Thursday, July 30, 2009

Strange Run and Wet Biking

Yesterday I had a pretty crummy day and decided I had to get a run in even though what I really wanted to do was crawl under the sheets and go to bed. I figured I'd feel even worse if I didn't run.

So I started out, fully expecting it to suck (because my mind was well along that path of negativity) but somehow it didn't. Even after doing a run in the heat the day before that wiped me out and having a very stressful day, my body was happy to get out and move. I felt great! I did the fastest pace I have done in a long time, though the run was only 2.4 miles, and if felt really smooth. I didn't feel like it was my body. Multiple times when I was running, I forgot I was running and breathing and was surprised to find myself chugging along at what felt like a good clip. I felt really tall almost like I was a balloon floating along behind myself. Sounds crazy, it was very surreal. I can only hope for feeling like that the next time I have a race that I want a good time in. There is no better way to describe it except that it felt effortless.

Tonight Greg and I went on a bike ride. It had rained most of the afternoon, but cleared up long enough for us to fit an easy 15 miles in on the very humid, wet trail. We both had mud stripes up our backs from the tires. Greg's mud somehow disappeared when we got back. But mine didn't...

Looks like... uh...

That is the wettest I've ever ridden my road bike. Skinny little tires...that almost ran over a squirrel! It crossed the road with not enough urgency. My reaction was interesting- I thought for sure I was going to squash it and I jerked backwards while simultaneously keeping a death grip on my handlebars. It was like my mind and body fought against each other - not sure which one was controlling which part of me. I stayed up, thankfully, and felt a twinge in my shoulders because I jerked back so hard. It was funny. We also saw a deer and two fawns with spots. The day I hit a deer on the trail will be something to write about. I wonder if that has ever happened. Anyway, I have no idea what our speed was because I forgot a watch and my cyclometer is off ever since the battery was changed (need to get that fixed!). We picked the pace up a little bit on the way back, which felt nice.

Dirty bike on top of the car.

Saturday is the Lady's Distance Classic 10K that I am running with Krista! She currently has a sore ankle, so hopefully by then it is better and we have an enjoyable run. It's a very well organized event, and I'm looking forward to it. Prior to it I will be warming up for 2 - 3 miles and afterwords cooling down 3 - 4 miles so that I can get 12 in :) I'm starting to get very excited for Columbus. I can't wait to see how these next few weeks go training-wise.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Week 4 - Columbus Training

Sunday - 0, disc golf
Monday - 3 miles
Tuesday - biked 15 miles (1 hour)
Wednesday - 0, meetings and rain kept me in
Thursday - 2.5 mile run, 12 mile bike ride
Friday - 5 miles
Saturday - 0, rest

I'm a little shocked that this was the fourth week already. 12 more to go!

I'm not running long this weekend - it is a cut-back weekend. I'm kind of glad, more mentally than physically. The next 3 to 4 weeks should really be interesting as I get up into mileage I've never ran before.

From Thursday night's bike ride... me, Erin, Roman and Greg.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Third Long Run

Twelve miles... no problem, thanks to breaking up the distance with a friend and absolutely gorgeous weather. In the spirit of making this blog more interesting, I've added photos. It's also a nice distraction while I'm running, thinking about what I can take a picture of, even if it's not all that interesting. We all liked picture books when we were kids.

First, I tried to get the dogs to wish me luck this morning, get some support and love from them.

Dexter looks terrified for me. They weren't interested in the camera, and instead decided to play.

I was meeting Krista in Blue Ash, near the golf course, and we were planning to run part of the Lady's Distance Classic 10K race course that we are doing in August... get a flavor for the hills. So I parked on the corner in a random little lot, which had this warning.

Then I ran 4 miles solo and slowly. I averaged 11:15 pace I think. Right as I was returning to my car, Krista was pulling in, so it was perfect timing. We started out the way I had come from, did a loop, and then ran out and back to total 5 miles. There were a couple of beastly hills. One we ran down, which wasn't all that great feeling for my legs at this point. The other we ran up and it sucked. Conversation stopped but resumed at the traffic light after it was over. The race covers this hill and more, so it's not going to be easy.

Not on the race course, but I ran past it today: the Blue Ash Airport.

On the race course and I ran past multiple times today: the Blue Ash Golf Course with very cool sky.

After 5 miles and good conversation, we said our goodbyes and I turned around to do a loop we had already done (which included the beastly hill). I only had 3 more miles and was hoping I could run through this neighborhood and reach 3 before the mondo hill if I covered every cul de sac possible. I did run down nearly every cul de sac, but was only at 11.5 when I reached Mount Stupidhill. I tried to run it, but my legs were tanked. So I clicked off my watch, walked it, and then clicked my watch back on when I resumed running to finish the last half mile.

While Krista and I ran, my GPS average pace showed 10:55. At the end of 12, the average was 11:08. So I started slow, was speedier in the middle, and ended slow. It seemed to work out just fine.

I was so happy I did 12 and felt so good!! See how happy??

Week 3 - Columbus Training

Sunday - 0, disc golf at Banklick helped the legs.
Monday - 0, rest - really tired.
Tuesday - 4.25 miles
Wednesday - 0
Thursday - 3 miles
Friday - 0, walked for 40 minutes
Saturday - 12 miles

All in all, this week went well. Didn't get to cross-train on the bike any though.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Summer Randomness...

Here's some randomness about my tomato plant and the dogs. This is my sad tomato plant. I had to cut a bunch of it back because I never got a cage around it and it is huge and fell over (long boring story).

It does have a ton of tomatoes on it (which is why it fell over).

And there are pepper plants in the front.

I watered them all one night and was entertained by the dogs chasing a rabbit around the garage. It was very cartoon-esque: Harley and Dexter in a line dart across the back of the yard. Then, as I'm holding the hose on the plants, a rabbit comes out of nowhere off to my side and runs right behind my legs. I no sooner turn back and Harley and Dexter are right behind it, nearly knocking me over as they run past. Cue goofy music and if I had fallen over spraying the hose in my face perhaps, it would have been a scene out of a corny comedy!

After the chase...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Second Long Run

This past weekend I was scheduled to run my second long run in the marathon training, 10 miles. The plan was to run 5 miles with my friend and then I'd do another 5 after that, similar to what I did last week splitting up 8 miles. However, she couldn't make it, so I was stuck running solo the entire 10. Rats. I've done this before, but these distances are still not commonplace for me and I'll take any help I can get. Oh well, gotta role with it and be flexible.

I was already in my car when I found out we wouldn't be running together. Instead of going home, where I'd be tempted to go all the way into the house, down the hallway and back to my bed, I decided to drive out to Miami Whitewater where there is a 9 mile loop. I could just go and not have to think. But I couldn't remember what exit to get off and ended up all the way in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. I am slightly familiar with the area because we've gone karting out there a number of times. And after driving all that way, I was determined to run somewhere. So I got off the exit, parked in downtown Lawrenceburg, and started to go.

I didn't take any of these pictures - they are all from the city's website.

I think I parked on this street. Kind of "old American town" looking with wide streets and 2-story storefronts.

Turns out Lawrenceburg isn't all that big. Today, it is where the casino is - Hollywood Casino (formerly Argosy) and it seems more like an industrial area, with an old-looking, run-down residential town stuck in the middle. I know it is historic. Abraham Lincoln gave a speech (pre-inauguration) along the river, and I'm sure there are plenty of other interesting historic things to learn. I was really struggling to run anywhere. On the main road, the sidewalk ended. Going the other way was the same. I desparately looked at the high school and saw a small stadium, but no track... how was I going to get 10 miles out of this??

At one point I ran over this bridge, in a tiny little park outside the recreation center.

After 3 agonizing miles of having to think way too hard about where to go, I ran towards the river and eventually came to the back side of the casino. There was a staircase that went up a big hill (the levee). And there was a lightpost-lined sidewalk! This could be promising!

The casino is the building in the background. The stairs were at the end of the sidewalk. The river is to the right.

I ran along this, hoping and hoping it wouldn't end. It was curving, so I couldn't see how far it would go. I was heading toward the powerplant and was pretty certain it would end there.
You can see the lightposts on the right - that is the trail.

But it didn't end! After the power plant was the beginning of the Dearborn Recreation Trail, which goes all the way to Arora, though I didn't know this at the time. Yay! I could just run and enjoy the day now.

So I ran along this trail. Some parts were pretty, other parts – i.e. running by the powerplant – were...uh...different. The massive powerline towers buzzed as I ran under them, and I could hear what sounded like big moving machinery from inside the powerplant.
Here are some shots of the Ohio.

I saw a lot of families and walkers and bikers, but no serious cyclists. I guess because the entire trail is only probably 8 miles round trip from Arora to Lawrenceburg and back. While running across a bridge, I noticed a lot of fishing boats below me. I wondered wether my stomping across the bridge scared the fish. A fisherman yelled up to me and I quote: "Ain't no one chasin' you, you can stop runnin' now!" Not the first time I've heard a variation of this joke. This seems to be a popular one made by people who think it's crazy to run for fun.

I turned around when I was at 6 miles. Running back to the start put me at 9, and then back to my car put me exactly at 10. Perfect!
This picture is looking up from the river at the clock tower near the start near the casino.

Wouldn't ever go out there again to run, but I'm glad I found the trail. Made it worthwhile and it was a nice change of scenery!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Week 2 - Columbus Training

Sunday - 8 miles, on the trail. First did 3 easy by myself. Then 5 with a friend. Felt great the entire time.
Monday - 0, rest
Tuesday - 3 miles, tired legs
Wednesday - 4.4 miles. 1.3 mile warm up and then ran the Loveland 5K on the trail, easy.
Thursday - 0, rest
Friday - 0, didn't get a bikeride in like I had hoped. Busy day.
Saturday - 10 miles, in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.

The long run went well. I'm not sore today. :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Wednesday Night 5K plus a bit

My friend KS wanted to run 5 miles tonight, so we tried to fit 2 miles in before the free 5K on the trail, but ran out of time. I think we went about 1.3 making it all a grand total of around 4.4 miles.

There were about twice as many people there tonight as the first time Greg and I ran it. Most people left us in the dust (not Greg, just me and my friend). Our first mile was 9:30 and I was feeling great. Seemed like we slowed down a little by the turn-around. Then KS had to pee, badly enough that she had to walk. She waved me ahead so I went ahead and finished. Turns out she had only had around 600 calories today, and kind of bonked. That will do it.

We're going to try to run 5 Saturday. I think she really wants the 5 mile monkey off her back before this 10K we're doing in August. I'm going to suggest we go out painfully slow so we can just finish it, running the entire time, and not worry about our overall time. Every other 5 mile attempt has ended early because I think we start out too fast for her to continue that long.

And after a hopefully successful 5 miles with her, I'm going to run 4 to 5 more to get 9 or 10 in!

Monday, July 6, 2009

First Long Run

Sunday evening, my friend and I planned to run 5 miles. On my marathon schedule, I was slated to run 8. So I decided to run 3 by myself before our run, and then do the 5 with her. This made me a little nervous because her pace is a little faster than me and I was going a total distance I haven't ran in months. I didn't want to ruin her 5 miles. So I ran my first 3 miles very conservatively, along side the trail in the mud to help save my legs. I was nicely warmed up when we met up and began the 5.

I noticed our quicker pace, especially having just ran so slowly. But I fell into a rhythm, and found it to be not bad if I didn't try to talk too much. At the turnaround, we stretched. Then coming back became a little rough for my friend. Turns out she had ran a 5K the day before and her quads were sore. This got worse and worse as we neared the end, and we had to walk a bit here and there.

I am guessing it was the slow 3 and then all the walking during the end of the 5 that allowed me to feel like I had run no more than 3 total. After we made plans for our next run and parted, I went around the block, tacking on another maybe 3/4 mile in order to make sure I actually ran 8 miles total.

I felt great and I'm only a little bit sore today, so overall I'm happy to have had a good-feeling first long run.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Week 1 - Columbus Training

I've decided I'm going to run a marathon. Columbus is October 18th, and that's what I'm aiming for.

I'm optimistic but also realistic. If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. I will still enjoy the training aspect of it (which may sound crazy to some). My goal is to run the distance and feel as good as possible doing so. I plan on biking more to help get myself stronger, something I didn't do (any kind of body strength/cross-training) when I attempted before.

So week 1 has come and gone... only 15 more to go :)

Sunday - 3.5ish hilly miles with a friend (and a long, even hillier game of disc golf- whew!)
Monday - 0, much needed rest
Tuesday - 3.5 miles
Wednesday - 0, bagged the free 5K in Loveland because we had to fix the home internet :(
Thursday - 4.75 in lovely, not humid 70ยบ weather
Friday - 13 mile bike ride, it was a bit hilly and windy. Need to ride on the roads more often.
Saturday - 0 (traveling)

Tonight I'm going to run 8 miles... 5 with a friend and then an extra 3 by myself to get the miles in. Hopefully it goes well, as I feel like this run will be the official kick-off for starting to build miles. I've never split up mileage like this before, but I think it will be great – it won't seem as daunting. I'll have to remember this trick when I attempt to run 20...