Thursday, December 31, 2009

A decade in review

I did my year in review the other day, now it's time to take a look back on the entire decade.

2000: Y2K had everyone all in a tizzy, but I was in 8th grade and figured there was no way the world was going to implode, that my small savings account would have no money in it, or that any of the other doomsday things would actually happen. Turns out I was right. I was a smart little kid. Also started my freshman year of high school in the fall.

2001: Very briefly dated my very first boyfriend ever. Six months later dated my second boyfriend. Neither lasted more than a few weeks. Sat in my sophomore year home room, as I watched the news and thought there had been a horrible accident when a plane flew into the World Trade Center. Realized it wasn't an accident as I watched the second plane fly into the other tower.

2002: I started my junior year of high school. I took the SATs for the first time and did so-so. I'd take them two more times before I was sort of happy with my score.

2003: I was still a junior in the beginning of the year and scored a dancers role in our school's production of Guys and Dolls. I went to prom. Visited college campuses and sent out applications.

2004: Narrowed college decision down to Temple or UMD. Chose UMD in the end, one of the best decisions ever. Went to senior prom. Graduated from high school. Started college.

2005: Felt like a pro at the whole college thing by my second semester. Figured out I'd be able to graduate a semester early. Made some of my best friends to this day. Scored my first job on the staff of the college paper and started teaching fitnesses classes at the gym on campus. Took a day trip to NC to watch the soccer team win the National Championship.

2006: Registered, trained for and ran my first marathon. Quit said job at school paper because it was running me into the ground. Took heavy class loads both semesters because I'm an overachiever. Started the blog. Moved into my first apartment with my friends.

2007: Ran my first half marathon with strep throat. Won a bunch of "I'm an overachiever awards." Graduated college a semester early with a 3.9. Still hate those two B+s to this day.

2008: Went on my first cruise ever with my college roommates. Started my first job as a newspaper reporter. Ran another half marathon. Spent the entire summer in physical therapy for my knee problems. Missed many great races because of it. Left reporting job after 10 months to start current government job. Met and started dating the BF. Watched the Terps win another soccer National Championship.

2009: Ran seven races, three of which were half marathons. Have hopefully left knee problems in the past. Lost much of college weight. Celebrated one year anniversary at said job. And various other things you can read about in my year in review post.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What's next for the blog

Last night I finally bought myself my own domain name. If you haven't updated your bookmarks, make sure you do that!

Jessruns.com

I plan to make some changes to the blog in the next year. There will definitely be a redesign and a potential move to WordPress. I still have a lot of kinks I need to work out on that front, but it's mostly a done deal in my mind. I just need to make it a reality.

I can't give you a firm timeline on when everything will be done. As this is a project I'll be tackling myself, and not hiring outside help for, I'm going to have to work it around my other work, life and training responsibilities. That's why it's my 2010 project. By this time next year, I hope to have a beautiful new look and feel and some more basic functionality. (I'm also hoping this won't actually take a whole year, but I'm a perfectionist, so it might.)

Also if you have questions, comments, etc. about the blog, about my training, about anything really, please feel free to contact me at my new email address: jess@jessruns.com.

I think that's it for basic updates.

Just a quick question for all you who use self-hosted WordPress. Who do you use as your host? I've heard both good and bad things about BlueHost, so even though they come highly recommended from WordPress I'm not sure how I feel about them.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Update your bookmarks!

My new domain name is www.jessruns.com.

It's the first step in a larger blog overall I hope to work on in the coming year. More details to come.

2009 Wrap up

Where has this year gone? I can barely believe that 2010 is just a few days away. I'm a little sad to see 2009 go, it's been a pretty great year for me, but I have high hopes that 2010 will be even better.

Some 2009 Highlights:

Running three half marathons, setting a PR in one and then smashing it a few months later.


Convincing the BF to run a half marathon with me.

Celebrating my one year anniversary at my job.

Not one, but two cousins getting engaged at the holidays.

Raced two new distances (which means automatic PRs!)

A great weekend at the beach with friends.

Experiencing my first Nascar race with the BFs fam.

My cousin having a baby.

My main running goals for 2009 were to focus on middle length distances, tackling nothing more than 13.1, but trying a bunch of new distances as well. I'm happy to say I was definitely successful in that. I give myself an A+. I ran in seven different races throughout the year. Three of them were half marathons and the other four were 5Ks, 8Ks and 10Ks.

My other goal was to be better about tracking my mileage. I give myself a C for this. There were months when I was great about tracking mileage. I wrote it all down or logged it in Mapmyrun. But there were other times I just sucked at it. It's something I still plan to get better at in 2010.

I've also been lucky this year to get to spend more time with my extended family and make several trips back home to PA to visit my parents. My cousin and I have been unsuccessful in running a race together (we got snowed out two weeks ago), but hopefully that's something we can make happen in 2010.

And finally, I was so thrilled that the BF ran the Virginia Beach Half Marathon with me earlier this year. It was definitely one of the highlights of the year, running that race with him and my mom. I'm not sure whether the BF has another half marathon in him or not, but maybe there's room for the occasional 5K.

Stayed tuned for my 2010 goals and a potential race calendar!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Trying to embrace the off-season

Merry Christmas Eve blogland!

I safely made it home to Allentown on Tuesday night and enjoyed spending yesterday relaxing with the family and running some last minute errands.

It's cooooold up here as I learned on my run yesterday. Apparently my ear warmer is not in fact warm enough and my ears were killing me about a half mile in. My chin was pretty cold too, maybe I should have worn a scarf.

Either way, I got in 4.2 miles around the old stomping grounds. It was wonderful to run on nice open roads with minimal traffic and no stop lights.

But now, I think my body is telling me it's ready for the off-season. My right hip really started to get sore during the run yesterday, and it continues to nag at me this morning. I'm thinking maybe it's time to refocus my energy on cross training. Time to give the body a little bit of a break from running and focus instead on building a strong base for next year through strength training and other forms of cross training.

I may still try to sneak in another run or two while I'm home on roads I love, but only if my hip cooperates. If not I'll stick to riding my parents' bike and my Jillian DVDs.

In non-running news, I'm looking forward to spending the next few days with friends and family. Today is our big Christmas Eve party with very close family friends. I'm thrilled because I haven't seen many of them for several months. This party is definitely my favorite part of Christmas.

I hope you all have a fun time with friends and family. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cabin fever 3.5

Being pent up inside all weekend because of the snow led to some serious cabin fever yesterday. The federal government closed because transportation was a disaster and many communities hadn't been plowed yet. So with an unexpected day off, I found myself with lots of extra time on my hands.

I did some productive things, like get packed up to head back to PA for the holidays, and did some unproductive things, like watching several hours of an Intervention marathon.

All the lack of productivity and just general laziness of the weekend caused me to go pretty much bonkers by noon. I needed to get out of the house and do something physical. Since running outside was out, (I bit it on the way in to work this morning on an icy sidewalk. No worries only my pride was harmed.) I headed over to my fitness center to hit the treadmill.

Being out in the brisk air was kind of nice and the fitness center was chilly instead of its normal uncomfortable stuffiness. I decided to push it on the treadmill because I had tons of pent up energy.

I did 3.5 miles at speeds varying from 6.0 mph to 7.2 mph. Lots of good sprinting and fast running.

It was great to be running again, expect for when my right calf seized up with about 10 minutes left in my run. I also noticed my hips were starting to nag at me again. Curses, stupid IT band. After the run I did a ton of stretching to help loosen things up and everything feels good today.

Today's my last day in the office before the holidays. I'm heading back to PA tonight (assuming the roads don't thaw and ice too bad by the time I get off work) and working a half day from Allentown tomorrow. I'll be home for almost a full week. With precious little on the calendar, I'm hoping I can get some nice runs in. I failed miserably with that over Thanksgiving, but I have higher hopes for this break because as of now, it's less jam packed. I'm also packing my Jillian DVDs so even if I can't run, I can hopefully still get some activity in.

In other random, but fabulously exciting news, my cousin got engaged this weekend!!!!! I'm so very excited for her and her fiance. When she called to tell me the news, I quite literally screamed with delight. Congrats to you both!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Snowed out

Well Mother Nature, you did it.

You went ahead and completely ruined my weekend by dumping something like 23 inches of snow on the D.C. area.

My race on Saturday was not canceled, however. In fact, a girl I used to work with still ending up running it. When I woke up at 5:30 a.m. and looked out the window and saw that we had at least an inch or two and more was falling fast, I knew there was no way I was driving about 45 minutes north to run the race and then have to drive back home once it was over. It just wasn't going to happen. Plus I don't have Yak Trax or anything like that, so I probably would have bit it face first into a snow bank. I had no desire for that kind of humiliation first thing in the morning.

The BF and I did venture out later to head over to his mom's house for his family's Christmas. His grandparents had come up on Friday and therefore avoided the snow, but his two uncles from Virginia never made it. So the snow pretty much ruined their Christmas celebration.

When we got back to my house Sunday night we found my car looking something like this:



(Note this is the car parked next to me, because I didn't think to snap a picture of mine before we dug it out)

The BF and I spent about 20 or 30 minutes shoveling all the snow from around my car, plus clearing a path through where the plow had plowed me in. I think if I had to today, I could get my car out and get somewhere in the case of emergency.




But since the federal government closed today because of the snow, I plan on spending the day curled up in bed with some hot chocolate and a good book.

Hope you all are having wonderful Mondays!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Dear Mother Nature

Dear Mother Nature,

You suck.

See, I used to think we had an agreement. I would tolerate your wicked cold temperatures and even the occasional snow and sleet/freezing rain crap that you like to dish out this time of year, and you would not let said snow and sleet/freezing rain ruin my weekend plans.

But this weekend you have broken you're part of the deal.

This massive snow storm, that's supposed to dump somewhere near a foot of snow on us this weekend is ruining everything.

My good friend was supposed to leave tomorrow to move to NYC where she got a new job. Her going away party was supposed to be tonight. Guess what Mother Nature, because of your stupid snow storm it was canceled because she can't drive five hours in driving snow because people are idiots on the road.

Oh, and that race I was supposed to run tomorrow morning. It's in a park! Not even on real roads that they can plow. If there's too much snow it's going to be converted to a fun run through the grass. If I can even get to Baltimore tomorrow morning.

And lastly Mother Nature, you are threatening to ruin the BF's family Christmas celebration, which is on Sunday due to scheduling conflicts around actual Christmas.

If this is a preview of what the rest of the winter is going to be like, we're in for an ugly couple months, my friend. I'm not really a mean person, in fact, Mother Nature, I'd like us to be friends. So if you could do a little something about this snow storm, maybe delay it til Monday, or push it around us somehow, I'd appreciate it. But if not, could you at least limit the amount of snow we get for the rest of the winter?

I think you owe me that much.

Thanks so much,
Jess

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

To rest or to go short?

After Sunday's race, I've been doing a lot of resting, mainly because my calves and IT bands are revolting against me.

It seems that no matter how much stretching and rolling out I do, my muscles prefer to stay all knotted up. My left and right hips are really hurting now too, which I can say with almost complete certainty is related to my IT band.

I was hoping to get one short run in before Saturday's five mile race, but I'm wondering if my best bet now would be to just keep resting and stretching and then take it easy in Saturday's race. It's my last race of the season and I'd like to go out on a high note, maybe not necessarily with a PR, but with a fun race experience and a strong finish.

I really don't want to pack it in for a winter of cross training and maintenance running on a sour note.

So what do you think? Rest up or try to fit in something short today or tomorrow?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Jingle All the Way 10K Race Report

Quick stats:
Time: 56:13
Average pace: 9:03
641/2255 women
163/402 age group

One sentence summary: I was negative splitting this course like crazy until the last 1.2 miles and then I thought my legs might fall off and I just ran out of gas.

Full report:
Alarm blares at 5:30 a.m. Groan, hit snooze. Alarm goes off at 5:35. Drag body out of bed. Brush teeth, splash water on face, attempt to wake up.

Check weather. Currently 34 degrees and raining. Just dandy.

I had my planned race outfit laid out and pulled on my Under Armour tights and my cold gear mock neck top. I threw a lightweight Under Armour fleece on top of that. Added an ear warmer and a baseball cap to keep the water off my face and pulled on the throw away clothes that came in my race packet.

I pulled on my sneakers, which had jingle bells attached to the laces. They came in the race packet and everyone is supposed to wear them on their shoes so you all jingle the whole way.

On top of all of my running stuff I pulled on a pair of sweatpants and my ski jacket.
I was so bundled up and still froze my butt off waiting at the start line.

The BF is pretty much a saint for many reasons including the fact that he also woke up at 5:30 a.m. after being out the night before with his friends, drove me to the race and stood around in the cold and the rain to hold my crap while I ran.

Plus he also took all the pictures.

Waiting for the race to start and trying not to freeze.

No one where I was standing actually heard the gun go off, but all of a sudden everyone started moving.

I went the first mile without my music listening to the sounds of the jingle bells on everyone's feet. But not long after I hit the mile one marker I decided it was time for my own sounds. I blasted a new playlist I made full of Christmas tunes, because hey, 'tis the season!

The course was a really, really flat out and back. I think there was one little uphill on the way back when we crossed a small bridge. Otherwise, flatness. I cruised through miles one and two. One was a little slower because everyone was trying to find their own pace and was dodging around people to find running room.

I made it past the mile two marker before the lead pack started to come through causing the road to narrow to allow for runners on both sides. It was tight at parts once the leaders passed and after I hit the turn around just past the 5K, but I was still making good time.

I was pushing my legs to go faster and was surprised by how well they were responding after having so much time off between me getting sick and just being busy.

I struggled a little bit during mile 4, but was still able to run really strong until mile 5.

The race went rather downhill from there.

There was this guy running at about my pace near my left shoulder, so I decided I would try to stick with him, figuring if I could do that I would hold on to a decent pace for the last 1.2.

I was able to stay with him for a little bit, but then I got a bit of a pain in my hip and ankle and had to stop to walk for a minute. I picked it back up again, but every so often when I would land on my left foot, my left ankle hurt a bit.

I dropped off my speed and just tried to push through the finish.

I saw the finish line approaching and tried to muster some speed to finish fast, but I just didn't have much left in the tank.

I crossed the finish line in 56:13, an awesome time for any day, let alone coming off sickness, and a time I'm very happy with.


I hobbled around after the finish, grabbed some water, was found by the BF and did some stretching. I was sore. BF and I stuck around in the rain afterward for the random prize drawing because they were giving away two Garmins. (Again the BF is a saint for standing around in the rain with me.) I didn't win a Garmin, but I did win a $25 gift certificate to my running store. Sweet!

Overall it was a fun race. I wish it wouldn't have rained, but what can ya do?

If I would change anything, I would have eaten something other than just a Clif bar two hours before the start. Maybe then I would have had more energy at the end.

It was a great race, lots of fun and one I'd definitely consider doing again.

To end, here's a random picture the BF snapped of a joggler.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Race goal: Get to the start line healthy

I'm not at all prepared for my 10K this weekend. I'm still kind of sort of sick. My head has cleared for the most part, but I've got something going on with my nose and throat and it's not a lot of fun.

Packet picket up is today. On my lunch break I'm going to hustle and grab my stuff because I still have high hopes that by Sunday I will be feeling well enough to run.

Right now, I could probably run the race, but it wouldn't be very fun and I think it would make me feel crappy. I'm looking to get better, not worse.

For now, my only race goal is that I make it to the starting line on Sunday and that I can finish the race and not still be sick.

Cross your fingers for me!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Today's diet

consists of OJ, Zicam and Coldeeze.

I woke up with a nasty cold, which may explain some of my complete lack of desire to do anything but sleep lately.

I'm working from home today hoping to kick this crap. I'm in the middle of a big project at work, have a hugely important meeting on Friday and race this weekend. Can't afford to be sick.

Now if only my immune system would get that memo.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Tiredness

Last night I managed to some how motivate myself to do the Shred, but I really wasn't feeling any kind of work out at all. I got home from work and wanted to crawl into bed and sleep for hours and hours.

I haven't been getting to bed late lately. Hell this weekend, I didn't go out Friday or Saturday, but for some reason I've been overly tired and not in the mood to work out.

That's no good with two races coming up.

I need to snap myself out of this funk ASAP.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Meet the Halls

The Halls are very cool people, at least that's what I gathered from the few minutes I chatted with them at Pacers this weekend.



It went something like this:

Jess: Hi [Hands Ryan Runner's World Magazine]
Ryan: Hi

Jess: Was it chilly on your run this morning? [They did six miles the day after D.C.'s first snow fall of the season.]
Sara: No it was actually beautiful out.
Jess: Oh that's good.
[All smile for picture]


Sara: What races do you have coming up?
Jess: A 10K this weekend and five miler the weekend after.
Sara: Oh that's great.
Ryan and Sara: Good luck.
Jess: Thanks! It was nice to meet you both.
[Walk away like a normal person until I get into Starbucks then turn to BF]
Jess: Oh my gosh I just met Ryan Hall. Oh my gosh I just met the Halls. Holy crap did that really happen.

Yup. Way to keep your cool Jess.





P.S. Check out my guest post today over at Amber's blog!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Classes for next semester

This has not been a good week on the workout front for me. I've done a whopping one day of anything strenuous, which is no good for the HBBC.

I just haven't had any motivation and I've been run down and overly tired. Plus my nose is running off my face. I hope I'm not getting sick.

In other news, my Web design class is wrapping up for the semester and I'm trying to plan what I want to take next semester. This class was online, which was great for my schedule. I could work class around my job and my workouts. It was perfect. If you're super curious, here's the page I designed for my final project. The theme was social justice and we had to center the website around a Smithsonian exhibit we visited. I picked Animal Conservation at the Zoo because I had just been there for my birthday.

I'm not sure what my plan is for next semester. I'm toying with the idea of taking the advanced web design class, but I'm also thinking it would be fun to take some sort of health/nutrition class. I mean come on, I write a running blog, it's pretty obvious that I'm into healthy living and all that.

I'm not really taking the classes for anything other than personal development. I miss learning like crazy. I've toyed with the idea of grad school, but the GRE and huge amounts of debt aren't things I want to deal with in the near future. Plus I also don't know what I'd study. I mean I love health and fitness and the idea of getting a Masters in public health seems cool, but I also really like web stuff and it'd be fun to study that too.

So, I don't know what my plan is. Part of me thinks it's silly to spend the money on classes if the credits aren't going toward any sort of degree, but the nerd part of me that loves homework and learning doesn't want to stop.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

No More Trouble Zones Review

When I was Black Friday shopping, I picked up Jillian Michael's No More Trouble Zones DVD from Target. I was hoping to find a good alternative to the 30 Day Shred when I wanted to mix things up.

I popped the DVD in last night not knowing what to expect other than a circuit-style workout Jillian is famous for.

Unlike the 30 Day Shred, No More Trouble Zones is 40 minutes of circuits sandwiched by a five minute warm up and cool down. If you're in a time crunch, the DVD lets you pick certain circuits to do individually. Each circuit is about five minutes and combines at least two or three muscle groups.

Things started off about how I'd expect. The warm up included some things that I was familiar with from the Shred, and then boom it was time for the real meat of the workout.

I had expected the circuits to include some intense cardio bursts similar to what the Shred offers, but that's not how No More Trouble Zones is set up. Instead NMTZ is made up of a bunch of intense strength circuits. I liked the focus on solid strengthening moves, but I really missed the cardio. I kept hoping I'd have Jillian yelling at me to jump rope or do some jumping jacks or something.

Despite missing the cardio, No More Troubles Zones is still intense. By the end I was modifying planks like crazy and my shoulders were on fire. This morning I'm really feeling some of the leg work in my hamstrings.

While I definitely like the Shred better, NMTZ will definitely have its place in my workout rotation, especially in the "off-season" when I tend to focus more on building strength.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Back from PA

I hope you all had wonderful Thanksgivings and enjoyed eating lots of food and watching lots of football.

I know I did.

I also know I didn't work out once the entire time I was home. Remember how I said I wanted to run every day, yeaaa..that didn't happen. What was supposed to be my relaxing long weekend, turned into a frenzy of activity trying to see everyone I hadn't in a long time and spend time with friends and family.

But you know what? Overall, I'm not that upset about it.

Sure it would have been nice to get a workout in, but between walking around malls and all around NYC, I was at least staying active. And spending time with family and friends that I don't get to see very often trumps the need for me to get a run (especially when I'm not really training for anything).

I did however pick up a new Jillian DVD when I was out shopping on Black Friday (yes I'm one of the crazies) so I'm really excited to give that a try sometime soon, maybe tonight when I get home from work.

Anyway, I'm excited for the short week -- I had off yesterday -- and for the fact that it's December. I have two fun races on the calendar and there's Christmas!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Meeting Ryan and Sara Hall

That's what I'll be doing in two weeks! Ryan and Sara Hall are coming to one of the local (ok...more like quasi-local) running stores to run with the weekend fun run group and then sign autographs afterward! Seriously, my excitement can't be contained.

I haven't decided if I'm going to actually do the run, but I'm definitely going to go for the autograph portion and the meet and greet.

I was thinking about having him sign the shoes I ran my first marathon in. Is that weird? Is it weird that I still have those shoes? I can't imagine throwing them out. I'm just sentimental like that.

So it's like Christmas is coming early for me. Of course the line of people to meet them will probably be ridiculously long, but whatever it will be worth it.

In other news, I rocked a solid four miler on the dreadmill last night. First two miles at 9:13, third mile at 8:34 (What when did I get fast?) last mile at 9:13. Granted it was on the treadmill and not outside with hills and such, but still those are mile splits I'm quite happy with.

I'm heading home to PA tomorrow morning for Turkey Day! I'm so, so soooo excited to be going home. I'm hoping the weather is decent because I want to run every day I'm there on my favorite routes. I love running in PA. It's really peaceful and serene where I live. I'm also really excited to see my family and to get together with some of my friends from high school that I haven't seen since this summer.

Not sure how often I will be blogging when I'm home, so before I leave I just wanted to wish you all a very happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Major changes to women's health screenings

Warning: Today's post departs from my normal frivolous ramblings to tackle an issue that's been a hot topic this past week.

Why all the changes in protocol for women's health screenings?

First we had the news last week (and people are still trying to make sense of it) that the age women should start getting mammograms was pushed back from 40 to 50 and that screenings should only be done every other year, not annually. The findings from the big study by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force also threw out the idea that breast self exams were beneficial.

Then news broke that there were big changes in the recommendations for Pap smears. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said that women shouldn't get their first Pap smear until they are at least 21 and then didn't need to have one every year. Women younger than 30 could have them every two years and women older than 30 should get them every three.

Previously it was recommended that women get their first Pap when they become sexually active, but not later than 21 and then every year after to detect changes in cervical cells.

For both breast cancer and cervical cancer treatment and survival, early detection is key. So it blows my mind that all of a sudden we're seeing these changes in recommendations. It was drummed into my head growing up and in the many health classes I've taken in high school and college that my health is my responsibility and one way to take control of that is through preventative screenings.

As a very health conscious person, this new changes really upset me and I'm still not sold on the reasons they give. Decreasing the number of mammograms is supposed to decrease the number of false positives, but what about each true positive that they detect early and someone's life is saved because of it. It's true there is a concern about exposing women to extra radiation, but it seems to me that the overall benefit outweighs that risk. Early detection could be saving someone's life.

Same thing goes with the changes in the Pap guidelines. Cervical cancer can be really hard to detect without a Pap smear. Symptoms are things like spotting, painful sex or a change in your period. Those symptoms also be caused by about 500 other less scary things. That's why cervical cancer is usually detected so late in most cases. The Pap is supposed to help prevent that, so again, I don't get this change in guidelines.

The ACOG says that annual Pap smears lead to over treatment in younger women. Apparently because cervical cancer is such a slow developing cancer, they believe changing the screening window will not result in additional cases of cervical cancer. I'm skeptical at best.

And I tend to agree with a lot of this woman's argument in a column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Cutting costs should not come at the detriment of women's (or anyone's) health. I'd rather deal with the stress and anxiety of having a false positive, than deal with having to go through extensive cancer treatments because I waited longer to have a preventative screening.

I'd love to hear what you all think about the new recommendations. And I promise I'll be back to my normal ramblings tomorrow.

Monday, November 23, 2009

HBBC Kickoff and my Mac is saved

Today is the kick off of Amanda's Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge. I'm super excited about it for a few reasons. First I love a challenge that incorporates every kind of exercise you could possibly imagine. Points for walking, points for running, points for cross-training, points for eating healthy food. It's great. Plus, this year's she's added teams so we have a little extra motivation!

I have a date with the dreadmill tonight. I'm going to rock out some quality workouts the next three days before I head home for Thanksgiving and my schedule gets all weird.

In computer news, I took my MacBook Pro to the Apple store this weekend to have one of the Geniuses at the Genius Bar look at it. I was having huge problems connecting to the Internet. I was using both Safari and Firefox and both were horribly slow, unless I had the modem plugged directly into my computer. I was wondering if my wireless card was crapping out.

The guy at the store poked around in my Network settings and found that my work's VPN software (which I had uninstalled back in September) had dropped a few IP addresses into my DNS and changed some other settings. So basically my computer was always trying to use the work IP addresses first and when those didn't work then bounced to my home IP address. No wonder it was taking pages ages to load.

Genius guy deleted those addresses and fixed my settings and now my baby is as good as new! Oh and it cost me zero dollars!

Thanks Mac guy!

Happy Monday all! Three cheers for a short week!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wonky sleep schedule

As part of Back on Track Month I wanted to really work on getting at least eight hours of sleep each night. This week I have failed miserably.

First I got sucked into a really good book and was up until 11:30 or midnight two nights in a row reading it.

Then I went to the BF's volleyball game, which is kind of far from where I leave, and I got back really late.

And then last night I had a splitting headache when I got home from the soccer game. I'm sure it was just a tension headache from being a little too worked up about the game. (We won 2-1, but the other team had some close chances at the end). Anyway, said headache persisted when I woke up this morning.

So yes, my sleep schedule...totally messed up. Complete sleep fail.

And you know that happens when I sleep weird...apparently I start dreaming about you guys. No kidding, one of you popped up in my dream the other night as a co-worker in my office. It was weiiiiird especially considering the fact that I've never met any of you (except Lindsay and it wasn't her).

I woke up and I was like ummm did that just really happen. But yea I guess it did.

So now I'm even more determined to get my sleep scheduled worked out. I can't be having you guys all pop up in my dreams.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Running and computer woes

Yesterday I managed to get outside for a 4.5 mile run. It was nice to be breathing fresh air while running and not the stinky, stale gym air that I'm slowly getting accustomed to with treadmill running.

My legs must have been feeling pretty good after a five mile run on Monday and some Jillian on Tuesday because I was able to clock out 9:10 minute miles (on average) on a hilly route.

I'm enjoying this bit of a warm spell we're having this late in November. This weekend we hit about 75 degrees on Sunday and early this week the temps have been pretty mild. I haven't had to bust out any Under Armour yet (knock on wood). I'll take it while I can get it. This winter is supposed to be brutal here.

In other news, tonight the Terps play in the first round of the NCAA tournament. It's the first time in something like eight years that we didn't have a first round bye. The whole bracket this year is rather crappy. The NCAA really messed up with some of the seeding. Bad teams got really high spots. Because we got such a crappy seed, tonight is our last home game of the season. It's hard to believe the season is wrapping up already.

On another note, lately my Mac has been acting like it's on dial up when connecting to the Internet. At first I thought it was my crappy Comcast service (after the headaches with them in August and September, who could blame me?) but yesterday I had my work laptop at home and it connected much faster. Made me wonder if something is going on with my Macs wireless card. I made an appointment for the Genius Bar on Saturday, so hopefully they'll be able to figure something out.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rebuilding core strength

As part of Angela's Whittle My Middle challenge, I did between 10 and 15 minutes of core work after my run last night and I was sad to see I had fallen so far in the core strength department.

Back when I was in college, I was a fitness instructor and one of my favorite classes to teach was our half hour Abs and Low Back class. In the class I would take participants through series of crunches, back extensions and planks galore. I didn't have a six pack, but I had great core strength.

Since I graduated and stopped teaching the class, I've let my core strength slip. Teaching yoga last spring definitely helped bring some of it back, but I don't think I've done a lick of core work since July.

And that was pretty evident last night.

I was taking myself through a plank series I used to do in my class -- three planks held for a minute each with 10 seconds rest in between. Intense, but back in college I could do it, no problem. (My participants were probably cursing my name by the time they left class though.) Last night I had to modify, I did three planks for 30 seconds with 10 seconds rest between.

So now I have a new goal. By the end of the challenge, I want to be able to do my three planks for one minute with 10 seconds rest between.

To clarify the series goes like this:
Three regular planks
Three side planks
Three other side planks
It's nine minutes of planks when I do the whole thing.

Feel free to steal my plank series if you're looking for something to mix up your core work.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Terps filled weekend

My weekend was full of Terp activities.

Basketball season started on Friday and I was lucky enough to have the best seat in the house for the game. Maryland runs a program where season ticket holders can donate their tickets back to the booster club, who then gives them out to young alums who can't afford the crazy expensive tickets. I was lucky enough to be graced with seats from one of our big, big donors. My seat was exactly at midcourt close enough that I could see all the action, but high enough that I didn't have to strain my neck to see the jumbotron. Perfect. Plus Maryland smacked the opponent and won by like 30 points or something.

Saturday was a bit of the opposite. Maryland lost 36-9 to Virginia Tech. It was so pathetic I left at the end of the 3rd quarter. The BF got sick of laughing at the win by about 5 minutes into the first quarter. My parents had come down for the game too. Too bad they saw such a stinker. (Although really, our whole season has been pretty bad.) But the tailgate was tons of fun. Thanksgiving themed with a turkey, stuffing and potatoes and delicious desserts my mom made.

My leg hamstring has been tight all weekend for no apparent reason (maybe I tweaked it playing cornhole on Saturday haha). So I've been resting it up. I'll see what tonight holds workout wise when I get home from work.

Other than that nothing too exciting for me.

Happy Monday!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cross training for the first time in months

Cross training isn't my favorite thing to do. So when I'm training for races, I pretty much have running days and resting days. It's not very often that I mix things up with biking, swimming or lifting unless it's the "off-season."

But last night it was rainy and cold and I was in no mood for the treadmill. So I cracked open my 30 Day Shred case which has been sitting neglected on my desk for at least 6 months and popped it into my laptop.

Twenty minutes later my poor shoulders, pecs, triceps, entire upper body area was dead. And I'm still feeling it today. It hurts so good though.

It was a nice change of pace to mix it up. I think I'll be turning to Jillian more often as the cold clutches of winter grip the area.

On tap for the weekend, I've got a happy hour tonight with friends before the Terps season opener (basketball) and then tomorrow the BF and I are tailgating before the VT vs MD football game. Md will probably get killed the BF will laugh and laugh. (He's aVT alum.) Should be another excellent weekend of sports!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A lazy day and tons of challenges

Yesterday was the perfect day to have off for Veterans Day. Thanks to all the veterans who have served and are currently serving!

I spent my day off being a complete lazy bum. It was cold and rainy outside. I toyed with the idea of going to the gym, but instead spent the day curled up under the covers watching bad TV and reading. It wasn't productive, but it was relaxing and sometimes we all need a day like that.

Last night my roommate and I went to a really interesting discussion at the University of Maryland. Every year the journalism school hosts a sports journalism symposium where important people in the world of sports come together to discuss a variety of different topics. Last night's discussion mainly centered around whether NCAA football and basketball players should get paid (On average they spend 44+ hours each week on their sports, according to new survey results.)

It was so interesting to hear Scott Van Pelt, Michael Wilbon, Connie Chung, Gary Williams (UMD's basketball coach) and Stephon Heyer (a UMD-grad who currently plays for the Washington Redskins), among others talking about those issues.

I don't know where I stand on the pay athletes debate. I can see the merits to it, but then again, I can't. Do any of you have a clear opinion of where you fall on that issue?

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Challenges

There are so many challenges currently going on and about to start in blogland. Here's a quick run down of the ones I'm doing in case any of you want to join.

Pile on the Miles. I think it's probably too late to join this one. I wrote about it in the beginning of the month. The goal here is to run as many miles as possible between now and Thanksgiving. Piling on the piles, not the pounds. I'm doing OK...not great.

Holiday Bootie Buster. Amanda hosted this one last year and she's hosting it again this year. It kicks off right before Thanksgiving and your earn points based on the kinds of workouts you do. It's tons of fun and Amanda always has great prizes for the winners.

Whittle Your Middle
. This one's hosted by Angela at Oh She Glows. The goal here is to rebuild core strength that was lost during a summer of training for races. Since I've sorely been neglected core work, I think this is a good one to jump on board with. It kicked off yesterday and runs through Dec. 10th.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How not to get hit by a car

With the time change, I'm stuck running in the dark no matter when I head out for my run. Running in the dark is one of my least favorite things to do, but sometimes I just can't stand the thought of getting on the treadmill. So, here's how I try to ensure that I won't get hit by a car on my dark runs.

Note: It was this dark when I left my house at 5:30 to go running last night. (Sorry it's a little blurry...the camera didn't kept trying to focus on the screen in my window)

It looks like it could be about 9:30 not 5:30.


How to not get hit by a car:

Wear obnoxiously bright/reflective clothes. Note my really bright pink top with reflective strips on it, topped with my super sexy reflective vest. Yea, maybe I look a little bit like a crossing guard, but hey, drivers tend to not plow crossing guards down, even the constantly angry, stressed-out-because-they're-stuck-in-rush-hour D.C. drivers.

Turn your jams down. Now I like rocking out to Lady Gaga on my runs just as much as the next person, but at night when I can only see a few steps in front of me, it's just better to turn the jams down so I can focus on hearing whether someone (like the boogey man...or another runner or biker) is coming up behind me. Plus, running with your music lower will let you hear if a car is about to slam on its breaks to avoid hitting you as you run through an intersection.

Carry ID and your cell phone with you
. Yea it can be annoying to lug your cell phone along but when I run in the dark it's a must for me. If you trip and fall you can call someone for help and if you fall so bad that you get knocked out at least the hopefully nice person who stops to help you will be able to give your ID to the EMTs. This is actually a pretty good rule for running any time, not just at night, but I sometimes I slack on it in the summer when it's light outside and I'm less worried about falling or getting hit by a car.

So now here's the fun part of safety post. I want you to share what you all do to stay safe on the roads when you're running at night or in the early morning. Write a post about it, take a picture of yourself, make a video, whatever you want to do. Leave me a comment on this post with a link back to your post or email me the picture/video file at jmilcetich(at)gmail(dot)com and I'll compile them all into a big post with the pictures and links to ideas we can share. Deadline to submit is 5 p.m. Nov. 15th. I don't have a fun incentive for you now, but I'll see what I can do because I know you all love giveaways!

Monday, November 09, 2009

To-do list Monday

When I have a to do list that's a mile long that's full of personal and professional responsibilities, I tend to stress out a little bit, but it also tends the be the atmosphere I thrive in. I think that little bit of stress makes me extra focused so I can just roll through the list.

That's kind of the week I'm looking at right now. I've got my work to do list broken down into what I plan to accomplish each day. My personal to do list isn't quite so organized, but I'll probably make it be that way.

Here's a look at the things I need to get done (sorry for the poor quality...it's a camera phone pic):

I find for me that when I make to do lists, I end up having more free time for myself at the end of the day than I thought possible. Something about zeroing in on what needs to get down and knocking it out, rather than procrastinating, saves me way more time than I thought possible.

So yes, I'm looking at a busy week ahead, but I have Wednesday off for Veterans' Day (yesss government employment!) where I plan to tackle the personal to do list.

And this week, workouts are going to have to be written down on the list, or else it will be too easy to skip them.

Do you write your workouts on your to do lists? Some weeks, I don't have to worry about them, but other times, if I don't write it down it doesn't happen.

Friday, November 06, 2009

BOTM update and the weekend

Sorry I've been MIA the past two days just had a lot of stuff going on. Back on Track Month is going alright. I'm doing well on the fruit and veggies front, which was the area I was really concerned about. The sleep front could still use a little work. I'm getting to bed at decent times, but then tossing and turning for ever, so I need to work on that so I'm actually sleeping for eight hours.

Running has just been same old, same old. Nothing too exciting to report. Things seem to be going well although during my run on Wed. my legs felt like bricks. No fun.

In fun exciting news, my cousin and her boyfriend registered for the Celtic Solstice Five Miler in December! I'm really excited to do a race with them!

I've got a sports heavy weekend coming up. Tonight is the last regular season soccer game at home, so I'm headed there after work for tailgating and other fun times. Then tomorrow I'm heading up to the University of Delaware to watch my friend from high school play. He's a redshirt senior and I haven't seen him play a game since we've graduated from HS so that should be a lot of fun. Then Sunday I will be a bum and watch the NFL. Sounds like a great weekend to me. (Also, I'm trying to inundate myself with other sports so I can forget the Phillies dismal performance in the playoffs.)

Happy Friday everyone! Hoping for a speedy workday!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Treadmill survival guide

As winter sets in, I have less and less of a chance to get my runs in outside during the daylight hours. I'm up super early to commute to work and by the time I get home it's dark out. Not only is it horribly depressing, it also means come winter time, I have to spend a lot of my running time on the treadmill.

I hate running on the treadmill. It's boring. There's no change of scenery. And I sweat like a pig because the gym is so warm.

But for safety reasons, like not wanting to get mugged or not wanting to trip over uneven sidewalk and sprain an ankle, the treadmill is a necessary evil.

I know some other runners out there are in the same situation so I thought I'd share my five tips for staying entertained on the treadmill.

1. Make sure you have your music. Listening to the drone of the treadmill will put you to sleep (and then you could potentially fall off the back and that's just embarrassing). If you don't like to run with music, try to find a treadmill in front of a TV and set it something you like.

2. Race the guy or girl next to you. Sometimes I don't have much of a choice when it comes to treadmill location, but when I do, I try to pick the one semi close to a guy who looks like he's sprinting and then I try to match him because there's nothing like chicking a guy, even if it's not in a real race and your just on the treadmill.

3. Use the default programs on the treadmill. One of my favorite ones is the auto-hill program on the treadmills in my gym. You set a workout time limit, then pick a level of difficulty between 1-20. (I tried 15 once and had to knock it down to 10 after about five minutes). Then the treadmill kicks out some killer hills raising and lowering itself at different intervals. It keeps you on your feet and since most climbs and descents only last a few minutes you can focus on that minute, rather than the 30 remaining in your workout, and next thing you know the workout is done.

4. Bored with the defaults? Then create your own program. Increase and decrease speed every minute or every 30 seconds. Set the speed at a comfortable pace and then see how fast you can push it before backing off again. You can do the same thing with the incline. Play around with all those buttons and time will pass more quickly.

5. Mix it up and do the occasional run outside. It's really hard to do every winter run on the treadmill. Try it find a time once a week or once every two weeks when you can get outside. The fresh air will do you good and it will give you something to look forward to as you pound out more and more miles on the treadmill.

Hope those help all the indoor runners survive winter without massive amounts of boredom.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Back on Track, Pile on the Miles, NYC and More

Back on Track Month:
Caitlin has dubbed November Back on Track Month and I'm jumping right in on the fun. Basically the idea behind BOTM is to get back to good healthy habits that we may have been slipping on lately. When I read her post about it, I knew I was going to be playing along too because while my running has been really solid through the month of October, healthy habits have been slipping in other areas. I've been eating pretty crappily, which I can chalk up to lots of sweets and bad tailgate food. Plus I've been getting not nearly enough sleep (thank you Phillies. P.S. Note to the team, stop sucking, thanks!)

So here are my goals for back on track month:
  • Run at least three times per week, with the goal of trying to start up morning workouts now that we changed the clocks and it's dark by the time I leave the office.
  • Eat three to five servings of fruits and veggies per day.
  • Sleep seven to eight hours each night.
  • Limit sweets to a maximum of once per day. (Note to self: Stay away from the work candy dish!)

They're all pretty attainable and easily measurable, which is important so that I don't set up myself up for a major failure.

Feel free to take the idea and play along too if you need to get back on track.

Pile on the Miles Challenge:
Going almost hand in hand with BOTM is POTM (wow so many acronyms in one post). The Pile on the Miles Challenge is being hosted by Bobbi and Caitlin and from now until Thanksgiving the goal is to increase your running or walking mileage to pile on the miles, not the pounds as we head into the holiday season. Since running three times a week is one of my goals for BOTM, I think I should be able to accumulate a decent amount of mileage for this challenge.

NYC Marathon:
I spent yesterday morning sitting in front of my computer watching the NYC Marathon. I was so excited that Meb won. He's the first American to win the race in my lifetime. (Last time an American won was in 1982). I was bummed when I saw Ryan Hall drop out of the lead pack. I was really hoping he'd be able to win, what with Runner's World dubbing him America's Hope and all. But still a fourth place finish is solid.

Congrats to everyone else who ran NYC, especially Lindsay who kicked some serious booty (and sent me a sweet pic of Ryan Hall signing autographs at the Expo!)

Family Time:
I spent yesterday afternoon hanging out with my family at my cousin, Laura's, new apartment. She invited the BF and I over for lunch with my aunt, and her brother and sister and everyone's respective significant others. Laura made some of the best baked ziti the BF and I have ever eaten and she graciously emailed me the recipe this morning. I'm sure I'll be trying it out some time soon.

Also congrats to my cousin Amy who ran her first 10K this weekend!

Laura and her boyfriend are thinking about running the Celtic Solstice Five Miler with me in December. Maybe this bit of friendly peer pressure will encourage them to register! :)

Happy Monday!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Just popping in

Just popping in right quick to wish all the NYC Marathoner's the best of luck this weekend! I'll be following along cheering hard for all of you and of course, Ryan Hall!

I'm so badly in need of the weekend. It's been a long week, plus I have fun plans! Soccer senior night is tomorrow and since my good friend plays I'll be there and at the tailgate before hand. And then Sunday I'm going to lunch at my cousin's new apartment. I can't wait to see it and see her and the rest of the fam!

I'll be back next week with a post about my treadmill running, including how I keep myself entertained and why I submit myself to that boring machine.

Hope all your weekends rock! Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Phils, shoes, domains, medals, and volleyball

Prepare yourself for the most random of random posts (with pics and videos farther down!)

Phils:
I was up waaaay past my bedtime last night watching the Phils hammer the Yankees in Game One of the World Series. To sum up, the Phils are awesome and the Yankees suck. Cliff Lee is a beast, going nine innings with no earned runs and my bf Chase Utley (not to be confused with The BF) had a stellar game with his two solo homers.

Shoes:
I went for a run Tuesday night on the dreadmill because it was pouring out. No problems with the shoes. Yesterday I took them for a short run outside and didn't seem to have any real problems either. My legs were tired and exhausted, but that's because I did a brutal hill workout on the dreadmill the day before. So I think I'm sticking with my current pair for now but will closely monitor the situation.

Domains:
I've been thinking for a while now about buying my own domain name and getting rid of the .blogspot.com part of my web address. Sadly rungirlrun.com is not available. It probably was three years ago when I started the blog and was much less web-savvy, but it's not today. So that means if I make the switch I've got to get a totally new URL. I was toying with jessruns.com. It seems to be available. Terprunner.com is available too. I'm open to any suggestions. I really wish rungirlrun.com was an option because obviously I would pick that, but jessruns.com wouldn't be so bad.

What do you all think?

Medals:
My Beach to Bell medal (for running VB RNR and the PDR) came in the mail yesterday and it is freakin' huge. (TWSS <--- that's for you G!) So glad I did both races to get this pretty piece of hardware.



Volleyball:
I think I mentioned in my Race for the Cure race report, that the BF is a big volleyball player. Since I had my camera on me at his game last night I shot this short video of the BF and his stepdad. The BF is the tall one in red on the right and his stepdad is the one in red on the left. BF has a pretty sweet hit toward the end of the video.

video

Alright that's enough from me for today. I'm really interested in hearing all your thoughts on the domain thing though!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Do I need new shoes?

On my three mile run last night, my hips, knees and shins were all feeling the full effects of the pounding on the sidewalk. I got home and was pretty sure I needed new running shoes since I bought my current pair back in June.

I'm not as diligent as I should be about tracking the miles on my shoes. So when I went back and looked through old posts and MapMyRun training logs, I realized I only have about 160 miles on my current pair. (Assuming I blogged or mapped out the majority of my runs)

So maybe it was just an off day for me running wise.

But since I was on Amazon browsing discounts on my Mizunos, I happened to stumble across the Mizuno Wave Inspire 6, which is being released Nov. 9, in a pink and white color scheme.

Yea I'm pretty pumped. I think it would be awesome to have pink and white running shoes. I run in the Wave Inspire 5 now, but I've never had problems when Mizuno's made updates to their basic Wave Inspire. I've also run in the 3 and 4 and loved them too.

But because an update is coming out so soon and there was exactly one pair of the fives left in my size on Amazon, I'll probably have to go to the store and actually shell out the additional cash for a pair there. I don't want to order the 6 online and then have to ship it back because I don't like the new style and end up having to go the running store anyway.

I'm going to keep monitoring my current shoes and see how I'm feeling after runs in them. If I continue to have issues, I'll just get the new pair and assume I miscounted my miles.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkin Patch Fun!

Yesterday, the BF and I decided to take advantage of the beautiful fall and head out of the city to a pumpkin patch. It was a beautiful drive out to the farm. We saw trees with leaves changing all of their colors and big open green spaces. It was such a nice change from being in the city where everything is crammed on top of everything else. I'm a country girl at heart.

Butler's Orchard, the farm we went to, holds a fall festival every year where you can get lost in a corn maze and take a hayride out to the pumpkin field and pick pumpkins. They had food and music and games for little kids. It was a really fun day.

We spent the bulk of our time in the pumpkin patch. We were trying to find the perfect pumpkins to carve.

There were tons of pumpkins. At one point I told the BF I wanted to take all of them home. LOL.

I finally settled on one and the BF did too. His was much bigger than the one I picked.

When we got pack to the festival, I was a hungry hungry hippo. After scoping out the food options, we settled on the tent with the shortest line. BF and I both got some yummy grilled cheese sandwiches.

For dessert, we split this caramel apple. I think it was the best caramel apple I've ever tasted. It was made to order, which meant the ladies didn't put the caramel on it until seconds before they handed it to you so it was still warm. BF decided he wanted Halloween colored jimmies on it, so we opted for that instead of the crushed nuts. It was like the perfect fall treat!

All in all it was a great day!
Hope you all had excellent weekends. Can't wait to read those race reports! Happy Monday!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ready for the weekend

When I got home from work last night I toyed with the idea of going for a run for about five minutes. Then I curled up in bed and caught up on TV instead. Lazy, you bet, but just what this worn out girl needed.

I'm so looking forward to the weekend to catch up on some much needed sleep. Late nights up trying to watch the Phillies games weren't doing anything good for me this week.

I've got nothing too thrilling on the schedule for the weekend, except for cashing in a gift certificate from the BF's mom for a much needed sports massage tomorrow afternoon. I'm so looking forward to it!

Before I wrap up, I wanted to give a quick shout out to all my new commenters! I've been noticing that over the past two weeks a bunch of new people (or maybe former lurkers?) have been leaving me some nice comments. Thanks bunches and welcome! My apologies for not being over to check out your blogs! I promise I will find the time soon!

Hope everyone has an awesome weekend!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Beat

Between staying up to watch the Phillies win the NLCS (again! Whooo team!) and running an extremely hilly new route yesterday, I am dragging today. I hit snooze twice this morning and each time the alarm went off I was startled out of a deep sleep. But I've fueled up with a delicious omelet from our cafeteria downstairs (because I was a starvin' marvin this morning) and I'm feeling more awake already.

My quads, however, are not loving the fact that the 7.2 mile route I mapped out yesterday was full of hills. I didn't know it and certainly wasn't expecting it. I used Mapmyrun to try out a new, longer and pretty much unfamiliar route where I knew there would be two hills. But turns out, I picked a realllly hilly route. I did a ton of climbing and then a lot of up and down through some big rollers.

And lucky me, most of the big, big hills were out the end of the route.

My quads are trashed, especially might right one.

I was trying to embed the elevation profile from Mapmyrun, but can't seem to figure out a way to do it. I know how to embed the map, but that's not what I was going going for.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hating on the 5K

After running Sunday's race, I am completely annoyed with the 5K.

I like the fact that a 5K is an easy distance to run that requires absolutely zero training at this point in my running. I can pretty much register the day before, show up not fueled properly and know I will at least be able to cross the finish line. It doesn't pose the challenge that any other distance poses. The only challenge left in the 5K for me is improving my time.

What I hate about the 5K is that it brings out all amateurs who know absolutely nothing about race courtesy. Like in this Sunday's race, the BF and I lined up in the middle of the pack of people with timing chips on their shoes. For some reason this year, the idiotic race directors decided it would be smart to have the timed runners and the untimed runners start at the same time.

So we lined up, the gun went off...and no one moved. Finally there was some shuffling. Then we crossed the start line and there was still some shuffling and very little running. When I finally got my bearings and wasn't about to trip over someone's feet, I noticed tons of people walking from the get go and people without timing chips who had started in the front of the pack.

I hate people who don't follow common race courtesy and while I know this happens in longer races, it always seems to be the worst in 5Ks. If you're going to walk the whole race, start at the back of the pack. If you're not a timed person, start behind the people who paid extra money to be timed. If you're the race director, go back to what you did last year -- having the timed runners start 15 minutes before the untimed runners.

Chances are, the people who paid extra for timing are a little more serious, more prepared, know how to line themselves up at a start line and don't want to deal with the jostling and dodging around people who line up in the wrong place.

I think this mostly happens in the 5K because it's a lot of people's first experience with racing because it's an easy and manageable first distance. I don't mean to turn people off of running or to sound like a running snob. I just think people need to be more aware of common race courtesy. Running should be fun for everyone participating. If people line up where they are supposed to, there's such a better chance of that happening.

So for now, I'm kind of over the 5K. That's not to say I'll never run one again. I probably will. In fact, I may be running one next month. But it will be much smaller than Sunday's. Otherwise, I'll stick to 8Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, etc, races that actually require some level of training and probably cull out the amateurs.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Race for the Cure Race Report

When I finished yesterday's Race for the Cure 5K, I told the BF I was sure the course had been measure wrong. There was no way I had run a 9 minute first mile after getting stuck behind tons and tons of people and being forced to walk part of the beginning of the race because there was just no where to go.

Some guy in front of me heard my comment and turned around to show me his Garmin had measured the course at 3.13 miles. I was stunned. (And apparently this is why Garmins are awesome.)

The reason I was stunned was because that means my time of 27:36 was a legit finishing time on a legit 3.1 mile course, which means I finished the race in under 28 minutes, my A goal!

It also marks the first time in my life (at least since I started running to train for races three years ago) that I ran faster than a nine minute mile. My average pace was 8:54, according to the official results. Whooo!

I think maybe some of the credit goes to the absolutely disgusting weather. I have to think I was running faster because I wanted to finish and get the hell out of the freezing cold and rain. At race time the "feels like" temp was 39 degrees with 13 mph winds and rain. I had on my UA tights, my cold gear top, another shirt on top of that and then gloves and my ear warmer. I was still freezing, but warmed up once I started moving. I even ended up pulling my gloves off toward the end of the race. They were soaking wet and my hands were burning up.

After I finished, I waited for the BF, who crossed the finish line in just under 30 minutes. Pretty impressive for a guy who hasn't run once since our half marathon Labor Day weekend. I have to credit some of his athleticism to all the volleyball he plays. I think he's playing in three different leagues this fall.

My roommates walked the course, so lucky them got to bundle up in nice heavy jackets and scarves and hats and gloves. They were pretty much immune to the weather. By the time they finished about 45ish minutes later, I was a shivering mess so I couldn't stick around with them to check out the race village.

Once I got back into the heat of my car, I eventually thawed out. The BF and I celebrated a great race by grabbing some bagels from the place by my house. I had a Honey Wheat bagel with pumpkin cream cheese, tasted just like pumpkin pie! Delicious!

So despite the weather, it was a fun time. I'll leave you with the very few pictures I managed to take.

Me and the BF before the start!

Me with my very bundled up roommates.

The BF right before he finished. He's the behind the girl in pink's shoulder. (This was a much better picture before girl in pink and her friend, dude in black, veered right into my picture)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Race for the Cure

This Sunday I'm running the Race for the Cure 5K near Baltimore with a bunch of my friends. It's a fun race that I've done the past two years and convinced some of my friends to join me last year.

This year our group will consist of the BF and I running the race and then my friends Emily, Laurie, Randyl and Chris who will all be walking. Chris broke his arm a few weeks ago. I think he was planning to run, but now he'll be walking, arm in sling and all.

The weather is supposed to be cold and rainy here all weekend, but I'm hoping the rain eases up Sunday morning for the race so we can all have a good time and not come down with pneumonia.

Race for the Cure holds my 5K PR from last year and I'd love to break it this year. I've got a couple goal times, but they are all weather dependent.

C goal: Run, have fun, finish under 30 minutes without a new PR.
B goal: Run, have fun, break PR.
A goal: Run fast, have lots of fun, finish under 28 minutes.

We'll see what Sunday holds. I certainly haven't been training for speed, but I have been running faster lately averaging around 9:30 per mile. I really don't know what to expect. I'm just hoping I can pull some speed and break that PR!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Some good running

I got in another solid run yesterday morning. It was just a 5K because that was all I had time to squeeze in, but it was something. And I managed to average 9:18 minutes per mile, so that wasn't too shabby either.

My running has been going well lately. I've been averaging about three runs per week, which is fine by me. I'm not really training for anything so to go out and get a few runs in just for fun has been really nice.

I've been enjoying the fall temperatures for sure. Yesterday was the first time this fall that I had to wear my capris.

Running things seem to be going along just fine, so I don't really have anything too thrilling to post about. Things are just good.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Go Phillies!

Wheeee the Phillies won the NLDS last night beating the Rockies 5-4. It was getting to be a little bit of a nail biter at the end. The Rockie's had two on with two outs and were only trailing by one when the Phils made a pitching change and brought in Brad Lidge.

If you follow the Phils, you know Lidge hasn't been as awesome this year as last year. But in the clutch he brought back his 2008 form and striking out the last batter for the third out the victory!

Bring on the Dodgers in the NLCS on Thursday!

In running news, I got in a nice 5.2 mile run yesterday afternoon. It was chilly and windy out and I probably would have been comfortable in my running capris, but I wore long sleeves and shorts. The coldness was totally going to make my legs move faster right haha?

I had actually been hoping to get in a 10K yesterday, but I didn't spend the time mapping out a route before hand. I threw a couple extra turns in during the run, hoping maybe it'd be enough to add the distance I needed, but I knew when I was getting close to home that I had fallen about a mile short.

Oh well. It's not really that big of a deal. I knocked out the 5.2 and averaged 9:34 minutes per mile.

I forgot to stretch though because I was chilly and wanted to get in a warm shower quickly. My left calf muscle is reminding me of that major FAIL this morning.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lazy holiday and registering for races

Man working for the government is totally the good life. I'm off again today because it's Columbus Day. So I'm currently sitting in my bed, having just eaten a delicious bowl of cereal and about start reading a good book. So a big thanks to Chris for discovering the New World and to the U.S. government for honoring the day by giving all it's employees the day off.

I'm thinking at some point later today I'll end up dragging my butt out of bed for a run, but we shall see.

In other fun news, this weekend I registered for two races. One will be a brand new race for me and the other is a favorite I discovered last year.

The new one is a 10K in December called the Jingle All the Way 10K. It's held on Dec. 13 and you get jingle bells to tie to your shoes when you run. Apparently a lot of people dress up in costumes for it too. Plus for the low price of a $25 entry fee, I could hardly pass up. (Plus you get a festive race shirt!)

The other is a five miler that I ran last year and had a ton of fun doing. It's the weekend after the 10K, but I'm not really worried about that. Neither of them are "long" races. The five miler set me back a little more. It was $45. I mean I could have registered for $15, but then I wouldn't have gotten the super awesome tech top. And let's not lie, I'm a race gear whore, so I shelled out the extra cash for it. Plus the fleece they gave out last year was awesome and I wear it all the time, so I'm excited to see this year's shirt.

I'm also eyeing a 10K the weekend before Thanksgiving. It seems like a pretty low-key event and I haven't decided whether or not I want to do it yet.

I've got the Race for the Cure 5K this weekend with a bunch of friends. I can't wait. We had such a good time with it last year!

Oh and just to update you all on what we decided with the shirts for that race. My friends and I loved the "Saving Second Base" slogan, but we couldn't find a place to print them on the kinds of shirts we wanted for a reasonable price. So unfortunately we had to can the idea. I'm still planning my race day outfit. It will involve lots of pink for sure.

OK enough race babble for one post. That's all for me today!

Happy Monday!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Shoulder pain during my run

I am loving the cooler fall temps. Last night's run was great. I still wore shorts and a tank top, but I didn't feel like I was sweating like an animal. I can't wait until the temps get just a little bit chillier so I can rock my long sleeve tech tops. For some reason they are my favorite running gear.

Anyway, last night I set out without having a set distance planned. I figured I'd do my normal loops and if I was feeling good add in a couple of the optional turns to add some distance.

I was feeling great. My legs felt strong and rested and I was able to tackle 4.5 miles and average 9:30 minute miles on a course with some serious hills.

The only thing that bothered me were my shoulders. From about the first mile on, I had this weird tightness and discomfort in my shoulders. It almost felt like they weren't gliding right in the socket or something. And it was making my arms feel like dead weight. It wasn't a stabbing pain or anything, just ever present discomfort. It's not something I've never experience before on a run. Occasionally I'll get sharp pain in my right shoulder if my breathing gets to shallow. Like a side stitch up in my shoulder, but I've never felt this constant discomfort for an entire run.

Have any of you felt anything like that? Or do you have suggestions for what I should do if it comes back next time I'm out running?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Cooking up a storm

Since I had yesterday off from work, I decided to do a little planning in advance as far as food goes for the rest of the week. I cooked for like three hours.

My normal schedule looks something like this:
6:15 a.m. Alarm
6:30 a.m. Get on Metro (I do alllll getting ready work the night before)
7 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Work
5:30 p.m. Metro home from work (Yes it takes almost double the time getting home as coming into the office, don't ask me why)
6 p.m. Workout
7 p.m. Shower
7:30 p.m. Dry Hair
8 p.m. Think about dinner

As you can see, my normal dinner time is like 8 p.m., a time of night when I'm not in the mood to cook or anything. So I eat cereal, PBJ or frozen dinners. Sad but true.

But then I was reading my most recent issue of Self magazine and they had an awesome article with recipes that you could cook on one day and eat for the rest of the week. I gave it a whirl yesterday, making all five of the recipes.

They were a pasta dish, an enchilada dish, Thai soup, and two other things I can't remember right now.

Then you freeze them until you want to eat them and go from there! It took me a few hours to make everything, but I think now I will have dinners for the rest of the month.

Plus it was a productive way to spend my day off.

I kind of like the idea of cooking once and not having to worry about it during the week when I'm busy trying to cram other stuff in.

Do any of you all do the cook once a week thing?

Monday, October 05, 2009

A Tale of Two Runs

This is a tale of two runs, one that was totally awesome and one that completely sucked.

The first run happened about 20 minutes ago. The weather was perfect, sunny, but cool, with a little bit of a breeze. The hills, which sometimes can be a real pain in the rear, didn't seem all that bad. In general I cruised except for when I had to stop at a few traffic lights. I did my weird 3.67 mile loop in 35:16 and felt strong the entire time.

The second run was on Saturday morning. The weather was warmer than expected. I was dehydrated and apparently hadn't fueled properly despite my late dinner of a burger and fries at an awesome brewery in Bethesda. The run was supposed to be a 10K. At 2.25 miles I had cut it down to four miles. Near the three mile mark, I was dizzy and decided it was just time to go home. Total distance 3.78. Running fail.

Moral of this tale: Bad runs happen, but then good runs happen and the bad ones don't seem like that big of a deal.

That's all I've got for today. Happy Monday!