Saturday, July 31, 2010

The race report that wasn't

Today I was registered for the Legend 5 mile race. It's a trail race; I did it last year and it was pretty fun. But it's a couple of hours from home. So a few weeks ago I decided to skip the Legend and do the Heart of the Hills 10K instead. I did that one last year and it was hard and I got beaten by someone who was about 80 years old, so I wanted a do-over.

But I didn't run either one of those races today. Instead, I went out to good old Stony Creek Metro Park (site of many of my training runs last year) and ran 16 miles with my running buddy Jo. And I had a great time. I don't regret skipping those races at all. If I hadn't done this long run with Jo, then I wouldn't have run long this weekend. I'm going to a pub crawl tonight and I know there's no way I'm going to get up early tomorrow. And if I don't get up early, long runs don't happen.

Overall, the 16 mile run was much better for my training than either of the races would have been. I enjoy running with Jo and she wanted someone to do the long run with her, so I was happy to oblige. Looking forward to many more kick-ass long runs. I'm starting to feel more confident about my ability to finish those marathons in the fall.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Taking it easy

Today is tempo run day, but I didn't do a tempo run. My left hamstring was bugging me during my last two runs, so I took a rest day yesterday and decided to run easy today. Seems to have worked because my hamstring felt fine during this morning's run. We'll see what happens when I do some more serious running this weekend.

That's all I've got for now!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Long run fun

Planned: 12 miles
Actual: 12.1 miles

The schedule called for 10-11 miles today, but I was feeling all ambitious and decided to aim for 12. My friend Black Bear contacted me earlier this week to see if I wanted to go for a run, so we agreed to meet at a local park at 7am this morning. I'm calling her Black Bear because I wanted to link to her blog (which she needs to update more often, hint hint) and I don't think she uses her real name on her blog. So she will be BB for the rest of this post!

BB was not up for 12 today, so we agreed that she'd do one loop of the path with me (about 8 1/4 miles) and then I'd be on my own for the rest of the 12. BB runs quite a bit faster than me (she is aiming for a BQ at her next marathon, so yeah, way faster than me), but she agreed to run pokey-pace style with me. Yay!

While I was driving to the park, it was pouring buckets of rain. Awesome, just what I dream of. But lo and behold, the rain stopped as I arrived at the park. Though as BB pointed out, it still felt like we were trying to breathe through a straw. Mighty humid today. This park is somewhat hilly and I am somewhat lazy, so my legs were protesting a bit. But we completed our loop without incident, only a couple of short walk breaks and one longer break for me to hit the potty, ahem.

We observed that there are a few groups of runners who frequent this particular park who are distinctly unfriendly and will not say hello or acknowledge us as they run past us in the other direction. Too bad, I like friendly runners and the idea that there is actually a running community.

After BB left, I kind of fell apart. Before she left I was whining a bit about perhaps cutting the rest of my run short but she told me I could do 12. And she was right, I could, but it's funny how much lazier I get when I'm not running with someone else. More walk breaks, slower pace, more mental games to get myself through it. I added the extra 0.1 just because I wanted to exceed my plan so I could feel better about myself. But I finished and I'm glad I stuck it out. My feet felt fairly sore and I'd better get used to it!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Negative splits

Planned: 4 miles
Actual: 4.07 miles

Majorly humid day today, but at least it's overcast so I could run without the sun pounding down on me. I went out for a short run today since I have a long run planned with a friend tomorrow morning. I planned to take it really easy since it was 11am and hot, but I was feeling pretty good so I found myself picking up the pace a bit as I went along. For one of the few times in my running history, I actually achieved negative splits today. And I finished the run feeling great. Love it!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Another tempo run

Planned: 5 miles
Actual: 5.1 miles

This morning's schedule called for another tempo run. I'm pleased to say that even though I didn't feel like it at first, I got out there and did it. Sitting here now, five minutes after finishing, I feel totally invigorated even though my legs are tired. I could get addicted to this feeling.

Today's run was a mile longer than last week's tempo run. My pace was 10 seconds/mile slower than last week, but still a lot faster than the McMillan Running Calculator says my tempo runs should be. I would worry about that a little, except that I know I have a lot more potential for speed than my race times indicate so I think it's okay that I'm going faster than McMillan says. I walk faster than the time the calculator tells me to use for my long run pace!

I'll be very interested to see how my next race goes after I spend some more time doing quality workouts.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Much better!

Planned: 4 miles
Actual: 4.5 miles

Today's run was a testament to the power of proper nutrition. I ate right yesterday, and didn't load up on things at the end of the day (peanut butter, broccoli) that wouldn't sit right. And voila, this morning's run was much better than yesterday's! I felt strong (once I woke up after the first half mile or so) and no stomach cramps. Ah, success!

How was your run today?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Planned: 5 miles
Actual: 3.25 miles

Note to self: Eating about a pound of broccoli and later having a peanut butter/banana sandwich for dinner is not conducive to a pleasant run the next morning. Stomach cramps galore! Boy, am I glad that's over. I plan to hydrate very well today and have a great run tomorrow morning.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Bastille Day 15K Race Report

Today I ran the Bastille Day 15K in beautiful and hilly Fenton, MI, along with my friend Shaina. The race website said the course is "hilly and challenging" and they were not kidding!

I arrived at packet pick-up around 6:45am and Shaina showed up a few minutes later. Not a huge crowd, not even a line at the porta potty so I was able to make use of it before it became disgusting. :) I think the porta potty company could have chosen a better name than Poopie's Potties. Come on now, we all know what the potty is for, let's not feel the need to include that in the company name!

Anyway, we picked up our packets, stowed our t-shirts in our cars and headed for the start line. We noticed that the race started on a slight uphill - just a taste of things to come! We noticed a woman with a race bib, holding the leash of a cute dachshund. I wondered if the dog would be running the race and the answer was yes; we saw them running along a little while after the start. I don't know if the dog actually ran the whole thing. That seems awfully far for a little stubby-legged dog, especially in the heat and humidity we were dealing with. But I saw them again after we were finished, and the dog seemed fine. I don't know, maybe she carried him part of the way or handed him off to someone. Or he's just a little running maniac!

Shaina and I had agreed that we would each run our own race and not feel obliged to stay together, but we did stick together for the first half of the race, where I started to pull ahead a little bit and Shaina told me to go. She told me later that the pace for that first half was faster than she was comfortable with, but I am really proud of her for pushing herself and testing her limits.

The course was full of rolling hills. I took advantage of the downhills to pick up some speed and did my best to run strong on the uphills. I'm terrible with remembering what happened when, but I can tell you that there was a GIANT uphill between miles 7 and 8 that lasted at least half a mile. That one certainly made an impression. Everyone I saw was walking that sucker (including me) and when I reviewed my split times, I was not surprised to see that was my slowest mile by far.

God bless the race organizers, though, because after mile 8 the rest of the course was substantially downhill. That rocked! I never felt so strong at the end of a race before. It was a fun feeling. First time my last mile of a race was ever my fastest. (Yeah, I have always dreamed of negative splits, but I have a bad tendency to go out to fast and then fall apart at the end.)

I had a time goal in my head that was my "I'll be so happy if I achieve this time on a hilly course" goal. Well, I shocked myself by beating that time by 5 minutes! I have to say, something has happened to me lately and I'm starting to embrace and enjoy the tough stuff. It's a great feeling of accomplishment to tackle something difficult and exceed your own expectations. Shaina experienced the same thing, because she beat her expected time by quite a bit. She doesn't give herself enough credit for how tough she is.

The race was sponsored by a bakery, so we all received a giant baguette at the end. Delicious!

Embarrassing moment of the day: after I finished and went to wait for Shaina, someone was waving his arms at me only I didn't realize he was waving at me. Turns out it was Jim from the Your Pace or Mine running club. I'd met him last Saturday but totally blanked out and forgot his name. So embarrassing but he was completely nice about it. Met a couple of the other club members. Seems like a great group. I like it that everyone hung out at the finish and waited until all the club members were done with the race.

Overall, the race was a terrific experience. I actually had fun BECAUSE of the challenge, not in spite of it. Super cool. Hope that lasts through the rest of my races this year!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Tempo run!

Tempo runs are hard! This is why when I trained for my first marathon, I usually was lazy and skipped them. I would see those tempo runs on my training schedule and decide to just run the distance at an easy pace instead. This may be part of the reason why I struggled my way through the marathon.

This year, I decided it would be different. Except that up to this point, I was still being lazy and not doing the tempo runs. That changed this morning. I had a tempo run on the schedule and by God, I went out there and did it. And yep, it was hard. But I feel fantastic! Seems that I rarely push myself when I run (back to that old laziness thing) and it turns out that it actually feels pretty good to push myself.

Now I just need to keep this up until November and I'll be fine. :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Ran 5.2 miles this morning and managed to stay on my feet the whole time. :) I'm going to call that a successful run!

Also, not even a hint of the ol' bunion bothering me. I was so busy trying to see if my swollen foot/ankle were feeling okay that I didn't even think about the bunion. Foot and ankle are fine, by the way. I have some swelling in my left foot and ankle which I think are from my tripping incident on Sunday.

Though now that I think about it, they were a little swollen on Saturday, too. Hmmm, I wonder if it's the new shoes. I sure hope not, because I don't want to trade one problem for another. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The good and the bad and the potentially ugly

Today I met Shaina at a local state park to do a trail run. We decided to run for an hour, since we both already did our long runs this weekend. Shaina, by the way, is a bad-ass because she did a 64-mile bike ride yesterday and a swimming class this morning, and she still had it in her to run for an hour.

The good:
  • It was nice and shady on the trail, so even though we were running at 11am we weren't dying from the heat tooooo much.
  • The trail had lots of steep hills, all the better to increase my strength and make running in flat world feel a lot easier.
  • My legs felt really great. I would not have expected that after running 12 miles yesterday, but I didn't experience any leg soreness today.
The bad:

  • I tripped and fell on the trail, not once but twice! How embarrassing. Fortunately I don't think I injured myself. My left arm is a little sore and I have some soreness in my left foot, as well, but I should be okay.
The potentially ugly:

  • Pretty sure I'm going to have one heck of a bruise on my left shin. I bruise easily as it is and I think I really walloped that poor shin when I fell.

So overall, the good far outweighs the bad and the ugly. As always, it is a delight to run with Shaina and I'm pleased that we're challenging ourselves by doing hilly runs to make ourselves stronger.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Long run day!

This morning I went for a 12 mile run. I was scheduled for 8-9 miles, but I was pretty easily talked into doing 12 by some of the members of the Your Pace or Mine running club. This was my first run with YPOM.

I'd seen the club mentioned somewhere ages ago and just kind of tucked it into the back of my mind. Then a few weeks ago, I was thinking how much I miss running with a group so I remembered YPOM and found their website. They have a forum on the site. I introduced myself and received many nice, welcoming responses from the members. So when some members planned a 12 miler for today I decided to join in.

One of the members, Jo, was planning to run at the same pace as I was, so we ran together. She was great, lots of fun to run and chat with. The other members I met also seemed really nice but I didn't talk to them much since they were ahead of me and Jo.

What was also nice was that the other members were waiting for me and Jo at the end of our run to sort of cheer us to the end. I really enjoyed the whole experience and look forward to running with them again. From what I gather from reading the forum, they like to do lots of races and travel to quite a few. Awesome, because I love to travel and do races, too.

It's always great to meet some new running buddies and I get the sense that there are some folks in YPOM from whom I can learn a lot. I bet I'll get some encouragement to push myself a bit and improve my running, too.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Whining about the heat!

My zip code says I live in Michigan, but the temperature says I live in Hell. Okay, so that's pathetically whiny. I'm pretty glad these days that I converted myself into an early morning runner, because there's not much chance that I'd be able to motivate myself to head out after work into the blazing sun in 90+ degree heat. On days like this, I do understand why my friend Wendy embraces her treadmill. I admire the runners I saw on my way home this evening. They have tremendous dedication.

Did 4 1/4 miles again this morning and the miracle shoes were back to being miraculous. Bunion felt just fine. Wish there were some rhyme or reason to this, but I'll just be grateful for every pain-free run I have!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Hot, Hot, Hot

Captain Obvious here, pointing out that it is fricking hot today in the Detroit area and therefore this makes running more difficult. When the overnight low is 72, you know it's going to be a scorcher. Alas, I waited until 10am to start my run today because I wanted to sleep in and then be lazy. Well, I paid for it in sweat. Even my favorite hat couldn't keep the salty sweat from flooding into my eyes and stinging them.

But the important thing is that I ran anyway, instead of using the heat as an excuse to skip another day. I celebrated the 4th of July by taking the day off from running and eating all sorts of delicious and unhealthful foods. Found some vegetarian marshmallows so I had my first s'mores in 18 years and THEY WERE DELICIOUS! So worth every calorie. But today we're back to eating right and exercising.

Only ran 4 1/4 miles this morning, wearing the new miracle Saucony shoes. Only they weren't quite as miraculous today, since I was more aware of my bunion today than I was during my 10-miler on Saturday. Hmmm, what is the deal, feet? Why must you torture me so? Were my feet swollen because of the heat? Did my feet spread out yesterday because I was in delightful sandals all day instead of shoes? I don't know, but I did not approve of the bunion twinges this morning! We shall see how it goes tomorrow when I have another short run planned. Grrr!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

New Shoes, part 2!

This morning I met David's cousin Shaina at a park and we did a 10 mile run. It was a fabulous run and I love running with Shaina.

I wore the new Sauconys again and I am feeling very encouraged. With my previous shoes, 10 miles would mean my bunion would be in agony. Today, though, things were great. I can't say I was completely unaware of my bunion's existence, but it was approximately a million times better than with my other shoes. Very, very happy! Let's hope this continues as I get into longer distances during marathon training.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Let the shoe experiments begin!

This morning I tried out my brand new Saucony Progrid Ride 2 shoes to see how they did with the ol' bunion of doom. Only ran 5 miles, so it's probably too early to get excited, but I'm feeling cautiously optimistic. Normally after 5 miles in the Adidas shoes, my bunion would be talking to me fairly loudly. But this morning, I was barely aware of it (other than the fact that I spent the whole run thinking "hey how is the bunion doing? Is my bunion going to start hurting soon? How about that bunion?").

Tomorrow will be a better test, as I plan to run 9-10 miles in the morning which is a distance that generally leaves my bunion feeling extremely tender and painful.

If anyone has any knowledge of good shoes for people with giant, gross bunions then I would love to hear about it!