January 31, 2009

Frozen Redsicle

Icky run today. Was not fun in the least. It was cold, it was windy, and I battled with my Fuel Belt the first half of the run. I finally figured out how best to adjust it, then all I had to deal with was the cold and wind and a constantly drippy nose. :(

As if all that wasn't bad enough, I also came across a poor old man who had fallen out of his wheelchair and into the snow. He was with a younger lady (his daughter?), who was unable to do anything to help. She seemed to have issues herself. I stopped to offer what help I could though how much help a little squirt like myself could give, I'm not sure. I didn't even have a cell phone on me. Fortunately, I had just passed several people who were getting out of a truck and the man said they were on their way to help and he waved me on.

That brings me to my final issue with today's run. One that comes up every time I do a coooold weather run. I want to stretch after my runs. I've learned from experience and the wisdom of others the benefits of post-run stretching in reducing soreness and preventing injury. The problem is, when I finish a cold weather run, all I want to do is jump in the car, turn on the heated seats and heating vents full blast and allow myself to melt! Though I'm usually relatively comfortable during the run, as soon as I stop, I freeze up very quickly. Very, very quickly. Trying to stretch before getting in the car and heading home may very well put me at risk for hypothermia! That may be a little exaggerated, but the constant shivering and extreme discomfort makes it hard to concentrate on stretching. Quite frankly, I'd rather take the risk of a little soreness, tight muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc. than put up with cold.

I'm wondering what kind of a time-frame I have post-run where stretching does the most good. It takes about 30 minutes to get home from the park. I definitely feel soreness setting in by the time I step out of the car. Then I need to get out of my damp clothes, shower (for the heat as much as the cleanliness aspect!) and put something warm and dry on. (I know a hot shower is not recommended immediately post-run but remember, I'm frozen!) By then is it too late to stretch? Would it do me any good after so much time has passed?

January 30, 2009

Red Won a Turkey Trot Scarf!

Had a GREAT workout doing intervals on Thursday. I again did my speedwork on the treadmill as I'm still learning what it feels like to do different paces. I did 3x 1 mile intervals with half mile jogs in between. My intervals were at 7:03 pace (exactly 8.5 mph on the mill). When I was doing these intervals, I kept thinking, "How in the world did I keep this pace up for 10K in the Turkey Trot last Fall??????" Somehow I managed. I have the Top 100 Turkey Trot scarf to prove it! (I wear it everywhere - I'm so proud!) But I'm still not convinced it wasn't a fluke. I'm longing for my next 10K to see if I can do a repeat performance. I tell ya, race-day adrenaline must be super-potent, because I'm still in shock at my time.

So my hubby got a call a few days ago from someone involved with the Stoney Creek Running Club. We've been thinking of joining up for a few months. It'd be great to meet fellow addicts - er, I mean, runners. I'm kind of a solo-trainer, but that doesn't mean I'm entirely anti-social. We already know several people in the club anyway, and it'd be nice to meet some more. Perhaps I'll find running with others will push me to limits I didn't know existed. Perhaps I'll learn some training and racing tips from far more seasoned runners. Perhaps I'll just have a great time!

Anyway, the call was a personal invitation to the Sunday group run at the park. It is "Bagel Sunday", so that means free food and coffee after the run. That always helps motivation to attend! Plus, apparently there will be a few reporters on-hand from local papers to do write-ups about, well, running is my guess. Some of the elite Brooks-Hanson's guys and gals will be there too. I wonder if we got invited to help swell the ranks and impress the reporters. heh. I still think I'll put it on my calender. Free food, free food, free food...

January 25, 2009

Seasonal GU -- Who knew!?

So, Mom, since you reminded me today that I haven't been posting here, I copied/pasted all my entries from my Runner's World blog. There are 4 or 5 new posts here. You'll have to play catch-up! Hope I don't bore you too much - it is mostly running stuff!

We've all heard of seasonal beer - winter lagers, Oktoberfest, pumpkin ales, etc. But I was shocked and amused to see a seasonal GU - chocolate mint! This sounded intriguing, as my favorite espresso drink is a peppermint mocha, not that I think GU could ever compare to that decadent treat. I needed to pick up several packets anyway since my supply was very low, so I threw a couple choco-mints into my bag. I tried one out today during my long run and son-of-a-gun, it was GOOD! Never thought I'd say that about GU. Now I need to campaign to make it year-round instead of seasonal. I also need to swing back by Hanson's and pick up whatever they have left over! I'm not sure I should admit this outside of the running crowd... oops.

So I tried out my new Fuel Belt today. Fit great! Didn't even know I had it on during the entire 12-miler. I hope it fits as well when I am scantily dressed during summer runs *wink*. But it should serve me well during the rest of the winter - that is, when the temperature is somewhere closer to freezing. Today it was about 10F when we started our run. At around mile 8 or 9, it occured to me that I wasn't hearing any sloshing anymore. I dismissed that fact until I finished my run and reached down to take a drink from a completely frozen bottle of Powerade. *sigh*

The other problem I had came from trying to replace the bottle in the back of the belt with mittens on. Couldn't feel or see a thing! Both bottles were quickly moved to the front of the belt (I left the other 2 bottles at home). I'm hoping non-mittened hands will have little trouble replacing bottles in the back. If not, my husband suggested twisting the belt around once the front 2 bottles are empty. What a smart guy. :-)

On the plus side, my new Outdoor Research mittens kept my hands relatively comfortable during the entire run. I am quite sure my hands would have been frozen and painful in my old gloves. Good timing on my mitten purchase. Go Red!

January 24, 2009

Red Got a Fuel Belt

I've read in several blogs lately about the runner's infatuation with tech clothes and gear. I am absolutely no exception. My limited disposable income is mostly spent on running gear, registration fees and travel to races. But really, when I think about it, I spend the vast majority of my time wearing either scrubs (for work), running gear or lounge-around-the-house clothing which usually consists of fleece or cotton tees and sweats. I wear casual clothing maybe once a week and dress-up stuff (blech!) maybe 1-2 times a year! So I suppose I can justify the amount I'm spending on tech clothes and gear when I look at the proportion of my time I spend wearing/using it, right?

All that was build-up to the following outburst -- I got a Fuel Belt today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am SO excited! No more stopping at my car to refuel. No more sore arm from my hand-held bottle (which I may still use on short runs in hot weather). I got the Helium 4 in Small for my petite 5'2", barely-a-buck frame. It fits great! No bounce at all! I figure I'll probably only use 2 bottles in the winter, but come summer, I'll be glad to have all 4. I like the small pouch which only allows me to bring a few GUs. That way I won't be tempted to take too much with me.

And who did I run into at the running store?? - Our own Olympian, Brian Sell. Nice guy!

Maybe you may remember my poor, frozen hands from my long run a week ago. Well, hopefully that problem is solved too. My all time favorite store, REI, is having their January clearance and I picked up some Outdoor Research mittens for less than $20. Ahhh, toasty warm hands...

No running to report about today. Just gear.

new gear = happy redhead

January 23, 2009

Slow Down, Red!

Whoa! Practically a heat wave in Michigan today! Though it seems it may be short-lived. The next few days have highs in the teens again. *sigh* And I still don't have any running mittens...

Well, today I took advantage of the "warm" weather and got in my scheduled "easy" run. I even felt hot at one point! Had to unzip my jacket! Weird. Anyway. I was supposed to run it at around a 9:00ish minute/mile pace - according to Smart Coach. I don't think I've ever run that slow. I'm not sure I am able to run that slow. Everytime I try a nice, easy conversational pace, I end up running no slower than 8:30 and sometimes just under 8:00 (like today)!! So how in the world did this Smart Coach come up with such a ridiculously slow pace?? Or maybe I should ask why I have such a hard time going any slower?? And does it matter?? Do I need to try to go slower so I don't tire out too quickly or get injured, etc? Even my long runs are no slower than 8:30. I had a few long runs months and months ago in the 8:40s but nothing slower. As long as I drink enough and refuel enough, I don't seem to have any problems with the pace. So am I good staying with what feels okay? I realize Smart Coach is just a plug-and-chug computer program, but I assume some intelligence went into its design. The paces were calculated based on a race time I put in. Incidentally, the time I used was a half marathon I finished in 1:42:28.

I also picked up a stability ball (only $19.99 - wooo!) the other day. Can't wait to try out the core exercises I found on Runner's World (in the video section). I only hope little feline claws stay away from the ball. Unfortunately, they don't seem to be afraid of it! They assume everything we bring into the house is for them, you see. My husband's foam roller became a giant cat toy on day one. ha!

Running Better than Tylenol

Had a headache at the beginning of my run the other day and wasn't sure I'd be able to complete my workout. Stuck with it though, and the headache went away after about 1 1/2 miles. Ended up being a great tempo run (treadmill). Ran 4 of 6 miles at 7:30 pace. Woo! Was silly enough to schedule leg strength training after the tempo run. What was I thinking!?! Of course, I didn't do it. Did a core workout only and rescheduled the leg strength training for the next day. Silly redhead! Hmmm... maybe I should try running more often when I have headaches??? Worked better than Tylenol!

Found a GREAT new place to have post-workout meals. Main Street Deli in Rochester, Michigan. Awesome salads and sandwiches! Highly recommended! I can't believe I've worked in Rochester for 5 years and just discovered the place. Mmmm.... Of course, my husband's restaurant is almost literally in the backyard of the gym, and it is hard to pass up a free meal! It's just that sometimes, I like a change! Really, Honey, I do love your 'za, subs, salads and pasta!

January 20, 2009

January 18, 2009

Coooold Hands.... And Longest Long Run to Date!

16 miles!!!!!!!! Longest long run to date! Yay! It was fantastic! Did it in 2:12! I even got a bit emotional at the end. I always do when I go longer than I've ever gone before. It was almost perfect, but 2 miles of extremely painful frozen hands put a blemish on it. Also, had a tiny bit of indigestion, but fortunately didn't have to make a pit stop. The frozen hand thing was weird. I stopped at my car after the first loop (6 miles) for my GU, Gatorade, tissues and Chapstick. I had everything laid out, so it took me less than 2 minutes to finish my ritual and hit the trail again. I didn't even take my gloves off! But in that time, my fingers started to get very cold and a half mile back into my run, they froze up painfully. How can such a brief stop with gloves still on make such a big difference??? I was planning on stopping again after my second loop, but decided I'd rather get a little fatigued from lack of calories, liquid and/or electrolytes than endure the nearly unbearable ache in my hands again. I finished very strong despite no fuel or liquid during the last 10 miles! Go figure.

Though I've taken a little time off from blogging (was not getting enough sleep!), I have still been running. The temps have dipped into single digits up here in Michigan and windchills have pushed the temps well below zero. Most of the past week's runs have been on the treadmill. I got a few really good workouts on them. I tried one of the treadmill workouts I found on Runner's World - one of the hill workouts. It was only so-so -- didn't quite work me hard enough. I think I'll add another repeat to each set and see how it works next time. I also did a tempo run one day. That was a great workout! And being on a treadmill, I was able to stick to a predetermined pace the entire time. Being fairly new to this sport, I'm still having a hard time with pacing.

Yesterday I earned my Silver Award in the Presidential Champions program! Yay!

I Married a Poet

I found this on Matty's Runner's World blog and asked him if I could paste it here. It is hilarious. I didn't realized I married a poet.

Long run day, hurray!
Sixteen miles to see the end.
Sixteen below....treadmilling at the gym.
Pack, drive, lockers, key, up the stairs, pick a mill.
Noise, tvs, florescent lights, machines, phones, i-pods, fake plants, happy people with name tags.

Running in place today, hurray!
Sixty-four imaginary loops before I'm done.
Speed set............... eight minute pace.
Powerade, towel, shoes tied, watch, radio...check.

Eight pretend miles in, hurray.
Find distractions to kill the time.
People count..........eighty-two.
TV...news, Judge Judy, videos, espn, c-span.

Sixty loops in so far, hurray.
Is sixteen below really too cold? A short run outside tomorrow?
Facemask, wonder-ware, layers, gloves.
Quietness, trees, snow, footprints, swans, fresh air, happy dogs making tracks.
Four miles at the park tomorrow, HURRAY!

January 11, 2009

Progression of Fatigue

Did a 14-miler today. I was intrigued by the progression of fatigue my body experienced. I felt great for the first 10 miles. Over the next 2 1/2 miles I could feel fatigue creeping into me more and more. At about mile 12 1/2, I passed some kind of invisible fatigue barrier and I was able to allow my legs to go into "autopilot" mode while I put most of my focus into keeping my upper body straight. In that mode, I actually felt better even though I wasn't any less fatigued, but I could keep going indefinitely. I finished my 14 miles with my head up and feeling pretty good about the run.

Since I am doing most of my winter training on a paved 6 mile loop around a lake (which gets plowed and salted regularly - yay!), I keep my Gator/Powerade, GU and/or soft candy/chews in my car. When I finish a loop at the parking lot, I refuel and take off again. It is nice to not have to carry anything with me! Once the winter snows pass, I will again do a lot of training on our local Rails to Trails, which means a Fuel Belt or equivalent will be purchased in the near future. The times I've used a hand-held water bottle (ugh) and taken a few swallows every few miles, I feel a lot better. At this time, my arms are too sore to carry a bottle due to beginning a strength training program recently. At least that's my excuse and I'm sticking with it! I hate that hand-held thing, even though I do better!

Yay for Rails to Trails!!!!

I see swans all the time. The vast majority of the time they are paddling around slowly in a lake or pond. I'm quite sure I had not seen one in flight before today. I only say this because, now that I have, I'm sure I would have remembered it! Anyway, there is only one spot on Stony Lake where the water is not frozen. This spot is right below a dam that constantly allows a wall of water to spill into the lower lake, keeping a small area from freezing until the temps get very, very low. So this is the area where all the water fowl congregate - mostly Canada Geese and swans. Today, I heard a ruckus just as I finished passing the birds. I looked back and saw three huge swans flying low over the frozen lake. It was so amazing to see these enormous birds in flight! They really dwarf the geese! And then, about a mile later, I was lucky enough to have a beautiful hawk circling just above me for several minutes. This is one of many reasons I don't run in town!

January 9, 2009

Tempo Runs and Gym Bags

Did some speekwork yesterday. I tried to do a tempo run, but my lack of experience resulted in a pace that was too fast and I could barely sustain it for two miles. I was hoping to do at least three. I couldn't use my watch to help me figure out my pace, because the mile markers were hidden by the snow! I recovered for about another half mile before deciding to add some strides to the end of the run. I ended up doing four strides. Overall it ended up being a good workout, but I sure hope I get better at pacing! If not, I could have a nasty surprise near the end of my first marathon.

Today my mission is to find a gym bag. I have been using a freebie backpack I got from a veterinary conference (so you know it's cheap!). My stuff barely fits! It has all of 2 pockets! I thought I'd hit the nearby running stores, REI and a few sporting goods stores. There is one bag I found through Runner's World Shoes and Gear Blog that looks cool (Endurance Ultra Bag), but it can only be ordered online. I like to see things in person before purchasing! Wish me luck!

January 7, 2009

Wiggles Officially Adopted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


He goes to his new home on Saturday. Here's hoping he gets along with the other two cats in his new home! That's the only thing I worry about!

I'll miss you, little bud!

January 4, 2009

Goals for 2009

I figure the more places I post this, the more accountable I will be! So here are my goals so far this year:

1) Run my first marathon (Bayshore in Traverse City, MI) and finish strong (no time goal for my first one!)

2) BQ my second marathon in the Fall (Haven't picked a Fall race yet.) Ambitious? Maybe. Attainable? Definitely. I can do it.

3) Prove to myself that my 10K PR of 43:27 wasn't a fluke and make a repeat performance!

4) Run my first 5K in under 21:45. I know, I did it backwards! I started at 10K and went up from there. Now I really want to try a 5K.

5) Complete the Serious Series trail runs!

6) Strength train 3 times a week. (Tues, Fri, Sun)

7) Cross train 1-2 times a week - bike, swim or row

Long Run at the Gym

As predicted, I had to do my long run today on a treadmill. I did 13.1 miles. Easy to measure exactly on that machine! It was loooong and boring and the guy next to me kept looking at me. Have guys never heard of peripheral vision!? Sheesh! Am I gonna have to start wearing my wedding ring to the gym? No, I can't do that. I'd be afraid of it falling off on the cardio machines and it would definitely be in the way when weight trainig. Oh well. I guess I should take it as a compliment, eh? :-)

Boredom aside, it was a good run. Felt great. Of course, it was a treadmill, so that means less effort, but I choose to still feel good about it. So there! I also realized the nice thing about working out at the gym is showering at the gym and using THEIR hot water and THEIR soap and THEIR hair dryers, hair gel, towels, etc. This is saving me money! Cool!

There was freezing rain today and I haven't shelled out the bucks for a waterproof running jacket yet. I don't mind getting wet when it is warm out, but getting wet when temps are below freezing is not a good idea! Hence the treadmill, or as I saw another runner put it, the dreadmill.

January 3, 2009

Running and Hydration

Today's run was GREAT! Started out with the plan to do 7 easy miles. Easy for me should be about 8:15 - 8:30 min/mile. Ran with my Matty at Stony Creek and he always likes to go counter-clockwise. (I much prefer clockwise because then I don't have to do that stupid hill when I'm cold. I hate that hill. Always winds me, no matter how slow I take it.) Anyway, the first mile was at about a 8:45 pace - on track for the first mile of an easy run; I always speed up later (plus that stupid hill slows me down). Matt kept pulling ahead; he hates starting so slow. Then all of a sudden my legs starting carrying me much faster and I didn't argue - only doing 7 miles, after all. Matty started lagging! I felt super strong the entire time and averaged 7:47 pace for the entire run! Considering how slow I started, I wonder what my later pace must have been to get that average. I think the weather really helped too. The sun actually came out today. I was beginning to forget what she looked like. The wind was much calmer and the temperature was a perfect 32F. Today was one for the books! :-)

In the next few weeks I will start training in earnest for my Spring marathon, Bayshore in Traverse City, Michigan - my first! I've used a hand-strap water bottle for my shorter runs , but after about 8 miles, my arm gets tired - and it is way too weird to carry it left-handed! So, for my longer runs that are coming up, I want to switch to a belt. There are so many to choose from! Do I get small bottles or big bottles? Do I get a belt with 2, 3, 4 bottles? Amphipod? Fuel Belt? Nathan? Nike? Ack! Now, I'm not much of a sweater. I may get a light sheen on my skin even on the hottest days, while my poor husband is dripping buckets! I don't think I need max-bottles here. But will 2 small ones be enough? Much to consider!

January 2, 2009

Stretching and Injuries

Someone recently posted in the Runner's World online community for advice on stretching, and I, of course, had to throw in my two-cents worth. Considering I've only been running one year, two cents may be all it's worth! But it has been working for me so far! Of course, I've never been prone to injury luckily. I've played volleyball since I was 12 and had only two slight injuries (I'm 35 now). I never injured myself in my years of playing basketball. I have learned that running injuries are far different. They are less likely to be trauma and more likely to be from overuse. I did tweek both my achilles last year but they are both back to about 90%. Stretching, taking it easy on hills and speedwork for a while and calf-raises really helped my achilles (since I don't have insurance or the money to see a physician or a PT!).

With that intro, here's what I posted on my thoughts on stretching:

The consensus I have gotten from various trusted sources is the best time to stretch is when your muscles are warm. That means, if stretching before a run, walk or slow jog for about 10ish minutes first, then stop and stretch, then start your training run. After a run, cool down with another 10ish minutes of slow jogging/walking and stretch again.

Armed with that advice, I still only stretch AFTER a run but it has reduced sore muscles CONSIDERABLY and helped a nagging achilles injury (mentioned above) to heal.

Before a shorter distance race (5 or 10K), I'll warm up by running slowly for about 10 minutes pre-race. For the 5K, I might even recruit some fast twitch muscles by throwing in some short bursts of faster running to warm up. (I say "might" because I haven't done a 5K yet (haha!), but that's my plan for when I do!) For longer races, I let the first few miles of the race itself be my warm-up.

January 1, 2009

Winter Running

Well, I have been getting outside more lately. My last treadmill run was... well, I can't remember and I think that's a good thing! No snowstorms, arctic wind gusts or sleet lately, so outside running has been more reasonable. Almost fun even, but not quite. The frigid fingers and lips kind of put a damper on the enjoyment. Today I did a fartlek run and it was great! Saw lots of other runners at the park and that's always encouraging. Fellow runners are always so friendly.

Today I realized as I was running one thing I will miss about winter at the park once warmer temperatures come back - the tranquility. It is so peaceful in winter. There are very few people using the trails, nobody at the beach, no barking, no screaming, just quiet. With a blanket of snow, any noise is dampened even more. The scenery is also just beautiful.

It's back to work on Saturday. I plan on figuring out a schedule for running and cross-training today. With the new gym membership, training will have to be more structured since the gym is 20 minutes away. It is very close to work and the park where I run, so it shouldn't take much effort to work out times to go before and after work to minimize driving.

With the marathon less than 5 months away, I also need a semi-structured marathon training plan. That's second on my to-do list today. I plan on using Runner's World's Smart Coach tool to get a basic framework for training and then I'll tweek it to suit my specific needs. For one thing, it only goes up to 16 weeks and I have 20 weeks before the race. I need to tag on another month of training.

Along with the excitement for the marathon that I've had since before I even registered, I'm also starting to feel a little nervous. The anxiety I will use as motivation to keep training hard so I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I'll be ready when I step up to that starting line in May. Bayshore, I'll be ready for you!!
"Cats are like greatness: Some people are born into cat-loving families, some achieve cats, and some have cats thrust upon them." -William H. A. Carr

red's 2011 race schedule