Monday, February 27, 2012

Hill Sprints - Andressen Hill #1

I guess I am adding hill work to my weekly routine now. These were supposed to be done tomorrow (and cross training today) but since snow is due tomorrow, I switched the two days around.

Objective: Run up a steep hill for 60 seconds at 90% max & walk back (6 times)

This is a SHORT workout. Low mileage.

But not easy.

My legs were lead on trip #5 up Andressen.

Had some decent paces going up though! FAR better than my distance paces.

Incline per MapMyWalk: 6.6% INCLINE!

Here are the splits/times

Here is the player you can watch all three 'in action' (you may need to scroll down to see it all)

Weather: Clear. Dry. 42 degrees. (altogether AWESOME running weather!)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Oops! Missed group this morning

I had a rough week with neck pain, vertigo and an ear ache which all led to a very sleep deprived and cranky me. This morning I slept in and missed group. Not gonna lie - the sleep felt AMAZING! Still had the ear ache and vertigo, but the neck spasm is gone!

When I looked outside I saw it was drizzling out, and there were very scattered white flakes coming down.

Group was running just 2 miles today as an 'recovery' week run so I got out side in the cold miserable muck and hit the asphalt.

Ran 2.24 miles, walked 2 minutes, then being far from home, walked and jogged the rest of the way home, and up my hill. I had thought I would go for three miles but just didn't have it in me today. Not sure what happened. At least I met the group run distance with a decent pace average.

Total distance: 2.69 miles

  • 2.24 miles - average moving pace of 11:44 
  • 0.45 miles - walking and a slog up hill with an average moving pace of 15:00 (it was really really steep)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Track Night - A Funny Thing Happened...

First, all week long I dreaded this workout. It promised to be the most intense yet.

Last week I ran 100% for 100 yards and thought I was going to keel over. Tonight my schedule said I was to run 100% for 400 yards AFTER running over 2 miles total. But I digress.....

After the warm up quarter mile jog, we did some dynamic warm-up routines of high knee runs and butt kick runs along with russian march kicks (leg straight out) and a weird twisty hip thing. I felt very warm and took my sweat shirt off and then off we started for the first routine - 1 mile "Easy" at 80%.

Not even at 100 yards, feeling strong and at peace with the world as I and the pack went off on our laps, my heart rate monitor went ballistic! I looked down totally confused and saw it read: 208 beats per minute (bpm)! 

So there I was dumbfounded and scared to death!  I had felt fine, but I stopped immediately. I didn't even walk. I mean I STOPPED. Was it the Alleve I tried out in the morning? I just stood there with my jaw dropped in shock as others passed me. Then, my heart rate monitor went back down to 144 bpm SO fast that I was equally confounded. So off I went to complete my run and I watched my HR stay low and consistent. Total weirdness.

A lap later I heard a watch alerting warnings that max was passed. I looked at my watch. I was at 152 bpm and mine is set to alert at 180. It wasn't my watch. Then I heard the watch alerting getting closer to me and as it got closer, my watch starting showing MY heart rate accelerating super fast up to 195. Then the runner (a young elite looking male) passed me and my heart rate dropped extremely quickly back to 152.



GOOD NEWS:  I finished the night feeling like I was getting slower with each routine, but looking at my data, I was actually getting faster with each. That makes me hopeful and proud I am on the right track. YAY!!!

GOOD NEWS #2: Although my neck hurt like heck and turning to look behind me was awkward at best, my knee was fine all night.

Here is a comparison of workouts - two weeks apart. One had just individual laps with 60 second rests between. Look at the times of those compared to the ones last night with multiple laps.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Beast

This morning our training group met in Portland for a run through the Northwest & Northwest Forest Park Districts. My goals for the morning were -

  • Run 3 miles
  • Take the hill going into Forest Park. 
  • Stay dry (though rain threatened).
  • Make it back alive.

First, I was a bit worried when I heard a coach telling a runner that this hill was "A BEAST".

He was right and I was obviously not prepared for this run! It took me 44 minutes and 5 seconds from start to finish to complete these 3 challenging miles. Not pretty at ALL. I was disappointed in myself while going up but I didn't give up.

I was doing fairly okay, my knee was feeling okay, and I was running with my pace group up until about .85 mile mark when I switched to a race walk to bring my heart rate down and still I stayed with them. Yes, it was that steep at that point, that a race walk kept stride with the runners in my pace group.  After just a short period of this, I picked up my feet and ran some more.

By this time I was pretty warm and had wrapped my wind/rain breaker around my waist. I felt one or two of drops of rain hit me, but it didn't cause me any alarm. Then BOOM! The clouds opened up and began drenching us. I frantically untied my jacket and put it back on but the damages were done. My back was soaked. The rain continued. Then my jacket was soaked. My pants were soaked. I felt 'chaffing' for my very first time. The rain literally poured off my visor in a veil. It was that heavy! My husband was parked at the base of the hill and said it opened up and poured for "a good ten minutes".  I asked him if he was laughing. He hated to admit it but said, "Yeah. A little."

At about the 1.3 mile mark I told my pace leader I needed to slow down. My heart rate was maxing and I just wanted to slow it down a little. I am the ONLY 5K runner in her pace group so I asked where my turn around will be. She said, "The gate" and that she will wait for me. I went to a regular walk and took quite a few deep cleansing breathes until my heart rate reduced again. Then off I went, slogging upwards at an ungodly incline. I was never more than the length of two house lots away from my group and  they were always in my sight. They all stopped to drink from the fountain there at the gate. I got in line behind them. That fountain needs some maintenance. It was really hard to get any into my mouth without dipping my chin in a puddle of rain water in it's basin. ;)

At this point the rain wasn't as heavy, but it was still falling fairly thickly and then as I headed back down, ended suddenly.

Let's talk about running down 1.5 miles of a hill. I loved this part, yet it was challenging in it's own way too. I tried to keep my hips under me, and to minimize impact because it was on this part that my knee woke up and said, "HI!! REMEMBER ME?? I'M BAAAAACK!"

I did a light slogging jog all the way back without break. Max HR for this half was considerably less than going up but my legs felt worn out. Quads felt thrashed. Glutes felt burned. Knee was reminding me it was there. But it was nice being able to enjoy the run back and sight see and wave to others going up or down.

So out of my goals, I didn't run non-stop; I did take the hill, I didn't stay dry, and I did make it back alive.

Two out of four isn't bad. Next time, maybe I can get three out of four.

And oh yeah - I WILL take that hill someday. I WILL! I WILL!!!! It won the battle today, but I will win the war! Here is The Beast in graph form. 384 feet of incline.

Time: 44 minutes 5 seconds

Pace: 14.41 minute mile

Friday, February 17, 2012

Love my Physical Therapist!

Bryce at Pro-active in Vancouver has been such a help and positive support in my recovery. And it is working.

Today he massaged my IT band until it actually felt GOOD (and yes, there was a lot of pain before that happened). He used laser on the knee for awhile; the TENS unit (on high) during foot presses on a machine where I laid on my back. There was new exercises to add to my clamshells. Then he taped my knee for me again AND showed me how to have my husband do it between appointments.


I am ready for my hard/long run tomorrow morning in Portland, running through town UP HILL to Forest Park.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Track Night - Rawr!

As my friends know, Track Night is my least favorite workout of the week. It is usually the hardest and most confusing, and frankly, it is in the dark at an unlit high school track.

This was a night of struggling and successes. It was my favorite Track Night so far, yet the hardest.

1:) I have just been getting over a flu and had a horrid headache all day. A coworker gave me Excedrin Migraine at 4pm. My heart was racing at 5:15pm and I showed my coworker that my resting rate at my desk was 102! It worried me going out to track running like that.

2:) I noticed quite a few people missing tonight. In fact, I could be wrong, but I think there was only two of us from the 5K group there - Me and the guy I call 'dark shirt man'. He and 'light shirt man' are both medium/large middle aged runners who appear to be just starting out. I wanted to cheer Dark Shirt Man on all night. He wasn't running a lot, but he NEVER stopped moving!!!! I totally respect him. If he is there next week, I am going to introduce myself. I wonder if he sees me as something like 'Old Turtle Lady' or 'The Slogger'? Again - TOTAL respect for him. He was working hard all night. I hope he doesn't quit.

3:) We were told to run two easy laps to warm up. Excuse me? That isn't a warm up! That is a workout for us overweight newbies. She said to go ahead and race walk if I wanted so I did. Surprised myself to find I was walking the half mile at an average pace of 12:45. I was walking a half mile at a pace that is faster than some of my recent post-injury runs!!!

4:) This is the workout we (in the 5K group) had tonight as the half and full marathon groups sprinted by. I am posting my stats so I can look back at these in 4 weeks, 8 weeks, 12, weeks and 16 weeks of this program -

  • Run one mile at 80%: I did this in 11:45! YAY ME! Last week I did it at 13:30 and I am in the 13 minute pace group on Saturdays. Last night I was using my heart rate as my guide the whole way. I kept my eye glued to it and my goal was to stay at or below 172. I mostly succeeded excepting only the very first half of the very first lap when I took off chasing a girl at a pace of 7:54!!! What was I thinking? 

  • Run 400 at 80% - repeat 3x (30 second rests) : My averaged moving time on these was 11:46!! Talk about consistent. I don't know how that happened. I really don't. I sure felt like I was running on empty that last 400 but I guess it all worked out well. I really worked hard tonight. 

  • Run 100 meters at full speed - rest 30 seconds - Run 100 easy back - #1:  This was wild!! The coach told me to run as fast as I can. Sprint! Okay. Sure. Why not? WEEEEEEEEEEE!!!
    • So what was my best pace in this? 5:57! 
    • My average including the slog back was 8:04). 
    • My Heart Rate jumped all the way up to 178bpm in just 31 seconds. Luckily it dropped very quickly afterwards.

  • Run 100 meters at full speed - rest 30 seconds - Run 100 easy back - #2: I felt like a junior high kid running through the fields again. Sprinting is magical. I felt like a race horse. Then at maybe 75 meters I started feeling muscle pulls in my quads and just before reaching the 100 yard mark I started to feel my ears ringing and a very slight dizzy fog so I backed off immediately. 
    • My best pace was even faster at 5:52
    • Run cadence hit 93
    • But my heart rate hit 183. I have hit 191 in the last five months, but I make myself stay at 180 or below whenever possible. I figured ringing ears at 183 is as good a reason as any to slow it down. Why risk it? 
    • My overall average pace including the slog back was 9:06. That's okay. 

WEIGHT: 167.8
TEMP: 42 degrees and dry

I worked very hard. I felt like every step of the first mile and a half was a battle, excepting when I zoned out and just admired the scattered clouds lit by city lights, against the night sky. Those moments were the easy ones. The sweet spots. I need to learn to find more of those moments.  

Last night I had a little socializing during the stretching. Mostly listening as the girls near me all seemed to know each other already. It turned out one of the strong/fit girls lives in my neighborhood and runs the same hill and bridge I enjoy. She said either will be great for my Friday Strength work.

GOALS: Survive next Wednesday night which looks even more wild! We are adding half a mile. Taking away several breaks, increasing intensity and then closing with a bang by running 400 meters at 100%. Yikes!

Let's do it! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Update

My New Years Resolution was to weigh 169 by today. This morning, I weighed in at 167.8.

I am pleasantly surprised.  Especially after my knee tendon issues began three weeks ago and I have had to slow down my pace to a slog just a step faster than speed walking and cut mileage for the detailed coached program I began this month. Now the weight is coming off? Was I running too hard before the injury to lose weight this quickly?

Still, I measured because I was worried this might be muscle loss. It isn't. I am still losing inches. Need to buy new jeans soon. YAY!!!!!

The next five days are going to be very difficult for me due to work, scheduling, and family issues. I couldn't imagine facing all the challenges coming this week without my running. It really does help reduce stress. Well, excepting for Wednesday night Track workouts which are my least favorite of my program.  But, I am looking forward to the other workouts though. They help keep me sane.

Is it Saturday yet? We are running through Portland up to Forest Park. Can't wait.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Post-Flu Miles

My hubbie was sick with the flu for almost a week. Last Wednesday night, I came down with it. I wasn't too worried about it though because I couldn't remember the last time I had a gastrointestinal flu last more than 24 hours and thought SURELY with all my fitness prowess that I would be over it within a day.

Wrong. I was sick several days. So sick, that I laid on the couch for two days watching shows I would have never watched. By the way, how did Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills make it for two seasons?

Last night I went to bed with a slightly crampy stomach, but feeling halfway decent. This morning I woke up after only 8 hours of sleep feeling better. I felt like I could run my missed Saturday 2 mile run so I got dressed, stood up, and felt dizzy. Oops. Drank more fluids (banana/strawberry juice) and tried again an hour later. Why push it? Because I just didn't want to keep falling further behind in my training after missing the 12 days due to the knee.

GOOD:  I finished the two miles. My knee felt good the entire time with only the merest smallest teensiest tingle in the last quarter mile.

BAD:  What a battle it was. I was only running a 13.02 minute pace and it felt like I was running a 9 minute pace. Had to really work at focusing on form so my knee wouldn't get sloppy in the exertion. This was the longest 2 miles I have run in ages. I slowed in the 7th quarter (only) which reduced my overall pace to 13:20.

SUMMARY: Wish it hadn't been so hard, but I am glad I did it. I am proud I did it. Two miles closer to my goals.  YAY ME!!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

New Years Resolution #3 COMPLETED!

GO ME!!!   New Years Resolution #3 was to weigh 169 lbs by Valentines Day. 

I weighed 168.8 today.  That is 20 pounds lost since I started running last August. YAHOO!! 

Next stop, 154 lbs by the Fourth of July. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Last One In Tonight at 13:02 pace

First, let me say that I am SO tired of being injured!!!!

Tonight's run for the 5k/10K group was:
  • Run a mile nonstop
  • rest 60 seconds
  • Run a lap - rest 60 seconds (repeat this part 4 times)
I ran sloooowww tonight pampering my knee. There was twinges and tingles but I kept it under control and it was frustrating to do so. I just want to heal quickly and if that means being a snail until then, then so be it.

Meanwhile, speedster runners were lapping me like crazy. At one point I was in the 2nd lane and letting the fast ones pass on the inside so they wouldn't have to pass around me. A female runner yelled loudly "TRACK!" as she passed on my right. As soon as I came in to my 60 second rest I asked others what I did wrong. "Nothing" and one coach apologized that happened to me. When I got home I read the Track Ettiquette guidelines we were give HERE and saw that I wasn't breaking ANY of the first four rules that would warrant being yelled "TRACK!" at. I wasn't walking. My pace was slow (between 12 and 13) but I was NOT walking.  Still, how humiliating it was having a seasoned fast and fit runner calling you out when you are doing your best and thinking you were helping, not hindering.

As I came in to my last 400 lap, I noticed there was no one else behind me or running on the track. I was the last one? REALLY?? Then  I noticed that I couldn't find 4 of the other women in my group cooling down OR stretching any where. Did they already leave the track? I noticed one of the two men I had been watching was gone too. Then it really sunk in - I was THE LAST ONE IN with my snail pace average of 13:02.  I don't get it. We have people in the 14:00 + pace groups on the weekend. I saw a lot of my group walking at one point or another (I never did) and I remember lapping two or three of them (but didn't notice them lapping me after the first turn of the first lap); but they were done before me?  I have NEVER come in last in anything before. Even though I am injured, and even though this is not a race, it still struck me very hard.

Then I remembered......I may have been the last one coming in tonight....
but I lapped every single person that was home sitting on the couch.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Note to self: When in recovery from knee/tendon issues, brisk walking at inclines of 5% to 10% steepness for an hour is a no-no. You WILL feel it the next day.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

My First Group Run

Drove into Portland early this morning beneath a beautiful sunrise. First, let me tell you that I am NOT a morning person. I run after work. The only times I have ever run in the morning before 9am were on race days. Saturdays are the ONLY day I can sleep in. So for me to be on a highway at 7:20am to go run for every Saturday between now and mid June says a lot about my determination to become a stronger runner.

Got there and it was suggested that we run in a pace group SLOWER than the paces we ran Wednesday at track night. I found the 13 minute pace group and joined in with them. All those in the 5K people were to turn around at the one mile mark and come back. The half marathon group and marathon runners were to keep on going.

Running in a 13 minute pace group was odd for me. I kept having to discipline myself to not break pace , especially when the faster groups that started after us would catch up and pass us. But I did as told (for which I am sure my knee is thankful!) and stayed with the group all the way up to the turn around point. There, it seemed that I was the only one in my group turning around.  All those other 13's were training for the long runs? I was alone? I wasn't paying attention and had been chatting with runners on the way there, and now I had to run back alone? How?

I literally got lost going back. I have proof. I have my Garmin map showing my detours.

During that time another runner came up and said she too, couldn't remember which roads we were supposed to take. We took detours but we didn't add mileage and we made it back.

The coach and I had exchanged a few emails earlier this week and he told me to really pay attention to my exertion levels. Not so much my HR as we would have to test me to know my actual equivalents.

Here is a shot of the incline I ran down, then turned around and ran back up. 

My average HR for the entire two miles was just 162. In a group! That is like a record for me. I can see how these group runs are going to help me to learn a lot of things. Like pacing discipline in large crowds with faster runners, and calming down in large groups. I have literally clocked my HR at 126 the very second I have turned on my HRM in group situations and up to 30 bpm less when alone.

My knee didn't bother me at all running. However, my knee felt some mild discomfort after I stopped.

Later in the day, I was in the grocery store and my GOOD leg began buckling and acting weird. Scared the heck out of me and then it dawned on me - I must have been over compensating on it to make up for the bad knee. Oops. Luckily that weirdness only lasted an hour or so.

RECOVERY STUFF:  I got home and did all my PT recommended exercises. That is five movements and the IT rolling.  I HATE rolling my IT band. No. Really. I absolutely positively can not STAND rolling my IT band.. I would rather go to the dentist. It is awful. It is pain. It is evil. It is horrid.

But, an hour later I felt GREAT! I felt like I could have gone out and run another two miles. Maybe three.

I still hate it though. ;)

Friday, February 3, 2012

I've been tagged to blab about 11 random things

Here are the rules: 
1. Post these rules
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself
3. Answer the questions set for you in their post
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer
5. Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them
6. No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you are reading this. Youlegitimately have to tag 11 people!

11 Random Things About Me
  1. I am a tomboy. I rarely wear make-up and I have had THE same purse since around 2006. 
  2. I am a railfan. That is someone who likes to watch, photograph and ride trains.
  3. My husband and I are totally ying/yang. I am the louder, anxious, retentive, goofy one who over-thinks every thing. He is the mellow, laid back, gentle soul that balances me and reminds me to BREATHE.
  4. I don't just own a lot of camera's and camera gear. I actually get paid to use them on occasion.  See my site here:
  5. I lived in the Mojave Desert most of my life and just moved to Washington in 2007. I miss the desert and wide open spaces. Traffic here is abysmal.
  6. I have two grown children (both were born at home because I HATE hospitals), a daughter given to me in love from my husband, and I have two grandchildren.
  7. We have an ark - Two parrots, two cats and two dogs. 
  8. For the last hour and fourteen minutes I have been on hold with Nordictrack. I ordered a really nice recumbent bike and they just dropped off a really low end poorly rated discontinued elliptical machine.
  9. I have chronic insomnia. 
  10. I never spent the night in a hospital until I was 47 years old.
  11. I can't cook. I burn water. I burn water all the time. I can blame it on my ADHD but truth is, I just don't care enough to remember. But - - - I love watching cooking shows like Top Chef, Iron Chef, Hell's Kitchen and Restaurant Impossible.

My Answers Heather's 11 questions for me
  1. If you listen to music  while you run, what's your "power song"?  I have quite a few songs that I put in towards the end of my workouts (ranging from power songs by Evanescence,  to 80's pop) but one song in particular seems to show in most playlists at the last leg more often than others. It is CHEESY but the lyrics really get me energized - Ricky Martins "Ole Ole Ole".  For example - "Do you really want it?!", "HERE WE GO!",  "GO! GO! GO!" and "Now is the time, don't ever stop,  Push it along, Got to be strong"

  2. Which race has been your favorite so far? - 2011 Jingle Bell Run 5K Portland just a two months ago. First one I ran non-stop.

  3. What's your favorite training plan? The one I just got from Get Fit Live Fit's 20 week course. It is the only real/regimented plan I have ever had. In order from Monday to Sunday - Cross train, Intervals, Track night with the group, cross train, strength run, long run, rest.

  4. What's your go to post run fuel/food? Banana and coconut water. 

  5. Do you reward yourself after a big event? On occasion. 

  6. If yes to #5, what do you do to reward yourself? Big 3 portion sized steaks. My bad. I know. Could be why I am not losing as quickly as I could be. ;)

  7. Have you motivated others to run? Surprisingly, yes. The woman who motivated me two years ago (before I could run), is now running again and we signed up for the Girlfriends Half Marathon together.

  8. Who motivated YOU to run? Originally? Self - I loved to run as a kid, young adult and then young woman. But then I quit, did bad things (oh those wicked 80's!), and gained tons of weight (the sedentary 90's and onward recovering from the 80's). Recently, my coworker Christine.  It's all her fault. :D 

  9. Is running part of a bigger journey for you, or is it just something you do? Every run is a journey.  That is what I like about it. Every run is new. And at times, it can be the day you feel stronger, or faster. It can be the day you conquer a goal. It can take you to places you wouldn't normally see. It gets you away from work, laundry piles, ringing phones, and lines in stores. I love that feeling the day after a long run when I am walking through the office or a store and my legs feel so powerful. It just makes me feel GOOD. Then there is always that bonus of weight control.  FOOD!

  10. What's your favorite time of year to run? Fall. Always fall.I still haven't ran in a heavy rain. I know it is coming though and I am dreading it. I have done light misty rains, and a thick snow fall. Just not a heavy rain. In the 90's I ran in desert heat late afternoons and loved that too.

  11. Is running a solitary event for you, or do you share it with others? I have always ran alone until recently. My coworker was really kind and ran the Jingle Bell with me for the first quarter mile (she is MUCH faster than I am).  Also, I signed up for the Get Fit Live Fit 20 week running program and I hear tomorrow we will be assigned to pace groups. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cross Training is FUN!

I braved the sore knee (last night was hard on it) and did my cross training. I got that bike up to 16 miles per hour! I felt like I was 16 all over again. What a rush.

I only regret it got dark so quickly and I head home after just 15 minutes (and did the rest of my workout as treadmilled mountain hiking).

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Confusing Night at the Track

I am still reeling from something a coach said to me tonight at the track. Let's just say it was devastatingly heartbreaking to hear and after HOURS of tears, I wrote the Head Coach and asked him if I can please have an hour of his time. I would even pay for it. I just need answers.

The good: I met some nice runners at the track, albeit most of us 5k group runners were walking around dazed and confused. It didn't help being told, well this IS geared towards the marathon runners. After all, WE signed up for, registered for, paid for a 5k training course.

Maybe all those new runners who paid the same sign up costs as the marathoners might need more help, not less?

Maybe all those nice people may be overweight and "not fit enough" for your tastes, but they want to learn and they are there to get fit. I mean, that IS the name of this course, isn't it?

The Good: my knee was stiff but didn't hurt for the 1.5 miles tonight. Not until I stopped and walked. Then it throbbed and burned. Bad. I had tears and even asked the Physical Therapist if she could give me a "quick knee stretch to do" and was told no. "we will all do stretching together" and yes, I told her I was in pain (and let her know pre-run I was knee injured, just like she told me to do Monday night so "we can work something out"). So, I waited in pain for the other runners before our stretches. None of which were knee specific. She said afterwards that the quads, hips, calves, and hamstrings "are all tied to" the knees so they help.

And with all that....what I was told tonight was so much worse. Confusing. Scary. Depressing. Frustrating. I was told that my heart rate being over the age formula charts means I might need to just be a walker "until you get fit".

Meanwhile, my perceived exertion rates are still saying I am fine.

Meanwhile, I still have an athletes resting heart rate according to my doctor, of 53.

I wonder why the knee felt fine running and hurt so bad during the cool down walk.