Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Running Summary and 2009 Goals

Here are my stats for 2008...

I ran
153 times for a total of
705.4 miles in
143 hours and 27 minutes.

This includes 9 races:
1, marathon (5 hours 27 minutes, Greenville, SC)
4, half marathons (best 2 hrs 28 min, ING Georgia)
1, 10K (1 hr 4 min, Lake Hartwell)
2, 5Ks (best 31:03, Colony City Chase), and
a 2-mile fun run with my daughter and our dog (30 min, Atlanta Dog Jog)

My average pace for all runs was 12:12 and my fastest pace was 9:59 (Colony City 5K).

Awards: I received 5 finisher medals for the marathon and half marathons, and a 2nd place trophy for a 5K in my hometown.

Running Goals for 2009: Run on at least 200 occassions for a total of at least 800 miles. Run a fall marathon faster than 5:27. Have an average pace of less than 12 minutes/mile. Run a 5K with a pace faster than 9:59. Have fun!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Slight mileage increase

My mileage steadily increased this week over the prior weeks in December. I didn't run as much as I had planned, but it was more than the prior week. In retrospect, it was probably good that I didn't run as much as planned, since what I did run was greater than the 10% increase rule already. My daughter will be with her dad most of next week, so I hope to get more miles in on the road, rather than the treadmill.

Miles run this week: 10.06
Days run this week: 3
Other activities: swam laps for 30 minutes

Saturday, December 20, 2008


On Sunday afternoon, a friend brought her daughter over for a girls gift-exchange party that I hosted. Sadly, I didn't get the e-vites out until a few days beforehand, so we only had 4 girls involved. While the girls were playing, my friend and I talked about a variety of topics. I've always admired her commitment to exercising. The conversation roled around from swim lessons for kids, to exercise for adults. She was telling me about her friend's husband who became an avid triathlete and how she is envious of his commitment to exercise. I shifted the topic to her, and she said she gets up early, no matter how bad she feels, and gets on the eliptical while the kids are asleep, unless it's a day that she plans to go to the gym at lunch for a particular class that she enjoys. I really admire that about her. When I don't feel well, or didn't sleep well, I reset the alarm clock rather than get up anyway.

I decided that most days of the week, I'm going to get up when the dogs wake me and jog on the treadmill. That worked Monday and Tuesday... I had limited time, but jogged 2 miles on each of those days. I decided to take a break Wednesday morning. Thursday I had some excuse... Friday I intended to run early afternoon, after the holiday party, but I went shopping instead. And now it's Saturday. I had intended to get up early and join my training team run. I did wake early, but had stayed up late Friday and wanted to go back to sleep. I convinced myself I would save money by saving gas if I just jogged alone from home later. But, I couldn't go back to sleep and eventually got up and went to Fleet Feet for a new pair of shoes. They having a training program for the ING also. I ended up signing up for that, although I'll only be able to attend half the training runs, at most. After shopping for several hours and having lunch out, I came home and took a nap. I woke at 4 p.m. and immediately put on running clothes. I did a slow, easy 3 mile jog. Why are my legs a little sore? I can't believe I let myself get this out of shape after all the hard work I put into the marathon. Oh well, 2009 will be better...

Miles run this week: 7.03
Days run this week: 3

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Easy sunrise jog on Vero Beach

I'm on a business trip this week in Vero Beach, FL. The former project manager recommended an inn on the beach. He said it wasn't luxurious, but it was clean, on the beach, and the rate was within our allowable limit. He was right. Last night, after dinner, I sat on a chair outside my room on the third floor, overlooking the ocean. I read for hours until I couldn't stay awake. It was so peaceful. I set my alarm to wake before sunrise. I got up, dressed, and headed for the beach. I didn't have a lot of time, so I only did a 2 mile jog. It was slow, but very enjoyable. At the end of my jog, I noticed my elf watching the sunrise over the ocean. Too cool!

Miles run this week: 2.05
Days run this week: 1

Sunday, December 7, 2008

low mileage week

I'm in a slump. I only jogged 3 miles this week, on the treadmill on Tuesday morning.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

post half marathon

I went for a slow jog today. 4.76 miles in an hour. I walked a good bit.

Miles run this week: 17.86
Days run this week: 2

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Atlanta Half Marathon 2008

I should have known better than to sign up for a half marathon with so little running completed during the past month. But I did it more out of resurrecting happy memories of running the race in years past. It's been quite a long time since I've participated in this event. I arrived at the starting line early and felt good. I chatted with a few women standing near me, sharing stories of running and Thanksgiving meal preparation. Around 7 miles I ate the jelly sports beans they were handing out. I had grabbed two packs and ate one. I loved the orange flavor and I thought it was exactly what I needed. Unfortunately, I started feeling nauseous a mile later. At 10 miles I ate the other pack in the hopes that it would make me feel better. But I started feeling even worse. At mile 11 I vomited and slowed to a combination of walking/jogging. I learned my lesson about not trying anything new on race day. I vomited again at mile 12 and barely made it to the finish line, in 2 hours and 43 minutes. I grabbed some cheese/peanut butter crackers at the finish chute and hoped they would settle my stomach. I still felt quesy walking to the MARTA station and prayed I wouldn't vomit on the train. Thankfully I kept things down for the rest of the day and began feeling better an hour or two later. What a major disappointment! I decided that even it I hadn't been sick, I've lost a lot of fitness over the past month and I'm nowhere near where I need to be physically to complete the Disney marathon in January. I'm going to postpone that race until 2010 when hopefully I'll be in better shape and a friend or relative will be able to go with me to babysit Kyra while I run. Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Loss of motivation

I've lost my motivation to run. I've only jogged once this week, for a mere 2.4 miles on the treadmill. I'm registered for the Atlanta Half Marathon on Thanksgiving. Maybe that will get me back into the mood.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

3 weeks after the marathon

I only jogged twice this week. The first time was on Tuesday for a mere 2.11 miles. I felt good, but was short on time so I had to limit the distance. I did get in a good strength training session at the gym beforehand. My second run of the week was today, 2.5 miles on the treadmill at the gym. I jogged the first mile, but my knee hurt. I did a strength training workout beforehand so wonder if I stressed something in my knee. Pain wasn't intense, but I didn't want to risk it and slowed to a fast walk after the first mile. Walked at an incline until I had to leave to go get Kyra. Afterwards, balls of feet were stinging. Guess they rubbed during the walking on the incline.
Total distance this week: 4.61 miles

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

First run after marathon

I thought about going for a light jog on Halloween, but had too many other things going on. Today was my first run post marathon. I ran 4.18 miles and it felt good! My original goal was 4 miles. When I realized it would be completely dark at 1 mile, I almost turned around to go back home for a total of 2 miles. But the 1 mile mark was near the high school and I saw lights on at the football field/track. I took a chance and jogged to the field. They were painting stripes on the field for an upcoming game and several people were walking around the track, so I ran 6 laps around the brightly lit track (to meet my goal distance) and then returned home. Great run!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The day after the Spinx Run Fest marathon

My legs and joints are sore, but not nearly as much as I thought they would be. I can walk, but I laughed when I couldn't lift my left leg into the car, after I was seated. I had to pick it up with my hand and help it into the floor well. I was too euphoric to sleep much last night. I am surprised. I thought I would sleep for days... I woke early, without an alarm, and went ahead and showered and packed and left the hotel to drive home. Later, I picked up three friends of Kyra's and took them to her birthday party which her dad and step-mom were hosting at the horse ranch where she takes riding lessons. It was a very small party of just a few of her closest friends. I was happy beyond words when my friend Ty gave me a card at the party, congratulating me on the accomplishment. I spent most of the time at the party talking to her about the race. And when my orthopaedic surgeon/friend and his wife dropped their daughter off at the party, he was very happy for me too. I'm still in a state of euphoria and tears came to my eyes at random times throughout the day due to my amazement of my accomplishment of this long-term dream.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Spinx Run Fest Marathon!

Saturday... I had set my alarm clock for 6 a.m., but woke up at 5:30. I showered and then changed tops three times before deciding to wear the race technical t-shirt instead of one of the ones that I had brought. I stuffed clif bars and shots into one pocket of the wind/rain jacket and my cell phone, money, and hotel room key in a zip lock back into the other pocket. The pockets had zippers, so I didn't have to worry about anything falling out and getting lost. A little before seven, after pinning my race number onto my shorts and lacing my timing chip onto my left shoe, I went down to a light breakfast. I thought the hotel breakfast area would be packed, but there were only a few people. I ate half a bagel with cream cheese and a bowl of berries. I was too nervous to eat much. I took my hotel room complimentary water bottle with me and then set off to walk to the race start. It was cool and I was so glad I bought this jacket. About half-way there, an older man caught up with me and we chatted about running as we walked. He said he's only been running for three years, but this is his 15th marathon. Wow!

I nervously stared out onto Fluor field while waiting for the start. At about ten minutes until 8, they announced that racers should head to the starting line at markley and main st intersection. I went to the starting line feeling good, but nervous. I reminded myself to start out slow and just go at a slow and steady pace. When I crossed the starting line I felt huge excitement that I was beginning my first marathon! The first mile was mostly downhill but I held my pace back as I knew I should. I warmed up during that first mile and took off the jacket while still running, and tied it around my waist. It was big and the stuffed pockets bounced off my legs. After a few minutes I remembered my last experience of running with with a minor irritation and knew that I needed to fix the problem NOW, not wait until later. I stopped and rolled the jacket and then tied it around my waist so it wasn't flapping any more. I decided to not take planned walking breaks like I had in my training runs, but to walk only when needed and at hydration stations. This turned out to be a great tactic. I felt great the majority of the race. I stayed adequately fueled and hydrated and didn't have any major chaffing or blisters. I drank two cups of sports beverage at each hydration station (about every 2 miles) and sipped on my water bottle as needed, refilling it at hydration stations as needed also. I ate a clif shot, gu gel or half of a clif bar every hour beginning at the 45 minute point. The race started out at 55 degrees and overcast. Misting rain occurred during the first 3ish hours. It was just a light mist that didn't really bother me since my hat prevented it from blowing into my face. The temperature was perfect! The first four miles seemed like they were all down hill and I worried about the hills that had to be ahead. There eventually were hills, but they were gradual and not as bad as I had anticipated. The majority of the course was along the Reedy River and through parks. Other portions were through downtown Greenville. I thought the course was beautiful! I especially liked the path along the river that had a softer track to the side of the asphalt path. I took advantage of that extra cushioning. The course was well marked, with lots of volunteers, and police blocking intersections. I walked up a few hills in the first loop, but more the second time around. The course was a 13 mile loop, that marathoners did twice. I felt strong at the half, but noticed the runners dwindled significantly as most entered the stadium for the half-marathon finish while much fewer runners continued on in the marathon. There were only 234 people who completed the marathon and they were all spread out along the course. The second half was a little lonely and I was getting a little delirious. At times I wondered if I was still on the right course or if I missed a turn. But before I got too far down that train of though I would see a volunteer or an arrow marker and knew I was still on the right track. When I lost sight of anyone in front of me as well as behind me it was really weird. I kept telling myself that I was doing great, feeling good, and running strong; which I truly believed. It was a good run. On the second lap, I even passed a few people and only one passed me back. This woman had slowed to a walk just shy of 14 miles and when I passed her, I told her she was doing awesome. In the 20s, she caught up to me and said, "Hey, this is my friend xxxxx, she's fresh/hasn't been running/ and came out to help me get through these last few miles. You're welcome to tag along if you'd like." I did for a few minutes, but then realized couldn't keep the pace and let them go on ahead. I jogged along great, with minimal walking during the first 17 miles. At this point is where the uphills began and I walked up most of them. I still kept strong, though. At mile 23 I could here Kyra saying, "3 miles is an easy distance for you, right mom?" She's said this quite a few times when I've gone for a "short 3 mile run". 3 miles seems like forever to her, but she knows it's short for me based on the long runs I've been doing. So for that entire 23rd mile I kept repeating "3 miles is easy, piece of cake". At one point, a cop was directing traffic to turn right and I wasn't sure if I was supposed to go straight or turn so I asked him. He smiled and said, "You're the leader of the pack. Go straight." I laughed thinking there are advantages to smaller attended long races. At about 2 miles to go, a volunteer delivering chicken sandwiches to other volunteers offered one to me. The thought of it made me feel like vomiting so I politely declined. I kept telling myself, 2 miles is easy... When I got to the high shool track to make the loop around it once (for the second time), I was the only one on the track. The woman that had passed me was exiting the track as I was entering it. I wondered if I was the last one, but remembered that I had passed several other people earlier, they just must be out of my distance. During the last mile I actually passed a few more people. By now, they were walking and didn't look like they were going to start running again. I was feeling elated that I actually was going to finish this race, and finish it feeling strong. I picked up the pace as best I could, which wasn't by much, but was a little bit. When I entered the field, tears welled up. I can't believe I accomplished this! I rounded the outfield and heard my name and home town announced and just wished my sister were with me. I looked at the clock as I headed towards the finish line beside home plate and attempted to sprint. It was not an all out sprint, but it was a faster pace to get me across the finish line in 5 hours 27 minutes and 02 seconds!

I cried. I achieved my goals! #1, I finished! #2, I wasn't last. #3, I did it in under 6 hours. After receiving my finishing medal and having the volunteer remove my timing chip from my shoe, I went to the bathroom and then headed for the food table. I wasn't hungry, but the hot grits looked delicious. I filled a styrofoam cup with grits, grabbed a water bottle, and then sat down in the stands to watch other runners finish. I first called Kyra and told her my exciting news. She sounded distracted (she was painting), but she said she was happy for me. I fought back tears thanking her for her encouragement during the past few months and telling her how her words helped me through the last few miles. After talking to her I called my sister. She answered the phone "you're alive?" She was very happy for me and I kept telling her that I wished she had been here. Then I just sat, soaking up the sun, in the bleacher seat until what was probably the last runner crossed the finish line. It was probably in the low to mid 60s now; beautiful weather. And then I accomplished goal #4, I proudly was able to walk the half mile back to the hotel, feeling amazed and feeling only a little pain. I was exhausted, my muscles and joints ached from such a long event, but it was the pushed to the near limit soreness, not the pain of an injury. And I honestly anticipated the soreness would be much worse than it actually was. Yippee!!!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Day before the Spinx Run Fest Marathon

Friday... The day started out as a typical commute back to Atlanta from Wilmington normally does. However, I arrived at the airport to find out my flight would be delayed because of thunderstorms. Thankfully, it was only an hour delay... I left the airport around 2:45 and debated about stopping by the house to pick up some long sleeve shirts and a wind/rain jacket, but decided I should probably head straight to Greenville instead. I wanted to get there in time to pick up my race packet, have a decent dinner, and go to bed early. But... traffic was HORRIBLE! It was very slow for miles, and then came to a complete stop at the I-85/I-985 split. I was able to merge over and get on I-985 north and was so greatful that I've got GPS in my car. I went several miles out of the way to get around the accident that I had heard on the radio was at the hamilton mill road exit. By now it was after 5 p.m. and I was getting really worried that I wouldn't make it to Greenville by 8, when the packet pick-up/expo ended. I picked up a burger and fries and ate while stressing. Then I ended up on 2-lane roads to get back to I-85, above the accident exit. But for quite a stretch, this road was very slow moving too. I called my sister's house to ask her to look on the internet to see if I could pick up my race packet in the morning. If not, I was seriously considering turning around and going back home. I left a message and a little while later her husband called me back saying that he looked it up and I could pick up the race packet in the morning starting at 6 a.m. So I continued travelling... Once I got back on I-85, traffic flowed smoothly to Greenville. It was raining lightly. I pulled into a parking spot at Fluor field at 7:30 p.m. I picked up my race number, t-shirt, timing chip, etc. and then browsed the goods for sale. It was cool and still raining lightly. They had light-weight wind/rain jackets on sale. The smallest size was a men's medium, which was too big for me, but I bought it anyway. I also bought two clif bars and then left to find the hotel. An expo worker told me that the hotel was just a half-mile away and pointed in the direction that I needed to go. However, it took me a long time to find it. It only had a tiny sign and the entrance was on Camperdown although the address said Riverplace. I had driven up and down the nearby River St many times and couldn't find it. But I eventually did. I checked in and went to the room. The room was nice, but I was disappointed that there wasn't a tub, only a shower. I like to soak in the tub after long runs... I almost came to the conclusion that too many things had gone wrong and that I shouldn't run tomorrow. I was exhausted and couldn't think straight. I then forced myself to change my mental attitude, go to bed, and mentally prepare for a great race.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Monday - Thursday before the Spinx Run Fest Marathon

Boy was this week an emotional roller coaster! I was doubting my abilities after that poor 20-mile long run two weeks ago where I walked the last three miles entirely, and parts of the prior miles as well. Tuesday night I did my planned 3 miles on the treadmill as soon as we arrived home. It had been a stressful day at work and I needed to work that out so I ran a little harder than usual. Near bedtime I started packing my suitcase for a business trip as well as race weekend since I would be leaving for Greenville immediately after returning to Atlanta from Wilmington. When it came time to pack my running clothes, both for during the week and the race, I started to panic. Kyra reassured me that I was well prepared and that I would do great. Kids are awesome! The next day, Wednesday, I flew to North Carolina. I got on the rental car bus with my luggage, but when we arrived at the car location, my luggage was missing! I freaked out because my race shoes, etc. were in there. It turns out that the driver had accidentally pulled off my bag, with other passengers, at the terminal after the one he picked me up yet, thinking that it belonged to one of the passengers that was exiting the bus. I got back on the bus to drive around to that terminal in hopes that it would still be there. Thankfully, someone saw it it called my cell phone (on my luggage tag) and they stood with it until we arrived back at that terminal. A moment of relief... It was getting dark when I finally arrived at the hotel, so I opted not to run tonight. I got up Thursday morning and went to the beach at sunrise. I had planned to jog 2 miles on the beach. The sand was not as hardpacked as it usually is in the mornings. I started out jogging, but switched to walking when at a half-mile I received a phone call from Kenya. I decided to just turn around and walk and call it a major taper week.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

1 week til Spinx Run Fest Marathon

I only ran twice this week. I had planned to do more, but it just didn't happen... I got in a great 6.05 miles on Wednesday and a less than exciting 5 miles on the treadmill on Saturday. After my treadmill run we went to look at golden retriever puppies. And guess what, Kyra found the one she wanted... See our other blog for that adventure...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

2 weeks til Spinx Run Fest Marathon

My motivation to run is waning early this week... I took a vacation day on Tuesday to chaperone Kyra's field trip. The field trip was a lot more fun than going to work... As you can see from this Civil War demonstration of soldiers sleeping next to each other to keep warm, the girls had huge belly laughs watching two boy classmates being pushed together on a sleeping mat. Later in the afternoon I planned to do a 4-miler on the treadmill, but just couldn't get into it and quit at 1.5 miles. I was missing Kyra before she even left to go spend 5 nights with her dad. So I quit running with the excuse that I needed to spend more quality time with her, while I could.

Wednesday evening I was grateful my motivation had returned! I took Tasha out for a 2-mile jog, although we walked most of the last half-mile. I let her set the pace. I dropped her back off at home and ran a lap around the block (1 mile) to accomplish a total of 3.05 miles. I celebrated afterwards with dinner at my favorite Mexican restaurant.

Thursday, I decided to do a long run on the treadmill while watching my favorite TV show, Grey's Anatomy. I had dinner around 6 p.m. At about 9:30 p.m., half-way into the show/my run, I had an immediate feeling of hypoglycemia. I quickly consumed a Clif Shot, but it was too late. I walked for 10 more minutes and then gave up. 3.23 miles in 40 minutes.

Although I like my Amphipod hydration belt, it just doesn't hold enough liquid for runs over 3 hours in the warm weather. Friday after work, with my 20% off coupon from REI, I purchased a Camelbak Trinity for women which holds 100 oz of liquid and has lots of cargo space.

I decided to go to a place I'd never run before for my longest run of my life. Saturday morning I went to the Columbus Riverwalk. It's over two hours away from my house, but I needed a new setting. I hoped to catch up with an old friend while in the area, but I couldn't reach him when I called Friday night.
I LOVED the path along the Chattahoochee River! It was fairly flat and very scenic. The Camelbak allowed me to pack my camera and I was able to get a few shots of nature. I saw quite a few beautiful birds, but they flew away before I could grap my camera to snap a photo. There is one in the distance on the other side of the river in this photo if you look close enough. It was on my side of the river when I first came up on it, but by the time I got my camera out, I flew to the other side. I loved the Earth Art and really appreciated finding a clean restroom here. I felt good for the first 7 miles, then slowed taking more frequent walk breaks for the next 10 miles, and then walked the last three miles wondering how I am ever going to be able to run 6 more miles in a marathon in two weeks. I loved the Camelbak, once I got the straps adjusted so it sat snuggly on my back. I ate Clif bars instead of clif shots and felt like I had plenty of fuel. I ate salt with water and much preferred that over sports drinks. But my knees, muscles and feet hurt from such a long distance and refused to trot the last few miles. Since I went 10 miles then turned around, I didn't have the option of cutting the distance short. Hopefully the excitement of the race and proximity of other runners will get me through the marathon. I was so tired driving home that I feared falling asleep at the wheel. I don't recall ever feeling this physically exhausted. Back at home, I took care of the pets, took a shower, and climbed into bed at 6:30 p.m.
Total miles for this week: 27.7
Total runs for this week: 4

Monday, October 6, 2008

3 weeks til Spinx Run Fest Marathon

Since I didn't get much running in last week, I mixed up the schedule for this week. Monday is normally a rest day, but since my last run was on Friday, I decided to run on Monday instead. I flew from Atlanta to Raleigh-Durham and then drove to Wilmington, NC on Monday. I checked into my hotel late afternoon, changed into running clothes and headed to "The Loop" at Wrightsville Beach. I felt energetic and strong. I completed three laps around "The Loop" as it became dark, making a total of 7.5 miles. I had enough energy to continue another lap or more, but don't feel comfortable running after dark. I finished strong and proud and vowed to run each night during my stay, but that didn't pan out.

Tuesday my shins were a little sore. I alternate running shoes and tonight was the night for a pair of shoes that I haven't had great success with. They are light-weight, which is a bonus for races or short runs, but not so great for longer distances. Almost immediately, I felt the pounding in my shins which worsened as the distance increased. At about 2-miles around The Loop, I headed to the beach instead of continuing on concrete. The sand was very soft and hard to run in from that aspect. I decided to just go for a long walk on the beach rather than struggle through soft sand or pound my legs further on hard concrete. I walked until dark, which ended up totalling 5 miles for the day, about 6 minutes longer than the 7.5 mile jog from yesterday. I'll chalk it up to a cross-training day. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day for running. On the positive side, I picked up a cool green stone for Kyra and I listened to the Ultradad podcast for the first time and really enjoyed episodes 1-3. The beach appeared to be eroded. I wonder if it is because of the recent storms...

Thursday, after flying back to ATL, I stopped by Stone Mountain on my way home with the intention of running around the mountain once (5 miles) since I was limited on time. But half-way around, the road was closed for paving. I turned around and then noticed a trail through the woods. I had seen it on a map, but had never explored it so I decided to give it a try. At first I was thrilled to be running through the woods. But after twisting my ankle on a rocky patch, stubbing my toe on a root, and then coming to a steep ascent up the mountain, I had had enough and turned around to make my way back to the car. Total distance = 5.5 miles.

On Saturday, Kyra, Tasha and I participated in the Atlanta Dog Jog 2-mile fun run at Piedmont Park. We ran the 1-mile race last year and really enjoyed it. Kyra was confident she could do two miles this year so I registered us for that. We had a lot of fun, except for the part when we thought we had gone the wrong way. Kyra's a sprinter and doesn't seem to understand how to maintain a slower pace, and to be honest, neither does Tasha. So we alternated sprinting with walking. We didn't win, we weren't last, and we had a blast.

Miles run this week: 20

Days run this week: 4

Sunday, September 28, 2008

4 weeks til Spinx Run Fest Marathon

Well, as I'm typing this, I'm out of town, away from my home computer. If my PDA is accurate, it looks like I only ran twice this week. When I return home, I'll check my running log and make any edits necessary to this blog.

Wednesday, 9/24, I started my run on the treadmill because it was getting dark when I arrived home. Immediate impact was painful to my legs. At a half-mile, I wondered if running on the road would be better for my legs or if I should just skip tonight. When I went upstairs, my dog Tasha, was incredibly excited seeing me in running gear, and was wagging her tail by the door. So I decided to just go for a "fun run" with her. I put on her harness and out the door we went. My goal was 2 miles because I haven't run with her in many months and I didn't want to over-do it. We headed out the door and at the 1-mile mark, she was still going strong so we continued on to 1.5 miles and then turned around. I let her set the pace. She pulled me briskly down the hill much faster than I would have gone alone in the dark. For that, I was grateful! Shortly after 2 miles she started slowing down. We alternated jogging with walking for the last mile. What started out as a not so great run on the treadmill, turned into a great run/walk with Tasha. It certainly wasn't a PR pace, but it was a truly wonderful bonding experience. I need to take her out on more runs. (Total miles 9/24 = 0.5 + 3.17 = 3.67)

Thursday was a long day at work. I had hoped to leave early to get a run in, but that didn't happen.

I took Friday off of work completely. My goal was for a 15 mile run in the morning. After dropping my daughter off at school, I went to Stone Mountain for a challenging run. I got there later than I had hoped to and also had more things that I needed to accomplish before our trip than when I set my goal the day before. So my 15-mile goal was downgraded to 10-miles. I started out strong, but the last few miles were painful due to chafing in an area that I thought I had applied Body Glide. I finished the 10 miles feeling energetic, but had raw pain. I called it quits and had lunch at Ponko Chicken before searching for an hour for a gas station that actually had gas. I was astonished at how many stations were empty! I finally found one with gas and had to wait in line for a half-hour to fill up. This made me even more grateful that I decided to go with 10 miles (2 loops) rather than 15 miles (3 loops). I was beginning to wonder if I would have to cancel our weekend plans... Then back home to shower and finish packing... After school, I picked my daughter up and we went straight to Southern Cross Ranch. We had our choice of three rooms and we picked the Seminole Room which had a great view of the pasture. We ate dinner, played scrabble, and actually watched the McCain/Obama debate until we both were too tired to stay awake any longer.

Saturday morning we had breakfast and then went to the stables for our first ride of the day. We were happy to see Britta! When we were at Southern Cross Ranch this summer, Britta was our favorite guide. She took us trotting and cantering (my first) and truly made the rides a wonderful experience. My daughter really enjoyed riding with her and asked for her specifically on other rides during our vacation. She had only been at the ranch for a week, on a 3-month work/visit from Germany. She told us this summer that October 9th would be her last day so we said we'd come back before she left. So we spent Saturday, 9/27, horseback riding through the trails at the ranch with Britta, trotting and cantering on numerous occassions. I talked about running with another guest who ran a marathon once many years ago, but I didn't actually run today, nor had I planned to.

I wanted to run on Sunday, but had too many things to do to get ready for my upcoming trip to Wilmington, NC. I spent the day doing housework instead. I also struggled with looking at my schedule and the training plan. The Hal Higdon Novice plan calls for a long run of 20 miles next Sunday. My daughter will be with me that day, but will be with her dad the following weekend, so I think I'll postpone the 20-miler by a week so I don't spend an entire day running on the treadmill with her watching TV, when I can be having quality time with her.

Miles run this week: 13.67
Days run this week: 2

Sunday, September 21, 2008

5 weeks til Spinx Run Fest Marathon

Once upon a time, in the spring of 2008, my friend Ty talked me into signing up for the Walt Disney World marathon in January 2009. (Or did I convince her to do it one more year?) Our familes would all go and we would have a great vacation, culminating in her husband and our kids watching us finish the marathon. What a grand dream! But sadly, she destroyed her knee and now running is just a dream for her future...

I tried to talk my sister into joining us, but she convinced me to do the Spinx Run Fest marathon in Greenville, SC in October 2008. Disney was too far of a drive for her with young twins in their first year of kindergarten. Since she was going to do the marathon in Greenville, I decided to join her and registered for it shortly afterwards, reserving an expensive hotel room in downtown Greenville, just blocks from the start/finish.

A week ago, my sister called me to tell me she spent the afternoon at the emergency room and was diagnosed with double pneumonia. She said she put off calling me because it would be relaying that she most likely won't be able to do the marathon with me. I sensed the nervousness in her voice and tried to reassure her that her healing was much more important than running a marathon in October 2008. There are thousands more that will be held in the future. I could empathize with her on another level. I've had to back out of several marathons because of injuries. I had planned to run the Sarasota marathon in March 2008, but due to another meniscus tear, I had to down-grade. I really should have cancelled all-together, but instead, I did the half-marathon so I would have a weekend event with my sister. My daugher heard bits and pieces of the conversation, and afterwards asked me if I would still run the marathon without her Aunt. I told her I hadn't really had enough time to think about it. (She's heard me complain lately about how hard the long runs have been.) She told me that I had put in many hours of training, and I'm not injured, so she thought I should continue training and do it. The Greenville marathon is not one that I would have chosen on my own for my first marathon, because the course description mentions hilly. But, I have paid the registration fee and have been training towards it. My long runs in the past few weeks have not been great, but after talking to my daughter Monday night, she instilled in me a stronger ambition.
I didn't complete the entirety of my planned runs this week, but did run as much as I could. Tuesday I ran my scheduled 4 miles. Wednesday I only ran 6 (instead of 9) because I slept too late and had to work. Thursday was another ill day. Friday I ran 3 miles in the evening on the treadmill.

I typically do my long runs on Sunday's but we had plans to go to Silver Cloud Farm that day, so I did my long run on Saturday instead. I planned to do it Saturday morning, but I had an upset stomach. I felt better in the afternoon. I began my 18-mile treadmill run around 4:30 p.m. I expected that my daughter would have made herself dinner, but she didn't. She came to the basement when I was at 16.73 miles. I told her I had 1.27 miles to go. She cheered me on and said she was waiting on me to have dinner with her. I was truly delirious at that point. I somehow made it to 18 miles. Thanks to the snickers bar, Clif Shot, Virginia Tech vs UNC football game, CSI Miami, and running podcasts for getting me through the distance. It was easier and faster than my last few long runs. Maybe Snickers Rulz!

Miles run this week: 32.01
Days run this week: 5

Sunday, September 14, 2008

6 weeks til Spinx Marathon

Well, I had grand plans to blog regularly, but that hasn't happened. So I'll start here and maybe work my way back (or forward). I'm attempting to follow the Hal Higdon Novice marathon training plan, but if I start posting backwards, you'll quickly notice that I'm using it more as a guide than an absolute. My training week starts on Monday. This week was scheduled to be a "step back" week, according to the training schedule. However, I stepped back a lot farther than the plan suggested. I did get in 4 runs this week, but most of them weren't as long as they were supposed to be. My feet were still killing me after last Sunday's run. I did get in a great 4-mile run on Wrightsville Beach at sunrise on Tuesday, while my co-worker went for a leisurely walk. This photo doesn't do the magnificent sunrise justice. My phone camera doesn't produce nearly as nice photos as my digital camera. Because of traveling with a co-worker and the sun rising later than it used to, I changed my scheduled 8-miler to a 3-mile speed work session on the beach at sunrise on Wednesday morning. I had planned to get up early Saturday and run the 10-mile ATC race, but I opted to sleep late instead. I've been incredibly tired this week. Because my heels hurt so badly during Saturday's afternoon attempted run, I had low expectations for Sunday's long run. I went to a trail that I've never run on for a change, the Suwannee Greenway. I went slow on purpose to explore the trail and limit additional damage to my feet. I really like this trail, just wish it were longer... On the positive side, my feet didn't hurt nearly as bad in my Nike's as they have been in my NB 903.

Day (Schedule) Actual, location
Monday (off day) off day
Tuesday (4 miles) 4 miles, Wrightsville Beach
Wednesday (8 miles) 3 miles speed work, Wrightsville Beach
Thursday (4 miles) off day/travel
Friday (off day) off day
Saturday (cross train) 2 miles, near home
Sunday (12 miles) 7.76 miles, Suwannee Greenway
Miles run this week: 16.76
Days run this week: 4

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Turtle crossing

On my 5.65-mile run today, I encountered this turtle crossing the sidewalk! I didn't have my camera with me, but did have my cell phone so I snapped a quick low-quality photo. One of the things that I love about running is the surprises you find along the way.

Happy birthday Rachel!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Week 1 post ING Georgia Half Marathon

Welcome to! My two primary objectives are to lose weight and complete my first marathon. I had hoped to complete my first marathon by age 30, but pregnancy postponed that dream. Years later I resumed training, signed up for a race, but was forced to withdraw before even starting due to a torn ACL and meniscus. After recovering from ACL replacement/meniscus repair, my new goal was marathon before age 40. But unfortunately, a new meniscus tear postponed my dream to hopefully, marathon at age 40. I'm beginning to blog my journey here.

It's been one week since my last half marathon (3rd this year) and I'm reverting to recover mode. Then I plan to slowly build back up in mileage because I think I overdid it during the past 2 months. I truly think I pushed too hard too soon after my meniscus injury. I ran twice last week, 2 miles on Friday and 3 miles on Sunday. I plan to jog 3 times next week with a planned total of 10 miles. I'm registered for the 2009 Walt Disney Marathon (January 11, 2009). It will be my first marathon, unless I decide to pick another one in October to do as well.

Here's a brief history of my races so far this year...

Wow... I completed the ING Georgia Half Marathon on 3/30/08 faster than the 2 other Halfs that I've done this year. 2:28:04. It was a chilly 45 degrees, but felt good running. I couldn't stop shivering afterwards though. Thankfully the rain stopped about an hour before the race began. I ran for 65ROSES, on behalf of my friend Susan. The emotions were overflowing. Crowd support was awesome, especially the garage bands! We are still accepting contributions, so if you'd like to make a 100% tax deductible contribution, go to and donate in my name: Samantha. The photo to the left is of me and Susan at my 40th birthday dinner celebration, 3 days before the race. I am grateful that many of my friends, and their daughters, helped me celebrate being "over the hill". Now if I could only run over-the-hill faster...

My second half marathon of the year was the Sarasota Half Marathon on 3/2/08. Last summer I registered for the full marathon, but my injury in December caused me to down-grade to the half. I probably would have cancelled all together if my sister hadn't signed up to do the half just before my injury. I enjoyed the weekend get-away with Laura. My goal was to finish a little faster than the Run the Reagan. I succeeded with a time of 2:36:32. In most pictures, I was smiling!

My first half marathon of the year was the Run the Reagan Half Marathon on 2/16/08. I jogged it only a few weeks after resuming running after an injury. In December 2007, I tore my right medial meniscus and went through a series of three injections of OrthoVisc, which thankfully, helped tremendously. I did the Reagan as a test run to see if I'd be able to complete the Sarasota half marathon two weeks later. I felt good the first 6 miles but slowed down after that and ended up walking the entire last mile. I thought of my mom a lot during this race. It used to be held in October. I've run this race 3 times now. The first time I ran it was October 21, 1995. My mom's birthday is 10/20. I remember thinking of her a lot during that first Reagan. The second time I ran it was 10/11/2003. I ran that one with my friend Steve. I finished the 2008 race in 2:46:28, much slower than the previous two, but also less prepared. Although it was in February this year, I still thought of mom most of the way. I miss her!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Run the Reagan half-marathon

What was I thinking??? Attempting to Run the Reagan half-marathon with only two weeks of running post knee-injury rehabilitation. I did it for a "test run" before the Sarasota half-Marathon scheduled with my sister in early March. I completed it in a depressing time, more than 30 minutes slower than the last time I attempted it several years ago. I walked the last mile, but jogged the 0.1-mile to the finish. But I did finish. Before it, I had considered doing the Fargo Marathon in May. But now I know that I need more than 2 months of training before attempting a full marathon. I lost so much fitness in the 6-8 weeks that I wasn't able to run due to excruciating knee pain. But I am grateful that I can finally run again, although slowly. It can only get better... Maybe the Nike Women's Marathon in October???