Tuesday, September 23, 2008

3 Days Until the Half!

I'm about to go out for a nice, sunny run. I haven't ran in a while due to the craziness of work (catching up after the storm) and being extremely sore from a weekend of cutting up two trees.

We're leaving Friday around noon and heading up to Akron. Then we come back to par-tay for Casey and Jannelle's birthdays. I hope the weather is good up there! The forecast looks good- cloudy with a low of 55, high of 72.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

10 in the Wind

Ike made for a very difficult 10 mile run today. But now I feel more prepared for the half that is at the end of this month.

I started out late, after eating and relaxing and stretching. It was probably 12:30 or 1:00 when I finally left the house. It was hot in the morning so what did it matter if I ran later? I thought I'd at least eat a good breakfast and wait for my body to wake up.

The good thing (and bad thing it later proved to be on more than one occasion) was it was windy! So that would keep me cool. Yeah.

During the first couple of miles through the neighborhood that attaches to ours via the salt barn path, 4 jets flew over. People were outside looking at them and I began to wonder a bit if something was going on. But then a lady asked me if I saw any Cinergy trucks around – their power was out. So I guess everyone was coming outside to discuss the outage and also noted the jets. (Maybe the jets did a fly over for the Bungles game?) The lady told me there was a wind advisory and we figured that's why their power was out.

After leaving that neighborhood, I did notice the strong wind – especially when I crossed over the highway. When there were pockets of no wind, I desperately begged for it to come back and cool me off. I turned onto Duke Blvd and when the wind did blow, it was a glorious tailwind. The lack of trees made it feel desert-like, but I was feeling great for the most part. I took a gel around 3.5 miles and turned left onto Socialville-Foster, enjoying the wind coming at me from the side. Then I turned right onto Mason-Montgomery to experience the strongest tailwind ever. At times it felt like someone was pushing me along. I took advantage of it the best I could, feeling fast and strong. At mile 5, I turned around.

And then it sucked.

At first it was funny. Ha! Look it's like I'm standing still! But the smile was soon wiped off my face as I struggled to run with the increasingly stronger wind. It became discouraging. Wow, I would have been to the corner already if I still had that tailwind. Then the reality of the effort sank into my muscles and lungs and I had to walk. This is rediculous. I'm never going to get home! And I have at least one more street o' headwind like this! It felt like I had people attached to me, trying to pull me back. Or as if I was going up the longest hill ever.

I probably walked a half mile. Back on Socialville-Foster I had the side wind again to recover with. I wished I had brought money with me to buy a Gatorade, as the now hot water in my fuel belt just wasn't cutting it. I dreaded going back onto Duke Blvd.

On hilly Duke Blvd, the wind gusts were so strong, sometimes I would stand still for a second, mid run. I walked the uphills and even that was hard, as I leaned forward quite a bit into the wind, way over my shoes. And then the nice big downhill I so looked forward to betrayed me. Even on a steepish descent I felt like I was going uphill. Surreal. I did catch some nice water spray from the corporate park retension ponds. The other things I caught were leaves in my face. That hurt.

I made it back to the nieghborhood that is adjacent to ours, and it was a different scene. Now I was hopping and jumping over fallen mini-logs and branches that were all over the streets and sidewalk. About every 5th house had a tree in the front yard that was half-fallen.


It wasn't until I turned from the salt barn path to our road when I began to think about our house, cars, yard and trees. As I ran through our neighborhood, I saw just how many trees and branches were all over and thought, Our problem tree fell. Then I thought, I hope Greg thought to bring the dogs in. Next thought: What if Dexter and Harley got smashed by a falling tree! Or got out of the yard because it crushed the fence!? (I did know that from the direction of the wind, it wouldn't be falling towards the garage or house, thankfully) Final thought: What if Greg is under the tree!!!!??? I'm glad I didn't start thinking about it until a half mile to go. :)

As soon as I was close, I began looking at the tree lines. About 2 houses away, I thought our tree line looked wrong. Approaching our house, I only counted 2 trees - but maybe they were just blowing together??

I walked in the house and saw the dining room curtain was closed. That gave me the answer. I pulled the curtain open. Tree down. Dogs and Greg safe. Fence broken. Neighbors yard full of our tree. (Pictures coming soon...)

Our tree also took out another tree (not sure whose tree it is/was) that was dead. And a huge limb the size of tree itself fell off our former middle tree.

It definitely could have been worse (see above rambling thoughts). It was a tree we were planning to take down this fall after the leaves were gone, but Monther Nature sped up that process for us.

The carnage through our neighborhood was plentiful, as well as the houses along the drive to Loveland. We drove to my studio after the winds subsided. On the way we saw a tree that had completely come out of the ground, taking a huge patch of land with it, and had landed on top of the house. Bad.

We only lost power for a few hours, while it seems most of the city is still without. We saw on the news we were having 25 - 30 mph winds with gusts around 60 mph. No wonder the leaves, small pebbles and especially straw hurt when it hit my legs and face!

Back to those 10 miles... Thanks to Hurricane Ike, they weren't pretty. However, I feel like I am more prepared for 13.1. It was certainly good conditioning - mental and physical. In Akron at the end of September it should be cooler. And there hopefully won't be a hurricane aftermath to fight on race morning!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I'm Registered!

I'm officially registered for the Akron Half Marathon now. Yay! I'm very excited. Check out the map!

I read the course description, which was all sounding very nice: not too many monsterous hills, plenty-o-aid stations, spots for Greg to spectate if he can go. But then I read the description of the finish.

For both the marathon and half-marathon, the finish is what they call an "Olympic style" finish. You end up running into a baseball stadium full of people, and run straight across the outfield to the finish at 2nd base. Baseball stadium full of people. Just what I don't want at the end of a race.

That may sound crazy to some. What's wrong with crowd support and people to cheer for you, right? Well, the last time I ran into a stadium to finish a race, I nearly passed out and had to be aided by the medical team. It was a hot day and I got so overly-excited when I ran into the Reds stadium, I couldn't even feel my body anymore. Apparently I pushed a just a bit to hard. After crossing the finish line, I plopped down on the ground. Then the medical people found me and dumped water on me so icy I couldn't breath. So, though only a single experience, it is a permanent bad racing memory. In addition, I also tend to get a little bit emotional at the end of half marathons. It's long! And hard! And you're so proud of yourself when you finish! And everyone is so happy and trying so hard... I can't even watch the trailer for Spirit of the Marathon without getting a lump in my throat. So, combine an already emotional day made overly dramatic by finishing in a stadium with everyone witnessing it and that equals an icky pit in my stomach.

The up side is now I know. Perhaps I can prepare myself for the stage fright inducing finish. Here's to not puking in front of 9,000 people.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Sunny Eight!

Yay I ran 8!

This Saturday was a beautiful, sunny and breezy day. I decided I'd try again to run 8 miles and get somewhere with this half marathon training. Last week's attempt was not good. This time I just ran from the house to the end of the street, which is a half mile, and then back...8 times!

My first mile was waaaay too fast. But then I slowed down for the following miles. After each mile, I walked down the driveway and sipped some water, then walked back to the street to start the next mile. I think this is how I'm going to have to get through this half marathon... lots of breaks.

Unfortunately, I was extremely wiped out after I finished the last steps of the 8th mile. I was hoping to finish and feel like I could run more, but there was no way. I laid down on the floor and was in pain. It took a few hours, but after throwing around a Frisbee at a picnic, I was finally loosened up again. I definitely need new shoes pronto.

The plan is to do 10 (11 if for some miraculous reason I felt good after 10) some time next weekend. Then that's it until the 13.1 on race day. It should be fine as long as my body holds up between now and then. Not planning to worry about times– just want to complete the distance and get the "haven't ran a half marathon in over 2 years" monkey off my back.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Speedy on the Trail

It's been warmer and humid outside again. I'm reminded of that as I sit in my studio drinking hot coffee and am getting a bit warm! Time to use my remote for my a/c unit and bump that air up (er... down I guess)! I'd hate to have to walk the 3 steps to the actual unit and adjust it the old fashioned way.

Last night after work I went to the shady bike trail to run. I warmed up, then did 1/4 mile repeats - 5 of them. Tried to stay at the same pace for each one, and I did. The last one was definitely hard, and the jog back to the studio felt heavy, but overall it was a great workout in the shade.

I need to do more Speedy Gonzales workouts to get faster. I am not speedy. I am Slowpoke Rodriguez.

At SFT we DDR'd... so more fun exercise!

Bob Roncker's bought out or is now in place of the Runner's Depot in Loveland. It doesn't surprise me - the Depot wasn't much of a shop. I've never been in a running store without seeing tons of runners in it, either getting ready to run together or just having come back from a run...except for this one. I'll have to see if they do any group runs from the store - would be nice and convenient since I'm a half mile away. And I also need to check out the newly expanded Cycle Sport. See if they have anything fun going on this winter.

Wow this post is full of links!

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Sunny Seven Point Two

This weekend, I drove out to Miami Whitewater Park to run the outer loop there, which I thought was 7.8 (according to The Interwebs), ended up being 7.6 (according to their sign), but didn't matter because I think I only ran about 7 - 7.2. So much for 8.

I felt OK in the first 3 miles. There was a smidgen of shade in the beginning. Then, the trail basically became a steady repetition of sun and hills, surrounded by ragweed and other various Nature. I was happy to take my gel at the 4 mile mark. After that, I never felt too great again. Hot, yes. Hotter and hotter and hotter as the sun baked me. I had motivation to get the run over with, since I was sure I was slowly frying out there in the sun, but just couldn't find the oomph.

The trail is nice – a curvy, rolling path that makes you feel like you're not really anywhere in particular. But its snaking shape through the fields and constant change in elevation also prohibits you from seeing where the heck you're going. So even though I vainly scouted for an upcoming batch of trees every time I crested a hill, I never saw any. But that's because there weren't any. I kept pulling my tank top up and back to save the chest from a nasty burn.

In the last mile of the trail, I stopped to walk. I tried running again, but it was a pitiful shuffle. So I just tried to speed walk. After I got back to my car, I grabbed my wallet and bought a Pepsi at the concession stand. I find when I'm exhausted after a run, I really need the bad-for-you sugar boost found in colas. I stretched a little and got in the car for the half hour drive home.

It wasn't awful...I mean I at least moved for an hour and 30 minutes. Today I am a little burned (though it's getting better) and just slightly sore. I'm hoping to hop on the bike in the morning now that we have Raid and I can fend off the creepy spider that made a web in my trainer. (Supposedly it's gone, but I need the bug spray for the nail in the coffin.)