Wednesday, May 30, 2012

wardrobe failures

My poor, battered toes.
My toe hurts.

The big toe on my left foot really took a beating in last weekend's 20 mile run.  It's pretty pissed off.  And it's sharing it's displeasure with me loud and clear.

So.....I'm still on the quest for the perfect running shoe for my big girl feet.  So far I've tried a couple variations of Asics, two generations of Saucony ProGrid Guide and the Brooks Adrenaline running shoes. None have made me happy. I am left wanting.

Ooooo, that must mean that new gear is needed!!!

Off I went to TC Running Company - one of my two favorite running gear stores.  (The other is Gear Running Store.)  They are both on the other side of the planet from where I live but are sooooo worth the drive.  I picked TC Running because it was open on Memorial Day.

the new kicks
Anywhoo, the upshot of my little shopping expedition was that I ended up with a lovely pair of new shoes. Success!!

What kind, you ask? Nike Structure. I've run about 7 miles in them so far, and so far so good.  Did I mention that they are yellow?  I think the color is officially considered "Lemon Yellow."

Such a subtle and understated color.


I've been looking for fun running clothes, too.  I don't know if I've mentioned this before but I'm running a couple of marathons this year.

It's true.

So I need fun and inspiring running clothes!

How cute is this running skirt?  Don't you just love it!!
I found a super cute Brooks running skirt on and ordered it.

I was SO excited when I saw it - even cuter in person (skirton??) than online!

I tried it on and the fit was awesome.

But the color of the undershorts.......not so awesome.

Not sure if you're aware of this but I'm getting close to 50 years old.  Due to a nasty combination of a lifetime of poor diet choices and the heartbreak of genetics, I have a hell of a lot of some extra adipose tissue in the gut and thigh areas that I'd really prefer to keep under wraps/ draped in camouflage as much as possible. (I might consider a burka if made of lightweight tech material.)
No disrespect intended to Laura Hillenbrand or Louis Zamperini,
I was merely illustrating a point.
But if you haven't already read "Unbroken" YOU MUST READ IT.
Fantastic book!!

Anywhoo, the undershorts were a huge disappointment.  They were practically transparent. No shit!!  If the skirt were to catch a breeze and fly up it would be both frightening and disturbing for all involved.

On several levels.

Serious wardrobe failure.

I sent the cute skirt back.

Guess I'll keep shopping....

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

ah, it brings back memories

Cool shirt. Too bad it stinks.  I mean it, it smells awful.
I've washed it 5 times already and can't get the chemical
odor out.  The husband says to toss it (it actually makes the
rest of the laundry stink too) but I'm holding out hope that
some type of detergent exists that will enable it pass the
sniff test (or being in the same room without gagging test) and be wearable.

The Northern Lakes Run. (Yeah, I'm still a bit behind in my blogging - this race was on May 13th.)

Anywhoo, remember when I ran this one last year and channeled the King of Pop in my thriller jacket?  This year I got nothin' like that to tell.  Kind of disappointing really. The fact that someone actually read that post and then recognized me (or actually, my Thriller jacket) at Grandma's was amazing.  Clearly my awesome fashion sense will someday catapult me to some type of legendary status. Most likely in the "fashion don't" category but whatever.

Wait, what was I talking about?  Oh yeah, training for Grandma's. Ok, so once again, I used this race as a training run for Grandma's. The weather this year was spectacular. Such a nice change from last year's rainy and blustery run.  I actually looked around this year and saw where I was running - it's a beautiful course! The day was a little too warm for me but still a fantastic, gorgeously sunny day. The same small field size as last year - maybe 125 runners - made for some quality introspection and navel contemplation time for those of us at the end of the line (read: slowpokes),  We were strung out and alone for a good portion of the second half.

I ran with a pacer for the first 11 miles and then had to drop back.  I kind of fell apart a bit at the end.  The previous weekend's trail race and half marathon left my feet battered and they bitched a lot about being forced to carry me so far.  New shoes on the horizon.  Check.

I also hadn't hydrated very well during the week leading up to the race so the warm weather took a bit of a toll on this delicate flower, too. Hydration lesson learned. Check.

Oh, and just to make things a little more interesting, I also had some strange back pain during the last half of the run. I had to stop and stretch several times. My entire mid-back was sore. Not sure what that was all about.... maybe I was running funny because of the foot pain? Whatever it was, it went away by the next day and hasn't reared it's ugly head again. <knock on wood> Whew!

Crossing the finish line! Sadly, that's my gun time for the 30k,
not a marathon time.  Maybe someday.... <she said wistfully>
(photo credit: Gary Westlund
Overall, I was happy with this run. Despite the pain, it was a pretty easy run for me. And I shaved about 5 minutes off last year's time which makes it a PR!!

And here are the splits I know you're just dying to see:

Avg Pace

Slowly but surely, I'm making my way towards Grandma's.  I can't believe it's less than three weeks away!!

Taper time has officially begun, which means I get to start obsessing about the weather, what to wear, how to trick myself into sleeping the night before the race, how to get the right food in my belly the morning of the race..... all kinds of super important first-world type issues, no?

Monday, May 28, 2012

med city marathon 20 mile run

The Rochester Post Bulletin contemplating
if the race will go on....
You know what a wuss I am in the heat.

The husband and I ran the Med City Marathon 20 miler (his longest run ever!!) as a training run for Grandma's, and holy cats, if I can do 20 miles on a day like that, I can do damn near anything!

The weekend forecast was/is crazy - thunderstorms and 70's on Saturday, Sunny, hot, humid, windy and high of 91 on Sunday, thunderstorms and 70's for today. Which day to run?? Pick your poison. I love thunderstorms when I'm safe indoors; thunderstorms while running out in the open in the country not so much.  I opted for the heat.  Ugh.

The first 8-9 miles were great and then the temp really took a jump. After that, things got a little ugly. I got totally freaked out around mile 10 when I lost the husband. I was ahead of him and turned around to see how he was doing and he was no where to be seen. I walked back to the water stop to find him and was worried the heat had already gotten to him. Turns out, he just needed to hit the porta potty. But the heat was starting to take it's toll on both of us. After that, we took thing super slow, walked when we needed to and focused on enjoying the course, chatting with other runners, and celebrating each time we passed a mile marker flag.
one stretch of the course had lots of
messages like this. Loved it!

We met some great people during the race including a 73 year old man who was on his 36th or 37th marathon (he wasn't sure), and another guy who had open heart surgery 19 months ago and was running his 58th marathon. Both were such nice guys and really inspiring. Like us, several people were doing the 20 mile as a prep for Grandma's. 

20 hot brutal miles DONE!
I have to say, the people of Rochester MN were amazing - folks had sprinklers on for us, they stood out in the heat and handed us ice cubes from their own freezers or from bags they bought themselves, and a couple of families even handed out water bottles to us. Families were handing out twizzlers and jolly ranchers too! I don't know that we would have been able to finish without the extra ice and water. The generosity was overwhelming really, and the volunteer support was fantastic. Rochester puts on a good show!!

Eventually, we started hearing from the officials that there was a black flag warning due to the heat. It really was brutal. I have never seen so many people walking a race ever. Again, the support was fantastic - fire fighters, police, medics on bikes - all would look at us really hard and ask us how we were doing. I think it helped to be in a town that is so medically in tune! (You know, Rochester MN, Mayo clinic...... it's kind of known for health care.)

a little post-run yumminess.
And I don't know if it was the heat or what, but my feet felt like they grew about two sizes during the race. The husband and I were laughing about how it felt like we had Fred Flintstone feet every time we started running after our walk breaks.  Anywhoo, the big toe on my left foot took a beating for some reason - the toenail is all bruised and painful.  I think it will match nicely with the black toenail on my right foot and all the callouses and funky nubbins on the rest of my toes.  Like having ginormous big girl feet isn't bad enough..... my poor toes look hideous!!  The badge of running, right?  I shall proudly display them for all to see.

Of course, GarminElectra quit on me again - this time after 15 miles. She was bitching about being wet for a while before she quit; I knew she was getting ready to throw in the towel so I kept an eye on her. Good thing too. Untrustworthy beyoch. I'm looking for a new running partner - anyone have suggestions?
the first 15 miles....
.....and the last 5.
I'd definitely run this race again.  It's so great to have supported long runs. I would have quit a million times over if I tried to do this 20 miler on my own!  They kept the price way down for the 20 miler, too - no special race bib, just a generic running room one, no finish line (we just stopped at the 20 mile flag, turned around and went back to the marathon relay station to catch the shuttle back to the finish line) and no medal. We did get a t-shirt though, which was cool. Seemed like a great deal to me! I really did just want the support on the long run. And we certainly got that!!  But the bling whore in me wishes we'd gotten medals after running that far, in that heat..... I'm like a black hole for bling, aren't I?

Grandma's is in three weeks!!  Bring on the taper!!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

heading to grandma's - weeks 12....and 13....and 14

What can I say?  I've been a busy girl and have been spending so much time on my computer at work that I can't bring myself to have more screen time at home.  Plus, I've just been exhausted in general, both mentally and physically.  You'll see that my training time suffered as well as my funtime/screen time. I've really missed blogging and keeping up with my buddies on but something had to give....

Anywhoo, I'm working on getting caught up - Grandma's is only 21 days away!! Twenty-One Days!!!  I'm starting to get really excited about it!!

So here goes - three weeks worth of miles.
Week 12: April 30-May 6 - crazy busy workweek with some seriously long hours.

Monday: Easy run of 4 miles at 11:15 min
workout note: nope

Tuesday: Tempo Run
Warm up with 1 mile at 11:30 pace
Tempo Repeats: 3 x ½ mile at 9:45 min pace. Recover ½ mile at 11:30 min pace.
Cool down with 1 mile at 11:30-45
workout note: didn't do it

workout note: nothing, but it was a rest day. :)

Thursday: Easy run of 4 miles at 11:15 pace
workout note: nope

Friday - walked 3.63 miles

workout note: since I hadn't run all week, and I was really in need of a fun run, I did this one on the spur of the moment. It was a good decision - I had fun and got a PR too!!

Long Run as Follows: I know this is a race, but you are going to run it as a TRAINING run!!!
TRY to run 11:15 min pace – please nothing faster ;)
Cool down w/ brisk walk. THIS IS A CUT BACK WEEK – no goofing around during the race ;)
In my defense, TenacityChris asked me if I was going to throw the hammer in this race since I "took it easy" at the Get in Gear. While I didn't exactly throw the hammer down, I did get a PR on a tough course. It was a nice mental win, too. Yay me!!
Week 13: May 7-13

Monday: Easy run of 4 miles at 11:15 min pace
workout note: nope - just couldn't run for some reason, but I walked 2.58 miles with Jane

Interval Run As Follows:
Warm up with 1 mile at 11:30 pace
Interval Repeats: 6 x 1/4 mile at 8:45 min pace. Recover 1/4 mile at 11:30 min pace.
Cool down with 1 mile at 11:30-45
workout note: YES!! I really do love these TM runs. Seriously!

workout note: core work (ouch!) and 2.72 mile walk with Jane

5 Miles Easy Run at 11:15 pace
workout note: Did it!! Super fun trail run with the running club

workout note: rest day

Long Run as Follows: WU w/ 1 mile at 12:30 pace
Run 14 miles at 11:15-12:15 min pace
workout note: Northern Lakes 30k. 18.78 miles at 10:43 pace.

rest day
Week 14: May 14-20 - this was the worst training week of all.  I just didn't have it in me for some reason.

Monday - Easy run of 4 miles at 11:15 min pace
workout note: walked 2.54 miles with Jane

Tuesday - Hill Run As Follows:
Warm up with 1 mile at 11:30 pace
Hill Repeats (can do these outside if you can find a ½ mile long hill)
4x ½ mile hill (or 3.5% on TM) at 11:15 min pace with recoveries by jogging down. 
workout note: much as I love these workouts.....nope


Thursday - Run 5 miles at 11:15 pace
workout note: walked 2.58 miles with Jane


Long Run as Follows: WU w/ 1 mile at 12:30 pace
Run 17 miles at 11:15-12:15 min pace
workout note: weather was crappy so I deferred this run to Sunday

workout note: weather still crappy so I ran on the treadmill.  I FORCED myself to do 5 miles and that was as much as I could handle. 

So there it is..... 

Clearly I've been struggling a bit, but I've also had some pretty good highs sprinkled in there,  too!  So overall, I'm ok with how those three weeks shook themselves out.  I've got a lot going on in my life and running is something I do for ME. 

A gift to myself.  

And if it stops being fun, or really becomes a "have to," then gee, maybe I shouldn't do it.  But it IS still fun, and I love seeing improvement in my times, and I love when I'm able to meet the challenge of a tough run. So I'm going to keep at it and not punish myself for not getting all my miles in.  

Sometimes I just need to remember that it's all about the journey!  

Friday, May 11, 2012

it's two, two, two posts in one!

It was a blue shirt weekend!
So I'll just cut to the chase:
Last weekend was a two race weekend.  AND a two PR weekend!!!

I'll try to make this (relatively) short and sweet, since I'm so far behind in my blogging.  I really need to catch up on things.  Oh, who am I kidding?  I'm not exactly a pro at brevity. Let's just let it go and see how things end up, shall we?

I haven't done my week 12 training recap yet, but I can tell you right now, "training" was pretty much non-existent that week. I had another SUPER tough workweek - I knew it would be - so I gave myself permission to run or not run, just do whatever I could, and not bitch myself out about it or feel like a failure if I didn't get any running done.

Anywhoo...... Friday rolled around and I hadn't run once. I knew I had a hilly half marathon on Sunday, and I wanted to get a few easy and relaxing miles in on Saturday. And I was really in the mood to run through some mud.  So I decided to run the Down & Dirty Women's 8k Trail race again. I had so much fun running it last year - it was my first ever trail race!

Down & Dirty Hills
Ummm, was hillier than I remembered.

That little climber at mile 2?  That was tough!  I just tried to relax, enjoy the scenery and not fall and hurt myself. Success!!

Saturday's Down & Dirty Women's 8k Trail Race.Can you
spot the keys and iPhone carefully concealed in my SpiBelt? 
I had a great time!  The weather was perfect, the course was lush and green, and it was the perfect antidote to an incredibly stressful week. I was a happy runner!

And when I was done, I saw that I shaved 6:20 off last year's time!  How fun is that!?!?!  (48:06 official time. Last year I did this same course in 54:26.) Whoo hoo!!

GarminElectra's report:

Avg Pace

It was fun to see a bunch of running friends and it was especially fun to be able to go out and have a joyful trail run after a crazy week. My only complaint it that it wasn't muddy enough. I wanted to get dirty!


On to race #2:  Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon.

Yeah, this one was kinda hilly, too.

The hills of the Lake Minnetonka half marathon.  
My butt was already feeling the effects of the previous day's race.

Another perfect day for running, weather-wise.  Rain, heavy rain, was in the forecast so I figured I was in for my third soaking wet half marathon in three weeks.  But it turned out that the third time was a charm - it was raining hard when I left my house - and the running gods were smiling upon me as got closer to the start line of the race as the rain lightened to a drizzle and then stopped and stayed away for the entire race! It was an hour drive so I had lots of time to obsess over what I was going to wear - my thriller jacket..... or  a long sleeve shirt...... or maybe I would just throw caution to the wind and go all  crazy and just wear a short sleeved shirt with nothing else to protect me from the elements.  (Yeah, I brought all that stuff with me so I could decide at the last minute.)  Aren't I just so daring and living on the edge and crap?  Wild thing!!

She's almost as tall as I am!
Amazon women.
I ran with a co-worker for part of the race.  We discovered we were running the same race on Friday, realized we run similar paces (although she has a faster PR than I do), and we were both running solo.  We decided to meet up and start together and if one of us was feeling good we'd just run our own race. It was fun to run with her!  We're both new to the company so we had lots of stories to share.  We stayed together for the first nine miles and then I lost her.  I thought she was alongside me but it was some other chick in the same color shirt.  Didn't see her again until the end.  Racing side note: I did some laundry on Saturday (including my running clothes from the race) and pulled things out to wear on Sunday and of course it was the EXACT SAME outfit I wore on Saturday.  Not a huge deal other than the photo ops showing me needing some variety in my clothing....... Yeah, I'm all about the details folks.

Anywhoo, talk about an absolutely GORGEOUS course!  We ran through some beautiful neighborhoods, and of course we ran along Lake Minnetonka, and up and down several hills. There were some hills on that course.  Did I mention the hills?  No?  It was a hilly course.  And though it didn't rain, it was HUMID. I was sweating buckets.  My pony tail was soaking when when I was done.  From sweat.  If it had been hot and sunny, it would have been a totally different race for me.  But it wasn't hot or sunny, and this race ended up being my fastest half-marathon to date!!  2:10:50 official time.  That's a PR, pumpkin!! And I did it in humid conditions and on a hilly course!!!  I kept the wheels on for the entire race this time, too.

I am strong like bull.

Here's the view from splitsville:

Avg Pace

So there it is.  (Not a horribly long post, is it??)
Two days, two races, two PRs.  What a fun weekend!!