Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May Recap

Average Temp: 67F/19C

Miles run: 118.3 mi

Rest days taken: 10 days

Highest mileage week: 30 miles (5/23-5/29)

Average pace: 8:17 min/mile

Races: Flower City Half Marathon, Pink Ribbon 5k, and the Corporate Challenge (didn't post about this one)

Current Obsessions: The wedding!  We are at about 100 days to go/3 months and I am starting to buckle down and get everything organized!

Current Blessings: Friends!!  When our movers called in "sick" on Saturday, we were able to pull together a few people to help us move Brian out of his apartment and into the house! Could not be more thankful to them for taking time out of their day for us!

Current Excitement: Brian's sister-in-law gave birth last Friday to TWINS!  They are the most beautiful babies ever and I cannot wait to become "Officially" an AUNT in just over 3 months!

Current Read: Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts (book 3 of the Bridal Quartet books).  I am embarrassed to say that I got sucked into reading this romance novel only because of the "bridal" part of it.  Its a fun, brainless, summer read.

Current Guilty Pleasure: Trolli Peach Rings.  Must. Stop. Eating. Candy!

This year sure is flying by fast!  Happy June!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. I stopped wearing them because of half marathon training and because we are having the rainiest spring ever - but today I am bringing them back - High Heels!  It feels good to slip my toes into these cute pumps and hear the comfortable click of them on the floor.

2. I feel sort of lost lately without a training plan to follow and with no "big races" on the schedule as of yet, I feel unmotivated.  Most of the nearby summer races are 5ks and there is only so many times I can run a 5k race before I need a change up.  I am not sure I want to schedule a fall race as the wedding is in the beginning of September.  Maybe I just need to find a race, sign up and start a training plan..??!!

3. I ordered my wedding invitations today!!  I used Wedding Paper Divas and I cannot wait until they arrive so I can show them to you!  They have a great selection of not only wedding invitations but tons of other invitations and stationary as well!

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Running in glasses

Something you may not know about me -

I wear contacts.  Daily.  Monthly. Yearly.  Every single day I have worn contacts since I was 11 years old.  I run in my contacts.  I eat in my contacts.  I don't sleep in my contacts.

This week and into next week I can't wear my contacts.  Not even for a little bit, which means that I have to run in my glasses.

Monday morning dawned beautifully with a great sunrise.  I headed out at my usual 5am time for an easy 3 miles.

The temperature was perfect for a morning run - Just above 60F with not too much humidity.

The only bad part was having to deal with my glasses. They fog up when I stop running.  They aren't my current prescription so I can't clearly see far away objects.  I look like a librarian.  They pretty much stay in place while running, but nothing compares to my contacts.  Only a few more days until I am glasses free once again!

Happy Running!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Running on the rails

This morning I met up with the Saturday morning running group for a long run.  I had seen the planned route before hand but really had no idea where we were going.  It was all new to me. 

We started off on the canal which was flat and I had already run on it before.  About 2 miles in we veered off onto the old railroad train bed trail.  The trees were lush and green, the grass was fresh with dew and the sun was peaking through the clouds.  It was heaven.

Every step along the path was amazing and as we continued on we came along the old canal bed and lock.  This whole area and trail was just behind a road I frequent often and I never knew it was there.  It was amazing to discover a new area that was beautiful and a great place to run.  I really regretted not bringing my camera many times because I wanted to capture just how awesome and beautiful the run was.  I was able to find a few pictures online but they are not exactly the same.

This run marks the start of a VERY busy weekend - Bridal shower for a friend today, then volunteering at a race tomorrow and finally getting to see Something Borrowed tomorrow afternoon!  At least I got a great run in!

11.01 miles/1:32:49/8:26 pace

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wedding Talk: Cake!

A few weeks ago, Brian and I went to our cake tasting with the bakery who is making our cake.  Deciding on our wedding cake had to be one of the easier and the hardest things Brian and I had to do.

The easy part - Tasting the cake and deciding what kind of cake we wanted.

The hard part - Deciding what type of design we wanted on the cake.

Brian only cared about the actual cake part, not the design part so that responsibility fell on me.  Our cake will be four tiers with the first and third tiers having a swirl pattern and the second and fourth tiers having a dot pattern.  It will resemble something like this.

 Each tier of the cake will be a different flavor so that our guests have a variety to choose from.  We made the bottom and top tier Red Velvet because it is our favorite!

Once we had the basic idea of the cake figured out, there was one thing left.  The cake topper.

I thought about flowers, I thought about rhinestone initials.  I searched the internet forever.  Nothing really stood out.  Then I had the idea of using a family cake topper.  My parent's cake topper is a little beat up and broken so I emailed my aunt to ask her about her's and my grandparents.  She got right on it and sent me photos of what she had.  I am still up in the air about what we will be doing - but I think there is a chance I will be using a family cake topper.

My Grandparent's cake topper

My aunt and uncle's cake topper

When I got to see the family cake toppers in person, they were WAY smaller than I thought.  There is still 3 and 1/2 months to go, so I have some time before I have to make a final decision.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pain in the Butt and Boilermaker CLOSED!

After the half marathon, my left leg was a mess.  I could feel the knots in the calf, hamstring, quad and glutes.  The worst part was that my butt actually started to ache and I couldn't cross my legs without pain.  So I decided I needed to take care of this before it turned into a full blown injury.

I turned to yoga first and found some great poses that helped to open my hips and stretch my piriformis.

1. Pigeon pose - This one works wonders! Just doing this for a few minutes a day helped my leg to feel much better.  I usually started in downward dog and then lift one leg and swing it trough my arms to start this pose.

2. Lying piriformis stretch - Not only do I do this one in my yoga class but also at home because it is so easy to do while watching television. There are many variations, but I found this one worked the best for me.

3. Foam roller - I also turned to my foam roller to help work out all the knots I felt in my pirformis muscles, IT band and hamstring.  Since it was my left leg that needed the love, I put most of my weight onto my left butt check on the foam roller and rolled back and forth slowly.  I also placed my leg similar to the picture to get deeper into the muscle.

4. Piriformis chair stretch - Since I was having pain at work, I  found a way that I could stretch without getting weird looks from my co-workers.  All you have to do is cross one leg over the other with your ankle resting on the knee of the opposite leg.  This helped to open my hips and stretch my legs.


I found out some unfortunate news this morning - Registration to the BOILERMAKER 15k is CLOSED!  I have run this race for the last 6 years and although I have a wedding on the Friday before, I was still planning on running it!  I can't believe that 13,000 people already signed up to run it!  This totally stinks! I guess that is what I get for procrastinating.

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Morning run

Between March and May, my morning runner status seemed to disappear.  I often ran after work or during lunch, but the morning runs were non existent.  After running in the cold and dark for over 4 months I really needed to get some sunshine and I needed a break from waking up at 5am!

But it is finally May, one of my favorite months of the year for morning running!  Now there is no more need to get bundled up for a quick morning run - all I need are shorts, shirt and possible long sleeve. And there is no need for a headlamp or gloves because the sun rises before 6am.

My morning runs have been starting out like this with just a little bit of light -

And ending up like this with a full blown sunrise!

Getting back into the routine of waking up at 5am has been tough but well worth it for the peace and quiet on the roads and the beautiful mornings. 

All through the winter I kept my morning runs easy because it was hard to get my body to warm up enough to hit tempo or interval paces.  Now that summer is almost here, I am excited to do some early morning track  and tempo workouts!

I never pass any other runners when I am out - I think I am the only one in my area that runs in the early morning.  I do see lots of lights on in the houses that I pass and it amazes me how many other people are actually awake at that early hour.

Most of my thoughts during my morning runs are just random and forgotten instantly but there is one that continues to repeat.  I wonder about the cars that past me in the morning.  I wonder if they think I am crazy for being out so early or if they have passed me enough times in the morning to know that I am the morning runner girl.  I wonder about their story and where they are going.

Morning running keeps me sane and also helps me to become less grumpy!  I may be able to get up at 5am but that doesn't mean I really want to talk to anyone.  Waking up while running really can be the best way to start the day!

 Happy Morning Running!

** Congrats to MARLENE on her awesome BQ!! I am so proud of you!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Current Excitement

Back in my April monthly review, I mentioned my "current excitement" and how it was a surprise that I couldn't share yet.  Well the time has finally come for me to unveil the secret I have been keeping for a long time!


Brian and I...

Bought our first HOUSE!

For me, this huge lift altering purchase is a little bittersweet as I will not be moving in with Brian until we are married in September.  But it is exciting and I can't wait to start moving my things over bit by bit and actually having a place to start decorating.

Figuring out the Tempo

After running two races in two weekends and having two new PRs, I sat down yesterday morning and typed in my results to see what my new paces for interval and tempo/threshold were going to be for my Tuesday night workout.

Since I joined my running club last year, I began to use the VDOT system to find my paces based on a current PR.  It is very similar to a lot of the other calculators out there but since my whole running team uses it, I thought I should use it too.

First I plugged in my half marathon PR of 1:41:05 and this is what popped up...

The paces that my VDOT showed were similar to what I had been running before the half marathon.

Then I plugged in my 5k PR of 21:12 and this is what popped up...

A new threshold pace of 7:16 (which equates to 4:31 for 1000m)!! That was quite a jump from the 7:30 pace I had been using before.

So which pace to use?  Last night at running club, we kind of winged it and just let our legs decide the pace.  Since it was just two days after the 5k, I didn't want to over do it but my legs seemed to respond well to the new threshold pace.

Workout - 
1 mile at threshold w/ 3 min recovery
4x1000m at threshold w/ 3 min recovery

Results - 
1 mile at 7:10
1000s at 4:27 (7:11 pace), 4:18 (6:56 pace), 4:23 (7:04 pace), 4:14 (6:50 pace)

Turns out the pace was a bit too fast for this workout. So I looked up some info about what exactly the tempo was and the benefits of doing it the right way. 

  • A tempo/threshold run should be run at about your 10k pace OR should equate to the pace you can hold for 50-60 minutes
  • A tempo/threshold run should last about 3-6 miles depending on your training
  • A tempo/threshold run should be comfortably hard running and you should be able to carry on a conversation
  • The goal of a tempo/threshold run is to maintain a steady intensity of effort for a prolonged period of time and resist the urge to go faster.

The benefits of running a tempo run correctly greatly outweigh those of going too fast and becoming injured. 

Happy Wednesday!  I'll hopefully be posting later on about my "current excitement" which is a surprise!

Monday, May 9, 2011

A whole lot of Pink

Running a race with only women adds a certain special element.  Sunday was a special day where I got to run the Pink Ribbon 5k with over 1200 women.  Since it was a race sponsored by the local Breast Cancer coalition, there was pink everywhere! Almost every person I saw had some kind of pink on...except me (opps!).

Sunday was BEAUTIFUL!  Sunny and 50F with just a slight breeze - much better than rain or even snow which we had last year when I ran this race.  I was joined at the race by one of my running club teammates who planned to race with me!  We got there early and were able to just hang out before starting our warm up.

My main goal was to pace my running club friend to a PR.  I knew that she had a lot of speed in her and I knew this was a perfect course to push for a PR even if we just had run the half marathon last weekend.  I promised her that I would not start too fast.

After a 2 mile warm up, we lined up at the start with a bunch of speedy runners.  I recognized a few of them although I am sure they didn't recognize me.  I was kind of nervous for this race because a 5k is so different from a half marathon.  The amount of time that you "feel good" running at the pace is a lot shorter for a 5k than for a half.

Soon the horn sounded and we were off and running.  Of course the pace felt fairly easy through the first mile.  Then the pace started to feel a little bit uncomfortable as we headed into the turnaround.

Mile 1: 6:58
Mile 2: 6:49
Mile 3: 6:47
0.1: 6:27 pace

I loved the fact that this race was a looped turnaround, so that on the way back I began to see a lot of the other runners.  I think some even recognized me because they said my name.  I felt bad because I wasn't able to respond back or even see who they were because I was focused and also it was just a sea of pink!

As we headed towards the end of the second mile and into the third mile, I couldn't feel my running teammate on my heels any more.  I knew she was close behind and I knew I had to keep pushing the pace even though my legs wanted to quit. 

After two fairly moderate but annoying hills, I headed into the final straight away.  I stopped looking at my watch and just pushed my legs faster and faster.  Running to towards the finish was amazing because each side of the course was lined with people clapping and cheering. 

Once the results were posted I was happy to see the official PR for me and my running teammate!

Two weekends.  Two races. Two PRs!

Official Time: 21:12

Thursday, May 5, 2011

7 days from Half to 5k

While I am recovering from the half this past Sunday, I am also preparing for my second 5k of the season this coming Sunday.

It almost seems cruel to my legs to throw them right back into racing so soon but I just could not pass up this race for a few reasons -

1. Sunday's 5k is a female only race
2. It's a flat course where I set my PR last year
3. And I honestly like the 5k race distance

Monday and Tuesday were definitely rest days for me.  I just did not want to jump back into running too quickly.  Wednesday I went to the gym to make myself get on the elliptical before attempting an easy run.  My left leg still felt a little tight so I stretched and foamed rolled all night while catching up on a bunch of episodes of Biggest Loser.

Thursday the weather was too nice to have a rest day.  We don't get too many cloud-less sunny days around here so after a little wedding appointment I was home and in my running clothes.  The hamstring/left leg still felt tight but I managed a quick workout with 4x400m at 5k pace.

Other keys to recovering and racing in the same week:

1. Get extra sleep
2. Resist the urge to over eat
3. Drink lots of water

Even thought I knew I would need extra sleep this week, my body has been reminding me by falling asleep on the couch way before my bedtime.  Plus I have been avoiding my morning runs for the sole purpose of getting in the extra sleep.

I guess we will see how Sunday shapes up!  In the meantime, it seems that Spring has finally arrived!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Flower City Half Marathon Race Report

After last fall's disaster half marathon, I told Brian that I would NEVER run a half again.  But then as I got back into running in the winter and started feeling stronger and faster, I thought that maybe a half was possible.  And I needed redemption.

The Thursday previous to the race, I headed to the local Fleet Feet store and picked up my packet because the race is pretty small and there was no expo.  In fact this is only the second year this race has been held.  I wasn't really nervous which was a surprise to me because I usually get pretty nervous before races, but this time I just trusted in my training.  I felt like I was ready.

Sunday morning, I was up at 5:30am and eat my usual cinnamon and sugar oatmeal, with water and a little bit of coffee.  I picked up Brian shortly after 6am and we headed to the race start.  I met up with three of my friends from the running group and we planned to run together and stay together for as long as we could.

After a quick warm up we headed to the start line which was packed with people.  We weaved our way up to the 1:40 pace group and waited for the start.  It was a tad bit chilly but I was dressed in shorts and a t-shirt because I knew I would warm up quick.  I had been designated pacer for our little group and I was in charge of making sure we didn't start off the race too fast.

Soon we were off and running and the 1:40 pacer was way out in front of us.  So much for running with him.  Thankfully not much weaving around slower runners was needed and we were running at a good pace which felt easy.

Just after the two mile mark we turned the corner and saw Brian and our Coach.  We were staying steady at just under a 7:40 pace and everyone looked happy to be out and running.

The miles ticked by - the first 6 miles of the course were pretty flat and we maintained our pace (~7:38 according to garmin) throughout that section.  There were a lot of spectators which helped make the time go quickly and I tried not to think about the hilly section coming in miles 6 - 9.

As we passed the 10k mark I could see the first big hill looming in front of us.  The three of us (the three girls in maroon) has been running together and at this hill one girl feel back and couldn't keep the pace.  The other girl and I continued on up and up and up.  Finally we reached the downhill and flew through mile 7 and into the cemetery.  This is where we saw Brian and Coach for the second time.  This is also the part where I began to run alone.  

We entered the cemetery with a huge but short uphill and then another uphill and then another.  I didn't know the exact course and I was beginning to lose it mentally.  I was tired and I didn't think I could continue to hold my pace for another 5 miles.  But then the course evened out and there were no more uphills and I got myself back together and felt strong.

My left leg was hurting me through out this portion.  My hamstring, upper hip, shin and foot all felt uncomfortable but surprisingly my pace wasn't suffering yet.  After what seemed like forever I finally exited the cemetery, passed the 10 mile marker and pushed on.  It was like I had a second wind and my legs were just pumping along.  The rest of the course was mainly flat with only one small uphill after mile 12.  I knew I was close to reaching my secret goal of sub 1:40 and I hoped I could hold on to it.

As I approached mile 11, I was still maintaining my pace but my left leg was seriously hurting and as I continued towards the mile 12 marker my pace started to slow down.  I had a lot of thoughts during that mile which included -
  • Why am I doing this? This hurts.
  • How do people run this fast for 26.2 miles?
Finally I turned onto the final stretch and knew I had just under a mile to go.  I was hurting...a lot.  Every time my left foot hit the ground I felt pain followed by pain every time I tried to lift my leg to step.  I don't know how I managed to run a sub 8 minute mile for that final mile but somehow I did.  With about a half mile to go I spotted my Coach again and I heard Brian's whistle before I saw him.  Brian was snapping pictures as I passed.

The finish was finally in sight and although I wanted to sprint to the finish my legs would not go.  I knew my sub 1:40 goal was gone but a PR was definitely there.  As I crossed the finish line I was happy to have finished and be done running.  My left leg was in a lot of pain but I could pretty much walk ok.

After the race, I waited for the rest of the girls to finish and see how they did.  I was still having trouble walking with my left leg but I was finally able to get to the car and drive home.  My left leg was in extreme pain for the rest of the day and if I sat for any extended period of time it only made it worse.  Stairs were tough and I just hoped that I wouldn't wake up Monday morning even more sore than I already was.  Monday morning rolled around and I was surprised to find I was much better.  My left IT band was a mess but only my left quad and hamstring were sore - my right leg felt completely fine.  I decided a complete rest day (instead of yoga) was the best bet.

To sum it up, in Brian's words -

"This was the race that you actually looked good every time I saw you - you didn't look like death." 

He is so kind.  Thanks for reading!

Official Time - 1:41:05
Age Group: 9/136
Female: 36/1033
Overall: 209/1861

Monday, May 2, 2011

Half Marathon - Week 12

The final week! 

Monday - Off/Rest

Tuesday - Tempo
 5.3 miles/43:06/8:10 pace

Workout = 4x1000m at Tempo pace

I had to do this workout in the morning due to after work obligations.  It had rained all night but finally let up before my run.  The road was covered with worms which was gross.  Once again it was tough to hit the paces in the early morning but the warmer temperatures (45F) helped to make it a bit easier.

Wednesday - Recovery Off/Rest

My legs were hurting and tight so I took today off instead of running.  It was hard to not run but I knew my legs would only benefit from the rest.  My left leg/butt was aching and I worried how it would affect me on race day.

Thursday - Tempo
5.4 miles/45:00/8:19 pace

My first run of 2011 in shorts! Easy warm up followed by 15 minutes at half marathon pace followed by easy cool down.  I made plans with my running group girls to meet at 7am on Sunday before the race to warm up and then race together! It was so exciting knowing that I would have company for at least part of the race! 

Friday - Off

Saturday - Easy
2.75 miles/23:50/8:40 pace

My legs felt amazing and this pace felt effortless! I was so excited for the warm weather and for the race the following day!

Sunday - RACE!
13.1 miles/1:41:05/7:44 pace

Race report to come with lots of pictures thanks to Brian!

Total week 12 mileage: 26.5 mi

Total 12 week training plan mileage: 353.21 mi

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Hard work pays off

With an 11 minute PR!

Official Results:
average pace - 7:44 min/mile