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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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!

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.