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Plan to Run!

Alright, so I think I have my races planned for the next year (and a half…almost).

10k this weekend! Awesome!
8k in December, because of all the perks.
14k in February (Valentine’s Day themed! Maybe I can talk James into running it with me??)
Half-Marathon in March (training will commence in late November).
…not sure if I will run any races in the summer…
Half-Marathon in October
10k, also October (same as the one this weekend, only next year)
10-miler in December
DISNEY MARATHON, January 2015!!

That’s ambitious, I realize. But I expect to lose another 30lbs by March, and perhaps even more in the ensuing months. 30 more pounds will put me pretty close to my weight goal, and I have no idea what I’ll feel like or look like at that weight. Therefore, I don’t know how much more I will want to lose after that. To be determined.

Either way, I love running. And I love planning, so this fits me perfectly.

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Rocking the Half

Finally, after 9 months of planning, 4 months of training and 182 miles of running, the day of my first Half-Marathon arrived! This has truly been a summer of athletic change for me. I’ve bought everything from new shoes to a SPI belt to a whole running wardrobe. I’ve changed my cross-training, scheduled sports massages, and sought consult from doctors (when I had that hamstring strain in July). I’ve gotten up before 5am just to get in my long runs before the summer heat got unbearable. I have produced more sweat in the last 4 months than I have in the last 4 years, and though I have no way of proving that, it seems like a reasonable claim.

All this lead up to the weekend of a lifetime!  Warning: long entry ahead.

Thursday I ran what turned out to be my last training run of 3.1 miles.  The weather was sticky, but tolerable (similar to race conditions, ultimately).  Then I got some schoolwork and housework done in the afternoon before heading to my sports massage to get a final pre-race reset.  After that, I was reunited with the lovely Amanda Chan for an outdoor dinner, during which we witnessed an inexplicable confluence of fire and emergency vehicles.  None of them were rushing, but many dressed in full gear and wielded weapons (ax, crow-bar, etc).  I joked that perhaps this was ground zero of the zombie apocalypse, to which she responded, “That would be just my luck!”  Hahaha!  Zombie-free, I returned her to campus and headed home to get some more studying done.

Friday I helped James relocate from his current residence where he has been renting to the house he just bought. The timing of his move resulted in my being less-able to help because I didn’t want to overtire my body too much right before the race.  So I mostly packed, opened doors, and lifted light boxes while he and Zach did the heavy lifting.  I left them after the truck was packed to get more studying done and met them for dinner after they had unloaded and returned.

Saturday I got a bright and early start, did my last-minute packing, and ate a mini-pizza on the principle that my big meal the day before the race should be lunch.  Then Regan met me here and we hopped in my car to head town to the race city. We opted for a hotel stay because the 7am start would have necessitated an unreasonably early departure otherwise.  We got down there in time to attend the expo, and we got lots of swag, in addition to what we bought (like my hot pink pullover and official 13.1 car magnet). It was a fun couple of hours! Then we checked into the hotel before heading out again to find dinner.  After a bit of a walk, we ended up at this British-style pub with great food and reasonable prices. The cherry on top of a great pre-race day was finding the Sex & the City move on TV…during which we both fell asleep.

And now, I’m going to transition into a more detailed chronology of Sunday.

5:30am – wake, dress, find ice, eat
6:15am – pack car, walk to race village
6:40am – gear check, get in line for restroom, take adorable photos, get stared at while doing my yoga parking lot sequence
7:00am – race start, still in line, watching as corrals 1-8 are released in quick succession
7:15am – make it to corral 13, take more photos, get pumped!
7:20am – our corral released!
Mile 1 – fastest mile, despite the rough start I had in adjusting my overly fully SPI belt
Mile 2 – settled into a steady pace, still running downtown
Mile 3 – bypassed first water stop, headed up first hill
Mile 4 – parted ways with Regan… She had specified pre-race that she had not done enough training and wanted me to leave her if she fell behind. She also told me that she was primarily there to support me (this was her third half), and the best way she could do that was to help me do my best.
Mile 5-6 – pretty and shaded, met up with some gals from across the state and chatted with them until I lost them at the next water stop
Mile 7-8 – pretty and wooded, started seeing people off to the side stretching
Mile 9-11 – getting hotter and lost the shade, these were some of the toughest miles for me, but there were also more spectators to cheer us on
Mile 12 – cold sponges, running through sprinklers, heading up final hill, getting pumped when an MJ song was broadcast (thinking of you, Jess)
Mile 13 – rounding the corner to the boardwalk, where it was yet hotter, sunnier, and surprisingly not breezy.  This was ultimately the toughest stretch for me because I could see the finish line, but it felt unfairly far away.  But I pushed through it because I knew I was within minutes of achieving my goal time of 2hr45min.

After the race, I just love all the stuff they give you…obviously a medal, but also water, gatorade, food, cold washcloths, and so much cheering. I waited around for Regan to finish, and was feeling great. I think the reason I didn’t need much of a recovery was due to all my training and the fact that I kept within a reasonable pace of 12:30/mile.  That’s how I had trained and what my body was used to, more or less. My 11-mile long run was 13:09/mile, but that was also the first long run after my injury, and my 12-mile run was 12:20/mile, but that was on a treadmill.  This course was flat, except for the two hills (really just a bridge crossing) I mentioned, plus I had the race-day adrenaline helping me keep going even when I felt like slowing down.

Upon reuniting with Regan, we got our gear and our free beers. After trying it, I gave mine to hers because even after the race, I did not find the beer to be delicious enough to drink. Then we headed back to the car and headed out.  We had fun walking around the mall on the way back in our race bibs and finisher medals while we grabbed lunch and ran an errand for me.

For the rest of the day, I was fielding incoming calls, texts, and messages, as well as all the facebook love about my race updates. I took a brief trip to the dog park, but had to leave early because of the rain. Then I ran into my neighbor at the grocery store and after a quick chat, I ended up planning to help her decorate a cake for her mom’s birthday.  So, I spent the evening over there hanging out and carrying on with them; we always have so much fun together.

So, during the day, I got up at 5:30, raced for 2 hours and 45 minutes, drove for about 2 hours, ate two morning meals, Chinese for lunch, two small dinners, and a piece of birthday cake (but I burned a whole day’s worth of calories on the run, so that’s okay). I also talked with or touched base with nearly all of my friends and family, which left me feeling so loved and supported I could hardly stand it.  Ultimately, this was one of the best days ever!

So thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to all of you who stuck with me through this training and helped me celebrate my success! Your support has meant more to me than I can say, and I could not have gotten through this without you.  My official race time was 02:45:10, so I think that counts as meeting my goal of 2hr45.  Now I’m ready to run another half – probably in the spring.  Who’s with me?

The Big 10!

It’s been such an interesting week – full of new things. One of these is the 10 miles I ran this morning! It was definitely not my most efficient run, but that is not surprising. I did go to bed in time, but woke up at 2am because the pain associated with poison ivy rash on my hands and drove to the 24-hour pharmacy to get some new meds. Turns out Benadryl is very helpful at making the rash bearable. I put the Caladryl lotion on it for the run, but when it washed off, I haven’t needed to reapply. Benadryl works to block the histamine production associated with the allergic reaction of the poison oil on my skin. The rash hasn’t cleared up yet, but it is a relief not to need the smelly ointment for now.

So, as a result of all that, I did not really get a good night’s sleep, but I still got out of bed at 5am and out the door by 5:30 to run as planned. It was mid 70s and wicked humid. I also seem to have minorly injured my right knee. It’s sore, but not as a result of anything specific I did – It just happened around mile 7, but I pushed through anyway. Hope that doesn’t come back to bite me, but I do have several days off of running coming up. Tomorrow I am planning to work on chest/triceps with Lara, and this weekend Katrina and I plan to go kayaking.

After running, I hung out with my neighbor’s kid at the pool – we played baseball with noodles and a beach ball, among other things. My leg did feel a bit better after that, but now it’s sore again.

I also hung out with the neighbors last night. I came over bring them some watermelon (buying one is always way too much for just me) and they invited me to stay for dinner (burgers/onions with fresh fruit and veggies). It was nice, because I didn’t have my own plan for dinner. I ended up also bringing over 2 pieces of lasagne and coming back to play monopoly. It was a fun evening!

I’m not sure exactly what’s happening tonight. I’m going to try to fit in a visit to the dog park around my other plans. Everything is largely weather-dependent. But I’m sure it will be fun either way 🙂

9 miles and counting!

I almost can’t believe it, but the GPS in my phone does not lie…I cranked out 9 miles this morning! And I squeaked in under 13min/mile, which is awesome considering there were 3 water breaks included in that pace.

Of course, even though I was out of bed by 5am, I didn’t get to my start (I biked the 1 mile there because I don’t like running that stretch…especially coming back at the end of the run when it’s both hot and sunny) until 6:15, and my official RunKeeper start time is 6:22. But I finished that damn run in under 2 hours, and I am so proud of that! My strategy was to do the loop x 4, but I cut the 0.3 corner two times. Next long run, I plan to do the loop x 4 and cut no corners, which should hit me between 9-10 miles. I wonder if I am ever going to get bored of the loop? It has become such a comfort zone this summer, and I like all the shade and the lack of road crossings. But I feel like I should branch out a bit. Maybe one of my 10 mile runs?

My favorite part of the run was this one lady I saw 3 times on the loop (we were going in opposite directions). Every time she saw me, she told me I was really workin it, and it always made me smile 🙂

Yesterday I took it easy. Trained at 11am (shoulders/chest/triceps), had lunch, hung out with Lydia (she kept me company while I worked on cleaning out my closet), and then went to the dog park and Trader Joe’s. I tried to go to bed early, but I must have tossed and turned for at least an hour. Still, I got up and did what I had to!

Today Carrie and the kids are coming over to play games, followed by dog park, and then the gang is getting together to wish Steve well before his big move north. So sad to see him go, but hopefully he will come back and visit often basically all the time 🙂

Progress in Different ways

Yesterday I was very busy accomplishing a whole bunch of random things! I found some more things to help complete the bathroom – I’d say it’s at 85% since Lydia and I installed 1 towel bar. I went to Home Depot, Lowes, the outlets, GameStop, and the grocery store. I also did a yoga-fusion training session at my trainer’s house. It was something new and different for me, and while I liked it, I think I prefer regular yoga or strength training separately. One crazy thing though… I successfully did Dancer’s Pose at that session, which was something I could not do as a yoga student 3 years ago.

I ended the day with dinner at Plaza with Lydia! From there we went to the dog park…then got ice cream…then watched Wreck-It Ralph (new to her)…THEN we worked on hanging towel bars and finally I showed her the infamous birthday photos. It was such a fun evening with a friend I’ll miss greatly when she leaves for grad school later this summer.

Today I slept in a bit, but made it to the gym for a late morning workout. I was feeling strong, so I ran the 6 miles I planned at a much faster pace than usual. I surprised myself! It’s definitely easier for me to accomplish a faster pace when it is on a controlled setting like the treadmill. I wonder when that will translate into faster outdoor runs? Here’s hoping soon…

The rest of the day I have spent cooking and cleaning, which is more necessary considering Carlie and family will be at my house later today to swim! I made stuffed peppers, bean salad, cleaned the kitchen, and did a load of laundry. Now I am headed to work on the upstairs somewhat…

And, here’s another interesting fact… As of today’s run, I have conquered 48 miles in June. So my crazy self wants to keep breaking records and do my 9mile run on Friday. I hope to break 60 miles this month and that early 9 is kind of just like catching up for the week I missed. Is it crazy to do 3.5, 8, 6, then 9 miles, with 1 cross training days in between each? Is it too much? I feel so strong right now, though! I want to keep pushing forward!

Either way, I’ll break 50 miles this month and probably 75 next month. I’m pretty proud of myself so far 🙂

High Fives?

So apparently I can’t manage to write daily. I seem to only think of it every five days or so, but I am trying to cover the gaps.

So on Tuesday I did manage to fit in my long run, despite the weather. I got a slightly later start than planned, but it did not end up actually raining on me, despite the extreme humidity and threatening clouds. I biked to the loop and did it three times, with the middle lap reversed. I do find that opposite direction MUCH more difficult, so I am trying to justify doing it. It’s a trade-off between the discomfort of the long uphill vs the boredom of running the same way multiple times.

I spent the rest of Tuesday running errands for myself, for friends, and strength training at the gym. I wound up the day with the dog park and the pool, so I was definitely keeping busy.

On Wednesday, I agreed to babysit for my friend’s 5-month-old for the duration of the work day, which wound up being an even more trying experience than I expected. However, it ended on a high note, because I had a whole gaggle of friends and their kids over for an impromptu pizza and pool party. My neighbors even joined us at the pool! It was great, but I ended that day quite tired.

Thursday morning, I did yoga at my trainer’s house, and that was pretty much all I accomplished before going in for an evening shift at work. I got to work with my favorite people, so that went as well as can be expected. We had a crazy storm and lost power, so I ended up driving around town after my shift…just because. By the time I woke up, though, power was back at my house.

On Friday, I tried to start my day off right by going to the gym, but they were still power-less, so I ended up extending my bike ride to the grocery store, and then doing some Wii dancing when I got home. Then I went to the dog park mid afternoon and returned to pack my bag for the pre-race overnight at Regan’s.

This brings us to today, Saturday. We arose bright and early to get another sorority alum and travel down to the 8k on the waterfront. Everything about the travel and registration went smoothly, which has not always been my luck at races and was a welcome change 🙂 The weather was cool, but definitely warmed up by the time we finished – 1:01, by the way. We met some other alumnae there, and enjoyed our surprise finisher medals immensely! After the race, we tried a delicious new breakfast place, and I stayed to hang out at Regan’s for a bit before heading home.

Since then, I have done a few slightly productive things, but not as much as I planned. I am headed to the dog park soon, then back to eat a late dinner. Tomorrow morning I plan to run… Not sure how far or fast, but the weather looks like it will be too beautiful to pass up!

The Dream is Still Alive

Yesterday I officially ran 7 miles! It went about as well as I could have expected, especially given that the weather was perfect. I squeaked in just under 1hr30 and 13:00/mile. I’m hoping to push that pace up to 12:00/mile by my first half.

Post run, I enjoyed a small “second breakfast,” registered for an 8k later this month, and took a quick dip in the pool. Then I went out and bought the last of my materials for my bathroom remodel, which is a huge relief, because it’s been going on for months!

In the afternoon, Rebecca came over to watch HIMYM and eat dinner (stuffed peppers). We took a break to go to the dog park because it was still so beautiful outside, but it was too cool for a swim by the time we got back. And to round off my lovely day, I had an hour long chat with Roomie.