Sunday, January 29, 2012

VŠ Liga 10km Race Report

VŠ Liga means university league and it is held in different sports. Distance running among them. The Coach had the great idea (he has only great ideas of course!) of me running some race as a test to see how am I doing with the training etc. It did not seem for me to be able to do this race yesterday (Saturday January 28), so I previewed to do Wednesday evening on the track in Pardubice. That would have been great opportunity to meet with Jitka and Ondra again and still better than running the hard test on my own in a park or so. Finally I was able to take part in the race yesterday, so I was spared of the 25 crazy laps on the track, maybe next time. How did the race go? Keep on reading...

I had enough sleep (not true for most of the previous nights of the week), walked the dog in the morning, fueled myself up for the race and was ready to go. It might have been some time since the last race and especially since the last race I was running on my own with no buddies to check up whether I have everything. Of course, I forgot my Garmin - realized it half way there in the car. But still had enough time to go back home to pick it up. No more spare time, here comes the stress. I will not talk about proper pre-race preparation, concentration and stretching. I did warm up and stretch, but it was far from ideal. I met few running friends at the start, chatted a little and there we were for the start. I knew that The Coach suggested I should be able getting closer to 4:30 min/km (7:14 min/mile), so I previewed to start around 4:40ish min/km (7:30 min/mile).

Basically, given that it was bellow 0 degrees Celsius and I did not do any speed work at that paces, I went off way too fast. The first time I wanted to give up was at the fourth kilometer - before the half way point! It was a tough fight with ups and downs, but mainly downs, I was not ready to be suffering that much. Then I only wanted to be at the finish line. I was seriously thinking about giving up at least three times during the race. But come on, you can run 26.2 miles (42.2 km) and you will have a problem to finish a 10 km race? No, I am not that kind of girl! One of the toughest races of my running "career". The pace was slowing with every mile, paces above 8:00 min/mile started to creep in during the second half. I did not check the actual time, only pace and heart beat. I was hoping to go under 50, going above would have been really shameful for me at this point - going under 50 minutes last year was a great achievement. It is all about pushing your limits ...

I managed to speed up for the last few hundred meters as you can see on the Garmin splits. Official time: 47:47. The Coach was hoping for something closer to 46 minutes and so was I. But honestly given the feeling I had throughout the race, I was more than happy to have set a new personal best for the 10 km. I hope it will not last long :) How surprised was I when I realized that I placed 3rd among the women on the 10 km course (there is also 5 km race at the same time). Who cares that the girls at first two spots ran both approximately 7 minutes faster than I did??? I think I am running this race next month again (it is held every last Saturday of the month), hoping to do better. Yep, The Coach said it might be helpful keeping my heart rate bellow 175 BPM for the first half, so I do not produce that much lactate in my muscles ... I will know better next time :)

To complete the stats, I did easy recovery jog today, little more than 5 km / 3 miles.

How were your weekend workouts???

Photo gallery of the race ... you can see my proper pre race stretching :)

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Killer Workouts = Sore Body

I might be exaggerating a bit with the title, but honestly, I think that almost every single muscle of my body hurts right now. It is partially my fault, because I added some extra workout, but I guess it is also the increased intensity of my training as the spring races (Prague half on March 31 and Prague marathon on May 13) are getting closer. I do how The Coach says, or almost as he says :) So what were the workouts?

My last day off was the last Wednesday, since then I did 5 workouts from my 7 unit mini-cycle set up by The Coach. Two of them were pretty hard - intervals of 2 x 7 x 500 m fast pace (which is currently off season 8:00 min/mile or 5:00 min/km) on Thursday and yesterday's hills. The hills yesterday afternoon almost killed me, that's why "killer workouts". I was supposed to do 10 x 400 m hill going up to 185 BPM with my heart rate. In comparison with the last cycle's 10 x 300 m hills and also fewer 500 m fast intervals at slower pace, I just felt like we are adding too much intensity. As there was also second phase of the training planned for the same day as the hills - 1.87 miles (3 km) at 9:07 min/mile (5:40 min/km) and I realized that I have to do both phases at once, I decided to skip the last two hills. Do you know how much further 400 m is than 300 m. I know, obviously 100 m, but my head did not process all the increasing of distances, paces etc. (Remember, you should not increase distance and pace at the same time unless supervised by a professional!!!)

Feeling already sore after the hills and the fast(ish) 2 miles I went for a game of squash that I have not played for at least 6 months. Add some more soreness ... Relaxed in sauna - there should be some recovery points here. But continued in my new computer - new work space project when I got back home. Putting together the IKEA furniture = more soreness in my arms. Today morning as usual training with The Coach. I tried to explain to him that I am exceptionally tired, but it did not work much. Obviously, The Coach increased the weight of the dumbbells that we started using two weeks ago exactly today! OK, I think I made him being little easier on me, but not that much. As a result my whole body is aching, especially arms, back and the back side of my legs. As The Coach pointed out correctly, I will be definitely happy for the improved race results, but the process towards them hurts. I am not complaining, I am just sharing the fact that it is not always as sugarcoated as it looks :)

Enjoy your workouts and we will all be kicking asses at those spring races!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Dressing up for Grocery Shopping?!?!?

Saturday runs usually happen for me sometime in the late morning or around noon, I truly enjoy the possibility to sleep in a bit. Who doesn't, right? Add in a fact that I am usually too tired to do grocery shopping on Friday evening and there isn't much left in my fridge after the week. Also, the nearest supermarket is just on the way to/from the parks where I usually run. So I do something what is totally normal in the US (as far as my knowledge goes), I go running and do the groceries on my way back home. This past Saturday, I got so many weird looks for I guess not dressing up to go to the supermarket. Can you get that? I can't and I don't care. I just wanted to share the funny story of the unfortunately absolutely consumerist society we do have here in the Czech Republic. Thinking about it, it is actually sad. And no, I am definitely not changing my habits, get used to it! ;)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Crazy week ends ... only positive outlooks ahead

How little did I know when I wanted to name my Monday post "Monday Morning Madness" ... lot of truth lies in the saying "Be careful what you wish for, it might come true." The past week has been crazy as was the Christmas and end of "old" year time. I hope you will stick with me even though my posts are less frequent. It has also been time of self-reflection, especially around the Czech running / triathlon / athletic blogosphere in the past few winter weeks. I think we are all looking forward to the warmer days with more percentage of daylight than night. Am I right? OK, to be honest I do enjoy the skiing a lot, so I am happy that the winter is finally here, but it is little tougher to keep up the quality running training. Anyway, thank you for reading and staying loyal, welcome to the newcomers who might be just starting up with running. Keep it up and take it slow. It is your inner pace that matters, speeding up needs quite some time.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Monday Morning Happiness

Monday Morning Madness would sound cooler, but I don't want to psyche you my dear readers out even more after my last post. I just wanted to share my happiness this morning. I had a great run, really awesome. Not a fast one in comparison to my overall speeds in the season, but fastish considering the paces The Coach has been giving me these past winter weeks. And after Saturday's speed workout (Yay, I'm so excited for reintroducing the speed to the training plan!) I really had blast today. Even though it was raining, still dark and I did not sleep enough. I cannot describe it, but feeling so great in such awful conditions reminds me that I am crazy about running and I really enjoy it. Running definitely is THE Thing for me. I hope you will understand that I simply needed to share my happiness with you and wanted to have a track of it for the moments when I lack motivation to keep it up :)

Have a great week everyone!

The song speaks of Sunday morning ... but suites the positive mood :)

Friday, January 06, 2012

Three Things Grateful Thursday

I am grateful for ...

... the girls' only nights out clubbing! (Yay, just came back and it's 2 am, I had so much fun, thank you girls!)

... being able to maintain my fitness level over the holidays. (I think The Coach is even more grateful - that is why all my muscles hurt so much after yesterday's training. We're definitely back on track with the training ...)

... being aware of the crazy stalkers so I can cope with them by ignoring them (for my Czech and Slovak readers - if you need the definition: Stalking according to Wikipedia is a term commonly used to refer to unwanted and obsessive attention by an individual or group to another person. Stalking behaviors are related to harassment and intimidationand may include following the victim in person and/or monitoring them via the internet.).

My dear fellow bloggers, what is your advice? How do you cope with the unwanted and negative stalking??? Any help? Thank you for your support!

Here is to the crazy ones: what do you think about searching somebody's phone / email???

Looking forward to your comments, to finish on a better note, let's replay the famous ad by Apple (I'm just now listening to the audiobook with Steve Jobs's biography - so loving it! Fourth thing to be grateful for this Thursday):