Saturday, November 27, 2010

Outback Distance Classic Race Report....Sort Of

I loved my first half-marathon!  It was a lot of fun, and we wound up having several other friends running it (Go Team Ricky!), which was great for the post-run party.  My dad and his girlfriend came out as well, and were waiting for us with iphone video camera qued up and regular digital in hand for the last mile.  Will post pics from that when I get them :)

First of all, it was a HUGE race.  I thought, for some reason, that the race for a little smaller, so it was really cool to discover that the start line was in a main road they had shut down.  It was big enough for incredible energy, but not so big that everyone was bunching up at the start line.  I wore the new Garmin and really had a ball with it.  I really enjoyed tracking my distance and keeping track of my heart rate.

The course takes you through an older part of town that wraps along the St. Johns River, so you get glimpses of the river while enjoying some beautiful older residential homes and the massive Oak trees dripping with Spanish moss.  The morning started out kind of foggy well, so it was really beautiful.  It was also warm!  E ran with me so we chatted the whole way, and he helped me pace myself since I kept wanting to go fast, faster, fastest!  I was so glad he helped me pace, I would have been dead at the end if not.

I took a gel before the race started, which I don't normally do but I think it helped a tremendous amount.  Over the course of the race itself, I took 3.  I'm still trying to get my stomach to be comfortable with more than one.  I felt great for the first 8 miles, which seems to be my new comfort distance.  After that was when it started to get a little tougher; I could start to feel it in my hips.  By about mile 11, I was definitely tired but not dead.  It did give me a new perspective on the marathon distance.

I wore my spibelt as well, and that continues to impress.  I fit all of my gels for the race in it and completely forgot it was there until I needed a gel.  I think next time I'll let it double as my race belt as well - way better for a run than pinning it to my t-shirt.

Overall, I really loved the race. I spent most of yesterday hobbling because more than anything, my hips really hurt.   Despite my routine body glide application, I also got chub rub in new and exciting places.  By today I feel pretty good though.  Planning on going out tomorrow for a nice recovery run.

Team Ricky

E and I enjoying post-run donuts and beer

We don't know who the pilgrim is, we just thought he was awesome

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

New Heart Rate Monitor - Christmas Came Early!

So after lots of research and the resounding feedback from my fellow bloggers I decided to take the plunge and get the Forerunner 305.  It was on Black Friday special from Amazon, so my dad was kind enough to let me order Christmas early, in time for tomorrow's half!  It was waiting for me when I got home from work and packet pick up - all shiny and pretty in its box.

I'm so excited about everything it can do!  And it wasn't nearly as big or heavy as I was afraid of; it fits pretty comfortably.  It's getting its charge on right now, but I set up my user profile and am about to load the software onto my pc.  I'm so excited to try it out tomorrow and actually use it enough to figure out all the features.

On a side note, minor irritation during packet pickup.  Ok, more like I got really annoyed.  I preregistered for my race, indicated which location I was picking up at and what size I needed.  They ran out of smalls, only had mediums left, which I'm kind of swimming in.  I have to try and swap it out tomorrow morning, or order one with the late registrants.  It's a nice shirt, just not thrilled about the hassle.  Oh well, it's about the race not the shirt.  :) Less than 24 hours!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Let the Countdown Begin...

To my first half-marathon.  This Thursday I am running the Outback Distance Classic and I am stoked.  I did an 11-miler this weekend, and while I was hurting by the last couple miles, it was nothing like my 10-miler the week before.  On the 10 miler, I managed sad time of 1:58, on this 11 mile I pulled 2:04, so I am super happy with that improvement.  All of this is making me feel ready for Thursday.  It was also the first time I ran with a water bottle, which worked out pretty well.  I tend to put a lot of pressure on my right side, and this actually helped balance me out a little.  

I stopped on my way home Friday to pick up nutrition for this past Saturday's run and for Thursday, and was seduced by an adorable kelly green "Runner Girl" shirt (pictures to come soon).  I normally run in baggy tech t's or tank tops and in general in no way resemble those girls that have cute running attire.  It fits cute, so I'm excited to actually look like a girl while I run!  Plus, since race photographers seem to always miss me, my dad will be there, camera in hand, to hopefully get at least one shot of me running.  It won't be a myth that I am athletic!  Photographic evidence will exist!

I also wore my new SPIBelt for my run on Saturday.  I'll just say this - it was AWESOME.  Full review coming soon!

Friday, November 19, 2010

New PRs, TGIF and what I want from Santa

It's felt like a "light" week workout wise, which has been ok.  I did 3 miles on Monday, and 3 on Tuesday, plus some light strength training.  I've been slammed at work, and E has been as well, so everyday has felt like a heavy training day any way. Last night we went for the 4 mile easy run - and I killed it!  For me at least.  I did sub-10 minutes for 4.29 miles, finishing with a time of 41:09.  Hell yes.  It's a great confidence booster going into my first half-marathon next week, and it also makes me feel like the intervals, the consistency, the strength training, just everything, is paying off.  It's a great feeling, and awesome to feel improvement on a night I was just going out to get an easy 4 in.

I also got my SpiBelt in, so I'll be reviewing that soon!

With Christmas coming up, I'm also trying to decide what heart rate monitor I want.  I've been debating this for about 6 months, and I am between these two:

Suunto t3c

Garmin Forerunner 305

E has a Suunto t3c, which I've used and really like.  However, I love the GPS, rechargeable battery (on the 305) and wireless transmission of the Garmin 305.  I  also like the Garmin 310 but it's rather pricey at this point.  My concern with the 305, which is what I'm leaning towards, is that I'm pretty petite and have really little wrists.  I'm worried it will be uncomfortable.  Does anyone have any recommendations or thoughts?   I've looked at Polars, Timexs, etc, and these are the only two that seem to have everything I'm looking for.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Understanding why the long run is also an "endurance run"

A typical Friday night means that we make dinner and relax on the couch catching up with The Office, 30 Rock and The Apprentice.  It's about the most t.v. we watch at any given time, but usually Friday rolls around and I am a bit brain dead and in need of some r n' r before Saturday's long run.  We switched it up a little this weekend though, and went to a friend's oyster roast, which was a lot of fun.  We've been a bit antisocial lately, between working and training, so it was great to see everyone and spend some time with them.  However, all that meant that Saturday I was feeling  a little beat and pretty tired.  A little more tired than I wanted to feel knowing I had to run 10 miles.

And boy did that run feel long.  By about mile 7, I was done.  Tired, felt like I couldn't pick up my feet anymore, tired.  I have this bad tendency to not want to take gels, and I fought the first one but counted down the minutes to the second one in the hope that it would perk me up (it was a Hammer Gel espresso flavor - 50mgs of caffeine!) and I was still dragging tail.  Needless to say, by the time we made it back to the car, I was done.  I don't remember the last time I felt that tired.  I've had a string of really good runs lately though, so I figure I was about due for one that was a little crappy.  E was great through the whole thing - encouraging me when I was having trouble encouraging myself.

In other news, I decided on a training plan for the marathon.  Maybe I'm cheap, but I didn't want to pay for one, and thought I would try the Chicago Marathon training plan which looks pretty do-able, and is pretty on base with what I've been doing, with the addition of one extra run a week.  I also broke down and bought protein powder, trying my first serving last night.  I mixed it with a glass of almond milk and it was so filling!  I had it with a small meal after my run, and I really could have done with just the beverage.  Having never used it, I didn't know what to get, and just chose this one at the grocery store.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Weights and ellipticals and running, oh my!

I'm feeling pretty good about myself this week.  I've managed to pull my warm, cozy butt out of bed on two mornings to make it to the little gym in our condo complex for some early morning weight-training, and I also did 5 miles with E the other night (with 5 more slated for tonight) where he helped me pick up my pace.

So training is going really well.  I feel like I've found my stride again - literally and figuratively.  I also made the big announcement to family and friends that I will be running my first marathon in February.  They are all very proud.  I have encouraged them to start making creative signs now; they only have a few months to come up with really impressive and witty phrases to put on poster board, along with event-appropriate sequins, glitter and badly drawn pictures.  I've tried to imbue in them the competitive spirit, referencing such recent notable sign events as the widely-circulated "100 Best Signs at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear".  I also read an article yesterday on celebrity finish times from the NYC marathon, and have determined that I need to beat Al Roker, Meredith Vierra and Jared from Subway.  So all of us, not just the ones training for the event, really need to step up our game.  I also recommended this Spectator Training Guide from Runner's World.

 I ordered a SPIBelt the other day; I'm waiting with bated breath for it to come in, though I don't think it's even shipped yet.  The website said something about 7 days processing time, plus another 7 days to ship.  Oy.  But I got a cute one - pink plaid.  And I don't care what anyone says, it's not a frickin' fanny pack.

In other news, I'm really loving Rev3 Triathlon.  I know, I keep talking about them; I'm just so impressed by them.  They are one of the few tri companies that really seem to "get" what a lifestyle triathlon is - and how that lifestyle is not just about you, it's about your family and friends and everyone in your life.  They only have a few races, but there is a super cool online petition going asking them to do more, Rev3 Supporters.

And happy Veteran's Day!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Marathon Decisions and How I Discovered a Love for Disco

Ok, it's decided.  I am signing up to run the full Donna 26.2 marathon on February 13, 2011.  In May of 2009, my boyfriend ran his first marathon, the San Diego Rock n' Roll marathon and I remember talking to him about it afterwards and saying that I couldn't fathom ever running a marathon; the distance, the discipline, the desire for something like that completely escaped me.  In March of this year, I finish the Gate River Run, a 15k and my first "big" (read: more than a 5k) race, and saying "I want to run a half-marathon," a distance that even then was a little scary.  And here I am....deciding on a marathon.  I didn't think I would be here this quickly, but I'm excited.  E will be running it with me, which should also be exciting.

My father is also a marathon runner, and decided he wants to do one more.  So, he, E and I are all entering the lottery for the NYC marathon today.  Fingers crossed, kids!

On another slightly unrelated note, I've realized that (and I'm a little embarrassed to say this) I really enjoy working out to disco.  And I'm talking classic, KC and the Sunshine Band disco.  This is music I was raised to hate.  My mom was a firm product of the rock n' roll generation, and still owned a "Disco Sucks" t-shirt.  So being really into this idea of disco as workout music feels a little rebellious.  Over the weekend, I downloaded a couple new tracks.  Not many, yet, but it's coming.  The tunes are just so darn catchy.  They rank right up there with ska, which is typically what I listen to when I train.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Staring Down the Marathon

I went for a nice 4-mile on Tuesday.  It was not one of my exceptional runs (one of those where you think you're going really fast and then you look at your watch) but I was happy with it as my recovery run from Sunday's 10-miler.  I was scheduled to run last night, but bumped it to today as my right knee feels a little tweaky.  Looking forward to a brisk (record low temps!  It's November and it's finally chilly!) run tonight, and an 8 mile this weekend. 

But hey, this week has been crazy.  First Wednesday Art Walk on Wednesday, plus our organizations's Annual Meeting, lots of other meetings, working on some fun side projects and waiting for Friday...yay Friday!  I'm ready for some R n' R.

In other news, my internet spare time finds me creeping over to the 26.2 with Donna website and various other marathon training articles and sites, including new favorite, The Marathon Virgin column from Runner's World.  I haven't officially made up my mind, but I'm not sure I can keep up with this wishy-washy stuff much longer.  I think I'm there.  I think I'm ready to commit.  It probably shouldn't be such a huge decision, except I never in my life thought I would be able to do something like a  marathon.  And to think and I know that I can do it, that I have the chops and the toughness to get through it is key for me.

Molly from I'm a Sleeper Baker posted a great quote about marathon training that I loved:
"Have faith in yourself and your ability. You might have some rough moments, and that's when you have to dig deep down and believe in yourself. Be confident because you can do it."

Big Daddy Diesel shared this one:  “You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.” Rosalynn Carter

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pumpkin Runs and Halloween Fun

I should have written this post yesterday when I was riding the high of my longest race to date, the Evergreen Pumpkin Run 10-Mile.  Today I'm a little cranky because it's Monday, but I'm still really stoked about my run.  I did it and I didn't die!  It was really, really nice.  Evergreen Cemetery is one of the oldest in Jacksonville, and exactly what you think of when you picture an old cemetery (or at least one in the South):  lots of hanging moss, towering oak trees, marble mausoleums and graves dating from the 1800s.  The run was a 10 mile or a 5k, starting at the same time and peeling off after the 5k.  The 10 mile route took you twice around the cemetery. 

1st Place Sports did a good job as usual with race setup.  They are one of the oldest (if not the oldest) running stores in town, and put on the majority of the big races.  They've got the formula down pretty well, so there is almost always plenty of water, post-run grub, mile markers and digital clocks, and this race was no exception.  This particular run has been going for a number of years, with this being the largest year yet, with around 1600 runners between the two distances.

Elton ran with me, which was really nice.  It was a beautiful morning, in the high sixties, which was the coolest we've had in a while.  Overall, it was just a great morning.  There are pumpkins everywhere, and post-race you can pick one to take home.  We got the bright idea of picking one up within the last two miles, since it wasn't that far.  Two miles seems a lot farther when you have a 13 pound pumpkin in your arms (we weighed it when we got home).  Elton was a trooper and carried it all the way across the finish line, so we had the prettiest pumpkin we saw out there.  It was a lot of fun to carve it and roast the seeds after we got it home, too! 

Overall, the distance and how I felt after made me feel totally ready for the half on Thanksgiving.  It also made me feel like I can do a marathon.  So that whole "seriously thinking about signing up for a marathon" just got a little more serious.