Monday, June 30, 2008

A Case of the Mondays

63 mins
8+ miles

Today was a great morning to run, unusually cool (low 70s) and overcast. I ran through Crestwood to the levee, ran down to the White Settlement bridge, back on the levee and up Hidden Road (last time up that beeotch of a hill!) and to Rivercrest. Since it's probably my last time on the golf course, and since the course is closed to golfers on Mondays, I decided to extend my time there and meander around for a few miles.

As I was running, my mind wandered to all the various people I've run with on the golf course over the years. Some of them I'm still close with, others I haven't seen in quite a while, but all of them were important people in my life at some point. Almost instinctively, I found myself offering up a prayer of thanks for each of these people and for everything they've meant to me. By the time I made it home I was bawling, which I'm sure provided some entertainment and/or confusion for the innocent passersby. No time for tears once I was home, as I had to get ready for the movers' arrival.

Age to age and heart to heart
Bound by grace and peace
Child of wonder, child of God
I'll remember you.
Remember me.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Week in Review

70 miles
1 hour yoga, 1 hour tennis (yes, I'm counting that)

A solid Week 2 in the books. Like last week, it felt surprisingly easy to achieve this many miles (not to mention I feel like a slacker because my teammate rocked a whopping 93 miles this week!!). I had several solid workouts and overall my legs felt fresher and stronger than the previous week. Still slightly concerned about my left hamstring, which remains tight. Not sure what to do besides stretch, which I've been doing ad nauseum. I'd love to get a massage but I don't have that kind of time right now.

Next week will be pretty hectic since I'm moving on Tuesday, but I'm going to try not to let it affect my training schedule. I can't wait for a change of scenery and I'm so excited to head back to the ATL!

Sunday Long-ish

10+ miles

After an uncharacteristically late night, I got an even later start on the run than usual. Not what I was hoping for. Fortunately, a storm rolled through earlier this morning, leaving overcast skies and temps in the 70s for most of the run. The humidity was pretty out of control, though, and I looked like I'd jumped in a swimming pool by the end of the run.

I started at a fairly easy pace, heading south on Bailey to University and then jumping on the trail in Trinity Park. I ran down to the Courtyard Marriott mile marker, turned around, and took the trail all the way back to the cemetery. After running six miles at what felt like 7:20-7:30 pace, I tried to squeeze it down for the next three. Split those in 6:53, 6:47 and 6:40. I thought about extending it to the next mile marker but my legs felt pretty tight (left hamstring in particular, big shock there) and I didn't want to push too hard. Jogged home 10 minutes through the cemetery.

Overall, a solid run, which I'm again crediting to the Lindeman's I drank last night. Not in the shower this time.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Easy Saturday

AM: 46 mins
6 miles
PM: 35 mins
4.5 miles
Ran super easy this morning on the mini-loop. Today would've been better for yesterday's workout, as it was overcast and not too windy, but that's how it goes sometimes. Finished up with a few loops on the golf course before heading home to start packing for the ATL.
As I was weeding through all the useless crap I've accumulated in my apartment, I stumbled upon a Ben Gay pain relief patch. There's a solid chance that I've had it since 1998, but nonetheless I slapped that bad boy on my left hammy and let it go to work. Maybe it's just wishful thinking, but I actually did feel a bit looser on my second run.
I took the long way to the levee down Bailey and then hopped back on the trail before meandering home through Crestwood. Running on the river trail every day gets quite boring, but at this point I'm trying to stick to soft surfaces as often as possible. Overall, legs feel much better than last week.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Windy Tempo Workout

25 min. w/u
6 mi. tempo @ MP (6:52, 6:52, 7:00, 6:37, 6:36, 6:35)
13 min c/d
Total: ~11 miles

This morning dawned with less than ideal weather for a long workout: hot, humid and quite windy. I ran an easy warm-up through the cemetery and added on a bit extra to make sure my left hamstring was nice and loose. Started the tempo on the levee and hit the first mile marker comfortably in 6:52. Shortly after, I rounded a bend and was hit smack in the face with a stiff headwind. It persisted for the next two miles, during which I felt as though I was running backward and was literally counting down the seconds until I could turn around and feel a reprieve. Once I did, the effect was immediate; as soon as I flipped a U I felt like a different person. Rolled through the next few miles nicely and then was faced with another headwind for the last mile. I really wanted to go sub-6:40 on the last one but wasn't optimistic as I struggled to fight the wind. Was pleasantly surprised when I hit the final marker at 6:35, but wished it hadn't felt like such an effort. I spent several minutes walking around and calming down before wogging home.

Moral of the story: I'm going to have to start getting out the door earlier. Period. The weather is becoming prohibitive otherwise. And despite pounding two Nuuns and a bottle of water within minutes of arriving home, I'm going to have to make a conscious effort to re-hydrate today. On a positive note, the hamstring didn't feel tight at all, and overall I felt more relaxed on this workout than on the 3x2 mi. last Friday.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Trifecta, Week 2

AM: 47 mins
6+ miles
1 hour yoga
PM: 25 mins
3 miles

Ran the mini-loop around 7:20 pace this morning. I felt pretty sluggish at the start, but by the time I hit the golf course at halfway things started coming together. Added on down Monticello and around the park to get in an extra mile.

At the end of a particularly intense yoga session today, the instructor announced to the class that I was moving to Atlanta next week and wished me luck. I may or may not have teared up a bit. It's funny, I couldn't be more excited about moving, but I find myself getting embarrassingly emotional at the most arbitrary moments...

Easy run in the PM on the "loop" I fashioned last week: down Bailey to Rockwood Park, parallel with the levee, then back home through Crestwood. Hoping the heat and humidity will abait slightly for my tempo in the morning.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Norman Run/Katy Trail Double

AM: 67:24
9 miles

PM: 25 mins
3 miles

Maybe it was the hour of Wimbledon-esque tennis that Jordan and I played yesterday afternoon, or maybe it was the peach-flavored Lindemans I enjoyed in the shower immediately following, but for whatever reason my legs didn't feel nearly as bad as I was expecting them to this morning. What a refreshing change of pace.

Jordan and I left Campus Lodge circa 8:00 and ran to meet Scotty D for an easy recovery run. We met him along Jenkins just past Lloyd Noble, looped through the neighborhoods, ran back through the OU campus to Brooks and then back to Campus Lodge. The pace was easy and it felt good to run easy after yesterday's workout. Stretched a bit afterward.

In the evening I wogged a very slow 25 minutes in Dallas with my tech rep frienemies: Katie (Adidas), Brittany (Saucony) and Mark (Nike). We hopped on the Katy Trail in the West Village, ran to American Airlines Center on the soft surface and ran back. Capped off the evening with a cookout and a dip in the pool. I suspect my coach will give me a stern verbal lashing for exceeding my mileage requirements today (was only supposed to do a 4/4 double) but running with friends was too tempting to pass up. I'll follow directions for the rest of the week.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Grass Track Workout

25 min w/u (3+ miles)
8x800 at 10k pace (adjusted for GT) w/2:00 recovery:
3:03, 3:03, 3:03, 3:00, 3:01, 3:00, 3:00, 2:57
21 min c/d (3 miles), 15 mins stretching
Total: ~12 miles

Today's workout was designed to be 8x800 at 10k pace. However, given that I was running on the grass track (GT) in Norman--which runs more like a cross-country course than a road or an actual track--it was unanimously agreed upon that I should adjust the times considerably. According to Jilane and Jordan, the conversion from the GT to mondo is about 12-16 secs per mile, or 3-4 secs per 400. So while I was originally supposed to do the workout at 2:50-2:55 pace, we agreed that I should aim closer to 3:00-3:05 to simulate the desired effort.

Jordan and I picked up Scotty D and parked at the OU track to wog over to the GT. Relative to what I was expecting, the wind wasn't much of a factor (after the legendary stories of borderline tornadic winds in this completely exposed area, I was fearing the worst). Jordan and Scotty's plan was to run 400 repeats and then run my 800s with me as their recovery. Yeah, not demoralizing at all. However, it ended up working really well for all parties involved and I greatly appreciated their help.

I ran the first interval in 3:03 and then basically locked into that pace for the next several. It worked best to wog another 400m lap in between (and put each rest segment in the 2:00-2:10 range, which was just about right), so they usually rejoined me on the last 20 meters of my jog and then led me through the next interval. By the third or fourth, I started to feel vaguely nauseous, and the feeling never really abated during the workout. Pro: I kinda forgot about my throbbing legs. Con: I kinda wanted to vomit. That said, I was able to gradually squeeze down the pace throughout the run and finished up the last interval in sub-3:00.

On the jog home, we ran through a local park and stumbled upon a "water park" of sorts. It was basically a glorified sprinkler system with various showers and hoses for all the neighborhood kiddos to play in (see Jordan's page for a sweet pic). Ignoring the confused and slightly alarmed looks of all the parents nearby, the three of us jumped right in and spent some quality time cavorting in the water. My shoes were a bit waterlogged for the rest of the run home, but it was well worth it. After arriving back at OU, we spent some solid time stretching on the track and trying to keep the legs loose.

Overall, I was pleased with this workout. I wish my stomach had been more cooperative, as I feel I could've gone a bit faster, but given that and the conditions of the terrain it was a solid effort. Great to have company too, even if they did make me look like a jogger by comparison.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Early Morning Run

52 mins.
~7 miles

I was slightly confused when my alarm went off at 5:55 this morning, as I couldn't initially recall why I needed to get up at such an unorthodox hour (thank goodness I don't have a real job, otherwise 5:55 would probably be standard). After a few groggy moments, I realized I was meeting Cindy for an early run before she headed to work. Our schedules have been off the past few weeks so we haven't had an opportunity to meet up, and I was looking forward to catching up with her on an easy run.

In order to meet her on "our corner" near Camp Bowie and Rivercrest CC, I had to run basically two miles uphill along the golf course. If I wasn't already awake, that did it. We met and headed down Hidden Road to the levee. The pace was relaxed, the air was--dare I say it--cool, and the conversation was entertaining as always. I'll miss this girl when I'm in the ATL.

We parted ways at the corner of White Settlement and Crestwood, and then I was home to get ready for my last trip to Norman before the big move.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Week in Review

~64 miles, 1 hour yoga
(Like Jilane, I have no desire to add minutes)

After adding up my mileage, I was surprised to see that it was as high as it was. I probably haven't run over 60mpw in six months, but the number seemed quite easy to achieve (which is good, because I'm sure my mileage is only going to increase from here). Although I spent the majority of the week feeling stiff and sore, it was a refreshing change and a signal to my body that it's actually doing something significant for once.

As important as the physical manifestations are, what's most significant to me is my attitude. I can't remember the last time before this week that I've woken up excited to go run, much less do a workout or prepare for a double. It sounds corny, but having a purpose for a training and a support system to keep me accountable has already made a world of difference. I know that over the next few months I'll have days and weeks and workouts that suck, and I'm sure there will be times when I just want to quit and sit down with a gallon of Ben & Jerry's (well, I may do that regardless), but I hope that these initial weeks of training and base building will equip me to push through those times and stay focused on the greater goal and purpose for this training cycle. For now, I'm truly enjoying every minute.

I am happy. I am blessed. Life is good.

White Rock Loop

~10.5 miles
Had a great Sunday run on a day that was cooler and less humid than those in recent memory. I ran a loop around White Rock Lake in Dallas with my dad and his friend Tim. After starting at Norbuck Park, I ran the first 20 minutes at their pace and then picked it up a bit for the rest. Immediately I could tell my legs felt 100% better than yesterday, even though I'm still a bit stiff and sore. I ran comfortably under 7:30 pace for the rest of the run, and enjoyed the shaded path and cooler temps around the lake. Doubled back after returning to the car and finished with Dad and Tim. Overall, a great end to a solid first week of training.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Dad's Day (Belated) 5k

35 min w/up, 5k (23:20), 10 min c/d
68:20 (~8.5 miles)

Since my parents are in town to visit me one last time before I move, my dad wanted me to run the Dad's Day 5k with him. Granted, Father's Day was last weekend, but apparently the race management chose to move it a week later this year in hopes of increasing attendance. Since I was pretty stiff and sore from my first week of actual training, I was perfectly content to wog the run at my dad's pace. My schedule called for a 4/4 double, but because I knew I'd be spending the entire day with my parents, I opted to combine. This was the second time in a week I've done so, and hope to minimize occasions like this going forward.

At any rate, the race was pretty brutal even at wog pace. It was sunny, hot and humid, and the race was run primarily on the streets and interstate access road adjacent to Texas Stadium. The only redeeming factor was that the race started and finished on the stadium 50-yard-line, something I probably would've appreciated marginally more if I actually cared about the Cowboys or organized sports in general. That said, I enjoyed spending the time with my dad and am grateful that running is something we can share together. Looking forward to a solid 10-miler tomorrow to cap off my first week.

To paraphrase something I told Jilane yesterday: "Basically we're going to be pretty sore and tired for a month or two. But then we'll be skinny, hot, fit badasses and it'll all be worth it."

Friday, June 20, 2008

Levee Workout

3x2mi @ MP (6:52 for 3:00)
800m wog in between
~11 miles

Started the run with an 18 min. warm-up through the cemetery and down to the closest mile marker on the levee. My legs felt pretty tight at the start and I had no idea how the pace would feel. Since the trail is only marked at the miles, with no intermediate markers, I had to do the workout largely on feel (which can be a challenge when the legs feel equally tight at 7:30 pace or 6:30 pace). I nearly fell over with shock when I split the first mile in exactly 6:52. Second mile was 6:45 to finish the first interval in 13:37. After a 4:00 wog, jumped into the second interval and split 6:45, 6:38 (13:23). I expected my legs to be nice and loose by the third interval, but to my frustration they felt equally rigid throughout the entire run. My left hamstring in particular felt pretty stiff as I started the third interval. Hit the first mile marker in 6:34 and closed in 6:36 (13:10), then cooled down 15 minutes in Crestwood.

Overall, I was pleased with the gradual progression of the run, and pleased that the third interval didn't feel much harder than the first. I could use a serious deep-tissue massage though, especially in my hamstrings and glutes. Any takers?

Thursday, June 19, 2008


AM: 50 mins, ~7 miles on treadmill
1 hour yoga
PM: 25 mins, 3+ miles

I was supposed to do a 6 mile cut-down of sorts with Cindy, but I awoke to torrential thunderstorms that persisted throughout the morning. I resigned myself to doing the run on the gym treadmill before yoga instead. Treadmills are stupid and I was frustrated with the entire situation, so after a very easy mile or so I just set it on 2% incline and 7:20 pace and held it there. Finished at a round 50 mins and headed to yoga, which was intense. I will honestly miss this challenging class and instructor when I move, and I hope to find a decent studio in the Highlands that won't cost me $5000 a month.

The storms cleared by noon, leaving the afternoon hot and muggy. I headed out for my second wog around 5pm. I planned to stay in the tree-lined streets of Crestwood to keep cool, and ended up unwittingly fashioning a loop that took me exactly 25 mins to complete. Just about perfect. I felt unusually decent for an evening run, and I'm looking forward to my workout in the morning.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Recovery Day

~8.5 miles

Today was supposed to be a 4/4 recovery day, but since I wouldn't be able to run in the evening I decided to combine for a longer morning run. I was a bit apprehensive about how the legs would feel post-workout, but to my surprise/relief I didn't detect much soreness. That said, the legs were pretty heavy, and I'd be shocked if I ran a single mile under 7:30 today.

In hopes of keeping things flat, I decided to run down Bailey Ave. to University and then onto the crushed gravel trails in Trinity Park. Finished up through Greenwood Cemetery. The pace was relaxed and it was nice to finish by 7am before the sun came up.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cutting Shapes

Scheduled: 2-3mi w/u
10x400 in 82-84 w/400m jog in between
2mi c/d

As I parked my car at the TCU track, I texted Jilane something along the lines of: "I'm wearing spandex and T5's and I'm ready to change my life." Translation: "Please let me finish this workout without passing out, pulling a muscle or otherwise maiming myself." Even though I knew the prescribed workout was doable, I was a bit nervous about stepping onto the track after a multi-year hiatus. I started as early as possible in an effort to beat the heat, but even at 7:30am the temperature was in the 80s and the humidity was high.

I started the run with a two-mile warmup loop around the TCU track and Greek houses, then did a few half-hearted strides on the homestretch of the track. Once I decided I couldn't delay the inevitable any longer, I jumped into the workout. The first few intervals were pretty erratic as my body struggled to settle into a pace it hadn't run in many moons, and it certainly didn't help that I opened the first interval with a suicidal 36-second 200. Needless to say, I made a conscious effort to dial it back a notch on the back half and ended the interval in 81. I followed that with an 84, then settled in at 82, 82, 82. After my fifth interval and lap jog, I took a 2-3 minute break to drink some water and towel off. Prior to that, I was continuously running through; I started my jog immediately after finishing each interval and started running again as soon as I crossed the line (although let's be honest, there's no way I was wogging faster than 8:30 pace on the "off" laps).

Starting the second set of five, I realized things weren't going to get much harder and would probably suck equally going forward, so I tried to squeeze down the pace slightly. My breathing was controlled and my legs felt only slightly fatigued. I finished the sixth interval in a comfortable 80, then followed with 81, 81, 80. I thought I could close the last one in sub-80 if I hit the 200 at 38, which I did, so I tried to stay relaxed and finished strong in 77. After an extended water break I hit the two-mile loop again for my cooldown and called it a day. Stopped at Einstein's for a coffee on the way home and pounded an entire container of apple juice while I was waiting in line. Sweet nectar.

Although I'm confident I won't be able to walk tomorrow, I was pleased with my first effort at cutting shapes. I felt uncomfortable on the last two but kept things controlled throughout.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Starting Off

46 mins.
~6 miles

Today was Jilane's and my first day on Jeff's training schedule, and can we please talk about how excited I am to finally have a purpose to my training?? Until today, when various friends/family/accounts have asked, "So what are you training for?" or "How has your training been going?" my standard response has been, "I'm doing a lot of yoga." I feel like that succinctly sums up the general apathy I've been feeling toward running lately. However, ever since Jordan and Jilane and I have been talking about MCM (and cajoling/bribing/threatening Owen into joining us), I've been eager to get started with an actual training program.

Today's run was just six miles easy, no biggie, which was welcome because a) I didn't get home from Atlanta until 11am, which meant my run would be during the heat of the day, b) my legs were pretty trashed from the hills and long-ish runs I'd done in the ATL all weekend and c) I would be participating in (read: suffering through) my first track workout in years the following day.

So I left from my aparment around noon and did the "mini-loop" on the levee, ran up Hidden Road hill, and meandered on Rivercrest golf course for a bit before heading back home. The course is closed for maintenance on Mondays, which meant I had free run of the place. The heat and humidity ranged from unbearably stifling to completely oppressive, but luckily the run was short and easy enough.


The literal Italian translation of "attraversiamo" means "to cross to the other side." In common Italian vernacular, one would use it to say "let's cross over," as in crossing the street. At this point in my life, "attraversiamo" represents a new beginning. Crossing over from one phase of my life to another. I'll have a new city, new work environment, new friendships, and a brand-new training goal: Marine Corps Marathon 2008. Coached by Jeff "G-Unit" Gaudette, Jilane and I comprise Team MJ, and we share one goal: to win the MCM challenge and put Team OJ in their place (which is being inferior to us in all aspects of life, for the record). I can't wait to finally get fit, and I can't wait to see where this new phase of my life takes me.

Here goes nothing. Attraversiamo.