Monday, May 13, 2013

I did it! :)

The Lincoln Half Marathon was last Sunday. I am very proud to say that I finished the half and met my goals! Admittedly I kept my goals pretty attainable, but it is fabulous to have met them. :)
My primary goal was to run the entire half. Well, with the exception of water stops, I am not skilled at chugging water and running at the same time! I walked as I was drinking at the water stations but ran every other step. My second goal was to finish between 2:30 and 2:40. I finished in 2:33 and some seconds (can't remember). My average pace was 11:40, I kept negative splits (barely, but still) and felt really good the majority of the course. I am not a speedy runner not did I do any speed work while training for this race so my pace was good for me and represented my training well.  

I had a great experience at the race! It was pretty great to have such great spectators along the course. My wonderful friend Brooke was there to cheer me on as well as some of the Sole Sisters (those who weren't running it). David and the girls caught me twice along the course and have me a huge energy boost each time. To be honest running my usual loops around town is boring compared to all the signs and cheering spectators!

There were a few things that I did not love about the race. The first would be waiting 45 minutes after the gun start to cross the start line. I appreciated the space it gave all the runners at every pace but it was not fun waiting in the cold for that long. I was shivering and my legs were very stiff but after the first mile I felt much better. Oh and I did not love hearing an old professor's name being announced a few minutes after I finished the half. He of course finished the full! I can hear him criticizing my training and pace in my head quite clearly. He was that kind of professor! But he is also a speedy runner so kudos to him! ;)

I am excited to have my half number two already scheduled. It  be another fun one. :) Maybe I will work on getting a tiny bit faster?!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Sometimes there just aren't words....

I can only imagine what those who are affected by the bombings at the Boston Marathon are going through. As a mother, I love to have my family at races cheering me on, to be honest, I think races are wonderful events that hopefully will inspire my daughters to want to be active. My heart breaks for the families of the injured and for the three who lost their lives.

I think there is something very special about the Boston Marathon. It is inspiring to me that so many every day runners work their tales off to qualify to run those 26.2 miles. I watched this year's marathon on line (in fact, I happily skipped my scheduled 3-5 mile run to watch) and watching the elite runners pound out mile after mile at their insanely fast pace was beyond impressive. I was bummed that the coverage ended so completely after the elites finished and the interviews were over. I would have loved to have seen footage of the runners who have careers outside of running. I totally understood why Marathon Monday is the best day in Boston.

I know the blogosphere is filled with many different Boston Marathoner's stories about this year's marathon. Kate's personal experience was really touching and heartfelt.  

Monday, April 8, 2013

Overall, a success!

Yikes, I have been slacking at posting! The good news is that I am on top of my half-marathon training scheme! Somehow it is easier for me to think of my training more generally, like a scheme, rather than a detailed plan. ;)

Last Thursday I completed my first 10 mile run! I finished it, but it was not pretty. Normally, I never take walk breaks but somehow the wind convinced me it would be better to take walk breaks and complete the distance than to shorten the run. It was fine, the breaks were short but way too frequent the last two miles.

My biggest challenge right now is finding a route that is long enough so that I am not running two loops over and over again. I have a really good suggestion that I need to check out, I just have to get over/handle my fear of running on a non-residential street. Oh, and I have to complete my long runs between school drop-off and pick-up for Cally. No more waiting for slightly warmer temps and 9 am to roll around. Or I just have to become. fast runner, that should be easy! ;)

I also solved my cramping/painful calf issue! After reading lots of running calf pain Q&As on the Internet I ruled out any serious issues and realized I was most likely not hydrating enough. I guess with more consistent and higher weekly mileage I needed to up my diet soda intake. (Those who know me well will know if I am joking or not!) It is a huge relief to be running comfortably again!

My scheme for this week is to run a 5 miler (I did that today), 3 miles (tomorrow), 11 miles on Thursday and cross train on Friday. I love having a rest day in the middle of the week, I get to help in my daughters' classes at school. I also love taking the weekends off from set workouts. The flexibility is perfect for family activities, especially with spring's nicer weather making an appearance every now and then here.

How about you? What is your running/fitness schedule like?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Leprechaun Chase 2013

The Leprechaun Chase was held this past Saturday and was the March race of the month for Runner's World magazine. A fact that you could hear any number of times as the event. ;) This was my first time running or attending the race. Also this was only my second 10k race. Lets just say that I did NOT PR...

I really liked this race, I thought it was fun and really well run. My two daughters and I were in and out at the packet pick-up. There was even a greeter at the door to answer any questions. My girls snagged a trail mix sample so all was good (well until it was discovered that there was an odd number of M&Ms in their sample...). The race shirts were cute and sized correctly.

On race day we had no problem with parking and walking to the event. Runners were advised to carpool and allow 45 minutes to get parked and over to the event location, but we didn't need close to that time. The event was held at the Air and Space Museum in Ashland next to Mahoney State park. I think the location was perfect! There was enough space to move around and there were enough indoor restrooms for the size of the crowd. I waited in line for 5 minutes around the peak for bathroom use. So not bad at all! Also, the museum is a great place to explore for kids and any other spectators.

I think the race started on time. It seemed to go smoothly, my chief complaint is that you are indoors before crossing the timing mats so it is hard to link your GPS devices before you get going. The guys start 5 minutes after the ladies and then it is pretty much race on. I pictured it being a bit more crazy than it was, but there were still plenty of guys cutting other runners off to get to the front. After the initial cross country bit there was a stretch where the lads had their own lane to race in to get ahead of the slower runners. That definitely helped to keep things more friendly.

Personally, I thought the drink stations were just where I needed them. Each and every time I really wanted to walk to help out my right calf, a water station popped up! I walked through the water stations and was able to hydrate and stretch that calf at the same time. I liked most of the course, but I don't think anyone likes running in a bunch of parking lot loops and there was some of that.

I ran about 3.5 minutes slower on this 10k than my first one in September. I am fine with that, this course is not flat and my first one is super flat. Also, my training runs have not been going well so I actually think this race went a lot better pace-wise than it could have. I was glad to be finished! Runners were given cold water and a kozy (is that spelled right?) after they cleared the finishing chute area. David found me right away and we quickly claimed my free diet Pepsi (also ice cold!). Whole Foods also had some post-race snacks available. I think there might have been beer available too? ;)

Overall, I think this race was really well organized and a lot of fun. My only other issue is that the pace posted in the results is based on your gun start time and not chip time. My posted pace is nearly a minute slower than my actual running-pace. So, that was crushing to my ego! ;)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Great coupon code and other random mumblings...

I can't be alone when I say that sometimes sticking to a training plan feels like an appointment that you don't really want to keep. Or maybe I am alone in that feeling? I think this is why I have about three half-marathon training plans that I am 'following'. I must be on track for at least one, right? ;)

I am actually doing ok with my training. I have been struggling with the weird calf issues that I dissected in my last post (two long weeks ago...) but have seen improvement. I ended up going back to wearing inserts for plantar fasciitis. For some reason I was really committed to not wearing them anymore (even though I have worn inserts for 2 years) but after having bad run after bad run followed by even worse runs I figured that maybe somethings are ok after all.

Still, though, I am struggling with my right calf. I get about 5 minutes into a run (after warming up by walking and dynamic stretches) and my calf is so tight that I have to slow down to a walk until I can run again (at a very slow pace). Today it took nearly 2 miles of this before I was able to run without any tightness/pain). The last 5 miles of the run felt great and I never have any pain or soreness after a run. I am kind of clueless about this sort of thing, any suggestions??

In more exciting news, I am going to be brave and try ProCompression's marathon socks. I have wanted to try them for a while but I have been dragging my feet because well, they are pricey and I am not exactly an elite runner who requires fancy socks. ;) But after seeing coupon code after coupon code for 40% off and free shipping, I decided to go ahead and try a pair. The code expires tomorrow (nothing like waiting until the last minute!) but there are usually a few running blogs with a code to offer.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A little off stride....

Some runs just come easier than others. I know this and believe me, I never take a great run for granted, but I have been struggling a little bit lately. I am still on track with my training plan and am even hitting (well as close as I am likely to get in this lifetime) my paces as dictated by Runner's World. But.....

I feel as if my stride is off, even after I am warmed up and at the point where typically I am going strong. In my mind, I am sure that I must look like Phoebe from Friends when she runs. I have weird leg/calf issues that crest and wane as I run. I know my shoes are not likely to be the cause so I am left hoping that each run will just be better.

There are definitely 'things' I should be doing better as a runner. Primarily, strength training! Second, I need to do some cross training to give my legs a break. In an effort to be proactive I will do some strength training while my girls bathe (we have a huge master bath) and I will make Fridays my elliptical days. I think trading an easy 3 mile run for 3 miles on the elliptical makes sense for me now. Hopefully, next week I can report back that I back to normal!

Monday, February 4, 2013

New shoes!

I finally got organized (and I am not even joking when I say this-I wasted a whole lot of time and gas driving to the store without my purse in an attempt to get new running shoes!! Who knows how this happened? Seriously? Any ideas, because I can't even claim this was the first time I did this?!) enough to not only shop for new running shoes but to actually purchase them!

I went to my local running store because I wanted to make sure I spoke with someone knowledgeable about all things related to running and shoes. My chief complaint about my old pair was that I had to lace them very loosely or they were just too tight and my feet would go numb/fall asleep. I tried on 5 pairs of shoes, all of their stability styles. I fell in love with the pretty Mizunos but they came up higher on my ankle and that just felt off for me. I did not care for the looks of the Nike shoe I tried on, but they felt great. In the end, I went with my current shoe the Brooks adrenaline in a wide. I was not thrilled to go with a wide but I will blame it on my higher than typical arch/instep (or whatever the salesman said).

I did an easy 3 miles on the treadmill at the gym this morning and was pretty pleased with my shoes. I have read that some people log their miles so they know exactly how many miles are on their shoes. I have just relied on my feet/legs to let me know when I need to replace. How about you? Do you track mileage or do you replace when you feel the need?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Hello Again


Hello again, I have not blogged for awhile.  Life has been crazy for a few weeks now.  I went to physical therapy and started to get better and run again, pain free!  Just when I could start running again, illness hit our house and hit it hard.  This was my week three weeks ago.  Monday- one daughter has slight cough stay home to be safe.  Wednesday another daughter has a UTI and Friday both daughters have Influenza.  Sunday one daughter gets worse so we run to ER, only to be told she is fine.  She does not have pneumonia, she is not dehydrated and to calm down the flu takes 5 to 7 days to get over.  I disagree so we got back to the doctor on Monday.  While driving to the doctor I am praying, and praying.  My little D ( 4 years old) does not look good, I know something is very wrong.  We see the doctor they take one look at her and one listen to her dehydration and pneumonia!! They say hurry to the hospital we will call ahead.  I am all by myself. Rob is home with the others kids.  I call him.  I get to the hospital the nurses look her over, one nurse informs me they have to call the Rapid response team because of her respiration rate and because she is so lethargic, think little rag doll.  Soon the room is filled with about 10 more people all with gowns and masks and equipment.  They are from the ICU they attach monitors all over  her.  It is hard for me to be close to her with so many people.  I am not totally sure what is going on. One nurse asks me " Mom how are you holding up?' OH man, don't ask me this now.  I am strong, I am fine.  I have to be strong for D.  I squeak out a little "OK" .  One nurse hugs me and says " I am sure she has had better days".  The tears start to silently flow.  Is she going to be OK?  Why did that ER doctor send me home? Then then try the IV.  She is so dehydrated they can not gets it.  One nurse tries, another nurse tries.   They get an anesthesiologist to try, then they get the head anesthesiologist on duty to try.  ALL in ALL it is 12 times!  Three in her left hand, two in her left arm, three in her right arm, two in her left foot and two in her right foot.   She cries and screams with each one.  I pray and pray.  They then decided to stop trying and just try to get her to drink.  We end up staying at the hospital a week.  She goes on Oxygen and gets up to 3.0 Liters and then goes down  and then back up.  They try an IV again a few days later and they get it on the second try and that seems to really help her.  She is home now and doing well and even went back to preschool today.  I know this is not about running, it is  about a hard week in my life that I learned many things.  I learned to trust myself,  I knew she was really sick no matter what the ER said and I took her back and thank God I did, her personal doctor said I could have saved her life.  I am so thankful for my parents and all their help taking care of A and  P while my husband (  when not working) and I stayed at the hospital.  I am so very lucky to have them and it would have been so much harder without their help.  I also have a new focus on my half marathon this year.  I am thankful I did not sign up for the full :)  I originally wanted to have a goal time and really own this one. Monday my official training starts and I am the least  prepared physically to start training that I have ever been.  My shorter runs have been hard, and I feel like I have lost a lot from not running for awhile.  Mentally I got this.  Mentally I am tough.  I know I can do this, I have run Lincoln two times before and I know I can run 13.1 miles. I just made it through a very tough week and we all are doing well now.  I got this.  I think I may actually slow down and enjoy this one.  Wave at more people, give more high fives and maybe even dance to the music.  I will encourage others and just enjoy my running. Life can be hard at times, but that makes me what to enjoy the good times all that much more.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Running, running, running....

Well, I am still at it! I have not backed off my training plan. I moved indoors last week for all my runs. I have to say that the treadmill was not as awful as it could have been. The saving grace for my long 6.2 mile run was having a HUGE fan blowing right on me. I can't complain about that!

One thing I totally failed at last week was making it to my local running store for new shoes. I paid for that laziness today. The weather was foggy and kind of wet and totally reminded me of the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I was super excited to be outdoors but my legs and feet were not happy with my shoe situation. Ugh, slowest 5k ever!

My current shoes are Brooks adrenalines and I am not sure about staying with Brooks or trying out Mizuno. Are you loyal to a brand and line or do you change it up often??

Monday, January 21, 2013

Random running tips and other cool finds

Brr, it is really cold here! My personal threshold for running outdoors in the winter chill is about 15 degrees Fahrenheit. I looked around the world wide interwebs for guidance on what I should be wearing to stay toasty. I found a pretty detailed explanation at Runner's World.
Here is the chart, straight from the article (which has other great tips).
30 degrees: 2 tops, 1 bottom. Long-sleeve base layer and a vest keep your core warm. Tights (or shorts, for polar bears).
10 to 20 degrees: 2 tops, 2 bottoms. A jacket over your base layer, and wind pants over the tights.
0 to 10 degrees: 3 tops, 2 bottoms. Two tops (fleece for the cold-prone) and a jacket. Windbrief for the fellas.
Minus 10 to 0 degrees: 3 tops, 2 bottoms, extra pair of mittens, 1 scarf wrapped around mouth or a balaclava.
Minus 20 degrees: 3 tops, 3 bottoms, 2 extra pairs of mittens, 1 balaclava, sunglasses. Or, stay inside.

According to the chart, I dress for no less than minus 10-0 degrees when it is 30 degrees out! Well, I do stop short of wrapping a scarf around my mouth. I find 3 tops  and two bottoms (running tights and a second workout pants) to be my comfort zone. I wear mittens that I can peel back and bare my fingers after I warm up, but I always keep my ears covered.

Other note worthy tips for cold weather running included, changing out of running gear as soon as possible when you finish and to warm up indoors prerun.

I have a basic training plan in mind but I can't seem to stop searching and reading other plans. A neat plan that I found uses the Runners World website again. Their smart coach training plan is free and pretty easy to customize. It uses your goal and a past race time to calculate average paces for your training runs and helps guide you to a specific finish time for your upcoming race. This plan really made me realize how I need to actually race when I run a race rather than coast by at my usual training pace. What I really liked about this tool is that you can select your long run day and the tool adjusts your training week from there. 

My last cool find is a treadmill pace conversion chart! Like I said above, I have no shame in hitting up the treadmill for temps below 15 degrees. Personally, running on a treadmill doesn't inspire me to up the ante and use the incline feature. In my mind, I am a winner for not just going back to bed so it is not likely that I am going to challenge myself too much on the treadmill. This chart is a great motivator for me to either push my pace or try to increase the incline for at least part of my treadmill runs.  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Just life...

I had a pretty good training week last week. I hit all my goals and only had to hit the treadmill for one workout. I even got lucky enough to have a huge fan blowing on me for the entire 4 miles. Usually I feel like I am going to burst into flames 2.5 miles in on the treadmill.

This week has not been a glorious training week. In fact, I have not been able to make a single run so far. I wish I had a crystal ball so that on Monday, when I chose to put off my run because it was FREEZING, I could have known that Tuesday would be spent with my sick-at-home 1st grader. The poor thing has her second case of strep throat for the 2013 calendar year.

I can still take control of this flop of a training week and squeak 3 runs out. Keep your fingers crossed!! How do you recover from plans that get thrown out the window? I have to really talk myself into going with the flow. Change comes hard...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Training Season!!

Yikes! I have been a bad blogger! Now that winter break and the holidays are over I am happy to be getting back into training mode. I always work better under a deadline, even if it is a manufactured deadline, I need the pressure to get motivated.

Currently, I am signed up for a 10K and two half-marathons. The 10K is in early March, the first half-marathon is in early May and the second half is in late August. I am strangely excited to finally be training for a half. I wanted to last year and just could not make it work with my schedule. This year I am getting promoted to the big 3-5 and it feels great to have such a concrete goal as my prize.

My challenges for training will likely revolve around the weather, the health of my kids and my husband's work schedule. Right now our weather is cold but manageable. However, I am really not going to get out and run on snow and ice covered roads. I know some runners do and I applaud them, but I am not as coordinated or sure enough on my feet to brave icy roads. So far my route has been in great condition and I hope it stays that way.

Sick kids and and a non-traditional work schedule for my husband will just have to be handled as they happen. My plan for dealing with those obstacles is to allow extra weeks in my 13 week training plan. Or send my kids to school hopped up on Tylenol and run fast enough to out pace the Tylenol wearing off. ;)

This week's training plan is pretty basic and focuses on getting used to running 4 days a week again. I ran very little (once a week) while the girls were on winter break. I ran 3.15 miles on Monday and 3.30 today (Tuesday). Wednesdays will always be my rest days and I plan to do my long runs on Thursdays with Friday being a slow easy recovery run or cross-training. This Thursday's long run will only be 4 miles and Friday I will run 3 miles at the insanely hot gym.  

I hope to share my training each week and hopefully keep my self accountable through this blog. Next week I plan to post my training schedule. It will be a mixture of a Hal Higdon's schedule and the Train Like a Mother's Finish it half-marathon schedule. I can't have any weekend runs and only can run 4 days during the week so I am trying to work out a happy medium between the two plans.

What training plans do you like best? What are the biggest obstacles to your training plan? DO you have any special goals or prizes in mind while you are training?