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.

Ambushed

Ambushed by the common cold.
Ambushed by 900 pounds of stupid.
Ambushed by a bum knee.
Ambushed by my own ambition.
And finally, ambushed by my husband.

It’s no secret that I am sorely lacking in the consistency department. It doesn’t take much to derail me. I will spend a ridiculously long time planning, and not as much time doing. Right about the time I finally got it together, my world imploded.

First I was struck down by “the funk.” It had been going around, I’d been ducking and weaving trying desperately to avoid it, but it would not be denied.  On and off sore throat (which I am a total baby about), lots of restless nights, a decent handicap in the breathing department, and a stunted reaction time.  I blame that last one for my next unfortunate event.

Anyone that doesn’t know what “900 pounds of stupid” meant probably doesn’t deal with horses much.  A spooky horse with a tendency to dance around if not happy, and my depleted faculties = nearly broken foot.  And a lot of colorful cursing.  Even though this blog tends to stay on the G/PG side of the scale, I am a great lover of the F-bomb.   Nothing is quite as expressive as a well timed F-er.  And on this night it was used frequently and with great vigor.  Fortunately my foot was only “nearly” broken, and not “broken” broken.  That would have been all sorts of bad.  Although that knowledge didn’t make it hurt any less, or any easier to run on.

Not my first choice of tattoo. Just too plain.

It took a good 2 weeks before my toe stopped hurting enough to workout for any length of time, and even then the workouts weren’t much (read: not nearly enough to keep on track).  It’s also gotten colder.  Not as cold as normal for Ohio, but still below freezing more days than not (or at least really close to freezing).  Which has not made my knee very happy.  I was concerned about this being a problem, tendonitis in my knee is usual a problem in the cold weather.  So just as I got my toe back on the program, my knee bailed. This time, not quite enough to totally derail me, but enough to make it very discouraging to see that even though I was doing something, it was  not as much as I wanted/needed to be doing.

And that is my own fault for taking too big a bite. To go from running 2-3 times a week to suddenly trying to do 2 workouts a day, 6 days a week is beyond excessive.  Sometimes my ambition is too big even for me. It just wasn’t realistic. I needed to be easing into more, not jumping in head first.

And finally, about a week ago now, as the Hubby and I were getting ready for bed, I mentioned that I needed to try to get a workout in the next day. And the Hubby looked over and says “I’m glad that you mentioned that….What time are you getting up tomorrow?”

Busted.

In my weeks of apathy and laziness thinly blamed on illness and injury, I had not been getting up when I needed to.  So since then, we have slowly been working the alarm clock back to a time suitable for working out in the morning.  I’ve been getting some workouts in during lunchtime at work, but sometimes it’s just not enough time to get done the time/distance that I’m trying for.

So this week is back to the (newly edited) plan.  I’ve taken too much time off to just jump right back in to where I should be.  I’ve mostly kept up with the running portion, but for the tri training, I’m going to have to mostly start over.  And that, boys and girls, is why you start early. So you have time to learn and adjust.

Game back on.

Sort of Organized

So the good news is that I have, in fact, put together a training plan for both my half marathon in May, and my triathlon in July.  The bad news is that I am very worried about it.  I also have a tentative race schedule mapped out, but a lot of it is going to depend on how much extra money I can scrap together. These triathlons are expensive!

Let’s start with the race schedule:

St.Patty’s Day 4 Miler on 03/10/12– this one I am already registered for. I am going to see just how many different shade of green I can cram into one outfit.
Hoover Hustle 10K on 04/15/12– a friend mentioned this one, and I hadn’t heard of it before, but it sounds like it could be a good time.
Cap City 1/2 Marathon on 05/05/12– this is the one I’ve been working towards. And with this being a bicentennial year, the celebration is going to be even more out of control!
Redlegs Run 10K on 06/02/12– it was a ton of fun last year, and maybe this year we’ll actually get to finish on the field in the stadium.
World Famous Pig Run 5K on 07/20/12– for whatever reason they didn’t do this race last year. I know because I was looking for it. Fortunately this year it’s making a comeback. There are only a few better ways to recover after a race than with ribs and beer.
Giant Eagle Sprint Triathlon on 07/29/12– a reasonable set of distances for my very first triathlon!! Can you tell how excited I am about this?
Emerald City 1/2 Marathon 09/12– it was a great course and a giant inflated shamrock at the finish. Yes please.
Deer Creek Fall Challenge Triathlon on 09/23/12– provided that the first one goes well and I totally fall in love with triathlons (as I am suspecting will be the case) I will try to sneak in one more.
Columbus Marathon on 10/21/12- This year is the city’s bicentennial so most events are going to reflect that, which usually makes for a pretty good time. The questions will be, do I run the half marathon or make a go for the full? Part of me thinks there’s no need to push it, the other part thinks that it may be better to keep pushing as long as I’ve got the momentum.  I suppose it will depend on how my other big races go.
Dead Celebrity 3 Miler 10/12– running while dressed in a costume = instant good time.
Flying Feather 4 Miler 11/12– this may become an annual tradition. I know Mom had fun too. And running Thanksgiving Day morning helps me to feel less guilty about having extra dessert.
Holiday Run 12/12– I didn’t make it to this race last year, so I am going to make a better attempt this year. Mostly because I have cute holiday socks that I didn’t get to wear.

I know, that’s pretty ambitious race schedule. I’m even a little intimidated by it. My main goal was to try to have something nearly every month so that I always have something to look forward to next. That was there is always motivation. Otherwise I get lazy. However I am still mostly poor, so some of these may go to the wayside if there aren’t enough funds. I’m pretty sure the Hubby will not approve of me spending all of our money on races.  There is also a looming possibility that I might get to squeeze in a Disney race during vacation this year. Those bitches are even more expensive than the triathlons! But it’s Disney, what do you expect?  If that plan works out, some other races will definitely get bumped.

The training plan.  Dang, yo. This triathlon training is no joke. I may not actually survive it. Take a look:

Thursday looks so lonely. I'll have to find something to cheer it up.

The running part of the schedule is being provided by MIT, which I have finally been able to join. Now I have to make the decision whether to keep running with the walk/run group, or jump up to the 13 minute pace group. I would really like to be able to run my half marathon. Maybe I’ll just bounce back and forth for a while and see what agrees with my knees the most.  I got the swim and bike portions of the schedule from BeginnerTriathlete.com. That website is packed with loads of information and training plans and articles to answer most any question.  So far I have found it very helpful in trying to get myself organized.

This past week has been all about trying to get up earlier in the mornings because, let’s be honest here, there’s no way those workouts are going to get done in the evenings. I’ll let you guess how well that’s worked out.

This is me, pretty much every day.

And I found out today that people do, in fact, want you to succeed.  Even people you don’t know. Today I went to the gym to do a test run of my upcoming swim and bike workouts. To properly plan my mornings, I needed an idea of just how long these things were going to take me, drive time and all. Once I got there, I did the bike first, no big deal, and then went and changed and went to the pool. Which was occupied. By 5 other people across 3 lanes.  I hate sharing a lane because I’m not a great swimmer and I already feel very awkward and I don’t really want on display in front of a bunch of people. But damn it, I need to get my swim on! So, I head into the pool to the lane that only has 1 person, and stand a bit off to the side fussing with my swim cap and goggles. You know, desperately trying to look like I have any idea what I’m doing.  Next thing I know, the woman swimming stops and says “Do you want to share the lane?”  I look up, somewhat startled that she’d bother talking to me, and reply “Umm, yea, if you don’t mind… that would be great.” Her response, with a smile, “No problem, I’ll just stick to this side.”  Thank you Stranger. I didn’t get your name, but thank you for making me feel welcome when I was considering just leaving since I obviously didn’t belong.  Moral of the story? We all have to start somewhere, and those people that seem to be naturals have probably put in a ton of work, and at some point have started out at the beginning like that rest of us.  They know the joy that success has brought them, and they want us to feel it too.

My swim coach, however, was not particularly impressed with my efforts… (source)

So if you’re on the fence about some big goal, go for it! You know you want to. Stop looking for excuses to not do it.  No one can do it for you, but you’d be surprised how many people will help you along the way.