2009 Bastille Days w/niece

Monday, May 3, 2010

WI Half Marathon

This was my 1st run ever that I decided to run for a goal time.  I wanted to race this one and see if I could do a half marathon in under 2 hours.  My 1st half marathon was in Jan and goal for that one was to complete it - which I knew I could do.  Then in my training for this half marathon on both of my longest run days there just happened to be other half marathons going on so I ran those just as training runs - even though I PR'd each time.  This one I wanted to push myself and for the 1st time ever I got the pre-race jitters as I was setting out my race stuff.  I ended up getting a bad sleep that night, got up and ready way too early and was way overly excited and thought there was no way I could PR by a little over 6 minutes.

I started out way to fast and knew it.  I thought I should slow down but then talked myself into keeping pace since I thought I could keep that pace up for the whole race.  Loved running through Kenosha and was surprised at the amount of people cheering you on with cowbells which I also thought was perfect for a Wisconsin marathon.  Did fine all the way through mile 9 and then the wind which was not horribly bad combined with the rolling hills started to get to me.  I had a slight pain in my sides and felt like I was barely moving.  Looked at my Garmin and knew I was slowing but still thought I might be able to make my goal and I was out there to push myself anyway.
Even though I took water at all of the water stops and walked through the water stops I was feeling dehydrated at about mile 11 and was so glad when I saw the water stop just before mile 12.  That also happened to be the point where the half marathoners split from the marathoners.  I did have some Garmin issues so I really was not sure how I was doing on total time but I figured no matter what time I got I was going to push myself to leave everything on the race course.  That last mile was really rough but when I got close enough to see the clock at the finish line I knew I had met my goal - official time was 1:57:04 - a PR by 9 minutes!!!  And yes although I don't have a picture of it I did raise my arms.  I am so very proud of myself knowing that I gave it everything I had and actually raced a half marathon.  (Oh yeah, this was also the first race wearing Newtons.  Love the shoes!!)

I stayed for a little while afterward and cheered on some of the marathoners finishing.  Was my 1st time cheering on other runners and I loved it.  Someday I will be a marathoner like all those people - and if all goes well it will be the Chicago marathon in October. I was very emotional watching marathoners finish especially watching kids run the last little part next to their parents.  Everyone out there running is a winner.

Monday, April 12, 2010

South Shore Half Marathon

My training schedule for what was going to be my 2nd half marathon had me running 12 miles and coincidentally there just happened to be a half marathon going on the same day at my favorite spot to run - along the lakefront.  So I decided I would run this half marathon also as training for what will now be my 4th half marathon on 5/1/10.  I went out the night before and had a blast - dinner, drinks, hockey, concert.  So all in all I ended up eating poorly since all we could order was appetizers.  I had a drink which since I very rarely drink one drink has quite an effect on me.  I stayed up way too late.  I slept poorly.  I had a really hard time getting up in the morning.  I had a killer headache.  I really did not want to run anymore (not just the half but did not want to run at all - ever).  But I got up and got dressed and ate leftovers from the night before for breakfast.  Still did not want to go.  But I also wanted to meet some daily mile friends so I went - forgetting to bring a gel or any nutrition with me.  Got to the race and got my gloves and bib number.  It is a smaller race so no shirt or finishers medal.  I found some of the people I wanted to meet just before the race started.  All very nice people.  Being that this race was on a bike path - the whole way it was very slow for the 1st couple of miles and all throughout the whole race was hard to pass people.  I really enjoyed going slow but it was not until about mile 5 or 6 that I was starting to feel glad that I came out and ran.  I got to the halfway point and realized I was actually doing pretty good.  But it was not until about mile 10 that I realized if I pushed it a little I could actually PR.  But there was a hill so that would slow me down.  I got to the last mile and realized even without the gel I was feeling pretty good so I picked up the pace and ended up finishing at 2 hrs 6 min which is a PR by a min.  Totally surprised me but going forward I think I will try better with the nutrition because I almost did not make it to the race.  Bring on May 1st and I want to actually race that one with a goal of hopefully breaking the 2 hour mark.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Trailbreaker Half Marathon

A few weeks ago I was thinking about what I wanted to do for my birthday and I decided I wanted to look for a race.  The only thing I found nearby was the Trailbreaker Half Marathon.  I was planning on making the WI marathon May 1st my 2nd half marathon so I checked my training schedule for that and I was supposed to run 11.5 miles this weekend so I figured I could do another 1.6 miles and do the half marathon.  So I signed up for the Trailbreaker planning to run it as a training run.

Then on Wednesday evening I got a bad leg cramp.  You know the kind where you grab your leg rolling around yelling and screaming in pain.  That happened at the gym and one of the trainers helped me to massage it out.  Since then I have been foam rolling like crazy, stretching, resting it, walking and thinking there is no way I am going to be able to run this weekend.  So on Friday I went back to the gym and talked to a few trainers.  I got some great advice on some stretches and was also given the okay to run a little bit and see how it felt.  They thought it might loosen up as I ran.  So I ran about a quarter mile and it felt fine running but then hurt again when I stopped.  They said I could try the run on Sat but to listen to my body.  I decided I would try to run it and that I would finish even if I had to finish walking or limping.

I left early knowing I would get lost on the way there and sure enough I did get lost but still made it on time.  My calf was sore but not too bad.  There was not a whole lot of runners so we were able to start running pretty much right away.  It started off running next to the river which I loved except for going over the bridges.  It was not much of a hill but my calves really hated that.  Then we got to the trail portion which was really flat.  My calf twitched every now and again but as long as I kept a slow steady pace it was fine.  I walked the 3 water stops and made sure I drank enough.  I think keeping hydrated and all of the electrolyte drinks during the week was also helping the calf.  Since this was an out and back on the same trail I was hoping to recognize a few daily mile friends as they went the other way but I did not recognize anyone.  I loved the country scenery and would definitely like to run that path again.  Then we get back toward the end and as I passed the 3 miles left to go sign I knew I would finish and felt so excited.  I got back to the first bridge and my leg felt like it might cramp.  It hurt bad but I took it slow and kept on going.  I got to the city streets and one of my fears happened.  I passed a few people and there was no one in front of me the whole rest of the way.  I felt like a few times I lost the race but then I would see the next set of cops stopping traffic for the runners and knew I was still on course.  One mile to go and I knew I could finish running.  I picked up the pace just slightly - as much as my calf would allow.  Then to my surprise I saw my dad and step mom close to the finish line.  I crossed the finish line so incredibly happy that I forgot to stop my Garmin.  When I did remember to stop the Garmin it said 2 hours 8 min which was a PR for me by exactly 6.5 minutes.  The official time was 2 hours 7 min and 8 sec.  It was perfect weather, a flat course and a PR.  It was a perfect birthday weekend activity.

And for the 1st time I really felt 100% like a runner.  In the past I just more or less ran for fun.  Today though I ran through pain and made it.  I also had just thrown in this half marathon and did it.  Also earlier this week I joined the Badgerland Striders.  When I got home the 2010 race schedule and my membership card was at the door.  My next long run in my half marathon training schedule is a 12 miler in two weeks which also corresponds with the South Shore half marathon.  This is where I usually do my long runs anyway and it was cheap so I signed up for that one also when I got home.  So in training for what was going to be my 2nd half marathon I am throwing in two extra half marathons.  I plan on running South Shore slow as a training run and I pretty much know I will not get a PR since that one has a few hills but I love running along the lakefront and there is almost nothing better than running with a bunch of people.  Yes I am a runner.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

New Running Shoes

I think I first heard about the Newton running shoe about 3 months ago while listening to Brandon Wood's podcast. IronBrandon.com  I was intrigued about them so I checked out the Newton website. NewtonRunning.com  I went through the whole website and was a little surprised to find that most of the website was about promoting a good running technique instead of selling shoes (which of course they also do). I quickly realized that I was already a midfoot to forefoot striker so I thought these shoes would be perfect.

Then I tried the shoes on at the Multi-Sport Expo in Milwaukee at the end of Jan. My initial reaction was boy do these feel odd but then I ran in them and knew right then and there I had to have a pair. However, I did not buy them at the expo for a few reasons. First they are expensive and I did not have the funds at the time. And they sell them at the local running store Performance Running Outfitters (PRO). http://performancerunning.com They guy from the store who is really quite knowledgeable said that if I got them at the store I could have my running form analyzed on the treadmill which I have never had done before. And he said that there was no additional discount or benefit from buying them at the expo as opposed to coming into the store. I also got to listen in on a discussion on running form from a Newton rep at the expo that I found to be quite informative.

So about a month goes by - and it went by quite quickly and I finally decide to go in to PRO and try out the Newtons again with the intention of buying a pair. But I also decided I would try on a few other brands also just to make sure I was making the right decision. So I tried on a bunch of different shoes and liked a few. But I really could not wait to try on the Newton again. They said that what I really needed was the Newton Motion and they did not have that one in my size. They had me try on a different Newton just so I could get the feel of the Newton but I knew right off that it was not what I was looking for. So since I really needed a new pair of running shoes since my old ones were a year old and giving me some issues and my newer pair (about 2.5 months old at the time) gives me blisters and calf/shin pain I decided to get the ones I liked best - the Mizuno Wave Inspire 6.0. I did order the Newton Motions and would have to wait a few weeks for them to come in to try them out. This is all fine since I like to rotate my shoes and was eventually going to get two pairs of shoes anyway. (Also as a side note while the one pair of shoes gave me blisters what I started doing was when I was on the track at the gym I would take off my shoes and run the last mile of my runs in my socks which felt great. I think this summer or fall I may have to try out some Vibrams.)

So while I am waiting for my Newtons to come in, Newton announces that they are coming out with a new model on most of their running shoes. So now I was trying to decide if I should wait for the new model or go with the older one that I have on order. This decision I went back and forth on many many many times. Then the store called and said that my shoes had come in. Driving to the store I still had not decided if I was going to get this pair or wait for the new ones. I wanted the shoes now so I could have enough time to break them in so I could wear them for my next half marathon in a month and a half. But I also wanted the newer model since the improvements sounded great. I was a nervous wreck driving to the store but decided that I would at least try them on. So I got to the store and tried them on. They felt really good. Then I got on the treadmill and ran for a little over a minute. I don't usually run on the treadmill (have only done so twice in the past and one of those times was trying on shoes) so this still feels a little odd. I started out slow and then gradually picked up the pace focusing on how the shoes felt. And it felt great. I felt like I had a lot of forward motion. I was not even sure if my heel ever hit the ground and I was getting excited. Then I watched the video and the guy pointed out a few things about my running style. I have a great forefoot strike. While my heal did hit the ground a few times most of the time it did not. Also he said that most people lose their form a little at the end but I did not. I also am not losing much energy since I don't really push off and lift my leg too high. Land, Lever, Lift is what I have been practicing - very efficient. I knew immediately that I had to have them and could not wait to do my 1st run in them. Plus I was thinking maybe July or August I would get the newer version for training for my 1st marathon.

So I bought the shoes and I cannot remember ever being so excited over a purchase before especially a shoe purchase. I was not even this excited when my mom took me to Italy a few years ago - and that was amazing. The guy at the store reminded me to only do a mile or two on my 1st run and to break in the shoes which I knew but it is great to have the reminder in all of the excitement. I called my husband right away and he just did not get all the excitement but was fine if I went for a run and did not come home right away. I texted Kevin KCTris.com a picture of the shoes after I put them on. He is also a huge Newton fan and kept asking when I was going to get Newtons. So this first run I did on the track at the gym since it was getting dark out and I don't run outside in the dark yet. I took it slow just getting the feel for the Newton. I was expecting a little bit of calf pain and did feel my calves a little bit but no actual pain. I was so excited I over did it a little and went 2.5 miles. And although I know I am not supposed to do speed work in them for about two weeks while I am breaking them in I did pick up the pace a little at the end (just a few steps) to see how it felt and it felt amazing. I cannot wait to do speed training in these shoes.

 Overall, the fit is amazing. The material is great. I love how it feels when the foot strikes the ground. It feels like these shoes actually help to push you forward. I just cannot imagine a better running shoe. I think the only negative thing I have to say is the price is a little high. While they may not be right for everyone (thinking especially heel strikers) I would highly recommend these shoes and would definitely recommend midfoot to forefoot running.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Blarney 5k

I ran my 3rd 5k today - the Blarney 5k. I started out at the end of the pack which I think was a mistake. It was extremely slow the first half mile with all of the people. It was so packed I could not pass anyone. Then it thinned out for a while but got packed again when we hit the bridge going over the freeway. I also walked both water stops and had water even though I felt like I did not need it. There was a hill at the end and I actually passed people on the hill. I usually do not run many hills - which I need to add more in to my training. The hills were actually kind of fun. But then again I love challenges. My time at the end was 29:15 which surprised me since I had a slow start a slow middle and walked the water stops. Plus it was not chipped timed and I started at the end of the pack. It was only my 3rd 5k but 29:15 is a PR for me!!!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ran further than I have ever run before

So today to commemorate my 2 year weight loss anniversary I thought I would run further than I have ever run before. After all that is how I lost the weight - by continually trying to outdo myself and do just a little bit better each day.

Now was this such a good idea??? I am not so sure. My last 13 miler was a month ago. The last 3 weeks my long runs were 11 miles, 6 miles, and 7 miles so it has been a few weeks since I did any real distance. My half marathon training program had me at 9 miles today so what is another 5 more - no big deal. Well towards the end my legs were getting sore and felt like they could go no further and I really started to wonder if this was a good idea but I was determined to finish it and finish it I did. My time was pretty slow average 11:07 min miles and that is really slow for me especially since it was on an indoor track so no hills or wind or anything like that. I really wanted to run outside today but things were not working out for me. I had meetings all morning long and then had to drive Mike back and forth to work in the afternoon. I was hoping to run while Mike was at work but by the time I got everything ready to run I knew I would not have enough time to do 14 miles so I put it off until the evening. Since I don't run outside at night and the gym closes at 7 on Sat I opted to run at the Pettit. I have not ran there since the half marathon a month ago. I must admit I like it there. A cool 50 degrees plus I get to watch the ice skaters and a little hockey - although it is pretty hard to watch the hockey.

I knew running 14 miles doing laps would be hard. The last time I had a crowd of people cheering me on plus other runners and that really helps me get through it. Today I just had my music so I thought I needed something else to help me get through the miles. I decided I would dedicate each mile to DM friends - but how to pick which 14. Coincidentally 14 people posted comments on my transformation pictures this week so I used those 14 people and dedicated the miles in the order that those people commented. So here is a breakdown of the miles.

Mile 1 - Runfasterdaddy - thought about you and the stroller and that cute picture your daughter drew.
Mile 2 - Gavin T - Thought was wow Australia that would be a great place to run a marathon.
Mile 3 - Randy M - Felt bad about the foot and thought this mile is run since you cannot right now. Also spent some time praying for our pastor and our church as well as all my DM friends (actually did this on and off throughout the whole run.)
Mile 4 - Colin H - Was thinking wow you put in amazing miles. I don't know how you run almost every day. Also started thinking about those nasty painful green inserts and hope things go better for your knee.
Mile 5 - Jeremy F - You had said in your comment on my transformation pictures congrats on your half and I thought how appropriate since I am running the same track as my half. I started remembering how nice it was to run the half and pictured the people cheering and watching the speed skaters.
Mile 6 - Brendan M - You said in the comment on my pictures that you think of me often and I am an inspiration. Tried figuring out what that means but thanks. Then I was thinking about your run and wet socks and was really glad that I was running indoors in a perfect 50 degrees. You have had some terrible weather to run in. I am such a wimp when it comes to that but I really did not care today. Much better than ice or puddles.
Mile 7 - Jason B - Thought about your saying live life don't endure it. Then I was thinking I did not get a chance to see how the coastal challenge went for you. I hope it went well and was glad you got the last good run in to get your mind back into it.
Mile 8 - Meg H - I was thinking you did 9 miles today and that was my scheduled run. I was thinking maybe I should stop at 9 but I was still feeling great so nope I wanted to finish the 14.
Mile 9 - Kristina T - You said I had lots of will and strength and I was thinking I sure do. That will power has gotten me through a lot.
Mile 10 - Samantha - I was thinking about the kickboxing and how much I like doing that. Even threw some small air punches while running. Must have looked pretty funny. Thought about kicking the bag when I got home.
Mile 11 - For my H. - This is where my legs started to hurt and I was thinking how appropriate. My legs would start to feel a little sore on the mile dedicated to the new runner. I was thinking about how your shoe shopping was going and hoping that you would take it slow and easy and enjoy it.
Mile 12 - Anne - Was thinking about your transformation also and how much work you put in. My legs started feeling better for a while. And I was starting to think I only have two more miles to go.
Mile 13 - Brandon W. - I really wanted to quit on this mile. Leg pain came back but I thought of all people I cannot quit on Brandon. I started thinking about the hard runs you have done and decided to just keep putting one foot in front of the other but this was turning out to be the longest mile ever. Sure enough when I was finished I went back through my lap timers and I had missed hitting the button on a lap so it really was the longest mile ever. (This track has 3.6 laps to a mile.)
Mile 14 - Sally S. At this point I just wanted to be done and figured it was my last mile so I could endure it. My pace slowed dramatically and I thought of getting passed by a guy in a chicken costume - that would be funny to see. And I was just counting those last agonizing laps - hoping I would finish before the Pettit closed.

Oh yeah the song that has gotten me through so many runs came on toward the end of Mile 13 so I just hit repeat and played it a few times. "Its On" by Superchick. The lyrics to the end of the song are what do it for me.

"And though you want to quit
Don't think you can get through it
You've come to far to walk away
It's not gonna be today

And no matter how you feel
It's that you do that matters
This is your moment to be strong
Today's your day
It's On..."

I just love that. It totally helps me get through when I want to quit.

Total actually ran 14.3 miles in 2 hours and 39 min.

So since this strategy worked well I am thinking I will do the same for actually running my marathon in October. I have a long time to decide who to dedicate miles to but I know who will get the last 1.2 miles and get me across the finish line. That would be my brother Michael (or Monkey as we call him). In Dec 08 one week before Christmas he was diagnosed with Acute Leukemia. He had to spend one month in the hospital and could have very few visitors and the few that were allowed had to be completely healthy so I visited him for hours almost every day. It was so hard to see. I think what was the worst for him - well besides the treatments - was that he could not see his daughter. (She is the one I am holding in the picture at the top of my blog page). It has been a rough year but the leukemia did go into remission. He still needs to take the cancer pills but currently cannot do that since his body function counts are all way too low (liver, kidneys, etc.) I love my brother dearly and we are really close. What hurts the most is that he has not accepted Christ and I cannot bear it if he would die like this. I pray for him daily and really hope he comes around. Anyways I know my last mile of the marathon will be dedicated to him so now I have to finish it. Although with as hard as 14 was today I wonder if 26.2 will be possible. But I know from experience with what I have done so far that if I take it slow and gradually increase my body will get used to it and I will be able to do it. And my training for the marathon will not technically start until May or June.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Fear of Change - Jillian Michaels

Just wanted to quote this because it is so true. Don't let fear hold you back from anything. It is so worth it to get out there and change your life.

From LOSING IT! With Jillian Michaels
Friday, February 26, 2010

Fear of Change

Fear of change can keep you in a soul-crushing job, a bad relationship, or a physically destructive lifestyle. Ask yourself: Is the devil-you-know approach really good enough for you? Is your life making you happy? If you answered no to either of those questions, WHAT do you have to lose by embracing change?

The truth is, things should be changing — your body is changing, your habits are changing, your attitude is changing. This might be the point where, because of so much change, you're starting to freak out a little bit. You might be asking yourself, What will all this change mean — to my life's direction, my relationships, my identity?

I can't stress enough how important it is to resist any pressure you may be feeling from others to stop improving your habits or to remain a certain size. And don't worry if your spouse, family members, or friends aren't on board with your plans. You can't control them. They'll change if and when they want to change. Take care of yourself first.

Maybe you're afraid you won't know how to love yourself if you're not a certain size. Many people are buried in their weight, not knowing who they would be without it. This is especially a risk if you've never identified yourself as "skinny." Don't be afraid of what you'll be like when you're thinner. Feel the fear and do it anyway! And don't sabotage your efforts because you don't deem yourself worthy — you are SO deserving of achieving your weight-loss goal! Let's dig deep, get our hands dirty, and do this. What is there to be afraid of when you're healthy — besides living the life you're supposed to lead? When you're overweight and uncomfortable, there is so much less you can do, and you always live with the threat of having a stroke, developing type 2 diabetes, or getting cancer. Obviously, a lot more risks are involved if you give up and stay stuck instead of making changes.

The only thing that's holding you back from achieving your dreams is YOU. Believe in yourself, and stop letting your excuses keep you from living. Screw surviving — it's time to thrive!