Tuesday, December 29, 2009

High Running

For Christmas 2009 the man and I decided to visit his grandparents in New Mexico - as well as meet up with his parental units who were visiting from CA. It was a torturing 13 hour drive to get there - man was not designed to be held captive in a motorized hunk of steel for so long! Anyway, we arrived at around 7:00pm on the 20th, just in time for some yummy home made tamales, visiting, then bed. Monday we got up and I needed to run - just so happens Brady's dad is a runner so we headed out for a 6 mile jaunt. The weather was great - cool and brisk - I was dressed appropriately and was running a slow and steady pace. One problem - I couldn't breathe??? Turns out that the variance in elevation was enough to set me back a bit (1,000 ft. in MO vs. 4,700 ft. in La Luz, NM). Regardless we got in about a 7 mile out and back run. We had
gradual downhill on the way out which of course meant gradual uphill on the way back, but it was good. I felt like I had done something when we finished.After the run we showered up, went to visit his grandparents cabin in the mountains, did some shopping in CloudCroft, then went to White Sands where we acted like kids and jumped, slid, ran, and fell down the huge white dunes. I seriously wished we would have had more time there - it was more impressive than I had anticipated!

Day 2 we decided on a hike at Oliver Lee State Park - the Dog Canyon trail. Biking was determined to be the best mode of transportation to the trail head (I was still a bit anti-car at this point!). It was a 20 mile ride at a slight incline for most of it. Overall it was good - it felt like we were going slow, but my quads were toasted a bit by the end. We met his parents and uncle at the trail head, ate a bite, changed clothes and headed out. It was a beautiful hike with vast changes in vegetation as you climbed. It was only around 6 mile round trip, but it had a lot of elevation change to make for a semi-challenging hill walk for us low-landers.

Day 3 Brady's dad, Duane and I had decided we would go for a run DOWN the mountain. Brady volunteered to drive us out and up 6 miles out so that we could run back in for a change of pace (literally). That morning we woke up to snow in the valley! Craziness really - who knew we'd see snow in the valley of New Mexico. I run in snow in MO so we decided we'd head on out and do the run. By the time we got out and up to the 6 mile mark the roads had gotten a bit crappy, but they weren't slick so we went for it. The snow was still coming down - the mountain was already covered in white, the weather was brisk and we were out running - AWESOME! I didn't know it until after the run, but we did the first 4 miles in 31 minutes - that's a 7:45 pace (compared to my normal 9's - that's super fast - lol!). After 4 miles is where we hit the flat land and I was tired, I know I slowed up for the 5th mile, but I tried to really kick it in at the end and it must have worked a little because we still finished in 48 minutes - a solid 8 minute mile - still pretty dang good for me!

On a completely non-running note, we followed up this fantastic run with a trip to some local wineries - they ended up being better than anticipated (New Mexico wine vs. say Napa or Sonoma??) and we ended up buying a couple cases of mix and match.

Day 4 was an easy 3 mile recovery - my quads felt like I had run a marathon from all the pounding they took down the hill.

Day 6 (Christmas Day) was skiing - as toasted as my quads were the day before running wasn't in my cards pre-skiing. I think the skiing was enough exercise for that day. I'm not a natural skier by any stretch, but I ended up being glad we got out there to hit the slopes! It did make some muscles sore that I didn't really know I had, but sometimes that's a good thing.

Yep - I am still snow plowing a bit, but at least I had cute new chartreuse Body Glove ski pants! :-)

Now we are back in MO and the challenge is keeping up with the running and biking with these snow packed streets - we'll see!
Till next time - run on!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Winter runs and rides

It's pretty dang chilly outside these days. My body is slowly getting used to it though. By around March I'll have the hang of it again! :-)

Some fun runs as of late included a Saturday run with Brooke, a Sunday run with Brooke and kids, and a SWAT run through the lights last night.

Saturday I was set to run 10 - not because I'm training for anything, just because and that's kind of fun in itself. I ran 2 miles to Brooke's house then we took off for our 6 miles. We were on our last two miles back to her place when it started spitting rain on us and from the look ahead of us it was getting ready to start raining much harder. We decided we would head back towards my house in the interest of health (cold + windy + wet = sick). Once we got to my house it had basically stopped so we looped around the courthouse so Brooke could get in her six and that put me at 8. I decided to go ahead and stop so I could drive her home and since I'm not training I can do that without guilt! :-)

Sunday I decided I would try to make up for my shortage a bit. The kids & Brady were in tow (and on bikes) while I ran. We ran a mile to meet up with Brooke and Michael (on his bike). From there we ran a loop and then back to Brooke and Michael's house for her 4 (actually 4.25). Then, we headed the 2 miles back home (6.25 miles total). It was fun, the kids sped up so I tried to keep up with them. They would leave me going down hills, but they would wait at the stop signs for me to catch up. I have to think we were quite a sight on the streets of Carthage. Picture a runner girl (me), being paced by a man (Brady) and boy (Kobe) on a tandem and two kiddos (Peyton & Haydon) on mountain bikes - pretty hilarious.

Last night was the 2nd annual SWAT run through the lights. We had a good turn out. Brooke and I wore bells on our shoes to liven it up a bit. There was a lot of chatter and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. We ran through the light display at the Vietnamese college then around the square and back to the Y - 5.5 miles in the brisk night air. It felt great.

Update on biking - the day the thermometer said 12 degrees, feels like 2 Brady and I both opted for the heat of the car. Other than that I have continued to ride. I even rode to/from the Y last night for the run. After sweating a bit on the run the ride home was chilly, but tolerable. I'm still rocking the cross bike though (too lazy to dig the hybrid out - really just haven't had time). I think I look pretty funny on a Bianchi cross bike in my black, 3-1/2" heel dress boots, but it works!
Run on, ride on!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Biking Transport continues

It's day 3 of riding my bike to work. Day 1 was awesome weather. Day 2 was pretty dang cold and the sprinkles on my way home didn't help. Day 3 (today) was exhilaratingly cold. It's one of those cold, but clear days. One of the things that made it a good ride in was riding by the junior high and hearing a girl say 'bikes are cool'. It seemed a sincere statement and not the sarcastic dribble I would have expected had the high school still been there.

I think the best way to get kids interested in biking and running as a way of life is by doing and showing them that it can be done. I love it when a family drives past me while I'm running and the little kids in the back seat smile and stare. I'm hoping they are thinking it's something they would like to do. It's also pretty fun when you're out on a group road ride, decked out in gear (or as decked out as I get - hehe) and kids get excited and wave and yell. Or when kids see you out on the trails and drool over your bike (this doesn't happen to me as much, but I've seen it - lol).

Anyway, I'm still planning to keep up this riding to and from work - as long as it's not below freezing AND raining/sleeting/snowing. Dodging cars in the short commute is still aggravating (for me and them I assume), but it's getting better. I've found better paths to take to help avoid most of the real ruckus. I saw another guy decked out in coat, gloves, backpack biking to (I assume) work or school when I walked out my door today so that was inspiring - Go Carthage!! ;-)
A quick side note though - I wonder how many people think I'm riding too work because I've lost my license or my car is broke down rather than just doing it for the enjoyment of it?? That's probably a whole other blog...

The main thing I plan to change is my bike - I've been riding my cross bike since it's the most accessible and it allows me to make detours through the park. It's great except for the pedals - if you don't clip in they are just too small to be very functional - especially in dress boots/shoes. Not too mention it looks a little funny riding it in work clothes. I think it's time to break out my Specialized hybrid - it's more of a touring/commuter bike and it has cages. I'll give it a go and see what happens.

Running is also back in my life (post-vacation) - I was able to run 4 on Tuesday and 6 last night with Brooke. So nice to have a running friend!! Not sure if I'll run tonight or tomorrow, but Saturday for sure - hopefully 10 if things go well (fingers crossed!).

Run on, bike on!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Feeling the need to run

I do feel the need - not to run away this time - just to run. I haven't run (other than some happy frolics) since before vacation.
Not to say that I've been sedentary - once I finish my travel blog on our trip to Ireland you will be able to see specifically how non sedentary. Walking and some pretty awesome hiking was a big part of the last ten days. Just a few teaser highlights:

Trek to the top of Slieve Croob in the Dromara Hills (534m).
Although not a flattering picture of me, this helps to illustrate how extremely windy this walk proved too be. We were close to the top and it was taking effort to move one foot in front of the other. We were laughing hysterically at this point!

Spinc & Glenealo Valley trail at Glendalough (9km, 380m)

At this point we weren't even close to making it up the 600+ wooden steps that led to the top - if you look to the back and center of this shot you can kind of make out the trail that we took around the lakes.

I'm standing next to the path in this shot - we had to step off to let some other trekkers pass - the path in this section was made of two railroad timbers covered with chicken wire. We were close to the highest point.

This is a portion of the decent into the Glenealo Valley.

The sign says it all - and since you may or may not be able to read it - 'Dangerous Cliffs Ahead!'.

Awesome wood bridge.

Continuing down the trail - it continues for a while like this and then turns to rock.

Seriously an awesome trail. We had other hikes and many other walks, but those just stand out right now. As I sort through pics I'll probably have more posts specifically on our hikes (or hill walks as they call it).

But, like I said now I need to run - I intend to do just that tonight after work.

On a side note, after starting to read the book 'Pedaling Revolution' and seeing all the bikers in Ireland and Holland (on our brief stopover there) I realized what a slacker I've been by not biking too work. I made a commitment in my mind then to do it and today I stuck too that. With the weather getting colder we'll see how long this resolution lasts, but for now I'm on the bandwagon.

Run on, bike on!! :-)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Looking like winter

It's that time of year when I either need a goal or accept the fact that I am going to be a big, lazy slacker! The cold weather has worked it's way into our neck of the woods - well, cold is relative, but it's been in the 30's the last couple mornings when it's time for me to run. I have opted out of them. It's not that I can't run in 30 degree temps - I can, but it's also been damp, dark, and dreary. If there was a goal I would still push myself out the door, but sans goal I feel it's in my best interest to stay in the comfort of my warm and cozy home doing core or strength training. I also have another 'excuse' though - I leave for Ireland in 2 days so I am trying my best to NOT get sick. Regardless, my last run was Saturday and today is Tuesday! Not too mention, because of the Ireland trip we had Thanksgiving with the family on Sunday - so, no running and lots of eating - the scales would not be my friend right now. I think I'll claim I'm trying to increase my insulation so as not to get too cold on the Emerald Isles.

Tonight though, I will run. I don't have time to run (I need to do laundry, pack, visit grandpa, pay bills, etc.), but I have a friend to run with and it's a priority. It will help to calm me and I will be more productive afterwards - that's my theory anyway. Do not tell me otherwise! ;-)
It will probably be a 4 mile run on the treadmill, but that's fine with me. I have a SWAT (southwest area triathletes) meeting tonight at 7pm so I will take what I can get. This may mean I am still throwing clothes in a pack as my ride is pulling out of the driveway on Thursday morning, but it's a chance I"m going to take!

So, my task at hand is to come up with a goal by the time I get back from Ireland. Possibly a spring marathon?? Maybe an adventure race?? We shall see.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Back to running, biking, and crashing

I finished Chicago and headed straight to Atlanta for work (just outside actually in Monroe, GA). That week I was able to make myself run a couple miles on Wednesday (I was very sore in my quads due to lack of training pre-marathon!!). Thursday I ran 3 and it felt better.

The following Sunday I decided to go for a chill bike ride with the man and the niece & nephews on my new cross bike - this seemed like a great idea to help aid my recovery! It was smooth sailing going out. We got to the park and the kids wanted to play around a bit so I thought I would play around myself on my bike. I was riding loops on the asphalt around the area of the park where they were playing - just working through the gears - checking everything out. Next thing I know I'm on the ground. All we can really figure happened is my pedal came out (I was clipped in), possibly on the down stroke, I still brought my left knee up and probably hit it on the handle bars since it's bruised on the inside. Hitting the handle bars with my knee jerked me enough to cause a crash. I landed on my head and rear. I remember thinking I heard my cell phone sliding across the pavement, but later realizing it had been my helmet (the cell phone was still stashed safely in the pocket). I hit hard enough to crack the helmet (let this be a warning to all you who don't wear yours for chill rides - I had mine on as a good example to the kiddos and I am so glad I did!!). I had a tear or two, then shook it off before the kids were cognizant of what had even happened. I had yelled loud enough (unintentionally) when I fell to get the man's attention so he helped me up and helped me put the pedal back on the bike and make some minor adjustments so I could ride home.
I thought all was well until day 2 - I woke up with terrible pain in my neck - ended up visiting the doctor - getting a couple pain meds & a muscle relaxer and taking a couple days off work. The main thing was that I felt it stunted my marathon recovery - it's hard to run when your neck and back hurt.
I finally got back into some mileage the next weekend with 8 miles - they were slow, but felt better.
The weekend after that I had friends along - 1 runner and 3 bikers - we did 8-1/2 miles at a 9:08 min/mile pace - it felt great - this weather was awesome!!
The next weekend (last weekend) I had friends again - 2 runners and 3 bikers - also 30 mph head winds, but we ran 9 miles at a little over 9 min/mile pace - the weather was still great!
I followed that up Sunday riding with the boys - 62 miles on road bikes - they kicked my butt, but it was good for me. I need to push it more.
My body felt it all so I took Monday off.
Tuesday I did a 20 mile ride before work (again with the boys), then went for a walk with a friend after work.
Yesterday I did a 4 mile run after work in the dark - it was cool, and nice - alone and no Garmin - a little refreshing!
Who knows what today will hold?? :-)

Run on!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Chicago Marathon

I knew going into Chicago that it wasn't going to be my day to set a PR, but I had come up with a back-up goal - finish in 4-1/2 hours. In my mind it would be an accomplishment to run a marathon that I had not adequately trained for faster than 4 of the marathons I had trained for. It's all mental you know. Continuing that thought - it would mean if I did train properly for the next one I would have a really good chance of breaking a PR.
  • Poor training = 4:30
  • Good training = 4:08 (4:09 is my PR to date)
  • Great training = break the 4 hour barrier
  • Awesome training = Qualify for Boston ;-)
So, we drove into Chicago on Saturday morning and went straight to get something to eat at Lou Malnati's. I would recommend the calamari and 'The Lou' Chicago style deep dish pizza - it comes with spinach, mushroom, tomatoes & cheese. Yummy.

Next up was the EXPO - got all registered up - got my chip, number, t-shirt & lots of other little free goodies. We ran into Bart Yasso and Brady chatted him up a bit about his book.

After the EXPO we got registered at the Hotel Allegro - very nice, posh place, but it's pricey and the rooms are small. It ended up being $300/night if you figure in the $49/night for valet parking (self-park was $45). Oh well, at least we were only a few blocks from the starting line. We took a short nap then showered up and decided to head out to find a place to eat. Upon a suggestion of a friend of Brady's we went to the Pasta Bowl in the Lincoln Park area. There was a bit of a wait so we hung out at the bar next door and had some wine & hummus while we played video games.
After about 40 minutes we were seated right across from the bar where they cook the food - I have to admit it was impressive how quickly they were getting fresh food cooked and out. I had the Spaghetti Frutti de Mare (shrimp, scallops, & mussels sauteed in white wine, served over pasta and marinara). It was delish. It put us to bed a little late, but it was worth it.

Sunday morning - I had my clothes & accessories all laid out:

My nike Tempo shorts in dark grey with orange stripes on the sides, orange nike ls dri-fit top, grey champion tank, white champion jog bra, fox river socks (I love them), saucony shoes, 26.2 gloves, garmin, and my mini-fanny pack/number belt. I stuck 2 gus in my belt and a couple tylenol in my shorts pocket.

Next, I took a hot shower to wake up, ate a south beach diet peanut butter bar, drank an orange gatorade, put on my race gear, plus a jacket and long pants. While I did that Brady transferred music from my computer to my iPhone (since I forgot my shuffle charger - doh). Kat showed up about this time so there was a break for some welcoming hugs then back to business. We loaded up her pack with my extra fuel and got her and Brady set with the cameras and we headed to the start area. I made one last pit stop and then headed in to the corral.
Oh the corrals - so much fun - well, not if you're claustrophobic I guess. I'm not really, but that many people pushing and shoving past you is a little unnerving. I gave up around the 10-1/2 minute per mile pace (this, I learned later was a mistake). I undressed - it felt like I was naked anyway (brrrrr!!!!!), but I only took off my jacket and pants. I tried to stretch and jump around to keep warm and it really wasn't too bad - I couldn't feel any of the wind because of the sea of people I was in.
Finally the gun went off - and eventually we started walking our way to the front - it took our group about 18 minutes to get there. I started my garmin right when I hit the line and was off and away. WOW - you should have seen the people - crazy number of people - I think it could be the best spectators ever!! We had made it 6 miles before I even realized what was going on. I was rocking out to the tunes on my iPhone (I carried it the whole way) and just taking it all in. The people (mostly, but not all men) that just stop on the side of the road to pee amaze me - in what other context would people think it's acceptable to just whip it out in public?? I mean, I've been to Mardi Gras and I'm sure it happens, but not like this. Oh well...
I saw my supporters (see pic below:) around mile 6, but with so many people it was just smiles and waves.

I started drinking about mile 3 - sips of gatorade at each stop, at mile 7 I took a gu and was feeling pretty good. It was about mile 12 that I started feeling aching in my achilles tendon. I tried to work on my form to keep it from hurting worse and it did help. Shortly after that my quads decided that they were indeed tired. I was still working my way through traffic so I hadn't been able to run a consistent pace and I think that hurt me too. It was around mile 13 I saw my support staff again, and again was only able to smile & wave.
Mile 14 or 15 I took my last gu and popped the tylenol and it did help with the pain a bit.

It was around mile 2o in the Chinatown area when some hooded stranger jumped out of the stands and started running towards me!! :-O
Ok, it was Brady and he jumped out to run with me because I didn't see them and there wasn't a place to stop. He ran with me for a few yards and fed me some lemon powerbar gel blasts - so good!!

I hadn't walked all day and I was hurting, but I just kept telling myself to finish this mile you're on then you can walk. I repeated that over and over and it seemed to work. It's amazing how you can trick your own mind when you are running low on energy. I didn't walk - not once during this race. That just tells you how slow I was running at some points, but that's OK. I saw Brady and Kat one more time around mile 25 then I was on my own to finish. Right before mile 26 I saw what Robert had warned me about - a steep hill right before the end. Sure enough, we turned onto Roosevelt and there it was - but it didn't scare me - I've done adventure races - haha! Seriously, it was pretty tough to do with 26 miles on your legs, but my legs and I made it - then it was downhill to the finish. I kicked it up a bit, but I was spent. It was good - I felt like I gave it my all. I made it through the finishers chute, had my chip removed, got my medal and metallic blankie, got a water, banana & a beer then met up with Kat and Brady.

Overall it was a great day, great run, with great friends. I'd run Chicago again in a minute, but I'd make sure to get in the correct corral time. By the time I crossed the finish line my garmin said 26.7 - not 26.2 because of all the weaving in and out of traffic. I should have started closer to the 9-1/2 or 10 minute per mile group. Live and learn though right??

Chicago will be a great marathon memory - now to decide what to do next!
For right now I'm just going to cheer on my friends who still have races coming up!

Run Strong!! :-)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

It's the Final Countdown...

we're leaving together oh, oh...yep, that song is on my iPod too! ;-)
Chicago is a mere 5 days away. It makes me a little nervous just typing that. Each day I update my gmail chat status with the countdown as well and I still am not over the fact that it is so close. I feel so unprepared in so many ways, but here's what I'm going to do:

1. Focus on the good runs I've had - for instance the 12 miler I had Saturday morning with the whole CRC (Carthage Running Club). Very little pain, very few stops, under 2 hours - not too shabby.

2. Take it easy - I've done yoga 3 times in the last 7 days and before that I had done it like 0 times in forever - not, literally forever, but it had been a while. My upper body is tight so no more yoga till after the race. Also, no more biking - I did a hard 20 mile ride on Sunday and backed it up with an 18 mile ride yesterday. My only concern will be with running.

3. Run easy - my focus will be on running, but not fast running from here on out. I'm aware what I do at this point is not going to help me improve my time or go the distance. It's more mental - concentrating on slow, chill runs. Looking at doing a 4-6 miler tomorrow morning, a 2-3 miler on Thursday and maybe a 1-2 mile jog on Saturday to ease my nerves.

4. Enjoy the journey - I will be telling myself this over and over - you can bet on that!! I'm going to use this as my chance to really see Chicago - be intimate with those 26.2 miles. I've walked the city before, but this will be different, it will be alongside 45,000 other runners and I want to savor it.

5. Plan back-up entertainment - yes, I intend to enjoy the journey in itself, but it will be a long journey so I may need more. There will be the iPod, the iPhone (sensing a pattern here), and the iList (ok, there's not iList - it's just a list).
  • iPod - awesome music (still working on the exact playlist & I will eventually post it - suggestions are welcome though!)
  • iPhone - ability to call Brooke & take pics
  • List - I've done this before - make a list of people to run each mile for and think of them while you run that mile (idea courtesy of Kristen Armstrong and Runner's World). I'm modifying it this time - it won't just be people - it will be things, events, upcoming travels that I'll write down and they won't be assigned to a mile because some miles I won't need them.
6. Prep my fuel - kind of like 'Pimp my ride' - no, not really, but I do need to decide what I will carry with me, what I want Brady and Kat to hold, and when I need them to meet me.

7. Get good sleeps - we all know the night before is not the time to get pre-race sleep. And, since we will be in a hotel Friday night as well I need my sleep now.

8. Just relax - that will indeed be the hardest part, but I shall try!!

Till next time.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Play by play

In England a couple weeks ago I was doing some 'train the trainer' training and we focused heavily on chunking the information. Only giving trainees the information they need to know right then - trying to keep from overwhelming their brains!! I've been doing this more and more on runs - I'm sure I've always done it to some extent - I'm just more aware of it now.

For instance on my 8 mile run last week - around the same lake as in the last post (16 laps - think pond - not real lake) - I broke it up first into 2 lap segments. I didn't focus on having to do 16, merely on the two that were lying directly in front of me - literally taking it one mile at a time. This particular day it was raining (not pouring, not sprinkling - just a steady rain). No one else was out - no rabbits to chase so I had to bring it back a little more internal - focus on myself and of course my music. Because of the rain I was able to break my run up even further - there were 4 sections:
  • Section 1 was an area where snails had decided to slime there way out onto the path (note: I hate snails/slugs!!) - this area was where I focused my energy solely on NOT stepping on one of them. I hate them, but I couldn't bear to hear the crunch or think of the slime on the bottom of my shoe, or just kill anything really!
  • Section 2 had a uniqueness that didn't come to me till later - about 4 laps in I realized what I thought were rain drops hitting me were really bugs - a wipe of the face confirmed. From then on my goal during that section was to avoid them - duck, weave, whatever it took.
  • Section 3 was the curves - just a little area where it made a few turns back and forth. This area was my chill place - it felt a little like a forest and there was a white egret and a great blue heron in this section. The egret did not seem happy about the blue heron and both seemed suspicious of me!
  • Section 4 was the parking lot area - nothing special to it, but I would scope out the people that had stopped to sit and wait out the rain and the boy who was practicing on his skateboard while his Dad, I assumed, watched from the car.
Now add in the music to this - my mind was overly occupied and the miles seemed to fly by. Not to mention I really get a kick out of running in the rain if it's not too cold. I need to post my playlist from this run - it was unique for sure!

My second instance of the chunking on a run came on Saturday - the big day - 20 miles. Seriously, I wasn't sure if I would make it this far. My chunks for this run were a bit larger:

  • Section 1 was a 6 mile (I thought - turned out to be 6.6) loop that I made out to the golf course and then back into town to meet up with Brooke at her house at 8am. I utilized my iPod and mini-race day fanny pack to carry along my fuel. Upon arrival at her house I indulged in a raspberry clif shot and water.
  • Section 2 was getting to run with Brooke - I dumped the iPod and mini-fanny before we headed out on a 7 mile loop that included a stop at the Y for a drink, lots of chatting, a few stretch breaks, and another gu & water when we got back to her house.
  • Section 3 was the loop to my house from Brooke's - not the direct 2 mile path, but the 4ish mile loop through the neighborhoods. I put the iPod back on for the trip and rocked it out a bit. I took one short walk/stretch break.
  • Section 4 started at my house - it began with 1/2 a gu and some gatorade G2 (love that stuff). Brady was dressed and ready so he headed out with me for what ended up being 2.5 miles. I was starting to lock up at this point (I'd already done 2 miles more than my longest run to date) so he coached me through it. We started out running 6 - walking 1 minute until I was feeling better then we went to running 3, walking 30 seconds. It worked (except for a random calf cramp going up a slight grassy incline???). I was able to run it in and felt good when I saw my Garmin slip over to read 20 miles!! Happy day.
After the run to keep walking we went down to a rummage sale on our block - found a record player AND a cool decanter. (Needless to say there was some time spent Sunday rocking out to some oldies, but goodies!) Mom, Jar and the kids came over after I'd showered and we decided to grab lunch - the kids and I walked the mile there & back - that was probably the best cool down/post run stretch!!

So, anyway, I'm breaking it down into bits and I'm going to make it through Chicago one leg at a time. With some breaks I ran 20 in 3:30 so if I can fit in the other 6 miles in 3 hours (6:30 cut-off) I'll be good!! :-)

I'm taking a break tonight to catch a concert - whoohoo - DragonForce & Sonata Artica. Till next time...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Not the Plan

So, the intention was to run 12, 16, 20 - then taper as usual. The 12 was a little rough, but OK. 16 turned into 13 because of real issues with arches and ankles. :-(
No way to go up to 20 without the threat of injury. I opted for 16 the following week and made it - went a little further with my walking recovery. It was a good run though - not much walking during the run - could have done a much better job of fueling, but the belly was an issue. This seems scary to me, but since I'm not in it to win it (or for time) I'm going to try to go from 16 to at least 18, but hopefully 20 on Saturday. That is 3 weeks out from the big day - eeeeeekkkk!! Anyway, should be interesting. I'll knock it down to a 12 the week before to allow for recovery, then hit it. Again, just to finish - no time goal!!!
After my 16 this weekend (that was sandwiched between a trip to the UK - sunday through friday night - think 6 hour time difference - and a trip to Ennis, TX that required leaving again on sunday afternoon) I took a day of rest on Monday then did 5 tonight. It was a good run around a 1/2 mile lake. The weather was nice and I felt good. I ran 5 miles and averaged 8:51 per mile. Still slower than I would like, but faster than I've been in months!! I felt like a rock star lapping the slow walkers in 2 laps, the fast walkers & slow joggers in 3 and everyone else at least once in the time I was there. They were my rabbits and they were appreciated.
To give an idea of how well my head has NOT been screwed on lately - I forgot my running clothes for this trip!!!! Seriously, I've never done that before. Craziness!! I ran to the local Hibbet's store - less than a block from the hotel and luckily they carried the Nike Tempo shorts I love in about every color. I went with a new one - dark grey with orange stripe - awesome!! Great for fall. ;-) They were super and I washed them out to wear for tomorrow night's run!!
The way the week is going I should be able to get home early enough thursday for a serious bike ride then I will plan to relax friday and hit it hard for my long run on Saturday!! Let's just hope all goes well!!
Till then!! :-)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Playlist dreams

I guess all the thoughts about putting together the perfect marathon play list was embedded in my head when I hit the pillow last night. My dream was one long play list ending up with 'The Hand that Feeds' by NIN's when the alarm went off. I don't think I got great sleep because my brain was churning through songs, but that's alright - it's better than some of the other kooky dreams I've been having lately. What causes kooky dreams anyway??

I finally got my run in yesterday evening. It was pouring and 60 degrees when I got up to go out yesterday morning and I pulled out the sissy card. At noon it was only drizzling, but I knew I couldn't really get more than 4 miles in given the time constraints so I opted for the after work, and in this case after visiting Gpa at the nursing home run. It was a bit after 7pm when I left I think- I ran 6 at a 'fast for me right now' time of 54:55 with an average pace of 9:09. It was dark when I got home and the President's speech was just finishing up. I had forgotten about it so I had to take some time to get caught up on the happenings, eat a bit of dinner, shower, and read a bit before crashing into my play list clouded slumber.

I did it again today, got up to run, but didn't. This time I pulled the 'my body's still tired' card which I think was legit. I didn't completely sissy out this time though - I got up and worked my abs & upper body. Now I just have the run looming over my head for the rest of the day. I was planning to bike tonight as well - so, looks like leftovers for dinner!! Anyway, I think I'll try to get them both in so I can take a day off on Friday to prep for my 16 miles on Saturday - oh how I will miss my running friend that day - sigh!!! :-(

I need to start working on a new route for the run - after doing this running thing for so long I think I know about all of Carthage on foot. It's so good to switch it up though. Having said that though - I was thinking the 6 mile loop I did last night was really one of the prettier runs around. I should take a few pictures. It's up and down two of the more well known roads in town for beautiful old Victorian houses, then there's a detour through the campus of Chi Dong Dong Cong and the gardens there (seriously a little hidden treasure of Carthage), finishing up with a grand view of the Courthouse. Not too shabby!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

It's so easy, it's so easy...

Yeah, yeah, yeah! Ok, not always - running isn't always easy. That's why it's a challenge and rewarding I guess. I've been easing my way back into the groove. I got in 4 & 6 last week - that made me feel pretty good. Sunday I went out to try for 12 - I did make it - but talk about slow. I was still having some issues so just finishing was good - there are those days!
Sure makes a girl worry about finishing 26.2 in...let's see...4 weeks from Sunday - ouch!! Argh, I did make the commitment to just enjoy this one. The man friend asked me my goal and I jokingly said 6-1/2 hours (the cutoff for Chi town). He was trying to pump me up by saying lots of peeps would be happy with that - or to even finish and I remember those days, but it's hard to go back isn't it??
What is seriously realistic though?? I don't really have a clue. My best marathon is 4:09, my last marathon in super windy weather with stomach issues was 4:30 something (I don't remember it exactly b/c it didn't make me happy). My first marathon ever - that I trained for with no guidance, in the middle of a SW MO winter (for a Florida race in which it got up to 85 degrees), with a bad case of tendinitis was 5:47. I walked a LOT of it and was so dehydrated at the end I basically passed out - not too mention I really couldn't walk normal for a week. Am I really looking at a repeat performance of that?? I don't think so - I do know what I'm getting in to this go around, I know to hydrate and fuel. The weather should be nice and cool. I am just under trained. My plan is to try to run 16 this weekend and 20 next then do a slight taper with 15, 12, then race. That's increasing my long run mileage by 4 miles a week instead of 2, but I'll go slow as to avoid potential injury. Let's hope that's enough to do it. I just need to do better about timing myself to see where I really am.
My other question - to plan to walk or not?? I did the run/walk in St. Louis (my second marathon where I ran a 4:39 - much better than the initial 5:47). It's a great thing I think and it may be what I need to do to get past this hurdle. It's just a little depressing knowing I can run that far and intentionally walking. But, if you've read any of Jeff Galloway's stuff he says if you are going to run/walk it's best to do it from the beginning. So, maybe I'll try for a 10 minute run, 1 minute walk?? That's what I'll be contemplating between now and Saturday!

As anyone who's done an Adventure Race should know - you have to enjoy the journey. I intend to try. Going to take my camera, try chatting it up with new people, update my iPod play list so it's rockin', and plan on a sightseeing adventure around the great city of Chicago.

Speaking of updating my play list - I was thinking at the end of my 12 miler the other day about how weird it is what songs motivate you when you are tapped out. One marathon I got hooked on Gin & Juice (that's what I get for getting uncensored songs from friends, but it was fun), another race I listened to Tina Turner over and over and over, Copperhead Road is usually a hit, Kayne West's song Stronger featuring Daft Punk, Carry On by Manowar, and lately a little Alabama Mountain Music. When I'm sprinting or out for a fast run I love the harder stuff, like Metallica, Oomph!, Dragonforce, Black Tide, etc., but they just don't do as much for me for the distance runs. I think when I finally finish compiling my play list for the run I'll post it too - just for fun - before race posting and a post-race posting to see how they work for me! :-)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Here we go again

Sometimes things happen in life that keep us from doing what we want to do and force us into doing what has to be done. Rarely do I allow those 'have to' things to come between me and my running - there are always more hours in a day type of mentality. For at least the last week, and really a bit longer than that I've come across something that has actually kept me from running. It's not a running related injury, but it is a health issue. I'm not feeling the need, or desire yet to go into much detail - just to divulge the fact that it was a side-liner - mostly to allow me to get back to my blog.
So, coming off of that side-liner is where I am now. It was harder and more emotional than expected. It makes my stress fracture feel like a silly little runners injury that I can't believe I had to shed tears over (although that was a 3 month 'break'!!). I know I could have forced myself into running days ago, but it just felt 'weird'. I couldn't put my finger on anything really serious - just not right. I tried a 2 mile(ish) walk/jog with Brady and I just wasn't 'feeling it'. At this point I am leaning towards it being mental and I think this may have been one of the first times I have let a mental issue keep me from pounding pavement. I usually just force myself out there and tell myself that if I'm not into in 10 minutes I can go back in and curl up on the couch. That never happens - once your out there, in the clean air, feeling more alive than you feel the whole rest of the day - it always sucks me in. This was different I guess, but no mental issue was going to keep me down for long. Health wise I knew I was basically released (as much as modern 'practicers' of medicine will allow) so I finally jumped the hurdle. Of course it was through a bit of nudging and unintended peer pressure. I knew it would be coming - hoping and dreading all at the same time...
The text that read 'want to run tomorrow?' (Just as an aside - I love Brooke - it's a whole other post probably, but it sure is great having a such an awesome 'running friend'!!)
It was about 8:30PM and I was chatting with Brady and reading a book (multi-tasker that I am). I just looked at him and and said 'should I?' I don't know if he knew either - it was a toss up. I haven't been sleeping well and running requires getting even less, and we discussed it might make it even harder for me to make it through the (in my opinion) already too long work day. Argh, who cares, work days are hard to get through when you feel swell - might as well try it. I agreed - planned on leaving our houses at 5:45am to meet up at our 1/2 way point. It was a pretty slow 4 mile run with a few side-stitches, but it was also great. It's one run down and I feel ready to go again. Not one to slack too much I also have planned for road ride tonight and another run tomorrow. We shall see. I'm optimistic that I'm back.

In addition to my post about running with Brooke I will have to write another post based on my lack of training so far for Chicago marathon and how I intend to handle it (since I don't know yet). Also about coping with a seriously good (possibly non-existent) potential of not meeting my goal time.

Also, another aside - not even running related at all, just a bit fun...
The 'man' is super into playing instruments and music of all types. I love music - most all types, but have only ever played the flute in band (I know, band geek extraordinaire). Not sure why, but the banjo has always seemed like a fun thing to me. (Yeah, seriously not sure why - for those of you who know me well, or have known me through the years know that I am generally into a bit harder stuff - think Metallica, Ozzy, Tesla, GnR - yep, I know that dates me, but I just don't care - love the hair, love the metal - hehe!) I didn't want to go to the expected line though - Brady has all that - keys, guitar, bass, etc. - so the banjo it was. He went and picked it up the other night - I've been 'playing with it' - much, much different than actually 'playing' it!! But, it's a hoot. Just now learning 'rolls' - very interesting and fun. Like I need another hobby, but hey you only live once...

By the way; 'Battlefield Running' I didn't remember until after this purchase that you were a 'semi-professional banjo player'!! I knew you played and traveled to listen to some blue grass - might have to hit you up for some pointers! :-)

Till next time...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Been a long time...

Been a long time, been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lone-ly time - yes it has. Ok, not lonely - just distracted I guess. Runs have been runs, biking is biking - I haven't had too much new in the way of training - just plugging along - trying to fit it all in like everyone else.

Work made it more difficult to do this last week because of working 3 - 11pm with a new project implementation. Initially I thought this would make things better, but when you work till 11pm, get home at 11:30pm - by the time you relax and settle down to sleep it's 12:30 - 1 O'clock on the AM side. Not conducive to getting up early to run before the heat takes over. I ran at 9:30 on Tuesday to the Y (2 miles), then lifted weights for about an hour then ran back. Going there it was getting sticky - coming home it was overwhelming - too hot, too hot, too hot. I was so thirsty when I got home - I could not get enough water!! Next up I decided I would try running early and then taking a nap - the run early happened and no real surprise the nap didn't - I was dragging by around 8pm that night. Then there was the change back to days between the Thursday night and Friday shifts. I ended up getting to take off a little early (9:30pm), but wasn't able to sleep until around 11pm then had to turn around and be at work at 6:30am. I was fine for the first few hours, but after meeting up with friends for lunch I was pretty much done! Luckily Lou covered for me at 3pm and I was able to find what little bit of energy I had left and Brady and I went to Joplin to do a little shopping. After finding some board shorts for me and some shoes for Brady we headed back home, played with the dogs, and loaded the car before heading to Lake of the Ozarks to meet up with friends for the weekend.

At the lake I had other running issues - hills, hills and more hills. I've been having some ankle issues & I didn't want to push it too much so I just swam while we were there - it was relaxing and refreshing. I think I needed the break - it made the run this morning feel a bit better. Still need new shoes to help with the ankle - need to do that this week!!

As is the norm, I headed out this morning to meet Brooke at our 1 mile half way point where we start our run together. On my way there today I took a different road - one with a little less light. I was plugging along when I see car lights coming from behind me - I scoot over to one side to give them plenty of room. As they pass I glance back behind me and within a few feet is another runner getting ready to pass me - I swear he came from out of no where and didn't make a sound. I said 'Hi' as he passed and he didn't say a word - not sure what that was all about. I didn't see any tell tale signs of an ipod - no headphone wires, nothing strapped around his arms. Maybe it was just too quiet for him to hear me?? ;-)
After seeing him and getting spooked I decided to head over a block to my normal running road. As I turn onto it I see a lady running with her dog a few blocks ahead - illuminated by a street light. I continue to run and proceed to get lost in my thoughts and feel like I am all alone for a bit, then a few blocks ahead I spot her and her dog again in another street light. It continues like this - in and out, in and out - I feel alone in the dark, then realize I'm not each time I spot them again under the light flowing onto the dark pavement. This goes on until I make the next turn in my route. The turn where all I do is run until I see the blue glow of the iPhone - that's how I know it's Brooke and all is well. We were both a little tired, but we had a good run and I hope we'll be able to meet up for a couple more this week - they go by so much faster when you have a pal to chat with! :-)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dusk till Dawn

Game face? :-)

Night races are hard to prep for. I stayed up Thursday night and got all my gear rounded up. Friday night we went out with friends, but still ended up in bed by 11pm. Got up Saturday around 10am - fixed pancakes with peanut butter and syrup - yummy. Showered up, went to Wal-mart to pick up some last minute supplies - gummi bears, twizzlers, jolly ranchers, etc. After going back home I put together the rest of my essentials then laid down on the couch for about 30-45 minutes just to chill out and relax. Got back up and fixed some pasta with marinara for lunch and loaded the car. We ate then headed out about 2:15pm. We spent the road trip up there playing 'guess that artist' by scanning through radio stations and using Shazamm on the iPhone when necessary. We made a pit stop close to KC for a bathroom break and we each got a cheeseburger. Made it to race headquarters around 5:30pm. Pulled out the gear and bike. Decided to rotate my break pads - the back one's were ate up and the front one's hadn't really been used so I just switched them out and they worked like champs. Lubed the chain, aired the tires, mounted the headlight and the bike was ready to rock.

During that time my teammate showed up so we headed up to the main tent and got our numbers and t-shirts. Went back to our campsite (well, our support crew campsite - it wasn't like we would be getting any shut eye!) and finished packing up our gear and changed into our race wear. For me I decided I was going to do pants this race - my mountain hardware trekking pants. They have drawstrings around the ankle's so I was able to roll them up to the knee and secure them with the cord for biking which was nice. Went with a black t-back tank - I usually go with sleeveless to keep from having chaffing from the pack, but I utilized lots of body glide on the shoulders and didn't have any issues. Then, of course I went with the rastaman buff, salomon XT wings & smartwool socks with the Camelbak LUXE pack.

Here we are getting ready to head up to pre-race meeting:

At the pre-race meeting we received our maps and clue sheets for the race and since it was early decided we would start the race at 8:30pm instead of 9pm. We headed back to camp and started determining our strategy.

Here we are plotting the course:

We went back to headquarters to find out the start was postponed until 8:45pm so we stood around and chatted with our friends and other teams until time to start. At 8:45pm we lined up and sang along to the National Anthem then took off. We started off with trekking - made it to the first and second checkpoints with no issues. Checkpoint three was another story - we looked on both sides of the ponds (the point should have been in between two ponds on a creek bed) and had about decided to give up and head back since the area was full of teams that had not found it. But, I have to hand it to my teammate - she spotted it and we both turned off our headlamps, punched our card and headed back to HQ to get our bikes. At that point we were rocking.

So, out on the bikes next. We had a lot of trouble with checkpoint 5 - we had both managed to get a bit lost because none of the roads were marked. About an hour into it we finally figured out where we were and that we still had a few km left to get to the point. After a dumb mid-road fall and scuffing of the knee we got going and found the point. Check point 6 we went right too, but not sure we would have found it if there wouldn't have been another team there. Some not so high on my list volunteers had hung the punch up in the tree where it wasn't visible - OK in a day race, but at night that's just silly. Regardless we got it. We found check point 7 with only a slight detour and dropped our bikes and headed out for more trekking - this time on single track. Checkpoints 8 & 9 were fairly easy. We stumbled upon checkpoint 10 a little under 1000 meters sooner than we thought we should have. At this point it was 4am and we decided we would skip the next two trekking points and go ahead and begin the canoe section so we could finish by the 9am cut-off. This was a great strategy - except for one thing - we misread where the canoe started. :( So we headed back to checkpoint 7, which was also 13, where are bikes were and we thought the canoe put in was. Well, it wasn't, it was at 12. Oops - little mistake. So, this put us up to 5am and we knew we had quite a few biking miles ahead of us - including single track. We really didn't have a choice from here - we had to just grab our bikes and head to the next biking checkpoint - 21. This meant we skipped 9 checkpoints. This is when you remind yourself that you are just out there for fun and that we were!! We biked to checkpoints 21, 22, & 23 without issue. Checkpoints 24 & 25 were single track - very rocky, steep in some areas single track. We made it through it a little slow, but we made it. My gut was giving me serious grief at this point so each bump was killing me, but my teammate was supportive and we managed to work our way through it all. Got back to headquarters in a little under 12 hours.

Just a side note - last year the teams that won finished in 8 hours - these are the people who are paid to do this stuff - they are serious about it. Last year we finished in 12 hours - we aren't paid - we do this for fun! ;-)

So, taking that into consideration the top teams finished in around 11 hours - we should have finished in around 15 hours. Not sure if it was a good idea or not, but since cut-off was 9am we just tried to get as many checkpoints as we could in that amount of time. I figure since it took everyone so long they will extend the cut-off and our strategy will be for not, but that's a chance you take.
I had the best time working with a great supportive teammate. Maybe it wasn't our day, maybe it was just a hard course, but it didn't matter we had fun and that was the real name of the game.
After the race we got back in the car - stopped off for a snack in Lawrence then I slept for a couple hours before we made another stop for actual lunch in Lamar. Pizza hut buffet - I must say it was one of the worst PH buffet's, but we ate a little then headed on home. Brady watched a movie while I slept another couple hours then woke up - hesitantly - and we hoped on the bikes to grab a bite. I was hungry for a seafood tostada, but they were closed so we went back home and had leftovers. We watched a couple episodes of Supernatural - well, I watched two then feel asleep - Brady watched four and then we went to bed. It was a great night's sleep!! Long day!
I was so sore Sunday, but I was glad we hopped back on the bikes to ride for dinner because I felt better yesterday. We even did a 18.5 mile ride on the tandem yesterday. Back to basically normal today. Tomorrow I will try to run again - we shall see!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mini taper

Ah, had a great time in San Francisco last week. Only got in 1 actual run, but lots of hiking and walking the city. Oh well!
This has been a chill week - Monday I was so tired I just took off. Tuesday we just went for a tandem bike ride around town. Today I met Brooke for a pre-work 6 miler. She had Spot (her dad's dog) with her so that was a fun change. We averaged 9:30's with a couple quick water stops. I was happy with that.
Tomorrow the plan is to hit single track on the bikes. Friday will be an off day and Saturday is the big Adventure Race!
I'm pretty sure I'm ready - I've just been feeling a little funky - probably just off schedule from vacation, etc. I'll have to give myself some pep talks this week, but there's no backing out now!!
I still need to pack up gear - decide what to wear (really decide if I want my legs to be torn up from the trekking or if I want to be hot and wear pants!) ;-) I guess I don't really care about the scratches - I just worry about the poison ivy. We'll see - I'll probably decide all that Thursday night. Just have to remember safety glasses this year - when dawn hits the bugs are horrendous!! I can deal with eating them, but getting them in your eyes sucks. However, if that's the worst we have to deal with for this race I'll be happy!
Till the post-race recap....

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sprints, Kids, & Trails

So, I'm a little behind I guess. I meant to put a post about doing speedwork last Wednesday. It was tough as always, but Brooke went with me so it made it better to have a partner. There were a lot of people out on the track that night so we ended up having to do some weaving through traffic, but all in all it was good - we finished! (I could make some side notes about how it's rude to walk on inside lanes of the track when people are trying to run - especially when they were there first, but I'll hold off on that rant for now.) Afterwards we went back to Brooke's for dinner - grilled chicken, grilled zucchini & yellow squash, broccoli salad, 3-bean salad, & cherries - yummy!

Next up was a ride on Thursday night - I did 20 miles - at a fast pace for me, but not quite fast enough for the group I was riding with. I've got some more work to do here - I think I'm in a limbo stage - to fast for a beginner group, too slow for the serious road cyclist group. I can hang with them if they work with me, but if not I get hung out. In time...

Friday was a 4 mile run in the morning.

Saturday I had planned to do Tornado Alley bike ride, but given my performance on Thursday I decided it would be better to hold off on doing something like that until I had people in town that would ride and work with me. So, given my upcoming races I decided I would hit single track trails. After sleeping in a bit to get caught up from the week I ended up hitting the trails around 9am. I started off by running a mile on the Frisco trail to hit the single track. I did get a few weirdo looks from people out for their morning walks - I guess it's not that usual to see some chic decked out in a full hydration pack running the Frisco (only 3 miles long). So, I ducked in the first single track loop I came too - ended up doing 6 miles. It's so weird how much different the trails look on foot vs. the bike. It was fun weaving down the switchbacks on foot - the same switchbacks that have a tendancy to scare me a bit on the bike. I practiced pushing up the hills and using as little energy as possible going down.

After running the mile back to my car I did a quick transition, changed shoes, grabbed my bike and headed back to the trails on the bike. Not sure about mileage for the bike, but was there for 3 hours total with no real rest breaks. I felt pretty good about the effort put forth.

After trails I went by the house and showered and then to pick up the niece & nephews. I had to make a trip to Monett before we did anything so I told them to bring their bikes and we would go for a ride in Monett Park before heading back home. We ended up riding for 1-1/2 hours - very slow with lots of water stops - it was really, really hot. I was so surprised at how easily they got tried. I figured they would run me into the ground after my morning workout, but it wasn't the case. I really need to toughen those little buggers up! They did get to appreciate riding downhills (although they complained about riding up). The youngest was so excited about how fast he would get going on the downhills. They thought the hills in the park were huge - they have a lot to learn - lol!! We took a break from the bikes to climb up the gravel staircase on the east side of the park & then run back down. It brought back memories - it's the hill we used to run 'hills' on in cross country - although the stairs weren't there back then.

You can see in the picture that one of them is wearing my riding gloves - they took turns using them. They thought they were the coolest things ever and now they all think they need some! It was one of the first things they told their dad when he picked them up the next day! ;-)

We did another ride on Sunday - it ended up being around 4 miles on fairly flat roads - they had drank both bottles of water I brought for them by the end of 3 and were ready to go home. I just wonder if they are bigger sissies than most kids? After talking to some friends I don't think they are. I just remember riding bikes for hours and hours and never feeling tired as a kid - even in the heat - it didn't seem to stop us. I have to blame a bit of it on TV & video games. I do like where video games are going - as far as being more interactive, but is Wii Fit really going to solve the problem? Or is it really a problem? Childhood obesity is, but these kids aren't overweight in any way - they just aren't overly active. Hopefully they will hang out with me enough that will change in the near future! ;-)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tandems & Tempos

Went for our chill ride last night and I just thought I would drop in some of the pics I've been taking of us riding for fun!
After the ride we went home and fixed some dinner. I laid out hamburger before the ride, but that's all I knew. I decided it would be a clean up the frig night. I started by dicing up some onion, zucchini, yellow squash, and garlic and added to the burger. Followed that up with a couple jars of canned tomatoes and a little EVOO. Cooked up some mini-bow tie pasta and added to the mix along with some basil, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. It turned out pretty darn good. If I did it again I would add just a bit of tomato sauce or more tomatoes, but overall it was one of my better post workout, need food now creations! Don't we all have those? ;-)

This morning was my big tempo run and I'm happy to say it went well. Ran the first & second miles at 8:30 pace. The third I got a little closer to my goal and ran 8:40. I slowed down too much for the fourth at 8:48. (btw - goal is 8:45) Shortly after the fourth the Garmin did the dreaded and died on me. I think even if I was a little slow on the last two it wasn't enough to bring me below an 8:45 average so I'm happy! I will make a mental note to make sure the Garmin is charged up and ready for my tempo run next week!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Trail times

It was a great weekend for hitting trails! It started out Friday morning doing a little single track mountain biking in Jefferson City at Binder Park. They were very nice trails (with very little exception) compared to some of the rocky stuff we usually ride. Nothing too technical - nothing I couldn't ride (even though I had some moments of fear). It was a slow, but fun ride once I got into it. We only rode the blue and green trails - took us around an 1-1/2 hours.

I was planning to do a 12 mile run on the Katy Trail while in Columbia on Saturday, but there was just too much going on (or really, I was trying to fit too much in!). So, I skipped it and just did it Sunday. I finally hit the road around 10:30am - decked out in Adventure Race gear - pack and trail shoes. I had 2.25 miles of road before I was able to hit the Ruby Jack Trail head. Then, 7.5 miles out and back on it and followed it up with the 2.25 miles home on roads. It was a really nice day out - although it was still really humid and I was drenched by the time I was done. The animals again helped me get through it - I saw a deer first - just standing right in the middle of the trail:
Of course by the time I stopped, got my camera out of the pack it was gone and all I got was the trail! ;-) Oh well, next time. Then, there were 3 or 4 turtles:
This little guy didn't move nearly as fast as the deer! I also saw multiple bunnies (nope, didn't even attempt to get the camera out for those fast little buggers). At one point I felt to be the queen of the dragonflies with them all circling around my ankles as I ran past. All in all it was a great run - very peaceful. In the 1+ hour I spent on the trail I only saw 5 other people out - which is a shame, but also nice for me. I'm torn, the more people that use it the more the trail condition will improve (because of increased awareness and funding), but also the busier it will be and possibly cause the trails to not be quite as peaceful or so heavily populated by wildlife?? Hmmm, which is better??
I was disappointed to see that some people - I assume from the housing on either side of the trail - had decided to use the trail as a place to launch fireworks - not a bad idea in itself - but leaving the trash from it is. I hope that they just had not made it back to clean it up. I'm heading back out there tonight on a group bike ride and I'll be taking my trash sack just in case.
After the run, I showered up and we took the dogs to do a picnic lunch by the lake. They loved it - there are so many smells there that they can be entertained for hours!! Then, a quick trip to the nursing home to visit the Grandpa then back to the single track trails in Joplin.
We made it to the trails around 5:45pm and were able to ride around an hour. It was a good ride for me - I didn't fall! ;-) Also was able to ride a little faster - not bad considering I had 12 miles on my legs for the day. My confidence was up a bit after the ride - I'm ready to go again soon - so, I think we're putting it on the calendar for tomorrow. With an Adventure Race coming up the more trail miles the better.
Today is just going to be a chill group ride (us on the tandem) on Ruby Jack Trail. Pretty excited about that. Then, I'm planning to get up tomorrow morning for a 6 mile tempo run - I hope I can hit the mark! Tomorrow evening we'll hit single track with mountain bikes. Wednesday morning will be speed work at the track. Thursday will be a 4 mile easy run, then a 24+ mile ride that night. Friday will be weights and Saturday will be the Tornado Alley - still not sure if I'll do 50 or 77 miles - we'll see how the legs are feeling!! :-)
Ride/Run on!

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Something sad got me to thinking this morning about animals. While on my run I saw a cat that had been hit (presumably anyway, I did not see the act, but I can't fathom a cat just walking out in the street to die). It made me think about the poor people that had to wake up this morning - on what should be a happy morning (last day of work before a holiday) and find that their pet is no longer with them.

First I thought that they should have kept a better watch on their animal, but then I thought maybe they usually do. Maybe this was a unique circumstance - as an owner of my very own four legged escape artist I can understand how this happens.

My next thought was on a city street that is very wide with a speed limit of 30mph how can you hit a cat? My mind went back to some 'not so highly intelligent' individuals that I knew in my much younger days that thought it was fun to try to hit animals (needless to say they weren't my friends). I really hoped that wasn't what happened. I have seen animals get scared and basically run right into cars too. Especially at night - headlights cause confusion. Or, maybe the cat was distracted with the pursuit of something tasty (to the cat anyway).

Knowing that all these thoughts weren't really getting me anywhere I started thinking more about my run. As I was moving along I see a squirrel up ahead and on my side of the road. He was watching me, scampering along just a few feet ahead. You could tell he wanted to cross the road, but didn't know what to do about me. There was no traffic so I scooted over and gave him more room where he felt comfortable enough to hop up a tree and watched as I went on by. Shortly after that, I watched a rabbit sitting quiet and still in a yard. He was watching me too. I just smiled as I glanced at him - not wanting to give him cause for concern.

It was pretty funny that when I really start focusing on my run I start seeing all these animals again. They are always there - I always notice them (well, most of them anyway, I'm sure there are a few sneaky bunnies I miss). The squirrels, rabbits, birds, and cats - especially early in the morning - are always out and playing around before most people are even out of bed. My running partner and I have been known on multiple occasion to count bunnies - we try to find one for each mile we run - it can be hard when you are running 10-20 miles. :-)

Anyway, I know the owners are going to miss that poor cat, but so am I. Not that I know 'that' cat in particular, but I love seeing all the cats out when I'm on my morning runs. Before their owners have woken and they've slipped back in their respective homes to snooze the day away - they are out carousing the streets - entertaining us early morning runners.

So, take care of your pets, watch out for other people's pets when you hit the roads, and give them all a little love when you can - I know mine got some extra doses this morning!
As a side note - on my way home - when I ran back by the cat a truck had just pulled over next to it - an older man got out and picked it up & put it in his truck. In a weird way it made me feel better to know that someone had cared enough about the cat to go look for it. I'll be thinking of that guy and his cat today. :'(

Monday, June 29, 2009

Hot in the city

Saturday morning - long run day - I got up around 6:45am and had some breakfast, then took a quick shower to wake me up, put on my running clothes and went out to stretch. It was already hot and humid out. I drank some water, grabbed my shuffle & garmin and took off. At first I ran south and there was a breeze so it felt alright, then I turned and went east with no tree cover and I realized how hot it was going to be. I did a 5 mile loop that ended up at the YMCA where I stopped to get a drink and weigh myself. I felt pretty good at this point - I was keeping up a good pace. I left the Y and decided to just do a 3 mile loop and end up back there for another drink before heading back across town. This time I stopped and again got a drink then weighed myself - I was already 3/4lb down. Not good when you are out for a 14 miler and you are losing 3/4 lb every 3 miles (especially when you're not a big person to begin with). I decided at this point I better not push it too hard - didn't want to end up passed out somewhere on the side of the road. I took off again - weaving my way through the neighborhoods and hogging up as much of the shade as possible - even stealing some water out of sprinklers where I could. My body felt good, but I was very hot and tired. I made it back to the house at 10.5 miles and got another drink and walked a few steps then went on to finish the last 3.5. Those were probably the slowest - the garmin kept registering 9:45 - not exactly where I wanted to be, but at that point I just needed to finish.
Regardless of the time and the weather I did finish it and it was good.

I did make a mental note about this particular run - I was running alone - for the first 5 miles or so I waved at everyone with little to no luck(when I run with Brooke we kind of take turns waving). After the first stop at the Y I decided I should take it down a notch and try to conserve as much energy as possible. At this point, for some reason people started waving at me - there were a couple ladies that even did the BIG wave - you know, hand off the wheel and moving side to side. Pretty impressive - it helped too. Maybe they could tell that the heat and humidity was zapping every ounce of my energy and were giving their little wave of encouragement. That's what I like to think anyway - and it works. It's amazing how there are times when you just don't have any more in you, but seeing or hearing just the right thing can propel you just a little further.
One of the big one's for me is when I see young kids - I don't ever want them to see me give up - I want them to know they can do anything.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Speed Racer

Such mixed emotions about speed work!
We waited till 9pm to go last night, but it was still 90 degrees. I ran to the track for a warm up - around a mile. After we got there we decided we would do some 300m repeats at 6min/mile pace (67.5 sec). We did the first one in 71 seconds and I didn't think I could go any faster, but the man convinced me it was just because we had not warmed up properly yet.
We walked 100m to recoup then went again - this time 65 seconds. I thought my chest would explode and wasn't sure how I would do another. We walked our 100m and got a quick drink and ran one more. I just knew it was slower, but it wasn't - exactly the same 65 seconds. I thought I just might lose my lunch so Brady suggested we run 400m at race pace. We had miscalculted what race pace for the 400m was and ended up running it at a 7:40min/mile pace instead of 8:45, but it still felt slow compared to the 300's.
So, another short break was had and we decided to do another round. First lap was slower again - 70 seconds I think. The second I thought I had slowed, but I think Brady just sped up - ran it in 68 seconds. The last 300m we did in 65 seconds again. We got closer on our next 400m race pace lap at a 8:20min/mile pace. It really did feel slow - that's a good feeling!

Overall I know speed work is helping me - I just feel so slow and like I have to work at it so hard. It's crazy to me that I can get my head around doing 26.2 miles, but it's hard for me to get my head around doing 300m at a 6min/mile pace - let alone doing 400m, or 800m. Ah, he says we'll get there. I feel like I'm giving it all I can for now.
The other issue I have is once I'm done I feel fine. Like I could do it again. So much different than a long run. When I finish a long run I need nutrients, water, rest and if it's a really long run I feel fatigue for the rest of the day. With sprints it doesn't matter how tired I get during the sprint when it's done I don't have fatigue?? And then there's the added humilation of putting down that I did 3 miles - that's basically an off day or a recovery day! It's just a different mentality - I can already see benefit though so I'm going to stick with it and hopefully one day I will be a Speed Racer - lol! :-)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Riding and Running

It's been a backwards week for me - been doing more riding than running - not nearly enough of either though. I'd like to blame it on the heat, but it's more that there is just so much to do in life lately. Enough about that though, this bleep is about what I have done.

Tuesday we had a ride with SWAT - I rode with Brady and a couple other guys from the group. It wasn't too bad - they were a little fast for me so I had to draft, but it was great practice. I'm starting to feel more comfortable on my bike, in groups, and hugging someones back wheel. It was out and back and per gmaps pedometer it was about 24 miles. Still loving my new shoes and cleats. The only pain I'm having is fatigue/tightness in my shoulders. Maybe I'm still nervous, or I just haven't gotten my seat height perfect yet. I'll keep tweaking it all and eventually get better. For now I'll just be happy at how far I've come. (Knock on wood I haven't fallen in a long time!)

Yesterday I braved the 5:30pm heat and did a 6 mile run. Brooke rode with me. It was pretty good - ran it in 57 min - 9-1/2 minute miles. As hot as it was I was content with that. I want to do hills or track work tonight, but it needs to happen after we make a trip to Sarcoxie to see Grandpa so we'll see. If not tonight I'll have to hit it in the morning and I've been too tired to make myself get out of bed early! Must go tonight!

I've done some good things in my bit of off-season, but now it's time to get serious about training - no more skipping track days, or hill workouts. I have to commit. Of course, I have over committed to races so that will be an issue of how to fit training for all of it in - as always!

July 11 is the Tornado Alley bike ride - not sure if we are doing the 70+ mile ride or the full 110 mile ride, but either way it will be a lot more than I'm used too. I seriously need some seat time for that. Might try for a 50+ mile ride Sunday.
July 25 is the Dusk till Dawn Adventure race - for it I need to spend time trail running, single track riding and lifting upper body weights so I can survive the canoe. So, will Sunday be a 50+ road ride or a few hours on single track - argh, the decisions!!
The next major race - that requires lots of prep is Chicago Marathon - October 11. This requires running, running and more running - which I am planning to do Saturday morning. Might try to do a few miles of the run on the Ruby Jack trail to get some gravel road miles - not the same as trails, but closer than pavement.
Seriously - how do people fit it all in?? ;-)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Riding with Cushion

After a long run/ride on Wednesday I was looking forward to a chill ride to Joplin last night. I left the house about 6:15pm - it was still a bit hot, but cooling down some. The wind was there - out of the southwest so that slowed me down a bit. Overall though I had no complaints - it was a good 15 mile ride - challenging, but allowed for recovery.

I got to the man's house, where we were meeting to pick up a couch and loveseat to take to my house. We got them loaded in the trailer and headed out - everything seemed to be riding fine. We stopped at Taco Bell for a quick dinner since it was already around close to 8pm, then headed towards the highway home. When we first got on the highway everything seemed to be riding really well - we thought the cushions were attached. About 4 miles shy of Carthage we realized they were not! We looked back and realized one was missing. We pulled over, not really knowing what our next step would be - we didn't know if it had just blown out, or if it had been miles and miles ago. I decided I would grab my bike out of the back of the truck and ride to find it. Of course at this point I'd taken off my new shoes and had on flip flips (not so easy to ride with flip flops & clipless, but I've done it a few times). So I take off riding on the highway shoulder towards traffic at dusk looking for a cushion. I'd made it about a mile when I spotted something in the road - I just knew it had to be it so I ride fast towards the shadow. I get there and it is indeed the cushion - only minor scuffs (it's a leather sofa) that can be buffed out. Then, I realize the flaw in my plan - how am I going to carry a cushion on my bike back the two miles to the truck. I pick it up and attempt to lay it across my handlebars - steadying it with one hand and trying to ride with the other. Because of the size it made me have to ride bow-legged. I'd say it was pretty hilarious to watch me!! If only I had a picture, but come to think of it - I might be glad I don't! ;-)

It was a ride I won't soon forget. Kind of glad today is my day off - who knows what exciting things might happen!?! Ah, now I have to focus on getting ready to run 18 tomorrow!! Good times!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Road Kill

So yesterday was my mid-week long run/ride day - wasn't really planning both, but sometimes that's how it plays out. I got up early and went for a 6 mile run with a 1 mile pick-up at the end. It went well - the weather was good and my body (especially quads) was not nearly as sore as the day before.

After work I had to go see Grandpa in Sarcoxie at the nursing home so we decided to ride there and back - it's a good ride on outer roads with some rolling hills - a little over 35 miles round trip. It was also my first chance to try out my new Pearl Izumi women's elite road shoes!! I'm not usually a 'pink' girl, but I really like these shoes - very sweet!

On the way out I worked pretty hard to keep up with the man on the hills and did better than normal - I was a little more tired heading back, but we kept up a pretty decent pace. About 5 miles into our ride home we were on a low travel outer road getting ready to meet a big SUV - no worries until we see some road kill on their side. We were a little scared that in their attempt to miss the road kill they may take us out so we're keeping a close eye on the situation - even slow down a little so we don't meet up at the road kill at the same moment. They don't swerve - they head straight towards the kill in an attempt to straddle it. It was evidently a little wider than anticipated because they were unable to clear it. As I'm cringing from the tires crushing bone I look back in the general direction and BAM! - I get hit square in the cheek with a chunk of 'something'. (UFRK) It was the size of a quarter - came flying up and straight at me. I'm not a veteran rider, but I've eaten more than a few bugs, had them fly up my nose, caked in my eyes, even felt the wetness from other riders elimination of bodily fluids (spit, snot, etc. - yuck!!), but this was a first for me - getting hit by road kill. Needless to say I was ready for a shower when I got home and not just because I was caked in salt from the heat!!
Let's hope tonight's ride is less eventful. ;-)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Naked Feet

I received an email from my friend who works on her feet a lot saying she wanted to look at getting some better shoes. Attached to the e-mail was a link to a popular mechanics article from April talking about the big running barefoot debate. It's stuff I had heard and read before, but I took some more time and found a few other articles, including this one from MailOnline.
It really does make you wonder - are we wasting money and increasing our risk of injury with the shoes we buy? Especially running shoes?

I remember when I was little, growing up on the farm, we NEVER wore shoes. I could run down the dirt and rock driveway and never blink an eye. My feet were callused and used to the abuse. Mom would fight me to put on shoes to go to school or go to town. Of course as the years moved on wearing shoes became part of who I was. I had to have all the latest styles - including every color in the rainbow of 'jelly shoes'. Remember those things - molded plastic in every shape and color you could imagine? My grandma used to get on to me - telling me I would ruin my feet wearing those things - they didn't have any cushion or support she would say. Now I'm thinking we need a 'jelly shoe' resurrection - it's pretty close to barefoot with the added style and cool colors - lol!!

OK - joking about that - I really don't condone a 'jelly shoe' revival - they are gone and I hope they stay that way! But it did get me to thinking - were they really hurting my feet? My only problems with my feet, legs, hips came after I started spending good money on running shoes - of course I spent more money on good running shoes because I was doing more RUNNING - so which caused what??

The argument that the shoes we wear are making are feet week because they don't have to work makes sense to me. Does this lead to more injuries - it makes sense that it would. Does this mean I'll start running barefoot? Probably not, but I will make more of a conscious effort to wear shoes less. It's already the first thing I want to do when I get home and I don't think twice about heading out to the yard with naked feet. I just think there are still ways I could do it more and if that helps to strengthen my feet and prevent injuries even better. The biggest problem about running barefoot for me is the road debris - the glass, metal, or rusty nails you have the potential of stepping on. I don't know about you, but stepping on those type things is not fun for me and what ends up being worse is the inevitable trip the ER to get the dreaded tetanus shot. I can deal with a nail in my foot and the associated pain, but those tetanus shots hurt for days! :-O

Is there a reason that running in low mileage, cushioned shoes leads to a stress fracture and training in racing flats with little to no support gets you a marathon PR (and no injury)?? I don't know, but I think the possibility exists. There is something to be said for going more natural - be it the food we put in our bodies, modes of transportation we use, to what we wear (or don't wear on our feet).

Monday, June 15, 2009

Boomtown 1/2 Marathon

Oh race day - isn't it weird that it doesn't seem to matter how big or small a race is - it's still race day? 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathon, marathon, Adventure Race - they all come with some race day jitters no matter how many you do. The 1/2 marathon was no exception Saturday even though I was looking at it as just another training run. I probably wouldn't have even signed up, but 1/2 marathon's don't happen every day in this area so as a runner you have to do it - right? Show support for the local running community and all that jazz. Well, of course!

The CRC did our part - 3 of our 4 runners were out and ready to run at gun time. (And our fouth was our supporter extraordinare!!) It was 7am and a little hot but we were ready. Bart Yasso and Sara Reinerstein were there to start us and Bart even ran with us - pretty cool in itself. (And as a side note, we beat him by 8 minutes, but he did start behind us and has been battling lyme disease). The course was pretty hilly and I don't mean up and down, just up - lol - it seemed like it anyway. The first 7 miles went by pretty quickly, but it was around there that some serious fatigue set in my legs. They felt very heavy, but I could have tolerated that if not for the nausea & dizziness I was feeling. I'm pretty sure I have an inner ear infection - everything is still echoing in my head. Brooke kept me moving though - even when I wanted to stop we kept moving along. The last two miles were the worst - people passed us that I'm sure we could have beat, but I just didn't think I had anymore in me, but like Brooke says - you always have more than you think you do.

So, we round the corner to head up main street to the finish - around 5 blocks left and I feel like I'm going to pass out and I see the clock and see that we could make it in 2 hours so I tell Brooke to go on - knowing that her taking off is the only way I'm going to motivate myself to do it. She does and I start slower, but eventually my legs start moving faster than I thought they could - I think I startled her a little bit being right behind her, but we finished together over the line. What really sucks is they scored me before her even though it shows our time the same - I just realized this today. I assume they just went alphabetical since we tied - not really sure. But I owe finishing this race to her and I sure didn't deserve to finish ahead.

She says I helped her through her Wichicta marathon - well, she's paid back any debt in full - she got me through this race and it was a tough one for me. So, now the score is even - it's about time we run a race where we both have a good day - how hard can that really be?? ;-) I have confidence our day is coming soon!