Sunday, December 28, 2008

2008 Race Summary

I just realized that I don't have any more races scheduled for this year! I completed my last race of 2008 on December 13--the Reindeer Romp 4K! It is amazing to me to look back at this year and see how far I've come since my first road race on March 1, 2008! Come with me as I stroll down memory lane!

March 1, 2008
2008 Anthem 5K Fitness Classic
Time: 37:45

Obviously, since it was my first race ever, I was totally excited AND nervous! I was lucky enough to be able to share the experience with Joey. However, prior to the race, we promised we'd just run it for fun since it was our first race ever--since I had trained more for it, I kept it slower at first to stay back with him, until about mile 2 when he just ran off without me! From that point on, I've decided I'm running my own races. :) This was a GREAT race and it was a great way to introduce me to road racing. It was a well executed event (as are all legs of the Triple Crown, I believe) that I will revist year after year, as long as I'm able.

What I learned: Run your own race, even if you're running with your boyfriend; no matter how many times I peed prior to the race, I will have to pee right before the race; how to "warm" the field, which was entirely too much fun for me for some reason; my fitness level wasn't as good as I thought it was.

March 15, 2008
Rodes City Run 10K
Time: 1:14:39

The hair was trying to attack me:

Prior to this event, I had only run 6 miles one time--and it didn't turn out that well then. There was walking involved. The race was exciting but scary because I was all alone out there--though I did have my mom and Joey later there rooting me on. It was a GREAT route (a little funky through Butchertown, but that was another fun part of the race because all of us were running as fast as we could to get OUT of there!!!) and even though I was totally not prepared for it (and had to walk portions of it at the end), I had a blast.

The spectators were FANTASTIC--lots of cheering and music. It was awesome. What I remember best is a little girl up at the top of a hill at her house with her mom holding her and she was screaming "HI!" to runners--nobody was waving at her so I screamed back at her and waved and she just got so happy. I knew right then that she would be a runner when she got older, guaranteed!

What I learned: It's fun to push yourself beyond your comfort level; it's fun to run your own race; there were people walking this race at the same pace I was able to run it; it's not cool to tell the runners that the race is almost over when it's actually NOT almost over; I needed to train harder and learn how to pace myself.

May 10, 2008
2008 Throo the Zoo 5K
Time: 36:49

This race sounded like too much fun to pass up and I think Joey was too jealous of me running Rodes that he wanted to do this one with me. Portions of this race actualy run inside the zoo so you get to see some of the animals that can stay outside. It was an easy course and pretty fun for me--and it was my first time wearing a running skirt to a race. That was a big deal for me back then. LOL The race did start a little late and wasn't executed as well as the prior two--but still a good race that I'll consider completing again.

What I learned: if you tell people that a monkey got loose while you were running and was chasing people, they believe you.

October 11, 2008
Louisville Komen Race for the Cure 5K
35:32 Adjusted

This was my first race since the Throo the Zoo in May--5 months off without a race means a lot of anticipation for THIS race AND a lot of time to train in between. However, I hadn't trained as well as I should have during those 5 months--but I HAD done enough where I knew that I had improved my speed enough to see a faster finish. I had also starting pushing myself a little more in training, so I had good hopes for my ability to pace myself this race. Even so, my goal was to run sub-35:00, which would have been more than one minute off of my last 5K. I figured it was realistic--but when I crossed that finish line and saw the time was 30:37 I was in awe and nearly cried because I was so proud. But something just didn't feel right about the time. It turns out that it wasn't a true 5K distance--they apparently shorted us a few tenths of a mile.

What I learned: I really wanted a Garmin Forerunner so that I would be able to KNOW when I was getting shorted; all races aren't executed smoothly; I really hate when walkers start at the front of the pack--really really hate it.

October 25, 2008
2008 Home Run 5 Mile

This was my most anticipated race of the year, excluding my first race ever. I heard about this race from a flyer inside of the packet for my first race, the Anthem 5K. When I saw that it was a 5 mile race at Bernheim in the Fall, no less, I knew I was going to do it. But I thought to myself: How on Earth am I ever going to be able to run 5 miles? I really didn't know it was possible for me to do it. Come race day, I was chilly and not in the mood to run BUT I did have mom and Joey with me--they were both doing the 5K portion of the race.

This race was GREAT and goes down as my favorite race of the year, I think. It was beautiful, fun, a good challenge for me and so very well executed by the race directors and volunteers. It was an excellent cause, and what I remember most about it was the loyalty and friendliness of the runners. Everyone was so great and fun to chat with in passing. This is a race I'll certainly do again.

My performance was something I was proud of--my goal was to finish the 5 miles in at least 55 minutes, but I was thinking it would be more like 58-59 minutes. The last leg was very difficult but when I crossed the finish in 53:20, I couldn't believe how good I still felt. I should have pushed a little harder during the race but I don't have any regrets.

What I learned: I finally met Joe, and he rocks; I could have pushed myself more and that was going to be something I was going to train for; I wasn't giving myself enough credit for the runner I was becoming; it really means a lot to me for friends/family to watch me at races.

November 27,2008
2008 Iroquois Hill Runners Thanksgiving Day 5 Mile
Time: 51:20

This was a fun race with a lot of great people. I really enjoyed running this and pushing myself. It was also the first time Tom and Joe and I were all racing together so that was fun for me. It was a familiar race route and I was definitely prepared for it. I knew I was heading for a PR after mile 3 because I had set goals at specific distances during my training and I seemed to be breaking those times--I ended up finishing the race in sub 52:00--I beat my goal AND got a PR!

This was definitely one of my favorite races this year and it felt great to be able to run at a faster pace--I finally got into the low 10's on average!

What I learned: You CAN run on Thanksgiving morning AND still host Thanksgiving dinner at your house IF you do some advanced planning; go to the bathroom early; I like running slightly longer races; you shouldn't drink too much water during a race or you'll feel funky; I'm getting faster with hard work.

December 13, 2008
Reindeer Romp 4k
Time: 24:41

This race is the first leg of the Polar Bear Grand Prix--a three race series that takes us through the winter, and while it wasn't my best effort, it was fun! Joey ran this with me and we were lucky enough to run into Tom and Joe right before the start--RuntheVille represented in our Christmas apparel!!! The final hill really really kicked my butt--I thought I was prepared for it because of my training on that course prior to the race but I just wasn't. I finished but not in my goal time! I had fun though and had a great breakfast with great breakfast with great people afterward!

What I learned: You can't achieve EVERY goal you set; I have more work to do; it's just as fun to cheer for someone else during a race than it is to run a race

In addition to those 7 races, I also walked the American Heart Walk with my mom and I volunteered at the Champions 4 Her 5K, which was GREAT fun. I intend to do more volunteering next year and refine my race list as well.

Here's my preliminary race list for 2009:

The final two legs of the Polar Bear Grand Prix--which includes
Snowman Shuffle 4 Mile - January 10, 2009
Frostbite 5K - February 14, 2009

The Louisville Triple Crown of Running-which includes:
Anthem 5K Fitness Classic - March 7, 2009
Rodes City Run 10K - March 21, 2009
Papa John's 10 Mile - April 11, 2009

The Kentucky Derby Festival mini-Marathon - April 25, 2009 (my first ever HM)

Home Run 5 Mile - no info yet
The Louisville Half Marathon - Fall 2009

Saturday, December 27, 2008

10 Miles=Goal Met

I'm slouched over in the bed after a long ass ice bath and hot shower. And food. I'm ex-haus-ted. Truly. I think a nap is in the works.

Woke up at about 6:30 this morning and had some all-natural applesauce and water, debated on whether to put on shorts or capris and then took off. And since it's so new, I almost forgot my Garmin! LOL I got to Cherokee Park to meet Joe and Tom at a few minutes past 7:30 and we took off soon after--for what I thought was going to be a 6-8 mile run.

It SUCKED. Major sucked. My body wasn't into it, and my mind DEFINITELY wasn't into it. If they hadn't been there, I would have quit at 4 miles, no questions asked. I was over it by then.

But we kept running. We ran to Seneca Park, which is a neighboring park. There were SO MANY runners out today, I've never seen it so packed (and there's always a lot of activity there)! It's so much fun to run not only with Tom and Joe, but also to run in an area like that where there are so many other runners. You just don't feel so alone and it makes you feel like you're part of something bigger!

Those hills kicked my butt today. I just wasn't in it but Tom and I decided after 7 or so miles that we wanted to get in a full 10. I really WANTED it but I just felt like there was no way it could happen today. My goal for the end of the year was to run a 10 miler by the end of the year--and yeah, I did it about one month ago. But I haven't had the greatest month of running and I just felt like that November 10 miler got swept under the rug, only with a hope to revisit it next year. And I didn't like that hanging over my head--so I really wanted to run a 10 today.

I need to say something in full honesty right now--I totally, 100% know this to be true, and it's not one of those things you say to make people feel good or whatever--I COULD NOT HAVE DONE TODAY'S RUN WITHOUT TOM AND JOE. Period. There is absolutely no way that I would have made it. And I really appreciate Tom's help too...he stayed with me pretty much the entire time and my gosh, if he hadn't been there, no telling how much walking and crying I might have done. LOL I swear, these guys are awesome and I'm so glad to have some running buddies that are supportive and do not get on my nerves. That's a winning combo. LOL

I'm pretty much okay with having a lazy day for the rest of today--I need it. I'm pretty sore but (hey Joe, you listening?) my foot isn't hurting anymore after that ice bath. I poured all sorts of ice over my feet in there--so far so good.

Tomorrow starts HM Training. I'm pretty excited.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Running on Peppermint Ice Cream

I need to stop eating so much. I hate to make another I've-been-eating-too-much-this-holiday-season blog but here it is. We all have them now I think, because we're all stuffing ourselves senseless. But you know, it just doesn't feel good to eat like this. I feel lethargic and funky all day. In a way, it's kinda fun to be drugged up on Better Cheddars, Big Red, Bruschetta and Peppermint Ice Cream but umm, I can only take so much.

I actually stopped at Kroger today just to buy a $3 container of pre-cut veggies to snack on. I'm sooo sick of eating JUNK! But I keep eating junk. So what gives?

I haven't been running a lot because of my foot. I really want it to heal properly before next week, which was the first week of my HM training. I'll get back on track with my diet but if my foot isn't at 100%, it's going to be very hard to give it my all. I did do 3 miles today in a bit of rain but it was just enough to get my foot sore and I think I pushed too hard early on and I just wore out before I knew it. Plus, it'd been about 5 days since I ran longer than a mile and I think my fitness had already declined. It's amazing.

I had an excellent Christmas and I'm just so appreciative of all of the love and good spirit that surrounded me these last few days. It's so great to see most everyone getting along and being calm and pleasant and just HAPPY.

And oh my, Santa brought me a Garmin 305! I cried!! I'm so happy to finally have this bad boy. I can't wait til I know how to use it 100%!!!!! It's so awesome!!

Let me know what's been up with you and how you're holding in there!

Oh I almost forgot--last week's poll! Turns out 80% of you all are running with one main goal in mind--reaching a certain pace/time. Looks like more of us need to be doing speedwork, eh? :) Take care, runners and everyone else!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Monkey Problems? Why would I have monkey problems?

So yeah, the title of my blog has nothing to do with the entry itself. Nor is it running related. I've just finally discovered the Office. We've watched almost 4 seasons in less than 2 weeks, thanks to Netflix instant queue. It's amazing. I love this show. It's competing with Dexter, the Sopranos, and the Simpsons for all time favorite shows.

Moving on...our last poll asked what your best (thanks to running) asset was. 50% of you said that thanks to running, you are more disciplined! Way to go, Running! Following behind discipline, it appears that some of you appreciate your nice abs or your ability to eat whatever you want! Thanks for the responses, everyone!

On Saturday, I ran in the Reindeer Romp 4K at Cherokee Park. It was a fun little race of about 600 runners. I finished in 24:41, which wasn't as fast as I was hoping for but I also didn't try as hard as I could have. While I was running, I was aware of this fact. But I didn't really feel like giving anymore than I was. Is that horrible? Now, don't get confused. I didn't run at an easy pace--I exerted PLENTY of energy during the race, especially on that last hill. Pooey. But I just didn't run as fast as I could. Plus, my foot was bothering me. That scared me.

Even so though, I ran a sub-10:00 pace, which is basically my goal for every race (up to 10K) from now on. Luckily, I don't have any 10k's coming up. ;) DBF ran a good race, especially for his first outdoor running since the Spring. I think the best part was having Panera Bread with Tom, Joe, my mom and Joey after the race. :)

Because my foot has been giving me a lot of discomfort, I decided (not easily) to take a few days off to allow my foot to heal. Yesterday I noticed that it was MUCH better--it was the first day that I could say that. I could still feel that twinge of "something" inside but I wasn't noticing it with every step anymore. So I decided to get out and run today--I've been going crazy without runs for the last 3 days. I did an easy 3.5 miles after work--and it felt GREAT. I could have done more, and I wanted to run longer, but I didn't want to push my foot too much. I won't be running tomorrow but I plan to get in another easy run on Friday if all goes well.

NRR--On December 5, Joey and I picked up our new puppy from one of our friend's. She's a 4 month old pitbull, beautiful and sweet as can be. We took her home for a trial run, since neither of us have had a dog before and we wanted to see if she would fit in here. It's been a little rocky but we decided we'd give her a try and keep her. I've had a lot of fun with her so far--she's been my park buddy and she's definitely in love with me. Tonight, though, she had a couple of incidents with our cats (who weren't doing anything at all to her) and now we're seriously considering giving her back or finding her another home. It's been a bit of a stress to have her but it was something I was willing to learn to deal with. Now, I'm thinking that among other reasons, it might be better for us to let her go now. I'm sad, even though she's not gone yet. I'll miss her if we do give her up but I can't put my cats in danger like that--the whole energy of our house has been WAY different since we got her and I'm not sure it works for us. :(

Enjoy the remainder of the week, everyone! And happy, healthy, safe running!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Breakthrough

Well, I'm a little surprised at the outcome of our last poll, "What is Your Primary Reason for Running?" Turns out nobody runs primarily for weight loss or maintenance--most of you run mainly for good health! Way to go guys! There was a tie between running for fun and running for competition--but I think we can all agree that we run for lots of reasons, and we all love doing it! *Most of the time* :)

BIG breakthrough today--but before I tell you what, I'll give you a little history of the day. If you'll recall, I ran the IHR Thanksgiving Day 5 Miler, and a few people at work knew I was going to be running. Coincidentally, I've recently discovered a couple of runners at work that were in hiding, until they heard that I also ran. ("So and so told me you run...") :roll: So, one of these runners asked me today how my T-Day race went, and I told him. We started talking about how I'm pretty slow still, but that my pace for that race was my best ever at 10:16 per mile. He informed me that I COULD run faster than that (his record for 1 mile was in the 5:00 range) without a problem. I laughed and said yeah right. I've been trying to go faster for a very long time, and haven't been near sub-10:00, don't see it happening anytime in the near future.

But he got me thinking--I wonder how fast I run a mile. I wonder if I COULD push myself and how long it would take me to actually get sub-10:00. All day, I pondered this, and near the end of my workday, I thought, "You'll never get faster if you don't just force it. Try it today." I have no intention of being stupid and hurting myself by pushing too hard beyond my limitations. I want to run, and going fast is not THAT important to me. But when I got home from work, I felt strong. You know when you just FEEL good? I felt like I had momentum built up in my legs--EVEN AFTER MY INTENSE CORE WORKOUT YESTERDAY. I swear, that workout has my legs, my arms, my back, my shoulders and my abs SORE. Good sore...but soooo sore!

So I went out. I ran, I pushed it the first mile. I was going faster and it felt good. Breathing was quicker but I was in a good place. I pretended I was in a running commercial--darting around, jumping over rocks, running "fast." It was fun. Mile 2 came and I looked at my watch.

This can't be right...typically, I would reach that point in 22:00-24:00 during any given training run. My best possible (as of my T-Day race, which was a PR for me) would put me at 20:32.

My watch read "16:55."

What. The. Eff? No way.

I pushed on back up the hill--my legs were feeling the effects of this increased speed by this point but I pushed as strong as I could and kept running--not as fast but faster than normal.

By the end of my run, I had completed 5.08 miles in just under impossible feat for me.

So was today a fluke? Can it be duplicated? I don't know, and I won't know until next week. I don't plan to push like that but once a week until I know I'm capable safely.

But what DOES matter to me and what I DO know for sure is that I can say I CAN run a mile under 10 minutes and not just 1 mile, but 5. That's a huge step for me and it's definitely in the right direction.

Have a wonderful Hump Day, everyone!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Ryan Hall's Record Breaker

I've been a little obsessed with all things Half-Marathon lately. Now that this year is nearing its end, I'm getting nervous *already* about my first Half in April. So yeah, whenever I watch this, I get chills. I am not at all bored by any part of this video, even though it gets a bit "Cloverfield-ish" at some points. LOL

And I desperately want to go run right now, but really fast. Not slow. I also want someone to follow me during my races and record me. I wouldn't look nearly as good as he does.

He ran that Half Marathon in 59:43--just 8 more minutes than it took me to run my last 5 mile race. Bwahahha!!

I just finished a long, intense and grueling core workout, including my usual Mammoth Workout and I intended to do arms but umm, after that workout, I can't dream of doing anything to my poor arms. It's even hard for me to type this right now. I'm a bit shaky. I guess the pushups and the extended arm planks will be all of the upper body workout I'm getting today.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I think I fell in love today...

Last night, I started thinking about this "guy." I thought, "Hey, I haven't seen him in awhile, I should go see him tomorrow morning."

I was a little apprehensive about it though--for many reasons. This "guy" is no stranger to me. I grew up around his neighborhood and hung out there a lot as I was growing up. When I was younger, I was often with my mom. But as a teenager, I was around him a lot more. I guess you could say we grew up together--but even back then, he was pretty mature. He's the kind of guy you want to get to know if you don't already know him. But he's also the kind of guy that's very hard to get to know. He's popular, he's nice to look at, and all those years when I was hanging out around him, I saw him but I rarely tried to get to know him intimately. It wasn't a big deal to me then, as I had other interests.

I've heard a lot about him lately--he's one of the most popular men in Louisville. He's in a great neighborhood, and did I mention he's beautiful? He's also full of athleticism. I don't remember him at all, either, as it's been about 10 years since I saw him last. That's why I was a little apprehensive to go see him today.

Well, as soon as I got there, I remembered why I liked him so many years ago. Though he was a little cold at first, I knew he'd warm up after I was there for awhile. I worked on getting to know him more intimately--it's a difficult thing to do, you see. He's complex. You think you might be able to go one way with him, and all the while, you're going in a different direction. You have to move carefully with him.

He treated me well today and made me feel welcome and comfortable. There were lots of other people there to see him and they too were welcoming and friendly. I felt at home. I fell in love with him today and I can't wait until I can see him again. I actually hope I can get my friends to meet me for a group run there to see him and to get to know him more intimately as well.


Those of you from Louisville will know that Cherokee Park is a BEAUTIFUL place, but you will also know that it's pretty difficult to navigate if you aren't familiar with driving or walking/running it. It's confusing as hell. But that's where I did my long run this morning. It was great.

I unintentionally PR'd on distance, as well! Before I left the house, I printed out a copy of a 9.5 mile route so that I wouldn't get lost. I cut the first 1/2 mile off so that I would just do 9 miles, as that was my scheduled distance for today. It was a confusing run, just because I didn't know quite where I was at any given point--not at ALL familiar with Cherokee, just with Seneca Park. So after I exited Seneca, I was pretty much running blind. I saw Scenic Loop and decided to take it, as so many other runners were there as well. After completing it once, I realized I had NOT gone the way directed by my planned route (which I never once looked at when I got out there, it's not like it would have helped me. If you've ever been to Cherokee, you'd understand why. I'm sure it gets easier once you've been there once or twice!) and figured that I was probably shorting myself on distance (I could also tell by the time) and I decided to complete the scenic loop a second time to get in the extra 2.4 miles so that I would *hopefully* get to 9 by the time I reached my car back at Seneca Park.

Great people out there, talkative and friendly. Decent hills--nothing horrible but noticeable enough to cause you to do some extra work. I liked it. Going around the loop a second time, my mom passed me in the car! We looked at each other in awe! She (I eventually discovered) drove over to Seneca Park and parked right behind me--she did her workout there until I was done with mine.

After doing Scenic Loop twice, I decided I should head on back to the car. That second loop really tired me out but I pressed on and felt like I kept a decent pace considering how my legs were feeling and my feet were sore. I ran back toward Seneca Park without getting lost and decided to take the shorter way back (as opposed to doing a true out and back) and I just couldn't take it anymore. I got to the I-64 overpass and my legs just wouldn't let me go any longer. I had been fighting them for about 1 mile and I just couldn't fight anymore. I ended up walking back to the car with ULTRA SORE LEGS AND FEET.

Now I know why I was so sore--I did 10 miles on accident! DISTANCE PR! I completed the 10.07 miles in 1:56:03, which averages 11:32 min/mile! That's a GREAT pace for ME! I'm so proud.

I'm also VERY back hurts and my legs are asking why I did this! LOL I'm so happy right now!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Day Run 2008

LOVE these! They're the bamboo and wool socks from Feetures. They are soft, sturdy and comfortable!

I hope everyone had a fantastic and fulfilling Thanksgiving! What was your favorite dish or your favorite part of your Thanksgiving Day? You can comment and let me know, if you'd like!

I started my Thanksgiving at 6:30AM--woke up and had a small cup of yogurt. I took a hot shower to loosen up and got ready for the Iroquois Hill Runners Thanksgiving Day 5 Mile Run! I had a little trouble getting DBF out of bed, and I can't blame him! I decided to drive because he didn't feel like driving and I was pretty much wide awake! When we pulled into Iroquois Park, I almost immediately saw Tom and Joe in front of the Ampitheater! We did a quick ~1 mile warmup together and enjoyed the music that was being played near the playground area. I had a little pain in my legs but I ran through it because I knew I needed to warm up to get past that discomfort so that I could run a good race.

Eventually, mom showed up and she, Joey, Tom, Joe and I hung out for a bit which made for a relaxing and fun time prior to the race. I waited in a long bathroom line (not many people but for some reason, these fools were slow IN the bathroom!) but talked to a couple of women--both who had run this race before. I actually ran past one of the women around mile 3 and tried to get her and her friend to pick up the pace but they were tired!

The race itself was one of my favorite because of the entertainment. Rounding the turn on Rundill Road (where Iroquois Park Rd meets) there was a group of men wearing kilts and playing bagpipes! Then, at the turn onto Uphill Road, there was a group of young cheerleaders--they were EXCELLENT and so energetic! There was a super friendly and excited gentleman volunteering just after that--equipped with a radio blasting tunes for us! Then at the first lookout, there were a few folks singing for us! It was so much fun and such a nice distraction during the run! Race directors, take note!

At mile one, I was just at 11:55. I was a little disappointed but I knew that (as usual) I was running a conservative (read: slow) start and I typically speed up. I actually did try to speed up just a little bit and I started to pass people slowly. By the second mile, I was just over 23 minutes. Honestly, I think that point was where I was feeling pretty crappy. I wasn't in a zone, I felt tired and I just kept thinking about how I wanted it to end. Luckily though, things turned around. There were a lot of cool people running and I just started chatting with the folks around me. I stayed with a couple of women and we discussed food and how it effecs our running! Eventually, I told myself that I was going to have to let go and RUN hard. It was a hard run, I definitely pulled something out of myself to push as hard as I did.

Honestly, I don't remember the time at the 3 mile mark. I just remember grabbing the water right around there and feeling like crap. I also remember the side stiches I was getting and how miserable I felt--it's been a long time since I had those. I tried to slow down a bit and breathe differently until they disappeared.

During my training leading up to the race, I always tried to make the first lookout on the way BACK DOWN by 35:00. Normally, it was tough but I could do it. During the race, though, I surpassed that goal without even realizing it. I started heading downhill and thought I should check my watch...I was pretty happy about that and that gave me enough motivation to keep pushing, in spite of the discomfort I was feeling.

At mile 4, I was shocked because I was just over 41 minutes--I knew then that either something was WRONG or that I was running faster than normal. I HONESTLY did not know which was correct. At that point, I am typically around the 44 minute mark--so I kept pushing because I was a little anxious that I was running poorly. I ran strong downhill, around the corner and back toward the finish. It was HARD for me, but I kept running as fast as I could.

On the way to the finish, I didn't look at my watch, I just remembered the conversation I had with Tom about how that portion of the run is ALWAYS the most mentally challenging for me, and I just tried to fight it. That last 1/2 mile was probably the most horrible for me. I felt SO tired, my legs ached. But I knew I was giving it my all and I couldn't stop pushing. I ended up crossing the finish line at 51:xx. My watch shows 51:20, from the time my body actually crossed the finish line to the time my body crossed the finish. NEW PR!!!!!! I ran my last 5 mile race at Bernheim just one month and two days prior and my time was almost 2 minutes slower then--but it was the fastest minute per mile pace I've kept since I "re-started."

Using my "unofficial" time of 51:20 from the Thanksgiving Race, that puts my average pace at 10:16 per mile! That's amazing for me!!!! That's nearly 25 seconds faster per mile than last month's race of the same distance!!

Overall, it was a beautiful day, decent weather and I felt that race was very well organized and executed. Definitely a winner!

I also want to add--I don't want to beat a dead horse but I absolutely love Tom and Joe, my friends from Run the Ville. They are supportive and nice and just AWESOME! If you all are reading this, I'm not trying to kiss up but I am just so thankful to have met you all! I appreciate you both very much and all that you all are doing for me and for our local running community! Coincidentally, apparently they both PR'd at the race too. We must have the winning formula, I tell ya!!!!

Looking at tomorrow, I'm hoping to get in a good 9 miles--wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Nothing more than an update...

So the majority of you all like it long and slow. :) In the last poll, 66% of you prefer long, slow distance runs! Apparently, the challenge of the longer distance at a comfortable pace (and probably on a relaxing off day) is the most enjoyable training run!

Speaking of long runs, I had the pleasure of running with some friends on Saturday morning at Bernheim Forest. It was my first group run experience (I've run with one other person before, but that's it!) and I really enjoyed myself. I was pleasantly surprised at how great it was--I've always been apprehensive about group running for many reasons, including the fact that I'm comfortable running alone, I thought it would be uncomfortable to talk to people during the workout and I also worried about performance/fitness differences within the group (i.e. being left all alone because I'm too slow! haha). However, all of my fears were put to rest during my run with Tom and Joe and in fact, I had a great time running with them and a great run. It is amazing how easy the run felt and how quickly it went. I can't wait for the next group run with them! Maybe we'll get some more cool people to join us, too!

This week in running--Thanksgiving is race day! It's my first T-Day race! I'm fairly excited about it and I hope I can finish the 5 miles around the 55:00 mark! My last 5 mile race was last month and I completed it in just over 53:00--but this race course is more hilly and I doubt that I'll be able to complete it in that time. I'll try though!

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday! This is my favorite holiday of the year and I can't wait until all of my cooking and preparation is done so that I can enjoy my race and the holiday! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Feeling lighter on my feet...I hope.

The Mizuno Inspire 3.

Went to Swag's Sport Shoes today and asked to be fitted for a new pair of shoes, after dropping off my registration for the T-Day 5 miler. The gentleman that helped me was VERY friendly and nice. I explained my issues with my current shoes to him and asked for something lighter, just as stable and something that would allow me to do a little bit of trail running comfortably too. He asked if I had allegiance to Mizuno (since I was wearing them), and I explained to him that I wanted whatever shoe made my feet feel good, as long as they were in my budget.

I tried on a great pair of Adidas, the Supernova Sequence (have to say I'm sorta sad they didn't work, I really liked them but the fit in the toe box wasn't for me at all), and a pair of Asics--both of which I've never had before. The Asics he offered just didn't have enough give--I like a more flexible shoe than that. I ended up with the Mizuno Inspire 3 (last season's model), so I got a GREAT price on them. And since I came in under budget, I decided to buy a few extra GU's so I could try some new flavors!

I'll definitely hit up Swag's again for shoes. I go there occasionally anyway for other items but for shoes, I believe I'll patronize them again. Always great people in there.

Maybe I'll go back to buy these:

Just joking...for now, anyway. :)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A run in the park...and in the streets!

I woke up at 5:41 this morning and laid there wondering if I should go ahead and start my long run or sleep in a little longer. The second time I looked at the clock, it read 5:46, and I figured since I hadn't fallen back asleep yet, it was time to get up.

After some yogurt, a hot shower and some stretching, I headed out to the park for my long run. This was a big day for many reasons--but mostly because I had to try my new running tights and jacket. :) I was nervous about the tights but they aren't so bad once you're out in them. You forget about them, which is what you WANT in a running pant! The jacket was PERFECT. I highly recommend this (and any other C9 gear, especially the RUNNING specific gear) to any women out there.

Here's the jacket, although not the best pic ever:

The ONLY way this jacket could get better for an outdoor runner is to put zippers on the pockets, and quite frankly, I can't figure out why they didn't. Honestly, though, the pockets are nice and deep and I carried sunglasses, lip balm and a piece of gum the entire run and they didn't move. So basically, non-issue.

I also LOVE how the hood fits around your face without bothering you AT ALL. The zipper goes all the way up to your chin, keeping your neck and head nice and warm and protected from the elements.

When I left this morning, the closer I got to the park, the less rain there was. It was dark and cool and the streets were relatively quiet. I decided to run the streets first (as opposed to running the park loop first) because I knew traffic would be much lighter this early AND because I knew that if I had to run the loop last, it would force me to finish. Running the streets makes it easier to turn around and head back to the car. But if you're running a 3.3 mile loop, it's not as easy to do that. :)

Honestly, as much fun as I had running this morning, it was not a pleasant physical experience. Nothing bad happened, but I just never felt like I know I should have. And from mile 1, into mile 4, throughout the 9, I never felt really, really good. I've run 8 before and had 4-6 great miles, where I felt strong and able. But today, I never really felt that for more than about 10 minutes at a time.

One time when I did notice an increase in performance was after my pit stop and I decided to try half of the GU (my first GU ever, and it was strawberry banana, for those who are curious). Yes, I did down a good amount of water, as well. I honestly needed that little bit of energy to keep going and for a few minutes, I felt okay, like I could keep running forever.

Isn't that the feeling we all are after when we hit the roads? It's an awesome feeling. It occurred to me today that the feelings we experience during a run are a compressed version of our experiences in life. Those tough times we go through in life (relationships ending, deaths, job troubles, illnesses, etc) make us feel like our life is so bleak and that it will never get better. Sometimes it's really hard to push through those difficult periods, but you know what? Most of us realize that AT SOME POINT (who knows when) things WILL get better for us, and those times we truly have to appreciate. In running, it's those uphill battles that make your legs feel weak, and you think you can't breathe another breath and all you want to do is just STOP. But what happens if you stop? You never get any better. What happens if you keep going, keep pushing through the pain? You reach the top of that hill and there's a smooth path (or maybe even a downhill stretch) in front of you. Your breathing evens out, your legs regain strength and suddenly, you feel like you can run forever. Or at least until that next uphill. ;)

I came home today after my 9 miles shivering and despite wanting to take a nice, long, hot bath, I warmed up, ate breakfast and started the ice bath. I stopped at Speedway on the way home for a pumpkin cappucino (and choco milk for recovery on the way home) to drink while I sat in the horrid ice bath. I had to turn the heat up to 80* before I even felt comfortable THINKING about that ice bath. But once I got in today, it didn't feel so bad. I think I might start with slightly warmer water from now on, at least until it gets warm again. I'll just add more ice during the winter.

I feel like going for another run right now, I have no idea why. I've been experiencing some minor-moderate ankle, knee and hip pain in my left foot since I purchased these shoes and I'm considering being fitted for another pair--this time at Swag's. I MIGHT go there tomorrow, just depends. I just can't tell what's going on with my leg, and I don't want to fall apart. I've been training so well and I'm seeing such improvements...I don't want injuries to keep me from doing what I love.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My Running--The Present

So maybe you read my Nov. 2 entry about my running experience from childhood through now...

Remember this portion from the previous entry:

For many years, I said that my peak running fitness was during my college years. I started running more seriously around age 19 and because I had a few friends from my school's track team, I was doing more intense workouts with them and actually contemplated walking on the team, myself. I frequently ran 4 miles every other day, and to me, that was MAJOR.

Notice the term "for many years?" I can't say that anymore. I am currently at my peak running fitness--almost 10 years later. I'm nearing 29 and though I'm not fast (and I probably can't run the mile as fast as I could then), I'm definitely in better running shape than I was back then. I just ran over 8 miles yesterday (distance PR) at Bernheim--through difficult trails and on gravel and concrete. Give me a hill to run and I'll take that baby on. I know what a tempo run is. I work my core. I love to road race! I WORK HARD, I FEEL GOOD AND I RUN. I'M AT MY BEST EVER. PERIOD.

That's how I feel about now. Even after a rough 3 days--because I'm more than those days. I'm proof that putting forth effort and being dedicated WILL help you achieve your goals.

2008 was MY year with Running. I know that I will look back at this year with pride. I will be able to look at my racing bibs from this year (I keep them all and laminate them after I write my time on the back) and remember that it was a year of many firsts. We have had a great year together and I know that I can take the credit because I stopped wondering when Running was going to do something for me and started planning what I could do for Running. When I took responsibility, I finally reaped the benefits.

I've raced, I've gotten faster, I've conquered fears and done things to my body that I never thought was possible. I've worked on my mental strength and learned a lot about MYSELF. And I HAVE LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!

Next up: The Future.

Iz Tired! An update...

Poll results: Turns out us runners aren't as nasty as I thought we were! I asked the question "What's the most disgusting thing you've done during a run?" There was a tie (33% each) between "spitting" and "blowing snot." In second place, a tie between "peeing your pants" and "vomiting." Nobody's ever pooped...or are you afraid to admit it? LOL

So, moving on...this week in training didn't go as planned. I had a nice easy 4+ miles on Monday and took Tuesday off since I was feeling under the weather. Wednesday, I didn't feel well (plus had WAY too much candy at work) but decided I had to get out there and fight through it. I had the worst run ever for the first 2.5 miles. My legs were too heavy to lift and I was constantly telling myself "run!" I actually had to remind myself to put one foot in front of the other--normally when I run easy, I'm having to remind myself to SLOW DOWN. SO I knew something wasn't right. But I got through the first part and suddenly, felt GREAT. I decided to up it another 3+ miles...great run all in all and I'm proud I pushed through the "pain." But after the run, I knew it was too much. My legs ached, I was tired and my body just shut down.

This week was a scheduled taper week BUT I didn't really follow through on that during my early week runs--and because of that, I've sat out for the remainder of the week. I have rested well, but it's been difficult mentally because I've WANTED to run. I KNOW it's best that I rest and I KNOW I should have followed my taper week and I will remember this next time.

Just a reminder to all of you out there--it's nothing you don't already know but it's the truth:

1. Take it easy every few weeks or so if you're in the midst of a disciplined training plan. Don't push forever, because if you do, you will be doing more damage than good.

2. Listen to your body. Your body can't communicate to you the way a person can, but it has its own way of expressing itself--fatigue, soreness, aches, pains. Listen to those queues and give your body the nutrition, activity and rest that it needs.

Happy running to all of you! Cooler weather is coming so start preparing yourself for those cold outdoor runs!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Seems like everyone's talking...

I've seen a lot of discussion about goals recently--maybe because we're nearing the end of the year and it's just the time that we evaluate and look back on what we've accomplished (or failed to) during the year. Nonetheless, it got me thinking about where I am with my current goals and what my future goals might be. When I started this blog, I did so more out of necessity for myself--as I felt that I needed a way to keep my focus on running and to give myself a play-by-play of my training and my experience. But I have a couple of visitors now (which I'm so happy about!) and I thought it might be nice for me to tell you all what I'm really doing here. You guys read about my training runs and races, about my shoes and what I love to eat and whatever else I feel like spewing out but maybe you want to know WHY I'm doing this and what I want out of it. We all have our own love affair with Running (come to think of it, Running sure does get around...) but we're in the relationship for different reasons and with different goals in mind, providing each of us a unique (but related) experience. I know you guys know that I want to do well for my first Half Marathon in the Spring but there's more to my running "career" than that!

Childhood--the period of my life when I met Running. Though I thought Running was cool because it got you to places more quickly (like the ice cream truck or to avoid the dreaded "tap" during a game of freeze tag), I mostly cared very little about it, only using it when I needed it and on my own terms.

Ages 13-16--the only running related goals I had during this time probably involved avoiding it as much as possible. I didn't participate in sports, though I DID enjoy playing basketball. However, when I look back, this was probably my least athletically active period. The Mall and the movies were more important to me, I think.

Age 17--this is when things changed. As I grew up, I started to realize that I wanted to do something for myself--something I could possibly be good at. I guess Running was the "boy next door" for me. Running was always there, but I didn't really pay it any attention unless I needed to. By age 17, though, I started to look at it a little differently. Was Running worth a second look? I thought so.

I remember the first day I went out and ran--*cough*--attempted to run. I geared up (athletic shorts and t-shirt and whatever athletic shoes I had on hand) and stepped out of the door. I did a few stretches and walked out to the sidewalk (helluva warm up there, huh?) and started to run. Because that's all there is to it, right? I ran down the street...YES! I was doing it! I was running! I made it all of about 5 houses and I was exhausted and huffing and puffing. Talk about feeling total, complete defeat and failure. I remember the embarassment I felt, too--as if everyone were in their homes that day, sitting beside their front windows waiting for a chance to see me run by their house, just to see if I would make it. The house you stop (read: fall over, clutching your chest as you gasp for air and wondering if your legs will ever stop burning) in front of is inevitably the house where there's a family reunion or birthday party going on, and the weather is so nice that the entire party happens to be OUTSIDE and of course they are watching YOU during your most disappointing moment.

Actually, my experience wasn't so dramatic. But it was no less disappointing. Somehow, though, I kept trying. I would go out each day and try to run a little farther. That summer, I went from running a distance of 5 houses to running around the block to running to the next neighborhood. By the end of the summer, I was frequently running 1-2 miles away from home and then returning. I felt so accomplished, as I should have.

College years--For many years, I said that my peak running fitness was during my college years. I started running more seriously around age 19 and because I had a few friends from my school's track team, I was doing more intense workouts with them and actually contemplated walking on the team, myself. I frequently ran 4 miles every other day, and to me, that was MAJOR. I was in good shape, (thanks in part to my daily trips to the gym that was free and totally awesome) and I really felt good about myself and my conditioning. Then I got mono--I was still running 4 miles with mono for 2-3 weeks. I had no idea why I was feeling so horrible all of the time but my logic was "if I am getting a cold, and I stop running, my body will totally give in to the cold." Stupid, maybe. But after I found out what was wrong with me, and after I was unable to get out of bed easily in the morning...and found myself actually having to sit down in a PUBLIC shower because I felt SO bad...I stopped running for a period. My very early 20's came and I kept running but I was never able to run more than a mile or two at a time, even though I got lots of inspiration from a very attractive and fit neighbor of mine who would go out and run every day. :)

It seemed like no matter what I did, I just couldn't progress. I learned about different exercises and training methods and actually took to hill running and plyometrics and I saw small improvements there but nothing major and I still couldn't run 4 miles.

Mid-20's--This was by far the most rocky period of my relationship with Running. Off and on, love and hate. Sometimes I wanted to, sometimes I didn't. Sometimes I did, sometimes I didn't. Running wasn't having the same effect on me as it did when I was 19. I wasn't proud of myself when I was with Running. Back then, I thought it was Running's fault. I know now that it was my fault. I wasn't giving it the love it needed to give love back to me!

Let's fast

2007 (age 27)--I FINALLY decided to give myself to Running, once and for all. I didn't want to be one of those people who get to the beginning of the new year and START exercising. I never have liked that. I want to prove to myself that it's an actual lifestyle change and so during the fall of last year, I started getting serious again. I started my own personal walk/run program. I kept at it. I'd come home on lunch and walk...and walk...and walk...until I felt strong enough to start running. And I'd run...and run...and run...until I could run farther and farther. One mile was KILLER. Two miles I hit a plateau. Then I just kept pushing. I didn't want to give up because I remembered how awesome it felt to run and to love it and to feel good doing it.

2008--My first race was in March and it was a 5K. All it took was that one race and I knew that I didn't want to give up on Running, and I didn't want to give up on myself either!

I've come SO far personally. And the discipline that I've had this year has shown me just what I can do when I set my mind to it. I realize that there are so many people out there that are so much faster and can run so much farther than me but I'm proud of them too! I can be proud of my own accomplishments because I can see them so clearly and with each improvement, it gives me the motivation to push even harder and to not give up as I have so many earlier times.

Next up: The present.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Home Run 5 Mile RR

I'm currently in my bed typing this, recovering from the ice bath and then a nice warm shower. With my race goal achieved beyond my expectations, my only goal for the remainder of this day involves figuring out what to eat for dinner!

Today was the Home Run 5 Miler at Bernheim Forest. If you've read my other blog entries, you'd know that Bernheim is probably my single most favorite place to spend my time! That being said, this race was my most anticipated race of the year, with the exception of my first race ever back in March, the Anthem 5K Fitness Classic. Coincidentally, I first learned about the Home Run 5 Mile race from a postcard that was placed INSIDE of my Anthem 5K Fitness Classic packet! From that day, I planned to run this race. Funny, looking back, I remember doubting myself because I didn't think I'd be able to run 5 miles and that I'd have to put in so much training to be able to even complete it!

My mom's been bitten by the race bug since we did the American Heart Walk together. Since, she's completed two races, including today's Home Run 5K (they held a 5 mile race AND a 5K, simultaneously). DBF has run a couple of 5Ks with me this year (his first was the Anthem 5K as well) and at the last minute, he decided to register and run the 5K as well. It was great to have them there, especially before the race for the company and after the race to cheer me in--they were both finished with the 5K by the time I finished my 5 miles, so they were waiting for me at the end!

The start was casual and this was not a chip timed event, but most people running it seemed happy and a lot of the runners I spoke to have been running this for a couple of years or more. It's just one of those races that you love to do because of the beautiful scenery and the overal feeling of the event. It's a great cause--benefitting the Home of the Innocents, a non-profit organization that helps children in severe need of assistance with just about any crisis--from pregnant teens to autistic children, and even abused and displaced children. The course was lined with signs stating figures and facts related to the Home of the Innocents and their causes, which was a GREAT thing! It was a great way to inform us and help keep us focused on why we were there!

The 5K and 5 Mile course started at the same location but split off at two points--once around the 1.5 mile mark and meeting again less than a mile after; and then splitting off again near the 5K finish to have the 5 milers run an uphill/downhill section before finishing our race.

I definitely wasn't in the mood to run today, just didn't feel in the "zone" at all. Plus, it was a little chilly and I just couldn't get into it. I started pretty far back, just to hang out with my mom and DBF before the race and as I said, it was a pretty laid back start so I wasn't too worried. My goal was to be very conservative for the first 2 miles and then run an all out 5K, because I knew I could do that without any problems and I'd still get in at a respectable time for me. I was hoping for 55:00 but expected to come in around 1:00:00, especially since I wasn't feeling like putting in the effort!

During the first mile, I was just focusing on running a smooth, easy pace and then I felt a tap on my shoulder--I looked over and it was DBF running with me! What a nice surprise! We ran together for about a mile, and I multi tasked, focusing both on my pace but also on his, trying to keep him focused and strong so that he wouldn't burn out before the end of his race. At the first mile marker, my watch (which I had synced with my start line cross, not the race start time) showed 11:39. I worried I might have been going too fast for me for 5 miles but I was feeling good so tried to maintain the pace through mile 2. Eventually, the first course split appeared where the 5 milers had to veer off to take another course, the volunteer yelled, "Ohh c'mon, don't let HER be the bigger woman!" DBF didn't even hear her! He ended up with a respectable finish for his 5K and I'm really proud (and happy) that he ran it! I know he had fun and I'm glad he did well!

After running around Ten Toms Hollow, which consisted of gently rolling hills that weren't too challenging, the 5 mile course merged again with the 5K course. This proved to be both exciting and a little annoying! My mom spotted me (she was looking behind her to find me I think) so I focused on steadily approaching her. It was a rush of adrenaline to run beside the 5K participants because some of them were genuinely impressed (even by little ol' slow me) with those of us running the 5 miles. I heard comments like "I don't know how they do it..." and my favorite, "Move over honey, let the more serious runners through!" :) Of course, there were the annoying ones, but there were definitely less of those than at any other race! I had to maneuver through quite a few people walking, but 99% of the time, when I yelled out "On your right/left" they moved quickly and without problem.

At mile 3, my watch showed 31:xx, which for me, was great. I was happy that I was going at a decent pace but again, worried that I was going to burn out so I kept telling myself to slow down a little. After mile 3, I really started to push my pace and felt that I was working harder than normal--which was fine, this IS a race, after all! By the time I reached the second course split for the 5 milers (where the 5K finished) I realized where they were taking us and I was NOT happy. I'm familiar enough with the course to know that they only road they had left to dedicate to us 5 milers was Fire Tower Road. This displeased me. Why, you ask? Because it's one long road that goes completely uphill on the way to the Fire Tower. Sure enough, that's where we ran the last leg of our race--a constant uphill battle! I was so happy (and sad) to see a fellow forumite pass me (he was running downhill while I was running up)--happy because I saw him and it feels good to see SOMETHING familiar or fun when you're tired of running, and sad because I know he's a faster runner than me and if he was going downhill at that point, I knew I had a LOT left! LOL

I found a couple of ladies to pace myself with, they looked pretty strong so I just stayed with them for the duration of the uphill. Once we turned around to start the descent (and the stretch that would lead us to the finish) I figured everyone would glide down. However, my "pacers" stayed steady at their current pace. I felt good enough that I decided I wanted to push this downhill and take advantage of the forward motion for the final 3/4 mile or so that remained. I pushed past the ladies and quite a few others and when I got near the finish, it was AMAZING! There were so many people cheering and clapping and it was just an awesome experience. DBF walked over to me and cheered me on (and told me to sprint, which I declined!), and I saw mom clapping and happy on the side, cheering me in too! She finished her 5K well, too, and had a blast. I'm so glad she has such a good time doing something so good for her!

At the finish, which I somehow totally missed...I almost missed the chute and was still running full pace because I never saw the finish line! At the end of the chute, I finally stopped running and realized that the finishers in front of me also had no idea where the finish was, so I felt better! My watch had me finishing at 53:20, which was over a minute faster than my WISH time! That made my pace for this race 10:40, which is just such an amazing improvement for me. It's just so great to see the improvements--not just in time but in overall fitness DURING these events. I don't find myself gasping or panting, and my muscles all feel stronger. My endurance is greater and my speed is coming and I'm so happy that my hard work pays off!

On the flip, though, I'm going to have to figure out my "push point." I had SO much more energy left after this race, it was unbelievable. I was running for a cool down, I was running to the car to get my pants and pullover, I was running wherever I found the chance--AFTER THE FREAKING RACE! Mom, DBF and I went to Denny's after the award ceremony and I couldn't sit still, my legs were constantly moving. So when we got home, I actually went out and ran around my neighborhood. So, if I was able to run and feel comfortable doing so AFTER the race, I think it's fair to assume that I didn't give ENOUGH during the race.

I guess my goal now is to determine what amount of "push" is just enough.

Next races--I have nothing concrete plannned but I will probably be registering for the Polar Bear Grand Prix to get me through the winter. More on that later.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I think I might need a second job...

Register for a race with it, kitteh!

It's not like the individual races cost that much, but when you start adding them up, it can be expensive! Now, I will say, I believe it's far worth it--PLUS, I went 5 months WITHOUT one race, so I'm sorta making up for lost time here. But the enjoyment I receive from getting up early on a Saturday morning and running around for no reason other than to prove something to myself (plus the excitement after teh race of eating lots of food to "recover" really gets me going too!) is worth every penny. Besides, what else would I do with it? Probably eat out one too many times, or buy a shirt or save it (that would be responsible) or buy something I don't really need. In a way, racing is my entertainment. And it definitely keeps me focused on training and my health!

Here's my current race list:

1. I registered for the KDF miniMarathon last month, which isn't actually until April 2009.
2. I am running the Home Run 5 Miler/5K this Saturday.
3. I would like to do the No Boundaries 5K or 10K on Nov. 1, especially since it's at 8AM. I LOVE earlier races, I have no idea why. Call me crazy.
4. I just completed the Race for the Cure 2 weeks ago.
5. I plan on registering for the Polar Bear Grand Prix (three races) very soon.
6. Registration just opened for the Louisville Triple Crown and I definitely plan on doing need to register today for it but I want to secure my spot! :)

I'm going to start a business in the third bedroom just to pay for my races!

What do you think?

Naw, not really. But a girl can dream, can't she? LOL (For the record, I found that picture on google images, and is not at all property of mine)!

Today's run was BLAH. I got off work and just had no desire to do anything other than sit around on my butt. But I didn't. I got dressed and ran. The first mile was fine I guess, but soon after, my legs felt like BRICKS! I did an easy 3 that was an out and back and on the way back, I felt like my whole body weighed a ton. I felt so lethargic but even so, I was unable to slow down enough to run at my planned pace--13:21. Throughout the run, I kept telling myself to slow down, but I ended at 38:56, which is a 12:59 pace. Just couldn't slow down enough to make goal. It's amazing how much I've progressed though. During today's run, I had two thoughts:

#1 -- The fact that I'm running as strong as I could and focusing on my form even though I felt so lethargic said something for my running mental health AND makes me feel like it'll be easier to get through both the easy AND the hard days, now.

#2 -- My easy and LSD runs used to be in the mid 14:00 area (earlier this year), and that took a lot out of me. Now I find it very difficult to slow down enough to run a 13:00 pace. That means I'm getting faster and/or fitter. I'm proud of my improvement!

Tomorrow is my tempo run but I'm going to have to do it at a track--hopefully I'll be able to find one that's open to the public!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

One Week In...An Update on Last Week

Exactly 7 days ago, almost to the hour, I was getting fitted for the first time for a new pair of running shoes. I felt legitimatized! :)

This day also marks the beginning of my training week, and the beginning of week 2 of training for the miniMarathon in April. It's a long way away but I'm so worried about my ITBS flaring up that I'm working on an extended plan that slowly increases my mileage and will allow me to run 13-14 miles a couple of times before the Mini. One thing I've learned about myself in the last few months as I've increased my mileage to levels of which I've never before been capable is that the first time is very difficult. The second time is noticeably easier. And the third time, it almost feels like I've been doing it for months. So if I can get at least 3 13+ mile runs in before the Mini, I'll feel pretty good about completing it.

This week in training was a successful week and a quality week. I didn't log a gigantic amount of miles but that wasn't my goal and it will not be my goal for the first month. I logged more than the plan required but within reason and in good health. I challenged myself, I worked hard, I took it easy when I had to and even though it was just the first week, I feel great about my ability to continue on this path for the next 5-6 months.

The weather is perfect for me right now, but I know that soon, it will get cooler and darker and maybe we'll get snow and ice and I won't want to get out there. But I will and I'm trying to make it easier to do so by shopping for winter gear right now. If I have what I need to tough the streets in cold, snow and ice, I'll have no real excuse this winter. And I'll finally be HAPPY to not have to run in the morning, since the temps will be so freaking cold!

I hope everyone else is doing great!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

What dreams are made of...

This is one of the first views I saw during my warmup this morning (and boy did I need the warmup! It was chilly willy out there, man!) Anyway, if you can't make out that little white dot, it's the moon! During my ride to Bernheim Forest, the sun was rising and it seemed to be really cloudy. But once I got there and started my warm up, it cleared up and looked so beautiful. In fact, this day has been gorgeous. This is why I love Fall!

I headed around the main arboretum road (a generally smooth concrete road with a wide pedestrian/bike lane off to the side), which is a loop around the park and services the main parts of the arboretum--including an education center, several shorter trails, a conference center (also used for weddings), BEAUTIFUL scenery and the award winning visitors center. Made from recycled wood and complete with a a green roof, the visitors center is nice to look at AND pleasing to the environment. It also uses geothermal heating and cooling, reuses water from roof runoff and rainfall and my favorite, the fact that it was constructed in a manner that will allow it to be "unbuilt" so that the parts can be used for something else in the future. Here's a picture I took some time ago, so you can see the general idea--though I think it is MUCH more beautiful than the picture tells:

If you care to see more pictures, you can view the gallery on their website: Visitor's Center Photo Gallery

Inside, there used to be an EXCELLENT casual cafe with coffee, tea, a great house salad, and a fantastic assortment of sandwiches and wraps. It was the kind of place you could go and warm up or cool down and just sit and chat for hours. They even had live music on the weekends! But I assume it was too expensive to keep up nearly year round and they've toned down to a mostly self-service, grab and eat type place. It just occurred to me how wonderful it would be to sell them some of my baked goods--or better yet WARNING: BIG DREAM ABOUT TO INSERT ITSELF IN 3...2...1... I could revamp the whole place, call it my own and do what they did only ten times better, and maybe with the help of one of my culinary-inclined friends! Coffees, hot chocolates of all varieties, pies, cakes, cookies, sandwiches, vegetarian friendly...the whole nine!

Okay, I apoologize, that wasn't running-related at all. Unless you want me to say that I will focus my new cafe on small pre-run meals and healthy recovery meals. Yes, that's it. Now, it's all running-related!

Back to my long run--I decided to hit a short but GREAT trail early in the run. It's named the "Sun and Shade Loop" and runs you right beside Lake Nevin without you even knowing until you get there! :) It was beautiful, easy to navigate and such a treat for my feet, eyes and mind.

The beginning was a dirt/gravel path that was pretty open...

At the back part of the loop, this is the view of the lake...

I headed back out to the main park road and headed off one of the side roads that leads to more heavily wooded areas and more hiking and bike trails. This run was amazing--think one way concrete roads with yellow and orange leaves sprinkled throughout and more beautiful scenery. This is about the time that I decided to name my Mizuno Wave Nirvana 4's their new name--the Acorn Eaters. DBF prefers "Squirrels." These shoes are notorious for scarfing up acorns during my runs. It's actually funny, if not annoying.

If you can tell, they have a pretty sizable gap in the heel that seems to really invite huge acorns--though I've only noticed in my left shoe...apparently the right one isn't "nuts." Har har.

I ran around Ten Toms Loop, which is a moderately hilly path that is bike, car and pedestrian friendly. Then I headed further down to Guerilla Hollow, where a short but incredibly hilly 1.2 mile trail exists. My mom, DBF and I tried to do this trail many months ago but it was deer season and they had it closed. This was my second favorite portion of my run today--it was very serene and fortunately well-marked because with that many trees, twists, turns, hills and a sea of fall color on the ground, there is no way I could have found my way out!

By the time I finished my run, it was nearing 10AM and apparently the scarecrow at the entrance and all of the "event parking here" signs were for a purpose!! They had a park-wide event called "Color Fest" that started at 10AM. It was a family friendly event with artists and craftmakers, educational booths, food, music and other fun--like Zap! Electric cars on display! Very fun, and it was so crowded--I hadn't noticed during most of my run because I wasn't in the central portion of the park, which is where all of the festivities were taking place. I called DBF to let him know I was heading home and to get his "order" because I wanted to stop and pick up some breakfast, but he decided it would be more fun to ride his motor-cyyyyy-cle out to the arborteum and have "breakfast" with me. I say "breakfast" because we actually ate grilled hamburgers, chips/pretzels and Sprite! We shopped a little, walked around and then drove up to the Fire Tower, which remains closed, much to my dismay.

Concerning the run itself--it was the most beautiful, peaceful and effortless 7 miles I've ever done. I could have done more. My legs felt strong, and thanks in part to the cooler weather, I felt good all around. It was an amazing run and I don't think I'll ever be able to duplicate this experience, but you can bet your ass I'll try!

Oh and one final thought consisting of two very important words, frightening to the faint of heart and comforting to the legs of runners everywhere...


I've got this thing down great. This doesn't mean that I enjoy it, though once I'm in, I feel this weird happy lunacy.

1. Fill your tub up with cool-cold water, about 6 inches or enough to cover your legs. I've got monster thighs so I have to go up a little higher! LOL

2. Go make a hot beverage--I prefer coffee.

3. Get 3-4 trays of ice and dump in a container big enough to hold that much ice.

4. Grab your training log to write down today's info and/or a RunnersWorld magazine (to keep you distracted)

5. Take off your running clothes, except for your underwear (assuming you wear some) and put on a hooded sweatshirt.

*This part I'm not so good at*

6. Get in. Slowly or quickly. Just get in.

7. Have DBF/DH/DGF/DW or anyone that you think might want to secretly have revenge on you dump in the container of ice. But make sure they know to be careful and not hit your legs with the tumbling ice.

*DBF enjoyed doing this the first time. I think he got a kick out of it. Today though, he was feeling a little less like torturing me and I think he felt bad about doing it. I had to explain to him that it's GOOD for me even though it doesn't feel good at first. He even turned the heat on for me--that's love!

8. Sit there uncomfortably for the first 60-120 seconds. Be miserable. Really. Shiver a little. Keep the coffee close and the hood on. Don't even think about reading, you won't be able to concentrate.

9. After the initial discomfort passes, you'll forget you're cold. You'll have 5-10 minutes of good reading time.

Ironically, I picked up an older copy of RW for today's ice bath and there was a story on *drumroll* ice baths. They discussed how they worked, which was pretty cool to know. Let me copy and paste the pertinent info that I found on RW site just now:

Cryotherapy ("cold therapy") constricts blood vessels and decreases metabolic activity, which reduces swelling and tissue breakdown. Once the skin is no longer in contact with the cold source, the underlying tissues warm up, causing a return of faster blood flow, which helps return the byproducts of cellular breakdown to the lymph system for efficient recycling by the body. "Ice baths don't only suppress inflammation, but help to flush harmful metabolic debris out of your muscles," says David Terry, M.D., an ultrarunner who has finished both the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run and the Wasatch Front 100-Mile Endurance Run 10 consecutive times.

Anyhow, I'm feeling pretty good after my long run. I thought I might feel pretty sore and tired today after doing so much running and incorporating the far more challenging trail running into the workout, but I feel pretty good and I think that's because of the ice bath and my recovery foods!

I LOVE RUNNING! I am so grateful for today!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

No running, just updating nothing

Today was my rest day, and I drank some wine and somehow fell asleep at the computer. I just woke up in the bed after a nice little nap and feeling pretty good about the whole experience. Me and Running will have make up love tomorrow.

I miss my shoes though. But I just had the best dinner, I LOVE Fazoli's chicken broccoli bake. I don't think anything should taste that good, and it's not good for you. Nothing that tastes REALLY good is actually good for you.

Based on my Smart Coach Training Plan, I have an easy run planned tomorrow--a mere 2 miles at a slow pace. I'm going to have to fight the urge to do more than that or go faster--I guess this is where the modifying takes place. I don't want to do too much but 2 miles at 13:21 isn't much of a workout. I guess I could make it into one...and spend most of my time on core exercises and strength training. Thanks for letting me talk that out with you! :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New shoes, new plan, fun times

I started my "extended half marathon" training yesterday based on the personalized Smart Coach training plan and two days in, so far so good! With running, I am plan-oriented for the most part. It's easy for me to "fall off the wagon" if I don't have a piece of paper or a website of which to be accountable. Yesterday's run was a simple, easy run and today's was a tempo run. I was pretty proud of my performance today--tempo pace was supposed to be (don't laugh) 11:42 per mile for 3 miles but I ran 11:49 for 3.3 miles instead. I realize it was a little slower than plan but gimme a break! Those hills that I run are killer to me!

I'm enjoying my new shoes! Yes, I finally went and got fitted. I struggled the day before trying to decide whether I should go to Fleet Feet or Swag's but I stuck with Fleet Feet. I'm so glad I did, it was so much fun and the young lady that helped me was so nice and *ahem* helpful! They've got a nice crew there and I (as I'm sure many others do) appreciate them!

So here's what I'll be training in for the next couple of months--the Mizuno Wave Nirvana 4.

I can tell a difference in stability for sure, especially today when I had to run on acorns instead of pavement. LOL Everything is falling from those trees and lands either on ME or on the ground and I have to either dodge them or step on them--in my old shoes, I would have broken my ankle 3 times over today. :) I'm going to wear them in another day or two, hopefully it'll be smooth sail...errr...running!

I took a small section of trail after my run today and it was so beautiful. I'm going to have to head out and do some long trail running very soon, perhaps this weekend! I'm so excited!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Elation, Deflation, Realization, Visualization

Today's 5K Goal=35:00.

I've heard never to get too happy or too sad...keep your emotions balanced so that the ups won't take you so high that you crash too hard when you go down. Today was my first race in over 5 months--the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K. I was excited to participate in such a great event with a worthy cause and a great turnout. The event helped to raise more than $500,000 for local organizations involved with treatment and prevention, with a portion benefiting research and other efforts at the national level. Just being amongst all of the people, I could tell it was crowded but an estimated 10,000 participants were down there. We had GREAT weather and a start that was actually a few seconds early--which beats the usual late start!

Now for the stop reading if you don't want to hear the story of my deflation.

Runners who wished to be timed were required to pay $5 extra and received a chip and a blue bib, to help distinguish the timed participants from the others. When I went to line up, I looked for blue bibs so that I could get to the front with the other runners. The problem was, I saw about one blue bib for every 7 or 8 people in any given several feet radius. At the start, runners were having to get past people holding hands, walkers in lines 3-5 people across, walkers with strollers--you name it, it was in front of us and all around. Now, call me self-absorbed if you want, but runners who paid extra to be timed should have been at the front while everyone else stayed behind. I blame both the organizers of the events where this occurs AND the participants. Race organizers have a responsibility to make the race comfortable for EVERYONE--not just runners, not just walkers. This is my first year racing but in all of my races this year, not one has had pacing corrals or any sort of indication at the start where participants should run up, based on their ability. I can't imagine that doing this would be very difficult and I think it would definitely make the experience more enjoyable for everyone there. Runners can run safely and not bob and weave past people that have no business being up front holding hands and walking slow, and walkers don't have to worry about fast teen boys nearly tripping them as they walk in support of the cause.

I was frustrated at the start but soon got over it as I started to break away from the crowds of walkers. I focused on maintaining a fast but comfortable pace for me for the first mile. At mile marker 1, I was at 11:14, which was right on track for my goal. After the mile marker, I decided I needed to push a little harder and I felt good enough to do so...but at some point, I started thinking "where the hell is the half point?" LOL It was an out and back course and just as I really started getting ready to run the last half of the race, it appeared. I was a little surprised because even though I was feeling a little rough, it seemed like it was a little sooner than I would have guessed. When I got to mile marker 2, the woman called out "9:20!" I was so confused by this that I actually had to ask a nearby runner what she had just said. His reply?

"9:20. She just gave us the actual time. They don't know what the hell they're doing."

I was thinking to myself, "How on EARTH did I just run a 9 minute mile?" I know to many of you, it's laughable that a 10 minute mile is a goal of mine, but it is! So the thought of me actually running that mile in 9 minutes blew my mind. I second guessed myself and thought that if I actualy ran a 9 minute mile (which would have been the first time doing so) that I was pushing too hard and I was going to fizzle out if I didn't calm it down a notch.

The last mile+ was pretty crappy but I stayed strong and was excited to see my mom passing on the other side of the street! For the first time ever, I pushed myself so hard that my stomach truly felt like it was going to refund the yogurt and water from earlier in the morning. I kept breathing and telling myself not to upchuck, even when I ran into several puddles of someone ELSE's upchuck. LOL

ELATION: Rounding the final turn, I decided to push a little harder just to ensure a PR, even though I had NO clue what the current time was by this point. I looked over on the side and saw DBF cheering me on, checking his watch and he shouted out "Great time!" I still couldn't see the finish clock but when I did, I had to do a double take. It read 30:23. I was in disbelief and pushed in to get 30:30! I felt like I was going to topple over but I didn't and ran for some water!!

DEFLATION: Finding out that the certified 5K course you just ran and PR'd was actually poorly executed and was only 2.79 miles.

REALIZATION: There are several ways to look at this.

1. This was my first ever 2.79 mile race. 30:30 is an automatic PR.
2. A 30:30 time in a 2.79 mile race averages out to 10:55 min/mile pace.
a. At 10:55 min/mile, my estimated 5K time for today would have been 33:50, which is definitely FASTER than my goal for today.
b. At 10:55 min/mile, this is the fastest pace I've ever run in a race (my current best is 11:52) and therefore is testament to my training, my improvement and it's something of which I am very, very proud.
3. No matter what, I just supported a very worthy cause, earned a new PR for a crazy random distance, proved to myself that I DO run faster after training appropriately, proved to myself that I undoubtedly would have earned a 5K PR, and participated with my mom in her first race ever. That alone made it all worth it.


On the horizon, I have a 5 mile race and several 4K-4 mile races before the end of the year to complete--all new chances to earn an official PR, to have fun, to support great causes and to train for my first ever half next year. I'm going to keep pushing forward.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Taper, Base and Race

If you have a problem with dogs chasing you when you run...don't buy that shoe! (On the other hand, if you need a little motivation to run faster, try them out!)

This last week+ was a taper period for me. I'm going to pick back up with base training as soon as I start feeling better--apparently I'm coming down with something. My mom and I did the 3 mile American Heart Walk across 2nd Street Bridge in the morning which was great fun but I started feeling a little worse after it was over. At DBF's brother's birthday party yesterday evening, I felt pretty crappy the entire time. So today, I slept in instead of doing any training at all, and I'm okay with that decision. I believe my body thanks me. Now, if only running will do the same thing when we meet this week...

We'll see.

I don't remember if I mentioned this but I've already registered for the KDF Mini-Marathon! And earlier today, I registered for the Komen Race for the Cure (5K) and I'm super excited about that! Great cause and it'll be my reintroduction to the racing world after 5 months! I can't wait! My goal is to run sub 35:00, think I can do it? :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Losing Motivation, Heading for Procrastination

What is that dude wearing, anyway?

So in case you couldn't tell by the umm...title...I'm hitting a low point in the running "career" again. I hate the spells I go through, and I imagine I'm not alone in this phenomenon. I am cognizant of the same "roller coaster" pattern in other areas of life--relationships, healthy eating, a certain hobby, etc. You have a lot of motivation for a few months to achieve a goal or you just get in "the mood" to do something at a higher frequency, but eventually, the motivation fades and you stop doing so well or stop putting so much energy into said aspect/activity. But within a few months, you're back at it again, doing good. It's that love/hate relationship that we all know so well! Speaking of, here's one of my favorite commercials from the NB line of love/hate advertisements:

New Balance "Bench"

I think part of my problem is that I haven't had any scheduled races since Spring...that's GOT to be it! I really need to stay focused and continue training so that I'll be ready in October. I have 3 races planned that month, no need to slack off right now! It's just hard for me right now since the job change and (not to make an excuse) my body is totally out of whack because of the change of schedule. I had my workout and all successive bodily functions at the same time every day. Now, my body is asking, "WTF are you doing getting up at 4:30? And you're not even running, you're just eating and going to work? Where's the RUN? DON'T DO THIS TO ME!" I miss running in the morning so badly. Now I have all day to talk myself out of it. :(

Anyhoo, I am excited for the next 5K, which will probably be the Race for the Cure. My last 5K was May 10 and I know my speed has improved since then, thanks to my hard work. I believe I'll set a new PR, but even if I don't, it will feel so good to get out there and race again after almost 5 months! I'm really looking forward to the Home Run 5 Miler at Bernheim Forest, it will be so beautiful there during that race!

Hey guys, feel free to give me a pep talk...I think I need it!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Grow up, Miss Shorty Pants!

Seriously, I've heard enough controversy about running skirts. What is the problem with them?

Prior to this spring, I had never worn one but not because I was judgemental about them or the women who wear them, only because I just hadn't been introduced to them yet. I found one on a clearance rack and thought I'd try it on. In the fitting room, it felt comfortable and looked decent, so I thought I'd give it a try on my next training run, knowing that even though it felt okay in the fitting room, it may not suit me on the road.

Well, it DID suit me and it felt GREAT! No more worrying about my shorts riding up and exposing too much thigh! No more noisy fabrics rubbing together! It was great. Eventually, I ended up buying a few more and I haven't run in shorts since. Not that I won't at some point, but honestly, I don't see the point when I have a piece of clothing that does everything I want it to.

My current fave, the C9:

I remember the first race to which I actually wore a skirt, and I felt like everyone was looking at me because of all of the "skirt" controversy. "REAL RUNNERS DON'T WEAR SKIRTS!" That has got to be one of the most ignorant statements and a testament to the confidence level of the woman who actually thinks that. I'm a real runner and I do wear a skirt. I don't wear it because it makes me look cute. I wear it for comfort. I wear it because pre- and post-run I can get on the ground and do my stretches and spread my legs and not have anyone catching a glimpse of my private parts! I wear it because it makes me feel good and contrary to what an e-mailer said in the comments section of October's Runners World issue, if I am comfortable working out (whether in a skirt, or shorts), I CAN push my body. She's plain wrong and I find it interesting that I haven't heard ANY men say anything negative about the skirts...just some women. That speaks volumes.

To all of you women who have a problem with running skirts, mind your own damn business. It's not that serious! We feel good in them and that will help our training. That should be what matters to you, as we should be focusing on supporting each other, not belittling each other based on apparel choices. You don't hear the skirt wearers demeaning YOU, do you? Maybe it's because we feel so much better and LOOK good doing it.