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!