Monday, November 28, 2011

Better Late Than Never

I am a little embarassed that my last post was from the night before the Portland Marathon Half...almost 8 weeks ago!

So about the race. I didn't have the energy I thought I would, and I overdressed a little, so I decided to focus on my distance goal rather than my time goal. It was one of the toughest mental challenges I have faced as a runner but I was able to run the whole thing without walking! It was a very proud moment :) My time was 12 seconds faster than my fastest time, so I still did get a PR! But I was not running as fast as I could have becase I didn't want to have to stop and walk. So, I think I realized that I can get faster times if I incorporate walk breaks. Good to know for future races. At least I crossed that goal off my list!

The last 2 months have been a blur of work, school, and exercising. Blogging had to take a backseat unfortunately. But now I have a break in school until January, and things at work have slowed down a lot, so I finally have some room to breathe. This weekend I actually had free time, and I didn't know what to do with myself!

I have kind of been in a rut, running-wise. I really peaked before Portland, all my training runs were great, I was hitting my goal paces and distances, and I looked forward to every run. After the race I cut back a lot on running to give my body some rest. I was only running about 3 miles, 2 times a week. We had a wonderful vacation in New Jersey and I had two beautiful longer runs (6-7 miles), but the rest of the time I was not having fun. I was supposed to start marathon training the week of November 13th but my heart just wasn't in it.

I looked around for a fall half-marathon to give me a running pick-me-up but the only one in the area was already sold out. I did find one event the day after Christmas that looks intriguing...its a 6-hour run around a 1-mile loop, and you just run as much or as little as you want. It's pretty cheap ($45), and it raises money for Autism. And it's only about 15 minutes from my house. I am thinking about doing this...I am undecided what my goal will be. Run 13.1 miles? 15? 20? I think I like the freedom this race gives you. You can choose how much to push yourself. And it seems more like an ultra event (the winner from last year did 34 miles) which I am really interested in doing next year. And best of all, I can feel the running bug coming back :)

Anyway that's what's up with me. I am excited to have some time to catch up on blogs! Looks like lots has been going on these past few weeks. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Leave of Absence

I accidentally took a 2 week leave of absence from the blogging world. I didn't mean to, but life has been CRAZY! I am back in school which is taking up much of my free time. We are down 4 people at work so we are falling behind more every day and its pretty hectic. I have been keeping up with my running and exercise classes surprisingly well. So I guess something had to fall by the wayside, and it was blogging.

Since tomorrow is my goal race after all, I figured I had better get back on the 'ol blog for an obligatory goals post. I registered for this race back in January (it sells out pretty quickly) so I have had a while to plan for it. And I can't believe it is finally here! So what are my goals?

A. PR (sub-2:19:45)
B. Break 2:10
C. Run the whole thing without walking at all

If I could accomplish any of these goals, I would be happy. All of my runs have been great lately, I think my training really peaked the last couple weeks. So I am hoping that all of the training will pay off tomorrow. But, as we all know, anything can happen between the start line and the finish line.

Hope everyone else has been doing great these last few weeks!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

PDR-NWB! (Personal Distance Record - No Walk Breaks)

So yes I have run half-marathons before, but I usually walk 1-2 minutes every 3-4 miles. Before this morning the longest I had run without walking was 9.1 miles, and that was last October. Last weekend I ran my 8 miles straight so today I set out to see if I could do my whole run without walking. I had 10 miles on the schedule. Want to know how far I ran before I stopped to walk?

11 miles! I couldn't believe it! I ran the first 10 which put me at 1 hour, 55 minutes. You just can't stop running when you are only 5 minutes away from hitting 2 hours. Then when I hit 2 hours, I was at 10.4 miles. Who stops at .4 miles? So I made it a nice even 11. Yes I was tempted to run 13.1 right then and there just to prove I could. But, I will have that chance in 2 weeks at the Portland Half-Marathon.

Now I am debating...should I go slow (11-11:30/mile) during the race so I can run the whole thing? Or do I go at the pace I have been training for (9:50/mile) and risk getting tired and having to take walk breaks? Both of these things (running a half without walking, and running a sub-2:10 half) are big goals of mine.

Decisions, decisions!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

18 days and counting

I can't believe the Portland Half-Marathon is in 18 days! Where did the time go?

I finally am back on track with training, after taking an easy week following my double halfs. Luckily I did not lose any speed despite not doing speed work for about 6 weeks. According to McMillan I should be doing my 400 repeats in 2:01-2:10 in order to hit 2:09:59, and I have been doing them in 2:00 (1:58 if I'm feelin fiesty!). So, in theory, I should be set to break 2:10 come October 9th!

In my non-running life, I am starting school on Monday. I'm working towards an MS in Organizational Leadership. I think I should still have enough time to do all my training, I will only be taking 1 class at a time. I am excited but anxious! I haven't been in school for a long time.

I also started biking again. I was burnt out from before but now that I am just doing it for fun, it is a lot more enjoyable. I am hoping to combine school reading with sessions on the bike trainer during the winter and kill two birds with one stone!

I have a feeling I will be pretty busy for the next few months...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Best Anniversary Present Ever

I mentioned in my last post that my husband had to leave my first race to pick-up his anniversary gift for me. When I got home I walked into the kitchen and was totally blown away to find this...

It's us after we finish the Rock n Roll USA Marathon in DC! It is our first marathon and we will be training for it and running it together. The cake has the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Memorial on the front, and the Potomac River going all around it. The flag is because its the USA Marathon, of course. I was so excited and surprised, we used to watch Ace of Cakes and I would always say how I really wanted a custom cake some day. I never really thought I would get one though!

It was almost too cute to eat. Almost. It was carrot cake, after all. And it was delicious! We saved the little fondant people for now. I couldn't bare to eat them.

Getting a custom cake has ruined me for all other cakes. I expect a custom cake on all occasions from now on, ok hubby? Thanks!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Double Race Report

Warning - it's long!

Sunday – Oregon Wine Country Half-Marathon

I got to the race start around 6 and sat in my car emailing Chris on my phone and eating a PowerBar. Around 6:20 I walked over to gear check and got in the porta-potty line. The sun was starting to rise and it was beautiful! We were at a vineyard on a hill looking over the valley. Gorgeous! They had us walk over to the start line around 6:50. They played the national anthem and then we were off!

Often I get caught up in the crowd at the beginning of races but I made sure to stay in my goal range (11:30-12 minutes per mile). There were a lot of people going this pace so I wasn’t at the back of the pack like I thought I might be. I was feeling good and like I was just out for a morning jog, but I made a rule that I would not run more than 2 miles without taking a walk break. My goal was to finish the race without feeing sore and I had to remind myself of that several times.

The course was pretty nice, very scenic with some hills. Around mile 7 I realized I wasn’t really sweating anymore and my fingers were puffy. I guessed I was dehydrated so I started drinking water and HEED at all of the aid stations. It was getting pretty hot but I was having a good time, I just kind of zoned out and ran. I kept forgetting to take walk breaks and eat my Power Bar blasts. I was checking my pace to stay slow enough, but a few times I looked it was around a 10:30 pace (and twice it was a 9:xx pace). Whoops!

I kept chugging along and before I knew it we were in the final mile. Chris had worked graveyard the night before and I knew he might be stopping by the finish line on his way home from work but I wasn’t sure. We had about ¼ mile to go when I spotted him on the side of the road! I stopped to say hi before running around the corner and through the finish chute. The race announcer made a big deal of my finish and kept yelling my name, I was laughing as I crossed the finish line so I am interested to see that photo! I got my medal, which is also a wine stopper, and a bag of snacks. We could grab what we wanted from the tables so I got a box of Wheaties Fuel, a banana, and a bottle of Skinny Water. I walked around for a few minutes until I found Chris. We chatted for a few minutes and then he had to go pick up my anniversary gift (more to come on that!) and I had to catch a bus back to the start.

Overall this was a very good race. It was well coordinated and had a cute race shirt (women’s sizes) and nice medal. I would do it again. And it’s only 30 minutes from our house which is very convenient!

I was feeling a little sore afterward but nothing bad. Just like I had done speed work or something, it was mainly my quads. And my soleus, lately that has been hurting after long runs but feeling fine the next day. I took a cold bath for 30 minutes (we didn’t have any ice) and basically spent the rest of the day around the house.

Mile 1 – 11:48
Mile 2 – 11:38
Mile 3 – 12:08
Mile 4 – 12:00
Mile 5 – 11:48
Mile 6 – 11:23
Mile 7 – 11:49
Mile 8 – 11:21
Mile 9 – 12:37
Mile 10 – 12:31
Mile 11 – 11:29
Mile 12 – 11:41
Mile 13 – 11:21

Total time: 2:35.45

Monday – Labor Day Half-Marathon

I woke up and was sore. Not the best thing to feel on a race morning. I guessed it was due to all the downhills (700+ feet of elevation loss) since it was only my quads. It wasn’t too bad, so I wasn’t that worried. The race didn’t start until 10:30 but it was 2 ½ hours away so I had to leave the house at 7. Traffic was very light, but the race was literally in the middle of nowhere, about 30 miles off the highway.

The race was VERY small and not super organized. There was no clear start line, and all of the runners (duathlon, 5k, 10k, 10 mile, half-marathon) were starting together. I just went to where everyone else was standing, behind an invisible starting line. The race announcer said “on your mark, get set, go!” and everyone took off. The race mainly took place on this rural highway and we were running on the side of the road. There were aid stations every 1.5-2 miles but other than that no course support. Absolutely no spectators and no course marshals. Just people with their car pulled over on the shoulder and a table of water cups setup.

It was cold and very cloudy at the start, so I did not put on sunscreen. I know, stupid mistake. The sun came out about 20-30 minutes after the start and I immediately regretted my decision. I now have a lovely shade of red covering my back, shoulders, chest, and arms. Except for where my ipod and body bugg armbands were, those areas are nice and white.

When the race first started I almost forgot I had just run a half-marathon the day before, I felt pretty good. My pace was around 10:40/mile on average which is the same pace as my half-marathon PR. I didn’t want to overdo it, so I still forced myself to walk every 1-2 miles. My bodyglide wore off during mile 3. This never happens, it usually lasts around 7 miles. I think because my legs were already chafed from the first race, the bodyglide rubbed off more quickly. I was chafing on top of chafing, and it hurt so bad. For a while I thought I would have to walk the rest of the race, it hurt so bad to run. I figured I would run as long as I could, and then walk the rest.

I took it one mile at a time, and was able to keep up a pretty good pace to my surprise. I hit the half-way mark at 1:10, which would have put me at a 2:20 half had I maintained that pace (my PR is 2:19), but I knew I would have to walk soon. My quads were getting more sore with each mile, and my soleus had started hurting/cramping. I could feel my pace slowing at mile 7. I kept up my ratio of walking .1 mile after every mile, just going 1 mile at a time. I was feeling more soreness and more pain every time I started running again. By mile 9 I did not think I would be able to run another mile. My legs were aching with every step. Around this time, I saw Chris come driving down the road! He had worked graveyard again, and drove straight from work to the race. He pulled up next to me and I told him I was hurting pretty bad and I thought I would have to walk the rest of the way. He said he was going to park and finish the race with me.

I kept running, and he turned around and found a parking spot after checking with a volunteer at the next aid station. He was in his work pants and boots (basically combat boots) and came running up next to me! I honestly do not know how the rest of the race would have gone if he had not been there. I tried to keep up with running .9, walking .1 for the next mile. The 10th mile was the hardest. I was happy if I could run ¼ mile each time. I was going so slow, I think like a 13-14 minute pace. But I was running! I did not want to have to walk the rest of the race. After a very tough 1-1.5 miles, I was able to run a little faster and longer again. The course was out-and-back so I knew we were getting close to the finish. I was running 1/2-3/4 mile between walk breaks. Chris was by my side running and walking, not complaining at all even though he had no water and was wearing work clothes and it was getting pretty hot out.

We turned the last corner and had about ½ mile to go. Earlier finishers were leaving the race site and honking/waving/cheering as they passed us. It was so nice to have that support, I love the running community! I didn’t know where the finish line was (again, no real organization or marking) so I just kept running until a woman said “over here” and I ran to where she was. She pulled off the info tab from my bib and that was it. They didn’t give us water or tell us where to go or anything. Chris found a cooler with some bottles of water and grabbed me one. Finishers were supposed to get medals but they weren’t handing them out, so we asked the person writing down the race times (no chips), and he said they ran out and to email him. And he didn’t even give his email, he said it would be on the race website (which it wasn’t). Seriously?

We left after that. I was happy I had finished the race, but very disappointed in the race itself. Poor coordination, poor support, poor everything. Most of the aid stations had been abandoned when we went back to get Chris’ car, and tables were just sitting out unattended. I hope everyone finished the race ok, no one was on the course to make sure, so the race “officials” would have no idea if someone got hurt or needed help. I would not do this race again, and I would not recommend it to anyone.

Anyway back to the story…after the race we had to drive another 1.5 hours to our hotel in Seattle. When we got there, I could barely get out of the car I was so sore. I was walking like Frankenstein. But as I moved around more I loosened up. It was difficult to sit-down/stand-up, and to go up and down stairs. Other than that I was basically ok moving around. I was surprised, I was actually not as sore as I was after the Fueled By Fine Wine half. That was awful, I actually cried on the third day after the race because I was still so sore and couldn’t run.

Mile 1 – 10:46
Mile 2 – 10:10
Mile 3 – 10:36
Mile 4 – 10:49
Mile 5 – 10:44
Mile 6 – 10:50
Mile 7 – 11:05
Mile 8 – 11:51
Mile 9 – 12:12
Mile 10 – 13:58
Mile 11 – 14:54
Mile 12 – 13:38
Mile 13 – 10:12

Total time: 2:31:51

I am so happy that I was able to finish both races without injury. I am also happy that I kept running during the second race when I didn’t think I could. And I am happy that I accomplished one of my running goals! I do not think I will try this again though, once was enough!

Monday, September 5, 2011

13.1 x 2

I am happy to report, I finished both half-marathons upright and smiling!

9/4 - Oregon Wine Country Half-Marathon - 2:35.45

9/5 - Labor Day Half-Marathon - 2:31.51

I don't have any injuries (at least none that I can tell), but I am VERY sore. I am a little afraid of what it will be like when I get up tomorrow. Hubby and I are in Seattle celebrating our anniversary so hopefully I will be able to walk around downtown at least. I will work on my double race report later this week.

Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend!

PS - Yes I wore the same race outfit twice, I washed it in between! It is already stained from the red dirt at my last half, so now I wear it when I think I will get dirty at a race.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Here Goes Nothing!

Running clothes laid out next to the bed, PB sandwich and glass of water on the nightstand, gym bag packed, and water bottle chilling in the fridge. Guess I'm ready!

I have made a few goals around my double halfs, and I am going to post them so I stay accountable. I know race Megan too well, and she will be tempted to do a little improvising on the race course :)

Goal #1: Don't get injured. I have a goal half-marathon in October, and marathon training starts in November. So ultimately I need to come out of this weekend healthy.

Goal #2: Finish both races upright and smiling. As long as I finish within the time limit (3:30), it doesn't matter how long it takes me. In this case, the longer the better.

Goal #3: Go slow enough during race #1 that I don't feel any soreness or pain the next day. This is the one I will have the most trouble with, it is hard to force myself to run slow or walk when I know I can go faster.

We'll see how well I can stick to these goals...

Here goes nothing!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Taper Week and Three Days To Go!

Tonight I did my last training run before my races this weekend. I used to love tapering because I got to sleep in and didn't have to exercise as much. Now it drives me crazy, I want to be up and moving! It feels weird not to run/zumba/dance it up as much as usual. Tomorrow is a rest day, then Saturday I have Abs and Zumba classes, then my races start on Sunday!

I am anxious and excited for my races. I can't believe they are already here. I really hope I am able to finish both races feeling good, but more than that I hope I can be smart enough to not get injured, even if it means having to DNF the second race. I don't want to sacrifice my long-term running goals for one race weekend. If I am pretty sore on Monday, my back-up plan is to walk the second race. But hopefully I don't have to do that.

After my race on Monday, hubby and I are going away for a few days. It is our 3 year/6 year anniversary on Tuesday!(3 years of marriage, 6 years total). We are still deciding between going to Seattle (my second race is in WA), or Eugene (where we had our first date - sweet, but would be 4.5 hours of driving for me). Unfortunately he has to work both Sunday and Monday so he won't be able to come to my races :(

I am a little embarassed to admit this - I am excited to go to sleep because when I wake up I get Cinnabon for breakfast! I know Cinnabon is horrible for you, but I only eat it when I am carbo loading for a race. They are like 60% carbs! And we got the minibons, so at least it's not as bad as the full size ones....right?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Done with Doubles!

Today I finished the last of my double long runs in preparation for my double half-marathons. I was happy that it was my last long run because I have been so fearful of injury, but sad because I really have enjoyed this past month of getting up early every Saturday and Sunday to do my runs.

I am feeling pretty good about my upcoming races. I know my body can handle the miles, and as long as I eat enough before and during I will have enough energy to get through them both. I am not looking forward to the 5-hour round-trip for the second one, but there's not much I can do about that.

I have noticed a few other improvements related to my running over the last month. For one, I no longer have to wait 90 minutes after eating before running. I used to get bad sideaches if I didn't wait that long, but now I can run 30 minutes after eating and be fine. Also, no more tummy issues! (Knock on wood!). Previously I would get bad cramps after runs of more than 4-5 miles, and they would last for up to 2 hours. I amazingly did not have a single cramp during or after any of my 8 long runs. I could not believe it.

I am soooo grateful that I made it through this training. At times I thought I had any number of injuries - shin splints, stress fractures, pulled hamstring, patellar tendonitis, achilles tendonitis, soleus strain, ITBS, you name it. Yes I possibly over-react and jump to conclusions at the slightest twinge of pain. Luckily my husband happily puts up with all of my running craziness :) I am lucky to be married to a fellow runner.

Hope everyone else had a good weekend and stayed safe during the hurricane! So sad to see all the flooding/damage where we used to live in VA :(

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. Only 9 more days till my "Jupiter" weekend! (In Half Fanatics you reach the 4th level, Jupiter, when you do 2 half-marathons in 2 days). I have found it is easier to say Jupiter weekend than double half-marathon weekend.

2. I have become addicted to oatmeal. I used to eat Quaker instant oats but I found a new kind called Oat Fit. It is all natural, and it comes in this packet that is also a measuring cup! So you just pour the oats into a bowl (or a big mug, in my case), then fill the packet with water and pour it in. So easy and fast! And I don't have to bring a measuring cup to work anymore.

3. I am soooo jealous of everyone running Hood to Coast! I live in the Portland area so I know lots of people doing it. I would love to go cheer them on but I have to work all day and then run errands after work :( If you have not seen the Hood to Coast movie you should, it is awesome and will make you want to go for a run afterward.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Run-Filled, Fun-Filled Weekend

This weekend I had another round of 10-milers on the books. I had originally planned on doing 11 miles, but I didn't want to risk injury anymore than I already am. So, 10 miles it was.

Saturday I got up at 5:30 and did my 10 miles before Zumba. I have had to make some sacrifices due to running, but I refuse to give up my favorite Zumba class! After class I hung out with my husband till around 2 when he left for work. Then I headed over to Road Runner to get some IT band wraps. My IT bands were feeling sore after the run so I wanted to give them a try. I stretch and foam roll after runs, but I still have some issues when I run 2 days in a row.

After the running store I stopped by Borders. They are having a liquidation sale and I picked up "Run Less Run Faster" in the bargain bin for $2.99! What a steal! I prefer to only run 3 days a week and I love to crosstrain so I am interested to see how this program works.

The rest of the evening was spent relaxing around the house, hanging out with my pup and eating an amazing BBQ chicken salad


Sunday I slept in until 6:30 then did my other 10 miler. I was feeling sore Saturday evening so I was very cautious and incorporated some walking to make sure I didn't overdo it.

After my run, hubs and I headed downtown to enjoy the beautiful weather we are having! We had lunch (and I had dessert of course) and then headed over to Foot Traffic to pick up an IT band wrap for hubs. We have a lot in common :) I am glad we both run, otherwise I would probably drive him crazy with all my running talk.

It is rare for us to both have a weekend day off (he usually works during the weekend) so it has been nice hanging out today. Yes even watching Sunday Night Football. The things we do for love!

Hope everyone else is enjoying their weekend!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Paranoid? Hypochondriac? Or just being cautious?

Since I have been increasing my mileage a lot for my double halfs, I have become very worried about getting injured.

I woke up in the middle of the night and my ankle hurt, of course this means I have a stress fracture.

My shins hurt for a few minutes during a run, so I obviously have shin splints.

I had a little pain in my right knee after my tempo run, definitely means patellar tendonitis.

So now I am icing, resting, wearing a PT strap, etc. trying to avoid injury at all costs. I think I am just being cautious. But, perhaps I am being paranoid. Or a hypochrondriac. Or both.

But can you blame me? After reading about other bloggers' various injuries (and long recoveries), that is the last thing I want. My races are only 2 weeks away! At this point I am willing to do just about anything to ensure I show up at the start line(s) injury-free.

If you have any injury prevention tips or advice, I would love to hear it!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Done and done!

My back-to-back long runs went great! I decided to do both 10-milers on the treadmill to make it easier on my knees. I kept my pace very slow and every 2 miles I would walk .1 mile. So far I feel no soreness at all. Yay!

I have been using Power Bar Energy Blasts lately instead of bars. They are sooo much easier to chew and I can actually run while eating them instead of having to stop and walk. I think they are a winner!

After my run I went to Sweetest Thing Cup Cakes for a little post-run treat.

I think 1 to 1 is a good cupcake to long run ratio. The one on the left is chocolate with peanut butter filling and chocolate ganache on top. The one on the right is vanilla with crushed oreos, and oreo buttercream frosting. They were delicious! I think I will make this a new long run tradition.

I am feeling a lot more confident that I will be able to finish both half-marathons. I was almost sad when my runs were done because I was enjoying them so much. I think I like long runs more because I don't have to worry about going fast, I can just relax and enjoy it.

Hope everyone else had a great weekend!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Double Trouble

With any luck, I will accomplish my goal of doing back-to-back half-marathons three weeks from now. I am excited but anxious.

I have chosen the Oregon Wine Country Half-Marathon on September 4th, and the Labor Day Half-Marathon on September 5th. I chose the first race because it is about 30 minutes from my house and you get a logo wine glass. I don't drink wine, but I am a sucker for anything with a race logo. I chose the second race because it was the closest one I could find on that day (2.5 hours away) and it doesn't start until 10:30, so my legs will have about 25 hours of rest/recovery between finishing the first race and starting the second one.

I tweeted Marlene for advice since she did the Goofy Challenge last year. She said to do back-to-back long runs every weekend, so last weekend I did 9 miles on Sunday, 5.5 miles on Monday (I didn't wake up early enough to get more than that in before work). I kept my pace slow (around 11:45/mile) and I felt totally fine after both runs and wasn't sore at all. That is my goal for the two races, I am not worried about my time (for once!).

This weekend I have my first back-to-back double digit runs - 10 miles each on Saturday and Sunday. I'll be honest, I don't know how its going to go. I will do at least one run on the treadmill to make it easier on my knees. And in case something goes wrong or I decide to cut my run short. Once you're 5 miles from home, it's hard to end a run early!

After my two runs last weekend I was basically eating everything in sight, so I plan on having a fun day on Sunday :)

I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Treadmills, not just for running anymore!

This morning I did my long run on the treadmill since it was supposed to be around 83 degrees out. As soon as I hit the stop button, my dog Roxy came running into the room and curled up on the treadmill while I stretched.

At first I thought she just wanted to be near me. But then she stayed there after I left. It turns out she has discovered that the treadmill belt gets nice and warm after I run on it, and makes the perfect napping spot. She is very smart sometimes. Then other times she attacks her reflection in the mirror.

Now I am off for a shopping trip with my mom, sister in law, and niece! Hope everyone is having a great weekend, especially Julie who is doing her first 70.3 today! Whoo-hoo!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Taking the Plunge...26.2 Here I Come!

I am moving full steam ahead with the running goals I set for myself, so I started looking for a marathon to register for. Hubby decided he wanted to join me too, since running is one of our favorite things to do together. We had a few requirements for the race; we wanted a springtime race so we could train during the winter, and we wanted to do one in a big city. After looking around we found the perfect race us...

In years past it was the SunTrust National Marathon. In 2010, we were visiting DC the weekend of the marathon. Seeing people on the Metro with their race medals was what inspired me to want to run a half-marathon. We also LOVE DC and will use any excuse to visit. Our training will start in late November, which is perfect because I have the Portland Half-Marathon on October 9th, so I can take a few weeks off before diving in.

We happened to decide this last weekend, and registration opened on August 1st. They were giving a free race entry to the first person to register from each state. So of course at 9pm (12am EST), we were both poised on our laptops ready to go.

Guess who was the first person to register from Oregon and is running her first marathon for FREE?!

This girl!

I am sooooo excited. Not only will I be running my first marathon with my best friend/favorite running partner, in one of my favorite areas of the country, but I get to do it for free! I can't wait to start training...3 1/2 months to go!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I need to make a checklist or something...

This morning I went out for my long run and made to sure to remember my bodyglide and ipod. However, I forgot my Garmin. Where is my head these days?! I was only about 5 mins from home but I didn't want to wait any longer, its going to be pretty warm today. I knew that from where I was to the Kaiser Permanente building was about 3.7 miles, and I had planned on doing 7 miles, so I figured I would just run to that intersection and back and look up the exact distance on Google Maps.

I had planned on doing an 11:30 pace but I had no way of telling my pace as I ran. My natural running pace is around 9:30-10, so I purposely ran slower than that, but that was all I could do. On the way back I passed a pair of women who were also out running and one of them said I had a cute outfit :) I was wearing my light purple running tank top and skirt. They were both wearing long black pants. They must have been so hot! I was getting pretty warm even though it was probably only around 70*.

I made it back to the car in about 81 1/2 minutes. I looked up the distance online and it was 7.4 miles down and back. I added .1 miles for the extra distance added weaving around people/trees, and going through cross walks and behind cars waiting at stop lights (I don't like to stop unless I absolutely have to). So 7.5 miles in 81:30, a 10:52 average. A little faster than planned, but I don't feel tired or sore so I am happy with it.

It was actually nice not having my Garmin, I wasn't worried about my pace or how far I had gone. I was just running and having fun. It was a gorgeous morning, sunny with a light breeze. A few rolling hills. Overall a great run!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Lately I have been re-evaluating where I am in my running and where I want to be. I have made progress this year, but with training for fall races starting, I want to make sure I get as much as I can out of my training and running before race season ends. I've been toying around with a few goals but I think I am more likely to stay focused on them if I write them down for everyone to see.

Goal #1: Run a sub-2 hour half-marathon.
- My current PR is 2:19.45 (May), and since then I have gotten faster. According to McMillan's running calculator, I need to do my 400 repeats at 7.8-8.2mph in order to acheive this pace. I started doing speedwork 2-3 months ago, and I am up to 7.6mph for my 400s, so I think I can do this. I am hoping for a sub-2:10 half at Portland in October, and to get my sub-2 at a spring half TBD.

Goal #2: Run a half-marathon with no walking.
- My current race strategy is to take 1-2 minute walk breaks at 3.5, 7, and 10 miles so I can eat my Power Bar. I think physically I can run all 13 miles without walking (I have run 9 miles+ without walking during training), but mentally I use those walk breaks as a crutch. I don't have a goal race for this yet. Maybe Rock n Roll Portland in May, I am running it with my husband and it would be nice to not have to walk.

Goal #3: Run 2 half-marathons in 2 days.
- This WILL include walking. Where I live, during July 4th weekend there is a "Firecracker Triple" - 3 half-marathons in 3 days over the holiday weekend. I have wanted to do something like that ever since I found out about it. And, bonus! It would qualify me for the 4th level of Half Fanatics. In June, I walked a half-marathon with my mom, and the next day I ran 8 miles and felt fine. So I think I will be fine with the mileage, as long as I take it slow and include lots of walking. I have my eye on 2 races over Labor Day weekend. If I can get in a few back-to-back long runs before then I think I will try it.

Goal #4: Run a marathon.
- Last fall I registered for the Eugene Marathon as my first marathon. I was supposed to start training at the end of December/start of January, but I ended up moving across the county, buying a house, getting a promotion, etc. and it was not the right time. I did the half instead and had a great time. But, I am still drawn to complete a full 26.2. I don't know when this will be. I think after I complete goals 1-3.

It looks like I have my work cut out for me! I like to always have a race to focus on so I think it will be good. Keep me on track.

Anyone else having any running goals they are working towards?

Friday, July 22, 2011


I got off work early today and decided to do my 4-mile run outside instead of on the treadmill, since the weather was so nice. My mind must have been somewhere else when I left the house though! I forgot my ipod and my water bottle, and I forgot to put on bodyglide and sunscreen. I don't know what I was thinking. I'm surprised I remembered to tie my shoes!

The run went ok, despite the mild dehydration, minor sunburn, and chafing between my legs. My average pace was 10:06, not too bad considering it was in the high 70s and I did 2 hours of Zumba and African Dance last night. I would LOVE to run my next half at around a 10 minute average. I think I have a little work ahead of me!

I am still working off all the fun from my birthday weekend :) I think in another week I will be back to where I was. Definitely worth it though!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Things you can only do on your birthday

Order a cinnamon roll that's half your size.

Shop till you drop.

Eat 7 servings of frozen yogurt with every chocolate topping possible.

Force your husband to watch less-than-great movies solely for the special effects.

Get one of each mini dessert at Whole Foods to make your own dessert buffet.

Best birthday in a while I would have to say!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Hello Running, I've Missed You

Today I was finally able to run again. Whoo-hoo! I was going stir crazy after almost 5 days of no running. It is the longest I have gone since December.

As a reward, I made donut muffins. I had them once at Sweet Tomatoes and quickly became obsessed. I couldn't rationalize spending $8.95 just to eat muffins though, so I looked up a recipe online.

They turned out pretty well.

Yum! Now the hard part, stopping myself from eating 6 in one sitting. Not sure how well this is going to go...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Getting Dirty

Short version: Today I ran the hardest half-marathon ever*!

*of the 6 halfs I have done

Long version: I have been toying with the idea of joining Half Fanatics, and the criteria for the second level of membership is to do 6 half-marathons in 6 months. I have already done 3 in 3 months, so I am trying to keep the streak going.

I found the Fueled by Fine Wine Half-Marathon on (a Northwest race website). I had a free Sunday so I decided why not. I signed up last weekend, and then I read comments from last year's race.

the most challenging

hills were more challenging than anticipated

You won’t run your best time


I figured a PR was out the window, so I didn't taper this week or do my usual carbo loading routine. That was nice because usually races totally interrupt my workout schedules and I end up gaining weight from eating more before and after the race.

The race was TOUGH. About a third of the runners started walking after the first mile. Basically the entire course you are running uphill or downhill. Usually I love running downhill because I can make up time, but these downhills were STEEP, and often gravel or dirt/vineyard paths, I was too afraid to really let loose. I turned my ankle at least 4 times but surprisingly no injuries! There were a few hills when I looked up and either no one was running at all, or only 1 or 2 people were running, out of 30-50 people in front of me. So I felt better about walking. I think I could have run more than I did, but I kept reminding myself that this was not my "A" race, and I didn't want to hurt myself or end up so sore that I had to take a few days off this week.

The good thing is, I am definitely getting faster. On the few flat stretches there were, I was able to hold a pace over a minute faster per mile than my average at Eugene. So my next good (flat) half, I could probably cut a few minutes off. Yay!

I got so dirty during the race too, I have never done a race on dirt like that before. My entire body was covered in a thin layer of dirt.

Overall I feel ok about the race. I do not think I will do it again, even though its only 20 minutes from our house. The after party was a huge wine tasting event, and our goodie bags had tons of free wine tasting cards and wine discounts, but I don't like wine. I may have liked it better if I liked wine. Most people there were just excited to drink the wine after.

Anyone else done a really hard and/or dirty race? What were your thoughts?

Ready to go! Hubby hung out with me before the race until he had to leave for work. Luckily the race was on his way to work!

Start/finish line. We started and ended in sand. It was weird.

This is the hill the race started on. They wasted no time.

So happy to be done!

I love the medal!

A better finishing pic once I had a mirror to work with.

These shoes were white this morning!

Back of my legs.

Yes this is after I took my socks off. Don't let my paleness blind you. Now I have awesome sock, wristband, and ipod armband tan lines.

Even my neck was dirty! Gross!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Weekly Training Recap

Sunday - Rest
Monday - Ran 7 miles
Tuesday - Ran 4 miles, 60 minutes Zumba
Wednesday - 60 minutes walking hill repeats
Thursday - Ran 4 miles, 60 minutes Zumba
Friday - Rest
Saturday - 30 minutes Abs class, 60 minutes Zumba

This week was C-R-A-Z-Y to say the least. We were way behind at work and I ended up working 10 hour days all week. And of course this was the week that I had to go to the DMV, ship packages at the Post Office, go to the dry cleaners, take the dog to the groomer, take the car in for service, and clean the house before hubby got home today. Whew! The weekend is already half over and I feel like it hasn't even started yet. Sadly a few workouts had to go by the wayside to make room for work and errands.

I would write more but this is the first chance I have had to hang out with my hubby in 3 weeks! And I guess he takes presidence over blogging :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Weekly Training Recap

Sunday - Rest
Monday - Ran 10 miles
Tuesday - Biked 12 miles, 60 minutes Zumba
Wednesday - Ran 4 miles
Thursday - Biked 12 miles, 60 minutes Zumba
Friday - Ran 4 miles, 30 minutes butt class
Saturday - 30 minutes Abs class, 60 minutes Zumba

Despite cutting back on my biking, I was exhausted by the end of this week! I was counting the minutes till Zumba was done on Saturday. I think I need to start eating more to keep my energy up, but I finally started losing weight again after a month-long plateau and I would still like to lose another 8 lbs. We'll see how this next week goes.

Only 6 more days until my husband comes home! This trip seems to be going by a lot more slowly than the last one. Good thing I have working out to keep me busy, otherwise I would be going crazy.

Today is my rest day and I am going to visit my best friend from college. I can't wait! I haven't seen her for about 6 months so it will good to catch up.

Hope everyone has a Happy Fourth of July!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Weekly Training Recap

Sunday - Rest
Monday - Ran 7 miles
Tuesday - Biked 15 miles, 60 minutes Zumba
Wednesday - Ran 4 miles
Thursday - Biked 15 miles, 60 minutes Zumba
Friday - Ran 4 miles
Saturday - 30 minutes Abs class, 60 minutes Zumba

I can tell my training is paying off, slowly but surely I am getting faster. I increased both my tempo pace and speed interval pace by .1 mph this week. Not a huge increase, but I am happy with it. Next week I am going to try to increase it another .1 mph. Eventually I would like to improve my half-marathon pace to around 9:10/mile, so far I have gone from a 12:58 pace to a 10:40 pace.

My husband is away for work and has our home laptop so I have had limited access to blogging. I have been reading everyone's, but I'm not really able to comment. Hope everyone is having a great week!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Weekly Training Recap

Sunday - Ran 8 miles
Monday - Biked 25 miles, walked 2 miles
Tuesday - Ran 4 miles, 60 minutes Zumba
Wednesday, Biked 12 miles, ran 2 miles (brick)
Thursday - Ran 4 miles, 60 minutes Zumba
Friday - 30 minutes Bottoms Up (killer butt class), 20 minutes Elliptical
Saturday - 30 minutes ABSolutely (killer abs class), 60 minutes Zumba

I have been cheating on my tri training with group exercise classes. They are just too much fun! I haven't been doing any weight training so the classes alleviate some of the guilt since they help tone and strengthen.

I can finally see my training paying off! I was able to do both of my 4 mile runs at the pace I wanted, without having to slow down half way through. And that was after starting the week with my long run and long bike.

Exercising has become so much more fun now that I am focusing on doing the workouts I enjoy and not worrying about following a particular plan. I know in the end, no one really cares about the training and races I do but me. I mean, my family and friends support me, but they aren't going to be disappointed in me if I don't do something. I am the only one that will be disappointed. So why do I stress myself out over it so much? Hubby says, if I am feeling better, and I feel in better shape and more healthy and physically fit, that is what matters. Not if I do 10 half-marathons or run a 7-minute mile.

The other thing I have been struggling with is spending so much money on training. Running was expensive to start, getting a Garmin, clothes, gear, etc., but now it is pretty cheap. Just Power Bars and a new pair of shoes every few months. Tri training, however, seems to have a never-ending string of expenses. Swimming suit, bike/tri shorts, bike, helmet, gloves, pedals, shoes, wetsuit rental, gym membership (for pool access), bike tune-up and fitting, goggles, swim cap, and on and on. Not to mention the race fees can be twice as much as a running race. I am finding it hard to rationalize spending so much money on a "hobby." In order for me to do even one race this season, I will have to spend several hundred dollars. Is it worth it? Last year we were able to do any race we wanted, buy any gear we wanted. Now we have a house and a new car, and we have to pick and choose what training and races we can do. Last year I was doing races every week. Now I try to limit it to one race per month. It does make racing a little more special though, since I can't just do it any weekend I want.

These are just the thoughts I've had lately. I have a lot of time to think with all the time I spend on the treadmill and the bike :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Busting a Rut

While I love the predictability of a routine workout schedule, I have been sliding into a rut lately. Every week I do the same workouts on the same days for the same distances (except for long workouts of course). It was getting old! This week I decided to shake things up.

First I threw caution to the wind and did my long bike on Monday. Why not?

Second I added a mid-week brick to my schedule. Biked 12 miles, ran 2 miles. This means I will run 3 days in a row, which I don't think I've ever done, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Third, I am taking a class on Friday called Bottoms Up! It's a butt class. I am SO EXCITED. My favorite Zumba instructor is teaching it, and she has a really good butt.

So far I am happy with the changes. Things were just getting too boring.

If you have any other ideas for getting out of a rut, let me know!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Training Week Recap/Helvetia Half-Marathon

Sunday - Walked 6 miles
Monday - Ran 4 miles
Tuesday - Biked 15 miles, 60 minutes Zumba
Wednesday - Ran 4 miles
Thursday - Biked 15 miles, 60 minutes Zumba
Friday - Rest day
Saturday - Walked 13.1 miles (Helvetia Half-Marathon)

I did absolutely no swimming this week. That is not good. Since hubby came home on Monday night I was trying to spend a little time with him this week after work instead of being at the gym every night. We found out he has to go to a 3-week training course in GA, and then another 2-week training course in CA back to back, so he will be gone from June 20-July 23. So, getting all my workouts in seems a little less important this week and next week.

One good thing is that my mom and I did our first mother-daughter half-marathon on Saturday! It was perfect weather, around 60-65, partly cloudy, and she did awesome! We beat our time goal by 10 minutes. I loved doing this race because there are TONS of walkers. The most I have ever seen for a half-marathon. Over 150 people finished after us, so we didn't feel like we were at the back of the line the whole time. She had a great time too, I think I have convinced her that we should make it an annual event :)

All ready to go!

We made it!

After the race I went home to shower and let the dog out, then after hubby got home from work we met up with my parents for a celebration dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant, Nonna Emilia's. We were celebrating our race, my mom's retirement, and Father's Day, since they will be out of town next weekend. It was a great dinner, I love my family!

I don't have any races on the schedule for the next two months, so I am on the hunt today to find something. Any suggestions?

Friday, June 10, 2011

23-Day Challenge Update

Earlier I had mentioned I was using my alone time while my husband was gone to work on my diet and exercise routine. Then my computer broke so I couldn't write about what happened during my self challenge. But now we have a new computer so I am finally getting to catch up on blogs, etc.

During the 23 days, I worked out 1-2 hours a day (or 3 depending on the workout), 6 days a week, and tried to stick to a diet around 1500 calories. One day a week I would rest and eat over 2000 calories to keep my body from thinking I was starving it.

- Lost 11.6 lbs
- Reduced body fat by 3%
- Lost 2" in my waist
- Lost 1" in my chest
- Lost 1" around my thigh
- Lost 3/4" around my upper arm

I really wish I had taken a before picture so I could compare it with after. I can definitely tell the difference in my legs and mid-section.

The funny (and frustrating) thing is, I lost all the weight in the first 2 weeks, and I didn't lose any after that. But my body fat went down 2% in the last 2 weeks, so I know I must be losing fat and gaining muscle. That is ok by me! But I would like to eventually get back to what I weighed last summer (about 9 lbs less than now). Overall though I am happy with the results!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Tri Training Week 3 Recap

Sunday – Walked 10 miles
Monday – Ran 7 miles, swam 1200 yards
Tuesday – Biked 15 miles, 60 minutes Zumba
Wednesday – Ran 4 miles
Thursday – Biked 15 miles, 60 minutes Zumba
Friday – rest day
Saturday – Run for the Roses 5K, biked 25 miles

Running – 14.1 miles
Biking – 55 miles
Swimming – 1200 yards

69.78 miles

As you can tell my training took a hit the day I found out my tri was cancelled (Wednesday). I was also trying to take it a little easy later in the week since I had a race on Saturday, so I skipped a swim on Wednesday and didn’t do my usual long bike and swim on Friday. I had so much free time on Friday, I didn’t know what to do!

I am feeling so relieved since I made the decision to ease up on my training. Slowly the guilt is going away :) I am hypercritical of myself so of course I saw myself as a failure for the first few days because I couldn’t stick with it. But now I am enjoying having the extra time, and not worrying about how to fit in a phone call to my sister in law and a trip to the grocery store between a 30-mile bike ride and 1500-yard swim.

Next weekend I am walking the Helvetia Half-Marathon with my mom. We walked the 10k part of this race last year and had a great time. She is retiring and the day before the race is her last official day with students ever (she teaches 5th grade) so the race will also be a celebration! I can’t wait. She turned 60 in December and I think it is so cool that she is doing her first half-marathon at 60 years old. I hope we do it together every year!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Catching Up

A lot has been going on. Unfortunately last weekend our home computer got a virus and it wiped out our hard drive :( My brother is going to take a look at it and see if he can recover anything. But for now I have limited computer access. I can read blogs on my phone, but I can’t post. So I have to write a giant post now to make up for it!

Several bloggers have written posts this week about how sometimes life gets in the way and you just need a break, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up over missing a workout or eating something you shouldn’t. Boy does that apply to my life right now! By the middle of my third week of training, I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. I was starting to dread my workouts, each one less enjoyable than the last. Then I got an email that the sprint tri I am signed up for on June 26th is cancelled. I was really upset, I have been training for 2 months and I had just paid for my wetsuit rental! But then I thought maybe it is a blessing in disguise. Training was starting to take over my life, and now I can put the breaks on for awhile. Actually spend time with my husband when he gets back from his deployment (2 more days!).

I had hoped that if I got through my 3 week training “boot camp,” I would be able to stick with it for 13 more weeks and do a 70.3 distance in September. (I have high ambitions!) I think physically I am capable of doing it. I have run 4 half-marathons, and right now I can swim a mile and bike 25-30 miles. But I don’t want to spend my entire summer training and having no life. My husband was training for a 70.3 in August, but he may be deploying again around that time so he had to withdraw. Part of the fun of training is doing it together, so losing that aspect would make it even less enjoyable.

I think I will still do a tri in September, but an Olympic distance. I can swim, bike, and run all of the distances individually so I just have to work on putting them together. It will give me a goal to work toward, but I will still get to have a life and enjoy summer. It doesn’t last long in Oregon! And I will only need to train 4-8 hours a week instead of 8-15. This is much more manageable, I am used to training 4-5 hours a week for half-marathons.

In other, more exciting news…I ran a 5k today and got 3rd place in my age group, 20-29! My last 5k was over a year ago when I had just started running, so I knew I could get a good PR. Since then I have cut 13 minutes off my 10k time and 30 minutes off my half-marathon time. My “pie in the sky” goal was a sub-30. It was supposed to be around 60* at the start (high of 84* today, very warm for here this time of year), so I wore a white tank top and black skirt. The race didn’t start until 8:30, and it was already very sunny and warm by then. I was surprised how warm. We had timing chips so I wasn’t worried that I was about 100 people back from the start. Then when we actually started, I saw there weren’t any timing mats at the start, only at the finish. So our times were still gun times. Oh well.

I got stuck behind a few people but was able to weave around and find a good pace. I knew I would need around a 9:40 pace, but I just tried to find a hard-comfortable speed. For some reason the sun always makes me feel nauseas when running, this started about half-way through. The course was described as “mostly flat.” Yeah right! I lost count of the uphills shortly after the 1-mile marker.

Either the course was mis-marked, or my Garmin was off. Either way, I thought I had blown a sub-30 so when I started to feel really sick during the last mile I stopped to walk for a few seconds. Twice. Then all of a sudden we were making the last turn and running into the stadium (it was held at a high school football field). As I entered the finishing shoot these two women were walking side by side and wouldn’t move to let me pass! I had to say “excuse me” a couple times before they let me through. Grr!

Anyway the clock was still at 59 minutes and some seconds when I went over the timing pads (we started 30 minutes after the half-marathon) and I could not believe it. I am suspicious about the course. I may have started my Garmin a little bit after the start line (there was no clear start line), but it only measured 2.97 at the end, 29:22. My official time was 29:30. I figure, even if the course was a little short, I still would have gotten a time in the 30-minute range, which would be a 3+ minute PR. And we all ran the same course, so I was still the 3rd fastest woman age 20-29! The two women in front of me came in around 28:30. My goal for next year, first in age group! It is a small race, so it may be possible. There is also a 10k and half, so a lot of the faster runners do those instead, leaving the 5k to us slower runners :)

Man this is a long post! It was a bad week to not have a computer, with so much to write about. I guess I will wrap it up. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Tri Training Week 2 Recap

Sunday - Ran 6 miles, walked 8 miles
Monday - Biked 15 miles, swam 1200 yards
Tuesday - Ran 5 miles, 60 minutes Zumba
Wednesday - Biked 15 miles, swam 1200 yards
Thursday - Ran 5 miles, 60 minutes Zumba
Friday - Biked 25 miles, swam 1500 yards
Saturday - rest!

Running - 16 miles, 3:00.28
Biking - 55 miles, 3:43.42
Swimming - 3900 yards, 1:59.23

73.22 miles, 8:43.33

Yay another week of workouts done! I was so happy I followed my training schedule exactly. Last night I wasn't sure how I was going to fit in my long bike and swim after work, but since it was Friday it was ok to stay up till midnight to fit it all in :)

I am feeling a lot better this week than last week. My schedule adjustments have really helped, I now have a little free time every night. And I'm not waking up exhausted every day. Yay!

My mom and I are walking a half-marathon in 2 weeks so I am trying to fit in a few long walks before then (thus the 8 mile walk on Sunday, and upcoming 11 mile walk tomorrow). I feel more sore walking that long than running! Overall I have been pretty pain free with all my training and I feel very lucky for that.

Hope everyone has a great Memorial Day weekend!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I had to schedule time to write this blog

I don't know how you people have lives outside of training! After working, running/biking/swimming, and taking care of errands and household tasks, I am lucky if I have an hour of spare time each day.

I am adjusting my work schedule so I can run during the day, and hopefully that will free me up a bit. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I now have a 90-minute lunch so I can do my 5-mile run. Then if I go to Zumba at night, I don't have to run afterward. My legs were totally spent after all the squats, lunges, and kicks during Zumba and it was such a struggle to get on the treadmill. It also means I can still sleep in till 8 on those days :)

And on Wednesdays I will be getting up early to bike before work. So after work I will have some time to myself, instead of going straight from working to biking to swimming.

I seriously could not imagine doing all this training and having kids, or being in school. I am in awe of people that do.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tri Training Week 1 Recap

Sunday - Ran 5 miles
Monday - Biked 15 miles, swam 1200 yards
Tuesday - 60 minutes Zumba, ran 5 miles
Wednesday - Biked 15 miles, swam 1200 yards
Thursday - 60 minutes Zumba, ran 5 miles
Friday - Biked 20 miles, swam 1400 yards
Saturday - REST!!

Running - 15 miles, 2:48.21
Biking - 50 miles, 3:26.25
Swimming - 3800 yards, 1:59.18

67.16 miles, 8:14.04

Whoo-hoo! First week of tri training complete! My paces weren't anything special, right now I am just trying to get my body used to training at this level. I did have my fastest 1000 yard time last night, 28:48. Still slow, but almost a whole minute faster than my previous fastest time!

Today I am going to enjoy resting. My body has been so tired getting out of bed the last few mornings, I need it. Hope everyone else had a great week!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Being a triathlete is tough!

I am only half-way through my first week of "real" triathlon training and I am drained! I've been training for my sprint tri for about 6 weeks, but that was mainly half-marathon training sprinkled with some bikes and swims. This week I started doing 3 runs, 3 bikes, and 3 swims per week, at longer distances. It's exhausting! For now I have been running 5 miles, biking 15 miles, and swimming 1200 yards. I don't know how you triathletes do it! Good thing my husband is gone right now, he definitely would be a workout widow this week. I spend about 2 hours every evening working out. And I haven't even gotten to my long workouts for the week!

I am still having trouble speeding up in swimming. I have worked on my technique somewhat, but I am still SO SLOW. I wish they had mirrors in the pool so I could see what I look like and what I'm doing wrong. At least I am covering the distance, so I am happy about that.

I had mentioned before that while my husband is gone for a few weeks (4 days down, 19 to go!), I am using this time to focus on training and eating right. I am also using this time as a test. If I can make it through my new training schedule feeling good (and not going crazy or hating it), I get to sign-up for a longer distance tri in September! So hopefully the next 3 weeks go well :)

Monday, May 16, 2011


Though lots of things happened last week, I would like to highlight one in particular.

My beautiful niece Katie Elizabeth came into the world on Friday! She is adorable and looks just like my brother. So maybe she will look like me when she's older!

Coincidence of coincidences, at exactly the same time that my sister-in-law was pushing this little miracle out, one of my best friends from high school was delivering her son AJ! The babies were born about an hour apart. One was due on the 18th and one on the 19th, and they both came early. It was a very happy day!

In not so happy news, my husband left yesterday and will be gone for a little over 3 weeks. I am using this time to focus on training and get my diet back in order. It has been a crazy few weeks and I have definitely fallen off the wagon when it comes to eating. So far I am doing great, yesterday and today I have stuck to my eating and training plan perfectly. My friend Rachelle also asked me to do Zumba with her on Tuesday and Thursday, and I will be upping my training to 3 runs, bikes, and swims each week. So I am set for workouts as long as I follow the plan!

I'm off to watch more videos of my niece :D

Thursday, May 12, 2011


I used to think I was a slow runner, until I got in the pool. Turns out I am a much slower swimmer than I am runner. Even with cutting 5 minutes off my 1000 yard time, I am still just under 30 minutes.

Last night I was feeling good after I hit 1000 yards so I kept going...and going...until I swam a mile! A teeny bit over a mile actually, 1800 yards (1.02 miles). Whoo-hoo! However, it took 59 minutes and 45 seconds. So essentially, my swimming speed is 1mph. It makes my current race pace of 5.7mph seem super fast though!

We were supposed to be on vacation this week, but then life happened. We are finally heading out of town today, I'm so excited! Our hotel has a gym and a pool so I can still get all my workouts in. I was supposed to run this morning before we leave but my quads are not having it, they are still pretty sore from my speed workout on Tuesday. Hopefully I can get my run in tonight at the hotel. And tomorrow, the eating starts! We are going to Seattle so we will definitely be hitting up our favorites at Pike Place Market...delicious sandwiches, farm fresh produce, and baked goods as big as your head!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Training Week 17 Recap (Recovery)

Sunday - Eugene Half-Marathon
Monday - rest
Tuesday - rest
Wednesday - Biked 7.5 mile, swam 1000 yards
Thursday - Ran 2.5 miles @5mph
Friday - Biked 16 miles
Saturday - Ran 4 miles @5.2mpg, 35 minutes elliptical

I felt pretty blah this week. I was pretty sore Monday and Tuesday, then loosened up mostly by Wednesday. My IT band has been very tight, but this has just become a fact of life lately. My next training cycle starts on the 15th so I am taking this week and next week to play around with my training, catch up on sleep, etc. before I have to get serious.

Today we had my parents over for a Mothers Day brunch. So much food! I made 3 kinds of muffins (cinnamon crumb cake, almond poppyseed, and orange chocolate chip), hubby made cinnamon raisin french toast and chocolate chip pancakes, and I got turkey sausage and fresh fruit at the store. I am stuffed! We have lots of leftovers, I will probably be eating brunch for dinner. Not that I'm complaining!

Hubby and I have this week off. We don't know exactly what we are going to do yet. He is leaving for a 3-week deployment next Sunday so I am just glad to have the time together.

Happy Mothers Day to all the moms out there!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I hate taking rest days. Since I am about to start a pretty busy training schedule in a week or so I figured I should listen to my body and give it what it needed. This week it needed sleep, food, and rest.

Monday was an easy day to rest, we were driving back from Eugene and then I was busy stuffing my face and falling asleep on the couch the rest of the afternoon.

Tuesday I had to fight the urge to head over to the gym. It helped that there was a new Biggest Loser on. And that I had an awful day at work and sitting on the couch eating cookies seemed very appealing.

Wednesday, I had had enough. I needed to sweat! I didn't want to do anything too crazy since I was still only 3 days out from the race, so I did an easy 35 minute bike and 35 minute swim. My swim was agonizingly slow, I don't think my legs are back to normal yet. At times I wasn't even sure if I was moving forward. I was tempted to do more than 1000 yards, until I got the worst foot cramps of my life at 950. I was determined to get to 1000, though I probably looked ridiculous doing a combination frog-kick and crawl stroke for the last lap.

Tonight I will be doing my first post-race run, 3 miles at the blazing speed of 5mph. My friend Rachelle invited me to Zumba but after attempting some of the moves in my kitchen, I was pretty sure I wouldn't make it through class un-injured. And I kind of feel like being a hermit tonight. Hubby is gone for work and watching Greys Anatomy while obsessing over tri training plans sounds like a perfect way to spend the evening. Also I may or may not have eaten 4 snack size bags of Doritos and I can't get the orange out of my fingernails.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Eugene Half-Marathon Race Report

The night before the race did not go great. I got in bed around 9:15, hoping to be asleep by 10. My brain wouldn’t turn off, I kept thinking (of all things) where we should meet up with our friend for lunch after the race. When I looked over at the clock it was after 11! Then I started to stress out about falling asleep. I would sleep for awhile and wake up for awhile. I know I looked at the clock during the 1, 2, 3, and 4 o’clock hours. Finally the alarm went off at 5 and we got up. I’m guessing I got about 3 hours of good sleep.

I woke up, ate my half bagel with peanut butter, checked the weather report for the 10th time, and got dressed. I put some music on to get us pumped up and was dancing around in my running capris and sports bra. Hubby probably thought I was ridiculous.

Do you think we brought enough carbs to the hotel?

I had my power bar at 5:30, took some obligatory pre-race pics, put on my sweatshirt and sweatpants over my race outfit, and we left the hotel a little after 6. We were only about a mile from the race start so we walked over. It was cold! Some people were in shorts, I don’t know how they did it.

When we got to the race we stripped down and got in line to check our warm clothes bags. This was one area in which race planning was less than stellar. Some 9000 people (expected total) had to cram through a 4-foot gate and wait in line while 2 people checked bags. At least once we were inside, a nice volunteer let us use the porta potties instead of having to wait in line at the porta potties we were supposed to use by the starting corrals.

We got into our corral. Again, not the best planning here. There were only two corrals for runners, so there were thousands of people released at a time (there was a separate corral for the smaller group of people walking the race). The race started about 10 minutes late, with very little to-do. I didn’t even hear a sounding bell or airhorn or anything, we just started moving.

It was very congested. And some of the walkers decided to start in the runners corral for some reason. The crowds didn’t thin out until about 2 miles in. Our first mile was 11:13, our slowest mile of the race, due to not being able to go anywhere or get around walkers/slower runners. Once we were able to find some space and speed up to our pace, it felt good. My goal was to stay between 10:30-10:40 per mile, and a lot of our miles were right around 10:30.

There was a long, mild-grade hill after about 3 miles. I had checked the elevation chart before so I was expecting it. It wasn’t too bad, we were just starting out so my legs still felt fresh. My nose was stuffed up so I had to breathe through my mouth more than I wanted. I walked for about 90 seconds at 3.5 miles so I could eat some Power Bar and take off my gloves. I put them in my sports bra so the rest of the race it looked like I had a big lumpy chest.

After we topped the hill, we turned around and went down. I love downhills! Yes your quads hurt the next day but it’s so fun to fly down them. The miles were going by so fast, I couldn’t believe when we saw the Mile 6 sign. I was a little sad the race was going by so quickly. I took my second Power Bar break at 7 miles and was still feeling good.
Cue giant steep hill at mile 8.

I had seen what looked like a small second hill in the elevation chart. The hill was not as high as the first one, but it was 2-3 times as steep. I felt like we were moving in slow motion, and my back started hurting from leaning into the hill. I had several moments of “I quit! I’m walking!” but I somehow was able to run up the whole thing. I think I said “Thank God!” out loud when we crested the hill and started downhill.

We went through campus again (I don’t think I mentioned, the race started and finished at the University of Oregon campus) and there were already people finishing the race! That definitely makes you feel slow when you have more than 4 miles to go. We went across a river and there were a few slight uphills and downhills, nothing too significant. I took my last Power Bar break at 10.5 miles. Right after this, the half-marathoners and marathoners split up. It looked like about 80% of people were doing the half distance. I was happy that I still felt pretty good, stronger than I did during my half last month. A little after we passed the Mile 11 sign I did some quick math and I worried that I wasn’t going to meet my goal of breaking 2:20. I knew I could still get a PR at least, but it would be tough to finish in the 2:19 range. I tried to keep the pace around 10:30/mile. The sun was right above us and I started feeling sick around 11.5-12 miles. We crossed a bridge and I remember thinking please don’t let me puke into the river in front of all these people. Hubby could tell I was hurting and tried to be encouraging. We only had around a ½ mile to go, but it felt like it could have been 10 miles. I knew it was going to be close to 2:20 if we kept the same pace.

The first marathon finisher came by in the other lane when we had about ¼ mile to go. The cool thing about this race is that it finished in Hayward Field, literally in the footsteps of legends (the race tagline). I started sprinting as we entered the stadium for the final few hundred feet. I feel a little misty-eyed writing this lol. As we rounded the corner into the straightaway my Garmin said 2:19.11. Could I make it? It seemed like we had a ways to go but hubby said I was going to get my 2:19! There were cheering spectators in the stands, and an announcer was saying people’s names as they crossed one of the timing mats. I heard him say “From Hampton, Virginia…” and our names! (We still lived in Virginia when we registered last fall.) I raised my arms and cheered as we crossed the finish line, I didn’t even check my watch until after we passed through. It said 2:19.47. I was SO HAPPY! Hubby said “you did it!” and hugged me. I blissfully took a medal from one of the volunteers, and then clumsily dumped half a bottle of water down my front trying to gulp it down. We had to take off our timing chips to turn them in, then the free food started! We got water bottles of course, and chocolate milk, pancakes, cookies, clif bars, and chips. They also had bagels, bananas, and peanut butter.

One cool thing was that they had a table where you could get a print-out of your official race results. Though we crossed the finish at the same time, hubby’s official time was 1 second faster than mine. My official time was 2:19.45. A 2 minute, 12 second PR from my race last month, and overall a 30 minute, 10 second improvement from my first half-marathon (2:49.55, RnR Virginia Beach).

2:19! Never thought I'd see the day.

After the race we walked back to our hotel, showered, and hurried over to one of our favorite Eugene restaurants, Glenwood, to have lunch with our friend Kat who is graduating from law school this week! We spent the rest of the day eating whatever we could get our hands on. And watching Fast Five. I know, I had my doubts, but it was actually pretty entertaining.

Post-race meal - vegan veggie burger with cheddar cheese and bacon, and home fries. I do see the irony in eating a vegan burger with cheese and bacon. I don't usually eat bacon, but it sounded good.

Today we came back home. It was such a fun weekend. A great race, delicious food, and overall an awesome time. And, we registered for the inaugural Rock n Roll Portland Half-Marathon, which will take place May 20, 2012! Registration just opened yesterday and it was only $55 so we wanted to take advantage of the low price. Plus, we love Rock n Roll races!


I forgot to add something important - my splits! I am notoriously bad at keeping a steady pace, so I was pretty happy with how even my miles were (when I wasn't taking a break).

Mile 1 – 11:13 (stuck in congestion)
Mile 2 – 10:32
Mile 3 – 10:36
Mile 4 – 11:08 (first Power Bar break)
Mile 5 – 10:27
Mile 6 – 10:28
Mile 7 – 10:31
Mile 8 – 10:56 (second Power Bar break)
Mile 9 – 10:27
Mile 10 – 10:33
Mile 11 – 11:07 (third Power Bar break)
Mile 12 – 10:19
Mile 13 – 10:23
Mile .11 – 1:01

I am so surprised at how even my splits were, besides the miles when I took a break or was stuck in the crowd. Overall we had a negative split during the second half, about 45 seconds faster than the first half. Of course now I am wondering how much faster I can go, if I was able to speed up in the last few miles...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Surprise surprise...

I met all my goals! (Technically).

To review, my race goals were:

1. PR (sub-2:21.57)
2. Break 2:20
3. Sub-10:40 average

My final time was 2:19.45 (10:40 average). However, my Garmin registered 13.11 miles and a 10:39 average. So, technically, I had a sub-10:40 average. The other goals I definitely met, no technicalities about it!

I am very happy with the result. I have had a cold the past several days, and woke up with a stuffed up nose that stuck with me throughout the race. I also slept horribly last night and got maybe 2-3 hours of real sleep. So, I did not have high expectations for the race. But the race turned out great! The rest of the day was very fun as well, including lunch with our friend who is graduating from UO law school this week (!!), and eating at every one of our favorite Eugene spots.

Race report tomorrow...this tired girl is going to bed!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Race Goals

As usual I am getting more anxious and stressed out the closer it gets to the race. Today while we were walking around after the expo the back of my leg/hip started to hurt. Hopefully this is not a sign that it will give me issues tomorrow. If all goes well in the morning, these are the goals I am aiming for...

1. PR (sub-2:21.57)
2. Break 2:20
3. Sub-10:40 average

At my last race I met all of my goals. I don't want to be overconfident that I will meet them this time, but I'm hopeful I can accomplish at least one of them. I know this is probably my last "real" effort at a half until fall, so I want to make it count!

See you on the flip side...

Friday, April 29, 2011

Training Week 16 Recap (Taper)

Sunday - Ran 7 miles @5mph
Monday - Biked 8.5 miles, swam 1000 yards
Tuesday - Ran 3 miles @5.7mph
Wednesday - Walked 1 mile
Thursday - Ran 3 miles @5.6mph
Friday - Rest
Saturday - Rest

Taper week hasn't gotten exactly as planned. I haven't been able to sleep well at night, I'm not sure if this is related to tapering or something else. It has been a very stressful week at work so it might be partly due to that. I had to take sleeping pills 2 different nights, and I still didn't sleep that much. I have a cold that luckily hasn't been that bad (thank goodness!) but hopefully it clears up a little more by Sunday. It's hard enough trying to breath through my nose when it's not stuffed up!

Goals post tomorrow. Time to take another sleeping pill!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Sick :(

It is so convenient that the first time I get sick this year is 5 days before a half-marathon. Way to go, immune system!

Coincidentally a few other bloggers are also sick right now, so I don't feel so alone. At least I got to work from home today (I usually work in the office on Wednesdays).

I am pretty sure I am still going to do the race, unless I get drasticly worse by Sunday. At least I am tapering so my body is getting extra rest anyway. I only have 1 more run left tomorrow and then 2 rest days. I'll use my extra energy to will my body to get better.

My eyeballs hurt. Probably time to put the computer away.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Eating, running, reading

I cannot believe how much food I consumed this weekend. It started with an innocent trip to the grocery store during which a few items of Easter candy were purchased, combined with hubby bringing home a bag full of Paradise cookies, going out to dinner with my parents at an establishment that makes the best brownies known to man, followed by a gut-busting brunch this morning that included doughnut muffins (amazing!) and cinnamon roll biscuits, topped off with additional Easter candy.

Thank goodness for running is all I can say.

I had my last long run of training today, it went pretty well. Much better than last weekend's long run, I only did 7 miles but I felt good at the end, I didn't walk any of it, and I drank less than 1 bottle of water (compared to last week when I needed 3 bottles). It makes me a little more confident for my half-marathon.

I have been doing a good amount of reading lately. I am developing a nice stack of books on my nightstand:

I can't remember the last book I read (or magazine for that matter) that was not related to running. Is it bad that I like to spend all my non-training time doing training-related reading, eating, and writing?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Training Week 15 Recap

Holy cow I have been training for 15 weeks straight!

Sunday - Ran 11 miles @5mph
Monday - Swam 750 yards
Tuesday - Biked 13 miles
Wednesday - Ran 4.5 miles @5.7, 5.5, 5.3
Thursday - Biked 15 miles, 60 minutes Zumba, swam 1000 yards
Friday - Ran 4.5 miles @5.2 with 6 X 400 (2 @6.6, 2 @6.7, 2 @6.8)
Saturday - Rest day (i.e. eat lots of Easter candy and hope I can work it off during my long run on Sunday)

Next week I am tapering, then on Saturday we head down to Eugene! The current weather forecast for next Sunday is partly cloudy, high of 61. Perfect! I am feeling much better physically and energy-wise than I did at this point in my training for my last half-marathon. Besides my tough 11-miler last weekend, all of my workouts have been pretty good.

Tomorrow I have my last long run, 7 miles, hopefully to be done after church. Hope everyone has a happy Easter!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. Keeping with theme of three, I had three great workouts today! This morning I did a 15-mile ride on the trainer before work. Then right after work I went to a Zumba class with my friend Rachelle. After Zumba I came home and put my suit on and went for a swim at the gym. I swam 1000 yards straight! I can't believe it. Exactly 2 weeks ago I had my first swim of training and I swam in 25 and 50 yard increments.

2. Yesterday and today I have run, biked, and swam (swum?) distances longer than those required in my sprint tri. I am feeling pretty confident I can complete it so now I am working on a time goal. I think right now, my goal is 1 hour, 45 minutes. 20 minute swim, 50 minute bike, 30 minute run, and 5 minutes for transitions. I have no idea if this will actually happen, but I'm optimistic.

3. I found out yesterday that my hubby has all of next weekend off and gets to come to Eugene and run the half-marathon with me! Yay! I'm so excited! He has been wanting to go to Eugene for awhile so it works out great. Can't wait!