Thursday, December 23, 2010

I Just Got Accountable

The week on the page... right in my face...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Broomball at Fountain Square - Season 2. Party In My Tummy is Going All The Way

I've decided that broomball conditioning starts today. Boooyah! It's season 2 at the Fountain Square League for me. And thanks to last year, I know what it takes on the little ice skating rink downtown to be a kickass player.

Our games start January 8th. That's 3 and a half weeks of conditioning fun.

Really we aren't that competitive. There's not even off-sides. But I am desperate for something to motivate me into doing something. And I think a 3 and a half week period of time to get used to sprinting again without my chest exploding is a good thing to aim for.

Party In My Tummy is ready to hit some ice. And we're ready for crepes after every game.

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Dog-like Goose

The neighbors at the corner have a pet Canadian goose. At least that is what seems to be the case.

I noticed back in the summer they had a baby goose in the front yard. It was fenced in with some chicken (goose?) wire and there was a blue plastic kiddie pool in the area. It kept getting bigger and bigger and soon turned into an adolescent goose. And then one day as I ran past, there was a goose chasing me. Like a territorial dog, the goose started at one end of the yard and flew-hopped low to the ground along the property as I ran past. If it could have barked, it probably would have. It cracked me up.

In my recent running hiatus, I hadn't been paying attention to the whereabouts of the goose. Plus, I just figured it probably flew away once it was big enough. But the other day as I was heading out of the neighborhood, I saw the goose in the yard again, watching me and following the property as I ran past. On my way back I noticed that the back yard is fenced in with the chicken wire, a bigger area this time, and the pool is back there as well. I saw the goose sleeping in the pool.

Perhaps this goose can't fly and ended up in their yard so they started taking care of it. Or perhaps wherever a goose lives when it's young is where it likes to stay. Maybe it just enjoys its kiddie pool and chasing runners. If I ever see these neighbors outside, I am definitely going to ask what is up with their unexpected pet.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Time to Schedule Some Time to Make my Schedule... what?

Yesterday I spent some time working on a new training/workout schedule to start following. I have been using a very loose schedule approach for the last year or two. But I think I'm going to start following a less loose (dare I say tighter) approach for a few weeks and see what happens. Also, this is how a beagle flops down beside you to help with your training schedule development:

A brief background: I love schedules and planning. In the past, especially when I first started running, I looked up plans and copied them down on calendars or in notebooks so I could follow them daily. I would plan out races and workouts leading up to them, but without really knowing what I was doing. As time went on I started tweaking the schedules more and more, realizing that I wasn't always going to be able to do what the schedule told me to do, be it because of my fitness level or because of my day. I soon became frustrated trying to follow too religiously, missing workouts and feeling like everything was ruined when that happened. So eventually I adapted a training guideline kind of approach. Last year when I trained for my marathon, the only real scheduled runs were the weekend distance buildup, Track Tuesdays, and I ran during the week with Krista every now and then. I think I just tried to run as much as possible the other days of the week.

That kind of approach really does work for me in accomplishing consistent and happy running: Tuesday track, midweek with a partner, long run on the weekend. However, it only works if those things are present and, most importantly, I have the motivation to carry through with them. Which brings me to the current State of the Running Union. The State of the [my] Running Union is weak.

My motivation is at an all time low, so it's time to make some changes. Enter brand new, shiny, still-has-that-new-car-smell training schedule! I've reflected a lot about my running hobby and how it fits into my life. I'm not so sure I've ever taken this approach, but I do believe it's imperative for developing a successful schedule. I also thought about what my goals are, another crucial element. They are pretty simple. I love running, so I want to run. I love biking and believe I might have some unleashed potential there, so I want to bike. I really like the challenge of improving, so I want to push myself and enjoy the rewards.

Here are the boring details of it all, an overview of the next few weeks. I'm going to "spin" (indoor trainer) 3 days a week and run 3 days a week. I've scheduled times for this to happen that are realistic and current. I'm not going to run in the dark by myself, so morning runs are out and have instead been moved to lunch time. Spinning works after work, unless I work late. That happens from time to time, and for the past month has been pretty much every single night. So, I am just going to bite the bullet and get up earlier so that I ensure myself the time on the bike. I really don't mind getting up early, and it's dark anyway. It's just that I would prefer to not get up that early :)  On the weekends, I will do a long run and a long bike session (Spinflix-style).

I have the daily details scratched out on a piece of paper. I'll be ramping up my mileage and time on the bike back to respectable amounts. I figure I will test this through the rest of the year, and then see what I want to do when January hits. I might want to focus more on one or the other sport, or start training for the Pig. I have some big ideas/dreams about it all, which don't seem to look right on this blog right now. I feel like I'm all talk with nothing to show for it. So for now, it's just about doing what I like to do, and improving at it. When there are results to show, that might warrant more discussion.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Spectating the Mason Half

Sunday, track-BW3s-and-otherwise buddy Roman ran his first half marathon: the former Mason Fall Golden Mini (15K) turned into the Mason Half Marathon. And he did a great job too! He came in 12th in his age group and 43rd overall. 7:35 pace...Not bad!! Congrats, Roman!

We saw Roman start and then headed over to a spot that was around the 4 and 10 mile, since it was partially an out-and-back course. Spectating was fun. We took Dexter to help rally the runners :)  A lot of people glanced at him and smiled, as he shivered in his plaid coat. Why on earth that dog gets so cold with all of the blubber he has to keep him warm is unknown to me. Greg and I took turns running him every now and then to warm him back up.

The other highlight of spectating was chatting with another spectator, Meredith. She joined us at our spot. Her twin sister, Leslie, was running her first half this day also. Greg, Erin, me and Meredith talked the entire time. Looking back, it was crazy how much we actually discussed in the time it took Roman to run 8 or 9 miles. Meredith is from one of the Carolinas (I forget which now). Her sister lives in Columbus and they drove down for the race. Leslie is also leaving for a 2 year stint in the Peace Corps in Guinea, Africa – where she will have no running water or electricity. Meredith does research on Autism, but doesn't do much actual interaction. It is more data crunching from the parents' info. Her parents are divorced and her Dad has done Boston. She ran cross country in school (I don't think college) and thinks a 10K is very very far. :) She and Greg had a lot in common about running. Her mom is a pediatrician and her dad a chiropractor. Her boyfriend is in school to become an art director. She is a vegetarian. She had a book with her she is reading that we all talked about, around the subject of food and good healthy eating. She also had a box of Kleenex in her bag, which made me smile. Someone else in the world prepares themselves with Kleenex at all times. Meredith was really fun to talk to. All in between cheers of "woohoo looking good! way to go runners/walkers! keep it up!"  I was a little sad to leave!

The finish line had some bumpin' music playing, and Roman crossed the line to "California Girls".  Gag!! I was dancing to keep warm. And to entertain anyone that passed. But I think the most success I had was embarrassing Greg. :D  Overall, spectating was very very fun and inspiring! It's been the year of the half. We went to Columbus for Erin's, Roman came to Cincy for mine and Casey's, and Erin and I went to Mason for Romans... and Greg was at all of them :) He gets the award for Best Spectator. Let's call it Best 'Tator.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Early Birthday to Me

I just bought this today off Amazon on mega-sale: the Garmin Forerunner 205.

My old Garmin GPS Speed + Distance system that I've had for 7 years has officially died. Check out the magnitude. It is interesting to see where the technology has come in 7 years I guess. The watch still works, it is the GPS signal-getter that doesn't.


Strap on GPS unit... it was like running with a Walkman strapped to my arm.

It was great while it lasted. Greg got it for me when we lived in Florida, so I could just run all over the place and know how far I went without having to try to map it with the car. I guess this was before or my discovery of Google maps? (Geesh it was only 7 years ago...hmmm) I don't know - but I loved this thing. I'm sad to see it go, except for the fact that now I don't have to wear the hugeness on my arm, which got annoying in the summer.

I really like going out for a run with the ability to check my pace, see how far I've gone, etc etc. If I want to change course, I can – more freedom with planning routes with these crazy GPS things. The new Garmin seems to do everything except lace up your shoes for you. You can program what information it displays, which is you don't have to toggle through things you aren't interested in measuring. It also has a virtual training partner. I hope the partner that comes with mine is a pleasant conversationalist who enjoys movies, long walks (or runs) on the beach, and beer. Hopefully we'll become fast friends.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cincinnati Half Marathon Race Report

Saturday I ran my 5th half marathon, got a PR and had a pretty decent race! My official time was 2:09:49, which averages out to a 9:55 pace. I'm very happy to have averaged under 10s. While I'm super happy with my end time and met some of my goals, I also have some disappointments, namely that I couldn't keep the pace up the entire 13.1 miles. But in the end, I have learned quite a few things from the race.

I had three goals I was keeping in mind for the race. This wasn't going to just be a "go out and run and see what happens" kind of race. Training with Casey, I have gotten a little faster. I wasn't so lazy on my training runs as I have been in the past, by myself. It's very easy for me to settle into a comfy jog. But during most runs we did, I was pushing a little bit. And during the long runs we did, I was running at paces I had never ran before at those distances. So I had plans for this event. I actually "raced" it, for me anyway.  My C goal was sub 2:15:48 which would be a PR. B goal was to run a 10:00 per mile pace (2:11:06). And the A goal was a 9:50 pace, which would be a finish time of 2:08:54.

The race weather was perfect. It was cool, calm, morning around 45ยบ probably. Parking was kind of rough–we tried two garages before finally ending up along the water on the boat ramp. It was free, so that worked out. I got to the start line not too much before it was time to find a place in the crowd. Casey and I said our "see ya laters" to Jannelle and Greg, and tucked into the middle of the pack.

The horn went off and we moved along smoothly. I felt good and calm. Casey realized he had given his gels to Jannelle–doh! But she knew, and when he saw her at the corner down the street a bit, he was able to grab them quickly. That might have been around a half mile? We passed the 1 mile marker in 8:50-something. I immediately thought that was too fast for me. Soon after that, Casey pulled away and I lost sight of him pretty quickly. I settled into my pace, clicking along around 9:15s it seemed from what I heard people with GPSs saying around me. I felt great, but wondered about later.

The course didn't have many hills. There was a hill coming up into downtown, and a couple of long slight inclines here and there. My breathing told me before anything else if we were going up or down. At mile 7 I took a gel. I was happy to have that over with and felt I could concentrate better on just running. I had another to take, but wasn't sure when I'd take it and wasn't worried about it. At mile 8, my watch said 1:16:00 flat. That was a 9:30 pace! I was very happy. With 5.1 miles and about an hour of time left, I knew that unless something horrible happened, I would at least met my C goal of anything sub 2:15:48.

After about mile 9, I began to struggle. People were passing me left and right and I didn't feel like I was maintaining a decent pace anymore. I tried to just stay with 10s and be content with that. I think between mile 8 and 9 was a 9:50 pace. Then between mile 9 and 10 there was a hill coming out of the park that wiped me out. Around mile 10, my knee started hurting from my pesky IT band. What was this? It hadn't hurt during training! I was mad. With 3 miles to go, I didn't know what would happen and all of my progress towards the finish line felt extremely slow and iffy. On top of that, my stomach was cramping and I got a sharp side stitch. At one point, I tried to do some math and figure out what my pace would have to be to get in my A goal of 2:08:54. I thought it seemed possible, then realized I wasn't maintaining a fast enough pace. I gave up on that in favor of just being able to run the entire time. Stupid IT band.

At mile 12 there was an S turn down and over railroad tracks and then into a park. The path was winding concrete sidewalks with sudden ups and downs. Not ideal. I thought about the cobblestone finish of the State to State Half (my first half) and how I had the same thoughts then...this is mean, Mr. Race Director.  I hobbled along, people passing me left and right. Just keep moving forward smoothly, I told myself. I could see the big yellow bridge in the distance and knew the finish was somewhere close to that. My knee hurt really bad. I tried speeding up to see if that would help, but it hurt worse, so I kept it steady.

I saw the finish line and upped the pace to what felt like a respectable hobble. I was cutting it close, but managed to finish just under 2:10! I made C and B goals!!! I was so close to my A goal... it's pretty rough knowing that. But there is something to strive for in my next race.

Me and my high arms...

So, in summary, I am very, very happy that I PR'd and ran well in the beginning! My disappointments lie in the fact that my IT band hurt to a debilitating level and I don't know why it did, and that I couldn't stay strong in the end miles of the race. I wanted to run even-ish splits, not go out quickly just to run out of oomph with 3-4 miles to go and then have the quick miles make up for the slow ones. I suppose if my knee hadn't hurt I might have suffered through it differently. I don't know...

Casey had a super race and finished 1:57:18!!! His first time racing this distance, and he beat his 5K race pace! His running progress has been inspiring and enjoyable to watch.

This was an excellent race. It was the first year for it and was well done. Most importantly, Greg, Jannelle, Roman and Christen were fantastic spectators that I thought of often while out on the 8 mile stretch far away from them! I couldn't wait to see them again. Hopefully this entire report doesn't sound too whiny or down. I'm still in the analyzation phase I guess. Perhaps the fact that I am thinking about it so much is a good sign for what's to come. I have a lot of hope for having more fun at races in the future!

Cincinnati Half Marathon - Complete!

Official time:
2:09:49  |  9:55 pace

Race report coming soon...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Cincinnati Half Marathon is Tomorrow!

Here's the course map!

It's going to be great weather! Chilly for the 'tators, but good for the runners!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Winter Woes Written

So winter is approaching. I know, it's barely fall. But really. It's certainly not summer anymore.

Every year I struggle with winter. I am not a big fan. I appreciate the seasons changing and blabbity blah pretty white snow yaddah yaddah. But in reality, it is not a picture postcard season here in Cincinnati. It's a Nestle Quick chocolate milk spilled all over a slushy kind of scene. From November through March (and sometimes April) it's cold, dark and wet.

This year I've decided to embrace winter. Somehow. [sigh] So here's a list of what I don't like about winter, and how I think I can somehow (somehow!) embrace it. Set to the tone of a shallow women's magazine self help/great idea section.

Steph Writes: "There is too much darkness. I don't like rising out of bed when it's dark. I love opening my eyes to a dimly lit room as the sun is rising. The obvious remedy for this would be to get up later, when the sun is rising. Duh. But if I can't convince everyone to do that..."
Easy Fix! Buy some cute candles! On those dark days when you just have to get out bed and, you know, go to work and stuff, have some cute candles ready to be lit in the places you brush your teeth and wash your face. The bright orange flame will brighten your mood! Carry a favorite candle with you to the coffee maker and watch the flame flicker as you wait for the coffee to brew!!

Steph Writes: "It's always wet out with no snow. OK it's not always like that. But I hate it so much that those days overshadow the rest and I'm forced to talk in dramatic extremes about it."
Easy Fix! Get some cool galoshes! Wear your rubber boots on those particularly saturated days and instantly bring a smile to your face and memory of elementary school to your brain! Jump up and down in some slush and laugh with a co-worker about the pants you just ruined! Make sure you get multiple pairs/colors so you don't have to wear the same ones in a row!

Steph Writes: "Everything is drab. Trees are brown. The grass is brown. My hair is brown. Streets are brown-gray. The sky is gray. The mailman looks grumpy."
Easy Fix! Wear a rainbow! Be the color in the day by sporting rainbow sweaters, scarves and eyeshadow! Or, just a rainbow patch for your jeans! Rainbow fashion isn't in this year? That's OK- check your local Goodwill, where rainbow colors are always in season, and pick some clothes to fill the spectrum in your closet.

OK that's enough I think. Really though. Winter is rough for me. And I seriously do look for things to get me through it each year. I am thinking this year it will be centered around training - on the bike and running. Running has gotten me through winter before. This time I'd like to have a little more focus though. I still need to find something to motivate me and come up with some goals. I think numerous short goals will be best.

So perhaps I will come up with some goofy winter challenges in the next months. Hmmm...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Long Run and Spectating in Columbus

Saturday I ran my last 6 miles before the Cincinnati Half coming up on the 23rd. It went OK... I didn't feel too stellar. Mentally I was pretty out of it. I wasn't too excited to run from my house. I considered just doing 6 x up and down the street to get the 6 in, but didn't want to do that either. I grabbed my Garmin GPS and figured I'd just run wherever I felt like without having to worry about it. But that didn't work either because my GPS is officially dead. Before, I was having problems with it staying connected to the watch, but now it won't even turn on. :( I changed the batteries, haven't looked into anything else that might be wrong with it. Oh well. Maybe in a couple months before I start running distances again I can find some kind of cool new one that's all in the watch. It lasted 7 years. I first got it from Greg while we lived in Florida. It made going out for runs completely different. I didn't have to try to map anything out first - I could just go, which made it much more fun and adventurous.

Anyway, after grumpily mapping out a route, which I ended up having to change anyway while out there thanks to all of the construction on Montgomery, I went out the door with my LogYourRun app on. Turns out it was only .1 miles off (it's not known for its accuracy). I maintained a 10:00 pace, so that's good. And now it's taper week. I will probably bike Monday night, then run Tuesday, easy. Wednesday easy, and then that's it. Rest, hydration and hoping for my best half marathon yet!

Today's activities helped get me a little more pumped for the race. We drove up to Columbus at a bleary-eyed 4:00 in the morning and cheered Erin through the half marathon as she walked it. We saw her at miles 3, 4, 7, 9 and then 12.something to the finish. It was fun! A beautiful day for spectating, I lucked out. My spectators watching me last year froze! I also got to watch our friend from Cleveland, Elizabeth, finish an absolutely amazing marathon and new PR for her. After seeing Erin at mile 9, we ran to the finish line and caught Elizabeth from the opposite corner finishing. She was the second female and finished in 2:49:53!!!!!! Simply amazing - nice job Espeed!

This year's Columbus Marathon experience was definitely brought to you by the letter T. For technology. It was great running around with our phones, comparing the course map printout to a Google map so we could actually find streets to drive on to get to our next viewing spot. And both E and Erin were signed up on Tweet My Time. Their times were tweeted after crossing checkpoints. Nothing seemed to be working on the website and I couldn't get into my twitter account, but it worked on Facebook! So we could see what pace they were moving at. Pretty darn handy. It was also interesting to watch everyone's comments on Facebook as the tweets came through. Everything is so instant now.

This post is horribly void of pictures. I took pics with Erin's camera but failed to get anything of my own, not even a quick shot on my phone. :(

Here's to a restful week and good weather this coming weekend!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Columbus Marathon Spectatorship

This weekend is the 2010 Columbus first marathon that I completed last year. It's an interesting reflection. Sometimes I still have a hard time believing I did it.

This year, I'm going to Columbus not to race, but to watch my friend Erin walk the Half Marathon division of the race. She and her husband Roman (track buddy sometimes pictured on this blog), drove to Columbus last year to watch, cheer me on, and take awesome pictures...throughout the entire 26.2 miles. It was absolutely incredible. I am spoiled; they set the bar pretty high for cheering friends in future marathons!!

The weather is going to be pretty fantastic. It will be fun following Roman around to all the spots to see her. We haven't ironed out plans yet, but I assume that is what will happen. I'm also looking forward to being in the race environment. I wonder if I will wish I was out there doing the marathon again. I can at least very much look forward to my own half the following's almost here!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Window View

This is what I get to look at all day while at work.

I love fall. And it is my favorite season to run in for sure.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

First Fluid Spinflix

The other night I had my first Spinflix session on my bike in the new setup. I wanted to start the Battlestar Galactica series but realized that I haven't watched the DVD of the first episodes yet, which I believe set it all up. So instead I watched a claymation movie I've had in the cue for a while called Mary and Max. Netflix suggested it for me because of some other movies we've watched... and it was a great suggestion. I had to finish it up the following day during lunch.

In my opinion, it is a very very well done movie. Visually it was fantastic, and the story is pretty incredible too. It's one of those stories in which you discover you can see something of yourself. Nothing crazy deep or anything, just something you notice. The two characters are unlikely pen pals. There is a beautiful simplicity in how they happen to share the most matter-of-fact yet inadvertently intimate things with one another in their letters, and form a true bond of friendship. It's an absolutely beautiful depiction of love.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I bought a fluid trainer to replace my LOUD WIND TRAINER THAT I CAN'T HEAR ANYTHING OVER a couple of weeks ago. I have now tried it out a couple of times. Verdict is it's 100% awesome.

The days are getting shorter and riding after work is hard. I'm happy to have found a trainer at a decent price that works so well for the type of indoor riding I want to do. My setup now allows for a few options: watch Netflix instant cue (TV shows or movies), watch music video playlists, watch shows on Hulu, or just listen to music. I suppose I could pop in a DVD movie too, since I think my laptop has a DVD player in it. All great things to help with various workouts on the bike. I also plan to start doing strength training out jelly arms are getting old. I guess the space is just my own little workout area. Still running outside...that won't change :)

The trainer is out in the "basement" (our attached, heated-but-cooler-than-the-house garage).
So here's my geeky picture of the setup from the bike point of view...

A. TV monitor
B. Lappy, the hook-up for and anything else on the internet
C. Receiver
D. The Wii, which has a disc in it from which we can stream our Netflix instant cue
E. Books to stack my lappy on so it can reach the cord and be away from the speakers
F. Speakers which fill up the room nicely with sound (still working, Dad!)

I'm thinking the Netflix type of workouts will just be time in the saddle, moving at a decent pace but more for longer times. The music workouts will be more like a spinning class. I've already done this once, for a few songs. It was great.

I'm slightly excited about all this!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Half Marathon History

As the Cincinnati Half Marathon date approaches, I thought I'd take some time to research my previous times. Thanks to an awesome site called, this wasn't too hard!

State to State Half Marathon 2004 (my first and best) 9/27/04
2:11:23  |  10:22 pace  |  The website results say it was only 12.68 miles! Dumb!
summary: Very very sore knees, blamed on old shoes.

2006 Fying Pig Half Marathon 5/1/06
2:17:37  |   10:30 pace
summary: Getting over some sickness made it a little rough.

2008 Akron Half Marthon 9/27/08
2:43:54  |  12:31 pace
summary: The tail end of being sick, and about 40 pounds overweight.

2009 Flying Pig Half Marathon 5/3/09
2:35:25  |  11:51 pace
summary: Under-trained. Had to walk a lot. Not fun.

So. My first half marathon was my best. That is pretty funny.
I have now ran 11 miles at a 10:09 pace. So, it is quite possible that I could get a PR at the Cincy one October 23rd, and that is what I'm aiming for. It will be my first ever attempt at a long distance PR...hmmmm....

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sidecut Park

Quite a few weekends ago (I think it was the last weekend in July) I did 7.5 miles up in Perrysburg at Sidecut Park. It was within running distance to from the inlaws, and all shady trails and paths. I wish there was something so convenient to run to where I live.

There was some nice scenery.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Catchup. Or catsup. Or ketchup.

Well, I got an anonymous "crickets..." comment on my last entry. Hint taken. Guess it's time to get back to this blogging thing.

Recent race highlights...Powder Keg Trail Run was quite possibly the most fun I've ever had at a race (other than my marathon). I should still give a bit of a write-up to that before I forget it all.

Training... for the Cincinnati Half Marathon is going well. I was sick a couple of weekends ago and somehow kept a slog up to finish around 8 miles. Now 10 has been conquered at the fastest pace I've ever ran 10 miles.

Biking...I get a ride in when I can. I am trying to figure out what to do over the winter. Because I think I would like to do more biking next year. busy. Nice and busy again. Not the greatest of projects, but the steady work is much appreciated and will hopefully allow for Fill Creative to gain some ground to be able to seek out some stuff we would like to do. Also, I have been trying to draw more, and was blissfully drawing regularly for a while. But it has been hard to fit it in recently. I'm hoping to fit it in again soon. The motivation is definitely there.

And now, because pictures make this blog better...

Wednesday night bowling.

The odd nubby things you could win in the claw game.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Woah - it's been too long! I need to get back to posting on this thing. Perhaps with a different outlook also. I've tried to make this blog interesting through sharing my running and racing adventures. But the truth is the daily running stuff just isn't all that exciting. So I think I'm going to try to dive in a little deeper and see what else I'm thinking around the subject of running.

For now, I have a slight cold. The 10 mile run that was supposed to happen this weekend got cut short to about 8 and it was slow and very painful. I felt like I could have laid down at any time and just fallen asleep. We'll do 10 next week. There are 7 more weeks until the half marathon - woohoo!

That's it for now. The Powder Keg 5K race report is in the works!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Riding Again

I've been getting back out on the bike, which is great. Last week I rode Monday night with Rich and Glen (briefly) at the shop. Glen left us to take a speedy solo ride. Thursday I snuck away from work and got a 17 mile ride in with my friend Richard who was in town for a couple days and is getting into biking. I didn't go over the weekend at all, but did another shop ride last night with Rich. We went slowly, which was great. 34.6 miles total. No knee pain. Sore neck and back, but that's just me getting used to the position again.

Now for the biking to help the running.

Tonight is track. Not sure what I'll do - maybe 5 x 800. We've decided to venture back to Mason and avoid the track traffic at Sycamore for now :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Track Night - Changed Venue

1 mile warm-up
4 x 800: 4:07, 4:17, 4:17 and 4:20
No cool-down. Left. Quickly.

We tried a different track tonight: Sycamore Jr. High. Here are my ratings (out of 5 stars being the best)

Track surface: *** 3 stars. It was old school and just fine. Made us all go into conversation about what our high school tracks were like.
Track location: ***** 5 stars. Easier for Greg and Roman (and Shaun when he comes) to get to. We might be able to start earlier, which would be nice.
Track markings: ***** 5 stars. They must have just painted them again. I don't really care about this, but thought the bright, fresh paint was worth mentioning ;)
Track etiquette: * 1 star. There was zero track etiquette. It was completely overrun by a bunch of rude people that thought they owned the track for their group workout. Very very annoying.
Harper's Point BW3's: *** 3 stars. It is part of track night! They didn't split the wing sauce allotment to the satisfaction of anyone who was getting wings. Personally, I'm a little winged out right now and ordered some gross flatbread thing. Bleh. Everyone agreed that the Tylersville BW3's is better.
Company: ***** 5 stars. (As usual.) The more the merrier, so I'm glad Christen did some recruiting for this week :)

So that was track night at a different venue. Stay tuned to see what happens next week... Will Roman throw a sharp elbow at the crabby woman in purple? Will Erin say excuse me or bite me after tripping the women who cut her off just to slow down in front of her? Will Steph scream TRACK! at the top of her lungs at the 4-abreast walkers taking up lanes 1 - 4??? Find out next Tuesday evening on... TRACK TALES!!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cincinnati Half Training

Training is underway. I feel great. The distance thing is all coming back to me, and I'm really looking forward to bumping up the weekend runs and seeing what happens (both to me and Casey). This is going to be my 5th half marathon, and I had a comforting and pleasant realization recently: I know what I'm doing. I've covered the 13.1 miles 4 other times on 3 different courses: Cincinnati Flying Pig, State-to-state, Akron and another Flying Pig. So...I've done this before! Realizing that has greatly helped this slow runner's confidence.

Last week's workouts were OK, though I still didn't get all of the days I wanted in there. But this past weekend Casey and I ran 8.25 miles, and I feel like the training is definitely underway. My legs feel good. And for the first time in a long time, nothing hurts!

Tonight I am planning to go on the group ride with Cycle Sport. However...see that last statement in the previous paragraph? Nothing hurts right now! My hips and knee (which I think has gotten tweaked from past bike rides) are all good. So I'm not going to go 30+ miles with them like we usually do. I haven't been on my road bike since the Caesar's Creek Duathlon and have only done one spinning class. So I'm shooting for 20 easy miles. Likely, this won't be what Rich and Glen are doing, but I'll shoot Rich an email just in case. It will probably be a solo ride, which is fine.

Here's to a good week of training! (and cooler temps? maybe??)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Track Night in the Heat

All were in attendance tonight. :)  Our little track club is so fun. We need a name. And we all need nicknames. I've decided this.

Christen (aka ABP) and Shaun (aka ultra-Shaun)

Roman (aka Boom Shakalaka) and Greg (aka Runs With Like Kenyans)

OK so maybe we don't need nicknames.

We warmed up a mile and then, as people were trying to decide what to do in the heat, Shaun and I were talking about doing what I know as "Indian Runs" - or something like that. I didn't do track in school, but ask a track person and they will know what I'm talking about. You all run in a single file line. The person in the back sprints up to the front and sets a new pace. As soon as they are at the front, the new person in the back does the same...and so on and so on.  I've done these workouts when I trained with a group at Fleet Feet. We went round and round a neighborhood doing this for a few miles. It was TONS of fun. Tonight, it was TONS of hard.

Here you have Roman, who is super fast. Greg and Shaun who are fast. Christen and I who are, uh, not fast. Christen just started running again, so she's just getting her body used to things again and will soon be fast. And I am just plain slow. Guess who suffered? 

The order, I think, was Christen, me, Shaun, Roman, and Greg. The pace line would get so spread out when the guys were leading and before I'd have to sprint that I probably had to travel double as far to get to the front. Meanwhile the speedy guys bounded to the front, under my recovery pace, with ease. The pace they set was not an easy pace for just running- so basically the only chance I got to recover was when I lead the pack...for a bout 5 seconds! We did this for a mile. It was a brutal workout for me and Christen, but a really good and fun one too! I definitely think Christen and I benefited more from the workout than the guys did. 

After that Christen, Shaun and I ran some more laps to cool down while Greg and Roman did another couple of miles. Now we have two fun change-ups to track night when we feel like it: Stadium stairs and whatever it is we did tonight...I'll call it Line Sprints?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Schedule for This Week 8/8 - 8/14

Here is the plan for this week's training. 

Sunday - We disc golfed. It was good walking around outside time.

Monday - Spinning at 5:50 a.m. ...that's right! I'm going to go resurrect the Community Center Membership. If I get up. It's already 10:25...

Tuesday - Track Night. 4 x 800 with 1 mile warm up and 1 mile cool down. 4 total miles.

Wednesday - 4 miles

Thursday - Spinning at 8:15 or bike ride on the trail

Friday - Off, strength

Saturday - 8 miles

Training for the Cincinnati Half Marathon October 23rd. I'm pretty excited!!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Track and Four Miles

Tuesday was track night. We hadn't been in a couple of weeks and I was anxious to go back and feel speedy.

When we got there, the skies opened up and huge yet soft drops started pelting us. We ducked into the tunnel under the stands while the downpour happened, which was maybe for 1 minute. Then we went back out and it was just humid and sticky.

What looked to be the entire lot of boys who'd like to play football for Mason was out in the field and swarming the track. It was junior high and high school boys, and probably early practice before try-outs. It was a chaotic mess of black and green shirts and skins out on the field. There were different groups scattered on different parts of the field doing drills. They were loud and happy and pretty funny to watch, really. Most of the times, the drills were pushing the edges of the field. We had to be on the lookout for balls overthrown onto the track and the pack of stinky boys chasing after it. It made for an interesting time!

I warmed up 1 mile, then did 400 repeats, walking 200s in between. Times:

Then I cooled down a mile. It felt pretty good. I don't think I could have done more than 4 repeats without slowing down.

This morning I ran 4 miles with Casey and it was a little rough. The air was so thick. My legs were lead-filled for about a mile and half then were fine. But the air never un-thickened. I haven't been sleeping well this week and that is how I felt.

Saturday a few of us are doing a 5K in Mason- Asha for Education. It starts in the park and goes through there and looks like the path along the road by the map. It won't be flat, but it won't be Idlewild either. I'm really really looking forward to a decent 5K maybe the same time as what the Tri for Joe time was, which now is feeling more and more like it was some kind of fluke. We'll see I guess.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Running After the Du

There goes a pack of high school boys running on the sidewalk...  I remember sitting here looking out this window back in the winter, lamenting how I couldn't run. I was reminded each day of this fact as I watched countless people braving the winter weather for a jog. Eventually, Evil Foam Roller - uh- rolled into my life [cymbal crash], I finally started making progress on my IT band, and voila!  Here I am enjoying each and every run I go on, even if they aren't perfect.

After the duathlon Sunday, my knee ached from my IT band. Badly. During the end of the race I questioned whether it was going to hurt so badly I'd have to hobble across the finish line. I didn't really talk about it, other than "my knee was sore" because I didn't want to worry about it. But the fact was, it hurt just as bad as it did when I was injured and couldn't run, and in the back of my mind that is where I thought I was headed–time off. The entire day Sunday and Monday it throbbed and hurt to walk. The good thing that comes from being injured is that you learn how to treat yourself, and maybe can jump start treatment for things quicker. I rolled on EFR, gritting my teeth from the pain. I iced multiple times throughout the day. I took Advil in the beginning. I massaged the sore spots I could pinpoint. I talked that IT band into relaxing. Back off, IT band! 

This morning was the first time I've ran since Sunday, and I was nervous. But it was 4 miles of greatness. My legs were definitely still sore from the race. I could feel my muscles protesting that they would rather not have to carry my body for 4 miles, with some of the distance at a quicker pace. We stopped to stretch once because I felt my entire right leg tightening...I jumped on the chance to get it back in control and it worked. 

So, even though it was a painful run in terms of effort, I was elated to have no knee pain whatsoever from my IT band. I suppose I should take a minute to thank Evil Foam Roller:  Evil, you're hard and made out of "foam" which should really just be called "rock," and you usually just sit quietly in the corner. But you're always there when I need you to inflict healing pain on me. And you don't seem to mind my cursing and foul mood when I'm done with you. Thanks for being round. And evil.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lifting...for the first time in a long time

Tonight track was cancelled by the Thirty + Track Club...or Old Fartleks...or whatever it is we decide to call ourselves. It was raining really hard, and two of the three members of our huge club had other obligations getting in the way. So, we met for dinner instead. That meant I lifted. I had to do something. And I really really really really ... really need to work on this mushy weakness I call my upper body.

I did a short circuit that seemed to touch on everything a little bit, the best I could. I even threw in some core and leg therapy stuff. I need to refine the workout more, but it was a start, and it made me feel like I'm moving in the right direction.

Here is Dexter, watching from the couch, approving of my form. But not approving of the huge orange ball coming at him.

Caesar Creek Duathlon - official time

The results are up, and here are my official times, which weren't far off at all from Greg's watch. Same averages apply.

5K Run1:  30:01
T1:  1:52
22K (13.6 miles) Bike:  50:23
T2: 1:48
Run2: 34:30

Total: 1:58:34

And a finish line photo:

Monday, July 12, 2010

Caesar Creek Duathlon - race report

Unofficial results from Greg's stopwatch:

5K Run1:  30:22 --- 9:48 min/mile
T1:  1:49
22K (13.6 miles) Bike:  50:22 ---- 16.22 mph average
T2: 1:46
Run2: 34:27 --- 11:07 min/mile

Overall it was a fun day, but I wish I had done better. The weather was good. The bike course was very hilly. The 5K should have been challenging but doable at a faster pace. It just wasn't my day physically I guess. I still had a great time. I just wish I could feel better about the overall performance. 

Greg took pictures again (thanks!)  And Casey and Jannelle came to watch, which was awesome and made the day very fun! 

Walking to the start. I felt fine. But I never really did feel pumped up and "race ready". 

At the duathlon start line. 

View of the group of the duathletes. Hard to tell how many people did the du...maybe 100?

View of the swim start.

Starting...hopeful and calm.

Coming into transition after the first run. I was so slow. I was hoping mile markers were marked wrong. Not sure why, but I just couldn't go any faster. 

Leaving on the bike...(and wooowooo look at that guy in the background! Vest and no shirt, lol.) I was prepared to start feeling better about myself with a kick-ass bike race. The course womped me though. It was hard to tell how I was doing because my speeds varied so greatly. 35 mph down hills....5 - 10 mph up some of the big climbs. 

Coming into transition after the bike. I got a bad calf cramp in the last mile, which was thankfully downhill so I could just slowly spin and work it out.

Ballet-like dismount. I have no idea why I got off the bike this way, as I have never done it like this and I'm always afraid I am going to fall. I think I saw the person in front of me and just did it without thinking. Which I suppose proves I can in fact dismount properly without falling.

Ouch - clomp - ouch - clomp

Heading out for the final legs weren't moving well at all. It was a shuffle for the first mile.

Uuugggg...almost there...

The finish line. It was a meager push to the end. I was exhausted. That woman behind me - we kept playing leap frog on the bike. Actually I played leap frog with a few ladies out on the bike course. I would always pass on the down hills and then be passed on the up hills. A sign my legs weren't performing well I guess.

So, that's it. Nearly 2 hours. Not my best for sure, but there's always the next race.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Few More Days...

I'm looking forward to Caesar Creek duathlon Sunday. I'm taking the next few days off, hydrating and trying to eat well. Thankfully these 95+ degree temps are subsiding tomorrow. Otherwise it would make for some nasty race conditions.

Here's a map of the course. Yellow highlights the bike course (which I've made note of so I don't go the wrong way this time) and the orange is the out-and-back 5K run portion. I still need to clean my bike and get my nutrition for the day, just some gels and chews. If temps are close to what they were at the Tri for Joe, I'm hoping for a very similar race performance. The bike course is hillier, so I'm not entirely sure what that will mean for my bike times, or the run after. I'm most concerned with the run–being able to keep those paces again would make me very happy! It's new territory for me.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4th of July Weekend

This past weekend was nice–stayed in town and relaxed with numerous grill-outs. I got in another bike ride on Saturday with some hills, so I was happy about that. I might try to do one more before the du.

I left from my house, and planned on winging a route out into the country. I took Davis and just kept going...and eventually found my way to the bike trail! I had no idea I could get to the trail that way. There is still a very nasty big hill to climb up, but hey, that's what training is for.

I wound my way down this hill–it took a sharp left at the beginning and then just kept going. I was going 40 mph, a little above the 35 mph speed limit of the road :)  Then, I was on a slightly rolling, curvy part of the road along the river–the opposite side from the trail. Soon I came to Old 3C, which surprised me. I popped out here, crossed the river and got on the trail by the Monkey Bar. Yay for a new and much better route to the trail other than the only other one I knew about which was Old 3C–a very bumpy, shoulderless road that I never had any intention of riding down.

Since my original intention had been to ride roads, I decided I would take the part of the trail that goes to Lebanon. As I remembered it was kind of hilly, or at least not as flat as the main trail. When I got near Lebanon, I climbed the longest hill ever. I remember doing this part of the trail a few years back after it was new and had just opened...Greg and I were on our mountain bikes and I don't think I made it all the way to the top before having to hop off. Unfortunately, the start of the hill is after a stop sign, so there wasn't any momentum to help in the beginning...I just had to start going. I shifted down into my lowest gear and kept a constant rhythm on the pedals that matched my heavy breathing. It was so hard. I was completely maxed out–couldn't have gone any faster or my lungs would have exploded. I reached the top and slowly kept pedaling, gradually gaining some speed again as I recovered. I moved to the road that ran parallel to the trail. After some more rollers and the road ending into 48, I turned around and headed back.

That hill took a lot out of me. But I still managed 17 - 19 mph on my way back. When I got back to Davis, however, I bailed on the hill. One very tough hill was enough for this day, a week before the du. I wanted to save my knee. And I also didn't feel like falling over in the road when I wouldn't have enough energy to reach the top...which I was 99% certain would happen :) So I walked it, and even that had me huffing and puffing loudly.

At the top of that hill I got back on my bike and rode slowly as I recovered again. I was looking forward to getting home and drinking something other than water. Something with flavor.

I made it back and collapsed on the floor, but not before pouring myself a tall glass of sweet tea. It tasted wonderful.

So now it's 5 more days until the du. I'm hoping I can conquer the hills around Caesar's Creek pretty well this year. There will be a lot of gear shifting going on.