Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bayshore Half Training: Week 15

This will be a quick read.  It was another week plagued by rest due to injury, but I'm not going to dwell on missed workouts.  I still managed to run my 2nd fastest half marathon this past weekend as a training run, so even though the week overall was pretty minimal as far as workouts went, it ended up ok.  (On the days listed as "NOTHING" I usually did stretching and rolling but I don't log those.) One day this week I also got in to see the massage therapist at the chiro's office and that hurt like Hell, but I don't remember which day I went and I don't think that really counts as exercise.

Monday 4/22/13 - Plan RUN 4 MI - Did NOTHING

Tuesday 4/23/13 - Plan SWIM (:30) - Did NOTHING

Wednesday 4/24/13 - Plan RUN 4 MI tempo - Did BIKE 8 slow miles on the trainer.

Thursday 4/25/13 - Plan RUN 4 MI/STRENGTH (:30) - Did NOTHING 

Friday 4/26/13 - Plan REST - Did REST - Plus some more stretching and rolling

Saturday 4/27/13 - Plan RUN 13.1 miles - Did RUN 13.1 miles in 2:20:29.  Finished my 7th half marathon, the Rivertown Races Half Marathon, on a very hilly and hot course.  This race was definitely a huge learning experience and taught me a bit about how little race results should matter.  You can read my race recap here.  

Sunday 4/28/13 - Plan BIKE (:60) - did NOTHING but stretching, rolling, heat, ice and walking around the mall like Frankenstein with my girl.

I need the next 4 weeks to go much better than the last 2 weeks have gone.  While I've had a couple of really great half marathons in there (close enough to qualify for Half Fanatics status - but I'm waiting to apply until I decide whether to throw in a 6th half in 6 months this June to get up to the next level), from a training aspect, these 2 weeks have really sucked.  I'm not beating myself up over it though. It is what it is.  

Monday, April 29, 2013

Rivertown Races Half Marathon "Race" Report

Since I didn't have a cool new recipe to share today, I debated whether to write a race report for Saturday's half marathon instead.  Since I was using it as a training run, I hadn't decided if it needed a race report, but since it was an official race and I want a record of how the day went, I decided to try and write. I sat at the computer for a long time trying to put thoughts to words and I had to leave it and come back.  I really struggled with how I felt about Saturday's run and I didn't want the recap to be full of doom and gloom my tweeps got enough of that on twitter Sunday morning.  Race day really wasn't a bad day at all but how I reacted to it wasn't the greatest.  It was a beautiful day on a tough course and I got to share it with friends.  It just took most of Sunday to figure that out.

The 10 days before the race:  I'm including this time-frame because it's important.  I had a great run at the Martian Half 2 weeks before but then severely overdid it on my runs immediately after - to the point of injuring my calves and hamstrings 10 days before the Rivertown Half.  Ironically, that injury occurred only hours after I signed up for the race.  Dumb. I didn't run for 10 days, focusing instead on rolling and stretching my shredded legs, with only did a little biking thrown in here and there.  I figured I'd be fine considering I had a good base and had done a number of 11 and 12 mile runs, in addition to the 13.1 I raced my ass off in 2 weeks before.  WRONG.

The night before the race:  I had been hydrating like it was my job but when one of my coworkers suggested heading out for margaritas after work, I decided, "why not?"  I ran to the school hosting packet pick-up on the way to the bar since it was right around the corner from my school.  In and out in about 5 minutes.  I didn't even take a picture of the race shirt because I don't like it at all.  It's a long-sleeve tech shirt but seems really small for a medium and is my "favorite" color - white.  Seriously, race directors, NO WHITE SHIRTS! Especially ones so sheer that they leave nothing to the imagination.  I made it to the bar and had a nice time with my coworkers.  I had a couple big-ass margaritas and chips and salsa.  Carb-loading at it's finest, then came home and had my usual meal of spaghetti.  I spent the rest of the night running around like a chicken with my head cut off because I couldn't find half my race gear (since I hadn't needed any of it in over a week).  I also really struggled with what to wear because our weather decided to jump from winter to early summer literally overnight.  With as bad as my legs had been after my last race, I decided on my compression tights to give the hammies and calves as much support as possible.  I knew the temp would be in the mid-40s at the start and tights would be too warm, so I tried to dress lighter on top.  I went with a short-sleeved (brand new - yep, broke that rule for the first time) Nike top.  I decided since there would be aide stations every 2 miles I wouldn't carry water (mistake and "nothing new" rule break number 2) and only bring my shot blocks.  I also decided to not wear a hat (nothing new rule broken x 3) and wear new running undies (rule broken x 4).  Of these 4 major rule breaks, only the shirt would prove to be fine.  Oops.  Live and learn, right?

Flat Bari is ready to go!
Race Day:  I woke up before my alarm as usual and did my typical coffee, oatmeal, foam-rolling routine.  Because the venue for the race had to change due to all the flooding in the area, runners were asked to park at our middle school and be shuttled to the race site.  They had plenty of busses and there were 2 waiting when I got there at 7.  It was only about a 10 min ride to the race and I had plenty of time to finish a bottle of Nuun (I'm very glad I had that with me) and use the restroom.  I ran into a few friends who were running the 5k and then hung out with Mindy while we waited for Megan to get there.  It was a little cool in the morning but also felt oddly humid.  We waited inside the high school where the race would start and end until about 10 min before race start.

Beautiful morning, no clouds, lots of sun - we'd run into this after the turn-around.
Only in West Michigan will you get an honor guard and a prayer before the race.  It was actually very cool.  The race director also asked for 26.2 seconds of silence to honor those killed or injured during the Boston Marathon bombings.

It was great to see Megan and Mindy again.  We snapped a quick picture before we started and then waited for the gun.  There were pace groups with signs as to where to line up, but it seemed no one was really paying attention.  I think we lined up behind the 9mm sign but only because we really couldn't get back any farther.

Megan, Mindy and Me! (thanks to Megan for the picture)
The first half of the race felt great.  My legs were well rested from not running for so long and everything felt easy.  I knew I had to take things easy and was trying to run by feel, but was also keeping an eye on my splits so I wouldn't be running too fast.  Mindy and I stuck together and it seemed we were both doing quite well considering we'd each just set huge half marathon PRs just a week earlier (for her) and 2 weeks earlier (for me).  I was definitely feeling warm early on, which was a concern because I really couldn't shed any clothes.  Even with the hills and walking through each aide station because I wasn't carrying water, my splits were really good: 10:17, 10:46 (this was a dirt road with an aide station), 10:16, 10:18, 10:04, 10:14, 10:50.

After the turn around in the middle of the 7th mile, I realized we had the wind at our back for the first half.  Running into the breeze made the run a little more challenging but also helped with the over-heating.  I was really feeling the sun beating down and now I was running INTO the sun - with no hat or sunglasses.  It sucked.  The main road we were running on was not only hilly, but had a pretty significant slant.  My right hip (the one on the higher part of the road) was starting to hurt. A lot.  Every step - especially on any downhills - felt like my femur was being jammed into my hip socket.  I started doing a little more walking after the aide stations but I wasn't going to let the hills beat me.  I ran every freaking hill.  I was starting to struggle mentally as well.  Somewhere around mile 8, I saw one of my coworkers.  I've worked with her for 4 years but I could not remember her name for about 2 miles.  My brain was going to mush.  I did something else new on race day mid race because I felt like my 2 shot blocks every 3 miles were not cutting it.  I started taking Gatorade at the aide station around mile 10.  I NEVER drink Gatorade because I can't stand it, but I knew I was sweating a ton and was getting very depleted.  I wanted to make sure I didn't start cramping up.  There was a ton of walking through miles 9-11.  I started to question my ability to run 15.5 miles in 2 weeks on another hilly course.  I was hurting and I didn't like it.  My splits when to hell and I knew it was going to be a struggle to not push too hard and hurt myself.  Mindy and I stuck together until mile 11 when she told me to run ahead.  She was having some knee issues and we both just needed to run our own races at that point.  I hit the dirt road section again and walked through the last aide station, but then decided I wouldn't walk again until I crossed the finish line.  Frankly, it just felt better to keep running.  I picked it up and finished very strong, passing at least 7 or 8 people in the last 1/2 mile.  Splits in the second half showed how much I struggled but also that, even with the wheels falling off, I was able to pull my shit together and finish well: 10:47, 11:41, 12:05, 11:26, 11:11 (back on the dirt), 10:11, :27 (7:12 pace!)

I finished in 2:20:29!  Even with all the struggles in the 2nd half, I managed to pull off my 2nd fastest half marathon on a tough course in warm and sunny conditions that I hadn't had a chance to train in.  I had told one of my friends I would be thrilled with a 2:20, but was ok with 2:30 because I knew this needed to be a training run.  I hit my goal :)

Megan rocked her race too and her hubby got a great shot of us at the finish!
Mindy finished strong and we found a nice, shady spot to stretch and cool off.
I definitely learned a few things from this race.  Signing up for another half only a few days after setting a PR (and still riding the high) was probably not the smartest move.  I wasn't 100% healthy and in denial about it.  I think I did a good job of listening to my body during this run, though, and not pushing too hard (except I probably did go out too fast).  I know trying new things on race day isn't smart, and luckily all I ended up with was some chafing in an uncomfortable location, dehydration, and a sunburn. I think I need to carry water at longer races if the temp is above 40.  I also need to wear shorts if the temp is over 40.  It was almost 60 by the time I crossed the finish line and tights were HOT.  Sunglasses or a hat are also a must if it's sunny.  Sunscreen probably would be a good idea too.  I was really disappointed in how I hit the wall only 8 miles into the race, but the fact I was able to pull it together and still finish strong just shows how much I've grown as a runner.

I also learned I need to take race results with a grain of salt.  When I saw the official race results Sunday morning and where I placed (overall 231/290, women 103/145) and in my age group (16/22), I was really upset.  I had just run my 2nd fastest half in less than ideal conditions and thought a 2:20 was a good race time.  I bitched and whined on twitter and to my BFF about how seeing the rankings took the wind out of my sales.  The responses were pretty awesome and I'm doing my best to take all the positive comments to heart.  The fact is...there will ALWAYS be people faster than me and comparing myself to them is only going to hurt me.  I am currently running in a crazy fast age group (in this race, the top 10 in my age group were all under 2:05) and many of those women have probably been running for more years than me.  I can't control who shows up for races, what their running backgrounds are, the conditions of the course or what the weather will be.  2:20 is still a great race time - especially when you consider where I started and the times of my other halves.  I've improved a ton in only a few years.  I'm coming back from a major injury and I'm stronger and faster than I've ever been.

The Rivertown Races Half Marathon was a very well-run race, especially when you consider this was the inaugural year and all the natural disasters going on all around the race location.  Needing to move the race literally days before could've been a mess, but the race directors did a fantastic job communicating with runners via email and their Facebook page.  Shuttles to and from the race were great and the bus drivers were very nice.  The aide stations were well staffed and there was plenty of water, Gatorade and gu (for those who wanted it).  They had portajons set up at one spot on the out/back course as well.  Even though the road was open and traffic was moving along the course, I felt pretty safe (this was definitely a concern of mine when I drove the course a couple days before the race).  Police and EMS were visible and the race volunteers were awesome.  They even had 2 bands playing music.  I had to smile when we came upon the first band about 1.5 miles in and they were playing Mumford and Sons.  You know it's going to be a great day when you hear Mumford and Sons :)

I hope Rivertown Races will be back again next year - it's not often I get the opportunity to be a streaker!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Fitness Friday: another race weekend

In the interest of doing a training run for bling, I signed up for another half marathon this weekend, the inaugural Rivertown Races Half Marathon, which was supposed to take place tomorrow in beautiful Millennium Park here in Grand Rapids.

But then the great flood of 2013 happened (the flooding was already starting but got much worse than this - these pics are from a week ago).

To add injury to insult, I managed to hurt myself literally hours after I signed up and paid my $55. I haven't run since last week Wednesday and have barely done anything else besides a couple easy bike rides, stretching, rolling and lots of Bengay.  On the plus side, my hamstrings feel about 80% and my calves are at about 70%, so I think I can run tomorrow without too much pain.

After much waiting, the race directors announced a few days ago what the alternate course would be.

This course is fairly familiar to me because it's basically the route from my worst 10 mile race ever, plus 3.1 miles - those extras are at least that flat section in the middle.

I drove the course at lunch yesterday to refresh my sour memories and it's exactly what I remembered: hills, 2 miles of rutted dirt roads, more hills, and an open out and back route on a high-speed road with no shoulder.  Awesomesauce!

one of the hills
Since most of the area where the race was supposed to be held still looks like this...

That's Johnson Park, across the street from the Grand River.
...it made sense to move the race and I'm glad it's still being held, but I have some safety concerns with the condition of the roads and traffic.  Also, because I'm trying to stay healthy for Bayshore, my goals for this one have been radically changed.  I had no intention of racing this (then again, I didn't plan on racing Martian either and I ended up with 17 minute PR and ran a 2:10) but I also don't want to end up with a really bad race time either.  I'd like to say it doesn't matter to me but it does.  Still, I promised a few friends that I wouldn't push tomorrow and I would keep my eyes on the big prize, which is a great race at Bayshore.

So, my goals:

  • Go easy and SLOW - taking walk breaks if I need them
  • Enjoy the morning - it's supposed to be partly sunny and around 45 degrees
  • Have fun with my friends who are also racing
  • Not step in any holes on the dirt portions to avoid breaking my ankle
  • Not get hit by a car (but I'll be wearing my RoadID just in case)
  • Eat some hills for breakfast :)
Are you racing this weekend?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Weigh-in Wednesday: a bit surprised

Starting Weight (11-28-12): 153.6
Last week: 142.6
This week: 142.0
Change: 0.6
Total change: down 11.6

Surprised since I barely burned a calorie this week. I'll take it but I worry the loss is muscle loss & not fat loss because I haven't been able to run in a week. The rational side of my brain says that's not true, but the running addicted side disagrees.  On the plus side, my hamstrings and calves are slightly less sore today and I have a little more hope of being able to complete Saturday's half marathon/training run. Granted, the "less sore" might have something to do with the ridiculous amount of Bengay slathered over the lower half of my body.  Anyone know if that stuff comes in bulk?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Bayshore Half Training: week 14

This week was pretty much a disaster.  I'd come off of a HUGE PR at the Martian Half the weekend before and rather than go easy on my runs I just jumped right back into the training schedule.  It was incredibly stupid and a huge rookie mistake.  I should know better but because I was dumb and didn't give my legs a chance to rest, I may have completely screwed up my chances for decent runs at the next 3 races I have on the schedule. I'm now dealing with a very pissed off hamstrings and calves.  I'm waking up with leg cramps and they just feel shredded. It's totally my fault and I'm pretty much beating myself up over it.  I'm sad.  I'm worried about ending up with another serious injury like last year.  Worrying and being upset is what I do so please don't tell me to relax or just go out and have fun with my runs.  Going out and having fun wasn't the goal when I started training for Bayshore.  PRing the crap out of it was.  Who knows what will happen now.

Monday 4/15/13 - Plan RUN 3 MI & STRENGTH (:30) - Did RUN 3.1 miles easy with no watch.  Looking at the clock when I was done put it at about 33 min (10:40 pace).  My legs were heavy and my calves hurt during the run.  Skipped the strength work. 

Tuesday 4/16/13 - Plan SWIM (:20) - Did WALK 26.2 minutes (1.8 miles) for #Boston at lunch the STRENGTH (:30) after school.  

Wednesday 4/17/13 - Plan RUN 5 MI tempo incl middle 3 at 9:22 pace - Did RUN 5 MI tempo with middle 3 at 9:22 pace (overall 49 min and a 9:50 pace).  My hamstring started to hurt early in the run and so did my calves.  I stopped several times to try and stretch but I had it in my head that I was getting 5 miles and faster didn't hurt any worse than slower so I kept pushing.  This was incredibly STUPID and I could barely walk when I got done.  I ended up icing my hamstring when I got home.  How pathetic that one stupid run may have fucked up everything for the next 5 weeks.

Thursday 4/18/13 - Plan RUN 2 MI/STRENGTH (:30) - Did NOTHING but stretching and rolling. Got into the chiro for a massage and she beat up my legs for the full hour.  Lots of trigger points and it hurt so much that there were a few times I actually got queasy.  I left that appointment very sad.

Friday 4/19/13 - Plan REST - Did REST - Plus some more stretching and rolling, but pretty much everything hurt - stairs, regular walking, everything.  

Saturday 4/20/13 - Plan RUN 10 miles - Did BIKE 18 miles in 1:37:32 (that would be slow as fuck if you want to do the math)/STRETCH (:15).  What a sharp contrast to my PR 13.1 miles the weekend before.  I thought I was over being injured and needing to swap out biking for running, but I guess not.  

Sunday 4/21/13 - Plan BIKE (60) - did NOTHING but stretching and rolling.

What a difference a week makes.  Last week I was riding a great post-race PR high and this week I"m wondering how I'm going to pull off the next 5 weeks and still finish Bayshore with a smile on my face.  I'm feeling defeated and I haven't even lined up at the starting line yet.  It's like last spring all over again.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Meal Monday: Spicy Pulled Pork Tostadas

Do you follow Shrinking Kitchen?  If you don't, you really should.  Every weekend, they post a menu for the week that can totally take the guesswork out of menu planning.  Last week, the ladies at Shrinking Kitchen posted some serious winners.  This is my take on their Spicy Pulled Pork Tostadas with Lime Cumin Slaw.  It was absolutely AMAZING and the family ate it up - even my girl who claims to not really like Mexican food.  You can click on the link up there to get their recipe plus they have a fancy ZipList plugin so you can save it.  I made a couple changes but for the most part followed it pretty much as written.  I noted my changes below.

Ingredients (these are Shrinking Kitchen's directions with my notes)
1 - 2 lb pork shoulder (I used 2 pounds and it was barely enough for the 4 of us after it cooked down)
1 onion, quartered
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano (mine was ground oregano)
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon chili flake (I used red pepper flakes)
1/2 bottle beer (I used Oberon from Bell's Kalamazoo Brewing - it's a wheat and worked perfectly)
16 small corn tortillas
For the Slaw
1 head napa cabbage, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup sweet corn (from the cob or frozen) - I used about 1/2 a can of Del Monte Summer Crisp Corn
1/4 cup chopped cilantro - I used more like 1/2 a cup
1 tablespoon jalapeƱo pepper (seeds removed if you're sensitive to heat) - I used 1/2 a jalapeno 
1 teaspoon cumin
juice of 1 lime - about 1 Tbsp lime juice from a bottle
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoon fat free plain yogurt - I used Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Rinse pork shoulder and pat dry, place in slow cooker. (I also trimmed quite a bit of the fat away.)
  2. Add onion, garlic, cinnamon, cumin, oregano, brown sugar and chili flake to the bowl of a food processor.
  3. Pulse until you have a paste. (Do not use a blender and put a silicone spatula into it while it's moving, unless you like picking out pieces of plastic from your food.)
  4. With clean hands, give the pork shoulder a massage with the paste mixture. Get in every nook and cranny.
  5. Pour the beer into the slow cooker.
  6. Cover and cook on high heat for 4 hours or low heat for 6.  (I probably cooked mine closer to 8 hours on low and it turned out fine.)
  7. Remove the pork from the slow cooker and use two forks to shred.  Get rid of any of the fat you see.
  8. For the Slaw
  9. In a large bowl, whisk together lime juice, olive oil, yogurt, cumin, honey, salt and pepper.
  10. Add the cabbage, red pepper, corn, cilantro and jalapeno.
  11. Toss together gently and place in the fridge for at least an hour.  (I did this step at lunch time and it seemed like a huge amount, but by dinner time it had "shrunk".)  
  12. To Assemble Tostadas
  13. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  14. Spray corn tortillas with olive oil spray and place in the skillet.
  15. Warm the tortillas until they reach your desired level of crispness.  I kept mine soft enough to fold like a taco but you could make them crispy and flat like an actual tostada if you wanted.
  16. Place two tortillas on a plate, and add shredded pork, slaw and any other toppings you like: light sour cream, pico de gallo, avocado or light shredded cheese work well.  I just put extra cilantro and a squirt of lime on each of mine.  

I still have 1/2 a pork shoulder in the freezer, so I wouldn't be surprised if this makes it into the rotation again this week.  It really was delicious and I LOVED the slaw.  I'd probably even kick up the heat a little bit more next time.  I had enough left over for one taco for lunch the next day - it reheated great but was much better the night before with corn tortillas rather than the flour tortilla I used for lunch.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fitness Friday AKA Flooding Friday

I have my very first "Flood Day" today.  We're off school because of widespread flooding in my area.  It's absolutely crazy and I'm praying for the people in the area who literally have lost everything because of the floodwaters.

What does this have to do with Fitness Friday?  My next 2 races happen to be directly in the path of the floodwaters of the Grand River.  The river hasn't even crested yet and already downtown is flooded.  I want to go check out the water for myself, but instead I'm staying dry and just posting some pics that others have posted to Facebook.
This is the track at our middle school.  My friend, Angie, took this pic.
I know there is an alternate course already planned for the River Bank Run 25k on 5/11 (not sure when they decide which course will be used, but right now it's looking like the alternate).  I'm not sure yet if the Rivertown Races Half Marathon (that is a week from tomorrow) has figured out what they are doing yet.

Have you ever had a "flood day"?  Ever had a race change due to flooding?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Weigh-in Wednesday: my fault

Starting Weight (11-28-12): 153.6
Last week: 142.6
This week: 142.6
Change: nada
Total change: down 11.0

So, why am I saying maintaining this week is my fault?  Because I haven't been tracking, I barely worked out last week because I was sick and I ran a half marathon on Saturday so I fueled well and then tried not to eat all the things the rest of the weekend but sorta failed.  I should be glad it wasn't a gain.

I need to start ramping up my workouts again.  I didn't taper much for the race because it was supposed to be more of a training run, but oops - I raced the shit out of it. That's the problem with having races as training runs I guess.  It's hard not to go out and do your best.  Now I'm still really sore and have another race in less than 4 weeks (River Bank Run 25K) and then another 2 weeks after that (Bayshore Half).  The goal is to make it to Bayshore fast and uninjured.  Hopefully I can pull that off.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bayshore Half Training: week 13

*note - I wrote this post on Sunday, before all of the events unfolded in Boston yesterday and I considered not posting the original post at all.  I'm incredibly sad and my heart is breaking for the individuals who were injured or lost their lives yesterday afternoon, for their families, and for all of the people of Boston.  It's absolutely unfathomable to me that this occurred.  It makes no sense to me and I'm sure never will.  I will (in all likelihood) never run the Boston Marathon, but I know what it feels like to train and pour your heart and soul into something you love.  I know how proud I am when I watch friends and loved ones reach a goal - whether that goal was to run a block or 26.2 miles.  The fact that those events were occurring when the unthinkable happened just breaks my heart.  However, I know that the running community is strong and we support each other.  Watching footage of runners heading TOWARD the blasts to help those injured is just a testament to that strength.  The evil that occurred in Boston yesterday will not win.  I know a number of people personally who were in Boston yesterday, either running or spectating, and I'm giving thanks to God tonight that they are all ok.  "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" Romans 12:21

I'm wearing my 2011 GR Marathon shirt today (my only 26.2 - it's ironic that it's also one of my only blue/yellow race shirts - the colors for Boston), sending out love and #PrayersforBoston.  If you have a race shirt - any race shirt - wear it today in support and love for this amazing running community that is like a family to so many.*

It looks like this was both lucky and unlucky week 13 for me.  I got really sick so the vast majority of my workouts did not happen, but I did manage to do something awesome on Saturday, which also happened to be a 13th :)  "8" has always been my lucky number, but that might change now.

Monday 4/8/13 - Plan RUN 4 MI speedwork incl w/u, 2x1600 at 8:55 w/800 jogs, c/d - Did RUN 4 miles speedwork.  Hit the TM before work not feeling 100%. Hit the paces but really struggled and averaged a 9:45 across the workout.  Realized I was sick. 

Tuesday 4/9/13 - Plan SWIM (:20) - Did NOTHING 

Wednesday 4/10/13 - Plan RUN (3 miles)/STRENGTH (:30) - Did NOTHING

Thursday 4/11/13 - Plan BIKE (:30)/RUN (2 miles) - Did NOTHING but a tiny bit of rolling.

Friday 4/12/13 - Plan REST - Did REST - Plus a little walking around the race expo and some stretching and rolling.

Saturday 4/13/13 - Plan RUN 13.1 miles - Did RUN 13.1 miles in 2:10:36 (9:58 pace)- I set a HUGE new PR at the Martian Invasion of Races Half Marathon.  You can read all about it here if you missed the race report yesterday.  

Sunday 4/14/13 - Plan SWIM (:20)  - Did BIKE (:30)/Stretch and Roll (:20).  Needed to try and work out some of the soreness in my legs.

So, my disastrous beginning of the week turned out to be pretty awesome.  I had no intention of Martian being my "A" race for the year, and I guess it still isn't, but I'm starting to re-think my goals for Bayshore.  I figure I'll talk about them in the next 5 weeks or so.  For now I just want to recover from Martian and get ready for the 25k I have coming up in less than 4 weeks.  Again, not going in as a huge PR quest, but it would be nice. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Martian Half Marathon race report!

I'm sitting down to write this on Sunday afternoon and my legs cramping up and hips screaming as a sit at the computer are reminding me of what an amazing day I had on Saturday.  Let's back up a bit, shall we?

When I registered for the Martian Invasion of Races Half Marathon several months ago, I signed up knowing I had a 10 miler on my schedule that weekend but figured a race with fun bling and only 3.1 miles more would be a better use of my Saturday.  Little did I know how much of a roller-coaster it was going to be.  My long runs (really, most of my training runs) had been going exceptionally well and I was blowing away most of my training paces.  Then...I got sick.  REALLY sick.  I spent half of Tuesday and all day Wednesday in bed with one of the worst sinus infections I've ever had, complete with fever, body aches, the whole nine yards.  I hadn't originally planned on running the Martian as a race, but with things going so well, I figured a PR was in the cards.  However, since I was still not feeling 100% by Friday, it meant my race goals were seriously adjusted.  When the weather reports shifted from 50 and sunny to 30 with snow/wind/rain, I figured any hopes of a great race were doomed.

I live about 2.5 hours from where this race is held and made plans to spend the night with friends about 25 minutes from the race site Friday night.  I scooted out of work on Friday and hauled butt over to Dearborn, MI (home of Ford Motor Company, among other things) to get to the expo before it closed.  The race expo, held at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center (think 1/2 symphony hall and 1/2 sports complex), wasn't very huge but was decorated with lots of little green, purple and blue aliens.  Tons of kids were running around with their own inflatable martians (there is a kid's "marathon" as part of the race weekend that also included a full, half, 10k and 5k).  It was pretty cute.  Like most expos, you had to snake through all the vendors before you could get to your bib and shirt pickup.  Not a big deal, but I still find that a bit annoying.  There wasn't really anything I was interested it but they had some big beer glasses with the race logo on them, so I bought one to use later.

A random stranger offered to take my picture with one of the aliens.  It's not very often I'm taller than someone, so of course I had to snuggle up to the little guy and get the shot :)

I spent maybe 30 minutes or so at the expo and then headed to my friend's place.  It was pretty late by the time I got there (a little after 8pm) and I don't normally drink the night before a race, but the Bell's Porter was too hard to pass up.  Jen and I split one.  And then split another.  I think it helped me relax a bit, and let's face it, a few extra carbs never hurt anyone.  The conversation was good and it was great to catch up with Dave and Jen.  Around 9:30 or so, I headed to bed and had my usual pre-race-night of tossing and turning and waking up before my alarm.

Because I was less than 1/2 an hour from the start and my race didn't begin until 8:45, I was able to sleep in until about 6:00 who am I kidding, I didn't sleep.  I was a little stressed out driving into Dearborn because a) driving in Detroit just plain sucks, and b) I had no idea where in the heck to park, but I acted like a lemming and followed the crowd, finally finding a lot with some open spaces about 1/2 a mile from the start.  The walk to the starting line at Ford Park was a nice warm up (even though it was FREEZING out).

It's hard to see from this picture, but who starts a race on an uphill?  I mean, seriously?  The benefit was I knew I wouldn't go out too fast :)  I did what is becoming my usual pre-race warm-up of a 5 minute jog followed by 4 strides.  This coupled with the walk from the car definitely had me warm and I was really questioning if I was overdressed (long sleeve tech shirt, Nike Element jacket, warm hat, CW-X tights, and Team Sparkle Skirt).  I figured, if I needed, I could tuck the hat in my belt and tie the jacket around my waist.

At least the Aliens would be able to spot me if I got off course.  I lined up in the corrals (really just a roped off area) about in the middle of the pack.  They had signs for pace areas but the signs stopped at 10mm and that was still a bit ahead of where I'd managed to push my way up to.  I knew it was going to be crowded at the start and didn't want to weave around a ton of people, but I also wasn't going to line up with the 8mm folks. I'm not that person.

The day before the race, everyone got an email indicating Hines Drive, where a majority of the half and full take place, was under water.  It had been raining for DAYS and this poor course follows a flood plain.  They said no worries, we have an alternate course and everything will be fine.

Original course map
It turns out, the "alternate route" was also impassable because of torn up roads, so the race directors frantically created a new-new course the night before (or maybe even that morning).  I still haven't heard if it ended up being certified or not.

What we actually ran.

As we are standing in the corrals, I'm noticing that 8:45 has come and gone.  I started my playlist 4 times before the race actually began around 9:00.  Not sure what the delay was, but no big deal I guess.  I just kept jumping around and dancing to Lose Yourself by Eminem (it's always song number 1 on all my running playlists) to stay warm since I'd finished my warm up a good 30 minutes before we actually started running.

I'm not going to give a mile-by-mile recap of this race because frankly, I can't really remember everything and the looping out-and-back course made it hard to know where I was at any given moment.  It was nice to always have people around me and the out-and-back style meant I got to see the leaders fly by and also never be alone on the course.  I was trying to just go out and run because I didn't want to stress about pace, but I'll admit I looked at my watch. A LOT.  I couldn't believe how fast I was running but I also felt good so I just went with it.  I took off my hat at mile 2 because I was hot and spent the race zipping and unzipping my jacket.  I'd get warm but then the wind would kick in and I'd get cold.  My legs felt like lead at mile 4 and I thought I'd made a huge rookie mistake of going out too fast, but I was able to pull my shit together.  I remember a few other things, like the sleet and snow that started at mile 6 and both myself and the girl running next to me yelling out "yes!" and "bring it on" because you really just have to laugh at that point.  We gave each other a fist bump and then I'm proud to say I left her in my dust.  I remember looking at my watch right at 6.2 miles and realizing I'd set a 10k PR (I think it said 1:03). I remember not really looking around much because my eyes were so focused on the ground.  I noticed a few nice houses but mostly, the roads were TERRIBLE and the potholes were scary.  The last thing I wanted was to roll an ankle or fall.  I also remember the 2 wooded bridges once we hit the nature preserve behind U of M, Dearborn (around mile 11 or so).  These bridges really did a number on me because they FREAKING MOVED! I hit the first one and immediately thought I was passing out because everything got fuzzy.  The bridge was bouncing all over the place.  I was prepared on the 2nd one so it didn't hit me as bad.  I felt strong all the way through mile 10 but then between the bridges and just getting tired, my legs started cramping up and I was HURTING for the last 2 miles.  The weird thing?  Those miles were also my fastest.  I even had enough left to really kick it at the end.  This was also my first race ever of this distance where I never stopped to walk.

I still can't believe I ran mile 13 at a 9:34 pace.

When I looked down at my watch after I crossed the finish, I was both shocked and a little disappointed.  My watch said 13.02 miles.  Was the course short?  Maybe, but I had at least 13 so I'm going with it.  BUT... my watch also said 2:10:41.  2:10 was never on my radar.  Before I got sick, I had 2:15 in the back of my mind.  I went into Saturday morning hoping to pull off 2:20.  I smoked that goal and set a half marathon PR by over 17 minutes!!!!

Happy Girl!
After trying to recover by sitting on the curb and eating part of a bagel, I was able to head over to Buffalo Wild Wings and meet Lori!!! She was sitting at the table when the race reports were finally posted and it was so awesome to be able to celebrate with someone.  Lori ran a great 10k that morning too!

Fuzzy picture - but I think that pretty much sums up how I was feeling.

To say I'm thrilled with how well I ran on Saturday would be a huge understatement.  I set out to just run.  I had no real expectations other than still hoping for a PR.  I knew I didn't want to walk but was prepared to if needed.  I wanted to have fun and finish the race with a smile.  Smashing my PR (that I set back in Oct 2010 at my VERY FIRST HALF) by 17 minutes was just unreal.

The Martian Invasion of Races Half Marathon was truly OUT OF THIS WORLD!

The bling was pretty sweet too :)

Did you race this weekend?  I know there were a lot of races out there.  Good Luck to anyone in Boston today also!!

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Fitness Friday: "race" goals

I'm running a little half marathon tomorrow morning, the Martian Half in Dearborn, MI. When I signed up many months ago, I was just looking at this race as a training run with bling. It has a great medal, it fit into my Bayshore training, and I've wanted to run it for a few years.

I was all prepared to talk about race goals in today's post, but then the sinus infection from Hell hit this week and I haven't been able to run since Monday. Then the weather went from predictions of sunny and 50* to this:

This IS Michigan after all. I should've expected the weather to turn to shit. 25 mph wind gusts? Rain? Cold? I thought this was supposed to be spring! Well played, Mother Nature.

My last few long runs have been stellar and had me thinking of great things for this race. But, if there's anything the past few days have shown me it's that there is so much outside of my control right now.

So, instead of setting race goals related to time, pace, or PRs, I'm setting THIS as my race goal for tomorrow:

I figure that about covers it.

Oh, and bring home a cute, little alien in the process.

See you on the flip side!

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thankful Thursday: getting better

Could these 2 meds be any different in size - holy crap that huge one is hard to take
It appears the meds I got at the doctor on Tuesday are starting to kick in. I'm cautiously optimistic that I'm still going to be able to run my half marathon on Saturday.

It might not be the race I envisioned after the last few awesome long runs, but I will make sure I still have fun.  So, for the next 2 days, I plan to hydrate like it's my f*cking JOB, take my meds and get as much rest as possible.
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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Weigh-In Wednesday: surprised

Starting Weight (11-28-12): 153.6
Last week: 143.2
This week: 142.6
Change: down 0.6
Total change: down 11.0

I say "surprised" because 2 days ago I was 145 and very pissed off that I'd let stress eating put on 3 pounds in less than 2 weeks. I was prepared to give a bunch of excuses today: The past 2 weeks have been crazy stressful, I've been sick all weekend (and very sick the past 2 days), Aunt Flo was visiting (I've never used this excuse in my life to explain a gain because I think it's bullshit), I had too many salty foods over the weekend...

You get the picture.

I know I ate like shit this past week and even though I worked out nearly every day until Monday when I just couldn't function anymore, I was sure I would still be way up today. I got lucky but not lucky enough since I'm still up from where I was 2 weeks ago.

Still, 142.6 is much better than 145 so I'll take it.

Now, back to bed for me so I can shake this sinus infection and fever (seriously, who gets a f*cking fever with a sinus infection???) before Saturday's half marathon.

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Bayshore Half Marathon Training: Week 12

Another week down and still feeling pretty good other than this horrific cold I'm currently rocking. Again, the game of life tried to frak up my training, but overall I think I managed to get in most of my workouts, even with spring break and a house guest, pretty well.

Monday 4/1/13 - Plan RUN 2 miles/STRENGTH 30 - Did watchless RUN 3.2 miles 31:53 (9:58 pace).  I was still feeling pretty drained from Saturday's long run and tried to run this "easy".  Apparently my easy pace is what my uber fast pace used to be.  

Tuesday 4/2/13 - Plan SWIM (:25 min) - Did BIKE- With my house guest, getting to the gym for a swim was tough, plus I had to take a trip to Chicago for the day, so the trainer it was.  Just under 10 miles in 45 minutes.

Wednesday 4/3/13 - Plan RUN (5 mile tempo) - Did RUN 5 mile tempo in 46:55 (9:21 pace average, including the 1 mile w/u and 1 mile c/d).  Not sure where this came from, but I'll take it!

Thursday 4/4/13 - Plan RUN 2 miles / STRENGTH (:30) - Did CORE - I tried to do a core circuit and ended up quitting after 30 minutes.  It happens.

Friday 4/5/13 - Plan REST - Did BIKE - 11 miles in about 58 minutes OUTSIDE!!!  My daughter and I went for a nice (but freezing) bike ride.  I rode my old hybrid because the roads and my nerves aren't ready for my road bike and new pedals.

Saturday 4/6/13 - Plan RUN 9 miles - Did RUN 9 miles in 1:31:20 (10:08 pace).  I ran with some friends for the first half and then solo for the last half.  Lots of hills, an easy pace for 7 miles and then busted out a 9:30 and 9:20 for the last 2 miles.  Feeling pretty strong (other than the cold) about my training so far.    

Sunday 4/7/13 - Plan BIKE (60 min)  - Did Nothing.  Took a rest day.

Obviously, the training plan is still pretty much off the rails.  No swimming and the biking and strength training have been minimal.  This is what usually happens at the mid point of training for me.  I get the runs in, but the rest tends to fall by the wayside. I'm trying not to let the happen but events of the last couple weeks have been pretty crazy, so the fact I've gotten as much done - workout wise - is pretty much a victory.

I know there were lots of races this past weekend.  Did you race or do you have something coming up soon?  

Monday, April 8, 2013

Meal Monday: Chocolate Cherry Energy Bites

We love a good no-bake energy bite cookie in this house. I have a peanut butter & chocolate chip one that I've made a few times, but this time I decided to try something different with the dried cherries I got at my group run on Saturday.

I give you Chocolate Cherry Energy Bites

1/2 cup almond butter
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup coconut
1/4 cup wheat germ
2 tsp vanilla
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup dried cherries roughly chopped

1. Heat almond butter & honey together over low heat until blended & liquidy.
2. Remove from heat. Add cocoa, vanilla & salt. Stir until well combined.

3. Stir in oats, coconut, wheat germ & cherries.

4. Put in the fridge for a bit to cool. Then use a teaspoon to scoop dough & roll into 1 inch balls. Makes about 2 dozen.

Looks ugly but tastes pretty good. A nice change from the usual recipe.

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Friday, April 5, 2013

Fitness Friday: outside!

My girl and I made it outside for an 11 mile bike ride this morning. It was FREEZING and so windy, but was a welcome change from the trainer.

Maybe by summer I'll be ready to try out my road bike & new pedals, but for now I'll have to be happy with a slower than molasses ride on my hybrid.

Are you enjoying some spring-like weather where you live? I'm still waiting for it to really arrive here.

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Thankful Thursday: What a difference a year makes

In the past year, I've gone from this:
That's a crack in my left tibia

And this:

Rocking Das Boot
To this:

My slowest 5k ever (May 28, 2012)
To this:

Finishing my first sprint triathlon (August 11, 2012)
To this:

My fastest 12 mile run EVER
And this:

And even this:

Who is this person???

I really believe it was all the hills in the Knoxville Half Marathon on April 1st last year that did me in so I consider that date my injury date - I waited a couple weeks to actually see a doctor - don't do this. Trust me.  I've been very reluctant to post anything related to the 1 year anniversary of being diagnosed with a stress fracture (or stress reaction, depending on which doctor I talked to).  I didn't want to jinx myself. This week I finally registered for the 25k that I had to DNS and spectate in my boot last year. I've been very cautious about verbalizing or posting any goals for my half on 4/13 or my "A" race half in May. I've been posting my training but goals have only been shared with a select few and even with them I'm scared to say a time goal out loud. I'm being cautiously optimistic. I'm also nervous as hell that something is going to go horribly wrong and I'll be right back where I was last year at this time, scooting up and down the stairs on my ass because I couldn't bear weight on my shin.

But here I am...taking a leap if faith...hitting POST...and celebrating how far I've come this year.

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Happy New Year 2020

It looks like my M.O. is to open this blog when I get the notification the domain name renewed. LOL oh well. I hope everyone is having a n...