Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Running Birthday to Me

Ease to 5k app diary from a year ago today
One year ago today, I started the Ease to 5k program. I'd tried to start the program using my treadmill back in September 2011 and I made it through three and a half weeks successfully before falling off the running wagon. Despite the Young and the Restless on the television and air conditioning blowing in my face, I really didn't like it.

Things changed for me when I laced up and ran outside for the first time - October 31, 2011. It wasn't so bad. Just me and my iPod and my running app touring my quiet neighborhood. I joined a challenge on My Fitness Pal - Run a 5k by New Year's Day. There were 15 to 20 of us committed to the program and we cheered each other on week to week. By New Year's Day, only two of us were left and we continue to cheer each other on daily in our workouts a year later, even though we've never met each other. 

Instead of running today, I decided to reflect on my journey.
  • I cannot believe how much progress I've made both time-wise and distance-wise since a year ago. I ran 14.5 miles on Sunday - something that I never thought I could do a year ago. 
  • My body has totally transformed. I'm down more than 20 lbs and I'm leaner all over. Do I wish I wasn't as lean as I am in the chest area - maybe, but then again I don't have to spend money on expensive sports bras. 
  • I can tell a difference in my mind. I'm not restless. I'm more focused at work. I sleep more soundly. I'm more dedicated to taking care of my home. I'm not nearly as scattered - well, most of the time. 
  • I'm more confident. Most people would tell you that I didn't have this problem before I started running. The truth is, I was really good at faking it. I don't have to fake it any longer. 
This time last year, I had just one goal - run a 5k in 2012. Instead I've run:
  • Twelve 5k races - placing in the top three in my age group in six of those events
  • One 10k race - placing 9th in my age group and finishing in 56 minutes in 85 degree heat and 100% humidity
  • One mud run - a fun experience and a nice change from a typical race
For my next year of running I've started thinking about my goals, after all I've got to set up some sort of plan for myself. Here are just a few of my running goals for November 1, 2012 - Oct 31, 2013:
  • Run a 25:15 5k - I'd really like a sub-25, but baby steps, right?
  • Run a sub-2 hr half - who knows if this is even possible, but a girl can dream.
  • Hot Chocolate 15k - Atlanta, GA - I will do just about anything for chocolate
  • Museum of Aviation Half Marathon - Warner Robins, GA - this will be my first half ever and right in my backyard. 
  • Disney's Princess Half Marathon - Orlando, FL - I'm planning a sick snow white costume.
As you can see, I've not gotten too far on my list - I think that's everything through February. I'm not much of a planner, so for me that's like setting up a calendar for three years in advance. Now I think I will go celebrate with a cupcake. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Birthday Run

Happy Early 43rd Birthday Andrea!
Week 1: Half Marathon Training
Goal: 17 miles
Achieved: 23.5 miles

Half marathon training officially started this week. I have a print out from Smart Coach on Runner's World that is coffee and food stained as I review it daily over breakfast. The weekly mileage doesn't scare me. The long runs don't scare me. I really need to not focus on how fast I'm running and just focus on taking care of business.

The weather is crazy. While you would think it is cool in October in Georgia - it isn't. Thank you global warming. It's humid and still 65 degrees in the morning. I shouldn't complain since it was 80 in the mornings most of this summer, but still - the leaves should be yellow and I should be able to unpack my sweaters from under my bed.

This is me in an ice bath post 14.5 miles
with my Click protein drink on ice
My running partner, Andrea, wanted to celebrate her 43 birthday by running 43 miles this week. She and her husband both accomplished this feat, although he planned and started with a full 7 days to get his miles in. Andrea is a procrastinator believes in a good challenge, and decided to give herself 5 days to get her miles in. So we set out today to do 10 and then it turned into 12 which turned into 14.5.

Yes, I do love her - my legs might not after tomorrow, but she's that much closer to her goal of 43 miles by Thursday, November 1. I am proud to be a part of such a journey.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Race Recap: Jay's Hope 5k

Wonder Woman & Bat Girl 
Jay's Hope 5k
October 27, 2012, Macon, GA
25:30, 3rd in age group

After running in costume in Vegas I was on the look out for somewhere else to bust out in my Wonder Woman costume. I worked hard on it, after all. Thank goodness Halloween was right around the corner and the Jay's Hope 5k encouraged runners to dress in costume. I didn't want to show up and be the only goofball in a costume, so I bribed convinced Faith to run as Bat Girl so Wonder Woman wouldn't be lonely.

The Bat Girl costume was easy. A combination of:

  • one Batman logo cut out in iron on glitter vinyl
  • some black lame fabric for a cape
  • a pair of awesome caped Batman socks
  • black running shorts or skirt if you prefer
  • Bat Girl costume accessories from the local Halloween store.

We made quite the dynamic duo, don't you think?

Well, someone at the local running club thought so. Faith checked the results later that night and I was the cover girl on the Macon Tracks' website. Not the most awesome pic - chunky white thighs, weird arm pose and all - but believe it or not I've seen a lot worse of me.

This was my first 5k since July when I lost my lung at the Beach Mountain 5k (5200 ft). It was also the coolest race, weather-wise, I've run since March of this year. I was a bit curious to see if I'd gotten any faster. I was pleased with my time, especially since the whole first half of the race was a long slow uphill climb.  A solid 3rd place in my age group and I won an awesome Nike Dri-Fit hat with the Jay's Hope Logo on it - in a Wonder Woman costume. Bring it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ramping Up

Latest Workouts:
Monday: 3.03mi/28:01
Wednesday: 4.10/37:04

Vacation hangover continues. All of my miles have felt slow and short lately. I've struggled getting up in the morning to run. Thank goodness it is cooler here in the south so I can still get my run in at 8a instead of 6:30a. I'm hoping a race or two on my calendar will bring my mojo back.

I think I've focused on distance and not speed lately and I totally expect it to impact my 5k times in my upcoming races. We'll see what happens in a couple of weeks.

Speaking of distance - I really have to decide what plan I'm going to use for the half I want to run in January.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Runder Women

Latest Workouts:
Glow Run 2012-
10/7/12 - Freemont Street Experience
Saturday: 6.12mi/1:34 - Red Rocks in NV - 5800 ft.
Sunday: 3.15mi/29:26 - Glow Run 2012, Las Vegas

The miles may not be piled up this week, but the fun certainly has. Running with a life-long friend, no matter how rough the terrain or crazy the environment, is incredibly enjoyable.

KC and I flew to Vegas last weekend to celebrate our 12-year wedding anniversary. This trip has become a staple in our lives. He likes the gambling. I like the shows. We both like the food and the people watching. Bonus for both of us - we have childhood friends who live in the area so we get to spend time with a couple of our favorite people!

This trip was way more active than previous trips for me. My BFF Angel took up hiking and rock climbing when she and her husband were stationed in Vegas three years ago. I'm too clumsy to do either of those things, so past trips have mostly included shopping, spas, eating, drinking, clubbing and recovery (pretty much in that order). In the last year, Angel has taken up running - trail running to be more specific - and is training for the Moab Half-Marathon in early November. Our time together this past weekend included a serious 6 miler at Red Rocks and a very fun race/rave in downtown Las Vegas.

Saturday's trail run was tough. I'm not going to lie. The first two miles were great. A little downhill. A little uphill. The footing was somewhat challenging in places but totally do-able. The next two miles were serious. All up hill. Incredibly rocky footing and big elevation increases that made me feel like I had a black lung. Needless to say - we dropped the pace to a quick walk/hike in the middle of the trek. Miles five and six got us back to fabulous trail running with narrow, but good footing that led us down into a wash and back up to the top of the trail. It was a bright 85 degrees, brilliant sunshine, awesome breeze and NO humidity. I could get used to that combo.

Saturday's trail run - the down hill section!
Sunday night we joined a few thousand other runners, walkers and partiers in the old part of Las Vegas for the first ever Vegas Glow Run. Now, I have plenty to say about the race organizers and none of it is good. So I'm following that old advice (if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all) and just focusing on the fun we had. This race was un-timed and you were supposed to dress in costume - something Vegas folks are really good at. Our costume of choice - Wonder Woman.

This was Angel's first official race and she did great despite all the crazies, drunks, walkers, dancers, strippers and what not we encountered along the course. I played pacer and we decided we'd run an 11 minute mile since Angel trains run/walk, but wanted to run 90% of this race instead of 60%. For the record, I was a horrible pacer. In an effort to make some room for us, I took us off at a 9:30 pace, but we never dropped under a 10:30 and Angel did a great job. I pushed her and she killed it. Her first 5k and she finished in under 30 min!

I'll do a post about the details of our costumes another time, but we were awarded $25 gift cards from race sponsor, Zappos, for our creativity. If we end up on some weird Wonder Woman fetish site it will not shock us with the number of photographs we posed for.We celebrated Angel's awesome finish at the After Glow Rave until the wee hours of the morning. The evening was memorable for sure, but you know what they say - what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!

Monday, October 1, 2012

I Run for Tailgating and Crack Brownies

Latest Workouts: 
Between the Hedges at Sanford Stadium.
Student section is behind me.
1.5 hours before the game.
Thursday: 6.01 mi/56:03
Friday: 3.52 mi/35:32
Sunday: 9.0 mi/1:31:32

My knee is feeling so much better. Anyone with runner's knee will tell you that your knee feels great when you are running, but is incredibly painful when you're just sitting around. I've had a lot of success with Advil 3x a day for the past week, ice 3 to 4x a day, wearing my knee strap on all runs, wrapping my knee in an ace bandage post run for about 3 hours, elevating, stretching and finally rolling.

KC and I enjoyed an awesome Saturday at the University of Georgia to see the Dawgs play the Vols. I love a good tailgate. In fact, I probably like it more than the football game itself. When you live in SEC country football Saturday is an event. The game might not start until 3:30, but you are in a parking lot with your e-z up tent set up, chairs out, tables full and a drink in your hand (bourbon preferably) by 8:30a.

Women of all ages worry about their cute game outfit all week. The boys continue to debate the best set up of the travel DirecTV dish and television that someone sets up so you can watch all the other games while you prepare for your own.

Oh, and the food. I find that it is best to select a tailgate theme. It helps to make sure your tables aren't just covered with chips and dips and no actual food to help soak up some of that bourbon you've been enjoying since 9a. Without a theme you end up with an outdoor version of the Golden Corral. We did BBQ this past weekend. It is traditional. Most Southerners like it. You can dress it up with fixin's like slaw and the sides are easy to make, transport and serve without worrying about giving someone food poisoning by the fourth quarter.

First two layers
And don't forget to plan for the post-game tailgate. Who wants to sit in traffic when you can kick back, have some supper while you watch all the crazy people fight to get out of the parking lot. Wait an hour and you'll have no problem making it out of town - with a full belly.

This week's dessert of the week is my Crack Brownies. You can't eat just one - or two - or three, for that matter. I get requests for these on a regular basis, but I only make them when we will be with more than six people to avoid any left overs coming home with me.

Dessert of the Week: Crack Brownies

1 package of refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
1 package of Double Stuf Oreos
1 brownie mix - prepare following either the fudge or cake directions. I like fudge, personally.

Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF
Finished product
Spray baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. I use the disposable cake pans because I am always taking these to events and I got tired of losing my plastic wear.
Layer 1: Press in the cookie dough to make the crust. I just flatten it out by hand as even as I can.
Layer 2: Line up the Oreos on top
Layer 3: Pour prepared brownie batter over the top of all of that
Bake based on your brownie mix's instructions.
Cool and cut.

This is a pretty popular Pinterest recipe, but I've tried my own variations on it layering the following together:
Peanut butter cookie dough
Marshmallow cream
Nutter butter cookies
Brownie Mix

Sugar cookie dough
Peppermint Patties
Brownie Mix

Really any cookie dough flavor and just about any candy or cookie would work as the second layer. I've not tried subbing out the brownie mix for a cake mix, but its on my list to try. The key part of this recipe is save yourself one or two because they go that fast! Now go run a few miles so you can have seconds.