Monday, December 5, 2011

What You Get for Waking up in Vegas

I registered Jake and myself to run the Rock n Roll Vegas half marathon months ago- on opening day, in fact. It was supposed to be my "A" race, my sub 2 attempt if it hadn't happened yet. But with my stress fracture, my hopes switched to "maybe I'll get to run and not have to walk." I was cleared to run a couple weeks ago but only ran once prior to arriving in Vegas. It was Jake's first half marathon and he wasn't feeling particularly strong about his training (longest long run was 9 miles and that was in October), so I promised to run with him. I secretly hoped to pace us to sub 2:30, but surely at least 2:45.

We went to the expo on Saturday, as soon as we put our stuff in the room and Jake placed some sports bets. The expo was packed. We stood in long lines twice- once to buy RnR merchandise (bought a tee very similar to the race tee but since they wouldn't swap the women's small I signed up for with a larger size, I'll be giving it to my 5 year old who it may fit) and again for a longsleeve race shirt for Jake since all he had at home was short sleeves. The highlight was meeting Dimity and SBS, the authors of my favorite running book- Run Like a Mother. I brought my copy and they signed it. Both were very friendly and sweet to talk to me for a few minutes.

We stayed at Mandalay Bay, which is where the race started and ended. That appears to have been a majorly good decision. I've read some stories of people taking hours to get back to their hotels last night. It still probably took us 30 minutes. The hotel, and really entire strip, was incredibly crowded all weekend. We left our hotel room and headed down to the corrals around 4:50 for the 5:30 start. I was originally assigned to corral 6 with my sub-2 predicted time. Wow!!! We moved back to 24, for the 2:30 finish. It was chaotic trying to get into the corrals. They were too small for the number of runners. The race started right on time but I think they only did the waved start for a few corrals- by the time we really started moving toward the start, we walked right to the line and started running. I think that was the beginning of the end. I've run some big races and this was my 3rd RnR half. I expect it to be crowded for a mile or so. It never really thinned out. I fell somewhere in mile 2 but thankfully wasn't injured or trampled, then injured! The marathoners ran their first half off the strip, starting 90 minutes before the half. I felt awful for them as they joined the halfers on the strip. There were cones to separate the race distances but there were so many halfers and it was so crowded with half walkers, that half runners were moving over to the marathon lane to have running space. Marathoners were faster but had nowhere to go.

Jake and I planned to take 1 minute walk breaks at each mile, plus walk the water stations. We didn't walk until mile 4. By that time we were turning off the strip and had a little more space to spread out. That was about the only time I was thankful to have so many people around me. Scary part of town. Jake started struggling around mile 8 so we took longer walk breaks. By mile 10, we walked at every half mile. It was nice to get back on the strip headed south, and even better when we could see Mandalay Bay. I didn't feel strong by any means, but the walk breaks hurt more than helped. My hips were so tight that the first few steps of running were painful. Other than that, no groin pain from my fracture. I was really worried about Jake for the last 5k. He said he was ok but he didn't look ok. I was worried he wouldn't tell me if he felt like stopping. At one point I kinda joked about not raising the life insurance before the trip so he couldn't die. We ran the last .6+ mile in. We got our medals, space blankets (just in time because it started sprinkling and the cold/wind set in on bodies quickly), and I got some water and a bagel. Jake was getting sick, so we got back to our hotel room as quickly as possible. I ordered room service within 5 minutes of arriving in our room and it still took 2 hours to get. By then Jake was feeling better and managed to eat/drink. Today he says he feels 75% better than last night. I have the expected soreness, especially for my lack of physical activity since September.

Jake says he crossed 2 things off his bucket list last night:
1) half marathon- done
2) full marathon- no desire whatsoever

I don't know what my plan is. I thought I'd make RnR Dallas my comeback/sub-2 half. I'm seriously rethinking that. This RnR race was so poorly executed that I can't get excited about doing another. St. Louis RnR was great. Dallas last year was fine. I just have to think there are half marathons in the Dallas area that are perhaps smaller, but much better organized. And likely cheaper. I wouldn't do Vegas again. Running down the strip at night sounded amazing, but with 44,000 people you couldn't look up to enjoy the sights or you'd trip over somebody. I read that they want to have 60,000 do it next year. That's so incredibly stupid when a race of 44,000 was so messy.

Our unofficial time was 2:57

Monday, October 24, 2011

Rock n Roll St. Louis Half Marathon Race Recap

Before the race

Sign I've seen many times and always love

Before the race, as my corral approached the starting line

Taken during the race- LOVE THIS!!!
Race morning started with a 5:30am wake up. I had my usual pre-race meal of Diet Dr. Pepper and a Honey Stinger Waffle on my way to the race. We were there in plenty of time to hit porta potties. Twice. One of which I got really lucky because the door was stuck in the locked position so nobody had used it. A guy standing in line yanked it open so only the dude before me used it before it was my turn. Score! Hate stinky porta potties but it's a necessary evil at races. I walked all the way up to corral 5, where I should have started if I was going for my planned sub-2. It was so close to the front. Scary! But instead, I decided to start in corral 21, with an estimated finish time of 2:50-3:00. With my bib I could have started pretty much anywhere, but I decided that it might kill my morale to be passed the entire race. I was really happy with my corral selection. They did a really good job of letting the corrals go every couple of minutes. It was warmer than I'd expected it to be- about 58 degrees at the race start- which made it not too miserable waiting to get started. I didn't take any throw away clothes, but I used some hand warmers and tucked my hands inside my long sleeves for a few miles since my hands get cold so easily. It was tough to not run across the starting line and I almost teared up. At that moment I promised myself I could run across the finish line if I wasn't in terrible pain after the next 13 miles. There were a few other walkers who I saw at the beginning, including one lady carrying a cane. Lots of people were using a run-walk-run strategy, so it didn't take long for me to start passing people and I kept that up the entire race. There were some beautiful areas on the course. I carried my camera, but the photos just don't do it justice. I was also hoping they'd capture the elevation, but they don't. I wouldn't say it was a hilly course as in lots of ups and downs. It was more of a long slow (sometimes several miles) uphill and not much downhill. St. Louis had some great spectators. There were tons of people watching throughout the course. Jake ran from the starting line and met me around mile 5 (he ran a more direct route- not the winding race course). I was ahead of my schedule at that point. He jogged alongside me (I really was walking fast!) for a little while before turning back so he could be at the finish line for me. Half and full marathoners shared the course until about mile 8 when the course split. At our mile 9, the marathoners re-joined, but running on the other side of the median. It was neat to see the really fast marathoners pass. I saw a couple women, including the female winner, I just didn't realize it at the time. My hip really didn't hurt during the race. Everything hurt by the last mile. I'd been doing the math all along to figure out what time I might be able to finish at. I knew I was ahead of my goal pace and I hadn't done any math below that sub-3 mark. I knew I was close to being under 2:45 but I just couldn't keep my pace up for the last 2 miles. I ran the last 20 or so yards to and across the finish line. It felt *SO* good! I thought I stopped my watch but apparently I didn't, so I had to wait until they posted official results to find out my time. I got my medal, picked up some water and snacks in the finisher's area, and went to get my beer. It was kind of nice to not feel like hell after a race. I enjoyed my beer and was starving- I usually don't feel like eating for hours after a race!

My official time was 2:46:02, making my average pace 12:40 (which is 4.73 mph if we're talking treadmill). That's actually my 2nd fastest half marathon (not huge given the fact that my last 2 were so awful), but my 2nd fastest nonetheless. And with a fracture in my pelvis... can't forget that.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Rock n Roll St. Louis Plan

I've had a good few days as far as hip pain. It hurts very little, if at all, during the day. At night, laying in bed, is when it bothers me the most. Work days are a little tough because I'm up and down so much, I guess. I'm optimistically thinking I can walk the half marathon and turn in a time not much slower than my past two half marathons in which I actually ran. It will depend on how comfortably I can walk. If I'm really hurting, I won't push to finish this race. It's obviously not the race I hoped it would be, but if I'm not hurting, I can't turn off my competitive drive. I still want to do my best.

"Goal" A: 2:59:59 (break 3 hours... *only* 1 hour slower than my original goal for this race)
pace 13:44
4.37 mph

"Goal" B: 3:02:22 (beat my slowest half marathon time- Hottest Half this past August)
pace 13:55
4.31 mph

"Goal" C: 3:14:59 (break 3:15, which really seems pretty do-able)
pace 14:53
4.03 mph

At least I won't need walk breaks, LOL. =)

I've started stalking the weather and thinking about what I'll wear on race day. It looks awfully perfect for a race. Old habits die hard. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The good: My hip isn't broken.
The bad: My superior pubic ramus is.
The ugly: I can't run for 6 pain-free (which ironically might be emotionally painful) weeks.

Things I am thankful for:

The stress fracture is NOT surgical and will not get worse and become surgical. My doctor told me that when I left his office last week, he felt like it was a stress fracture of the femoral head. That can be surgical. Like, pins and a rod down my femur, surgical. Thank God for that not being the case.

I am allowed to walk, swim, bike, use the elliptical trainer, strength train, and do yoga. I can do anything but high impact activity... like run.

My bone density and everything is fine. This is a stress fracture caused by running, although Jake has already joked once that he caused the fracture. =)

I can walk. I can walk 13.1 miles. The course limit for my half marathon in St. Louis is 4 hours. That's over an 18 minute mile. I will take my camera and take pictures along the course. I will make friends with the people around me on the course. I will wear my finisher's medal proudly. 

I'll have another x-ray in 5 weeks and if all goes well I can run Vegas.

I will take care of myself. It's much more important to me that I be able to run for as long as I want for the rest of my life than the next 5 weeks.

Friday, October 7, 2011

It's Been a Long Time

Blogging about running is all unicorns and rainbows when training/running is going well. I haven't seen a rainbow in a long time. I finished another half marathon on September 25th. It was grueling. I ran very little the couple of weeks before that race, trying to rest my left hip/leg. I felt good on race day, ran the first 2 miles with the sub-2 pacer, and then the pain in my hip started. I slowed my pace at first. When that didn't help, I took a very short walk break every half mile. By mile 6 or so, those walk breaks weren't very short anymore. By mile 9 I was walking my half marathon. The pain was excruciating and I wanted badly for somebody to ask me if I needed a ride back to the finish line. I might have accepted. I talked to friends as they passed me. I watched every pace group except the 3:00 pass by. I'd try to pick it up and run slowly, but it hurt so much. My overwhelming thought was that I had a stress fracture (I read too many blogs) and running was doing more damage. It wasn't worth it, and my time was already in the toilet, so I just walked. And walked. And walked. It takes a long time to walk that many miles. Jake ran the 10k (and PR'd!!!), so he was at the race. As my friends finished the half, they told him I was struggling. He ran back out on the course and walked the last mile in with me. I did suck it up and run across the finish line. It's incredibly frustrating that I ran my first half marathon so much better than the next two. Immediately after the race I went into work for an x-ray of my hip. No fractures showed up on the x-ray and the doctor diagnosed me with bursitis. I've been taking ibuprofen and using ice. The pain lessens but never goes away. I try to run, and it hurts again. It's kind of strange because I have pain in my groin when I'm running, but after I run it's the pain in the side of my hip that's really bad.

I've had this pain for about a month, so I made an ortho appointment. I saw the doctor yesterday and I really liked him and agreed with his treatment plan. I was so worried that a doctor would tell me to simply quit running- like it's just my cardio exercise of choice and I can just as easily hop on something with less impact like an elliptical machine. He's not a runner, but he's treated enough runners to understand us. :) He went through the basics like making sure I get fitted properly for shoes and replace them frequently enough. He examined my hip. He pressed on my left hip and I just about came unglued. OUCH! Apparently that's a raging case of bursitis. If that's my only problem, I'm supposed to take Advil 3 times a day, ice, and I can get a steroid shot in my hip the week before my half marathon in St. Louis. That feels so hardcore. Count me in. But... he's concerned that I have pain in the groin. That's where true hip joint pain is felt. Not good. So, I have an MRI at noon today to make sure I don't have a stress fracture. I'll go back to him on Tuesday to discuss results and settle on a treatment plan.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Massaging a Turkey Leg

I've been holding onto a massage gift card for awhile and made some time to use it today. Stress levels have been high, and that's usually what gets me in for a massage, even though I know my body needs it from running.  I told the therapist I'm a runner. I admit that I don't stretch, ice, or foam roll as often as I should. When I do foam roll, my right leg hurts like a mother. But it doesn't bother me to run or any other time, so it's gotta be ok, right? Some things said by the massage therapist during the session:
  • "holy shit, this leg is a mess" (yes, for real)
  • "your right leg is like a turkey leg" (not exactly sure what that means, I'm guessing the muscles are tough?)
  • "you're not going to be running within 4 months if you don't fix this" (most concerning because apparently he and my leg are unaware of the plans I have)
  • "you have a big knotty ass" (at least I think he was saying knotty and not naughty- and I still don't like the big descriptor... even if he was calling the knot big and not my ass in general)
He was not a small man and he LAID INTO my right leg. Calf, IT band, piriformis, it all hurt. Badly. I was biting the sheets and might have stopped breathing. I only forgave him when he told me I "don't know stress" until I have kids. Umm, dude, I have 2. He acted shocked and asked how old I was, 20? So he bought some redemption there- that A) I look like I don't have kids and B) I look a decade younger than my true age.

So, I'll now be "indulging" in monthly massage, plus stretching before and after runs and using the foam roller more than once or twice a week. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Glory Be!

I worked 13+ hours yesterday (totally busy at work), slept 5 hours, and got up at 4:30 this morning for my long run. My training plan called for a 13 mile long run this week- my longest run before my next half marathon (9/25). We had a heavenly cool front blow in Sunday night. Since I worked yesterday I didn't get to race, which was a bummer. But, I planned my long run so I would still get to enjoy the cooler temperatures. Even with a tired mind, body, and soul, I woke up ready to run. It was 63 degrees. I definitely enjoy and need the cooler weather to run my best, but I'm also a cold weather sissy. This was pretty close to perfect for me. My training plan prescribes a pace for the long runs but with the summer heat, I've never hit the goal. Today's run called for 10:24 overall pace and I really hoped to nail it for the confidence boost.

I met Fiona & Teri at Celebration to run the first 6 together. Shannon planned to run 10 or so with me, but had car trouble this morning, so I ended up running the last 6.8 miles alone. It felt incredible to run faster and not be sucking wind. No walk breaks needed! I stopped at my car at 6.3 miles to refill my water bottle and eat some Honey Stingers, then headed out to finish on my own. I probably would have brought headphones had I known I would be running alone, but I enjoyed the silence and the early morning sun... just like old times before I had running buddies! Several times I looked down at my watch and saw that I was running at half marathon pace or better. It didn't hurt, but I'd talk myself into slowing down a little. With about 1.5 miles to go, I looked at my overall time and realized how close I was to my half marathon PR. I picked up the pace, determined to beat it. When my watched beeped at 13 miles, I pushed my legs to finish strong. Done!!! 2:08:30- PR by 20 seconds!!! Sub-2 half marathon, here I come. If I can do this during a training run, with half the distance by myself, I know I can nail my goal in a race. I even have a willing pacer for Heels & Hills & Him, so I just need another cool front.

Mile 1- 10:06
Mile 2- 10:13
Mile 3- 9:56
Mile 4- 9:59
Mile 5- 9:50
Mile 6- 9:40
Mile 7- 9:27
Mile 8- 9:55
Mile 9- 9:47
Mile 10- 9:49
Mile 11- 9:56
Mile 12- 9:58
Mile 13- 9:07
Mile 13.1- 7:51


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Trail Run

Thankfully I borrowed a headlamp when I went into the park bathrooms before we started the run. I would not have seen this little guy and his friend in the sink. Eeek!
The sun was just barely coming up when we started to run, so we stopped 1 mile in for a group photo. Fiona is missing in this pic because she was the photographer.
Shannon took a nasty fall with about 1.5 miles left in our loop. I was right behind her. We all stopped to help her clean her wounds (both knees and palms, one of which was awful) with water and baby wipes. We got back to the car and used some more proper supplies from Lesley's first aid kit. I've been teased on blogs and Facebook for my bandaging skills. Apparently my run-worthy bandage (because she planned to keep running and I didn't figure a band-aid would stick with sweat) made Shannon look like she was burned in a forest fire, not missing some skin on her palm.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Training Update

It's been a tough week. I'm trying to push my awful Hottest Half time out of my mind. I'm just really ready for it to cool down. Every single run is challenging and I don't remember it feeling like this when I trained for Rock n Roll last winter/spring. I was only running 2-3 days a week then. I'm running 4-5 now. I should be in better shape! So, temperatures please drop. Paces please drop. Perceived exertion please drop. OK? Good.

All that being said, I'm not getting in all the cross training I would like to do. If something has to get dropped from the schedule, it's going to be a Core class or yoga or strength training. I'm working 2 days this week, which sounds like nothing, but they're (at least) 12 hour days, depending on whether we actually get out on time. That makes a 5:30am run sound not very enticing, but I'm doing my best to get it done. Some regular early morning running buddies make it better. Without them, I can promise you I would not be getting out of bed 2 hours before I have to. All I can do is my best, right?

I also have to remind myself that my next half (September 25) is not my "A" race. Of course it would be nice to PR, but I have lots of other opportunities this fall to PR and get my sub-2... including a nice little DOUBLE HALF MARATHON on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. My tentative plan is to race the half marathon hard on NYE and take it easy on NYD. I've already registered. The race is local and lots of friends will be there. The race bling is really cool- you earn what looks like half of a medal for your race on each day, and for completing races on both days you get a plate that allows you to insert both medals for the full big medal. It should be a really great weekend! Only 3 more half marathons between now and then.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Ice Out of Her Bra

Shanda & me before
Charisma, Victoria, me, Shanda

This morning I finished the Hottest Half half marathon at White Rock Lake. That's your foreshadowing. I used the word "finished" instead of "raced" or even "ran."  Hottest Half or Hardest Half?

I'm so glad that I went into this (my second) half marathon with little to no expectations for myself. Finish, basically. Finish feeling good would have been icing on the cake. It turns out that I didn't get to have my cake and eat it, too. I'm blogging with ice on my foot. No worries, I'm not injured, it's the good-sized blister on the side of my foot and the blood blister on the tip of a toe that also looks like an animal mauled it. I'm a real runner, no doubt about it. My <horrible> time for today's half doesn't even make me think less of my runner status. 

I decided ahead of time to run with my friends Victoria and Charisma, who are training for their first full marathon. The plan was to use a 4:1 run/walk ration. It felt good for the first half. We even skipped a couple walk breaks because the crowd at the beginning was just too thick to selfishly slow to a walk. At the turn around I wasn't feeling great and I could tell the heat was starting to get to me. I just wasn't cooling off much during the walk breaks, but I still felt ok. The wheels fell off somewhere after the 10 mile marker. I started walking not long before I saw my friends from NTX Runners (who were awesome and brought ice and gummy bears for the runners) and I never made it back to a run after that. I went from thinking I might still be able to feel good at the finish if I just walk to, "Please, God, just let me make it to the finish line." Several times I stopped in the grass, thinking I was going to throw up. Victoria and Charisma were right by my side, pouring cold water down my back and offering to call for medics. I told them to go ahead several times, not wanting to ruin their race/training run, but they wouldn't leave me and I'm so grateful for that. Quite a few runners stopped to check on me or offer help. One woman literally took the ice out of her bra and told me to put it in mine. I'm certain that's taking the phrase, "I'd give you the shirt off my back" to the highest level of sincerity.

We finally made it to the finish line and I was at least able to convince Victoria & Charisma to run across the finish line. That's the first time I've ever walked across a finish line. I hope it's the last. I'm home now, showered, with a little food in my belly and feeling decent. I didn't take any nutrition during the race (though I took water/nuun at every opportunity and carried my own bottle, so I was never without) and wasn't able to stomach food for awhile after the race. But when I got hungry I was craving cheese. I ate a couple cheese sticks out of the fridge and my mom (who was out with the kids) brought home fried mozzarella sticks. So yummy! I'm feeling almost good enough to get out and eat some Mexican food.

 My stepdaughter medal with her sisters.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tequila and Speedwork

My sub-2 half marathon plan called for 6 miles with 4 at 9:00 pace. I knew it was on the schedule for today, placed there by yours truly.

And yet I went out with the girls last night. I ate chips, salsa, enchiladas, frozen yogurt, and washed it all down with TWO margaritas.  I know the pain of sweating out tequila, yet I did it anyway.

I wasn't willing to move speedwork to another day because I have Hottest Half this weekend and my legs are pretty slow to recover from fast running. So, this morning we went to the gym and I hit the treadmill as planned.

Mile 1: warm up-ish pace. 11:44 for the first half mile, 10:44 for the rest of the mile.
Mile 2: 9:01 but it was painful. I wasn't willing to quit the plan entirely, but I knew I would physically not be able to run 4 miles at this pace today without some sort of alteration in the plan. I walked 0.05 miles after 1 full mile.
Mile 3: 9:01 with 0.10 mile of walking after the fast mile.
Mile 4: 9:01 with 0.10 mile of walking after the fast mile.
Mile 5: 9:01 with 0.10 mile of walking after the fast mile.
Mile 6: Ahhh... finish it up with an 11:44 mile. So glad to be finished.

The good news is that on week 4 of the 10 week plan, that's what I perceive to be the 2nd most difficult speedwork day. I get to do it again later (at a pace 7 seconds faster) and the most difficult day is a 7 miler with 5 at this pace. The shorter tempo runs and the mile repeats seem easier, even if they're faster. The light at the end of the tunnel is closer!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Week 3 Training Summary

Yesterday completed week 3 of my Sub-2 Half training plan. I'm not setting any speed PRs in this heat, but I set a distance PR... I ran 28.5 miles, my highest mileage ever in 1 week. That's higher mileage than my plan called for, but the social run with NTX Runners on Thursday gave me some extra miles. This week will probably be about the same mileage, given my weekend plans- keep reading through the summary or just scroll to the bottom for my coming week plan.

Monday- Ran 5.15 miles with Teri & Fiona
Tuesday- strength training
Wednesday- Ran 5 miles with 3 at half marathon pace (9:09) on the treadmill
Thursday- Ran 4.02 miles with Teri & Fiona, strength training, ran 4.57 miles with NTX Runners
Friday- planned rest day
Saturday- skipped yoga when Mary asked me to join her for lunch and shopping... a bonus rest day
Sunday- Ran 9.8 trail miles with NTX Runners + Shanda

 Sunrise on our trail run yesterday

Next week calls for another challenging tempo run (6 miles with 4 at 9:00 pace), a 5 and 4 miler, and a long run of 9 miles. BUT, there's this little race that was featured in Runner's World this month called the Hottest Half. They're saying this year might be the hottest Hottest Half ever. Awesome. So, my long run will be a half marathon on Sunday. I am NOT racing. I'm not even trying to race. I'm running with some friends and I have 2 goals: 1- get that HOT medal 2- feel pretty good when crossing the finish line.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Three Things Thursday- late edition

I crossed the line from dedicated to nuts today. I did 3 workouts, one of which tonight when it was still 105 degrees outside.
  1. 5:30am run with my becoming-regular running buddies. 4.02 miles in 43 minutes. It was 92 degrees when we started our run and had actually cooled to a lowly 89 by the time we finished. 
  2. 50 minutes of strength training at the gym.
  3. This is where I got crazy. North Texas Runners had a scheduled social run starting at 7:30pm. I planned to just meet up after the run for shaved ice, but Lesley twisted my arm. I've been following her blog for some time and she was part of the run club before I joined. But we've never run together and this was the first run we could both make. So I agreed to run, but slowly and likely with walk breaks. I'm very much a peer pressure runner- I will run harder/faster/longer just to keep up with the cool kids. I ended up starting the run with Jake. We never get to run together, so that was an opportunity not to be passed up. The route offered a good amount of shade and surprisingly it didn't feel much (if any) worse than it did at 5:30 in the morning. We decided to run to the park, stop for a potty break, then back to the shaved ice place. On our way back from the park we ran with Lesley and a couple others. Total distance was 4.57 miles in 51 minutes. Finished off the run with an extra large cherry flavored shaved ice.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Coming over to (the other) dark side

Night runs were working for me when the temperature was below 100 when we started to run. After last week's miserable long run cut short we unanimously agreed that might be the end of evening running. With high temperatures pushing 110 this week, that decision has been made. I've gotten up at 5am for my past 3 out 5 runs. The only time I didn't go early was my treadmill speedwork today and on a day when Jake was working and I needed to run. Mornings are harder to work into the schedule, but I'll figure it out until it starts to cool off a little. I'm not a morning person by any means, but having friends who are waiting for me has kept me accountable on those planned runs. I bought a headlamp a couple weeks ago for the night runs, but now I'm using it for the other time of day when it's dark!

Today was my weekly speedwork. My plan called for 5 miles with the middle 3 at half marathon pace. With a goal of sub-2, that makes HMP 9:09. That's not much above my 5k PR pace! I'm doing speedwork on the treadmill because even at 5am today it was 91 degrees. That's not conducive to hitting near-PR pace! Jake ran on the treadmill next to me. I pulled up Nicki Minaj on Pandora (great running music although not what I listen to the rest of the time) and got started with my first mile at 10:30 pace. Then it was time to get down to business. I punched in 6.5mph, which is technically 9:13 pace. I'm using an app on my phone that adjusts treadmill pace based on the incline you set. With my 1% incline, my adjusted pace was then 9:09. The first mile was challenging, but not nearly as painful as my 1 mile repeats last week. The second mile was challenging. I made a deal with myself that I could walk for 30 seconds once I finished 1.5 miles at HMP. Once I got to that point, I denied myself the walk break and bumped the mark to 2 miles. Once I got to 2 miles I pushed through, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. The last mile wasn't so bad. I think that middle one was just tough because it was far enough in to feel some pain and not close enough to the end to see the light. My last mile was a nice, comfortable 11-something pace. I finished 5 miles in 50:20, without any walk breaks. I'm not sure I'm ready to jump off the deep end and declare my undying love for speedwork, but I'm learning that it builds my confidence and I love the feeling of accomplishment when I finish a run that scared me.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Week 2 Training Summary

Another week of training is done! Good thing I'm working tomorrow because I would otherwise be tempted to skip my rest day and make up the yoga session I missed yesterday due to shoulder pain. I vaguely remember feeling a pop in my shoulder/upper back area on Thursday while lifting weights. It didn't hurt terribly and I didn't really notice it again until I tried to sleep that night. Then it bothered me on my early morning (5:30!) run on Friday. I already had an appointment with my chiropractor so that was handy. He said it was a displaced rib head and nearly killed me adjusted it back into place. I was more sore after the adjustment than before but I feel good today. At any rate, I knew there was no way I could tolerate doing any downward dogs yesterday so I skipped yoga. I didn't exactly nail my training plan due to heat and pain, but I had 2 solid runs between my speedwork and the early morning trail run today, which ended up being my longest run due to cutting short my 9 miler on Monday night. We ended up doing one loop, which my Garmin called 7.09 miles. There were 9 women from the run club who met at the park. We all pretty much ran our own pace, maybe breaking into 2 smaller groups, but then meeting back up as a big group every mile or so. I enjoyed the trails. There were some areas of open fields, but the majority gave us shade in the trees. Whoever said running is cheap exercise was a liar. I spend so much money on my running gear and race fees! At least my trail shoes were/will be free (whenever they arrive!), but now I need a backpack for water. I carried my handheld bottle and wore my Amphipod belt. I'd gotten used to it when I was wearing it so much but I've been carrying water and using my Spibelt for my phone and now the Amphipod bugs the crap out of me. I think my hips are too big and my natural waist is so high that it just won't stay snug unless I wear it right below my boobs (which then makes me look like an 80 year old runner). I was worried that I might tear my Lululemon skirts or my favorite (and only) pair of running shorts, so I wore my turquoise Nike running skirt that's ok but I don't love. I was thinking I looked like Punky Brewster in all of my brightness, but one of the other girls more accurately pegged it- Rainbow Brite.

I finished the week with 20.36 miles over 4 runs. A little lower than planned, but I'm ok with that. I also got in 2 strength training sessions and a core class.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I Did IT!

"IT" being this week's speedwork. My plan called for 2 x 1 mile @ 8:25 pace. That's 7.1 MPH on the treadmill with a 1% incline. That's super scary for this girl who is still scared of punching in 6.0 on the speed. Speed workouts are probably better on the track so you can feel yourself push for the speed (and maybe even pleasantly surprise yourself by running faster) but that wasn't an option today. The good thing about the treadmill, though, is that you can dial in the speed and know that as long as you slap your own hands away from the speed buttons, you'll hit the goal pace.

I chose the Woodway treadmills on the other side of the gym. Those are supposed to be better for you, but my number one reason for choosing them was that they're closer to the bathrooms. 8:25 seems awfully close to puke pace. ;)

I did a half mile warm up (perhaps it should have been a full mile, I don't really know, but I felt warm after the half mile so I went with it). Then it was time to crank it up. Immediately my lungs and legs began a dialogue with my brain...

Lungs & Legs: This sucks. 400's will be fine. That's still a speed workout.
Brain: No, you did that last week. I'll meet you halfway, though. How about 800's? But you still have to do the 2 miles of speedwork.
Lungs & Legs: Awesome. We love you, Brain!
... now with 800 complete...
Brain: Guess what, girls? You can do this- keep running! Do what you always have and get what you've always got!!! You have a sub-2 half to run.
Lungs & Legs: B!+**

It hurt. Badly. I was so glad when my mile was finished. I walked for a 1/4 mile then dialed it in again. Pretty much the same conversation took place between my lungs, legs, and brain. At one point a girl hopped on the treadmill next to me and must have been running the same pace or close to it. I tried to distract myself by running "with" her. Maybe she only planned to run for a couple minutes, maybe that treadmill sucked, maybe the sounds of me sucking wind was too much for her- but she left before my mile was over.

I walked another 1/4 mile, then finished with half a mile at 10:30 pace, which feels A LOT easier after running 8:25 pace. My total distance was 3.5 miles at right around 37 minutes.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Long Run Suspended

Last night I met with 4 other women from NTX Runners for a 9 mile run. In the winter I checked the weather like I was an 80 year old woman. Multiple. Times. A. Day. !!! I don't bother in the summer because it's all the same. 20-something days straight over 100 degrees, and that's all I need to know. It's hot. So I don't even know if it was hotter last night or more humid or what, but something was different. We all had a tough time. We lost one friend after the first loop (3.35 miles) and another was feeling faint toward the end of the loop but wanted to keep running. We all agreed to slow our pace after that but it didn't get any better. I didn't feel like I was sweating as much as I should have been on the 2nd loop which was concerning for heat stroke so I decided there would be no 3rd loop. Everyone else was fine with that- we all struggled. If I die of heat stroke, it won't matter that I did the long run, because there won't be a race. I finished with 6.7 miles in 1:15:xx. Average pace was something like 11:15. We're going to run trails on Saturday morning, so maybe I can make up the long run mileage then.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Custom Orthotics for Running?

This morning I saw the other doctor at my chiropractor's office. I guess he's more into feet and soft tissue work. He evaluated my feet and legs and pretty much the only problem he found was that my right IT band is a little tight compared to the left. I'm having zero pain in my feet, ankles, legs, hips. Nothing. But he recommended custom orthotics. I asked why and the answer seemed to be "because it's better for your feet/legs and your running in general." But I don't have any pain, so why fix something that's not broken? Does anyone else wear orthotics? Why? Do they help you? How?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sub-2 Half Marathon Week 1 Review

I made it through week 1 of my 10 week plan. I got in my 4 runs, 1 core class, 1 yoga class, and 2 strength training sessions over 6 days and I took one day off from everything (well, I actually worked at the job that pays me). I posted my Monday-Wednesday workouts in my "Three Things Thursday" post.

On Thursday I did strength training, which was great. I like lifting weights. I increased the weight on about half of my exercises.

I worked on Saturday, but a group of moms from my friend's Baby Bootcamp franchise were meeting at 6am to run 5 miles. I decided I could join them and still make it to work on time if I showered at our gym rather than driving all the way home. I participated in this program when my kids were younger and it was called StrollerFit. I knew a few of the moms and one other former member also came out for the run. We ended up running together for about the first 3 miles. She is FAST. I was breathing heavy and she wasn't, but I knew it was good for me to hang with her for as long as I could. After about 3 miles I needed a walk break so I waved her on. I ran 5.1 miles in 51:13 (average pace 10:03). My fastest mile was 9:25. It felt like we were hauling ass, so it baffles me that I will be able to run 13.1 miles at a pace 20 seconds faster! But I know that the temperature plays a huge role in my performance right now. I trust my plan!

Today I went to yoga. I really liked the instructor- she was a sub. She was tough. There were no child's pose breaks!!! Class also ran long at about an hour and 20 minutes. I know my hips are very tight but she took us through some poses that made me realize just how tight they really are. But we did some good stretches that I'll have to incorporate to help loosen up through the hips.

I'm looking forward to week 2! I have 3 runs planned with women from my run club. The only one I have to do by myself is speedwork.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer Half Marathon

I've gone back and forth on this race several times... half marathon - 10k - half marathon - 10k.

Half marathon. And yes, that's my final answer. I registered for the 10k, then I'm not sure who convinced whom, but a friend and I agreed to run the half together, so the difference in registration fees is in the mail. This will be my second half marathon.

On August 14th, I'm going to run the Hottest Half with several friends (because misery loves company). I am NOT racing. I'm in it to finish without medical intervention. This race was featured in Runner's World this month, in an article that discussed surviving racing in the heat. The medal is HOT and I can't wait to have it hang from my medal display... love the flames!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Three Things Thursday

I finally got on Daily Mile, so I've been posting my workouts there but not in detail here. I'm going to use TTT as my way to catch up this week. Training has been going great. I'm really happy the way it's starting.

1- (Monday) I did 2 rotations of my strength training circuit then ran 4 miles on the treadmill at my prescribed pace of 10:30. It wasn't easy but I wasn't dying either. 

2- (Tuesday) I did a 30 minute core class with group fitness at the gym in the morning. I posted my planned 8 mile long run on the members page for my run club and ended up with 6 other women joining me at night. We dropped the run/walk intervals from last week. Our route has a turnaround point at just over 2 miles, so we'd run almost continuously (stopping for lights or to allow everyone to catch back up since it was dark) and rest for a few minutes at the turnaround points. I did switch my Garmin to auto pause, so those breaks aren't included in the times. We ran a total of 8.3 miles in 1:34:24 with an average pace of 11:23. My fastest mile was 10:49 and slowest was 11:49.

3- (Wednesday) The run club had an organized speedwork session, which got me out of that scary tempo run that my plan called for. It comes back for me in a couple weeks, so it's not like I can avoid it forever. Jake and I ran together while the kids played with some other children of run club parents inside the track. I set my watch to 0.25 mile intervals with 1 minute walk breaks between. I jogged 2 laps each for a warm up and cool down. My total time was 29:25 with 2.95 miles. I used the McMillan calculator to get an idea for what times I should be aiming for. My 5k PR said something like 2:00 - 2:08. Out of curiosity I punched in a 1:59:59 half marathon and it said 1:54-2:00. I'm not really sure which times I should use- it kinda makes sense to me to try and hit the times for my goal half marathon. At any rate...
#1- 2:00
#2- 1:55
#3- 1:54
#4- 1:53
#5- 2:03
#6- 1:48

I'm really happy with those times. I got a little faster each time and hit the goal paces, other than that 5th interval.  After 3 days of running, my legs are ready for the next 2 days off from running.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I Won!

I usually catch up on blogs at night, but I didn't read blogs last night since I didn't get home until almost 11 after running 8.3 with the girls from North Texas Runners. When I woke up this morning I had a comment on my blog from somebody who found me because I won the giveaway Tall Mom on the Run was hosting for $100 towards a pair of Brooks shoes at Awesome!!! I was so jealous when Pam commented on her blog yesterday about the wide toe box on her new Brooks Ghost 4's and one of my friends was wearing Ghost 4's on our run last night. Ghost 4's have been on my brain since I was told about them a couple months ago before they were out. But I can't make my final selection until I go to the running store and try on my options. I shop online for anything and everything way too much stuff, but I've been groomed to go to the running store and be properly fitted. So hopefully I'll get a chance to do that with my free time during Babysitter Thursday so I can order my new Brooks shoes!

I studied the pictures of shoes in pretty colors the list of Brooks shoes available at and found a few options:

1- There's the Brooks Mach 3 Spikeless. It's purple. All of my running shoes are and have been blue. I can't help but be drawn to something prettier! Cool racing shoe. I've never bought any of those. Am I fast enough or competitive enough to warrant a racing shoe? Do you wear racing shoes for a sub-2 half marathon?(because that's pretty much all I care about right now) But maybe the answer to whether I should have a racing shoe is no- because it only comes in regular widths, as do all of the Brooks racing shoes. Hmmm. Fat feet can't be fast, apparently. Maybe it has nothing to do with fast twitch muscle fibers. I have a new study for somebody to do... fat footed fast runners- do they exist?
2- Then there's also the Brooks Adrenaline ASR 8. Another pretty option. Pink and gray. But it's gray because it's a trail shoe! So I ran trails one time when I thought it was hot, but it wasn't really hot, because NOW it's HOT. But the girls at NTX Runners are into trails and I have my first trail date next weekend. So I might be needing some trail shoes, huh?

3- And then there's the Brooks Ghost 4. What I've coveted for months but never actually tried on. Guess what color it comes in? Blue. Well, it comes in a green, but not for wide feet and unless the overall fit of this shoe is just plenty wide, I'll probably need the fat foot color.
So I'll plan on going by the running store after my pedicure and chiropractor appointment tomorrow. I can't wait to post which ones I choose!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sub-2 Half Marathon Plan

Today is the start of my half marathon training plan. My race is the Heels & Hills & Him Half Marathon on September 25th. I'm already registered. This will be my first attempt at a sub-2 half marathon. I expect that it will still be pretty warm so I'm not placing all of my eggs in this basket. I have quite a few more half marathons on my schedule this fall/winter/early spring (at present moment there are 4) and I'm certain I'll be able to get the sub-2 at least once at one of these races. But at the same time, I'm going to use a sub-2 training plan with some modifications. It's a 10 week plan with 4-5 runs each week. The longest run is 13 miles and the highest weekly mileage is 30. The long runs call for a 10:30 pace, which I believe I can do in cooler temperatures, but is really not comfortable in 90 degree (plus) temperatures. So, I'm giving myself the leeway to make those runs a comfortable pace. I will still push my hardest to achieve the paces the plan calls for on the speed workouts and other runs, especially when using the treadmill.

This plan was published in Runner's World  in August 2010. Dimity (co-author of Run Like a Mother) used this plan and ran a 1:52:14. It's easy to find the article by searching online, but for some reason finding the training plan that ran at the end of the article is super difficult. Here's a link to the actual article and plan online if you want to read the entire article or can't see my screenshot of the plan very well:
Sub-2 Half Marathon Article and Training Plan

The days that I complete each run (and also squeeze in core and strength training and yoga) will be different than the plan because I have to fit them into our funky work schedules but I figured nobody really cares what days I do the plan, but they might want to see the bones of a sub-2 plan.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Loving Running Buddies

Last night I messaged a girl from my running club who lives nearby to see if she might want to join me for 4 miles this morning. She did! Another friend of hers (who also lives nearby) had already asked her to run, so the three of us ran together. There's a short cut that goes between our neighborhoods, so we met there and ran an easy route that I often do from my house. I ended up running 5.5 miles by the time I was back home (could/would have been more but I decided to walk the 3/4-1 mile from my house to our meeting spot). I wouldn't have gotten out of bed to run if not for meeting these girls, but the warm up walk still did me some good. I didn't stop my watch for any street crossings or our stop at McDonald's to refill water bottles and we did some run/walk intervals , so the pace was a little slower. My total time was 1:06:42 with an average pace of 12:07. I'm usually not so consistent with pace but miles 2, 3, and 4 were 12:06, 12:07, and 12:06.

My total weekly mileage was 21.1 which is far more than I've run in a couple of months. My pace is slower than my plan calls for when I run with the groups, but it's so much more comfortable and it helps me enjoy the runs... which in the long run (ha) will make me happier than a sub-2 half. Which will still happen sometime this fall/winter. I look back at my times from cooler weather and I frequently hit the times I need to be getting now. I'm going to follow this plan for the next 10 weeks with some modifications as I need to make them, and maybe by the time I run my September 1/2 I can pick up the plan again and work harder at hitting the prescribed paces since it'll start to be cooler outside.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Scared of Speed

I have a long standing fear of speed, mostly when punched into the treadmill. I remember when I thought a 10 minute mile was unachievable, but I ran my half marathon at a pace of 9:49, so it's not unachievable. It's a mental block. But even now, punching 6.0 into the treadmill is scary. I'm instantly filled with self doubt and fear of failure.

My training plan calls for a 5 mile run with 3 miles at 8:54 pace in the very first week. I've been scared of that run since I laid eyes on this plan over 1 month ago. My 5k PR pace was 8:50, and I'm supposed to tack another mile on before and after repeating that performance? Fear. I keep telling myself that the pace is a goal. It's OK if I don't hit it. What's the worst that'll happen? I just need to aim for that pace but if I have to slow down so I can get those 3 miles in at a tempo pace or take walk breaks between each mile, so be it. But that's next week.

Today I did a 30 minute core class at the gym before hitting the treadmill for a mini tempo run- sort of a mental prep for next week. Since I will be using the treadmill more than I'd like during this training cycle, I've upped the incline to try and level out the playing field with running outside. My adjusted speeds for the run were:
Mile 1- 10:32
Mile 2- 9:01
Mile 3- 10:32

I had to take a little break after mile 2, because apparently my current level of fitness reveals that 9:01 is near puke pace. I really thought I was going to lose it. After a couple minutes in the bathroom I got back on the treadmill and ran the last mile.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Long Run with Run Club

Last night I met 7 other women from my run club for an 8 mile run. The girl who organized the run wanted to do a 3:1 run/walk at a pace around 12:30. I was completely fine with that, given my lack of a long run over 5 miles in at least a month. We did a 4 mile out & back route with short little potty/refill hand held water bottle breaks at each turn around point. We finished around 10:30pm but avoided the hot sun for the majority of the run. There's something about running with other people that makes it a lot less miserable. I was talking or listening to the conversation and didn't have the time to focus on how hot it was or what part of me wasn't enjoying the run. For probably about the last 3.5 miles, I ran ahead with 2 other girls. We dropped the walk breaks and picked up the pace a little.

We did 8.5 miles at an average pace of 12:48. I stopped my watch for the breaks we took at the turn around spots but not for waiting to cross streets. 

Several of the girls live in the same city as me and one lives just a couple minutes away. I'm so happy to have new running buddies!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Running Club!

Last night Jake and I joined a running club (after laying new flooring in the living room for 7 hours). I've seen people wearing their bright green club shirts at races and even in our neighborhood, so I stalked watched the activity on Facebook for awhile to get an idea for how active the group was and where they ran (let's be real- I'm not going to drive 30 minutes to do regular runs for the most part).

Last night was a social run to/from a frozen yogurt place near our house. Just 15 minutes out and back. We did 3.12 miles at an average pace of 10:29. I'm so not used to running in the heat, especially since I've only done treadmill runs for the past few weeks. I walked a couple of times in the last mile. I have to admit seeing the frozen yogurt place was as good as any race finish line and I had no guilt in filling my cup all the way to the top with cake batter fro-yo and Reese's PB Cups.

Afterward we chatted with the leader and a few members before heading home to relieve the babysitter. Everyone was nice and I think it'll be a group I enjoy. I'm jumping right in with the group. People post what they want to run and where on Facebook when they want company, so I'm going to join a few girls for an 8 mile run tomorrow night. My training plan officially starts next week (10 week plan) with 8 miles at 10:30 pace so this will be a little slower, but a good lead-in long run for the plan.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Chiropractor Update/X-ray Review

This morning I went to the chiropractor for a regular visit. I haven't been having much pain since my last visit. He went over my x-rays with me, which I thought were really interesting. As a nurse, I have almost zero training in reading x-rays. I can pick out problems on an x-ray about as well as anyone without medical training. So that being said, he could feed me total crap and I'd have no way of knowing whether it was true or false. Here's one of the x-rays:

See the (basically vertical) line drawn on the x-ray? That's normal spine curvature. See my spine? Not normal. My personal trainer called it correctly several weeks ago. Lordosis (curvature of the spine). It's likely from pregnancy and is just the way my body handled gaining far too much weight 9 months of carrying a baby. Twice. The good news is that I don't have any arthritis, the disk spaces are all good... no damage. So my big question, of course, was how we fix it. Surely there are some exercises I need to be doing or something. According to the chiropractor we do adjustments for several weeks to get the spine where it should be, then we start PT to strengthen the muscles. If my back muscles get stronger right now, they just reinforce the curvature.

Anyone have any experience or knowledge in this area? I'd love input.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits

I don't have a lot of tidbits, but I have two!

I've had this pain in my mid-back for several months. I don't even know when it started and it's gone on for so long that I didn't want to go to the doctor and fess up that it's hurt for that long. Also, I didn't just want medication for it, so that was another reason to just keep hoping it would eventually go away. My work sent out an email awhile back that a local chiropractor made an offer to see any of our employees for free for a first visit, so I decided to take this doctor up on the offer. I haven't seen a chiropractor since I was pregnant, and he fixed the problem then, but I was open to seeing somebody new. I went for the first time last week. He took a full set of x-rays and did some sort of muscle scan. The muscle scan showed that the muscles in my low back are a little weak, the muscles in my upper back and neck are tight to the point of spasm (carry stress in my shoulders, much?!?), and go figure- the muscles in my mid-back where I have the pain are just perfect. The doctor explained that I had some issues on my x-rays, but stuff that was totally correctable by him. I think the dumbed down explanation was that usually your muscles can pull your spine back to neutral but my spine was so out of line that the muscles just pulled in every direction, not really knowing how to fix it. At any rate, after the first adjustment I had zero pain. I had a little bit of pain after my run on Sunday but a little session with my new personal TENS unit had me back to zero pain.  My treatment plan calls for me going back to him twice a week for 4-6 weeks, then dropping down to weekly. I don't think that could be a bad thing through training and increasing my weekly mileage. He knows I'm a runner and he's just as pumped as I am about getting me back to baseline or quite possibly better than I felt for my first half... and that is AWESOME! So if anyone needs a chiropractor in Collin County, I'll hook you up. ;-)

My second tidbit is my new running skirt. I *love* my Lululemon skirts. I haven't worn any other brand since I was introduced to Lululemon. I went to The Galleria today and bought the Run: Resolution II in black. I kinda feel like the several layers of ruffles in the back make my ass look big but the size 0 girl working at Lululemon said it makes her thighs look smaller. Ha! Whatever... those are just the powerful quads (and ass) that are gonna make me faster. One day.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I'm Back!

After quitting my last long run after just 4.5 miles, I decided I needed a little break. Mentally, physically. Everything. I didn't workout again last week and I ate terribly. You know how that makes you feel? Blah! I felt soft and "fat" and gross. But I think that's just what I needed to get back in my groove. This week I'm focusing on good, solid workouts but not following a training plan. My goal is to run 5 miles each day that I'm not working (I work 2 days this week) plus do my strength training twice. If I have to take a day off due to life, so be it. My 5 miles are at an easy 12 minute pace. On the treadmill. And I kinda like it (nothing like Texas heat to make the treadmill sound good). I'll be starting a training plan next week since the Heels & Hills & Him half marathon is less than 13 weeks away, but this week is just about enjoying my workouts.

Yesterday I ran 5 with Jake on the treadmill next to me. Today I ran my 5 and a friend hopped on the mill next to me when I had about 1.5 left to go. Then I did two rotations of my strength training circuit. It was a solid 2 hour workout and it felt great the entire time. SO what I needed...  I'm back!!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Get Me Out of Here!

I'm in a running funk and I need out of it! I (mostly) put together my training plan, then realized I was 3 weeks ahead of schedule... I'm actually just under 15 weeks from my next half marathon, not 12. So that's the good news- I'm not floundering while the clock is ticking. I *might* have a different training plan by the time I'm 12 weeks out, anyway. Fingers crossed.

My last few runs have been lousy. I tried to run with the big (fast) kids at the running store's social run last Thursday morning. My Garmin wouldn't locate satellites for over a mile, so I ended up just turning it off. Bummer, because I'm curious how fast I ran that first mile. It felt fast. Then my foot started hurting, so I did some run/walk through the 2nd mile, and by mile 3 I just blew it off and walked back to the store.

I quit my long run yesterday at 4.5 miles instead of the planned 8. The good news in that run was that I tried 2 new things and liked both. First up, the socks:
I bought one pair of Balega Hidden Dry running socks to try. They're super thin. Not a very long run to really test them, but usually I'd have at least a couple small blisters. Nothing!

I also wore my new Moving Comfort Juno bra. It's my new favorite sports bra. It has molded cups (so no nips), racerback (for cute tanks), has extra areas for personalized fit (straps adjust in the front with velcro and the back still has a regular bra hook closure to tighten the band fit), and it minimizes the bounce.

I just want to get back to enjoying my runs and looking forward to the next one!

Monday, June 13, 2011

First Long Run of My Sub-2:00 Half Plan

Yesterday I created my training plan for my next half marathon. I decided to run the Heels & Hills & Him 1/2 Marathon on September 25th. That's 12 weeks away. It's still hot here in September, so I'm not sure if I can achieve my sub 2:00 at that race, but maybe by training in the heat I can. You never know unless you train!

I found the plan that Dimity of Run Like a Mother used to run a sub 2:00 half on Runners World. Then, I went to a half marathon and marathon training seminar at a local running store last night. Of course they're selling their program which I would love to do, but just isn't possible with our atypical work schedules. But the jewel of the seminar was the password to access their training plans online. Score! So, I merged the two plans into my own. I'll try to make a pretty chart and post it here but for now it's chicken scratch on some print-for-free calendars I found online. Both plans endorse a long run and speed workout of some form each week plus a couple other days of "easy" runs. I really only plotted the long runs and speed workouts because I'll just have to fit the other runs in once I have my work schedule each month. I do my long runs on Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday depending on Jake's work schedule.

Because I have a time goal rather than a "just finish" goal, my long run starts at 7 miles and gets to 13 miles by week 6. It takes me to 15 for my longest run. I'm hoping that all those weeks of running longer long runs make a big difference come race day... as in 13.1 is the new 3.1! Achieving these distances and paces is a little daunting, especially given the fact that I'm training through the summer, but I'm hoping that by being able to do them in the summer I'm that much stronger once we have good running weather again.

So, today was my first long run.... 7 miles at 10:30 goal average pace. I got started at 8am and it wasn't too hot for the first 3 or 4 miles. I also hit some decent hills (as good as it gets close to my house) for miles 4-6. In fact, I think I found the hill to use for hill repeats. I didn't measure it's distance but it took me 2 minutes at my pace to run up it. I was thrilled that I nailed the pace. Total time was 1:12:02 and average pace was 10:17. Mile 6 was just barely over my goal pace at 10:33 but mile 7 slowed to 10:55. I was really done by that point. The sun was getting to me and my new blisters were hurting. It was a great first long run, though, because most of my long runs lately have been closer to an 11:00 average pace.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sock Sorrow

I like my new Nike running shoes. I wore them on the treadmill for a couple miles on Monday, then changed back into my "old" Brooks shoes and they felt so tight on my feet. No blisters that day. I ran 7 miles with a friend today and I now have 4 blisters. So, I'm thinking it's the socks. I switched to Thorlos Experia socks sometime before my half marathon in March. I don't recall having the blister problem right away, but maybe it's the combo of the socks + heat that isn't working for me. So... what socks do you wear? Maybe I should have tried new socks before new shoes... running socks are expensive, but not as expensive as the shoes!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Firefly Race Recap

After I write this recap I'll be deleting summer races from my calendar.... except for maybe the 10k at The Hottest Half. The bling for that race is pretty sweet. I'll Jeff Galloway it from the very beginning if I have to!

The race started at 9pm last night. After dinner I put the finishing touches on my costume. I couldn't add trim to the socks until I put them on over my shoes because the trim wasn't stretchy. My costume was supposed to be a firefighter, in case you can't tell. It didn't interfere with my running, though I might have been a littler cooler or more comfortable in something else. We got to the race around 7:45 because they were advertising that road closures would start at 8. My parents came in from out of town to watch the race because my brother and I were both racing, along with our spouses.

This recap is pretty long because it's probably the first race where I have a lot to say. Feel free to look at the pictures at the bottom and skip my novel. You won't miss a recap of a grand PR race.  I won't even talk times.

There were nearly 3400 people registered for this race, and it's only the 2nd year for it (last year was barely over 300!). They offered a 5k and 10k.  One of the biggest complaints was regarding packet pick up, but I can't say that I feel sorry for those people. Packet pick up was available at 2 local running stores from Tuesday-Friday this week. If you had to wait in line for an hour on race day, that's your own darn fault. Another complaint was the shortage of porta potties. We figured out a great alternative to standing in that line, since we parked in a field. We found a great little treed alcove to use as our private bathroom. Some guy came walking around the corner as I was taking care of business, but he found his own alternative porta potty. That was my first time to pee outside at a race! Congrats, huh?

The race started pretty close to on time. We didn't start too far back, but a lot of people lined up on the grass to the side of the road and pushed their way in once the race started. In hindsight, separate starts for the 5k and 10k would have been a good idea and might have helped the congestion a little. The course included a couple of spots where we had to u-turn and come back the way we came, which was tough given the number of participants. My brother and I ended up running in the grass for quite a bit of the first mile, which made me really nervous for injury, but was the only way to try and maintain a good pace. The water sprinklers were on much of that mile and it felt good to run through the water (I think the temperature was pretty close to 90 at the start of the race) but the blisters on my right foot are proof that might not have been my best idea. There was only one water station on the course, at about mile 1.5 for the 5k, and you would hit it again around 4.5 if you ran the 10k. That was my #1 complaint. It was too hot to not have more water on the course. I was glad I carried my handheld, but by the time I hit the water spot on the second lap, my bottle was bone dry. I did a lot of alternating walking/running but it was the best I could do. I've never had my neck/base of my head hurt during a race but it felt like my head weighed a ton. My brother ended up running just slightly ahead of me. He was close enough that I could catch up to him when he was taking a walk break, but then he'd be ready to run and I was ready to walk. The split for the 5k to finish and the 10k to begin the second lap was poorly lit/marked but at my pace it didn't really matter. I can see how if you were flying through at 6-minute pace you would be mad that you had to slow down to figure it out. There was no PR for me, and like a lot of people who commented on the race's Facebook page, it was a PR worst.  I finished 37th out of 62 in my age group for the 10k. The race started out with a time restriction- you had to finish the first 5k in under 30 minutes in order to be allowed to continue on for the 2nd lap. They didn't publicize it very well, but they removed that restriction when they changed the course a week or so ago, so not many people slower than me took on the 10k. They show 496 finishers for the 10k, but they ended up closing the course and some people were allowed to continue on and their times are reported as actual finishers. My sister-in-law was the first person they shortened the course for, and in the final results it shows that she beat Jake, when he actually ran the full 10k course and she didn't. Not a big deal to me personally, but I think if they lifted the time limit, they should have allowed people to finish. Either have a time limit or don't. They're showing 2376 finishers for the 5k. I'm not exactly sure what my 5k time was because I didn't look until a minute or so after I was on the 10k course, but I would have finished somewhere around the top 30 out of 277 in my age group if I would have just done the 5k.

After we finished, we found the costume contest. I still call bullshit, as did most of the other people in the costume contest, but the winner didn't walk, much less run in their costume. It was creative, yes, but the contest was held at a RACE. It was actually 2 people- one was in a box that looked like a light switch, connected to a light bulb that actually glowed. The person judging didn't even hardly look at the other costumes, and the only ones she did see were in the front row. Guess I'll have to buy my own iPad.

We walked back to the car, only to realize the pouch on Jake's Amphipod belt had come open. The car keys and his Sony Walkman were both gone. We walked around a bit trying the find the keys, and checked with the announcer, race organizer tent, and some vendors but nobody turned in the keys. They did turn in the Walkman, which is cool, but the keys are more expensive to replace. Somebody was nice enough to let us borrow their phone so I could call my parents back to the race. While we were waiting for them, we met the race director who asked for our opinions of the race. We weren't too hard on him- he already knew packet pick up and the water were major problems. I felt bad for him, he said a lot of people were really angry with him. My parents took us home and we took our other car back to the race with a spare set of keys to take my car home. By the time we got home I was feeling disgustingly similar to how I felt after my 15k when I had to get IV fluids. My stomach was cramping and I had a killer headache. I managed to fall asleep before I actually got sick and I feel better, though hungover (minus the beer) this morning. After breakfast, we'll head back to the race site to look for my other set of keys.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Three Things Thursday

***1***I got new running shoes today. I've had enough of "This little piggie cried 'wee wee wee' all the way home!" on my right foot. I'm fairly certain the guy helping me at the running store thought I was crazy as I tried on shoes and rejected each pair for "feeling" the shoe rub funny on my right baby toe. If I notice the shoe just walking, it's going to be magnified when I run. I'm just sayin'! The funny thing is that it's my left foot that measures wide and my right foot measures normal. We decided to size up an entire size, rather than the half size I did for my Brooks Adrenalines. I ended up taking home the Nike Zoom Structure+ 14. I've never worn Nike for running. For my final in-store test, I put the Nike on my right foot and Brooks on the left and they felt pretty comparable but I noticed the Nike less. The guy said I could try them a time or two on the treadmill and return them if they don't feel good.

I'd really love them if I could get the other color (not just for the purple but for the silver instead of white), but it appears they only make that in regular widths. Bummer for the fat feet.
***2*** I got up early and did the social run with the closest-to-me running store this morning. I did a little less than 3 miles at an average pace of 9:23. It was 10 degrees cooler than it'll be at my 10k on Saturday but about 40% higher humidity. I was pouring sweat when we got back to the store. I felt a little guilty for buying my shoes at the competitor running store a few hours later but I had a coupon there!

***3*** And speaking of pace, my goal for the 10k is under 58 minutes, as in 57:59 would be badass given the heat/humidity. That would still be a 4 minute PR. That's 9:20 average pace, 3 seconds faster than this morning. I think I can. I think I can...

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits

I forked over $278.06 this morning, but Jake & I are officially registered to run the 1/2 in Vegas!!! I have no idea what Jake's goal is for Vegas (and he probably doesn't either, especially since he'll run St. Louis first, so my bet would be that he creates a goal after that race) so on the registration form when it asked for expected finish times I entered 1:55. I don't know that 1:55 is within reach but I'm going to bust my ass to make sure I get a sub-2 this year. Being that St. Louis is not flat and Vegas is, that'll be my best shot!

I worked out with my trainer this morning. He still owed me a session from back when I was using him so we finally made that happen. I asked him to try and stick to the machines because I feel silly doing "crazy trainer stuff" without a trainer standing beside me. He mostly followed directions. His workouts are super tough and between those and my all-clean diet, the weight fell off last winter.I'm going to stick to this plan for a month and see what happens.

I think I'm going to try and run Saturday's 10k with my brother. He's by far a faster runner, but he's been having trouble with shin splints and knee pain, so he hasn't run more than 3 miles in 6 weeks. His goal is between 56 and 57 minutes. I punched my 5k PR into a pace predictor and it suggested 57:15 for a 10k. I punched yesterday's 5k into the pace predictor and it suggested 59:40. Ick. I have to be realistic and know that heat will be a factor in my pace, but I'm hoping that having a running buddy/brother to push me and pace me will weigh heavier.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Stonebridge Memorial Day 5k Race Recap

All 4 family members raced this one! My mom came in town to watch the kids race and since she would already be there, Jake and I decided to go ahead and run the 5k. Watching the kids was by far the most enjoyable part! They were both so excited. Peanut lined up right up front at the start and I gently suggested she move back a little. I was afraid the big kids would trample her! She's almost 5, but she's pretty small and Shankopotamus isn't far behind her (and he's 2 years younger). Jake ran with Shankopotamus, but Peanut didn't want anyone to run with her. I just acted as her paparazzi and she didn't seem to mind that. Even the 1k course was challenging! The first 1/3 or so was downhill but the rest was uphill. She walked a couple times and I tried to get her to "chick" another kid at the end. As soon as she crossed the finish line and got her medal, I ran back up the course to take pictures of Jake and Shankopotamus. He was having fun and smiling, too. They both love their medals.

As soon as their race was over it was time to line up for the 5k. My first mile was fine and right on target for where I wanted to be. There's a very short downhill portion at the beginning of the course and the next half mile is completely uphill, not to be confused with a gradual uphill. Maybe I'm being a pansy? Is 46 ft over a 1/2 mile not a reasonable hill? I walked a few times during mile 2, which was comprised of several rolling hills. At the water station I took a few sips and poured the rest down my shirt. It was cloudy with a breeze, but still hot. Mile 2 ended with the 2nd biggest hill of the course- 35 ft over 0.4 miles. I picked it up a little for mile 3 (which finally plateaued), but it wasn't enough to recover. It kinda sucked but every time a woman passed me I wondered if she was the one who would place ahead of me in my AG. I finished in 28:39, with an average pace of 9:15. I finished 5th out of 16 in my AG. That's my slowest 5k of the year but I'm OK with it. It's hot and times aren't going to get any better until it cools off.

There was a serviceman in uniform who also did the 5k, wearing a backpack. The race director pointed him out at the start line and everyone cheered when he crossed the finish line. Thank you to all the men and women who have served or still serve our country, and also to their families.

Right now I'm kinda thinking about laying off the racing and training until August when it's really effing hot when it's time to start training for St. Louis. I'll keep up a decent long run each week because those are my favorite.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Racing in Costume

I'm so excited for my first race in costume! I'm going to run the Firefly 10k next weekend. It's a night race and they give you LED lights with reflective material and glow in the dark bracelets. They encourage extra "lighting decoration" and costumes. I've had an idea for a costume for several weeks and finally bought the basics for it today. I can't wait to put it all together and show it off! I've always admired costumes and tutus but I haven't ventured into dressing up myself. It's not that I take myself too seriously can't have fun, but I worry about a costume interfering with my racing. And I've never run a race "for fun." I'm already paying money to run on public roads... I'm in it to do my best! Sorry, though, no pics until the race recap! It probably won't be finished until that day night anyway.

Aside from the costume, I'm really looking forward to that race. My first race since I started running was a 10k (in January). I had only run 6 or 7 miles once- the week before the race. So that PR has stared at me every time I pull up my blog and it needs to be replaced! I'm hoping to seriously smash it. I'm sure I'll write about it later this week, though.

And I'm probably going to race that 5k on Monday. I don't think I can resist the temptation of being at a race with the kids and not running myself.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Three Things Thursday

  1. I ran with Peanut today. She (and likely Shankopotamus) will run a 1k on Monday. She looked so cute in her running skirt, tank, and shoes! One lap around our block is 0.4 miles and we did 2 laps. She had to walk a few times but overall I thought she did really well. Shankopotamus doesn't like running enough to practice but I think he'll have a meltdown if Sis gets a medal and he doesn't.
  2. After I finished running with her I went for my own run. I almost always run mid-morning, so running at 4pm was different. It was "only" 79 degrees but very sunny and it just felt hard! I almost feel like I'm starting over with running as the temperatures climb. I wonder if it'll feel like I'm starting over when it gets cold. 
  3. I ran topless for the first time today. Not totally topless of course (because I'm not training for one of those nude 5ks), but in a sports bra and skirt. I'm not at my skinniest and didn't feel completely comfortable but having less fabric on my hot & sweaty skin was a nice feeling... definitely motivation to watch the diet so I can feel good about doing that again. Oh, and it was a constant reminder to engage my core!