June 28, 2009

red tests her legs in two short races

I am now officially a 1 Miler and 5K-er. :-) I ran both of these races today for the first time. I realized quite quickly that I like distance better! haha!

Short races are tough! Have to run FAST, FAST, FAST the whole time! And then they went and threw some hills in that there 5K. That just wasn't nice. Someone even had the gall to spray paint a yellow smiley face half way up the side of one hill that was nearly a 45 degree angle. Actually, that made me laugh out loud. It was hilarious. It was an evil hill and needed some softening. The whole course was rough. About half of it was on the high school's cross country course. The rest was on a mixture of terrains such as concrete sidewalk, asphalt, wooded trail, track surface and even a small part on a corner of freshly plowed farm field - swear to god!! Someone had way too much fun designing that course. Ended up with a 21:55 which I thought was pretty darned good considering. Got 1st in my age group, 5th woman overall. Not a bad start to my 5K career. :-)

The 1 Mile race was more tame. It had several sharp turns, however, which slowed me down slightly, but NO GRASS like the 5K! I hate grass. It is the worst surface to run on! Finished in 6:12. Very happy with this! 1st in age group again and 2nd woman overall.

I talked to a gal after the race and she told me about a 5K in Flint this October that I so wish I could do! However, it is the day before the Brooksie Way Half Marathon, so it is a no-go. :-( Anyway, this race is called the UofM/MSU Tailgate Challenge. It is a 5K that takes place right before the Michigan/Michigan State football game - huge rivalry in this state, as you can imagine. Here's an excerpt from the race website:

"Don’t miss this opportunity to run for your favorite school before the big game. U of M supporters will run or walk counter-clockwise and MSU supporters will run or walk clockwise on the two loop course. There will be lots of opportunity to “razz” the other side. Great shirt with your school logo and awards in your school colors!"

Now that sounds like a COOL race! GO BLUE!!!!!!!!

What really cracked me up was the following, also from the race website:

"If you do not have a school preference, please indicate on entry and begin race with MSU supporters."

Whatsamatter, MSU, can't get enough people on your own? Gotta let the neutrals swell your ranks? hahahaha!!!!!!

June 21, 2009

Almost Registered

Mom came to my rescue and pointed out that the Linden Summer Happenings website has been updated and now I have the info I need on the 1 Mile and 5K races next weekend. Registration form is printed, check is made out, everything is in the envelope and ready to be mailed!

Thanks, Mom!

Speed and Heat Don't Mix

Oh, boy! What was I thinking!

On Saturday morning I had to work until about 1:30 pm. I still had to fit in a 4 miler for my marathon training plan which just started (YAY!). Running before work is just not going to happen. I have to be there at 7:30 am and it takes 30 minutes to get there. That would require running at ridiculously early hours. I'm just not that obsessed. Or maybe I just enjoy my sleep and well-being as much as I enjoy running?

Anyway, I ended up doing my 4 miles when I got home. I only worked a half day, so running afterwards seemed like a good idea. However, it was in the upper 70s with high humidity. It was like running through a curtain of water the entire time. A very HOT curtain of water. Thank god it was only 4 easy miles.

While I was running I realized my fatal error in my marathon training plan. On Tuesdays I work the same shift as Saturdays, that is 7:30 - 1ish. I stupidly scheduled speedwork for my post-work runs every Tuesday. Did I seriously think I'd be able to do speedwork during the hottest part of the day during a summer training session!? Dumb, dumb redhead!! Ack!!

When I designed the plan, I was following the same outline I used during my first marathon training, but that marathon was in the spring and most of the training was in the winter. In that season, I need to wait until the warmest part of the day to run, but it is just the opposite in the summer.

The solution, of course, was very simple. I don't work Wednesday mornings, so I simply swapped my Wed easy runs for my Tuesday speed sessions. No problem. Now I can do my speedwork early in the morning when it is MUCH cooler.

Today was my first "long" run on my plan, though it was only a 12-miler. I ran on a "new" route today and thoroughly enjoyed it. I say "new" because it is a route I drive literally everyday. I simply never ran it before. I have always been a little road-shy and there are no sidewalks on this road, but it has very wide, soft shoulders, so I summoned up my courage and did it! It is a two-lane, paved, semi-rural road. Sunday mornings see light - moderate traffic. It has lots of hills, beautiful homes and greenery everywhere. It shows off some of the best that Michigan back roads have to offer. I certainly can't complain about my commute to work along this road.

The run out gave my knees and quads a workout as it was mostly downhill. The run back had some awesome uphills. This is going to be a great route once Boston training starts!

Oh, and my shin is feeling great lately! I'm hesitant to say it is almost healed. Hate to jinx it, ya know. If it still feels this awesome after a few weeks, I'll be more optimistic. Not to say I'm not optimistic now. I suppose I should say I'm hesitantly optimistic?

Overall, I'm feeling great about my upcoming training and race schedule. I'm going to see if I can find a way to post my schedule on my Blogger website. I'm currently most excited about my first 1 mile and 5K races coming up. That's right, my FIRST. I started at 10K races and just moved up from there. Next weekend there is a small community festival that is hosting a 1 mile and 5K. I'm having trouble finding info on it, it is that small! If I am successful in finding that info, I'll be there. I'll of course let everyone know how it went!

June 16, 2009

I blame my legs.

Now that I have a new running watch (YAYAYAY!!!) that actually will record splits, I now have PROOF that my legs have a "negative split mentality". I'm one of those silly runners who has a hard time with easy runs. I can't seem to run slowly. It takes a lot of FOCUS to run slowly, and even then, I usually end up getting too speedy for my own good (and the good of my shins, achilles, etc.). If my mind wanders at all, then I'm screwed. My little legs see their chance and take off! Traitors.

So here is that proof I mentioned. It was supposed to be an easy six. After all, I'm coming back from a mini-hiatus due to a sore shin and also trying to build back up slowly after my marathon three weeks ago.

The splits were:

  1. 8:26
  2. 8:05
  3. 8:00
  4. 7:50
  5. 7:45
  6. 7:30

I swear I was trying (at times) to slow myself down! I thought the heat today would even help. Today was my first run of the season with temps over 70 degrees. In fact, today it was 76! No such luck. The heat didn't affect me. I guess I just keep trying. :-)

Shin update: Felt pretty good after the run today. I'm headed downstairs momentarily to get some ibuprofen and ice, just as a precaution. I will keep doing this until I am sure it is okay.

June 13, 2009

Grand Rapids Marathon

It's official! I'm registered for my next marathon: Grand Rapids 2009! Training to commence in T-minus TWO WEEKS! Woo!!!

Matty is registered too and is going to BQ, baby!!!

Flirt Report

Flirt with Dirt 10K Trail Race 2009 is complete!

I had a great time! It did rain a litte, but the rain did not bother me at all. As one other runner put it, it sure beats the sun beating down on you (though in the woods, this is rarely a problem). I had a great run mostly due to the gal who I was using as a pacer for 5 1/2 miles. If it were not for her, I could not have run as strongly throughout the race. She gave me a goal - to keep up with her! And near the end, I even mustered up the energy to pass her. I made sure to congratulate her on a great race afterward and to thank her for helping me (unknowingly) run my best. Hope I didn't come off as condescending. I really couldn't have done as well without her!

Anyway, 1st in Age Group and 7th overall for me (Unofficial [watch] time: 46:43)! Even though my goal was Top 3 overall, believe me, I am perfectly happy with the results. I noticed if I had finished with this time last year, I would have been 2nd overall. There was definitely some better competition this year! I'm all for that!

The trail was in great condition - not one big mud puddle like last year. I didn't remember how flat it was for the first half. And then only a few hills in the last few miles. For a trail race, this one is pretty fast! I hope I can run it again next year. Flirt is a great race!

My shin is still hanging in there. It isn't great, but could be much worse. It did not get any worse today, not noticably, at least. I'm still holding out hope for a recovery.

June 12, 2009

Good News, Bad News

Good News: The weather was wonderful today and I got in a 5.6 mile trail run on the Bald Mountain single-track near my home. The run was perfect.

Bad News: My shin started bugging me more than usual when I got home.

Bad News: The new ice bag I just bought has a hole in it so I had to use a ziplock to ice my shin. That just doesn’t work very well!! The new ice bag was purchased to replace a similar bag that had a hole in it. What gives!?

Good News: The store let me return the ice bag and I got this nifty “cold peas” refreezable cold pack instead. It has pea-sized beads in it like those fake ice cubes that you can freeze over and over. Can’t wait to try it!

Bad News: I still need an ice pack.

Bad News: The Velcro on my watch strap decided to stop sticking today. So no watch on my run. No big deal, I guess, I forget my watch half the time anyway.

Good News: I went to Target and finally bought the Ironman Sleek 50-Lap running watch I’ve been wanting for months! I can record splits now! WOO!

And I will end with the good news.

Flirt with Dirt 10K tomorrow! Looking forward to it! My goal: Top 3 Overall (women, of course)

June 11, 2009

That did the trick!

Okay, I did it. I ran 3.5 miles on the trails at Bald Mountain. It was threatening to rain, so I got out ahead of the weather this morning. It was near perfect! The run did not affect my shin. That isn't to say I wasn't aware of my shin as it feels "off" even when standing still on it. But the running didn't make it worse. That is good news!

Also, I felt strong during the entire run, like I hadn't missed any running at all. No, scratch that, I felt even better running today, like the rest did my entire body (if not my shin) a whole world of good! It is good to be back.

June 10, 2009

My True Feelings Revealed

Tomorrow is the day. The hiatus is almost over. I will put on my Salomons and drive over to the Bald Mountain single-track for a test run on my not-quite-100% shin. My plan is to do about 3.5 miles at a conversational pace. Of course, running Bald Mountain is hard to do conversationally because there are very few flat sections. You are almost always going up or down hills, tripping over roots and rocks and dodging fallen trees, large puddles and thorny vines. It's awesome!

I'm simply going to have to cross my fingers that whatever is wrong with my shin will continue to slowly heal as I continue to run. It worked with my achilles - I never stopped running when they became painful and they healed up quite nicely. So I know it is possible with some injuries! I'll continue to ice, stretch, roll out my calves, strengthen my lower legs and hope for the best.

On to an entirely different topic...

I keep going over my marathon in my mind. Every time I do, I realize the dominant feeling I have is disappointment. How can I be disappointed with a time of 3:31 for a first marathon and a Boston qualifying time. What is wrong with me?? I mean, I ran this marathon less than a year after my very first race! I keep thinking to myself that the standards for women in my age group must be WAY too easy if I can qualify after walking for so many miles. Then it occured to me - maybe I'm the one with standards that are way too high for myself

Still, everytime I talk to friends or family about the race, I stop myself when I try to say, "I ran my first marathon." In reality, I didn't run a marathon. I ran most of it and walked the rest. One of my goals for the race was to run the whole thing. I'm not one who buys into the whole walk/run strategy. That may be okay for those who just want to complete a marathon, but I wanted to RUN a marathon. I just can't bring myself to believe that I did that.

I ought to be darned proud of myself. The vast majority of the world's population will never even register for a marathon. I not only completed one, but qualified for Boston - a feat that takes many seasoned runners several tries to achieve. I repeat - what is wrong with me?? I've tried putting on a happy face when talking about this race with others, but it really was partly an act. I'm trying to convince myself to feel how I ought to feel, but one cannot turn feelings on and off with the flip of a switch. It doesn't work that way.

So now I set my sights on the Grand Rapids marathon. Goal number one will be to run the entire race. I know I won't be satisfied unless I also PR, but that shouldn't be an issue if goal number one is reached! I can't imagine going to Boston without ever having RUN an entire marathon. This is why my fall marathon is so important. I hardly feel like a marathoner yet! I feel a little pang of guilt every time I see the 26.2 magnet on my car. Did I truly deserve it? Of course I did! See, part of me understands, but part of me is a stubborn, perfectionistic redhead.

Hopefully tomorrow will be an upbeat post on how great I feel after my trail run!

June 9, 2009

Nachos and Red Wings!

It is two days before I need to start running again to test out my legs and get ready for my next race and my shin really isn't feeling much better now than it did before this current running hiatus started. That is really bumming me out. I'll be running on Thursday regardless, but I was hoping for several days pain-free before starting. I should really say "discomfort-free", because, as I've said before, it isn't outright painful - just annoying and nerve-wracking! Why isn't it healing?? By now I would have expected the discomfort to be gone even if it isn't totally healed. Very, very frustrating!!

At least I'll be able to do all my runs on soft surfaces. Even the race is a trail race. If I need to run, that's the best way to do it, I guess.

Got in the pool again today! Again only did about 500 meters and even that was WAY slow! haha! I stink at swimming! But I'm going to plug away at it and get better! I discovered during these past two swims that I badly need a swim cap! This mass of red hair is all I see when I turn my head to the side to get a gasp of air.

Here's another spot of good news: The RW training log was FAST today. WOOO!!

Tonight: Matty's famous nachos and watching the RED WINGS win the Stanley Cup. Too bad they aren't home in Detroit for the win.

June 7, 2009

Elliptical Hopping

My cross-training for today consisted of elliptical hopping, the new "skating" cardio machine at the gym and my usual strength training. Elliptical hopping? Yes. Our gym is so big, they have, let me count... I can think of 5 different models of ellipticals. Swear to god! I've used all of them at one point or another, but couldn't remember which one I liked the best. So today I tried 3 different models before finding the one I liked best - LifeFitness!

The skating machine is unique! It kinda simulates ice skating in that you push the foot platforms back and to the side. Shweeet! And a good workout. This machine is brand new to our gym. They added two of them a few weeks ago when they closed down for a few days to put in new carpet and equipment. The trainers think they are going to be a hit. I agree. I wonder how much more popular they'll become with the RED WINGS kicking some major Penguin butt!!! (That was kind of on topic - skating machine.. hockey.. right?) :-)

I've been a good little injured runner. I've been icing my shin every opportunity I have (usually 2-3 times a day), taking antiinflammatories and recently started foam rolling my super tight calves (I'm suspecting they are part of my shin problem) and doing some lower-leg strength training. I am starting to feel some improvement and hope to be able to get back to running next Thursday for an easy run on a soft surface. My next race is next Saturday! Eep! But it is a trail run - so soft surface again. Phew! I'm actually really looking forward to it. I just checked the results from last year and I should be able to pull out a Top 3 Overall finish! That'd make for a happy redhead.

June 5, 2009

I am NOT out of shape! I swear!

Just when I think I am pretty darned fit (I ran a marathon, didn't I!?), I go and try a new sport (swimming) and am huffing and puffing after only one length!!! SHEESH! And I was really trying to swim SLOOOOWLY. I could actually FEEL my heart pounding in my chest after each lap. I had to stop and rest after almost every lap. I felt a little ridiculous - like everyone around me must be looking at me thinking, "she sure is out of shape." I should tape the words, "I can run a marathon" on my suit just for clarification. :-) Wow, that was really hard. I mean, my heart and lungs shouldn't have been working that hard. Now I'm thinking that if I can master the art of swimming, my running is going to improve by leaps and bounds!

I only ended up doing around 20 lengths. I had a hard time keeping track of lengths, so it could be as high as 24, I suppose. I did a mix of strokes - freestyle, breast, sidestroke and even "ran" a few laps. It may have been short, but it was a good workout. I'll get better at it!

I was finally excited to try swimming. I wanted to try it for a while now but was in desperate need of a new suit and goggles. My old one-piece was so old, it was nearly threadbare. The only other suits I had were bikinis and I would have felt really stupid swimming laps in a bikini. Then we found an ad for 25% off all suits at Sports Authority this week and figured this was my chance! Suits are so expensive!! Got a new Speedo one-piece (blue and black) and some TYR goggles. I am ready for the pool!

I also put air in my trusty comfort bike's tires and hit the bike trails yesterday with my man! That was a ton of fun! I think I'll have to get my bike out again today. It's super sunny and in the mid-70s. I can't stay inside much longer or I'll explode. That'd be messy.

So, cross-training is going well! I'm having some fun with it, trying new things and getting some great workouts. I still want to RUN. First run is planned for next Thursday. Shin is so-so at the moment. It's getting lots of ice and antiinflamatories. Wish me and my shin luck!

June 2, 2009

Well-Deserved Time Off

Well, I did a pretty light week of running last week. Did my first run 3 days after the marathon - a 3.5 miler. Then did an easy 5 a few days after that. Then an easy 6 and finally an 8 miler on Sunday. It was kind of a reverse taper in my mind.

After a week of easy running, I've decided maybe I do need some time off. My left shin started bugging me about a week before the marathon. I stopped running altogether until two days before the marathon when I tested it out on an easy 3 miler on the trails. It felt fine then, so I felt more confident about the race.

My shin never bothered me during the race and didn't start bothering me again until just a few days ago. Figures. I wouldn't even call it true "pain". It is just a bothersome "wrongness" that I don't want to turn into a serious issue. Sooo.... I'm taking about a week and a half off to see how it responds to rest. Hopefully it is one of the minor causes of shin splints and not something serious like a stress fracture. I'm really only marginally worried about it and just playing it safe. I have time on my side now since I just finished my first marathon and don't need to start training for the next one for about a month.

Let the cross-training begin!!!

Oh, wait. It already has... Did a 20 minute vigorous workout on the stationary bike and then 30 minutes on the elliptical. Then I headed over to the FreeMotion machines (my new love) and did an upper body workout. I feel great!

"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