Still Not Dead

You know you can’t get rid of me that easily, right?

So, I knew I was a slacker, but Dang Yo. Over a whole year, and I gave you all nothing.

Sorry about that. The worst part is that I have been doing stuff. Not all the stuff that I had hoped for, and not as well as I had hoped for. But, you know, stuff.  And there is more stuff in the works.

For the moment, let me gather and organize my thoughts (insert crack about herding cats here), and I’ll catch you all up about my upcoming adventures, and that little race I ran in October

The beginning of the end.

The beginning of the end.

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Race Recap: Capital City Half Marathon 2012

13.1 miles?   Check.

I am officially a Half Marathoner! And what a great experience it was.

Bicentennial Edition

This is the second year that I have enjoyed the Capital City experience. Last year, Mom and I did the Quarter Marathon and had  really good time.  This was the event the finally lit my running fire, and I was looking forward to coming back to run it again.

I don’t know the actual breakdown, but between the half, the quarter, and a 5K, there were 13,000 runners descending on downtown Columbus that morning.  That’s right, I said 13,000!

My goals for the day were (in no particular order):

– Have fun! You only get one first time, and I was determined to enjoy every minute of it!

– Be awesome.  That’s kind of a daily thing for me, so NBD. (humble, aren’t I?)

– Still like running by the finish. I won’t lie, it was in question for a while…

– Finish in under 3 hours. It felt obtainable, especially if I kept to my final goal…

– Run as much as possible, try to only walk through water stations.

That last one was kind of flexible. My training had been a combination of straight running (short runs by myself) and run/walk intervals (long runs with my awesome MIT running buddies!)  The one time I tried pushing a bit harder on a long run, my knees hated me the next day (and for several after). However, my other long runs were not nearly as dramatic as long as I kept a nice easy (read:slow) pace.

Race morning was kind of muggy and humid. Fortunately for me, I tend to do a lot of my training runs during my lunch time at work and am pretty use to running in mid-70 to low-80 degree weather. Especially for the last few weeks. Yay Ohio…

I was fortunate enough to run into two of my running buddies as soon as we got there, Jacqui and George, and we walked down to the start line with them.  I also ran into my friend Marci, who was walking the quarter.

Full of smiles pre-race. And be warned, I’m pretty sure I look more demented the further we go…

There were several other friends who were running as well that I never managed to connect with. They probably knew I was going to go crazy with the picture taking, and avoided me. It’s cool, I get it.

Because this race is so well supported, I was running with a lot less than normal. I did not have my big belt with bottle because there were going to be aid stations roughly every 1.25 miles. I figured if I couldn’t make it 1.25 miles between sips o’water, I had bigger problems.  There were also 32 bands and DJ’s along the course, so I also did not have my beloved sansa. The only things I took with me on course were my phone and my camera. And my sweet shoes…

Scientifically proven to increase your “sexy” factor.

Armed and ready to run, I found my corral (D), and set up to wait. Where I ran into George again! Neither of us had an interval timer (everyone else I usually run with has one, and let’s face it, lack of preparation is my typical MO),  so I let him know that my plan was to only walk through the water stations (splash zone, people), and as I needed to , and that he did not need to feel obligated to stay with me.  But stay with me he did, and I am so grateful! I still would have had a good time, but I don’t know that I would have done quite as well if I had been running on my own. Having someone to run with, and chat with, and commiserate with when the aches and pains start setting in was invaluable.

I felt really good for most of the race. No pains, no knee problems. I felt like we were pushing a little, but not crazy. Even with a course that is 80% uphill.  Seriously, it is one long slow uphill after another. Who says C-bus is flat?

I don’t know how they made it uphill both ways, I’m just glad it wasn’t in the snow…

Some highlights for your viewing pleasure:

Hubby and I engaged in Photo Wars. I let him have the advantage by having the good camera. You know, “my” christmas present…

I, however, had the Power of Green. And sweat.

 

George and I around Mile 6. Clearly my demented state was getting worse… It’s like I’m photo-bombing my own pictures…

Dripping Liquid Awesome. Everywhere.

Our poor friend Lynde, who was volunteering, and was mildly frightened by my self-photo bombing.

Remember how I said that I felt good for most of the race?  Yea, that ended right around Mile 10. By that point, I could feel myself slowing down, I got a cramp in my left foot, and my IT band started tightening up on the right. Those last 3 miles felt like the longest 5K of my life. Especially when ambushed by cobbles stone streets and a never ending uphill.  Not cool.

Dear Cap City Organizer Peeps: Can we run this course backwards next year? That would awesome. Thanks, Love Me.

But finish we did, and we finished strong.

Official Time:   2:46:38

Not too shabby, considering a year ago I was running 14-15 minutes/mile.  Here are the “splits” if you’re interested. I used an app on my phone, started it just before the starting line, and it was a few seconds after the finish before I got it stopped.  (Read: take it with a grain)

Total Distance: 13.5 mi. (again, a little before, a little after)
Mile 1:   10:58 — whoops! so much for starting out nice and easy…
Mile 2:   11:42
Mile 3:   12:11
Mile 4:   12:20
Mile 5:   12:26
Mile 6:   12:30
Mile 7:   13:22
Mile 8:   12:16
Mile 9:   12:22
Mile 10:  12:19
Mile 11:   13:28
Mile 12:  13:45

I think what I am most proud of is that I was mostly consistent. Went out a bit fast, came in a bit slow, a little dip in the middle, but the vast majority is pretty damn consistent. That’s pretty good for my very first half marathon!

This is a very well put together event, and if you haven’t participated and are anywhere near Columbus in May, you should. Tons of support, great volunteers, and one of the best after-parties I’ve seen so far.

The only thing I will note that was mildly disappointing was the post-race snacks available.  By the time I got to the finish the only thing available in the runner’s recovery area was bagels and a piece of chocolate (which was delicious). They had run out bananas (though they did come back with more a little later that were super green), it looked like there had been oranges at some point but not anymore.  There was chocolate milk available out in the Race Village, and there was a food vendor on the outer edges. However, this did not compare to last year’s race, where we had bagels, bananas, apples, and pizza! I know a lot of it has to do with sponsors, and they work with what they have.  This year was just a little bit of a let down in the food department after how awesome last year was.  I’m hoping that the “running out of things” just had to do with the growing pains of having more runners in a new-ish venue.

No matter what little hiccups, it was a fantastic day, a fantastic race, and I will always consider this my “Home” race.  Thank you to everyone who was with me over the course of that last year, all my friends and family that have had to deal with my growing obsession with all things running.  I love you all! One year of running down, and many more to come…

… and I had Donatos afterwards anyway  😉

What I’ve Learned from Running

Keep your toenails trimmed.

Get your shoes in the right size. Which is probably not the size you think you wear.

Running with friends is way more fun than running alone.

Sometimes it’s nice to run alone and let your mind wander.

Winter doesn’t feel as cold after you’ve been running for about 15 minutes.

Summer gets even hotter after about 15 minutes.

You are probably not the first person to pee on that tree. Or worse.

If you’re trying out new fuel, know where the closest bathroom is.

Keep track of what works for you. You’d be surprised the problems a different type of underwear can cause.

What works for others may not work for you. Try stuff out.

Stretching is way more important that you think it is.

Cotton is not your friend.

Neither is skin cancer. Wear sunscreen.

Wedgies happen.

You may never wear anything that is not wicking fabric ever again.

Friends don’t let friends miss out on great sales. Especially on running gear.

Stick with it, and after a while people will ask you daily “Running today?”

Stick with it, and after a while you will face injury.

An injury is not the end of the world, unless you ignore it.

It does, in fact, get easier.

Few things make you as happy as new running shoes.

You can do way more than you thought you could.

Race Recap: St. Patty’s 4 Miler

Better late than never….

For those of you keeping track, no, this race was not actually on St. Patrick’s Day. It was, however, a perfect excuse for wearing an excessive amount of green all at the same time.

Like I wouldn’t normally. Right.

The day started out great. It was a nice morning, still a bit chilly, but not nearly as cold as it should be for early March. Only problem is, it didn’t stay that way. It kept getting colder. Guess it’s a good thing that I had recently gotten some Under Armour coldgear pants on clearance.

Race time was 6:00pm, and by then it was a lot more windy. And the wind was starting to screw with my costume.

Windy and Sunny = Awkward Pre Race Photo. But look who I dragged out with me again...

This race is put on by M3S, so of course had pretty good race support. As a 4 mile distant, there was only 1 water stop, which was fine for me, and I’m guessing most everyone else. The course went through the neighborhoods around Kinsale Golf Club, and theoretically past some links. Apparently I was way to “in the zone” to notice those. I just saw houses and people.

I am, in fact, the champion of goofy faces. Just ask the Hubby.

I think that the coolest thing about this race was the number of people who were just hanging out in their driveways to cheer runners on. Or just to gawk. Could’ve gone either way. This celebration is a big deal for them, and there were people out at almost every house. That was kinda cool.

Wanna know what was not cool?  Wearing pants that did not want to stay up. Pretty sure that falls under Big Girl Problems.  To much pooch in the front + too much junk in the trunk = a constant battle just to not moon pretty much everyone.  Between trying to keep my head bopper from being blown away and trying to not lose my drawers, it’s really a wonder that I was able to run at all. My apologies to anyone that was behind me.

But run I did. And even with  my pants falling down, still managed a kick-ass PR:

47:26 total time      11:52 average pace

Fact: Fairy wings make you run faster

More than 5 minutes faster than my last 4 miler. Boom.

Ah, sweet victory

The other promising thing about this race is that there was an after party, including a live band.  So after we finished our race, we got some food, got some beer, and waited.

And kept waiting.  Because the band didn’t actually start until 8:30pm.  Now this might not have been so bad, but there also wasn’t anywhere to sit.  There were only about half a dozen tables in the party tent, and they were all occupied by the fast people and their families.  I would have much rather they parked the Finish Line car outside and put up a few more tables.  So to summarize, ran a PR, tired, sweaty, with no where to sit, and still another half hour to wait.

I love me a live band, but we just couldn’t do it.  My shiny new PR would just have to be party enough.

Overall, a nice course, decent support, especially through the neighborhoods.  My biggest complaint would be the after party. It was just too long after the race had finished, coupled with nowhere to sit. If I lived closer, it would’ve been better to go home, change clothes, and then come back for the party. As it was, we were all just too tired of waiting.

Bringin’ da Funk

It’s really hard to stay positive. I’m not exactly a positive person to begin with. I would call myself a Realist. Practical. Grounded.

Plenty of people would just call me a bitch. I’ll give you two guesses on whether or not I care.

Whatever we would call me, I am struggling. With life in general. That would be the primary reason that I have not posted anything in about a month.  When the Chubby Chick isn’t doing much, running or otherwise, there isn’t much to write about. And I try really hard not to bring people down with me. Sometimes, though, sharing can be cathartic.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think that everything for everyone else is unicorns and champagne. I stalk read plenty of other blogs, and am regularly stalking people catching up on facebook, and there are plenty of people that are struggling with something.  And to be perfectly honest, I think anyone that does try to say that things are always great is full of it.

I struggle to get my runs in. Triathlon training has been right out the window for weeks now. I’m completely over working 2 jobs trying desperately trying to make ends meet. I don’t know that I will even be able to afford the triathlon, even if my training were up to par. Hell, I’d be happy to even be in the vicinity of par. My weight loss has stalled. I’m trying to be content with the fact that I haven’t backslid much, considering the lack of consistent exercise, and and the frequent ingestion of (Insert Holiday Here) candy. I can’t watch the Reds play, because when I do, they lose. It’s like Drew Stubbs doesn’t want to be my imaginary boyfriend anymore. Hubby said he was going to start calling me Billy Beane (go watch Moneyball if you don’t get it).

More than anything, I feel like it just been a series a small things that continues to pile up on me. And most of them aren’t directly related, which I think often makes it worse, because then I feel like I can’t catch a break. Anywhere. Ever. And that’s when it started feeling easier to just quit. But I don’t like quitting. So I complain instead.

For example, over the weekend I had ordered new running shoes online. They were on sale, I also had a $10 off coupon, and snagged free shipping.  Normally $90, bought for $40. Score.  I had been keeping track of the shipping, and while the estimated delivery date said the 12th, it was looking like they would show up today. As I was getting out of bed, I happened to see the Fedex truck pull up across the street. Naturally, I was very excited.  By the time I finished getting dressed, the truck left, never having brightened my doorway.  Confused, I checked the tracking info. Again. “Dropped off at local United States Postal location. Please allow an additional 1-2 days delivery time.”

What? Are you freaking kidding me? HE WAS JUST ACROSS THE STREET!! I could have had my new shoes in my grubby little hands by now! Why Fedex? Why would you do this to me?

Naturally, I promptly hunted down Hubby to complain about my unfair life and proclaim my hatred for Fedex. The conversation went something like this:

“I hate Fedex. They’re stupid. There was a truck just across the street, but then drove away, so I checked the tracking info, and got this!  [promptly shoved my phone in his face]  Really?! They’re a delivery service! Why on earth do they need to dump it to another delivery service?!  I could have had my shoes today, but instead they’re going to be taking the scenic route around Columbus! I knew I got too good a deal on them…. $90 shoes for $40, now I’m paying for it. With my luck, they’ll get delivered to some other house, and I’ll NEVER see them!”

Dramatic, I know.

However, all things eventually move on, even bad luck. Like the changing of the seasons, the circle of life, blah, blah, blah. You know what I’m getting at.  Hopefully this afternoon is a good omen of things to come…

Look what showed up the mail today. What? You were expecting a different color? C'mon now.

Wish List

The nice thing about running is that you don’t need much to get started. A pair of shoes and some comfy clothes are all you really need. And for the most part, that’s all I’ve had. I did invest in a water bottle with a pouch for my stuff, Mom got me a fuel belt with even more pockets, and I always have my Sansa clip with me. I’ve picked up a few shirts (mostly from races) and some new shorts (they were on sale, I couldn’t resist), but that’s kinda it. Now, I’m also going to try out triathlons, and I’ll need a few more things for that, but again, not a ton. A bike, a helmet, a swimsuit, some goggles, and you can make a go of it.

But there are lots of things that I could have and, I’ll be honest, there are some of them that I really want.

Running Watch

Right now, I have a simple digital watch that has a stopwatch function. It technically also has a single lap feature, but I don’t entirely understand it (the instructions weren’t very clear). The downside is the stopwatch function only goes up to 60 minutes, which is slightly less than helpful for my longer races. I bought it on clearance for $3.24, so I wasn’t expecting a whole lot, and it has met those expectations wonderfully. I really just wanted to be able to keep track of my running times and distances a little more accurately. So I track the time with my stopwatch function, and I map my runs out on dailymile.com. I’ve also tried using different apps for my phone that track your running, like mapmyrun and runtastic. It works, but it’s a lot of little steps. And as we all know by now, I’m lazy. I want one-stop-shopping. So I’ve been eye-balling a Garmin.

The most important thing is that it is green. I don't want it to feel left out.

One option is the Garmin 405. From Garmin’s website:
Loaded with serious training features, Forerunner 405 continuously monitors your time, distance, pace, calories and heart rate (when paired with heart rate monitor). Each run is stored in memory so you can review and analyze the data to see how you’ve improved. You even can download recorded courses to compete against previous workouts or race a Virtual Partner®. Customize Forerunner’s data screens for instant feedback while you train.

So, it keeps track of all the stuff that I want, some others that I hadn’t really thought about yet, and it will automatically transfer all this information directly to my computer for me? Excellent! The downsides: it is only for running, and my laziness is a bit costly. This particular model sells for $220.  That green coloring must be really expensive.

If I want something less expensive, soleus has recently gotten in on the gps market:

At $99, it’s by far the cheapest, and I would still be doing the data entry myself. Which I have gotten very good at, by the way.

But wait! What about the swimming and biking? If I want to track that too, I’ll need something more like the 310XT:

Quite a bit more powerful, not nearly as pretty. Superficial, I know. Sue me.

About the 310XT:
Finally, a GPS-enabled training device that isn’t afraid of the water. The rugged Forerunner 310XT is the triathlete’s indispensable training tool — a GPS-enabled trainer that is water-resistant to 164 ft (50 m), tracks data in multiple sport modes and sends it wirelessly to your computer. This multisport device has up to 20 hours of battery life, tracks distance, pace and heart rate¹ on land, and goes from wrist to bike in seconds.

Or, if I really wanted to go all out, I’d get the 910XT at $450.

Sleek and sexy. The LBD of the gps-watch world.

Ultimately, it’s going to come down to how much Hubby lets me spend.  Anybody know a good sugar daddy?
(Dear Garmin, you’re welcome for the mini-commercial.)

New Sunglasses

Here’s another tidbit that I really shouldn’t admit to. I am hell on sunglasses. I usually have 2-3 pairs floating around because they will all end up lost or broken at some point in their lives with me. Thus, I generally don’t buy nice things. Right now, my primary pair are my ‘Hollywood’ glasses. I am totally a rock star when I wear these.

Cheap and gaudy. Just my style.

As awesome as these are, they are just no match for the humidity that my face produces while running. If there’s not a nice breeze coming through, instead of feeling glamorous, I feel like Stevie Wonder (not that Stevie isn’t glamorous). I have also somewhat recently found out that having polarized sunglasses really does make a difference. I had a pair of sport-style sunglasses that were polarized, and they were fantastic. It was kinda hard to go back to the Hollywood’s after they met an unfortunate end under my foot. Don’t ask, I don’t like to talk about it.

New Shoes

Back in May, just before Capital City, I bought a new pair of shoes. They are Asics Gel-Enduro 6’s. They were great shoes and I wore the hell out of them for almost all my running. They were replaced with the Gel-Enduro 7, which wasn’t quite as great. Don’t get me wrong, they got the job done. I just never quite loved them like I loved the 6’s. Now it’s getting to be time for a new pair. And this time, I would like something a little more flashy. Cause that’s how I roll (see Hollywood above).

With Nike and Reebok, you can do a lot of customization now, i.e. I can make them as green as I want, which will always be a bonus for me. But I really have liked the Asics, and they do have some green models. And it would probably be a good idea to have a couple pairs of shoes in rotation so that I’m not always beating down the same pair.  Not entirely sure that line of reasoning is going to convince the Hubby, but we’ll see.

Compression Socks

It used to be compression stockings were only for old people with circulation problems. Times have changed, and athletes the world over are jumping on the bandwagon of compression gear. There’s been a lot of talk about how it helps with performance, as well as recovery. Funny thing is, there’s not a lot of solid research to back up these claims. A lot of it seems to be speculation and reasoning. For example, compression socks help to insulate the muscles of your legs, and warm tissue has better blood circulation, which means better oxygenation to the tissues, which means better performance and shorter recovery periods. It is a logical train of thought, and may be correct, but the studies just aren’t backing it up scientifically. That being said, everyone that I have talked to that uses them swears by them. Can’t live without them. This has been backed up by the other blogs that I stalk follow. And I am still occasionally battling super tight calf muscles and am happy to take any advantage I can get.  And most importantly of all….

That's right...

Unfortunately, these are another costly item at around $60, though I have seen them on sale here and there.  Cute, but sadly not going to be on the top of the priority list.


Running Apparel

Dressing for a run or workout of any sort should not only be functional, but also a personal statement. The sort of statement that says “I love Green.” (no judging). There are so many options! Shorts, pants, skirts, headbands, socks, arm sleeves, and most of these in any color you want (although mostly in pink, if you’re in to that sort of thing.)  Not gonna lie, I really want to try out a running skirt, or skort, or whatever. Something that prevents my inner thighs from starting a fire and is super cute.  Functional and fashionable.

No forest fires here. Safety first, people.

Wireless Headphones

I am not a big fan of wires. Anyone that is as hard on things as I am doesn’t need extra pieces to break or lose.  The wires for my headphones are always in my way.  I can’t tell you how many earbuds I’ve lost, or how many times I’ve yanked them out of my ears, or even better, managed to throw my clip to the ground.  Sadly, I have a major obstacle to becoming free of wires. Namely, my sansa clip is not bluetooth enabled.  No sansa product is. And this makes me very sad because I very much love my sansa. It takes a beating like no other piece of equipment I own.  I hate to replace it, but the wires are making me crazy.  My other options are very limited. There aren’t that many bluetooth enabled mp3 players out there. I looked, and I wasn’t very impressed. Until I found this:

Where have you been all my life?

All in one mp3 player. 4GB for $80, and no wires!  This may be the most genius thing I have ever seen. I must have it.

Whew! That’s a lot of money I’m looking to spend, and I haven’t gotten to the triathlon end of things. Man, can I pick expensive hobbies!

Anything else you think I should look into?