Monday, December 29, 2008

I must have some seriously bad kharma...

How else do you explain getting sick over the holidays two years in a row?

I thought my horrible plague from last year was enough to warrant me at least a few years of health at the holidays, but apparently not.

On Christmas Eve I started feeling like crap. My throat burned, my head pounded and my sinuses felt like little drummer boys were practicing for the next day. Of course, all this strikes in the middle of my favorite Christmas party of the season. The hostess was nice enough to offer me some Sudafed and Advil so I could make it through the rest of the party and to church.

Christmas wasn't much better, but my family was going to my uncles house to celebrate and there was no way I was spending it at home. So more Advil, more Sudafed and off to the dirty Jerz to visit my uncle (and his two insane Jack Russell terriers.)

The rest of my time off was more of the same.

I'm not much better today, but I'm to the point where it wasn't absolutely necessary for me to do the Advil/Sudafed combo to get out of bed and get to work. I guess that's progress.

Needless to say, I have been completely unable to run over my vacation, which sucks so bad because I had some nice long runs planned to rack up points in the HBBC. Instead I had to settle for some walking, playing Wii with my cousin and building furniture (all under the influence of Advil/Sudafed). Not the best workouts ever, but I guess it was better than nothing.

I'm hoping to kick this thing in the next few days because the temps have been so beautiful (think high 60's) that it's killing me to not be out running!

Side note: It's awfully demoralizing to get destroyed in Wii by your 7-year-old cousin in front of many other relatives.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Looking back on 2008

I was reading through some of my posts from the beginning of the year and couldn't find one where I specifically stated any goals, but I had a few in my head. I knew I wanted to run another big race of at least half-marathon distance and I wanted to focus on increasing my speed in 2008.

I'm happy to say I accomplished both.

I ran the Lehigh Valley Half Marathon in April and shaved about 11 minutes from my previous best half marathon time, which qualifies in both categories.

I also ran a 5K PR at the Komen Race for the Cure and a five miler PR at the Celtic Solstice Five Miler.

Those are definitely some of the highlights from this year. I'm really happy with the progress I've made. I am consistently running faster and stronger than I was in past years.

Before, I'd often punk out in the winter and fade away from running a little bit because of the weather. This is the first year I've run fairly consistently from the end of November through December, and it's something I plan to continue in 2009.

The only real negative from this year was my knee injury that happened back in May. It was nothing I could have prevented, just a strange problem where my knee doesn't track straight up and down in the socket but instead pulls to the left. Unfortunately though, I missed the entire summer of running. I did almost two months of physical therapy before I was back on my feet.

I had to DNS the Baltimore 10 Miler in June and I couldn't register for the Virginia Beach Half Marathon over Labor Day weekend for the same reason. My knee also forced me to miss the Philadelphia Distance Run, another race I had had my eye on.

I think I recovered stronger though. I still tape my knee in longer distances as a precaution, but other than that I haven't had problems. Since the injury I have posted some of my fastest race times since I started running regularly and racing two and a half years ago.

I'm still working on my goals and planning my race calendar for 2009, which I will update with later.

This will most likely be my last post before the holidays so I hope you all have a great holiday season!

Monday, December 22, 2008

I love PRs...a Celtic Solstice Five Miler Race Report

There's nothing like an early morning PR to start the weekend off right.

I ran the Celtic Solstice Five Miler this weekend in Baltimore and smashed my time from any five miler I've ever done in training by several minutes. Let's just say I was a little excited when I crossed the finish line.

My only let down was not having anyone to celebrate with. The two girls I ran with from York had to book it out of there pretty quick (although I did bump into one in the food tent briefly) and the BF punked out and didn't go because it was too cold/early/dark outside. So I celebrated myself and called my mom, who appreciates these things.

The race course wound through Druid Hill Park and wrapped around the lake before heading back to the start line. It was an enjoyable course, but there wasn't too much crowd support except for right around the start/finish. There were a few hills, one long one at the start and a few others throughout, but nothing too terrible.

I felt good for most of the course, but definitely felt a struggle in mile one (the first mile always sucks) and between miles three and four. When I hit mile five though I felt good and I was just cruising looking at my watch thinking there was no way I could be going that fast.

Is it bad that when I saw my finish time I assumed they measured the course wrong?

47:36!!!! That's like 9:30 minute miles!

For me, that is lightening!

The spread of food afterward was insane! Seriously I have never seen so many post-race yummies. I just grabbed a pack of PB crackers before I booked it out of there to go home, shower and head to Ocean City for the BF's friend's grad. party.

Race positives:
Fun course
Tons of runners
The freakin' awesome fleece you get for running

It was freezing waiting at the start line
You had to park a mile from the start so it was a cold walk back.

I'd definitely do this race again and plan to work it into my calendar for next year.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Nutrition is important in'd think I'd learn

You think I'd learn....seriously you think after being a runner for this long that I'd know that eating right before, during and after runs is important. But for whatever reason I just don't.

After last weekend's 11 miler I didn't eat enough. Not on purpose. I just wasn't paying close attention. Sunday I was running around all day and ate at really irregular intervals. I thought I was eating more than I actually was because of that.

So needless to say, Monday's three miler sucked. A lot. I was gassed after 1.5 miles.

But don't worry after two parties this week, my calorie deficit is completely gone and I've probably crossed into calorie surplus lol.

I haven't run since Monday because Tuesday I felt nauseous after getting off the Metro and running would have just made it worse. I wanted to get something short in after work today, but I may have plans now that interfere with that.

It's sort of a taperish type week for me anyway because I have the Celtic Solstice Five Miler in Baltimore on Saturday. I'm hoping for some nice weather. BF even said he might come to the race. (Which is pretty impressive because BF is NOT a morning person, especially on the weekends.)

I'll have a bit of a challenge getting in my 12 miler this weekend. I'm going to be in Ocean City for a graduation celebration and I'm not sure which hotel I'll be at yet. So it makes it a little hard to hit up for a route. I'm sure I'll figure something out though.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Friday sixer and Saturday 11 and Terps win a Nattyship!

My Terps are soccer national champions and I am super freakin' excited about it. I was thisclose to buying a plane ticket to Texas after we beat St. John's in the semifinals Friday night, but the cheapest I could find was about $350 and I'm a little too poor to be able to drop $350 bucks like that. So needless to say I had to watch it on TV, which was a huge let down. After we won all I wanted to do was go jump into the arms of my two friends on the team and give them the world's biggest hugs ever. But we won and I'm so excited!!!!

We won the National Championship in 2005 when I was a sophomore and I was there for that one and it was seriously one of my favorite memories from college. There is nothing like rushing the field and getting touch the trophy. I hope we make it back next year because it's in Cary, NC, which is definitely driveable.

Anyway, on the running front. I had a six miler at pace Friday night. It pretty much rocked. Those two rest days I took in the middle of the week were just what I needed. I finished six miles in 58 minutes and change, which is awesome for me.

My legs were tired afterward, but not too bad. I was a little nervous about Saturday's 11 miler, but I wasn't worried about speed just about getting the distance in.

I slept in for the first time in weeks and left for my run around 11 a.m. (Sleeping in is definitely one of the perks of training in the winter. It only gets warmer as it gets closer to noon, not hotter.)

I planned an out and back course and the first 5.5 miles I felt really good. I was hitting my splits between 10 and 10:30, which is definitely a faster than I wanted to be going. I tried to pull back the speed a  little bit so I'd have energy to get me through the second half. I was pretty successful and was able to crank out the next few miles around 11 minutes. I took a Gu around mile 5ish, which I think helped me out, but I didn't have water with me to wash it down. It probably would have worked better if I did.

The course I ran was pretty hilly and I ran a lot of downhill from mile 4 to 5.5 that was all uphill on the way back. I was able to run really solidly through mile 9, but I hit more hills in mile 10 that forced me to walk for a little bit. I was bummed because my goal was to run the whole thing, but my legs were just having none of this hill.

So I walked for a little bit and then picked it back up to running when it flattened out a little bit and finished the course running. If I had to guess I'd say I walked no more than a half mile the whole time, maybe three quarters of a mile at the absolute most. 

I finished the 11 miles in 1:58:25, which is a time I'm really happy with.

When I trained for my first marathon, I would have had a hard time finishing 1o miles in an hour and  yesterday I managed to crank out 11 miles in under an hour. 

Today was supposed to be a cross training day, but I took a rest day because I needed it. I did some stretching to help loosen up my calves because they're still tight although otherwise I feel perfectly fine. 

Overall it was a pretty successful few days of running. I got some decent miles in.

Tonight I picked up my fleece for the race I'm running next Saturday. It's super nice and I'm so gld I paid the more expensive registration price to get it. My camera battery is dead now  but I'll try to get a picture of it up at some point!

Hope you all had awesome weekends!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Six miler leads to two rest days

Tuesday night I ran a solid six miler in 1:02 or 1:03ish. I felt tired before I headed out and the first three miles felt hard, but after the turn around I felt better. Maybe it was just the mental thing knowing that I was on the way back that let me pick up my pace in the second half of the run.

The first three miles I hit all my splits at almost exactly 11 minute miles. By if you'll notice from my finish time, I must have picked it up a bit on the way back in to finish with that time.

I stretched really well after I got home, but still woke up sore the next morning. (Not like super painful sore, but my legs felt really heavy walking to and from the Metro.)

Because of that I skipped my Wednesday scheduled three miler. I just wanted to relax my legs. I had thought about maybe rescheduling it for yesterday (my normally schedule rest day) but I didn't want to run three days in a row with a pace run tonight and a long run tomorrow. So no running for me.

Tonight I have another six miler at pace and this weekend I've got 11 on the schedule. I'm a little nervous about the 11. I haven't run that kind of distance in a long, long time.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Running, earning points and what I want for Christmas

Last night I got in my scheduled three miler, which ended up being closer to a 4.3ish miler, but I'm not complaining. Overall things went well. I was tired when I got home from work, but I knew I wanted to get out and get this run done.

It was definitely chilly went I started and for a while I was wishing I had layered one of my lighter fleeces over my Under Armour, but after about the second mile I wasn't feeling too cold anymore and by the end I was really glad I hadn't worn the fleece.

I did try out this new pair of running gloves my mom bought me at an expo. I'm not a fan of running in gloves because they usually make my hands all sweaty, but these gloves rocked and I only found myself wanting to take them off at the very very end.

I did the same route on 16th St. that I did last week and it worked well except for a few a street crossing right at the beginning and end. There's a traffic circle separating D.C. from Silver Spring that is a true pain in the ass to navigate in car or on foot. Lucky for me, a very nice lady stopped and let me cross the street when I had the right of way after a whole of bunch other cars hadn't.

Adding my commute (1.5 miles of walking round trip!) and my stretching to my run, I earned 6.4 points to kick off the HBBC! Not a bad start!

I've got a 6 miler on tap for tonight. Time to hit up MapMyRun for a good route.

I was looking for awesome night time/early morning running gear so that I can see where I'm going. I always think head lamps look clunky and I just can't bring myself to strap something on my head. But then I stumbled across this:

It's a running hat, with a little light built into it. How perfect! I want one so badly. Hint, hint Christmas is just around the corner and it's less than $20.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Finding my groove

Things are starting to calm down in my world right now. I'm finally feeling like my new house is actually a home. I've got my morning routine pretty much down to a science. (Roll out of bed at six, get dressed, brush teeth, put in contacts, walk to metro, get to work at 7).

Because of my early morning work hours, I'm still trying to get used to this running after work thing. Although I am most definitely a morning person, there is absolutely no way I can drag myself out of bed at 4:30 a.m. to run in the freezing temps. I'll reevaluate 4:30 running when it gets warmer out, but for now, I'll stick to running after work.

Last Thursday, I was able to get a solid 4.5 miler in. I did an out and back course along 16th Street mainly because it's the only road I know that has street lights so I can see and not trip and doesn't require you to cross many busy roads.

Tonight I have a three miler on the schedule and today also kicks off RunToFinish's Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge. So as long as I go out and get my run in, I can start earning some points!

Moving update:

I bought a bed this weekend! And dropped obscene amounts of money at Ikea. Who knew mattresses and box springs were so freakin' expensive. Not me.

They are also a pain in the butt to carry up stairs (or just carry in general) but BF and I managed somehow.

Seriously, BF deserves a medal or something for helping me yesterday. We borrowed his stepdad's truck to load up the bed and dresser from Ikea, took it all home and then spent like 2.5 hours assembling the bed. We were both so sick of building furniture by the time we finished we didn't even start the dresser. (Plus BF wanted to watch the Redskins game...too bad they lost hehe...that may sound mean, but I'm an Eagles fan and now my team isn't last in the division anymore.)

But man was it nice to sleep in a real bed last night and not on an air mattress! The obnoxiously expensive mattress was so worth it.

So basically I'm forever indebted to BF for his help. I started by paying him back with pizza for dinner. They way to a man's heart is through his stomach right? lol!

Also congrats to Frayed Laces on her BQ!

Hope you all have a fabulous Monday and good luck to everyone participating in the HBBC!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Back to our regular scheduled programming

Again more apologies for being so absent of late. I hate letting the blog slide this much, but I should be getting back to my normal routine soon.

These past few weeks have been absolutely nuts and I haven't gotten a single run in since two Fridays ago I think. Not good for marathon training.

I don't think I've ever explained really about the whole new job-moving thing-trying to find places to run, but here's a quick rundown of what I've been dealing with the past three weeks.

I moved out of York Nov. 14th and went to stay at the BF's place. He and his roommates very graciously offered to let me stay until I found a place to live. I had a week off in between my old job and my new job and I used that time to kick off marathon training and spend most of my days on Craigslist looking for houses and most of my nights visiting those places.

It was crazy and stressful and I hated that I was homeless and bumming off the BF and his friends.

By the middle of that week I had found a nice townhouse with reasonable rent and two nice roommates so I at least had that ironed out. Only problem was, I couldn't move in until Nov. 30 and my job started Nov. 24.

My new job is in D.C. a couple of blocks from the White House. The easiest way to get there is by the metro. My new place is two blocks from a metro station, unfortunately BF lives much closer to Annapolis than D.C. and is about a 30 minute drive from the closest metro station.

So that means last week I had to wake up crazy early, drive to the metro, then ride the metro for like 45 minutes before I even got to work. And then do it all again on the way home. I was leaving the house a little before 7 a.m. and getting back after 7 p.m. Long, long days.

All I wanted to do when I got home was curl up and go to sleep, which is basically what I did.

Unfortunately I had to work the Friday after Thanksgiving so I didn't get to go home and spend Turkey Day with my family. It's the first Thanksgiving in my 22 years that I wasn't with them so that was a little weird. I spent the day with the BF and part of his fam though and we had a great time.

Last weekend I was so glad to sleep in on Saturday before going to watch Maryland soccer in the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament (they won 2-1 and play again this weekend). Sunday was moving day and then collapsing on the sofa and watching football.

Now that I'm in my new place my commute is slashed in half, which is so nice. I still haven't had a chance to run in part because I haven't found a place where I won't get run over and in part because I'm still settling in.

I have no furniture yet (that's this weekend's goal) so I'm living out of boxes and sleeping on an air mattress. I feel like a squatter.

Last night was BF's birthday so I took him to dinner after work and then we walked around downtown and got back kind of late. Tonight I'm going to watch his volleyball game, so more no running for me, but I'm OK with it because I know I'm still settling in and trying to figure out my schedule.

I'll be back to running soon and I'm still fairly confident that I'll be ready for this marathon. I've still got plenty of time.

Just wanted to give you all a quick update on where I've been. I think I've finally caught up on most of your blogs (although I definitely didn't have time to comment on all of them, so my apologies.) I'm so looking forward to getting my furniture and having my parents drop off the last of my stuff this weekend so that I can be moved in for real and settle into a routine. It will be awesome.