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...