Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dinner takes center stage.

I will talk about my run today- but dinner was so good I have to talk about it first. I really SHOULD have taken a picture to share- because it was amazing, but we ate it so fast and completely that I really didn't have a chance.
I took zucchini and yellow squash and diced it and then sauted with onion and garlic in some olive oil. While that was cooking, I made some steamed rice (usually whole grain brown, but today went with white)- when the rice was done- I stirred the saute into the rice and mixed. While that sat- I sauted some raw shrimp in just a bit of olive oil and Old Bay seasoning until it was nice and pink and cooked through. Mix shrimp and rice and OH MY good. It had beautiful color and my 3.5 yr old couldn't get enough of the 'trumps' (shrimp).

My run today was the first one since the Ragnar Relay. It was a tough one in fairly tough conditions. The terrain was easy- flat, on the Monon Trail in Indy. However, it was HOT and HUMID! It was only 9am- thought we'd beat most of it- but while the temp was about 81 at 9am- it felt at least 87 or so. We did intervals the whole 2.5 miles, walking a little more than I liked. But I need to get the legs moving again.

Thankfully it cools down some next week and eases up on the humidity- so should get a little better.
Got some new shoes though! Will post a pic of them soon!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ragnar Relay- Wasatch Back 2010- Team WTF-Where's The Finish

Travel to-

Flight from Indy to Salt Lake City (by way of Denver) left a little after scheduled- but we still arrived around 7:30 SLC time. A couple of our teammates were already there and picked us up at the airport. We had a quick dinner and then to our hotel to get some sleep.

The next day we got up to pick up our second team van and pick up a few other teammates at the airport. After that, we picked up our remaining teammates at a nearby hotel and made the drive from SLC up to Logan, UT. Logan was the start city for the 2010 Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay.

Night before

When we arrived in Logan- we got checked in, grabbed some lunch as a team and then made the largest trip to WalMart that I’ve ever seen. We shopped for van food that was to feed 12 people for 2 days. After shopping and arranging – we did dinner at Olive Garden to carb up before the race. Then it was a van decorating party! (pictures)

We all tried to get to bed fairly early- as our team was to start at 5:45am.

Morning Start

The team was up and at ‘em around 4:00 in order to get to the start by 4:45 and have our safety meeting (required an hour before your start). With that, CJ- runner#1 kicked leg 1 off for our team.

It would go like this with all the teammates until it was my turn at about 12:30 that day- As runner 7, I was the first one in van 2 to go. All of my pass offs would be at the major exchanges, so more people to watch and more excitement.

Leg 1

There was so much adrenaline and excitement that even with all my other races and experience to not jump out to fast- there I was- trotting a 9 min mile pace for the first quarter-mile. After gasping and glancing at my GPS, I slowed down and ended up having to walk a little. It was only about 75 degrees, and not humid at all- but it was all sun and felt very hot. I had a total of 4 miles for this leg- and I was able to do a respectable 13:17mm pace. At first I was disappointed, but when I considered the elevation differences between Utah and Indiana, and my walk breaks- I did ok. Some of it was mental too- I could have run farther, but I let me inner voice tell myself that I had to walk…curses! But my team was fantastic by encouraging me at every mile or so and then meeting me at the end for the hand off- felt so great when it was done, I was off and in this race!

In between leg 2- sickness
That's me on the left!

Then there were 5 more in my van to run after me- and then all 6 other runners from van 1 to run before my second leg. Somewhere between our last runner and meeting up with van 1 for a major exchange- we had to descend down the backside of a mountain with fairly windy roads- the heat, sunburn and elevation made for a car sick equation for me. We made a quick stop at a gas station where I had to get sick. I felt a little better- but still couldn’t eat and couldn’t drink water to rehydrate. We had to drive an additional 20(ish) miles to the alternate rest point to eat dinner and maybe shower and/or nap. By the time we pulled into that parking lot, I was feeling nauseous again and made it out of the van just in time. However, that was the last of it- finally. I was able to get in a few pretzels, some soda and then get some rest. When we got back into the van, I had about an hour and half before I had to run again- so I ate a half a cheese sandwich and a banana and drank as much water as I could.

Leg 2- night run, pregnant partner

My next major exchange point was at about 11pm and was 3.8 miles. I’m currently waiting for the cord adapter for my GPS watch to be able to upload the data and see exactly what I did at different parts of the run- but after a short ascension up a small hill, I had a downhill for a bit- and I was flying then- running felt awesome and quick and light. THEN…..the big hill (for me) came- and the rest of the run (roughly 2-2.5 miles) was almost entirely uphill. I did a lot of walking and got pretty discouraged. My overall pace was 15:25 per mile for this leg – but I still think I enjoyed this one the most- it was so peaceful at night. And while I was walking- I managed to keep pace with another woman- and we kept each other company. Turns out- she was 7 months pregnant while doing this race….she still finished the leg before me. . .(but she did start before me too- so it flushes out).

Lack-o-sleep –

Throughout the next cycle of legs- there wasn’t much sleep to be had- but it was awesome to watch the sun rise over the mountains and encourage each other and enjoy the company of these people that I’m now somehow connected to for life.

Leg 3

My 3rd and final leg was to take place at about 11am starting from a high school in Heber, UT. Before the van 1 crew got there- we were able to get some sleep and take a shower and try to eat a little bit of breakfast. By this time, I think I’d had a full 1.5 hours of sleep in the whole last 24 hours. As my final run started- I was so exhausted – I was beaten up mentally, physically and had many thoughts of giving up. But thankfully, my teammates were there to cheer me on and support me, regardless of whether they were disappointed in my performance or not. The truth is- I still completed all of my mileage. AND- the pace estimator that shows how long it will take you to complete each leg based on your normal pace? I still came in a couple minutes faster than those for each leg. My final leg came in at about 14:20 per mile.

As I was the first one in my van to finish my portion of the race, I had to make sure to give them my full effort to encourage and cheer them on now. Our biggest hurdles were yet to come with the Ragnar hill and the downhill that follows. My teammates are amazing athletes- not just fast and able-bodied, but determined, supportive and plain awesome. We weren’t going to win any speed records overall- and we knew that going in. Our goal was to finish- and we did finish strong.


My good friend Jen was runner 12 on our team- and after a 5.5 mile run through the woods and up the final hill to the finish line- we joined her in the final bit to run through the finish together. I’ve never been so happy to finish a race, get a medal and drink a beer in my whole life!

I may make updates and additions to this story as time passes when other details come back- but this race was a shining start in lifetime experiences for me. I proved to myself that even the “big girls” can train and do a race and that on my quest to become healthier and smaller and more competitive, I can still have fun and accomplish goals.

Feel free to ask me any questions about this race- I’m sure I have left out lots of details, but I’m happy to answer anything about it!

Here is our team video:

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Today was a good run. It started out so humid- it was only about 73-75 degrees, but like walking through soup- it was so hot! We went to a new park with a 1.6 mile course around the perimeter. We went in with the plan to complete it 3 times for 4.8 miles.
We started off with a short walk and then started jogging- we both knew we were running fast because of oru breathing, but I'd used my Nike+ today instead of my GPS watch, so I couldn't glance down to tell. And because of the humidity and pace, we both got tired quickly and had to take a walk break. But when we got back to running- we ran at a fast pace again. Halfway through the 2nd lap- we decided on a specific bench that would be our end point of running and that we'd walk from there on the 3rd go round.
All in all- we ran (with just a couple walk breaks) 4.2 miles at a 12:02mm pace. Then we walked the remaining .6 miles and I didn't clock it- it was simply for cool down and stretching.

After I got home to load the Nike+ data, I could look at different segments and see just how fast we were running. We were maintaining a 9:30-10:00mm pace when running and about a 13:30-13:45mm when walking those breaks. It was unintentional speedwork but it felt great and I'm not sore at all.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Storms and Sunshine

My last post was about how frustrating bad runs can be- I'm so glad I've learned to listen to my body and accept that some days are rough and with some genuine rest- you really do improve!

Today I was planning to do a 40 minute run. Unfortunately, the weather didn't want to cooperate and we had spotty storms - some that could be strong. I left work while it was still sunny but could see the storm clouds moving closer. I wish now that I had taken a picture, oh well.

It was 89 degrees and about 70% humidity. I did about a 3-4 minute warm up walk and then started jogging. Today I ran without my GPS watch and used my Nike+ instead. I could feel the power in my legs and felt really fast. I had gone about 10 minutes when the wind picked up and really started to blow in the storm.........but I kept going. Small tree branches (ok, they were loose sticks, but still) were blowing to the ground. I kept going. Finally- 20 minutes into it- I heard some thunder and the sky unleased a heavy downpour. I had run back towards my van and decided better to be safe than sorry when it comes to stormy weather and I ended my run righ at the 20 minute mark.

You know what? I was running a personal record! I had taken 2 small walk breaks that slowed the overall pace a bit- but still I was FAST today. My overall average was 11:09/mile - Amazing!

I've got a run with my friend in the morning and then Sunday off - next week is the taper off before the race so low mileage Monday and Wednesday. It's finally here!!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Anxiety or Training burnout?

Quick recap of this past weekend- I did go running on Saturday, but my running partner wasn't feeling well, so we opted to do 3 miles instead of the 4.5 we'd planned. Turns out- she had a double ear and upper respiratory infection- the girl is a machine! It was slower than normal for us- but not more than 20 seconds per mile slower. However- with her feeling under the weather later that day- and me having run or worked out 6 of the last 7 days, we decided to take Sunday off completely.

As this is the last full week before my race in Utah- it is meant to be the last week of longer runs before next week's taper. The running schedule was: Monday, 60 minutes, Wednesday, 50 minutes and Friday, 40 min and Saturday 20min in am/40 in pm.
Monday went off without a hitch- felt pretty good, ran a new route and enjoyed it.
Today was a little different. It was kind of muggy and given the time of month it is about to be (for me)- I'm feeling a little unenergetic and blah. I saddled up though and headed on out to do my run after work- I had planned on going the full 50 minutes- and instead I did a warm up walk of 3 minutes and started jogging. I swear- there is a jogging gnome along that trail that has an evil cackle and attaches invisible leg weights because my legs felt at least 50 lbs heavier each- it was like running through mud. So- after about .5 mile, I took a walk break. One walk break turned into two, which turned into 3 and then 4, 5, 6 - well, eventually I figured I might as just walk the rest of the 3 miles I ended up the last mile was all walking. It was dreadful.

However- after 6 months of training for this race- I am not worried about ability- there will be bad and good runs, I think it is mostly in my head and I'm just so ready to get out to Utah and get this race run. I am looking forward to running just to RUN when the race is over - but I'm also looking forward to putting my full effort towards my legs at the Ragnar Relay.
This time next week I'll be nearly touching down at the Salt Lake City airport.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The weekend ahead

This week has really gone by quickly. I'm happy  to see the weekend here though!

Yesterday- I had a nice workout at the gym- 20 mins of elliptical intervals and then 10 min run on treadmill and 10 min on stairmaster. Nice way to shake it up a bit - and got a great sweat.

This morning, I woke up and ran for 20 on my treadmill at home and plan to do a 30 min run after I get off of work (before picking up my girls and letting all types of craziness ensue).
Saturday, the plan (weather permitting) is to do a 7k (4.5ish miles) at Eagle Creek Park here in Indy. Lots of nice hills and beautiful scenery. The temp will be perfect as long as I can fit it in between thunderstorms. I have no issue with running in rain- but lightning is another story. After the run, and probably a nice lunch with my running partner- I get to go pick up my new Sprint HTC EVO and I can't wait! The best part is that with the 8 MEXAPIXEL camera it has- I hope to take more "action shots" when I'm out on a run- or at least before/after.

Sunday- again, weather permitting- plan to run 3.5 miles at the Canal downtown. I love this run- fast, flat and not too crowded if you go early enough.

I'm looking forward to working hard and posting some great results. I've now been taking Singulair for a week and it has already noticeably helped my asthma. I didn't even have to use my inhaler (before or after) running on the treadmill yesterday.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Set backs and learning curves.

In the 6 months since I started Couch-to-5K, I have learned a lot about running, racing and most importantly, myself. I have learned that some runs will be GREAT and some runs will not be so great. The not-so-great runs can be so incredibly frustrating.

Today was one of those incredibly frustrating days.

My training schedule had me running for 60 minutes. I was looking forward to it- coming off my last 2 great runs. All excuses I could make - A/C at work was broken in the morning, so it felt very draining. It was also hot and humid outside and I wasn't able to get my run in until late afternoon (3:30 start). It was 83 degrees and over 80% humidity. Oh woe is me. *sarcasm*

I started with just a 5 minute warm up walk and then started jogging. I think I started sweating almost immediately and just dripped with it. I ran 1.4 miles and that was just about 17 minutes- it was like a 12:15 pace. Perhaps I should have just slowed down and run farther.....but I listened to my body and decided to walk for a cool down and call it a day. I think I was truly too hot- it wasn't for lack of effort or heart. It just wasn't my day.

So now the dilemma- with 2 WEEKS left until I leave for Utah- and having trained well- I'm hoping I did enough. I guess I just have to trust the training schedule they set out for you (I mean, they are the experts, right?) and not feel like I have to cram for a college final.

4 miles each, 3 times in 24 hours, 1 run will be in the dead of night.

So incredibly excited while also completely terrified of what I've gotten myself into!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I am so excited to get to write this post today - I like to celebrate little successes- but when it comes to the big ones? I want to SCREAM them! So, pardon me while I do a happy dance and yell from the mountain tops:


In all my current (and previous) attempts at using Couch-to-5K to actually achieve running a full 5k distance/race - I was always able to cover the distance but had to incorporate walking breaks into it. This past Saturday, my good friend Stefanie and I decided to do a last minute race instead of our regular "training" run. She had never done a race, walking or running - so I was proud to stand beside her while she got her race feet wet. She and I typically run 3-4 miles together on the weekends and take as few walk breaks as possible- but we do take them.

I suppose we were feeling rather squirrely when we said before the race that "walking is not an option"; we were determined to run the whole thing. The race was to start at 9am- so we started prepping at 8:45 with some warm up walking and then lined up at 8:55. Since this was her very first race- I had warned her about taking off too quickly (which is something I've done WAY too many times) and I took the responsibility of keeping our pace. As the "gun" went off- she did just that, jumped ahead ready to take a lead and I held her back- I know those quarter-mile cramps from starting out too fast all too well.  She held up and we jogged a nice slow pace. Typically- our average pace is about 12:20 per mile on the weekend runs- so I was using my GPS watch to keep an eye on us- and we were keeping a similar pace. When things got tough- we would still jog, but just slow our pace a bit. Once we hit the 3-mile marker- we knew we had very little to go and we sped up a bit to finish very strong. While we know we won't win any speed awards- we had a major goal to complete this race in under 40 minutes. Very attainable- but a goal nonetheless. We finished the race at 37:28!! That's a 12:04 pace!!

I smiled all day long. I felt better than I have about my running in a long time. I was less sore during recovery and I was just so proud.

So proud, in fact, that I went out on Monday morning and I did it AGAIN! Not racing- but not walking either! Ran the full 3.5 miles that I did and while I felt sluggish and had a slower-than-race pace (can we say "Holiday Eating"?) I was happy to have pulled it off again.

So here is to never looking back and always running forward!

(That said- I am also posting it for anyone searching about C25K who thinks they'll never get there, or never accomplish it. You CAN do it- YOU can be a runner. You don't HAVE to do sub-10 minute miles to be serious. You just have to RUN!)