Thursday, December 27, 2012

Hardship Run

I have a friend who I run races with on occasion, who says that she believes in hardship runs. You know the runs you do in the rain or without music or on some horrible terrain. Or you know the ones you do in the freezing rain and sleet for nearly 70 tiring minutes with another insane member of your family.

That was my day after Christmas run with my little sister, Rachel. We decided that we were going to do a BIG run. So, we mapped it out and settled on a loop a little over 8 miles starting and ending at our mother's house. Well, when we started it was just really cold, but only sleeting a little bit. We warmed up fairly quickly and the freezing sleet wasn't a big deal for the first few miles.

It wasn't until about mile 4 that the wind and freezing rain decided to really come down. Rachel was running a bit behind me on the road and the sleet was pelting and stinging my face. I had begun to lost feeling in my hands because my gloves were wet and every time a car or truck came by I was splattered with additional water. Also, my legs were soaked and numb as well because I wore cotton leggings instead of spandex (Note to self: Always check the weather before running).

At one point, I said to Rachel: "I won't phone in for a ride, but if someone we know drives by, I will accept a ride." Well, my husband, Hank, did drive by around mile 7. I waved at him frantically, but he just kept driving. My heart sank. I knew we didn't have much further to run, but it was absolutely miserable outside at that point. I told Rachel I had seen Hank and she seemed slightly disappointed as well.

But, lo and behold, my husband had pulled off to the side of the road about a quarter mile around the bend. I have never been so happy to get into our car as I was in that moment. Rachel and I jumped in and he drove us home. When I arrived at my mom's house a few minutes later, I immediately peeled off my wet clothes and hopped in the shower. My thighs were bright red from the wet, cold rain, but the warm shower helped get my body temperature back to normal and once I was dressed, I felt good that I had done it.

I was excited to have run that far in such poor weather. It was the first time I had gone more than about 6.5 miles and I think considering the horrible weather, we ran at a pretty decent pace. I feel like I won't have to subject myself to one of those runs again anytime soon, but it's good practice in case there's bad weather for our 10 miler that's planned in a couple of weeks.

One other note: I remember seeing people run in the rain and cold and would think: "I'll never do that. I'm just not that committed to running." Well, now I'm one of those annoying runners who run come hell or high water. I guess it builds character to tough out the elements once in awhile.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

This Week

I planned to run alot more than I did....

5 miles

Interval training (run to the gym, 20 minutes interval run back)

Interval Training (run to the gym 2 miles in 18:42! and 5 more minutes at a 6.5mph pace)

Thats it. Wow, that sucks.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Jingle All the Way 8K

Yesterday, I ran the Jingle All the Way 8K in downtown DC with a running friend. I was a naughty girl the night before the race and stayed up WAY too late and my speed suffered as a result the next day. Note to self: a good night's sleep does improve physical performance and is a necessity before running 5 miles.

Although I woke up to pouring down rain yesterday, it stopped by the time we arrived in DC, which was fortunate because I really didn't want to run in the cold rain. It was damp and rather chilling to the bone on our walk from the car to the start of the race, but by the time we were at the start point designated by pacing markers (we started at the 10:00-10:59 minute mile marker), there were tons of people waiting to start and it wasn't all that cold to me. This was a very festive race. People dressed like elves, santas, reindeer, and many were wearing hats and accessories to show their Christmas spirit. I even wore my reindeer headband to be a good sport.

During the race, I remembered what I had read about devoting miles to people that you love. It helps to focus attention to form and speed and when I get fatigued, thinking of that person helps me to continue to perform my best. So, by the time I saw mile two I remembered this idea and so my second mile was devoted to my Uncle Scott, who told me the night before the race to "run really fast." I devoted my third mile to my dad and when I started feeling lethargic I thought of his positive phrase: "I can, I am, I will."

My fourth mile was devoted to my brother and his girls. A lot of time when I run, I think of my brother and our memories together. There have been times where I've nearly hyperventilated because I've held back tears thinking about how much I miss him. That's why I also devoted that mile to his girls, so that I wouldn't get too sad. They are living reminders of him and I am so grateful for them.

Despite the dreary weather, the race went reasonably well. I finished in just over 48 minutes, which is slower than I've run in other races, but considering the tiredness factor, I'm okay with that pace. I placed 391st out of 977 females in the 25-29 year-old category. Meh, right around the middle of the pack.

Also, a brief rant about Pacers' events. First of all the race started about 15 minutes late, which is not cool in my book. I want things to start on time. I've allotted a specific amount of time to this and if I am there on time, I expect things to get going as planned. Also, when I went to pick up my "race packet," they handed me my shirt and bib and pointed me in the direction of the bags and safety pins. I had to put my own packet together! I paid $35 to participate in this event, the least they could do is stick the damn t-shirt in the bag. Okay, rant done. All in all, it was a fun time.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


     1.25 miles No time
          Stopped every .25miles to entertain children (ran at a track:)
     .9miles to the gym, 10 minutes on stepper, .2 miles back
     1.8 miles 17:??
     4.6 miles 46:23

Friday, November 16, 2012

That Dreaded Hill....

Today was 3.8 miles, up that dreaded hill again. I made it this time (and immediately started walking after it) then kept running.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I am so happy for Angela who was in the top third for female finishers in the 10K, as well as the top third for her age group, running the 10K at an average speedy pace of over 6.5mph! Woo-Hoo!

Any way, life has consumed me.....and I haven't run since last Saturday!! (2 miles though:) And the plan everyday was to run, have always had my running shoes with me but for some unforeseen reason or another I haven't not been able to get 30 minutes! And today is another day that is going to fall into that category.

But the good news is I found someone to run the MCM with us! Jill said she would run the 17.75K and the marathon and she is really excited about it.

But the week was not completely wasted. I read alot of interesting information about the importance of training (despite my lack of it).

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My 10K Race Results

I'm really excited because I finished my 10K in under 1 hour this morning. Although I think I may have started too quickly and paid the price towards the end, I'm still glad that I set a goal to finish in under an hour and I achieved that goal.

The worst part of the race was around mile 5 when I had a really bad cramp in my side (I don't think I drank enough water or I ran too fast for the first few miles) and I had to walk for a second to dull the pain. I then reminded myself that it was okay to slow down, but that I should at least keep jogging. And so, I started jogging slower and that helped ease the cramp and I was eventually able to resume my race pace. The best part of the race was being able to see the finish line and then of course crossing the line and confirming my goal of finishing in under 1 hour.

This is a really proud day for me because this is one of the few times that I set a lofty physical goal and achieved that goal. I feel like I can definitely train for the Marine Corps 17.75K with no problem and of course for the MCM next October.

Friday, November 9, 2012

My 5K Yesterday

Yesterday was my last run before the 10K on Sunday and I had to run a 5-7K or run for 35 minutes. So, I decided that I'd run to my aunt's house because it's just over a 5K away (3.2 miles to be exact). I really wanted to see if I could complete the 5K in under 30 minutes because it would be a good indicator or whether or not I could finish Sunday's race in less than 60 minutes. 

Well, I'm happy to report that I ran that distance in 29 minutes! This accounts for me slowing down for hills, darkness (some parts of the run were really not well lit), and a BMW that was racing down a neighborhood street and caused me to back up onto the sidewalk as I was midway through crossing the street. Boy was that scary! 

Anyway, I'm pretty confident that I can finish Sunday in less than 60 minutes. Although, I may be just under that time, I'll be proud that I've increased my speed through training. Now, I get to rest for 2 days until the race and I'm really looking forward to it because we are supposed to have nice weather. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

3.1 miles today!

The run I made up went like this:

Segment 1 (4x's; 8:00min)
1:30 min run steady pace (slow)
  :30 sprint (stretching it out)

Segment 2 (3x's 7:00 min)
2:00 min run steady pace (slow)
:20 sprint (stretching it out)

Segment 3 (6x's; 13:00min)
2:00 min run steady pace (slow)
:10 sprint (stretching it out)

Segment 4 (3:00min)
3:00 cool down (just to get me back to where I started)

3.1 miles in exactly 31:00 minutes!! That makes a 6mph pace, but remember this includes 3:00 minnutes of "sprinting" (I wouldn't exactly call it sprinting, more like stretching it out), so it was mostly a slower pace but I think I am getting better!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

My Sunday Run

My Sunday run yesterday went well. I ran it with a friend who is doing the Veterans' Day 10K with me next Sunday. I ran for 57 minutes and covered almost 5 miles, which is a bit slow, but at least I did the long Sunday run. I've stuck to the 4-week training schedule thus far and that makes me proud.

So, this week is pretty easy as far as training is concerned. I have a couple of easy runs and on the cross-training days I am going to do yoga, so I can get some good stretching in. I'm excited for the race next weekend.

I also have a 5K Turkey Trot coming up at the end of the month that I'm running with my friend and husband. Then we'll head up to Delaware and consume massive quantities of calories. I'm fine with that though because I love Turkey Day and I will at least have exercised before the big meal.

What's your goal for this Rachel? How many times are you running? How long, etc.? Blog it.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I'm Still Running

Today I ran 2.9 miles in 31 minutes (5.6mph) but I didn't stop at all!

I ran by the old house on Callow Place.

Thursday I did the big hill again. Still didn't make it up, but did better. :) Yay! Now I think I might actually start a legitimate training schedule soon. So, I am still working over here!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fartleks, Part 2

I did interval training today and yet again, it was not fun. Running at top speed for me gets my heart rate extremely high. I usually reach my maximum heart rate suggested for my age when I run at top speed, which apparently isn't good. But my heart beats abnormally high, so I don't worry about it too much (my cousin has this same issue, I think it's from anxiety or something). 

Anyway, I know that interval training is important for increasing overall speed (or is it overall endurance? I can't remember right now), but it's just so damn hard. I'd rather run at a comfortable pace for an hour than 18 minutes of fartleks. Curse you interval training!

Rachel, you need a goal for this week. What is it? You have those great new running shoes (way better than mine and thanks for giving me my running shoes as I was leaving on Sunday. That would have sucked if I didn't have those for the 10K). Put those nice new shoes to use!  Blog about your effort to move this week. I await your post...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

So, I'm Just Really Sore

I ran today with my sister. While we ran slow, we finished 5.5 miles in 60 minutes. It was nice having a partner to run with and someone to yell at who actually listened to me. Hah. It was quite an enjoyable run, even though one part of the run involved a road with no shoulder and a hill (so cars couldn't really see us). I won't run on that road again. Kind of a scary experience.

Anyway, I feel very sore. Since yesterday, I've had a soreness in my hip and left buttock and now my calves are also feeling sore. I don't think I have an injury, so much as my body is getting used to the training schedule. This is the end of week two and I've clocked a little over 16 miles. That's more than I've run in a long time, I think, if not ever.

I plan to do yoga tomorrow to help stretch some of my muscles and I think a good night sleep will help with the stiffness I'm feeling. I didn't get much sleep last night, as we were at a party hosted by my parents. Probably not the best idea considering the length of today's run, but whatever, I'll be fine. I'm excited for the 10K coming up in 2 weeks. I think I can finish in under 60 minutes. That's the goal at least. Crossing fingers...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Jack and Jill Went Up the Hill...

I have a girl that works with me named Jill (and just to make it clear I am Jack in the title's analogy). She is 21, 5'2 little like a toothpick, sweet and spunky. So out conversation went like this:

Rachel: Hey Jill, you want to go running with me on Thursday?

Jill: Sure!

Rachel: Ok, we have to run at least 30 minutes.

Jill: Ok.

Rachel (laughing): "OK", you say it so sweet like its no big deal.

Jill(laughing): That's the minimum I run.

This is perfect, because Jill's not a runner, just a fit little person thats happy all the time. Here I am alittle fearful about 30 minutes. Anyway...

We run at white clay creek, and I sound like I'm having an asthma attack, and she is carrying on about the bread she is making for her food science class, and her sisters she is going to see this weekend, and the winery she works at............

It was a great scenario though, because (for aforementioned reasons) I couldn't exactly participate in the conversation but she continued to tell me stories, which helped me get my mind off running. But after we turned around we began running back to our lab. And (she did tell me about this but I wasn't paying attention) out of nowhere there is this hill. Not just any hill, it's more like a mountain. Well I tried, but I didn't make it. And the culmination of failure and frustration overwhelmed me and I yelled (more like quietly whispered because I couldn't breathe) "F*&#!!!, I really did not want to stop running." And Jill said, with a smile on her face still: "That's ok, we'll walk up the hill and start running again." So we did, we walked up the MOUNTAIN (its was not a hill) and then started running again.

But now for the insight to my personality...I am way too serious and involved in things. And I'm not at the point yet where I can run up Mt. Everest, and still maintain respiratory composure. But it's not a great big failure, nor the end of the world, and it is just what it is. So with that I did run for about 35 minutes and am no way shape or form ready to run 6 miles on Sunday, but whatever. It's not a big deal, just going to do it and do the best I can, and I when I start to battle in my mind what a bad idea it was to run this far I will hopefully already be three miles out and have no other choice but to run three miles back.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Another 5:45 a.m. Day

I really do NOT like waking up at 5:45 a.m. That's what I did again today to complete my 40 minute moderate run. As I was in the bathroom peeling my eyes open and attempting to get my heart monitor positioned correctly, a huge part of me wanted to just crawl back in bed with my husband. But I knew it wouldn't be easier when I arrived home tonight, annoyed from work and tired from the day. So, I laced up my sneaks, drank some water, and was out the door. 

It's comforting to see people walking their dogs because it's dark and I feel like the only person on the planet who is awake, but beyond that, even the people who are awake aren't running. But I did it, I ran for 40 straight minutes (including just 2 stops, one for a changing traffic light and one to change the Pandora station, it was getting to be a real downer and too slow for running) and I covered a little over 4 miles, which means I'm keeping at least a 6 mph pace. While I know that's really slow for a real runner, it's a pretty good accomplishment for me.

So, this is the second day this week I woke up extremely early (for me) to go for a run and tomorrow will be my third day. I feel energized after the run, but by 10:00 a.m. I am drained. I don't think coffee is the answer to this problem; I may need to just get to bed earlier. Hopefully, I'll get the hang of this training thing.

Well, that's all for now. Happy birthday shout out to, Rachel. Hope you're ready for our big run on Sunday. It looks like it's going to rain, so that'll be extra fun!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I Have a Co-Author

Introducing my very own little sister, Rachel (I call her Ray). She'll be writing this blog with me (editing my spelling and grammar, I hope, as I will be hers) and chronicling our craziness as we get our bodies in shape to run the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) in 2013. This is if we get registered...

So, I was totally obsessing about the marathon again last night at like 10:30, when I was trying to fall asleep from waking up at the crack of dawn to run. Well, instead of reading or doing something that would calm me down and make me sleepy, I decided to read about the MCM and I got totally pumped about every little detail regarding the race. One of which includes the fact that registration fills up almost immediately after it is available to the public (2 hours and some odd minutes for this year's race). This fact made me nervous and got the wheels turning.

Apparently, if a person finishes the 17.75K in March, they are guaranteed a slot in MCM 2013. This might be a good way for Rachel and I to get into shape for the marathon and test our running skills on a big race. I kind of wish it was a half-marathon because that's what I planned to run in the spring. But if this will guarantee a spot in the race in October, I'm going to do this race instead.

Anyway, I didn't go to bed last night until almost midnight because I was getting Rachel set up with her user name on the blog and talking non-stop about the details of the marathon (I'm also reading a book about how to run a 4 hour marathon). I guess tonight will be my early night to go to bed because I have another run tomorrow.

And PS: I might change the name of this blog to be more sister-themed.

Eating Healthy is as Fun as It Sounds

I think that learning how to blog, post and survive on Google+ will be more challenging than running a marathon. I don't know for sure but I will let you know next October 27th!!

This morning I bought a 1.5L bottle of deer park (hooray for water drinking, becuase I don't do this as often as I should, but booooo for buying a disposable water bottle...sorry planet earth) Then I bought a turkey sandwhich with lettuce for lunch (and honey mustard, but shhhh we aren't going to dwell on that part). For breakfast  I ate a protein  pack consisting of a little bagel with a small container of peanut butter, apples, grapes (which I don't even like but I guess I need to start liking them) and a hard boiled egg and a bag of almonds. After I ate that I felt really good until I looked at the nutrition facts, and it said it had 43g of fat!!! What? Are you kidding me? Ok whatever, but it had only 7 g of sat fat? WTF, this protein pack took like 10 seconds to eat, and it was ok, not great, but ok. If I am going to eat something with 43 g of fat it should be drowning in chocholate syrup.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fartleks Are Not My Friends

Today was extremely hard. I heard my alarm at 5:45 and immediately hit snooze. Fortunately, I had set another alarm at 5:50 in order to get my run out of the way this morning. What got me out of bed was the thought of my coworker who is attending boot camp classes at 5:30 a.m. I said to myself: "Karen has already been working out for 20 minutes, I have to get moving." This is my super competitive nature coming out and so I forced contacts into my eyeballs and drove over to my aunt's house.

I would've have run outside today, but the 10K training schedule called for fartleks, which is some fancy Swedish name for interval training. It was a sum total of 50 minutes with a 10 minute warm-up and cool-down period. I read that the warm-up and cool-down was very important to prevent injury. The in between is what kicked my ass. I had to run my hardest for 2 minutes, then run easy for 2.5 minutes, which meant running at a speed where I'm not gasping for air. Then run for three minutes, 2.5 minute easy. So essentially, the workout is: 2,3,4,4,3,2; with 2.5 minute easy runs in between.

Running at top speed, which for me is between 6-7 mph, (Remember, I'm a really slow runner) is extremely tiring at 6 a.m. I don't know that it would have been any easier later in the day or with more food, water, etc. In fact, my long run on Sunday for 45 straight minutes was easier than this today. Supposedly, this interval training helps increase speed, which for my legs' sake, I hope is true.

Ray, I hope you've done something today, even if that something is thinking about running. I'm about to fall asleep at my desk and it's only 9:00 a.m. I feel like I've been up for days. Thank goodness tomorrow is a rest day.

Monday, October 22, 2012

My New Obsession

I ran my first race this month. It was a 5K. I know, I know. Nothing serious, but it was exciting and sparked something in me. If I can run a little over three miles without stopping, maybe I can more...So, I've signed up for the Veterans' Day 10K and started training last week. It's been going well and I've been very committed. Yesterday, I ran 4.5 miles in 45 minutes and stopped twice for a water swig for about 10 seconds each time. It's a slow pace, but I'm still working at getting faster.

This weekend, I was talking to my sister, Ray, a former Marine, and was telling her about how I really want to run a marathon, most specifically the Marine Corps Marathon in DC. I'm going to be 30 next year and I want to have this accomplishment completed as a check on my life list of things to do (Am I too young to have a bucket list?). Anyway, she said that she's wanted to run a marathon too and it'd be really fun to do something BIG together again. So, I gave her homework: run this week to find out how fast she can run a mile.

So, now that I've conned someone into running with me, I'm completely obsessed. I've been reading about running on my commute to work, thinking about training schedules, and just getting really excited about the thought of running a full marathon. I'm even thinking of doing the Nike Half Marathon in the spring with a friend of mine who has a group started. It'd be a good indication of my fitness level for the fall 2013 marathon.

This week's goal for me: Continue on the 10K training schedule.
Ray's Goal: Figure out her running pace and possibly do a big run with me on Sunday.

I'll keep you posted on the results.