Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Running Update/Year-End Running Reflection

It's been more than 2 months since my last blog post. However, I have run since October 16 - the day of the marathon! Since the marathon I have run a 10k and a half marathon. The half marathon was on December 11 and was probably a mistake. I hurt my knee around the 3 mile mark and I haven't been the same since. I ran with my work friend, Lisa, and we had a great time, despite my kne pain! My time was 1:56:55 (I think) and felt decent until mile 8. At mile 8 nature called and I had to make a pit stop. I was never able to get back in my rhythm, but overall, I was happy with my time due to my limited training.
Here's a few pictures of Lisa and I with her Lewes Ladies Running Club! They were all super nice and I hope to run another race with them all!
Here is our group shot after our pasta night out:


And here we are post-half marathon!




Back to the discussion on limited training... I only ran a handful of times between the marathon and half marathon and I think that was a mistake. I should have been running at least three times a week, but instead did a long run once a week and worked out at the gym on the other days. The time change really put a damper on running and I haven't been able to get motivated to run outside in the cold.
This morning I met a friend for a run (keep up the good work, Alexis!) and my knee started hurting again. This was the second time I tried to run since December 11. The other day I could only go 1.75 miles before my knee started bothering me. This has been difficult for me to deal with because I want to go out and run. The Food Bank is training for the Caesar Rodney Half Marathon in March and I'm nervous I'm not going to be able to participate. I have finally made an appointment to see a sports medicine doctor on Monday. My inkling is it's nothing too serious, because I've been able to do other forms of exercising. Running is the only thing that hurts my knee. We'll see on Monday.
So 2010 is almost over and it has been a good year filled with lots of running. As I look back on all of the running I've done, it's really been an exciting year in terms of personal and physical growth. I ran 1 5k, 1 10k, 1 10-miler, 2 half marathons and the highlight of the year, the marathon. At this point, I don't think I will train for a marathon in 2011. I think I need to rest my body, but I will do several half marathons as long as everything is okay with my knee. But, never say never. I might get the itch for 26.2!!!
2011 fitness goals:
  • Run several half marathons and improve my time from the first half
  • Broad Street Run
  • Get certified to become a personal trainer
  • Do a mud run (Tough Mudder or Warrior Dash)
  • Start TRX suspension training at the gym
Happy New Year, running friends! And remember you must run far so you can eat!
Peace. Love. Run.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

26.2: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!



I did it! I ran a marathon! The runner's high that I have experienced this afternoon cannot be described! It took some time after crossing the finish line to actually begin experiencing it. I feel like I am on the top of a mountain and can accomplish anything I put my mind to. It's very surreal to think I just ran for four-plus hours through hills and wind!
Before I talk about the 26.2 miles, I want to thank all of my family and friends for their support during this journey! You all cheered me on, encouraged me and listened to my incessant chatter about marathon training and how I think you should all become runners (I do think you should all be runners still!) I want to thank my mom and stepdad for dealing with my anxiety this week. I was nervous and when it was time for someone to get yelled at, it was typically them! Thanks for coming to the race, cheering me on and walking through Baltimore! Thank you to my brother, Rick, and his friends, Tyler, Whitney and JB, for cheering me on at mile 13. Seeing familiar faces helped me to keep going! Thank you to all of the people on the streets of Baltimore who cheered, gave me high fives, passed out Swedish Fish, gummy lifesavers, water and more! Thanks to the police who kept us all safe! Thank you to my Food Bank family for all of your words of encouragement and to my Facebook family for all of the encouragement and nice comments!

Now that my thanks are finished - let's get down to business.
So yesterday I went to Baltimore to spend the night with my cousin, Chris, and his wife Aryna! (Thanks for letting me stay!) When Chris got home from work he started making HOMEMADE, yes, homemade pasta. I know our family members are probably shocked reading this HAHA!
Here it is!



















The pasta was delicious and after dinner we headed to Ravens Stadium for the Expo to pick up our race tags and t-shirts. The expo was nice and they had a lot of different vendors. I didn't buy anything, but the Under Armour marathon shirts that we got are BAD!! They are so nice!!! I can't wait to wear mine. It's a neon yellow longsleeve shirt. After the Expo it was close to 8:30 and I was getting tired. I ended up going to bed around 9:45, but couldn't sleep well because of th excitement of the race. I ended up waking up at 5:45 to start mentally preparing for the 26.2 miles ahead of me. I did my typical longrun morning routine... wake up, get dressed, eat a bagel with peanut butter (powdered peanut butter mixed with water - it's 85% less calories than regular peanut butter), drink water and the rest I will not discuss hahahahaha.
Around 7 a.m. my mom and stepdad picked me up so we could head down to the start line. After some issues with directions we parked and got there. We had a few blocks to walk. The race started at Camden Yards and we we arrived around 7:35 there were tons of runners already there. I made one last pee stop and headed to the start line. A little background on my outfit because the colors were deliberate. The black shirt was in memory of my friend, Michelle, and the pink shorts were in honor of someone very near and dear to my heart who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer (however, she is a one beast of a woman and is going to come out of this STRONGER than ever!!)


















They had start areas based on your finish times and I chose to start at the back of the 4:00 pace group beginning of 4:15 pace group. When I got to the start line I was pleasantly surprised to to see Steve, a friend I went to high school with! It was nice to have a familiar face at the start line! A few minutes later the Star Spangled Banner was sung and a sky diver came from the sky with an American flag and red smoke coming from him. I got chills. First off, I love this country and at that point, I was like, wow this is really happening - I am about to embark on probably one of the most challenging journeys of my life! And then the race began!
There I am waving!

My strategy was to take the first five miles a bit slow (thanks Mark for the good advice!). At mile one my split was 10:01. I was happy with that because I knew I didn't go out too fast. Each mile after that got a bit quicker (until probably mile 8). I don't know what my fastest split time was, but I didn't care because my knees didn't hurt, the weather was nice (very windy though!) and I was feeling good. I kept telling myself to enjoy feeling good because I knew eventually fatigue would set in. I had to pee around mile 5, but I didn't want to stop and the lines at the portapotties were long. Around mile 7.5 the line wasn't long and I decided it was a good time to stop. From waiting in line to actually peeing probably took 2.5 minutes and I'll talk about those minutes later. My mom also told me not to talk about the portapotty in my blog so I'll leave those details out.

At mile 9 we were in the Inner Harbor and I saw my mom and stepdad for the first time! My mom gave me five! Here she is... she has nice nails LOL


View from behind HAHA

I got a little distracted at this point and I think I slowed down trying to look at all of the people. I eventually got a rhythm going again and we started heading towards Key Highway. When I did my training run a few weeks back I felt really crappy at this point of the course, but today I was feeling good. At mile 10 I was clocking in at 1:34 and I was feeling good with this split. By mile 13 my time was 2:02. I probably lost speed around mile 15. I started getting tired and the bottom of my left foot really started hurting. Despite the pain, Tim's (our Chef at the Food Bank) advice of "pain is temporary" kept going through my head and I trudged through the pain. Ed (Food Banker and multi-marathon runner also advised me to not leave anything on the course and that also played through my head!) At the 16-mile mark the marathoners merged with the half marathoners. They had a shoot off to the side for marathoners so that helped to keep me going with my rhythm, but that shoot eventually merged. I was a little annoyed because a lot of people were walking and I needed to keep moving. Every mile I completed I kept counting down and still couldn't believe I was running a marathon. Mile 17 was tough - it was uphill and we were running against the wind. I wanted to stop and walk, but I didn't. I just told myself to get to the next water stop (I walked through all of the water stops so I could drink - on a side note that I forgot about... a little past 11 miles I ate some Swedish Fish and gummy lifesavers that were on the course and they made my stomach hurt!) My foot was throbbing at this point, but I just kept running. Mile 20 was close and by that point the hilly part of the course would be over. The 1.3 mile run around Lake Montebello was not too bad, but it did play with me mentally a little bit because I could see the runners on the other side of the lake. Liz Phair's Extraordinary was playing on my iPod so it helped me stay motivated. By mile 21 I was tired and just wanted to be finished. I kept saying just 5.2 more miles - that's a piece of cake run, but it really wasn't cake. By mile 22 I was starting to hit a wall. I stopped to stretch and then kept going. A water stop was near. At this point of the race adrenaline, praying and thought of sitting kept me going. I prayed and asked God to help get me home! Mile 23 was intense - it was hilly, but at the top was a man dressed in a tiger costume dancing on the top of his car playing "Eye of the Tiger!" It made me laugh and I read about him in the Baltimore Sun this morning! Tons of gummy bears were being passed out, but I decided against them. I was too tired to eat anything. Mile 25 was hard because I knew I was almost there. Tons of people were cheering. It helped me get through, but I was so tired at this point. I saw the 26 mile mark and it was just .2 to go! Whew! I saw the finish line and I kicked it in (as much as you can kick in after running for 4+ hours) My goal was to run under 4 (I did not accomplish that) or 4:15. I finished in 4:18:10. I was very happy with this time considering how challenging the course was and the winds! But I would have met my goal of 4:15 had I not stopped to use the portapotty!!! But I would have peed my pants, so that wouldn't have been good! After crossing the finish line there was an exodus of runners and I was actually really angry that it took so long to get a cup of water. We were hearded like cattle and my legs were tired and I'm not patient anyways so I was HEATED! People were everywhere. I didn't even get to have food after the race because the line was so long. I wasn't about to wait. I just wanted to sit! I eventually found my mom and stepdad, but it took some time because the clowns moved from where we were supposed to meet. I started crying because I couldn't find them HAHAHA!

Also shout outs to my friend Katie who also ran the marathon and finished in 3:33! (BEAST!) and my cousin who ran the half in 1:50!! So that was the marathon! It was so awesome after the feeling set in that I finished! I am so proud of myself. It was a lot of work, but the training paid off. I feel like I am in the best shape of my life and I'm excited to hit up the Concordville Inn brunch buffet with Naty, Mr. Russo, Anna and Bill tomorrow. It will be a true Fat Girl Check-In! After experiencing the torture of 26.2 I am looking forward to doing a quick 10k on Thanksgiving Day and a half marathon in Rehoboth with Lisa from the Food Bank on December 11! A half will be a piece of cake after 26.2! But, I think I have caught a serious long distance running bug and at this point I plan to run another marathon. It's a thrill that cannot be explained unless you've run one before. And I like to eat so training for a marathon allows me to do my two true loves, run and eat!!
So that's all! My first 26.2 is in the books! If you are interested in viewing the course map, click here. If you want to see the elevation chart, click here!

ROAR I'm a beast! On another side note, October 16 is special to me - last October 16 I bought and moved into my very first home and October 16 of this year I ran my first (and not last, sorry mom) marathon!



















Peace. Love. Run.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Random thoughts going through my head

There's less than 48 hours until the marathon....

Here's what's going on in my head!

  • I'm nervous - very nervous. My anxiety levels over the past two days have been at an all-time high
  • I'm also excited!! Just get me to the start line! I have a good playlist that I'm excited to listen to! I'm not going to listen to my iPod at the start line... I want to take everything in
  • The anticipation for this marathon feels like the anticipation for Christmas morning when you are 7 years old
  • Pain is temporary
  • Gummy bears at mile 23
  • Expo tomorrow - free stuff!
  • Seeing my cousin, Chris, and Aryna in Baltimore tomorrow. Chris is doing the half marathon! And did the Seagull Century Bike Race last weekend (100 miles) - what a beast!
  • Good luck to my friend I've known the longest, Katie H., who is doing the full marathon!!
  • I've been training since the middle of February - first for the Broad Street Run, then the half marathon and then this full marathon.
  • I'm running a half marathon in December. I have caught the long distance running bug!
  • I have set two goals for myself. Goal one - finish in under four hours; goal two, which may be a bit more realistic - finish in under 4:15
  • Drink water
  • Start slow
  • Envision the finish line when I hit the wall
  • "If you feel bad at 10 miles, you're in trouble. If you feel bad at 20 miles, you're normal. If you don't feel bad at 26 miles, you're abnormal."
  • I don't want to leave anything on the course. When I finish I don't want to feel I could have pushed it harder
  • I'm excited to go to brunch at the Concordville Inn on Sunday morning with Anna, Bill, Naty and Mr. Russo
  • I may consider running another marathon. If I do, I want to do the NYC Marathon
  • Good luck to Tarra who is running a marathon in San Francisco this weekend!
  • "I've learned that finishing a marathon isn't just an athletic achievement. It's a state of mind; a state of mind that says anything is possible." This will help me get to the finish line
  • 10 with your legs, 10 with your head and 6 with your heart
  • This marathon is going to be painful, but I'm looking forward to the pain in a very sick, demented way that only other distance runners would probably understand
  • Get to the start line early. I will be NERVOUS - a hot mess nervous wreck probably
  • I can't believe it's almost here
  • But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. -Isaiah 40:31
  • GYRO for life!
  • Bring it!!!
Peace, Love, Run

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Wall

Okay... so I started writing this post right after I did 20 miles and part of was deleted... I got mad and haven't blogged since. But I'm ready to be a good blogger again as the marathon is in less than 2 weeks!

Hello! So this past weekend I ran 20 miles (again). Two Saturdays in a row at 20 miles. I'm not sure that's very smart, but whatever, I paid for it.


So this weekend there was an organized run of the Baltimore Marathon course by the Falls Road running club. My friend Katie (Katie is my friend I have known the longest - we've known each other since we were about 4 or 5 years old!) lives in Baltimore and is also running the Baltimore Marathon. We thought it was a good idea to participate and check out parts of the course. The course is not bad at all. I was a bit concerned about the hills, but after running them, I am confident. They will be challenging, but not impossible and they are definitely not steep hills - just gradual inclines. Anyways... there were two possible loops for the day - a 21-mile loop or 10-mile loop. Because I ran 20 last week I planned to run 18.7 cutting off two parts to shorten the run. I guess there really isn't much of a difference between 18.7 and 20 miles, but for my crazy mentality there is.



Katie and I woke up on Saturday morning around 5:45 and prepared for the 7am run time. I woke up really thirsty and I didn't sleep well either. I ate an English mufffin with powdered peanut butter and we were out the door. The starting park was just a few blocks away so it was a quick walk. We signed our waivers, gave a donation and waited for the run to begin. A little after 7 we began. The run began in Patterson Park and this is approximately the 16-mile mark of the marathon course (and a pretty hilly part of the course). I felt good on the hills, but I was also not at mile 16! I skipped 1.3 miles around Lake Montebello and started running with some people that were doing a 10-mile loop. A water stop was soon and this is where our practice course split. Since I was doing the 20-mile run I went straight. I was ahead of the other runners as I skipped out on part of it and I was running alone. I wasn't nervous about this, but I did end up making a wrong turn and probably added about a half mile on my run. Eventually I turned around and saw a bunch of runners and followed them. Up to Druid Hill Park which is the highest point of the course and comes around the 3-mile mark. The hill didn't seem like anything that would scare me. So I kept running... kept running and kept running. This training course kind of played with my head because I ran the last 4 miles of the course last year with Sarah and I knew mentally that at this point during the marathon I would only have about 4 miles left, but during the practice run I had about 15 miles.

The training run really threw me off because I didn't know how much further I had at any point of the run. It was also really hot that day. Fortunately, the running club had water stops set up so that was really helpful. Everyone around me had fuel belts and I was so thirsty the whole run that I just wanted them to share their water with me!!!

So around mile 15 I really hit a wall. I just couldn't do it anymore. I started walking for a little bit, and then would run again.... walk again, run again... and then boom. I just couldn't do it anymore. My hips hurt, my legs hurt, my back hurt, my feet hurt... everything hurt. It was terrible. I didn't know how much further I had either so I just walked the rest. It took about 3:30 minutes and I wasn't really pleased with that time, but whatever... it was just practice.

I finally got back to the park and drank a lot of water. Katie was there waiting and we walked back to her house. I complained the whole way back. I just wanted to die. So after we took showers and I came back to life we walked to the inner harbor. After our 20-mile run we ended up walking about 4 miles through the city. It was a good idea because it loosened us up and the next morning I wasn't sore.

So that was the second 20-mile run and it SUCKED!!! Let's hope the marathon is better!!!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Random thoughts on running

This is going to just be a free flow of thoughts tonight. I am not concerned about grammar.

I ran 20 miles on Saturday. I started at 7am and it took 3:15. I had to make one pit stop at a porta-potty. Thank God for the random porta-potty on the side of the road or I would have been in serious trouble. I felt pretty good for most of the run. My calf was hurting, but no knee issues. I went through pretty much 2 playlists on my iPod. Nothing really interesting happened during the run. At mile 19 I wanted to start crying. Running can be really emotional. On my 18-mile run I got really angry. This time I wanted to cry because I just didn't want to run anymore. I was tired of running. I had to go down Main Street towards the end of the run and people were there so it was a good distraction. Then I went down Cleveland Avenue and had a small fit of anger when these bikers rode by. They didn't anything wrong, but they just annoyed me. I got over it.

The next day I ran a 5k. Who runs 20 miles and then does a 5k? It was for a good cause and I needed to be there to run in memory of my good friend, Michelle. I wasn't sure if I was going to walk or run, but that morning I felt good. My muscles didn't hurt for some weird reason. I was planning to run with my friend, Gweedo. I ended up getting third place in my age group and finished in 26:09. That's my best time ever. I'm happy about that. I'm going to try to get faster once I'm finished training for the marathon.

Fat Girl Check In. Today I was talking to two friends about eating. One said I was going to get really fat when I finished training for this marathon because I love to eat. Well, I don't really eat like a fat girl most of the time. My diet is pretty healthy and I'm planning to continue running once I finish training. I'm just not going to be running 20 miles. Unless I'm really compelled too, but I doubt that will happen. HAHA.

26 days until the marathon. Tomorrow I'm going to run about 5 miles. Wednesday I'm going to do Body Pump, Thursday run, Friday something, but I'm not sure. Saturday I'm going down to Baltimore to do a preview run of the marathon course. You can choose a run anywhere between 14-22 miles. I will probably do 15 or 16. Then I begin to really taper my mileage in the coming weeks.

That's all.

Peace. Love. Run.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

One month

Today is September 16. My marathon is October 16. That means it's only one month til the big day. DANG! I think I'm ready. I say this as I lay in my bed typing with two ice packs on my shins. I'm hurting tonight. I went to the gym and did 30 minutes on this new elliptical they have - and it's no joke. After 30 minutes on that I ran 30 minutes on the treadmill. I was planning to run outside today, but it started to POUR at 4:30 and it's been raining ever since.

So I guess in my last post I wrote about how I was planning for my first 20 miler. Well... that never happened! It rained when I was supposed to run and 20 miles in the rain isn't my cup of tea. So 20 miles is definitely happening this weekend. Saturday morning to be exact! This weekend is jam packed! Between running and going to a wedding, I will be busy! Saturday is 20 miles and Sunday is a 5k. This could be a major fail. Sunday is the Miles for Melanoma 5k and I will be there to honor my late friend, Michelle. I'm anticipating that I will be in pain on Sunday morning after Saturday's run. I'm going to do my best to run the 5k, but if I have to stop and walk I'm cool with that. This is all about running/walking/crawling for a good cause!

I'm ready for this marathon training to be over. I'm starting to get bored with running and it seems like I'm getting slower and slower each day. The days are getting shorter and I'm finding it hard to get motivated to run after work. On Monday I ran 8.5, Tuesday 6. My weekly mileage is not very high for training for a marathon, but it seems to be working for me. I haven't run more than 12 miles since my 18-mile run a few weeks ago. I think once I do 20 miles this weekend my confidence will improve.

That's all. Another rambling post.

Peace. Love. Run.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A few things

When I posted last I was talking about a shady looking man hiding behind a tree! Well, trust your instincts, people, because that man turned out to be a REALLY shady man. Today one of my co-workers and fellow runners told me how a man was arrested in White Clay Creek for hiding behind trees... NAKED! And he was taking pictures of female runners. That's very unsettling and I'm so happy I listened to my gut and turned around last week. I am going to be more careful about where I plan my runs out.

So Saturday was my long day and it was only 12. I'm happy that I am at the point in my training where I say only 12. It was a good run and I was conscientious to include more hills in preparation for the hills of Baltimore. Let me rewind a bit... prior to the 12 miles I was complaining of a lot of knee discomfort, hooray, the pain is gone. I started taking a vitamin and yoga on Friday seemed to help because I felt good during Saturday's run. I even felt good the next morning and did a quick 4 miles. Monday I did Body Pump and it was my first class in a few weeks. I felt good with the weights I was using (same as usual). I was a bit worried it was going to irritate my knee, but it actually feels better after the workout. My muscles are sore, but that's mainly because I've been working out a lot lately. Yesterday I ran 5.25.

Tonight I did a hill workout at Carousel Park and it was BRUTAL, brutal in a nauseating way. I pushed through though and did all 7 repeats as planned. I wanted to quit, but I didn't because I know these difficult workouts now are going to make the marathon that much easier in almost a month! Quite honestly, I would rather run 20 miles than do hill repeats. It takes a lot of self-discipline to train for a marathon alone. There were times trudging up that hill that I wanted to quit... but I didn't. I kept going. And going. And going... seven times!

Tomorrow I'm spinning at 6 a.m. and then I'm resting for 2 days. Sunday is my first 20 miler. I did 18 a few weeks ago so I'm not too nervous about 20. I'm hoping one of my brothers will run the last 5 miles or so with me. It helps to break up the run and gives me something to look forward to. If not, I'll run it alone. After this 20 miler, I'll have one more... and that one I'm planning to actually do in Baltimore as part of a preview run of the marathon course. I'm a little iffy about knowing the course ahead of time, but I think it will be helpful. I'm planning to run that with my friend, Katie, who is also doing the marathon!

That's all.

Peace. Love. Run.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fail.

So I was supposed to run 8 miles yesterday. I didn't. I got dressed, went to the park, started running - about 30 seconds into my run I saw a shady man near a tree and ran back to my car. I just didn't feel good about it so I listened to my gut. My plan was to go to my mom's, hop on the computer and map something out on mapmyrun. It was 98 degrees out and I was just frustrated and not feeling like running so I got dressed in my regular clothes and went out to dinner!



Last night I was really down about running. My legs and knees were hurting and overall felt tired of training. It's been a long road and I'm not about to quit now, but I miss just working out without a schedule. I know the hard work will be worth it in the end though. I just need to keep imagining that finish line. 26.2. Dang, that's a far distance.



Today I was talking to my chef co-worker and a personal trainer, Tim. I told him I was tired of training because my body just aches everyday and he recommended I start taking a multi-vitamin. He was shocked I wasn't taking one. He said I'm sweating out a lot of nutrients. Now that I think about it, I've been feeling really tired lately. I'm hoping this will help with the tiredness, fatigue and any muscle aches. Tomorrow I'm planning to go to hot yoga. I'm going to start doing it at least once a week, because I am feeling TIGHT. I need to do a MUCH BETTER job stretching. Saturday's long run is 12 miles and I'm hoping to put some new music on my iPod to keep me motivated. It's the little things that help runners. Everytime I have a new playlist I'm really excited to run.



I said I'd update more... so here's today's update! I'm hoping for some positive vibes in the coming days to get me back on the right track. Right now my knees and legs are feeling good!!



Peace. Love. Run.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Aches and pains of marathon training

My lil body is starting to hurt from marathon training. Tonight my knees are hurting. I iced them for a bit and now my foot is hurting. HAHA. Tonight I ran a fast 3 miles. I felt good while running and for some reason I am more nervous about my short runs than my longer runs. At this point it seems to take my body a few miles just to warm up. I couldn't find my watch to time my run, but I would estimate that I finished around 28-29 minutes or so. Tomorrow I'm running 8 miles and I'll be incorporating 2 fairly big hills in the run. I've been reading quite a bit about the marathon and it is quite hilly according to the reviews. I've been running on some hills, so I think I'll be ready, but it can't hurt to do a few more hill runs.

This week my long run is only 12 miles, so I'm looking forward to the shorter distance. I'm also planning to take an RPM class (cycling) and yoga class. The cross training has really made my running stronger so I plan to continue with it as the marathon approaches. I haven't been to Body Pump in about 2 weeks, mainly because of my schedule.

Marathon training is tiring. I've been training since March and I'm starting to get tired, but 45 more days until race day! I'm beginning to think what I'll do after the marathon is finished. I am definitely planning to run the Broad Street Run again and the Delaware half marathon. I think the half marathon is a distance I want to do more of and continue to improve my times!

That's all for now. Just a quick update. I'm going to try to update more as we get closer to Baltimore!

Peace. Love. Run.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

18 Miles!

A very rambling blog entry...

18 MILES! Woo. I did it. This morning. It's been a pretty long training process and I am finally getting to the workouts with BIG miles! I'm proud of the progress I've made... I still have some work ahead of me, but after today's run I finally feel like I've reached the point where I am confident in my physical ability do this marathon. Mentally, I'm still working on it! If I had to do the marathon 2-3 weeks from now, I feel I could do it!

The day before my big runs is always a day to prepare for the next day's run. I watch what I eat and I am hydrating all day. It seems to be working because my long runs have been pretty successful so far. Last night I iced my shins - they started bothering me yesterday and my knees have been a bit sore and I've been icing them as well.

This morning I woke up at 5:30 to get ready to start running at 7. I got to talk to my BFF Jessimba who happened to be up I so that was a nice, encouraging conversation before I embarked I what I'm calling "Kim's Parade Around Newark." I started my run at the Newark Reservoir and went practically around the entire city. It was a good mix of scenery and flats and some hills. Most of the run was flat though. I was really feeling good through most of the run - surprisingly good. I broke the run into 2 sections. Miles 1-11.5 I ran alone. At 11.5 I ran by my friend, Anna's, house and she joined me for the rest. She was a great help and kept me motivated!! I was tired from mile 12 on, but didn't really hit wall until 16.5 miles. And it was more of a mental than physical wall. At that point tons of obscentities were running through my head. I tried to think positive thoughts but it wasn't working well until I realized I was going to finish my run in under 3 hours so I kicked it in gear. I finished strong - the strongest finish of all of my long runs to date and I was really sore when I finished. After driving in the car, I definitely struggled to walk. As the day went on, my legs got looser and I'm feeling okay. Just okay though... I did run 18 miles afterall. At some points of the day I felt a bit naseuous, but I think it's because I needed to eat more.

A lot of times when I run I think about the progress I've made since the first day I attempted any long distance run. My first cross country meet (3.1 miles) I probably finished around 38 minutes. I walked and I complained... but eventually I grew to love running. Hence why I'm crazy enough to train to run 26.2 miles. I think anyone can become a runner if they really want it bad enough. I am amazed everyday I lace my sneakers up at how powerful the human body is. The thought of running 18 miles always seemed so daunting, but with each week of training, my body gets stronger, but more importantly, my mind gets stronger. The fact that I could run for almost 3 hours straight is simply amazing. Respect your body, people it does great things!

P.S. This is such terrible rambling jibber jabber.

Peace. Love. Run.

Monday, August 23, 2010

15 miles - DONE

Saturday was my longest run ever - 15 miles. I was really nervous about it. 15 miles is far. I mapped out my run a few days before to prepare myself mentally. On Friday I drank a lot of water, but went to bed late (David Gray and Ray LaMontagne concert - Amazing musicians!!) so I didn't start running until about 10. It was fine to start this late in the morning because it wasn't very humid. I started my run at the Newark reservoir parking lot and pretty much did a complete tour of the city of Newark. I was really out of breath for the first mile or so... I'm not so sure why. Around mile 3 I started getting terrible "girl cramps," but I worked through it and started feeling good around the 4 mile mark. For most of the run I felt good, besides some leg stiffness and the bottoms of my feet were hurting at about 1:40 minutes of running my feet really started getting tired and all I could think about was sitting down, a cold shower, a swimming pool, Rita's water ice and freeze pops. I knew I had some more work ahead of me before any of these were possibilities. I estimated that I would finished in 2.5 hours and I came in at exactly that time. I stopped a few times to stretch during the run. The course I mapped out was 15.07 miles at at mile 15 I was just ready to be done, but I felt a sense of achievement. I had almost finished running 15 miles! What an accomplishment. Once I was finished my legs really hurt. I drove home and ate a bowl of cereal, tried to stretch out a bit, but I knew it was going to be slow moving for the day. I rebounded pretty quickly and was able to clean my house later that day. The next morning I felt stiffness especially when sitting for long period of times.

Today was back to training. I did an RPM class at the gym, did ab work and some weight training. Tomorrow I'm doing 4 miles miles and looking ahead to Saturday - 18 miles! WOW. I knew I would make it, but it's still crazy to think about running 18 miles. I'm feeling confident this week!! After 15, I'm really getting excited for the marathon. I've decided I'm aiming to run under 4 hours and 15 minutes, but my ultimate goal is to just finish.

Peace. Love. Run.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Running Running Running

I'm not a good blogger. Between writing all day at work and writing for school, I just don't feel like writing about running. But I will. I've been doing well with running lately. Tonight I ran 3.1 miles at White Clay Creek on the cross country course and I finished in 28:08. Since I haven't updated since July 25 I don't really feel it's worth writing about every single run since then. However, my long runs have been 12, 13 and this week is 10. It will be nice to only have to run 10 miles - only 10 miles. HAHA! Next week is 15 miles though - my longest run ever. I'm not worried about it. At this point it becomes a mental game. When I prepare myself to run the longer distances, I do fine. With the heat I've been carrying a water bottle and it's really helped. After the ten-mile debacle a few weeks ago I always carry water on the long runs.

My times have been a bit slower than I'd like, but I'm not really concerned. 1. it's hot out. 2. my only goal for the marathon is to finish. The talk of trying to finish in under 3:55 (mile pace of 8:55) is nonsense talk. This is 26.2 miles, people. I know my pace for the half was 8:39, but another 13.1 miles is a whole different ball game. I'm trying to live!!! However, I am still competitive and I'm going to start trying to incorporate more interval work in my training schedule. Lately, I've been working to just build the mileage, but now I think I can start doing some more speed workouts.

I bought new shoes last week; Asics Gel Kayano 15s. I like them a lot. They say to change your running shoes every 250 miles and my old shoes definitely had more than 250 on them. These are the most expensive sneakers I have ever bought, but I have a lot of running until October so I might as well get some quality shoes. I've also bought some new running shorts and shirts. I am not buying anymore running crap. I've spent way too much money!

Well that's all.

Peace. Love. Run.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Perspective

Running puts life in perspective for me. It's therapeutic. I wasn't really planning to run today since yesterday was my long run of 10 miles, but I wasn't in a good mood for most of the afternoon and I knew the only way to get me out of this funk was to run. Before I talk about today's run let's back up to yesterday.

Yesterday's weather forecast called for 98-degree temperatures with the heat index around 110 degrees. That's definitely not running weather (or any activity besides sitting in a pool) so I knew I had to run early or it wasn't going to happen. I woke up at 5:15 to get ready to start running at 6 a.m. I mapped out a course on mapmyrun.com - I always map out or pick these crazy routes that require me to carry directions - who carries directions to run?!??! Here's directions for yesterday's run.



So when I began my run around 6 am it was a cool 77 degrees out. I felt good and I carried a water bottle because I didn't want to have a repeat of last Sunday's epic fail attempt at 10 miles. I finished in 94 minutes.
Here's a look at the morning sunrise!


Onward!
So this afternoon I was feeling a bit funky. I was in a bad mood and was sort of frustrated about a few things. Where does a girl find a nice, educated, respectful, successful, intelligent man these days?! Whatever! I decided the only way I was going to get out that funk was to go running. One of my coworkers gave me a pair of Nike Free 5.0s. I've been wearing them around and ran on the treadmill with them once but haven't run outside with them on yet. I know this sounds silly, but I felt like they made me run faster! They are really lightweight - I was running on clouds! I ran 5.25 miles in 44:38. The temperature was cool and by the end of my run my mind was clear of nonsense.
This week my long run is 12 miles. The next two weeks will increase in mileage before a slight dip and then we head back up again. It's going to start getting interesting.
That's all for now!
Until next time,
Peace. Love. Run.














Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Running Craziness

So.... I last blogged on Thursday. On Friday I ate Ben and Jerry's ice cream and Saturday I ate a piece of chocolate raspberry cake.

Onto Sunday... My plan was to wake up early and run before it got too hot. The alarm went off at 7:30, but I did not rise or shine. My thought was to run after I finished working - BIG MISTAKE. I worked at National Ice Cream Day at Woodside Creamery. I sat outside in the heat all day and sweated. I stayed hydrated, but of course I needed to have some ice cream. Chocolate chip peanut butter - BANGIN'. I finished working at 4:00. Packed my exhibit table and headed home. I got dresssed and was ready to run. I mapped out a 10 mile course throughout the city of Newark and headed to my starting point. I felt good in the beginning. I felt good until about mile 4 and then it all went down hill from there. I had to pee the entire run. I peed myself. I told you all in the beginning that I was going to be honest in this blog. So there it is. HONESTY. I peed myself. Moving on. I was so hot and exhausted. I was in desperate need of water. Around mile 4 I was on the University of Delaware campus. As an alum, I'm familiar with the campus and I knew there was a fountain near Kirkbride Hall. I walked over, splashed my face and I felt some relief. I told myself "you can finish." Boy was I wrong. Not even a half mile after that I was searching for water. This time I found a hose hookup on the side of a UD building (don't arrest me, please.) I turned it on and got some water. Keep moving I told myself. I was feeling a little better, but it was HOT! I got to about an hour and two minutes and I just stopped. I couldn't do it anymore. I was too hot and thirsty and I knew I needed to listen to my body. I walked the rest of the way to my car. I finished my run feeling discouraged. The entire run was one mental beat down. I kept telling myself I was stupid for signing up for a marathon. "You can't even run 10 miles - how are you going to run 26.2?"

Monday: My plan was to run a few miles on Monday evening, but it rained, so I headed to the gym. I did 30 minutes on the elliptical and did some weight training and ab work.

Tuesday: REDEMPTION! On Tuesday I headed to the Nature Center at White Clay Creek with the intention to run 8 miles. The course is all in the shade (besides for one part on the road). The humidity wasn't bad that day and I was feeling GREAT! It was a nice feeling after Sunday's crappy outing. I was booking it at one point. I love trail running. My 8 miles ended up being about 9 miles and I finished in 1:21. My runner's high returned!!

Today: This morning I did Body Pump, but let's talk about an interesting running experience. Two of the guys at work run with this group called the Hockessin Hash House Harriers running group (it's an international group). It was interesting. I was prepared for this group because I did a little research on the internet. I knew that when I showed up people would be drinking beer before the run (gross) and they all have really profane, offensive names. I will not repeat them. Look them up online if you're really curious. So we waited for the run to begin. We all had to form a circle and the newbies aka virgins were called to the middle. We had to introduce ourselves. My name was "Just Kim" and I had to tell the group who invited me. After we did the intros the leaders of the group talked about today's trail. Each week a new "hasher" lays a trail using flour. There are different signs in flour out on the course. Some indicate you're going the right way others tell you you're on a false trail. We started behind the host's house which was all wooded. The hasher term for this is "squiggy" (I think... maybe swiggy - It's something that rhymes with jiggy because I started singing gettin' swiggy with it - or whatever the name is). So we started running. It wasn't bad at first. I followed the leaders and we had to backtrack just a few times. We were going through neighborhoods and then out into a big field. Then the fun began. It was time to cross the White Clay Creek. So I knew if I walked across the creek with my shoes on I was going to pay for it later. HAHA. RIGHT. So I crossed the creek. I took my shoes off like the little priss I am. I get to the other side and realize we have to walk down the creek. At that point I was like whatever, I'm walking down the creek in my shoes. So the water was about knee deep and it was pretty refreshing. I finally got to area where we needed to get out of the creek. Onto another big field and then out onto a road. We were on the road for a bit and the road was marked with a BN. That means beer is near. I had gatorade. After a bit of a break the hashers kept on. We walked up a huge hill in the woods (no trail) just walking through bushes and sticker bushes. Then down the hill. Then coincidentally we ended up at one of the trails I ran on yesterday. We ran on that a bit and then crossed another creek. This time the water was thigh deep (at least on me). Keep running (in wet shoes - yay blisters!). So we finally finished about an hour and ten minutes later. We didn't run anymore than 5 miles. But there were a lot of nasty hills so overall it was fun and good opportunity to get some hill training in. After the run everyone gathered again and ate some snacks and people drank more beer (see the beer trend). Then they all started singing songs (of course they were profane). After this silliness everyone was invited to eat dinner. The outing was interesting. I'm not sure I dig all the cursing and weird songs, but overall it was fun. The course was cool because it was extreme cross country and it was an adventure!

Looking ahead... tomorrow I'm going to RPM class in the morning, Friday I will probably take a day off or run a few miles. Saturday I'm going for 10 miles and Sunday will definitely be an off day.

That's all.

Peace. Love. Run.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bad Blogger

I'm such a lazy blogger, but not a lazy runner. I've been training hard lately.

I don't remember everything since my last update, but last week was SMOKIN' HOT in Delaware. Some planning was required!

Last Monday I was still in Georgia, but ran a little over 5 miles at a really nice trail with Katie. It was a combination of boardwalks and cement and through the woods and past cow pastures. Very pretty! On Tuesday I ran the cross country course (3.1) at White Clay Creek. It was hot, but the shade was nice. I finished around 28 minutes. I was happy with that time especially with the temperature and the hills. Wednesday I did my long run because I went away for the weekend. I did a nice 9 mile run and it was hot, but I was feeling good. I finished in 81 minutes. Thursday I went to RPM class and Friday I did Body Pump. Saturday and Sunday were both off days. Overall it was a really good, productive week. I'm getting my eating habits under control and I'm happy to report that I've been eating better and my pants are fitting better. I think it's mostly in part to the increase in mileage.

So this week...

On Monday I ran on the treadmill at the gym for an hour because it was pouring out! I kept my speed between 6.4-7.0. My average pace was 6.5 and I burned more than 770 calories. Woop woop! Tuesday I ran at the Nature Center and did the White Bridge loop. I think it's close to 6 miles. I'm not really sure - but I finished in 51 minutes. I felt I was going at a pretty good pace so I'm pretty sure the run was closer to 6 miles. On Wednesday I did Body Pump and they just released the new workout! The second half of the workout is much better than the first. This morning I went to RPM class and the new workout is AWESOME!! I worked it! This weekend I need to find time to run 10 miles. I'll fit it in, but it will be interesting to find the time!! Next week I want to focus on some more speed and hill workouts and my long run is only 7. We decrease a bit in mileage so it will be a good time for the other workouts. The following week we bump it up to 12.

That's all! Just wanted to give my 2 fans an update.

Peace. Love. Run.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Finally Inspired Again

After Sunday's run I was feeling pretty down about running. After finishing the half marathon with a really great time, I've been putting pressure on myself to keep getting faster. It was starting to take the fun out of running. I've been in a running funk lately - I haven't been looking forward to running. All of my runs have been about beating the clock instead of running for pure enjoyment . Tonight I finally found my running spark again, but it didn't come until mile 5. I started my watch at the beginning of my run, but decided I was going to keep my watch set to the clock and not the stopwatch. Time was not of importance tonight. Tonight was all about going the distance (7 miles) and enjoying the beautiful evening. Lately, I've been running a lot in the morning before work. Because time is tight my runs have been rushed and running hasn't been as enjoyable.

Tonight I was inspired. My thoughts were all over the place and for the first time in weeks I was really able to reflect on life while running. Tonight I took time to reflect on how blessed I am to be able to run. Two people at the park really inspired me, a man with a prosthetic leg and a woman who had problems walking. Despite their handicaps they were still out there. Seeing them made me appreciate the fact that I can run without problems. I need to learn to appreciate my body more. The human body is an incredible machine. Despite all of the crap we put it through with our diets and bad habits it keeps chugging along. I am fortunate that my legs are able to train for a marathon. I know most of us have body image problems. I know I do. So from here on out, instead of waking up every morning and saying - my butt looks big in these pants or my pants must of have shrunk in the dryer because they're feeling tight, I am going to start appreciating my body. Our bodies do amazing things. Just think of all the muscle fibers, nerves, bones and other systems that all must interact for us to live our daily lives. It's pretty fascinating when you actually sit down and think about how powerful the human body is.

I am going to learn to respect my body more. If I have a bad run, I am not going to get discouraged. My body did the best it could that day. And if I don't have a good time during a run, I'm not going to stress about it. My goal for the marathon is to finish. That's been the goal the whole time. I'm not going to be concerned with times anymore. I am only at week 3 of this 18-week training program. It will be a long road; it's just started.

So here's what the past week has looked like in terms of training:

Sunday I blogged about my hot, not-so-successful run.

Monday: Elliptical
Tuesday: A 34 minute hill run (not sure how far)
Wednesday: 3.5 miles (my time was 30:05 although I am not concerned about times)
Today: 7 miles (1:03:11)
Friday: Off
Saturday: Not sure
Sunday: Not sure
Monday: Not sure

Sunday, June 27, 2010

"Hard Run"

Whoever named this run the Hard Run is crazy. "Torture Run" is more appropriate. Last night I picked out this run and I knew that it was going to be hard. But I didn't know how mentally challenging it would be. Mentally, this run has been my most difficult run thus far in the whole training process. Before I even hit the one-mile mark I already encountered my first big hill (the hill is located in Carousel Park and it is a good place to do hill repeats for anyone interested). The Paper Mill Road hill was killer and I had to stop once I got to the top. I just couldn't think straight at that point (at the 6-mile mark). My thoughts were wondering, but I got it together and kept going. Once I was out on Limestone Road I could feel my stride getting better, but I hit another wall not too far down the road. At the shopping center where Purebread and Wilmington Trust are I stopped again. At this point I contemplated walking over to the fountain in the parking lot to splash my face and I also realized my house was closer than where my car was parked at Carousel Park. I just wanted to quit and walk home, but then I realized I wouldn't have been able to get in my house! So I manned up and started running again, but my body was really not feeling it. From now on I will not park my car in a spot that's further than my house. It really played with my head.

The hills in this run didn't necessarily kill me - it was dehydration and heat. I worked through it, but I had to keep telling myself positive thoughts. All I could think about was... dang, 26.2 miles is really going to be hard. But then I reminded myself that there will be water stops and hopefully it won't be super hot. I HAVE to start drinking more water. I am also thinking about buying once of those silly looking fuel belts. I don't know if I can wear it though. What are your thoughts on the fuel belts? If I don't buy one of those, I am just going to plan to have someone meet me at the halfway point of my runs with water. I ate 2 ShotBloks during this run and they did help a bit. I am also going to start looking at the weather forecast and use that in addition to my schedule to plan my long runs. Looking back on the past week this is what my training looked like:

Monday: Mountain cycling class (I'd really like to thank the instructor for making us do hill climbs for an hour straight. I honestly think they helped me get up the hills today)
Tuesday: 3.5 miles
Wednesday: Body Pump
Thursday: 5.25 miles
Friday: Body Pump
Saturday: Off
Sunday: 7.78 miles

This week (training week 3 of 18):
Monday: Cycling class
Tuesday: 4 miles
Wednesday: Body Pump
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: 3.5 miles
Saturday: Anywhere from 3-5 miles (my training schedule calls for my long run to be 5 miles this week)
Sunday: Off

Peace. Love. Run.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Blogging Machine!

My blog has been rejuvenated! I've jazzed it up a bit with a fun template and a new header!

This morning I ran 5 miles and, boy, was it hot!! I was really feeling it today. I definitely wasn't prepared to run. I need to drink more water. I was doing really well with my water intake last week, but I fell off the wagon. It's been 90+ degrees here in Delaware for at least five days now. I encourage everyone who wants to get their runs in to either do it early in the morning or in the evening as the sun sets.

I'm looking forward to this weekend's long run. I'm planning to do 8 miles and it will be my longest run since the half marathon on May 16. I like using mapmyrun.com to find new running routes.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Can't Think of a Title.

I'm going to be a better blogger. Today I learned that someone started running because of my blog and once I stopped blogging she stopped running. We can't be having that. Several of my friends are doing Couch to 5k training and I'm really proud of all of them. It's not easy to start a new running routine, but once you start many get hooked! I know I've been hooked!

I'm now into the second week of training for the marathon. I feel like my body is getting back into the swing of training. On Monday I went to RPM class, yesterday I ran 3.5, this morning I did Body Pump and tomorrow I'm planning to run anywhere from 4-6 miles. My long run this week is 7 miles. I will probably bump that up to 8 miles as I ran 7 miles on Saturday morning with no problem.

I'm ready for marathon training as you can tell by the picture on the right! I love training with ShotBloks. They really give me the energy to keep going on the long runs. I am also obsessed with peanut butter so I bought a jar of powdered peanut butter because it has a lot less calories than regular peanut butter. In addition to writing about my training I'm also going to talk about what I'm eating as I'm training. My new blog name is I Run So I Can Eat. I am no longer running slow so I thought it was time for a blog name change!

Most of my running friends run because they love to eat. If I didn't live such an active lifestyle I would probably weigh about 300 pounds. No joke. As I train for the marathon I am going to make a conscious effort to eat well, but I'll probably cheat... a lot.

While Sarah and I were running on Saturday morning she decided it would be a good idea for me to finish the Baltimore Marathon in under 3:55 because first-time marathoners who finish in under that time win a cash prize. I think it's unattainable, but she has confidence so I'm going to train this summer with that goal in mind. I'll need to keep a steady pace of 8:55. I ran the half marathon with a pace of 8:39 so it may be possible, but 26.2 miles is a lot further than 13.1!

Peace. Love. Run.

Friday, June 18, 2010

I'm a bad blogger

My bad. I haven't updated in over a month. Since the half marathon I've been running here and there (nothing too intense) and have been doing a lot of RPM and Body Pump classes at the gym. However, I'm back on the saddle and marathon training officially began on Monday! This time around I'm following Hal Higdon's 18-week novice marathon training plan. I originally was planning to do an intermediate schedule, but I still like doing classes at the gym, so novice worked better with my schedule. I'll probably not follow his schedule to a T - right now I feel 3 miles is too short. When the longer long runs come around, I will definitely be following his schedule. I'm also planning to incorporate some interval and hill training in my schedule

I'm excited for the marathon, but I know I have a lot of work ahead of me.

This week's schedule was/is: (what I actually did or will do is in parenthesis)

Monday: Rest (RPM class)
Tuesday: 3 miles (3.5 miles)
Wednesday: 3 miles (6 miles on the treadmill)
Thursday: 3 miles (3.5 miles)
Friday: Rest (Body Pump class)
Saturday: 6 miles (I think this will probably be an 8 mile run)
Sunday: Cross train (rest)

So my first post post half-marathon and pre-marathon. Bring it!

Peace. Love. Run.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

13.1



I did it! I completed my first half marathon today and I didn't even pee my pants!! And I'm very pleased with my time! I completed 13.1 miles in 1:53:14. My pace time was 8:39. Holy crap. Everytime I think about my time I think holy crap, I finished a half marathon in under two hours. This is the same girl who used to walk at cross country practice. I guess this is why we train - to become better! The hardwork is paying off. I felt so strong today. The course was challenging and had a good mix of flats and hills.

I woke up at 4:45 this morning so I was wide awake by the time the race started. I was a little nervous going into this morning's race. After running Broad Street and coming in with a really great time on a very flat course, I wasn't sure how I would do on the half marathon since there were a lot more hills. While I was excited to run the half marathon this morning, I was super psyched for the Broad Street Run. I think there was just an excitment to be running with a friend, running with 30,000 people and running in Philadelphia. I didn't feel that super psychness for the half marathon. Because I had never run a long distance race before, I was really cautious about what I ate before Broad Street. However, some of my pre-half marathon meals from yesterday included chocolate chip cookies, cake, chips, pretzels and more junk. But I was sure to drink plenty of water.

Whatever it was, it worked, because this morning was awesome. The weather was perfect for running. Cool and overcast! I started the race feeling a bit crappy. Mile 1 was the hardest of all 13 miles. I felt a bit slow going out, but by the time I got to the first mile marker and saw that my time was 9:03 I was feeling good because I knew I was on pace... just another 12.1 miles to go!

The first three miles were flat and fast... we headed around the outlet stores back up near the start line and through the ghetto a few blocks away from the Sunday Breakfast Mission. I saw a homeless man sleeping on the side of the street. From there we made a left on 4th Street and then up Walnut Street. Walnut Street was a bit of an incline, but nothing bad. We made a left on 16th Street and then a right on Market and then made the first left onto the street that runs along the river and past the zoo. That was a nice part of the run. I was running with the same group of people for most of the race and my goal was to never lose site of them because they were helping me to set my pace. We continued up the river and then crossed at the swinging bridge and back down the river before heading up South Park Drive (a hill!!!!). I knew the next part of the run would be difficult. The next mile or so was all uphill.

Okay I don't feel like writing about each part of the run anymore. I don't even feel like writing right now, but I don't want to let my fans down... (all three of you) HAHA! So anyways...

As I was running I kept telling myself to keep pushing it because half marathons aren't supposed to be easy. Whenever I had a cramp or my feet or legs started hurting I told myself I'm supposed to be in pain. If there was no pain, more people would run half marathons. I kept chugging along. At mile 10 I was at 1:26 about 5 minutes faster than my time at the Broad Street Run. At that point I knew I was going to finish in under two hours and I kept telling myself you only have a 5k left to run and most of it would be down hill. I picked up some speed going back down S. Park Drive and when I got to the 11 mile mark I said this is it... I'm almost finished. When I made a right on to King Street, the last stretch of the race, we started going uphill again. At this point I was tired and, seriously, the only thing I kept repeating in my head was oh s***, oh s***... another damn hill. The hill wasn't big by any means, but I wasn't digging any sort of incline at that point. I got up the little hill and kept moving... there was probably one more mile at this point. When I turned the bend and saw the finish line I kicked it in high gear... I sprinted to the finish line. I was tired when I crossed the line. I limped to the refreshment tent. My calves, shins and quads were all burning. Stretching was not an option at that point. I just wanted to sit. I sat and ate a soft pretzel and banana. Eventually I found my mom and stepdad and we left.

After the race I went to breakfast, vacuumed my house and got a pedicure - my feet were a hot mess - and went shopping. I talk a lot about eating, but just like the Broad Street Run, I'm not really all that hungry today. No big post-race meal for me. My legs are feeling tight right now, but not anything close to what they felt like right after the race. Tomorrow will be interesting. It typically takes my body 24 hours to really start feeling the work. I'm hoping I'll be okay though.

Well that pretty much sums up the half marathon experience! It was an awesome feeling to finish and I'm still thinking I'm nuts because 13.1 miles just doesn't phase me when I think about it. I'm ready to train for the marathon. But before I begin I'm taking probably a week off from long distance running. On Saturday I'm running in a relay race for work. Each runner takes a mile leg. I'm not sure how I'll do with that... I want to go out and sprint it but I know I'll die doing that. I'm hoping to run an 8 minute mile. Maybe I can try 7:30.

Peace. Love. Run.










Thursday, May 13, 2010

Strong is the new beautiful

Two days until the half marathon. Can you believe it? It seems like it wasn't that long ago that I began the official Hal Higdon half marathon training schedule. When I think about it, it REALLY wasn't that long I began training... probably about 13 weeks ago. Physically, I feel ready for this half marathon... mentally I'm psyching myself out. I need to get it together. I can't believe I'm running a half marathon. I keep telling myself I'm crazy because at this point I don't think 13.1 miles is far. I guess that's why we train.

I haven't run since Sunday, but everyone I've talked to says that's okay because my body needs to rest. On Sunday I did 12 miles and I felt great. The weather was brisk and the sun was shining so it was pretty much perfect running weather. I was a little worried about doing 12 miles 1. because it would be my furthest distance, 2. I spent the weekend camping on the ground, woke up every day with my back and neck hurting, didn't get much sleep because I was sleeping on the ground (ha) and 3. I spent the weekend eating cheese curls, smores, pretzels and chips in a chair in a field. Despite the bad eating habits and lack of sleep my run was a success. I finished 12 miles in 1:53. I'm happy with that time.

On Tuesday I did an RPM class at the gym and Wednesday I did Body Pump. Tomorrow I'm going to go on a short run in the morning to loosen up a bit and then continue to focus on hydrating and eating right.

Looking ahead to Sunday I'm not sure if I'm going to set a time goal. My goal as always is to finish and run 10-minute miles. I have been running 9-9:30-minute miles though so we'll see. Miles 5.5-6.5 is an uphill climb so that will be interesting. Some of my runs have included hills so I think I'll be okay.

Once the half is over I'm going to take some time off from running, but will continue to work out at the gym. I'm looking forward to going back to kickboxing and Body Step class. Over the summer I want to do some interval work and continue to work on speed in addition to long distance runs. My marathon training plan official begins on June 15, but I'm already way ahead of schedule from training for the half.

That's all for tonight.

Peace. Love. Run.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Running Skirts

This post is really just a bunch of nonsense because I blogged on Sunday and nothing much has happened since then. I walked yesterday with two friends and stretched. My quads hurt a bit, but I was able to walk and even ran the last quarter mile of my walk just for fun. This evening I went to Carousel Park and ran the Carousel Loop. I believe it's three miles because I finished in 29 minutes. There is a pretty intense hill around mile 2. In the next week and a half, I'm going to try to find more runs with hills to mix it up a bit. After the run I headed to the gym and stretched and did some weight lifting (arms only) and abs.

Okay, the reason for tonight's post. Running skirts. There were a lot of chicks at the Broad Street Run wearing running skirts. I've seen them at the gym on a few occasions and they're really annoying. I apologize to any readers who wear running skirts. Don't be offended. Maybe you can help us understand. A lot of Julie and my conversation as we were warming up for the race centered on the running skirt. They have shorts under them, but I just don't understand. They seem like they would be uncomfortable and what's the point in running in a skirt? (I did play lacrosse and we wore skirts, but it wasn't my decision).

That's all. This was all really pointless. But it's my blog.

Peace. Love. Run.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Broad Street! 30,000+ Strong!


Today was the first of three big running days - the Broad Street Run! What an awesome morning! Let's rewind to the past 24 hours or so... Yesterday all I did was drink water... water, water and more water. And it paid off. I ate carbs throughout the day, but I didn't go crazy. No pasta dinner here. I went to bed at 9:30, but didn't really get a good night's sleep. My house was hot (I was going to not turn the AC on all summer, but I caved in and it's now on). I tried sleeping in my own bed, but because I can't open the windows (too much traffic noise from Limestone Road and there is a huge, really freaking loud bullfrog living in the pond in the back)... so after an hour or so in my bed I moved to my guest bedroom. I opened the windows and it was cooler, but then some neighbors were really loud and drunk so I moved back to my room. I finally fell asleep and my alarm woke me up at 3:55 a.m. I was ready. I headed to Julie's in Wilmington and we departed for the race at 5:15 a.m. (I do have to mention I ate a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup egg at 5:00 a.m. - Julie told me last night that if I finished in 1:31 she would give me some peanut butter cup eggs - I told her she was crazy and I would never finish in that time) It was pouring the entire drive up. I figured it was just a passing shower and hoped that it would cool things off a bit, because it was still pretty warm in the early a.m. hours.

We got to the subway a little before 6 a.m. The train was pretty packed with runners, but we found seats. My prediction was that by the time we got to our stop, the rain would stop and the sun would be shining and it would be hot. The rain stopped, but it was still pretty cloudy. We hit the portapotties, walked around the track, stretched, participated in the step aerobic workout/stretch session (this was all within a 2-2.5 hour time period!) We got there early, but I'm glad we did. It gave us some time to just relax and hit up the bathroom without any lines. At around 8:10 we started walking to the start line. The line was divided by colored flags. These colors were based on your predicted finish time. Back in February when I signed up I predicted I would finish in 1:40 so I was in the yellow group.

So after waiting for probably a good 20 minutes it was time for my group to start (my group was closer to the back). While waiting we could see the mass of runners that had already started. It was a pretty amazing scene! 30,000+ runners running the streets of Philadelphia! We finally got to the start and it was go time. I set my watch and was off! I felt really good starting out. On some of my longer runs in the past few weeks I've noticed that it's taken me at least two miles before I settled in. Not today. I was feeling good and started passing people so I could break away from some of the crowd (while there were 30,000 runners, I never felt that it was too crowded). The first 4 or so miles of the course are in some of Philadelphia's poorer neighborhoods. It was nice to see the neighbors out and cheering!! At mile one I looked at my watch and was pretty surprised at how fast I started out. I think my first mile was 8:40 or so. I felt good so I didn't question myself or think I should slow down so I could keep going the rest of the race. Usually I think a lot while I run, but I just enjoyed the scenery and people and my thoughts were pretty quiet. I did have to pee for most of the run so I was probably thinking "I hope I don't pee my pants because I'm not stopping."

I stopped at most of the water spots.( My friend Naty from work, who happened to be in Philly later in the day, commented on the amount of cups on the streets haha!) At mile 4 I ate my second shotblok (I ate one 15 minutes before the race started) and it gave me energy and I kept moving. All along the route there were bands playing to keep the runners motivated! Because of the heat, the city had the fire hydrants on so it was nice to be able to run through the water to cool off. It was a really hot run even in the morning. Once we approached City Hall there were tons of people cheering on the sides so that helped. Around mile 7 I really started feeling tired and wanted to stop, but of course I didn't. I still had to pee and I began contemplating peeing my pants, but I didn't want to (even though a lot of runners do!) because that's pretty gross. I kept going and going and going.... Mile 8 I popped another ShotBlok (I ate a total of 5 for the whole race). There were still tons of people cheering, but all I could think about was how hot it was and how bad I had to pee. So mile 9 is approaching and I'm getting tired. I wanted to stop. Fortunately, the song I was listening to kept saying "don't stop" so that helped a lot. I hit mile 9 and I said I'm doing this for Michelle. (Michelle Rigney was my good friend who lost her battle to melanoma in June 2008.)

Mile 9 was the hardest. I was almost there and I still had to pee. I'm sorry for sharing this, but it's my blog so I do what I want. But I started peeing my pants. hahahaa. I got it together and was able to hold it. Once I was in the Navy Yard there were tons of people cheering and I knew I only had a 1/4 mile left. I saw my mom and stepdad cheering and that was a really huge help! My mom was screaming and we gave each other five!!!! She was so excited! I saw the finish line banner and kicked it in high gear. I did it! I crossed it. I stopped my watch and my unofficial time was 1:31 (Julie predicted it with her peanut butter cup eggs!). We started walking to the refreshment tent and there was a mob of hot, sweaty runners. I was feeling overheated and we got a water bottle and waited to get through the refreshment tent. I got a soft pretzel and a bag of treats. Inside the bag was a banana, orange, fritos, yogurt breakfast bar and teddy grahams. I wasn't that hungry, but I was able to eat the banana, soft pretzel and some of the teddy grahams. I met up with my family, they took my picture and we headed back to the finish line to watch Julie finish. I wasn't sure if she already came in, but we found a spot along the fence and waited. I was able to watch her finish and she had her white stunner shades on which helped me to find her in the crowd! We were cheering loud and I was so proud!!!!!

So for those who read my blog or facebook updates, you know I talk about eating a lot. Today I'm not really feeling hungry. I thought I would be eating a lot today, but I'm just not feeling it. Maybe tomorrow! Tomorrow I'm planning to eat a muffin from Purebread for breakfast (the peanut butter cup muffin taunts me every morning when I pick up bread for the Food Bank) and then I'm hitting up the Pizza Hut lunch buffet! I love Pizza Hut pizza!!!

So that's it. The Broad Street Run - complete! It was an awesome experience and I am already looking forward to next year. This race humbled me though. I have a lot of work ahead of me before the marathon in October. In two weeks I'm running the half marathon in the Delaware Marathon Running Festival. I'm looking forward to it! But it will be a lot harder than Broad Street. 3.1 more miles and the course will be a lot more challenging. I hope we have cooler weather on that day though.

So looking ahead to this week's training schedule.

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 5 Miles
Wednesday: RPM
Thursday: 6 miles
Friday: Body Pump
Saturday: I'm going camping! I will probably go hiking, canoeing and other outdoor crap
Sunday: 11-12 miles

Peace. Love. Run.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Content.

but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31 - GYRO

Have you ever just felt completely content with life? I got that feeling tonight, while stretching at the park after a quick three miles. This whole training process has brought encouragement, empowerment, strength and clarity.

My first stop in this long-distance running journey begins on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. - the Broad Street Run! I will be running the streets of Philadelphia with 30,000 fellow runners and my good friend, Julie! I'm ready. strong. focused. determined. From what I've read about this race, it's really inspiring to see a mass of runners running down Broad Street. I'm really excited to be a part of it. I'm still determining whether I want to set a time goal for this race. Of course, my first goal is to finish. When I signed up I predicted that I would finish in 1:40 - 10 minute miles exactly. Last week when I did 9 miles I finished in 1:31 minutes, but I didn't stop my watch for several cross walk lights. I think with those lights I could have shaved off at least 6 minutes or so. I am just going to go out there and do the best I can. I'm hoping to finish in under 1:40. I think I can run consistent 9:30 minute miles. Maybe the beautiful weather, adrenaline and the crowd will help me run faster. We'll see.

To help me prepare for the race I've really been focusing on eating right and drinking plenty of water this week. I have cut junk food out (besides for a few pieces of candy and no Double Downs or Red Robin bacon cheeseburgers this week!) and have really made a good effort to eat a balanced, healthy diet. In terms of training I rested on Sunday and Monday, ran 6 miles on Tuesday, did Body Pump on Wednesday, rested on Thursday and ran 3 miles tonight and stretched. Tomorrow I'm going to do RPM to spin out some lactic acid of my legs and stretch a lot. After RPM, Julie and I are headed to Lincoln Financial Field for the race expo. We'll pick up our racing numbers, timing device and t-shirt! Gotta love the shirts!

On another running note, I am really excited that Anna and Kat, two of my coworkers, have decided to train for a 5k! They are following the Couch to 5k plan and I am so proud! I look forward to watching their progress!!

Peace. Love. Run.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

One Week Until Broad Street

Yesterday was the longest run I've ever done - 9 miles. I used mapmyrun.com to find a good 9-mile run in Newark. http://www.mapmyrun.com/run/united-states/de/newark/320002

This was a really fun route because there were a lot of changes in scenery. My favorite part was Main Street. There were a lot of people out so it kept my mind off how many more miles I still had to go. At about 4.5 miles I started to hit my first block of fatigue so I popped in a ShotBlok and I definitely think it worked. Creek Road was the hardest part of this run because there are a few small hills and I had to run down the road and then back up so that was a bit of a mental challenge. There is also a pretty decent sized hill coming back up the road towards North College Avenue.

I finished in 1:31. I am happy with that time. I think I could have shaved a few minutes off if there weren't so many crosswalks I had to stop at. (I didn't stop my watch at the lights)

Looking ahead to this week: Sunday is the Broad Street Run! I'm really excited. Saturday we go up to the race expo to register and pick up our race numbers and shirts! Wooo I love getting shirts at runs!!

This week's schedule:

Monday: 4 miles
Tuesday: RPM
Wednesday: 6 miles
Thursday: 2 miles
Friday: RPM
Saturday: Rest/Stretching
Sunday: Broad Street Run - 10 miles

Then after this week I will begin looking ahead to the half marathon on May 16!

Peace. Love. Run.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Getting Down to Business

Alrighty, sorry it's been awhile since my last post. I tried to blog from the train to DC on Tuesday, but my post got lost somehow.

The title of this blog is Getting Down to Business because we're now only ten days away from the Broad Street Run and just 24 days from the half marathon. Since my last post I ran 8 miles on Saturday (I tried Clif Shot Bloks and really liked them), 5.25 miles on Sunday, 3.1 on Monday and 5.25 tonight.

I'm really happy with all of my pace times. 5.25 in 51:12, 3.1 in 27:57 and 5.25 in 49:47 tonight. Since I haven't posted in awhile, I don't want to bore you with all of the details of the runs so I'll just talk about a few highlights.

I felt good during Saturday's 8-mile run. After running Julie and I were talking about distance. A few years ago when I thought about running 8 miles, I would either be like - whoa, that's so far. I can't do that. Once I finally did 8 miles it was such an awesome feeling. On Saturday we were thinking about how 8 miles is just something we do. It's tough, but the mentality is so different now. 8 miles now - no big deal. 18 miles for training in a few months - pretty big deal.

So I ran on Sunday and then on Monday I headed to White Clay Creek to do an unofficial 5k on the cross country course. I've been really curious to see what my time would be after almost two months of consistent training. When I ran cross country in high school, I was never good. I just ran for the fun of it. I remember the first time I ran that course I probably finished in 38 minutes or so. The cross country course at White Clay is well-known for "suicide" hill. I remember the first time I ran up it - I wanted to die and I probably did more walking than running. On Monday I conquered suicide - it didn't look as big as I remembered and I definitely ran up the entire hill and felt pretty good at the top. I was winded, but I didn't need to stop. I finished the course in 27:57 and I am really really really happy about that. My best 5k time is 27:50 so If I can run this hilly trail just 7 seconds slower than my best time on a flat course at the Riverfront I am definitely excited to see what my 5k time would be down on a flat course. After the run I felt the work.

I took Tuesday off to go to D.C. for work. After the conference we walked to dinner and in total we probably walked a little over 5 miles for the entire day. My feet felt it on the way back to the train station. I walked into the train station with bloody toes and heals. Nice.

Wednesday I did a Body Pump class and did 30 minutes on the elliptical at the gym.

Today was 5.25 miles and I finished in 47:57. I'm really happy about that. Especially after what I ate today.

I'm really disappointed in my eating habits. I feel like I have no self control. So I've been talking for a few weeks now about how I was going to try KFC's new Double Down. Well today at lunch I headed to KFC with two of the guys that I work with at the Food Bank. It tasted pretty good, but I would definitely not get it again. I could feel my arteries hardening as I ate it and my chest definitely felt tight afterwards! HAHA!

For the next week and a half I am going to really focus on my eating habits. I know I've talked about this before, but it's for real this time. I feel like a fatso. I need to get this shirt that says "I run so I can eat." So starting tomorrow I am going to really focus on eating healthy. (I do have to eat a piece of cake that my friend at work gave me for my birthday so that doesn't count)

Looking ahead to the weekend, tomorrow I'm planning to run an easy 3 miles and then Saturday I'm doing 9. Nine will be my longest run ever so I'm definitely looking forward to it. I will try to blog on Sunday so I can talk a bit about Saturday's run and how the new diet is going. Until then...

Peace. Love. Run.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Step out of your comfort zone

This week is all about cross training and early mornings. I was at the gym at 5:30 a.m. yesterday and today. Yesterday I did about 45 minutes on the elliptical, stretched and did some weight training. This morning I did RPM - RPM at 6 a.m. is awesome - who knew you could feel so energized that early in the morning! The new music is really good, too!!

So a few entries ago I talked about the main reason I run - I really like to eat. My new snack is chips dipped in peanut butter. Don't judge me. It's really good. But on a serious note, running also helps me keep my emotions in check. I was reading Fitness Magazine the other day and a few of the women wrote about their reasons for running:

"Running swept that ex right out of my head, along with other garbage that was clogging my thought process."

"Running became my own form of Prozac. Those jogs helped me keep it together and stay positive."

I couldn't agree more with their outlooks on running.

I'm going to get personal in my blog tonight. In January my boyfriend of almost nine years (we were on again off again, but for the most part we were on) and I broke up. I won't lie, I was really sad at first, but then the sadness quickly turned to anger and then the anger turned to "I don't really give a crap." After having some time to think about the past, the relationship really should have ended years ago, but we kept going because it was comfortable. We fought all the time, we saw each other probably 1-2 times a week and the only thing we really had in common was that we both liked to eat. How often do we do things just because we want comfort? Through running I'm learning that we can't always do what's comfortable - we need to push it a little harder each time to become that better runner. Whether you've never run before or you've been running for years we all need to step out of our comfort zone. If you've never run before, make the first step - put on your sneakers and run to the mailbox. Slowly build up. If you've been running for awhile now, set some new goals!

Life shouldn't always be comfortable. Challenge yourself.

Peace. Love. Run.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

It's been a week.

So it's been a week since my last update. Here's what I've been up to training wise.

Monday: So after Saturday's eight-miler and Sunday's three-miler, Julie and I did five miles at the Nature Center in the early a.m. We finished in 52 minutes or so - I wasn't keeping time, but I think I remember that's what time Julie's watch said when she finished. After running a few of us girls went to the beach for the day.


Tuesday: After work I went to the gym for a Body Pump class, I hadn't been in probably a month so I was interested to see how my body would feel afterwards. I was a bit sore doing lunges and squats, but overall I felt fine. The running is definitely keeping me strong. The next day my triceps were sore, but nothing unbearable. In terms of what I ate on Tuesday, my diet pretty much consisted of this on the left (Thank you, Naty) - (I know it's bad, but it tasted so good). I pretty much finished everything on that plate before the end of the work day. I am going to try to eat better in the coming weeks. There are only 21 days until Broad Street and 35 days until the half.

Wednesday: So Wednesday was the hottest day of the year so far and me being the intelligent individual that I am thought it was good idea to do 5.4 miles in the middle of the afternoon sun in 87 degree weather. The run was definitely a struggle. Again, I didn't drink enough water during the day and there were a few times I wanted to stop, but I didn't. A special thank you to all of the hot guys (only the good-looking ones) at the park who were running without their shirts - you kept me distracted for a quick minute and helped me to forget the pain I was in. Another special thanks to the lil fat ladies in their short shorts - you kept me motivated to keep running so I never look like that. Ladies, when working out, please choose appropriate workout clothes. I know it's hot, but, please, do us all a favor and avoid all that tight spandex nonsense and teeny tiny shorts. If you don't got it, please don't flaunt it. So I finished 5.4 miles in 47:11 - I was really happy about that considering it was so hot.

Overall, I am happy with the progression I'm making. I've noticed how much my stride has improved. I'm feeling really strong when running these days. On Thursday I took the day off. After 8 miles last Saturday, 3 miles last Sunday, 5 miles last Monday, Body Pump on Tuesday and 5.4 miles on Wednesday it was time to give my body a well-deserved break. On Thursday evening a group of friends went out and I was happy to hear that my friend, Liz, is reading my blog. She's a new runner and it's really exciting to hear her talk about running and how she's enjoying the blog! Shout out to Liz! Keep running, girl!!

On Friday I rested for another day because I drove down to North Carolina with my friend, Katie, and her mom. We planned to run five miles on Saturday. We went out around 8:15 a.m. and the conditions were ideal - sunny, blue clear skies and about 50 degrees. I felt really good the whole time. We were in Burlington, NC and it's a really cute place. We ran past the country club and tons of beautiful homes. After our run I had a biscuit with bacon, egg and cheese from Biscuitville! The rest of the day was a trainwreck in terms of eating. I had tons of punch, cake, crackers, cheese, desserts and a lot of other really good stuff the rest of the day at Katie's bridal shower and a reception to honor the bride and groom later that evening. I probably gained 5 pounds in NC, but whatev!

Today we flew home and as soon as I got in I headed to Delcastle for seven miles. Again, I didn't drink enough water beforehand and I felt pretty crappy for most of the run. I ran through a few stitches and my legs felt tired. I finished 7 miles in 67 minutes - still pretty good for me considering I didn't feel that great. A few things that kept me distracted on my run were:
  • Some chick wearing a dress and Ugg boots - please, sister, it's almost 80 degrees out. No need for those stupid boots.
  • Man wearing black pants and a black longsleeved shirt
  • I was inspired by a woman who was probably close to 250 pounds jogging around the park. It's encouraging to see people out there running regardless of shape and size! We can all be runners!! Around the time I ran past her I felt like I was hitting a block - I wanted to stop, but kept going - she inspired me to keep moving.
Looking at the coming week I'm planning on (this week is pretty busy in the evening so I'm struggling with where to put my runs):

Monday: Elliptical/stretching for an hour at the gym at 5:30 a.m.
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: Body Pump (The HAC is releasing the new Les Mills workout!!)
Thursday: Treadmill at 5:30 a.m.
Friday: Elliptical at 5:30 a.m.
Saturday: 8 miles with Julie -we're going to try out Clif Shot Bloks
Sunday: 3-4 miles

Looking at this - I'm not really happy about all of these early-morning gym visits.

That's all.

Peace. Love. Run.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

8 miles with the fishermen

So it's been a few days since my last update.

On Saturday Sarah and I went to the Nature Center for 8 miles. We got there around 7:15 a.m. and the parking lot was FREAKING PACKED. Apparently Saturday was the start of trout fishing season and everyone and their dad was there fishing along the creek. We couldn't find a parking spot in the parking lot so we parked right next to the actual Nature Center in what looked to be a parking lot (more about that later). After some quick stretching we were on our way. I felt good for it being so early in the morning. I ate half of a Clif bar on the way over and drank a half a bottle of water. I need to drink more water though.

So we've decided that many fishermen have never seen females before. We ran along the trail and all we heard was "good morning, ladies" blah blah blah. I waved, but, Sarah, on the other hand was not pleased. On our way back she definitely called them out - typical Sarah. haha

At about the three mile mark we headed up two large hills. I felt strong going up and I credit that to all of the cycling and RPM classes I've been doing.

I've decided I really like early-morning runs. It was so peaceful with the birds chirping and the water flowing down the creek. I love White Clay Creek.

So overall I had a really good run. We finished in 1:34 - we stopped a few times to stretch and the two hills did slow us down a bit. To the right is Sarah's new Garmin GPS watch. I need to get me one of these babies. It keeps track of pace, distance and time - pretty awesome. I think this will be really helpful as I start building my mileage up as I get ready for the marathon. There are going to be times I'm going to have to run alone and I'm not running in the woods alone. If I'm running through neighborhoods or open parks, I can keep track of my mileage with this. So, if anyone wants to buy this for my birthday, please do.


So when we got back to the car, a surprise was waiting for us on our windshield - a warning ticket from the jerk park ranger. This park ranger (I will leave out names) thinks he is God of the Delaware State Park system. He used to give my brother a hard time whenever he went to the park and overall, he just sucks at life. To the left is my warning ticket for parking in an "illegal" spot.

So that was Saturday's workout. Every other time I did this 8-mile run I felt really sore the next day. This morning I woke up and felt fine. Yesterday I decided I would do an easy three-mile run today. I went to the park and did three miles and then walked about a mile and stretched. Tomorrow I'm doing five miles with Julie and then I'm planning to take a day or so off.

I've been reading about energy gels and blocks this weekend. I am going to start training with them so I can see how my body reacts before I use them during a race. In two weeks I'm going to do a 10-mile run and want to test out Clif Shot Bloks or GU Energy Gel. I'm going to use it at the 5-mile mark and probably take one before I start. What do you runners recommend?

So I'm getting close to my upcoming runs - Broad Street is in 28 days and the half marathon is in 42 days. The thought of running 10 or even 13.1 miles doesn't intimidate me (I don't think I would have ever said that). Registration is open for the Baltimore Marathon and 26.2 miles and running for more than four hours sounds pretty scary right now. I have a long way to go before I'm there, but as each day passes I feel stronger and more ready for the May runs!

Peace. Love. Run.