Saturday, January 24, 2009

Signed up for another one

I've been running a bit this week, trying to get back on track for my 1,000 mile goal for the year. I took Monday and Tuesday off, but ran on the treadmill at the gym on Wed, Thu and Fri. I also went out to the park today to run with the TNT people. It was freaking cold - bitterly cold. Thought hard about not going, but I'd already told a few people that I'd be there. I ended up doing six miles (one time around the park loop) and called it good. I will hit the treadmill at the gym tomorrow and then I think I'll be back on pace for 1,000 miles.

While at the park today, a couple of people mentioned that they were planning to do the Martian Half Marathon on April 5th. I'm already signed up to do the Bayshore Half Marathon on May 23rd (as is one of the Martian half-marathoners).

I thought about it for a while after I got home and then thought what the hell, I'm going to go for it. My training schedule for Bayshore calls for me to do an 11 mile long run the week of the Martian half. So I'll just treat the Martian as my long run, a little longer than called for, and not worry about my time. Bayshore is still the race where I'll be aiming to beat my RNR AZ time. Martian can be slower and I won't care - I'm just going to consider it a training run. A training run that happens to have one of the ugliest race shirts I've ever seen in my life. Can't wait to get it! :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Half Marathon Race Report

My boyfriend David and I arrived in Phoenix on Friday. That day utterly sucked because I had one of my cats put to sleep, so the less said about that, the better. We went to the race expo to pick up my packet. I spent a ridiculous amount of money to buy the official race jacket as well as a cute pink fleece hoodie with the race name embroidered on it. On Friday evening, I met with my TNT teammates to decorate our singlets.

On Saturday morning, I met with our coach Sandy and a teammate, Kimberly, for a quick 2-mile run. Some TNT people from Oregon joined us as well. It felt great to run in 50-degree weather after all the cold at home.

On Saturday afternoon, we had a wonderful experience because we had lunch with a friend from an online forum and her husband. I've known her on the forum for 5 or 6 years, but this was our first meeting and it was really cool. I was really nervous about it, but they were great. Very easy to talk to.

Saturday night was the TNT pasta party. I didn't actually eat anything because I was still so stuffed from lunch. There were about 2,000 TNT runners from all over the country. Amazing! They announced the biggest fund-raiser. One girl from New York raised $34,000! Wow, made me feel like a total slacker! John "The Penguin" Bingham was the emcee for the event. I absolutely love him, since I am a penguin myself! He lost his first love to a blood cancer back in the 60s, so TNT is near and dear to his heart. We also had a speech from a woman who lost her daughter a few years ago. It was very emotional and touching, and reminded us all why we were there.

After the pasta party, I laid out all my stuff so I'd be ready on Sunday morning.

On Sunday morning, I wanted to be up by 5:30 because the 1/2 marathon folks were due on a shuttle to the start line at 6:15. I set the hotel alarm clock and also set my cell phone alarm as a back-up. Unfortunately, I forgot that my cell was still on Eastern time, so it went off at 3:30am Mountain time. Whoops! But despite that, I slept surprisingly well the night before the race. I ended up waking up at 5am so I got dressed and went downstairs to get some pictures of my full marathon teammates, who were leaving on the 5:30am shuttle.

When the time came for my shuttle, I met up with my Michigan teammate Becca. We rode over together and then wandered around checking everything out. I don't know why they made us get there so ridiculously early since the 1/2 didn't start until 8:30, but at least we had a chance to hit the porta potties and watch the start of the full marathon.

Finally our start time was coming up so I checked in my gear bag and we headed for our corrals. Becca was a few corrals behind me so I never saw her again until after the race. The half has so many runners (about 20,000) that they do a wave start, releasing one corral at a time. John Bingham was back, releasing each of the corrals and making lots of jokes about how the people in the back have a lot more fun. :) My corral was released at about 9am. I was so excited to finally get started, I wasn't even nervous at all. I made sure to keep a nice slow and steady pace instead of leaping out of the corral like a maniac and wearing myself out.

I highly recommend a Rock 'n' Roll event to everyone. It helped so much to have the bands there at every mile. I always found myself picking up the pace when I ran past a band. I wish I'd brought a camera with me to take pictures of all the bands.

Having my name on the front of my singlet was great, because lots of people were calling out encouragement to me by name. It's amazing how much it helps to hear a total stranger say "looking good, Cathy!"

I really don't remember a lot of individual details of the race. I know I made a pit stop around mile 6 or 7, which took 4 minutes because there was a line. I ended up missing my goal time by fewer than 3 minutes so I really regretted that bathroom break!

I made a few cell phone calls during the race. I talked to my sister, my sister-in-law, my TNT mentor, and David. Perhaps that was a strange thing to do, but I enjoyed it.

I felt really strong through the first 9 1/2 miles. Then I sort of conked out and took a little walk break. I probably walked 5-6 minutes in all, but never more than 2 minutes at a time. When I got down to the last mile, I saw our Coach Sandy so she ran with me the rest of the way. I was so happy to see her and was glad she was there to run with me.

When I crossed the finish line I was so happy! I was just wandering around and totally walked past where they were handing out the medals. Needless to say, I went back and got one!

After I found David, we went back to the hotel so I could get a shower. He went out to buy me some pain killers because my legs were so sore. And he was considerate enough to also bring me some chocolate milk - exactly what I needed at that moment! Then we took a walk, which made my legs feel a lot better.

I'm proud and happy to have completed my first half marathon and I'm looking forward to the next one in May. I will hit my goal time next time around!

Mission accomplished

I did it! I completed the Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Half Marathon on Sunday. More to come later. :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The value of setting goals

Yesterday I had a little lesson in the importance of goal setting, at least for me. I was due to run 3 miles. I got up at 5am, with a plan to run after work. After work, I was tired. The gym was crowded. I almost turned around and left when I saw how jammed the parking lot was. But I sucked it up and went in.

Got on the treadmill and just felt too lazy to run so I thought about walking my 3 miles instead. But then I remembered that I set a goal to run 1,000 miles in 2009. So I ran the 3 miles, and of course felt great when I was done. But if I didn't have that 1,000 mile goal I might not have run yesterday. Goals are good!

And I got up early today and ran another three miles before work. :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Only a week to go!

Today was my last group run with Team in Training. I feel really sad! It's a great group of people. I'll miss it so much that I'm still going to show up for the Saturday group runs, because I know several people who'll be doing the same. Also, a few people are talking about getting together for short runs on Wednesdays after work, so I'll probably do that, too.

I can't believe the half marathon is just eight days away. I feel ready for it and I'm looking forward to high temps in the 70s. And even better, I have an online friend who lives in Phoenix, so my boyfriend and I are going to have lunch with her and her husband. We've known each other online for probably seven years, but have never met. So this will be a really cool trip for multiple reasons.

I have this urge to get my suitcase packed already. Heh, I will wait a while on that. But I tend to overpack, which is a problem since I only want to have carry-on for this trip. So packing will probably be a challenging process for me.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Still loving it

I've run two more times since my last post and I did indeed do three intervals at the faster speed. It's challenging me and I love it. It's like I had some sort of running epiphany - it can be lots of fun to push yourself! Who knew? :)

Tomorrow the schedule calls for two measly miles. I'll get up early to do those before work, like I have done lately. It really starts my day off right.

I'm at 18 1/2 miles so far this year, so a long way to go to reach my goal of 1,000 miles. I'd like to have more mileage these days but I'm doing what Coach Sandy says and respecting the taper. I don't want to end up injured right before the half marathon so I'm following the schedule. But after 1/18, then I can do what I want for a while. Some time in February, I'll have to dig up a good half marathon training schedule and start prepping for Bayshore in May.

Also, once I get back from Phoenix I'll start working on strength training, which is one of my other fitness goals this year.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I feel great

Today was a strange day for me. I was filled with positive energy for some reason. I had three miles to run, so I went to gym and got on the treadmill. Just like yesterday, I was wishing I could run more. So I pushed myself and made my base speed a little faster than I usually run. And then I did a couple of three-minute intervals at an even higher speed just to push myself. I found that I really enjoyed it! Now I'm excited for the next time I get to run, when I will aim for three intervals at the faster speed instead of two.

I think I've finally started to love running, instead of just loving the way I feel AFTER I run.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New goals

Today was the six mile "long run" with Team in Training. It was great. Never before did I think I would say it was "only" six miles. But I said it today. It felt like a short run. I wanted to run more. I think this taper is good for me; it's leaving me wanting to run longer so that will be handy when I have to run 13.1 miles two weeks from tomorrow. :)

I signed up today for the Bayshore Half Marathon, which takes place in beautiful Traverse City the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. I figured it would be a good idea to get another race on the calendar to keep me motivated when the Phoenix half is done. I'm excited about it. My dear boyfriend David will go with me and we'll make a fun weekend out of it. We snagged a great hotel room overlooking the bay and within walking distance of downtown. Also within easy walking distance of the race shuttle and the end point of the race. Yay!

I don't really do New Year's resolutions, but I did set some fitness goals for 2009:

1) Keep running at least 4x per week and complete at least one more half marathon in addition to Phoenix. In fact, my goal is to run at least 1,000 miles during 2009. I think this is totally feasible, just 20 miles per week. I will exceed that during many half marathon training weeks. I suspect I will sign up for another half marathon or two later in the year.

2) Lose the last 25 pounds. Possibly I'll stop before I reach 25 pounds; it really depends on how I look and feel. I won't starve myself to reach an arbitrary number. I do need to lose at least 10 more pounds to get to the top of the healthy weight range for my height, so I'll achieve that at a minimum.

3) Do strength training at least 2x per week. I've kept away from strength training for far too long and I need to get back to it. Woman cannot live by cardio alone!

4) Remain injury free. Other than my weird foot problem that I experienced a while ago, I've been really lucky not to hurt myself and I dearly hope to continue that. Just means I can't get stupid with my training.

That's it! I think they're good goals - a little challenging but certainly not impossible.