Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pure Awesomeness!


That's how I felt after this morning's track workout. Quite a few people were at the track, a couple that I have seen before and a few new ones. It makes me happy that there are so many people in the community that are dedicated enough to get up early and get out there! There is this one older guy that must be in his late seventies who is there whenever I go, walking laps in his jean shorts and suspenders...he's wicked cute. And there was a lady who was wearing some New Balance Minimus shoes who I wanted to ask about them, but she was busy in her workout. By the way, mine come tomorrow and you will get to see what color I chose!

Back to running - I have decided to start training using the FIRST program that I talked a little about here. I'm not using it quite as it is intended, since my next race is September 24th, which means I'm starting the 5K program in week 9 out of 12. Because of that, I am loosely following the assigned paces for the various workouts.

Today's schedule:
10 min. warmup
4 x 1200 w/ 400m rest (each 1200 run in 5:34)
10 min cooldown

I was a tad nervous about running 1200m repeats and running the correct pace. But I KILLED IT!
#1 - 5:34 (right on the nose, baby!)
#2 - 5:29 (oh yeah!)
#3 - 5:30 (I'm on fire!)
#4 - 5:26 (WOO HOO!)

Yeah, I feel AWESOME!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

No Race with Irene

I awoke this morning to an email informing me that the Westport Island Shore Run 10K has been cancelled, rather postponed to a yet-to-be-determined date. I guess there is a hurricane outside.
Photo courtesy NASA.gov
Seas like this:
Acadia National Park, 2009, Hurricane Bill - AP Photo
With a race that goes across two causeways similar to this:
Massachussetts, 2010, Hurricane Earl - AP Photo
I really feel the need to comment on the last photo. It is inconceivable to me that those parents allow their children to be so close to the storm surge. Not far from where the middle photo was taken in Acadia National Park during Hurricane Bill in 2009, a seven- and a twelve-year-old girl and were swept from the rocks. So sad.

So as much as I was looking forward to a race in the rain (though it is barely raining here and the trees are barely moving two hours before race time), I'll be happy with a low-key day with my boys and anticipate the rescheduled date sometime this fall. It just gives me more time to prepare, right?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Another Win and Help Me Choose!

I won another online contest...well I came in second. Last week I entered the OnlineShoes.com New Balance Minimus sweepstakes for a grand prize of a $500 New Balance shopping spree. Second prize - a pair of New Balance Minimus! Now I need your help to decide what color I should get!
#1 White/Blue
#2 Grey/lime/blue
#3 Gray/pink

My current sneakers are the Nike Free Run in gray and pink so I'm thinking I'd like something different. I like the white - they look super fast, but I they get so dirty. The dark gray have a cool splash of green with blue, my two favorite colors. And I just got another pair of Zensah calf sleeves in blue that would match perfectly.

What do you think?

Have you tried out the Minimus?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Track Tuesday

It was a cool 54 degrees - so refreshing and invigorating at 5:30 in the morning. Today's workout was fairly short on the track as I have the Westport Island Shore Run 10K coming up this Sunday.
  • Mile warmup
  • 6x400 @ 6:20-6:30 pace w/ 100m rest
  • Half-mile cooldown
Easy peasy...

We drove the race course yesterday so I could get a feel for the hills. It's been awhile since I've been on Westport Island (17 years since high school) and forgot how hilly, but gorgeous it is out there. I swear even though the course is a loop, most of it is uphill.
Okay, so there are downhills, but I only remember a couple significant ones. So far, the weather is calling for a chance of showers with a high of 71. Since the course is somewhat challenging, I'm hoping it's not going to be the sweat-fest that has been my previous two 10K's.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Training Plans?

Since getting back into running, I have done so sans a training plan. Early on it was fine just getting out there to run when I could and build up my endurance again. My priorities were getting back in shape after having the boys and using the time for mental health. I wasn't so concerned about having a concrete plan since I had been a runner before in high school and college and felt that I knew enough about what it took to be able to run a 5K and 10K. Also, with a baby who didn't/doesn't sleep, getting myself out there more than once or twice seemed impossible, and thus impossible to stick to a schedule. But now, with five official 5K's and two 10K's under my race belt and one more of each on the schedule, my competitive spirit is really starting to take over. I really would like to see what I could do to improve my times, even though I'm right about the age when things start to slow down, so they say. Although, I just read this post from Miss Zippy about some of her "older" running buddies, so maybe there is hope for me yet!

My goals also entail running my first half and full marathons next year, distances my body has never known all at one time. Obviously, I plan on implementing a specific training schedule to prepare for these races, but which one?

I've recently been on a running information kick and just finished my fifth book on running in the last couple of months. The latest book, Runner's World Run Less, Run Faster: Become a Faster, Stronger Runner with the Revolutionary FIRST Training Program by Bill Pierce, Scott Murr, and Ray Moss, has me intrigued.
 If you aren't familiar with this program, it focuses on three key runs (track, tempo, and long) and two cross-training days per week. The three key runs focus heavily on pace with rest or active rest days in between to recover. This program embraces the philosophy of "less is more" and "quality over quantity". The intensity and pace of the three runs depends on current fitness and race performances.

The FIRST program would fit well into my schedule and I already want to incorporate cross-training, particularly over the winter months. My only concern with this plan is being able to follow the pacing to a T. For the most part I know where all the half-mile and mile marks are on the various runs around my house, but I only run with a Timex I can imagine keeping on the correct pace might be difficult. I imagine this baby is in my near future...my birthday is in October...
So pretty!!!!! Mommy likey.
What training plans have you followed or are currently using?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It was a tad chilly this morning.

56 degrees at 5:30 AM. But look what I got in the mail yesterday -

I immediately put them on. And wore them all day. And all night. And for my run this morning. And I still have them on. And I want another pair. One in each color please! I plan on doing a full review once I get a couple more runs in them to fully grasp their awesomeness and what they do for my legs, but so far I am in love...basically with socks without feet. How can they not be great when this is the product warning?


As a preview to what they do for me (and running in general), this is what I looked like five minutes before my run this morning -
Seriously? I look crazy.
But cute!
And this is what I looked like after -

Still have those chins, but I think my after is much better.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Chips Are Down Virtual Race Recap

Amanda @ Run To The Finish turned 30 this weekend and hosted a virtual race to celebrate. Happy birthday, Amanda!

What is a virtual race? It basically works like this - you commit to running a certain distance on a certain day. For instance, this race was for three miles to be completed sometime between August 10 - 15. Since the race had a poker theme, Amanda had us place bets on one, how many miles she will have run in 2011 to date; and two, what her goal time is for the upcoming Philadelphia Marathon. The person who completes the race and comes closest on the bets is the "winner" of a swag bag full of super cool stuff! She even supplied the racers with printable bibs.

My three miles were a one-and-a-half out-and-back along my newly-paved street. I was very excited for the newly-paved part! Weather was overcast with a chance of rain, temps in the upper 60s. Ideal!
The race course
Amanda also had us post estimated finish times when we placed our bets and I decided I could run it in 25 minutes. Well, I don't know if it was the weather, the smooth roads, or the fact my legs were fresh after not running for nearly a week, but I beat my time to finish in 24:32 with a pace of 8:10!!!!!

Not bad for running against yourself! Thanks Amanda for such a fun event!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

My Busy Non-running Week

Running this past week has been super lacking, for one (actually two) good reasons.

Some of you might know that I like to make cakes, seen here. I haven't made one in awhile since Finn's birthday in May, but I had TWO to make for this weekend! And they were both for people named Megan and Meghan! Well, Megan's (no 'h') was actually for her husband-to-be for his groom's cake at their rehearsal dinner on Friday. Meghan (with an 'h') was surprised with a baby shower this afternoon.
Four-foot-long snowboard replica groom's cake!
Baby shower cake
Other than getting three miles in on Tuesday at 5:30, I've happily spent my free early morning (and late night) hours working on these! And we left the double stroller on Long Island so I couldn't go out in the middle of the day with the boys. I can't wait to get out there first thing tomorrow morning!

Hey, and guess what? I won another headband, this time from Lauren @ The Running Cook!

Those four-leaf clovers I found earlier this summer are still working!





Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Post Race Run

Ahhhh....  That's an ahhh, like that was great, not AHHHHH as in frustration.

I just ran three miles and they were so enjoyable! My legs felt pretty good, the bricks that were attached during the B2B are gone. I've had a sore spot on my left shin that ached a little in the beginning, but after half a mile it was gone. It was only 62 degrees out and oh so nice! On the way back, a light mist hung over the field at Morris Farm where the cows were out grazing with birds twittering in the trees.
Imagine mist here. Photo courtesy of morrisfarm.org
 That made me smile and enjoy the run even more. And even when thoroughly enjoying my surroundings, I still ran at a 9:05 pace and my last mile was a 8:51! Yay! I definitely needed this! Now if my races could start being more enjoyable...I'll work on that one.

Jen from Running with the Girls sent me a copy of the group picture after the B2B. Thanks Jen!
Jen and her husband, Ward, in the front kneeling. Second row starting on left - Me, Stacy, Jill, Wade, Sarah...this is as much as I can remember...sorry everyone...oh, Christine is in the back row between Wade and Sarah.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Beach to Beacon Recap

Running my first Beach to Beacon didn't feel like the fantasy race I had envisioned and dreamed about. There were definitely many, many positives about the race, but darn it if those negatives started to drag me down.

I woke up around 5:00 AM (didn't need the two alarms I set), got dressed, packed up, and was out of the house by 5:45. Driving south on 295 I wondered how many cars on the road were on their way to the race. I arrived at the satellite parking lot in Scarborough and boarded the school bus that was to take us to the start line.

The bus dropped us off and we started the trek (at least 1/2 mile) to the starting area. I checked my bag and jumped into the first port-o-potty line (which took 25 minutes to get through!) It was just 8:00 and I was worried about finding a place in the mob before the start (it didn't actually start until 8:15), but I settled in between the 8 and 9 minute per mile area with plenty of time to spare. At this point I felt pretty good, but it was already starting to get hot and humid and the sun had broken through the haze.
Photo courtesy of Kevin R. Morris @ http://kevinmorris.photoshelter.com/
It was at least 20 seconds after the start before I was able to even take a step and about two minutes until I crossed under the balloon arch. The first mile felt pretty good, but I very quickly started to get very hot and my legs hadn't warmed up yet (this usually doesn't happen until 2.5 miles in...key word usually). My split was an 8:09, just about where I'd hoped to be, but I remember thinking I wasn't sure I'd be able to keep it up in the humidity. This showed at my mile 2 split of 8:38, but was still just under my previous 10K pace. Mile 3 was 8:28 (yes!, but I really wish my legs felt better). Mile 4 (8:51 split) - OMG, I am burning up...thank goodness for the wonderful spectators that had sprinklers on. And at each water stop, I never stopped running...I took a sip and dumped the rest on my head...until I reached mile 5.

My legs were so fatigued and it was so frustrating and I really didn't understand it. I ate a sandwich on the drive down and drank plenty beforehand. They went from not warmed up to feeling like lead and it took all my willpower not to walk.  I kept repeating in my head, "I will not walk, I don't need to walk, keep running." I felt great otherwise, my breathing was controlled, no cramps or pains. I'm thinking I need to invest in some compression socks (which I should wear to help my "old lady" legs, regardless), but maybe they would really help my leg fatigue?

Anyway, I did walk through the water stop at mile 5. I find it near impossible to run and drink any good amount without inhaling it. I accidentally pushed the split button on my watch before the water stop, not after where the mile marker was, so I'm not sure the exact split - somewhere around 8:55 is my estimate.

Now come the three rolling hills. I headed to the center of the road, pumped my arms, and lifted my knees as high as I could and muscled my way up them. I really do love hills. Really, I do. Honest. Can you see me? Right of center of the photo in the left hand lane, pink tank, black skirt. I think I look pretty strong here...I definitely feel tired, though!
Photo courtesy of Maine Running Photos - David Colby Young
The entrance to Fort Williams where the finish line is located came into view. TONS of spectators were lined up behind the fence and cheering for everyone. It was awesome. What was not awesome was that there was another hill to run up...why was I not aware of this one? Needless to say, I got up it, around the corner, and across the finish line. Final time 54:06.2, 8:43 pace - not a PR, 26 seconds slower than my previous time, but it really only comes out to 4 seconds slower per mile...pretty much nothing in the whole scheme of things. Oh well... Here I am at the finish stopping my watch. It's like a Where's Waldo...
Photo courtesy of Maine Running Photos - Joe Hyatt
Oh, and I had previously mentioned that I would come across the finish line smiling no matter what. Well, I didn't. I was exhausted, and for the first time since racing again, I felt like I had pretty much given it all I had. So, I guess that was something to smile about, but I forgot. The humidity, not so much. The incredible location, yes. My legs that felt like 50 pounds of bricks were tied to each, uh no. The kids in the crowd along the course holding out their hands for high-fives that made me think of Zeke and Finn, absolutely!

I also was able to meet up with Jen, Stacy, (who both PR'd) and their running crew afterward thanks to Jen's easy-to-read map - that was cool. And seeing Joan Benoit Samuleson congratulating runners at the finish. And learning that my friend Meredith came in SECOND in our age group with the top ten removed with a time of 37:13.9 or a 6-minute pace! Meredith, you rock! All in all, it was a great day and I hope I have the opportunity to run it again.




Friday, August 5, 2011

Guest Blogger - From 30 Seconds to 13.1--How (not) to run a half marathon.

Please welcome Sarah to my blog! Take it away, Sarah!
 
Hi, Maine Mom on the Run readers! I'm Sarah and I blog over at Running on Words. I'll admit I wasn't really sure what to blog about here, but Carrie told me she's thinking about training for a half soon, so I figured I'd share my running journey with her (and you).

I started running a little over a year ago because I was sick of using the elliptical at the gym. Ellipticals are BO-RING after a year or so. I decided to try Couch to 5K because that's what all the cool kids are doing, but it turns out that I was nowhere near being able to run for a minute despite my year+ of working out. Bummer.

I went down to my local Fleet Feet to scope out...well, I don't know what. I was so nervous about being there, but I bought the Runner's World Guide to Beginning Running so that they wouldn't think I was weird for coming in and not buying anything. Luckily for me, the book has a number of training plans in the back and one of the 5K plans started with 30 second run intervals. This I knew I could do.

And I made it up to 1.5 minutes of running before shin splints/most likely a stress fracture. I remember my husband practically carrying me home while I screamed bloody murder because even walking hurt so badly. I ended up giving up running for about 3 months until I healed. I was still scared, though, so I finally signed up for the Fleet Feet/New Balance No Boundaries 5K training program.  A 12 week schedule that went from 30 second running intervals to 3.5 miles.  


This time, I did it! At the time, I hadn't really run faster than a 14:30 min/mile, but the adrenaline that day had me running a 13:08 min/mile and I finished with a huge smile on my face. I felt like I could take over the world!
 
So I promptly signed up for half marathon training that began immediately following my 5K on 1/1/11. I followed a schedule that was given to me when I signed up for the group and I had group long runs scheduled on Saturdays.
 
This was a little harder than 5K training.  A 12 mile long run meant being out there for 3 hours.  The weather was crazy as we progressed from winter to spring. Oh yeah, and I fell down cement stairs a month before the half.
 
My one brilliant piece of training advice: take the time to walk down stairs if you come across them while running. Better yet, avoid them completely.
 
Either way, I made it it to the starting line, despite the fall, the injured knee and the nagging case of piriformis syndrome I developed 3 weeks before the race (thank G-d for steroids).
 
This is while I was still pumped up on adrenaline and feeling great!  I was so excited to see my pace coach Sara!
I think the hardest thing about race day was that I had not slept the night before. I got less than 4 hours of sleep and the adrenaline wore off before we crossed the start line. While I had run 12 miles in training with no problem, I could barely keep dragging myself after 9, especially once I lost all of my friends. I also was so thirsty and kept chugging water because the sports drink was disgusting.
 
I finished. I ran the whole thing. Then I collapsed in the medical tent from water intoxication. Ooops. Seriously, with another 4 hours of sleep and more salt I would have been on top of the world.
 
Whatever, at least I got this giant shiny medal.
 
My sweet medal holder right after Cap City.  My 1st 5K medal, my 1st 5 mile race medal, and my giant half marathon medal.  Don't worry, I've collected more bling since this was taken in May.
So I guess what I'm hoping you'll all take away from this is that you too can run a half marathon with the proper amount of training! And don't drink too much water while you do it. And it doesn't hurt if your sports doc is also the physician at the finish line. That was comforting.
 
Questions?  Leave 'em below or let me know at my blog.

A very inspiring post! Thanks for visiting, Sarah!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Guest Blogger in the Post Exchange

Today I was a guest blogger at Jeanette's Will Run for Cupcakes blog! You can check out her site and my post here. Thanks Jeanette for hosting me!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Track Tuesday

So after totally slacking on running last week, having only done 4 miles since the Old Port 5K, I'm back on the wagon. Okay, my excuse is that Ian was on vacation which meant we stayed up way too late and got up way too late (lame excuse), but I also wanted to focus on family time. I was starting to stress about not feeling prepared for the Beach to Beacon this Saturday, but after this morning's run I feel very optimistic!

I decided to do six miles today, just so I could go the race distance (I tacked on the .2 at the last minute) and wanted to do it on the track so I could easily keep track of my pace since I am a Garmin-less runner. I wanted to try to keep my pace between an 8 - 8:45 mile and was mostly successful.

Mile 1 - 8:14
Mile 2 - 8:24
Mile 3 - 8:36
Mile 4 - 8:43
Mile 5 - 8:44
Mile 6 - 8:54
Mile .2 - 1:49
Overall time - 53:28

A 12 second PR!!!!! Yeah, it was on the track, but I was alone so I figure in race conditions I could do even better.

Now I'm just hoping the nightmare I had right before I woke up doesn't come true. I woke up on race morning and by the time I got out of the door there was only 45 minutes until the start of the race (it takes a good hour just to get there). I was so panicked! I got to the starting line, but everyone was at least a mile ahead of me. I decided to run anyway, but then looked down at what I was wearing - orange and black striped leggings, a red and black striped long-sleeve shirt, and a pink running skirt. How's that for fashion? I laughed when I read Lauren's post over at The Running Cook this morning, I must have been channeling her through my dreams. Also worthy of note, the water stations were manned by the Muppets! I woke up so stressed out, I'm glad I had planned an early morning run! Needless to say, I'll be setting at least three alarms come Friday night!

What is your craziest running dream?