Saturday, January 31, 2009

First Indoor Track Meet

Run 1: 2.5 mile w/u + strides, stretching
3k race in 10:20
1+ mile c/d + stretching
Run 2: 1.5 mile w/u + strides, stretching
800m race in 2:3x?
2 mile c/d
Total: 9.5-10 miles

Well. This was quite the experience. First indoor track meet ever, first track meet since high school (which we all know was a loooong time ago), first time to race the 3k. As I mentioned before, Jeff just wanted me to use this meet as a solid workout effort and an opportunity to get a feel for racing on an indoor track (or, furthermore, for racing at all). I had no idea what to expect and was in equal parts excited and terrified about the whole experience.

The morning started off at the ungodly hour of 5:30am, when Tanya and I awoke in our luxurious room at the Ramada Inn. She was racing the 5k at 8:00 sharp and the crew of morning runners was all leaving the hotel together at 6:30. I was more nervous than I'd expected and was a bit edgy after a restless night's sleep, so it was easier than expected to get up when the alarm went off. We headed over to the meet site and rushed inside to escape from the freezing cold temps and settle in to our spot in the bleachers.

Tanya's race commenced at 8:00 on the nose and she was off and running in her first indoor 5k ever. She did a great job staying with the leaders and held on to finish in third place at 17:21. As soon as she finished, Jess and I headed outside to begin our warmup. We were supposed to run at least three miles but, as I may have mentioned earlier, it was FREEZING outside so we cut it a bit short. Jeff had entered our seed times conservatively on purpose so we could run in the unseeded morning section of the 3k rather than the seeded evening section that was to take place almost 8 hours later. Given that I had no idea what to expect out of my first race, I was completely fine with this turn of events. Jess and I finished our strides and stretching and we were toeing the start line before I knew it. The whole experience seemed a bit surreal to me, and even up until the moment when the gun went off I wasn't completely convinced that I was actually about to run my first collegiate race.

That all changed as soon as the race started and my competitive instincts took over. Unfortunately I made the mistake of going out too slowly and allowing myself to get boxed in; as a result, I spent the first two laps trapped both behind and beside runners who were ambling along a bit more slowly than I'd hoped to go. In hindsight that ended up sealing my fate for the rest of the race, as I went through the first 400 in 82 and was simply unable to switch gears after that. I'm confident that had I gone through in 78 or 80 I would've locked into that rhythm, but instead it was 82s from there on out.

After just over 3/4 of a mile I began to separate myself from the rest of the field. I went through the mile in 5:29--almost 10 seconds slower than I'd hoped--but was well clear of the other runners by then. I tried to focus on Jeff's voice and his instructions each time I passed him along the backstretch, but without anyone to guide off of I was basically out there by myself. I finished in 10:20, a full 20 seconds slower than what I'd hoped, but over 12 seconds ahead of the second place finisher in my heat. I guess in my mind that makes for a mixed result; I was happy to have competed well, but would've liked to run closer to the shape I know I'm in right now. I finished the race tired but by no means spent, which again is neither a completely positive nor completely negative outcome.

Just over two hours later, Jess and I were repeating the motions of our warmup and preparing to run the 800. Neither of us were particularly excited about this prospect, but Jeff just wanted us to get in some miles and a speed workout for the day, so we begrudgingly sacked up and toed the line again. My legs were already sore from the 3k and I was just wanting to get this over with. I'll spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say I went through the quarter in a blazing 71 and died a rather expedient death from there. I'm not even sure what my official time was, as the clock stopped after the first finisher crossed the line, but I'm pretty sure it was slower than 2:30. The amazing part is even at that pedestrian pace I was passing stragglers by the handful on the last lap.

This post is already long enough and full of more details than you care to know, so I'll wrap it up here. In conclusion, I will say that I came away from my first track meet eager to improve. I know the more times I step onto the track, the more prepared and confident I will become, and I'm looking forward to having the opportunity to perform to my potential later in the season. One down, quite a few more to go.

Friday, January 30, 2009

East Tennessee State University

AM: 59 mins.
8 miles
PM: 27 mins. + strides, stretching
~3.5 miles

My morning run found me touring familiar territory in Freedom Park and on the bike path before the team embarked for the Niswonger Invitational at East Tennessee State University. The school is located in Johnson City, TN (wherever that is), and was roughly a three hour drive from Charlotte.

We arrived at the meet site just after 5pm and set up camp inside the stadium. I've never been to an indoor track before and I've gotta admit, I was a bit overwhelmed. The nice thing about this facility is that the track measures 276 meters (as opposed to the standard 200 meters for most indoor tracks), which means--at least for my first time--this will feel more like the outdoor track I'm accustomed to.

My view from the bleachers at ETSU

Jess, Holly, Tanya and I took in our second runs on and around the ETSU campus. Temperatures had dropped considerably since we left Charlotte (and we drove through a barrage of snow flurries while on the mountain pass) and I was the 'tard wearing shorts on the run (although my Oxy Socks did help out considerably in the heat department). Basically this jaunt was freezing cold and windy and we just wanted to finish up as soon as possible. Once we were back inside and our bodies had reached a comfortable temperature, we hopped onto the track and did some strides on the backstretch. I wish I could say I felt awesome, but in reality my legs felt pretty tight and flat. I'm hoping it's just nerves. After everyone finished up it was off to dinner and then to the hotel for an early bedtime. It's almost game day.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Freedom Park Double

AM: 73 min.
10 miles
PM: 4 miles

Overall the legs felt much improved from yesterday, which is a relief considering I will run my first track race in roughly 36 hours. The air was cool and crisp and the sun shined brightly all day, so both of my outings were quite pleasant. For my longer run I basically ran down the greenway to Freedom Park, ran three big loops and then returned the way I came. The third loop started to get monotonous, but the park is still enough of a novelty to be enjoyable so I didn't mind.

In the afternoon Jeff and I moved most of my clothes to my new off-campus apartment residence which I have not-so-affectionately dubbed "The Prison" because of its stark furnishings and brick walls. It's not exactly what I envisioned for my spring accomodations but it will do. I mean, it could be worse. At least the place is already furnished...otherwise I might be sleeping on a yoga mat like Jordan.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Heavy Legs

AM: 58 mins.
8 miles
PM: 10 mins. active stretching
15 mins. core

I picked Jess up at school around 9am and drove us out to McAlpine for an easy recovery run. Both of us were feeling pretty banged up from yesterday, and by the last few miles I was hurting in a serious way. I don't think it would've felt any better if we'd run 9-minute pace; that's how bad I was feeling. Thank goodness I had some company or else I would've probably scrapped this run after two miles. We did plenty of stretching afterward and I followed it up with some of Blake's stretches this afternoon, so hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I Hate it When I Can't Think of a Title

AM: 3 miles
PM: 2 mile w/u
Target: 1 mile @6:20 w/3:00 rest; 12x300 w/100 jog cut down 61, 59, 57; 8x100m strides @17 secs
Actual: 6:02, 12x300 w/100 jog for total 3 miles in 18:17; 8x100 strides hard
1.5 mile c/d
Total: 8 miles

The track workout this afternoon was unlike anything I've done recently, in that it sort of combined a tempo-like mentality with bursts of shorter (and harder) efforts. The first mile was prescribed in 6:20 but 90-second quarters felt easy and smooth so I just went with it. Besides, I told Jilane I would run this interval in honor of her dog so I had to kick it up a notch. I wasn't even really breathing hard at the end, which was a nice feeling, but I knew the 300s were going to hit me pretty h
ard. Jess joined me for the 300s and it was nice to know someone else was hurting with me. About halfway through she fell off the back so I was pushing through on my own. I don't know all the splits, but the ones I heard Jeff call out were anywhere between 62 and 58. I doubt I ever hit the 57s I was supposed to be cruising at toward the end, but my legs were pretty shot by that point. That said, the end result including the 12 easy jog 100s was a total of 3 miles in 18:17 which isn't too bad. I certainly don't recommend running your next 5k with this strategy, but it got the job done nonetheless.

Downtown Charlotte skyline at night, similar to the view from
Johnson C Smith track where we work out

After full recovery from the 300s, Jess and I put on our spikes to do some hard strides on the back stretch. We ran the first one right around 16 seconds and then decided to forego the watch and just go by effort on the rest of them. I gotta say, I am so slow right now. Foot speed=zero. It's depressing to recall that I used to run the open quarter in 60 seconds in high school and now I can't even do strides at that pace. Man, I'm getting old.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Return to Oz

AM: 4 miles
~20 mins. core
PM: 59 mins.+ strides (2x150, 4x30, 2x100)
8+ miles

There's no better way to start the day than to drag your butt out of bed for morning practice, only to discover about 20 minutes too late that it's been canceled. Turns out that because "Jeff from cross country is our biggest problem" or some similar reason, Scott wasn't allowed to get the keys to the room where we do our morning core routine. Awesome. Since Tanya and I were already at school before sunrise we decided to go ahead and bang out our morning run. I was a good girl upon arriving home and did my own core routine while watching the news on CNN this morning. Thousands more jobs cut looks like I definitely made the right decision by stepping out of the job market for the next year or two.

In the afternoon I took a much needed nap before heading out for my double. I missed the opportunity to run with Tanya at McAlpine because I slept through it, so rather than drive out there with the team I opted to run on my own on the greenway and in Freedom Park. Normally I prefer running with people, but today I wanted to focus on keeping the pace very relaxed so I was content to stay lost in my own thoughts instead. A few weeks ago Jordan titled one of his posts "Running With a Purpose," and that's certainly what I'm trying to do every day at this point. Today's purpose was obviously recovery, so I kept things slow and even for most of the run. About 40 minutes in, I stopped on one of the soccer fields in the park to do some strides and stretching. The legs didn't feel super bouncy, but the two-mile run back home actually felt pretty good.

In the evening Jeff and I headed out to meet Ozzie, who chose to forego a visit to Jordan in Oklahoma and grace us with his presence instead. We all know what debauchery ensued last time he visited me, but fortunately this time we kept things relatively tame and under control. He/Nike did treat us to an outstanding meal at Blue Restaurant downtown, which was simply amazing. It was great to hang out and also to hear some "boring stories of glory days," most of which cannot be repeated in this forum. Good times were had by all.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Week in Review

78 miles
2 core sessions
3 new pairs of Oxy Socks
12 fast food sandwiches consumed (only one by me)
6 days until my first track meet

I'm pretty sure I said this last Sunday, but this definitely caps off my best week of training in quite some time. I kept the mileage at a comfortable level while still getting in three reasonably hard efforts. The 2x3 mile on Friday was the highlight of the week, although finishing up today's long run with a bit of pep in my step was also a pleasant surprise. I had a blast hanging out with Jeff and Blake all week and will be sad to see Blake leave in the morning, but I'm sure we will cross paths at a few meets this spring.

Speaking of meets, I will compete in my season opener next Saturday at East Tennessee State. Given that I've never seen much less run on an indoor track before, Jeff just wants me to get my feet wet and get a feel for the whole experience. For that reason I'm running the 3k instead of the 5k, which will be my ultimate indoor focus. Also, because he wants to embarrass me in front of the entire team, I will be giving the 800 a go as well. I'm skeptical about beating my high school PR but nonetheless I will set that as a goal. Regardless, I'm looking forward to kicking off the season and am eager to get a gauge on my current fitness.

Lucky 13

90 mins.
13 miles

Solid long run this morning with Tanya at McAlpine. We started out a bit slower than last week, somewhere in the neighborhood of 7:20, and kept things slightly above 7-minute pace for the first half of the run. During the second half we gradually, almost unnoticeably, started tightening things down, and by the time we passed the 9-mile mark we were clipping along just over 6:40 pace. Tanya wasn't feeling her best and I was feeling more comfortable than last week, so we matched each other stride f
or stride throughout the run.

Windy stretch along the Footlocker course that we ran many
times during today's run

About three miles from the end we crossed paths with Blake for the fourth or fifth time. He was nine miles into his 18-miler and was looking for some company, so he joined up with us for the remainder of our run. His stomach was a bit unsettled after the four Wendy's sandwiches he consumed at midnight last night and was happy to amble along at our pace. We opened up a bit the last three miles and finished in 6:38, 6:40, 6:25. I was happy to finish much stronger than last week and to not spend the last two miles flailing after Tanya. This was a solid way to finish off the week.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Hitting the Books

AM: 49 mins.
6.5 miles
25 mins. pool
PM: Homework?!?!

This morning I enjoyed a recovery run with Blake down the bike path and through Freedom Park. The pace and conversation flowed naturally, and the run almost ended too quickly. Blake leaves Monday to head back to Colorado Springs and I gotta say, I'm gonna miss this kid. He and I hit it off pretty much instantly upon his arrival last Monday and have spent a solid amount of quality time together throughout the week. It's rare to genuinely call someone a friend after knowing them for such a short time, but that's certainly the case here and I hope our paths cross again soon. After the run we did some extra credit (as Jilane would say) and headed up to school to do some easy pool jogging. I'm still not a convert, but after listening to Blake and Jeff discuss all the recovery benefits I've decided to be more open minded.

This afternoon I had...homework. Kind of weird considering I haven't read school textbooks in many moons. This is definitely going to take some getting used to, but fortunately I was productive this afternoon and got a good jump start on next week's assignments. It felt strange not to double in the afternoon but I knew my body needed to rest after yesterday's workout, so I forced myself to remain planted on the couch and immersed in my reading. I know, I know, such an overachiever.

Friday, January 23, 2009

"Jeff From Cross Country is Our Biggest Problem"

AM: 3 miles
PM: ~2.5 mile w/u
Target: 2x3 mile w/4:00 rest; first set @6:10, second set @6:00 or faster
Actual: 17:55 (5:52, 6:03, 6:00); 17:46 (5:50, 6:03, 5:53)
~1.5 mile c/d
Total: 10 miles

The title of this post actually refers to a sign I read this morning while visiting Campus Police with Tanya to update our ID cards. I noticed a piece of paper posted on the filing cabinet that could be paraphrased as the following:

"The dance studio keys and pool keys are to be given out by appointment only. Coaches should have photo ID to check these keys out. The cross country, track and lacrosse teams have been marking up the floors and taking things from these rooms. Jeff from cross country is our biggest problem."

That's my coach.

This afternoon we worked out at McAlpine, and for the first day since my arrival in Charlotte it was warm enough to wear shorts and short sleeves. With the exception of a stiff headwind along part of the main trail we couldn't have asked for a more beautiful afternoon. I was feeling loosey goosey thanks to Blake showing me some great active stretches earlier this afternoon, and of course I was rocking my secret weapon Oxy Socks, so I was hoping for a good effort.

The original plan was to run the first 3-mile interval at 6:10 pace and I was shocked when I passed the first mile in 5:52, especially since this mile was directly into the aforementioned headwind. I turned around a half mile later and finished strong back to our starting point. Almost everyone else had one three-mile effort on tap, and I was pretty jealous to see them finish their workout while I was only at the halfway point. My four-minute respite was over before I knew it and then I was off and into the wind again.

By the time I reached the two-mile mark I was definitely feeling fatigued, but with the wind now at my back I was on pace to best my previous effort. Jeff shouted out my splits and some parting encouragement from the two-mile mark and then I left him behind...or so I thought. About 30 seconds later I heard what could be described as a wheezing chain-smoker lumbering up behind me and for some reason wasn't surprised to discover that it was Jeff. Just in case you aren't aware, Jeff has been injured for many months and as recently as Saturday was patting himself on the back for completing a seven mile run. He was now in the process of going from a standing start to sub-5:50 pace in one fell swoop. His natural talent shone through and he pushed me to a 5:53 final mile. Given that he started out quite a few paces behind me, we estimate that his mile split was somewhere in the 5:40 range. Solid effort.

Needless to say, I was pretty excited about my workout today. It isn't often that I dip below 6:00 on tempo runs, but today all but two of my splits were well clear of that hurdle. Definitely an encouraging sign and a great start to the weekend.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I Can't Stop Eating

AM: 73 mins.
10 miles
PM: 4 miles

The weather was absolutely beautiful this morning, mid 30s with a light breeze and plenty of sunshine. I rocked the Oxysocks as part of a fabulous mismatched outfit today and felt pretty good about myself. Blake joined me for about half of the run, as he was looking to get in a longer effort this afternoon, so we ran from Jeff's down the pike bath to Freedom Park and did one loop before heading back. I dropped him off near the entrance to the apartment complex, then turned around and basically replicated our loop again. My legs felt decent today, thanks in no small part to the hamstring exorcism that Jeff performed last night, but I made a conscious effort to keep the pace slow and relaxed. This was hard to do considering I knew that a) Brooklet had just arrived in town and was awaiting me at Jeff's apartment, and b) that the four of us were going to hit up Ru Sans sushi buffet as soon as I finished my jaunt. I may be a poor student now, but $9.95 for all-you-can-eat sushi and sashimi is an offer too good to refuse.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Fast Food Nation

AM: 20 mins. core
25 mins. pool
PM: 59 mins.
8 miles

Another early morning core routine, this time followed by a team session in the pool. I'll be honest, I don't really love it in there, and not just because it makes my hair frizzy. I actually find it pretty monotonous. Jeff tries to keep things upbeat by incorporating fartlek-type efforts throughout, which definitely helps. Overall though I'm not a huge fan.

In the early afternoon Blake and I met Tanya and Sean for an easy run at McAlpine. I was sporting a new pair of Oxysocks courtesy of Jeffrey, and I'm confident they're going to be my new secret recovery weapon. Temps were in the mid 30s but the sun was shining and I warmed up quickly despite only wearing shorts and a light long sleeve. Even though we took out the first mile in a pedestrian 7:45, Blake was clearly hurting from his workout yesterday (when he ripped off 25x400 in low 60s), and he fell off the back about a half mile in. Sean chilled with Tanya and me for the first four miles before picking up the pace toward the end. She and I continued comfortably and ended up not even noticing that we'd squeezed down the pace to 7:00 for the last few miles. Overall, a beautiful day and a great run.

More importantly: on the way home Blake and I discovered that we were ravenously hungry. Neither of us had really eaten lunch due to the early-ish time of our afternoon run, so by 4:30 our stomachs were most displeased. My instincts told me to go for Chik-Fil-A, especially since Jeff and I had attempted to patronize them in our pajamas last night around 10:15 and the bastards were closed. Blake, however, needed "meat products that come from a cow," so we made a quick detour to Mickey D's where he promptly ordered three double cheeseburgers and one filet-o-fish. The drive home from there took approximately 3 minutes and he was already halfway done with his meal. I'd barely delved into my salty and delicious waffle fries before he'd polished off the entire herd of cows. Put simply, it was an inspiring food consumption performance.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Snow Day...Sort Of

AM: 3 miles
PM: 3 mile w/u
Target: 12x400 @78-80 w/1 min. rest
Actual: 77, 79, 79, 80, 78, 79, 79, 78, 79, 77, 78, 77
2 mile c/d
Total: 8 miles

Just as I'd hoped, I awoke this morning to a beautiful dusting of snow and ice on the ground and classes canceled for the day at Queens. Unfortunately they just canceled daytime classes, which meant I still had to attend my first day of school tonight, but nonetheless it lent a festive atmosphere to the inauguration morning. Jeff, Blake and I moseyed outside around 10am for an easy jog and enjoyed frolicking through the flurries. Apparently Charlotte gets snow only once every few years so this was kind of a big deal, as was evidenced by the number of kiddos we saw attempting to sled down a nearby hill. The meager amount of snow had long since melted on the hill so they were essentially sliding down wet and muddy grass, but they seemed to be enjoying themselves nonetheless. After the run we hurried back to watch Obama's swearing in and say "peace out" to Dubya (and not a moment too soon).

By the afternoon the snow had abated and a bitter wind had replaced it. My legs felt heavy and lethargic and I wasn't remotely in the mood to put forth a speedy effort on the track. Unlike most chilly days, when you're miserable for a few minutes but then warm up nicely, I never really got comfortable today. The homestretch finished into a stiff headwind, which also made things frustrating.
The first half of the workout I felt absolutely awful, and would've gladly called things off at any point. Instead, with some encouragement from Coach G-Unit, I just kept plugging along and felt marginally better toward the end. My hamstrings are still pretty stiff and fatigued and I need to take things super easy tomorrow.

Looking at progression, I did 8x400 with Jordan on New Year's Eve in Palm Springs; today I averaged consistently faster times and did four more intervals in much crappier weather. I wish I'd felt better and had a more positive attitude today, but, as Jeff says, sometimes you gain more fitness from your bad workouts than you do your good ones. If that's the case I should be in 16 flat shape in no time!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Running with People is Fun

AM: ~20 mins. core
4 miles
PM: 58 mins. + strides
8 miles

After a fun night out bowling with Sean, Tanya, Jeff and Paula last night (and yes I did break 100 in two out of our three games), I met the team this morning for their usual Monday core workout. Immediately following, Tanya and I took in a relaxed jaunt along a route that is commonly known in Charlotte as the "booty loop," which primarily follows the streets and neighborhoods in the Myers Park area adjacent to Queens. According to Jeff, this is called the booty loop in part because it is frequented by cyclists, who commonly ride by with their butts in the air, and in part because it is also frequented by the hot soccer moms/trophy wives of the neighborhood. We used the 30-minute jaunt to pretend that we too were rich trophy wives and not starving students.

In the afternoon we ventured to McAlpine for a nice recovery jaunt. I ran with Tanya, Devon (an 800m kid on the team) and Blake, one of Jeff's friends and Scott's athletes who came down from altitude for the week to train. Given that I was running with two dudes and with a girl who was significantly faster than me, I was worried that this "recovery" run might get a bit quick for my taste. Instead we kept things nice and easy and I felt very relaxed throughout.

After the run I put on a pair of spikes for the first time since high school to do some strides of various distances and speeds. In addition to the standard 100-meter sprints, Jeff also had me do some shorter 30-meter bursts and then I finished with a few longer strides that were approximately 150 meters. I'm convinced I'll be hobbling tomorrow but Jeff claims this will actually prevent soreness. We'll see.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Week in Review

78-79 miles
900 trips up and down the stairs
1 new car
1 discarded futon

This was a pretty chaotic week, but a solid block of training nonetheless. I'm pretty excited to have some new training partners, including but not limited to Jeff (as long as it's less than 8 miles) and Tanya (until she kicks it into another gear and leaves me behind). Seriously though, being in Charlotte in an environment that's completely focused on my training is huge. I know the whole "school" component is going to throw a wrench in things beginning next week, but since I only have night classes I'm hoping I can still use the bulk of the day for running, core, stretching, napping, etc. Given my recent vehicle purchase all signs point to me needing a part-time job, but I'm going to wait a month or so and allow myself to get comfortable in a routine before committing to anything. With that said, feel free to send any donations my way if you would like to assist with the "Meagan is ridiculously, indescribably poor" fund.

So, running-wise, I can definitely see my fitness coming around. Friday's tempo gave me some confidence, as did the longer threshold effort today, and I'm pleased to find it relatively easy to maintain mileage in the 75-80 range. Hopefully the temperature will warm up a tad next week and facilitate some more comfortable outings, but overall I can't complain.

McAlpine Long Run

86 mins.
12.5 miles

This morning was my first long run at McAlpine with the team, and I was hoping to get in a hard effort. I know Tanya likes to keep a pretty brisk pace on her long runs, so my goal was to stick with her for as long as possible. We took things out at just under 7-minute pace and never really backed off from there.

With the way the trails are set up at McAlpine, the best way to do a run of this length was to run from our parking lot to the start of the Footlocker South course (2 miles), run the course three times (15k, but cutting the last loop slightly short), then run back on the main trail (2 miles). It sounds somewhat monotonous but really wasn't, probably because this is only my third time running out there, and provided us with soft surfaces the entire way. The wind was pretty brisk on some sections and a light rain/sleet started falling midway through the run, which made things a bit uncomfortable. Or maybe I was uncomfortable because of the pace. After going through 8 miles in ~55:25 I knew I was out of my element, but still wanted to stick things out. Unfortunately I also needed to detour to the bathroom which we were about a quarter mile away from at the time, so I darted off in the opposite direction and hoped to rejoin her upon my return. Luckily she happened to pass right by me going the opposite direction on a parallel trail so I cut through the grass and met back up with her.

I knew Tanya's plan once we rejoined the main trail at 11 miles was to drop things down to 6:20-6:30 pace for the remainder of the run, and that's when I pretty much said peace out. My legs were toasted and we were facing a stiff headwind all the way back to the parking lot, so it was all I could do to manage 7-minute pace on the final miles whileTanya left me in the dust. I can tell that I need to work on being stronger on runs like this, as my final mile on this run felt much more strenuous than the final mile of my tempo a few days ago that was run a full minute faster. That said, overall I was pleased with this effort and happy to have rounded out the weekend with a solid workout.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Green Lightning Driving

62-63 mins.
8-8.5 miles

This morning I took in a recovery jaunt with Jeffrey from his pad. He bested his previous 5-mile record run by putting in a solid 7 miles today. We jogged down to the now familiar Freedom Park via the Sugar Creek greenway and put in a few laps on the bike path. On one out and back section he stopped for a stretching break (clearly I was absolutely destroying him), so I put in about 10
minutes solo before rejoining him. Temps were still in the 20s this morning, but with little wind and plenty of sunshine it felt downright pleasant. Additionally, as I discovered this morning, another benefit to the frigid weather is I can wear the same running outfit three days in a row because I still have yet to sweat while wearing it. Bonus!

And now, as for the exciting news to which I alluded yesterday, I BOUGHT A CAR! Green Lightning Running, meet Green Lightning Driving. I'm pretty ridiculously excited, given that this is my first vehicle purchase ever (and really my first substantial purchase of any kind). I'm also slightly scared/depressed/nauseous because for the first time in my adult life I can unequivocally say that I am poor. Still, you can't really put a price on not having to drive around with a flaming Brian Sell.

Friday, January 16, 2009

13 Feels Like 3

AM: 3 miles
PM: 2 mile w/u
Target: 6 mile tempo; first 3 @ 6:20 then cut down to 6:00
Actual: 6:17, 6:23, 6:16, 6:13, 6:10, 6:03
~1.5 mile c/d
Total: 9.5 miles

The title of this post obviously refers to the weather in Charlotte today, which Jeff says is the coldest day he can remember here. I know many of my fellow bloggers are enduring conditions even worse than this, but as a born and bred Southern belle I can say without hesitation that this is about as extreme as I can tolerate. Fortunately the sun was shining for most of the afternoon, and temps "warmed up" into the mid 20s by the time my workout rolled around. This was my first official practice with the team and I was pretty excited to be out at McAlpine with other people.

McAlpine Park, my new home away from home

The plan for the run was to do the first half with Jess, one of the faster girls on the team, who was doing a 3-mile effort. She planned to go three miles out for her tempo and then jog back as the cool down, while I would flip a U and continue all the way back to get in six miles at tempo pace. Jeff figured she could handle 6:20s so that was our goal. Unfortunately I think both of us were a bit cold/excited from the outset and ended up blowing through the first half mile in just under 3:05. We quickly reigned it in and slowed down (perhaps too much, as the second mile split indicates), and overall I felt pretty comfortable through the first half. Jess finished really strong and was pleased with her effort.

On the return trip I continued to feel steady and in control, which was a pleasant surprise. I was also pleasantly surprised to not be vomiting, as Jeff and I had consumed a hearty lunch less than two hours before the workout. Fortunately my stomach wasn't an issue for once (maybe this should be my new strategy?) and, despite the arctic temps, my legs responded fairly well. I came back about 35 seconds faster than I went out, and my cumulative time was about 45 seconds faster than when I did the same workout with Jordan and Jilane in California less than a month ago.

Oh, and I bought a new car today! But tomorrow's recovery run should be pretty boring, so I'll blog about it then to keep you entertained.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Please Forgive Me, Jilane

AM: ~20-25 mins. core
60 mins.
8 miles

This morning I met more girls on the team at our 7am core session in the campus fitness center. It was absolutely freezing outside--though not as cold as Jordan's 5 degrees, so I suppose I shouldn't complain--and the walk from the parking lot to the fitness center was brutal. So was the workout, for that matter. It's one of those things that didn't feel at all difficult at the time but worked some underused muscles, which means I'll probably be in serious pain tomorrow.

After the workout Jeff and I tooled around campus to get my student ID card, books, etc. Turns out that our tuition covers the cost of books so I got over $400 worth for free! Had Jeff known that he might've actually purchased his books last semester and passed his classes. The NYTimes reported today that universities are spending less on students, including those in masters programs, but so far I'm not complaining.

Later this morning I ventured out for an easy run from Jeff's place. He lives about half a mile from a decent greenway so I hooked up with that and then followed it to Freedom Park. The park was large enough and contained all the elements of a good park: bathrooms, water f
ountains, a bike path and plenty of other people. I explored and did a few loops before heading back the way I came. Though the sun was shining brightly, the wind was still whipping around and it was not warm by any stretch of the imagination.

The bike path surrounds this "lake" in Freedom Park

I was supposed to double in the evening, but after a lengthy compliance class and Jeff's late arrival from practice we scrapped it in favor of another free meal in the dining hall. I'll make up for it tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Gone to Carolina

AM: 37-38 mins.
5 miles
PM: 60 mins.
~8.5 miles

Well, this was a long day. It began with Jeffrey and I awaking to the freezing temperature in my house, which gives you an idea of how cold it was outside. We decided to go for a quick jog before loading clothes and miscellaneous items into his truck in hopes that the run would warm us up enough to make things tolerable. We were wrong.

The run itself was decent--and, more notably, Jeff's longest run in approximately four months--and we warmed up in the morning sun. I took him on a spin on the usual route that included such sights as the downtown Atlanta skyline, the Carter Presidential Library and the "
My Dad Rocks: Father's Day '08" graffiti on the side of a warehouse in Inman Park.

Upon arriving back we commenced the loading of clothes. Remember how I said yesterday that I would be sore from yesterday's moving exploits? Yeah, well I am, and more of the same this morning certainly isn't helping matters. The culmination of our efforts came when we attempted to move the futon downstairs to Jeff's truck. Now, let me preface this by saying we weren't dealing with your run of the mill plastic/metal futon. This was actually a pretty legit couch/bed when I purchased it my sophomore year in college, and it has an actual spring mattress and a remarkably sturdy wooden frame. Point being, it's heavy. And, even worse, unwieldy. Only by the grace of God we made it down the stairs and cleared the 90-degree turn (thoughts of Ross from "Friends" screaming "PIVOT!" kept running through my head) with neither of us being maimed or killed. Unfortunately by that point I decided I no longer wanted said futon so we expeditiously droppe
d it off by the dumpster. Five minutes later it was followed by the aforementioned mattress, which Jeff literally threw over my balcony and onto the ground below to make quick work of things.

Peace out, futon. It's been real.

Anyhow, long story short (too late) I ended up arriving to Charlotte and taking my second run of the day with my new teammate and soon-to-be roommate Tanya, her friend Sean, and our other teammate Michael. Michael grew up in Palm Springs and since I've been there twice recently we chatted about the town and about how Jordan continuously refuses to take me on the tram even though that's the only thing I've ever wanted to do in Palm Springs. But I'm, like, totally over it. We took in the run at McAlpine Park, which is where I'll be spending most of my time for the next three semesters. It's a completely flat dirt path and seems like a decent place to put in a few miles. More importantly, it was great to finally meet some of the people on the team. I guess this is all finally happening.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Everything Must Go

AM: 31 mins.
4 miles
PM: 46 mins.
6+ miles

I was out the door early this morning to put in a few minutes on my feet before the moving pod arrived. The company said I should expect it between 9am and 2pm, a time frame that was oh so helpful, but just in case they arrived at 9 on the dot I wanted to be ready. As it turns out, they came shortly after 10, and from there my day was thrown into a whirlwind. Pack a box, take it downstairs, put it by the pod, throw something in the dumpster, go back upstairs, repeat. I lost count of how many times I made the round trip
, but I'm pretty sure my legs will remind me tomorrow.

At this point in my post, I need to offer a shout out to my wonderful friends who helped me out tremendously with moving today. I'm not sure how many of them read this, but many thanks to Web, Jim, Ezra and Jennie for all their help. The dudes did all the heavy lifting while Jennie packed up all my dishes and relieved me of some miscellaneous kitchen items that I neither wanted or needed (or, in one instance, could identify, although I think we ended up deciding it was a juicer). Were it not for their help I would probably be collapsed midway down my stairs underneath some dresser draw
ers or something.

Jilane's response to this pic: "Awww...Godspeed, MRN's shit."

As for today's runs, Jeff had scheduled a track workout for the afternoon but it just wasn't happening. By the time I finished packing, loading everything and cleaning my place it was almost dark and my legs were shot. I headed out for a short double that took me along a familiar route through the Highlands, Inman Park and Candler Park and turned around on the bike path where it meets Highland near Highland Bakery and my old apartment complex.

It's funny, I can vividly remember moving into that apartment three years ago this month. And, almost two years ago to the day, moving out of it. I remember coming to Atlanta last January to visit Brooke (who, incidentally, also lived within 400 yards of the spot where I turned around tonight) and feeling such nostalgia for this place, wondering if I would ever live here again. I had no idea I would end up coming and going again within such a short period of time. I'm not sure if I'll ever live here again--at this point, that's doubtful--and even though the sum total of time I've spent here has been less than two years, in many ways it feels like home. So many of my favorite places are here, and I am sad to leave.

Maybe I sound overly dramatic or emotional, but I think moving is an emotional experience. More often than not it signifies the closing of one chapter in one's life and the beginning of another. That's certainly the case for me this time. I know there are some fantastic experiences ahead for me, but tonight I am taking a few moments to pause and reflect on the people and places I am leaving behind.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Manic Monday

AM: 59 mins.
~8 miles
PM: 38 mins. + strides, drills
5 miles

Today could be summed up as packing with a few bursts of running in between. Oh, and throwing things away. You would think that someone who moved a mere six months ago wouldn't have that much useless crap. You'd be wrong. At some point you lose sentimentality and realize you're never, ever going to wear that leather cross necklace you hand wove during 6th grade church camp and you move on with your life.

But I digress. The running today was fine. Legs were a bit fatigued, in equal parts from the longer jaunt yesterday and the aforementioned trips up and down stairs to the dumpster, but nothing too serious. It will be interesting to see if I can fit in tomorrow's workout amid the loading of boxes and furniture into my moving pod, but at this point I'll hope for the best.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Week in Review

80 miles
1 delay at O'Hare
3 people to keep me company on my long run
98 trips to and from the dumpster

For a week that started out sniffly and lethargic, this unexpectedly blossomed into my best bout of training in a very long time. I got in a solid set of doubles during the week, did plenty of strides and drills, surprised myself with my track workout on Friday and capped off the weekend with a solid two hour run on my feet. I'm starting to actually feel confident in my fitness--both in where it's at right now and in its potential--and I'm coming into my first track season excited and eager to work hard.

The next few days are going to be pretty hectic with moving (didn't I just do this??) and preparing for classes to start, but I'm hoping to keep calm and still get in some quality efforts when I can. Big props to G-Unit, who will be driving all the way down to the ATL this week to scoop up my entire wardrobe and deliver me back to North Carolina. I predict that by May the two of us either love each other like R. Kelly loves "High School Musical" or can't stand to be in the same room. Feel free to start taking bets now.

Farewell Group Run

120 mins.
15-16 miles

I had a fabulous long run today with Jim, Meredith and Ashley at the river. Ashley picked me up at 8:30 to carpool for the drive, and we met the other two just before 9:00. Ashley was attempting her longest run ever and I realized this would be my longest run since MCM (sad, I know), so we all agreed to keep the pace slow and easy. We embarked on a circuitous route that kind of took us everywhere--started out on the flat loop, ran all the way out Columns Drive, did a few loops in the trails on the other side of Johnson Ferry, came back down Columns, did a short loop up in our usual trails, then finished on the flats. My legs felt great the entire time and had I been alone I would've pushed the pace, but the company and conversation definitely made it worth my while to relax and keep things slow.

After the run we headed straight to the Flying Biscuit for what very well might end up being my farewell brunch. A cold front was blowing in and the temperature was lower than when we began the run, so were eager to get inside for some coffee and sustenance. After stuffing our respective faces we deemed the entire outing a rousing success.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I Should Be Packing

60 mins.
8 miles

I took this run nice and easy, a result of yesterday's workout and last night's outing with Jennie and Ashley to Neighbor's. Surprisingly my legs felt pretty bouncy and fresh despite the speed workout, so I enjoyed this jaunt through the Emory campus and Lullwater Park. Hopefully this trend will continue for my long run tomorrow and hopefully I won't have any mishaps like Jilane.

The rest of the day was spent procrastinating packing for my move that's set to take place in, oh, four days. To anyone in Atlanta who's reading this, I'll give you a dollar to come help me pack some boxes tomorrow.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Fast Times at Grady High

AM: 4 miles
PM: 16 min. w/u (2 miles)
Target: 8x800 @2:55 w/2 min. rest
Actual: 2:56, 2:54, 2:52, 2:52, 2:53, 2:52, 2:49, 2:45
16 min. c/d (2 miles)
Total: ~8.5 miles

I don't known if it was the gallon of coffee I drank at Panera, or perhaps the panic induced by learning that my landlord found someone to move into my place in five days, but for whatever reason I was itching to get out the door for my afternoon run. Since I'm feeling almost 100% recovered from my cold, I decided to attempt Tuesday's track workout. The wind finally died down and the sun was shining brightly; it was definitely a beautiful afternoon for a workout.

After an easy warmup from my house and a few minutes of stretching, I jumped right into the intervals. It occurred to me midway through the first one that I hadn't the slightest idea what the rest was supposed to be. I vaguely remembered taking two minutes on a similar workout I did with Jordan and Scotty D in the summer so I decided to go with that. Right away I could tell that the prescribed pace felt quite comfortable and my legs were turning over nicely. I decided that since I felt so good I should focus on maintaining form with my arms and also on my positioning within the lane. I've noticed--and Jordan yelled at me for this the last time we worked out--that I tend to run too close to the inside stripe. This could be a problem if I fall into that habit, so today I made a conscious, even exaggerated, effort to stay within the middle of the lane on the curves.

Halfway through the workout I was still feeling great, and decided that I would crank the final two intervals after maintaining on 5 and 6. It felt great to open up the stride, especially on the last one, and even though I was running hard it was nowhere near all out. I was also pleased with how my form and breathing held up even when pressing. This is the best I've felt on a workout since before MCM, and it couldn't have come at a better time.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Oh Crap I Forgot a Title

AM: 4 miles + strides, drills
PM: 62 mins.
8+ miles

I was slated to meet Meredith this morning for a reunion run of sorts down at the river, but she had a fitful night of sleep and decided to postpone. She had the day off work so we agreed to meet around 4pm. Since I now had the morning free, I decided it would be prudent to put in a few easy miles. I suppose I could've gone off in search of this guy's house, since apparently he lives in my neighborhood...maybe tomorrow. Instead I stopped off at the familiar spot on St. Charles
Ave. and did some strides and drills before heading home.

Street musician who is an afternoon/evening fixture on the
corner of St. Charles

The afternoon run with Meredith was well worth the wait, as it was a beautiful day to be at the river. We had a great time catching up and running in the trails, and I was pleased to notice that my legs felt stronger than they usually do on the toughest hilly sections. I think my fitness is starting to come around, which is more than a little exciting. I capped off the evening by watching the Sooners die a horrible death in the BCS championship game at Jeff Campbell's house and offering up a heartfelt rendition of "Livin' On a Prayer" during the halftime Rock Band extravaganza.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Feels Like Oklahoma

AM: 31 mins.
4 miles
PM: 60 mins.
8 miles

While Jilane was getting up before daybreak to crank out her 12-mile workout (and no doubt my dad was already done with his run and second breakfast by the time she finished her warmup), I was busy sleeping in for the second day in a row and justifying it because I'm sick. I mean, I am still sick, but in reality I figured I might as well sleep in since I have absolutely nothing to do in Atlanta right now except sit around and wait.

Anyhow, when I finally did get around to running today I was greeted by some serious wind gusts. If this is what Jordan and Scotty have to deal with on a regular basis in Oklahoma, they can have it. That said, on the afternoon jaunt my legs felt surprisingly, well, terrific. As in the best I've felt in weeks, even on the sections with the wind in my face. I took the long way down to the AO and did five or six loops and just kept marveling about how smooth everything felt. Even the uphill jog home, which is normally the worst part of any run I do from Piedmont Park, passed by in a flash. If I could bottle up this feeling and use it for an hour or two every day, I would have a newfound love for this sport. Until then I enjoy these fleeting moments of effortlessness and mourn their loss the next day. Such is life.

I capped off the evening with an invigorating massage at Massage Envy and now I'm home drinking a Kombucha. Jordan got me started on them last spring (although I actually tried one a few years ago but couldn't make it past the first two sips), and we both were on a kick of drinking two or three a week for a few months, but now neither of us have had one since at least early summer. There's one that's been sitting in my fridge since I first moved here and I thought now was as good a time as any to experience the benefits of "everything from increased energy levels and decreased appetite, to improved digestion, healthier skin and hair, and even a stronger immune system." I'll keep you posted on the results.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

All By Myself

AM: 4 miles
PM: 57 mins + strides, drills
~8 miles

After a delayed flight and, consequently, late arrival back to the ATL last night I was understandably sluggish this morning. Add to that my burgeoning cold, which I first noticed Sunday and is now raging, and I was in a pretty sad state. Oh, and it was warm and muggy and drizzly and gross outside. Yucko bucko. All this meant I didn't get out the door until well after 10 for my morning run.

In the afternoon I was supposed to work out, but I was too runny/stuffy/sneezy to seriously consider it. On the one hand I know I need to improve my fitness and soon, but on the other hand the last thing I need right now is to push myself too hard and end up feeling worse for the next few weeks. So, with that in mind, I set out for an easy afternoon run around 4:30. I decided that if I felt decent toward the end I would throw in some strides and drills. I decided to stop along St. Charles Ave. around 53 minutes, as the street is mostly flat and wide and not too far from my house. I did all the familiar drills plus the hopping/calf hurting drill and a few strides, then finished up the run with a few easy minutes back home. Nothing much else to say about the run except that after running for 10 days with Jordan and a few days with my dad before that, this solo outing seemed quite boring.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Until Next Time, San Diego

61 mins.
8 miles

Jordan and I woke up fairly early this morning to finish/start packing for our respective return trips home. I can't believe our entire 10-day stay in California is already over and I must admit I was feeling quite sad as I organized my suitcase. Once we had most of our belongings situated we headed out the door for our final run in Balboa Park. We meandered around in the upper portion for a while before taking a new route on the sidewalk all the way to downtown San Diego. We passed within inches of San Diego High School and I suggested we cut a few shapes on the track where Meb's high school coach kicked us off last time. Instead we kept running, made the block a bit farther downtown, then headed back up to Balboa Park along the outskirts of the zoo.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Week in Review

75-76 miles
2 quality workouts
4 different cities (Santa Rosa, Palm Springs, Brea, San Diego)
3 entire days of Team MJ togetherness
1 fantastic New Year's Eve

This week was pretty much awesome. Not necessarily from a running perspective (although that wasn't bad either), but just having the opportunity to visit with so many great friends. Obviously I loved spending the entire week with Jordan and several consecutive days with Jilane, but I also enjoyed spending New Year's with a former coworker (Jake) and fellow Horned Frog (his fiance Erin) and reuniting with another fellow Horned Frog and French class alum last night (Amy, San Diego's finest "hot cop"), and of course spending time with Jordan's family. I'm also excited to be typing this entry on my brand new super cute laptop computer, which Jordan and I ordered online last week (and he liked it so much he ordered one too!).

His and hers: I'll let you guess which one of us owns the pink one

Unfortunately, this party train pulls into the station tomorrow. Jordan departs for Oklahoma and I'm headed back to Atlanta, although not for long. Tomorrow begins the whirlwind of packing, moving, finding someplace to move to, finding someone to move into my old apartment, buying a car, etc etc. Oh yeah, and starting grad school and running indoor track in less than a month. Things are about to get very, very real in my world, but I'm pretty excited about it. This vacation was a wonderful way to bid farewell to 2008 and usher in 2009 in style, and I can't wait to see what the new year brings.

Balboa Park Long(ish) Run

88 mins.
~12 miles

We awoke to a beautiful sunny morning in San Diego and headed over to Balboa Park to put in a longer effort. I had 15 on tap and was remarkably not sore from last night's drills, so I was hoping to complete the run fairly easily. Jordan planned on staying on his feet for another hour or so in order to bang out his longest run in his Austin Marathon training cycle, so we each packed a few GU's before heading out the door.

Despite the auspicious beginning, I could tell after 30 minutes or so that my legs were pretty dead. I'm not entirely sure why, unless I'm dealing with some residual fatigue from Friday's tempo, but nonetheless by an hour I was cashed. I also feel the beginnings of a cold coming on which could've contributed as well. We covered all the familiar Balboa Park terrain and I was enjoying the weather and the time with Jordan, but I could tell I needed to cut things shorter than I'd planned. Jordan knows me well enough that he can tell from the sound of my breathing or the inflection of my voice whether I'm having a good effort or not, and he agreed it was time to deliver me back to the house. He dropped me off just shy of 90 minutes and then headed out for the rest of what turned into a 23-miler. While I was disappointed with my lackluster performance, I will still easily hit my mileage goal for the week so I'm not too upset about it.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

I'm With Stupid

AM: 59 mins.
8 miles
PM: 4 miles, drills

For our first run in San Diego, Jordan and I made plans to meet up with his college buddy Ryan Graddy at the Torrey Pines State Beach. Graddy's folks live just around the corner and he was quite familiar with the area. Jordy and I suited up and left Hillcrest around 8:30 to make the ~20 minute drive up north. The day was surprisingly dreary and blustery and I was already abandoning all thoughts of laying out at the beach later in the day, which was disappointing.

Jordan and I arrived early, a sensation he is largely unfamiliar with, and had a few minutes to dawdle around in the car before Graddy arrived. About 5 minutes til 9:00, Jordan popped the trunk to take off his top-layer pants and put on his running shoes...and realized he'd left the shoes at home. That's right. He forgot the ONE THING you need for a run. That Ivy League education is paying dividends. After a few moments of head shaking (me) and cursing (him), resourcefulness took over and Jordan put in a quick call to Graddy to see if he had an extra pair. Fortunately he did, and only wore a half size or so smaller than Jordan, so he was able to make a quick return to his house and snag the kicks for our forgetful friend. Problem solved.

Torrey Pines State Beach

The run itself was quite scenic from the outset, as we started on the sandy/rocky cliffs overlooking the beach. After a few miles we merged onto a bike path that ran parallel with the water and then through the streets of Del Mar before flipping a U at 30 minutes. I'm not sure if it was the tempo yesterday or what, but I was pretty fatigued and breathing much harder than necessary for the last few miles. Fortunately Jordan and Graddy had plenty to catch up on and didn't mind me tucking in behind and staying relatively quiet. A steady drizzle was falling throughout, which added to the melancholy beauty of our surroundings, and I was glad we got to experience a new setting in San Diego.

In the evening we took a quick spin to the now-familiar Balboa Park for a jog and some drills. We found a bench to do the hopping exercise that left us so sore the last time, so we'll see if it produces the same result the second time around. Darkness fell quickly and we headed home before showering up and heading out for a delicious Moroccan dinner at Kous Kous. What a great night to be out in the beautiful Hillcrest neighborhood with Jordan and his family.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Santa Ana Bike Path Tempo

22 min. w/u (~3 miles)
Target: 6 mile tempo @6:20
Actual: 6:23, 6:33, 6:26, 6:18, 6:18, 6:10
15 min. c/d (2 miles)
Total: 11 miles

Jilane, Jordan and I woke up at her parents' house in Brea and were greeted with a dense, pea soup-y fog that refused to lift. We debated heading out the door several times throughout the morning, but kept delaying it due to hunger/fog/laziness. We finally hopped in the car around 12:30 and drove out to a flat, measured bike path that Jilane thought would be a good location for a hard effort.

After an easy warmup and detour to a local park for a bathroom break we were ready to go. Since Jordan is the (self-proclaimed) world's best pacer and since he had the Garmin, we decided to follow his lead. The wind was quite stiff on the way out and I was content to just tuck in behind him. Jilane and I had requested a slow first mile in order to ease into the pace, and Jordan delivered perfectly. The second mile slowed noticeably due to the wind and I felt like we were barely jogging (which I guess is a good thing?). Around 2.5 Jilane decided to take a breather, so Jordan and I continued to the three-mile turnaround point and then picked her up around 3.5 on the way back.

We expected to enjoy the wind at our backs on the return, but it inexplicably wasn't much better than on the trip out. I tried to ignore it and stay relaxed. Just after mile 4.5 Jilane decided to back off again and, after she shouted a final word of encouragement, Jordan and I were left to carry it home. As I've done in so many workouts and race efforts before, I kept my eyes on his back the entire way. I found that if I looked at his feet I ended up stutter stepping or almost tripping over them, and if my eyes wandered to the seemingly endless path ahead I either lost focus or started to analyze the distance too much. As long as I kept staring at his back I stayed calm and under control. As we closed in on the last mile I started to fatigue, but Jordan's constant encouragement motivated me to keep pressing. I closed strong and then bid him farewell as he proceeded to pick up the pace all the way back to the car. Jilane wasn't far behind, so I waited for her and we cooled down together.

As far as workouts go, this was solid but not exceptional. Honestly though, given how sore I still am from the Wii and from the track workout/drills just two days ago, I was happy with the effort. If I have to workout, there's no two training partners I would rather do it with. The blueberry pancakes Jordan prepared us for "breakfast" when we got back to Jilane's were the perfect post-race nourishment.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

AM: 3+ miles
~10 minute walk
PM: 61 mins.
8 miles

My first thought in the new year was, "Sweet Lord, every single part of my body hurts." My legs were throbbing from the drills/workout. Everything from my shoulders to arms to lower back was absolutely wasted from the Wii--no joke. And my head was a bit achy from one too many glasses of Brea's finest vino at the Yard House. All in all, I was in pretty rough shape.

Thankfully neither Jordan nor Jilane were too eager to bounce out the door for a run, so we grabassed around until well after 11am before heading out for the slowest and most painful wog ever. We just did a basic out-and-back from Jilane's parents' house which culminated up a monster hill. Since we passed the requisite 3-mile mark fairly early in the ascent, Jilane and I were content with stopping at the first stop sign and walking it in the rest of the way. We meandered through the neighborhood for a few minutes to take in the gorgeous day before taking it back home.

After a delicious leisurely afternoon that included laying out by the pool, watching football and dozing, we headed out for our second (and hopefully less excruciating) run of the day. Again, we did an out and back from Jilane's parents' house and picked up the pace a bit as each of us found our groove. My stomach had been quite unsettled all afternoon for no good reason, so I was a bit apprehensive about how the run would play out, but I ended up feeling better by the end. We ran up the entire hill this time instead of wussing out and felt pretty good about ourselves. After that we enjoyed a delicious home-cooked meal prepared by Jilane's mom and then retired for an early bedtime. I can't think of a better way to have spent the first day of the new year.