Everything you ever needed to know

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I didn't even know I had a rectus femoris

But man, I sure did know when I strained it.

I did a treadmill run on Tuesday night while watching Biggest Loser. I had too many carbs that day and felt full of energy. I started off with just a 5 minute walk/warm up and stretched before getting into my runs. My only goal for this workout was to burn 500 calories (at least according to the treadmill). I tried to spend as much time running at level 7 (8:34/mile) as I could. It was a good 45 minute workout. I felt good about it and didn't feel any pain at all while running. But as soon as I stopped that darn rectoral femoris flared up like someone had a clamp on it. It was stiff yesterday and feels a bit bruised today but not stiff anymore.

I'll work out at the rec center today and my 6 week boot camp starts on Monday. More than ever I'm looking forward to strengthening muscles so I can stop having these aches and strains whenever I run. As far as diet and weight is concerned, I'm still at the same three numbers that I've been for 10+ months now. It's gone up a little and comes down again. My goal is to lose 10 lbs in 6 weeks which I think is a very manageable goal but we'll see what my body does. I get my thyroid tested again in December. I'm not on meds for it right now since the meds whacked me out so bad back in May but we may revisit medication again if my numbers are bad in December. That's not a thing I'm looking forward to.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Plan - Version 3.4

I haven't been getting my runs in so the idea of another half in November has quickly become something that's not as attractive. My new alternative which I will be signing up for this Friday is to do 6 weeks of Boot Camp at our rec center on campus. I think it's time I did some workouts for strength, toning, and weight loss. This can only improve my running. I hope to still get some runs in but they'll be shorter (more cardio than endurance).

Nothing else to add for now except that Halloween and candy season approaches. :)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

It's too windy

I thought about running today before we go on our short family vacation. But it's cold and windy out there. I hate running in the wind. Frankly, I had forgotten about running in the wind since it isn't very windy around here in the summer. But I need to get out there again. I didn't do anything this week since I was gone for half of it. Sure I could have fit in an early morning workout but if you know me or have followed this blog at all you should know by now that I'm not a morning workout kind of person. Maybe I'll get a run in while we're at the lake. It does have a lot of nice trails that would be good for a jog. We'll have to see who wins - the desire to run or the lazy person within.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Somewhere between winter running outfits and summer outfits

Fall is here and mornings are much cooler now. It really is lovely to run in 50 degree weather but it makes for outfit dilemmas. It's so cold at the beginning but you warm up pretty darn quick. Today I wore my full length running pants, my tank top, and a jacket and it proved to be just about right. The jacket came off after 3 miles but it never got too hot for the long pants. There were still plenty of other runners in shorts and t-shirts but I was way too cold in the beginning for that.

It's been a week now since running 13.1 - my monster. But I'm still thinking about slaying that dragon again with the hopes of slicing at least 5 minutes off my overall time - I'd be thrilled with a 2:30 finish. I didn't get any other training runs in this week but I had some ankle issues so I was being easy on it - plus it was dreary and rainy and well I made excuses.

So today's run was plotted out with the hopes of getting double digits but settling for at least 4 miles if needed. I'll tell you at first it seemed more likely that I'd only go about 3. My ankle stiffened up after about 1/2 a mile. It made me paranoid about the antibiotics I took last week. Apparently some antibiotics can make you more prone to getting tendinitis! Good grief. But as I progressed down the Greenway my ankle did get looser and felt better.

I got to the 3 mile marker and had to make my decision about how much further I wanted to go. I took a quick bathroom and pep talk break (you're stronger than this - you can do anything - rah rah rah) and headed down the path that would add at least 3 more miles and possibly 5 if I kept going. And I did keep going. Of course I had walking breaks and I felt leg stiffness as well - I really need to do more squats and tighten up my hams again.

The last 3 miles were hard but I was happy to get in my 11 miles. The time sucked but I wasn't doing it for time. At the end I was more bothered with a blister on the bottom of my foot so that was annoying. And I've lost another toenail that is still a bit tender. My shoes really are big enough so my only thought is that I lost it due to increased mileage.

But here are the results for this week:
10/4 - much deserved rest after 1/2
10/5 - still resting
10/6 - 3.5 miles with plenty of breaks
10/7 - 10 min bike warm-up, 30 minutes of weights, 10 min walk
10/8-10 - excuses and rest
10/11 - 11 miles (2 hr 20 min'ish)

This next week won't look like the training plan I made up for myself since I'll be sitting on a bus for a good portion of Tuesday and Wednesday but I hope to get at least 2 small runs in and another long run when we go on a family vacation next Sunday-Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fickle, thy name is Judy

Fickle: adjective; marked by lack of steadfastness, constancy, or stability : given to erratic changeableness.

I was sincere in my attempts to find something new to train for when I saw this little diddy coming up in November...

Nashville 1/2 Marathon - I Run for the Party

Yes, yes I know I said that I wasn't looking to run another half "anytime soon" but I thought about it some more and came up with these reasons of why I should consider it.

1) I've already done the training. It would be just another month of maintaining my current effort and putting in some cross training to strengthen my muscles.

2) Since I've done the training why lose it all so quickly?

3) It's only 1/2 an hour away and it starts at 8 am (yes I've tripled checked the start time - lesson learned) so I don't have to leave so God awful early in the morning.

4) There's beer at the end.

Okay, number 4 really doesn't matter to me. I've never been in the mood for a beer at the end of a long run but it makes it sound more fun.

I talked to the hubby about the reality of me still putting in long runs on the weekend and he agreed (with a sigh - taking care of two young kids is a lot of work). I don't have to sign up for a while. I've already missed all the early registration discounts so I'll give it a week or so to stew in my brain.

I didn't make it to spin last night but I did have a short'ish (3.5 miles) run on my treadmill at home last night while I watched The Biggest Loser. How psychotic is Tracey? The run wasn't bad but I started getting a pain in my left calf which I've never had. Nothing bothered me during the 1/2 last weekend so I don't know where this came from.

Plans for tonight are to hit the weights though with this soreness in my calf I may focus on abs and arms. We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Now what...

Given the fact that I'm not eager to start training for a marathon or another 1/2 what should I do next?

Today I'm doing spin and I want to keep running but I do better with schedules if I'm going to keep on track. So I'll have to think about some things or goals I want to accomplish.

I did find two pictures so far of me in the race (courtesy of the Daily News Journal):

That's me in the pink shirt and blue pants - #1793 (if you don't already know what I look like).

I'm like a giant next to that woman in purple. I'm not freakishly tall - I am tall (5' 8.5") but not freakishly tall.

Oh well I can't complain about the pics - at least they're better than this guy who quotes: "My favorite one is shown here. It's less "choking victim," I think, and more "angry baby who smells rotten eggs while imitating a velociraptor."

Saturday, October 3, 2009

I didn't die and I didn't hurl

**Posted first on my family blog which is why it references to this site.**

Two things to be very thankful for after your first half-marathon experience.

October 3rd has been a big scary date on my calendar for a few months and I'm thankful for it to be over. I haven't written much on this blog about my running but if you haven't kept up you can read over the boring entries on this site. I haven't been running for most of the summer. Heat is a big reason but there have been other health related issues as well. But in late August I picked up the pace again and prepared to run 13.1 miles without dying or hurling.

Before I even get to the race you have to realize that the past two weeks have been a flurry of activity. Not the time of reflection and pleasant long runs that I originally envisioned as I prepared for this race. I was gone for 3 days this past week in San Antonio to present a research project at a national conference. So that was added stress. I got in late last night and felt very overwhelmed at the thought of my next "adventure." It did sound like an adventure when I signed up for it. The giddy thoughts of being able to tackle this huge beast. But on the eve of facing the beast I started to have second thoughts.

The alarm went off at 6 a.m. this morning. I hate waking up early and am not in the habit of running first thing in the mornings. But I got up, got ready, made some breakfast and coffee and then just happened to look at one of the handouts for the race and realized that the race did NOT start at 7:30 but at 7:00. It was 6:35.


Thankfully, my nice husband had already picked up all of my race materials (including my timing chip) so realistically all I had to do was make it to the line in 25 minutes. This was possible since I live less than 10 minutes away from the start line (with no traffic). So I shot out the door only later realizing that I should have grabbed the cell phone to tell my husband. He went back to bed and so I couldn't tell him before I left. Earlier we had made plans for him to bring the kids and meet me around the 1/2 way point. The rendezvous time would be changed drastically with a 30 minute difference. This worried me but was put in the back of my mind as I approached campus and realized they were already blocking off roads and the detours were pushing me further and further away. I did finally weave my way through back roads and sped through campus (praying for no bored campus cops) and made it to the parking lot with 10 minutes to spare. There was no stretching or warm up time but my adrenaline was already pumping so there was a bright spot to the whole ordeal.

The race had 2000 participants and the line up was arranged by anticipated finish times. I lined up between the 2 1/2 and 3 hour marks and waited to go while looking around me to find anyone with a cell phone I could beg to borrow.

I didn't have a watch to time myself. Previously I had bummed M's watch but his sport's watch had broken and I never bought one for myself. So I didn't know the exact start time and just had to judge my pace by the actual time.

For non-runners I'll explain that there are two times in a race: the gun time (the time from when the gun goes off to when you finish) and your chip time (the time from when you actually cross the start line to the finish line). This can make a big difference in big races since you can typically wait 2-15 minutes before the crowd gets to the start line. Actually in HUGE races it's sometimes much longer than that.

We started off and I immediately got stuck behind some SLOW people. Maybe they knew how to pace themselves well but it was driving me crazy. I finally managed to get around them and then was able to enjoy the experience rather than look for a path around them. What I liked most was the sound of hundreds of feet hitting the pavement, that low rumble of excitement. Everyone was still in a great mood at this point of the race and it was fun to see the spectators and listen to people's comments. I brought my iPod with me but didn't turn it on until around mile 2. I wanted to be able to hear everything while the crowd was still thick.

Miles 1-3 wound their way through residential neighborhoods that I've run in before but I really didn't pay as much attention to the neighborhood as I did to the runners around me. I saw the first porta-potty around 1.5 miles and wondered if I'd have to use it (felt the slight need even then). There was already a line for that porta-potty. I also probably soaked a volunteer with a cup full of water at the first water stop. I was trying to throw my cup in the trash and he was bending down right next to it to pick up all the cups where people had missed putting it in the trash. My cup happened to miss too. Oops.

Around mile 3 the course came to a point where you could see the front runners already coming back the other way (they were about to mile 6). And good grief they were booking it. Like between 5-6 minute miles. I can't imagine ever being able to go that fast for one mile let alone 5, 10, 15, 26+ miles. Those people are built much differently than me. :)

I finally realized that I would be passing a co-worker's house while on the course. She had mentioned earlier that she always watched the race so I kept my eye out for her and used the opportunity to ask to borrow her phone to call M and explain about the differences in the time. That worked out well and amused her greatly.

At the second water stop (just after mile 4) I decided to try some of the Snapple Water (agave flavored) and about hurled. It was not what my stomach wanted. But the feeling passed quickly. At that point the only breaks I had taken were to drink the water and to stop and use the cell phone for 30 seconds. I felt really good and not too tired. I had been asking random people what the time was so I knew I was doing about 11 minute miles at that point which was good though was risky if I wore myself out too much in the beginning.

We got to mile 5 and circled the courthouse. I stopped briefly again to call out to a friend's husband that happened to be there. I kept going and don't think I took another walking break until right before the 6 mile mark. I got to the 1/2 way mark and heard my little chip beep as we passed over the sensors. Here's my official results from that point:
Time/Minutes per mile - 1:09:36/11:03

As I approached the 7 mile marker I slowed down to a walk to make sure I was giving my husband enough time to meet me at the designated spot. I also knew that I was doing well on time and used the chance for a break. M and the kids were there and it was good to see them really quick. I took half of the power bar that I asked him to bring for me and continued to run and eat it. That about made me hurl too but eventually tasted good after my stomach woke up.

The next 5 miles aren't too exciting to write about. I was getting tired though I didn't feel too bad until mile 11. I saw a couple more people I knew and just kept focusing on points in front of me to get to until I was allowed another walking break. This stretch was mostly in full sun and I felt warmer though thankfully the weather was awesome and it was never hot. The best part of the this stretch was passing mile 9 and hearing a guy next to me call out, "hey mile 9! We kicked your ass!"

The group I was with were not in it for the glory or probably even for PR's (personal records). I think we were mostly there to prove that we could do it, to mark an item off a bucket list, or just because it sounded like an adventure at the time we signed up for it. The crowd REALLY thinned out after mile 9 and often there would be a several second gap between the person in front and behind me. Some people were able to pick up the pace for the last couple of miles but I was completely worn out. I kept going and didn't have another significant walking break. Mostly I knew that even walking was going to take too much effort so it was better just to finish. When I did think of slowing down or walking I just told myself that I couldn't give up. To let this be a good thing in life where I didn't give up, when in so many other areas I'm quick to give up when it becomes too much work.

And I finished. I crossed the line and saw that the gun time was just under 2:42. I fulfilled my goal which was to finish between 2:30 and 2:45. I knew I'd have some time taken off for my chip time but wasn't sure how long. It turned out to be not too long, my final results were:
Total time: 2:40:10, Total Minutes per Mile average: 12:14

So you can see that I slowed down quite a bit at the end to change my overall average. Part of it was the long walking break before meeting my husband and some was just going a lot slower. I knew I was jogging a 12 minute pace through the last 3 miles and was happy to just keep going. I also knew that I would not be signing up for another 1/2 in the immediate future. I think 10k's are better lengths but that being said - knowing that I can do it and with better prep it might be easier to do again. But don't ask me about running a full marathon (26.2 miles). That has been pushed WAY out of my mind. Not to say I'll never do it but I need to become a much better runner first.

I didn't take any pictures of the race but will post any decent ones of me that are available on the running blog. To finish all I'll say is that a year ago I would have never thought that I could or would run 13.1 miles (all at once). So don't be afraid to take on your own adventures. It probably won't kill you and hopefully you won't hurl.