Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Back from Vacation!

We had an AWESOME vacation!  It was so much fun :)
The cruise was amazing and so much fun!  It was hot and sunny every day and we had the chance to hang out and just relax!!
Snorkeling with sting rays was the best time of the entire trip!  We were able to swim with them, pet them, feed them, and even pick them up!  It was awesome :)
The towel animal creations were one of my favorite parts of the trip - especially when they wore my sunglasses :)  LOVED IT!
Visiting one of the ports in Mexico.
And I even had the chance to try froyo for my first time ever.  AND I LOVED IT!!

With my husband working nights, we don't get that much time to see each other.  This trip was a great time for us to just relax and hang out.  We've been back a couple days and I'm still trying to get back into the swing of things.  Looking forward to getting more miles in :)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I ran 14 miles on accident yesterday...

I would have never dreamed that sentence could have ever come out of my own mouth, but alas, I got a little lost on our group run yesterday and put in an extra couple miles.  I went out for 12 and yes, there were many people in our group, but most turned back at the turnaround for 10 miles.  I knew I only had one more mile to go, but I never saw the sign to turn.

Whoops.  In our group runs, there are typically 5 of us in our pace that stick together.  In 9 months, I've never brought my own map (even though coach prints them out for us all) since I just follow the girls I'm running with.  Yesterday, there were only 3 of us and one was feeling sluggish and the other was really speedy.  Cue me right in the middle.  As the time went on, there was increasing space between us until we couldn't see each other and then I tacked on extra miles. 

Oh well, the good news is that I turned around myself after I no longer recognized the road I was on and headed back to the last water station.  I made it there just as coach was packing it up, as everyone else had gone though.  Another whoops.  I apologized for my rookie mistake and her worrying and kept on trucking.

By the time I got back to the store, I felt great!  Even though almost all of my run was solo, I felt amazing.  Mentally, I was having a blast and physically, I was in the zone.  No pain, felt strong, and just rocked it.  I forgot my garmin at home, so I had no real idea how long I had run until I got home and mapmyrun'd it.  Yeah, that's totally a word.
14.25 miles of total badass.  I think running naked (ie no garmin) really saved me today.   To not know my pace and just run on feel was awesome.  I may do this more often :)

When I finally finished, coach just smirked at me and said, "You're the one that wants to run another marathon.  Go for it!"

So, yeah, that's the new plan!  I'm not 100% sold on which one yet, but something in May or June.  I really ought to find that out soon.
The other exciting news is that we're going on a cruise this week!  It's been booked for months and is finally here!  My cousin arrives to take us to the airport in 2 hours, so vacation, here I come!  I'm so excited for some down time and even managed to pack 2 running skirts justincase :)

Have an awesome week everyone, I'll be back on Sunday!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Choosing a Marathon based on Elevation?

So I'm thinking about doing marathon #2 this spring, but am not quite sure which one.  I have a couple options: the Kalamazoo marathon or the Flying Pig marathon in Cincinnati, both on May 6th.  Kzoo is an hour and a half away and the Pig is about a five hour drive.

Then I looked at the elevation of both races, because if I'm going to do a second marathon, I don't want hills.
Kalamazoo Marathon (click on pic to zoom)
Flying Pig Marathon
Holy crap!  They both look hilly.  ESPECIALLY when you compare them to the Detroit Marathon I ran in October:
Detroit Marathon
The hill at mile 3 was no big deal but the one at mile 25 seemed BRUTAL!  So while yesterday I was ready to register for marathon #2, today I'm doubting my ability to tackle the hills...  I think I've just gotten into my head and I just need to knock out another good run to set my mind straight.

Have you ever chosen a race based on elevation?  How important is it?  Before now, I've never even thought about it or ever looked at an elevation map...  Maybe ignorance really is bliss :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

14 miler down the hatch

Yes, for no particular reason I ran 14 miles yesterday morning.  Well, the truth is, I haven't had a training plan since the Detroit Marathon (my first!) in October; I've just been running whatever my friends in our running group run :)  We've completed two virtual half marathons since December and have kept our mileage up. 

Of the five of us, one is training for a half-ironman, so she certainly wants to stay above 12 miles each week so she can get used to running 13.1 after swimming and biking.  Another is training for a half in April and our coach put her on a plan that has her long runs alternating between 10 and 14 miles every Saturday from now until then.  The other three of us have no plans and just jump on the others :)

This winter has been really really mild in Michigan and we've barely gotten any snow.  I work at a school and I feel bad that our kids haven't gotten to sled at all yet - yes, we let them sled at school during recess :)  But on the flip side, it's been great for running outside. 

Well, the past three snows we've received have all been on Friday nights and early Saturday morning - making our runs snowy, sloshy and icy.  Not great conditions.  This week was no different.  It was cold (windchill 6 below zero when we started), the wind was crazy, and the sidewalks weren't cleared when we started.

But we all knew we were doing 14 miles; it has been on our minds all week when we told Liz we'd of course run them with her and we all kept chuggin' along.  I felt really hardcore when the more 'experienced' runners and much faster runners we're cutting their runs short and opting for 6 or 8 due to the weather and we stood to our/Liz's plan and finished the 14! 

It took us just over 2 1/2 hours, but we did it!  As cold as it was and as difficult as the footing was, we rocked it and felt FABULOUS at the end!  So much so, that we all went out to breakfast. 

There's something about knocking out a training run longer than a half marathon, even if it is only .9 miles longer, that makes you feel so damn good about yourself.  Mentally, this was a run all 5 of us needed.  These types of runs are far more for mental agility than physical in my book.  Rhoda, our soon-to-be-half-iron-woman, said it best when she noted, "You know you're a Warrior (our running group's nickname) when you run more miles than the degrees outside!"  And that's totally how we felt.

And it really got me thinking.  We knew all week we were going to run 14.  We mentally prepared.  We NEVER even considered cutting it short.  We just KNEW that is what we were doing.  And we rocked it.  I'm still so proud of it.  One year ago, this was completely unattainable and now look at us :)

Hmmmmm maybe I should run a spring marathon?  So I threw that idea out there at breakfast and got a few bites :)  We looked at a few - Charlevoix in June, but I'll be in Boston at a wedding; The Crim's new "Qualifier" that we got an email about on our phones JUST AS we had this discussion, but it's the same weekend as my school's Girls on the Run 5K and I want to be there to support my girls. 

BUT, this morning I saw the Borgess Run for the Health of It Kalamazoo Marathon is on May 6th!  If I were to run this race and use the training schedule I used for Detroit, I'd still be ahead of my long run mileage just starting to train now.  Hmmm, this totally could be possible.

Any other May/June races near SE MI I should be considering?  This could be real again :)  I've got the itch for number 2!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Super Bowl 5K PR Race Recap

So this past Sunday was the Super Bowl 5K and it was awesome!  A lot of the 501ers were there, including our coach who took lots of pics.  Hopefully she'll get those posted soon so I can share them.

The run was in Novi and since I hadn't been there before, I arrived really early and picked up my packet in the vacant storefront they rented.  It worked out really well and I ran right into a fellow 501er.  There were also plenty of Northville/Novi 501ers there as well, some of whom I met at the Big House Big Heart and then saw again in Detroit, so it was fun to catch up with everyone. 
I hadn't run a 5K since August (which I PR'd in 29:45) and I was really ready to get out there and kill it. I had planned on warming up a little bit jogging around the parking lot, but got to chatting with all the 501ers and all of a sudden it was time to line up.  Oh, well. 

There were quite a few people lining up - almost 2000 - and no real corrals, just a mess of people.  We ended up about half way in the line and ended up being behind a woman with crutches.  hmmm...

I knew it would be tough to bob and weave at the beginning and I know better than to go out too fast, but as soon as I crossed the timing mat, I was off.  I just felt so good!  We had a little 1/4 mile loop and then an out and back for the remainder of the course.  In the loop, I glanced at my garmin once and saw 8:xx.  I knew that was TOO fast for me, but I felt good and kept going. 

For the first time in a race setting, I really enjoyed the out and back part.  I watched the lead runner fly by and then looked out for other 501ers.  I cheered for everyone I saw and it was so much fun.  I saw another 8:xx and decided I shouldn't stop looking at my garmin.  I still felt great and out of no where, we were at the turnaround.  

I was then able to cheer for other 501ers behind me and before long I realized that it was almost time to finish.  There were a few rolling hills which I didn't remember on the way out, but still hung with on the way back.  Before long, we were coming back into the parking lot where the finish line was and I was getting tired.  I knew there wasn't much left and I wouldn't let myself look at my garmin until I crossed the finish line.  I didn't want to get in my own head about a possible PR.

So I actually managed to pick it up a bit and finish STRONG.  I hit the stop on my garmin and took a few steps before I looked down at it: 28:43!  PR by over a minute!  I just felt SO GOOD!!  When the official results were posted, I found that my time was actually 28:40!  I was so excited.  I've been putting a lot more 'oomph' into my training lately and it felt good to go out there and let loose. 

I had to leave right away to get to a baby shower, but I did manage to run into a guy we ran the Iron Turkey 15K with in November.  He was unmistakable with his mullet and barefoot shoes.  He, Amanda and I chatted about pizza and burritos during the last three miles of that race.  Fun to run into him again :)

Now, three days later, I'm still on the high.  And to think, I told my husband a few months ago that I wouldn't run any more 5Ks, cause why pay for a measly 3 miles?  Look how long this recap is!  Almost as long as my first marathon recap

So thanks for making it all the way through this story; I AM SO PROUD of my new PR and can't believe I averaged a 9:15 pace - I never thought I could do a 1/4 mile at that pace, let alone a 5K!!

Finishing Time: 28:40.9
Average Pace: 9:15
Overall: 921/1962
Age Group: 40/131

Monday, February 6, 2012

Finally, a new 5K PR!!

I raced the Super Bowl 5K in Novi yesterday morning and kick its butt!  New 5K PR: 28:40, over a minute faster than my last 5K PR in July!

I know speed is relative, but it's REALLY FAST for me.  9:15 average pace, heck yeah!  Full recap to come soon :)