Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Crazylegs Race Recap

A funny story first--they posted the times for Crazylegs yesterday and my boyfriend, J (I'm tired of calling him "boyfriend") and I got the exact same time! We weren't running together at all--in fact, he started probably about 15 minutes or so after me.

Here's the race shirt from this year:

Better than it's been in previous years.

The race ended up being a lot of fun. I didn't get to run with my friend from work--it was a little cold and I wanted to get going as soon as possible. My parents, sister and her boyfriend came up for the run as well...it's kinda become a family thing. My parents were walking it and my sister and boyfriend were running it in the same wave as me. I wore my new booty shorts with my new long-sleeve running shirt and a t-shirt. It was pretty exciting to have some new clothes to wear!

The race started at the Capitol square, just a few blocks from my apartment. You'd think that being so close we'd have definitely been on time, but by the time we got there, they were already sending out wave G. The thing, though, is that wave G was barely the beginning--the waves went all the way to KK! They set a new record for participation--almost 20,000 people! It never rained, but it was a little cold and windy. I wanted to jump in to an earlier wave, but I didn't want to disqualified and lose my opportunity for some free beer at the end. We patiently waited until wave Y came around and then went through the gates to join our group. As we headed towards the starting line, they had some of the Badger football players giving high-fives to the people as they walked through. They were huge! These guys were all at least 6'5" and I'm pretty sure at least one of the guy's hands was bigger than my head. It definitely helped pump me up going into the starting line.
We lined up at the starting line and waited for our turn to start. They had to space out the waves since they hadn't completely shut down the first road we ran across. Finally, though, we were off! My sister ran cross country in high school and, despite her claims of not running a lot recently, she's got a pretty good pace. She's always told me that I can probably run faster than I think, so I was anxious to see if I could keep up with her. I also got a few tips about my running--loosening up my form and "letting go" on the downhills. The first mile included running down Frat (and sorority) Row and the guys definitely came out in full force. At one of the frats, the guys were standing outside in their boxers and one guy wore a Speedo! It was great to see everyone in Madison out to cheer on the runners! We eventually came to the first mile marker way before I expected. I looked at my watch and it said 8:30! That's definitely the fastest mile I've ran since my one year of track.
The end of that mile, though, meant the crazy awful monster that is Observatory. I tried to keep up with my sister, but I'm not quite used to those speeds (8:30!). The first part of the hill wasn't too bad, just a long gradual incline. The next half, though, is where legs are killed. It's so much steeper and it curves around so that you can't see the end. I walked up that part of the hill--if I had run, I'm not sure my legs would've lasted the whole race. Fortunately, there was a nice downhill after that hill--which immediately led to another big (but short) uphill and then another big downhill. This is the hardest part of the race and it's nice to just get it done at the beginning.
So, then came the out and back near the UW Hospital. Even though I've done the race before, I once again got sucked in to thinking that the turn around was earlier than it really was. As I was coming back in from the out and back I looked at my watch and started to wonder where the hell mile 3 was. I had already been running for over 30 minutes and started to wonder if I had slowed waaay down. I tried thinking back through the out and back to figure out if I had just missed it, but I couldn't remember seeing one at all. I focused on finding people ahead of me that looked like they were running about my pace or slower and worked on passing them. I didn't push it too hard, but I needed a goal to make sure that I kept moving. I also kinda wanted to walk, but I kept telling myself that I'd walk after I passed "blue headband girl", "old man", or "talkative sorority girls". They had one water station during the run, so I took advantage of it and tried out my water station skills. It went pretty well--I almost missed grabbing the cup, but once I got it, I pinched it in half to make it easier to get the water in and took a sip. And then immediately threw it. I didn't want to push my luck and get water all over.
Eventually I was heading towards the stadium and I saw a mile marker coming up. I couldn't tell whether it was 3 or 4, and when I looked at my watch it said 38 minutes. My mind quickly went to work trying to calculate what pace I must be running if it was only mile 3. Eventually the mile marker came into view and, thank God, it was mile 4. Just 0.97 miles to go. As I got closer to the stadium, there was a guy out on the street who was playing the Rocky theme song. Apparently, he's been doing this since 1989 and comes every year to cheer on the runners. Finally I got to Breese Terrace, the street that runs along Camp Randall. It has a slight incline at first, but as soon as I got to the top of it, I kicked it into high gear and started going full out. I passed a bunch of people and flew down the chute into the Camp Randall. The finish line is right at the 50-yard line. Almost right when I passed the line, I ran into my sister and we started looking for the rest of our family.
As for my goals--I'd say I did pretty well. Except for the first mile, I really didn't push that hard. In fact, even the first mile wasn't horrible. I felt really proud of how I finished, even though I walked, because I came in at 48:03! It was under 10:00/mile which has been my "goal" pace during my practice runs. I didn't run the whole thing (monster Observatory took care of that), but I made sure to keep running even when I wanted to walk. I feel really confident about the half-marathon now--I was able to pace myself pretty well so that I finished tired, but strong.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Crazylegs Goals

This is the first time I've ever really put some thought into goals for a race. Usually I just go out and run it--occasionally, I dread it and wonder why I ever thought to sign up (kinda like buyer's remorse--racer's remorse?). Anyways, Crazylegs is upon me. It's an 8K (4.97) run through downtown Madison, mostly the UW-Madison campus, that benefits the UW-Madison Athletics Department. I last ran it two years ago and was not ready. I had maybe run 3 miles a few times before the run and I actually thought I could drink (a lot) the night before and run. No, I felt like shit. And I had to pretend I was just "tired" because how do you explain to your 10 year old cousin that you have a hangover and would love to be in a dark, quiet room to sleep?

I'll be honest, the route isn't my favorite. It starts with a decent hill right off the bat, and within a mile, you run up one of the steepest, longest, curviest hills in Madison. The beast that is Observatory Hill. Because of all the curving, you can never quite tell when you'll be done. Then you run down the backside of the hill and straight up another and down that one. The view is great since the path is right along Lake Mendota, but the hills blow. Then, near the end of the race (around mile 3.5) is the awful out and back. I hate out and backs. I want to feel like I'm going somewhere!

The great thing, though, is that you finish by crossing into Camp Randall (the UW-Madison Badgers football stadium). They have a band playing, free beer (it is Wisconsin after all), and food. As long as the rain stays away tomorrow, it could be a good time to relax and hang out before lunch. Otherwise, it'll be a mad dash back to my apartment.

Back to the goals for this run, though.
  • First, I want to enjoy it and have fun. I'm not really going to push it, especially since my left shin has been hurting. I'm mainly using this as just another training run that I get to do with thousands of other people.
  • I will end feeling good and knowing that I ran decently.
  • I want to run the entire thing (should be easy now that I've been actually training).
I'll probably end up running about a 10:30/mile pace. Faster if the rain does come. I'm also running with a friend from work, so I'm looking forward to just chatting while running. Maybe this will help me figure out if I really could be a social runner...


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It's official!

Today I signed up for my second half-marathon--the Madison Mini-Marathon. I still can't believe that I'm now going to do two half-marathons during this summer--and just last year running 13.1 miles wouldn't have only sounded ridiculous, it would've seemed impossible.

Of course, I haven't actually encountered the full 13.1 mile distance--but I've learned to love running again and I've really enjoyed the training. Having time set aside (most) nights of the week for myself has really helped my mood and has made me feel proud. Not that I really have any sort of obligations at night. I think it's just knowing that I can put myself first, that I'm doing something that makes me feel good, and that I'm making sure I stay healthy.

I'm looking forward to seeing whether (and how much) I'll be able to improve from the Madison Marathon to the Mini. We'll see how it goes!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Since when does 10 = 3?

I had another longest run ever this past weekend--10 miles. After the horror of my 9 mile run a couple weeks ago, I'd be lying if I said I was excited about this run. I was looking forward to it, but the memories of how painful my knees and hips were afterwards, not to mention the three-hour nausea, were there in the back of my mind asking, "are you really sure you want to do this to yourself AGAIN?"

And yes, I did. I had read a few articles during the last week about proper hydration and how important it is to not only replace the fluid lost through sweating, but also the electrolytes. I had always thought that I was covering the electrolytes by eating some Sharkies along the way, but I probably only ever ate 3 or 4 at most during the 9 miler--not quite enough to replace over an hour and a half worth of running. So, I did some shopping last Friday to stock up on my run day fuel. I have a hard time finding good sports drinks, though, because my stomach isn't such a fan of artificial sweeteners--drinking one will send me to the floor with crazy stomach cramps, which isn't something I wanted during the run. If a bottle listed "low calorie", "sugar free", or "diet" that's my immediate sign that they're not for me. I also ended up going through the ingredient lists (which I hate, I'm not that concerned with what's in my food usually) of every sports drink at Target to check that there wasn't anything ending with "-ame" or "-lose"--usually indicative of an artificial sweetner. Luckily I found one from Powerade--the ION4 (they seem really into the ION4...I couldn't get past it to their main website). Took a sip when I got home to test it out and the fruit punch was delicious!

The Madison Marathon is still about 5 weeks out, but I only have two more long runs to go (after this one), so I wanted to use Sunday's 10-mile run as a practice for the real thing, at least as far as sleep and food went. I had big plans to be responsible on Saturday when we went out for the Badger's Spring Football game and be home in time to make a good pasta dinner, relax and go to bed early. My plan completely failed when I tried to get a friend of mine drunk, even though he's got about 70 pounds on me. At least I was home early like I planned.

I set my alarm for 7am on Sunday and actually woke up feeling alright. I made a bagel with peanut butter and had some orange juice for breakfast while I plotted my route. It took me three attempts, but I finally came up with a route that met all of my requirements for the day: a) I had to be familiar with the majority of the route, b) it had to include parts of the Crazylegs race (except the awful out and back by the hospital and the Observatory Hill--no one needs to run that hill more than once a year) I'm doing on Saturday, and c) I had to finish .25 - .5 miles away from my apartment so that I would have a decent length cooldown. I was all set to leave with my Powerade in my Fuel Belt and my food--Gu and Sports Beans, both new to me. And then, I realized that Polly was dead. I needed to leave by 9:30 in order to meet a friend for a late lunch, so I charged her up for about 20 minutes and hoped that would be enough for 1.5-2 hours of running. And, I was off...

I don't remember much of the actual run, except that I really felt good the whole time. Things weren't getting too tight, so the urge to constantly check in and find out how far I had gone (and then how much was left) didn't really come until the end of the run when I wanted to find out what my pace was. I found some beautiful new areas to run through that go along yet another lake in Madison--Wingra Lake. And I did get a little lost near the end--one of my new areas had construction going on, but I feel pretty confident that I still did the full 10 miles. I kinda want to map it out just to check, so if I have time this week (ha!) maybe I'll do that.

The Sports Beans were pretty good. The after taste was a little strange, but nothing that wouldn't make me want them again. I was also trying Gu because they'll be handing it out at some of the water stops during the Madison Marathon and I figured that it'd be better to try them out before the real deal. I've had Gu once before--they handed it out with the goodie bags after a 5K that I did a few years ago. My friends and I tried it after the race and found it completely disgusting (not to mention unnecessary). But, the second try was much better. The consistency is kind of like slightly warmed canned frosting (think, like, Funfetti frosting) and the taste (I had the lemon-lime flavor) isn't terrible, but it's definitely an energy food. I did really like that I didn't need to chew it--my chewing is usually suspect under normal circumstances (I don't follow the Danny Tanner 25-chew rule) and while running, it's even more questionable. Since I could just swallow the Gu, I didn't need to worry about feeling sick because my food wasn't chewed.

By the time I got near the end of my run, I couldn't believe it. I felt like I had only run 3 miles. I had at least another mile in me, probably two or more. Sure, I was sore, but I wasn't curled up in a ball and shivering while forcing myself to eat some food (again, see here). I went home and had my usual post-workout drink, ate a Luna bar, and was so hungry for lunch (the huevos rancheros at Daisy's Cafe are awesome! and it's super cute there--if you're in Madison, I would definitely recommend it!).

I'm not sure how long the run took (major fail). I turned Polly on right away when I started my warmup, and forgot to stop her timer until 5 minutes after I got home. But, I could make a guess-timate. Door to door (plus the 5 minutes), it took me 2:04. So, subtract those 5 minutes and about 25 minutes for the warmup and cooldown, and (wait...what?) it comes out to 1:34, or an average 9:24/mile pace. That doesn't seem right. I know that near the end of my run, I was at a 9:40/mile pace (according to Polly). Maybe I really didn't run 10 miles...I'll have to check if my route change ended up shortening my run.

I made quite a few changes from my 9 mile run, so here are a few things that I think helped and made a HUGE improvement in how I felt at the end:
  • My last meal before the run was much closer to when I ran
  • Powerade (slightly watered down) instead of just water. More electrolytes and nutrition.
  • More breaks. During my 9 mile run, I stopped just twice for 45-60 seconds. This time, I stopped each time I ate a Sport Bean or had the Gu. These stops were 15-30 seconds and there were maybe two or three stops that were a minute. But even during short breaks, my legs got to recover and I actually ended up going faster and finishing stronger!
  • Drinking and eating earlier and often. In my past long runs, I've waited until after mile 3 to start drinking because I could do a 3 mile run without drinking--the difference is, during the 3 mile runs, once I hit 3 miles, I'm done and can let my body recover. This time I started drinking once I got to a half mile. To make sure I kept drinking regularly, I would take a few sips every other song. I also started eating before mile 5 (old way) since by then, my body might not have time to digest and send out the fuel.
  • More food. Okay, so I still only had maybe 5 sports beans, but I also had the Gu. I think in my other runs I was eating 2-3 Sharkies throughout the whole run. And I really could feel a difference in my body and energy level after the Gu.
Today is the THREE YEAR anniversary for my boyfriend and me. I can't believe it's already been that long. So, no run today, but a night out on the town with this wonderful guy.


Friday, April 16, 2010

The Farmer's Market Returns!

The Dane County Farmer's Market is starting it's outdoor season this weekend and I couldn't be more excited! The market is set up around the State Capitol building, which I think is one of the most beautiful spots in Madison.

Imagine walking around this building for an hour or two. And eating at the same time.

This farmer's market is the COUNTRY's largest producer-only farmer's market. That means that only items produced in Dane County can be sold at the market and the actual producer has to be there selling the products. It's amazing because then when I have a question about how to keep my newly-purchased herbs from dying in a week, the farmer is right there to explain it to me.

Granted, since it is still mid-April and I'm in Wisconsin, there won't be a ton of produce yet (that'll get going in a couple months), but there are usually a lot of vegetables and lettuce, flowers, fresh meat and eggs, and lots of bakery. My main focus for this weekend's trip will be some goat cheese. I don't know what really got me started on this kick, but I had a salad in Miami with goat cheese and I want more. Last summer I stopped at one booth to sample some and it was creamy deliciousness. Hopefully she'll be back for this first week.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Let's Do Another!

I don't quite have my first half marathon under my belt, but I'm going to sign up for another one! I've been looking around for other races, but somehow, even though it's only mid-April, my summer weekends have become wildly packed with just a few spare weekends. Out of the two possible weekends I could do another run during the summer I found one! And it's in Madison!

It's the second annual Madison Mini-Marathon. The course (well, last year's course) looks like a great route. The race starts and ends at the Union, which is THE place to be during a summer in Madison--right on Lake Mendota with a huge terrace to sit outside and enjoy a pint (or pitcher) of beer. The course then goes through downtown Madison and along different Madison highlights--the state capital building, Camp Randall, the Arboretum, and, of course, Lake Mendota. They're going to have bands that play along the route (love that!) and you get a free beer at the end. Hopefully by then I'll be willing to eat and drink after a long run.

Another great highlight--I might become a social runner! Fleet Feet in Madison is organizing a training program (that includes the Madison Mini race fee). They'll send weekly e-mails with training details and then there'll be a group long run every Sunday. This seems like a great way for me to meet some other runners in Madison and maybe it'll even get me moving a little faster. Time isn't really one of my major goals for the Madison half-marathon, but I have a feeling I could probably go faster. I've never ended a run feeling out of breath or having my muscles hurt...just the joints. So, some fellow runners might have some tips for me to get rid of the knee/hip pains and help me speed up my run! Win-win in my book.

Oh, and one more great thing about this race--they also have a 5K. Perfect for people who want to run in the race, but are looking for a shorter distance. Which means, the boyfriend might join in too!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

That Magical Runner's High

Since Miami, my runs have seemed to easier. Maybe the heat and humidity loosened things up...maybe only running twice (3 miles each) in a week gave my knees/hips a much needed break.

Yesterday I had a 3 mile run and it was one of those magical, straight from heaven runs. The uphills felt like it was flat and level, the flat areas seemed like downhills, and I flew down the hills. I'm not even sure when I reached the one mile mark, but I certainly wasn't feeling bored. My pace felt good the entire time (I didn't have a watch or Polly's Nike+ attachment) and my knees held their own. I finished and felt like I could do the whole run again. It was only at the very end that my left shoulder started to burn--not sure where that came from, but once I moved my arm around it went away. I was probably just keeping my arms too stiff.

I have another 3 mile run tomorrow and I'm really excited to see how it goes. Unfortunately the weather doesn't look like it's going to cooperate, so I'll probably have to go to the gym...

Also! I got some new running clothes today. Using some of the tips from Chic Runner, I went in search of booty shorts. I have been wanting a pair of great shorts since I started running again--most of my shorts are a bit boyish. You know the style--sort of long, baggy, low crotch. Not attractive. I doubt I'll try them out at the gym. It's a lot easier to possibly look foolish if I know that the people will likely see me for a maximum of a minute.


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hitting the wall--and a longer run

I've been dreading the run that I eventually hit the wall. And now it's happened twice this week. This ended up being really long.

The first one I'm kinda embarrassed about--the run should have been pretty easy overall. The plan was to run the first mile as hard as I could. In Jeff Galloway's language, this was a "magic mile" run--the time it took me to run this mile would then be plugged into a formula to calculate how long I could run a half-marathon on my best day. After running consistently for the past 4 months, I really expected this to be a no-brainer. Before the run, I was playing with the formula and plugging in all sorts of numbers--I was giddy with the idea that I could run a mile in under 9 minutes. Ideally, I was planning on 8:30 minutes. After all, if I could run 8 miles a few weeks ago at a 10:40/minute pace, I could definitely cut off two minutes and push it harder for just one little mile--right? Oh, how wrong I was.

It started off with a little self-sabotage. I had planned on eating some breakfast Sunday morning, wait an hour or so for it to digest and then head out. The day was looking warm and sunny from inside, but wunderground.com was telling me that with the windchill it was only 34 degrees when I ate breakfast. I decided that I'd wait out the weather until it was at least 40 degrees with the windchill. That wait meant I waited an extra 2 hours before running and during that time I started to get hungry. Sadly, I don't have many snacks at home to limit my snacking, but I had recently bought some chocolate covered pretzels. I remembered during track (my one season in it) that pretzels were supposed to be a good snack to eat before a run--in fact some girls used to swear you could eat as many pretzels as you want before a run and not throw up. A little chocolate on top of those pretzels wouldn't do anything. And it was dark chocolate, the healthy kind. So, so wrong. Again.

The weather finally warmed up to an acceptable temperature and I geared up. I've been struggling during my outdoor runs to figure out how warmly I need to dress. I've got the bottoms figured out, but I've been gradually removing layers on top to find out what I need. Sunday was pretty good--some running tights (not insulated) and shorts with a long sleeve and short sleeve t-shirt. Probably didn't need both shirts, but it was nice during the warm-up walk to have the extra layer.

So, I walk to my starting point for the first mile. I had mapped out a mile that was flat and, although I had to cross some roads, none of them were busy and I knew I'd be able to keep running through. I hit the start button on my watch and took off. At a sprint. I slowed it down a bit, but before I even reached a quarter mile I knew I was in trouble. I could feel my stomach tightening up around those ridiculous chocolate pretzels, but I tried to just keep pushing it. "Just keep moving" became my mantra. Then a little after a half mile, I could feel that I was going to vomit soon if I didn't stop. I walked for a few minutes and then ran the last 0.2 mile. Very slowly. I finished that mile in 10:45. It sucked. I wanted to just walk back home and forget the other two miles I was supposed to run. I had had such high expectations for this run, I was going to prove to myself how far I had come in training and I blew it over some pretzels and lack of pacing. I did jog/run the last two miles (once I stopped feeling nauseous) and those went just fine. Lesson learned--start off slower than you think, no matter the distance.


Then the big run happened yesterday. A 9 mile run--which actually ended up being closer to 9.5 miles, thanks to Polly's inability to accurately measure distance after about 7 or 8 miles.

I'll admit, I was nervous about this run. Sure, I had run 8 miles two weeks ago, but the Sunday vomit run didn't help my confidence. Plus, since that 8 mile run, my right knee and shins have been a bit more of a problem than usual. A few runs last week were cut short due to the shin pain (I'm not ready to call them shin splints). I wasn't sure how my legs and knees would handle such a long run.

As I drove home from work, I noticed that the bike path around Lake Monona had also been closed off due to the construction going on. Part of my planned run had involved this path, so I had to map a new run when I got home. My goal was to be out running before 5:30 so that I could be done by 7ish, before the sun set. I quickly got changed and packed up my runner fanny pack with some full bottles of water, Sharkies, and my written map. Leaving my building, I was feeling good. I had finally dressed appropriately for the weather (an amazing 65 degrees! in March!) with just shorts and a t-shirt.

The first mile was rough, but I've learned to expect that. I need a mile or two to settle in and find my stride. I was feeling good, but I knew were the third mile was and it seemed to be taking forever to get there. My music is partially to blame...I've gotten used to the order. However, when I checked in with Polly, I was at my normal pace.

Miles 3-4 were awesome. The slight tweak in my shin was gone, I was feeling good. I took a short walking break right before the end of mile 3. I figured one walking break every third of the run was a good plan.

I was still feeling good through about mile 6. I had been sailing along and even though my knee was starting to bother me a little, it wasn't enough to make me worried. I stopped again for another quick walk break right after mile 7. I needed it. I drank some water and ate a couple Sharkies, but once I started running I knew I was going to be done soon. I could almost feel each step vibrate up my knees along my IT band to my hips. My knees and hips didn't really hurt, they were sore and tender. I knew the area I was running in and that I helped a lot. I would tell myself to just keep running until I reached the next street to turn on and then push again until the next street. Soon the end seemed in sight.

I forgot about the hill.

When mapping my run, I thought the last road I had chosen was flat. It was near the Capital (a hilly area), but I really thought it was flat. Well, driving and running give two different impressions. There was a huge uphill and I wasn't sure how I'd make it up without stopping, but I was so close to the end, I wanted to just keep running.

Suddenly, this "angel boy" comes running by me. I expected to be passed since I was going so slowly, but as soon as he was about 6 feet or so in front of me he seemed to slow down and run at my pace. It was like he was running along to motivate me up that hill--the natural competiveness as a runner came out and I wanted to keep up with him. Near the top of the hill, though, I kept moving more and more slowly, I just couldn't keep up and I expected him to fade away. But he stopped--and started walking! Now I was able to keep running, telling myself to try to catch up or maybe even pass him before he started running. And soon I ran right by him. Perfect. Now I had just a few more blocks until the end of my run. I thought.

Polly (I've named my iPod nano, not a second personality) wasn't ready, though. When I got to the end of my nine miles, according to mapmyrun.com (and Google), it claimed I was only at 8.55 miles. I have read that the Nike+ system tends to fail at accurately measuring distances beyond 6 or 7 miles, but I wanted to hear that I had run 9 miles. So, I kept going. I pushed the button every 30-45 seconds to find out how much further. My hips felt so tight it was tough to keep moving my legs forward. But I kept going--might've cut off a few cars in the process and given them angry stares, but I was on a mission to finish this run and I wasn't about to let some old lady cut me off and ruin my pace.

Finally, I pushed the button and heard that I had run 9.01 miles. It had taken me 1:39, but since that was really 9.2 miles, my pace ended up being 10:45/mile. I'll take it.

I felt vomity at various points during the walk home, but held it together. I quickly made my juice/sparkling water/salt drink and kept walking around my apartment. I wasn't hungry at all and still felt sick, but I made myself eat some dry Rice Krispies. I was starting to feel sleepy and cold--probably not good signs--so once I had finished the juice, it was time for the ice bath. This actually helped a lot. I'm not sure if the freezing cold water shocked me back, or just getting up and moving around a little was all I needed, but I wasn't tired anymore and started to crave french fries and all sorts of food. I decided that I needed to eat some good "real" food first before I could have fries--fortunately, I had some leftovers to eat. Jason came over to check-in on me and drove me to McDonald's for some fries. I inhaled them (while watching "The Biggest Loser"...I felt a little guilty and then remembered how awesome my fries tasted) and pounded some more water.

Today I've felt pretty good. At times I've had the feeling of "am I hungry or sick?". My knees are a little stiff when I get up after sitting for awhile, but my legs don't hurt at all. Yay, ice baths! And now I have two and a half weeks before my next long run.

And less than 24 hours til I'm in Miami!!


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Gearing up for 9 miles

I'm going to Miami...bienvenido a Miami...

Yes, I'm headed to Miami for a spring break with my family in just two days! I'm so excited to finally feel a warm sun and not feel a chill off of the lakes that just recently melted. We're going for 6 days of beach fun--well, probably more pool fun. I'm not a big fan of getting sand all over, but with enough persuasion I can eventually spend all day in the ocean. It's just that sand in between the pool and ocean that are the problem.

This trip challenged me, though, to rethink my training schedule. If I follow it strictly, I'd have a 9 mile run on Easter Sunday. And that's not going to happen. First, hello, it's Easter; I plan on eating good food and candy all day. Second, it's supposed to be in the high 70's down there and my body hasn't adjusted to warm weather running yet. And third, um, did I mention that I'm on vacation? Although running and I have definitely formed a closer relationship in the past few months, I don't want to spend over an hour and a half with it.

So, I looked at my schedule for this week and decided I'd just move the 9 mile run up to today. Probably start running in a little over an hour from now. After getting the 8 miler done a couple weeks ago, 9 doesn't seem as scary. It's only one more mile than last time and although I was hurting a bit at the end of the run, I feel like I had another mile in me (or have I just forgotten the pain after 2 weeks? maybe running is like childbirth.). In any case, I'll find out soon. I bought a big bag of ice during my grocery shopping yesterday and I'm not going to be a pansy again--there's going to be some freezing water in that tub and at least 3 pounds of ice.

Also...I have a delivery coming (hopefully) today! After my 8 mile run, I could literally feel my IT band stretching with every step (and every move you make...creepy stalker song). So I ordered a foam roller, conveniently profiled in a Real Simple article I had read in their April issue. I'm looking forward to using that baby a little bit tomorrow.

Maybe I've been watching too many true life crime shows lately (they make great Sunday afternoon TV watching), but a lot of them seem to have been about runners going missing. Madison isn't an especially high crime area and I make sure to run in areas with lots of other people around, but you never know. So, today I e-mailed my route to Jason (the boyfriend) with a planned call time. Probably not a bad idea to do this more often in for future runs.

Hopefully this oatmeal will finish being digested and leave my stomach in the next 45 minutes. Otherwise, at least it was just oatmeal and strawberries...that won't taste so bad again...


Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Longest Run

Wow, it's been a looong time since I posted here. I'd like to say that life got in the way, but it didn't. I was just feeling very lazy.

But the biggest news since last time...that'll have to wait.

The other big news, though, was my EIGHT mile run last week. It's the longest I have ever run and it wasn't as scary as I thought.

Normally I do my long runs on the weekend (when there is more time--and a lot more daylight), but last week the weather made the choice for me. It was absolutely beautiful during the week--sunny, low winds and it even got into the 60s! But, of course (Murphy's law...), the forecast called for 40s, rain and possible snow during the weekend. I adjusted my schedule for the week and made my long run happen last Thursday--the last nice day of the week.

I had mapped out my run during lunch and kept it up all day to visualize the run. A little weird, but it made me feel more prepared. I was even smart about my eating and had some afternoon oatmeal to get me revved up for the run. As soon as I got home, I got into my running clothes, filled my fanny pack water bottles and grabbed some Sharkies (more to come on those...).

A lot of people in Madison think of the bike path along Lake Monona as one of the most scenic views...and it is beautiful. The lake is clear and sparkly, you can see the Capital along most of the route and the other buildings around downtown are amazing. But (there has to be a but) I get this strange competitive vibe whenever I run the path. The path is a main area for runners which could breed that natural competitiveness. Also, I don't like the path because it isn't level--it slopes downward towards the lake and with my jacked-up knees that's not the best thing.

And that is my long story for why I chose to limit my time on the bike path.

I wasn't exactly sure what to expect out of this run. Like I said, I've never run this distance before. And, I wasn't expecting the best, either. I had gone for my first outdoor three mile run two days earlier and it was painful. Within the first mile, I wanted to walk so bad. I made myself power through, but it was definitely a struggle.

During the eight-miler, I started out on the same path I had followed Tuesday. When I hit the one mile mark (where I had wanted to die two days ago), I was feeling awesome and was nowhere near ready to stop and walk. It took awhile for me to get into my ideal pace--it was probably around mile 2 or 3 when I really hit my stride. Because I didn't have the Nike+ adaptor for Polly, I couldn't check in on my distance, which might've actually helped my run. I couldn't count down the miles until I was done--and I also couldn't start freaking out about how far I had gone.

Once I reached mile 4 or 5, I had a few Sharkies. In talking with other runners (or people who know runners), I had heard that miles 6 or 7 can be the hardest to run because that's when the wall usually comes up--hard. I haven't hit a wall while running since I was a sophomore in high school and racing in the 400 meters for track. It's such an awful feeling--struggling to put one foot in front of the other and all I wanted was to lay down and pass out. Since this 8-miler would possibly take me into the "wall" zone I made sure to eat a few Sharkies periodically once I passed the five mile mark.

My knees were not such a fan of the running once I got to mile 6. My right knee had been bothering me during my 3 mile run earlier in the week, so I brought a knee strap with me during this run--good move. I pushed it until somewhere around mile 7 or so and stopped to put the strap on. It helped the pain a little, but I probably should've put the band on earlier in the run. My knee just felt so sore, but I knew that I was getting close to the end. Unfortunately, I had chosen to include a huge hill right at the end of the run. It's a hill that I'm very familiar with--I had to walk up Observatory Hill every day for two years when I lived in the dorms during college. And I used to run up that hill at least once a week.

The final mile was perfect--flat and easy, and the stoplights were on my side. Even my music worked well--I have "Within a Mile of Home" by Flogging Mile on my playlist and it just happened to come on during the final mile of my run. It's the perfect song to give me a push at the very end.

I ended my run with a ginormous smile on my face. People were giving me some strange looks, probably because my face was bright red--it always gets super red when I run, as if I got a bad sunburn. I was a good half mile or so to walk home and my legs definitely needed it. I could feel that my IT bands were incredibly tight and my legs and hips were so sore. Not painful but I imagine this is how my knees will feel when I'm old. The walk home helped loosen things up and once home I did a long stretching session. I also had a half bag of ice for a post-run ice bath.

I was a bit of a pansy for my ice bath. The large chunks of solid ice scared me so I filled the tub with water that was less than freezing. Unfortunately, this meant that the ice melted pretty quickly and the water never got very cold.

Post-run day: I felt like an old lady. After sitting for more than 10 minutes, it was a struggle to stand up. I had to do a shuffle walk for the first few steps to get my hips and knees loosened up and then I could walk normally. Within two days, though, my legs felt like they were back to 90%. I could feel that I had done a good run, but it no longer felt like the longest run ever.

I'm enjoying this easy recovery week and hopefully it means that I'll have more time to write.


UPDATE: I can't believe I forgot about my time--guess that shows that I really am more focused on just finishing than how fast. But, I still like the numbers.

My goal for 8 miles: 1:30 (or 11:15/mile)
Drum roll, please...

Actual: 1:25:23 which is 10:40/mile. Woohoo! I'm faster than I think.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A running fanny pack

Okay, so it's not really a fanny pack, but I recently watched "Best of I Love the 90s" and they had a whole little section about fanny packs.

Anyways...the running fanny pack. Otherwise known as a hydration belt. I always feel thirsty while running, even just 3 miles, and I knew it'd be good to have around once I get into some longer long runs. Also, last Saturday (my 6.5 mile run) I had planned on giving blood a few hours after finishing the run (poor choice I know, and they ended up denying me anyways). If I was going to survive donating blood, I knew that I'd also need to make sure that I was fully hydrated.

I wasn't very prepared, though...I forgot about giving blood until Friday morning, so after work I had to book it over to the nearest running store, Berkeley Running Company, before they closed and find a hydration belt. I've seen some at Amazon, but they use sizes and don't tell you what a size small means. Good news--they cost the same at Amazon as at the running store and I got to try on the belt before buying it. Bad news--they're still pretty pricy. The belts at the store ranged from $40-$47 depending on how many bottles were on the belt.

They guy working there was super friendly and helpful--which totally made me want to buy even more there just because he was nice (I'm such a sucker for that)--I don't remember his name, but I'm going to call him Andy, he looked lke an Andy. They had the Helium Fuel Belt and I tried on the medium first--he had warned me that the belts tended to run small. It was a little big, so I tried on the small and it fit perfectly (for reference, my waist is 24.5 inches). The belts come with either two or four 8 ounce bottles...I went with the two bottle belt in pink. I'm not sure I'd really need all four bottles during a run (and during the run last week, I only ended up drinking one bottle).

Now the bottles and the little pouch lie on the back. So, there was an adjustment I had to make during the first part of my run. Even though it's only 16 ounces of water, it added a little bit of weight to my back. Not enough to fall over, but I noticed it. Whenever I needed a drink, I'd turn the belt a little bit and pull out the bottle--it was just too difficult to twist my arm. I had a bag of Sharkies (I deleted my post on them by accident, but eventually I'll get back to writing up my thoughts on those) in the belt pouch along with my keys, making it easy to quickly grab one.

Now I have 3 pink running-related items--and I'm really not even a pink girl. It's definitely growing on me, though.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Reflections on the halfway point

I've been thinking since my long run about how awesome it was that I ran 6.5 miles. I kept trying to downplay it a little in my mind because compared to other people's runs that I've read about 6.5 miles might be an easy run.

Buuuut...I ran 6.5 miles.
I ran for over an hour.
I felt good during my entire run.
I finished the run strong.
I wasn't sore the day after.
I proved to myself that I can run long distances.

Also, when I was comparing my 5 mile run (my previous distance record) to the 6.5 mile run I just did, I realized that I think I psyched myself out a little during the 5 miler...maybe even the 6.5 miler a little too. I mean, by the time I hit mile 2 (of the 5 miles) I was starting to walk a little bit. I had run 4 miles before that without walking. But somehow, going from 4 to 5 miles seemed like a huge jump. Going from 5 to 6.5 miles didn't feel as difficult--I ran a lot farther before I started to walk and I took fewer walking breaks. I was still really nervous about running for 6.5 miles. I had never gone that distance and didn't know if how my body would feel--how thirsty I would get, whether I'd get hungry, if I'd hit the wall...I haven't hit it yet, but I know it's bound to happen sometime. They can't all be perfect runs.

In a little less than two weeks, I'll be doing my next long run--8 miles. I feel much more confident about this run now that I've done 6.5 miles. Until then, I'll just be keeping up with my little runs.

I bought some Rice Krispies today...time for a bedtime snack!


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Half of a half

I'll be able to make it half way through the half-marathon!

And I got a new background for my blog!

Yesterday I ran 6.5 miles--my longest run ever (again). By the end of it, I was grinning like a fool. I passed a few people during the last mile and I'm sure I confused a some of them. I felt so good while running I just couldn't keep the smile off my face.

And, on top of just being able to actually run 6.5 miles, I shaved 10 seconds off my average pace--I'm down to 10:54/mile! Since this is my first half-marathon my goal really is just to finish it, but I'd also love to finish under 2 1/2 hours--my goal pace would be between 10:00/mile and 10:30/mile.

Using Map My Run, I plotted out my course and tried to hit up parts of the Madison half-marathon. There were portions of the run that I had never done before, so I made a point to try those out and actually run down the streets in the same direction of the race. Some parts of the course (I'm looking at you Langdon and Gorham) are uphill for the race, but if I had reversed my loop, those would been some nice gradual downhills.

Since I knew I'd be running early in the morning (my goal was to be out between 8 and 8:30am), I tried to eliminate all possible excuses I might come up with--I checked the weather, laid out my clothes, charged up Polly, set out some Multi-Grain Cheerios (doesn't seem to bother my stomach) to eat in the morning, my hydration belt (more on that later) with Sharkies, and wrote out my route. And I knew that I'd likely be sore after my run, so I bought a bag of ice too (for the eventual ice bath).

I started out on the bike path along Lake Monona--it's so pretty, but I was having a hard time forgetting about the cold at first--it was about 17 degrees with the windchill--and I kept wondering if I'd dressed warmly enough. I told myself to just keep going (farther and farther away from home) and that I'd eventually warm up (true fact). Also, when I started the run, my legs felt like they were numb and it was a struggle just to bring them up and down to move forward. This same feeling happened during my 5 mile run a couple weeks ago and I think it's just my legs' first mile regret. Then they remember how to run and things move smoothly.

By the time I was running through the campus, I was in the sun and warming up quickly. I took my hat off even before mile 2--running with a wool hat is not recommended--but it was warm enough that I never needed to put it on again. The cool thing about downtown Madison is that it's right between two lakes--Monona and Mendota (they sound like bad twin names). And it only takes about 10 minutes running to go from one side to the other, so before I knew it, I was running along a lake (kinda) again. Lake Monona has more paths directly along the lake, whereas Mendota is more built up--the campus runs along it for awhile, and then houses for real people. So, I really just saw flashes on Mendota, but I could feel the cool breeze off of the ice and loved it...I was really getting warm.

I ran down Frat Row (Langdon with it's constant, gradual uphill and sudden steep climbs) and then continued to follow the roads along Mendota. The miles really just seemed to fly by--I have rarely been in this area of Madison, so I kept looking at the houses and the views of the lake. I barely noticed how far I had run until I suddenly looked at the street name and realized that I was less than a mile from the end!

I felt really good throughout the entire run and didn't want to die at the end. I took a few breaks to walk, mainly when I would hit a red light and have to wait. I only ate a few Sharkies, but I really didn't feel hungry or that I needed more fuel--I haven't had a run yet where I've hit the wall, but I've heard that usually comes when you get to 7-8 miles...two more weeks until I get to try that out. My legs were definitely tight and sore, especially my knees, but by the time I had finished my cool down walk, they weren't so bad.

When I got home, I did my standard ab workout (I should post that sometime...) and stretched out. Then, I started the ice bathing...

The bath was awful. I always make a cup of tea to take with me in the tub and start with just a little bit of cold water (enough that there's a layer to sit on). Then, I get in the tub (with the tea!) while it continues to fill up (thanks to a great tip from Chic Runner!). Then, I gradually added in the ice--there was one ginormous chunk that I couldn't break before I dumped it in. That one hurt a lot. It upped the cold factor like 10 times as soon as it was in the water. Once my legs went numb, it wasn't so bad and I stayed in for 15 minutes--poor choice. My legs looked like they were sunburnt and it took over an hour to warm up, even after a warm shower. My legs still feel sore, but without the ice bath, I'm sure it'd be worse.

This week will be a recovery week with just 2 three mile runs and a four miler. Also, I'm going to New York this weekend to visit a friend! I've gotta rest up for it--last time I was out there, I fell asleep at the bar...head back, mouth open, not pretty. I need to fix that image...

On to the Oscars!


Friday, March 5, 2010

Homemade Sports Drink

Another Friday food edition...

I read about this in Self magazine (maybe?). It's really easy--equal parts water and orange juice with just a bit of salt (for the electrolytes). I tried measuring how much I typically use and it's maybe a little more than 1/8 teaspoon.

I couldn't imagine drinking watered-down orange juice, so I've been using sparkling water. Yum--it's like orange soda. This is what I look forward to after each run. I don't take it with me, though--I like pulp in my orange juice, but I can't imagine trying to drink a pulpy drink while running.

I've got my weekend long run tomorrow. It might rain on Sunday, so I've decided to do it tomorrow. Once again, it'll be my longest run ever--6.5 miles. I'm excited for it!


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Walking the Walk

On my way home last Friday, I happened to run in to my chiropractor friend, Dr. Eric. I told him about my new running shoes and about my half-marathon training. The next day, Saturday, his office was scheduled to bring in an orthopodist (I'm not sure if I've actually called her job the right thing)--someone who studies feet and can correct foot pressure and stride. And by fixing the feet, other pains in the knees, hips and back can disappear. She was going to be doing free foot scans and analyses, so I got signed up.

At the appointment on Saturday, Lisa (the foot lady) had me first stand on a mat that checked how I stood on my feet and where the pressure points were. Here's the scan:

Makes it pretty clear that:
a-I have ridiculously high arches
b-I pretty much stand on my heels (and yes, my left heel hurts every now and then. at least I know why)
c-I don't use my toes to stand--they're nowhere on this scan

So, this first picture gave her a pretty good idea that I have some messed up feet (and lots of areas for possible pain).

Then Lisa did the second scan--a dynamic scan. I walked towards the mat and had to make sure to get my full right foot on the mat as I walked; and then repeated it with my left foot on the mat.

And from that, I got this lovely:

The yellow lines show how I walked. Ideally, the line would be straight from the heel to the toes, and rolling off the big toe. My feet are not so ideal--the line zigzags all over both feet. My right foot stride started at my heel and rolled in a little bit, then went all the way out to the outside of my foot. The left is a little more "correct" since at least on my heel the line is fairly straight.

Lisa recommended that I get shoe inserts and start using them right away--otherwise I could get bunions. I'm not entirely sure what that would do to my feet, but they sound awful. The only problem is with many commercial brands is that there are very few that could get close to my arches. But, at $200/pair for custom orthotics, I'll try out the cheaper ones for awhile.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Buy new shoes - done!

I took off of work on Friday. It had been a busy past couple months, so I was ready for a long weekend. During the day I toured a few potential apartments--sadly my top choice had already been taken. Now I've learned not to fall in love with an apartment based just on my imagination of how great it looks. The good news, though, is that after looking at a few others, I found a new apartment! I'm signing the lease later this week. It feels good just to know that I have a place to live...my current lease doesn't end until the summer, but I'm a planner.

Also on Friday, I visited Fleet Feet on the westside of Madison. I checked out a few different running store websites and this one sounded like the best for how they fit the shoes. And I was definitely impressed. When I got there, the saleswoman (fit specialist?) sat down and talked to me about the distances I'm running and I told her about my plans for the Madison half-marathon.

Then, she had me roll up my pants a bit and walk barefooted across the floor so she could see my natural pronation. Then she measured my feet and arches while sitting and standing--to see how it changed when my feet were bearing weight. I already knew that I had high arches and would need a good shoe for support and I have a pretty neutral stride, so I didn't need a lot of additional correction.

She brought out three pairs of shoes--a Nike, Mizuno and Asics. I tried on all three pairs and she watched as I ran on the treadmill in them. The Nikes were super comfy, but I ended up choosing the Mizuno Wave Inspire. Also, one new thing I learned--for running shoes, it's best to buy a shoe that is a full size bigger than your normal shoes. This way, your toes have room to move and--big bonus--no black toenails, or worse, losing your toenails.

I had had big plans to run in my new shoes right away on Friday, but last week was not so good for running. I finally got back to running yesterday. The three mile run went pretty well actually. Knee pain--gone. A little bit of pain crept in towards the end, but I'm going to assume that it was caused by not running for a week. Also, I could feel the shoes trying to make my stride straighter, rather than running more from the inside of my foot in.

I've got another 3 mile run tomorrow so hopefully they continue their knee magic!


Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Food Day

I've decided to make Friday posts about food.

Last week I made some soup. There's a blog that I subscribe to called 101 Cookbooks with tons of recipes, mainly using organic and natural foods. I don't have access to all of the ingredients used (and some I don't want), but this soup was too good to pass up.

Meet the Kabocha French Lentil Soup.

Okay, it might look a little gross in the picture, but it was delicious. I also made the croutons--the recipe for the soup includes how to make the croutons. They were super easy to make and totally made the soup.

This soup is perfect for a winter day. Rich and creamy, but still good for you. Best of both worlds.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It's Freaking RON DAYNE!

When I transferred my beautiful smoothie pictures yesterday, I also saved my pictures from the Badger hockey game a few weeks ago. For the first time ever (what?!) they had an outdoor hockey game at Camp Randall (home of the Badger football team). They laid an ice link in the middle of the field and almost had a sold-out crowd. We missed the woman's game earlier in the day, but headed over to Camp Randall to watch the Badgers beat Michigan. It was freezing out there--with the windchill it was in the single digits.

Unfortunately, none of these pictures are actually from the game. I was too cold to disrupt the blanket and get my camera out. But--at the bar before the game, we saw RON DAYNE! He was a huge Badger football player who set the rushing yard record in 1999. I didn't want to bother him by going up and asking for his picture, so I pretended to take pictures of my friends, but instead shot over their heads.

He turned his head too fast.

That guy in front isn't one of my friends, but I'm pretty sure he knew what I was doing.

The Olympics are slow right now, so I played with my photo editing a little.

Eventually, my friends tried to get me to go ask for a picture. I think they were done having the flash go off in their faces. So, I mustered up my courage. I took one quick drink, gave my beer and my boyfriend's beer to a friend and handed my camera to my boyfriend with a stern warning to follow me and be ready to take my picture. I walked up to Ron Dayne (he seems like a two-name kinda guy) and tapped him on the shoulder as I asked, as politely as possible, "Umm, I'm really sorry to bother you, but would you mind taking a picture with me?".

He stared right back at me and said, "I don't do pictures."

I felt so embarrassed and I must've looked completely crushed. Then I realized that my boyfriend was laughing and Ron Dayne had a huge grin on his face. He was like, "Yeah, c'mon, smile big."

Check that out! His face is soo much bigger than mine. I have a baby-sized head compared to him. (which, Ron Dayne, if you read this, is a total compliment)

That just about made my day. I didn't even need to go see the game.

It's back to running tomorrow. Definitely not going to go in the morning again. I'm still recovering from the 5am wake up call yesterday.

Happy hump day!


Oh, P.S. So, today is Ash Wednesday, which means that Lent starts. After giving up soda for three years in a row, it's not even a sacrifice anymore. I was struggling to figure out what to give up for Lent when I got it--I'm going to limit checking my e-mail to just twice a day--lunch and then once at home. It was rough going today, but I'm sure I'll get used to it soon. right?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Morning Wake-Up Call

It's Fat Tuesday! I completely forgot about it during my weekly grocery store visit, but fortunately, grocery shopping on an empty stomach took care of that. A few of my snacks for the upcoming weeks (I bought a lot, but I eat them slowly):

To celebrate, a friend and I decided to go out to dinner tonight. But--Tuesdays are a running day for me and I usually go to the gym right after work. She has a 1 year old daughter who would not be happy about eating at 8pm, so I bit the bullet and decided to run in the morning.

I've gotten up early to go running before. In fact, a year ago I got myself up three times a week at 5:45am. Then winter came. And in Wisconsin, winter=nighttime from 4pm - 8am. There was no way I could get myself up. Even with great breakfast ideas planned. Side note: I work really well on a reward system. True story, ask my college roommate. I used to buy a bag of M&M's and I'd put 10 M&M's in front of me, open my computer and start working on a paper. For every page I finished, I got one M&M. Sick, serious will-power. But those papers got done quickly.

So, mornings and I haven't really been friends since I stopped even trying to get up early. Doing this half-marathon, though, has become really important to me and I don't want to just skip a day. Because then the next day is even easier to skip...and again and again. I must've been really nervous about missing my alarm because I swear I was awake by 4:30. I basically laid in bed until my alarm went off at 5 and then snoozed it. I realize 5am might seem really early, and I was only doing a 3.5 mile run, but I move incredibly slow in the mornings and I knew it would take me a solid 20 minutes to pull on my clothes. I finally got myself out of bed and slowly got ready. I had laid out a little bit of cereal to eat before leaving and thought I had set myself up pretty well the night before with my headphones, Polly (my nano/Nike+), knee straps (I bought another for my left knee), and even a filled water bottle set out and ready. Got to the gym and realized I had forgotten my headband. Minor inconvenience since my hair is pretty short, so I got over it.

The knee strap really seemed to help my left knee a lot. It didn't hurt at all, a huge difference over Saturday's run. Of course, I have had the past two days off, but hopefully this strap will do the trick and the pain will stay away. I should still probably get some new shoes.

The worst part of running in the morning and doing so at the gym is the complete lack of entertainment. There were maybe two other people running when I got there. And there's nothing on TV except the early local morning shows. They found themselves incredibly amusing this morning and why not--there can't be that many people watching so early and you might as well make them laugh.

Once I got home, I was feeling pretty good--waking up an hour and a half early makes the morning seem so much longer. I stretched out and did a shortened version of my usual ab work. And after I had finished getting dressed, I got my reward--a morning smoothie.

(remember that even though I've been up for almost 3 hours here, it's still early...)

I bought some frozen blueberries about a month ago, but could never get up early enough to use them. I blended them with some orange juice and a container of plain yogurt. Yum!
 In other news--I decided this afternoon to change my training schedule a little bit. I've been mentioning this pre-training, which is basically just some training to keep me in shape while work was busy for the past two months. The training schedule I was going to follow (Hal's) was a 12 week program, so I also needed to fill in some empty weeks and make sure I was ready to start when the time came. When I had first started looking for a training schedule I had also seen Jeff Galloway's program, but the whole "magic mile" and run-walk-run ratios sounded like a lot of extra work. Plus, I wasn't sure I wanted to see what running 14 miles was like, only to do it again two weeks later in the actual race.

However, they're pretty similar with the exception of the long runs. Hal adds a mile to it each week, and adds an extra half-mile every few weeks to the weekday runs. Jeff holds the weekday runs steady, but also has recovery weeks. You build up a few miles, and then drop back and have a shorter long run. I kept Jeff's recommendations for the long runs and I'll probably follow his weekday runs pretty closely, but on weeks with a shorter long run, I might do a longer weekday runs like Hal suggests. I did keep Hal's strength and cross-training days, though. I've found that cross-training definitely helps keep my legs loose and they seem to be less sore than if I just take the day off.

Whew, time to rest.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Time for new shoes!

Well, at least I think it's time for some new shoes. Despite having a former cross-country runner for a sister, I don't know much about running shoes. Usually when I buy them, I choose a shoe based on it's looks and if it feels comfortable. That's where my running shoe knowledge ends.

I knew that if I was going to do this half-marathon thing, I'd need to get new shoes, but I was going to wait just a few more weeks when I had finished my pre-marathon training. After Saturday's run, though, I think I'll need to make a trip sooner than expected (good thing that tax refund came already!).

It started well. I didn't check my distance until I had run 3.25 miles of my total 4 miles. That's HUGE. Normally by mile 2 I'm starting to get bored of the view of the large empty parking lot. Each treadmill does have it's own TV, but that only keeps my attention for so long. By about mile 3 (I'm guessing), my left knee started hurting. This has happened before and it usually goes away after a few minutes, but it only got worse. I ran through it (maybe not the best idea) and then did a nice, long, slooow cool down walk. By the time I got off the treadmill, I was limping a little. I think I'll get a little patellar band for my left knee tonight--I've been using one on my right knee and it helps so much--hopefully that'll help on the run tomorrow.

My shoes might also be playing a role based on the fine information I've found while trolling the internet. Since I've been running in my current shoes for at least a year, and my running has become a little more serious, I'm ready to make the leap to a real running store to buy shoes that are meant for my crazy high-arch feet. There's a ton of them in Madison (at least 4 or 5) so I should have a good shot of finding something that works. I'd hate to get injured now when I've put so much effort into getting here.

Valentine's Day was perfect--the BF and I stayed in and made dinner (chicken alfredo lasagna--genius!) and dessert (a molten chocolate cake). I got to choose the movie to watch, so we watched Pride and Prejudice--the new, shortened version. I'm not sure the five-hour Colin Firth movie would've been the best way to introduce him to Jane Austen.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mind over body

Wednesdays are my cross-training days right now (until my actual training schedule starts). It's only 20 minutes and I usually go at a pretty easy pace, so it's not that big of a deal to go to the gym. But yesterday I just did not want to go. Work has been crazy busy lately, so the fact that I got out of the office by 5:00 was huge. The idea of being home in time to watch the evening news was almost too much to pass up.

But then I remembered last week. When I skipped the gym and called shopping my cross training. I may have been walking/standing for 20 minutes, but it's not quite the same. And when I went for my 3.5 mile run the next day, it was one of my worst runs. I could barely make it to 2 miles and once I had seen my distance, I was checking every minute to see how much further I had to go.

So I pulled it together and forced myself to turn towards the gym rather than home. And--bonus!--the parking attendant must have been sick or something today because the parking was free. I biked for 25 minutes and read my latest nook purchase (true life crime stories--not as good as I hoped).

We'll see how I feel doing my run tomorrow, but I'm hoping that it goes well. Maybe just getting my legs moving a little during the day in between will actually help more than resting them.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My first

I've been training for my first half-marathon for over two months now...well, more training for the actual training. There's still 15.5 weeks until the run (I'm not calling it a race because I definitely don't plan on racing anyone) and from what I've read 12 weeks of training is generally good enough to get you through to the finish line.

When I first started seriously running again in December, I thought about starting a blog as a way to track my progress and keep myself accountable. However, as the holidays and travelling started I couldn't find much time to get this blog together...but it kept lingering in the back of my mind and sometimes as I was running, I'd think of something to write about.

So, here's the first post. I plan on writing a few times a week and eventually I'll get in all of the back stories too of why I got in to running and then, after 5 years of running casually, decided to jump from random 5K runs to a half-marathon. Be excited.