Friday, September 30, 2011

Chapter 2 page 450 - TR 169 possiby the best run ever!

Let me preface this by saying there are 3 photos at the end of this post - keep reading :)
If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I seldom have an easy run (easy meaning it doesn't feel hard not easy as in the pace).  Running is hard for me.  Running hurts me - I have a lot of pain after I run on a wide range of body parts.  Running, even as slow as I am, is a challenge for me.  I've been known to kneel down in ditches ("L" can tell you all about that!), lay down on golf courses ("C" can tell you that story in detail!), and just sit on a rock (click HERE to learn more about that) because I seriously have run out of gas while out for a run (I can say I've never quit - I've always gotten back up and soldiered on, only cut 2 runs short, and never called to be picked up).  In the past year, though, I've run 5 half marathons and 15 10K's and gotten an average of an entire minute/mile faster - an accomplishment I'm both proud of and surprised by.  I say all of this as the post "warm up" just to say that less than 5 runs in the past 2 years have been what I would term "great".  You all have great runs weekly or at least a few a month - me, not so much.


Today, I ran 6.13 miles in 1:31:57 (including a 10 minute walking warm up and a 5 minute cool down walk).  It was nearly effortless (yes, it wasn't one of my fastest times so it should be pretty "easy" - but as I've said even slow runs don't = easy for me).  I used a 2:00 & 2:15 interval (I did just run a PR half marathon 6 days ago) so it was just a return to running kind of run (know what I mean?).  You want to know what else?  I ran the middle 1.3 miles STRAIGHT!!!!  I had my jamz on and I thoroughly enjoyed my solo run today!!!  It was HUGELY (Yes, I'm using that word - deal with it) windy and DARN chilly - I wore a quarter zip long sleeve shirt over my short sleeve shirt and pants.  I had a bondi band that I pulled over my ears.  For the first 3 miles I had wished I had gloves (seems oh soooo early in the season for gloves).  Knowing it was sooooooo windy, I elected to take a route that was almost entirely through dense woods (on a paved path) to try to limit the wind - AWESOME PLAN!!!  There were a few unprotected areas which was a huge challenge.
Here are some photos from the path I ran today (yes, there really is pavement underneath those leaves):
Don't look now, but Fall is on it's way!

I should say that I didn't see a single other person during my 90 minute run (except the gate attendant). 

Just a quick post run photo of me while I was stretching. 
Do you remember one of your best runs?  Share your story!

Chapter 2 page 448 - Food Photo Friday

What's Wells L been eating lately????
Good question, see for yourself!!!!
Veggie Kabobs
(Not the first time these have been featured on this blog, but the the colors and flavors of the season just couldn't be ignored-I ate a lot of veggie kabobs this summer)
Look at that rainbow of freshness - I bought the red and orange pepper, sweet onion and baby bella 'shrooms from the store and cut them up, but the yellow squash and zucchini were home grown by "L" (thanks "L" - awe.some!)

Picked up some disposable kabobs at the grocery store - 100 sticks for only $1.99 - bargain!

Make your own rainbow of goodness - assemble however you like - seriously, isn't that beautiful?

I brushed each kabob with EVOO (as Rachel Ray calls it) and sprinkled them salt & fresh ground pepper.

Repeat the process to make as many kabobs as you want (p.s. if you make more than you can eat, they heat up well and can be eaten as a side or tossed with chicken or even thrown into pasta sauce). 

Is this not the greatest invention of ALL time?  90 seconds to whole grain goodness!

At this meal, we paired the kabob with a small 3 ounce steak and 3/4 cup of rice.  SO delicious!
Do you kabob?
  What are your favorite kabob ingredients? 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Chapter 2 page 449 - TR 168 - short and drenched

Today was my first run since last weekend's half marathon.  I was feeling guilty about it, but my running mentor convinced me that 4 days off might have actually been the best thing for my legs (and I know it was very helpful for my mind).  I met up with "C" who has already run 4 miles earlier this week (she's just awesome - that's all there is to it!) and we set off to do an easy 3-4 miler.  We reversed the interval used for the half and ran 1:15 and walked 2:30 - wow, that sure is easy and fun!  We didn't take our park pass because they haven't been collecting fees at the gate on Thursdays for several weeks . . .  ummm, yeah, except today!  So . . . we turned around and would make up the distance on the other path - ummmm, yeah, except it began to POUR!  So . . . because of the rain and the fact that I had to get back to work, we just stopped after 2.3 miles.  It wasn't pretty or even that easy (my hip and quad are back to hurting -boo!), but I feel A LOT better about getting back out there. I hope to get in a longer run tomorrow (it's cold and rainy outside so . . . we'll see how motivated I am after a Friday at work . . . stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chapter 2 page 447 - Half Mary Recap - photo edition

Frequent readers will recognize these - "C" made a stick head of herself for me and brought me a heart shaped rock back from her CO hiking trip - I carried both in Chicago and got a PR so I carried both again on Saturday . .. PR baby!

It's a great photo - thought I would post it again.  SOOOO proud of these first time 4 milers!

This too is a GREAT photo and deserves to be reposted - training partners moments away from doing their first half mary!  Soooooo unbelievably proud of them!!!

I LOVE this photo - except the photo I got was blury and this one has Kristen's eyes closed - bummer!  These were the half marathoners from our "group".  L to R back:  Emily, April, moi, "C", Front Row L to R:  Tia and Kristen - all but "C" and I were first time half marathoners!!! WAY TO GO GIRLS!!!!

My mom is a GREAT sport - so fun to have her come along to many of my races!

My parents took this picture of "C" at mile 8.75.  It looks as if she is walking, but I promise you she's moving!  She PR'd by over 9 minutes!!!!  She got a 2:40:15 - incredible!!!  I'm SOOOO proud of her!!!

In the middle is John from our half marathon class - he was a BLAST.  This guy was a trooper.  He was injured after the Indy Mini and was in a boot until just a month ago - incredible spirit, great sense of humor, and all around FUN!!!  Will miss the spirited exchanges we had during class every week.  I bought him a set puffy paint sparkle pens so he could  "bedazzle" his boot.  :)  That's the kind of fun we had!!!  Because he just got back into training, he walked the entire half - such courage and dedication!

L to R:  "C" (6h half mary; new PR 2:40:15), Jenn (first time half marathoner 2:01 - incredible right!), moi (5th half mary; new PR 2:53:51), Tia & April (first time half marathoners 3:17:31 - a full min/mile faster than their goal time! - WOOT!)

"C" finishing strong!

Me finishing strong
What would a recap be without a close up of my neon green and hot pink nails!  Party on!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Chapter 2 page 446.5 - OMG it fell off

I interrupt the regularly scheduled round of half mary recaps for breaking news . . .

my 2nd toe nail on my right foot FELL OFF!  OMG!  It's been "loose" for a couple of weeks or maybe even months and I just kept praying that God would reattach it - ummm, well, tonight - it fell off.  The new one had been growing underneath so I have 1/2 of a toe nail - it's ONE UGLY toe nail I might add

(have you lost a toe nail - anything I should know about it?)

We now return to my regularly scheduled blogging.

Chapter 2 page 446 - TR 167 Half Mary by the numbers

As you ALL know (sorry the recaps just keep coming) I PR'd my half this past Saturday.

Here's a little "by the numbers":

Number of water stations where I drank water: 9

Number of water stations where I drank gatorade: 1

Number of bottles of on-board water consumed: 1

Number of tunes I listened to on my ipod: ZIP - didn't work, BIG FAIL - BOO!

Number of chomps consumed:  2 before start, 2 at mile 4 (should have been @ mile 3), 2 at mile 7 (should have been @ mile 6), and I should have had 2 at mile 11, but I forgot

Number of gu packets consumed: 1 @ mile 9.5 (spilled it all over me - s.t.i.c.k.e.y!)

Number of intervals walked through: 3 (one at mile 7.25, one at mile 9.5, one at mile 11ish)

Interval used:  2:30 run and 1:30 walk

First 5 miles pace: 13:01 m/m

First 10 miles pace:  13:17 m/m

Final 5K pace:  13:13 m/m

Total overall pace:  13:15 m/m

Final time:  2:53:51

PR'd by:  8 minutes 24 seconds

Monday, September 26, 2011

Chapter 2 page 445 - The Half Marathon for the ages

This is a long post - you can skip ahead to the photos if you want :)
I said it in an earlier post, but this race was 100% of having awesome friends!!!!!!!  I am sooooo blessed to have friends!!!!!  They came out, and their families came out, to cheer me on.  It made all the difference!!!!!!!!
A HUGE thanks to:
April (and her husband
Tia (and her sister, mother, and daughter)
Louise (and her husband, son, daughter-in-law, and sister)
Sue (from my half marathon class)
. . . and my parents!!!!!
These awesome folks and their families kept me going. 

I'm waiting on some group photos from friends (April, Tia, Jenn - if you have group shots of us all before the race and/or after the race - can you email me them?  thanks!) so just keep tuning in to see them!

Temp:  45* at race start with 99% humidity - cold!  Thankfully no wind!
Temp:  54* during the race with 56% humidity - awesomely beautiful.  Still no wind!
Temp:  50* at the end of the race and RAIN - nice distraction, but COLD!  PTL no wind!

Before the race - we saw lots of our friends so that was super motivating.  We took some photos.  Here are a couple I have:
Marcia & Bri in their corral getting ready for their 7:30 a.m. start for their 4 mile race.  SOOOO proud of these girls.  6 months ago they would have NEVER dreamed of doing this race!  They earned their way to the starting line!  Great job girls!!!!  High 5's all around!!!

You surely recognize Tia (left) and April (from Another Day in the Life of April) - these girls look great don't they!  So proud of them.  22 weeks of long, hot, and hard training all coming down to their first half marathon start just moments after this was taken.  Sooooo proud of them!!! They ended up finishing AHEAD of their goal time!!  Woot!

On the right is Val - she did my first 10K with me and now was doing her first half marathon with her friends.  In A LOT of ways, I owe her the most - without that awesome first race experience, I'm sure I wouldn't have continued racing.  I saw Val a the finish line.  She did GREAT in her first half - she ran the first 8 miles straight - WOW!  Great job Val!

These are 2 gals who have done the half marathon together each of the event's 4 years.  On the left is Ashley and she is an NP who used to work with me.  On the right is Stacey who is a hospital pharmacist.  So proud of these two!!!

Who are these people?  HA!  "L" surprised me by showing up on her bike.  She rode her bike to SEVERAL locations (wonder how many miles she road in all) around the route.  She was HUGELY valuable to me.  Not only did she give me a pep talk, but she walked 2 minutes with me, she took my non-working ipod from me, and gave me a fresh cold bottle of water - so awesome!  Thanks "L" for being the most amazingly selfless friend!!!! 
 And so after all of that socializing, the gun fired and we were off - I think this is a great photo.  3,300 racers  -thanks mom for getting the photo of "C" and I!  I wore those pink compression sleeves so that everyone could find me - I think it was a good strategy . . .go ahead, play the game "Where's Wells L"?  ha!
The first 2 mile were HARD - it was cold and my muscles were NOT happy.  I had learned in my half marathon class that there was no need to warm up for a half marathon because the first couple of miles could serve as a warm up, but I'm wondering if in the cold weather I shouldn't have done a little jogging???  Oh well, there had been lots of runs that "C" and I have had where the first 2 miles felt HARD and then once we warmed up they got easier - I had A LOT of hope that this was going to be the case - I couldn't "fight" for 13 miles.  At mile 2 I looked down at my watch to compare it to the pacing and noticed that my watch had stopped.  This was really about more than I could take.  My shoes were tied too tightly hurting my shins and my legs were not "flowing" like they should and now my watch has stopped???? I really almost just gave up on the hopes of getting a PR and thought about moving into survival mode - but with God's luck I pressed a button on my watch and it went back to the running stop watch time (must have hit a split button accidentally or something - didn't even know there was such a button).  Wow - that whole thing really took a bunch of mental energy and busted my "hope" balloon.  I was relieved and thankful when it worked.  I think about this time my legs also began to loosen up and I was on my way.  I didn't interact much, I just focused on running my race - which ironically became my running mantra "run my race" "run my race" - I found myself saying that quite frequently from miles 7-13.

Miles 3-4 I interacted a lot more with other participants.  There was a duo talking about books they had read.  They started off talking about The Help and then because I run/walk I lost them.  When I caught up with them again they were talking about the Twilight books - which I hadn't read.  They were sweet - they offered to discuss the books that I had read - how sweet is that?  I told them I had only been reading running books lately.

Miles 5-8 were boring very few spectators.  It's a beautiful part of the course, but you were "stuck" with who you were near.  This was also another chance for me to test out my mental strength.  I had spent HOURS getting my ipod play list ready.  I had planned to turn it on at mile 5 and cruise with it through mile 10.  Put in the yurbuds - NOTHING!  What?  How could that be?  It was charged, it was loaded - what?  No idea!  Nothing!!  OHHHH NOOOOOO!  What am I going to do?  My whole race plan was focused on being centered and blasting the jamz - now what?  I was a bit defeated!  I tucked the yurbuds back in my bra strap and thought about worked on my "now what" plan.   My first 5 mile split was exactly 13:00 m/m so I was cruising and ahead of the pacing on my arm - it was going great!  That gave me a bit of a boost.  And the pace wasn't overly challenging so I just started thinking about what do I do well during races - socialize!!!  So . . . I decided TO BRING THE PARTY!!!!  I talked to everyone.  I met some very fun (and annoying) people.  I really enjoyed these 2 guys where were hilarious.  I lost them around the 7 mile mark, but one of came over at the finish line to give me a fist bump (as did the book club girls)!  Nice!

Miles 8-10 were daunting. I  was scared.  Just before mile 8 I saw "L" and nearly cried.  I was SO scared about the "U" shaped part of the course that lies ahead.  There was a challenging hill at mile 9.5 and in my head it!!!  "L" walked with me for one interval and that was great.  The good news is that because the "U" shaped part of the route was different than we had trained on, it flew by (thank God).  Right before mile 9 I saw my parents - that was nice.  Then only a few steps later a girl came running up to me out of the blue - it was Sue from our half marathon class.  OHHHH MAN that was GREAT!!!!  She ran with me until about mile 10.5 (or so).  I saw my parents again at about mile 9.3 which was nice. At about mile 9.5 my life dramatically improved.  Kimberly from Healthystrides was there with her husband and new baby!  She ran with me for nearly a mile - wearing a sweater (and after crushing her 4 mile race earlier) - she's an amazing woman!!!  Thanks so much Kim!  We ran through the 10 mile clock and I had lost 2 (or 4 minutes) which really upset me.  She was like "don't worry about that - stay focused".  We hugged a couple of times and then she left.  As I crossed the 10 mile mat I heard "Hey Wells you're early" - ummm what?  It was my friend "M" who was waiting on the steps of some house.  It's true, I was early.  I had told him I would be there 6 minutes later than I actually was there - ha!  So . . . for a bit of time I had M and Sue on one side of me and Kimberly on the other - who can loose with awesome friends like that!!!!! 

As I had already known from past experience - miles 10-11.5 were hard!  They feel still pretty far away from the finish line and the route is a bit confusing (not like you can get lost) but it's easy to loose your bearings to know where you are.  M was still on and off with me.  We talked about strategy and he helped me to regain perspective which although I was a bit behind my 2:54 time at this time, I was still more than 5 minutes ahead of my original 2:59 goal!  He told me there was one more little hill (little?  It was short, but it was steep and I walked through an interval).  It think I only walked through 2 full intervals and then maybe parts of 2 more.  It might have been 3 intervals I walked through, but that's not bad (for me - and especially for me doing the race alone and doing it so much quicker than I normally run).

Miles 11.5-12 just needed to be done.  Ever get that way.  I was struggling, hurting (my psoas was killing me) and my legs had begun cramping up.  I should have fueled at mile 11 and forgot - too busy breathing I'd guess! ha!  M and I discussed my finishing strategy.  I talked out loud a couple of options and did some math.  At most I only had 24 more minutes of running - 6 total running intervals.  Surely I can run 6 more times (surely, right!).  At mile 12 I told M I was going to do one more interval - and then I would run the rest, then during that run, I announced "I'm going to do one more after this one" - ha!  I lost him for a little bit and felt a few drops of rain.  I went under an overpass and said out loud "COME ON RAIN" - I was READY for the rain to give me a distraction - I needed a distraction.

Miles 12-13.1:  Not but 2 blocks or so later, Jenn came out of no where to run the final stretch with me.  Thank you Lord for the distraction - and it rained too.  I say pour on the distractions.  And just then we turned the final corner and M said "you got to decide what you're going to do" - I turned off my beeper and said I would run the rest (.6 miles) all the way.  He said "ignore your beeper and just do it" - I told him I already turned off my beeper.  He wished me luck.  Jenn was talking to me and all I was thinking was about not dying (sorry Jenn for not being the most pleasant social company during that final run).  I ran down the tunnel and onto the field.  There were very few people in the stands which bummed me out - they were hugely motivational last year, but . .  I pushed.  I passed one person then the next, dug deep and pretended I was doing speed work.  I rounded the corner to the first base line and heard "C" yellling soooo loudly for me (I couldn't do anything but sprint one foot in front of the other and nod that I heard her - I couldn't turn my head or smile at her or even give her a wave - I nodded - it was sort of an autopilot experience - just 100% effort moving me forward).  I was 100% focused on the clock (which wasn't my time) and realized if I sprinted like my entire life depended on it - I would finish BEFORE 2:54 and that would be SWEET victory since I had lost some time during the middle 5 miles.

OH MY GOODNESS - final time 2:53:51 . . . nearly 8:30 minutes faster than my previous PR!!!!  WOW!!!!  I then coughed (asthma - still need to get that looked) at so much that I gagged so I spent some time leaning over a trash can.  I got my medal and thankfully "C" was there to help me get my food and water.  I just couldn't - I was breathing (barely) and that was all.  She talked to me and said "I know how you get, just breath, I'll talk".  Sweet isn't she.  Then I started seeing all of my new and old friends crossing and coming up to me for a hug.  There were several people who said that I helped them get through the race because of my energy - that's a pretty amazing compliment I'd say!  I know that I got through because of them!

Here are some amazing finish line photos my mom took - click on them to zoom in.  You can even see "C" and her facial expression as I'm finishing - priceless!!!!
I'm in between the girl in the teal and the girl in the orange . . . but not for long!  "C" is almost directly across me to the left behind the fence.  She's wearing an aqua colored long sleeve shirt with a neon green tank under it.  Zoom and see her face!  It's awesome!  She's so genuinely excited for me!

Passing some people here I come!  Zoom to see "C"

Still passing people - I'm racing the full 13.1 here people - get out of my way!!!!  Ha! If you zoom in, you can see that "C" has begun to run away from the fence so that she can run back around to meet me!! She had set her goals as a 2:45 primarily and then if the world was great maybe a 2:40 - UMMMM yeah, she crushed her race and got a 2:40 . . .she beat her PR by 9 minutes!!!!!

Another round of "Where's Wells L?" Hint - I'm still wearing neon pink calf sleeves - ha!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Chapter 2 page 444 - Packet pick up

As most of you regular readers know, I led a group called Spring Into Training this past summer.  As a result, I've continued to mentor some of the graduates while others have been finding their way on their own.  Yesterday's Fort 4 Fitness race had 9,300 participants and is tailored perfectly for both elite and newbies making it an ideal race for most everyone.  The race has 3 distances (4 mile, 10K, and half marathon).  Because the race is "so big" compared to what the SIT graduates are accustomed to I offered to organize an "outing" for packet pick up.  This event was my first ever half marathon a year ago and my running partner "C" showed me the ropes - so I felt the need to pay it forward to the SIT graduates.
We met up and drove together to the baseball stadium which served as the event's packet pick up as well as the race's finish line.  While we were there we checked out their Health and Fitness Fair (it's not an expo like  most events - the race is sponsored by a hospital so all of the booths are giving out health information).  The local running store has an area where they sell gear, clothes, and accessories at a discount so we hit that up - I bought 4 tubes of body glide . . . a big girl who runs half marathons can never have enough of that . . . especially when it's on sale!

We then went to the packet pick up area of the event and everyone had their confirmation post cards which made it very easy.  We all got our packets and met up at the end of the tent and made sure everything was straight - good thing we did - one girl had a bib but no corral assignment on it.  After that got straightened out, we got a group photo.

Back Row L to R:  Stacey (doing her 2nd 10K), Bri (doing her first4 Miler), Marcia (doing her first 4 Mile), Tia (doing her first half marathon), "C" (doing her 6th half half marathon); Front Row L to R:  Emily (doing her first half marathon), "L" (chief cheerleader), Kristen (doing her first half marathon), moi (doing my 5th half marathon),  and April (doing her first half marathon)

"C", "L" and I (who all did the race last year) helped the others who were doing the race for the first time.  We discussed how/where to meet up with family after the race, where the starting line was, how corrals work, where to get dropped off at in the morning, where the restrooms and porta johns were, and a whole slew of other details.  I think it really helped the newbies - knowing = nerve calming (at least I think it is).  Afterward, I had made arrangements for the group to eat out at a local Italian restaurant (gotta carb up) that has been getting rave reviews from my friends (although, not so much from Urbanspoon).  It was EXCELLENT and we'll definitely make this an annual "pre-F4F" event.

Before our food came, I had "C" write the same 4 quotes on my arm that got me through the Chicago RnR Half.  They served me well and knowing I was going to do this race alone, I wanted them on my arm once again!  Quote #1 from I'm A Sleeper Baker:  You are capable of more than you Realize!  Quote #2:  Run hard, be strong, think BIG!  Quote #3:  All it takes is all you've got!  Quote #4:  It only hurts up to a point (and we ran of room to finish it . . and then it doesn't hurt any more". 

We even posed for another group photo - doesn't everyone is looking super excited and race ready?  I'm sooo proud of these ladies.  Many of them would have NEVER thought about doing a race just 6 months ago and now look - they were less than 12 hours away from doing a race with 9,300 other participants!   

Wow - soooooo honored to have been invited to be on the journey with them!!!! 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Chapter 2 page 443 - I say P you say R - PR!

Last year at the Fort 4 Fitness I did my first half marathon and finished in 3:02:48.  Last month I got a PR at the Chicago RnR Half with a 3:02:15.  My goal for this race was a 2:59.99, but had crazy dreams of getting a 2:55 or 2:56 . . . it's more of what the McMillian calculator said I was capable of more than I really could run that fast.

I put both pacings on my arm . . .
My left forearm - pace tat from Lutheran Hospital (thanks!!!) with a 3:00 and my awesome marker writing with a 2:54 on it (you know, just in case I woke up in a dream world). 
That's me one the left in the neon green shirt and pink shin sleeves next to the girl in the orange shirt and sort of under the "N" in FINISH.  You can click on the photo to enlarge it - You'll see the gun time on the left for the half marathon.
I absolutely HAVE to say that without a doubt, ONE thing made this possible (yeah yeah yea, training helped, but that's a given, everyone trained - I'm talking about one thing that made ALL the difference) - 
FRIENDS!!!!!!!!!! I am so unbelievably thankful for the following people who were EVERYWHERE along the course and who absolutely MADE THE DIFFERENCE in me "making it" and me just "doing it".  I owe you all soooo much!!!!

Special thanks to: 
Starting line:  Val, Ashley, Stacey, my mom, "C" & April's husband, "L" - who showed up on a bike, Tia, April, Emily, Kristin, oh man there were more but I can't remember right now 

During the race:  April's husband, Tia's sister-mom-and daughter, my mom, "L" and her husband, Kimberly from HealthyStrides who ran with me for about a mile and gave me a couple of hugs - she's just awesome, and Sue from my half marathon class, and my parents, Jenn from Running 4 My Life who ran me with me the last .2, and without a doubt, my running mentor "M" who was just too amazing!!!!!!!  I absolutely could NOT have done it without all of these people.  There were other folks around me during the race that became my "friends" - I'll share more about them in a later post.

After the race:  So awesome to see Michelle who is a personal trainer at the Y, Val who did my first 10K with me (great job girl), John from my half marathon class, 2 girls I called "book club" that I "met" along the way, a guy from mile 5-7 who was just to fun came over at the finish line to give me a fist bump, Diane from our half marathon class, Tia & April and their families, my mom and "C's" husband, and "C" for yelling me the whole way around the 2nd and 1st base line all the way into home plate (the finish line), and I'm certain many more but can't remember right now.  

No doubt there will be SEVERAL recap posts coming your way in the next couple of days!  I can't thank all of you bloggers and all of you my local friends enough for all of your support, encouragement, and belief in my ability!!!!  I'm so in debt to all of you until the end of time.  Most importantly, I have to thank "L" and especially "C" for putting up with me day in and day out while we trained - love you gals like sisters!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Chapter 2 page 442 - sneak peak

neon green & neon pink - fast right?

Chapter 2 page 441 - Training by the numbers

Well here we are - we've arrived at the day before my goal half marathon race.  Unbelievably. . . it's tomorrow.  Tomorrow.  Man, when it was 116* heat index this summer it felt SOOOOO far away and yet, here it is!  I've certainly put in all the time and effort and I've improved so much in my 5K and 10 Mile race that I'm eager to see how I've improved at the 13.1 distance.  I wanted to take a brief moment to do a look back at my training and compile a little bit of fun "by the numbers" to measure exactly how far I've come.  
So without further delay:

Thanks for following my journey in prep for this half.  
Don't worry there's plenty more training drama to follow - I still have 3 more halfs after this one :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Chpater 2 page 440 - TR 166 & 2 wake ups

Huge apology for being absent from the blogosphere all week.  I've been tapering and just not a lot has been going on in the Wells L world (shocker I know- ha!).  As you are all probably aware, Saturday (yes this one coming up - eek, only 2 wake ups) is the Fort 4 Fitness Half Marathon.  It's my "big" race.  It was my first half last year and will be my 5th half on Saturday.  It's the race that I have set as my goal race and am hoping I can drop 2:16 from my half time and get a sub 3.  I feel pretty confident about it given the various PR smackdowns I had this summer, but as you know, nothing is ever given - it's earned.  I can't take anything for granted so . . . we'll see.  Everything is coming together and you can't really ask for more than that.  The forecast is for cool weather with a slight chance of rain (that might be a fun distraction . . . think I can hope for it to start at mile 10 when I'm usually hating life?  probably asking too much!).

This week I've spent some time doing mental prep and laying out a strategy for the route, here's what I'm going to do:
1.  Fuel before the race, 2 bloks at mile 3, 2 bloks at mile 6, 1 gu at mile 9, 2 blocks at mile 11
2.  Use a 2:30 & 1:30 interval at least until mile 11 - then . . . I might change it up to 3:1 if I have enough in the tank
3.  Drink early and often
4.  I'm not allowing myself to walk through any intervals until at least mile 5 and then I am allowing myself to walk through no more than 5 intervals after mile 5 (not that I'll need to walk through 5 intervals - but if I push too fast or it gets hard, it's a nice mental trick and will help me to evaluate the level of fatigue I'm experiencing "am I really tired enough to need to burn up one of my allowing walks????"
5.  I'm going to be having the pacing for both a 2:55 (crazy I know) and 3:00 on my arm - hope that Lutheran Hospital provides temp pacing tats again this year (fingers crossed).
6.   I've arrived at the decision and am focusing on having confidence in it and hoping for the best.  I have decided to ditch my usual "social" attitude for solitude with music.  I'm not running this race with anyone (I have other friends in the race and I have some spectator friends going to be around, but none immediately with me) so I'm going to implement the OPPOSITE strategy that I used in Chicago last month.  Chicago I used BIG BOLD and LOUD - I was the social butterfly during the race and interacted with everyone.  I had a blast.  That much spirit takes a lot of energy.  It's how I race - it's what I love to do so that's why the decision to not do it in Saturday's race has been such a challenge for me.  Saturday, I plan on blasting the jamz from my ipod which makes me feel separated from everything else that is going on around me.  It's not ideal, but with the smaller race, some remote areas of the course, fewer spectators and a BUNCH of rookies who aren't likely to "get" the BIG BOLD and LOUD - after much consideration, I think an opposite approach might be my best strategy for this race.

SO . .. if you are going to be along the route to cheer me on - wave your arms like a crazy person, jump out and tackle me, scream at the top of your lungs so that I can get out of "my zone" and see you. . . . and know I'm eternally grateful you are there!!!!!!  I don't have my outfit finalized yet - help . . . what should I wear???

I'm ready, but I'm still scared.  I've put all of my PR eggs into this one race basket and I'm hoping I don't drop the basket and crush the eggs.  "C" is feeling extremely confident - thanks to all of you who gave her words of encouragement last week!!

Last night was our last half marathon class.  We did a "quick" 2 laps after class (I say quick because it was a lot faster than I typically go, but it didn't kill me) and with that . . . .ALL OF OUR TRAINING FOR THIS HALF MARATHON TRAINING CYCLE IS D.O.N.E!  Tomorrow will be a fun training cycle recap by the numbers.

In the meantime, please take a moment to send up a good thought about these people who are doing one of the 3 races (4 miler, 10K, half mary) at Saturday's Fort 4 Fitness race - not an inclusive list so I apologize to everyone that I miss:
-Kimberly @ Healthy Strides (doing the 4 miler)
-Marcia  my Sweaty BFF & a Spring Into Training grad (doing the 4 miler)
-Bri my awesome friend & Spring Into Training grad (doing the 4 miler)
-Larry a Spring Into Training grad and co-worker (doing the 4 miler)
-Stacey who is "my people" and Spring Into Training grad (doing the 10K)
-April @ Another Day in the Life of April (doing the half)
-Tia (Aprils' training partner) (doing the half)
-Chris (my training partner) (doing the half)
-Kristin a Spring Into Training grad (doing the half)
-Jenn @ Running 4 my life (doing the half)
-Val who did my very first race with me (doing the half)
-moi (doing the half)

GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE DOING A RACE THIS WEEKEND!!!!  Stay tuned for a weekend full of posts!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chapter 2 page 439 - TR 165 Race recap

It was 3 years ago this month that I did my first race - the Parlor City Trot 10K and immediately caught the racing bug.  I instantly loved racing.  I decided to enter a 5K that was about 90 minutes away in a city called Kokomo.  The event was called Girls' Night Out.  I had registered for the walking division because I had walked almost all of the 10K so I thought it best to walk the 5K and ended up getting 3rd in my age group.  Last year I participated in the event again but selected the "running" division and did it with "L" and "C".  This year, everyone bailed on me and I found myself going alone.  I almost didn't go - this is the type of event where friends make it WAY MORE FUN!  I decided that I really thought I had a chance to place in my age group for the "walking" division and so last night I set off for my 3rd Girls' Night Out 5K in Kokomo.

About 45 minutes into my drive, I realized I had forgotten my watch (who forgets their watch? - yeah, me! soooo incredibly stupid!!!) but fortunately I had time to run to Target.  I got a new watch - I would have liked to get a features-rich one, but I didn't have time to figure out how to set it and use the stop watch features so basic was what I got:

The pre-race atmosphere for this event is unexplainably friendly.   The line for the restroom was like we had all been lifelong friends :)   So nice!!!  Here are some pre-race crowd photos:

The festivities started off with a "Little Princess" .25 mile run - they were sooo cute!!!! In years past there was also a 100 yard men's high heel hustle, but it didn't take place this year. 

 After a prayer and the signing of the Star Spangled Banner, we were off - wow, can I just say that I have a whole NEW respect for power walkers!!! Running is WAY easier than power walking.  It was exactly 1:48 into the race when I looked at my watch for the first time and nearly decided to quit the race - REAL thoughts of dropping out were in my head.  My shin muscles felt as if they were going to FALL OFF and it was only 1:48 into the race.  Best case scenario - I still had like 45 more minutes.  WHAT WAS I THINKING?  WHY DID I DRIVE ALL THE WAY OVER HERE TO DO THIS?  Then alternate options came into my head - take off my number (which was a walker's number) and just begin running it - it would result in a DNF but at least it wouldn't kill me AND that would be better than quitting!  I was surrounded by the hardest core power walkers I have ever seen.  The Olympics got NOTHIN' on these ladies.  Seriously - there's NO WAY to paint the picture for you - seriously hard core FAST walkers!!!!  Unbelievable.  Some of them were OLD too - how is it that they can be beating me?!?  Some of them were short and their stride had to be the same length as their height - dang they were moving -their arms and legs moved like that of a speed skater . I decided that if they could do it so could I.  I next looked at my watch at 5:20 - really?  It's been 5 minutes.  I'm huffing and puffing and my shins are going to snap - they were ON FIRE burning in pain and it's been 5:20 - could that time be right?  Maybe this new watch really wasn't working.  I had my music and since I didn't have to worry about an interval timer - I blasted the crap out of my Yurbuds!  I decided that I was going to give this thing my best try because at the moment I was sitting in about 15th place out of the walkers (or so I thought) and dang it - I came all the way over to this event to win an award (I was hoping for 3rd in my age group).  So I dug in and decided to take this race 5 minutes at a time.  And honestly, I really did do it 5 minutes at a time!  5 minutes X 8 (and some change) little tiny painful and incredibly challenging segments of only 5 minutes (that felt like an hour each for the record).  And then at 13:38 guess what - I was at the one mile mark!!!  Say what?  13:38 is like my "fast" running pace - wow, no wonder my shins are going to fall off - I'm booking it!  Hmmm, okay I thought.  I only have 2 more miles.  Last year the course was super hilly and I feared for the 2nd mile, but returned to the "5 minutes at a time" focus!!!  I honestly looked at my watch every 5 minutes and took satisfaction that I lasted 5 more minutes.  Luckily the 2nd mile of this year's course was different - it was beautiful and shaded and through woods and just visually relaxing which made for a wonderful contrast to the tight intense burning and fatigue I was feeling.   At about the 1 3/4 mark I began to pass some of the women that I had been in awe of thus far in the race.  At about the 2 mile mark I passed this incredible woman and her young daughter (seriously, how can they be walking faster than I was for 2 miles??).  Then, for the last 3/4 mile I was exactly beside a 70 year old.  That woman was walking me into the ground.  I didn't so much worry because she was clearly in a different age group than I; however just about 50 yards in front of me was a woman who could have easily been in my age group so slowing down or giving up was not an option.  At the 2.5 mile mark I knew there 2 super steep hills, but it didn't matter- I broke into my Olympic style butt shwooshing walk and just and went as fast as I could.  With about 1/4 of a mile left, I passed the woman who had been 50 yards  in front of me and possibly in my age group (later I found out she was a group younger than I) - I finally had also passed the 70 year old, but only ended up beating her by about 15 yards.  I accepted a few high fives along the way but otherwise this event took my entire focus and energy - a big chunk of my focus was to remain walking - running at this pace seems more natural but is definitely against the rules.   I used several different walking styles during this race to give other muscle groups a chance to take some of the stress off my shins and hips at least for a few strides.  The oddest style had to be when I bent my knees and kept them bent through several strides - looked dumb, not very effective, but let me use my quads and hams a little rather than my shins and calves - ahhhh, then the quads burned so . . . back to the normal speed walking form. 

I'm glad I stuck it out and more importantly I'm glad that I opted to do the 5K walk - why?  Well, as long time readers and my training partners know - I have struggled with the mental aspect of running.  In prep for last month's solo half marathon - you all gave me GREAT advice and in the past 6 weeks I have had lots of chances to put to use the various methods (counting steps, breaking into smaller segments like just to the light pole, breaking it into smaller time segments like I did at this race, visualizing frenemies, remembering what it took to get to this point, etc).  This race forced me to dig to a depth I have never had to go and I was able to knock it out of the park!!!!  So glad I had this mental race to challenge me to remind me that I am strong - and that I have the ability to overcome what feels impossible!!!!  When it was all done, my time was 42:50 - which for walking is outstanding (at least for me - some of my running 5K's have been slower than that!).  That was good enough to get me FIRST IN MY AGE GROUP!!!!!  Are you kidding?!?!  I got first in my age group - got a trophy.  I have NEVER (and probably will never again) gotten first in my age group at any race for anything - last yes, but never first! When my name was called, I did my silly "happy jump" on the way to get my trophy (in front of like 200 women) and then because that got me a loud clap - I did the "happy jump" again after I got the trophy on my way back to my seat.  Hee hee!  I was thankful for the claps especially since I had no peepes there with me!

self photo in the car; you can see my nails were painted to match my shirt :)

 When I got home, my hubs took a better photo of me and my new trophy :)

 As a side note:
I loved the event so much that I borrowed their fabulous idea and created a nearly identical event in my hometown (with the help of some aweosome women).  Our Girls' Night Out event is on Friday, October 14th and is SUCH A FUN EVENING that if you're in the area you SHOULD definitely register - click HERE to learn more about it and/or to register online.  Our evening is a 2 mile wellness walk, dinner, chocolates, guest speaker, demonstrations to improve the health and well being of women, and then 90 minutes of zumba.  Oh yeah, we also have about 15 door prizes that are valued between $50-$100.  It's an evening of fun and pampering and is guaranteed to be a GREAT time!!! 

What is your "go to" strategy when a race or a run (or walk) gets really tough?  
 I guess mine is to break the race/run into smaller segments (on this race I did the 5 minute thing, but on my last solo 10 miler, I broke it up into incredibly small distances.  Counting steps is a close 2nd choice.

Do you ever enter races/events because you feel you have a chance to win or place in your age group or PR because it's a fast course?  And do you consider this okay to do?
Not usually - I did enter the walking division rather than running division for this race because I thought there was a chance I could place in my age group.  I'm not sure if I feel it's okay or not - looking for you thoughts on this one.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Chapter 2 page 438 - spoiler alert

WAY TOO TIRED to do a full post (have to wait until tomorrow), but let's just say something that has NEVER happened to me happened tonight at my 5K. . . 1ST IN MY AGE GROUP BABY!!!!!!!!  (disclaimer:  I won first in my age group for the walkers not runners - but still it counts because I walked 13:47 m/m to get that award - AND I was NO WAY the only person in my age group!!!!)  WOOT!  Check back tomorrow for photos and full recap!!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Chapter 2 page 437 - TR 164 finalizing pace and interval

First, a HUGE thank you to all of you who left a comment of support for my running partner "C" yesterday (click HERE if you missed it).  I think she was truly shocked that you would all care enough to share your support!  I told her you were all JUST.THAT.FAB!!!!  So a HUGE HEARTFELT THANKS!!!!!!

Today, we had an easy 4 miler on the schedule.  We ended up going 3.75 miles which was perfectly okay with us.  The main goal of this session was for "C" to test out the interval and pace we had planned for her to use during next weekend's half.  Mission accomplished - she tried it, liked it, and gained a HUGE amount of confidence and feels ready to tackle the challenge of getting a 2:45 in the half.  I'm soooo happy she finally believes what we all know already - that she's totally going to ROCK the half!!!!  As for me, everything seemed to hurt during my run.  My femurs felt as if they were going to snap in half - odd, truly odd!  I just felt awkward and unable to get my pace.  It's been an EXTREMELY stressful week at work and I think it's just really taken a toll of my body . . . and no doubt, my mind as well.

Guess what I'm doing tomorrow . . . I'm going to be participating in SUCH a FUN 5K/event!!!  I can't wait!!!!  It's Called Girls' Night Out - HERE is the race brochure which details ALL the fun.  This will be the 3rd year I've done the event.  I was SOOOOOO IMPRESSED by the awesomeness of this event that last year I (with the help of some AMAZING women) put together a nearly identical event in my home town!  You'll learn more about our Girls' Night Out event later in October, but for now . . . I'm participating in the original GNO AND.I.CAN'T.WAIT!!!!  You may have noticed my picture at the top of my sidebar - yeah, well, that's an age group trophy I won 2 years ago at this GNO event.  I'm SOOOO desperately hoping I can get repeat, but we'll see.  I'm just mostly looking forward to having a SUPER FUN evening!!!  Stay tuned on Sunday for a recap!

Have a fantastic weekend ladies!

Chapter 2 page 436 - Food Photo Friday

What's Wells L been eating lately????
Good question, see for yourself!!!!
Quickie Sausage Skillet (or at least that's what I'm calling it)
As originally inspired by April at Another Day in the Life of April HERE
This meal is beyond simple, quick, and takes only 4 or 5 ingredients that you can keep on hand.  I'm definitely going to be keeping this in mind for those nights after a long run when you're tired and need something delicious but fast and easy . . . bing bing - this is that meal :) 
1 can New Potatoes sliced or diced - added to a skillet of olive oil.

Brown up the potatoes (I will skip this step in the future - I didn't think it added much to the overall meal and took an extra 10 minutes). 

Add sliced smoked sausage (can be any variety you would like - turkey, beef, spicy)

Brown the sausage

Add a can of green beans

Add a can of corn - any variety you want (I think I would use southwest style corn next time)

In a departure from April's post, I thought the dish might need a little something more to bring it all together.  I opted for a can of Rotel which is cooked diced tomatoes mixed with chilis.

Add the can of Rotel to give it some zing (I definitely think the tomato was essential so if you don't like spice, maybe just some stewed or diced canned tomatoes would work as well)

After the Rotel there was a lot of extra liquid . . . perhaps I should have drained the Rotel like I did the other veggies????  It looks a lot like veggie soup at this stage.

No problem - slap a lid on and simmer for 10 minutes or so

That's mo' like it!  Perfectly blended and heated through. 

Close up for you - it really does taste a lot like veggie soup but it's not soupy

I had purchased pre-made rolls at the grocery store so all I had to do was warm them up.  Since the Rotel made the dish pretty spicy - I think I would make corn bread the next time instead.