Saturday, August 27, 2011

Crim Race Recap: Killed it!

I killed it at the Crim today!!  It was an amazing race and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVED it!  Since I ran the Crim for the first time last year, I wanted to break it down side by side.  I went to look at last year's Crim recap (when I had just started blogging) and I didn't even include the race time!  haha - who does that?? 

2010: felt like garbage after mile 4.  Hills chewed me up and spit me out.  Walked a bit; more than I'm willing to mention.  First time I experienced chub rub.  ouch.  Had to stop to tinkle on the course.  Lame. 

2011: Felt like a CHAMP!  From the first step, we treated this as a training run and it couldn't have gone better!  The miles went by so fast, I actually felt bummed about it :(  I've never had that happen before.  I was enjoying the run so much that I didn't want it to end.

405/514 age group 25-29
7179 overall
(I don't know how to find all the details of the runners from last year)

1:54:30 Garmin time - the time I'm going with :)
1:56:09 chip time?!?! 99 seconds off?  what the heck?

6260/9590 overall
2595/4943 women
348/545 age group 25-29

Obviously better in 2011, by 10-12 minutes :)  I'm going with 12!! 

2010: The hills chewed me up and spit me out in pain.  Brutal.  Felt like crap.  However, ignorance is bliss and I had no idea what I was getting into.  That obliviousness was nice.

2011: From last year, I knew I had a tough course in front of me but was determined to train properly and kill it!  And that's exactly what happened!  After 11 weeks of 501 training (my running group), we've done at least 7 different hill workouts and man, did they pay off.  After the Bradley Hills, I was like "is that it?"  HA!

2010: my first Crim was the beginning of my left IT band PAIN.  Like, collapse out of the car when I get home.  Not able to walk up steps for a couple days.

2011: I bit my cheek eating my jelly beans.  Not the few I took at mile 4 or 7 on the course; the ones I ate at the after party while standing still.  Go figure.  And it hurts still!  (but nothing like an IT band problem)

2010: Drove up to Flint solo.  Shopped at Birch Run solo.  Checked in/expo/hotel solo.  Ran all by myself without talking to another human being.  LAME

2011: Drove up with a friend on Friday to shop at Birch Run, did the expo, found a great place for dinner, ran the race with her and three other 501 friends.  AWESOME!

2010: Hit up Birch Run and found lots of back to school clothes as well as a spi-belt at the expo.  Win.

2011:  Rebecca and I hit up all the stores and tried on a lot of things and bought NOTHING.  What two women can go to an outlet mall and buy nothing?  And then hit the expo and buy nothing?!!  Unheard of!  Lame.

Can you tell how happy I am with this year's race??!!  I LOVED it!!  Can't wait for the race pics to see if I finally have a good one :)

Hope you all had a great race weekend!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

51 Days and the Crim

Wow!  Only 51 days until I run my first marathon.  Holy crap.  At this point, I feel like I can do it and my training has been going really well, so that's good :)

For now, I'm going to take a step back and get excited for the Crim this Saturday.  It's a fun 10 mile race in Flint, MI and I can't wait to run it this year!

Last year I ran the Crim for the first time; it was my first 10 miler ever and the first time I ever really ran hills.  It was an experience to say the least.  I'm excited to meet it again with actual training behind me.  

My entire running group will be there (Running Fit 501) and I'm excited to run such a big race with lots of friends.  Not to mention hit up Birch Run outlet shopping on Friday before the expo :)

Anyone else running the Crim on Saturday?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cheesecake Disaster and a Spa Day!

Well, technically, a mini-cheesecake disaster.  Check it out:
Oh yeah, ruined.  The good news is that I'm on vacation.  I have all day to make something delicious for tonight's book club meeting at my house.  First, I have to chuck these things though.  

So my actual week of vacation started with a trip to the Spa on Monday.   My husband got me a gift certificate for an entire day of pampering for our anniversary in May and I've been waiting for this week off to use it.  

The first thing I did was the hour massage.  LOVED IT!  I would go back again just for this massage.  She was great and really worked my tired legs out.  So relaxing.  

Next was a facial, which I've never had before.  It was okay.  It felt nice, but I don't see any reason to ever do it again.  The lady was so nice too, she complimented my on my 'small pores' (whatever that means) and let me know that she doesn't recommend anything for my skin.  That's awesome!

After a catered lunch, it was time for my mani/pedi.  Typically, I go to the cheap-o salons in a strip mall for my summer pedis, but I thought it would be so nice getting one in a nice salon.  I couldn't have been more wrong.  It took FOR-EV-ER!  Over two hours for mani and pedi and it wasn't even that good.  I mean, the color looks fine, but it wasn't that great of an experience and time was crawling by.  I think after my relaxing massage and facial I just wanted to go home.

It was a weird way to end the day of pampering, but I still loved it overall!  I will definitely head back for another massage sometime and know not to push my limits of sitting around/relaxing ALL day :)  My husband makes fun of me for never being able to relax and this was perfect example of that!

After a nice and easy run last night with my group, I'll put in a few miles tomorrow and get ready for the Crim 10 miler on Saturday!  Best week off ever!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Random Facts about Me!

Here's some random facts about me, as I was tagged by MegO :)
Name your favorite color: Blue, Blue, Blue.  Like our house, or my new car, or my husband's car, or my favorite dress, or my favorite flip flops, or my wedding ring!
Name your favorite song: I don't have a favorite song so much as a bunch of random music.  I like all Country Music, Kenny Rogers, Bryan Adams and TuPac.  Yeah, I'm weird like that :)

Name your favorite dessert: Summer: Strawberry Shortcake.  Winter: Hot Fudge Brownie Sundae

What wizzes you off: Well, 'wizzes' is interesting.  I'd say bad drivers and crazy parents (not my own; I work in a school!)

When you're upset you:
complain to my husband, eat candy, and go to bed early.  Real mature, right!

Your favorite pet: I hate to pick favorites, but I did get Jake first :)  He's the first dog I've ever owned; we rescued him when we lived in Louisiana, right after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  Here he is fat and lazy at 5 years old.
 Dexter is a close second (just don't tell him), as we got him a couple years later :) 
Black or white:  I guess I love them both!  They're the most popular colors in my wardrobe!

Your biggest fear: Falling off the bed, bumper cars, the aboriginies in my parents' basement, going to sleep with the closets open...  I have lots of irrational fears.  The good news is that I can finally admit they're irrational. 

Everyday attitude: I'm typically a very happy person.  I'm nice and friendly.  Unless you ask my husband; patience typically runs out by the time I see him :)

What is perfection: A day off with my husband, just relaxing and doing whatever we want!

Guilty pleasure:
Junk TV.  I mean the worst of the worst. Jerseylicious.  Teen Mom.  Tia & Tammera.  Lockup.  Doogie Howser, MD.  You, know all the good stuff!

Now to tag some people to do it as well, if you want to :)
Vanessa @ Gourmet Runner
Danielle @ Long May You Run
Rebecca @ Thru Thin and Thick

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Finally! A 5K PR!

Yes!  I PR'd at the Running the Rails 5K this morning!
After my really crappy 10 miler yesterday, I received a text to do a 5K tomorrow from my friend Rebecca.  I figured what better way to start out my week of vacation, so we met to sign up :)

This race was unlike no other in the fact that I didn't plan for it in advance, didn't look at the route at all, didn't even lay out my clothes the night before.  I figured, let's just go for it and have fun. 

We arrived in plenty of time as it was a small race; there weren't even lines for the portajohns!  About 10 minutes after the start time, we were off uneventfully.  Rebecca and I started off kinda fast, but we kept it going the whole time!!
SplitTimeDistanceAvg PaceBest Pace

I've never run consistent 9s - I consider 10s to be fast for me!

It started sprinkling at the start and ended up raining through the entire race.  Oh well, I figured that no matter what, we'd get our first rain-race PR :)

The first 2.5 miles went fairly uneventfully and then I was kinda dragging the last bit.  This is where racing with a friend really came into play.  Rebecca kept me going and I was ecstatic as we crossed the finish line and saw that I finally beat my old PR from December 2009!  (My 5K PR is from my first 5K - how can that be??!!  I raced in cotton and knew nothing about running!!)

Overall, it was a great race and I'm so glad we did it on a complete whim.  It's an added bonus that I actually like the race shirt and wore it around today!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Recent Long Run Comparisons

I'm still on a high from Saturday's 14 miler.  Setting a half marathon PR within this training run really got me thinking about my long runs.  I pulled up some of my past runs on my garmin and was excited to see the paces.  Here's my past 4 weeks of Saturday Long Runs, with this past week's on the left and jumping back a week as you go to the right:

Distance14.00 mi 10.07 mi 11.66 mi 8.35 mi
Time02:39:01 02:05:09 02:22:39 01:52:23
Avg Pace11:21 min/mi 12:25 min/mi 12:13 min/mi 13:27 min/mi
Calories1,970 C 1,292 C 1,530 C 1,079 C 

I can't even believe the difference in average pace from the past 3 weeks to this past week's 14 miler.   An entire minute per mile faster!  I can't believe it :)

And 1900 calories burned!  Holy Moly!  What a way to start your day :)

And yes, that 11.66 day should have been my first 12 miler - it's the one day I was not a slave to my garmin and didn't run around the block to finish the mile out.  Oh well, it happens. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

14 Miler in the Books!

Let me just say that I'm still on a runner's high from yesterday's 14 miler!  Here's my total breakdown of the run.  It is incredibly long and maybe boring to others, but I'm so excited to relive the details of my best run to date!

Yesterday, my running group was meeting at 7am for our long run.  I had 14 on the schedule and typically the people in my pace group don't run more than 10, so I decided to arrive at 6am and get in 4 miles before the class started. 

This way, I could start earlier which I prefer when it's cool and not humid and end earlier since I had an afternoon wedding to go to yesterday.  Also, if I run 4 solo miles before class, I'd run 10 with the group to get my 14 in as opposed to running 10 with the group and then adding on 4 solo miles - I thought this way would be tougher.

When I arrived in Ann Arbor at 6am, it was still very dark.  I had planned on running 2 of our usual 2 mile loops, but they were through some residential areas that I wasn't sure were lit up well.  So, being a scaredy-cat, I opted to run up and down Main Street instead, as it was very illuminated.  As soon as I started, I saw a bunch of Wanted signs on the downtown businesses.  I had completely forgot about these two men that were attacking women in the late night/early morning hours for the past couple weeks (mostly on the way home from bars).

Yikes!  I contemplated just going back to my car and waiting for class to begin at 7am, but I had an hour to kill and 4 miles to squeeze in.  So, I literally ran up and down Main Street in the very-lit part being super-aware of my surroundings.  I was very careful on the corners to take them wide in case someone was on the other side and uber-aware of all the little spots a person could be hiding in to jump out at me.

As freaked out as I was, it really made those first 4 miles fly by as I wasn't looking at my garmin at all!  Overall I finished the first 4 miles in 45 minutes and then met the group at the store to get our routes for the day.

We headed out the door at 7am for a ten miler.  Everyone in my pace range was doing ten yesterday, so I was really happy to have finished my 4 before class.  The cool thing about today's run was that there were about 12 people in our group that stayed together for the entire run!  Typically, if I run with my usual running buddy, Patti, we're off in our own world, just her and I.  Yesterday was nice in that there were a variety of people to catch up with chat with and pick their brains. 

The first 4 miles with the group (miles 4-8 for me) went very smooth and then we hit some hills.  The good news is that with a group, I feel like I should always keep going and not separate too much.  So, I pushed through and kept going.  Overall, this run started out faster than our usual long run pace, but I felt I could keep it up. 

I tried GU chomps on watermelon for the first time today.  4 chomps after my first 4 miles and then 4 more chomps at mile 9.  They tasted pretty good and seemed to keep my fueled the entire time.  I was never hungry which is rare for me - typically by mile 10, my stomach starts rumbling for real food and that was a pleasant surprise not to happen. 

We extended our course a bit to go out 8 and then directly back to the store for the last two miles which sounded great to me.  There's something about the simplicity of a straight route with minimal turns at the end that keeps me going mentally.  I like to visualize where we're going a couple miles up and I can't typically do that at the beginning of our long runs as a lot of the routes are new to me.  But having the last 3 miles easily mapped out in my head is really helpful. 

I felt pretty good the whole run and my group was awesome to check up on my here and there knowing that I had extra mileage in the morning.  The 12 running partners really kept me going and it was nice to pair up with someone new after each water break. 

I was having no troubles throughout this run and then at mile 12, I really started feeling GREAT.  I don't know what came over me, but the fact that the end was in sight (mentally) and I was still feeling so good really pumped me up.  I also glanced down at my garmin, did some quick math and realized that I was on a roll to not only kick ass finishing this whole run, but very possibly beat my best half marathon time. 

As mile 12 came and went, we were on a straightaway that was slightly downhill.  I comfortably picked it up and kept watching until the glorious 13.1 had shown on my watch.  When it did, I looked down and saw 2:28:33!!  HOLY CRAP!!  I DID IT!  It's been an inside goal of mine to finish a half under 2:30 and this is the first time I successfully did so!  I've completed three half marathons and my best time is 2:33:53 and I nailed it by 5.5 minutes!!  Success and totally counts in my  book!\

I was so excited and continued to push through to complete the 14 miles.  I've never run further than a half marathon so I wasn't sure if my legs would just stop after that distance or what, but they carried me - almost in a floating-like way - to complete the full 14 miles and it felt AMAZING!  

I can not express in words how great this run felt and how much confidence I've gained  going into it and also coming out of it!  I feel like I'm where I want to be and DAMN PROUD of it!!  Overall, my average pace for these 14 miles was 11:21 - a FULL MINUTE faster that our typical Saturday long runs!  Clearly, I needed this run to show myself that I can do it!

Thank you all for your support through my running adventures of the past year and a half and I'm so excited to see what's next!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I Chewed it Up and Spit it Out!

My 14 miler, that is!  This morning was quite possibly my favorite morning ever.  

14 miles in the books.  Longest run ever. 

Completed 14 miles much quicker than my first half marathon.

Finish the first 13.1 miles with a 5 minute PR from my best half race.  
*Even though this doesn't really count, I'm totally counting it!

Best running day of my life!

Now I have to shower and get to a wedding - full recap to come soon :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Three Things Thursday

Here's my first Three Things Thursday ever:

1) I am thoroughly annoyed by my next door neighbors.  All they do is cut their lawn!  It's not the noise that bothers me; it's the fact that they are making me look bad!  No matter how hard I try, they always cut their lawn before me.  I swear, they mow three times a week.  I guess they must not work since it always looks perfectly groomed when I get home.  I've seen them out there once or twice, so I know they don't have a service, but they're really making me feel bad about it.  I mow the lawn and I actually like it, but I hate feeling pressured to do so to keep up with the Jones'.  Annoying.

2) I am LOVING my running right now.  Long runs have been so successful: food has been spot on, love my new shorts, and I have been feeling good about them.  Running with friends has been great, I'm on spot with my training schedule.  I don't want to jinx it, but I'm really not that nervous for my first full marathon at this moment since it has all been going so well!  My first 14 miler is this weekend and that'll be my longest run EVER - never gone past a half, so I'm looking forward to it. 

3) I just got a brand new laptop at work!  Woohoo!  It's so exciting!  I didn't realize how slow my old one was until we hooked this one up - love it!!

Hope you're all having a Terrific Thursday!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate

All I drink is water.  If it's cold water, I'll drink it every time.  When my niece stayed with us for a week so was so surprised (and I think freaked out) that we didn't have any pop in our house.  

This is what our fridge looks like:
Milk and water bottles.

We drink water all the time and this pic doesn't even show my favorite water bottle, which I keep at work.  The only time we use actual cups (not even glasses) is when we have company over and it's still weird to us.  

When cold water is available, I drink it all the time.  When I have a craving for junk food, I try a water bottle first and I typically (but not always) forget about the garbage I wanted.

I heart agua!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Ten Miles in new shorts

Just got back from my ten miler with the group and it was awesome!  We ran in a new part of town which was interesting and I got to try out new shorts and new running fuel.  

I stopped by Running Fit yesterday after work to check out some new shorts.  I've found I don't really like 'typical' running shorts as my thighs rub together and they just overall don't fit right.  I love my winter running tights, so I thought if I could find some spandex shorts, I should be good.  

I've been running in C9 spandex shorts from Target and they aren't bad, but they're certainly not good either.  They ride up mid run and the tag has started to rub my lower back raw after the past few long runs.  Not fun.

So after trying on about 10 pairs last night, I found two that I loved and bought one of them.  I decided on the Adidas Supernova Short Tight and I LOVE THEM!!
I think they're mens, but I don't care.  They've got a decent inseam and are longer than most shorts which is exactly what I was looking for.  They stayed put for the entire 10 miles and were very breathable.  I even like the mini zippered pocket on my right hip!
I was nervous about trying them on my 10 miler today, but figured this was a good time to experiment before my first marathon in 70 days :)  It ended up being a great choice!
I also picked up a variety of mid-run fuel to try out over the next 10 weeks.  I've only ever used GU gels before in my first three half marathons and while they work, I figured it was worth it for me to try new things, too.  Honestly, I'm not sure if they actually fuel me or if it's all in my head, which I'm okay with, too!
Today I went with the most fun-sounding option, Jelly Belly's Sport Beans in Cherry.  Yum!  Were they delicious!  I love candy on a normal day, so candy while I run, yes please!  I popped them in around mile 6 at our water station and they hit the spot. 

So, overall great run today.  10 Miles in just over 2 hours with great friends.  I loved it!  Loved the shorts and fun mid-run fuel.  I hope things keep going this smoothly on my route to my first marathon :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Weird running thoughts

I've had a couple great runs since Sunday's (3rd place in my age group) 5K!  On Tuesday our class ran out to the Arb for hill work.  What I love about this hill repeat is that it's completely shaded.  Tuesday was another hot one and the shade was amazing.  Then, about halfway through, it finally started to rain.  It had looked like rain the whole day and finally opened up.

This is only the second time I've run in the rain, both times starting out dry and then raining mid-run and I LOVED it!  It just cooled us off so much!  I'm not sure I would start a run in the rain - I just haven't come across that yet - but I have enjoyed my two runs that ended in the rain.  

Last night, I met my local running partner for a 4 miler.  It's always great meeting up with her so we can catch up on everything.  We got to talking and I find myself wondering about my running mentality.

Before joining the 501 running class, I ran entirely by myself.  From never running to doing three half marathons, I did solo.  It was great and frankly, I didn't know any better anyway.  Now that I'm in the class I LOVE running more than I ever did.  

There is something about getting in a big group of people all with similar interests and having an educated coach set up a workout for us to do.  I don't have to think about it, I just do it.  Tuesdays we get to the store and find out if we're doing hills or speedwork.  Saturdays she always has an awesome route mapped out for us from 4-18 miles (and more as we get closer to our full marathons). 

With water stations set up for us every 2 miles, it takes the thinking/planning out of running for me and I love it.  Every time I've gotten out there for the past 8 weeks, I've gone with the intention of completing the workout and succeeded.  I've given them my all and finished strong, never cheating or slacking.  

When I run on Thursdays with my friend, I have been making us stop for walk breaks around the 2 mile point.  Not that walk breaks are bad by any means, but why can I run 12 miles this past Saturday with no stops but feel like I'm going to die on Thursday at 1.8 miles?  It makes no sense to me.  Sure, we run a bit faster on Thursdays, but it's only 4 miles total and I've had to start walking around 2 miles each time recently.  What's the deal?

I think it's all mental.  I have never doubted myself in any of my group runs with the class.  I just get out there and do it.  No questions asked, no doubt.  But on Thursdays, I keep stopping.  I just don't get it.  Could it be that I'm so comfortable with my running friend that I'm okay with asking her to stop?  And with the group I don't want to rock the boat?  I don't know - but I never feel like stopping with the group class. 

On Sundays I run an easy 3 mile recovery solo - my only solo run of the week and it always goes faster that I anticipate with seemingly no effort.  So what's the deal?

This is something I'd like to figure out to get my head on straight and get the most of my training.  Any suggestions would be welcome!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Electric Bolt 5K Race Report aka the first time I placed in a race!

I decided last Monday that I wanted to do a local 5K to see how the first 9 weeks of running with a class/group had changed my speed.  I have felt great lately, have stuck to my plan, been running 4 times a week, and wanted to push myself.

It wasn't long after that I received an email for an inaugural 5K about 15 mins from my house this past Sunday.  Fate at its best!  So, I registered for it and went about my day.  

At our speedwork session on Tuesday, a couple other ladies were talking about doing the same race, so I knew there would be some familiar faces.  

After Saturday's long run of 12 miles, I ended up being out and about ALL DAY and didn't get home until 9:00pm!  No rest for me at all, but it was nice not to be stressing about the morning race.

I still can't believe how laid-back I was about this race: I didn't rest at all on Saturday, even after my long run, I got up to have just enough time to eat a bowl of (not healthy, but delicious) cereal and got to the race just 25 mins before it started!  This is all so unlike me!  I'm usually nervous and way early. 

Picked up my packet, pinned my number to my shirt, tied my shoes and found a couple other 501ers.  (that's the name of my running group).  There were no timing chips; they'd just take the pull tab numbers from our bibs and keep track of the timing that way.  One of the girls wanted to make sure we started off in the front so no more time was added on.  I stupidly followed.

This was a small race, only about 100 people running, and in no time we were off.  We started on a narrow, one-lane bridge and then ran through the paved portions of a nice park.  There were two loops to complete the 5K.  

After our speedwork on Tuesday, I really felt I could push myself with this race, so that's just what I did!

About a quarter mile into the race, I glanced down at my garmin: 8:07 pace!!  WHAT??!!   I've never run that fast in my life.  It was the adrenaline pumping like crazy.  What was I thinking?  [overview: I typically run ~11min/miles; our fastest speedwork mile on Tuesday was 10:00mins.  8:07 is INSANE for me]

I knew I had to rein it in, but to be honest, I felt really good!  

Mile 1: 9:36  WOW!   Never clocked a mile at that time.  This is either going to be awesome or suck.  

Mile 2: 10:02 Still feeling pretty good.  Planning who I was going to call/text first once I got my PR.  Choosing what I wanted for breakfast to celebrate how awesome I am.

Mile 3: 10:34  Wow, I'm a fat lazy crapface.  What was I thinking starting off with those big dogs?  I'm not a runner like they are.  Wait, what am I doing getting so negative at mile 3 in a 5K?  What the hell am I doing here?  I should have slept in today. 

Overall: 5K, 30:57.36, 9:59/min

Minus my crappy brain talk in mile 3, overall, the whole thing felt great!  I wish I could have kept 10min/miles the whole time, but I do know that's not exactly where I am yet and I'm totally okay with that.  It felt good to push for something though!!

After the race, I had some of the best post-race food ever: cold choc milk, a moist and delicious lemon poppy seed muffin with a popsicle and they had fresh coffee if you're a coffee drinker (which I'm not).  I met up with some of the 501 girls and shortly thereafter the age group awards were posted.  

I've never even looked at the age group awards before, but my 501 friend did, so I went with her.  Turns out she took 1st in our age group with a pace of 7:47 and I took 3rd!  I was so excited!!  I've never placed in anything before!  I never even thought it would be a possibility for me!

Granted, this was a SMALL race, but I'm still totally okay with it!  I picked up my engraved pint glass and headed home.  I was still so proud of myself that I got 3rd place even though it wasn't a PR for me.  It still felt great!!

After a nice, well deserved and over due 3 hour nap, I stayed in my pjs the rest of the day and relaxed with my husband while we caught up on three episodes of The Closer.  It was one of my favorite days of my life!!