Thursday, August 30, 2012

Trail run with no killer bugs = Success!

Last night after work, Luke and I went on a wonderful trail run in the state park. We avoided the half of the trail with those attack bugs and fortunately made it through 4 miles unmolested... other than me jamming my foot pretty bad against a giant rock, ouch!

He is the best running partner - so lucky to have such a great hubby :) He knows when to push me, knows when to back off, and knows when to ignore me when I'm getting overheated and cranky lol. We had a good pace - 12 min/miles which is faster than we usually make it through the woods so I'm excited about that. It was a nice push and enjoyable 90% of the way!

My VFFs felt great for the whole run (again, other than that rock incident... still feeling the pain of that today, yikes!). My calf is a little sore today but just the main muscle, not the tendon that has been having issues lately, so no complaints here. They feel fantastic on the trails, uphill, downhill, jumping over or stepping on roots and rocks... love them!

We are hoping to get in another 5k or 4 miler on Friday after work... not sure if I will use these or my regular running shoes. My Mizuno Wave Inspire 8's are great on the trails and road... but the inserts I got from my doctor are a little too short and are giving me a blister on my second toe. Not sure what to do about that... we have 4 weeks of training left before our 1/2 marathon and I REALLY don't want that blister to stick around! We shall see... taking a break today since I ran 3 days in a row so far this week, plus we are just busy so a good excuse to take a rest day :)

I found a new favorite running blogger the other day - Vanessa Runs - she runs ultras and is my new idol :) Check her out if you are in the mood for a good read about REALLY long runs! While I have no desire to live out of an RV and sell all my worldly posessions... I do love her theories on living more simply, living for experiences, and appreciate all of her running advice. She said it took her 3 years between her first 1/2 marathon and first Ultra... and then she ran 14 ultras that year! INSANE but awesome haha.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I'm a runner, trail runner, and ultrarunner in the making... and you can be too!

Did you go running today? Thinking about doing it again at least sometime this month ;-)? Then you are a runner too!

... but I don't run more than a couple miles a week
... but I'm so slow
... but I haven't run any races
... but I have to walk inbetween running intervals
... but but but


I don't care what some snobs write in their articles online and in print - a runner is anyone who runs - period - end of story - no other qualifications needed.

Sure I'm slow, some days I only run a 5k or less, some weeks I don't hit my 20+ mileage goal, I still need to walk every 10-15 minutes to keep from getting hurt and to let my lungs catch up to my ambitions... but I'm still a runner. I'm a runner today, I'll be a better runner tomorrow, and nothing anyone else says will change that.

I run trails and I LOVE it - that makes me a trail runner too. Pretty cool right? I sure think so :)

And one day, I'll be an ultrarunner.

Do something today to ensure that you will be a runner tomorrow. Do something today to ensure that you are one step closer to your goals tomorrow. Don't give up. Don't compare yourself to anyone but yourself. Just get out there - do it - and stop worrying about the rest.

A favorite quote I saw recently: "You can choose to be sore or you can choose to be sorry."

... I prefer sore over sorry.

So I ran a 5k on Monday, I ran a 5k on Tuesday, and I'm going to get back out there today too. Because I'm a runner. I'm a trail runner. And one day I'm going to be an ultrarunner.

Believe in what you ARE now, believe in what you WANT to be, and you can achieve it... in your own time, in your own way, and at your own pace.

Not a runner yet but want to become one? Well... the door is waiting, the street is waiting, your feet are waiting... get out there and do it!

Monday, August 27, 2012

New 5k PR on the treadmill!!

Soooooooooo excited - I just ran 3.2 miles on my lunchbreak on the treadmill in 30:50 - that is a 9:38 average! Fastet 5k for me EVER - happy happy day! This excitement should get me through rest of the work day ;-)

Trying to get in 25 miles this week - my 15-20 miles/week average doesn't feel like enough - espec. on the weeks where we aren't getting in a long run. We'll see how it goes - the rainy weather is working against me today but atleast I got in a 5k.

Hope you are having a happy Monday and if not entirely - find at least SOMETHING to smile about!

Taken down by a bug!

O... my.... heck! The bugs at White Clay Creek State Park are out to get me!

Friday Lukas and I went jogging in the park and at one point a big black bug with several legs not only landed on an outstretched finger - it felt like it was grabbing it with all those little legs wrapped around it! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh is what I yelled and freaked Luke out pretty bad.

I should have know this was the start of something and avoided the woods but stupid me went back on Saturday morning. This time the Ahhhhhhhhhh was louder as I slowed down to let Luke pass me and something jumped on my ankle and started stabbing me! I looked down and a big black wasp was holding on to me and stabbed me again. I screamed like a banshee a second time and shook it off and ran to Lukas in tears. I know, I am a big wuss, but it really hurt and absolutely freaked me out :(

We were only 1 mile into what should have been a 3-5 mile train run so I was pretty bummed about that. It hurt pretty bad for a bit, not "bad' like a broken leg but still - owww. It was swelling up pretty fast too and I think a smaller wasp got me on the back of the calf because that swelled up too. I limped back the way we had came (after running by the wasp nest where the scary black thing was probably hanging out) and got some meds at the pharmacy. The swelling and pain went away pretty fast - thank goodness I'm not allergic - but our Saturday run was already ruined.

No clue what that big black thing was - some kind of giant wasp I guess - but man I hope I never meet it again!

I love love LOVE trail running but now I'm a little scared of that part of our trail. Maybe I'll stick to the other half of the trail for a while and see if someone else clears out that half of the loop later on :-/ Honestly, next time I just need to bring cream with incase something like this happens ever again and now that I know I'm not alergic, I could probably just put on some cream and keep going next time. Lesson learned and medicine purchased!

Rainy weather ruined our beach day we'd had planned, a evil monster bug ruined our trail run... but we still had a great day going down to the temple in Washington, D.C. and doing work for my ancestors so I guess I can't complain TOO much.

We only have 5 weeks until our half marathon - 4 more Saturday runs before the big day ... o man, FREAKING OUT a little inside... ok a lot! lol

We haven't been able to get much of a long run in the past couple of weeks - 7.5 on Friday the 17th was our longest in the past couple of weeks. If we are lucky enough to have a beach day this weekend we will probably do a 10 miler on Labor Day and then another on the following Saturday before we start tapering down. I know three 10 milers is enough to get ready for a half marathon but I just feel like we've backed off so much lately so I'm nervous. O well... I'll get back out there, ramp up the volume, and try not to get attacked by anything - small or large :-p

Just have to keep telling myself - you are ready, you can do this - I've done one 10.5 miler so the next 5 weeks are just bonus runs.... or something like that ;-) Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Monday, August 20, 2012

A new treadmill PR!

Oooooooooo yea, one last piece of news to pass on... I was able to hit a new mile PR on the treadmill - 8:45! Sooooooooo exciting for me! I'm hoping to get that down to to a 8:30 this fall and then work on getting my 2 mile PR down under 20 but for now I'm pretty darn excited with this progress and just have to remember to take it slow and not push myself too much.

Treadmills have always been an issue for me as far as causing weird aches and pains so I'm avoiding them as much as possible and doing most of my weekly mileage outside. However, a few short speed sessions inside are probably good for me so I'm trying to work them in this and next month while I have a break from homework. Hopefully by working in a little speed work here and there I'll be able to get my outside long distance pace down bit by bit.

If all goes well with our first race, we have an eye on a December 8th 1/2 marathon (9 weeks after the one in PA). I'd really like to hit my time goal for that one because it will be fast, cold, and flat - which can only be good news for me! Another reason the speed worth this Fall is necessary and good.

To be honest, I actually have my 2 races for this year and 3 or 4 for next year already plotted out but I'm trying to do my best to take it one day at a time, one training session at a time, and just get myself to and through this first race injury free without getting too overzealous ;-) Basically impossible for me to do but atleast I'm not being crazy and signing up for all of these in advance haha. *sigh* O running... you've taken over my mind and made me into one of  "those crazy people" :) Thanks for bearing with me... you 1 or 2 people who may still be reading this blog haha.

Training Update!

I know you have all missed my running rambling lately ;-) so here is a nice long training update for you. If you want to know what else we've been up to in the last couple of months, check out my next post.

First of all let me just say that I LOVE my Vibram Five Fingers. I realized however that my size 41s are stretching out and getting more comfortable each time I wear them but that also means loose - which isn't great for running shoes. After much begging and pleading and convincing (ok it didn't take that much haha) Lukas agreed that I should get a smaller pair so I got these lovelies - o my heck I'm in love with the orange/pink awesomness!

Aren't they awesome?? :) They were a bit snug when I first got them which made me a little nervous but after wearing them around the house a few times they loosed up across the top of my foot and now they fit like a dream. I am sooooooooo glad I got a size smaller!

However, my VFF obsession didn't stop there. Lukas and I have been doing a lot of trail running lately and I absolutely LOVE it. We only do a 5k loop but it is so much fun and definitely a lot more challenging for me with the trails and hills than our normal road runs. I tried my VFF Bikilas out on a trail walk one day with a few short jogs and they were definitely TOO minimalist for me with the rocks and roots and everything else poking the bottom of my foot. They are the best road shoes but definitely not a multi-purpose shoe.

So what is a girl to do? Research of course! We went to a few stores and I tried on several models and read TONS of reviews and in the end I got my heart set on a pair of VFF Komodosports. They fit a lot like the bikila and have a seamless toe area which a lot of the others didn't - and those others bugged my feet just trying them on! If I was going to do major hiking in them, they probably wouldn't be the best choice, but just for our state park trail runs I figured they would be good. Thanks to a little birthday money from my mom, I am now the new proud owner of these:

The color is more periwinkle than bright blue in person but basically they are awesome -only second in awesomeness to my pink ones ;-) And how are they on the trail you may wonder? FANTASTIC! Ok... so I did stub my toe once and it felt like it almost got ripped off - but hopefully I'll learn to be more careful with practice and won't actually break anything in the future. You still have great groundfeel with them - but a lot more protection from the bigger pointy things than the bikilas offered. I love love LOVE running in these "barefoot" shoes on trails - ultimate runners high for me :)

One minor issue tho... they are causing me some pain in the side of my calf. Now mind you, I had this pain before. During our first 2 months of getting back to running earlier this year it got progressively worse and was causing me a lot of worry so I finally went to the doctor and got some inserts which made it mostly go away. I think it needed some more time to heal completely tho and overexcited me went and ran a full 5k as soon as I got my new shoes so I probably just irritated it. My bikilas didn't bother that area much - just made my main calf muscle sore if I used them too much too quickly - so I don't think this will be a reoccurring problem. I took a week off of using them and will try them again this week. If either my bikilas or the komodosport make that area sore again, I'll probably put them away until after our 1/2 marathon just in case - but I'm not anticipating major issues if I don't push the mileage in them too much. To be fair, I've only been using my bikilas for a couple months and that really has only been about once a week doing a 35 min walk/jog loop with my friend on our lunch break - and that is probably about 1 mile jogging and 1.5 miles walking… so not quite enough to get me ready for a full trail 5k :-) I blame myself, and not the shoes… and hopefully I’m right because man I love running in both of these VFFs and would hate to give it up or not be able to increase my mileage in the one day!

And speaking, of 1/2 marathon training... it has been going pretty well. Due to vacation and weather we've had a few "easy" weeks which I think has been really good for us to let our bodies recover a bit. We had a fantastic 9 mile run last month in nice cool weather which made me super happy but it has been soooooooo hot and humid these past 2 months in general that we’ve decided to give ourselves some extra time to train and pushed our race goal back to September 29th. This race is up in Lancaster County, PA too – VERY hilly Amish country – just like the other one. We’ve been getting some really good hill training in lately so that is making me feel more confident about the race and having 3 extra weeks to train and let the weather cool down will hopefully help. My pace has been a lot slower than I’d like due to the weather but I can’t do anything about that so we are just training as best we can and will keep our fingers crossed for a cool and breezy race day in Sept. I have a secret time goal in mind but I'll just keep that to myself because really, I just want to be able to finish it and if the hills or heat or humidity keeps me from hitting my time goal that is ok, there is always another race. This will be my first race ever and for a super non-atheltic giraffe, I'm pretty proud of the progress I've made :)

Last weekend – the 10th of August – we had a nice 10.4 mile long run. This is our longest run so far in our training and the longest I’ve ever run in my entire life. I was soooo happy that we made it and we were both relatively pain free after stretching. We did a 7.5 mile hilly run last week and will do the same this week since we might go to the beach and therefore don't have time for something longer, but that will still give us 2 weeks for 10+ mile runs before we start tapering down. I really believe that I can do the 13.1 mile distance now but I’ll be glad to have the extra weeks of hill and trail training and the last 2 long runs to boost my confidence and endurance. We’ll probably sign up for the race around Labor Day weekend once we decide for sure everything is ok, no one is hurt, etc. so keep your fingers crossed for us that all keeps going smoothly!