Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What's Next?

Well, I've taken the last week off, only running one time since the 1/2 marathon. I ran 5 miles on Thursday. Well, I tried to run last Monday too, but I tried to do it on a treadmill and failed miserably. Thursday's run was really the first time and it felt good to get out, but I waited too long. Then I didn't do anything until yesterday and that wasn't good either. Yesterday I wanted to just crank out three miles, but my foot was hurting me. I did it, but it was rough. I had to stop a few times. I managed to eke it out though.

Normally I don't run two days in a row, but I'm not training for anything yet and it's supposed to rain tomorrow so I cranked out another 3 miles today. Foot felt better today. I only stopped once to give the foot a quick rest. I don't know what's going on with the foot, but I hope it goes away soon. Maybe I should start the strengthening exercises that I was taught in PT...

So, I don't have any plans for any specific races yet. I'll probably do some 5k's in the near future, but nothing specific yet. I'm still trying to debate what my next big thing will be. I'm considering the triathlon I did last year, but swimming was miserable last year and I don't want to do that again. I could do the duathlon version but I feel like a failure if I do that. Then I started thinking about possibly doing a full marathon in the fall... if not then another half marathon in the fall. I'm not sure. I'm tossing ideas around still. I do know I want to keep my mileage up no matter what. I want to be able to just go out and do 10 miles whenever I want. So, right now my plan is to keep mileage up and keep going at it. I'll decide soon enough.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Change name?

Am I going to have to change the name of my blog??? A pace under 10:00 is considered "running" so does that mean I'm a runner now? Well, don't fear, folks, I won't be changing my blog name. I still don't feel like I'm a runner and I'm not sure that the pace of this last race is repeatable. We'll see. Right now, still sore and recovering, I don't feel very confident in myself.

What is my next endeavor? I don't know. I'd like to keep my miles up but I think I'll need something to keep my motivated to do the miles. I think I might have to do another fall half...

Glass City (half) Marathon Report

First thing, I misspoke in my last post on what my last goal was. It was one that I thought was totally unachievable. My last goal was a 9:59 pace which I said would be sub 2 hours, but I was wrong.A 9:59 pace would put me at sub 2:10.

So how did the race go? The weather was just about perfect. It was about 40 degrees at the start. Hubby dropped me off, since we were running a little later than we wanted, so I could warm up. We were meeting some of our training buddies for a picture before the race and since he wasn't running he took his time. His plan was to meet his dad and take the kids around the course on his bike (with the trail-a-bike and the bike trailer) so they could see me.

After the photo op, I went and used the porta-potties and went to find the pace group where I wanted to start off with. First I found some people I work with and stood with them for a while, wishing them luck. Then I saw some of our other training buddies and wished them luck. They paced themselves behind me and I started to wonder if I placed myself too far in the front. All of my long training runs were paced around 10:40/mile. I placed myself with the 10:00 pace group. What was I thinking?

Pretty soon the race was starting. I was running my own race and told myself not to go out too fast. That sub 10:00 goal was in the back of head the whole time. So, when I started off running lower than that, I didn't give in and didn't slow down. I was feeling pretty good. Around mile 5 is when I started to realize that I was pushing it pretty hard. I really had to control my breathing more than anything at this point. I was still feeling good, but knew I was pushing it and that I might have problems later.

The last time I saw Hubby and kids before the finish line was between mile 10 and 11 (I think). It was after a few mile stretch on a bike bath from a metropark back to the college campus. This was rough because it was all straight, no major scenery changes (we saw a fence on one side and trees on the other), and it was difficult to have many spectators--they were definitely few and far between here. So when I saw them, I started to get emotional and teary-eyed. I'm such a girl....

After I saw them, my breathing started to get difficult. I have asthma, so I could start to feel it straining and a bit of a wheeze. I had to work through it and control my breathing here. I wanted to give up. Between my breathing and just overall exhaustion, I wasn't sure I'd be able to finish. But I knew I couldn't quit either. I kept trucking along.

Finally the campus was back in site, but as I was approaching, the two friends from work that I saw at the starting line passed me pretty easily. That was a downer for me. I really wanted to beat them but when they passed me, I wanted to quit so bad. I still kept trucking away and pushing myself to finish.

The wind started to pick up here, and we were out in the open from about mile 12 on. I started to get chilly, even after 12 miles of running. Luckily, there was a nice downhill at one point and we were able to get the momentum going for the last 1/4 mile.

One of the best things about the run was the support on the course from our training buddies. Along with Hubby and the kids, they also placed themselves around the course to see their loved ones, but also to offer support for their training buddies. It definitely made it easier to keep going. Every time I ran past someone, I looked down at my Garmin and noticed I was going way faster than I should have been. But it definitely was a motivation.

I used two gels on my run. The first one, I almost forgot about, I was feeling so well. I took the first one at 5 miles and the second one at 9 or 10, I think. I made myself take water at every water stop, even if it was just a sip to get my lips moist, or clean the gels from my cheeks :) I do have to say the course had plenty of water stops. They were set up just about every 2 miles. Unfortunately, gels were not available until mile 17, so it was a good thing I brought my own.

So how did I do? Did I keep you in suspense long enough? Well, my first goal was to beat my time from the half last year n Cleveland, which was 2:27:02. Beat it? Check. Second goal was to get 2:15:00. Beat it? Check. My totally unattainable, unrealistic goal was to get a sub 10:00 pace, which would put me sub 2:10:00. Beat it? Smashed it! Okay, no smashed, but I beat it! My time officially was 2:09:53! I'm still in shock!

I feel completely different after this race than I did last year. I couldn't move when I was done. I got my medal and my mug and dropped down on football field because I couldn't move. Then I was a afraid I wouldn't be able to get up, so I started stretching a little. I figured I'd better go find Hubby, so I had to get up, but I'm still sore two days later... I need to go for a recovery run, but yesterday's was a major fail (went out too close after a big meal, tried treadmill) and today's scheduled didn't work out so I'll have to go tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Last Week!

Well, less than a week to go before my second half marathon! I'm super excited. I can't wait to see what I can do this year. I really have no idea what to expect. The training runs we've been doing have been in a 10:40 pace on average. There were some of the runs that part of them were sub 10 minutes and I was feeling pretty good. So, what are my goals?

Goal #1: Beat my time from last year--2:27:02. I think that's pretty doable (pace of 10:14)
Goal #2: 2:19:59
Goal #3: 2:14:59
Goal #4--pretty optimistic and probably unrealistic--1:59:59. I would be ecstatic. This is a 9:59 pace.

In talking with hubby this weekend, I was trying to decide what my realistic goals were. He's the one that put the goal #4 in my head and thinks it's doable. Why does he have more confidence in me than I do? He thinks I can do it, I do not... One thing we discussed is putting ourselves out of our comfort zones and pushing ourselves. I realized that I don't really do that when I run. I'm more worried about saving my energy so I can get through the run. Last year when I ran my first half marathon, I had way too much energy left. So, on today's run I decided to push myself. I had 4 miles on the schedule, which would usually take me 40-45 minutes. When running myself I tend to run slower, so it is closer to an 11:00 pace. Today, I killed it! I had a pace of 9:38 and ran it in less than 39 minutes! Someone told me that under a 10:00/mile pace means that I'm a runner! Does that mean I need to change the name of my blog?? :)

I really don't think that I'll be able to go under 10:00 on Sunday. I'm being realistic, not pessimistic. We'll see what happens. As long as I beat one of my goals, I'll be happy.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Less Than Three Weeks...

Well, my second half marathon is in less than three weeks. This past weekend I had 12 miles on the schedule. I knew it was going to be tough because I had to do it myself, but I didn't realize HOW tough. It was really slow going. At the beginning I blamed it on the wind, but once I changed directions (about the halfway mark) it was still pretty slow. My knees were bothering me, my hips were tight and I was exhausted. I pushed my way through it and finished, but it was not pretty. My calves are still pretty sore from the run. I rode my bike on the trainer yesterday and knocked out 5.5 today.

This is my last big week before the race. I have 12 on the schedule for this weekend, but I'm ahead of schedule so I'm not sure what I'm going to do. After this weekend is the much anticipated taper weeks! I'm excited to see what I can do this race cycle!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

It's Been a While

It's been way too long since I last posted... The weather around here has been so crazy. It's March and it's been 80 degrees already. Last night we had a frost warning, tomorrow it's going to be 75. Gotta love Ohio...

I got some new shoes, and I love them! They are Saucony Kinvara3, and I LOVE them! And they are purple, to boot! . These have more of a low-rise heel than the entry level running shoes I had before. I feel like I've graduated on to bigger and better things! I took them on their inaugural run the night I got them and did a short 2 miles. They felt great, so I did the next long run in them--10 miles. Awesome!

The next thing that I've done, that I'm pretty proud of is my long run. This last weekend I was not able to run with the girls that I've been training with so I had to run myself. I had 11 miles on the schedule so this was perfect. My 11 mile route that I did last year I felt like I failed. I ran the whole thing but had to stop several times. This was going to be my redemption run. The first 8 miles felt really great. The mental game was good and everything. I took a GU at 5 miles and at 8 miles the mental game started to get me. I knew I had a 5k to go and tried to psych myself up. It didn't work. I thought maybe I needed more than mental so I took another GU at 8.25 miles. At 9 miles I got back onto a trail that has been beating me up so that was part of the mental issues. Then the last obstacle was a steep uphill to get to the road. I kept telling myself I was going to walk it, then run at the top, further than I had planned. At the last minute I felt great enough to continue running up the hill and across the main road. After my watch beeped at 11 miles, I kept going. I was still 1/2 mile from home and on a busy road. I continued running to 11.25 miles and conquered the mileage by myself! I was so proud!

I'm glad I ran myself. I've been running with "the girls" but I don't plan on staying with them during the half marathon. I want to run my own race. Since I'd been training with them, I didn't know if I could run by myself this go 'round, but now I know I can!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Couple of Race Updates

Just after I posted my last post, I ran a 5k that weekend. We've had such mild weather here that I was looking forward to nice weather. The race was on Saturday... I woke up in the middle of the night because the wind was so strong, I could hear it howling outside. I said to my husband "if this continues, I'm not running in the morning." His response was "but you already paid for it." Deep down I knew I had to run the race, not only because I paid for it, but I have to get used to running in all conditions, in case the half marathon has not-so-good conditions. So, I got up in the morning expecting to go myself. The weather was so bad, and it had snowed that hubby decided we were all going to go because he didn't want me to drive myself (it was probably a 40 minute drive on a good day). The thermometer said 13 degrees--I had never run in anything below 20 degrees, and I was scared. I hate to be cold. I bundled up good--gloves, earband, beanie, neck gator, extra layers. I even had my Yak Trax--my first time in a race. The race actually went really well. I was less than a minute off my PR time, which was awesome, considering the weather and snow. I ended up overdressing on the layers. I was happy to have the extra socks, earband, beanie, and gloves, but my core was really warm. I was actually grateful for some wind to cool me off (and there was PLENTY of wind). Hubby and kiddos waited in the car for me, right next to the finish line so they could stay warm, but watch.

The next race was just this last Sunday. Our local Roadrunners group was holding a Cookie Classic. It was a straight out-and-back but at the turnaround you had to eat 2 cookies then you could head back. Perfect, right? That was not the highlight of my run. No... Hubby was running this one, so I had the kids with me. #1 and #2 were asked if they wanted to run the race, since they are always interested in running. #1 ran cross country last fall, so he has some experience running. #2 is 3 years old and has run probably a mile, very slowly (her legs are really short), but she kept telling me she wanted to do 3 miles. I decided I would push #3 in the double jogging stroller and run with the two older kids. I'd have the double stroller because I just knew someone would want a ride. We went out at the back of the pack, but not quite last. As we went out, we were pretty slow but we were still running. #1 went ahead of us a little, but still in sight. #2 held my hand as I pushed the stroller and I went her speed. The three of us ran like that for about 1.5 miles, until it was time for a little walk break. Shortly after we started walking though, we could see the turnaround right around a curve so we started jogging again--remember, there were cookies involved :) I downed my two cookies, while all THREE kids each had one cookie.

We turned around and started running. Around mile 2, hubby came back to meet us and encourage us to keep going. He took #1 and #3 in the stroller and took off. This allowed me to focus on jogging with #2. She continued to hold my hand the whole time, which I loved. She continued running til about 2.5 miles and couldn't do it anymore. She started walking because her side and ankle hurt. I just kept encouraging her (and #1, when he was still with me) and telling her she was doing awesome. On and off she would jog, then walk a little bit. Around 2.75, I think she had enough. She stopped and asked me to pick her up. I didn't want to because I wanted her to get her 3 miles in. Finally when she was at her wit's end, I picked her up and started jogging with her. Not much further, hubby came back with the jogging stroller and asked if #2 wanted a ride. She said no. At that point, I put her down because we could see the finish line. I encouraged her to finish it out. Still holding my hand she started jogging.. then she picked it up and went faster, then she went faster. We crossed the finish line together in less than one hour (including the cookie stop)! It was amazing! Both my kids did it--#1 at age 6, and #2 at age 3, completed a 5k! I carried my girl for less than 1/10 of a mile so she did her three miles. Amazing! This here, is a proud mama. It was so much fun, and I'm so glad we could share this together as a family.

On a side note, I ran 8 miles on Saturday morning with some friends. That's the furthest in this training cycle so far. It went pretty well, much easier than last year. A couple things could contribute to that--1. I was running with friends this year, where I was running myself last year, and 2. I know that I've already done this distance and further so I know I can do it again. Special bonus on the run--we saw a beaver! I've never seen a live one before and this one ran right across from us, less than 5 feet away. Pretty cool, the things you can see in the solitude of a run.

This weekend of runs has been pretty amazing! I'm still on a high...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ahead of Schedule

Last week's training called for 3.5 miles on Tuesday and Thursday, then 5.5 on Saturday or Sunday. I used Monday last week to redeem myself on last weekend's 5 miler, so I ran on Wednesday too. I think my legs are finally getting the hang of the new style of running. I still go back and forth between the balls of my feet and not. I think I can do this!

I went and ran on Sunday with some of the slower girls in our training group. It's so nice to have someone to train with and keep you going. Only problem is that I was torn between keeping my own pace and keeping with the girls. I finally had to tell myself to do what I have to do. Luckily one of them stayed with me too. The other girls are involved in a training plan with the local marathon training group, and their plan is based on time--mine is based on miles. They had to do 1:10 and I had 5.5 miles. We started off not knowing what distance/time we were going to run. The other girls were just going to see how they felt. The trail we took is a towpath trail along the river, so it was an out-and-back. We ended up turning around at 3 miles (not sure of the time, though) and doing a total of 6 miles, in 1:06. It was an 11:03 pace, which is great for us/me for a long run. So, I'm a week ahead of schedule in my training but I'm cool with that. We'll see how things go, I might need an rest week in there somewhere :)

This week is a stepback week. I have 3 miles on the schedule for Tuesday and Thursday, then a 5k race on the weekend. I haven't done a 5k in a while, so I'm pretty excited to see what I can do.

I also won a workout DVD from Fit Bottomed Mommas (thank you!). It was a Biggest Loser At-Home Challenge. I've done it twice already and really like the concept. There are 5 minutes of warm up, 10 minutes of Phase 1 Cardio, 10 minutes of Phase 1 Strength Training, then 10 minutes of Phase 2 Cardio, then 10 minutes of Phase 2 Strength, then 5 minute cool down. I was really sore after day 1, but I'm really starting to like it. It might become my "off day" training.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Redemption Runs Rock!

This last weekend's run was a disaster. I was supposed to run 5 miles. I went about 10am on Saturday and was pretty excited. I was going myself and was actually pretty excited. I put on my trail shoes to get traction in the 1/2 inch of snow and set out. I was feeling pretty good and running on the balls of my feet as much as I could. Unfortunately this was probably a mistake. I was going to go out 1.5 miles, turn around and go past the car for a mile, then come back. At the 2 mile point, I was in so much pain in my calves that I couldn't go any further. I tried leaning back on my feet, but then my ankle hurt. Both types of pain hurt so bad that I couldn't run anymore. I walked the next mile back to my car... in the mean time I was determined not to give up on the mileage, just the run. I was going to do 5 miles somehow but it would just take longer. I stopped at the car to text hubby and let him know I'd be a little longer than planned and told him why. My frustration got to me and I locked my keys in my car. Luckily I still had the phone with me. Texted hubby and told him I'd need the spare key in about a 1/2 hour. I ended up finished the 5 miles with several unsuccessful attempts to run.

Today I had 3.5 miles on the schedule. It was 58 degrees, on January 31st so I took advantage of the beautiful day. It was a little windy but I was bound and determined to re-do the run from Saturday. I had my route picked and everything. This time, I went back and forth between running on the balls of my feet and running more flat-footed. I tried to do more on the balls of my feet but when my calves started to hurt, I'd fall to flat-footed and run like that for a while. Unfortunately my ankle was bothering me but I pushed through it. I wanted to quit so bad, but I I did it! 5 miles in the bag! Yes! It felt so good!

If I can do it, you can do it too. Set your mind to complete your goal and you can do it!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Changed Form and PT

I've been getting antsy while trying to NOT run before I went to PT this week. It's a new year and our running group has a weight loss challenge going. Running has been a great source of weight loss for me and I've been anxious to get back to it. Tuesday last week I decided to give it a go again. It was a nice day so I ran outside. I was able to eke out one mile and was disappointed. I walked for 1/4 mile than decided to attempt running again, despite the pain in my ankle. But this time, I thought I might try the proper running form. See, I've never actually been taught how to run or had someone study my form. I've been told that you're supposed to run on the balls of your feet towards your toes but I've never paid any attention to it since it worked for me the way I was running (probably landing flat footed). Once I started running again, the ankle was pain-free while I ran on my toes. My calves were killing me, but in a good way.

Then I decided to run a second day during the week, which has always been my downfall with the ankle. Thursday, I did the same thing, correcting my running form and other than the calf pain, I felt great! My ankle was virtually pain-free. Same thing on Sunday when I ran. I was able to run 3 miles, 3 days this week. I'm ecstatic! Perfect timing because it's the first week of my half marathon training plan.

Today I saw a PT for my ankle pain. I explained to him what I was feeling, when and where. He poked and prodded, twisted and turned, I walked and balanced. It appears my Achilles' tendon on my right leg is tighter than the other one and not as flexible. On top of that, my right leg seemed a bit shorter, but turns out my hip was rotated back, making it appear to be shorter and out of alignment. He did some adjustments for that, gave me some stretches and strengthening exercises and gave me the okay to run on my own. I go back next week and hopefully things will get better and continue to improve.

By the way, the foam roller is awesome. My calves were killing me after Thursday's run. I didn't do anything about it but after Sunday's run I used the foam roller. Less than 10 minutes, but it worked wonders! No lasting effects from the run. We'll see what tomorrow's run brings.