Friday, October 31, 2008

Crofton 8-Miler

I think the town of Crofton, Md. was designed by a runner. I'm 100% serious. There are sidewalks everywhere including on all the busy roads. There are tons of neighbors with lots of shady areas that make for fabulous mileage.

The Crofton Parkway is a giant loops that is almost exactly a 5K. I mean seriously, who designs stuff like that if they aren't a runner themselves or a very runner friendly person.

Well anyway, I'm down in Maryland today because I have a vacation day (whoo!!) that I used because this afternoon a bunch of us are driving to Charlottesville, Va. for a soccer game. So I decided that I would use the morning for a nice, easy long run.

I planned out an 8.33 mile course. (Why can I never find a course that ends on an even mile or half mile lol) and hit the road around 8:30ish. It was still a bit chilly, but in a good way. I was pretty comfortable in my Under Armour tights and a long sleeve tech shirt with my ear warmer on.

I was cruising along the first three miles feeling really great and absolutely loving running in Crofton. Everyone else out is so freakin' nice. I think every single person I passed waved and said, "Hi." People with dogs were so nice about pulling the leashes close and stepping out of the way so I could get by. A super nice crossing guard helped me across the busiest road with a bunch of school kids.

Right around mile 3 my iPod died because it was cold. Does anyone else have that problem? iPods dying in the cold? (Like not dead, dead it's fine now, but it just turns off and won't turn back on outside.)

Well right about that time I passed a mom and her son going to a Halloween party at what looked to be a kindergarten. The little boy was dressed up as a PowerRanger I think. And I ran past him and he started running right along side of me. So I chatted with him for a little while, told him I liked his costume and that he was super fast. He was such a cutie. (I also told him not to get too far ahead of his mom, I didn't want her to panic.)

They veered off to go to their party and I headed on my way on the Parkway, which is an awesome place to run. There's plenty of sidewalk room and its not too hilly. There were a couple big ones in the middle, but nothing too bad.

Miles four and five I was still feeling good. Around mile six, I was exiting the Parkway and I could definitely feel my legs were getting tired. I also noticed a twinge in my knee. It was nothing serious. Just annoying.

I pushed through mile seven and was really really tired by mile eight. It sucked not having my iPod here. The music helps me zone out and not focus so much on how tired I am. I had one line from the last song I listened to stuck in my head so I was like singing it over and over again haha. Not out loud though.

I finished 8.33 in 1:27.43. I think that's about a 10:30 mile. I was hoping to average 10 minute miles, but I'm still not disappointed in the run. It felt great except for my knee acting up at the end. I think I'm going to tape my knee from now on runs over 6 miles. That's when I seem to notice it start to act up. I also think I would have been able to push the speed a little bit more had I eaten more before I went out. I only ate half a PBJ because I just was not hungry enough to eat a whole one. I kind of wish I had though. Oh well, I know for next time.

Anyway, I'm off to go get ready for this soccer game. It's Halloween so we're all dressing up. I'm going as...a soccer player...creative, I know right haha!

Hope you all have a great Halloween weekend!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

WORLD CHAMPS!!!!

THE PHILS JUST WON THE WORLD SERIES!!!!!! WHOOOO!!!!!!!

I am doing a happy dance around my room!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The gym's becoming relevant again

After months and months of shunning the gym for the warm summer months of running outside, lately I've been finding myself heading back indoors.

It's been pitch black when I wake up in the mornings and I don't have very much daylight left by the time I get home from work.

It started out with a few spin classes here and there, a couple times each week. This morning was the first time I forced myself onto the thrillmill though.

I met my co-worker Michele this morning and did about 20 minutes of elliptical with her before she had to head home to get ready for work (poor girl starts an hour before I do.)

When she left I switched over to the treadmill and thought I'd be adventurous and do some intervals. I know they were on the treadmill so it's not the same as doing them on a track, but these days track access is not really an option. So it looks like I'll be doing most of my speed work on the treadmill. (Does anyone have thoughts on this or suggestions on how to adjust the speed to make it most mirror the effort I'd be putting out on a track?)

I didn't have much time left so I figured I'd try to do 4x800 with an 800 recovery in between each. (I never know how long to recover after my intervals. Is 800 too long? It seems to work for me...again thoughts?)

Well I ran out of time and only did 3x800, but I figured it was something. I did my fast intervals at an 8:57 pace and my recovery was at 10:54. I could definitely feel that the effort was challenging so I think I did an OK job picking out speeds, but as always your thoughts or suggestions are helpful.

By the end with cool down and everything, I had done a little less than 30 minutes on the thrillmill and 20 minutes of the random hill setting on the elliptical.

A solid workout in my book.

P.S. Thanks for everyone's input on my last post about my marathon worries. After today's workout I'm feeling better about things and I'm going to see how I feel in another week or so.

P.P.S. How annoying is it the Game 5 got postponed last night? And how really pissed was I this morning when I found out the commish was going to suspend the game either way and not call it after the 5th and magically make the Phils win. (Which I think was the right decision, a World Series shouldn't be decided by the rain.) But why did they even play the top of the 6th then? The conditions were crappy. They should have called it after five and the Phils would have had a one-run lead. No way the Rays second run would have scored if it hadn't been for the rain. OK end rant about baseball.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Marathon anxieties

I've been putting off this post for a few days now because I know it's going to be a bit rambly and long. It's also a big look into my mindset and I was a little nervous about sharing that with the world. (Don't say I didn't warn you)

After my awesome 5K last weekend, I got all excited to register for races again. So I started looking for anything of any distance.

I put together this list:

GW Equal Justice Foundation's 5K Race for Justice (Nov. 9) -- My friend's a GW Law student and wants me to do this one. Plus I could potentially use it as my smooth time for the challenge.
Celtic Solstice Five Miler (Dec. 20) -- This comes highly recommended from a girl I work with and apparently the race jacket is sweet.
National Marathon (Mar. 21) -- We'll discuss this in more detail below.
Frederick Half Marathon -- (May 3) I want to do the Maryland Double (The Frederick Running Festival and the Baltimore Running Festival)
ZOOMA Annapolis Half Marathon (May 31) -- Annapolis is a beautiful city, I think it'd be sweet to run a race there.
Baltimore 10-Miler (Mid-June) I DNS'd this last year because I hurt my knee and I'd like to go after it again.

I love my entire potential schedule (I don't however love the dent it will leave in my wallet, but whatever, I'll deal.)

Except thoughts of the marathon are almost making me sick to my stomach. I have five million questions running through my head about it.

Here's what's going on inside my brain:

I want to do another full.
But do I want to dedicate all the time to training?
Do I have a reason not to dedicate the time?
Football season and tailgates will be over and won't get in the way of Saturday long runs. Therefore I have no real excuse not to run.
Running in the winter sucks because days are shorter and forces many runs to be done on a treadmill.
It sucks running in the cold, but it also sucks running in the middle of summer heat.
Do I want to commit to it?
If I don't will I feel like a slacker for doing the half when a bunch of other people are doing the full?

Training for marathons makes me really selfish.
I have to block out large chunks of time to do training runs.
It puts a strain on all my friendships and other relationships.
Do I want to do that?

I'm also worried about my travel schedule.
My friends want me to visit on the weekends and I love doing it.
Will they love it when I have to get up and run and someone has to give me a key or wait for me to get back to their places before they can start their days?
Will I or my friends by happy with the alternative of me not going to visit?

But really why am I so worried?
My friends were nothing but supportive last time.
They made me signs and cheered for me.
My roommate bragged about me to all her friends.
They thought it was so cool I was running a marathon.

But for some reason this one feels different and I don't know why. But it's got me worried. I want to do 26.2 again. I read somewhere once that your brain had to forget the pain of last marathon before the body let you train for another. I think I'm there. I think I'm ready.

My times have been improving, my running in general has been improving. I've come a really long way in 2.5 years of running and I know I can improve my marathon times if I were to tackle another one.

So why the hell do I have all these reservations? What is holding me back from being as spontaneous as I was sophomore year of college. When I signed up for that marathon, I sat down at my computer, pulled out my credit card, punched in the number and hit submit. At the point it was done and I was in training. Why can't I do that now.

I've studied the race course, I've read everything on the Web site numerous times. I've sat on the registration page and then hit the X.

Sometimes I wish I could be more like Frayed Laces. Seriously that girl is like my running hero. Somehow she manages to be a 20-something running superstar and balance her social life and her PhD program and her training. The girl is dedicated and motivated, and isn't afraid to put her running above other stuff. I used to be like that when I was marathon training, but somewhere along the line I think it started to fade. I'm not sure where or why or how, all I know is I need to get it back if I want to do this marathon. (P.S. Frayed if you can bottle that up and send it my way that'd be awesome LOL!)

I guess that's my rant. Apologies for the length and thanks bunches if you stuck through it to the end.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A speedy six and a spin

This week at work has kicked my butt. I have been drop dead tired every morning when I've woken up and every night when I get home I've wanted to collapse into my bed. Last night I fell asleep around 9 p.m. And it's only Wednesday.

But last night I also managed to get in a speedy (by my standards) six miler. I'm not sure where I found the energy. I literally dragged myself out the office collapsed in my car and thought I was going to fall asleep on my two minute drive home.

But the crisp fall air must have invigorated me because I got home threw on a long sleeve tech top and some shorts grabbed my iPod and was out the door. I clocked the six miles in 1:02.10. I felt great the entire time. My left knee hurt for a second in mile five, but went after that.

When I got back home though, my right knee was acting up a little bit. Nothing too serious, but it caught my attention.

I slept a lot better last night and I have to credit that to taking the melatonin. I had stopped for a while because I wasn't having any problems and I don't like taking stuff if I don't need to. But man it makes all the difference in the quality of sleep I get. I'm 99 percent sure I'll be taking it again tonight. (I mentioned the melatonin in a post a while ago, but just a reminder, it's not a sleeping pill, it's a supplement my doc. recommended that helps your body sync to circadian rhythm.)

Anyway, after an awesome night sleep, I woke up this morning to meet Michele at the gym for spin class at 5:45. Except Michele wasn't there when I got there. Turns out she had way overslept. No biggie though. I didn't stay for the whole class because I had to bounce out to get home to shower and get ready for work, but I did about 45 minutes and felt pretty good. My legs weren't too tired from last night's run.

However, when I got home my right knee was acting up. It buckled three times when I was walking around the house getting ready for work. Not cool.

I'm skipping my soccer game again this week because I don't want to aggravate the knee. Instead I'm going to ice it down and watch my Phils in the World Series.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pics as promised

Here are a handful of pictures from my cousin's wedding, this weekend's 5K and me in a Redskin's jersey because that was the deal if the Redskin's beat the Eagles.

 Me with my cousin (on the left) and the other flower girl.

Sarah and her parents walking down the aisle.

Sarah and my cousin Tony exchanging vows.

Lighting the unity candle.

My cousins Pat (on left) and Nate walking out with the maid of honor.

Kissing outside the church.

Going for the garter.

Stuffing cake in each other's faces.

Busting a move with Sarah and one of her bridesmaids.

The girls that ran the 5K with me. (L to R: Randyl, Laurie, Emily, me, Amy, Sam)


Me and Sam after the race.


Me showing my true feelings for the Redskins while Brad shows is true feelings for Philly fans.

Matt thumbs upping the Skins while I give them a big old thumbs down. (Just ignore Brad flipping me off again.)

Brad does the Heisman while I hate on the Skins.
 
My thumbs down is being overruled.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

A good excuse for bad boob jokes: A Race for the Cure race report

Let me get to the quick stuff. I saw so many hilarious shirts with boob references on them at the race today. I wish I could remember all of them, but two I remember seeing said.

"Running (or maybe racing?) for Someone's Name That I Don't Remember's hooters."

"Men have a breasted interest."

As you know my big goal for this race was to improve on my stubble time for the 5K challenge. Well I certainly was successful.

This morning I woke up at the ungodly hour of 5:45 a.m. to get ready for the race. I was tired and didn't really want to get out of bed, but I was also really looking forward to the race. So I took one look at my clothes, knee tape, sneakers and watch laid out neatly on the floor and that was about all the extra motivation I needed.

I'm spending the weekend in Maryland again (shocker, I know) and I packed a pair of running shorts along with a short sleeve and long sleeve running top because I knew it had the potential to be chilly.

Chilly would be an understatement. It was 45 degrees when I got to the start. My legs were numb in about 10 minutes of waiting for my friends. I was really wishing I had packed my running tights. I was fine once the race started though. But waiting at the beginning and the end was definitely cold.

I met up with my friends (Sam, Amy, Emily, Laurie, Randyl and Chris) who were all doing the race too. Chris ran the timed race (and kicked butt with a time of 24:something) with me. Sam and Amy ran the untimed race and Emily Laurie and Randyl walked.

I've got to give a HUGE shout out to Sam and Amy for running their very first race and finishing in about 31:08! How awesome is that! They both said they had a really good time too!

As for my time: 28:29.28. (That's by my watch, official time hasn't been posted yet) WHOOO HOOO! Check it out that's more than two minutes faster than my stubble time.

I smashed my previous PR.

I hit mile one around 9:02, but didn't feel like I was overextending myself so I tried to keep a similar pace in mile two. I did well, hitting that one around 18:20ish if I remember correctly.

The course was the exact same as last year so I think it helped that I knew when to speed it up and what was coming next. It's a hilly course with lots and ups and downs, but nothing was really unexpected.

I was hurting by the last couple tenths of the race though. I had a side stitch and I could feel that my breathing was off, but I forced myself to push it hard to the finish line. I didn't want to slack off at the end of the race. I almost couldn't believe it when I looked at my watch afterward.

Needless to say I am completely psyched about my time. I have pictures, but don't have camera connecting cord with me in Maryland. So those and pics from my cousin's wedding are still to come.

I have every intention of spending the rest of my Sunday curled up on the sofa watching football!

Good luck to everyone else who was racing this weekend. Can't wait for your reports.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Practice 3.2

After not a ton of running this week and mostly cycling, I decided I wanted to do a practice 5K tonight to make sure I'm ready for my upcoming race. I didn't have a course completely mapped out before hand so I ended up running 3.2 instead of 3.1 and clocked a time of 31:04.

That's slower than my stubble time, which makes me think maybe my stubble time course was shorter than a true 3.1 because seriously I was booking it tonight. I finished my first mile in a little over 9 minutes and then the second around 18:30ish.

That's like lightening for me.

I know I did definitely slow down in the 3rd mile because I could feel my calves tightening and going up one of the hills on my course I had to start walking so obviously I lost some time there.

Oh well, it's not a big deal. I'm usually not that worried about my times, I just thought it was a little strange because I was working hard tonight and I don't remember pushing that hard in my stubble time race.

Anyway, the whole point of tonight's run was to make sure I am ready for Sunday's race. I think it proved I am.

I taped my knee as a precaution because I plan to do that in the race and everything felt good there. I wore an outfit very similar to the one I will be wearing on race day to make sure all the kinks are worked out with that and everything was comfortable. I think you're allowed to run this race with an iPod and I plan to.

I plan to pack a loaf of bread and peanut butter so I can have toast with PB as my morning energy because I guarantee the place I'm staying this weekend won't have whole wheat bread. Hell they might not even have a toaster, I could just be eating bread with PB.

I'm starting to feel the nerves about this race already and I think it's because I haven't raced in such a long time and it's my first race coming back from my knee issues this summer. Also, I know a lot of friends are going to be either running with me or there to watch, which isn't something I'm really used to. Plus I'll be staying not at my house, driving to the race without my mom (who usually runs things with me) and having no one to sympathize with my night before the race nervous rituals of laying out all my stuff and making sure everything is ready, etc. etc.

I must keep telling myself that I just need to have fun and not worry about my times...but it's so hard not to focus on them!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Why F.L. rocks my socks

Read this. It pretty much sums up how I feel about life. I know I wrote something similar a while back (but I don't feel like finding it in the archives) but man Frayed Laces really got it right.

Sometimes it's exactly the way I feel. (Don't worry non-running friends who read this, I don't love you any less...sometimes I just need my running to be a priority.)

-----

Anyway, this weekend pretty much was awesome. My cousin's wedding was beautiful. (I have pictures to post later). The weather was amazing and Sarah (my cousin's new wife) looked gorgeous in her dress.

My sports massage on Friday was great, but definitely painful. I still have some bruises, but it's way better today than it was Saturday. My IT Bands are still really tender because she worked them out well.

Unfortunately because the massage was so good, I was too sore to run this weekend. I danced plenty at the reception though, so that definitely counts for something.

Yesterday, I was down in Maryland to hang out with some friends and watch football. The highlight of my day was watching the Redskins and Cowboys lose and the Eagles win. All I need for a truly awesome football weekend is for the Giants to lose too (but if Toomer could score like five touchdowns and the Giants still lose that'd be great for my fantasy team haha!)

I'm hitting spin class tonight with Michele.

My 5K is this Sunday. I'm nervous but excited to get back to racing. I've assured some people (well really only one person who's worried I might re-injure myself) that I won't race this race, that I'll just run it for fun. But last night my competitive edge got the best of me and I looked up my Shave Your 5K stubble time and now I really want to beat that.

We'll see what this week holds as far as training and I'll probably make a game day decision about how I'm going to run the race.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Soccer and tag

Soccer last night was a good time. Our team played a great game. Personally, I only did so so because my legs were still sluggish from Monday's six miler and I started the game at midfield before moving to forward and then finally back to my normal defense.

We were tied with one of the best teams in the league 3-3 and our defense was shutting down a lot of their attacks. They managed to send in a slow dribbler that slipped past our goalie making the score 4-3 with plenty of time for us to come back. But literally as soon as the ball went in, the official called the game for darkness. Grrr. Talk about majorly frustrating.

------

In other news, I was tagged by teacherwoman yesterday.

I'll tag these 10 (I'm trying to not repeat too many of those of you who have already been tagged...it's not that I don't love you because honestly I do!)

1. Jamie
2. Viv
3. Frayed Laces
4. Amy & Tom
5. J- Mom
6. M*J*C*
7. Aron
8. P.O.M.
9. Bill
10. This is me totally cheating and having a three-way tie for those who crack me up daily (Marcy you'd be here too, but you've already been tagged) Vanilla, Nitmos, RazzDoodle

And now for my six random facts:
1. I have an unhealthy love of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Or maybe it's just the peanut butter. I eat it straight from the jar.
2. I'm a closet tech/Web nerd. I love playing with HTML and CSS.
3. The beach is my favorite place in the entire world. It's also one of my favorite places to run because there is some much great stuff to look at. When I'm old and retired that's where I want to be.
4. I love this time of year when the weather starts to change. It's perfect for running, and I love just being able to pull on a hoodie and a pair of jeans and being comfortable.
5. My cousin is getting married this weekend and I'm doing one the readings at the Mass. I'm hoping I don't trip walking up to the altar. That would be embarrassing.
6. My College Park friends are my second family. They know me better than anyone and I love them more than life. It's the reason I waste so much gas/money to drive to Maryland every weekend.

----
Today is my last day of the week because I took vacation tomorrow to get home for the wedding. I've got a sports massage planned for tomorrow morning with my lady back home. It should be good to get the muscles worked out. I'm also hoping on getting one or two runs in while I'm home, but I'll just have to see how the legs feel after the massage.

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Another six in the books

Last night I was supposed to go spinning with a girl from work, but her back has been bothering her so she needed last night off.

I wasn't too upset because it gave me the perfect opportunity to get my first fall weather run in. I couldn't have asked for more perfect weather. It was brisk with a slight breeze and still a little bit of sunlight.

I decided it was the perfect night to get in a nice six miler.

I started out telling myself that the goal was to just get the six done, take it easy, see how things feel and not worry about time.

That's pretty much exactly what I did. I just ran, zoned out to my music and enjoyed the weather.

Everything felt good, except for a slight twinge in my knee around mile five that faded pretty quickly. I may re-start taping my knee on longer runs just for the extra support. My legs started to feel a little sluggish toward the end of the run, but I was still able to finish strong.

I stretched out really well afterward and I have no pain, tightness or soreness today.

I was also pleased to find out that even though I wasn't paying attention to the time, I didn't go that much slower than normal. I finished in 1:04:54ish.

I'm taking a rest day today and have soccer tomorrow.

ORN:
6.07 miles
1:04:54

Monday, October 06, 2008

5.3 in Arlington

One good thing about traveling every weekend is that I get to run in new places. This weekend was no exception. I was staying with my college roommate in her apartment in Arlington, Va., and was excited to check out what kind of running atmosphere the city had to offer.

In past weekend visits, I'd always seen lots of runners out and about, but this was my first weekend to hit the streets. Overall, Arlington is not a very runner friendly place (or at least not the streets that I ran on). I almost got hit by cars twice and one honked at me...how rude, I was in the cross walk and had the right of way!

I mapped out and memorized a five mile course Friday night, but due to a memory fart I missed a turn and ended up running down a dead end street and having to turn around and find my way again, hence the .3 miles.

It was a great run and I was really happy with it. My legs were a little tired, but nothing too terrible. I felt a little twinge in my knee somewhere between miles three and four, but it went away pretty quickly.

I was able to power through the run and felt good afterward. Five miles is the longest I've gone since the knee injury and it was something I was really excited about.

Since things have been going well on the running front lately, I've been eying a marathon in March. It's been two years since my last full marathon and I'm thinking maybe it's time to go for it again. I'm not sure though, I still have my doubts, like what if I'm not really over this injury and I make it worse tackling longer distances. What do you guys think?

In a quick weekend update, almost all my sports teams got embarrassed this weekend. Terps soccer dropped 5-3 to Clemson (so long top 5 ranking...) Terps football got spanked by UVa 41-0 (I think that was the final...maybe not...either way it was a shutout...keep in mind UVA lost to Duke 31-3 last weekend...) The Eagles lost to the Redskins so I lost my bet. In two weeks I have to don a Redskins shirt/jersey in a house full of Redskins fans. It will be a painful experience.

This weekend I also learned how to properly wash, polish and wax a car (not mine, even though mine could use it...), played some fooseball and was super pumped about the Phillies winning the NLDS.

I think that pretty much sums it up.

Friday, October 03, 2008

A spin and a run

Last night was my spin night with my co-worker Michele. I was super pumped when Angie, my most favorite cycling instructor in the entire world, walked in to sub for Thursday's normally ho-hum instructor.

I knew immediately that it was going to be a great class. Plus I was antsy as heck and couldn't sit still all day so I knew I needed an serious energy release.

Angie's class was awesome. It was hard, but fun, and loved it.

When I was driving home I was thinking about how super nice the weather was, no sun, in the low 50's or high 40's, perfect running weather. So when I pulled into the driveway, I ran into the house, dropped my bags, grabbed my watch and headed back out for a run.

I ended up doing 2.09 miles in 20:46 without my iPod! (I never run without my iPod!) I was really happy with the run. Everything felt great. My legs were tired from cycling but they stayed strong through the run and kept their normal pace for the most part.

Today I'm planning tennis on my lunch break.

I'm headed back to Maryland again this weekend (really who does this surprise these days?) No home football or soccer games, just want to see my people. I'm hoping to get a run in on Saturday. I'd love to get one in Sunday too, but I don't think that's going to happen.

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

ORN:
2.09 miles in 20:46