Sunday, September 30, 2007

Goodbye September - My Biggest Month (in miles)

September is the biggest training month (miles wise) that I have ever had. With the races and such coming up, it will probably be the biggest this year. Although I don't put in those 50+ mile weeks like some folks that are seriously training for a marathon, I am amazed I even found time to do 150. And as it turns out, going that extra 2 miles while running with Maddy today rounded out the number (no need for junk miles).

Now it is just 4 more weeks until the Marine Corps Marathon! The two friends who were originally signing up for this race with me won't be running. Both had very good reasons for not running it this year. Fortunately, a co-worker of mine and his wife are both running MCM and staying in Crystal City (as I am) so I hope to hook up with them. We won't be running together. They are going for BQ's! But it will be fun to know a face in the crowd.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Miracle Mile 15K

Today my husband and I ran the Miracle Mile 15K road race through downtown Orlando. The race conditions were pretty good, temperature in the low 70's and some humidity but not oppressive. The start time was 7:00 am - just after it the sun came up.

After suffering from a headache on and off (mostly on) for the past two days, I was excited to wake up this morning headache free and ready to run! We got down to the race area around 6:15 am and the crowd was already gathering for the race. This is a rather large event that includes a 5K and Kids Fun run in addition to the 15K.

When we got there we found Shirley working her usual station - the computer at the Start/Finish. She was busy so after chatting a bit we headed out to warm up.

My husband opted to run with me the entire race - which was great. I think we kept each other going. I brought the iRiver along, so hopefully, if I ever get to producing the podcast again, you will hear about the race sometime :-). We ran 3 min and walked 1 per his routine. I worked to keep my pace up a bit more so the total pace would be under 11 min/mi.

I was Garmin challenged as I forgot to start my timer at the start of the race, then turned it off after the 1st mile (I started it around a half mile in). I finally started it back up from scratch at 2 miles. Toward the end of the race, the battery was running low....I hadn't charged it since my trip to South Dakota!

We had a great race. Last year my husband ran it in 1:46:23 and I finished in 1:52:27. Our goal was 11 min/mile which would be a finish of just over 1:42.

And the results...drum roll please....

We finished in 1:39:57, a 10:43 min/mi pace! A course and 15K PR for both of us! And wow, a great improvement over last year.

I competed in a new age group - the 45-49 year olds. Here are race stats:

I came in 615 out of 878 total finishers
276 out of 451 women
32 out of 54 for my age group

This is much improved over last year's results (718/804, 339/402, 57/63).

I may have some speed left in me yet!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Kindness of Strangers

So here is the rest of the story....

When I got to my class this morning, one of the students suggested I call the police station to see if my license had been turned in. The student even handed me the Sioux Falls police department number.

During the time when I wasn't teaching, I stepped out and made the phone call. The first lady I spoke with referred me to the Crime Lab, who usually deals with found property. When I spoke to the Lab, they checked and voila! They had my license.

This afternoon I went to the police station to pick up the license. After handing me the license and getting my information, she then said, "Oh, and this is yours too" while handing me $3 - the money I lost with the license. My reply: "Wow, I didn't expect this back - thank you so much!" When I asked them where it was found, she indicated an intersection that I remembered running through along the path (not the bathroom or the football park).

So, what did I learn from this "running adventure":

1. Get a Road ID bracelet and stop carrying a driver's license when running!
2. Although things seemed pretty bad, it could have been worse in so many ways.
3. Never underestimate the kindness of strangers or the hospitality of a small town / city.
4. I am a very blessed person.

Everyone I have encountered here in Sioux Falls has been friendly, helpful and hospitable (never annoyed or put out) during my stay. When I first got here I thought I had found a relatively dead city - little crowds, quiet and slow. Now I can see that the life is in the people who are here - who take the time to care about people they don't even know. The point is that people who are like that are EVERYWHERE! Instead of assuming that people are detached, I can think of people as friends I haven't met yet.

So I am on schedule to travel home on the early morning flight to be home tomorrow afternoon. Thank you everyone for your good thoughts and encouragement. I really am blessed.

Now I think I will do a few more work items and go for another run....

Happy Ending After All

Quick update - license found. I feel a run coming on this afternoon :-)

More later.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Great Running But a Not so Happy Ending

Running here in Sioux Falls has been great. When I got in Sunday afternoon, although it was hot and windy, I got out to do a few "junk" miles to push my weekly total over 30. It was a beautiful run, one I would not call "junk."

Today the weather became rainy, but by the time I got out of work, the rain had stopped - and although it was still cloudy, I figured I could get in a quick run. The temperature was around 70 degrees and there was a nice breeze - great weather for a run.

My Garmin was having a hard time finding satellites so I decided to just start running using the timer. I figured I would run for 30 min, turn around, run 30 min back - that should amount to a 5+ mile run. Along with me I brought my cellphone, room key, drivers license and a 5 dollar bill in case I decided to get something to drink.

What a super run! The air smelled and felt like a cool fall day. I ran hard and enjoyed the run. Along the way I ran by a field with multiple Junior Football games going on. There I bought a bottle of water. Then I kept running. About 31 min into my run I decided to turn around. On the way back, I made a pit stop at one of the park bathrooms, then sprinted the last bit. I felt great!

As I walked into the hotel I stopped at the vending machine to buy a Powerade with the change from the water...and the 3 dollars I had with my phone was gone. Not only that - so was my drivers license. I went up to the room to see if perhaps I had left the license there. I ran back down the trail a bit but didn't see it toward the end. I was too tired and it was starting to get dark, so I didn't want to retrace my entire run, so I jumped in my car and drove back to the small park where I stopped to use the bathroom....nothing there. I ran up and down the trail near there with no result. Next I drove over to the football game - and checked with the counter where I bought the water, also checking the lost and found...nothing.

I drove to two more small parks along the running route and spoke with other walkers and runners asking if they had see anything. Still nothing. I let them know which hotel I was staying in just in case they found it. It was now too dark to look any longer.

So I now have another dilemma. Not having a drivers license means I can't fly home. I have no government issued identification. I called my wonderful husband who will be fedexing my passport to me tomorrow. I will have to leave even later on Wed than planned. I am just so depressed. If I am feeling up to it, I may take a run tomorrow to see what I can find...or just to enjoy the cool weather for one more day. The high temperature for tomorrow is suppose to be 58!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Great Week of Training and My Next Trip

Well this has been a great week of training. I have been running some of my runs with my best friend and partner in life, my husband. He is in training for his first marathon - the 2008 Walt Disney World Marathon on January 13, 2008. We will be running that one together.

Since he is a foot taller than I am (with legs comparably longer) he has to run pretty slow to stay with me. This has helped him ease into training and running the longer distances. He also has been running 2 min and walking 1 (until today). So I pick up my pace a bit since I get more walking breaks. I use the mid week runs as my "interval" training.

On Tuesday I trained alone and did an easy 5 mile run (since I was still in a bit of recovery from my 21 miler on Sunday).

On Wednesday my husband and I ran 5 miles together in the evening hours (began light but dark by the time we got home). About a mile and a half from home it also started to lightly rain. It was an incredible run! The rain felt great and our pace was 11:07 min/mi with 2 min run and 1 min walk. There were moments as we ran in the dark and rain that I really felt connected to the universe! Very cool run.

Thursday was a rest day.

On Friday I trained on my own, beginnning a series of mid week training runs to help get my pace up a bit faster. I had send a note to Shirley about my concern that my running was slower this year than I was in the same point in training for Disney last fall. I wondered if I still had time to bring my pace up a bit before MCM, which is now just 5 weeks away. She told me that although I need to taper the last 3 weeks before the race, that is a reduction in mileage. I could still run some quality shorter training runs (speed work, tempo runs) all the way up until just before the race. Determined, I set out to run a faster pace for my run Friday morning.

Friday is also the closest I have come lately to not running....I almost went back to bed twice. But after reminding myself that I have never regretted getting up to run, I pushed myself out the door. I had a great 5 mile run, aided by a 173 bpm Podrunner mix. Although the heart rate was high (this I expected), I ran it at a 10:24 min/mi pace. This is much better than my pace has been of late. So I will continue to work that.

Today I did my weekly long run since I will be leaving on a business trip tomorrow to Sioux Falls, SD - where I will be teaching a PM class for a couple of days. I am on a step back week while my husband was scheduled for a 12 miler - his longest ever training run. We decided to run it together. We would run 3 min and walk 1 min. We had trouble getting up early today so we ran it late this afternoon - leaving the house around 4:30 pm with the plan to be home around 7 pm.

We had a great run! I felt a bit tired out about mid way through but caught a second wind around 10 miles and actually sped up. Meanwhile my hubby, who had been keeping his pace slow to run with me, was starting to feel the miles toward the end and had to work to keep up with me :-) We finished our 12 miles in 2:28:28, a 12:22 min/mile pace.

Tomorrow, if I am feeling up to it, I may run a few miles on a local trail that runs right by the hotel...maybe 3 junk miles to get my total over 30 :-). I am planning to run Mon evening and Tues evening. Temps on both days are going to be in the upper 60s (I am in heaven!).

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Marine Corps Marathon Bib # 24639

I just got my confirmation for MCM along with my bib number. Runner number 24639. Less than 6 weeks away...I can hardly believe it!

A New Running Podcast!

There is a new running podcast on the street called "The Diabetic Runner." Jamie has been a diabetic for 16 years and a runner for about 1 year. He ran his first marathon at the same time and place as I did (Disney World Marathon in January this year). He has been recently inspired by the running podcasts that are out there and decided to try his hand at making his own.

I think he did a great job, so be sure to give him a listen (and he didn't even pay me to say that).

Monday, September 17, 2007

What a Year!

I had the Buckeyeoutdoor site do a report for me from Jan 1 through today and here is what my running summary was:

Running Summary
Runs: 134
Avg. MHR: 170.5
Avg. AHR: 154.0
Avg. Time: 01:03:09
Total Time: 141:03:06
Avg. Speed: 5.1 MPH
Avg. Mi Pace: 11:42
Avg. Dist.: 5.4 Mi
Total Dist.: 722.8 Mi
Avg. Cal. Burned: 553.0
Total Cal. Burned: 74105

The numbers I thought were really interesting were the Total Time, Total Miles and the Total Calories burned.

141 hours (almost 6 days)
722 miles (almost the distance from Orlando, FL to Richmond, VA)
74,105 calories (37 days of eating 2,000 cal/day)

I have run 141 hours in the 260 days so far in 2007, which means I have spent 5.3% of my time running. I have also run on about 50% of the days this year.

One more item of note. My Excel log tracks my progress toward an annual goal. After yesterday's long run, I finally caught up on my miles and am on track (slightly ahead) to complete the Tinkoff 1000 this year.

It's a good day to be a runner!! :-)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

4 Hours 44 Minutes and 21 Miles

Today was the day - I was going to run my first 20+ mile training run for my next marathon (Marine Corps), now just 6 weeks away. I missed my first 20 miler a few weeks ago so today was a big day.

I have been resting up the last couple of days, although last night was the first time my husband and I were able to celebrate my birthday - so we were out until 11:30 pm. I probably got to bed around midnight, fueled up with steak, lobster, a lovely glass of pinot grigio and some asparagus. Not exactly the ideal pre-race meal, but believe me, I savored every bite and figured I would run many of those calories off the next day.

I woke up ahead of the alarm around 5 am with a bit of a headache so I popped some Tylenol 8 hour and layed down for the remaining 25 min of sleep time to rid myself of the headache. I finally rolled out of bed around 5:50 am. I realized that I was not going to get out of the house as early as I would have liked - which means I would finish later than I would like. At 6:35 am I was heading out the front door, packed for the first 10 miles of my long run. I expected to be challenged by the run - and with an expected finish of around 11 or 11:30 am, it was also going to be very hot by the time I was logging the last few miles.

I went out very easy working to keep my heart rate as low as I could as long as I could. My running pace was 12:35 - 12:40 pace which was a good one. I kept my heart rate down under 150 bpm for the first 10 miles of the run - a great result!!

But as predicted, I started to struggle as the sun climbed into the sky. By mile 15 I could feel myself losing some steam. At 16 - 17 I was fighting hard to keep going and not head home. But I was determined. I was going to finish 21 miles if I had to walk the last 3 miles. And I did quite a bit of walking during those last 3-4 miles. The legs were willing but the body (heart rate) was struggling with the heat. Temps were around 88 degrees F with high humidity and not very much wind. My route did not offer much shade.

At 18.5 I knew I was going to finish since I had to complete the distance in order to get home (this was my turn around point). I continued to walk with short running breaks. About a mile from the house my husband met me in the car with the kids. They were headed to the store to get, among other things, some ice for my ice bath. He had already filled the tub with cold water for me. I finished up the final mile - extremely hot and exhausted. While waiting for the ice, I spent time in the tub just cooling my body down. Then the ice arrived.....and my legs greatly appreciated it.

(finishing this write up on Mon)

I spent the rest of the afternoon resting my feet which hurt for some time - and napping a bit. Around 6 pm we made a trip to the store and I felt pretty good.

Today, I feel some of the stiffness - but otherwise doing great!

Lessons learned on this long run:

1 - Start EARLY. I need to finish earlier in the morning - which may mean getting out there the time that Susan tends to run!
2 - Eat lighter the night before. I had a very rich, tasty birthday dinner the night before. I had a hard time keeping my gels down during the run.

Otherwise, I think it went well. I was happy I completed the distance. I think the time was reasonable given the weather conditions. I also had a good result with going out really slow rather than trying to maintain target race pace from the start. I figured I would run out of gas if I did (like last week) and I lasted much better through the early miles.

Just under 6 more weeks!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Welcome to 45!

Tomorrow I turn 45 years young. A semi-milestone year. I think I am officially middle aged. But lets see how old age has treated me.

I began this running thing 5 years ago (2002) when I was approaching my 40th birthday. My goal was to run my first 5K. I had never run anything more than a mile or two. A 5K seemed quite daunting. And I even read rumors of people who could run non-stop for an entire hour! Unbelieveable? Seemed so back then. I trained and ran that 5K about a week after my 40th birthday - 3.1 miles non-stop in about 37 minutes.

Fast forward to today. Today I completed two runs - a 4 mile run this morning and a 5.5 miler this evening. Since I was on a treadmill, these were run non-stop. My second run was over an hour long.

When I completed that first 5K, I was asked if a marathon was next. I thought, I don't know, that is really far. Maybe I should try a HALF marathon first (which I then did in Jan 2004 in 3hrs and 11 min). 2 more half marathons, 2 10K's and numerous 5K's later, I ran my first marathon in January this year in 5 hrs 47 min. And if that wasn't enough, I am training for two marathons....Marine Corps at the end of October and Disney in mid January.

So as a runner, I am way better at 45 than I was at 40. And of course, I was better at 40 than I was at 30 or even 20. You know 45 I am better than at 40 in many other ways as well :-)

Watch out world....50 is coming! :-)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

My 15 Mile 18 Miler and Back on the Road Again

I set out today for an 18 miler - thinking it would be a good step between last week's 16 miles and next week's 21 miler. But alas, it was not to be.

I was pretty tired from the previous week of traveling - and stayed in bed on Saturday morning until 10:30 am! I was kind of dragging the entire day. I wasn't sure how I would feel for the run today. For today's run, I wanted to make sure I got out early enough, so I planned to be running by 6:30 am (I cannot bring my self to run as early as Susan...too dark). My husband, who is training for the Walt Disney World Marathon was due to run 8 miles, so I decided I would run my first 10, then swing by the house and we would do the next 8 together.

I started my run with this week's Phedip to get me through the first hour. The run was feeling pretty good - and I was excited that my total pace was staying under 12 min/mi. But by mile 4, my heart rate was starting to climb - a sure sign that I was starting to wear down. Stubbornly, I worked to maintain my sub 12 min/mi pace, and managed to do so for those first 10 miles. But by the time I got back to my house - I was already pretty spent. My clothes were drenched with sweat, so I used the stop to change into some dry running clothes. I also shed the Camel Bak for my Fuel belt, figuring it would be lighter to carry. I warned my husband I was moving pretty slow - he was happy to go slow and take it easy.

It didn't take long (less than a mile) for me to realize that not only was I not going to finish 18 - I was going to be lucky to finish even 15. I couldn't even maintain a slow run for 2 min with a 1 min walk with my husband. I finally told him to go on ahead without me, and that I would hook up with him while he was on his return trip. Then instead of running by time, I used my heartrate as my guide to when to walk and when to run.

My MHR is 182 bpm and the top of my aerobic zone is 156 bpm. My running strategy was to run until my heart rate passed 171 bpm, then walk until it was back down to at most 158 bpm. My heart still got the work out (in fact, was anaerobic) and I didn't over exert myself. I made it back to the house after finishing a total of 15 miles. My pace in the last 2 miles was over 14 min/mi but my overall pace for the entire run was 12:35 min/mi. Not too bad.

I don't feel bad that I didn't finish 18 - it just wasn't to be. I would rather hold back and make it through next week's run. The key will be to get plenty of rest this week - probably a pretty tall order given that I am back on the road again, in yet another hotel. There is a nice neighborhood I can run in not far from here so I have the Garmin along in case I can get out for a run before dark (or after sunup). There is also a 24 hours exercise room - I will need to see what the treadmill limit is there....

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Hotel Treadmill Running - Part Deux

Well here I am, back in Virginia but this time in a different hotel. This treadmill gives me 99 minutes plus 2 for warm down. I worked late last night after getting up early - so I slept in run was going to be what I could get in after work.

So I got on the treadmill (one of 4) and started my run. Seems like I can run forever on a treadmill. I ran and ran - watched 3 different people start and end their treadmill run in the 101 min I was there....

The results were super! I ran 8 miles in 88:30 min. The first time I have finished 8 miles in under an hour and a half in a long time. Then in the time I had left I finished another mile - hitting 9 miles in just over 99 min. I am sure the hotel folks thought I was crazy, running on a treadmill for over an hour and a half. It felt really good, though! I felt like I ran away lots of the stress I have accumulated in working long hours and being away from home.

Overall a good mid-week run. Tomorrow I head home for a few days before returning again on Sunday afternoon. I will be staying in yet another hotel...(sigh).

No digestive / fainting issues - slightly sore shin (yes left side, all my aches are on that side).

Run on....

Monday, September 03, 2007

Theories About My Post Run Episode

I appreciate all the concern expressed regarding my post run "issues." I have a few theories from my past backed up by some internet research.

I have struggled with colitis on and off throughout my life. My digestive system has had it's moments. A few years ago I discovered I was allergic to egg (particularly the yolk) which happens to be one of my favorite foods along with all those egg flavored things like ranch dressing, mayonaise, anything baked, etc. I seemed to do much better when I got egg out of my diet. Lately I have been cheating a bit.

Another possible issue - this one Terry has been discussing - gluten sensitivity. A few years ago my husband thought he had a gluten sensitivity - possibly celiac disease. Our family went gluten free and we have had some good results. Lately we have been eating gluten here and there. He was finally diagnosed to NOT be celiac. The interesting thing is that my sister has been diagnosed with it - and it tends to run in families, so....

Lately I have been under some stress - job changes and lots of travel. This combined with poor eating habits (really hard to eat healthy when traveling) and a digestive system that has been struggling a bit lately and, well it can cause issues. Add also to this an increase in consuming ibuprofen for inflamed feet and such and, well, you get the idea.

So, my theory is that my colon is stressed - the cramping I experience can cause the lightheadedness / near fainting spells (this is the only time I have the issue - is with the cramping). I am ordering a colon cleanse that I used with great success last fall - to hopefully clean things out - and then I should be back on track.

If this fails, then I will definitely get in to see the doctor!

In the meanwhile, even though Monday is normally a rest day - I really felt like running and my husband was ready to do a very easy 5 miles. So off we went for a run - I started out a little on a faster pace - I tried to keep it easy and eventually went from 5 min run 1 min walk to just 1 min run 1 min walk. I also tried not to let my husband pull my pace to quick. The last mile of the run felt great!

I feel a great week of running ahead! Thank you EVERYONE for your super support! :-)

Sunday, September 02, 2007

15 Miles Becomes 16

Taken as I ran in San Diego in July

As I headed out for this week's long run, I wasn't sure whether I was going to be able to finish 15 miles. Because of the route I took, I ended up finishing 16 instead...although the last 3 were...challenging.

It was a typical Florida morning in September - warm and humid! I started at 6:30am, just as the sun was rising. Here are the splits:

Mile 1: 11:12 min/mi, AHR 144 (a bit fast)
Mile 2: 12:03 min/mi, AHR 150 (more like it!)
Mile 3: 12:09 min/mi, AHR 151
Mile 4: 12:16 min/mi, AHR 155
Mile 5: 12:07 min/mi, AHR 159 (I am now in anaerobic zone, 1st Clif Shot)
Mile 6: 12:01 min/mi, AHR 162
Mile 7: 12:37 min/mi, AHR 162
Mile 8: 12:11 min/mi, AHR 163
Mile 9: 12:28 min/mi, AHR 167 (took 2nd Clif Shot)
Mile 10: 12:31 min/mi, AHR 159 (this is right after water stop...heart rate lower)
Mile 11: 12:47 min/mi, AHR 164
Mile 12: 12:38 min/mi, AHR 166 (took 3rd Clif Shot)
Mile 13: 12:59 min/mi, AHR 166
Mile 14: 13:41 min/mi, AHR 163 (now it is getting tough - sun is out)
Mile 15: 13:57 min/mi, AHR 165
Mile 16: 15:28 min/mi, AHR 160 (walked much of this last mile)

Total: 3:25:20, 12:43 min/mi pace, AHR 160 bpm

Overall, a successful run because:
a) I wasn't even sure I could finish 15 miles
b) Felt pretty good most of the way

Interesting struggles during the last 2 miles. I began to have some asthmatic episodes - my chest would get tight and I would struggle to breath. I stopped several times (4 or 5 times) for this. I stopped my watch when I stopped. I usually have only experienced this after sprinting the very last part of my run.

Another interesting after effect - after I had completed the run, come into the house, and did some stretching - I had one of my old lower GI attacks. This is where I cramp up, and nearly pass out (everything begins to turn white and I feel light headed). Lying down helps this but it lasted for a good 15-20 min. This doesn't happen while I am working out - but after I have stopped. I haven't had one of these in a long time, so I was surprised.

So an interesting long run in its own right. I got to see Shirley and her husband Dave twice during my run - once on my way out and again on the way back. It is great to have encouragement when running alone!

This week I will be on travel again. Hopefully I can get some mileage in to build up to next weekend!

Run strong everyone!