Sunday Runday Heatwave

Sunday Runday Heatwave

Sunday Runday Heatwave

Sunday has very much become a “run day” for me. Regardless of weather (hopefully) and what I’m training for it seems like I’ve always been able to count on a Sunday run (give or take a few weekends here or there…. like next weekend).

At the moment I’m running when I can. My knee is still acting up (yes I know, doctor visit more than likely coming) & with dark mornings & dark nights it is hard to coordinate schedules other than lunch time. These past two weeks have been a mix of snow and ice here in the midwest making that even more difficult.

We had a random heatwave this weekend and a few hour break from the 90% chance of rain all weekend so I headed out the door with no real plan & my running shoes.

It. Felt. AMAZING!

Those who know me well know that I’m a pace watcher. I constantly am paying attention to how fast or slow I’m going. During our lunch run two weeks ago it felt so good not to watch what I was doing that I decided to do it again. I didn’t check my watch once on my run.

True signs that I’m terrible at judging how fast or slow I’m going, I was pretty convinced I was around a 9:30 mile.

I was wrong.

I decided to rock my blue Old Navy Active Compression Leggings with my Old Navy Active Half Zip Pullover. (Did I mention I have an Old Navy problem?) I wore my Tie Dye Seamless Tank under it but found that I was really too over dressed. As gross as it looked outside, it felt so good once I got moving!

Speaking of clothes (since I haven’t mentioned them in awhile) Did anyone see the Brooks Adreneline GTS 15‘s came out this week? I’m so torn on what to do with my shoes! Part of me wants to try a new type to see if my knee will get better but part of me loves my Adreneline GTS 14‘s! What would you do?

How was your Sunday Runday?

Baby It’s Cold Outside…. T25 & Other Ramblings

Treadmill Selfies

Treadmill Selfies

It is officially winter here in the Midwest. Okay, I guess it’s not TECHNICALLY winter but damn does it feel like it!

After last week’s freezing cold run I really tried to convince myself to run outside this weekend. Mother Nature had other plans and it snowed all day Sunday. As hardcore as I am, I really didn’t think 15 degrees would be a good idea. I remembered that a family member had a treadmill in their basement so I called them up & headed over.

I did a 4 mile run in just under 40  minutes, while I wasn’t going for time or speed I just figured I’d see how I felt.

I forgot how bored I get on treadmills! I did watch almost an entire episode of Madam Secretary. Has anyone else watched that? So good!

While I haven’t been running a ton, I’ve been working hard to complete T25. I just finished week 3 this morning and am feeling pretty good about it. The first week, every muscle I had was sore but now things are starting to feel a little better and I’m getting into the routine. If anyone is looking for a good winter supplement to their running I highly recommend it! I’m working muscles that I really didn’t ever use running.

We have a heatwave coming this weekend. There are rumors that we might see 50 degrees again! I’m looking forward to a run somewhere in there.

What do you watch/listen to while you’re on a treadmill?

 

Lunch Time Run & Freezing Cold Weather – I’m Back!

Freezing Cold Run

Freezing Cold Run

In my head I planned on taking 3 full weeks off after my first half marathon. I learned a lot of things from my first half marathon and one of those was “rest” when you are injured. I’ve been fighting a knee injury on and off since the end of August. Rest seemed to help to an extent but never seemed to solve the problem.

With nothing major coming up in the next few months I’m going to enjoy some shorter runs and just working my miles back up as my knee allows.

Last week I started the T25 program from Beach Body and I am loving it! It has not once aggravated my knee and I’m finding that I’m working so many more muscles. I’m hoping to continue to incorporate running alongside the program for the rest of the 10 week program.I also joined an inter-mural volleyball team for the winter so that is adding a whole new level of fun. As someone who has not played since Junior High gym class… I have a lot to learn! Any tips?

Today a friend and I headed out on our lunch hour for a fun run. I couldn’t tell you the last time I actually had someone to run with so it felt awesome not to be alone with my music and just be able to run.

It's Cold

It’s Cold

The downside, well…. winter has officially hit the Midwest. After snow on Halloween we had one last burst of fall but I think it is safe to say it’s officially cold. On the other hand, it did give me an excuse to break out my new Old Navy Compression Leggings (in Victorian Blue of course). They were so warm!

My knee felt pretty good for the run and no soreness afterwards! I’m looking forward to some more lunch runs and just relaxing for a bit. I have two more races this year but I will be enjoying them and not necessarily going for time on either.

It felt so great to be back running!

Lessons From My First Half Marathon

I Finished!

My First Half Marathon

I did it! I officially completed my first half marathon last week. I am super proud to have finished and will at some point do another one. For now I’m going to enjoy a little break from hard core training to run when I feel like it and deal with a few major life changes going on.

I thought I would share with you lessons I learned on my first half marathon. Some were duh moments where I should’ve listened to other bloggers and some where moments I had along the way.

  1. Find a training plan and stick with it. I LOVED my half marathon training plan and even though towards the end I had to do less runs so I could rest my knee it gave me the confidence to go into the half and know that I could do it.
  2. Drive the course first. I made the mistake of trusting the advertising that there were two major hills and the course was a “quick/flat” course that was great for marathoners trying to qualify for Boston. It was anything but flat. Had I known that I probably would’ve picked a different half to start with.
  3. Don’t set yourself a time goal. If you do, don’t be disappointed if you don’t hit it. I tried sooo hard not to set a goal but I really wanted to finish around 2 hours. You know what, I finished in 2 hours and 14 minutes and wasn’t disappointed. It was my first half and I hit a lot of unexpected things along the way.
  4. Really pay attention to the weather. I went back and forth 200 times on what to wear. In the end I was hot at some points and cold at others. There really wasn’t a winning situation. I think that is what happens when you run in the fall though!
  5. Pace yourself and don’t get cocky. Enough said.
  6. Have a support team and place them throughout the course. We had a lot of empty spots along the course where it would’ve been awesome to have someone cheering. While it isn’t always possible it was great when my family showed up at certain points to surprise me!
  7. Plan your water out and prepare for the worst. We had stops every 2 miles but some were either not prepared when runners came by or were out of water completely. Know what is coming and ask others who have run it in the past what the experience was. Next time I will carry water with me.
  8. Enjoy it. You only run your first half once. It is an experience like none other.

Have you run a half before? What advice do you have?

Dawn of the Dunes Half Marathon – My First Half Marathon… I DID IT!

Dawn of the Dunes Half Marathon Finish

Dawn of the Dunes Half Marathon Finish

It’s taken me a week to get the recap written up but I’ve had time to digest (and be less sore) so here it goes!

The half marathon is run throughout some streets near the Indiana Dunes. Those who are running the full marathon will run the half loop twice. To be honest, more power to those guys. I probably would’ve bawled my eyes out having to do the entire thing a second time!

I ran the half with three of my friends. We picked this particular one for two reasons.

  1. There was a Groupon
  2. It was advertised as a flat course with two hills

Ask anyone who was there that day and you’ll know 2 was 100% false! Based on looking at the elevation map for the course it didn’t look too bad. It was kind of up and down but this was where my inexperience for reading maps came into play.

The first three miles of the race were basically rolling hills. We went up and down up and down for about 2 miles then straight up. Ouch. I had trained my long runs with one or two hills in them but was not prepared for that many of them at all.

My first three miles were my fastest paced miles. I attribute most of that to the hills because I would be slow on the up but pick up the pace on the down.

I also loved having people out to cheer. This part was run through a residential area and it was so much fun having people almost the whole 3ish miles cheering us on. Hats off to the guys with their beer as they sat in an alley and watched us. They gave me a good laugh.

Photo From Ideas in Motion

Photo From Ideas in Motion

At mile four I started to hit the mental wall already. That surprised me more than anything. I thought for sure I would easily get to mile 6 before that would happen. Four miles is a light run for me. Looking back I think the hills played a big part in that. It really took my energy & my knee was starting to act up. I saw my family right about mile 4.5 so that was a huge boost for me. I was able to pick it up, smile and keep going with no problem for awhile.

Mile 6ish hit a straight away where you run two miles out and turn around for two miles back. The first part of this was kind of fun. Around this time the first marathoner and pace car were coming on the straight away back and everyone was cheering. There were no spectator for this 4 mile part so it was up to the other runners to keep everyone going.

Once I passed the mile 7 marker it became quiet again. Other runners were out there but the cheering had died down and I started to struggle big time. I had been maintaining almost exactly at a 9:30 pace for most of the last 4 miles. I pushed through and JUST about the time I hit the mile 9 marker something popped in my knee. I took a short break to walk for about 10 seconds and picked it up again.

An awesome girl stopped and ran with me for a bit. At this point my pace slowed to about 10:25 just trying to stretch out. She had a few words of encouragement and then told me she questioned why she decided to run a half, and took off. It was awesome to see her at the end though. Every little bit of motivation helped and after a 4 mile stretch of no spectators it was much needed!

Right around mile 11 I knew my family was going to be out again soon so I kept pushing through. I hit the bottom of what was probably the 15th hill at this point and looked up and they were all there including some who came out to surprise me! That was a big boost of motivation!

Mile 12 was by far the hardest mile. No spectators, no cheering…. and more hills. Seriously. I struggled my way through and it was my slowest mile at 11:25.

13.1 brought along the LAST hill of the race (yup, the race ended going up hill) but I DID IT!!!!!

I Finished!

I Finished!

Gun Time: 2:14:25
Chip Time: 2:14:01
Age Group 20-29: 9th out of 29th Place

Immediately after I finished I knew I wanted to do another half. I don’t know which one yet but I know there will be another (much flatter) half in my future. For now I’m taking a bit of a break until a race on Thanksgiving. My knee is still hurting on and off a week later so I’m giving myself some time to rest it.

Tomorrow I’m starting T25 as a winter workout program but still plan to run a few days a week (after the next few weeks) to keep up. After Thanksgiving my next race probably won’t be until March but who knows what will happen between now and then!

Things I Would Change About Dawn of the Dunes

1. The expo. I know it’s the second year so I have no doubt that it will continue to get better year after year. There seemed to be a lot of false advertising going on though. Or at least how I interpreted it! In our email there was an expo that was supposed to start during packet pick-up. When we got there nothing was going on other than packet pickup. I never got the chance to venture back inside the day of the race to see if one wound up getting setup. I do know my niece got a cool headband from someone outside selling them!

2. I mentioned this already but the advertising of the flat course. Maybe my true inexperience shows but I did not at all consider that to be a flat course. I have no actual problems with the course, it was fun to run the hills but I feel like better advertising of what runners should expect would’ve changed my training plans…. and possibly resulted in a different half for my first one!

3. The food/drinks at the end. I finished at 2 hours and 14 minutes and there were about 10 halves of banana’s left. Luckily I had grabbed two half’s so I was able to share with one of my friends who finished about 10 minutes later as they were all out. Everything but water was out at that point too. I felt bad for those who ran the marathon!

4. The photos. I got super lucky and one of the local news websites actually had a photo of me during the race. That was not the case for anyone else I ran with. We saw three photographers on the course wearing volunteer shirts so we thought more photos would be available. The only ones that we’ve found so far was the ones from local news organizations & no one is answering questions about photos when asked! I was extremely happy my brother in law got my finish photos with his cell phone. As much as I hate cell quality pictures I was really happy to have some!

Overall I think there is room for improvement. I wouldn’t run this one again mainly because of the hills, not the organization. It was a pretty well run event and I think will continue to improve each year!

Plus, it was a beautiful day and the Chicago skyline was in full effect!

Chicago Skyline

Chicago Skyline

36 Hours & Lots of Rambling

Last Run Before the Half

Last Run Before the Half

Am I being dramatic? I mean it’s no marathon, but it’s half of one right?

Eeks! This week has been crazy and I am so excited but we are officially 36 hours away from the half marathon.

OMG.

Four months of training.

Four months of long runs.

Four months of icing.

Four months of foam rolling.

Four months of counting down.

OMG

Maybe I am being dramatic.

My last run was this past Sunday. As for the month of October I’ve been focusing more on my long runs and spending my week doing a little bit of cross training here and there but mainly on resting. My IT band has been acting up still on my long runs and I’ve promised myself that after the half I’ll go see a doctor.

Runners... Avoiding Doctors

Runners… Avoiding Doctors

Anyways.

My run felt great. I’ve decided that if I stick around a 9:15/9:20 mile pace I should be okay to keep my knee going strong. The runs that I’ve been having more problems with are when I speed it up.

Going into the half I’ve said all along I do not want to set a time goal. In the back of my head I would love to finish somewhere around 2 hours but I WILL NOT be disappointed if I am over it.

It is my first half marathon and I want to enjoy the experience.

Plus I’m hoping it will result in me running another one in the future.

The training is done, I know that I can push through it, it is just a matter of getting to the start line now.

Oh plus there is an expo and that means free stuff right?

I’ll check back in on the other side of 13.1.

What Type of Runner Are You?

Super Runner?

Super Runner?

My running friends and I often have the discussion of the “creepy” people we run into on our runs. Sometimes they’re creepy, sometimes they’re insane & sometimes they have way too much energy.

I thought I’d break it down and see how many different types of runners we often see.

1. The Focused Runner
This person is the one who you inventively pass somewhere along your route. They stare straight ahead, don’t make eye contact and continue at their way too fast pace.

2. The Friendly Runner
This runner is the one who says hi to every single person they pass. There may even be a causal wave or a stop to pet the 3 dogs walking by.

3. The Bubbly Runner
Oh the bubbly runner. It is pretty much a guarantee that you will “run” into this person at the end of your run when you are gross, sweaty & had enough. They will tell you what an awesome job you are doing and to keep up the great work… oh and you look awesome. Let’s ignore the fact that they don’t have an ounce of sweat on their body. They might even bounce as they run past you. You know exactly who I’m talking about.

4. The Competitive Runner
This runner is the one who drives his/her friends crazy. They are obsessed with pace, PRs, and finding new races to “dominate”.

5. The Creeper
Okay chances are this person isn’t really a runner you see. They are the weird guy mowing their lawn in a skirt (I wish I was kidding), that truck you see driving by 3 times on your run or that person who is just staring at you when you run by.

So which one are you? Did we miss any?

Two Weeks to Go! Time to Taper!

Last Long Run

Last Long Run

I have been absent from the blog for the most part lately. Oops! I’ve been hanging out on Facebook but I have not been able to find time to sit down and blog.

Plus, I’ll be honest I don’t have a lot of running to talk about. More on that later.

We are two weeks from the half and I’m super excited but nerves are kicking in!

So why have I been MIA? Two main reasons.

1. About a month ago my husband and I decided to put our house up for sale. Huge decision and in the long run the right one but that has resulted in chaos, packing, cleaning & realtors starting from the time work ends to the time I go to bed.

I’ve been doing my runs that I can at lunch at work. It actually has worked out really well and I’m excited to try and keep motivated to run at lunch through winter.

2. With that being said I’ve only been doing 1-2 runs a week for this month. After Race for the Cure my knee has been hurting & I figured out that it’s my IT band. I’ve been trying to rest for the most part and spend time with my foam roller at night.

Last Sunday I celebrated my birthday with a piece of cake for breakfast and a 7.1 mile run. It felt so good to be out there that I was able to completely ignore the fact that my knee was shooting pains down my leg. Fun, right? I guess sometimes the freedom of a run just gets ya going!

I took the rest of the week off (rest days, driving me NUTS friends…. NUTS!) and have been spending my evenings with my foam roller. Not the same as a run. At all.

Today was my last “long” run before the half. 105 minutes. Nailed it!

I decided that I was better off pacing myself around 9:15-9:20. That really helped my legs hold up a little longer and energy wise I felt good.

Leave it to me to get cocky with myself and pick up the pace around 9.5 miles. My knee did pinch and started to hurt when I got around 8:55 pace. I decided I’m better off staying at 9:15!

I felt good overall, sore now but it felt like a good run. Two weeks to go. Time to taper!

Toledo Race for the Cure 2014

Toledo Race for the Cure

Toledo Race for the Cure

In 2003 I ran Race for the Cure in Northwest Ohio for the last time. It was my senior year of high school and I had ankle problems out the wazoo. Actually, I didn’t even finish the cross country season that year. I wound up having surgery to repair a tendon in my ankle in December and thus ended my running career.

Until 2014.

I got in shape, dared myself to run a 5k and decided it would be Race for the Cure.

Little did I know it would be my 7th 5k of 2014 and it would also be my PR… by 40 seconds!

I love Race for the Cure for a number of reasons. First and foremost it brings awareness to breast cancer. I know a number of people who have fought breast cancer over the years. Despite the drama surrounding the sponsors & Susan G. Komen I continue to do the race to support those fighting the fight.

Breaking Out the Pink Pants

Breaking Out the Pink Pants

I broke out the pink pants one more time this year and we headed downtown.

My mom and I walk the race every year and this was my sons “third” year at the race. (I was 16 weeks pregnant with him one year!). This year I decided to make it my last race before the Half Marathon.

There were about 1700 runners and somewhere around 18,000 walkers. It was insane and I LOVE it! Downtown Toledo pretty much shuts down for the morning.

At the start of the race there was more weaving in and out of runners than I expected. I knew there would be some but a number of us actually got pushed up onto sidewalks because people were trying to fight their way to the front. My first half mile I was averaging around an 11 minute mile.

Needless to say that made my finish time even more surprising!

Toledo has an Olympic medalist from the 2012 Olympics, Erik Kynard. They noted at the beginning of the race he was there with his family. With that many people I didn’t expect to see him. Somewhere around mile 2 there was a guy weaving in and out of the runners, giving high fives and encouraging people to keep going… it was him! Pretty cool to say you got a high five from an Olympic silver medalist. :)

Anyways.

I finished the race and looked down at my watch and 100% shocked myself. I finished in 25:11!!!

Final Time

Final Time

I was shocked. I doubled back and walked the rest of the race with my mom and we headed over to celebrate with a few friends.

In the end I placed 6th out of 97 in my age group. Again, shocked! Never would I have thought to be possible 10 months ago.

It was a good day for a PR. Oh, and Pink Panther was there.

Pink Panther!

Pink Panther!

Then Plans Change…

Sunday Fail Run Day

Sunday Fail Run Day

My whole week was planned out. Sunday was my typical long run day… I was going to do a 30 minute jog Monday, run Wednesday & Thursday at lunch. Rest Friday/Saturday, race Sunday.

My knee had other plans.

I switched up what wrap I was using on my knee before my long run in an attempt to kind of take care of things instead of just the IT band strap. I definitely should’ve stuck with the IT band strap. Somewhere around an hour into my run my knee gave out completely.

I tried walking.

That didn’t work.

I tried running.

That REALLY didn’t work.

Eventually my husband picked me up and I was in tears the rest of the way home and had a very sore knee.

30 Minute Lunch Run

30 Minute Lunch Run

I decided to take some time and rest this week. Overall my knee has felt better and there has been lots of ice involved. Today I went for my lunch time run and decided to do the 30 minute run.

My knee made it almost the whole way through without acting up. It did get a little sore towards the very end but I in turn have convinced myself my 5k this weekend will be fine.

Luckily we’re on a few “easy weeks” for the half marathon training. I’m hoping to just rest up and let whatever needs to rest take care of itself.

Salted Caramel Gu

Salted Caramel Gu

Oh and whoever said that Salted Caramel GU was the best…. uhhh not so sure about that. I’ll run with it though. I just bought an 8 pack. It kind of makes me want a Salted Caramel Mocha from Starbucks though…