A story of going from being a non-runner to planning for a marathon in three years...

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Frosty Footrace 5K Race Report

I didn't really mention it in here in the blog except for a few passing references, but this morning Kim and I ran the Frosty Footrace 5K up in her neck of the woods.

I also didn't mention that I looked up last year's race times and figured out if I ran a PR I could possibly place in my age group. Didn't want to jink it you know :-)

So, because what you really care about is my time and whether or not I managed to place, take a look at this:

That, my friends, is a silver medal for coming in second in my age group with an official time of 25.58.9.

My very first top three age group finish. And a PR of almost a minute. And Kim medaled, too!

She also got second in her age group. Good thing we're in different age groups!!

Anyway, the race itself was nicely done. Before the race, Kim and I did a little warm up jog and I could feel all the water I'd drunk this morning sloshing around in my stomach. Knowing from experience that I wouldn't be happy running that way, we circled back to the car where I scarfed half of a homemade granola bar to help soak up the water. The bagel with peanut butter I'd eaten for breakfast almost three and a half hours ago was no longer cutting it.

There was some chaos at the start because apparently they were training people on how to use the chip timing system but not actually timing everyone with them. Good thing we squeezed ourselves in near the front!

After about a quarter mile (and at the top of a hill) the course cleared out. I breezed by the first mile sign in just over 8 minutes! Amazingly, it felt pretty good.

Mile two went by in a blur. Kim was right on my heels which was helping to keep me motivated.

At about the 2.25 mile mark we passed Kim's husband who was our official race photographer. I did my signature arm pump because I was feeling fabulous!

However, immediately after that we hit a pretty major hill and I felt a little sick to my stomach. I powered up the hill as best I could and just reminded myself that I had less than a mile left to go.

I was starting to falter and Kim (who originally didn't know if she'd be able to keep up with my ambitious pace) passed me just before mile 3. At one point she looked back and motioned for me to come join her. I gave it all I had but knew that we still had at least a tenth of a mile left to go. Kim pulled away and I did my best to keep up.

Finally, the finish line clock was in view showing a time of 25 minutes and some seconds. That's when I dug as deep as I could and sped towards the finish line.

A volunteer steered me to the kid removing the (apparently useless) chips and Kim handed me a bottle of water. It was at that point that I remembered to hit the "Stop" button on my Garmin. So, my time and distance are both a little long in the Garmin stats. Obviously, we both pushed it hard and we felt pretty wiped out.

After a few moments of debate, we decided to hang around for the awards ceremony. Thank goodness we did! I'll be honest, I almost cried when they called my name for my medal.

This was such a fun race with such wonderful, wonderful friends. I love that the race scene is so varied here what with huge 40,000+ races and smaller, local, 300 person races. I may not have gotten a t-shirt at this smaller race, but I've got a medal. And that means way more to me :-)

I will say, though, that the woman who came in first in my age group was literally in my sights the entire race and only beat me by 13 seconds. If I had realized she was in my age group I would have tried to beat her. I kind of think I could have, too. Next year I will have my revenge!!

Official Race Stats

Time: 25:58.9
Average Pace: 8:23/mile
Overall Place: 51/249
Female Age Group Place: 2/25


Route:--Elev. Avg:819 ft
Location:--Elev. Gain:+0 ft
Date:02/28/10Up/Downhill: [+170/-170]
Time:11:00 AMDifficulty:1.8 / 5.0

Distance: 3.15 miles
Speed:7.3 mph
Pace:8' 16 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
18' 06-0' 107.4+0.1+16 ft
28' 16+0' 007.2-0.0-40 ft
38' 29+0' 137.1-0.2+30 ft
end8' 05-0' 117.4+0.2-6 ft
Versus average of 8' 16 min/mile

Posted from bimactive.com

Friday, February 26, 2010

Mind Over Matter

So, my shin. Seems to be better. I get an occasional twinge now and then but it's no longer limp inducing and I was able to run on it on Thursday. I can't tell if the twinges are all in my head or if there's really still something going on.

On Wednesday night I went to the gym, did some ab work, foam rolled my shin and my calf and then took my aerobics class. I iced my leg when I got home and all was good.

Yesterday I debated whether or not to run. I really wanted to and my shin seemed okay, so I did. Strangely, I had some heel pain on that same leg. Not enough to alter my speed, though. Once again, I hit my pace almost exactly on the nose. Too bad I can't get the lunch time running group to run my half marathon with me :-)

I'm always a little apprehensive when I show up to the lunch time group and I'm the only woman there. Sometimes the guys leave me in the dust. Sometimes they're nice enough to stick with me. It just depends. Yesterday they stuck with me. Well, one of them did. One ended up way ahead of us and the other way behind us. Also, the pace we were running at almost felt easy. This whole getting faster thing is weirding me out.

Also, I've decided to rework my training schedule a little bit. I've decided to run a 5K race on Sunday. Next week was supposed to be a cut-back week mileage-wise, but I decided that this week will be an early cut-back and next week I'll switch out the 5 miles on Saturday for 8 miles I'm supposed to do tomorrow. Look! I'm learning to be flexible!!

Oh, one more thing: Erica over at I Run Because...I Can is doing another giveaway! That girl is always waving awesome stuff in front of us. Anyway, this time it's an assortment of GU products. I've never tried any of them because I'm terrified of what ingesting caffeine would do to me while running. So, while I wouldn't spend money to find out, I'd be okay trying it in the comfort of my own basement on my own treadmill. Check it out if you're a GU fan!


Note: The Garmin didn't pick up a signal right away so it only measured 4.2 miles. We probably did closer to 4.5 since we ran the same route we always do on Thursdays.

Route:--Elev. Avg:589 ft
Location:Chicago, ILElev. Gain:-6 ft
Date:02/25/10Up/Downhill: [+154/-160]
Time:12:19 PMDifficulty:2.5 / 5.0
Weather:A Few Clouds
 29 F temp; 55% humidity
 29 F heat index; winds NW 9 G 20

Distance: 4.21 miles
Speed:6.6 mph
Pace:9' 09 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
19' 12+0' 036.5-0.0+3 ft
29' 08-0' 016.6+0.0-20 ft
39' 19+0' 106.4-0.1+13 ft
49' 02-0' 076.6+0.1-9 ft
end8' 46-0' 236.8+0.3+3 ft
Versus average of 9' 09 min/mile

Posted from bimactive.com

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Dreaded I-Word

Monday night I was walking to the train after work when I noticed a sharp pain in my left shin. "How strange," I thought. "That came out of nowhere."

It was still there when I walked from the train home but seemed to come and go. I decided to run on the treadmill instead of outside just in case it flared up and I needed to stop. I didn't notice it the entire run.

Then yesterday any time I got up from my desk the first few steps were limp-inducing but then I was fine. Walking home I seemed fine, too.

I had to skip running at lunch due to a meeting but I figured I'd make up those miles on the treadmill instead. I was due to go to the gym for some strength training anyway.

So last night I got home from work, changed into my gym clothes and then BAM! Pain. I literally stood there for 5 minutes deciding if I should go to the gym or not. "I could do the elliptical instead. I could just do upper body weights."

Ultimately, I decided that I should probably just do this:

And this:

I am bummed. Make that Bummed with a capital B.

I know that in the long run taking tonight off won't screw up anything and will probably only help. But I'm still bummed.

Hopefully tonight I will be pain-free and can attend my Hi/Lo class. I will be even more bummed if I have to miss that again.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

We Will Be Victorious


The scene: a treadmill in the basement
The plot: Woman has to run a 4 mile tempo run (plus warm up and cool down) at a 9:12 pace

Act I: The Warm Up

Should be a mile. At the half mile mark the legs just want to go. Feeling good.

(So come on)

Act II: Mile 1

Feeling good, feeling good, feeling...uh oh. Maybe not so good? What to do? How about a mind game? You can only look at the distance at the end of a song. Change the speed up or down when the song ends. Break it up into quarter mile chunks.

(They will not control us)

Act III: Mile 2

The mind trick is working. That first mile went by fast. Now it's just more sets of 6.5 MPH, 6.4, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5 and on and on.

(Come let the revolution take its toll)

Act IV: Mile 3

Less than two miles left. Doing good. Stay strong. Keep it up. This is supposed to be hard. You love it when it's hard.

(Rise up and take the power back)

Act V: Mile 4

This is it. Pound it out. The faster you go the sooner you'll be done. Imagine crossing a finish line. See yourself pushing yourself. Pushing your friends. Just...one....more....quarter....mile.

(We should never be afraid to die)

Act VI: The cool-down

Should be a mile according to the plan. Who cares if you walk a bit? Get your heart rate back down. Savor the moment. Jog a bit. Hit the half mile mark. Call it a night. You did good. You did great.

(So come on)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Weekly Workout Wround Up

Hang on! This week was filled with lots of fun things! I promise, if you make it all the way through this post (or at least three-quarters through) you'll be rewarded with fun photos AND video.

May Days Training Week 3 - February 15th - February 21st

Feb 15

5.5 mile tempo run where I hit my times and then some. Followed by yummy Jimmy John's sandwiches and a rousing discussion of random Winter Olympic sports. Speaking of which, have you ever done roller luge? No, not the version popularized by "How I Met Your Mother", but the kind you do on a track on the side of the mountain. I did it once in Denver and thought it was great fun.

Feb 16

5K run (not a race. It just happened to be 3.1 miles exactly) with the guys in from the work running group. Went relatively slow for a lunch time run. Other than being tired of being cold, it was a good time.

Gym in the evening for strength training. I had to do all the moves on my list out of order due to guys hogging the machines. I hate asking if I can work in while they take rest breaks.

40 minutes strength training with Triceps focus

Push Up (on knees) - 2 sets of 14
Straight Bar Pushdown - 12 @ 20 lbs; 20 @ 15 lbs
V-Bar Pushdown - 15 @ 15 lbs
Seated Dip - 12 @ 45 lbs; 20 @ 30 lbs
Seated Back Extension - 15 @ 70 lbs; 20 @ 70 lbs
Seated Lateral Raise - 12 @ 15 lbs
Seated Leg Press - 20 @ 55 lbs x2
Seated Leg Curl - 20 @ 35 lbs
Lying Outer Hip Raise - 20 each leg
Crunch w/Legs Elevated (Stability Ball) - 15
Crunch w/Legs In (Stability Ball - 20
Side Oblique Crunch w/Legs Elevated (Stability Ball) - 20
Straight Leg Thrust - 15
Crunch - 20

Feb 17

Didn't work out at all due to seeing 101 Dalmatians: The Musical after work. My husband gets free tickets to the occasional show so we try to take advantage of it. Dinner and a show where we only have to pay for dinner? Sign me up!

The show was cutely done but there were a few slow parts and at least one scene that didn't need to be there at all. I'm sure that scene is an homage to the original book but it just seemed out of place. And, yes, there were real Dalmatians on stage at several points. Really well trained Dalmatians. I think the real dogs and the kids playing the rest of the puppies stole the show. Although the woman playing Cruella also did a fabulous job.

Feb 18

Awesome 4.75 mile run with people from work at lunch. The only downside? My hair looked like a sweaty mess for the rest of the day. Thank goodness I didn't have any afternoon meetings!

After work I went to the gym for 45 minutes of strength training. Recently the strength training software has been adding an additional set of ab exercises to the list. It's putting me near 100 crunches of some kind now! Awesome!

Strength Training with Biceps focus

Seated Row - 20 @ 35 lbs x2
Seated Arm Curl - 12 @ 30 lbs; 20 @ 20 lbs
Elastic Curl w/Twist (Green Band) - 20 x 2 each arm
Wide Arm Elastic Curl (Green Band) - 15
Push Up (Wide Hand) - 14; 12
Seated Back Extension - 20 @ 60 lbs; 15 @ 70 lbs
Elastic Front Raise w/Palms Up (Green Band) - 15
Seated Leg Press - 20 @ 55 lbs x2
Adductor - 20 @ 50 lbs; 20 @ 110 lbs; 20 @ 110 lbs
Calf Raise - 20 each leg w/body weight
90 Degree Crunch - 20
90 Degree Side Oblique Crunch - 15
90 Degree Reverse Crunch - 20
Side Oblique Crunch - 20
Decline Crunch - 15

Feb 19

Rest Day!

Feb 20

I was up bright and early but not for a run. Instead, Jason and I joined Kim, her husband, and Kate at North Wall Rock Climbing. The coolest thing about this gym? Every other Saturday morning they offer belay training and then let you loose to climb wherever you want for around $20 a person.

Me belaying while my husband climbs

The climbing gym is sort of small but that worked perfectly for our purposes. Everyone still got to interact, there were some challenging climbs without being *too* challenging, and we got there early enough that we essentially had the whole place to ourselves for several hours.

Me bouldering. That is, climbing with no rope.

Me climbing while Kate belays

Everyone who worked there was super nice and helpful. One of the employees in particular was awesome and showed us a lot of neat stuff and gave us helpful tips. At one point he said, "Have any of you ever tried slack lining?" Well, no, we hadn't. As he started setting it up, I realize that I had just watched a video about it on Friday! This a member of women's Olympic ski team doing just that:

My attempt at slack lining was not as graceful.

Although, I really felt like if I kept at it I could get it!

I didn't yesterday. But maybe some day!

Who had fun? We did!

After doing all of that for several hours and then eating lunch, Kim and I went out on our snow-filled 8 miler.

And, yes, I collapsed into bed around 9PM.

Feb 21

I woke up not quite as sore as I expected. My lats were the sorest and my forearms definitely had a slight ache to them. I really just felt more physically exhausted then anything else.

But, there was a class at the gym I really wanted to try. What class? Intro to Spinning! I'd never tried spinning and though an Intro class would be a great way to get a taste without feeling intimidated.

The spinning bikes my gym uses

I learned how to adjust my bike, what sprints feel like, what "jumps" are, and got a brief taste of hill work. Overall, we rode for about 30-40 minutes and I broke a nice sweat. Will I try it again? Probably. Assuming, of course, there's a class that meets at a time that works for me. I liked that you could adjust the intensity to your own fitness level and that it definitely worked different muscles than running or using the elliptical.

I thought about doing weights afterward, but I was feeling rather wiped out. Instead I came home and ate leftover pizza for lunch.


Goal Mileage: 20.5
Total Mileage: 21.38

Looks like I exceeded my goal again! I suppose it helps that those 3 and 4 mile runs I do at lunch are always a little long.

This week was a lot of fun. All my runs went great and I got to try some new "cross-training". Many of my workouts were done with friends and groups, too. Running is a great solitary sport but sometimes it's energizing to get out there with other people.

I'm looking forward to this upcoming week. I should be able to get all my runs in one way or another and I should be able to attend my favorite Hi/Lo class. Plus, after talking with Kim yesterday I'm planning on running a 5K race in her neck of the woods on Sunday. I can't wait!

Eight is Great!

Yesterday, after spending the morning indoor rock climbing with Kim and Kate (and some of our husbands) (and about which I will post more in my Weekly Workout Wround Up post), Kim and I went for a run in a nearby park. The plan? To run 8 miles on the paths and trails that wind through the park and surrounding wooded areas. Sure there was still snow on the ground but certainly enough of it would have melted in the past few days for us to find the paths!

Oh, how optimistic we were!

We killed a mile just running from parking lot to parking lot looking for the start of a path. We flagged down a park ranger. "Do they perhaps plow the paths"? we asked. No dice. They leave them as-is for cross-country skiers. While debating about what to do, we stumbled upon a glimpse of the path over a snowbank at the edge of a parking lot. We climbed over the snow bank and took off running.

Well, as much as one can "take off" when running on snow anyway.

For a good portion of our "trail run" I have to wonder if we were really on any kind of path or if we were just making our way however we wanted. In some places the snow was just an annoyance, in others it was a major hindrance. At least, as Kim said, if we fall in the snow it will hurt less than falling on ice on a sidewalk. And then she promptly fell over.

At one point we could see a grassy path ahead of us and we aimed for that. What we didn't realize is that between us and the path was knee deep snow! Yet, we forged ahead.

We dodged (or attempted to dodge) goose crap, slippery ruts, and giant puddles. Our shoes took a lot of abuse, though.

I admit, I didn't know if I could make it all 8 miles in those kinds of conditions. If it wasn't for Kim I would have given up around mile 3. But Kim kept us talking and running. After a few more laps around the snowy paths we jumped back onto the streets and parking lots and before I knew it we were done! At one point I looked at my Garmin and it read 7.45 miles. "Oh good," I said, "we're almost done!" I admit, I was done navigating the snow but I *was* having a great time talking to Kim. I don't think I've ever had an 8 mile run go by so fast!

We are hardcore!

Stats (check out the map of our "route"!)

Route:--Elev. Avg:903 ft
Location:Crystal Lake, ILElev. Gain:+0 ft
Date:02/20/10Up/Downhill: [+121/-121]
Time:03:07 PMDifficulty:2.7 / 5.0
Weather:Overcast with Haze
 39 F temp; 82% humidity
 39 F heat index; winds Calm

Distance: 8.02 miles
Speed:5.8 mph
Pace:10' 18 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
110' 18+0' 005.8-0.00 ft
210' 22+0' 045.8-0.0-3 ft
311' 01+0' 435.4-0.4+3 ft
411' 28+1' 105.2-0.6+3 ft
510' 05-0' 136.0+0.1-3 ft
610' 13-0' 055.9+0.00 ft
79' 44-0' 346.2+0.3+4 ft
end9' 31-0' 476.3+0.5-3 ft
Versus average of 10' 18 min/mile

Posted from bimactive.com

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sun+Warm = Awesome


I think Mother Nature must have read my last post (did one of you send her the link?) because yesterday was almost like SPRING!

We went for a run at lunch and, for once, the ladies outnumbered the guys and I got to run for the first time with a woman who recently joined our group. She is totally inspiring, hilarious, and full of spunk.

The sun was out, it was actually kind of warm (above freezing!) and I was having such a good time that I didn't even notice that I was totally hitting my pace on the nose! It actually felt easy and we pretty much ran negative splits (each mile faster than the previous mile). Yes, I am awesome. Thank you.

I don't have much to say other than YAY RUN so I will leave you with some links to fun stuff.

Erica at "I Run Because...I Can" is doing a One More Mile giveaway! I've always wanted a shirt from One More Mile so I would LOVE to win this one.

Kim is giving away an "I Love to Run" necklace that is super cute. Even if you don't want to win the necklace you should check out the site that is giving it away. They have a lot of neat jewelry.

Finally, Kim also linked me to an hilarious post about the responses runners get from other people. Shut Up and Run really nailed it!

I'm also planning to do some new and different cross-training this weekend. Stay tuned!


Route:--Elev. Avg:590 ft
Location:Chicago, ILElev. Gain:-3 ft
Date:02/18/10Up/Downhill: [+164/-167]
Time:12:16 PMDifficulty:2.4 / 5.0
Weather:Partly Cloudy
 39 F temp; 52% humidity
 39 F heat index; winds NW 12

Distance: 4.74 miles
Speed:6.6 mph
Pace:9' 07 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
19' 19+0' 126.4-0.1+4 ft
29' 02-0' 056.6+0.0-19 ft
39' 09+0' 026.5-0.00 ft
48' 58-0' 096.7+0.1+3 ft
end8' 58-0' 096.7+0.1+3 ft
Versus average of 9' 07 min/mile

Posted from bimactive.com

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Obligatory "Tired of Winter" Post

I'm so tired of being cold.

Not necessarily while I'm running. I warm up pretty quickly and end up drenched in sweat most times. I've even given up wearing my fleece jacket and just wear two long-sleeved sweat-wicking shirts.

I'm tired of being cold when I get done.

I ran at lunch yesterday. Just me and some of the guys in the group. Thankfully, one of the members (the guy we call "The Commish" because he's the unofficial leader) is returning from six weeks off due to a partially torn Achilles so he was running nice and slow. It wasn't the 10:00+ pace recovery run I would have liked, but since we only went a 5K distance I didn't mind that the pace was 9:38. It actually felt pretty good.

Except when I got done and changed and returned to my desk to scarf down lunch I could not get warm.

I'm also tired of trudging through snow and slush. I'm tired of either wearing 12 layers or freezing my butt off when I go to the gym.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm tired of winter. I swear, my theory is that the reason February is only 28 (or 29) days is because we'd all throw ourselves off buildings if we had to deal with those extra 2 or 3 days of winter.

On the plus side, I'm still out there running. So winter can just suck it. And end soon. Please?


Route:--Elev. Avg:587 ft
Location:Chicago, ILElev. Gain:-9 ft
Date:02/16/10Up/Downhill: [+95/-104]
Time:12:26 PMDifficulty:2.3 / 5.0
Weather:Mostly Cloudy
 32 F temp; 51% humidity
 32 F heat index; winds NW 13

Distance: 3.10 miles
Speed:6.2 mph
Pace:9' 38 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
19' 37-0' 016.2+0.0-20 ft
29' 52+0' 146.1-0.1+10 ft
39' 01-0' 376.7+0.4+3 ft
end9' 45+0' 076.2-0.1-3 ft
Versus average of 9' 38 min/mile

Posted from bimactive.com

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Running in a Winter Wonderland


It snowed during my run last night. Or, as my running buddy Anne said, "It's a freaking blizzard!"

It wasn't really a blizzard. Just some flurries. I told Anne it made her hardcore. Although, I have to admit, having snowflakes fly into your eye while running is a unique experience.

Last night was another tempo run. One mile warm-up, three miles at 9:07, and the last mile and a half cool down. It was also the Asics-sponsored run. While I didn't win any free shoes, they did provide us with Jimmy John's sandwiches post-run. Yum!

At the start of the run I informed the people around me that I would be doing my tempo run. One of the faster women was like, "Oh, I'll stick with you. You're doing 9 minute miles? That sounds good." Uh, yeah, she left us in the dust at the first intersection.

I swear, this group is such a weird mix of people. Most of them are nice but have no clue that they run pretty fast (at least compared to me). Then there are some that are downright running snobs. Like the guy who wrote in our newsletter that running has been dumbed down by people like John Bingham. If I hadn't thrown the newsletter out in disgust I would quote him directly. Ugh.

There was another one of those guys last night who seems to think running slow is "miserable". Well, maybe it is for him but my run last night was outstanding!

Anne stuck with me the entire way even when I had to stop and remove a rock from my shoe (seriously. It's freaking snowing outside and I'm balancing on one foot while shaking a rock out of my shoe and trying not to put my sock-clad foot down on the asphalt). We didn't chat much as I think we were pushing each other. She'd just done a 14 mile run the day before and I was definitely running hard. Actually, a little too hard. All my tempo miles were done significantly under 9:07 and my warm-up and cool down were both under 10:00.

However, every time I run these paces I just keep wondering how in the world I could possibly hold a 9 minute mile for more than 5 or 6 miles. I feel like dying at the end of 6.2 with my pace hovering just under 9:00. Am I really supposed to hold that for 7 more miles???

Only time will tell, I suppose. But no matter what those running snobs say, I'm out there, I'm kicking butt, and I'm hardcore because I run with snowflakes in my eyes.


Route:--Elev. Avg:628 ft
Location:Forest Park, ILElev. Gain:+3 ft
Date:02/15/10Up/Downhill: [+22/-19]
Time:06:35 PMDifficulty:2.8 / 5.0
Weather:Light Snow
 26 F temp; 81% humidity
 26 F heat index; winds NW 8

Distance: 5.52 miles
Speed:6.7 mph
Pace:8' 59 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
19' 33+0' 346.3-0.40 ft
28' 40-0' 196.9+0.2-9 ft
38' 36-0' 237.0+0.3+3 ft
48' 53-0' 066.8+0.1+7 ft
59' 45+0' 466.2-0.50 ft
end9' 12+0' 136.5-0.2+3 ft
Versus average of 8' 59 min/mile

Posted from bimactive.com