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!