Monday, February 28, 2011

February by the Numbers

Happy Monday Morning!  Welcome to the new followers!  I am honored that you take the time to read about my running journey.

February was a great month for running.  Some highlights:

  • The Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl!!!!!  My team won!  Woot!
  • A week of 40F + weather.  This is shorts weather and I took full advantage of it.
  • Ran a half-marathon (on the treadmill) for the fun of it.  This means I ran a half in Jan and Feb.  Shall I repeat it in March?
  • 3-Person Marathon Relay where we totally kicked butt!  Not only did we do better than last year, we took over 17 minutes off our time from last year. 
The numbers were great as well:
  • 1 new pair of shoes
  • 93.37 miles in February
  • 17 running days meaning I ran 61% of the days
  • 2011 total:  177.56 miles...only 872.44 to my goal!

I cannot wait to see what March brings!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Suzy vs. Her Mind

Last weekend was the 3-person relay and it was Suzy (and all the other racers) vs. the wind.  My last two runs were both Suzy vs. her mind.  Seriously, I can turn the best run bad with a single thought.  This probably is not different than most people, but it is getting annoying given that I want to run my best half in April.

Thursday I dropped the kids off at their afternoon camp and parked the car at the soccer fields.  They don't look too pretty during the winter:
Thursday's training said 6 mile med-tempo; I aim for 9:40 for a mid-tempo run.  I dressed almost the same as Sunday even though it was 30F with only a slight breeze.  I started off and looked down at my watch and it was reading, I did not think I was capable of running that fast.  I slowed down and kept reminding myself to slow down for the first two miles.  I finally gave up trying to run slower and just went with it.  I ran past my kids' school, I ran past the schools I'd love to get a job in, I ran past the library and then I hit the ice.  It wasn't ice that I could run on, it was perfectly smooth ice.  I stopped my watch and walked as carefully as I could around and across the ice:
My 6 miles came to an end and I knew it was about as perfect of a 6 mile run as I can have (other than the ice).  I am glad I gave up on my 9:40/mi goal.

  • 6.00 mi, 55:08, 9.11/mi
  • splits:  9:04, 9:18 (into the wind), 9:07, 9:15 (ice, lots of ice), 9:10, 9:13
  • Suzy 1 : mind 0
I loved this run and will think about it often.  Unfortunately, today was nothing less than 10 miles of 'I don't want to be doing this...can I quit now?' thinking.  Chalk one up for the mind, today:  Suzy 0 : mind 1.  I finished today's run, but it was nothing to write home about so I will think about my 6 mile run and wonder...can I do more?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Two Mile Run

I have not had a two-miler on a training plan in almost two years, but I find myself coming back to them over and over again.  Actually, my two mile run is becoming one of the more important training days for me.  It isn't on a training plan and I don't do them every week and yet it keeps showing up.

The day after a race or a long run I find myself doing the two mile run.  The purpose of the run is to loosen up anything that is tight from the day before.  I usually run at least 1:30/mi slower than a comfortable mid-distance pace.  The important thing for me is that I do not run two miles straight.  The main purpose is to stretch, loosen, and make my legs really happy again.

Here's how a two-mile day usually goes:

  1. Active stretching
  2. .75 to 1 mile run
  3. Roll both IT-bands and more active stretching
  4. .5 to 1 mile run
  5. Repeat steps 3-4 until loose...usually 2 miles, sometimes as long as 3 miles
  6. Finish with more rolling and active stretching
This works wonders for me when I do it the day after.  Another added benefit is that I usually do a two miler on Monday which means I start the week running instead of resting.  

Monday, February 21, 2011

Marathon Relay 2011 RR

We did it again!  Felice, Amanda and I ran the 3-person marathon relay that takes place in the dead of winter way up north.  And let me tell you, we loved it!!  This year there were some other relay teams that we knew, so not only did we have fun running and catching up with each other, but we got to see a lot of other runner friends to catch up with.
Suzy, Amanda, and Felice before the race
Felice ran the first leg of the race.  We all went out for the 10 am start of the race.  We listened to some directions and cheered the runners on as they started.  The relay is run at the same place as the winter series I've run so it is not an interesting course, but it is safe and well taken care of considering the winter conditions.
Felice is ready to get moving
Felice's leg as 9.2 miles.  She seriously kicked butt!  But, I'll let her post her own report on the race.  While I was sitting inside waiting for Felice to do her running I checked the weather.  The weather had improved since the beginning of the race:  the "feel like" temp broke 0!  The wind said 12 mph, but it certainly felt stronger and colder than the forecast.
it warmed up a bit
Amanda and Me waiting for Felice
Amanda and I headed out a few minutes before we thought Felice would finish.  I took my winter coat in hopes to stay warm while we waited.  I really did not know if I would be warm enough for the race, but I was sweating when the wind was at my back and wasn't cold when I ran into the wind so I'm happy with my choices.  For reference, I wore Smart Wool socks, North Face bamboo/cotton gloves, nike wicking headband, and C9 leggings, mock turtleneck and mid-layer pink thingy.  I also had hand warmers in my gloves on the back of my hand and the pink coat thing (really, I need to figure out what to call it) had thumb holes so my hands had an extra layer.
Trying to stay warm
I had calculated my goal at 55:06.  I have no idea where that number came from because I did a D'oh when I finished and another when I got home...I miscalculated and should have had 54:08 for my goal.  I didn't know my calculation mistake while I was running and was intent on finishing in 55:06 mins.  My leg was 5.64 miles and I finished in 55:03!  This means my ave pace was 9:46/mi.  I stopped for water about mile was darn near frozen.  Unfortunately, mile four was not good for me (light headed and a racing heart means I have to walk or I'll pass out...I always pick walking).  Otherwise it was a great run.
Suzy and Steph

When I finished running I ran into Steph.  We met briefly last year and did not get a photo.  I've loved following her running and what she is able to do.  Last year she ran this marathon (there is a marathon and a relay option) and got her first BQ!  She's headed to Boston this year and with the marathon will have completed running marathons in all 50 states.  She listened to her body and opted to save her freezing fingers instead of finish the race.  I saw her right after we both finished and she was shaking she was shivering so much.  I stole the picture from her blog.  I hope she has warmed up!  It was a cold one.

Needless to say, when I finished my leg Amanda headed out for the final, and longest, leg of the relay.  I'll let her post about her run as well.  We caught her crossing the finishing line with the time on the clock reading 4:06:40.  Our official time is 4:05:34!  Last year we finished in 4:22:59.  We took 17:25 off our time!

PR!!  Amanda finishing
We did it!
It has not even been 24 hours and we are already talking about next year!  I have no doubt we can break 4 hours next year.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It Is a Marvelous Day

This morning I went out to get the paper and saw a box sitting on the front stoop of my house.  I have ordered a few things recently but I did not hear a truck drop anything off so I did not know it was there.  What is it?  These:
A new pair of shoes!  Can you think of many other ways to start a day off so perfectly?  Well, it could have been better if I'd had the time to lace them up and run in them.  I didn't run in them, they went on the shelf and will be my next pair of shoes.  I already have a couple pair in rotation so I am set for a couple months (I hope).  Until then, the shoes will be watching me as I run on the treadmill and lace up to go on outdoor runs.  I'll be in them soon enough.  It was 6 a.m. and already a marvelous day!

To make the day even better, it is supposed to be 48F today!  Yes, it is mid-February and it is supposed to be almost 50 degrees outside.  According to the weather it will break 50 tomorrow.  The only bummer is that I have a race this weekend so I'm not going to log any big miles outside today or tomorrow because I want to be ready for Sunday's race.  Instead, I'll get Maddie out for a couple miles today and tomorrow!  She deserves another run outside.

Me, Amanda, & Felice (2010)
Speaking of Sunday, it will be cold again.  Unlike last year, we are not supposed to have 40 mph wind gusts.  Unlike last year, I do not plan on having food poisoning (from now until after the race I'm only eating tried and true food from my own kitchen).  This year, the Pink Ladies are going to kick butt!  We are all healthy (minus that icky cold I'm working on getting rid of) and ready to run.  The hardest part getting ready for this relay was figuring out who was running which leg because we are all capable of running any of the distances.  We have figured out who is running what as of a few days ago:

  • Felice, the speedy one, has the first leg of 9.2 miles
  • I'm running the second leg, 5.7 miles
  • Amanda, who became a marathoner since we ran last year, is finishing the race with the 11.3 mile leg
  • Yes, that equals 26.2 miles!  We're running a marathon relay.  I cannot wait.  Last year we finished in 4:22:59.  I cannot wait to see what we can do this year.
Speaking of my 5.7 mile leg, I am supposed to do a 5 mile tempo run today.  I'm saving it and adding 0.7 on and will run it on Sunday for the race.  That means my goal is 55:06 (9:40/mi).  I have not done a tempo run outside since last fall, so I am hoping it goes well.  Of course, I wouldn't mind going faster...but who wouldn't mind that?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Accept What is Given

I strayed from my training plan because I accepted what was available to me this weekend.  I am happy I did it because the weekend was so much better than planned because I accepted what was given to me.
ice skates, oh my

Saturday, Punky was invited to a birthday party at an ice rink.  Punky had never been on skates so when I found out the "helpers" were only two in number (as compared to a gaggle of kindergarten girls) I laced up a pair of ice skates for the first time in over a decade.  I tried to gracefully guide Punky around the rink over and over again.  I managed to stay upright and even skated backward for a lap or two.   I figured I would be sore on Sunday because of the "new" activity on Saturday.   Thank goodness I was not sore!

Sunday I was given unlimited time to run from ADP.  He had things to do, but said he could take care of watching the kids and getting his things done at the same time.  So, I scrapped my plan, 11 miles-easy, and opted for 13.1 miles pushing myself.  I did push myself and if it weren't for the breaks I took, I would have a PR.  I set the treadmill at 6.0 mph and 1% incline and took off running.  I took a break to roll out my ITB at mile 1, had to take a pit-stop at mile 4, and took another break at mile 8.  While I would have gladly kept on going after mile 4, my treadmill only goes up to 99 minutes.  I doubt I'll ever run a half marathon in less than 99 minutes, so I knew I'd have to stop and reset the treadmill at some point.  I did it at mile 8.  I did stop for a brief conversation with ADP about the kids sometime after mile 8, but I don't know when it was.  In the end, I managed to do 13.1 miles running plus .28 mi walk/cool down yesterday.  Like I said, if I had run straight through I would have had an almost 2:00 PR, but I didn't so I'm enjoying the fact that I ran 13.1 miles yesterday.

Today, I had to take advantage of the nice weather.  
It is Valentine's Day and it was 50F this afternoon!  Regardless of my long run yesterday, I had to go out for a short run this afternoon to enjoy the weather.  As you can see above, it isn't supposed to be 50 tomorrow.

It may be warm, but we have lots of snow
It was quite windy, so I didn't bother to put my hair back.  All the pictures I took look like I'm going uber fast because my hair is flying backwards.  Sort-of funny.

 I couldn't go run on a nice day without my best furry friend.
Maddie, happy to be out and about
 Two things I've missed when it's been cold:  my garmin and Maddie.
Maddie and I kept it short.  She hadn't been out on a run in a couple months and I ran long yesterday.  Our loop was 1.66 miles at an ave pace of 9:59/mi (16:35 total).

Sunday, February 6, 2011

My Front Door

Here is a picture of the entry to my house. You have to prove you are worthy and get past the "G" flag to get to the front door.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Stylin' Award

Thanks so much to my marathon relay buddy Felice for tagging me for this award:

Here's the deal for accepting this award:
1. Make a post and link back to the person who tagged you with the award. (done)
2. Share 7 things about yourself. (done)
3. Award to 7 great bloggers. (done)
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them they’ve won! (will do in a few moments)
Sounds great!

  1. I picked up my diploma this week.  I've been done with school since mid-December, but this last piece is good to have home at last.  I have framed it and will put it above my desk.
  2. I'm not done talking about going to school and graduating for two main reasons.  First, I'm still looking for a job.  Second, the commencement ceremony is not until May.
  3. I try to read a book a week (average).  This is possible because I am not working.  in 2010 I read 52 books for a total of 17,083 pages.  So far this year I have finished six books for a total of 2049 pages.
  4. One thing I do not talk about is weight.  I have successfully lost my pregnancy weight, husband weight, and college weight.  I did it through exercise and learning better portion control - Weight Watchers was key in helping me figure the last part out.
  5. I generally do not run races on Saturday mornings because I am a receptionist at the Saturday morning Weight Watcher meetings.  It is good to help those working on losing and maintaining their weight.
  6. Part of winter running is making sure you are dressed for the weather.  This Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday and my beloved Green Bay Packers are playing.  I'll be dressed for the weather with a Packer Jersey on top of all my winter clothing!
  7. The last two times the Packers were in the Super Bowl (we won XXXI and lost XXXII) I was living in Green Bay, WI.  
Now the hard part, picking 7 bloggers to tag.  While I would love to say 'if you haven't been tagged, consider yourself tagged' I don't want to do it today.  So, I'm tagging some of the last people to comment on my blog:
  1. Mom Running from Cancer, fellow Packer fan
  2. Jen from Setting You Free, new to reading her blog and can't wait to find out 7 random things about her
  3. Aimee from I Tri To Be Me, been a follower for a while but it is always good to learn more
  4. Pink Hat Runner, new to reading this blog as well
  5. Jenn from Running Sane, ADP and Jenn graduated from the same college...though I don't think they were there at the same time and one of my friend's SI lives in Jenn's I'm tagging her
  6. Jen from Pretend this is Real, new to reading this blog as well
  7. Abigail from Abigail Runs, new to reading this blog as well
Putting this list together made me realize how many new blogs I've picked up recently.  I can't wait to read what everyone has to say about themselves.  Also, if you've already been tagged, sorry to tag you again.  I can only keep so many things straight in my head at a time.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

New Shorts went Tempo

next the treadmill
I won a pair of shorts on I'm a Sleeper Baker and they arrived just before the latest winter storm.  Since I'm not about to go out and run in the cold weather in shorts, I hit up my treadmill today.  I took my new shorts on a tempo run and they treated me well.

The compression shorts came with directions as to how to put them on.  I took a quick look at the directions and the shorts and they looked to me a lot like Spanx (girls, you know what I'm talking about).  Yes, I admit I have Spanx and wear them as needed (on those rare occasions I dress up) so I went about putting the shorts on just like I put on leg at a time.  I do have a few questions...why does the draw string pull out so far that I can easily pull it past my shoulder?

the drawstring
Second, what is with the seams?  When I put the shorts on and looked in the mirror it looked like I had granny undies on over a pair of black shorts.  Yes, part was the lighting, but the seams didn't help.  So, I did what any (not) sane person would do, I took a picture of my bum.  I know we all want to see a picture of my bum, so here it is:
See what I mean?  The seams make the shorts look granny panty-like.  I know that some may shy away from putting a picture of their rear end on a public blog, but let me tell you this:  I'm not caring today.  My bum fits nicely into all the pants I have and I've never had a complaint about my derrière.

On to the running stuff because I just don't want to talk about my back side any longer.  Today's treadmill run included a .5 mile warm up, 6 mile tempo run, .5 mile cool down, walk to finish out the time on the treadmill to the nearest multiple of 5 minutes.  The run went well and once I made it past the first three miles I felt great.  Next up:  10 miler this Sunday at the last Winter Series.  I have never actually run a 10 mile race so what ever time I get will be a PR.  I have not decided if I'll use it as a training run or to see if I can hold my hopeful half-marathon pace for 10 miles.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

January In Review

January 2011 is already done!  It has gone fast and thankfully I have done a lot during the 31 day month.  Here's a little recap:
  • 1/1 Hangover Half Marathon with Amanda in 2:21:52
  • 1/9 Winter Series #3 5K for me and the 10K for ADP.  I got a 59 second PR with a 28:00 and ADP got a 10K PR.
  • I thought about going to the gym a lot.  I never actually made it to the gym.
  • I ran 84.19 miles this month.  I was going for 100 miles, but since I was sick for over a week and missed a long run and a whole week of running I'm happy with 84.19 miles.
  • I skipped a race because I was sick.  It was frigid the day of the race so it is good that I decided to stay home.
  • I ran 15 days this month, which is 48.4% of the days.  Next month I'll break 50% as long as I stay healthy.

February is looking to be a good month with two races (Winter Series #5 this weekend and the 3-person Marathon Relay 2/20) and a new schedule for me to follow.  I hope to get some good mileage in because I still have 965.81 miles to my mileage goal this year.