Monday, April 28, 2008

Snowy Spring Weekend

This is what I woke up to on Saturday...Yeah it is pretty, but seriously not good to see on April 26!! Anyway, it was pretty much melted by midday, but it stayed chilly all weekend.

I went to the gym Saturday morning (didn’t make it Friday like planned). I finally gave the new Serena Williams “Spontaneous Speed” workout a try. I really like her first interval workout, so I had high hopes for this one. Honestly, the music was pretty good but I felt like I was constantly changing the speed on the treadmill. I guess that is the point – there are lots of intervals of varying lengths, but I just felt like the people around me must have thought I was crazy and couldn’t figure out how fast I wanted to run. Some of the intervals must have been about 30 seconds with a 30 second recovery then one minute interval etc… Whatever, I did get a couple mile speed workout in.

Sunday was my first planned “long run” in months. I mean, I have been lengthening my runs, but there hasn’t really been one run that was significantly longer than the others. I went to the Lakes area in the afternoon. It was a little chilly (around 40 degrees) so I just wore pants and long sleeves. I started out on Lake Calhoun and then connected to Lake Harriet after the first 2 miles. I figured it would be just under 6 miles (Calhoun=3.1 miles, Harriet=2.8 miles, thus total=5.9 miles, right?) Well, I didn’t account for the distance between the lakes. I looked it up this morning and found a site that has the total Calhoun-Harriet loop to be 6.8 miles. Well, I overlapped a little at the beginning (changed my mind on which direction to run) and at the end my Nike+ said I had run 7.14 miles! That is a distance PR for me!! My previous longest run was 6.3 miles.

But can you believe it…the last mile or two was run in the snow!!! And since I was just wearing a long sleeve t-shirt, I was wet and cold by the time I got back to my car. I was still trying to shake the chill an hour later.

I couldn’t believe how many people were out in the chilly weather though. There were runners, lots of walkers, bikers, rollerbladers (I didn’t know so many people still rollerbladed). It must be hard to get around when the weather is better. I think I am going to have to check out some of the other Twin Cities running routes. I am thinking maybe downtown along the Mississippi will be next. I found a website that has a good list of running routes.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Spring Flurries?

I am sitting here working and watching it rain outside my window. I figured I would go to the gym tonight for a run, because I hadn’t done any strength training all week, so the rain wasn’t that big of a deal. But I was wondering if it was going to rain all weekend since I want to get a long run in – I was thinking of actually driving to one of the lakes and doing at least 5 miles. I have run the 10K distance a couple times, but it has been a while. I need to start building up for my future 8K, 10K, and 10mi races that I am hoping to do this year.

So anyway, I just checked the weather forecast for the weekend…we may have snow showers on Saturday!!! WTF?!?! In less than a week it will be May! NO MORE SNOW!! It looks like Sunday would be the better day for a run…high of 47 (what happened to the 60s?) and only 10% chance of precipitation.

Ok, maybe Lake Calhoun on Sunday? It is just over 3 miles around the lake, and I can add on one of the nearby lakes for just under 3 miles for a total a little shy of 6 miles.

Anyone know any good running spots in the Twin Cities, I am up for suggestions. I have never really ventured outside of my neighborhood before except for a race.

Stroller Training

There is a paved trail near my house that I have only been on in one direction (it goes to a nearby lake). I have been wondering all spring where the other direction of the trail goes. However, there were so many trees along the trail that I could see there was still snow on it long after most of our snow had melted. Plus, I wanted to use that as a long run so that I could really see where it went – I mean, I knew the first mile or so because it is comes out along my drive to work. Anyway, I finally made it down the “Regional Trail” as the signs call it. The kids and I went out for a longish run on Wednesday (a distance PR for a stroller run). Most of the trail was pretty boring, it went around the local country club and was mostly a large sidewalk along some local roads. However, it had some GREAT hills! I never thought I would learn to appreciate hills. Not the super-steep hills that are down the street from my house that I won’t even try to run (up or down). But reasonable grade and length. The kind of hill that at the top I really felt like I accomplished something by running the entire hill *especially with that double stroller* and had to remind myself not to take the downhill too fast because there was another hill waiting for me at the bottom. It turns out the trail doesn’t go that far though…just under 2 miles from home it suddenly ended. I got to a stop light and there was no trail, not even any sidewalks in any direction except the one I had come from (and it is a somewhat busy road). So, I turned around and went back.

The trip back through those hills was tougher than the way out though, since I was now running into the wind. If I was by myself it wouldn’t have matter as much, but that stroller really drags in the wind. I made it back up all but the biggest hill without walking. I felt really good about the run overall, but now I feel like I need to go back in a couple of weeks and conquer all the hills both ways. The total run was 3.69 miles according to Nike+ at an average pace of 11:40 (which is pretty decent considering the stroller & hills). I checked at 3.11 miles and I was just over 36 minutes…

My next race is coming in only a week…assuming the weather cooperates, this will be the first race I will run with the stroller. It is suppose to be a beautiful course, it is a 5K at the Univ of MN Arboretum. However, a coworker who has run it in past years told me that it was pretty hilly. I am not even worrying about time for this race, it is more about hoping the kids are good. Then we can walk around the arboretum and check out all the spring blooms! Hopefully we have a nice day!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

My "Florida Run" in Minnesota

So, I spent the Wed-Fri in FL for a conference. I was sooo looking forward to some beautiful weather to run in for a change. I even went online and found the website of the local running club which listed out some of their favorite running routes/locations. And guess what? There was one that went right by my hotel! How lucky could I be?

Unfortunately, the conference was so busy and short and I wasn’t going to be there at all before or afterward. I figured I could get up and run in the morning before I had to be in ‘class’. I had done this before when out of town. Since I didn’t have to drive anywhere, I should have plenty of time, right? Well, the first morning I got up and put on my running clothes…I went to the balcony to see how cool it was (did I need to grab the jacket?)…the hotel was literally on the beach, and it was so dark that I couldn’t even see the water! Now, maybe if I hadn’t seen a snake slithering through the grass the day before I would have still ventured out, but I decided against it. I also was not able to get a run in that night, by the time the dinner event was over it was getting dark again.

So, the next morning I woke up and reserved myself to the steamy fitness center (not a fan blowing) just so that I could get a run in while out of town. On the bright side, I caught a bit of the sunrise over the ocean on my way back to the room.

So, I got back Friday night and took Saturday getting everything back in order. Sunday was so nice that I just had to get out. I got the kids strapped in the double-wide and headed out. It was the beautiful weather I have had the pleasure to run in all year (so far). We stopped off at the park and the kids each got a turn on the swing. It turned out to be a wonderful time – much better than FL…so, I managed to get my Florida run…just in Minnesota!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Mid-Morning Snack

I was at the office working this morning when I decided I wanted a snack. I went to the convenience store downstairs and picked up a banana and a bottle of water. On the way back up the elevator it hit me…it wasn’t too long ago that I would have automatically grabbed a candy bar and a coke. Now don’t get me wrong, I still love the chocolate and I have about 1-2 cokes daily, but the fact that I didn’t even walk down the candy aisle or have to convince myself that the water would be better than the coke...just surprised myself I guess!

I finally managed to get in some miles on Sunday. I actually had 2 runs of just over 3 miles each. I had to get some work done, and work about 3 miles from the office so…I figured why not get some running in on my way there? The weather was actually pretty nice – I overdressed a little. Although it varied quite a bit between hot in the sun and chilly in the shade/wind. The run to the office was uneventful. I made it in decent time, probably a little faster than I should. But shortly after I left the office my foot started hurting. I don’t know what is wrong with it, but it is the top of my foot. Anyway, I had to stop to rest/rub it a couple times on the way home. Hopefully it isn’t anything serious. No running today, hopefully it will feel up to a short run tomorrow…

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Squeezing in the Miles

Ok, I am suppose to increasing my miles, but I am having trouble even finding time for the same # of miles. It has been so crazy at work, and I am still recovering from being out of town with the family. I finally got to sleep-in today, so at least I don't feel so tired. We have so much to do around the house to get it back in order though, and I am going to have to go into work for a few hours this weekend. Plus, we have the normal weekend stuff to do. And I am leaving town (for work this time) Wed-Fri this week! It is just so hard to get in those miles. If it was a little warmer (we have snow on the ground again!!) I would be able to take the kiddos out in the jogging stroller, but that will have to wait a little while longer. Oh well, I guess I will just try to squeeze them in when I can.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Just got back from a family trip to the Wisconsin Dells. Had a blast! Unfortunately, I was not able to squeeze in any running, but I did do some "cross-training" climbing up the stairs to the water-slides! I am definately eager to get back out on the road/treadmill...

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Run the Valley 2008 Race Report

It felt great!!

We had beautiful weather - in the low 40s at the start. A little cool at the beginning, but just right once I had warmed up. The threat of rain held off, it will probably be here tonight.

I just recently started using a HRM during my runs. It helps me to not push the pace to hard during my long runs, and make sure I do push the pace during my shorter runs. This was the first race that I wore it. What I found most interesting, is that my HR was about 10-15 bpm faster than usual before the race actually started! I must have been a little nervous, I guess!

There are typically a couple hundred runners in the 5K portion of the race, it was probably about the same today. I started toward the end of the pack and held steady through the first mile, which is really the only part of the race with any hills. I had to force myself to keep it slow, I was so tempted to increase my pace - especially when everything had settled from the start and a few people were still passing me.

I managed to settle into a pace just behind a few older ladies. Now all I had to do is keep it up for another mile and I could have a short walk the mile 2 water stop (my goal was to only walk at the water stop).

About half way through mile 2, two of the older ladies took a walk break, and I lost them.

At the water stop I decided it was getting to hot to wear the long-sleeve shirt that we got for the run and so I took it off and had to move my number to my sleeve-less shirt that I had underneath. When I had that all figured out, it was time to switch it into higher gear and finish this race! I finally passed the remaining older lady (I couldn't let her beat me) and that made me feel better...until about a minute later when a girl, I'd guess about 12ish, passed me...that is nothing new though.

I crossed the finish line at about 34 minutes, but there was a mess handing in numbers, so hopefully the official time I get is actually MY time.

In the end, I felt really good. I was out of breath of course, from the sprint to the finish, but by the time I started walking back to the school to get my water/bagel I felt great. I felt like I could easily run another mile or so!! That is great news! That means that in my next 5K I will allow myself to push the pace a little more and hopefully get a new PR. Also, my goal of the TC 10 miler seems more doable!!

Race: Run the Valley
Date: April 5, 2008
Distance: 5K
Official Time: 34:05
Average Pace: 11:00
Overall Place: 186/232
Place in Age Group: 32/44

Friday, April 4, 2008

First 5K of the Season...Tomorrow!

Well, I didn't get that second short run in this has just been too busy. I could probably do it tonight, but I don't want to run that close to the race. Oh well, I am sure a couple extra miles wouldn't have made any difference anyway. I am as ready as I am going to be. And it is just a 'season-opener' after an entire year off of races - so it is not like I am expecting a great time or anything.

I am SOOOO excited though! I can't wait until morning. It has been so long since I have run with other people (well, besides the strange guy on the next treadmill). Also, I have good memories from this run, because it was my first ever 5K a few years ago. I remember being so surprised by the people that were cheering us (there aren't that many people, but I wasn't expecting any, except maybe at the end). The 5K runners started first, shortly followed by the 10K runners. As the 10Kers were passing us, a few of them said encouraging remarks. That really blew me away - I was totally not expecting that! And after crossing the finish line in something just under 40 minutes...I walked around a few minutes to catch my breath...and I was hooked!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Speed Work

I did some quick speed work Monday night...somewhere around 1.75 miles. It felt really good to actually push myself and run hard. My fastest "speed" section was at 7.0 mph (8:34 min/mi) but by then I was only going 0.1 miles at a time. I might have gone further, but I haven't done any speed work in a while, and I didn't want my legs to get sore before Saturday. The plan is to fit in one more short run Wed/Thurs this week and see what I can do Saturday in the 5K. Hopefully, all the snow will melt before then and it will actually be above freezing Saturday morning! I am not expecting a great time for this one...just a decent finish will be fine. I have other 5Ks later in the summer to worry about PRing. This is more of a welcome-back-to-races kinda 5K for me.