Friday, December 28, 2012

Running for a Memory

As I'm sure you've noticed (because why wouldn't you be checking my blog everyday), I've been pretty MIA the past couple of weeks.  The craziness of the holidays has made taking Garmin pictures and writing about myself the low man on the priority totem pole.

I've been keeping up the miles and even got a race in, but just haven't had time to sit down and write about it.  Today, I debated doing a big ol' recap to get up to speed.  I debated doing a big picture smorgasbord to show off my miles.  But all of that just didn't seem right, given the significance of today.

December 28.

One year ago today, a life was lost far too soon.

One year ago today, a soon-to-be bride learned that she would never see her husband at the altar.

One year ago today, our family lost someone who we did not have nearly enough time with.

It was this tragic event that was the underlying motivator for my running journey this year.  The slap-in-the-face realization that life is short.  Why put off something until tomorrow when you can do it today?

My jump into 13.1 was inspired by someone who always lived life to the fullest and enjoyed the great outdoors.  What better way to honor him than to dedicate my journey, my miles, my race to him.

Running has become more to me than just pounding the pavement.  It has become my way of celebrating life, and honoring those who can no longer celebrate it themselves.  And while I often times get caught up in the vanity of it, running is something that has come to have so much meaning to me.

So today as I somberly lace up my sneakers and head out on my run, I am running for you, Matty.  Thank you for being my inspiration.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Doggy Paddle for the Win

After a super low key week, I amped up my game this weekend with back to back races.  More on the best weekend ever later.

I took it easy during the week since my leg was still bothering me and I was feeling a little under the weather.  I went for a nice solo walk on the canal on Monday and strolled along into the sunset.  18 minute miles for the win.

On Tuesday, Fleet Feet had a yoga for runners class that some of the girls and I did.  We were anticipating running a few miles beforehand, but when you take bad weather and throw in 3 unmotivated attitudes, you don't have a very good outcome.  Instead we hung out with our FF BFF's inside the warm store for 40 minutes before it was time for yoga.  Can't win em all I guess.  

Since I am terrified of my train wreck of a leg sabotaging my upcoming marathon training, I called up my buddy and paid him a visit.

home away from home

Dr. Dan stretched me out and did some work on my leg (aka dug his elbow in my entire lower left extremity for an hour).  We chatted a bit about my training and he gave me some tips and advice that will help me re-vamp my training schedule to (hopefully) avoid any training cycle disasters.  He also assured me that it's okay to come see him during training for a "tune-up."  You better believe you'll be seeing me in a few months, Dr. Dan.

Thursday and Friday was back to back nights of good food and (a little too much) good wine.  On Thursday we celebrated my sister's birthday with a big ol family dinner.  Can't believe my little babies are all grown up.  Friday night was my work Christmas party and let's just say that Friday + good work friends = I am not waking up for a long run on Saturday morning.

sissys and co-worker bff's

After pulling a college move and sleeping until 1pm, it was time to get my butt in gear and get ready for a festive 5k!  The race, It's a Wonderful Run 5k, is an evening race in Seneca Falls.  The whole event is based on the movie It's a Wonderful Life.  Hint: in order to understand the coolness of the race, it might have helped if I had seen the movie.  Good thing we had a long car ride for the girls to explain it to me.  Also helped distract me from the college-style hangover I was rocking.  Woof.

There were over 3,000 people at the race and the whole course was festive and decorated.  People were outside their houses blasting Christmas music (and also Bruce Springsteen) and cheering for everyone.  I've never ran a race at night and it was so cool to have all the Christmas lights light the way!

After taking eight days off from running, my legs seemed to be a little confused about what was going on.  It wasn't until about mile 2 that they remembered what they were supposed to do and once they woke up I went flyin (you know, relatively speaking).

The race was a blast and obviously we went and got dinner afterwards.  A good run + Blue Moon + a burger = best hangover cure ever.  Tis the season!

Once I got home it was right to bed because this morning was race day #2.  I was really intimidated about this morning's race and not particularly looking forward to it, so enter my new race morning alarm tone:

If Eye of the Tiger doesn't make you want to be a beast then I don't know what does.  My race this morning was an indoor triathlon and the local Y.  I had seen a flyer for it a few weeks back and thought it was the coolest thing.  15 minutes each of swimming, biking and running.  

When I initially registered, I was all "oh I can totally learn how to swim in the next couple weeks."  Buuuut that didn't happen.  So I awoke this morning throwing a Hail Mary to the swim gods to keep me afloat.  

here goes nothin
Steph and Coach Rob showed up to cheer me on which turned out to be a huge help.  I also know one of the volunteers and the three of them helped make my disaster of a swim a little more bearable.  Let me tell you, just because you are "in shape" in the world of running, does NOT mean you are at all in shape to swim.

The swim was SO. HARD.  I did two laps and almost wanted to die when I saw the clock telling me I still had 13.5 minutes left to swim.  My front crawl quickly turned into a kinda-sorta breast stroke which turned into some side stroke shuffling which eventually turned into some water jogging and doggy paddle.  I was a train wreck in there.  Longest 15 minutes of my life.

Swim - 20 laps in 15 minutes

After the swim we had 5 minutes of transition time before the bike.  Naturally, I forgot to pack a towel so had to dry off with my tshirt after the swim.  Since I was still pretty much soaking wet, trying to get my capris on my wet legs turned into a 4 minute fiasco.  I ran over to the bikes and heard "30 seconds!"  Wait.  I'm still barefoot.

As I hustled to get my socks and shoes on, this happened:

In the whirlwind to get situated and on the bike in time I tore a huge hole through my sock as I was trying to put it on.  And then apparently forgot how to tie my shoelaces.  "Three seconds!"  AH!  Sock ripped, shoes half tied, GET ON THE BIKE!

After my less than relaxing transition, I pedaled my little heart out on the bike and felt much more in my element.  I was still soaking wet, but I was on dry land.  And doing something that I actually knew how to do.  With no possibility of drowning.  Despite my flustered start, I was in my zone.

The bike went by the fastest and even though I had zero resistance (call me a cheater, I don't care) I was definitely working my wet, flustered butt off.  

They had music blasting and the volunteers (along with my personal cheerleaders) were cheering and so encouraging the whole time.  It was great!

Bike - 7.04 miles in 15 minutes

The "transition" to the run was much less chaotic than my first transition and I was ready to take on 15 minutes of the dreadmill.  I started my speed at 6.0 and that quickly faded to 5.5.  I surprisingly didn't get (that) bored during the 15 minutes.  Usually I want to peel off the thing after about 2 minutes, but between the race atmosphere and Rob and Steph cheering me on, I was in the zone the whole time.

Because I'm a wuss, I dropped my speed down to 5.4 with 5 minutes to go.  The second I touched the screen to slow down, Steph yelled at me encouraged me to pick it up.  "You can do anything for 5 minutes!"  So I picked it back up and ended up running the last 2 minutes at 6.5.  My average pace for the 15 minutes was right around 10:30; not bad for tired legs!

Run - 1.43 miles in 15 minutes

I seriously had so much fun this morning!  It was really well organized, the volunteers (and my cheerleaders!) were fabulous, and I felt really good about the whole experience.  Despite my less than successful attempt at swimming, I loved the entire event!  I would absolutely do one again and it got me really excited about cross training and incorporating biking (and maybe swimming?!) into marathon training.  

Overall a fantastic weekend! :)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Big Things Poppin

I've got some big things poppin over in this joint but before I get to that let's recap my completely sub-par week of running.

I had three weekday runs scheduled but it turned into two and this is what it looked like:

Low mileage, but high quality so I'll take it.  Tuesday was hills as usual and yet again it was kind of an "eh" run.  Hills just aren't my thing and I don't think they ever will be.  One of these day they have to get a little easier though right?!

After a rest lazy day on Wednesday, I was looking forward to track party Thursday.  Even though these are hands down the toughest runs of the week, there's something about the variety and the challenge of them that makes me look forward to it.

On tap this week was 400m repeats, 8 of them.  My goal was to keep each repeat in the range of 2:19-2:32.  The verdict?

Boom.  Mission accomplished.  Let me tell you though, you don't realize how long one lap on the track can be until that is all you are focusing on!  Some of those 400's were the longest 2+ minutes of my life.  

That running club of super fast runners from last week was there again this week, running circles around us.  Their coach was there calling out times for their laps and every time we passed he told us "great job ladies" "you're working hard" "looking strong."  It was some nice encouragement, although I don't think he'll be recruiting us anytime soon.  I'll take him as a cheerleader every Thursday though!

The past week or two I've noticed a little niggle in my IT band/hip/knee area and it started to get pretty bad towards the end of this week.  It was so bad when I woke up on Saturday morning that it bothered me to even walk.  As much as I (surprisingly) wanted to do my long run yesterday, I called it off and decided to dust off my exercise sheet from Dr. Dan.

Yesterday and today have been full of lunges and squats and stretching and foam rolling.  I'm trying to nip this re-occurring annoyance before it gets too bad and benches me from running again.  After having a minor freakout about it, I emailed Dr. Dan because I've got some very important training coming up that I need to be 100% for.

What is this very important training for you ask?  Oh just this little event in May:

Yup, my first ever MARATHON!  I am officially registered and plan on running the Buffalo Marathon on May 26.  Training officially starts January 14 and I'm a whole slew of excited/nervous/scared shitless.  

Emily & Steph will be training with me (Emily is running Buffalo, Steph is running Cleveland) so I will have people to commiserate with, laugh with, cry with, and sweat with for the 19 weeks of training.  I still can't believe that I am doing this, but my "life is short" motto gave me the push to dive right in.  Why wait right?!  

I'll be working the next 6 weeks on building my base and getting in some more speed work.  Once January 14 is here, you'll be seeing a whole lot more of me as I document my journey to 26.2.  Buffalo, see you in 174 days!!!