Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Year End Review

Well, I didn't make my mileage goals for 2009, but I did exceed the miles run in 2008. Why not? I was very sick in March and injured my leg in October. But I did run more in 2009 than I did last year, so I consider it a success. I learned this year that I shouldn't set exact mileage goals. My goals for next year are simply to run farther or faster than I did in 2009. Now that I'm working with a running coach, that should be easy to achieve as long as I don't have any lengthy illnesses or injuries...

My totals for 2009 are: 171 runs, 731.6 miles. I didn't break any personal records (PRs) in races this year. But I came close in the Peachtree Road Race 10K. That was the race of the year for me in terms of performance. It was awesome! I was highly disappointed in my finish time for the Chicago marathon, but it was totally due to injury. I was set to finish in 5-5:15, but the pain was just too intense so I slowed to a walk for the last two miles. It was a disappointing finishing time, but one of the most amazing/memorable vacations we've had. What fun to share this experience with my daughter and our friends!

Looking forward to a more amazing year in 2010!

December 2009 Summary


December 2009: 21 runs, 81.7 miles

December ranks the 3rd highest month for mileage in 2009.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

It's Complicated

This week started off great, but didn't end as well as hoped. I completed the first three runs as Coach Josh scheduled, but had an upset stomach over the weekend which eliminated my long run. Bummer... I'm frustrated. Is this a virus or do I have food allergies/intollerances? If it's a food issue, what is the trigger? This seems to happen way too often...

Monday: Rest day. But I didn't exactly rest... Took my daughter ice skating. We used to go often before I tore my ACL. I've always enjoyed ice skating, but was afraid to go again for a few years after my knee surgery. I was afraid I would fall and tear it again, even though skating was not the cause of my ACL tear. But that fear didn't even enter my mind when I had the idea for us to go now. Kyra goes roller blading with day care a lot and she glided easily across the ice rink. We had a blast skating for about an hour. We should do this more often!

Tuesday: 4 miles = 0.5 mile warm-up, 3 x 1-mile hard runs, cool down. I went to the local middle school for this run since the high school track was occupied and I really didn't want to do it on the treadmill and our neighborhood mile loop is hilly. I did a half-mile warm-up, walked 1-2 minutes, did a hard mile (9:47), walked 2 minute, did another hard mile (9:51), walked 2 minutes, did a last hard mile (9:43), and walked to the car. I haven't run mile repeats in decades! I went at a moderate pace for the first half-mile and then picked it up from there. I pushed the hardest on the last mile and felt like vomiting afterwards. Wow, 3 miles in less than 10 minutes/mile; cool!

Wednesday: 2.04 miles easy with the dogs. Took Tasha for 1 mile; she had to poop twice and pee several times which resulted in 12:16. Picked up the pace with Riley on another loop around the neighborhood to get the average pace to under 12 minutes/mile.

Thursday: 5 miles in 57:35 on the treadmill. Yay, finally remembered to do plyos (20 skip strides, 1 set of high knees, 1 set of butt kicks). Then did 0.5-mile warm-up (started at 3 mph and gradually increased to 5.2 mph), 2 miles at 5.2 mph, 2 miles at 5.5 mph, then 0.5 mile cool down.

Friday: rest day. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Saturday: sick day. Was supposed to run 8 miles today, but had an upset stomach. Hoping I can run the 8 miles tomorrow instead...

Sunday: 2.2 miles in 27:28. I thought Terri had said that we would go see the movie "It's Complicated", today at 3 p.m. So I set out for an 8-mile run a little after 11 a.m. I would have had plenty of time. But... Terri called me about 1-mile into the run and said the movie started at 1 p.m. I was having a hard time getting into the run, my shins were hurting and I didn't feel the greatest. So I gladly, slowly, returned home to shower and meet her and her mom at the theater. I thought that maybe I would make up the run this evening, but my tummy had other plans. Is this a 48-hour bug or do I have food allergies/intollerances?

Summary:
Days run this week: 4
Miles run this week: 13.24
Highlight of the week: 1-mile repeats at the middle school track
Goal for next week: complete all scheduled runs

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I'm committed

I decided to take a plunge and hire a running coach. I've heard great things about Coach Josh, aka Speedy Sasquatch, so I decided to give him a try. I committed on Monday. He asked me what my running plan was for the week and I sent it to him. He made just a few minor changes and entered the week's plan into Buckeye Outdoors. He said normally he provides paces for the runs, but since we're just getting started, he'll evaluate my running this week and provide pace guidelines for next week. Sounds good to me!

Monday: rest day

Tuesday: 5 mile intervals in 1:00:55. Treadmill: 1 mile warm-up, 6 x (3 minutes at 6 mph + 2 minutes walking recovery at 3 mph), 1.6 mile cool down at 5.2 mph.

Wednesday: 2.03 miles in 25:32, around the neighborhood with Riley (golden retriever). Now I remember why I should only take him on morning runs. Too many distractions! He tried to chase after squirrels, cats, dart away from the big-brown-truck-man, etc. It was like running an obstacle course trying not to trip over him.

Thursday: Rest day. I was supposed to run 4 miles today, but I was sick (and so was my daughter). Decided it would be best to rest today (which was planned for tomorrow), and run tomorrow to maximize my running efforts.

Friday: 4 mile progression run in 47:11. Each mile was a little faster than the one before. Mile splits = 13:00, 11:45, 11:27, 10:59. Kyra woke this morning to find the elves using my sweaty headphones to jam out to her iPod. Silly elves!

Saturday: 10 mile long run in 2 hours, 3 minutes, 6 seconds. Since Kyra is with me this weekend (and she's too young to be left home alone for this long of a run), I opted to run on the treadmill. I listened to Gordon's Running to Disney podcast episodes 39 and 40, which were about his taper and Rocket City marathon race report. Awesome episodes! I started my run slow and pushed harder at the end. During my prior marathon training I would take walk breaks every 2-3 miles, and more frequently at the end. This time, I only took one walk break, at mile 5, to consume an energy gel and water. I sipped on water while running throughout the run rather than slowing to a walk to drink. The run felt good, and I sure was glad to finish.

Sunday: 2.05 miles in 23:49. My legs are still sore from yesterday's long run. If I weren't committed to a coach, I probably would have skipped the run today. But since I'm accountable to someone else, I went outside and jogged 2 miles around the neighborhood. I had a sneak peak at the training Coach Josh has planned for me for next week. I noticed that he has my 2-mile runs at an "easy" pace of 12 minutes per mile. That would be an easy pace on a flat route or treadmill, but not extremely easy in my hilly neighborhood. When I ran that route on Wednesday with Riley, the average pace was 12:34. I decided to try to do a 12 minute pace today. The first mile in my neighborhood 2-mile route is very hilly. I normally walk up some of the steep hills. I walked up those same hills, but started walking a little farther up the hill rather than at the base. I managed to complete the first mile in 11:54, but I wouldn't call it "easy". The next mile was easier and I couldn't resist running a little faster at the end for an 11:27.

My sister called me this morning. She asked if I had registered for the ING Georgia marathon. I told her no, that I had decided to run the Wrightsville Beach marathon instead. She said that she wants to run it with me. It will be her first marathon. I told her that I had planned to register for it today and she asked me to sign her up too. I registered us for the marathon this evening! Now I wonder if she'll pick up her running and be prepared for it? She hasn't run much lately and wonders when she'll find the time. I told her that I make it a priority. Of course, work and my daughter come first, but I schedule in time for me as well. I hope she makes the time to run! I'd love to run it with her. But if not, I know that my friend, Kim, will be running the half-marathon so there will at least be someone else that I know there. Currently there are only 130 people registered for the marathon; hope I don't finish last.

* Days run this week: 5
* Miles run this week: 23.08
* Highlight of the week: hiring a running coach, registering for Wrightsville Beach marathon
* Goal for next week: follow Coach Josh's plan

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Oh what a week!

Oh what a week! I met my 5 times a week goal, my mileage goal, received a free entry into a Spring 2010 marathon, and seeked out a running coach!

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 4.04 miles total, speedwork = 1.04 mile around the block with Riley (golden retriever) warm-up. Then 0.25 mile on the treadmill, warm-up. Four times 0.5-mile at 6 mph with 0.25-mile walk/jog recovery between. Felt good!

Wednesday: 2.28 miles. 1.04 miles with Tasha (husky), then the rest with Riley. Easy run.

Thursday: Rest Day. Was offered free entry to inaugural Blue Ridge Marathon in Roanoke, VA. Who me? Yes! Was giddy about it all afternoon. This is a hilly course. Not sure if I should accept since it will be hard. But maybe I should, since it will be hard. Just go into it with the expectation of simply finishing within the 7 hour cut-off time, rather than a PR.

Friday: 3 mile progression run. 13:10 warm-up mile, 11:32 marathon pace mile, 11:00 faster paced mile. Sent in my completed entry form for the Blue Ridge Marathon. I accept the challenge. For several months, if not longer, I've had a goal of running the Pine Mountain 40-mile trail ultramarathon in December 2010. The Blue Ridge Marathon will be great preparation for that event. Plus... did I mention free entry?

So now that I've decided to take on this challenge, I thought I should probably get a running coach. Especially because I'd really like to run the Wrightsville Beach marathon too, which is 5 weeks before the Blue Ridge Marathon. I'd like to run the Wrightsville Beach marathon faster than my previous marathons. I can follow a cookie-cutter training plan (i.e. Hal Higdon), but want to improve my pace and have no clue how to properly train for two marathons within 5 weeks of each other. Hiring a running coach is something I've been thinking about and researching for months. I listen to a variety of running podcasts and have heard about Coach Speedy Sasquatch in several of them. I thought of him at first, but then thought it may be better to find someone local. I searched for local coaches and found very few. And those few didn't have impressive websites. There is a blogger that I follow in North Carolina that has exceptional blogs; he hopes to coach soon, but isn't coaching yet. I considered another North Carolina coach, but he's in charge of an inaugural marathon and his program seems to focus on the local athlete, so I ruled him out as probably being to busy. My thought kept turning back to Speedy Sasquatch so I contacted him about coaching. He coaches people around the country, the podcaster seems obsessed with him, so I decided to give him a try. Sent him an inquiry and then responded by filling out a form for him. Hoping he can help me reach my goals!

Saturday: 8 mile long run. It was 32 degrees when I got up this morning. Thought I would run on the treadmill. But then looked at Twitter and saw that Dirtdawg50k ran outside in 18 degrees with a windchill. Threw out the question of indoor vs outside and he responded with get your butt out the door (or something like that). So I put on tights, thermal top, long-sleeved cotton shirt, hat and gloves and began my run. I left home, turned left on Cole, left on Five Forks, left on Lake Lucerne to almost Hwy 78, then turned around when my Garmin 405 said I had gone 4 miles. I've run this route before, when the weather was much warmer (80s). It was much easier today in the low 30s. I really enjoyed the run until about 7 miles, when I tripped over thin air. Why am I so clumsy? I can't even blame the sidewalk. Thankfully, my gloves and tights covered any damage, so I took a few seconds, dusted myself off, thought that I've done this before, and kept running home. At home I realized that my right knee was scraped through my thights, I have a small scratch on my left hand, and my right elbow is probably going to bruise from landing on it as well. Was surprised at how well I felt (energy wise) after the run, but the shower STUNG.

Sunday: Easy 2-mile run on the treadmill just to get a few more miles in. My right arm/shoulder hurts. Guess it took most of the impact from my fall yesterday.

* Days run this week: 5
* Miles run this week: 19.32
* Highlight of the week: Receiving free entry into Blue Ridge Marathon!
* Goal for next week: Keep on running... 5 times a week, 22-ish miles.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Blue Ridge marathon? I think so...

I normally only post on this blog once a week, but felt compelled to do a special edition today. During my lunch break, I looked at Twitter and saw a re-tweet about free Head Sweat hats to early registrants of the Blue Ridge marathon. I wasn't considering running that marathon, had actually never heard of it, but clicked on the sender to follow their tweets. Next thing I know, I get a message from BRM26pt2 asking if a "free entry" would sway my decision for a spring marathon. I've had a poll on this blog trying to decide which of four marathons I should run this spring, none of which included the Blue Ridge marathon since today was the first time I'd even heard of it. I looked at the marathon's website, checked out the distance from home in mapquest (7.5 hours), and replied that free entry would definitely sway my decision. A few minutes later I was sent a comped entry form to the race. WOW! What started out as a simple new person/group to follow on Twitter in hopes of learning more about running, turned into a free spring marathon! The downside? The race is hilly/mountainous. The upside? It's free and scenic. I wrestled with the ups and downs the rest of the afternoon. But then came home to find that Riley (golden retriever) chewed the buttons and part of the collar off Kyra's GAP sweater as well as shredded a re-useable shopping bag. He also pulled off a seat cushion, but no damage was done to it. I was furious! Now I'm thinking that free and hard (which means harder training/more stress reduction) may be just what I need. The other good thing is that it is 5 weeks after the Wrightsville Beach marathon, which means I have more time to train and/or I may be able to do both marathons if I get serious about running and treat Wrightsville Beach as a long training run. I'd also like to run the Pine Mountain 40-mile trail ultra marathon in December 2010. Training for/completing a hilly marathon in April will certainly help in preparation for that race. Thanks for helping me decide on at least one spring marathon!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

five out of seven days, YAY!

OMG! I jogged 5 days this week! Most days were short/slow jogs, but 5 outings none-the-less.

Monday: Started out the week with 2.04 easy jog/walk miles in the neighborhood. My back HURT with every foot fall. (In case you didn't know, I was bucked off a horse during a canter on Thanksgiving and landed on my head/back. VERY PAINFUL.) My goal for this week is to just get in the habit of getting up and out the door most mornings. I'm going to take it slow/easy/day-by-day based on how my back recovery goes. I hurt, but am proud of myself for getting out the door!

Tuesday: Two days in a row! Jogged an easy 2 miles on the treadmill this morning. My back still HURTS. Stretched afterwards, which felt great!

Wednesday: Can you say... 3 days in a row? Did an easy 2.13 miles on the treadmill. My original plan was 2, but decided to go a little bit farther. Back still hurts, but is feeling a little better. Yay! But so much for these socks... Riley (golden retriever puppy), managed to snag a sock from the bathroom floor and took a bite out of it. Luckily I caught him before he ate the entire sock! Obviously need to take him out for a run, but am waiting for my back to improve. He's such a strong puller at the beginning of a run, or when startled, that I don't want to take any chances of hurting my back worse.

Thursday: REST DAY

Friday: 3 easy miles on the treadmill. Back is slowly improving.

Saturday: REST DAY or CROSS-TRAINING? Had planned to do an easy long run today, but decided to shift it to tomorrow when the weather is supposed to be better. Went Christmas shopping this afternoon, which meant walking around for hours. Does that count for cross training?

Sunday: 6.89-mile long, easy, jog/walk at Suwanee Greenway Trail after daughter's very close basketball game. They lost by one point and were ecstatic! This is the closest they've come to winning this year. The trail is adjacent to the parking lot of Suwanee Sports Academy where my daughter's basketball games are held. My back still hurts, but it's feeling a little better each day. I took it easy. It felt great to do a long jog/walk again, even though it was very slow. I mostly enjoyed the 2/3 mile soft surface trail through the woods, which I ran twice. Ate at my favorite mexican restaurant afterwards. YUM.

* Days run this week: 5
* Miles run this week: 16.06
* Highlight of the week: Getting out five days; trail running at Suwanee Greenway Trail
* Goal for next week: Keep up the momentum. Run most days of the week, even if for only a few miles. Try to add a speedwork session.

Monday, November 30, 2009

November 2009 Summary

November 2009: 13 runs, 38.6 miles

January 1 through November 30, 2009: 150 runs, 649.9 miles, 12:30 average pace.
Am not going to achieve the goals that I set for 2009. If I had been healthy/injury-free, it could have been accomplished. But since that wasn't my luck, there is no way that I can run 50 times in December, or 150.1 miles, so I'm going to consider myself happy if I come close to what I completed in 2008. Here's hoping for a better running year in 2010!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Just call me a klutz...

So... last week I fell short of my goals for running. I reset my goals to short, but frequent runs this week. And guess what... that plan failed too... It started out great, but then I was bucked by a horse during a canter on Thanksgiving day, which HURT my head and back and gave me a good excuse not to run...

Monday: I ran 2.04 in the early morning. Easy warm-up mile followed by a faster paced one. Still sore from Saturday's fall.

Tuesday: Speedwork on the treadmill: 3 Yasso 800s. 1-mile warm-up; 2x0.5-mile at 6 mph with 0.25-mile recovery, then last 0.5-mile started at 6 mph and bumped up the pace. Felt easier than last week.

Wednesday: rest day/drove to Southern Cross Guest Ranch for Thanksgiving weekend.

Thursday: Had a great trail horse ride this morning with my daughter! Then an amazing lunch at Southern Cross Guest Ranch. Then participated in the afternoon trail horse ride. Was daydreaming about going for a run on the trails after the ride was finished, but my horse had other plans. The Guide suggested we canter... My horse bucked as we started but I held on. She bucked again, and again during the canter, but I still held on. But her 4th buck was more than I could handle and I went flying off of her into the woods. As I flew through the air I prayed that the other horses would not trample me. I flipped in the air and landed on my back/head and quickly rolled over since I landed on an incline. My head throbbed and my back hurt. The guide came up to me and said not to move, then asked if I could wiggle my fingers and toes. YES! It took me a few minutes to get up since I was in so much pain. My daughter, in the meantime, had dismounted her horse and went to get mine. The Guide, after assessing that my back wasn't broken, helped me get up. My head was pounding and my back hurt! I eventually got back on the horse and we walked back to the stables. The entire horse walk/ride back, my daughter kept turning around and talking to me about things we were grateful for: that I had a helmet on, that I wasn't trampled by other horses, that I wasn't paralyzed, that I got to fly, that the magical elves were in the Camelbak which cushioned part of my back, etc. This helped keep my mind off the pain. Needless to say, this incident was a very good excuse to not run this evening, but I was SO BUMMED that I couldn't.
Friday: I was still quite sore today from my fall from the horse yesterday, but decided to go for a short run anyway. Kyra was going to play games with her new friend, Madi. Madi's mom said she'd be in their room if needed. My back screamed at me immediately, but I pushed through it. I ran to the horse trails and did a loop. Then I got a text message from Kyra that a guy was freaking her out in the gameroom. I sent her a text back telling her to go with Madi to Madi's mom, IMMEDIATELY, and that I was running back. As soon as I hit send, she replied not to worry, that they were already in Madi's room with her mom. Nothing like a good adrenaline rush to speed up a run... I didn't go as far as I had wanted, but oh well... At least my daughter is safe.

Saturday: Today was our last day at the ranch. I had originally hoped to run after our last ride, but didn't want to leave Kyra with that freaky guy still around. I played monopoly with Kyra and Madi instead. My daughter's safety is totally worth a missed run. (Plus, my back still HURTS! and I have a huge bruise on my thigh and knee from the fall.)

Sunday: Still quite sore so took another day off of running. Hope to get back into it tomorrow.

Days run this week: 3
Miles run this week: 7.07
Highlight of the week: Didn't break any bones/spine during fall from horse. Had an awesome Thanksgiving at horse ranch and met new friends.
Goal for next week: Run most days of the week, even if just for a few miles.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pitiful week of running

So I laid out a grand plan for slowly increasing mileage over the next few weeks to set me up for beginning a marathon training plan. It was totally realistic! I followed it perfectly last week, but fell apart this week. I should have run 15 miles, but did 5.6 instead. Excuse after excuse... I did my 3.5-mile speedwork on Tuesday as planned, but didn't follow through with the remainder of the runs planned for the rest of the week. I slept too late on Thursday and Friday. I thought I could make up the mileage over the weekend. My dog tripped me on Saturday which cut my 4-miler down to 2. Then it was rainy and cold all day Sunday; I dressed to run after Kyra's basketball game, but had chills and ached from my fall yesterday so went grocery shopping instead. Hopefully I can get back on track next week (no pun intended). I had planned for three easy 6-mile runs next week to equal 18 miles, but think I'll decrease the miles and increase the days to 2-3 miles every day to get back into the habit. I bought a Brooks nightlife yellow vest and hat for night-time running safety, so hopefully that will be motivation! Wish me luch!

Days run this week: 2
Miles run this week: 5.6
Highlight of the week: Pushed through 3 Yasso 800s on the treadmill even though it was hard!
Goal for next week: Run regularly; no excuses! 18 miles, mostly on trails at horse ranch (and have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Spring marathon here I come..

Monday: rest

Tuesday: 4.03 easy miles in 51:03 minutes. Average heart rate 140. 57 degrees and raining. Felt good!

Wednesday: rest

Thursday: Tempo run; treadmill. 2-mile warm-up (13:45; 12:15), then 2 miles at faster pace (11:32, 11:29). Thanks to Running Stupid podcast for inspiration to keep pushing. The episode that I listened to talked about there should only be a few reasons for not perservering (broken bone, fever, other severe illness/injury). It was hard to run 2 miles that fast, but since I wasn't in major pain nor had broken bones, etc., I pushed it to the end. Yay!

Friday: rest

Saturday: Original plan was to run 5K race with friends, but my daughter is sick. With her permission, I ran 5 miles around the neighborhood instead. 5 miles in 59:57 minutes. Set up Garmin for 70-80% heart rate program. Felt good. Harder effort than my typical "long run", but do-able. Was surprised at pace since I didn't look at pace during run (11:59). Yay!

Sunday: rest

Weekly summary:
Days run this week: 3
Miles run this week: 13.03
Highlight of the week: (1) Recovered from Chicago marathon injury. (2) Running faster than I planned/hoped. (3) updating my hand-written running log and gaining insight into my Chicago injury. I think I tapered too much. (4) Making positive progress... feeling good about picking a spring marathon... but which one?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

4 weeks after Chicago marathon

Monday: Today was the last Field Day that my daughter will experience in elementary school (since she'll be in middle school next year). This photo is of her in the lead in the 4x100 relay (and yes, her team won!). After Field Day, I went to Physical Therapy. After warming up with light exercises, my therapist had me try slow/easy jogging on the mini-trampoline. All went well. Then he had me do a series of lunges with slow/easy jogging (30 steps). That went well. So.... he said I should try a slow/easy jog of a few miles (or less) tomorrow. If it goes okay, then I can end therapy, but should continue doing strengthening exercises. Yay!

Tuesday: 5:27 a.m. mixed slow jog with walking. Hamstring started tightening at about 1 mile so I added more walking. Stretched afterwards. Total 2.05 miles in 29:35 minutes. Average heart rate = 129.

Wednesday: rest day

Thursday: 3.11 miles in 37:04, negative split. Jogged first 1.5 miles in 18:06, second 1.5 miles in 17:58; and last 0.11 miles in 58 seconds. Accomplished goal of negative split with no pain!

Friday: rest day

Saturday: 4.07 miles in 50:02 minutes. Easy run keeping heart rate between 70-75%. Average heart rate = 150. Felt good, no pain. Easy run in beautiful weather! Could have gone longer...

Sunday: 1.67 miles in 21:10 minutes. Average heart rate = 132. Easy jog with Riley. Too gorgeous of an afternoon to resit outside exercise!

Weekly summary:
Days run this week: 4
Miles run this week: 10.9
Highlight of the week: Kyra winning 1st place ribbons at Field Day + me being able to run again!!!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

3 weeks after Chicago marathon

Monday: My first physical therapy appointment. The PT suspects hamstring tendonitis. It's too tender to do any stretches or exercises yet so he applied electrical stimulation and ice and said to come back later in the week. He'll add stretches and exercises once the tenderness decreases. He said I could swim or bike or walk if it didn't hurt.

Tuesday: My daughter is 11 today! She's happy she's finally a palindromic number! I took the afternoon off of work and took donughts for her class today at lunch to celebrate. Afterwards, I went to the aquatic center and swam 20 laps. The knee pain was minor, so I just did easy laps. Felt good to swim for 40 minutes!

Thursday: Both me and the dog are going crazy from not running! Riley's been destructive lately and has gotten thicker around the middle. He woke me early this morning so I decided to talk him for a walk, since I'm not supposed to run. We walked 1.42 miles in the neighborhood. It wasn't as rewarding as a run, but better than nothing. Had my second physical therapy appointment this afternoon. He had me do almost horizontal squats on the Total Gym and then bike for 12 minutes with no resistance. I could feel the tightness half-way up my leg. So this was followed by e-stim and ice. Maybe next time... Scheduled my next appointment for Monday.

Friday: Riley woke me even earlier this morning so we had time to walk for a little longer. We walked 2.29 miles in the neighborhood. He's not used to walking and pulled most of the way, wanting to run.

Saturday: Went to Fleet Feet in Lawrenceville today to use my $15 voucher before it expires. Turns out I had two! I bought a reflective vest, ear warmer headband, and balega socks. Decided that if I'm going to be outside in the dark, I should probably wear something more reflective than the tiny reflective details on my shoes. And as winter approaches, the ear covering headband will be sweet! After shopping, I came home, changed clothes, loaded Riley into the car and we went to Stone Mountain. We walked the muddy trails for a total of 3.98 miles. It was awesome!!! At least here I don't feel so bad about walking instead of running because the trails are so full of rocks and roots. It's rained a lot lately so by the time we finished, we were both muddy. Fun times!

Sunday: No exercise today... but did get an awesome new hair color and cut!

Weekly summary:
Days/Miles run this week: 0
Days exercised this week (swim/walk): 4
Highlight of the week: Walk/hike on muddy trails at Stone Mountain with Riley. Amazing views of autumn leaves! Wish I had taken the camera.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

October 2009 Summary

October 2009:
7 runs
41.8 miles
(+ 3 walks, 1 swim)

January 1 - October 31, 2009:
137 runs
611.3 miles
12:30 average pace

My goal for the year in January was 200 runs, 800 miles, less than 12 minute/mile average pace. {In 2008 I ran 153 times for 705.4 miles.} I'm behind schedule. I had to take a lot of time off in March and April due to a serious illness, and I sustained an injuring during the Chicago marathon that required no running for a month. It's highly doubtful that I'll meet my goals for this year. I've enjoyed slow runs on trails with the dogs; greatful that I recovered from Lyme disease; had a blast at the Chicago marathon with my friend;, and hope to make a successful running comeback in the near future. I think I had a record high mileage for August 2009 (102 miles). I started tracking my miles in SportTracks and Buckeye Outdoors in 2008. SportTracks shows the most mileage in a month as August 2009 (102 miles), closely followed by September 2008 (99 miles) and August 2008 (98 miles). But why didn't I put in more miles in July and September 2009? I used the "taper" excuse too much in September, and probably used the "it's too hot" excuse in July. No wonder I had an injury in the marathon! {I probably ran more miles in my younger years, but lost the data that I kept in my old computer in a different tracking program. Now I also keep a written log just in case the computer crashes.}
Oh well... just hope for a quick recovery and get back into building miles in November and December...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

2 weeks after Chicago marathon

Tuesday: I know my doctor said no running, but I'm going CRAZY! Went for an easy 1.87 mile walk/jog with Riley. Legs are still not fully recovered, but it felt good to get out and exercise. Right knee has been hurting all day. Felt better during the jog/walk. Go figure...

At breakfast, my daughter said, "One marathon medal means you ran a marathon. Two medals mean you're a marathon runner." How profound!

Had the MRI of my left knee done today. My right knee actually hurts worse than the left. Wonder if I hurt it too? I seem to have different aches/pains in different locations each day.

Friday: Went for an easy 2.07 mile walk/jog with Riley this morning. Then went to my follow-up doctor appointment. Good news is no tears! But I have bursitis and tendonitis, caused by probably too much running. Doc stated more clearly, NO RUNNING until at least November. Then he referred me to physical therapy. Okay, okay... I'll just have to find some other activity...

Week summary:
Days run this week: 2
Miles run this week: 3.94
Highlight of the week: I don't need surgery!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

1 week after Chicago marathon

Went to see my orthopaedic doctor this week. He thinks my knee pain is from illeotibial band friction, but I may have a meniscal tear too. He injected me with cortisone, said no running until at least November, and scheduled me for a MRI. I hope my meniscus isn't torn...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Chicago Marathon

Today I ran my second marathon; that's 26.2 miles for those of you non-runners. It didn't go as well as I had planned, but am happy that I was able to complete it. My day's story follows...

My phone alarm clock sounded at 4:15 a.m. (I had also set back-up alarms for every 5 minutes after.) With Kyra (my daughter) still asleep, I crawled out of bed and took a shower. I dressed and gathered stuff together. At 4:55 a.m., I woke Kyra and we went to Ty's room. Kyra crawled in bed with Sophia (Ty's daughter) and then Ty, Will and I went down to breakfast (Ty's mom is babysitting today). The original plan was that we would have breakfast and then go to Lisa's hotel since her hotel is on the way to the race starting location. But it was SO COLD that we decided to call Lisa and have her bring Bryn (Lisa's daughter) to stay inside with the rest of the girls rather than tagging along with us in the cold. I think I pottied a half-dozen times within an hour; caused by nervousness I guess. After tucking Bryn in with Sophia and Kyra, we went back down to the hotel breakfast room. Ty, Lisa and I made one last potty stop in the hotel lobby and all of our phones buzzed at once, while we were in adjacent stalls, with a text message from our friend Bryan saying "Go get 'em Lilburn Lightenin'"! Made for interesting bathroom talk, but thanks so much Bryan!

Ty, Will (Ty's hubby), Lisa, Gary (Lisa's hubby and the greatest orthopaedic surgeon on the planet) and I walked down to the race start. We stopped at the porto-o-potties and had limited time to get into our starting corral. After a quick photo, we headed to a corral. (photo from left to right: Ty, Lisa, me). Will and Gary stood back while we squeezed our way into a corral. THANKS Gary and Will for dropping off my bag since I didn't have enough time!

It was 30 degrees. We were cold, but as soon as we were in the corral, we were packed like sardines and warmed up. Nothing like the body heat of thousands of runners! We cuddled close. We made a pact that if anyone needed to slow down for whatever reason, the other(s) were free to go on ahead to try to achieve their goal finish. We stuck together through the first 6 miles, including waiting on each other during a potty break around mile 1-2. But without warning my iPhone fell off my pants and in the minute or so that it took me to pick it up from the road and get going again, I lost sight of them in the massive crowd. I knew they were faster than me anyway, and I'm used to running alone, so it didn't bother me. I re-adjusted my iPhone, grabbed some water/gatorade, and kept going thinking that I may catch up to them. I sent Kyra a text message saying, "6 miles done." She responded, "Stop texting.start running. Good job good luck." At about mile 9 my left knee started hurting. I had shooting/stabbing pains on the outside of my knee. It HURT! I walked for a few minutes and when I started back running the pain was intermittent. At about mile 10, Lisa came up from behind and put her arm around me. They had stopped for another potty break and ended up behind me. Lisa gave me 3 advil and then they picked up their pace and left me behind (as I said they should do). At about mile 11, I saw Gary and Will. I ran over and hugged Gary and screamed, "MY KNEE HURTS!!!" He said, "Keep going". Kyra and I exchaged a few text messages and she wrote "Keep on going! You can do it! I wuv wu watts and watts!" and "Anyone can do 3 more miles, just 3 and then 3 more again.". When I got to the 12 mile mark I sent Kyra a text saying "3x4 done". Thirty minutes later I sent her a text saying that I just passed the Liver character that we saw at the race Expo. She responded with, "I just saw you on tv!". Right before the Liver character, I saw a TV camera and smiled as I passed wondering if it was live-feed. Guess it was! Glad Kyra could see me in the race after all. (It was still too cold for the girls to be out (34 degrees).) About 30 minutes later she sent me another text message asking what mile I was on. I responded, "Almost 15" and she wrote, "Good job! Keep on truckin!" At mile 17, the song Push It to the Limit by Corbin Bleu came on my iPod. This is one of my most motivational songs because it remindes me so much of Kyra and it pumps pushing it to the limit. I thought I sent a text to her, but it turns out that I sent it to Bryan saying, "Push it to thelimit / Corbin = 17 mi" But Kyra didn't get that text. When she asked next "what mile are you on?" I responded with "3x6". She replied with "Good. Keep doing good. we are rooting for you." Then she wrote, "I love you sooooooooooooooo much. You are doing great! text me when you cross the finish line. What mile are you on?" My response was "20". She wrote, "Great! how is your knee?". My reply was "Killing me. But i make it." Obviously at this point I didn't care about misspellings. I was in SO MUCH PAIN. She wrote back, "Hope it feels better. You are doing great!" At about mile 20 I was with the 5 hour pace group leader. I was optimistic and thrilled that I'd kept this pace until now. But it quickly went downhill as the stabbing pains intensified. Now I could no longer adjust my posture to make it go away. It hurt in any position except walking. The next text from Kyra was "How many miles have you run so far?" My response, "23 and moving slow". She asked, "Are you ok?" but I didn't notice that text message. At this point, I had removed my earphones and couldn't hear the text beep above the crowd/noise. She wrote again, "Have you finished yet?" and I replied, "24 miles. Walking. Knee hurts too bad to run anymore." She responded, "Ok. Well keep on doing your best. I love you soooooooooo much. Text me when you finish. You are princess kewl." Shortly after this, I stopped at a Medical Aid Tent and said that my knee hurt really bad, I don't want to stop, but could they please give me some pain medication. The doctor gave me two white tablets. Not sure what it was, but I took it and kept walking. The next several texts from Kyra become desperate because my earphones were no longer in my ear, I was struggling, and didn't feel the vibration or hear the beep that would indicate that she'd sent more messages. She wrote, "Where are you? Are you ok?", then "Answer me! I am worried about you!", then "Please text me now! I am serious!", and then "Call me now!" I walked the entire last two miles. I decided it just wasn't worth it to cry to the end when I could walk without the stabbing pain. I tried to jog when I saw the finish line, but it HURT too bad, so I decided to cross the finish line without tears, which meant walking. 5 hours and 45 minutes. What a bummer! But I received my finisher's medal, foil blanket, free beer and food. I picked up my gear bag and grabbed a bag of ice and exited the finish chute. At this point I saw the last few texts from Kyra and then I wrote "Finished". She responded with "You scared me. You wouldn't answer my call and all of my texts." I wrote back, "Sorry. Didn't hear it ring/beep. Am ok." Then Lisa called as I was about to call her/Ty. They were waiting for me and when I told her where I was, they came over to meet me. They had finished in 5 hours and 3 minutes; awesome! I was sitting on the ground with an ice-pack on my knee. Gary asked me to describe my knee problems and then said he thought it was my IT band, which is a common runner's injury.

We slowly made our way back to the hotel. We tried to catch a taxi numerous times, but it was just too crowded. We kept walking and eventually caught a taxi a few blocks from the hotel. Ty was weaving as she walked, I could barely walk, and Lisa was the glue that held us together. The little girls and Ty's mom met us in the hotel lobby and then we went directly to the next door restaurant, Joe's Seafood, Steak and Stone Crab. It was a very nice restaurant and we were in our running clothes, sweatpants, hats and foil blankets. They let us in anyway. The food was delicious but I was in a daze. I sat at the head of the table between Will and Gary. Kyra was at the opposite end of the table with the rest of the little girls. I ate delicious bacon wrapped scallops with clam chowder and creamed corn. YUM!!!

After our mid-afternoon lunch, Gary and Will left to go to the airport. Ty, Lisa and I went back to our respective rooms and took showers. Then we all met at the hotel pool which is located on the top floor. The little girls swam while the big girls collapsed on the lounge chairs. Ty's mom said we looked wiped out. We were zombie-like. Ty and I were definitely still in a haze. Lisa somehow had it more together than we did. An hour later, we called the girls out of the pool and went our separate ways back to our separate hotel rooms. We'll meet for breakfast in the morning.

Kyra didn't eat much lunch because it was fancy macaroni and cheese, not the processed box kind that she loves. She was hungry after swimming and said that the hotel had a shop that sells microwavable food. So we walked down and picked out microwave mac-n-cheese, cup-o-soup for me, and ice cream. I'm too tired to go out to eat again. Kyra was so sweet! She made my soup for me! And later she brought my ice pack to me in bed. I was totally exhausted! I set the alarm clock for early in the morning and told her I was going to sleep and that she shouldn't stay up too late. Night night!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Week 16 of 17 Chicago Marathon Training

Monday: Ran 3.12 miles in 39:47 = 12:45 avg pace. Ran 1 mile with Tasha and then the rest with Riley on this wonderfully cool (63 degrees) morning.

Tuesday: Ran 3.1 miles in 38:51 = 12:31 avg pace. Love this cooler temperature (55 degrees)! Ran alone, without the pups. They were still cuddled in bed with Kyra when I was ready to leave. Debated about waking them up and taking Riley but decided to be selfish and run alone without the distraction. When I came home from work this evening, Riley greeted me with the note in his mouth that I leave on the nightstand for Kyra in the mornings when I run with him. It says, "Running with a pup around the neighborhood. Have phone. Love, Mommy". Guess this is his way of telling me he wants to go for a run!
Saturday: Ran 4.19 miles in 54:48 = 13:04 avg pace. It was a slow, choppy run with pups. Tasha's mile included lots of potty breaks, Riley's 2 miles included lots of texts from daughter. Then did a mile alone just to get at least one solid mile in. Can't believe I took 3 days off running. Why? No good reason. Time to get into a set routine.

Weekly summary:
Monday: Ran 3.12 miles
Tuesday: Ran 3.1 miles
Saturday: Ran 4.19 miles

Days run this week: 3
Miles run this week: 10.41
Highlight of the week: cooler temperatures + Riley bringing me the note

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

September 2009

September 2009:
14 runs
76.2 miles

January 1 - September 30:
130 runs
569.5 miles
12:28 average pace

My goal for the year (in January) was 200 runs, 800 miles, less than 12 min/mile average pace. I'm behind schedule. Having to take so much time off in March in April due to illness took a toll. Not sure if I'll be able to meet that goal, but should easily exceed last years number of days run (153). I seriously doubt I'll achieve the average pace goal since I'm doing a lot of long runs at slow pace, easy runs with dogs at slow pace, and trail runs at slow pace. Although I'd like to run faster, I'm enjoying slow runs with pups and on trails.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Week 15 of 17 Chicago Marathon Training

Monday: My basement flooded during the night. There was 3 inches of water standing in it when I went downstairs this morning. The news reports many roads closed in the area due to washed out bridges, down trees, etc. The main roads that I would drive on to get to work are closed so I called into the office and said I'd be taking a vacation day to bail water out of my basement since I can't get to the office. I took a break from working on the basement around lunch time. It's still raining. So I went to the local indoor pool and swam 1000 meters. It felt great!

Wednesday: Easy run on the beach this evening for the first time in my Vibram FiveFingers Sprint. Ran 4.02 miles on the beach in 56:03 = 13:56 avg pace. Amazing rainbow over the ocean!

Thursday: (1) Did an easy 1.76 mile walk on the beach this morning before starting the day. So relaxing! (2) This evening I went a total of 5 miles on the beach. I started with a 1 mile warm up, then ran fartleks for 3 miles. Plan was for a total of 5 miles running, but blisters on bottom of feet said STOP NOW at 4 miles. Walked the last mile back to hotel in dark.

Weekly Summary:
Monday: Swam 1000 meters
Wednesday: Ran 4.02 miles
Thursday: Ran 4 miles, walked 2.76 miles
Days run this week: 2
Miles run this week: 8.03
Highlight of the week: running on the beach

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Week 14 of 17 Chicago Marathon Training

Monday: Ran 3.34 miles this afternoon with the dogs. Ran 1 mile with Tasha (pictured) then traded her in for Riley. 40:30 = 12:07 avg pace

Wednesday: Early morning run in the rain. Ran 3.09 miles in 36:05 = 11:40 avg pace.

Thursday: Morning run after dropping Kyra off at school. Ran 3.34 miles with the dogs. Ran 1 mile with Tasha then traded her for Riley. 37:43 = 11:17 avg pace

Saturday: Morning run at Stone Mountain in flooding rain (70 degrees). It was raining hard when I arrived at Stone Mountain around 8 a.m. I debated about whether to even start. Then I decided that I might as well because the forecast for tomorrow is rain too and I might as well prepare myself for running in bad weather in case it's storming on marathon day. And besides, there were other people out there running in the rain so I might as well do it too. It was hard to run upstream on streets/sidewalk in ankle deep water, but I did it. Ran 20 miles in 4 hours and 36 minutes = 13:48 average pace. Had a 12:50 avg pace for the first 16 miles, but lost motivation when the torrential downpour returned and began walking a lot more. Oh well, 20 miles done in extreme weather! Then came home to flooded basement... water heater out... bummer!!!

Weekly summary:
Monday: 3.34 miles
Tuesday: 3.09 miles
Thursday: 3.34 miles
Saturday: 20 miles
Days run this week: 4
Miles run this week: 29.77
Highlight of the week: 20 mile run in flooding rains at Stone Mountain

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Week 13 of 17 Chicago Marathon Training

Monday: Happy Labor Day! I took my old Trek 470 Fast Track road bicycle into Performance Bicycle for a tune-up and new tires today. I haven't ridden it in years... It's collected quite a bit of dust from just sitting in the basement, and the tires are dry-rotted. It was a gift from Santa way back in ~1995 and I used to ride it a good bit until mid-pregnancy (1998). I rode it occassionally after childbirth for a few years, but I don't think I've been on it more than a half-dozen times in the past five years. (A few years ago I purchased a cheap mountain bike for touring around the neighborhood with Kyra.) Anyway, about two weeks ago, a friend at work invited me to go with a small group of co-workers for a 40-mile ride on the Silver Comet Trail. I couldn't go because of mommy duties, plus my road bike was in disrepair and I seriously doubt my butt could handle being on a bike for that many miles since I haven't done any distance riding in about a decade. But this invite, plus hearing Lisa talk about triathlons, got me interested in cycling again. Plus, I think it would be a great way to boost my exercise to most days of the week without over-doing the running. I dropped it off at the bike shop and they said it would be ready for pick-up on Friday. While there, I purchased a new riding outfit (padded shorts, top, and riding gloves. Yay!

After the bike shop, I went in search for Vibram Five Fingers shoes. There has been a lot of talk on running podcasts and Twitter lately about running barefoot as well as these shoes. I know my overweight body needs more cushioning for running on the roads, so don't freak out. I've struggled with the challenges of running on the beach, though, and thought this may be the perfect solution. Running completely barefoot on the beach is great for short distances, but the sand rubs the soles of my feet raw for anything longer than about a mile. Regular shoes tend to sink too deep into the sand. Since I have a business trip to the beach coming up in a few weeks, I thought I'd purchase these and try them out. I bought a pair of FiveFingers Sprint at Abbadabbas.

I decided to take the dogs to the trails at Stone Mountain Park this afternoon for a leisurely trail run. Guess I should have known that it would be crowded on a holiday afternoon. Since there were so many people leisurely walking, and I had both dogs to manage around the people, it turned into a mostly walk/hike with a little bit of running. Oh well, it was 3.25 miles on my feet on the trails with the pups, which is a heck-of-a-lot better than no activity! (In my Patagonia Release trail shoes.)
Tuesday: I came home at lunch to take the dogs out since I still haven't fixed the hole under the fence and therefore, can't trust Tasha out in the yard without supervision. My lower legs are sore, especially near left ankle, and shin. I twisted my left ankle yesterday on the trail. My shins kept cramping so I walked more than usual. 2.73 miles total = 1 mile for Tasha + 1.73 miles for Riley. This evening, my daughter decided to break in my new Vibram FiveFingers for me. She loves them!

Wednesday: I decided to listen to my body and take a rest day since my shins were so sore yesterday.

Thursday: I'm on a business trip which started yesterday. I went to the Shuron Inc. Superfund Site in Barnwell, SC. When I filled out my travel itinerary in our travel system, no hotels showed up in the list of options. The nearest hotels in the system were in Aiken, SC and Augusta, GA. I chose a hotel located in Augusta, GA on the Riverwalk in hopes of it being a great place to run. It was a nice place to run, but the riverwalk wasn't as long as I had hoped it would be. Two loops equaled 3.07 miles (and my shins are still sore). It was very beautiful running along the Savannah River as the sun was rising! I'm thinking about returning to Augusta for the Augusta Chronical Half Marathon on November 1st. The medals from last year look like jack-o-lanterns, which would be a cool medal to have.

Weekend: I had planned to run a 12-mile long run this weekend, but couldn't fit it in. My daughter has horse riding lessons early on Saturday mornings and had her very first tennis match that afternoon. I would have had to start my run at 4:30 a.m. to get it in, and my body said it wasn't getting up that early on a weekend for a silly 12-miler. Sunday was busy with housework and errands. Oh well, I'll definitely get in my 20-miler next weekend!
Weekly summary:
Monday: 3.25 miles walk/hike/jog
Tuesday: 2.73 miles
Thursday: 3.07 miles
Days run this week: 3
Miles run this week: 5.8 + 3.25 walk/hike/jog = 9.05
Highlight of the week: taking my bike in for a tune-up + running somewhere new (Augusta, GA)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Week 12 of 17 Chicago Marathon Training

Tuesday: 68 degrees with light rain at 6:18 a.m. 3.33 miles = 1 mile in the neighborhood with Tasha then the rest with Riley (pictured). Felt tired, shins sore, went slow.

Thursday: 82 degrees with occassional rain sprinkles. 0.96 mile. Mostly walked with a little bit of jogging from home to elementary school to watch Boosterthon Fun Run. Kyra suggested that I wear my "26.2 miles run there, done that" t-shirt. I enjoyed cheering the kids on as they ran around a small loop track. Kyra ran 43 laps (16 laps = 1 mile). Way to go, girl!

Friday: 82 degrees and sunny. 2.1 miles. Took a late lunch break to return home from work to take the dogs out for a run. Had to keep them inside today since Tasha dug a hole under the fence yesterday... Took Tasha for 1.05 miles, then Riley for 1.05 miles around the neighborhood.

Saturday: 80 degrees and mix of clouds/rain and sunny. 20 miles. I didn't feel well this morning so put off run to afternoon. It was warm and humid. Enjoyed new park (Alexander); it has several paths/trails which kept it from getting too boring. Hit a mental low spot around 12-14 miles, but first 10 and last 5 were good. During run, drank only water, took Endurolytes (one every 20 minutes), and after the first hour, ate 1 clif shot blok per mile. This was my first time using the clif shot bloks. I like the clif shot bloks better than gels because they're not sticky! Need to buy more.

Sunday: Rest day. legs are sore and am TIRED! Didn't sleep well last night so took a nap after church. After a 4 hour nap, I felt so much better! 5 weeks til Chicago marathon!

Tuesday: 3.33 miles
Thursday: 0.96 miles
Friday: 2.1 miles
Saturday: 20.00 miles

Days run this week: 4
Miles run this week: 26.39
Highlight of the week: 20 miles at Alexander Park. Woo Hoo!!! Longest run in 2009!

Monday, August 31, 2009

August Summary

August 2009
20 runs
101.9 miles
January 1 - August 31, 2009
116 runs
493.3 miles
12:22 average pace

My goal for the year (in January) was 200 runs, 800 miles, less than 12 min/mile average pace. I'm behind schedule, but I know that the miles are going to increase drastically during the next few months of marathon training. Just ran the math. To meet the goal, I'll need to average 21 runs and 76.7 miles per month for September - December. I'm pretty sure I'll meet the mileage goal since I'll be running the Chicago marathon in October and have tentative plans for another marathon in December. I will be close to meeting the days run goal, but may be short since I had to take so much time off in March due to illness. But should easily exceed last years number of days run (153). I seriously doubt I'll achieve the average pace goal since I'm doing a lot of long runs at slow pace, easy runs with dogs at slow pace, and trail runs at slow pace. Although I'd like to run faster, I'm enjoying slow runs with pups and on trails.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Week 11 of 17 Chicago Marathon Training

This was a great week of running! I ran 6 days; amazing! I loved the cooler mornings and even enjoyed running in the misting rain.

Monday: I got up later than planned. So I did 2.7 miles on the treadmill.

Tuesday: Don't understand why, but my Garmin battery was dead this morning. I ran the same route as Sunday so I'm assuming the mileage was 3: 1-ish mile loop with Tasha then 2-ish route with Riley. Used the stopwatch on iPhone.

Wednesday: Loving this cooler weather! 60 degrees Fahrenheit! 3.27 miles

Friday: 3.51 miles total = 1.26 miles with Tasha in 15:15, then remainder with Riley. 70 degrees; very humid.
Saturday: 3.48 miles. Easy jog without the pups in the rain. Kyra had a sleep over (Sophia and Bryn). The three girls plus two pups slept in Kyra's full sized bed last night! Riley normally wakes me up at 5:30-6:00 a.m., but since he was in bed with them, he woke them up instead. Of course, once 3 girls are awake, there is no getting them back to sleep. They played Rock Band on wii while I ran around the neighborhood. Sophia was surprised that I was back so soon. She later told her mom that I ran 3 miles in 10 minutes! Guess at 10 years old, it's hard to keep track of time when you're having fun with friends. I was flattered anyway. The photo was taken a few hours later at 12 Oaks Stable.

Sunday: 13.04 miles. Easy run in the light rain at the park in the afternoon. Enjoyed watching boys baseball as I ran past. Not sure which was more fun, running in the rain or playing baseball in the rain. Running in the rain pros: cooler. Running in the rain con: entire feet (top and bottom) are like raisins.

Monday: 2.7 miles
Tuesday: 3 miles
Wednesday: 3.27 miles
Friday: 3.51 miles
Saturday: 3.48 miles
Sunday: 13.04 miles
Days run this week: 6
Miles run this week: 29.00
Highlight of the week: Sophia being impressed with my 2nd place plaques and thinking I ran 3 miles in 10 minutes on Saturday morning! I wish!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Week 10 of 17 Chicago Marathon Training

So here's a summary of my week. YES!!! I'm finally getting back on track!

Monday afternoon I just wasn't feeling it so cut my treadmill run short at 2.24 miles. Then I went to "Curriculum Night" at my daughter's school and talked with Tonya. She said that she and Lisa planned to do their "long run" on Thursday and I said that I would take a vacation day and join them.
Wednesday morning I got up early and ran with the dogs, one at a time. It was great! I took Riley for 1.61 miles then did the rest with Tasha. Wednesday evening I set out fuel/beverages/clothes/etc. for tomorrow's long run.
Thursday morning I woke up and didn't feel too good. My tummy felt queasy. I almost called Tonya to cancel, but then thought that I should go run anyway since I had taken a vacation day and this would be a good training run to prepare me for the possibility of waking up on race morning not feeling well. So I met Tonya and Lisa at the park at 8:30 a.m. The park has an asphalt loop that is just shy of one mile. We started out walking then added in jogging. We walked up two hills and jogged the rest. DeeDee joined us for a few miles. Then later Bryan was coaching tennis lessons and would cheer for us each time we passed. I felt okay in the beginning, probably because we were all happily chatting and it kept my mind occupied. But around mile 11 I started feeling much worse. I almost quit, but didn't want to let them down. A mile or so later I told them to go on ahead, I needed to slow my pace. I slowed a bit and added in more walk breaks. I felt horrible, but didn't quit. Tonya and Lisa caught back up to me and they finished 18 miles as I was completing 17. They said they would wait for me. Bryan cheered me on each mile. I finally made it to 18 miles, in slightly over 4 hours. It was hot, humid, and I felt horrible. But I enjoyed running with Tonya, Lisa and DeeDee and hearing Bryan's encouraging cheers.
I went home afterwards and promptly became ill. (And this was before I screamed when I found Tasha lying proudly beside her kill (mouse) that she had brought inside.) I was sick the rest of the day and wondered if I would be able to pick my daughter up from school. Thankfully my tummy settled down enough for me to go pick her up. I wasn't sure if I was sick from the run or if I had an illness, but I realized later that it was definitely a virus of some sorts. Shortly after my daughter came home she became sick too. Bummer!

Friday: I spent the day at home with my sick child. I started feeling better mid-day. I was so tired last night but the dogs kept waking me. So later this afternoon I decided to take Riley out for a short run so I could get some sleep tonight. I think this is the first time I've run the day after a long run! About a quarter-mile into our easy jog, it started raining lightly. Then it turned into a hard downpour. It was fun running in the rain! Kyra was sweet and dried him off in the kitchen. Too cute!

Sunday: It was a cool-ish morning, 62 degrees, YAY! It was so refreshing to go for a run in the cooler, less humid weather! Just did an easy 3.5 miles before church.

Monday: 2.24 miles
Wednesday: 3.09 miles
Thursday: 18 miles
Friday: 1.47 miles
Sunday: 2.97 miles

Days run this week: 5
Miles run this week: 27.77
Highlight of the week: long run with Tonya and Lisa
Goal for next week: run 5 days

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Week 9 of 17 Chicago Marathon Training

So here's a summary of my week. I didn't run nearly as much as I had hoped, again, but did run one more day than last week. Most of my runs were short ones with the dogs in the morning because I just couldn't drag myself out of bed in time to get in a longer run. This photo is of Riley snuggling with his current favorite toy; all tuckered out after a run with me. I had planned for 10 miles on Saturday, but started having tummy issues at 7 miles and simply called it quits after having to take a potty break. Hopefully next week will be better...

Wednesday: 4.03 miles
Thursday: 2.64 miles
Friday: 3.11 miles
Saturday: 8.3 miles

Days run this week: 4
Miles run this week: 18.08
Highlight of the week: ran one more day than last week
Goal for next week: run more days of the week

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Week 8 of 17 Chicago Marathon Training

So here's a summary of my week. I didn't run nearly as much as I had hoped, but did get in that Long Run. I had planned my long run for Saturday afternoon because my daughter had horse riding lessons in the morning. I knew it would be hot and my daughter would be home, so I planned it for the treadmill in the basement. But shortly after we arrived home from horse lessons, one of my daughter's friends called and invited her to go to the park with them. I thought about changing my plans to outdoor running, but it's just too hot. I completed 16 miles on the treadmill while watching two movies. I took walking breaks while texting my daughter and a friend of mine. 16 miles on the hamster wheel isn't much fun, but at least it was conveniently located within a short walk of the faucet and toilet! Afterwards I took an ice bath then met friends for dinner then a neighborhood band concert. Fun times!

Monday: 3.09 miles
Thursday: 4 miles
Saturday: 16 miles

Days run this week: 3
Miles run this week: 23.09
Highlight of the week: 16 miles...
Goal for next week: run more days of the week

Monday, August 3, 2009

Crowd Support/Evening Runner

I've pretty much come to the conclusion that early morning running on weekdays, just isn't for me. I tend to hit snooze too many times or reset the alarm clock and either don't have enough time to run at all when I get up, or have to cut my goal distance short because I got up too late. And on those rare days that I actually get up when the alarm sounds, I've had challenges with bonking. My body needs adequate fuel to run and a cup of juice or a gel just isn't enough to get me through 4-6 miles and eating something more substantial requires a mid-run pit-stop. Since I'm trying to get back into the training groove since there are only 10 more weeks until the marathon. After I reset my alarm clock twice this morning I vowed I would run this evening. NO EXCUSES. Driving home from work, after leaving a voicemail for Gordon of Running to Disney Podcast fame, I started thinking about how/when I used to run, many years ago, sheerly for the exercise/stress relief/enjoyment. Thinking back I realized that the majority of my runs were in the evening. I can remember running in the dark by moonlight much more often than runs at 5 a.m. And now that I'm writing this, I don't think I've ever run at 5 a.m. until this latest Chicago Marathon training schedule. When I used to run simply for fun, I recall a few times that I would get up early to run simply so I could watch the sun rising over the ocean (which doesn't happen at 5 a.m.). I remember years ago my neighbor tried to get me into walking with her and another neighbor at 5 a.m. I just couldn't commit to that crazy schedule (not to mention that I'd rather run than walk).

I worked late today since my daughter is with her dad. (I tend to leave the office early when she's with me so it balances out.) I arrived home around 7:30 p.m., changed into running clothes, consumed a vanilla Clif shot, and put the harnesses on the dogs. I've been trying to figure out what mileage is good for them. I used to occassionally take them on 2-3 mile runs (about once a month) and that was too much. So I took the advice of Chris Russell, hit reset, and started with shorter distance. One loop around my block is one mile. I tried this first (weeks ago) and they were still pulling me at the end. Last week I added a side cul-de-sac and they still had energy. The next time I added yet another side cul-de-sac to total 1.44 miles and shortly after 1 mile, they weren't pulling anymore, but seemed fine at the end. So tonight I added one more cul-de-sac for a total of 1.56 miles. This may have been too much. They slowed significantly at one mile and instead of them pulling me, I was encouraging one of them in the end. (Tasha, 5-yr-old husky mix was lagging; Riley, 1-yr-old golden still happily jogging). Not sure if it was the heat/humidity or if they're just still tired from yesterday's trail run. I'll give them a rest day tomorrow.

After 1.56 miles with the dogs, I dropped them off at home. After removing their harnesses and making sure they had plenty of water, I went outside and repeated that same route. I decided that since my average pace for the year is much slower than my goal for the year, that I would try to pick up the pace. I wanted a sub-12 minute average for this run. After the 2-mile beep said 12:09 (slower than my first mile), I flipped my Garmin 405 display to the total run average pace. I kept a close eye on it to make sure it stayed under 12 minutes. As I was exiting the second cul-de-sac, Wendy was driving home and she yelled "GO SAMANTHA!" out of her car window. I smiled and waved at this great pre-race crowd support! (She and DeeDee are going to Chicago with us but won't be running, just cheering.) Then on the next cul-de-sac, Susan and Sandy were outside and yelled encouragement. From that point on I knew the terrain was all downhill. I was at 11:41 average pace. I picked up speed in hopes of achieving 11:27 average pace since 27 is my lucky number. I hit 11:27 average about a tenth of a mile before home and then it dropped to 11:26. At first, I slowed down because I thought it would be cool to finish at 11:27 pace. But then I realized that was my OCD kicking in and I shouldn't slow down for a number. I picked the pace back up and ultimately finished with an average pace of 11:25 minutes per mile on a 3.09 mile run. Yay! It's not fast, by any means, but it's better than my goal average, so I'm happy.

So I've concluded that running in the evening is so much better for me than early mornings on weekdays. That last loop of crowd support from neighborhood friends cheering me on gave me an awesomely spontaneous boost! Plus, when I think back to when I just ran for fun, those evening runs come to the forefront.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Week 7 of 17 Chicago Marathon Training

Well, once again I ran much less this week than I had planned. But on the positive side, I ran more than I did last week. I could list several excuses, but what's the point. They are just excuses. So here's a summary of my week.

Monday: 4 miles
Thursday: 5.04 miles
Friday: 2 miles
Sunday: 4 miles

Days run this week: 4
Miles run this week: 15.04

Highlight of the week: running in the rain, twice
Goal for next week: Get back on training schedule

Fun, muddy run in rain on trail with pups

Yesterday I felt horrible and skipped the 10-mile run. I thought about making it up today, but didn't want to compromise next week's training. Although I had really wanted to run this week perfectly according to the training schedule, I didn't. One excuse after another. So I decided that today, instead of trying to make up mileage, I would do a revitalizing, easy, fun run on a trail with the pups. I hoped this would reinvigorate me and be sort of a reset button. So after church, I ate a sandwich, changed into running clothes and loaded the dogs in the car. We drove to Sope Creek. Dark clouds loomed overhead and rain sprinkled on the car off and on as we drove the 26 miles to the trail. I wondered if we would get rained on while running, but didn't really care. There were only three other cars in the parking lot when we arrived. After paying the parking fee, we set off down the trail. Shortly into it, there was a tree down across the trail. Hmmm... what to do... We climbed over it through a narrow passageway between two other trees since the branches were huge over the trail. We didn't see anyone for a while, but when we did, my adrenaline rushed. We passed two men that didn't exactly look like successful businessmen. Since I hadn't seen anyone else, and the trail is surrounded by forest, I started feeling fearful. Why didn't I bring my pepper spray? And of course these two dogs aren't exactly guard dogs. Tasha would like a stranger to death and Riley would cower in fear. The adrenaline rushed through me and I pushed the pace with the dogs until we got to a side-path. I turned left and hoped they didn't follow us. Once I realized we weren't being followed, I relaxed a bit. I had fun running through the muddy trail. When we completed the loop that we were on, there were two more men, friendly looking, with three dogs that were a bit excited. So instead of heading back to the car (they were standing in that trail), I turned left so we could bypass the dogs (a husky, chocolate lab, and ???). We did another loop of what we had run earlier. In our last half-mile, it started raining lightly. It was refreshing and beautiful watching it rain on the small Lake Sibley. There was a father and young son fishing on the dock. How cute! We did a total of 4 miles in a little over an hour. Not the fastest pace in the world, since we walked up some steep hills and stopped a few times to look at trail maps and for the pups to drink out of creeks. But my goal wasn't running fast; it was to have fun. And with the exception of that first scare, it truly was a fun run. Tomorrow I'll clean all the mud out of the car...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

why do I run

Last night I got ambitious on Facebook and friended a few people that I barely knew from high school. One was a guy that I had a major crush on. He's a few years older than me and I was shy in high school. He was a cute, cool, smart, football player. I just admired him from afar. So after I sent the friend request he sent me an email. Amongst other things, he asked me how I got into running. So, in case you're wondering, this is my story...

I started running because of .... you guessed it... a boy. One summer of my early high school years (8th or 9th grade) my family went on vacation to Panama City Beach for a week. I met a guy there from Berrien County which is about 45 minutes from where I lived. We exchanged phone numbers and addresses, but back then kids didn't make long-distance calls. We wrote to each other several times and he said he ran track. He told me the date that his track team would be coming to my high school for a track meet. I went to watch him in the track meet the following spring. He was so cute! Since my high school would be going to his high school the following year for the track meet, I joined the track team so I could see him again. I've always been athletic, playing softball most of my youth, so running came naturally. I quickly forgot about him, but loved running. I ran track and cross country in high school. I wasn't fast, but I loved it! My grandfather died on my brother's birthday when I was in 10th grade. I didn't find out until after I had returned home from the out-of-town track meet in which I had run my best yet. He had died earlier in the day and I asked my mom why she didn't come to school and tell me before the track meet. She said that Papa would have wanted me to enjoy my track meet so she waited until I got home. In hindsight, I'm glad she waited.

I was already on the track team when Jeff moved to town. I can't remember if we started dating before or after track season, but he ran too. We used to go up to the track at night and run together. We usually did our own individual work outs rather than running at the same pace. Mr. Polhamous would be there sometimes pole vaulting and occassionally there were other walkers or joggers. If we were lucky, we'd be alone after dark...

I ran for stress relief during college and to keep in shape for Ultimate frisbee. I ran to stay in shape up until I had problems becoming pregnant. My OB said maybe if I added some body fat, my problems would resolve. I cut back on my mileage, gained some weight and it worked! After my daughter was born, my then-husband bought me a jogging stroller for Christmas. I had gained so much weight that it was difficult to run, but I started out slow and did an unstructured run/walk with Kyra in the stroller. But I had difficulty finding the time to go running because I was so exhausted being a new mom. I started running hard again as my marriage was falling apart. I guess it's just been a life-long passion that gets me through the tough times.

I started training for my first marathon after breaking up with the most significant relationship after my marriage, but I tore my ACL and meniscus doing something stupid (jumping on the trampoline) and that sidelined my running for a while. I was so depressed when I couldn't run for months after surgery. But I hung in there and slowly began jogging again. I registered for another marathon (Sarasota), but hurt my meniscus again and had to drop down to the half-marathon instead. I finally ran my first marathon last October and I'll be doing my second one, with two friends, in 10 weeks. I'm slow, but enjoy just getting out there and enjoying nature. If I lost 20 pounds I'm sure it would make a huge difference in my speed, but the more I run, the hungrier I am, the more I eat, and the pounds aren't falling off. Vicious cycle.

So, why do I run now? Because I love getting out there and enjoying nature, even urban nature... It's a great escape!

Friday, July 31, 2009

July Summary

July 2009
14 runs
76.3 miles

January 1 - July 31, 2009
96 runs
391.3 miles
12:19 average pace

My goal for the year was 200 runs, 800 miles, less than 12 min/mile average pace. I'm behind schedule, but I know that the miles are going to increase drastically during the next few months of marathon training so I'm not too worried. Just ran the math. To meet the goal, I'll need to average 20.8 runs and 81.8 miles per month for August - December. Time to step it up...

a little bit further with the pups

The dogs were still going strong at 1 mile yesterday so I decided to add a few cul-de-sacs with them this morning for a total of 1.44 miles. They started slowing down around the 1-mile mark, but only to the point of not dragging me down the street. At about the 1-mile mark the leash began to slacken but they kept going strong. I dropped them off at home and then intended to go back out for a few more miles, but after a short distance I realized what time it was and thought that a program I liked was on now. So I went inside and jumped on the treadmill. But a half-mile into it, I needed to use the bathroom. Upset stomach. So I called it quits. So much for my 4-mile goal...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

running in the rain

Riley seems to be feeling a little better so I took him and Tasha out for the first mile of my run this morning. They still seemed energetic at the end of the one mile loop around my neighborhood block so maybe we'll go a little farther tomorrow. It sprinkled rain on us as we ran and I totally loved it! It was so refreshing to jog in the cool morning rain as the sky was beginning to brighten with the sun rising. Now this is why I run. After the mile, I came inside and did 4 more miles on the treadmill while the pups rested. I feel so much better after getting sleep last night and a good run in this morning!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Getting back on track (sort of)

My training plan called for 5 miles today, but I don't want to overdo it since I didn't run much last week. I started about 10 minutes later than I had hoped, so I only did 4 miles on the treadmill. It felt great! While running I was trying to decide if I should take Riley to the vet before or after work. After my shower, I looked at him lying on the couch with a giant glob of thick greenish snot hanging out of his nostril. That was the deciding factor. I took him to the vet right away since he hadn't eaten breakfast, was coughing worse, and now the snot. They x-rayed him to make sure he didn't have anything stuck in his throat and thank goodness the results were clear. They suspect he caught a respiratory infection while he was boarded during our vacation. The cure? Two weeks on antibiotics. Poor puppy! Hope he feels better soon!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Week 6 of 17 Chicago Marathon Training

Well, this week I ran much less than I had planned. Vacation in the early part of the week, then a cold and Riley being sick cut my mileage the last part of the week.

Thursday: 2.71 miles
Saturday: 3.64 miles

Days run this week: 2
Miles run this week: 6.35
Highlight of the week: vacation + trail run/walk/hike with dogs
Goal for next week: Get back on training schedule