Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Margherita Pizza + Smiles for 9 Miles

For the past hmm....4 weeks, I've been craving margherita pizza.  It's definitely on my top 10 favorite foods in the world.  I recently (recently meaning in the last 6 months) inherited a bread maker, and decided to attempt my hand at homemade pizza crust and 'za.  I figured the night before the 20 miler would be as good of night as any as A) I was doing nothing but chilling and B) I wanted CARBS.  Well, that was an easy decision.

First I set out to make the pizza dough.  Which really consisted of about 5 minutes of my time, and 90 minutes of the bread machines time.  From there I was left with a mountain of dough.  Mental note, next time halve the dough amount and freeze the other half.  I don't have a lick of Italian in me, so my pizza dough tossing skills are nill.  Still it managed to look somewhat pretty chillin' on the 'za pan.

Next up was the cheese (my favorite part,  my digestive system's least favorite part).  Mozzerella ball mmmmm...  Three pieces for the pizza, one for my mouth.  And repeat.

Next we have roma tomatoes that were chop chop chopped up and marinated (marinated?  sure we'll go with that) in with some EVOO (look at me, I'm Rachel Ray! Using EVOO like it's my j-o-b) and a minced clove of garlic.
And even though the recipe didn't call for it, some additional marinara sauce.  I like my pizzas like I like my women...saucy!  Wait....what?!?!?
And into the oven while I salivate from the living room in anticipation for 10-15 minutes.  Out of the oven and holy amazingly fragrant and fabulous basil upon ze top.  And bon appetit!  As you can see, I ended up with some deep dish style crust on accident, hence the note to halve it for the future.  But I love me some crust, so I wasn't too upset with my culinary shortcomings.  Three slices for supper and one for an early breakfast = much-o awesome-o LR fuel-o.

And thus concludes a sneak peek into Jerbear's kitchen.

Tonight I had an easy 9 miles on the agenda.  All last week we have been eyeing this week's forecast with anticipation.  Could it really be?  60's and 70's?  Don't get your hopes up, as that can be the forecast today, and sleet and snow tomorrow (sad but true).  True to the meteorologist's word, it was gorgeous today albeit insanely windy, but whatevs.

All day long I was staring dreamily out my window at the sunny day working hard at my desk without a moment to even give the weather a second thought.  Yeah, that's it.  But there it was, at 4pm, with an hour in the day remaining, deep seeded hunger pains.  Dun dun duuuuuuun.  I knew I couldn't run 9 miles with nothing in my stomach.  Through painful trial and error I knew I couldn't eat a PB sandwich because that would cause paaaain.  And my cupboard is painfully bare as I get paid the last day of each month, and we are closely approaching that date hence we're on the Jerbear "diet" if you will. :p

I thought about all of the things I could throw on top of some toast.  Jelly?  Probably would piss the tummy off.  Plain toast?  Eh.  Cinnamon and sugar?  Hmm....maybe.  I had one slice.  No instantaneous stomach pain.  I had another.  Still good.  I gave my tummy a good 15-20 to give me a head's up that I had made a very big mistake and when it didn't, I took off (in my very cute, very girly new pink running shirt, whoot whoot!).

I could not have asked for a more beautiful day for a run.  The temp was perfect.  The insane winds weren't even noticeable because it was so warm out.  Families were out biking, walking, smiling.  I literally had a smile plastered on my face for the entire 9 miles.  And they seemed to fly by.  Other than some slight pain in my left calve from a charlie horse cramp early Saturday morning (uh yeouch!) the run was completely effortless and awesome.

I did the 9 miles in 1:24:13 for a pace of 9:22.

Monday, March 29, 2010

16 miles + Running Watermelon

This weekend I had 16 mile attempt #2.  I had originally planned on heading out around 10am, until N expressed his interest in sleeping in until 10.  Say whaaaaaaaat?  This kid is usually up and at 'em at 8am, so I took the extra Zzzzz's.  By the time I did head out, lunch time ish, the sun was shining, the birds were chirping and all was right with the world.  After checking with a couple of my runner buddies, I got the all clear on the bike trails not being flooded anymore.  Hurrah!  I took off in shorts and a long sleeve shirt.

Less than a half mile into the run, and my stomach was hurting.  My cereal, which has caused tummy pain 0 times thus far when used before LRs, had broken its streak.  I knew there was a bano about 4 miles in to the trail, so I set my sights on that.  Do you know how hard it is to get into that "groove" of effortless mindless running when you need to go to the bathroom like...now?  Answer:  hard.

1. 9:21

2. 9:26
3. 9:34
4. 9:29

After the bathroom break, I thought I would be all systems go.  Nada.  My legs were tired and heavy, and seemed to be barely shuffling along.  A quick recant of my runs this week.  Monday 8 miles hilly route, b/c trails were closed.  Tuesday 8 mile tempo run that SUCKED. Thursday 8 mile uber hilly route.  Where were my easy rest miles for this week?  Oooops.  Oh well, my legs will be way more tired than this during the marathon, so I'd better buck up now, eh? :)

The other thing that was driving me absolutely batty was my Garmin.  Because of the overcast skies throughout most of the run, my "current pace" was sooooo very off.  It typically showed me running 11-14 minute miles.  As you can tell based on my mile splits, this was not exactly "right."  On a run where you don't exactly feel on, it sucks to have your Garmin oh so very off as well.

5. 9:35

6. 9:40
7. 9:35
8. 9:38

The middle third, which is usually my least favorite portion of the run, was actually my fave.  I saw a lot of friendly faces out on the trails.  You can tell who else has their long run rotation on Saturdays, you start to see the same familiar faces out there.  Plus, the wind was at my back for part of this run, which ALWAYS helps to make the run more enjoyable. 

9. 9:40

10. 9:26
11. 9:31
12. 9:24

The last 4-5 miles were done into the wind and it was brutal.  Before I left, I had thought the wind was supposed to be around 6-7 mph.  Barely a whisper.  However, I knew that this was much much stronger than that.  I kept trudging along because I was just ready to be DONE!  After seeing my paces for these miles, I can see why I was so wiped.  I was running hard, fast (for the end of 16) and into the wind.  That's not supposed to feel easy!  When I got home, my friendly weatherbug report 20 mph winds, and 30 mph wind gusts.  Ooooh, so that's what was blowing me across the trail...that's what I thought.  :p

13. 9:25

14. 9:32
15. 9:13
16. 8:38

I finished 16 miles in 2:31:14 for a 9:28 pace.

This definitely wasn't the easiest run, but I will learn from it that easy runs during the week really should be easy in most aspects.  Tired legs do not bode well on long runs.  But hey, I was happy to get out there in shorts regardless. 

While we were hanging out Friday night, I got super excited for the unveiling of my marathon race day outfit.  (What?  You don't plan out your outfits 2 months in advance?  Weirdos...)  I plopped down my outfit next to Nick with a huge grin on my face.
N:  You're going to look like a running watermelon.
Hah, not quite the reaction I was going for, but not altogether inaccurate.  At least I'll be easy to pick out in the crowd! :)

In other exciting news, Nicholas bought a house last week.  Whooo!!!  Too bad it's in Minnesota.  Boooo!!  I'm still super excited for him, and have already begun pushing for running puppy #1.  Is it too early to ask for my golden retriever for Easter???  :)

Ooh!  I added some pages to my bloggy mcblogsome.  Check out my Running Story and Race Results & Reports.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tough as Nails*

*Not me, the run.  Uff.

Tuesday night (speed work night) had me doing 9 miles, with 7 at a tempo pace of 8:44.  Nine miles and speed work should never be allowed into the same sentence, just sayin'.....  I contemplated running outside vs. hitting the gym.  Because of the flooding and some trail maintenance, the bike trails are closed near me.  Also, I live in a bit of a valley, so no matter which direction I run, I end up having to run some pretty decent rolling hills.  7 tempo miles + wind + hills = ahhhh hell no!  Gym it is.  Unfortunately, I don't know if this was a better choice or not.  The gym was so hot and humid.  So many sweaty bodies (mine included) made for not so awesome conditions.

I'm going to be honest, this run was tough.  One of the toughest I've done in a long time.  I even tried to work the magic with my brain where I tell myself that I ran a full 13.1 miles at a 8:34 pace...but ya, the brain just didn't want to hear it.  I think I was probably dehydrated and fairly underfueled, which didn't help the situation at all.  Also, my legs were tight.  Holy cow.  Not sure if the 20 miler is still in them or what, but they sure didn't feel as fresh as they normally do for speed workouts.  I ended up bargaining with myself that if I could stick out the 7th tempo mile, I could forgo the cooldown mile, and opt for a cool down walk until my heart rate returned from skyhigh to normal.  I'm really good at making deals with myself.

I ended up doing 8 miles in 1:10:44 for a pace of 8:51 (tempo pace:  8:43).

1. 9:38

2. 8:37
3. 8:47
4. 8:49
5. 8:42
6. 8:50
7. 8:43
8. 8:35

While we were out on St. Patty's Day my old roomie mentioned that she was thinking of doing a HM in Vegas this year.  Of course I freaked out.
Jeri:  OMG!!!  THE VEGAS RNR?!?!?  I'm totally doing that!  You should do it! You should do it! You should do it!

Um ya.  I was slightly excited.  She's not a runner, but wants to get into shape, and I totally think she can do it.  We're going to have a powwow soon to sit down and talk about what she wants to get out of training, what she wants to put forward during training, etc. so I can mold a beginner program for her, as well as give her a rough guideline to follow for base building.  Is there a market for running coaches for newbie runners? Because I think that would totally be my niche.  Oh wait, I'd have to actually be a certified coach?  Um..ok.  But I love getting other people inspired to do something they're totally terrified of doing.  Very fun.

In other exciting news, while doing some race searching in my area (btw, seriously my faaaavorite thing in the world to do, other than cuddle HA!, is to plan out my racing schedule), I stumbled upon something exciting.  My schedule from May's marathon to September's HM is pretty wide open, and I had plans to run as many 5ks as humanly possible, along with another HM if it worked into my plan.  Well I found out that the group that put on the 5k that I won last year (whoot whoot!) is expanding their race day to include a 10k and a HM.  Given the small field from last year, I'm guessing they'd have a similar turn out, and is plenty of time after the marathon to give it a go.  If I could place in my AG for a HM, I could probably retire as a runner (jk...kinda...ha).

Check out the Hungry Yogini's awesome yoga giveaway!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

8 8 8 is great!

That used to by my personal chant/cheer/whatever in high school.  My lucky number and volleyball number is/was #8, so it's always had my heart.  Tonight I had 8 easy miles on my agenda.  To be honest, I contemplated skipping it because my knee was still a little wonky while walking around at work today. I figured I'd at least get 2-3 in, and turn around and come home if it ended up being too painful.

First and foremost, the most exciting part of my run:  wearing shorts.  These poor leggies have not seen sunlight in uh....anyone?? Buehler??  My guess is November, but to be honest it was probably early October.  Despite the 25 mph winds (can we just get ONE all around nice day?  no?  I need to quit bitching about the weather now?  Ok, dually noted), it was actually a very nice 54 degrees.  Getting started was a bit chilly, but I warmed up (ie:  started sweatathon 2010) real fast.

Secondly, no knee pain.  Uh...what?  Ok, I'll go with it.  My stomach was still pretty pissed off at me, as it's yet to recover from the 20 miler apparently, but other than that, I was a-ok and feeling good.  I did a route over by my old apartment, so it was definitely nice to check out some new/old scenery.  And I took out the new shoes for their first spin outdoors.  Heck yes.  Come to think of it, maybe that's why I had no knee pain.  Hmmm....interesting. I'm planning on wearing the older pair only for really crappy crappy muddy/wet weather, so hopefully they'll only get another 20-30 miles on them tops.

My garmin had issues finding a satellite, so I ended up running about 8.1 miles in 1:17:08 for a pace of 9:32.  P.S.  I had two separate people LAUGH at me for declaring my 8 miler an "easy" run tonight.  It's insane to think that 8 miles is the shortest run I'll have for this week.  Don't even get me started about the week on my schedule that has 10 miles as the "easy run" [shudders].

I had such an overwhelming response to my Life to Do List and Qualities List, that I just had to follow up with some explanation.

Domesticate a squirrel.  Growing up, my nickname from my parents was Squirrel Bait.  Yes squirrel bait = nuts.  That should give you an idea of the type of child I was.  Come to think of it, my parents also called me Fart Blossum.  I'm not even sure they loved me at this point.... :p  But I digress.

I've always had an obsession with squirrels, they're just so stinking cute.  When I went to college, there was a swarm of squirrels that hung out on the walkway from the cafeteria to my dorm.  Many of them would chill in a crab apple tree outside the building.  One night, I bravely walked up to one, and actually petted him (more or less touched his back, and then freaked out).  When I called to tell my mom what happened, she replied, "We always knew you were Squirrel Bait!"  Oh, gotta love them.  Anyway, this will happen someday.  It's gotta, it's on "The List."

Potty training a cat.  I'm a dog lover, but I also love cats.  One thing I don't love is their stinky litterboxes.  At one point a long time ago, I saw a thing on tv where someone talked about potty training their cat, and it completely made sense, because it's roughly the same way you'd train them to use a litterbox.  Again, this will happen at some point.  I'm guessing they won't learn to flush, but that's fine. ;)

I also had many folks respond with their impressive match up on my "Qualities List" and also their extreme short comings (pun intended....apparently my blog readers are shorties.  It's ok, I still love you all. :p)  I think my top match was @jumbolaw with 21 matches.  He also suggested that I add single to my list.  Oh touche.  Excellent idea.  Ha.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

20 on the 20th. Cheers to Spring!

A couple of weeks ago, my old boss from college sent me a message on facebook asking if I wanted to do a run with her.  Um...ya!!  We tried to coordinate a long run, and tentatively made a date for my 20 on the 20th (first day of spring, whoo!).  She had 10 on the schedule, so she was going to run the last 10 with me. Earlier this week she sent me an email asking what route I was thinking about taking since our bike trail is flooded big time.  I told her I was at a loss and she sent me a route.  What an angel.  When I got the email with a google map image I freaked out.  The route seemed soooo stinkin' long.  And then I clicked on the image to get a closer look of the streets etc. and realized that half of the map was cut off in the email.  It was twice as long as I thought it was.  Holy crapoli.

After putting the route into runstoppable I realized it was extremely hilly.  Like oh my god I might die hilly.  But I figured it was still better than running "offroad" on the areas of the trail that were completely flooded out.  We made tentative plans to meet up Saturday morning.

Friday night I received a text from her that her littlest was in the hospital and that she was going to have to bail on our run (1 of 3 acceptably run bail out reasons, btw).  I was bummed and nervous.  After noticing that the route went right in front of Taylor's apartment (remember him? ha) I had previously jokingly asked him to work my "unofficial water station for Jerbear's 20 miler), to which he agreed.  Which led to me jokingly (ok, completely seriously, and maybe even borderline begging) that he run a couple miles of it with me (apparently he's taken up running since we split sweet life :p).  He said a big hell no, but that he would be willing to bike with me.  Uh, yes please!  I also shot out a text to my office husband as the route was also going by his house (I told you this route was literally all over town) to see if he wanted to jump in for a couple of the mid-miles, but his parents were in town so he declined.  LAME.  Jk.

When I woke up Saturday morning it was cold.  Yes, I live in a cold state, I should get over it, I know.  I noticed that there were 20 mph wind gusts and based on the hourly report, the wind was supposed to be changing directions every hour, and based on my departure time, I would literally be running 20 miles into the wind.  WTF?  Instead I decided to hold off til the afternoon when the temp had warmed up slightly (30) and the winds were 10 instead of 15.  It's the little things, right?  Before I headed out the door, I jotted down the route on my favorite paper:  I <3 Jim.  Truth.

I took off and couldn't believe how hilly it was.  I mean, I looked at the elevation and all, but wasn't quite expecting this.  The great thing is that the hills and completely new route provided a huge distraction to running.  Crazy.  I was slightly worried, however, because we did a lot of hill running in high school for track, and we were always taught to drive drive drive up hills to increase our explosiveness as sprinters.  Well that's ingrained in my head, but I knew it wasn't wise to power up hills, knowing I still have 15-18 miles to run.  The first 5 miles literally flew by.  I couldn't believe how fast my Garmin was throwing out beeps.

1. 8:57
2. 9:33
3. 9:26
4. 9:30
5. 9:25 

Right around the 5 mile point I started my jaunt into the wind.  Um...I hate wind.  Again, I was always taught to lean forward and to drive my legs when running into the wind, but again, I didn't want to use up all my energy now.  Based on my times for these first few miles, I was convinced I was going to crash and burn BIG TIME the last miles.  Mile 7 was literally all uphill and into the wind.  I basically wanted to quit life and just curl up on the side of the road and die.  I half expected this mile to be 15 minutes.  I was pretty shocked when it wasn't.  After Mile 7 it was pretty much up and down hill until Mile 10 which was pretty flat.  Mile 9 was by my old duplex, the first place I lived "on my own" after college.  It was really fun running by there because it was on roads that I used to run back in my "beginning runner" days.  It's also the area of town that I would loooove to buy a house in (if I was richy rich).  It's a super historical area so all of the houses are old and gorgeous.

6. 9:24
7. 9:41 into the wind uphill
8. 9:12 downhill wheeeee
9. 9:32
10. 9:19 

Once I hit 10, I was pretty happy, because I knew I only had to run a few more miles by myself and then I would have company.  I had it broken down in my brain that I was running a HM and then pacing Tay on the bike at ~9:30 mm.  See, I really enjoy tricking my brain.  It works.  Fo sho.  The next couple of miles were through my old stomping grounds:  by my college campus.  I passed many houses that we use to partay it up at.  Made me miss college and my BFFFs big time.  Shout out to my AC loves. Ha.  Mile 12 was spent climbing one of the hills that I used for WWW training (so yeah, it's pretty large and in charge), and Mile 13 was spent flying down the other side of it.  All of these hills were really showing the back of my knees what was UP.  The tendon (?) on the inside of my left knee was really starting to hurt.

11. 9:15
12. 9:34
13. 9:05

At Mile 13 I picked up the ex-factor for our "Break-up-iversary Celebration."  I realized the night before that we had been splitsville for 6 months to the date, and had to chuckle up my made up anniversary to celebrate it.  Mile 14 was a B because there were so many stop lights to combat, I must've stopped and started 4 or 5 times.  Not fun.  During the next couple of miles we got stopped quite a few times by stop lights, sidewalks ending, etc.  Hatred.  As each mile ticked off, I would cheer with the amount we had left, and Taylor couldn't understand it.  "You've ran 16 miles, you can't be that excited by one more."  Ha, when I've run that far, I only allow myself to countdown on the last 5 or so.  Because I always know I can run a 5k no matter how far I've gone; again it's totally a mental thing.  Whatevs.  Around Mile 16 we ran near one of Tay's HS gfs house's, I quickly crossed the street.  Jk.  But it did work that way on the route, so it definitely looked like that was the intention. :p

When my watch ticked to mile 16, I told Tay that if I had to, I could run another 10 miles (not 10.2, it's always that tricky .1 or .2 that kills ya...hah random inside joke...).  It was such a good feeling to realize that I will probably not drop dead on the marathon course.  Yes, I won't be coming in first, but I will complete the darn thing, and guaranteed I'll be rockin' a smile during Lambeau field.  :)

The backs of my knees were really hurting during miles 16 and 17.  At one point I think I called the pain an 8 1/2.  Oops.  I hoped knew that the pain was just because my legs weren't used to the hills (haha, I just typed kills there, that's probably more fitting!) and not-injury related.  Tay offered to throw me on his handle bars and bike me home, which I seriously considered but then realized that ride might be almost as uncomfortable as running another 3-4 miles.  :p

4. 9:34
15. 9:35
16. 9:48
17. 9:48

After my pace dropped off in 16 and 17, I stopped talking so much and concentrated on running.  My pacer filled in the gaps, and told stories that didn't require my response/feedback.  For 19 I cranked up my tunes on my iPod, which ended up being a mini stereo system with my headphones hooked in my jacket collar and that provided some extra beats to get my legs going.  Of course 19 and 20 were back on the super hilly road, so I just ran because I was ready to be dooooooone.  Interestingly, the back of my knees didn't hurt at all during the last 2 miles when I picked up the pace.  The final mile, I told Tay to eff off (jk),  that I was going to put in my iPod and just go.  I cranked up RiRi's Rude Boy and it was on.  Felt good to end my 20 on a fast note.

18. 9:29
19. 9:06
20: 8:19

I finished the 20 in 3:07:40 for a pace of 9:23.  Faster than the 9:30-9:45 I should've ran, but my legs felt a lot better than they did on 18.  I run with such poor form when I get in the 9:45 range that it's really difficult for me.  As soon as I was done the back of my knees were killing me, and I still had to hobble about a 1/4 of a mile home, downhill, just what my legs want.  Ouch!  I finally just had to sit down and get some stretching in, which helped a lot.

When I got home, I was surprised at how good I felt.  I had expected my stomach to completely revolt on me.  Eventually I hopped in the shower, and texted a friend to meet me for dinner as I was Starvin' Marvin.  As soon as I hit send I was hit with a huge wave of nausea and had my head in the toilet.  Way to not disappoint body!  I ended up laying on the couch letting the ol' tummy settle, grabbing some sweats, and getting some Panera to go.  Food has never tasted so good.  Mmm.

Now it's waaaaay too early on a Sunday morning, and I woke up at 6am because no sleeping position is comfortable because my knees hurt.  :(  When my stomach started squawking as well, I finally got up and listened to it.  Now I just finished up some leftover homemade margherita pizza with some frozen veggies on my legs and ankles.  I'll be taking some ibuprofen shortly and making it back to beddy by (I hope!).

P.S.  On Taylor's bike ride home, he called me to say that while crossing the street on his bike, he witnessed another kid on a bike get hit by a car going 30 mph.  The kid flew up on the windshield and was bleeding on his legs, but was ok.  The kid wasn't wearing his helmet, and honestly, he's pretty lucky to be alive after that.  Just a reminder to be safe when you're out there running/biking, and even driving.  Too many drivers are not paying attention to us, so we need to be extra cautious when we're running/biking around out there. (Yes, ignore the fact that Taylor called me while biking home after this happened.  Not the epitome of safety, I realize.)

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Week's Worth...Again

I was on such a roll with my excessive posts last week, one might have thought I was b-a-c-k.  And then I fell off the wagon, this week.  Almost quite literally, as I'm blaming my lack of posts on my Irishness and needing to celebrate it in full force um... most of the week.

Monday I was loving the fact that it was still light out at 6pm when I hit the trails for my run.  However, I was not loving the extreme flooding of my bike trail.  Talk about rerouting my run.  Looking at my route on Garmin Connect looks somewhat like a Family Circus cartoon.
I did my 6 miles in 56:48 for a pace of 9:28.

Tuesday I had myself sliiiiightly freaked out about my run.  Given that my 1600 m intervals were so horribly hard for my first cycle of HM training, that I omitted them from my second cycle of HM training.  Uh.  Yikes.  I had 7 miles total, one mile warm up and cool down, 2 x 1600 @ 7:57 with 800 meter jogs after each mile.  Instead I did a 2 mile warm up, intervals, and 1 mile cool down.  The last thing I want to do after running hard and fast is run slooooooooow for a long time.  No thanks.

I hit up the gym in shorts and a barely there running top, again to minimize sweatage, and was ready to go.  The run went awesome.  It was definitely just as tough as I expected, but I think I was a little mentally tougher than the last time I attempted.  I know what my body is capable of, so I'm not as willing to let myself "quit."  I did give myself .1 of each 1/2 mile to walk after each 1600 which I think helped tremendously.  I think next time I would only do .05.  I was pretty recovered by the end of each 1/2 mile jog/recovery.

I did 7 miles in 1:05:44 for a pace of 9:24.  My interval pace was 7:51.

You'd best believe I left that treadmill a soaking sweaty mess.  So sorry gym. :(

Wednesday was conveniently my rest day and my favorite holiday ever ST. PATRICK'S DAY!!  Not to be confused with MARATHON TRAINING!!!!  I somehow convinced myself to get up out of bed early to do some yoga for runners podcast which focused a lot on loosening up my oh so tight hippies.  Let me tell you how not flexible I am first thing in the morning, the day after speed work.  Answer:  Not flexible.  It did feel good to start the day somewhat loosened up.

As soon as I was off work it was out on the town with some friends.  I've really become a bit of a homebody since I started training.  I'm either hanging out with the boy, visiting the boy, running, or eating.  Doesn't leave much time for boozin' it up with the compadres.  I think we made up for it on ST. PATRICK'S DAY!! Don't you worry. :)

By the Luck 'o the Irish, I felt 100% fine Thursday morning (not working til 11am didn't hurt) a fact I bragged about throughout most of the day.  Until I got to the gym.  Holy crap, my body did not want to run.  That's what you get for celebrating your little heart out I guess.  After the first mile my legs and lungs did loosen up, but you can tell my lungs were NOT pleased with the 2nd hand smoke they had to inhale.  I felt like it was the first mile I had ever run in my life.  [P.S.  Please remind me to never quit running so I don't have to feel that horrible chest pain EVER.]

I managed to eek out 5.75 of my 6 miles before the gym closed in 54:18 for a pace of 9:27.

Tonight is going to be spent attempting my culinary hand at homemade margherita pizza to inhale as fuel for 20 miles tomorrow.  EEEEEEEEEEK!  20 #1, you're about to be my B!

Best of luck to Heather and Glenn as they take on their own marathons this weekend.  Make Jerbear proud kiddos. :p

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Race Report: St. Patty's Day 5 Mile

I went to pick up my race packet on Thursday after I got an email from the race director saying that the first 400 to register would get shirts at pickup, and any early birds would get first dibs if they weren't in the first 400 to register.  I registered late so I scrambled to the pick up within an hour or two of opening.  The packet pickup left something to be desired....for sure.  I left with a heaping bag of swag.  My shirt is on backorder so I'll be getting it in 2-4 weeks, along with seemingly everyone else that was in line in front of me (???)  I realized that when I got home that the one swag item promised (a drink ticket to an Irish bar downtown) wasn't even there.  Jeri = mad.

Race Goals
*written race eve*

I've been toying around with a time goal for the last week and haven't been able to land on a number.  Having never done a 5 mile race, I didn't really know where to start.  Based on my genius logic my golas are as follows:

Goal A+:  Sub 40 min.  8 minute mile pace would be super sweet.  I don't know how likely this is as my 5k PR pace is 7:45 and that was after a round of speed training.  I really couldn't tell you what marathon training has done to my speed.  I guess we'll find out, huh?

Goal A:  40:25.  This would be a pace of 8:05 which I think is doable if I bust my booty.

Goal B:  Sub 41 min. Pace of 8:12.

It's interesting that I landed on these times after thinking about them all week.  At one point I was certain I was shooting for Sub 40.  The next I was going to shoot for my pace from last year's 5k (8:20).  Then it struck me how much my running has changed in one year.  One year ago my new PR was an 8:20 pace, and this year I'm trying to run a mile and a half at a faster pace.  Crazy. :)
[Editted to add:  When I got to work on Monday, I noticed 2 times on a sticky note based on the McMillan Calculator and using my most recent 5k PR and HM PR.  I had 39:50 (7:58 pace) and 40:34 (8:10 pace).

Race Report
I could not sleep the night before the race.  Holy buckets.  I kept having nightmares about my upcoming marathon (yes nightmares 2 full months out, I'm in for a lot of sleepless nights, I'm afraid).  Showing up late for the race, missing the race, all the dreams sucked and kept me tossing and turning all night.

When I finally got up and checked the weather I was a little bummed, 35* 10 mph winds, wind chill in the mid 20s.  Not as warm as previous planned.  Oh well.  I got to the race site early, per usual to get a little job and stretch-a-roo in. 

As the race was getting closer to starting, the runners started crowding into the streets, where we typically start the race. Until a cop came yelling and screaming at us that the road was not closed for the event. Yes, that meant all of us runners were starting the race on a bike trail that would accommodate three runners running abreast. I’ve never heard runners grumble and complain so much about a race being disorganized. :s
At the start I tried to get out fast so that I could settle into my groove asap. The race started on a slight downhill, so it worked out pretty perfectly. Contrary to the race elevation map, the route was actually hillier than I thought. Defnitely one of the hilliest parts of the bike trail in town. Within the first ½ mile we were charging up a monster hill. My pace for most of the first mile was in the 7:30’s-7:45’s so I imagine that hill slowed me down quite a bit.

Mile 1: 8:01

The second mile things started to get a bit hairy. There were areas of the trail that were completely flooded. We’re talking completely deviating from the trail on to thick mud 3” deep to avoid the foot or so of standing water from the river. Not ideal racing conditions, for sure. Of course, there were still some areas under bridges that were solid sheets of ice, which required some ice skating instead of running. There was a very short but steep hill during this mile.

Mile 2: 8:13

I could tell my pace was slipping in the third mile because a few people had passed me. When a girl roughly my age passed me, I felt my competitive edge kick in and vowed to keep her in my sights and beat her in the end. At the turn around, I noticed my time was 19:xx. Uh…what?? I definitely wasn’t on pace to get a sub-40, yet here it was. Oh wait. 2.38 miles. Yup, that might have something to do with it.
I totally had an extra burst of energy here knowing that I only had 2.38 miles to go instead of 2.5. Lame, I know. Plus I always do my best work in the last half of races. I’m never one to go out too fast, and like to save a lot in the tank for my kick at the end.

Mile 3: 8:21

Of course mile 3 and 4 were again dealing with the horribly muddy/flooded/ice conditions, so we’ll blame a little bit of my slower time on that, right? :)

Mile 4: 8:11

During the last “mile” I really tried to go all out. I wanted my pace to be below 8 minutes oh so bad. Unfortunately, I had totally forgotten about the gradual downhill at the start of the race that equates to a gradual uphill at the end. Um…uff da! Luckily Jeri the competitor wanted to pick off the people that had passed her during slow Mile #3 and started kicking it in to gear. The girl who passed me? Yes, buh bye. I saw my TEAM GREEN yelling for me right before the finish and I sped across the mat.

Mile 5: 6:03 (actually .76 miles for a pace of 7:57) Max pace: 6:27.

Final time: 38:51 (8:10 pace based on 4.76 miles, 7:47 pace for the full 5 miles)

So I guess technically I made my A+ goal, but not in a legit way. I was still pretty impressed with an 8:10 pace based on the fact that I am:
• In marathon training, hence not a lot of straight speed work
• Horrible conditions on the trail

I still think it’s interesting to compare last year with this year. Last year I ran the 5k as my big comeback race with an 8:20 pace. I was ecstatic and had broken my 5k PR that had stood for at least 2 years. This year, I was able to knock out 5* at a 10 second per mile faster pace. Heck ya! Also, based on the McMillan calculator for my HM time, I was at the exact pace expected.

And I managed to put a check mark next to a New Year’s Resolution: run a new race distance.
Special shout out to my big bro who completed his first sprint triathlon this Sunday and is signing up for #2 for 6 weeks from now. Sounds like someone else has gotten bit by the racing bug. :)

Race Stats:
Official time:  38:51 (pace 7:47)
Age group (20-29):  10 out of 50
Gender:  24 out of 123
Overall:  78 out of 210

Monday, March 15, 2010

Race Report: GW,MA!6.66MR

Even though I have been feeling under the weather, I still decided to hit the trail for the Global Warming, My Ass!* 6.66 Mile Run GW,MA!6.66MR Wednesday night after work.  I had an easy 7 miler on the schedule, and knew with a real race coming up on Saturday, I wouldn't have any other days to get the run in.  I figured I would rock the 6.66 "race" and have a pleasant little .34 mile cool down.

Prior to heading out I freaked slightly about wearing only running tights for the run.  I don't know what my deal is.  I can wear spandex shorts for volleyball or booty shorts a la Chic Runner but running tights make me extremely self concious.  After sending out a tweet, and getting many, "you're retarded, go run!" comments (ok, not at all everyone was super nice) I decided to go with it.  And to further combat my fear, photos for the whole world wide web.  Because if I can handle the world seeing me in spandex tights, than surely I wouldn't mind the 4-5 people that'll be seeing me in motion on the trail.  (Amazing logic, no?)

First thing to note when taking photos of black tights, try to not stand in front of an all black chair.  Look at the levitating upper body.  Jerbear, you are SO talented.

The second photo (which has been omitted), was actually taken in front of the sweet lady graphic on my wall.  So it looked like I had pink Medusa-like hair blowing in the breeze.  Second thing to note:  Do not take photo of black tights in front of white wall.  Yikes.

By the third photo I was sick of setting my timer and running back to my spot so I figured it would have to do.

And then just before heading out, one more picture, because apparently I'm feeling photogenic today.  Photo taken to highlight my GB Marathon training program.  Whoo!

As I was heading out the door, I remembered my running buddy/gym buddy/future Amazing Race partner had told me that part of the bike trail was closed.  Eff.  Let's make this GW,MA!6.66MR an EXTREME race.  GW,MA!6.66MR-X! 

Shortly after taking off, sure enough I meanandered up to the first Bike Trail closed sign.  Now good citizens of my city would've turned around and gone home.  Whereas I used my cunning brain power and logic to rationalize that this sign did not apply to me.  Bike trail?  What bike trail?  This here is my running trail.  And I don't see anything about a running trail being closed.  Let's venture on.
I did get a lot little nervous as I approached bridge #1 and noticed another bright orange sign.  It is one thing to run past a bike path closed sign.  It is quite another to past a "Do not cross this bridge as it may collapse and you will surely die via impact or shock from freezing cold water, possibly both" sign.

Being the rebel that I am.  I ventured on because I'm dumb.

Blatent disregard for cautionary signs:  0  Jeri:  2

I tippy toed across the bridge (because tippy toeing causes you to weigh less, thus NOT cause the bridge collapse and die via impact or shock from freezing cold water, possibly both.

Shortly there after I finally understood the closure signs.  There is a bridge that is being redone along the route.  Since there has been heavy construction traffic through the trail, there are thick mud pockets covering the trail.  The only way around the situation was to hightail it up the river embankment, through some slushy wet snow, and back down the otherside in extreme mud and yuckiness.  Enter:  EXTREME.  I'm not very extreme, so again, I tried to tippy toe down the river bank so I could keep my shoes from turning a darker shade of mud brown, and eventually made my way back to the trail.

My pace was borderline attrocious, but spot on for where I was supposed to be for my easy run, so whatever.  Plus I thought this virtual race was all about breaking laws via disobeying road closure signs (which I'm clearly winning, hands down, thus far).

Uh ya, don't try to cross *this* bridge any time soon, or you will surely die via impact or shock from freezing cold water, possibly both.  [Apparently this shiz is going on through the end of March!  Don't these a holes know that some of us are in the midst of MARATHON TRAINING?!?!]

The rest of the run race was actually really beautiful with the sun going down and the snow lining the river.  I tried to take some shots while running, but it's freakin' HARD.  I don't know how you guys take pictures while racing.  I also tried to get a legit picture of how high the snow drifts still are after a couple of weeks of above freezing temps and rain, but they didn't turn out and I was just ready to be done.
I finished the 6.66 miles in 1:05:29 for a pace of 9:50. 
And my poor shoes will never be the same.  RIP clean beautiful Asics.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Running Mojo, Where Art Thou?

Monday night I headed home from work with a pocketful of motivation.  Don't ask me where this motivation came from, but I'll run with it.  Mission:  spring cleaning!  As you may have noticed from my hoarder nostalgic shoe post, I tend to hold on to things because they have a special meaning to me.  Guys, I must confess, almost everything has sentimental value to me.  It's ridiculous.  I'm a pack rat to the nth degree.  I've been reading The Happiness Project (which I *highly* recommend btw) and one of the portions was about how the author did a major overhaul on her stuff to toss/donate/etc.  I decided I would take on my apartment with this same approach.

I managed to make it through almost my entire bedroom (closet included!) before dwindling into a pile of exhaustion.  Some gems of my purging process are the following:  Life to Do List (generated in Stats class 10.22.05), Qualities (a list of 42 qualities that I would like a mate to have)*, as well as future children's names, meanings and origins (wtf Jerbear?).

Guess what Life List Goal is going to be knocked off the list May 16th?!?!?  You betcha. :)

After filling up two garbage bags of things to take to the Goodwill (and filling up my trash with things to toss) it was off to the gym for my easy 7 miler.  I grabbed a couple of magazines and read along while I plodded the miles away.  A chica next to me was running the same pace (roughly) so I just zoned in on our legs hitting the belt at the same time and our pony tails bouncing back and forth in unison (via the window's reflection).  The run was really nothing to write home about, which is a bummer because it seems like all of my runs lately have been awesome! fantastic! 5 gold stars! worthy.

I did the 7 miles in 1:06:28 for a pace of 9:30.

Tuesday I just could not bring myself to run.  I was tired and my body was all sorts of creaky/achy/painy.  I did up some yoga to loosen up the muscles and calm down the mind.  Small highlight:  I was able to hold crow's pose longer than I have ever been able to before!  Yay me.  But I was kind of freaking out:  Where the heck is my running mojo???

When I woke up Wednesday morning I clearly had the answer:  blech.  I'm sick.  No wonder my body is achy.  No wonder it's taking longer to recover from my runs than normal.  No wonder I don't feel like running.  My body is trying to use every extra ounce to get healthy.

*Yes, when compared to the infamous "list" N stacks up quite well.  His failing points:  #2 Lefthanded.  #5 plays guitar. #13 NOT a Vikings fan. #14 Preferably a Packers fan.  38 for 42 isn't *too* bad I guess. ;)

How do YOU stack up to "the list"?  That is...if you can read my crazy handwriting... :p

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Weekend Wrap Up: Movies

My weekend can be summed up with one word:  movies.  Oh so many movies.  The dear boy looooooves movies.  I love weird movies.  We apparently don't love the same movies.  No surprise.  Not many share my weird movie interests.

About a month ago, I locked him in as my movie date for the premier of Alice in Wonderland.  (This is a major feat, as the boy can't plan his lunch until 11:55am.)  I love Alice in Wonderland (it was my favorite book as a child).  I love Tim Burton.  The man is a genius and can do no wrong in my eyes.  I love Johnny Depp + Tim Burton = Geniousity.

[I love AiW so much I have two t-shirts, and had to debate which one would get to be worn for the movie.  It was a big deal.  Somehow managed to not be a big enough deal to document by photo I guess.  Sweet life.]

I adored Alice in Wonderland.  I wanted to be Alice.  I wanted to own every dress that she wore in the movie (especially the red and black one--amazeballs).  I wanted to have tea at the Mad Hatter's tea party.  I wanted the Queen of Hearts to like me for my oversized forehead, and I wanted the White Queen to make me up in all of her pale glory.  Nick hated it.  We're talking complained on the way to the car, once we got home, and the next day.  What a baby.  Oh well.  I can put up with a butt ton of complaining for this gorgeous movie.  Unfortunately, we didn't see it in 3-D, so I might have to venture out to see it again.  Rest assured it will be sans Nick. 

Prior to going to Alice, we also watched Fast and the Furious 3.  Yes, I hate these movies.  I'm not much of an action movie type of girl.  The last F&tF movie I saw was Toyko Drift and apparently that doesn't even count as a "real" F&tF movie.  Whatever, it stank.  The movie was actually pretty good, and at least I could stare longingly at Paul Walker's baby blues if I got bored.  [See Nick, that's how you don't complain about a movie you don't enjoy.  Take notes.]

Sunday we headed off for movie date #2 in less than 24 hours (we're hardcore, truth) Shutter Island.  We have made several (roughly 4) attempts at seeing this movie and our plans have been thwarted every time.  I was actually really excited to see it, as I heard it was twisted and a "thinker movie." Thinker movie = guarenteed Jerbear stamp of approval.  Uh...not so much.  I didn't really enjoy this movie.  I was expecting WAY more.  Yes, it was a thinker movie, but not really if you're a thinker.  Oy, I probably just offended all of you now.  Ignore that sentence.  Throw tomatoes, just no bombs in the mail thankyouverymuch.

We also watched Taken (see I told you it was the weekend of movies!) which I have already seen before, but I truly love.  It's so good. 

On the way back home [waaaaaaaah] I had all but convinced myself to skip my 5 mile easy run.  It was dark.  It was late.  It was misting.  My legs were sore.  When I checked the weather report and realized it was above freezing after 9pm, I realized I didn't have an excuse not to run.  I decided I would head out for 3.  One mile in my legs felt great, so I decided to do the 4 mile route.  Forget that the 4 mile route includes some major hills.  Uh ouch.  Was going to stretch the run to 5 miles as previously planned, but was desperately hungry for supper.  I ended up with 4.25, which is considerably successful compared to zero.  However, I am pretty bummed that this is my first run of MARATHON TRAINING that I have missed/shortened.  Oh well.  Three quarters of a mile probably is going to kill me....I hope. :p

And just for fun.  I played around a bit with my camera this weekend.  Since I had just got done running 18 bloody god forsaken miles, I didn't do much pool playing.  Just pool picture taking.

As he was getting ready to go out, I suddenly remembered where my extreme like for backwards hats and hoodies came from.  Ten years later, some things don't change.  :)
Highlighting my sweet chucks (aka my hippie shoes per Nick).  [Yes I take being called a hippie as a compliment. ] N's lover bfff Joel.
The best part about running 18 miles:  you don't even have to get up to go to the bar to get your drinks.  They're brought to you.  Excellent.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Another New Personal Distance: 18 Miles

As previously toyed with, I ended up doing my 18 mile long run Friday afternoon.  After putting in a looooooooong day Thursday, I was more than ready to get out of work at noon on Friday.  Thursday night, I had every intention of waking up early Friday morning to eat cereal and toast for breakfast and to make a green smoothie to make sure I was properly fueled for my long run.

When I hopped out of bed, I was shocked to see that my blender was still filthy.  Uh...looks like someone forgot to turn the dishwasher ON.  Ooops.  No time to scrub that caked on crap.  Quick!  Cereal.  Forget to grab toast.  Excellent.  Protein bar, that'll hold me over.  [This my friends is why I plan things ahead, because my brain is mush in the morning.]  Cereal + protein bar is enough fuel to hold me over til lunch time.  NOT enough to hold me over for an 18 miler in lieu of lunch time.  Dodo brain.  On top of it all, I was fighting a two day headache.  Poop nuggets.  In fabulous/awesomeness/ohmygoshness news, the weather was glorious.  We're talking 30 degrees with wind gusts up to 21 mph.  Ok, I hate wind, but at least it wasn't Frigid McFrigidPants.
When I was getting ready to head out, I had to laugh when I grabbed my sunglasses.  Nothing says "legit runner" like fake D&G oversized sunglasses.  I've been rockin' these puppies for my last 3-4 long runs, and look like a complete fool, I'm sure.  You try running for 2 1/2-3 hours staring into snow banks reflecting the snow rays!  This chica does not want any extra premature wrinkles, k?

I started the run with the intention of running 9:40-9:50 mm.  Per Glenn's suggestion, I shouldn't be doing these LRs faster than +:30 from my goal pace.  Um...hi.  This pace HURTS.  I don't know what my deal is, but this is a horrifically uncomfortable pace for me.  Somewhere in my brain relaxed easy pace = form goes to hell.  I took my first GU at 4.5 miles and was so stinkin' excited for it.  Tummy so hungry.

1. 9:25

2. 9:37
3. 9:59
4. 9:49
5. 9:43

I kept plodding along during the 2nd quadrant of my run (yes I like to break up my run into quadrants, I also like to factor fractions and percentages while I run.  I'm the epitome of a number's nerd, danke!)  Highlights of this quadrant was an intense skunky smell.  I started looking every where to make sure that it was just the smell and not the offender, when a black squirrel darted in front of me!  I've never seen a black squirrel before, it was crazy.  [Sidenote:  When asking Mr. Nature aka Nick about it, turns out I'm not crazy, black squirrels are very uncommon in our area.  Made me feel better to not be 100% loco.  Perhaps just 80%.]

It was also during this point that I ran farther on the trail than I ever have before, and let me tell you, I will not be again.  I ran in a very not-so-super-safe area.  Eek.  I accidentally ran just below the bluff that the State Penitentary sits on.  :s  As in, if I'm a prisoner and I make a break for it, I'd be heading for the trail that Jerbear is cruising along on.  I will tell you that I have never been as alert of a runner as I was during that 1-2 mile total.  iPod off, head swiveling, high tailing it (ha! ok, that part didn't happen, I was tired.)  I had to chuckle when I saw a sign with a bike going up a steep incline.  Now you're just toying with me and my hatred for inclines/hills. :p  Awesome.

6. 9:46
7. 9:36
8. 9:57
9. 9:57

At the turn around, I pretty much just wanted to be home.  9 = 18, right?  Told you I was a math nerd.  Instead, I trudged along.  Going back over hills that I had previously cursed.  [Yes Jeri, it is a good idea to plan 4 miles of hills in the middle of your 18 miler.  Genius lovebug.]  It was during this time that I realized I still had two GUs left and only one planned GU break (one every 4.5 miles for 18 miles does NOT = 4, again excellent math skills, good thing I'm practicing!).  To my delight, this meant I could take MORE during the remaining 9 miles to hopefully combat my shitty fueling.  Math fail = win!

Highlights of this one sixth (3 miles) of my run:  seeing a dude running along in shorts.  Now I realize it's above freezing (by 2 *whole* degrees) but really??  Now you're just showing off your super human insulated skin.  Fool.  It was also during this portion that I was running into those lovely up to 21 mph wind gusts.

10. 10:03

11. 9:48
12. 9:43

When I started the remaining third of the run, I pumped myself up:  less then an hour of running to go!  You know you're a runner when you can get pumped about that on a LR, eh?  I also was getting myself pumped up because all day I had it in my brain that I had to work for 4 hours + run for 3 hours + shower/get ready/pack + drive one hour to see the boy.  Hustle lady! 

At this point the extra GUs really did help.  Once I rounded the corner at mile 13, the wind was somewhat at my back and I said a big F you to the slow LR pace.  I let my legs do their thing, and it felt goooood.

13. 9:36

14. 9:27
15. 9:28

I had a pleasant run in with my alma mater's cross country team with about 2.5 miles to go.  Coming up on a highly muddy/puddly area I see mud and yuck a-flyin' into the air as the boys were whizzing by me in the opposite direction.  Most girls would probably be excited by this, but unfortunately I'm not very attracted to runner boys.  Gasp.  I know.  Sorry runner boys out there, but give me a boy who played college football, or looks like he played college football, and I'm pretty much guarenteed to be gaga and googly eyed.  I love me a big muscular teddy bear, what can I say?

With a couple of miles left I hadtogotothebathroomrightnow hence the faster than necessary paces.  GUs make you go...  Who Knew?  They probably shouldn't steal that for their marketing campaign any time soon.

16. 9:33

17. 8:59
18. 8:40
I finished the 18 miles in 2:53:15 for a pace of 9:38.
Needless to say my shoes don't look nearly as *new* as they did a few weeks ago, prior to seeing anything but the treadmill.  My socks:  Also not so pretty.  Immediately after the run, the only thing I noticed hurting was my lower back.  It was tiiiiiiight.

Major downfall of the excessive puddles and mud:  running almost 3 hours in wet socks = mad blisters.  Oy.  We're talking water blisters, still the sole (thankfully) blood blister, and air blisters.  Yeouch.  When I finally got to Minnesota later that evening, I requested that Nick carry me everywhere because my feet hurt so bad.  He declined.  Rude.

Things I learned (or in some cases relearned) from 18:

  1. Fuel you dumb @$$.  Fuel and then fuel some more.  Just to be safe, fuel on top of that.
  2. It is necessary to have more time elapse between a hard tempo run and a long run.  36 hours does not cut it.  2 1/2 days at least.
  3. For runs over 16 miles, I should probably have more water than my 12 oz. handheld. Must stash water bottles in the future.
  4. Focus on form with a slower pace.  Your knees will hate you otherwise.

Speaking of complaining, I pretty much spent the whole weekend complaining to Nick about random aches and pains, because I'm a *bit* of a complainer.  At one point I said:
J: maybe I'll just become a marathoner and call it good.  One is probably good enough, right?
N:  Or you could just do them once every 6 months, that wouldn't be so bad, right?
J:  Or I could do 3 in 3 consecutive months to be a Maniac!  Or I could do 2 in one weekend!
N:  What?!?!?!?  People actually DO that?!?!?!?!?

Heh heh.  It's kind of nice to see a perspective that is removed from the crazy runner world every once in a while. 

I *may* have seen Alice in Wonderland this weekend, hence the many references.  More on that to come.