Category Archives: Running Woes

Rock and Roll VA Beach Half Marathon

I also like to think of this as the WORST race experience ever. My performance wasn’t terrible, all things considered,  but I know I could have squeaked out another sub-2 considering my training. Anyways…the RNR VA Beach race actually took place over Labor Day weekend (so yeah…in September…3 months ago), but I think it’s worth recapping, especially since it played a roll in my training for the full.

I was pumped about the race because it was my first RNR race, and I had always wanted to run one. I’ve heard mixed things about RNR, that they’re kind of cookie-cutter-big-box type races, but I LOVE a race with a big crowd and a lot of support just as much as I love a small-I-can-place-in-my-age-group race (and that has to be SMALL for that to happen). I was planning to run the race with one of my Marathon Training Team (MTT) buds, Katie, since she and I both hoped for sub-2s. And my good friend Meredith was also running, despite not having much training. Just a fun run for her.

Meredith and I went to the expo together on Saturday and had a grand ole time looking around. We got TONS of free samples of stuff (and about 50 fortune cookies, thanks to PF Chang’s being a sponsor). I also loved the Brooks area (they’re the presenting sponsor), especially since they had my beloved Pure Cadence shoes on a very deserving pedestal.

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Read to ROCK.

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Pure beauty. I actually ended up buying ANOTHER pair of Pure Cadence at the expo…the blue/green pair was on ridiculous sale in my size, and I couldn’t pass them up. I love those shoes.

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Perfect.

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Free PEAS! Yum. And yes, I think it’s fair to say I’m often motivated by wine.

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I wish I ran a 2:03…

So after the expo we went back to our hotel, which was actually quite far from the starting line. It was almost impossible to find a room in VA Beach that weekend that wasn’t insanely expensive (like $250+ per night for a CRAPPY little place) or that required a 3 night minimum (because of the holiday weekend). But we were lucky to find the VA Beach Hotel and Conference Center, which is actually on the sound side of the water (I think it’s a sound??). It was a nice place on the waterfront, reasonably priced, and only about 15 minutes from the main strip of VA Beach.

The next morning we got up bright and early and very quickly got the fear of God in our eyes when we saw this…

ImageThis pic was taken right after the race, but it was 97% humidity the entire race too.

The humidity was out of control. When we woke up it was somewhere close to 92% humidity already, and in the high 70s. I knew at that moment that I was probably in trouble, despite having trained in the VA humidity for several months already. Running in the humidity is the WORST…there are only so many layers you can reasonably take off. At least in the bitter cold you can bundle up.

Bri dropped us off near the start with enough time for us to run into McDonald’s for a last minute bathroom stop. Then Meredith and I split ways to find our respective corrals and I met up with Katie.

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Me and Meredith. Scared but smiling. And it looks like I have a massive sock bun in my hair, but that’s actually just a tree.

The race started pretty normally and uneventfully. Katie and I managed to stay together for the first 3-4 miles, and were pacing conservatively so we didn’t burn out at the end of the race. We got separated at a water stop, and I waved for her to go ahead. I knew by mile 4 that a sub-2 was NOT going to happen unless I planned to pass out or die along the way, so I told myself to just keep pushing through and play each mile by ear.

By mile 8 I was already completely soaking wet with sweat. I had no idea my body was capable of such levels of sweat. It was gross. And I made sure I stopped at EVERY water stop (just for a short moment) to grab a cup of water to dump on my head and a cup of water to drink. I also drank Gatorade at every other stop. I figured it was foolish to pass up water in conditions like this.

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The race actually had a relay portion, so also around mile 8 there were a whole bunch of people who got to STOP and a whole bunch of people who got to start on fresh legs and only had 5 miles to do. This was a major downer for me and I really resented those people. The finish seemed SO far away and I was already feeling horribly tired.

I honestly have no idea how I managed to run the majority of the race. According to my Garmin, my moving time was actually pretty decent, somewhere in the 9:20s. The stopping at water stops sucked my time down quite a bit,  but I don’t think I would have been able to finish without them.

Around mile 10 I started to get an INSANE pain in my left foot. Like excruciating. The arch of my foot was stabbing me with pain and I was limping when I walked through the water stops. It was scary and horrible. However, I told myself to just keep going, and my foot actually felt BETTER when I was running. It started flaring up again around mile 12, but by that point I was pushing myself with my mind more than my body.

The race finishes on the VA Beach board walk which is nice and flat, but also cruel. You can SEE the finish line arch from just about a mile away, and it seems SO CLOSE. But my Garmin told me that I still had a ways to go, so I just put my head down and moved forward. I did manage to snap a happy photo though. This is the biggest BS smile I’ve ever given. I was hating life at that point…

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I ended up finishing in 2:07:32, which I think is pretty good all things considered. I threw the sub-2 dreams out the door early, and just focused on finishing. I was still faster than my first half marathon, so I’ll take that.

After crossing the finish line I knew my foot was in trouble. I couldn’t walk and it was SO painful. It felt very plantar fasciitis-esque. I got a bag of ice from the medical tent and then attempted to find Bri. When I did find him he took all my post-race stuff and we found a place to hang out while we waited for Meredith. Unfortunately we had to wait on the beach and I didn’t want to sit down…beach+soaking wet = incredible amounts of sand sticking everywhere. I ended up standing for a solid hour while we waited for Meredith. Turns out she also had incredible pain in her calves and could barely move forward. Poor thing!! But she did it!

ImageMeredith in pain.

On our way back to the hotel I couldn’t walk without a limp, and I felt like puking. It was horrible. The heat drained me of all energy and I was seriously worried about the foot. We went out to eat later and I couldn’t put any weight on the foot.

ImageHappy to be done, and totally favoring the left foot. Also, no idea why the heck I decided to wear jeans?? It was sweltering. But the race shirts are awesome.

All in all, I’d say the race was a good experience. I NEVER want to run it again for fear of the same terrible conditions, but at least the course was flat. I thought it was well managed and would have been a great race if the weather wasn’t so awful. Now I kind of want to run the Shamrock Half, also in VA Beach, but in MARCH, so the weather may actually cooperate.

Half marathon #4, success!

The Good, the Bad and the Broken

Let’s start with the good.

I recently decided to get a little crazy in the kitchen. I had 3 pretty nasty looking bananas to deal with, which obviously calls for a banana bread! I didn’t want to make something uber unhealthy, so I ended up following this recipe here and making a few adjustments with whole wheat flour. The end result was tasty and relatively healthy for a banana bread!

Yeah, I MADE that (it's really some kind of miracle).

The only downside to this bread? I totally trashed the kitchen in the process. I really can’t help it. I also made a pretty gross crock pot dish that I’d rather not talk about. Let’s just say I don’t know how to make salsa and sour cream should never go in a slow cooker. Behold the mess…

I cleaned it eventually...

Now for the bad. I had the.worst.run.of.my.life. last weekend. It was a 9 miler and it was seriously the worst run I’ve had in YEARS. The weather was about 58 or so, so I wore a long sleeved top with shorts. I felt just dandy for the first 4-5 miles until I stopped at a park water fountain to re-hydrate. The damn thing was OFF. Uggg. Richmond needs to realize that we don’t really have “winter” and there is no need to turn off water fountains! I was depending on that water to get me through the end, and when it wasn’t there I kind of crumbled. I ended up running in the sun and it was HOT. Looking back I know I was seriously dehydrated and should have just gone home. Instead I stopped at Dot’s Back Inn (a yummy diner) because I saw Brian’s car there (he likes their burgers and I don’t eat meat so he occasionally goes alone). I ended up waiting about 5 minutes for a glass of water which just caused my legs to stiffen up. And I was still 3 miles from home. SO AWFUL.

I was hot, dehydrated, stiff, annoyed and just blah. I was really close to tears about 1 mile from home.

The splits don’t lie.

9 Miler of Doom

I contemplated quitting running after this. Alas, I am back on the bandwagon.

Moving on to the BROKEN.

I went to DC after the 9 Miler of Doom to visit 3 of my closest college chicas. It was a whirlwind trip but super fun. I was able to recover from dehydration (it was NOT FUN) in time to make it up to see them. I’m so glad I didn’t bail. Wine is hydrating, right?

Anyway, after a night of fun my friend and I walked to my car to hit the road. She had a flight to catch so we were in a bit of a hurry. But LO AND BEHOLD, some idiot had punched out my window!!! And not a main window…one of the little triangular ones in the back. WTF. They didn’t even steal anything. In fact, the locks weren’t even reachable from the broken pane. I mean, who does that crap?! Just a random act of violence. Lame. Karma will get you evil person!!

NOT COOL. EVER.

My insurance deductible is $500 and this little baby only cost $250 to replace. So that meant I had to drop $250 senseless dollars. SO ANNOYING. Oh and I had to tape up the whole thing with a trash bag since I was driving straight into a snowstorm. I was totally “that car.”

Oh well, I’m moving on the greener pastures now! Here’s to good runs and intact glass from here on out…

Race Dilemma

This is a doozy of a dilemma for me. In the grander scheme of life it’s no big deal, but in the confines of my race schedule, it’s a doozy.

I am currently scheduled to run two races on Saturday, March 31. One is in Richmond and one is in Philly. BOO!!

I signed up for the Monument 10k a while ago (and even got into a seeded wave!!!!!!) since I’ve participated in that run for the past several years. Really, it’s kind of become a tradition. I’m also excited about the possibility of destroying my previous 10k PR of 57-something. The Monument 10k is such a fun (yet insanely crowded) race so it was really a no-brainer for me to register again this year.

Chugging along at last year's Monument 10k

That is until the Philadelphia Phillies announced the date of their uber popular 5k: MARCH 31. NOOOOOO.

Since I participated in the inaugural Phillies 5k last year, I was offered the opportunity to sign up an hour before regular registration opened. A bib in this race is like liquid goal (not entirely sure if that makes sense…but ya know what I mean). It sold out last year in less than a day, so I knew I had to snatch up a spot just out of sheer principle. Also, the Phillies 5k allows bib transfers, so I knew it wouldn’t be a total loss even if I don’t end up running.

I heart Philly (despite the cold).

So does Brian...no question about which race he'll be running.

As it stands I’m still not entirely sure what I’ll end up doing. So far I have these dilemmas…

  • We’re going up to Philly the weekend before (or after? I don’t remember) the race, so that’s a whole lot of back and forth.
  • This would be the 5th year in a row I run Monument. That’s pretty cool.
  • The Phillies race is HALF the distance of Monument…I’m aiming for a sub-2 hour half just 2 weeks before these races, so maybe the 5k is a better option for me physically.
  • Brian’s definitely running Philly, and it’s nice (and rare) to run races with him.
  • I really want the Phillies 5k technical shirt to wear to fall games.
  • I just have to wake up and make my way downtown to run in Monument…I have to drive all the way to Philly and likely not get much sleep the night before the 5k.
  • None of my friends live on Monument Ave anymore…so we don’t really have a place to call home base for the after-race party. Brian won’t be there anyway…
  • Probably won’t have a cheer section at either race, but at least Monument is CRAZY throughout the entire run.
  • I can transfer the Phillies bib, but will definitely take a monetary loss on the Monument bib.
  • I’m seeded in Monument -COOL!
  • Monument is so ridiculously crowded…it’s borderline not fun.

BLAH! So much back and forth. At least I’ve got some time to decide!

BodyPump and Long Runs DO NOT MIX

At least not for me…I am SORE. And it’s already been two days since I did that.

I had a work event all day on Saturday and was on the go for 12 hours (including the drive there and back), so I saved my workouts for Sunday. Normally I like to do my run on Saturday so all I have to worry about on Sunday is BodyPump. It’s good to keep those things separate. However, this weekend I decided to do my normal Sunday BodyPump class at 2:15 followed by my 8 miler at 3:45 so I could fit everything in.

The new release of BodyPump is killer but I really like it. The music is good and the tracks have really made me feel the burn in new ways. The shoulder track is probably my favorite because the music is so darn weird. The lunge track HURTS and my legs were burning when I left the class. I should have known throwing 8 miles into the mix would be painful.

But I sucked it up and did it anyway. All things considered it was a great run, even though my fingers got a little frozen by the end. But I am STILL sore. Maybe I should learn to stretch…

I seriously hope this is putting me on a path to a sub-2 half marathon. I felt strong throughout the run and think I could have gone quite a bit faster. However I am NOT risking injury!!

After all this pumping and running I took Monday off since I could barely walk. My inner thighs were particularly mean. Today I did a nice and easy 5 miler to try and shake things out a bit.

I don’t think I could have run that first mile any faster. My legs were like lead!! Happy to get those miles in though..

As I was running I came across a major pet peeve of mine. FOUR women were walking side by side on the path in Bryan Park…they were taking up the ENTIRE thing! There was really no way for me to get around them without running off the path. They were so into their conversation that I don’t think they heard me coming. I even tried intentionally running on leaves and clearing my throat. I’m pretty sure I freaked them out as I ran past on the edge of the path. I hope they didn’t get hit by any bikers.

Path ladies.

They are kind of hard to see in that photo, but I had to document the moment. I decided to take a picture pretty far away so I wouldn’t completely freak them out if they turned around. Share the road!

Rawwwrrr!

Tomorrow’s supposed to be 70 and sunny. I’m crossing my fingers for the chance to run outside again! Let’s just hope my aching muscles can handle it…

Race Bummer and Race Win

I’ve been mentally planning to run a half marathon the weekend of March 17th for a long time now. I felt great after the half in November, and knew I needed a race to keep me motivated and running through the winter.

However, what I did NOT consider was the fact that races have this little thing call CAPACITY. And, lo and behold, the race I had my eye on is completely sold out. No Shamrock Half for me. Major bummer. When I first saw this on the race website I figured I could just run the Rock and Roll USA Half in DC instead, but it turns out that race is on the 17th – a Saturday – and I have a work event to attend. Major bummer number 2.

I’ve been training for a half on March 18th but wasn’t actually signed up for anything. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb!

What’s a girl to do?

Turn to Running In the USA and find a freaking race on March 18th!!!

And that’s just what I did. And boy did I find a good one (at least I hope so). In fact, I think this race might be BETTER for me than both the Shamrock and the USA race. Behold…

I'm doing the HALF.

I know absolutely nothing about this race except for the fact that it happens on March 18th in Cary, NC. And why is this race a better option for me than the other two? My parents just closed on a new condo in Raleigh, NC that is about 15 minutes from the start of this race. No hotel rooms to pay for and no outrageous Rock and Roll prices to pay for entry. And my family will get to cheer me on. Win. Win. Win.

I’m hoping this race is flat and interesting. I also hope the weather stays nice and cool…NC can be tricky sometimes. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that this is my time to shine for a SUB 2 HOUR HALF!

I celebrated my race registration with a speedy (for me) 4 miler on this lovely 63 degree afternoon. Yes, it was 32 on Sunday and 63 today. Thanks Virginia.

I felt fantastic the entire run, I think because I have a real RACE to run towards now.

Negative splits…who am I?!

Thinking about crossing the finish line makes me a very happy lady.

Running Weirds

Lately, some weird things have happened to me whilst running.

Nothing TOO crazy, but still notable…

  • I got whacked in the boob with a falling acorn. I was trotting along and I swear a pissed off squirrel chucked it at me. Those things pack quite the punch.
  • My birth control patch fell off. Maybe this is TMI, but I thought I’d share anyway. I got in the shower after my 8 miler on Monday and that little patch was no where to be found. I’ve NEVER had one fall off (and I’ve worn them for 2 years), so I was surprised. It was super humid and I was sweating a lot, but that’s nothing new when it comes to running. Oh well, hopefully no one finds it…that would be kinda gross. But now I’m all sort of whacked up “schedule-wise.” I really hope this doesn’t wreak havoc on my skin or emotions..
  • My kneecap felt like it moved. After my run yesterday my right knee felt so weird. It wasn’t painful at all – just felt like my knee cap was shifted over to the right. Everything looks completely normal, so I’m not sure why I’m feeling this. It’s like a ghost kneecap.
  • I can’t spit to save my life. EVERY time I try to spit during a run, a long strand seems to dangle from my mouth. Again, this is definitely TMI and I apologize. And it’s just super gross. I really need to master this art.

7 out of 10 Norweigan wooden trolls agree...I'm weird.

p.s. 1 month till WEDDING DAY. Wowza.

Time to Get Down to Business

I’ve been MAJORLY slacking in my half marathon training.

The race is 7 weeks away, so I don’t feel too panicked, but I know I need to pick up some slack. Work is particularly crazy – I worked 14 hours yesterday and anticipate all of October to be the same – so I’m burning out a bit.

But I’ve vowed to not let my stress/pressure/exhaustion get in the way of my work outs. I feel GREAT after I finish a work out. Why do I have such a hard time motivating myself to do them?!

Last week I managed a 3 miler on the treadmill and a nice 7 miler. I told myself this week would be different. And…not so much. I did a 3 miler on the treadmill on Monday and haven’t done anything since. I’m supposed to get an 8 miler in this weekend according to the training plan, but I’m not sure that’s going to happen.

This week I’m GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS.

Looking back at my dailymile stats from last year’s half training, I’m a little scared. In September 2010 I ran 62 miles. In September 2011 I’ve completed 32. Yikes.

Time to kick my own butt and put a little more effort into training. BRING IT.

I must remember what it feels like to FINISH!

 

September is the Best Month. Duh.

Where the heck has September gone?

 

Since my last post (so long ago wow) I’ve done a decently amount of things.

  • Had a couples shower in PA
  • Turned 27
  • Ran the hilliest more horrid run of my life
  • Ran a 7-miler
  • Got through a Saturday of FOUR work events
  • Had a surprise mini shower
  • Bought new running shoes
  • Got my bridesmaid’s bouquets in the mail

Oh and the wedding is now like 37 days away or something. How??? Why??? Ahhhh!

Some quick recaps…

Couples shower – ridiculously awesome. My parents were there. His family was there. We constructed a tent. We drank like 15 bottles of wine. We kicked a keg. We sang karaoke. I cried. We got more gifts that we know what to do with. It was epic and amazing.

Turned 27 – no biggie…I’m just practically 30. Geez. Brian cooked me a fancy vegetarian curry and we dined at home. He also got me a Kindle, which I lOVE. Can’t wait to bring that baby on the honeymoon.

Hilly Horrid Run – The morning of the couples shower Brian agreed to do a 4 miler with me. However he failed to mention that we was taking me to a cross country course to do it. Seriously it sucked. It was on ALL GRASS and it was WET and hilly. Imagine just running through fields of rolling hills. I don’t do that. I do pavement. The only good thing about the whole ordeal was that the run was OBVIOUSLY good for me. I was slow as hell but it completely kicked my ass. Hills will do that. I was darn proud when I finished.

7 miler – I redeemed myself this past weekend with a fantastic 7-miler. Yes, it was mostly flat, but I did it without much effort. I think the hilly run of doom really made this feel easy. I finished in a 9:20-something pace.

9/17 – the Saturday with 4 simultaneous work events going on. Thankfully I only had to physically be at one, but I did have to make sure 2 others got off without a hitch. Twas a VERY long day.

Surprise shower – One of my super awesome and amazing bridesmaids surprised us with a mini shower immediately after the long day of work events. Thanks to the generosity of her family we got to watch the University of Richmond football game from a private press box. And her mom made the cutest little treats and invited our friends. It was so cute and so thoughtful!

Epic.

New running shoes – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Thanks to the hilly grassy run of doom, my old running shoes got soaked and managed to capture a horrid stench. I was unable to make it go away…It was time to buy new shoes anyway, so I went with the Brooks Adrenalines again. So far so good. This will be my third pair of Adrenalines. Oh and they’re purple. Love.

You won't let me down.

 

Bridesmaid’s flowers.

These really need no introduction. I LOVE them. Love. love. love. and love.

I heart you.

These are from FlowerThyme on Etsy. I HIGHLY recommend the shop!

I’m off to another dress fitting…cross your fingers it looks perfect!

Hillz

Yesterday I mentioned the hilly I run Bri and I took in PA over the weekend. I don’t do hills. And I don’t really have a choice since Richmond is so darn flat.

 

First, a typical Richmond-area 3 Miler in my neighborhood (elevation profile).

Total gain…11 ft.  I typically do these at about a 9 minute mile.

And now the hilly 5 miler in PA.

Yikes and OUCH. This is probably NOTHING for a lot of people, but as you can see from my typical 3 miler, I’m not used to much incline. A steady rise over 3 miles is super challenging for me. Oh and a hurricane was coming so the air was completely saturated with humidity. Yeah, it sucked, but I’m darn proud of myself for kicking it’s butt. And I totally love the ridiculous downhill between 3 and 4. Talk about rewards.

Total elevation gain…267ft.

Time to start seeking out some hills in this town.

Morning Runs are the Pits

No really, I suck at running in the morning.

I don’t know what it is, but it needs to change. Pretty much ALL races are in the morning.

Lately I’ve been doing all of my runs in the evening…even hitting the pavement in 95 degree 6:30pm weather. But now that half marathon training has started up again, I’m going to be doing my long runs at 7:15am on Saturdays.

This morning’s long run was only 3 miles, but I felt so crappy that I had to walk just after mile 1. I didn’t start out too fast or anything…I just felt like crud. My ribs started to feel super tight and I was having a hard time breathing. WHAT GIVES?!

My stats:

Still a respectable pace, but I really had to work for it. And it doesn’t even make sense since I was about to maintain an 8:40 pace for 3 miles on Thursday evening AFTER playing 2 hours of volleyball.

I really don’t know what else could have caused my misery other than the fact that I’m simply not used to rolling out of bed and running. The 5k I ran 2 weeks ago was similarly miserable and it had a 7:30am start. Maybe my body needs to eat and process 2 meals before it can comfortably run?!?

Whatever it is, I’m going to have to start getting used to these morning runs or I can kiss a new PR goodbye!