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

Monday, January 31, 2011

Weekly Workout Wround Up

January 24th - January 30th

This week was a little unusual what with traveling for work, meetings, and just generally being off my routine.

Jan 24

5.5 miles with the running group. Not quite the tempo run I had planned but still a good run.

Jan 25

Ended up not being able to run at lunch due to a meeting and then after work I had to attend the running club board meeting so no running or gymming or lifting, either. I suppose I was due for a rest day, though.

Jan 26

Travel day! In between packing for and flying to San Antonio, TX for work I didn't get in a workout. I was only mildly bummed, though, because my left leg was bothering me. I think it's time to cash in my massage Groupon.

Jan 27

I didn't get in a workout because I was in a workshop all day and then spent the evening exploring downtown San Antonio! The workshop was informative and the city is lovely so I'm okay with calling it a rest day :-)

Jan 28

3.2 mile run in San Antonio! Wasn't a very scenic run but it was still nice to get out there.

Jan 29

I had plans to get home from San Antonio (7:15 AM flight anyone?) and go for a 12 mile run but I got sucked into spending time with my husband instead. Sometimes you've just got to savor life, you know?

Jan 30

I pushed my 12 mile run to Sunday and while I did it it wasn't pretty. Too many rest days? Being thrown off my routine? Running on snow? Not fueling properly? Not sure what it was but I'm glad that run is over.

Total Mileage: 21
Total strength workouts: 0

I may not have done any strength workouts this week but I don't mind. That's because my CrossFit Bootcamp class starts tonight! I'm not really sure what to expect but their website says that I can expect:

* Core strength and a tighter back side
* Average five pounds of weight loss
* Function that will apply to any sport as well as every day life
* Accountability of goals for maximum results
* Increase in strength and cardiovascular endurance
* Increase in coordination and agility

So, keeping all those things in mind, I thought I'd take (and share) some "before and after" photos. Below are my "Before" shots.

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Let's see what this class can do!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sometimes You're the Bug

Sometimes you have great runs. Ones where you're kicking butt and taking names and flying through the air.

Other times you have runs where you feel like you've been hit by a truck and it's all you can do to put one foot in front of the other.

I'm sure you can guess which one I had today.

I had twelve miles on the schedule and, to be honest, I wasn't really feeling it. It was gray and precipitating outside. Everything is covered in snow. I really just wanted to stay home.

But I got ready and drove to the bike path with my YakTrax at the ready. I forgot how difficult those things can be to put on. I'm pretty sure I looked hilarious doing contortions in the car.

I spied another runner returning to his car and when I got out of mine I asked him how the path felt.

"It's better than last week. I see you have your YakTrax on. You'll be fine."

Well, it definitely wasn't like running on clean asphalt but I survived. It was hard work, though.



My plan was to run "easy" so I was hoping for easy 10 minute miles. I ended up running a 10:14 pace and it wasn't all that easy. I took quite a few walk breaks during the last 3 miles.

While I'd brought my fuel belt the water in it was so cold that drinking it took my breath away. I didn't bring anything to eat mid-run and I think that was a mistake. My back and shoulders ached, my feet hurt, and I really REALLY just wanted the run to be over with.

Yet, I made it all 12+ miles and even though I'm more wiped out than normal I don't regret getting out there. Sometimes being the bug makes you appreciate those days you're the windshield even more.

Salt Creek by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Remember the Run

Guess where I got to run this week?

Hint: I'm standing in front of the Alamo.

If you guessed San Antonio, Texas you'd be right!

I had to go to San Antonio for a workshop and the colleague I went with is also a runner. She convinced me to bring my running gear AND to get up before the sun for a short run on Friday morning.

San Antonio has a beautiful River Walk in downtown that would have been a pleasure to run on in the early morning hours. Sadly, we were staying in the Medical District which was about a 20 minute car ride from downtown. So, instead, I planned out a 3.2 mile looped route by using Google and Gmap Pedometer but due to missing a street sign we ended up just doing an easy out-and-back run from our hotel.

Things I didn't know about San Antonio:

1. It's hilly
2. It's at an elevation of 1,000 feet above sea level
3. They don't seem to like sidewalks (at least in the Medical District)

To this girl from the flat and relatively low lands of metro Chicago those things made for an interesting run.

However, the company and the weather more than made up for it. I got to wear capris! And try out my new arm warmers.

The arm warmers are a great addition to my running gear. They're especially perfect for traveling when you're not sure if you'll be running in 40 degree weather or 65 degree weather. Instead of packing two shirts (long sleeved and short sleeved) I just packed my short sleeved top and my arm warmers and was ready for anything.

Funny tidbit: my running buddy and I met in the lobby of our hotel at 6:30 AM on Friday morning wearing shirts from the same race (the Soldier Field 10 Mile). Granted, hers was a long-sleeved one and mine was the short-sleeved one but we had a good laugh about it.

I'm glad she convinced me to get up and run with her before our workshop. If I'd been by myself I don't think I would have done it. And now I can add Texas to the list of states I've run in. And maybe someday I can get back to San Antonio and run the River Walk, too.

San Antonio Run by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

Do you try to workout when you travel?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I really thought Monday night's run was going to be cruddy. I felt slightly nauseous and dizzy on the train on my way home and I was so exhausted that I could have fallen face down on to my bed and been asleep within seconds.

However, I know that running tends to make me feel better, not worse, so I sucked it up and went anyway.

My training plan had me doing 5.5 miles at a 9:00 minute pace but I just haven't been feeling the tempo runs lately. I think right now I'm just happy to get out there and get in the mileage on Mondays.

So, while I did end up running a decent pace for 4 miles I focused more on enjoying the conversation I was having with my running buddy, Jacob.

We talked about books. I recently finished reading Unbroken.

I guess Runner's World had an article on this book with some excerpts. One of the club members lent me the book and I have to say I really enjoyed it. It's heart wrenching in parts and it's certainly not all about running but I highly recommend it.

Jacob told me he's currently reading What is the What.

I admit I tried to read What is the What but just couldn't stay with it. I feel like I should try again, though, because it's a part of the world about which I am woefully ignorant.

But instead I'm now reading Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife.

Talking about books made the 5.5 miles go by quickly and, just like I suspected, I felt much better once I was actually out there running.

What about you? What are you currently reading? Is there a particular topic that makes the time fly by when you're talking about it?

Monday OPRC Run by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

Monday, January 24, 2011

Weekly Workout Wround Up

January 17th - January 23rd

Jan 17th

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays a runner from the swift completion of her schedule run. But ice just about did! Still, I finished my 5.5 miles and managed to stay upright the entire time.

Jan 18th

To make up for my slow, plodding, ice-coated Monday night run I joined my running group at work for a quick 3.2 miler along the lake.

Jan 19th

I went to the gym to do this workout and was pleasantly surprised at how non-busy it was.

10 minute warm-up on upright stationary bike
1 set of 8 and 2 sets of 15 Deadlifts
2 sets of 15 Dumbbell shoulder presses
2 sets of 15 Lat Pulldowns
2 sets of 15 Lunges
2 sets of 8 Swiss Ball Crunches

Also, those deadlifts were killer! My legs were definitely feeling that one.

Jan 20th

Approximately 5 miles of speedwork (including warm up and cool down).

Jan 21st

Jason attended his first personal training session earlier this week so on Friday I managed to get him down into our basement to lift weights with me! Good thing, too, because I'm at the point where I can squat more than I can lift onto my shoulders so I needed his help.

That's 70 pounds on that bar

I'm on my 5th workout from New Rules of Lifting for Women which consists of:

10 minute warm-up walk on the treadmill
Warm-up stretches
2 sets of 12 Squats
2 sets of 12 45o Push ups
2 sets of 12 Bent Over Row
2 sets of 12 Step Ups
2 sets of 10 Prone Jackknifes
Cool-down stretches

Also, I've officially decided that from here on out my glutes are going to be sore. That's just how it is.

Jan 22nd

Yet another run where the weather did not stop me! 11 miles in the cold, snow and ice.

I was rather miffed to look out the window later on Saturday to see that the snow had stopped and the sun had come out. However, I wasn't able to run later in the day on Saturday because I had errands to take care before attending the Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA) Awards Banquet.

I didn't win an award but many of my friends did and I wanted to cheer for them. However, I did end up winning a raffle prize!

But next year I plan to at least win a participation award. I think it will be pretty easy for me. In fact, I think I could have won one in 2010 if only I'd know what I needed to do to apply.

Jan 23rd

Even though the air temperature in our basement is cool enough to make it difficult to go down there I put on a sweatshirt, warmed up on the treadmill, and did a strength training workout.

2 sets of 12 Deadlifts
2 sets of 12 Dumbbell shoulder presses
2 sets of 12 Pullovers
2 sets of 12 Lunges
2 sets of 12 Swiss Ball Crunches

After I was finished with my strength training a few good songs started playing on my iPhone and the next thing I knew I was dancing around my basement. I put on a few more good songs, did some moves from old aerobics class, and threw myself an impromptu dance party. 30 minutes later I was nice and sweaty. I may need to do that more often!

Total mileage: 24.7
Total strength workouts: 3

Pretty good week, overall. I realized on Sunday, though, that I didn't have a single rest day. Interesting. I suppose, though, that I was sort of banking some workouts since I'll be traveling a few days this week and probably won't get in as many.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Crazy Pants and Pancakes

You, too, can own your own crazy pants...for your cat.

I think I'm officially a crazy runner.

At least I'm not alone.

Saturday morning a relatively large group of us met up for a long run. Sure it was 10oF. Sure it was snowing. Sure there was the occasional ice patch. But we were out there running.

My schedule called for 11 miles (at between 9:20 & 10:00 minute pace; I'm allowing myself to be a little flexible this time around) so I did 11 miles at an average 9:51 pace.

My legs felt like lead for the first few miles. Thankfully I was plenty warm enough (thank you, Under Armour!) even if there were snowflakes in my eyelashes and icicles in my hair.

Told you. Crazy.

The worst icy parts were through the cemetery (I guess dead people don't need clear paths) and a few places where we had to go up onto the sidewalks. I have my fingers crossed that this hardcore winter will mean a cooler summer.

When I got home I was craving something sweet and carb-y. You know, like waffles or pancakes. Sadly, I had neither ready to go in my freezer. However, even in my cold-addled state I managed to whip up some pancakes from scratch. Normally my pancakes turn out like hockey pucks but I may have finally created a keeper.


2 scoops vanilla protein powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup flour
1 tsp sugar
2 large or jumbo eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted butter, plus a little more for cooking

Whisk dry ingredients. Whisk wet ingredients. Add dry mixture to wet mixture and whisk. Add more flour if the batter seems too watery. Melt a small pat of butter in a non-stick skillet. Pour batter to make whatever size pancake you want and cook for a minute or two per side.

These end up tasting like a cross between a pancake and a crepe. Yum! I literally ate them with my fingers as they came out of the skillet.

All in all I would call it a successful morning. Even if a bit crazy.

Saturday OPRC Run by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

Friday, January 21, 2011


This time two years ago I wasn't doing speedwork. Two years ago I wasn't running with the Oak Park club. Two years ago I would never run outside in temperatures below freezing (except for that one race I did in 2008).

But last night I did all three. I purposely avoided looking at the weather after packing my running clothes but I'm pretty sure it was in the low teens with a windchill in the single digits.

I met up with a group of OPRC runners and we drove to the quiet street in a nearby town where we've been doing these speedwork sessions. First we commandeered the town's train station lobby for our standing drills and we worked on learning to be less bouncy when we run. Apparently bouncy is not good. Too bad.

Then off we went on our warm-up loop incorporating our skipping, galloping, high knees and butt kicks. I have to wonder what the people who live in the houses along our route think when they look out the window.

Somehow I accidentally turned the "warm up" option off on my Garmin interval workout so I'm not sure how fast or far we went. It took my lungs and my muscles awhile to warm up and at first I thought this was going to be one yucky workout. The cold combined with the heavy weight lifting I did the night before left my legs feeling like lead. At the end of the estimated 2 mile warm up, however, I felt pretty ready to go.

The plan? 4x4:00 minutes w/3:00 minute rests. Those first two four minute intervals felt like the longest four minutes of my life. The third one didn't feel so bad and the last one I pushed it as hard as I could. I tried to focus on the things we talked about during drills: leaning forward, pushing off behind me, landing with my feet underneath and not out in front. I'm not sure how well it worked.

1st 4:00 interval - 8:03 pace
2nd 4:00 interval - 8:06 pace
3rd 4:00 interval - 8:14 pace
4th 4:00 interval - 7:38 pace

Well, that's why the third one didn't feel so bad! I was going slower! Things you don't realize when it's dark and you can't see your watch.

And while it was cold out my core was perfectly warm. I wore one of my thicker sports bras, a tank top, my Underarmor top, and my jacket on top. On bottom I wore a pair of capri tights under my Underarmor tights. My butt was still the coldest thing on me, though. I suppose that's not bad for running 5ish miles in sub-freezing temperatures.

Now we'll just have to see how I do tomorrow on my 11 mile run. Here's hoping I don't turn into a meat popsicle!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

North by Northwest

After Monday night's harrowing run I was itching to get out there and get in some faster miles. I figured the lunch time running crew would be good for a fast, short run.

Although, when 11:30 came and went and the round-em-up email hadn't gone out I began to wonder. Was it still too icy on the path? Was everyone stuck in meetings? Were they all going to wuss out?

I'll be honest, the thought of going out there and getting sweaty and pushing myself all alone was not appealing. So I sent out the email and thankfully got some responses.

And, thankfully, the path was not icy at all. Sure, there were some big, cold puddles but no ice. Which meant I was able to push the pace. I didn't always pause my Garmin for stops so here's what I got:

Mile 1 - 9:28
Mile 2 - 9:00
Mile 3 - 8:21
Mile .19 - 9:17 pace

Nice, huh? It was tough but enjoyable. Yes, there are things that can be both.

Although I may be paying the price now. My left shin feels achy. Good thing I've got a day off before my next speed session!

Lunchtime North by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

Junk Miles

Last night's run would have been the perfect time to break out the YakTrax...if only I'd known how icy it was.

I spent the day inside and sometime between arriving home at 5:30 PM and leaving my house at 6:15 PM the side roads had completely iced over. When my car slid at a stop sign in my neighborhood I debated just turning around and going home.

But, no, I wanted to run. So I drove on in denial about the weather. It was lightly sleeting and the temperatures were hovering just above freezing. When I got to the running store and saw other people wearing their YakTrax I kicked myself for not remembering to grab mine.

The first mile wasn't too bad. The next mile, though, super slippery. I almost fell several times and at the 1.5 mile mark I decided I was turning around and going home. But my running buds convinced me to move from the street to the sidewalk and we kept going. By the way, there IS a time when you will curse someone for actually shoveling their sidewalk and last night was it. I much preferred the snow to the clear yet icy concrete.

Last night was supposed to be a tempo run but it ended up being a nice, slow, easy run instead. I finished the entire 5.5 miles and I didn't fall! Of course, I barely sweated and I decided it was the craziest thing I've done in awhile. But there are no bad runs, just bad gear. I'll blame last night on my lack of gear and just be glad I survived in tact. And next time I'll remember my YakTrax!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Weekly Workout Wround Up

January 10th - January 16th

Jan 10

5.5 miles with the last mile and a half at a super fast (for me) pace.

Jan 11

After work I went with a few other people from my running group to see the Hood to Coast movie. For those of you who have never heard of Hood to Coast it's a 197 mile relay race that starts on Mt. Hood in Oregon and ends on the Oregon coast.

The race is divided into 36 legs so you need a team of 12 people and typically each person runs 3 legs of anywhere from 3.5 to almost 8 miles. You, your team, and your van driver are up for 24 hours essentially living out of a van. You run at night, on little sleep, and, as far as I could tell from the movie, fueled by peanut butter sandwiches, GU, and the occasional hamburger.

Sounds crazy doesn't it? The teams depicted in the movie don't do a whole lot to dissuade that image. Of course, as a runner I understand their crazy and there were lots of times everyone in the theater laughed because what the participants were saying was so very true. However, the movie gave some mixed messages about running. Not training at all? Ignoring doctor's advice? Being sexist, immature frat boys at the age of 60?

Some of the stories were inspiring, others were heart-breaking, and others just made you shake your head. Overall, though, the movie does a great job of showing you just how difficult, inspiring, and life-changing running a relay of this magnitude is. Will Hood to Coast: the Movie be to the relay what Spirit of the Marathon is to the marathon? It just might be.

Jan 12

Happy birthday to me! One year older, still the same age group :-)

As part of my birthday present, Kim took me ice skating at the park near our offices.

We skated for about 45 minutes which, let me tell you, is quite the workout when you haven't ice skated in YEARS. I only fell once but it was a doozy of a fall. My left knee and my right hip were talking to me later. Still, it was a lot of fun and I counted it as my workout for the day.

Jan 13

5 miles of speedwork (including warm-up). I'm really liking this winter speedwork. Definitely gets me off my butt on those cold winter nights and helps when I can't run at lunch due to meetings and other actual work things.

Jan 14

My original plan was to do some strength training on Friday night but I ended up glued to the couch. Jason and I are watching Eureka via Netflix and, let me tell you, it will suck you in. Hence, Friday ended up being a rest day.

Jan 15

My original plan was to run 10 miles on Saturday morning but I ended up running 11 instead. I was pretty tired and sore by the end of that run, though. And of course I spent the rest of the day on my feet getting ready for and hosting my birthday party. I was HOSED by the time I went to bed.

Jan 16

I decided to go to the gym for my strength training on Sunday where I did the following workout:

10 minute warm-up on the stationary bike
Warm-up stretches
2 sets of 15 Squats
2 sets of 15 45o Push ups
2 sets of 15 Bent Over Row
2 sets of 10 Step Ups
2 sets of 8 Prone Jackknifes
Cool-down stretches

Something about being at the gym actually makes it so I can lift heavier weights than I can at home. Maybe I'm subconsciously showing off? Maybe it's all the mirrors? Who knows.

Total Mileage: 21.5
Total strength training sessions: 1

The strength training wasn't as plentiful this week but, hey, I saw a fun movie, went ice skating, and celebrated my birthday instead! I think that's a good trade off. However, I am pleased that my mileage is back over 20 for the week. Let's keep up the good work!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Little Ditty

Just a quick little post about my 11 mile Saturday morning run.

I tell you, even though I dread dragging myself out of bed and running first thing in the morning it's so nice to be done before 9:30 AM. It certainly gets me up and moving for the day!

I also love being able to study the maps of my runs the night before. just in case none of the people who know the route show up and I get lost. I didn't have that problem today but it made me feel better knowing that I at least had a basic understanding of where we were going.

I really hope the new running shoes I ordered get here soon. I had a $25 gift card to Amazon and the Brooks Adrenaline 10s were on sale for $65.99 with free shipping. I desperately need new shoes. I'm not sure there's any arch support left in my current pair.

You'd think after several years of running in the cold I'd have figured out what to wear. Not so much. I was totally overdressed this morning but thankfully another runner let me stash my second long-sleeved shirt in her car so that I could run in just one long sleeved shirt and my jacket.

And speaking of that jacket, I think it may be the best $25 I've ever spent. Thank you Nordstrom Rack for carrying workout clothes!

The actually running was rather uneventful. I'd planned to do 10 miles at a 9:30 pace and ended up doing 11 at 9:49 but that's okay by me. One can't be expected to run too hard when it's below freezing. Right?

Saturday OPRC Run by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

Friday, January 14, 2011

Can't Slow Me Down

An unplowed parking lot. Snow on the streets. Flurries in the sky. Cold that takes your breath away. None of these kept us from doing our speedwork on Thursday night. Sure, we had to pause for a few more cars than usual while doing our drills but overall it was a great workout.

We added a minute to our faster intervals meaning that we did 5 repeats of 3 minutes at 5K pace followed by 3 minutes of recovery jogging. At work on Thursday I watched a little video on the Garmin website in order to learn about the correct way to use my Forerunner 405 to do intervals. My attempt at self education worked and my Garmin behave itself the entire time. I was even able to log most of our warm-up lap!

Edit: Here's the video I watched

It's been so long since I actually raced a 5K that I'm not even sure what my 5K pace is. If I base my current workouts on my almost-year-old 5K pace then I'm going way too fast. Although, truth be told, back then I could hold a sub-8:00 pace for one mile of a 5K but that was it. Yet, I can do sub-8:00 during speedwork intervals no problem. Maybe it's just mental? I guess I'll find out in either February or April!

But back to last night. My paces last night were more consistent than the previous week and even though we added an additional minute to each interval I actually managed to run the 5th one faster than the previous four. Take that, snow and bitterly cold temperatures!

1st 3:00 interval pace: 7:52
2nd 3:00 interval pace: 7:57
3rd 3:00 interval pace: 7:55
4th 3:00 interval pace: 7:46
5th 3:00 interval pace: 7:35

So, yeah, pretty happy about that! Let's just hope it translates into something amazing for my goal races.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Monday, Monday

Not too much to say about Monday evening's run. Other than the fact that somehow for the last mile and a half I ended up in the group of fast guys. Of course, I was pushing it really hard while they were casually talking about football but I still think it's pretty cool.

The other notable thing about Monday night's run is that it was the official start of my half marathon training. I spent some time on Friday working on my training plan. I tried to merge the FIRST half plan and the FIRST full plan. I figured I ran my best half marathon last year when I was three-quarters done with marathon training so why not stick with what worked.

The plan below is sort of a draft in that it might change as I go along. I've tried to account for days when I'll be traveling or already know I'll be unable to run or lift but you know how plans are. Wily little bastards.

Click here to see on a separate page

As evidence of plans and their wily ways, I didn't EXACTLY run a tempo run last night. I mean, I ran faster than normal but instead of a mile and a half cool-down I ran my fastest mile and a half last. Oops. Oh well.

Tonight I'm going to see the Hood to Coast movie. Look for a review in my Weekly Workout Wround Up post next week!

And, as the kitten says, hope you have a great week!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Weekly Workout Wround Up

I decided to bring back the weekly workout wround up posts since one of my goals this year is to do at least 100 strength training sessions. These posts are mostly for my own log so feel free to skip them :-)

Also, I'm hoping to keep up with them all year instead of just for the first few months like I did in 2010. Aren't you excited???

Anyway, here's what went down for the week of January 2nd - January 9th

Jan 2

I originally planned to go to the gym but it was my last day of vacation and I took advantage of that by sleeping in and doing errands and chores instead.

Jan 3

Ran an awesome 5.5 miles with the running group.

Jan 4

No running or gymming. I met Kim and my husband for lunch and then after work I went to my running group's monthly meeting. We learned about racewalking from one of our members who happens to be a USATF Racewalk judge and then we heard from another member about deep water (aka pool) running.

Jan 5

After a stressful day at work I wasn't looking forward to fighting for space at the gym with all the Resolutioners. So instead of heading there right after work I came home, made dinner, at dinner, and then headed to the gym for some strength training. Worked out well!

I did the Self magazine workout with the following barbell weights:

"Shoulder Shaper": 30 pounds
"Lean Leg Lift": 60 pounds
"Booty Toner": 1 set @ 65, 1 set @ 75, 1 set @ 85
"Sexy Back": 30 pounds
"Waist Whittler": 30 pounds

Then I did 100 crunches of various types, 30 leg lifts on each side, and some foam rolling. All in all I was in and out of the gym in less than an hour.

Jan 6

Approximately 5 miles of speedwork outside in the bitter cold and the pitch blackness. Why, yes, I am badass. Since you asked and all.

Jan 7

Look at my (early) birthday present!

Jason bought me a weight bench and dumbbells with 120 pounds of weights. He also lovingly put it together while I was at work on Friday. Of course I had to break it in when I got home!

I did Stage 1, Workout A of the New Rules of Lifting for Women (NROLW). Workout A consisted of:

2 sets of 15 Squats
2 sets of 15 45o Push ups
2 sets of 15 Bent Over Row
2 sets of 10 Step Ups
2 sets of 8 Prone Jackknifes

I won't lie; step ups (done correctly) are HARD. I originally tried to do them with the weight bench at my step but after a few steps I decided that was too tall. Thankfully we have a pretty sturdy cooler stored in the basement that I used instead.

After finishing the prescribed workout I also did 100 crunches of various types.

I'm keeping a paper log of my weight & rep progression so I won't bore you with it here. But ask if you're curious!

I'm excited to have my very own weight bench in my basement. Now, if I can just figure out how to jury-rig a squat rack I'll be in business. Although, I guess there are some things the gym is better for.

Jan 8

5 Mile S-No-W Fun Run Race and after party. I think I may have burned more calories dancing than I did running. At least, my legs and arms sure seem to think so!

Jan 9

After getting home from my race and party weekend I hit the grocery store and then, at loose ends with what to do with the rest of my afternoon, decided to do another workout from NROLW. Workout B consisted of:

2 sets of 15 Deadlifts
2 sets of 15 Dumbbell shoulder presses
2 sets of 15 Pullovers
2 sets of 15 Lunges
2 sets of 8 Swiss Ball Crunches

Technically this workout calls for using the lat pull down machine but seeing as how I was at home and didn't feel like going to the gym for one exercises I substituted the pullovers instead. I think I'm going to try and alternate some of these workouts between home and gym just to work slightly different muscle groups.

Total mileage: 15.5
Total strength training sessions: 3

I'm well on my way to 100 strength training sessions! Also, I signed up for the evening CrossFit Bootcamp class that starts January 31st and lasts 4 weeks. That will knock off another 12!

My mileage wasn't that high this week but I decided my "official" training season doesn't start until today. Now we'll see the mileage climb!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

S-No-W Fun Run Race Report

Better than a t-shirt?

Several months ago one of my running group friends asked if I was planning to go to the "S-No-W Fun Run". I'd never heard of it and at first I was hesitant. A 5 mile race in January at a location almost 2 hours away? Staying overnight and partying with people from the running group? Paying for a hotel room?

But then I got an offer to share a room and decided I didn't want to pass this up.

So late Saturday morning we left for the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa for our mid-afternoon race.

After settling in our room, getting our race numbers, and finding most of our group in the post-race party room we headed outside for a warm-up of undetermined mileage. I debated how many layers to wear and in the end was happy I chose to shed one of my long-sleeved shirts and run in one-long sleeved shirt and my jacket.

The warm-up run also introduced us to the one major hill on the course. Being from the land of flatness I wasn't quite sure how to approach such a sight. While waiting for the start whistle I heard other runners saying that you should save a little bit during the rest of the run in order to tackle the hill toward the end.

Of course, the race started by going DOWN the hill so my first mile was a little bit faster than I would have liked. I tried to stay close to Maribeth but, in an unusual turn of events, I pulled ahead of her sometime in the second mile.

The course was a simple out and back. Although the air temperature was in the 20s the sun was shining and the wind behaved itself for the most part. The best part about running an out and back course when you have fellow running group members out there is that you get to cheer for your faster friends as they pass you on their way back :-)

My goal was to hold an 8:45 pace. Although this race has a unique award structure in that they don't do 5 year groupings for age group awards and instead group people together based on their current age (meaning that the fastest 29 year old gets an award and the fastest 30 year old gets an award and so on) I knew I had no chance of winning an award. Based on the past two year's results I'd have to run 2 minutes per mile faster than I am currently capable!

The race felt a little rougher than I would have liked toward the end. My right hand and forearm seemed to have fallen asleep (weird...) and then there was the hill. My pace slowed considerably on the hill.

See how the blue line goes down as the green line goes up?

Still, I finished in a reasonable 43:15. Not a PR but not bad for a hilly, non-chip-timed event! And for the curious, I came in 6th among the 30 year old women.

That's me in my teal jacket. Nice heel strike.

After the race we were offered various flavors of Schnapps (I passed) and burgers and brats (I ate a burger) and beer (of which I partook). Then I got to learn why someone else said that the race finish line isn't the real finish line.

After a quick clean-up we returned to the post-race party room for awards (multiple OPRC people earned awards!) and the highlight of the evening: dancing!

I didn't make it past the first elimination round of the women's "Sausage Dance" although multiple spectators told me I'd been robbed. We laughed hysterically at the men's "Hunk (of Cheese)" dance contest and then everyone joined in the dancing until I was soaked with sweat and my quads were protesting. I think they were confused. Racing 5 miles and then dancing for a couple of hours? No wonder I'm still sore...

After we'd danced until we couldn't move any more our group went to dinner and then a few of us stayed up to drink wine and chat. I finally collapsed into bed around 11:30 PM. I have to say, running a race AT a hotel and then staying at that hotel? Amazing. The Lakes Area Running Club really knows how to throw a party with a racing problem :-)

Cameras were flashing all afternoon and evening but I'm not sure when I'll see the rest of the photos. Maybe next year I can convince Jason to join me as my personal photographer. Because I definitely want to go back! And I invite anyone who wants to have a good time to join me. Maybe if I get a large enough contingent of supporters I can be crowned Sausage Queen :-)

S-No-W Fun Run - Lake Geneva, WI by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

Also, I can't forget to put in a shout-out to Adam over at The Boring Runner who is anything but boring. In fact, I reported part of my S-No-W Fun Run time to his Freeze Your Thorns Off 5K virtual race.

Nothing like killing two birds with one stone, don't you think?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Need for Speed

When I was coming up with the title for this post I immediately thought of the movie Speed. And then I immediately thought of one of my favorite Simpson's lines ever.

I think it was called "The Bus That Couldn't Slow Down"

Of course my post has nothing to do with the movie or the hilariousness that is Homer Simpson. So why am I posting about speed?

Because last night was the return of group speedwork!

Yes, it's dark. Yes, it's cold. But some of us are hardcore. Some of us are training for Boston. And some of us just like the camaraderie of running with a group. I'll let you guess which group(s) I fall into. Hint: it's not Boston.

One of the group members who has raced for a Fleet Feet team and who has worked with a local running coach took it upon herself to organize a Thursday night speedwork outing. She found a 1.7 mile loop in a nearby town that has little traffic and very few intersections and came up with some workouts and drills for us to do.

So, decked out in our reflective gear, blinkers, and headlamps we did a warm up loop (which I did not time). Then it was on to drills. We all decided we were glad it was dark because we probably looked like morons skipping, side-galloping, high knee-ing, backward running, and striding across the parking lot for the village swim club while waving our arms in the air. We did a few standing exercises to work on foot placement and then it was time for the workout.

We decided to do 5 repeats of 2 minutes at 5K pace followed by 3 minutes of easy jogging. I set up my Garmin for those intervals and it worked okay. For awhile. I'm not sure what happened during the 5th interval. I'm sort of bummed it apparently screwed up during that last fast interval because that's then one where our "coach" told me to work on increasing my cadence. From behind she told me it looked like I took off but I'd love to have the numbers to back up that observation.

But here's the numbers I do have:

1st 2:00 interval: 7:26 pace
2nd 2:00 interval: 7:51 pace
3rd 2:00 interval: 8:02 pace
4th 2:00 interval: 7:50 pace

Obviously I went out a little fast. And, like I said, I'm not sure what happened during the 5th one. All I know is that the Garmin says I ran the last 3:00 minute rest period at an 8:04 pace. Uh, okay. You can see the full workout stats here: OPRC Riverside Speedwork by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

I had so much fun being out there with the group. I'd never done intervals just for time so that was a nice change as well. Plus, when I'm running in the dark just waiting for my watch to beep it actually makes me push it harder. No finish line in sight. No counting laps. Just running my heart out. In the end I did just under 5 miles. I'm looking forward to doing more of these!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

First Miles of 2011

I took the weekend off and didn't do a long run. Apparently there is something to be said for this whole "rest" thing.

Monday night's run was AWESOME.

I felt really cold walking home from the train and I checked the weather about 20 times while trying to decide what to wear. Weather Underground swore it was 34oF out but it didn't feel all that warm.

I layered up in a tank top and my Underarmor long-sleeved top, compression shorts and tights, gloves and my earband. You know, the usual. I was freezing until we started running. And then I was perfect.

So perfect, in fact, that I ran quite fast for someone who hasn't really been pushing it all that hard lately.

Mile 1 - 8:46
Mile 2 - 8:41
Mile 3 - 8:50
Mile 4 - 8:38
Mile 5 - 9:12
Mile .5 - 9:53 pace

It felt good to get out there and run hard. My form felt good and I remembered why I love running. You know, one of THOSE runs.

Now I'm trying to decide what to do about that CrossFit Bootcamp Groupon. I want to cash it in before racing season really starts. Classes start January 31st and go through February 25th. Three times a week, MWF. I just have to determine if I want to try and become a morning person and do the 5AM class or give up Monday night runs for a month and do the evening (7PM) class. Decisions, decisions.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Year in Review

Happy New Year! It's time for the quick and dirty year-in-review for 2010. Read on...

How many miles did you run this year?

In 2010 I ran 889.15 miles. That's an increase of just over 145 miles from 2009. Crazy talk!

What was your best mileage month?

Both July and August were the best at around 103 miles each. It took me 4 years of running but I finally broke 100 miles in one month. Guess that's what marathon training will do for you!

What was your longest run?

The infamous 26.2. Running a marathon has been my goal for the past two years and it's hard to believe I finally did it.

How many races did you run in 2010?

I got bit HARD by the racing bug this past year and ended up running a total of 14 races! Just call me a champion.

Yes, my major award was winning my work running group's traveling trophy for running the most races in 2010. In fact, I ran so many races that next year they're changing the rules! Hey, it's not my fault they don't race as much as I do.

Do you have a favorite/memorable run from this year?

Although you might think I'd choose the Chicago Marathon (which was certainly memorable), the Chicago HALF Marathon was my favorite race of the year. I wish I could clone that race so that every single one of my runs could be that awesome. I hope I can manage a repeat performance eventually.

As far as my favorite/memorable run (not race), I'd have to say my 18 miler. Just like the Chicago Half Marathon, everything clicked on that day and I had an amazing run. While it's unfortunate that it didn't result in an awesome marathon at least I have the memory of that run to remind me that great long runs can and do happen.

What was the craziest weather or other type of adverse conditions you endured on a run in 2010?

Let's see....

First we have the storms of the year that caused the race I had been planning to run to be canceled...but I ran anyway.

This summer was also quite hot causing many of my runs to be less than stellar. I laughed, I cried, and, yet, I persevered.

And then there was the 20 miler and our unscheduled lightening break.

Not to mention running in the most recent snow storm.

The conclusion? I'll run in just about anything.

What were your goals for 2010? Did you achieve them?

My goals were as follows:

1. Run a marathon - DONE!

2. Get better 5K and 10K times - DONE!

3. PR at the half marathon - DONE!

4. Break 2 hours in the half marathon - So close!

5. Have fun - DONE!

6. Volunteer at a race or two - DONE!

Looks like I did pretty well at accomplishing my goals!

What are your goals for 2011?

As I posted here, my fitness goals are as follows:

1. Cash in my CrossFit bootcamp Groupon.

2. Do at least one duathlon (run-bike-run)

3. Break 2 hours in a half marathon

4. Run another marathon

I'd also like to strength train at least 100 times as well as get out on my bike more often.

Hopefully those are are attainable goals! Guess you'll have to keep reading to find out what happens.

P.S. This here blog turns 2 years old tomorrow (January 2nd). Happy birthday, Eri-thon!