Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pug Bestie

This weekend Kyle and I move all of my belongings in to our new place.  And it should be noted that my mom spent a solid 8 hours moving, packing, and cleaning, and she is a BEAST.  My mom is better than your mom.  FYI.  I would also like to note that while Kyle and I were able to move things on Sunday after attending a very fun wedding between his classmates, it is ill advised to move while hungover.  We're talking.... ill advised.  At one point, we created a nest on the living room floor and curled up for cat naps.  Oy.

One of the goals and reasons behind the move was to find a pug-friendly home for future pug bestie.  Tentative timeline on this goal was August.  Give us some time to get settled.  Get through the craziness of summer classes (fyi, I learned that my classes go from 6-10:15 and not just 10 last night... that was a fun surprise).  Jerbear gets sleeeeepy that late.

Since I had "a plan" it should come as no surprise that my mom emailed me last week with an "OMG" subject line.  Yes, I am my mother's daughter, why do you ask?  There was a student's mom (she's a teacher) who was looking for a home for a pug they had taken in a few months ago, and would I like it?  Within 10 minutes of me saying, yes I may be interested, my mother had photos uploaded for me to peruse.  Seriously... efficient. And she knows I'm impatient.... so yeah.

According to the vet, she's 6-7 years old, and could stand to lose some L-Bs.  I set up a date to go visit her on Monday night.  My mom said she was super friendly, but I wanted to make sure she was ok around males too, as her history is somewhat unknown.  We arrived and she was itching to get out of her pen.  As soon as she was loose, she took off like a rocket.  I thought pugs were supposed to be lazy??!  After she got that out of her system, we got to play.  She had to get attention from everyone in the group, and then when she realized I was going to give her the MOST attention, she parked her curly tailed butt in my lap and stood as my guard dog against the rest of the pups on the property.  MINE, she said (if she could talk).

Pug pick up will occur this weekend or next depending on if our weekend fishing trip plans go through or not.  Be prepared for an onslought of puggy pics.

Currently her name is Fancy, but she doesn't seem to "know" that's her name, and I'm not thrilled with it.  Any suggestions?  We spent the drive home throwing around ideas, but I'm not 100% sold on any yet.

Best puggy name.... and go!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Race Report: Green Bay Half Marathon

If you follow me on twitter, you know that Green Bay race weekend was a great one.  Hard not to have a good time in Titletown!  All week long we heard about how hot it was going to be.  I waited until the day before the race to really decide my "game plan."  Jenn and I took off for a shake out run at about 11am on Saturday.  We had to stop and walk a couple of times because the heat+humidity+awesome cold she gave me (and still had herself) was making breathing impossible.  This should be fun.....

Race morning arrived and Jenn and I jogged the quarter of a mile to the race start.  Convenient hotel location FTW.  We found the super secret stadium bathrooms with no line, and were a little concerned when we realized we were sweating while peeing.  Uh.... it's already warm.  At this point, my A goal was a mid 1:50s.  I thought I could run about sub 2 pace for the first 7 miles, and perhaps kick it up to 8:30s the last 10k.  Jenn and I finally found each other at the start line after someone needed another emergency bathroom run, shocker, and set off!


From the get go Jenn took off.  She always starts aggressively, and I never start aggressively enough, so I guess this should've been a given, but I was intent on starting easy, because I knew the heat was going to add its own element of difficulty.  Seeing where my heart rate was at a 9 minute pace, made me realize that my A goal should probably be sub 2, if I was lucky.  I had fun weaving in and out of the Green Bay neighborhoods, chatting it up with the runners around me.  Around mile 1.5 I saw Jenn, and she said that sub 9 pace wasn't happening.  Truth, sistah.  I kept running and feeling good for the first few miles.  I made sure to grab a cup of water to drink and a cup of water to dump on my head to cool me off.  My super cute green sunglasses that I wore all through the Brookings half last weekend with no problem?  They sweated off my nose four and a half minutes in to the race.  So I got the treasure of carrying those along with me.

The first four miles were pretty fun because they were fairly shaded and, heck, we'd only been running for 4 miles.  But I saw more people walking at the 5k mark than I ever have in a race before.
1.  9:07
2.  9:07
3.  9:01
4.  9:11

I first realized that sub 2 probably wasn't likely when I hit the water stop after mile 4.  The crowds of runners were swarming the table.  The volunteers were frantically trying to fill more and more water for the runners.  I had to stop to get my place in line to grab some water.  New goal:  have fun!  I started to get roasty, and all of that shade that I swore was along the first 11 miles two years ago.... was gone.  I kept a pretty consistent 9:10-9:20 pace to the end (while running), but I started walking through the water stops to try to get my heart rate down a bit each mile.  Granted my pace was quite a bit slower than it was last weekend, my heart rate was just as high.  45 degrees, meet 80 degrees. :)
5.  9:38
6.  9:38
7.  9:49
8.  9:18 (clearly no water stop)

We went through some super cool neighborhoods and managed to find some hills (anything is a hill for this flatland girl) to give some variety.  The volunteers that were handing out cups of ice quickly became my new heroes.  Along with the dude who picked up my sunglasses when they fell.  And the folks who were outside with hoses, sprinklers, super soakers, etc.  In case you were curious where my extra .05 came from, I hit every shower/sprinkler/hose I could.

Normally when I run a race, if I see a race spectator or runner with Packers gear on, I'll yell out "go pack go!" when I see them, since it's fairly rare where I'm from (everyone is a Vikings fan, poor souls....) and I love the Green Bay race because EVERYONE is decked out.  Wheeeee!  Feels like I'm with family.

9.  9:34
10.  10:47 (bano break)

Sometime during mile ten I thought I needed to take a pit stop and some portapotties appeared.  I figured it was a sign.  I wasted about a minute there, which is pretty efficient imo, and was on my way. It started to get pretty brutal here.  Seems that the earlier miles were shaded compared to this.  Also the sun was up enough that we were running in to it for what seemed like long stretches.  During the final 4 miles, I actually walked 2x that weren't during the aid stations because I thought I was cooking from the outside in.  (How do you like your Jerbear?  Medium rare?)  I even walked a smidge during mile 13!  Seeing people on the side of the road with their eyes rolled back, and ice packs on their chest really freaked me out.....

I kept thinking that I wish we were running through Lambeau Field again, because that would get me to the finish line sooner.  I tried to pick up the pace the last 1/2 mile, but my legs weren't having it.  I finally found a "kick" of sorts with a quarter of a mile to go.

11. 9:59
12.  9:52
13.  9:53
.15 1:06 (6:37 pace, so yeah I guess I found a small kick...)

13.15 miles in 2:06:05 for a pace of 9:38.  Interestingly enough, my first full marathon time (and still PR) in Green Bay was the EXACT SAME PACE.  Actually a smidge faster at 4:12.

When I finished I was shocked at how full the medical tent was.  It was scary.  I scanned the crowds for Jenn, but didn't know if she had passed me while I was in the bathroom.  Finally I found her and we set out to find AR.  Shortly after our reunion they announced that the race was cancelled due to the heat and humidity.  I immediately started tearing up, because I felt so bad for everyone that had trained their butts off, not to get to finish.  But it was totally necessary.  If the medical tent was that packed at 2 hours, where you'd assume most half marathoners at that pace are reasonably fit, I can't imagine what the people that still had 2-4 hours to go were feeling.

I'll be back for 26.2 next year, and can't wait to run through Lambeau Field again.  Hopefully after another Green Bay Packers Super Bowl Win!

Oiselle Totally Trials Entry

Susan and I stayed up late last night, burning the midnight oil to complete our Oiselle Totally Trials Entry.    And by that, I mean that I zonked out on the couch, 1380 miles away, 10 minutes before Susan finished her amazing editing job to bring you this beauty.  While Susan is a pro at these things, I'm certainly a rookie.  Awkwardly adorable.... can we make that a thing?  :/  Mmmmm ok!

Please visit Susan's page for the full awesomeness.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Go Go Gadget 100 Miles

I have a tendency to dream big and fall short on the execution.  Or maybe I just get scared of my goals and quit rather than fail.  Either isn’t opportune, I realize.
One of the goals I set for myself in 2012 was to run 100 miles each month.  For the most part, this isn’t a “tough” goal.  Looking back over my training log the last 3 years, I typically nail 100 mile months ¾ of the time.  My main months that I struggle are May (typically marathon month, thus usually broken recovery month), June (dear God, I’m actually sweating out of my eyeballs, running blows, I’m taking up backgammon), and December (I’m wearing so many layers and the ground is covered with so much snow+ice that I can’t possible run further or faster than 2 miles in 30:00/mile pace). 
Since I was running two half marathons this month instead of a marathon, thus lowering my chances of being broken, I didn’t think it’d be a big deal.  Until I had the calf knot from hell the beginning of the month, which took me out of commission for almost a week (and I must’ve been lazy for at least a day or two in there, because I literally have 7 days where there was 0 miles ran, 40 miles biked, but 0 ran… :/).  And then you take it somewhat easy race week, 2-3 mile shake out.  After Brookings my IT bands were pretty tore up, so it took me until Wednesday to get in a run (that hurt), and then a nice shake out (and by nice I mean 95 degrees at 11am with Jenn, where we had to take WALK BREAKS on our 2 mile shake out because the humidity was so thick and we were both so sick that ZOMG WE CAN’T BREATHE.  No, the amount we drank at Curly’s Pub surely had nothing to do with this) the day before Green Bay. 
Luckily I feel free good post-race Green Bay, but now I ZOMG have to move my whole apartment this weekend and start classes next Tuesday!  I strategized a rough plan that should get me to 100 miles, and I will be trying my damndest to meet it.
Plan as follows:
Tuesday 2-3 (3 slooooooooooooow. Like I could’ve walk/ran faster probably.  Heat+wind, eat my hiney.)
Wednesday 6-7 (7.  Again, pretty darn slow.  I figure that running by HR is probably the best bet since I’m recovering from two races, and I’m guessing GB’s half took more out of me than I realize …uh race report STILL to come… promise).
Thursday 5 (2.5.  Had make up trial run for a wedding I’m a bridesmaid in August.  I looked gorg.  I also gorged on all the foods forgetting I had to run.  I pretty much walked the last 1.25 with some run breaks thrown in until my dinner was in my throat… pretty).
Friday 10
Saturday rest (moving!)
Sunday 7-8 (moving+wedding Saturday night *cough potential hangover cough* could really hinder this one).
Monday 10
Tuesday 2-3 (quick run in between work and class)
Wednesday 10. 
Looks challenging but not so much so that I’m terrified of it, which is probably the perfect amount of challenge (as I’m learning about myself).  Plus there’s some room for a double day of 2-4 miles if necessary.  So now that I’ve put this out there in the interwebz, I am accountable for my actions!  Yell at me via twitter when I’m whining that I’m tired, hungover, trapped in a box whilst unpacking (why I’d be trapped in there with my cell phone is beyond me…).

And I'm sorry, but could I have been anymore of an eyesore for the Brookings half?  Sweet Louisiana.... which way is the rave?!?!

Glad Ryan's got my back. (source)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Destination Race Oversight

This past weekend I traveled to Green Bay WI to run the Cellcom Green Bay half marathon.  In case you haven't heard, the race was called off early because of the heat.  While I finished before the cut off (race report to come soon), you may all understand that I have a bit of a "sweating problem" (read that in the Chris Farley air quote manner, plz).  Well that "sweating problem" is exasperated by the extreme heat and humidity.

Being the smart packer I am, I retired my used running gear to my gear check bag post-race so my none running clothes wouldn't get sweaty/stinky because of close approximation.  To say they were drenched would be an understatement.  However, being the un-smart (or just overly tired traveler by the time I got home) I forgot to REMOVE THE CLOTHES FROM SAID BAG.  Those suckers have been left to marinate in there for approximately 56 hours.... and marinate they did.  I just started unpacking my suitcase and almost died.

And thus ends story time with Jerbear.

(trust me, you don't want anymore of a close up than this. also, I changed in to this shirt, and still sweated through it because I was that hot..... be jealous...)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fall Race Plans

My brain is an interesting place.  I would say one of my best qualities is that I’m able to think things through thoroughly, and very quickly.  Give me an issue or problem, I’m able to give you 6 solutions, and rank them in order of best to worst, offering up the negatives and positives that caused them to be ranked in such a way.  Because of this thinking process (or over-thinking process, as is probably more accurate), I sometimes have a tough time making decisions.
For the couple of weeks leading up to the Brookings half marathon, I started to enjoy running again.  And after the race, that only got stronger.  So much so that I started to think about the fall and what my plan was.
Just for fun, I’d like to take you through the hours long thought process that I endured.
Known Items
September 9, 2012.I will run the Sioux Falls half marathon (8th consecutive year).  I will be doing it for completion vs. racing because the race director confirmed via email that the course route will still be jacked up for construction this season.  I value my IT bands, no thanks.
October 14, 2012.  I will run the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco with my running besties.  Since the course is hilly as I’d imagine hell to be, it’ll definitely be a race to do vs to race.
Unknown Items
Do I want to race a full marathon in the fall?
Do I want to race a half marathon in the fall?
I want to race a full marathon if it’s somewhat close to home (aka driveable), low in cost (splitting a hotel room, shacking up with a friend), cool weather, and provides me enough time to recover to complete NWM, or is enough time after NWM to be recovered for.
Just a few variables.
I made my way over to knowing I’d need to find something in early to mid-September (barf) or November.  Shockingly, there are no races around here in November.  Lame.  As long as there’s no ice on the ground, I almost thinking racing in a blizzard would be awesome.
9/15/12 Northface Endurance marathon in Madison, WI.
A quick tweet to Krista confirmed that this is a trail race.  EEP!  For 6 seconds I pondered the 50k trail option.  Then removed it from the list.
9/15/12 Walker North Country marathon in Walker, MN.
I used to go on vacation up here, and it is g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s.  Plus it’s NORTHERN Minnesota, so it’s gotta be cooler for mid-September right?  Plus, there’s good fishing (Kyle: 1).  Upon further inspection, the 6 hour drive seemed slightly long, but the 9am start time sealed the deal.  GROSS.  Also, I learned that approx. 5 miles of the course is on paved routes, the rest is on gravel, dirt, grass, etc.  26.2 miles is hard enough thankyouverymuch.
9/15/12 Bismarck Marathon.  North Dakota is flat right?  7:30am start time, not bad… 7 hour drive… barf.  NORTH Dakota= cold, right?  Possibility.  And then I realized I don’t really have a desire to run in ND again unless it’s flat Fargo, and a review of the course map revealed 2 giant MOUNTAINS* in the course profile.
9/23/12 Fox Cities marathon, Appleton, WI.  7am race start.  I heart Wisconsin. Could probably convince Kyle to come and turn it in to a fishing trip.  Contender.
9/23/12 Omaha Marathon, Omaha NE. 7am race start, 3 hour drive.  Cheap/free lodging at Chez Niki.  Hilly-ish course.  Possibly close enough for my family to come spectate.  Could be hot, but will be training all summer long in extreme heat, so maybe it’d be ok.  I think we have a winner.
Then I went back to if I wanted to actually race a full this year, or if I should seek out a half to finally get sub 1:50 on (yes, I’m beginning to think it’ll never happen either….. join the club).
9.1.12 Clear Lake IA
9.2.12 Green Lake WI
9.2.12 Storm Lake IA
9.29.12 Grand Forks ND
Meh.  Nothing really stood out.  I also have a rule** that I don’t spend more time driving to a race than I’d spend running it.
So Omaha it is.  I told Kyle before bed that was my plan.  No general fanfare, but still excited that I’m excited to train for one again (hi this early spring was mis-er-a-ble!).  And then I wake up to see that my brother and sister-in-law bought a new home in Dallas!
And all previous plans were thrown out the window.
Originally I had planned to do Dallas White Rock because I :
a)      Don’t have to train through the summer.
b)      Know late November/early December is IDEAL race temps for sweaty Jerbear
c)       Need to meet my precious baby niece, Harper.
But the $400-500 flight+race fee+hotel costs were putting it out of my price range.
So after all of that thought and careful consideration, one small change helps me get my way and do the race I originally wanted to do.  Ahhhh I love when life caters to my selfish ways. J
*possible exaggeration.
**often broken, but still.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Race Report: Brookings Half Marathon

After approximately 45 minutes of sleep Friday night, it was somehow already time to wake up for half marathon #14!  Let me be the first to give you a tip:  traveling on multiple flights from the other side of the world will likely give you some sort of bug to fight off.  Said bug will take form in 5 minute long sneezing and coughing fits.  Do not plan to sleep next to this friend, you will not sleep.  At 2:15am after not yet sleeping, I ran downstairs to hit the couch, only to still be kept up by the sneezing and coughing fits.  She's lucky I love her (and that I got decent sleep Thursday night!).  Still can't believe she got sick to take the focus off of me and my PR attempt for the weekend....... bahahahah (our running joke for the weekend......)

I don't function well off no sleep, so when it was time to get up, I thought I had oodles of time to get ready.  Turns out we didn't.  Per usual my stomach was really wonky, and I found myself waiting in line for the portapotties for the 3rd time (4th time?) as the star spangled banner was being sung.  After finishing up, I couldn't find the bag drop, and then couldn't find Megan's family to give my bag to for safe keeping.  Once I finally found them, stupid me forgot to retrieve my GU gels from the pocket of the sweatshirt I was wearing.  A fact I realized about 3 minutes in to the race.  Harumph.

I ran to the start (warm up!) and nestled myself between the 8 and 9 min. signs.  Said 3 cheers to the running gods for the gorgeous weather, and I was off!  My race plan was to take the first 6 miles fairly easy, so that I'd only have to run h-a-r-d for the last 7.  When I told Jenn my race plan, she thought it sounded good, but she warned me not to freak out if I was faster than that but my HR was still conservative.  I kept hearing her advice for the first few miles.  Because it was delightfully 40 degrees, my heart was barely working, and my legs were flying.  Miles 1-3 I planned to run around 8:45.

1. 8:40
2. 8:30
3. 8:50

During the 2nd and 3rd miles, I made some new friends while chatting it up with some people.  I was looking for some people to pace off of, and ended up striking up convos with some running buddies.  One guy was running the marathon, and was quick to tell me that "this is not a hill!" when I jokingly said "here we go guys, this is the big one!" while going up a very small and slight incline (Brookings is known for being pretty flat).  Later I found some guys who agreed that they would carry me across the finish line if I died along the way because I was GU-less (me, overly dramatic??  nooooooooooooo.).  They were willing to do it for only a beer.  Nice chaps.

After realizing I didn't have any GU I figured I'd just run as hard as I could and see what happened.  Never know unless you try right?  Miles 4-6 were supposed to be 8:35 pace.  There were a couple of long gradual slight inclines that slowed me down a bit, but I had a bit of time banked up from my faster than planned race start.  Wheeeeeeeeeeeee running is fun!

4. 8:32
5. 8:48
6. 8:40
Mile 7 I started to feel just a smidge tired, which makes sense because I usually GU around 45 minutes, so that's about when it'd be taking effect.  I was hoping I'd either see Megan's family to get a GU or find a discarded one dropped on the ground (yes, I was looking like a hawk!).  I was also drinking powerade at the aid stations instead of water in hopes that would give me a little boost.  While simultaneously praying to the running gods that it wouldn't destroy my always too sensitive stomach.  :P

I finally turned on my music at mile 7, since I was feeling tired, and knew it was time to "pick it up."  I saw Megan's little sister around here, and she said she'd try to find me some fuel before she saw me next.  I thought if I could see her by mile 9 maybe I could pull of a skin of my teeth PR, but when mile 9 came and went I realized it was probably not possible anymore.  In shockingly un-Jeri-like fashion, I didn't throw in the towel.  Just keeeeeeeeeep swimming.  :)

Around mile 9.5 there was this crazy sharp incline through a park, that I felt like I was crawling up.  Of course Kyle and his parents were there cheering and snapping pics, I'm sure those pictures will be great.  Once I got to the top of the "hill" I couldn't even thunder down the other side, since running hard downhill causes my IT bands to seize.  Womp womp.  My goal pace through these miles was 8:25... uh... not so much. :)

7. 8:32
8. 8:50
9. 8:29
10. 9:14
Finally around 11.5 I saw Megan's little sister, and told her I loved her when she handed me some sport beans.  I took a couple, and just tried to focus on picking off people in front of me and not getting passed.  At mile 11 we went away from the finish line, and it was the only part of the race I didn't enjoy.  For one, I was tired, for two, the sun had come up and we were running right in to it, on the most gradual incline.  Barf.  My legs would not go any faster.  I just kept telling myself that once I got to the top, I got to turn around and hammer down it to the finish.  The few girls that scooted by me had bulls eyes on their backs for mile 13.  ;)  I picked it up as much as I could the final 1.5 miles and kept calculating my remaining running time based on an 8 minute pace (spoiler alert, I wasn't running an 8 minute pace, but whatever my brain seemed to think I was).

As I rounded the corner to the finish line, I heard the announcer say, "and coming to the finish line is # (whatever I was) Jeri _____ finishing half marathon #14, with #15 coming next weekend in Green Bay.  GO PACK GO!"  I threw up some fist pumps, and then realized I should not waste any energy.  :)

11. 8:46
12. 9:21
13. 8:31
.17 1:17 (7:26 pace)

My final time was a 1:55:07 which is my 5th fastest time, I think, but one of my best races mentally.
Average HR 171
Max HR 205

Field Placement:128 / 347 (36.9%)
Age group:25 – 29
Group Placement:6 / 41 (14.6%)
Gender Placement:43 / 204 (21.1%)

Since I'm feeling pretty good post-race (who am I, right???), I'm hoping that I can be recovered by this weekend and maybe take another crack at my race plan.  It's supposed to be a much warmer day, but it's worth a shot. 

Also, any race weekend spent with these girls is guaranteed to be a great one, PR or not.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

It's Race Week Bitches

This may or may not have been an email subject to Megan and Jenn already this week.  :)

The countdown to race weekend is on.  But more importantly, runner bffdome and post-race celebration.  Once upon a time this weekend was sub 4 or hang up your running shoes, then it was ZOMG half marathon PR, now it's.... hmmmm.

The last few weeks I've done some decent speedwork to try to give myself an idea where I was at speed-wise for this race.  Unfortunately, almost all of these speed workouts were done with the addition of heat and/or humidity and/or wind.  Great extra training elements, not so great in helping me determine where I'm at.  After missing slash skipping my long run this weekend because I just could not bring myself to run 2 hours in 40 mph winds, I resigned to the fact that this weekend would not be a sub 1:50 PR party, glitter unicorn fart fest.

Monday I got to thinking about what my race strategy was going to be, mostly because Kyle's parents are coming to spectate and I wanted to give them good time estimations of where I was going to be on the race route.  I wrote down some times, breaking up the race in to 4 sections, progressively getting faster, and it seemed doable.  When I added up those times I realized it was only about 21 seconds off of my current PR.  Hmmm.

And then checking the weather, it was going to be in the 40s at the 7am start time.  Hmm....  flat course.  Hmmm....  Mental edge is rearing its head again me thinks.

We're going to ignore the fact that hours after having this a-ha! moment I started getting intense shin pain, making me realize that I had the world's worst knot in my left calf, and the world's second worst knot in my right calf.  Insert panic attack here.  Fast forward 72 hours of excessive foam rolling, biofreezing, allowing Kyle to take the rolling pin to my legs while I scream in to a pillow (I'm sure my neighbors think I'm quite the catch now), stretching, downward dogging, compression sleeving, crying, and they seem to be out, for the most part.  98% is a whole host better than they were on Monday.

So we'll see how things shake out on Saturday.  I think a 1:50-1:53 finish is likely, and that would put me at a top 3 all time race finish time.  Most importantly I'd like to keep my focus and not give up because it hurts, it's hard, or whatever lame excuse my brain tries to throw at me.  My brain is a whiny brat some times.

Post-race mimosas have already been obtained, so it's essential that these legs give me something to celebrate!

And just for funsies, here's a sweet pic of Jenn and Megan after dinner last night.  We grabbed a quick bite to eat after snagging Jenn from the airport (naturally, she looked cuter than me after 40 hours of traveling, good thing I heart her....), and before dropping me off at my car, we had to make sure race day outfit coordination was a go.  Why wouldn't you use the BK parking lot as your dressing room?  Duh.