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!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A couple more days ... I'm freaking out!! lol

O man... I can't believe I am only 3 days away from my first half-marathon - aka my first race EVER!

We were super lazy last week and out of town for a couple days over the weekend so I only ran once... maybe not the smartest idea so close to the race but that is life :).

Monday we ran 4.4 miles but I was having some issues with that nagging pain on the side of my right knee. It comes and goes - even if I run the same path at the same speed, sometimes it hurts... sometimes it doesnt. Ahhhhhhhh! Worrying about knee pain along with general excitement/nervousness had me a little stressed during my run yesterday so I only ended up doing 2.3 miles on the treadmill. Im taking it easy today and cross training and will do a nice easy jog/walk session with my co-worker tomorrow.

Friday will be a total rest day other than stretching and we will head up to the packet pick up after work. Hopefully seeing the course will help ease my mind instead of get me super freaked out about the hills we'll be dragging ourselves up and down for 2.5 hours haha.

So close... trying not to freak out and just be excited :)

1. finish
2. don't get hurt
3. have fun
4. 2h30min time goal if weather and knee are perfect but I'm ok with missing that and am just focusing on the first 3 goals really - this one can wait for my next and hopefully flatter race :)

So grateful for being mostly injury freel this past 6 months of training and sooooo grateful to my wonderful husband for sticking with me through all our training runs, putting up with my obsessing and my crankiness, and his willingness to run with me the whole race even tho he is A LOT faster than I am.

Keep your fingers crossed for us - Saturday we officially become half-marathoners and I can finally put that 13.1 magnet on my car! lol

Friday, September 21, 2012

Happy 5th Anniversary to us!! :)

That's right... 5 years ago today Lukas and I got married in the Chicago LDS Temple.
It is crazy how fast time flies and how much has changed in those quick 5 years!

I could get all sentimental and ramble on and on, and I probably will later, but for now I'll leave you with our 2 favorite wedding photos and will then go pack for our overnight trip down to the beach  - have a lovely weekend everyone!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How long is a 5k? DUHHH lol :) I feel like such a dufus.

I was having a chat with a co-worker/running buddy yesterday and she was trying to tell me how she hit a certain 5k time on the treadmill. She was starting off way lower than I expected and I finally told her it is not mathematically possible to run that speed for the majority of the time and still hit that certiain 5k speed. After discussing/arguing for a few minutes... we finally realized the issue... a 5k for her is 3.1 miles, a 5k for me is 3.2 miles!

Apparently the officially accepted 5k distance for most races is 3.1 BUT some races, and apparently the military?, use 3.2 as the 5k distance. I can only assume that I must have seen 3.2 on a 5k race description at some point and got it into my head that 5k= 3.2 and 10k=6.4.

We both had a good laugh about the misunderstanding and it makes me happy to know that when I ran a 30:18 "5k" I actually was faster than my goal of a 30 min 5k because I ran .1 extra. To most people that isn't a big deal but to me that is about 50-60 seconds depending on how fast I am running - which is a big deal when I'm trying to hit a PR!

I was sooooooooo close to hitting 30 min for 3.2 miles, I'd still like that to by my goal, espec. since that means I could probably hit an actual 5k - aka 3.1 miles - in around 29 minutes - another new goal.

I think a 30 min 5k was a 30 before 30 goal of mine tho... so on the treadmill, I've done it, woo hoo! I think my fastest outside 3.2 speed was around 31:30 so I've been pretty close to hitting a 30 min 5k (3.1) so I'll keep working on that this Fall now that it is finally cooler and less humid out (thank goodness!!)

So how about you... 3.1 or 3.2 what is your 5k training distance?

...... we also had a little chat about time goals since I realized I'd hit mine for the 5k. We were discussing friends who run marathons and what our personal time goals are, based on perfect race conditions (aka flat and cold!). I guess I just figured I should be able to hit a 2:30 1/2 marathon if the course isn't super hilly and the weather is cooler (so hopefully this Winter because my first one next weekend is def. not going to be that fast with all those hills!) and therefore I should be able to just double that and have a 5 hour marathon - right? WRONG! My 5k pace in good weather is still around 1 minute faster than my long distance pace - so to assume that going from 13.1 to 26.2 and staying at the same speed the whole time is a little nuts.

Good to realize this NOW before I start training for a half next year because I would have been pushing myself for an unrealistic goal the first time around. Sure, one day I want to run a 2 hour half marathon and I'd sure like to hit a 5 hour marathon or under... but for my first one, I'd say 5:30 is a good goal and I'll work my way down from there.

I had this same issue when I was giving myself a time goal for the 1/2 marathon because I kept getting so mad at myself when I couldn't keep to a 10-11 min/mile pace in spite of the distance, hils, temperature, humidity, etc. It was REALLY frustrating until I realized I need to slow down a little to run longer, espec. in the heat and humidity, and it is OK. Definitley don't want to go through all that again by having unrealistic goals for my first marathon, so I'm glad to get that little eye opener in advance :)

Thank goodness for this running friend and her words of wisdom... I've been enlightened this week lol.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

2 more weeks... and something scary :-/

2 weeks from today I will be running my first half marathon - aka my first race EVER!

I'm sooooooooooo excited and only a little nervous... ok let's be honest, I'm freaking out a little inside EVERY DAY haha! This whole "taper" part of my schedule also has me freaking out a little. Are you sure I shouldn't be running more?! ahhhh! We ran our scheduled 7 miler this morning which was GREAT because it was in the low 60s when we headed out - just beautiful Fall weather for a nice long run! I was able to keep the pace, with my walking breaks included, around 11min/mile so I'm pretty happy with that. (Don't judge me you cheetahs... even turtles like to race :))
I tried to run 12-15 min segments this time instead of doing 10 min run/ 1 min walk and I think that went really well even tho we ran so long. Nothing hurt other than my knee feeling a little weird at the end like it has been lately but no pain which is good!
1 more training Saturday until "the real deal" ahhhhhhhhhhhh so close!!

Now for the scary thing...

We ran 1 mile to our normal path that goes partially into the state park but more on roads by it, not on the trails. Mind you, this is right by university dorms and a big hotel and neighborhoods - not out in the middle of nowhere. When we got over there a runner ahead of us was talking to someone in a car and when we got up there he informed us that the road is blocked off by the police. Apparently the search dogs found a body back there in the wooded area! O my gosh! So sad and so scary! We live in a college town - things like that usually don't happen around our area. Definitely freaked us out a little and made me glad that I NEVER go jogging by myself anymore!!

... so we made a detour and got in 7 miles by an alternate course and had a lovely run but wow - definitely not what we expected to encounter leaving our house this morning! The alternate course didn't have the steep hills our normal course does but it had some pretty long inclines so I think it was really good training anyway. No clue what to expect in PA in 2 weeks so whether we encounter steep hills or long inclines up, I feel a LITTLE prepared... better than nothing anyway ;-)

Hopefully everyone is having a wonderful and relaxing and most importantly SAFE weekend!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Good friends and a goal in sight!

My co-worker earned the best friend of the month award last Saturday. Lukas was out of town and my usual running buddies were out of town or busy. Normally not a big deal BUT I needed to get a 10 miler in before our half marathon coming up in 2 weeks. What’s a girl to do? Beg another friend to ride her bike for 10 miles, super duper slow, around a 2.6 mile track for 2 hours, while I jog. Luckily this friend is awesome and agreed and as a bonus – she is super chatty so I was well entertained! It was so hot and humid out that day, I couldn’t have made it through my run without her. It was so slow and awful but I did it and I feel more mentally prepared for my race coming up. 12:26 pace, boooooooooo – slowest long run yet but o well – I just want to finish this race and hopefully it won’t be so hot and humid in 2 weeks as it was last weekend!

I’ve been super busy and otherwise lazy this week… I’ve only gotten about 5 miles in between 2 days and we have a super hilly 7 mile run scheduled on Saturday. Hopefully the lack of training this week won’t ruin Saturday’s run! It has finally gotten cold and non-humid in the mornings here (that started AFTER my Saturday run last week – go figure! :-p) so hopefully that will help on our last few longish training runs.

Remaining traing plan – 5ks during the week, hilly 7 miler this Saturday, hilly 5 miler next Saturday, super duper hilly half marathon on the 29th! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh so excited and nervous and scared and repeat!! :) I can't believe I am sooooooooooo close to getting to my goal this time and still feeling good. I've been having some weird knee pain off and on but other than that, things are going great - wish us luck!!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

ANOTHER 5k PR and lots of training rambles...

Last week I played a little too much with my VFFs on the trail for a 4mile run and my right calf was sooooooooooo tight I ended up taking 4 days off of running. Partially laziness too tho – I could have run after only 2 days off but o well ;-)

So Monday we decided we needed to run since it is a holiday and we had time and didn’t run on Saturday because we went to the beach (more on that later!). However, the weather didn’t want to cooperate and it poured BUCKETS for HOURS! Of course it decided to wait to rain until we’d already gotten up early, gotten ready, and drove 20 minutes to the park. Annoying! So we went shopping, went out to lunch, took a nap… and then went on an evening run. Do you know how much I HATE evening runs? Well, if you don’t, let me tell you… it is A LOT! However, we had a great run and did 5.5 miles in an hour which was really good for me considering it was so humid I was dripping and we even did some hills.

Apparently taking 4 days off to recover and be lazy and then doing a good 5.5 miler with hills didn’t agree with my IT Band/Knee because ouch was that uncomfortable on Tuesday morning when I went to run! Enter freakout mode… the race is only 4 weeks away!! I rolled a lot, iced it, rolled a lot more in the evening and the next day… brought my roller to work… and magically I ran 2.5 miles on the treadmill without any issues. I rolled more yesterday, and today, and just did an awesome 5k on the treadmill, no issues then either. Sooooooooo I think I’m ok… stepping out of freakout mode, for now anyway.

So let’s talk about that 5k I did today tho. I didn’t walk, not even once, not even for a few seconds, and I set a new treadmill PR!! 30:16 … wooooooo hooooo for me! That was my fastest 3 miles ever too, I almost stopped there but I knew I could push the pace for .2 more for a new PR so I did ;-) My goal is to hit a 30 minute PR and then work on getting my outside time down to that as well. Little by little I will keep getting better if I can keep healthy and injury free.

We have 3 long runs left and then the race… 4 Saturdays including this coming one… I’m so nervous! I’m supposed to run 10.5 miles this Saturday too which has me super nervous because I don’t have a running buddy! Lukas is out of town, my 1 running friend has people in town, my other running friend will be out of town…. Ahhhhh! I may have a friend convinced that she should come ride her bike next to me while I run for 2 hours… we’ll see how that works out lol. It will be soooo hard to get myself motivated to get out of bed and get to the park and once I’m there omyheck it is going to be hard to run so far and so long by myself! Ahhhhhhhhh… ok… no freaking out lol. Honestly if I can get around 8 miles in I’ll be ok with that, but really… if I do 8, I can finish the extra lap and get my 10.5 in ;-)

After this long one we have around a 7 mile run planned the following weekend then a 5 miler and then the race. It will be hard to let myself taper down for a couple weeks but I’m sure the excitement of the race coming up will help. Just need to learn to cross train more and not worry about weekly mileage during our taper weeks.

4 more Saturdays… that is all that lies between me and a half marathon finishers medal… o buddy… I am so excited! Lol If my run goes well this Saturday I will go ahead and sign Lukas and I up for the race in PA. I hate waiting so long but after that weird knee pain on Tuesday, we decided to wait until I could run again and tried a long run again just to make sure everything is ok. Wish me luck!!

(Ps. I owe you some vacation and beach posts and photos… coming soon, I promise!!)