Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Morning Wake-Up Call

It's Fat Tuesday! I completely forgot about it during my weekly grocery store visit, but fortunately, grocery shopping on an empty stomach took care of that. A few of my snacks for the upcoming weeks (I bought a lot, but I eat them slowly):

To celebrate, a friend and I decided to go out to dinner tonight. But--Tuesdays are a running day for me and I usually go to the gym right after work. She has a 1 year old daughter who would not be happy about eating at 8pm, so I bit the bullet and decided to run in the morning.

I've gotten up early to go running before. In fact, a year ago I got myself up three times a week at 5:45am. Then winter came. And in Wisconsin, winter=nighttime from 4pm - 8am. There was no way I could get myself up. Even with great breakfast ideas planned. Side note: I work really well on a reward system. True story, ask my college roommate. I used to buy a bag of M&M's and I'd put 10 M&M's in front of me, open my computer and start working on a paper. For every page I finished, I got one M&M. Sick, serious will-power. But those papers got done quickly.

So, mornings and I haven't really been friends since I stopped even trying to get up early. Doing this half-marathon, though, has become really important to me and I don't want to just skip a day. Because then the next day is even easier to skip...and again and again. I must've been really nervous about missing my alarm because I swear I was awake by 4:30. I basically laid in bed until my alarm went off at 5 and then snoozed it. I realize 5am might seem really early, and I was only doing a 3.5 mile run, but I move incredibly slow in the mornings and I knew it would take me a solid 20 minutes to pull on my clothes. I finally got myself out of bed and slowly got ready. I had laid out a little bit of cereal to eat before leaving and thought I had set myself up pretty well the night before with my headphones, Polly (my nano/Nike+), knee straps (I bought another for my left knee), and even a filled water bottle set out and ready. Got to the gym and realized I had forgotten my headband. Minor inconvenience since my hair is pretty short, so I got over it.

The knee strap really seemed to help my left knee a lot. It didn't hurt at all, a huge difference over Saturday's run. Of course, I have had the past two days off, but hopefully this strap will do the trick and the pain will stay away. I should still probably get some new shoes.

The worst part of running in the morning and doing so at the gym is the complete lack of entertainment. There were maybe two other people running when I got there. And there's nothing on TV except the early local morning shows. They found themselves incredibly amusing this morning and why not--there can't be that many people watching so early and you might as well make them laugh.

Once I got home, I was feeling pretty good--waking up an hour and a half early makes the morning seem so much longer. I stretched out and did a shortened version of my usual ab work. And after I had finished getting dressed, I got my reward--a morning smoothie.

(remember that even though I've been up for almost 3 hours here, it's still early...)

I bought some frozen blueberries about a month ago, but could never get up early enough to use them. I blended them with some orange juice and a container of plain yogurt. Yum!
 In other news--I decided this afternoon to change my training schedule a little bit. I've been mentioning this pre-training, which is basically just some training to keep me in shape while work was busy for the past two months. The training schedule I was going to follow (Hal's) was a 12 week program, so I also needed to fill in some empty weeks and make sure I was ready to start when the time came. When I had first started looking for a training schedule I had also seen Jeff Galloway's program, but the whole "magic mile" and run-walk-run ratios sounded like a lot of extra work. Plus, I wasn't sure I wanted to see what running 14 miles was like, only to do it again two weeks later in the actual race.

However, they're pretty similar with the exception of the long runs. Hal adds a mile to it each week, and adds an extra half-mile every few weeks to the weekday runs. Jeff holds the weekday runs steady, but also has recovery weeks. You build up a few miles, and then drop back and have a shorter long run. I kept Jeff's recommendations for the long runs and I'll probably follow his weekday runs pretty closely, but on weeks with a shorter long run, I might do a longer weekday runs like Hal suggests. I did keep Hal's strength and cross-training days, though. I've found that cross-training definitely helps keep my legs loose and they seem to be less sore than if I just take the day off.

Whew, time to rest.


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