Sunday, May 15, 2011

Maryland Half Marathon

Today, I made my second attempt at the Maryland Half Marathon.  You may remember, that last year, this was my first half, the hills were brutal, the weather was gross and I only got by because of Katye. I was promised this year when I registered that the course was flat and fast and it would be a good course to run.  Last week, in a run with my cousin's husband B, I learned that this course was not flat.  At all.  It was a hilly e'ffer.

Luckily, the race was all of 5 minutes from A and B's house, so I was able to stay there Saturday night and sleep in until 6:30.  For some reason, I was not able to sleep; it was rather restless and I was up about every hour, but I still felt well rested.  I put myself together, ate a protein bar and B and I headed out.
Cute right?  My nails are even painted bright red--how coordinated of me!

At this point, the sky was gray, the day was kind of dreary and the temperature was nice.  The air was humid and heavy.  ICK.  The nice part about this race is now small it is.  Only 2000 runners, so all the logistics of a bigger race are not really factor.  We parked, walked to the start (I even managed to sneak into an unofficial stink box and avoided the nasty porta pot lines) and were ready to go in no time.  After some lovely chats and pep talks from the race organizer (who I may have called a liar under my breath) and sponsors we were off.

I started up with B, which was my first mistake.  I started way too fast for me. But I pulled back, started with my intervals and felt ok.  And then the hills started.  And kept going.  And my calf (remember how it bugged me really bad on Monday) started acting up.  I kept my intervals, cursing hills and thanking people (because honestly, how cute was I?) and kept going.  I decided at the first medic tent I would see if there was anything I could put on it and keep going.  But you know what, I never saw a medic tent (there were supposed to be 2 on the course).  I was a bit frustrated, but kept going.

And as I kept going, the hills kept going.  And remember how I said it was overcast and dreary?  Yeah, then the sun came out and I had left my sunglasses at home.  The sun was bright (I got sunburned!!) but I just kept going.

Honestly, I wish I had kept track of what was going on when, but I was kind of in my own head, thinking about things, listening to my tunes and focusing on not wanting to die.  To say I was unprepared for this race is an understatement.     Going into it, I didn't have an expectation of of where I wanted to finish, but more that I wanted to finish and have a good time, which I was able to do.

I finally saw the finish line as I rounded a corner and tried to sprint, but couldn't; my legs were spent.  I just kept my eyes ahead (and totally missed A yelling for me) and finish.  I even managed to PR by two minutes, even with as unprepared as I felt going into it.    How cool is that?

So, now I have two nice pieces of hardware.  If only I ran the inaugural year and had the first medal!

Happy running all!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Making it rain

So, I bought a groupon a while ago for this great gym that Katye goes to that offers the amazing treading classes.  And I totally got suckered into a membership.  I got free enrollment and 10 free ½ hour sessions with a personal trainer.  Luckily, I still have my handy student ID (shhhhhhh) and got a discounted rate because of that.

I am super excited because this gym is AWESOME.  Great equipment, lots of great classes and lots of perks.  I am excited to work with my trainer too (I specifically asked for a mean one) and developing a training plan outside of running that will really help me meet my various goals for my upcoming races.

Last night was my first night of my membership, so I decided to test out the calf and give treading a try.  It was great.  There was a far less annoying instructor (there is one girl who talks ALL THE TIME) who likes to kick you butt with some serious incline intervals.  I took my speed down a bit so I would not be pushing my calf speed wise, but I turned up the incline (hello, 12%) and had a killer workout.  Seriously, at one point, I kept feeling water splash me.  Oh, that was sweat flying off my crazy pony tail.  YUP.  I was drenched.  Thank you, treading class J

It’s hard to believe that my half marathon is almost here.  Seriously, how in the heck did that happen?  Here is a few things that I am not thrilled about with the race.

First, this week has been amazing here in Baltimore. Clear, sunny and overall perfect.  So, it would make sense that on race day, the forecast looks something like this.

Jealous of my mad paint skills, aren’t you?

Just for giggles, here is the course map and the corresponding elevation chart.  Lets hope I don’t drop dead. 

I am pondering my outfit.  I ran this race last year (it was my first half marathon) so I was thinking about busting out last year’s shirt (that doesn’t break any race day protocol right) and my red and white mini dot skirt and my black CEP socks.  Sounds cute right? 

I am excited because I am going to have an on course cheering section.  My awesome (and preggo—sorry A—totally stole your thunder in the blog-o-sphere) is going to come out and cheer for her husband and me J  Have I told you how much you rock??  Because you totally do.

OK folks, I am off.  Gonna get myself all prepped for Sunday!  Happy running!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hello Hills

Thursday, my cousin's husband sent me a facebook message about going for a run around where the Maryland Half Marathon will be this upcoming weekend and I happily agreed.

Remember the Maryland Half Marathon?  How the hills made me want to die and quit and how Katye managed to get me across the finish line?  Yeah, I signed up for that race again because the promoters moved the course and promised that the course would be flat.  And you know what?  Those f'ers lied, if our run on Saturday was any indication.  The 6.5 miles I got in was hilly as s.

It was a beautiful day in Baltimore, and aside from being a bit rushed from getting a late start, I was happy to be able to get out, check out the course and have a running buddy (even if B was so freaking far ahead of me and would loop back, a la Katye).  We started out and I knew I was in trouble-I was trying to run too fast with B. Eventually, we split apart, and just in time for the hills to start! Since I had never run the route before, B would loop back, run with me for a bit and then I would let him go ahead.  He would explain what hills, curves or other important information (a few of the roads had NO shoulders and you needed to pay attention for cars coming around or over the hill) and then carry on his way.  I tried to power up the hills the best I could and tried to make the best of the run.

I was may have said a few choice words towards B and called him an inappropriate name a few times, but I think he enjoyed having a running buddy as much as I did.  I stupidly left my camera at home, which was a shame, because we were running through some very pretty rural areas.  

And since I know you all are dying to hear about my social life, the run Saturday was followed by movies with friends, then later for dinner and drinks in DC. 

Cuba Libre in DC.  That deliciousness is a grilled pineapple mojito that I LOVED.  Shout out to Vance, our bartender for the stop who concocted this and a couple of shots for us too:)  We had planned on a bar crawl in Chinatown to various ethnic restaurants and trying a signature drink at each place.  We made it to two places before we went dancing.  WOOPS!

Today, I went for a shorter run after work and felt this terrible pull in my left calf and had to hobble off the treadmill to the stationary bike.  Seriously?!?!!  6 days before the half marathon?!?!?!  Stairs are a struggle and I am just so stinking frustrated.  I am hoping that the next few days of rest (or at least the bike and elliptical) will help whatever it is heal, but really, don't I just have the luck!?

Where is your favorite place to spend time with your friends?  Do you have a favorite drink or do you like trying new things at every new place you go to?

Happy Running!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Remember me?

*cough cough hack hack*  Whew, did you see all that dust fly up?  Seriously, it has been a while since I posted.  Someone, who will remain nameless (*coughcough*Katye*coughcough*) told me that studying to the CPA exam, training, having an active social life and new job are not good excuses to neglect this blog, and for that I apologize.  Did you miss me though?

So, how have I been?  Obviously, very busy.  I started my new job and I LOVE it.  It’s a bit different than what I was expecting, but still a great opportunity.  I am still learning the ropes a bit, but work with very friendly and kind of people.  The CPA exam is killing me. I am devoting a ton of time to studying and still feel woefully unprepared.  I think I just need to get the tests over with and see what happens.

The social life is active.  I am spending time with friends, making new friends and really finding who I am as a person, what sort of things I like and I dislike.  I am certainly enjoying this phase in my life as I move forward, kind of uncertain where things will go, but optimistic about how they will go.

The training---well, lets just say its getting neglected.  I had my first long run in a while (8 miles) on Sunday, followed up ½ mile repeats on Monday and I am still hurting. 

First, the long run was solo, on a chilly Sunday morning.  I hauled myself out of bed to take a three hour study break and headed to the trail.  I was prepared and looking cute, if I say so myself.  I took off on the trail and enjoyed my pace (10:15 for the first mile—gooooo me) and really felt great.  After the first mile, I decided to go to my 6:1 intervals (which ended up being 3:1 because of my poor training lately) and the miles just flew by.  I thought about going for another 2 miles, but had a twinge in my knee and was worried about pushing it too hard, too soon.  I was happy I hauled myself up and got out there. 

The next day, I had the great idea that I would try ½ mile repeats.  I had legs that were dead, feet that ached, and apparently a brain that was out of whack.  Someone suggested  I start with 4, but I figured I could handle 6.  I handled 6, barely.  The first two flew by and I felt great (I really like that delicious pain when you are all sore and trying to push your body through it) and then the third was a bit of a struggle (I never just go out and try and run this fast),the fourth I managed to finish and feel ok and fifth and sixth about killed me.  I finished them though, and was pleased with the overall outcome, but decided that even though I will be keeping this in my training plan, they are a cruel form of punshiment.  It was torteous, but in the end, a good workout as my sweaty self was evidence of.

I love my new Trance, but I was custom fitted for insoles, so ever since then, my arches are bothering me-to the point where it would be painful to walk.  I am going to try pulling them out of my shoes on Saturday for my  long run and see if that remedies the situation and my feet aren’t killing me by the end of the race.

So, there you have it; my last six weeks in a nutshell.  Its amazing that I have been able to condense it so nicely right?

Happy Running all :)