Monday, December 15, 2008

Race Report: Reindeer Run 5K (1st sub-35 5k!)

Reindeer Run 5K (by Kitzzy)

I finally ran a sub-35 5K! I am so excited!

Clock time: 34:28
Watch: 33:50.

This was not a chip-timed event, and the start was not clearly marked, so my watch time may be off a few seconds, but not by much. However, I crossed the finish line before the clock turned 34:30! According to the pictures, at 34:28 I was already across the finish line :)

The weather was in the low 40s, so it was a pretty chilly start. I wore long pants and a long sleeve shirt over a tight-fitting tank top. On my head, I wore a headband, a hoodie, and a christmas hat :) , which I lost somewhere before crossing the finish line :( And of course, jinggle bells on my shoes :)

I planned to run 5 and walk 1, but I missed the first beep because of all the jingle bells so I just kept running. I ran most of the race non-stop and just walked for a minute after mile 1 & 2, a few seconds at the water stop, and somewhere around 2.5 to work out a stitch, then ran to the end and sprinted to the finish. I was so fast that Jason missed me at the finish line. Hee hee :) It was a great race!

This is likely my last 5k race of the year and those my smooth time for the Shave Your 5K Challenge. For a little perspective, this is over 10 minutes faster (even by the clock time -- almost 11 by my watch) than my first 5K 8 months ago on April 12, Windermere Run Among the Lakes 5K, where I clocked a time of 44:38 by my watch (it was not chip-timed either) and in which I only ran a total of 14 minutes.

At the first race in which I ran more than I walked (at least 2 miles), Disney's Go Red for Women 5K on May 3rd, I clocked a chip time of 41:46 and a clock time of 43:02. So compared to that clock time, I've shaved over 8 minutes off my time in 7 1/2 months. WOW! Re-read these old reports to see how far I've come :)

Next year my goal is to run a sub-30 5K and I know I can do it after I have a few more longer runs under my belt! :) My 2nd 1/2 marathon is Feb 8, and I can't wait. I am extremely tempted to run the Disney half in January but I am not sure I really want to spend $115 on the entry fee right now. Plus Jason would still be in California and I really think his support was instrumental in getting me through the finish line. We'll see :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Race Report: OUC 1/2 Marathon (my first!)

day355: My first 1/2 Marathon! (by Kitzzy)
Words can't possibly do justice to the amazing feeling I experienced when I crossed the finish line of my first 1/2 marathon. I was afraid that, since I had already covered the distance in training, it would feel anti-climatic. Boy was I wrong. It was a very emotional time and I even shed a few tears.

So onto the race report. It's a little long and full of pictures, so bare with me. A lot of the pics are best viewed large, so click on a picture to see a bigger version. Or view the whole set as a slide show.

Friday night, I met my group for a pasta dinner at Il Pescatore and had a blast. It was nice hanging out in our normal clothes :) When we got home, I got everything ready, set the alarm, and was in bed by 9:30ish I think. I tossed and turned most of the night. I am sure I slept at some point, but every time I looked at the clock it seemed only 5 minutes had passed. I think I finally managed to fall asleep and dream a little around 3 or 4 and magically woke up only 15 minutes late since I forgot to actually turn ON the alarm. D'oh! I sprung out of bed cursing to myself, got ready, and we were on the road by 6:15 ish.

Galloway Group (by Kitzzy)
We quickly and effortless made it downtown to the parking garage next to the library. It was a bit chilly when I left the house, but it certainly did not feel as cold or windy as our recent training runs. I wore shorts, a short sleeve shirt with arm warmers, gloves, headband, and fleece vest (see pic). Since we were running late to meet my Galloway group, and I needed to warm up, I jogged from the parking lot to the timing chip table and Jason biked along. When I finally found it, there was a huge line and I worried the race would start before I could even get my chip or find my group. I really did not want to run this by myself. I finally got my chip, quickly fastened it to my shoe, found my group and Jason, and immediately shed the fleece vest. Thankfully, the race start was being delayed 10 minutes while the rest of the late comers got their timing chips, so we had a little breathing room and time for a group photo.

And we're off! (by Kitzzy)
There were no pace signs, so we just lined up where we were at the back near the timing chip tables. Jason biked ahead to take pictures as we took off. Our group runs 2:1 intervals, but a girl from the 2:30 / 1 group was with us and we decided to try that interval instead and kept it up for most of the race (more on that later). We finally crossed the start line and I realized my Garmin was not giving me a pace or distance--it had lost the satellite signal! I restarted it in hopes of speeding up the process and nearly missed Jason taking our picture at the start. I tried to get a signal several times to no avail and finally gave up and turned it off. I was not as bothered by this as much as I thought I'd be. I actually think it was the best thing that could have happened. It took the pressure off and I really focused on having a good time and just went with the flow.

Mile 1 was upon us before we knew it. Despite starting in the back, we still went out too fast and completed the first mile in less than 12 minutes. About a half mile later, we saw the first water stop, and I was pleasantly surprised to see my co-worker Amy cheering me on just before that. I opened the first pack of sport beans, ate a few, drank some water, and we were on our way. I followed this same routine at every water stop.

The weather was great, not too hot or humid, yet not too cold, so I quickly shed my arm warmers and gloves somewhere between mile 2 and 3. People lined the streets throughout and somewhere before mile 2 or 3 (I think), a group of 3 was cheering on runners with such enthusiasm that before we saw them I thought there was an Obama rally going on. We were on a walk break as we approached them, but quickly decided that we just had to run past them so we cut that walk break short. It was so mcuh fun and we were sure to thank them as we passed.

Mile 3 - feeling strong! (by Kitzzy)
As we approached mile 3 and Leu Gardens, I started looking for Jason and it wasn't long before I spotted him. I was so happy to see him. We were all feeling great and looking very happy. He snapped a ton of photos of us as we ran by. I tossed him my arm warmers, gloves and watch. He quickly gasped at seeing the watch. I laughed, knowing how neurotic I am about data, and pleasantly surprised that I didn't even care. I was having too much fun. We were happy and encouraged to have the first 5K out of the way and we pressed on. We were making great time. From this point on, clocks were only every 2 miles so I had to improvise for my splits (more on that at the end of the report).

The 2nd water stop had a live band. At the 3rd water stop, around mile 5, they were playing "Eye of the Tiger" and that really got me pumped. Silly signs lined the course as well as spectators and on-course entertainment. The support was simply awesome. On our way to Mile 6, we crossed Colonial Dr. (a major road) where cops had stopped traffic as we crossed. We were greeted by a barrage of honking cars and wondered if they were encouraging us or beeping in annoyance at being stuck in traffic. We chose to believe the former. Jason greeted us once again near the next water stop by mile 6 and took some video of us running by.



Mile 8 - Michelle spots her daughter/dad (by Kitzzy)
By mile 7, my feet were starting to hurt and I felt like my right foot was blistering. Otherwise, I still felt pretty strong. Jason met us again near mile 8, where Michelle's dad surprised her with her daughter. Jason caught the touching moment as she ran to embrace her in a sequence of photos. She had been debating whether she could run the last mile straight and seeing her daughter gave her the strength she needed and she determined right then that she would do it.

Mile 11 - on the home stretch (by Kitzzy)
By mile 9, my legs were feeling tired, but I was in awe at how much we had already accomplished. We were making great time and still smiling. By this point (sooner but I don't recall exactly when), Brenda, Michelle, and I had broken away and ran ahead from the rest of our group. We knew they could not be far behind us, but we could no longer see them. As we approached mile 10, we took comfort in knowing we only had a 5K left. I was again in awe at myself but really feeling the toll it was taking on my body. It was getting harder to start running after each walk break. This mile seemed like the longest as we searched for mile marker 11. We saw Jason one last time and I was still smiling. We started feeling rain drops, but were thankful they never materialize into anything more.

timing chip removal (by Kitzzy)
After one more water stop, we reached mile 12 and began running to the finish line. It seemed really daunting and my calves were killing me. Brenda had fallen back a little, but was only a few seconds behind Michelle and me. I was afraid I would really slow down and not be able to sprint to the finish, so I took one last walk break then ran the last 1/2 mile to the finish. As I rounded the corner and saw the finish line, I tried to pick up the pace. No matter what, the finish line did not seem to get any closer until finally it was right in front of me. When I saw that the clock was nowhere near 2:45, I really gave it my all and crossed the finish line chocking back tears. Since I knew it took us at least 2 minutes to cross the start, a clock time of 2:41:50 meant that my net time was in the 2:30s! I could not believe that I had finished my first 1/2 marathon, still felt relatively great, and had beat my goal time by that much. I could not help but cry tears of joy at how far I'd come in just 9 months.

After getting Jason my 2 free beers at the finish for being such a great support, we headed to the car as it started to drizzle again. I was aching and wanted to get into some dry clothes. I changed in the car into my now fully earned race shirt :) and we headed to the farmer's market for some veggie chips, fresh produce, and an omelet where proudly displayed my shirt and medal. I think I wore the shirt all day, to the celebratory dinner at Shogun, to sleep that night, and in the morning until I showered and headed to my massage :)

Now for some number crunching. Since I did not have my Garmin, I had to improvise my splits.

OUC 1/2 Marathon Splits (by Kitzzy)

I tweeted the times for the miles where they had clocks and calculated net times based on the official race results. After mile 3, they only had clocks every 2 miles so I just clumped those 2 miles together and averaged out the time difference to get the average pace. Clearly, we started out too fast, but it worked out because my average pace for the last 2.1 miles was faster than the first so I was still able to finish strong. How awesome!!

And here are the rest of the results:

chip time: 2:38:56
pace: 12:21.1
clock time: 2:41:49
overall place: 2062 / 2249
age group place: 167 / 187
gender place: 983 / 1126

In conclusion, it was an incredible experience and I could not have asked for a better 1st 1/2 marathon. I absolutely could not have done this without the support of everyone who has been following my efforts and encouraging me along the way on this blog, LJ, the daily mile, and twitter. I could not have done this without my amazing Galloway group, and especially Brenda and Michelle who were with me to the end. And of course, I HUGE thank to Jason, who supported me and put up with my crazyness and believed in me throughout this whole ordeal and who was there throughout the course more than I could have ever imagined. Thank you everyone!! I can't wait for the next one and to do a full marathon next year.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Preliminary OUC 1/2 Marathon Race Report

I'll post a full race report later but here is what you really want to know anyway ;)

Results: 2:38:56 (official chip time)

Photos on Flickr - Jason was amazing and biked throughout the course taking pictures of us.

In lieu of a full race report, here are the live updates I posted during the race to my twitter account via TwitterFone. These have been edited to correct mis-transcriptions when it couldn't make out what I was saying (probably because I was breathing too hard =P).
  • (6:15) Driving to the race site. Will try to tweet my splits with Twitterfone.
  • (6:21) Maybe not every mile, but at least each 5k or so. I may be too distracted though :)
  • (7:10) About to cross the start line. Here we go.
  • Mile 1 14:50 clock time. Garmin's in the fritz, so no net time.
  • Mile 2 27:08 clock time.
  • Mile 3 39:15 clock time. weather's great.
  • Live band at water stop 2; saw Amy at water stop 1 and Jason just after mile 3. Thanks guys.
  • Mile 5 1:03:40 "Eye of the Tiger" playing at water stop. Support is awesome.
  • Mile 7 1:28:12 Think my right foot may be blistering. Feeling good though.
  • Mile 9 1:52:40 tired legs.
  • Mile 10 Only 5k to go. No clock so I don't know what's the time.
  • Mile 11 2:16:52. May be last tweet. Will try to run last mile straight. Bye.
  • It's done! 2:41:50 clock time. Wow. I can't believe how emotional I feel.
  • I can't believe I cried. I feel amazing!
  • Chip time 2:38:56!!
  • Free beer at the finish. Great reward for Jason who gave great support; he biked the course & took pics
  • Going to the farmer's market for some veggie chips and an omelet :) oh yeah, I guess we'll get some produce while we're there.
  • Yup, got a blister on my right foot. Battle scar! =)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Pre Race Checklist

I am making my final pre-race perparations before going to bed in a few minutes. I'm posting this here to remind myself for next time and in case anyone spots something I forgot :)

Night Before
  • lay out race clothes: sports bra, shorts, singlet, socks, shoes
  • back up Garmin and erase older lap memory
  • charge Garmin
  • charge iPhone & turn off pass code access
  • pack pre race bag (see below)
  • pack post race bag (see below)
  • panic
  • remind myself I've trained for this and I can do this. YES I CAN!
  • triple check every item on the lists
  • set alarm with beep
  • turn ON alarm D'oh!
  • go to bed
  • toss and turn for several hours
  • finally fall asleep about 1-2 hours before alarm is supposed to go off.
Race Morning
  • wake up before alarm goes off because I am too excited/nervous/anxious to sleep any longer (or because I forgot to actually turn it on)
  • use facilities
  • eat something (banana/bagel/luna bar)
  • drink water
  • use facilities
  • drink more water
  • get dressed
  • use facilities
  • make sure Jason is up
  • apply body glide
  • put on socks and shoes
  • double check contents of pre race bag
  • double check contents of post race bag
  • triple check that I have Garmin
  • grab purse and bags
  • OMG where is my BIB?
  • quadruple check I have everything and get in the car
  • drive to race (by this I of course mean Jason)
  • Park
  • Pick up timing chip and place securely on shoe
  • Meet Galloway group (6:45 am at timing chip pick up table)
  • Take group pictures
  • Line up at the back of appropriate pace sign (12-13?)
  • START RACE!
  • HAVE TOO MUCH FUN! =)
  • Smile for camera as I cross the finish line feeling and looking great ;)
Pre Race Bag
(aka what I'll carry on person/shorts during the race)
  • Garmin
  • Garmin strap
  • hat
  • arm warmers
  • headband
  • body glide
  • sunscreen
  • fleece vest (maybe)
  • sport beans
  • iPhone
  • ID
  • BIB!
Post Race Bag
  • Crocs
  • sports bra
  • race t-shirt / tank top
  • shorts / pants
  • jacket
  • oyster crackers :)
I think that's all. Shout if I forgot something!

OUC 1/2 Marathon Eve (+Running Dreams & Wishes)

Tomorrow is the big day, and I am ready! I just wish it would hurry up and get here already as the anxiety of waiting is killing me.

Yesterday I went for my last run before the race. Jason came with me and I left my watch at home. We just ran and talked and walked whenever we felt like it (about every 1/2 mile). It was really nice and liberating. I think we were actually going at a pretty fast clip so I wish I had it timed, but it did not matter. The weather was perfect and I really enjoyed just running. It made me feel great because I can actually keep up with Jason now. I've come a long way since April when I could barely run for 1 minute at a slug like pace.

I guess at this point I should make some kind of predictions about my performance or set some goals. I know I can cover this distance (I've already done it in training), but anytime you go out for a run there are many variables you can't control. What if this is a bad run day? What if the weather takes a turn for the worse? No matter, I shall focus on the positive and do my best. I've been training for this and I know I can do it; it is just a matter of how well. However, just getting to that starting line and crossing the finish line is a huge accomplishment and I will be damn proud of that fact.

Goals for OUC 1/2 Marathon:
  1. Finish!
  2. Run across the finish line.
  3. Pace myself well to be able to finish strong and run at least the last 1/2 mile without walk breaks and be able to sprint to the finish. The plan is to run with my Galloway group using the 2:1 intervals at least through mile 7, then assess how I feel for the last 10k. If I am still feeling strong, I'll speed up or increase the run intervals to 3:1 & maybe 4:1 for the last 5k.
  4. I know with this being my first 1/2 marathon race, I should not be setting any time goals, but I am confident I can finish in under 3 hours. I've averaged this pace or faster in training, and I don't plan to walk as slowly during the walk breaks.
  5. Not-so-secret time goal: Finish in under 2:45. According to Galloway's magic mile predictor, this is well within my reach. I haven't done a magic mile timed trial since the end of September, but I don't want to set too fast a goal and be disappointed. After all, this is my first 1/2 and I don't want to set the bar too high since I want to show a significant improvement at my 2nd in Feb.
Yesterday's TIART at the Runner's Lounge Blog was Dreams & Wishes. I am a day late, but I think this goes well with this post.

My Running Dreams & Wishes:
  • Finish the OUC 1/2 Marathon tomorrow feeling strong and above all have fun!
  • Finish the Melbourne & Beaches Music 1/2 Marathon in February with my dad and show a significant improvement over the first.
  • Finish the Gasparilla Marathon Relay in March with Jason, Dad, and Mom. I think this will be so fun and a great bonding experience, so I hope happens.
  • Run a sub-30 5K.
  • Run a sub-35 5K with no walk breaks (except for water stops).
  • Run a 10k in under 1 hour.
  • Finish a marathon in 2009.
  • Continue to enjoy running for the rest of my life. This is part of the reason I am taking this so slowly and taking my time. I do not want an injury or bad experience to turn me off to running because I am so grateful that I finally converted myself into a runner and I want to continue to improve, be fit, and maintain my new healthy lifestyle.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Distance PR: 13.1! Let the Taper Begin!

Last Saturday was my last long run before the OUC 1/2 Marathon. The training schedule called for 14, but none of us really intended to run that far. According to my Garmin and Ascent, I ran 13.1 miles with a moving time* of 2:59:39 / 13:42 pace . Hell yeah!

It was really humid and we started out too fast, so I was already tired after the first 6-mile loop. Because of the heat and humidity, our water breaks were plentiful and long, and our walking slow, so I am hoping to do much better than this at the actual race. Hopefully the weather will be better too on race day.

My Garmin read 12.5 when we were done with the last loop, so a few of us ran a few laps in the track to get to the 13.1 distance. We decided to run it non-stop instead of using the intervals. I have no idea where I got the energy (probably the magical sports beans or the adrenaline of having come this far) to run straight at a pretty fast pace for .6 mile after running for 3 hours, but it served as good practice for the sprint I hope to do at the end of the race. :)

I was sore all over for the rest of the day (even in places I didn't even know existed) but thankfully I had no blisters or chafing. I felt great at my accomplishment and signed up for the OUC 1/2 Marathon that day. I now have 2 weeks to go and I am losing motivation for my mid-week runs. I just want race day to be here already! I guess this most be the famous taper madness.

***

PS - During the run, I found out that the Garmin has a limit on how many laps it can hold and when it reaches that it just stops. I knew it had a limit, but I assumed it would just delete old workouts to make room for the new ones. That is not the case so I had to keep deleting old workouts during most of the run because I wasn't going to risk not having a record of this run. I later found out I can delete all but the last 1-3 months in one fell swoop. It would have been nice to know that then so I would not have to keep doing it over and over.

* the total time was actually 3:12 if we count all the breaks between loops and at the water stops

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Running Green

This week's topic for Take It and Run Thursday at the Runner's Lounge Blog is Running Green.

I try to live a pretty green life, even though I know there is a LOT more I can do. Some of the green things I do on a regular basis include biking to work (and anywhere else I can instead of driving), bringing my own canvas bags to the grocery store/farmer's market, and using my Kleen Kanteen water bottle instead of buying bottled water. I am sure there is more, but those are the big ones.

The November 2008 Issue of Runner's World was all about running green and they now have a Green Running section on their site. I am going to use one of their articles, How to Be a Greener Runner, as the basis for this post and a sort of meme. Below is a the list of "30 things even a busy, sane person (i.e., you) can do" and how my own habits stack up (written in green and italics below the items from the article).

Get to Workouts
  • Good: Bike to all group runs and track workouts.
  • Better: Run to a local farmers' market to buy produce.
  • Best: Start all your runs from your home or office.
What I do: I drive to my long runs with the Galloway group because it is too far, and too early, to bike there. However, I make it a point to make the most of the drive and run errands in the area, such as going to the farmer's market. Most of my other runs I do around my neighborhood so I do not have to drive to run. From time to time, I will run to or from work or bike to a local park to run.

Race
  • Good: Participate in eco-conscious races (check out page 74 or go to runnersworld-greenteam.com)
  • Better: Carpool or take public transit to get to and from events.
  • Best: Race in your hometown as much as possible.
What I do: Most of my races are within 30 minutes of my home and I carpool to them with Jason. We recently ran a race at UCF, where we work, and we biked there and to brunch after. It was awesome and I wish they had more races close enough to do this more often.

Hydrate
  • Good: Buy powdered sports drinks and mix them yourself.
  • Better: Wave away plastic race cups by carrying your own water in a secure container (like Amphipod's Hydraform Handheld Pockets).
  • Best: Use reusable bottles instead of throwaway plastic water bottles.
What I do: I don't drink sport drinks, so the first does not apply. I used to carry my own water bottle when I ran, but I find that it started to hurt my shoulder as I got faster. I guess this means I need to work on my form or get a fuel belt. I hardly ever buy bottled water any more and refill my own instead, but I do grab bottled water when at races. I do try to find the recycling bin to dispose of it. Now that I think about it, I will bring the bottles home and recycle them if I can't find a recycling bin at the race.

Buy New Shoes
  • Good: If you run on trails only occasionally, buy one pair of shoes that can handle light off-road use.
  • Better: Pick shoes that are made with fewer nasty solvents and recycled components, such as the Nike Air Pegasus 25 and END's Stumptown.
  • Best: Buy the Brooks Trance 8. Its midsole is made out of BioMoGo, a material that reportedly decomposes 50 times faster than conventional midsoles.
What I do: I have no idea how environmentally friendly my shoes are. I should look into this.

Buy Apparel
  • Good: Buy shirts, outer layers, and especially socks made with merino wool, a natural and renewable resource.
  • Better: Buy clothes made from recycled postconsumer polyester, like Patagonia's Capilene 1 T-shirt. And when you're done with it, Patagonia will recycle it into other apparel.
  • Best: Hold off on new purchases and wear your existing apparel as long as you can.
What I do: I have no idea how environmentally friendly my clothes are, but I do recycle my clothes by giving them to my mom or the local thrift store. Since I just started running, I've been buying a lot of gear, but I am going to try to make do with what I have for now. I do need a few things for winter running, but after that I am done! :)

Make a Difference
  • Good: Donate to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, local parks boards, or other organizations that create and promote new trails or running paths.
  • Better: Volunteer to clean up a local trail, or adopt a road you like to run on.
  • Best: Organize a recycling drive at a local race where participants can bring old gear.
What I do: None of these apply, but I should look into getting more involved in making my running community more green.

Care for Your Gear
  • Good: Restore the breathability and repellency (and extend the lifespan) of your waterproof gear by washing it with McNett's ReviveX.
  • Better: Reduce your consumption of plastic and water by switching to superefficient concentrated forms of laundry detergents.
  • Best: Wash your apparel in cold water and hang dry. (Bonus: Your clothes won't pill, and they'll last longer.)
What I do: I always wash all my clothes in cold water. I do not even know when was the last time I washed anything in warm or hot water. We recently installed a clothes line in the backyard, and I am actually enjoying hanging all our laundry to dry every weekend.

Fuel Up
  • Good: Recycle energy-bar wrappers with the Energy Bar Brigade (see terracycle.net), which up-cycles them into other products. For each wrapper you save, sponsors give 2 cents to a charity you pick.
  • Better: Make your own energy bars. You can buy mixes or see page 41 for a recipe.
  • Best: Eat one less serving per week of meat, which requires significantly more fuel and water to produce than other sources of protein.
What I do: Ever since I started losing weight, I've been trying to eat less meat as well. I go through phases, but I am definitely eating way more veggies than I used to and my meat portions are a lot smaller. I need to get back to Meatless Mondays.

Cross-Train
  • Good: Run outside whenever you can (rather than inside on a treadmill).
  • Better: If you need snowshoes, a bicycle, or a set of weights, purchase gently used equipment rather than new gear. Try buying it from someone local through a resource like Craigslist.org.
  • Best: Leave your car in the driveway and bike or run to the gym once a week.
What I do: I hate the treadmill, so running outside is a given. I am in the market for a new bike and plan to check out our school's bike auction next week. I bike to work at least 4 times a week and to run errands whenever possible.

Deal with Old Shoes
  • Good: Wear them casually afterward. They may lack cushioning for a long run, but they're fine to walk the dog.
  • Better: Donate them to Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe program, which recycles the shoes to help surface new tracks and for other uses.
  • Best: Donate them to Soles4Souls, Shoe4Africa, or One World Running, outfits that give shoes to needy people. For more information, check out runnersworld.com/donate.
What I do: I just bought my 3rd pair of shoes, but still using my 2nd pair. I mainly bought these new shoes now to break in a bit and wear at my first 1/2 marathon. I am using my 1st pair to bike and other non-running activities. I am going to look into donating shoes once I start accumulating more.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Weight Update

I haven't posted about this in a while, mainly because my focus has been on running and I have mostly just been maintaining and slowly losing, but this has been an incredible week. I've only gone out to eat once so far, I've run or biked or both every day this week, I've been drinking water and eating fruits/veggies like crazy and it has really paid off.

I've shown a loss in weight every day this week. Yesterday I finally weighed 123, my lowest weight ever ... until this morning when I weighed 122.4! OMG! If I keep this up, maybe I won't ever see 125 again! At least 130 is long long gone :) The most I've seen lately was 128, and that was after a particular late night eating out. I am sure I will gain a little of this over the weekend because I plan to eat out at least twice, but I now know I can counter it with really clean eating and exercise the rest of the week.

I am so excited. I am only 1/2 a pound away from my goal of 122, which means I would have lost 30 lbs in about 9-10 months. When I started this journey, I had no idea I even had 30 lbs to lose. I went from a size 12/14 to a size 2 and I am now a runner training to run my first 1/2 marathon in 4 weeks! I feel so good!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Distance PR: 11 Miles!

I ran my longest distance of 11 miles this morning in 2 hours and 33 minutes. I was so exhausted after the run that I was falling asleep on my drive home. As soon as I got home, I feel asleep for about 3-4 hours, but I am glad I did it and it wasn't too bad of a run.

I knew this would be rough for serveral reasons: 1) I went to a party last night and only got 3-4 hours of sleep (plus 1-2 hours nap before the party; 2) my longest run before this was 9.6; 3) it was a chilly and windy morning; 4) I felt like I had to go during most of the run.

I was supposed to run 12 miles, but the group was divided between those running 8 miles and those running 12. Somewhere along the way, probably when I went to the bathroom, I missed the folks doing 12 so I did a few extra miles at the end on my own. This worked out better because I didn't think I should be jumping to 12 miles anyway. I still have one more long run in 2 weeks; as long as I can run at least 12 miles then I should be fine (we are scheduled for 14 but I don't think that is necessary).

I wore my RaceReady shorts with the mesh pockets and tested out running with my phone, camera, and several bags of sports means. It was too much and my pants were falling down until I remember they have a draw string and I tighten them a bit. Still, I think I will forgo running with the camera during the 1/2 marathon. I'll have my iPhone and can take pictures with that if I really want to (but I doubt it). The wind was really kicking and I ran with my long sleeve shirt the whole time. After lunch, I went to Ross and found a running jacket for $6 that I think will work much better since it has a hood and a full zipper so I could open it if I get warm but still keep my arms covered.

The OUC half marathon is only 5 weeks away, but I am confident that I can do this. This being my first one, I plan to take it easy, do my 2:1 intervals and just focus on finishing. I'll kick it up a notch for the 2nd one in Feb/March. I'll probably run a 10K next weekend, then take it easy until the 1/2. I need to fit in a 5K some time before the end of the year but I think I'll worry about that after the 1/2.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

5K tempo run

Because I run using 2:1 run/walk intervals with the Galloway group, I've been trying to run non-stop during my mid-week runs, even if only for 2 miles, so my body doesn't forget what that's like. I've taken walk breaks during all my recent races ever since I started using them during training because they help me run faster and finish strong without as much fatigue. I vary the frequency of the walk breaks--and sometimes the length, usually 30-60 seconds--depending on the distance. I know that I can run the 5K distance non-stop, but I am afraid to try it at a race because I may not clock as fast a time as with the walk breaks.

This afternoon, I ran home from work and then around my neighborhood to cover 5K. I did it in 38:16. I ran practically non-stop, with only 2 30s walk breaks after mile 1 & 2; I think of those as water stops on a race course, so they don't really count. I was not really going to try to run fast at all; I just wanted to cover the distance without walking, and I am very happy with the outcome.

Below are my amazing, and consistent, negative splits:

mile 1: 12:50
mile 2: 12:37
mile 3: 11:39
finish (.12): 1:11 (10:07 pace)
overall average pace: 12:16

I am thrilled that I managed to sustain such a fast pace on a non-stop training run of this distance. I don't really feel like I pushed that hard either; I was just running at whatever pace felt good. I can't believe how fast I ran that last mile--almost a minute faster--but I really pushed it then after seeing how well I was doing and how good I felt (and because I wanted to finish already). I think the cool weather really helped. I also ate about 1/2 a bag of sport beans before I left work, so maybe they really kicked in at the end. I tell you, these things are magical and delicious. I now know I have it in me to run a 5K race non-stop (save for the water stops) in under 35 minutes; I just need to be patient and push myself at the next few races. If I can do this in training, I know I can do it even faster at a race with good weather.

When I got home from the run, I check the mail box to find my new RaceReady LD Fitness shorts with mesh pocket and singlet with snaps for a racing bib. I can't wait to try them out at my next run. They feel super comfy.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Race Report: U Can Finish 5 Miler

day307: UCF 5 Miler - 57:24 (by Kitzzy)
My official chip time was 57:24 for an average pace of 11:28.8! =) I am very happy with this outcome. This is a PR since it's the first 5 mile race I've ever run, but it is also the fastest I've ever run this distance (read on for details).

Now that the numbers are out of the way,

let's flashback to yesterday morning ...

The1/2 marathon training schedule called for 11 miles. Obviously, that was not happening; but I was still planning to meet the Galloway group to run an easy 5-7 miles. I somehow missed the alarm and woke up at 6 a.m.--the time the group started the 5 mile loop I intended to run. It was too dark for me to run on my own, so I went back to sleep for another hour. By 7:30 a.m. I was out the door to run at least 5 miles on my own. I setup up some water and nutrition on top of my car and set out at a 2:1 run/walk ratio at an easy pace. I finished in 1:11 at 14:11 average pace (for reference, my  first and only 5 mile run was just under 1:17). I am kind of glad I ran on my own because I would probably have run much faster and I would pay for it at the race. The plan for the race was to use a 3:1 ratio, average a 12 min/mile pace, and finish in under an 1h; but I'd be happy with anything less than 1:11.

Flash forward to this morning.

Jason and I were up by 6:15 a.m. and pleasantly surprised at the cool weather; although we could not fully appreciate it that early in the morning, we knew it would make for great race conditions. I got ready, ate a banana, added an extra layer of clothing, triple checked my bag and checklist, and we were on our bikes on the way to the race by 6:45. Even with the extra layer of clothing, it was a pretty chilly 3 mile bike ride to the start line.  It served as a nice warm up.

We got to the start line with plenty of time to find a place to lock our bikes, get and put on our timing chip, then wait for my parents. My dad (who also ran the 5 miler) and my mom (who ran the 2 mile) were running late, and we were getting a little nervous because we didn't want to leave all of our stuff with our bike or run with our valuables (a.k.a. iPhone). With about 5 minutes to spare, I spot my mom, hand her our bags, help her put on her champion chip, ate a few sport beans, washed them down with some water, and then we were off.

The start was nice with UCF Contemporary A Cappella group the "Crescendudes" singing as we took off and then again near the mile 1 mark. The route to mile 1 was an out and back, so I spotted my dad as I ran one way and him coming back the other. The course had about 3 of these and it was nice to spot my dad, Jason or both at each one. I stuck with my plan and ran using a 3:1 ratio adjusting as needed to accommodate the water stops. I walked through each one, ate a few more sport beans, and washed them down with some water. These are magic beans I tell you, or maybe it's just the placebo effect :)

The cooler weather really helped and I felt strong the entire time--or maybe it was the magic beans ;). I could not believe I was averaging a pace below 12 the entire time and getting speedier! I controlled my breathing and did not get a single side stitch the entire race. The only pain I experienced was a tiny twinge on my knee and ankle after mile 3, but adjusting my stride seemed to help. I do not know if it was the weather, the walk breaks, or the magical sport beans, but I had a ton of kick left at the end for a pretty nice 1/4 mile sprint to the finish and was thrilled that even my clock time was under 1 hour! Below are my splits (as always, Garmin recorded the course a little long, and in my excitement I forgot to stop it right after I finished):

UCF 5 Miler Splits (by Kitzzy)

I quickly spotted dad at the finish, grabbed some water, a banana, and a smoothie (oh what a treat!), then went searching for Jason. My legs felt a little wobbly, and my calves a little sore, but I felt way better than I did after I finished the 10K last week. I even considered running the 2 mile with mom, but it probably would have been a bad idea. We also spotted our co-worker Victor that finished in under 45 minutes then went to do the 2 mile for fun and to get in some more miles (he is also training to run OUC in Dec).

We headed back to see mom off at the start of the 2 miler. By the time I changed clothes (it was still too cool to be walking around in wet clothes), the first finishers were already arriving. Dad and I headed to the finish line to get pictures of mom, and Jason stayed at the corner to get some video. Below is her running towards the finish line. Isn't she adorable!? I am so proud of her!



After mom got her post-race goodies and checked her official chip time, we grabbed a bunch of oranges for the road and headed to 5 n Diner for some brunch. Jason and I biked the 4 miles to the restaurant and met my parents there. We all pigged out of yummy breakfast goodness and talked about running and upcoming races. We parted ways, and Jason and I biked 3 more miles home for a total of 10. What a great day!

Official Stats:


chip time: 57:24 (11:28.8 pace)
clock time: 58:32
overall place: 854/1009
gender place: 374/489
age group place: 52/71

Chip times from the rest of my group, in order of arrival, with pace times in parenthesis:

Victor: 43:48 (8:45.4)
Dad: 46:32 (9:18.3)
Jason: 50:11 (10:02.1)
Me: 57:24 (11:28.8)
Mom (2 mile): 27:14 (13:36.7)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Shave Your 5K Challenge

I finally signed up for the Shave Your 5K Challenge hosted by Half-Fast. The basic idea is to see who can shave the most time off their 5K time during 2008, so everyone will run a 5K at the beginning of the year (preferably before March, but he'll accept late submissions) and another one at the end of the year (between Nov & Dec). The winner is the person that shows the greatest improvement.

My stubble time is 44:38, which I ran in April 12 at the Windermere Run Among the Lakes 5K. I've already shaved off 9 minutes since then when I ran the Miracle Miles 5K on 9/27 in 35:38. This won't count for my smooth time, but I'm sure I can shave off even more time in another month. It's amazing to see how far I've come already!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Race for the Taste Pics

Jason's step mom took pictures at the race and they are now up on Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/9305003@N04/sets/72157608003124517/detail/

Here are a few highlights, but most are best viewed large:

The racers: Tim, Chas, Dad, Bob (Jason's Dad), Jason, Me
The racers (by deebob)

Me crossing the finish line, flanked by Jason's dad on the left and my dad somewhere off-camera. I love how both my feet are airborne!
Kitzzy (by deebob)

Dad crossing the finish line
Manny (by deebob)

Jason crossing the finish line, flanked by his dad on the right
Jason and Bob (by deebob)

Mom and Dad after the race -- he looks so fresh and happy!
Elba and Manny (by deebob)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Race Report: Disney's Race for the Taste 10K

day300: Disney's Race for the Taste 10K (by Kitzzy)
I ran Disney's Race for the Taste 10K today in 1:15:52 (12:12 pace). This is my first official 10K race, but a PR by over 6 minutes from my previous 10k, the unofficial Human Race 10K fun run I ran in 1:22:16 on 8/31.

The race was awesome, and the course was very enjoyable--much better than the 5K we ran there back in May. I think this is my favorite race so far, but perhaps that has a lot to do with having my family there with me running and watching. My dad, Jason and his dad, and 2 of our friends ran with us; my mom and his step mom came to watch us race.

Race for the Taste Goodies (by Kitzzy)
The fun began Saturday afternoon when we drove to Wide World of Sports to pick up our packets. This race did not have a shirt, but instead we got a nice pint glass with the race logo on it. The goodie bag included other unexpected things, such as a Glade® PlugIns® Scented Oil Light Show and refill: It's an air freshner and a night light--so very cool and unexpected. Click on the picture for more goodie bag details. After the packet pick-up, we checked into the All Star Sports resort and chilled for a bit while we waited for the heat to pass and my parents to go have dinner. We went to Epcot for a little while, then met our parents for dinner at Giordano's.

We woke up this morning at 4:30 a.m. (I should say got up because I don't think I slept through the night. I could not see the alarm clock and kept freaking out that I would oversleep), got ready and drove to Epcot to take the bus to the start line. This meant we had about an hour to kill and get nervous before the start of the race. With about 5 minutes to go, we finally lined up at our respective pace groups--I started at the back of the 11-13 pace marker. After the singing of the National Anthem, they set off some fireworks and off we went. There were so many people there that it took me almost 3 minutes to cross the start line.

The weather was ok: overcast, but very humid. I ran intervals of 1/4 mile and 1 minute walk most the way (about 3:1). I started out slow, about 12:30 pace, and picked it up towards the end. I felt good and strong the whole way, and I had plenty of kick left at the end--and boy did I need it (more on that in a minute). The only downer was that I had a side stitch during most of the race but I ran/walked through it. I also walked through all 3 water stops and ate a few sports beans. At the 2nd water stop, I saw one of my employees. It threw me off and I accidently paused my watch instead of hitting the lap button, but I didn't let it bother me too much.

The course was great and it flew by. We started at Wide World of Sports and ran on the highway towards Hollywood Studios. At the Studios, we ran through the set of the Stunt Show where they had a huge screen with a live feed so we could see ourselves on the screen as we ran by it. You could hear everyone cheering as you approached it before you saw the screen and could not help but do the same once you realized you were about to see yourself on screen. It was really neat. We then ran down the Boardwalk, which is beautiful but hard to appreciate that late in the race, especially when there are slight hills on the bridges and volunteers telling us we are almost there when we had yet to even cross the 5-mile marker.

Before we knew it, we were in Epcot with just over a mile to go. I really tried to pick up the pace here and run with less walking, but the side stich was getting worse. I tried to ignore it and give it all I had but had to talk a short walk break instead of running for a 1/2 mile because I wanted to be able to sprint to the finish.

As I was rounding the corner to the finish, I see Jason's dad looking for me. When he spots me, he started to run with me. Then I hear my dad screaming at me (words of encouragement of course) from somewhere and then he materialized on the other side of me. So here I am, being flanked on both sides and giving it all I got to keep up with them (they had already finished--dad in 1:01:41 and Jason's dad in 53:10--and waited there to help push me to the finish). At first I was thinking, "go away, I can't run any faster" LOL, but once I found myself speeding up and hearing them shouting for me to keep it up the awesomeness of it all sunk in.

Here are my splits from my watch. As always, it clocks the course a little long, but it gives me an idea of my pace. Check out these consistently negative splits and that huge sprint at the end!


Disney's Race for the Taste 10K Splits (by Kitzzy)

The official stats:

chip time - 1:15:52 (12:12 pace)
clock time - 1:18:33
overall place - 1684 / 2616
gender place - 890 / 1576
age group place - 144 / 252

And here are the chip times from the rest of my group in order of arrival, with pace times in parenthesis:

Bob (Jason's dad) - 53:10 (8:33)
Dad - 1:01:41 (9:55)
Jason - 1:06:52 (10:45)
Tim - 1:10:14 (11:18)
Me - 1:15:52 (12:12)
Chas - 1:18:50 (12:41)

I will definitely do this race again and I can't wait for my first 1/2 marathon in Dec. My dad and I may also run the Inaugural Melbourne & Beaches Music 1/2 Marathon together in February :)

Congrats to everyone else who ran this race or one of the marathons this weekend!

This is also for the The Zen Run 10K, part of The Worldwide Festival of Races.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Memo from My Future Self

(I wrote this for a challenge in an online community and had to share it here too. I got the idea for my take on this challenge from one of the cards in the game of Chrononauts by Looney Labs. I started to draft this letter as soon as the challenge went up, but I never finished or posted it. I think I was trying too hard and wanted to make this a much more detailed "race report" from the future that my perfectionist self was not letting me finish it. I finally decided to just keep it simple and get it done. Hope you guys enjoy it and can't wait to see everyone's letters. )

Dear Kitzzy,

This is Kitzzy from the not-so-distant future--I can't tell you the exact date because then I may alter the space-time continuum, and no one wants that :) Of course, just writing this later may cause that, but that is a risk I am willing to take to share this amazing moment with you.

Today, I ran my first marathon!

It was amazing, and it was awful, but then it was really amazing. Of course, I could not have done it without all the hard work you are doing right now. I know it sometimes feels like you can't do this anymore or you think to yourself that you must be crazy for thinking you can ever run a marathon (and you are), but I just wanted to tell you to keep at it because all this hard work you are doing now is totally worth it and will really pay off soon. I won't lie to you, it was not easy. It was grueling, yes, but I just knew I had to keep going because I didn't want to let you down.

I remember when you started this journey to a better you with just 10 minutes of cardio kickboxing 3 times a week in February 2008 weighing over 150 lbs. You quickly graduated to 30 minutes and before long it was the end of March and you were walking that 2 mile race--with some tiny jogging thrown in--that ignited something in you to want to become a runner. You always said "I'm not a runner" or "I can't run." Boy were you wrong ;) You know how you felt when you crossed the finish line at that 2 mile race? That is nothing compared to what you will feel when you cross the finish line at your first marathon. I don't want to say too much and spoil it, but you will love it.

So whenever you feel discouraged and like you are making a big mistake, read this letter and know you CAN and WILL do this! Anything is possible given enough determination, and you have that in spades! I am so proud of your efforts so far and look forward to you reaching the next milestones in your journey.

Love,
Kitzzy

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Life Lessons

I am a little late, but I want to contribute to this week's Take It and Run Thursday at the Runner's Lounge: Life Lessons Learned from Running. I am a fairly new runner, but I've already seen how much running has to offer.
  • Hard work and patience really does pays off. When I started C25K back in April, running for 1 minute seemed like an eternity, and I was quickly out of breath. 5 months later I have countless miles and 5Ks under my belt, I'm about to complete my 2nd 10K, and I'm training for a 1/2 marathon. I always told myself that I was not a runner and never would be. Turns out what I needed was a little motivation, dedication and hard work.

  • Confidence goes a long way. One of the things I love most about running, whether running 1 or 9 miles, is how empowering it is. After going from 0-5K, suddenly no distance seems out of reach, eventually :)

  • Running is the gateway to lifelong fitness. While I have some immediate goals of completing races, those are just a means to an end for me. The race is not the end, but a mere milestone in my journey to becoming a lifelong runner to be fit and healthy. Once I realized that I can do this, and how good it feels, biking to work every day or 28 miles round trip to Sweet Tomatoes doesn't seem like much of a hurdle and I actually look for ways to sneak in exercise into everyday activities.

  • Life is not always easy, but we can't let the rough patches deter us; we must learn from them and grow stronger for the next time. Running is a love/hate relationship. Most of the time I hope for that great run, but I know that most runs will just be ok. From time to time, I have a horrible run that makes me question everything about myself and my ability to run. When I have that great run, I feel like I can take on the world. Regardless of the quality of the run, I (almost) always feel great when it is over and extremely accomplished. Running is not easy, and it takes a lot of discipline, but it is always rewarding.

Distance PR: 9.66 miles!

I just had my longest run ever: 9.66 miles in 2:10 (13:26 pace with 2:1 intervals) and I feel great! Sure my feet are a little sore, but that will pass soon enough.

I went out with the group at 5 a.m. for the first 4-mile loop and I was thinking that 8 miles seemed like forever. When we picked up the rest of the group for the 2nd 4-mile loop at 6 a.m. I was feeling great. Those second 4 miles were a lot easier and the time flew. It probably has a lot to do with being more warmed up. It was chili out this morning, but clearly the humidity was still high because I was drenched in no time. My hair, in its tiny pony tail, were actually dripping on me. This will teach me not to forget my hat again.

My program called for a 9.5 mile run today, but since my longest run before this was only 6 miles, and there is a little wiggle room in the schedule, I was going to stop at 8 miles. I felt so good after that, even if a little sore, that I figured I'd do the extra 2 miles with the group. My legs were starting to feel it so I called it quits after only one mile but still managed to get in over 9.5 miles total. Awesome!

This success along with my huge PR at the Miracle Miles 5K last week puts me in a great place mentally for next weekend's Race for the Taste 10K. I can't wait!

I am still deciding which intervals I want to use during the race. I know .25-mi-run:1-min-walk is the wise thing to do (~ 3:1), but I think I could push myself to use the same one as the 5K - .5-mi-run:1-min-walk (~ 6:1). I'm leaning towards starting with .25 mile intervals for the first half and then switch for the last half if I am feeling good and strong. Either way I hope to finish around 1:15 or an avg 12 min/mi pace.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Race Report: Miracle Miles 5K

36:22 (by namwodahs)
Official clock time: 36:22 -- Garmin time: 3.18 in 35:38 / 11:13 pace

It was a beautiful cool morning and I had a fantastic race with huge new PR! My clock time was 3 minutes faster than the clock time 2 weeks ago. This was not a chip-timed event, so we go to the trusty Garmin for the net time comparison. Garmin says I ran 3.18 mi in 35:38 for an 11:13 average pace, again almost 3 minutes faster than my previous 5K 2 weeks ago of 3.2 mi in 38:10 / 11:55 pace. That is fantastic!

Average pace splits:

11:12
11:38
11:12
8:43 (.18 mi)

Finished! (by namwodahs)
I love how my pace at the 1st and last mile was the same, but I clearly faded a little in the middle. I think this may have been on purpose because of a fast start. I am glad I slowed down a little in the middle because I had plenty left to really kick it during the last 1/2 mile. I kept telling myself that I felt strong, that I am strong, and it gave me the push I needed to really book it to the end. It was such a great feeling to finish so strong.

The great thing about being a new runner is that I am constantly improving and have yet to push myself as far as I can go, so I can PR almost everytime I race. I know I have more kick in me, but I don't want to push too much too fast and risk injury. It would have been sweet to finish in less than 35, but this is a huge improvement and I am beyond pleased and very proud of myself. When I first started I thought 35 was wicked fast, but here I am running at a sub-11:30 pace! :)

I love how 5Ks are getting easier. While I would love to run the entire time, I'm really liking those little walk breaks because they make the race mentally easier as well. When I am struggling, I just remind myself that all I have to do is tough it out for at most 1/2 a mile then I can walk it off. It makes the time fly by and my speed is improving. At this time in my training, it is better for my ego to improve my speed than to run the whole thing, so I am not worrying about the 5 total minutes I walked. But even my walking breaks got faster! I am telling you, this was a phenomenal race for me.

The Running Family (by namwodahs)
My dad also ran the race and my mom walked it; Jason took pictures. My dad did great and met his goal of finishing in under 30 minutes (I forget his actual time). He would have totally beat Jason, whose best time so far is somewhere around 33 minutes. Dad used to run and race regularly, including 3 marathons (NYC twice and Disney once), but he had stopped for a while. He had a heart attack over a year ago shortly after starting again, and had not been running since. He was cleared by his doctor and started training a few months ago (shortly after I decided to become a runner) to run the Disney 10K with us in 2 weeks. Maybe we'll do a 1/2 together someday ;) Mom also did great, finishing in about 45 minutes with mostly walking since she had a cold and had surgery to remove her gallbladder a few weeks ago. She is totally hooked and kept asking when the next 5K was :)

It was great to share this with my family. After seeing my dad run race after race when I was younger, it is great to be able to do this together now. I never thought I'd be able to share that with him, but I am well on my way and I can't wait to run my first marathon! :)

Only 2 weeks until Disney's Race for the Taste 10K! Next weekend I'll also be tackling an 8 mile long run. I can't wait! 

Friday, September 26, 2008

1 mile time trial = 10:17

I ran a 1 mile time trial yesterday in 10:17 without walk breaks. Rock on! If I had known I was that close I probably could have pushed it to 10, but I am still super proud of my efforts. This is really fast for me and I've sure come a long way since April.

This means I have it in me to run a 5K well faster than I have been, but I always seem to hold back. I run faster than in training, but I know not as fast I could. According to the Galloway race prediction formula, I should be able to finish in less than 34 minutes (just faster than an 11:00 pace), but that seem awful fast. You also have to adjust for heat and humidity by 30 sec a mile for every 5 degree temperature increase above 60F, so realistically it might be closer to 35 or 36, but either would be a huge PR for me. It should be cooler tomorrow morning than it was yesterday afternoon when I did the trial, so we'll see.

I am hoping this beautiful weather continues tomorrow morning and I can push myself to a new PR at the Miracle Miles 5k. I'm going to give it my best shot and see what I can really do. I'll use walk breaks because they'll help me sustain the pace for the 3 miles, but I'll really push it during the run segments, especially the last mile. Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

28-mile bike ride

We rode our bikes to Sweet Tomatoes (near the Fashion Square mall) this moring, had brunch, then rode home. The ride there was great and the weather was beautiful. The ride back was a little tougher because it was hotter and we were tired, but it wasn't too bad.

This was my longest bike ride ever. My farthest ride before this was 6 miles in a row or 8 miles round trip. Surprisingly, it was not as bad as I expected, but my behind and thighs may not agree with me. I feel great!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

4+ Mile Long Run with Galloway Training Group

4.3 miles in 57:12 (13:22 pace)

I went for a 4-mile test run with the Galloway training group (run by Track Shack) this morning and it went great. My pace puts me at a 2/1 run/walk ratio and it wasn't too bad. This is actually the fastest I've ever run this distance and I know that is due to the walk breaks. The time flew by and I felt great afterwards.

My pace group also has mid-week group runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 pm, but I think I may do those on my own because I want to work on increasing how far and how fast I can run without walking for short distances. If all I ever run is 2/1, then my body may get too used to that and automatically always want to walk after 2 minutes. It works great for long runs, but I think I'll adjust it for shorter runs and races. For the 10K, I'll stick with walking 30-60 secs every 1/4 mile because that worked great for the Human Race. For next weekend's 5K, I'd like to try running the whole thing, but I know I'd be disappointed with my time, so I'll probably walk every mile or 1/2 mile for 30-60 secs.

So, I am now officially registered for Track Shack's Galloway Training Program and hope to be ready to run the OUC 1/2 Marathon on Dec 6. If that goes well, I'll probably run another in Feb/March, such as the Tampa Gasparilla 1/2 Marathon. This is also my last resort if I am not ready to run one sooner. I can't wait! :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

the ugly side of running

(I posted a private entry in my journal to remind myself of this experience, but I don't feel like sharing all the details with the world, so I'll post an abridged version here of my self reflection and lessons learned.)

I love running, but sometimes it just blows. It is the most confidence building and demoralizing sport all in one, and it can happen all in the same day. Last night I questioned everything and it sucked. I am still going to go forward with this; I just have to figure out how, and I know that I have to come to terms with the fact that I will have days like this again. It's part of being a runner. It is not all roses and daisies. It is a huge mental sport. I didn't want to believe that when I read people say it, but it's so true.

While I am fine running by myself most of the time, I need more motivation and support to keep going and go the distance. I can't run long distances on my own. I think the Galloway group will be fine; they are my pace and, after all, all I have to do is keep up for 2 minutes then I can walk. I just don't want to do that much walking, and it just sucks that I am so slow that I have to use that interval and not something more reasonable like 5/1 or something, but frak it. Galloway is an Olympic athlete and has run many marathons and I have read nothing but sucess stories, so I may as well be one too :) It will be a gentle way to get up to the distance and I can still do my shorter mid-week runs on my own without walking. So maybe that will be a good balance.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Race Report: Autumn Rock 'n' Run 5k

Yesterday I ran my first 5K in over 2 months and probably one of my best ones so far (both in time and experience). My goal was to get a new PR and finish in sub-38:00. The official results say I finished in 38:08 (chip time) and thus ran at a 12:16 pace. You have no idea how those 8 seconds hunt me.

Nonetheless, this is a new PR any way you look at it. My best 5K time was the Wee Little Virtual 5K, which I ran in 38:15 (so that is 7 whole seconds!). My previous real race was the ORC Race Into Summer 5K, which I finished in 40:17 (that's over 2 minutes!). However, my Garmin says I ran 3.2 miles in 38:10 for an average pace of 11:55. Further inspection of the data reveals that I reached the 3.1 miles mark on my watch in 37:18! So I also did it in under 38 minutes.

Here is my average pace at each lap:

11:58
12:00
12:07
10:18 (.2 mi)

I clearly started out too fast, but I simply could not run any slower. I had debated the previous day whether I would try to run the whole way or take scheduled walking breaks. Since my goal was to PR, I had pretty much decided on the breaks because it allows me to run faster overall. After that speedy start, I knew I would need the walking breaks if I wanted to make it. I ran the entire thing with 1 minute walking and water breaks every 1/2 mile. It still cost me since, as you can see, I started to fade at the end.

Part of the reason for the positive splits was poor planning on my part, but a big part of it was the extra length of the course. I had figured out I would need to average 12:15 to run a sub-38 5K. When I saw towards the end that I was averaging a pace well under 12:00, I did not feel the need to push too hard since I thought I had. But I failed to realize that my average pace would need to be faster for a further distance. My watch was out of sync with the mile markers the entire time, but I just thought I started it too soon and not that the course was long. Oh well, you live and learn.

I was admitedly tired towards the end of the race, but I felt really good throughout. I dare say the time flew by. Before I knew it, we only had 1 mile to go and I still felt good even if I was hot. I was amazed at my speed and wondered how I was doing this and still keeping it up. As I said, I thought I was running much faster than I needed to reach my goal, so I took an extra walking break during the last mile which surely cost me that extra 8 seconds.

For a little perspective, I finished my first ever 5K in 44:38 on April 12. This was during week 2 of C25K, about 1 week after I started running, and I walked most of it following C25K intervals--I ran about 14 minutes in total. Fast forward to this weekend, a little over 5 months later, and I've shaved over 6 minutes off my time. Not only that, in just 5 months I've gone from no running at all to running a 10K.  I am in such awe of myself and I simply cannot wait until that turns into a 1/2 marathon :)

Here is more data from the official results:

overall place: 1031 / 1323
age group place: 83 / 109
gender place: 501 / 726
clock time: 39:21

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Race Report: Nike Human Race 10K

6.3 miles in 1:22:16 (avg pace 13:04)! This is a distance PR for me and I did much better than I expected. But let's start at the beginning.

While my city was not one of the official Nike+ Human Race 10K locations, the Finish Line store at the Mall at Millenia organized a free group fun run for us to participate in this historic event. My official 10K that I've been training for will be in October, so I treated this as a training run. After last weekend's painful 5 mile run, I did not know what to expect.

I will be turning 30 and entering a new age bracket on Wednesday (9/3), so last night we celebrated my birthday with my family. We started the evening at Giordano's and loaded up on carbs with some yummy pizza, ravioli, salad, and lots of bread. Then we played 18 holes of glow in the dark mini golf, and we were in bed and asleep shortly after 10 p.m. We spent the night at my parents since they live closer to the Mall.

We woke up at 5:30 a.m., got ready, ate a banana and were on the road by 6 a.m. As I hoped, the free race shirt was the official Nike Human Race tech shirt (pictured above), and I am absolutely in love with it. We had to wear it for the event, and I was a bit concerned because I prefer to run in a singlet rather than a shirt with sleeves, but it was great.

Due to the store opening late and the amount of people attending needing to sign in and get shirts, the race actually started closer to 8 a.m. The route consisted of running 1/2 a mile, then 5 loops around a lake, then back out to the start. I was a little worried that the late start would mean it would be too hot and humid, and that the route would be hell, but the route proved to be great and the lake provided a nice breeze. I was sure to keep hydrated with my water bottle and the water stop at the end of each loop.

I decided to run/walk this from the beginning since the goal here was to finish and just cover the distance. I walked 30-60 seconds after each 1/4 mile or so (that works out to 3/1 or 4/1 ratio). This worked out great. My pace was fantastic and I finished the run feeling good and strong. I am thrilled with my time, since I was expecting it taking me closer to 1.5 hours, and Jason only beat me by 10 mins. Most importantly, I was not last! I even had mostly negative splits:


Since this was a little long and my first attempt at the distance, I'm hoping I can finish Disney's Race for the Taste in 1:15 or less. I'll have a bit more practice and miles under my belt by then, and I know I didn't really push myself that much today. However, I have to remember that the conditions are always different, but I can't imagine it will be more hot/humid than today.

I'll probably follow a similar run/walk plan for that race, though I may run every 1/2 mile instead of every 1/4 mile. I am not sure though, because taking the more frequent walk breaks does allow me to run that much faster. My running segments were almost all under 13 and I even got down to 8-10 paces. And the best part is that it almost felt effortless.

I can't wait until my next 5K on 9/13. I'm going to push myself to try to break my PR and run a sub-38 5K.

Did anyone else run the Human Race? How did you do?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Running to work!

I ran 2.5 miles non-stop to work this morning. It was amazing!

I took it easy, but I still managed a sub-14:15 pace; I was expecting something closer to 15. I felt really good and strong at the end and could have easily done at least 3 miles, but it was getting late and hot. I will definitely do this again!

It's nice that my office has showers that make this possible. Since this was a bit spontaneous due to having to leave my bike here last night because of the rain, Jason was nice enough to bike to my office on the way to his and drop off a bag with clothes and my lunch. I left the house around 7:30 a.m (as he got up and began getting ready) since I didn't want to be here too long before him. We arrived about the same time since I ran a bit further than my office and took a nice long cool down walk.

Weather permitting, I'll bike to work tomorrow and leave extra clothes and food here, then run to work Thursday morning. If I already have everything here, I can leave earlier and easily get in a longish run midweek. Not only that, I'd be at work much earlier and then could leave early before the afternoon showers start.

I am also considering joining our local Galloway Training Program through Track Shack so I don't have to do my long runs alone, and I should be ready to run the 1/2 marathon in December. That would be so cool.

Monday, August 25, 2008

10K Training Week 4

After my great run last Monday, I did not run again until Thursday. Thanks to TS Fay, I had to resort to the treadmill!
2.16 mi / 00:30 (13:54 pace)


This was my first run on a treadmill (at a 1.0 - 1.5 incline). Since wannabe-hurricane Fay decided to over extend her welcome, I had no choice since I haven't run since Monday. It wasn't as bad as I thought, but I really can't imagine running much longer on it. It was extremely boring and monotonous, and I couldn't help but focus on the damn display telling me how long and far I'd run.
On Saturday, I attempted my longest run yet of 5 miles. I finished it, but it was painful:
5.0  mi  /  01:17  (15:25 pace)

This was really tough, even with scheduled walking breaks. I clearly started too fast because of the cool weather, and I lost steam at the end. I was barely jogging during the last mile because I had side stitches on both sides, and every step hurt. I pushed through the pain and finished it with what resembled a running motion as best I could :)
I did not run this morning and rain prevented me from running after work. My plan is to run to work tomorrow morning and have Jason bring my clothes on his bike, then I'll bike home since I had to get a ride from work and leave the bike there today. If that goes well, I may bring extra clothes on my bike on Wednesday, and run to work again on Thursday. On Saturday, we're taking part in the Human Race 10k as a fun training group run.

Since I'm logging & blogging all my runs on the dailymile (which also posts to kitzzyruns on twitter), I'm just going to post a summary each week here unless I have anything significant to say about a particular run or a race report.

Monday, August 18, 2008

10K Training - Week 3 Run 2 & 3 + Week 4 Run 1

I got caught up last week in the excitement of going to Disney and forgot all about this blog, but it was a great week of running.

On Thursday, I had a pretty good run. I started much faster than usual, but ended up slowing down at the end so managed to average the same as Tuesday's run (2.5 in 35 minutes). However, I had nearly even splits throughout the run, which is really unusual for me (I usually have negative splits):

Pace splits
mile 1: 13:50
mile 2: 13:50
finish: 13:57

On Sunday, I ran 4.5 miles!! This was was my longest run yet, and it felt great. I controlled my breathing the whole time and, while I was breathing hard at the end, I was not out of breath. I only stopped twice, but I stopped my watch so I actually ran 4.5 pain-free miles. Right after this run I went to Disney and walked around for the bigger part of the day. I think that was actually a great way to recover from this run.

Today I overslept so I did not run in the morning; however, since it had just rained and there was a break in the rain, I went running after I got home from work. I only ran 2 miles, but I did it in 26 minutes with identical even splits! I know a 13 min/mile pace is slow for most of you, but this is fast for me to maintain as a consistent pace for a whole 2 miles--and this includes about 1 minute of walking too.

This run felt amazing as if I was just gliding on the road. I now understand what triathletes say about running after biking because I was running fast, but it did not feel like it. I feel like I could have run the additional 10 minutes scheduled for today, but I had pushed myself enough and didn't want to break something. I figured a hard 26 minute run was just as good as an easy 35 minutes. I am very pleased with this run.

PS - I'm still slowly losing weight, but I am trying not to focus too much on it since I am at a healthy weight. You can see the stats on the right.

PPS - I still have invites to the dailymile; if you need one, send me your email at kitzzy [at] gmail [dot] com.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

10K Training - Week 3 Run 1

2.53 miles in 35:02 minutes (13:52/mile pace) at 6:30 a.m.

Today's run was great! I slacked off and did not run or bike yesterday, so I was out the door by 6:30 this morning. I pushed myself a bit and ran 2.5 miles in 35 minutes without any walking breaks. The best part is that the run felt great and I was hardly out of breath. This confirms that my lackluster performance last week was due to the heat and I was just not pushing myself at all. This pace felt good. Perhaps I'll try that 5k this weekend after all, but I'm going to wait until later in the week to decide that.

Splits (pace):

Mile 1 = 14:45
Mile 2 = 13:48
Finish (.53) = 12:16

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Yoga for Runners (Revisited)

I made a post back in May with yoga for runners resources. I thought I'd revisit it for those new to this blog and to recommend a few more sites and DVDs.

DVDs
Rodney Yee is my favorite yoga instructor. All his DVDs are excellent. Here are some of my favorites that I've tried.
  • A.M. and P.M. Yoga - 20 mins -- he leads the a.m practice; Patricia Walden leads the p.m one; they are each 20 minutes
  • Power Yoga - Total Body Workout - this one 1 hour yoga practice is a really good workout. Don't do this one if you are looking to relax, though it does offer that benefit too, but you'll break a sweat.)
  • Yoga Conditioning for Athletes - this DVD includes a 1 hour practice geared towards athletes plus several sport specific mini workouts (cycling, running, golf, swimming, and tennis) about 3-5 mins each that can be used as a pre/post run stretch
  • A.M. Yoga for Your Week - this DVD has 5 different 20-25 minute yoga sessions to start the day: staning poses, back bends, forward bends, twists, and hip openners. They are great to start the day or as a cool down stretch after a long run.
Sites/Podcasts

Saturday, August 9, 2008

10K Training - Week 2 Run 4 (long run)

I was supposed to run 4 miles this morning, but it was not meant to be. I got up at 5:45 a.m. and had a cramp that I could not shake. I took a 1/2 mile warm up walk around the block and it seemed to ease up a bit. I decided to try to run and see if it would go away. I took it super slow and it seemed to disappear. The first 3 miles of the run went pretty well, and I only took 30-60s breaks after each mile and to stretch my foot. I got a real bad cramp during the last mile, and I had to stop a few times to walk it out. It got too painful so I called it quits at 3.5 miles and walked the rest of the last half mile home. This is getting really annoying because I felt fine otherwise and could have totally finished the 4 miles, but the cramp was too much. Arg!

Anyway, it was not all bad. I was carrying my water bottle and it was not that bothersome. It actually helped me minimized the vertical movement of my arms because the more I moved my arms, the more the water splashed. This may be a great training tool after all :) I didn't bring my ipod either, which I think really helped me focus on my breathing. I wasn't as bored as I thought I'd be. I joined the dailymile and got challenged to see how many people I could get a greeting from during my run. That helped past the time. Here is the tally = 7:

- 1 guy getting ready to run/walk
- 2 walkers (3, but 1 was part of a pair and didn't really acknowledge me)
- 2 walkers with dogs
- 2 cyclist (4, but there was a group of 3 and I only caught and exchanged greetings with the last one in the group)

I think I'm definitely not doing that 5k next weekend and will try the 4 mile run again instead. Right now it is more importatnt to build back my endurance and be ready for the 10K that trying to run a race. I know I would not do my best and be able to PR, so what's the point? =P

Friday, August 8, 2008

10K Training - Week 2 Run 3

An easy "no rules" 1-mile run this morning. I feel like I just ran to be able to get 4 runs in this week. My heart was totally not in it this morning and I just did 1 mile real slow (1.5 if you count the warm up and cool down walks). I am having a real hard time getting my breathing under control lately. I'll blame the heat since everyone else is doing it =P I may just start running every other day regardless, according to the time/distance in my training plan, which means some weeks I'll run 3 times and others 4 times. I rather do that than run twice in a row or have 2 days off a week in a row.
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