Still Not Repaired: First Run Post-Race

Fitness and Diet

I just got in from my gym after a 22 minute jog on the treadmill. I had to stop after two miles when my quads started sharply hurting. It seems that my need for sleep lately may be because I’m still recovering from the 13.1 last weekend! My plan this week is to get another massage, and try to relax as much as possible (despite the fact we’re moving this weekend, OMG!

More tales of recovery as the week progresses…

Las Vegas Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon

Fitness and Diet

I’m just two days back from the Las Vegas Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon. This was my first race of this distance, and was a belated birthday gift to myself. I’m still rather beat up from it, but I’m so glad to have done it. It was a great event.

I feel like I’m still short of time and energy to share all that went on with this event. It wasn’t just a race, because I see this as an amazing step on a long journey. I’ve fought, kicking and screaming and at times, just quiet determination, to get to where I am today. The race was a rite of passage. Even though I’ve now run a distance greater than the distance between my home town (suburb) and the nearest urban area, I feel like I now should be striving to run farther. It may be a type of insanity – or liberation (or both?)

Last year, medical issues and profound loss seriously thrashed me. This year, I picked up the pieces, got back on track with weight loss (I have lost about 130 lbs in the past 3 years), and started training for distance. This race was my celebration of accomplishments in a tangible way. For the first time in my life, I’ve reached a point where I can do something I’ve never been able to do before.

My race time was 2:15:21, which was my conservative guess time. I wanted to do faster, but at 2000 ft above sea level (Las Vegas’ elevation), I think I was having trouble getting the oxygen I needed to do so.

Other than the race, I really enjoyed the weekend in Vegas, and really enjoyed our stay at the Wynn. I indulged in a post-run spa experience, which I can only believe has made my body feel SO much better than it would have otherwise.

I’m taking the week off of exercise (maybe stretching/yoga), and plan to get back into a regular fitness routine. I, however, am done with racing til spring (I think!) I’ll keep this blog posted (for my 2 readers!)

The Last Month of Training

Fitness and Diet

I’m already less than a month from the Seattle 1/2 Marathon, and training is getting more challenging in both mileage and otherwise.

The biggest issue is getting the exposure protection handled.Salomon Women’s Fast III Jacket is a recent addition to my gear, providing some easy on/off for windy, cool mornings. It does some rain protection, but it’s not to be counted on. I’ve also (shock!) switched to my Brooks Women’s Adrenaline GTS 10 from my awesome, totally recommended Five Fingers Bikila. This is mostly due to warmth and friction, as that I’ve had some nasty little blisters form lately that have made the long runs a little hard to deal with.

Training in conventional shoes again have my knees aching a bit. Then add that I’ve started going on hills in the dark (mainly because the routes are better lit), I’m hurting a bit. My training schedule up to the race, as provided by the Runner’s World SmartCoach app on my iPhone, is as follows:

11/01-11/07
Tues 5 mi @ 11:10 pace
Thurs 4 mi @ 11:10 pace
Sun 5 mi @ 11:10 pace

11/08-11/14
Tues 3 mi @ 11:03 pace
Thurs 6 mi w/ 1 mi warm up, 4 mi @ 9:33 pace, 1 mi cooldown
Fri 2 mi @ 11:03 pace
Sun 6 mi @ 11:03 pace

11/15-11/21
Tues 2 mi @ 11:03 pace
Thurs 7 mi w/ warm up, 3x1600m (1mi) @8:56 w/ 800m (1/2 mi) jogs, cool down
Fri 2 mi @ 11:03 pace
Sun 9 mi @ 11:03 pace

11/22-RACE DAY
Tues 3 mi @ 11:10 pace
Wed 3 mi @ 11:10 pace
Thurs 5 mi w/ w/ 1 mi warm up, 3 mi @ 9:33 pace, 1 mi cooldown
Sun 13.1 mi @ 9:42 pace

Phew! I’ve got a lot to work on. I’m starting to do some work on the treadmill just when the weather is particularly awful. I’ll consider this race the end of the season for me, then it’s back to doing cardio/weights/yoga until spring!

Running in the Dark

Fitness and Diet

There is no attractive way to run in the cold, damp dark of Seattle. I’m just over a month away from the Seattle 1/2, and it’s getting chilly and wet out there, and the light is definitely not there in the morning, and won’t be there for long in the evenings after work. I have purchased my exposure protection, however, even though they all have reflective striping, they all come in fashionably dark colors, so unless the drivers are looking for Tron-like costumes, being seen is nearly impossible.

Not to mention that I’m pretty sure that NO ONE driving at 6:30am is looking for runners. They sure as heck aren’t stopping at stop signs, and even after I saw a man stop, look both ways, and nudge into the intersection, looking both ways again (and towards me), he still ended up clipping me, requiring me to place my hand on the corner of his car to scoot myself out of the way. I looked at him, he was stunned, and I yelled something like, “Stop sign, Asshole!” and jogged about two meters past, tripping, and skidding myself on the left side forward on the asphalt. I called my husband for a pick up, limping a bit, bleeding from my knuckles, hand and knee, with a few abrasions in between. My hip was deeply bruised, and I was a bit shaken up.

It’s dark and lonely, and a bit scary to run that early in the dark. I’ve noticed that my usual early morning companions have dissipated – perhaps they’re all electing to go into work a bit later. I need to find a better solution as I prepare for this race, and it turns out the best solution might be a gym membership near work, that might allow me to road-run during lunch, shower, and be back to work at a decent time. Treadmills for over an hour are dull as dirt. I did that yesterday, since the forecast was for nasty weather, and I had procrastinated towards dusk.

It’s tough. Even if I was wearing electric yellow from head to toe, I wonder if I would be seen. It’s scary out there, solo, female, cold, damp and in the dark. I’m increasingly convinced that they don’t make running gear for Northwestern runners in mind.

Issaquah Run at Salmon Days

Fitness and Diet

Last Sunday I did the Issaquah Rotary Run at Salmon Days. I completed the 10K in 57:27, according to the official chip time. This meant I was a bit slower than average, and way slower than the first place runners, but it was an awesome race, and I really enjoyed it. My pace was faster than I ran for the Livestrong Challenge 5K back in June, and the Runner’s World Smart Coach actually had me running slower for the race, so I beat what I guessed my time would be. The Smart Coach app on my iPhone is predicting a similar pace for the Seattle Half Marathon at the end of November. I laugh to think it is even remotely possible for me to sustain less than a 10 minute pace for 13.1 miles, but it doesn’t mean I won’t try!

Looking at the training schedule ahead, it’s not too crazy. My biggest fear is the waining light in the morning, as well as the rainy weather. My feet were definitely cold in the Bikilas while I was warming up for the race last Sunday. I tend to like to run with very little exposure protection because I do heat up so fast. I don’t ever understand the people who run in long pants and long sleeves on 50°F days. Granted, I’m cold when I leave the house, but all it takes is a block of running at a moderate pace and I’m plenty warm. The rain/mist is more of my concern, as well as the slick, oily roads I’ll be crossing in the morning hours. And people drive like idiots, and I wonder what good visibility will do me when most people in Seattle ignore the laws of physics (ie. just because you have the traction to go 45 mph in slick, low vis conditions, doesn’t mean you can stop easily when you absolutely have to.)

I’ve been toying with the idea of re-upping my gym membership for training on a treadmill. I know that I won’t get the kind of training I get from road running, especially locally, because any run means hill training. I’ve also been hoping to hold out in case I get hired at my current internship, because then I might get a free gym membership close to work, making mid-day runs more feasible.

I would love to find some training buddies locally. I don’t want to be ridiculously serious, but I really just want some people to share my hobby with. I’ve always been a bit of a loner, and it’s my nature. It’s something I’m thinking about, at least.

Now, to go shopping for weather related gear. It’s supposed to be a cold, wet winter. I wonder how my running will survive!

Upcoming Races, Gear and Training

Fitness and Diet

Last week I dropped about $100 just on sign-up for two races.

The first race, which I’m most excited about, is the Seattle Half Marathon. I have never attempted 13.1 miles running. I’ve walked that distance before, and I’m running 8 mi plus, now, for my longest runs, however – I’m a little excited and skeptical at the same time. Not to mention the fact that I’ll be running in late November, which means that the weather could be absolutely horrid for the adventure. Nevertheless, I’m excited, and this is going to be my birthday present to myself.

The second race I’ve signed up for is just less than a month away. This is the Issaquah Run at Salmon Days, a 10K, which is another race I’ve never done. I can easily run a 10K, and do for my interval run. I’m not the fastest, but right now, I’m focused on finishing.

This year, early on, I really wanted to run a 1/2 marathon, even before I was running 5K races. This year, I hope to have up to 1/2 marathon done, with a finisher medal or shirt or something commemorating.

The next step is to make sure I’m appropriately geared up, and trained up. I intend to keep my schedule mostly as is, and as far as gear, I’m having to run with a water bottle to make sure I’m hydrated. I’m considering also running with some easy-sugar, though I deign to see what that looks or tastes like. I’ve invested in some awesome earphones (Sennheiser Adidas PMX 680i) to go with my newly purchased Nike+ iPod Sport Kit. I am testing it out on my husband’s old Nano, with the thought of maybe upgrading to the brand new iPod Nano. I got a Marware Sportsuit Sensor Case to attach my Nike+ sensor to my Vibram Five Fingers Bikila.

I’m wondering if I will end up switching to the neoprene KSO’s for the 1/2 marathon. I’m also wondering about a proper belt solution, not to mention, a good solution for the iPod, as that clipping the new one on might work, but not so well in the rain.

I’ve got a lot of gear to consider. Visibility being something to be mindful of, as that light is waning in the mornings. I’ve got some reflective strips, but I wonder if that’s enough. People are completely stupid driving in the mornings. Stop signs seem to mean NOTHING to them.

I hoped for a longer entry – but this is what I got for now. I picked up the latest Runner’s World, and I’m glad to read it, though I’m also glad to not have a subscription. Also, Women’s Running (I think that’s the magazine I perused) is total, bird cage scraps crap. I choose my running gear based on performance, not on color (though it helps!) and the only reason I wear make up when I run is because I was at work earlier in the day and I didn’t take it off before I went for a run. I’ll save my beauty tips from Allure and Marie Claire. In a magazine for running, I want information on running. Period. While reading Runner’s World, I couldn’t help but get choked up (though this was after my long run, when endorphins were still high) – running is such a gift for me, I’m so glad I can do it. I’ll do it as long as I can.

Running in Houston

Fitness and Diet

I was in Houston for the weekend, so I left my trusty Garmin Forerunner 405CX behind in favor of my favorite, low-cost pedometer, Nike + SportBand. The idea was to get a run in, if not do an official 5K, over the weekend. I knew this was a rather obscene challenge, what with the expectations of family gatherings and oppressive heat.

Thankfully (as expected) there was a fitness center in our hotel, meaning I wouldn’t have to venture out into the heat to get my 20 minutes in. Even in air conditioning, I was dripping with sweat by the end of it. I’m grateful for the fitness center, but I have to wonder, how do people in the southern US survive to exercise during the oppressively hot months? I couldn’t tolerate running on the treadmill more than 30 minutes, even with mind-numbing TV. And seriously, I get a little wonky once I step off a treadmill after half an hour. The world doesn’t quite match with my expectations of movement.

One thing I added to my running day was a bit of light yoga – by this I mean, a few sun salutations coupled with a few transitions flowing in and out of Warrior I and II. This left me feeling good and stretched, and I still feel the muscle benefits two days later. I think I need to do more of this, as well as do some reading as the summer approaches to enhance my fitness ventures.

As always, my fitness buddy Emily is challenging me to join her in a 1/2 marathon in San Jose in August. I don’t know if my training will get me there. I wonder what will. I’m thinking the next couple weeks will be a good challenge to cough up the $85, and see where I can get to, training-wise.

Today was my 30 minute long, slow run. I’m still longing to be faster, but this was a back-off week. Here’s hoping I’ll see some speed in time for the LIVESTRONG Challenge!