Sunday, September 30, 2012

What's On Your Brain?

I'll give you a good hint at what's on mine lately. I went to the library yesterday and this is what I came back with:

1. Triathlon Training by Michael Finch - I really enjoyed the cross training last winter and the races. I definitely feel that I need to mix this in more as I'm starting to get sick of just running. My goal is to do an Olympic Distance this summer and hopefully the following summer a Half Ironman...EEK! I'm thinking it will end up being Madison, WI since that is closest to home and I did spend 6 years there during my college years.

2. Going Long - Legends, Oddballs, Comebacks & Adventures (The Best Stories from Runner's World) -
I got this for some motivation to get through the marathon and help me get some motivation to get out the door on those days I'm just feeling a little off. I read the first and I want to read them all now!

3. Mathletics by John D. Barrow - This book is about the science behind some sports feats and to be honest it really wasn't very interesting. I just glanced through it and read the few things that interested me. The only real item of note that I took away from this book is that most of the great athletes are born September-December. They said it's mostly because they are the oldest & biggest in their age groups and therefore seem to be better and get more of the coaches attention.

I also went shopping to find some necessary clothing for running in the cooler weather as I only have 1 pair of capris and 1 pair of pants. I have lost a decent amount of weight and most of my stuff doesn't fit me anymore, which is a good and bad problem to have. I went to the Under Armour & Nike Outlet and then to the local running store to find some deals. Here is what I came away with and the only thing I really paid full price for was the socks and hat, the long sleeve I used $15.00 of rewards to purchase it since in winter it will be at night alot. I don't think they can miss me in it though as it's ridiculously bright!!

Brooks Nighlife 1/2 zip, Nike pants, Brooks hat, Shot Bloks, GU Brew,
Brooks Hat, UA Capris, UA Shorts, UA Socks, Skirt Sport (w/o lining)
Are you already planning your races for 2013? If so, what is your favorite race?

Personally, I think I may already have most of the year figured out with a few maybes in there. I think my favorite for next year will be the Fremont Triathlon, a revisit to my favorite from last summer with a few more people joining me :)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Race Recap: Fox Cities Half Marathon (+7)

Sunday started before the ass crack of dawn. As I rolled myself out of bed, I questioned myself...WHY am I doing this??? Oh yeah, because I'm CRAZY!! It was 4am and I had to get myself ready to be at Sarah's to start our run at 5am.

The Half was starting at 7am and we wanted to leave ourselves time for an easy run to the Start and conveniently Sarah lives close to the Finish. We started by running to the finish and headed over towards the start. My brain was very confused. I am not an early morning person and the only time I've run in the dark it's been nighttime. Granted, for most people it was nighttime but I just couldn't wrap my head around it. We didn't walk much because it was freezing when we started. Literally, it was probably a few degrees above freezing.

Miles 1 - 6.9 10:34, 11:14, 11:12, 11:36, 11:40, 12:24, 10:58
Can you tell which mile we stopped to eat GU?? 

We made it to the Start and metup with Kimba, Kim, Matt (all first timers for the marathon) and Kathy, Megan and my cousin Nikki. The marathon spectators were Nick, Rachel & Kevin whom we would see at mile 2.5 where the Half and Full split. We were all freezing at the start as you can see in this pic. Sarah & I after the first 7, good job Rachel of capturing the pre-race nerves of Matt & Kim in the background.

Miles 1 - 8 (8-15) 10:08, 9:57, 9:29, 9:37, 9:38, 9:25, 9:09, 9:30
Ok, so not the usual breakup of a race but it works well for me this way. I started off the run with Nikki & Sarah. We were all trying to take it easy at the start and not begin too fast. I really liked that we didn't have to fight through the crowd much and did very little weaving. It was enjoyable and the miles were flying by. The hardest part of this was remembering when I needed to eat GU. Nikki and I kept on cruising and I would glance at my watch and freak out. (I shouldn't be running this fast, I am going to BONK!! That's OK, it's just practice at hitting the WALL!?!?) Yes I actually rationalized it this way during the run. We ran/danced to Tootsie Roll and just had fun out there! I finally started feeling like it was difficult and I had to stop at mile 8 to eat my GU. I knew I would lose my running buddy and the last 5 miles would be a mental battle.

Miles 9-13 (15-20) 10:53, 9:28, 10:49, 10:16, 9:27
Ok, this was really hard. My legs felt like dead weight and I just willed myself to keep going. I knew exactly where the course ran at this point and knew just how much was left. I took it one mile at a time and told myself I would walk again at 10 and maybe one other time. I timed it so the 2 bridges we had to go over I walked up and started running on the downhill, cause at this point starting again was not easy. I just kept trudging forward, talked to a few random people and willed myself to the finish. I saw my overall pace was slowly creeping up and I thought I might lose my chance to PR. I just kept pushing and realized when I was on the last mile that as long as I didn't slow my pace I would make it.

FINAL TIME: 2:08:50 (a minor PR by a little over a minute but it still counts!)

Glad to be done, and all I could do at this point was sit down & put my flip flops on!
Now that I was done, I was excited to go cheer Kim on. We hobbled our way back to the car and we headed out on the course just shortly after mile 21 and then back to the finish area. I had prepared a few signs for use along the course. Here are the 3 funnier signs I made and then one motivational one I used towards the finish.

This sign was especially for Kim, we've managed to be attacked twice!!

There were not alot of photographers on the course (basically only around the start & last 1-1.5 miles) and the pictures they got were pretty good, but they are not very easy to copy due to the background they plastered all over them. Maybe I will have to break down and buy the best one.

Overall it was a great day as everyone finished!! (speedy Kimba ran a BQ!) I was glad to see friends & family out there with me and excited for my marathon day which is now fast approaching. I was a little jealous that I wasn't doing it Sunday.

I'm still feeling a little lethargic this week. I'm definitely glad taper is here as I'm taking my runs easy this week.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Marathon Training Recap - Week 10

It's another Monday and time to review how well I did this past week. Let's just say I really wanted to get everything in since this would be my last high mileage week. I was off to a good start, and then I get hit by a cold & my period. Gotta love being a woman!! I felt like I got slammed with a truck and was miserable Wednesday & Thursday and explains why I ended up missing my workouts.

I actually had to travel for work on Friday to Madison,WI to meet the new President and made it out to lunch with some of my fellow co-workers. Then I went to the expo for the Fox Cities Marathon and picked up my packet and some new running gear on sale, which I can't resist!! Oh yeah, I did end up walking around for about an hour trying to find my dog Friday night so I probably got in the miles I missed....that was an adventure!!

3 Trail8 m paceStrength4RestRest7 + Fox Cities Half Marathon

Overall: I ran 31 miles this past week which is the most I have ever done. I am still injury free and really excited to hit taper! I'm looking forward to resting up my legs and improving my strength to make the feat of completing the marathon an easier task.

It was really hard watching the marathoners finish on Sunday as I did wish that was me out there. Part of me wants to have the experience over with as it is going to be a physical and mental challenge. Sarah and I were joking about some of the horror stories that may end up playing through our heads, which I will share eventually as more will be added to the collection.

I did throw my half marathon time into the McMillan calculator yesterday. Doesn't everybody do this right after a race?? It says that I should be able to do a 4:31 marathon although I'm not really buying that. My 5K time is just about right on with it based on my half time, but if I feel good & everything falls in place maybe it can happen!

I am still feeling the soreness of my 20-miler and will have a recap coming soon of the Half Marthon and my 7 miles prior to it. It was a very long day but definitely worth it.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Mother's Nightmare!!

Last night I plopped in bed around 10pm for what I thought would be a night of catching up on some sleep. 11pm my husband walks in to wake me up and proceed to tell me that our dog, Vito, is LOST!!

WHAT??? WHEN??? all questions coming out of my mouth. He let him out shortly after I went to bed and had been looking for the last 30 minutes before he decided to wake me up.

He had been going insane on our deck that evening sniffing out some animal, presumably a bunny, so we were assuming he chased after it and could not find his way back. It was a wet, cold, dreary day and I was worried about my boy being out in that weather for too long. We grabbed our flashlights and split out trying to find him.

First loop in the car and no success, tried walking around on foot to see if he had got stuck or hurt himself. He has had 2 ACL surgeries on his back legs and they are not 100% anymore. AGAIN, no luck. We talked to a few neighbors that were still up at 11:30 and about midnight we decided to call the police to report him missing.

And that is when I LOST IT and began to cry. He had been gone for 2 hours at this point and didn't know what to do, but I couldn't just stay home and wait. I had to go find him!

I hopped in the car again to do another circle and decided I would expand out a little farther. FINALLY after driving about 3 blocks away he came running out from someone's yard. He must have recognized the sound of my car. I was THRILLED, and then ANGRY, but overall just HAPPY to have him back!!

Not exactly the best scenario to have 2 nights before your long run! It took awhile before I was able to fall asleep but I'm hoping that will help me get to bed early tonight in order to be alert when the alarm clock goes off at 4am. I will be strating my run at 5am with Sarah to the start of the Fox Cities Half Marathon, which begins at 7am.

My goals for this race....NONE. OK, I do have a minor goal and that is seeing if I can keep up a decent pace (between 11 - 11:30) for my miles as practice for marathon day. I know my marathon will end up being a little slower since 95% of the race is on a crushed limestone trail instead of roads. But if I'm feeling good halfway through then I may try to pickup the pace and I am going to try and walk very little. I've walked a decent amount on all my long runs but I'm curious if I can cut those back a bit in a race atmosphere.

I just need to tell myself...THIS IS A TRAINING RUN. But my race outfit is up in the air since as you can see from the weather, it will be chilly! I will take this anyday though over a hot, steamy day. This is my kind of running weather!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fox Cities Marathon Meetup

For anyone tackling the Fox Cities Half or Full Marathon weekend, we are planning a meetup after the race at a local bar. I will be running the half marathon with a minor 7 mile warmup run to the start in the wee hours of the morning. So by the time we get to relax, drink some beers and eat food I may be slightly loopy.

OH, and you may just be able to feel up this guy or one of his friends!

Was trying to see what was under the skirt....just a BIG block of wood!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Marathon Training Recap - Week 9

TAPER is almost here!!! I have one more high mileage and then I get to be taper crazy for the next 3 weeks until marathon day is finally here. It's hard to believe it really is that close now. Once again I did not get in all my workouts scheduled, here is the proof:

9/10/2012Bootcamp436.1Rest19.5Cleaning (5 hrs)

I have discovered I suck at getting my mid-week runs in. Well, at least I have conquered Step 1 in admitting that I have a problem. I managed to get 2 of the 3 runs in but both were short by 1-2 miles but I did do an extra 0.5 on my Saturday long run so that makes up for it right? If you want to read about my new personal distance record run, click here and you will also see some of the places I pass along the way.

Oh yeah, and I totally consider cleaning for 5-6 hours on Sunday cross training. I really wanted to hop on the bike for an evening ride because it has been since the first week of August since I've gone on one. Seriously, way too long but I was just feeling spent and ran out of daylight :(

This is my final week of higher mileage and I have vowed to myself that I will make it count!! I have learned that I need to vary up my runs during the week to keep myself interested. I am becoming VERY BORED with my usual routes and scenes, but honestly it's just easiest to run out the driveway and run home. I have been working more hours than I would like to and it's been crunching my schedule a bit.

Here's to hoping one of my busiest weeks at work does not cramp my running style!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Long Run Success!!

So this weekend I had 20 on my schedule, after a lot of debate I decided I would go for the 19 that was originally there. I had moved my 20 up a week because next weekend I am doing the Fox Cities Half Marathon. I wasn't really feeling like doing 7 before the race and I wanted to get a new half marathon PR this year, and that won't be happening at the Tyranena Half since it's only 3 weeks after my First Marathon (yes, may not be the smartest to run that far so soon after).

I ended up doing a half on 9/1/12 in which I totally smashed my PR so I am no longer feeling the need to really "race" this one. The start and finish are in two different places for this and the finish is only a few blocks from my running buddy's house. We are both doing 20 miles and we can run from her house to the start and get 7 miles in so it makes the logistics easier. Especially since after we finish we have a few full marathoners to cheer on.

Since I knew it would be my last long run in my usual places I wanted to document it. I ended up with 19.5 miles so it makes me feel really confident that 20 is doable!!

Here is a little journey through some of the places that I get to run by each weekend, and some I also do on my weekly runs.

A little chilly at the start so began with longsleeves. First in a long time!!

Sun just coming up at the start, this is an old railroad track turned into a trail. Ran this 4 times and began getting comments/looks from the people fishing off the decks.

Actually from another day, but this park loop I run at least once a week. Also the last mile of the Fox Cities Full and Half Marathon I will be doing next weekend.

Hard to see my baby cow is feeding from momma. Somedays the smell of running this is not my favorite part!

Hot & sweaty and glad to be done!! Only a little soreness :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Lessons of Running

Some days I really feel like a runner and can't wait to get out on my run and see what the adventure brings. And other days I can't seem to drag myself out of bed or off the couch to go for a run. Lately the later has began to rule my brain. I think it wants to be in taper mode but that is still about a week and a half away yet so it can just SHUT UP right now!

I have been doing some reflecting back on my runs to find out what works and what hasn't or see if I can figure out what I can do to help make Marathon Day go smoothly. Long distance running really forces you to get to know all parts of your body more than ever. There is a fine line between drinking and eating to much and not enough. So here are some random things I have learned not to do, or probably wasn't the best thing to do at the time.
  • Go to a buffet the evening after doing your long run after only eating one small meal shortly after your run. You will end up in a food coma!
  • When your toenail looks like it will fall off, trim it back as it may just be a blister underneath your toenail that will need to be popped. (don't you love watching the ooze come out of those!)
  • Plan only enough time to get your run in with the scenario of "if everything goes well"
  • Put your phone in your bra for a long run and expect all your sweat will not effect the screen
  • Wear an old pair of socks that you hate only because they are the last clean pair. They will cause major blisters and discomfort for the next week or so of running!
  • Expect your feet to look normal. My feet will never look nice again due to my "square" feet and getting blisters from every run. Seriously, even on 3 milers.
  • Plan bathroom and water stops along all routes, you never know when that gu you just tried will not agree with you.
  • Do a really hard strength day and expect you will be able to run normally the following 2 days. Thanks Jillian Michaels!
I have been thinking of trying an ice bath after my 20 miler to see if that will help the recovery process at all. Do they work for you? Any tips on how to do it correctly?

I have found that my body really likes compression gear. I tried out compression socks for the first time on my 18 miler this weekend and for the first time ever my feet did not have blisters. After that I proceeded to put on these little shorty compression shorts under my pants during our day at Bay Beach (which is basically a kid amusement park) since I was going to be on my feet all day and my hips were hurting. Never thought about them once after that as they felt great!!

I am trying to figure out my marathon outfit but it makes it difficult that it is 4 hours north of where I live and have no clue what the average temperature will be like. That will end up being decided maybe a week before but I have ideas in my head. I bought my race days shoes and will slowly be breaking them in on some shorter runs. Same as my normal but just in bright purple. Thinking it may be the shirt that I had on in this picture, but have a feeling it may be a long sleeve kinda day as the temps may only hit the 50s.

Ok, time to get some sleep to see if I can rouse myself out of bed for 8 miles tomorrow morning instead of having to fit it between work and the packer game tomorrow night. At least the weather looks to be cooler :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Marathon Trainng Recap - Week 8

So this week started off good, and just slowly crumbled into pieces. I went into the week with the intention to get in all my workouts and then I got hit with a nice little cold that I am still dealing with. I was sleeping for 12 hours some nights and still felt tired and could barely peel my eyes open in the morning, so my mid-week runs got skipped.

9/3/2012Strength48 m pace4Rest18.5Cross

I was determined to rest up a little so I could tackle the 18 miles sitting on the schedule for Saturday, which I would thankfully be running wth Sarah. The plan was to run 5 miles and meet up with the Fleet Feet Fun Run peeps at 7:30 and run with them for about 7-8 miles. We would loop back again to our cars and set out for the final miles.

We changed plans mid-run as we were both struggling at times and decided we were going to do a straight out and back on the second part so we had to get in the full miles. We felt like we may talk ourselves out of it if we got back to our cars and had 4 miles left. A little miscalculation put our total mileage at 18.5 but at least the last 0.5 was downhill :)

I am still batlling this cold so I am hoping I can manage to get my planned mileage in this week and I'm trying for 20 on Saturday. If it doesn't work I will be running 7 before the Half Marathon planned the following Sunday. Or I may just end up running 20 both weekends depending on how it goes. I think I may try the plan again from this week only I will loop back as it's nice to have the water refill and potty break if needed at the park shelter.

On a side note, the IT band on my left knee has not bothered me know for about 2 weeks.

BUT now my right IT band is the problem. I couldn't find my brace and had to do the 18.5 miles without it so I'm feeling it yet today.

Hoping to get 2 new ones so I have one for each in case that ever becomes necessary. Most of the marathon is on a crushed limestone trail and definitely felt it as we did about 8 miles on a crushed gravel trail. My ankle was also bothering me during that and all my pains have shifted to the right side. I will need to try to focus on that side and keep my other side kosher at the same time.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Race Recap: Justiceworks Just Run Half Marathon

So this race was on my radar for about 3 months, but I signed up for it only 2 days before race day. I just wasn't sure if I would feel up for it. I wasn't feeling very motivated about doing 13 miles for my step back week and just went for it.

Here is what attracted me to this race:
1. The scenery was supposed to be gorgeous (run through campus, a nature preserve and along the river)
2. It was a very small local race with a 5K or Half
3. Kim & Matt were also doing this race so I would know people there (although they were rockstars and ran 7 before the race even started....overachievers!)

I was heading to my cottage after the race so I drove seperately so I could get an extra hour of sleep and not be bored while Kim & Matt were out doing there pre-race warmup. It was basically on the way back so time wise just made a whole lot more sense.

I didn't really know what to expect in the race, I figured I would get a PR since I'm faster than I was last May's really been 15 months since my last half marathon!! I wasn't sure I was going to push myself too hard considering it was a step back week and I just decided at the start I was going to listen to my body and just go with what good at a slightly easy pace. I was thinking I would try to walk every 2 miles since that is what I'm thinking I will do marathon day to get practice.

I instantly start talking to a woman at the start line when we started and discovered it was her first. I chatted with her for the first mile but realized she was faster than me so I geared myself back a little. We ran by the farmer's market and through campus and into the preserve. I was really worried about this part since it was wood chips over dirt and my knees and ankles tend to cause issues for me. Oh yeah, and I'm also a clutz so I was figuring I would find a way to trip myself, which I did almost do.

3 miles were done and running felt great. I didn't feel like stopping yet so I just kept on going. I then ran into 2 friends, who turned out to be bff's that just graduated from the local college. It was Brittany's first half and Sarah's third. She was helping her get through and Brittany's family was all there to support. She had the loudest cheering section with her mom (former high school chearleader), dad (who at one point sang while running behind her) and her little sister. They pulled out no stops with the glitter glue on their signs. Here is a pic I stole from her facebook page (yes, I totally found them on facebook when we could see the that weird?)

I ran with Brittany and Sarah until mile 10...seriously could not believe I was still running and we were that far as the miles just flew by. At that point I was thinking in my head I could make 2:10 a reality and told them I was taking off. I started to increase my pace and my last 3 miles were under 10 and slowly getting faster doing about 8:30 pace towards the finish. I totally sprinted it in and passed a runner about 10 feet before the finish. YEAH!!! The clock said 2:10:03 but there was no mat at the starting line so my Garmin has me at 2:09:58. I managed to shave...OK slash my old PR by a good 23 minutes!!

Here is how I placed overall:
Overall: 81/122
Female: 39/70
Age: 14/25

If you can't tell this was a super competitive field!!

I have yet to run a half though where I actually ran close to 13.1. Green Bay last year had a "measuring problem" and we actually ran 13.25 miles. My Garmin for this race came in at 12.94, and NO I did not cut any corners, heck I even ran through all the cones. Is your Garmin off at long distance races??

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Marathon Training Recap - Week 7

Even though it's Tuesday it still feels like Monday so I'm not late on my post!

Sadly, today was my first day back at work since the 22nd of August and I was not thrilled about it. I was lovin being lazy in the mornings and getting my runs done early to take it easy. I began to clean up the house from basically using it as a dumping ground for the last 2-3 months. I sucessfully made it through all the rooms to clear out junk, still the college papers boxes to go through from my parents house yet but I think I will continue to procrastinate on that front.

On the running front, I did pretty well last week considering I had the time. I did skip my cross training and strength day due to honeymooning but I guess some might consider it that...hehe. My T and Th runs were supposed to be 4 miles but I cut back on them slightly since would actually be the first week I would get all my runs in and be running 3 days in a row.

8/27/2012Strength38 m pace3.5RestJust Run Half Marathon (SP)Rest

As for the Half Marathon, a recap will be coming soon, but it was an epic fail as I totally forgot to take pictures afterwards. You will just have to suffice with what I come up with instead.

I'm hoping this week goes well and I can maybe actually get a week in without any reds or yellows. Sneak peak, I am actually 2 for 2 this week on my workouts.