This morning's run was a great one. We met at Runner's Market in Bearden. I was happy to see Amelia and Kaycee from school They're training to do their first half and are doing amazing. The Saucony shoe rep also made an appearance, complete with a drawing for new shoes. I was hoping for some new shoes. I got some great news from Shea Bane that her husband Kenny was going to do the Flying Pig with us in May!!!
The run started out like normal. It was a little cool so I went with the jacket and shorts. After letting most of the people get a head start, I took off running and blended in with the pack. My goals for the day were simple: I wanted to run the whole way and I wanted to conquer the hills. I wasn't worried so much about my pace. I just wanted it to be a very relaxed morning.
I am horrible at pacing myself. So, I tried to find a group of people to run behind. The first group I came to must have been in education. They were discussing the merits of the Common Core. So, after about 30 seconds, I decided today was Saturday and I didn't want to think about work. Seeing another group a little ahead of them, I picked up the pace and slid in behind the next group who were discussing things like races and training. That's more my kind of conversation.
Wanting to run a consistent pace, I checked my watch frequently. For the three miles down the greenway, it stayed at 9:50 minute miles, a nice comfortable pace. About the time we got to Tyson Park, the first of the three women in the group had to fix her iPod or shoe or something. That's code for I can't keep up with you. So, we lost one. I was glad that I saw Brad Nance from spin class. He is one of the fast runners that I hope to catch sometime this year. If I wasn't that far behind him, it meant I was having a pretty good day.
For the first three miles, it was pretty flat. Running 9:50 miles was really comfortable. As we came out of Tyson Park, the group I was following got confused. Luckily, I had asked before and knew it was time to turn onto Kingston Pike and head to Sequoyah Hills. The bad part about doing a training run that goes along Kingston Pike is that you have to run on the concrete sidewalks and cross a few intersections. Somehow, we got lucky when we came to each stop light. We never had to wait.
The next mile saw an increase in elevation. One of the ladies began messing with her iPod. She started falling back a little. Wouldn't you know that she had to stop and fix her iPod. It might have had something to do with an increase in pace. Now, we were down to two and she had no idea where she was going.
At the stoplight at the entrance to Sequoyah Hills, we caught up to Karen Lacey (the Covenant Health Biggest Winner Team's dietitian) and friends. I love Sequoyah Hills, but as the name suggests, there are hills. As we came down the first of those hills, I noticed that our pace was increasing slightly. That was o.k. because we probably would lose some on the uphills. For the next mile or so, I used Karen's group to pace me. All the while, I felt like I was running in slow motion. With the exception of going up the hills, my breathing was practically normal. I was cruising along doing under 10:00 minute miles, going up hills, and I was breathing normal. It felt so good.
The more we got into Sequoyah Hills, the faster the pace became. I noticed the person who had paced me through the first half of the training run was dropping back a little bit. So, I slowed down a tad bit. She tucked in right behind me. Off we went.
As we came to the end of Cherokee Blvd, she asked, "You are doing the 8 or 9 mile option?" She had never run the race or ran in that part of town. She had no idea where she was. Of course, it was no problem for me to run with her for the last part of the run. She was new and she was kind of cute. Really, she was very cute, but married with 3 kids.
As we came to the last half mile of the run, I introduced her to Noelton. Most people will say that Noelton is a big hill. It's really not. It's more like two hills with a short break between them. You should have seen the look on her face. As we started up the hill, someone driving by honked her horn at us and waved. "Was that Jennifer Meckles?" We ran a little more up the hill and someone sitting in an SUV in a driveway starting waving and yelling hi to the person I was running with. It was her neighbor.
As I watched my pace, it slowly increased. We were actually getting faster as we went up the hill. How does that happen? Well, it was close to the end of the run. How do you conquer a hill like Noelton? It's all in the training.
Mondays: It's spin class with the great Chris O'Hearn at Fort Sanders Health & Fitness Center. I've recently added running a sub 1:00:00 10k before spin class just to make things a little more interesting.
Tuesdays: It's all about the strength training. For fun, my friend Kelsey and I add a little more to the workout. We do things like 100 crunches and 100 push-ups along with a running 2 or 3 miles. We like to throw in some planks and things like.
Wednesdays/Thursdays: It's the treadmill workouts. I never know which one I'm going to do, but they go a little something like this.
- Hills: Set the treadmill somewhere between 3.4 to 4.0. Start walking. Every 30 seconds, increase the incline by 0.5. If your treadmill has it in it, go all the way to a 15 degree incline and then come back down. It takes about 30 minutes for one set. I usually go for two sets.
- Progressions: Start with a 2 mile walk. Then, go all out for 1 minute. Then, it's a 2 minute run followed by a 1 minute walk. It keeps going up: 3 min run/1 min walk; 4 min run/1 min walk; 5 min run/1 min walk; 6 min run/2 min walk. If you've made it this far, you've reached the 30 minute mark. If you can keep going, you have options. You can count it back down or just repeat it. For the more adventurous, you can do walk for 2 more minutes, then it is 7 min run/2 min walk; 8 min run/2 min walk; 9 min run/2 min walk for a 1 hour workout.
- Sprints: It's easy. Do a 1 mile warm-up. You can either walk or run slowly. Then, you are running .25 mile followed by .1 mile walk. You go all out on your runs and recover on your walks. For me, it's do as many as I can. I like to get 5 miles in.
Thursday: I've also decided to add Body Combat at Fort Sanders Health and Fitness Center to my list of things to do. That is one great workout.
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday: Long runs
Sunday: A hike or short walk.
So, with all this training, it made the hills easy. Today, I never had to walk. I didn't even think about walking. I felt so good, I got a couple of more miles in by going back to run with my friends as they climbed Noelton. That's my kind of training run. The only bad part of the day was I didn't win the drawing for new shoes. My ticket was one number off from the winning ticket. If only I had been a little rude and cut in front of that person I could have won new shoes. Oh well...
With a few more runs like this, a sub 2:00:00 half at the Covenant Health Marathon might just be possible.