Sunday, July 31, 2011

Chapter 2 page 393 - TR 145 Sesame Street

Have you seen the newest Sesame Street character?  It's . . . .

(pink & orange visor, neon yellow shirt, orange compression sleeves, pink shoes)

Seriously, don't I look like a mix between Big Bird, Bert, Ernie, with a little Zoe thrown in for good measure? 

Today's run was sponsored by the letter S.  S is for SWEAT!

Anyway besides my colorful running attire and the post run sweaty photo thrown in for good measure, I had a good run tonight.  I did 4.71 miles on a very familiar route and enjoyed pretty much most of it.  There was a part at about the 47 minute mark that was totally in the sun and was a KIL-LER (it was 92* with a heat index of 99* after all - dew point of 71* makes for a sweatfest ).  I walked through an interval, but the entire rest of the time I did every interval (used 2 & 2:30 nice and slowly today).  Listened to my jamz while I thought about my Chicago strategy and how it will be to do it with someone I've never run before (you'll have to wait for that story until after the half), and what lessons I will have to rely on to not only push myself, but my new racing partner through the race in order for us to be successful (mostly thinking all about fueling, hydrating, and pacing). 

Glad I didn't skip this one.  Next week is a mini taper (and is for sure my cut back week) - I say BRING.IT.ON!!!!!!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Chapter 2 page 392 - TR 144 Race Recap

Today I ran the Swiss Days 5K "alone" - I put that in quotes because although I was alone while running (in fact a great part of the race I was not within 15' of another runner) - I knew many people in the race including "L" and her walking partner "D", several local running regulars, some Spring Into Training graduates, and even some co-workers.  I had several "cheerleaders" along the way including my boss (who was actually there for her son, but since he's worlds faster than I am - she has time to cheer for me too - so nice of her to do so!!!), "L's" 3 grand kids (so super dooper cute), and my mom (complete with her cow bell)! 

There really is no way to describe how amazingly well organized the race is -seriously, think of the most awesome race you've done and I'm sure this tops that!  It's just mind blowing how smooth and efficient it is GIVEN it's a "small town" race!  Last year this small town race had more than 600 participants and I heard that even more signed up this year than ever before.  To show how awesomely well organized and efficient the race is, guess what they added this year???  Disposable chips - now, that's HIGH class for a small town 5K (at least in these ol' Hoosier parts).

Additionally, each "packet" consisted of an enveloped that had 7 instructions/directions/pieces of information on it - stapled to the front, written in plain English so as to avoid all confusion (unlike the 5Kilt race I did in March that had directions for the chip attachment, but did not contain a chip). 

The race packets also included a map detailing both the 5K course and the 1 mile course - very helpful . . . .I know that in this neck of the woods, we often show up to the starting line with no idea of the route and if we had a head's up then it was only moments before when we caught a glimpse of a poster board drawing.  Rarely is the route (for small town races around here) posted online or added to the registration form. 

Finally, the packet included the race shirt.  A dull grey color, but a a nice design.  This race has only one sponsor (First Bank of Berne) so it's not plastered with logos all over the place.

On to the race itself - here's an "action" of photo with me totally "in the zone - eye on the prize" focused 100% on the timing clock which I think says 34:?? but really says 37:?? (thanks to the lady with a HUGE head that was blocking the clock - good job!).  Anyway, besides capturing my awesome concentration and speed (ha) - this photo shows my colorful race attire that you all selected for me (notice the pink sunvisor, pink shirt, and pink stripe down my capris).  I love pink so great choice everyone!

Here's a dumb photo, but I wanted to show you I even had a pink pony tail holder in my hair for this race.  I painted my nails the same bright pink that I did for the Geist half back in May, but somehow I didn't get a photo of them - BOO (who's a bad blogger?  I am, sorry!)

Although I ran alone, I definitely wasn't alone.  Here's some of my "peeps". 

Left to Right:  E (grey and blue shirt), T (E's mom, also my boss, and also the woman who did my 3rd and 4th races with me back in 2009), D (white shirt, "L's" walking partner), me (in the pink), "L" (in the green), G ("L's" husband in the yellow striped black shorts), then the 3 kiddos ("L's" grand kids) -aren't they adorable?!?! (you can click on the photo to enlarge . . . it if you want)
These are some of the Spring Into Training Graduates (left to right:  Daughter -Mother Duo who did both the Full Moon 5K and the next day Diva Dash back in June, then me in the pink, and S who did the S.I.T. and has been Tri training.
Unlike last year where there were dozens and dozens, if not hundreds, of cowbells, this year, my mom was the only bell ringer.  She got A LOT of expressions of gratitude and pleasure that she supported the Swiss race with such enthusiasm and authenticity.  Not really sure what happened to the bell ringers, but I'm glad my mom was there ringing it with such pride (her folks came here from Switzerland)!  Thanks mom for your support!!!!!!  After the race, my mom and I spent the day together.  We went to visit some of her aunts and an uncle who are nearly 90 years old - they are a HOOT!  We went to the big city to eat then did some shopping at Fresh Market, Sam's Club, and even a quick stop to the Running Store (to pick up a Moving Comfort shirt I had ordered).  A super fun day!  Next race - Chicago RnR Half  . . . T minus 14 days and a wake up! 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Chapter 2 page 391 - Race Preview

You may remember THIS post where you had a chance to vote on what color I should wear for my upcoming race.  Great news - that race is tomorrow and I'll be wearing:
(my personal fav! - great choice bloggy friends!)
Pink shirt
Pink nail polish
Pink (and orange) sun visor
Pink (and yellow) shoes
Pink pony tail holder 
Race Preview:
Location:  Berne, IN (a Swiss community)
City's population:  4,423 (9/09)
Last year's race field:  482 participants
Race Name:  Swiss Days 5K
Race start:  8:15 a.m.
Distance: 5K
What's great about this race:
1.  Extremely well organized - it's amazingly efficient!!!!  Kudos to the race director and the sponsoring entity who do such a GREAT job!
2.  TONS of spectators
3.  Since it's a Swiss town, there are hundreds of people ringing cow bells along the entire route
4.  "L" will be there (though, not with me - she's doing the race with her walking partner "D")
5.  So excited to be having a bloggy meet up with Bethany from When Two Worlds Crash

With my first (of 4) half marathons just 2 weeks away, tomorrow's 5K will not be an attempt at a PR - just nice and fun race!!!  Wish me luck!  Come back later this weekend for the recap!!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chapter 2 page 390 - half marathon class week #4 - #7

Sorry it's been a month since I've posted "what I learned this week" in my half marathon class, but better late than never, right?  I will say that one of the biggest reasons I have been remiss was that I haven't learned very much these past few weeks and I'm sure that most all of you also know the stuff too, but here are some of the things I learned/was reminded of the past month:

Week 4 "Safety and Cross Training":
1.  A list of running surfaces (softest to hardest):
dirt paths/trails
rubberized outdoor track
asphalt or indoor track
cement or concrete

2.  Long runs should be done on like surfaces of the race you plan to run.

3.  When cross training, you should cross train for the same amount of time and at the same intensity that you would run/walk to complete the day's mileage (i.e. if you were going to run 3 miles in 30 minutes at a moderate intensity, but instead you're going to swim instead, then you should swim for 30 minutes at a moderate intensity).

4.  Cross training normally doesn't count toward your weekly mileage, but it is necessary to maintain fitness.  (Not new, but a nice reminder nonetheless); however, Xtraining exposes more soft tissue to "stress" and thus we increase our risk of developing injury (as opposed to sitting on the couch - no activity = no increased risk of injury; swimming = an increased risk of shoulder injuries that you would not have put at risk if you only ran).

5.  When selecting cross training activities, you are best to select activities that stimulate running motion because (and this is pretty interesting) your heart and lungs don't know the difference between running and cross training (both Xtraining and running make your heart and lungs work harder), but your running muscles will know the difference.

Week 5 "Running/Walking Mechanics and Core Strength Training":

This week's class was really an analysis of the proper biomechanics of running/walking.  I think most of you reading this blog know the general "do's" and "don'ts" on the head/face/eyes, shoulders/chest, arms, hands, legs, and feet.  The only somewhat interesting "cue" we were taught was related to your arms while running - imagine your hands brushing the side of your leg where your pants pockets would be located.  This will keep your arms from crossing the mid line or being drawn up closer to your chin.  Not life changing, but a good self-check as you're running.  The only other thing I learned was if you are trying to make changes to your form, that you should only focus on one thing at a time and only do so for 30 seconds.  Pick just one or two tips of biomechanical elements to work on during a run - picking too many tips during a single run can be overwhelming and does not correct form issues.

About core strength exercises - 
1.  Do exercises for no more than 1 minute per exercise.

2.  Do core exercises 2 or 3 days a week with a rest day in between.

3.  Doing 8-10 exercises is all that's needed (2 for the abs, 2 for hips, 2 for back, and 2 for hams/glutes) to achieve good core strength for running.

4.  Select different core exercises every 3-4 weeks to stimulate different muscles and prevent muscle adaptation.

5.  2 weeks before a big race, reduce your core exercise routine by 25-50%.  1 week before your big race, completely eliminate or reduce core exercises to only 1 day a week.

Week 6 "Injury Prevention"
This lesson was taught by a physical therapist who is an ultra runner (seriously, he's training for a 100 miler - who does that?  So impressive!!!)

1.  He reviewed the normal "rules" - 48 hours rest between high-intensity runs (including speed work, hills, long runs), increase mileage by no more than 10% each week, don't run more than 25% of your weekly mileage in one run.

2.  When you run, your foot hits the ground approximately 800 times per mile at 2.5 times your body weight.

3.  Surely we knew it, but maybe never said quite like this:  injured tissues cannot withstand as much stress as healthy tissue.

4.  Also known, but nice to hear -especially now when we're all in the midst of Fall half mary training:  Consistency is the key to progress!

5.  Training pains (usually go away or are significantly better within 48 hours and are usually in the muscle) VS. overuse/injury pain (usually start at the joint and may feel better with more prolonged rest - 7-10+ days)

6.  Again, I think we all know RICE, but do it at the earliest sign of injury, don't increase mileage or speed work, maintain current program or decrease intensity/duration.

7.  When to seek help?  Don't run through pain.  Stop running if pain persists beyond the warm up.  Stop running if you begin to limp.  Get help if symptoms aren't improving with rest and self-management.

8.  Following a run, it's important hold the static stretch for 30 seconds and do 3-5 repetitions (but here's the part I learned - you don't have to stretch your calf 3 times in a row, you can rotate through your stretch routine and hit the different muscles once then repeat the entire routine.

Week 7 "Warm-up/Cool-down"
Again, who reading this doesn't know about wu & cd?  Anyway, here are some of more interesting things:

1.  More intense activities (speed work, 5Ks, etc) need a seperate warm up session before beginning as opposed to less intense activities (half marathons, long runs, easy runs) which can have the warm up built into the first .5-1 mile of the activity.

2.  Before a race, it is recommended to begin the warm up 30 minutes prior to the time you need to report to the start line.

3.  No static (stretch and hold) stretches at all before a training session or a race - the result of the stretch is the opposite of what you are about to ask the muscle to do in the race/training (i.e. if you stretch your calf, like I do, on the curb before a race, you're lengthening it out and getting it to relax which is opposite of what it will need to do during the race which is contract and fire quickly).  This means that you're not even suppose to run a little then stretch before your race, rather an easy .5 mile run before hand would be adequate or the use of dynamic warm up exercises (ex:  hip swings, trunk twists, arm swings, walking knee pulls, jogging high knees, or jogging tail kicks) accomplish muscle warm up all while preparing the muscle to do what it will soon be asked to do. 

4.  For recreational runners warm ups and cool downs can be incorporated directly into the daily activity (i.e if you're doing a 4 miler today - then the first .5 can be a walk or EASY run for your warm up then do 3 miles at your work out pace followed by doing the last .5 at a slow run or a walk for your cool down).

Well, there you have it.  You are now up-to-date on my half marathon class.  Anything on this list news to you?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chapter 2 page 389 - TR 143 2.3 miles - easy peasy

Tonight "J" (who writes Running For My Life) and is in my half marathon class and I ran 2 laps before class (boy were were sweaty during class - sorry Eric & "Bootleg J").  We started with walking (very very quickly) for 1 lap = 1.25 miles, then we did the 2nd lap doing a leisurely 2 & 2 interval.  "J" is sooo fast - dang, she's amazing (like 8-9:00 m/m for all of her runs - long, short, everything -she's going to be a super rock star half marathoner at the F4F - no doubt).  For the last minute of our last running interval, I had "J" lead the pace which was about an 8:00 m/m and I kept up.  I could have probably gone 2 minutes.  After class, I texted "C" and she said "great job- bonus speed work" - yeah, our speed work is "J's" normal pace - S.I.G.H!!!!!  Oh well, it was a lot of fun and I'm SOOO glad that things worked out and we were able to get a couple miles done.  My left foot has been feeling a lot better- not completely cured, but not an 8/10 pain any more (maybe a constant 3/10).  All in all - it was short, but it's a WIN.  It was enjoyable - something that has mostly been lacking - especially in my long runs!!!  Thanks "J"!!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Chapter 2 page 388 - shirts with attitude

After yesterday's horrible12 mile training "run" (thanks everyone for your supportive comments) - I decided that I'm going to need something to help me get through the Chicago RnR Half (especially without "C" and/or "L" at my side).  BTW the CHI RnR is only 18 sleeps and a wake up away.

I noticed a 25% off sale at PLUS now they have wicking shirts (I don't remember them having any or many wicking shirts the last time I looked at their site back in February).  So . . . .if it arrives in time, this is what I'm hoping will push me in Chicago (it pretty much sums up my running attitude these days):
I stumbled across this awesome shirt, but didn't get it (Jeff Galloway is the "father" of the run-walk-run method and sells interval timers on his website - "C" has the exact one shown on the shirt):




Chapter 2 page 387 - paging Dr. Google STAT!

Has anyone had 2nd MTT overload syndrome?  It really sounds like the explanation to my left foot pain that developed when I tried new shoes without my orthotics on Sunday - what a shock that a new pair of shoes led to a pain! I'm doing the conservative care at the moment - rest, ice, and rx strength ibuprofen . . . trying to decide if I should get a physician's opinion right away or not (half marathon in less than 3 weeks).  Thoughts? 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Chapter 2 page 386 - TR 142 poor me session from a 12 miler

I so want to paste a picture of porky pig saying "That's all folks!"  I so want this suckfest to be over.  I so want to never again run a long run.  I so want to just be done with running - for this year, for this season, heck maybe even for my life . . . but I can't.  I can't because I've made committments and whether I feel excited or not, I have 4 half marathons in 4 months coming up (August - Chicago RnR, September - Fort 4 Fitness, October - St. Louis RnR, November - Big Sur).  I am an adult of sound mind (but questionable judgment).  I entered these races all by myself - I was not forced (quite the opposite some of my friends did their best to keep me from jumping head first into the shallow end), but alas, I didn't listen and thought "why not, I'll already be trained."  Well folks - I'm tired!  I'm really really tired!!!  It dawned on me today (or recently anyway) that I have been following a training plan week in and week out since the first week of February.  I have not stopped or quit or taken a rest.  I have been on the current training plan for 10 weeks (since 5/22) and have only missed 2 training runs - and my over achieving self actually made those up along the way.  I still have 9 more weeks on this training schedule which is all designed to get me a sub 3 PR in my September half which is local.  I've been aiming for that for a year and honestly I can't for the life of me remember why I even care (yeah yeah yeah, the recent 3 mile PR smackdown did feel good so I assume it will feel equally awesome to do it in the half). 
I've been faithful to training.  I hydrate.  I fuel.  I do everything that is asked of me regarding my runs - now 4 days a week, speed work, hill training, and the dang gone long runs.  I do them all.  They aren't fast or pretty, but I do them.  I check them off the list.  I try very hard to learn from them.  I try to apply what I learned.  I surround myself with 2 awesome training partners (C & L - notice that tonight, I'm even too exhausted to use quote marks).  I even have a team of health professionals on speed dial - 2 massage therapists, an NP, 2 PTs and and PTA.  I paid $120 to take a dang gone class to teach me how to do it better so that I can go faster and yet . . . yet, it all is still impossibly difficult.  Here's what has gotten me all fired up:

12 miler (exact same route - just in reverse- as last week's long run) -

Why did it SUCK SO BADLY?
1.  Last week we ran in the heat warning, but it was first thing in the morning - we did this week's in the evening - wow, was it hot and humid (86* when we finished at 8:40 nearly 90* when we started).
2.  During last night's new shoe 3 miler, my left ball of my foot began hurting - yeah, it was crippling tonight -felt as if I had a golf ball in my shoe I was trying to run on - what's that all about.  The pain was an 8/10 until we stopped and I rubbed it a little then the rest of the run it was a pain of 3/10.  I CANNOT handle another pain.
3.  The well water and warm water made me nauseous.  I seriously was going to throw up.
4.  Despite the heat, we upped our running interval from last week.
5.  I'm just NOT cut out to run this far!
6.  This was my 3rd day of running in a row - not a smart choice I know, but with the weather it was hard to adjust the runs otherwise.  I did the best I could.  The weather this week is only going to get hotter so I honestly don't think there was any other way around it - unless I missed a run. . . . and maybe in hindsight, skipping last night's run might have been a better idea than to push just to finish the dumb 3 miles (that ended up hurting my left foot).

1.  I had 2 amazing training partners - both C&L were there with me.  They refused to leave me even when I was sure I was going to puke and sure I could NOT take another step!  "L" hasn't trained this far in a year and dang she was smoking me - see, something just isn't right - it should be getting easier and IT ISN'T!!!!
2.  I had some lifesavers candy in my fuel belt.  Helped with the nausea and gave my tongue something to do which distracted me for a little bit (twice). 
3.  We opted for a pretty shady route.
4.  We stopped for water 3 times and the potty once. 
5.  We were familiar with the route since we had just done it a week ago. 
6.  It's my LAST long run until my Chicago RnR half on 8/14 - next week is a cut back week (PTL because I seriously can't do another long run - heck, I'm not even sure I can go 13.1- these 12 KILLED ME!)
7.  AND THIS IS THE BEST ONE . . . I have a rock star awesome husband!!!  When I came home, he already had the trash taken out to the curb, he had cooked dinner and put it conveniently so all I had to do was nuke it, he washed our bath towels so that my towel fresh and awesomly fluffy when I got out to the shower.  What husband does that?  Mine - I love him.  Thanks honey (he reads my blog!) for being awesome and understanding that this madness is going to continue through 11/20 (doesn't that seem impossibly far away . . . 16 more weeks!)

Yeah, I'm pretty fired up and I'm sorry that yet again using this as my platform to SCREAM my frustrations.  I really am a positive person and generally my enthusiasm is contagious, but not tonight.  I'm sorry!  Please don't stop stopping by - I'm hoping for something positive to happen in my running life!

I am currently welcoming any advice you have to offer.  Because my races are destination races and involve lots of money (flights, hotels, entry fees) not training isn't an option.  I'm thinking about returning to only 3 days a week because I seemed to be a happier runner "back then" - yes, that is actually sounding pretty good - will have to ask my half mary teacher on Wednesday.  Other than that - any suggestions on how to survive or make it feel easier or to make it actually easier or how to push through when it just totally sucks??  I'm serious- ANY advice you have is appreciated!!!!  Thanks!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Chapter 2 page 385 - Amazing Blogger Award

Kristen at Bigger Girls Can Run Too awarded me the Amazing Blogger Award.  What a fun post this will be to write . . . and hopefully to read.  Thanks, Kristen.

[Favorite Cartoon Character]
I don't really have a favorite - kind of pathetic huh!  I even tried to google favorite cartoon characters in hopes something would make me go "Oh yeah, I love that one."  Nope!  That's kind even more pathetic that I had to google it, huh!  Well, I do have some likes:
-Bobby Hill (King of the hill) - his inner couch potato and endless optimism kind are reminiscent of myself
-Hank Hill (King of the hill) - his straight lace gotta follow the rules and inability to get subtlies also reminds me of myself . . . a little
-Superman - because who really doesn't want to be a secret super hero
-Fat Albert - a true teacher at heart
-Charlie Brown - surely you've felt like an outcast or out of your league once or twice in your life? I'm not alone in that am I?
-and many others
[Favorite Thing to Photograph]
 I really enjoy photographing my friends at races.  Click HERE and scroll down to see the photo collages I make after each one of my 30 races.  Here are a couple of my favorites.  Other than friends at races, I LOVE photographing flowers.  

This is one of my favs becasue it has a lot about the race but also includes a lot of beautiful tulips.

Destintation races are extremely fun to photograph because so much happens during the weekend.

This just screasms "good time' and that's what I like most about it.

I like the imromptu crazy pose session we had after the race. 

[Favorite Thing to Cook]
 I don't love to cook, but have really developed my skills since I got married.  My fav easy meal is soup in the crock pot (like beef stew, taco soup, chili, or potato soup).  My favorite fairly easy dish to make is one skillet lasagna.  My favoriet moderately easy meal to make is meat loaf with roasted red potatoes.  My favorite complex meal to make is the copy-cat Medara Chicken from Cheesecake Factory paired with mashed red potatoes and asparagus - takes exactly like the original.  

[Favorite Way to Exercise]
I enjoy water aerobics (so long I'm teaching it - I'm NOT a fan of old lade water aerobics).   My ultimate favorite exercise are group aerobics classes including Zumba and especially the Les Mills classes such as Body Pump (OMG that's just so awesome), Body Flow (like yoga), and Body Combat (like kick boxing). I LOVE these Les Mills Classes and been so upset for 7 years of living in IN that the closest gym offering them is more than 2 hours away (not feasible to go to an hour class with a 4 hour commute to the gym).  NOW, I recently saw a coupon for a free class at our local running store . .  the classes are being held about 1 1/4 hours from my house - still sucky, but definitely looking better and better (sigh, it's still pretty far 2.5 hour drive to go to an hour class). 

[Favorite Movie]
 I love movies.  All movies.  I just love movies.  Before I was married, I would leave my small town on Friday afternoon and go to the big city to see at least 2 movies then return to the big city again on Saturday to see 3 movies and again on Sunday.  I love movies.  Since I got married, ummm, I see less movies.  Some of my favs are: DaVinci Code, Love Actually, Last Holiday, and Inception!  My husband has drug me down the path of John Wayne and so I would say I enjoy most of his movies - espeically Hatari, Rio Bravo, and The Shootest to name a few. 

[Favorite Clothing]
 Big fan of pajamas!  I like the comfy pants and soft shirts.  Other than that, I love wearing jeans (not in the summer - too hot). 

[Favorite Breakfast]
My favorite easy breakfast is just a toasted whole wheat bagel thin with natural PB spread on top with grapes cut in half and stuck to the PB.  My favorite more complicated breakfast is a breakfast cassorole (not made with corn flakes!).  Thanks to a co-worker, I have even made individual breakfast cassoroles in little muffin tins - then they can be frozand quickly nuked for a healthy hot breakfast that's on the go!

[Favorite Book]
I don't read much, but I would say my favorite book would probably be To Kill a Mockingbird. 
My second favorite book would be A Million Little Pieces (seriously, who read that and didn't already know it was exaggerated despite what the author and Oprah said?!?!).
I'm currently reading The Help and that's very interesting.  I wish I had more time to read. 


[Favorite Place to Be]
I really love teaching health so I would say that anywhere where I can teach health is a great place.
  I also really enjoy being in my bed - on a winter day, with flannel sheets, snuggling with my hubby - ahhhh. 
Not actually my bed, sigh!
I have delusions of enjoying a tropical island (not likely I'll ever get to actually go to one to see if I might really like it). 
Oh and yes, one of my FAV places is . . . at the finish line of a race preferably with friends!
My "peeps" at the Diva Dash finish line!!!

[Favorite Sporting Event]
HUGE NFL FAN HERE!!!  They better figure out their contract and soon!!!!  Go Colts, Go Ravens, Go 'Skins (though, there's very little hope for them!). 

[Favorite Flower]
I really prefer Tulips - they are so beautiful and they come in so many colors and color combinations.  It's sad they don't lst very long, but they are sure beautiful when the are around.  
 My favorite flower to grow in my landscaping is Day Lillies (much for the same reason as tulips - they're beautiful and come in so many colors).  

This variety is called "Cotton Candy" and is in my backyard. 

Chapter 2 page 384 - TR 141 new shoe 3 miler

As you loyal readers know, that the last month or so my training schedule has been altered by my half marathon teacher to have me run 4 days (instead of 3) each week.  At first it was just depressing to know that after I got one run done, I still had 3 more to go.  I have worked REALLY hard to get the runs in - no matter what!  Heat, schedule, fatigue, boredom, etc - I've gotten them in.  The last couple of weeks I've squeaked the last run of the week in on Sunday evening, but I get it done!  This week was no exception.  I had 3 miles left to do and so 3.26 miles is what I did.  It was suppose to be an easy run and mostly it was.  The weather was much cooler but the humidity was still very high - honestly felt as if I were running in a sauna (no joke!!!).  Oh well, I did it.  Turned on my devil beeper to 3 & 1:30 and cranked up my jamz and off I went.  I did my preferred 2.26 mile route and added on an extra mile at the end on the path.  I started and ended with a walk but did the interval the rest of the time, except for when I ran a 1/2 mile continuously (you know, just to see if I could - good news, I still can :) WOOT!

I have been wearing these AWESOME and life changing Nike Air Pegasus 27's for the last 150 miles -
 I say life changing because for the first time in the history of my return to running, I didn't have knee pain or shin pain (outside of my usual shin pain), or hip pain, or any more heel pain than normal.  These might really be "the shoes".  I had tried them on back during the shop-a-thon around Christmas (click HERE to take a trip down memory lane), but dismissed them since they didn't feel Techie - they just felt like normal shoes.  At the time the salesman, AJ for you locals, said that wasn't all bad, but I was like "No, I think I prefer to have more cushion, more support, more 'tech' features." And went with the Saucony's . . . which later were discovered to be the sole reason for my knee pain - BOO!  Then, on a whim, I found myself at the running store while they were having a tax day sale and decided that "Yes, I'm going to go for it and give the Nike's a try."  Honestly, I haven't looked back since!  I love them.  I'm not 100% pain free, but other than my quad which is a new pain but I don't think it's related to my shoes, I have no new pains and that's really something amazing . . . for me!  It's been 150 miles in this pair and with 4 halfs in 4 months coming up, I would say that I'll be reaching the "big girl shoe max" of 300 miles rather quickly and thought it would be a good time to start to break in a new pair.  Given today's slow and easy 3 miler, I thought what a great opportunity to give them a test drive . . . yeah, they're nice!  And cute too!!!!
I learned something interesting that I found controversial in this week's half mary class.  The Physical Therapist (Todd Sullivan, again for you locals) who was the guest speaker said "The research shows that orthotics are only beneficial for the first 6-12 months and after that do nothing to improve or worsen a person's PF"  HMMMMM - I've worked so hard to get rid of my PF that I'm in no mood to try something so radical as removing my orthotics, but . . . I thought I would give it a shot on this short 3 miler.  I can honestly say that I didn't notice anything different. My heel did not hurt during the run nor standing up from sitting afterward.  I'm not likely to go orthotic-less too much as quite frankly I'm scared, but I'm super thrilled that with all of my efforts and physical therapy recently, my PF seems to be tolerable at the present.  I will share more of what I have learned the last 2 weeks of class in an upcoming post.

Check out this post - pure genius!

Do you read Tall Mom on the Run?  I pop over there from time to time and stumbled upon a PERFECT post describing the mental aspects of  racing!  You simply MUST check it out, it's genius! . . .

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Chapter 2 page 383 - TR 140 4 sweaty miles

As I've mentioned before (and perhaps you're tired of hearing it), today was the Kid's Triathlon in our town.  This is the 5th or 6th year for the event and I've been the starter for all of them!  I absolutely LOVE it!!!  It's so much fun to watch the excited kids (aged 5-12) and to chat with them to help them calm down.  It's kind of fun to watch the crazy over-the-top parents (seriously, one parent said to her son "Were you taking a nap during your swimming lap?" - rude!).  I'm glad I'm always on the opposite side of the pool from those parents.  I really might have had to tell some of them my opinion of their "support".  That's not to say that all of the parents are this competitive.  Many of them are uber supportive and just a whole lot of fun.  The kids are super awesome and the other volunteers are always fabulous (I always work very closely with 2 volunteers at the start - one of them stages the kids in the right heat, and the other one reports to the finish line which kids didn't show up and what time the heat started).  I'm just so honored to be involved with such a super well organized event by our City's Parks & Rec Department. 

I still have a 4 miler and a 3 miler to do this week (thanks to the awesome 4 day/week schedule and because of the extreme heat this week, I'm one run behind).  Knowing the city pool (where the Tri starts) was about 2 miles from my house (1.96 miles to be exact), I decided that this morning I would run to the event then run home afterward.  I packed a second shirt knowing I would be super sweaty (can only imagine the little kids . . . and their parents thinking "ohhh gross - she has to talk to me" so . . . that helped to have a fresh shirt -but with a heat index of 92* at 7:30, my "fresh" shirt was starting to get a bit sweaty)!  I also packed 2 bottles of water - one for the run there and one frozen one that would thaw during the event and be cold for the run back home.  Awesome plan!  Worked perfectly - definitely have to remember it for next year. 

Running in town isn't something I do very often and I'm so happy that's the way it is.  In-town running has a lot more obstacles than I have in the country or on paths.  Curbs was my primary frustration - there are so many ups and downs and at least here - they are all different heights.  Some are 6" while others are 20" - wow, that's high and adds a lot of quad effort (remember, I'm healing my left quad strain) when going up onto them and a lot of heel impact (remember my right foot PF has just finally become pain free) when coming down off of the curbs.  Boo to curbs!  Also, there were areas of my route that didn't have sidewalks - that was good in some ways, but there was traffic that made it a little nuts.  The other thing -a train. On my way back, a train went through so I'm waiting for it.  Thankfully, it was uncharacteristically short (our town is known for 10+ min trains).  Lastly, there were several loose dogs.  Fortunately, none were a problem, but it caused panic and fear.  I really don't know what I would have done if a dog would have attacked.  "C" was recently attacked by a dog on one of her solo runs - scary! 

I had my ipod on (the songs that came up were definitely not my fav - boo, but I sucked it up) and used a 3:1 interval (plus a few minutes walking for warm up and cool down for each of the 2 segments).  DM shows that it ended up being 12:55 m/m as I finished the 3.91 miles in 50:30.  That's pretty fast for me especially in this humidity that made breathing feel like it was through a wet towel - ugg! 

Hope you are all doing well getting in your mileage despite the heat!!!  

Friday, July 22, 2011

Chapter 2 page 382 - nothing hurts!

I'm super excited to report that at this moment, nothing hurts on my body!  NOTHING!  Long time followers know that running really hurts me - seriously, every run - every time something hurts.

Here's a little update on my most commonly discussed aches/pains/issues:  

Plantar Fasciitis (PF) - For the better part of 11 years, my right heel has always killed me (thick ice pick stabbing you deep in the center of your heel - for those of you who can't relate to the pain).  I have posted "heel updates" from time to time, but I've kept it kind of quiet lately.  I have been back in physical therapy (again) for the past 3 or 4 weeks and enduring even more scrapping (man, that's just a good time!!! NOT!).  I have also had 4 hours of PF massages in FW.  That combined with a ridiculous amount of soaking (both in ice and in warm Epsom salt water), stretching, massaging, and golf ball rolling - I am happy to announce I'm currently pain free.  This happened once before right before my Geist Half marathon back in May, but **SIGH** the pain returned.  I'm on a 2 week PT hold to see how it feels and then figure out what's next.  I can't tell you how awesome it is to get out of bed in the morning (or up from a chair) and not get my breath taken away with pain.  Join me in a woot woot!!!

Knee pain - you may remember that my right knee began hurting in February and continued to hurt until May.  It was so painful I had an MRI right before my May half marathon to rule out any serious damage.  It seems this pain was directly related to running in my Saucony Progrid Ride shoes.  I changed to Nike Air Pegasus and BAM immediately my knee quit hurting.  I'm super thankful for no longer having this pain!

Shins - if you've ever had shin splints then you totally know they are a killer!!!  I have had bouts of debilitating shin splints for the past 2 years.  Originally these were cured by changing shoes from Brooks to Pearl Izumi (which is what led to my PF flaring up).  I continue to have some SS aches and pains from time to time, but for now - they aren't hurting!!!! 

Who-ha - I learned this pain was from my psoas and ever since I was told that - I have been able to stretch and massage it to keep the pain in check.  It does hurt while I run longer distances, but I'm 100% able to fix it with massage and stretches!

Quad - Close followers might have remembered that for the last month I've had a bout of pain in my left quad.  It concerned me so much I feared I wouldn't be able to run the recent Runners on Parade - let alone try to PR.  I had 2 massages, purchased "The Stick" (do you own one? It's so much more awesome than I could have possibly dreamed!!!!), and did a ton of stretches.  I'm super excited to announce that the pain is GONE!  I'll continue to baby it and focus on good warm ups for the next few weeks to facilitate the healing of the quad strain, but it's looking good so far!!!

How are you doing?  Injured?  Rehabilitating?  Recovered? 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Chapter 2 page 381 - 400th post by the numbers

Back on April 13th, I celebrated my 300th post . . . well, thanks for continuing with me on my journey for another 100 posts!  In celebration of post #400, I thought the ol' blog deserved a new look so I hope you enjoy the summer colors. 

My blog . . . by the numbers
# posts = 401

# months to reach 300 =19 months (first post on 12/29/09; 100th post on 7/14/10; 200th post on 12/8/10; 300th post on 4/13/11; 400th post on 7/20/11)

# followers =  31 (I only had 15 back on my 300th post- welcome new followers!) - Love you ladies - thank you SO MUCH for following me on my journey!

# comments= 928 (I'm thankful for EACH and EVERY comment - thank you, everyone!!!!)

# bloggers I've met in real life= 8 (Rustbeltrunner, Healthystrides, WeighingIn, FlyingKites, Mommaof3ontherun, SwimbikeruntrainwithLisa, DayinthelifeofApril, RunningForMyLife) - soon to meet Bethany from When 2 Worlds Collide

# background changes = 4 (can't remember the first one, books, pinkie, and now pink/green/grey)

# blogs I read daily = 32 (I read EVERY blog on my blogroll whenever they're updated-I really miss some of you like "Finding the Courage" & "Pretend this is Real" & "Momma of 3 on the Run")

# Stylish Blog awards awarded = 3 (Thanks everyone who has nominated me)

Chapter 2 page 380 - TR 139 hills, hot, heat, humidity, oh my!

Not going to lie, this was not my shining star moment.  This was not the workout to hang your hat on and say "wow, i'm a rock star."  Nope, this was a "check the box" and "get it done without having a heat stroke" kinda workout.  Today's plan was to do hill training on a 5 mile loop (remember yesterday we actually went a mile longer on our long run, so we decided today's 5 miler could be downgraded to a 4 miler).  It was a lot of fun because "C" and I were joined by 2 people from our half marathon class.  It's a lot of fun having a "group" to run with.  We started off with a walk and then eased into a 1 minute run and 2 minutes walking interval.  The pace was pushed a lot faster than I would have liked given that yesterday we did a long run and the temperature was 100* with a heat index of 110*.  There was an ozone alert day warning in addition to the excessive heat warning -ummm, yeah - heading out at 7:00 p.m. on a route with ZERO shade was probably not the greatest plan, but it's what had to happen so . .  .we did it.  We did 5 intervals and then walked the rest.  With the hills + heat + humidity, my heart rate got up there just with the walking so it was probably the best option for completing this workout. 

Anyone reading this from a cool or heck, even tolerable climate?  Give me a little taste of what it is like to not completely melt upon walking out the door.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Chapter 2 page 379 - TR 138 the hottest long run

Now accepting cyber HIGH FIVE'S  . . . .our training plan said to do 11 miles, but because "L", "C" and I are JUST.THAT.AWESOME. we did 12.15 with 5.3 miles of that was trail running (which I love, and thank goodness provided us with shade because after all we have an excessive heat warning).  I am 100% pleased with the how we did this training session.
1.  We started at 7 a.m. (for the record at 3:45 a.m. it was a heat index of 91 - really!, dang!)
2.  We did the first 2 miles with "L" which made it more fun.
3.  We planned our road part of our route so that we passed 4 water fountains.
4.   We had a transition spot where we both pottied and fueled and regrouped prior to starting out on the trail. 
5.  We elected to do trail running for 5 miles instead of the road so that we would have SHADE!
6. We took a detour and came off the trail to rehydrate half way through the trail section - we also fueled.
7.  We changed our interval to accommodate the 106* heat index (yes, it was 7 a.m.) which may seem slow and retarded to you fasties out there, but found it to be effective and safe . . . we ran 1 minute and walked 2 minutes (did I mention 106* heat index at 7 a.m.?) - we're just recreational runners trying to get better and trying to have fun - it's. not.worth.dying.over! PERIOD!!!  It's hot, we feel we had to be smart!
8.  We did a 1.13 mile warm up and a.75 mile cool down.
9.  It was actually pretty fun - the best part is that I really felt strong and that I could do it!  No giving up, no sitting down, no rolling in the grass, no doubled over in pain (who knows what standing up will feel like after sitting to type this post - ha!)
10.  "C" was back on the team - woot woot!!!!!

For us, I think we were very smart in our approach and I feel super proud that we can say that we did it in this weather!  Be safe everyone!!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Chapter 2 page 378 - TR 137 easy 3 HA!

Although I'm not exactly certain how far I actually went, I would say that using my best calculations, it was about 3.65 miles.  It was HOT, but probably not as hot as it will be the rest of the week (as a side note - the NWS issues a heat advisory yesterday in effect through Thursday night - really?  SIGH!) The heat was a factor, but the thick haze kept the "ant under a magnifying glass" feeling from coming to fruition - I just hate when I feel like the sun is literally burning a hole directly through me.  This was suppose to be an easy 3 miler so I tried to take it easy.  I listened to my jamz and played around with the intervals.  It looked something like this:
first 4 min. was a run
after 4 minutes -1.13u=sed 1:3 intervals
miles 1.13-2.4 =used 3:1 intervals
water break @ 2.4 mile mark
miles 2.4-3.2 = used 1:3 intervals
miles 3.2-3.6 = walked as "cool down" - nothing "cooling" about 101 heat index though there was a slight breeze that did feel amazing!!!

A whole lot of sweat, but I feel awesome that I went out and battled the heat!  It wasn't as bad as I was thinking it might be - except for the gallons of sweat in my eye - dang, I'm tired of that burning already!!

What do you all do when the temperature gets REALLY hot?  Do you head indoors to a treadmill?  Run in a pool?  Change the day/time of your run?  Skip it?  Push through and do it as you normally would?  Good luck to us all as the majority of the country is under the heat advisory for this upcoming week (love reading Sammy's blog -she's in Australia where it is winter . . . ohhhh that sounds lovely!)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Chapter 2 page 377 - Pop of color

As you probably have gathered, I'm trying to bring some style to my racing attire- NOT easy to do when you're a big girl.  As has been previously discussed on this blog, there are no "cute big girl" running clothes out there (at least none that I can find).  So . . . I'm bringing my "bestest" cute factor with nail polish and any accessories I can (visor, compression sleeves, etc), but check out my latest addition . . .
You can click on the photo to enlarge it to read my Paint writing.
Although the colors didn't come through nearly as bright and beautiful as they are in real life - just use your imagination 'cuz in real life - they are bright and bold and beautiful pops of color.  Ohhhh and they were on clearance for only $1.39.  Can't wait to wear them to the next race (Swiss Days 5K on 7/30).  But WAIT - you get to vote . . . leave me a comment telling which color I should wear at my next race -here's your choices:

These are my shirts  - which color should I wear
A..  Peacock "Power" Blue

B.  "Rocket" Red

C.  "Performance" Pink

D. "Lightening Fast" Indigo

E.  Lime "Go-fast" Green

F.  "PR" Purple

So . . . leave me a comment with what color I should wear on 7/30 - if there's a tie, I guess I'll have to run 2 5K's on 7/30 (Swiss Days 5K in the morning and the Gator Gallop 5K in the evening . . .always wanted to try that challenge).

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Chapter 2 page 376 - race volunteers

A week ago, I was asked to find 10 volunteers to help manage traffic at intersections during the 4H 5K race today.  Hmmmm, 10, huh?  That's a lot!  Last November, I was asked to find 4 people to "man" the water stations of the W.O.O.F. and after digging DEEP into my resources, I could only come up with 2 people (big FAIL).  I had a LOT of concern about finding 10 people.  Do you know 10 people who would say YES to being at a race on a Saturday morning at 6:45 a.m.?  Yeah, I didn't either.  After tapping 2 big pools of people - both which are connected to my job, I was able to recruit 12 volunteers.

We all had a great time.  Most of the volunteers were assigned to intersections along the route and when they were done they all came to my intersection which was at the end of the race.  By the time the last 75 runners were coming into the "home stretch", they had a lot of the volunteers cheering them on - it was a LOT of fun!!!

This is the second race I've volunteered for this year and getting to see a race from a different perspective is certainly eye opening!  Having to actually help find the volunteers and realizing that a racer's safety rests on your shoulders to find the volunteer and ensure he/she actually shows up .  . . on time, makes me so appreciative of all the volunteers it has taken to do the 29 races I've been a part of over the past 2 years.  It's a lot of fun to help with a race and I'll definitely do it again.

Thanks to all of you who came out to help make today's race a huge success (from "my crew":  MG, EG, YM, JW, DW, BH, MG, LH, LR, GR, NS, SS, & SB, and the 50 or so other volunteers who helped with everything from timing, to water distribution, to registration, to check in, to setting up and tore down the route by placing/removing all the signs, to the police who blocked the big intersections, to the t-shirt & awards designers and presenters, bike patrol,  and the dozens of other "behind the scenes" helpers)!!!  Also, great job "A" & "T", "SD", "ML", "RS", "MS" - it was a BLAST getting to cheer for you during the race.

Next weekend, I'm the starter for the 5th (maybe 6th) annual Kid's Triathlon.   There will be a couple hundred kids aged 5-12 just swimming, biking, and running their hearts out.  I've been the starter each year and it's always so much fun!!!!

What's next on your race schedule?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Chapter 2 page 375 - TR 136 10 miles slow but DONE

After sitting in the grass last week during our 6 miler as a result of the 106* heat index.  2 weeks ago, I rolled around in the grass for 3 minutes during our "10 miler" (that shrank to become a 9.25 miler).  I was in desperate need of a "win" - which in the Wells L dictionary is defined as . . .
"Completing the required training plan mileage without utter collapse, quitting, giving up, or hating every step"
Today . . . today, I got a "win".  I owe "L" a un-repayable debt!  "L", who hasn't run more than 5 miles since last September, did this with me of her own free will - NOW THAT'S A TRAINING PARTNER FRIEND!!!!!  Today's run was by no means fast, but it got done and I got my "win" and that feels good (despite everything else feeling sore and achy - oh well . . . it might be worth it!!!!).  Mark it off the training schedule and look forward to the next challenge (maybe with a little apprehension).  Done is still done and it's oh so much sweeter than a FAIL!

mileage recap (mostly for my own record - not that any of you care)
miles 0-1.3= walking warm up
miles 1.3-2.25= 2:2 intervals
quick potty break 
miles 2.25-3.25 = walk (crazy busy highway)
miles 3.25-5 = 2:2 intervals
quick water break
mile 5-6 - walk
mile 6-9 = 2:2 intervals
mile 9-10 = walking cool down
total time = 2:46 (slow, but done without sitting down; felt good until the 9th mile then things started hurting and the sun shining directly into my eyes just pissed me off all the more and made things even more uncomfortable)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Chapter 2 page 374 - TR 135 speed-ish work

Another outstanding training session with "L" - MAN I'VE MISSED HER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I absolutely LOVE that she gets "my speed - slow!"  It's just relaxing and fun.  We sort of ran out of things to talk about since we were together last night and spoke today during work, but . . . we managed to drum up some conversation!!!  Today's plan - 5 miles with some speed work.  Well, "L" isn't my speedy friend, but God love her she was willing to do it with me!!!  That's a friend . . . and a GREAT training partner.

Here's how the "speed-ish" session went:

Start - mile 1.3 = walk ("L" is a power walker just for the record)

mile 1.3- mile 2.6 = 1 minute "full out" using 180 bpm (HUGE bummer, my metronome quit working and "C" has my back up - oh well I have a pretty good sense of what 180 feels like so I used my voice to say "dun dun dun dun" at the cadence . . . annoyed even me, "L" was a great sport - Thanks!!!!  We walked 3 minutes in between.  We ended up going about 1.3 miles and did a total of 4 runs.  On my 3rd run I stopped about 10 seconds early - I could hardly breathe (it was 90 degrees after all).  The last running interval I feel badly about - I should have used this as an opportunity to really push, but 40 seconds into the 60 I stopped - I couldn't breath AND my left quad which has been hurting for almost 2 weeks really felt tight - didn't want to risk further injury or something series like a a tear instead of just the strain (surely that's a justified reason to stop???)

mile 2.6 - mile 3.2 = walked

mile 3.2 - 4.3 = did 2:2 intervals

mile 4.3-5 = walked

All-in-all it was a great "speed" workout for me - I'm not super but I'm improving.  This was my first time during speed intervals.  Previously, I have only run 1/2 mile straight at the 180 strides/minute cadence.  I think today's session was a nice change. The weather today was MUCH cooler than  yesterday (as crazy as that sounds given it was still 90 degrees - with a humidity of 70%).  There was even a nice breeze so much more enjoyable than yesterday's sweatfest!!!

Do you prefer to run in hot weather or cool weather?
Personally, I'm really a bigger fan of fall/winter running - you can always put more clothes on . . . short of running one of those nudist races (Ummm NO!) you just can't take enough clothes off and the copious amounts of sweat . . . (SIGH!).

Monday, July 11, 2011

Chapter 2 page 373 - TR 134 4 mile walk

Nothing fancy about today's training- just 4.46 mile walk with my original training partner "L".  "L" joined us for a 1 mile walk about a month ago and prior to that it had probably been December since she has joined us.  I can't tell you how great it was just to walk and talk AND SWEAT (92.8 degrees, dew point 81, humidity 89%) with her.  We walked really fast for most of the time, but slowed down considerably for the warm up and cool down.  I had felt ill (sinus headache and draining leading to a nausea) all day - to the point I nearly went home sick at lunch time.  I really thought the easier path to choose would be home, shower and bed . . . .but I had an internal debate with myself (left shoulder= devil; right shoulder = angel) that went something like this:
Devil:  I'm sick!  I don't feel well enough to run
Angel:  Am I sick, like really sick, and really shouldn't run, or should I run so that I can feel better?
Devil:  Nope!  Shower, pj's and bed sound pretty great!
Angel to "L:  What will today's training look like?  Like could we do 2:2 for just 2 miles and see how I feel?
"L":  Sure
Devil:  Nope, I think it's too hot and I just don't feel well - I'm going home
Angel:  2 miles - would it be alright if we walk the whole thing, I really don't feel well? (take that devil - we're going to walk 2 miles so there!)
"L":  Sure
Angel  @ the 1.13 mile mark:  Well, do you want go into the park a little maybe just 1/2 mile?"
"L":  Sure
Angel @ 2 mile mark:  Well, how much time do you have?  Do you think we could walk up to the next turn around and head back?
"L":  Sure
Angel @ the end of 4.46 miles:  Thanks "L" - that was GREAT!!!  I'm so glad we did it!!!!

In the end, I was still feeling kind of poorly, but I'm glad that I went for the walk.  I don't think the walk made me feel worse and the benefits I got from it were very much worth it!!!!  Glad it wasn't a run (especially in the heat/humidity) - but a fast walk counts toward overall weekly mileage so . . . 4 down & 18 to go!!!

Do you ever have to "argue" with yourself in order to get out the door for a training session?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Chapter 2 page 372 - TR 133 Race Recap

Did you hear it?  Maybe you even felt it a little!  At about 8:45 a.m. EST this morning?  It was a sonic boom - resulting from my AWESOME racing speed!!!!!!!  Oh yeah, there was not just PR set today - NOPE - there was a PR smackdown - a literal crushing of the PR I set a year ago!!!!!!  It was monumental!!!!  It was phenomenal!!!!  It was something that I have never experienced so far in my racing career.

Today's 5K race was shortened to 3 miles due to construction on the proposed course, but even still a 39:46 5K PR at this race in 2010 = about 38:30 3 mile time so  . . .

My 5K Race goal for today:  39:30 would be great and I would be so happy; 39:15 would be beyond awesome; and 39:00 I would be OVER-THE-MOON (granted the race was only 3.0 miles and not 3.l so I had to do some mental math to recalculate these times to match the new distance).

Outcome - DRUM ROLL - are you sitting down - call Ripley's Believe It Or Not!!!!!!

3 mile time today:  35:08  (that's about a 36:15 5K time which is 3:01 faster than my 5K PR)

That's so much faster than I really ever dreamed I could go.  I have to say that the speed training, my running dictator partner, the ipod, the metronome, the 3:1 interval, my mom and her cow bell, some friends along the route, my big mouth encouraging the spectators to cheer, and our awesome race plan (click HERE) all made this awesome performance a reality!

Here are some photos from the BEST RACE OF MY LIFE:
Pre-race optimism  . . PR here I come!!!!

The nails match the shirt as shown in my sneak peak HERE.  Also, I thought "C" & I had discussed "striking a pose" for this photo - umm, "C" - that's not very "strike a pose-ish".  Gotta work on that!!!!
Thanks Holly @ Rustbeltrunner for taking these awesome finish line action photos.  Look at "C's" great form!!!  See the skinny girl to my lifet in the grey t-shirt and blue shorts?  That's "LI" and she deserves such a HUGE thank you!  She came back and ran "C" and I into the finish line - and pushed me past what I certainly thought was my limit!!!  Thanks "LI" . . . I owe you BIG TIME!!!

Again, thanks Holly for the finish line action shots - this is what total concentration and determination looks like!  You can even tell "it's fast" because my pony tail can't even catch up (it's flying behind me, ha!)

Post race screaming like little girls "Do you know what we just did?!?!?!?!"  35:08 OMgoodness!!!!!!!  EEEEKKKKK!!!!!

Bloggy meet up post-race (L to R:  "T", the "A" who writes Another Day in the Life of April; middle is Holly who writes the newly improved Rust Belt Runner; then "C" and myself)

Pre-race bloggy meet up with Holly from Rustbeltrunner.   Thank goodness Holly was paying attention and spotted us- as usual, I was in my own little world doing who knows what!!!!  So glad we could hook up pre & post-race!

Matching your nail polish to your race outfit is what all the cool kids are doing - see!!!  Don't take my word for it - check out Richelle's awesomely patriot nails HERE as further proof!!!

"A" & her mom, also "A" (who is my training partner "C's" good friend . . . small world)

"A", her hubby and personal photographer, and her mom - ahhh!

More family photos

"A" & "T" in their super cute matching pink tanks (BTW "A" & "T" are cousins).

My running mentor "M" and a bike cop who is a bit uncertain as to my intentions by taking this photo (he wasn't suppose to be in the pix, but dang he wouldn't leave "M" alone so . . . in the photo he goes!)

"M" singing karaoke  . . . just kidding, he was thanking the sponsors, but doesn't he look like he's ready to belt out "I will always Love you!"  Ha!  He'd kill me if he actually read this blog and saw this caption.  Seriously - the race was awesome given ALL the construction and tremendously uncooperative city and festival committee and for having nearly 1,000 participants!!!!!  Fantastic job "M"!!!!

I thought the balloon arch was beautiful over the food/award pavilion so I took a photo!

This is one of my prized photos EVER - left is Eric Ade (click HERE to learn more about Eric)  who is my half marathon class teacher and right is "M" my running mentor.  Eric got first in his age group.  Because of the cool looping type route of the race today, we actually got to cheer for him 3 times I think.  He was at the finish (20 minutes later) to cheer "C" and I on.  He even had paid enough attention to my final time to mention it - ahhh, that was VERY kind of him!!!!!  Great job to both of you for an awesome race!  I owe so much to these 2guys!!!!!!!  Thanks for sticking by me during all this craziness I've gotten myself into!

I told "C" that we needed some crazy photos so on our walk back to the car after the food and awards I was screwing off at the bus depot.  That's me  . . the American "Bolt". 

This is "C's" screwing around and her "crazy" pose - umm, we're going to have to have some training on how to be crazier during our poses!!!  Great job today "C" - thanks soooo much for your help in pushing me just enough but not too much that I needed CPR!!!  You are indeed #1!!!!!!

I even got my mom trained for the required "thumbs up" photo!  She rang her cow bell like a champ today.  During one loop, I heard her, but couldn't find her - I searched the crowd so hard - good thing she had her cow bell!!!  It is such an awesome thing to hear when I turned the corner.  Thanks for being my cheerleader !!!!!