Tuesday, June 26, 2012

#RWRunStreak Week 3

I'm a little behind, to say the least. Forgive me! It's been a crazy week trying to settle back into "real life" after an amazing vacation (that post is coming soon, too!). But, here's my catch up on my #RWRunStreak adventures, brought to you by Week 3!

Week 3, not bad!

Monday, June 11: 2.21 mi/13:15 pace/29:18
I was already mentally ready for vacation, this was rough! Mom, Dad and I took Molly to the park and being that I wanted to get in my run and the day was almost over, Mom and I walk/jogged home through the neighborhood to get in some miles. Was definitely still really warm at 8:30 in the evening -- hmm... summer is upon us!

Tuesday, June 12: 2.02 mi/9:25 pace/19:03
I had no choice but to run first thing in the morning - today was the day we left for Charleston and our cruise! So I hauled out first thing in the morning and was pleasantly surprised with my quick 2 miles. Maybe I need to be a morning runner again!

And here begins my first major battle of the #RWRunStreak: Running/working out on vacay.

Wednesday, June 13: 2.11 mi/9:58 pace/21:02
Last run on land for a few days! On the treadmill - I hate treadmills - at the hotel, but made it count none the less. Was ready to get on vacay and leave the worries behind! But, all in all, got in a good run and core workout, followed by Embassy Suites' stupendous breakfast buffet. Perfect. 

Finally on the boat! First cruise, here I come!
Thursday, June 14: 2.0 mi/10:09 pace/20:18
Once you're used to running with a GPS (watch or phone or otherwise), it's really hard having to run without one! I used the stopwatch on my iPhone as my timer for the morning, which just felt awkward. It was also quite torturous being that it took ELEVEN - read that, 11 - LAPS to get a mile out of the ship's track. In addition to treadmills, I hate tracks. Running in circles is boring. Good thing there was scenery... the wide open ocean!
That's just cruel.

Friday, June 15: 2.01 mi/9:57 pace/20:00
I checked out the ship's gym Friday evening. After dinner, we went out on the ship's back deck and read as the sun set. What a view. *insert heavy sigh here* Afterwards, I made my way to the gym to get my workout done for the evening. Again, on the treadmill, because the idea of running up on the track... alone... at night... just weirded me out. Not that the gym, had anyone in it (maybe 2 other folks), but at least no one could throw me overboard from there! Good run, decent pace. As I set myself up for my run, my only goal was to run hard-ish for a solid 20 minutes, and hopefully get in at least 2 miles. Squeaked through, made it work!

Sunrise, June 17.
Saturday, June 16: 1.04 mi/9:52 pace/10:15
This was the hardest day to get up and run on vacation. Like Friday, I went after dinner/reading on the deck. I was SO over this run by the time I hit the half-mile marker, not to mention my mom and I wanted to go see a comedian that night, so I hauled butt to get my mile in and call it a day.

To make up for it, I did a quick 6 minutes on the rowing machine to feel like I did a little extra work that day... sort of.

Sunday, June 17: 3.04 mi/12:37 pace/38:22
Not a great pace, but my far my best run on the ship! Last full day on the boat - without an alarm, my body sprung wide awake at 6:30 am. Um, what? This is vacation, not real life! But being that I was wide awake, I figured I'd take advantage of it; thought I was up early enough for a sunrise. I got the middle of the sunrise - gorgeous, and a perfect wake up call!

I started my run on the track upstairs, only to learn how freaking windy it was outside. I decided I'd fight a mile in the wind, then go back down to the gym inside - that mile was rough, but managed to do it in just over 10 minutes. Considering I was running into the wind at that point, I was pretty excited. There were quite a few people outside with me, also trying to fight their way through it. Some gave up quicker than others. :)
Morning run on the deck!
Moved back inside to the treadmill... as mentioned, this is how I feel about treadmills in general...
But got myself to go 2 more miles on the treadmill for my longest run(s) while on a ship, and on vacation. Pretty proud that I made it happen every day of vacation, something I've never been able to stick to before! After this run, I hopped on the bike for a 5 mile cool down, just to get my legs really moving for the day. And by that point, I was out of the gym by 9 am, and in a bathing suit on the deck by 9:30 with breakfast, a book, and a day full of sunshine.

I did it! Week 3 in the books. Running on vacay challenge accepted and completed. My mom commented on my commitment to this challenge and making it happen, despite being on vacation and told me she was impressed with how much "determination" I had and that she was "proud of me for it." Not that I do it to make someone proud (aside from myself), but I like the word determination. Call it commitment, determination or stubbornness, I'm proud of my ability to make this work!

Week 4, coming on up! And a post about my cruise, I promise!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

#RWRunStreak Week 2

Week 2 in the books! This was about as up and down as the first week, but has definitely ended on a high note, which I'm pretty excited about!

Week 2 in review:

Week 2, in the books!
Monday, June 4: 1.07 mi/10:58 pace/11:46
The day really went by. As I didn't get up in the morning, and I got a head start on cleaning and getting ready for my parents' arrival, it was 8:30 pm before I knew it, so I hauled out for a quick run just to get it done. Not super quick, but got at least my mile in to make it count!

Tuesday, June 5: 1.38 mi/8:44 pace/12:05
This run was even better than the previous Sunday's run, knocked off 45 seconds from that! And this was my first sub-9 run... ever. Even if it was just for a mile, this tells me I am definitely getting stronger, more in shape, and am able to push past the things I thought I couldn't achieve. Stoked. This run got me pumped for the rest of the week for sure!

Wednesday, June 6: 1.77 mi/20:42 pace/36:51
National Running Day! I didn't run. I was leaving work, walking up stairs when my knee started feeling a little tight. So to listen, but make it count, Molly and I went for a long walk... for fro-yo! Delish. And earned. I've done a lot more than I have lately in the last two weeks, so I thought it was a good break but long enough to definitely make it count. Lesson learned today: listen to your body. It pays off. (See next day!)
Excellent decision on my part.
Thursday, June 7: 3.23 mi/8:26 pace/27:15
 I ran when I got home from work (as I have been lately since I can't get myself out of bed). Early evening, beautiful weather, and that definitely seemed to filter into my ability to make it a kick-ass run today! I wanted to get in a good solid 5K distance to get ready for my 5K on Saturday. I wasn't planning on totally charging ahead, but a mile in, I felt so fantastic, I figured I'd just go for it! And look at that amazing timing! For one, I've never run a sub-9 (prior to Tuesday's run), let alone for 3 miles. I was on such a high coming home this evening!

To boot, I got my Sparkly Soul headbands in the mail, so I wanted to take them out for a good sweaty run! I can't emphasize how much I love these -- prettier than normal headbands, they stay better than normal headbands, and they sparkle. What's not to love? I got them in pink and black and rocked the black one for the last half of the week. Recommendation? Go get yourself one. Now.
It doesn't count if you don't sweat!

Friday, June 8: 1.37/10:30 pace/14:21
Still feeling pretty ecstatic about Thursday's run but wanted to save it for Friday morning. Casual job out the door, to my favorite intersection and back. This is becoming my normal "I'm just going to get in a mile" route. Lovin' it though.

Saturday, June 9: 2.97 mi/9:27 pace/27:58 and 3.64 mi/10:36 pace/38:37 for 6.64 mi
Saturday morning was the Earth Fare 5K which you can read more about here! Per my run on Thursday, I knew I could kill this one -- until I learned that the first mile and change is nearly straight up hill. Killer. I made it! I did it! My MapMyRun app measured it a little short, but I think it got caught up in the trees and blanked out for a little bit. Regardless, new PR in the books! By a solid 2:49. And now I'm ready to shatter that one too.
First in my AG! First place win ever! Hooray!
Georgia Road Race #11 in the books!
I had intended on running a few miles after the 5K but had so many errands to do before Mom and Dad got in that I wanted to get life under way first. So I spent the day bathing Molly, bathing Jane (the car), groceries, laundry and cleaning! Fun times. I figured I'd test my legs in doing a double run to start gearing up for Ragnar training so went out for a second run -- a lot more casual, but a good test on my legs' current abilities!

Sunday, June 10: 1.41 mi/11:35 pace/16:22
I was planning to meeting Mom and Dad in Atlanta at 9:45, so I need to be out the door by 8. An early run was not my favorite (especially given that my runs this whole week were in the evening), but did a quick loop to make it count and get my miles in for the day!

Awesome Week 2. I learned just how much I can push myself. I learned that I need to keep listening to my knee, and when I do it, it'll definitely pay off in the long run (no pun intended). And that I am capable of awesome things if I stick with this!

Week 3 is a challenge: vacay (I'm heading out the door to Charleston here shortly; cruise, here we come!), so I've got to maintain this streak and run at least a mile on the boat every morning. Good thing they have a track. Let's see what I can make of it!

How are you doing on your #RWRunStreak? How was Week 2? Goals for Week 3?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Dear Monday...

want to join in? link up!

Dear Monday, thanks for kicking off a short work week. Todayis Monday. Tomorrow is Friday. I call that a win!

Dear Bahamas, I'mma need you to shape your weather up just a bit. While 30% chance of thunderstorms can go one way or another, I still need it to be sunny and clear. I expect to come home with some kind of tan. Please and thank you. 
Dear body, you rock! Thanks for knocking out a great race on Saturday and bringing home that first AG win ever! Excitement!

Earth Fare 5K - age group win!
Dear parents, despte the rain ruining most of our Atlanta plans, thanks for being good sports. I hope you had a great time, regardless, adventuring around a new city and trying new food and the like! I'm glad you're here and I can't wait for cruise time!
and speaking of...

Dear cruise, you're only 2 days away! YES! Vacation. Sun (crossing my fingers still, yo). Snorkeling. Running and planking on a boat. Yes please.

Have a great week everyone! You more than likely won't hear from me, aside from a #RWRunStreak Week 2 post that I've got scheduled to post! Enjoy!

Race Report: Earth Fare 5K

Earth Fare 5K - Athens - I just signed up for this race lastTuesday, but quickly learned that there were at least two other 5Ks in an around town. I figured well then, at least a smaller race means fewer people, means placing in my age group? I think yes!

This race was out at Athens' Memorial Park, towards the southwest side of town in a pretty hilly neighborhood. That was all I knew going in, and was already fairly nervous about that part! Seeing the route posted at check-in sort of confirmed that for me. But after Thursday's amaaazing training run, I knew I could push it, give it all I had, and probably make good with it. The course snaked its way through the neighborhood for just over the first mile, and from about 2.25 on, it was entirely downhill until almost to mile 3 when it came back into the park.

This race was definitely small -- which, especially for short races, I think I've decided I like a lot. At the end, I learned there were about 150 runners, give or take a few. Check in was super easy, with zero waiting time; bags included a sweet t-shirt (love the design!), lots of coupons and goodies (I haven't even gotten all the way through them yet, but I do know there's a coupon for a 30-minute massage for $15. Done. Yes please), and a raffle ticket for their dozen or so raffle items they had at the finish. Lots of really cool touches for such a small race.

I checked in by nearly 7:40, but the 5K didn't start until 8:30. The kids' fun run was first, so I was there definitely way ahead of time, but it was nice to just sit, get adjusted, stretch and listen to folks talk about the course (a lady had run most of the course on Thursday and talked about how it snaked its whole way uphill). And before I knew it, it was 8:30. Time to roll!

Knowing I was going to be going straight uphill in the beginning, my plan was to tke it easy until I saw the first mile marker, then when it flattened out and headed downhill to go all out to make up for it. Going through the neighborhood, we'd head north going uphill, then go along the full block on a flat route, then back uphill, then back across... you get the pattern. Not super easy to work with, but I managed to run the full route -- and was super happily surprised to see that at mile marker 1, I was just barely at 9:05! Took me way by surprise, especially given those hills.

Once we hit the main road, it was all downhill from there (route; not my running!). Gorgeous, and totally lined in trees, but enough of a grade that it kept you working. I passed a girl that I had been using as my guinea pig for most of the first mile, who eventually caught up with me and we talked for while. Her goal was 28 minutes, and we were at about 17 at that point; I knew I was in for a good time as long as I continued on the good path I'd started on! Eventually we re-entered Memorial Park, wound up through the parking lot where we parked, down by the gazebo where check-in had been, and were set up to a do a loop around the lake -- at the halfway point of the loop was the 3 mile marker. Perfect -- my runner friend had gotten ahead of me, but I knew I was still doing totally fine. Turn the corner, see the finish line, take off for my full sprint and squeezed in at 27:58. Hells yeah! Race time PR.

 I went and completed my race card, and watched the girl put up my info -- FIRST in age group! Amazing! Now I just had to wait until it was official. After mellowing out a little, I wandered around the larger gazebo to find watermelon (best post-run snack ever!), bananas, iced coffee, Menchie's frozen yogurt (second best post-race ever!), and other random goodies. Earth Fare had their local dog biscuit maker out, so I snagged Molly some treats. Finally, awards time rolled around -- confirmed, first in age group. What a great feeling -- finally!

I was bummed to look at my phone later and see that my MapMyRun app logged only 2.97 miles. Not sure if the trees confused the GPS but regardless, even if there had been that extra .13 in there or so, I'd definintely have a race PR which feels good to say nonetheless! Especially with those hills (for which had none on during my run on Thursday), I am extra proud of that fact -- a solid 2:40 and change off my previous best 5K timing.

Short course?
The cool thing with these small local races are the awards and the personality you can see in each of them. The overall and Master's winners won these awesome gift baskets from Earth Fare, with some cooking stuff, bottles of olive oil, and other neat stuff. The "medals" for age group winners are these cut-out stars, made of some sort of hardened cinnamon, so they smell amazing. All the women got a flower too. :)

Georgia road race #11!
Shirt & "medal."
 Official time: 27:58!

Overall, not a bad way to start the day! I wanted to go get in a few more miles afterwards, but with as hot as it was already, I figured I'd do it later. Mom and dad got to Atlanta Saturday night and we spent all day Sunday in Atlanta, so I had errands to finish and get done before I could justify it -- so I went for another 3.64 miles late Saturday evening. Happy day! I feel great!

What did you do on this fine, fine Saturday? Did you race? How'd you do?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

National Running Day 2012

I know I'm a day late with this, just wasn't up to pulling out my dinosaur of a laptop and making this post happen last night!

I'm a little bummed that I didn't actually get out and run on National Running Day. As I was leaving work, my knee tightened up a bit and that was a clear sign that with all my running lately, that I needed to take it easy. I didn't want to miss Day 10 of the #RWRunStreak though, so instead of the dog park daily trip, Molly and I took a walk to Menchie's to get fro yo -- a 1.77 mile round trip. I'll take it!

Regardless of whether or not I ran today, I am a runner. I've put that more and more into my head. I race, I run... and you know why? Here's why:

After two knee surgeries, yes, I can still do it!
  • I run for stress relief. 
  • I run to push myself.
  • I run because I'm determined to make myself better.
  • I run to stay in shape!
  • I run to meet folks -- I've met a few folks in an around Athens and love seeing a few familiar faces at local races!
  • I run to better friendships -- motivating friends who are recent runners, or aspiring runners, or whatever you want to call it! Love having companions to push and encourage and motivate, because they dish it right back!
  • I run to re-connect -- finding commonalities with friends from undergrad (shout out to KB!), or create better relationships with sisters over our love, it's a good time regardless! 
  • And lastly.. as my badge says... I run to prove that I can. Because I can. And with work, I can get better. I've got goals... I'm going to make them happen!
Why do you run?

PS. It's pretty much torture seeing all these race codes and wanting to sign up for 8 billion races... and really, I need to watch my wallet! Boo!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

#RWRunStreak: Week 1

So, Summer Run Streak Week 1 is down and it feels pretty darn good. It's really motivating and fun to see the Twitter feed of all those participating and seeing people excited about their progress, because I'm starting to see it too. What a push!

I knew this would be a challenge, regardless if I ran a mile every day or made it more like a training cycle, but so far it's been worth the chaos of scheduling, trying to fit in at least that mile, and making use of time and good weather! It's also allowed me to see how my legs react when they're tired - the first three days were pretty rough (Day 3 in particular), but days 4 and 5 turned out to be spectacular! Tired legs ain't got nothin' on me! This is going to be great practice and testing for running on tired legs so I know where I've got to do some work before Ragnar.

So here you go... the Week 1 recap:

Monday, May 28: 2.28 mi/10:47 pace

After a fabulously long, exciting weekend, this was a little rougher than I anticipated. Not to mention that this was actually already day 3 in a row (5K, then a walk/jog through Piedmont), so my legs were already feeling heavy given the otherwise recent lack of activity. But I did it, and really was excited to get going on this challenge!

Tuesday, May 29: 2.01 mi/10:44 pace
Still super heavy legs -- I remember saying aloud to myself during this run that while the minimum is to run at least 1 mile a day, I wanted to run at least 2. So I did this to 2.01 and called it over. Please note my lack of following said rule ... tomorrow! :)

Wednesday, May 30: 1.52 mi/10:24 pace
Oh, hey heavy legs! This run was torture and was not feeling it at all. Trucked along, made it as far as I could/managed, and headed straight home. Whew, tough one! But still... I did it! Day 3, check!

Thursday, May 31: 3.89 mi/11:56 pace
Molly and I ran to the dog park, where she played for an hour and then we jogged home. I think she was ready to pass out and slept pretty good that night! I enjoyed it -- it was super muggy that evening, but it was nice to be super active, and get Molly uber tired. Winning all around!

Friday, June 1: 1.37 mi/9:28 pace
I had the plan to get in a long run on Saturday, so wanted to make sure I didn't exhaust myself too much with my Friday run! Finally made it up to run in the morning and kick-start my day with a nice, short burst of energy. I attempted a few 200 yd. sprints, just to get that heart rate up and my legs working. Overall, turned into an awesome pace, I was super excited; now to only convince my body to do it further than just over a mile. But you gotta start somewhere, right?

Saturday, June 2: 5.43 mi/9:37 pace
I rolled out of bed later than I wanted to on Saturday, but wolfed down a granola bar, grabbed my hand-held and got out the door while it was still nice out (gorgeous morning in town!). I set out on my favorite long-run loop, the "big block" up and around towards our dog park and back home. The last two miles are pretty much downhill, which is also a nice boost (yeah, check out those splits dude!) but also requires a little bit of stamina to finish the stretch. This was my first mid-distance run with an under 10" pace... ever. Excited, to say the least!

Sunday, June 3: 1.37 mi/9:20 pace
Sunday came and went before I realized the day was almost over! Oops! I didn't get out for this run until almost 8:30 pm, which turns out is a decent time here in summer to get outside (noted). I decided that I'd just squeeze in the same route I did on Friday, enough to make it count but push myself appropriately. I wanted to push myself more than Friday, just to see what I thought I could really do, and boom! There it is. I cut 13 seconds off Friday's time and dropped my pace enough for a really happy ending to the first week!
Pretty stoked! Not a bad first week back on the horse.

My legs cooperated overall quite well this week. I only felt the need to ice once (after Day 3), but I know I definitely need to be stretching more than I am. On to Week 2. Goals are to make another 17+ mi week, make sure I'm stretching every day, get in the mindset of getting ready to run while on vacation the next week, and making it all count for another week in a row. Here we go!

How did you do on Week 1? Goals for Week 2?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Dear Monday...

want to join in? link up!

Dear Monday, I'm ready for the last whole week of work before vacay. I'm also very ready for next week's two-day work week. Yes please.

Dear Summer Run Streak, thanks for getting me to do some major work lately! I can honestly say it feels fantastic and I'm excited to see how I progress. Cutting 13 seconds off from Friday's run on last night's run let me know that if I really keep at this, I know I'm bound for great things. Just gotta keep at it!

Dear friends, Amma and I are running for Team Cruisin' for Cupcakes, as part of the Run 10, Feed 10 campaign from Women's Health. Our 10K has yet to be determined, but won't you help contribute to our cause? Don't deny the children their cupcakes -- be a dear and donate? :) Please and thank you! Side note: many thanks to CrowdRise for the Twitter contest... I won a shirt that will be heading my way! Excited, I've never won anything on Twitter! Yay! And thanks to Latika for the most hilarious email ever. Love them.

Dear Ragnar DC Teammates, I'm already stoked about this. And we don't even register until tomorrow. SO. EXCITED. Can it be here now, please?

Dear family, cruise time is almost here! Get excited! I'm so ready for a vacation, and a tan, and running on a boat, and delicious island adult beverages and yes, family time. 

Have a great week, everyone! 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Fall Adventures: RAGNAR DC

This has been in the works for a little while, but as I've written my check to confirm my spot (and well, it'll be in the mail tomorrow), I can say it's for real!

Yeah buddy... Ragnar DC, here I come!

Heather and I talked about this a few months back (not DC necessarily), but that a relay race would be awesome. So, when two weeks ago she tells me she's doing this, I'm like "Yeah, we've talked about this before." And she says, "NO, like I'm ACTUALLY doing this!" I begged and pleaded to get on -- I mean, not really, but I wanted to make it known I was excited and more than willing to sleep in a van for 24+ hours. Duh. 

So, if you're not familiar with Ragnar or running relays, here's your basics:
  • 200 miles(ish)
  • 12 runners (or 6 if you're an ultra team...)
  • 2 vans that serve as modes of transportation, headquarters, and sleeping quarters for these 24+ hours
  • One amazing good time! 
So our race is from Cumberland, Maryland, to DC, where we finish on the National Mall. Two additional reasons I'm excited: I can cross off Maryland on my states list, and two, I've never been to DC (insert gasps and shock and awe here). Perfection

So who are my crazy 11 friends? Well, true to the power of connections and the running community, I only actually know one runner, Heather. The rest are friends of hers and friends of friends and friends of friends of friends. Awesome? I think yes! We joked about creating a family tree of our stories and who we know and therefore how we got roped into this. And, well... I took it upon myself to actually create one (I'm the visual learner, what can I say). Here's my masterpiece:
So shout-outs to Cathryn and Shannon and the rest of [Team So Far Unnamed] and the amazing adventure we've got coming up ahead! Who's excited?

Have you done a relay before? Which? What advice do you have for new relay runners -- about the race, training, things to bring/not to bring?

May Running Recap

It's June. Holy cow -- where has the time gone? I think it's becoming more and more true, that the older you get, the faster time flies. That makes me feel old. Womp.

Anyway, May was an off month. After my disastrous Zooma Half at the end of April, I think my confidence and motivation were seriously hurt. I mean, sure I've stumbled on runs, but completely eaten asphalt? Never. And further, wearing that brace for 3 days was enough to really feel a little bruised. But you know, you live, you learn. I've pretty much always been the clumsy one that was bound to get hurt if you put me in the right situation, so maybe it was bound to happen anyway? Moving on - it's time to move on!

May was this:
·    Total Mileage: 29 miles
·    # Runs: 12 (this is cut off from a run earlier in May, just shows last 4 weeks. Oops!)

·    Favorite Run: Warrior Dash, obviously. What a freaking dirty, muddy, wet and sandy good time! New friends, new challenge, beer & turkey legs. Can't ask for much more! 
Muddy, muddy warriors!
·             -  Races:
o    WarriorDash
o    MamaBear 5K

Other excitement and challenges included these:
A snapshot of a good streak.
              I started with Day 1 at 36 seconds, and my best is as of Day 15 at 1:21. Pretty good jump. Some days were hard to remember to actually do it, so sometimes I was doing 3 or 4 in a day, but that made for an even better challenge and helped prove what I thought I could do! I finished up May with a 1:18, not long after 2 runs, so I'm pretty happy. I'm definitely continuing this into June and looking to improve this even more: June goal is 1:45.
  •  Runner's World Summer Running Streak 2012: I think this is going to be a great challenge -- for one, it won't let me get lazy, given that I need to bust out at least a mile a day. Two, it'll get me in the works of running on tired legs which will be super handy for the next great adventure (post coming soon!). And three, it'll just get me up and going again, which, as we can all see from my lackluster May... I just need a good kick in the butt.
  • Taking the Plunge: Kasey and I took the plunge. After [mostly] convincing her to run the Budapest Marathon with me in October 2013, we decided it'd be slightly necessary to see if we could even run one first - and with that, in the span of less than 24 hours of beginning this conversation, we ended it. By registering for the 2013 Surf City Marathon, in our home turf of Southern California. 

It's flat. It's at the beach. Our families can be there to cheer us on. What more could we want?! So, there you have it! My birthday, October 1, starts my 18-week training plan for my first full marathon. Life bucket list item, in action!

On the agenda for June? A lot!
Happy June!