Friday, February 28, 2014

Logging those miles

I have said this talking to other runners before, but I am a huge numbers person. I have my bachelor's and master's in business and my favourite classes were - I know this sounds weird - accounting, because I like crunching numbers. I am weird like that. And I think that is part of what gives me such satisfaction with running - of course the joy of the run is primary, but watching the miles stack up is just so fulfilling. (There is not sarcasm in that sentence. I know it sounds like there should be. But there isn't.)

So I log my miles in a lot of places. Ummm...a lot. So let's see. I use MapMyRun because I like the calendar dashboard where I can see weekly mileage and monthly mileage and each run and walk. I use MyFitnessPal for the calories, and MapMyRun automatically syncs my mileage over there. (Sweet.) I use DailyMile because it syncs the widget I use for my blog and syncs to my FB page. I use Fit4Life's logbook because they're working on an all-inclusive system that will log mileage on my shoes, show me the 7day/30day view I like, and sort miles automatically between walk/run/elliptical.

And now that I have two pairs of new shoes (my poor Mizunos were so worn out - this time I picked up a pair of Asics and Sauconys) I want to track mileage on them, so I'm tracking them here on my blog.

What's better than a new pair of runners? TWO new pairs, of course.

When I realized how many places I'm logging my miles, I felt a little crazy. But they each have features I like! And yay numbers! And lookit lookit lookit, so many shiny miles!

Am I the only crazy one? Does anyone else log their miles in multiple places? Where do you log?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tight calf!

So I did my long run on Sunday, 7 miles, and it went AWESOME. It was one of those runs where you feel fantastic. I had had a short run the day before that went really crummy so I was nervous, but it was an amazing run. It was cold, but I was out with my husband - most of the time I have to run alone so running with company was really, really nice. The plan was for me to run until I needed a walk break since I'm still working on kicking the walk breaks, and then walk/run the rest of the run. We figured that would be about 3 miles, since the farthest I've run without stopping since having the baby has been 5K.

Well - the 5K point came and went (in 33:47, which felt completely comfortable - I wasn't pushing it on pace at all!) and so I figured, we'll I'll try for running 3.5 straight. 3.5 came and I still felt really good, so I went for four. My splits ended up being 11:06, 10:57, 10:45, 10:35 - 4 miles without stopping and I was feeling great. The only reason I paused for a walk break is because I wanted to practice eating on a run again; I know from the first time I had to learn to eat on a run that my stomach is really not happy to learn to accept nutrtion while exercising at first and if I was going to end up with stomach cramps or feeling nauseous again, I wanted to ease in gently when I could end the run in a few miles instead of waiting to practice until I got up to 10 or 11 miles, when it could be another hour or two of an upset stomach. I didn't need it for a 7 mile run, but if I have a half in a month I definitely needed to retrain  my stomach!

Getting going again was a little tough, but I kept up a good pace. I was feeling really good but I would end up taking another walk break when I hit 5 miles and when I hit 6, so I ended up doing a 2min walk / 10 minute run plan. These were not the intervals I was planning, but since I was with my husband I was trying to minimize walking because I know he hates it, and I really did feel good. I think I likely could have run the entire thing, but I didn't want to jump from running 3 straight to running 7 straight - I felt great but I don't want to get hurt, so I'm going to ease into running longer distances straight just to be safe. My splits for the last 3 miles ended up being 12:47 (eating takes longer when the sport beans are frozen, go figure), 11:54, 11:45. All in all, a FABULOUS run.

And yet despite that, I woke up yesterday with a really tight left calf. Not painful - just tight. It was odd and new, I've never had that before. It was a rest day though so I stretched and shrugged it off and mostly ignored it.

Except I woke up with it again today. If I try to deeply massage it it does hurt, but it really isn't sore otherwise - just tight. I had planned another 2 mile run today but now I'm nervous...I am really, really loving running right now and who ever wants to get injured? Do I figure it was just the effects of an intense run and see how a run today goes? Give it an extra day of rest? Panic? (Wait, I'm pretty sure that's probably unproductive!)

WWYD, blogland?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Training 2.17.14

Monday 2/17 - Rest
Rest day!

Tuesday 2/18 - Run || 2 miles || 24:00, 12:00p || Treadmill || Hill workout, 1:1 intervals
Yucky but done. I hate hills! Got it in though, proud for sticking it through - for the first time in a long time I had to cajole myself to finish a workout.

 Wednesday 2/19 - Run || 2.26 miles || 25:40, 11:21p || 32*, felt like 29* || Ran 2.25
 Polar fleece, tank top, pants -too warm! But I needed the zip pockets on my fleece...I need some kind of running belt. Fanny pack? Haha.

Run/walk || 1.51 miles || 28:10, 18:38p || 32*, felt like 29* || Walk .25, run .125/walk .125x4, Walk .26
"Run" with my daughter :)

Thursday 2/20 - Cross training || 6 Circuits (12 pushups / 30 L lunge / 30 R lunge / 20s wall squat)
Definitely could tell I blew this off for a month...usually 8 circuits is the minimum I do, but this felt very challenging and I could tell my muscles weren't up to more. I am going to do this workout weekly! I am! I am...I  hope.

Elliptical || 6.2 miles || 1:05:54, 10:38 || Circuit 4, level 2
Midrange intensity, not much to note.

Friday 2/21-  Run || 3.1 miles || 35:11, 11:21p || 29*, felt like 17*|| No walk intervals!
Polar fleece, compression top, tights + pants, perfect. Great run. Didn't push it on pace, kept it comfortable, and did a double-out-and-back path since the main street I usually run is still not safe with all the ice and snow. Didn't do any walk intervals and felt very comfortable - plus, ran negative splits, first time EVER! 11:45, 11:16, 10:57, 0:56!

Run/walk || 1.53 miles || 29:03, 19:3p || 32*, felt like 29* || Walk .25, run .125/walk .125x4, Walk .28
"Run" with my daughter :)

Saturday 2/22- Run || 2 miles || 23:13, 11:37p || 25*, felt like 20*  || Run 1.25, walk .125, run .4, walk .1, run .125
Running jacket, compression top, pants - plus new Asics! Crummy run, I had to talk a walk break after a mile and again after another half mile ... just wasn't feeling great, my legs felt tired. With a long run the next day I didn't want to push it, so I cut it to 2 instead of 3. 

Hey, at least I had new shoes, right?

Sunday 2/23 - Run || 7 miles || 1:20:20, 11:28p || 297, felt like 5* || Ran 4, walked .25 to eat/drink, ran .75, walk .2, run .8 x2
Running jacket, compression top, tights + pants, perfect, plus new Sauconies. Run with my husband and it was a FANTASTIC run - I was so nervous after Saturday's run but it was awesome. I ran the first 4 solid in less than 44m, including 5K time of 33:47 (fastest ever) and then took a break to practice race nutrition - then 2min walks with 9min run intervals. Unusual intervals for me but my husband hates walk/run so I was trying to walk as little as possible - and it went FANTASTIC! 

Total: 25.6, 6.2 elliptical, 3.04 walked, 16.36 run

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Running with kids!

One of the things I absolutely love about running is how contagious it is. Since I began running, I've given numerous people in my life - including my best friend and one of my aunts - the bug. I ran by my best friend's side for her first 5K and have done a number of races with my aunt (one of which where she dragged the whole family along!). And most of you probably don't know this, but I am actually the reason my husband runs, too. He's...competitive, and if I was doing it he had to do it better and faster :P (It got him moving, so I'm mostly okay with that.)

My latest convert, however, I need some advice on. My 5 year old has decided she wants to run a race with Mommy!
My very-cute running buddy!

I love the idea, and she and I walked a lot of miles when I was pregnant; I know she can walk a 5K, so I'm not worried about the mileage, per se. But I know she wants to run, so I want her to train with me. What we've started with is walking a quarter mile, then running for .125 and walking for .125 x4, then walking a quarter mile to cool down.

Tentatively, I think I want to do that 2x a week with her and then do a longer run on the weekend, extending it by a quarter mile each week for a race we're targeting in May.

On the other hand, my husband thinks that we should start with the couch to 5k. I guess I don't know - she's really little. She just turned 5 a few weeks ago, and I am not sure I want her to have the goal of running the whole thing - I feel like walk/running is a safer plan for such a little body.

But what do you think? Am I being over protective? Have you run races with your kids? How did you teach them?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Why do you run?

I made a post on my personal facebook recently, because I hit a milestone in my weightloss. I'm not really sure why I made the post, because weightloss isn't something I take pride in. I'm not embarrassed by it, per se, not ashamed, but it isn't something I find awesome. It just sort of is what it is; I had stuff happen in life and I gained 55lbs. It happens, I'm not proud it happened, but I'm not ashamed either, and that's sort of my feeling with weightloss. It's just sort of something I do. My ticker is on my blog as a reminder to me, not a brag. I guess I posted because I was startled - when I started losing weight it felt like a really long term goal, and here I am, on the other side of that "long term" - it's weird.

Just one of my very good reasons I gained weight! Worth every pound and then some.

But that's not why I'm posting.

I guess I should have expected it, but I ended up talking with a few people - mostly family, but a couple friends too - outside of that post. And I heard a lot of the same things - "Wow, running is so good for you!" "I wish I had the time to run, I want to lose weight too." etc.

And comments like that aren't looking for advice on how to start a weightloss journey or how to start running or whatever, so I mostly smile and nod. "Yeah, running is great."

But internally I am cringing, because I never saw running as a way to lose weight. I don't run to lose weight. I kind of want to stamp my foot and go no, don't say that! I don't run to lose weight! My running isn't to get skinny! It almost felt...demeaning. Like it diminished my running, made it less by assigning it as secondary to a larger goal.

 My first half marathon. This was my goal! Not pounds.

To be sure, my running journey started around the same time as my weightloss journey - but they were never the same journey. And want to know a secret? Even though I -am- losing weight, I don't run so I can lose more or lose faster. Nope! I eat back all the calories I burn running. I know if I said that to the people commenting on my weightloss, they'd look at me like I had a third head. But it's true.

And realistically if I wanted to use running as my way to lose weight, I wouldn't be doing well. I work my butt off running - but I can eat it all back much faster than I can burn it!

No, I run for ME. I did the Couch to 5K initially because I wanted to scratch something off my bucket list - I wanted to run and finish a 5K.

Yes, it's just that simple. It was a bucket list thing. I wanted to say I did it - because in the past, I was convinced I was the girl who /couldn't/. I could never run a mile. Me? NEVER. In high school I walked the mile - and I'm not even kidding.

And another honest confession? When I came in from my first C25K workout, I looked at husband red faced and dripping sweat, and told him, "I forgot how much I hate running!" I was going to do it anyway, because I said I would, but it was just one thing to scratch off my list. I was never going to like it.

...but somewhere along the way, something flipped in my brain. I don't know when. I'm not sure I noticed when it happened. But I started looking forward to my runs. A lot. The first time I ran 20 minutes without stopping was INCREDIBLE.

And my first 5K? I was disappointed when it was over because I was disappointed in my time; I thought I could do better. Somehow there was a second 5K on my schedule. And a third...and then there was this 10K, which made me think, what about that 10 mile race on my birthday? What about a half marathon? Suddenly, my bucket list exploded. Trail runs? Marathon? Ultras?

Oh yes. Bring it on. Not so I can lose weight - but so I can prove I CAN, and have a kick-ass time doing it. That's why *I* run. That's my journey. What about you?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Training 02.10.14

Monday 2/10 - Elliptical || 2.65 miles, 11:19p || 30:00 || Circuit 1, difficulty 3 - easy recovery workout to help clear out sore muscles

Tuesday 2/11 - Run || 1.5 miles || 15:17, 10:11p || 4*, felt like 4* || Ran 1.5
Turkey trot sweatshirt, ua compression top, tights + pants - cold! But great! AND I clocked my fastest mile ever in my entire life - a 10:01. It didn't even feel hard! Where the heck did that come from??? (This was a short run - it wasn't even supposed to happen, but I snuck it in when my husband came home from work before he went off to coach!)

 Wednesday 2/12 - Run || 3.1 miles || 33:58, 10:57p || 20*, felt like 10* || Ran 2, walked .125, ran .5, walked .125, ran .35
 Polar fleece, ua compression top, long sleeve tech, tights + pants -too warm! But omg, look at my 

Thursday 2/13 - Run || 2.06 miles || 22:51, 11:05p || 30*, felt like 21* || Ran 2
TT sweatshirt, ua compression top, tights + pants - perfect! Did this run faster than I meant...was supposed to be 2 easy 12 minute miles, but this felt easy.

Run/walk || 1.51 miles || 28:27, 18:50p || 30*, felt like 21* || Walk .25, run .125/walk .125x4, Walk .26
Instead of my cool-down quarter mile by myself, my daughter wanted to run with me so we did some walk/run intervals together :) 

Friday 2/14 - Rest
I actually was chomping at the bit to workout, but I made myself rest...I knew I'd need everything for my trail race on Saturday.

Saturday 2/15 - Run || 5.29 miles || 1:49:10, 20:38p || 10*, felt like 0* 
Frozen 5. Polar fleece, ua compression top, long sleeve tech, tights + pants. Really rough run - so much fun!

Trail run = sore legs!

Sunday 2/16 -
Run/walk || 1.51 miles || 30:33, 20:13p || Forgot to check! || Walk .25, run .125/walk .125x4, Walk .26
"Run" with my daughter :)

Total: 17.62, 2.65 elliptical, 11.95 run, 3.02 walk

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Frozen 5 - Race Recap

So today was the Frozen 5 Mile trail run put on by Muddy Monk. It was the second race in my season pass that I got for Christmas and I was totally looking forward to it; yesterday they posted that the trail - a 2.5m loop that you do twice to complete the 5 miles - is covered in deep snow. Looked fun but crazy, right? That was the hardest part of the Frigid Fanny 5K last month - the stretch with the deep snow at the end!

But we went this morning and I picked up my packet - a black sweatshirt and my bib. (The sweatshirt is fine, I'm not a sweatshirt person but it is what is, right?) I had a lovely preview of what the course would be trying to get to the packet table, haha - snow to mid-calf.

Ready to go - with my slick gaiter from Kim!

Little did I know that that preview was incredibly accurate; this course was brutal and crazy and fun. I would leave butt prints in the snow no less than 4 times - in the first of the two 2.5m loops! That's right - before even being half done I'd have 4 falls! My first mile was 19 minutes, the second 18 - and if you think that pace means I was simply strolling through, I'd have to laugh because I was huffing, puffing, and hauling it through the snow. My first fall came about 3/4 of a mile in - at one point around there the snow was so deep but looked so level it was deceptive, more like quicksand, and down I went. I heard someone ask her friend how she had talked her into this race, which had me laughing!

It would be another mile before I signed the snow with my butt again, but don't worry - I'd make up for it by slipping and sliding until said behind met ground two more times within a third of a mile. I don't remember where the fifth fall came in, but don't worry - each fall was met with giggles (on my part at least - I was kind of worried I'd accidentally take someone down with me. Thankfully that didn't happen!).  I was having fun though, and passing what I thought was a fair number of people, too.

Approaching the end of the first loop, the most surreal part of the race was being passed by two guys who were finishing their second loop, because the loop split two ways at the end - one towards the finish line and one into the second loop. I knew it was slow going but what I couldn't fathom was how anyone was going double my speed through this quicksand - I had to give them huge props! 

At the end of the first loop we hit the water station and while I usually hate taking water on a cold course I guzzled down a cup and joked with the volunteers that there wouldn't be veggie dogs left when I hit the finish line - they reassured me there would be though. (There wasn't last time I ran with them or when my husband did a half with them in August, so I was pretty sure they just weren't destined for slow pokes.) Somewhere around here I joked with a photographer that I'd pretend to be really running but I'd just fall again; she laughed and told me almost no one was "really" running.

The beginning of the second loop was equally brutal physically but I was still having a lot of fun. I was listening to people talking around me, and my favourite was hearing one runner tell another "Longest 5K ever!" I can't remember her exact words but I had to smile, because I felt a little bad when she found out it was a 5 miler! Here I would get a little confused because while mile 3 and 4 were both 20+ minute miles, I was playing tag with the same people over and over - I'd pass them and they'd pass me. But in the last mile I realized ...we were about the last people on the course. There was 1 person further behind us, but that was it. I had totally thought I was keeping up with most people - I knew I'd be near the end, but finding myself at the end was weird because I didn't think I'd been really passed by more than 2 people.

I ended up going the last mile with a nice runner named Karen, who I think was actually the woman who had earlier said it was the "longest 5K ever!" We both whinged a bit that the course was brutal and neither of us had been expecting it to be this bad, but we generally had fun chatting and ended up talking a bit with two other runners around us. We ended up taking a picture 4.5m~ in because someone had tromped a heart through the snow, which was pretty cool! (I'll add a picture here if they post it - my camera battery was dead, boo!)

I crossed the finish line and got my lovely mason jar. (I'm not a beer drinker, so while I abstractly think ending up with a set of these to display is cool, I'll admit to being a bit bummed there aren't medals - there were last year!) To end this fun but killer race on an even better note - there were vegan dogs left! I have to be honest, I have never been so happy to see a hot dog in my life - I was STARVING! That was hard work and at nearly 2 hours, I was out there wayyyyy longer than I had fueled up for!

And then there were two jar..things. Whoo! Whoo?
Looking back, this is one of those things where I'm not totally convinced I understand why I found this fun, but I totally did. And - I also figured out, from looking at Muddy Monk's Facebook wall, why I never had the sense I'd be last - not everyone did both loops! So that made me feel better, haha. I may have been one of the last people across the finish line, but I did both loops! (And whee, my quads sure know it). Their gun time results aren't up yet, but my garmin says 1:49:10 so I'm just going with that...not like time matters here anyway, lol!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Did I just WHAT??

Okay, so I didn't think I could top yesterday's run for a long, long time. It gave me hope that I could break the 35 minute mark for a 5K, but I figured it was a goal I was working towards.

Tonight's training run was 3 miles, but I went the extra tenth of a mile because it was going so amazing. I ran the first 2 miles with no walk breaks at all, walked a tenth of a mile, ran half a mile, walked another tenth, and then ran it home...and I am shocked.

I didn't think I could hold this pace for this long. I thought I had a long road ahead.

But my splits:

Mile 1: 11:01
Mile 2:  10:20
Mile 3: 11:39
.1: 0:58

I felt GREAT. It was challenging, but not grueling. I could have gone longer. Maybe faster? I was trying to conserve the first mile.

I'm in shock. 35 goal for a 5K...totally in reach. But maybe too easy. what?


I did this last night, but I'm still about to burst at the seams so I figured I'm going to document this. I've been sneaking in short mid-week runs for a couple weeks now - trying to get at least 1-2 in during the week to boost my mileage a bit and while I hate night running, it's been going pretty good.

Yesterday was Tuesday and on Tuesdays, my husband coaches debate at our old high school, which means he goes from work to the school - typically I don't see him until close to midnight on those days. But this week due to a volunteer drive his office did, he actually got to come home for half an hour. So what did I do? I geared up and literally snuck in a run on a day I didn't think I'd ever be able to hit the pavement, of course!

Between handing off the kids and throwing shoes on, I ended up with 20 minutes to go run; I did a quarter mile warm up and then off I went. I knew I would only have time for a mile and a half - I wish it had been more, but I was lucky to get that! - so I ditched any walk breaks, which was fine since I've been weaning off of walk intervals for short runs anyway. I was just doing laps around my neighborhood and figured I'd cool off on the treadmill inside to save time, so I wasn't looking at my garmin at all - just digging deep and going at what was comfortable for 6 quarter mile laps.

Well - when I hit the end of lap 6, I found out I'd completed 1.5 miles in 15:17 - and clocked a 10:01 mile in there! 10:01!! I have never in my life run that fast - much less held that pace for longer than a single interval. I have NO idea where that pace came from, or why it felt so comfortable. (Maybe I was just REALLY cold? I skipped a layer in trying to save time getting dressed, figuring I wouldn't be out there long!) But the best part is not only did I knock 47 seconds off my fastest mile ever, hold a 10ish pace for a mile and a half run - but I felt like I could go further! I did 1.5 last week without a walk interval and this week I am bumping it to 1.75 (I would have yesterday if I had had more time, and believe me, I thought of stealing 3 more minutes...)  so I know I'm ready - but I just felt so GOOD on that run, I was sure I'd be slow.

All in all...this is pretty incredible for this back-of-the-packer. It's hard to believe I've come this far - this gives me SO much hope that I will not just hit my sub-35 5K goal, but smash it to pieces!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Training 02.03.14

Monday 2/3 - Elliptical || 2.2 miles || 25:00 || Circuit 2, difficulty 3

Tuesday 2/4 - Elliptical || 2.96 miles || 30:00 || Course 2, difficulty 3

Wednesday 2/5 - Run || 2.12 miles || 23:58 || 9*, felt like -5* || Ran 1.5, walked .125, ran .479
 Polar fleece, ua compression top, short sleeve tech, tights + pants - perfect. Also spent 20 minutes shoveling snow. That's cross training, right...?

Thursday 2/6 - Rest

Friday 2/7 - Unplanned Rest
Thanks for the growth spurt, baby boy! I salvaged today with Chinese food. Oh, that's not exercise related?

Saturday 2/8 - Rest
I really wanted to run today, but I knew if I went out I was just asking to do something stupid and fall or sabotage the race some other way. Don't worry though - my cat filled in for the run, and as I was going to bed, played the part of an obstacle, whereupon I promptly fell flat on my butt. My left hip and wrist were very mad at me.

This is what you get for not petting me enough, human.

Sunday 2/9 - Run || 6.2 miles || 1:13:53 || 5*, felt like -5* || Ran 5 minutes, walked 2 until the last two miles, when hills got the best of me
Cupid's Love Dash 10K. Polar fleece, ua compression shirt, short sleeve tech, tights + pants, balaclava  - too hot! With the temps the way they were I thought for sure at least a short sleeve shirt was needed, but no - apparently I was really pushing it. HARD run, lots of snow and slush on the course combined with pushing for race time. 

Balaclavas are hawt.

Total: 13.48, 5.16 elliptical, 8.32 run. This should have been higher, missing Friday sucked, but c'est la vie!

Next week I'm planning a 5 mile trail race and then 2 2-mile outdoor runs, plus 1-2 elliptical days. I -again- missed cross training. Sigh. I really need to get on that.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Cupid's Love Dash - 10k recap

Another year of my chocolate race has come and gone! I was just as excited for it this year as I was last year and while I came in around 30 seconds slower, I'm still pretty happy with how I did.

It's funny, at this race last year I was just about 6 weeks pregnant and had just found out. This time I had a four month old waiting eagerly for me to finish.*

This year though had one really good thing going for it - they offered packet mailing for $9. Not having to drag out an infant and a bored 5 year old was a win. My packet came last Monday and my shirt was...well...huge. I ordered a medium and I sort of looked like I was playing dress up. The race director emailed me and said she'd put aside a women's medium for me to pick up at the race, which they had no idea what I was talking about when I got there, but fortunately a unisex small doesn't look quite so absurd on me. It's weird, this body image thing. It's not too long ago I was pushing 200lbs on a small frame and needing XLs. Even me remembering to order mediums now when I register is a big thing; asking for smalls...that's going to take some time. The good thing though is that this year the shirt is white - all of my tech tops are dark, so the bright white on this one I think will be good visibility for evening or twilight runs.

Last year's shirt versus this one. I actually like the graphic on last year's better and will wear this one outside of running too, but I have to admit it's the jersey style tech material, so the smooth tech material of the white one is nicer to feel.

This year was different too in that I wasn't the only one I knew running it - I'd managed to drag my aunt to it too, and it was her very first 10K! I was the one who'd brought this race up to her, so she'd get a medal for her first 10K. This was a PDR for her (although she'd run 6 before) so I thought she definitely deserved one, and anyone who has read this blog before knows I'm a complete medal freak.

Of course this year with the crazy weather, their shipment of medals was affected by the storm - so they only had age group medals. And if we want our medals, we have to go pick them up from their store. (That's really not terrible, but it is disappointing to pay for packet pickup to avoid dragging my kids to packet pickup...and have to drag them out anyway! But they are giving us a $10 coupon when we pickup, which hopefully will be useful since I still need to get gear like I mentioned last week.)

 Race day itself came and I was feeling really bad for the race director; they posted on their facebook page that someone had stolen one of their aid stations at 4:30am. Yikes! Who DOES that? But off we went; I love that this race is close and has a ton of free parking...much nicer than the Chicago races I've done, to be honest!

 Like last year, the race started on time. We were told going into it the route was mostly clear except for an icy patch; with a course the same as last year, we started the first mile with an out and back that would take us past the finish line and then onto the rest of the course. It had some gentle ups and downs but nothing obscene. (Although I will say - the ice never materialized, but their definition of clear is not the same as mine - the course was full of slush and snow, so this was a harder run than my normal clear streets and was a lot more like my 5 mile run last week.) Miles 2 and 3 were also pretty flat, and I hit the 5K point at 35:43 - which is not a PR for that distance but, A) it's way faster than any 5K I've run since Miles was born, and B) I was pacing myself to finish the 10K rather than a 5K. This gives me a LOT of hope that that sub-35 5K is within reach!

Mile 1: 11:08
Mile 2: 11:39
Mile 3: 11:28
5K split:  35:43

Mile 4 was much the same - some rolling up and downs but nothing major. Miles 5 and 6 though - we were either going uphill or then slightly downhill pretty much the whole way, with one major uphill stretch until we hit the final .2, and my time showed it. I don't remember this being so hard last year, and what this really shows me is two things. First, my treadmill hill workouts I used to do once a week, even though they were only 1.5 or 2 miles, helped, and since the snow came I haven't been able to run my route that includes a major hill. And apparently, my legs knew it, as I was over a minute per mile slower for 5 and 6 - not because I had paced myself poorly, but because I was not trained for the hills this year. Oops! Fortunately the last .2 was mostly flat and I went back to my normal pace - although by then, my legs were wiped.

Mile 4: 11:33
Mile 5: 12:41
Mile 6: 12:47
10K final: 1:13:53

My uncle hasn't posted the pics of my aunt and I running yet so about a picture of the back of the shirt? Yeah!

Comparing my splits to last year is interesting, as they were 11:04, 11:51, 12:04, 5K 36:23, 12:11, 11:54, and 11:39, final 10K 1:13:27. The difference is those hills - last year, my hill training meant I rocked them. This year, not so much. If I had kept up on that hill training...!

One thing I will say - my garmin told me the course was 6.19. I've never had a course come up short before and I didn't hear anyone else talking about this, so I think I started my watch late. So, who knows.**

One other note - the mile markers in this race were wrong. That was true last year too and I forgot - but I felt bad for the runners who didn't know that. The first mile marker was at 1.3 according to my garmin - the remaining markers were at the .9s, so 1.9, 2.9, etc. It was a little irritating but not a big deal.

But overall, despite the slower time I actually feel like - with one glaring exception (*coughsHILLScoughs*) I'm becoming a stronger runner. If nothing else, considering this was my third ever 10K, I was way faster than my first 10K, which was 1:17:08 in October of 2012!

*Umm...very eagerly. He should have slept through the whole thing, but he apparently woke up about 10 minutes after the race started, which means he spent an hour crying for mama...bleh. Stamp mom of the year on my forehead...for the future we know, even if baby is sleeping, wake him up to feed him, even if you think he should sleep for at least 2 hours based on his normal schedule. Lesson learned.

**Although now that I look, my garmin last year came up with 6.19 too...?

Friday, February 7, 2014

2014 Goals

*takes a deep breath*

I'm going to do it. I'm going to dedicate 2014 to two big running goals.

1) Sub 35 5k

2) Des Plaines River Trail Race Marathon that I've written those, I'm extremely nervous to see them staring back in black and white. They're so...stark.

But I feel like I'm busting out of my skin, ready to grow. I feel like I can do both of these. So here's my plan of attack:

Sub 35 5K:

  • Wean off the walk/run intervals for short runs. I used to be able to run 5 slow miles with no walk breaks, but I'm not back there yet. Right now I can go 1.5 miles without a walk break - I've been increasing that .25 miles every week on my first run of the week. Next week I plan on going up to 1.75. 
  • Do speed drills once a week. (Yuck!) I don't have a track I know of that I can access, but a lap around my neighborhood is .25 miles. I can work with that. 
  • Do a treadmill hill workout once a week. My treadmill is manual and permanently inclined; everywhere I run is flat or has gradual inclines/declines. My treadmill is a whole lot more like running hills. So as much as I hate it - I feel like running on this once a week, which I was doing before I got pregnant, will help make me stronger. 
  • Target a flat/fast 5K course at the end of March. I'm open to suggestions here!


  • Train for a half marathon in April
  • Sign up for marathon
  • Strength train 1-2 times a week
  • ....? I'm actually not sure what else to do now. Once my base mileage is up to my half I intend to keep it there, so starting from scratch on a training plan for a marathon wouldn't make sense. This will require more thought and research...

Well, I'm intimidated!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Let's talk about...gear.

So let's talk about running gear for a minute. (Or longer. That's cool too.)

Okay - so, I know that getting fitted for good running shoes is a must. And a good sports bra for women is another must. (Especially bustier women. I actually just replaced mine, hopefully it arrives this week!)

I'm looking at you, Fiona.

But beyond that there are a whole lot of preferences and fashion statements and Always do this'es and Never do that's. I started running in August 2012 with the Couch to 5K - I used yoga pants, cheapo gym shoes, a generic uni-boob compression sports bra, and cotton camis. I quickly ditched the cheapo shoes when I got shin splints, and snagged two tech tops for $5 on clearance, but until it got cold that's pretty much what I wore. When I got fitted for real shoes, I got some generic wicking athletic socks too. Once it got cold I added a running jacket I picked up from TJ Maxx with a windbreaker layer and an Under Armour compression top for cold weather, and a baselayer pair of tights made of a merino blend. (Well, I did also buy a maternity running skirt so I could have something to wear while pregnant and running, but I'm not going to count this in this total since it definitely doesn't help me now!) All said, other than shoes I've spent less than $70.

 Said running jacket! It's bright orange in the body, and has thumbholes. Thumbholes! That makes me a real runner, right?

With much of a pregnancy spent running and a year and a half of running behind me minus a hiatus to recover from the c-section, I think it's about time I invest in better gear. Most of my running stuff is from races. I have:

  • Polar Fleece pullover - from the Polar Dash 2013
  • Fleece headband for my ears (I can't stand hats!) - from the Track Attack 2012
  • Sweatshirt - from the Turkey Trot 2013
  • And a bunch of tech tops from the races I've done.

As much as I hate spending money on myself - and I'm due for another pair of shoes, my waverider 15s are definitely ready to be replaced (they're going to be my trail shoes, for getting filthy, haha!) - I think it's time to get some gear that will make my life a bit easier, if for no other reason than at this point I've lost more than 40lbs since my running journey began and pants are falling down. (TMI? Maybe...)

 We'll just call them well-loved..and yes, the tread on the outer edge of the front of my foot wears first. The running store told me I supinate.

So here's what's on my mind, and I'd love opinions. First, socks. I do have a pair of swiftwick compression socks that I won in a contest from Jill over at Fitness, Health and Happiness in Dec of 2012 (I wore them to my first HM and broke the #1 running rule - don't wear anything new on race day! - though I suffered to negative effects, fortunately). But I see all these cute outfits at races with knee-high socks - calf compression socks? Or just decorative? I don't know, but I do think the high socks would stop the rubbing raw the back of my poor ankles occasionally get! What do you like to wear when you run?

And second, running skirts versus running in just tights versus those skirt/capri combos versus capris versus whatever. What are you most comfortable running in and why? Got a brand recommendation for me?

Then of course, there's shirts. But you know...I actually kind of like using my race shirts. But feel free to share if there's something you love!

Any other running gear you love that I should look at?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Weekly recap

I know, I know. I rarely post, and now two in one day. But I've had a lot of running stuff on my mind and if I'm honest I could probably write four posts today - plus the baby is taking a very long afternoon nap which is unusual - so bear with me.

I've been thinking of making a weekly post like this for a while - it seems like most running blogs I read do, but I've never been one to do it because others are and I kind of felt like I'd be a copy-cat if I did.

No, not that kind of copy-cat. And yes, that's highlighter on his nose. Don't ask me why he likes my daughter. Or why he sat patiently still so she could colour on him.

But I had the epiphany while running that so many blogs do them because they're helpful. There, aren't I smart? As I was running I realized I'd like to keep notes on what I do each week and how it goes if for no other reason than keeping straight the kind of clothes I like to run in to be comfortable! (I uh...managed to over dress for a 15* run. WUT!) Dailymile is helpful, to a degree, as is my log on mapmyrun, but I think my own notes would be better. (Umm, yes. I have two different sites I log my miles on. That's not normal...? I like counting miles...I'm not OCD...I swear...)

So here's mine from last week, and I'm going to keep a draft going during the week for next week's recap.

Monday 1/27 - Rest day (well that's a boring way to start my first ever weekly recap! But I'd run both the 25th and 26th.)

Tuesday 1/28 - Elliptical || 3.11 miles || 30:00 || Speed intervals, circuit 2, difficulty 3

Wednesday 1/29 - Run || 2.05 miles || 23:31 || 12*, felt like 5* || Ran 1.25, walked .125, ran .25, walked .125, ran .25
Polar fleece, ua compression top, short sleeve tech, tights + pants - perfect

Thursday 1/30 - Rest day (unplanned - oops!)

Friday 1/31 - Run || 3.11 miles || 37:52 || 15*, felt like 15* || Ran 1, walked .125, ran .5, walked .125, ran .5, walked .125, ran .25, walked .125, ran .361
Thin sweastshirt, ua compression top, short sleeve tech, tights + pants - surprisingly perfect. Ran out of steam at the end of this run but nothing to do with overheating, did not fuel well beforehand d/t dinner out for my daughter's birthday. Had planned to run 3, but saw that I could beat my pp 5K time so went for it - and did!

Saturday 2/1 - Rest (Friday's run initially planned for today, but switched days to expected storm that...didn't really happen. I was supposed to cross train, but my daughter's birthday party took the whole morning and then my husband invited my inlaws over...they were at the house until 10 or so...oops.)

Sunday 2/2 - Run || 5 miles || 1:04:56 || 19*, felt like 10* || Ran 5 minutes, walked 2 until the last mile - one of the intervals had to be modified to get through traffic
Polar fleece, ua compression shirt, long sleeve tech, tights + pants - too hot! Should have done short sleeves at least. HARD run, going through the snow is like running through sand and this had a lot of jumping, snow drifts, and obstacles, so it had the body feel of more like a trail run but I kept a good pace, considering. Proud to have it in the books! 

Total: 10.16 miles run, 2 miles walked (warm ups and cooldowns), 3.11 on the elliptical, 0 minutes cross training

Goals for next week: Get a day of cross training in!

Is it me I'm looking for?

It's funny, I've been back to running since 6 weeks post partum which means umm...lots of weeks. 12 today, or almost 3 months. And yet it's only in this past week that I feel like a runner again.

At first running was beyond slow and so damn hard.

And then it was so hard to get it in. I had weeks I couldn't run at all, weeks where one run that week was good. I planned to run in the morning, and found that the only time he let me sleep was...late morning. Running at night is scary. I wanted to run both weekend days and life gets in the way.

I got my elliptical, and it helps. It does! But it's not /running/. It's just not. I can work up a good sweat and get a hell of a workout. But it's not RUNNING.

I didn't resent it. Miles is all of 4 months old right now and still - big as he seems, relatively - an itty bit of a thing. He needs me more than I need me.

 I'll admit - it's still so weird I had a baby! This is my...son? Wow!

But all combined, I didn't feel like a runner. Last week though, I got both weekend runs in - scraping the bottom of my determination barrel to go out at 11 at night and get a quick 2 mile run in, followed by a 4 mile run the next day. I did it. And that night run...wasn't sooooo bad. I did laps around my neighborhood, 8 quarter mile laps. Boring, but miles are miles and it was outdoors and it was a RUN! And it got me thinking maybe I could sneak a couple 2 milers in during the week...because see, I have these running goals. They're calling my name. (Hello, sub-35 5K. You're on my RADAR. I'm coming for you!) And I have these races, I'm signed up for. And there's this marathon I want to run...

...and if I'm not running, I'm not a runner, and not-runners don't do those things. And I like the me that runs! A lot. I'm happier as a runner. It's me taking care of me, and it's me having FUN. (Dear high school self: Running is fun. I promise. ~Current Me)

 Can you see the ice on my eyelashes? ...neither can I, my phone cam isn't good enough, but dude. There was ice on my eyes!

So this past week - despite it being my daughter's 5th birthday when I usually just weep that my baby is growing up and ETE ALL THE FOODZ - I ran outside twice during the week, a 2 mile run and a spontaneous 5K run - and then a 5 mile weekend run through the snow. (The 5 miles was HARD! It wasn't the distance, running through the snow is hard!) Only 10 miles - but all outside, and all in one week.

And suddenly, I feel like a runner again. In a way it's deja vu because the 5 mile run was exactly the pace I ran a year ago, right before I got pregnant. I used to run 5 miles 2-3 times a week plus a long run. Sunday's 5 miler was my long run - I still have a ways to go to get back to where I was - but I feel like ME again. I have no idea what a reasonable goal is for this weekend's 10K - my chocolate race! - but I'll finish it, which a month ago I wasn't sure I could.

That feels pretty damn good.