Monday, July 30, 2012

Some of you Loopsters are famous!

Thanks to so many of you lovely Loopsters for leaving fantastic comments that I was able to intertwine into my articles.  Check 'em out here.  I learned a lot of great tips myself about half-marathoning and I'm hoping at least one person out there in the world will get something out of the read.  Y'all rock! Thank you again.

My own running was pretty nice last week.  28 miles, with 3 of my 4 runs faster than usual.  I stuck to the treadmill since I was forced to run after work all week except yesterday.  And we had a Braves game to get to....  Even though it was ridiculously hot outside, we had great seats and we won!

After we nearly melted in our seats, I made a quick clothes change in the car on the interstate (I happen to be a pro at this clearly).  Feeling refreshed and finally cooled off, Adam & I went to the baby shower of dear friends who are adopting.  Seeing old friends and getting excited about their impending arrival was a nice end to the weekend. 

Here's me with some of my girls:

Hope y'all had a great weekend too!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Running fast (sometimes) feels better

After my attempts of running after work in the upper 90's, I decided to retreat to the treadmill cave last night.  Wearing my new shoes on the 3rd run answered a few more questions.

-The first 4.5 miles were tough.  I was mentally tired, physically tired, and putting off dinner until 9pm so I could squeeze in my run.

-I sped up the 4.5 mark to try to boost my energy, change my stride.  Lo and behold, I felt great!  Running faster made my footstrike easier and the extra cardio 'umph' was not too difficult to compensate for.

-Between miles 6 and 7, I really inched the speed up and continued to feel great.

Moral of (this) Wednesday's story: running fast (sometimes) feels better!

I wore my new shoes the entire run.  Halfway through I debated changing them, but then decided to go a little further.  Once I was running faster, I didn't have that thought.

I think I might wear the old shoes for tomorrow's run.  I'm trying to be *good* and transition.

In other life news, I am kind of at a standstill.  There are some job things that didn't work out the way I had wanted, but I am hoping that it falls into the category of 'everything happens for a reason'.  Besides, I am growing my entrepreneurial notebook.  99% of my ideas are ridiculous, but I am enjoying the spirit of having dreams.  It's hard to stop and smell the roses when I feel like I'm not really surrounded by roses.  But I have a lot more to be thankful for than so many others, so I have to quash the bellyaching.

I'm looking forward to date night, a HOT Braves game Sunday, a baby shower for dear friends, and growing my ridiculous list.

Monday, July 23, 2012

No longer a minimalist virgin

I know I keep complaining about the heat.  But it's so hot.  And I'm so over it.  It was a realfeel of 107 today when I went galloping through the forest.  I wore my fuel belt and polished off my water at mile 5 of 7.  Gah!

It was a let's-forget-that-happened kind of run.  Hot, slow, and testing my new minimalist shoes. 

This was run #2 with them.  I wore them on Saturday and ran 3.5 miles in them before switching into my old shoes for another 3.5.  That seemed to be okay.  I should have done the same today, but I opted to run outside instead.  My calves feel a little stiff now and I definitely felt the lack of cushioning towards the end of my run.

I will just need to jumble my schedule a bit for awhile so can properly adjust to the shoes.  I do like how light they feel.  If it was fall and about 50 degrees cooler outside, I could fly!!! For another few months, I will just be shuffling and hopefully training some new muscles.

When I was at Fleet Feet on Friday, I tried on a few pairs of minimalist shoes and decided to go with the Pure Flow.  They fit the best and still had a little of bit of cushioning.  Good for a newbie like me.  We'll see how this little experiment goes.  Lots of Loopsters seem to like their minimalist shoes and the only way to know if I like 'em is to try 'em!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Good thing Tomato didn't catch me picking a booger

Normally I get the chance to bloop first about my runs with Flying Tomato, but he beat me to the punch.  He told his side so eloquently....I'm just here to mangle the story from my viewpoint. And to throw in a dancing banana....

It was humid (97-100%, holy cow Batman!) and early for this lazy 30 year old sans kids.  To give myself a bit of slack, I was at work until 10pm and didn't get home until close to 11pm.  Then the Braves went--subsequently choking--into extra innings until about 1am.

So after getting about 5ish hours of sleep, I met up with Tomato at my Greenway.  He is so gracious to drive up each time, I am definitely in need of repaying his driving debt.  He was driving a different car this time and completely blindsided me when he called out hello.  Good thing I wasn't picking my nose....or a wedgie...

I brought my fuel belt and debated about it for a hot minute.  It actually wasn't that bad wearing it this time around as I had Tomato to completely distract me from any annoyances.

Off we went! 5 miles out and 5 miles back with a little pit stop for Gu at the halfway mark at a Garmin restart (thankyousweatywrists) at mile 6.

10 miles is decidedly way more fun with a friend.  We breezed through an hour and a half and I honestly felt completely relaxed the entire time.  I never even looked at my Garmin except when we made the pit stops. 

We hadn't run together in about a month so we had a ton to catch up on.  I hope to make it to some of the long runs in his marathon training if he lets me.

When we got back to the parking lot, Tomato had a cooler with 2 Gatorades.  What a super thoughtful guy!!! 

I showered when I got home and proceeded to take a nap before work.  My legs and ankle felt a little tight when I woke up.  But being on my feet the rest of the day certainly got the kinks out.

I've talked Adam into going to Fleet Feet with me later today to go running shoe shopping.  Who knows what I'll end up to come I suppose!

Me>HOTlanta (7/18/12)

Ah summer.  The time that I retreat to my treadmill like so many Northerners do when the ice & snow hits.  But yesterday I figured it was high time I get my butt outside.  Scattered thunderstorms were in the forecast and I thought I might be able to snag some cooler temperatures if I ran at the right time.


While I was driving to the Greenway, the clouds parted and the evil sun came out to play.  As soon as I hit the path, I regretted not bring my fuel belt.  Or did I? It was so hot that the extra fabric and weight might have been not worth the uncomfortable ride.

But I settled soundly into my first mile, feeling gleeful to fully stretch my legs after a few weeks (gulp!) of treadmill running.  7:59.

By the second half of mile 2, the adrenaline bubble popped and the heat bore down.  I contemplated taking my tank top off, but decided it was going to annoy me if I had to carry it/wear it tucked into my shorts.  8:13.

Mile 3 was intense.  There was a good bit of sun exposure and running next to the water made it feel like sauna.  I back off my pace, taking shorter strides and trying to remind myself I still needed some gas left in the tank. 8:19

At the halfway point, I soaked my hat and part of my tank in water.  I stood at the water fountain for about a minute, gulping water (Garmin was clicked off).  Feeling a bit refreshed, I started to head back. 8:18

Mile 5 I started to do a little fartlek to stay under an 8:20 pace.  I'd speed up and recover, trying to hover around that 8:20 mark.  By the end of the mile, any residual effects from the wet hat and water pit stop were gone. 8:16.

Mile 6 was good.  My fartlek game got more intense.  I was full on sprinting for 1/10ths of a mile with a bit longer recovery.  The speed got me riled up and as soon as I recovered, I wanted to go again. 8:06.

With the last mile, I waivered between a cool down mile and full on speed racer mode.  The sky got suddenly dark.  I recovered for a short while and then went into puke mode running for the last half mile. 
My lungs burned and my stomach climbed into my chest.  I felt so elated when I stopped.  7:53.

Total of 7.02 miles in 57:15, average 8:10 pace.

Now, this is nowhere near a great run for me timewise.  I was banging out 10 milers just 'cause last fall with an easy sub-8:00 pace.  But when I got to the car, I checked the weather.  Real Feel of 111F!! I rechecked it about 3 times because I couldn't believe it.  I mean, I was hot, but jeez! 

Monday, July 16, 2012

One final plea for advice (and then I'll shut up!!)

Ok y'all.  I need your thoughts one more time.  Remember my blog post about training tips? Well, I need your advice for 3 more topics.

I promise to post the links to once they are posted so you can see your advice 'published'.

The advice is for first-timers.  Therefore, any tips you may have, even if you've raced 1 half-marathon, would be greatly appreciated.  Don't forget your name, state (or city/country), and # of half-marathons raced--I want to be able to give credit where credit is due!!

1. Taper-How long do you taper? What is your average weekly mileage during a half-marathon taper? What do you to combat the taper blues?  Anything you wished you did/didn't do during your taper?

2. Weather-How do you train in inclement weather (heat, cold, rain, etc)?  Favorite bad-weather clothing/gear item? Tips for being prepared on race day?

3. Race Day Experience-What is the one thing you wished someone had told you prior to your first half? What are things to look forward to? What are things to be concerned about? How do you deal with transportation--point-to-point course versus looped, family, friends, fellow runners?

Feel free to embellish on the questions I suggested. 

In my own running life, things seem to be back on track.  I'll take a nice status quo week.  I did 4 7-milers last week for a grand total of 28 miles.  That's comfortable for me.  It might be another few weeks before I go long again since I am still nursing a tight ankle.  I tend to get sloppy in my form between 10-12 miles.  After all, I'd rather run 'short runs' than no runs.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

2-a-day, for the beginner

Another 7 miles yesterday.  Although I did have to split it into a 6.5 miler and finish the last 0.5 miles about 1.5 hours later.  Had I not been still sitting around in my running clothes, I might have just forgone the final 0.5, but it was a nice little break at the time.  Besides, now I can say I've done a 2-a-day, right? Well, to be fair, I think it only qualifies if I work up a decent sweat.  4 minutes doesn't count.

The carpet cleaning guy showed up early and so I had to cut my run short.  One of the rooms he was cleaning was the treadmill room so I didn't really want to finish while he was trying to work.  And I couldn't really shower until he I just sat around in my running clothes.
I finished 2 articles for while he was working.  So that's why it was nice to hop back on and finish the final 0.5 miles.  The mental break gave me some fresh perspective.  Writing at home is a great part-time gig, but it does take some serious willpower to not get distracted. 

I really should clean that air vent.

Where are we going to go out to dinner tonight?

Is the mail here yet?

Just one more play on Words With Friends.

I leave for work in a short while.  We are having a book signing today with Amy Atlas.  It should be a fun event, but I will only get to see that tail end of it since I am the closer today.  Hopefully it will create a steady buzz within the store--always good for business!

So excited to have another Sunday off tomorrow.  It makes me feel like a normal person.  We have nothing planned and that's just dandy.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Back to the rut, er, routine

With clocking only 10 miles last week, it was nice to get back into a regular routine this week.  7 miles in the morning on Monday while testing my ankle went smashingly well.

Last night it was just a status quo run.  I was tired from being on my feet all day and definitely felt it towards the end of my run.  However, I was able to run at my normal speed--just feeling a little achy in my feet.  That leads me to the next segment.


have been running in cushioned shoes for awhile.  Either stability or motion-control style.  Last summer I was doing a little barefoot running and I liked it.  I just finished 'Born to Run' and am even more interested in going a little more minimalist.

But I don't generally have much pain while I run.  The occasional soreness on the soles of my feet after 10-12 shifts at work is probably more situational related and probably not helped by a minimalist shoe.  However, I am considering working a pair into my next purchase.

I wish I had $589423948 to spend on running shoes, but that is not the case.  I usually buy a pair at a time, wear them for 400-500 miles and restart the process.  But perhaps I might enjoy having something else.  We'll see.

Tomorrow I have another 7 planned.  We are getting the carpets cleaned with one of those lovely 'windows' that I am expected to be home so I better get 'er done early!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Calling all running gurus: I need your advice!!

About 2 weeks ago, I pleaded for your advice for a series of articles that I writing for  I am writing 13.1 articles for the beginning half-marathoner. 

Here I am asking for the second (of three) installments.  So if you have any pearls of wisdom to share with fellow runners, I ask you to either A) leave a comment below or B) private message me. 

As a quick aside, I find it quite amusing that the first topic happens to be injury.  After 2 years of no aches and pains, I had to take a few day off due to a rolled ankle.  Fortunately, things seemed to be much looser in the area today and I was able to get back on the horse.  I'll be the first to admit that I was pretty freaked out that I might be out for *weeks*.  Eeek!

Anyway, who cares about me??

I want to know about YOU!!! 

Give me your best advice on any or all topics.  Leave me your name, where you are from, and how many half-marathons you've completed.  Remember this is for beginners so I especially welcome back-of-the-packers!!!

1. Injury: How to avoid it? How to manage it if you are in a race training plan? What exercises do you recommend to stay strong? At what point is it not smart to race?

2. Speedwork: Did you do it training for your first half-marathon? How often/how much? What types of workouts do you enjoy? What types of workouts did you feel improved your time?

3. Long Slow Distance Runs: How many should you have completed before the race? How long should your longest run be before racing your first half? What mental tricks do you play to finish?

4. Hills: see the examples for speedwork, plus How do you practice if you live in a relatively flat spot?

5. Cross-training: What types of workouts do you do that can help with running? What seems to interfere when you are training for a race? How many days a week do you cross-train?

I look forward to hearing your responses.  I really, really enjoyed reading the material from the previous post.

Friday, July 6, 2012

I shot a gun (and I didn't hurt myself!)

I have had a busy week. 

Monday I was on my death bed with what I *think* was food poisoning.  Sleeping next to the toilet on a dog bed was the highlight of my day.

Tuesday I was recuperated and feeling much sprightlier by the end of work day.  I left in the pouring rain around 6:30pm and proceeded to prep for Wednesday's party.

Party prep:

On Wednesday (Fourth of July), I worked. People at the mall were just hanging out waiting for the fireworks show.  It was a bit silly.  Oh, and by the way, it is really unpatriotic to return merchandise on the Fourth of July in this economy. 

I came home to my party in full swing and enjoyed a night of fireworks, food, and fun.

Party peeps:

Thursday, I FINALLY was able to run this week without being sick, at work, or prepping for a party.  My regular 7 miles, but I took it easy on the speed.  I definitely was still feeling a bit on the dehydrated side from the food poisoning.  Hopefully my next run will be easier.

I closed last night at work which means that I left at 10pm.  I met up with Adam and our friend Jeff who had picked up my brother-in-law Michael and friend Jon from the airport.  We went to a couple of bars downtown and made a late night stop at Krispy Kreme on the way home.  The donuts were hot and slid right down hatch. Mmmm...

This morning, I woke up and let the dogs outside like usual.  When I went to let them back inside, only 2 came trotting back in.  I walked into the backyard only to discover one of the fence gates was wide open.  Oy!

The escapee (this is the 3rd time in a year) ran and ran and ran and ran.  We ran for nearly an hour back and forth across the field and brush in my backyard.  My legs were bloody from the run AND I rolled my ankle coming down a hill.  It is really tight now and I am really concerned that I might be out of commission running-wise.  Practicing a little RICE right now in hopes that I didn't do too much damage.

Once I got the escapee back inside--after capturing her because she ran herself tired--we met up with the boys for a day of fun.

First, we went to the shooting range and shot off 300 rounds between the 5 of us.  We rented a 9mm Glock and a .40 Smith & Wesson.  This was my first time shooting and I was a little nervous that I was going to do something stupid.  But it was relatively easy once I felt confident that I could operate the gun.  I even outscored a few of the guys once we shot for 'points' on the target.

Here's me:

Here's Adam:

We continued our indoor sporting events and headed to the bowling alley next.  We were all pretty excited to play the first game, mellowed out by the second game, and ready to call it an afternoon by the third game.  I am a terrible bowler and I ended up using the bumpers the last 2 games so I wouldn't suffer in the double digits by myself.  Ha!

But I do rock at arcade basketball.  And I play a mean game of skeeball.

Now we are doing a little down time before the house party tonight.  And white water rafting tomorrow!!!!!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Runners make the worst patients

Most of us runners probably aren't good patients.  After all, there is time lost while being sick and then that weird time afterwards that you try to regain your strength.  Usually it's too much, too fast, and it feels like you just started running for the first time.

I'm currently in the being sick phase.

Saturday was status quo at the Liebowitz castle until about 8pm.  Adam and I both worked.  I ran 4 miles after work.  We started to watch the Olympic swimming trials (!!!!) and Adam started to feel headachy and nauseous.  He moaned on the sofa for awhile and I thought it was MS/heat-related issues.  When he got up so we could go to bed, he tossed his cookies.  Poor guy.  Unfortunately it happened again in the middle of the night.

I felt fine when I woke up.  I ran 3 miles, showered, made some breakfast, and headed to work.  After about an hour at work I started to feel queasy.  Then I started rapidly going downhill.  I pride myself on maintaining a cheery disposition for my associates and customers, but dang, I was just trying to stay upright.  I tried to make it work.  I sat in the office for a little while.  I tried drinking some Sprite--my tummy was NOT happy about ingesting anything.  Eventually, I gave up with the good graces of the other manager on duty.

Worst car ride home.  Ugh.  I almost had to pull over a few times. 

When I got home, I felt dizzy with nausea.  I changed into my pjs (all while leaving my clothes on the floor which I never do) and proceeded to try to sleep.
I slept off and on, writhing in what felt like motion-sickness that wouldn't go away.  For awhile, I laid on one of the dog beds next to the toilet.  It was terrible.

This morning, because I had whacked out my sleep schedule, I was wide awake and miserable at 3am.  I literally was crawling in my own skin and couldn't sleep any more.  I emailed my boss around 4:30am to be proactive about the day.  There was no way I was going to be able to even drive myself to work based on how I was feeling.

Fortunately, things seemed to have crested.  I am far less nauseous and even managed to get a little bit of food down.  I still feel like someone knocked the #)$*)$# out of me--my body is sore like the flu without the other symptoms.  Hopefully I will continue to improve and I can just put this 24 hours of misery behind me. 

And I'll just have to be okay that my mileage this week will have to suffer like I did!!