Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Week 47 Recap

This was an amazing week for running, and today marks the end of 30 days of blogging *whew*. Although my combined miles were less than last week, I ran twice as much and without getting hurt. I finally got my half marathon PR and sub-2:30 finish, and I'm still on top of the word. If you missed it, read the Space Coast Half Marathon Race Report for details.

I updated my Running Progression spreadsheet with all my milestone runs and races, showing my progress from when I started 2.5 years ago. It's amazing to see how far I've come!

I'm running the OUC Half Marathon this weekend, which will officially make me a half fanatic. I know a few of you reading this live in Downtown Orlando, so let me know if you are participating in this race (there is also a 5k) or come out to watch and cheer!

Week Totals (rounded)

  • run - 22 miles
  • walk - 9 miles
  • bike - 29 miles
  • total - 60 miles / 9.5 hrs

Workout Summary

See details on Dailymile
  • Monday - biked 29 miles (work)
  • Tuesday - ran 3 miles; walked 2.5 miles
  • Wednesday - nothing
  • Thursday - ran 3 miles; walked 1.5 miles
  • Friday - ran 3 miles
  • Saturday - walked 2 miles
  • Sunday - ran 13.1 miles; walked 3 miles

Monday, November 29, 2010

MBE: Fit and Healthy Holidays

Monday Brain Exchange (MBE) is sponsored by Jill, who blogs at Finishing Is Winning. This week's topic is Staying fit and healthy during the holidays.

Question: How do you manage diet and exercise during the holidays?

This is a great question, and I actually managed to do this very thing and even lose some over 10-15 pounds  between Thanksgiving of last year and February of this year. The key is moderation and determination. Below are some specific ideas that may help you.

  • Register for a big race in January or February to prevent you from slacking off on exercising during the holidays. I was training for the marathon, so missing a run was not an option. This meant that I had to run 10 miles by myself and do some runs in freezing weather. But I was determined to meet my goal, so I did what needed to be done. 
  • Do a race with your family, such as a Turkey Trot or Holiday 5k. I always find motivation when I motivate others to be fit and healthy.
  • Find workouts you can do at home in 30 minutes or less, so that you can squeeze them in between festivities and regardless of how frightful the weather is outside. Check out my At Home Workouts Page for ideas. 
  • Make exercising social and fun. This Thanksgiving after dinner, Jason and I went for a photo walk with his sister around his parent's neighborhood and played in the playground at the park. We got some exercise, but the focus was on having fun and taking cool photos. You could go on a hike, or for a bike ride. The possibilities are endless.
  • Don't deprive yourself of holiday treats, but don't over indulge. Saying no to that piece of pie you love is not the answer. Simply have a smaller piece and savor it. 
  • Keep healthy snacks around. You will probably be spending a lot of time at home with nothing to do and it will be easy to just snack all day. It won't be so bad if they only things you have on hand are healthy snacks like fruits and veggies with humus.
  • Stay busy. If you plan a lot of activities, specially outdoors and away from the kitchen, then you won't have as much time for mindless eating and will also burn off some of the calories you consume without even trying.
I'm sure I have more, but that is all that comes to mind right now. What are your ideas?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Race Report: Space Coast Half Marathon

my lootI don't even know where to begin, so I'll just jump right in.  I nailed it! =) Not only did I finish my 6th half marathon with a HUGE PR, but I finally finished in under 2:30! My previous PR was 2:35:38, per my watch as it was an unofficial race put on by our training group. Today's time of 2:28:16 was over 7 minutes faster than that. I'm ecstatic! After so many setbacks, it feels great to finally have redemption!

official stats:
  • chip time - 2:28:16 
  • clock time - 2:31:41 
  • average pace - 11:20 min/mi
  • 5k split - 37:44 
  • 10k split - 1:13:41   
  • 15k split - 1:47:45 (PR)
  • overall place - 1060 / 1586
  • age group place - 75 / 122
expo/packet pickup: The expo was tiny, but I've seen worse. It was nice to check out the space history exhibit while there, and see the rocket garden. However, if they are not going to make the expo worth it, I wish they would offered race day packet pick up.

staying warm before race start pre race: Yesterday, I really didn't think I would finish in under 2:30, let alone almost 2 minutes under. I was still going to try, but I thought it was a pipe dream. This morning, I was a lot more confident and after the first few miles I knew it would happen if I pushed. I just told myself to dig deep, that it would probably hurt but that pain was temporary. I was prepared to suffer, without getting injured, to make it possible. To tell you the truth, yes it hurt a bit at the end, but I didn't really suffer.

weather: The cool weather was a huge factor in making this happen. It was cold at the start, but perfect racing temperature. I had a jacket on when we got there, but I quickly took it off and returned it to the car. I told myself to suck it up for the first mile or so because I knew I would warm up in no time. I wore a skirt, arm warmers, and my buff around my neck. I lowered the arm warmers a few miles in and tossed both to Jason after mile 5. I think my speed improved even more after that lol

gorgeous scenery the course: The course was flat and fast as advertised, with a great view of the Indian River the whole way. There were a few tiny inclines, but overall very easy. It was an out and back, so it got a little crowded once the full marathon joined us for their second half. It was hard for the wheelchairs to navigate this part, but it all worked out.

support: the half marathon had 7 themed water stops that we passed twice. Each stop had water, gatorade and gu! They even had gu roctane, so I could have run without carrying anything at all. I knew this, so I only carried 2 gu roctanes just in case. I took ate a regular gu at mile 1 (forgot to do it before the start) and mile 4, a gu roctane at mile 7, and gu roctane with caffeine at mile 10. Fun fact: all the pace leaders wore running skits, including the guys!

race strategy:
on the course As always, my strategy is to run negative splits because I know what happens when I start out too fast. In the past, I've had my Garmin to help me achieve that, but since it broke and I didn't replace it, I went old school for this race. I wore a stop watch with a lap button (that I pressed manually at each mile marker) and printed out a pace chart for a 2:30 finish on one side and 2:34 on the other. After mile 1, I decided to go for it and not even look at the 2:34 one. I ran the whole thing using 2:1 intervals.

I lined up at the start with the 2:30 pace group, but vowed to run my own race and keep them in my sights. I am glad I didn't follow them because I lost them within the first mile and didn't see them again until after mile 12 when I passed them :) There were many times when I wanted to surge ahead to keep up with someone, but kept reminding myself that I do best when I run my own race, start slow and conserve energy to speed up at the end. I tried to pick up the pace at every mile, but kept it relatively comfortable through mile 6. Once I neared the turn around point and saw the 2:30 pace group ahead of me coming the other way, I began to push the pace to catch them.

As you can see from the chart above, I nailed every target split within a minute or more and picked up considerable speed during the second half. I am always in awe that I can make up this much speed at the end of the race. I'm shocked at how many miles were under 11 min/mile and can't believe my last 5K was 4.5 minutes faster than my first 5K, and only 1 minute slower than my current 5K PR. It wasn't easy, but it wasn't hell either. I dug deep and kept pushing and finished really strong! I was hurting when I finished, mainly my calves and this weird cramping I get in my abdomen/abs when I push really hard, but that didn't last. I was so happy that I cried :) I clearly need to work on my core =P

swag: The finisher's medal is gorgeous, and we also got a finisher's beach towel that I love. The race shirt is a long sleeve tech shirt.

post-race food: They had the usual fare of bananas, bagels, and orange slices after the race, but they also had an egg/pancake/sausage breakfast and pizza. Nice! While pizza is a nice sentiment, I find the smell repulsive after running that hard, so I fed my support crew instead :)

post-race:  I thought it was a nice touch that the announcer called out everyone's names as they approached the finish line with plenty of notice for spectators to get their camera's ready. Once I crossed and it sunk in that I had done it, and that I wasn't injured and still felt great (albeit a little sore), I choked up a bit and cried a few tears of joy. I couldn't stop yelling at Jason when I saw him that I did it, and this continued at random intervals through the rest of the day. lol

After I refueled, we went to the car to drop off Jason's bike and I changed into dry clothes, then returned to the finish line to cheer on the marathon finishers. Congrats to Yolanda and Jillian on finishing their first Marathon, and to all my running buddies too numerous to mention that completed the marathon, many with PRs.

photos: See all the photos (and video coming soon) on Space Coast Half Marathon Flickr album.

overall experience: This was a fantastic race and I'm definitely going back to do the full marathon someday! It may be my favorite half marathon so far, and it reminded me how much I love racing this distance. It's enough of a challenge that I can't do it totally on a whim, and it's long enough that I have time to ease into a pace, but it's short enough that I can still function the next day :) When I got home, I registered for the OUC Half Marathon next Saturday. It was my first half marathon, it is only 1 block from my front door, and it will qualify me to be a half fanatic!

best paparazzi and cheerleaderthanks: A big thanks to everyone who left encouraging comments on my previous post and on facebook and for your votes of confidence. I carried them through the race and it really helped. And of course, a HUGE thanks to Jason, the best boyfriend/support crew/paparazzi/cheerleader any girl could ask for. He didn't run this one, but biked along taking photos and cheering me on. I love you!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Space Coast HM Pre-Race Thoughts

We're in Cocoa, FL chilling at the hotel after a yummy dinner at a local italian restaurant. We picked up my race packet earlier and browsed the (very tiny) expo at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Jason is not running this one, so he'll be out on the course on his bike cheering me on and taking photos. I know that will help keep me motivated.

My outfit is all set and I'm more than ready for this race. I'm feeling really strong, so I'm going to push myself and attempt to PR. The weather should be perfect, if a little cold at the start, and it's a flat and fast course, so I'm hoping I can finish in under 2:35. I may even have a shot at my coveted 2:30 finish with the aid of a pace group, but I'll play it by ear and see how it goes.

Good luck to everyone racing tomorrow!

PS - I added this to the previous post, but in case you missed it, here is the Tamarac Turkey Trot 5K Video.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Day Highlights

We began the day running the Turkey Trot 5k with Robin, Jason and his family. Much fun was had by all. The rest of the day was spent either making or eating food. I made Sweet Potato Gratin to have a main course that was vegetarian, and it came out pretty good but a little too limey for my taste. I'll probably skip the lime zest next time. I wasn't overly stuffed after dinner, but probably fuller than I should be. My stomach felt like a bucket that was filled with tennis balls but without filling the empty space left by the gaps from the balls. :) After dinner, I want for a walk with Jason and his sister to a nearby park where we took silly photos. It was a lot of fun.

I woke up lethargic; I felt a bit hung over (from food, I didn't drink alcohol), so I went for a short run. I didn't want to overdue it, so I kept it short and slow. The air felt cool, but the humidity was pretty high. I hope it's lower on Sunday. I've spent the rest of the day being lazy, including taking a pretty long nap and still feel pretty lethargic and have a bit of a headache. I'm sure that has more to do with being indoors all day. Tomorrow we drive to the Kennedy Space Center in Cocoa, FL for the expo and packet pick up. I'm looking forward to browsing all the vendors and maybe picking up a few things. Then it's show time on Sunday. I'm pretty excited for this race; probably more than I've been in a while. I think I'm getting my running mojo back :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Race Report: Tamarac Turkey Trot 5k

We are in Plantation, FL to spend Thanksgiving with Jason's mom, and thanks to Robin we found a local Turkey Trot 5k to run this morning. We hoped his parents would come out and watch, but they did us one better and signed up too! It was their first 5k, and they did awesome!

I ran with Robin, using 3/:30 intervals, until about the last 10th when I sprinted to the end, but I still did not run all out. This race was not about getting a PR or leaving it all out there, especially since I'm tapering for the half marathon on Sunday. This race was about getting in some exercise this morning, being thankful that I can do this at all, and having fun with family and friends. Oh yeah, and burning a few calories before the feast that will follow later was a nice bonus :) 

Robin kept telling me to go ahead, and I was tempted to skip the walk breaks, but I was having fun running with her. The time flew by and the finish line was in sight before I knew it.  I felt great the whole time, even while nursing a side stitch, and I finished strong. Everyone else is complaining about sore legs, but mine feel great =P I do feel like I need a nap though :)

  • clock: 39:59
  • chip: 38:21 
  • pace: 12:21
  • ag: 59 / 76
  • overall: 1162
Happy Thanksgiving!

Check out the photos on Flickr and the video Jason put together below:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Eve

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so this is my last day at work before five days off. w00t! In addition to the weekend and 2 paid holidays, I am taking Monday off to recover from the Space Coast Half Marathon, get a massage, and go to the dentist for my permanent crown. I'm looking forward to the time off, the races, and spending time with family, but not the internal battle that will ensue as I try to balance enjoying the holiday without overindulging.

Thanksgiving has never been my favorite holiday, probably because I've never really liked the taste of turkey--our family usually eats pork--and I don't recall my family ever making a big deal of this holiday. Ever since my lifestyle change, when I shifted my focus to healthy eating and fitness, I dread food holidays. It's hard to divorce the notion of using food as a way to celebrate, but I'm trying to change my thinking of what holidays mean and de-emphasize the yummy food while emphasizing time with family and more time to get outdoors and be active during those days off. Last year I managed to stay very active and lose weight while training for a marathon during the Christmas break, so I know it can be done. This year is compounded by the fact that I don't eat meat, so this will be and interesting holiday season.

Many of us will be participating in a Turkey Trot near us in an attempt to offset some of the food we'll be indulging in during the rest of the day, and because we just can't resist running one more race before the year ends :) This year I'm traveling to South Florida to spend the holiday with Jason's family, and we'll be participating in the Tamarac Turkey Trot 5k. I learned of this race from fellow local blogger/runner Robin, who is also heading south for the holiday and participating in this race. It will be nice to run in a new city yet share it with a familiar face and Jason's family.

I also signed up for the Feed the Turkey Virtual Turkey Trot to help raise money St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. It's a great cause and all proceeds go to charity. So even if you don't have a Turkey Trot near you, you can run/walk/bike your own 5k and support a great cause.

What are your holiday plans? Taking a trip? Running any races?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Week 46 Recap

Last week was pretty good week, and this is shaping up to be great week as well with 2 races coming up in the next 5 days. I don't have much else to say, so I'll leave you with the numbers while I go pack.

Week Totals (rounded)

  • run - 11 miles
  • walk - 14 miles
  • bike - 46 miles
  • yoga - 22 minutes
  • totals - 71 miles / 11 hours

Workout Summary

See details on Dailymile
  • Monday - walked 2.75 miles
  • Tuesday - walked 4.25 miles
  • Wednesday - biked 32 miles; ran 2 miles
  • Thursday - walked 2 miles
  • Friday - walked 1.5 miles; ran 3 miles
  • Saturday - biked 14 miles; walked 2 miles
  • Sunday - ran 6 miles; walked 2 miles

Monday, November 22, 2010

MBE: Giving Thanks (In Photos)

Monday Brain Exchange (MBE) is sponsored by Jill, who blogs at Finishing Is Winning. This week's topic is Giving Thanks (In Photos).

Question: In the spirit of Thanksgiving…tell me what you are most thankful for; one thing, five things, or many things. But here’s the fun part…tell me, in photos!

Jason - My Other Half

Gasparilla Marathon 2010 - Last 2 miles with Dad
Running with Dad during my 1st Marathon

Mom Running me in
Having Mom support me at races
and running races with her

day 01/31 - 6 mile afterglow

Unite Bike Photo Shoot
My bike(s) and being able to live w/o a car

Shawn, Karen, and Isabella
My sis and her beautiful daughter

That was fun! There is much more, but this post is already long enough and I'm out of photos :) Have a great Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Trying New Things

You should never try anything new on race day, but training runs are fair game for experimentation. I tried a few new things during today's 6 mile run, my last long(ish) run before the Space Coast Half Marathon next Sunday -- for which I finally registered today.

  • I tried a new(ish) 6-mile route. I usually snake through the neighborhoods in downtown Orlando, or go north to run around Park Lake and Lake Highland, but I didn't feel like crossing Colonial for a 3 mile loop. So I just ran down Livingston and then down the bike path to and around Lake Underhill. I had run this route as part of a 10 mile run before, but it was nice to have an out and back for a 6 mile run.
  • The weather was perfect when I started around 8 am, cool but not too cold, so I wore my race ready running skirt (with 5 mesh pockets in the back) for the first time. It's a little short for my liking, but the shorts stay put. I probably would not wear it for a marathon, but it'll be great for shorter races and training runs. I love that it is black with a bright yellow stripe to make for a fun and colorful outfit (pictured above).
  • One of my toe nails keeps digging into the adjacent toe cutting it and causing it to bleed during long races, so I got some toe caps to help with the problem. They are made of silicone and really comfortable. I wore them today, even though I didn't think I'd need them, to see how they'd feel and I didn't even notice they were there for most of the run. 
  • I usually like GU Gels during my long runs because of their flavors and consistency. I've tried PowerBar Gels before but they are too runny for my taste. I had some samples of Cliff Shot Gels that I wanted to try because they are made with only a few ingredients that I can mostly pronounce/recognize, and are organic. I tried the Razz flavor; it tasted good and had a good consistency. I still plan to use GU for next weekend's race because that's what they'll be offering on the course and I have a supply of Chocolate Mint that I need to consume before I go buying more stuff, but I plan to buy Cliff Shot Blocks and Gels when those are gone. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Lazy Saturday

In continuing with my lazy Saturday, it's time for another bullet post:

  • I've not been very productive today. 
  • I slept in and awoke around 7:30 am.
  • While Jason ran, I ate breakfast, and watched an episode of Just Desserts
  • We slowly got ready to go for a bike ride. The weather was perfect, if a little cool at first, for a cargo ride to the Winter Park Harvest Festival. 
    • We covered just over 13 miles at a leisurely pace. 
    • We bough some local produce and cheese.
    • I was saddened my favorite local bread supplier sold out of my favorite multi-grain bread.
  • After riding home through quiet neighborhood streets, we changed and went to see the latest Harry Potter movie
  • We followed the movie with yummy FroYo by the ounce at Mochi. 
  • We've spent the rest of the evening watching tv and making homemade granola. Yum! 
  • Tomorrow I shall be more productive with a 6 mile run and laundry. 

Here's a photo of our lovely group after we arrived at Winter Park with our cargo bikes. So much fun!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Rave Run

I had a great run tonight! My legs are still tingly :)  

5k in 35:23 @11:24 min/mi pace
Splits: 11:40 - 11:34 - 11:02

I ran around Lake Eola with Jen and it was awesome! I've been babying myself, running easy and short -- about 2 miles at a 12 min/mi pace -- but today I pushed myself and I am thrilled I ran this fast without walking. It's been a while. 

It's funny that we were both probably dying during the first mile but neither one wanted to say anything, so we just pressed on. I know I would have eased off the pace if I was running alone, but I'm glad I didn't. I feel like I'm getting my strength and speed back, and I am more confident about running Space Coast next weekend. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Three Things Thursday: Fall Feast, Exercise, Time Change

1) Today was the Fall Feast at the cafeteria on campus, and our department got together there to celebrate Thanksgiving. It was nice and my first Thanksgiving meal as a vegetarian. I did not miss meat at all, but I may have indulged a bit too much on the sweets, and I still have a tummy ache. I don't think I'll be having much for dinner today.

2) Other than walking to and from the bus, I've done no exercise today but I plan to run with Jen tomorrow after work, do a long run of 6-8 miles on Sunday, and maybe bike to the Farmer's Market on Saturday.

3) I really hate this time change. It sucks getting home after it's already dark and totally zaps my motivation to exercise or do much other than sit on my computer.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

UCF Green Expo

Today was the UCF Green Expo, so Jason and I took the day off from work to promote the Central Florida Bike Bus. We rode to UCF via the trail because Jason was carrying our display board tied to his bike (see photo) and we didn't want to risk it flying off and onto oncoming traffic on University Blvd. It has been a while since we last rode to work on the trail, and we quickly remembered why we prefer to ride on the road, but it was a nice leisurely ride with great weather.

We had a great time hanging out at the Expo with the usual suspects -- Cycling Savvy, reThink, Bike/Walk Central Florida, and Spokes Council -- and educating students about bike safety. I even managed to get in a short run during lunch and then we took a short ride around UCF. I rode over 32 miles today and ran 2 miles. It felt great to be active again since I've been nursing a tender hamstring the past few days and have been limited to walking.

Oh, and I just ordered another running skirt from Skirt Sports! Yay! :) They have their limited edition skirts on sale for 50% off, so check them out if you like running in a skirt.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Week 45 Recap

This was a really great week. I ran 5 times, twice in one day. Most were short 2 mile runs, but it felt great to just get out there and run. I also had a great 15k race on Sunday, and I'm now pumped to tackle another Half Marathon. I still have not registered, but I'm almost certain I'll run the Space Coast Half Marathon on 11/28. It just sounds like way too much fun! Who wouldn't want to start a race to the roar of a Space Shuttle countdown and liftoff and run through space-themed water stations? And they even have pace groups for the half marathon so maybe I have a shot at the elusive 2:30 finish.

Week Totals (rounded)

  • run - 19 miles
  • walk - 12 miles
  • bike - 43 miles 
  • strength/core - 10 min pushups + abs / 20 min kickboxing
  • yoga - 2 hrs (4x)
  • totals - 74 miles / 13.5 hrs

Workout Summary

See details on Dailymile
  • Monday - ran 2.5 miles; walked 3 miles
  • Tuesday - biked 28 miles; 20 min yoga
  • Wednesday - ran 4 miles (2 sessions); walked 1.5 miles; 20 min yoga
  • Thursday - biked 15 miles; 25 min yoga; 10 min core/strength
  • Friday - ran 2 miles
  • Saturday - walked 4 miles; 1 hr yoga
  • Sunday - ran 10 miles (race); walked 3 miles; 1hr massage :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

MBE: Unconventional Races

Monday Brain Exchange (MBE) is sponsored by Jill, who blogs at Finishing Is Winning. This week's topic is Unconventional Races.

Question: Have you ever partcipated in any unconventional races? If so, tell us about them. If not, is it something you would consider and if so which one(s)?

I'm not sure what Jill considers unconventional, but for the purpose of this post I'm going to define it as anything that's not a straight up road race. I've done quite a few, and I love them for the variety they offer.
  • Holiday runs - these are usually more fun runs than races as they are rarely chip timed, but I get to dress up and they are a blast. My favorite so far have been the Reindeer Run 5K (because I LOVE Santa Hats) and Miami Beach Halloween Half Marathon.
  • Bay to Breakers 12k - at it's heart, this is a road race, but only a few actually race it. The rest of the runners are there to have fun, dress up in costume and party over the course of 12k, which is in itself an unconventional distance. This race is unique in that it is a point-to-point race across all of San Francisco. 
  • Muddy Buddy - not sure how unconventional this is anymore, but it's pretty out there for me. I do not really like mud, and the combination of running, biking, obstacles, and mud pit makes it pretty unconventional for me. I had fun doing this with Jason while dressed up as Alice and the White Rabbit.
  • Urban Dare - this is like a 1-day amazing race! Again you get to dress up, if you want, then decipher clues to find checkpoints on a race to the finish. It's just all kinds of fun.
  • Adventure Race - This is usually a combination of hiking/orienteering, biking, and canoeing. The race we did also had a challenge course that was a true challenge for me but I had a blast.
  • Firefighter Challenge and Stair Climb - This is as unconventional as it gets! The race only lasted 11 minutes for me, but it was quite the challenge. I wore full gear and did various tasks performed by firefighters, then climbed 19 flights of stairs still in gear and waring an oxygen tank. I didn't think I was going to make it.
  • Reverse Tri - This was my attempt at do a triathlon without swimming in open water, because it ended with a very short pool swim. I thought it would be easier, but it wasn't. It was still a lot of fun. 
I wish there were more unconventional races in Florida, because they are way too much fun. I specially want to run the Skirt Chaser 5K, where the women get running skirts and a 3 minute headstart then the guys try to catch them. I may have to travel to do one real soon now that I actually own a running skirt from SkirtSports.

What unconventional races have you run? I'd love new ideas of races to try.

    Sunday, November 14, 2010

    Race Report: Founder's Day Distance Dare (10K + 5K)

    I ran the Founder's Day Distance Dare at Celebration this morning. The distance dare consisted of running a 10K race at 7:30 am, followed by a 5k race at 9:15 am. It was tough. I'm really not in racing shape for either of these distances, but I ran my heart out and I'm very pleased with the outcome. I didn't PR at either distance, but considering most of my recent runs have been in the 12 min/mile pace, I'm pleased that I ran each race only a few minutes slower than my current PRs and closer to an 11 min/mile pace. My total time for the distance dare of 1:44:49 did earn me a 5-minute 15k PR and I finished 93 / 124 in the distance dare.

    When I woke up, my running skirt was still damp, but I draped it over a box fan and it was dry by the time we left.  It was a bit cold, so I wore my arm warmers, headband, and buff, but not long pants since I knew I'd regret it after a few miles of hard running. We got to Celebration around 7 am, parked and walked to the start about 1/2 mile away.  I ran an easy mile to warm up, then ate a gu as I walked to the start. Jason wasn't racing, so he brought his nifty new video camera to capture the moment. 

    Race #1 - 10K
    The 10K course was gorgeous. We ran along a golf course and then through residential streets. The last mile and a half was along a narrow sidewalk and I think that slowed me down a bit, along with the side stitch I was nursing for at least half the race. I no longer have a Garmin, so I used a stop watch and took manual splits every time I passed a mile marker. I pushed pretty hard throughout, took a Gu Roctane at mile 4, and finished strong with a really fast sprint to the finish. All things considered, I'm thrilled I missed a PR by only 1:12.

    • overall = 865 / 1092
    • ag = 67 / 101
    • gender = 430 / 611
    • clock = 1:10:49
    • chip = 1:09:47 (11:13)
    • splits = 11:47 - 11:49 - 11:05 - 11:26 - 10:53 - 10:41 - 2:08 (these are splits from my stop watch. I logged this run on the iPhone as well, but I'm not sure of it's accuracy since it says I ran 6.4 miles. If that's true, it's definitely a PR, but I'm going with the official results.)

    Race #2 - 5K
    By the time I finished the 10K, caught my breath, and drank some water, I still had 30 minutes to go before the 5K start. That's plenty of time for your muscles to cool down, so I kept walking around the parking lot to keep the blood flowing and took another Gu Roctane 10 minutes before the start. I knew there was no way I'd PR at the 5K because my legs were already pretty tired, but I was going to give it all I had. The time flew by, but I was tired and had a side stitch for most of the race, so I had positive splits (rare for me). I just couldn't find the energy or strength to push any harder and my finish wasn't as strong as the first time, but I'm still pretty pleased with my performance.

    • overall = 403 / 302
    • ag = 31 / 58
    • gender = 205 / 427
    • clock = 35:02 (11:16)
    • watch = 34:50 (there was no mat at start so official results list the same time for clock and chip)
    • splits = 11:12 - 11:15 - 11:28 - 0:55

    I grabbed some water and a banana then kept walking around the parking lot while Jason gathered his things. My legs were pretty sore at this point, so I wanted to keep moving so they wouldn't give up on me. We were both starving, so we quickly walk to the car and drove to the nearest Perkins and made massage appointments for the afternoon. We just got back and I feel wonderful :) 

    Closing Remarks
    I enjoyed this race and will probably do the 10K again. The announcer called out your name as you crossed the finish line, for both races--that was a really nice touch. The 5K was ok, but included the worse parts of the 10K so not sure I'd do the distance dare again. Plus I've kinda come to hate the 5k distance. I just have no interest in running that fast. 

    I tried something new on race day today, and it went better than expected. I raced in my new SkirtSports Gym Girl Ultra running skirt, and I'm really impressed. I had tried it on at the store, and ran around the parking lot of my apartment yesterday to test it, but this was it's first real test. It has real compression shorts underneath and they stay put! There is a pocket on each side of the shorts that is perfect for gels and my iPhone. I could run a marathon in this skirt and not worry about chafing or being uncomfortable. Now I just need one in a fun color that's not black or pink =P

    Jason did not run the race, but he came to support me and put together this fun video.

    Saturday, November 13, 2010

    (Mostly) Wordless Saturday

    NaBloPoMo allows wordless weekends to give daily bloggers a break, so I thought I'd share some fun photos from the last few days.

    Ever notice that in movies and on tv, people always carry groceries in a paper bag with a baguette sticking out of it? An impromptu trip to Publix meant we didn't have our tote bags with us, so we had to get a baguette to put in our paper bag :)
    Free Stress!
    Stress is always better when it's free :)

    Back in Time
    Back to the Future


    Photo Booth Fun
    We took these photos with my iPhone in a photo booth at IoA and stitched them together at bighugelabs.com

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    Friday Five: Cross Training

    We all know that cross training is important to being a better runner, and it comes it many forms. Some of us hate doing anything that takes time away from running, and others welcome to variety. I LOVE running, but I also enjoy other forms of exercise. Below are my top 5 ways to cross train.

    1. Yoga - I've liked yoga even before I liked running, and I find that when I take the time to do yoga, I get injured less. 
    2. Kickboxing - I find kickboxing exhilarating. Even 10 minutes is enough to work up a sweat and leave me feeling energized. Sadly, I do not make enough time for this but I really need to because I just love it. 
    3. Cycling - I started biking mainly for transportation, and love the added bonus of exercising while I commute (I love multitasking). Eventually I channeled all those miles into training for a duathlon and eventually triathlons, but they are not my cup of tea. I don't have the strength or speed to race on the bike, and I don't enjoy it as much. I much prefer biking at a slower pace with a destination in mind, but that's still a great workout.
    4. Walking - I don't enjoy walking for miles just for exercise, but it's a good way to sneak in some extra exercise while I commute or when I am too sore to do anything else. 
    5. Swimming - This is my least method of cross training, and it only made the list because I could not think of anything else =P The fact is that I find swimming relaxing and it's a great workout, but I became increasingly frustrated with my lack of progress and gave up. I'll try to pick it up again next summer. 
    How about you? Do you enjoy cross training or maybe running is your cross training from another sport? What are your top 5 ways to cross train? 

    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    Three Things Thursday: Crazy Active Productive Day

    Target loot loaded and ready to ride home1) Thanks to all the veterans for your service, including my dad!

    2) I've been crazy active today. While Jason slept, I did 20 minutes of kickboxing, about 10 minutes of push-ups and abs, and 25 minutes of yoga. After breakfast, we took advantage of the great weather and rode our bikes 15.5 miles roundtrip to Whole Foods for granola supplies with a quick stop at Target on the way home. 

    3) We've also been crazy productive with our day off. 
    • errands by bike in the morning
    • made homemade granola
    • cooked dry beans 
    • massive closet purge of clothes and shoes we never wear
    • trip to Track Shack:
      • picked up my packet for Sunday's race
      • dropped off old running shoes
      • bought shot blocks and a new Skirt Sports running skirt, and I am really impressed with the compression shorts underneath. I hope to try it out tomorrow and may wear it for the race on Sunday.
    • trip to Homegrown Co-op to pick up our organic and local groceries
    • trip to Orange Cycle, where  I bought new cycling gloves with much better padding and a mirror for my road bike. 
    • dropped off phone books and cardboard recycling 
    • trip to Publix for more groceries
    • trip to College Park Farmer's Market, where we got some yummy organic and local cupcakes
    • dropped of clothes donations
    Whew! I'm exhausted! We're now cooking dinner, pasta with homemade sauce and eggplant balls, and making homemade coconut ice cream for later.

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    Cold Weather

    Today's NaBloPoMo prompt: "What do you like most about cold weather? What do you like the least?" I'm going to answer this as it relates to running.

    What I like most about cold weather is that I can usually run faster with much less effort because my body is not working as hard to keep cool, as long as I wear appropriate gear to keep it from having to work hard to stay warm :) I also don't have to get up as early just to get in a run before it gets too hot. At the right time of year, I could go run at noon! Although not related to running, I also love wearing sweaters and scarfs :)

    What I like least is having to bundle up to run when it's really cold. I don't feel very motivated to go for a short run in the cold when I have to spend longer getting ready than the running itself. It's hard to determine before starting just how much to wear to strike the right balance of staying warm and not overheating. I usually have it all figured out by the end of the season, but promptly forget and have to relearn it all the next year. 

    Thankfully, I live in Florida so we don't have to deal with snow or sub-freezing temps. How about you? What do you like most and least about cold weather when running or in general?

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    Random Thoughts

    I'm too tired to write anything of substance, so a bullet post it is! :)

    • How is it only Tuesday? It feels more like a Thursday.
    • I guess it kinda is because Thursday is a paid holiday at work and we are taking a day off on Friday to enjoy a four-day weekend
    • Tomorrow is a half day at work because we're having a work picnic in the afternoon. Looks like we'll have great weather for it. 
    • I've packed a lot into these two days and I'm utterly exhausted, so this mini vacation will be a welcomed break. 
    • I ran after work yesterday and it felt great running in the cooler weather. 
    • We went to Disney's Boardwalk last night to hang out with a friend from out of town, and it turned into a mini high school reunion, so I was up past my bed time =P
    • I biked to work on my road bike today; it makes such a difference in the effort required, but my back hates it.
    • No getting enough sleep + biking to work + a day full of meetings = hard to stay awake at work
    • We're planning to spend the day at Universal Studios on Friday. I can't wait!
    • On that note, what are some unusual things you're likely to see at a theme park that make you chuckle? Examples: someone wearing a Disney shirt while at Universal studios; someone wearing high heels; family dressed in matching outfits

    Monday, November 8, 2010

    MBE: Race Places

    Monday Brain Exchange (MBE) is sponsored by Jill, who blogs at Finishing Is Winning. This week's topic is Race Places.

    Question: Where was the best place you have ever raced and why? Where is your dream place to race?

    This is a great question, but I couldn't pick just one :) My favorite race location so far was probably San Francisco for Bay to Breakers. It is the only race I've done outside of Florida, and it was well worth the trip. The course was gorgeous and it was fun to watch everyone in costume. Coincidently, the Halloween Half Marathon I just completed in Miami Beach was another favorite. It was just awesome running alongside crusie ships while it was still dark enough to see their lights and then running along the ocean. The Breast Cancer Marathon in Jacksonville was another great locale. I only ran 5 miles as part of the marathon relay, but I think they were the best 5 miles of the marathon. It was all through beautiful neighborhoods and the support was amazing. I'm can't wait to run the full marathon by myself. Finally, my favorite local race has got to be the Run for the Trees. It is a point to point race and it ends under a canopy of trees on private property that is only open to the public for this race.

    My dream pace to race has to be New York City. This was my dad's first marathon, and I was there to cheer for him before I even knew I wanted to be a runner. He talks fondly about it, and I know it is an incredible event that I want to experience at least once in my life. This question is very timely because I applied for the lottery today and took part on their Marathon Monday Mania for a chance at early acceptance. The regular lottery will be drawn in March, but those of us who took place in their Scavenger Hunt today have a chance at the first 50 spots that will be announced tomorrow. This is the photo I posted sporting my Timex Watch. Wish me luck!

    Sunday, November 7, 2010

    September and October Recaps

    This is a little late, but better late than never =P I cannot believe we only have 2 months left in this year, and I'm pretty excited that I've already met some of my 2010 millage goals! I'm shocked that even though I didn't run for 2 weeks in October, I still managed to run 61 miles and 12 more than in September. I guess in September I was still getting over injuries and building back up, and in October I did 2 long runs of 10+ miles and ran a half marathon. I'm slowly getting back into my routine, but now that daylight savings time is over I need to figure out when to run.


    September/October Stats

    • walk = 29 / 31 miles
    • run = 49 / 61 miles
    • longest run = 9.5 / 13.1 miles
    • bike = 179 / 170 miles 
    • total distance = 256 / 261 miles
    • total time = 36.5 / 40 hrs

    2010 Goals Progress

    To be on track, percentages should be around 83%
    • run/walk = goal met!
      • 831 /  700 miles 
      • avg: 83/mo; 20/wk
      • 594 run only miles; 106 miles to go (53/month; 14/wk)
    • cycling = 75% complete
      • 1315 / 1750 miles 
      • avg: 131/mo; 33/wk
      • 435 miles to go; 218/month; 55/wk
    • tri 2010 challenge = 2147 / 2010 (goal met!)
    • total exercise hours = 292 / 365 hours (80%)
    • 101 things = 26 / 30 done (87%)

    Saturday, November 6, 2010

    Race Report: Urban Dare Orlando 2010

    Ready to race This afternoon Jason and I completed Urban Dare Orlando dressed up as a priest and a nun (they had a costume contest too). I'm glad it was chilly and windy because these costumes may have been a bit warm otherwise. Urban Dare is like a 1-day Amazing Race where teams of 2 solve a set of 12 clues to find checkpoints where we take photos or perform dares in a race to the finish.

    We grabbed Publix subs for lunch while we walked to the start at "The Other Bar" on Wall Street, less than a mile from our apartment, where we got our passport and bibs. After the costume contest, which we did not win, we were handed the clues sheet and we were off. Jason took a photo of the clues and sent it to Sean, who was playing along at home helping us decipher the clues. The clues are not in any logical order, so we needed to decipher them and figure out the optimal path to each checkpoint.

    We tried this a few years ago and had a horrible time because I was in terrible shape and Jason is very competitive. This time we focused on having fun, wearing team costumes, and not even trying to run it since our paces are so different (a lot of teams walk). It went a lot better and we even stopped for italian ice at Twisted Bliss since it was right next to one of the checkpoints. :) We covered about 7.5 miles in 2:15:58 and placed 15 out of 70, which is far better than we expected. We were surprised that not even half of the teams had finished before us. Taking the time at the start to decipher the clues and figure out the optimal path to reach each checkpoint worked out great.  I wish there had been more dares or photo hunts, but we had a good time. Check out the photo album for the clues and challenges we faced. Below are a few previews (click to enlarge).

    Clue #6 - Bubblegum Dare Bonus Clue Clue #2a - Cartwheel

    Friday, November 5, 2010

    Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge

    HBBC Logo

    I just joined the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge hosted by RuntoTheFinish. From November 20 to January 7, I'll be earning points on this challenge for the chance to win some fabulous prizes by doing the things I'm supposed to be doing anyway. The goal is to help keep me motivated to stay active and not gain weight during the holiday season. I did it last year on my own while training for a marathon, but I could use a little extra support this time because all the recent setbacks have hindered my motivation to exercise. 

    I'm trying to get back into the groove, but it's hard when I have a good week followed by a bad week. I'm constantly afraid of getting hurt again and not being able to run at all, so I am even more conservative than usual at the first sign of illness or injury. I don't dare sign up for a race too far in advance for fear of being injured on race day. This helps keep me from throwing money away, being disappointed when I can't run a race for which I registered, or worse risking injury when I run it anyway unprepared. However, it also means that I don't have a tangible goal for my running. I know I shouldn't need one. I love running, but I also love setting and achieving goals, and seeing my improvement, all of which racing helps me do. Racing helps keep me motivated to run when I don't want to or when it's too hard because of time, weather, etc, so that I can achieve those goals.  I'm still going to try a few races, but this challenge should help keep me motivated the rest of the time. Join me!

    Thursday, November 4, 2010

    Three Things Thursday: Running, Tooth, Weight

    1) I ran 2.5 in 30 minutes yesterday and it felt pretty good. The soreness is gone, and only a little tiredness remains, but I was able to push through and run without any walk breaks at a pace faster than I expected. I know I have more speed in me that needs to resurfaced, but after everything I've been through I'm making peace with coming back slowly.

    2) I went back to the dentist today because the tooth still hurts. The x-rays didn't show any complications, so he fixed the sealant on the temporary crown and my bite and said to give it a few days. It's normal to feel some pain because of all he had to do in there, but it shouldn't be more than a low dull ache. If it persists or gets worse, it is possible I'll still need a root canal. I'm hoping that's not the case, but part of me just wants to just to be done with this.

    3) I put on a few pounds during the two weeks I was sick because most days I lived off crackers and chocolate. Jason was sick too, so most of our meals were at restaurants or frozen pizza. Combine that with the lack of exercise, and when I weighed myself on Monday after the half marathon I was at 132; I haven't seen that number in a while. I knew it was temporary and a lot of water weight since I was so sore, but I wanted to get back on track. Exercise is coming slowly, but after just 3 days of eating real food, avoiding processed foods and artificial sugar, I've already lost most of that water weight and I'm happily under 129 today. My goal is always to be under 125, but my body doesn't seem to like that unless I really stay off this stuff for good. Since life is too short to give up chocolate and bread forever, I settle for remaining under 130 most of the time. We'll see what happens after a month of this.

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010

    Race Report: Miami Beach Halloween Half Marathon

    I completed my 5th half marathon last Sunday, on Halloween. This was my come back race, since I haven't raced since August due to injuries and illness, and my last half marathon was in May. I've been sick the past 2 weeks and almost had a root canal, so I my last run was 12 miles two weeks ago. My legs didn't quite appreciate jumping into a half marathon after that, but I finished only 8 minutes slower than my previous slowest half; I'll take it.

    We drove to Ft. Lauderdale Friday night and stayed with Jason's mom. We headed to Miami Beach Saturday morning to pick up our packets and check out the expo. Umm ... what expo? There were maybe 3-4 tables total, and I think only one was a vendor, but I did get some more free packets of biofreeze :) The race shirt is a really nice tech shirt (pictured to the right).

    On race morning, we all got dressed up in our costumes: Dad was Lt. Dangle from Reno 911, Jason was a priest (he ran in a priest dress the whole race but took it off after and refused to put it back on for the photo), I was a catholic school girl, and Mom wore dad's race shirt (she was our photographer and cheerleader). When we stepped outside we immediately felt the humidity and the ground was wet with fresh rain. I was glad I didn't wear the clown costume I originally planned because it involved a huge hat that would have gotten hot and heavy quickly.

    This was a point-to-point race, so we took a shuttle to the start from where we parked near the finish line. We were running late because we had to go back to the hotel for dad's bib # and chip, but we made it in the nick of time. The shuttle dropped us off at the start line with only a few seconds to spare. This turned out to be a blessing because the front runners took a wrong turn and ended up running an extra 1/2 mile, but it was fixed by the time we crossed the mat.

    It was drizzling for the first few miles, which felt nice, but it didn't last. Most of the run was near the ocean so we had a nice breeze until the sun started beating down on us towards the end. We ran on the MacArthur Causeway for the first 3 miles along docked cruise ships at dawn. It was gorgeous seeing all the cruise ships lit up with the ocean in the background and the sun rising; I wished I had ran with my camera to take some photos, but I left my phone with mom since it was raining at the start. This also meant I had no pace data, except for manual splits on my stop watch. I missed the first mile marker (or it was not there) so I ran the first 2 miles a bit too fast. I slowed down after that, but never recovered.

    We took a right turn when we got off the bridge and made our way to Lummus Park for an out and back along the Serpentine Walkway and Beach Walk Esplanades next to the beach. This was nice because I could focus on watching everyone's costumes to help pass the time until the turn around and looking for Dad and Jason. I saw mom around mile 4, and Jason and Dad somewhere on the out and back. They both looked like they were struggling too. Even though we had a nice breeze most of the time, it was still pretty humid and most of us were in costumes that didn't breath as well as regular running clothes. I felt like my shirt was suffocating me, so half way through I shed it, tucked it on the back of my skirt, and ran the rest of the race in the wicking tank top I wore underneath. I immediately felt better.

    I knew I wasn't going to PR, so I didn't push myself too hard. I remember this being a conscious decision, thinking that I probably had more to give if I dug deep enough but I didn't feel the need for unnecessary suffering. I was hurting towards the end of the race regardless and really wanted to just walk the last few miles, but I pushed through and ran every single run interval even if it was slow -- mainly because I wanted to finish and walking that far would take too long :) There was a small hill just before the 13 mile marker, which was just cruel, but the view of the ocean when you got the top was well worth it.

    I rounded the corner and it wasn't long before I saw mom and Jason. She ran along side me cheering and giving me the push I needed to finish strong while Jason took photos. I was hurting, but everyone was cheering for me so I dug deep and sprinted to the finish grunting because it hurt lol. I think that's the cause for my sore thighs :P I collected my coveted medal and then proceeded to refuel and rehydrate. They had a nice spread of food at the finish -- rice, beans, chicken, cookies -- but I couldn't stomach any of it at the time so I settled for some orange slices, plenty of water, and then stood in line for my free massage. There was also an after party with more food at Nikki Beach, but we never made it there.

    Overall, this was a really fun race with great support. They had water at nearly every mile, with plenty of volunteers to encourage us. I loved seeing all the creative costumes, running along the ocean, and the medal rocks! I probably won't run it again because I'm not a fan of Miami Beach and it's a long way from home. However, I'll definitely want to do another Halloween race. I love running in a skirt, or maybe I just love dressing up, so I'm now in search for the perfect running skirt -- the ones I have don't have long enough shorts to cover my thighs.

    Official results:
    • Clock - 2:51:43
    • Chip - 2:49:27
    • Pace - 12:56
    • Overall -  883 / 1092
    • AG - 57 / 65
    • Gender - 448 / 598

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    NaBloPoMo Day 2: This and That

    It's only day 2 of nablopomo and I already don't want to blog, but that has more to do with having a frustrating day and just wanting to come home and relax. I still need to post my report from Sunday's race (here's a sneak peek) and my October recap, but I'm not in the mood to blog about either of those right now. So you get a random bullet list post instead :)
    • Running a race on Halloween is so much fun. Everyone was in costume and I can't wait to see the official race photos. In the meantime, check out the photos.
    • I'm still very sore from Sunday's half marathon (my quads hurt as if bruised when I touch them), which is rather unusual for me, and I didn't even run that fast. I guess that's what happens when you don't run for 2 weeks and then attempt to run 13.1 miles. Needless to say, I've not exercised since except for walking to the bus stop. I really need to get back into a workout routine before I slip further into this funk.
    • I'm focusing on eating healthier this month because I ate way too much crap (read candy) in October, so I will try to eat only real food in November
      • I didn't get off to a great start having to eat out for lunch and dinner yesterday, but I'm proud of the choices I made. 
      • I improvised today and made some quinoa in the microwave at work, then warmed up some canned black beans and frozen corn and mixed them together with some curry powder, salt, and pepper. It turned out delicious! 
      • We had aloo matar for dinner and homemade honey cinnamon ice cream for dessert. Yum!
    • Jason and I will be participating in Urban Dare Orlando this Saturday. We figured out our team costume last night, and I can't wait! It should go a lot better this time now that we are more familiar with Downtown Orlando and I'm in better shape.

    Monday, November 1, 2010

    MBE: Miss While Training

    Monday Brain Exchange (MBE) is sponsored by Jill, who blogs at Finishing Is Winning.

    Question: What do you miss most when you are in the heat of training or gearing up for a race? Do you skip late nights out? Do you give up goodies and alcohol? What is the first thing you crave when training is over?

    What I usually miss the most is staying up late Friday nights or sleeping in Saturday mornings. However, my body has adjusted and I rarely wake up past 8 am even on days when I try to sleep late. I try to eat healthy all the time, so I don't have to make a huge adjustment when I'm in the heat of training. I do go through waves when I seem to indulge in a lot of candy, but I find that the more active I am the less I crave sweets. I gave up alcohol when I started eating healthier to lose weight, and rarely crave it anymore. I drink the occasional frozen mudslide, usually when I'm celebrating, but I like it for the taste more than the alcohol in it. I have a weakness for milkshakes, so I'll usually crave and will indulge in one after a race.
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