Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Grand Old Day "On the Go" 8K Race Report

This wasn't a goal race for me...I chose it mainly because I wanted to find a race that the kids could do this summer, and they had a 0.25mi kids run (most of the kids runs around here are at least a half mile, which I thought was probably too far for them).

So, I hadn't trained specifically for this race, although I have been training for half marathons recently. I had also been feeling under the weather - I had a cough and some congestion the last couple weeks that just won't go away. So, I didn't go into this race with too high of expectations. My A goal was to break through 45:00, but I wasn't counting on that. My real goal was to set a new PR (which I thought I should be able to do reasonably easily based on other recent race times) by going sub 47:00.

I ran this race 2 years ago. At the time, it was my first 8K and my first race longer than a 5K. I actually ran it because I was hesitant to go straight to a 10K and I thought it would be a good stepping stone.

On race day, the family all got up early and headed out to the races. This was a bit different, as I usually go to my races solo. We were running a little late, so I jogged over to pick up my packet then met the family near the start line as I got prepared. A couple minutes later I had to go get lined up.

As we started I realized that I had started too far back - we were going way too slow, but I took advantage of that and made sure I ran close to the area where my family was standing so that I could wave wildly at the kids. Then, it was time to start weaving around a bit. When we got to the mile 1 marker, I realized that I was going way faster than I thought and figured that I would regret it later...oh well, this isn't a goal race anyway. So, I just kept going at what felt like a reasonable pace for 5 miles. I lost some time pushing my way up one of the hills which I remember thinking to myself on the way down the other side - gotta take that time back! At the turn-around I started to feel pretty tired and my side started cramping...weird, that doesn't usually happen. Then I realized that I wasn't breathing as deeply as usual, due to the congestion issues. I forced myself to take some deeper breaths and the cramp went away. Around this time is also when I suddenly decided to care about my finish time. I realized that I was exactly on pace to finish at 45:00 even. The 'back' part of the course was a little tougher than the 'out' part because of the hills, but I was now determined to keep up this pace. I somehow managed to keep it up, but had almost nothing left for sprint into the finish (I guess that is a good thing, right?) I ALMOST hit that 45:00...missed my a whole 3 seconds! But I beat my previous PR by exactly 2 minutes and did much better than I had anticipated, so I am very happy with the result.

About 15 minutes after my run it was the kids turn. We went to line up and I put us all the way at the back of the pack because I knew my DD would get freaked out by all the kids around her running all of a sudden (she gets scared of people quite often). We took off all hand-in-hand (too cute, I know) and both of them just kept laughing. As we got going, DD kept running ahead and getting in front of DS then slowing down - she wanted to beat him! We were the last finishers, but of course, no one cared. They both ran the whole distance - no walking at all! I am so proud of them!! I am especially glad that they had fun - they had smiles on their faces the whole way!


Race: Grand Old Day "On the Go"
Date: June 6, 2010
Distance: 8K
Official Time: 45:03
Average Pace: 9:04
Overall Place: 222/411
Place in Age Group: 28/61

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Cheering Section

I went out to the Stillwater Marathon & Half Marathon course with the kids last weekend to cheer for some friends that were pacing the event. The kids were pretty excited about cheering for the runners that morning. In fact, since it was pretty early, I didn't feed them breakfast before we left, but instead stopped in Stillwater to grab something to take and eat 'picnic-style' while cheering. When we pulled into the Starbucks (is there not a 'Happy Meal' in Stillwater, people?) the kids got upset because there weren't any runners. Then, when we pulled up to park they saw a playground and DD said "no play, cheer runners". How cute!

So, found a good spot right around the corner from the water stop around mile 12 and laid out our blanket. The kids and I ate our breakfast while cheering "Go Runners!" and playing with our noise-makers etc. **I would like to officially apologize to anyone who ran Stillwater and took a walk break after the mile 12ish water stop...for the little girl who was pointing out everyone walking and saying in that loud 3 year old voice "People not running!"** Anyway, they made it about 30-45 minutes before the playground lured away from the runners. After playing a while, we headed over the finish line to cheer in some runners and hang out with some running friends.

It turned out to be a tough day to run a marathon - besides the Stillwater hills, the runners had to contend with some hot weather and lack of shade along the course. Congrats to everyone out there who finished!

This weekend I get to both run and cheer! The family is going to the Grand Old Day races. I am doing the 8K again (I ran it a couple years ago) and the kids are signed up for the quarter mile race. It is technically their second race since they did the 50yd toddler trot at the Twin Cities Marathon last year, but it is their longest race ever! Hopefully they have fun!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

First VFF Run

I made it out for my first run in the new shoes...a very short run. Everything that I have read about barefoot running (which this is as close as I plan to get to actual barefoot) says that you should start with really short distances and increase very slowly because it uses different muscles than regular running. So, I did my regular run this morning and finished it off with a quick run around the block in my VFF distance = 0.30 mi, whoo-hooo!

Honestly, it didn't feel as weird as I expected. I thought that since the foot strike is different and there is no cushioning that I would struggle to make it feel comfortable. But, I guess my body just automatically adjusted for all that because I just fell into a pretty natural feeling stride. One thing I noticed was that I felt a little bouncy at first. I'm not sure why that was, but it got better by the end of the run. Also, I could feel the difference in my calves.

So far, so good.

I have been wearing them around when I can, and they really do make my foot feel better. I wore some reasonably comfortable shoes to work yesterday and my heel was bothering me all day (not painful, just bothersome). I changed into the VFF when I went out to be chauffeur to my 3yr DS in the evening and my heel actually felt better when I got home! I still have high hopes for this experiment working...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Toughest run in a long time :(

I can't pinpoint an exact cause...because there were so many contributing factors. Luckily there wasn't any sun (early AM) but the temp was already 74* and the humidity was 73% when I left the house. My legs were tired from all the biking I did last week (instead of running). I stupidly ate at the casino buffet the night before. It was my first time this year actually carrying water on my fuel belt. I chose a hilly route. Breathing still not back to normal after a brief cold early last week.

I could tell it wasn't going to be pretty as soon as the run started. But, I decided that I was going to make my way around Medicine Lake even if I had to walk half of it. Since I knew it was going to be tough, I decided to allow myself to rest now and then - that ended up happening once a mile!!

My legs are still tired today. I ran 2 recovery miles and hopped on the bike for a couple miles. Hopefully they are feeling better for my 5 miler tomorrow.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Make it Dramatic!

Someone I respect recently made a comment that has stuck with me...If you want to make a big change, you have to Make it Dramatic! ie - If you only want to make a small change, you can just make a small change and can achieve the goal. BUT if you want to make a big change, then you have to rethink your methods and make a dramatic change.

Since the end of 2009, I have been plagued on and off with Plantar Fasciitis. I have been to a podiatrist - the first time she sold me some orthotics to put in my work shoes and told me to wear my running shoes whenever possible. I wore the dress orthotics, and wore the running shoes whenever my feet were sore. However, I also read "Born to Run" and researched online to try to figure out a way to 'fix' whatever is wrong and causing the pain. I went back to the Podiatrist this week and tried to discuss possible solutions to the problem that didn't include more orthotics, but she said that they typically don't use physical therapy etc unless the orthotics don't work. If I continue to have problems after I get the $500 custom orthotics (my insurance may cover these, I haven't even checked) then we could consider putting me on a treadmill with a video camera and looking for any imbalances etc.

That was not the answer that I was looking for. I would like to try to go the route of strengthening my feet and possibly transitioning to a more midfoot strike (I am currently a solid heal striker). So...I decided to go the complete opposite of her advise and bought these yesterday:

Cute, huh? Yeah, you're right - they are pretty funny looking. I plan to slowly integrate these into my training. Heal striking in these babies would HURT (absolutely no cushion). I am hoping that they will both help strengthen my feet and get me to feel comfortable with shorter strides and faster turnover.

How's that for Dramatic??

I haven't run in them yet - I am hoping to try them out for a short portion of my run tomorrow morning. I did wear them around for a couple hours last night though and they actually feel pretty good. I will keep you updated on how the grand experiment goes...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I'm back...

First of all…yes – I am still alive.And yes – I am still running.

So, what has been happening since January?? Wow, has it really been since January?? I basically have been running and trying to keep my mileage respectable. I ran two races: MDRA Fred Kurz 10 mile, and the Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon. I will try to put up a quick race report on both of those later on…we will see.

In general, I am still focused on my goals for 2010. Wanna hear my progress?

1) A faster half marathon – Well, I did set a new PR at Lake Minnetonka by over 4 minutes. But I still have a ways to go.

2) 1000 miles for the year – I am a little behind pace, but am just now ramping up my miles for the summer. I am still confident that I can accomplish this one.

3) Plus some volunteer/cheering thrown in – Haven’t done any yet – thinking of maybe volunteering for Twin Cities again. It will be easier for me to get out to cheer as the weather improves and I can take the kids.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Bad & A Good Run

I was so excited to get outside yesterday. Then some stuff came up and I wasn't able to run until pretty late, so I hit the treadmill at the gym. I felt fine all day before the run...but as soon as I started running my stomach started churning. I ended up making a total of 1.5 miles (with a break) and gave up. Such a disappointing run.

Then this morning, I wasted too much time deciding if I felt better or not and didn't have time to go to the gym. So, I headed outside to get in a couple miles (I had about a half hour before I needed to get in the shower for work). It felt great to be outside!! It was slow going, because it was too dark to be able to tell where any ice patches were. I only got in a little shy of 3 miles - but it was so nice to be outside for a change!! The weather even felt pretty nice - the right clothes sure do make a difference.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Yippee - New Shoes!

I got FOUR new pairs of shoes today!! One of which was a new pair of running shoes. I got some Brooks Glycerin 8s. I have never worn Brooks before, but they felt pretty good at the store. I can't wait to try them out on the treadmill on Monday. I'm not taking them outside until I am sure I like them - they were pretty spendy!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Upping the Mileage (a Haiku)

It is a new year.
The holidays are over.
Upping the mileage.

I have a couple races on my calendar. No more excuses to be a slacker.

Last week I had my first 20 mile week since before Thanksgiving.

It felt good to actually get in some decent runs. Unfortunately, they were all on the treadmill. Yeah, yeah, I know just a couple posts ago I was talking about being all "hardcore" and running in the coldness of Minnesota...but then it got REALLY COLD! I mean temps (not even talking windchills here) in the subzeros/subteens. The average temp for the first couple weeks of the year here was a big goose egg - yep 0*!! Plus, I have been fighting off a cold (just adding to the excuses here...) and didn't want to help it along.

This Sunday the forecast is a high of 33 & low of 16. That sounds more doable! I've got 8-9 miles on the schedule - the last time I did a run that long was also before Thanksgiving. I feel like my running has a purpose again...not only to not lose too much fitness. It has even motivated me to start watching my diet again too (that went out the window over the holidays) so that I can run better/further/faster. I think all the junk I was eating was making me feel sluggish.

Monday, January 4, 2010

2010 Goals

I laid out a whole list of PR goals for almost every distance that I have run - pretty much like last year. I even posted it on this blog...right over there -> to the right. Then I looked at it and wondered if that was really what I wanted to do this year. What were REALLY my 2010 goals?

In 2009, although I had some fun breaking PRs and meeting almost all of the goals that I had set out for the year, my MAIN goal had been to run the marathon. That is where most of my focus had been. I ran some of the other races just to make the PR, I wasn't actually training for them specifically.

So, I decided to get rid of most of my goals and set just a few goals that I will have to work hard to achieve...if I accomplish those, then I bet some new PRs will just automatically come in other distance races. With that said, here are my 2010 Goals:

Run a Half Marathon in 2 hours - When I finished my marathon, I decided that I would not run another one until I got faster...because 5 hours is a long time to run. My arbitrarily assigned "faster" is a HM under (or damn close to) 2 hours. My hopes are that I can do this during 2010 and roll that into training for my second marathon in 2011. In 2010, I plan to focus my racing efforts on Half Marathons...starting with the Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon on May 2 (I have at least 4 months in a row of HMs picked out, but am not committing to them until I see how I feel coming up to and finishing my first of the year).

One Thousand Miles - Does it look fancier if I spell it out? This was a goal for 2009 that I didn't meet. I was on track up until the marathon, but ended up cutting my miles by more than I had thought afterward. I ended up short with 867.1 miles...although this was my highest mileage year so far, so I plan to build on that and actually hit the 1,000 mile mark for 2010.

Volunteer or Cheer for at least 3 events - I feel like I have been a volunteer slacker. There are so many people that volunteer for the events that I run and I just haven't given back much.

There you have it. My 2010 goals. All three of them. I hope that narrowing my focus will end up being a positive. And to you, a belated...

Happy New Year!!