Miles for the week: 11 (2/2/2/5) PRE-TRAINING WEEK 1!
5 miles LSD: 56:41, average heart rate 148
Weight: 119
Resting HR: 44
Fitness test: 51

A wonderful long run! Perfect day: cool, dry, sunny, cloudless blue sky. I’ve been trying to focus a little bit on quick light steps (“running on eggshells”) and clearly that helped me run more efficiently. I even had to switch to a 3/3 rhythm for a stretch (3 steps on inhale, 3 on exhale) when 2/2 has always been the only comfortable rhythm. But I didn’t spend too much time working on that so I could also just relax and enjoy the run. The other thing I did differently was run the last mile or so at a medium pace; that’s based on Hal Higdon recommending a 3/1 split to help train for speed (although it’s supposed to be on a long enough run that the first three-fourths deplete the glycogen from your slow-twitch muscles, i.e. 60 to 90 minutes). You run at your normal LSD pace until the last quarter of the workout. Makes sense.

Higdon describes 3 paces: “jog”, 50-65% of maximum heart rate, “fairly light” effort (this is a pace that DOES NOT exist for me, at least not yet! I cannot run slowly enough to keep my heart rate down that much!); “easy”, 65-75% of MHR, “somewhat hard” effort (easy is hard? that’s like small being tall); “medium”, 75-80%, “hard” effort (medium is hard too). Why so confusing? He also defines the “easy” pace as being “conversational (not a jog)”. Huh? The slowest I can possibly run is barely conversational. Well, I’ll continue to adapt new ideas to my own training however it seems to work best for me.

The oldest goslings in the three pairs of Canada geese are almost 3/4 the size of their parents now–they’ve got adult proportions but look a little portlier, and still sort of fuzzy. Very cute! During the week the three families were in the meadow across the road from the pond, and only the adult heads were visible (like periscopes) in the tall grass. Daisies are just starting in the sunnier areas; also blackberry, red and white clovers, plantain, and grasses. I did spot a very few phloxes this week. Columbines are flowering in people’s gardens, but I’ve only ever seen one wild columbine around here, deep in the woods in the state game lands.

I’m amazed my resting heart rate is dropping so quickly. I haven’t even started real training yet! Cool that when I started 10 weeks ago, my “fitness test” was lower than my resting HR, and they crossed last week.

Miles for the week: 8 (2/1/5)
5 miles LSD: 1:01:21, average heart rate 158
Weight: 119
Resting heart rate: 47
Fitness test: 50

Horribly humid today, which slowed me down significantly. I even walked a little bit on one of the hills because my heart rate was so elevated, and it took a long time to drop. There was a cool breeze off Quaker Lake, and it rained a little near the end, which both helped. But it’s summer already (spring, my favorite season, is so short!), so I’d better get used to this. I need some better gear–cotton T-shirt feels clammy, my tights are too heavy, etc. This coming week I start adding a mile each week in preparation for “real training” (starts June 21st). I missed 2 miles this week due to early-morning work commitments…I’m going to do my best not to let that happen again.

I’ve been thinking about why I’m so slow. I know it’s primarily just genetic, but it still puzzles me. Yes, I’m short (5’2″), but my legs are a little long for my height. No, I’m not skinny, but I’m certainly not plump. I’m considered strong for my size. I’m sure my form could use some improvement, but there’s nothing glaringly wrong with it; arm and leg movements symmetrical, arms swinging where they should, shoulders relaxed, etc. I was reading that the difference between elite and normal runners is not how fast they move their legs but how strongly they push off the ground…so if my legs are normally strong, why don’t I run as fast as a typical woman my age? I have Daniels’ Running Formula, which I’ve only browsed so far, but he talks about the importance of turnover speed and says that elite runners take at least 180 steps a minute. I counted today and I’m right around there. Hmmm…. Not that it really matters, I’m just curious about it. I have a Hal Higdon book, Run Fast, which I’ve also only browsed. As the marathon approaches, I’ll probably start poring over these books.

Wildflowers blooming now: birdsfoot trefoil just starting, buttercups everywhere, speedwell started last week but I forgot to mention it (one of my favorite flowers), chickweed, mouse ear, cinquefoil, a shrub that’s either elderberry or viburnum, Herb Robert (love that name), honey locust just budding, hawthorns starting. Phlox is flowering everywhere in the county, but there doesn’t seem to be any on this 5-mile stretch, which is a little strange. I saw two robins squabbling from a distance, flying up at each other–couldn’t tell whether it was territorial disputes, or one was an overgrown baby trying to get its parent to feed it.

Miles for the week: 10 (2/1/2/5)
5 miles LSD: 59:38, average HR 151
Weight: 119
Resting heart rate: 49
Fitness test: 44

Five miles is almost starting to feel effortless (the hills are are still a challenge, but when I get home I don’t feel exhausted or anything). On the flat parts I barely notice or hear my breathing (around 140-145 HR)–that’s what long slow distance should be, I guess! My one miler is still “intervals,” but I really think I’m doing those wrong. If I want to do speedwork at all I should probably go to the high school track. That’s just such a pain!

Transitioning to summer already–the swallows are back. The Canada goslings (saw them Friday, not today) are at least 4 times as big as two weeks ago. Dandelions have gone to seed already. Wild strawberry, honeysuckle, Russian olive, lilacs, winter cress, apple trees, Canada mayflower, starflower, lots more in bloom. I saw a new-to-me wildflower: fringed polygala. This is turning into “Hilary’s marathon blog & nature diary,” I know, but that’s one of my incentives for running. I was looking through a book called The Path: A One-Mile Walk Through the Universe by Chet Raymo–about his walk to work every day for 37 years and what he’s noticed. That’s what I like to do: see the changes in the familiar.

Miles for the week: 10+ (2/2/1/5+)
No stats on the long run
Weight: 120
Resting heart rate: 48
Fitness test: 44

I did the resting heart rate & fitness test while I was asleep (woke up & put on HR monitor, then dozed), so those are the best possible numbers! Long run was yesterday, during the Diabetes Walk that I help organize. We made at least $12,500 this year, which is just amazing! The walk is two miles out and two miles back on a rails-to-trails type path, mostly flat, and I did it twice, running at least 5 miles and walking the rest. (Did it twice because traditionally I bring up the rear to make sure no-one is left stranded on the trail). A lovely day, a little chilly and overcast but eventually the sun came out. Good place for wildflowers, including trilliums–only place I’ve ever seen them.

It’s definitely much harder for me to pace myself when there are other people around, which is why I think I’d prefer to train entirely by myself. (A friend who also runs said he and his running buddy, who live in Montrose, would be up for entering the marathon if we all trained together–would I be willing to drive to Montrose for the long run?–and I said I’d think about it). I’m a classic introvert–basically friendly & sociable, I like most people, but I need to recharge my batteries with alone time because being with people drains me. And training is enough of a time committment by itself–I don’t want to add in driving time plus the inevitable socializing time afterwards. I’d enjoy it, but it would really kill the whole day. Give me “the loneliness of the long-distance runner”…