Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hot Chocolate 15k

Hot Chocolate 15K
Chip time: 1:31:35
367 of 1154 in age group
TL - Me, Faith & Andrea post-race with adorable mug blow up
BR: Ladies from the Where's The Finish FB group pre-race

Andrea, Faith and I took a girls' trip to the big city to run the Hot Chocolate 15K. This was the first time for this event in Atlanta, although it is a huge race in other cities with as many as 20,000 people combined for both the 5K and 15K. The Atlanta event appeared to have about 7500 people in total. It was the biggest race I had ever attended. I cannot imagine the 20,000 or more I'll be running with at the Princess Half in February.

The Expo
The expo was small and well organized. Navigating downtown Atlanta and paying a fortune to park for 30 minutes sucked. The good people at Publix had a booth promoting, "Europe's Alternative to Peanut Butter" - Biscoff Spread. If you've ever flown Delta or Air Tran, Biscoff cookies are certainly the best part of the flight. I wasn't sure what to expect from Biscoff spread, but seriously I have eaten a quarter of a jar with just a spoon. The chunky spread has cookie crumbles in it. If you like Biscoff cookies, you'll love this spread.

We got great tech sweatshirts (although a bit small) as a part of our race SWAG and for some unknown reason they gave me a tech hat, which I really love. I'm guessing it was because I used a code when I registered, or maybe they thought I'd look super cute in it.

The Race
January in the South is pretty unpredictable. But I don't think anyone thought that we'd be running in tank tops and skirts on January 13. It was at least 65 degrees at 6a and 70 by race time with 80% humidity. Thank goodness it wasn't sunny. I don't mind weather like this in April or May. I'm just not ready for it in January.

We had to be parked in the parking lot by 6:30a. This was almost as difficult as the race itself. After navigating the road closures we got the space we had to pre-pay $10 for. We planned the best we could for this craziness and it all worked out in the end.

Pre-race festivities included a very loud, obnoxious DJ who was trying to get people to Zumba. I don't want to Zumba - not at 6:30a, not ever. We met up with a few girls from our Facebook group pre-run. It is always great to meet in person. Our pre-run pic made us look like zombies. I kinda felt like one at that point.

I learned an important lesson about bringing toilet paper with you. I was able to jump the line and pee before the run because I brought my own.

The course was tough. Very hilly. I was a bit intimidated by it just looking at the elevation map. Running it was another story. It certainly felt like it was all up hill with the exception of the last .3 miles. I was keeping a 9 minute pace through mile six. I was feeling great. I got some Gatorade at the four mile mark, which wasn't planned. I had thought I could wait until mile six and take a gel prior to the the station and be golden. The humidity made stops at every station from mile four on necessary.

At mile seven everything fell apart. My IT band became incredibly painful. I had a choice to make - either push through the pain, knowing it would all be over in 30 minutes or pull back, walk some on the last three miles and hopefully still be able to run in my half on Saturday. I chose to pull back and watched my pace crap out for the last three miles.

I really wanted to run a sub-1:30. It didn't happen, but I feel like my knee was saved for the real goal of my half this weekend.

Monday, January 14, 2013

IT Bands Suck

Week 12: First Half Marathon Training
Goal Total Miles: 23 miles
Actual Total Miles: 20 miles

Yep. Short. No excuses. Just short.

Ok, one excuse. After that awesome long run last week with the pink ladies I couldn't walk on Monday. Yes, I was a bit sore on Sunday after my run, but on Monday it was seriously sore. My week consisted of - rolling, icing, compressing, elevating, stretching and Advil-ing.

By mid-week I was able to put together three short runs at best. I babied my knee so I could run the Hot Chocolate 15k in Atlanta on Saturday. I ran. I didn't run well, but I did run. I'll post a full recap in a couple of days, but needless to say I can say I crossed the finish line without blowing out my knee. I guess that's what you call success.

I really don't know where my running mojo has gone. I think it might be nerves more than anything. Running has really become a mental challenge for me lately. I need to embrace this as a test - a mental exercise.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

MoJo Go Go

Week 11: Half Marathon Training
Goal Total Miles: 24 miles
Actual Total Miles: 27 miles

Well, I think I may have made up those 3 miles I slacked off on two weeks ago. That makes me feel better. I'm not sure why, but it does.

This week I lost my running mojo. I started the new year off right with a commitment 10k New Year's morning with 10 other local runners. I even ran with the boys for miles three to five. I held my own even if I couldn't keep up with their pace at the end. I secretly think they sped up so a girl wouldn't beat them. :)

But my scheduled runs on Thursday and Friday were absolutely torture for me. I put them both off until the last possible second - as in there's only 45 minutes worth of daylight left so you better put your shoes on and get to it. I hated every moment of both of those runs. I just didn't want to do it, but I did. I tell you, my running mojo has a way of leaving just when it is needed the most.

Sunday's long run was a lot of fun with four ladies, all dressed in some form of pink, which was totally unplanned. Twelve miles at a 9:38 pace is a new record for me. I'm hopeful that I will be able to pull out an even faster pace for my race next week. But I can't count on any pace right now thanks to a very unhappy right knee. Yep, the whole run on Sunday my knee was angry with me. It felt like my knee strap that I continue to wear after fighting through runner's knee earlier this year was rubbing the outside of my knee in a weird place. Somewhere between miles nine and twelve, I either stopped thinking about it or it was numb.

Monday morning was not fun. I was really uncomfortable. My research says it is probably an IT Band issue. I do have pain sometimes in my right hip/bum area and this pain is on the outside of my knee, hurting more when I go downstairs instead of up. Perfect timing for an injury with a 15K coming up this Sunday and a half the next Saturday.

I've been RICEing and rolling the heck out of it to see if it will help. I've seen some improvement between Sunday and today (Tuesday). I did take the day off today and I will attempt to run on it tomorrow morning or afternoon. Fingers and toes crossed I'll be functional tomorrow.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Last Long Run of 2012

Week 10: Half Marathon Training
The fearless threesome at mile seven.
Goal Total Miles: 23 miles
Actual Total Miles: 24 miles

I'm slowly but surely making up those five miles I missed in Week 8. So far so good with my new Garmin 410. I had a little trouble getting it set up for my first run, but it was total user error and not a problem with the watch itself. While I have no idea what I'm supposed to be watching for when it comes to my heart rate, it is an interesting piece of data to have and a nice way to track how many of those Christmas calories I'm burning.

This week's long run was a threesome for the first seven miles. Faith, my 5k partner in crime, is training for the Princess Half and she is up to seven miles on her long run. It was awesome to have an extra on our route, despite the crazy cold wind that was blowing at 20 mph. Those last three miles with the wind in my face were not fun, but as Andrea often reminds me, "you can't control the weather on race day." Well, I've practiced in the wind now.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Ho! Ho! Ho!
I was one of those annoying kids who woke my parents up crazy early every Christmas. I'm sure they hated me.

As an adult without children, I enjoyed sleeping in on Christmas morning and then I treated myself to a quiet run throughout the neighborhood.

I loved seeing all the surprises Santa had delivered while I was catching some extra Zs. In my brief four mile loop I saw a trampoline, an awesome purple bike and a dad and daughter doing a little target practice with a new bow and arrow. I had a number of Christmas surprises in my lifetime. Probably one of the best was when I was four or five and I received my first puppy, in a basket, with a bow - a dachshund that I named Ginger.

This year, Santa brought me a Garmin Forerunner 410 with a heart rate monitor. I'm pretty psyched to upgrade from my MotoActv, which has decided to have an attitude lately and add a heart rate monitor into the mix of data. I think I read hundreds of reviews about the 410 before making a decision. You know, sometimes too much information is a bad thing. Some people love the touch bezel while others thought it was the dumbest thing ever created. I came to the conclusion that the touch bezel wasn't that big of a deal for me and if I hated it, I'd send it back. This review was a huge help for me in choosing the right watch for me.

And while I've not written a movie review recently, we've been seeing films like they are going out of style. I think for the first time we won't be scrambling to see a film when the Oscar nominations come out in January.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Let's Go Pats!

Week 9: Half Marathon Training
Goal Total Miles: 18 miles
Let's Go Pats!
Actual Total Miles: 19 miles

Well, I made up a mile this week on last week's total. I thought I'd be able to make up a few more since this was a scheduled low mileage week, but travel plans and work commitments prevented this. C'est la vie.

I love football. High school football, college football, pro football - I love it all. I love good defense. I love hard hits. I love seeing the QB sacked - well, anyone other than Tom Brady. That's right, we're Patriots fans. The husband is from Boston, so it's expected. 

We took a weekend road trip to see the Pats play the Jacksonville Jaguars. Without actual tickets to the game, we figured we could easily find a couple of great seats by trolling the tailgating area. It took an hour or so, but we managed to find a nice lady trying to get rid of a couple of awesome seats. 

I cheered on handsome Tommy and the poorly performing Patriots defense to a down-to-the-wire victory drinking a couple of fancy liquor drinks out of plastic mason jars. Cute, right? 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

It's a Long Run, Charlie Brown

It's a Nativity, Charlie Brown
A mid-week long run was necessary this week to get one in the books. It was supposed to be a short mileage week with the longest run being six miles, but I think the long runs are important no matter what that piece of paper says. I'm lucky enough to have a very flexible work schedule, so running for a couple of hours on a Thursday is doable. Andrea and I normally run throughout downtown on Saturday or Sunday -  so we weren't ready for busy traffic throughout the entire route.

My new running friend, Jackie, joined us for the first half of our run and was attempting to tackle her longest run to date - six miles. We see her occasionally on the back half of our route, but this time she started with us and did great. Not only did she kill those six miles, she ran at a faster pace than she ever had.

Jackie's house is right along our normal route, so when we dropped her off we noticed her neighbor had a huge wooden cut out of the nativity with Charlie Brown characters. Absolutely the most unique holiday decorations I've seen all season. Here I am with Charlie as Joseph.