Tuesday, August 31, 2010

7 Weeks to Go

Is it just me or is anyone else just ready to get their first marathon OVER with?! I think all the running and scheduling is starting to get to me. Don't get me wrong, I love the weekday runs. They are so relaxing and get me out of the indoors. But the long runs? I'm tired of them. I'm tired of the fact that I know say "oh, I'm only running 13 miles tomorrow - no biggie." Only 13? Since when did I say "only 13"? I need to step back here and remind myself that 13 is still a long run and still needs to be taken seriously.

Ok, off the soap box and onto fun things, I did run 13 miles this weekend. It was surprisingly slightly cool again here in Houston and it felt great. We had plenty of hills thru the course - great training for my marathon. I pushed myself a little harder than I would normally on a training run since I needed to be back at home before 8am. I think I made it home around 7:50 and jumped in the shower to wash the salt off of me. I put on new workout clothes, loaded the car with snacks and Hubby and I headed south. By 9am I was refueled and geared up on my new bike. The local mountain biking club was having a riding clinic and I was in desperate need of a beginner's course.

It was so much fun! I wish I would have gotten a few pics of me on the bike doing some of the skills, but like always, I forgot the camera. After about 2 hours of the leaders walking us through the skills and us practicing in a controlled environment, we headed out to a trail. I loved the winding through the trees and the curves and the roots we had to maneuver. All of it was great fun! I did not like, however, the many steep downhills on the second part of the course. I was exhausted by this point and walked every single downhill. Oh well. It was a great day and I'm looking forward to my next time out!

Alright, enough about mountain biking and back to running. I'm off to get in a quick 45 minute run before my class tonight. Enjoy your runs!

Friday, August 27, 2010

MCM Mama's Race Recap

Remember my post a few weeks ago where I said I was going to run a virtual race? Of course you do, since you all remember everything I say! :) J/k. Well, Wednesday was MCM Mama's birthday and to celebrate and honor her, I ran a 4 mile "race" (yes, I know, I'm slow to post).  Turns out that even though I had planned for this, I was still strapped for time (which helped make me speedy!). Prerun snack: 3 thin mint Girlscout cookies. It was the closest thing I had to a birthday (cup)cake!

I had an hour and a half between work and my next social event, so my only option was to run from work (my gym is in my same building so I can shower afterwards). There is a perfect loop around the bayou trail that is exactly 4 miles. Only problem is there is construction going on down there right now so I haven't been running it lately and didn't know what to expect. I changed my clothes, grabbed my iPod and warmed up on the way to the bayou. It was actually a "cool" 92 degrees with a slight breeze and full sun. For Houston, it was nice to be outside. At the right spot, I turned the Garmin on and started the race. Boy was I speedy! My first mile: 8:49! I did have to slow a few times for the tons of sand the construction guys had dumped on the trail, but other than that, my feet remembered the trail well. I had forgotten my sweat band, so by mile 2 sweat was running into my eyes and making them burn. Gah! Also by mile 2, my iPod (geez I hate that thing) had already taken it upon itself reduced the volume to mute 3 times. I tried turning it off and back on, but it refused to do anything else. I was left without tunes, so I shoved the thing in my pocket and tried to keep my pace up.

Mile 2: 9:13. I had slowed a little, but I was also playing with the iPod during that mile so I figured I could do better for the rest of the race. The hill up to the street for the turn around was torture, but I managed not to slow and even picked it up on the downhill. This trail is very hilly and really great for mountain biking, not so much for running (esp when you are racing against yourself). The second side of the loop was not as shady as the first. I kicked it into gear after a stop for water and didnt' even look at the splits on the last two miles - I just wanted to finish and have a nice cold shower. About a half mile from the end I passed a girl walking towards me with a big black dog, who at that point reached out to bite me. What!!? Lady, get your dog under control! I was pissed and my heart was racing since his fangs were inches from my butt. She didn't even apologize. But then again, I didn't give her a chance to. I wanted as far away from that dog as possible. Pretty sure it helped me sprint in that last half mile.

Mile 4 beeped on my watch: 38:40.

I forgot to take my phone, so I didn't get any race pictures, but I was a hot, sweaty mess anyway. No one really wants to see that. :) Happy Birthday!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The heat is on

Another week has gone by and the temperatures seem to be here to stay. I've had more runs on the treadmill in the last few weeks than I ever want to have for the rest of my life.

Treadmill + dead iShuffle = misery

As mentioned in my previous post, I skipped out on last week's long run. But this week was a different story. This week 19 miles was on the books. 19 miles. I didn't take this run lightly - in fact, I prepared for it all week. No drinking, eating healthy and getting in all my workouts. Friday came and I met up some friends for happy hour (only water for me) then stopped by my favorite Italian restaurant for takeout. Hubby and I lounged on the couch with my feet up watching the Hangover until 9:30. I decided to make a few changes to my routine. I packed everything the night before in the car that I could, filled my water bottles with Nuun instead of Gatorade, had 3 different choices for GUs and then finally trudged upstairs to lay out my clothes. I laid down and actually went right to sleep.

At 4:08am the alarm went off. I got up, dressed, ate, and headed to the meet up. I was a good 20 minutes early which I love so that I don't have to feel rushed. As I put on my watch, I turned it on and it was dead. Dead! How, with all my preparing, could I forget to charge my watch!? Luckily, we are sponsored by a running store and they open up shop for us before the runs. So I ran inside and asked if they had a spare charger - score! So I let them plug in my watch and I ran back out to switch my flip flops for running shoes and get my fuel belt ready. When it was time, I went back in to get my watch and I was thinking such positive thoughts for the day. Turns out though that the sales person hadn't connected the charger correctly so Marvin the Garmin was still dead. Disappointed, I tossed it in the car and we started our run.

Our course was setup into 3 different loops. The first took us north for 7 miles. The coach had changed the route a few times throughout the week, so many of us made quite a few wrong turns. Somehow, we managed to pass a park where another running group meets up right at the same time that they started running. We all got jammed together taking a pedestrian overpass bridge - us running and them mostly walking. It is very poor running etiquette (and very annoying) for runners to take up the entire span of a running trail and not let others pass. I even yelled "runner back" a couple of times and they would not move. How rude!

Most of the next 5 miles I ran by myself. I didn't really plan to, it just kinda happened. I had my Double Latte Powerbar Gel at mile 10 - I loved the fact that it was very liquidy and mixed with my water well instead of the thick gooey mess of the other brands. (I picked more up while I was out shopping with the Hubby later.) I was really starting to feel tired around mile 12-13 and my motivation was very low. The group was so spread out at this point that I was only close to one other person and she was struggling too. We decided to walk, but had no motivation to start running again. The sun had come up and it was starting to get hotter. I think the only thing that made me move faster was the idea that it might be 100 degrees before I finished. I was gonna do everything I could not to let that happen.

I finally started running and made it to the water stop at mile 16 for a short break and some cold water. I finished my Margarita Cliff Shots here and E caught up to me. We ran in the last 3 miles together. It was nice powering through the end (not like my 16 miler where I wanted to kill over and die). We even managed to pick up our pace a bit (some of that might have been a little sprinting through the non-shady spots!). Finally we were rounding the corner and back at the running store. I had never been so happy to see that place in my whole life! We stretched and had popsicles while I waited my turn at a quick table massage.

I can't believe I ran 19 miles and I feel as good as I do. My knees hurt a little on Saturday, but mostly, I'm fine. I did a quick 30 min recovery run at lunch today and only my calves were a little sore. I'm thinking maybe I can finish this marathon after all.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Missed Runs

I've been a very bad girl. I haven't run since last Tuesday. That's almost a full week. And I skipped out on my long run this weekend. I feel terrible, but it's so HOT here! I missed my group run on Saturday morning because Friday night was Hubby's birthday and we stayed up waaaayyyy too late. I could have easily gotten up Sunday morning to tackle the 11 miles by myself, but I just didn't. I had planned to atleast try for half of them Sunday night, but between the heat and my stomach acting up again, I didn't. I think my body really needed a little time off - I slept almost half of the weekend away. I'm really hoping this doesn't hurt me for my 19 miler this coming weekend. I'm hoping I'll just be well rested and ready to take it on.

In other news, my group was selected in the lottery for the Houston Marathon in January. I want to be excited about this, but I still think the lottery was a dumb idea (especially since I haven't heard of anyone who didn't get in yet). I definately paid a lot more for this half marathon than I have in the past which I also think is a little ridiculous. But, it is a race in my beloved town and I really don't want to miss it. So, here's to Houston Half #3 on January 30, 2011!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Another week bites the dust

Another week into training and I've got another 12 miler under my belt. What did I learn this week? That having a stomach flu the two days before your long run makes for a really miserable run. I spent Thursday and Friday not eating much (ie nothing). I finally felt pretty decent Friday night, so I decided to eat a few carbs to whip me back into shape. I felt great (although I still didn't eat very much of it). Sleep came a lot later than I had planned, but I was pretty well rested from the night before. I think I managed a good 4 or 5 hours before I had to get up for my run. I had my usual breakfast and was feeling fine. I thought everything was behind me. Little did I know that at mile 6 when I would take my first GU, my stomach would proceed to turn in knots and scream at me for the remainder of the run. In the last two miles, I learned that walking was torture and running actually felt better. I hope to never have to do another training run like this one, but it did prepare me for the off chance if something like this ever happens in a race. Please don't let it happen in my marathon. I already can't imagine running 26.2 miles; I definately can't imagine running them with an upset stomach.

On another note, I've joined a little running group in the blog world: Distance Dreamers. I got lazy and didn't participate in the questionaire last week, but here's this week's:

What is your best running memory/experience?
Reaching my goal of running a sub 2-hour half marathon. When I first started training, I got this idea in my head that I could run a sub 2 hour half. I'm not really sure why that number came to my head, but I aimed for it. It took me 3 halfs to do it, but it was an amazing feeling to cross that finish line with a "1" as the first number. I was even proud that I beat the first full marathoner to the line!
What is your worst running memory/experience?
Gosh, that one I mention in the beginning of this experience really comes to mind. Let me see...I'm going to have to say my first 10K. I was right out of college and didn't train for it much at all. I had never been a runner - I had asthma growing up that still reared it's head every now and then. The night of the race, a huge storm blew in and the rain continued all day. My friend and I still ran the race in the rain, cold, in all our cotton clothing and me with a small asthma attack along the way.

Well, it's Wednesday (my rest day) and I'm sitting here watching Chariots of Fire (I've never seen it) searching ebay for a new iphone (mine was stolen yesterday). Happy Running everyone!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Got plans for August 25th?

You do now! Join MCM Mama and all of her followers for a virtual race in honor of her 40th birthday! I've signed up for the 4 miler since it fits in with my training schedule. I love the idea of a virtual race, but I've never participated. There's no time like the present. :)

Happy Running!