Monday, September 22, 2008

Lost In Tallahassee...

T-minus 7days until I am reunited with my wonderful husband. I miss him for many reasons one of which is being able to share our training adventures with one another at the end of the day.

Today was the second 3-4 mile run I set out on since I've been in Florida and the first time I've ever been officially lost during one. Tallahassee is a lot more "hilly" than I'm used to. Already knowing how the hills around the neighborhood felt, I decided to do my route in reverse today hoping that it would be a bit easier.

A few miles in I somehow managed to make a wrong turn and didn't notice until I encountered something unfamiliar... speed-bumps. Apparently Spanish moss covered trees and brick houses all look the same to me when I'm focused on form. At that moment I wished I had gotten myself a Garmin Forerunner when Jeremy got his so I'd know for sure that I wouldn't have to retrace my steps up the hill I had just speedily come down. To stubborn to turn back I pressed onward. A good choice, but my journey did lead me to a Hwy. Some time in the ditch due to a lack of wide shoulder on the road was involved. Eventually I made my way back only adding 10 extra minutes to what I had allotted. Not bad.

Next time I'll pay better attention to where I'm going. Running faster to get to an area where you can sort out where you are just messes with your pace. hehe.

In an effort to combat bad eating habits and to become more healthy I have started to cut all refined sugar and corn-syrup out of my diet. 5days and counting. It's been tough.

I picked a difficult time to start. Everything in the south is delightfully sweet and I want cake. What isn't southern has corn-syrup. Fruit & nuts and 100% juices are the closest thing I get to candy and pop. I think the longer I am able to hold out the easier it will become. A good dose of self-discipline has been really helpful and the encouragement of my Beloved who is in the same boat.

Other than the oily skin and occasional headache, I feel healthier, not sure how much of that is mental, but time will tell. Perhaps the next time I have a hammer gel at a race it will give me a buzz. :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Just a quick photo before I go for those of you waiting to see my nose piercing. See mom, it's not that scary. Most people don't even notice. :)

Tomorrow I set off for a two week trip to Florida to help out my Beloved's family while his aunt has open-heart surgery. Not a fun circumstance for the travel, but I am looking forward to running in a different state and spending time getting to know that side of the family. I will let you know how it goes, maybe in blog from Tallahassee.

Kind of wish I could bring the Tangerine. I was able to get a 20mile ride in Friday though to make up for our time apart.

Anywho, I'm off! Time is fleeting.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Going Back to Where it All Started- Dick Beardsley 1/2 Race Report

While the fall is technically the start of our running season, 1/2 marathons aren't easy to find in our area so this Saturday I found myself in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota racing my final half for this season. How fitting that it was on this very same territory that I ran my first road-race ever last year.

Last year I could not run the entire 5k, yes I completed the race, but I needed to walk certain sections. I remember when I finished hearing a small kid ask his mother when dad would be crossing the finish-line and mom responded "Your daddy is running more than 3x this distance.". The thought may not have sunk in for the boy, for me however, it did. The idea of completing a 1/2 marathon seemed impossible then.

Fast-Forward twelve months and here we are. The Fargo 1/2 proved for me that it is indeed possible not only to complete 13.1 but to do so without walking. Saturday proved for me that it's possible to push myself to go even faster.

Dick Beardsley 13.1 Total Time: 2:17:10

I was blessed enough to share the car-ride out to the race with My Beloved's family. Jeremy's Dad, Grammy & Grandpa decided to give up part of their weekend to be part of my cheering squad. :) Thank you guys!

We arrived at the pavilion with plenty of time to spare. I hadn't pre-registered so I wanted to be sure to allow myself some wiggle room. Turns out I stood in a shorter line than those who had pre-registered. Kind of felt guilty about that.

A quick visit with my friend Heather who was also running the 1/2, some applying of sport shield (the best thing ever) and a trip to a porta-john then we lined up for the start. It was a little tight with a lot more people this year. I'm not sure on the exact numbers, but it seemed like the number of runners doubled.

Everyone finally quieted down for the pre-race National Anthem before the gun went off. It was a bit nostalgic. Good to see so many people show respect for our country though.

The start of the race was about what I expected. A challenge in balancing my adrenaline and finding a pace to lock in at. Since the 5k, relay and 1/2 marathoners all start at the same time I looked for the blue bibs we 1/2 marathon runners had to help give me an idea for pacing. This worked. I knew I was running faster then the 11:20 per mile I did for the Fargo 1/2, but it felt maintainable so I just kept with it.

Eventually the 5k people split off and I found myself evenly paced with two kind college-aged men, a vibrant woman and a first time 1/2 marathoner. These people would become my comrades for the remainder of the race. I was so thankful to have them there when I started hitting walls.

Mile 6ish was one of those walls. The previous miles felt fantastic. My body was doing everything as it should. After tackling one of the largest uphills on the course I was starting to feel the pace having it's toll on my body. One thing about doing triathlons is that you realize what it is possible to run through. Coming off of a bicycle my legs usually feel like crap until I get the kinks worked out. Figuring this part of the race was similar to that I took my hammer to the wall and started chipping away. Successfully.

A friend called me on my cell around mile 8. Yes I carry a cell-phone when I run, just in case I need help and it isn't readily available. It's a tiny phone and fits well in my tri-top. In a very breathy voice I told her I was running a 1/2 and would have to call her back. She responded, "I know! We are here to cheer for you!". What a boost! They met me at the finish. :)

Come mile 10 I encountered another wall. Everything in my body wanted to slow, but I knew I was ahead of schedule by what one of the Garmin wearer's in the group had mentioned so I started to really fight to hold my pace. Cheering on other people takes the focus off of myself, so that's what I did. It distracts me and encourages them. We appreciate each other's effort and continue on.

The group spread out after that. The two ladies and one of the men progressively made their way ahead over the course of the last few miles & I found myself alone after a water stop (I didn't take) put me ahead of the remaining guy. From then on it was focus on finishing strong and completely my own race. It was tough, but I knew I'd be all smiles with my final time.

Considering my legs were mush the last three miles I'm pretty stoked with the sprint I managed to pull off at the finish. My cheering squad and seeing a woman gaining on me as she sprinted in my peripheral vision inspired me. Alas I was done and I was fast, for me!!!!!

Sprinting my buns off! Ugly expression, but I'm not there to be pretty.

Crossing the finish! Two good friends just under the red balloons. :)

Heather and Me.

What I thought would be a laid-back race with a slower pace than Fargo's ended up being one of this year's highlights and by far one of my best. I learned a lot about myself during it by embracing the fatigue and holding it close until I passed the final timing pad. Knowing I am gaining mental and physical "toughness" really makes me feel like I'm building well for a future Ironman.

My legs are stiff today, stairs hurt and so does getting up from my chair, but it was worth it. I dropped my overall pace from the previous half's 11:20 to 10:28!!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Trail runs and Toddlers....

Since my last post I have had the joy of going back to my old "stomping grounds" and savoring a few training runs in preparation for this wknd's half-marathon.

It had been a while since I had run anything over 4-5 miles so I decided to get a long run in early just to make sure I was still conditioned enough to make it the full 13.1 come race-day.

I picked a familiar route that I used to think was a long way, on a bike. Seeing that it is merely a 7mi. loop I laugh at that logic now. The terrain was a mix of pavement and loose gravel with a lot of rolling hills. A challenge, but one I was excited to embrace.

A thunderstorm the night before had brought the balmy temperatures down which I was glad about. I usually keep a $1 tucked into the small pocket of my running skirt just in case I get low on water during a long run. Unfortunately being that the only nearby store is 7miles opposite the direction I was running, my only remaining option would be filling up my water bottle in a pond or lake. As much as I would like to think myself the "woodsy" type I'm not sure I'd do it. Maybe fill the bottle and pour it over my head in hopes to cool my core body temp. Anywho, cool temps = less to worry about & no opportunity for beaver-fever.

At the start of the run I tried not to react as our somewhat red-neck neighbors watched me pass, following with their eyes every stride I took with this look of pure confusion on their face. I know running out in the country isn't as commonplace as it is in the city, but enough to constitute this? I think not. Maybe it was the skirt.

As the miles passed I settled into my distance pace. It was comfortable, I was uncomfortable because of chaffing (first timer, now I understand why the rest of you hate it so much!), and other then the slight headwind with at times the sweet aroma (blek) of cow dung accompanying it I really enjoyed the run. Loose gravel was a bit of a hassle though.

A few days break and I was headed to Maplewood State Park to meet my sis & bro-in-law along with the kiddos for some swimming and a picnic. Seeing this sweet face....

made it hard to head off for a short trail-run before unloading the car and meeting them at the beach. I have the cutest niece ever!

The top photo is a snap-shot of the trail I followed for the first 1.5miles. It eventually narrowed to a single track endowed with a fair bit of horse poo, but overall the scenery made it well worth the occasional awkward footwork to avoid it. I love trail running, it feels so much faster than running on roads. Perhaps it's the lack of cars passing at 30+ Mph. Not knowing where the trail was headed and wanting to get back to the lake (it was 90+ degrees at this point, thankfully with 35mph gusts to cool me off) I ran across a grassy field to the road I entered the park on. The asphalt was hot, but I did my best to cling to the edge where there was some shade. Little over a mile later and I was back.

Windy days tend to annoy me, my hair even when "secured" flies all over and it's hard to get a still shot with the camera, but this was an exception. The breeze off the lake was awesome. So was the time with family. :) Thanks for putting up with my training regime!

I took one last short run on Wed. managed a really good pace which I was pretty excited about. Some concern over my ankle was undue. It was a bit sore, more than likely due to uneven terrain on the previous runs, but it didn't bother me on this run at all. w00t! Dickbeardsley 1/2 I'm ready for ya!!!

A few more noteworthy things I must mention...

1.) The bed I slept in as a kid isn't nearly as comfy as I remembered it being.
2.) Ibuprofen may cause me some cramping if taken close to the start of a run.
3.) & most importantly, I love my husband and am looking forward to his return from the sailing trip tomorrow.