Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Little Pre-Birthday Run

If you were to ask me a year ago if I would ever think of kicking off my birthday weekend with a run, I would have laughed in your face.  Crazy how things change, because tonight I did just that!

A group of us met up at the canal tonight for a run followed by drinks and food at the bar.  I was a little apprehensive about the run after Tuesday's disaster, but my knee didn't bother me too much, although I definitely felt it the whole time.  We ran a little over 4 miles and it was a perfect night for a run!  

Then we headed to the bar for some necessary post-run hydration and fuel.

birthday cheers!

I even got an awesome birthday gift from Steph:

shut up and run cell phone case!

Overall it was a fantastic little run and a fantastic little celebration/carb & beer fest afterwards.  Thanks girls for helping me to kick off my birthday weekend! :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Molly - 0, Stubbornness - 2

I can be known to be quite stubborn at times and I'm the type of person who needs to stubbornly figure things out on my own before you've got my buy in.  If you recall any of my encounters with Dr. Dan, you can count those as real life examples #1-562.

So yesterday I was coming off of my Marathon Spectator's High and was all OMG I NEED TO RUN!  Nevermind the fact that it was late afternoon and 91 sunny, humid degrees outside.  From what I could see out my window there looked to be a nice breeze.  Ehh, I'll be fine.

I got outside and there was in fact a nice little breeze going.  So naturally I thought hey why not turn this into a tempo run!  Use those spectator endorphins!  And then about 3 minutes into the run, the breeze was gone and I was in full out 91 degree sunshine.

lesson learned: iphone weather doesn't lie.

It was BRUTAL.  And of course, being all stubborn, I refused to give up on my attempted tempo pace.  I clocked in mile 1 around 10:15 and jusssst about wanted to die.  I was slowly melting and had drank 75% of my water already.  So I made myself a deal and slowed down, although by then my body was already livid at me for attempting a tempo run in this ridiculous weather.

The second my watch hit mile 2 I stopped and legitimately collapsed in the shade of a tree on the side of the road.


I sat there for a few minutes in the relief of the shade and came to the conclusion that this was one of the stupidest things I've done in a long time.  Tempo run in 90+ degree weather?  Come on Mollz.


I walked the rest of the way home, which was the same two miles I ran in reverse.  All the while mental noting how I'm going to need to totally readjust my running times for summer running.  Yeah yeah, lesson learned.  Although, I managed to average 11:30's for my brief 2 mile stint of running.  Not so bad, all things considering.

dumbest tempo ever.

And now for my second loss of the week to my stubbornness.  

So you all know I've been making more of an effort to cross train and to get some strength training in (let's be honest though... the strength training has yet to happen).  Dr. Dan's parting words to me were "I WILL see you back here injured again if you don't commit to strength training."  As much as I enjoyed looking at his pretty face while I was there, there wasn't much else I enjoyed about PT.  I pranced out of my last visit determined to become a strength training queen.

Andddd that never happened.  My knees and hips were feeling good and I was running and biking without any hint of pain.... psh who needs strength training?!  (stubborn brat)

My past couple of runs I've noticed my right knee starting to bother me... my "good" knee - what?!  Dr. Dan warned me that my good knee would start to overcompensate for my injured knee if I didn't strengthen my legs.  And what do you know - he was right.  

Tonight's (attempted) run solidified my stubbornness and my stupidity in taking care of my body.  After only a few strides my knee started bothering my and by the first mile it was painful... like need to stop dead in my tracks painful.

I stretched and walked and tried not to cry while the girls were doing hill work.  After they got a few miles in they ran/walked back with me and kept me from walking into traffic or throwing away my running shoes.  

Most of the lessons in my life I've learned the hard way, but boy it still sucks when you realize that your own stubbornness is the reason for some stupid lesson.  This lesson being, I am not invincible - I need to make it a priority to strengthen these feeble legs of mine so I'm not sidelined from running.  Had I listened to Dr. Dan a month ago I probably wouldn't be in this position right now.  And my evening probably wouldn't be spent looking like this:

don't judge the jar of nutella in the background. recovery calories?

SO, here's to my stubbornness finally teaching me the lessons I've needed to learn a while ago.  And to finally doing something proactive so that I don't become Dr. Dan's top income grossing patient.  Let the strength training (and smarter summer running!) begin!

Monday, May 28, 2012

My Laziest Week Ever & Some Exciting Things

It's been a whole week (8 days actually...) since I've posted anything so I bet you're expecting a whole slew of updates about my runs and bike rides and awesome training.  Welp, this week was probably the laziest I've ever had and my total days of training equaled ONE.  Yup, one day.

I wish I could blame the heat or my crazy busy life (both of which would be valid excuses this week!) but the truth is... if I had time to start AND finish 50 Shades of Gray this week (yup, hopped on that train), I'm sure I could have found some spare time to get some training in.

I did run once on Tuesday from Fleet Feet and it was brutally hot.  Nothing earth-shattering happened on this run, other than the fact that my body confirmed that it takes about 3 miles for me to get in the groove. Isn't that crazy that I'm just warming up after three miles, when I used to not even be able to run that far?

my one lone workout of the week

Although my training sucked this week, there are some other exciting things I've got going on.  First, I am officially a part of the Fleet Feet racing team!  The team is a group of runners that are essentially community ambassadors for Fleet Feet and for running.  The best part is the sweet jersey that I get to wear in my races:

officially official!

The other thing that I'm really excited about is that I'm going to be a mentor for Fleet Feet's summer 5k/10k running program!

They call on past program participants to be mentors in the program, and even though I didn't do my 5k program through them (shhh), since I did the half marathon training program I got the OK to be a mentor.  I'm BEYOND excited.... I feel like I have gotten SO much out of my training with Fleet Feet and I'm excited to give back.  As cliche as this sounds, running has changed my life in so many amazing ways and I want other people to experience that.  I never in a million years would have imagined that I'd be a runner (and actually enjoy it!) and I'm excited to help others start their running journey.  Mentor Mollz at your service!

The other really exciting thing?  Oh, just that my sister ran a marathon yesterday.  No big deal.

The marathon was in Buffalo so Emily and I made an early morning road trip to go cheer Heather on.  There was also a half marathon and Emily and I both knew some people doing the half and the full, so we were in full on cheerleader mode.

Gun time was 7:00am, which meant that my alarm was set for some seriously god awful times:

so. early.

I had to be out the door by 4:30 in order to get Emily, have a much needed Dunkin stop, and get to Buffalo before the race started.  Oy.  This is the only reason I was able to survive:

large iced coffee... with more sugar than i care to admit.

We got to Buffalo around 6:30 which meant we had time to find Heather before the race started!  I'm not sure if I was more excited to cheer her on or if she was more excited to have me there.  Sissy excitement all around.

go heather!
my awesome shirt that a 4 year old made...
hyped up on espresso gu
heath and her fast training buddy
I also found some of my training girls before the race who were running the marathon relay.  I'm such a good cheerleader that I came prepared with signs for everyone :)

go hfm!

Emily and I staked out our first spectating spot and watched everyone take off

On a side note, the first place finisher of the marathon came in at 2:20:26 - that is faster than I can run a HALF marathon!  The first place female came in at 2:32:56, a 6:15 pace!!  That just blows my mind.

Both the half and the full started at the same time and ran the same course, so it was nice to be able to see our friends in the half while still seeing Heather and our friends in the full.  Spectating a marathon is SO MOTIVATING and inspiring.... Emily and I started talking about the idea of our first marathon.  That is a scary thought.

We saw Heather a handful of times at different mile points and right before the finish.  She looked awesome each time we saw her and was all smiles as she ran through the finish chute:


Heather finished in 3:38:40!!  Her goal time (which would have qualified her for Boston(!!)) was 3:35, but I'd say she did pretty effing awesome for her first ever marathon!!

I am SO PROUD of my little sissy for completing her first marathon like a champ.  Heather, you are an amazing runner and so inspiring!!  Maybe next year we'll be running this together.... and by together I mean me finishing 2 hours after you ;)

Marathon spectating made me super motivated to kick but this week in my training.  Here's to the end of my laziest week ever!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

This Week's Recap!

What a crazy week and weekend it's been!  It was choc-full (did I use that word right??) of some great runs and new experiences.  Brace yourselves for a slew of pictures and babble...

Since Monday was spent protein cupcake baking rather than running, I made myself go to Tuesday's hill workout at Fleet Feet.  I was about halfway there when I realized I forgot my Garmin.  God knows the world stops when I don't have my Garmin.  So I turned back around, sped home to get it, and fought against all my might to not stay home and skip hills.  And then I remembered that half marathon I accidentally signed up for at the end of June which consists of 7 straight miles of inclines and hills.  After the reality check, it was off to the workout I went.

I flew to Milwaukee for work on Wednesday and made sure there was room in my luggage for my running stuff.  My flight got in around 5pm so I knew I'd have some time to get some miles in.  For those who don't know, Milwaukee is actually a pretty cool city and has a GORGEOUS lakefront.  Who knew right?

ready to fun in milwaukee!

I was really excited to run, especially to run by the lake.  Not that I don't love me some suburban Rochester roads, but exploring and running in a new city was a nice change of pace from my usual routes.

On my way to the lake I ran by our Home Office building which was pretty sweet.  I of course had to take a picture, even though I've been there before and would be there the following day.  Something about seeing something during a run makes things extra photo-worthy?

northwestern mutual pride!

I had no real game plan for my mileage and just wanted to enjoy the run and take in the scenery.  It was AWESOME running by the lake and it seriously made me want to run forever.  I stopped about halfway through my run and just sat on a bench and looked out at the lake.  It was great.

I had anticipated getting around 5 miles in but ended up doing a little over 7.  I would have kept going but I was out of water and was getting hungry.  I just wanted to keep running!  It was one of those runs where the scenery and atmosphere just makes for one really great experience.  Definitely one of the best runs I've had.

Thursday and Friday were spent doing work stuff and having dinner at an amazing Brazilian steak house.  I ate more meat than I think I ever have in my life.... I just told myself I was refueling :)  My flight home didn't get in until after 11pm on Friday night and I had a 6am wakeup call the next day.  Kick off to my multi event weekend... yikes!

2 events 1 weekend!

After 5 hours of sleep it was time for my first ever duathlon yesterday!  I was SO excited and also freaking out because I had no idea what to expect.  Thankfully, Steph's boyfriend is into triathlons and was doing this event so I dubbed him Coach Rob and started grilling him on all things duathlon.

My first challenge was to rack my bike in the transition area.  

bike racked: check!

As we were hanging out in the transition area (I feel pretty legit saying that), I ran into Kate who worked with our training program at fleet feet.  It was her first duathlon too!

ready to be duathletes!

The first portion of the race was a 2 mile trail run.  I've never run on trails before so this was interesting.  It was pretty cool BUT I don't think I will be taking up trail running any time soon.  Not the best idea for the world's most clumsiest girl... I think I almost rolled my ankle and fell about 12 times.

After the run it was a 10 mile bike ride.  The route was super hilly but it was country roads so it was (relatively) scenic.  The first couple miles on the bike felt weird but my legs adjusted after a few minutes.  My quads were screaming on some of the hills and I was legitimately teetering as I pedaled up some of the bigger hills.  I've also realized that I need to learn how to properly use my bike gears.  You know you suck at it when one of the hardcore cyclers yells to you up a hill "downshift!!!! you won't struggle as much!"  Who said I was struggling man?!  Just kidding... I probably looked like it was my first day on two wheels.

Once the bike was done the final leg was another one mile trail run.  I expected my legs to feel awful after the transition but they actually didn't feel as bad as I had anticipated.  I think it was tougher running on the trails than adjusting to the bike to run transition.  After one of the slowest miles I think I've ever run, I was headed to the finish!

Thanks Steph for taking a video!

It felt so awesome crossing the finish line for my first multi-sport event.  It was challenging in a completely different way than running and I loved the whole experience!  I even came in second place in my age group!.....................(out of two people). haha.

mission don't come in last: accomplished!

My muscles were so confused after the race and I spend a significant amount of time with my bff foam roller.  The entire event was hilly and my quads and calves reminded me of that throughout the day!

elevation map - not exaggerating about the hills here!

My mom came up for lunch yesterday where I refueled with the biggest plate of Mexican food I've ever seen.  I wore my compression shorts under my dress because I am such a dedicated athlete.  And I didn't have to sit like a lady at lunch because I had shorts on.  Double win.

That brings us to today's 10k event.  I woke up this morning not wanting to do the race and sore from yesterday.  Awesome.

I knew that my legs were either going to show up for a race or they weren't... It was apparent very quickly that they were not going to show up today.  They were tight and heavy and sore and I could tell it was not going to be a very fun race.  I tried to make the best of it and just enjoy everything.

At the 2 mile marker I kind of wanted to die.  For about 5 seconds I literally debated taking a DNF so I could get the eff off the course.  And then I swallowed my pride and ran-walked the rest of the race.  It's official:  I've resigned from my position in the run-walker hater's club.  I don't know what I had such a dislike for run-walkers, but I totally understand the appeal now of run-walking when you feel like you want to die.

This was honestly more difficult than the half marathon and I would run the half again over this race any day.  At one point I was walking and there was a race photographer and I asked her to wait a second to take my picture and then started running... no way I was gonna be in a race pic walking!

oh hey, not posed at all

remember that one time we ran just for the race photographer?

After 4 miles of run-walking I finally crossed the damn finish line.  It was 85+ degrees and I felt like I was melting to death.  Thank God I was done.

me steph and coach rob post race!
All drama aside, it was an okay race with some awesome crowd support.  I felt pretty awful the whole time but finished so I'm happy with that.  I am DEFINITELY making tomorrow a rest day because my legs are still screaming WTF to me.  Time for some more compression and foam rolling, then off to start another week of running and biking!  See ya in a few days!

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Whole Lot of Random

Turns out Bud Light and Tully's Tenders are pretty darn good fuel for a long run!  Saturday's run definitely wasn't the best I've had, but it was much better than the week before and overall a good run.  It was HOT out and super sunny... my freckle buddies made their first big appearance of the season:

tan. not sweat.

Steph and I covered just over 7 miles with some walking here and there.  We set out on a half-planned route and it was nice to just run until we got home without worrying about mileage.  We ran through Highland Park where they were setting up for the Lilac Fest that morning.  I had run out of water and stopped at a booth where some nice young man gave me a free bottle of (cold!) water.  I told him I'd come back and buy food from his booth later.  Don't worry sir, I will be back.  Thank you for your kindness.

So you know how people do crazy things when they are high on drugs and things like that?  Well I'm beginning to think that a runner's high makes you do equally crazy things.  Wanna know what I did after my run on Saturday?  Registered for this bad boy:

My first ever duathlon!  Guess it's time to put these biking + running skills to the test!  It gets even better because the run portion is a trail run.  Trail runs scare the living daylights out of me.  I've never done a trail race before, but something about running on trails and dodging roots and sticks and rocks is apparently intriguing enough to outweigh my extreme fright of the concept.

To make it even more interesting, I'm traveling for work this week and won't be getting home until 11pm on Friday night.  So, not only will I being doing a duathlon for the first time, including trail runs, I'll be sleepy and jet-lagged.  Who wants to come cheer me on?

I'll also be running a 10k on Sunday, so this is SURE to be an interesting weekend!

In other news, I decided to try my hand today at some protein-infused baking.  I got a request at work for some "muscle man" cupcakes and what a great challenge that was.  Turns out you can't really cut the butter and sugar out of cupcakes, but with some added protein I'd say they're a-okay for some workout fuel.

protein cupcakes? it's a win.

While I was home for Mother's Day yesterday I was looking at the pics Mare took at the half marathon.  I took the liberty of loading them onto her computer and emailing them to myself.  Turns out Mare's a pretty good photographer!

seriously a better finish line pic than any of the professional photos

me and lizzie - so much emotion!

more emotion! 

It's crazy looking at the last two pictures and still feeling so emotional about everything that day.  

Anyways, I have a crazy busy week ahead of me which will hopefully include some training.  I'm planning to get a run in tomorrow (possibly a sister run!) and have no idea what the rest of the week will bring since I'll be traveling.  I wonder if I do lunges in the airport if people will think I'm crazy?  Strength train when ya can right?

Friday, May 11, 2012

So Call Me Maybe

Oh hey, just continuing my week of being an awesome wannabe du-athlete.  And also, the title of this post has zero relevance to anything.  That song has just been stuck in my head all day.  Although now that I'm almost a du-athlete and all... London 2012, call me maybe?

Tuesday night I ran from Fleet Feet and we did hills.  Oy.  It was HUMID and I was such a sweaty melty mess by the end that not even I could justify taking a picture of myself afterwards.  I felt surprisingly good though after Saturday's semi-disasterous run.

I did a group training ride on Wednesday and holy. cow.  It was an experience.  Up until then, I've only taken the ol' bike out on the canal.  Canal = flat and no cars = stress free ride.  Wednesday was the real deal on the open roads.

I had a minor freak out when I showed up for the ride and saw hardcore cycle dudes in full out cycle-suits with their Lance Armstrong style bikes and clip-in shoes.  I wanted to take my hybrid Trek and toe cages and sneak onto the canal before anyone noticed me.

There were two other women there so I felt a little less intimidated, especially since they looked like more recreational cyclists compared to the Team Livestrong dudes.  This put me at ease a teeny bit.

After a quick debrief we were off.  I tried to play it cool like it was nothing but a thing to ride with these dudes but after a couple miles they were pretty much specks in the distance.  There was a 'sweeper' who stayed in the back and thank goodness because I realized real fast that I have zero knowledge of the rules of the road when your cycling.

We were legit IN THE ROAD in turning lanes, like inches from cars at red lights.  I'm pretty sure my heart rate was higher when we were making left turns in traffic than when we were riding up hills.  I certainly learned a lot about road rules and biker safety.  I'm 97% sure I would have been road kill had I been by myself.

Overall it was a really good ride and first "real" road experience.  There was maybe one incline-ish/hill that slowed me down a bit but other than that I felt great the whole ride.  Honestly, it was more taxing mentally than physically - I was way more worried about not getting killed than I was about my endurance.  I'll take that as a win?

I made it out alive and feel like I'll be a little more confident now on my next ride.  I plan on doing at least one of the group training rides during the week, so here's to making my way to Lance status.

the group post ride!

Yesterday was supposed to be a run day, but I ended up going to bed at 7:00pm.  Oops.  My body was not having it yesterday.  So Emily and I decided that we would run together today.... and then this happened:

I wish I could say we were refueling.... but our run never happened.  Even though we were both geared up and ready to go we just weren't feelin it.  We were however feeling a Marshall's trip and some Tully's Tenders.  Fair trade if I do say so myself.

I'm sure the beer and fried dinner will be awesome fuel for my run tomorrow morning.  Let's hope that tomorrow goes better than last Saturday.  I mean hydrating with Bud Light and carb-loading with french fries is a pretty well rounded pre-long run dinner right?  Hmm... I'll let you know how that goes!