Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Trekking on

Running, running, running. Haven't posted here, because everything seems rather routine recently. T and I still meet for Tuesday/Thursday runs -- of about 30-40 minutes. Weekend runs have been a bit more up in the air because I've been traveling a lot. And when I'm not, she often is. So "long run days" have often been more along the lines of a shorter tempo run. I need to fix that.

Gearing up for the fall training season. Still trying to figure out if my school schedule will allow me to run the Bass Pro half this year. Since it is a Sunday, I should be able to swing it. It would be nice to get back down to Springtown, and I'm fairly hopeful I could set a new PR.

Only problem: as of next month, I'm on my own. Moving to St. Louis, so I lose my running partner. I've run 7 miles alone, but it has been awhile -- and the thought of doing more than that by myself is rather scary. In a sense, I'll be relearning how to run. Most I've run alone in recent months is about 5k.

I've started looking into StL running groups, but nothing seems particularly appealing yet. Guess I need to wait until I'm in town and start exploring options. I don't particularly want to lose the social part of running! I've seen a lot of listings for running partners, but those folks tend to be either significantly faster than I am, or aiming for a run/walk plan.

Hoping to shed 10 pounds by my birthday -- and hoping it will shed another 30 seconds or more off my pace!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

(W)holy humidity

Woke up at 6 for a 40 min. run. It was quickly evident that we have been incredibly lucky this summer to have decent weather on our morning runs. Today's humidity caught us both off-guard. We still kept at about an 11:30 pace, but the first 20 minutes seemed especially long and killer. Our first mile was the slowest by about 20 seconds. Next two were about even. Had we finished a fourth, I think it may have been our fastest -- which may have been that we were looking forward to get back to our cars, even though we were running by time and not distance!

And, at the end of it all, there is something especially rewarding about pushing through on the not-so-great days. Of course, it helped that my legs still felt good.

Hoping to get in a Tae-bo workout tonight. I'm feeling particularly energized -- likely because of all the caffeine I've consumed to try to relieve my pressure headache (storm already, please!!). But Tae-bo doesn't sound quite as great if the headache is still here... Hoping the Excedrin and Diet Dr Pepper kick in soon!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Still running. T and I are meeting again regularly after a month or so of going it alone -- I was out of town every weekend and her work schedule was packed, which made getting together a challenge. So I relearned how to run alone. It felt almost like starting over -- reconquering mental blocks, finding the desire to push speed and/or distance when alone.

While I'm enjoying being back on the trail with T, I think the month alone was really beneficial. I remembered that I can do this on my own, something I've been doubting for awhile.

In celebratory news, I'm FINALLY back to my pre-first half marathon weight. I don't think it is any surprise that running also feels better now. Even though it is summer, I'm moving faster and with more fluidity. Things are clicking again, and I'm truly enjoying my time on the road.

I think we are both excited about training for the next big race -- which will likely be the Bass Pro Half Marathon on Nov. 1. I'm really hoping for a new PR. If things continue as they are now, shouldn't be too hard to accomplish (aside from, you know, sticking to the training program, eating well, getting sleep, etc.!).

Here's to base-building before official training begins. Planning a 3-miler for the morning. Likely a 4-miler on Saturday.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Adding miles 2 by 2

Did another 2-miler on Sunday evening. I've enjoyed taking advantage of the not-yet-scorching temps in the early evening hours. I know that in a few weeks, Saturday morning runs will be pushed ever earlier to avoid melting onto the pavement.

Sunday's run was another alone run. Tonight's also will be... and unless I hear from Tiffany about Thursday morning, chances are, I'll be alone all week. I'm getting back in the game... probably for the first time since the marathon last November. I've been putting in miles, but doing so grudgingly. And it definitely isn't easy to keep up at 5 a.m. when you aren't even sure you enjoy running anymore.

I think that is why I've been avoiding this space. Why keep a running blog if it is centered on complaining? But I'm finding myself wanting to run on off-days and thinking about the route I want to take. Thoughts of fall races are exciting, not foreboding.

Since the two 2-milers felt good, I think I'm going to go ahead and bump it to 2.5 tonight. The low numbers feel ridiculous... but if that's what it takes to WANT to run again, I can handle these small chunks. We can probably all use 9 mile weeks every now and then, right? (Someone please assure me that I'm right!)

Friday, May 22, 2009


First run of the almost summer. Short 2-miler, but felt good. Reminder of why I run in the early mornings during the summer (and recently, year-round). Running in the heat is draining! And it isn't even the crazy hot and humid days we'll have in the legitimate summer.

Ready to start back on a regular plan to get back in race shape for the fall season. I'll probably take it fairly easy this week -- maybe 2-milers every other day, with a longer run next Saturday (maybe 5k?).

Since I've been out of town so much on weekends -- and will continue to be throughout June -- I've been running alone. It's been so long since I've run consistently alone that I feel I have to rebuild all my mental strength. I imagine it will be good for me -- it will be nice to be back to the point of running 7+ miles alone. It's been over a year since I've had to do that (whoa, I've been a marathoner for over a year now. CRAZY!).

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Keep swimming, runners!

The morning was perfect. Nervous chatting as folks adjusted bib numbers, the "serious" runners logging warm-up miles. "Are you pumped?" asked a random guy, approaching Tiffany and I. He rubbed our shoulders, and I was relieved to discover he was a pacer -- and we just so happened to be standing where his pace group intended to line up. Everyone was all-smiles. And it was raining.

Race day is like a portal to another world. There is a recognition that we have all arrived for the same purpose, and the brother/sisterhood takes over. Someone need only make eye contact and the banter begins.

Fifteen THOUSAND people lined up — in the rain — to run either the half or full marathon in St. Louis.

T and I crossed the starting line 15 minutes after the race began and marveled at the mass of people spread out in front of us. We were somewhere between the back of the mid-pack and the front of the back-pack, but the folks in front of us seemed to go on for miles -- and given that the elites started 15 minutes before we reached the starting line, I suppose we literally DID stretch on for miles.

Garmin was off almost immediately. Seven minutes after we crossed the start, it beeped at me that we'd completed a mile. While we'd surged in front of the pace group we were lined up with, we knew it was impossible that we'd run that fast.

The course passes by a lot of fun things in the downtown area -- the stadium, Union Station, the brewery. The brewery is at one of the first loops, and we circled around it to the parallel road, where a Clydesdale was waiting to cheer us on (or stand there proudly as we all oohed and aahed).

I was impressed that I actually recognized a lot of the course from last year. Familiar buildings and intersections... and even remembered enough to know some of the changes. "Didn't we continue on that street last year?"

All along the route were spectators. This was especially impressive due to the rain. Favorite signs along the route: "You are nowhere near 'almost done'" (just after mile 1), and "Keep Swimming, Runners!" (somewhere around mile 6, I think). There was also a group of guys -- one playing guitar, another with a tambourine. No umbrellas.

We runners were insane for being out there, but the spectators were certifiable. I spoke to a few as we ran by, to thank them for cheering us on -- "we're the die-hards," I was told. And they were. And certainly appreciated as the miles ticked by, and I found myself daydreaming about dry socks... and a towel.

By the time the course split and the marathoners and half marathoners went their separate ways (just after mile 9), the rain got harder. While my wicking fabrics had done a good job of making me feel as if I wasn't drenched (even though I was), there was no fooling me now. And with the wind, it was no longer just wet -- it was COLD. And I was losing steam.

I took one of Tiffany's gels (granted, a bit late in the game) and grabbed a gatorade at the fuel station and began feeling a little bit better... but by mile 10 I was ready for the end. If folks in deserts see mirages of water; in the midst of all the water, I could practically see dry socks! But I still had a lot of up hills to conquer to reach the finish.

When I saw the 26 mile marker (the half and full courses came back together and finished at the same spot), I began picking up the pace. Passed the 13 mile marker and spent the last .1 mile trying to figure out if my running skirt was falling off. It wasn't, but apparently the faster pace made me realize just how drenched it was and gave me the illusion. So as I crossed the finish line, I was busy holding up my skirt!

Got the medal and stumbled over to the post-race area, which was essentially a giant mud puddle. Lots of folks were joking around "well, if you didn't twist an ankle during the race, you will now!"

We waddled back to the metro station and rejoiced at the chance to FINALLY sit down.

Overall, it was a good day. My finish time wasn't too far behind my time last year, which was amazing since I walked more this year (and encountered more hills.... in the rain!). I'm pleased with the result.

My shoes, which are STILL drying, may be forever mud covered. I'm just hoping they lose the mildew scent they were starting to develop yesterday.... hmmm, they may go into early retirement!

Any suggestions for my next half?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Just over 3 weeks...

I was reminded yesterday that the half marathon is less than a month away. After Saturday's 10-miler, I'll officially be tapering. Weird thought. The training plan recently is to run more than half of the full mileage.

Running is slowly getting easier again. Pace is improving -- miles have consistently been faster than 12-minutes recently. AND, I've mostly been looking forward to my 5:30 a.m. running sessions.

I've been trying to do more strength-training. This week's SparkPeople Biggest Loser interteam challenge was a series of lower body ST exercises. Did my 50-minute session last night. I've been ignoring ST on my lower body almost entirely which, in retrospect, was really a dumb plan.

Tomorrow is weigh in day. Thus far, I know I'm down 2 pounds this week. Hoping the scale will be nice and make it 3 (as I was only an ounce away when I did a sneak-peak weigh in!).