Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A recap of August. (Yes, I know September just finished.)

If there's proof that I struggle to keep up with things at times, this is it. A recap of my running from August in October. I have no doubt that I will now struggle with the details. Compared to July, you will find that I now have a pink Smashrun profile, and have included what the background looks like. This is because earning Badges on Smashrun unlocks backgrounds, and so the background is a bit like a progress meter. But also not as I will explain a little bit later on!


I had aimed to get some speedwork done, and I may have done the occasional 800m intervals, but there was no structure or variety to it. As for long runs, I went out and picked up a 17km and 20km run in the second half of the month. They were rather impromptu and without much planning (aside from the 17km one involving different kinds of laps around Westerfolds Park and thus the knowledge I'd be regularly passing by my car), but I pulled up fine after both of them. Cycling didn't really happen in August (did over 60km for each of the first three weeks, then nada). But I have stuck to the trail running, which helped to pick up the Chill runner Smashrun badge. :)

Looking back at the Badges, it seems that I went on a bit of a spree in August as I picked up the following badges:

  • Rocked the week (40 km in a week)
  • Rocked the month (121 km in a calendar month)
  • London-Paris (608 km recorded on Smashrun)
  • Long stairs (increased mileage for 6 months)
  • Steep stairs (increased mileage by at least 8km each month for 4 months)
  • In it for August (10 days of running in August)
  • Chill runner (10 runs slower than 7:28/km in a month - trail running really helps to slow you down).

At the start of August I had the "Corporate" background (shown above is the Pro version) as I had only unlocked 17 badges. By the end of August my tally had grown to 24 badges, which meant I unlocked the "Dirty walls" options. I think they're ugly and too dishevelled for my liking, so I stuck to Corporate. So this is what I mean by the background being a progress meter but also not being a progress meter!

I ended up with 122km in August, which exceeded the 114km I needed to keep the Towering Stairs badge going (increasing mileage by at least 16km each month for 6 months). Three months down, three months to go (well, that was at the end of August). I picked up a PB at Westerfolds parkrun on the 16th (25:12), and that was my fastest 5km run of the month (although Smashrun takes the average pace and applies it to 5km for the Overview screens). The ridiculously slow 3km was one of many dog walks that I started to include in the Smashrun tally as I became to lazy to delete them from the record. Yes, that technically affects my Towering Stairs badge chase (making it easier for now, but possibly harder later, so I think it evens itself out).

Aims for September

Pretending September hadn't yet happened, I would be discussing a target of 138km (for the Towering Stairs badge), something to do with cycling (as I was not really cycling that often in August), and the Sri Chinmoy 10km. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

10km race fallout

First, I should point out that the More Snacks! More Snacks! More Snacks! magnet should have been in my Beat the Blerch Virtual Run package, but it wasn't. I didn't receive any stickers either. That's now been followed up on, so I should have the magnet in my hands soon and I can cease suffering from magnet envy.

Reposting because Magnet Envy.
Pick yours up from The Oatmeal Shop, because that's where I stole this image from. Again.

Second, inspired by inability to hold pace during last week's 10km I have decided to try and follow a training program, aiming for the Sussan Women's 10km. Although I haven't yet decided if I want to do the Sussan Women's 10km because I am likening the completely unshaded course to completely unshaded fun runs at Homebush, and I swore to never to run at Homebush again. Although I lapsed and did a Colour Run there and HATED IT. There's a lesson in that folks.

The program I've picked out is for 5km/10km so I should theoretically be able to put the training towards parkrun that week if don't do the Sussan run. This scheme thus relies on me taking it easy on parkrun days until December 6. I'll just have to keep telling myself, "parkrun is not a race, parkrun is not a race, parkrun is not a race." The program also required some shuffling because I want to keep going to parkrun on Saturdays and attending Headtorch Parties (aka trail running) on Tuesdays.

Based on what I think I can do in interval training sessions I had picked out the "Gold" level program, although my recent weekly mileage isn't anywhere near what it needs to be to use the Gold level in its entirety. Noting my semi-recent long runs are of a similar distance to, or slightly longer than, where the Gold plan long runs start, my Silver-Gold bastard plan is essentially the Silver plan with Gold intervals, Gold long runs scheduled for Headtorch Party Tuesdays, and 5km each Saturday.

The plan doesn't actually start until the week following next, so I've started with the tail-end of the Bronze program. With Silver bits - I succesfullly completed the interval training session on Thursday but missed the long/trail run as I was suffering from mosquito bites from hell (thanks Pakenham parkrun) earlier in the week and then some weird asthma-like thing that turned up on Friday and made going around Westerfolds Park yesterday really quite difficult.

Evidence of (a) my poor training this week, and (b) the one handy view Smashrun does not offer*. Thanks Strava.

*Well, it does, but it's an email you receive on a TUESDAY. Because being in Australia means you're from the future and things that happen in a timely fashion elsewhere appear LATE to us. Although I'd rather call up this information when I need it rather than wait for an email, but Smashrun is continuously evolving so something handy like this might turn up eventually.

So I only managed 26.7km this week (compared to 29km last week as I had eased off for the 10km, and 38km before that). The final Bronze/Silver week has been calculated at 41.8km, which isn't a big deal if I had come from the 38km, but could prove to be interesting coming from lower mileage. This is assuming that this asthma thing goes away of course. Please go away. 

This is me pulling a face as I am either talking to someone or trying to stretch out my upper back in a bid to help me breathe more deeply. It was a "Wear Your Colours Day" at parkrun as it was AFL Grand Final day, so I wore the football strip of the Netherlands. And thus the Van Gogh tights make perfect sense.
Image from Westerfolds parkrun's Facebook page.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

10km? What is this madness?

Actually, 10km is quite sensible - I just haven't gone for a hard run over the distance since the Nike She Runs the Night event in May last year. Yep, it's been over a year since my last 10km. I have been running regularly, but that wasn't quite enough. I was aiming for 52 minutes but ended up with 52:33 according to my watch (and that matches the Strava segment so I'm sticking to that rather than the 52:39 official time, which is still a PB but that's a result of starting in the middle of the pack and taking a while to get over the start line). Yep, 52:33 is a PB (by about 30 seconds) but I'm just not all that happy with it.

But hey, here I am looking happy because this is the 3.8km mark. And also because I'm wearing an awesome Virtual Run Blerch t-shirt Although it's a little bigger than I'd like. Maybe I should buy the regular Blerch t-shirt, but a size down. Oh, look at those postage charges. *Crying*
Image from Sri Chinmoy Races event gallery.
It was a great morning for a run - cool with some nice sunshine. I ended up feeling a little warm by about the 8km mark and thinking that I would not be enjoying myself if it were proper-warm and if I were doing a half-marathon. So before the race had finished I was already changing my plans for the Sussan Women's run on December 7 from the half-marathon to the 10km.

The start was a bit fast but I think that just happens as you try and find a spot for yourself in the field and settle into the run. The first 5km were fairly steady (between 4:55 to 5:07), but the last 5km weren’t so good with 5:10, 5:14, 5:27, 5:18 and 4:57. My heart rate only hit 184 at the end, so I’m sure I could have ramped up the pace at the end earlier than I did. The blip at about 7.5km was where I walked so that I could comfortably take in a drink - I don’t normally drink on runs, but then I don’t regularly run 5:15/km!

My pace (columns) and heart rate (line) during the run via Smashrun. A bit of a fast start, but at least my fastest km was the last one! Yeah, that big dark block means FAST BIT. 
I had planned on running this race in March when the Beat the Blerch races were announced. In Washington. Being geographically challenged I decided I would pick a nearby 10km on the same day and run in honour of The Blerch. Then a virtual race package was released, so I picked that up (and some socks, but now wish I had also picked up the magnet because More Snacks). Although the magnet does have free worldwide shipping...

Seriously. How is this not the perfect fridge magnet? Or pantry magnet if your doors are magnetic...
Pick yours up from The Oatmeal Shop, because that's where I stole this image from.
I’m still figuring out my autoimmune issues, but I think they’re flaring right now as I picked up a lot of mosquito bites (at least 10) at Pakenham parkrun. And so I’m extra thirsty. Even needed a drink during my easy 5km run this afternoon - and I was running at a pace a little slower than 6:00/km!

So I’m taking it easy this week as my body gets over the mosquito bites (they sting like crazy if I go for a walk, and much worse if I go for a run), and hopefully I’ll stop being so thirsty! Then I’ll follow a training plan and we’ll see what happens to my splits in November with the Run for the Firies and City2Sea. I’m aiming for the Sussan Women’s run as my next “proper” 10km. I was initially considering the half-marathon, but I don’t think it’d be fun if December 7 ends up being a hot morning!

My posture's a bit screwed this time around. This is because it's now at 8.8km, and I'm trying to do two thumbs up but my elbows want to do the chicken dance. No idea why my head is in a weird sticky-outie position. I'm sure there's a lot of wasted energy just holding that tension in my neck.
Image from Sri Chinmoy Races event gallery.

So THAT'S what I look like from behind.
Image from Sri Chinmoy Races event gallery.