Monday, February 27, 2012

Last week and this week

Last week:

44 miles cycled on the stationary bike. Including my longest of 15.65 miles in 60 minutes. My bum hurts.

CB and I took a walk yesterday to enjoy the beautiful weather.

We went to the grant bark park where he had fun chasing a tennis ball. (he would have preferred the frisbee, but the park is concrete and would tear his paws up)

I love seeing him so happy :)

This week

With the conclusion of my 8.1 mile cycle workout this morning, I hit 300 miles for 2012. Its probably the most consistent I've ever been, but since 2/3 of the miles are from cycling, I would like to see a higher number.

Tonight is the Nike run loud event at Fleet Feet Sports, which is the kickoff to the Shamrock Shuffle. The event features group runs of 3-5 miles and some more info about run Nike Loud- I think there is some sort of bracelet involved. It also integrates with Facebook to provide training updates- as if I already don't overload my friends with running crap. Lol

So today I read my horoscope.. I don't believe in that stuff, but thought this one was interesting.

So if there was any doubt in my mind as to if I should attend the group run, my horoscope today squashed all negativity towards it. I've never been a fan of large group running. I like running solo most of the time, and joining others as a nice change every so often.

Tonight I plan to run an easy 3 miles with the group to test my wonky hip. It will be the first run in over 2 weeks and I'm pretty darn excited about it.

I bet when I'm done I'll have a big smile like him :)

How was your weekend? Anything exciting planned for this week?

- xaar

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I'd like to give up....

For lent, although im not catholic, I would like for my hip/right leg to give up the injury it has had the past 6 weeks. I don't remember what it feels like to run pain free at this point.

With using daily mile Since the start of this year to log every workout, I've come to the conclusion that my injury was actually caused by over stretching post workout. Running a marathon and a half during this time really hasn't helped recovery at all.

So for lent, maybe I'll give up running- but that's not by choice so I suppose that doesn't count.

Instead I'll focus on giving up my ability to procrastinate (waste time) that prevents me from doing such important things as: learning Portuguese.

Because how am I going to communicate in Brasil without a translator if I go there this year?

- xaar

Sunday, February 19, 2012

This past week

This week was a self imposed "rest" week. I cycled once, for 30 minutes but that was all in the workout department. My hip thing is geting much better so I think I'll try to run a little this week, and possibly go to Athletico to see what the deal with my right leg is and why it hates me so much..

Last week (wow feels a lot longer ago!) We ran the Rock n Roll St pete Half. At the expo, we got to meet Olympic Gold medalist  in the marathon, Frank Shorter. Unfortunately we didn't get to hear his talk. He did mention that he just had some knee surgery after running 160,000+ lifetime miles.

This week I also tried out a few new Chicagoland places- new to me at least...

From their website "Our Bar-ritos, bowls, salads, and signature drinks are all hand-crafted with high protein, high fiber, low fat, low sugar ingredients designed with two things in mind: your health and great flavor."

Ive had a few of their Bar-ritos and their "pancake in a bowl" (oatmeal with protein and fruit). All were very delicious and have inspired me to use more veggies/protein and to simplify what I am cooking at home.

We went here on Saturday morning for brunch. This place caught our attention because they have a great selection of beer on tap and in bottles that are difficult to find. (Mikeller, brew dog, Evil Twin, etc)

 I had the Northdown Benedict, which was DELICIOUS. The potatoes were almost like deep fried mashed potatoes, and instead of English muffins, it seemed like they used home made biscuits.

I got the "Bacon Brown Ale" by Uncommon Brewers as my first drink. It was mild and had a nice smokey taste and was a little bacon like. I also tried a "Monster Ale" by Brooklyn Brewery. That one I did not like as much at first since it tasted very strongly of alchol (its a 10%+ beer.) Strange thing, as the beer warmed up I noticed less of the upfront alcohol taste and I enjoyed it much more. Usually as beers warm up, the alcohol would be more noticable.

We will definitely return to Northdown.  Im really enjoying discovering all of these smaller cafes which have extensive beer lists as well as yummy food. Score another one for Chicago!
What's next?
My plan for the next month or so is to start building a good base mileage so I can train well for the Rock n Roll Chicago half marathon in late July. (And maybe run the inagural Chicago Women's Half in late June.) Shamrock Shuffle is in 6 weeks and I'd love to PR there as well as long as my right leg and I remain friends. Another goal is to improve on strength and core fitness (and right leg flexibility). I just want to be in a good place physically when I start training for the half marathon as well as the Chicago Marathon.

Injury Free Rest of 2012 I hope!

What was the highlight of your weekend?

- Not being able to run when its absolutely stunning outside is super frustrating.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Rock n Roll St Pete, FL Half

First and foremost, I ran this race with Sherry on my mind and in my heart. Her story is relatable on so many levels, and I'm sure her family felt the outpouring of love from around the world from the virtual run this weekend organized by Beth at SUAR.

I saw about 5 other women wearing the bib for sherry, and also answered questions from other runners about who sherry was, or listened to how they were affected by this tragedy. So very powerful.

Time: 2:24, avg 10:59/ mile

Ran entirely with my wonderful, wonderful :)

The start was very cold, like Chicago style cold- 37 degrees with a feels like of 28. We even went to target on Saturday to pick up jackets because when we left Chicagoland on Thursday, the forecast for race morning was supposed to be around 50. We were unprepared for the "extreme" cold the Tampa bay area was going to offer us.

My Daad > marathon foto. :)

The race started at Tropicana field where the Rays play and meandered around some cute downtown areas, went around the pier and then did one final out and back section before finishing at a nice park.

It was a nice scenic flat race that reminded me of my favorite half- the Rock n Roll San Jose. As always, Rock n Roll put on a high quality event, which I do not mind paying extra $$$ for because I know what to expect from them. They held each corral a minute or 2 before letting the runners go to avoid congestion on the course. The roads were narrow at times, but no where near over crowded for the 8,000 or so runners who took to the streets. The water stations were plentiful and had medical tents also. The water cups also had ice in them! Learn from this Miami! The spectators were quiet. I tried to get them going, but it was like they were in church and trying to be all reserved :)

Except for Bella dog dog, who came down with my Daad to cheer us on. She was barking and howling away at all the runners. If she could talk, she probably would have been saying "come pet me. Free kisses. I promise if you stop and give me love you will run faster!"

We saw some of Flo-rida performing his music. Which if this app would let me upload the video I took, I would love to share. Maybe I'll save it for another post.

And this concludes part 1....

- xaar

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Frustrated short fuse

The last 4 weeks I've taken off running minus the Miami marathon.

The hip groin still is not 100% and I just can't bring myself to run until its better. Cycling doesn't do it for me. I like cycling 2 times a week at most and running 4-5 days a week. But all I do is cycle currently. Ugh

During the Miami marathon I had an epiphany. I realized I actually like to run, to run. I don't need races to "motivate" me into training. Although I really enjoy races to see how I've improved at different distances.

Photo from Jason C of the Brandon running association

All I want to do is go for a run.

I feel so much more short fused right now. I feel frustrated. I feel anxious.

Good thing is I'm "running" the inaugural Rock n Roll St Pete half marathon this weekend. It will be a nice diversion to get out of Chicagoland with WW and see my dad, Tribu and other friends.

We signed up for this race shortly after new years. I was hesitant because of the marathon 2 weeks prior. But currently I'm 100% recovered minus the hip groin thing- its much better, but still needs some time before I start training again for anything.

So this weekend, I'll get a small "running fix" and hopefully this crap will be behind me soon so I can look towards shamrock and whatever else gets thrown on the platter for 2012.

I cant wait to run with my wonderful, wonderful in my old home town area and enjoy the experience. (which we will get to repeat when he runs his first marathon in Chicago this year!)

So while I'm incredibly frustrated I can't run all out this weekend, I know it's better for the healing of this injury I've been dealing with. And I get to have the best company for the 13.1 mile journey.

How do you deal with injury? How do you keep your mind clear?

I'm crankypants anxious can't wait to run again.

- xaar

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Eating my words

In my last post recapping the Ing Miami Marathon, I made this statement:

Some of you asked my reasons behind it....

  • Emotional toll, I pour 100% of myself into these things.
  • Physical toll on my body
  • Im usually "good" for 3-4 months, then I get sidelined with an injury for a month. 
  • My right leg hates me.  We need to become BFFs fast!
  • I get consumed by the marathon. 
  • The last 3 have not gone as well as expected. I might not be cut out for this distance.
  • All I talk about is running, marathon, marathon marathon. OMG STFU already!! :)
  • Want to focus on getting speedier at shorter distances (Half Marathons and less)
  • Need to remain healthy for a period longer than 4 months. 
  • My right leg really  hates me (Shin, Hip, Calf)
  • Give my body and mind a rest from the training
  • And mainly, Just run for fun. For the enjoyment, not because I have an 18 miler on the schedule.
So this morning while I was still groggy, I received a phone call from WW who is overseas for a business trip. He told me he registered for the Chicago marathon. I was shocked, surprised and speechless. Just a week ago I had asked him if he wanted to run it this year (like I have done the past few years). He was a very absolute NO on the matter, so I didn't bring it up again.(He travels a lot, so training wouldn't be the 1st thing on his mind- especially after a 10 hour flight) . This morning's phone call made me so happy and proud. I even asked him 5 times if he was serious or joking around with me!

So I did what any rational person would do.

Apparently registration is filling fast. After a week they were 2/3 full- on a crazy pace to sell out in record time!

So even though I'm eating my words of the "No marathon" 2012, This is an experience I absolutely cannot miss out on.
  • I get to "Pay it forward" Much like how Tribu got me through Miami, in the heat and with an injury, I will be WW's Cheerleader, to help him cross the finish of his first marathon! 
  • We will "bond" over running.
  • WW has been with me through all of the Ups and Downs that running/ training has brought me over the last few years- while I transitioned from recreational runner to "I am hungry for a PR runner." 
  • By far, my WW has been my biggest supporter-cheerleader, even standing out in the cold rain to cheer me on. I will be the biggest cheerleader for him. Im so excited for his journey!

 I still want my BQ, but that might have to wait until next year. Perhaps if i'm still going strong and healthy by June, I'll re-consider my "NO MARATHONS" and attempt a BQ in September. 

Afterall, I really hate absolutes...  ;)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ing Miami Marathon recap

Time: 4:30 not my best, not my worst.

Sum it up in 3 words: painfully stupid fun.

Fortune cookie tonight: "Courage and optimism are your best traits."

Let's start with the mil gracias (million thank you's) first:

WW for supporting me and being my cheerleader and shoulder to cry on putting up with me through the training for yet another marathon. I am proud of you for finishing the half!!!
As I said Sunday, 

*For the record*NO MORE MARATHONS FOR THE REST OF 2012.  And I absolutely mean it.

Tribu and Tom for signing up for this race and not having to convince me too much to sign up for it.

YOU! For your encouragement and positive vibes, prayers, thoughts through this journey to #5.

I felt very loved going into this event. :)

Ok folks, grab some popcorn. This one's going to be long.
Just what you would expect from a large event. Loads of vendors for headbands, other races, all things running, and we saw this guy (Ryan Hall) for a second... but didnt stick around for an autograph. (no, we werent in the front row. My camera and photo taking skills are just that good lol)
2 weeks before the race I injured my hip-groin and couldn't walk without limping. needless to say I didnt run at all the final 2 weeks before the marathon. Ok, WW and I ran/walked 3.3 miles 2 days before the marathon. That run actually seemed to loosen up my hip more than stretching and cycling had done. I was extremely nervous to embark on a 26.2 journey of potential huge catastrophe in Miami. My only goals were to have fun, and do whatever necessary to prevent further damage to my hip issue.

Race Day:  

  • Early race start 6:15 am. Started on time, in the dark.
  • Weather at the start was around high 60's and 100% humidity
  • More nervous at the start of this race than the other 4 marathons i've completed.
  • First few miles flew by, and sucked the life out of me. We stayed in the low 9:00's the first 4 miles.
  • I couldnt believe how sweaty I was after just 3 miles. Especially since I dont sweat much while running usually.
  • Saw The Discom-BOB-ulated runner somewhere on the causeway heading to South Beach. She looked so strong in the heat and humidity. Tribu and I wished her well as she took off in the darkness towards Ocean Drive.
  •  Miles 5-13 were all mid 9:00's- sub 10:00's  I felt pretty beat before the half.
  • We got to the half around 2:05. All of my instincts, everything inside me was saying pull off for the half.
  • but we continued on. 
  • It was very hard seeing 3/4 of the racers divert around mile 12.5 to the finish, knowing we still had another half to run.
  • Tribu kept encouraging me. I couldn't let her (or myself) down. Tribu sacrificed her own race to stay by my side the entire time. This was her first marathon over 4 hours... I kept telling her to go and run her own race, but she was adamant about staying with me. Sorry about the PW (personal worst) but it was fun!!!! :)
  • My hip/groin thing had warmed up by this point. but running slower than usual because of the heat was starting to catch up with me.
  • The second half of the race was not nearly as scenic as the first half. Yes, the neighborhoods were cute to run through, but I really liked the vibe better running downtown and in south beach.
  •  I think I started walking through water stations around mile 15? Up until that point, Tribu would get me water or gatorade and I would keep chugging along. Because stopping would have been very bad so early on for me.
  • I remember around mile 18-20? we ran through an area that had many people spectating at cafes. I pulled an "Abdi" (remember the Olympic trials) and started cheering and waving my arms to get the crowd going. And they went. 
  • It was EPIC hearing everyone cheering. and lifted my spirits just a hair...
  • I hit rock bottom early on.I cursed myself for not stopping at the half. I tried to keep conversation with Tribu, but it was difficult. by now, my quads were getting very sore.
  • So what does a good pacer do for someone in my condition? 
  • Feed me mango salty electrolyte strips. 
  • Unfortunately they didnt help too much, since I wasnt experiencing cramps, it was just extreme muscle fatigue. :(  but the mango strips were tasty!
  •  HA. I was delusional by the time I suggested we take photos with Miami in the background- around mile 24.
  • A few of the runners from the Brandon Running Association who weren't running the races ran with us for a little bit near the end. The addition of new people to our posse of 2 was a nice change. Tribu, you are lucky to have such a supportive running group!!!
  • The last 2 miles were brutal. I asked the vultures to come get me because i was "road kill" apparently not stinky or dead enough for them...
  • The finish had a slight uphill, like Chicago marathon. AWESOME!
  • Tribu and I held hands as we sprinted towards the finish. I think she was pulling me, and I was doing my best to keep up. The final .39 was at 8:30 pace- which felt like 6:30 pace by that point.
  • I guess we ran an ultra.  haha  the garmin read 26.39 at the finish. So much for running tangents!

    • Hey Marathonfoto! If you see 2 women running together holding hands laughing smiling deliriously heading towards the finish, PLEASE get a good shot of BOTH of US. (especially since the runners were very spread out in the last 100 yards)
    • While I love this photo of me, and there is an equally good photo of Tribu, I would have bought the photo of us TOGETHER looking like this. Instead we are 2 separate shots... Sigh
    • I don't think I've ever been so happy to see a finish line in my life. Maybe I was just a tad happier when I finished the NYC Marathon 10 years ago...
    • I really cannot thank Tribu enough for staying by my side the entire time. If it wasnt for her, I would have easily been on the course another 30 minutes to an hour more. I AM SO THANKFUL FOR YOU and your encouragement and skills as a "pacer." :)
Final Thoughts:
  • Huge Congrats to my WW for finishing the Half. I am very proud of you!!!
  • I got 27 compliments on my sparkly skirt my mom made. :) 
  • Tribu is the best BFF/ Pacer EVER! I owe you a few beers when I come visit in a few weeks
  • No trouble starting the race- it had 23,000 people I think (4,000 Full, 19,000 half). Did have to weave around a few walkers the first couple of miles. 
  • No water stops until mile 3? It was hot on the causeway in the dark!!! (but i brought a bottle of water with me, so no real problem there)
  • No ICE at ANY aid station. 
  • Lukewarm water/ Gatorade. 
  • Volunteers were AWESOME!
  • Not much crowd support, which was a nice change from Crazy Chicago Marathon...
  •  No cooling sponges/towels, etc. See a pattern here?
  • Maybe Ive been spoiled by Chicagoland races??
  • Great destination event. So many countries represented.
  •  I would NEVER do the full here again. I am currently a fan of 35 degree long runs while wearing shorts and a jacket. 71 degrees + 100 % humidity = Disaster (and major shock to the body!)
  • But I would consider doing the half...
  • It was CLOUDY all during the race. THANK GOD. Had it been full sun, I would have DNF'd
  • The heat didn't bother me past mile 8. I think the temp dropped a little, and the humidity let up a bit.Still very warm though. Or I was crazy.
  • Took a powerbar 1 hour pre race, gatorade prime 15 minutes prior
  • Gu and salt caps every 5 miles or so. Some how I had 2 gu left over. So I must have taken 4.
  •  I am more sore from this race than my last 3 (all faster). I think running much slower than what I trained at contributed to this.  Maybe using different stride/muscles for 11 minute mile, vs 8:45 mile?
  • My outfit: Moving comfort shirt, bra, Aspaeris compression shorts (which I believe helped me get through this by supporting my hip and leg muscles), CEP compression sox, Nike lunar elite+ shoes.
 Final Final Thoughts
Im thankful for all the support I had going into this race. While I was hoping for a much faster time (pre injury), I am absolutely happy with how this race turned out. It is a big W for WIN in my book. Each one of these races present different obstacles to overcome, and I am glad I experienced this race. .I dont believe my hip issue is any worse than what it was 2 weeks ago (obviously it set me back a few more weeks for recovery now, but I am feeling much better than what I would have imagined)

Time for more warm soaks, and dates with the foam roller. Ouch!