Tuesday, December 20, 2011

GPS watch Inaccuracy Article

For every runner who has ever complained that a race you ran was not the right distance please go to the link below and read this article from the NY Times today.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

what I'm loving this wednesday...

Here are a few things I can't get enough of this week.  
  • Pinterest - I can't stop pinning.  Seriously, I need help.  I am obsessed with finding new recipes, cute diy projects (to do once I have a house/more space), and other fun ideas.  I'm losing entire days to this site and it recently kept me busy for the 5 hour car drive back to Ohio last weekend.  
  • Weddings!!!  My sister's best friend got married last weekend and now I want to do it all over again.  So much fun!
me and my sister (a beautiful bridesmaid)
  • Running in cooler temperatures;  I feel like I am flying!
  • Scary movies.  I'm loving channels like AMC who play scary movies non-stop in October.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Do you want to know the best day when running the lakefront is clear and you can have a nice relaxing run in Chicago?  Chicago marathon race morning.  I think I saw 1 other runner and only a handful of cyclists.
I live about 2 miles from the 12K point of the marathon so instead of walking or taking the el I decided to run to Addison, cheer my heart out, then finish up my run after my hands were too sore to clap anymore.  I made it to Addison right as the first few participants in the wheelchair division were coming through, found a spot right up front, and waited.  The wait was short and soon enough we could hear the lead cars honking and the helicopter overhead.

Here they come...
There they go... can you spot Ryan hall?  And yes that is only 1 of the cheerleading groups along this mile of the marathon.

After that I cheered for people I didn't know for the next 2 hours.  I ended up seeing my friend running her second marathon (and PRing by 40 minutes!) Unfortunately she didn't see me.  My fault, I never told her I would be there.  I am glad though I was able to spot her in the masses!

It was a warm morning, nice for spectating but I felt bad for the runners.  Definitely not as warm as it has been in the past but nowhere close to ideal.  I saw a handful of people already struggling at the 12K which was shaded.  I can only imagine how they felt on the back half where shade is hard to come by.  I noticed many spectators only cheering for the 1 or 2 people they knew and it bothered me.  Maybe since I've run a couple races now that I know how nice/motivating it is to hear the cheering, clapping, and support from total strangers.  Seriously, if you are going to stand there and wait an hour to see your family member or friend might as well clap for the others while you are at it.

I don't know what it is about spectating but I tend to get emotional and want to run another marathon.  It holds my absolute worst race and my current marathon PR.   It's my town and I kind of love it in all its craziness.  It's a good thing registration doesn't open until next year otherwise I would have come home and signed up immediately. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What I'm loving this Wednesday

I'm running low on what to write about since not much has been happening.  To up the posting to maybe a bit more than 1 time a month I've decided to start a "what I'm loving right now"

    1) Restaurants who have loyalty punch cards.  Nearly every 6th visit I'm enjoying a free turkey grinder  at our favorite local sandwich shop, Costello's.  And if we actually are around and remember to go on Tuesday we get double punches (2 for Tuesday!)  Free sandwiches sooner = love

2) Rold Gold Cheddar Twists.  I seriously can't get enough of the cheesy pretzel goodness at lunch.  

     3)  Having no business travel on my schedule this week.  You have no idea the joy I feel not having to experience the airport for 5 whole business days.

       4) Still being able to wear my flip-flops into October.  

Monday, September 19, 2011


I think I might be back! Or at least temporarily cured from my running burn-out.

I am not sure when it happened.  Sometime around training for the Cleveland marathon last spring or just after but I was just done.  I wanted nothing to do with running, reading about running, even thinking about running.  But I continued on for so many reasons that make absolutely no sense.  Finally I had to step away starting this past summer.  Not 100% but I definitely had no plan, focused on the gym, and stopped worrying if I worked out at all.  It worked for the most part only because it was so hot outside!  Ultimately I even stopped reading most running blogs.  Too many times I would get more depressed after reading about everyone's awesome achievements.  I found myself comparing me to all of you and getting jealous.  I was happy for everyone but I couldn't help feeling like the only who didn't love running all.the.time.  I didn't like what I was feeling and how that was transcribing into my daily life.

For me, I had to step away and realize that over the last 9 years running has been a roller coaster of love and hate.  Breaks are what I need; sometimes those breaks last longer than a week and even go on months.  I needed to realize I don't always have to compete.  I shouldn't compare.  I need to run for me and me alone.  It's okay to not love the running.  And it's okay if I don't go out there and do a weekly speedwork/tempo/hill/long run and instead run 4 easy runs.

This past weekend I headed out in the spitting rain to get some miles in.  4 turned to 5 turned to 7.  I actually seemed to have felt the endorphins kick in around 4 1/2 ;) I found purpose once again in the sweat.  The sweat that only comes from one kick ass run.  

For now, I'm on the way up.  I am back to getting looking forward to runs, itching to get out there on the lakefront path.  I'm back up to double-digit weekly mileage and considering a half for fun later this year. I'll ride this upswing as long as I can and make sure to keep my eyes open for signs of overtraining.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

feeling germy

Ever since I started traveling for work (nearly 10 years ago now - gah!) I've wavered in between being a complete germaphobe to being conscious of the germs and carrying my antibacterial lotion with me everywhere.  There becomes a point where you just can't sanitize everything and really don't want to think about it each week.  I kept telling myself sometimes germs aren't such a bad thing (how else did you build your immune system in the first place?). For as much as I do travel I can count on my hand how many times I have been sick over the last 9 1/2 years.  I thank my constant hand washing and use of Bath and Body Works antibacterial lotion (I just like this product because it's easy to carry and doesn't dry out my hands; they don't know who I am from the next person shopping at their store)

So I've been living my little travel bubble for awhile then this past weekend I saw Contagion (an excellent, well acted/directed/filmed movie).  I recommend it if you can handle the "germ-i-ness" because although it is fiction the story is all too realistic/feasible.  Immediately following the movie I was fine.  Not a thought about the old movie theatre and how many people have sat in that seat and touched that armrest before me over the many years it has been open!  Then I left for another business trip and now I seriously can't stop thinking about everything I touch in a single day while traveling.  I know this will pass but it is currently freaking me out :)  If anything, at least the movie has made me more aware of how many times I touch my face and the fact that I need to stop doing that so many times a day.

Now did I just creep you all out too?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

my own run to remember

We all know where we were 10 years ago.  I was 22 and had graduated from college only 2 months earlier.  I was without a "big girl" job still working at the Gap and living with a college friend in a high-rise on the northside of the city.  I had slept in late because I had to work the later shift.  My dad had been in downtown Cleveland for a trial and was evacuated just after the 1st plane hit.  He frantically tried to call me but I had left our house landline in the living room under blankets and was ignoring my cell.  I woke up mad at the world for being woken up, laughed at my dad, then realized it was no joke as soon as I could find our remote.  My roommate was actually home so I woke her up and we just stared at the television with tears in our eyes not knowing what to do.  There were still rumors about Chicago being on the list so we anxiously looked out the window facing downtown.  

Then I had to go to work... at the Gap.  Seriously who wants to buy the new fall sweater on a day like this!  I drove into work along Lakeshore drive.  The drive is normally a solid stream of cars at all hours.  10 years ago I passed 1 other car.  It was eerie.  No one was out and rightfully so.  I was freaking out about having to be so close to downtown in case something else happened.  And wouldn't you know 2 other people came in to shop over the next few hours.  Finally my manager got the okay to close the store early and I rushed home to "safety"...

Today I decided to run my own run to remember.  6 miles, 1 hour to remember those that were lost, those that ran to and not from the devastation, those that survive, and how far I've and others have come.  Right around the time I had to head into work 10 years ago I left to run along the Lakeshore Drive path.  I only ran part of the distance I drove in fear 10 years ago but I'm happy that I can say it is no longer a scared ghost town of a city.  I can honestly say I have never had a more peaceful run surrounded by strangers on such a beautiful day.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

return from vacay, return to real life

I think my body is finally back on CST after returning from Italy last Tuesday.  For nearly a week it was a struggle to stay awake past 8pm each night!  I no longer feel exhausted starting at 2pm either.  Now I'm back on schedule just in time to start traveling for work again.  blah.

The trip was exhausting but only in the best way possible.  The ship was incredible, we met some fun new friends, toured some amazing places, dressed up every night, and had one hell of an experience.  I can't wait to go back!   Also, for the first time in months I slept soundly each night.  I thought it might be all the fresh air, the sway of the boat, or the fact we tried to do everything in each country and returned to the ship exhausted.  Last night I realized while it may have been a combination of all those things I think the primary reason for actually sleeping was because I was finally away from work stresses and not replaying my "to do" list each night.  When we left on the 18th I shut everything off and didn't think about it again until last Wednesday.  It. was. amazing.  I function incredibly well without my crappy job.  If it wasn't for that pesky thing of a paycheck...  No seriously, I slept, I had no shortness of breath, I had no back pain, I ate and drank what I wanted in a reasonable manner and gained no weight.  I wish I could find a way to translate vacation me into real life me!

I'm still editing the 500+ pictures we took over 11 days; currently on day 4 of the trip.  Needless to say it's taking awhile.

Monday, August 8, 2011

summer running break

I did get out for a gloriously humid 4 miles this morning.  And it felt good to run easy sans garmin.

This summer I've been on a lot of these for work:

And for a multitude of reasons (or maybe excuses) I'm not doing a ton of this...
I burned myself out and am taking a much needed mental and physical break.  I still run but I'm keeping the mileage on the low end and running without purpose or a watch.  I am enjoying the extra free time because I'm not spending 3.5 hours on a long run by sleeping in on the weekends, enjoying brunches with the husband, and actually getting work done around the condo.  I'm still working out but finding other options like long bike rides along the lake and weights.  I may sign up for a half later this year but right now I am enjoying being schedule free.

Now I'm getting ready to go on one of these:
A 10 day celebrity cruise through the Mediterranean!  There is so much that goes into leaving for a long vacation but I know it is all going to be worth it once we get there.  We are going to be visiting Rome, Sicily, Athens, Ephesus Turkey, Rhodes Greece, Santorini, Mykonos and Naples.  If you have any suggestions on must see in our limited time at each stop or where to eat leave them in the comments.  

Friday, May 27, 2011

long weekend make me happy!

I'm incredibly happy and excited for the long holiday weekend.  No work, no worrying about work, and no work travel for 3 1/2 glorious days.  Starting at 1pm Friday afternoon I am looking forward to:

  • Seeing the Cubs play and visiting Wrigley for the first time this season.  Nothing like a game at Wrigley and having a reason to sport my cute Cubs gear. 
  • Warm weather!  After 44 degree's on Thursday I'll take 70's and possible showers
  • Running with no specified distance in mind
  • Seeing the Hangover 2
  • Relaxing
  • Finally putting together a photobook for the in-laws I've been putting off due to lack of time
  • Grilling out with the hubs
  • Enjoying the empty city!  I love how Chicago clears out over a holiday weekends.  It makes it so much more enjoyable to get around and get hard to make last minute reservations!
Happy Memorial Day!  Enjoy your long weekend!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

oh happy (and a little sore) day!

Today is a good day!  A scheduled work trip had to be canceled thanks to the stormy weather.  AND it was canceled far in advance so I didn't have to do the whole, drive to the airport, find out I'm delayed when I get there, wait around for hours, then get canceled.  Even better, I don't have to make the trip up/try to smash it into my schedule because I was only helping out since the other team members couldn't cover it tomorrow.  This trip was hanging over my head this week so it's nice to have that cloud lifted.

Now that I'm no longer"in-training" and figuring out what's next I'm trying to incorporate more of a mixture in my workouts.  When I was hurt earlier this year I picked up a kettlebell at Target which included a 20 minute video with Bob from The BL.  Later I ended up purchasing his 50 minute DVD from Amazon.  These were dvds great while I was injured because I could still do most of the moves while in my boot and work up a serious sweat.  While training for the marathon I didn't make time for the kettlebell.  1) because I'm sort of lazy and 2) because I tried one week to incorporate the video after an easy run and then I was so sore I couldn't complete my remaining speed workout and had to push back my long run later in the week.  Kettlebells seriously kick my butt and last night was no exception.

My husband took my car to the airport and I no desire to go find his that was parked on the street somewhere and drive to the gym.  Instead I popped in the 50 min dvd.  Yeah... today I feel like I ran at least a half marathon.  Legs and back are so sore in such a good way.  If you want your butt kicked in the comfort of your living room pick up one of Bob's kettlebell workout dvd's.  I had the ceiling fan going and the windows open to let the cool 50 degree air in and I still was drenched (and swearing at the TV) within 10 minutes into the workout.

I get bored with workout dvds easily but this is one I will definitely be incorporating more often.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon race report

Spoiler alert - this post could also be titled "It just wasn't my day"
carrying on the saying/team name from the flying pig 2 weeks ago.  It brought me some motivation and a lot of comments during this race.

Alright settle in this takes awhile...

Sunday I lined up to run the 34th Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon for my 3rd year in a row.  For the 2nd year  Mr. H lined up to pace me and my friend Sarah ran her 3rd Cleveland half marathon.  They have both run one of the races (10K, half, marathon) for the last 5 years.

Mr. H was with me once again because during one night of drinking while home for the holiday in Dec 2009 I asked the speedster to get me to a sub-4 hour marathon.  I struggle with the Cleveland course each year but I keep signing up because I'm a masochist always one for a challenge.  At this point my friend is as determined as I am for me to break the 4 hour barrier.  Though after being injured and coming out of the boot only 13 weeks ago, having a lackluster training because I spent much of my time building my base back up again, not having the time to commit due to my crazy travel schedule, and general lack of motivation I wasn't feeling overly confident this year.  

I was up and at 'em at 4:30 am Sunday morning.  Sarah, Chris and her parents (my 2nd mom and dad) were picking me up from my dad's house around 5-5:15 a.m. to make the drive to Cleveland.  It was a foggy and cool though humid morning with on and off rain showers.  We arrived almost an hour before race start so we killed time making several bathroom trips.  Luckily we had access to the Brown's Stadium and every bathroom was open and there was cover! So many people didn't realize that if you walked 10 additional steps the opposite direction there was one with no bathroom line.  We made the extra effort and had no waiting each time.  

About 20 minutes before the start time we headed to the start line.  It was chaotic!  This was the first year for the race starting by the stadium and there was limited space.  Cleveland also doesn't use corrals or very many barricades so spectators were standing with the runners in the shoot.  We weaved our way through to the 4 hour marathon pacers and found a spot on the sidelines until the races started instead of smashing our way into the line.  We had just enough time for a quick pic before the start.

The half marathoners and marathoners started together.  Since Sarah was attempting to break the 2 hour half marathon bar she started with us!  Around the end of mile 1 I turned to her and asked "In high school did you ever see us running a marathon and half marathon together ever?"  We both had a good laugh.  While we both played sports in high school we were much larger and not runners at all.  In fact Sarah threw the shot put and discus!  How times have changed!

We started out slow and kept the 4 hour pacer group in sight.  The first few miles went by quickly and I mostly just buckled down to a pace that felt right and fell in behind Mr. H.  Around mile 6 Sarah decided to back off from us and finish on her own.  We wished her luck and kept on.  We saw Mr. and Mrs. Dobney in Tremont (one of the best areas of the course) around mile 8.  Always a boost seeing people you know.

At the point of the course where marathoners turned right and half marathoners went straight to finish I took a turn for the worse.  My stomach felt off and everything felt heavy.  I felt like my week of travel and being stressed was catching up to me in the worst way.  I asked Mr. H if we could just finish the half and call it a day.  He said he would do whatever I wanted but I was determined to at least finish another marathon so I turned.  I have never felt this bad this soon in a race and it really got to me mentally.  I was still only about 2 minutes off my pace and gaining time but it felt like such a struggle to maintain.  When we turned onto Euclid Avenue before mile 13 were were greeted with dropping temperatures and wind.  Oh and a open bus lane and cars trying to maneuver around the runners.  Yeah, that was a bit scary.  Around this point I lost the 4 hour pace group and honestly I couldn't have cared less.

By mile 15 I was trying not to get sick and started dry heaving.  Everything felt off and I couldn't recall any positive affirmations only a very negative "this is a little early for the death march to start".  I made mini goals of just get to the next mile marker or to the next water station.  I let myself walk through every water station.  My stomach was off and I was struggling to fuel properly.  Chris was being great and if he hadn't been there I probably would have walked off the course and called it a day.  Not one to let anyone down I kept on trucking slowly.

Around 19 I grabbed a jet blackberry GU and walked to take about 3/4 of it in.  We were leaving the University Village/Metropark area which was pretty but absolutely dead!  The water stations had wonderful volunteers but few spectators showed up on the back half of the marathon (like usual).  This year there were even less because of the weather.  I'm not sure more support would have mattered because I was not noticing or registering much at this point.  As we turned left onto the bike path we had the wind at our back and I had a short reprieve from my stomach pain.  I found some energy, started belting out some random rap song that had come on my ipod and nailed a sub-9 minute mile for mile 20.   I thought maybe I was finding some random 2nd (or 3rd, 4th) wind.  

Then I officially crashed hard.  By mile 23 I wanted nothing to do with this stupid course, I kept apologizing to Chris, and generally felt like s*%^.  My usual "you can do anything for a 5K!" was having no effect and I was walking every chance I could. By mile 24/25 I had an 10:50 minute mile.  I'm surprised I could even muster that!

I didn't talk much and Chris tried to push me (as I had instructed him to!) to pick it up and take it home.  I let out a small "it's not happening today Chris" and he understood.  I told him I knew I would make it even if I had to walk and I would get there eventually.  Just before mile 26 marker we saw Sarah and her parents and turned right onto a downhill which actually felt okay on my legs.  The rain started to pick up but I didn't care I just wanted to see the finish line banner.  Over the last mile we had to dodge and weave all the 10K and half marathon walkers who were walking 2-5 across as well as spectators who had edged onto the course because there were no barricades keeping them on the sidewalks.  Something I hope the race officials acknowledge and fix.

We crossed the finish line officially in 4:10:33 for a 9:33 pace.  Not my worst but not my best.  I wasn't all the happy with myself but I was happy I finished my 6th marathon.  

Sarah ended up with a 2:02 half marathon!  A new personal best for her!  Yea Sar!!!

Maggie asked to try on my medal ;)  

I swore I would never run another marathon after this death march.  Of course I'm checking out marathonguide.com today while laying in bed still unable to walk.  I think my next step is to re-focus on half marathon and shorter distances.  I want to get some of my speed back.  I also like that there is a much shorter recovery time for the half.  I think my next challenge will be back to back half marathons and see how I handle that before jumping back into a full.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Cleveland marathon race weekend begins

Yea! Blogger is working again!

As I write this on riding shotgun in my jeep liberty as Jacob drives us and the cat to Ohio. I was a little stressed yesterday and today as I got stranded in Little Rock. Not a place you want to be stuck. After much running around last night I finally ended up purchasing an entirely new flight on a different airline to get back at a decent hour Friday so I could pack and hit the road again. I'm tired but hopefully I'll get to sleep in the car a bit.

So my weekend didn't start the way I had planned but it's back on track. I'm ready to see what my most likely rainy race day will bring! If you want to track and virtually cheer me on (I'll need all the support) my bib number is 1845. If you're Facebook friends with me I signed up for the automatic posts.

See you on the other side!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Taper and travel

Race day is coming up quick. I should be hydrating, getting enough sleep, taking it a bit easier at home instead I am a road warrior this week. When it comes to my work travel schedule I have some flexibility. However, because my current study is slow (I'm not maintaining the required number of monthly visits as set by my company) I'm having to cover other visits/help where needed. Unfortunately, I don't get to say "no" about these visits or plan them according to my schedule. Last week I was volunteered/told I needed to cover a 2 day visit in Little Rock. Yeah, I already had an overnight trip planned to Minneapolis Monday / Tuesday. So now I find myself traveling Monday through late Thursday then I plan on putting a half day of work in on Friday then hitting the road in my car to make the drive to Cleveland.

Definitely not what I had planned for this week and it's not ideal but I am trying to make it work. I'm hydrating even more than normal because of all the flights and trying to find healthy eats. My hunger is in full force so the one positive of all this travel is my work has to pay for my food ;) I'm not sleeping as much as I should or able to get all the miles I should but otherwise the taper monster is staying at bay. I guess I'm too busy to freak out! I hope this means only good things for race morning in Cleveland.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thoughts on the Flying Pig

I was super impressed with the Cincinnati Flying Pig marathon last weekend.  It was my first running of the race (and a relay!) but my friends have been raving about it for years.  I have now run 3 out of the 4 major Ohio marathon/half marathon/relay courses (Cleveland full twice, Akron half once, and Cincinnati).  I still haven't made it to Columbus in October but now that my sister moved there I am sure that will change this year.

I was really impressed with the Flying Pig.

  • They were trying to be more green this year.  E-mails came to everyone ahead of time to print any flyers or coupons you were interested in.
  • The race swag was very nice.  All race participants received an Asics running shirt (separate men and female sizing! not one size fits all like rock n' roll races), a real back pack, a poster, and a double sided medal.  
  • I was impressed everyone from the relay to the marathoner were treated the same.  This isn't always the case and it was nice to not be shafted just because I opted out of running this marathon.
  • The expo was a good size but not ridiculous/crazy.  It is set up similar to Akron where after you pick up your bib you are funneled into buying the race supported gear then weave through all the booths.  
  • For a race that is 13 years old it is incredibly organized.  More so than some older races I've been too/ran.
  • It's a big race but not one where you feel too crowded at anytime.
  • The race support is fantastic.  Aid stations were organized and well stocked. The race allows runners to vote for their favorite water stop/aid station at the end so some of those groups go all out just for bragging rights! 
  • The race support is fantastic.  The community really gets involved at all stages of the race.  Unlike Cleveland which definitely has dead zones on the full course where you won't see anyone for a mile except the cops that is not the case in Cincinnati.  Even in the most sketch neighborhoods there were people out partying in the front yard, sitting on their porch cheering, handing out candy, jager shots (no I didn't have one), beer, funny signs, and their support.  
  • If you love cute little piggies then you need to run this race.  They are everywhere!
  • Relay exchanges while chaotic because of the number of people but were well organized from bathrooms, water, to volunteers.  I had no problem finding the 2nd or 4th runners.  Plus, at the 3rd leg there is a grocery store that opens their doors for cover and bathrooms.  At the 4th leg a local church provides breakfast and coffee to runners.  The 2nd leg there is only a pavilion to wait but at least there is cover.  
  • Finish line or I should say Finish Swine is organized and well stocked.  Even for those runners crossing in 7 hours.  Though like any race there are those that grab a box and try to take everything laid out thinking they are the only one that ran the race.

There were not very many negatives about running this race.  Hills and the weather two things you can't control but at least expect.  It usually storms or at least rains.  This year was no different but at least it wasn't very heavy for very long.    The hills are constant, even as my friend calls them "baby hills" will cause you issues after awhile.  It's a challenging course and if you want to test your stuff the Flying Pig is where you should.  If you're nervous about the hills the biggest, baddest ones are in the first half.  Or run the relay!  The hilliest leg (#2) is the shortest distance.  No leg is flat or downhill, the last 2 only have fewer or less steep hills.  

And a little reminder if you decide to run a marathon relay.  Be sure you communicate with your team members about 1) how fast they each expect to run their leg so you know when to go out to wait for your exchange 2) where to meet at the finish line.  The big busses you back but I didn't carry my cell phone because of the rain.  Yeah, it took awhile to find everyone!  

On a completely unrelated note... T-10 days until my 3rd Cleveland marathon!  Let the weather watch commence!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Flying Pig Relay Race Report

This weekend I made the drive to Cincinnati to visit with friends and run the Flying Pig.  I had planned on running the half marathon but my friend switched to a different relay team so I could run with Mr. H, her sister, and sister's boyfriend on the Four Loco relay team.  It was my first time running on a marathon relay team.

I arrived on Friday and was up early to see Mr. H run the 10K.   I was his personal photographer for the morning ;)  After we hit up the expo, lunch, and errands.

Sunday morning started entirely way too early.  We were all up before 5 am (which really felt like 3:45 am to me thanks to the time change) and out the door before 5:30am.  We had to drop off Mr. H at the start, and the others at the 2nd and 4th relay buses.  Then Sarah and I were off to sleep in the Kroger parking lot until our race started.  It was very strange being up so early and waiting, not heading to the start line.  After an hour and half of not much sleeping and a trip to the Kroger bathroom, the eventual shirtless winner ran by, then Mr. H called saying he had passed off to the 2nd leg after a stellar 51 minutes 6+ miles. I made my way to the exchange point a little after 8 to wait for H.

I was on the ball and heard our number as H entered the long shoot.  He quickly handed me the very sweaty leg chip and I was off in the mass of sub-4 hour marathoners.  Quite a different experience running with the serious folk ;).  The miles ticked off quickly but it felt weird to be running with the faster crowd and not be running the full.  When people cheered for me I didn't like it because I felt like it wasn't deserved!  I was only running 7.6 measly miles of this pig monster.  The third leg started around mile 12 and went until just after mile 19.  The hills of the pig had gotten to nearly everyone around me. To see firsthand everyone gutting it out and I was on fresh legs made me feel bad.  I knew what they were feeling but couldn't do anything but stick to my race plan and cheer on those marathoners who were struggling around me.  It's a difficult course and I give mad props to those who tackle and conquer the full.

1 hour and 8 minutes later I was at exchange point 4 to trade the sweaty chip with my "sister".  I felt good and would have liked to have continued on but I had to take her bag to the finish line.  Collectively we finished in 3:49!  My best marathon finish ever ;)

Team Four Loco - Hell Yeah!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

last minute half

About this time last week I decided to sign up for a half marathon. I had been seeing the ads/invite on my facebook sidebar for the Chi Town Half Marathon and 5K for some time but couldn't take the financial plunge. I've said it before, I have an issue hitting the submit/confirm button when it comes to signing up for races. Anyways, I had 14 easy on the schedule, the race was 3 miles from my front door, and along the path I would have to run my long run anyways. I figured I might as well get a shirt and a medal out of a long run! I saw that it would be cold but I was half hoping weather.com was lying because really - what do they know ;)?

Race morning was freaking freezing! I guess they weren't lying this time around. My husband woke up early to drop me off about 30 minutes before the start so I could pick up my ankle chip. I thought there might be a line... It took under 30 seconds. Then I stood around freezing because the real feel temp was around 19 degrees.

Nothing too exciting to talk about this run. It was a local, very small race but well supported for its size. I primarily "raced" to motivate me in completing my long run because well, I haven't wanted to run lately thanks to the weather. I also wanted to see where my endurance was and if I could hold my desired marathon goal pace after coming out of the boot 6 weeks ago. It didn't feel as good as I had felt in previous races but with some self bargaining and thanks to a random runner at mile 6 who unknowingly paced me I held onto my goal marathon race pace. Can I hold that for a marathon? No, not right now. But I'm not disappointed. I finished in 1:58:19 (9:01 pace) and exactly halfway overall, crossing the line in 322nd place out of 644 finishers. Definitely a first for me! I was happy to come in under 2 hours and while this is not my best race it's definitely not my worst. Really that's all you can ask for coming off an injury and randomly signing up for a race! Another reason not to be upset - I had an amazing mid distance progression run 2 days (less than 48 hours) prior to this race ;)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Crampy Calves

I'm back... briefly :) I have quick question before I have to pop out again.

So this training cycle (yes, I'm out of the boot finally and back to a regular running schedule!) I find my calves are much more sore / tight / prone to cramping than in the past. I have had problems but never like this time around. I'm following a slightly amended, less mileage more focus on getting my "speed" back training plan, my diet/food intake hasn't really altered much, I'm taking in my vitamins and eating enough potassium, I'm probably doing more cross-training, I wear my compression socks, etc. What gives? It's getting to the point where I am being woken up regularly (2-3 times a week) due to the cramping or the beginnings of what could turn into a very painful charley horse in my calf. I've also woken up screaming in pain and then my calf is tender for the next few days. It is so frustrating.

Do any of you suffer from weird cramping after running? How do you deal or what have you done to alleviate the problem?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A day in my traveling life

There hasn't been much time in my schedule to do anything other than work. Last month I was assigned to a second study that should have been 50% of my time. Instead I have 2 100% studies. I'm tired! My weekends are now spent running a little, cleaning, and recovering on the couch from the week of travel before I go back out and do it all over again on Monday. I am now spending very limited time on the computer and reading blogs has been relegated to my phone while I wait in the airport. So I haven't been commenting or reading as much as I would like.

A few weeks ago while in Boise, ID I decided to document a day of my life on the road. It's not very exciting but it's my life for the last 9 years. Sometimes I get to add in cancelled flights, delays, rude travelers, sweet travelers, and so on.

I always start my day on the road with the Today Show.
USA Today. My reading on the plane later.
Trying to scrape the frost with a credit card. Always a good time.
No fancy hotels for me; there's a low per diem. Luckily this was a nicer than most Hampton Inn and only 2 minutes from the research site.
My office for the day
Subway is my go to lunch. At my desk of course. I'm trying to get done early to catch an earlier flight home.
Heading to the airport

Being nice and having status helped me catch the direct flight home instead of my scheduled layover in Denver. Now it's time to settle in with some reading and recipes I won't have time to make because I'm not home.
Chicago at night. Love this view

Joy. 7:30pm and traffic is at a standstill leaving the airport.
After 8 pm and I'm finally home
A rarity... my husband made dinner and bought a bottle of wine. Love!
Night, night

Sunday, January 30, 2011

blessing in disguise?

So what does one do when they can't run? Beside complain about not running, think about running, and avoid the new Runner's World? Well, they (I) sign up for races. Is this wrong? One race right after another. Besides signing up for the Cleveland marathon I am now officially signed up for the Shamrock Shuffle 8K. Yes, I know I swore I would never run this horrendous, overcrowded race again BUT my friend and her fabulous sister are running and I can never, EVER pass up a race with friends who don't normally run. Next on the sign up sheet... either the Cincinnati Pig 1/2 marathon or relay. This all depends on my friend who may switch teams and I would either take her relay spot and run the same relay leg as her on different teams (I would run with her husband, sister and her sister's boyfriend) or just run a very hilly but fun half marathon 2 weeks before the Cleveland full! Hey the swag is fantastic and I haven't visited my friends since they moved to Cincy so it is about time I made the 4 hour drive. Then come Feb 1st the Chicago marathon registration opens. Do I sign up? I'm thinking it might be YES!

Honestly as stressed out as I am about this foot/ankle ridiculous, random injury I have it has been the best thing for me. I was burned out before the injury. I was not enjoying running; it felt like a chore. I didn't want to do anything my schedule called for and couldn't find joy or motivation in anything. Now I appreciate running. I look forward to the day I can run to McCormick Place (my 10 mile turnaround point of my 20 mile run). I can't say I won't take the ability to run for granted again but I will embrace it with everything I have once I return. I miss weekend long runs. These last few weekends I've spent wandering around the house trying to figure out what to do. I can not wait for this Thursday in which I meet with the podiatrist again. Happy, positive thoughts I will be out of the horrendous black boot and on my way to lacing up 2 shoes. Though before that I have another work trip on the schedule. So I hope 1) the blizzard they are calling for does not actually hit and 2) my flight makes it back in town so I can make my appointment and 3) Dr. Jacobson clears me for running once again. After fitting me for orthotics of course :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

stress and no running

What day is it? Which way is up? Work has been absolutely non-stop since returning from Disney and it feels like my head is about to explode. Some days I'm so overwhelmed I have no idea where to even start. It ends up taking a good portion of my morning/night writing out my "to do" list. (Yes, I still write my lists out by hand. There is something satisfying about physically checking off my hand drawn box next to the item.) I've been on the road for work and when I'm done on site I have several more hours of work in the hotel room. I'm tired even though I have made sure to get at least 7-8 hours each night. I haven't had much time to myself the little time I do have is spent getting life stuff done around the house or sitting in a catatonic state. :)

Normally when life gets like this I have running/working out/sweat session to fall back on. Even getting away for 20 minutes helps me feel more centered and ready to attach the list when I return. Unfortunately I'm still in the boot. The only workout I can do is lift some weights as I have no access to a pool. Weights don't really cut the stress factor. I've found myself turning to not the healthiest stress releaser - why yes, I'll take another glass of wine - for example. I'm not a complete lush though. I do try to other things like a hot bath or a good book.

Now here I go stating the obvious. Being hurt sucks. Not being able to run when it's 50 degrees outside where I was traveling to and seeing runners everywhere really sucks.

So what do you do when the stress peaks and you can't run?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

injured and out

During the marathon portion of the Goofy Challenge 2 weeks ago I felt a slight pain in my left foot. I didn't think much of it because I could still run and figured it was my shoes or the fact the longest I had run in a weekend. Post race I was struggling to walk but still didn't think too much of it. By the time I showered and got ready to go back to Epcot to eat I couldn't walk. I hate to take any kind of medication but I popped some ibuprofen later in the day to take the edge off. I still had 3 more days of walking around Disney! Each day it felt progressively better after icing at night and compression socks/ibuprofen during the day. I returned home Thursday and made an appointment for the podiatrist just to make sure it was nothing more serious than an overuse injury.

Yeah, I've been in this for the last week and was told today I have 2 more weeks...
Sexy I know. So is the all the hobbling I have to do because I don't have any shoes that are just the right height. My podiatrist doesn't think it's a stress fracture but he can't be 100% sure from my x-rays. To be on the safe side and since I do still have some residual pain I'm in the hot black boot for a bit longer.

I am going stir crazy! I need to sweat and not because I ate too many delicious chocolate/butterscotch/peanut rice krispy treats. I may have to take this sucker off next week and see how the bike/elliptical feel...

This really puts a damper on my next marathon plans. Cleveland. May 15th. Mr. H and I are running again together and the goal was to break 4 hours. I signed up while waiting for my flight to Orlando 2 weeks ago. My new goal may just be just get to the start line :(

Friday, January 14, 2011

My Goofy Challenge Race Reports (finally!)

Work has been ridiculously stressful since returning from vacation. I do not recommend taking a vacation almost immediately upon returning to work after the holidays. NUTS! Enough of that let's get to the good stuff... GOOFY challenge!!! It's finally the weekend and I have time to bore entertain you with my experience and pictures. If you are facebook friends with me you've already seen the pictures.

Settle in this takes awhile. Or just skim and look at the pictures ;)

My husband and I arrived in Orlando with no travel issues on Friday afternoon. I had signed us up for the Disney Magical Express bus to take us to our hotel. There wasn't anything too magical or express like about the bus. Much like anything in Disney it took FOREVER. We finally arrived at the hotel to find that about half the team in training teams were in our lobby! Excitement was in the air but I was stressing out about making it to the expo and finding dinner. Luckily, we made it to the expo and picking up my bibs was relatively painless. Heading to pick up my shirts/remainder of the packet was a mess. After buying much needed Gu chomps and shot bloks we were on our way to dinner at the hotel.
DAY 1: 13.1 miles
The Saturday morning wake-up call came early but I woke up before the 3 am alarm and was out the door and on the bus by 3:30 am. As the busy pulled into the Epcot parking lot I remember thinking to myself I have never seen so many people awake at that time for a non-drinking event! Everyone spilled out and made their way to bag check. I popped a squat and ate my breakfast before heading to holding area #1. Around 4:30 race officials released all 27,000 of the half marathoners to make the 1/2 mile walk to the starting corrals. We all needed to be lined up and ready to go by 5 am for a 5:35 am wave start. Temps were in the 50's but with no sun felt very cold. Nothing like last year I know where temps were in the 20's and it was sleeting! It was the theme of the weekend :) The cool thing happening this year for the half was we would be starting at the same time as about 500 servicemen stationed in Iraq. A husband stationed overseas and his wife usually run this half together but since he wasn't home they set up a dual race so they could still run together!!! Plus the wonderful thing was she and her daughter could see/talk to him via the satellite feed. So awesome.

Around 5:40 a.m. my corral made it to the start line to see Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Donald see us off and a firework display with every wave!

We started out along the dark service roads towards the Magic Kingdom. I had my camera in hand and took it easy. No need to rush out with 39.3 miles looming over my head. The weather was perfect for running even if I struggled to see where I was actually running in parts. The course was crowded and once we got into the parks there was a lot of trying not to trip over people. I ran with my camera in hand and enjoyed myself. The service roads were dull but it was incredible hitting the Magic Kingdom before the sun came up!
Magic Kingdom Christmas tree early in the morning. It made me smile as I ran into the park.

yep, this is my new profile pic
before going through the castle
I love cinderelli!!!
on the way out of the kingdom and onto Epcot via some more service road in which we ran by the parade floats
these guys were awesome. I also may have a little thing for this jack sparrow - swoon

By mile 7 we were out of the Magic Kingdom and on our way to Epcot. I was taking it easy having fun and taking in the morning. By this point the sun had come up and I was blinded. I forgot my much needed visor in my luggage. Oh well. Along the golf course I ran into Mickey and Minnie, passed them, realized who they were, and turned around to stand in the long line. After 3 trips to DW I finally got my picture with the bosses!
By the time mile 10 rolled around I honestly was ready to be done. I wasn't tired but just a little bored. This was my longest running 1/2 marathon by myself. I picked up the pace ever so slightly and started trying to make my way around the masses.

almost there!

While I didn't talk to anyone during the race I stopped and took pictures with the different characters, took my time at the mile 5 pit stop, and walked if I wanted/needed to. I actually didn't walk too and would instead slow my pace. Much most of my time was eaten up by standing in line waiting for a picture. Starting and stopping is no joke; that ate up my quads the most.

Overall I finished 2:31 and some change. That works out to 11:25 pace. A personal worst BUT one of my most fun races by myself!
back at the hotel showing off round 1 of bling to the husband. he slept, I ran.

Post race my husband and I got breakfast then headed to the Magic Kingdom. Not the best idea to walk around most of the day post half marathon but we had limited days to work with and I didn't feel much like sitting in the hotel when it was so beautiful outside! I got off my feet when I could, drank a ton of water, and re-fueled pretty well.

DAY 2: 26.2 miles
Sunday morning 3 am was a lot less easy than Saturday. I woke up in a daze of wondering where I was and what in the h*ll I was doing. I was not feeling very confident about my abilities but I had paid my money, told people I was running, so I got dressed and was on my way a lot less chipper than the day before. The start was the same as the day before but on Sunday I made a friend on the 1/2 mile walk to the corral and another one in the corral. The morning was much colder and I didn't have any throwaway clothes other than my space blanket from the day before. Honestly, I was kind of miserable those first 2 1/2 hours before the start and really questioning my ability to run a full marathon.

The start went down the same way as the day before only I was 2 corrals further back. As we took off everyone started flying by me. It made me slightly anxious through the first mile but I settled in and found a happy relaxed pace in between 10:30 - 11:30 minute miles. My plan once again was to take it easy, have fun, and finish strong with a smile on my face!

It took me about 3 miles until I finally warmed up. While I was freezing I stopped to say high to Tink and her friend...
then it was time for Epcot in the early morning.

I thought mile 10 was a good place to take a picture. On our way to the Magic Kingdom and feeling good.
Magic Kingdom in the morning. I didn't take a ton of pictures through here since it was much the same as the day before only light outside.

on the fly down main street

it's hard to see but there were trumpeters welcoming the runners

After the Magic Kingdom we headed through some more service roads to the Animal Kingdom. I stopped by the same golf course as the day before to hang with Goofy and Donald.
Around this point (mile 14 - 15) I started to find some new energy even though I was STARVING. I decided I would pick it up a bit on the back roads to get to the next park sooner. While Disney had something (music, characters, a band, etc) every mile these parts weren't too exciting. The parks are where everyone found their energy. I entertained myself by taking portraits and passing the walkers...

Mile 16 tends to be my mental block of all training runs and marathons. Have to take a picture! This is right before heading into the Animal Kingdom. And it smelled like a zoo.

they are standing kind of far away from me. I think Chip and Dale could smell me and not in a good way. At this point the bride and groom passed me and I had to hear bad marathon of life jokes from all the dj's the remainder of the run. Yes, these 2 got married Saturday night and ran and marathon Sunday very early. Props to them! I wish I had gotten a picture but I forgot to snap one when I was behind them and she was showing off her ring.

Animal Kingdom fun!

a nice spectator with her son offered to take my picture. he liked my ears - too cute! Right after this a very nice spectator had some very yummy pretzels. I was hungry!

look! I'm on the big screen at mile 21.6

almost to 22 and feeling the pain. here I'm thinking I can do anything for 4 miles! At this point I definitely allowed myself to start walking more

squirrel! love the UP dog!

Finally, around mile 22-23 we were in Hollywood Studios. My favorite park! Though I was seriously hurting. My left foot was off since mile 15 and my quads were on fire. My mantra was "Fast or slow it all hurts the same... get it done!" Again the park and the crowds gave me the lift I so needed.

the girl in the middle was hamming it up for me

down the main street in Hollywood Studios less than 3 miles left
After Hollywood Studios we headed through the Disney Boardwalk (by several hotels and over a wood bridge). A very pretty part of the course before finally heading back to Epcot. I walked more than I should have here but who the heck cares!

just before 25 and trying to figure out how much longer because I have absolutely no kick
mile 25 in France

In Epcot before mile 26 my husband found me and took a series of pictures. I was so happy to see him! It gave me the boost I needed because I wasn't sure if I would see him at all.
After passing Jacob I put away the camera and headphones to take in the last three-quarters of a mile of Goofy! I couldn't believe I was going to do it! The path narrowed but there was no jockeying for position on my end. I stayed the course. I tried to pick it up but all I had energy for was to put my arms in the air and allow my eyes to swell up as I neared the finish line. Well that, and to high five Mickey and Minnie ;)

The hubs who is a master at finding me in a race crowd found me as I headed toward the meet up tents and grabbed a final picture...

Finally, the bling that has since been added to my display. Love the bling!
Another overall personal worst but who the heck cares. For the record 4:51 and change. My last half marathon was my fastest out of both days. Which is exactly what I wanted to do! Yea a race plan worked. But seriously - what a freaking experience!!! I went into the race with a cold and not the best training because of a multitude of excuses. I came out 39.3 miles later with a pride I haven't felt since crossing the finish line of my first marathon.

After walking around Epcot after the race and seeing everyone with their medals and shirts at the park I felt like I joined a new club. There were head nods, there were congratulations, there were smiles all around. It. was. awesome.

Overall race thoughts:
Disney knows how to put on a race. Everything was incredibly organized to the minute detail and the volunteers were unlike anywhere. My only complaint - the lack of food at the end of both races. They totally want you to spend your money at the resort. Though because I was expecting more at the end it really hurt me come day 2 and I had some problems. But had I known that going in I would have been better prepared. While there are a lot of first timers there are also a lot of seasoned runners and those running with friends. Everyone there is for a fun time and it's not so serious (at least where I was in the crowd). It was an incredibly fun weekend away feeling like a kid again in some nice weather away from the snow. I recommend it to anyone and will be back in the future for sure!