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OKAY, OKAY, I’M BACK!

PLEASE forgive the long absence. I definetly underestimated the toll that moving would take on me! It wasn’t just the move itself, but adjusting to a longer commute, having to do ALL my own chores/errands and getting sick in the process.  I’m all better right now and ready to give you a recap of my running life + real life!!!

Last Saturday was OKTOBERFEST!!!! I drank a half gallon of Penn Brewery Penns Gold and had a grand old time. I love Oktoberfest so much!!!

I did decide to get a Lululemon Define jacket. I fell in love with the color and fit and just had to grab it. It also didn’t hurt that when I sold my Great Race bib I doubled my money (got 40 bucks, only paid 20!). I went straight to my store to pick it up. I love it!

This past Monday the 24th Brian had to work at 6am. I took this opportunity to get up with him and go to the gym to bang out some miles. I did and felt GREAT! I wasn’t even tired the rest of the day and would totally go again at this hour.

Saturday was my next running day but I didn’t take any pictures. It was actually a very impromptu trip. Brian and I decided to go around 7pm that night and I had eaten TONS of spicy food and cheese. My body hated me after that run, but during it I felt OK.

And today after doing mounds of laundry I hit the ‘mill again for three more miles. After the three I hit the balancing ball and did some crunches and planks. My abs hurt.

That’s my second Lululemon jacket, I think it’s called the In Stride. I fell in love with the neck on it because it comes up and covers your mouth and nose when it’s fully zipped, perfect for chilly mornings 🙂 Again, I need to cool it with the Lulu but I sense a very, very bad addiction coming. At least they are good quality I suppose.

This past week was also my pup’s SECOND BIRTHDAY!

I can’t believe he is two years old!!! Craziness.

Anyways, I think I am adjusting to apartment life well. My running right now is sparoadic and with no plan. I have no races planned yet , so I’ve been running on feel and how much I feel I can push myself to that day. I do have the Pittsburgh Half Marathon on my radar (5/5/2013). It’s about a month and a half after our wedding, so I need to map out the training plan and see if it’s doable (I think it will be OK though if I keep my mileage up). They are having a sale on registering on Tuesday of 15 off the standard price of 80 ….tempting!!!!

Hopefully I’ll keep up with this better than I have been, but thank you for being patient!!!

Comparing

Unles you are brand new to my blog, you’ll know I’m not the fastest runner in the world. I can’t run 8s or sub 7 miles, and I barely break a 9:30 on a GOOD day. I read a lot of other running blogs where they constantly bombard me with times I find out of my reach. People running 10 miles in a little over 1:10? YEESH! For a few months I found myself comparing myself to them, wondering ….when will I get that fast? When will I break the 1o minute mile for longer than a four mile run?

I’m here to let you know, DO NOT compare yourself to other runners. It will never end good.

I am guilty of it, hard. I’ve realized that I’ve been doing it, and now I read running blogs for encouragement and motivation to become faster.

Let me start from the beginning of my running journey, when I was on the Couch to 5K. I would dread the runs that I had to run more than 5 minutes. I LOVED the walking portion. As the weeks went on, I wondered how I would ever run 2 miles straight. And then the day came I had to do it, and I did it. I didn’t run it fast, but I DID IT. It was an accomplishment for me.

Then I came home and read my usual blogs, and began to think if it really was such a big deal. I mean, two miles? Big whoop. People are here busting out 10 miles before breakfast! You’d think that I would have stopped comparing myself to others at this point.

Nah.

I began beating myself up. Wondering if it was even such a big deal that I was trying to run a 5K. My parents didn’t really help, either. We are a sarcastic family and when I told them my plans to run one, they just responded “big deal”. Well, it was a big deal to me.

I remember hitting the 3.1 mark for the first time. It was amazing, I was on cloud nine. I couldn’t stop talking about it to Brian, my coworkers, any unfortunate soul who would listen. And then I got back on the blogs.  I ran that first 3.1 in around 37 minutes. Got on the blogs, sub 8s, 7s ….what am I doing, being so slow!!!!

Then one day, I decided to actually read their past posts. Two years before ….their times were much higher. It finally hit my dumb little brain;

People improve over time. Everyone is different.

I am injury prone. I’ve had two stress fractures before, and being on my feet alot for running was a potential problem. I have to take things slow (at least before I did) and I should be OK with that. No need to push myself to 8s or 7s until MY BODY IS READY. What a shock!

I wanted to make a post on this topic because I KNOW a lot of people tend to only talk numbers when they run, and I’m very guilty too. I beat myself up when I don’t run an even 40 minute 4 miles …but I’m beating myself up in a different way. I want to challenge myself and be better than the day before. I don’t worry so much about the numbers in comparison to others. Heck, I ran a half marathon in 2:33:44 (which is about an 11:30 min mile) BUT I RAN A DAMN HALF MARATHON IN THE DAMN POURING RAIN. And I will be DAMNED (how many times can I use this swear?) if anyone takes that pride away from me!

The long and short of it, take the numbers from other blogs at face value. Even if you compare mileage instead of time, take my advice and stop. Those people have trained for a long time to be that fast ….and we are all running for the fact of RUNNING, the enjoyment and therapy we receive from it. Not just digits and data from our Garmin’s. 🙂

Self Medicating

I’m recovering nicely, finally, from the half marathon. Note to self, next time you do this kind of mileage, SUCK IT UP and take an ice bath afterwards!!!! I think that would have done me WONDERS, but here I am doping myself with naproxen, Blue Moon and compression to stifle the pain. Luckily, it’s all been for the better and I feel almost no soreness today.

I still didn’t feel 100% and my muscles felt a bit weak, so I decided to wear the shorts and my socks under my work clothes again today. The only predicament I had was that the only clean pair I had were bright orange.

Not office appropriate, I’d think. Solution?

Bam. Tan socks over top. Classy. (It was cold out so it wasn’t too bad)

Speaking of cold, it was cold enough for me to bust out my FAVORITE track jacket;

Today was awesome. It was so nice and cool out and it just made me hunger so much for a run. I knew I shouldn’t jump back in just yet, and I need to get alot of packing done so I was able to talk myself out of it. One thing I wasn’t able to talk myself out of was sushi. Yes, sushi for the third time in four days. My body has just been CRAVING salt like none other. So, off to the sushi store I went (oh how I wish a sushi store existed);

California and salmon rolls, delish.

Since there was an REI right next to the sushi place, I decided to pay it a visit. I had been wanting to check out fuel belts, but sadly they didn’t have any of the one’s I’m interested in (I want the ones with the two small bottles and pack but they only had one’s with the huge bottle pack). Sad. BUT, I finally grabbed a GU flavor I’ve been dying to try.

Espresso Love! I’ve fared pretty well with caffiene on the run, so I want to give this a shot on one of my longer runs.

Speaking of longer runs, last night in my drunken naproxen stupor boredom I decided to craft a running plan IF I decided to run the 10 miler.

I already need to alter it because when I need to run the 5 Miles is when I’ll be going WEDDING DRESS SHOPPING!!!!! 🙂 But yeah, it’s a feasable plan, I just need to decided if I want to run it/and if I want to commit to more long runs already.

Other than that, not much else happened today. Aside from the true, crowning moment of why I chose to run 13.1.

The car magnet. Don’t deny it, you ran a half for one too 🙂

 

 

The Aftermath of 13.1

To think, I thought I would not be sore after a half marathon. I was delusional. I thought if I stretched, iced and “sticked” myself; along with wearing compression as if it was going out of style, I’d be in tip top shape today. Not so. Turns out, no matter what you do, after running the farthest you have EVER you’re gonna feel a bit stiff and like dirt the next day. And you need to just deal.

Thanks, R.E.M. (Sidenote, when I marched drum corps our morning stretch during spring training was often this song. Hardy har har, Carolina Crown staff)

This is the face of someone who has to hobble everywhere because their lower back and knees are killing. But worth it, right?

Because I don’t like to intimidate myself, I had never checked out the elevation chart for the half marathon. A lot of my friends who ran the race prior mentioned it was flat and fast, when in reality it actually had a gradual climb to it. I honestly didn’t notice it too much while running, but could definetly tell I was going up. And when I hit the turnaround at mile 7 and a volunteer yelled “IT’S ALL DOWNHILL FROM HERE!” I knew I wasn’t insane.

To say I hadn’t trained for hills would be an understatement of the century. I believe I had one run in it with hills, and it was my tragic 8 miler. I walked the hills and walked a mile that run, so I hardly admit that I trained for hills. Noted. More hill training next time.

My poor soaked shoes and insoles. I learned a lot about myself from pushing through those three long, wet-soaked miles.

So why am I sitting here contemplating signing up for a 10 mile road race in October? Maybe because I’ve found what I enjoy in running, distance. I enjoy running my own race, not having to be a slave to pace like in 5ks, and just enjoying myself (although according my recap I wasn’t enjoying myself, haa).

I have to be careful though, because I’m starting a bit more wedding planning after we move out. I can’t be running races every weekend and I need to plan my days around 4 other women for my dress fitting. Actually just texted my sister seeing if this was the weekend she couldn’t make it home, crossing my fingers it is. But still, the draw of the race is almost too much. It’s a shorter distance than the half (I don’t think I want to run another half yet) and the fee is only 35.00.  I love cheap, long races. It’d be something different to challenge myself with, and the name is HARVEST MOON. Hello!!! I LOVE that game!

So to say that this half wasn’t “life-changing” or “run-state of mind changing” would be an understatement. I can do the longer distances, it’s possible now. I just need to keep challenging myself. To think I’m considering signing up for more races while my lower half is in a state of pure-stiffness is insane. But, I suppose that is just who I am.

For the state of the blog, I can guarantee you there will be little to no running/working out this week. I move out of my house on Friday night, so this upcoming week will be full of packing, stressing and the like. If I can squeeze a run in I will, but it’s not my top priority 🙂 We’ll be getting internet at our apartment on September 16th, so I may be able to get a few phone posts up over the weekend, but again not my priority. And the countdown to moving out has begun!!!

 

The Half Marathon Recap

Miles Today; 13.1

Miles This Week; 18.2

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You may want to sit back, grab a bowl of popcorn and beer, and get comfortable. This is going to be a long and picture heavy post.

This morning I woke up at 6am. Actually, I was awake since 5am but I forced myself to “sleep” until 5:45. I sat on running blogs until 6am when I finally got up. My first order of business was grabbing my coffee. I decided to do some multitasking and drink my espresso in the shower. I know, crazy. I wanted to give the most amount of time between waking up and the race for the coffee to “do it’s thing” ….i.e. clean out the system.

After the quick and actually useless shower, I got ready. I heard thunder as I was getting ready and kind of freaked. I hadn’t planned for rain. Lucky for me though, I had my Solomon jacket. I broke rule number 1 of running and that’s to NOT wear something new on race day. It worked out OK for me but I was a bit worried. I decided on wearing a visor as well, and again, this was a smart decision. I ate a Honey Stinger waffle and was out the door by 6:30.

Pre-soaked, I had no idea what was in store for me this morning.

When I arrived at the mall it was 7am. I was pretty loose actually from doing a bit of “sticking” in the morning, but I decided to take a quick walk around the mall as a test run for the jacket. I actually ended up not using my Spibelt for my gels and instead threw all my gels and phone into the pockets on my jacket. Again, good decision.

It was so dark out, it was almost weird. Before I took my quick walk I made sure to hit up the porta-potties. Again, good decision. This whole post should just be about my good decisions from the day. The lines got SUPER long as it neared 7:45 ….like, I kid you not there were maybe 100-150 people in line. I was super happy I decided to get that out of the way.

I’m not really sure why but I was shocked at the amount of people at this race. I think they said there were around 1500 runners, and for whatever reason I just can’t fathom what that amount of cars looks like. Evidently, it’s this amount.

After my quick walk it was back to my car to sit and warm up a bit. It was a bit windy and sprinkling and I wanted to take in as much heat as I could. As I sat in the car I contemplated not wearing my jacket ….SO glad I did (more on that later).

I lined up at the start around 7:55. The race began a bit after 8, but nothing crazy late. It was actually different that the other races I’ve ran because there was no National Anthem….we just kind of began advancing forward. Weird. But we were off!

The first mile was all down hill. The race begins in the mall parking lot and the first mile leads down to the trail. I tried my best to stay slow going down and not beat my legs up. This part seemed to go by forever though …and when we hit the bottom of the hill I SWORE we had already done 2 miles. Yeah …not even one mile yet.

That’s how the first few miles felt to me. I felt like I was running much faster than I was and that we were farther along than we were. I specifcally remember looking down at my Garmin at the 2nd mile thinking….wait, only 20 minutes? Really?!

After hitting mile 3 was when it finally hit me that I was running a half marathon. Before this I’ve only done a 5k ….I remember thinking “Well, this sucks.”. I didn’t really HATE the fact I was still running, but the fact I still had nine miles to go was not the best thing in the world. Then another thought popped into my mind ….my fueling. I need to drink water with my Clif shots and GU’s, so I had to wait for the first water stop. I didn’t know when it was …but was praying it was soon because I could already feel myself running out of gas.

Mile 4.5 was the first water stop I used. Except, I accidentally grabbed gatorade. Oops? I didn’t want to drink that and my gel, so I just drank the cup and figured the next stop I would take my gel. It was lemon lime gatorade which I ABSOLUTELY HATE, but for some reason it was like nectar of the gods at this point.

Mile 5-6 was when I was feeling really good. After I took my gel around 6.5 I started really chugging along. Getting to mile 7 seemed as if it took forever though. The course is an out and back so you begin to see the elite runners coming back. I kept trying to see where they were coming from and if it was close …but it just kept dragging on and on and on! Finally I hit the turn around and this is where I began to hit the proverbial wall.

My back was KILLING me and it was obviously from bad form. At this point I allowed myself to walk at all water stops and all mile splits. I would stop, stretch a bit and be on my way. Mile 8.5(???) was the next water stop and I actually took two gatorades. Again, the lemon lime tasted supreme. I wanted more!!! Miles 9-10 were painful and I just wanted more than anything to walk and be done.

And then ….it happened.  Torrential downpour.

THIS is why I was happy to have my jacket. The whole race I saw people who had their jackets on prior had ripped them off and thrown them. I kept mine on …I saw the sky, I KNEW something was coming…and it did. At this point I wanted to say “fuck it” and just walk the rest, but I couldn’t let myself do that. I kept thinking “Just a 5k on tired legs, that’s all!!!” It worked until about mile 12.

I kept pace with one other girl for a while who seemed to also be having back issues. She will never know but she got me through the back end of the race. There were puddles inches deep and at points I couldn’t even run on the trail. My jacket was soaked and my socks and shoes were so heavy …yet I kept trudging on.

Mile 12.5 was where I kept thinking HOW am I going to finish. It was only .60 from the finish but I could NOT keep running. I just stared at the ground and counted my steps til the end. Finally, at 2:33:44 , I passed the finish. I actually passed the first pad and walked to the second. I was so out of it ….I grabbed my medal, two gatorades and headed for the bus pick up station.

I was actually so out of it I forgot to get my chip taken off, oops!

I also forgot to shut my garmin off at the end …I actually let it go for the duration of the walk to the bus….oops! But I WAS DONE!!!! The worst part was walking to the busses. While I understand the premise and why it was necessary to walk, IT STILL SUCKED! I Just ran 13.1 miles, I don’t want to walk ANYMORE than I need to !!!! Haha. The bus also didn’t smell wonderful either, but oh well!

Awful, awful AWFUL pacing, but I was just glad none of my miles ever hit 13 minutes. I FELT like I was running 10s after the 6th miles, but boy was I wrong!!!

When we got back to the starting area it was actually kind of dead. That was the sad part of this race is that everyone kind of cleared out since it had been pouring. I actually didn’t even get a picture out there because I was so cold and needed to change. That’s another thing, I was reaaaaaaally hoping for those space blankets (I read from those in the past they don’t give them out so I didn’t hope for much) But boy did we need them today … I was shivering the entire walk to my car!

But I did it! My first half marathon, and while it was tough, I will definetly be doing another one! I just simply cannot imagine a better feeling than crossing that finish line today. On more than one occasion I thought of my celebratory Blue Moon and sushi that was awaiting me.

Icing time, take 1!

Assuming my favorite post-LR position; leg drain on the wall!

Post run foodage …Blue moon and sushi with Miso. MMMMMM!!!!

Jordan also ran a half marathon, he was very sleepy.

And that was my show. I had a great time, will totally be back next year if time permits …Weirdest of all, I can call myself a half marathoner. Hope you all had a great Saturday!