Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tuesday This and That

My brain is fried, so you get a bullet post summarizing my day.

  • I woke up tired and achy, but I got ready to run anyway.
  • It was freezing during my morning run -- ok 52º isn't freezing, but it's been warm lately so I forgot what that felt like. 
  • I wore the tough girl skirt and Garmin so I didn't have to deal with taking off my gloves to mess with the iPhone app. 
  • I didn't really need my gloves. 
  • I somehow busted out 3 miles at 10:52 pace (after 1.5 mile slow warm up run). Thanks Omar!
  • My hip/glute has been angry all day. 
  • I think it might be my IT-band protesting on the other end.
  • I wore my compression capris under my jeans so I could ice it on the way to the bus and at work lol
  • It's been a long day at work filled with meetings that left my head spinning, but it was very productive and now have a ton of action items.
  • In my overwhelmed scattered-brain state, I left my bus pass at my desk, but thankfully I had cash to pay for the ride home.
  • After all this all I could muster for dinner was boiling some pasta with jarred sauce and peas. It was yummy. 
  • Today is ends the plank-a-day challenge and I managed 1:20. I was really hoping for 1:30, but that's all I had. It's still the longest I've gone, so I'm good with that. 
  • Leadership training for work starts tomorrow, and I already have homework, so I better get to it.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Active Recovery

Last week was a recovery week from Sunday's marathon, but that did not mean sitting on my ass everyday. Many people take weeks off after running a marathon, and that is fine if you need a mental break or aren't in a hurry to get back to your running routine. However, if you enjoy running on a regular basis, not just to train for a race, and want to get back to it in a hurry, the worse thing to do is sit around. Your muscles will continue to tighten, prolonging the soreness, and recovery will take longer.

The best thing to do, specially if you have another race coming up, is to move. You do not have to move fast, nor do you have to go far, but you need to begin to loosen up those muscles gently. Start with lots of walking at an easy pace the day after your race, transitioning to brisk walks and then to a slow run with lots of walking mixed in as soon as 2 days after your race. I know that seems really soon, but you won't be running fast at all - your walking may actually be faster. Just get your body used to the motion, for a few minutes at a time and about 2-3 miles total. This should be done at training pace or slower, so 2-3 minutes slower than you ran at your race.  I also likes to mix in lots of yoga after each walk/run and when I wake up to help stretch and loosen the sore muscles.

In addition to daily yoga of at least 20 minutes, below is how my active recovery week looked. By Wednesday, most of the soreness from the marathon was gone.

  • Monday (day after race) 
    • walked 4 miles at 21+ pace 
    • this was 2 separate walks, 3 miles in the morning + 1 mile in the evening
  • Tuesday 
    • walked 4.5 miles total throughout the day: warm up, cool down, bus, public
    • ran 2.5 miles @ 13:48 pace with 1:1 intervals. I usually warm up with a slow run, but I walked as a warm up and cool down instead to really ease into it. 
  • Wednesday - walked 2.75 miles (bus)
  • Thursday 
    • walked 3.5 miles
    • ran 3.5 miles @ 13:30 pace with 1:1 intervals. Again, I walked for my warm up & cool down.
  • Friday - walked 2 miles
  • Saturday - ran 10 miles @ 12:30 pace
  • Sunday - biked 20 miles @ 10.4 mph

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Recap: Week 4 2012

This was a great recovery week, and I'm astonished that I walked that much! And wow, almost 4 hours of yoga this week? Amazing! But I really needed it because my hips were angry at me after all those hills on Sunday. They're much happier today. I'm on the home stretch now with 2 weeks of taper left before marathon #4, so I'll be taking it easy on my last 5 runs and enjoying an abundance of yoga :)

Week 4: Jan 23 - 29
  • ran 16 miles
  • walked 17 miles
  • biked 20 miles
  • yoga = 3h 51m / 8 sessions
  • core = plank a day; 11 minutes total
Goals for Week 5
  • run 3x, 10-15 miles
  • daily yoga, 20+ min per day
  • plank a day, 2 min per day
  • bike at least once
  • walk 10-15 miles

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Weekly Question Column

Does anyone remember when Runner's Lounge used to do "Take It and Run Thursdays," which Jill then restarted with "Monday Brain Exchange"? Each would basically post a running related question every week for others to answer on their own blogs, then the following week link to those answers.

I really miss answering these and reading what others had to say on the same topic, so I'm thinking of starting my own. Or has someone else already done this and I missed it? I'm just not sure I can think of enough questions, specially ones neither of them ever asked, but I guess is ok to repeat questions since new people will be participating and our answers seem to change every year.

So a few questions for you before I commit:
  • Would you participate if I did this? 
  • What day of the week would work best? I'm thinking Sunday or Monday.
  • Any suggestions for a title? I'd like it to be an alliteration with the day of the week.
  • Got any question/topic ideas? 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Funny: Marathon Videos

These videos have been making the rounds for a while, and I just can't get enough of them, so I had to share. If you've ever run a marathon, this will be all too familiar. If you haven't, don't get scared, it's totally worth it :)

Marathon Thoughts (During)


Day After Marathon

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Race Report: Ocala Marathon

As I've already mentioned, the Ocala Marathon was an amazing experience. I went into it with low expectations, and I managed to PR while having a great time. Before I get into the details, let's get the stats out of the way:
  • Time: 5:21:29 (1:04 PR)
  • Pace: 12:16 
  • Overall: 146 / 175 
  • AG: 8 / 9 
  • Gender: 45 / 60 
  • Runmeter: 26.45 in 5:21:28 @ 12:09 
  • Splits/Map: http://j.mp/zxyEB3
Ok, onto the race report ...

Saturday was a busy day, so I had no problem falling asleep by 8 pm, only to be wide awake by 11:30 pm. I tossed and turned barely sleeping until around 2 am, then I woke up just before 4 am and sprung into action. I still had not finalized what I was going to wear, but I had set a few things aside. I chose my Space Coast Marathon race shirt with a black running skirt and knee high compression socks. There was a chill in the air, but I was trying not to overdress since the forecast said it would be in the mid 70s during the last hour or 2 of the race. I wore a tank top under the shirt so I could wear the race belt under the shirt without having it against my skin, and in case it got too hot for sleeves so I wouldn't have to run in my bra :) I packed my cold gear just in case (gloves, arm warmers, buff, jacket), but I didn't put them on. I was hoping my homemade Mylar blanket poncho would keep me warm enough until the start, and it worked great.

We arrived at the race around 6 am. I got my race packet, used the port-a-potty, put on my mylar poncho, and went to find my group while Jason stayed warm in the car. I met up with a few Sole Mates and fellow fanatics/maniacs for some photo ops and before long Veronica, Brenda and I were walking to the marathon start line. This was a really small race, so the start was literally a line on the ground drawn with flour. So great! As we walked to the start line, there was a woman with her bare behind squatting to pee (I hope) on the side of the road in plain view of everyone. We were just shocked, but it kinda set the tone for this fun-anything-goes race.

We lined up and stood there trying to stay warm, and exchanged nervous banter as the announcer said something important we didn't really hear. I was feeling good and confident that I was going to have a great race, so all I cared about was hearing the gun so we could start already. It was a few minutes past 7 am, and we were off ... 

This was meant to be the last long training run before the Breast Cancer Marathon on Feb 12 for Brenda and I, and I didn't really know what to expect because of the hills, so I stuck to my plan of 1:1 intervals from the start. This was a bit of a mental challenge because within the first mile most of the field had passed us and we were nearly last, but that's not hard to do when there are only 175 runners. I knew we'd pass a lot of those people soon enough, so I didn't let it bother me.

The first hill was upon us sooner than I expected, but we just ran up to it and slowly walked up it to save our legs. We were in great spirits and even thinking the hills were not so bad. Ha! We would eat our words later lol Veronica pulled ahead within the first 2-3 miles, but Brenda and I just kept chanting to each other, "it's just another training run," and plodded along at our comfortable pace. This was our mantra every time we saw a hill we had to walk up, or when we chose to stop for a silly photo with clown noses. We were still making great time and having a blast. It was great!

What made this such a great race for me was that I ran it smart. If you look at my splits, they are all over the place instead of my usual negative splits, but that was the right strategy for a hilly course. I kept my phone in my pocket most of the time and just went by feel. Knowing I had another marathon in 3 weeks at which I hope to PR big, I didn't want to destroy my legs on the hills, so we modified the 1:1 intervals as needed to walk all the uphills and make up for it by running the downhills. At first this was mostly flip flopping the run and walk intervals occasionally. Since I was feeling so good, I really took advantage of the downhills during the 2nd half, and also ran a lot of the flats until the next hill if it was close enough. If a hill didn't appear, I'd take a walk break every 3-4 minutes, then go again until the next hill. The conservative start from the first half really meant I had a lot left in the tank to be able to run that much, and that fast (considering), during the second half.

At the start of the 2nd loop, which was really the last 10 miles, I began to lose steam because I had just run 2 hilly miles on a highway in the sun, and I was hot and sick of hills. I swear that those hills we joked about earlier being no big deal had doubled in size and length now. Despite the fatigue, I was still feeling good and in high spirits that I would finish strong. I was running alone at this point, so of course it was time to battle my inner demons. I thought I felt a twinge of my IT band around mile 19, and I had horrid flashbacks to Space Coast for a moment, but I quickly pushed that out of my mind and kept moving. Thankfully, the pain never materialized!

I was never really alone because Jason biked the course to take photos. It was really funny because he rode a fold-up bike with tiny wheels and was having as much trouble as me, if not more, climbing the hills lol But it was great to have him nearby to hold my extra gels or items of clothing as I shed them. I was really glad I had wore that tank top under my shirt! At one point a bit after an aid station I realized I had not eaten my gel and he saved the day with his water bottle lol He did a great job capturing the beauty of the course and setting up shots for us to jump into without having to lose too much time.

There were plenty of other runners on the course that I would pass occasionally, and of course the wonderful volunteers, but I no longer had Brenda to distract me and remind me this was a training run. I remember seeing Jason around mile 18 or 19 while climbing a hill and I was exhausted and just wanted it to end, but I was moving. Whenever I took a walk break, it seemed like time stood still, but when I started running again I felt like the flash. I somehow got a 2nd wind and just kept pushing (to keep moving not necessarily to go faster), but I still stopped to eat at every aid station, and take a photo with a horse lol Jason remarked how this was when my intervals really shine as I was passing people left and right who were struggling to walk. That gave me a little boost. Looking at the results, I passed over 2 dozen people.

Near mile 23 was the second to last water stop and the volunteers were amazing. We had just a 5K to go, but it would all be in direct sun with only one water stop left before the finish, so they were letting us know that and passing out cups of ice. I poured one on my hat and it felt great melting over my head. I downed a cup of water and rinsed my face and neck with the other, then took off. I was hurting of course, but nothing more than the usual soreness of the last few miles. Jason was practically biking right next to me at this point and I just told him to go ahead to the finish. I didn't need him anymore. I was hurting but feeling strong, and I was going to finish this on my own. I felt like I needed to do it alone.

As I began to climb the last hill towards mile 26, I wasn't sure if I would PR. I didn't want to obsess over it, so I wasn't looking at my phone much, but I was keeping an eye on the time of day on my watch. It was inching ever closer to 12:20 pm, but I knew we had started a few minutes past 7 am and that I really only needed to finish around 5:22 to PR so there was still hope but it was slim. I took one last walk break and then began running as I rounded the last corner. I could see the finish line in the distance, but no matter how hard I tried it didn't seem to get any closer. I was moving because I had somehow passed the couple in front of me, but it was a struggle resisting the urge to walk. I was finally close enough to see the clock read 5:20 something, and I realized I was going to PR but it would be really close. I could not remember how many seconds above 5:22 my previous PR was, so I gave it everything I had and as soon as I crossed the finish line I burst into tears. It was a mixture of laughter, tears and gasping for air -- I was practically hyperventilating -- but I was so happy. I had done it while still enjoying the experience. Jason found me, and I threw myself at him as more tears rained down my face. I grabbed something to eat, then waited for Veronica and Brenda to finish. They both did great and had PRs too! It was such a great day for all of us, and I'm so proud of everyone. There wasn't enough food left that I wanted to eat, so we found an awesome Thai place to refuel before heading home.

I was really impressed with this race. It is a very small race, but they do not cut any corners and treat us like we are running a much bigger race. I highly recommend it and hope I can fit it in my race schedule for next year. I still cannot believe I PRed on a hilly course and despite all the stops for photos and to take something out of my foot (I had to remove my shoe and compression sock, and then wrangle them back on). I could have easily finished in 5:15, but then I would not have had nearly as much fun, so I would not change a single thing. I ran the race I wanted to run, and I'm ecstatic with the results. But it gives me hope that I can meet my goal at BCM. I'm going to try and see what happens and take comfort in knowing that whatever the result, I gave it my best shot.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Ocala Marathon Pics

Some of my favorite photos from the Ocala Marathon.

Sole Mates Running Group
Modeling my homemade mylar blanket poncho,
with Sole Mates running group.
Start line! LOL
The Start Line! Love it!
Ocala Marathon
Beautiful Scenery
Things start to get silly at the halfway mark =P
Having too much fun!
Ocala Marathon
Real food at aid stations!
Ocala Marathon
Stop and smell the horses, and goat :)
Ocala Marathon
The fun NEVER stops! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Never Ever Have I ...

... running edition. EricaH from I Run Because... I Can posted this game on her blog today, and I thought I would play along. She posted 5 running related things that she has never done, and we are to post which ones we've done and then add one of our own. Play along if you'd like and keep it going on your own blog.

Okay so here goes, I bolded the ones I've done, and added my own in italics at the end.
  1. Never ever have I done a marathon 
  2. Never ever have I peed or pooped anywhere other than a restroom during a run or race
  3. Never ever have I puked after a race
  4. Never ever have I lost or blackened a toenail as a result of running (but I am sure it will be a proud day when I do)
  5. Never ever have I run in the snow
  6. Never ever have I shot a snot rocket

Monday, January 23, 2012

Recap: Week 3 2012

Great week, culminating in my best marathon experience so far. I'll try to get the race report up tomorrow.  The goal for this week is to focus on recovery; while I'll still be running 3 times, I'll be keeping the pace slow. I'll be doing lots of walking, yoga, and planks.

Week 3: Jan 16-22
  • ran 35 miles, 2 short runs + marathon
  • walked 13 miles
  • biked 3 miles
  • yoga: 2h 18m (7 sessions)
  • plank a day - 8m total
Goals for week 4:

  • run 3x, ~15 miles, easy!
  • 2-3 hours of yoga
  • plank a day, get back to 1m 
  • bike at least once
  • walk 10-15 miles

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ocala Marathon Highlights

Ocala Marathon Love, love, loved this race!

Gorgeous course of relentless gentle rolling hills with horses, cows, goats, oh my.

Superb suport! Water, Gatorade, Bananas and Oranges at every station!

Great weather! Until the sun tried to kill me at the end.

Had too much fun stopping for silly photos along the course.

All of this adds up to a 5:21:29 finish time for my 3rd Marathon, a PR by over a minute!

Best Marathon Ever! I'll do this again for sure.

I'm ecstatic. I'm also exhausted, so I'll post a full report tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy the slideshow.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ocala Marathon Pre Race Thoughts & Tracking Info

Well, this is it. Race day eve is here. I'm getting a little more nervous, and starting to worry about important things like what to wear =P I got plenty of sleep last night and hope to go to bed by 8 pm tonight because 4 am will come too soon. The forecast calls for 55º with 86% humidity at the start, mostly cloudy all day, and mid 70s by the time I finish. I'll take that! I'm as ready as I'll ever be, so let's do this!

Track Me

I'll run with my iPhone and Runmeter will post my splits to Twitter, Facebook, and Dailymile along with a link to a google map where you can track me in real time.
  • The map will update every 5 minutes. 
  • Dailymile, Facebook and Twitter will update every 5 miles. 
  • I'll be able to hear your comments on all 3 of those sites; your happy thoughts and words of encouragement will be most welcomed. 
  • The race starts at 7 am, and I should be done sometime after noon, so you can sleep in and check in on me after you wake up :)

I really want to treat this as a training run and just have fun like I did at OUC. I'm trying to lower my expectations, ignore my pace, and just run by feel and see where the chips fall. As of now, I plan to run with only my phone tucked in my pocket for at least the the 1st loop. I'll start with 1/1 intervals and see how I feel by the 2nd loop. 

I'd like to at least finish faster than Space Coast (5:43:16), which should not be a problem if I don't do something stupid. If the stars align, I'd love to PR with anything under 5:22 (~ 12:12 pace), but I'm not going to sweat it. I gotta keep my eye on the prize: finish without getting injured so I can give it my all at BCM and become a marathon maniac :) 

Wish me luck and tune in tomorrow from 7 am - 1 pm to cheer me on. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday 5: Why Run Ocala

I know that I haven't run it yet, but here are the top 5 reasons why I chose to run the Ocala Marathon on Sunday.
  1. Cost/Distance - Yes, this is technically 2 reasons, but I'm combining them because they really go together. I paid $65, but early registration was $50. Since it's within driving distance from home, less than 1.5 hours, I don't have the added cost of a hotel room. I'll have to be up early to drive over there, but considering how early I was up for some of our long runs, this is practically sleeping in. If I was running Disney I'd have to be up much earlier to drive 1/3 the distance for 3 times the cost. I love being able wake up in my own bed on race morning. It decreases my anxiety because there is no chance I forgot to pack a key piece of gear. 
  2. Small Race - I really love the small, low key races way more than big races. The logistics are simpler, and it feels more intimate. There are currently 196 registered for the full marathon and 325 for the half, so a total field of just 521. Sure, I worry about being out there all alone, but it really doesn't bother me. It will just make it easier for Jason to find me :) 
  3. Great support - I've heard great things about the on course support for this race, and here's what it says in our race packet: "Aid Stations approximately every mile staffed with friendly volunteers offering you encouragement and refreshments. Stations will have Water, Gatorade, LaraBars, Clif Shot Bloks, fruit and e-Gel." There is even a diagram showing how the tables will be arranged at each station. 
  4. Course - From the race packet: "The race travels through residential and rural areas of Marion County. The course is well shaded and has a combination of gently rolling hills with a few climbs to keep it interesting. The course has some great scenery and will go by faster than you can believe." This sounds wonderful. Not looking forward to the "few climbs" but I know how to run hills, and I welcome the challenge! :) The course is 2 loops, which doesn't sound great at first, but I kind of like it because it means I'll know what to expect for the 2nd half and it will be easy for me to see Jason a lot during the race ... and hand him all my extra clothes =P This also helps them have better aid stations because they don't have to man as many since we'll post most twice. 
  5. Marathon Maniacs - I've been wanting to do this race since hearing such good things about it, but it didn't fit my schedule before. The timing is perfect this year to serve as my last long run before BCM and to qualify for Marathon Maniac by running 3 marathons in 90 days (77 to be exact, but who's counting ;)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

3 Things Thurday: Ocala Marathon Edition

  1. Weather - A few days ago I was afraid it was going to be cold and rainy on race day, then almost over night the forecast changed to 0% chance of rain. Hooray! But I knew better than to celebrate too soon. Now it looks like it might be too warm, and one site predicts 95% humidity at 6 am. I GIVE UP! I don't even know why I bother checking the weather every day because it doesn't change anything. I am still running this race no matter what, and is not like I need to know before race morning to secure proper gear because I have everything I need to run this race in any weather. So whatever.
  2. Taper Madness - I think the taper gremlins finally got me with the phantom aches and pains. I had a crappy run last night, but I wore old shoes so I'm blaming that. I did yoga after it, and also this morning, and feel fine now. I'm not letting it deter me. I've done a great job all week on focusing on getting enough sleep, and doing lots of yoga ... in that order.  Otherwise, I'm relatively calm. As the day grows ever closer though, my anxiety rises. But really, this is just another training run, right? ;) But here is the problem with that: it's my last training run before marathon #4 three weeks later, where I plan to go all out, so I'm starting to get anxious about that one because it's less than a month away! Yikes! Ok, I'm good. I'll fret about that one next week ;)
  3. Medal - Here's a pic of this year's medal. I don't dig the colors, but love the horse. I'm sure it will look great in person and even more so after running for 5+ hours :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Today many sites (including Wikipedia, Flickr, Reddit, and Google) have gone dark to raise awareness of 2 bills currently being considered in congress that if passed would effectively censor the internet. The intended purpose of these two bills, SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (PROTECT IP Act), is to protect copyright, but it's far too broad and vague. These bills could easily be abused and shut down harmless sites, such as this blog. They would restrict freedom of speech, while not really protecting copyrighted material at all.

Please get informed and contact your representatives to urge them to not support these bills. Visit http://americancensorship.org/ to learn more, then use the Congress Lookup Page to find your representatives' contact information and contact them today! You can also see which senators/representatives support each bill at these links:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Two for Tuesday

#1 Crankyness - I've been really cranky today. It's probably because I didn't run this morning, since I ran yesterday, but I also slept in and didn't even do yoga before work. Then work started off badly and it's just been one of those days. I've been craving comfort food all day. Or maybe it's taper madness.

#2 Taper - Speaking of taper madness, it hasn't really hit me as bad as usual. Perhaps it's because I'm treating this as another training run and focusing on having fun like I did at OUC, so I barely even feel like I'm tapering. Sure, every day or so I exclaimed to Jason that "OMG I am running a marathon on Sunday," but it's almost like a ritual, not really freaking out about it. The only thing I fret over is my racing strategy, but I'll probably just wing it that morning.

I'm prioritizing sleep this week, so off to bed I go :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Fit at Work

As I mentioned before, I've been doing the Fit at Work track of the Daily Challenge for the past 6 days. Yes, it is a little ironic that I have not actually been at work for 3 of those days. Anyway, each day brings a new little exercise I can do at my desk, mostly stretches that take about 1 minute to complete. I thought I would remind us all of a few easy ways you can sneak exercise at work.

  • park further and enjoy the extra walk to your office
  • take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • sit on an exercise ball instead of a desk chair (start with a few minutes and work your way to more)
  • set a timer to take a 1-2 minute stretch break every 1-2 hours (you can do arm and back stretches/twists without even getting up from your chair, but standing is a good idea too)
  • go for a 5-10 minute walk around your office building, or even just your floor
  • do calf raises (or wall push ups or stretch) in the break room while your lunch is heating
  • walk up and down flights of stairs
What other ways can you think of to get a few minutes of exercise throughout the day at work?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Recap: Week 2 2012

This week was much better than last week because I'm finally on the mend and was able to get back into my routine. I ran with my group all 3 days, despite the freezing temps, and it felt great. I even did a little bit of track work :) I'm thrilled that I walked almost as much as I ran, and was able to fit in a bike ride today. And oh how great it is to be doing yoga again =)

I'm not setting specific goals for next week, other than to take it easy as I taper for marathon #3 on Sunday. I'll keep up with plank a day, do two easy runs, and focus on lots of yoga to stay limber and avoid injury.

Week 2: Jan 9-15

  • ran 18 miles
  • walked 16 miles
  • biked 10 miles
  • yoga/core - 2h 15 (includes plank a day of at least 30-60s)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Gloomy 3rd Marathon

I can hardly believe that I'll be running my 3rd marathon race in 8 days (counting training runs, it will be the 5th time I'll cover that distance). I've come such a long way since running that first mile, and I still have a hard time accepting it sometimes, but I'm embracing the new me. 

I ran my last long run this morning: 9 miles in temps in the low 40s and it was wonderful. One of the things that I love most about training for a marathon (or 3) is how it teaches me determination. Aside from snow, I've run in pretty much every weather Florida has to offer, and not once do I recall considering skipping those runs. 

Take the forecast below. The race is still over a week away, and knowing how fickle Florida weather is, I'm not freaking out (too much yet). But when I saw there is a 60% change of rain for race day, my heart sank a little. 

I've run in rain before, so I'm ready for that.  But cold rain is another story.  I could not believe that I could possibly have another race where the weather was against me, but my thoughts never turned to not running the race. They immediately turned to strategizing about how I would get through the race. What gear do I have that I can wear to make this less miserable? Hey, maybe I can put that new jacket I got for volunteering at Disney to good use! But will it be too warm? Oh well, I have options, and 8 more days for the weather to change so no sense in worrying about it now. I'll fret next Saturday :) 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Five

  1. Virtual 12athon Challenge - I found another challenge that I really wish I had seen sooner. It's a year-long challenge to run 12 miles on the 12th of each month, with a slew of hilarious bonus challenges. The next one falls on the day of my 4th marathon, so I'll be participating then. By the way, I added links to all these challenges to the sidebar for easy reference :)
  2. Sleep - I finally caught up on sleep last night. I went to bed before 9 pm and slept in until 6 am for a glorious 9+ hours of sleep. I woke up briefly at 4 or 5 and almost considered getting up to do yoga, but I knew my body would appreciate the extra sleep more.
  3. Breakfast - Since we had a groupon for breakfast at 5 and Diner, and we drove to work this morning, we skipped breakfast at home and went there before work. I had an egg and half a grilled cheese and fries for breakfast lol I had to resist the urge to add a milkshake to my order.
  4. Aches - My back has been achy all day, so I repeated my hourly stretch break today. It felt fine whenever I was not seating, so I had to take a few walk breaks throughout the day too. I think I need to get a new desk chair for work. My hand/wrist is also still bothering and I really cannot figure out what I did to it. Could this be carpel tunnel? The bone at the base feels bruised and looks like the area around it is slightly swollen.
  5. Saturday Run - Tomorrow is my last long run before the Ocala Marathon, but since we're running less than 10 miles I get to sleep in! We're starting at 7 am, and I'm so glad because it will barely be above 40º before we finish our run. So glad I got that Tough Girl Skirt :)
PS - I really want to find a title for these that keeps the alliteration. Anyone know a word that starts with the letter F that means something similar to ramblings or musings, etc?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Three Things Thursday

#1 Exhaustion - I woke up tired, but didn't think much of it because who isn't tired at 4 am? I got ready and headed to the track for 1200/400 intervals. The workout went great, but I had no energy for the rest of the day. I felt like a zombie getting ready for work and when I walked to the bus I took another bus to the station, with only 1/2 mile to go, without really even thinking about it. I usually look forward to my walks, and take any chance to add a little extra milage, but today I didn't have it in me. I took a quick power nap when I got home and that seemed to help, but it will be an early night and I'll probably skip yoga tomorrow in lieu of extra sleep.

#2 Fit at Work - I mentioned yesterday that I started the "Fit at Work" track on Daily Challenge. Today's challenge was to do the stretch where you bend your leg back and hold your foot. They called it a hamstring stretch, but I've always known it as a quad stretch. It felt great after this morning's run. Since I was so tired and achy, I set a timer to remind me to take a stretch break every hour for 1-2 minutes. Along with a 1 minute plank leaning against my desk, I did a total of 10 minutes of stretches throughout the day. I think I'll keep that up, and maybe add walking up the stairs or around the lobby when I'm not so tired.

#3 Yoga - I really believe that yoga has greatly improved my life. I usually do yoga for the stretching benefits to counter the tightness from running, but I've come to enjoy it for the relaxation and meditation too. I've been doing it for so long on my own with podcasts, that I now can wing it for 10-30 minutes without a problem. It's second nature to me and I find myself doing yoga stretches at the bus stop, on the bus, at my desk, in the break room, etc. As I left work, I planed to come home and do a restorative yoga sequence, but I was just too tired to even try. After the power nap and making dinner, I took 10 minutes to do some relaxation poses, including a whole 5 minutes laying on the floor on my back with legs draped over the safe. It felt great on my legs and back, but it was great for my mind because there was nothing to do but lay there and breath. Those 5 minutes energized me enough to do another 5 minutes of active stretches and I feel much better now.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Challenging Myself

With the new year comes resolutions and new challenges to help meet our goals or push ourselves just a little bit further. Completing a challenge helps to keep me motivated and feel accomplished, and this time of year they are popping up all over the place. I know I have more drive now than I will later in the year, so I'm trying to pace myself but there are too many I don't want to miss. I'm already doing the plank-a-day challenge in January, and it looks like I'll star the push up challenge in February because I think I bruised my wrist/palm. I'll be looking for other challenges to help me cross training during the coming months before I begin the next marathon training cycle in May.

Below are a few of the challenges that I came across today that I am considering. Whether or not I decide to join them, I wanted to share them in case others are interested. What I love about most of these is that they are not just focused on physical activity, but also healthy eating and other healthy habits for body and mind. I hope someone finds them useful.

Have you found other challenges you are participating in or have you joined any of the ones below? Let me know in the comments. I'd love follow your progress, encourage you, and maybe join you.

Daily Challenge by Me You Health
The Daily Challenge is a social well-being experience that gives you the opportunity to positively impact your life every day by doing simple daily challenges and sharing the experience with your personal connections -- all while you earn points, collect stamps and achieve new levels.
I joined this site last year and kept up with it for a couple of months, but then I seemed to lose interest. The tasks are usually really simple and touch on every aspect of your life. I revisited it recently and noticed that they have now added tracks so you can focus on a specific area for 28 days at a time. I started the Fit at Work track today to give me ideas for little things I can do to take a quick break from sitting at a computer all day.

2012 Challenge for a Change by Moms RUN This Town and Green Plate Rule
Each month we will offer you a list of “Healthy Eating” challenges and a list of “Fitness / Running” challenges. You will be required to complete AT LEAST one challenge from EACH LIST. If you complete your challenges you will be eligible to win some pretty awesome prizes!! If you complete more than one – you earn extra entries. There will also be bonus challenges each month which will earn you TWO extra entries into that month’s prize.
I love the idea of this challenge because it forces you to focus on both aspects of leading a healthy life: exercises and nutrition. It's pretty cool that they provide a list of tasks for both of these areas and you just do one of each to qualify for the monthly prizes, but can do as many or as few as you want. I'll be checking the list each month and see if I can fit them into my routine.

30 Day Challenges by Run to the Finish

This is the site that hosts the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge each year. This year she decided to offer a different 30 day challenge each month that focuses on a different area of health without having to commit to the change for too long. It's a great way to explore some healthy habits and see if they are right for you to incorporate into your life permanently. The tentative list of challenge topics include: Food Journals, Appreciation, Vegan, Running Streak, Yoga, Creative Writing or Journaling, Cross Training, Meditation, DVD or other program, and Unprocessed Eating. I don't think I'll participate in all of them (I've already missed the first one), but I'm eager to try a few of them in the coming months.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Back in the Groove

I had a great 4.5 mile run with hill repeats this morning. I've really missed the morning runs with my group; it's always such a great way to start the day, and we even planked after run. Running all these hills has me really pumped for the Ocala Marathon in 12 days! I know it will be challenging, but the hills really do not scare me. Of course, I haven't actually seen them so I may be singing a different tune on race day. Keep your fingers crossed for excellent weather :)

Cross Training
Even though I am still coughing occasionally, I think that is mostly due to the cold weather in the mornings because I can tell I'm mostly over this cold. Today I felt like I was back to normal with the running and cross training. The bulk of my cross training lately has been the plank-a-day challenge, but now that I'm back at work this week I'm walking 3+ miles a day again. I love walking! I also got back into yoga in full swing this week since I can breath again, and I'm already in love with it all over again. It is such a good way to start or end the day, and it helps me stretch and relax. It was the perfect way to distress tonight after a rough day at work.

Push Up Challenge
The plank-a-day challenge has inspired me to restart the push up challenge, although I have no intention of doing 100 in a row this time. I think 25-50 standard push ups (not on my knees) is a good enough goal. I would rather be able to do 4 sets of 25 than 100 in a row. I start to lose count and get bored after that anyway.

So tonight I did the initial test to see where I stand. It's been a while since I've done a standard push up, and my right wrist/palm has been bothering, so I'm not surprised I only managed 5. I tried modified afterwards ones for comparison thinking I'd maybe manage 10, but was glad to see I managed 17 before it got difficult but had to gut it out to an even 20. I was still maintaining good form and probably could have done a few more, but didn't see the need.

I need to decide if I'm going start this challenge on Thursday or if I should wait until February when the plank-a-day challenge is over, or after my 4th marathon. I still want to keep planks as a part of my routine, so I figured I could do 30s planks between the push up sets. We'll see how things shake out in the coming weeks.

Winter Park 10K
I've been debating running the Winter Park 10K or doing an olympic duathlon the weekend of March 24. I've been leaning towards the 10K for 2 main reasons: 1) I'm really not in great cycling shape, as the most I've ridden lately has been 10 miles or so at a leisurely pace, and with 2 marathons coming up I really do not have the time to focus on cycling; 2) I love racing 10Ks and there are so few nearby that I really don't want to miss out on one that is so close to home that I can bike to the start. Then I read that it's their 35th Anniversary and that sealed the deal. Just check out these amenities the 10k participants will receive:

  • Custom Medal
  • Commemorative Tech Tee
  • Collectible, Souvenir Glass
  • $5 Track Shack Cash

Monday, January 9, 2012

Recap: Week 1 2012

I'm annoyed that Dailymile is counting this as week 2, but it's the first full week of January and there was only one day in the previous week, so my week 1 will be Jan 2-8. Anyway, for being sick most of the week, it went fairly well. I only went to work once, so that's why I walked so little. With a stuffy/runny nose, yoga was out of the question too, so I focused on the plank-a-day challenge and rocked it. I'm excited to see what I can do by the end of the month.

Week 1: Jan 2-8
  • ran - 13.1 miles - 1 training run with hills - ouch!
  • walked - 1.75 miles
  • core - at least 1 30s plank each day - by Wednesday, I was up to 45s and adding in side planks. I'm now up to 1 minute forearm planks and 30s side planks! I can definitely feel my core getting stronger. 
  • biked 10 miles
  • stood for 6+ hours each on Friday and Sunday volunteering at the Disney Marathon and Expo
Goals for this week:
  • run 15-20 miles, easy with some hills
  • plank a day
  • bike at least once 
  • 2-3 hours of yoga

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Volunteering at Disney Marathon

Wow, what a day. I woke up at 3:30 am and was on my way to Disney by 4:30 am to volunteer for the marathon. After checking in and getting our snacks/lunch, we sat on a bus for almost 3 hours. We used the time wisely and took a nap :) There was a mix up with one of the buses that was supposed to transport the course monitors, so we had to get off the bus and wait at the end of the line for one of the buses to return with the first shift. Thanks to our always optimistic and cheerful director Laura, we kept a positive attitude and the time flew. We finally made it to our spot near the finish line at 8:30 am, so we missed handing out Myler blankets to the winners.

It warmed up considerably throughout the day, so we were not as busy as they were in previous years because no one wants to wear a space blanket when it's hot. But we urged them to take their well earned souvenir super hero cape to stay warm at a future race :) I was quite chilly in the morning, wearing my tough girl skirt, 2 tech shirts, a hoodie, gloves, and the windbreaker they gave us. Once we got out in the sun, I began to shed layers and eventually found another use for the Myler blankets to change into the extra shorter running skirt I brought.

I followed the runners in my group via email alerts, so we had some idea of when to start looking for their faces in the crowd. We were on the right, and almost everyone was going left/straight so we missed a few people, but it was great to see those we found finish their first marathon or Goofy challenge. Everyone did so well and I'm so incredible proud of every single one of them. By the time our shift was over at 2 pm, I was exhausted and very sore (my legs/feet hate me), but it was all worth it. I now got the itch to run my own marathon (in 2 weeks, yikes!) and will be back next year to run Goofy. =)

Here's a slideshow of all the photos I took.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Sunrise Run

After a week off, I had a great long run with my group this morning. It was a gorgeous morning and 10 of us set out at 6 am despite it being an OYO weekend because of the Disney races. It was great to see familiar faces again, and some we had not seen in weeks or even months! 

I was scheduled for 15-16 miles, but since I raced a half marathon last week and I've been sick this week, I was only going to run 10ish. Well, one thing led to another and I somehow ran a half marathon :) Many of us are running Ocala in 2 weeks, so we mixed things up by running up a parking garage to get in some hills. We were rewarded with this gorgeous sunrise.

We finished strong with a hilly 4 miles. The weather was perfect, so we ran faster than I expected. I love that I can now run a sub-2:40 half marathon, including hills, as a training run. I remember when not too long ago that was race pace. Total: 13.12 miles, time 2:39:46, average 12:11, http://j.mp/yFR4TV.

I hung around chatting for a while after the run, then went for an easy bike ride with Jason to the Farmer's Market. I'm a tad sore, and I'm sure my legs will hate me after spending all day on my feet volunteering at the Disney marathon tomorrow, but it will be worth it to see all my running pals cross that finish line. Better get some rest now because 3 am will come far too soon. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Friday Ramble

I'm keeping this short, and in bullet form, because it's been a really long day and I can't shake what seems to be the beginnings of a migraine.
  • Woke up earlier than I have all week to volunteer at the Disney Marathon Expo, handing out Cheer Squad packets for 5 hours. 
  • Met fellow blogger and Galloway group leader Kim, from Somewhere in the Sun, and her husband Todd for the first time today, who are in town for the Disney Marathon Relay. We shared running stories and successes with the program over lunch. I love how running brings people together. 
  • Skipped the First Friday bike ride tonight to rest in hopes of helping the migraine go away. So far, no dice.
  • Remembered the plank-a-day challenge as I was writing this post, so I paused and planked to keep the streak alive. I'm up to 45 seconds now. 
  • Really looking forward to my long run tomorrow, because I get to run again since Sunday, and I  get to run with my group again after 2 weeks. 
  • Good luck to everyone running Disney this weekend!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. No Running - I've been sick since Sunday, so I haven't run all week, and I'm going a little crazy =P. Tuesday I took off from work and was my sickest day, so obviously I was not about to get up early and run in the freezing cold. I spent all day sleeping and it helped a lot. I took yesterday off from work too and rested some more and felt well enough to go to work today. I could have run today, but I told myself to take a well deserved break from running because I couldn't even remember the last time I did. I'm over it now and Saturday morning can't come soon enough :)

2. Plank-a-Day Challenge - On the first of the year I started a challenge to do at least one plank each day for the month of January. Although I've not been running, I've kept this steak alive and today I could really feel the burn in my abs. It's slow going, but I've already improved from holding the initial 30s plank to 45s the last 2 days. I'm excited to see what I'll be able to do by the end of the challenge and how the added core strength will help my running.

3. Disney Marathon Weekend - I'm not racing this weekend, but several in my running group will be toeing the line of their first Full or Half Marathon and I get to see them finish. I'm also excited to meet up with fellow blogger and Galloway runner Kim tomorrow.  I'll be volunteering at the expo tomorrow morning and passing out Myler blankets at the finish line of the Marathon on Sunday. I can't wait to see their smiling faces when they cross that finish line. I won't get to sleep in this weekend, but it will be worth it.  Even though I am not the biggest fan of Disney races, I'm going to bite the bullet and run Goofy next year. I'm excited!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Christmas Loot

I guess I was nice last year because Santa was real good to me and brought me lots of my favorite things, including running gear and games.

Winter Outfit
Everything I'm wearing here was a gift.
I love the jacket and the scarf has pockets on it!

Running Gear!

Skirt Sports & Feetures Socks




LEGO, Gift Cards, Candy, PJs, and more ...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2011 Recap: Races and Milestones

2011 was a great year. I think I've said enough about it, so I'll just let the numbers speak for themselves.

  • walked 430 miles
  • ran 922 miles
  • biked 884 miles
  • yoga: 134 sessions; 47 hours
  • total: 2,239 miles; 451 hours
  • 2 20+ long runs in the pouring rain
  • 31 mile long run
  • ran 100+ miles in a month (x2)
  • hot air balloon ride
  • sailing
  • corn maze
  • Galloway running school
  • became Cycling Savvy instructor / taught first class
  • visited Italy
10 New PRs:
  1. 1 mile = 8:58 (6s)
  2. 1 mile = 8:25 (33s)
  3. 2 miler = 18:04 (2:55)
  4. 5K = 30:26 (1:44)
  5. 5 miler = 52:06 (2:53)
  6. 10K = 1:06:50 (1:45)
  7. 10K = 1:06:20 (30s)
  8. 15K = 1:42:48 (7:02)
  9. Half Marathon = 2:24:00 (4:16)
  10. Duathlon
14 Races: 

8 less than last year, but the priority was the marathon and I PRed at 8 out of the 14 races. Breakdown per distance: 1 2 miler, 3 5Ks, 1 5 Miler, 2 10Ks, 1 15K, 1 duathlon, 4 half marathons, 1 marathon

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 Recap: Goals Update

Run/walk 1100 miles (run 700) - Yup! I ran 922 miles and walked 430 miles for a total of 1352 miles!

Bike 2000 miles - I focused more on my running this year, so I only biked 884 miles. That's nearly half of what I biked last year, but my true love is running so that's ok with me. I plan to bike a little bit more in 2012.

Run a 5K in 31 minutes (or PR) - Yup! New PR is 30:26. I think 2012 may finally be the year for the sub-30 5K :)

Run 2nd Marathon - It wasn't pretty, but I did it! :)

Complete an olympic distance duathlon - I did a sprint instead. Maybe in 2012, but I want to focus more on my running again so we'll see.

Use car less than 4000 miles - This was a very aggressive goal and we did not quite meet it, but we drove the car 2,844 less than last year: 7,713 in 2011 vs 10,557 in 2010. This is actually really amazing when you consider that in 2010 we lived without a car for 4 months, so we made more efficient use of the car last year. When you average the miles per month, we drove 1,320/month over the 8 months when we had a car in 2010 vs 643/month over 12 months in 2011. That's less than half per month, so I'm really pleased with that.

Restaurant food budget = $50/mo; $12/wk - Total Fail. My monthly average was over 2x that. I really want to cut down on our restaurant spending in 2012.

Cook 90% of my meals (restaurant meals = 9/mo; 2/wk) - I stopped keeping track, but we've been cooking a lot of our meals. I have 126 restaurant transactions in Mint, so that averages out to 10.5/mo or 2.4/wk so that's not bad. I know there were a few more outings that I did not pay for and thus don't have on my tally, but I don't think my average was more than 11/mo.

Complete 40 items from 101 Thing list (for a total of 75) - I haven't paid too much attention to this lately and have only completed 43 items total so far. I got a lot of catching up to do in the next 9 months.

Read 12 books - Nope. I don't think I read a single book in 2011 :-/ 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Race Report: DeLeon Springs Half Marathon

Finishing my 12th half marathon in my 2nd fastest time was the perfect way to kick off 2012. Even though I didn't meet my goal or PR, I'm really glad I ran this race and very pleased with my performance. 

I missed a PR by only 4 minutes but it was my 2nd fastest time, and I fought for it until the last mile. Let's get the stats out of the way
  • Garmin - 13.2 mi in 2:27:53 @ 11:12 pace
  • Official gun time - 2:28 @ 11:18 pace
  • Overall - 153 / 182
  • AG - 6/9
  • Splits: 11:32 - 11:46 - 11:30 - 11:23 - 11:28 - 10:38 - 10:51 - 11:05 - 11:01 - 11:03 - 11:06 - 10:49 - 11:38 - 10:24 (.2 in 2:05)

We arrived about 45 minutes before the start, so I could get my packet and Jason could register. It was a chilly 47º  so we quickly retreated to the car to stay warm. With about 20 minutes to spare, we did a quick warm up and met up with some half fanatics for a photo op. Before long, we were off!

I ran with 3/1 intervals most of the way, then coasted to the finish at a steady pace during the last mile because I couldn't push any more. I missed a PR by only 4 minutes but it was my 2nd fastest time, and I fought for it until the last mile, so I'm really pleased with my performance. Considering I have the beginnings of a cold and it got hot enough during the 2nd half that I ran the last 2-3 miles in my sports bra, I ran the best race I had in me and that's all I can ask for.  I'm also not really in HM race shape since all my speed work has been for the marathon, but I will be working on my HM speed in February after marathons 3 & 4.

I tried to resist the urge to overdress too much when it was below 50* at the start, but I still could have done without a few things. I wore my short sleeve half fanatic shirt, which is really warm, with the green running skirt, and black knee high compression socks.  I wished I wore sunglasses, but at least I had a hat. I shed the gloves at mile 2, the arm warmers at mile 3, the headband not long after, and my shirt during the last mile or 2. Not sure I'm in sports bra only shape, but at that point I really didn't care. 

I really liked the race. The water stops were ample and well supported. While some might find the course boring, it's a straight out and back on a country road, I found it serene. Due to the small field size, I ran a lot of it alone, but there was always someone nearby to catch, leapfrog or to cheer for coming in the other direction. It was great meeting up with fellow half fanatics and Matia before the race and cheering for each other on the course.  There was plenty of post-race food, including bananas, grapes, pretzels, apples, and energy bars. Jason placed 3rd in his age group, so we hung around for the raffle and the awards then drive straight home and I did some yoga while Jason showered. I'd run this race again, and I recommend it if you want something local, low key and small.
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