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Name: merrymishaps (Lauren)
Home: Annapolis, MD, United States
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

getting over that hill

Make that hills.

My local running shop's racing team is training again, and like last year we started with 200-meter sprints up a bridge. We had a great night for it -- still over 50 degrees at 6:30 p.m!

Based on my 55-minute 10K goal, I was supposed to be running each hill in 63 seconds.  I had the same 10K goal last year. And I made it... barely...  at 55:57. I'd like to get a bit more solidly into that 55-minute range.

We had five repeats on the schedule tonight. I haven't done any hill or speedwork for a while now, and I wasn't sure how it was going to go. I had nothing to worry about!

  1. 56
  2. 59
  3. 58
  4. 58 
  5. 58
Hmm ... a bit fast. I guess I'll see if I can keep it up. I wouldn't mind beating my goal!

I was the only one at the run tonight in my pace group, but it wasn't bad. The group kept the 1.5-mile run to and from the shop slow (for them), so I had no trouble keeping up. I was actually in the front on the way back, which was strange in that crowd!

As for the hills, I just started each repeat with two women with a 53-minute goal. I couldn't quite keep up, but they helped pull me along.

The post-Goofy break was nice, and I'm really glad I didn't have a strict training schedule during all that snow. But I'm happy to have some structure in my running again!


Friday, January 22, 2010

race report: goofy challenge, part 2

After the half marathon, we showered, grabbed some lunch, and hit Hollywood Studios for a few rides. Since it's not a huge park we knew we wouldn't do too much damage. Besides, all through training we were active after our "short" runs on our double-run weekends!

We wanted Italian for dinner that night to carb-load for the marathon, but I waited a bit to long to make reservations. The latest reservation I could get was at 3:20pm! But actually, it worked out perfectly. Since we had been up so long, it felt like 7p.m. when we sat down to dinner. We ate, finished up at the park, and headed back to our room early. We got our clothes laid out and called it a night ... around 7:30p.m!

Sunday, January 10: Mickey Mouse Full Marathon

Just like the day before, my alarm went off at 2:45 a.m. As I eased myself awake, I slowly realized I was getting ready to run 26.2 miles. Did I feel like running 26.2 miles? Well, we were going to find out!

The skies were clear for the second day -- no rain/snow, so that was good news. But at my early wake-up time, it was only 27 degrees. Anything below freezing and I'm really bundled up! I had some choices ... but I chose all of my warmest options.

Thin tights under my blue ToughGirl Skirt -- a skirt with attached pants. Double layers! On top I wore a thin long-sleeve tech shirt under a quarter zip fleece top.  I topped that with another custom-made short sleeve tech shirt and a throw-away windbreaker. I figured I'd lose that after warming up.

After two pairs of gloves (one tech, one dollar-store that I planned to toss), and a fleece balaclava, I was ready to go!

Disney World Marathon

We were glad we saved our mylar blankets -- they were more effective than the garbage bag from the previous day. 

The drill was the same -- wander around the staging area for a while, visit the port-o-pots, and begin the journey to the start line. I decided to clock the distance on my Garmin this time -- .83 to our corral!

It was a totally different experience from the half marathon, though. Even though we were just as generous with our time (6 hours), and in the same corral (G), there were actually a couple more corrals behind us this time. And the first three corrals took a different route for the first few miles, so they were on the other side of the street.

We moved to the front of the corral (on the street! not in the grass!), and danced to the music (that we could hear!), mainly to keep warm. Hooray for working speakers, and lights! I was getting excited to run!

And before we knew it, we were on our way -- Garmin says we started at 5:54a.m. And we started running. All those walkers from the previous day were behind us. Yay!

Of course, it made it more necessary for us to move to the right whenever we were getting ready for a walk. But we weren't alone, there were tons of Galloway runners in our corral. And for much of the course, we were on wide highways so we didn't have to worry about it that much, everybody had plenty of room.

Our first entrance to Epcot was amazing. They were playing music and the fires were burning in those giant torch things they have along the lake. I was warmed up by now and I lost the windbreaker and extra gloves. It was a quick trip through the park and we were back on the roads. To the Magic Kingdom!

That takes a while -- it's about five miles between the parks. Around mile eight, I was starting to fade. Uh-oh, we had a LONG way to go. Fortunately, that problem was solved by taking a GU. (Tri Berry, my favorite!)

The Magic Kingdom route was the same as the half course. But we had sunny skies. And we learned we could use the real bathrooms while in the park -- not too long of a line, either. (We timed it right, it was worse when we got out!)

And I had my camera! I didn't take too many shots, but was glad to have it.

Disney World Marathon

Disney World Marathon

Disney World Marathon

After the Magic Kingdom, we were back on the road -- another long, boring stretch of highway.  Looking at the race course, it seems to be another five-mile stretch. But it seemed like we were almost at Animal Kingdom forever!

And then we ran through so quickly. And the monkeys weren't even out!

It was around mile 17 when we decided to take a stretch break. We were starting to feel the effects of all that running. It was helpful, and we started taking them every three or so miles.

After leaving the Animal Kingdom there was more highway! Including an annoying out-and-back at mile 20! My training partner was starting to feel a little off, so we took more walk breaks. I didn't mind, I vowed to stick with her! Though, my feet were really hurting. Oddly enough, it hurt less to run at this point!

Eventually we did enter Hollywood Studios, where they were handing out chocolate. Yum! We took another stretch break. I ate my chocolate, and she had some Luna Moons, which seemed to help. We kept going with our run/walk intervals.

After Hollywood Studios,  there was no more highway! We hit mile 24 wile running along the (cold! breezy!) waterfront by the Disney Boardwalk and Yacht and Beach Club Resorts.

After passing the resorts, we were back in Epcot, running through the World Showcase. I love Epcot, so that was great, and we were almost finished! Just around the lake and we were there!

Disney Marathon

Chip time: 5:48:22. A bit slower than our training runs, and a lot slower than my only other full marathon, but I'll take it!

Disney World Marathon Medals


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

race report: goofy challenge, part 1

Our final few weeks of training were a bit rough, as we had a lot of cold, windy, rainy and snowy conditions to deal with. Little did we know we were actually preparing ourselves for race day!

Saturday, January 9: Donald Duck Half Marathon

My alarm went off at 2:45 a.m. I consulted my phone for the weather (it was cold, in the 30s, but above freezing), and made a final decision on my layers. I packed a lot of options for myself, and I was glad to have choices! With predicted rainy conditions and chilly temperatures, I knew I wouldn't be shedding layers, but I didn't want to wear too much, either. I tend to overdress in the cold. I went with a long-sleeve tech shirt and waterproof jacket. Since it wasn't that cold, I decided I didn't need to wear the thin tights under my running pants.

I also wore a short-sleeve tech shirt over the long-sleeve shirt with a Disney decal on the back. My friends made up custom shirts for all of our group (16 runners, 14 doing Goofy!). I wanted to wear it, even though I knew wouldn't be seen. Plus it was an extra core layer!

We boarded the bus just before 4 a.m. and were on our way to the staging area. There was a lot of traffic, and we were grateful. The more time on the bus, the better! I think it was around 4:30 when we got there.

I donned a garbage bag in a feeble attempt to block the wind, but was still chilly as we waited in the staging area, visited the port-o-pots, and began our journey to the start line.

Having done a Disney race before, I knew to expect a long walk to the starting corrals. Along the way, it started raining. And SNOWING. Which is nothing new to us, fortunately, but there were a lot of unprepared runners out there. 

Because I was doing both races, I seeded myself in the back with a slow predicted time. I put down three hours for the half, even though my average time is 2:15. I usually run half marathons straight, not the run-walk we were doing for both Goofy races. But I don't usually run a full marathon the next day!

It sure was dark back there in the last corral. We were standing in the grass, and the speaker near us wasn't working. No music, and we couldn't hear the announcers. It seemed like forever as we waited for each of the waves to go off. According to my Garmin, we were finally on our way at 6:18 a.m.

Yes, I wanted to keep it slow, and I expected it to take about 2:45 for the half based on our training runs ... but it turns out that last corral is full of walkers! Right from the start we had a hard time navigating, and it didn't get any better for the entire 13.1 miles. It wasn't a problem when we were on a walk, but often we went off-road and ran in the grass to get around the crowd!

At the end, there was a bit of a line getting to the food, and an even longer line to get to the resort buses. Though once we actually found the correct line, it wasn't quite as bad. But by then we were cooling down. Brrr! It was a little breezy, tough to keep our mylar blankets in place!

We still had a great time. How can you not have fun running through the Magic Kingdom? My friend/training partner and I were both feeling good and stuck together the whole time. We managed to actually get a little more room to run for the last five miles and sped up a little bit. It felt great!

I ended up finishing in 2:48:53. Not too far off our training runs, and it included a five-minute potty break!


Saturday, December 19, 2009

taper time

This morning I completed my last long run before my marathon and a half. Hooray!

I'll come back to that ... it seems I've been slacking on my run updates again. Looks like the last report I gave was a month ago so I'll just pick up where I left off.

Week 11
Tuesday: 6
Thursday: 5
Saturday: 10
Sunday: 12
Total: 33 miles

Our plan originally had us scheduled for 20 on that Sunday, but we decided two long-run weeks in a row was a bad idea so we dropped our mileage. We actually had a 10K that day. After finishing, we basically ran the course again!

Week 12
Tuesday: 4.25
Thursday: 7 (Thanksgiving Day 10K -- plus a little extra running to/from my car)
Saturday: 5
Sunday: 12.5
Total: 28.75 miles

Week 13
Tuesday: 5
Saturday: 10
Sunday: 20
Total: 35 miles

Week 13 was a bit challenging! On Saturday we started running in the rain, which turned to snow a few miles in. It was colder than we expected so we were a little underdressed, and it was pretty miserable being wet in the snow! But the miles went by quickly somehow.

Sunday that week was sunny, but we had some weather-related issues from the day before. We had some obstacles on the trail -- aside from the snow and ice, we had to crawl under the bamboo that had drooped from the weight of the snow. It was only a couple inches, but it was a wet snow! See photos over here. The first half went by very slowly, but by the time we turned around, most of the ice had melted and the bamboo popped back up.

Week 14
Wednesday: 4.25
Saturday: 6
Sunday: 12
Total: 22.25

It was tough fitting in weekday mileage Week 14. I sing in a community chorus, and we were rehearsing or performing every night. I ended up hitting the treadmill at 10:45 p.m. after rehearsal Wednesday night. I couldn't let it go until the weekend!

On that Sunday, we added mileage before a 15K race (9.3 miles) on another cold and rainy day. I ran it straight out despite having been doing Galloway run/walk for all of my long runs during this marathon training. I was pleasantly surprised to average 9:35/mile, beating last year's time by nearly five minutes!

Week 15
Tuesday: 3
Friday: 11
Saturday (today): 20.1
Total: 34.1 miles

We had to get creative this week. We had a quick caroling gig at a holiday party on Tuesday night. The party was close to my running partner's house, so we ran from there when we were done singing. Legs were a little tired from Sunday -- it was not only faster than I'm used to. It was hilly!

We had to adjust our weekend runs this week as well. With a matinee Messiah performance scheduled Sunday afternoon, there was no way we were going to get our planned 22 miles in. I worked from home Friday and we knocked out our 11 miles early in the morning.  I was only a little late logging into my laptop. For today, we had a 5-mile race in Baltimore, and were going to hit the NCR Trail for 17 miles.

But our plans changed.

While the race wasn't canceled, it was my first DNS (Did Not Start). Because I woke up to this:

Even I wouldn't run in this...

It was still coming down hard, and our winter storm warning had been upgraded to a blizzard warning, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. There was no way I was getting caught in that!

So I puttered around the house for a while until I finally was ready to start moving. And attempt a very, very long day on the treadmill.

Usually I get bored with the treadmill kind of quickly. My longest treadmill run previously was only 6 miles. But I really wanted to get my last long run done!

I propped my laptop on top of the treadmill so I could catch up on some TV shows, set up an interval timer, and started my run. I did run/walk intervals just like I've been doing for all of my long runs. It wasn't all that annoying to keep changing the speed -- it felt good to change up the pace.

I took breaks after each episode -- stretching, checking Facebook, Twitter and email, and taking photos. It was kind of nice to wander around the house for a few minutes. I was definitely glad I wasn't outside!

snowy yard

I watched four episodes of Melrose Place, one 90210, and one Desperate Housewives. That sounds like a lot, but hour-long shows are only about 40 minutes each when you watch commercial-free versions online. When that DH episode ended at 20.1 miles, I decided that was enough!

We only wanted the 22 for a confidence-builder. If I can survive 20 on the treadmill, I'm more than ready for this race!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

why yes, i am still running!

I last left off at Week 8 of our Goofy Challenge training plan. It's still going really well, and I'm excited about our progress.

Week 9
Tuesday: 4
Thursday: 3.5

Saturday: 9
Sunday: 12
Total: 28.5 miles

Saturday's run was a little different in week nine. We were scheduled to run a five-mile race that day. We decided we'd do a two-mile warm up before the race, and another two after.

The only other time I did some warm-up running before a race, I set a new 5K PR. Would it happen again?

I wasn't really planning on it. I hadn't done speed work since the summer, and a lot of our long training runs have been slower Galloway runs.

Still, I started out kinda fast, and was a little concerned!

  1. 8:44 -  it was 8:38 when I passed the mile marker. Legs -- what are you thinking?
  2. 9:07 - still fast but better. I didn't think I could hold it.
  3. 8:53 - and we're speeding up again. Waiting to crash and burn ...
  4. 8:51 - huh.
  5. 8:32 - how about that!
This race takes place in paved trails in a park, with lots of curves. I always measure a little off -- this year was no exception. Close enough ...

 Garmin time: 43:35 / 4.94 miles / 8:50 average
Official time: 43:48 / 5 miles / 8:43 average

New 5-mile PR by 1:09. The old one was on the same course, set in 2005!

Back to Goofy training ...

Week 10
Tuesday: 5.3
Thursday: 0 (couldn't run, but our mileage jump would have been too high anyway)
Saturday: 9
Sunday: 19
Total: 33

That 19 was tough, but it felt really good to be getting close to our 13.1 / 26.2 goal! We had a great time running through DC (pictures soon!). My friend/training partner may call herself the Lazy Runner, but I'm going to be the Lazy Blogger and send you over to her run report for details!


Tuesday, November 03, 2009

goofy update

For anybody that's new here, I'm currently training for something ridiculous.

In January, I'll be running Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge, part of the Disney World Marathon Weekend.

Goofy participants run the half marathon on Saturday (13.1 miles) and the full marathon on Sunday (26.2 miles). That's a lot of running!

Well, I won't be running the whole time. There's no way I'd attempt to race nearly 40 miles in two days! I will be using the Galloway run/walk method.

The last time I wrote a training update, we had just completed the third week. I suppose I should write these more often; we've now in week nine!

Week 4
Tuesday:  3
Thursday: 3
Sunday: 16.3 (Metric Marathon. We were only supposed to run 13, so we took Saturday off)
Total: 22.3 miles

Week 5
Tuesday: 3.6
Thursday: 2.75 (A short run was OK here, my increase was a little high this week)
Saturday: 5
Sunday: 14
Total:  25.35 miles

Week 6
Tuesday: 0 (Couldn't run!)
Thursday: 3.27
Saturday: 7.51
Sunday: 10
Total: 20.78 miles

Week 7
Tuesday: 0 (Busy again! But needed to cut a day this week, anyway)
Thursday: 3
Saturday: 8
Sunday: 16
Total: 27 miles

Week 8
Tuesday: 1.19 (Testing new shoes on treadmill. Needed to cut mileage here, too.)
Thursday: 3.81
Saturday: 8
Sunday: 17
Total: 30 miles

Even though it's totally something I would do, I did not make the Tuesday and Thursday distances add up to exactly five miles on purpose!

Training is going well, and I'm happy with our progress. I'm actually really enjoying these long runs!


Saturday, October 31, 2009

happy halloween!

It seems I really enjoy Halloween.

I got to add to my collection of costumes this year, running my favorite Halloween 5K on Sunday. Since I've had two years of award-winning costumes, I needed something good. And when I saw Mir's son's idea, I simply had to make it happen!

Wicked Witch of the East!

Before the race, people kept asking if I was going to run in that. Yup! And it actually went pretty well!

  • Mile 1: 9:15
  • Mile 2: 9:10
  • Mile 3: 8:52

I tracked the course a little short -- my third mile beeped just before I crossed the finish line. Clock time: 27:25.

Even though I tracked at only 3.01, I'm pretty sure the course was the same as in the past. As Mr Potato Head, I ran the same race in 28:16 (Garmin said 3.02). As a refrigerator (a more-comparable costume!), I couldn't find my official result, but my Garmin time was 29:00 for 3.07.

I'm pretty happy with my race! As I was headed towards the bagel table, I heard another woman talking to a friend, remaking how the "lady in the house" beat her. A friend just loudly exclaimed, "Aw, man!" as I passed her. I taunted back, "You can't let a house beat you!"

But she didn't catch up.

Wicked Witch of the East!

Wicked Witch of the East!

I was able to wear my costume to work to our party last Friday too, and won the costume contest. At the race, I came in second. Yay!

I wonder what I should be next year?

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

race report: metric marathon

My running club sponsors a Metric Marathon every fall -- 26.2K (16.3 miles) through scenic rural roads. I've run this race four times, and I really enjoy it. Though everyone I've spoken to that has run it always wonders why.

It's very small (usually around 150 people, but there was a big jump this year, nearly 240!), and very low-key. No chip timing, no T-shirts, no medals.  And because of the distance, you only get the hardcore runners. Usually, that also means fast. Most folks that usually keep me company in the middle of the pack don't show up for this one. Last year, I feared I would be last as I surveyed the crowd at the start line. I ended up beating only 10 people.

Oh, and it's not just long. It's challenging. Most runners are quite familiar with the term "gentle rolling hills." That usually means "really hilly!" Well, let's step that up. Paraphrased from this year's description:

The Metric Marathon is a 26K (16.3 mile) loop course on paved roads through gently rolling hills. There are significant hills at miles 12 and 14.

Now that's just evil! (Actually, now that it's fresh in my mind, mile 12 isn't so bad. But 14 just keeps going. You think you're at the top, and then you go up again.)

But I still love it!

Since it's over 16 miles, it really spreads out and can get lonely. But even alone, it's just such a beautiful course. We run by farms with horses and cows. We pass cornfields cut down for the season.  And for as many wide-open spaces, there are shady tree-lined streets. At one point, I noticed a small creek running along the side of the road.

We had perfect weather -- cool and crisp, not a cloud in the sky. But you'll have to use your imagination, because I didn't bring a camera. I guess it would have slowed me down, anyway. Let's just say I did better than I expected!

I haven't run 16 miles since this race last year.With Goofy training, my long runs have been 10-12 miles every weekend for the last month, and I ran a half marathon Labor Day weekend. I wasn't really worried about the mileage jump. But I've been run/walking most of those long runs, and was planning on running the 16 miles straight. I didn't know what to expect. I was just hoping to beat three hours -- something I hadn't done since my first time on this course in 2005, 2:57:08.

I accidentally hit the lap button on my watch while trying to take off my jacket so my times are a little off ... (I knew I'd warm up fast. It was just so chilly at the start!)

  • 10:11 (Mile 1)
  • 10:20 pace for the next .38
  • 10:06 for the next mile
  • 10:17 pace for the next .62 (manually reset to fix the auto-lap)
  • 10:09 (Mile 4)
  • 10:11 (Mile 5)
  • 10:01 (Mile 6)
  • 10:19 (Mile 7)
  • 9:53 (Mile 8) 
  • 10:19 (Mile 9)
  • 9:59 (Mile 10)
  • 10:08 (Mile 11)
  • 10:11 (Mile 12)
  • 11:18 (Mile 13 - walked through the water stop!)
  • 10:39 (Mile 14)
  • 11:25 (Mile 15 -- had to loosen my shoelace; my foot was getting numb!)
  • 10:15 (Mile 16 -- much better)
  • 8:52 pace for the last .21
Finish time: 2:47:15. That's nearly a 10-minute PR!
(And actually, 16 minutes better than I did last year. Woo-hoo!)

I felt great the whole time, and was only a little sore after the race. It was mostly in my calves/ankles, probably because of the hills and the slope of the road. (We had to run in the shoulder; the roads weren't closed). 

But I wasn't sore at all yesterday. I recently bought some OxySox and wore them all day after the race. I'm sold!


Sunday, September 27, 2009

weekly winners and running update

September 20-26, 2009

I didn't take too many photos this week. Last Sunday I was doing some yard work and tried to snap a shot of this cardinal that was chirping overhead. The sunlight through the trees wasn't working with me, though!



I initially had grabbed my camera because of this squirrel that kept freaking out.

Visit more Weekly Winners at SarcasticMom.com!

Or keep reading if you're interested in finding out where my legs have taken me lately ...

While I run regularly year-round, I've recently kicked it up a notch. I'm now officially in training for the Goofy Challenge.

My training partner and I based our plan off of Hal Higdon's Intermediate II marathon training schedule. The high-distance Saturday/Sunday runs are perfect for what we're going to do in January -- with a half marathon on Saturday and a full on Sunday.

We'll always skip the Wednesday workout because we also sing together and have rehearsals that night, and there are some weekends where we may not get both days in. But we'll fit in as many as we can!

We just completed our third week ... not completely to plan, but still doing well. I'm keeping a close eye on my weekly mileage to make sure I don't increase by more than 10% each week.

Here's how it's worked out so far.

Week 1
The first week started just after my half marathon (race report still pending), so I took Tuesday off.
Thursday: 4.39
Saturday: 5
Sunday: 10
Total: 19.39

Week 2
I had a meeting on Thursday and couldn't run. Though about making it up on the treadmill but then decided I didn't really need the mileage for the week.
Tuesday: 4.58
Saturday: 5
Sunday: 12
Total: 21.58

Week 3
I was thinking about doing a short run on Saturday, but it was a really busy day, and my legs felt heavy and sore on Thursday. I'm guessing the 12-miler on Sunday followed by a kind of fast five-miler on Tuesday tired me out!
Tuesday: 5
Thursday: 4
Sunday: 10.6
Total: 19.6

And actually for Week 3, the mileage was supposed to be lower, with a six-mile run on Saturday and an eight-mile run on Sunday. We just swapped out the Saturday run with a slightly longer Sunday run.

So far I'm feeling pretty good! We're taking it slow on the long runs, opting to use the Galloway run/walk method. It's all about covering the distance for this challenge!

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

virtual race report: fall five miler

It's time for another virtual race hosted by RunningLaur, the Fall Five Miler!

I didn't "pre-register" since I wasn't sure where today's run would take me. I'm a mentor in a 10K class that meets on Tuesdays. I usually run with the class, but sometimes I end up helping along the course. But it all worked out!

The class ran almost three miles today. I found a couple ladies doing a good pace and ran with them most of the way. I turned back a little bit to make my Garmin hit 3.1 miles -- I wanted to at least finish 5K!

After a quick Gatorade break, I joined a fellow mentor to get at least another mile. We didn't have much time because it was getting dark (no lights on the trail!), but by the time we started about turning back, we were almost at a mile. We pushed it until my Garmin beeped, and turned back to finish my five miles.

The first three were with the class, so I wasn't really racing. After all, I was trying to stick with our class members!

  1. 9:22
  2. 9:52
  3. 9:46
The last two miles are a different story. My friend is quite a bit faster than me. For the first mile, I think she was taking it easy. But we ran into another (fast) friend on the way back who joined us the last half mile. They pulled away; at one point my Garmin said the pace was 7:45. I can't do that! I tried, but couldn't keep up. Still, that last mile is faster than my 5K race pace!
  1. 8:51
  2. 8:26 
Total time: 46:17, average 9:16/mile.

Hooray for fall!

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

race report: iron girl (finally!)

A long, long time ago -- August 23rd -- I completed my second sprint triathlon - Iron Girl in Columbia, MD. And just like last year, I had a really great time. Let's see what I remember ...

We arrived in the dark, set up our transition area, and went to the swim start where we waited for our waves. The start was delayed 15 minutes, which made it even longer. At least it gave me a chance to hit the port-o-pots one more time before getting in the water!
iron girl
When we were getting close, I joined my fellow pearl-yellow capped 30-34-year-olds in the lake. Rather than waste energy treading water, I conveniently found a rock to stand on. The actual ground was kind of icky. The girl I was chatting with, standing in the squishy grasses, was jealous.

Once they started counting down, I swam closer to the group, and thought I seeded myself well. I seemed to have room to swim right at the start, but then we all bunched up again. Not as stressful as the trial, but it still took me a little while to get comfortable.

When I did relax, though, I felt really good. I felt like I was actually paying attention to my stroke, trying to remember what I should be doing. I took my time and kept a steady pace. Sure, some of the faster swimmers from the next wave passed me. But I also passed slow swimmers that started ahead of me.

A friend was at the swim finish and snapped that shot. I'm glad -- the race photographers didn't get any of me alone!

Once out of the water, I took my time walking to my transition spot, and got ready to bike! No missing-helmet problems like last year, I found a spot to hang it. Everything was ready where I left it!

I have a road bike now, and it made a big difference. Sure, the course was just as hard and hilly as I remembered, but I cut nearly 10 minutes off my bike time. (I think. More on that later.) While it's a hard course, I felt strong.

After racking my bike, trading helmet for visor, and dashing out of the transition area, I was feeling great. I just remember thinking how awesome it was to be able to do this -- to drop off my bike and just start running!

I really didn't do enough bike/run brick workouts, though. Ouch. I didn't have much speed left, and I walked some of the uphills. But I still managed to finish the run about 30 seconds faster than last year (I think), so I'm OK with it!

So now we get to the results. Which I don't really know.

My chip apparently didn't work for any of my splits. I only have a finish time!

This is a pretty big disaster to a girl so obsessed with her stats that she runs with both a Garmin and Nike+.

I've been able to piece things together for the most part, but it's not the same. I can't see my standings! I don't know my transition times! (Not like I practiced transitioning, but still ...)

I used my Garmin for the bike and run portions, so I roughly know those times Once the pictures came out, I was able to figure out my swim time by looking at my age group's results and figuring out who finished before and after me. My swim time should be between 30:42 and 30:45.

While that's a little slower than my 29:57 last year, it's not too far off. And there's been some talk on the race message board where quite a few women felt like the course was longer this year. If so, that could mean I actually did better!

I know my bike time is a little off, because I started my watch when I got on the bike, not when I crossed the mat. But it should only be a few seconds. I clocked 1:14:43, average 14.1 mph. A big difference from last year's 1:24:16 (12.5mph). I was very happy with this. The bike makes all the difference.

My Garmin run time should be pretty close; I clocked 34:16 - a little over 10-minute miles. But with all the walking I was doing, that's pretty good. I was happy being able to beat last year's 34:44, even if I was faster at the trial. I hadn't biked that day!

Overall (the only official time I have), my time is 2:28:15. Last year? 2:38:58. Woo-hoo!

Registration for next year opens on Nov. 3. I've marked my calendar!

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

wrightsock challenge - final

By now, I've tried all of the socks graciously provided by WRIGHTSOCK and the Runners' Lounge.

The last two:

I took the Running II pair out on a 10-mile run a couple weeks ago. It was warm, humid, and hilly so I really put them to the test. I was still recovering from the 10 miles I did while at the beach, but those trouble spots weren't too bad considering the conditions. My feet were comfortable and I barely noticed my socks.

I tried the final pair for the first time a few days before the triathlon. I was mainly going for a bike ride, but knew I wanted a short run as well, so I put on the SLX. These felt great! But I only ran for a mile.

I tried them out again this weekend on a 9-mile run. It wasn't too warm out, but really humid. I was quite pleased with the socks. Despite the sticky conditions, my feet were feeling good. By the end, I had trouble again with the callous-blisters that have been bothering me for a couple weeks, but I can't really blame the socks for that.

Overall, I've really liked all of these socks!

My favorites are the Coolmesh, which will be coming to Virginia Beach with me for my next half marathon on Sunday. The SLX, SLR and Running II are quite comfortable as well. I especially like fit of the SLX -- no annoying toe seams!

The thin SLT, which I thought I would like the best, come in behind the others. I found I preferred the slightly thicker socks, and got a better fit around the toes with the others.

That leaves the DLX as the loser. But that doesn't mean I didn't like them! It was just too hot for thick socks. I'll be happy to break those out again in a couple months!

Thanks again to the Runners' Lounge and WRIGHTSOCK for inviting me to this challenge. While it is technically over, I'm going to continue to test them against my old socks as the weather changes. I may have to start investing more in my socks!

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Friday, August 14, 2009

wrightsock challenge - three and four

Wednesday was not a good-weather day here at the beach. When I woke up to gray skies, I stayed in bed a little longer. And when I finally did arise, it hadn't improved.

Clouds, light rain, and grumbles of thunder continued throughout the day. We would occasionally see flashes of lightning across the sound. I settled onto the couch with a book, and waited for the storm to pass. I wanted a short run that day, and don't mind the rain. It's the thunder storms that concern me!

Well, the storm seemed to be stalled. The sky would get brighter and I'd get hopeful, and then a crack of thunder would shake the house. Back to the book.

I did start, and finish, an entire book that day. And I even did get my run in by the late afternoon! Finally, the thunder stopped.

I wasn't planning on going too far, about three miles, so I chose the WRIGHTSOCK Cushioned DLX.

The WRIGHTSOCK Challenge

They're much thicker than what I usually wear this time of year, so I was concerned about them being too warm. Like all the others, they felt good when I put them on. Less bulky than I expected. I think I'm going to like these in the fall and winter.

With the so-called storm, the weather cooled to 75 degrees that day, but with 89% humidity, it still felt pretty warm out there. And the socks were kind of hot as expected. I can't really evaluate them otherwise since my feet were still recovering from Monday's 10-miler. No new problems, just re-irritating the old ones!

Today was a bit cloudy, but nothing that would stop us from sitting outside on the deck. (We just didn't want to drag all our stuff out to the beach, just in case). A little after lunchtime, it started to sprinkle a little bit, and then a light rain started. No thunder -- perfect! I got changed for another short run.

This time, I picked the SLR.

The WRIGHTSOCK Challenge

It was 80 degrees and 74% humidity according to weather.com, but since they didn't realize it was raining I'm guessing it was a bit more humid. Yuck!

The rain would have been refreshing, had it lasted. It stopped completely within my first half mile, and only sprinkled lightly for the rest of my four-mile run. It was a tough one today. I was really hot. My feet were really hot, too.

I'm pretty sure they would be at least a little hot in any socks, but it is possible that the cushioning may have made them a little warmer than a thinner sock. Otherwise, they were comfortable, and my problem areas felt fine. Much better than Wednesday, actually.

I can say with certainty this is the most I've ever run while on vacation. I biked 12 miles yesterday, too. And kayaked a mile. (Uh, yeah, I wore my Garmin kayaking.)

It's been a great trip. I'm sad to head home tomorrow!

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Monday, August 10, 2009

wrightsock challenge test two - slt

This morning I actually set an alarm -- while on vacation -- to get up and run. It was going to be a hot one, and I really wanted to get a 10-miler in.

I hit the road a little after 7 a.m., and chose the WRIGHTSOCK SLT since they are the lightest and most similar to the socks I usually use. It was 80 degrees / 84% humidity when I started my run.

The WRIGHTSOCK Challenge

Much like the first pair I tested, the fit was perfect and the fabric felt better than my usual cheap socks. During the first few miles of my run, I kept forgetting to pay attention to my socks so I could review them, so I guess that's a good thing.

The happy feelings didn't last, unfortunately. My already-calloused right toe rubbed a couple of small blisters by the end, and I was feeling a hot spot on my left heel.

I can't really blame the socks, though. I was asking a bit much of them.

I'm positive that the heel hot-spot is related to my orthotics. I've temporarily switched back to my older pair, since I'm having new ones made based on the others. I used to get blisters on that heel, and never linked it to my old inserts. Until now. I actually noticed the difference in the heel as soon as I laced up. Despite the irritation, I didn't get a blister there.

The callouses were already pretty bad, so it's not surprising that they rubbed after 10 miles. (Note to self: buy a Ped Egg.) Also, I was using old inserts. Hopefully my new ones arrive before the sock challenge is over so I can compare.

These new socks were still pretty good, though. Even with the blisters, my toe is less-sore than it was the last time I used my cheap socks. So that's something.

I guess I should have tested one of the double-layer anti-blister socks today, but they're a bit thick and I was worried about the heat. I'll save those for the shorter runs!

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

the wrightsock challenge

I've tried a lot of running socks, and I have a few favorites. But I usually stick to C9 from Target low-cut socks. They're cheap, and I actually like them better than some of my pricier socks. They're really thin and light, and are pretty much all I use in the summer.

In fact, I had a pair on when I arrived home from work today. I was dressed for my run already, and had a few minutes to stop in to grab some water ... and change my socks!

Because look what arrived today:

The WRIGHTSOCK Challenge

Thanks to the generous folks at WRIGHTSOCK and the Runners' Lounge, I've been offered the chance to challenge my old running socks.

For the rest of the month, I'm kicking my old socks to the curb and putting WRIGHTSOCKs to the test.

I chose the double-layer Coolmesh® socks for my first run:

The WRIGHTSOCK Challenge

My first impression was very positive. They are light and soft, and felt a lot better than my Target socks.

The double-layers are supposed to prevent blisters by reducing friction. I've (knock on wood) had pretty good luck with blisters lately, though I have been having some trouble with callouses.

I'm an over-pronator, and I seem to have worn through my old orthotics. That was one of the problems they corrected. After my last few runs, I've been pretty sore in two places on the inside of my right toe.

Well, I wasn't expecting any relief until I got new orthotics ... but my toe feels fine tonight. I ran the same distance on Tuesday, and actually my run had more hills tonight.

Now, on Tuesday I might have been recovering from a trail race on Sunday that was particularly hard on the feet ... but I want to believe that these socks have solved the problem!

Another nice thing is the sizing. I'm a size 6, which usually falls in the smaller end of the size range. I have quite a few pairs of socks where the heel hits halfway up my ankle.

The WRIGHTSOCK "small" range is size 4-6, and they were perfect.

Well, that's surely the most I've ever written about (or thought about) socks. And I soon will have entire series of posts about them. I never saw that coming!

I'm looking forward to the rest of this challenge. So far, I'm impressed!

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Monday, July 13, 2009

i've got to work on that last mile ...

On Saturday, I ran another 5K. It was in my town for a change, so I decided to add a little extra mileage. I got up a little earlier and ran to the start, about 2.25 miles away.

I took it really slow (especially since I didn't really give my bagel enough time to settle!), running 11-minute miles. I wasn't so sure how this race was going to go!

I cooled down a little bit waiting for the start time, but I was feeling good. I started a little too far back in the pack but managed to pull out of the crowd and find a good pace.

  • Mile 1: 8:35
  • Mile 2: 8:36
  • Mile 3: 8:56 ... getting tired, but I managed to kick it up to a 7:10 pace for the final .1
Official finish: 26:47. New PR! As I mentioned after my last race, I really wanted to break 27. Hooray!

After chatting with friends and cooling down a bit, I jogged the 2.25 miles (again, slowly) back home, bringing my total mileage to 7.6 for the day. A semi-long run and a 5K PR, all before 10 am!

And guess what I did on Sunday?

Well I ran another 5K, of course!

Local running clubs all around our area host women-only 5Ks as part of a Women's Distance Festival series. (Some clubs have separate races for the guys.) We have a team, and go as a group to many of the races. Our club and one in a neighboring county usually host races back-to-back, and I usually do both of them.

After my fast race on Saturday, I wasn't planning on running too hard. I was chatting with another runner I had met before through her sister. She used to be fast, but had slowed down after an injury and was hoping for a 28-minute 5K. That sounded perfect, so I started out with her.

We felt a little fast, but not too bad. I still felt comfortable. I didn't really realize how fast we were until we hit the first mile.
  • Mile 1: 8:29
  • Mile 2: 8:43 ... and then we hit what felt like (and may have been) a .75-mile incline. I knew this was a tough race but I forgot that the incline went on for so long! She left me after mile 2 and finished strong. Meanwhile ...
  • Mile 3: 9:19 -- not too bad, actually. I felt like I was crawling!
The last .1 was around a 7:30 pace, and I finished at 27:17. So much for not racing -- my previous PR prior to Saturday was 27:19.

I think I'm going to skip the speed work tomorrow!


Sunday, June 28, 2009

a tale of two races

So, last Sunday was my 10K goal race. The race all this speed and hill training has been leading up to. The 55-minute goal that I thought was a bit too ambitions.

Anyway ... I lined up race morning thinking that while it'd be awesome to see a 55 on that clock, I'd be happy just to set a new PR. And even happier to break 57 minutes. My 10K PR was 57:26.

I started off running with a friend from our training team. While she's naturally faster than me, her training was a little lacking. She decided she'd rather aim for my goal time than hers.

The first mile was a little slow, at 9:21. It was crowed, and we placed ourselves back a little too far in the pack. We had a bit of ground to make up if we were going to come close to that goal!

It got better.

  1. 8:58
  2. 9:10
  3. 8:58
  4. 8:55
I was feeling good. Kind of like in my last half marathon, when I started speeding up in the second half. I started pulling away from my running buddy after the fourth mile, and kept going strong.

My fastest mile was the last, at 8:40. Whoa! I gave everything I had left and ran the last .22 (well, that's what my Garmin tracked) in 1:41, a 7:30 pace.

It unfortunately wasn't a chip race, though. Garmin time is a little more solidly in my goal range at 55:45 ... apparently I didn't quite start with the clock. Official time is 55:57. But I say it still counts!

I'm now even more excited to see what I can do in my 5Ks this summer.

And actually I ran one yesterday. It was the graduation race for the club's 5K training class, and they had pace groups that anybody could join.

Excellent! I decided that even though it was a bit too fast for me, I would try to start with the 8:30 pacer.

Only she started out REALLY fast. If my Garmin's current pace reading was correct, we were at times over a minute-per-mile too fast. I gave up running with her, and just tried to keep her in sight.

She was at least 20 feet ahead of me as I passed the one-mile mark. The volunteers called out my time at 8:13. My mile alert beeped a few steps later at 8:22. That might be the fastest mile I've ever run, other than a couple of one-mile track races.

Mile two was a little harder, with a bridge and some gravel trails. I finished that mile in 8:51.

I was really hoping to be able to beat my best 5K (27:19 -- I won't count the 25:55 when the course was only 2.9), and I really wanted to break 27. I was in good shape.

And then, just as I took a turn after mile two, I was hit with the worst side stitch. I can usually run through them, but I had to stop to walk for a few steps. I grabbed my side and tried to keep running.

It wasn't getting better. My speed slowed. But after running over the bridge again, it finally went away. Unfortunately, it took nearly the entire third mile. I finished that up in 9:53. Ugh.

I was able to pick it up to a 7:46 pace for the final stretch, finishing in 27:48. Even though it was a little disappointing, it's really not a bad time for me -- it's my third fastest. If you don't count that 25:55.

They posted age-graded results, and I finished 10th out of 57. Overall 75th out of 438. Yes, it was a women's only race, and they had runners and walkers ... but I'll take it!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

not so fast?

Since my concert schedule caused me to miss two speed workouts, I decided to make one of them up on Thursday.

I was worried about the weather. We could hear thunder when we got home, and the radar map made it look like a small storm system was moving through our area. But I still wanted to get my speed work in.

I did the math and wrote up a chart so I could match the mileage with my usual 400 meter sprints with a 200 meter recovery. I went up to 12 400s, but doubted I could make it that long on the treadmill! And just as I was ready to start, I checked the weather again.

The storm had moved on! So I hit the track instead. I wasn't sure how many I'd do. I missed the 18x400 and 20x400 workouts, but I didn't want to do that many. I wanted to do at least eight. And, well, I'm kind of an overachiever.

After a 15-minute warm-up, I was ready to go. I was still working with a 2:02 goal.

  1. 1:59
  2. 1:59
  3. 2:03
  4. 2:02
  5. 2:02
  6. 2:02
  7. 2:06 -- huh, getting a little sluggish
  8. 2:09 --ugh
  9. 2:03 -- that's better
  10. 2:00
  11. 2:04
  12. 2:06 -- maybe it's just not my day
  13. 2:08
  14. 2:09
  15. 2:05
  16. 2:02
Yeah ... not so good. Maybe it was the week and a half break from the track? Or was it my yoga class earlier that day -- while I always have yoga the same day as my runs, it seemed like a hard (but good!) workout. I don't know. I just wasn't too thrilled with this run!

But things have picked up since then.

On Saturday, I ran a 10K. This was a warm-up for our goal race -- what all this speed and hill training has been working up to.

I knew this race was hilly, and I wasn't expecting to be able to do it at my 55-minute goal. (I think I would have a hard time with that on a flat course!) I would have loved just to break 57. I didn't do either. But I was still happy with my race.

It was overcast at the start, and humid. I positioned myself where I thought was the middle of the pack, and we were off. Very early on, I got the feeling this was going to be a tough race. I looked down at my watch. Oops, 8:03 pace. That's why! I slowed it down and finished the first mile in 8:47.

Mile two clocked in at 9:11, mile three at 9:27. Sure I was slowing down, but I was OK with that. Wow, there were a lot more hills than I was expecting!

Miles four and five were pretty rough. Both were 9:43. Somewhere in here, I was starting to think a sub-60 10K was a better goal!

But it got better. Mile six, 9:15. And I clocked the last .18 (says Garmin) in a mere 1:23. Why yes, it was a slight downhill finish :)

Final time: 57:31. I didn't realize it at the time, but it was only five seconds slower than my PR. (Note to self: always know what your PR is before trying to beat it.)

I had a good time, and received what is possibly the ugliest race shirt ever:

Quite possibly the ugliest race shirt I've ever received ...

It makes me laugh. And is likely going straight to the donation pile!

And now I'm going to bring us back to the track. We're no longer doing ridiculous numbers of 400s. We're sticking to just eight, but trying to pick them up a little bit.

For my pace group, our coach suggested a few seconds faster than our previous 2:02, that we should go for sub 2:00. I didn't expect to go quite this fast -- or be able to maintain it! But here it is ...
  1. 1:52 (I thought "too fast!" when I saw the time)
  2. 1:51
  3. 1:51
  4. 1:50
  5. 1:43 (WTF? That's a 7-minute pace. I double-checked to make sure I didn't end the lap too soon. Nope. Right on at .25 mile)
  6. 1:47
  7. 1:49 (Before finishing this lap, I was feeling sluggish. Apparently not so much ...)
  8. 1:47
Huh. I really don't know where that came from. We'll see how close I get to my goal on Sunday!


Sunday, June 07, 2009

weekly winners

May 31 - June 6, 2009

I went into DC yesterday to run in the Race for the Cure 5K. It's difficult to run because there are so many runners and walkers -- something like 50,000. And a lot of the walkers didn't follow directions and started with the runners. There was a separate start line, and they were supposed to start 15 minutes after the runners. But I crossed the start line and there were already people walking, holding signs, etc.

So it was a little extra workout from your usual 5K, zig-zagging around walkers and slower runners, trying to find a good pace. I was happy that I managed to finish just over 29 minutes (I think -- official results not posted but I had my Garmin.) At least it was a chip race this year. In the past it wasn't. My clock time was somewhere around 37 minutes!

Race for the Cure

Race for the Cure - DC

I got into the city really early. I was expecting to have to wait for a train, and for crowds. But I walked into the Metro station and right onto a train, and it left just a couple minutes later. I was meeting some coworkers for a team photo at 7:30, but I got there around 6:40. Plenty of time to find a port-o-pot (no lines!), pick up my donation voucher, and wander around. (They offered incentives to solicit donations. I procrastinated and didn't get any donations until race week. I reached my goal before race day, but I didn't get my voucher emailed to me.)

Anyway, that killed a little time. But I still had to wait for my coworkers. Fortunately, we were meeting at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden so I could entertain myself.

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Eventually it was time to meet up. Folks gradually arrived, and we took a few photos. Then it was time to wait for the start!

Only the opening ceremony kept going, and speakers kept coming up. We just wanted to run! They ended up starting about 30 minutes late.

But it was a really good time. The event was very well organized. There were great vendor freebies at the finish, and the race had plenty of snacks and drinks available. I was impressed!

Also this week ...

I've got some lazy cats.

lounging joey

sleepy boys

And finally, I took this at the Cracker show last week, while waiting for the encore:

Cracker's guitars

Visit more Weekly Winners at SarcasticMom.com!

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

relays, ultras, and tris - oh my!

Hmm, guess what we're talking about over at the Runners' Lounge today?

This week, Take it and Run Thursday is focusing on the not-so-traditional running events ... mainly triathlons, relays, and ultra marathons.

I think it's pretty safe to say I'll never run an ultra marathon. Yes, I was once known to say I'd never run a full marathon. And somehow, that happened. But I'm pretty sure I won't change my mind on this one.

However, I apparently am willing run a half marathon one day and a full marathon the next. This is probably as close as I'm willing to get!

I'm currently training for my second sprint triathlon, Iron Girl, at the end of August. I had such a great time last year that I can't wait to do it again.

I've only been to the pool a few times so far (I didn't mean to slack all fall and winter ... ), but I'm already swimming longer without a break than I ever did last summer, other than race day. I've got a new bike, too, so hopefully I can get comfortable going a bit faster!

I can certainly see myself moving up to Olympic-distance triathlons -- Iron Girl's swim is pretty long for a sprint, so it wouldn't be that bad of a jump. While I'm not signing up anytime soon, a Half Ironman probably wouldn't be out of the question. But I think I have to draw the line at a full Ironman!

Now onto relays ... this is definitely something on my to-do list!

Back in April, I almost joined my friend's team for the American Odyssey Relay. A few members of her team had dropped out, and she send out an email looking for replacements. TWO WEEKS before the event!

Even without any special training, I was actually considering it. I had kept my mileage up after my March half marathon and April 10-mile race, so it wouldn't have been too bad.

But the race was the week after my vacation, and started on a Friday. I would have had to take another day off work at a time when I was seriously overbooked. I just couldn't afford to miss another day.

And yes, I would rather go into something like this with a little practice running more than once a day!

I'm sure it will happen. Maybe even later this year ... some friends are currently considering the DC Ragnar Relay in September. Sounds like fun!


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

national running day

What's this? Two posts in one night?

Well ... I was going to combine them, but then my race report got really long.

Anyway ... I had to miss my 18x400 speed workout yesterday since we had other plans. I decided to run tonight instead. It is National Running Day, after all!

Only it looked like thunderstorms were going to roll in (and they did), so I thought the better choice was to hit the treadmill. I don't think I had all those 400s in me tonight, anyway. I decided I'd just run a 5K, but was planning on playing with the speed a little bit.

As soon as the treadmill started up, my legs kind of hurt. Weird pains, too. No place that had been bothering me. I just chalked it up to being tired from the half (and oh, did I forget to mention the 12-mile bike ride I went on a few hours after running a half marathon?), and just kept going.

I took the first half mile slow, at 5.5 mph. Then I upped it to 7.0 and was able to keep it going for the next half mile. That was hard. I went back down to 6.0 for mile two. Then I did another half mile at 7.0.

For most of the last .6, I was back at 6.0. But when the Nike+ lady told me I had 200 meters to go, I kicked it up to 7.5. I think I made it to the end of my 5K before having to slow down again.

By no means my fastest 5K, but under 30 minutes (29:22), so that's fine with me. It's been a while since I've run on the treadmill!


zooma race report

Some of you may have seen my brief mention earlier this week about the Zooma Half Marathon I ran on Sunday. It's always fun to participate in a big race in my own hometown!

The weather wasn't cooperating with us on Sunday morning. It looked a little questionable when I got up, and I heard some thunder around 5:30 a.m. I was a bit worried, but hoped it would pass.

I've read a lot of people had trouble with traffic and parking. However, I don't live far from the stadium and could avoid most major roads.

I got there around 6:15, with more than enough time to hit the bathroom before the 7 am start. They had a row of port-o-pots (with quite a long line!), but they actually had the stadium bathrooms open. I'm sure most people didn't realize this -- I waltzed in with no line! (There was, however, a line as we got closer to the start.)

The thunderstorms seemed to have passed, but it was still raining as we gathered at the start line. Huge puddles had formed throughout the start chute, and runners tried to stick to the edges where it was a little better. I managed to make it across the starting mat without too much water damage!

The rain threw off my plan to meet up with my friends. We had a meeting place, but it wasn't sheltered. I wasn't able to find them, so I started on my own.

Within a mile, I caught up with one of my friends. She really should be faster than me, but she hadn't really trained well enough. We ran and chatted, and the rain stopped within a few miles. We stayed together for about seven miles, and we keep a good pace.

I started pulling ahead of her when she announced we were at the halfway point. I checked my watch -- 6.5 in about 1:06. It wasn't until then that I realized I had a chance to beat my 2:13:11 PR from 2005. I really wasn't expecting to do that well. Even without the rain, this was a tough course!

The first seven miles:

  1. 10:04
  2. 9:52
  3. 10:04
  4. 9:53
  5. 10:00
  6. 9:54
  7. 9:42
The turnaround point was around mile eight -- we had to make a U-turn on the trail and headed back. Since the trail is narrow, it got a little congested with runners going both ways, but it eventually thinned out. Around mile nine I walked through a water stop so that I could refill my water bottle and grab a few sips of Gatorade.

I was feeling good. Very good.
  1. 9:25
  2. 9:55
  3. 9:36
As I passed mile 10, I glanced at my watch. 1:39. (And actually, my Garmin hit mile 10 a little sooner, 1:38:27) Huh. My 10-mile race PR is 1:40:12.
  1. 9:16
  2. 9:03
  3. 9:28
Now, I just want to note that I NEVER run negative splits. So I really think all this speed work has helped me learn to run faster on tired legs!

Also, most of that last mile is an incline ... and I got a side stitch after mile 12. But I forced myself to keep moving!

At least the finish was downhill. My Garmin tells me I had a 7:51/mile pace going for the last .19! (I tracked a bit long, but it's not unusual to be a little off, especially on the shady trail. )

My chip time was 2:07:43. I would have been happy under 2:20, with the weather and this course. I'm still pretty ecstatic!

My Nike+/ipod thought I ran 13.48, but it's usually a little long. I've calibrated it, but it only seems accurate when I'm at my 5K pace. But still ... I've never had such a consistent line (even though we can see I did speed up!)

I started it with the clock start, but didn't actually move much for a minute or so -- which you can see in the beginning.

I had a great race ... but I probably won't do it again.

  • Close to home
  • Tech shirt
  • Race route I'm very familiar with
  • Box lunch (hummus and pitas, celery and carrots, and an apple)
  • Wine tasting (I think this one should count for more than one bullet point)
  • Finisher necklace instead of medal. So I can finally walk around wearing my race medal without looking like a dork.
  • Expensive. I paid $80 after applying a $10-off coupon.
  • No splits or clocks on the course (I don't really need it because of the Garmin, but it would have been nice)
  • Expo was really small, and not many more vendors were there for post-race shopping
  • Necklaces are kind of crappy
    When you are told you are getting "a custom-designed silver necklace handmade by women artisans in Guatemala" what would you expect?

    Well, this is what we got:

    zooma necklace
    And while not the greatest photos, yes, there are random black spots on the 'Zooma' side, and lines and scuffs on the 'Annapolis 05.31.09' side. Oh, and I exchanged my necklace at the finish, because the clasp fell off before I even put it on. The replacement chain wasn't much better, so I'm using another chain I had.

    Also, they had a 10K and a half marathon. But the same necklace for both. I would like some credit for picking the longer option!

    At least while wearing it, people can't really see its imperfections. But they also can't really see what it says at all! (I'll wear the 'Annapolis' side forward. I don't need to wear a boring logo.)

In the final race instructions they had this note:

Yumm! Nostalgia Cupcakes will offer complimentary celebration cupcakes for all ZOOMA finishers.

In the instruction sheet handed out at the expo/packet pickup, they changed that line to "mini cupcakes." OK, a little disappointing that we weren't going to get full-size cupcakes, but what are you going to do ...

But when we got done with our race, they were gone.

The race director gave this lame explanation on their blog:

Where were the cupcakes? Our poor, poor sweet cupcake vendor… Spent all weekend baking over 3,000 mini cupcakes and was overrun with eager children and husbands on race morning! Plenty of cupcakes were baked for all runners, but keeping hungry non-runner cupcake-lovers at bay was more difficult than anticipated.

Uh, we had a ticket on our bibs to claim our lunch box. Why not have another ticket, or put a mark on our race numbers, to make sure only finishers are getting cupcakes, and that finishers are only taking one?

I'm still mad about that one. I need a cupcake.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

so true.

so true.

Tonight was a promo night at the running shop. Moving Comfort sent a bra fitting representative, a Timex rep was there to answer any sports watch questions, and Saucony rep was there with loaner shoes to take on a test run. And hand out the above beer koozie, which was put to use after our run. Free beer and pizza!

I only ran about 3.25 tonight. The first mile was a little quick, at 9:36, but I slowed it down for the next two, bringing my average pace down to 10:40. But that last mile included an extended walk break while I tried to figure out why my iPod wasn't tracking my miles. Since I was in Saucony shoes, I had the Nike+ sport pod in a shoe pouch. I've used the pouch before ... and it was recognizing that it was plugged in, but no distance. I think figured out the problem after we finished. I had it in upside down!

I'm glad I slowed down, anyway ... I was hoping for an easy run tonight. Last night was another track workout. Sixteen 400s! So yeah, my legs were a little tired.

On the track last night, my first lap was significantly quicker than my 2:02 goal pace. I wound up starting next to a faster friend of mine and just went with it. I knew I had to slow down to be able to finish 16, but I kind of wanted to see how long I could keep it just a little bit faster.
  1. 1:56
  2. 2:00
  3. 1:54
  4. 1:56
  5. 1:58
  6. 1:59
  7. 2:05 (and here is where I thought I was done with that ...)
  8. 1:59 (uh, just kidding!)
  9. 2:01
  10. 1:59
  11. 2:02
  12. 2:01
  13. 2:00
  14. 2:00
  15. 2:00
  16. 1:59
Phew! When you add warm up, cool down and the 200m between each 400, I logged nearly eight miles on the track last night.

I actually felt pretty good throughout the workout. And it wasn't until lap 15 when I realized my legs and butt were starting to hurt.

It's probably a good thing I can't make it to next week's track workout. I should be recovering from a half marathon I'll be running on Sunday. But if I wasn't already busy, I'd probably still show up for 18x400s!

(I did run 14x400s last Tuesday, after I had run a 5K on Sunday and a half marathon preview Saturday ...)


Thursday, May 21, 2009

what to eat?

It's once again time for Take it and Run Thursday over at the Runners Lounge. Though, this week's topic isn't exactly one of my strong points ...

This week's theme is ... Runners version of Eat This Not That. Pass along some of your tips of food you have found helps your running. Tell us about what foods you have cut out or reduced because they don't help your running. And even better, tell us what "good" foods you substitute for the "bad" ones.

I have my favorite pre-run meals like most runners -- usually pasta the night before a big race, and a bagel or toast with peanut butter for breakfast. Other than that, though, I don't really do anything special.

Lately, though, I've been paying a bit more attention to my diet.

My weekly mileage has been higher than usual in the past few months. After the Disney Princess Half Marathon in March, I couldn't really let my mileage slide like I normally would. I ran a 10-mile race in April and have another half next weekend. On top of that, I've started swimming and biking again, to prepare for Iron Girl.

So I've been wondering if I'm eating enough calories and the right balance to support all this activity.

I've gone through a few phases where I've tracked my diet. I usually do it for a while and then get tired of it. I've tried a few sites, but so far I like FitDay the best. You can easily track each workout and see how many calories you've burned for the day. I often view the "Calories Burned vs Eaten" chart to see how I'm doing.

On the main food page, a pie chart gives you the breakdown of carbs, fat and protein consumed for the day. Since I don't eat meat (just fish/seafood), I was a little concerned about getting enough protein. Some days it's kind of low, so I'm glad I'm monitoring it. It helps me plan my next meal or snack.

Just because I'm watching doesn't mean I actually know what I should be eating, though. I still need to do a little research to make sure I'm getting it right!

(Now I'm going to go check out the other TiaRT contributors for some tips!)

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

running in circles

Yup, Tuesday nights still mean speed work on the track. We've had terrific weather for the past two workouts.

While it's much more enjoyable when it's not raining, nice weather also means we end up sharing the track with a lot more people. Walkers with dogs, kids on bikes, toddlers wandering around ... most of them paying little attention to the runners sprinting by.

Well, my sprint isn't so fast that I can't dodge them ... but we've got some speedy runners on our team!

Last week we ran 12 400s at our goal pace (mine is still 2:02).

  1. 1:58
  2. 2:01
  3. 1:57
  4. 2:02
  5. 2:04
  6. 2:02
  7. 2:04
  8. 2:04
  9. 2:04
  10. 2:03
  11. 2:02
  12. 1:59
This week, we bumped it up to 14. I wasn't sure what was going to happen since my pre-run snack was sitting kind of heavy in my stomach -- even though I gave it two and a half hours to settle.
  1. 2:09 (a cautious start!)
  2. 2:02
  3. 2:03
  4. 2:05
  5. 2:03
  6. 2:02
  7. 2:01
  8. 2:03
  9. 1:58 (I may have been running away from a kid on a bike here)
  10. 2:01
  11. 2:04
  12. 2:04
  13. 2:02
  14. 2:02
It didn't go too badly after all!

I'm not sure if all this work is paying off yet ... but I did run my fastest 5K since 2005 on Sunday (27:43, third in my age group). Same course, 24 seconds slower -- but back then, the course was too short!


Thursday, May 14, 2009

summer running

This for Take it and Run Thursday at the Runners' Lounge, we're talking about the summer. How do you transition as the weather gets warmer? How do you stay cool as the temperatures rise?

The weather in these parts gets a little weird between seasons. A few weeks ago, it seemed like we skipped spring and went straight to summer. I had to dig out my running skirts and tank tops for a few runs. Not much time for a transition!

And then it got cooler, and I was back in capri tights and jackets.

My past few runs have been perfect. Warm enough for tanks/skirts, but not to hot and low humidity. But I know it won't last. It's only a matter of time until it's hazy, hot and humid.

Once the heat really kicks in, we might just have to slow down and give our bodies some time to adjust. And always drink plenty of fluids!

During one of my first years running, we had a particularly hot summer. I got into the habit of always running with a water bottle. I used to fill a plastic bottle halfway with Gatorade and freeze it, and then top it off with water before my run. The Gatorade would keep the water cold and gradually melt as I needed it.

I haven't done that for a while -- I kind of forgot about it. It's definitely something I should keep in mind when the weather's really miserable.

And for a little post-run refreshment, pack a cooler with some face wipes on ice!

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Our second track workout was on my schedule tonight. The rain was coming down pretty hard on and off during my commute, and I kept changing mind.

Do I head to the track in the rain, or figure out the intervals and do the speed work on the treadmill?

By the time I got home, it was only lightly raining. I checked the weather radar map, and it looked like we might get a brief break. There was another patch of rain after it, so I knew I was going to get wet, but I threw on a hat and went for it.

And actually, it wasn't that bad! It was cool, but not too cold (upper 50s), so the rain wasn't miserable. Much better than the heat and humidity we had last week!

Last time, we alternated eight 400-meter laps at a fast pace with eight 400-meter slow recovery lap. This week, it was 400 meters fast / 300 meters recovery times 10. I have a 55-minute 10K goal, and for this our coach gave me a 2:02 goal pace for each fast lap.

Here's the breakdown:

Last week:
1. 1:54
2. 2:08
3. 1:59
4. 1:56
5. 2:07
6. 1:59
7. 2:00
8. 1:59

Even thought I was checking my time around each 100-meter mark, I still had a hard time finding my goal pace!

1. 1:54
2. 1:59
3. 2:03
4. 2:01
5. 2:02
6. 2:04
7. 2:04
8. 2:02
9. 2:01
10. 2:03

Much better. Maybe I'm getting the hang of this!

It probably wasn't just the cooler temperature that made this run feel better. I wasn't wiping myself out by going too fast. Even with the shorter recovery, I felt really good tonight. (I don't know if I'll say that next week, when the recovery is cut to 200 meters!)

Before my cool-down jog home (I don't live far from the track), I decided today was a good day to break out these:

margarita shots

I had low expectations, but they were actually pretty good!


Thursday, April 23, 2009

marathon madness!

No, I haven't gone mad. Well, not any more so than I already have (ahem, Goofy Challenge).

This week at the Runners' Lounge, the theme for "Take it and Run Thursday" is Boston and Marathon Madness. Runners are sharing their marathon tips and training plans.

I've only run one marathon (so far). And it's unlikely that I'll ever qualify for Boston. But I've been there, so I'll share our plan.

Since we were all first-timers (and some of us were a little reluctant), we were very conservative. We decided we would use the Galloway run/walk method for the race and all our long runs, and figured we'd use his training plan as well.

Only his plan (linked above) has changed a bit since we set up our schedule in late 2006.

I'm not sure which version is better. But I'll probably use one of them as a base for my Goofy training schedule. (I still have a little time before I have to worry about that!)

For our mid-week short runs, we ran Tuesdays and Thursdays, usually three-five miles. People wanting to work on speedier marathons would probably want to add another day or two of running per week, but I'm happy just to finish.

We normally did our long runs on Saturdays. We started a few weeks into the program because all of us had at least a 10K base. And to make it easier for me to type it up, I'm just going to start my training chart there, too.

Week 4 -- 6 Miles
Week 5 -- 7 Miles
Week 6 -- 8 Miles
Week 7 -- 9 Miles
Week 8 -- 10 Miles
Week 9 -- 11-12 Miles
Week 10 -- 6 Miles
Week 11 -- 13-14 Miles
Week 12 -- 7 Miles
Week 13 -- 15-16 Miles
Week 14 -- 8 Miles
Week 15 -- 17-18 Miles
Week 16 -- 8-10 Miles
Week 17 -- 19-20 Miles
Week 18 -- 5K or 8-10 Miles
Week 19 -- 8-9 Miles
Week 20 -- 22-23 Miles
Week 21 -- 5K or 8-10 Miles
Week 22 -- 8-10 Miles
Week 23 -- 24-26 Miles
Week 24 -- 5K or 8-10 Miles
Week 25 -- 8-10 Miles
Week 26 -- Marathon!
I liked the way it alternates longer and shorter runs. Also, I liked that during marathon training, we started thinking of our 10-mile runs as short runs!

We did get in three runs that were 20 miles or above -- we did 20, 22 and 24. I know a lot of people don't train higher than 20, but it was a real confidence booster for us. We were well prepared on race day!

But it was still hard. And it still hurt. Oh well.

I needed a little time before I was ready to sign up for another. But now I'm excited to do it again!

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

hills, interrupted

Tonight was our last hill run, with 12 repeats on the schedule.

When we started, the weather was great. It was a little cloudy, and close to 70 degrees. I was regretting my decision to wear capri tights, but that's what I packed in my gym bag and I didn't have time to change.

We ran the 1.5 miles from the running store to the bridge, commenting on what a perfect night it was.

We got through the first two or three repeats (200 meters up the bridge each), and started to notice some dark clouds rolling in. After five hills, it was looking worse. We almost called it quits after number six, but were hoping the storm would pass us.

And then as we started uphill for number seven, the wind started picking up. We all ran a little faster for that one! And on the jog back down, the rain drops started to fall.

The faster runners, who were one or two hills ahead of us, toughed it out. The back-of-the-packers decided to call it a night. The rain really started coming down -- and it was cold! No longer perfect running weather, but we had no choice. We had to run the 1.5 miles back to the store!

We started seeing lightning in the distance. Thunder started rumbling. It was getting close ... but I think we made it back before the worst of it came through.

So, only seven hills tonight instead of 12. We were all feeling good, too, and ready to tackle the workout.

Oh well ... the top of a bridge is probably not the safest place to be during a thunderstorm!


Thursday, March 26, 2009

the need for speed

I'm not a particularly fast runner. I'm usually finish races somewhere in the middle of the pack. And generally, I'm fine with that.

But it would be nice to be just a little faster.

This week at the Runners' Lounge, we're discussing tips to satisfy the need for speed. We've been asked to share "a tip, technique, training idea or magical potion" to get faster.

While a magical potion would be nice, I have found there is a simple trick to running faster.

Are you ready?

The secret to running faster ..... is to run faster!

I often find myself getting a little lazy with my running. Sure I'm out there putting in the miles several times a week, but I'm not always challenging myself. I'll just plod along at a comfortable speed.

Sometimes I run with a friend much faster than me. I can't keep up with her, but she turns back whenever she pulls too far ahead. And even though we can't run together, I always have great runs with her. I push myself a little harder, and run a bit faster.

I shocked myself the first time I "chased" her last summer, finishing four hilly miles in 36 minutes. At the time, I didn't think I could run that fast for that long. And it wasn't even that hard!

Not all of my training runs are speedy, but I've been motivated to push myself more often now that I know I can do it.

For the past few weeks, I've been running hill repeats once a week. It's part of our team runs -- for a racing team started by my local running shop. We ran seven hills this week (200 meters up a bridge), and we're working our way up to 12. And then it's time for speed work on the track. Surely this will help my speed as well.

I'm looking forward to all the spring and summer races to see if there's a difference!

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

hooray spring!

When I got up to run this morning, the sun was shining. Flowers were blooming. Pollen in the air was making my throat itch.

And it was 35 degrees.

Well, at least it looked like spring. And it did start to warm up while we were out there. I lost the gloves and earband early on, and tied my jacket around my waist after the halfway point.

Today I ran six of my miles for the Hooray Spring 6 Miler virtual race, hosted by RunningLaur.

My total distance was 10 miles, in 1:45:34. That's about 10:30 pace -- and I'm very happy with that for a training run. Actually, I just checked my stats. My last 10-mile race (last April) was 1:45:11. So it was a very good run today!

And I suppose it was really a bit better. While I did pause my watch for a water break for my running buddy (I always bring my own!), I kept it running the few times we had to wait for traffic and the one time we waited at the bottom of the bridge for the rest of our group to cross. (We needed to see how long they'd be sticking with us. There were three people running three miles, two running six, and two running the full 10.)

I stopped my iPod/Nike+ when it said I had run six miles (well, I caught it at 6.09), and my time was 1:00:59. However, I've found that while it paces me correctly when I'm running 10-minute miles or faster, it's always off when I'm running slower. That's why I run with a Garmin as well. Or maybe it's just because I'm that big of a dork.

My Garmin was only at 5.72 miles at that one-hour mark. It hit six miles at 1:03:24. This will be my official race time, since I'm pretty sure it was closer to the actual mileage.

Certainly no speed record for me for a six-miler ... but I felt great today!

Oh, and I tried a new-to-me Gu flavor during the run -- Tri-Berry. It tasted mostly like raspberry, which I found delicious. I'll be adding this flavor to my usual rotation of Vanilla Bean and Chocolate Outrage!

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