Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Busy... Busy... Busy...


Yeah, maybe they lost, but it was still a fun game. Broncos vs. Rams... yet another loss for Denver. Sigh.

Me and J


So, Monday of course is random hill program day on the treadmill. I was in a rush to get to the gym and I wasn't really feeling like running but I have a "schedule" to keep so I was pleased with a mostly "easy" program... except the last 15 minutes or so.

Rarely do I need to get off the treadmill more than once in an hour (usually just to run to the bathroom or get a drink). I had to stop TWICE tonight. I was feeling sick to my stomach and especially the last 5 minutes nearly killed me.  5.0 incline and I had to lower the speed to upper 4 mph's just to keep moving. I didn't walk... but still. It was freakin ridiculous.

Worst. Hour. Ever.
But at least I looked cute while doing it!


I went to class for the first hour, and it was just as terrible as usual. Actually it was WORSE than usual because we got there late and I couldn't work out by N and L. We had to complain in between sets and got yelled at by a snarky new girl. Hmph. If I didn't like the CONCEPT of the class so much I would totally not do it. FYI 24 Hour Fitness... more classes and different instructors might help. Blah.

Usually do a bit of cross training after class, but I felt I had a score to settle with the treadmill.

Hill Program #6
I haven't done anything but random hill program in ages, this time I put back in trusty #6 for 20 minutes plus a 5 minute cool down. It was not nearly as dreadful as yesterday. Hurrah!


Non-running capri pants...


The real reason I have been SO busy???


Yep. And it's AWESOME so far. Thanks everyone for the kind thoughts! Out of every job I applied for, the one I got was one of the few in my commute range, salary range, AND a literally IDEAL job description.

I'm psyched :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Munchkin Mile

So a few days ago, A (who just turned 5), said she wanted to run with me. I really tried to not get too excited since I know running means something completely different to me than it does to her. However, she decided that today would be "Exercise Day." So I laid out her clothes the night before (a turtleneck, a long sleeve athletic shirt and her track suit) and she woke me up BRIGHT AND EARLY to go running.

After having breakfast, we did some pre-run pictures. A? Beyond excited. The Adidas track suit was a Black Friday purchase - $11.27 for both pieces - and yes, she picked it out :D

Water bottle? Check... 'cause you get thirsty when you exercise 

Crazy socks... even for me
Originally my plan was to take her to the track at the middle school. That way if she got super tired, we wouldn't ever be very far from the car. But that sounded so... boring. So I gave her the choice, and she picked going to Lake Arbor - where I run when she is in school. I warned her that it would be colder and that the loop is over a mile, but she seemed ok with it. Worst case scenario? We walk.

So we get there and it is 31 degrees, but sunny. Only one other car in the lot, so that means it shouldn't be at all crowded. Well. It IS before 9:00 am on a Sunday. So I'm getting my watch GPS ready - and get some more pics (of course).

This might be my favorite picture. Ever. 
Me and A
Stretching, aka "Tree Pose"
Finally get the GPS ready, and we head out, at a (for me) super slow jog. I wasn't wearing my headphones and we had a nice conversation about moose (she doesn't think they are "real" since she never saw one out of a cage in Alaska). Just past the 1/4 mile marker, she asked for me to play some music on the iPhone. She is keeping a decent pace, but I can tell she is getting a little winded. I keep telling her how good she is doing, and for her to tell  me if we need to slow down. We make it past the half mile marker and she is still going strong. We get to the only "hill" and she decides she needs to walk for a minute. She made it so far!

Jogging again!
She walked less than 30 seconds and the above picture is right after the peak of the hill and she decided to jog again. We passed the mile marker at 13:35!! I would not have thought she would have done so well! I figured we would stop after one lap, but she got distracted by the fitness stations and decided she wanted to do some push ups. Total distance 1.08 miles in 14:57!

What an awesome day. She didn't get cranky or grumpy, and she didn't give up. She asked if we could do it again tomorrow.

We celebrated with a Starbucks. A non-fat gingerbread mocha misto for me, and kids hot chocolate for her.

Working It Off

Even with running a half this week, my weekly weigh in was less than ideal. Lousy holidays with awesome food! I slothed around all day on Friday, and felt completely BLAH by Saturday. (I was in bed before 9:00 on Friday night and didn't get up until 8:00 on Saturday). My dad brought me a holiday latte (non fat of course) from Sbux, and I decided I'd head to the gym to work off the rest of my turkey dinner.

Looked cute!

Not too bad!
I initially thought I would do an "easy-ish" hill program and then stop after the hour. However, after the ridiculously tough half that I just did the other day, the treadmill seemed really... easy.

Completion of hill program and 5 min cool down
I got done with the hour and I was still feeling good. So I decided to keep going... and going...

The treadmills at the gym cap out at an hour. And daycare is maxed at two hours per day. So time-wise, I did the most that I could do. In 1:50, I did 10.81 miles, and 60 minutes of that was a hill program! I rarely have the motivation to do so much on a weekend, and it's even more rare to feel good enough to go so far after running a half just a few days earlier.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Atlanta Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Atlanta Half Marathon
November 25, 2010
Thanksgiving Day
Half Marathon: #15/50
Weather: 60 degrees, foggy, 96% humidity

The Atlanta Half Marathon is held annually on Thanksgiving day. It fit perfectly into our schedule this year. We were able to get a decently late flight out and then a flight back early enough to not miss Thanksgiving dinner. This is one of the last races I've booked travel for where I really didn't leave much time in between landing and getting to the expo before it closed. With NO race day pick-up, it was VERY important that we get there in time.

The flight out of Denver left on time and was actually shorter than we thought. We landed about 20 minutes early. Sigh of relief! Then we are trying to get to the rental cars, and realize we need to take a train to get there. We keep following the signs... following the signs... by now we have been speed walking over 20 minutes and I am developing a blister on the back of my right heel. I really had no idea we could have taken the train to get there. All the signs just kept pointing straight. Anyway. By now I am getting CRANKY. The expo was scheduled to close at 8:00, and according to my map, would take about 30 minutes to get there. And that was NOT accounting for traffic. We finally get to the train and L is moving slowly, the doors start to close and I stand in the doorway and get yelled at "you can't hold the doors!" (haha, watch me). The train leaves, we book it off the train and get to the Avis counter at 6:45 pm.

The chick working at the desk was possibly the slowest moving human alive. She gets all the way through the transaction (to the point where I've declined coverage and I say I'll fill it up before bringing it back) and she hit a wrong button and dumped the whole transaction and was going to have to start over. I'm seriously stressing and getting pissed now. Seriously? She gets to the end of the transaction and she mutters something about me having another car out. I ask her to repeat what she just said, and she says "Do you have another car out with us right now? I can't rent you another car until you return it." Uh, what? The last car I rented was a few weeks ago, and obviously I already returned that. She keeps messing around on the computer, and nothing is happening, I mention I am in a huge rush and if she can't fix it she needs to get a manager over. By now it is almost 7:00. She says, no, she can't fix it she will have to get someone. Yet instead of standing up she is still sitting there. I am freaking out. L and I are trying to figure out if we even have the time/cash to put her in a cab to get to the expo. I would still need to write a letter giving her permission to get my packet and a copy of my drivers license.

Another employee comes over, asks if I have rented a car from Budget. I respond with "ever in my life? Yes." He rolls his eyes and walks away. Am I being punked??? What IS it with these people? Finally a manager comes over, and she is also the slowest moving person in the world. She finds out that of course I have returned all my vehicles, it was just entered wrong in their system, and "oops."  I ask how I am supposed to prevent this in the future, she says if I have a receipt, that is proof that I have returned the car. Obviously I get a receipt every time I return a car, maybe I just need to carry a file with me. Grrr. FINALLY get the car, and head to the expo. We get there with less than 25 minutes to spare, and I am even MORE annoyed to find that they have the expo hosted at a place where you have to pay for parking. Yes, even if you are running in for two minutes. I HATE THAT. FYI, race directors, no one gives a crap how nice the hotel is, we would all rather be able to get in and out without having to pay.

We are there late enough that everyone is packing up, so we get our numbers and shirts, walk around a few minutes, and head out. It's 8:00 pm and we still haven't had dinner and checked in to our hotel. We mapquested and found an Applebee's... about 20 minutes away, and down a toll road (!!!). At least we had good service! I made sure to NOT eat as much as last week, although I ordered the same thing.
Chicken Penne Pasta

Mmmm Dessert
The hotel we were staying at was back by the expo, so another 20 minutes on the road to get there. We get a little lost, but find it. I go inside, choosing to use the kiosk to check in, thinking it would be faster. It recognizes me but then keeps asking for additional information for the reservation. Annoyed, I cancel out, and get in line behind the three people at the desk. By the time I get to the front, the lady takes my info, only to tell me I am not staying at THAT Hyatt, I am at the one a few buildings down. Hate.Atlanta. Drive a half a block, and see it. I again decide to check in using the kiosk. My receipt prints out... blank. I still have to go to the desk. Annoyed. Have to park in a parking garage and then go up and down flights of stairs and outside to get to our room. It's almost 10:00 by now. I feel a teeny tiny bit better with how nice our room was though. Shocking, I almost always pay for the cheapest room, they must have been running a special with Orbitz!

Get everything ready for morning and I finally have a chance to look at the blister on the back of my hill. It is huge. I finally decide to pop it NOW, rather than wait until morning. It hurt and it was gross, and almost immediately I was thinking I should have just left it alone. Oh well. Set the alarm, and go  to sleep.

I did NOT sleep well. I woke up a few times, and was tossing and turning all night. Got out of bed at 5:10, got dressed, and headed out the door. Mapquest had it as a 25 minute or so drive, and the race information suggested we get there at least an hour early because otherwise parking might be really far. We manage to follow a string of cars that gets us to a parking lot literally a few blocks from the start line. Score!

Start line is at Turner Field
It had rained the night before and was VERY foggy when we got out of the car. Even though it was a little chilly, and we were close to the start, we decided to head over to the port-o-potties to make sure we had enough time. It felt VERY humid.
About an hour until the start, still setting up!
30 minutes to start
The starting area was very organized and there were plenty of bathrooms (for once!) We were able to cycle through three times and dropped our bags off. We got our pre-race pictures done early, L was put in a corral starting 6 minutes before me, and she chose not to come back to my wave (sniff, sniff).

Blurry, but our outfits were festive!
I was alone in the corral, and it was crowded. Very crowded. I was thinking that we were in the 5th start, so I wasn't really paying much attention when we started surging forward.

Heading toward the start, at least 2 corrals already running!
Literally less than a minute after I get my headphones in, the race starts. I didn't have much time to plan, but that was ok. Looking at the elevation profile the night before it looked like there were only two major hills, one between miles 1 and 2, and one around mile 12. I set out the same way I usually do, and figured I'd coast through the middle part.

It was harder than I expected. I was keeping a decent (almost too fast pace) but the humidity was really getting to me and I was sweating way more than I usually do. I normally don't really like running through city courses, but this one (even with it being so foggy) had some neat sights.

After the second water station (just past mile 4), we ran over a bridge, and I thought it smelled REALLY bad, like sewage. Then I noticed a girl to my right... she had poop all over her butt and it was soaking through her running tights. Only between mile 4 and 5??? That's horrible... but I spent a while after that thinking about her. What WOULD you do??? I mean, it's not like I pack extra clothes when I run, and sometimes I suppose shit just happens... Oy.

Somewhere around mile 5
Right about mile 5 is when I really started to suffer. I must have misread the elevation profile because it seems like it was just one hill after another. It was hot, humid, hilly. Every hill seemed to go on FOREVER and it felt like I was barely moving. It was a relief to not have to worry about a PR, but honestly, at this point, I was more concerned with NOT walking and just finishing in a respectable time.

Right before 10k mat in Piedmont Park
There seemed to be extra water stations on the course, and I was relieved to have the excuse to walk. The only time I permit myself to walk is during a water station (even after all this time I canNOT seem to walk and drink at the same time).

I cross the 10k mat in 57:26 and I am 100% certain that I cannot continue this pace the rest of the course. I am really at a loss of words to describe this course. Hard and horrible are the ones that come to mind :D

Crossing the bridge toward the capitol, I think between mile 10 and 11
I am spending most of the race cursing at my headphones (I had bought a new pair of Yurbuds right before Greece and they are already not staying in my ears >:( and negotiating with myself with possible walk breaks). Then I finally settle with "doing my best" and "even a slow jog is faster than walking."

By the last water station at  mile 12 I am completely drained. My quads are on fire, I am exhausted, hot, sweaty, and in a foul mood. Just in time for the ridiculously huge hill right at the end. Who designed this insane course???

I am again one of the few people who is still jogging - probably half the people are walking. I look at them and am envious that I cannot force myself to do that. I finally see the final stretch. FINALLY seems to be flat, maybe even slightly downhill. I force myself to move as fast as I can toward the finish. It's hard, and I have really not been this happy to cross the finish line in a LONG time.

Elevation Profile
I get my medal and am off to try and find L. Normally she meets me at the end, and this time she should have been there for sure, she is faster AND she started 6 minutes before me. I don't see her, so I head to bag drop, get food, check the family meeting place... still can't find her. I walk around the whole finishing area, head back to the car, STILL can't find her. I leave some stuff under the car because I am tired of carrying it. I cross the course and go to the other side to see if I can find her.

I get stopped by an older gentleman that says "What was your time?" I tell him around 2:05:30, and he says "I tried to stay with you most of the race." This is now the third race in a row someone has approached me and said something like that. This race was terrible and I hardly was pacing well, I can't believe I actually helped someone. While scanning the crowds looking for L, I saw these guys, actually running with huge packs!! And I thought what I had done was tough!

I finally found L about 45 minutes after I had finished, we gimped slowly back to the car. Her quad was still bothering her, and my legs were tight, not to mention my blister was finally starting to rebel.

Start/Finish Line
Official Time - 2:05:32
Overall Place - 3989/8866
Gender Place - 1344/4304
Division Place - 222/617
Garmin Time: 2:05:31
Garmin Distance - 13.16 miles
Mile 1 - 9:05 pace
Mile 2 - 8:41 pace
Mile 3 - 8:59 pace
Mile 4 - 8:35 pace
Mile 5 - 9:28 pace
Mile 6 - 10:09 pace
Mile 7 - 9:40 pace
Mile 8 - 10:21 pace
Mile 9 - 10:10 pace
Mile 10 - 9:55 pace
Mile 11 - 9:33 pace
Mile 12 - 9:54 pace
Mile 13 - 9:37 pace
Mile 13.1 - 7:22 pace

The finishers medal was really nice... heavy!!

With all the time it took to find each other after the race, shower, have lunch, we didn't have time for an "activity."
Lunch ended up being at IHOP, it's hard to find places that are open on Thanksgiving! We headed back to the airport, and had a fairly uneventful flight back. Even though our flight was slightly detoured in air because of storms, we landed only a few minutes late, and we were sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner with my family before 7:00 pm. Awesome dinner of turkey, stuffing, squash, and both chocolate cheesecake (my favorite) and pumpkin pie.

State #15... Done.

Half Marathon Map


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The 1000th Mile

I've never had a specific mileage goal when running. My goal has always been to do "just a little more than last time." And then THIS year came along. The racing. The traveling. The distances. I'll admit. I became a bit obsessed. And then I came across Tall Mom's blog - where she challenges people to run 1000 miles. Sounds like SO many... especially since I have averaged running mid 600 miles a year for the last two years. But then I realized I could certainly do 1000 miles!! So yes... today's run put me over 1000 miles for the year. And there are still  many weeks to go. Who knew I had it in me??

Anyway, hitting 1000 miles was really the only remotely interesting part of the run. I haven't  run on the treadmill in over a week. I've been doing my loops at Lake Arbor instead (and it's been fabulous). However... I really have appreciated how much doing the random hill programs have helped me during my races. So... treadmill it was:

This one was tough!
The last few times I've done a program I have been lucky enough to get "easy" ones. This one was pretty tough, and the last few sections I seriously considered stopping!! But, determined one that I am, I continued and rocked out another few miles. I ran over 8 miles! This will likely be my last run until Thanksgiving when I head to Atlanta for my next half marathon.

In other news:

  • I'm published!!! I got a shout out regarding my first marathon in Greece. You can read it here.
  • I had a job interview on Friday afternoon... I think it went well, and the job is literally PERFECT for me. I have sent a thank you email and plan on calling tomorrow... I still haven't heard anything. Good thoughts requested!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Close... but no cigar

Unless I have some major injury, I'm on track to hit 1,000 miles for the year sometime this month. I was thinking I was close, but I usually only total my miles at the end of the month. I started thinking about it, and thought that I *might* hit it on todays run. To not keep you in suspense, I would have done an extra loop if I would have known that where I stopped left me at 998.97 miles. Really?? Ugh. Now my 1000th mile will be run where mile 1 of the year was run... on the treadmill.

Anyway, had a funky day yesterday. I was RAVENOUS all day yesterday after my 5k race. So I ate everything. Literally. And topped it off with this:

Yes. That's cheesecake. And I split them with L... but still
I ended up feeling funk all night (Funk=drunk like feeling but from eating too much) and went to bed with a stomach ache. Gross. Even when I dragged myself out of bed this morning... yes, it was around 11:00 am... I *still* was feeling icky and full. I didn't eat anything until almost 1. And without having a half this weekend, we had a long run scheduled. But... it was cold. And I wasn't feeling well. And L's quad has been hurting.

Then I thought about it. Sbux was still running its holiday drink BOGO promo, so if I wanted one, I'd need to earn it. We decided to do my Lake Arbor loop and run as long as L was feeling ok. She wore a tank top (!!!) and I wore this:

It was freakin COLD out. Upper 30s, but the sun was low on the horizon and it was cloudy. But it was NICE to be running with someone else. I was initially thinking we would do 2 or 3 laps. L was feeling pretty good and we did 4 laps. We would have done 5, but I was STILL cold (rare for me, I'm usually warmed up after 1 or 2) and we needed to pick up the kids, so we left. Had I known that last lap would have put me over 1000 I would've run the extra 12-13 minutes!

Loop 1 - 10:11 pace
Loop 2 - 9:48 pace
Loop 3 - 9:48 pace
Loop 4 - 9:43 pace
Total - 5.01 miles in 49:31 (9:53 pace)

First thing I did after picking up the kids? SUPER HOT SHOWER, and then pulled out my footy jammas for the first time this year :D

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Brighton Turkey Trot 5k (Race Recap)

26th Annual Brighton Turkey Trot
Saturday, November 20
Time - 8:30 am
Weather - 28 degrees and foggy (freakin cold!!)

I decided to run this race... oh, last night. And when the alarm went off this morning at 6:20 I muttered "I can't believe I'm getting up this early on a Saturday to run a 5k." But. I ran the race last year, and it was ok. And I haven't had the chance to run with W much, so I dropped A off at my parents house and drove the 20ish miles for the 26th annual Brighton Turkey Trot. I got there about an hour before the race started - hoping I allowed enough time to register, stretch, and use the bathroom.

Registration was fast, and for the second year, they had no shirts smaller than a size "adult medium." Which was ginormous. So, my dad will get yet another race shirt for something he didn't even do. Too bad, the shirt was actually fairly decent.

I managed to find W, had enough time to use the bathroom, and stretch. I was going to get coffee...

What a tease!
W was planning on jogging for 10 minutes before the race. I had no interest in doing that, and decided to stretch a bit, walk around, try to use the bathroom again. By the time I got done doing all that they really did have coffee on the table and I had a small cup. I met W right outside the door, and we got our pre-race pictures by this nifty inflatable turkey. Gobble, gobble!!

My outfit is so Thanksgiving-y!

Random guy took our picture. Thanks, guy!
We vaguely remembered that lining up was an ordeal last year and that we had ended up behind a lot of walkers. This year (and they may have done it last year too and we just didn't remember) they had the walkers line up on one side of the street, runners on the other. Gun went off and I felt like I got behind some "slow" runners. Immediately this felt hard. I felt like I was running really fast and working REALLY hard. I haven't been looking at my watch, but I was beginning to wonder if there were no mile markers and I glanced down and my watch said we had only gone .79 miles. Oh man.

There WERE mile markes, and I clicked at the first split and it was ridiculously fast. I was REALLY wanting to get a PR today, but I felt out of shape and was really struggling. Just before mile 2 there was a small water station, and I walked for about 10 seconds. I think that MAY have given me enough energy to finish the race. In my head I kept telling myself that as long as I kept moving I should PR, and I forced myself to NOT look at my watch.

This is another one of those courses where you can see the finish line for about a half mile before you actually get there. It's brutal! The nice thing was that I could see W ahead of me, and since she was aiming for sub 26, I was feeling pretty good. I pretty much had nothing left in me to sprint the chute, but I managed to PR. BIG TIME. My previous best time? 28:17. And I crossed the line in under 27 minutes!! Wow!!! W crossed a little over a minute before me and still managed to whip out her phone and get this AWESOME shot of me crossing:

At least I look better off than the girl next to me. Yikes.
Even though this was a chip timed race, there must have been a malfunction of some kind because I don't have a chip time listed. The official results??

Clock Time - 26:58
Overall - 177/499
Gender - 56/267
Division - 13/44
Per Garmin:
Time - 26:51
Distance - 3.13 miles
Average Pace - 8:34 min/mi (!!!)
Mile 1 - 8:10
Mile 2 - 8:46
Mile 3 - 8:48
Mile 3.1 - 8.27

All I can say is wow. I have never EVER had all sub NINE splits. Not even in a short race. I'm psyched!! But I will also say that I think this race was even more difficult than a half marathon. Just sayin.

Last year I think I literally crossed the finish line and got in my car. This year I headed back into the gym. On my way in, an older gentleman stopped me and said "You looked great out there! I was pacing off you and you kept me going!" What? Someone paced off me? Again??? Wow!!! It must be said that I ran this course last year in 29:13, so I shaved more than two minutes off my time!

Anyway, there was decent post-race food. I had a half a bagel with veggie spread (they also had oranges AND apples) and Cold Stone Creamery was giving away ice cream!! I'm actually not a big fan of ice cream, but I grabbed a container for my dad. I've had much larger races that gave less, so two thumbs up for the food!

Week in Review (June 11 - June 17)

Tuesday  (13,780 steps) - Work in the office. Took Olive for a walk after work. Nothing else? Went to 4 Noses. Wednesday  (15,137 steps) - W...