Thursday, August 20, 2009

I am not being lazy right now...



It's been far too long, yes, I know! Just been healing up from my injury and slowly adding mileage. Funny how quickly your body LOSES fitness, and at the same time, how quickly it can regain it. I am not pushing myself at all--I refuse to push so hard that I don't allow myself healing time and I definitely don't want to be down for so long again. It's been torture. Since I began running a few miles a week, I have been much happier. Nothing, not even P90X gave me the same feeling as a good run did. Totally different beast, it is.

So I'm coming back--slow as molasses. But I AM returning and loving it. I went out on Tuesday and had the most horrendous run. Before leaving the house, I vowed to do 4 miles. No problem, I thought. I get out there and my elbow started sweating. Yes, my ELBOW! So I said, "Hey, do 3, that's a respectable number." Everything was dripping and drenched and I felt horrible. I knocked out 2 miles. I felt like a chump. No typo there. CHUMP.

Everything is great, FYI. Wedding planning, happy with running again, just living life and hoping for the best every day! How are YOU doing?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Downdate (as opposed to an update)...



I have been a little quiet recently, I realize that. It's not that I don't WANT to update you guys, it's just that I don't really have anything exciting or special to report. In fact, I've been pretty bummed and down since the KDF Mini-Marathon.

I know what you're thinking--I've got those Post-Race Blues. You know, the Blues when you finish your BIG RACE and you look around and say, "Now what?" And you get all anxious because nothing will ever compare to that feeling of accomplishment you just experienced. Or something like that.

Well, if that's what you were thinking, you're wrong. The night before the Mini, I hurt myself. I have been calling it a hamstring tear. I have not had it professionally evaluated but I gave it my best guess. I don't need to hear about how I should go see the doctor. I've heard it before.

So I ran with that injury during the Half Marathon. I was in severe pain for the last 4 miles or so, but I pushed through. I stayed off of it for about two weeks after--no running. I was okay with that because I had planned a pretty substantial rest period after the race anyway. But I got the bug to start running again and I felt no pain so I went for it. 2.5 miles in, I was in pain again. So now, I'm going on one month of *pretty much* no running and I'm SO frustrated. I WANT to run.

I was supposed to be training for my 10K in June but I haven't even been able to start because of this injury. I'm just bummed.

I've been cycling and doing P90X, plus a lot of strength training and plyometrics but those activities don't make me feel the way (the GREAT way) I feel when I run. I MISS IT.

I figured that I better start planning something for myself so that I don't get stuck in a RUT and do myself a huge injustice. This is hard for me because THIS round of planning requires wisdom, patience, determination and honesty.

1. Wisdom--to know the difference between the things I can do and the things I cannot do. (Sounds sort of like the Serenity Prayer, huh?)

2. Patience--in allowing my body to heal and in training when I DO start running again.

3. Determination--to fight through the laziness and stay focused on a target goal since I don't have a race urgently waiting for me around the corner.

4. Honesty--with myself. I can't conquer the world. I HAVE to heal. I WON'T be as good when I start running again as I was when I stopped. I WILL have to work hard. I WON'T be able to keep up with my running buddies. I MIGHT get down on myself. I will probably feel alone for awhile. I WILL get better. Everything WILL be great, in time.

So now, I have to create some goals and make a plan. That'll be the next entry--just wait!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Trail Running with My Other Buddy...

Chassis and I went to Bernheim today for some official trail running! This wasn't her first time out on the trails but it was her first time trail running with me. We had a blast! We entered the park, and the attendant at the entrance booth smiled and said "You guys have fun!" That's right, mister, we're two hot chics looking for some hot trails!!!

I took her to the Zen Garden first, which is a favorite of mine. (I'm going to post a couple of pictures but they aren't from today's visit--just some of my own stock photos from previous visits there!)



She was amazed at the sound of a frog croaking continuously. It was here that I also taught her to overcome her fears! I crossed to the other side of the pond and she froze in fear and cowered! I talked her through it, trying to make her feel comfortable enough to just let go and trust herself and she DID IT!!!! It wasn't graceful but she did it and she did it twice!

We then headed over to Knob Top Trail, which is a RIDICULOUSLY hilly trail and if you take it in the direction that we did today, you go uphill most of the time. LOL We had a blast running through there. She tried to run in front of me a couple of times but I was NOT going to let her pass me, not a chance! So I made sure to keep the lead throughout the trail.

From the exit of Knob Top Trail, which is where we entered for today's run:


From Knob Top Trail, we ran over to Two Ponds Loop:


Beyond the bridge, she saw a goose and was quite interested by him. He was NOT happy that we were there and he was very vocal about his feelings--not a typical male, if you ask me. LOL After torturing him for awhile, we exited onto the main road. We followed along the loop and stopped near the Sun and Shade Loop to rest up. I didn't want to push her too hard today but she was having so much fun! (Still no water at the fountains...wondering if they'll ever turn it back on?)

After we reached the parking lot, I grabbed some treats and water and we walked back over to the Zen Gardens and to Lake Nevin. We sat together on the bench and admired the lake and all its beauty! (If you look closely on the left of the picture below, amongst the trees, you'll find the bench on which Chassis and I rested today!)



Total run was just about 3 miles but we had a ball and I really wanted to test out my leg. There's still discomfort but at short easy runs, I think I'll be okay. I'll just need to allow proper recovery even between the easy runs for now!

Happy Running everybody!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Shifting gears--literally.

Mid week update!!

Hamstring is feeling better. I still don't have full range of motion but I'm feeling 85% better from Saturday. As much as I hate having the rest from running, I'm using this time as a much needed mental and physical break from running.

Of course, I don't want to lose my fitness level so I've been cycling. Today I did a tempo ride of 7.4 miles. It was actually a great ride--a little tough at certain portions but I'm really starting to love it. I have to buy a pair of gloves though, my palms were getting a little callused after the ride and that's only at 7 miles--I'll have to make plans to pick up a pair. Any good discount cycling sites? I've checked Nashbar, not bad there. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

I've got a 5K approaching on May 9 so I'll be focusing on that next week, making sure that my hamstring is in tip top shape. I would love to bring that race home in under 30 minutes but without recent speedwork and consistent long runs, I wonder if I'll manage that again. We'll see. :)

I hope everyone is fully recovered from the racing during the past weekend! Run strong!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Morning After

Woke up early today and got Joey, his parents and my mom together for an early morning breakfast at the Bristol on the Ohio River. It was spectacular. The food was good (the service was questionable), the view was great and the weather was perfect. A cinnamon cappucino, an omelette and some home fries later, we all took off to walk down at the Falls of the Ohio. A FUN MORNING.

Here's where we sat:



Joey and I took our bikes out this afternoon and I put in 5.07 miles. I was hoping it would loosen my legs up a bit and it did just that. Felt great. Even my injured leg felt good for an hour or two but now it's stiffening up again. Other than my injured leg, the only thing that is even bothering me from yesterday are my shoulders. They are so tight and sore.

Today was the perfect day after a wonderful Race Day. I missed my running buddies though--wish we could have had some fun before OUR weekend came to an end. There's always next weekend, though.

Now I'm excited about the potential that lies ahead of me--hiking, biking, trail running, more group runs (I HOPE!) and some more fun stuff sure to come! I can't wait!

And on a NRR note, today was the first day I really paid attention to the progress of our new arena construction project. Here are some cool artist rendered pics I found today:





Oh and while we're talking about Louisville Cardinals, peep this motorcycle at the Family 1st Bike Blessing yesterday (and really pay attention the detail). It's spectacular:



That's all I've got, folks.

Thank You

I need to say thank you to a few folks for making my first half-marathon everything that it was.

Thanks to all of the race officials and any and everybody that had anything at all to do with planning, organizing and executing this event. At least from my perspective, in my running shoes for 13.1 miles, all aspects of this race were executed to near perfection (with only one or two minor things that I didn't actually let effect my race experience). The volunteers were generally helpful and READY, the police officers were incredibly friendly and dutiful, the announcers were motivating and fun and it was just a great and smooth experience. THANK YOU!

Thank you to all of you wonderful spectators--even if you weren't at THIS race. I don't think people realize how much a few words of encouragement, a funny sign or some sort of noisemaker can actually HELP runners. I'm all for a clap, a yell or even just an outreached hand to slap when I run by, and thank you to everybody out there yesterday that did that! (My favorite was probably the group of drunk guys on Southern Parkway, they were a hoot!)

Thank you to my mom and to Joey and his parents for the constant support I receive. From motivating words, running magazine subscriptions, my GARMIN!!!, to just being there to cheer me on at races or to take pictures--and to listen to my incessant running-related and training stories--THANK YOU FOR BEING THERE FOR ME!

And last but CERTAINLY not least--thank you to my running buddies and everybody at Run the Ville. I love the support I get from these folks and a special shoutout goes out to Joe and Tom. Thank you for welcoming me and for motivating me and for helping me. The Mini wouldn't have been as great without you guys, no questions asked. And Christian and Lee, you guys have been great to run with and I hope we all continue to find time to train together for our next big endeavor, whatever it might be. And actually, I want to thank everybody's family because without their understanding and supportive nature, it wouldn't be as easy or as fun.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Learning Experience--KDF Mini Marathon RR!

I'm not sure how exactly I should write this entry because there's a lot to tell. But I'll do my best! My first half marathon went a little something like this:

THE DAY BEFORE

My wonderful running buddies and I have been raising money for Kosair Children's Hospital in an effort to aid in the expansion and continued improvements to the facilities to help those precious patients. We were lucky enough to be able to schedule a tour of the hospital and learn a lot of information about the hospital and what they can provide for our community's children. The tour was a little bit sobering for me but interesting and very well worth our time. Perhaps my favorite part of the experience was the poster that a couple of the children made us to show their thanks for our fundraising efforts. It touched my heart to think that there were some little hands making something to help motivate US. Here's a picture of it and thanks to Tom for posting it on the site!



After the tour and a couple of stops, we headed for the runner's Expo and packet pick up at the Kentucky Fair and Expo Center. It was actually a lot more fun at the Expo than I expected and there were a few vendors with cool stuff. We ran into another one of our running buddies there and hung out watching everything and thinking about the morning ahead. Then we got some lunch and Joe and Tom were lucky enough to get to go down to the Waterfront Chow Wagon while I had some errands to run that I had been putting off for too long. Luckily, I got everything done, they had fun (and some beer, apparently) and then we all met up for an early dinner at BD's Mongolian Grill. It was just an excellent day with good friends and a relaxed vibe--which we needed the day before the race!

PRE-RACE MORNING

I woke up at 4:30am, which was a little later than I intended to but I didn't actually get in bed early enough to feel good about waking up any earlier than that. I got up and did my pre-race routine and headed out the door to meet the team. Thanks again to Joe and his parents for a wonderful parking spot! After we were all organized and ready to roll, we took off on a trip down memory lane for Joe and headed for the start, which wasn't anymore than a mile or so away. It was a nice, cool and relaxing walk with friends. One of my favorite parts of the morning--everything was just sorta falling into place. Bathrooms were pretty easy to come by considering that there were an expected 12,000 participants, so that was another plus.

Before we knew it, we were done with a short warm-up and were lining up at the start. Everybody seemed pretty energized and ready to go. I started getting anxious--realizing MY FIRST HALF MARATHON WAS HERE--and there was no turning back. It was warm and that concerned me. I'm a happy runner in 50 degrees. As it gets beyond 60 degrees, I become less and less happy. LOL At the start, it was 71 degrees and I knew it wasn't going to top out there. We were expecting 80 degree temps before the course closed.

THE RACE

The Start
The start was smooth and quick--an unbelievable feat, I'm sure. Looking back, I'm a little stunned at how punctual and smooth the start actually was. I didn't have to elbow anyone and nobody elbowed me--it opened up just enough to get through. Joe took off pretty much immediately and Tom was a little ahead of me--I think he was taking it all in as much as I was. I wasn't as concerned with running at that moment. I had goose bumps and I was just enjoying those first few moments of excitement and anticipation, watching all of our wishes and hopes of the last few months unfold right in front of us. In no time, I saw my mom on the side, armed with her air horn! A great send off to be sure!!

Miles 1-3
This portion was crowded but not at all deadlocked like at most other races with far FEWER participants. Thumbs up to that! I felt strong and able and intended to keep my pace conservative early on. I even took water at the first water stop, which is something I rarely do. But I knew that it was going to be the hottest day of the year so far and I wanted to make sure that I hydrated early and often. Just before entering hilly Iroquois Park, I saw mom again. She sounded the air horn and someone a few feet in front of her turned around--I thought she was in trouble! LOL

Miles 3-6
This was pretty much the entire park's main loop, which is tree covered and shady. I didn't notice being too terribly hot through here, but the hills were bothering me more than they do on training runs. And whatever had happened to my leg the night before (something weird, I dunno what it was but I'm going to self-diagnose it as a hamstring tear until further notice) was starting to become less manageable and more noticeable. There were a lot of spectators all through the park and that truly helped me make it a little stronger through there. But I was noticing a decline in my stamina through there--to the point where I was constantly thinking "where's the next water stop" and "I need fuel!" At the ascent on the last, and most brutal hill of the park, I heard lots of cheers and applause ahead of me. I had stopped to walk (as SO MANY OTHERS HAD DONE) at the bottom of this hill but when I heard the cheeful noise ahead, I decided to give it my all and take off running. I noticed many other people did the same thing. But when I got a little further up the hill, I realized that the yells of motivation weren't for us wimpy walkers coming up the hill, they were for a lone wheelchair racer who was struggling terribly to get up the hill, literally inch by inch. I kept thinking about how he had a great downhill journey ahead of him if he could just make it to the top--and I kept pushing myself with the same thoughts.

The descent of that final hill was also us nearing the exit of the park and heading to mile 6. Near the exit, I saw Joey for the first time on the left. And then from the right, I heard my name--it was mom again! Number 3 for her! WAY TO GO! I did some weird little run/dance for them and didn't know which way to look for a picture, since they both had their cameras up! Here's a picture that Joey took. Mom's head is straight back in front of the tree!



Miles 6-10
My plan was to take in my PowerBar Gel at the next water stop after mile 6, which appeared after mile 7. By this time, I was hot, and tired and my right leg was starting to be in a lot of pain. I kept pushing through and trying to tell myself that it wasn't bothering me. I stopped to walk it off just after the water stop and I looked over across the field to my right. There was a woman about my age who had stopped running to walk with a bad limp. I saw her struggle to fight past the pain of whatever was bothering her but she couldn't. I decided to jog over to her and make sure that she was okay. I ended up walking with her for about a mile. We compared injuries, and just talked for a bit. At this point, because my leg was hurting and I knew I wasn't going to break any records with my times--I decided to just walk with her and support her, and she seemed appreciative that I stopped for her.

I was relieved when we entered Churchill Downs and I sped up the two main hills that were there. I stopped to walk a few times inside as well because a lot of the people were stopping and taking in the scenery and it was difficult to run around them. I offered to take pictures for people that were trying to get pics of the Twin Spires--so they could prove they were in there! I enjoyed seeing some of the horses in there training. Just a fun little detour!

At the exit of Churchill Downs, I decided I wanted to pick it up a little bit if I could and I saw Joey waiting for me! Such a joy to see familiar faces sporadically throughout the race, I don't know if anybody knows how much it means to me!

Here's a picture he got when I was rolling up 4th street, right at the corner of Winkler and the one that follows is one with me just beginning to give a thumbs down...LOL--





Miles 10
I questioned even writing about this horrid, piece of crap mile because it was the most SUCKY ASS MILE. I felt pure misery during this mile. When we first got to mile 10, I tried to be positive and tell myself how it was only a 5K left and I could speed it up and finish strong and fast and blah blah blah. Yeah frickin' right. It sucked. There was nothing good about mile 10. Wall, here I am, stand in front of me and don't let me pass.

The pain in my leg was unbearable. I had to stretch and walk more than I could run. HIDEOUS performance. I never want to feel that way again. I guess it was good that it was only THAT bad for that mile.

Miles 11-13

I was VERY MUCH AWARE that there were only 2.1 miles left once I got to the 11 mile marker. Mile 10 sucked so bad and it got me mentally and I was really trying to turn that around. So I vowed to run the best 2.1 miles of my life. I saw Joey again and he told me that his parents were waiting for me at the finish, watching from a parking garage and I was hoping I'd get to see them. I tried to push through the pain of my leg and the pain of the race in general but it was so difficult. I was running on fumes and just wanting to get through it by this point--wanting it to be over.

I did, however, bust out some dance moves and performed a little bit of the Soulja Boy. What? The dude was asking for it...

0.10 and the Finish
Pretty long damn 0.10 mile. LOL When I turned the corner at 7th and Market St., I looked ahead and saw FINISH! Oh. My. GAWD! THERE IT IS! It was an open path and I forgot everything else and just kept up my pace.

My finish picture--looking focused, right?



I was SO HAPPY! And then I got within 200-300 feet of the finish and I looked around at all the celebration, heard the people cheering and I went from thinking--

THANK GOD IT'S OVER

to saying--

OH MY GOSH, I JUST DID IT!

Which was mixed with--

OH NO, IT'S OVER. IT'S ALL OVER...

I was so overcome with emotion. I started to tear up because everything I have been working for since September and even before had led me right to that moment. And it was nearing it's end. I felt like I should have done more because I was never going to get THIS back. I was sad. But I was proud.

So as I crossed the finish and stopped my Garmin, I was starting to tear up. But I learned something--it's very very difficult to give it a good cry when you've just run 13.1 miles and you're trying to catch your breath at the end of it. I was gasping for air and couldn't breathe. Stupid emotions. LOL I kept telling myself to calm down, don't cry and make sure I don't suffocate myself.

I got my medal, I loaded up on water, a bagel, Powerade, Sun Chips, granola bars, a banana...everything. I started eating while walking and looking for anybody familiar. The first person I saw was my fiance's father and I was SO happy to see him! Soon enough, we were all together again--mostly discussing what a horrible performance we all had and complaing about how our legs or our stomachs or our whatever's hurt us. LOL

After going to pick up a beer, we went back to the finish to try to catch Joe Malone but we didn't have any luck. The announcer called his name by mistake so we thought we had just missed him--turns out somehow they got it mixed up. During our wait though, I saw some very touching finishes by some racers with BIG heart and major guts. I teared up watching some of these people finish, thinking about how wonderful it was that they had the strength to push through--I knew how hard it must have been for them.

And I watched the marathoners roll in--and I was astonished. I wondered how on earth they could do what I had just done, but doubled. And in my amazement and pride at THEIR accomplishments, I revelled in my own. There was a time not too long ago that I would never have believed that I would have been capable of completing a half marathon. But I had done just that. And I realized that if I ever choose to do a marathon, I'll be able to do that too. It's not impossible. I've learned a thing or two about discipline and hard work and having a support system and if I ever decide to do the 26.2, I WILL BE ABLE TO. And that amazed me!

Oh and for you nosy people, my HOT AS HELL HALF MARATHON TIME was 2:37:21, more than 13 minutes more than my goal time. But for some reason, I'm not upset about it. This is the first race that I've done that I did worse than I anticipated. So it was time for it to happen that way--and this wasn't just ANY race. And I had a blast--more fun than I've ever had at a race. And that makes me happy.

Something to improve upon, isn't it?

Here are a few more pics from immediately after the finish:

Me and Tom:



Jenny, Vincent, Me and Joey:



Me and Joey:


Me and Mom:


POST RACE
Picked up my car, stopped at DQ for a grilled chicken sandwich which was the best *BLEEPING* sandwich I have ever had in my life, ate it in the car. Went home and took an ice bath, showered, stretched, rolled, ate again. Fell asleep for an hour. Got up, stretched, rolled, and did nothing but sit around and watch Lost and eat. Talk about recovery.

THINGS I NOTICED ABOUT THIS RACE

I didn't even LOOK at the clocks at the majority of the splits. I maybe checked 3 during the whole race. I honestly didn't care. That was the first race that I wasn't really really concerned with my time.

It was really well organized and the spectators were FANTASTIC and super-motivating.

There was plenty of water and Powerade for everyone and most of the volunteers were 100% prepared. Most.

The participants were overwhelmingly friendly, excited and in good spirits. People passing a football, wearing costumes, dancing, and all sorts of other fun things were going on and it really made it a fun experience.

The medals are VERY attractive and I'm really happy about that--I was worried my first medal would be corny or something. But not this. It's dope.

The finish was spectacular--there was a plethora of food and drink and partying to participate in. It was PERFECT.

Thanks for staying with me through this long entry, if you could. And stay tuned for my next entry--I need to say a couple more things.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

US and Jamaica, Allergies and ITBS!



That poor panda!! That's how it is living in the Ohio Rivnah (inside joke, sorry) Valley. Today I had my first taste of Spring time here this year--it's weird how it happens. I finish my run (which goes fine, by the way, nothing weird, no symptoms) and IMMEDIATELY there's this weird feeling in my throat. And it doesn't go away. Then it feels like I shouldn't talk and my throat is constricted. And the coughing or the sneezing begins. 3 hours after my run and I am having horrible coughing attacks. So, I took my first sinus pill of the year just now! YAY! NOT!

I was pretty amped to hear about the announcement from USATF and the Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association--next year, the US and Jamaica will be going head to head in a series of track and field events. The USA vs. Jamaica Challenge series is a team based series of track and field events that will include long jump, two hurdles distances, three relays and 100, 200 and 400 meters competition! I think it'll be exciting and a positive way to bring track and field back into the radar for a lot of people! US athletes--you better start working now!

So in the interest of helping DBF with some errands tomorrow, I switched my higher mileage day of speedwork to today. I ended up doing just over 7 miles total--3.75 miles of intervals at 10K race pace. Great running on hills--I'm powering up those babies a little easier than I could before but still it ain't no joke! I realize I shouldn't be doing speedwork at hilly ass Iroquois Park but I don't really have any other options. Okay so I do--run a loop over and over and over again. But no thanks.

By the third interval, my mind was getting into my mind. LOL I swear, that was a tough one to break through--my ITBS had kicked in again (must be speedwork on hills induced...*sigh*) and I was having a hard time running normally, and my phone was ringing and a guy wanted to chat--I now understand why those speedy runners that look straight ahead with a slight grimace do that. As soon as I looked up beyond my current step (which I thought was going to be the apex of the current hill), I told myself to stop. Not just stop running fast. Just stop and walk dammit! MORE HILL, just STOP! YOU CAN'T DO IT! And then "One More Mile" Kriston came out. She fired back, "Umm, how the hell do you think you'll ever get better if you don't just suck it up and power up this damn hill." One More Mile Kriston can get a bit moody sometimes, but it's always out of love. Unconditional, crazy, bite my hand til it bleeds LOVE. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, go to 1:45 in the video below, if you feel like wasting your time! LOL)



Anyway--I powered up that hill, probably wobbly. I definitely thought I was never going to be able to breathe again. But I made it!

That's my story and I'm sticking to it...

Monday, March 30, 2009

I knew there was a reason I've always wanted to go to Paris...

To DBF, I'm TOTALLY joking. That's not the ONLY reason. LOL



Ladies, here's what the rest of him looks like...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Three Things

1. I can't wait to get my bike out on the road this week--I'm hoping for a Tuesday ride if I can avoid the expected rain in the afternoon! I'm really excited.

2. I really, really, really want to buy these:



But I don't have the money in my budget, since I'm in the market for a new pair of regular trainers. *sigh* I bet they won't have my size in two weeks!

3. I am really seriously considering taking swimming lessons. I just don't want to feel stupid or drown.

That is all. I'm mad that Sunday is over and I am on my way to bed for work tomorrow. What a sucker!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Mad Hills Son!

The title is dedicated to Joe!

So yeah, I'm mad at Iroquois Park right now.

I. AM. SO. SORE.

Our group did the STUPID loop twice, and then added on a mere 7 miles at the end of that. STUPID!

I hurt. I feel like I got a bad case of the flu, but only from the waist down. *sigh*

I ended up with another distance PR, at 13.52 today. We pushed each other along at different times and I'm so glad to have such a great group to run with!

Plus, I'm pretty excited that Joe said he's interested in running the Millenium Trail with me after the Mini--that'll be 13.3 miles of trail running bliss!

I'm gonna go cry now.

Friday, March 27, 2009

More Mini-Marathon Musings...

I know I'm not supposed to say this but I'll be glad when the Mini is over. LOL

Now I AM nervous--but I'm also MAD excited about it. So don't get it twisted! I want to run it and I'm excited, even if I am a bit scared!

What I want, though, is a REST. My body is aching. My body is tired and I even think my MIND needs a break. I just look forward to taking a month or two off from a strenuous training plan. I keep thinking of all the things I want to do--more hiking of course, cycling, tennis, and indoor skydiving! I just need to swith it up for awhile, until I plan my next move in my running career. :)

So yeah, I'm excited, I'll give it my best and I'll have fun. But I'll enjoy the break afterward.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

10 Miles + 5K, Two Hells in One Race!

pain

Yes, I'm running my first Half Marathon in April.

Yes, I'm darn nervous.

Hell, I've done the distance--well, close enough. 13 miles is my distance PR--but I've been running double digit runs since December--so the distance is not something I'm worried about.

What I AM worried about is my pace during this race. I KNOW that I will not treat this like my training runs. I KNOW that I will not be comfortable during this race. I actually think that I'm going to hate every bit of it.

I don't even want to see any race pictures from that day--I can tell you right now what they will look like. But I won't tell you, it's far too embarassing for me.

I know that the morning of the race will be Hell. I will be prepared, I will be there extra early. But I will not have slept (can someone drug me the night before so I WILL sleep?) the night before. I will be too nervous to focus. I will probably feel like I'm going to revisit my dinner from the night before. I won't feel like running.

I know that the race will feel bad, and I'll be too hard on myself about my pace. FINISH, FINISH, FINISH--that's all a first Halfer is supposed to worry about, right? WRONG. It's NOT all I will worry about. I will worry about finishing respectably, relative to ME.

I will probably cry at the finish. I might collapse. Who knows.

So that's why I'm nervous.

But you know what's funny? I'm MORE nervous about the Papa John's 10 Miler, which is coming up in 2 weeks. I've never raced anything beyond the 10K distance so this will be a learning experience for me. It will act as a test for my performance at the Mini, which will be two weeks after the 10 Miler. I'm so nervous that I'm going to SUCK at the 10 mile distance and I will not be able to have the confidence I need for the Half.

And well, the HM is really just a 10 mile race with a sucky ass 5K at the end. And you all know I don't really care for the 5K distance. It just hurts. (5Ks are Harder).

And I STILL don't know what shoes and what gear I'm going to wear. I'm crumbling!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Rodes City Run 10K Race Report!

This morning, I actually woke up before my alarm went off! Did my normal pre-race routine, got DBF out of bed (he apparently had been snoozing for 20+ minutes) and we drove down to the "Run the Ville" meeting spot across from Waterfront Park.

There was a total of 7 of us (my favorite number!) that met up in the dark parking lot, and we took off toward the start line, which was a little over a mile away. Because this race started downtown, we had to deal with a little early morning traffic and traffic lights. Two people in our group ended up getting stuck at a light and DBF and I told the rest of the group that we were going to wait for them, in case they weren't sure how to get to the start. The activity really picked up once we turned from Muhammad Ali onto 4th Street! It was pretty exciting with all of the runners standing around and the music playing!

Of course, as usual, I had to potty so I ran over to the port-a-pots. OMG last year the line was nearly non-existent. This year, it was incredible. I promised myself 10 minutes to stand in line and no more because Tom and Joey had promised to wait at a specific spot for me (Thanks Tom!) until I got back. I didn't want to take too long and put them in a difficult position. So I left without actually going to the bathroom, which goes against everything I hold dear! LOL It was an entertaining wait, though. Funny people in line to talk to and someone actually opened the door on a man in one of the Pots--he was a GREAT sport about it and when he came out, everybody cheered!

I made it back through the unbelievably massive crowds and somehow managed to find the crew. Within minutes, the race started and off we went--sorta. The crowd was so big that we actually had a little bit of that start fast/stop motion going on. I knew that I was going to have to subtract about 6 minutes from the clock time to have my actual time.

Once everybody started to spread out more on wide Broadway, I was trying to figure out what to do with the jacket I had with me--the jacket that I never intended to wear during the race (I never ran into any family or friends to actually have them hold it before the race). So when we started, I still had it and I didn't even have a good place to drop it because there were just too many people around. About 1/4 mile into the race, Joey and I were still running together and we saw a homeless man on the side of the road. I decided to run back to him and give him my jacket. Sure, it's too small for him but I figured he'd find SOMETHING to do with it. I'd rather him have it then the garbage can anyway.

Mile 1 was nice because I was with Joey for a good part of it. I tried to concentrate on finding a comfortable and challenging pace to run for the duration of the 6.2 miles. I found that pace and stayed with it for about 2 miles--there was a man that was running the same pace as me and we ran side by side during this time. I wish I could tell him thanks--he helped me to keep pushing myself--at least until we got to the first real hill and even though I wanted to push it hard, I stayed more conservative. The guy in the navy shirt ended up pulling ahead just a bit. And I never really caught up to him again. But thanks "navy shirt" man!

When mile 3 approached, I was a little tired but I felt confident to be at the halfway mark. When we turned the corner at KT's Restaurant, I saw several spectators and I was still hoping to see Mom someplace! I looked ahead and see her red coat on the corner--she's looking for me! I start waving but she didn't see me for a few seconds. I was so happy to see her there!!!! When I approahced the next water stop, I took some water in and walked for about 30 seconds to get my focus back. I got right back into it and continued to run as smoothly as I could.

The Mile 5 marker was the turning point for me in this race. My goal for this race was sub 1:05:00, a reasonable time for me, I thought. I was pretty sure that even though I just ran a sub-30 5K two weeks ago, I wouldn't be able to keep that pace for the 6.2 miles. I wanted a challenging but reasonable goal, and I thought that was it. But when I saw the clock time at mile 5, it read 54:xx. I subtracted my 6 minutes and thought--WOW, I COULD POSSIBLY RUN A SUB 1 HOUR 10K!!! It had NEVER crossed my mind that I would even be ABLE to do that, much less shoot for it. But when I saw that clock time, I said "*%&$ it! I'm going to try it!"

There was a group of guys holding up signs for 1-800-GOT-JUNK on the side of the course and when I passed them, I said "Do you guys take junk in your trunk?" LOL Then there were spectators with cowbells and although I knew I hadn't been the first to say it, I couldn't help but scream "MORE COWBELL!!" That interaction helped pump my adrenaline up enough and for about 3/4 mile, I felt fast and strong and even more confident in my ability to run this race faster than I imagined!

Mile 6 popped up and the clock read just over 1:04:00. I thought CRAP--there's no way I'll make it. I actually slowed down a bit--because I didn't think I could make it and also because I knew the hill at the finish was approaching and I wanted to conserve energy! Then I heard a man yell at his friend, "Oh yeah, you got this in under an hour! You could run this under an hour on vacation!" I thought to myself, "DAMMIT STRANGER MAN, YOU'RE RIGHT!" So I didn't let up. I picked it up. I started passing people. I turned the corner and cut a girl off. Sorry. I took off down the straightaway toward the finish and just focused on FINISHING FAST! I rarely sprint to the finish but I did the best I could today! LOL

When I crossed, I didn't even look at the clock time. I looked at my Garmin, which read 59:42. I don't have the official chip time yet but I know that it's going to be close to that, if not dead on. I was overwhelmed with pride for myself and I was just so happy! Unfortunately, there wasn't a soul that I recognized around there, so I was all alone with nobody to share that joy with!

Everybody from RTV did EXTREMELY WELL! Tom is increasing his speed and man, I'm impressed. Joe always finishes with a great time! Lee is the beast of the group, and he did great as usual! Joey came through with a GREAT time, thanks in part to Christian's support during the race. Christian did extremely well and man, we should all be soooo proud! I'm proud of everybody! I hope that our strong performances today help out with the overall team placement in the Triple Crown Team challenge! GO US! I think we'll place better today than we did at the 5K, honestly! We just know how to push ourselves! We also know how to push ourselves over to the Panera Bread for breakfast. We had a nice and relaxed breakfast--we started out quiet but we had good conversation as time went on. I felt like I was stuffing myself silly. LOL

Overall, another GREAT race and I'm so pumped up that I PR'd so well! I shaved nearly 15 minutes off of last year's time for this same race, and that sure does give me something to be proud of!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Day After 13 Miles

So the morning after my long run of 13 miles yesterday, I wake up. I lay there, stretch out my legs and assess the way my body feels.

Turns out, it feels great. A teeny wee bit stiff, but nothing worth talking about. No pain (except for my foot, which is a lingering pain), no problems, no nothing. I was amazed at how great I felt. I remember when I first started running "long distances" last year at 5 and 6 miles. I felt soreness and stiffness for a couple of days!

My body is finally getting used to the stress of these double digit runs, and I'm sure my recovery-routine helps as well. I'm just excited to know that I can run 13 miles and still have a life that day and the following day!

Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

All in a Day's Work--2 PR's today!

This week's mileage total = 30.2 miles! That's a weekly total PR for me! Also, today, our running group ran a trial run of the route for next week's 10K and Tom and I decided to run it back after we finished it. We ended up getting a total of 13 miles in by the end of it and that's also a distance PR for me!

We had a great time running as usual! The weather was decent enough and it didn't start raining until the second half of the run--and it wasn't even a bad rain.

Running has really been a better friend lately. I went through a tough spell after all of the bad weather (ice storms) and after having some knee pain--running turned into a pure chore and in some cases, an unbearable chore. This week, my running has been strong, consistent and most importantly, it's felt great. I feel like myself again and I'm so happy!

DBF and I went to Swag's (one of our LRSs) yesterday to get some new kicks and DBF ended up with the Saucony ProGrid Guides.



I hope they work out for him! I've already warned him, I've read some great reviews on this model but not good reviews for Saucony's update with the Guide 2. I told him to see how they work for him but consider changing shoes even if they work since so many people feel they flubbed on the new version.

I ended up walking out of Swag's with what I expected--the Mizuno Wave Inspire 4. These are just an update of my favorite running shoe so far. Apparently, not much changed with the 4 and that's great by me!



I probably won't run in these until mid-April, since I bought them to get me into the Mini!! I have to buy some lime green clothes to match them! :) Yes, I'm a girl.

Happy Running everybody!!!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I've never had the desire to run a marathon...

But I've always said I'll revisit the idea once I've successfully completed the Half. I'll let you know how I feel about a full mary come April 26th.

I did, however, watch Run for Your Life: the Story of Fred Lebow and the New York City Marathon today and I enjoyed it. Lots of information I didn't know and great clips of some incredible people. It actually put a piece of the bug inside of me. I will more seriously consider it after the HM now. :)

I just wanted to say that and to reiterate how much I love my boyfriend, my mom, his parents and my running buddies and their families. What a great bunch we are! I don't know who wouldn't love us. LOL

Next up: Post-Mini-Marathon plans.

Happy Anniversary! Anthem 5K Fitness Classic Race Report!

Today's race marked my first anniversary of road racing! The 2008 Anthem 5K Fitness Classic was my first race ever and I was a nervous wreck. I not only had to deal with the nerves of race day but I was also consumed with all of the "rules" and etiquette of racing. I was pretty nervous but still very excited! Today was a MUCH different experience! Meeting with friends, meeting new friends, pre-race routine is down to a science and I just was able to truly enjoy the race this year!

Joey and I drove down to meet the Run the Ville Squad at our pre-determined meeting place and we got right into our warm up, which consisted of 1 mile weaving through the downtown streets. This was perfect though, because the race pretty much involved weaving through people the entire time. LOL

We all headed over to Preston St. because it was getting close to start time and the crowds were filling in. It was amazing to see that people. I heard 9,000-10,000 people were running in today's race. That's INSANE! They separated the walkers and I think that was INSTRUMENTAL in the fluidity of the race today. Yes, there was plenty of bobbing and weaving to do but it wasn't around walker and strollers and that made for a happy bunch of runners.

The first mile flowed as smooth as butter for me. I separated from Joey and started to weave my way through as I picked up my pace a bit. I felt SO STRONG!! I felt comfortable, even though I knew I was running a fast pace for ME. River Road was nice and flat and the sun was out and it was just beautiful this morning! Mile 1 popped up and my watch (chip time) was at 9:05. Great pace for me, that's faster than normal BUT I felt great so I stayed with it.

We took a turn at the Heigold House, which split the field right down the middle.



I noticed that people were starting to fizzle a little but I still had my SIZZLE so I kept a consistent pace. I still felt great so I didn't want to give it up. I saw the only sizable hill approaching me and had a quick inner debate because I saw so many people stopping and not being able to get over the hill easily. Should I take it easy or just go for it? I went all out. Knees up and elbows pumping and I got up that hill like a champ! Still felt great at the top, even if I was a little winded. Mile 2 split appeared after a couple of turns and I was at 17:52! That meant I ran the second mile in under 9 minutes! FANTASTIC.

After that, I felt better than I normally do during any given point of a 5K but I was starting to tire out a bit. I slowed down a little bit so that I could finish stronger rather than faster (plus my stomach wasn't feeling the best all morning, and especially not after stepping in vomit and seeing everyone around me barfing!). I truly felt the worst during the last 3/4 mile or so of the race but I wouldn't give in to any thoughts of walking. I just tried to keep running consistently. The crowds really picked up as we ran further down Main St. and it was such a great atmosphere. Everyone was supportive and cheering and that is always great! I looked over and saw bright yellow and realized it was my teammate, Lee. He had finished up and was running back for a cool down. I was happy to finally see someone familiar!

Eventually, I heard someone say "THERE IT IS!" and I looked up and saw the Finish Line about 500m ahead. I glanced at my watch and saw 27:xx and wondered if I would be able to make it there in 2-3 minutes! I heard someone on the field tell her daughter to "look straight ahead, don't look up at the finish line" and I thought, "Good advice." I just locked onto the white cutoff T-shirt on the man a few steps up from me and kept running solidly.

As I got closer, I heard cheers and screams but didn't know if they were from people I knew or not--I didn't care. They helped! Through the finish into the chute--29:19 on my watch. Great time! I was VERY excited and almost a little emotional and I would have allowed myself to feel those things if I didn't feel like barfing. I didn't--but I thought I was going to.

Overall impression of the race today--excellent. The route changes were FANTASTIC, the separate start for the runners and walkers was brilliant and it was just an overall success, in my opinion. I will continue to run this for as long as I can, as it's my first ever race AND a great race overall.

Did I mention they had cinnamon crunch bagels again this year? They actually had Chik-fil-A biscuits too but I somehow managed to miss them! What a bummer!! Tom, Joe, Lee (Team Run the Ville), Joey, my mom, Joey's parents, and Joe's wife all went for breakfast at Panera and had another nice time.

I want to add that I am totally impressed with Lee's running and I think he's an awesome guy--glad you were able to drive down and hang with us. You rock! I love my "running club" homies! I couldn't ask for anything better!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I pick Redford and Clooney...

I'm watching Season 1 of 30 Rock. Jenna was asking Liz to choose between Paul Newman and Robert Redford. Redford. Between Brad Pitt and George Clooney. Clooney. That's my non-running related contribution for the day.

Back to business. Here's a little pictorial history of this morning's group run:

Yes, this is Southern Parkway. No, this is not what it looked like during today's run. :)



This is Eastern Parkway looking at the Preston intersection. That's White Castle on the left.



Here's Cherokee Triangle...at night!



This morning, we went on a good run through a portion of our city--Iroquois Park to Cherokee Park. I had a great time and even though I think we were a little less chatty than normal, I have to say today seemed to be a more comfortable, more fun and more inspiring run than in a long time. I feel great! I've said before that I really enjoy being out when there are other runners. There's such camaraderie in the running community and it just makes me feel great to pass a runner or a group of runners. And yes, wave. Speak. Smile. Do something to acknowledge my existence in the Running World. I'm not special, no. But I deserve respect, and we're sorta in this together, even though we're doing it separately. I digress.

What made this run stand out from other long runs:

1. There were a couple of funny moments that had me laughing so hard that I didn't think I could keep running.

2. Our "group" just gets better and better.

3. Great route! I'll definitely do that again--as long as I have some company.

4. Denny's. This wasn't necessarily positive. I could smell the pancakes and I could taste the Moons Over My Hammy. I really wanted to eat there.

Solid run, comfortable pace and good company! Feeling pretty good after my ice bath, warm shower, Panera Bread breakfast and a good nap!!!

Nathan Speed 2 Fuel Belt Review



I actually own this model in blue--it looks great! Today was my first run with it and it actually went better than I expected.

Size:

I typically wear a medium pant, but I went with the small belt and it fits reasonably well over my running gear. I would suggest suiting up in your favorite running gear and taking a measurement to get an accurate fit.

Comfort:

As most users say, the belt is only slightly noticeable when you first put it on and start running. Admittedly, I forgot about it after a few steps, which is just what you want. Also, the velcro strap and the limited stretch waistband provide a secure fit without being too tight.

Bounce/Ride:

Zero bouncing. I did have one problem with the belt, however. It started to slide upward during the run, forcing me to adjust it frequently. In fairness, however, this was only a small inconvenience when compared to the great benefits of this belt.

Pockets:

The pockets are sufficient in size--I comfortably carry cash, keys, chapstick and a gu packet or other type of fuel. Cell phone would also fit.

Overall, this is a great product and I definitely recommend it. The 2 bottle (10 ounces each) belt is sufficient for someone completing long runs around 2 hours, depending on your hydration needs. Highly recommended.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Mile--Honesty is Humbling



If I slowed down, it would have been even worse!

One of my recent goals has been to determine my mile time. I know I ran a mile in just under 10:00 last summer but I didn't push hard intentionally. I've just wanted an initial point of data to reference in the future as I progress. I planned on running the mile today so I decided to head to the track after work, with a Plan B just in case the track was locked or in use. When I got there, the track wasn't being used but the parking lot was. I decided to not fight through the kids and I drove to the neighboring park.

What are all these green things along the entrances to the park, I wondered? Then I saw the sign--PARK TEMPORARILY CLOSED. *sigh*

So I drove to the next closest park, which was about 5 minutes away. That park was open but definitely not a good, flat place to test your mile. But it was the flattest place I had access to at that moment so I worked with it.

This is where I'll confess. I have no idea how to run the mile. I know it seems like you'd just go out there and run and be done with it but my Running gut (not a fatty gut, the soulful gut) tells me there's much more to it than that. After all, there are techniques for running other distances. Why would the mile be any different? But since I don't know "the rules," I winged it the best I could on that semi-hilly concrete loop.

I warmed up for 1 mile, amazed at how smooth and graceful I felt. I was sharing the path with two separate groups but they were respectful of my space, as I was of their's. After the warmup, and some stretching, I took off to run my mile. I'll admit, I started too quickly. I started to feel a burn in my quads and tibialis anterior (muscle in front of shin). I was actually shocked at how quickly I felt the burn. This proves that this was a FAR different workout than I'm used to. Even my speedwork doesn't feel this way--not so early in the workout, at least. I couldn't help but imagine the differences in body type between a sprinter and a distance runner. Amazing.

So anyway, I mentioned I started off too quickly. Well, I did. And I burned out but kept running. I reached the 1/2 mile in 3:59 and kept going. But I just couldn't maintain a pace worth anything. I burned out quickly and ended up having to walk a portion. Totally NOT what I thought would happen. Totally NOT the way I wanted it to go.

Geezy, my Garmin 305, beeped at the 1 mile mark. I was happy it was over but disappointed in my performance. However, I'm very glad to know the time now, even if it's not necessarily the best, or even the most accurate. It's just good to have something to work from and a way to measure my improvement.

And trust me, improvement is coming.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sugar and shoes...an update of sorts

Today is Wednesday, which I typically refer to as "Long Day at Work, Speedwork and No Time for Myself Day." Today though, I decided to do things a bit differently. I hurriedly got my work done and cut out of work about 45 minutes early. Though I truly DID intend to get my workout in, when I got home I decided against it. I just don't feel rested or 100% strong and it seems like lately, there's just always a nagging pain. Right now, it's my left knee and ITBS. I just haven't felt 100% in a long time and this is new to me. Even after my long runs a couple of months ago, I would recover in a day (after a new distance) and feel pretty good. I feel like I might have increased the pace too soon, as I increased my distance very safely. But who knows--every body is different. I have to remind myself that just because I'm CAPABLE of something doesn't necessarily mean I have to do it. It's hard to remember that when you're having fun and feeling good at that moment--and when you want so badly to see improvements.

On the other hand, I'm a runner, right? Are these pains something I'm just "supposed" to live with? I can't accept that. I went so long without having to live with it, why start now? So I'm revising my plan--for the Mini, I have a soft goal of sub 2:30:00. I will continue to follow my training schedule, as it's been VERY beneficial for me. But I will no longer push my pace much faster than scheduled. I want to be healthy. I want to run many more races than just this April's HM. I want to be strong and feel good and run for many years.

As for the Mini--I've been contemplating what my choice of shoe will be. Right now, I'm leaning toward buying a new pair of Mizuno Inspires--they've been a sturdy and comfortable running shoe for my foot. I'd like to try a new shoe but I'm running out of time for experimentation.

Now to sugar--I REALLY have been wanting to cut down on my intake of refined sugar. It's SO hard to do this! For those of you who have overhauled your diet or who have significantly cut down on your intake of sugar, let me know HOW you did it, WHAT you replaced it with and how it made you feel. I just can't imagine doing this but I KNOW it's something I need to seriously do. HELP!!!!

So happy running everyone, keep in touch and have a good rest of the week!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Frostbite 5K Race Report

So today was the final leg of the "Polar Bear Grand Prix," sponsored by Fleet Feet here in the Ville! (If you want a reminder of the first two legs--Reindeer Romp 4K and Snowman Shuffle 4 Miler

It was actually a little chilly (wind chill in the upper 30's) when we got there and I've been so used to running in mild temps (the last week or so) that I totally forgot to wear a headband and gloves!! DBF and I saw our friend Scott with his son, who seemed like a cool kid! Glad he came out. Then we met up with Joe and Tom and did a nice warmup together. Then, as usual, it was to the Port-a-Pots! The line was long but I got complimented on my speedy "execution." LOL

Almost as soon as I walked out of the bathroom, I dropped my jacket in some trees and found a spot behind the starting line with Scott and Joey. No time to waste, the race started and off we went.

I felt decent for the first mile, though the first mile is almost entirely uphill. I was surprised at how good I handled it though--even my training runs on that hill don't go as well as this did. I felt good! First mile split = 9:40.

Everything went downhill starting around 1.5 miles. Side stitches and cramping! Could it be that running only 24 miles in 3 weeks with no speedwork mixed in could have hindered my fitness? :) I just couldn't get back into the groove after that. Muscle soreness in my right leg just added to the displeasure. Tom told me after the race that he could see in my face when he passed me that I just wanted the race to be done. He read my face correctly. Mile 2 split = 19:20.

I just tried to keep myself focused and composed but I felt like I was crumbling. I had to stop and walk from the cramping and just felt so horrible as I watched several people fly by me. I felt more defeated than I had felt in a long time! I took some deep belly breaths and just pushed myself back into the race--repeating to myself "You can do anything for another mile! Not much left!" I actually started to check my Garmin for the distance to see how much longer I had.

Then...ahead...there was a sign with the number "3". Ahhhh!! Thank you! I strengthened up, pushed it out and kept going until the end. I was so happy when I saw my mom's face--she gave me two thumbs up and told me I was doing good. It wasn't one of those "I'm saying it just to say it" comments, I could tell in her face that I really WAS doing well.

I looked ahead and saw the time clock, which read 29:30. I panicked and picked up my pace. There was NO WAY I was going to be THAT close to running my first sub-30:00 5K and not DO IT! When I crossed, it was about 29:40 and while I was soooooooo happy and so excited, I basically just doubled over as I walked. I felt like doody!

I thanked the guy in front of me because I used him during the race to *sorta* pace myself. He was pretty strong and running around the same pace as me and it always comforts me to have something "familiar" to run with, and he was it today!

So great feeling right now, knowing that I have achieved one of my biggest goals EVER! It was one thing that I have always wanted--not just for this year. I just knew I could make it happen this year. I remember when I first started running again, I thought that this would be impossible. And now, I'm doing it! It's great!

As usual, we all met at Panera Bread and had a great breakfast. I think every runner in the area was in there today. It's so fun to go there and have a great meal AND be around a community of people that are sweaty and charged up from a good run! Tom and Joe gave me a great Birthday gift too! A fresh, beautiful Run the Ville T-Shirt! I'm pretty pumped--it looks great! I'm proud of it and even more, I'm glad that they like the logo that I created!

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!!!

P.S. This is one of my Valentine's gifts! Talk about creamy, smooth chocolate...wow!

5K's are Harder and Why Didn't We Bring a Camera?

First of all, I'm tired of not having a great pictures to document each of my races. I wish I could clone myself and have Picture Taking Me stand along the race route and get all the good pictures while Runner Me runs. I wish I had a way to comfortably carry my camera and snap snap snap along the way. I just hate not having those memories in picture form.

So I've decided that I prefer running races that are 5 miles or up. I think the short distance races are much harder and they take a lot more out of me. I've done several 5Ks and a 4K and neither distance was entirely pleasurable. I find that I enjoy the steady, slightly slower nature of the longer races and I hope that the Half Marathon proves no different.

In shorter races, I'm contantly thinking "Oh you don't have much more. Not much more! Keep pushing!" I hate that! Because it's ALWAYS longer than you think it will be. When I run 5-6 mile races, I don't start thinking about the finish until mile 4 or so--mentally it's just not as taxing to me.

That being said, though, I had fun as usual. I'm tired. But what a great Valentines Day! DBF and I took care of our hearts this morning and got a great race under our belts and had fun together. <3

Friday, February 6, 2009

6.5 miles through hell?



Okay so it wasn't as bad as Hell. I got up this morning a little skeptical about running just because I was worried about my knee. I went for it anyway, though, because I was pretty confident in my self diagnosis. I parked at Cherokee Park--which was basically closed. There were folks out there running but there were lots of workers with chainsaws everywhere. The path is NOT cleared by any stretch of the imagination--and in some spots, there is only enough room for a car to travel on the pedestrian section. There's just too much ice and snow still, so I took my run out of the park and into some of the neighborhoods in the Highlands.

It was a nice run except for the sliding on the ice a couple of times, a branch attack that scratched my eye and then the weirdest part of all...

I was running down a back street and I saw a woman walking toward me in the distance on the other side of the road. Each step I took, I noticed that not only were we getting closer to each other, but she was actually crossing over to MY side of the road. I looked to see if her side wasn't clear but her side was actually MORE clear than the side I was running on. She continued to cross over closer to me and in no time--she was right in front of me about 8 feet away. I had three options: go to my right (and her left) into the middle of the road, go to my left (her right) into a huge patch of ice or just stop.

I wasn't going to go to my right just for the principle of it--that's where SHE had just come from. Why should I move for HER when she was already on the other side of the street and had NO need to be on MY side coming right at me.

I wasn't going to go to my left into the ice because it was ICE...and I had already had too many dangerous close calls.

So I stopped running. Her arm brushed mine and it was like it was all in slow motion. I watched, TOTALLY STUNNED, as she walked past me. She wasn't just walking past me like people do on sidewalks, she was ULTRA close. I watched her until she got behind me. I said audibly, "Woooooow. Oh. My. Gosh."

And then I took off again.

What on EARTH would have been her reasoning to cross a street and walk right into someone? LOL

At least I got my run in...6.5 weird miles. :)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Flurries and Injuries...

Don't make for good outdoor training. The injuries make for NO training.

This week has been a complete disaster for my relationship with my life partner, Running. Yes, we're THAT committed. The two weeks prior to this week were close to disastrous. I felt Running starting to slip away and then this week, it's like we've started a long distance relationship. I'm not sure who to blame--if I can blame anyone. Running has been there waiting, hoping I would give it a shot. I've WANTED to be with Running. But for one reason or another, our relationship has been that of forbidden and also unfulfilled romance.

As many of you are probably aware, the President declared that Kentucky (where I call home) is in a state of disaster due to the recent ice storms. Tuesday of last week, my area received sleet, snow and very cold temperatures. I was still able to make it to work but it was slick and officials were asking people to stay home. Overnight into Wednesday morning, we were basically hit with ICE--I awoke to a nice coating of ice on the accumulated snow. Poor Chassis (my dog) couldn't even walk--she just skated around outside. The entire night was filled with incessant sleep disturbances from transformers blowing--I'm not talking once or twice either. The entire night was nothing but BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! I decided to stay home and after breakfast, I fell asleep in my recliner--startled awake by a weird sound. I looked out the window, nothing that I could see. Went back to sleep. Startled awake again. It occurred to me that tree limbs were cracking and breaking due to the weight of the ice. These poor trees and EVERYTHING was covered in 1-2 inches of ice. The noise of these falling branches was incredible--never heard anything like it.

Needless to say, not a lot of running. I've tried to get out but it's very difficult when even the STREETS are ice covered. I managed to get out on Saturday--early enough to avoid large amounts of trafic and I just stuck to the main roads since they were mostly clear. It was an exhilirating run! I loved running on these streets that I usually drive on--and I also ran through the parking lot of a large, nearby church because their lot was very well cleared. Fun run, and I definitely needed to get out! It was great.

But that was the last time I ran. To make up for my lack of anything physical, Sunday I did that workout (see previous entry). It was great and I was tolerably sore on Monday. Tuesday--still a little stiff but okay. And then, at work, I kneeled down and it happened.

My knee just gave out. SO. MUCH. PAIN. Stood up--pain. Sat down--pain. Climb ladder/steps--pain.

Knee cap pain=out of commission.

It's better. My self-diagnosis blames Sunday's workout, as it was INTENSE in the areas of squatting and lunging. I think the muscles were so strained that my work (which requires lots of kneeling and bending at the knee) was the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak. It's better but it's not 100% and I am REALLY scared to run for fear of further damaging it.

One more gripe--my shoulder is really hurt. I'm going to have to completely rehab it before I do anything else--no more weights, no more pushups, no more pullups. I've come to terms with the fact that it'll be a few weeks before I can do anything upper body. I'm not happy about it but I feel better about THAT than I do about not being able to run.

So HM training is on hold. I really wanna go for a run tomorrow but I'm so scared to. Sigh.

At least it's going to warm up...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I'm not a workout DVD type woman...

but...I know a good workout when I see one.



We subscribe to Netflix so we can stream videos instantly via the XBox 360 (or PC, if you wish). It's so convenient! A week or so ago, I decided to see what workout videos might be available for instant queue on Netflix and I watched a couple to see which I'd like to try. I ended up deciding on one--Jillian Michael's Shape Up Front. And you can shoot me, I didn't know who she was. Sorry, I don't watch the Biggest Loser.

Anyway, I've been waiting for the right time to use this video and today was it. Let me just say this--I'm in decent shape. I can run double digit miles, I am not puny, I am no stranger to strength, resistance or any other type of training. But this workout kicked my ass! I actually hated her for a few minutes.

I chose this workout because it looked like the best workout for a runner--out of the instant queue options I had, that is. It works your abs, shoulders, thighs, triceps, hip flexors and chest. Obviously with it covering that many areas, you're not spending a significant amount of time on ONE area. But for a runner like me, it is a good start to help strengthen and build VERY important areas that we need to perform well out on the road or the trail.

The highlight: the fact that I actually finished this video.

The shock: that it's MUCH harder than I expected and I have to go shower now because I got way more sweaty than I do when I run

The lowlight: I could not complete the hip flexor routine. Oh. My. Gosh. I have to work on that.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Running + Gymnastics = Reduced Crime



I'm sure most of you are familiar with Parkour and Free Running but if not, watch that video. It's a compilation of video from the founder of Parkour, David Belle. He is absolutely amazing. If you're interested in seeing Belle in a movie that has a lot of great Parkour moves, check out Banlieue 13. Here's a trailor for it:



I recently read that twelve schools in London have been teaching their kids the basics of free running, which is just amazing to me. Can you imagine the potential for lawsuits if there were a Parkour/Free Running Program for Secondary Schools in the United States? I think it's a fantastic thought though--I mean imagine being a child in London. You go to school, learn about the Battle of Edington, do a little mathematics, maybe read a chapter from a classic novel--and then off to Parkour class. How amazing would that be? It's got to be great fun, a great workout and a wonderful lesson in learning to gauge risk.

Apparently, that's not all--officials in London believe that these Parkour programs have actually cut youth crime by 30%. That's amazing! And whether or not it's true, it's amazing that they're even making that connection. I don't know about you but as a child, if given the opportunity to either A) Do some parkour with some friends or B) Carry a gun and try to rob old ladies...I'd pick A any day.

Onto REAL running. I ran a fun route yesterday--5 hilly miles around my neighborhood. I rarely venture across a busy street that is about 1.5 miles from my house--I generally run to the street and turn around but across that busy street there are some gem hills. And I was feeling it. So I did it. It was an amazing challenge and I'm sore but it was a great workout.

Nothing new to report but I have been trying to stay on target with my training for the Mini in April. It's been difficult because of some aches, sick days and the weather but no excuses! I'm on the right path!! I hope you guys are too!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Shivering Saturday!!

Went out this morning and met my running buddies at the park--we hadn't discussed mileage because quite frankly, I think we all wondered IF we would do more than 2-3 miles!! Did I mention the wind chill was at -1 when I left? I have to start remembering that having a dog means I have to get up a little earlier on long run days if I'm meeting anyone because Chassis takes too long to go to the bathroom. I have to go outside and throw the ball around with her for her to actually THINK about pooping, and I usually remember this when I'm SUPPOSED to be leaving the house.

The run was pretty comfortable for me for the duration, and I was pleased at our pace, as it was a pace that allowed me to comfortably get in more miles. I had a few aches and pains early on but I attribute that mostly to the cold, and the hard concrete. We ran down Bardstown Road which was quite fun actually, tons of distractions in all of the businesses in the area. It brought back a lot of memories of drunken nights walking around down there with friends--who knew I'd be running down there at 8am with friends? LOL

We lost one of our buddies after about 6.5 miles, and then I lost the last one at just before 9. I had intended to get in 10 this morning, so I had to push myself a little harder now that everybody was gone--and I ended up continuing on with a distance PR of 11.11. Each long run, I start to realize that the HM is definitely possible and I can't wait to see how it goes! I'm really excited!

I also really want to say thank you to Tom, Joe and to my Margaritaville Teammates and the other members at RuntheVille.com--it is through the inspiration, the support and the motivation I receive from you all that has allowed me to push myself beyond my comfort zone. Yeah, I did the work but I know without a doubt that I wouldn't be at this level in my training and in my fitness without you all. And a special thanks to Tom and Joe for really pushing me during our group runs, and thanks to Tom for pushing me with the Pushups Challenge.

You can do a lot of things on your own in life, but there's so much more to be gained when you allow others to come into your life and help you out!

I'd be neglecting some very important people if I didn't mention my mom and DBF. Their continued support and love keeps me going and growing stronger!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Brrrrrrrrrrun!!!

I hope everyone is staying nice and warm--not because you're staying inside (unless you own a TM or have a gym membership) but because you have all the proper gear to run in the cold!

Seems like a lot of the North and NE US are experiencing some cold weather, and we definitely are here! But it's nothing I can't handle. I just look like a ninja when I'm out running--a mismatch ninja!

DBF brought home a gift today--a foam roller. This thing is crazy and amazing. It hurt. But it was great pain. I am really psyched to use this thing, as it felt amazing. I'm LOVING the glute and the back exercises the best--WHOA!!!! I'll keep you updated on how it goes. I don't think I can explain what it feels like to use this thing, it's just something you have to try yourself to understand!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Snowman Shuffle 4 Mile RR

Today was the second leg of the three race series, the Polar Bear Grand Prix. This race was 4 miles on a familiar course that has a couple of killer hills. I woke up this morning and visualized me running a PR and got up, followed through my pre-race routine and a little after 7AM, I heard it--the rain came all at once and it was pouring down! I expected rain but I was kinda hoping it would be a light mist--not a pourdown!

When Joey and I got there, we found a decent parking space and sat in the warm car for a few minutes getting everything ready before hopping out into the cold and the rain, which had died down considerably to that mist I was wishing for. (MISTY RAIN!!!)

I had to go to the bathroom, which is customary for me before a race and luckily, I saw Joe coming out just as I was getting in line. We hooked up with Tom and did our warm up a few minutes before the start. The warmup actually made me feel a little off balance and my ears felt a little strange--I didn't have them covered and I think that's why. When we finished our warm up, we came back together at the start line and a relatively new forum member approached us and introduced himself! I was pretty excited to meet him, and glad he wasn't scared to approach our crazy asses!! Scott, if you read this, it was a great pleasure to meet you and I'm really glad you were there to help push Joey a little!

As for the race itself--I had a great first mile. I felt strong, got in the groove relatively quickly, thanks to our warm up and just ran a smooth, comfortable 9:30 pace. Can you believe I'm actually calling 9:30 comfortable? LOL It was mostly downhill and smooth but I felt great and earlier this year, I would NEVER have been able to run that quickly!

I didn't check my Garmin much during the first 2 miles, as I was just focused on running as fast as I could comfortably, and I was just HOPING to reach mile 2 in 20:00. I also got to see Joe, Tom and Joey (I somehow missed Scott) pass and that TOTALLY made me feel happy and distracted! At the 2 mile split, the guy called out 19:00 and while I was elated to have surpassed my goal, it was at this point that I realized I still had a tough time ahead but that I wasn't ready to give up. I still felt like I could totally pull off the 40:00 race.

By mile 2.5 though, I started to crumble. The hills were popping up and my early speed was catching up to me...my legs were fine but for the first time in several months, I was actually REALLY short of breath. I slowed down and even had to stop and walk for several seconds just to calm my breathing down as I was going up the worst hill.

I can't recall the mile 3 split but I just kept pushing to the end of the race--when I rounded the top of the final hill as I was approaching the finish, I knew I was close and I looked ahead to see the time. I knew I was going to finish with a brand new PR and a milestone of which to be proud. I finished several seconds after the 39:00 mark and I am SO PROUD! A new PR, and my first time running a sub-10:00 pace during a race that long!

UPDATE: Race results have been posted and they have my official time as 39:00!!

I had a blast as usual, and I'm loving these PRs every time--though I am aware that I will not PR every race I run. I'm just excited to see improvement, as I say so often. I'm proud of the work I've done!

Tom, Joe, Scott and Joey ran GREAT races, all of which should be very proud. We're such a tough group!!!!! I'm bummed I didn't get to speak to Hippiedigger--I saw someone standing with Tom and Joe after the finish but I didn't recognize him or even have a clue who he was, and I had to take off to catch up with Joey. Maybe I'll get to holler at him next time!

And of course, Panera Bread was THE BOMB!!!! I LOVE LOVE their breakfast. And I always love the company!

After breakfast, I went home and showered and Joey and I watched Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (second try)--bleh. After the movie, I got the urge to log some more miles so I headed up to the park to meet mom. I got in a VERY solid 4 miles that actually seemed to loosen me up and make me feel so much better.

Feels like next week should be a taper week but it's not...hopefully I can take it easy but still get in some quality workouts. I hope everyone has a great weekend, and everyone who raced--I hope it went great.

By the way, I'm loving these guys, I just bought them last week and they've been great for me!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Pass the Body Glide, Please.

After my shower that followed my ice bath after my run earlier, I am determined to never leave the house without my Body Glide if I'm wearing shorts/running skirt.

I left this morning without even considering the need for Body Glide. Yeah, I had on a skirt. Yeah, my legs were gonna touch. Yeah, it was 60 degrees. But it's January. And I haven't used my Body Glide in a couple of months, honestly.

Seven miles into my run, I was in agony. I'm not sure exactly why it was so bad this morning--I've never actually experienced chafing that bad. A little rub-a-dub, yeah. But not this horrid chafing. And what's so strange about it is that when I was 10-15 pounds heavier, I didn't have it bad. Explain to me how losing FAT off of your thighs, for instance, can make you chafe worse? Or maybe it's because I never ran long enough back then TO chafe. Ahh, yes, that's it.

I was in PAIN. I contemplated many remedies along the run--puddles, spitting and rubbing, stopping--until I remembered: "YES, I HAVE LIP GLOSS IN MY POCKET."

So yeah, I stood on the side of a busy public street and rubbed lip gloss on my thighs. But hey, it got me back to my car in less pain.

But my shower was brutal. As soon as that hot water touched the skin...OUCH!

I think they should make a key chain sized tube of Body Glide for someone like me who is prone to forgetfulness of non-daily use products. I dunno, though, I'd probably just forget my lip gloss on a run and have to use the Body Glide on my lips.

Features of My First Long Distance Run of 2009

I'll preface this entry by saying that this morning's run wasn't a fun one physically. I had to try very hard to keep focused on the ultimate goal--I wanted to give up around mile 6 but I just kept my mind strong and continued to push on. I think this may have been my first time running my LSD on a Sunday, and it wasn't really by choice. I enjoy my Saturday morning ritual but yesterday, I was just too sore from Friday's workout to put my body through the challenge of 10 miles. I'm glad I rested yesterday but now my mileage for last week AND this week will be totally screwy (sorry for last weeks tally, Margaritaville Miles teammates) and I won't be able to do my scheduled run tomorrow because I'll definitely want to recover from today.

There were, however, a couple of highlights of today's run. First of all, when I was running 3.3 mile loop inside of Iroquois Park, I began to focus on the scenery that surrounded me and it was just amazing. There are still trees with leaves on them but their color is an amazing yellow/orange/pink hue. It was just beautiful.

During my first mile, I saw this:



That's a red-headed Woodpecker. It was an awesome sight. I literally stopped running to look at the way this little guy maneuvered up the tree.

On my way off of the loop in the park, I saw a flash of bright blue beside me and I looked over--it was two beautiful blue jays. AMAZING COLOR!



I left the park and headed down a nearby street that is frequented by runners (Southern Parkway) and I was amazed at the smell--apparently everyone was doing laundry this morning. It smelled GREAT!

I also did something I've never done before--I drank out of the dog water fountain. The regular sized fountain was not working and another runner happened to be there and told me that I'd have to use the little one--the "little" one is the one everyone lets their dogs use. But hey, I needed some quick hydration! LOL

I continued running north on Southern Parkway until I got up to Kenton, which isn't quite one block from the boundary of Churchill Downs. I actually picked up the pace for this portion, as I was literally getting tired of being out there. LOL I kept myself going by thinking about running this same route during my the Mini in April--and I thought to myself how I'd be running that in April, thinking back to how I made it through the struggle TODAY. I pushed myself so that I could push it in the race.

I finished up with 10.14 miles in 1:55:00, making my average pace hang around the 11:20/mile mark. That's a little faster still than I'm SUPPOSED to be going but hopefully I won't have any problems and I'll stay healthy.

I hope everyone has had an excellent weekend and will have a great week ahead! I'm going for an ice bath...