Sunday, July 1, 2012

1 Down, 99 to Go

Happy July!  I set a goal to run 100 miles this month.  I think the last time I made it to 100 miles in a month was sometime in 2010, so I decided it was time to step it up.  After setting that lofty goal, I ran a whopping one mile today.  Oh well, thirty days left to get it done!

Yesterday I did my first tri of the season - our local sprint tri.  It was a 300 yard swim, 11 mile bike, and 2 mile run.  It is a super informal event, no timing.  So I have no idea how fast (or slow) I swam, biked, and ran.  But I was out of breath the entire time.  So I'm going to say that means I put in a pretty good effort.  It reminded me how much I love triathlon, and of course, how much I love getting a good sweat on.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Because I'm Classy Like That

My first tri of the year is this weekend, so I thought it might be a good time to start swimming again.  I made plans to meet up with a tri friend at the local beach over lunch today.  It's pretty hot here today, so when I pulled up at the beach at 12:30, the parking lot was packed.  I felt a teensy bit awkward hiking across the parking lot in my fancy suit and high heeled shoes to the beach bathroom/changing house.

After a quick swim, I headed back into the changing house to get ready to go back to the office.  And quickly discovered that putting on nylons right after swimming while simultaneously trying to avoid touching bare skin to any floor/wall surface is a workout in and of itself.  I'm sure I got a few looks as I busted out of the changing house in my high heels and suit again.  I tried to ignore any people looking at me and made a beeline for my car.  After about five minutes of unsuccessfully punching in my unlock code, I realized I had made a beeline for someone else's car.  Had to go a little further down the parking lot to find my own car . . .

And now I'm back at the office, ready to get a few more hours of work in before golf time.  In summary: I apparently have a high threshold for public humiliation when it comes to getting my workouts in.  I'm not sure whether that is a good thing or a bad thing, but I'm going to go with it.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Ready (Maybe)

My training for the last year or so has been sort of non-training-ish.  I've been running (and biking and even sometimes swimming), but without following any sort of training plan.  And I haven't put in the training that I should for the races that I have done.  I think there's a couple of reasons for this - for one thing, for me running and racing goes through cycles.  I have periods where I feel very driven to train for specific goals.  But I can't do that all the time.  If I do, I end up getting obsessed with results.  And feel crushed if I don't get my expected results, which leads to running being something that makes me feel bad about myself.  Which is a little counterproductive.

The other reason for the non-training is because I have been trying to get pregnant for the past year.  When we first started trying, I assumed that I would get pregnant right away.  After all, I got pregnant with Sophie when we weren't trying and I was on the pill.  One year, two chemical pregnancies and a miscarriage later, joke's on me.  When I signed up for the Twin Cities Marathon last year, I assumed I would be pregnant and wouldn't end up running.  So I half-assed the training and had a crappy race.  When I signed up for the Wisconsin Marathon this spring - same thing.  Except then, two months before the marathon, I was pregnant.  I was still running and training for the marathon when the miscarriage started.  In my head, I thought a miscarriage would be a one day event.  In reality, between the spotting and what I consider "pre-mascarriage drama" and then the actual miscarriage, it was about three and a half weeks worth of suckiness.  By the time the whole miscarriage thing was done, it was too late for any "real" training for the marathon.  But I still ran and surprised myself with a half decent race. 

For my own sanity, I have to give up thinking about getting pregnant (easier said than done).  The desire to find something else to focus on has given me a hunger to throw myself into some solid training.  I have my sights set on two fall marathons - the Women Rock Minnesota marathon in September and the Whistlestop Marathon in October.  I think that if I put in a solid couple of months of training I can get a PR and go sub-4:30 at one of these races.

Last week, while I was resting my legs post-Grandma's (what is it about marathon recovery that makes you think about more marathons?), I made a little training plan to take me from now until September 1st (the Women Rock marathon).  I tried to keep it flexible to take into account summer schedule craziness.  I am excited to start checking off workouts.  After taking it pretty easy during the week last week, I had a couple of good workouts this weekend - a five mile run yesterday and a 40 mile bike today.  Tomorrow?   I've got speedwork on the calendar.  Now I've just got to try to remember where the track is . . .

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Grandma's Marathon 2012

Last Saturday I ran my ninth marathon and my third Grandma's. I ran with a friend who was doing her second marathon (but it had been a very long time since the first). Our plan was to start slow and slow down, and we were in it to finish. We executed our plan and finished in about 5:27. It was a weird weather day - started out hot and humid (I was completely drenched in sweat after the first mile). At about the halfway point, it started clouding over and cooling down. We were cold the last few miles, and by the finish it was 54 degrees. We finished just in time to beat the rain, thankfully. I was glad it cooled down when it did - my stomach was just getting to the really angry, nauseous stage. Otherwise, I felt great. My back started to really tighten up the last 10 miles or so, but within several hours after the race it felt better. I've been spending the last few days recovering. I feel ready to get back into some hard workouts. Unfortunately, we're having some crazy weather this week so I might have to wait a few days. A little more recovery probably won't kill me! I'll be ready to really hit it hard this weekend when the weather (hopefully) cooperates.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bookmark Bricks

In my small town (and even smaller social circle) Tuesday night is men's night and Wednesday night is ladies' night. For golf that is. My husband golfs on league Tuesday nights with the husband of one of my triathlon friends. So Tuesday nights for us during golf season is brick night. We lure some poor unsuspecting teenager into babysitting our children and head out for a bike ride and then a run. When the water in the local beach warms up (you know, sometime in August) we'll probably swim too. Last Tuesday was our first brick Tuesday of the year. The wind was whipping so we spent about 5 minutes strategizing a route that would give us the least amount of face to wind contact. Apparently we are both idiots because we rode into the wind every direction. Eleven miles of pure windy goodness. When I got off the bike and started to run, it was like Pinochio running on little wooden peg legs. After last week's brick, I didn't work out again until this week's brick. Not by choice - rather I was struck down by some nasty virus that went from flu to crazy ass sore throat. I still am not 100% recovered, but I had to get out and get my sweat on last night. And again with the wind! Apparently whenever I take out my bike the wind starts blowing. We used our super strategizing skills again to pick a windless route, actually semi-successfully this week. Twelve miles on the bike. I really wanted to run after, but just the act of riding my bike twelve miles while still fighting off this illness wore me out. My "brick" was biking and then walking two miles. Whatever. It was still nice to get outside and move my sickly body. Hoping to get back into a more regular routine now. I'm headed to the cities to my mom's for the long weekend and my sister wants me to run 20 miles with her on Saturday. Sounds reasonable to me. :)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Race Report: Wisconsin Marathon

On Friday, I finished up a mediation at 3:30 and drove up to Duluth to pick up my friend Tracy. We then drove through Wisconsin to Kenosha. What a LONG drive! We finally arrived at Tracy's mom's house in Kenosha a little around 12:30 a.m. Set the alarms for 6:00 and went right to bed, with race dreams in our head. When the alarm went off Saturday morning, I was tempted to just pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep. I could hear that it was pouring rain outside, and was just so tired. I forced myself out of bed, ate a bagel with peanut butter and banana, and got dressed. Tracy's mom lives about two blocks from the start line so we got to hang out inside (out of the rain). About twenty minutes before the start, we walked over to the race area.
We lined up between the 10:00 min./mile and 10:30 min./mile signs and before we knew it, we were off. The marathon and half marathon follow the same course for the first 12 miles, so Tracy and I ran together. After a few miles of running in downtown Kenosha, the race course went out along Lake Michigan. It was a really pretty course, and ended up being a perfect morning for running. The rain had stopped before we started, but it stayed cool and cloudy for the rest of the morning. The race course was set up as a little loop in downtown Kenosha, an out and back to the north, and then an out and back to the south (for the full marathon). I felt like the miles on the first out and back went by really quickly, especially miles 4-9. I felt like we were running really easily, chatting and enjoying the people watching and scenery. On the way back into town, Tracy started to tire. I started getting anxious about running after she turned off at the 12 mile mark. Running with her, I kept feeling like we were close to the finish, but for me, it was just close to half way. I told her that I was tempted to turn with her at the half. She basically told me to suck it up and keep going. After the turn off at mile 12, the crowds really cleared out. I think there were about 4,000 runners total, but maybe less than 1,000 in the full? It felt really quiet and it just hit me how far I still had to run. I also had that felling of "oh crap, I haven't run this far since October, what the hell was I thinking." At mile 14.5 there was a water stop and I stopped to use the porta potty, take some shot bloks, and put my music on. From there, I told myself to just run to the water stops - that I could walk and stretch at the water stops, which were about every two miles. The out and back to the south turned around at mile 19. I was so ready to hit that turn around. I just zoned out listening to my music, occasionally chatting with runners that I passed or who passed me. Before I knew it, I was at the turn around. I turned, and got blasted by a cold wind. I felt very cold from mile 19 until about mile 23 or so - the wind was blowing a mist across the road, which looked really cool but was quite chilly. I think that was the first time I was really cold during a marathon. At this point, with just over a 10K left, I looked at my watch and realized I was running much faster than I expected. With my lack of training, I really thought I would run a 5:00+ marathon. I would have been thrilled with sub-5:00. Imagine my surprise when some mile 20 math calculation led me to realize that I could run sometime in the 4:30's or 4:40's. That realization really motivated me to keep pushing. By this time, my legs were super sore and my back was cramping up. I just kept running, walking a bit and stretching out my back at the water stops. Finally, after a long stretch of what seemed to be a rather desolate road, we were back into the neighborhoods around downtown Kenosha. The last two miles were a struggle - my legs were ready to stop moving. When I saw the mile 26 sign, I started running as fast as I could (a sprint in my mind, but I'm sure it looked like a gimpy fast walk to anyone watching) and crossed the finish line in 4:43:43. Which is my second fastest marathon time ever.
I'm interested to see the official race pictures, because after I crossed the finish line, I bent over, put my hands on my knees and said, "Oh shit that was hard." And looked up to see a photographer snapping my picture. That should be a great shot. I walked through the finish area and got my medal and space blanket and plopped down in the closest chair I could find to wait for Tracy and her mom to come find me. We had a super relaxing day yesterday hanging out at Tracy's mom's watching movies and stuffing our faces with food. And then hit the road right away this morning for the LONG drive home. Which was way longer with the stiff, sore post-race legs. We looked like quite the pair traipsing around gas stations at our various stops on the way home. Now I'm off to engage in more post race recovery in the form of putting away the 800 loads of laundry my husband washed (and threw on our bed) while I was gone.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Happy May

How is it May already??? The month of April just completely flew by. And now it's May, and I'm running a marathon on Saturday. I signed up for the Wisconsin Marathon in Kenosha in January and the race is this Saturday. I'm hearing to Kenosha with a friend (who is running the half) on Friday. Am I ready to run a marathon? Um, sure. Confession: my longest training run is 13 miles. I'm basically calling this marathon a training run for Grandma's. A nice, slow training run. No biggie.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Race Report: Earth Day Half Marathon

Yesterday my sister and I ran the Earth Day Half Marathon in St. Cloud. I have ran this race several times (although I missed last year because I had a nasty case of the stomach flu). The weather is always hit or miss for this race - and this year, it was kind of crappy. Chilly, rainy, a little bit windy. I really wasn't sure what to expect in terms of how I would feel and how fast I could run. My training this spring has been hit or miss, emphasis on the miss. I decided I would start with the 2:10 pacer and, if I felt good, try to pass him. I started with the pacer and found it easy to stick with him. The pace felt comfortable. Concentrating on staying with the pacer at that comfortable pace really kept me from weaving around trying to break out of the crowds at the beginning of the race. Looking back, I think that really helped conserve a lot of energy that I normally waste. Shortly before the third mile, I got ahead of the 2:10 pacer and he never passed me. I felt really strong throughout the race. Miles 5-8 passed so quickly, it felt like I was on top of the mile markers every time I turned a corner. I took a Gu at about mile 4.5, and grabbed an orange slice from the friendly neighborhood at mile 9. There is a substantial hill after mile 9, and then a little, steep hill right before mile 10. The hills definitely were challenging, but I kept plugging along. I took another Gu at the water break after mile 10 and kept telling myself to just push to the finish. Having run this race many times, I knew that there was a really nice, long downhill during mile 12. Every time I felt tired during the last couple of miles, I told myself to just push until I got to the hill. I was rewarded for my preserverance -- that downhill was so sweet. After the downhill I saw the mile 13 sign and my mom and Sophie (and my sister, who finished about five minutes before me) cheering. Sophie ran out to give me a high five.
I ran into the finish feeling strong. Finish time: 2:07:16. I was really happy with how I ran this race. I only walked during the water stops and kept a nice, consistent pace. Definitely did better than I expected. After the race was over, I started shivering and didn't stop until I went to bed last night. Running the cold and rain? Brr. Although, I think I'd rather run in that kind of weather than super hot and sunny. At any rate, I was happy to crawl in bed under all the covers last night. And today, I recovered with a little shopping and golfing.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Ragnar Relay Florida Keys

Back in January, I ran the Ragnar Florida Keys relay. I don't want to oversell this, but this was the best. race. ever. I was a little apprehensive going into it - I was running with a group of complete strangers. And we were not only running the race, but then spending several days in Key West after the race before coming home. A normal person probably would have said no, but I've never made any claims to be normal. And I hate Minnesota in January. A serial killer could have asked me to go to Florida for a week and I would have said yes. First, the running. I was the first running in Van 2. My first leg was 5.5 miles starting at the Miami zoo at around 12:30 Friday afternoon. Most of the route was along a busy road with lots of traffic and very little shade. Holy hot. In the winter in Minnesota, I am used to running in cold cold weather, bundled up, trying to avoid my eyelashes freezing to my face. In Florida in January? The frozen eyelashes aren't so much of a concern.
After all the runners in our van finished, we headed to the next big exchange point, which was in Key Largo. We ate a real meal at a restaurant. Some of us (not me) took showers and changed clothes. Lots of people were sleeping inside in a dark gymnasium. I laid outside for a while and rested, and then a little bit in the van, but didn't really get any sleep. My second leg was 10 miles, and I started running around midnight. Running wise, this was my best leg - I felt strong, I didn't feel like the sun was going to scorch me. It was dark and creepy in some spots (and I think I stepped on a snake), but still. It was good. The night time hours while our van was "on" were so fun - we were all a little punch drunk from the lack of sleep and the running and the experience and it was pure goofiness. I was so tired, but all the laughing really helped keep me awake. At the next big exchange point, I was able to sleep for a couple of hours in the van and then loll around on the grass eating breakfast. My third and final leg was just over 4 miles, and started again right around noon. It was so hot. There was absolutely no shade. And my legs were pretty toasted by this time - getting chilled after my night-time run didn't help matters. At one point my van-mates stopped to give me a drink of water and cheer me on and I may have flipped them off and said, "Fuck this running shit." So appropriate, I know. Once we got into Key West, our entire team ran into the finish with our final runner. So much fun. And then the party started. When I envisioned vacationing with total strangers, I thought - I will catch up on my sleep, relax by the pool, read, maybe go for some runs. What actually happened?
You'd think the last thing you would want to do after running for 24+ hours straight is engage in an all night dance party. Wrong. Dancing = perfect running recovery. Clearly. We did do some relaxing by the beach on Sunday. And then another all night dance party. Monday, several of us went on a bike tour of Key West, which was really fun.
And we had a coconut party.
The whole trip, from the race to the vacation, was just amazing. I'm so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone a little and said yes to the unknown. Not only was it an amazing time, but I got to know a few ladies who have become, in such a short time, very good friends. Relieving the trip by posting this makes me nostalgic - good thing we are planning are next adventure for Ragnar Napa Valley in 2013. :) Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The New Junk Miles

Hello? Is anyone still out there?

I thought I was pretty much done with this blog. I even deleted it. I fell off of regularly writing because running my own business was crazy busy and I didn't feel like I was in the place of focusing on training and running races like I had been.

But then I found myself still stalking all of your blogs, wanting to keep up with your races and running and lives. And I miss writing this blog, and having an outlet for all the random/crazy stuff that bounces around in my head. And I missed feeling like part of this awesome running blogger community.

So I'm back, but with a little twist. I'll have a couple of posts over the next week going into more detail, but this is where I'm at now:
1) I finally acknowledged that even though I exercise a ton, I can't eat what I want without gaining weight. And it took seeing a pretty disgusting weight gain to get me to figure that out. Genuis, I know.
2) We've been trying to get pregnant for the last nine months or so. I found out I was pregnant in March, and had a miscarriage two weeks ago. A lot of my return to blogging came after spending long, sleepless nights looking for miscarriage blogs.
3) I still love to run. And do triathlons.

I don't want this to be a just running blog, or weight loss blog, or pregnancy/trying to get pregnant blog. I want to have a place to write about all that stuff whenever the mood strikes. And I wanted to reactivate the blog so I can start commenting on all of your blogs again. So here I am, back. :)