just loved it. Another great volunteer was a police officer standing between mile 12 and the end. As we ran past him he asked if anyone had brought shampoo. This was during the hardest rain of the race but there he was standing in the downpour making jokes as we finished. There were people cheering and people with signs who showed up more than once on the trail to cheer us on. The race photographers held on for a good while. I’m not sure if they left at the cancellation or a little before (it was bad) but I know I ran into more than one hunkered under an umbrella/tree/bridge taking pictures of us crazy people running in the rain. The water stations were efficient and well stocked (with the exception mentioned above). There were porta potties on the trail although I didn’t need to use one. It really was just a great experience and I’m thankful for it. As we crossed the finish line someone yelled “welcome to the Plano pool!” haha! Actually the first medal I grabbed slipped out of my hand in the wetness. I apologized and went to pick it up but they just handed me another and said to go on. They were so nice and I’m really getting emotional thinking about the support that we had out there.

Ya’ll that race was hard. It was really hard. The hills were hard. The rain was hard. The storm was hard. But we did it and I am so grateful for the experience.

Also, the bling is awesome. I love it! Side note: what’s with spinny medals? Are they all like that? Is it a North Texas thing? Just a coincidence that the 2 I have are spinny?

Other notes:

  • I started hydrating Thursday. I just focused on drinking lots of water all day long Thursday-Saturday. I got so dehydrated at Cowtown and I didn’t want that to happen again.
  • We had chipotle for dinner around 4pm on Saturday, then watched a movie and were in bed at 7:30pm.
  • At every water stop (even the beginning) I took a water cup and a gatorade. I drank as much as I could before the last trash can. I only finished all of it once or twice but I got a lot down.
  • We also had 4 water bottles on our belt and they were empty when we got done.
  • We ate half of the gummy bears around mile 5 and half around mile 10.
  • There was applesauce available under the bridge around 7.5 miles in. We ate that but did not take more right before mile 10.
  • After the race we were starving and went to Golden Corral where we got our money’s worth on steak, shrimp and the best sweet potato casserole I have ever eaten.

My biggest problem at Cowtown was dehydration. When we went to Costco after the race my pee was brown and I was cramping badly. After this race when I went to the restroom my pee was yellow. Maybe not as pale as usual but definitely not dark. So that is one huge victory for me in figuring out how to hydrate!

I saw my chiro today and got a great review. I have general muscle soreness and my mid back is sore wrapping around the sides. She said I look great. I also don’t have the foot pain I had after Cowtown.

So my time was better at Cowtown and the weather was better, but my body preferred the balloon festival. I consider that another victory, as I did not train well for this race and I was a little worried about injury.

My biggest disappointment is that I still do not have a 13.1 sticker for my car!!!!! I intended to buy one after the race but the festival was closed. Derek said he’ll buy me one online, unless maybe you can get them locally somewhere? I don’t know where to look. But that was a big excitement for me that I was finally going to get my sticker (I forgot to bring money to the Cowtown expo so I couldn’t buy one then) and then the rain ruined that! I just want my car sticker! lol

Ok I know this is random and rambing but I’m pretty sure this is the first race report I’ve ever written.



Heart Rate Training – Week 4

Monday 9/12/16 – Planned medium run of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 30 minutes work at 3 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate. Completed 2.73 miles at 15:19 (Warm up 20:22, Work 13:59, Cool down 19:38). The run felt pretty good. My hip hurt and didn’t really loosen up much which was frustrating but I felt like I made progress with my HR.I was faster, for the most part, and I could tell I was pushing harder but my HR wasn’t going up. So I think this may be my first sign that things are getting better. Note: I’m not saying it’s all sunshine and roses now. I know I have a ways to go. But yay for a small victory and a happy “medium” run!

I have decided to walk the warm up and cool downs when I have the stroller. Basically, anytime I have the stroller and am not going over a HR level 2, I will walk. Hopefully, I will one day be able to run with the stroller with a lower heart rate, but for now this is efficient and helps me avoid some of the yo-yoing that bums me out.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my leg issue. I ran all summer, much harder than I am now, and never had a leg problem. The only time my leg did hurt was when I did hip pilates with my boot camp group. I stretched daily for a while and it got better, but it did hurt for a few weeks. I start running with the stroller again and suddenly I have pain again. So what changed? It’s possible I’m running more per week, but not so much that it would hurt so bad. I run more days but less miles because I’m not pushing my HR like I was before I got my monitor. The big difference is the stroller. Other differences that were pointed out were the temperature and time of day. During the summer I ran in 100+ degrees at 7pm and now I am running at 8am in 90 degrees (things are starting to cool off now). So there you go, it’s the temp, the time, or the stroller. The stroller seems the most likely culprit, unfortunately it is also the one I can’t do anything about.

After seeing Dr. Parker last week, I went out and bought a foam roller. I’ve been foam rolling once a day for 1 minute per leg section. I also stretch every morning first thing and I try to do it again during the day some time. I’d explain the stretches, but I have no idea what they’re called. Basically I do what Dr. Parker recommended for my IT band injury last year (glute stretches) and what my PT friend recommended for my hip pain this summer (hip stretches).

I followed up with Dr. Parker this morning and got great news! My glutes are not as tight as they were last week. In general I’m looser and have a greater range of motion. She said I look great! Unfortunately, I still hurt. BUT the good news is, I am not heading towards the injury I had last year. I have time to figure out the pain because my legs look fine. I did have more muscle tightness right around the upper part of my knee. I feel like that is mentioned in a video I watched about IT band and foam rolling, but I need to watch the video again to figure out exactly what they are saying. I’ve done so much reasearch lately it gets jumbled, but it was great to have some of my thoughts confirmed. The first being the muscle around the knee cap and the second being that the glute tightness/soreness is my gluteus medius. I thought it was, but since I know nothing about anatomy… but yay! I was right! Which also means that the articles I’ve been reading do apply to my issues because the muscles and areas I have issues with are the ones they are mentioning.  So I’m looking in the right directions and not getting any worse!

So going forward, I will be stretching and foam rolling daily. I will do my regular workouts this week, run twice (medium runs) next week and then have my half marathon on the 25th. I go back to see Dr. Parker on the 26th. After that I’ll probably take a few weeks off the hard workouts while I recover. So hopefully I will be feeling a little better when I get back to my regular running in October.

Tuesday 9/13 – Planned long run of 1 hr 5 min. 10 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 50 minutes work at 2 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate.  Completed 3.7 miles at 16:55 (wu 17:07, work 16:41, cd 22:21). This is my interval day but I was so sore from BBG that I needed to take it easy. I thought I had it all figured out. Last week a 1-2 HR was a fast walk. So I could move my long run to today and make it a long fast walk. boom. Except… I’m getting better ya’ll! Not anything crazy, but I DEFINITELY saw progress today. I tried to walk it but my heart rate just kept getting too low. Even when I walked as fast as I could it wasn’t high enough. At first I tried to just run for a second to get my heart rate up (not worrying about running super slow) but the yo yoing was driving me insane so I decided to try a slow jog. It was sllllloooowwwww (look like a 16 min pace from the graph but it’s hard to tell) but it didn’t feel like it. It felt good and it was exciting to not be walking, even though the plan was to walk. ha! The best-laid plans… right?

I’m not exactly sure what I’ll do the rest of the week. It seems silly to do an easy run tomorrow after a relatively easy run today (even though it was a “long” run). I need to decide if I want to do a tempo run or my speed work without the stroller. I haven’t had the opportunity to do either so I want to both. I’m anxious to see what my pace is at the different levels, but I have to choose one. heh. Then I’ll probably do the other tomorrow and the easy run Thursday.

Wednesday 9/14 –  Planned tempo run of 45 minutes. 15 minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 13 minutes work at 3 heart rate, 12 minutes work at 4 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate.Completed 3.24 miles at 16:01 (wu 18:51, lvl3 14:18, lvl 4 12:26, cd 19:08).Great run today! I went with the tempo run, savings my fastest run for Saturday. It was a really hard decision considering I taper next week. In the end I had a stressful morning and almost didn’t run. So I chose one and went with it. haha. I really felt great today. My warm up was a walk the whole way. I was on the phone with the hubs… multitasking for the win. My cool down was a slow walk because my heart rate wasn’t dropping very fast. Then again, it had a long way to go so that may not be a problem. I really don’t know how slow I should go. If the goal is to get my heart rate into the correct zone before the workout is over, then I failed. But I don’t know for sure that is the goal. It is so humbling to be slow but I think I am getting used to it. Today I felt like I was doing pretty well, but my times show I was still pretty slow. But it felt good and that’s what is important. I can’t wait until I get a chance to see what it looks like to run without the stroller but that will be a while.

I think I’m failing on nutrition still. According to Polar I burned 400 calories already today. I still have BBG to do later. I need to eat more.

I’m unsure how much it matters what day I do my strength work on. I need to find someone to ask. Right now I’m doing it on my easy run days or my rest days. Except that I switched things up this week so those are different days. If I do my strength on rest days, I never have a true rest day. If I do my strength on hard days, I’m doing 2 hard workouts on the same day. So… what’s better? I have no clue and I don’t know who to ask. Blargh.

Thursday 9/15 – Planned easy run of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 30 minutes work at 1-2 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate.  Completed 2.32 miles at 17:28 (wu 16:47, work 17:18, cd 19:13). I think it is interesting that my warm up (walk) was faster than my work (run) but I understand it. I was able to run most of the time with my heart rate lower BUT a few times it did go up. I would have to walk slowly to lower my heart rate back down. Those slow walks probably affected my pace making it slower. My walk, on the other hand, was brisk with no need to slow down ever because my heart rate was in a good position. Those averages will get you. heh.

It’s interesting to me to look at my graph. I thought I ran it pretty steady. I was thrilled that I could actually run it and I felt like I finally had it down. Looking at the graph, my speed is so up and down it looks like I was running intervals. ha! I still consider the run a success and see progress. I ran more than I did last time I did an “easy” workout. I’m excited to see changes in such a short amount of time and I look forward to the time when there is NO yo-yoing because I can just run with a low heart rate.

More research done and I’ve made up my mind for my workouts. Of course I won’t be following my own plan this week but… whatever. So I will do my hard runs and BBG both on Tuesday and Thursdays (with an 11ish hour break in between). Monday and Wednesday will be my easy runs. Saturday will be my long run. Friday and Sunday are complete rest days. That gives me two strength workouts a week (I’ll choose whichever 2 of the 3 I want to) and I get to keep all of my runs. My rest days stay rest and I think that is the most important thing.

In other news, my husband is now coaching both my boys in baseball (2 different teams) so yea… looks like I’ll be spending most of my time at the fields.

Friday 9/16 – planned rest

I’m looking at recovery plans for after the half marathon. It looks like you should run the day after (easy run) and then after a week be back to normal. I’m not sure if I will have to recovery longer because I won’t really be prepared for the distance. We’ll have to play it by ear. I’m thinking maybe I can do 2 easy runs for my recovery week. So race Sunday, Monday do an easy recovery jog. Side note, I’ll have the stroller so easy is relative here. It will be “easy” for the HR zone, but not easy on my body necessarily. Perhaps I should plan on running in the afternoon but if we have baseball that may not be possible. I’ll do another easy run Wednesday. Then Saturday I’ll do my usual long run (1hr 5 min) and hop back on it. If I don’t feel right, I can always do a second recovery week. I need to do more research about doing my strength training. I will not do any on my taper week, but I’m not sure if it matters for recovery week. It wouldn’t hurt me to take 2 weeks off then get back in to it, but I just need to do some more research.

Saturday 9/17 – Planned interval run of 40 minutes. 15 minute warm up at 1-3 heart rate, 20 minutes of work (4x 3 minutes at 4-5 heart rate, 2 minutes at 3 heart rate), 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate. Completed 3.93 miles at 12:33 (wu 12:38, fast 9:07, recover 15:04, fast 9:32, recover 18:10, fast 9:44, recover 18:35, fast 9:16, recover 16:31, cd 19:05). This didn’t go as well as I thought. Things lined up so that I was sprinting up hill nearly every time and I didn’t get the speed I had hoped for. I did it though. So all is good.

Sunday 9/18 – planned rest


Heart Rate Training – week 3

Monday 9/5 – Planned medium run of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 30 minutes work at 3 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate. I was excited about this run. Because of the holiday, I get to run sans stroller. My husband is home so I get to go out alone. Unfortunately I woke up with a sore knee. I’m hoping it loosens up. Yesterday was a rest day, so I imagine I just slept on it wrong. At this point, the pain is focused in my knee and hip but also radiates down to my shin/ankle. So weird. I still have about a half hour before the sun comes up, so I’m hoping it loosens up in the mean time. Completed 3.07 miles at 14:10 (13:00, 13:36, 15:46). My leg didn’t really loosen up during this run but it wasn’t horrible. I may ice it later today if it doesn’t get better. I’ll do some more stretching too. It felt good being out there. Of course, I wanted to push the pace, but I was pretty comfortable running within the zone 3 heart rate. I say that, but my chart is all over the place. I guess that is because I really wanted to fly. It felt so good to not have the stroller. But that’s the whole point of this exercise, right? Learn to not push all out all the time. “All day, e’ry day” is not a good motto. Neither is “every d* day”. Not for me anyway. I should stick with “mix it up” or even “slow and steady” for now. bahaha. The last mile is so slow because I hit the cool down right before the steepest hill of my route. I was practically crawling trying to get my heart rate down. Not even kidding, my pace was 24:46 for the hill. haha!

I noticed yesterday that my shorts fit looser on my legs than they did before. I’m excited about that progress. I do wish I saw the same results in my belly so quickly, but I know I sabotage myself with diet so I am not surprised. Still, an awesome non scale victory.

Tuesday 9/6 – Planned interval run of 40 minutes. 15 minute warm up at 1-3 heart rate, 20 minutes of work (4x 3 minutes at 4-5 heart rate, 2 minutes at 3 heart rate), 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate. Back to school for the kiddos and back to the stroller grind for me. Completed 3.31 miles at 14:22 (13:33, 11:41, 15:23). Great run. I ran out to the bathroom for a potty break and then towards the park before I headed home. I did get stuck with a couple sprints on hills that were difficult, but all in all it felt good. I’m not sure if I was pushing myself harder or what, but the sprints were harder. I warmed up (mostly running) at a 13:42 pace. I near about killed myself (slight exaggeration… maybe) on the first sprint (8:36). The second one felt a little better (9:22). The last two were just hard (10:46 and 10:45). I was just glad when they were over. ha. I do wonder what my times would look like without the stroller but again, that’s not my life right now. It’s funny on my graph because you can see that I just take off at the beginning of my intervals. My first one, I was running at a 7:00 (the data actually says 6:60 lol) pace and then tapered to a 9:30 at the end.  The others weren’t quite so fast, but still dropped off considerably from where they began.

I did improve from last week. While I had a faster individual sprint last week, my time across the board was faster this week.

My left leg felt fine when I woke up, however my right felt a little off. I may just schedule an appt with my chiro to get them both looked at. It feels similar to when I was injured before and she would be able to tell me if it’s the same or not.

I’m thinking about just walking the run on Wednesday. I can easily walk it within the required heart rate zone. I wonder if that wouldn’t be a good move in order to protect my left. There is no way for me to be seen before my workout so it might be wise. It’s so hard to run at that pace with a stroller anyway. I end up run/walk/run/walk/run/walk so it may just be simpler to make it a walk until I improve with my HR training.

Wednesday 9/7 – Planned easy run of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 30 minutes work at 1-2 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate.  Completed 2.41 miles at 17:02 (16:18, 17:07). I walked. It was easy enough and my heart rate stayed where I needed it. My pace was actually pretty steady since I didn’t have to keep stopping to lower my HR. Maybe we’ll call this cross training and stick with the walking until I can run with my HR low.

I saw the chiropractor today. My legs look fine. I was so paranoid after my injury last fall. She recommended I get a foam roller, which I did. I’m going to be stretching daily and foam rolling daily. Hopefully this loosens things up for me.

Thursday 9/8 – Planned tempo run of 45 minutes. 15 minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 13 minutes work at 3 heart rate, 12 minutes work at 4 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate. Completed 3.14 miles at 14:37 (15:35, 13:40, 13:40). This felt good. I decided to just walk the warm up. It made sense. The same logic as walking yesterday’s run really, minus the effect on my legs. What is funny is that, while I avoided yo-yoing in the 1-2 range, I had some during the 3 range (13:40). So perhaps it comes from the initial “relearn how to run with a stroller” stage of the run. No matter. I was pretty steady when I got up to a 4 so that’s good (12:38).

A quick thought I’m struggling with this morning is my weight. According to some random BMI calculator I encountered, I am .1 BMI point away from being over weight. I have put on 10lbs over the summer since stopping BBG and starting to run. I don’t feel like I look big, but the number scares me. I also don’t like the belly fat so it’s not like the # is the only issue. Anyway, I wonder if I’m under eating again. I struggle so much to know what to eat and how much. The government site says I should be eating 2400 calories a day (not for weight loss). Spark people and my fitness pal and the like say I should be eating 1200 (with weight loss). Both of these, supposedly, take into account how much I work out. Looking at the symptoms, I think under eating is a possibility. I’m exhausted so often. But I don’t know what the magic number to aim for is. This is a problem for a T4 ( reference there). I want data and numbers and facts so that I can formulate a solution. Instead I have mabies and guesses. The past 3 weeks I have burned 15000 calories (each week) according to my polar flow diary. I don’t know if that is just from working out or from working out and being alive (ha). I guess I could do the math. A quick google search says exercise > eating 3500 = 1lb weight loss. So then I’d need to eat 11000 calories a week? so that’s only 1500 calories/day. bahaha. I don’t even know if any of this is legit. The problem with the internet is the wealth of information without much way of finding what is true. I guess it’s a trial and error thing. I need to commit to a number and try to eat that for a prolonged time period so that I can see what happens. It’s hard though because I don’t want to commit to the wrong thing. What if I say I’ll eat ###, but I should be eating less. Then I gain weight throughout the process and am farther from my goal than where I started. But I don’t even have a goal. I just don’t want my weight to keep increasing. I stopped lifting so it’s not muscle gain. It could be bloat. I don’t know. I’m rambling this morning but it’s something that I need to put some real thought in to and figure out. I want to fuel my body well but I’m just not sure what that means.

Friday 9/9 – planned rest. I did a BBG workout this afternoon for my strength training. I took it easy and worked through each circuit once with 30 seconds of rest between the two. I rested a full minute and then repeated. It really wore me out. I’m still trying to figure out how this is all supposed to work. Rest is important. It’s important to do strength training. So… What am I supposed to do? heh. Lifting heavy does not feel as taxing as BBG, but it is hard on my hip. The bar itself is “heavy” for me, so I’m trying not to do any of that lifting right now. BBG is more body weight. The full body workout I did today (Week 2 – Friday) was all body weight, and my leg felt fine. It was sore after (but it’s pretty constantly sore) but I foam rolled and stretched. I’m trying to stretch at least twice a day and foam roll once (1 min per thigh, along the side, and glute). I also want to add some leg work to increase my strength in my gluteus medius (don’t I sound smart?). I struggle with simple leg abduction exercises so I know it is a weakness for me, and could be contributing to my leg pain. I’m comforted to know that the chiro doesn’t see anything really wrong (she diagnosed and helped me with my injury last fall), I know that if things were “right” I wouldn’t be in pain. So it’s all about figuring things out and preventing injury. Stretch, roll and strengthen. I’m checking out this video and really liking what he says. I may do more research on his site and check with my chiro and PT friend.

Saturday 9/10 – Planned long run of 1 hr 5 min. 10 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 50 minutes work at 2 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate.  Completed 3.72 miles at 18:04 (16:09, 18:28, 18:17). This was hard. I was sick. I didn’t get up early (I slept 14 hours the night before) but I did want to get something done. I’m assuming the illness elevated my HR. I yo-yoed the whole time. Walking was too slow and my slowest run was too fast. So I couldn’t get in a groove at all. But I got it done and I’m proud I did it. I felt a little better afterwards although I was tired (of course).

Sunday 9/11 – planned rest.

Heart Rate Training – week 2

I was feeling mentally ready to train this week. I have that excitement and giddiness that comes from starting a new plan and feeling confident in it. My confidence comes, at this point, from the HR training. It is such an ego check to run so slow. That is hard. But to feel so good after it. It’s like “yea, I may be slow, but I could do this forever. literally! forever! no problem.” And that gives me confidence. I just have to get over myself and it will feel so good. ha.

I want to lose weight. Is that bad? It isn’t my ultimate goal. I love running too much for that. I want to get better at running for the sake of being better at running so that I can run faster/farther when I get to run. Because I love to run. But if I could get a stereotypical runner’s body as well… now we’re talking. ha! I lost so much body fat when I did the #bbg workouts but I haven’t been able to replicate that with running/weight lifting. That could be due to overtraining. But I don’t really know. So while my goal is to get better for the sake of getting better, in the back of my mind I would really like to lose some weight. ha.

Monday 8/29 – Planned medium run of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 30 minutes work at 3 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate. I woke up excited but a little disappointed that it was medium run day. I’m so ready to try my  hand (legs?) at doing the tempo run. If I can’t do that, then trying the interval run would suffice. But here I am just running medium, which feels like easy because it’s so much easier than my “easy” runs before. And an easy run feels like a walk. But all of it is exciting because all of it is progress and I know that and I’m still high on the idea of progress and getting better! I did also have a park workout planned with my friends this morning. It’s probably not the *best* idea as far as HR goes, BUT it’s only this week that I can go so whatever. I’m not stressing about it. I miss my friends and working out with them every day. I did wear my HR monitor so that I could see exactly what it does to me. We’ll call this data collection week. My plan, ideally, would be to stay with my current workout plan for lifting and running, but to add in a park workout with my friends on Friday. Schedules just don’t line up most weeks Monday-Thursday, but my Friday is free so… why not, right? Hopefully that works out data wise as well. Completed 2.56 miles at 17:21 (15:08, 17:08). I was, of course, pushing the stroller. I’m not sure how much that affected things. I can compare this medium run to last week, but last week I ran in the afternoon without a stroller. I really wish I knew how much the stroller pushing elevates my heart rate. I suppose I could do a walking test. Up and down the driveway or someplace similarly flat. I might look in to that. Anyway last week my pace was about 2 minutes less. ha. So there definitely is a difference. This is not something I considered in my plan to start running with the stroller (forgetting the HR monitor, before that). It explains my high heart rate on the Tuesday run and probably Monday as well. This run was rough. There were times where my HR spiked for no apparent reason. I even stopped once at the end and it was still going up. It never got dangerously  high, and it did go down eventually. I just wasn’t able to make it drop on the move, even at a slow walk.  I may have been on a hill at the time, but I’m not sure. I had to do a lot of walking, but I did get some running in. So perhaps my “easy” run will have to be walking for now, but my “medium” run can be sloooow jogging. It will be a happy day when I can confidently run both without walking breaks to slow my heart rate. After my run I rested for 10-15 minutes and then went in to my park workout. We did intervals and then pilates. I was pleasantly surprised by my heart rate. In the 41 minute workout, I spent 35% at a 3, 32% at a 2 and 28% at a 1. I only spent 5% at a 4 and no time at 5. So that’s good. I don’t know, scientifically, where I should be. But I knew I didn’t want it to look like my Tuesday run last week. hah. I didn’t really want to sabotage my heart rate training but at the same time I really wanted to do the workout. ha.

A few hours after my last workout I started feeling really weak and nauseous. On a “typical” day (so far) I run around 8 and am home by 9. This day I ran a little early, worked out again at 830, stayed and talked to a friend at the park, and then went to Albertsons. I made my recovery shake around 1045. I started lunch but by the time it was ready I felt horrible. After texting my husband and drinking a large glass of water, I was told I should eat something. Yea. That makes sense. So while I ate some cottage cheese I put my daily food into My Fitness Pal and realized that I had eaten less calories (by about 150) than I had expended in my 2 workouts. That’s of course leaving out the calories used to breathe and live and move. I’m not sure how it happened, but I am back to under-eating. By the end of the day I was about 200 calories below my goal. My goal is 2000. That is what I had calculated for me at the end of spring. My workouts have changed but not so drastically that I think the number is wrong. At the time I was doing BBG 3x a week, HIIT 2x a week and running some. Now I run and lift 2x a week. So it looks like I’m back to tracking calories. I don’t like doing it, but I don’t naturally eat enough. I could have a whole separate post about why I think that is, but suffice it to say that it’s a thing and I struggle with it.

Monday night I was pretty down about my running. At least, I should say, I wasn’t as giddy-excited as I have been. I think it’s just hard to run with the stroller. I don’t like that I can’t keep my heart rate where I want it and run. It’s frustrating. But at the end of the day, that’s the point, right? I’m not training my legs or mind to run, I am training my lungs/heart to function better. The bright spot was thinking about my long run. I really enjoyed the long run last weekend, and there is no stroller, and I felt like a million bucks, and maybe it’s ok and I’ll survive this training period. maybe. Another thing that cheered me up was seeing that the interval run warm up is in ranges 1-3. 1 is a walk, 2 is difficult, 3 I can pretty much do. It’s hard but I can do it. So I had the encouragement that maybe I could do some more running on Tuesday.

Which leads me to another thought. I don’t know the “proper” way to get my heart rate down. Do you stop moving and let it come down as quickly as possible? Do you continue moving at what you could usually do at that HR, and allow it to come down much more slowly, but not really to dip below. Do you slow down some, but not come to a complete stop, until it’s in a reasonable range again? How much does it matter? I think I need to look into a book about this kind of training. I’m such a T4 (dressing your truth) and I don’t like not knowing the answer to these questions. I *think* I have figured it out based on reading lots of articles but nothing says for sure. I *think* you should use the entire cool down time to get your heart rate down. The goal being to hit the correct zone before you take it up again. Ideally that will be quick (quick heart rate drop = better heart health), but you have a full 2 minute (in my workout) to make it happen. That makes sense to me. The only problem would be, being so new to this, I have no clue what speed I should be working at to get it down. I don’t want to push too hard and not make it there. ha. But that will come with time. So perhaps for now my recovery interval will be a fast walk until I get down to a 3 and then a slow jog to maintain my HR there. The only thing is my watch will be chirping at me for a while, but I guess that can’t be avoided. My body doesn’t quite work as quickly as that little computer on my arm.

Tuesday 8/30 – Planned interval run of 40 minutes. 15 minute warm up at 1-3 heart rate, 20 minutes of work (4x 3 minutes at 4-5 heart rate, 2 minutes at 3 heart rate), 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate. Completed 3.40 miles at 15:22 (13:48, 11:51, 16:07). That run was pretty sweet. Looking at my graph you can totally see when I wasn’t paying attention though. When the cool down started, I thought it was another interval so I sped up. It took me a while to figure out why the watch wouldn’t stop beeping. ha! The warm up felt good. I ran most if not all of it and averaged a 13:57 pace. It felt good. My calves were sore from yesterday but it wasn’t a difficult run at all. I was happy with it and quite happy to see my pace for the first mile when it popped up. The intervals were a little surprising to me. I thought my HR would be higher to be honest. The first one I was dying and my heart rate was only in a 4. It was a weird adjustment to go from trying to be slow on every run to trying to be fast, but at the same time not to sprint because I have to sustain for 3 minutes. My pace was 11:48. The second one I did better. I think I was more prepared and was able to nail an 8:33 pace. That’s fast even without a stroller and I, of course, was running with. I really focused on form on this. I let myself fly. Twice I was running at a 7 something pace during this interval. What?! It just felt GOOD. To be fair, I did take a potty break between the first 2 intervals, so I was more rested. But still!  My last 2 intervals were 10:25 and 11:41. Pretty good, not amazing. I could feel myself getting tired. heh. My recoveries were interesting. I tried to do a speed walk on them. It took about a minute for my HR to drop. Any time I tried to jog, though, my HR would get out of a 3 so I’d have to stop. My cool down was pretty slow. I promised my 4 year old he could get out and run with me. He ran for about half a second and we walked the rest. At any rate, my HR was exactly where I wanted it (top of 2) so walking worked great for me. I’m really proud of this run. I worked hard but I didn’t kill myself. I think I can work harder now that I know what to expect. But I’m proud, so proud of myself.

At this point, I may need to make daily blogs instead of weekly. This is quite wordy. But really, is anyone reading this? Any subscribers I have like quilts and photos not runs and data (probably). So kuddos if you’re still here, but I’m assuming nobody is. And if that’s the case, why not make super long blog posts? Also, the purpose of recording this is for me to analyze (data data data!) and I’m doing it publicly in case there is another searcher, like myself, who wants to know exactly what it looked like for someone to HR train. In that case, they should be happy with wordy data filled posts. So win win.

After this run I was on top of the world – truly, I believe I was floating. Of course these things never last when you are an overly-analytical person. So here’s my concern now. I rocked my intervals, true, but the tempo run is going to have me running for 12 minutes at that effort. TWELVE?! How on earth am I going to be able to do that? Data wise, I can get condolence from the fact that I was never at the top of 5. Granted, I’m sure it’s hard to get there without dying, but none the less, I wasn’t there. Positive! My first interval was hard, but actually stayed within a 4. It’s going to be a mind set change. Just like I had to figure out how to run slow or walk (easy/long) and run slow and steady (medium) and have run steady then have burst speed (intervals), now I need to learn how to have sustained speed. I think the trick will be in not taking off. If I ride the top of a 3 during the first work phase, then when it comes to the second work phase I just need to push a little harder. The key there is little. I will be inclined to take off, like I did in the intervals, and that will gas me. Realistically we are not looking for another 8 min pace. I’m assuming it will be in the 13s for the first phase (based on my warm up on interval day), so maybe (optimistically) 11s? Or 12s? Or 13s because I’m starting to get tired? Although that shouldn’t be the case because of the heart rate training. Honestly I have no clue and I’m nervous. But come Thursday I shouldn’t be nervous anymore. I should be confident I either did well, or know what to do better next time. I would say those are equally productive results.

Wednesday 8/31 – Planned easy run of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 30 minutes work at 1-2 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate.  Completed 2.56miles at 16:33 (15:25, 17:06). I did not feel well this morning. I would say this is the most difficult workout type so far. “Easy” is not easy to do. A fast walk is too slow on a flat or decline but too fast on an incline. A slow jog is pretty much too fast all around, unless it’s not. I did my best but I still ended up with 11 minutes in the 3 zone. Oops. My heart rate was not steady at all. It’s up and down, up and down, while I try to find my pace. Spoiler alert: I never found it. I’m assuming this gets better. I’m hoping anyway. I felt really sick at the end of this. Worse than I do after a hard run. Worse than I did pre-HR monitor when I was running at a 4/5 the whole way. I think it because I had french toast for breakfast. The only difference (ingredient wise) from a normal breakfast was syrup. I had heartburn and just a general stomach ache the whole time though so I’ll avoid that much sugar so early in the morning.

After my “run” I considered bailing and not doing the park workout. I even talked to a friend from our group about it. She said (in the kindest way possible) that I looked horrible. I ate some peanut butter crackers and started feeling better.  So I stuck around. The workout went well. We started with strength rotations and ended with cardio. It was harder than Monday and my HR reflected that. Still my highest was in zone 3 (25%) and I spent most of the time in 2 (31%) and 1 (43%). So all good. This should be the last time I do a park workout like this AFTER a run. Except for holidays. And next Monday is a holiday. So… yea.

Thursday 9/1 – Planned tempo run of 45 minutes. 15 minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 13 minutes work at 3 heart rate, 12 minutes work at 4 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate. Completed 3.24 miles at 15:03 (15:55, 13:43, 14:11).

Exhaustion hit me hard after this run. I’m struggling to function throughout the day. I’m eating much more than I was. Am I not sleeping enough? Am I overtraining? I decided to go to bed early and get more sleep. Instead of reading until 1030 I will put my book away at 10. It’s a small difference but it’s something I can do. I’m also going to not lift on Friday. In fact, I may not lift for September. I know it is bad to run without strength training. I’m weighing this against the possibility of overtraining. If I run pushing the stroller, doesn’t that give me the benefit of a little upper body strength training? Am I rationalizing? Perhaps. Come October I will lift again. By then I should be adjusted to my running routine and I don’t imagine I will have any problems. Stopping now may not be necessary but I need to get this under control. My housework is suffering because I am so tired all the time. I feel my personality changing. I just have no energy. If this doesn’t resolve I may have to get bloodwork done to rule out anything from there. First I’ll deal with sleep though, since that is something I can control fairly easily.

Another thought. Am I recording the splits the best way? I record mile splits here, but my true splits are not mile related. I default to miles because it is simple but it doesn’t really show a full picture of my effort. That said, I don’t know if it matters. I have my Polar Flow feed that shows me all the details. This is just fluff for my own musings. Perhaps I should link my polar data to each post. Or else I need to figure out a way to better document my progress.

Friday 9/2 – planned rest from running and lifting day. Decided not to lift. I’m really hoping to have more energy come this afternoon.

Saturday 9/3 – Planned long run of 1 hr 5 min. 10 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 50 minutes work at 2 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate.  Completed 5.00 miles at 15:18 (17:17, 15:34, 15:23, 14:45, 16:27).

Sunday 9/4 – planned rest

Heart Rate Training – Week 1

Good morning. It’s rest day and I thought it would be a good idea to reflect on my training thus far. I did some googling and couldn’t find many blogs that explained how this process went so maybe (maybe!) I can be the first. That of course assumes I keep up with blogging and my track record says that isn’t likely. Still, I have thoughts and this is my own little place in which to share them.

The big started back to school this week. That means a new running schedule for me. Instead of running at night 3 days a week, I will run in town 4 days a week. I keep my long run on Saturday the same. The other change to my running is that I now push the stroller with over 100lbs of child and metal and plastic and supplies. ha.

Monday 8/22 – This was my first stroller run. Incidentally this was also my last run without a heart rate monitor. All of my runs are hard (or had been to this point… we’ll get there). I pushed. I walked some and ran some. I ended up with 2.61 miles at an average pace of 11:44 (10:21, 12:37, 12:51). My goal was to run at an 11 pace and with the weird way my brain works, this was a success. The plus side of training by myself is that my goals/paces don’t have to make sense to anyone else. When I say an 11 pace, that means anywhere from 11:00 to 11:59. lol.

This evening my heart rate monitor came in! I purchased the Polar M400 after tons of research and some wonderful birthday gifts of cash. This was the cheapest watch I could find that did what I want. Basically I wanted runkeeper without my phone. The interval timers are what made it really difficult to find a watch, but eventually I did. The Polar M400 also comes with a heart rate monitor. “What? Ok cool, I guess. I’ll give it a try. Whatever.”

Tuesday 8/23 – First run with my heart rate monitor. Luckily, I hadn’t had enough time to fool with the monitor yet so this run was pretty natural. I didn’t look at plans. I didn’t look at training. I didn’t see what other people were doing. I basically repeated Monday with a strap under my boobs. The run was harder but I wasn’t surprised. I was tired from Monday. I knew the stroller would make things harder for me, so I went with it. I wasn’t the only mom with a double jogger out that day. I made a game of (jokingly) competing with the other mom. I’m sure she has no idea. At the end of our run we kept switching who was in first as we were both taking walking breaks. It was hard but good. I felt like I was on top of the world for pushing myself hard. Hulk smash! Also, this is the run I would have considered an “easy” run. It isn’t intervals. It wasn’t as fast as I could go. Therefor it was easy.

Until I looked at my data… I ran 2.67 miles at 11:12 pace (10:23, 11:37, 11:47). So pretty much like Monday, just a little “better.” wahoo! Those numbers look great. But the HR data… oops. I spent 53% of my run at the 90-100% range (zone 5), 36% at the 80-90% range (zone 4), only 5% at the 70-80% range (zone 3), and 3% each in 60-70% (zone 2) and 50-60% (zone 1). After a little bit of reseach I realized that’s bad.

Let’s back up and talk about my symptoms lately. I’m exhausted. Always tired after a run. Unable to finish long runs. I blamed the heat. The hubs said I was doing “too much.” I took that to mean that I worked out too often and I disagreed. People work out even more often than I was, so that couldn’t be it. It never occurred to me that “over training” could be a quality issue, not just quantity. I also never understood the idea to “run at a pace you could run forever.” I guess my black and white mentality translated a little too well to my running. I run full out or I walk. That’s it. There is no grey.

Time for some more google research. I decided to follow the Polar training plan, sorta. I can’t figure out if there is a way to change days for workouts and I can’t run on Sundays so… I took the recommended workouts and made them work to my schedule. Of course I had already done 2 really hard workouts this week, which meant Wednesday and Thursday would have to be a lighter work load. I decided for a Polar “easy” run Weds and a Polar “medium” run Thurs.

Wednesday 8/24 – Planned easy run of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 30 minutes work at 1-2 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate. I was feeling confident. I got this! Completed 2.46 miles at 17:14 (15:38, 17:12). Is that even running? For me, the answer was no. I had to walk soooo much to keep my heart rate that low. It was hard. I didn’t want to walk! Good thing I didn’t run into other double jogger mom. Did I mention she also runs with a dog? And she’s faster than me! And she runs farther than me! what would she think?! (I’m kidding of course, sorta.) This run was eye opening. This is the “run forever” zone people talk about. I had never felt it before. It felt good but was that even a workout? This is mentally tough.

Thursday 8/25 – Planned medium run of 40 minutes. 5 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 30 minutes work at 3 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate. My big kid was sick and home from school. The double jogger unfortunately only fits 2 (ha! get it?) so I had to postpone my run. I went that night after bedtime which means these times do not have a stroller. They do have increased heat. Maybe that evens things out? I don’t really care. Just trying to share all the facts. Completed 2.68 miles at 15:49 (14:14, 14:58). First thought of course was: soooo sloooowwwwww. It’s hard to go that slow. But I did get to run more than at the 1-2 level (which makes sense). It’s hard to reign myself in when I want to go faster. I want to move because that is what I am used to doing. But I’m committed to figuring this out.

Saturday 8/27 – I woke up ready to go! I had to wait impatiently for the sun to come up. ha. Planned long run of 1 hr 5 min. 10 Minute warm up at 1-2 heart rate, 50 minutes work at 2 heart rate, 5 minute cool down at 1-2 heart rate. Completed 4.67 miles at 15:32 (15:28, 15:33, 15:30, 15:13). It’s important to note that the route near my house is much more hilly than the route in town. So there is a lot more fluctuation in my pace when it’s an uphill mile vs a downhill mile. This is exasperated by trying to stay within the heart rate zones, as sometimes a hill is steep and I have to walk up it. Anyway this run was great. It’s totally humbling to do this. It goes against everything I want to do. Every car that passes I’m like “no! I can run for real! Don’t judge me!” How selfish a thought. Do I really think those cars care about me? I can guarantee one didn’t. I had to jump off the road because he didn’t even see me. So I think he somehow cared that I wasn’t running “fast enough.” ha! Anyway this run really helped me to see the big picture. I ran almost 5 miles. I ran over an hour. I could have kept going. In fact, I ended up running farther than necessary because I wanted to go down and see the deer that just moved in about a mile away. I mean that literally. New family, new fence, cow, horse, deer (and a few dogs and chickens). It’s great!

Prior to the new Polar M400 my long runs were done at a 5:1 (run:walk). I would come home (usually early) exhausted. I couldn’t immediately deal with my family. That sounds horrible but it is true. I would come in, drink a ton of water, use the bathroom (see 2nd break through below), and then lay on the floor for 10+ minutes. I couldn’t function. After this run, I came in and played with my kids. We joked around. I had energy. I felt great. Truly I could have “ran forever” at that pace. I did get tired later in the day but that’s not shocking to me. What struck me was that I could return from a long run, drink some water, and be a part of life. I love that. That alone is reason for me to do this.

I had a lot of time to think during this run. I came up with a goal. Currently my 5 effort is about 10 min pace and not sustainable at all. My 2 effort is 15 min pace. I want to get my 2 to be a 10 min pace. I think at that point I may be able to do a 7 min pace on my 5. We shall see. Of course I’d love my 2 to continue to grow but that is my starting goal. I wonder how long it takes. That is partially why I am putting this here. If I can keep up with the blogging at least once a week, then perhaps someone can stumble upon this and find a time frame to give them an idea. I really have no clue if this is a weeks/months/years goal, but that’s ok.

I had another break through on my long run. Before, I couldn’t go 3 miles without having to run home to use the restroom. Yea, we’re going gross here. It was devastating that I really couldn’t run anymore without seriously aggravating my GI. I wasn’t thinking about it until the end of my long run, but I haven’t gotten the runner runs once since I started doing this. That doesn’t sound like a big deal because it’s only been 4 days BUT this was an every. single. day. occurrence. So I guess more than diet, or hydration, or anything else I was trying, the issue was exertion. Apparently my body doesn’t like to function at a 5 for long periods of time. Who’d have thought.

Today is Sunday and a rest day. I’m happy for that. And I’m happy to start my new week tomorrow. I have a plan so I’ll leave this here for posterity.

Monday – Medium run and weights
Tuesday – Interval run
Wednesday – Easy run
Thursday – Tempo run
Friday – Weights only
Saturday – Long run
Sunday – Rest

I have the hard runs spaced out which I think is good. The week day runs will be done in town pushing 100+lbs. The long run will be done out here by myself.

Definitions for now:
Easy run – 5 min warm up (1-2), 30 min work (1-2), 5 min cool down (1-2)
Medium run – 5 min warm up (1-2), 30 min work (3), 5 min cool down (1-2)
Interval run – 15 min warm up (1-3), 4x 3 min work (4-5) + 2 min work (3), 5 min cool down (1-2)
Tempo run – 15 min warm up (1-2), 13 min work (3), 12 min work (4), 5 min cool down (1-2)
Long run – 10 min warm up (1-2), 50 min work (2), 5 min cool down (1-2)

I see no reason to change these right now. The distances will grow and the pace will increase as my respiratory system improves. So the workouts don’t really need to change. As an aside, this is the first time I have ran for time (not distance) since I did c25k last summer (and in the spring of 2010). It’s kinda cool how it works out. I don’t have to keep increasing my training because it will happen naturally. Then when it comes time to (aka my HR is where I want it), I can increase my long run time to add even more miles, or switch up my interval runs by adding more intervals. Really I can increase the time on any/all my workouts to add more work. But I think staying within the 5k range is good for now.

I’m really excited about this. My mechanics are good (or good enough) but apparently my respiratory system was lacking. I’m excited to train it and excited to see where I can go. I have a friend who told me it takes here 2 miles to get her heart rate up. It takes me 1 min 30 sec. lol! It also makes the instagram workouts I see make so much more sense. People will post that they warmed up for 2 miles, then ran hard for 3 miles, then cooled down for a mile. I always think how? How on earth do you do that? My warm up would knock me out and I couldn’t run any harder. It really just didn’t compute in my head. But now it makes sense. And now I’ll be doing that workout on Thursday for my tempo run. And really I’ll be doing the same concept on Tuesday with my interval run. Those are the 2 I am most looking forward to because those are the 2 I haven’t done yet. But really I am looking forward to all of my runs. I’m so excited again.

I read on Shut Up + Run an article about starting HR training. What she said made a lot of sense to me. Of course she complained about the speed which I agree with 100%. She also mentioned that it is hard to accurately gauge your perceived exertion if you aren’t accustomed to doing so. That is so true. I never imagined I was pushing this hard, and yet I was. It’s kinda cool to think that I was pushing that hard. Like woah! I’m a bad a! Look what I was doing! But at the same time, it’s not a good thing. Haha. So I need to learn how to dial back. I need to find that grey area and embrace it. And I’m excited to see what comes of all of this.

Random ending thought: Hubby and I had decided to step back from half marathons after the balloon festival in September. I wanted to focus on 5ks because I was feeling so worn down by the half marathon training. And it’s not like I’m ready at all, or will even be ready by the time the race gets here. I’ve trained all summer and will still end up winging the race like I did last time. But now, seeing how it feels to run long and not feel like I’m dying (hello 1hr 12 min run Saturday), maybe I do want to train for half marathons. Or maybe I just want to run half marathon training distances without committing to anything. That’s probably the best place to be for now.