Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Safety First!

It seems that this has become my new tag-line.  Overly aggressive reflective gear?  Safety first!  Head lamp on before the sun sets?  Safety first!  Having no shame in awkwardly breaking out into quad and hamstring stretches at work?  Safety first!  Being Fleet Feet's most needy training program participant?  Safety first!

My knee has been bothering me during the past few runs and I assumed it was my IT band injury welcoming itself back into my life.  My new best friends at Fleet Feet suggested some sort of strap thing to help it.  Well, wore it on my long run on Saturday and it did nada.  Went back to see my BFF's yesterday and they suggested I try this:

Pink, obviously.

KT Tape.  The science mumbo jumbo behind this baffles me.  All I know is that I spent a solid portion of my night watching instructional videos on their website.  After feeling like I was basically a certified physical therapist, I followed the video to tape up my knee.

Do I look like a real athlete now?

I don't know if it was all mental, or if the tape really worked, but my knee felt awesome during and after my run tonight.  Real test will be my long run on Saturday -- fingers crossed!

Tonight's run was 3 miles.  Because I feel way more badass when I'm mapping my run than I do when I'm actually running my run, I threw in quite an intense mile-long hill at the end.  That quickly turned into 13 minutes and 4 seconds of regret.  Make your last mile your fastest?  Nah, I'll make it my slowest.  The first two miles flew by since I had my fave running buddy with me and we were chit-chatting along the whole time.

Reflective vests + Running buddy = Safety first!

Here's the stats from the run.  Please note the artfully taken picture intended to show off my new hot pink shoelaces :)


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Recovery Runs Are My Fave

You know what's funny... a few months ago, the thought of running three miles was a daunting task that kind of freaked me out.  Now, I look forward to getting in an easy three miles on Sunday's and do it like it's nothin but a thing.  Crazy.

Since today's miles were slow recovery miles, I set out without a specific route in mind.  Because I'm OCD, I always map my run out beforehand and write it down so I know exactly where I'm going.  It was kind of nice to just run wherever today, but I kind of felt like a chicken with my head cut off.  My feeling was confirmed when I got home and looked at my route:

Zero method to my madness.

I left my ipod home which helped me keep a slow(er) pace.  No pump up music = 13 minute miles.  I don't hate it.

Because I've ran 9 miles in the past two days, and because tomorrow is a rest day... I'm treating myself to a big ol bowl of homemade baked potato soup for dinner tonight.  And lunch tomorrow.  And dinner tomorrow.  And let's be honest... probably a snack in about an hour.

Get in my belly.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

It's All Mental

When my alarm went off this morning at 7:05am I was not feeling very energetic.  I was still half asleep as I threw on some clothes and got my gear ready to go.  This pretty much sums up how I felt about leaving my warm bed and heading outside:

No bueno.

Yesterday I got a sweet new pair of fancy wool socks that all the real runners swear by.  I don't really know why they're so amazing and coveted.  All I know is that they cost $17 which is ridiculously outrageous and that I wore them today and my feet have never felt more dry and sweat free after a run.  

Darn Tough Expensive socks

Today we ran 6 miles and as usual, about 4.5 of the 6 miles consisted of my brain telling me that this is stupid and to stop running.  I got really tired at some points and there were a bunch of hills/inclines that really threw off my mental game.  One mile I'm loving life and the next I'm kind of hating it.  And then I tell myself I can do it and then I ask myself can I really?  Sometimes this makes me wonder if I am just secretly schizophrenic or bipolar when I run.  

Six schizophrenic miles for the books

Now I'm riding my runner's high and am ready to tackle the day.  Starting with the biggest bowl of cereal ever and a cold glass of chocolate milk

The frozen corn is for my knee. I don't eat corn for breakfast.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tempo Thursday Round 1

Yesterday was a rest day and I thoroughly enjoyed coming home from work and lounging on the couch and catching up on Teen Mom and Real Housewives.  I got bored after a few hours of being lazy so decided dust off my yoga mat and get my zen on.

Zen in my den

Since today is Thursday I obviously spent the past three days freaking out about today's tempo run.  I like my comfort zone and my slow pace, thank you very much.  Part of the reason I signed up for this training class was to push myself out of my comfort zone.  Well, Tempo Thursday's fall WAY outside of this zone.  Time to suck it up Mollz.

Had to bust out the rain gear tonight.  Mother Nature you win again.

The rain turned into a drizzle and wasn't too bad, but it was COLD.  I didn't wear my gloves because 1. it was 30+ degrees out and 2. I ALWAYS end up taking them off and didn't have pockets today.  It certainly did not feel like 30 degrees a mile into the run and my hands were FREEZING.  What are the odds that the one time I don't wear my gloves it's the one time I actually need them!?


We did about 3.5 miles total, 2.5 of which were at tempo pace.  I tried to keep my pace under 12 minutes and really struggled during the second mile since it was all uphill.  Overall it was a pretty tough run, although I probably could have pushed myself a little harder.  I'm taking baby steps on that whole move outside your comfort zone thing.

Avg Pace

I really felt my knee towards the end of the run (welcome back, recurring injury -- haven't missed you).  I'm having a hard time deciphering between whether it's pain or whether it's just stiff and irritated from the cold.  Either way...time for some quality time with the foam roller, ibuprofen, and ice!

Frozen veggies > Ice packs

See ya on six mile Saturday!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Easy: A Relative Term

On today's agenda: 4 easy miles.  "Easy" is a relative term, let me tell you.  Hills really have a way of sneaking up on you and making you completely re-evaluate the difficulty level of your run.  The last mile-ish was uphill (the elevation map looked WAY less intimidating on!  Anyone that knows me knows that I am a baby and love to complain; I'm sure that last mile would have been much more tolerable had I not been crying and complaining the entire time.

At least I got to wear my sweet headlamp since it was dark out.  I felt like I was giving the cars a run for their money.  No one could miss me!  The thing is actually pretty cool and I would probably wear it if the power ever went out or if I ever need to use a flashlight again.  Money well spent.  You win again, Fleet Feet.

No, that's not a flash.  Yes, it's my headlamp.

Did I mention that it started to hail during our run?  No, not during the first three easy breezy miles, but about halfway through the last hilly mile.  Because why wouldn't it start to hail when I'm miserable?  I guess I'm being slightly dramatic -- I didn't keel over and die, my lungs didn't explode and my legs kept moving -- all in all it was a good run for the books!

The best way to spend an evening: Posing with your BFF's

Sunday, January 22, 2012

This will probably be my shortest post ever.

Happy Sunday, time for  3 mile recovery run!

I spy a post-run glass of chocolate milk. Best. Recovery Drink. Ever.

Time to spend some QT with the foam roller and have a lazy Sunday.  Tomorrow's a rest day -- what will I do with my life after work?!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

5 Miles & a New Watch = A Great Saturday

If there's one thing that makes me die a little bit inside it's hearing my alarm go off at 7:00am on a Saturday morning.  Especially when this is what greets me as I step outside:

But the excitement of using my new running watch for the first time almost made me forget that I wanted to go back to bed.  I've had my eye on a Garmin running watch for a couple months but couldn't justify the outrageous prices for such an ugly piece of equipment (no pink watches? forget it).

On Thursday the coaches recommended we look into a running/GPS watch, although they aren't required (nice sales pitch opportunity, Fleet Feet).  So, naturally I used this as my excuse to go out and buy one :)  I went to Best Buy because I had a gift card (be proud of me Mom).  They had ONE in stock AND it was the one I've had on my Amazon Wish List for months.  Meant to be?  I think so.  They were able to price match the price on Amazon (which saved me $50+)!  Clearly, I had all the justification I needed to buy it:

Hello New Best Friend :)

Needless to say, I was pretty excited to use it this morning on my first long run.  The run was great -- after the fact.  The first 3 miles were good and I ended up running with the 12 minute pace group for these miles...then we entered the final two miles of my worst nightmare: Trail running.  Ok, so we weren't REALLY trail running, but an uneven, snow covered canal is pretty close if you ask me.

Two Miles of Doom

My pace slowed WAY down the last two miles and by the last mile I was run/jogging -- pretty much just shuffling my feet and trying to remind myself why the heck I enjoy running.  I ended up falling back in with my original pace group and finally finished after an hour and ten minutes.

Sloooowly but surely, DONE!

It's funny how mental those tough miles can be... My brain kept telling me to just stop and walk as I was borderline hating life during that moment in time.  But the feeling afterwards, once you run through it and finish... Amazing.  Ask me at mile 4.5 how my run went and I'd punch you in the face.  Ask me afterwards and I'll say it was the best run ever (probably a slight exaggeration).

Tomorrow's schedule is a 3 mile easy run.  If there's any dusting of snow on the ground I'm takin it to the treadmill.  I'd like to keep the pseudo-trail runs as non-existent as possible please.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Welcome to the 13 Minute Mile Club

First official workout = done!  Let me rewind and tell you that I am participating in a training class through Fleet Feet.  We had gotten our schedule for this week earlier in the week.  Tonight was a two mile time trial (so the coaches can gage what pace group we'll be running in to start off).  Which means....I spent the past three days freaking out about being timed.  I basically felt like I was in fifth grade again with the gym class mile run looming ahead of me.  Put me on a flat road by myself and let me run at a comfortable pace for miles and miles - I'm a happy camper.  Throw me in a group with 85 other people and tell me you're timing me - all bets are off.  You win.

Here goes nothin'

As if my anxiety wasn't already through the roof, Mother Nature decided to go in for the kill:

We got started before I even had time to think about getting back in my car and bolting.  These people don't mess around.  After a one mile warm-up, we were off.  You know what's really discouraging just plain annoying?  When you see people running towards you, already on their way back to the finish when you haven't even gotten to the turn-around yet.  Always a real confidence booster.

After a frigid and icy 23 minutes and 36 seconds, I was done.  The crazy thing is, that is fast for me!  I'm a 12ish minute miler on a good day -- did I really just run sub-12's in a blizzard?  I think I hear London 2012 calling.

Thumbs up for Tempo Thursdays

Saturday is our first easy pace long run in which I'll be spending five miles of quality time with my fellow 13 minute milers.  Slow and steady wins the race.  Boom.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Let's Run!

Happy 2012, let's run a half marathon.

For everyone that knows can pick your jaws up off the floor now.  Yes, Princess Molly will be running 13.1 miles for fun in three months.  Why not start a blog so that I can document my journey and adventures to the finish line!

To my family and (two) friends that will be reading this and following along: Now you won't have to listen to me tell the same stories over and over... and over again.  And you get to see my face far more often than you otherwise would.  You're welcome.  :)

Does reflective gear make me a real runner?

Why am I choosing to run through the streets of Rochester for 13.1 miles on April 29th?  The simple answer: Life is short.

Four months ago I couldn't run if my life depended on it.  Five minutes was about all this girl could handle before it was time for a walking break (and by walking break I mean walking back to my apartment and promptly falling onto the couch).

On a whim (...okay with some encouragement - thanks Mrs. Luce) I signed up for a 5k "learn to run" training class.  In ten weeks I went from despising even the idea of running, to actually looking forward to a run.  I completed my first 5k in November and my only goal was to run the entire race -- 42 (sloooow) minutes later, I did!

Let's dress up like Indians and go run a few miles. Happy Thanksgiving.

I kept on going and loved every single mile I ran.  What?!  Is this real?  It was all smiles and miles until I got an injury from overuse (seriously?!).  Around Christmas I was finally able to ease back in to running.

Meeting my new BFF: The foam roller

The idea of eventually completing a half marathon was something that made it's way in and out of my head for a while.  The biggest push that made me commit to running the half in April was the unexpected death of a young family member.  It made me realize that life is short -- too short to put things off indefinitely.

I've decided to dedicate my miles to Matty -- as a way to keep his memory alive, and to acknowledge the final push that made me go for this crazy goal.

I hope you'll continue to follow my crazy adventures as I work my way towards 13.1 miles.
Even if you don't, you'll probably still hear my stories multiple times anyways ;)