Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August Recap

Average Temp: 79F/26C

Miles run: 131.9 miles - Wow that is a lot! My second highest mileage month ever.  Only 70 miles to go until I reach 1000 miles for the year!
Rest days taken: 9 days.

Highest mileage week: 8/8 - 8/14 with 35.4 miles

Average pace: 8:11 min/mile

Races: Only one - I ran in one of the running clubs XC races.  Nothing special just a little tune up!

Current Obsessions:
The weather.  Between the race and the wedding, I have been checking the 10 day forecast non stop!

Current Blessings: My friends - their support and understanding has helped me to get through the last month of stressful planning!

Current Excitement: THE WEDDING!!  Less than 10 days!  Oh yeah and the 15k race I am running on September  5th!

Current Read: NOTHING!  Please help! I need a good book to take on the honeymoon for our flight! Any suggestions!??

Current Guilty Pleasure: The Real Housewives of New Jersey! Every time I turn on the TV this show seems to be on and I get sucked it!

What's a post with a picture - so just for fun - here's a picture of some shoes I was eying at the a store last week.  Hate to say it but I have been staying away from the high heels :(

How was your August!  Cannot believe it is SEPTEMBER!!!

I'm not good at math

Only a few more runs stand between me and the 15k race on Monday.  I haven't raced a 15k since last summer so I have been trying to figure out what my goal should be.  Sure I can add and subtract, multiple and divide with the best of them.  But figuring out pacing times or adding running times together - I just can't do it.  And then I found this handy little app that has been a life saver.

In my nice little running folder I have this amazing app which is so simple to use - its called Pacer.

This app gives you three options for calculations - pace, distance or time.  All you need is two of the variables to figure out the third one -

To find the pace - enter run distance and run time.
To find the distance - enter run time and run pace.
To find the time - enter run distance and run pace.

It makes calculating times or paces for runs and races so much easier!  I just used the "Time" calculation to figure out how long it would take me to finish the 15k if I ran it at tempo pace (7:10/mile).

Easy peasy....saved me from a few headaches of trying to add up paces.  Its nice having this app on my iPhone so I don't have to be near a computer to figure out info for my run.  What's your favorite app?

Happy Wednesday!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wedding and race taper madness

I am literally going crazy over here.  I am stressed to the max; I am snapping at my best friends, I am having mini breakdowns in stores, I am second guessing myself.

This is wedding taper...the crazies set in.  This is far worse than Bride brain. Add regular taper on top and my mind is running wild!

I have learned in the last few weeks that sitting and staring at a spreadsheet does not actually get anything done. I have learned that you have to actually go out and do things. You have to make decisions and move on.  Live with the outcome - good or bad. 

I have learned that wedding planning is like marathon (or for me half marathon and 15k) training! 

Sitting on the couch staring at the training plan will not make me a faster runner, just like sitting on the couch staring at my wedding spreadsheet does not get me any closer to crossing off all my "to dos".

I have to get out there and do things! I have to get up early and run my workout and do my best.  I have to make decisions and be happy with them and NOT second guess myself.  When I put in the work and time, I know that the outcome will be the best it can be.

And the important thing for me to remember is that my wedding is a snapshot of who I am on September 10th, 2011.  My decisions were made because this is what I like right now! I don't need to think about the future or think "will I look back and think this is tacky?"  NO - this is who I am now at this point in my life and everything will reflect that.

Just like running a race - at the time of the start, I am the runner that I am.  I have trained, I have done what I can to get to that point and that race is a snapshot of the runner I am on that day, at that time.  I should not look back and think what I could have done differently.  I should not second guess my training.  I am the runner that I am.

And as the days wind down to the race and to the wedding, everything will fall into place.  I have to believe that.  I need to believe that everything will go smoothly and be wonderful.  I need to believe that I will race well and enjoy every step.  That I will enjoy every moment.

Meanwhile I am just trying to keep my head above water and not let taper madness completely take me over!

16 days!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

12 miles in 12 hours

I did another fake double - a run Tuesday night and then another run this morning.

Last night I showed up to running club with every intention of running 7 miles.  I am technically in taper mode for the 15k so I need to start cutting back my mileage.  But then my running buddy convinced me to run 9 miles, with 6 fast miles thrown in there.

The workout was 2x(2mi at half marathon pace + 1mi at threshold) with a 3 minute rest in between sets.  It looks hard just looking at it and it was. (Goal paces = 7:35 and 7:10)

First set miles: 14:52, 7:08
Second set miles: 15:10, 7:03

The first set of half marathon paced miles was a little fast.  We were able to pull back a bit on the second set and then crush the threshold portion.  It felt good to run this workout - a sort of accomplishment when we finished that we could do it. 

First run done.

Wednesday morning hadn't even dawned yet when my alarm went off and I headed out.  And it was DARK!  As I said before, I am house sitting so I was running in a new area this morning - although it is not totally unfamiliar because it is actually close to where I went to high school.  I haven't run on those roads in over 7 years and it was good to be back, although it was dark so I couldn't see much.

3 miles in 26:15 (8:45 pace)
For a total of 12 miles in 12 hours => 1:37:45 (8:09 pace)

After the run, it was time to get ready for work.  And of course I had a little company!  Somebody likes the shower!!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sunday vs. Saturday Long Runs

For my half marathon training in the winter/spring, I was a dedicated Saturday morning long runner.  It just worked with my schedule - plus my social and wedding planning schedule was a lot more flexible.  Although the mornings were often dark and cold, I enjoyed getting up, completing my run and having the rest of the weekend ahead of me.  But recently with my summer schedule, Saturday mornings have just not been possible.  Which got me thinking - which day do I like best for a long run?

Sunday Mornings

  • You can sleep in on Saturday morning
  • You have all day Saturday to hydrate and fuel without the distractions of work
  • The traffic on the roads is even less on Sunday mornings
  • You potentially can have a social life on Friday night
  • Early wake up on the last day of the weekend
  • You can't have too much fun on Saturday night

Saturday mornings

  • You get your run done early and have the rest of the weekend to enjoy
  • Going out on Friday night? Who am I kidding - I can't keep my eyes open past 9pm on a Friday night
  • Sleeping in on Sunday!
  • I always eat way too much all weekend after a Saturday long run because I feel I "deserve it"
  • Waking up early on a Saturday after a long week of work is tough!

It is a tough choice but most weekends this summer, my long run has been predicated by other plans.  I think Saturdays are the best day for me because I love having the rest of the weekend free! Plus my running group meets (early) Saturday mornings so there is always someone to run with.  It may be tough to get up, but I think Saturdays are my favorite!

So the question remains:  Sunday or Saturday???

Isn't she cute?  This is my new buddy for the next few days 
since I am house/cat sitting!

Monday, August 22, 2011

What a weekend!

Good morning!

I needed to come back to work just to get a break from the full weekend I had!  My work place does "summer hours" from July 4th to Labor day so we work Mon-Thurs, 10 hour days.  It is tough but so worth it to have Fridays off - especially when planning a wedding!

 Friday, I had my hair and makeup trail along with my final dress fitting!  I usually never wear make up so it was a change to have all this make up on my face but the girl did a great job and it looked pretty natural.  I still fit in my dress (YAY!) and everything is good to go for the big day!

Saturday, I woke up at 5:30am to meet up with the running group for one of my last hard long runs before the 15k.  My running buddy and I did a super hard workout in the humid morning which took alot of out me, but I still have a jam packed day ahead.

10 miles w/ 6 miles at HMP (~7:35) or faster - turns out we ran faster (~7:26 pace)

Then I went shopping for a few last minute supplies before working on my wedding projects.  I am keeping all my projects a secret until after the big day but I can say that everything is coming out better than I expected! I am so excited.  Anyway - I don't even want to know what the check out guy at the grocery store thought I was doing because I had such a jumble of random items!

Any guesses on what my wedding projects are???  I have hinted to them before...
I am still feeling quite overwhelmed with the amount of stuff that I have to get done in just 2 and 1/2 short weeks but I know it will all get done!

Sunday, I barely got to sleep in as I had another bridal shower - for my cousin who is getting married in October!!  It was a fabulous event with great food and great people.  I especially loved the centerpieces and I am even thinking about using the idea at my wedding!

So simple and beautiful!

Overall it was a whirlwind weekend of running and wedding stuff.  Only 14 more days until the race and 19 until the big day!  How was your weekend?  I can't wait for next weekend!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I know it's late August

This morning I headed out for my usual Thursday tempo run and it was dark.  Like pitch black dark, can't see your hand in front of your face dark.

Thank goodness for the tiny half moon that was shining, otherwise it would have been a really long dark run.  The only thing I really worry about during these dark runs is falling and/or stepping in a whole and twisting my ankle. Although I have had my fair share of falls, thankfully I haven't fallen recently.

As I was running my warm up mile, I noticed that I could once again see Orion's belt in the dark sky. 

This is always a sign to me that we are officially entering the end of summer :(  The mornings are getting cooler and the days are getting shorter.  It always seems like summer goes by to fast.

Morning workout -
2x2 mile at threshold (~7:10 pace)

My legs did not want to go this morning - holding a 7:19 pace for the first 2 miles was tough and then a 7:16 for the second set was even harder.  This kind of makes me worry about the 15k coming up because I wanted to hold my tempo/threshold pace for that race. We will see - there is till 18 days before the race.

In other news -  I have my wedding hair and make up trail tomorrow and then my final dress fitting.  I am very excited about this.  I have a hair style picked out and I can't wait to see how it looks with my dress and make up and jewelry! 

Married ladies - how did you decide on your wedding day look?? 

Thank goodness it is THURSDAY!! Have a great one!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Losing Weight

When I got engaged over a year ago, I never thought about losing weight for my wedding.  I was basically happy with my body -  of course there were a few areas that I wished were firmer and toned but I was happy with how I looked.

I have always been primarily skinny.  In high school I maintained a weight around 135-140 (I think), I didn't weight myself much because I was in three sports and eating whatever I wanted - oh to be a teen again.  The first year of college I gained 15 solid pounds of muscle as I was playing basketball full time and lifting weights.  Even with the weight gain I still felt good and happy with my body.  I didn't start to lose that weight until my fourth and fifth years of college when I ran track - but my mileage was low because I was a sprinter so I never really shed a lot of pounds - just changed my body shape.  My once basketball body slowly began to morph into more of a runners body.

Fast forward to the beginning of this year, January 2011 when I started seriously training for a half marathon.  I was running more mileage than I had ever run before (30 miles a week or more) and I started to lose weight.  The training combined with a ton of work and wedding stress, caused me to drop more than a few pounds by the time my half marathon rolled around.

And I liked how I looked; I didn't really notice the weight loss until someone at work mentioned something to me about how skinny I looked.  When I finally took a step back and looked at my body I saw that I had lost more than a few pounds.  I continued to run through the spring and into the summer, averaging many 30+ mile weeks which for me is a lot compared to before when I was barely managing 20-25 miles a week.

Last week I had a doctors appointment - my old doctor moved away so I had to go and meet my new doctor.  She was very nice and asked a few questions about my running and lifestyle and I mentioned how I had lost weight in the past 6 months.  She looked up my records from the previous year and we found this:

Last doctors appointment ~ Fall 2010, Weight = 151 pounds
New weight at Doctors, Summer 2011, Weight = 137 pounds

That is a fourteen pound drop in a year.  I was shocked. I did not think it was that much.  I knew I was skinny, I knew I could fit into my clothes from high school, but I did not know I had lost 14 pounds in over a year.  The doctor said it wasn't a major concern YET - she said that I really couldn't afford to lose any more weight because then I would be at risk for problems down the road like low calcium and osteoporosis.

A part of me worries about this weight loss hurting my body, but another part of me is liking the new me.  Its not a huge change but I have become leaner and stronger in my running.  I figure that I didn't need that extra weight - otherwise my body wouldn't have lost it.

Here are a few pictures from the past few years...

At Brian's brothers wedding - August 2008

End of fifth year of college - College track regionals, May 2009

Wedding dress shopping - January 2011
My 25th Birthday - March 2011

10k Race - June 2011

This past weekend at my second bridal shower 
My MOH and I at my bridal shower
So there has been a change in my body over the past three years.  The big drastic change has been in the last 8 months but I have slowly changed my body since I left college.  I wanted to transform more into a runner because I always felt big and bulky because that is the body I needed to play college basketball.

I think that it took the pictures from this past weekend AND my doctors appointment to finally have it sink in that I have lost weight.  I know that I am running more than ever but I think stress from the wedding has also played a role in this.  Obviously I have not mentioned much about my stress levels due to the wedding but it has been a struggle.  It has been a lot of pressure and stress put on me by my family and I have used running to deal with that stress.  Much of this has been extremely personal so I have chosen not to share the painful details because I want to forget a lot of what has happened.  Thankfully Brian and my friends have been there for me to help me to see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it will be here soon!

The point is that - even though I have lost weight, I am happy and I am happy with my body.  You would think with all the stress I would stress eat and gain weight, but apparently it is the opposite in this case.  After the wedding, we will see what happens.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Finding a race

Every Tuesday night at my running club, our coach makes a few announcemnets before we start the workout-

He talks about any awesome race performances over the past weekend from members
He goes over the workouts for the 5k/10k people, half marathers and marathoners
He discusses upcoming volunteer opportunities at running club sponsered races
AND he talks about upcoming races

Tuesday night was no different, except that he mentioned a new race.  A 15k race on September 5th.

My eyes went wide with excitement that I might actually be able to jam this race into my schedule, just 5 short days from my wedding.  We ran a few warm up laps and I pondered the idea and wondered it I was even in shape to race a 15k.

I asked coach what he thought and of course he was on board with the idea since he is also running the race.  So I took my old half marathon plan from spring and revamped the final four weeks for the 15k.  Everything just came together so easily. 

The 15k distance has to be one of my favorites and I am excited to get to race it again this year since I missed out on the Boilermaker.  My coach said that this course is flat and fast so I am hoping to break my PR of 1:11 from last year's Boilermaker.  Now I just need to talk my running buddy into running it with me!!  Only 25 days to go...and 30 until the wedding!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Oh my Shoe!

My current running shoes just crossed a major milestone - 500 miles!  Its nice to see these shoes lasting longer and longer - in the past I have ditched my shoes around 400 miles because my knees would start to hurt. 

I think I have been able to run more miles in each of my shoes because
1) I have been training more and my body is stronger and
2) I use two pairs - one for easy runs and one for my tempo, interval and long runs

My Brooks Ghost 3s are used for all tempo, interval and long runs.  I love how light they are and I think having a less clunky shoe has helped my feet and legs to get stronger.

My asics 2150s have been with me for a long time and I only use them on easy runs.  Often they feel bulky and big but the extra cushioning helps on my easy runs.

Since I started recording my mileage and tracking my shoes in May 2009 I have gone through 6 pairs - my current two pairs I use are both above 500 miles.  Guess it is time to go shopping.  I think I want to pick up another pair of Brooks Ghosts!  Sorry Asics.

Also since I started recording miles, I have run 1,987.8 miles.  Wow.  That is a lot.  And 823.3 has been just in 2011.  It is amazing to see the improvement in the past 2 years and to see that I can run more miles!

Whats the highest mileage you have put on a pair of running shoes??  Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

More Questions and Answers

Thanks again to everyone who asked questions!!  Here is round 2 -

Amber asked -
How did you become such a fast runner - have you always been fast?
I started running originally because I played basketball and soccer.  In middle school I went out for the track team and started running the 800m - which I hated.  Later in college I played basketball and ran track.  I think playing sports since I was 10 helped to make me a fast runner and also a little natural talent. 

What do you do for a living?
I am an electrical engineer.

Elizabeth asked -
Do you feel that you are at a disadvantage at evening races?
I definitely feel at a disadvantage at evening races in the summer.  I get so used to running in the morning in the cooler temps that running in the evening is tough.  I know that my body also gets into a rhythm of running in the morning and breaking that habit is tough but I find that running a few days in the evening helps me to get accustomed.

Nicole asked -
Do you eat meat?
Yes - I love meat! 

Whats your favorite color?
My favorite color is RED which is also the main color in my wedding!

Whats your most liked feature?
That's a tough one because I feel like I only see the features I don't like.  I would have to say I like my eyelashes - they are long and thick and just putting on a bit of mascara really perks up my eyes!

Kim asked -
What is your dream race that you have yet to run?
I would have to say I have two dream races - one would be the Lake Placid Ironman.  I just wish I could do that race - it looks like such a challenge and I am in awe of all the people who complete it.  The second one would have to be the Marine Corp Marathon.

Fair Weather Runner asked -
What's your guilty pleasure?
That is a tough one - Allowing my self to watch silly tv shows like Keeping up with the Kardashians or The Bachelor - I hate how I just get sucked into those shows!

Kim from Ilaxstudio asked -
What style do you want to decorate the new home?
Good question - I am still working on it...for now just a miss mash of things that have been passed down from family.

What is your favorite place you have visited?
I loved California when I went my second year of college for a basketball tournament and I also loved Charleston, SC.  I haven't really done a lot of traveling...hopefully Brian and I can do that after we are married!

When are you coming to Chicago? :)
Hopefully sooner rather than later!

Suzy asked - 
Does skipping washing your hair at night really give you enough motivation to get up the next morning for a run and shampoo?
For me yes - I try not to shampoo my hair too much so showering after my Tuesday night run is a must but I avoid the shampoo if I am going to run Wednesday morning. For me its all about little tricks to get me out of bed!

What is your favorite distance to run?
I love the 15k distance for races but 10 milers for just run distances.  Now if we are talking about track running, its 400m!  It all just depends!

Do you have any interest in doing a tri?
I did an indoor triathlon about 2 years ago and after that I knew I never would have desire to do another.  I would love to do an ironman but just don't think I could ever train for it.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns asked - 
Have you always been fast???
I don't know if I was fast when I first started playing sports when I was 10, but I know in middle school I was decent because I ran track and then made the varsity team in 8th grade.  I think I was very lucky to have a lot of great coaches in my athletic career who saw some potential in me and helped me to become a fast runner.

Do you think you will ever do a full marathon?
I think eventually I will run a marathon, I just don't really see it happening in the next few years, but you never know!

Marlene asked - 
Favorite post-run indulgence?
Depends on the season - Winter it is always something hot like hot chocolate or tomato soup.  In the summer its watermelon.  Usually I have to stay away from dairy after I run.  I also could go for something sweet like cake or candy!

What's a race on your bucket list?
Don't really have a race bucket list but I think it would be nice to run a race outside of my home state.

E asked -
How do you prepare for a long run?
For me I keep it simple - Get up and get dressed in my running clothes then I eat cinnamon oatmeal with a glass of water and possibly a little coffee.  I always carry a GU with me just is case and sometimes I even carry turn by turn directions of my run if I am going someplace new.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Wedding Talk: Jewelry

I am not a jewelry person - my mom often joked when I was in high school that I would get engaged and never wear my ring because I never ever wore jewelry.

I got my ears pierced a month before my senior prom so that I could actually wear real earrings.  After that I only wore earrings for special occasions or when I happen to remember to put them in.

Well now that I am engaged, I do wear my engagement ring every day but that is the only jewelry I wear consistently.  Sometimes I will remember to put in earrings or wear my watch but usually I don't.

With my wedding approaching quickly I have been on the search for the "perfect" jewelry for me.  Something that is slightly flashy but not over the top - something that is me.  A few weeks ago I finally found the perfect bracelet and earrings. 

Wedding earrings
I wanted a cuff bracelet because I have such small wrists and I needed a bracelet I could fit to my wrist.
Wedding bracelet
A few days after I found my wedding jewelry, I got a call that our wedding bands were in too!!  It had been such a long time since I had seen mine so I was excited to try it on again with my ring.

And Brian got one too

For one day I think I can handle all this jewelry and then go back to just wearing my rings.  Except when I run - I never run in my rings. 

Do you like jewelry? Do you run in your jewelry??

Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Super Soggy

After many, many days of scorching heat, yesterday's full day of rain was a welcomed change.

I headed out after work for an easy recovery run.  I didn't realize how much Tuesday night's running club track workout had taken out of me until I started running.  My legs felt heavy and didn't loosen up for over a mile but finally I settled into a relaxing pace. 

This was only my second run from my new house and I enjoyed exploring some of the nearby neighborhoods.  Thankfully I did not get lost and made it home but by the end of the run I was soaked from the rain.  It wasn't really pouring rain just a light drizzle but I still looked like a wet dog when I arrived back home.

Yay Rain - Green grass again!

This morning (Thursday) I did NOT want to get up and run but I knew I needed to because I have plans for tonight.  My legs were still feeling Tuesday's 800s and I barely was able to hit my half marathon tempo. Thankfully it is done and I can enjoy the rest of my (busy) day.

Tuesday's killer track workout:
2 mi warm up
8x800m (Yasso's) at 3:25-3:30/800m
2 mi cool down

Wednesday's easy relazing run:
4.5 miles at 8:40 pace

Thursday's "I wish I was still sleeping" tempo run:
5.5 miles with 3 miles at HMP (~7:40ish)

As I was running this morning I was seriously lacking motivation and I was trying to figure out why.  It has to be the fact that I am following a full blown half marathon schedule with no Half marathon race in sight.  Two of my running buddies from running club are running a half on September 17th but I will be on my honeymoon so I can't run it.  But I am still training with them.  I am finding it harder and harder to dig up the motivation to run when I have no goal race!  I guess that means that I need to find on ASAP!

How do you stay motivated with no training plan??  Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wedding Questions Answered

Thanks to everyone who asked a question...I am going to start with answering some of the questions about the wedding.

Amber asked -
How did you and Brian meet?
Brian and I met in our second year of college.  It was the first week of school and we had a class together.  I saw him sitting outside our professors office and I went up to him and asked for help on the homework.  From then on we spent a lot of time together doing homework and just hanging out but sadly we were both seeing other people at the time.  Through the next few years we stayed in touch but didn't really hang out as much.  Then in our fourth year we had class together again.  I was going through a messy breakup and he was there for me.  Soon after we started dating and have been together for 3 and 1/2 years.

Elizabeth asked -
What's been your favorite part about planning a wedding?
I love the details - picking out the perfect invitations, designing the guest book, planning the candy buffet!  There is just so many little things that go into a wedding and I love how everything is finally coming together!  I promise to do posts soon to show you what I have done!

Suzy asked -
What are you looking forward to most about your wedding?
I am looking forward to the cake! I can't wait to have a huge piece - it is going to be delicious! I am also looking forward to walking down the aisle and seeing Brian - I have been keeping my dress a total secret from him and I can't wait for him to see it!

Marlene asked -
Will you go for a run on your wedding day?
That is a tough one - right now the schedule is pretty tight and I would rather not get up before dawn to get a run in but I may depending on how stressed I feel.  What do you think? Should I get up and run the day of my wedding??