Monday, September 28, 2009

Race Report - Audubon 10K

On Saturday, I ran the Second Annual 10K at the Northwoods Audubon Society in Sandstone. I ran this race last year too, so I guess I can say I've run the race every year it's been offered.

Over the weekend, I was on a little scrapbooking retreat (nerdy, I know) with some friends, but I was still only 15 minutes away from Sandstone, so figured I could still make the race. Although I stayed up later than I usually would before a race and fueled a little bit differently (chips and salsa and peanut butter M&M's are good pre-race foods, right?), I felt good when I got up Saturday morning. Jim picked me up at the scrapbooking house and we headed to the race.

The 5K and 10K start at the same time together, and a lot of people walk the 5K. Can you see where this is going? Right at the start, I had the always pleasant experience of running a few steps only to have to slam on the brakes to avoid plowing over a walker. Once the 5K split off from the 10K, things cleared out considerably, since there were only about 30 people running the 10K.

The first mile is on the dirt roadway/driveway leaving the Audubon Center. I wanted to keep myself from going out to fast, and running on dirt helped! The next three and half miles are on paved roads going around Grindstone Lake. It really is a beautiful course, especially this time of year with the leaves changing. At about the 4.5 mile mark, we are back on dirt roads heading back towards the Audubon Center. The final mile is actually on the trails through the Audubon property.

I ran a strong race and kept a consistent pace, which made me happy. The last stretch through the trails in the woods really took it out of me. I wanted to give a good kick to the end, but my legs just weren't having any of that. Cross the finish "line" (okay, patch of grass) in 56:09. At 6.4 miles. Damn long race. At least I remembered that the course was long from last year, so I expected it. But still. I was done at 6.2! Although my finish time is slower than my August 10K (normal distance), I improved on last year's time from the "maxi" 10K by 2 minutes! I'll take it.

I'm still debating about whether to post the "reenactment" picture Jim took of me running through the trail on the woods. I look like a complete dork, so I have to decide how much I'm willing to embarass myself.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Kettlebells = Love

Last night, I went to my first Kettlebells class. I had no clue what to expect, except that I was convinced I would end up with a few bruises out of the deal. After all, what else would happen when you are swinging a 20 pound metal ball all over the place?

I had a fantastic time. The hour long class went by really quickly and it was HARD work. I found myself shaking like a leaf several times. After the class was over, I had a huge endorphin high. I was blabbering like a fool about how much I loved the class for at least an hour afterwards. This morning, I talked to my friends who went to the class with me, and they said they did the same thing - so at least I know I'm not a complete nerd.

When I got home, I played with Sophie and got her to bed, then put my bike on the trainer and watched my Tivo'd Biggest Loser. I think I may have my new Tuesday night routine . . .

Oh, running blog, right. Track workout Monday night. I've got 8 miles on the schedule tonight, hills tomorrow, and a 10K race Saturday.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mora Bike Tour

This morning was the Mora Bike Tour, the third event in the Mora Classic Series (canoe race, half marathon, 50-mile bike, and cross country ski). Jim picked me up at 7:00 and we headed over to Mora. When we arrived, we checked in and were asked what time we wanted to start. Nice flexible start! I was happy not to start with a big group of bikes - a sure recipe disaster for my klutzy self.

Once we were off, the miles clicked by pretty quickly. I'm glad I decided to wear my Garmin, because there were no mile markers. I tend to get a little panicky when I don't know how far I've gone or have left to go, so Garmin was a life saver. Jim and I kept up a decent pace - not too pokey, but not too fast either. We had plenty of time to catch up, which of course included a nearly word for word repetition of this week's episode of The Office.

Before I knew it, we were done. A great ride with no problems (except the tiny little issue of missing the final turn and riding an extra mile - oops). Finished in just under four hours. We enjoyed our free lunch and came home. Now I'm spending the evening relaxing and playing with our new laptop. Have a great rest of the weekend!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

And then, there was the Perfect Run

I don't know how it is for all of you, but for me, the running gods are sort of stingy with the perfect run. Most of my runs feel pretty damn hard. Since the marathon (way back in May, my how time flies), all of my long-ish runs have been pretty much impossible. From the beginning, I struggle with motivation to complete the run.

Enter last night. I decided to run 8 miles after Sophie went to bed. Jim and I headed out just as the sun was setting. We rounded the corner between two farms (yes, I live in the middle of nowhere) and were treated with a gorgeous panaramic view of the sun setting against the trees and farm fields. The weather was perfect - nice and cool, no wind.

Aside from the beautiful scenery, I for the first time in what feels like forever felt motivated to run the distance. I never uttered the words, "Let's just cut it short tonight." Although our pace wasn't earth shattering, it wasn't a pokey little walk in the woods either.

Running the last three miles down my dirt road we picked up the pace. By this time, it was full on dark. We're not in headlight mode yet, so we were pretty much using the river and the narrow strip of sky visible above the trees as our guide. Running through the dark, looking up at the star-filled sky, I thought, "Ah yes, THIS is why I run."

Monday, September 14, 2009

Catching Up

I've been swamped. Not so much the working hard variety (although there's been some of that), but more the playing hard variety. We were up at a friend's cabin this weekend and had a super fun time. Even managed to fit in a run (to the bar to pick up our truck - aren't we responsible?). With all the um, business, I only managed 13 miles last week.

Time to get back at it. I'm headed to the track after work and hoping to get in a good, hard workout before I need to hurry home, shower, and go to a meeting. If I get home early enough from the meeting, I'm also planning on doing a little 30 Day Shred. I have my big 50-mile bike "race" coming up on Saturday, so my plan is to work my legs hard in the beginning of the week and then take it easy so they are nice and rested for Saturday.

Looking forward to also catching up with all of your blogs. Happy Monday!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

350 Minutes

No, that's not how long it took me to run 3.3 miles yesterday. Although it felt like that.

Rather, that's how much time exercising I'm trying to get in per week. I've mentioned on this blog before that I tend to forgo cross training and just focus on running alone. Before I had Sophie, I was better about fitting in strength training, but in the past two years it's been pretty nil.

Hence 350 minutes. Yes, that's seven hours a week, which is also one hour per day. So you might think I should just call it an hour per day. But I like 350 minutes better. It's like a little piggy bank I fill up. Two hours of biking? 120 minutes in the bank. 10 minutes of sit ups and push ups? In the bank.

This is my third week of focusing on 350 minutes. I have noticed already that it really does help me add in the cross training. After I put Sophie to bed in the evenings, I have been doing 30 day shred, different ab or strength workouts, yoga, even Tae Bo to add time to the bank.

My running is still adjusting to the added cross training. My legs have felt dead on all of my runs the past two weeks. I'm sure it is from all the extra squats and kicks I've been forcing them to do. But I think once I get adjusted, it will actually help make my running stronger. What do you think?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day

After sleeping in until the glorious hour of 8:00 a.m., I loaded my bike in the back of the truck, picked up Jim and his bike, and we were off to the Munger Trail, a paved bike trail about 15 miles north of my house.

The weather was perfect and we had a great ride. Thirteen miles north, where we stopped for breakfast at a cafe, and thirteen miles back. It was a relaxing morning, but still enough miles to build confidence for the 50 miler I have coming up in a couple of weeks.

After I put Sophie to bed tonight, I did half an hour of yoga to get the kinks out . . . kinks caused by Tae Bo boot camp Friday night (it's been a few years!), 18 holes of golf yesterday, and some questionable dance moves/group hula-hooping last night. It's been a fun weekend!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Weekend Treats

First off, Happy 34th birthday to my hubby! He had to work all day and is finally home, so we'll be cutting into the French Silk pie I picked up for him soon . . .
Since my whinefest of Thursday, I've gotten in a couple of good runs - a hill workout on Thursday that felt terrific and 6 miles this morning that, well, I survived. Isn't it funny how you can run a half marathon one weekend and feel great and run less than half the distance the next and feel like you're dying? Oh, the mysteries of running.
Aside from running, I'm enjoying a nice long weekend. Picked up a big-girl bed for Sophie today (free from some former neighbors - score!), golf tournament tomorrow and Sophie spending the night and Grandma and Grandpa's, and a long bike ride on Monday morning.
Have a great rest of the weekend!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Collateral Damages

So I had a great race on Saturday. What I failed to mention were the negative side effects (not just of the race, but really of running in general).

1. Chafe/wound on my chest from the Gu I stuck in the strap of my sports bra. Ouch. Oh, by the way, during the race, said Gu worked its way pretty far down into my sports bra. Pretty sure anyone who saw me groping around for that Gu later got quite the show.

2. Cement legs. I tried to run at the track on Monday. After three measly 800's, I realized that I could still make it to the grocery store before I had to pick Sophie up from daycare. Done. Tuesday, I ran five miles after work. My legs? Still felt dead. We'll see how the hill workout goes tonight.

3. Bad hair. My hair looks like crap. A few weeks ago, my own mother told me she thought "there was something wrong" with my last haircut. So I scheduled another haircut, with a new person. Last weekend, my grandma said "What's wrong with your hair? It's sticking out all over the place." This immediately after I had finished styling my hair to go to a party. Seriously considering shaving my head and starting over. What color wig do you think I should get?

So there you have it. You may now commence feeling sorry for me.