Sunday, November 20, 2011

Maintaining in the Off Season

So I still have no racing goal, but I think that's the best place to be right now. I'm getting my wisdom teeth out in a week, my boss is coming back after 6 months out of the country in two weeks, and within the next 365 days I'll be defending my dissertation. I'm in off season mode.

I don't want to lose all that I've gained this past year, so I'm in maintenance mode. I'm trying to run a few miles 3-4 times a week at around 9 minute pace at the slowest. I hope that helps keep me in a good mood and from becoming too chubby. It's been weeks since the intensity of half marathon training and I've managed to not put on any weight. Hopefully my decreased appetite will last through the holidays.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Between Goals

I'm in a rough place with running right now. I'm goalless.

It's so hard for me to get moving without a goal of some sort. I know I feel better when I run regularly. I know I sleep better when I run regularly. I know the only downside is the increased laundry that comes with running regularly.

I've been running once or twice a week since the half marathon. While that's better than nothing, I feel like a slug. The fitness level is going away. I'm feeling crabby and chubby. And the holidays are around the corner and I need to get back on track in a big way.

I need a goal. Or else I need to make it a goal to learn to run consistently while goalless.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Third Time was the Charm for a Half!

I've FINALLY completed my first half marathon! It was the third one I'd registered for, but the first time I even got to the starting line.

Attempt 1: Found out I was expecting and between the rough first trimester and the non-walker friendly course time limit I bowed out.

Attempt 2: I was on track after completing a summer 10K for a fall half post-baby. Then the worst tummy bug struck my little boy and then myself and I bowed out.

Attempt 3: This time I once again kept up the training after the summer 10K, but I didn't tell ANYONE until I registered for it less than month ahead of time (which is completely last minute for me). And this time I made it to both the starting and finish lines!

I ran Atlanta 13.1. We started out in the dark on a VERY cold early October morning. We first went though some really beautiful neighborhoods that I've never been in before and other than the speed bumps that were challenging to see in the rising sun, it was great. I hit the 10K mark at 59:59, which is the best I've done for that distance since college. I was feeling pretty great about how things were going and pumped to see the top 20ish men and top 3 women heading into the last mile, which was a huge plus to the out and back nature of the last part of the course. Then I made a mistake by skipping a water station going into a very hilly neighborhood and park. I felt rough until the last mile and then it hit me that I was going to surpass my time goal and my pride helped me float to the finish line.

I am so proud of this finish. Even more so than my marathon. It feels like a true accomplishment to have found the time to train while working full time, having a horrible commute, and taking care of an active toddler. I really had no huge time goal. I thought it would be great to do it faster than my fastest split in the marathon (2:20ish), but I also wanted to just enjoy the run. I had a great time and think it's a fun distance and was proud to finish quicker than I thought I would at 2:09:25! The only downside was that I underestimated myself and so my hubby and son missed my finish because they were still parking the car. But I did get to share some post-race snacks with my little man.

Lessons learned: Don't skip water stations and I should emphasize hills more during training.

Here is the breakdown.
Chip time: 2:09:25 (instant PR!)
Overall: 1322/2490
Female: 529/1334
Age Group: 100/250

1. 10:11
2. 9:58
3. 9:31
4. 9:09
5. 9:57
6. 9:26
7. 9:27
8. 9:35
9. 9:49
10. 11:01
11. 10:53
12. 9:34
13. 9:33

Monday, August 15, 2011

Rave Vacation Runs

We went on our much needed first family vacation to Hilton Head Island and had a wonderful time.

The last time I ran on vacation was in 1998, the summer before my senior year of high school. Between now and then I've vacationed just three times. Honeymoon in Hawaii, no running. First anniversary in Gatlinburg, no running. Fourth anniversary in Savannah, no running (although only because I was getting over a terrible cold).

In Hilton Head Island I ran three times. None of those runs were all that long, but I was pretty happy to get them in.

The first run was on these great bike paths on streets lined with palm trees and other trees dripping with Spanish moss, ending on the beach access for our resort. Seeing those gorgeous trees with Spanish moss took me back to Savannah and in ways it was a redemption run.

The second was a treadmill run in the resort's fitness center. When I signed in I saw I was the only person who used the facility that day. I got there at 8pm. The fitness room closed at 10pm. It wasn't the best run in the world after a heavy dinner with a mojito, but I did get to watch part of 17 Again...again, which I might add is much better without the sound.

The third run was the morning we left. The beach has quite a bit of well packed sand and I saw a ton of people not only running, but biking on the beach throughout the trip and I knew I could get a run in on it without all the effort required with loose sand. So I started before sunrise and it was great. I ran into the rising sun just until it cleared the horizon and then turned around. Here are the awesome views!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Peachtree Road Race Take Two

I started my 4th of July by running my second Peachtree Road Race.

My road to the PRR was a little scattered. Rather than first come first served for the registration there was a lottery that I joined to be a part of the 65,000 runners in the world's largest 10K. The lottery rejected 5,000 people, and I was one of those. Completely bummed, I found out that I could purchase one of 150 charity spots in the race. About the same time a little extra award money came my way that would cover the difference between a normal spot and a charity spot and I took it as a sign to go for it.

I started in wave K with a friend, which was a huge improvement over wave X last year. We got there in time for a little people watching and to snap a few pre-race pics of ourselves and the massive crowd. The start line is under the American flag on the crane...and the first several waves of elite runners had already started. Yea, it was HUGE.
I ran the first mile and change with my pal and then we separated after a water station. Knowing that the first three miles of the race would be downhill I picked up the pace and let gravity help me out and felt great. Then I hit a water station after mile three and the water hit my stomach like a rock and it was a struggle the rest of the race. I felt devoid of energy and just wanted to finish. And finish I did, 15 minutes faster than last year. Here I am sitting on a hill after the race.

There were a lot of memorable moments during the day. When I felt like crud at one point I noticed I was running behind a firefighter in full gear that was making it look effortless. Kids giving high fives on the side of the road. Churches giving away frozen treats, guys giving way dixie cups of beer, some dude that I can only hope was drunk dancing on the side of a road in a speedo in front of the Fur Bus...WONDERFUL people watching. I even had the pleasure of talking to a 63 year old first time finisher on the way to the water who was so proud for getting off the couch and finishing a 10K. He was so sweet I just had to shake his hand when I congratulated him.

Lesson from this year's race? I need to train in the heat and humidity more. I'm sure that my issues at mile 3 and lack of energy afterward were a direct consequence of the heat (on a side note it was the hottest race since 1977), which I avoided like the plague on my treadmill.

Here are the stats. I'm pretty proud and am already looking forward to finishing at 1 hour or under next year, assuming I win in the lottery...

Watch Time: 1:05:00
Chip Time: 1:05:06
Overall Place: 17900 of 55090
Female Place: 5889 of 26705
Age Group Place: 957 of 3507

Mile 1: 10:53
Mile 2: 9:29
Mile 3: 9:02
Mile 4: 10:58
Mile 5: 11:58
Mile 6: 10:09

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Celebrate America 5K 2011

This Memorial Day I had my first repeat race with the Celebrate America 5K. I did this race two years ago and loved that it was a relatively flat course on a holiday morning.

Since my current training goal is a 10K, I didn't want to kill myself on this race. Instead my goal was simple: To run an even race. I usually am incredibly excited at the beginning and start out WAY too fast and then spend the rest of the race miserable just trying to finish. I'm tired of my thoughts screaming "I hate running!" during races, so I to learn how to race at a more even pace and enjoy myself more.

My two gripes about the race are as follows:
1) It was not readily apparent where the starting line was
2) Only one lane was blocked for the race, even in the beginning. I spent the first mile just trying to get around the folks and dogs. There should have been a few lanes open at least for a half mile to prevent all the bottle necks.

Other than that it was fun. It was a little humid and I had some tummy troubles, but I did race evenly and I loved it. It was nice not feeling like my head was going to explode at the finish line for once.

Here are the stats.
Time: 27:41
Overall place: 152
Female place: 54
Age group place: 5

Monday, May 30, 2011

Twenty twenty twenty four hours ago..

The dailymile amuses me to no end. I love how it keeps track of lifetime stats in a fun way. You know all those horrible statistics about how we all spend weeks of each year waiting in lines and stuck in traffic? I have just spent an entire day of this year doing something for myself that I love-running.

How awesome is that? I'm hoping to spend at least three full days running this year;)

Just ran my first 5K post-baby and in two years. Race report to follow after the full results hit the internet.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Week Full of X's

The first week of official 10K training and I'm quite proud. Despite being on the mend from a nasty cold, busy at work, and catching up on laundry from being out of town along with the normal wife and mom duties, I was able to complete all the prescribed workouts on my printed sheet. Yippie!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Triple Digets!

Just a quick line to celebrate a small success. My year-to-date mileage has just gone over 100. Yippee!

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Good and The Bad

It has been quite the past few days. Friday my Grandma passed away, Sunday a set of dear friends got married, and today (Monday) another set of dear friends are about to welcome their baby girl. I've been grateful to participate in such happy life affirming days, even more appreciative of what really matters in this world.

It's been a wave of emotions and reflection. The runs I've gotten in the past week have definitely helped me work through off some of the nervous energy and clear my head.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Lower Pollen and the Merits of the Treadmill

I've been faithfully tracking the pollen levels in Atlanta and have watched them go from extremely high, to high, and now to moderate. Jackpot! It's time to try running outside again without horrible allergy eyes.

So I dusted off the Garmin and headed out tonight after little man went to bed. It's been so long since I've used it that I forgot that the Garmin's wrist strap is in need of some repair, but that's a problem for another day. It was such a great evening for running. Overcast, misty, and in the 60s. Luscious!

I must admit that I was a little worried about running outside. Hills, dogs, cars, and other people to worry about after the ease of the treadmill was intimidating. However, it was great. I noticed that I was running at a much more even pace than I usual, which I have to attribute to all those miles I've logged on the treadmill.

Here's to hoping the allergy eyes are gone for this year.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Warm Weather,Well Wishes, and Claritin

The weather has been stunning lately. We went to a toddler's birthday party Saturday and enjoyed sunny upper 70s weather, sidewalk chalk, and bubbles with the kids. Sunday was also lovely in another way--perfect racing weather. It was mid 60s, overcast, and slightly breezy. Perfect weather for those brave souls running the Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon in Atlanta. My thoughts were with them and I hope next year is just as nice if I can get myself out there as well.

I went on my first outdoor run in a month on Monday. In extremely high pollen. Tuesday my eyes were suffering. Itchy, watery, swollen, red...more than one coworker told me it hurt them just to look at my eyes. I'm on Claritin now and feeling much better, but I'll be hanging out indoors until the pollen levels decrease. It's supposed to rain in the next few days, so hopefully that will help.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Two Helpers in the Mileage Quest

Over the past month two things have entered my life that have helped me log more miles.

1. Treadmill
My husband asked me what I wanted for Valentine's Day and this is what came to mind. I can't express how many times I've wanted to go for a run and been unable to because it wasn't conducive for little man to go out with me. Too late, too cold, too rainy...the list goes on and on. I've done the treadmill thing before without much love, but that was the better part of a decade ago and I wasn't so desperate to get moving. The treadmill has taken residence in our guest room and since it's arrival I've been able to run more than I have in a long while. I'm a huge fan of numbers, so I could easily be amused watching myself burn Calories, but instead I've been watching movies while running. Two things I love doing at once? Winning!

2. Daily mile
This is a facebook-like site for runners where you can share and comment on your friends workouts. A high school teammate told me about it and I'm hooked to it so much more than facebook. It's so much fun. I get to "train" with old teammates all over the country! People actually notice when I workout and notice my improvement! I'm running more because I know others are watching! Winning!

On a side note, I submitted my request for the 2011 Peachtree Road Race lottery. I hope I get in. I submitted my 2010 time and already know I want to go under an hour if I am selected for the race. Keeping my fingers crossed!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Duodenal Atresia Update: One Year Later

Our little man just turned one, and with that came reflection of how much life has changed this past year.

I could go on and on about the thrill of milestones and great aspects of being a parent. However, I want to focus on life one year after having a son born with duodenal atresia.

Between the ultrasound that detected the problem to the day we were able to take little man home was the most challenging time of my life. That being said, it is not something that I even think about daily anymore.

It hits me that our family didn't have the most normal start. We hadn't prepared for our little man's arrival the same way that I've observed some of my currently expecting friends preparing. They have nurseries put together and are much more organized than I was. After the diagnosis and following array of doctors appointments during the last portion of my pregnancy I neither had the time nor desire to focus on the "normal" aspects of preparing for a new baby. I just wanted him to arrive safely, get through the surgery, and recover.

After coming home, this year has been relatively uneventful on the health front. The only blip on the radar was the first stomach bug. Our surgeon told us to be concerned if he stopped pooping or threw up green. We went into panic mode and took a burp cloth covered in what we found out was just stomach acid to our pediatrician. Needless to say we were very happy to find ourselves just overly concerned parents.

Little man is normal as can be. I don't notice his scar, although it is larger than I had thought it would be. He is pretty proud of it and often his shirt creeps up to show it off. Below is a picture of him showing off his scar.

Although he hasn't had the easiest start, he's a happy little guy. The picture below was taken at his first birthday party. His party was exactly a year after his surgery. I couldn't help but think about what a difference a year can make. The day of his surgery was scary, but the day of his party was so incredibly joyful.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Warmer Weather

This weekend's weather completely made up for the horrible winter storm we experienced a few weeks ago. I came home Friday and was so bummed that the baby jogger tires were essentially flat, so I took little man out for a walk before his bedtime in one of our normal strollers.

Luckily my hubby had enough time to fill the tires before he left for the day for a professional event on Saturday. After some adjustments to the larger baby than the last ride, little man and I were off for a run. In shorts. In January. Bliss.

It was a good, although short, run. The stroller was much easier to maneuver with properly inflated tires. The fresh air was great and I somehow managed to run nearly the same pace with the stroller as I've been doing solo lately.

Here we are basking in the glow of our first run together in 2011.

Happy mommy makes for a happy baby. Gotta love those endorphins!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Strange Start to the New Year

It has already been quite the year without 3 full weeks under the belt.

We spent New Year's with our teething 11 month old with a bad cold. Good times. He's a sweet little boy, but gets very needy when he's not feeling well. Of course when anyone feels off, they want to be comforted, and specifically want to be comforted by their mom. Therefore, I received a lot of coughs in the face.

Which leads me to the first full week of January. I woke up Monday feeling off, so I went into work just long enough to keep the plan for my week's experiments on track. Tuesday I felt destroyed. Thursday afternoon I finally hit my marker of beginning to feel better, which is noticing the housework that needs to be done. Friday was another half day at work.

Then came a winter storm. In Georgia. We were stuck in the house for the week due to dangerous icy conditions. I did spend 2 hours clearing most of our driveway, but that was more to ward off the cabin fever.

Which brings us to the third full week of January and getting back I'm finally getting back into the swing of things. This evening I was even able to go for the first run of the year while dinner was in the oven after the baby was in bed.

I've thought a lot about what I'd like out of this year. I considered setting running goal, but I should be wrapping up my graduate career and don't want to have too many large things on my plate. I've settled on a goal that is so simple, yet to complex. I want to take time for myself, and feel good about it. This involves potentially doing several things I have a hard time with, like asking for help, not trying to be superwoman and do everything, and saying no.

Also on the docket is planning little man's first birthday party. Where has the time gone?