Sunday, November 25, 2012

Race Recap: Atlanta Half Marathon

This is my second year running the Atlanta Half Marathon. I can honestly say that it is much better (and easier) the second time around. I had hubby drive me down to the expo opening morning to pick up my bib. He dropped me off at the curb; I jumped out, weaved my way through the crowds and hopped in line for my bib. For some reason, my corral was the only one with a line. Thankfully, I printed off the email with my number and was prepared unlike those around me. It was a ton of fun to eavesdrop on the conversations going on around me. I was in the midst of newbies. After getting my bib, I crossed over the chip timers (very classy ATC!) to get my bag and my shirt. It is a nice, technical, long sleeved shirt. Thankfully they had my size this year. That is why I went to the expo the first day and not the second. Last year they ran out of women’s size medium and I had to get a men’s. This year the shirts were unisex and a size small fit perfectly. I ran into a girl in L’s class who was there with her dad. I said hello and then ran back to the curb to meet hubby.

I was nervous all day. I’m not sure why. I think I was even more nervous than I was last year. I was crabby and snapping at my family. I don’t like to be like that. I had the usual carb heavy dinner: spaghetti with bread. Let’s say that the meal was so carb heavy that it hurt my stomach all night. Between the nerves and the carbs, I really didn’t sleep very much at all. I was up every hour, on the hour from 1 am until 5 am. I finally got out of bed at 5:30, went to the bathroom and got dressed. I ate my oatmeal and had a few sips of coffee. At 6 I got hubby out of bed to drive me to the race. He couldn’t understand why we were leaving so early if the race started at 7:30 and my corral started at 7:45.

We hit the road. I was thankful for hubby’s heated seats and my nervous chatter talked hubby’s ear off. The roads were shockingly busy the whole drive. We made it to the interstate and flew through the city, until the Grady curve. If you’ve been to the ATL, you know that the Grady curve is inexplicably stopped every.single.time. There is no reason, it just is. It is kind of like the Ship Canal Bridge in Seattle. It just is. I told hubby to take exit 246. I would hop out of the car at the top of the exit and he could turn left and get back on the interstate to head back home. Easy peasy in theory. We sat in traffic for over 30 minutes. We finally made it through and hubby dropped me off at my exit at 7:20. I ran through the streets and the parking lots to Turner Field. As I was heading down the stairs in the final lot, I heard them singing the National Anthem. I made it to the porta potty, there was still TP and hand sanitizer, Score! I had enough time to get into my corral, start my Garmin and use my inhaler. Five minutes later, my corral started. It was nice to not sit too long in the corral and freeze, but that was not enough time to prep for my race. Thank you traffic!

The weather at start time was 45 degrees. I had left my throwaway sweats in the car but brought my sweatshirt with me. Underneath, I was wearing a skirt and a tank top. I kept the sweatshirt on for the first 1.5 miles. I had bought a cheap pair of kids gloves at target and kept those on until mile 3. I was afraid that my reynaud’s would act up and bother me the whole race. Originally, I had planned to set my timer and walk after the first four minutes, just to keep from starting too fast. It took me four minutes just to work my way through the crows so I bagged that idea. Once the crowds cleared I kept a steady pace. I don’t think I took my first walk break until 2.5 miles. Even then, I think it was long enough to blow my nose and start running again. This is a decent course for aid stations. They have water every two miles. I would walk through each station and grab a cup of water and a cup of poweraid. I would have a few sips of each and then toss them. I took my gels at miles 3, 6, 9, & 12. I knew I was in for it when I was getting tired before entering Piedmont Park. The rolling hills start just as you exit the park. I am not sure why I was tired before. Maybe it was because I had to cut my last long run short? Maybe it was the poor sleep the night before? Maybe it was the increase rise in temperature? We started the race at 45 degrees and I ended the race at 66 degrees. That is quite the jump and the heat really affects my running. While The hills were not as hard as last year. I still had to walk up three of them. I was very discouraged by that. I even did hill repeats this time around. I did see the benefits of my hill work, but it wasn’t enough. I was unable to keep my min focused and not give in to thinking “these hills are hard”. On all of my training runs, I have intentionally found hills to end with to practice the mental battle. I struggled mentally on the second half of this race. Maybe it was due to the traffic and quick start time?

I had sub-goals to run 6 miles in one hour and be at or past the 11-mile marker at two hours. I can say that I accomplished both. It was my race goal to finish as close to 2:20 as I could. My finish time was 2:23! I scored a 10-minute PR from last year and consider 2:23 to be a respectable finish time this year. I am incredibly proud of my efforts considering the cards I was dealt on race day. Ideally, I was going to try to keep my pace at 10:30 miles and not break an 11:15 pace. I kept that up until mile 10 (with the exception of mile 7) and that is freakishly amazing for me!

Yes, that is kick a$$ for me! If I run this race again next year (I’m pretty sure that I will just to beat this year’s time and shoot for another 10 minute PR but race day morning I always say no due to nerves and traffic) I will find even more hills to train on. A friend of mine who ran this race in 1:46 described it perfectly, “The race doesn’t start until you leave the park. It’s a 10k race with a 10k warm up.” While those hills are killer, it was nice to know what and when to expect them. I saw great improvement from last year and am excited to see even more improvement next year!

Mile 7 and on there are some hills

Lessons learned for next time. Training Runs: I will find a way to run 7 miles and then do hill repeats, that will mimic race day perfectly. I will find a way to beat the mental battle and keep my mind focused. I will score another 10 minute PR. I will realize that I am Galactically Bad A$$ (GBA) for running this race and I will not compare myself to others. There will always be people faster than me and there will always be people slower than me—All that matters is that I give it 110%.

Happy running y'all!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

PR Baby!

Happy Thanksgiving y'all, it's a great day for running! I just finished my 2nd half marathon and I got a 10 minute PR from last year. It wasn't a perfect race but I am incredibly happy with my performance. I'll type up a race report in the next couple of days. I hope you are enjoying your family and friends today. Savor the gift of running.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bring on the taper

Last Thursday I was supposed to run my last long run: 17 miles. I was unable to get that run in due to PTA obligations. I spent Wednesday-Friday at the elementary school. Saturday, we hiked with the Tiger den and it was a blast. I love seeing Civil War ruins and I love the fact that we live in the heart of many ruins. There is such much history here in the ATL. I didn’t grow up with much history other than the Duwamish Tribe in Seattle. I still can’t get over the fact that Georgia was one of the first 13 colonies. Cool!

Sunday was a family day. Hubby FINALLY had a weekend day off and we slept in, hung out in our pajamas and then went to a birthday party. I have massive mommy guilt when it comes to doing a long run when the boys are home, especially if hubby has a much awaited weekend day off. That means today, 1.5 weeks ‘till race day, and I had 17 miles looming over me like a dark thundercloud. I hate missing my long runs, and I hate even more having them hang over my head. This morning I started out after my oatmeal breakfast and then a cliff bar. It was 66 degrees with 96% humidity. Why oh why do I always have muggy days on my long runs? Thankfully, there was a cloud cover and the sun never really came out. Phew! My first mile was strong; I then played with my pace. I was originally planning to take walk breaks at each mile marker, but knew I’d run out of steam. Yesterday, I looked at the Galloway Magic Mile page. My race pace should be 10:17-10:30 and my training pace should be 12:08. I am not running that slow on my training runs, but I clock a solid 11 minute mile for my long runs. I also discovered that I should be running four minutes and walking for just 35 seconds. After my first mile, I decided to try the 4/35 ratio. It seemed to work for me. I had very little expectations for this run. I battle ovarian cysts that rupture pretty regularly and one started up on Saturday night. I was in so much pain last night, that I broke down and popped a prescribed narcotic just to sleep. I knew that would mess with today’s run. My goal was to run 13.1 miles and whatever I clocked over that distance was just gravy.

I felt incredibly strong today. I took gels at miles 3, 6, 9 and 12. I have found that every three miles is the key to my success. I had plenty of water and didn’t run out until I hit the 13th mile. My goal for this race next week is to finish strong and only walk when my timer goes off. I even attempted to skip some walk breaks today and I didn’t tire out as much as I had expected!

As I was approaching 11 miles I noticed that the timer was just about to break two hours. That is when I kicked it into high gear. I am working hard to pick up my pace and beat last years’ time. At 12 miles, my knees started to really hurt. As the garmin chimed at 13.1 miles, I decided to stop and walk home, there is no reason to hurt myself this close to race day. My official time for today’s 13.1 miles is 2:22:08!!! No freaking way! That is a seven-minute PR from two weeks ago and 11 minutes faster than last year’s race! Here’s to hoping I can hit that time or even beat it next week. Bring on the taper!

Happy running y’all!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Cold weather running and chia seeds

Cold weather running does me some good! I set a 5k PR yesterday and I wasn’t even trying. As I started, my legs felt heavy and stiff. It was 45 degrees and I felt slower than dirt. When the first mile chimed on my garmin I looked down and saw 8:03. No freaking way!!! I couldn’t believe that. I wasn’t even trying and kicked my MM time out of the water. I then decided to see if I could keep the pace. My second mile was 8:23. My third mile slowed down to 10:01, not sure what that was about since I felt like I was keeping a steady pace. My .1 was at 8:58 pace. I completed 5K in 27:28. That is fast, like wicked fast for me!

Since I finished my normal route in less than 30 minutes, I decided to save the PR (I love seeing PRs online when I upload my Garmin). I re-set my watch and decided to run for two more miles. I was slower, 9:44 and 10:38- more like my normal times. I kept thinking that if I had fueled properly, would I have kept sub 9 times for the whole 5 miles? Who cares, yesterday’s run was glorious!

I was watching Dr. Oz the other day and saw that he recommended 2 Tablespoons of chia seeds in 8 ounces of water. I have heard far and wide the benefits of chia seeds and have been incredibly proud of hubby for losing 29 pounds in two months. I decided to take the plunge and buy some chia. My first consumption was per Dr. Oz’ suggested route and they were horrible. I had them again this morning in my smoothie and it was fabulous! I threw in some brewer’s yeast, flax seed, coconut oil and chia seeds to my cherry, banana, Greek yogurt, and chocolate soy smoothie. I was so full I was almost uncomfortable.

Tomorrow is intervals. Here’s to hoping my legs can handle them.

It’s a great day for running!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

11 > 15

No, I did not fail 1st grade math. Yes, I do possess a Bachelor’s degree. I understand that 11 is not larger than 15 mathematically BUT on the pain scale of my recent long runs, 11 miles is WAY more painful than 15 miles. Why is that? If you remember my post here about how 11 miles kicked my butt, then you will be shocked to hear that yesterday’s 15 miles was exhilarating. I felt strong, had no problems breathing, even skipped a few walk breaks and finished strong! I have not ever finished a double digit run and felt that strong. The only hard part about yesterday’s run was the 45-degree temperature combined with the wind advisory. It was an ice-cold run and I found myself running just to keep warm. I guess it did the trick because my run was epic.

I will admit that I was dreading these 15 miles. I was supposed to have run them last Thursday, but I was on antibiotics for a TMI infection and decided to sleep the day away. If I had run that day or even the next day, I would have died from heat exhaustion because our temps were pushing 80+. I went camping with the cub scout pack on Saturday. The day was gorgeous and warm. By Saturday night, the temps dropped 30 degrees and the wind started up. Thank you Sandy. By the time we got home on Saturday, we had a slight drizzle. I listened to the winds howl all Sunday night. Monday morning, I stayed in bed extra long, trying to keep warm. Then I chided myself out of bed and into my running clothes.

Long sleeves, a fleece vest, hat and gloves combined with plenty of water and gels and I was out the door. The wind was bitterly cold and would change directions so it felt like the whole 15 miles was with a head wind. I didn’t care about a time; my run was all about the distance. I swallowed gels at miles 3, 6, 9. & 12. I finished all four of my water bottles and stopped by the house for a refill. If I felt strong and my timer was going off, I would skip the walk break. I found that I kept warmer by moving. If I walked in the first half, it was only for 30 seconds just to keep warm. I have often wondered if I would be able to run a half without using the Galloway plan and yesterday’s run proved to me that I can; someday.

Looking at my splits, I am very happy with my pace. I averaged an 11:35 min pace which is really good for me for long distances. I only had one mile break 13 minutes (mile 10) and even then, it was only 13:09.8. It is my goal to keep all of my (mile) splits under 13 minutes and especially under 12 minutes for my race. (I only had two miles in the 12 minute pace) After yesterday’s run, I am confident that I can do that in 3 ½ weeks. Keeping my fingers crossed that I can stay healthy and strong!!!

It’s a great day for running!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Even with my 20 minute ice bath yesterday, I hurt like nobody's business today. I am not usually this sore after running 13.1 during training. Oyvey! I think it is my new shoes. It was my first long run in them. I am postponing today's walk until tomorrow, putting on my compression shorts and hopping myself up on some advil. Here's to hoping that I will be able to run intervals on Thursday.

Happy running y'all!

Monday, October 15, 2012

No more excuses, I’m just slow

Today I ran 13.1. I ran 13.1 and got a PR: 2:29:09. When I started running this morning it was 65 degrees and 100% humidity. By the fourth mile, the sun came out and started melting the sidewalks. When I finished, it was 72 degrees. I know, I know, I always make excuses for how slow my pace is. Today, it was the heat and humidity. It gets me every.single.time. I was dehydrated by mile 7 and had to loop back to the house at 9.5 miles to get more water and a cold paper towel to keep around my neck. Besides the heat and humidity, I am not even a week out of the feverish flu and am in the throes of a head cold. Excuses, excuses. I’d love to say that I’m a Speedy Gonzales. I dream of running 13.1 in 2:17. Someday.

I’m tired of making excuses for my slow self. It is what it is I run slow. BUT today, I PRd and was able to run 13.1 in under 2:30 and that is a BIG deal in my book! I looked at my splits and noticed that even with all my walking in the second half, I kept my pace under 13 minute miles. Score! I took a gel at miles 3, 6, 9 & 12 and that really worked. I didn’t have to ration my water too much because I was planning to stop by the house. I can honestly say that these 13.1 miles were easier than the 11 I ran two weeks ago. I still fight the wall and am learning to push through and keep my mind focused. Someday I will conquer the mental battle and keep on pushing on and only walk when my timer beeps.

Tomorrow I will go for a short walk. Rest on Wednesday and my legs will hopefully be ready for 10 x 800 on Thursday. Keeping my fingers crossed my body holds out.

It’s a great day for running y’all!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Me, a serious runner?

Today helping out at the 3rd grade Greek Festival (which was a blast), I had another mom ask me if I was “The Serious Runner”. I laughed and said I wouldn’t call myself serious. She then told me that she runs with another mom (Hi ST if you’re reading!! I hope you’re feeling better real soon and I know you’ll kick some asphalt on your race next week!!) who has mentioned me and also mentioned my blog. I had to laugh. I have never considered myself a real runner. I may run half marathons but I’m not fast. I have to do the Galloway program because my body can’t handle running more than three miles without walking or I get injured. I have exercise-induced asthma. Did I mention that I’m slow? I’m slower than molasses in January! How can I be a serious runner?

To me, a serious runner is Kara, Shalane, Dean, Bart, Meb, not me, definitely not me. Standing at the bus stop this afternoon I started to wonder if I am holding myself back? If I see myself as a serious runner, does that make me a serious runner? Possibly. If personal finance is 80% behavior and 20% knowledge. Does that apply here? If my behavior says I’m a serious runner, then why don’t I believe myself? Deep, deep thoughts for a Friday afternoon.

After spending all day Tuesday and Wednesday in bed, I had the energy to take a shower yesterday. Today I helped out all day at the school. I am now finding myself pacing about the house. I know I’m ready to start running when the pacing starts. Tomorrow I’ll squeeze in 45 minutes with some hills. Rest on Sunday. Monday I tackle 13.1. Can’t wait to see how it goes. I was hoping to use this distance to judge how my race will go. Now I’m not sure what to expect after getting sick this week. Only time will tell.

It’s a great day for running. Happy running y’all!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Should I stay or should I go?

I have slept for nearly two days straight. Yup. Bilbo Baggins and his post Lonely Mountain adventure stop with Gandalf in Rivendell have nothing on me! Minus the battle of five armies and the gold treasure of course. But I do have my own personal Elrond taking care of me…Hubby!

Not sure what sort of bug I picked up but it has hit me like a ton of bricks. I went for a walk on Tuesday and by 1pm I was ready to hit the sack. I managed to stay awake long enough to greet the boys at the bus stop, give them a snack, breeze through homework and then crawl into bed. I was able to get up to feed them dinner, bathe them and tuck them in. I then crawled into bed and haven’t gotten out until this afternoon. Thankfully, hubby came home early Tuesday evening and had yesterday off so I could sleep this fever off and not worry about the boys. Hubby made me soup, brought me a smoothie in bed and took care of my needs. That’s saying a lot since he is not a natural caregiver!

Today I am starting to feel almost human. I am hoping another good nights’ sleep will kick this bug to the curb and I will be able to rest up this weekend. I need to make up my missed 13 miles from today. In my feverish state yesterday I actually considered running 13 today. I then realized that would probably put me in the hospital with pneumonia and ruin my goal for the race. A little sleep wouldn’t hurt me and I know that I couldn’t walk five miles today so running 13 is out of the question.

I’m hoping to kill these 13 miles on Monday. I am actually going to add the .1 to see how my time is. I’m dreaming of a huge PR this year and trying to not get my hopes up too much for Monday. Only time and rest will tell.

It looks like the sun is out today and I’m sure that it’s a great day for running…if you’re healthy!

Happy running y’all!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Clear mind an beautiful bodies

Yesterday's run was just what the doctor ordered. I came home tired, sweaty, out of breath and refreshed. While I didn't find that elusive high, I did run out some pent up frustration. 

Today is a new day. I am going to take a quick walk by myself, then make hubby go on another one with me. I'm so proud of him, he's lost 16 pounds in September and he's feeling great! He has worked hard and he's seeing the benefits. Go J!!!

I have posted before about body image and now I'd like y'all to head on over to Another Mother Runner and check out today's post. They are requesting that us mother runners take a picture of ourselves in our running gear (skirt, shorts, capris, etc) and our sports bra. They want to start a scrapbook of what a mother runner looks like: kickass strong with stretch marks!!! I think this is an amazing idea and can't wait to send them my picture. Their request is we take a pic in our sports bra (for continuity) and then state our age, number of children, number of years running, proudest running moment and favorite body part. You can keep your face in the picture or have your head cropped out. I encourage you to participate. It is important for all women to know that mother runners come in all shapes and sizes and they are all strong and beautiful.

Happy running y'all!

Monday, October 1, 2012

I'm a failure

This was a rough weekend. ROUGH. Not sure what hair got up N’s butt, but it was a nasty one. He fought me tooth and nail all weekend long. By Sunday, I found myself partaking in three drinks: wine with lunch (LUNCH!), a G&T to get through the afternoon and another glass of wine with dinner. I never drink this much. Never. I actually have a two-drink limit, which is getting closer to a one-drink limit because I hate feeling sick the next day. But N’s nasty behavior drove me to drinking. I went to bed last night crying and feeling like the world’s worst parent. I felt like a failure.

This morning I’m a tad “under the weather” thanks to yesterday. I just don’t feel it today. Instead of tackling those hills and getting out my pent up frustration from the weekend (which would do me some good), I’m going to run for the sake of running. I need a good head-clearing run in the rain. I want to feel refreshed and renewed, I want that high I used to get when I started running. A run is what I need and a run is what I’m gonna get.

It’s a great day for running y’all!

Friday, September 28, 2012

The balance of life and running

As you may have guessed by my open letter, my 11 miler yesterday did not go as well as I had hoped. It started on Wednesday. I made a conscious effort all day to hydrate and eat plenty of carbs. Eating dinner I announced to the boys that I was going to crush my 11 miles the next day. I felt strong and I was confident I could. Then it happened. While I was doing the dinner dishes, N kicked L in the face and broke his glasses. It all went downhill. I knew immediately that I couldn’t fix the glasses and would have to drive L down to the ophthalmologist the next day to get said glasses fixed. I saw my run getting flushed down the toilet and it really pissed me off. Not only did N break the glasses, he showed no remorse AND he screwed over my long run, again. I was angry and guilty for feeling this way about my baby.

I thought to hell with it. I poured myself 2.5 ounces of bourbon, put the boys to bed, ate two frozen cookie dough balls and tried to sleep. The problem was, I couldn’t after the alcohol and sugar. I tossed and turned all night long. The next morning I put N on the bus and then L and I hopped in the car during rush hour traffic to head downtown to get the glasses fixed. I was impressed with how quickly we got there, how quickly she fixed them and how quickly we got home. I was able to drop L off at school in time for his at school field trip and all was good in his life.

I then decided it was now or never for my run. I ate a Cliff bar, changed into my skirt, put on my sunglasses, grabbed my water and left. I knew it would be a tough run due to the late start, the heat and my lack of sleep. My first mile was awesome. Then I slowed down. The heat and humidity got the worst of me. I tried to ration my water, but it was hard. At 9.5 miles I thought of stopping but decided I couldn’t. My A-plan goal of finishing the whole run in 2 hours or less was out the window. My new goal was to finish 10 miles in 2 hours. I quickly stopped back at my house to get some more water and a cold towel to wrap around my neck to cool my temperature down with. I hit my goal of 2 hours for 10 miles. I was disappointed that I couldn’t do all 11 miles. I finished said 11 miles in 2:13:35. My worst time for that distance yet. I was so discouraged and exhausted. I know that I had set myself up for failure the night before when I said to hell with it. The whole run was a huge mental battle that I feel that I both won at lost at the same time. I won because I didn’t quit, but I failed by giving up so early.

As a mother runner, my first duty and priority is my family. My second is running. That’s why I am a mother runner and not a runner mother. I struggle with balancing my mom life and my running life. This is one example of how a bad day in my mom life can spew over into my running life. But isn’t that exactly how life is; a perfect (or imperfect) balance of all of our roles? I love running because it challenges me. I push myself more than I would in my daily life. I get angry when one part spews over into the other part, especially if that spewing messes up the balance.

Today I talked J into taking a slow 2-mile walk just to loosen up my legs. We headed out the same time as yesterday when I was heading back to the house for water. As I walked with J, I complained about the heat. He commented that it was more the humidity than the heat. I then told him how proud I was of myself for running those 11 miles in this heat (and humidity). If I was miserable walking today, I am definitely GBA for running in it yesterday! That’s why I run. I may want to curl up in a ball and die while doing it, but as I reflect on my accomplishments later I realize how awesome I really am; regardless of whether I am on my A game in life and running or not.

It’s a great day for running y’all!

An open letter to 11 miles


Dear 11 miles:

Once again, you tried to bring me down. I was prepared for your foul play. I suspected that you’d mess with me. I never expected you to use my children, the weather and air quality. I underestimated your abilities. Never again. I knew it was going to be a long, hard go and I respected the distance. Next time, I will eviscerate you.


-Carrie J
85 degrees

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

A non-running Wordless Wednesday picture for you! 
Tomorrow: 11 miles.

Friday, September 21, 2012

6x800s: Not for the faint of heart

Yesterday I had speed work on tap: 6x800. I definitely wasn’t feeling it. All week I’ve been crawling back into bed after putting the boys on the bus and sleeping for two hours. That is NOT me. Overtraining? Possibly. Exhausted? Yup. N has been waking up each night between the hours of 11-4, coming into my room, waking me up so he can use my bathroom and then I have to walk him back to bed. Some nights, this happens twice. I’m an 8+ hours a night kind of girl and do not function well with less sleep. Thank you N for disrupting that! I know that this too shall pass, but it is starting to take its toll on me.

With said lack of sleep, I did not feel like doing intervals yesterday. I was tired. My legs were heavy. Should I just attempt three miles and negative split them? That’s speed work too. Nope. Only a slacker would wimp out like that. I forced myself to get out there, start slow and not crash and burn. You know what? It worked. I’m still not as fast as I’d like to be. But my splits were pretty decent. I’m keeping a steady 8:30 or faster pace during those intervals and that is a fast pace for me! It felt so good to be done. I love that feeling of accomplishment when you finish an exceptionally hard workout. Yea, that’s how I felt afterwards.

I guess the lesson from this all is, if it doesn’t kill you it will only make you stronger and hopefully faster!

Happy Running Y’all!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hill Repeats: Part Deux

Today is hubby’s birthday. As I posted on his wall, “Happy Birthday to my better half. I celebrated with leg-trashing hill repeats. Boy do I know how to partay!” Today was my third attempt at hill repeats. (Sorry Hills Part Trois was not as catchy). This morning I put the boys on the bus as hubby was leaving for work and found myself wanting to crawl back into bed. So I did. Two hours later, I woke up, scarfed down some breakfast and hit the pavement. I had some hills to tackle and I had wasted enough daylight napping.

My original plan was to hit the “BIG hill” on my long route 10 times. As I ran towards “the hill” I realized that it was farther from my house than I thought;1.5 miles. I descended two hills on my way to “the hill” and realized that I had to ascend them on the way home. “Crap. I’ll do eight repeats instead of ten.” As I was halfway up the first repeat, I realized that this long hill gets steeper halfway up. “Crap. I’ll do six repeats instead of ten.” I successfully completed six repeats on this hill and ran up the other two hills on my way home. So I guess you can say that I did a total of eight repeats today. This hill was a b!t(h. I am looking forward to next Monday when I will do eight repeats and show it who's boss! Today’s workout was very similar to the last half of my race on Thanksgiving day (minus the six repeats on the same hill). While I know that my legs will be hurting tomorrow, I am glad that I’m doing hill repeats this go around and I’m excited to see how I perform on race day.

Tomorrow is a walk day. Hubby has the day off so we’ll celebrate his Birthday one day late. Thursday I do 6 x 800s; wish me luck!

Happy running y’all!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Hill Repeats: I'm a fan!

The last two Mondays, I have been doing hill repeats. My first attempt was Labor Day. I did a quick Magical Mile (MM), and then moved towards a hill on my regular running route and did six repeats. I then finished up my run and came home. I was sore the next day. This week, I chose a steeper hill and upped my number of repeats to eight. I wasn’t sore the next day! Next week I am planning ten repeats on the biggest hill on my long run course. We will see how it goes.

Today, I ran nine miles. I was actually scheduled to run it yesterday, but N stayed home “sick”, Mommy duties trump running every single time. I put the boys on the bus this morning and headed out. It was dark and raining. I wasn’t too happy about that. As the sun began to rise, the rain stopped. I hit pockets of humidity that came and went but overall the air was cool and refreshing! I was shocked at my strength and endurance and this run. It’s been awhile since I’ve hit nine miles and I expected my body to put up more of a fight. I’m glad that my body decided to cooperate today!

I can proudly say that I noticed a HUGE difference today after doing hill repeats. The hills were easier for me to ascend and I didn’t have to stop and walk it off at the top to catch my breath! I am now a HUGE fan!!! My pace was slower than I’d like, (I averaged 11:29) but I am convinced that it will pick up in the near future. My goal was to run up every single hill and not stop to walk. I did with all but one hill: the BIG hill that I will meet and conquer next Monday! The end of mile seven was at this point and I was fighting a very painful stomach cramp. I had to walk it off which coincided with this big hill. Next time, I will show that hill whose boss! The stomach cramp was from intense hunger pangs combined with a too tight fuel belt. Easy fix for next time.

Overall, I am incredibly happy with my performance today. While there is room to improve, I feel that I finished strong and kept my paces regular. I’m looking forward to more hill repeats on Monday and I’m really looking forward to meeting those hills on race day to chew them up and spit them out!

It’s a great day for running. Happy running y’all!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Unscheduled Rest Day

L is home from school today with a tummy ache and the chills. That means no running for Momma. This time next year, I can leave him home sick and go run my scheduled hill repeats. Today, not so much. Alas, I have an unscheduled rest day today. Time to catch up on laundry and ironing.

Happy running y'all!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Respect the distance

Lesson learned from today’s run: respect the distance. It doesn’t matter how far or how short your run is, respect the distance. I had 6 miles on tap this morning. I didn’t think too much of it. I’ve run it before, no big deal. Respect the distance. I did not eat enough yesterday, I didn’t drink enough water yesterday; I went to bed over two hours later than usual. Yup, you guessed it, today’s 6.2 miles spit me up and chewed me out. As I struggled through the last two miles, angry with myself for making rookie mistakes, wondering why I continue to make the fueling epic fail I realized that I did not respect the distance. Lesson learned. Maybe next time I’ll remember.

Happy running y’all!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Try not to suck

The theme of this morning’s run was: try not to suck. Yesterday afternoon, I felt horribly nauseous. I blamed it on the G&T that I had with my lunch at hubby’s restaurant. All afternoon, I sipped water and sprite, trying to feel better. As I was doing the dinner dishes, I realized why I was feeling so crummy. Another cyst was rupturing. Darn! I popped my meds, finished the dishes and crawled into bed with my heating pad. I awoke this morning incredibly groggy and with a sore back to boot! My mantra for today’s run: shut up and run and try not to suck!

Rewind ten years. Hubby is a HUGE baseball fan. He used to live and die by the Seattle M’s. Life has gotten in the way lately and he’s lucky to catch a game online nowadays. When we were dating and first married, we went to a lot of games. During said games, we used to taunt Bret Boone. We nicknamed him crap machine and we used to yell at him, “hey crap machine, try not to suck!” This was after the major league performance-enhancing debacle. So, my goal for today’s run was to be better than the crap machine, trying not to suck!

I did a quick warm up to the stop light and the minute I crossed through the busy intersection I hit lap on my garmin and started to pick up my pace. When I reached what I thought was a mile, I kept going, waiting for my garmin to beep. Running, waiting for that beep. Finally I stopped to look at my watch… I couldn’t take my pace any longer. My watch read 1.2x miles so I figured that it had already beeped and I missed it. A few second later I heard it beep. Doh! I forgot that I had hit my lap button so it wouldn’t be beeping ON the mile. Epic fail. My first Magical Mile (MM) on this training plan is 9:15. I know that there is my walking in that time, but I’ll let it stand. 9:15 is still really good considering how crappy I felt this morning. I remember when 9:15 was sprinting for me back when I started running. I can only get faster.

To compensate for my less than stellar attempt this morning, I decided to push on for four miles. By the start of fourth mile, I was starting to get in the groove and I was actually feeling much better. Go figure. Tomorrow I walk, Wednesday I SLOG, Thursday is six miles, Friday I SLOG and hopefully Saturday I can get another four miles in. I was unable to run this last weekend due to hubby’s work schedule and I know that was a player in today’s crappy run.

It’s a great day for running!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Slogging and an ugly 5 miler

Since my recent arthritis diagnosis, I am trying to cross train and put less strain on my back. Enter SLOGGING. My friend G SLOGGED her way to a 10k PR. What exactly is SLOGGING you might ask. Just google “aqua jogging” and you’ll figure it out pretty quickly. A few weeks ago, I took the plunge (pun intended) and bought myself a belt. Yesterday, I tried one of G’s SLOGGING/brick workouts and it was amazing! Boring as all get out, but purely amazing. If you know me very well, you know that I am not a swimmer. I can float, I can tread, I can even do an improvised version of the freestyle. I do not put my head in the water. I blame my mother’s fear of the water combined with wearing contacts. I never learned how to swim with my face in. Yesterday, I taught myself. It scared the poo out of me the first lap, but I started to get the hang of it and dare I say it, I even enjoyed it once I figured it out.

The SLOGGING/brick starts with a 5 minute warm up followed by a 200 m swim. Now that you’re warm, you SLOG for 15 minutes with a 1:1 interval (hard:easy). Follow up with a 400 m swim. SLOG for 10 minutes. Swim for 200 m. Cool down for 5 minutes. This brick rocked my world yesterday and I can’t wait to try another variation tomorrow after my PTA board meeting. (Sorry to mention the Mom responsibilities, but now that school is back in session I have to do my real job too!)

This morning’s training plan was a 5-mile run. I wasn’t sure how it would go due to my SLOG/brick yesterday and having to run 5 miles at 10 o’clock in the morning. I love to run at 7, just after putting the boys on the bus. Unfortunately, I had a Cub Scout meeting at 8 with the Cubmaster (Yes, more of my meetings. That is what happens when you’re Committee Chair!) and I knew the run had to wait. I’m not Kara or Shalane and I can’t whip out a 20 minute 5-miler! Only in my dreams…

Back to the 5-miler. It was H-O-T today. The first two miles felt fabulous. I think it was my excellent fueling: oatmeal breakfast, coffee, cappuccino at Starbucks, plenty of water followed by a Cliff bar. But then the wheels came off after spending too much time in the sun. I know I live in HOTlanta, but I don’t like running in the heat and direct sun. It helped staying in the shade and dousing myself with lots of water. I sucked it up and finished. Slow pace, but I got it done. I was shocked at how fresh my legs felt after yesterday’s SLOG. Proof that I can add two days of SLOGGING into my training schedule and not hurt myself.

Regardless of the heat, it felt great to get out there and pound that pavement! I love being back on a training schedule and I’m so glad that my time in the pool is pushing me towards being a stronger athlete.

It’s a great day for running y’all. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Monday, August 13, 2012

One with run

I don’t know if it was the back to school excitement, the oatmeal I had for breakfast or the cool, crisp morning, but I had an epic run today! The boys and I were at the bus stop with ample picture taking time. I snapped away while my 3rd grader rolled his eyes at me. The 1st grader posed, hid behind his hood, posed some more and then pushed his big brother. I found myself scolding them, at the bus stop, waiting for the beautiful, yellow bus to turn the corner and turn its lights on. Finally it did! I snapped a few more pictures of the boys bounding on the bus and then quickly dropped off my camera and the boys’ sweatshirts in the house. Run time, fun time!

kids are back to school.
hop on bus. run time, fun time.
epic. one with run.

See, I was so excited about my run; I composed a haiku! I wish that every run would be as exhilarating as this one! As we all know, running, like life, must have its hills, valleys and plateaus. That is what makes runs like today's so enjoyable.

Today may you find that elusive high and become one with your run! It’s a great day for running y’all!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

In the books

The first training run is in the books: 30 minutes this morning and they sure kicked my butt. My lungs (thank you asthma) and my legs were telling me that it had been two weeks since my last run. The good news is that it can only get better after today. After my back injury, I decided to switch from the TLAM Half Marathon: Own It plan to the Jeff Galloway Half Marathon Time Goal plan. My body responds well to the Galloway method and I think that is a perfect fit for me considering my recent injury. I am still planning to use the TLAM: ½ Own It plan for my half this next March. I just need to get back into the pace of running without injuring myself.

With the Galloway plan, I am working on some speed. I attempted some Acceleration Gliders this morning. From my unprofessional opinion, they are very much like strides, but use hills to pick up your pace. That is part of the reason why this run was so hard, I played with my pace the whole time. I know that I need to do more HIIT training and it was my first day back. Excuses, excuses. I will get faster. I will get physically stronger. I will get mentally stronger.

ATL Half: Half Marathon Training Schedule for Time Goal Runners
Sat (CD/Acg/p)
Mon (h)

30 min
30 min
easy walk
5 miles

35 min/MM
35 min
easy walk
6 miles

35 min
35 min
easy walk
7.5 miles

45 min/MM
40 min
easy walk

45 min
40 min
easy walk
9 miles

45 min/MM
45 min
easy walk

45 min
45 min
easy walk
11 miles

45 min/MM
45 min
easy walk

45 min
45 min
easy walk
13 miles

45 min
45 min
easy walk

45 min
45 min
easy walk
15 miles

45 min
45 min
easy walk

45 min
45 min
easy walk
17 miles

45 min
45 min
easy walk
Easy 5 miles/MM

45 min
45 min
easy walk
1/2 Marathon!!!

45 min
45 min
easy walk
4 miles

45 min
45 min
easy walk
6-12 miles

Next run is Monday after I put the boys on the bus! I might try going to the pool tomorrow, depending on how crowded it is. I am looking forward to going while all the children are at school and I won’t have an audience.

It’s a great day for running, happy running y'all!