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

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Revenge of the Roller

At my Monday morning PT appointment for my hip my PT spent a good five minutes "massaging" my left quadricep. Digging in and making me wish I knew Lamaze breathing is probably a better description of what was going on, though.

"Have you been foam rolling?" she asked. I shamefully had to tell her no. My little baby blue foam roller has two huge dents in it from all the IT band foam rolling I've done over the past year. It just doesn't cut it anymore. So Kim made me the photo above to encourage me to buy a new, firmer, black foam roller. Insert inappropriate joke here.

Anyway! I promised my PT that I would foam roll after my run on Monday night. During the run my calves felt so tight I though they would snap and my quad ached the whole time. I guess that's what I get for running 30 miles in three days.

Thankfully my calves loosened up and in spite of the quad ache the run felt pretty good. I ran the last almost-4 miles with a new gal I hadn't run with before so it was nice to have some small talk (what do you do, where do you live, how long have you been running) to keep us occupied. The first part of the run went well, too, as I learned about the tradition of charging non-temple members to attend Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashana services. See, running is educational!

And, yes, I foam rolled when I got home even though my foam roller is done. My quads were still screaming at me, though, so it's got enough oomph for that. Plus, I laid on a tennis ball to really get at the most painful parts of my hip.

And I'm planning to rest tonight. I'm looking forward to it.

Monday Night OPRC Long Route by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

Monday, August 29, 2011

Weekly Workout Wround Up

August 22 - August 28

Aug 22
8.68 miles. One of those runs when I was happy to be done.

Aug 23

Rest day. I had a running club board meeting, though, so we talked events and websites and Chicago Marathon water station volunteering. Speaking of which, if you're interested in volunteering at a Chicago Marathon aid station, let me know. I'm one of two people in charge of Gatorade at mile 18!

Aug 24

4.8 miles with some speedwork intervals thrown in there. Plus the usual bike ride to and from track for a total of 5.6 miles.

Aug 25

I managed to get in a nice, easy 4 mile run during lunch. I originally wanted to go 5 miles but we called it a day at 4. You'd think my legs would have been toast after doing intervals the night before but they actually felt nice and loose. Strange.

Lunch Run North by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

I had grand plans to come home from work, make dinner, run to the gym to get in that extra mile, lift some weights, and then have Jason meet me to go get ice cream. Yeah. I made dinner and then we went and got ice cream and walked around downtown Oak Park. No gym but a very pleasant evening anyway.

Aug 26

Rest day! Ate pasta for dinner and went to bed early in anticipation of...

Aug 27

The DeKalb Corn Classic 10K! Turns out I got in that extra mile from Thursday doing an extra mile during my warm-up on Saturday.

Aug 28

14.5 miles on foot and 5.5 on my bike.

After our run and after our dip in the lake and after stuffing our faces Kim helped me change the header on my blog. Now I've got a new photo up there! Check it out. She took that during our 18 miler in Iowa a few weeks ago.

Total running mileage: 40.43
Total biking mileage: 11.1
Total strength workouts: 0

Another running-heavy week. But considering I'm training for a running-heavy event I think that's okay. I may not hit my 100 strength workouts for the year but I'm strangely at peace with it.

In Reverse

This past weekend it was Kim's turn to run 20 miles. Of course I joined her since I needed to do my long run as well. Just because I ran a 10K the day before doesn't excuse me from my marathon training!

Kim and I have also been really lucky this year to be able to do so many of our long runs together. Good thing, too, since we're planning on running the Milwaukee Marathon together. Of course, at the marathon we'll be both be running the whole thing. No one will be hopping on their bike at any point.

Oh, you may notice in these photos that we're wearing matching tops. We didn't plan that. I showed up at her house on Sunday morning and when she opened the door I realized we were dressed identically. I love it when that happens.

Anyway, we drove over to Independence Grove which is this beautiful park where you can get on the Des Plaines River Trail. We met up with Bobbi who was finishing up her 20 mile run and kept her going for her last four miles. Then we were off to do what was supposed to just be another seven miles for me.

But Kim talked me into doing a total of 14.5 instead of 12. Why? Well, partly because we had to go further to get water than we had originally thought and partly because we figured out on Saturday that if I ran 14.5 I would have 40 miles for the week. I don't think I ever hit 40 miles last year. The allure of having a 4 in front of my mileage for the week was strong.

Doesn't mean I felt strong during that entire 14.5. Oh no. I felt like death for the last 2 miles. Kim was awesome, though, and kept me going.

And then I switched to my bike and encountered another first: first time falling off my bike. Luckily I fell over because I was going too slow and I fell into the grass. An abrasion on my left shin and exacerbating an already bruised toenail were the only damage. Well, and my pride.

Kim finished her last 5.5 miles strong! I don't think I was much help since I was still pretty out of it. I'd neglected to bring enough Shot Bloks and since I originally figured I was only going to run 12 miles I didn't take it all that seriously. Oops. Still, we finished!

The lovely thing about Independence Grove is that in addition to all the trails there's also a small beach on the lake. We went over there after our run to cool off in the water. Natural ice bath!

Okay, it wasn't THAT cold. Well, maybe a little bit. The sun that we wanted to go away while we were running waited until we were in the water to hide behind the clouds. Thanks, sun. Thanks a lot.

Regardless of my struggles it was a fun time and I'm happy Kim had such a good 20 miler. Now I'm really starting to look forward to the marathon!

Long Run with Kim by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

DeKalb Corn Classic 10K

On Saturday I was up bright and early (well, technically just early since it was still dark outside) to join the running club for a 10K in a town about an hour west of Chicago. I hadn't run a 10K since last year's Turkey Trot so I honestly had no idea what kind of 10K shape I was in.

So instead of having a time goal I decided I'd just try to run negative splits. That strategy seems to be working this year.

Also, sadly, my personal race photographer (aka Jason) was indisposed with his own event (and no desire to get up at 4:45 AM) so I don't have any photos!

I know, I know.

Anyway, I did my warm-up with John and we talked race strategy. This first two miles of this race include going up and down a freeway overpass and the last quarter mile of the race is up a slight hill. I only meant to do a one mile warm-up but ended up doing approximately 2.25 miles. Oops.

After working up quite a sweat just from the warm-up I waited for the 3K race to start and then positioned myself near the middle of the pack for the 10K. Off we went at a little before 8:00 AM. The first two miles felt great and I was passing all kinds of people even with the ups and downs of the freeway overpass. I just told myself to slow down and not kill myself on the hill.

Mile three felt good, too. My splits were nice and even and hovering around 8:50 minutes per mile. Pretty good, I thought. After getting off the country road and residential streets we went into some wooded parks and I enjoyed the shade and the scenery. We had to run across some grass at one point but even that felt okay. Nice and springy.

Mile four must have been all downhill, though. I grabbed a cup of water at the aid station just past the mile marker and slowed down to drink a bit. I passed Maribeth in here at some point and was able to cheerily ask her how we were doing. Mile 4 was definitely negative split territory coming in at 8:34. That might have been a tad too fast....

....Because mile 5 felt like death and mile 6 felt even worse. I think this is where the rolling hills began, too. I started to crash during mile 5 and even when I was just .2 from the finish and Holly and Helen were yelling at me to sprint it in I couldn't find any more strength. I managed a sprint for about a tenth of a mile before my stomach informed me that I had to slow down unless I wanted a return visit of the bagel with peanut butter or the Clif bar I ate before the race.

So I crossed the finish line with an official time of 54:51. My third fastest 10K time ever and good enough for 10th place in my age group.

I have high hopes that when it's cooler and flatter I'll easily beat my 10K PR and maybe even break 54 minutes. In the meantime, I'll enjoy going to races with my club friends, seeing them get medals, and enjoying breakfast together afterward.

Dekalb Corn Classic 10K by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Four by Four

Last night was supposed to be a "straights and curves" workout on the track. What does that mean? Basically it means you go fast on the straight parts of the track and you jog easy on the curved parts of the track.

Unfortunately the track is still closed.

Well, technically it's open but since the university is back in session they were using it for a soccer game (or maybe practice?) last night so it wasn't open to the public.

So Coach Holly had to improvise. It had been awhile since we'd done any intervals or anything truly speedy so she started us out easy. Two mile warm-up with drills followed by four (or six) 400s. The sidewalks that form the boundary of the university are almost a quarter mile on each side so it's easy to do 400s on them.

My goal was to do them at between a 7:30 and an 8:00 minute pace since my legs weren't used to short bursts of speed. Granted, I did run the River Run for Ryan at an 8:11 pace, but still.

The warm up felt good and I was able to pick up a little speed at the end. The 400s felt tough. I wasn't sure how fast to go because I couldn't really see the "finish line" of each quarter mile. Still, I managed to hit my goal pretty consistently:

1st 400 - 7:37 pace
2nd 400 - 7:58 pace
3rd 400 - 7:53 pace
4th 400 - 7:29 pace
Okay, maybe not that consistent.

Anyway, I decided to only do four instead of six 400s since my legs have been feeling pretty beat up recently.

Instead of doing a fourth lap with speed intervals I just did a cool down mile for a total of 4.8 miles for the evening.

And then I rode my bike home (oh, did I forget to mention I rode my bike to the track) where I promptly forgot to stop my Garmin. Meaning I apparently had the most epically slow 3 mile bike ride ever. Not that I can show you, though, because my Garmin decided it didn't want to upload my run or bike data to my computer. Stupid technology.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lead Legs

Last night I felt like I was running wearing a full suit of armor.

Gee, I wonder why.

My legs felt so heavy and the first few miles of my run I wasn't sure I was going to be able to make it the entire way.

This would have been a problem considering I ran to the running club meeting spot with plans to run the 5.5 mile route and then run home for a total of 8.5 miles.

I got a late start from my house, though, and ended up having to book it for the last half a mile in order to make it on time. I was really sweaty (and tired) by the time we started our group run.

It was deceptively warm outside. The air temps were only in the 70s but the humidity must have been high. I was drenched with sweat and feeling really out of it even though we were only averaging a 9:30 pace.

Thankfully I was able to finish the group run. I'd pretty much drained the handheld water bottle I'd brought, though. And I probably could have used a Clif Shot Blok or two. I guess I didn't eat enough at lunch. Too many cookies and not enough real food, I suppose. Damn those cookies our boss baked and put in the kitchenette!

At the finish of the group run there were two women from a local massage place giving free 5 minute stretching and massage sessions. It was glorious to have someone help me stretch out my hip flexors in such a way that I can't do on my own. And the rest break gave me the energy to run home. I had company for most of the way home, too. Big thanks to speedsters Helen and Steve for slowing down enough for me to hang with them for awhile.

It was dark by the time I got home (at 8:15) which makes me sad. Summer and the subsequent lighter evenings that come with it are definitely on the way out. I won't miss the heat and humidity for running but I will miss the daylight. Guess it's time to break out the blinking lights and reflective bits!

Monday Night OPRC w/run to and from by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

Monday, August 22, 2011

Weekly Workout Wround Up

August 15 - August 21

Aug 15

The long Monday night route is supposed to be 8 miles but for some reason my Garmin only measured it as 7.81 miles. Hmmm.

Also, I wore my black SkirtSports running skirt and got major chaffage on my right inner thigh. Guess that will teach me to get cocky about the Body Glide.

Aug 16

3.95 miles during lunch.

After work I was so tired it was ridiculous. Since I wasn't feeling up to a full-on strength workout a la NROLW, I went with a workout I saw linked on another blog awhile back:

Yoga and Kettlebells. Of course, I don't actually own kettlebells, so I had to use dumbbells

The workout left me sweaty and my legs a little shaky. It seemed too easy, though. I used 8 pound weights. I could have easily used 10 if I'd had them.

Although, to be honest, I was pretty sore later the next day and even some on Thursday. So maybe it's a good thing I only used 8 pounds?

Aug 17

5.42 miles in circles (or, really, squares) with a total of 5.75 miles on the bike to get me to and from the track.

Aug 18

Rest day!!

Aug 19

I rode the ~10 miles to work again. I'm still trying to figure out what to wear when I ride my bike. This morning I left the house in a short-sleeved shirt and capris and felt cold. But then I warmed up after awhile. I guess it's sort of like running? If you ride a bike, what do you like to wear?

Aug 20

20 mile run! It went great. My only concerns are that with our gas station water break and my bathroom stop my total time was close to 4 hours. Fingers crossed that I can hit mile 20 during the actual marathon in closer to 3:45 or 3:50.

Also, I hope that there aren't crazy mosquitoes on race day. Oh my god. I have so many mosquito bites it looks like I have chicken pox. On my butt. And that was WITH bug spray.

Aug 21

14 mile bike ride as part of our triathlon relay team. Well, plus another two miles that I rode from where we parked to the start line. However, I walked my bike back after the race since I felt guilty leaving Kim and Claudia walking while I zoomed off.

Total running mileage: 37.18
Total biking mileage: 31.75
Total strength training workouts: 1

Danskin Triathlon Relay Race Report

I think the above image perfectly sums up what it's like to participate in a triathlon relay. We are so very obviously a cyclist, a swimmer, and a runner.

A few weeks ago Kim offhandedly mentioned to me that a few women in her running club were trying to put together relay teams for the Danskin Women's Triathlon in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin on August 21st. I said it would be fun to do the bike portion of a triathlon relay so that I could get some practice riding my bike hard without worrying about saving myself for a post-bike run.

Next thing I know I'm on a team with Kim! And we were all ready to sign up when our swimmer announced she'd fallen off her bike and broken her wrist! Crap.

Thankfully, I know a pretty good swimmer. Enter Claudia, a member of the Oak Park Runners Club, who I happen to know swam competitively since the age of 4 or 5. She's signed up to do the Chicago Triathlon on August 28th so I figured maybe she'd want a practice swim in a race setting. She jumped at the chance and our team was born and christened "One Leg at a Time".

Kim has a great write-up over on her blog so I'll send you over there if you want all the details. Here are my thoughts in bulletpoint format:

  • Race volunteers were incredibly uninformed about all the logistics. This is supposed to be a race for beginners but I would have been so confused if I'd never done anything like this before. Or maybe I was more confused because I have done something like it before. The only person who seemed to know anything was a super-creepy woman who informed me that "body marking is optional!" Weird.

  • The bike course was beautiful but a little hilly. A lot of newbie cyclists and the fact that the relay team wave started almost last made it so I passed a ton of people. I gave up on calling out "On your left!" since I would have had to say it every 30 seconds.

  • I have no idea what various speeds feel like on the bike. My goal was to do 18 MPH. I managed 17.7. The last 4 miles or so were at 19 MPH. I need to figure out how to change my Garmin to display MPH when I'm cycling. That might help.

  • I was happy to see there were mile markers on the bike course but I didn't realize they were only every 2 miles. Imagine my surprise when I saw the Mile 8 marker but didn't recall seeing 5 (or 6) or 7! The ride went really fast!

  • The 20K course was actually more like 22K (14 miles as opposed to 12) even though I got distracted and started my Garmin late. That was fine with me but I guess some people were complaining about it. Hey, I was having fun and I didn't really want it to be over.

    After I was done with the bike portion and had handed off the timing chip to Kim, Claudia and I went and stood by the finish line and cheer. Once Kim crossed the finish line we all got our medals and then I braved the crowd to see what our official finish time was.

    We finished in a total of 1:29:03. 1/2 mile Swim - 12:29, Transition 1 - 1:37, 14 mile Bike - 47:51, Transition 2 - 1:01, 5K Run - 26:04.

    I saw a "3" next to our finish time but wasn't sure what that meant. After wandering around trying to find someone who knew something, Kim finally discovered this meant we'd finished 3rd out of 33 teams! Sadly, only the 1st place relay teams got awards but 3rd is totally awesome!

    It was a fun event that I'm glad I did with friends. I would definitely do another triathlon relay but maybe not this one. I suppose, though, now that I know it's very laid back I would be more prepared for the weird conflicting information and the lack of bike etiquette (lots of people riding two abreast, not staying to the right). Regardless, I'm thrilled that Kim mentioned it to me and that we were able to get a team together. I'd never done any kind of relay before this year and now I've done two. It really does combine the best of many worlds: friends, exercising, and racing.

    Danskin Triathlon Relay - Bike Portion by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

  • Three and Twenty

    When I looked at my total mileage for last week I realized that if I wanted to keep going with the 10% increase thing I was going to either need to add in another day of running or run 20 miles on Saturday.

    Since my schedule was such that squeezing in another short run during the week was probably not going to happen, I decided I'd try for my first 20 miler of the season on Saturday.

    Thankfully I had company!

    Kim, Claudia (from the Oak Park Runners Club) and I were doing a triathlon relay on Sunday so we had to go up to Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin on Saturday to pick up our packets. We all had to do long runs, too, so we figured we'd do it together on Saturday. Kim directed us to the trail head of the Des Plaines River Trail. At first we weren't sure we were going to be able to run. Rain and thunderstorms followed us most of the morning. And having run my first 20 miler in less-than-stellar weather I wasn't looking forward to doing it again.

    Thankfully the storms cleared up right as we stepped onto the trail. We also counted ourselves lucky that the air temperature was cooperating. Starting a long run at 11:00 AM in August is dicey but we tempted fate. Overcast and upper 60s/low 70s? Fine by me.

    Claudia and Kim only planned to do 16 miles so we did an out-and-back on the trail. We took 1 minute walk breaks every 2 miles and I was feeling pretty good. Shortly before mile 8 I was running along, minding my own business, when Kim said, "Oooh, look! A snake!"

    Cue my screaming.

    I hate snakes. Even 12 inch long garter snakes.

    I tiptoed around the snake and practically sprinted to the 8 mile marker. I was REALLY apprehensive about going back the way I just came but thankfully the snake had moved on to wherever it is that snakes go when they're not laying in the middle of trails.

    Between miles 11 and 12 we took a short detour to a gas station to refill our water bottles. I took a caffeinated strawberry Clif Shot Energy Gel to supplement the non-caffeinated Clif Shot Bloks I'd been taking every two miles. It was surprisingly tasty! Unfortunately, I don't think my tummy liked it so much since I started having some GI issues toward the end of the run. Good to know.

    Other than having to make a restroom pit stop when we finished the 16 miles, I felt pretty strong. I knew I had it in me to do another 4 miles. So while I used the facilities Kim and Claudia hopped on bikes so they could keep me company on the last bit of my run.

    I finished my 20 feeling strong but tired. I was really glad Claudia and Kim were there and that Kim was entertaining us by using her phone to play upbeat music. Amazingly, nothing hurt post-run. My knees felt okay. My hip felt fine. My quads were tired but not painful. My GI tract was still mad at it me but it wasn't anything one more trip to the bathroom and some Immodium couldn't fix.

    I plan to do another 20 miler in a few weeks but I'm thrilled to have already done this one. It's such a confidence booster to have a good 20 mile run and I'm thrilled I was able to share it with my friends.

    20 Miles with Kim & Claudia by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

    Thursday, August 18, 2011

    Steady as She Goes

    Wednesday night we did another steady state run. Last week Coach Holly commented on my blog post to tell me I should speed up, not slow down during these runs. We input some conservative times into the MacMillan Pace Calculator and came up with a steady state run pace of 9:40. Meaning that the run should feel like an effort but not so much that I'm out of breath or my legs are burning.

    I did my warm-up mile with another running club board member so we could talk "business". She is faster than me so I discovered that I accidentally ran my warm-up mile at the pace I was supposed to run my workout. Oops!

    Warm Up by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

    Then it was straight into the workout of 40 to 50 minutes at that 9:40 pace and I found myself alone. Somehow I'd lost all the people who were my pace. Okay. That will help me work on pacing myself, I thought.

    I did pretty well the first two miles. 9:38 and 9:37, respectively. Except that if you look at my pace chart it's all over the place.

    Steady State Run by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

    I'm just no good at running the same pace for any period of time straight. I think it's one of the reasons I've always found running on the treadmill to be so much more difficult.

    Or maybe my legs just wanted to speed up. I can't see how, though. They felt like ground hamburger. Sore, stiff, and heavy. Too many days of hard workouts, I guess.

    In spite of the lack of a flat line on the graph, I am getting pretty good at saying what pace I'm going to run and then actually hitting it or getting within a few seconds.

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    Tricksy Weather

    I swear yesterday the high was only supposed to be in the low 80s. I figured at noon it would still be only in the upper 70s.

    I should have known better when I left my house wearing a cardigan and felt a little warm.

    Still, I soldiered on and rallied the troops for a lunch time run. Kim was even able to join us!

    We went south on the lakefront path because it's usually less busy and I like the scenery a little better. Did you know that 70,000 people use the lakefront path daily? That is a LOT of people!

    Turns out the weather felt a lot warmer, too. That 9:25 average pace felt pretty rough towards the end and all we did was 4 miles. Of course, I was running on tired legs having done almost 8 miles just the evening before.

    Kim and I stuck together, though, and I was even able to grunt out some answers to her conversational questions.

    Afterwards, though, I was wiped. I know I just said that sometimes a run leaves me feeling energized. Yesterday, though, all I wanted to do was fall asleep at my desk. Doesn't help that the sun comes in my office windows in the afternoon and makes me warm and sleepy.

    Regardless, it was nice to get out there and enjoy the day.

    Lunch Run South by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    Energizer Running

    Marathon training is tiring. I spent most of yesterday in a daze. I almost fell asleep on the table at the PT's office while she was digging her elbow into my glute that's how tired I was. And looking at my calendar for the next few weeks makes me even more tired.

    But, strangely, a good run leaves me feeling energized. Yesterday I could have easily fallen asleep at the drop of a hat. But instead I laced up my shoes and went out with the OPRC for an (almost) 8 mile run.

    It was a beautiful evening for a run. The humidity was low, the air temperature was warm enough to not be chilly but cool enough so I didn't sweat like crazy, and the sun stays up just long enough for me to get in those miles. Perfect.

    For the first half I ran with one of my usual buds who informed me that he wanted to run fast so he could get ready for the 10K at the end of October. Okay. I picked up the pace after the first mile and we were flying at 9:00 minute miles and a little faster. It felt great to be running faster than usual and not struggling so much. Yay for fall!

    I took the second half much easier. I ran with someone I'd never really run with before and who didn't know the 8 mile route very well. We discovered I'm not very good at giving directions while running. I just zone out and run by muscle memory, mostly. Oops.

    Anyway, it was a great run and since it was our Run of the Month I followed it up by hanging with the crew and enjoying dinner at the local Greek restaurant outside on their patio. Perfect evening for running and a perfect evening for sitting outside. Both left me feeling way more energized than I was at the beginning of the day.

    Doesn't mean I'm not tired now, though. Maybe I need to go for a run!

    Monday Night OPRC Long Route by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

    Monday, August 15, 2011

    Weekly Workout Wround Up

    August 8 - August 14

    Aug 8

    5.5 miles in the rain. 5.5 glorious miles.

    Aug 9

    Nothing. I had some intentions of lifting weights after dinner but ended up on the couch instead. Oh well.

    Aug 10

    5 miles around the perimeter of our usual track location. I didn't ride my bike to track either because I had some errands to run beforehand that were easier to do in my car.

    Aug 11

    Rest day! Actually, it was sit-in-the-car-and-travel day. After work I joined Kim for a trip to her family's cabins on the Mississippi River in Guttenberg, Iowa.

    Aug 12

    18 miles!!

    But that wasn't all I did on Friday. Oh no. I also did this:

    Water skiing! My very first time, actually. And, yes, I got up on my skis on my first attempt. On legs that just ran 18 miles. I can't stay up for very long (think in terms of seconds) but still. There may have been a lot of water up my nose, but was so much fun! I can't to try again on fresh legs.

    Aug 13

    2 miles to the start line and then a fun (and fast) 5K race.

    Aug 14

    Absolutely nothing. Unless you count sitting on the beach or using the current as a lazy river.

    Total running mileage: 33.44
    Total biking mileage: 0
    Total strength workouts: 0

    Well, that wasn't the most well-rounded week ever. But I actually managed the 10% mileage increase all the cool kids talk about. Last week I ran 30 miles so if you take 10% of that and add it together you get 33. Which is what I ran this week. Yay!

    Hopefully this week, though, I'll be slightly more balanced.

    River Run for Ryan 5K Race Report

    A few weeks ago when Kim and I were planning our weekend trip to Guttenberg she discovered that while we would be visiting there was a local 5K taking place on Saturday morning. After getting our 18 mile run out of the way on Friday we decided to do the 5K on Saturday morning.

    When we woke up the sky seemed threatening. Lighting and thunder and rain kept up until just before we needed to leave for the race. Then the rain let up and we were able to run the 2 miles to the race start. Yay for small town races!

    However, not only did the rain let up but the sun came out and I swear the temperature rose by 10 degrees! I admit, I was looking forward to another rainy run. But when we arrived at the registration tent I already had sweat pouring off of me. At least it made the volunteer comment that we looked like "serious runners". That made us laugh. I was a little worried, though, because our warm-up 2 mile run felt rougher than I would have liked. My legs basically felt like lead.

    Run to the River Run for Ryan by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

    I decided to run in my just a running skirt and sports bra. Good decision. It was warm! But not as warm or humid as my last few 5K races. Thank goodness.

    Anyway, this race was very low key. The purpose of the race was to raise money for the National MPS Society and to support the son of the race organizer. There were probably less than 150 people running and I think most of them were friends of the family. We started on the track at the town's athletic facility and after we lined up the race organizer gave us a description of the course.

    He counted down from 3 and we were off. About 200 meters on the track, a brief bit across the grass, and out onto the streets for the first half of the race. I wanted to really get negative splits this time since I came so close the previous week. When my first mile beeped at 8:21 I thought "Crap. I went out too fast." I'd even warned Kim about going out too fast when we were still together at the start!

    But I decided to see how well I could do. We turned off the streets near the halfway point and went up onto the walking path that borders the Mississippi River. There was a lovely breeze blowing in off the water. It would have been even better if it had been blowing in from the side instead of straight into my face, but I was still grateful.

    The second mile ticked by at 8:16. Okay, I thought. Now to see if I can pull off an even faster third mile. I decided to try and pass as many people as possible. I picked out people ahead of me and tried to pick them off one by one. I don't think I got passed at all the entire race, but especially not towards the end. Even though I was dodging the 1 Mile Fun Walk participants I was still gaining on people.

    There's a girl in pink who had taken off at the beginning. I wanted to pass her so bad. She wasn't in my age group but I still wanted to beat her. When I pulled up alongside her I looked over and said, "Don't worry. I'm not in your age group." And then I pulled ahead.

    We had to run down a steep grassy hill and then practically come to a stop in order to squeeze through the gate to get back onto the track. But since I love me some track I was excited to sprint to the finish.

    Instead of a race clock they used the clock on the football score board. I was pretty excited to look up and see my time started with a 24! But then I looked down at my Garmin and was disappointed to see the race was only registering as 2.99 miles! Boo!

    Also, this race is so low key that they don't have a website and they don't use any kind of timing company. So for my "official" time I'm going by what my Garmin says. Which is 24:33. But I'm not counting it as a PR since the course was over a tenth of a mile short. However, I totally ran negative splits! Goal accomplished!

    Then there was my not-so-secret goal of wanting to place in my age group. They did 10 year age groups instead of 5 year ones so I had no idea how well I'd do. Turns out I did well enough for second place!

    Kim did really well, too. She came in a bit behind me but got a medal of her own....also second place!

    Hooray for matching medals!

    This race was such a different experience from so many other races I've run. No mile markers, no water stations, no chips or clocks or prize money. Just a community coming out to support one of their own. And it felt good to be part of that.

    River Run for Ryan 5K by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

    Trail of Dreams

    Ever heard of Dyersville, Iowa? Ever seen the movie Field of Dreams? The baseball field built in the middle that corn is in Dyersville. But that's not the only thing that's there. Nope. There's also the trailhead for the Heritage Trail, a 26 mile jaunt that runs from Dyersville to Dubuque, IA.

    Kim and I both had long runs to do this weekend and since we had already planned a trip to her family's cabins on the Mississipi River in Guttenberg, Iowa we knew we had to find someplace to do our run. We certainly could have looped around the town of Guttenberg a few times, but Kim had a better plan.

    We drove to the trailhead and, after a few false starts, purchasing a trail pass, and some exploring, we headed out into one of the most scenic places I've ever run.

    Sometimes it looked like this:

    And sometimes it looked like this:

    The weather was pretty beautiful, too. Cooler than it has been, less humid, and overcast for much of the run. Still, we knew we'd have to make a pit stop for water and possibly bathrooms so Kim, using her impeccable planning skills, found a gas station in a town a mile from the trail. Thank you to the Casey's in Farley, IA where we bought water to refill our fuel belts.

    Originally I had only planned to run 16 miles this weekend but Kim had 18 on her schedule. I adjusted my mileage earlier in the week so that I wouldn't make too large of a leap between weeks and decided to run the full 18 with her. The plan? One minute walk breaks every 2 miles and a pace between 10:30 and 11:30 minutes per mile.

    Aside from a slightly more extended break during our pit stop at the gas station, we stuck to our plan. Except my Garmin only recorded 17.27 miles. Why? I got distracted by these guys:

    Cows. And bison! We stopped to look and take some photos and I paused my Garmin. Guess who forgot to turn it back on until almost three-quarters of a mile later? Yep.

    The run went surprisingly well. No hip or quad pain and only a little bit of shin and knee pain. The 3+ hours Kim and I were out there flew by and I still had energy to spare at the end. So much energy, in fact, that when Kim egged me on I ended up doing this:


    Eighteen miles is good to me. Or maybe those Shot Bloks I took every two miles helped out. For the last few walk breaks I alternated between taking a regular Shot Blok and taking one with caffeine. I think it helped. I bought a few more caffeinated ones so I'll have to keep trying them out on my long runs.

    Or maybe the biggest help was the company. You really can't go wrong when you run with your best friend.

    18 Miles with Kim by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    Perfect 10

    Wednesday night was another alternate "track" workout. The track is actually closed because the university is installing a new football field.

    So once again we ran around the block. It's almost exactly a mile but it works out well since right now we're mostly just running for time and not for distance.

    Last night's workout was a one-mile warm-up followed by 40 minutes of marathon pace running.

    I'll be honest, though. I think I was running a little faster than marathon pace. Well, considering my last marathon was such a hot slog-fest I don't know if I consider that an accurate portrayal of my marathon pace. Almost 12 minute miles? If my hope of breaking 5 hours is going to come true, that had better not be my marathon pace this year!

    So I've been aiming for between 10:00 and 10:30 minute miles. Okay. Last night I ran perfect negative splits starting with the warm-up and finishing with the last mile. 5 miles total with an average pace of 10:01 for the last 4 miles.

    But I don't think that was the point of the workout. Next week I think I'll work on slowing down. My muscles didn't burn (although my knees were a little achy) but my legs felt a little more tired than I would have liked. So maybe next week I'll see if I can keep my pace closer to 10:30. It's rough being the slow kid in the group and it's crazy to think about having to run slower, but if that's what's going to get me to my goal then sign me up.

    Warm-Up by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

    Steady State Speedwork by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

    Tuesday, August 9, 2011

    Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head

    After what seems like a month of heat and humidity the weather finally broke last night. The air was even almost a little bit chilly.

    Chicago experienced the wettest July on record and, as I am prone to do, I seem to have ignored this fact and left my umbrella at home multiple times. Yesterday the rain continued and, once again, my umbrella was safe and sound at home when I left work.

    So when I realized it was probably going to rain during my scheduled run I decided that since I was already wet I didn't care. Was there going to be lightning? Didn't look like it. Time to get my run on.

    I wore my trusty green running t-shirt that has seen its share of rainy runs. And my bright pink shorts that survived the rain during the last six miles of the Madison Marathon.

    The rain started coming down less than a half mile into the run. I didn't care. I felt amazing. At one point Maribeth looked down and said "Uh, are you running a 9:15 pace?" Why yes, yes I was. In fact, I finished the entire 5.5 miles with an average pace of 9:07! The last time I ran a Monday night run anything close to that was in May!

    Apparently you give me a rainy day and I'll give you an awesome run.

    However, all I wanted to do when I got home was strip out of my sopping wet clothes and curl up under a blanket. Thankfully my husband is awesome and had dinner ready when I walked in the door.

    It felt so good to have a run where I wasn't struggling in the heat or humidity.

    Monday Night in the Rain by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

    Monday, August 8, 2011

    Weekly Workout Wround Up

    August 1 - August 7

    Aug 1

    8 slow miles. It was hot. And humid. Pretty sure the clothes I wore are still damp.

    Aug 2

    I got to workout with Kim! She had a two-day conference down by my house so she stayed overnight with us on Tuesday. It was way too hot to run so instead we did a strength workout together.
    3x6 One armed dumbbell snatch
    3x6 Dumbbell single-leg Romanian deadlift
    3x6 Barbell bent-over row
    3x6 Dumbbell bench press
    Plank 3x90 seconds
    3x6 Reverse woodchop
    Body matrix x2

    Kim is much better at planks than I am. Actually, she was better at a lot of those things than I am.

    Aug 3

    4 miles total during Wednesday night "speedwork" that wasn't very speedy. On purpose.

    Also, I rode my bike to and from the track for a total of 5.5 miles.

    Aug 4

    3 miles with a break in the middle to lift weights.
    3x6 Barbell Romanian Deadlift w/bent over row
    3x6 Single leg squat
    3x6 Wide grip lat pulldown
    3x6 Back extension
    3x6 "YTWL"
    3x6 Swiss Ball Crunch
    3x6 Prone Jackknife
    3x6 Lateral flexion
    3x90 seconds Prone Cobra
    I had to go down in weight on the wide grip lap pulldown which is weird. Not sure what happened there.

    Aug 5

    Rest day!

    Actually, Jason and I went to see the musical Beauty and the Beast on stage in downtown Chicago. We made it a date night and got dressed up and went to dinner. I wore my new dress that shows off my awesome runner's legs. Seriously, the saleswoman at the store where I bought said that if she had legs like mine she would have bought that dress in a minute.

    It was a great night until on the way home we turned a corner and came upon a bicycle versus truck accident that had just happened moments before. Good Samaritans were waving off traffic and kneeling by the victim in the street while they waited for the ambulance, but it was too late. It really shook me up because, as a newer cyclist, I worry about things like that. After reading the news article that had more details it seems to be some kind of freak accident. Still, it reminded me to always be super-cautious when cycling.

    Aug 6

    Just Book It! 5K. A fun way to get in some miles, support a good cause, and hang with friends.

    Aug 7

    Sunday morning I got up and Jason and I drove to Waterfall Glen forest preserve to meet some of the OPRC gang for a long run for me and bike ride for him.

    I joined up with Claudia and together we ran 12 miles. I convinced her to take walk breaks with me every two miles and she agreed they made a huge difference.

    I was a little worried because the only Shot Bloks I had left were ones with caffeine. Consider I rarely drink caffeine (only a few times a month and just tea at that) I didn't know what it would do to my system. I seemed to do okay but I don't know if I would take them on a much longer run.

    We started getting rained on about mile 10 but I didn't really care that much. Again, thankfully, it was overcast but not nearly as humid as it could have been. Overall it was one of the better long runs I've had in a while. We planned to average a 10:25 pace and ended up with a 10:00 minute pace. Possibly a little too fast for me! Still, I felt good and I'm glad I felt strong until the last mile when we increased our speed to try and beat the heavy rain.

    Watefall Glen Long Run w/OPRC by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

    Total running mileage: 30.1
    Total biking mileage: 5.5
    Total strength workouts: 2

    Just Book It! 5K Race Report

    On Saturday Kim's running club put on their first 5K race. The Just Book It! 5K was a fundraiser for the Grayslake library and took place on a path and in the neighborhoods surrounding the library.

    It also served as an unofficial blogger meet up! Obviously I already know Kim, and I'd already met Bobbi, but at the race I got to meet Lauren and Marcia as well. So many fun ladies!

    Instead of doing a warm-up, we got recruited to assist with directing people to the kid's dash. That was okay by me because I didn't really have a plan for this race. Run for fun, run with friends, just see what I had. Any of those were okay with me.

    We lined up at the start line a little before 8:00 AM and I decided I'd just run my best to see where I was in terms of 5K fitness. Bobbi and Lauren both wanted to come in under 30 minutes for the first time so Kim decided to be their pacer. Marcia, like me, just wanted to see what she could pull out.

    My goal was to run negative splits. I'm not very good at this at the 5K distance. But when my Garmin beeped at mile one and I saw 8:45 I figured I had it with no sweat. Well, okay, there was sweat. A lot of it, actually. It was humid! But thankfully overcast.

    My right shoe came untied during mile 2. A first for me. I stopped to tie it at the corner where Kim's husband was course-marshaling. Then I practically sprinted trying to make up for the lost time. Consider my second mile was 8:24 I think I may have sprinted a little too much.

    There were lots of water stops on the course. Many more than I would have expected for a 5K. That was fine by me. During the third mile I stopped at one, grabbed a cup, swished the water around in my mouth and then poured the rest of it down my back. It sort of helped. I was hot. My legs were tired. My brain tried to trick me into slowing down. And I sort of did. Mile three beeped at 8:25. So close!!

    The finish was great in that you could see the finish line from quite a good distance away and there was no uphill to get to it. I could see Marcia up ahead of me. I tried to pick it up and my pace for the last .1 sure reflects that.

    I crossed the finish line at 26:33. I guzzled water and then began walking back along the side towards the incoming runners. When I saw Bobbi and Kim I glanced at the clock and knew they were going to smash her sub-30 goal. I ran alongside cheering and yelling encouragement. Then it was time to run Lauren in. Same drill. She says it helped her also go sub-30. Yay! New PRs for both of them!

    Marcia also had a great race, coming in second in her age group. So of course we stuck around for awards.

    My time was not spectacular even though I came in 5th out of 26 in my age group. I just do not do well in the humidity, I guess. I ran this same 5K time back at the end of April and I wasn't even trying. I'm really hoping that I get a nice, cool, humidity-free day for my next 5K.

    But, really, a great clock-time is not why I ran this race in the first place. I ran it to support my friend Kim and her club and I ran it to have a great social-time. And since I accomplished both of those I have to say it was a success.

    Just Book It! 5K by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

    Friday, August 5, 2011

    Now for Something Completely Different

    Okay, it's not really that different. It's still running, after all.

    But our track coach is having us try something new to a lot of us: base building.

    Instead of just continuing to run faster and faster on Wednesday like hamsters on a wheel, we're going to try approaching our training with a little bit more strategy.

    Sure, speedwork is great. It has helped me. But my speedwork times have not translated to my race times and my endurance still isn't where I want it to be. So for the next four weeks I'm going to focus on running a steady, easy-ish pace for a certain number of minutes instead of running all out for short bursts at a time.

    There's a science to this that eludes me but I'm going to trust Coach Holly. Besides, I'm marathon training, not 5K training. And that means I need to worry more about my mileage as opposed to my pace.

    So on Wednesday the goal was to run for 30 minutes at a pace between my marathon and half-marathon pace. Since my marathon pace is based on a sample size of one, I decided to run between my half-marathon pace and my goal marathon pace. Which meant 30 minutes at 10:00 minute miles. Plus a one mile warm-up.

    It was tough to not speed up. I kept waffling between too fast and too slow. Thankfully it evened out in the end and I ran a 10:01 pace for 30 minutes. Right on target! I definitely felt like I could have kept going but it's not like I just took a walk around the block. I think that's where I was supposed to be.

    Warm Up by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

    OPRC Track Workout by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

    Then on Thursday I took a "me" day and stayed home from work. I slept in, answered some emails, mowed the grass, futzed with our apparently broken dishwasher, and then decided to go to the gym. I debated: ride my bike to the gym or run to the gym.

    Well, I added up what I expect my running mileage to be this week and decided to run to the gym. 3 miles round-trip and I did the second half carrying a bagel. Hey, I needed one for Saturday morning and there's a bagel store next door to the gym! Multitasking at its finest.

    Run to Gym by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

    Run Home From Gym by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

    And now I rest. At least until Saturday morning.

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    Heat Effects

    My Garmin does not like it when I sweat too much. It freaks out, forgets what screen it should be on, and generally pisses me off. And since the weather has been extremely sweat-inducing you can just imagine the battles I have to fight with that stupid watch.

    At some point after my run last Friday the GPS function got turned off. I discovered this on Monday night right before our run. Meaning it took the Garmin a little over a quarter mile to locate a satellite and get a signal.

    Then at the 4 mile mark I looked down to try and pause it for our short break but it had reverted to the battery life screen and I couldn't tell if I'd stopped the timer. Hence the 12 minute mile there. Well, that and some walking. Hey, it was HOT out.

    I'd brought my hand held water bottle with me and decided I'd try for a nice, easy 8 miles. Seeing as how I was at the almost very back of the pack and my running companion was only going 5.5 miles, I thought it was going to be a lonely 4 more miles. But I convinced one other runner to join me.

    Turns out I HAD stopped my Garmin timer at some point and then completely forgotten to turn it back on. Oops. So I lost some information there.

    And then the worst heat effect of all: GI cramps. Yes, the dreaded need for an emergency bathroom break hit around mile 6 or so. I thought I could tough it out but at mile 7.5 I decided I couldn't make it the last .5 miles. Well, I probably could have but it might not have been pretty. So I ducked into a grocery store and took care of business in their bathroom. The last little bit of the run was still tough, though.

    I was wiped out by the time I got home. I was practically falling asleep on the couch during dinner and I think I drank a liter of water. My clothes felt like I'd taken a shower with them on.

    Still, I managed 8 miles and I'm hoping it's the last truly hot and humid run I'll have for the rest of the summer. One can dream, right?

    Monday Night OPRC Long Route by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details

    Monday, August 1, 2011

    July Wrap Up

    I feel like I say this every time I do a monthly wrap-up, but, seriously, what happened to July???

    I am sad that it is almost August. This year is going by way too quickly.

    Maybe July feels like it went by so quickly because I was constantly on the move. Except for that vacation week I ran 20+ miles every week and biked at least once. The strength training wasn't as spectacular but it was still there. Actually, I'm considering revising my original 100 strength training sessions down to just 50. It seems that most weeks I'm lucky to get in one strength workout, let alone two. In July, I only managed 5 workouts.

    I looked back at last July to compare to this one since right now I feel really behind with marathon training. July 2010 I ran my first 100+ mile month ever with a total of 103 miles. This July? 81 miles. So, yes, I am a little behind. However, those extra 20 miles would have been during my vacation and I've probably made up for them somewhat with my 63.84 miles of biking so I suppose I shouldn't be too worried. Right?

    Regardless, July was a fun month with a four mile race PR, my second-ever duathlon (and my first time running in Michigan), and the crazy trail race that seems to coincide with crazy amounts of rain. Not to mention riding my bike to work for the first time, trying a new yoga class, and running in three states (Illinois, Michigan, Ohio).

    I don't have any huge running or biking plans for August. Do at least one 5K for fun, maybe a 10K at the end of the month, perhaps a bike ride event, and just keep plugging away at marathon training.

    Weekly Workout Wround Up

    July 25 - July 31

    July 25

    7.5 miles total. 2 miles to downtown Oak Park, a short break, and then the usual Monday night 5.5 mile route. Followed by tacos and sangria at my favorite restaurant. We sat outside on their gorgeous patio and thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

    July 26

    Three mile run at lunch and then an almost 9 mile bike ride after work!

    Jason wanted to do some kind of exercise so we decided to drive over to the Salt Creek bike path and get in a ride. My legs were pretty tired, though, so I didn't really push it. Just a nice, leisurely ride. The weather was actually kind of cool and I almost wished I'd worn sleeves instead of a tank top!

    Needless to say, I was pretty tired by the end of the evening.

    July 27

    3 miles on the treadmill at lunch. Blech. It seemed like such a good idea at the time.

    After work I decided that I could A. be lazy or B. do a strength workout. I chose option B after some prodding from Jason.
    3x6 One armed dumbbell snatch
    3x6 Dumbbell single-let Romanian deadlift
    3x6 Barbell bent-over row
    3x6 Dumbbell bench press
    Plank 3x90 seconds
    3x6 Reverse woodchop
    Body matrix x2
    Interesting tidbits: I did the second round of the body matrix moves almost a minute faster than I did the first round last week. Also, I managed to bench press 56 pounds on a barbell. I think that may be the most I've ever benched!

    July 28

    Rest day. I spent my morning packing and then the afternoon driving to Dayton, OH for a conference.

    July 29

    14 miles! Been awhile since I managed that kind of mileage. And while traveling no less. The fact that there was a Thai food place across from my hotel and that I remembered to bring bagels and peanut butter may have been crucial to my success.

    July 30

    Rest day. I was in conference stuff from 8:00 AM until 10:30 PM.

    July 31

    Another rest day. Conference in the morning and then an exhausting 6+ hour drive home.

    Total running mileage: 27.5
    Total bike mileage: 8.72
    Total strength workouts: 1