Sunday, June 10, 2012

Metroplex Sprint Tri Race Report

Jake was going to be in Vegas and the kids at the lakehouse, so I decided last minute to register for the Metroplex Sprint Tri. I got up at 3:30am so I could leave around 4 for Joe Pool Lake. I got there a little after 5, before transition opened, before the park even opened. The RD was still setting up cones for the run course. I parked, then walked a little ways (maybe a half mile?) to the transition area where I was able to score an end spot. I was intimidated hanging out in transition because there were a lot more nice road bikes and tri bikes than the racks at My First Tri last weekend. I picked up my pink swim cap since they'd run out of my color at packet pick up, then stared down the swim course in an effort to make it shorter walked around a little to calm my nerves. It was a little strange to be completely alone at a race, I've never done that.

My age group was the first wave and waves were only 3 minutes apart. It was windy and the water was rough. I settled into the swim pretty quickly and really felt pretty good. At 400 meters, it was the longest swim I've ever done (including practice). I think I switched to breaststroke twice, just to recover from being kicked. I was actually a little surprised that my swim time was so long/pace slower than last weekend. It felt better! I must have been off course or something.

I ran into T1. I felt like my time there was a little long. At this race we had to wear our race bib on the bike and I fumbled a bit getting my belt on. I liked wearing it just on the run last weekend because I could put on the belt as I was running out of T2 vs having to put it on while standing still at the bike racks. I saw somebody else who wore the belt with the bib tucked under their top during the swim and she just pulled it out as she ran into T1. Seems like a good time saver and I'll try that in the future.

I didn't pass much at all during the bike. I got passed by some really fast women and men who started in waves after me. There was a hill leading up to the dam, which was really windy, and another at the other end of the dam where we turned around to head for home. I got passed just before the turnaround, but I made up my mind to pass her going down the hill. The wind was beating me up and I was working hard to get the speed that I did. I was hoping for faster, though.

I felt like my T2 time was good. I can't think of anything specific I could have done to be faster.

I was maybe a quarter mile into the run when the female overall winner passed me, coming into the finish line. Amazingly fast! Not wearing my Garmin and knowing my pace/distance really bothers me but it's probably for the best. I have a tendency to tell myself I can't run "that fast" or I can walk when I get to "x" distance on the watch. Without it, I just have to keep going. I played mental games with myself and kept thinking that if I walked or slowed down, I'd be giving up my spot in age group placings. I had know idea where I stood in my age group at this point, it was just a game. Everytime I'd hear heavy breathing behind me, I'd pray it was a man so I didn't have to worry about my placing. If it was a woman, I looked at her calf. Nobody in my AG passed me on the run. I got a little mental boost by passing a guy toward the end and it helped when he told me good job. I passed another two guys in the very last tenth or so and sprinted it out to pass a girl who paced just ahead of me for the entire run. She wasn't in my age group, though.

I grabbed a snack and talked to a couple girls from my age group. One was the overall winner who I saw as I started my run (so she actually bumped all of us a place higher since she was no longer part of the AG standings) and another girl who won third in our AG. As we chatted, we put together the standings, and figured out I was second in AG! The overall winner is an Ironman and we talked about big races. I may volunteer for 70.3 in Austin on October 28th. That may be just the inspiration I need to train for one next year.

Swim 400 meters: 10:46 (2:42/100 meters) 3rd of 6 in AG, 61 of 106 overall
T1: 1:39 3rd of 6 in AG
Bike 11 miles: 34:25 (19.2mph) 2nd of 6 in AG, 58 of 106 overall
T2: :35 1st of 6 in AG
Run 2 miles: 18:09 (9:05/mile) 3rd of 6 in AG, 64 of 106 overall

I was 15th of 37 women and 2nd in my age group. Good race!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Playtri Festival: My First Tri Race Report

After the race

I've been a lousy blogger. Please forgive me, I will do better.

Today was my first triathlon! I bought my bike 6 or 7 weeks ago. I swam my first lap in the pool 5 or 6 weeks ago. Training was minimal, to say the least, but this is how the day played out...

I met up with Charlene and Joanne at the hotel/race site last night. We made a last minute trip to Sports Authority in search of items we forgot, then had dinner before returning to the hotel. We sat on the back deck of the hotel, overlooking the lake before going to bed fairly early. The alarm went off at 5:15, when we quickly got dressed and went downstairs to set up transition. I was able to get the end spot on my bike rack- first good thing of the day. Then we went upstairs to get dressed for the race and have breakfast. My mom and the kids arrived just as the International distance was starting. I showed them where I would be and when so they could try to see me doing each sport. The first thing my daughter said when she saw me was, "Mom, I REALLY like your tattoos." I can't blame her. So did I. By 8:15 or so it was time to say goodbye to them and join everyone for the pre-race briefing by the water.
All of the "My First Tri" participants in the early part of the swim

I was nervous, so I just reminded myself to concentrate on form as if I was in the pool and not rush. We hopped in the water and after a few minutes we were off! I struggled some in the first 100-200 meters because arms and legs were everywhere. I'd get hit, take a second to regroup, and start swimming again. By the final 100 meters or so, I was in my groove, not tired, and felt like I could easily keep going. I climbed out of the water and ran to my bike. I put on socks, bike shoes, sunglasses, and my helmet before running to the mount line.
I think this is me, dead center in the pic, breathing to my right with tinted/mirrored goggles

It felt good to get on the bike and fly. I really, REALLY, loved the bike. I'd set my sights on somebody ahead and think, "You beat me out of the water but you're mine now" and then I'd pass. I passed quite a few people while going up hills. I don't like hills so much while running, but I love rolling hills on the bike. Joanne called out my name as we passed each other on the bike. I totally posed for a photographer toward the end of the bike- I saw her ahead, so I dropped down on my aero bars and gave it my best "I'm hardcore" look. LOL, and dorky. But I hope the pic turns out cool. ;-) Right after that I heard my kids yelling "go mommy" as I came off the bike and into transition again. At this point I noticed there were no more than 5 bikes on the racks in the area for my race and realized I must be doing pretty well. I changed shoes, ditched my helmet/bike, and grabbed my running belt and visor to put on as I ran.

Very end of the bike

My legs felt good, but it really bothered me to not wear my Garmin. I desperately wanted to know the distance and pace. I didn't deserve to have a good time on the run. I've literally run twice since the marathon. I just knew I could run 2 miles and focused on the newer things. I was tired during the run, and I hate it, but I walked very briefly (10 seconds, tops) twice in the second mile. Just before the turn into the final straightaway, I saw Libby and she took a picture of me. If only she would have known to yell, "GO, KRISTI! You're about to be passed by the girl who will beat you by 2 seconds and win the race." Yeah, she didn't know and I didn't know. But that girls is *right* behind me in the picture. She had people yelling at her on the sideline to pass me. I tried to catch her. I just didn't have enough sprint left in me to get her. She beat me by 2 seconds, finishing first overall. She was a strong enough runner to beat me in the run and close the gap that I had on her in every other area- the swim, T1, the bike, and T2. But, I cannot be disappointed. I'm thrilled. I had fun and I am in love with the triathlon.

As of right now, my next tri (a sprint) is 7 weeks away. I'm not sure I can wait that long, but that gives me a lot of time to train seriously. I know exactly what to work on and what kind of goals to set. I'm so excited to have a fresh new goal.

14th of 77 (women and men), 7th of 41 (women only)
300 meters in 6:40, pace of 2:13/100
*better time than I thought I could do, thrilled with placing

*fastest time of all the women, and only the male winner beat me

13th of 77 (women and men), 1st of 41 (women only)
12 miles in 40:39, pace of 17.7mph
*first out of the women, 'nuff said... THRILLED!

*fastest time of all the women, only the male winner beat me and 2nd place man tied me

16th of 77 (women and men), 4th of 41 (women only)
2 miles in 18:37, pace of 9:19
*better than I thought I could do, but very motivated to do speed work now

Monday, May 21, 2012

Motivation To Run, Workout, Eat Well...

Motivation. It's so freaking hard. But it's hard for everybody, right? I can't speak for everyone else, but it's hard for me to eat right and workout most days. Sometimes friends, family, and coworkers comment on my dedication to diet and exercise. I usually brush off the comments, because I'm no superhero. I don't workout on days I work and often take days off for no other reason than "I just don't feel like working out today". I eat bad foods when I'm busy, stressed, had a good day, or had a bad day.

But I've had some success. I've become a runner over the past year and a half. I'm expanding my training to cycling and swimming. I don't call it exercise. EXERCISE just seems so infinite, like I'll never be done. I prefer TRAINING. I train for a goal, a race, a competition, something relatively short term. That helps me keep up the motivation. I've lost weight. I hate hearing "skinny", seriously HATE it. I don't watch what I eat to be skinny. I watch what I eat to be lean and healthy. I watch what I eat because I feel better in general, mostly less tired and with less aches and pains because getting old sucks.

Just this afternoon I was walking through Target, looking at junk food that admittedly tastes good, but makes me feel awful. I was thinking about making a small commitment, just one week, to eat clean. I know from experience, that a week is long enough to feel better, and I'd probably just keep going. I finished my shopping, got in the car, and pulled up Facebook. Everybody does that, right? I had a message from a friend who I haven't seen in years. She said I inspired her. She mentioned reading my first blog post (CLICK HERE, if you want to do the same) again. I went back and read it, too. I sometimes forget where I started, when I couldn't run more than a half mile. She asked some questions, so I'll answer them here. Let this be your lesson, friend, don't ask me about running unless you want to open Pandora's Box. I will go on and on until you beg me to shut up.

How do I stay motivated?  - So, I touched on that above. I love competition. At first it wasn't with anyone else, I certainly wasn't looking at Age Group placings in a 5k or some other race. Competing against, and pushing myself to do better was enough of a challenge. That's one thing I love about running. A PR is a *PERSONAL RECORD*, not a judge-yourself-against-some-super-hot-chick-with-God-given-running-talent. It's for you, and only you, to compare your effort for the day. Being a beginner runner is a lot of fun because you PR often. If you want to run, pick a race. A 5k is a good start. 3.1 miles is a challenge, but it's attainable in a fairly short amount of time without devoting hours upon hours to training. Register for the race. Not on race day, ahead of time, so you're monetarily committed. Dropping cash is always good motivation. Go watch a race if you're scared. I used to think that only badass athletes did half marathons and marathons. People of all kinds do both. People actually walk. It's allowed. I promise. There are training plans all over the place online and Couch to 5k is a popular one. Go to a real running store and get fitted for good shoes (be prepared do drop $100, and no you can't save money by buying the same brands but different styles at TJ Maxx. If you could, I'd be the first to point you in that direction). My friend isn't local, so I don't know where to direct her (we have Run On!, Luke's Locker, and CK Sports here). Running stores also have running programs if you don't want to do it on your own. My biggest recommendation for new runners is to run slowly. Running fast hurts. Hurting sucks, so you quit. Run slowly, so you can talk easily. I prefer to run outside, and I wear a Garmin watch to track my pace and distance, but I determine the pace because I run based on how I feel. Punching a number in on the treadmill gives me bad feelings. So, I say all that to say- I stay motivated because I pick a race, pay for it, train for it, and go do my best on race day. So can you. I'm proud of you for running a mile. I hope it was a good experience and you want to do it again. I'm here for you whenever you want to ask a question or share your achievements.

What do I mean when I say "eating clean"? - There's probably a huge variation in what this means when you ask different people. I'm probably super liberal on that spectrum. Eating clean to me is not eating processed or sugary foods. I keep it simple. I pretty much try to avoid anything out of a box. I eat lean meats, fruits, veggies, reduced fat dairy, stuff like that. I try really hard to avoid alcohol and even diet Dr. Pepper. That's as good as it gets for me. I told you I'm no saint when it comes to eating healthy.

Thank you, friend, for inspiring me. I needed that today.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Swimming Progress

I've made some huge improvements in swimming. I've been to 3 Masters classes and dropped from 63 strokes in 50 meters to 40 strokes in 50 meters. I was able to do that twice today, toward the end of the workout. I don't think I can hold that for 300 meters. Ha, I don't know that I can swim 300 meters! But I'm getting there. The funny thing about dropping my stroke count is that it feels like I'm not swimming well... I guess because I'm not working as hard. That's all I'm hoping for in this first triathlon- to get out of the water feeling like I didn't work too hard. I think I can make up some time on the bike and maybe even the run (despite my lack of running since the marathon).

Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Mother's Day Gift- My Specialized Dolce

I got my Mother's Day gift early, about a month ago. I picked it out myself, although my 3 year old son was with me. The guy who sold it to me was super awesome and played with coins with my son while I tried riding different bikes outside the store. I sent my husband a text and said, "Can I?" and he replied yes, just give him a few minutes to move some money around. I had chest pain. I didn't know if I'd love cycling, triathlons, the bike itself... and I pretty much doubled my original budget to buy this bike. When people say running is cheap, I think they lie. When people say cycling is expensive, I know it is true. The bike is just the beginning. I walked out of the store with the bike, a bag that fits under the seat to hold a spare tire tube, a CO2 cartridge for airing it up, and tools to pry the tire off the rim... basically the absolute minimum I needed to get started. I was borrowing my husband's helmet for a few rides. Since then, I've bought: a helmet, clipless pedals, shoes, covers for my shoes, bike shorts, 2 jerseys, gloves, lights for the front and rear, a mounting bracket to transport the bike in our truck, a bracket for my Garmin (which reminds me to research cycling computers because I'll probably go that direction over the Garmin watch at some point), chain oil, and I'm probably still leaving something out. My husband has asked me to wait until payday to buy more a couple of times, but he's never given me that look that says, "Seriously? You do not need this". But better than all of these things I've accumulated, my husband bought a bike and I have a riding buddy. We did 40-something miles together this week, some of which in the rain. This is what happens when you're 10 miles from home and the rain on the radar catches up to you. It was fun, like being kids, except we had to carefully dry our precious bikes when we got home.
I gave my son my phone so he could play Angry Birds and discovered that he took some pictures

My Specialized Dolce (2010)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Masters Swim

Last week I made friends with two other nurses at my new job when we started talking triathlons. It turns out they planned to do the same one I'm doing. One had already registered but I shared the Schwaggle deal for a huge discount on the tri registration with the other girl. Save a girl some money, instant friends! They excitedly asked me to swim and ride with them, even stay in their hotel the night before the race. I love other athletes... We can be total strangers or have nothing else really in common, but bond like BFFs over workouts. So, these girls gushed about their coach for their Masters swim class and convinced me to try it out. One mentioned in conversation a guy at the pool who used 62 strokes for 50 meters. Not having ever counted, I did count the next time I went to the pool. Ouch. 63. So, that's where I started, going into my first class. Now, I am probably not ready for any other Masters classes, but my friends are the only ones in this class right now. Tuesday was my first class and I dropped 9 strokes, down to 54. I was exhausted and starving by the end of class. Tonight was my second class. I dropped 7 strokes, down to 47! What was funny, though, is that I thought I was swimming terribly. It felt like I was standing still in the water and not moving at all with each stroke. I was shocked when Patrick called out 47 for my stroke count. Who, me??? I was getting tired and losing form by the end, but not as bad as Tuesday afternoon. I still have a long way to go but I'm super excited with my improvement over just the past few days.

Monday, April 30, 2012

First Marathon: Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon 2012 Race Report

My race expectations changed as frequently as the weather forecast this week. At one point, we were expecting a glorious low of 51 and high of 61. My dream weather. Instead we got a low in the 60's, high of 75 by the time I finished, mostly cloudy, and some rain. I have cloudy brain on half marathons so it's really cloudy for a full. On Friday I talked and texted with some friends who helped me realize that I put a lot of (unneccessary) pressure on myself to measure success by speed. Based on my long run pace, I felt like sub-5 was within reach... with good weather. As it became clear that it would be warmer than ideal, I became ok with letting that goal become a lofty "A" goal, but totally ok if I couldn't hit it. I really didn't even know where to set "B" and "C" goals, so I spread them out at 5:30 and 6:00. I got a little emotional telling Jake goodbye at the entrance to the corrals. Dork! I lined up at the very front of the C corral, nowhere near a pacer. It was a different feeling to look at my Garmin to be sure I wasn't going out too fast, rather than hitting a goal pace. Early in the race, I just ran for comfort, not to hit a certain pace. From the first beep of my watch at mile one, I took a one minute walk break at each mile. I'm sure it did some physical good, I know it helped psychologically, and it's what I did on every long run in training. In the first or second mile, I passed a group of firefighters walking the race in full bunker gear- very inspirational. I didn't see a fire truck displaying an American flag on the course, but this worked for me.

I saw runners taking beer for the first time in mile 5. Mile 6 held vodka. I didn't partake. For not training on hills, I was surprised at how well I handled the hills. I passed lots of runners who walked up the hills. The hill with a name- Gorilla Hill- didn't phase me. I saw Libby and Jake at the same time around mile 8. The miles were passing quickly. Before I knew it, we were at 11. There were two periods of steady rainfall. It felt good and was peaceful. I naturally started picking up the pace around 13 and just went with it. The volunteers and spectators were awesome. I loved having my name on my bib and having people cheer for me by name. It helped! I saw Jake just before mile 14, when we hit the lake. He gave me a package of Pringles because I knew those are easy on my running tummy and good for the salt. By this point I really didn't want another Honey Stinger waffle or chews. This was also when I saw a 5:15 pacer because the course had a very short out & back portion. I never saw that sign again. I didn't particularly like the lake portion, not because it wasn't pretty or anything, I think just because it was too far from the finish to be happy. Those were some of my fastest miles, though.  I started taking Powerade at some aid stations for the sugar. I also took oranges a few times. They were the best oranges I've ever had and I normally don't even like oranges! I saw Jake again just before mile 21. I was starting to hurt but held it together for another 2 miles before the hurt got worse. 23 was rough for me. It was a great pick-me-up to see Corina and some other NTX Runners walking backwards on the course during that mile.
Pic borrowed from Mama C- she turned around and ran alongside me until she could get the pic. Love her.

From 23 on, I walked at every half mile and through most aid stations. I was shocked later to see that my pace in those miles wasn't as bad as I felt. Jake was waiting for me about .3 miles from the finish. He ran with me until I entered the finishers chute. I could see the finish line and knew from my watch that I could finish under 5:15. I gave it all I had, finishing stronger than I ever imagined I'd be able to, with a pace near 9:00. My official time was 5:13:46, with an average pace of 11:59 (my Garmin shows my distance as 26.51 dropping my pace to 11:50). I picked up fluids, a couple cookies, had my picture taken, and claimed my first finishers shirt. I promise to wash it nightly, but I may wear that thing for the next week. I also saw Elaine before leaving.
Pic borrowed from Elaine- she squealed and said, "Ooh! I gotta text Lesley, she's dying to know how you did" and then she whipped out her phone and texted Lesley.

The walk to the car wasn't far, thankfully, but I was certainly ready to sit. I actually felt better than I did after my first half marathon. We stopped for lunch at On The Border, where I had quesadillas and a margarita (a runner needs salt, right?). Then it was time to go home. The ride was tough. My legs just weren't happy with any position. A shower and bath at home felt good, but my legs were about the highest level of soreness without actual pain. And the were hot- inflammation, maybe? I usually avoid ibuprofen, but I took Prilosec, Maalox, water, a whataburger junior & fries, and chased it with 800mg of ibuprofen and a long night's sleep.

I'm a marathoner!!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Weather Stalking: T-6 days

I may not trust the 10, or even 7 day forecast, but that doesn't keep me from weather stalking. Several times a day. We've gone from the little thunderstorm icon and 60% to just a rain cloud and 60%. Either way the high is 78-80 degree, though I'd hope to be finished running before it got much above 70. At those temperatures I'm not sure that I shouldn't just hope for some rain. But I guess it doesn't matter what I wish for, because that would be 45-55 degrees, sunny, with just a light breeze. Marathon Gods listening? It's probably not too late to make that happen for Oklahoma City a week from today?!? A week from today I'll be mid-marathon!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Taper Crazy

First things first, my hip/leg no longer hurts. At all. Whew!

My last long-ish run was Saturday. I planned to do 13. I went to bed after 11, woke up at 3:30 and was at the lake by 4:30. It was SO humid and the air was just weird. In most spots there was no air movement but in others it was 20mph headwind. I would say most days it takes me 3 miles, if not 4, 5, or 6 to get into a run. It never happened on Saturday. I was dying for every single walk break. It was ugly. I quit at 9 miles. I was just done. More rest for me. My legs might be really rested come marathon day.

Physically I'm handling taper just fine. I have enough stuff to do that skipping workouts doesn't really pain me. But, mentally, I need those workouts. What's a girl to do on marathon taper but plan for what's next? I really need to drop back the running over the summer so I can come back to racing hard when it cools off in late fall. So, obviously I need to cross train. But I like competition. It's what drives me. So, I'll be competing in sprint triathlons this summer. First one is June 3rd.

I rode nearly 13 miles (on my piece of crap Wal-Mart, purchased on Craigslist mountain bike) with Alicia and Catherine on Friday. They kicked my butt, but we're nice and said the bike makes a world of difference. I came home and started looking for a road bike. That's an incredibly stressful process. My budget is not big, and road bikes are not cheap. I got some good education at one store, some really bad service at a few others, and some phone help from a friend of my dad. Right or wrong, I bought a bike today. She's sexy and so is the tri suit I tried on yesterday (totally tri suit girl, hated the separate tops and bottoms). I can't wait to go ride!!!

Combined, I worry about the swim, bike, run. But individually, I know I can bike 12 miles and run 3.1 miles. I have zero concept of the level of fitness or skill required to swim 500 meters. Until today. I hit the indoor pool at my gym. I wish I had video of it, so I could look back some great time from now and reminisce about how awful I was. I'm certain it wasn't pretty. And it was tough. I'll give my speeds because I don't even know comparatively how slow they are. I was doing 25 meters in 28-30 seconds. I did 50 meters the first few times before I thought I'd die. Then I went to 25 meters, 30 second recovery. And, repeat. I lost track of how many times I did it. I was in the pool for about 40 minutes, but that includes jacking around with turns a little. When I got out of the pool, I marched to the aquatics office to inquire about adult swim lessons. My one on one instructor should be lined up shortly.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Danger Zone

I recall feeling a little twinge in it around mile 10 on Saturday but no pain for sure during the last 7. No pain after the run on Saturday afternoon. Maybe it was Saturday night when it started getting my attention. It's my right hip. It hurts. My husband said I sounded like a drunk pleading with God that I'd never drink again, as I puked into the toilet. Except I was making promises that I'd take the whole summer off from running, just please let this not be an injury, especially not another stress fracture, and let me run this marathon. Please!

I'm icing, resting (it's taper anyway and I'll taper even more if it'll help), and I'm contemplating anti-inflammatory medications. If it still hurts on Friday I'll go to my Ortho doc.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Last Long Run

I can't believe I'm already at this point in marathon training. It seems like just yesterday I was writing my training schedule.

On Friday night I let the long run (21 miles planned) get into my head a little. I had a few aches and focused a little too much on whether I was hurt vs injured (as my husband puts it). I'm still tired from TIR last weekend and my quads/glutes have been sore all week. I usually love and look forward to the long run, so I tried to positive-think my way out of Negative Town.

I was up at 4:15 on Saturday morning, leaving myself enough time to pack an ice chest and 5 gallon cooler. I planned to run 6ish mile loops with Robin and worried that we would need more water so I took the water cooler to the turnaround point and locked it to a tree (I heard about a cooler being stolen from some friends while they ran a few weeks ago- so wrong!). Just after I arrived at the park to meet Robin, Fiona ran up. She joined us for a little over one loop. The first loop was good. Dark:30 since we started at 5am, but I wanted to get in as many miles as possible before the sun came up. My first Honey Stinger waffle went down easy, and I refilled my handheld bottle with water at the car.

I had trouble eating my waffle at the 2 hour mark, but got at least half of it down. With a couple miles to finish our second loop, I felt this awful stabbing pain in my belly. I tried walking, stretching, and stopping. Nothing helped. It was so bad for the last half mile back to the cars that I couldn't run and it made me feel sick. I knew there was no way I could eat to fuel another 7 miles, much less run them. I felt terrible for leaving Robin to finish the miles alone.

I sat in the car for a few minutes waiting to see if the pain let up but it didn't. I went home, showered, and crashed for a couple hours. When I woke up I felt pretty good so I ate some lunch and got dressed in fresh running clothes. I owed 7 miles. I used one handheld and dropped another behind a tree at the beginning of a trail by my house. It wasn't even boring because lots of people were out walking and running, but I did this short neighborhood trail 3 times. It's mostly shaded so for an 11:30am start, that was appreciated. I didn't have any pains while I ran and finished feeling like I could do more. I would have preferred to do all 21 together but mentally it was far better for me to finish strong than to grind out a death march all in the name of training... Even if I feel like there's an "*" beside my 21 miler. I've told others and I feel the same way about this run- we're bound to have a bad run every now and then. It's good that I got mine out of the way before marathon day.

So, this is it. Now it's this thing called taper. It's funny to listen to all of my marathoner friends give their opinion on taper mileage. It's all different. My weekly mileage is incredibly low for a marathon, but as I've said before, I think this is what works for my body. I'm tired, but not injured. I don't see that I'm going to lose any endurance over the next 2 weeks by tapering more and in the past, even if for only half marathons, I've done my best on very rested legs. So I think my weekly runs, bike session, and strength training will stay the same but my long runs will be cut quite a bit. I feel good about getting to the starting line healthy and rested over having an extra 10 miles during taper.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Texas Independence Relay 2012- Part 3

Lesley was first to run at 4am and ran Leg #26 at 5.03 miles.
Fiona ran Leg #27 at 6.41 miles.
Corina ran Leg #28 at 3.6 miles.
Dana ran Leg #29 at 2.3 miles.
I ran leg #30 at 5.59 miles.

My last leg started around 7am. I was really worried about this one because my stomach hadn't felt good since waking up at the hotel. I didn't feel like I could eat or drink anything, but managed to drink a bottle of water and eat a Honey Stinger waffle before my leg started. I've been eating really healthy and I think the McDonalds burger was just too much shock to my system. But in true runner form, as soon as I started running I felt better. This was my favorite leg. By then we were in Katy (I think) and it felt like running at home. I started out running through a neighborhood, then ended up on a paved trail through a park. A couple miles into the run, a girl came up behind me, asked my pace and if she could run with me. We chatted like old friends before introducing ourselves a couple miles later!
Part of the path was along a boardwalk
At the end of the leg, I handed off to Lesley who ran 6.79 miles in Leg #31. We couldn't follow her, and I fell asleep in the van. When she finished and van 1 took over, we went to breakfast where I had a chocolate chip bagel with cream cheese. I was starving by then and was tempted to get the bagel sandwich that Lesley ate even after I'd finished my bagel. After breakfast we went back to helping Van 1 leapfrog their runners. It was during this time that Corina and I killed a bag of mint M&Ms and some salt & pepper chips.

Our van was ready to take on the final 3 legs at about 2:30pm.
Dana started us out on Leg #38, which was 5.99 miles. She took a nasty fall on some bad sidewalks and skinned both palms as well as one knee. We quickly stopped the van and I hopped out with the first aid kit. Although Lesley had already run 5 legs with 26 or 27 miles for the weekend, she stepped up and continued running for our team. I cleaned Dana's wounds and did the best I could to bandage them. She wanted to keep running, but we convinced her to take a short break. Fiona took over the rest of the leg and I volunteered to run the final leg since Fiona was running then. We got Corina to the exchange point so she could run Leg #39 at 3.3 miles.
Protected a small blister I'd developed with pink argyle duct tape before I ran in my 5th leg
Pic courtesy of Corina/Mama C/CameraQueen
We were out of precious boob ice, so we made the fastest stop ever at a gas station to restock before getting back to Corina. Dana decided she wanted to run a mile or two of the final leg, so she started off Leg #40, which was 5.32 miles. She ran about 1.5 miles before handing it off to me. I ran alone for about a mile before Fiona jumped out to run with me. I was really hot after another mile and ready to get back in the van and let Fiona finish it out. She said she wouldn't be running as fast as we did together. What? I thought I was running her pace. She thought she was running my pace. It turns out we were both happy to quit with the 9ish pace in 90 degrees on a highway! We slowed the pace and I felt much better. We ran to the finish line and the rest of our team together.
Lesley bringing us more water and boob ice
We walked the epilogue (another .38 miles) together to the steps of the San Jacinto Monument where final pictures were taken and we received our medals.

Finisher's Photo at The San Jacinto Monument
Pic courtesy of Corina/Mama C/CameraQueen

Love the run. Love the bling.
Running TIR was an amazing experience. We ran across some beautiful parts of Texas. We missed meals. We missed sleep. But we worked as a team. We supported each other. I loved my vanmates. They are all strong runners and great women to call friends. I didn't get to spend much time with the other girls but I saw a lot of heart when I had the opportunity to give them water or ice on the side of the road and I look forward to running with these girls again.

*Once again, some pics courtesy of the talented Corina and here blog HERE

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Texas Independence Relay 2012- Part 2

Back row: Sharon, Lesley, Elaine, Fiona, Corina, me, Alicia, Dana
Bottom row:Amanda, and Elizabeth
picture borrowed from Corina (aka Mama C and CameraQueen)

Saturday began with a 4:30am wake up call so we could be downstairs at the vans by 5:00 and on the road by 5:15. The starting line was a 30 minute drive away and our team had a 6:10am start. The start was in the middle of the country on somebody's private property (read: dark, very dark). We had time for some group pictures before they shot the cannon and our team ran the prologue together.

The prologue was shortened to .38 miles due to recent rain
We started to pass another team that started a minute or two before us, but who was walking the prologue. Somebody (maybe race-affiliated) asked if we had sent our runner ahead and at that point I was told to go! I was assigned leg #1. We were supposed to wear our team shirts for pictures before and after the race and I really didn't want to sweat in it on my first leg and have to put it on again the next day, so I pulled the shirt over my head and handed it to a teammate before taking off.
The scanned map/directions for Leg #1
I was wearing a headlamp and had reviewed the directions for my leg, but unlike other race starts where you just have to follow the people ahead of you, I was on my own to go the right way. I had to run over a cattle guard to get off this private property, then I made a left turn onto a rock road. I stayed in the middle of the road when I could because the rocks were packed more tightly, but had to run on the shoulder when vans would pass. The rocks on the shoulder were really loose and I prayed I wouldn't twist my ankle in the first leg. At one point I heard dogs barking ahead. I didn't have any mace or anything with me, so I prayed they were behind a fence. They were. There were 2 girl teams who ran in pairs for the entire race. As I chicked them, they asked, "How are you doing this alone?" Nobody offered to hold my hand, they said, "RUN"! Toward the end of the leg I came to a low section of road with standing water that I'd been warned about ahead of time. I took 2 pairs of running shoes and wore my old pair for this leg, but decided to take them off and cross the ankle deep water in just my socks. When I got to the other side, I laced my shoes back up and kept on running. Leg 1, 3.62 miles DONE! I handed off to Dana and hopped in the van for my first of several baby wipe baths.
Just after finishing Leg #1 (between the hardcore sports bra and headlamp, it doesn't get much sexier)
Pic courtesy of Corina/Mama C/Camera Queen

Dana ran 3.85 miles for Leg #2.
Corina ran 4.08 miles for Leg #3 (pretty but ooh the big rolling hills)
Fiona ran 4.62 miles for Leg #4
Lesley ran 5.44 miles for Leg #5
Then it was time for me to run my 2nd leg of the day, Leg #6
There was a pretty good climb on the early part of this leg but I ended up taking the first mile at 5k pace. I started this leg around 10am, so the sun was up and it was starting to get hot. There was very little shade. About 2 miles of this leg were on a sand road. I really didn't like that, so I guess I'm not ever going to be a beach runner. Running uphill in the sand was difficult because I couldn't get any real traction to push off with. I ran out of water with about a mile to go, so after that we made sure to leapfrog our runners at every mile or half mile to be sure they had water. When I saw the exchange point tent I was so happy! All of my teammates from both vans were out and cheering for me.
Nice scenery!
Pic courtesy of Corina/Mama C/CameraQueen

Happy to see my teammates!

Thank you, God, this leg is over!
I handed off to Sharon from the other van and took my second baby wipe bath of the day. Leg #6 (my second of the day) done at 4.94 miles!

We headed into Flatonia for lunch and a brief break from the action. Lunch was amazing, the best meal of the weekend. Everytime we ate real food (instead of junk from the van) it was the best food ever. I then took a nap on the sidewalk while we waited for Alicia to arrive at the exchange point. Then we took turns leapfrogging the other van's runners at every half mile along the course. We'd take turns getting out of the van, crossing the 2 lane highway, and giving the runner cold water, wet towels, E caps, and boob ice. Boob ice saves lives. That afternoon we saw several ambulance respond to runners along the course. I bet they weren't using boob ice.

Our van took over around 5:15pm.
Lesley ran Leg #14 at 4.69 miles.
I ran Leg #15 at 4.13 miles.

Dana ran Leg #16 at 5.93 miles.
Fiona ran Leg #17 at 4.55 miles.
Corina ran Leg #18 at 6.32 miles.
Lesley ran Leg #19 at 5.5 miles.

By the time Lesley finished her last leg, it was about 10:40. Van 1 took over for the late night legs and we headed into town for a quick double cheeseburger at McDonalds, a shower, and a little less than 3 hours of sleep in a comfy bed. My alarm went off at 2:40am and we were downstairs by 3am to leave at 3:15.

Part 3 to follow tomorrow.
*Big thanks to Corina for sharing her pictures. Check out her blog HERE

Monday, April 2, 2012

Texas Independence Relay 2012- Part 1

I got home around midnight last night from a fun, but exhausting, 3 day weekend with my 10 Queens of the Road teammates. Our team captain, Libby, was unable to make the trip due to illness that struck the day before we left but she was with us in spirit every step of the way. Without her extensive effort in planning this weekend, we would not have had this experience. Though Libby was part of the team, only 10 of us ran the 203 glorious miles that comprised The Texas Independence Relay.

Background: The Texas Independence Relay is an overnight relay of 203 miles (divided into 40 legs of varying distances) from Paige, Texas (outside of Bastrop) to the San Jacinto Monument (outside of Houston).
Map of the relay route

We met at the airport at 10am on Friday to pick up our chariots for the weekend, 2 12 passenger vans. Van 1 consisted of Amanda, Sharon, Alicia, Elaine, and Elizabeth with Luis as their driver. Van 2 consisted of Dana, Corina, Lesley, Fiona, and me with Jon as our driver. We stopped in Waco for lunch at Rudy's before continuing on to our hotel. After checking in, we walked across the parking lot to WalMart for last minute supplies, including food and decorations for the vans. Our carts were loaded with necessities like mint m&ms, oreos, chips, Coke and Diet Dr. Pepper, pink argyle duct tape, and oh, water. After a few minutes of downtime in the rooms (I roomed with Fiona and Sharon that night), we headed out for dinner. When our first choice was packed with a one hour wait to seat our large group, we wound up eating at the restaurant nextdoor which had simple foods like grilled chicken sandwiches. We met back at the hotel to quickly decorate the vans before heading to packet pickup/the party.
Van 1 girls: Lesley, Fiona, me, Corina, and Dana (pic courtesy of Corina)

Quite a few teams wore matching team shirts to the party and several were in full out costumes. A few of us enjoyed a Lone Star beer at the party before heading back to the hotel to get ready for an early wakeup and our 6:10am start time the next day.
Race tee & socks, along with my bib (we each had our own bib but #262 belonged to the entire team)

Some pics are my own, the rest are borrowd from my awesome teammate Corina who has true talent with the camera and loves to take pics during her runs. Check out her blog HERE

Parts 2 and 3 to follow this week!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New Kicks

Sort of on a whim, Jake and I went to the running store yesterday. My current running shoes aren't worn out, but I realized that they'll be pushing it in a month when I get to my marathon and I don't really want to run in borderline shoes that day. I don't keep track of the mileage on my shoes, so I'm just roughly figuring weekly mileage and I usually get new shoes around 300 miles, then use the "old" pair for crosstraining at the gym. I like new running shoes. So... shoe shopping!

We have 2 major running stores in this area and I live less than 10 minutes from each one (dangerous). I think I bought my last pair of shoes at Run On! so this time we went to Luke's Locker. I told the guy that I'm mostly happy with my shoes, and my only complaint is that the tips of my toes have been hurting lately. His immediate suggestion was that I may not be tightening my laces properly (tight enough) and my foot is sliding forward in the shoe. That could definitely be it, because I don't tie them the way he showed me. He did the usual sizing (I measure a 7 but wear an 8 in running shoes, and am borderline for having a wide foot so it may just depend on the brand or style) but he spent a lot of time watching me walk and run. He even got a second opinion. His final conclusion was that I'm "pretty neutral" and only very mildly overpronate on one side... and I probably do not need to be in the supportive Brooks Adrenaline I've been wearing for over a year. I tried a couple of brands (Asics and Mizuno) and felt most comfortable in the Asics. He didn't even want me to try a new pair of Adrenalines for comparison. I think it was another Brooks shoe, but he had me try one more shoe that was even more neutral. I honestly noticed it less than the Asics shoe, but I didn't know if that was just because there was less support or because it was a better shoe for me. I also don't want to switch things up too terribly much with only a few long runs to go, so we agreed to go with the more neutral Asics 2170, and possibly work toward something even more neutral in my next shoe when I'm not at the end of marathon training.

So, these are my new kicks:
Since they're not wide, I finally got non-blue shoes!!! I love the gray and bright pink. LOVE.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Rock n Roll Dallas Race Report

This race began as my goal race for a sub-2 attempt. When I decided to train for my first marathon, I put my sub-2 goal on the back burner. I've learned that increasing mileage and speed at the same time doesn't work out well. In the past week or so I've done tons of calculations (my pace apps on my phone are probably in my top 5 used apps list) and had mostly decided that I'd be happy with anything that made this my 2nd fastest half marathon. That really gives a lot of leeway because I've crashed and burned a lot in my previous 6 half marathons. But then the day before the race, Robin and I agreed to try and run together for a goal of 2:06, which would be a PR for both of us. It was in the 60's at the start and 70's by the finish. In short, too hot for much of a PR, if any PR at all. I haven't run in weather this warm this spring, outside of maybe a couple of afternoon 4-milers.

We started in corral 6, and were off not long after the official start. Jake made it just in time to take the camera from me.

It was very difficult to pace for the first few miles. My Garmin was giving me erroneous data, like paces in the 6's, so I had to rely on mile splits and total time at each mile marker. At about 2.5 miles, Robin admitted that today wasn't her day. We'd agreed to part ways if one of us was "on" and one wasn't, so I kept on. I put in my earbuds and started my 5k playlist (no variety, but all of my current favorite songs, and I zone out anyway, so it's not like it really mattered). I looked at the elevation chart. I knew it was pretty much all uphill for 8 miles, then downhill the last 5. I guess it's like childbirth and you forget what that's like. I'm sure cumulatively it took it's toll on my legs, but it didn't feel awful. I think I hit every other water station to refill my handheld bottle. I started with water, refilled with water, then Gatorade (I never do Gatorade, but I missed the water tables and my bottle was empty so I figured it was a better option than dehydrating- I also took salt at this stop), then water two more times. I really focused on hydrating because it was hot and I was sweating a lot. Around mile 10 or 11, I took beer from somebody just hoping it would be cold. It wasn't. I finished it anyway. It was around the 10 mile mark that I knew I might be able to squeek out a narrow PR if I pushed hard, but the heat and sun was really tiring me, so I eased up on the pace and took walk breaks at every half mile. That really helped and I was able to pick up the pace and push hard through the finish chute. My time was 2 hours 12 minutes and 17 seconds.

I downed a bottle of really cold water, got an ice cold towel for my neck, a package of pretzels, and chocolate milk before finding Jake. We hadn't made plans for where to meet, so I headed toward the beer garden and the letter "O" where we meet last year. Found him! We got my beer and headed for the truck. Last year I remember hurting and feeling so stiff after finishing and the car felt miles away. I'm pleased with my time, but even more pleased at how much better my recovery is a year after my first half marathon. I was able to eat lunch on the way home, get a short nap before Nana brought the kids home, and I feel great. I'm not sore and I'm not exhausted.

I went back out for a short run in the evening while the boys rode bikes and Lauren ran with me. It was slow, but it brought my mileage for the day up to 16.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

GlitzBandz Giveaway Winner

Charisma is the lucky winner of her choice of GlitzBandz! Please get in touch with me and I'll let you know how to get your GlitzBandz! Thank you to everyone who entered my first giveaway and to Emily at GlitzBandz for the opportunity. Please check out her site if you need a headband.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

I've Been Published!

Last night I was reading the new Train Like a Mother book in bed when I came upon a page with a question I was very familiar with. The book authors posted a survey online as they were writing the book and asked readers to participate, so I did. One of my responses was picked. I'm pretty sure another response was chosen too, but my good cough syrup had kicked in by the time I got deeper into the book and I can't remember which question it was or where in the book I read it.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Rock n Roll Dallas Expo

I made a quick trip down to the expo this afternoon to pick up my race bib and related swag for this weekend's half marathon. I finally figured out t-shirt sizing for RnR and ordered a size that will fit- I'm always disappointed when I order a women's small and it's skin tight. I like my tees loose, so I got a women's large. Perfect.

I resisted the temptation to buy all of the pretty things that caught my eye and instead focused on what I needed. I love my ininji toe socks. I started running in them at the end of last summer and they seem to greatly reduce the number of blisters I get on my toes. I can only find solid white or black at my local running stores, and I bought a pair of purple stripes at the RnR St. Louis expo, so I wanted to get a couple more pairs of those. They didn't have the purple stripes, but they had the lighterweight version (which I haven't tried yet but figured would be perfect for the hot summer to come) in a bright pink so I bought 2 pairs. I've been using some sunglasses I bought at Target awhile back but don't love, mostly because they're polarized and my iphone screen looks funny when I look at it through the lenses. I found another pair at the expo. They're regularly $60 online, but they were $29 at the expo and they gave me a code to use online if I decide I love them and want to order another pair for the expo price. They're super lightweight, won't fog, and I think the shape looks better on my face. These are the style I got: Marathon Translucent Frames. The last thing I bought was a super soft longsleeve tee that was marked down at the Sports Authority booth. It reminded me of an Asics ad I loved when I saw awhile back:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

13, 15, 17, ___... What's next?

20!!! My first 20 mile training run, that is. I started recruiting running partners last weekend after my 17 miler.

We met at the park and ran the New Years Double course. Fiona, Robin, Alicia, Sharon, and Lesley all started with me. The first 6.xx mile loop felt great. Since we started at 6am it was dark and I had to keep turning on the light to check my pace on my Garmin. I'm a horrible pacer and at least in the short term, 9:30 and 12:30 can feel the same to me. Too bad 9:30 is not my long run pace. I bought the double pouch iFitness belt on Friday because I always have trouble getting my Spibelt to balance just right after I access my fuel (I always carry my phone when I run). Anyway, I carried my Honey Stinger waffles with me in the new belt so I could eat them at each hour. I ate the first one at 60 minutes with no problem. At the end of our first loop I refilled my handheld bottle at the car. Fiona had to leave. Three of us had to use the bathroom but we ended up at different park bathrooms so we never met back up with Alicia and Sharon (although they continued on to run Sharon's first 15 miler together). Robin left us at 10. The second loop still felt good and I was comfortably holding pace. Libby joined us before we got back to the cars. I ate another waffle at the 2 hour mark. We refilled handheld bottles again at the end of the second loop, now at 13.xx miles. Lesley ran a bit longer but had to leave around 15 miles. It worked out perfectly that Libby is in taper and also wanted to sleep a bit later, so she was my sole 3rd loop partner. I dropped my pace just a little bit, but overall still felt good. At 17 miles Libby gave me a high five for the distance PR to come! At the farthest point on our turnaround I was getting low on water and thought I'd have to get water from somebody's water hose in the yard. Thankfully the park water fountains were on. It was in the upper 60's with 80-something% humidity... Not ideal weather, but good to have a long run with that kind of weather to practice in. I managed to eat at least half of my last waffle. I struggled, but I wanted to err on the side of extra fuel vs not enough. After 18 miles I took a 1 minute walk break at every half mile instead of every mile. It made the last little bit feel mentally easier. With probably less than a quarter mile back to the cars, my watch beeped for 20 miles. I got another high five from Libby and we walked back to the cars.

It was a really good run. The weather was hotter and more humid than my other long runs, yet I felt the best. Maybe I have my nutrition and hydration figured out. My final time for the 20 was 4:02:56. That includes the 1 minute walk breaks at each mile marker and the 2 extras at 18.5 and 19.5. A few friends have thrown some support my way for a 5 hour marathon- if the weather is good. It sure would be nice if that were the case, since I don't have a friend to pace me, and the slowest pacer for the marathon is 5 hours. We'll see how it goes and race day weather falls, but that may be an option.

If you haven't entered my giveaway for your choice of a GlitzBandz headband, please check out my review/giveaway here: GlitzBandz Giveaway - Entries accepted until midnight on Saturday.

Monday, March 19, 2012

I'm All In

I read a post on Facebook that today was the last day to register for the OKC Marathon and have your name printed on your bib. I can't really explain why that convinced me to go and officially register for the marathon, but it did. My husband asked, "Do you even save your race bibs?" No. No, I don't. But there will be pictures of the race bib and me wearing the bib. So, it should have my name on it. And who knows, maybe I will save this one.
So, I'm all in. I've finished one 20 mile run, I'm feeling healthy, and it's time to push my chips toward the middle. My first 26.2 in OKC on April 29, 2012.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

GlitzBandz Review *AND* Giveaway!!!

A few weekends ago I was running 15 miles with my friends Libby & Shannon when we started talking about headbands. Shannon recommended I check out GlitzBandz, so when I got home I liked the Facebook page and looked at some of the options. There were several that I liked, so I was going to think about what colors/prints I wanted before ordering. Well just a couple days later, there was a post on Facebook from GlitzBandz asking for bloggers to review a GlitzBandz and do a giveaway. I emailed immediately and Emily got right back to me.

I got to choose my favorite GlitzBandz for the review. I chose "sparkle polka dot black" which is 7/8" wide. GlitzBandz is a no-slip headband that comes in 19" (fits most youth) or 20" (fits most adults). There are tons of colors and designs to choose from between the GlitzBandz website and the GlitzBandz Facebook page. Emily also takes special orders if you need a different size or want a design she doesn't yet have. I received my GlitzBandz 2 days later, just in time for a 5k where I was trying to set a new PR.

GlitzBandz sparkle polka dot black

Self picture from above before the 5k

Self picture profile before the 5k
I love that this GlitzBandz has just a little bit of sparkle (only the colorful polka dots sparkle, not the black background) and incorporates lots of color, so it matches all of my running clothes. It felt secure at home, so I felt like we were off to a good start. My 5 year old daughter was watching me get ready and said, "I think you're gonna be prettier than all the other girls." The GlitzBandz stayed perfectly in place during the 5k and I got my PR. I'm not sure Emily is ready to promise you a PR if you wear GlitzBandz, but I'm telling you, feeling cute is half the battle! After the 5k we went to my nephew's first soccer game. The wind picked up to 15-20mph and not once did I have to pull hair out of my face.

This is my first product review. I've read lots of reviews on running blogs and thought, "Do they really like that product or are they just being nice because it was given to them?" Here's my answer to "Does she really like GlitzBandz, or is she just being nice because it was given to her?"
I now own FIVE GlitzBandz.. black sparkle dot, hot pink glitter, navy, purple floral, and peacock!

After wearing the black sparkle dot GlitzBandz that one day, I ordered 3 more! Why 3? Because each GlitzBandz is a very reasonable $10, but when you buy 2, the 3rd is only $5! I was also pleased that shipping was only a couple dollars. I'm an ER nurse and can't/don't want my hair in my face (you don't even want to know what I do in a day's work, but let's just say I don't want my hair in it!). We have to wear navy at one job, so I thought I'd go pretty neutral in design/color. The GlitzBandz stays in place for my entire 12 hour shift, and trust me, if I barely have time to go to the bathroom, I don't have time to fix my hair at work. On a side note, if you want to look younger, you might try GlitzBandz. I had 2 patients ask my age/if I was still in nursing school! It was a lucky week for me, because I donated to my friend who is doing Team in Training and won her drawing for... a GlitzBandz! That's how I got the peacock print. I wore that one on my 17 miler last weekend.

Haven't found a headband that works for you yet? Haven't ever tried one? Here's your chance to WIN a GlitzBandz OF YOUR CHOICE! I will choose a winner using on Sunday, March 25th. You will earn one entry for each of these that you do (up to 4 entries). Please leave me a comment for each one that you do. The deadline for entries will be midnight (central time) on Saturday, March 24th.

1- Become a follower of this blog. (If you already are, just let me know)
2- Go to GlitzBandz on Facebook. Like them, tell them Kristi at Half Virgin sent you, AND which GlitzBandz is your favorite. (If you already "like" them, just do the other 2 parts)
3- Go to GlitzBandz, click on the pink button that says "join email list" and sign up to receive emails regarding specials or new ribbons. (If you've already signed up for emails, just let me know)
4- Tell *me* which GlitzBandz you would choose if you win and where you would wear it.

Good luck!

Monday, March 12, 2012

I Feel the Need For... Fuel!

After the nutrition fail I experienced during my 17 mile run last weekend, I decided I needed to research proper fueling and come up with a plan. I still have time to work this out before the marathon.
On I found an article called "4 Steps to Perfect Marathon Fueling". It gives a series of formulas to determine how many calories you should consume during the marathon.

1- Determine running calorie expenditure per mile
0.63 x body weight in pounds (for me 0.63 x 130 = 81.9)

2- Determine goal race pace, or how many miles per hour you'll cover
My marathon has a 6 hour cutoff. Based on the comfort level of my 17 mile run, I think I may be able to run faster, but that's not my goal and I'm not pressuring myself to do so. So, I'll just take the cutoff numbers of 13:44 pace/mile, which is 4.37 miles per hour.

3- Calculate hourly expenditure based on goal race pace
goal race pace in mph x the figure from step 1 (for me 4.37mph x 81.9 = 357.903)

4- Determine hourly calorie replacement
Research shows runners can physically absorb 30% of what they expend, so 0.3 x figure from step 3
(for me 0.3 x 357.903 = 107.3709)

The article recommends starting calorie replacement after the initial 60-90 minutes. This would be a little over 3 Honey Stinger waffles if I stick with that fuel. I could also do 3 waffles plus some Honey Stinger chews.

This is something for me to practice on my 20 miler next weekend.

Do you have trouble fueling on long runs? What kind of fuel do you like? How much and how frequently?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Prayers for 17 Mile Weather Answered

I've been sweating the forecasted rain for today all week. Because of Jake's work schedule, I really needed to get my 17 miler today. I went to bed last night with the plan to meet Shannon & Robin at White Rock at 6am, unless it was just a complete downpour. It was bone dry and the radar looked like maybe some light rain, worst case scenario.

I wore my black Brooks running skirt (pretty sure this will be my marathon skirt because it's so comfortable it feels like I'm not wearing anything) and my favorite Lululemon gray/black longsleeve top- I was comfortable in both during the entire run. The temperature was between 45 and 50, but cloudy the entire time.

We did 2 loops around the lake, which would have been a total of 18 miles. The plan was to walk/run or just walk the last mile. The first loop was great and I was feeling strong. We stopped at our cars to refill handheld bottles and I ate a Honey Stinger waffle. I have a really tough time eating when I run and I thought I'd try the waffles for fuel since they taste good but are pretty bland. It went down well and I think I'll do it again for future runs, but more frequently. Robin turned back around at mile 11.5 because she had 14 on her schedule. I started to feel nauseous around mile 15. I thought sucking on a Honey Stinger chew might help. It seemed to make the nausea worse, so I spit it out. We made it to 17 before the nausea got any worse. I kept thinking I was going to be sick, but never did. At about 17.3 miles I was sitting in the grass trying to recover for the rest of the walk or run back to the cars when a Dallas police officer asked Shannon if I was ok, then offered to take us back to our cars. I was so grateful. At that point, I knew it would be a long haul to go that extra .7 mile. Once back to the cars, I put on a sweatshirt and turned the heat on in my car full blast. I was freezing and couldn't stop shaking. I decided I was capable of driving and just wanted to be home. I made it to Richardson before I finally got sick. That actually made me feel better and I thought I would be ok. Once home I took a hot bath. As I got out of the bath I got really dizzy and felt sick. Jake took my blood pressure and the top number was only 80. I knew I needed fluids and didn't think I could drink any, so he called his mom to stay with the kids and I went in for IV fluids. I felt a lot better after the fluids and have been able to drink/eat since getting home.

I learned some things on this training run. That's what training runs are for, right? Gotta practice for race day... My legs aren't nearly as sore or tired as they were after 15 miles- hooray for that. I think a combination of 3 things contributed to me getting sick-
1- Not a good enough breakfast. I usually eat cold cereal with a banana or peanut butter on a bagel. I skipped those and just ate a banana.
2- Not nearly enough calories during the run. I ate one Honey Stinger waffle at 160 calories.
3- I was still having Raynaud's episodes as of last weekend so I followed my doctor's recommendations and increased my Procardia to 20mg. I felt dizzy for the first couple of days, but have felt normal for the past few days. I can't help but associate a blood pressure of 80 with increasing the dosage of the blood pressure medication I'm taking. I'll probably ask my doctor whether to drop back down to 10mg or just stop taking it altogether.

I'm doing some research on proper marathon fueling for my gender/size/pace and will come up with a new plan before my 20 miler next weekend.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Allen Eagle 5k Race Report- With New & Improved PR!

This 5k is a tradition for me, which is why I took a major stepback week in marathon training to do it. This was the 4th annual run, and I started doing it the 2nd year. I wasn't running before then, and I wasn't racing when I did it in 2010.

In 2010, I was 11th of 29 in my age group and 300th of 514 overall, with a time of 35:19.
Lame, but only picture of this post. My sister-in-law, husband, and me on race day. This was before I knew how uncool it was to wear cotton. And your race shirt. And yoga pants. All on race day.
In 2011, I was 5th of 44 in my age group and 149th of 554 overall, with a time of 27:56.

In 2012... Keep reading... it's not like I'm going to give away the good stuff in the 6th sentence. Seriously.

I went into this race wanting to try and PR. I have done almost no speedwork, so I certainly wasn't expecting the PR, but I wanted to try. The weather was perfect this morning, mid to upper 40's with only slight wind. I think of this course as pretty flat, but there are a few slight inclines (but also declines).. neither of which I felt played a role in my pace. The biggest hinderance to a PR are the many turns and *MANY* kids.

I started the race toward the front, but I probably should have been a little closer. This race benefits the school district so lots of kids run. It seems the way kids who are not runners by sport run a race is to sprint like hell, then come to almost a complete stop right in front of somebody, and walk like they have no place to go. As soon as the race started I thought I was going to be screwed by my position. I can look back at parts of the race and see where I lost seconds. This was one spot. Thankfully, it thinned pretty quickly and I was able to get my pace in the low 8's. There was still way too much dodging and weaving for position, but I could hold my pace as I tried to find empty road. First mile 8:22 pace, exactly where I wanted to be. Not too fast, and a good solid start to a PR.

In the second mile I saw the lead men coming back toward the start/finish. They were close. I turned before I saw a lead woman. This mile felt good and was my fastest at 8:17.

I was getting tired in the third mile. I was breathing hard and my chest hurt. I actually had to pull over to the grass on the south side of the high school because I thought I was going to puke. After a few seconds of dry heaving, I decided it wasn't going to happen and I needed to get back to running. Again, lost some time here. When I returned to running, I just couldn't get the speed back. Pace dropped to 8:56 in this mile.

Partially because of the winding path and partially because of dodging other runners/walkers, I ran 3.21. My last 0.21 came in at 8:24. I really gave it all I had at the end. I managed an 11 second PR, finishing in 27:18. I placed 7th of 59 in my age group and 163rd of 872 overall. I'm happy with that!

I used some new running gear today that I'm super excited about. I don't think I can say what it is yet, and hence no pics from the race, because my first product review and GIVEAWAY is coming up within a couple weeks! Did I mention I'm excited?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Runner with Raynaud's

I've mentioned here before that I have a condition called Raynaud's. People with Raynaud's experience an exaggerated spasm of the blood vessels as a response to cold or stress. It's more than just having cold hands or cold feet (though I normally have both) although the fingers, toes, and nose are most commonly effected. When your body is exposed to cold temperatures, your extremities lose heat. Your body slows down blood supply to your fingers and toes to preserve your body's core temperature. Your body specifically reduces blood flow by narrowing the small blood vessels under the skin of your extremities. In people with Raynaud's, this normal response is exaggerated. Affected areas of skin usually turn white at first. Then, the affected areas often turn blue, feel cold and numb, and sense of touch is dulled. As circulation improves, the affected areas may turn red, throb, tingle or swell. The order of the changes of color isn't the same for all people, and not everyone experiences all three colors.

Both hands affected, about 30 minutes after I finished running and stopped at the store on my way home.

Just one finger affected- this was at a restaurant

I only have trouble with my fingers. I don't usually have trouble when I'm running, but if I can't or don't change out of my sweaty clothes right after a run and take a hot shower, I will usually have an episode. Even in the summer, being in the air conditioning in sweaty clothes is enough to chill me and cause an episode. Sometimes I have episodes when I'm not running, like at a restaurant when I'm drinking something cold, or at the grocery store if I spend too much time in the refrigerated or freezer sections. My fingers will turn white first. They feel cold and numb and I lose the sense of touch. Hot water is the #1 thing that will reverse an episode for me. When an episode reverses, my fingers turn red and throb/tingle. It's not completely painful, but the best way I can describe it is an uncomfortable tingle.

I guess I had my first episode of Raynaud's as a teenager, but then it didn't bother me for a long time. Episodes became much more frequent when I started training for my first half marathon in winter 2010. There are treatments, but all medications come with risks, and I haven't had any long term effects from Raynaud's so I've shyed away from treatment in the past. I wear gloves outdoors most of the time when it's below 60 degrees. I carry a pair in my purse in case a restaurant or the grocery store is chilly. I use those chemical hand warming packs when it's near freezing. Keeping my core warm is the most important thing I've found, so I wear a jacket or vest even when it's as warm as 60.

I see a rheumatologist yearly to make sure I don't have any autoimmune disorders because Raynaud's can sometimes be affiliated with  them and I have a family history. So far, I'm negative for anything like Lupus or Rheumatoid Arthritis. A couple weeks ago, I went to my regular appointment with the doctor. He again brought up the option of treatment for Raynaud's. Because the episodes have become more frequent, last longer, and are harder to reverse than ever before, I was interested. He suggested a calcium channel blocker, a type of heart medication, that is used for high blood pressure and chest pain because it relaxes blood vessels. It can work for Raynaud's. I started taking Procardia about 9 days ago. I started at a very low dose, and the plan is to increase the dose if I still have episodes and as long as I tolerate the medication. I can take the Procardia seasonally- maybe just November through March. I had some low blood pressure and didn't feel quite right for the first few days but I've been feeling good the past week. I also haven't had any episodes! It's been pretty warm, so I'm not certain there's been a full challenge, yet. I should go up on my dosage tomorrow, but since I haven't had any episodes I'm going to wait. It would be great if I could stay at the lowest dose and it be effective.