Category Archives: Moving

Summer Running: Not Having A Blast

So this is how I felt during my run today:

June 15 Run Photo

I was on the road by 8:50 a.m., just 20 minutes past my target time.  When I left, it was just over 60 degrees and 53% humidity. It was 70 degrees when I finished. I ran the first mile at a good-for me pace, and then the walk breaks began.

June 15 Pace Chart

I was able to pick it up for the last half mile, but this was hard. I learned quite a few things on this run.

Tips For Humid Summer Running

  1. When running in the summer with any significant humidity (or high temps), I need to bring water with me, no matter how far I’m running. By mile 2 I was panting and would have killed for some water.
  2. All of the advice I’ve read in running magazines to throw pace goals out the window during hot/humid runs and run by feel is good advice. I need to follow it. I’m not training for a race right now, let alone a time goal, so my pace doesn’t matter.
  3. If I want to run somewhat comfortably in the summer, I need to get up early and get out there before the sun has gotten very high in the sky. Like … maybe before 6:00 a.m., even on the weekends. Today’s conditions were nothing compared to what I can expect for the hottest/most humid days in a Wisconsin summer.

Runners World has these and more great tips for running in humidity.

On The Bright Side…

For short distances, I can run a lot faster now than I can when I started my half marathon training. Even with significant walk breaks, I beat my average time since I started using Nike+.

June 15 SplitsI used to be excited to run a 14:41 mile. Now, I can clock that even while walking a decent portion of it.

Based on the Runner’s World advice, I’ll check the temp/humidity every morning before I run. If it’s less than 70 degrees and below 40% humidity, I’ll consider my pace an indicator of my current abilities. If it’s warner or more humid, I’ll just get out there with a goal to finish my daily mileage.

(Hey Meg, did you see I sort of copied you with my song-based blog title?)

The Run That Felt Terrible But Turned Out To Be Awesome

Three days in, I’ve followed my post-injury training plan to a T. A 1-mile run on Wednesday, 60 minute walk on Thursday, and a 2-mile run this morning. I had to stop and walk a couple times today, and when I finished up my run I was kind of down on myself. I was thinking, “When will I get my fitness back?”

Well, there was a reason I was winded and needed some walk breaks. I was below a 13 minute mile for the first half-mile! At one point, I was even below a 12 minute mile. That would have been fast for me when I was at the peak of my half marathon training (the race seems like a distant memory now). Even with what I deemed “significant” walk breaks, I averaged a 13:39 pace. I’ll take it.

June 13 Run Photo

Once I looked at the data from my run, I could reframe how I feel. I haven’t lost my fitness (my 12:00-13:00 pace actually felt like a slog), but I may have lost a bit of stamina. I imagine in a week or two it will be back. The idea of running five miles today was exhausting, and a month ago that was my normal mid-week run. I’m confident I’ll be there again (as long as I can keep getting up early and avoiding the heat).

I completed day 12 of the 30 Day Ab Challenge last night. 55 situps, 65 crunches, 33, leg raises, and a 42 second plank. I was able to muscle through all of it, although my hip joint make a terrible grinding/popping noise when I do the leg raises. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s a bit disturbing.

One last thing before I jump in the shower and sit down at my desk for work (my new part-time work at home arrangement is awesome!)—I know most of the people that read my blog are like me: back of the pack runners. Check out this bog post from the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half for a glimpse into the back of the pack, from a runner who’s normally at the front. Kudos to Runner’s World—they actually called attention to the post on their site, apologized, and asked for feedback from their readers. The comments on both of these pages might be an interesting read for anyone who doesn’t know what it’s like to be in the back of the pack. Although the finish line was still fully set up and no water stations vanished at my half marathon, I definitely think it felt different for me than for those that finished in 1:30:00 – 2:30:00.

First Run Post Injury

Today was a pretty awesome day. I went for a run. It was only one mile, but my ankle didn’t hurt. I huffed and puffed a bit more than usual, but I expect that to take care of itself in a week or so. AND, I didn’t lose any ground as far as my pace was concerned (today’s mile was 13:14) and I didn’t feel like I was pushing it at all.

June 11 Run Photo

I’ve already created my running schedule for the rest of the month. I’ll do two miles on Friday, three miles on Sunday, and then settle into 3-5 miles, three times per week for the rest of the month. Two days per week I’ll either take a one-hour walk or go to the local state park for a hike, and one day per week will be a rest day. I’m also plugging along with the 30 Day Ab Challenge. Although it’s June 11, I’m on day 10 because I completely spaced out and missed Monday’s workout. I figure I’ll just skip an upcoming rest day, so I should be back on track in two days.

In other awesome news, there is a strong possibility that the pound of doom is gone. I somehow managed to lose 2.6 pounds last week, bringing me to 172.2. This is .9 pounds below my April 8 weight, when I started battling the pound that would not get lost. Granted, I did not put up much of a fight … but I’m ready to focus on my goal. In 87 days I will be on a vacation of a lifetime, which includes a hike through a vineyard, a bike ride along the Danube River, and a hike around another German river … not to mention potential runs through gorgeous cities like Vienna and Prague. I set a random goal of weighing 160 for that cruise. To get there at this point, I need to lose about one pound per week, consistently. I can totally do that if I don’t eat junk and stick to my fitness plan. Then I’ll probably gain 5 pounds on vacation 🙂

Since I missed the mud run and Ragnar (boo!) I don’t have any races on the schedule at this point. I’m eyeing the Pumpkin Run, a local 10K in October. I’ve never run a 10K, so that might be fun. Frankly, I’m not looking forward to racing in the summer. Heat sucks. Maybe I’ll just sign up for the winter race series and a spring goal race, and keep the summers low key. Or maybe not. There’s talk of a Milwaukee Marathon for 2015…. 😉

Reflecting On My First Half Marathon

Yes, I said first half marathon. Because I’m pretty sure I’m going to do another one. But more on that at the end of this post.

Surprises From My First Half Marathon

I ran alone most of the time. I know I’m a slow runner. But I assumed that an all-women’s race with an 18:00/mile cutoff time would have more people like me in it. Nope. There were about 25 of us that took over 3 hours to finish. For much of the course, I was completely alone, or could see one or two people far ahead of me. Within minutes of leaving the starting line, it didn’t feel like a race—just a training run with a finish line.

There were virtually no spectators/cheerleaders. This was another symptom of being at the back of the pack. My family was stationed throughout the course, but I only saw a handful of other people. Friends had told me to leave the headphones at home and enjoy the race atmosphere. I’m glad I didn’t, because there really wasn’t any atmosphere to speak of.

I had to watch for traffic. We raced on an open road, running the same direction as traffic. Prior to this race, I’d only done closed-course 5K’s. Just one more reason it felt like a training run and not a race. The race staff were at major intersections to hold traffic for us, but driveways and minor intersections were up to us.

I am stronger than I thought I was

I am stronger than I thought. Although I ended up walking more than I had planned (partly because of the hills, partly because of the heat, I think), I never really felt like I needed to stop. I felt strong. I knew I would finish. My knees didn’t hurt, and I didn’t cramp up. I’m fairly certain I could have pushed the pace a bit more, but I didn’t want to risk an injury.

Recovery was pretty simple. I made sure to keep walking for 20-30 minutes after the race, and periodically throughout the next two days. I’d always be sore/stiff when I got up off the couch, but only for a minute or two.

What Does It All Mean?

I didn’t break down into a sobbing mess at the finish line like I thought I would, but that doesn’t mean this hasn’t been a life-changing experience. I’ve always been pretty good at following through on my goals when they were intellectual or career related (just need to finish my dissertation to complete the last goal on my list), but I’ve never been good at accomplishing physical goals. Whether it’s losing weight or developing an exercise habit, nothing ever really stuck with me until I started running. Running has helped me learn that food is fuel. Sometimes I eat crap anyway, but I’m much more aware of it. And, because I’m running, it doesn’t go straight to my hips.

A year ago, the idea that I would run a half marathon was about as plausible as climbing Mount Everest or hiking to the North Pole. Now, it’s just something I did last weekend. It makes me feel confident, and stand a bit taller, because I finished a half marathon. I now know that I can set progressively more difficult physical goals, and I will meet them—as long as I have a plan.

So, What’s Next?

My next immediate goal is to complete my assigned legs of the Ragnar Relay, without walking, at as close to a 13:00/mile pace as I can muster. I’m runner #1 on So You Think You Can Prance for Ragnar Chicago. I’ll cross the starting line in 3.5 weeks.

After that, I think I’m going to do another half, even though last weekend I said it wasn’t in the cards for 2014. Training for a distance race like this gives me a fitness routine with structure, a concrete goal to accomplish, and a wonderful feeling of accomplishment as I complete each scheduled workout. There are a few things I’ll do differently next time, namely:

  • Follow the training schedule more closely (I’ll stick with Hal Higdon’s Novice 1)
  • Pay more attention to my nutrition—every day of the week
  • Learn more about fueling while running

So, whats the race? I think I’m going to register for the Lake Country Half Marathon. It literally runs through my neighborhood, and I’m familiar with most of the course already. The race website says it has “some hills,” but I’ve run those hill before and they’re no big deal. It’s my version of flat. My only reservation is that the race is in August (Labor Day weekend), so it could be really hot … but in prior years runners have complained that it was cold, so I might roll the dice. The price increases in 8 days, so I’ll probably be pulling the trigger on this soon.

Any other runners out there—how long after your first race did it take you to sign up for another one?

Race Report: Women Run Pewaukee Half Marathon

Spoiler Alert: I FINISHED!!

Women-Run-Pewaukee-Half-Marathon-Finish-Selfie

A little background for any of you that don’t know me: I couldn’t run around the block in September 2013. Toward the end of that month, I decided I wanted to run a 5K. I did that on Thanksgiving. Then I decided to run another one, on New Year’s Eve (that was cold). Then I decided I wanted to run a half marathon. For the next four months, I trained. I followed (loosely) the Hal Higdon Novice 1 plan, going from a 4-mile max run to finishing 13.1 miles today. If you want more information about what it was like to train for this race, read the last four months of posts on this blog. If you’re reading this and have any desire whatsoever to complete a half marathon, you can do it!

But, from here on out I’m going to talk about this particular race. In case it’s not obvious from the title of this post, it was a women’s only race. Here’s race website: Women Run Pewaukee.

Race Expo

This is the first race I’ve attended that had an expo, although it was small. I timed my arrival at packet pickup to attend the course talk at 5:00 p.m. Turns out, no one really showed up for that. It was me, my mom, some other girl, and the trainer giving the talk. I had expected a 10-15 minute walk-through, but since the group was so small she just asked what questions we had. I didn’t even know what questions I should have … this was my first half marathon! She walked us through a map of the course, told us we’d be running on open roads, with traffic (which I hadn’t realized before), and warned us of where the hills were. Then I wandered through the expo, but the only thing I bought wasn’t running related. I found Addicting Pretzels and bought two flavors for my husband—Smoke (tastes like sausage) and 5 Alarm Chipotle. The samples were tasty.

Hidden at the end of a row was a poster board where women were encouraged to write why they run. It was pretty awesome. Bonus points if you can guess which one is mine.

Half Marathon Expo Sign
Click image to enlarge

After the expo, I came home and cooked a carb-loaded dinner. Chicken parmesan over whole wheat fusili with a sprouted grain roll. Not pictured: extra tomato sauce, green salad with olive oil & vinegar, skim milk.

Half Marathon Carbo LoadThen, I realized my intended race outfit was dirty, so I had to do a quick load of laundry. I was still able to get my race gear ready and be in bed by 9:30 p.m. for a good night’s sleep.

Half Marathon Outfit

Race Day

I woke up at 4:00 a.m. feeling well rested, but my alarm wasn’t going to go off until 6:00. I slept fitfully for the last two hours, and jumped in the shower right as I heard the alarm. Then I got dressed, applied lots of sunscreen (I just picked up some spray sunscreen and it was awesome), added vaseline to areas prone to blisters and chafing, and grabbed a banana and a cup of tea before jumping in the car. I also wrote this on my arm, for some motivation on the course. I’ve been using this as my running mantra ever since I read about a marathon sign that Katie saw that said, “Remember when you thought you couldn’t do this?”

Half Marathon Arm: Remember When You Couldn't Do This?

We arrived at the starting line at about 7:30, and the gun wasn’t set to go off until 8:00. I was with my parents and my husband, and we wandered around and soaked in the race atmosphere. There were lots of families there supporting moms, wives, and daughters. There were just over 300 women running the race, so it was pretty small. Here’s my pre-race selfie at the race trailer.

Half Marathon Start Selfie

Race conditions were “yellow.” It was 50-ish degrees when we started, but temperatures were going to steadily rise throughout the race, and we were going to be running in full sun most of the time. Good thing I had my visor and wore sunscreen!

And We’re Off!

They had us line up, and then walk down a hill and around a corner to the starting line. It was a little strange, but I understand why they did it. Since this was an open-road course, they had closed the road down to one lane as soon as we stepped foot on it, so they wanted to minimize the traffic disruption. Right before the race started, I ran into a friend I’d made on Facebook but never met in real life. Wendy is a member of the Women’s Running Club Facebook group (highly recommend it if you need some running encouragement, even if you’re just starting). We were both planning on being back of the packers, so we started together. Don’t we look happy?

Running with Wendy at the starting line

I only ran with Wendy for a minute or so. We both just had a goal to finish the race, but we have different running styles (intervals, walking, etc.,) so we separated pretty quickly.

This might have been me saying goodbye to her. I’m not quite sure.

Half Marathon Start SideMy husband was the photographer for all of these photos. He was learning to use a new camera, and switched back and forth that and his old one. This one had a giant lens, and apparently I got too close too fast, so part of my head got cut off.

Half-Marathon Start Smiling Closeup

There are no pictures for the next 6.5 miles. They were the best miles of the race. I surprised myself by maintaining a 14:30 pace, walking the first minute of each mile. During the first few miles I actually passed a couple women, which surprised me. Mostly, I had one person ahead of me and wasn’t aware of who was behind me. Since all but 25 of the runners finished under 3 hours, I was alone on the course most of the time. I have averaged about 15:00 miles on my long runs, so I was estimating I’d finish in approximately 3 hours and 15 minutes. The first six miles made me think that I could maybe do it in a little less than that. Even with a short, steep hill (85 feet up in .3 miles) that I partially walked, I ran the sixth mile in 14:28. I was going to murder this race!

Then the hills came.

Starting just after finishing the 6th mile (6.1, to be exact), a slow, steady climb started. It wasn’t so steep that it was scary to look at, but it was so steady that after a while you’d be asking yourself, “Why is this so hard?” if you didn’t know in advance this was a hill. I was prepared for it. And my family knew about it too. As I rounded a corner at 6.8 miles (running, after stopping to walk part of the beginning of the incline while eating some Honey Stinger Chews), I could hear my mom’s cowbell. I’m sure the 25 of us in the back of the pack heard that cowbell many, many times. Mom walked, then jogged (What? Mom doesn’t jog?) with me for about a tenth of a mile. I could see my dad and husband up ahead at what I sort of hoped was the top of the hill (not even close). I knew Wendy was back there somewhere, so I asked my family to stay and cheer for her (for those of us at the back, there really weren’t people out there cheering unless they were cheering for us). Thanks to my family, I ran up a part of the hill I’m sure I would have walked.

Half Marathon Mile 6 Hill

But it wasn’t the end of the hill, so I took a walk break after I passed them. There would be a lot of those for a while, because that hill didn’t stop until the 8 mile marker. You read that right—the hill was 1.9 miles long, and rose 150 feet. Mile 7 was 15:23, and mile 8 was 16:10. My stomach and head were feeling a little weird at this point. I’d eaten my Honey Stinger Waffle at mile 3 as planned, but when I started to eat my Honey Stinger Energy Chews at mile 6, they seemed like too much for some reason, so I only ate a couple. I’d also been drinking Gatorade from the aid stations every other mile … this was something I hadn’t planned on because I didn’t get a chance to do a test run with Gatorade before the race. But it was so hot that I was afraid of sweating all the salt out of me, so I took it for my own good. I walked a bit more through mile 9 until this feeling passed (16:43 pace). Towards the end of mile 9, I heard that crazy cowbell again 🙂

Women Run Pewaukee Half Marathon Mile 9

This was my normal face. Even feeling queazy, light headed, and noticing that my fingers were swelling, I mustered up a smile for the camera as I got closer.

Women-Run-Pewaukee-Half-Marathon-Mile-9-Smiling

After walking at the beginning, I ran to finish out most of mile 10 (15:48). My parents were at that mile marker (they had just leapfrogged me), and I saw a giant hill ahead. I yelled, “We better get to turn before we have to run up that bitch. I thought it was downhill from here!” Luckily, we turned. 🙂 I may have been yelling that in this picture.

Women-Run-Pewaukee-Half-Marathon-Mile-10-Ouch

From there, I was on my own until the finish. I tried to run as much as possible, but wasn’t afraid to walk because I wanted to avoid an injury. I had run 10 miles and my knees didn’t hurt, which I considered to be a small miracle. I wanted to keep it that way. I would challenge myself to run to a certain point before walking, or run the entire length of a song, or just pass the person I’d been leapfrogging for the final time. I knew I was going to finish, and I didn’t want to kill myself to get there. Mile 11 was 16:03, 12 was 15:38, and 13 was 15:25.

When I turned the final corner, the finish line was still a quarter mile away. After running for almost 13 miles, that seems like the longest run ever. There were two women ahead of me walking that I actually caught up to, so it had a little bit of an element of a race to it. I thought I was going to be crying like a baby when I crossed the finish line, but I wasn’t. I was just happy to be done, and proud of what I’d accomplished.

Women-Run-Pewaukee-Half-Marathon-Finish-LineMy official time was 3:20:08. I came in 307th out of 320 finishers, and 49/51 in my age group. But I was done, still standing, and still able to move. That was my only goal.

Being a women’s only race, we were greeted by men in tuxes at the finish line, given a rose, and a glass of champagne. I downed that champagne like it was gatorade.

Women-Run-Pewaukee-Half-Marathon-Finish-Rose

Women-Run-Pewaukee-Half-Marathon-Finish-ChampagneThere were organic cookies and fruit at the finish line as well. My kind of race! I took a few pictures with family, and then waited for Wendy to finish.

Women-Run-Pewaukee-Half-Marathon-Finish-Mom&DadWomen-Run-Pewaukee-Half-Marathon-Finish-Aaron

Wendy knew this race was going to be a challenge for her. At the starting line, she told me her only goal was to finish and not get swept. At that point, I assured her that even if they did have to pull the supported course, she could finish this race. Turns out she didn’t have to worry about that—she made it in under the cutoff pace. She did a great job, and my mom had a blast ringing her cowbell for her.

Women-Run-Pewaukee-Half-Marathon-Finish-WendyI expected to cry when I finished. I didn’t. People have already asked me if I’m going to run another half marathon. I’m not sure. I think I need some time to gather my thoughts and process what this race really meant to me. But for now, at least you know how it went.

 

Last Run Before Race Day

It’s almost here. My first half marathon is in 2 days! I’ll be crossing the starting line in approximately 36 hours. Yesterday, during my lunch break, I got my athlete’s guide for the race in my email. For some reason, I started crying. It finally, finally sunk in that I’m running a half marathon. I’m sure this means I’ll cry when I start, when I finish, and multiple times in between. I’m generally not an emotional person, but I’m about to do something I never in a million years thought I could do. I honestly didn’t think I had the lungs to run any substantial distance. I have asthma, and in school I used that as an excuse not to run in gym class. Turns out, once I got past the uncomfortable wheezy runs in the first two months of running (with my inhaler, of course), it really wasn’t an issue any more. I’ve truly trained my body to work better. After this race, my next task is to strengthen my leg muscles so my knees can take the constant pavement pounding better. I never would have thought it would be my legs, not my lungs, that would give out on me.

The race has a small expo tomorrow, and I took the afternoon off so I could get there in time to attend the last course talk. One of the trainers that worked with some runners before the race is going to go over the course in detail so we know what to expect. Planners like me must really appreciate this 🙂 I’m sure we’ll here all about the giant hill at mile 6.5. The race director has dubbed this “Husband Hill” (this is an all women’s race), because we should tell our husbands to be there to cheer for us so we can make it up.

So….ahhh! It’s really happening! I’ll be sure to have my race report up no later than Sunday night, because I totally want to be included in Katie’s Motivational Monday report on Runs For Cookies.

So, tonight, I went out for a two-mile run, which was the extent of my taper (my last run was the 11-miler on Sunday). We had a heat wave today, which felt great all day—until I went out to run. I started running in late September, so 82 degrees + humidity was a foreign environment for me. Holy sweaty, batman!!

May 8 Run Photo

Given the heat and humidity, I was actually pretty speedy!

May 8 Run Splits

My plan between now and the race is to:

  • Drink lots of water and lay off the soda
  • Consider everything that goes in my mouth a potential fuel source
  • Get 8 hours of sleep
  • Make sure all my race gear is laid out and ready to go before I go to bed tomorrow night
  • Buy bananas so I have my normal pre-run breakfast on Saturday morning

See you on the flip side!

My Next Long Run Is A Half Marathon!

I made it 11 miles on Saturday!

May 3 Run PhotoDon’t you think my husband could have told me my hair was sticking straight up before I had him take that picture?

I did it. And I felt pretty darn good most of the time. I picked a route that just looped around and around my neighborhood—rarely doubling up, but never focusing on how far I was going…just that I had to keep running. I want to make it through my half without seriously injuring my knee, so I started walking a minute at the beginning of each mile right away (slightly longer if I was consuming fuel). After three miles, I ate a honey stinger waffle (yum!) After six miles, I had some honey stinger energy chews, and stopped at a stranger’s house and asked him to refill my water bottle (you can do that when you live in small towns, I guess). As I ran away from his house, I felt awesome. Miles 7 & 8 made me think I could run a half-marathon like a badass—I was running 14:30 miles, which I’m pretty sure would be an all-out-awesome pace for my race.

May 3 Pace Chart

Then, my knee started hurting, and I took more frequent, longer walk breaks. Two walk breaks in mile 9, three in mile 10. The funny thing is, I’m pretty sure my knee felt better while I was actually running…it’s a soreness I can push through that’s more pronounced when I walk (especially on stairs). I think this is mental, and I hope the race atmosphere allows me to push through it next weekend.

I took two walk breaks in mile 11, and ran the last .3 miles at sub-13:00 pace. Without intolerable pain. I’m really looking forward to seeing what I can do in a race atmosphere.

May 3 Splits

 

After this run we went to the farmer’s market, I had a protein-packed lunch & showered, we had family picture taken, went out for ice cream, and then attended a Kentucky Derby party. We were home and in bed by 9:30, but for the first time during training I didn’t take a nap after my long run, let alone lay around completely useless for the rest of the day.

If anyone reading this has experienced sore knees while running longer distances, is there something you can do to treat it? Friends have suggested KT tape, or a brace….I’m thinking more about some sort of painkiller, since I don’t seem to be injured.

 

My First 10 Mile Run

Yup, I’m still here. In the two weeks since I last posted I’ve been on two business trips, worked a 50+ hour work week, and done some major work in my vegetable garden. I’ve also done a pretty terrible job at meal planning, and although I’ve stubbornly stuck to my long runs, my mid-week training for the half marathon has definitely not been up to par. Here’s my training log (with selfies, of course) since I last updated:

Wednesday, April 9: 5 miles in the Wisconsin Dells, up and down hills and around blind corners. My phone died exactly as I was ending my run, so the Nike+ stats didn’t save. So, selfie from the hotel room.

April 9 Run Photo

 

Sunday, April 13: 10K run in Reno, NV. I was very happy with how this run went. I set a personal PR for this distance. I was slightly disappointed to realize there was an organized 10K happening just a few blocks from my hotel that I didn’t know about it. I could have done the same run on a slightly different route and gotten a medal!

April 12 Run Photo

Then, an entire week of no runs. Oops.

Saturday, April 19: 5 miles. I had 9 miles on the schedule, and had planned to split the mileage between Saturday and Sunday since my parents were in town and we had a lot of work to do on the garden. But, this was the only run that ended up happening. I did a sweat test—I weighed myself before I left and again when I got home to see how much sweat I lost. Turns out I sweat about 1 pound per hour (which is what I should aim to replace while running). Good run, and an excellent work day afterwards, which worked COMPLETELY different muscles than my run.

April 19 Run PhotoAnd then, another entire week with no runs. I really need to stop this.

Saturday, April 26: 10 MILES!!! I did it—I broke into the double digits! And, I managed to function like a normal human being later that evening. (My pattern has been to run, shower, nap….and then nap on and off for the rest of the day while I lay on the couch.)

Run Photo April 26

Once again, I ran on the Lake Country Trail (just like I did for my 9 mile run earlier this month); I just went a little longer. I really like this trail, not only because it’s out of traffic for most of it, but if I start from my house, there’s a rest stop 7.5 miles in, which is exactly where I run out of water. I’m glad I pulled out a visor for this one; the route is not shaded at all, and it was extremely sunny.

I felt really good for the first 4 miles. No walk breaks at all, and I thoroughly enjoyed my chocolate honey stinger waffle. Then, I decided I’d walk for one minute at the beginning of the first mile. I also switched over to my Spotify playlist instead of podcasts, which really helped. I felt like I was killing it…..until mile 8. Then, my knees started to feel sore. I took one extra walk break during that mile (and refilled my water), and plodded forward. Mile 9 takes me off the paved trail; you have to follow roads with a small, uneven shoulder. My knees would have none of it. I couldn’t even run for a block. I didn’t feel like my knees were injured, but they were crazy sore. I texted my husband and told me to bring me ice packs when he picked me up. At mile 10 I was back on the paved trail, and I was able to run most of the time. There was no way I was going to give up and not hit my 10 mile goal unless I wasn’t able to move. And I did it!

Looking at my pace chart and splits, I really was doing well until mile 7. My fasted mile was mile 6 – perhaps I was on my way to negative splits? Even with the sore knees, I held a pretty consistent pace the entire time. Yay!

April 26 Pace Chart

 

April 26 Splits

I immediately started icing as we drove home (about a 10 minute drive). My husband had met me at a diner so we could get brunch if I wanted, but I really didn’t feel like it. When I got home, I didn’t even have the energy to eat (bad, I know). I swear I almost fell asleep standing up in the shower. Then I passed out for a 1-hour nap before I had to get ready for a wedding.

As I was getting ready for the wedding, I removed my toe nail polish to re-apply it, and discovered this gem:

Gross Runners FeetEww! But, I guess I’ve reached a running milestone? I put new nail polish on that right away.

So, I’m still on track for my half marathon in two weeks. Hopefully I can stop skipping all of my mid-week runs though. I bet that would help keep my knees in shape 🙂

I Ran From Oconomowoc to Delafield! 9 Miles!

It’s another record-setting long run Saturday. I had given myself permission to do my long run on either Saturday or Sunday this week, but I woke up feeling good today and decided to get it out of the way. I have been looking forward to this route for a few weeks for a couple reasons:

  • The majority of the run was on a paved county trail (out of traffic).
  • I would end in downtown Delafield (the next town to the east of us). This is somewhere I normally drive to, so it was an impressive running distance for me.
  • I would immediately eat pancakes once I finished the run. 🙂

I checked the weather when I woke up, and it was 30 degrees with light WNW winds. This was awesome, because I would be running almost entirely south and east, so I wouldn’t have to run into the wind. It was supposed to get progressively warmer during the run, so I struggled a bit with what to wear. I settled on long pants, a long sleeve tech shirt with a short sleeve tech shirt over it, thin gloves, and a warm-weather headband worn wide over my ears.

I filled up my new water bottle, ate a banana, put a Honey Stinger Waffle in the water bottle pouch, and told my husband to meet me in Delafield in 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Almost everything about this run felt good. I maintained a slow, but steady pace. As soon as I hit the trail I saw an older couple walking in front of me in the distance. It seemed to take an awful long time to catch up and pass them, but I focused on not over-doing it at the early point of my run. I tried to remember where the aid stations would be in my race and eat my waffle at those points. I had a few bites at mile 3, about a third of it at mile 4.5, and the rest at mile 6. The waffle is a winner. It was a little dry to eat, but since I had water with me that was fine. I never felt it sitting in my stomach like I had with the raisins the last few weeks.

The weather was gorgeous. Bright and sunny with an occasional light breeze. I ditched the gloves about 2 miles in, and around the half-way mark I folded my headband over so it wasn’t covering as much of my head/ears. There were points when I thought I would have been ok with my Under Armor heat gear capris. By the end of the run, it was up to a balmy 45.

The water bottle was a winner. Because of the way it’s designed, you don’t really have to grip it—it’s just stuck to your hand. I didn’t notice any sloshing around until it was only about a quarter full, but that didn’t bother me. I really like the nozzle. You squeeze it and a bit of water come out. There’s no top to open and you don’t have to suck the water out. I think this regulates water better—I probably would have drank too much too fast if it wasn’t for that feature. It does get a little slippery once it’s hot and you’re sweating, but since it can’t fall out of your hand it’s more of a yuck factor than a usability issue.

I didn’t take a walk break until 4.5 miles in, when I was eating my waffle. I took two other significant walk breaks at mile 6.25 and mile 7, walking for about .25 – .35 miles each time. But, each time I was able to return to my previous pace, or a little faster. At about 7.8 miles I came upon a wayside station with drinking fountains and plumbed rest rooms. It was like an oasis. I was going to have just enough water to finish, but I knew a little more couldn’t hurt. I paused my Nike+ app and refilled my water, and it was almost like I had refilled my energy as well. I switched from podcast to playlist, and finished strong. Amazingly, my last mile was my fastest!

April 5 Splits

It’s a little crazy to think that I was running for 2 hours and 18 minutes.  I had a small amount of knee pain starting at mile 7, but it didn’t hurt when I walked and was tolerable to run through, so I’m hoping it takes care of itself before my next run. The pace felt good and doable though, so I think I’ll probably finish the half marathon in about 3:25:00. I’m perfectly happy with that, because my goal is to finish and not worry about time. I’m extremely happy with how consistent my pace was. I’m on track to run the race all the way through, while walking through aid stations.

April 5 Pace Chart

My husband’s timing was impeccable. I knew I’d be seeing him towards the end, so I really pushed to finish strong. For the last 1:30 or so, “Somebody Loves You” was playing, which was a happy coincidence. As soon as I heard the 9 mile notification in my ear, I saw his car coming down the road. I indicated for him to turn around, hopped off the trail to the street, and jumped in the car. We had a very short drive to a restaurant for breakfast, so I snapped my selfie and changed into some clean clothes, then enjoyed two buckwheat blueberry pancakes. Yum!

April 5 Run Photo

Today was definitely a great running day. My mid-week runs are now ramping up to 5 miles, and I’m going to take a step-back week next weekend. I’ll probably do my scheduled 10K, although I’m not signed up for a race. Then the next weekend my parents are in town, so I’m considering doing back-to-back 5 milers on Saturday/Sunday instead of one 10-miler. I can consider it prep for the Ragnar Relay in June. Then I can do a 10-mile run, followed by an 11-mile the next weekend, and start my taper for the race! Holy crap it’s getting close. I should probably register.

The Good Part of This Run: It’s Done

I got in 4.5 miles tonight ahead of our winter weather warning IN APRIL. I wanted to get my run in before dark, so I laced up right after I got home from work and hinted to my husband that he could start dinner while I was gone.

I didn’t really have a route planned, so I just started running. I tried to start slow, (you know—slower than my standard slow pace) but did the first half mile under a 13:00 pace. Way too fast for me! I settled into the first mile at a 13:30 pace, right as I learned how Brookhill Road got it’s name. It crosses a cute little brook , and then when you turn the corner in a direction I’d yet to explore, you go up. A lot. Well, 80 feet in about .2 miles. I don’t know how steep that is for experienced runners, but it was plenty for me! If I ever graduate to hill repeats, I know where to go.

I felt pretty terrible at this point, but I purposely turned away from my house so I’d be forced to complete the entire distance I’d planned. I did a bunch of walk/run intervals, kind of like a fartlek, but based on my splits my running intervals must have been faster than normal, because I did well.  There were four more small hills (30-50 foot climbs), and I ran back and forth in front of a house that was burning yard waste, which did a number on my lungs for a few minutes. Here’s the pace/elevation chart:

April 2 Pace Chart

At about the three mile mark, I was thinking about how horrible it would be to have to run 10 more miles. But that’s what I’m going to do next month. I’ve already started to think about what I want to work towards after this race, and I’m pretty sure that it won’t be another half marathon or any other race. I’ve been pretty terrible about following my training plan (skipped runs, haven’t done strength training in over a month, cross training is a leisurely walk at best), so I’m not going to be as prepared for this race as I could be. Once I finish, I think I want to focus on fitness/strength rather than distance. I’ll keep running, but just shoot for a minimum of 30 minutes times per week. I won’t even worry about making one of those runs long. In addition, I’d like to do two days of basic, at-home strength training per week and I’d like to get a bike and go out once or twice a week (I totally dig the idea of a Sunday long bike ride instead of a long run).

April 2 Run Photo

So, this run looks good on paper. I beat my projected Nike+ time by three minutes. I’m glad I finished. Tomorrow is a strength training day (which means I’ll probably do nothing), and then I need to get another 4.5 miles in on Friday. Because for now, only the miles matter.

April 2 Splits

Food Log

Breakfast: 2 hard boiled eggs, banana, 1/2 cup fat free greek yogurt with 1 T peach jam
Snack: Chocolate oatmeal cookie
Lunch: Rice bowl (1/2 cup brown rice, 1/2 cup black beans, 1/2 cup corn relish), carrot sticks, 2 T hummus
Snack: Apple, low-fat string cheese
Dinner: 2 oz pasta, 4 oz mushrooms & 2 cups kale sautéed in olive oil, 1 T garlic scape pesto
Dessert: Chocolate oatmeal cookie (Haven’t eaten this yet, but I plan to.
Activity: 30 minute afternoon walk, 4.5 mile run

35 Weight Watchers Points, earned 12 Activity Points