Thursday, May 31, 2012

Just Because.

I am really tired today and it's hot. So I am going to post funny things. Enjoy.

Anthony, someone needs to get you a wax appointment to go with the National Championship
Apparently he 'embraces' the attention his unibrow has received. Fascinating.

I don't blame you, Kobe

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Race Recap: Boston Run to Remember Half Marathon

So, I haven't blogged in like a week. I just haven't had anything interesting to report. It was a boring running week since it was race week and the mileage was low. I felt like I ate way too much (there is a reason I don't buy gummy candy, because I will eat it everyday). Anyway, race recap...

We woke up at 4:15 and went through our typical race prep - coffee, oatmeal, dressed, out the door. We had to get on the train at 5:30 to get to the start. Our connection train was late, which put us getting to the start line at 6:45 for a 7:00 start. Yikes! The bathrooms were crammed into a little alley area on the side of the convention center, which created a huge bottleneck of people trying to get in and out. There were no lines, though, which was good - we were able to get back out to the start line and fight our way up to at least the 8:30 pace marker. By this point we're only a couple minutes from gun time. I start up my Garmin, and try to start up my music... but my headphones were dead. I furiously tried everything I could to get them to work to no avail - they were not going to work. I never run without music - I make dedicated playlists that I know will help keep me motivated and help me keep cadence.

The start was pretty crowded but I opted to run on the curb/sidewalk for the first 1.5 miles which helped me go faster, for sure. I was still angry about the music thing but I just let it go and resigned myself to running 13 miles with no music. The crowd finally thinned out around mile 4 and I didn't have to weave to get around people.

I kept checking my Garmin every 3 seconds and I was sort of baffled why a 7:55 pace felt so hard. My original goal was to run anything under a 1:45 - I really wanted an average pace that had a 7 as the first number. I sort of knew around the halfway point that probably wasn't going to happen. I was bored and tired of listening to myself huff and puff. Music definitely would have helped!

I decided around mile 9 to stop looking at my Garmin. I was stressing myself out and it wasn't worth it. My goal at that point became to keep running and finish as strong as I could. I was running right around a 8:00 mi/mile until then - miles 11 and 12 were at a 8:21 and 13 was 8:44. Oh well. It was pretty warm by that point and I didn't really care anymore - I was purposely going out of my way to give little kids high fives. Ha! I needed something to kill the boredom of running for that long.

Official time: 1:46:51, 8:10 avg pace 

This was less than a minute off my PR. Am I little disappointed? Maybe. But honestly, I'm okay with it.

Now to take a couple weeks of easy training! I will start marathon training in less than three weeks!

Somehow we only took one picture yesterday. Race picture fail!
And it was blurry. But at least I wasn't crying.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Long Run Sunday

We had a busy weekend and actually decided to bag Saturday's short run in favor of taking the dog for a long walk. Sometimes running isn't the most important thing on earth! I am happy to report she made it all the way around the reservoir and we didn't even have to carry her home. She was VERY tired though when we got home!
Using my purse as a pillow
So my husband had work commitments most of the day on Sunday, so we had no choice but to do our long run later in the day. I am NOT a fan of doing long runs in the afternoon/night - I usually have less energy and less drive to run, not to mention the decrease in daylight. We set out to run for ~2 hours around 6pm. It was pretty uneventful; although some runner's knee pain started around mile 9-10, so we took a shortcut on the way back and cut the run about a mile short. Since it's race week, it didn't seem worth it to me to push further and possibly hurt myself.

Run: 13.04 miles
Time: 1:51:00
Avg. Pace: 8:31

I still need to work on pacing - I told myself I was going to take it easy, but again, I just got impatient around  10-11 miles and had a random mile at 7:37, after which my exasperated husband (who was having some foot pain himself) chided me for going so fast. I seem to consistently be pretty slow for the first 5 miles - not really hitting a good stride until miles 5-10. 

There's a good possibility it will be very warm at this weekend's race - low 80's, but the race starts at 7 am so hopefully that will be helpful. Fingers crossed, I really don't want another Nashville-esque disaster.

Mile Total for the Week: 30

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thursday: Back at the Grind

So today I had the joy of having a service appointment with the gas company. Because they obviously value my time SO much, the service window was FIVE HOURS (8am-1pm). I dragged myself out of bed and sat by the door until the guy showed up - at 12:58pm. Seriously??? I am pretty sure they did this just to irritate me, since they were a no-show at my last appointment and I let them know my displeasure in how they handled that situation. I can see some vengeful CS rep putting a note on my appointment saying "make that bitch wait until the last possible MINUTE."

So I finally got out for a run this afternoon - it truly was a glorious day here in Boston - sunny and about 70 degrees. I did sort of a tempo run, but I started too fast, dialed it back a bit, got bored and ran miles 4 and 5 at a 7:45 pace, and then I was almost dead and I still had to run the 2 miles to get back home. Not my brightest move. Dear Self: STOP running every single training run like it's a race. I swear I do this EVERY TIME and I KNOW it's dumb. I never thought I'd have to tell myself to SLOW DOWN but I guess this is now a necessity.

Anway, the stats:

7 miles, 59 minutes, 8:19 avg pace.

Since I screwed up my last week of training (I was far too occupied with eating my grandma's cooking), I think I sort of lost my focus. I was on FIRE the week before I left, but I don't feel that fire right now. Hopefully it's just my tiredness talking, considering I have a race in 10 days.

New Stuff

So I did get a few new things recently. First, my cherries headband - it's a Sweaty Band! I was dubious when I first looked at it, considering the inside is velveteen. But the tooth of the fabric keeps it right in place on my giant head and it's really comfy. I am a firm lover of my HALO headbands, but these could give them a run for it!
One creepy eye, to ensure you nightmares tonight
And I got the Asics Emma singlet. I saw one at the Nashville expo and liked the idea of the super breathable mesh fabric. I ended up finding it on sale on the Lady Foot Locker website (GREAT place to find deals on shoes and clothing, along with free shipping). I ordered a M because I'm a little on the busty side, but I kind of wish I'd have ordered a small. You never know! But it's super airy and I am already loving it on warm runs because I am a super sweaty person.
Look! Ghost boobs!

I'd like another one (in a Small) but I can't find a good sale, so I'll wait. :) 

I also got a new sports bra. I had a black one, but I needed another one, and since the only other option is white, that's what I got. I have owned a LOT of sports bras in my time, but I think this is the best one. Sports bras have come a LONG way in the last 5 years for us girls that have odd sizes. But the problem is usually that they are 1) hideously ugly or 2) they are harder than a Chinese finger trap to get on and off. Seriously, bra manufacturers, do you understand how difficult it is to pull a bra on over your head, and then attempt to hook three hooks behind your back (I'm looking at you, Moving Comfort)? Perhaps I'm special, but I find it to be almost impossible. Add long hair and a bum shoulder to that equation, and I just give up. Enter the Under Armour Endure bra:
Unfortunately the bra did not come with those killer arms

Yes, it zips in the FRONT. What a novel idea! Now I don't need to unhinge my shoulders and turn my head around backwards to put it on! Added bonus: it makes me look like I got a boob job. I sort of want to wear it all the time, just for that reason.

What's your favorite running gear? Spill it! And where do you find the best deals? I love a good sale!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Back in the routine

My blog hiatus is officially over. I have returned from Mississippi, and I was READY to come home. I love my family, but after not living at home for oh, 14 years, I need my own space and to be able to dictate my own schedule. My husband and my dog were very happy to see me.

Also, running in Mississippi was hard. I have a large family and a lot of obligations. Also, since just running out on the road wasn't an option, I had to find the time to get to the gym (which is a 20 min drive away). I only got in 3 runs, all between 5-7 miles. 2 were on a treadmill - BLAH.

While running on the treadmill on Sunday afternoon, I felt a pain in my chest when I started, but ignored it and kept going. Looking back on it, I'm pretty sure I strained a muscle in my chest, because it hurt for a couple of days - bad enough that I thought I should take a short running hiatus.

My husband and I went for a short 3 mile run today after I got back, but I was running on about 3 hours of sleep (6 AM flights should be illegal) and I just could not find the energy to get in a good rhythm. I think I need a good nap, and I'll try again tomorrow.

I came home to my cherry package that I won from Runner's Kitchen. Yes, I WON something! I feel so special! Who knew tart cherry juice was so delicious? I am looking forward to adding it to my recovery routine, since I prefer to consume natural products. I also got an adorable headband and a tote bag. I love all of it!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Running in Mississippi

So I am in my hometown in rural Mississippi visiting family. I won't get into the weird things about being from MS, but I will share my weird experience of the morning.

Being the borderline running obsessive I am, I was NOT going to come here for a week and just NOT run. Not an option for me! I also have a race in 2.5 weeks. So it had to be done. Also, southern food. Just yesterday alone, after arriving at 12PM,  I managed to eat:
Krystal burgers. Don't judge me. They are magically delicious.


CRAWFISH. I ate all of them. Again, judge me and I'll cut you.
So running was a necessity, unless I want to return to Boston with diabeetus.

But it is 80+ degrees, 90% humidity, and the mosquitoes are out of control. And my parents live on very rural roads, which are creepy and mostly deserted, and they have lots of twists and turns that drivers take going 60+ mph, so running on the roads wasn't an option. I'd like to:
a) not get kidnapped,
b) not get taken out by a snake, wild boar, or aggressive dogs (no one here has fences and they keep 'yard dogs' for 'protection', ugh), or
c) not get hit by a car. So I asked my sister about her gym (which is about 10 miles away) and decided to go see if they'd let me come there for a week.

So I get there, and see that it's pretty small - I've seen hotel gyms that were bigger. Also, it's almost deserted. It's 8 am and there's only 2 guys inside. There is no one working there (how is this safe? but I digress) and the only way to get in is to have a member card that you scan to open the door. So this brings up several question, like:

1) How exactly do they attract or sign up new members if NO ONE IS WORKING THERE?
2) And how do they control people from abusing member privileges? I mean, there was no cameras either, so anyone could just let someone else use their member card, or you could just bring all your friends with you and let them in.
3) If someone gets hurt or collapses, how would they get help? Wouldn't the gym be liable? So weird.

So the best part of this story is that after I sat in my car for a few minutes texting my sister and trying to figure out what to do, a guy CAME OUT AND LET ME IN. Seriously. He walked out, asked if I wanted in, and I asked if he worked there, and he said no and mumbled something about "she will be here at 9 or 9:30." And then let me in and walked to his local school police car. He had no idea who I was, or if I was a member, and just let me in.

The South is such a weird, overly trusting place. Can you imagine anywhere else where this would be okay? Yeah, me either.

I ran on the treadmill for about half an hour before anyone else even showed up to workout. And they were all guys who were overweight, and not a single one of them touched a cardio machine. They all just threw around weights for 20 minutes and then left. Sigh. It would be really helpful if they had some qualified person working there who could help direct people to a more effective workout.

So I did a sweaty, miserable 6x800 on a treadmill. I really loathe treadmills. The whole reason I run is to feel the wind on my face, the breeze in my hair, and to traverse actual miles. NOT to run like a hamster on a belt.


5.5 miles, 45:00 minutes, 8:06 avg. 
800 1-3: somewhere between a 7:20-7:40 pace
800 4-6: 7:00-7:20 pace

I wasn't sure what to do for recoveries in between, and this treadmill only listed mileage to the tenth of a mile, so I would usually dial it back to a 8:50 pace for about .3 miles. And then I just wanted that shit to be over, so I would crank it back up again and stare at the display wishing it was just be over already.

Since I was in the gym already, I did some core stuff and some pushups and lunges just because I could. My arms and shoulders are really sore from my yoga class on Monday, but oh well. That's what they make Advil for, right?

Now, I am off to see grandmas and eat as many biscuits as I can in this week. Wish me luck.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Long Run Saturday Success

I am a woman on a mission - a mission to redeem myself after my last race. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned (by a bad race). I jumped right back on the wagon this week, clocking in 4 weekdays of running (3 easy runs, 1 speed workout).

Today my plan said I needed to run 14 miles. Ummm, I haven't run longer than 13.1 since October 9, 2009 (the Chicago Marathon). But I felt like I needed to do it prove something to myself. To prove I had it in me to set out to do it and do it right. 

BUT the reasonable side of me was thinking I should be conservative, that long runs are supposed to be 30-90 seconds slower per mile than goal pace. So I held back, running around an 8:30 for the first 9 miles (and being forced to stop for a drawbridge - that's a new one). Side note: tried the Peanut Butter Gu today. It was delish! I mean, I wish it had some caffeine, but you know. :)

And then something just snapped, and I went all Ricky Bobby and said to myself, "I WANNA GO FAST!" and I just took off. My last 4.5-5 miles were at a sub 8:00 pace. 

"I don't know what to do with my hands"

Today's run: 14.8 miles, 2:01:39, 8:13 pace. BOOM. As soon as I hit 14 miles and I was under two hours I yelled out "YES!" and did a little fist pump. And then I realized I was still in public and people probably thought I was crazy. Don't care!

Some days you got it. Some days you don't. But I revel in the fact that today, I did!

So I celebrated with my foam roller, The Stick, a big bottle of lemon tea Nuun... and I signed up for a marathon in October! I haven't run a marathon since October 2009 (see above). I'm super pumped and hope to put in a great training cycle this summer. 

I earned my Cinco de Mayo margarita today!
I'll take this one please, on the rocks, yes to salt

Side note #2: Loving the Garmin! I have only taken in on two runs but it's really helping with pacing (I now realize I am ALL over the place - I'll be working on that). And I've had no issue with figuring out the bezel and no problems with it. I do have to wear a wristband under it to get it to fit my child-sized wrists. 
80's fashion, making a useful comback

Friday, May 4, 2012

I am not in pain. I am not in pain.

So about a week ago, I went to go carry my 30 lb. dog downstairs (she was getting a bath and was less than cooperative) and I felt a little twinge in my right knee, below my kneecap. I got worried about it for about 10 minutes, and then forgot about it after I left for Nashville. I was in so much other pain during that disaster of a race that I didn't even think about my knee. I can honestly say I can't remember it hurting.

But every day I've run this week (3) I've felt stiffness and pain right below my kneecap. I know I should not turn to google for these things, but of course, I did... and when you google "pain below kneecap" the first results are Runner's Knee.

NO NO NO NO NO. I refused to believe this. This is no time for injury! The only other injury I've incurred was an IT band issue near my right knee - they think it was a small tear at my knee attachment. Anyway, F U Runner's Knee, I am refusing to have anything to do with you.

The only treatment for Runner's Knee seems to be the typical - RICE, time off, etc etc. I have been icing every day, taking ibuprofen when I can remember, and I tried to wear a knee brace today but I swear it hurt worse then. I have a patella band somewhere (i.e. I'll probably have to tear apart my house to find it) but I am unsure if that is the correct treatment either.

So have any of you had runner's knee? How did it effect your training? And how did you treat it?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I bit the bullet... and ordered a Garmin.

I ordered the Garmin 405 (water resistant version) last night:
I wanted the green one, but I was considerate and ordered the black one in case my husband wants to borrow it. I told myself I'd think about it a few days. In that time frame I did a lot research, and discovered that the reviews are decidedly mixed on EVERY model of Garmin. I asked some running friends, and quite a few use this model, and like it (I will certainly be locking the bezel on runs). But this one was definitely the most wallet-friendly at $137. So I ordered one that was "Used-Like New" from Amazon, so if for some reason I don't like it or it doesn't work well for me, I can return it no problem. It also comes with a warranty. It looks as if it was just returned and repackaged, no big deal to me. I also have seen there are LOT of Garmin 305's on eBay, so if this one doesn't work, I'll probably go to that option. That one seems to get the best reviews, but that sucker is BIG and I have child-sized wrists (like 5.5" circumference). 

I decided to order mostly out of frustration. My iPhone GPS app does some great things, and I will still use it for most of my runs, but the accuracy of all the apps leaves a lot to be desired. At the Country Music Half,  my distance was off my almost a quarter mile. I have to wonder if is has to do with having a lot of people in one place trying to use the same cell signals. Neither mine or my husband's data would work at all at the finisher's village. 

Yesterday I set out for a standard run, and about a 1/2 mile from my house, I hear my robot man voice come over my earbuds to tell me I'd just run 1 mile in 3:59. Yeah, um, I wish! And then I'd had enough, and decided that I needed something that provided some consistent accuracy, along with being able to *accurately* tell me my CURRENT pace. I went out WAY too fast in my last race and didn't know until it was too late and the damage was done. I also read a lot of running blogs these days, and it seems that every fast, strong runner out there uses a Garmin. I finally admitted to myself that it was probably an important element to training to get faster. 

So it arrives in 2 days and I am like a kid in a candy store. I LOVE gadgets! I am also looking forward to using it when I visit my parents later this month - they live in a very rural area where there is no cell reception or GPS reception. 

I also want to become less dependent on running with music - I know it's not inherently safe. (Although I gotta admit, Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger" totally helped me run to the finish in Nashville) I need to understand what a certain pace 'feels' like and be able to maintain it. So I really looking forward to this new chapter in my running journey!

Do you guys use a GPS watch, and if so what brand/model? Do you love it? Do you run with music? 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Training Plans

So in my super long running career (umm, like 5 years) I have always used Hal Higdon's training programs. I am really big on training programs for longer races (anything 13.1 and up), mostly because I'm terrified of running those distances without training. (I might be a control freak)

However, I'm starting to think I need to try something different. Specifically, I think I need higher mileage, at least for a half marathon. I think it might be a good idea to have a double digit run every weekend, and maybe even a few runs that are longer than 13 miles. I found this one; it looks promising. Runner's World also has a wide array of programs, but for $24.99 each, they can keep them. There are so many other free resources on the internet, I will just stick with them.

What training plans do you guys use? Do you have any super top secrets to success you'd like to share?

And a picture of my dog in a lobster costume. Just because. Doesn't she look thrilled?