Monday, May 31, 2010

8 days ago

Its hard to believe I finished my first half marthon 8 days ago.  Even more shocking; I can't seem to get my body to run.  I have tried to run, but it seems that forces in the universe have wanted to stop me. 

Since the race day, I have been dog sitting my cousin's wonderful, three year old yellow lab with an abundance of energy.  I figured some runs with Turbo Tail (my affectionate nickname for him) would help his energy at night, but he does not want to run.  He wants to walk and sniff, until about two miles into it and then I drag him the whole way back.  I tried to run on the treadmill, but again TT made that plan go awry as well.  He tried to get on the treadmill with me when I decided to run some quick intervals.  After he flew off the back (completly unharmed-yes its ok to laugh) I decided running on the treadmill would not work.  

I met with Katye Sunday morning to try and get some miles in but my ankle was still bothering me from the race (GRRRR--after talking to another person who ran the race, I realized that EVERY turn in the race was a right handed turn and my right ankle is the one that hurts)!!  I walked it out and was glad for the company and awesome conversations (and whole wheat pumpkin muffins from Wegman's YUMMMM) and even have to laugh about the turtle we saw ans saved from a potential bike accident on the trail (seriously, universe you are FUNNY; the irony was not lost on this turtle was out of place on the running path!!!).

Right now, I am sitting, again frustrated after a failed attempt at running.  I want to go.  My ankle felt fine!  I want to feel the way my body cuts the air and humidity but something is stopping me and I can not figure it out!  I came back after a disappointing mile and subjected myself to lunges, squats and Jillian Micheals (yelling at her on the TV made me feel marginally better).  I am at a loss now.  Am I really walking around in the same body that carried me through a half marthon??  My legs felt heavy and I just felt sluggish. Seriously, what gives?

Sorry about the gripe, but I needed to vent.  The husband does not get it at all, so I turn to you in the blogosphere.  Has anyone ever had this happen?  I suppose its all in my head, so I am just going to attempt to turn over a new leaf next Monday after the Zooma Women's 10K and my dog sitting duties are over.  Until then, poor Turbo Tail wil have to keep up with my 5 mile walks after work!! 

In much happier news, I FINALLY ordered a running skirt last week.  Thanks to Tricia and her refund code, I got a nifty 15% back and felt better about a little bit better about what I spent on them!  The Pink Polka Dot Skirt should be here before the 10K and I plan to look cute and bright, if not fast!!

Just remember, today is the last day to enter my giveaway.  You have until midnight tonight and I will have the winner announced by 12:00 EST June 1st.

I hope you have all had a great long weekend.  Happy running!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


I was tagged by the lovely Katye to reveal 7 random facts about me.  You are all just dying to find them out, right?

1. I grew up with vegetarian (pescetarian to be exact) parents, in Iowa of all places. My mom (who grew up on a chicken farm) and dad (who got extremely ill from meat) were always nice enough to cook meat for my siblings and me. I did not realize adults ate meat until I was about 10 or 12. I ended up marrying someone who is a total meat and potatoes guy.

2. My husband’s father was my sister in law’s father’s doctor (did you get all that) when he was going through dialysis. My brother and sister in law were not dating at the time and this was before I moved to the east coast and even met my husband. My sister in law recognized his last name and put the two and two together.

3. I am extremely sensitive to noises. I have great hearing, which can be such a pain. I live in a townhouse and can hear my neighbor’s fan going, fighting, etc. I can usually hear even with earplugs in.

4. I worked at a drive in diner all through high school. No roller skates, but I have had plenty of food trays fallen on me because people rolled their windows all the way down.  And there was nothing like the pervs who used to come to the diner in the rain to get the teenage girls to wait on them.

5. I am deathly afraid of snakes and heights. Crippling, paralyzing and irrational. I can’t even watch snake shows on TV because I start shaking and freaking out. I have to cross draw bridges to get from my house to my work. I have been stuck on a draw bridge for two hours and cried the whole time.  It only gets worse as I get older

6. My oldest niece (7) tells me I am her best friend and favorite aunt (no, I am not the only one). It’s probably the best thing anyone has ever said to me in my entire life. I live to spoil all four of my nieces and nephews.

7. I am obsessed with General Hospital and I have no shame about that. I would LOVE to just one day work with the writers, visit the set and get in one scene. Sure, it’s unrealistic, the plots are super twisted and real people don’t behave that way (or I would hope not) but its my guilty pleasure. And when my husband thinks I am not watching, he watches it too.

I know I am supposed to tag 15 of you, but I am still getting to know you all through your blogs.  So, if you are a follower, consider yourself tagged!

Have a lovely day!

Monday, May 24, 2010

And I used to think 10 miles was far

Sunday was the big day; my first half marathon (the Maryland Half) and Katye had graciously signed up to be my pacer/personal cheerleader. Unlike my night before the Cherry Blossom, I was not nervous. I stayed up by the course with a friend and we had a nice girlfriends night; pizza, salad, watermelon and drinks (woops!!!). I went to bed around 11 and woke up a couple times during the night (new place, new sounds). When I woke up around 5, I heard the sound of rain. Not just regular rain, but pouring rain. My heart sank, but I got up, got myself moving and got to the course with 30 minutes before the start.

I found Katye inside the grandstand, and she looked super cute as usual, in her pink plaid running skirt and compression socks. We made our way out to the start and the rain stopped! Maybe this was going to be a good race for me after all!

Once we started out, we were running about an 11 min mile, which I felt ok with. I knew I was not in shape to SUSTAIN it, but I was in shape to FINISH it. Katye was great; she kept talking to me about various things, kept encouraging me and was warning me about what was next so I could prepare mentally.

I learned a few things during the course of the run. I for SURE like running with people better than myself. I was actually ok running without music too. I also should have gotten my tushy outside for a few more runs instead of totally slacking the last three weeks. Finally, I HATE HILLS. There were so many hills, steep and long. I just tried to go to the next cone on the road before taking a break and walking. I would pick another cone to start at and so on. I tried to power up hills the best I could, ignoring my burning quads (in my mind the faster I go, the sooner it’s over and its worth it—Katye even noted that I run faster up the hills than down them).  Katye told me to get mad at them, so every time we started a climb, I said "son of a b*tch" and just went for it.  It worked, until the Mays Chapel Road. Honestly, if I could have sat down, cried and just waited for a police officer, ambulance, stranger or animal to drag me, I would have, but Katye kept me going. It was daunting just to look at, and challenging to walk up. I had a hard time catching my breath up this bad boy and my hip was starting to bother me during the climb. Seriously, whoever designed the course must HATE runners!

We made it to the top, finally, and started to go downhill. Most of the last section of the race was downhill and it was soooooo nice to let gravity help me move. When we got to mile 11.25, which is the farthest I had ever run and I hit my wall. I was ready to quit. I was ready to cry. I was trying to hide it, but I think my face and eyes gave it away. Katye noticed and talked me through it, kept me focused on finishing; honestly I know my body got me to the finish, but Katye got my head there, which was just as important.
The last 1.75 miles was a combination of walking and shuffling (but I was moving). Katye had been telling me I was sprinting the last .1 miles. I didn’t think I could do it, I was not sure where I would be able to get the ability to sprint it from. Then, I just realized (even though Katye was telling me at mile 2) that I had it. That I was .1 miles away from finishing something many people don’t ever attempt and I just let go. I somehow mustered up enough strength, endorphins and excitement to get to a 7:07 mile pace for the last .1 miles and crossed the finish line at 3:05.

So sure, it’s not the goal I had in mind, but maybe it was silly to set a timed goal. I was not disappointed I missed it; in fact, I could care less. I was just happy to finish, to run further than I ever had before and being able to say I could do it!

Again, I would not have made it without Katye. She is an awesome pacer and a great person to run with. She kept me focused, positive and kept my head going when it was so far out of it. I hate to think what the race would have been like without her, because she made it what it was for me, so thank you for that Katye! If you follow her, make sure you tell her that she is a rockstar and you can't wait to run a race with her, and if you don’t follow her, why the heck not? She is awesome!!!

Now, I am just nursing some aching muscles and a sore foot/ankle. I am not quite sure what happened and there is no swelling, but my right ankle/foot is bugging me pretty seriously. Hopefully it just needs some rest and ice so I can get back out there for my next run!!!

Will this euphoria end? I am just so psyched that I did it. By 10:30 yesterday, I had done more than most people do all day and I loved that feeling!  How about you? How long does your race excitement last??

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Big News and a Giveaway

First—the big news. Since you know I graduated from college this past weekend, I had been planning on speaking to my current employer about my position within the company and my salary; I am fairly more marketable now, with 7 years of hands on accounting experience and my BS. Turns out, me talking to them was unnecessary. I was pulled into our VP’s office and given a pretty big promotion (or title change—my job function has been that of a corporate accountant for a couple of years now) of Corporate Accountant and a raise to boot. I didn’t even have to ask! That just made my day, week, and perhaps entire month! It’s nice to know they recognize my busting my hump at work and outside of it.

 The Maryland Half is in just three days!! My husband is constantly shaking his head at me, but I am getting soooo excited. I am thrilled to have Katye as my pacer/photographer and all around cheerleader for the race and I know that with her by my side, I will hit my 2:40 goal. Heck, I hope I surprise her and get under 2:40 (even if its 2:39:59). Cute outfit is planned already, so keep a look out for my recap!

 The Husband and I are heading to the Laurel Mountains in PA tonight for a quick get away. Husband is playing in a big Pro-Am Tournament (he is 3.2 handicap right now—looking to get to scratch at the end of this season) and I am planning on running the hills around our place to get ready for Sunday. Apparently it’s a hilly course, so I am just going to go up and down part of the mountain a few times to get myself ready. Hopefully I do not die tomorrow trying!!

 As promised earlier this week, I am having a giveaway! One lucky winner will get two pairs of super cute knee high socks, two packs of Luna Moons (my favorite prerace and race fuel—honestly, it taste better than anything else) and a $10 iTunes gift card.

How do you enter, you ask?

  • Add me to your blogroll and comment here.
  • List my giveaway on your blog and comment here.
  • Enter Chelsea’s Run, a virtual run hosted by Katye (and I am already signed up for). Tell her you want to enter her race from reading about it on my blog and then comment here. You will get THREE entries for entering the virtual run, once I confirm it with Katye.
  • Offer me your best piece of half marathon (or just running) advice. Each piece of advice will get you one entry, so the more advice you give, the better your chances

The giveaway will end on Sunday the 31st at midnight and the winner will be announced on Monday, June 1st (Crap!!! How is June already here?)

Have a great day all!

Monday, May 17, 2010

I did it!

Hello Bloggy World!

A couple of Thursday's ago, I set off on a mission to get a new pair of shoes. My super cute pink and purple Brooks Adrenaline were really bothering me. Like, feet going numb, pain shooting up my shin kind of bothering me. I set out for my favorite store (Road Runner Sports—they have a 60 day return policy for any shoes you purchase there---if they aren’t working out, find a new pair and pay the difference—they donate your used shoes) and luckily, the store was not packed. I worked with a guy I ALWAYS see in the store but never had the pleasure of having a fitting with.

First thing, he measured my feet. I have been wearing a regular 8.5 to 9 in my past three sets of shoes. When Micahs measured my feet, he asked if I had been sized up before. When I answered no, he told me I was wearing a B width but needed a D width and only a size 8!! Talk about a change. I tried on about 10 different shoes and eventually settled on the Asics Gel Kayano 16.

I was not able to get out and try the puppies out until Saturday though, because of tests, studying and papers. I met two other friends up at the NCR trail for a 6 mile run and I was nervous about taking my new shoes out for such a long run, but decided I could give it a shot. Honestly, it was like jogging on clouds. I have always had various problems with my feet when I run, numbing, pinching, pain, rubbing, etc. There was nothing. Honestly, even my legs felt better running in them.

We completed a pretty easy 6 miles (ok—I need to step up—I have 12 6 days until the Maryland Half Marathon—and I want to live) and went to Wegman’s for lunch. I only mention this because I happened to see someone who looked very much like Katye. I sent her a text and she swung back around and I was so excited to meet her for the very first time and congratulate her as she killed her half marathon at 1:59 earlier that day!!

As I mentioned before, the Maryland Half is 6 days away. Since the Broad Street Run, I have run once. 6 miles. That is it. The lovely Katye has signed up for the race to be my personal pacer/cheerleader/first aid, and I am really aiming for a 2:40 finish. I hope with her awesome support, my lack of running over the last couple of weeks will have a minimal effect and I go out there and shuffle fast to reach my goal!

On a happier note, my parents, sister and niece were in town from Iowa this weekend for my college graduation. I took a less conventional approach, worked full time since I was 19, and changed my major maybe a bazillion times, so finishing was huge for me since it’s been several years in the making. I am looking forward to having some time off before prepping for the CPA exam (one benefit of changing your major a ton is you meet the 150 credit requirement as you finish your undergrad), focusing on running, home projects and being a better wife to my sweet husband who has supported and pushed me through the years of learning/changing/figuring out what I wanted to be when I grew up!! And I am hoping to get a big raise in the next couple of weeks!!

That’s all for now. Team Elk is running tonight, and we may have a new member! Sweet. Also, stay tuned later this week—I am going to have a giveaway!!!! You are dying to figure out what, aren't you?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Broad Street Run

Saturday afternoon, I took a short drive up 95 to Philly to stay the President of my company's house to run the Broad Street Run Sunday morning with him and several other people he knew.

I was far less nervous taking on this run, since I had already done one 10 miler.  I managed to sleep the entire night without waking up (never has happened, even before a 5K) and felt great in the AM.  Heck, I was even excited about the light rain falling! 

I had plenty of time to get dressed and, aside from worrying about the heat (temps were supposed to be about 90), I felt good.  Until I put my shoes on.  I have had problems with my new Adrenalines over the last couple of weeks and just standing in them, I was already getting uncomfortable.  Always one to be prepared, my old Trance were in my bag, so I switched out my insoles and we were ready.

We picked up a couple of people and headed over to the stadium parking lot to meet the rest of our crew.  Here I am, cheesy face and all.
And then someone reminded me I was running 10 miles; seriously, I paid money to do this?  I decided to leave my water/fanny pack and run without it.  Probably a good decision.
We headed over to the trains (which proved to be well planned for the crowds, unlike years past from what I have heard) and got to the start about 30 minutes prior to the start. We took some group shots before heading to the corrals to hang out with the people I knew (even though I would be running alone).

Where's Erin?
By this time, the rain had stopped, and the sun was starting to peak through the clouds.  At 8:30 you could feel that it was going to be hot.  Luckily, at the start, we got what I consider one of the best pieces of news all day; the city was opening fire hydrants approximately every mile of the run that you could run through it.  I felt like a kid I was so excited!!  I also knew that there would be lots of water stations on the course and my goal was to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

It took about a half an hour to get to our wave and then we were off.
See me??  I started off pretty well.  Honestly, Helga is such a great tool to have while I run.  Unlike my first mile during the Cherry Blossom, I started at a pace that was comfortable and consistent with my training (a bit faster though) and one I knew I could maintain.

I typically struggle through the first mile.  Honestly, there is something about that mile that just gets to me!  In this race, the first mile was amazing and I finished it in 10:45.  Perhaps it was all the amazing people out cheering for me us.  Hats off to the people of Philly and how they came out to support all of us.  Honestly, the Cherry Blossom was an amazing race to run, but the crowd support was nothing compared to what was at Broad Street.

The first water station was at mile 2 (12:15 mile) and it was fabulous.  Water never tasted so good and I was parched!!  They also had SEVERAL tables full of water.  There was no waiting at all, which on the hot day was super important.

I hit my first hydrant shortly after the water station and giggled running through it.  I saw people dancing around in them, laughing and having a great time. 

I finished my third mile in 13:00 and walked about a tenth of a mile (around the water station) and started up again.  I hit the fourth mile marker (and water station) in 13:00 again, walked through the station, started running (jogging, shuffling, whatever) and found another hydrant to run under. 

Between mile 4 and 5, the sun came out completely.  At that point, it became another race to me.  If you do not know me, I am not a great in heat--running or just lounging.  I tried to power through it, but it was certainly affecting me.

Miles 7-8.5 were hard.  I am not going to lie. I struggled.  People were dropping like flies.  I felt awful for them too, but I kept going and powered through.  My competitive nature just told me to pick people in front of me and pick them off and pass them.  It helped immensely.

The last mile was amazing.  Seriously, people were out, screaming, cheering me everyone on and kept me going.  As soon as I could see the finish line, I just went for it.  My legs felt like jello, but honestly, I didn't feel like I might die (as I did after the CB).  I finished in a disappointing 2:18 (yes, slower than my CB time) but, given the weather conditions, I will take it.

After the race, we went to the stadium parking lot for some tailgating.  Plenty of good food, water and yes, a beer, were available.  We sat around for about an hour, waiting for traffic to clear up, and headed back to the house.
Overall, I have to admit that this might be my favorite race to date (sorry CB).  I enjoyed it so much, I think that I will be running this every year, and I am also planning on running the RNR Half in Philly as well!

Next on the list--first run tomorrow.  I am not nearly as sore as I was after the last race, so I am looking forward to increasing my pace.  Also on the agenda is taking my shoes back and getting a different pair.  Gotta love Road Runner Sports and their 60 day return policy!!

11 days until my graduation!  My parents get here in 9.  Can. Not. Wait!!!

Hope you are all having a great evening!