Monday, August 31, 2009

August in Review + Fall in August?

After checking the weather report before going to bed last night, I was kicking myself for not bringing running tights.  44 degrees at 6am?!?!  Um, that's cold.  It is still August, no?  When the alarm went off at 4:30am I felt like I hadn't even slept yet (damn you iced latte I drank at 2pm!!!)  I decided that I would attempt to get some shut eye, and would fore go Tay's softball awesomeness for the week and run after work.

What a beautiful day!  I may complain about the hot/humid of the summer and the cold/icey/snowy/windy of the winter, but I love me some fall!  And it definitely felt like fall.  The air had that crisp feel to it, and it was a perfect 69 degrees after work.  My legs definitely felt like I ran a half marathon on Saturday so I took it NICE and easy.  The first mile was a bit fast at 9:30, so I slowed it down, with miles 2-4 in the 9:45 range.  As always, the legs get restless, so the last 2 miles were around 9:30 again.  I ended with a pace of 9:36-9:38 (I looked at Garmin, but forgot exactly what it is, plus I forget to bring it with me to blog, wah wah).  

August in Review

Total Mileage: 136.6 an increase from 130.4 last month. It probably would've been closer to 150+ but I skipped a few runs. Whoopsies.

Time spent:  21:09:52 Whoa, I almost spent a day running this month.  That's pretty cool.

Number of runs: 20.  2 Less than last month.  Eh.

Average run distance: 6.83

Highest weekly mileage: 35.8 this past week.

Favorite run: Mock half marathon. The run felt good, I finally broke the elusive 2 hour mark, and it got me way excited about the real thing in 13 days (but who's counting?)

Most Hardcore run(s): Three way tie between the 3 legs of the WWR. #1, #2, & #3. Altitude, hills (aka mountains), and in some cases wind. Uff da.

Favorite race: Wild West Relay. Duh! Not quite a race, but the closest thing to it this month.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

[Mock] Half Marathon Report

Saturday morning I embarked on my longest training run to date:  13.1.  I decided to use it as a dress rehearsal/mock race so I know I have everything ready to go for the race in two weeks.  My goal for the race is to average at or below 9:00 mile pace.  For the training run, I was going to shoot for around 9:10 pace (2 hour HM).  I wanted to use the strategy I want to use for the race by breaking out the race into 4 sections running over pace, at pace, and slightly under pace.

I had wanted to start the run at 7:30am, as that's race start time, but my stomach had other ideas.  I honestly went to the bathroom around 10 times before leaving my apartment.  Mental note:  Fettucine alfredo is NOT a good dinner the night before long runs.  Even if you take lactase pills, your body will still be pissssssed.

When I got to the start, I realized it was way too cold to wear a tank and shorts.  For this race in the past, I've wore a light weight jacket with sleeves and tossed it to my mother around 4 miles.  I know the tank works for long runs (I've wore it on 11 miles and many shorter runs) so just decided to stick with the sleeves for the run.  So much for the dress rehearsal, eh?  I guess this is the point that I should've been serious about making Taylor practice cheering so I could shed the sleeves after the first few miles.

Ready, set, GO!  [Pretend shot gun!]  And I was off!  Within about 2 minutes of starting I realized I needed to use the bathroom, again.  And somewhat soon.  :(  The good thing about that "discomfort" is that it helped me from going out too fast.  Let me tell you, I've never scoped out the area so diligently for bright blue port-a-potties in my life!  I knew I would have an opportunity to use a rest room at about 5 miles in, but didn't know if I could wait that long.  LUCKILY (or somewhat unluckily) there was a port-a-potty next to a construction site around 2.5 miles.  First of all, eeew.  But second of all, thank GOD.  After departing the bano, I felt like I had an extra pep in my step and was on my way.  I took my first GU at the 3 mile point.
1. 9:26 
2. 9:27 
3. 9:29

The next couple of miles are my favorite of the race. I love our downtown area, and it is so beautiful when there are no cars, no people, just beautiful older buildings. I really wish I would've had my camera to attempt my hand at photography. While running, I saw 3 people waiting outside a repair shop, I said my typical, good morning.... and they started cheering and clapping for me! One of the guys was in a wheelchair, and he held out his hand for me to slap and told me to "go get em!" It was such a pick up, it was great. I think I smiled for the next couple miles after that exchange. Then after downtown it's on to Falls Park, which our city is named for. Here's a pic snapped later in the afternoon for your viewing pleasure.

I took my next GU right around the halfway point of 6.6 or 6.7???  The first time I spotted a water fountain, so I also snagged a couple of sips.  I was a little thirsty at this point.
4. 9:15 
5. 9:12 
6. 8:55

Once the time for Mile #6 popped up, I was a little shocked, I still thought I was running a 9:10-ish pace. I attempted to slow up just a little bit to keep some gas in the tank. At the halfway point my time was 1:01:30. I knew I only had to run 3 minutes faster the second half to get a 2 hour finish (which has been my goal for the last 4 HM that I've run). I also couldn't believe how quickly I had gotten to the halfway point. It definitely helped that the first 5 miles were on a different path then what I've been used to doing. Once I hit a little ways into mile 7 I was back on the familiar trail that I run for 90% of my runs. I took my last GU around 9.5 miles.
7. 8:45 
8. 8:56 
9. 8:44

I had passed a girl around mile 8 who was walking, so while I was snagging a sip of water at 9.5 with my GU she ran by the fountain. She was running at a quicker pace than me, so it was fun to have someone push me a little bit. I finally caught up to her and then she stopped to walk. Boring. :p I decided to make sure to keep her behind me, even if she did start up again. Normally during the last section of the run, I pick up the pace to BTTW, but I knew it wouldn't be smart to do that in a training run at this distance, so I tried to maintain the paces I had been running previously, as they were considerably under 9 minute pace. There 
was a red haired chica around mile 11 who just HAD be running a ways in front of me, so of course I had to catch her. Stinkin competitive brain. :p At Mile 12 I looked at my watch and it said 1:49, and I started 
tearing up, knowing that I would complete the last 1.1 miles in less than 11 minutes, and that I would FINALLY break the 2 hour mark that had been so far out of my reach in the past. :) It was around this point that I started noticing signs on the trail. Little did I know, there was a Healthy Heart walk that started and finished where I was planning on finishing my run (also the finish to the HM). It was a little congested, and I definitely got some looks for running amongst all the walkers. WHOOPSIES. :)  
10. 8:47 
11. 8:49 
12. 8:41 
13. 8:15 
.1 :47 (7:37 pace)

At 13.1 my watch read 1:57:33 for a pace of 8:58. :D I was probably the happiest girl at that point. The best part was that I still had gas in the tank. I could've ran probably another 2-3 miles at the same pace. OR I could've picked up the pace during the last 4 miles of the race. Also, since this was my race goal, it gave me something else to shoot for. By the way, unofficial PR by 10 minutes. :p Hope to make the ACTUAL PR even greater. :)
After ice bathing and showering, Taylor and I grabbed some Subway sandwiches and then headed to Falls Park. It was such a beautiful day, although it felt way too much like fall already. I got some great pics of the Falls and the lover boy, so please enjoy. :)

my goodness he's cute, no?  :)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Easy (Read: Boring) Run + Crappy Television + Foto Friday

Oh my goodness. I was bragging up a storm all summer because I stopped watching a ton of the crappy shows that I used to watch. Then, wtf? All the other good ones started to come back on, and before I knew it, I had a "television program schedule" to adhere to. I know it's only going to get worse as more of the fall lineup starts up, but I'm already overwhelmed! Top Chef makes me an alcoholic (I like to have a glass of vino while watching it), Project Runway makes me think I'm way craftier than I really am, and I have a list of artsy projects as long as my arm to start doing. Entourage makes me mad that none of my friends are hotty celebs that let me live off their mad moolah and Weeds makes me want to start selling drugs and have a Mexican drug cartels baby.... wait. what?!? Scratch that.

I've already picked my top 3 for Top Chef, and once I watch last night's episode of Project Runway (currently chilling on the DVR) I'll probably be able to narrow down the winner to two people. I'm just THAT. GOOD. at reality television, people. It's a gift.

Ok, on to things that won't rot your brain. :) I got up and did a tedious 5 miles today. It was nothing to write home about. There was this really beautiful/eerie fog off in the distance on the trail that I was running in. Also, the river had a layer of fog rolling off of it, which I've never seen before. Otherwise it was bor-ing. I kept it slow to save the legs for manana. I did 5.05 miles in 48:46 for a pace of 9:40.

**Last night I did about 10 minutes of yoga to keep the streak (minus a day of failure) going.**

Tonight I'm mentally preparing myself for my mock half marathon tomorrow morning. WHOO!! I'm so excited. I kind of wish that the real half was tomorrow (note to self: 12 weeks is TOO LONG for a half training schedule). I'm going to wake up early to eat, and then start the run at 7:30am. I'm also using this as a dress rehearsal, although it's highly unnecessary. I'm wearing the sweet outfit in the above picture. [sidenote: do you love my new header? total props to Amanda at Run to Finish for snapping the way cool pic on our WWR adventure] It's probably my favorite running outfit ever, probably doesn't hurt that the top is my fave color ever. I'm going to practice GU-ing (totally a verb, no? or would that be adverb? I used to be so good at this stuff....) and will conveniently end up one block away from my apartment. At which point I will walk the block to cool down, hop in the ice bath, then wake up sleeping beauty to take me to my car (roughly 13.1 miles away). :)

In honor of all the calories I'll be burning tomorrow, we're going to hit up Olive Garden tonight. Never-ending pasta bowl? Don't mind if I DO! Then, I think we're going to head to the cheap theater for a movie. $3 you can't go wrong, I kind of want to do a double feature. Quick, what would be your choice: Funny People (love me some Seth Rogan), (500) Days of Summer (seriously want to make Zooey my GF), UP, Star Trek, or Bruno? I would see all 5, especially for $3. Holy crap?!?! I just realized we're having a real life date night tonight. Go us! :p

For Foto Friday, please enjoy some pics from last weekends BFFF extravaganza.

Me and the BF. Ready to Riverboat Days it up!
Me and my BFFF.
One of these days we WILL do a race together...she has the running bug, I can tell....

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Insert Fail Whale Here

Oh hey....well that actually worked. To say that I was nervous about this morning's workout would be an understatement. It's probably the workout that seemed the most "scary" out of all of them when I clicked print back in June. Speedwork: 8 miles (WTF?!?!?!? For serious???) 4 x 1600 @ 7:37, with 800 m recovery and 1 mile warm up, 1 mile cool down.

In my world, 8 miles and speed work do NOT go together. Last night I had am A-MA-ZING meal for fuel for the run. Speaking of, after I was having my glass of Pinot Noir for dessert, I remembered that I had promised pics of my sweet dinner. Whoopsies. Have no fear, I managed to spill most of the glass of wine on the floor after this realization. No use crying over spilled wine!!! Umm...unless it's the last of your wine...and your carpet is white. Then cry. I ate grilled salmon, with a ginormo salad with 1/4 of an avocado and some mango pieces on a huge bed of lettuce. Unfortunately, SOMEONE removed the lid from the dressing, so I ended up with waaaaaaaaaaay too much dressing on my delicious little salad, so I just added more lettuce to even it out. :p

I woke up this morning at 7:45am to get psyched for my run. I twittered, facebooked, checked my email, checked the weather (60 degrees, cool, fabulous) until I finally kicked my butt out the door.

My warm up mile was great! Haha. I felt like I was going much slower than my split showed, but legs felt fairly good, minus some quads pain/tenderness that was still lingering from Tuesday's Speedy Seven. My first "fast" mile was good. Every time I looked at my pace, it was showing slightly over 7 minute miles. I actually thought I was going to come in under my goal pace (I gave myself 7:37-7:47). This is definitely a pace that I don't practice much (or haven't lately) as this is around my 5k pace, and even when I was doing 5k training I was either running much faster than this (400 repeats) or slowerfor long runs/easy runs. Somehow my body must've felt the pace, because I came in right at 7:37. Well look at that. :)

The 1/2 mile recovery jog in between HURT. My quads were sooooooo tight. I got started on Mile repeat #2. It was definitely more difficult to maintain the pace that felt pretty strong the repeat before, but I still managed to come in under time, 7:44. During the last quarter mile of this, I vowed to myself that if I could finish this mile in the goal time, I would be done doing my mile repeats, and I was true to my word.

I decided to switch and do 4 x 800 with 400 jog in between them. I did one and almost died. :( I did the 800 at a 7:53 pace and I hurt. The whole time I was running this 800 I had convinced myself I was going to injure myself by continuing. I pulled my right quad the first indoor track meet of the year in high school my junior year and was out for 8 weeks, basically the whole season. I really freaked myself out and decided just to finish the rest of the 8 miles so I could be on track for my monthly mileage goal (> last months: 130).

I felt like I was crawling, but was still running at a decent clip (????). I guess that will happen when you're running that fast of repeats, but still. I ended up doing another 1.3 mile cooldown (??) before calling it quits, vowing to run my Tuesday easy 6 on Monday to get my miles in. :)

I ended up doing 5.6 miles in 48:28 for a pace of 8:40.

1. Warmup 9:22
2. Interval #1 7:37
.50 Recovery 4:50 (9:50 pace)
3.5 Interval #2 7:44
.28 Recovery (meant to do .25 but forgot to look @ the clock) 2:43 (9:43 pace)
.50 Interval #2 1/2 3:57 (7:54 pace)
4.29-5.6 Cooldown 1 mile--9:22, .31--2:50 (9:09 pace)

Sooo that was confusing to type, so good luck if you're actually trying to understand it.

I think this training run gives me some valuable information to consider when I'm trying to figure out my December 1/2 marathon training plan. If a training session sounds TOO HARD, I will psych myself out of doing it. It should be just challenging enough to get me to fight to conquer it, not cower in the corner and quit. Also, 4 x 1600 speed repeats? Nada. I'm not even sure how this sort of a training run would be relevant for my race. I think 1600 m repeats are good, but 4 is a bit daunting. I think it would've been better if I set out to do 2 x 1600 and 2 x 800. Maybe thrown in some 400 for variety.

I'm also slightly concerned because my mileage had been increasing by about 10% each week, but since I've missed/cut short almost one run a week since the WWR, I'm currently running just shy of 30 miles/week. This week has 38 (now only 35.6 b/c of Quitter McGee). Should I adjust my mileage on some easy runs in the next two weeks so I'm not increasing by that much? If I get hurt in the final two weeks I'm going to be maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad. :p

Mock half marathon on Saturday! Super pumped, as I've never ran farther than 12 miles as a training run, and I'm going to run the race route (a race I've ran 4 other times, so I'm fairly familiar with). I might even make Taylor come out to do some mock-cheering practice.

Oh ya, go here to get info. on how to win a sweet iFitness belt. Also, if I don't win, this would be an excellent gift for Xmas/Birthday for me. (is anyone else noticing how this blog is becoming a gift wishlist for me? hmmm... :p)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

12 miles in 12 hours. Not too shabby.

And just like that, I'm back on track. Moments after clicking "publish" last night, I hit the yoga mat for some quick downdogs, plank poses, child's (children's?) poses, and needle poses. It was a flow series that I did a zillion times and had committed to memory. Then, I was snoozing.

When the alarm went off this morning, I didn't even have the desire to hit snooze. Who am I? I practically popped out of bed and was ready to go. I think I'm learning throughout this training that the more variety in the schedule, the better. If I have to do another 6 mile easy run, I'll probably go insanity bananas. But 7 miles at a quicker clip, followed up with 5 easy miles? That sounds like fun!

I was out the door around 5:45am and you would've thought it was the middle of the night. The sky was lit up with stars, and it was beautiful. Since I live in the city, I usually don't get the pleasure of seeing the stars, so it was great. I picked out the big dipper, and pretty much kept my eyes on the sky until they started to disappear.

I almost got mowed down by a biker (S.O.B.) who was biking on the left side of the trail under a bridge. He yelled out "whoa!" before veering away from me, as if it was somehow my fault. Yes, I understand that it's early morning (at this point the sun had come up enough to see fairly well), but I'm wearing a bright WHITE shirt, and if you were biking on YOUR SIDE of the trail, we wouldn't even have a problem. So whoa, yourself.

Next up, I ran by Spencer Pratt this morning. Not sure why he was on the bike trails in SoDak, but he appeared to be struggling. No Heidi in tow, which is surprising, because I thought they were Siamese twins...hmm.. No, but seriously. There is a kid that went to the nearby college who played on the tennis team. I dated a tennis player from my school, and was best friends with him still after we weren't dating, so I attended many a tennis match in my day. When the Hills came on tv, I literally yelled at the tv, "Holy crap!! Isn't that ____ _____ who plays tennis for ______?" Turns out it wasn't (Shocker) but a lot of people think they could be twinsies.

Shortly after passing one half of Speidi, I noticed a guy running about 200-300 meters ahead of me on the trail. Being the competitive gal that I am, I decided we were going to race (no sense telling him about the contest, that would take away the fun!) At this point I had about 2 miles left of my run, and there are a couple places for him to turn off on the trail during this 2 miles, not to mention that he could turn around at any given point. It became a game: Catch up to him, but keep a steady pace in the process. You must beat him before he stops/turns off the trail/turns around, but you mustn't speed up your pace in the process.

Did I win? Of course I did. :) And guess who it was. None other than Mullet Man! He was rocking the same biker short under short gym short look, mullet flying in the breeze, with a SWEET "Science Rules" t-shirt on. I sort of wanted to quiz him on some science information as I ran by, but I decided not to. Within 30 feet of me passing him, he left the trail. Just think, if I would've been 30 feet slower, I would started the day with an L. Phew. Close one. Thanks for the race Mullet Man. Until we meet again.....

The run ended up pretty great (and obviously entertaining). I did 5 miles in 46:44 for a pace of 9:21 (goal pace 9:35).
1. 9:37
2. 9:23
3. 9:24
4. 9:15 (Mullet Man race mile)
5. 9:03

Post-run I stretched and did some Stress Management yoga. I reasoned that I might be more apt to do situps and pushups tonight if I didn't have 20-30 minutes of yoga looming over my head. I also have a delicious dinner swarming in my head, so perhaps I'll treat you to some photos on my post tomorrow instead of tedious text. Oh alliteration, I heart you.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Food Poisoning Renders You Incapable of Running; Lesson Learned

For those of you that were concerned that I was dead after a weekend of debauchery, rest assured, I'm still alive and kicking.  I've taken the longest running hiatus since starting up running again in January with Saturday through Monday without a single run done.  When I woke up to a horrible thunder/lightning storm this morning, I thought it was going to be another day chalked up to my slackertude.

But let me back up.  Do you remember the "raging" birthday party I was to attend on Friday night?  The one that I moved my long run for to attend and celebrate?  Um...ya.  Definitely a bit more lowkey than we anticipated.  Most people had 1-2 bevs, and we played board games.  Now I love me some board games (another area of my life where I'm uber competitive, imagine that) but not exactly the kind of evening you would need to move a long run for.  At 10pm, everyone started trickling off to their bedrooms for "sleepy time."  I'm sorry, what!?!?!?  Taylor and I soldiered on, drinking some delish beer and watching Harry Potter 5.  Sidenote:  Any night with HP and delish beer is ALWAYS a night well spent.

Friday night marked night #1 without any sleep.  Taylor's sis has a newborn, and the poor thing didn't feel well.  I think I maybe got 2 hours of sleep on and off.  Let me say this now:  best.  birth.  control.  ever.

Saturday we got up bright and early and got ready to head to Yankton.  For some reason, I totally for about doing my daily yoga.  :(  Fail #1 for the weekend.  I thought about doing some down dogs post-bar, but figured that wouldn't be in my best interest.  We went to Riverboat Days (Yankton's summer time festival) and meet up with my best friend, her boyfriend, and one of Tay's best friends was going to meet us there also.  We spent some of the afternoon wandering around the arts and crafts, and eyeing the deliciousy greasy food.

For dinner, we decided to hit the vendors, HARD.  For starters, I had some cheese curds.  I love me some cheese curds, so I figured they would be worth the impending digestive issues.  Next round was a couple bites of Taylor's gyros.  (Fail #2 of the weekend, as you'll see later.)  Sheana and I decided to split a deep-fried Snickers, my first, but have been craving one (Can you crave something you've never had?) since Glenn mentioned having one not too far back.  It was ok.  I was slightly disappointed though.  The batter it was fried in wasn't that great, so I ended up eating a melted Snickers.  Ha.  Then the boys bought some funnel cakes.  One bite lead to half of a funnel cake.  Whoopsies.  Sheans and I took the annual rbd-funnel-cake-powdered-sugar-mustache photos.  Almost as good as the inaugural year.

RBD 09.
RBD 04.

I had a few drinks throughout the day/evening, but not too terribly many, keeping in mind that I had a speed workout to do Sunday night.  I woke up in the middle of the night with the worst stomach cramps of my life.  I felt like I could've been throwing up while I was going to the bathroom.  (TMI?)  It was horrible.  Usually when I eat dairy and get sick in a somewhat similar fashion, I feel better as soon as the dairy is out of my system.  I still felt horrible after, and ended up make 2 more trips to the bathroom throughout the night.  I was struggling.

Sunday we swung through my hometown to see my pops as it was his 60th birthday.  Whoot whoot!  Happy birthday Papa!!  This is one of my favorite pics of me and my dad from when I was 6?  That's also my favorite dog ever, Buck.  He was my best friend.  Awww.

I had planned on doing my run Sunday night, but my stomach never felt quite right.  Plus, I didn't realize how early it's getting dark-dark out.  9pm it was pitch black out.  Summer come back!!!  Luckily I did manage to do some yoga on Sunday to get back on track for my streak.  I did a heart opening series that left my shoulders/neck SORE.  I must not be doing the poses properly.  A lot of you have asked what I've been doing for my yoga.  I've been downloading YogAmazing podcasts from iTunes.  They're 20-30 minutes long and 9/10 I like them a lot.

Monday was a rest day from running so I did some yoga for neck/shoulders to loosen them up from Sunday.  Taylor started his fall league for softball, so yet another day went by without running.

This morning as the alarm went off, I noticed a huge bolt of lightning outside my window.  That's all I needed to reset my alarm for 6:45am.  This girl does NOT like lightning.  She does, however, like sleep.  After hitting snooze for about 25 minutes I finally crawled out of bed and got ready for work.  Skipping morning yoga.  (Is anyone else seeing a trend here?  Lazy butt!)

As soon as I got to work I told myself that I was running after work, no matter what.  Luckily it looked like the weather was going to cooperate.  I had 6 easy to do today and tomorrow, and knew that would bore me, so I did 7 today and will do 5 tomorrow.  I don't know why I hate the 6 mile distance, but I do.

I started off running and thought I was going at my usual "easy" pace.  When the first mile beeped in, I realized that was not the case.  Who knew?  The legs needed a 3 day hiatus to feel fresh as a daisy.  I decided to run as quick as the legs wanted to without feeling like I was pushing the pace.  I was pretty happy about the results.  Mile 6 my quads started burning, but other than that, I felt great.  I'm guessing I was running with better form (hence the faster time) and actually lifting my legs, causing the quads to be more tired.  Craziness.

I did the 7 miles in 1:01:46 for a pace of 8:49.
1. 9:07 
2. 8:49 
3. 8:57 
4. 8:47 
5. 8:45 
6. 8:50 
7. 8:28 

Now I'm back on track, and have the motivation I need to stop skipping runs:  I have to do all my runs through the end of the month to have more miles than last month.  Can't be a loser for August!

Whoa, sorry for the marathon of a catch up post.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Run I Almost Didn't Do/Almost Cut Short

First of all, I ALMOST forgot about the yoga challenge yesterday. I was in my jammies, watch Project Runway, when I realized, CRAP, I haven't done yoga yet. No prob...jammies = yoga gear, right? No hair tie to be found? Free hair, free spirit. :) I did a 20-ish minute Yoga for Feet and Ankles series that felt great after the pounding I gave my feet during yesterdays long run. By then it was 10:30am, and I was dreading the 5am alarm.

I slept horribly last night. Just tossed and turned the whole time, never able to find that comfy spot. Every time I stretched out my legs they hurt, and I had a weird twinge in my right knee. When the alarm finally went off, I told Taylor how crappy I slept and how I REALLY didn't want to run today.
He called me 2 minutes after leaving for work--
Taylor: Hey Jeri. It's raining pretty good outside.
Jeri: ........?
Taylor: You know....raining. So maybe you shouldn't run today. Because of the rain. Ya know? It might even get worse. Or it could get better. But probably worse.
Jeri: OH! The rain. Well yes...that is a good reason not to run isn't it. Thanks babe.

And then I thought about it. I haven't been able to sleep all night, what makes me think I'll be able to for the next 2 hours? Along with, what run hasn't been done in the rain this week (I have some sweet blisters to prove it)? So I laced up my shoes and out the door I went.
I usually have a rest day after my long runs, so I wasn't sure how my legs were going to take it. I was supposed to do 5 miles at an easy pace, but had convinced myself that 3 was sufficient. Junk miles are junk miles eh? Immediately after starting my poor middle toe on the right foot HURT. I had gross blister-like spots on the tips of them after the wet runs this week, and after the long run yesterday they hardened into a plastic-like consistency (my God I hope you're not eating as you're reading this) so I started picking at them. WHOOPS. Big mistake. Tender city, occupancy: 1.
It was completely black out, and of course the rain did get worse as I was going (go figure. should've listened to meteorologist Taylor) but my legs felt pretty good. Definitely not as springy as yesterday, but not bed. I got to 1 1/2 miles and decided to do 4 miles instead of 3. Then I got to 2 miles and decided that I might as well stick it out to 5. As soon as I turned around at 2 1/2 I realized that I had a nice gentle (read: heavy) wind at my back and would now have to trudge through it. Luckily I was good and warmed up at this point, so I just powered through it. It ended up being a great run, so I'm glad I didn't skip it or shorten it.

I ran 5 miles in 48:19 for a pace of, yes, you guessed it 9:40. It's kind of becoming creepy now, no?
1. 9:37
2. 9:46
3. 9:45
4. 9:41
5. 9:28

Post run, I hauled booty to get in some yoga before work, since I will have no time to do it before the birthday BBQ I have to attend this evening. I did Yoga for Upper body Strength. Um, holy crap. This was the hardest thing I've ever done. If I'm ever able to do that series in it's entirety I'll probably retire as a yogi. Does anyone have any tips on conquering the crow's pose? I feel like I was really close but struggle with the final balancing. I dunno.

Also, I hope you have all finally enjoyed my Wild West Relay Race Reports. If you missed any of them (or thought they were such masterful creations that you need to read them again) you can assess them here: I, II, III, IV, V, VI. (Really Jeri? 6 part recap? Who do you think you are??)

For Foto Friday, I will share a couple of pics from the Bachelorette Party from last weekend. There are hundreds taken, but only a couple are probably blog appropriate. Jk, we're good kids. :p

Part of the crew--pink & black themed.

The bachelorette and myself. One of the gals bought her some pink furry handcuffs. We were going to take a "cute" pic when the one side broke off in my mouth. Whoops.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

12 mile long run before work? No problem.

I think my mind just likes a challenge. I've felt a little less than motivated on some recent training runs, but I think I just need to keep switching things up and challenging myself. Like doing a long run before work. Interesting. I posted on my fb page that I was planning on doing this craziness, and my running buddy that I have yet to run with responded with, "what time?" We've been trying to get a run in together for a couple of weeks, and somehow the planets aligned today. He is VERY speedy (7:30 pace for 14 miles a couple of weeks ago, speedy) but agreed to come with and keep me company. To be honest, it was probably the agreement to let him wear the Garmin for the first half of the run that got him interested and kept him hooked in. After a little thought, this was a really dumb idea. The guy could definitely out run me, what if he took off with my watch?!?! Luckily that didn't happen.

When I stepped outside at 7am it was cold. Mid-50s, strong wind gusts, sprinkles. Eff. That's no fun. But what if race morning is like this? Gotta be prepared. :) We took off and I felt nekkid with out my Garmin on. My left wrist felt so light and free. :p Of course the running buddy was super psyched by wearing it, and checked our pace at least every 5-6 strides. Kind of reminded me of someone else when she first got hers. ;) Unfortunately we had our first user error shortly before mile 1, when we stopped to stretch. When we restarted, I reminded him to start the man watch, to which he replied, ummm... I never stopped it. Since he was constantly checking our pace, we gather it was pretty close to a 9:15, so we'll go with that.

I told him my pacing plan for the 1/2 marathon (did I mention he's doing it too? he just signed up yesterday. WHOO!) and how I was trying to emulate the same paces for my long runs and we went with it. First third 9:15-ish. Middle third around 9. Last third BTTW (for the race)/quick enough to break 9 min pace (for the long run). And we went with it.

To be honest, it was way weird running with someone. I kind of like running by feel and not feeling pressured to go a pace other than my own. It definitely took some getting used to. Our splits were not as consistent as what they usually are when I run by myself, but I attribute that partially to not wearing my Garmin, and partially to running with him. It was great to have someone to randomly chat with and concentrate on something OTHER than running, and just zone out.

At the 6 mile turn around there was user error #2 where I demanded, uh I mean, politely asked for my Garmin back, and SOMEONE again forgot to stop the timer. Hah, garmin rookies, I tell ya. Good thing I'm good at estimating time. :p At the turn around I let him take off to run his legs a bit harder, but concentrated on keeping him in my sights and trying to pace right around or below 9 min miles. With a little over 3 miles left, we hooked up again and soldiered through the BTTW portion of the run. I felt very strong on these last three miles, and they gave me confidence in knowing I will still have a kick at the end of the half in 3 1/2 weeks. We high fived when we got to his apartment, and I sprinted the last 3 blocks to my place.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had run under 9 min miles for the run. After doing some additional calculations for User Errors #1 and #2, I came up with a time of 1:47:35 for a 8:58 pace. WHOO!
1. 9:15 (estimated. watch didn't stop to stretch.)
2. 9:26
3. 9:09
4. 9:00
5. 9:15
6. 9:11
7. 8:57 (reduced 10 sec to accommodate no watch stop)
8. 8:58
9. 8:59
10. 8:45
11. 8:32
12. 8:08

I had plenty of time to stretch, ice bath, eat, shower, and get ready before I had to head to work. I ate an amazing everything bagel with roasted red pepper hummus, a slice of pepperjack cheese, and a 1/4 of an avocado sliced on top. I also had some miso soup leftover from my sushi amazingness of a lunch from yesterday. I was giddily (is that a word? must be, spellcheck didn't highlight it. sweet.) excited to eat it. It was sooooo good. And I even treated myself to a Starbucks latte, since I wasn't sure how zonked I would be once I got to work. So far the only negative is that I have to sit at my desk for about 98% of the day, so my legs are a little tighter than normal. I'm trying to make it a point to go talk to co-workers instead of emailing just to get them to stretch out. Good to know that a Thursday long run could be a nice back up plan if necessary. :)

I did the worst yoga series every yesterday. Blah. It was a "cleansing" series, but it was just boooooooring. It was basically the stretches you do before and after most of the series but repeated a bazillion times and held forever. Probably my least favorite day of yoga, but oh well, I still soldiered through it and am still on my streak. Day 6 (yesterday) complete. Day 7 to be done tonight.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Easy Run + New Yoga Studio + Schedule Switcheroo

The yoga streak is still alive. As soon as I walked in the door of my apartment, I got out of my work clothes and into some workout clothes. Yoga for Stress Management? Yes please. :) It could not have been a better session. Oh man. I needed to ease some of the stress for sure. Unfortunately the rest of the evening was almost as horrible as the day had been, but all has been resolved and today is all sunshine. Except for the weather that is. No sunshine there.

I woke up this morning with a 7 mile tempo run on deck. As Taylor was leaving he gave me the heads up that it was pouring. Um no. I immediately decided to do the 5 mile easy run I have on the schedule this week instead. The rain would give me a "too easy" excuse if I didn't meet my times for the tempo, so I didn't even want to tempt myself. Untempting tempo? Whoa, mouthful.

The rain was actually perfect once I finally got up and out the door (and after waiting way too long for the Garmin to pick up a signal). Just kind of light and misting. It was pitch black outside for the first couple of miles, however, so I stepped in more than a couple of puddles. BOO. Since it was so dark, I avoided the bike trails (scary when it's dark out, trust me) and ran a random route that I've never ran before. It was definitely nice to change things up a bit. My legs felt good. My pace felt easy.

I did the 5 miles in about 47:11. I know my pace was 9:34, but I forgot to ingrain the time into my brain. I'm sure that's within about 5 seconds of the actual time.

As I was running I attempted to do some problem solving. I had previously moved my long run from Sunday to Saturday to accommodate an event all day Saturday that would render me incapable of running Sunday morning. Yesterday I learned that there is another engagement we have to go to Friday night as well. I offered to be Taylor's DD and all was set. Except I realized that I would like to partake in the birthday festivities too on Friday night, so the brainstorming was set. What I came up with: I will run my 12 mile long run tomorrow before work. [Cue the B.A. background music here please.]

I know for some of you 12 miles is your mid-week long run (p.s. you're all crazy :p) but I've never done a long run before a work day. I don't have to work until 11am, so I have plenty of time to get up and get on the road before 7am and be done long stretching, icing, showering, EATING before I need to get ready for work. The run will not suffer. Work, on the other hand, might be rough going, but we'll see. I'll have to do a 5 mile easy run Friday morning, which isn't too bad. And then my 7 mile tempo Sunday NIGHT. Then Monday is a rest day. So everything SHOULD work out, and I should get to enjoy all the fun that my weekend has the potential to offer.

In other exciting news: I HAVE MY OWN YOGA STUDIO!!! Ok, not in the theoretical sense, but I have a room solely devoted to yoga. Ok, again, that's a lie. I have a room that I get to use for yoga. WHOO! Taylor lives in a 2 bedroom apartment by himself, except when we have slumber parties, of course. His apartment is pretty old school, so he only has a wall unit air conditioner. Any room but the living room is HOT, so he finally moved his bed into the living room so we can sleep and not sweat at night. Basically he has 2 bedrooms completely open.

[Enter Jeri aka Sneaky McSneakerson.]
Me: Taylor! I turned your old bedroom into a yoga studio.
Taylor: Uh ya, I saw that.
Me: Pretty sweet huh?
Taylor: No. Don't you think you could use the OTHER room. You know, the one that doesn't have ANYTHING in it.
Me: But I like this one, it has a nice stand for me to put my computer on while I'm doing the yoga poses.....
Taylor: [Not giving in. Lame sauce.]
Me: Oh hey! Turns out the other room DOES have a stand for my computer. Huh? That'll work I guess. By the way, would you rather me bring the blue yoga mat to replace the pink one? It might help "masculinize" your new yoga room.....
--End Scene--

I haven't officially "moved" the yoga studio yet, since we've been at my place since the convo started, but I might take some sweet pics for your viewing pleasure. Because, honestly, who's sweet enough to have their own room dedicated to the practice of yoga? Oh ya, that's right, me. :) I might even start practicing hatha yoga since the room is typically about 95-100 degrees on any given day. That should work just fine. :P

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wild West Relay Report: Time to Celebrate (And Shower!!!)

Once we had crossed the finish line, the kids in Van #1 decided to hang out in the hotel bar while waiting for the Van #2 kids to get showered and beautified. Really we were just ready to start some celebratory drinking. What's that? That was only me that was ready? No biggie. :D The hotel bar was actually really classy and there were a few other teams that had also congregated down there. I had the most delicious beer ever, but for some reason I can't think of what it was now. Eh oh well. A Blue Moon perhaps?

We took some pics to prove that we don't always look like sweaty/salty women. Here's Shannon and I looking cute.
And Julie and I cheersing to a race well down, while Amanda is just smiling. :)

You can barely see us in this one, but this is after some Van #2 folks had finally started to trickle downstairs. Amanda, myself, Steve, and Julie looking dark. Ha.

And here we are again after demolishing a hummus platter sampler. We were a little on the ravenous side.On the way out of our hotel to get in our sweet minivans and head to dinner, I spotted this SUV. After 2 beers on a fairly empty tummy this was the funniest thing that I had ever seen. I've seen fully camoued hunting vehicles, I do live in SoDak for goodness sake, but a random 8 inch tall paneling? Just the gas lid? So you probably can't see me in this photo, but I'm blending in with the SUV and my surroundings. Too. Funny.

Again another dark pic, but here is part of the crew at an Italian restaurant in Steamboat Springs. There wasn't seating for 1 hour+ for a party our size, so we decided to take up the whole bar area. No way were we waiting that long for food!
Pretty ladies. :) After dinner, most of the group called it a night as they had to get up around 4am to head back to Denver for their crazy early flights. I didn't have to get up until 7:30am, so I was ready to socialize. Except mostly everyone else was ready to crash. :( So I hung out with a couple of our sweet volunteers playing Colorku (like sudoku but with colors) and drinking a Skinny Dip. Yum. Carly let me have one that she bought from the brewery in Ft. Collins that I had to miss. I was so tired that I drank half and called it a night also. Hah.

The next morning Bobbi was bummed that she didn't get a pic of our gorgeous hotel room. I offered up my modeling skills for her. I call this pose, "I just woke up. Let me fluff my hair for you." Do you like? Contact my Agent.
I hope you enjoyed my recap. Clearly there are many things left out, but that's what happens when you wait almost 2 weeks to do your recap. :p I would suggest Wild West Relay to anyone out there who is interested. But if you're coming from a pancake flat area, maybe think twice. Or do some training on a treadmill so you can practice a 2 mile incline. ;)
The question that was on everyone's mind is: When's the next one? Whenever/wherever, I'm in.*
*Unless it's in the mountains. Then I'm out. :p

Wild West Relay Report: Leg 3 + Team Finish

Shannon woke up and checked her twitter to see that Alesha was getting ready for her final leg. It was showtime. Everyone was up and at 'em to get ready for her to run through and do the van exchange. After getting ready, we couldn't understand why she wasn't there yet. Someone was finally able to get cell service and found out that she had just started her leg--about 45 minutes after we thought she had. AHHH! Oh well, it's not like anyone was really sleeping anyway. We handed off roughly around sun rise and Melissa got going on her almost 10k.

She rocked it pretty hard and looked STRONG on her finish.

We are all looking oh so jealous that she's finished and we still have to do our legs. :)

I started my third leg at about 10am, less than 24 hours after my first run had started. I had studied my elevation map quite a bit before the run to mentally psych myself up for my final run. I knew the last mile would be rough, but figured the adrenaline of being finished would push me through it.

Had to stretch the hamstrings before the run. Take note of the strong breeze causing it to look like I'm giving the volunteers a show. Hey ladies. ;)

The handoff from Amanda to me. 4.2 miles here I come!

Amanda looks ecstatic to be finished up with her final leg.

As soon as I started out, I was taken aback by how strong the wind was. Normally I don't mind wind because I know if I start out running into it, I'll get the benefit of it at my back at the end. Not the case with this run, unfortunately. It felt like I was climbing up, up, up for about 90% of this leg. I'd get to the top, enjoy a short downhill, and then start trekking up again.

At one cheering point (about 2.5 miles in) I was struggling to keep going up, when Amanda, like an angel from the sky, yelled out that as soon as I finished going up, I'd get to enjoy a nice downhill stretch. I almost started to cry I was so happy. I kept had kept looking at this huge mountain in front of me thinking that I had to continue up THAT, and didn't see a small fork in the run where I got to go doooooooown. I think I almost kissed her I was so happy. Luckily for her I was running low on energy so I didn't. :p
I really tried to enjoy the downhill. And it was VERY nice change of pace from the up. But I just kept looking at where the bottom was and where the up started again. I tried to look at the fields and the mountains surrounding me, but kept coming back to the Up. Stupid Up. :)

When I did have to start the final incline, I was beat. I really thought I could kick in my final gears to have a strong, fast finish since I knew I was going to be done-done, but the final gears weren't there. I started getting very winded because of the altitude, and light-headed because of how hard I was breathing, but not getting enough oxygen in. Stupid altitude. Haha. Plus, the higher I got up, the stronger the wind was.

Giving what I have left on the final stretch. Hint: It wasn't much. :p

Melissa came back to run me in. Thank God. I was about to start walking. jk. THANKS MELISSA! You helped so much. I did have to fight the urge to ask her to run in front of me to block the wind for the last few yards. Didn't want her to get in the way of any finishing pics, ya know? Hah.

Also, for some reason, I thought I got to finish on a short decline, but that was not the case. Still going up on the handoff. :p

And then it was time to do the classic-hands-on-the-knees-dear-God-I-want-oxygen pose.
Here it is in another angle. Almost looks like wow-I'm-going-to-hurl-pose. But it's not. Just to clarify.
After walking around for a few minutes, I felt GREAT (now that my brain was finally getting oxygen again) and realized how b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l it was UP there. :) I had to take some pics (from far away so you can't see what a hot mess I was at this point of running 18.7 miles sans shower).
Apparently this is what I look like in a "runners pose." I'm such a loser.

Julie was the final leg from Van #1 and us gals were ready at the van exchange to run her booty in. Well, most of us were ready. I had changed into flip flops so I could lance the ginormo blister I had on my big toe, but no biggie. :p

Here's the team (minus Julie who was still finishing up her leg) at the final van exchange.
And the whole awesome crew at the finish line about 33 hours after starting. Don't ask me what our finishing time was, because I couldn't tell you. With all the stop watch errors, plus leap frogging, I'd be shocked if anyone figured it out, to be honest.
Next up: Celebration!! Stay tuned. (yes I realize that it's ridiculous that I'm still working on these reports. leave me alone. :p)

Easy Run + Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day

This morning I had 6 easy miles to complete. After tossing and turning all night long, I was ready to get out of bed when Taylor's alarm went off at 4:45am. Of course than I dawdled, even though my goal was to complete the run before the sun came up. Grr. I was finally out the door. The temp said it was 53 degrees but 90% humidity, so I figured I would be a-ok in a tank and shorts. WRONG. Holy brrr....I was freezing!!!

Normally I stop at the one mile point of my easy runs to stretch out my muscles, they were so frozen that I didn't even bother until the 3 mile turn around point. Of course after stretching for a couple of minutes, what sweat I did have worked up had frozen even more. It was at the turn around point that I realized I could see my breath. Oy, I'm an idiot. Need to remember to start packing some shirts with SLEEVES for the (apparently) frigid mornings we will soon be embarking on. The one cool thing about starting off in the dark, was that I couldn't see my Garmin at all, so I truly ran by feel. And even more exciting is that my "easy" run by feel is pretty stinkin' close to my "easy" pace that I'm supposed to be doing. Umm...exactly on if you look at my time from today.

I did 6 miles in 57:57 for a pace of 9:40. Yup. The exact pace my training program says I'm supposed to be completing easy runs at. Craziness. My splits were not so even, but I blame that on the frozen state that my legs were in for the first 3 miles, and the frozen state my arms were in for the whole thing. Man oh man did I ever wish I had some of those sweet arm warmer sleeve things that some of you folks are sporting. Christmas present? Hint hint Tay. :) (pink or blue por favor) :D

1. 9:52
2. 9:58
3. 9:51:
4. 9:34
5. 9:28
6. 9:12

In other news, I'm pretty bummed that my boyfriend Brett is going to be sporting purple and gold this year. I could handle him as a Jet, not so much as a Vike. I am looking for a crew to come with me to the Monday Night game in Minnesota, so all is not lost.

And in OTHER crappy news, I won't be attending the Blink 182 concert in Minneapolis tonight. WAAAAAAH!!! If you were a follower from the beginning (which is none of you :p no one cared until I started writing about running) you'd know that I LOVE BLINK 182, and almost peed myself when they announced they were getting back together. For a few hours today, I actually thought I was going to make an impromptu trip, but that has been shot down now also. What a bummer of a day!!!

To make myself happy, I was going to challenge myself with a 5 miler this evening on top of my 6 miles from this morning. Plus it would rotate the schedule a bit leaving me with a rest day before my long 12 miler on Saturday morning. BUT NO. We have to go to dinner at an ungodly hour post-work, and will inevitably end up sitting around not eating for 2 hours, thus ruining my plans for a post-dinner run too. Anyone else want to jump on my pity party because it's about to take off full steam!!!

Ok, what I truly need is to go home and do some yoga. Today is Day 5.

Bitchfest 09 is now over. Please feel free to go about your day. :) But not before you go to X-Country2's page to check out her sweet giveaway.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Long Run + Yoga Challenge

I think I may need to break down and get internet at my apartment.  How many times have I said that and I still don't?  Seriously, when Taylor is out of town, and I'm too lazy to come to his apartment/go to the library I seriously slack on my blog writing and reading.  It's be very convenient to just have it at my place.  But $35/month convenient?  I'm not sure yet.

Anyway,  Friday night I went to bed at the late late time of 9:45pm after watching I Love You, Man.  That movie is hilarious by the way.  I had the most restless night of sleep.  :(  Whenever Taylor is out of town, I pretty much don't sleep.  It's awesome.  But whatever.  I had planned on getting up and on the road by 6:30 so I could be done by 8 when it was supposed to start storming.  When my alarm went off at 6:15 it was pouring outside.  Awesome, thanks for waiting for me storm.  But then I remembered how much I LOVE running in the rain, and got perked up.

I didn't have much of a time expectation for this run, since my legs have been JUNK all week long.  I usually do my long runs around a 9 min mile pace, but figured I would run easy the first 1/3, pick it up a bit the second 1/3, and then haul ass as much as I could the last 1/3.  It actually worked out pretty well for me, and without really thinking about it/aiming for it, I came just a hair above 9 min. pace for the run.  Go figure.  :)  My legs felt pretty good, nothing like the lead bricks I've been used to all week.  The only difference is that I didn't feel like I had as much of a kick on the last 3 miles as I have for the last few long runs.

Because it was pouring, it was interesting to see the people who were "braving the elements" to get their workout in.  Very few (only one towards the end, actually) bikers, so I was able to hog the trail and run in the middle, avoiding epic puddles (for the most part).  All the runners were really smily/friendly.  Go figure.  Only runners would be that happy, that early in the morning, crunching out their long runs in the pouring rain.  :)

I did 11 miles in 1:39:12 for a pace of 9:01.
1. 9:16 
2. 9:19 
3. 9:26 
4. 9:17 
5. 9:09 
6. 9:08 
7. 9:09 
8: 8:59 
9. 8:54 
10: 8:35 
11. 7:55

The one issue of soreness/fatigue that seems to be plaguing me post-Wild West Relay are some crazy tight hamstrings.  I'm guessing you must use your hammys alot during hill work, maybe that's why mine are weak.  ;)  After stretching out post-run, I decided to do some yoga for hamstrings to further stretch them out.

Yoga two days in a row prompted me to start a little challenge.  I have roughly one month until my 1/2 marathon (September 13th).  I want to try my hardest to do yoga everyday until then.  Hopefully by that point it will just be ingrained in my daily routine.  I just love how strong and peaceful I feel after completing a session.  

I did opt against the ice bath because my body was already really really cold after stretching and yoga-ing.  I figured it would do my body more harm than good to sit in ice for 15 minutes.  I really can't tell all that much of a difference in my legs today after not doing it, so who knows.

Last night was a blast!  It was so good to see one of my college friends and help her celebrate her bachelorette party.  Many drinks were had, and many dance moves were busted.  

This morning I woke up, and I was determined to do Day 3 of the Yoga Challenge.  Yoga for Hangover?  Yes please.  Go figure I would have this flow series downloaded on my computer for a day like today.  Hah.  Day 3:  Complete.  I even went and purchased a second yoga mat so I have one at Taylor's too.  Little does he know, that when he returns home from his softball tourney, his spare bedroom will be my new yoga studio.  Hah.

Click here to see how to enter for a sweet giveaway for $100 gift certificate to Dicks.