Thursday, December 27, 2012

A few more running goals, just for fun ;-)

Disclaimer: I tend to obsess A LOT about running plans and goals when I'm not running and I haven't gone running since December 8th... 19 yea, I'm obsessing a bit haha.

Anyway... I did think of a few fun new running goals for 2013 this week:

1. Run 1000 miles (yes, I'm singing the song in my head as I type this!)

2. Over the top goal: Run 1500 miles!!
... not going to let myself count elliptical miles nor walking the dog. Just running - treadmill, track or trail - if I'm TRYING to run then it counts :)

3. 20 mile/week challenge - I want to see how many consecutive weeks I can run 20 miles or more.

Theoretically if I run 20 miles a week for the entire year, I will hit goal #1 - so we'll see how this goes. According to my marathon training plan, I should hit 20+ miles 18 out of 21 weeks between Jan and end of May ... so that is a pretty good way to keep myself on track for the first 5 months. I'll keep you updated ;-)

Anyone reading this have any good or funny goals they are striving for in 2013? Please share!! :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

2013 ~ Goal Review ~ 30 by 30 recap

30 Before 30 Bucket List - Progress Check:

Exercise Goals

1. Run a 5-k in 30 minutes or less - Already achieved this on the treadmill, still hoping for an outside PR of 30 or less tho!
2. Run a 10-k in 60 minutes or less
3. Run a half marathon in 2.5 hours or less
       Rehoboth Beach Seashore Half Marathon - 12/8/2012 - 2:26:40
4. Run a marathon in 5 hours or less
5. Meet my goal weight by 29th Birthday and stick to it for a year – unless I am preggers
         Don't worry about the # but focus on getting fitter and eating healthier!

Travel Goals

6. Go see another Broadway show with Lukas in NYC
       Wicked in DC
7. Go to French-speaking Canada
8. Go to Boston/Salem
9. Hike part of the Appalachian Trail
10. Beach vacation with Lukas
      5th Anniversary in Ocean City, MD - overnight at the beach, kayaking, swimming - good times :)

Crafting Goals

11. Free motion quilt a lap sized quilt
12. Learn to do needle turned applique
13. Finish a queen sized quilt for our bed
      Pinky has been deemed a bed quilt - she is queensized and beautiful :)
14. Sew a skirt
       Maxi skirt at Sewing Summit
15. Sew a shirt or dress

Misc. Creative Goals

16. Re-learn basic cords and notation on my guitar
17. Start Mandolin/Banjo lessons (still undecided which)
      Probably not going to happen due to time and $ constraints but still funny to see it was a goal ;-)
18. Take a dance class with Lukas
19. Learn to cook more recipes/meals
      Chili, Calzones, Enchillada Casserole, Corn chowder - good start so far!
20. Bake a YUMMY cheesecake – with a spring form pan (oooo fancy! ;-))
       Oreo cheesecake cupcakes in a cupcake pan, way better than springform ;-)

Personal Habits to establish/achieve
Totally failing here - need to work on this in 2013!

21. Read the BOM/Pearl of Great Price/Doctrine and Covenants beginning to end again
 July 28 2012 – July 28, 2013
22. Establish a habit of dedicated prayed morning and night – not a hurried “before I shower/fall asleep” prayer
23. Make Family Home Evening a priority with Lukas
24. Read scriptures once a day with Lukas
25. Attend the temple regularly


26. Move out of our 1 bedroom apartment
27. Learn to control my personal budget
28. Practice my French by speaking/reading/writing
29. Try something random/new/exciting!
30. Have an AWESOME birthday party :)

Outside of those above goals - some big family/personal goals for 2013 in general:

1. Run our first marathon - we had 2 great 1/2 marathons in 2012 and our sights are set on Memorial Day weekend 2013 for our first full! Stay tuned!

2. Start saving more - we are hoping to eventually grow our family (scary!!) and also want to eventually buy a house ~ prob. not feasible in 2013 but still good to start saving more for both!

I like having goals - gives me something to focus on and work towards. If I don't meet them all it is no big deal - just fun to see what my goals were the year before and see what, if anything, I achieved :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Happy 33 to Lukas and a fun 1/2 marathon to boot :)

Last week was Lukas' birthday ~ he turned 33 on Thursday! His parents were able to schedule their annual USA trip to be able to be here to celebrate with him which was wonderful. We had so much going on - I think he had a great week of celebrating with people who love him :)

On Thursday we spent a liesurely morning at home and then went out for a late lunch to the Cheesecake Factory. Lukas is in love with their strawberry lemonade - as you can tell by this picture.

Good food, good company, and plety to drink made this a memorable birthday meal for him :)

Afterward we headed up to Longwood Gardens for a nice festive stroll checking out the lights and Christmas displays. There were lots of beautiful trees and flowers and the grounds were stunning with the light and fountain displays. Here are some of the highlights:

Us with Luke's mom

Luke's parents

Pink Poinsettas... who knew?! Love them!

Poinsetta tree

Fountain show to Christmas music

My favorite Christmas tree

Christmas dinner party ~ Longwood style :)

A couple years ago they had a music room where someone played on the piano and everyone sang Christmas carols. Luke was really looking forward to that part of the evening but alas, it was not scheduled on the day we went so that was a little disappointing. All in all tho, it was a lovely day celebrating the birth of my favorite person in the whole wide world :)

Friday we headed down to Rehoboth Beach ~ it was a little chilly for a swim in December but I decided to run in the freezing water up to my calves anyway. I can't resist the pull of the ocean... atleast at this beach where I've never seen a shark or jelly fish or any other creepy thing haha. We had a good time checking out the outlets and going to dinner with his parents and then relaxed at the hotel to prepare for our big morning.

Saturday Lukas and I ran the Rehoboth Seashore Half Marathon - our goal was 2:30 and we finished in 2:26:40. I'm very happy with the time ~ it was in the mid 50s and humid and my IT bands decided they hated me around mile 9 so we did pretty awesome all things considered. It was also a lot of fun to run somewhere new in a much bigger crowd this time - 2000 people between the 1/2 and full!

Pre-race in hotel room

Walking up to the starting line behind the huge crowd

Giving one last kick for the last .1 of the race

Heading into the home stretch (those are my pink socks sticking out behind Lukas haha)

Finished - alive and well - whooooo hoooo!! :)
The official race pictures are not up yet, I may have more to share when those are posted. It was fun having Lukas' parents waiting for us and cheering at the end - having fans helps you push on to the finish line instead of falling into a pile on the ground just before you get there lol. They had a good experience checking out the race atmosphere and cheering us on too which was nice.

The race was well organized and the course was fantastic. Water stations every 2 miles approx., beautiful route through downtown Rehoboth by all the big expensive beach houses and then on into Cape Henlopen State Park on a nice flat path that was just beautiful and inspiring to run on for 3/4 of the race. I absolutely want to come back and run this one next year - 1/2 or full marathon option!

I was pretty sick for the rest of the day ~ like someone please kill me type of sick ~ so that wasn't too fun. Fortunately Luke was fine so he drove us all 2 hours back home and they hung out without me while I tried to not keel over. Not a nice way to end our last day with his folks but sometimes that is just how the cookie crumbles :-/

It was a long fun-filled week and now everything is back to business as usual and Luke's parents are safe and sound at home in snowy Germany. Winter is still holding off here, glad we didn't have a white weekend but maybe we'll get lucky enough for a white Christmas afterall!

We are taking an easy recovery week so far. My IT bands are calming down a bit and Luke's hamstring is loosening up a bit so we might go for an easy 5k before work tomorrow. No plans or major training until an 11k on the trails in January and then marathon training begins!

... The New Jersey Libery Run on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend is our next target. We'll have 20 weeks after the 11k to get ready for that beast. I'm nervous, Luke is excited, and either way we are both on board this crazy new rollercoaster... wish us luck!

**This race supports charities for Hurricane Sandy victims and other clean-up projects along the Jersey Shore. As that is where Luke has been serving the past few Saturdays as a volunteer with the Mormon Helping Hands organization through church, we thought that would be a meaningful race to participate in and a good cause for our race fees to be donated to. **

Monday, November 26, 2012

Lazy Thanksgiving & Race Countdown

What a wonderful thing 4 day weekends are! Thursday morning we woke up and went on a 7 mile trail jog to try out a new path.

It was a bit frustrating because:
1. we got super lost within the first mile
2. I had to walk a lot more than usual because I'm just not used to trail running

...but all in all we had a good time. We were hoping to do 10 miles but it took us so long to do 7 due to the above but o well, it was still a good work out and this path is a new challenge for me to eventually conquer! The path is around 6.4- 6.9 miles (the website has conflicting info so I'm not sure how long it really is)  which is a great training loop for a trail or road full marathon. It isn't super difficult but not 100% flat either so it is a small challenge as well as easier on my joints.

After our jog we got ready and headed down to my mom's for Thanksgiving lunch/dinner. My dad wasn't able to come out this year which was sad but it was nice to see my mom and spend some time with her. We ate lots of yummy food prepared by her and hung out in the basement watching tv/movies afterward. I spent the night and we had girls' craft day on Friday until Lukas came back for dinner and to pick me up. It was a great couple of days with my mom and a lovely holiday.

It was nice still having the weekend free after that to get some stuff done at home. I cleaned up a bit and put up our christmas decorations ~ not a ton of decorations since our apt. is already cluttered but it looks a little festive now at least. I also got my sewing room  a bit more organized/cleaned-up for when Lukas' parents come next week since that is also our guest room. Relaxed/lazed about the rest of the weekend which was nice.

Although we got that 7 mile run in on Thursday, last week was a major fail for training because that was the only day we went jogging! I should have gone on Saturday but Lukas was up in New Jersey for a service project to help people whose homes were damaged during the hurricane ~ and it was super cold and windy so I just had no motivation to go, especially by myself. This week is a taper week but we basically had one last week too which makes me nervous. I want to try to get another 7 mile run in this coming Saturday so I feel a little more prepared for the race next week ~ and I also need to get 3-4 days of shorter runs in too because I haven't been doing that lately and I NEED that practice to do well on the longer runs. Lazy lazy lazy ;-)

Both of us are getting headcolds tho so we stayed in our nice warm bed this morning ~ I think that is smart tho, not lazy this time. I might try to run on the treadmill during my lunch break or go for a quick jog after work if I can convince myself to go out in the cold. I'm sure Lukas will be fine for the race since he is stronger and faster than I am anyway and I'm not going to push him if he isn't feeling well. Hopefully we are both prepared enough and will have fun and a good finish ~ I can't believe it is less than 2 weeks away now!

Sharing the course map just because I like to include pictures and am obsessing over this race ;-) It will probably be cold and windy since we are down by the ocean but it looks like a nice run anyway:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Dream big or wake up ~ why I run and what I want to accomplish

I have been a lazy bum lately. I'm always interested in why other people run and what goals they have and how they accomplish those goals. The thing is - I can always find someone lazier than me to justify my personal laziness, or find someone way more awesome than me which is discouraging when I feel super far behind. None of this really matters tho ~ I need to figure out why I run and why my goals are, so I can use that to get my hiney out of bed and on the road in the morning!

Here are some of my thoughts as I've been pondering those "whys" lately:

I'm not running to lose weight - it helps a little but I can still put on weight running 20+ miles a week if I don't watch what I eat. I'm sure a diet and lots of time on the elliptical would give better results if that were my goal.

I'm not running to prove anything ~ old people, overweight people, young people, etc. can run a half marathon or a marathon with the right training so I'm nothing special, even tho those shiney medals on the wall sure do make me smile hehe.

I'm not running to win - no matter how fast I get, I'm already 29 and the majority of that time I've led a pretty unathletic existence and have no chance of placing at the top ~ and I'm ok with that.

I run because it is fun.
I run because I can get better every week if I try.
I can go further, I can go faster, I can beat myself at every PR if I just put my mind to it and make the effort. No matter what goal I meet and max out, there will always another out there to go after which is pretty awesome.

I run for me and me alone. If I have a crappy day and cry after 1 mile and go home to pout in bed, no one cares but me. If I run an amazing 10 mile run and feel fantastic, again, no one cares but me. Running is all about me improving myself so I'm the only one who decides if I succeed or not ~ that is a lot of pressure haha. 

So I know why I run, in general ~ but knowing why I like something isn't enough to get out of bed. I need a goal to work towards so that I can tell myself "for this specific reason, you need to get outside today!"

So what ARE my goals?!

After getting injured in Fall of 2011 and missing our first half marathon, I just wanted to finish one ~ no pressure outside of just being pain free and getting to the finish line.
Hands on House Half Marathon, September 2012 - DONE. 

Next goal ~ run a 1/2 marathon under 2:30
Rehoboth is absolutely going to be the race where I do this, I am projecting closer to 2:20.

Next goal ~ run a full marathon in the Spring.
There are 14 weeks between Rehoboth and the Annapolis Striders Marathon on March 16, 2013. That is where I'm setting my sights so after December I don't just curl up and wait for the world to thaw like a fat groundhog :)

Outside of these specific races tho... I have this desire to be an ultra runner. It is hard to write that sentence without saying stupid/crazy/insane/unrealistic/etc. idea... because I hear that from SO many people around me when I talk to them about this.

I don't know if it is realistic ~ only time and training will tell ~ but it is certainly not stupid, crazy, insane, etc. ... it is just different. Different than wanting to run a super fast 5k, different than wanting to collect medals from road races, different from just running to stay fit. Different isn't bad... and so many people embrace "different"... maybe I can too.

So we'll see how Rehoboth goes and how my first marathon goes. If I can keep myself motivated, keep training and especially start strength training so I'm less injury prone, there may be a 50 miler in my future ~ Nov 2013 is a possibility if my body is ready, if not, there is always 2014. No rush, no pressure, just big dreams.

And if you don't dream big... just wake up. Life is realistic enough, why should I dreams be too? :-D

Monday, November 19, 2012

New favorite running products!

A few new products to share with you today!

If you've been reading my whining posts lately, you know I've been having some shin pain. I had a chat with the guy at our local running store and he said based on everything I told him it is def. my calf that is causing the issues. I need to ice the shin and calf and massage the heck out of my calf as much as possible. He said after a few weeks the pain should be totally gone, and if I strengthen my calves it should not come back.

That sounds great and I started doing all of that and it is definitely helping! I was still a little worried tho since our race is 3 weeks away and so he suggested compression calf sleeves to help out while running and for after long-run recover. I wasn't thrilled at shelling out $40 for a pair of magic socks - but I did it anyway after some online research ~ I bought the CEP compression calf sleeves, size 3, in hot pink:

Pretty snazzy eh? Haha. I tried them out on Friday but only made it about 1 mile until I freaked out, started crying a little, and walked home. Work has been super stressful tho and after worrying all week about my shins and taking some rest days, that was stressing me out too so whatever ~ I had a meltdown, it happens :-p

HOWEVER, Saturday I decided to run close to home for my long run and tried these out on a 10 mile run. Since I'd been massaging my calf a lot my shin was already feeling better than it had all week and the first few miles were slightly uncomfortable but not painful. After 4 or 5 miles I couldn't feel any discomfort in my shin at all! When I got home I rolled and stretched and then wore these to bed for my 3 hour nap and my shins felt great afterward! Minor soreness, way less than usual. I massaged my calves again and felt great rest of the weekend.

Magic socks? I don't know - but they sure seemed to have helped and I will keep wearing them until I decide otherwise!

Another new product I tried out this weekend on my long run were Sport Beans by Jelly Belly - Berry flavored:

These are basically super yummy large jelly beans. It says they have everything in them that the gus and comps and every other fuel I've tried have - but they are way easier to eat and so yummy, seriously taste just like normal candy jelly beans. I was calling them magic beans all weekend ~ they must be if they taste that good and give me enough energy to get from mile 5-10!

To be honest I don't really know if the fuels I use are really special or if regular jelly beans,etc. would have the same effect but I felt great after eating them halfway through my run, just as good as any other fuel I've tried as far as energy levels are concerned. I had a gu right before I ran and a bagel thin with pumpkin cream cheese about an hour or so before my run. Seemed to be a good combination with all 3 - will try that out again on Thursday for our next 10 miler and if it works just as well, I've got my race day routine down for Rehoboth! :)

Magic beans and magic socks combined - I was able to run a happy and pain free 10 miler in 102 minutes ~ 10:12 average pace, yea buddy! Feels so nice to consistently run a faster pace than usual and know that I will definitely beat my 2:30 goal for Rehoboth! On Saturday I could have run 3.1 more and finished around 2h 15min. Not sure Rehoboth will be so fast because half of it is unpaved gravel and there is one big hill but I still think I'm stronger and faster this time and will have a really good and fun ~ although chilly ~ run.

3 more weeks to go - Thursday morning we will do a 10 mile run on a new path at a new park and then will stuff ourselves with all of my mom's yummy food the rest of the day :) After that it is time to taper down and get super duper excited for the race on the 8th :)

We are toying with the idea of a marathon in March - cutting it close with the timing but we'll see how we feel after Rehoboth. If we can take 1 recover week and then start back on 11+ mile runs on Saturdays and work our way up injury free, there is no harm in trying! We won't sign up for anything until February - at that point we will know where we stand with the March marathon and decide what we want to do if that one doesnt work out. First things first tho - conquer Rehoboth! :-D

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Because I'm obsessed...

Our names on the official entrant list for Rehoboth Beach, Half Marthon - December 8th, 2012! YAY!

I've been hitting a really good pace lately for long and short runs which has me really optimistic that we will for sure meet our 2:30 goal - shooting for 2:20 actually!

I know this isn't a huge accomplishment to most runners but for me it is a great long distance speed to be able to keep it under 11min/mile the whole way and that is our goal for this race.
2013 I'm hoping to drop that down to a 10min/mile average on long runs. I can keep that up for 4 or 5 miles right now but beyond that it slips back to 10 - 10:30 which is still AWESOME for me and the best long runs I've been able to do since I started in 2011.

The cold weather has been a huge help to me getting faster, I don't overheat and get as cranky/dizzy which helps me to learn how to push and regulate my breathing. Hopefully by the time the warm weather hits, my "fast" pace will be more of a "comfortable" pace and I can keep it up over the summer.

... now to just keep training and convince my right shin that it is NOT hurt and to stop being annoying :-p

O yea by the way, last Saturday - new outside 5k PR: 30:18 :) My run overall was a little slower than the week before but still a great pace and if it hadn't of started raining on us we would have turned that 8 miler into a 10 miler but I'm still feeling confident for the race, espec. with 2 long runs ahead of us before we taper down.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

5 Year Anniversary - Ocean City, MD & Assateague, MD

For our 5 year anniversary in September Lukas and I took an overnight trip down to Ocean City, MD. Unfortunately it was a bit chilly that day but we were still able to play some on the beach.

We stayed at a hotel right across from the beach which was super convenient. I was brave and decided to get in the water and swim since we had our boogie boards ~ super cold afterward since we didn't bring towels but super fun during our playtime in the water!

King sized bed - I need one of those!

A nice big king suite - even if just for a day it was comfy!
We couldn't find the boardwalk the first day but found out we were a few miles down from it and that is why we never saw it when we were on the beach. They have a HUGE boardwalk in Ocean City so we went down and walked around for an hour or so in the morning.

There was a kite club that had some really awesome kites up on the beach so ofcourse I had to take tons of pictures of them :)

For the rest of the day we headed to Assateague National Park to go kayaking and see the wild ponies. It was super windy and therefore chilly that day but we still had a good time (other than fighting in the kayak about who is paddling wrong until we realized it was the wind that was causing us all the issues haha.)

It was cool being so close to them! We were in our kayaks in the water right in front of them - they probably could have walked over to us if they wanted to - and thank goodness they didn't because wild ponies bite lol.

Even tho it was super windy, Lukas wanted to play in the ocean for a while. I had a good time watching him boogie board while hiding in my hoodie trying to stay warm and out of the sand-blowing wind.

It may not have been the big 5 year anniversary trip we'd dreamed of but it was nice to get away for a couple days and explore someplace new together! 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Belated Post - Indiana in July

I am sooooooooo bad at getting posts with pictures up! I finally synced all of our pictures to Picasa Web Albumns so now I just have to play catch up for the past few months!

In July we went down to Indiana to visit my Dad, sister, and her kids. We decided to go with my dad and the kids to the Michigan Dunes for the day to check out the beach. The kids have gone on school trips once each but Lukas has never been so it was a fun little excursion. Unfortunately the week we were there it was in the 100s every day - YIKES!

We made the stupid mistake of trying to climb the dunes with the kids ~ let's just say it ended badly for all and we were glad to run as fast as we could to get back across the parking lot and into the lake again! Inspite of that bad decision, we all had a pretty good time together. I would definitely go again if we have the opportunity.

Otherwise we spent our time hanging out in my Dad's pool in the backyard. Relaxing for me in his giant chairs, exhausting for Lukas throwing the kids in the pool repeatedly - and lots of fun for everyone :)

 Looking forward to our visit next Summer already ~ espec. since it has been cold, rainy and windy here lately - these pictures make me long for the sun!! :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How do you strengthen your shins?? Anyone??

I went running with Lukas on Tuesday and decided to wear my old running shoes because I figured they should have some mileage left in them. I transitioned to my new running shoes earlier than I should have, because they were pretty and I wanted to wear them, lol. Apparently tho I was wrong - those poor shoes wanted to be retired and to prove their point - I got pain in the inside side of my shins on BOTH legs afterward. Ahhhhhhhhhhh no fun :-/

Thankfully we only ran 3 miles that day because I had to go vote before work and didn't feel like getting up even earlier to run longer. After stretching some it feels a little better and today I ran using my newest shoes and it didn't make the pain worse so I'm hoping it will go away soon.

I didn't realize that was what this pain was until my co-worker told me today when she has shin problems, that is where it is - I figured shin issues would be in the front. Oddly enough, that is where I get some pain in my right leg when I wear my vibrams too often - that and the normal sore tight calf from using them too much too fast.

So the question is... how the heck do you strengthen your shins?! I want to be able to wear my vibrams - after our race in December one of my goals is to work up to doing a 5k in my vibrams with no pain or calf tightness. I could go run 10 miles in them if I wanted to, it is just afterward that everything hurts - espec. when I wear them repeatedly even for shorter runs (2-3 miles) that my shins start hurting.

Any advice... 1 or 2 people out there reading my blog? Let me know if you come up with anything ;-)

Monday, November 5, 2012

I'm bbbbbbbbbaaaaaaaacccccckkk.... and have more PRs!

Wow - I have had such a busy October! And now somehow November has already snuck up on me, with election day tomorrow! Yeesh...

I have lots of things to blog about and some pictures too but I don't have access to those right now so all you get is some rambling about running ;-)

This past Saturday I had the best run EVER! Lukas was doing service so with a little coaxing from him I drug myself out of bed and over to the park to run alone. I needed to get in a long run for the Rehoboth 1/2 to be a possibility because we haven't run more than 5.2 miles since our last race.

Weather was in the low 40s - felt more like high 30s - my nike hyperwarm shirt and brushed fleece pants were the perfect temp to keep me warm in the beginning and not overheat later on. Everything felt great, I was able to zone out - and o buddy... did I have an AWESOME run:

My 5k (3.1 mile) pace was 9:47 - a new outside PR at 30:21 woo hoo!
My 9 mile pace was 10:13 - fastest pace I've ever been able to kee up for anything over 3 miles honestly, so exciting!! Finished in 92:06 - even with a 90 sec absolute stop at the car for water/chomps.

Soooooooooo happy! As I got closer to 8 miles I was still feeling fantastic so I was thinking of shooting for 10 but my knee started hurting a little around 8.5 so I decided to just do 9 and play it safe.

I was honestly expecting to have a cruddy 5 mile run and be done with it because I hate running by myself, and I definitely surprised Lukas with my news when I got home too. Apparently I am a much better runner than my head allows me to be sometimes and I need to remember that on the crappy days and not let it get me down! (... someone remind me of this when I'm throwing a babyfit and refusing to run anymore because i'm having a bad running day... yes, this happened recently and thank goodness Lukas did not smack me upside the head lol.)

That run reassured me that I haven't lost everything by being so lazy after our half marathon and also made me realize that flat + cold weather is my best friend and I can definitely hit a good pace at our next race in those conditions.

Speaking of which....... I signed us up for the Rehoboth Beach Half Marathon today!! We were going to wait until next weekend so that we could both get a long run in again but after stalking the website for 4 days and seeing the remaining slots go from 90 - 20, I begged Lukas until he finally let me sign up today. I wasn't going to miss my chance at having an awesome race just because we waited too long to sign up!!

To prove to him that I was dedicated I even drug myself out of bed at 6am this morning inspite of menstrual cramps and 35ish degree weather - brrr! We had a great 4 mile run with a 10:28 average pace which is better than what I've been hitting outside lately so that felt good too to know that Saturday's good run wasn't just a fluke - espec. since today's run was not all flat.

Happy happy happy happy... a little nervous but mostly just excited :) I could have finished a half marathon this past Saturday and would have def. been under 2:30 so I'm feeling good about Rehoboth since I have 3 more 9/10 mile runs left before we taper down.

December 8th... I am absolutely going to beat my time goal of 2:30 and Lukas and I are going to have a great time running our second half marathon together!! Wish us luck and good health!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The whining will stop now :)

And now I'm over my little pity party - just ignore the crazy lady behind the blog :)

It rained all day yesterday and was foggy and super humid after work with a bit of drizzling but I went jogging anyway while hubby walked the dog. (Yes - I do have to give details about the weather because it makes me feel even better about myself for going! lol)

2 miles
Mile 1: 9:22
Mile 2: 10:00
(mile 2 included walking for 1:30 too)

Feeling = AWESOME :)

Nothing hurt thanks to my 2 days off of running and tons of stretching. It was hard but amazing and I'm looking forward to doing it again.

A few things I want to work into training for our next half marathon:

1. Speed work - we are planning on running 4x's a week with a long run on Saturdays so my hope is to get my 2 x 3 mile and 2 x 5 mile runs during the week down to a 11 min/mile average or under.
The 2 x 3 mile runs will probably be speed work of some sort to get down around 10 or under like yesterday. I think by focusing on speed during the shorter runs it will help me not be so stressed about it on the long runs and will ultimately help my long runs be stronger and faster in the end.

2. Interval change - I am really sick of 10:1 - watching the clock that much drives me nuts and I just enjoy running and want to keep going. I am not ready to just run the whole thing and I don't want that to be my focus since I only have 9 weeks of training ahead of me. I think this round I want to try 15:1 and see how that works on my long runs. I know I can do it on my short runs and if I stick to it even when doing speed work, I think it will be really beneficial for me when Im running longer and slower on Saturdays.
It will be hard at first, but hopefully I'll be able to build up to it and stick to it even around miles 7-11 which will prepare me better for our next race.

3. Hill work - we worked this into the second half of our training plan last time and I am soooooooo glad we did or else I would have had to walk even more at the last half marathon. I am proud of myself for doing so well (finally! lol) but I want to continue the trend and work in more inclines and hills since most races around us are in PA and I don't want to be scared of hills. Beat the hill - love the hill ;-)

4. Strength training - yesterday I did a few lunges, donkey kicks, leg lifts and a little bit of arm work. I am trying to take it super easy since 5 lunges on each leg last week made me sore for days haha. I don't want strength training to mess with my running plans, but I also know I need it to be a stronger and healthier runner with less injuries so I am making it a priority from the start and building up little by little.

5. Cross training - This will be harder now that we are in a new building for work that doesn't have a gym. We do have a bike and elliptical at our apartment gym so maybe I'll have to force myself to do that on rest days (other than Sunday). Also just making a conscious effort to go out and walk on my lunch break when it is nice and go for walks with the dog in the morning and evening with Lukas will help - I need to increase my "active time"  to be a happier, healthier person, without increasing my running time too much and causing more injuries.

I'm done obsessing about our last race, happy with the training we did and the effort we made, and looking forward to this next round of training to be faster, stronger, and better prepared for the next race with hopefully no injuries!

... I also need to start using my vibrams again slowly, I miss them! I was having some calf issues so I stopped using them over a month before the race and now I need to start back over from ground zero and just walk in them. That will help with #5 above tho because walking is a great way to get used to them again. I'm going to take it slow and continue to focus on strengthening my calf muscles so that I don't have issues with them this time - nothing major last time, they just made my right calf too tight which was an issue for training so I want to avoid that as much as possible.

Running keeps me sane - so glad I was able to get out there last night and just get out of my head, stop obsessing, and get back to reality :) Hopefully the weather will clear up so I can go again this week and Saturday we are hitting the trails which is going to be AWESOME because we haven't been able to do that in a while either.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Feeling a bit... disappointed :-/

In my year+ of obsessing over running and reading other people’s running blogs, I found it interesting that people seemed a little depressed/stir crazy after running their much anticipated event. I can completely relate now tho!

First of all, it is really hard to train for something for 6 months straight (in my case) and then not be able to run for a few days. Being lazy and not running is one thing, not being able or allowed to run is way worse! I know it is only Tuesday but I took Sunday off (as always) and Monday too. Even tho I felt like I would have been ok doing a few miles, I decided to play it smart and went for a long walk instead. Luke’s foot is bothering him from the race so I didn’t go by myself this morning and I am absolutely regretting it now because it is supposed to be rainy ALL DAY LONG today – yuck! I’m starting to get stir crazy and antsy for a run – slow and short is fine, I just need to get out there and do it! I might just have to brave the rain showers tonight if they are not so bad – 30 minutes is all I need to calm down and get out of my head!

On top of not running for a few days, I feel a little lost. Training occupied my thoughts daily for the past 6 months – whether I was running that day or not. It is weird that the much anticipated half marathon has come and passed and now I’m just in limbo. It is a weird feeling – good because you know you’ve accomplished something, but it leaves you a little empty/confused/lost at first.

So what is the best thing to remedy the way I am feeling? Sign up for another race of course! Haha.

We have 9.5 weeks until the Rehoboth Beach half marathon and once I get running again this week, I’m setting my sights on that fast and flat race. We were so close to our goal time in PA with all those hills so I know we can hit 2:30 or under in December at Rehoboth. It is weird being at the beginning again tho – feels a little strange/uncomfortable but hopefully once I get back into the swing of things and get out there, those weird feelings will go away and I’ll be in comfortable training mode again.

You definitely don’t need to race to have a reason to run but I also kind of feel like I let myself down in PA and need to redeem myself in Rehoboth. Stupid right? It was my FIRST RACE EVER and I honestly do feel like we did a great job, especially with it being rolling hills the whole way with 2 huge hills in the middle. I couldn’t have asked for a better race in those conditions. Logically I know I should be super proud of myself and just be happy… but there is a nagging voice in the back of my head saying “booo!!!”

I’m not just insane tho, I swear lol - I think it is that last 5k that is messing with my head. It was such a difficult 3.1 miles and even tho I’ve definitely run that slow before, I kind of HATED that part of the race because I felt the minutes ticking over our time goal and had to walk sooooooooo much and it kind of soured the experience for me. Somehow that last 38 minutes is pushing the first 10 miles of fighting hills and winning out of my head and makes me feel like I failed somehow – even tho I finished and was under my 12 min/mile pace over all. *sigh* So annoying but sometimes you just can’t help the way you feel, even if it doesn’t make logical sense, so hopefully getting back out there and hitting the road tonight will help me to just get over it, be happy with my accomplishment, and look forward to the next one. If not… well… I’ll keep the whining to myself and just move on lol.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hands-on House Half Marthon - COMPLETED!! :)

Well it is official now - I am not just crazy person obsessed with running, I am officially a crazy half-marathoner obsessed with running! Lukas happens to just be a normal half-marathoner married to the crazy obsessed one lol.

If you are not looking forward to a detailed race re-cap, enjoy the pictures and ignore the ramble. I want to remember this race for the rest of my life so all the little details are going in here :)

Let's start with Friday: After getting off work at 3 we headed up to Lancaster, PA to pick up our race packets. I was seriously so nervous, I was shaking at the table. Not sure why - it isn't like they are going to say "eww, you don't look like a runner, get out of here you poser!" lol

There was a little snaphoo with my race tshirt - the list said we both ordered Mediums but I know I ordered a Small. Since it was on the list tho, there was nothing they could do about it. I honestly almost cried. Stupid, I know, but it was my first race and my first shirt and I was feeling pretty emotional about it all to begin with. Other than that, it was exciting to get our race bibs and time chips and be officially signed in for our first race EVER!

It was probably a waste of time driving 1.5 hours each way but I was so nervous, I just wanted to get that part over with. We headed home for some spagetti and relaxing and went to bed before 9pm. Thanks to the bad night's sleep we had Thursday night and getting up super early for work on Friday, we slept a lot better than we would have normally so I'm grateful for being exhausted on Friday!

We got up at 4:45 today - race day!!! - and got showered and ready. We headed up to PA at 6 and we were to the race area by 7:15ish - yea, way too early for 9am race and we really should have just skipped all the driving yesterday because we had tons of time to sign in, etc. It was good that we got there early tho because we were able to park at the Children's museum which was hosting this event - so we didn't have to shuttle in and stand around outside in the cold. We instead sat in our nice warm car under a blanket because it was only in the 50s out, windy, and overcast - everyone was freezing in their race gear!

Race Day packet pick-up and registration

**One really nice side note: I was a little bummed about my shirt and the mixup with the sizing because my email confirmation did say small. I passed the feedback onto the race last night through email and suggested the maybe double check better next year. Someone called me within hours and left a message letting me know they'd found the problem - anyone who signed up multiple people (aka me signing up Lukas and myself) had issues with the sizing on the report if they weren't the same. They had a small shirt waiting for me to exchange my medium and I could gladly do that on race day according the voicemail. I did exchange it today and they were super nice about it and it was just one little thing that probably is meaningless to everyone else but it meant a lot to me!! I want to be able to wear my first race shirt on training runs as a reminder of what I've accomplished!

One weird peice of information you probably don't want to know - apparently when I get nervous I have to pee excessively lol. We got there and I went around 7:20. By 7:50 I was wiggling in my seat and could barely get my gu-chomps and some gatorade down because I had to pee so bad. It was clear as water tho - so weird! And then about 8:10 I went again. And even standing at the start line at 8:45 I was wiggling around and felt like I had to go. I was fine the entire race and until I got home - apparently it is a weird nervous reaction I never knew about lol.

After peeing a bazillion times - we decided it was time to get our shoes on and get ready. Thank goodness we were smart and wore our flip-flops tho - my feet didn't need to be cooped up in shoes 3 hours early!

Shoes - Mizuno Wave Inspire 8 - aqua (sitting behind me)

Shoes - Asics gel cumulus 12 - yellow and black

We then got our bibs pinned on properly - and even tho they gave out a sheet of how to wear it and how not to wear it, we saw SEVERAL examples of all of the "how not to wear your bib" during the race - which made me giggle a little. We asked some random strangers to take a picture of us - that is what they get for wandering around the parking lot with excited newbies haha. (ps. I am not wearing a swim cap lol - that is my headband trying to keep my short hair off me so I wouldn't be a crazy mess after the race).

Still freezing - no way was I taking off my jacket until the last possible moment! haha
We waited around until just before race gathering time and headed over to the signup area to get ready. It was still pretty chilly but atleast the sun was up and the clouds were less grey and threatening looking by that point.

They spoke some words of thanks to the race organizers and sponsors... and then we headed over to the start line. (I wish I had an iphone and I would have taken pictures of every step of the race lol.) I started shaking again out of nervousness (which probably didn't help that "i have to pee every 5 minutes!" feeling haha) and as lots of people lined up infront and behind us, I was getting a little freaked out. Apparently I forgot how much I hate crowds!! But they ushered us up to the line and we got going and after the first mile everyone had spread out a bit and we were back in the last section of the race-pack which made me feel less overwhelmed nervous.

As everyone was surging ahead across the start line, it was soooo hard not to run to keep up with them all. It is like a stampede with an excited herd of cattle - you just want to run with the group but I forced myself to stay back and let everyone pass us and just go at my own normal pace. It wasn't until after mile 2 that I finally calmed down and was able to get in the groove a little better - my heart was pumping super fast at the start and adrenaline was making me a bit shaky but we got into the 10:1 groove and stuck there for the majority of the race.

A few things to note - when a PA race says "4 miles of flat after the first incline" - what they really mean is PA flat - which translates into rolling inclines. There were not any completely flat stretches this whole race! I kept looking for them - espec. after those first 2 nervous miles consisted of some pretty long inclines!! I knew mile 6 & 7 were the "difficult hills" so I was hoping for flat in between to keep my legs fresh but alas, it was not to be had. Up - down a little - up some more - down just a tiny bit - o look we are going up again .... that was the first 5 miles lol.

Between mile 5 and 6 there was a KILLER hill - longer than the ones we've been training on but about as steep - yikes! I got up the majority of it and had to walk just at the very top. I told Lukas I hoped that was one of those killer hills they were talking about and not still part of the "flat" section haha. Between 6 and 7 there was an even worse hill and I just walked it - by that time my legs were feeling a bit like lead weighted jello from all the rolling inclines/hills and the killer hill before that.

We were smart and ran on the downhills even if I needed a break - but the downhill on this second killer hill was AWFUL! It was sooooooooooo steep and much further down than we'd gone up since we'd been going up and up and up throughout the race without as much downhill to compensate. My knees hurt from the impact and my chest hurt from all the shaking - not a friendly hill at all! I was pretty grateful when that one was over and done with!

As far as pace, we were doing pretty great for the first few miles. 10:45 was our average pace and we hit 3.1 around 33 minutes which is good for me espec. with 2 miles of inclines! After that point we evened out to a good 11min/mile pace and hit mile 5 in 56 minutes so that made me happy. We started slowing down as the hills got worse there in the middle and our halfway split time was 1:15:45 - still really darn close to our "super goal" of 2:30 so I was feeling a bit optimistic. When we got to mile 9 and only had 45 minutes left, I was a bit nervous about that time goal and when we hit 10 miles with only 33 minutes left for the last 5k I knew there was no chance of hitting that 2:30 anymore. My legs were beat from the first 10 miles of hills and I didn't have enough energy to push out at a 11 min/mile pace for the rest of the race, especially since it still had all those hills in it that we'd encountered in the first 3 miles of the race because we were retracing our path at that point! Not a big deal - just frustrating when we were soooo close the majority of the race!

I'd just like to say that whoever says "if you can run 10 miles, you can run a half-marathon" is a liar. I can WALK the last 3.1, that is for sure, but I sure as heck can't run it all after 10 miles are already behind me! We ended up walking so much that I probably did the last 5k in 37/38 minutes - lame but I gave all I had and just couldn't go any faster or walk any less, especially when the rolling hills just kept coming and coming!

Funny thing - sometimes you just need to beat SOMEONE in a race - anyone - and I found my target about halfway. There was a woman who was doing a really great 5:1 ratio of jogging/walking. We would pass her with her coach sometimes, then when we would walk, they would pass us, etc. They were running faster than us on the jogging parts so there were a few miles when they were ahead of us for a while. On that last 5k, following them and running with them really kept me going and eventually we were able to get ahead of them. I decided for the last 2 miles my focus was just to stay ahead of that woman and her coach and that would be the one person I would beat in this race. Nothing person, not being mean... it could have been anyone - but we'd been following them so long, I need to hold on to something to get me through those last awful couple of miles or I would just have walked it all and given up.

The last 2 miles were brutal - it was part of the longest 5k of my life and I was sooooooooooo grateful to have Lukas with me to keep me going. He didn't push, he didn't criticize, he just walked when I needed him to and jogged when I could. He is an awesome husband and running partner and I could not have had so much fun and done so well without him! I know eventually he will need to run on his own because he is way faster than me and could have probably finished in 2 hours without me, but I am so glad that for this first one he was there with me the whole time. Love that man so much!

I got super excited when I finally saw the line - but then realized it was the start line and I had to cross under that and go around the corner to get to the finish line - ugh! haha That was ok... we started to run faster for that last little section and looked pretty strong and happy coming around the corner and down to the finish line. Felt sooooo cool to have everyone saying "yay, you did it, congrats!!" even tho a lot of those people had been finished for half an hour or more already! At that point it wasn't about the time - it was about finishing something I've wanted to do for 18 months and was finally able to achieve, injury free!

We did it... 2:35:21 was our chip time - a bit off my original 2:30  "super goal" but my main goal was to finish and have fun doing it and for the first 10 miles I did have fun most of the time so I guess I am pretty dang happy with the way our first race turned out :)

We grabbed a little bit of fruit and some water - I accidentally threw my apple at another group of runners because a bee was trying to get me to get to it lol. I could have used some more food but when you are slow all the good stuff like bananas have already been eaten lol. Maybe next time I'll remember to bring a granola bar with me for afterward.

Lukas was good and forced me to stretch and use our hand roller a bit before we headed home. The outside of both of my knees was pretty sore and painful after the race and I had a few blisters on my right foot from my insoles being a little bit too short - but otherwise we made it through pretty well.

After taking some pictures with our medals and tired feet - we had to get one last pose - the sticking on of the coveted 13.1 magnet!! I've wanted one of these since we started training for the race last year and now we are legit and can have one on the car!! Woot woot! haha

I think Lukas was a little slap happy in the end - he had WAY too much energy left after that race lol - here is proof:

Love this guy so much - he got me here and through the race and I am soooo grateful for his support!!
After our 1.5 hour drive home I was going to make us some lunch but instead I flopped down on the bed, sweaty clothes an all, at 2pm and slept for 2 hours. My long runs usually kick my butt but this one especially did and I just had no energy left to do or care about anything. Lukas on the other hand was wide awake and walked the dog, did the dishes, and headed out for soccer at 5pm. WHAT?! Yes... he is insane lol.

We checked out the race stats after my nap before he left for soccer and realized it must have been a pretty fast race. We were 412 and 413 out of 448 and around 215 people finished under 2 hours - pretty impressive! I was atleast faster than 6 girls my age - that made me feel a tiny better.

Our next race will be flatter and faster in Rehoboth Beach, DE in 9 weeks so I'm hoping to get below that 2:30 time goal. We are going to take it easy next week with just some short runs and start training again after that. Keeping hill training in our routine even tho we won't need it - definitely makes us stronger on actual flat stretches which will help for the flatter race in Rehoboth. I am also going to start doing some leg exercises to get my quads and calves stronger so I get injured less and also because I hate that lead-filled jello feeling they get because I have no muscle!

... funny side story about leg workouts: Tuesday I was too nervous to have a good run on the treadmill. We did 4.5 on Monday after a lazy week and weekend (it was our 5 year anniversary - can't blame us for not caring about running!) and Tuesday I did 2.3 in the gym and finally gave up after that because my knees were still bugging me from Monday. Stupid me decided that doing some lunges and squats the week before the race, when I NEVER do them ever, was a good idea. I did 5 lunges on each leg, and 5 squats but that hurt my knees so I stopped - and that was it. Uhmmm... yea, my legs and butt were so sore for 3 days straight, it was awful lol. So I obviously need to get some leg workouts in this time around because that is PATHETIC haha.

Information I want to remember:

Breakfast: OJ, Toast, Milk - I hate toast.

Fuel: gu-chomps in the car before the race and then 1 vanilla powerbar gel between miles 4-5.
I didnt want anymore after that and I'm not sure more would have helped - I grabbed water about 4 or 5 times throughout the race tho and that helped a bit for sure.

Race: Around 1000 people total for the 5k and half marathon - the organization was great, they did an awesome job directing traffic and keeping us all safe and I really enjoyed it overall. No complaints - even if they hadn't been able to fix my tshirt issue I still would recomend this race to anyone looking for a fun local race. I didn't want a huge race for my first one and I'm so glad we chose this one - perfect location, wonderful weather at this time of year, and the scenery was gorgeous! We saw lots of cows, horses, donkeys, chickens - lots of farms - and even some adorable little amish kids sitting on their trampoline in the yard waving at us :)

Anything I would do differently? Nope - we had a good pace for the first half and didn't go out too fast. Going slower wouldn't have helped us on those hills - my legs would have been just as tired afterward so I'm glad we did what was comfortable to start. Just need to train on more hills - steep ones and long ones - and get my legs stronger for the next one. Fueling was good and I wouldn't change anything there - just gotta go with what I feel like and I really did not want the gel I had planned to eat around mile 8/9 and that is ok.

Happiest kid ever today and so grateful to have shared this experience and the last 6 months of training with Lukas :) Looking forward to re-starting our training and getting ready to run Rehoboth together in December!