I'm a winner!

I'm very new to this blogging thing, and truth be told not very good at it. I have all kinds of wonderful thoughts while running, showering, driving, etc. but once I get in front of the computer I forget. But still I have started up this blog, I think it's my third attempt. And by far my most successful.

Interestingly enough, my success is more from those I follow. I chose to start this after I decided to stalk the ladies that were chosen for the Nuun Hood to Coast relay teams. I have actually gotten a few followers of my own now :D

One of my favorite things about the blogs I follow are the giveaways. Not because I'm a giveaway entering fool, cuz I'm not. I don't consider myself lucky so I truly rarely enter. Plus it didn't take long for me to hit "like" excess on facebook. But the reason I like them is for the product information. There just isn't enough time for me to find all the cool things offered and I am more than willing to let someone else do the hard work for me.

That being said, I won a giveaway! XL of Taking it On did a give away for a couple tubes of Nuun. She opened up herself to her followers to ask anything they wanted. There was some criteria to win. I am not shy. I did apologize in advance. I wanted the Nuun.

Here is her annocment: The Most Bizarre Question Award goes to S from footbeatswho wanted to know about my favorite feminine hygiene products (clearly she didn't read about my souvenirs from France) and related embarrassing race moments.

Go me!


When a good run goes bad.... 5K recap

Ok, I'm being a bit dramatic. But I had so much hope for this race and did so well, that I can't help but be disappointed.

Why you ask??? Because I had goals and was running better than expected AND the distance came up short.

This is the route (taken from another race so I covered the name, not so beautifully, so I don't seem like I am complaining about them). The arrow points to the area where the mishap occurred. This is where the Coach (son) and I turned around. I actually commented during the turn that I could see this being an accident waiting to happen, where runners turn at the wrong time.

According to my phone app, I only ran 2.63 miles. I had not set the goal to PR, didn't want to worry about my time. I wanted to kick. But as the phone app announced our pace and I was feeling good, we decided it would happen anyway. Coach did a wonderful job as always of making sure I was running right. He is so wise beyond his years.

During the last straight stretch he had me pick up the pace a little at each traffic light. Once the finish line was in sight, he pointed out where the kick would happen. #4, who had not run the race with us but stationed at different points to support me, was running along with us at this point. It's so awesome to have support!

I was worried about the kick because the road was wet and was not sure if my shoes would have enough traction. (I claim to have a fear of heights, but have learned over the years that it is really a fear of falling. From any height!) Shoes did fine, I kicked and ran my heart out to finish. Only to look down and see the wrong distance.

My average pace for the run was 10:55. So this would put my time for a full 5K at 32:15 assuming I continued running well, which I am sure I would have done.

These are the shoes Coach and I were fitted for earlier in the day. Asics GT-2160. Interestingly enough, after trying on several recommended pairs, we chose the same shoe. His are prettier than mine :(

My celebratory meal. It's not Blue Moon, have never had that beer. It was just a Shiner Bock because I can't get really good beer in this town.

Coach aka my son

Coach getting irritated at my flash, check out the waitress in the back ground

Coach and waitress (aka Iroc, my daughter)

Don't they look thrilled??
Coach and #4 assure me that I should be proud anyway. I will be. After the next race :D


Kick... and starting a tradition maybe

I have my first 5k since finishing my training plan tomorrow night. I am very excited about it. It's a charity run so kinda low key. But I feel like a real athlete preparing for a race.

Why am I feeling this way?

In all of the 5ks I have done I have only ever "ran" 1 whole race before. And if you count the 20 or so feet I walk at the water station (not graceful enough to run and drink at the same time), then technically I have never finished one. Good thing I don't count it :D

I ran that race in 35:04. My PR. It in 2006.

This race will be the start of my new running "career". I know I will run the whole thing no problem. I may even beat the previous time. That however is not my goal. My goal is to actually do a kick, experience the kick, be the kicker. I really have no idea what the right lingo is, but you get my drift.

In every event I have ever done, it was always just a struggle to finish. There was no more no give, no matter how much my supporters (family) encouraged me. But tomorrow, I will do it. That is my goal.

I also plan to introduce myself to some local runners I have met thru twitter. I really want to start running with a local group. We got the word from the Doc today that #4 will not be able to any running. Luckily he can cycle and that is what we will do together. But I feel the need to be with my own kind too. My own kind being fellow runners. People who have the desire and drive to run distances past the 5k. #4 will always support me and do whatever I ask of him for me to pursue this dream. But running with other runners just sounds like good fun to me.

I have actually become quite obsessed with running. I should not be surprised as that is how it seems to go with my hobbies. Last year at this time I was into World of Warcraft (don't judge me) and would spend hours just sitting front of the computer. I gave that up earlier this year to try my hand at making jewelry. I am still interested in this hobby, but it is just too dang expensive right now.

So as part of my diet plan, I started running. I got #4 and a friend interested in doing an adventure race so I knew I had to get running. It was always the hardest part for me and since I was the instigator, I didn't want to let anyone down. Well, no one else trained and that dream went down the drain. But I found the more I ran and the more in shape I got (more weight I lost) the more into running I got. I started reading and searching for other races, started following blogs and buying books. Truly a new obsession has begun.

So what of this tradition? As I sit here typing, pre-race, I am enjoying a restful night. I have on my pjs, did my toe nails, cuddling with my fav furbabies and watching Prefontaine. I like this tradition idea :D


What's so great about morning runs anyway?

I'm not a big fan of morning runs. Really the only perk I can see is that once it's done, nothing can get in your way for getting your run in that day. Other than that, nada!

Now, you may want to know why I dislike morning runs so much. Several reasons. 

Let's start with the simple fact that I hate mornings. Not all mornings, just the one's that start before 8 am. And right now, by 8am it's just too hot to go run. I'm a lite sleeper so I'm almost never fully rested. 

There is also the pesky nutrition factor. If I'm supposed to eat 30 min to 1 hr before I run then that means I just have to get up even earlier. And to be honest, it's not in me to eat before 9 am. It's almost a workout just to chew. 

So why did I go run this morning, especially after stating yesterday that I was going back to my night runs???

#4 of course. He "wanted" to run this morning. He ended up not joining me, same as last Saturday except this time I went without him. Don't get me wrong, I will change all my plans for him. I want to run (or bike) with him. But I'm not willing to put my training on hold for him. I am looking forward to a bike ride tomorrow with him (cross fingers).

Plus there is supposed to be horrible weather today.

I had a good run despite the hour of the day. I have increased my mileage to 3.5 miles (calm down). I want to be doing 4 miles regularly before my half class starts in mid August. My average pace today was 11:57, which is about 30 sec faster than normal. I wasn't trying to run faster, just trying to finish as always. I know that to a certain degree speed will improve on it's own, it's just interesting to see it. The run was good, no pain and not really hard to finish. If I weren't running in circles (or rectangles) I may have done a full 4 miles. (Running in circles, ovals, squares, etc is so boring!).

I did my last two runs without the aid of a wet beverage. If I let myself I can easily finish off my 10 oz handheld in the first two miles. Thinking ahead for 13.1 miles, I know that isn't gonna cut it. Even if I carry two handhelds, and I'm not interested in a bigger size. So I have decided that I will teach myself to run my short runs without. I'd say I'm a fast learner. Granted the lower temps of nights will help that issue. (Unless I swallow a bug, then I NEED a drink to wash it down.)

I was unable to wear my visor today because I just couldn't find it:
(I swear he did this to himself)


Rain and Tape FTW!

After a disappointing week last week (unable to run more than a mile at a time :( ) I decided to change things up a bit to make sure I got back to 3 miles:

1. Temperature. I had changed to running in the mornings from #4’s advice that it would better prepare for race day. I think that in SE Louisiana during the months of July and August this is horrible advice. Especially for a new runner. I will now be a night runner again, even running later than my normal late.

2.Tape. Shin splints are back. No worries thanks to my KT tape.
(pay no attention to Waffle House chairs under my gorgeous legs)

3.Slow down. After looking at videos of myself running, the experts (#4 and the boy) agree that the thing I need to do to improve my form is lift my knees. It will take the shuffle out of my gait and turn into a real run. Last week in doing this I ended up with a much faster pace than I am ready for at this point. So I need to slow down and lift.

So last nights run included all of these and was an absolutely wonderful run. The best I have ever had. The rain started around lunch time and never actually stopped. We knew we were going to be running in the rain before we left the house in the morning. I was determined that nothing was going to stand in my way of getting my 3 miles in. Luckily we had a break and only had a few drops for the whole run. I am excluding the low branches that #4 pulled on to soak me about mile 2.5. He thought it was funny.

The tape worked just as I knew it would. It encompasses my shins with warmth and love and protection. Overkill?? Maybe but I really love this stuff.

And I ran my normal slower pace. I was able to chit chat with #4 for the full run. Well the parts where he was with me. Keeping in mind that I have two months training on him, and he has disk problems, he was unable to run the full distance. He did do the entire route with me, just had to stop and walk some. I was quite impressed with him tho as he ran at least 1.75-2 miles. He was hurting and complaining, but if he keeps joining me that will go away in no time.

We did a different route than normal. We did the lakes at LSU. I’ve only ridden these in the past, but I knew the distance was 4 miles around the first lake. So we did a half mile warm up and then started running a nice slow pace. We skipped a small loop, which I assume is half a mile since we were back at the car at 3.5 miles. I told him I want to keep going for another half mile since I was feeling so good. He got the car and met me down the road. I really feel that I could have gone for a full 4 miles and wish I had but am still excited by the run I completed. The distance isn’t really impressive but what is, is how I felt. I felt awesome. I was tired but the exhausted I normally am. I know the temperature had a lot to do with that and I may not feel so great after Saturday nights run. But knowing I can run 3 miles as a easy run means I am progressing! 


Walking feels like cheating

I walked today. I walked 3 miles. I wanted to run. But it's not a run day. I feel better for walking but it felt like cheating. I was supposed to do a 3 mile run yesterday, first day in my virtual half training program. I only made it a mile. I was VERY disappointed in myself. I WILL finish my run tomorrow!

I am a little excited because the boy has expressed interest in doing the half with me. He is such a good runner, ran varsity cc as a freshman and sophomore. Unfortunately he dropped out because of a bad coach. I normally am not one to talk bad about a coach or a teacher. They have tough jobs and I wouldn't trade with them. And I almost always take the adults side when the kids complain because, well, they are kids and will complain about everything if you let them! But this one time I have to agree with the boy. She was a horrble coach. The kind that  thought she was motivating them by always harping on what they did wrong. She's lost half her male runners because they are "really" soccer players and only ran because the soccer coach asked them too.

Sad thing is he is a natural long distance runner. I wish he had developed a love for it. But I haven't given up on him yet :D. So yesterday when I was talking to him about my recent form changes and training changes and race change, he was real interested. I asked if he wanted to do the race with me. He said yea! I told him he'd have to train so we have our first train date for tomorrow night. Woo hoo.

I have decided to do forego all of the online training plans that I have been comparing. Sort of. I will actually follow one for a couple of weeks just because I am not experienced enough to know what to do on my own. The local Fleet Feet is putting on a half training class starting at the end of next month. It will end with a local half. So I have decided to change my first half from the Iron Girl in New Orleans to the Baton Rouge Beach Half. I really like the idea of doing an all female event for my first but really like the idea of having a real live training group more. And if the boy runs with me, then it is definitely the right choice.

The Iron Girl half is just a few days before my birthday. I told my family that in lieu of gifts I wanted them to all go to the race and support me. Well since that has changed, I have picked out my birthday present:
If you can't read it, it says "Race Day Strategy: start off slow and then back off". It's available at onemoremile.com. It fits my sense of humor.


The Good, The Bad, The Man (aka weekend recap)

My week didn’t go as planned as far as training is concerned and the only person to blame is DH (The Man). But honestly this is a good thing. Cycling, running, racing and just being outdoors in general was such a big part of our life together in the beginning. It has been sorely missed the last couple of years. So much so that I had finally given up on him and started running on my own.

The week started out with him interfering with my Tuesday run by inviting me to a bike ride that evening. No way was I gonna pass that up! We only made it around the lakes once before he was ready to call it quits. Partly because he was pooped and partly because his bike had a mind of its own.

No biggie, I figured I run in the morning on Wednesday. He was up for doing it too. I did get in my distance. He was unable to hang, but got some really pathetic videos of me, which motivated a week long research frenzy on perfecting my form or at least improving it.

The great thing is that he may have finally been bit by the bug! We got up for a run on Thursday morning. Again he was unable to make it as far as we would have liked but he at least had his HOT PINK gymboss with him and a training plan programmed in. We then went for another ride on Thursday. Still not a long ride, we made it about halfway home and stopped for dinner. The boy joined us and we caved and took a truck ride home.

Friday I declared a rest day. I really don’t think I was in need of it physically but having my schedule thrown off so much had me mentally wore out. I’m a tad OCD.

Saturday morning was another scheduled run, a virtual 5k for me. He had worked late and was not interested, but said he would go with me if I would go for a night run instead. Wanting to keep him interested I agreed. Next thing I knew he was making BBQ plans with some friends. So we bumped up our run to 5pm from my planned 7:30pm. BIG MISTAKE. It was horribly hot. And I tried to alter my form by lifting my knees more. The form change was dead on, but in the heat I just couldn’t breathe. I ended it slightly over a mile into it. He didn’t even make it that far.

The next planned event was trail riding on Sunday. I had the bright idea to ride the blue (easy) trail all out and then run. The trail is about 2 miles. It was a good plan in theory. But since it’s probably been a year since I’ve ridding the trails, it was a major over shoot. We ended up doing 1 lap at 1.43 miles on the bikes and then 1 mile on foot. I got totally duded on the run. Here all week he couldn’t even run for 2 minutes straight and at the trails he just took off like he did it every day! Whatever.

All and all a bad week that was great. We did 7 things together. It was awesome! I can’t wait to see what he does this week.

Of course no trip to the trails is complete with out some blood shed:
The pedal ate up the back of my calf. I've got a nice little knot where that blue area is, but figured the rest was just a scratch. Unfortunately woke up this morning to it all being swollen. I hope it doesn't interfere with my runs this week!


Taking the day off!

Did a 3 mile run and a 7 mile bike yesterday so I think I deserve it. Gonna spend the day researching races and running form :D


Bricks... sort of

I am a big supporter of rest days. Religious even.

Yesterday was a run day. I am trying to increase my cross-training, so when DH suggested we go for a bike ride after work I jumped at the chance. I spent most of the day trying to figure out the best plan for staying on track with my running schedule and my rest period. To no avail.

Luckily (sort of) we only made a 6.5 mile loop on the bikes. DH's bike was being a pain and he didn't feel it would be good to go another lap. So I figured it was such a short ride that I could still get up and run in the morning. And that is what I did.

So bricks in the true since it was not, but in my little world it counts! Go ME!

DH was kind enough to shoot some video of me running so I could see how bad my form is. Try not to laugh:

Kind advice is welcome.

I have one week left of my 5k training plan. Interestingly enough it is the same plan as the first week half marathon training.

DH seems to be bitten by the bug a bit. He is going to start my 5k plan tomorrow morning. Not sure if I will ever get him past that distance, but if I can get him back into adventure racing I would be thrilled!


Oh yeah, I got this...

Second full 35 minute run completed! I'm a veteran now :D

I went about an hour later than normal and chose a route that didn't have many trees so it was HOT!. I was prepared with my new fancy featherlite visor. I'm surprised I wore it the whole time since I'm real picky about my head being hot but it worked fine. I chose not to wear sunscreen and that worked out fine. I know it's just a matter of time before I burn so I guess will have to wear it next time out.

As for the run, it was hard to get started. I'm experimenting with taking out the 5 min warm up walk and that may be a mistake. I don't think my muscles were ready to run after just a short 1 min walk. And they let me know. My splits were real interesting tho:
I've also decided to just track the actual runs and not the warm ups/cool downs. This takes about .5 mile off my distance but it's the only way to get a real feel for my performance. I'm well below the 18:18 pace set by the race event, but then again I'm running less than 3 miles :O

I used a race calculator I found on another's blog (don't remember who) for fun. These are the predictions using today's run:
 It's actually quite scary to me now. I mean I've done the math already based on pace to make sure that at a 12 min/mile I can finish in the 4 hour time frame allotted. But this brings it into focus that I will be running for 3 hours STRAIGHT! Am I really interested in this? I am, I know this, but still.... that's a lot of running.

To wrap this up I have some pictures to share:
This is my new exercise ball right out of the box. I plan to use this to strengthen my core.
This is the same ball with the incredibly lame and cheap inflating device that came in the same box. Looks like I will be cross training!
I'm feeling really smart about this one. I have a major addiction to Burt's Bees. And the little tube is so uncomfy riding along in my sports bra. But here you can clearly see it's already uncapped for easy application :D
Last, but not least, the stairs I found to include in my run. Yes, yes not very impressive but we all have to start somewhere!


Eating and Stretching.... not at the same time

It's been 5 days since I officially got off the Dukan diet. I made the decision to quit the restrictive but effective diet because of the way it was affecting my running. Basically I was just not getting enough carbs for the training I am doing and will be starting in a few weeks. It was a hard decision since the diet was going so well and I wasn't having any of the normal dieting problems. But in the end I want to be a runner more than I want to be a size 8. I'm at a good weight now, I feel good about myself. And I figure that as my muscle mass gets stronger some of the flab that is left will go away.

But my main fear was (and is) that without a clear and definite plan for eating that I will get out of control and gain weight (meaning fat) back. And I can see it happening already. I have had a hamburger with cheese and bacon, pizza, fries, fried chicken. I did good on taco night with ff sour cream but had the real cheese even though I had ff in the fridge. I did good with breakfast, protein shakes every day except the day I had ff choc milk after my run.

The problem: no plan. Easily fixed. Goal #1 for the weekend, come up with a diet plan.

Onto stretching. I hate stretching. I'm sure I don't do it right and that is part of the problem. So in the last two weeks I have read twice from two different sources that I really don't need to stretch. That unless I find it helps me in particular, that there is no proof it helps the general masses (my understanding).

So does this let me off the stretching train. Yes and no. I no longer feel like I have to feel guilty if I don't do pre or post run stretches. But I think as far as developing upper body and core strength that I will need to do something other than just run.

The problem: no plan. Easily fixed. Goal #2 for the weekend, come up with an exercise plan.

So much for the holiday weekend, looks like I have work to do :D