Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Twin Cities Marathon Bound + Long Run PSA

Last spring, my dear bloggy friend Susan was trying to decide on her fall marathon.  It was between a marathon in Maine, where my dear running twin Danielle lives, or the Twin Cities Marathon, which is a mere 4 hour (ish) drive from me.  I threw out all the stops in convincing her that she should pick TCM by saying that if she ran it, I'd be there to be SUPERFAN! 
<--gorg fall pic from last year's TCM weekend

Well the weekend is upon us and I'm so stoked to cheer her on to a super fast finish.  For reals.  Her goal is sub-3:15.  When I was telling Kyle about how excited for the weekend I was and how speedy she is....

Me:  So if Susan needed me to pace her in the marathon, I could only do it for 2 miles tops (and I'd be d-e-a-d).  And she's capable of doing it for 24.2 more miles.
KK:  Wow, so her time is like... almost an hour faster than your best.....
Me:  Well now you're just rubbing it in.  :P

Last year I ran the TC 10 miler, and it was a blast, and then was able to spectate the finish line of the full as well.  I've never full-on spectated a marathon before, so I'm excited for my first.  Now everyone head over to Susan's blog and shoot her some speedy vibes.

And also send Danielle some speedy wishes.... she needs a 4:20 finish to take the lead in our "challenge"!
 And you know what the best part is... I get to enjoy all the fun of a big marathon without actually having to travel 26.2 miles on foot.  WIN!
Public Service Announcement:  It is ill advised to eat coffee ice cream, a few cheese curds, and chips with queso (in that order) for dinner the night before a long run.  It is even more ill advised to eat these items if you are lactose intolerant and fail to eat any lactase pills.
So my morning was a treat.
Despite my idiocy and a somewhat slow start to my morning, I had a delightful long run.  Since I’m skidaddling out of town for the weekend, Wednesday was the only day that would work to fit in my long run.  I had 12 miles to do, and when I stepped outside in shorts and a tee I was COLD.  Mmmm perfection.
My legs felt pretty sucky to start but it was beyond gorgeous out.  I seriously wish I had my camera with me, because the way the sun was falling through the trees was insane.  I had planned to do 3 minute pick-ups/surges every 20 minutes of the run, and I’m glad I did.  For one, it breaks up the monotony of the long run, giving you something to look forward to, for two, it lets you pick up the pace and the HR for a smidge of time, and most importantly, it shook my legs out.  Uff.
To add to my morning running ecstacy, I learned that the part of the bike trail that has been under construction all g.d. summer long is fixed.  So I was able to do my whole run on the trails.  Yayzies.  And this means that the races I’ve signed up for along the trail this fall will run on their normal courses.  Whoooooooo.
I ended up with 12 miles in 1:52:54 for a pace of 9:22.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I Heart Fall

This weekend my running was all unicorns, sparkles and daisies.

Thank god.

Kyle and I made a very last minute decision Friday afternoon to skidaddle out of town on Saturday to Minneapolis and I realized that my long run wasn't likely to happen during a mini-vacation.  Of course we made this decision after my lunch consisted of cooler ranch doritos and starbursts.  Perfect long run fuel!

I mapped out a run near my undergrad college for the first part of the run, and was going to swing back by my apartment and take on the bike trails for the last 8 miles.  It was the most beautiful long run weather I've gotten so far.  Low 60s, low low humidity.  A slight breeze.  :)  My legs did not feel awesomely fresh at the start, but I knew that completing a long run on tired legs would really "up" my mental toughness that I struggle with...constantly.

The first 6 miles were much hillier than I'm used to, but my pace didn't seem to be affected all too much by them.  Because it was so nice out, I was barely sweating, and barely sipping on my handheld.... IS THIS REAL LIFE?!?!?!?!? 
1. 9:35
2. 9:36
3. 9:51
4. 9:51
5. 9:35
6. 9:27

By the time I got to the bike trail, it was getting dark.  Now often when I tell non-runners that I run on the bike trail, they get super freaked out for me.  "aren't you afraid for your safety?!?!?!"  Apparently there used to be some really scary stuff that would happen to women on the bike trails.  :/  Which is why I avoid them at night, or make sure to bring a buddy.  I figured I could get a couple of miles in while the sun was setting and be ok. 

Well... I was right.  Except that it put me 2 1/2 miles away from home, with no choice but to run that remaining 2 1/2 miles in the dark.  Luckily there were some soccer games going on near the trail, so I wasn't all alone, but I guarantee my HR was up there pumping from adrenaline.  And so much for a flat last half of the run........
7. 9:41
8. 9:23
9. 9:33

More hills.  Bah.  The nice part was as the sun set, and the temps dropped, so did my heart rate, and so did my pace.  During the last few miles I wanted to get my HR towards the higher level of my LR zone, and plus I was somewhat certain that KK and my dinner plans were going to include me all stinky since I wasn't going to be home with enough time to shower.

The last few miles felt great, and with it being too dark, I had no idea what my pace was unless I went under a street light.  Wheeeeeeee! 
10. 9:15
11. 9:11
12. 9:00
13. 8:00
.1 :40 (6:39 pace)

I did 13.1 miles in 2:02:38 for a pace of 9:22.  Let's ignore the fact this is only 2 minutes off my race time from a couple of weeks ago.... **shakes fist at IT bands**

When I got home I had a text message from one of my co-workers saying that she had just saw me out running.  I responded that I just got home, and she thought I was insane because she had seen me running 2 hours earlier.  Haha welcome to my crazy running world.
So naturally after spending my Friday night doing a long run (followed by eating delicious Indian food with KK), I learned that I’d be heading to the cities next weekend, and with traveling to Fargo for a race the following weekend, I couldn’t justify this  trip to the cities.  Le sigh.  My checking account sighed in relief.
Saturday was spent being an Alabama fan and hanging out with the boy.  And Sunday was the most beautiful fall day ever.  I told myself that if I put in 90 minutes of study I “got” to go do my run.  Don’t ask me when running became my reward, but whatever… it worked. Since I skipped my recovery run on Saturday, I tacked a couple of extra miles on to my supposed to be 6 miler.  I legit felt like I could keep running forever. 
I did 8 miles in 1:16:39 for a pace of 9:35.  Average HR 153.
And then it was off to watch the Packers go 3-0 to start the season.  GO PACK GO!  I finished off my Old Chicago Oktoberfest mini-beer tour, and the German gal in me loved it.  Turns out that by day-drinking you’re fully capable of studying in the evening.  Good to know!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Weekly Wishlist + Scarves for PRs

Last night I knocked out some mile repeats for the first time in a long time.  I seriously can't remember the last time I did mile repeats, and I'm too lazy to check my running log for proof.  So just go with it.  I usually loathe mile repeats aka the devil's workout, which probably means that they're the best training run for me, because they suckkkkkkkkkkkk.

Anywho.  I had 3x1600m repeats at 7:41 pace and I was a little concerned as to how my legs would hold up.  I did a "test run"  (bahahahah punny) with the slower tempo run, but had yet to run FAST (for me) since the half.  I was pretty surprised/impressed! 


I did a mile warm up and half mile jogs in between the repeats, and a mile cool down.  It's always nice to "run" your workout instead of having it run you, ya know?  And I was so stoked about how well the run went and was bragging to KK about it, the enthusiasm must've wore off, because I think he agreed to accompany me on part of my run tonight.  Finger's crossed he wasn't just talking in his sleep.  :/  (likely, sadly).

And now on to the fun stuff.  The weekly wishlist:
I need this like I need to breathe.
Often?  Heavily?  I don't even know what that means, but yeah.

I'm mildly (grave understatement) obsessed with Yoda. This is awesome.

These are just too cute.  I love them stacked like this too.

This is a kid's scarf, but I don't imagine my neck is much bigger than it was at 14, so I think that's ok, right?  Polka dot love.

This matches my bedroom.... I want it in a print.  So pretty.
Clearly I'm on a scarf kick.

Speaking of scarves, if you're new around these parts, I crochet super soft infinity scarves to help fund my running/racing addiction.  I started last fall, and it was a great way to supplement some crazy race fees and travel costs.  Plus I think the scarves are super pretty, and can't justify making myself one in every color, so this is the enxt best thing.  I don't have nearly as much time to devote to crocheting as I did last fall, but wanted to let you know that I am taking some orders, and it would be best to get your order in early as it's first come first served.

The scarves are $30, and the shipping and handling in the U.S. is $3.  There are a ton of colors to choose from, and each scarf is custom crocheted.  I'm also working on a super pretty cowl, so stay tuned for that unveiling.  Take a look here for some completed scarves and color options.  If you're interested, leave a note in the comments with an email to reach you a, or shoot me at email at jerbearshares [at] gmail [dot] com

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hard-Easy Principle + Fall Races

When I was planning my training program for the Sioux Falls Half, I consulted Coach Jason, as I typically do.  In previous years I've had 2 easy runs, 1 tempo run, 1 speed workout, and a long run each week.  I really wanted to keep the same format, but because I was starting the training while still not 100% post-Fargo, I was concerned about the two speedy days since those typically cause me to get/stay injured.  He suggested I do only one speed work day, but that I throw in some striders at the end of one or two of my easy runs.  Okie dokie!

After doing more heart rate training reading and research (yes, I like to read, especially about running, it's obnoxious, I realize!) I realized that the main purpose of heart rate training is to capitalize on the hard-easy philosophy.  Basically you can train almost everyday and should avoid injuries as long as you're following the hard-easy principle:  every hard workout is followed by an easy one (heart rate wise).  During my training I was having 3 or 4 "easy" runs and only 1 hard and 1 long (which is considered hard effort even though the HR is kept lower).  Hmmm. 

While I created my training for the Fargo half similar to my Sioux Falls half training, I have decided to throw in some "harder" workouts if my body feels like it on one of the "easy" days.  Tuesday and Thursday are considered easy since I only have about 30 minutes for a run between work and class, and yes that means I'm dripping sweat during class.  Thankfully it's at my computer not around people with noses.

Monday night I took advantage of this "freedom" and decided to run a route by feel and not pay much attention to my watch.  It's much easier to not pay attention to my watch when it's dark out FYI.  I ran harder than I do during as easy run, but easier than a tempo run.  I kept thinking, "Ok, if you had a 10 mile tempo run, what pace would you run it at?" 

And shockingly it was a great effort and a lot of fun.  The first mile was a bit of a "warm up" but still a lot faster than I usually do my warm ups at.  Plus it was on a hilly route.  I tried to focus on a quicker turnover, and "running on eggshells."  When all was said and done I had a pace at the slow end of my tempo range, and a heart rate toggling in between my easy and low end tempo/LT pace.  And I wasn't hating life while I did it (general theme for legit tempo runs).  I think I'll be throwing these in going forward!

I did 4 miles in 34:25 for a pace of 8:37.
1.  8:52
2.  8:32
3.  8:32
4.  8:29

One of the reasons I was happiest about forgoing the fall marathon was that I could race a bunch of shorter races (hopefully before the snow, ice and freezing temps arrive)!  Plus, since Danielle will likely blow my crappy marathon time out of the water for our "challenge" I need to bank some time in our shorter distances.  ;)

On deck is:

Fargo FM half marathon October 8th.

Hope Reins 5k October 22nd.

Trick or Treat trail 10k (although trail means bike trail, not trail-trail) October 29th.

Jingle Bells 5k November 25th. 

TV update:  I cancelled my cable and DVR and my service was up last Wednesday.  And when I realized the horrible timing with sweeps week this week I almost cried.  Please keep me posted on tv shows I must watch online, mmmk?  I caught the New Girl pilot on Hulu this weekend and loved it. But I could probably watch Zooey stare at a wall and call it quality entertainment.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Beer Cures What Ails You

All last week I was hardcore itching for a run.  In between rolling pin + IT band tears, I kept going knowing that it would get me out running quicker.  I had high hopes that Thursday would be the day.  But I failed the “jogging in place without stabbing pain” test that I had set forth for myself.  Luckily Friday afternoon I was passing with flying colors.  As soon as I got home from work I got changed and flew out the door.  I wanted to run somewhere in the range of 3-6 miles depending on how I felt.  Ok, full disclosure:  I wanted to run 6 miles, but I was willing to let my IT bands dictate the distance.  Annoying.

I was seriously flying for the first mile and a half.  My legs were FRESH.  And fast.  And fabulous.  And the air was cold.  Long sleeve tech tee and shorts weather is my FAVE.  But about a mile and a half in, my right IT band and quad started tightening up.  So I turned around at the 2 mile mark.  My leg got tighter and tighter and my pace got slower and slower.  Wah wah.
I did 4 miles in 38:18 for a pace of 9:35.
Let’s play:  When does the leg start to hurt??
1. 9:27
2. 9:18
3. 9:45
4. 9:48
It’s a new board game Hasbro is coming out with, I think. 
To celebrate commiserate my run, Kyle and I went out for dinner and drinks Friday night.  Oktoberfest mini tour?  Yes please!  I’m fairly certain I read somewhere that great beer heals IT band issues.  Bottoms up!  I had four 6 oz. samples of four of the tour beers….. and I called it a night.  Or I did after a mini dance party at my apartment with Kyle shaking his head at me in embarrassment.  Truly I just think he’s jealous of my moooooooooooves.
Saturday I was bummed to miss out on the group run.  I had high hopes of joining but after Friday’s run, I decided some biking/stretching/icing/rolling was in the cards.  I biked a boring 11 miles on the stationary bike at my gym, and then walked behind the building to get some froyo. 
P.S.  Whoever decided to put the great froyo place in the same building as my gym is awesome.
And because I could feel the beer working its magic on my IT bands, clearly we had to enjoy some more on Saturday night.  I got dolled up for the first time in 4 weeks.  True story:  I hate unpacking, and instead leave my suitcases open in my kitchen and “unpack” as I need the items.  I found my curling iron still tucked away inside.  Uh… sorry I look like a pile all the time KK. Ooops.
Since Bama was playing, I had to sport some crimson.  ROLL TIDE ROLL!
Sunday I was bound and determined to get in some miles, though I promised myself that as soon as my leg started hurting/tightening I would stop and just walk home.  I was concerned that continuing to run on Friday was just putting off my recovering.  I kept the pace slow, and made it 6 pain free miles.  WHOO!
I did 6 miles in 59:10 for a pace of 9:52.
My legs definitely didn’t feel fresh as a daisy, as they had on Friday.  Apparently biking zero miles and then trying to bike 11 miles fast will cause your legs to be tired.  Who knew?!?!  Towards the end of the run, my legs were feeling tired, and I started to get concerned, until I realized that they were just feeling fatigued vs. dead.
It got me thinking about the IT band issues from the race on Sunday.  It almost felt like my IT bands and quad were non-functioning after a certain point.  Instead of the muscle contracting and relaxing with each step it was just contracted and locked up.  It explains why my leg felt so heavy and my stride was so shortened, because my hamstring (which is definitely weak in comparison, and possibly part of the problem) was doing most of the work instead of sharing the duty.  It also explains why my hamstrings were insanely tight after the race (hamstring issues are about the one issue I haven’t had, knock on wood!).  Anyone have any knowledge or experience on this?
Either way, it was nice to have this worked out in my brain.  I know I couldn’t push through whatever it was, because I tried, but it was still annoying the heck out of me that I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t, you know?  Hmmm… now on to correcting!
Oh and then some more beer was consumed while watching the Packers win (although they were looking rough to start with).  Beer is medicine I can get on board with, clearly.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Interesting Fun Fact

So here's an interesting fun fact about me for you on a Friday.  Friday... yayzies!  If you follow me on twitter, you may notice that I love pugs and their adorable little faces.  I want one.  Badly.  But live in an apartment and will for awhile... aka, until I have money to not live in an apartment, aka, potentially forever.

While watching Lost the other night, I saw a link to Pug Partners of Nebraska and started perusing the pups on there. 

Immediately, I wanted one.  Perhaps two.  Yes, definitely two.  Porky and Beans?  COME HOME TO JERBEAR NOW.

And then I started reading their descriptions.  And practically started sobbing.  Well, sobbing as much as one can without being disruptive to others that are watching Lost and don't want to be distracted with your pug adopting antics (Kyle). 

Have you ever cried over animals you've never met and their owners that were devastated by giving them up?  Uh yeah... me neither... that'd be weird... :/

 I wanted to get in my car and adopt them all.  Also, immediately.

And then I remembered that I live in apartment, and can't.  So that made me cry a little bit more.

And I blame most of this on the full moon from Monday because it tends to make me lose my mind.

The end..

P.S.  See look at how cute Porky and Beans are.  I mean.... COME ON!

**Disclaimer:  I'm in no way affiliated with Pug Partners,
nor did I receive compensation to post about their business.**

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Race Brain Neurosis + IT Band Update

I tend to have some crazy/wild anxiety ridden thoughts and dreams leading up to races.  My brain is insane, what can I say.  Because I didn't want my race report to be 1200 pages long, I left out a lot of the random quirks.  But they're too entertaining, so here you go.

I was reading through my race report from last year's Sioux Falls Half (p.s. this is almost an exact report of this year's, except I through a minor tantrum in my head, instead of staying positive and enjoying the race), and laughed when I described my dream the night before.  The gist:  The race was being measured in a unit of measurement from the Star Wars movies.  No one would give me a conversion rate, and clearly my Garmin only works in kilometers and miles, so I was freaking out!

Fast forward to this year:  I woke up in a sweat in the middle of the night, and woke Kyle up to tell him my dream.  He was thrilled I'm sure.  In this version of the half marathon, the miles were broken down by colors.  Each runner had to be dressed head to toe in that color to advance to the next mile.  I remember being PISSED that the starting mile color was yellow and not green, thus negating my sweet outfit, and only made it through mile 3 of the race before I got tired of tearing off sopping wet clothes while running.  :)

The day before the race, I went to Scheels to pick up my race packet, and also needed to grab some GUs.  I love the Blueberry Pomegranite GU Roctane, and use them exclusively for races because they're roughly $1000/gel.  Scheels didn't carry any, so I thought no biggie, I'll head to the running store.  I know they have them, but the price is typically $1000.75/gel*.  Seriously, I could go out for dinner for a couple of those puppies!  When I got to the running store they were completely OUT of my favorite gel.  Panic mode.  These thoughts may or may not be exact thoughts that went through my mind instantly:

"Well, there goes the half marathon.  Might as well not even run!  I mean, how can I be expected to run a race without my gels?!?  That's like asking me to not run in green!  (not asking me to run, without... shoes or something NECESSARY, but green, told you my brain is insane!).  I wonder if this guy knows he just ruined 12 weeks of training.  I should probably tell him.  Make him overnight me some gels."

But instead I grabbed some pineapple roctanes, and they were fine.  Meh.

After fretting about town in search of the holy grail of GUs I set down to painstakingly plot out my race plan.  Mind you, I had a mountain of schoolwork to read and complete, but I knew my brain couldn't focus unless my t's were crossed and i's were dotted.  I color coordinated the water stops.  I drew in where I'd GU and highlighted them appropriately.  I marked out where my Mom and Kyle would be on the course.  I figured based on my goal paces approximately what time I would be at those spots for their spectating conveniences.  I did calculations TWICE on the final 4 miles of the route as to what my paces would need to be to hit 4 time goals.  Twice because the first time I was leaving out the .1.  Uh.  Oops!

And then come race morning, I put on my heart rate monitor while I was getting ready.  My resting heart rate is usually in the 48-51 range.  While sitting in the truck, silent, driving to the race start, it toggled anywhere from 88-101.  Imagine what my brain waves were probably giving off!

And there you have it.  I hope you enjoyed your little look in to this runner's neurosis.  :)
I think my IT bands are coming around.  My left one is almost back to normal.  My right one is still........ not happy.  I've been rolling as much as I can humanly stand, and icing as well.  My training program for Fargo was supposed to start on Tuesday, but that obviously didn't happen.  Fingers crossed that I could maybe get in a few miles tomorrow after work, before class.  I know last year I was super antsy to get back in to training for the Vegas Marathon, and I ended up only being able to run sporadically for almost 3 weeks because the IT band problems led to such bad knee issues.  Patience is a virtue.

And special thanks to Coach Jaseface who analyzed some race photos over the last year, and may have pinpointed my form issue.  I hope to wrangle someone to video tape me as soon as I'm able to get back out there to confirm and see the extent of the issue.  Racing in pain is just not the most fun thing in the world, in case you were curious!

Midwesterners, enjoy the brisk cool weather this week.  I hate you all. :P

*Actual mark up represented.  I mean, seriously.... an extra 75 cents a gel, that's outrageous!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Race Report: Sioux Falls Half Marathon 2011

Sunday I woke up after a good night of sleep.  I never sleep before races.  A WIN ALREADY!  Yay me.  I dashed outside to see the finish line so I could begin visualizing crossing it, exhausted and ecstatic.  True story:  while we were laying in bed Saturday night I demanded that Kyle open my window blinds to see if the finish line was up yet.  I wanted to dream about it.  It wasn’t.  I was bummed.
I got dressed, ate breakfast, snuggled back up to Kyle to wake him up, and we were off to the race start.  I wanted to get there early a) because I’m neurotic on race days and b) because a bunch of my friends were running the full and I wanted to see them off for their 6:45 start.  The fact that I was perfectly content in shorts and a thin long sleeve at 6am was slightly concerning. In past years, I’ve been bundled up in sweats and a hoodie heading to the race start.
Said hello and good lucks to my studly 26.2 friends (silently being uber thankful I was only tackling half the distance) and started my warm up.  Kyle and I got to a whole new level in our relationship when we discussed the importance of pooping on race day.  My favorite quote of the morning was, “Most people focus on winning the race, Jeri focuses on pooping.”  Accurate.
Megan and I made our way to the starting line and tried to eyeball where we should be.  The start is d-u-m-b.  We run a lap around a track and then head out of the stadium primarily single file.  It’s typically a cluster-eff.  My goal is usually to avoid the cluster-eff as much as possible.
Oh.  Speaking of goals.  My race day strategy was as follows:
Miles 1-4 (hilly) 8:30
Miles 5-9 (slightly less, but still hilly) 8:20
10-finish (flat) BTTW
I calculated out what my paces for 1:48, sub 1:49, and sub 1:50 would need to be during those 4 remaining miles.  None of them seemed that scary.  Not easy.  But not capable of killing me, either.  When I talked to Tom before the race, I told him that I realized that if done properly, the race SHOULD NOT FEEL EASY.  I should be working my booty off.  A lot of times I lose my brain when I think, “CRAP! This should feel easier!  I’m going to die!”
Megan and I commented that we were way too comfortable standing around in shorts and tank tops for the start of the race.  I tried to ignore that comment and pretend the sun wasn’t already making its way high up in the sky.  The race started and we were off.  Shockingly we picked a great starting spot, because dodging people was minimal.  I had settled in to an 8:30 on the nose pace, and it felt…er… easy.  Okie dokie then!  I waved g’bye to Kyle on one side of the stadium and my madre on the other, and got to work.
About one mile in to the race I had sweat droplets starting to fly off of me.  Roughly a mile and a half in, my body was so wet that my heart rate monitor slid right off me.  Perhaps I should’ve brought a handheld along…. Hmmm..  One of the first big hills was in the second mile, and I just concentrated on going up it.  There were some rollers for the next mile, and the pace was evening out around 8:30.
1. 8:31
2. 8:43
3. 8:32
During a major downhill I was flying trying to bank a little time for the upcoming hill I knew we had.  At one point I looked down at my watch to see a 7:40 average mile pace.  Uh… oops.  During the next uphill stretch I took my GU, grabbed some water (yes, the first water stop was a good 3.5 miles in.  UFF!) and thought my legs were starting to feel some of the pounding.  At the top of the hill, we turned around to run through the downtown, which is one of my favorite stretches, and also where I planned to see Kyle for the first time.  During this downhill portion, my legs were not flying.  They felt very heavy.  I expected the heaviness to subside after they got the uphill work shook out of them.
I saw Kyle and he snapped this lovely pic of me throwing him my heart rate monitor.  And it was on to Falls Park.  One of my other favorite portions of the race.  And also the part with the steepest incline.  I saw my madre in all of her Team Green glory, screaming and cheering like a fool (which I love, Kyle could take notes).  I knew that after this stretch, things flattened out more.  I tried to power up the hill but my legs felt…stuck.  No biggie… I’ll make it up on the flat part!
(I'm so good at running I can do it with my eyes closed.... lolz)
We looped back through the downtown area and made our way to the backside of the bike trail, since the primary part is still under construction.  My legs felt like crap.  My IT bands, specifically my right one, felt like I had 10-15 lbs of extra weight attached to them.  My stride was short and choppy.  I kept thinking the heaviness would shake out in due time and I would get back to work.  I did realize that unless they figured it out asap, sub-1:50 probably wasn’t in the cards.  But a course PR was more than doable!
4. 8:34
5. 8:35
6. 9:23
At about the halfway point I figured if I ran the same as I had the first half, I’d be right at a course PR.  And I never positive split a half (attention:  foreshadowing!), so let’s just get back on track!  Look at me being Miss Sunshine.  Holy crap.  Except that they never loosened up.  I was stuck running a 9-9:30 pace and just could NOT stride out at all without feeling like my leg would give out.  This part of the route had a smidge of shade, which was good, because it was getting very very hot out there.
I kept plugging along running as fast as I could, STILL thinking that eventually the heaviness would shake out, and I could race whatever I had left on the course.  Except that there kept being rolling hills and the downhills would lock things back up, even as I was taking them very conservatively.  Well…poo.
7. 9:11
8. 9:36
9. 9:19
I got to Lincoln high school where I had planned to see Kyle, and he was leaning against the school not even cheering.  I may have snapped something to the effect of, “The least you could do is cheer for me!!!”  Haha, poor guy.  In his defense he was staring in the sun, and probably didn’t see me coming.  Also, apparently every other girl at the race got the memo about black shirt green shorts.  Jeepers.
I saw my mom shortly there after and she was a cheering and screaming fool, which of course, made me smile.  I think I may have given her the, “this sucks” memo as I ran by.  That may have been an exact quote from the exact spot in the race as last year.  ;)

(Always gotta have the sad panda photo....hahah...)
This was supposed to be the part where I started my BTTW kick.  This is literally the part of the race I look forward to when running halfs.  Wah wah.  I pretty much stopped looking at my watch and just tried to enjoy the day.  I chatted it up with some runners and offered encouragement to some that were struggling.  I was bopping along at my long run pace, the least I could do is use some of my extra energy to cheer people on.  :P
The last few miles must’ve drug on, but looking back, I don’t remember anything too notable, other than getting passed.  A lot.  Hah.  Since I usually start at a more conservative pace and then really turn it on the last 5k, I’m not used to that.  Since I started at 8:30s and was finishing at 9ish, I was definitely getting passed a lot.  Ho hum. Ha.  I did see a girl getting oxygen about a mile from the finish which freaked me out.  I kept thinking how horrific it must be to be running the full.  It was warm. (Sidenote: After chugging a bottle of water post race, along with the fluids I took in during the race, I was still down 4 ½ pounds. Holy sweat-a-thon!)
I tried to pick up the pace the last mile and at some point realized that breaking two hours might be close.  Eep!  I ran the finishing quarter of a mile as fast as I could with pain shooting up the IT bands.  Beep beep!   Coming through.  I probably looked like the biggest sandbagger. :/  Oh well.
11. 9:36
12. 9:26
13. 9:14
.14 :55 (7:08 pace)
(True story: my mom was pissed this chick ruined her finishing photo of me. Baha.)
Well ok then. :)  The nice thing was that I wasn’t dead tired crossing the finish line, but I was bummed.   I was very proud of myself for never giving up on the course, but looking back I was probably a little delusional.  IT band stiffness doesn’t “go away.” Hah. It took awhile for it to click that that’s what it was, I just thought my quads were feeling tired from the constant ups and downs.  Whenever I run downhills, I always run them very conservatively, because I know my IT bands will be severely affected by them.  I’m not sure why it didn’t click in my head that flying down them wouldn’t do the same thing. ??  I guess I just assumed that I’d be miserable the next day, not during the race.
I’m happy that I finished my 12th half marathon and that I finished my 7th consecutive Sioux Falls Half Marathon with my 3rd best time.  I hope I read this blog post before signing up for next years race, because unless the course is back to normal, I don’t want to race-race this again.  I’ve decided it’d be fun to do the marathon as a relay “for fun” (attempting to convince Kyle of the fun-ness), or to do the half as a relay and then just keep running with KK during his final leg, or pace my BFFF who’s been talking about doing a HM forever.  All fun options. 
Sweatiest finisher award goes to: jerbear!
My friend Molly was back home for the weekend from San Diego.
I'm starting to sweat just looking at her in capris.
He's only faux touching me. He was extremely grossed out when my sweaty arm touched his.
Jerbear and Mamabear

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sioux Falls Half Marathon Goals

Sunday marks my 12th half marathon and my 7th consecutive Sioux Falls half marathon.  Interesting fun fact:  the half in 2005 was my first race longer than one mile.  Neat-o, no?  This is the race I look forward to the most each year, because it's an awesome race, the finish line is walking distance from home, and I run the route most days on my training runs.

This fall, this half is my "goal" race.  Last year, my goal race time eluded me, so this year I'll take another crack at it.  So without further adieu, my race goals:

Goal A:  Somewhere in the 1:48-1:50 range.  This was my goal for last year, and I lost my shizz/mojo way early on in the race.  It will be tough.  I will look grimmacing in most if not all race photos, and it will hurt.  But it's doable.

Goal B:  PR.  Current PR is 1:50:57.  So dang close to sub 1:50, but I honestly didn't have another 57 seconds left in me that day.  Race course PR is 1:53 something.

Goal C:  Be thankful you're able to run and enjoy the day.  **For the record, I would rather accomplish these goals while also accomplishing goals A or B.** :D

So there you have it.  Kyle surprised me with some sweet running shorts I've been coveting to complete my fall Team Green ensemble.  Like a dork, he made me try them on, and then I had to find a shirt to wear with them.  And then I had to see if I "looked fast" in them.  Ignore the uber messy bedroom featured behind me.

And since I can't be the only cutie featured in this post, I made Kyle try on my race shirt from this race 2010.  I was psyched because it was the first year they had tech shirts.  And then I cried when I saw how giant the SMALL was.  For reference, Kyle is about 110+ lbs. over me.  Doesn't he look cute in this pic?  Normally he look slike a big goober in photos... can't all be as photogenic as me I guess.  Bahahahahahah.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fall Race Plans + Alabama Orientation Recap

My running has been pretty boring this week.  Easy paced miles with low heart rate, and striders thrown in at the end.  My allergies are attempting to wreak havoc on my system, and after 3 nights of sleep, my insomnia reared it's ugly head the last two nights.  Meh.  I figured it was high time to provide you with my Alabama orientation recap.

But first, I wanted to share that I had made a decision regarding a fall marathon.  But wait?  You think to yourself.  Didn't you already make this decision?  Like...twice or so?  Yes yes I did.  School is going awesome, and it's a ton of work, reading, writing, etc.  Much like I imagined it to be.  Surprisingly, I am adjusting better than I expected.  However, the more research I do about marathon training and specifically heart rate training, I realize that my endurance is not where I want it to be for a go at 26.2 miles.  I'm sure the race would go fine, and probably better than my last two injury fests, but I want to really knock it out of the park, and I don't think a quick 5 week schedule crammed in to heavy study sessions is going to do the trick.

Instead, I'm taking on my back up plan race of the Fargo FM half on October 8th.  The course is super flat, and should be nice and chilly.  I love the half marathon distance, sand that's what I'm most prepared to run, so that's what I'll do.  And then because halfs don't destroy your body like fulls do, I can still run some fun local races in October before the blizzards arrive.  :)

And shockingly, I plan to employ a standard length of marathon training for my spring race:  my 2nd go at the Green Bay Marathon!  And during the frigid winter months leading up to that training program, I will be working my tushy off with heart rate training to get my endurance where it needs to be.  #yaycloud

Ok, on to the bama recap. :)

I arrived in Birmingham, AL on August 17th, and met some of my cohortians at the airport.  (There are 43 of us in my incoming class).  A shuttle took us to our hotels in Tuscaloosa, and we got to see some of the horrific tornado damage.  Interesting fun fact:  I got my acceptance email an hour before the tornado hit, so I was glued to my tv as if it was "my" home being undertaken by storms.  Yikes.  We went to the nearby restaurant/bar to meet some of the other students and professors.

Thursday morning orientation started bright and early and it was go go go for about 12 hours.  There was a ton of information to cram in to our nerdy brains.  I kept finding myself analyzing the group, particularly in terms of introvert tendencies.  Typically in the librarian profession, you see a high number of introverted individuals, and orientation was true to form.  It was interesting to see people need to take breaks from interacting with people to "recharge" and people that would need to move on from group conversations when the group became too large, and thus unmanageble for them. :)

I guess the next two days were fairly similar to the first two, with lots of information thrown at us.  We did get to have a night out on "the strip" where we all felt like old farts compared to the little 21 year olds.  I managed to take a sweet photo ID pic, and then the worst photo of all time for our cohort "directory."  I'll have to share that on a day that someone needs a major laugh. :)

So enjoy the random pictures from the weekend.  I left my camera batter charger at home, so I had my cell to take pictures with.  I whined about this 1200x.

running + tuscaloosa..... yayzies
Gorgas Library. Pretty, right?
Denny Chimes.

Cool tinman sculpture.

roll tide!

Denny Chimes from the Gorgas Library steps.
Sweet library/harry potter shirt?  check!
Librarian cardigan?  check!
Bama pride?  check!
Sweet ID pic.  aka I WIN AT LIFE.

Surrounding the Denny chimes are the captains names, hand prints, and cleat prints.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


ZOMG IT'S RACE WEEK!  Cue intense race nerves immediately.

I had some great race prep this past weekend, starting with my final long run of 12 miles, with the last 3 at race pace.  My overall pace (with the race pace miles) was much lower, running by heart rate, and there were times when I had to slooooooooooooooow myself down.  The three race pace miles were challenging, but the run was SUCH a mental boost.  I definitely needed that after my flopasaurus tempo run.

I did 12 miles in 1:49:25 for a pace of 9:08.  My race pace miles were 8:18, 8:27, 8:23.
Average heart rate:  162.

Saturday Aaron and I took the race route by storm on our bikes.  The route is the same as last year, but that means it's completely different from the previous years due to construction.  It's definitely a lot more challenging, as the first 9 mile are rolling hills (as much as you can call something a hill in SoDak) and then the last 4 miles are pretty pancake flat.  The ride helped me mentally strategize what the plan for race day will be. 

I had a surprise waiting in my mailbox last weekend:  A CD with all the images from my "photo shoot" from May!!!  I didn't realize there were more photos than the ones my photog friend Kathryn had posted on facebook.  I seriously LOVE THEM.  If I put in the effort with my looks, at best I think I can pull off cute.  I'm not complaining, good enough for me.  Turns out Kathryn can make you look (and feel) gorgeous, in front of the camera, so that's neat.  Who doesn't like to play pretty pretty princess for the day??