Friday, April 29, 2011

Final training run before the half

I was semi dreading going on a run yesterday because of how unproductive I felt on Tuesday. But...I knew I had to do it. I figured I would do four miles and then be done with it until the race. To my surprise, I felt pretty good. I didn't have side cramps like the day before and my legs felt stronger. I am guessing my body needed Tuesday as a little wake up. Judging by my last few runs I am thinking I have improved my pace from about a 10.5 minute mile to a 10 minute miles. I am pretty excited about that. Let's see if it will hold up for Sunday!!!!!

Early Mother's Day gift

Mark gave me an early Mother's Day gift! Since I have been running in my Coach or Vestal Sunglasses, he got me a pair of Oakley Commit SQ's. They definitely aren't making any fashion statements, but wow....what a difference. My other glasses slide down my nose, fog up and are heavy. The Oakley's, on the other hand, are lightweight and don't fog up. What a difference! I'll admit it...I love them. Just don't expect to see me cruising around in the mini van wearing them.

On the road again

After 6 days of being in bed instead of running, it was time to hit the road again. On Wednesday night, I dusted off my Brooke's and headed out for an evening run. Since this is "taper week", I kept it short. Three miles felt quite a bit longer than usual. I felt like I was running in mud. It hurt and I'm scared. 13.1 miles this Sunday - UGH!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

If only I had known.

Last Wednesday, was the first time I had run since the OC Chili Run. Brooke had been really sick with high fevers, so I stayed home the days prior. (With the exception of a work Happy Hour on Monday night - I know, I felt guilty, but she was in good hands). I felt like I was at the point where I needed major motivation. I started to feel like I HAD to run instead of WANTING to run. I was also tired of running by myself. :::insert pity party here:::: I will research these feelings later to find out if this is common in the final weeks of training for a Half Marathon. Anyways, I asked Josh to join me and told him he could just ride his bike. He was happy to accept the invitation. So, off we went for my "scheduled" six mile run. Can I just say, nothing says motivation than having your 13 year old son look back and give the cutest smile EVER!! If you know Josh, you know the smile I speak of. I ended up completing six miles at an average 9.55 minute mile pace. I was pretty excited about it. I felt great. Now, for the bad part. The very next day, I woke up with pink eye in BOTH eyes. I even went to a doctor to confirm. I also had a sore throat, aches and a small fever. SERIOUSLY! I took Thursday and Friday off to spend with my kids, not to spend in bed. Friday was supposed to be a 12 mile run for me! So, here I am, Sunday night. Still have the aches, still have blood shot eyes and am still feeling very run down. I did some research and read that it's better to let my body rest and completely heal for the race, which is in one week, than to push it and try to get a few more training runs in. I also read that losing one week of training shouldn't hinder my fitness level much. I sure hope that is true! If only I had known this was coming, I would have done the 12 miler on Wednesday. UGH! If only I had KNOWN!

Monday, April 18, 2011

OC Chili Winter Trail Run Series - Race's #2 and #3

I first learned about THIS series around January sometime. I was too scared to sign up for the February race, so I passed. I did, however, sign up for the March and April races. Looking back, I wished I would have signed up for the 1st one...oh well. I rarely run trails, so the March race was probably about my 2nd time this year running trails. Prior to the March race, I looked up the February results and saw that the last few people finished around an hour and a half. This set my goal time at anything faster than an hour and a half. I just didn't want to come in last.

The morning of the March race, I figured out my pace goals. If I wanted to be an hour and half, I had to run faster than an average of 18 minutes miles. I wasn't sure how this was going to work out since I wasn't used to the climbing. The race pretty much began with uphill which lasted for two very long miles. This gave me some opportunities to briefly, and I mean VERY briefly, speak with a few people. I met a very nice man who gave me a few encouraging words to help me up the last few hills. His name was Jim. Jim left me in the dust. I was watching my garmin and even with walking and some jogging, I was at a 15-16 minute mile. So, mid race, I up'd my goal to an hour 15 minutes. The end of the race finishes with about 3/4 miles on flat fire road. When I came out of the trail onto that fire road, guess who was walking off to the side? Jim! He helped me up, so I figured the least I could do was to help him finish. It was my turn to give the encouraging words. We were able to sprint our way to the finish. Our finishing time was one hour and 44 seconds. WAY better than I thought. I felt the climbing the whole next day and it hurt! Age group results can be found HERE.

The April race happened this past weekend, the 16th. My new goal? To finish in less than an hour. It was very hot this time and I don't do well in heat, so I was worried. This time, Alex ran it with me. We had the opportunity to run the trail a few weeks ago, so the practice was nice. This time, I knew what to expect. The race started and about a half mile in, I realized I forgot to set my garmin. DARN IT! My average pace, timing, EVERYTHING was off! I felt like I was running blind. I tried to run as much as possible knowing that the pain would be gone after the second mile aka the top of the hill. It was so hot that I could feel my heartbeat in my face. I made it to the top and was glad that part was over. Immediately after the top of the hill is a fire road that is all down hill, which is right before you hit the single track. I knew that my best bet was to pass as many people as I could on that fire road before I hit the single track so I wouldn't get stuck behind anyone. So I ran as fast as I could without falling on my face. I managed to pass quite a few people and made my way into the single track. My finish this time wasn't as strong as last time and since my garmin was off, I had no idea what my time was, so I pushed as hard as I could. I came around the corner and YESS!!!! 56 minutes was on the clock. Finishing time - 56 minutes 20 seconds. WOO HOO! Alex did great too. He finished in one hour and three minutes. Not bad for an old guy. :) Age group results can be found HERE. After the race, they serve Chili, which I opted out of this time. I just had water and bananas. BUT...guess who I saw getting Chili? JIM! He didn't beat our race #2 time, but he still did great considering he is nursing an injury.

I have learned alot about my body since I started running. How fast I can go; how hard I can push myself before I puke; what my legs are capable of; how my arms can get sore from running; how I start kicking the inside of my right ankle as I run when I start getting tired; how important posture is; how important it is to relax my shoulders. Then, just when I thought I couldn't learn more, I did thanks to these races. I learned how beautiful the pay off is when you get to the top of a hill; how motivated runners really are; how far a few encouraging words can go; how to control my run when going down hill; how going down hill can sometime be more painful than going up hill; and most importantly, how important coffee really is before a race.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hump Day 10K

Last night was scheduled to be a 6 mile run, so basically a nice little 10K. Being the OCD person that I am, I spent most of my day obsessing on which route I was going to run. In the meantime, I managed to eat 2 pieces of pizza, an avocado egg roll, two mozarella sticks and a salad for lunch. It was from BJ's and it was free so what was I supposed to do? I wasn't quite sure how that was going to work out for me later on. Fast forward to the evening. I decided to run right after Mark got home. 6 miles should take me about an hour, just enough time for dinner to be made. Yay me! I took a route that I had gone on before, but I did it backwards this time. It ended up being more like a 7 mile run, but that's alright...I had plenty of calories to burn. The rest of my evening went like this: Finished my run --> inhaled dinner--> ate ice cream--> got heart burn--> took tums --> took shower--> took more tums--> moaned myself to sleep. This will probably be the last time I eat buffalo chicken pizza on the day of a run. I am happy to say that my average pace was 9.57 minute miles. (The below calculation didn't take into consideration all the stop lights I had to wait at) IF I can keep up that pace for the entire Half Marathon, my finishing time would be about 2 hours and 6 minutes, which is 9 minutes faster than my goal time of 2 hours 15 minutes. Keep your fingers crossed!
*****UPDATE - Approximately 6-7 people are out sick today, which has been apparently caused by food poisoning from BJ's.*****

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Shins are people too least my shins think they are. Some days they are happy and they leave me alone, but other days, you would think I slammed them up against a wall. It feels as if they are trying to break out of my skin so they could be set free. I try to drug them as much as possible so they stop complaining. I also try to give them some rest whenever I can, like last night. I decided to go to the gym instead of running. Last night, according to my training calendar, was a four mile night. I figured I would just do the four miles on the Precor machine. Same idea, right? If you don't already know, you burn about 100 calories per mile when running/jogging. Give or take some depending on how intense of a runner you are. The Precor machine, as I found out last night, was a little more difficult than I had anticipated. 4.19 miles on the Precor machine will burn 569 calories! It was tougher than running, but my shins are happy. So, the next time you eat too much cake at work for the guy's whose name you don't know sitting in the cubicle next to you, do the Precor Machine.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Double Digits!

I can remember when I turned ten years old and how happy I was to hit double digits. It was such a highly anticipated birthday! Double digits in running seemed more of a bittersweet in my opinion. I knew it was coming, according to my free training calendar. I just couldn't decide where to do it and how I was going to do it. At this point, my furthest run had been 8 miles at a 10.25 pace. Well, I get bored easy and often change things like the placement of my furniture or the items on my desk. I even change shower curtains and any other item that will give me an excuse to hit up Target. This habit is not on Mark's list of "Reason's you married Leanne". Running is the same for me. I never run the same place multiple times in a row. I enjoy not knowing what is next. This is bad because Mark doesn't always know where I will be. I try to give him an idea, but I sometimes will change my path. I recently started carrying a copy of my drivers license along with Mark's phone number, just in case. So...if you are reading this and don't know me and find a girl passed out somewhere, check my shoe wallet. I decided to take this milestone of a run to the Back Bay Loop. After all, it is part of the OC Half course. I somehow managed to talk my innocent brother in law into running this with me. This past Saturday was THE perfect day. It had rained the night before which left crisp clean air and blue skies. Alex and I met on Bayview, by the Mariott and caught the loop from there. The first 2 miles were pretty obvious on where to run. After that, we found ourselves asking a variety of people where the loop was. Kind of hard to believe you can lose a loop, right? Come to find out, we were on track the whole time, with the exception of one wrong turn, but it was a quick one. We saw several beautiful homes during our run. We did some walking, but that was okay because it gave me time to bond with my brother from another mother. I do have to say if you run the loop, and you come up off Galaxy, prepare yourself for the most beautiful view EVER. The bay, the blue ocean, sail boats, paddle boarders and palm trees. WOW! Words can't do it justice. We reached a point of no return. We were about 5.5 miles in so we had to finish it now. We ran along PCH and Newport Dunes. We even passed some campers that were cooking pancakes and drinking their coffee. YUM! That right there is motivation enough to run faster so I could get to MY coffee. We started walking again around mile 6.5. I would like to blame this on Alex, but I can't. I welcomed the break and opportunity to take in the sights. We decided that at mile 7 we would run the rest of the way. Mile 7 came faster than I thought but off we went. I heard Alex next to me for a while but I just kept on running without looking back (sorry Alex). I got to the car and about 7-10 minutes later, Alex showed up. Not bad for a guy who hadn't run in about 8 months (with the exception of our trail run where we got lost the week before). He is six months older than me, so I figured I could cut him some slack. 10.5 miles and two hours later and it was done. I felt great! I did have a mound of salt on top of my hat from all my sweat though. Alex and I rested on the grass in the sun and stretched for a bit. We chatted some more and spoke about church, our beliefs and God. Seemed appropriate since He is the one responsible for all we saw that day. Thanks Alex for the motivation and thank you, God, for my life. Amen.

What's with the title?

At 37 years old, I have to ask myself why now? Why this late in the game did I decide I wanted to run? It started in January of 2010. I was the heaviest I had ever been (non pregnancy) and I HAD to lose weight. So...I started to run. My first run took me 40 minutes to run 1.92 miles. It was so hard, but I did it. I continued to run 3 times a week and over the next 7 months, I lost 40 pounds. Oddly enough, I was more excited about my accomplishment of being able to run harder and faster than I was about the loss of the 40 pounds. I never really ran more than 3 or 4 miles at a time. I figured that was my limit, with the exception of the Mud Run at Camp Pendleton, which was 6 miles. Mind you...I was dead the rest of that weekend. After a few month hiatus of running over the holidays, I started back up again this January. I decided what better motivation than signing up for a half marathon (13.1 miles). I felt crazy, but what do I have to lose, right? I looked on the website and saw that I had 3.5 hours to complete the half marathon, which is a 16 minute mile pace, which is a nice little walk. So, if all else fails, I could walk it. So...I signed up. I downloaded a free training program and started my training about 2 months ago. It came time to run 6 miles. I was nervous. The only six miles I had ever run was up hills, in mud and over walls and I was MISERABLE. So...out I go. I start running and the first half mile sucked as usual. Second was good, third was alright...the fourth was better. Then it happened. I hit mile five and I felt GREAT! My heart rate settled and I found my groove. I felt so free and so strong. I was actually enjoying myself. I was able to notice everything around me. The trees looked beautiful, the air was so fresh...I noticed all the things I never gave myself a chance to before because I would stop running before mile five. If only I had known about this magical mile. I now look forward to long runs...I look forward to mile five and beyond. So why the blog? I read that it's great motivation to blog about your runs and experiences. As you may have read in my "about me" section...I love to talk. I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone. Besides, I think everyone around me is getting tired of hearing me talk about running and all the weird things I see on the road. That being said...welcome to my blog. I hope I can at least inspire you to find your mile five, whether its through running or something else.