Posts Tagged ‘running’

Saturday morning I ran a 5k in my fastest time EVER! I beat my previous record by one second, but it’s a PR nonetheless and I’ll take it.

Due to severe flooding in our area, the course was switched up a bit. I was a little bummed when I first found out. It was on the same bike path, just a different section. The original course was on the really flat part of the path that I’ve run a million times. The new route had us going downhill on the way out and uphill at a slight grade on the way back. Not a huge deal, but I don’t like change and it just made me a little nervous. The race ended up being a really small field of about 20 people, mostly men. My insecurities crept up and I found myself just praying that I wouldn’t be last. I know that’s not what it’s about, but it’s still a huge hangup for me.

I started out a little too fast and quickly felt it in my breathing. I reined it in a little and settled into a pace that felt comfortable. I made myself find that point before I looked down at my Garmin. I was really glad when I found that my “happy pace” was still faster than what I normally run. I struggle with keeping a steady pace, but managed to stay pretty consistent for the first two miles, running splits of 9:33 and 9:58 respectively.

That’s when the hill kicked in. It’s more of a grade than a visible “Oh, here comes the hill.” I could still feel it, mostly in my calves where I was already a little sore from my New Rules of Lifting for Women workout on Friday. At one point they started to cramp a bit so I decided to walk a little. That hurt even worse so I picked back up to a jog and rode it out to the finish, obviously at a slower pace. The last 1/4 mile was by far the hardest. My body was done, but I was so close to a PR and I wanted it BAD! My legs felt like Jell-o, but I gunned it and gave it everything I had. I stopped the time on my watch as I hit the line and was a little scared to look down. When I did and saw that 30:59 I smiled and did a little internal happy dance.

A good friend from church is a pretty serious (and very fast) runner and had come out to do the race “just for fun.” He was cheering me on at the finish line which was pretty cool. Once I got some water, he asked me how my run had been. I was a little embarassed to admit that 30:59 was a PR for me. I mean, this is Mr. I-just-won-this-5k-and-I’ve-run-the-Boston-Marathon-twice. Instead of laughing, he was extremely supportive and almost as excited as I was about my accomplishment. While we waited for the awards ceremony, we had a great discussion about running being a personal sport. One person’s goal might be to run a 4 minute mile pace while another person’s can be just to complete a 5k. Both goals are equally as exciting to achieve for the invidivual that set them.

That talk really made me feel so positive about my running. I want to get my 5k under 30 minutes so badly. Some days it seems unachievable and other days it feels just plain silly that I’m actually shooting for a time most “real” runners would consider to be super slow. Having this discussion with someone I respect as a runner made me remember that I run, therefore I’m a real runner. I accomplish something amazing every time I get out there and put one foot in front of the other. My goals are my own. They don’t have anything to do with what anyone else is doing. It reminds me of one of my all-time favorite quote:

The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.

(Baz Luhrman, Wear Sunscreen)

In this case, the race really was with myself. I was the only female in the 20-29 year old division so I got a gold medal!

I’ve received participation medals before, but never as an award based on where I finished. It was pretty cool. I was the 2nd female to finish, but the overall places weren’t divided out by male/female so the boys swept those. The race organizers felt bad when they realized their mistake and said they’d mail them to the top 3 ladies, but we all said it was okay.

There was another first at this race, but it was bittersweet. Remember my not-so-supportive support person? I finished ahead of her and she was not happy. Not even one little bit. This has only happened one other time when she had to pee really, really bad and couldn’t put in any real effort. It didn’t seem to phase her then, but this time she was visibly upset. I congratulated her as she crossed the finish line, but she just rolled her eyes and went and stood off to the side by herself. I let her have her space. At first I felt a little guilty for having passed her, but then I realized how silly that was. My race had absolutely nothing to do with her.  By the time we got in our cars she was speaking to me again although it was still obviously bothering her. I refused to let her mood rain on my parade. I just remembered my quote and smiled all the way home.



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 Last April, I ran my first post-baby 5k. My goal was 36 minutes and I finished in 36:24. I was a little disappointed, but still very proud to be back in the running saddle. It also gave me a benchmark, a time from which to improve.

This year I was giddy when registration opened for the 2011 installment of this race and mailed my form back the day I got it.  I didn’t get to prepare quite as much as I’d hoped. It was either too cold, too rainy or both to take the stroller out and it’s hard to get a real workout in on the treadmill when you’re also trying to chase a toddler around the gym. 🙂 Still, I was excited to run the same course and see what my time was compared to the previous year.

Our weight-loss group at church decided to do it as a group, most people walking while my sister-in-law and I ran the course. It was so much fun to have an active social event! Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and felt a certain sense of accomplishment in completing the 5k. For most of them, it was their first.

Since it was an out-and-back course, one of the other ladies in our group had the chance to snap photos as we passed the on the way back. That’s me, sporting my new running skirt and shoes for their 5k debut. Loving them

I finished in 33:40. My goal was to best my post-baby PR of 33:06, set at the Turkey Trot I ran back in November. Just missed it! Honestly, I know exactly why.  There were a few times I know I could have pushed harder, but didn’t. At the turn-around, I slowed to a walk to fix my hair that was driving me nuts. I dilly-dallied, took my time and didn’t get back to running as quickly as I should have. I also let my Garmin control me a little too much. When I looked down and saw a time that was faster than I usually run, I’d tell myself “there’s no way I can maintain this” and slow down a little, even if I was feeling good at that pace. I need to learn to use it as a tool rather than to get preoccupied with the display and psyche myself out.

While I was a bit disappointed, knowing I didn’t push myself the way I should have makes me even more motivated for future races. That’s a good thing because this week I signed up for 3 more races on May 14th, 21st and June 18th. Bring ’em on!

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I had a really bad experience with my running shoe fitting last year. My husband surprised me by taking me to a new-to-me running store while we were away for our anniversary. The store was crazy busy and there were several people being fitted. The store manager (owner, maybe?) did my fitting, but it was clear that he wasn’t thrilled about pitching in to help. Long story short, a rushed fitting + poor customer service = shoes that were too small. When I attempted to exchange the shoes, they insisted that they were the correct size and, because I’d run outside in them twice, wouldn’t accept the return or exchange. I kept running in them because I thought maybe I was the one who was wrong. These are, after all, trained professionals. 4 black, broken toenails later, I shoved them in my closet and switched back to my old, broken down running shoes. Ideal? No. Truth is, I’d just made the transition to being a stay-at-home mom and there wasn’t money in the budget for another pair at that time.

This year, I returned to the fabulous store where I had my very first running shoe fitting: Up and Running in Dayton. Back then, I was one week into the Couch to 5k training plan. Every runner I knew told me that if I was going to commit to this, I really needed to invest some good shoes. I was so nervous when I walked into that store, clearly having no clue what I wanted or needed and afraid I was going to look like an idiot. My fears were quickly put at ease. When the Up and Running staff found out I was brand new to running, they fawned over me and were genuinely excited to help. They were patient and stuck with me as I tried on shoe after shoe, running up and down the sidewalk in each until we found my perfect match.

Going back to Up and Running on Saturday was just as much fun as my first trip. The entire staff was friendly and the store atmosphere was super laid back. They looked me up in the computer to get the details of the shoes I’d purchased there before. They laughed when I hurridly confessed that I’d purchased shoes elsewhere in the meantime, then apologized and told them that I would never stray again. I explained about the bad fitting the previous year and the salesman agreed to do another fitting, just to ease my mind about what size I really needed. I knew the very first pair I tried on was the one I’d be buying. It fit like a glove. I ran up and down the sidewalk outside before confirming my purchase. Turns out, I’d picked the newer model of my very first running shoes, the Saucony Omni.

Pretty, but still tough looking. And soooo comfortable. They feel like they were designed just for my feet. I love them…all over again!

After my fitting, my sister-in-law and I browsed the awesome apparel selection a bit. We drooled over lots of things we wanted, but couldn’t afford, before finally discovering the 40% off sale rack.

I’ve been anti-running skirt for a long time because I thought they were silly. As I browsed the rack I saw a running skirt with built in pants and one with built in capris. “That’s even sillier,” I thought to myself. “Just wear pants or capris. No need to put a skirt over them.” I would never wear a running skirt. Famous last words.

As I was browsing another rack, my sister-in-law held up the ridiculous skirt/pant combo and said “This is cute, but they don’t have it in my size. I think this would fit you, though. Try it on.”

After a bit of back and forth battling (“No that’s stupid.”/”Just try it on.”/”I’ll look like an idiot.”/”Just try it on.”), I finally stepped inside the dressing room and tried on the offending garment while my sister-in-law waited outside the door.

It was the most comfortable pieces of workout gear I’ve ever put on in my life. And very, very flattering. It made my legs look really long and, when you’re 5’2″, you take all the help you can get. After a bit of time justifying the price to myself (still $54 after the discount) I decided to go ahead and buy it. I shook my head as they put it in the bag. A running skirt was the last thing I expected to leave with that day. Or ever. Never say never, right?

(In case you’re wondering, the brand/style I bought is the SkirtSports / Tough Girl Skirt.)

Update on my cousin: Thank you all so much for your prayers, thoughts and kind words! She had surgery to remove the brain tumor on Thursday. It was very sucessful and there were no complications. She’s up, moving around at regular intervals. Most importantly, her spirits are sky high! She and her parents have meetings scheduled this week with the radiology team to discuss a course of treatment. If all goes as planned, she could be home this weekend. She insists that she will do whatever it takes to fight like heck and beat this. Take that, cancer!
What’s your most-loved piece of workout apparel?

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Last weekend, I did my very first trail run, the Muddy Leprechaun 4-miler. It. was. AWESOME! I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. It was a touch on the cold side and a bit windy, but I’ll take that over rain or heat any day.

The day was special for another reason. It was my husband’s first race! He’s not a runner and didn’t do any training beforehand to train, but I told him I’d go at his pace and I was fine with walking, as long as we were doing it together. We jogged a little at the beginning, but then mostly walked the rest of the first 2-mile loop. It was so nice to get outside and be active, all with the one I love!

At the checkpoint, W peeled off and I was on my own. A lot of the walkers were only doing one lap so I was a ways back from the last of the runners. The devil on my shoulder was saying “Just stop now. You’re going to be last and you don’t want to make everyone wait for you.” Thankfully, the angel on my other shoulder must be a runner because she was screaming “C’mon! You know you want to really run that trail!”

So I did.

1/4 of a mile or so was on the bike path, into the wind. The turnoff to the actual trail was at the treeline waaaay off in the distance. See it? Kind of? It felt like it took an eternity to get there.

A right turn, a gravel path that ran along the tree line and then into the woods!


I thought it would get harder once I was on the dirt, but it actually felt a lot easier. I’m pretty sure that had a lot to do with being protected from the wind. I did have to watch my footing. There were lots and lots of tree roots and some spots were really muddy.

I loved the sound my feet made when I was running across the bridges.

Coming out of the woods, the trail went back to a mix of sand and gravel. Sort of. With all the rain we’d had the week prior to the race, it felt more like wet cement. Still, the sky was beautiful and the natural surroundings were pretty amazing.

After the stretch in the last picture, it was down a hill, around a corner and just a quick jaunt to the finish line. Guess who ran into a FENCE instead of into the finishing chute? That’d be me! It was a wire fence that only came up about waist high. They had flags tied to it that looked exactly like the flags tied on either side of the finishing chute and spaced about the same. I knew to run between the flags. Obviously I just misjudged which ones. By the time I realized what it was, I’d already run smack into it. Not my most shining race moment. Embarassed doesn’t even begin to cover it. Also not the greatest picture of me ever taken, but I just ran 4 miles in cold and pretty vicious winds. I’m allowed to be a bit scary looking. Oh, and you know you love the stylish Garmin-on-the-outside-of-my-shirt look, don’t you? Sometimes you do what you gotta do…and sometimes it’s just not pretty. 🙂

Overall, I loved trail running. Pounding it out in the mud and through the woods made me feel tough. There was something so freeing about it.

And the swag was pretty sweet…shamrock socks and a pilsner glass!

I had no idea what to expect as far as time went since this was my first trail run. I finished my second 2-mile lap in 24:07 with split times of 11:22 and 12:45. Not bad considering I usually pace between 11:00 and 11:30 on flat, paved courses. And I stopped quickly a few times to take the pictures. All for the love of blogging, I’m willing to sacrifice a little off my time. 😉 

Have you done any trail running? If so, what do you think? If not, is it something you’d like to try?

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Hola bloggies! Sorry I missed ya yesterday. We had to take Peanut to the cardiologist for a follow-up appointment which took up a majority of the day. Everything is fine. She’s had a heart murmur since birth and the doctors just want to keep an eye on it.

I had to decide between blogging and running in the little free time I did have yesterday evening. Pretty sure you can figure out which one I chose. There was rain almost all day so I was really excited when the weather broke and I got to lace up and head out. I did a mile to the bike path, 3 miles on the trail and a mile back home for a total of 5 miles! That probably seems like a mere pittance to most of you, but I’ve never run any further than that and the last time I achieved the feat was back in early 2008. Then, I was doing the distance once a week. I seriously slacked on my running after we got married as I adjusted to married life, a new town and an hour commute to work. I’m not sure why, but hitting that 5 mile mark again felt like a major milestone.

My Tuesday eats were pretty uninspired so I’m backtracking to Monday. Peanut and I went to our Mom & Baby group at the hospital in the morning, then hit the road to visit my BFF and her 2 week old little boy. When I’m in Dayton, I always make it a point to stop at Dorothy Lane Market. I’ve posted about my love for this local, gourmet foods market before. That’s where I headed for lunch on this journey, too.

I always get sushi when I’m there because there are absolutely no stores or restaurants near our town that sell or serve it. I picked up some Tokyo Fantasy which is basically just spicy tuna rolls with brown rice.

I spotted a delicious Greek Shrimp Orzo Salad in the deli case. I decided to get a small container of the salad instead of the spring
rolls I normally get to accompany my suuuu-shay.

I wasn’t disappointed. It was delicious! It wasn’t overly oily (which I’ve found true of most deli pasta salads) and had the perfect blend of orzo, shrimp, kalamata olives, herbs and various diced veggies.

I hit the Boston Stoker coffee cart on my way out the door for a Skinny Lady Latte. It’s basically just a skim white chocolate latte, but they seem to taste better there than anywhere else. I think it’s their exceptional quality espresso.

We had a fantastic visit with my BFF and her little man. In 7 months I’d honestly forgotten house teeny tiny newborns really are. I didn’t get a chance to take any pictures because he was either eating or sleeping the entire time we were there. My BFF and I have decided that our kids will go to prom together so I guess there’s always that photo op to look forward to enjoying. 🙂

My husband worked late and I wasn’t at all hungry come evening. I just had a cup of hot tea while I fed Peanut her dinner. This wasn’t just any hot tea. It was the best Earl Grey tea I think I’ve ever had. I picked it up on a whim while we were at Dorothy Lane Market. I’m not sure what made this Kensington Earl Grey so good, but I’m sure glad I decided to give it a try.

What was the last fitness milestone you achieved?

Have you checked out Yoga Pose May yet? I’ve been following along day by day and it’s awesome. I’m learning a lot about yoga and feeling inspired to incorporate it into my fitness routine more often. I’ve also discovered an abundance of new blogs to add to my Google Reader. As if I weren’t having enough trouble keeping up with that thing before, now it’s just plain ridiculous. 🙂

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Is it seriously Wednesday already? It seems like I *just* woke up on Saturday morning. It’s been go, go, go since the 5k with entertaining, shopping and visiting. I didn’t forget about you, bloggies! As promised, I’m back with my race report from the 5k on Saturday. Gold star to you if you finish reading this whole post because it’s LONG. 🙂

I’ve run 5ks before, but for some reason I was all jittery and butterfly stomached for this one. I think it was part excitement and part pressure that I was putting on myself. This was my first race post-baby (not counting the disastrous race 3 days after I was cleared to run again) and I had one very definite, very concrete goal: I wanted to run the whole thing. I didn’t care how long it took me to run it, but I was NOT going to walk.

I was a little preoccupied with getting Peanut up, packed and loaded in the car so I didn’t get to snap a picture of the gorgeous morning. The race was only about 5 minutes from our house so I wasn’t up to see the sunrise, but the morning could not have been any more clear and perfect for a run. My husband drove us down to the park where we met my sister-in-law and got checked in. For being a small race, the event was VERY well organized and the race crew was extremely friendly.

The half marathon stepped off at 9am on the dot. About 5 minutes later they called for the 5kers and everyone made their way to the start/finish line. My stomach completely bottomed out when I saw that there were only about 30-40 participants. One thought immediately came into my mind: “I’m going to be last.” I got really panicky all of a sudden and thought about bailing. I shared my concern with my sister-in-law and she told me to just do my best. Honestly, that statement should have made me feel better, but it felt more like pity coming from someone who is as fiercely competitive as she is. One thing that helped me loosen up was that all the competitors were very friendly. The whole lot of us stood there chatting and laughing while we waited for the start. One couple were owners of a local bike shop and gave me some great advice about what to look for when buying a running stroller.

For the last minute before the race, I closed my eyes, put in my headphones and just kept repeating my Baz Luhrman running mantra: “The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.” I got goosebumps in the 10 second countdown until the start. When they yelled “GO!” my whole mindset shifted. I felt calm and relaxed and just started running. I kept pace right behind my sister-in-law for the first quarter mile or so, but quickly realized that I couldn’t sustain that pace and settled into my own rhythm.

There was a volunteer yelling out times at the 1-mile mark. I was at 11:23 and completely fine with that. I felt really good so I decided to push a little bit harder on my way to the turn-around. My sister-in-law passed me on her way back and gave me the thumbs up and told me that I wasn’t even close to last. While that shouldn’t have mattered but, not gonna lie, it made me feel good.

I rounded the cone at the turn-around and headed for home feeling pretty good. That lasted for about another half mile. With one mile left to go, my breathing got difficult and I was having trouble getting it under control. I slowed my pace a little, determined not to walk, and kept plugging along.

The bike path where we were running has mile markers so it was easy to know where I was. I’d told myself that when I hit the 0.5 mile mark I was going to bust a move and push as hard as I could to the finish. Unfortunately, I was still struggling a bit when I got to that point and facing a bit of an uphill section. I told myself to keep running and putting one foot in front of the other, but decided I wasn’t ready to sprint.

The finish line banner was hanging from a bridge overpass. I spotted it as I rounded the corner about .25 miles out and decided it was time to make my move. I have no idea where that extra gas came from, but it was there. I bolted like lightening! I picked up the pace even more when I spotted my husband, sister-in-law and baby girl waiting at the finish line, cheering me on.

My official time was 36:24. My heart rate monitor (which I started & stopped as I hit the line) said 36:12. Either way, I was beyond thrilled. That’s only a few minutes off the time of the last 5k I ran before I got pregnant. I think I was a bit shocked, too. 40 minutes was sort of the time I’d had in my head as a realistic expectation of what I’d be able to do.

Peanut gave me a huge smile that melted my heart when I got to her stroller and my husband gave me a giant hug. The whole rest of the day he told me how great I did and how proud he was of me. That was really nice to hear. He also took this post-race photo of me. I am being VERY brave and posting it here even though I look like complete crap. Please remember that I just had a baby 6 months ago. Oh, and if anyone knows of a good hairdo that keeps your hair out of your face without exposing the fivehead, I’d really appreciate some tips. 🙂

Also very nice was this beer that I drank after I’d gotten showered:

My in-laws came over for a cookout around noon. My husband insisted that I relax while he did all the grilling. I did get the task of setting up the buffet. I got caught up in my task and forgot photos again. My husband made chicken & shrimp kabobs, grilled baby bella mushrooms and some yummy bread. My mother-in-law brought pasta salad and my sister-in-law made some healthy cream cheese bars that were HEAVENLY. Recipe and review of those to come because I am going to be making them very, very soon.

The rest of Saturday evening was really low-key. I read while Peanut played in her ExerSaucer and my husband played Madden. I love evenings like that.

Sunday morning my husband asked me the thing every woman likes to hear first thing in the morning. Get your mind out of the gutter! 😉 I meant that he asked me: “Do you want me to make breakfast?” Of course my answer was yes! I was treated to a delicious omelette made with turkey bacon, sharp cheddar cheese and leftover baby bella mushrooms. Nom.

I’m planning a special Earth Day event for Peanut tomorrow. Check back tomorrow, probably late afternoon, for a photo recap. I promise adorableness. 🙂

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Good morning, bloggies! Guess what? It’s FRIDAY!!! Who’s excited? I know I am. It’s going to be a busier than usual weekend for us, but all fun stuff.

Starting the morning off with some great news, I was down 3.8 at Weight Watchers weigh-in yesterday! Woo to the hoo fo sho! It was a huge boost to my confidence after two weeks of small gains.

In my running news, Peanut and I went to visit my parents in my hometown on Wednesday. I’d intended on using their treadmill, but it ended up being out of commission. I took to the streets (well, sidewalks) of my old neighborhood and did 2.5 miles in 28 minutes to complete C25k Week 8 Day 2. Obviously I’m still not fast, but my pace was a little quicker than it is when I’m pushing the stroller.

I’ve eaten mostly leftovers for the last few days so I didn’t take pictures. Tuesday night was a fun dinner. My husband got home early and we grilled out.

chicken & vegetable kabobs + foil-packet asparagus

I dumped all of mine into a bowl with some leftover brown rice and tossed it all in just a little bit of dijon mustard. I also added a couple of cherry tomatoes.

My husband loves BBQ sauce and received this as a gift recently:

Unfortunately, he wasn’t a fan. He said it had too bourbon-y. I found that funny because the sauce came from this place, a bourbon distillery. LOL I’m not a big BBQ sauce fan, but I did take a taste. All I could taste was vinegar.

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend! I’ll be tweeting from my phone tonight during Food Revolution. 9 EST. Be there or be square. 🙂

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