Sunday, March 28, 2010

Best Run Ever!

Saturday's long run was 12 miles starting at Grassland Park.  The roads are a bit uneven and there are hills, but it's all worth it because it's a beautiful run!  We previously did 7 miles there, but the further we went the prettier it was. Yesterday's run was my best run ever.

I usually struggle to find a rhythm the first couple miles, but the first 6 miles were smooth and easy, yes I did just say easy!  Even after turning around at mile 6, it didn't get harder for me until about mile 10.  I think I have a mental block at 10.  I will work more on overcoming that next week when we do 10 - 12 miles on the race course.

So what was different about yesterday's run?  I actually changed a few things.  First, I started taking a sports multivitamin this week.  I'm sure that helped some, but more importantly I changed what I did during the run.  I've been just drinking at the waterstops, but this week I filled my new waterbottle with Gatorade and drank during the run; it was nearly empty at the halfway point, where I refilled it and continued to drink.  I also started eating sports beans after about 40 minutes and continued eating them or Luna Moon chews until nearly the end of the run.

Mentally, I didn't look at the mileage on my watch and I tried not to think about how many miles we had run or how much we had to go.  I focused on enjoying and embracing the run.  I think it made a big difference in my attitude.  I've always struggled with tight calf muscles. Chyrstyna let me borrow her foam roller and calf stretcher...I could tell a huge difference in my calf muscles.  Both items are now on my list of items I need from Fleet Feet.  

My goal is to continue with this magic formula of my best run and repeat it frequently!  I know all runs aren't easy and great.  But I hope the changes I'm making help me become a better runner.     

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My First Half Marathon!

Last Saturday, I ran my first half marathon!  I will try not to bore you with too many details.  Since it was my first half all the details seem important to me.  My official time was 2:44:22, for those of you who are none runners...yes the seconds matter, at least they do to serious runners and if they make or break a new PR (personal record). 

The race was the Tom King Half Marathon.  It starts at LP Field and ends inside the stadium on the 50 yard line - which was awesome!  The course was very flat - ideal for my first or any half really.

I ran with Joe & Gail.  We started at the very back.  And for most of the first 2 miles we had a police and ambulance escort right behind us!  For clarification, it probably would have been with us longer, but around mile 2 we entered onto the greenway trail.  Our first 6 miles were probably way too fast, but as you can imagine, it's hard to slow down when you are being tailed by an ambulance. 

Joe & Gail are exactly the kind of people you want running with you!  They are motivating and supportive.  They told me stories and helped keep my mind off of all the ugly things my legs were trying to tell my brain.  We ran 3/1 intervals for the first 10 miles.  After much begging on my part we ran the last 3 miles doing 2/1 intervals.

Mark, Jesse & Matthew came out to cheer for me.  They were the best cheerleaders I could ask for.  I saw them at the very beginning of the race and when I came onto the field at end.  When I saw them at the end, I immediately teared up.  They still had their signs they'd made, but had added air horns and the champagne bottle confetti poppers to their celebratory arsenal!  Seeing them made the end of the race even sweeter!

Gail set a new PR and so did Joe's wife Karen (who is way faster than we are).  I'm convinced Joe also could have set a PR, but he stayed with us and never even mentioned it.  Carol met us at mile 11 or so and finished the race with us, which added some motivation. The Fleet Feet waterstop at mile 12 was awesome!  Drew is full of energy and some of it must have rubbed off, because I had an extra spark after the stop.  A friend of mine from high school, Daniel, was also at that waterstop.  I was so excited to see him, I must have looked like I was going to attack him as I ran to hug him. 

Here we all are at the end of the race!

Finishing the race, felt so good.  It's amazing what you can train your body to do.  Now that all the soreness is gone and the desperate moments in the race have mostly faded, I'm so glad I did it!  Bring on the Country Music Half!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Starting Line

On Saturday, I will lace up my running shoes and run my first half marathon! I’m a mixture of nerves and excitement. I will have some of my running group from our Saturday morning runs with me – Joe, Gail & Carol, I couldn’t do it without you!

Lately lots of people have been asking me questions about running. Truthfully, I can understand the surprise in their voice when I tell them I plan to run several half marathons this year. My most athletic endeavor before last August was one week of tennis camp in high school, though I would argue the waitressing I did in high school and college could also be considered athletic.

So how did an extremely non-athletic girl start running? I owe it all to Fleet Feet and their amazing team. Secretly, I’ve always wanted to run, but every attempt I’ve made ended with me giving up 47 seconds into the run. Several of my coworkers have been runners and I have been curious and admiring of their sport.

One day last summer, Julie convinced me to ride with her to Fleet Feet during lunch. As she was checking out, the guy at the register asked me if I was a runner too. I casually laughed and said no…I’m sure my tone was total sarcasm. He told me about a program they would be starting in a few weeks called No Boundaries. It’s a couch to 5k program. This seemed totally doable!

As much as I wanted to do it, I also tried to talk myself out of it. Here are a few of my long list of excuses. “I won’t have enough time.” “I won’t be able to do it.” And my personal favorite, “I won’t fit in”. Despite these negative thoughts, I really WANTED to do it. So I convinced my best friend Rene to do it with me. If she was there, I was accountable to someone other than myself.

We started out running for 1 minute and walking for 2 minutes. I remember thinking surely I could run for 1 minute…I can do anything for just 1 minute. And I was right! We progressively added to our run time 30 seconds a week and then decreased the walk to 1 minute until we were running 4 minutes and walking 1 minute. At the end of our 10 weeks, I ran my first 5k. In December, I signed up for another training program at Fleet Feet to run the Country Music Half Marathon in April.

I would love to tell you I found the elusive runners high or that I was instantly hooked on running. But that would be a lie. Running is hard work and at times intense. I get out of my cozy bed before 6 a.m. on Saturdays for my long runs, even in the cold, rain, snow or sleet. A few weeks ago, I was nearly in tears midway through a short run because my calves had tightened up and were hurting. Why do I participate in this torture? Because I love the way running makes me feel. I feel strong, accomplished and confident. I also love the people I run with.

My advice to anyone who wants to start running would be to join the next No Boundaries group that starts in April. Don’t be shy and try to make friends with the people running with you. Chances are they are looking for a friend in this new scary world of running. For more information on the No Boundaries program go to Fleet Feet’s website

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I don't want to talk about my feelings!

For the most part, that's usually a total lie.  I'm pretty much an open book and talk about my feelings - often in excess!  However, after running (ok maybe I walked it a little) up a hill and stopping at the water stop at mile 5.5 I really didn't want to talk about my feelings.  Mostly because my feeling was that I was about to DIE!  And we still had 4.5 miles to go.  Obviously since I'm writing this i did survive my TEN miles.  

Wait...what?  Yes I am now a double digit runner!  And it feels really good! Well, it feels really good when it's done.  It really is an amazing feeling of accomplishment. 

I missed the training run with the group last week because I was cave camping with the Cub Scouts.  And by camping, yes we did stay the night in the cave.  We also did a walking tour (easy) and the wild tour (OMG! total body workout and at some points really scary).  Looking back on it, the wild tour was awesome and I would like to do it again - though, definitely not with a large group.  However, during the tour, I told Mark repeatedly that I would rather be running.  In fact, I think running is way easier.  

To go on the wild tour you must be able to fit through this box...Holy Crap!

I went through this box on my stomach, but what they don't tell you is you will have to squeeze through a space this small (I'd argue some of them might be smaller) not only on your stomach, but on your back and sometimes sideways! 

It was a lot of fun...but I missed running with my 3/1 no boundaries group.  And yes I did my run alone when we got back.  

Here are the boys when we were leaving the cave.  They were totally exhausted!  And so was I!