Monday, July 11, 2011

Urban Adventure Race Recap

On Saturday my husband and I participated in the first ever Grand Rapids Urban Adventure Race. I found the website for this race while I was searching for a half marathon to do in July.  I had to read up on what exactly adventure racing actually was.  It sounded both physically and mentally challenging.  I signed right up.

What is Adventure Racing? It is a multi-sport team event in which racers navigate their way through an open course to check points (CP) using a map, compass and route strategy within a set time length (if you exceed that time limit you get points deducted or are disqualified).  Once at that CP you punch a passport with the punch that is attached to the CP flag. It is usually a wilderness event but it can also be an urban race.

Typical Disciplines:
  • Mountain biking
  • Orienteering (using a map and compass to get from one point to another)
  • Canoeing
  • Trekking/Trail running
  • Climbing/ropes
  • Swimming (possible)
Being that this was an urban race the disciplines consisted of biking, running and orienteering with a little bit of Amazing Race type challenges thrown in here and there.
They capped the race initially at 250 teams of two but due to the overwhelming response they increased the capacity to 380 teams. 

There was a 30 minute race briefing where we received our instructions sheet and maps.   We then had about 20 minutes to plan our strategy before the race started.  You could choose to do either the foot portion or the bike portion first, but once you decided to move on to the second section, you couldn't go back to the first.  All check points were optional and you could obtain them in any order.  The challenges that were dispersed throughout the course were also optional, you just got an extra point for completing it.

We decided to do the On-Foot Section first.  We planned the order in which we wanted to obtain the CP's that would eliminate back tracking.  There were a total of 16 CP's for this section.  
  • CP1 and Challenge A:  we opted to not do this one right from the beginning because it was considered advanced being that it was pretty far away from the other CP's.  The challenge part was a rock climbing challenge. 
  • CP2: opted out of this one as well as it was close to CP1 (i.e. far away)
So then we went in the order that made sense to us.
  • CP8 and Challenge C: Climb the stairs in a 10 story parking garage using a particular set of stairs.  CP at the top.  Once at the top look over the city for a sign with an arrow that matches the one shown at the CP.  Go to where the arrow is to receive the challenge CP.
  • Challenge E: Buy a GR Press with mandatory quarters that we were required to bring.  Find the ad with the race logo and solve the clue to reveal the location of Challenge E.  Go there to punch the passport.
  • Maps and passport attached to hydration pack!
It's hot.

  • CP3, CP5, CP7, CP4, CP9 and CP10 were just locations we had to navigate to according to the map
  • Punching our passport at CP4

  • CP6 and Challenge B: Go to the GR Public Museum and find the first CP at the entrance.  Go inside to solve a clue and get a CP for Challenge B. (A bird totally attacked my head as I was entering the museum and it hurt!)
  • CP11 and Challenge D: Find the CP inside the city bus terminal.  Buy four bus tickets and drop them off at a mystery location located on a map next to the ticket counter to get your challenge point. (The tickets that were purchased went to a local homeless shelter.)
So happy to be buying bus tickets

Dropping bus tickets off at homeless shelter

We finished the on-foot portion in 1:07 which meant we had just under 3 hours to transition into the bike portion and find those CP's and get back to the finish area.

There were a total of 17 CPs for the bike portion and we got them all.  Again we went in the order that minimized back tracking.
  • CP12: under an expressway overpass.  We went right by this one then had to back track just a bit to find it.
  • CP26: Founders Brewery (anyone who is ever in GR I will take you here)
  • CP13 and Challenge F: find Lincoln Park to get your CP.  Solve a cryptogram for the challenge CP.
This ate up 20 minutes!  Ugh.
  • CPs 14-18: Wilderness orienteering at a park after riding up this crazy hill to the entrance with dead legs.  Got these pretty quick as all you kinda had to do was follow the crowd.
  • CP 21, CP 23, CP 22. CP 20, CP 19, CP 25: these were all along a several bike paths that were pretty far out from the city.  We almost went the wrong way until I decided to question hubby one last time if we were going in the right direction.  We weren't.
  • CP24 and Challenge G: Kensington Park Angry Birds:  Punch your passport at the CP.  Head to a launching station to launch projectiles (eggs) at a target.  Hit the target (a huge pig banner W-A-Y out there) and get the challenge CP.
This was so fun!! Hit it on the second try.
Angry Birds Launching Station

After the launch we had all of our CPs.  It was time to head back to the finish area.  We were probably a good 4 miles out from town and by this time it was close to 12:30pm and it was 89 degrees.  We booked it back and our official finish time was 3:37.  We ended up finishing 182 out of 380 teams.  They score you based on how many CPs you got and then time.

This race was so well organized and the racers and volunteers were all awesome.  I heard lots of positive feedback from everyone after the race.  Post race food included burgers, chips, fruit, and drinks.  They gave away some sweet prizes to the top 7 in each divison: Co-ed, Male-Male and Female-Female.  They also had a raffle for a bike frame, gift cards, and t-shirts.  We didn't win anything though.

I was so freaking hungry

I went into this race with one expectation: to have fun.  I totally had a blast through the entire race.  I wish I could hold back my competitiveness sometimes though.  We knew we weren't going to win this thing, but we didn't want to get disqualified for being over the time limit either.  Thus we opted not to do those first 2 on-foot CPs because hubby is fit by nature but we thought it was a little too far away for him to run in order to complete all of the other CPs.  Looking back I wish we would have just done those CPs anyway to live up to our "fun" requirement.

Now I am hooked on this adventure racing thing.  I want to do a 6 hour wilderness race in the area that is coming up in August but my husband will be out of town.  Ugh!!  This one involves orienteering, mountain biking, swimming, canoeing and trekking.  Please don't make me wait until next year........

If you ever get an opportunity to do an adventure race....DO IT!  I guarantee you will have the time of your life.

Oh, and my Garmin told me we went a total of 20.76 miles.  

Friday, July 8, 2011

Say Hello

to Tucker

:O)  He makes me smile.

We have this going on tomorrow.  

Forecast is for sun and 89 degrees.  Should be a blast.  I promise pictures.  

Will someone please kick me in the pants.  I am undecided on doing the Grand Rapids Marathon in October.  With that being said I am 4 weeks behind according to the training schedule.  Should I run the full and try to redeem myself from last years Chicago Marathon?  Am I too far behind on the training?  (Remember I am not starting from scratch.  I just "ran" a half 2 weeks ago.) Or should I try for a sub 2 hour half?  Hmmmm....  Gimme your thoughts.

Have a good weekend. 

Run and Tri safe.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

How to accidentally run a Half Marathon

Yup.  You read the title correctly.  I didn't intend on running 13.1 miles today, it just happened. 

About two weeks ago the organizers of the Grand Rapids Marathon decided to put together a benefit run for Joplin, Missouri.  Joplin was supposed to have a half marathon on June 11, but mother nature apparently had other plans for Joplin.  Thus, an idea was born to hold a Benefit for Boomtown run.  Anyone wishing to donate funds would be registered to run 13.1 miles in support of Joplin United Way.  The best part is that the first 153 people registered also got to wear Boomtown bibs and received the Boomtown finisher's medal.  You can read more about the event HERE.

So I convinced my husband (a non-runner) that it would be something fun to do together -- and of course we will NOT be running the whole 13.1 miles.  Maybe 3 or 5.  If we made it to 6 I would have been happy.  I was not going to push him (a non-runner) into going further than he wanted.  Well........I lied.  I didn't intend to, it is just that it was such a beautiful morning and I knew he could do at least 8.  When we got to 8, I knew he could do 10....then 10 came and I was like, what is 3.1 more miles?  Apparently, a hell of a lot to a non-runner.   Oops.

Let me say that we did a run/walk sort of thing after about mile 4.  He knew I wanted to run ahead of him so badly but we were in this together and so I stayed by his side.  In the last 0.2 miles I tried to encourage him to finish strong and not to get chicked as there was this girl coming in strong behind us.  You will be happy to know that he did NOT get chicked.  Our time was a respectable 2:36 and the distance was actually 13.4 due to some construction!  Just think if he actually trained!!  I can not say how proud I am of him and I think he actually had a little bit of fun.  By the way, there were a total of about 200 runners and we raised $6755!!

Here are some pictures from the Benefit for Boomtown:

I am never doing this again

the medal is huge!

I took the opportunity to use this run also as Adam's Sweat Your Thorns Off 5K, although I should change that to Sweat Your Sunscreen Off 5K.  Seriously, sunscreen just melts off my face.  Our 5K time was 31:15.

check out my bib

still smiling after 3.1

Thanks for hosting the SYTO 5K Adam. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

I need your help

in naming this little guy

Thompson Male

I have mentioned several times how much we have wanted a dog.  Since I over analyze EVERYTHING it took us me a while to finally say yes.  We pick him up on Wednesday.  

So I need your help naming him.  Here are a few names in the running:

Cooper (copying Blonde Ponytail and her beautiful Cooper)

Feel free to throw in some suggestions.

In other news:

I am a huge Detroit Tigers baseball fan.  For our 7th anniversary my husband took me to a game.  It was such a nice day even though they lost.

And we ate here:

You betcha that is Five Guys, and it was not just was FABULOUS!

We headed west to Colorado for a wedding this past week.  Guess what we just happened upon?  Yup, the Detroit Tigers were in town playing the Colorado Rockies.  We pestered the ticket office for a good 20 minutes, but the only tickets that were available were single tickets.  As we were walking away, a young couple asked us if we were looking for tickets.  Just so happened they had extra as their friends backed out.  Let me just tell you these seats were awesome--behind the Tigers dugout, 9th row.  That is nose hair seeing close.  It was so much fun, perhaps even better than Comerica park the week earlier.  Coors Field is beautiful and big!  And the Tigers won!  High five. 

I have the chance to attend this Saturday's game too, but I have to pass. That would be 3 games in 3 weeks.  Darn it.

As I mentioned we went to a wedding which was held at a golf course.  I don't play golf but this course made me want to hit the links.

On our last day we hiked in Rocky Mountain National Park and had a picnic lunch.

In running news

I have to confess I have not done a whole lot of running lately.  I think I am just tired.  After the 25K I vowed to keep a long run base of at least 10 miles.  Well.....I haven't really done that.  Sometimes I just lose my running mojo. 

Anyway, I will be running Adam's Sweat Your Thorns Off 5K tomorrow.  It will be part of a longer run.  Not sure how long I will go as a group of us are meeting to do a trail run.  Trail runs = hills = slow pace.  It will be fun though.

Sunday I will be running a half marathon.  Well, the supported distance is a half marathon, but I can tell you I will not be running the 13.1.  The organizers of the Grand Rapids Marathon put together a rather impromptu half marathon in order to raise funds to help Joplin, Missouri, which was hit with that awful tornado in May.  

Here is the link in case you want to read about the run: Benefit for Boomtown  My husband is joining me and it will be a fun Sunday morning knowing that we are helping others in need.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

So Happy!

Michigan strawberries.

Nothing like 'em.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Switching Gears

This is my next race

and I am freaking excited for it.

What is Adventure Racing?
Multi-sport team event in which racers navigate their way through an open course using a map, compass and route strategy within a set time length.  It is usually a wilderness event but it can also be an urban race.

Typical Disciplines:

  • Mountain biking
  • Orienteering (using a map and compass to get from one point to another)
  • Canoeing
  • Trekking/Trail running
  • Climbing/ropes
  • Swimming (possible) 

Why Adventure Race?

  • Multi-sport: Allows your body to handle much longer races than if you were just running or biking
  • Blend of Smarts and Speed: Navigation, orienteering, map reading can help slower teams compete with more athletic teams
  • Wilderness Experience: Compete on rivers, lakes and forests
  • Teamwork:  Teammates must work together, make decisions together, encourage each other.
  • Challenge and Self Discovery:  Allows you to push yourself and find your limits.  Takes you out of your comfort zone by putting you in unfamiliar surroundings while testing your physical limits.
  • Act like a kid:  Finding hidden checkpoints is like an adult Easter egg hunt.  There are 30+ moments of elation in every race.

What to expect
  • Pre-race briefing: Explain the course, rules and hand out maps and passports
  • Passport: Must get punched at every checkpoint
  • Checkpoints:  All teams must locate CPs.  Some may have additional challenges at specific CPs.
  • Transition areas:  Where teams change disciplines and have a chance to replenish supplies
  • Gear check:  Most races have random locations throughout the course to check if the team and individuals have all mandatory gear.
  • Finish:  Your performance is based on how many checkpoints you get within a set time limit.  If you get 30 checkpoints in 3 hours by another team gets 31 checkpoints in 3:59, they finish above you.

This is what is what is involved for the g.r. urban adventure race:

Bike in and around downtown Grand Rapids
Run through woods and buildings, conquer challenges
Climb hills, stairs and walls
Search for hidden checkpoints with a map and clues
Length: 4 hours (8-12 miles biking, mostly paved; 3-5 miles on foot)

My husband got out some of his Army wilderness navigation resources and his compass.  He gave me a quick tutorial on how to use a compass and topographical maps.  

This is gonna be fun!

  • Have you ever done an adventure race?

  • Do you know how to use a compass?

Friday, May 20, 2011

25K Recap

As I arrived downtown I panicked because I couldn't get to the parking structure that I intended on parking at.  The police had part of the road blocked off and forced me to turn down a road that I thought was leading me to the expressway.  After a bit of a nervous breakdown, I realized I was not headed to the expressway and only needed to make a left turn to get me to a different area to park....not the one I wanted though because this one wasn't free. :O(

It was about 7:15am and it was 60 degrees and POURING, but at the start of the 25K the rain had let up and it was actually kind of humid out.  I lined up at the back of the 9:00 minute/mile pace group.  Soon enough we were off.  I felt good as I my breathing settled in to a nice pattern.

Mile 1: 9:26
Mile 2: 9:20
Mile 3  9:23
Mile 4: 9:26
Mile 5: 9:34

I forced a GU and water down at mile 4 and only slowed as to NOT inhale the water.

Mile 6:  9:32
Mile 7:  9:44

This is were I started having a hard time.  I couldn't get my heart rate under control and I thought if I just walked for a second it would be OK.  So I did and that was my downfall because I mentally gave up on myself.  I forced another GU at mile 8 and walked through this water stop.

Mile 8:  9:55
Mile 9:  9:45

This hills started here and last for the next 4 miles, and I could feel a blister forming on the bottom of my left foot.

Mile 10:  10:22
Mile 11:   9:58
Mile 12:  10:12

Another GU and an orange slice to try to physically push me through but mentally I was done.

Mile 13:  10:17
Mile 14:  10:36

I really was struggling at this point and I was upset with myself for crumbling.

Mile 15:  10:32

The finish line area was packed with spectators and I pushed myself hard to the end.  The finish line was uphill and it was a struggle.  I set my sights on a guy who was giving it his all, and I chicked him.  You betcha!

Mile 16:  9:28

Garmin time read 15.62 miles at 2:34:04.

Official time read 15.5 miles at 2:34:08.

Not what I wanted.

But still OK.

I need to work on race day anxiety.  I need to carry over my confidence that I acquire during training runs into race day.

I give up on myself to easily.

Sorry for the lack of photos -- I forgot to take pictures.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I HATE race day

Because of stuff like this:

I saw them doing chest compressions and intubating him.

In case you are wondering, I did not make my goal time of 2:25.  I came in at 2:34 and change.  It was a hard day and I have the blisters to prove it.  I did PR by 10 minutes though but that all seems insignificant now.

Friday, May 13, 2011

All Set

Tomorrow morning at 8:20am I will be running the Fifth Third Bank 25K River Run.  I am pretty darn excited.

I remember this time last year I didn't know what to expect.  Since then I have completed a fantastic 10K Mud Run, a half marathon and a full marathon.  I have logged many miles with these ol' feet of mine, and I feel more physically and mentally prepared than I did last year.

I went to the expo and picked up my bib this morning.  I got there just as the doors were opening so there was a line outside.  I was maybe #176 (just a guess).  The funny thing is that people stayed in line formation until they were through the vestibule and inside the exhibit hall.  Some people were slowly meandering in front of the information booth and the line was still intact.  I think I was the first to break out of the line as I scooted out and into the exhibit hall to get my race bib. It was kind weird, but neat in the same way because everyone was so polite and didn't want to cut in front of anyone else (except me, Ha!).

I came home and gathered some of my stuff.

  • Shoes -- check
  • Bib -- check
  • Gu -- check
  • Spi belt -- check
  • Hat -- check
  • Garmin -- check after it is fully charged (this will be my first race with my Garmin)
What am I missing.........oh, yeah, clothes.  I am going to utilize my preferred attire and go ninja style -- black shirt and black shorts.  I was just too lazy to go get them for this photo.

The weather forecast looks like this
8 day forecast

Yup, an 80% chance of rain. Hence the visor.  

The temperature is perfect, but please, please don't rain.

(Incidentally, the outside temperature reading in my car read -13 degrees today.  Um, I think that is off just a bit.)

I HATE running in wet shoes.  

I decided I am going to line up at the back of the 9 minute/mile pace group just ahead of the 9:30's.  Hopefully they will carry me through to my finish time of 2:25 (or less!).

I really took this tapering stuff to heart this past week.  I only ran 5 miles.  Oops.  I did do strength training two days though so that counts for something.  

One of the runs was yesterday and it was gross outside, as in 78* and humid.  Now I know that is normal weather for some of you, but when you go from basically 40 and 50 degree days to 70's and 80's practically overnight it is HARD to adjust.  I felt like I was trudging through the swamp.

Off to stimulate the economy and hydrate via lemonade from the neighbor kid's lemonade stand.

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend.

May you Tri and Run hard.  

Saturday, May 7, 2011

One More Week

Last long run of 10 miles...done.

What a great day for a run.  It was 48* this morning with bright sunshine.  The route for us was an out and back on my favorite rail trail.  I started out strong, running in the low 9's.  I faded a bit between miles 6 and 8 and even had to...gasp...walk for a few seconds to gather myself.  Overall though my average pace was 9:24.  I will take it.  

Let the farmer's tan begin.  I wore shorts today and have the tan lines to prove it.  I also am rocking a sweet tanstache (thanks Michael for that term).  I am going to devote an entire post to my tanstache someday.

"Dude, you have chocolate milk on your upper lip."

"No, that's just my tanstache." :O(

This week I need to focus on nutrition and hydration.  I need to be cognizant of what I am putting into my body, i.e. NO candy (I <3 candy) NO soda, NO junk calories.  I eat fairly healthy, but I could do better at eating more fruits and veggies.  And I need to pump in the water like nobody's business.  I have been lacking in that department, too.  I get tired of the whole process of drinking sometimes.  I would sometimes rather be hydrated via an IV I think.  Wouldn't it be easy to hook up an IV at night and have a liter of normal saline drip into you throughout the evening?  You would wake up feeling nice and hydrated.  Just a thought.

We have had a lot of rain in the past few weeks and part of the course  This happened a few years ago as well and they have an alternate route mapped out just in case.  This alternate route, however, is hilly from what I hear.  Bad thing is that it is supposed to rain here this week.  So be it I guess.

One thing that is going to make be a little sad on race day is that I won't have any family support there.  My husband could not get the day off from work :o(  I am so sad because he has been my number one supporter and has always been there as my sherpa.  As far as other family goes, they live 3 hours away and could care less about supporting me at these events -- which is OK because I have come to terms with that one.  Boo on the absent husband though.

I am going to try to take pictures on race day.  No promises though because I seem to forget about pictures a lot.

Have a good weekend.  Run and Tri safe.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mom's.

  • At what temperature do you pull out the ol' running shorts again?  Or for you warmer climate dwellers, at what temperature do you layer up?
  • Are you good about eating fruits and veggies?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Last Long Run

Can't believe I am already tapering for the 25K.  It seems like just yesterday that I signed up for the race -- oh, it was ;O)  Do you ever wait to the last minute to register for a race that doesn't have a capacity limit?  Guilty here.

I need some advice about where I should position myself during this race.  I have been running my long runs around a 9:20 - 9:45 average and my shorter runs around 9 - 9:15.  I plan on running with a pace group, I am just not sure what one I should go for.

Push myself and head out with the 9 group?  What if I go out too fast and struggle at the end?

Hold off a bit and go with the 9:30 group?  Speed up if I feel I can?

The old me wants to join the 10 group because that is where I am most comfortable.  I consider myself a 10 minute per mile runner even though I have become just a bit faster than that....

My goal is to run the 25K in 2:25 or less.  I think I am reaching a little high.  But if anything, I hope to beat last years time of 2:43:35.

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend.  Stay safe.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Weekend Ramblings

Fifth Third River Bank Run
The largest 25K road race in the US

I can't believe the 25K is 2 weeks away!

Where did the time go?  I remember when training officially began way back in January in the cold and snow.  Now we are into May and the race is almost here.  Last year at this time if you would have asked me if I was ready my reply would have been no.  This year I feel I am a stronger and more confident runner.  I am excited for this race as it will be my first since the Chicago Marathon.  Let's hope the weather cooperates for us.  May in Michigan can be kinda iffy.

I ran a 12 miler on Friday with my occasional running buddy (L) and another runner from our Saturday morning running group (B).  We met at B's house since she had a pretty 12 mile route planned for us out along the country roads.  The sun was shining and the temperature was 35 degrees.  Perfect!  We started off strong with the first few miles in the 9:30's.  That was a little fast for B as she tends to run 10's.  I knew we probably would not be able to run like L and I usually do because the pace was too fast for B, and that was fine with me.  My intention was just to have a nice run to get in 12 miles.

Around mile 6, B started having issues with her feet which caused her to stop several times in the next few miles.  I stopped with her, but L continued on with no hint of wanting to wait for B.  I figured I wouldn't want to be left behind if I was having a hard time so why should I leave her?  We all started together so why not encourage one another to the end?  By the time L looked back to see where we were, we were at least a mile behind.  She just continued on the route and was waiting for us at the end.  I was kind of disappointed in L's actions.  What do you think?  Our pace was 10:30 even with stopping and walking so it still wasn't all that bad.  Anyway, it was nice to get my long run done on Friday morning, especially since I had to work Saturday.

In other news, this was our driveway on Sunday at 9:30am
5 yards of mulch.....

and this was our driveway at 11:30am

and this is where it went

It is so nice to finally see flowers in my yard!!!

Hope everyone had a fabulous weekend.  Can't wait to read race recaps from this weekend.

Oh, one last thing....I ran a total of 109 miles in April!!  Woot....Woot.

  • What is your next race?
  • Is there proper etiquette when running with a partner, i.e. leave no man behind?
  • What is the most you ran in a month?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Public Service Announcement

Just a reminder....
Unused Drug Disposal

On Saturday, April 30th, the DEA is sponsoring a drug take back day.  This is a chance to get rid of your unwanted medications SAFELY.

To find a collection site near you click HERE.

If there is not a collection site near you follow these federal guidelines put out by the Office of National Drug Control Policy :

Do not flush prescription drugs down the toilet or drain unless the label or accompanying patient information specifically instructs you to do so.  For information on drugs that should be flushed visit the FDA website.
If a drug take‐back or collection program is not available near you:

  1. Take your prescription drugs out of their original containers
  2. Mix drugs with an undesirable substance, such as cat litter or used coffee grounds.
  3. Put the mixture into a disposable container with a lid, such as an empty margarine tub, or into a sealable bag.
  4. Conceal or remove any personal information, including Rx number, on the empty containers by covering it with black permanent marker or duct tape, or by scratching it off.
  5. Place the sealed container with the mixture, and the empty drug containers, in the trash
Thank you for doing your part in helping to protect the environment and preventing diversion!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I feel good...said in a James Brown sort of way

16 miles.  Done!

I always get so nervous about long runs.  I think about them all Friday evening and wake up Saturday with dread upon my shoulders.  This morning was no different.  I had my pre-long run fuel (steel cut oats (and I didn't gag this time), string cheese and a glass of milk).  I made no less than 3 trips to the bathroom before I left my house.  I did some foam rolling and rolled the ol' hip on a tennis ball.  I contemplated wearing shorts today since it was going to be 54 degrees towards the end of the run.  I decided against it, and I was glad in my decision 'cuz it never warmed above 42.  I did however transform my running jacket into vest mode (the sleeves zip off).  I <3 this jacket/vest.  I also wore my visor today in case the sun came out (HA!), which we have not seen around here in a few days. :o(

I headed on over to our starting point for this week's route and did some warmup exercises.  I looked at the route that was planned for us.  I was glad to hear that water was set out for us at about every 3 miles!  Score.  I didn't have to bring any with me.  

The first 0.4 miles consisted of a 125 ft elevation gain.  Ugh.  Soon enough I settled in and caught stride with two other runners.  I chatted which is way out of the ordinary for me.  I am a pretty quite person in general but especially during running because I am so focused on breathing and not dying.  By mile 3 one of the runners had to stop to remove her jacket.  I felt like I should have stopped with her, but I knew if I did I'd have a hard time starting again.  

I stuck with the other guy until mile 6 when I got caught up waiting for a car to pass a busy road we were crossing (I wasn't interested in playing chicken today).  He then slowly gained speed and left me in the dust.

I was plodding along on my own when around mile 8 all of a sudden there were two dogs that came barreling towards me from a house I was passing.  Luckily, they stopped at the end of the property, but this is my biggest fear running --- getting bite by a dog.  It scared the crap out of me.  As a side note: there is a pitbull that lives 3 houses down from us that HAS bitten and lunged at walkers and runners in our neighborhood.  It was reported and was the dog taken away but  for some reason the owners got the dog back.  I never go by that house when I see that dog outside.  The owners are so irresponsible in my opinion.  How can you leave your dog outside knowing it has a past history of biting people?  Another side note:  I was running my last run before the Chicago Marathon last year.  I had an easy 3 miles planned around the my neighborhood.  It was 5am and I just hit the 3 mile mark.  I stopped and incidentally it was right at the house where this dog lives.  I saw the dog was outside (I had done numerous early morning runs around my neighborhood prior and had never seen it outside before at that time of day).  There was NO WAY I was taking any chances, so I slowly and quietly turned around and proceed to go the long way back to my house.  I had to run because I was supposed to meet someone at the gym in 30 minutes.  It added another 1.5 miles onto my run, but that was probably the fastest 1.5 miles I ever ran.  It was uphill, too!  Sorry to digress.

I said a little prayer and thanked God that those dogs let me be.  The rest of the run was pretty uneventful.  There were a few runners not part of our group that were out so that was fun to see.  There was a speedy girl that came behind me and zoomed in front of me.  She was so fast.  I wonder how far she was going.  The best part was the last 5 miles were ever so slightly downhill.  :o)

I haven't been using GU during my long runs but I did at miles 4 and 8 this time.  I intended on doing it at mile 12 as well but forgot.  Perhaps that is why I had a tough last 2 miles?  

Overall I finished 16 miles in 2:38.  I didn't walk at all and only stopped to get a few drinks along the way.  

On my way home I stopped at Starbucks and bought one of these as a recovery drink.  Yum.

Orange Mango Vivanno smoothie
Orange Mango Smoothie

Total miles for this week = 31!  

  • I have noticed that my hamstrings and calves cramp on long runs after I stop.  This is new to me.  Any ideas?  
  • I am thinking I want to start carrying some dog repellent.  Anyone have any suggestions?  Good idea?  Bad idea?
  • Do you use GU or something else?  How often do you use it?
  • Do you make your bed every day?

Monday, April 18, 2011


It is April 18, 2011 and I woke up to this

So tired of this snow and cold.  Last Sunday it was 85 degrees here.  Big fat sigh.............  I think I need to move to a warmer climate.

I am totally cyber stalking some fellow bloggers running the Boston Marathon today.  Way to go guys!  You freaking amaze me beyond belief.  I am so excited for all those who worked so hard to get there.

Ran a solo 9 mile long run on Saturday.  I wasn't feeling good enough in the morning to run with the group plus it was raining.   I decided I was going to run Sunday instead.  As I woke up again after falling asleep I saw the sun was out and I was feeling better.  I decided to just get out there and get it done (I hate the thought of a long run looming over my head all weekend plus I knew it was going to be COLD and WINDY Sunday).  It was a terrible run.  It rained again and it was one of those where you feel like you are running in place.  But I got it done and that is what counts.  Average pace was 10:05.

I had another session of ART done on Wednesday.  This time he targeted my left hamstring, inner thigh and glute.  OUCH.  I still am bruised.  :o)

I did some exercises today with a trainer at the gym specifically geared towards my weak left side.  I think if I keep strengthening that side it WILL get better. 

What I found in our backyard yesterday....

That is the end of a shepard's hook that sticks into the ground.  See it is bent?  We had a suet feeder hanging from it and some hungry creature must have climbed up on the hook and came tumbling down as it bent.  My husband thinks it was probably a raccoon.  I think it was a bear.  It sounds more exciting that way.

One last thing to husband made me a homemade chocolate cake with a chocolate buttercream frosting yesterday.  It is so unbelievable yummy.  Probably not the best training fuel but it tastes good!  Gotta be careful of those treats though....that's how I gained 10 pounds during marathon training.  Just because you run doesn't mean you can eat whatever you want.  At least for me.

Have a good day.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Laffy Taffy Tuesday

Q:  What did the fish say when he swam into the wall?

A:  Dam.

Have a Laffy Taffy Tuesday!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Wishing well

As the Boston Marathon nears, I am wishing everyone who is headed that way nothing but confidence and happy thoughts.  May you have the race of your life.   May you make memories that will last a life time.  You earned it now enjoy it!

A view from my 14 mile route this past weekend:

Wasn't sure how this run would turn out since I had A.R.T done on Wednesday.  It wasn't glorious.  I had hip issues starting at mile 4.  I still finished with a decent pace, but I still hurt today.  Hopefully Wednesday's treatment will be even more beneficial.

Happy training.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Zen and the A.R.T. of Motorcycle Maintenance

The date was September 12, 2010.  It was a Sunday.  I was in the midst of training for the Chicago Marathon and I "only" had 10 miles planned.  I ran those 10 miles and experienced something mid-run I had not quite experienced before.  Pain in my left hip.  It hurt.  I did what I do best and  ignored it.  Against advice from many people, I ran a scheduled 20 miler the following Sunday.  Surprisingly that pain did not vanish after the 20 miler.  Huh.

I was not going to let this hip pain prevent me from running a marathon that I trained so hard and long for.  I may never be in a position to run a marathon ever again.  I ran that marathon, albeit not in any sort of time I was even remotely proud of for more than one reason.   (My hip started to hurt around mile 4.)  I decided to take a few months off from running after that to let the hip heal on its own.  I did a few 5 milers here and there and even a 10 miler in there but no significant weekly mileage.

I started running again in January and gosh darn it those few months of not running didn't heal me.  Fast forward to today, that hip pain has been at my side since September 12, 2010.

I can be am pretty darn stubborn.  I ignored highly trained people that told me I needed to see someone about this hip pain for months.  The time had come.  I could not take the pain any longer.

I went to see a chiropractor today that specializes in A.R.T. (active reflex technique).  The guy that I went to  trains the US Olympic Bobsled team.  This guy is all muscle.  He has huge forearms and must have thumbs of steel 'cuz oh, man, this A.R.T. stuff hurt like bloody hell.  He pressed here and I winced.  He pressed there and I got sweaty.  I held my breath praying he would stop.  He explained what he was doing and why I was experiencing the type of pain I was with all sorts of anatomical references.  At one point he audibly gasped and told me how "short" one of my glute muscles were.  Bet you never had someone tell you you had a short glute muscle.  I didn't take that as a compliment.

I am pretty faithful about rolling on a foam roller.  He told me that the foam roller is too global and my at home therapy for the next week was to roll my hip and left glute on a tennis ball for 2 minutes before and after runs.  He also prescribed glute bridges to train my glute muscles to fire at the same time (apparently Mr. Left Glute lags a little behind the Mr. Right Glute).  He said we need to make room for my femur to move like it normally should instead of compensating like it has been for months which has caused short tight muscles with a shortened range of motion.  Good thing is that he doesn't feel there is any permanent damage.

After 50 minutes of pure pain, I thanked God it was over.  I hobbled out of there with hopes of pain free days ahead.

I came home and peaked in the mirror as I was changing my clothes.  I had perfect bruise marks of a thumb and knuckle on my left hip and bruises on my groin, glute and thigh.  It hurts. :o(

I have 4 miles planned for tomorrow and 14 for Saturday.  Wish me luck.

I am to revisit the torture chamber in 1 week.

(The chiropractor is actually awesome!  I must not be the only one who thinks so because it took me 3 weeks to get in.)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Laffy Taffy Tuesday

Q: What did the dentist say to the computer?

A:  This won't hurt a byte.


Have a Laffy Taffy Tuesday!