Sunday, January 31, 2010

Race Report - Chisago Lakes 5K

Yesterday morning I ran the Chisago Lakes 5K in Center City. This is one of the many "local" races I consider a must-do. This race has a particularly Minnesota flavor - the race registration tent is on a frozen lake an the race course takes runners past the church used in the Grumpy Old Men movies. Yesterday was especially "Minnesotan" with balmy temps of -5 degrees at race time.

Given the temps and the hills (did I mention the race is pretty hilly?), I didn't ave any particular time goal. I was just looking forward to getting the first race of 2010 under my belt. At 10:00 the race started and we were off, with considerably less runners than previous warmer years. There is a huge hill in the first quarter mile of the race, so that kept me from going out too fast. I just kept chugging along at about an 8:30 pace, trying to convince myself that my lungs were not going to freeze.

By the end of the first mile I was warmed up. There is another serious hill in the second mile, followed by a section where you run on a skinny (snow & ice covered) trail. Right after the trail? You guess it, more hills. Finally we were on the final downhill stretch to the finish. I gave a big kick trying to pass two girls in front of me who I thought might be in my age group. And then Sophie somehow broke free of my mom and jumped out onto the race course. Now if I was going for a PR, I probably would have mowed her down. But since that was out of the picture, I stopped and grabbed her hand and we finished together. 26:24.

While this certainly wasn't my fastest 5K time, I am proud of my even splits (8:32, 8:33, 8:34) and my hill prowess. I passed lots of people on the hills and never saw them again.

Speaking of hill prowess, this afternoon my in-laws watched Sophie while I ran my long run in their neck of the woods (northwestern Wisconsin). Twelve miles of big time hills. Like go to an amusement park and run on the roller coaster for twelve miles hills. My legs are killing me, but it was a great run. I then spent the rest of the afternoon in front of their fireplace eating a delicious dinner that I did not have to cook. Perfect weekend!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Stronger Than You Think You Are

Last night during kettlebells I completely wimped out on this move I refer to as Satan's rows. As I dropped down to my knees and prayed that I would die, I heard the instructor yell at me from the front of the room, "Heather, what the hell are you doing? Get up!" My response? "I can't hold my fat ass up again." Appropriate, I know. She again told me to get up, so I did. Let's face it, this woman is my guru. If she told me to quit my job and just run and train with her all day, I would. (That actually wouldn't take much convincing.) As I finished out the set, she came back to me and tapped me on the shoulder. "You're stronger than you think you are."

So true. I was able to complete Satan's rows about a million times last night. The whole incident left me thinking about all the times I let my mind convince me that I just can't do it any more. In almost every race, I have a moment where my brain takes over and says, "slow down and walk, you are too tired." Sometimes that voice wins.

I want to train myself to have a strong mind. Two ways I can think of: keep doing workouts that I think are nearly impossible (hello, Satan's rows) and replace "slow down and walk, you are too tired" with my new mantra, "you are stronger than you think you are." What do you do to stay mentally strong?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Double Digits

The last couple of years have taken on a little pattern: spring/early summer marathon, keep up with the middle distance (8-10 miles) runs over the summer, finish out the fall and then forget how to run anything farther than 5 miles. Come January, I start thinking I need to up the mileage so I can be ready for marathon training to start in February.

I broke the streak of short runs with a 10 miler this morning. I was more than happy to leave the house, as Sophie had been throwing up on me for about an hour. My husband, on the other hand, was not so excited for me to leave. The run was slow and slippery. Even my yak trax were no match for the icy dirt roads.

I had been feeling a little bit apprehensive about the long runs on my training plan, but something about breaking that double digit barrier restored my confidence in my ability to run long. I definitely need to speed up a little, but at least I know I can go the distance.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Happy Friday

I was tagged by Aron to list 10 things that make me happy. I'm going to steal her idea and use pictures.

1. Help with the housework.

2. Vacations!

3. My great running partner, Jim.

4. The excitement at the start of a race.

5. My super funny daughter.

6. My friends.

7. Dressing in matching clothes with my sister.

8. Presents. Especially Garmin presents!
9. Summer Sundays at the golf course with my family.

10. Finish lines!

So there you have it. I'm supposed to tag other people, but everyone and their brother has done this already, so I won't. If by chance you haven't done this one and want to, consider yourself tagged. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Heather 2, Pillow 0

After a nice long weekend (yay for Monday holidays), I have managed to get up two mornings in a row for an early morning run before work. It has been a battle both mornings. This morning especially. My bed was so warm and cozy and my muscles were so, so sore from kettlebells last night. The fight went something like this:

Me: "I don't want to get up. I'm tired."
Also me: "Get your ass out of bed, you will feel better once you start running."
Me: "But it's cold out."
Also me: "It's not that cold. Shut up and get out of bed."
Me: "I'll run later."
Also me: "Yes, you will run later. And you will also run right now. So get up."

You get the gist. The added bonus to getting up early to run is having time for my favorite breakfast - oatmeal with blueberries and brown sugar. Delicious! Now I am energized and well fueled for my full day of traffic court.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Why the marathon?

A couple of things have happened recently that have made me wonder why I want to continue to run the marathon. When my husband gave me a whole pile of gu for Christmas, my instant response was, "This will get me through at least two marathon training seasons." He gave me a look as if he was completely shocked (sidenote: does he think gu tastes so good I eat it for fun??). And when I started talking about doing Madison in the spring and actually registered for it, I again got a little gripe from my husband.

I never thought I would run a marathon. When I was younger, I was the nerdy, indoor kid - give me a book or let me practice the piano and I was happy. I could not finish the one mile run in gym class without walking. Even once I started running, I assumed I would be happy with 5k's and 10k's. I remember saying, "I know I'll never want to run a full marathon."

Fast forward to today: I've completed three fulls and am registered for my fourth. I'm planning on getting in my fifth and possibly my sixth this year as well. I don't see an end to my marathon days. Why wasn't one enough? I think there is something a tiny bit magical about the marathon. It's not just the race itself. It's the months of anticipation and planning, picturing myself crossing the finish line as I cross off all my training runs. It's the mix of fear and excitement at the start line, and knowing there are thousands of people standing around me feeling the same way. It's having those moments where I think there is absolutely no way I will be able to finish and then running one more mile. It's finding enough energy to "sprint" across the finish line.

Why do you return to the marathon?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Friday Mish Mash

Wednesday night I came home from work to find a package on my doorstep. It was the Bart Yasso book, My Life on the Run. Thanks Jamoosh! I might have to take a little break from Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle to get a little runspiration.

I was tagged by fellow Minnesota running mom Julie to share seven things about me. Here I go:

1) During college, I worked at a city police department. The real glamorous part of my job was observing women giving urine samples. During one such observation, a drunk woman threw a tampon at me. A used tampon. I did not get paid enough at that job.

2) That job (and the movie Legally Blond, of course) inspired me to go to law school.

3) I have never smoked a cigarette (not even one puff).

4) I like to drink a Diet Mountain Dew at 10:00 every morning. I have a problem.

5) I hardly ever wear makeup (except for masacara - can't leave the house without that).

6) My husband and I met during the summer of 1998. We both worked at the same state park - I was a camper registration girl and he was a park ranger.

7) When I was in high school, I was a terrible driver. I hit our basketball hoop and knocked it over. I also hit a post at the tennis court parking lots, which caused my bumper to fall off. There were cute guys playing tennis, so my friend and I just threw the bumper and the post in the back seat and took off. Oh, and when my car started on fire, I pulled into a gas station. Smart, right?

Thanks for the tag Julie! Anyone else who wants to play along . . . consider yourself tagged.

I'm looking forward to getting the weekend started - snowshoeing, scrapbooking, cross country skiing are all on the schedule. Have a great weekend!

Clickety Click Click

It's been almost a week since my last post and it has been a long week. I could write about how I spent a good part of the weekend/early week getting puked on by my two year old. Or I could write about how I've spent the last two days in a jury trial getting my ass kicked. Or maybe I could write about how, even with all that crap, I've managed to work out hard enough in the last four days to make my legs so sore I have a hard time standing up.

Instead, I think I'll just say $80 on the Visa and I am registered for the Madison Marathon on May 30th. Isn't it amazing how just registering for a race can give you an adrenaline rush that cures all sorts of ailments? Well, that, and a couple of peanut butter cups.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sorta Training

Full on marathon training starts the first week of February. I'm getting in the groove and warming up to it by doing "mini" workouts. For example, Mondays will be hills (interspersed with some speed work). So Monday night after work I did three miles on the hilliest route I could find. Wednesdays will be tempo runs. Last night after work, I set out for my baby tempo. Let me just say it is hard to get the legs moving quickly when it is so freaking cold. After two warm-up miles I decided to do one tempo mile. Wimpy? NO. It is supposed to be a baby tempo run. I pushed myself for that one mile and hit my pace goal, but it was tough. I then had two cool down miles, which were more like two freeze down miles. My legs feel like cement running in this cold weather - the muscles just never really feel like they are warmed up.

Monday was the first time I've worn my Garmin since my last 5K race in November. That's more than a month of runs with no real purpose! No wonder that little tiny tempo run felt so hard. I'll keep up with the mimic workouts and by February I'm sure I will be more than ready to jump into the plan.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Bring It On

My overall goal for 2010 is to get fitter and faster. Easy peasy, right? To be more specific, I plan to:
  • Participate in one race (or event) every month.
  • Run a sub-2:00 half marathon.
  • Continue getting 350 minutes per week of exercise. I started this in September (and maybe fell off a little bit in December), and find that it really helps me get in the cross training.
  • Run at least one marathon. Probably two. Possibly three.
  • Be more consistent with healthy eating. I tend to do good for a couple of weeks, and then fall off the wagon.

I have a couple non-fitness related goals too: spend less money (tough since I love my retail therapy) and read at least 50 books (I read 47 in '09 - so close!).

I went out for my first run of 2010 last night after work and it was pretty damn cold. I was happy that I had the guts to get out there and that I managed to avoid slipping and falling during the entire run. Not an easy task.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

First Weekend of 2010

So that's where I've been. It has been really, really cold the last couple of days. I've been whiling away the time by drinking (obviously), snowshoeing, and relaxing. I'll be back soon with all my 2010 goals, but for now, Happy New Year!