Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Humpday Happenings

First, thanks so much for all your kind words. It’s so nice to hear such support even though I am not the fastest runner in the world!!

I woke up Monday morning a bit nervous and just laid there for a minute. Last Sunday, the day after my half marathon, my legs were stiff. Walking was a process and it took me a while to get moving. So, while I laid there, I started moving my legs a little. Imagine my surprise when they were fine! No stiffness, no heaviness, no grimacing in pain. Maybe a tad sore in my right hip and right knee ( I have noticed that my right foot strikes the ground different than my left foot—my right foot strikes the ground with the outside of my foot--I wonder if I need a different insole in my right shoe), but that’s not anything that I wouldn’t have expected! I was so psyched to feel fine I jumped out of bed and did a happy dance!

I was a tad worried that the back to back (to back) races would be hard on my legs. People told me I was crazy—and heck, I realize I am. I was a bit worried to see what conditions my legs would be in by the time the 10K rolled around, but I am pretty confident that they are going to be in pretty good shape.

If you are coming to the MCM Expo in DC on Saturday, stop by the RunningSkirt Booth. Both Katye and I will be working there after our training run! Should be a fun day, followed by an excellent race the next morning!

That’s all for today. I am off for an easy treadmill run and then more work on my legs with the stick (ohhhh it hurts so good!).

Happy Running Everyone!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Army Ten Miler

Hey there lovelies!  I just woke up from a nice three hour nap and am still flying high from this Ten Miler I ran.

After the letdown of last weekend, I was a bit worried about this race.  I tried to shake the feeling, set a couple of goals for myself and wanted to get past the pissy missy mood I had been in.

Saturday, I met with my TNT group because Katye kindly picked up my race packet (because she was working the running skirts booth---jealous!!!).  Nothing of note in there, aside from the race shirt (a nice long sleeve cotton tee).  It was a super cool morning (31*) and I went for a nice 3.5 mile jog to enjoy the chilly morning.

I packed my bags once I got home and headed to my cousin's house (her husband was running with me).  We watched Iowa lose (ick) and then headed out for dinner (Pei Wei--yum).  Once we got back to her house, I started getting myself ready for the night and the next morning by laying out my clothes.
I thought the camo skirt was cute and appropriate for the event!

After a good nights sleep (albeit with a 90 pound lab right next to me) I woke up at 5:20 with a sore throat.  Uh Oh.  All I could do was get dressed, drink some water, try and wake up and focus on the race.  I wolfed down a Clif Bar (spiced pumpkin pie--love the seasonal flavors) and drank some water.  

Soon, B and I headed out the door to the train station to head to the Pentagon--which we did--over an hour early--woops!  Luckily there were plenty of things to do and see, including a special ops maneuver booth and a few blues bands by army members from various bases.  Time flew by, and before I knew it, we had to head to our corrals to get ready for the start.

At the start waiting for the gun canon to go off.  Thats the pentagon in the background.

Some races have gun starts.  This race had a canon start.  Pretty cool.  B and I had separated at this point, so I took some time to stretch, take in the sights, and enjoy a beautiful morning.  After about 15 minutes (there were 30,000 runners), we finally started moving to the start and before I knew it, we were off!!

The first mile flew by!  I made sure I moved towards the outside and stayed out of the faster people's ways (but managed to keep a 10:54 pace for the first mile--go me). We turned to go over the Memorial Bridge and into DC and it was wonderful about seeing all the crowd support! 

I started my intervals by the second mile, 2 minutes on, 1 minute walking.  It really helped my legs feel fresh and kept my attitude positive.  I was moving well, keeping a good pace with it (it managed to slow down to about a 12:30 pace, but still, I'll take it) and before I knew it, we hit the five mile mark (at an hour and 2 minutes in).  

There were various bands (some army, some not) set up along the course, plus a ton of people.  Miles 5 to 8 was lined with people which was amazing.  We were also running across from runners (as the course looped around and had runners going in both directions on the same street) I just started yelling at people, telling them they looked great, and offered up high fives to anyone who would take them.  People looked at me like I was crazy, but hey--I wasn't going to win the thing but I was going to enjoy every second and be as POSITIVE about the day as I could be.

The last couple of miles has some slight elevation changes and there were bridges and overpasses as part of the course.  I just kept up with my intervals and about 8.5 miles into the race I realized I was going to smash my Ten Miler PR from April.  

At mile 9.5, I recognized one of my TNT teammates and gave her a hug.  We decided to finish the race together.  Once we hit mile ten (Olga had me running 10.11 miles by the finish line) we saw the finish line and just sprinted our hearts out.  Legs flying, picking off people left and right (at a 7:15 pace) I finished the race with a HUGE smile on my face!

 Pardon the gross, sweaty beast picture.  I was still freaking excited about my PR.

 I checked Olga and my finish time was 2:10:31, which I was thrilled with.  Seriously!  I was dead tired and felt like I might vomit and my legs felt spent (I think it was really adrenaline that got me moving so fast for the last .1 mile) but I PR'ed and I felt so confident and wonderful.  I wished the same legs had showed up last weekend, but in the end, I finished strong and felt like a runner :)  Officially results aren't up yet, but I will update this post with my official results once I get it!
Our finisher medallion.  Pretty sweet!

This is a race I would run over and over again.  Seriously, the crowd support was amazing, the course was beautiful.  The Army runs a great, well organized race and I would recommend that everyone try and run this race at least once!  

That is all for today.  I am going to use the stick on my poor legs to make sure they are ready for next Sunday and the MCM 10K.  3 races in 3 weekends--66.666% complete!!!  Maybe it wasn't so crazy after all!

***Official race time--2:10:28. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Baltimore Half Marathon

First, I got a PR!!  YAY.  *sigh* However, my goal of coming in under 3 hours was not met.  I'm trying to not get so hung up on that, but its hard.  But, a PR is a PR and I really need to focus on the positive.

Could I tell you what went wrong?  No, I don't know that it was anything specific.  My knee pain was not taper related, so I am taking lots of advil and icing it plenty to try and get it ready for Sunday (the Army Ten Miler).  I started the first mile with Liz and her friend Omari and was doing ok.  Not great, sucking air and just not feeling light and fast.

Liz did awesome.  I'll let you read her blog to see her story, but I ended up telling her and Omari to go head after the first mile and a quarter.

But let me back it up a little.  First, the Baltimore Running Festival is an AWESOME collection of races.  Baltimore is a beautiful city and we were treated to a great (hilly) course on a beautiful (but windy) day with plenty of crowd support.

I got up at 6 and was able to stay in bed for about an hour and relax a little.  I didn't need to leave the house until a quarter of 8 (the half started at 9:45--a real treat for me!)  I decided to wear something different Friday night. 

Cute right?  You can’t see it well, but I have on knee high hot pink compression socks (which look like candy canes on my legs).  It really made the outfit pop!

I had planned on eating my Clif Bar in the car on way to the train station, but once I got away from my house I realized I had forgotten it.  I debated turning around but figured I could eat my clif shot before the race started (Liz gave me a clif bar when we met up—thanks Liz).  Perhaps this was a bit ominous.

I took the train in, waited for Liz and chatted with Omari before she arrived.  Her husband offered to take my bag instead of me having to check it (thanks D!) and we separated.  Timbelina and I needed to use a restroom and an awesome hotel near the start was letting runners in to stretch, use the rest rooms and decompress.  I forget which hotel it was, otherwise I would have given then a shout out.  It was seriously nice of them (they were even holding the doors open for runners!)

We made our way to the start and it was crammed and packed full of people.  I really started to get nervous at this point (I started getting nervous the night before).  Before I knew it, we were off.
Liz Prerace
The wave 4 crowd
Not really the face of confidence.

Like I said, the first mile was ok.  Our pace varied and we were averaging a 10:53 pace by the end of the mile, with some slight elevation changes throughout. I just felt like I had lead in my legs and couldn’t get moving.

Shortly after the first mile went by, I let Liz and Omari go without me.  I wasn’t going to be able to keep up with them and I’ll be darned if I ruined the race for her too.

I tried to start intervals, but my legs still felt so heavy, but I managed to bang them out as best I could.  Around mile 7, I ran into my friend Marisa as we ran around a beautiful lake.  She was so excited for me and kept telling me I looked great (I know she was lying, because I felt like death, but I appreciated her trying to cheer me up).  She ran a little with me with me yelling at her the whole time (she is about 12 weeks pregnant) until the water stop, where I grabbed a couple of glasses of water and a banana.  Oh sweet banana, you tasted so good!

At about mile 8, my endurance was really dying.  I tried to keep up with my intervals the best I could, but at this point, I realized my goal of coming in under sub 3 was disappearing fast and I started to get really disappointed.

Around mile 9.5, a group of people who lived on the course were handing out little plastic glasses of beer.  I figured I needed the carbs (I kid, I  kid) so I took a cup and drank the tasty beer offered up to me!  About a quarter of a mile beyond that was the Gummi Bear Man!  This guy bought 400 lbs of gummy bears and was passing them out on the course.  It was a nice pick me up.

At mile 10.25, my cousin was there with the his wife and daughter and a sign for me.  I stopped to give them a huge hug, give his daughter some extra love (she made a sign that said “Go Cousin Erin”  in pink that matched my outfit) and they told me that I was doing great, looking good and after a couple of minutes I took off again (ok, I could have picked up a couple more minutes off the PR—but I wanted to give them the hugs and I might have needed it myself too!)

I was thinking "Can I just come back to your house?"

At this point, the race was largely downhill (in terms of elevation) and I just tried to go the best I could.  It was a challenge, but I knew I was getting there and to just plug along.

I kept trying to do my intervals and started to feel relieved as I saw the TNT water stand and said hello to a few of the people who I knew working.  I kept plugging away until I saw the stadium and just tried to finish it.  It felt like the last .1 of a mile took forever.  I yelled at one of the course photographers (who was wearing all his Iowa gear) and tried to sprint, but my stupid legs just wouldn’t go.  I finally crossed the finish line and checked my watch.  PR achieved.

I was frustrated.  I felt prepared, I felt like I had trained enough. Liz and my husband told told me its still an improvement and to keep plugging away.  Katye told me she is going to scream in my ear and get me to a 2:30 half in Richmond.

So, that is what I am doing.  The Army 10 Miler is next Sunday and the MCM 10K is the following Sunday. The Richmond half marathon in 11-13.  I have plenty of chances for a better race, and I will get there.  Baltimore, while not what I had hoped for, was still fun and I got a nice piece of hardware from it!

I am off to use the foam roller and the stick and get some ice and get my game plan for next Sunday.

Also, huge shout outs to TMB, Wendy, The Dawn, and Olivia.  They all raced this weekend and killed their races.  Give them a look and say hello!

Happy running!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Race Day Outfit

Does this look like a PR outfit or what? 

Happy Running!!!!

3 Things Thursday-In Pictures

  1. After several suggestions of fellow runners for my shin pains, I stopped by a running store last night and picked up some Zensah Compression Sleeves (headless man not included).  My goodness--I am not sure what took me so long to invest in there bad boys, but I <3 them.  As Sarah told me via email, they are like hugs for your legs all day long!
  2. I swear,  my legs are not really this ugly.  I think its just a weird angle!  I wore them under my dress pants today and I feel great!
  3. I have less than 48 hours until the Baltimore Half Marathon so I am trying to hydrate myself better than I have in previous races.  I have had three of these bad boys so far at work, and will probably get another 1 to 1.5 in before I leave.
  4. My desk is not normally this messy--its just a hectic day. 
  5. I was digging around in my purse this morning for my chapstick when I realized that my purse, aside from my wallet, a book, and my phone, is filled with running stuff.  Olga, some Blistex Chapstick, generic Aleeve (seriously, I am cheap), my nano (with an updated play list), a luna protein bar (totally delicious, btw), Clif Chocolate Shot (so goooooood) and Clif Bar (pre run fuel). 
 Thats all for today.  After work I am heading to the Expo to get my race packet.  I am bib number 41285.  I am trying to find something positive in the number, but can't quite come up with it.  For those of you who like numbers and can come up with something creative (and positive) regarding the sequence of my bib numbers, I am interested in hearing it!

Happy Running Everyone!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

4 Days

Yesterday, I set out for 3 miles (after work, by myself---shhhh—don’t tell hubs). No big deal, right? I had taken some rest (I was on the arch machine) to try and let my shins heal (because I ran on the treadmill a couple of times last week) so this was a pretty easy run, just getting the legs warmed up and ready for Saturday.
 My knee was screaming by the end of it. Did I rest too much? Is my body protesting my crazy miles? Is my mind just freaking out? I am getting taper madness and phantom pains??

I am not freaking out though. I have a foam roller, I have Aleeve, I have a stick, I have a plan, and I have an awesome couple of partners in crime for Saturday. I have trained (courtesy of TMB Endurance Training plans), worked hard and pushed myself so that when this half arrived, I would kill it. Slaughter my PR by at least 20 minutes (ok, so I have a lot of room to improve, but still—it’s a sign of progress).

In 4 days, I will be running my second half marathon and I will see just how far I have come. I. Can. Not. Wait.

Happy Running everyone, because really, is there any other way???

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

An Extra Boost

Saturday morning, I got up bright and early for a run with the TNT group and Liz, my Baltimore Half Marathon partner. I was nervous. In case you missed it, my previous post was all about my shins and the pain they were causing me.

Saturday was the perfect running day. It was cool at the start, just 40* and clear. The fall TNT group was meeting up too, so we listened to their coach give them a pep talk, then Coach Katye gave us ours. Liz and I had planned on 10, but Katye mentioned it’s not too early to start tapering, so we decided on 6.

 The first mile—I struggled to get into a groove—but no shin pain. Hmmm,weird. The second mile, I managed to pick up the pace a bit and keep up with Liz (or Speed Demon as I shall call her) and Katye dropped off and headed back to some of the other TNTers. At the end of the second mile, I wanted to walk a second, so Liz obliged. I figured this would be the true test. Last week, my shins would hurt AFTER I would take my walk break and start up again.

After a couple minutes of walking, we started again, and kept the pace under 12:00/mile (shut up—this is fast for me) to the third mile marker. I had the unfortunate opportunity to use a port a pot (seriously, how do you get poo on the seat? WTF?) and came out gagging and walked a couple more minutes to catch my breath and control the gag reflex. We started up again, and still managed to keep the pace under 12:00/mile (pretty close to 11:20 according to Olga) and this pattern continued through the rest of the 6 miles. We did stop between miles 5 and 6 to snap a picture of some deer and fawns in the river bed (ahhh, nature at its finest), but the rest of the run was uneventful (well, aside from the cyclist who came flying up next to me and almost ran me over) and more importantly, pain free! So maybe the shin pain was a fluke, or just because of the treadmill?

We finished 6.2 miles in 1 hour and 15 minutes—which sparked some confidence in me. Somehow this run made me super confident about the Baltimore Half Marathon coming up. I know I can do this race, I know that Liz and I are going to kill our previous half times too.

After some tasty treats, we treated ourselves to Wegman’s (mmmmmm chocolate croissant) and had some pretty good laughs.

I am starting to think I might have this running thing down now! This run couldn’t have come at a better time.

Now, I am thinking about trying to get a qualifying time for the National Half Marathon, which means my half needs to be at 2:30 or my ten miler at 1:50. Either way, I am determined to qualify. I will be running that race!

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Letter S

Today's post is being brought to you by the letter S (or possibly F).  More specifically, for shin splints!  Stooooopid, shin splints 15 days before my half marathon where I was (and still am) going to kill my previous PR and show the course who the boss is.

I noticed it on Wednesday.  Tuesday, I put in 3 miles in 33 minutes (ok, not super fast, but fast for me) and felt great.  Wednesday, I finished my first mile (9:45 pace--thank you very much) I went to slow down and OUCH.  My shins were on fire!  Same results last night.  Started running and when I wrapped up, the shins were burning again. 

To say that I am frustrated is an understatment.  I have managed to go an ENTIRE year with out shin splints (yes, I have had injuries, but never shin splints).  Last week, I switched from the Brooks Trance 8 to the Trance 9 and I really hope thats not the problem (because they are such a comfortable ride).  I also  have been doing a lot of treadmill running this last week, and at speeds that are much faster than I am used to.  I am going to chalk it up to the speed.  Woops--guess I went too much too fast!

I hoping with a bit of rehab, some aleeve, some icing and extra stretching I should be good to go in 14 days. 

Any suggestions to help alleviate the pain, other than what I mentioned above?

Thanks for reading the whine-fest.  Just needed to vent a little!

Thanks for all the suggestions a couple weeks ago regarding the naseausness I would get after a hard workout.  I started eating more carbs and drinking more water than usual; those seemed to do the trick!