Saturday, January 31, 2009

Race Report - Chisago Lakes 5K

For the third year in a row, Jim, Mac, and I ran the Chisago Lakes 5K. And for the third year in a row, I placed in my age group! (Yay for small races!) My time this year was significantly better than my last two years, but considering that in 2007 I was pregnant, and last year I was still recovering from giving birth, that's not much of a surprise.

The weather people promised a warm up for the weekend, and it was so beautiful! We had highs of 46 degrees, which felt like summer after the last month. I brought Sophie with to the race, and she was so excited to finally be outside walking around.
I told myself that I would just take it easy for this race - I am doing my long run tomorrow and have a speed workout on the schedule for Monday, so I didn't want to get my legs too tired. Of course, as soon as the race started, I took off. The first mile was 7:40 - much faster than I planned to run. I slowed down a little during the second mile. The third mile, I slowed down some more - it was pretty hilly and slushy, so I was forced to run slower. I ended up finishing in 25:40, which I was very happy with. Slower than my streak of 5K PR's this fall, but a good time for me.
Sophie was super tired from all the fresh air and walking around and went to bed early tonight, so I'm enjoying an evening of relaxation before the long run tomorrow. Thirteen miles in the morning, and then yummy Super Bowl party treats - should be a fun day!

Monday, January 26, 2009

This Time Around

** the title and concept for this post have been borrowed from Aron :) **

I successfully completed my first day of training for the Green Bay Marathon - a speed workout, 3 x 1600. In the weeks leading up to the start of this training (and really, since I decided to run this marathon), I've been thinking a lot about how I trained for and ran my last two marathons and how I want this time to be different.

I ran my first marathon, Twin Cities, in October 2006. While I was training, I also happened to be working full time and studying for the bar exam. My training nutrition? Twizzlers, cake, and Diet Mountain. My main training goal was to run as many miles as possible while still fitting in the working and the studying. All of my miles were just slow, regular old miles. No speed work, no tempo runs, no training plan. The method was in part successful - I had a great experience running the mararthon and, more importantly, made it through training and the race completely injury free.

After Twin Cities, I took a couple weeks completely off running, and then had a difficult time getting back into the groove. And then in January 2007, I got pregnant. I kept running, but didn't have any marathon plans.

After Sophie was born, I made it my goal to run a marathon within a year of her birth. At the coaxing of a friend, I registered for Grandma's. So in June 2008 (when Sophie was eight months old), I ran my second marathon. Again, no training plan. And really, not much training. I ran three miles per day most days of the week, and did a frighteningly small number of long runs. And I really mean frightening -- in April, two months before the marathon, I ran a half marathon. Before that, I had only run a couple of 8 milers. Most of my long runs were done pushing Sophie in a jogging stroller. On my sixteen miler, I got bit by a dog with six miles left to go. That pretty much sums up my training for Grandma's. The race, as to be expected, was torture from the starting line to the finish.

In the minutes it took me to get from the finish line of Grandma's to the icy waters of Lake Superior, I declared that I would never do another marathon. Ha. We all know how that goes. After a week or so off, I began to feel the old flame for running reignite - a flame I hadn't really felt since before I had Sophie. I knew I wanted to run another marathon and really wanted to put my heart and head into it.

I decided on Green Bay for several reasons. First, it's in May, with average lows around 45 degrees and average highs around 68 degrees. Heat was a factor for me in both Twin Cities and Grandma's, so I am eager to run a cooler weather race. Second, I am a Green Bay Packer fan, and running a lap around Lambeau Field will be an awesome experience.

Going into this training, I knew I wanted a plan that would push me, help me get faster and stronger. I chose FIRST because it combines speed work and tempo runs, and timed long runs. I know from Twin Cities that I need more than just miles, and I know from Grandma's that I actually need to DO the training. So I'm ready, knowing the work I have ahead of me. I want to do my best to train as hard as I can, so I can start the race with confidence and finish the race with joy. And hopefully experience a little (or a lot) of both in between.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

And the training starts . . .

Probably tomorrow. This week is the first week of my FIRST training schedule for the Green Bay Marathon (May 17th). The schedule calls for three runs a week -- a speed workout, a mid-distance tempo type workout, and the beloved long run. I cannot just run three days a week, so I will be keeping up with my early morning three milers and using them as recovery type runs. But no running today - we're back to the sub-zero temps and crazy ass windchills, so I'm hanging out in the house with Jillian Michaels. (For all you co-30 Day Shredders out there, I think I'm going to move up to level 3 tonight . . . I'm nervous!)

I had planned on running the Winter Carnival Half Marathon in St. Paul yesterday, but on Friday they announced that they were going to cut it to a quarter marathon because of the weather conditions. Drive 70 miles to pay $35 to run 6 miles? Even for my math-dumb brain, those numbers just don't make sense.

Hope everyone has a wonderful rest of the weekend!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Because I Care

I've been running a lot this week. I ran twice yesterday, and plan on running twice again today. Everybody talks about how much we learn from running, about ourselves, about the availability of acceptable on-the-run toilet facilities, etc. I've learned a few important lessons in the last couple of days and, being the nice, helpful person I am, decided I should share them with you.

Lesson #1: Do NOT eat tacos an hour before a six-mile tempo run. You WILL spend the last two miles wondering if it is better to throw up or crap your pants while running. You WILL make your babysitter think that you are (1) suffering from some sort of ebola virus or (2) just plain freaking crazy.

Lesson #2: If you pack a backpack with your running stuff in it and bring it to the office with you and put your lunch in the same backpack, do NOT leave your lunch in the backpack until lunchtime. Your lunch WILL taste like sucking on dirty running socks. (Of course, if you wear clean clothes every time you run, you don't need to worry about this. But if you are a dirty little bird like me, then maybe use a separate bag for lunch.)

Hope you find this advice helpful. Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Double Digits

I may have mentioned once (or a hundred times) that last week was unbearably cold here in Minnesota. All week long the weather reports called for a weekend warm up, and I bought it completely. I was convinced that Saturday would feel like spring. I scheduled the babysitter for 1:30 (because you can run in the middle of the afternoon in January) and was very excited to finally get a 10-mile run in.

The babysitter showed up and I contemplated wearing one less Under Armour layer than usual (after all, I thought it was spring). Thankfully I decided against it. As soon as I got out of our protective forest-like yard and driveway and onto the road, I realized that I don't know crap about weather. Just listening to weather reports and looking our your window at a sunny day does not mean that you should assume it is going to feel like spring. Although it was a balmy 18 degrees (forty degrees warmer than it was Thursday morning!), the wind was vicious. I could feel it blowing through my shoes.

Despite the nasty wind, I managed to get my 10 miles done. And Sunday? Got up and did six miles in much milder conditions. Today and tomorrow are supposed to be pretty nice (we might even warm up to freezing tomorrow!). I ran three this morning, and will run three tomorrow morning and then a tempo run tomorrow night. Have to take advantage of this spring weather while it lasts!

Since I was off yesterday and it feels like Monday today, Happy Monday! Hope everybody has a great week.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Why I Should Have More Time To Run

No, I didn't hire a freakishly small maid. I'm just teaching my 15-month old how to pull her own weight. I figure once I get Sophie doing all of my housework, she can take care of the cleaning and I can take care of the running. I don't know why I didn't have a child sooner! (The system isn't perfect yet. After we finished the laundry, she went up to her bedroom and threw all of her books on the floor.)

There won't be any outdoor running around here for the next 24+ hours. Predicted temp tomorrow morning? Twenty below. Windchill? Fifty below. Gotta love this state. I got in my Jillian Michaels fix tonight and I'm planning on yoga for tomorrow night. Now, I'm off to bed because it's way past my bedtime.

Thanks for all the encouraging comments on my daisy downer post from Monday. Hope everyone has a great rest of the week!

Monday, January 12, 2009


Before I get into the things I've done wrong, let's not forget the things I've done right: I haven't had a piece of candy at work for two weeks. I've been doing my yoga and letting Jillian Michaels torture me on a semi-regular basis. I've been getting out and running, even though I'd rather burrow deeper under the covers.

Enter today. A return to sub-zero temps and wicked wind chills. I knew I wouldn't be running outside and planned all day to run on my friend's treadmill after Sophie went to bed. And then my husband decided he needed to go to Menards, so I couldn't leave the house. What I should have done: gone to Plan B and let Jillian make spaghetti noodles out of my arms. What I actually did? Watched How I Met Your Mother and ate a brownie the size of my face. Oops.

There is a tiny little voice, a very small piece of me that keeps saying, "You don't have to run now. It's too cold. Wait until it's warmer - you'll have plenty of time to run then." I think learning how to shut that voice up (instead of feeding it brownies) is part of what makes us runners. It's unrealistic to think that we'll never give in to that voice (unless, of course, you're Frayed Laces, which in that case, you're my idol. Seriously.).

I'm not going to give in to that evil little voice tomorrow. I'm going to go upstairs right now and pack my bag with every piece of Under Armour I own, my Sauconys, my Yak Trax, and my Garmin, and take it with me to work tomorrow. And after work, now matter how cold or how windy it is, I'm getting my butt outside and running. Because I don't need any more brownies, I don't need any more feelings of failure, I just need to run.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Jillian Michaels Made Me Her Bitch (and I sorta liked it)

Inspired by some of you other runners out there who engage in these little things called cross training and strength training, I stopped at Target yesterday and picked up the 30 Day Shred. And before you get all jealous thinking that I live close to a Target, think again. The closest Target is about 50 miles away. I happened to be in the Cities for a seminar and decided to spend the afternoon screwing off shopping instead of listening to one more person rant on about how our court system is basically going to shut down after June 30th because of the lack of funding. What better way to protect my job than to inject money into the economy?

Anyhow, the 30 Day Shred . . . After I put Sophie to bed last night and cleared her legions of toys off the floor so I could do the workout without breaking an ankle, I tried level 1. I'd like to write a nice review of it, but my arms are so sore I'm having a little trouble holding my hands up to the keyboard to type. Anyone else out there who has done this, what size hand weights are you using? I used 8 pounds, which makes me seem like a big wimp, but it was freaking hard!

I'm going to try to do this a few times a week. Originally I thought I might do it for thirty days straight (the title seems to suggest that maybe that is what you are supposed to do???), but I've decided that's a wee bit too ambitious for me. But it is only 20 minutes long, which is completely doable, and if the 8 pound weights get too heavy, I guess I can get some soup cans out of the cupboard.

On the running side of things, Wednesday night I went out for a 6 mile tempo run. This was my first ever "real" tempo run. It went really well. It also reinforced my love for my new Garmin. Knowing the pace you are running all the time is like crack, seriously. How did I make it to this point in my life without one?

I'm planning on a long run tomorrow, even though it's (shocker) supposed to be pretty damn cold. Hope everybody has a great weekend!

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Preseason

Back when I was a star tennis player in high school (okay, mediocre doubles player), I always looked forward to the captain's practice weeks. Right at the end of summer, before the practices with the coaches started, we would meet and hit balls. I loved getting back into the swing of things (ha ha) without having to go through the torture of drills with the coaches.

The next few weeks are like my captain's practice for running. My "official" training for the Green Bay Marathon starts on the 26th. I need a little bridge between the chocolate-laden holidays and marathon training, so I've declared myself in captain's practice preseason mode. As you might have guessed from my last post, I'm trying to do some speedwork. Starting this Wednesday, I have a babysitter coming when Sophie goes to bed so I can do a mid-week, middle distance tempo run. And I AM going to get a couple of longer runs in. (And yes, I'm going to pay a babysitter to sit in my house while my child sleeps. Don't I get extra miles for that?)

Our wonderful sub zero temps are attempting to screw with my preseason. I really am going to try to suck it up and get out there anyway, provided it is not so cold that my face will freeze off. Because I'm sort of attached to it. (It really needs to warm up soon. Otherwise I'll need to change the name of this blog to "Girl Who Never Runs Bitching About the Weather.")

In honor of the preseason, I'm also trying to cleanse my diet a little. Chore #1: no crap at work. We have so much candy around this place, it's like trick or treating every day. Chore #2: less Diet Dew, more water. This again, is mostly a work related problem. Maybe I should just quit my job so I can really focus on my running.