Monday, August 31, 2009

From my watch...

Dear Cate,

We've had a pretty good relationship over the last year and a half. Yes, there was some awkwardeness when you realized you'd bought a men's watch and your dad had the same one, but fortunately you got over those insecurities pretty quickly. I was there when you ran your 3rd marathon, and when you ran your first race in Korea, and I hope I stick around long enough to see you qualify for Boston!

After your great race on Saturday, I thought you would be pretty confident in your running abilities. I mean, you did place 9th and PR by over a minute and a half. I was happy to be there for you, timing each of those 10 Kilometers.

But, I think it's time you let me go for a few days. This morning, you were far too anxious about your little 4 mile tempo run. You were so stressed out about being too slow, checking your watch every .5 KM, that it seemed like you weren't really enjoying the running like you should have been...after all, it was an absolutely gorgeous morning (plus you were right on pace)! I don't want you to be that stressed on a simple little training run, so I want you to leave me at home for the next couple days.

That means tomorrow, you'll be free to run 3 miles at whatever pace feels right. On Thursday, when you run up Namsan mountain, you won't have to worry about going too slowly up the hill because you won't know how long it's taking. And this weekend, you'll enjoy your 10 mile run a lot more without me than you would if you were constantly checking the time.

I'm just doing what I think is best for you, so maybe on your tempo run next week, you won't stress so much, and you'll just enjoy the running.

With love,
Your Watch

Friday, August 28, 2009

Best 10K Ever!

First things first... I PRd by over a minute and a half in my race this morning!!

The 7th Annual International Peace Marathon Festival started and finished at the stadium where the 1988 Olympcs took place in Seoul.

Before the start of the race, everyone massaged the shoulders of the person in front of them. I was skeptical at first, but literally EVERYONE was doing it so I didn't want to be that weird foreigner that didn't.

The full and half marathons went off before my race started. They released balloons (bummer for the sea turtles) and set off fireworks for the start of each race.

I had a goal of around 46:30, so I wanted to run each Kilometer in about 4:36. I went through the first 2 KM exactly on pace, but was feeling good so I cautiously sped up a little. The course went out along the river on a bike path, but it wasn't closed to the public so we had to dodge a few bicycles here and there.

I was really pushing hard, but not paying too much attention to my splits. I kind of wanted to slow down, but I kept reminding myself how awful I'd feel if I finished and knew I could have gone faster. So, I held onto my pace and tried not to think too much about how much time I had left.

When I checked my watch at the 8 KM mark, it said 36:12 and I knew that even if I slowed waaay down for the last 2 KM I would still PR. I just tried to hold on and get to the finish as fast as I could. The time on the clock said 45:17, but it was chip-timed, and they're so high-tech that they texted me my official time about an hour after the race: 45:09.

This may be the least flattering picture ever taken of me, but I don't care! I'm ecstatic that I was able to maintain 7:16/mile pace for 6.2 miles!

After the race, I snagged my finishers medal and we headed back home on the subway.

I'm thrilled with how the race went, and I'm really looking forward to the half marathon I have coming up at the end of September. It's great to see training pay off!


All day long, I've been jittery and nervous for my 10K tomorrow. Normally, a race like this wouldn't make me nervous at all, but I've actually been training enough that a PR is a definite possibility, and I can't stop thinking about the run!

I ran to the gym this morning and lifted for chest and triceps:

3 sets of 12 -

Decline Chest Presses

Tricep Extensions

Pec Flys (with dumbbells)

Bench dips

... and some abs.

My legs felt really fresh, and I'm going to eat my pasta tonight (because it's tradition...I know I don't need to carb-load!) and go to bed early, because I have to be up at 6 to take a taxi to the stadium where the race starts!

It's my first real race in Korea (I ran a 5K on the base, but it was really informal), so I can't wait to see what it's like!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Long Time, No See

I feel like it's been a long time since I was at the gym. I was so good about going 3x a week for awhile, but lately I've been running more and lifting less.

Still, it was good to get back there today for a little strength training. In addition to my run to and from the gym (a mile each way), I did:

50 Swiss ball crunches

3 sets of 12 cable curls with the rope attachment

3 sets of 12 bent rows

50 reverse crunches

3 sets of 12 dumbbell curls

3 sets of 12 lat pulldowns

50 Russian Twists (w/ 5 Kg plate)

3 sets of 12 back extensions

I'm looking forward to running again tomorrow!

Monday, August 24, 2009

It's Not Pain, It's Just Discomfort

My high school cross country coach always used to tell us that, as if it would make running a fast 5K more pleasant. I think a big part of improving race times is learning to push through the pain of running fast. But how do you do that?

Obviously, races are a great way to get used to running faster. But it's not realistic to run a race every single week. So what do you do? Tempo runs. There's not a whole lot I dread more than tempo runs, because they're definitely not easy. But I know they're an important part of getting used to running with discomfort.

I'm not going to go into a whole lot of detail about tempo runs, because there are many people with PhDs in Exercise Physiology who've written far more on the subject than most people would ever care to read. But basically the whole point is to stay at your lactate threshold pace (which is generally where discomfort begins) for a prolonged period of time (generally 20 minutes or more).

There are various ways to find your lactate threshold pace. One method I found through a quick google search says to add about 30 seconds to your 5K race pace. Since I did my last 5K in 22:25 (7:12 pace), my pace for a tempo run should be about 7:42 pace. If you have a heart rate monitor (which I don't), you can also shoot for about 85-90% of your maximum heart rate.

On my six mile run this morning, I did 3 miles of tempo running (which I may have done too fast, but it felt like the right pace - 7:30) plus 1 km at 4:15. I am hoping to run my 10K this weekend at 7:30 pace (for a finish time of 46:36), so we'll see how that goes. For the rest of the week, I'll be doing pretty easy runs in preparation for Saturday morning. I'm really hoping I'll be able to deal with the discomfort so that I can meet my goal!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Take it easy

Sunday morning, I wasn't in the mood to run. I had a little headache, and with all the stress I've been dealing with lately, just relaxing on the couch sounded a whole lot more pleasant.

But I knew exercise would help me feel better, so I laced up my shoes and headed out. I didn't have a plan on where I wanted to go or how far, but I just figured I'd run until I felt like turning around.

I kept my pace really relaxed so I could just let my mind wander. It sort of worked. I had some tightness in my chest and knots in my stomach due to some anxiety about who knows what... but I just kept my pace nice and easy and took in the scenery.

I ended up running 9.3 miles, and my legs felt great. My head didn't clear exactly as it hoped, and my pace was definitely slower than usual, but sometimes just a nice easy long run, with no goals or expectations, can be incredibly soothing, even if it doesn't completely clear my head or take away my stress.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


This week has been STRESSFUL. I can't pinpoint exactly why, but I've just been feeling incredibly anxious and not like myself. I didn't even work out Wednesday or Thursday (for a variety of reasons -- the weather was disgustingly hot and humid, I didn't sleep well at all, and I just wasn't feeling it).

Today, though, I woke up feeling great, the air was nice and cool, and I had a fabulous 5.5 mile run along the river. It was one of those runs where I just let my mind wanter, my body felt like a well-oiled machine, and I came home feeling like all was right in the world once again.

After a string of bad days and less than perfect workouts, today reminded me why I run.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Feeling Strong

Lately it's been a real struggle to motivate myself in the gym, but today I felt great. I hadn't lifted for shoulders in awhile, so it felt good to be using those muscles again.

50 Swiss ball crunches

3 sets dumbbell shoulder presses

50 Russian twists w/ 5 kg plate

3 sets military press

50 reverse crunches
3 sets dumbbell front raises

30 back extensions w/ twist

My legs felt pretty good running to and from the gym, which was awesome because they were a little tired after yesterday's run. I'm hoping they're nice and fresh for tomorrow's intervals!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Just what I needed

Today's run was tough. I woke up at 6 AM and headed out along the river for a beautiful 8.5 miles, but mentally I just couldn't get in the groove. It's hard not having any races to train for, and while I usually love running just to run, lately I've been craving a little competition.

Something out there in the universe must have been paying attention, because in my inbox this morning was information on a 5k/10K/half/Marathon coming up in 2 weeks! I debated whether I should do the half or the 10K, but since I haven't been doing that many long runs and I've been doing a bit of speedwork, I ultimately decided to do the 10K. I ran my last one over a year ago, in 47:47, but my IT band was killing me the last mile. It hasn't been a problem lately, so I'm really hoping to beat that time, but I don't know if I'm in good enough shape to PR.

I think this will really help get me pumped up for my speed workout on Wednesday!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Lazy Weekend

I had the laziest Saturday EVER...and for no good reason. I basically didn't leave the house all day. We were out until 4:30 in the morning with friends so I was not feeling particularly great most of the day.

This morning I woke up at 7 and it was already insanely hot and muggy. I had a little bit of a headache and my stomach didn't feel great, but I told myself I had to try and run at least 5 minutes, and if I was still feeling crappy I could turn around and come home.

Well, I ended up running 3 miles, but it was not pleasant (my legs just felt really heavy and dead). I came home and did some core exercises and I'm just going to relax the rest of the day. I'm planning on 8 miles tomorrow morning and I hope it goes a whole lot better!

Last week totals:

Miles run - 22

Strength training - 2 times

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Try this at home!

Here's how you can simulate my run this morning: Put a treadmill in a steam room, put it on the highest incline, and go to town.

This was definitely my least pleasant run (weather-wise) since we were in Bangkok. I took a new trail and ended up running for a VERY hilly 60 minutes rather than the 45 I planned. By the end my legs were screaming at me and I was absolutely drenched with sweat (sorry if you're eating while reading this!) but the cold shower afterwards was a little piece of heaven!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I pressed the snooze button quite a few times this morning before I managed to pry myself out of bed. Now that my knee is doing better and I can run more, I'm having a really hard time motivating myself to go lift.

But, I finally dragged myself to the gym and lifted for chest, triceps, and my IT band.

3 sets each:

Overhead cable tricep extensions

Dumbell chest press

Cable tricep extensions

Dumbell chest flys

Plus step-downs, back extensions, hip adductors and abductors.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Running in the rain is one of my absolute favorite things to do. When you grow up in Oregon, it's pretty hard to avoid.

I had planned on 3 1-km repeats this morning, but ended up only doing 2 because my shoes and socks filled with water, got really heavy, and my legs felt a little dead. The good news is I did them in 4:07 and 4:13, which is faster than last week!

After the run, I indulged in a big bowl of Coco Puffs (WHY does my husband buy stuff like that? When it's in the house, I can't resist!)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Oh hello, legs

I thought that 7.5 mile run yesterday was easy and I'd feel fine today, but my legs are definitely a little sore. I seriously used to run 10 miles like it was nothing? Ugh...oh well, I'm getting back there.

I loosened out the legs a little on the run to the gym, which was nice. I lifted for back and biceps today, which meant:

3 sets each

Bicep curls with dumbells

Standing rows

Cable curls (with rope attachment)

Lat pulldowns

and some reverse crunches, crunches on the ball, and back extensions to keep the core in shape.

I'm planning on 5.5 miles with some 1 km intervals tomorrow, but if the legs are still this sore, I'll just do the whole distance at an easy pace.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

No case of the Mondays here!

I really hate feeling like a slacker. I didn't end up running either day this weekend because I was still feeling a little achy and exhausted, so I thought it would probably be a good idea to take it easy.

One of my big problems, though, is letting myself take rest when I need it. I'm now really glad I let myself recover from whatever bug I had last week, but I couldn't help but feel like I was just being really lazy as I lay on the couch and watched episode after episode of "How I Met Your Mother."

But because of that rest, I popped out of bed at 7 am sharp this morning and had a
WONDERFUL 7.5 mile run along the river. The sun was out, there was a nice breeze blowing, the air was clear, and I felt fantastic - which I probably wouldn't have if I'd forced myself to run over the weekend. It was the perfect way to start my week!

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 7, 2009


I woke up yesterday feeling a little sluggish, but ran to the gym anyway. Within 15 minutes, I could tell there was no point in continuing to work out. I was really weak and achy, so I ran home and spent the entire day in bed. It's incredibly frustrating to be sick again, but all the kids at school have been sick lately, so I guess it's not surprising.

I'm feeling a little better today, so I'm hoping to run up Namsan mountain this afternon (4.5 miles)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Picking it Up

I planned on a 5 mile run with a few two-minute pickups sprinkled through the whole thing, but then I ended up running along the river, which has signs at each Kilometer, and decided to do 2 1-KM intervals as part of my run. I did the first one in 4:25 and the second in 4:22, with about a minute recovery in between.

Those aren't too fast (around 22-minute 5K pace), but I felt good, and next week I think I'll push for 4:15s and do 3 or 4 of them.

After the run I did 6 minutes of planks - 2 sets of 1-minute front, 1-minute right side, 1-minute left side.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Weights on Wednesday

It was WARM this morning!

I ran to the gym and did:

3 sets concentration curls

3 sets lat pulldowns

50 situps

3 sets EZ-bar curls

3 sets bent rows

50 Swiss ball crunches

and some IT band exercises (hip adduction and abduction, and step-downs)

Then I ran home and had a frozen banana and a big cup of soy milk.

I was planning on spending a little more time at the gym, but my stomach is still feeling a little upset.

Have a great day!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Should have brought my camera!

It was absolutely BEAUTIFUL along the river this morning! I don't know exactly how far I ran, but it was somewhere between 6.5 and 7 miles and it took me an hour. I never thought I would need a Garmin, but now I really want one! It's hard to use when you don't know the names of any of the roads around you (and everything on the map is in Korean)

I am feeling a lot better than I was the past two days, so I'm excited to get back to the gym tomorrow morning!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Not Quite the Weekend I planned...

Saturday's rest day was great, but I woke up Sunday and knew I would NOT be running my planned 6 or 7 miles. I spent the ENTIRE day on the couch feeling horrible and I don't feel much better today.

I'm going to tentatively plan on running a few miles tomorrow morning and then getting back to the weights on Wedensday if I feel better.