Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Reviewing January

January Stats:

Running Miles: 173 (my highest mileage month ever - by 1 mile, beating out August of 2011)
Biking Miles: 152
Weight: 10 times

I am happy with January.  I was able to complete long runs of 14, 16, 16 (again), 18.5, and 12 miles in.  I also ran a new 10k PR.  

In February, I hope to continue to run slow, long runs every week, with the 3rd week being a cut-back week; continue speed work; run true tempo runs (this was a January fail); and...SWIM.  Yes, I want to swim.  I don't know how, and honestly, swimming scares me,  But, I want to conquer it in February.  

I do not anticipate running any races in February, but hope to finalize my 2012 racing schedule soon.  I want to have it completed, but just haven't had the time to invest in it yet.  I want it done by mid-February at the absolute latest.  There are a few things already on there (Illinois Marathon, Ragnar Madison to Chicago ultra relay), but there are multiple question marks. 

I hope February is as successful as January!

How was your January?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Weekend Recap/Chicago 2012

I'm glad it is Sunday night and the weekend is almost over.  This has been one crappy weekend...the crappiest one in a long, long time.  Without going into too much detail, there were some tears that were shed, not that much sleep, an awful long run with a low blood sugar, and some other stuff.  Life isn't always filled with sunshine, but hopefully tomorrow is.

Weigh in - I want your thoughts!

As many of you know, registration for the Chicago Marathon opens this week.  Although it does not see out in less than a day (like Boston), a person really should register in a week for it.  I have been thinking, and thinking, and done some more thinking about it.  I ran it last year and had a great time.  Should I run it again this year?  It is a tough call.

Reasons to Run Chicago in 2012:
  • It is close to where I live...a mere 30 minutes away.
  • I get to see all of my friends at the aid station (mile 2) from my running club.
  • My running club's summer program is designed for people who run Chicago.
  • It is big, fun, and there is a lot of excitement associated with it.
  • My best friend is also contemplating running it.  Although we would not run together, going through the same training program, running the same mileage, would be neat.
Reasons to not Run Chicago in 2012:
  • I am running the Illinois Marathon in April.  If I quality for Boston there, which is the goal, I would not need to run it.
  • The first half of the course is awesome, and the second half is dull.
  • I could always run another fall marathon if need be, as there are many to choose from.
  • I could volunteer at the Mile 2 aid station with my running club and get to experience the race in a totally different way.
In a very unrelated note, the Polar Dash website posted pictures on Facebook of people running their race.  They got a  picture of me, which many people from my running club have commented on.  I am always amazed how supportive everyone - fast, slow, older, younger - is when something positive happens to a fellow club member.  I think that has been one of the biggest advantages of me joining the club - the never-ending support I get from others (I'm picture 79).

What are your thoughts on running Chicago?  Will you be running this year?   

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Body Image and Weight

Today I watched a YouTube video that mentioned celebrity sizes.  The video, originally posted on a Facebook page for my running club, said that the size of the typical model is 0, and size 6 is considered over weight.  That  prompted me to do a little google research.  According to a few different websites, the average American woman wears a size 14. 

Growing up, I was the short child in my family.  My brother and sister, both of whom are older than me, are also taller and growing up, were both thinner than me.  I hated the fact that my sister, who rarely did any form of physical activity, was so skinny.  She wore a smaller size than me and it bothered me.

In college I was more or less happy about my body image and size.  Then, a year after college, I became rather obsessed with my scale.  I wanted to lose weight and become a faster runner.  Eventually, I lost close to 20 pounds and with that, got some speed along the way.  Later that year I got a stress fracture and was worried I would become fat from not running.  Although I ended up gaining weight because I was injured, it eventually came off.  But, I continued to struggle with body image for the next few years.

I am in a much better place now, and I have a few things to attribute that to.  As I have written about before, I have a hard time believing in myself and what I am capable of.  However, if someone else tells me something I'll most likely believe it.  I feel like i constantly write this, but joining my running club has been one of the greatest things I have ever done.  It is such an encourage group of runners - slow, fast, short, tall, accountants, teachers.  I feel like anytime I go run with the group I have my confidence built up and I believe in myself more than before. 

After a run recently, we were talking about being fit.  One of the guys in the conversation mentioned that he thought i was running well and very fit.  I have to admit - I agree.

Am I the skinniest person?  Absolutely not.  According to Hollywood, I am overweight because I wear a size 6 or bigger.  Sizes vary based on brands, anyway.  I am also many pounds heavier than the average American woman. 

I weigh more because I have muscles.  Muscles that I have worked hard to get.  Muscles that I maintain by lifting weight a few times a week.  Muscles that are worked 6 days a week when running and biking.  Muscles that have gotten me PRs and across a marathon finish line. 

When I look in the mirror, I see a successful runner who has accomplished more than she ever imagined she would.  I don't see someone overweight, but someone who is fit and strong.  And that I think is far better than being a size 0.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Not Even Pink Eye Can Stop Me

After complaining  writing yesterday about my lack of desire to run in the darkness and cold some days, I woke up with a renewed sense of dedication to my race schedule today.  When my alarm went off at the ungodly ugly hour of 4 AM, a full 2 hours earlier than normal, I hit snooze for only 15 minutes then got up, packed various bags, made my lunch, and was out the door by 4:50 to go to the gym. 

Let me say - the gym is a totally different place at 5 AM compared to 5 PM, my normal time.  There was only one problem - on the way to the gym my contacts were killing my eyes.  I had brought my glasses along, something I usually don't do, because I thought I might need to take my contacts out after my afternoon workout.  They ended up coming out before my morning run.

I knocked out 5 miles on the treadmill before going to school to teach for the day.  However, at school, my eyes were irritated.  It was hurting to blink some hours, but fine other hours.  Another teacher told me some students had been diagnosed with Pink Eye at school today.  I called the eye doctor after school, got an appointment, only to learn that I, too, have Pink Eye. 

What does this mean?  I have to wear my glasses for the next week, put drops in my eyes 4 times a day, and not go to school tomorrow.  That means I get to sleep in and (hopefully) accomplish things because I feel fine.  In a way, I feel like I am somehow cheating the system.

After getting the Pink Eye diagnosis, I went back to the gym to run another 5 miles, bike, and lift weights.  I don't know how some people can do 2-a-days religiously.  Bravo to you if you can.  I prefer to sleep instead.

Tomorrow is supposed to be in the 40s and sunny...a perfect day for an 8 mile tempo.  This sick day could not have come at a better time.  :)

Are you a two-a-day person, or do you want to be?  I always feel very intense when I do two workouts in one day.  The ladder half of that sentence has occurred about 5 times in my life.  I think it is safe to say that I am not a 2-a-day person.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Intentions vs. Follow Through

I made my Illinois Marathon training plan in December - which now sees like forever ago.  I wanted a plan to follow, something to tell me what to run so I would not have to think about it when I was busy.  If it says "run 7 miles" I planned on just running 7 miles.

What I gravely misjudged was that I would be training in Winter and the time of day it is light outside is far less than in Summer, which is also the time of year I don't have to work.  I love to run, especially outside.  But, I like to run when it is above 50 degrees, sunny, with no wind or precipitation.  We all know that those days are few and far between.  Although the Chicago winter has been anything but a typical winter this year, it has been hard to train in. 

My Tuesdays are supposed to be track workouts.  With the snow, the track where I meet some of the guys from my running club is covered and icy.  Therefore, we've been running stairs (which I am not a fan of), and hills (which I am liking more and more).  Track starts at 6, so it is always dark.  Running in the dark is great every once in a while....I just don't like to do it multiple times a week, which is what has been happening.

Today, after working out at my gym beforehand, which is typical, I started to change to get ready for track.  I think people at the gym think I'm crazy - I workout there, change into running tights and a jacket, some type of hat, gloves, different shoes, and strap on my Garmin before leaving.  Today, I got in my car and decided to drive home.  I had absolutely no desire to run in the dark and in the cold (it was a balmy 30 outside).

As I was driving, I tried to justify it to myself:  you just ran a race on Saturday and an 18.5 mile long run on Sunday; it is dark and relatively cold outside; the marathon is still three months away; your legs need a break; there is always tomorrow.  The excused poured from my mind.  In reality, the two miles I got in at the gym before leaving were all that were going to be logged today. 

I am getting to the point in my training where I cannot and do not want to miss runs.  I have  big goals that I'd like to accomplish at this marathon that I want to see happen.  Skipping runs is not how a person BQs. 

Therefore, I have decided that tomorrow will  be my first double run day of the year.  I plan on going to the gym early tomorrow morning to run an easy 5, and then return at night to run the 5 that were on my training plan for the day, along with some biking and lifting. 

Tomorrow I am going to follow through on my marathon plan.  I will log my miles every week.  Why?

Because winter miles bring spring and summer smiles.

And I want to have a big smile on marathon day.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Half Turned 10k Race Report

The mind is powerful, even if the body is weak. 

This past week I've had horrible sleeping issues.  I've woken up at 3 AM - wide awake - every night, including last night.  That really does not make for decent sleep, or at least for me. 

Even though I was tired this morning when my alarm went off, I got ready and drove into the city with 2 other people from my running club.  Before we hit the city, it started to snow.  And, it was really cold.  Then, we got down to the bike path, and it was windy. 

Before the race started they said if you were running the half marathon, you could quit at the 10k because it ended at the half finish line (the half was 2 loops, the 10k 1).  When I heard this, I was very tempted.  Let me remind you, I was freezing at the start and wanted nothing more than to be warm.

The gun went off, and the start was crowed.  I maneuvered around some slow people and before I knew it my Garmin beeped for mile 1: 7:26.  I was feeling great, and kept going.  At mile 1.5, we had to make a sharp turn.  I noticed there was a lot of snow on the path and a guy about 15 feet in front of my fell.  At this point, I wasn't sure if I wanted to run.  The last thing I wanted is to fall and get injured. 

Mile 1.5 - 2.5 were covered in snow.  I was moving, but it felt like I was going soooo slow.  My legs were heavy.  At mile 2.5, I decided I would only do the 10k.  I justified it to myself various ways:

1.  I've only ever run 1 10k and it will be good to see what time I can have in crappy weather. 
2.  I will get done sooner, be warm sooner.
3.  I could still do my planned 18 mile run tomorrow if I only ran a 10k.

After making that decision, I focused on keeping a decent pace.  After I got over half way done, we started to run by others that were on their way to that point.  People were being very kind and telling me what place I was in for female runners - 3rd.  I was getting excited...I could probably place if I held my pace. 

With that encouragement, mile 5 was my fastest - 6:54 according to my Garmin.  I was nearing the finish and happy to be done.  I crossed the finish line, got my medal, and went to our meeting point at a nearby hotel.  I was never happier to be out of the cold. 

How did I actually do?

Time (10k): 45:29 (7:20 pace per mile)
Overall Place: 17/669 (top 2%)
Gender Place: 3/434 (top 1%)
Age Group: 2/82  (top 2%)

Have you ever changed the distance you were running during a race?  Or, would you have liked to do so during a certain race?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Meet Queenie: 20 Questions

1.  What is one of your favorite ways to spend a Saturday?

Sleeping in, running, and relaxing.  If I can accomplish all three in a day, than I am happy.

2.  List your top 3 favorite TV shows.

I don't watch a whole lot of TV, but my favorites are...

1.  Wheel of Fortune (I've always loved the show and still watch it whenever I can)
2.  College Football, especially the Iowa Hawkeyes
3.  House Hunters

3.  Would you rather be in pictures or take them?

That is a tough one - I guess it depends why the picture is being taken and who I am around. 

4.  Why do you blog?

I started out blogging in an attempt to connect with other diabetics.  However, now I blog because I want to document how I felt at this time in my life.  I also do it because it is a good way to record everything that involves running.  Finally, I like to write and find it calming. 

5.  If you could have lunch with one person from your Twitter list, who would it be?

I am not on Twitter, and don't foresee this ever happening.  I think I've updated the status on my Facebook account three times in the past 7 years, when I first got an account. 

6.  List a few of your favorite snacks.

Blueberry Bliss, Honey Peanut Crunch, and White Chocolate Macadamia Luna Bars
Chocolate Chip Clif Bars

7.  Share five websites that you visit regularly.

Google (regular Google, mail, and maps)
Runners World
My Running Group's website

8.  Do you have a pet?  If so, what kind?

I dislike all animals, so I don't have a pet and never will.

9.  Which three material possessions would you struggle to live without?

Garmin Watch
Computer (laptop)
Tea Kettle

10.  What is your favorite drink?

Currently, I love tea - both iced tea and hot tea.

11.  Do you enjoy cooking?

No, I don't.  I will cook or bake if I have to, but I feel like I have better ways to occupy my running.  Cooking is pretty low on the priority list.

12.  Do you have children?

Yes, 30 of them in my homeroom class.

13.  What are your favorite hobbies?

Running, biking, any fitness activity/sport, reading, and being with my friends.

14.  Would you consider yourself to be shy or outgoing?

I am incredibly shy until I know you well...then I become a little more outgoing, but not a whole lot.  I am a quiet person.

15.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would you change?

I wish I was not so much of a perfectionist.

16.  Who is your favorite actor/actress?

I've always liked Denzel Washington.

17.  What's the coolest thing you've done this week?

Nothing is coming to mind....I partially tapered this week for my race on Saturday.  Is that cool?

18.  Do you live near your family or far from them?

I live about 3.5 hours away from my parents, but my siblings live in Colorado and Los Angeles, so not close at all.

19.  List three of your talents.

I am a good listener.
I have good instincts.
I am creative.

20.  What is your greatest attribute?

I am trustworthy and loyal. 

Tell me something about yourself!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Powerful Mind

How does a runner go from being mediocre to good?  Although some would argue that adding miles and speed work to weekly workouts is most import, I think it really can be attributed to confidence and believing in oneself.

Let's rewind the clock about 6 years.  My first half marathon preparation went well.  Even though I did not keep track of my mileage back then, I vividly remember logging multiple 10 mile runs leading up to the event in the spring.  The half marathon was in late May, and although I only logged 1 10 mile run in May, I became nervous about conquering this new distance.  Could I do it?  My only two goals going into that race were to not walk at all and to have fun.  Both were accomplished, and I ran negative splits.  My ending time: 2:17.  My happiness level: 10+.

I signed up to run that same exact half marathon the following year.  I had put in significantly fewer miles.  Leading up to the race, I only ran 10 miles once.  During that 10 mile run, I had to stop and walk countless times.  Although my training was sub-par at best, my confidence level was high.  I had already run that distance once, and truly believed that I could break the 2-hour mark.  The end result was crossing the finish line in 1:58, and feeling amazing. 

As I've been logging countless miles, both on foot and on bike, in preparation for my Spring marathon, I can honestly say, as of now, my perspective has changed.  My long runs are significantly slower than when I was training for Chicago, and I've felt increasingly better each week.  Not only have my long runs been going well, my shorter runs during the week have also improved.  My confidence is increasing along with my fitness level. 

2012 is going to be an amazing year because I believe it will be.

Do you believe that the mind is powerful? 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What It Is Really Like

Many days I play a review game with my students called fact or fiction.  I'll say things that we have been studying in various subjects and then they'll have to say if what I said is a fact, or fiction.  In many ways, the game fact or fiction can be applied to some areas of my life, mainly, diabetes. 

Fact: There is no cure for diabetes.  Although technology has improved a great deal recently, people who are diagnosed with type 1 will have it until they die.

When many people find out that I have diabetes, the next questions is typically "do you have type 2 or that other one...type 1?", and then "how long have you had it?"  Living with diabetes for practically my entire life - over 22+ years - has not always been easy.  I only have one memory of not being diabetic, which, ironically, is the day I found out I was.  All my life I have always known "check your blood sugar" "take insulin" "count your carbs" and so on.  Often times, I have wished that my diabetes would just magically disappear into thin air.  However, that has never happened. 

Sometimes I have gotten into the trap of thinking if I don't care about my diabetes, it will disappear.  In actuality, that makes my control a lot worse.  Diabetes does not take a break.  It is with me every moment of every day.  Sometimes it behaves itself and doesn't require much attention.  Other days, though, are the extreme opposite and I want to put it in "time out."  But, that doesn't really work either. 

Diabetes is something that I have to deal with every single day.  There are no breaks, or nights without it.  I really can't take a vacation from it.  I cannot have some medical procedure done to get rid of it. 

Sometimes people say "I can imagine and understand that it is hard to live with diabetes."  It is a lot of hard work if you want to live successfully with diabetes.  It is not necessarily hard, but manageable.  And, yes it is true, you really don't have a clue what it is like. 

So...what is it like?

Going low is like running a marathon.  You had half a slice of toast for breakfast and did not fuel beforehand.  During the course of the race, you didn't take GU or drink Gatorade.  Now, it is mile 24.  How do you feel?  If you have run a marathon, you know how you feel at that mile marker.  Without any fuel, that is what my low blood sugar feels like. 

Having  a high blood sugar is harder for me to explain.  You are in a walking in a desert for an entire day.  You've been out in the sun, but have not consumed any water.  You most likely feel exhausted and incredibly thirsty.  Now, try to eat GU.  It would get stuck in your mouth.  That awful feeling is me with a high blood sugar. 

But, there is another aspect of having high or low blood sugars: personality.  I am not my normal self.  When I have a high blood sugar, I am incredibly moody.  When I have a low blood sugar, I get sad.  Having one of these blood sugars is like a mask is put over me.  I am not my normal self.  I do not try got high or low - it just happens.  It is part of living with diabetes.

  Although diabetes has its fair share of overall crapiness, it has taught me a lot of things, brought me to experience various things, meet new people, and be a a stronger person.  And although it sucks, takes time and effort, and can get int the way, it will not define and tell me what I can and cannot do. 

I am stronger than it. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

2012 Goals

How can it be the middle of January already?  I feel like yesterday I was ringing in the new year. 

"Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."
- T.S. Eliot

Goals are both motivating and scary at the same time.  They serve as motivation because it helps me get the workouts I need to get done accomplished.  They are a bit scary because sometimes I don't accomplish my goals and feel like I have not failed but learned something in the process.  If I put my goals out for the world to see, then they become more real.  Other people have the chance to see if I am meeting my goals, instead of just me knowing how I am doing.  In the spirit of trying new things this year, I am documenting my running goals on my blog.

Goal #1: Stay injury-free
I don't know if there is anything worse than an injury.  The few times I have been injured I have hated every second of it.  This year, I want to be strong and healthy while running, which means avoiding injuries. 

Goal #2: Sub 20-minute 5k
I used to hate 5ks because they were so short.  Now, my outlook has changed.  I think I actually enjoy them now.  I ran 3 last year (21:13 in March, 21:12 in August, and 20:12 in September).  This year, I want to see 19:xx in front of my name.  Will this be hard to accomplish?  Yes.  But hopefully by doing track workouts year-round I will be able to accomplish my goal in which I need to run an average mile pace of 6:25.

Goal #3: Sub 1:40 Half Marathon
It was well-documented last year that my goal was to break into the 1:30s in a half marathon, but that never did happen.  This year it will.  I will run those 13.1 miles at 7:30 pace. 

Goal #4: Boston
This is my scariest goal to write.  I am going to try to qualify for Boston at the Illinois Marathon in April.  Sub I come.  Boston 2013...look out.  I will be on the start line.

Goal #5: Consistently Life Weights
Lifting weights helps me become a better runner.  Last year I lifted 80-some times.  This year, I would like to lift even more.  It is especially important for me to consistently lift during marathon training, as it will help me be faster and recover quicker.

Do we share any of the same goals?  What do you hope to accomplish in 2012?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Average Runner and Me

Ever wonder how you compare to the average runner?

How I Compare to the Average Female Runner
I was a little surprised at the comparison.

Average Age: 38.5
Me: I'm in my 20s

Average Weight: 137.6 pounds
Me: I don't talk about my weight because it is deceiving a lot of the time. 

Average Body Mass Index: 22.9
Me: 19.5

Average Height: 5 feet, 5 inches
Me: 6 feet

Average Weight Satisfaction: 40.9%
Me: I'm happy with my weight

Percent Married: 63.2%
Me: I'm not married

Percent that are College Educated: 78.2%
Me: I have both a college degree and a Master's degree

Most women prefer to run half marathons (39%)
Me: I don't know if I have a specific distance that I prefer to run anymore.  I find many distances both challenging and rewarding.  I will say my least favorite distance is a 10k.

Average Days Run Each Week: 4
Me: 6

Average that Run 4+ hours each week: 70.4%
Me: Yes, I run more than 4 hours each week.

Average Miles Per Week: 21.9
Me: Last year, I averaged 33.7 miles per week, which surprises me.  I though I would have averaged more.

Average Number of Running Events Attended Last Year: 7.2
Me: 12 + 2 multi sport (duathlons)

Percent that Run every Month: 77.7%
Me: I run outside every month

Average Running History: 9.9 years
Me: I am not sure what defines "history."  I tell people that I have been really racing for 3 years, although I started running back in junior high, which is many more years before that. 

Spent over $100 on Running Clothes Last Year: 80.4%
Me: Yes, I did.  I love running clothes.

Number of Shoes Purchased Last Year: 2.9 pairs
Me: If my calculations are correct, I got 6 pairs last year.

Spent Over $90 on a Pair of Running Shoes: 65.3%
Me: Yes, all of mine were over that amount.

Motivation: Varies
Me: I love running.

How do you compare to the average runner? 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Snow Running

Yesterday the weather in Chicago was a nice 50-degree day.  I got to run outside in shorts.

Today?  We got over 4 inches of snow and had to pull out all of my winter weather running gear, bundle up, and was not warm until mile 4 of a 6 mile run.  We ran on snow-covered trails/path.  I've never done this before and although my pace was probably the slowest I've ever run 6 miles in, it felt like I was working so hard.  Running in the snow and through it is hard work. 

I got an email today from The Polar Dash people and they are rescheduling the race until next weekend.  I was disappointed to read this, but they said they had to postpone the race for safety reasons.  I now have to decide how many miles I am going to run on Sunday.  I'm torn...

This is a step-back week for me, where my long run (in this case, race) is supposed to be shorter.  Do I run 12 or 13 miles, as originally planned?

Or do I run my long run distance for next week (18 miles) this week? 

Decisions, decisions.  What would you do?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Don't Bring your Jealousy Here

This is a two-part post because I feel like i need to say something first, and then the bottom is what I actually intended on posting.  I have a feeling this will be a long post, but hopefully you understand.

Part 1 - Don't bring your jealousy and negativity here

I never kept a journal when I was younger and don't have a typical one now.  A few years ago, when one of my friends encouraged me to start blogging (thank you, K!), I thought it was a good idea but didn't realize the value it would have to me in the future (now). 

I blog so I can re-read my thought and perspectives on different races, workouts, runs, and other things I post about.  Mostly, my blog has been an outlet for me to talk about my love of running and racing.  I have re-read posts that I have done after a race to learn more about what happened so I can become a better runner. 

Recently, I posted the statement that I thought I went from being an "OK" runner to a "good" runner in 2011.  When I did my first distance race in 2006, I was just thrilled to cross the finish line.  As with anything, the more you work at it, the more improvements you will see.  I had my fair share of good races last year, and others that were disappointing, but I am thankful I got to run all of them, and have success at most.  After all of my races, not only do I post my thoughts and opinions about the race, but also my time and pace.  Why do I do this?  So then I can easily look back to see what I ran.  It is simple  - I do it for me. 

Yesterday, someone posted a link to my "awkward conversations" post and told me that I am becoming a running snob, should more or less be "less of a runner" and more of a human being because soon I'll be putting berries in my water to make me run faster, while only reading running books. 

First, I think you took the post the wrong way.  It was a comical look at what people say in response to me telling them about racing.  I found them funny...we obviously have different senses of humor.

Second, I LOVE TO RUN.  Maybe you love to do something else that I don't like or does not interest me, like hiking.  Does that make you a hiking snob?  No, it means that you are different than me.  My passion and joy for running helps me live a better life.  I am a happier person because of it.  As with all things that I am passionate about, I want to get better.  I have worked hard and continue to work hard to make my dreams a reality.  For example, this year I want to break 20 minutes in a 5k.  Running that time does not just happen for most people.  Track, tempo runs, lifting weights among other things will make that dream a reality. 

Perhaps my "running snob" com mentor is a recreational runner only.  That is great - I am still glad you are running because it will greatly improve your health.  However, I am sure that my goals are much, much different than yours.  If you were to post on your blog something about a certain run, would I negatively comment?  No.  I don't do that.  And I don't want it on my blog.

If you plan on commenting something negative on my blog in the future, I would advise you to think before you actually do it.  Your comments could not be more off base.  Do you even know me?  No, you know the small fraction of my life that I chose to share on my blog.  I constantly run with people who are both faster and slower than myself and enjoy each opportunity.   

With all that being said, this blog is not for negativity and jealousy.  Leave your comments elsewhere - they are not appreciate, wanted, or acceptable here.

And for all of my other favorites who read my blog and love to run, keep running.  If I find that putting berries in my water makes me faster, I'll be sure to share the information, as I'm sure it could lead to massive PRs. 

Part 2 - Yesterday's Phenomenal Modified Track Workout

Yesterday I was thrilled with my modified 800 workout.  Although I feel like I've run a lot of 800s recently, none were as fast as my last two on Tuesday night.  I only did half of the 800s (4 instead of 8) because I'm racing on Saturday.

*400 recoveries between 800s
Warm-up - 8:01 pace
800 #1 - 3:09 (6:14 pace)
800 #2 - 3:10 (6:16 pace)
800 #3 - 2:58 (5:52 pace)
800 #4 - 3:00 (6:03 pace)
2+ miles of cool-down

Although I was running with some of the guys from the running group, they are much faster than me so I ended up running my 800s by myself.  Given my times and the fact that I was on my own with no one else running near my speed, I am happy.  Look out....Saturday is going to be awesome, even if it is supposed to snow and be cold.

Do you have any comments, not of the negative "running snob" variety?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Awkward Running and Triathlon Coversations

A few conversations I've had of late....I couldn't have scripted these if I tried.

Conversation #1: The Awkward Triathlon Conversation

Me: So, Friend A, what are you training for?
Friend A: I think I'm going to try and train for a full triathlon.
Me: There is no such thing as a full triathlon.  Do you mean Olympic distance?  Or Half Ironman?  Or Ironman?
Friend A: A full triathlon. 
Me: What are the distances of each leg?
Friend A: The run is a 10k.  I don't know what the swim and bike distances are.
Me: OK, that is an Olympic distance triathlon.
Friend A: Yes, a full triathlon.

Sometimes, I just give up. 

Conversation #2:  The Awkward Marathon Conversation

Friend B: So, what are you training for right now?
Me: I'm going to be running a marathon in late I'm training for that.
Friend B: How long is this marathon?
Me: All marathons are 26.2 miles.
Friend B: Wow!  That is so long.

Well, it is no longer than any other marathon.

Conversation #3: The Awkward Half Marathon Conversation

Friend C: You run a lot.
Me: You could say that.
Friend C: What is your next race?
Me: I'm running a half marathon in mid-January.  It is outside and along the lakefront in Chicago.
Friend C: Why would you do that?
Me: I love to run.  Also, it fits into my training schedule right now. 
Friend C: Do you run them fast?
Me: I think I am a decent runner. 
Friend C: What is your fastest time?
Me: I ran a 1:40:14 last March. 
Friend C:  Is that fast?
Me: It is a 7:39 per mile average.
Friend C: That doesn't seem too hard...I bet I could do that.

***Friend C has not run a race in over a year and does not run regularly.***

Conversation #4: The Awkward 5k Conversation

Friend D: I am going to sign up and run my first 5k this year.
Me: Awesome!  I am so happy for you.  I love it when my friends run.
Friend D: It will be hard to run 5 miles.
Me: Wait...are you running a 5k or a 5 mile race?
Friend D: 5k.
Me: Okay, that is 3.1 miles. 
Friend D: I thought 5k was 5 miles.
Me: No, each kilometer is like 0.62 of a mile.
Friend D: Awesome!  I get to run less.

At least Friend D is running.  Maybe, one day, he'll be up for 5 miles.

Please share....have you had any comical conversations lately?!?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sleep, Long Runs, and Winter Races

Sunday morning I set my alarm early - 6:45 - to get up and run with my running group.  I haven't been going on Sunday mornings with any regularity because I like to sleep in too much.  Although I had some extra motivation - 16 miles worth of it that I didn't want to do on my own or later in the day. 

I love sleep, especially on the weekends.  I don't like getting up in  the mornings.  Also, it takes 30 minutes to get to where my running group meets.  All of those things complied together have led to me only running with the group 2 times since the Chicago Marathon.  But, with the distance of my long runs increasing, I know that it would be best for me to run with the group.  Plus, I like most of the people.  Who doesn't want to see their friends at 8 AM? 

Sunday I got out of bed, had some breakfast, and then went running.  There was only one other person running any sort of long distance yesterday, and she happened to be going 16 as well.  We went slower than I would have liked, but I am fine with the end result (16 miles averaging 9:07 pace).  It ended up being an progression run - with the second 8 miles being faster than the first.   However, the whole run just wasn't that great.  I wasn't feeling it - and 9:07s felt like 8:07s.  If you look at my runs from Friday and Saturday, I'm sure you'd understand.  Tempo two days in a row?  Not the best move. 

Last year, if I would have averaged 9:07 for a 16 mile run I would have thought it was a complete failure of a run.  This year, I am (slowly) learning to embrace slower long runs.  I have a half marathon next weekend that I plan on racing and I want to be prepared - not only mentally, but also physically.  I don't want my body to be recovering for an extra hard 16-miler when I have other gaols to accomplish. 

Week 5 of training for the Illinois Marathon has come to a close.  The weeks are flying by too quickly.  I'm hoping to get back on track this week and not miss any runs. 

Week 6 is a cut-back week, and I am running a half marathon in Chicago (Chicago Polar Dash).  More on this later in the week, but, needless to say, I'm excited.  I'm hoping the weather stays as nice as it has been for Saturday's race.

Are you running the Polar Dash?  Would you run a  race outside in January?  Or, are you smarter than that? 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

2011 in Review, take 2

Read my first post about 2011 here.

In addition to having a good running year in 2011, I also learned a lot about myself as a runner.  This knowledge will help me more in the future, and is much more useful than a PR (although, PRs are wonderful).

What did I learn?
  • Distance training runs should not be completed at anticipated goal pace...or faster.  Doing this leads to burn out, as legs feel as if they are racing every single weekend.  I learned this the hard way when training for my spring half marathons (Sam Costa and Rockford).
  • Track workouts are incredibly beneficial for gaining speed.  I started doing track workouts with my running club in June and greatly improved over the summer and early fall.  I am continuing to do them with some other members of the club this winter.  Lesson: if you want to get faster at a 5k, the track needs to be your friend.
  • Long, slow run for marathon training means the run should be long and slow.  I once was told that your pace is on target for success if you feel like you could run an extra couple miles when you have completed your run.  If trained properly, your race day performance should be about 60 - 90 seconds faster than your long, slow run pace.  I failed at this because my marathon mile average ended up being the same as what I trained at. 
  • The more you race, the more comfortable you feel at the start line.  I raced a lot (for me) in 2011 - I completed 10 running races, 2 duathlons, 1 metric century bike ride, and 2 relay races.  When I lined up for my last race of the 2011, the Hot Chocolate 15k, I didn't have a single butterfly in my stomach.  I am not sure how much I'll be racing in 2012, but I am glad I have conquered the fear of the start line.
  • Having a set training plan is good, but it might not work for you.  My legs cannot handle running 10 miles on Saturday and 22 miles on Sunday, which is what my fall marathon plan called for one week.  Training plans are good guidelines.  Sometimes life happens and runs do not.  It is not the end of the world.  One missed run does not really matter in the grand scheme of training.
  • Confidence is so important in achieving your goals.  If you go to the start line with even an ounce of doubt in your body, you won't accomplished what you set out to do.  If the mind believes it, the body can achieve it.
  • It helps me if other people believe in me, and tell me so.
I am taking the things I learned from the past year and using my knowledge to my 2012 the best year ever.

What did you learn in 2011 that will help you in 2012?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2011 in Review

After being gone to visit family for 12 days, I am happy to be home.  I had a wonderful time and didn't bother to check my blog or email once.  Instead, I spent my days sleeping in until late in the morning, drinking the world's best coffee, running, reading 3 books, and watching some TV.  However, all good things must come to an end.  School is back in full swing.  But first, I want to take some time to reflect on 2011. 

First, when I got back to Chicagoland, I was welcomed by Bobbi's blogger Secret Santa gift.  I love it. Thank you so much, Bobbi!  You are so kind and thoughtful. 

I am sad to see 2011 go.  Without a doubt, 2011 was the best year of my life

I met a lot of new people, joined a running club, and connected with other people in the blogosphere.

I set new PRs in 5k, 4 mile, 8k, 15k and the half marathon distance.  I also ran my first marathon so I got an automatic PR. I also ran my first and second duathlon.  In every distance I ran, I set a PR.  My PR's prior to 2011 were decent.  I think I went from being an "ok" runner to a "good" runner. 

More about 2011 and 2012 to come....