Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Nathan Hydration Pack Review

A few of you asked about my hydration pack so I thought I would do a review. The pack that I have can be found here on the Nathan website.

I have included some pictures of the inside of the pack as well as the water container. The pack is very easy to use and you can adjust the straps to fit your body comfortably. Since I was using it for the first time on my 9 mile long run, I filled up the water to just 30 fl ounces and then did some test jogs around my kitchen to see how it worked. The pack stayed in place very well and I really didn't notice that I had it on. All I could hear was the water sloshing around in the pack.

Inside the pack

Hydration Pack

For more info, check out the video below where I give a visual demonstration of how to use the pack and go through all the specifics. (I hope the video works - I have never posted one before so let me know if there are problems!)

On the running front, after my 9 miles Saturday my legs were sore, especially the inside of my legs. I took off Sunday and got back out Monday morning for 4.2 miles. This morning (Tuesday) I got in a hill workout before work and may be heading out for a second run as I was invited to join a local running club tonight at their workout!

Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Running to the Strawberry Farm

Saturday morning and I had a long run to get to.

6:15am I got up and started getting ready.  Friday I had mapped out my run and was planning to run to the Strawberry Farm to meet Kaylie and pick strawberries!  I was very familiar with the first 4.5 miles of the route but after that I was running blind.

I pulled out my Nathan hydration pack which Brian gave me for Christmas but I had yet to use.  Well 6 months after Christmas I finally got around to it.  And this really is a common practice for me.  I love new things...and I love to keep them brand new and not use them.  I seriously will buy things (or receive things), keep them in my closet with the tags on and not use them just because I don't want to ruin them.  Weird, I know.

I filled the little hydration pack with 30 fl ounces of water (although it can hold like 70 but that would have been a lot of weight to carry) along with my phone, camera, a new raspberry hammer gel to try, a damp wash cloth, money, and ID.  I weighed myself with the pack and without.  The pack weighed about 4.6 pounds which wasn't bad. 

After a quick breakfast of raisin toast and peanut butter, I headed out.  The weather was actually perfect - cloudy and a cool 62F although very humid and I was dripping in sweat by mile 3.  But I just kept running along enjoying the time outside and the route.  I had left the house at around 7am so the traffic was ultra light plus I was on all back roads so I was pretty much alone the whole time.  I was planning on meeting Kaylie at 8:30am and had left plenty of time.

After mile 6, the area I was running in started to get HILLY!  And I mean like roller
coaster hilly!  I would reach the top of the hill, then start going down, reach the bottom of the hill, then start running back up the next hill!  It had to be the most intense hills I have ever run but I was happy I made it and knew it would be good training for the 15k.  I stopped at mile 6.5 to have the hammer gel and water and I actually think it helped a lot.  I just don't know how I am going to open and eat a gel during the race. 

I reached the strawberry farm ten minutes early but Kaylie was already there.  I put my bag in her car and off we went to pick strawberries.  It was actually good that I stayed on my feet and picked because that way my legs didn't get tight and I was stretching (sorta) by bending and picking the berries!

Running to places is my favorite.  It was so much fun to know that I was running to pick strawberries and running 9 miles!  This run reminded me I need to respect the distance because those last few miles were tough.  Plus I need to rehydrate after a run - a post weigh in on the scale showed I had lost almost 4 pounds!!  Overall it was a great run and I am so happy about it!  A great way to start off the weekend!

9.14 miles/1:11:17/7:48 pace

Have a good weekend!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. Last night Brian and I met up with some co-workers and went to see the local minor league team play.  We arrived at the stadium and I got really excited because....that is where the half marathon finish line is (for my September half)!  I hadn't been there since the last time I ran the half marathon which was in 2008!

2. At the baseball game, I met the man who was the first male for our company at the Corporate Challenge.  He was telling me about a Tuesday track workout he goes to at night with a local running club.  I may have to make an appearance and see how it goes.  It would be nice to have people to run with for my speed workouts.  And thanks for all the comments yesterday!

3. This weekend I have lots of plans which include: 8 mile long run, strawberry picking and eating, running skirt shopping, and Pottery barn wedding decor class with my best friend and Bride-to-be Kaylie!

Can't wait for the weekend!  Happy Running!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Life beyond 5k

Last week, my company released the names of the top female and male finisher's from the Corporate Challenge.  I was the top female finisher (with the next woman coming in 7 minutes behind me).

Now every time I introduce myself, I receive comments like:

"Oh, so you're J(oanna)..."

Or when I see aquaintances in passing:

"Hey - I saw your name..."

And although these moments can be embarassing, today it proved to actually be a good thing.

I was walking down the hall and saw a man who is in my group.  He mentioned seeing my name and then we got to talking about running and such. I told him about my lung issues and how it affected me in the race.  He said that he has had that same problem in the past and he knew how to fix it.

When you first start to feel the cramp coming on, pay attention to your cadence and how it corresponds to your breathing.  So say you are running and breathing when your right foot strikes.  Simply switch it up and start breathing when your left foot strikes and this hopefully will releive the problem.

Although I hope to never have the lung problem/cramp again, I definitely want to try this and see if it works!  It could be a life saver in the middle of a race!

This conversion got me thinking about my running and racing.  I mean I seriously have run enough 5k's already!  But I love to have the speed that training for shorter races brings.  I just need a training partner who can train for a half marathon or even a full marathon with me.

That is why I want to try and start a women's running group at work.  I think it would be fun to get together with other women and run together.  It is healthy and social!  We already have a women's network here at my work and at the next meeting I think I will bring it up!  Let's just hope I have some takers who want to run with me!

We will see what happens!! Happy Wednesday!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

My 5k Report (and Brian's Too!)

Friday dawned hot but not too humid, but still hot non the less.  I hadn't really been thinking when I packed my running clothes the day before and packed a black tank top which was horrible to run in.

 All smiles after the race!

We arrived at the race at 5:30pm on Friday to pick up our bib and t-shirts.  There was still quite a bit of time before the race actually started, so Brian and I sat down on the grass in the shade.  That wasn't a very good idea because my legs became really itchy.

Around 6pm we started warming up and stretching although since the temperature was 85F, I was already sweating.  As we ran, I saw lots of other women wearing running skirts and I told Brian that I must have missed the memo to wear a skirt! I really want to try and get a skirt to run in but the stores near me don't offer too many options and I am weary of buying on online because of possible sizing problems??

With 15 minutes to go before the race started, Brian and I lined up close to the start line.  Soon we were squeezed in with lots of people, mostly sweaty, shirtless men! EWW...that had to be my least favorite part of the whole race.

The gun went off and I started running.  I tend to get really competitive right about at the start of a race and pick out other girls and just start trying to track them down.  There was a girl in a pink sports bra who had elbowed her way passed me at the start and I worked to catch up to her.   I hit the first mile and past that girl; she obviously had gone out to fast and was dying.

Mile 1: unofficial man standing there yelling 6:22, my watch said 6:28

Right about 1.5 miles in I wanted to quit.  The rest of the race was a mental battle to maintain a decent pace.  The heat had caught up to me and I felt like I was going to throw up.  Since we were running through the neighborhood behind the church (St. Greg's) there were a lot of spectators from the houses who had also set up sprinklers.  Every time I would try not to run through the sprinkler but often it couldn't be avoided and the shock of the cold water would cause me to catch my breath and not be able to breathe.

Then there was a boy in front of me, he must have been in his teens, and he had an iPod on and since he was listening to his music he couldn't hear my labored breathing right behind me and decided to cut me off, almost causing me to fall over.

Mile 2: unofficial man standing there yelling 13:22, my watch said 13:35 (I think)

I knew there was a hill coming and then it would be pretty much flat to the finish.  I thought that a PR was still in reach at this point and tried to pick up the pace but couldn't.  The heat was killing me and I was still feeling sick.  I passed by some spectators who said "Keep it up Ladies" so I knew there was a woman behind me.

Mile 3: my watch said 20:54 (I think)

I started hauling it to the finish.  I really thought I could PR by a few seconds at least if I started going faster.  I must have looked like a mix between someone suffering and trying to run fast with her arms.  I had been passed by the woman who had been behind me, but then I re-passed her and ran to the finish.

Finish time: 21:41
Overall: 120/1085
Female: 13/450
Age Group: 3/40

I hobbled through the finishers shoot, trying to breathe normally and allow the volunteers to remove my timing chip.  Although it wasn't a PR, I am still happy with my time in the race.  The minutes ticked by as I waited for Brian to come in.  As he came to the finish he looked tired; the heat had really hurt him (and maybe also the lack of training...??)  His finishing time was 26:32, slower than last year but still good for him!

Now for Brian's Race recap (in his own words) -
We are NOT doing this race next year, it was too hot.  I ran, then I felt dizzy so I walked, then I ran again, then I felt dizzy again so I walked, then I saw the finish so I ran to the end.  My first mile was in 7:10 and then I passed mile two at 15:10.  It was just too hot.

His recap was much shorter than mine! It was hard to run at 7pm since I have been training in the mornings...I guess I need to start running after work a few times a week.

This race really got me thinking about why we race the same distances over and over again.  Is there a point where we stop PRing and getting faster??

Anyway - I have rambled on enough about this race! Here are some after photos!

Talk about a cheesy picture!  I got a beer mug for my 3rd place age group finish!

 Brian and I after the race!

Thanks for reading! Hope everyone has a great weekend and a good Father's Day!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1.  I am skipping out on work tomorrow and tonight Brian and I are heading to his parents house to stay.  Tomorrow night (7pm) we have the 5k race, which we also ran last year. The course is very flat and through a nice little neighborhood which is really the most enjoyable race for me. Last year my time was 22:18 and Brian's was 25:52.  I would love to PR and run under 21:37 but we will just see how it goes with the heat and humidity!

2.  This is one of two races that I run in the evening.  I know that on my training runs I tend to run faster in the evening compared to the morning...Well I guess that was mainly true  in the winter since I was running in below freezing temps in the morning.  I just wonder if this same concept pertains to summer running since it is basically 60F++ in the mornings and nights!

3. Saturday morning we are returning to home and then a few hours later heading out across the state for Brian's nephews baptism!  It has been a while since we have seen him and I can't wait! Apparently he is smiling and giggling now!

It is going to a be a busy weekend!!  Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Going Crazy?

I may have gone a little crazy at the library yesterday.

I have these four books for 3 weeks!  There is no way I will be able to read all four in that amount of time! But like I said I went a little crazy!  Thanks for all the book suggestions - I really appreciate it!

After I got home from the library I went out for a second run with Brian.  He basically never runs, but since we have a 5k Friday he thought he should get out for a little run.  First we had to walk to warm up and then started running.  I did not want to be running and my legs felt like lead but I pushed on and finished the 1.6 mile run.  This morning I ran 3 miles and this was my last run before the 5k.

Speaking of books and running - The Happy Runner is hosting a giveaway featuring the new book by Hal Higdon, Marathon: A Novel.  If I don't win it, I am hoping my library will have it soon - although my library really seems to be against all books about running since they have none!

Happy Wednesday!   

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Book Club

Last night I attended my first meeting of the Alumnae Book Club put on by my high school!  Of course I was anxious to see what it would be like, what the other women would be like but I was going with my best friend Kaylie (whom I have known since 7th grade)!

We met at a local Starbucks and walked in to find that we were the youngest members by at least 40 years!  We even met someone who had gone to school and graduated with Kaylie's Grandmother in 1947!!  Once the ladies had calmed down, introductions were made and we began to talk about the June book selection - A Death in Belmont by Sebastian Junger.

The conversation flowed easily and before I knew it we were off the topic of the book and onto other things!  I felt so included and connected with this group of women even though many of them were grandmothers and had lived in a whole different generation than Kaylie and I. 

When we did actual talk about the book, it was interesting to hear the others perceptive because they had all lived through the events of the Boston Strangler, while Kaylie and I hadn't even been born yet!  I did enjoy reading this book, although I thought that Junger's style of writing was a bit choppy.

Next months book is Flushed by W. Hodding Carter and it is about the evolution of the toilet and plumbing!  I will definitely being going back - it was so much fun!

*Tuesday Running = Easy 3 miles in 26:28

**Anyone reading any good books?  I am going to the Library today after work and need some suggestions!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sore Muscles

It is interesting how every day activities and events can leave a person sore in places they didn't know they had muscles!

I experienced this first hand after Friday night.  Brian and I signed up for a kickball team through our workplace and Friday was our first game.  For the first inning, I planted my self at short stop and nothing eventful happened.  As I took the field for the second inning, somehow I ended up standing at the pitchers mound with the ball in my hands!

The pitching, combined with spontaneous sprinting and stopping with no warm up caused my left upper hamstring area to be very tight.  Saturday I woke up and before I got out of bed I could feel the soreness in my left leg!  I had a long run to do, I couldn't have soreness in my leg!

I was able to get out for a 7 mile run and the soreness eventually went away as I got warmed up.  But it came back with a vengeance Sunday morning.  I spent most of the morning hobbling around the house like a cripple.  It is the second day soreness that will really get you, combined with the soreness from my long run and I was just not going to be moving very fast that day at all!

This morning (Monday) I woke up and went to the track for some speed work.  The soreness was still present but I think the workout definitely helped!  I decided to try 1000m repeats since I haven't done them since the winter and I have a 5k, a 10k and a 15k race coming up.  I had found this website about good 10k interval training and it has some really good ideas to help mix up speed work sessions.

5x1000m @ 5k pace
4:05, 4:03, 4:03, 4:05, 4:07

The first 1000m I totally forgot where the 200m mark was on the track and ran past it as I finished the interval.  I guess I wasn't totally awake yet!

Happy Monday!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. This morning's run was amazing.  I awoke to cool temperatures in the upper 50s and headed out around 5am.  As I started running, I was soon enveloped in fog where I could not see anything 20 feet in front or behind me!  Something about the fog and the quietness of the morning made me so happy to be out running!  As I reached the turnaround point in my run, the fog had lifted to reveal the beautiful sunrise!  This is the best part about morning running in the summer!

2. I really, really want to go Strawberry picking!  Although I know there is a chance I may eat more than I actually pick, that is a risk I am willing to take!

3. I signed up for another 5k next Friday, June 18th.  I ran this same race last  year with Brian and we loved it so much we are going back again!!  I am also thinking about signing up for a 10k race 14 days before my 15k.  Do you think the 10k is too close to the 15k?  Should I race the 10k or just run it as a tempo run?? 

Hope everyone is having a great Thursday! I can't wait for Friday and the weekend!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Track Tuesday

I decided to bring back the Tuesday track workout this week!

For June, it was super cold this morning (about 49F!) and my little legs were freezing in my shorts!  I ran a mile for warm up and then started on 800m repeats.

The plan was for 4x800m at a consistent pace with 3 minutes rest.  I ran a similar workout last year while on vacation in Florida before the Boilermaker 15k which I looked back at last night.  In my notes I had written that I had rested 5 minutes in between each 800m and completed the workout in these times: 3:21, 3:10, 3;10, 3:14.

The first 800m was hard because even though I warmed up; my legs were still a little cold.  Each 800m felt good, it just felt right to be out there early on the track, running alone!  I was really surprised by how consistent my times were -

4x800m: 3:09, 3:09, 3:09, 3:11

Since my little lung fiasco in the last race, I have really been trying to breathe differently.  Apparently I have been breathing all wrong in the past!   The one thing I do know for now is that once I start focusing on my breathing, my arms stop moving!  Its like I can't do two things at once while running!  I am not sure if I was breathing too much with my chest but now I have been actively trying to breathe with my belly and diaphragm - Brian even made me lie down on the floor and practice the last two nights after dinner!!  Hopefully this will help!  And here is a little "how to" on how to breath!!

Post Workout - My own attempt at taking
a picture of myself like Marlene and Tonia.

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Corporate Challenge Race

Last night over 400 companies gathered at my old college and ran/walked the 3.5 mile Corporate Challenge!  There were so many people there, over 9,000 in fact and it looked like it was going to be a perfect run!  It started out sunny but soon the dark clouds rolled in and opened up on all the runners and walkers just as the race started.  Here is Brian and I before the race!

It poured through mile 1 and 2 and then began to taper off.  By that time I was soaking wet.  The worst part was that I wore my Nike Tempo shorts and they were like stuck to me and for the first time in my life I chaffed on my leg!  Here are some pictures of all the company tents and the finish line.

I felt great for the first mile, despite the rain.  I ended up running in between two other women who I knew - one the mother of a track teammate from college and the other a girl who was a few years ahead of me at my high school.  I passed the first mile at just under 7 minutes.  Just after that my right lung started to cramp up just like it did in the 5k I ran back in April.  It was quite painful and I probably sounded like I was dying to all the men around me but I just kept running along.  I passed the second mile mark at about 14:14.

The third mile was such a mental struggle.  I wanted to quit because my lung hurt so much but I knew I was so close and still on track for a huge PR!  As I approached mile 3 I saw a co-worker and tried to catch up to him and pass him but I couldn't.  I think I rolled through mile 3 at about 21:43 and just kept on going.  The last half mile of the race is the worst because you can see the finish line but you have to run all the way around this circle before actually crossing it.  I pushed to the end and finished in 25:16 (my secret goal was to finish in 24:30). 

This is a big PR from previous years.  The last two years I ran it in the same exact time of 27:21 so I feel like my overall running endurance is better.  I just don't understand why my lung seizes up on me in races.  Maybe I need to do more tempo running at my race pace?  Any ideas???

Brian and I after the race - soaking wet!

Overall it was a fun race! I guess the rain was better than it being 90F and humid!  Running at 7pm at night is hard - I think I need to start running before and after work.  I think I may have been the fastest woman from my company but I am not sure.  The first woman overall won the race in 20:02! Super fast! 

Today is a much needed rest day - I just have to make it through the work day and then I can go home and take a nap!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

May miles

The month of May brought warmer temps and bright morning sunrises!  It was a great month for running especially in the morning!  I ran my second 5k race of the year and PR'd! 

May miles: 84.9
2010 miles: 419.2

This is my fourth month of mileage in the 80s and I feel like I could run a bit more each week to increase my endurance in preparation for the 15k in July. 


I was tagged by Molly and Alee for the Versatile Blogger award, and the rules are that I have to share 7 random things about myself.

1. I joined the track team in 7th grade and then in 8th grade started throwing shot put in order to avoid running.  I didn't avoid running for long because my coach put me into Pentathlon which involved a lot more running and training!
2. One of my favorite summer desserts is strawberry shortcake!  I found this recipe and want to try it!
3. I don't really wear jewelry, but I know I will wear an engagement ring and wedding band when I get married.  I didn't even get my ears pierced until a month before my senior prom in high school.
4. All the members of my family have a first name that starts with the letter 'J'.
5. I grew up, went to high school, went to college and now work all within the same city!
6.  I first met Brian when we were both in our second year of college.  I didn't really like him because he talked a lot but we were both in the same degree program (a five year program) so we would work on homework together.  Some where along the line, I started to like him and we have been dating since the 4th year of college. 
7. If I could have any other job besides the one I have now, I would be a photographer. 

If you haven't participated in this yet, consider yourself tagged!


Today is National Running Day!! 

I jogged a quick 5k this morning and felt great!  Are you running today?

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Girl's night, memorial day and rainy run!

Friday night I met up with some girls for drinks before heading to see Sex and the City 2!  I had never had a Cosmopolitan (SATC favorite drink) so I ordered one.  I honestly don't even really remember how it tasted because I was too busy talking to the girls!

The movie was pretty good - the theater was PACKED with women.  I only saw two men in the whole place!! 

Saturday morning I got up and went to the track.  There wasn't any one there when I started my warm up but soon a few more people showed up and started using the track.  I copied Aron's track workout from last week and did 12x400m broken into two sets - 8x400m and 4x400m.  For recovery I rested for 1:30 between each repeat and then 4 minutes between the two sets.  It was a lot easier to maintain the same pace over the course of the workout because I wasn't running the recoveries.  I think it would be something to work up to - to be able to job the recoveries and still run fast for the workout.  I was able to hit my 200m split about the same for every interval, it was just the second 200m where I slowed down.  I was just happy I was able to run all the intervals at a consistent pace.

First set - 1:34, 1:27, 1:28, 1:30, 1:29, 1:30, 1:29, 1:30
Second set - 1:29, 1:29, 1:30, 1:33

Sunday I got lazy and didn't run and I regretted it.  I slept in and so didn't get out in time to beat the heat.  I thought about going out for a run in the evening but just couldn't fit it in because I was waiting for the movers to come for my roommate.  After the movers moved my roommate out, I had them move my dresser over to Brian's apartment because I don't have room for it at my parents.  Just a few boxes left and I will be out of my apartment!

Monday I woke up at 7am and headed out for a longer run.  I was sweating so much because it was sunny and hot!  It got up to almost 90F here yesterday and was hard to be outside.  Brian and I did go to the Memorial Day parade in town in the morning and watch all the veterans march.

By mid afternoon Monday the rain came and poured down.  This morning I woke up and it was still raining.  I got in 3.2 slow miles and was soaking wet by the time I got home.  I took it easy because I have a race on Thursday!  It is the Corporate Challenge that companies around my area participate in every year.  There are usually about 11,000 runners and walkers for the 3.5 mile course.  Hopefully it wont be too hot!

Happy Tuesday!