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. :)