Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Busy or lazy?

It's been well over a month since I've blogged and honestly, I'm not really sure why. I kept saying November was a crazy bust month, but now I don't really remember why I thought it was so busy.  I did run two races in November and finally posted race recaps for Race the Bar #4 and Turkey Trot 5k. I'm just a little Type A and felt I had to get those posts done first before I could just start blogging about current stuff. Weird, I know. Spoiler alert - I did accomplish a goal I've been trying to do for a long time (in both races actually).

Since I can't remember why November was so busy, maybe I was just being kind of lazy. After the half in October, I thought it would be nice to not have a running schedule. I was definitely looking forward to shorter runs. But then it started getting dark early and it was cold and the excuses to not run turned into valid reasons (at least in my mind). I kept telling myself, I didn't have a race to train for so why in the heck did I want to run in the dark and cold? My lazy self says, I don't.

So I guess my Type A side needs to have a running schedule or a goal race to train for. Perfect timing to start thinking about new goals for 2013 since it will be here soon! I've got some other exciting running and non-running news to share but I'll save that for later posts. Hopefully I can get back on track with running and blogging!

Turkey Trot 5k

This year our Turkey run came before Thanksgiving. The local Thanksgiving Day race is the Greensboro Gobbler 5k which we did last year and it was just okay. It’s good to do for fun, but it’s very crowded and the course is a hilly loop (not my favorite course) that you run twice. Instead this year we decided to do the Turkey Trot in Reidsville which was on November 10.

Pre-race with some of the WRS Royal Blue girls
Really Michael wanted to do this race once he heard they gave out actual trophies! It’s a small race and based on last year’s finish times (and the fact that he’s fast!) he had a pretty good shot at winning one. Actually based on last year’s finish times, I had a chance of placing in my age group and we all know I’m NOT fast! But last year’s results do not mean it will be the same this year.

I talked Ryan into signing up for the 1 mile fun run instead of the 5k. He wasn’t happy about it at first, but I knew that he hadn’t been running much and 3 miles would be much less enjoyable than just one mile. Plus it was his birthday weekend so I wanted him to be in a good mood (if that’s possible, he is officially a teenager now). My BIL and his crew came out to run and some of my running buddies from the Women’s Running School.

The 1 mile fun run was first and Ryan did great with a 7:30 mile! All the fun run participants (under age 15) received a medal which was cool. Even cooler was that they gave out trophies for the 1 mile run and Ryan won first place in his age group!

Ryan getting his trophy

Ryan and my nephew Britain who also won his age group for the 5k!
The finish times this year were nothing like last year. Michael finished sixth place overall even with a sub-20! He still won first place in his age group and got a cool trophy. Not quite the karate trophy first place overall male and female got…those things were huge! 

Michael and another trophy
I had a great run that day and set another 5k PR!!! My official chip was 29:07!! I was so happy to finish sub-30 again. So many times I have come close to my goal of finishing under 30 minutes and now I’ve done it twice! The last little bit was uphill and once I realized I was close to the finish line, I thought I might could even finish in under 29 minutes. I gave it all I had but there just wasn’t much left. My legs were seriously on fire!

Me at the end struggling
This year’s field was much faster than last year. I didn’t even come close to placing in my age group. My BIL didn’t place either and he usually does. It was still a good race and I’m very happy with my new PR. Ryan was sweet and said I could have his finishing medal since I did PR. Awwww… Maybe one day I will actually win a medal!

Race the Bar 5k #4

The final race in the Race the Bar series was a few weeks ago on Nov. 3rd. I debated about doing the this last race since I had dropped to 4th place for my age group in the overall championship after that horrible 3rd race. I wasn't that far behind in points and I thought there is always a chance, so I should at least give it a try.

It was another afternoon race and the weather was perfect. Instead of this race ending at a bar, it actually ended at a brewery. Pretty cool. Coming into the race, I thought I have to just go out there and give it my all. Run hard. Earlier that week I had decided to test it out and see how hard I could push myself. I always hear my husband and my BIL talk about pushing yourself to "puke stage". Well I know I've never felt like that at the end of a race and I don't think I really want to. But maybe this is how you are supposed to feel. I figured it would be best to try it out before a race, just in case I really did get to "puke stage".

So during a regular 3 mile run in my neighborhood, I pushed myself to run faster. I could definitely feel it was tougher. It was the first time I finished that course in under 30 minutes! I didn't puke (luckily) but my legs felt like they were on fire! I finally had hope that it was possible for me to run a sub-30 5k. After that run I knew I wanted to run this last Race the Bar 5k. Even if I didn't place in the overall series, I really wanted to see if I could run a sub-30 5k.


BIL with the photo bomb
 I felt great on race day. In fact, so great that I finally did it! I finished a 5k race in under 30 minutes! My official chip time was 29:23. And the course was legit...my Garmin had 3.11. YAY for me!! It was so great to finally accomplish this goal!

Adjusting my hat and my feet are actually in the air!

Right after finishing the race

Post race beer in the brewery
 I didn't place in the overall championship...I finished 4th in my age group. But I was so happy to finish under 30 minutes it really didn't matter. The medal or trophy at each race was a pint glass. For the overall championship in age groups, you got 4 bottles of beer each from the different breweries that sponsored each race. Don't get me wrong, I like beer, but personally I would much rather have a medal. I also think that if you did all 4 races in the series, you should have got something for that...at least a pint glass! Yes I'm complaining (since I didn't win anything).

Well I don't think I will do this series again next year, but I did accomplish two goals: Finish a 5k in under 30 minutes and I ran in all the races for the series. I'm happy with that. :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

USMCR Freedom 5k 2012

This past Saturday I ran in the USMCR Freedom 5k. The race is organized by my awesome running friend Kathy and her husband Sgt. Major Dan. It benefits the Hope for the Warriors which you can learn more about here. Even though I wasn’t running in the Marine Corps Marathon this weekend, I did get to run with several Marines!

Since I just finished my half-marathon on last week, I wasn’t looking to PR this race but just go out there and have fun. Plus, we got a sweet long sleeve dri-fit shirt! It was perfect running weather; cool, cloudy and a little misty at first. Several of the Off n’ Running Streakers were running, along with my hubby Michael, my BIL and his whole crew.

The route is, of course, hilly but what race route isn’t hilly around here? It’s not really too bad and definitely not as bad as the Race the Bar #3 route (officially my worst 5k ever!). I did this race last year too so all I was hoping to do was improve my finish time and I did! Chip time was 30:39 and last year it was 31:22. I have been very consistent this year with 5k finish times under 31 minutes but not under 30 minutes. 45 seconds doesn’t sound like much but that’s what I need to see a "29" in a 5k. No matter how I run, negative split or going out too fast, I still finish around the same time. Maybe I just need to push myself a little harder when racing.

Anyways, just about all of the Streakers (but not me) won an award for their age group! I actually came in fourth place, but third place finished well over a minute before me so there wasn’t really a chance. Michael finished fourth overall and first in his age group; my BIL placed third in his age group and my nephew placed second in his age group! Congrats to everybody for an awesome race!

Go Streakers!!

Another award for Michael, yay!
Somehow, I didn’t get one picture of me! I’m such a bad blogger. Funny because I kept taking pictures for everybody else. I must look like a nice person (or a professional photographer) since random people would give me their iPhones to take pictures for them. Yes, I still want an iPhone since apparently it’s the only way to take pictures (as I pull out my real camera that needs a new battery every 10 minutes). It always seems that I don’t get in any pictures when Michael and I are in the same race. I guess he’s too busy to worry about my photo needs!

Update: I found a few pictures of me taken by the race photographer. Yay!

Me (in red) with my nephew

At the end...we love uphill finishes!
I’ve decided to do the final Race the Bar 5k this Saturday. After the disaster in the third race, I dropped to fourth place in the overall championship standings. I wasn’t sure how I would feel after the half and I didn’t know if I really wanted to do it. But since I physically feel fine, I thought I should take a chance and do it. I’m not sure if I will do well enough to move up in the standings but I know there would be no chance of that happening if I didn’t even try. Maybe I could get lucky and nobody in my age group shows up, ha! I know that won’t happen.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hershey Half Marathon

WARNING: This is a long post (my first half was kinda a big deal to me ;)

My first half-marathon is DONE!! I still can’t believe I did it. Not that I can’t believe the weeks and weeks of training paid off, I just can’t believe it was a goal to even consider running a half-marathon! I NEVER would have imagined this when I first attempted to start running 3 years ago.

We (me, hubby Michael, son Ryan) left Friday afternoon to drive up to York, PA were my buddy Jeff lives who is also running with me (his first half too). Although not looking forward to a 7 hour drive, I had been excited about the race all week. I wore a pair of compression calf sleeves to help my legs for the long ride. I also had several Running World magazines to keep me busy. We ate lunch before leaving so we only made one quick stop for a bathroom break and refreshment…fro-yo!

Sweet Frog fro-yo is my fave!
We got to York around 8:30 or so and were ready for dinner. Jeff’s parents stopped by and we all went out to eat. Time to start carb loading. I had a yummy cheeseburger and fries, nothing like American classics! We chatted for a while at the restaurant and some more at Jeff’s house before calling it a night.

Saturday morning I had an easy 2-3 miles on the schedule. I wanted to get that out of the way before heading into Hershey for packet pick-up. After a banana for a quick breakfast, I went out and ran 2.5 miles. I actually didn’t go at the easy pace like I thought I would. Probably because Jeff took off like it was 5k race day! I kept my pace around 10:30 but it should have been around 11:30. The run was just supposed to keep my legs moving anyways. After everybody got ready we headed up to Hershey.

The race expo wasn’t super big. They had about 40 vendors and quite a few of them were local vendors. I was still excited since this was my first race expo! The bag was a nice reusable bag and had 2 tickets to Hersheypark After Dark, a piece of chocolate, pen, noise maker, and the race t-shirt. The main thing I wanted to get at the expo was the 13.1 magnet that has a Hershey Kiss where the "dot" is. But I also ended up buying these BondiBands. I’ll have to post a review on these after I have a chance to test them out.

Yes, it looks like I have a drinking problem, but these were funny to me!
After the expo we headed to the Under Armor outlet where Jeff’s girlfriend Laura works (we picked her up before the expo). The prices were somewhat less expensive in the outlet but with Laura’s additional discount, the prices were really good. But I didn’t find anything I really needed at the time. Next stop was lunch at Houlihan’s. It was very good. I got a grilled chicken sandwich with mashed potatoes (sounds odd but I wasn’t in the mood for fries again). The mashed potatoes were actually really good!

The day was flying by so when we got back to York, we decided to just make spaghetti at Jeff’s house instead of going back out to eat. We thought it would be best to just chill out and get some rest since race start was at 7:30am! Remember when I said the race sold out before we could get my hubby Michael registered? Well, all week he had been looking online at craigslist for race bibs. There were actually some out there but we never contacted the sellers. Thinking we may find one when we got here, Michael packed his running stuff just in case. He must have got a little excited after the race expo because all afternoon he kept trying to find a bib for sell online. Finally Saturday evening we found one and that meant he would be running his first half-marathon too! Who decides to run a half 12 hours before race start?!? Not me.

After dinner, I got my running stuff together and tried to relax but I was too anxious. I knew it was going to be tough to sleep especially since I had to wake up at 4:30am. I got some sleep but woke up around 3:45 and just stayed awake. I got ready and went to eat breakfast. A slice of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and a banana seems to be the best pre-race fuel for me. It was cold and dark but we were on our way to Hershey. First we had to meet the people selling Michael the race bib. I’m sure we looked odd at 6am in a Wal-Mart parking lot doing a "race bib deal" but it was all good. The race organizers don’t transfer bibs but if someone gives you their bib it’s okay but you have to race under their name. So Michael’s name for the race was Tara Jo or TJ as we like to call him. He’s also a 30 year old female!

We got to the race site a little early and I’m so glad because we got a good parking spot and there were no long lines for the bathroom! It was still cold and dark. I planned on wearing a short sleeve shirt since the temps were supposed to be 50 degrees and sunny, but it was around 42 degrees at 7am and I was cold. We all decided to put long sleeves on over and we could just take them off if we got hot. I’m glad I packed extra "everything" just in case!

Pre-race me and Michael (aka TJ)

Jeff pre-race stretching

Me and Pat (Jeff's mom) she looks so warm!
We went to start lining up at our corrals and I felt like I wanted to make one more bathroom stop but the lines were crazy long! Like so long, there was no way that people were going to make it through before race start. Good thing I already went. I thought I would line up at the 10 minute mile pace even though I expected to be closer to 11 minute miles. But for some reason we all decided to line up together at the 9 minute mile pace. We weren’t going to run together since we were all different paces (them being much faster than me) but I think it helped being at the start together. Michael was thinking he would just run with me (maybe since his name wasn’t actually on record for this race, hmmm) but I told him that was crazy. He needed to run his own race I would be fine. Five seconds later, he was gone.

I guess nobody really lines up were they are supposed to because once we started, people were passing each other like crazy. Even I was passing people. They were even race walkers in front of me. I knew I was going to fast that first mile but I felt great. Coach Jen’s plan was to break the race up into thirds. Run the first 4 miles at a nice easy pace, next 5 miles more at a tempo run, and then the last 4 miles you run with all that you got, strider the last .10 (a strider is like a sprint). I tried to slow down but I couldn’t do it. My first mile was 10:01.

Right after we started the sun was out in full force! I wasn’t even done with the first mile before I got hot and took off my long sleeve shirt. I thought about tossing it (many other people we doing that) but decided to just tie it around my waist. If it bothered me too much I could toss it later. The first 2 miles were around Hershey Park and the stadium. The third mile was actually through some of the park which was kind of cool, although a bit crowded. You really had to pay attention or you could run into a park bench or tree or even a ride!

Once we made our way through the park the course went through downtown and into residential streets. It was so great to see all the crowd support. Lots of people were holding up signs and there was plenty of cow bell! One of my favorite signs was "Worst Parade Ever"! The miles were just going by and I was still feeling good. Although I did slow my pace down. I kept noticing that the mile markers were about .20 miles off from my Garmin. I factored that in when it was time to refuel at the halfway point. I ate 3 chews when my watch said mile 6 and by the time I was done, I was at the aid station for water.

Mile 7 was a little tough for me. The course was hillier than I thought it would be and I was starting to wear down a bit. I guess the chews hadn’t kicked in yet. Trying not to let negative thoughts into my head, I focused on the crowd and their cheers started to help. Then, one of my favorite songs ever came on my iPod, "These Days" by the Foo Fighters. All that helped me to refocus and pick up my pace. I wanted to enjoy the race and tried to take in all my surroundings. I loved the crowd support! Several spots had kids cheering us on and they would have their hand out so you could slap it as you ran by. There were a few country scenic areas that were so pretty with the fall leaves and bright sun.

When I got to mile 11 it really hit me that I was really going to finish and I started to get a little emotional. I was wondering if I would cry tears of joy when I crossed the finish line. Would people think I was crazy if I did? I was wondering about Michael and Jeff and how they finished. I decided to see if I could pick up the pace and started to think about a goal finish time. Finishing was all that really mattered but of course I still had an ideal finish time. Originally it was 2:15 but during the training I realized that probably wasn’t going to happen. Now at mile 11 I thought I may be able to do 2:20.

At mile 12 I looked up and saw a familiar shirt. It was Jeff. Something must have happened because he should have finished at least 15 minutes ago. I ran up beside him and asked him if he was ok. His foot had started hurting really bad around mile 7 and he had to run/walk ever since. I felt so bad that happened to him. We ran together for a little bit and then we got to another hill around the 12.5 mile mark and he needed to walk. I ran on because I was ready to get to the finish line and I thought I could make my 2:20 goal time.
I saw the stadium and there was one last killer hill. I thought we would be entering after that hill. No keep running down and around into the stadium. I was still expecting to see the finish line but didn’t. I heard a voice calling my name that sounded familiar. I looked up and saw Michael, Ryan and Pat (Jeff’s mom) cheering me on. Finally I saw the finish line. I threw my arms up as I crossed in excitement! I got my medal and started walking towards the recovery area. I got a bag with snacks, a foil thing to wrap up in, and water. I was feeling a little disoriented and my legs felt like jello. Michael found me and gave me a big hug and said how proud he was of me…awwww. Jeff finished right after me and once we got everybody together we headed to the field to recover.

Heading to the finish line
We ate some snacks, stretched for a bit and took a few pictures. I didn’t get a picture at the "official wall" and I wished I had. Michael said it was over there but I didn’t realize what he was talking about until we were gone. We stopped at a diner for some much needed blueberry pancakes, bacon and chocolate milk! Yeah, I was expecting chocolate milk at the finish but there was only water. Come on Hershey! After showering and resting for a few hours, we headed back out for more food and HersheyPark After Dark. Although we really didn’t feel like walking around an amusement park, this was the ONE thing we promised Ryan. It actually wasn’t so bad thanks to my compression socks! We rode a few roller coasters and walked around long enough to satisfy Ryan and called it a night. What a weekend!

Everybody with their medals!

Ryan still rocked the UNC sweatshirt even after their lost to Duke and in Penn St. country!
It feels so amazing to have completed my first half-marathon! My official chip time was 2:22. My Garmin actually had 13.33 miles, what?! Guess I didn’t efficiently run the tangents. I’m very happy with my time. I know I’m not fast. My two goals were to FINISH the race and to run the whole time. And I did both! I did take water at all the aid stations and slowed down to a walk for those but that was only for about 10 seconds so they don’t count! I had an ideal finish time and I came close to that. I am a little disappointed in the medal…a Reese’s cup? Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Reese’s cup. But I was expecting a Hershey Kiss since that’s what I saw online. I guess that was last year’s medal…how dumb of me not to think they would change it!

We left PA Monday morning and on the ride home I was already thinking about which half-marathon is next! Maybe one at the beach on a nice flat course, that sounds nice!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Women's Only 5k

After 10 weeks of running dedication, it was finally time for the Women’s Only 5k and the WRS ladies to shine! The Saturday morning of the race was beautiful weather. It was sunny and cool; we were thankful those hot and sweaty days of summer were gone! For me, this race was two weeks after the horrible Race the Bar 5k and I really didn’t have any time expectations. I was just glad to finally be able to participate in this race (first attempt – injured; second attempt – injured I was able to volunteer; third attempt – not injured but had to work). I was of course hoping for a much better race than the last one, but the main excitement was to see all the ladies I help coach cross the finish line!

The race start was at 9:30 but the Running Club (GRC) wanted us there at 8:00 for pictures. I was being a single parent that weekend as my hubby was out of town working a triathlon race in VA. I figured my son didn’t want to hang out around 3,000 plus women for several hours so we both got up early and I dropped him off at my parents’ house before heading over to the race site. It took a while to get everyone together and get pictures. By the time we were done, it was already 9:00. Time to find a bathroom before race start! As expected, they were all crowded. After that long line, it was time to line up for the race.

I saw most of my group lining up and wished them luck. I found some of my running buddies and lined up with them. Janet was there, yay! In the Kirkwood 5k this year, Janet was a great pacing partner for me. She’s faster than me so I just focus on keeping her in sight. That was my plan for this race too. One thing I didn’t realize until minutes before the race start was that it was a gun start. The race was chip timed but you didn’t go through the start/finish line or cross over the mat at the start of the race; only when you finished. Does that make sense? This was my biggest race (number of participants) so far, so maybe a lot of the big races are like that. Unless you are at the very front, your finish time is going to be off. I’m not sure I like that, but in the end my chip time and my Garmin time was only a few seconds off.

The first half mile was very crowded until it started to break up. I felt good. I even passed quite a few runners (maybe I should have started closer to the front, ha!). I kept Janet in sight and at some times, we were actually running together. The course was out and back. As I approached mile two, the leaders were coming back on the opposite side of the road. I cheered on a couple of fellow GRC members. Man to be that fast! Since I didn’t want to put pressure on myself for a specific time goal, I only looked at my Garmin after each mile. The first mile was 9:50.

On the second mile, I still felt good. Just like every race around here, it was hilly. On my way up the hills it was my turn to see all the runners and walkers on the other side of the road. I cheered on all my ladies and many other friends as we passed. I approached the top of the hill, all I could see where hundreds and hundreds of women in their pink and purple shirts (this year’s race shirts were purple hmmm…) carrying signs and cheering everybody on. It was truly a sight! It felt great to run downhill. Especially because the worst hill was not far away. Mile two was 9:33.

Janet and I were actually still together as we approached that monster hill. I looked at my Garmin and for a moment, I thought I may have a chance to PR. I focused on getting up that hill without having to walk and somehow, I did it. I kept telling myself, just concentrate on the effort not the pace. Janet had passed me going up the hill but I could still see her ahead. Mile three was 9:30. I really started to think I could actually PR. But what I didn’t realize was that the worst part of this course was about to come. It finishes on a gradual uphill. Not steep like that monster hill, but the last quarter mile of this race was just plain bad!

People were cheering us on and one lady said "you’re almost there". Well, I looked up and still couldn’t see the finish line. I thought I was almost there! My legs were tired. I wanted the excitement to take over so I could sprint it in, but it didn’t. Once I finally saw the finish line I picked it up a little bit, but I already knew this would not be the day for a PR. My chip time was 30:37. My Garmin time was 30:33 and 3.15 miles. But that’s not really a big deal (who’s OCD?). Janet finished just ahead of me.

Overall, I was very happy with my time. Besides that last quarter mile, I really enjoyed this race. I grabbed some water and saw Heather (she crushed it in less than 29 minutes!) and we cheered on all the WRS ladies as they crossed the finish line. We spotted some royal blue visors coming across and it was Shelly and Amy! They finished their first 5k just under 39 minutes!!! I was so excited for their awesome time; I had to fight back tears of joy! I was so happy and proud of all the ladies in our group – not at all for what I had done coaching – but proud of how far each of them had come since that first day. All of us runners had to start somewhere and we all had the very first day of running. I remember it seemed like I was going to die after just 2 minutes of running! One by one all the royal blue ladies crossed the finish line. There were cheers, high fives, hugs and congratulations. For me, this was the best part of the day and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to coach and I already hope to do it next year.

WRS 2012 Royal Blue

Race the Bar 5k #3

Going into this race I knew it was going to be a tough course. Like most races around here, it was hilly. But not just hilly, major hilly with a variety of long gradual up hills and long steep hills. No just nice and short hills and you’re done on this course. To top it off, temperatures at 3pm were around 85. Yeah, all those nice days of low 70’s disappeared for Saturday (the race was on Sept. 22 - late posting).

The first time I've raced in shorts!
If you can’t tell by the first paragraph, I didn’t have such a great race. I didn’t want to stress out about the race and the series standings, so all week I just kept thinking…"no big deal, just go out there and run. I should finish around my same 5k time and I’ll be fine". So I didn’t get super excited about the race trying to keep this "no big deal" attitude.

I did a one mile warm up at a nice easy pace about 15 minutes before the race start and felt good. I was already sweating after that but I figured after running in this brutal heat all summer, 3 more miles wasn’t going to kill me. The first mile was the only downhill part and I knew not to go out too fast. The start was crowded and I actually had to pass several people to get going on my pace. I hit the first long gradual up hill. This should be ok – I’ve ran this hill before in the Beer Run. It was hot. The sun was out without a cloud in the sky. And the course had hardly any shade.

Mile one 9:50. Not too bad. Only two more miles to go. But then, I just fell apart. Once I passed the one mile marker sign, I was done. Not physically done, but mentally. All of a sudden I thought, I don’t want to be here; I don’t want to do this; I’m hot; I don’t feel like running any more. Then I started walking. Seriously?!? I know I can run 3 miles without walking, what the heck is wrong with me?

The next two miles were horrible. The mental game kept going in my head. I just wanted this race to be over. I kept taking walk breaks, especially up the hills. Every time I glanced at my watch I knew my finish time was going to be bad. I talked myself out of caring about the series standings. I was disappointed in myself but I just wanted this race to be over.

Finally it was over. I didn’t even sprint to the finish line. I just wanted to cross it and be done. My chip time was 33:39. That looks like a 5k finish time from last year. I’ve improved since then. Recently, my finish times have been under 31 minutes (but still not under 30 minutes). Two minutes is a lot for me. I guess I shouldn’t have done all that walking.

It did make me feel better to hear the elite runners say it was a tough course. My hubby Michael was about a minute and half off (although he finished fourth overall and first in his age group). My BIL was two minutes off and finished second in his age group. Yeah, I finished like thirteen out of twenty-five…no trophy glass for me!

BIL and hubby (in white) pre-race
Of course to be expected, I’m no longer in third place series standings…I’m in fourth. Great. Now to decide if I want to race in the last race and hope for a better time to possibly come in third place (I’m sure I wouldn’t place higher) or do I just forget about it and not race at all. I would hate to race and do well but still finish fourth. It’s not something that I really had my heart sat on. Once I realized it was possible for me to actually win something, that sounded pretty good. I’m never going to be fast enough to place in my age group or overall; unless it was a super small race and I was the only one in my age group!

The last race will be after my half-marathon and another 5k, so I think I’ll just see how I’m feeling and make a decision a few days before the race. Either way, it’s not the end of the world. It’s just a race and there are plenty more out there!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

10 miles

Hello ARG readers! I’m still trying to catch up on blogging to current dates (my last post I just posted happened 3 weeks ago). So I’m going to make this post a recap of the past few weeks and it will help me not feel so far behind!

WRS coaching update: The Royal Blue group (or Royal Pains as we named it) is still doing fantastic! Only 3 more official class group runs and then it’s time for the big dance…Women’s Only 5k on October 6. For the next 2 runs, their run intervals increase to 10 minutes with 2 minutes of walking times 3 sets. This will be their biggest yet but I know they can do it! We’ve been running in some challenging hilly areas since the race has a few hills in it (like every race around here). They are learning to embrace the hills (me too) since we know they make us stronger runners!

Half-marathon training update: I have a new personal distance…10 miles!!! Yay, finally double digits! I met some of the girls to run on a different greenway a couple of Sunday’s ago. This greenway is actually on my side of town so I was excited to try it out. I’ve been there before and walked it with the boys but I haven’t run on it. We met in the morning around 8:30 and I was hoping my tummy would cooperate better with me this time. From our starting point, I did 3 miles out and back. The beginning of the greenway out of the park was kind of slanted. This was the only part I didn’t like. But once you got a little ways out, the path leveled out. It was nice and shady and had a couple of water streams. It’s good to have different scenery to look at.

It happened to be a weekend Michael was working a triathlon out of town, so Ryan went with me and rode his bike. After I ran 6 miles and he biked 6 miles, he was ready to go. Seasonal allergies started back up for him that week and he wasn’t feeling great. I really wanted to stay and finish out 4 more miles, but sometimes you gotta what you gotta do. I figured I could just run 4 miles around my neighborhood when we got back home. So my question is does it still count as a 10 mile run even though I got a 45 minute break after mile 6? Well I kept my Garmin going as if it was one continuous run just to see those double digits! I will say it was nice to have a bathroom break and chance to refuel and hydrate. If only I could get that kind of break during the half, but of course, it doesn’t count against my time…I could deal with that!

I also got in some speed work doing mile repeats. Coach Jen set my pace time for 9:45 and I thought there is no way I can do that. But I was very excited with my splits: 9:33, 9:50, 9:40. Yeah I rocked those mile repeats! The weather here has been perfect for running. It’s been much cooler and dry, love less humidity! You can really tell fall is just around the corner.

This Saturday I’ve got the third race in the Race the Bar series. Here are my posts from the first and second race. I’m doing the 5k again and I think I’m supposed to somehow run like 12 miles that day too (ugh). We checked the course out the other day at lunch and of course, hilly! Some of the course is the same as the Beer Run which had some major hills. I’m calling it, the Mini Beer Run since its 3.1 miles instead of 5.2 miles. I don’t have hopes of finishing sub 30 minutes on this course. My goal is to finish with a decent time and hopefully continue to secure my spot in third place overall until the next race (yes third place, I don’t aim high). It’s only by default of actually doing all four races since I’m obviously not fast. If I fall out of placing, I probably won’t do the next one. There is actually another race that day that sounds much more fun…Greensboro Zombie Run!

Monday, September 17, 2012

9 miles

So much for blogging every week…

I finally posted the race recap from the Kirkwood 5k that was 3 weeks ago. Since I forgot to take pictures I was waiting to see if the professional photographer would have some up on their website, but I haven’t seen them yet. The camera I have is a Kodak that’s an older model but it takes good pictures. It’s kind of cumbersome to load them up to the PC and all. My cell phone has a camera that’s decent but I’m sure it’s not the greatest. I would love an iPhone (since it’s supposed to be the greatest thing in the world) but I also like my smart phone that only costs $26 bucks a month (thanks Virgin Mobile!). Maybe Santa will bring me an iPhone for Christmas. Not the fake Santa at the mall, but the real one that lives in the North Pole. ;)

WRS coaching update: We are halfway through the school! My group is pretty amazing and all of them are doing a fantastic job! Each week their run interval increases and even though they dread it, they go out there and just do it! As I said before, it’s so exciting to see how quickly their running has progressed. Only 3 weeks now until the Women’s Only 5k and for some of them their first 5k. I have no doubt they will all be ready. I have really enjoyed coaching (or just being a cheerleader!) and I already hope I can do it again next year!

Half-marathon training update: I am also over halfway through this half training. I can’t believe the race is only 5 weeks away!! The week after the Kirkwood 5k, my runs were not so great. I think it was because of running hard for the race. And it didn’t help that it became hot and humid here in NC again. The first crappy run was a 6 mile trail run. I’m not a big fan of trails. This one actually wasn’t so bad as far as roots go. I just didn’t feel like running 6 miles that day and that was already in my head before I started. But I did it and hated almost every minute of it. My legs were sore and felt heavy; I was slow, hot, and getting bit by mosquitoes. There were several times I thought about just quitting and walking back to my car. But I stuck it out and finished the run.

The next crappy run was a tempo run. It wasn’t nearly as bad as the previous trail run. I say it was crappy because my coach set my tempo pace at 10:30 and I just couldn’t get to that pace (much less maintain it for 4 miles). Instead I averaged 10:45 pace. Again I still had the same excuses as the trail run (hot, humid, tired, sore, blah, blah, blah). My coach Jen was very encouraging that I did great job. The 10:30 pace was meant to push me. And all my excuses were valid, lol!

My long run two weekends ago was scheduled for 10 miles. I was so nervous about this run. My longest run before this was 7 miles. I was supposed to get 8 miles in on the Kirkwood 5k, but only got 7.5 miles and had a break in between them (before & after race). Several of us girls met on Sunday at 7:15am (crazy, I know!). Since my half is before most others, I was the only one with 10 miles on their schedule. The other girl’s distances varied from 4-8 miles. I figured I would run 8 miles with whoever was left and then finish out 2 on my own. And I planned to run slow (yes even slower than normal for all you speedsters). The first few miles were fine. I enjoyed chatting with some of the girls. The route was through a neighborhood that was kind of hilly (like most places around here). At mile 5 I decided to stop for a minute to use my Apple Cinnamon Hammer Gel. I have never been able to eat an entire packet of gel like you are supposed to. I only use about a quarter of it. I keep experimenting with different flavors but I just don’t really like them. I’m sure the quarter packet of gel is not doing much of anything for me but it's a mental thing I guess.

Anyways, after that I started back running and after another hill, I decided to ditch the neighborhood route and just finish my run out on the greenway where it’s mostly flat. During this whole time my stomach had been bothering me. I thought maybe a restroom break would help so I headed into the Harris Teeter. Feeling better I started my run on the greenway. The portion I was running was about 3 miles out and back so I knew I would have to get an extra mile going out and back again. But around 8.5 miles, my stomach really starting hurting. To the point that I had to walk a bit. I decided to get to 9 miles and call it a day. So 9 miles ended right at Harris Teeter and another pit stop at their restroom. I’m sure I looked crazy to keep going into the grocery store to use the restroom! Hey, I love me some HT and I spend tons of money there every week, so yeah that’s partially my bathroom anyways. Well, not this specific store as I was on the other side of town.

9 miles!!! Officially my longest run to date. If my stomach would not have been bothering me, I feel like I could have gone one more mile. I really wanted to see double digits, but it just wasn’t going to happen. I don’t think my tummy likes running that early. The bad thing is, I probably need to keep these long runs early to get ready for the 7:30am half start time. And this just adds to my list of "why I’m not a morning runner".

Monday, September 10, 2012

Kirkwood 5k 2012

This was my third year running in the Kirkwood 5k. It’s a nice race that benefits a local charity called BackPack Beginnings. Their mission is to provide food and comfort to underprivileged children in Guilford County. They have two programs: one provides a backpack of food on weekends and the other provides a backpack of comfort items. Races are fun but it’s cool when you are supporting a good cause too.

This race is kind of special to me since it was my very first 5k in 2010 and actually it was also my second 5k ever in 2011. I’ve come a long way in terms of my running and overall fitness level since 2010. Even though I’m not some awesome athlete by any means, sometimes I can’t believe I am actually out there running and doing races. I NEVER would have imagined that a couple of years ago. Just goes to show that goals can be accomplished even with baby steps.

So my half training plan for race day had me doing a 2 mile warm up, 5k race, 3 mile cool down. I thought there is no way I could do that. I have never tried to run before a race (worried what little I had would be gone by race start) and certainly have never wanted to run after a race. But the training is all about getting the miles in. I was thinking about doing the race on Saturday and then running my 8 miles really slow on Sunday. I asked coach Jen her opinion and she preferred I didn’t run on both days. And since she’s the coach and knows what she is doing, I figured it was best to stick with the plan.

A few other Streakers were doing the race so we decided to meet up for the warm up run. None of us had done this before and we were all a little worried that it might hinder our race performance. We decided to go slow and ended up getting about 1.5 miles in. We were shooting for 2 miles but it was getting closer to race start and we also needed to make our way to the porta potty line. After the warm up run, I felt pretty good. My muscles felt loose and my heart rate was up a little. Maybe this warm up running isn’t such a bad idea!

Going into the race I didn’t have expectations of a PR but I did hope to improve my time from last year. I also wanted to see if I could run the race at a negative split since I still haven’t learned how to pace myself yet. I usually start out too fast and by the end of the race I don’t have much left (or anything left). There was a small gleam of hope that I could finish sub-30, but it wasn’t my focus since I know I’ve been slower with the half training. Well I did meet both my goals of a course PR and running a negative split. My official gun time was 30:31. Still not sub-30 but that’s okay. I did set a course PR. My previous times were: 41:21 and 33:54, 2010 and 2011. So I’m happy with that. My splits were: 10:02, 9:55, 9:41, 8:09.

Let me tell you, I was sprinting at the end! I knew it would be close so I just had to give it all I had. My friend Janet was ahead of me the whole race and once I heard them call her name with a finish time of 29:50, I knew it wasn’t going to happen but I still kept running as fast as I could! Even though I was able to run a negative split, I’m not going to get to my sub-30 goal by running 10 minute miles. Somehow I’ve got to get faster. I just don’t know how these fast runners do it. My legs just won’t move that fast! Maybe after the half training I can try some more speed work (hopefully no injuries this time).

Everybody I knew in the race did great! My hubby finished fifth overall with a sub-20 but not the time he was shooting for. He was surprised to receive an age group award since we thought it was only overall awards. First place male 30-39 and it was a medal! My son ran the race with only 1 1/2 weeks of training. Not his best time but I’m proud that he did it. He’s not really a fan of running for some reason. My BIL set a PR. Scott, Janet, Melissa and Mollie all did great too. They also had a nice goodie bag (t-shirt, reusable bag, pen, koozie, coupons, sunglasses wipe cleaner). First race in a while that actually gave out goodie bags.

I almost forgot…after the race we still had to run 3 miles!! That was the hardest part of the day. We decided to run to the greenway which was close by since it was flat, 1.5 miles out and back. I started running (very slow) and it felt like my legs were made of lead! They just did not want to go. Janet said she was feeling the same. But we kept going. It was slow, but I got 3 more miles in while my family was eating all the cupcakes and getting awards! Oh yeah, they also had a nice spread of food even though all I got was an orange. I got to hear how great the strawberry cupcakes were – next time, can’t you save a girl one?!?

I was a bad blogger and didn’t take ANY pictures!! I was so worried about running before and after the race, I just didn’t even think about it. It didn’t help that my whole family was running in the race too. There was a professional photographer there so maybe there’s picture somewhere of at least one of us! WAIT...here is one of Michael and his medal! Typical being silly, HA!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sold Out

There has been lots of running going on around here! So much so, I can’t even find time to post once a week! I’m on week four of coaching (assistant coaching) the Royal Blue team in the Women’s Running School. They are doing an AWESOME job! Last week they ALL ran on their run interval every time! They even scored extra points for running more at the end of the intervals. I think it’s so exciting when they see how they progress each week and realize that they can do this. I remember being there not too long ago myself. Even though I don’t know much about running, I hope my support and motivation is helping them in some way.

I myself have been progressing as I am on week 5 of half-marathon training. The runs are getting longer each week and my body is definitely more tired afterwards. I know it’s all part of the process and eventually my muscles will get used to the longer distance. At least I need them to make it for the next two months and this one race! Since this is my first half, I don’t know if I will love it or hate it. There is an appeal to the half because of cool destination races and medals. In my mind there are other half’s I want to do (Rock n’ Roll series, Disney Princess, lot’s more) but I have to slow myself down because I may not even like this distance!

I was starting to wig out a bit last week about the half. Questions filled my head like do I need to wear a belt? Take gels? Carry a water bottle? What will the weather be like? What will I wear?!? I went on the Hershey Half website and read every detail about the race. I don’t want to be a head case and stress out about the race when it’s two months away. I want to enjoy this experience. So I put those questions out of my mind for now. I know I will figure that stuff out as the training goes on and I will get advice from my coach and running friends.

This past weekend we went online to register my hubby for the Hershey half and bad news, they are sold out!! I felt so bad because it was my fault since I kept forgetting to get him registered. He wasn’t sure he wanted to do it at first so I only registered. He was disappointed but got over it pretty quick. He was mainly looking forward to the cool Hershey Kiss medal! I even emailed them to ask about a wait list or bib transfers, but they don’t do any of that. Hey it never hurts to ask. He is still training and plans to do another half probably in town. Making two destination races in the fall is just not in the budget. So if there’s a race you really want to do and it typically sells out, register early!! Lesson learned.

I’ve got a 5k this Saturday and I’m supposed to do 8 miles. The plan has the 8 miles incorporated with the 5k (2 miles before & 3 miles after) but I’m not sure if I will do that yet (or can do that!). I may just do the 5k on Saturday and do 8 really easy miles on Sunday. My running buds are going to a new place on Sunday to run and I would like to check it out. I don’t have high hopes about having a PR for the 5k since my pace has been slower after the ankle injury. But it’s all good. I haven’t done a race since May so I’m just ready to get out there and have some fun!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Royal Blue

It’s been over two weeks since my last post even though I said I wanted to get back to blogging once a week. For some reason the past two weeks have been busy! I am on my third week of half marathon training and running is going great! Well, as great as it can be in for a NC hot and humid summer!

Some mentionable runs: one 3 mile easy run was cut short to 2 miles because it was so dang hot! I went out to do a 4 mile run on a Sunday evening around 7pm, not really feeling it. I figured I would do a mile or 2 and call it quits. But I ended up doing the full 4 miles! I was inspired by a three generation group of ladies (at least I assumed it was) running and so I just kept going! As we crossed paths the second time I yelled out "Woo-hoo! Great job ladies!" They seemed to appreciate it and hopefully didn’t think I was just crazy or delirious from the heat. Last Saturday I met a running buddy for a 5 mile run at 9am in a different area I’ve only ran a few times. It was SO HUMID. As soon as I got out of the car, my cell phone and water bottle were sweating! The route itself was nice; pretty flat and mostly shaded. We did the 5 miles but took a few walk breaks and stopped once to refill our water bottles. If my running buddy would not have been waiting for me, I would have walked right back in the house and chilled in the A/C. Monday was kind of a crazy and stressful day at work and I could not wait to get home and RUN. It was a 4 mile run through my neighborhood trails with just me and my iPod. And it was exactly what I needed.

Sometimes we just don’t feel like running or working out. Maybe we are too tired or busy or just plain don’t want to do it. But almost always (almost), we get out there anyways and you start feeling better and then just kept going. You know when you’re done, you will feel so much better than if you hadn’t ran or worked out at all. Sometimes you need to do it to clear your mind and de-stress. Even on my 4 mile run that I needed the other day, the third mile was tough (hilly) and I had already pushed my pace the first 2 miles faster than usual. So I slowed it down and had a walk break. It didn’t matter. I already felt a thousand times better. Love those endorphins!!!

The first run of WRS was last Thursday and Royal Blue is our team color! We have about 17 wonderful ladies in our group. If you remember, I am volunteering as an assistant coach this year (my first time coaching anything). Our head coach, Heather, was awesome! I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing (which is probably 85% true) so I just tried to keep the motivation going. They all did great! It’s a run/walk program that progresses over 10 weeks with the goal being the Women’s Only 5k. For most of the group, it is their first time running and their first 5k race. It’s so exciting!

The Streakers to the Quad group officially starts this Thursday, but I will miss it. Actually I will miss the first two months on Thursday’s because it conflicts with WRS. But that’s okay (my choice). We also meet on Monday’s so I will make those nights and after WRS is over in early October I can go on Thursday’s.
I have a 7 mile run scheduled this weekend, yikes! No more 3 mile runs on my schedule. They are all 4 miles or more. Time to start getting some mileage in or I may not make my 500 miles by the end of the year goal! Speaking of that goal, my June mileage was really sad. I’m not even going to tell you (well I put it in the sidebar gadget). But I basically took the entire month off because of my ankle. July mileage picked up for a total of 26.65 miles. So if I do the math, I have a total of 232.38 miles for the past 7 months and that leaves 267.62 miles to go. Hmmm…we’ll see.

One last thing…Body Glide. I’m probably the last runner to try this wonderful product, but heck yes it works. I’ve never had a problem with chafing (TMI?) since I usually wear capris instead of shorts. But because of this heat, I decided to give shorts a try recently and noticed some irritation afterwards. So I hit up ONR for some help and left with this magical product. It also says it helps with hot spots on your feet so I put some on there too. Again, it works!!

Here are some running goodies I got for my birthday earlier this week.

I also got a gift card to a local running store :)

No birthday would be complete without a cake. This was Strawberry. YUM.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Back to Running

Hi all! I’m getting bad about not blogging regularly. My goal back in January was to blog at least once a week. I was doing pretty well until my ankle issue forced me to run less, so I didn’t have much running to talk about. Although I read blogs where people update daily, some even twice a day! Well my life’s not that exciting but I’m going to try to blog at least once a week.

Since my last post, I did manage to get in a few easy 3 mile runs and my ankle didn’t bother me much at all! YAY! I think it’s almost completely healed. I say almost because I did notice it was tight after my run. I just have to be better about stretching after runs. I’m sure you all are feeling it too but this heat and humidity has been brutal when running in the evenings. Not to mention how slow my pace is now (not that I was ever fast). I know the set back over the past two months has also contributed to a slower pace. But I did feel better after reading a blog post about how the heat affects your pace. At least I know I’m not the only one feeling this pain!

The WRS kickoff event last Monday night was a great success! Lots of newbie runners signed up. I’m excited about meeting my group next week at the first scheduled run! I’m also very happy with the coach I was assigned with, Heather. I met her at the coach’s meeting a few weeks ago and I think we are going to make a great team! Wonder what color visors are team will be? I hope it’s a good one!
I also met with Jen last week for the Streakers half marathon training group. She was very thorough in discussing my current running / workout routine and my goals. Since the Hershey Half is October 21, my training plan starts this week. The group actually doesn’t start until August 9 and lasts for 16 weeks. But no prob for Jen, she is nice and customized my plan. I will say I got pretty nervous when I saw 7 miles, 9 miles, 10 miles…11 miles…within the next 8 weeks?!? I have only run 7 miles ONCE back in March training for the 10k. Those numbers just still don’t seem possible yet.

For the first 8 weeks I’m doing 3 runs a week but I know Jen said we would increase that to 4 runs later. This week I’m scheduled to do two 3 easy mile runs and one 4 mile run. I also have my body pump and pilates classes and spin twice a week for cross training. Also on 3 mile run days, I do 30 situps and pushups. It looks like later on in the schedule we incorporate core exercises. Friday is a complete rest day!

Sounds like a lot of exercising but I’m glad to have a structured training plan again! Unfortunately, I’m already behind one day due to a stressful event which completely derailed the rest of the day. I’m just so glad and thankful my family is safe and sound.

Well everyone have a great running week!

Friday, July 13, 2012

One Year Ago

Happy One Year Blog Anniversary!! One year ago today, I posted my first ever blog post. It was just a way for me to journal this running journey and I really didn’t think anyone, besides the three people I told, would read it. But thanks to the blogging network, I have actually acquired a few more readers and I really appreciate everyone that takes the time to read my little blog. As for my lack of stellar writing skills…sorry, I have a business degree. ;)

Anyways, here are some updates from the past couple of weeks:
  • Running – Not much has been going on mainly because I’m still getting over my ankle issue and who wants to run in 100 degree temps?!? I was lucky to be able to use my ankle issue as an excuse to avoid running in the heat wave last week. I know a lot of you runners were out there getting your runs and races in, great job to all of you. It seems like my ankle, again is better, but still not 100%. Maybe it’s never going to be 100%. I know that’s not true but it seems like this is taking FOREVER (almost 2 months)!! Some days I think it’s totally better but by the end of the day, its starts bothering me again. Perfect since I run in the evenings. I think I’m just going to have to suck it up and get back to running. I’m starting to lose motivation and that’s exactly what I didn’t want to happen. I don’t want to feel like I’m starting over…again. I’ve only got a few weeks before the Women’s Running School (help with coaching) and Streakers (new running group for half-marathon training) starts. My goal is to be back to running consistently and hopefully somewhat pain free by the time both running groups start.
    • Spin bike – I bought one off craigslist, yay! It’s not quite the quality of a commercial spin bike, but it was right in my price range. The only thing I’m not crazy about is the wheel is a "free wheel" so the wheel doesn’t stop moving once the pedals stop. This has been a problem if I try to stand up on the bike and do things we do in class like jumps, third position, or running. I didn’t realize it was like this when I went to look at it. I’ve tried to stand and lean forward and it sort of works, but the wheel just doesn’t go smoothly. But as long as I’m seated, it works fine. I’ll just miss doing the "out of the saddle" moves. I figure it will work for now and if I really want a different one later, I can always sell this bike and buy a different one.
    • Reading – I finished another running book. This one was also by John "The Penguin" Bingham called "Accidental Athlete". It’s basically his story on how he became an adult-onset athlete at the age of 43 after years of inactivity, over eating and smoking. Many of you probably know his story or have heard of him, but he has been a runner now for over 20 years and did many races from 5k to marathons, triathlons and even adventure races. It was a funny and interesting book and I did take a few things from it. One is to not take running for granted. We all have good and bad runs; which can happen on race days too. But when you cross the finish line and you didn’t meet your goal for that race, whether it was to finish in a certain time or to beat a certain person, you shouldn’t be disappointed in yourself or your run. You should be glad that you were able to run and cross the finish line. I think finding a "happy medium" of this philosophy is where I want to be. I would be lying if I said "I only run because I can" or "I just want to finish this race". I have my certain time goals every race (under 30 minutes 5k will I ever do it?) or not to finish last (been next to last). But I don’t want to feel disappointed in myself or even feel like I’ve let others down (like my speedy husband). I want running and racing to be FUN. I mean if it’s not fun, then why the hell am I doing this?!? So I will keep trying to find that middle ground of still challenging myself, while having fun and not feeling disappointed when I don’t meet certain goals. Wow. I say it all the time, running is so mental!!

    • Source

    • Weight maintenance – Of course not running much means I’m not burning as many calories (duh!). So while I have been keeping up with other forms of exercise like body pump, spinning and pilates, I have not been doing so well with eating. A little too much of eating out and extras, including liquid calories (daiquiris by the pool) and not enough exercising will eventually put on a few pounds. Being a lifetime WW member, I have to weigh in once a month within two pounds of my goal weight. I usually weigh in the first Thursday of the month but last week after July the fourth, would not have been the best weigh in. I know that their scales are always 2 – 2.5 pounds more than my scales. And I need to get back to the lower end of my goal weight. When I set that goal weight for WW, I really wanted to be about 5 pounds less than that. I was for about a week. Then I’ve kept it around 2-3 pounds less. So I need to get back on track. I need get back to eating healthier and eating out less. My personal goal as a lifetime member is to maintain without having to track. I know it’s a good idea to keep a food log even if you don’t have a weight issue, but I really just wanted to be able to do this without tracking. But I also know that when I did track (honestly) I lost weight. So my new challenge is to go back to tracking my food and get these last five pounds off. It might be tough at first since I haven’t tracked in months but I know that’s what it’s going to take.
      • Odds and ends – We finished the second season of "The Walking Dead" series and I cannot wait for the third season! It’s doesn’t start until October, so I’ve got a while. Although I have to admit, at some point in every show one of us will say "these people are the worst at surviving a zombie apocalypse"! Last Friday was date night and we went downtown for First Friday and dinner at the Mellow Mushroom. First Friday is when some of the shops stay open later and they have a market with local artists and crafts. I bought these natural heating packs from Holly at Warm Wishes NC. They are made with oatmeal and rice and have different scents. I got the lemon lavender scent which smells so good! All you do is heat it up in the microwave briefly and you get a nice relaxing heating pad that again smells wonderful! I actually used it this weekend for my neck and shoulders since they were bothering me. You can also freeze them and use them as a cold pack. That was a good find, but I will say the pizza at Mellow Mushroom was just okay. I’ve been there before and I’m just not wowed by their pizza. They did have 30+ draught beers, but I only had one. ;)

      • Sweet Holly

        I got the regular and long sizes

        Well, I think that’s enough updates for now. Hopefully my next post I will be able to talk about some recent runs. There is a kickoff event on Monday evening for the Women’s Running School and on Tuesday evening I meet with the coach (Jen) to discuss my goals for the Streakers group. I’m excited about the upcoming events! Have a great run everybody!!

        Tuesday, June 26, 2012

        ARG still here!

        Hello! I’ve been MIA from blogland mainly because there hasn’t been much running around these parts. I’ve still been taking it easy since my ankle issue, patiently waiting for it to get better. And it is progressively getting better. I managed to run 2.25 miles last week. It was a slow run and I noticed my first mile was better than the second mile pain wise. I wanted to run 3 miles but no need to push it now. I do plan to run 3 miles tonight (hopefully).

        My plan was to re-join my speed training group but now I feel like I’m so far behind after missing a month of sessions. I haven’t even ran 3 slow miles yet so there’s no way I will be able to do speed work. So disappointing.

        I have been keeping busy with other things over the past few weeks (besides work, which isn’t exciting enough to write about). Like spending too much time at the pool working on my tan! Hey, I have to let my ankle heal, right? Fortunately, I tan pretty easy even with using sunscreen (okay maybe it was only SPF 25). I’m still going to body pump class and spin class, but I’ve missed Pilates for the past 3 weeks, yikes! I can’t wait to go back this week.

        We’ve also been getting some TV time in. Very important I know. I usually don’t watch much TV, mainly because there’s just not enough time. But we like Hell’s Kitchen and a new season started a few weeks ago. Although we are already behind after being off some last week. We also got The Walking Dead season 1 & 2. I kept hearing everybody rave about this show so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. One word – AWESOME. We finished season 1 in a few days and just started season 2 last night. I’m pretty sure we could finish it one day if we started watching before 9pm!

        I have also been working on my running plans for the half marathon training which is to start in July. I am going to join another group (because they work so well for me and I never get injured) with ON’R called Streakers! Although called Streakers, they do wear clothes. This is the running group that my buddies I met from the WRS group last year joined and ran their first half this past February. I know my husband will roll his eyes when he reads this because he feels like I’m just wasting my money since I seem to have bad luck when it comes to these groups. But that’s okay, because I’m going to join anyways. To put in those miles, I’m definitely going to need other people to run with. In the nicest way to say (write) this, I have two words for my hubby – Road Bike ;)

        Speaking of bike, I am looking for a used spin bike. I’ve been looking on craigslist for a very inexpensive one. You have to be so quick on craigslist though. I really like spinning as a great cross training workout and my class meets on Thursday’s which will conflict with the Streakers group and WRS...which brings me to one more announcement…

        I decided to volunteer as an assistant coach with the Women’s Running School (WRS) this year. I’m super excited about it and a little nervous at the same time! Nervous because I really don’t know anything about anything running (note blog title: Aspiring) but I have enthusiasm! We had a meeting the other night and it sounds like it’s going to be a great year. I’m excited to meet some new runner girls and learn more from the experienced runners and coaches. I hope I know what I’m getting myself into! For any local runner girls interested in joining, go to this website Greensboro Running Club for more information. There will be a kick-off event on July 16 and the school starts on August 2.

        Goals update: I didn’t post a goals recap for May, but nothing new has changed. My total miles for May were 18.13 miles. Sad, I know. I’m sure the half marathon training miles will add up to cover the lack of running recently for my 500 miles in a year goal. I did finish a book. Yay for me! I’ve still get way too many magazines to catch up on but hanging out at the pool is helping with that. I also just bought 3 more books on running at the used book store last week. Not too mention, I have some overdue library books...better get those back!

        I don't have any recent running pictures, but here is a picture of me and Michael at Run the Runway a few weeks ago. I was the cheerleader and holder of all things for everyone! Also a picture of us hanging at the pool. Seems to be what we've been do here lately!

        Thursday, June 7, 2012

        One mile and new shoes...again

        Since my last whiny post about my ankle, it has gotten better. I am being smart and taking the proper rest break and not running on it. Well, almost.

        So last Friday night me and some of the other "Breathless Babes" did a 1 mile downhill dash called PM in the Park. None of us consider ourselves fast; it was just for fun and a good excuse for us to go out to dinner afterwards. Let me also say it wasn’t completely downhill. Some of the mile was flat and there were two small inclines. The winner finished in 4:18! There were 54 people and 14 finished a sub-6 minute mile. My mile was 8:46 which is a new PR! My fastest mile before was on the last night of bootcamp recently I ran an 8:55. The sad thing is…I PR’d but still came in next to last.

        I wasn’t expecting to come out and do some crazy fast mile and set a new record or something (HAHA). And yes my ankle was still hurting and I probably shouldn’t have been running anyways. But that just sounds like an excuse. Nobody wants to finish last or next to last. Yet somebody has to and will always have to. There will always be a last place. But even last place always finishes the race and that’s what matters the most. And I finished my little 1 mile even though I wanted to just stop, especially after the other 9 runners in my wave left me in the dust. It helped to hear my friends at the finish line cheering me on even though I know I was last in my wave. So this time I gladly take next to last place and a PR!!

        Breathless Babes + 2 extra kiddos!
        (that's my son being silly!)
        One good thing about the mile run (I guess I can call it a good thing) is that I have self-diagnosed myself (disclaimer) and figured out what happened to my ankle. I think it was my new shoes! Well, maybe. Who knows. At 2am Saturday morning I woke up and my other ankle was starting to bother me. Okay, so I’m sure I was over compensating but it just hit me that maybe my problem was the shoes. Less than a month ago, I got the Muzinos Wave Alchemy. They are the first pair of stability shoes and the second pair Muzinos that I’ve tried.

        Even though I haven’t actually ran in them much (due to said ankle issue), I’ve never felt comfortable in them and I think they are just not the right shoe for me. I compared them to my Brooks Ghost and my old K-Swiss Tubes and the heel backing does come up higher on the Alchemy’s. Of course, I can’t say for sure if the shoes had a part in my ankle issue but I just knew I didn’t want to run in them again.

        Luckily, the folks at ONR have a generous return policy and for just a small re-stocking fee, I can exchange them for something else. So back to the store I went. The first thing was to try on the K-Swiss Kwicky Blade Light shoes that I really thought was the best shoe last time but hated the bright yellow color. At this point, I did not care about the color. I just want to be able to run again! I tried on a few other pairs and it came down between the K-Swiss and the Saucony Mirage 2.

        Both shoes felt really comfortable and I ended up going with the Saucony’s. The main reason was because the K-Swiss has a much lower drop and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to go that low yet. Especially with half-marathon training starting in less than two months. After buying and then researching the shoes online, it seems the Mirage 2 is more of a minimal shoe. I like the mesh and the minimal overlays so that the toes have more room (hopefully I will not lose another toenail). I like the idea of a minimal shoe with a lower drop. The Alchemy’s felt very clunky. I hope they work for me but there is only one way to find out and that’s to get out there and run!
        My new shoes! (again)

        In honor of National Running Day, I plan to run (my ankle is feeling better). It may just be for one slow, easy mile or maybe two miles…or maybe just a quarter mile! **UPDATE: this post is a day late - I did run almost two miles! It was slow but still a run for NRD 2012!**

        I also wanted to say how proud I am of my hubby, Michael for his 5K PR of 18:55!! He did the Blue Points PTI Airport 5K on the Runway on Saturday and in a field of almost 700 runners, he finished 16th!! The course is an out and back and almost completely flat. Congrats to several of my friends that PR'd in the race too!