Horsetooth Half Marathon Training, Weeks 2-3

Look at me, blogging three weeks in a row! It’s almost as though I’ve achieved work-life balance… but it may be more that I’m choosing different things to ignore. Whatevs. (Do people still say that? I don’t think they do).

Anyway, I’m plugging right along with training for the Horsetooth Half. I’m feeling good, getting a little fitter all the time, and starting to feel more and more like my old self. Here are the deets (I’m all about the ’90s slang today) from the last two weeks.

Monday, Jan. 15

I felt the need for a day off (see Week 1’s recap), and I had the day off work and just a couple of days left on the 30-day unlimited yoga pass I bought in December. I took the day off running and went to hot yoga instead. I like hot yoga now. Then I went to physical therapy in the afternoon. Self-care for the win!

Tuesday, Jan. 16

Short hill repeats: 10 x 30-second hill sprints, 5.2 miles total with warm-up and cool-down. My favorite hill for short repeats — which is my favorite because it’s close and there’s never any traffic — was PACKED with cars that day. Turns out, the highway construction nearby is detouring cars on my favorite road. For several months. Guess I need to find a new hill. Whomp whomp.

Wednesday, January 17

Rode the spin bike (and forgot to log it in Strava, I just realized) and did some strength work.

Thursday, January 18

6 miles easy plus 4 strides. I am so loving the longer days.

Friday, January 19

4 easy miles, followed by strength training

Saturday, January 20

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Horsetooth is hilly, so I need to run big hills. The weather was lovely, and a big storm was rolling in overnight. Clearly, the combination of these meant I needed to trail run. I headed up to Fort Collins for a climb up Towers Road. If you’re not familiar with Towers, here’s what you need to know:
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Someday, I will run the whole thing. Saturday, I did a decent bit of hiking. 10 miles total.

Sunday, January 21

Rest. It’s rare for me, especially now that I’m uninjured, to run only 4 days a week, but my body was begging for rest after Saturday’s workout, and if that injury taught me one thing, it’s to let the body rest when the body wants to rest. Plus it was snow-storming out, so it really was a perfect day for rest.

Week 2 Total Miles: 25.2

Monday, January 22

3.1 easy miles, then strength training.

Tuesday. January 23

6 x 2-minutes at 10k pace, 2-minutes recovery. 5 miles total, with warm-up and cool-down. I had an after-school training that required an early-morning treadmill run. I’ve managed to avoid those for most of this winter, so having to do one morning wasn’t SO bad.

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Tried to take an artsy picture for Instagram. Artsy and 4:30 a.m. do not mix well.

Wednesday, January 24

4 miles easy, then strength training.

Thursday, January 25

6 miles plus 4 strides. I tried to take a cool jumping picture. Instead, I made this face and did this with my arms:
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I’m SO COOL.

Friday, January 26

Rest day! I had a meeting-slash-happy-hour and then a basketball game, and decided that rest was better than another early workout. Look at me, trying to be smart. It only took me 32 years.

Saturday, January 27

Jordan had a meeting and I had a haircut, both in Loveland, so I dropped him at his meeting, then ran, then took my gross, sweaty head to the hairdresser. Yes, I tipped well. My training plan said 5 miles, but the clock said “Stop or you’ll be late” at 4. Oh well; that one mile probably won’t make or break my race in April. (That’s sarcasm, FYI).

Sunday, January 28

11-mile long run on the hilliest route I can run without having to drive anywhere. It was lovely. Welcome to Colorado, where we run in short skirts while there’s still snow on the ground.

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Week 3 Total Miles: 33.1

If you looked only at these two weeks, you’d think I was egregiously breaking the 10-percent rule, but worry not: I’ve been consistently running 30-35 miles/week for several weeks; last week was just a weird one.

The upcoming week brings my first tempo run in 1.5 years and a fast-finish long run, which I haven’t done in… I don’t even know how long. Should be interesting.

What are you training for?

Does anyone still even read this blog? If you do, say hi!

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Gear Review: SKINS DNAmic Compression Tights

As a not-very-big, not-very-popular, and not-very-consistent blogger, I’m not exactly inundated with emails from gear companies offering to send free product in exchange for a review. When I do get such requests, I don’t always say “yes,” either: it has to be a product that looks like something I’d actually use, and I make sure the company knows that I’ll give an honest (not necessarily favorable) review. Even so, when I get a product that I don’t love, I sometimes struggle to write that review: I got this thing for free, and now I’m ragging on it? Such was the case when I received a free pair of SKINS DNAmic compression tights.

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I got the tights early last fall, but a combination of the freakishly warm Colorado season and my still-low mileage kept me from wearing them enough to give them a fair review. Now, I’ve worn them for several hikes, a few runs, and a handful of post-run recovery days, so I feel like I have enough perspective.

My overall verdict: I give them a C. My students would tell you that I grade hard, so here are my reasons, and you can decide for yourself if they’re worth a try:

Pros

  • Cute. The pair I got was purple, with cute mesh cut-outs on the calves. I’ve gotten several compliments on them.
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    Please excuse my glaring white sock. Fashion-forward I am not. 

    A couple of times, when going from trail to town, I just pulled a skirt over the tights and put on boots or sandals (it’s Colorado; you never know which to wear), and that made a cute, easy outfit. Since the science is iffy on compression gear while running but more definitive on its benefits after exercise, the cuteness factor is a BIG plus: You can wear them out and about without looking like you’re in recovery mode.

  • True to size. The size chart on the website was spot on.
  • Comfortable, for compression tights. I’ve had some compression gear that makes me feel like a sausage. These don’t, but they still feel like they’re tight enough to get the benefits of compression.
  • Nice base layer. I’ve worn them under my hiking pants on a couple of cold hikes, and they’re just the right weight.
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This picture and the one above were taken on an October hike to Cub Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. They are by far the prettiest pictures I’ve taken while trying these tights. 

Cons

  • No drawstring. I’m what the fashion websites call “rectangle-shaped,” so it’s almost impossible for me to find workout pants/tights/shorts that stay up if they don’t have a drawstring. Constantly yanking up my britches is not super fun.
  • No crotch liner/gusseting. This is a family-friendly blog, so I’ll let you make the connection…
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    Layer them, for sure.  To be fair, I don’t know that they’re necessarily meant for wearing on their own, but it’s 2018. People wear leggings as pants (though I only do when running), so you should be aware of this little issue.
  • A little thin. All around, I prefer thicker material on compression tights, but that’s personal preference. If you wanted to wear underwear with them and not wear a skirt or shorts on top, you’ll definitely want to wear them as a baselayer/under a skirt.

So, I give these tights a C. I’ll keep wearing them as a base layer and after long runs, but I probably wouldn’t buy them for myself. If you want to buy them, though, or check out other SKINS gear, click here (not an affiliate link. I’m just helpful like that).

Do you wear compression gear? Have you tried SKINS? 

 

Horsetooth Half Marathon Training, Week 1

Remember when I used to write training recaps? Perhaps more accurately, remember when I used to train? And then I got The Injury That Wouldn’t End, so I couldn’t train and didn’t blog. Well, (knock on wood) those days are over. I’ve got a race on the calendar and a training plan to get me there so I can race it, not just run it like I have the last few races.

Training kicked off last Monday. Before I get into the details of the week, I’ll give you some of my basic goals for this training plan and explain how it’s different from my pre-injury days:

  • 5-6 runs per week, with 1 day of cross training. My physical therapist has suggested NOT running 6 days a week, every week, just yet. So one week I’ll run 6 days, and the next I’ll run 5, replacing one run with a cross training session, most likely on the spin bike. My gym doesn’t have spin classes, but they do have spin bikes, and I can make my own workout via apps and Pinterest.
  • 3 days of strength training (or two days of strength + 1 of yoga).  I lost a lot of strength when I was injured, and I’m building that back. Plus, I need strength to prevent another injury and to power me up the hills of Horsetooth. Which brings me to…
  • Hills. All the hills. Because the course looks like this:
    Horsetooth Half Marathon Course Elevation Profile
    (source)
    I’ve got a combination of short hill repeats, long hill repeats, and hilly tempo runs on my schedule, and I’m trying to make my long runs as hilly as possible. The Fort Collins Running Club is hosting some training runs on the course, so I’m planning to hit a few of those, too.
  • Stretching, mobility work, and PT exercises. I do. not. want. to. get. injured. again. So I’m doing everything I can to avoid it. I recently read Ready to Run by Kelly Starrett (review coming soon-ish), and I’m devoting about 10 minutes per night to mobility stuff I learned from his book. I’m also still doing my physical therapy exercises almost every day to keep the old injury from sneaking back up on me.
  • Rest. Don’t worry when you see that there’s no rest day on the weekly recap you’re about to read. I fully understand the importance of rest and know that neglecting to rest is as bad as (or worse than) neglecting tough workouts. I’ve got some scheduled rest days and will not hesitate to take unscheduled ones if my body asks for them.

That’s the general idea. Here are the specifics from this week:

Monday: 3.1 easy miles plus four strides, followed by strength work.

Tuesday: Fartlek workout: 15-minute warm-up, 6 x 2-minutes at 10k pace with 2-minutes recovery, 15-minute cool down; 5.5 miles total. Followed by core work and stretching. Side note: This is what I wore. In January. In Colorado.
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Wednesday: Indoor cycling intervals for 30 minutes, then strength training.

Thursday: 6 easy miles, plus 4 strides, followed by core work and stretching

Friday: I had the day off (it was technically a teacher work day, but we can work from home), so I strength trained in the morning, then took a mid-day break from working and ran an easy 4.

Saturday: 5 miles easy. Neglected my core work because I was cold. Excuses, excuses.

Sunday: 10 miles. Thought I was choosing a hillier route than it was, but it was fun to explore a new-to-me loop. Plus it was an absolutely gorgeous day.
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Want to follow me on Strava? I don’t do much on it, but you can follow me here.

Total Mileage: 33.6

My other big goal for this training cycle is to see how fit and fast I can be compared to where I am now, not where I was three years ago. If I start comparing times and mileage to pre-injury, pre-move me, I’ll get down, and that’s silly. This is where I am, and who I am, today, and that’s okay. Here’s to Week 2!

What are you training for right now? Races? Adventures? Life?

How’s the weather where you are? Colorado is weird — 30 degrees one day and 60 the next.

One Word for 2018: Connect

For the last couple of years, I’ve forgone New Year’s resolutions in favor of the “one word” concept. Last year’s word was “stability,” and, as I wrote in my 2017 wrap-up post,  I feel like I made some progress with stability in my life last year. Over the last few weeks, as I looked ahead to 2018, choosing my one word was easy, as it’s something I’ve been lacking in the last year and a half since we moved back to the Front Range.

My one word for 2018, then, is “Connect.” Making new friends and deeper-than-work connections has been tough for me. I know this isn’t just a “me” issue — articles like this one and this one have popped up several time on sites I follow — and I know there isn’t an overnight solution, but that connection piece is missing in my life right now, and this year, I want to remedy that.

I also want to work on retaining and strengthening my existing relationships. Too often, I’ve gone without talking to my friends and family because I’m “so busy,” and I want to prioritize the people I care about.

As an introvert, I know that meeting this goal might be hard at times. It will mean saying “yes” to invites that I’d normally turn down because I won’t know anyone, or they’re for a weeknight, or whatever. It will mean extending invitations that might get turned down, and it will mean putting myself in situations outside my comfort zone. But the rewards (I hope) will be worth it.

What’s your New Year’s Resolution/goal(s)/word?

Any tips for making friends as a thirty-something without kids?