Sunday, December 19, 2010

12.19.10-I did it! 20.05 miles done!

After my horrible outing two weeks ago for my then-longest-ever 18-miler, I was not feeling very optimistic about the 20-miler I had on tap for today. This would be my longest ever training run and the longest training run before my taper for the Disney Full Marathon in three weeks. When I got up this morning, I so so so did not want to do 20 miles. I knew though that I really needed to get out there and try so I finally got ready and headed out the door around 9:30am. Normally I like to get out for my long runs by 7am so I was a little worried about it getting too hot during today’s outing, but it turned out to be a non-issue as it was 60 degrees/96% humidity with low, overcast skies and a breeze of 5-10mph with gusts to 15-18mph. Even once it “warmed up” it was only 64/84%. The sun was out maybe 20 minutes total for the entire time I was out there.

I was more concerned today about endurance and so I deliberately kept my speed down, doing 16+ minute miles for the first 10 miles and 17+ for the 2nd 10 miles. Again like I did during my 18-miler I did an out-and back twice from my house so I could run in for a quick potty break and load up a 2nd set of bottles for my fuel belt that I already had filled and ready to go at the midpoint. Thankfully that little break didn’t totally derail me like it did for the 18-miler. I actually felt just as good during the 2nd half! And while I knew sooner or later my back would start to bother me, it didn’t do so until around mile 16 and even then it was not really a big deal. I did have something new though-about 14 miles in, the front side of my lower left leg about 2 inches or so above the top of my foot I started feeling a strange twinge. I slowed down a bit for about a mile or so but it didn’t go away. Now about two hours after it is still a bit stiff and sore in that spot...not sure what it is, this is a new one for me.

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised to find my feet NOT hurting like they were for that yucky 18-miler. My feet actually just felt like they do after doing a half marathon. So all in all a pretty good outing, and now I just have a 12-miler and an 8-10 miler to go. That makes me giggle-JUST a 12-miler, right? They seem so simple and quick now, even going slower than I did the first half of this year. Who would have thought that I’d be saying “JUST a 12-miler”? Even though I put weight back on and it’s taking me longer to lose it now, I’m still in the best shape I’ve been in since high school. Now, don’t expect to be hearing “JUST a 20-miler”, okay? This marathon training really is a strain on the body---my hat goes off to those who do them all the time. I am pretty sure after doing the Disney Full Marathon this January I’ll be sticking to half marathons going forward-I really like the half distance (hey, it’s JUST 13.1 miles LOL).

3 weeks to go...and I still think I’ve lost my marbles. Just sayin’.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

12/12/2010-Weston Rotary Run for Tomorrow Half Marathon Race Report

When I first saw the signups for this race, they were running a special-the cost was normally $45 but the special was only $20. I figured, for $20, why not? Besides, the race is right here in my city (and it’s not like this is a huge city, only 26.28 square miles, almost 10% of which is water) so no 3am wake up. The organizers actually decided to keep the $20 special all the way up until the race sold out. For the $20, we not only got a t-shirt and nice spinning medal, as part of their whole “Get Fit Weston” campaign, they also gave us free fitness classes (24 every week), 10 free day passes to the local fitness club and a fitness festival after the finish line with lots of vendors, our local sports teams, the local hospital and the Walgreens-mobile on-site for wellness tests and so on. A great deal, right?

Now, the race is advertised as 3 hours, but they said the timing mats at the finish would actually be down for 3.5 hours-they just had to open up the closed roads after 3 hours. When I first signed up at the beginning of the year, I figured-no problem, I’m already at 3:15 doing a 3/2 walk/ the end of the year when I should be transitioned to at least a 3/1 run/walk 3 hours should be a snap, right? Yeah, right. After basically burning myself out the first 3 months of the year and skipping most of the summer training, when the end of August rolled around I was back to worse than square one. But I was able to do the Halloween Half in 3:40 so I was pretty positive about being able to get back to 3:30 for mid-December.

Anyway, here is race day. The start was originally scheduled for 7am, but was pushed to 6:30 (or 6:40 depending on whether you were looking at the race website or the timing company website). The start line was just down the street from my house, so I woke up a little before 5am, had breakfast, then geared up and left at 6:05 to walk down the street. Temperature was a fabulous 55 degrees with 93% humidity. Did some warm-up walking back and forth while waiting for the start. When they finally got us started it was much for the time changing. Now for the *doh* part-10 feet past the start line my fuel belt fell off. Seriously. The people behind me were jumping over it and trying to avoid stepping on it while I had to turn around and retrieve it, then maneuver it back on (making sure it was more secure of course), losing me a little time and letting almost everyone pass me by. Oh well, just one of those things, right?

Since I had been warm-up walking already, I started my intervals right up, 30 second running/90 second walking. Mistake-I should have kept walking for a little longer before starting that...after a half mile my shins were positively screaming at me. And so I slowed down, stopped the running intervals and stayed like that for a little over a mile until my shins stopped hurting...then started up the intervals again. A little sore at first, but it eventually went away and I finally got into some kind of rhythm. I was almost the slowest one out there...but around mile 5 I saw another girl about a half mile back from me and realized I wasn’t last, just next-to-last LOL. Just after mile 6 the water stop clean up crew and I started leapfrogging, they’d pass me to get to the next stop, I’d pass them while they started cleaning up.

I did my intervals through about mile 7, then just went to all walking-and amazingly, while I was doing between 15:27-16:58 for intervals, my walking miles were 16:06-17:58 (that long one being mile 13, to be explained) so not too bad. Once I hit mile 11, I realized that last girl must have dropped out as she was nowhere to be found. By mile 11.5, the truck that picks up the cones had caught up to me and the driver recommended I move to the sidewalk as the roads were getting ready to open up. At just over 12, the motorcycle cop that had been going back and forth along the last 1.5 miles asked if I wanted to move to the street or if the sidewalk was okay. I told him as long as I could make it through the final intersection, they could clear the street if they needed to. Mistake-they also cleared the last intersection so when I got there I had almost 2 minutes lost trying to get to the corner diagonally from me. Otherwise that last mile would’ve been pretty good. I finally arrived at Town Center where my best friend was with her DH and my godson (they were looking at the fitness fair booths that lined Main Street which was our last little sprint to the finish) so I slapped her hand, yelled hi to my godson and ran to the end where a volunteer with only 2 medals and a bottle of water was waiting for me. It had warmed up to almost 70 by then and we had a nice little breeze going. Almost all the post-race food was gone, just some bagel halves and orange sections so we walked over to the Jamba Juice and got smoothies.

Overall a nice, quiet (for me anyway, can’t be crazy-noisy when the closest person to you is at the least a 1/2 mile ahead of you) race along tree-lined suburb streets. The fitness festival at the end was pretty good too. According to the brochure in my race packet, if I register for next year’s Rotary Run by then end of this year, it will only cost $15. ***$15.00!!!*** Yes, you read that right. I’m thinking that I’ll be signing up, can’t beat it, basically right outside my door, shirt, medal, food, etc. And next year, the cone truck will NOT be passing me by.

Oh, forgot to stop my Garmin at the finish so had to wait for the official results to be posted---3:34:41. Yes, I’m slow. Yes, I finished dead last. YES, I HAVE ANOTHER MEDAL TO ADD TO MY COLLECTION. Hmm...think I’ll celebrate by going to Benihana tomorrow night (DH’s birthday dinner a day early) and Disney World Wednesday after work...oh, right I was doing that anyway LOL.

On to the Disney Full Marathon in January...I must be nuts.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

11.7.10-Reevaluating my training plan

So today I had a 15-miler on my schedule as part of my full marathon training plan. I’ve never done more than 13.1 so this was going to be a first for me and really my first big test during my training program. When I got up this morning, the weather was amazing-52 degrees with 82% humidity which for Southeast Florida is actually a bit chilly but felt refreshing. It was a little windy with sustained 10-15 mph winds and gusts of 20-25 out where I am. I wasn’t sure how to dress so I donned my running skirt, a tank top and a long-sleeved 3/4 zip wicking top. I probably could have gone without the tank top underneath but I didn’t know how quickly it would warm up so wanted something light in case I wanted to take off the other piece. By the time I was done it was 65 degrees and I just had my sleeves pushed up and I was fine.

I walked for the first mile to get myself warmed up, then started with 4/1 walk/run intervals. Everything felt great through the first 7.5 that point I was feeling a little tired of the running so switched to just walking. Got through mile 9 when I noticed I had started slowing down by almost a whole minute per mile. Up until then I was doing 16-16.5 minute miles which yes, is slightly slower than Disney standards but still much better than I have been doing (mid to upper 17s when I first started my training plan back in August). Once I hit 10 miles I had dramatically slowed to 18 minute miles and my hamstrings started feeling sore. By the time mile 11 came, I was feeling so tired and my feet REALLY hurt. Mile 12 was over 19 minutes, 13 over 20 and 14 over 21...and the last 1/2 mile was at 22. Really. When I got to my house, I could barely walk up the stairs.

Immediately after while I was sitting logging my workout, I began thinking that there is no way in this world that I’ll be ready for a full in January. If my feet hurt that bad after 14.5 miles, I’ll be in a wheelchair for a week after 26.2. I started contemplating dropping from the full to the half. So I posted my workout on DailyMile (which feeds to my Facebook and Twitter) and got some feedback from my running friends. One suggestion is to have a drop-back week every other week. The plan I am currently following is from Marathoning for Mortals which I used to train for my first half marathon and worked wonderfully for I was hoping to follow it for my full training. Another suggestion is to change my intervals to 30 seconds running, 90-120 seconds walking to see if only 30 seconds at a time would be easier on me, then work back up to the 1 minute running intervals. I like both of these suggestions but am just a bit frustrated--I mean, when I trained for my first half marathon (Disney January 2010), I was at a 3/2 walk/run with no problems...and I used the 3/2 for my 2nd and 3rd half marathons in February and March too.

Then came this past summer. After my 3rd half marathon (and another 10K at the end of March, I started backing off the walking and running as I felt burned out and really needed a break...which I may have taken too far over the summer with hardly any walking/running at all (the 90+ degree temps from April thru late September didn’t help any). Basically when I really got down to it again in August I was almost starting from scratch. But still, I seem to be worse off than when I first started adding running intervals to my walking 2 years ago. It’s just very frustrating.

I think I’ve decided to hold off on switching from the full to the half, I do have a little bit of time to think as the half is 88% full. I’ll see how it goes trying out my friends’ suggestions these next couple of weeks, and if anyone else has suggestions for me, please let me know. I really, really do want to do the full, but don’t want to be swept or DNF due to pain or whatnot. As long as I finish within the 7 hour time limit, I’ll be ecstatic. I just want to be able to say YES I have completed a full marathon...I just hope I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew by doing it now instead of a year or two from now. So I’ll change my long mile days and try the shorter intervals for a bit and see how it goes. Wish me luck and pain-free miles :-)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Race Report-Miami Beach Halloween Half Marathon 10.31.2010

Since the race was only 40 miles south of me I didn’t get a hotel. DH drove me down on Saturday to pick up my race packet, South Beach was pretty crowded but he dropped me at the curb and drove around while I was able to get in and out pretty quickly. They must have assigned numbers based on when you registered as I got #59...and we all know I’m not Mrs. Speedy LOL. Bright orange goody bag, samples included sample packs of KT tape, Fiber Gummies and cinnamon brown sugar almonds...and some Halloween candy of course. Made a last minute run to pick up more Gu gels, then in bed by 8pm.

Race day woke up at 3:30am and left the house by 5am...only to turn around right away as I forgot my iPod *duh*. Only took about 45 minutes to get there, then walked about a half mile to the shuttle (so I could park at the finish line...and I was about 500 feet from it so VERY worth it!). Arrived at the start line at Jungle Island (where Parrot Jungle is), then went in search of the restrooms-long line for the girls but it moved pretty fast. During my search and wait in line the rain came pouring down...thankfully it stopped after about 10 minutes, although that made for a very muggy start since it was 76 degrees out. We started on time (7am) and about 5 minutes in it started to sprinkle again but it didn’t last too long. We were dodging puddles for a while and after walking for about 20 minutes to start I began doing 4/1 walk/run intervals. I would have done 3/1 but I had no way to change the track on my iPod shuffle as my headphones broke and I was using DH’s which don’t have controls on the my shuffle was stuck on my 3/2 mix from my last training run-I just watched my Garmin to see when I hit 1 minute then started my walk portion. First part started along MacArthur Causeway right next to the Port of Miami so we were going past all of the cruise ships...tried to take pictures but they didn’t come out. Passed Star Island (no stars in sight) and the ferry to Fisher Island before going over our one bridge and then onto Miami Beach. It was really nice walking along the Miami Beach Marina and then through South Pointe Park

Once out of the park we were right next to the beach on an out and back all the way up to 47th Street where the boardwalk ended (South Pointe Park is below 1st Street). We started along the Esplanade, through Lummus park and the Serpentine Walkway, then onto the wooden boardwalk at around mile 6.5. Note to self-a wet, wooden boardwalk does not make for solid feet kept slipping on the wet wood. Once we were on the boardwalk, I went to just walking. At least once we hit the turnaround at the end of the boardwalk and started coming back most of the wood had dried. By the time we hit mile 10 I was feeling drained. I was taking water at every stop after 6 miles (plus each time I had a Gu and one or two early stops) in addition to my G2 in my fuel belt-which I was wearing since I train with G2 and they had some sports drink called “Title” I had never tried before. At about 12.5 miles after re-entering South Pointe Park, we climbed a hill (a little taller than climbing up to a 2nd story), then down again and around toward the finish line. Miles 1-8 I was doing 16 and change minute miles...9-12 were 17 and change; mile 13 was 18 and change, by that point I was just so glad to see the finish line! I have always run across every finish line and did the same here, giving me a 14 and change minute mile pace for my last 0.1 mile. I was just so happy to be done!

My official finish time was 3:40:12, my slowest half marathon. I finished last in my age group and 1081/1092 finishers...slow but not last! The temperature at the end was 79 degrees with 72% humidity, but being as we were along the beach the whole time it was more moisture than where Weatherbug was reading (at the police station). My Garmin 305 was amazingly accurate, reading 13.10 miles and 3:40:13.

Lots of fun costumes along the way...plenty of superheroes and people sporting wings and headbands with ears and such. The most interesting costume I saw was a couple...she had a hospital gown with a pregnant belly underneath (lordy, I hope it didn’t weigh as much as a pregnant belly!); coming out from under the gown was a cord-painted red-which was attached the the man running with her. He was in a nude-colored body stocking with red paint splashed on the area where the cord connected-his belly mom running with attached baby. All in all a good race, FABULOUS bling (a coffin that opens revealing the vamp inside and Finisher-R.I.P. on a black lanyard splashed with red blood) and a nifty Brooks technical shirt with vampire fangs dripping blood.

A last funny thought-I forgot to turn the power off to my Garmin after stopping it at the finish line and happened to look down at it while I was driving home on I-95. It said I was running at a 0:50 pace...which cracked me up. Yeah, I’m fast all right LOL.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Confession, Reality Check and Recommitment

This is from my blog on SparkPeople, which some of you may know is a site I've been using for my weight loss journey. Some of it I've already posted here but I wanted to put the whole thing out there to make sure I'm documenting my full story here, sorry about anything that I've duplicated from prior posts here:

So, I had a setback during Summer 2010 where I was just worn out from my Winter/Spring training and races and had to take a break...during which I hardly exercised and didn't eat very well. At the end of July when I last blogged here, I thought I had only gained back 11 pounds…turns out my scale was messed up and it was actually 20.2 pounds. I was not only shocked when I saw that but upset and to be honest, embarrassed. Had I really indulged that much? Was I really that inactive? When I first started using SparkPeople, I lost 45 pounds. In just under four months I’d undone almost half of what I had accomplished.

I didn’t want to log my weight on SparkPeople and see my weight loss ticker jump so far the wrong way-I’ve even been using an app on my iPhone to track my weight recently instead, figuring I’d start doing it here again once I’d lost all the weight I had gained back. I thought of all the people on here who had told me I’d inspired them and felt like I’d be disappointing them if I tracked the reality here where they could see the huge backslide. But I’ve already disappointed myself and really, that’s what hurts. The past week I’ve been trying to get back into my good eating and exercising rhythm so I can fix my mistakes...and thankfully when I got on the scale this morning, two of those pounds were gone. When I got on the computer this morning and started doing my daily SparkPeople stuff, I decided to just own up to it and chalk it up to lessons learned.

Maybe I just did too much too fast-not the initial weight loss but the training/racing part-and pushed myself too much...this past Spring I did do two half marathons two weeks apart, followed by a 5K two weeks later and a 10K three weeks after that. For some people that may seem like nothing, but afterward I felt burned out and like I deserved a rest-I just took it too far. So today I’m publicly admitting I messed up BIG TIME and moving on. I’ve already gotten back to my training, going slowly here at first (speed-wise and number of weekly sessions), planning my training to gradually build myself back up-with all the huffing and puffing like when I first started.

The big thing-I have signed up for my first full marathon in January, the Walt Disney World Marathon. I’ve been wanting to do this ever since I first started adding running intervals to my walking and know if I do it properly, I will be able to cross that finish line without burning myself out. I do have a half marathon on Halloween and another mid-December that I signed up for before the whole backsliding thing happened. These fall on training weeks that have approximately that distance on the schedule so they are really like training runs; I won’t be putting any pressure on myself to PR...well, not for the Halloween one anyway. The one in December has a 3-hour time limit before opening the streets back up (although they will have the mats down for 3.5 hours) so I may push just a little on that one-my PR is currently 3:16. I was considering another half marathon for November but I think that might be too much pressure and might drain me again so I’m not going to do that.

I hope my friends out there keep up with me this fall...I plan on blogging as much as possible during my training to help keep me honest and from falling by the wayside. After all, as much as a cheapskate as I am, I’d be really ticked off after spending $135 plus Active fees (plus another $12.79 for a Disney marathon pin-total $150 and change) just to get swept in January LOL. So come along for the next chapter in my journey...I’d love to have you along!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

9/9/2010-It's official!

Yup, now that I'm gainfully employed again and still have plenty of my parting money from my last job left, I officially registered for the Disney Full Marathon this morning. So on January 9,2011 I'll be participating in my first full marathon. I've already begun my training (in week 3 right now) as I wanted to be prepared if I did get a job in a decent amount of time so I could afford the trip...and now it will become a reality. I do have 2 half marathons on my fall schedule-the Miami Beach Halloween Half Marathon (on Halloween of course) and the Weston Rotary Run for Tomorrow Half Marathon on 12/12/10 (couldn't pass it up-right here in my suburb, only $20 and we get a spinning medal, such a deal!). I may also add another half for the 2nd weekend in November, still thinking on it and will make a decision in the next couple of weeks.

So now I REALLY need to put my nose to that ole grindstone and whip my bootie into shape. Getting the miles in is not my issue...I start to get lazy when it comes to my cross and strength training. I've already got my training calendar set up, it's just a matter of sticking to those non-run/walk days like I should. I know strengthening my core will really help me out, I just need to override the part of my brain that says "Hey, is that a couch? It looks so comfy...and just look at that stack of DVDs waiting to be watched...and those books waiting to be read...oh, look-a soft, fuzzy blanket too!" *sigh* Someone kick me in the butt, will ya?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

7/25/10-Getting back to it again

So, once I did my 10K race back in April I started to get tired. Worn out. I think I pushed too much...and so I crashed for a long while. Only 37.35 miles in May and a whopping 4.5 miles in June; so far for July I've only gotten out there twice (that includes today) for 5.7 miles. I just was so worn out and my motivation tanked big time-not just for the running but for all my exercising. And when that happened, guess what followed? Yup, you guessed it, the food. Not so much the types of food (although there were many more added "goodies") but more so the portions and such. And so I've gained weight, couple that with the fact that my position at work was eliminated and my last day was-get this-my 40th birthday, and my downward spiral is complete. I wound up gaining back 11 pounds of the 45 I lost.

Forward to yesterday. I finally sat down to map out my training plan for this fall to prepare for my first full marathon-hopefully, participating depends on the job situation as I am about to start my fourth week of being unemployed. I decided that regardless of the job thing I will follow my training plan so I will be prepared no matter what. I do already have two half marathons (10/31 and 12/12) that I'm already registered for so I'd need to be training anyway so I figure I should be prepared. Anyway, as I saw the amount of training I'll be doing I thought to myself, "You're nuts-you are back out of shape, you've gotta get a hold of yourself or you'll never pull this off. Now get up off your butt and get back to work!" And so I am.

Yesterday I tried out the warm up and cool down of my new Heavyweight Yoga DVD (boy did that feel good stretching everything out) and I am looking forward to doing a lot more of that, probably using it as part of my cross training regimen in addition to the elliptical and stationary bike. It's a great DVD by Abby Lentz doing yoga as a "big" person. Then I made myself go to bed at a decent time last night so I could get up early today and go for a walk/run before it got too hot out. I had to really push myself out the door, and once out there I finally got going...unfortunately even at 8am it was already 85 degrees with 75% humidity giving a "feels like" of 93. Thank goodness the clouds were obscuring the sun most of the way or my outing would have been way shorter than the 3.03 miles I was able to pull off.

I started out doing 3 min walk/1 min run but after 4 run intervals just walked the rest as my heart rate was in the 160s just I said, I've been out of it quite a while and as a result am almost back to square one fitness-wise. I felt totally exhausted afterward but I'm glad I got back out there. Now I'm off to plot my return official "training" for the marathon in January that I hope to do starts in four weeks and I need to start getting back into the swing of things because I will NOT disappoint myself. I WILL be ready for January. I have come too far not to make it.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

4/24/2010-Back to basics

The last few weeks I've been taking time off. I think with 5 races within a two month time period and the training to go along with them just kind of burned me out. One day I would like to make it to the point where a half marathon every other weekend is like nothing, but that's still a while away. So now that I've rested and taken some time off, I'm ready to slowly build back up again. That also includes getting back to my normal eating because for the last few weeks along with the taking time off I've also been eating not-so-great. I know I've gained some pounds back (not sure how many as I'm hiding from my scale for now)...not the right direction to go in. So enough of the slacking off, time to ease back into my exercise schedule and walk/run schedule and to restock the fridge and cabinets the right way. I want to be back under 200 well before my 40th birthday in a little over 2 months so no more goofing off.

I'll be getting back to my schedule:
Mon...short miles (3-5)
Tues...gym for cross training (elliptical/bike/weights) with possibility of Wii Fit
Thu...short miles (3-5)
Fri...gym for cross training again
Sat...long miles (will start at 6 and go from there until my base is built up again) (unless Saturday is rained out, then long miles can go here)

Come hell or high water I'll be at Disney in January to do the full marathon. I'll be starting my "official" training plan toward the end of August. I plan to use Marathoning for Mortals again since it worked so well for my first half marathon. Between now and the start of that training I'll be working on transitioning from my 3 minute walk/2 minute run toward a 3 minute walk/1 minute run (or something like that; more running than walking anyway, we'll see how things play out). I do already have a half marathon scheduled for Halloween (Miami Beach Halloween Half Marathon) and will hopefully be able to register for a few more things for the fall and maybe December.

Tomorrow will be mapping out some plans for upping my miles again and my walk/run to run/walk transition as well as fall training. I'm also going to program my Garmin to do the beeps every minute so I can start playing with my walk/run ratios like that. If you've never checked one out, I highly recommend it...ever since I received mine (gift from DH this last holiday season), I've absolutely loved it. Accurate and gives you tons of great info regarding your pace, heart rate, distance and more.

Happy Running!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

4/11/2010-10K results

Today was the Gumbo Limbo Green Turtle Gallop 10K in Boca Raton. First time I've done a race at this distance, all others have been 5K or half marathon. Day was overcast and humid. Wind wasn't really a factor until the last couple of miles when it was right in your face (but it sure helped cool things a little, temps were mid-70s but with the humidity the sweat was pouring down). Quiet route for the most part, some down A1A and then into a little community for a lot of it, then back out onto A1A again. Wound up finishing in 1:33:27, a 14:58 pace. However, my "official" time was 1:33:44 since it was based on "gun time" timing mat at the start (I started my Garmin at the cone that marked the start line). I'm not too fond of these kinds of starts, it is not accurate based on the distance you are doing. Yes, it was only a 17 second difference but at my speed I need to take whatever I can get LOL. Think I'll stick to the D-tag timed races so I get accurate results based on the actual distance of the event.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

3/7/2010-13.1 Miami Beach Half Marathon race report

What a fantastic day for a race! Sunny with some scattered clouds and a real nice breeze. 52 degrees at the start, 60 at the finish. Gotta love South Florida in the winter!

Got up at 2:30am to have breakfast and get ready. Didn’t wind up leaving the house until just after 4am for my hour drive down to Miami Beach. The race started and ended in South Beach; when I arrived down there just after 5am, there were people still out from the night before (a few in some rather provocative partying clothes). Ah, South Beach LOL. Got parked and made my way over the the starting area. Walked around for over a half an hour trying to stay warm before making my way over to the corrals. This was set up like A1A was with poles marking the different pace times. We started on time and I headed out at a slow jog for the first block before starting my walk/run intervals. I was again doing my 3 minute walk/2 minute run intervals, adjusting to the water stops and bridges as needed.

The first 3 miles wound through the streets of Miami Beach and brought us over the I-195, AKA the Julia Tuttle Causeway. I did make one port-a-potty stop about 2.5 miles in (didn’t want to take a chance and there were no lines, only wasted about 40 seconds). We did the JTC over and back (about 6 miles total) which included 2 bridges, the 2nd (western) one steeper than the other. The bridges wound up being not too bad, I was still able to keep up a 16 min/mile pace going up...and of course ran down both of them! So actually four bridges with the out and back. We could see the cruise ships docked at the Port of Miami from the JTC...too bad that wasn’t the reward for finishing!

I kept a pretty steady pace for the first 10 miles between 14:30-14:51 min/mile. The last 5K though, I was getting tired (hey, I did just do another half marathon 2 weeks ago) and slowed to between 15:03-15:34 min/mile. The last mile or so was along a boardwalk-type area (but not wooden, was a brick-type walkway) and there were a lot of people just walking along it that weren’t part of the race...they didn’t get in the way though, plenty of room for all of us.

When I hit the 13 mile mark I picked up my pace again and ran the last bit to the finish line. My chip time wound up being 3:16:51, a new PR for me (3 half marathons, 3 PRs). Considering I made the one potty stop I’m very happy with my time on a course with 4 bridges to do. At the finish they were giving free salsa lessons and there was Latin music (all along the course too as well as many drum lines), free arroz con pollo, cafe con leche and free Samuel Adams beer (again no thanks but that booth sure was popular). They were also giving out free bags of “Corn Thins” at the end, they are like rice cake but made out of popcorn two of those (Flax & Soy and Lemon & Cracked Pepper)...really yummy and actually good for you.

I had a great time and would definitely do this race again, although next year I’m going to try to make Disney’s Princess Half first!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

3/3/2010-Coming 3rd half marathon

That's right, I've gone ahead and signed up for another half marathon. This coming Sunday 3/7/10---13.1 Miami Beach. The course starts at 11th and Ocean Drive, winds thru Miami Beach over to Alton and then onto the Julia Tuttle Causeway-over and back, then winds down back to near where it started. The challenging part will be the JTC as there are two nice-sized bridges on it, so since we are going over and back that's like having 4 bridges. *shaking my head* What was I thinking? (Yeah, I know, I wasn't thinking at all, was I?)

I think I will have the wardrobe part fixed. Still will be wearing my skirt but will have other shorts on underneath that do NOT ride up at all. Haven't decided if I'm just going to wear the skirt over them or cut out the shorts that are already in the skirt before putting it over (so I'm not wearing 2 pair of shorts at once). I'll play around with that over the next two days to see what I can figure out. Tried shopping for more tops and bottoms but there is just not much in the stores out there for my size (warning-rant to follow). Don't these running clothes makers understand that there are bigger people out there running? And we shouldn't have to pay through the nose to special order things that fit? I'm working on getting smaller but you know, it takes time. And let me just say, what Target's Champion stuff says is 2X just ISN'T. #1, the other brands I've tried (Reebok, Adidas, One More Mile, etc) their 2X stuff fits-the Champion stuff is tight so NO, it isn't that I'm bigger than I think I am. #2, running wear in general (especially women's, especially wicking fabric) a 2X top is NOT the same size as a 2X t-shirt (in women's cuts even!). Not even close. I actually fit in XL's now for regular shirts but the 2X running stuff is still cut smaller than the XL regular clothes...where the heck is that coming from? I was extremely lucky to find some sleeveless running tops at my Reebok Outlet store in 2X that fit fine (but you can still see my tummy moving when I run)...but they're all gone now (I was able to get 2, one white and one a pretty sea green color, my favorite running top right now). Doesn't look like they have anything else like those. *sigh*

I will just have to exercise patience with the clothing until some more pounds disappear I guess. Sorry about the rant but sometimes ya just have to let it out, right? Anyway, my right hip area in the front of my leg has been a bit ouchy my last couple of outings (only on the run intervals though) so I may turn tomorrow's 3-ish mile interval walk/run into just a walk or forego it altogether to avoid screwing myself up for Sunday. Cause you know those bridges are going to be a challenge as it is.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

2/27/2010-This running thing is addicting

For the first 38 and a half years of my life, I never ever thought I would be one of those people you see out there running for fun. For most of my adult life I've been overweight and almost never did any kind of exercise. I participated in one sport-bowling. Granted, I was pretty good at it, carrying a 196 average at my highest point, but still--bowling is not really a sport you need to be in shape for (for the most part). Then Hurricane Wilma came through South Florida, destroyed the bowling alley my league was at and I just stopped even doing that. I did eventually bowl again (2008-2009 season)...but wasn't really any good compared to before (average in the 160s which for me was frustrating after how well I used to do). During that time I started a lifestyle change using and began my weight loss journey. I started walking and eventually I was walking almost every day, gradually adding more and more miles. Then I heard about the Couch to 5K program and everything changed.

When I first heard about C25K I thought, hey, I could do that! Training for a 5K sounded like a great goal to shoot for and I knew that running would burn more calories than walking so I tried it. While I never made it past week 2 (week 3 just kicked my butt to the nth degree at the time), I started doing a 4 minute walk/1 minute run consistently. Set my sights on my first 5K (at Disney during the Princess Half Marathon Weekend) and had a successful outing which inspired me to keep it up. While at that event, seeing all the participants from the actual half marathon with their medals made me think, "Wow, I really would love one of those...I should try a half marathon!" And so the quest for the Disney Half Marathon for January 2010 began. I followed the walk/run plan in Marathoning for Mortals and with the support of all my new friends on the Running of the Ears forum, finished my first half marathon within the time requirements Disney set forth (my time was 3:22:13...slow, yes but hey, I finished and did it in the cold, snow and sleet---in Florida!).

Well, by then I was receiving emails from about upcoming events in my area and had started looking at local running sites to see what other events I could find...and happened upon the A1A half marathon in Fort Lauderdale. That was last weekend and although I had a "wardrobe malfunction" that resulting in a nasty chafing issue that forced me to walk most of the last four miles, I still finished 2 minutes faster than Disney. And I discovered that I really like the half marathon distance.

That brings me to yesterday. When I realized, hey...if I do another half marathon by the first week of April, I would qualify to join the Half Fanatics. And so here I am, browsing the local race listings, searching for another half marathon. And to top it off, I have set a goal of the Disney FULL marathon for January 2011. 26.2 miles. All at one time. Yeah, this running thing sure is addicting. But I tell ya, it's the best addiction one could ever have.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

2/21/10-A1A Half Marathon race report

I haven't posted anything since my Disney race report, I just got really lazy about posting entries after it was over. But I've still kept up with my running intervals and today completed my second half marathon, the A1A Half Marathon here in Fort Lauderdale. Here is my race report:

I arrived at the parking garage at about 4:45am...and the line for the only two parking meters to pay for my spot was about 50 deep when I got there. Waited about 40 minutes in line before a cop finally came over and told everyone “no tickets, no towing”, they were taking care of it so the runners would not be late to the 6am start. Yay! So went to my corral and wandered back and forth in the 13+ min/mile area until it was time to start. At least once this race started it only took about 3-4 minutes to cross the start line (race for half and full marathon total was capped at 6000 runners and they didn’t sell out). Started out walking, slowly building up speed then started my running intervals about 13 minutes in. I was doing 3 minute walk/2 minute run. We headed east on Las Olas to A1A. Right before we got to A1A we had our one “hill”-the Las Olas bridge (description of the course from the race website: The course elevation is flatter than a pancake! Sea level the entire way! Well to be fair you do have to cross one moderate bridge which counts as a hill, sort of. The Las Olas Bridge rises about 20 feet in the air and is just before mile 3 on the course). Once past the hill we turned north onto A1A as the sun was coming up. It was so pretty watching it rise over the beach (which was immediately on our right).

I was going strong for the first half of the race, I even had a 13:59 mile (mile 5), my fastest mile ever during a race. I also had four other miles well under 15 min/mile along with four more just over 15. During miles 5 and 6 we had a little detour through Birch State Park, it was really quiet and peaceful going through there. Then back onto A1A until just past Oakland Park Blvd...then turned around to head back south. Right about that time was when my running skirt started to really be an issue. Humidity all morning was extremely high (90% at the start, didn’t even drop below 70 until about 9am) and the shorts under the skirt were drenched in sweat and kept riding up. I had used body glide but even with it the shorts kept riding up and the chafing was horrible (I’m really ouchie right now). The running intervals were about five times worse with this than the walking ones so the last 4 miles I was walking almost the whole time. One of those miles was under 16 min/mile, the other three just over.

Finally the 13 mile marker sign came up, I pulled down the shorts one last time and ran to the end. Stopped my Garmin to see 3:20:13...exactly two minutes faster than my first half at Disney this past January. So, I’m very happy I was faster...but a little aggravated about the skirt thing as I know it could have been much better with all the miles that I was doing between 14-15 min/mile before my clothing became uncooperative. Regardless, I have my gorgeous seashell medal (and it opens up!) and half marathon #2 is in the books! At the end was a really good live band and lots of yummy food including pancakes if you wanted breakfast stuff or beans/nachos type stuff if you wanted something like that. And of course the normal fruits, bagels and muffins. Oh, and cookies and free beer (I got the thanks on the beer, icky!). The weather for the race was 58 degrees at the start, 70 at the finish with a light breeze the whole time...sunny, clear...just gorgeous!

Now, what next? After I've rested for a few days I'll check around for my next half to sign up for. Just give my poor thighs a chance to heal from the where's my Neosporin?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

1/12/10-WDW Half Marathon race report

Being a native Floridian, I’m used to the crazy Florida weather-raining in the front yard but not the back yard, “sun showers”, temperatures climbing into the 90s in November and humidity constantly so high that even the most expensive hair products are useless. But never in my wildest thoughts when I hit the submit button to register for the WDW Half Marathon last March did I ever, ever think that on race day I would be running with snow flurries in the sky and sleet pelting my face. Yes, you read that correctly.

I started my “official” training plan 14 weeks prior to race day, training in temperatures up to the 90s-with humidity just as high. On my longest run (12 miles), it was in the low 60s with almost no clouds and a nice light breeze which for me was the perfect weather to run in. Once race day was within the 15-day window where we could start to get an idea of what the weather might be like at the start, I began to wonder about the outfit I was planning to wear (running skirt and tank with a throwaway sweatshirt on top, maybe a pair of throwaway gloves depending on starting temps). Rain in the forecast-no biggie, been there-done that. But as the forecasted temperature kept dropping...then I dug in my drawer and pulled out a pair of Nike dri-fit stretch pants I had bought to use at the gym and tried them out on the “coldest” day we’d had so far before the race (it was in the 50s the Tuesday before I left for WDW).

Race day. Awoke to freezing temperatures so I put those pants on with my running skirt on top, long sleeved wicking top with a sleeveless tank over it and my sweatshirt on top...and of course my kids’ knit gloves I picked up for fifty cents (2 pair for $1) at Target. Loaded up my Spibelt with my gels, phone and camera and went down to the lobby to meet up with friends from Running of the Ears. We headed to the bus pickup at about 3:30am. Once we arrived in the Epcot parking lot, we headed over to the “H” tent to meet up with others from our forum. Announcements were being made that everyone needed to head over to the start in five minutes so I went over to check my bag. They wouldn’t let us back over to the tent area after that so I got separated from all the ROTE I headed over to the start by myself.

I was in Corral G, the last corral but I was able to maneuver myself to the front. It was only about 5am so we still had almost an hour to wait before our corral would be able to start. It was freezing-and then we started to get light sleet with snow flurries mixed in. I fired up my Garmin around 5:30 and waited. Finally the wheelchairs started and each wave went off with a countdown and fireworks. Ours was the last group to start. Started my Garmin and off I went for my first half marathon! Started out jogging for the first two minutes before switching over to a walk. I started my iPod shuffle with my playlist of favorite songs over which my fantastic husband had overlaid a voice to tell me when to walk and when to run (I was doing a 3-minute walk, 2-minute run).

The first mile was a little tough since I was starting out in unfamiliar weather territory, but after that I got used to it. The sleet pelting my face was a bit annoying but hey, I was at Disney World and wasn’t going to let it bother me. We headed out on the roads from Epcot toward the Magic Kingdom. It was neat seeing the characters from time to time-I didn’t want to stop though as I wanted to make sure I was staying ahead of the sweepers. My Garmin showed I was doing okay but I didn’t want to risk anything. A little before getting to the Magic Kingdom parking lot I finally couldn’t hold out for the bathroom so I trotted over to the port-a-potties, wasting about 2-3 minutes waiting for a turn. I’m glad I did though as I didn’t want to interrupt my run through MK with a potty I didn’t have to go the rest of the race.

Entered the MK parking lot, then down past the Contemporary hotel and finally over to MK itself, entering onto Main Street. Down Main Street I went running, waving at the ROTE cheering section before turning into Tomorrowland. Walked through there and part of Fantasyland before running again near the carousel and through Cinderella Castle into Frontierland. Finally we were backstage again and headed back out to the roads taking us toward Epcot again. I took pictures of as many of the mile marker signs as I could and some of the characters. Once I hit mile 10 I started to flag a little bit...then I saw the green army men with only a couple of people in line so I finally stopped for a picture. After that I was smiling and energized again. Even the few “hills” toward then end from climbing the overpasses didn’t faze me (although I did walk them---but at faster than the 16 mile/minute pace!). Unfortunately, the sleet had changed over to rain---I say “unfortunately” because even though the sleet was gone, now it felt colder then it had before! During the last 3 miles I did walk through several of my run intervals, but rarely throughout the entire race did I go slower than the 16 mile/minute pace.

Finally entered Epcot Center itself and the final mile. Once I made the turn out of Epcot toward the finish, I started my final run interval (it was funny to me that every time I was at “key” points where there would be ASI photographers or special places on the course like Main Street, the Castle and the finish area my special playlist was on a “run” section-it just coincidentally worked out like that). I was smiling the whole way through the grandstand section and across the finish. I had done it! My first half marathon was over...and I had done it with no problems at all. I even felt like I could have gone a few miles farther!

Got my mylar blanket and wrapped myself up (those things really do help!) and walked over to get my medal-with a huge grin on my face! Grabbed a muffin, banana and some water before heading to the bag check tent. The line for my section was huge and I had to wait almost 20 minutes to get my bag, during which time I kept getting colder and colder, shivering in my wet clothes. After I finally got my bag, I exited the tent to find my best friend, her husband and my godson waiting for me. I was way too cold to stay to meet up with anyone at the H tent so we went to the car so I could start to warm up. It wasn’t until I was back in the hotel room for quite a while-like almost an hour-before the shivering stopped.

All in all it was a unique experience for my first half marathon. I mean, who thinks they are going to do their first half in “sunny” Florida at Disney World in freezing temperatures with sleet and snow flurries? But overall I had a great time...and later that day once the results were posted I found out my official time was 3:22:13, a 15:26 pace. I was hoping for 3:15 but considering the conditions (and the mildly hypothermic condition I was in at the end), I was happy with the time. My Garmin showed 3:17:43, but I had forgotten to switch off the auto-pause feature that stops the timer when you are stopped, so it had stopped timing when I was waiting to potty and to take the picture with the green army men.

Now to look forward to next year...and wonder whether I should try for the full in 2010. Hmmm.....decisions, decisions.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

1/5/10-Oh my, it's almost here!

Today is Tuesday, January 5th...tomorrow I will be working a half day (getting off at 12), then stopping at WalMart/Target to hopefully pick up a couple of long sleeved tops before coming home, packing up the car and driving up to Disney! Tomorrow night I'm staying off property (using a free night reward), then will be checking into Pop Century at WDW Thursday morning. Then on to the expo at Wide World of Sports to be there when it opens at noon. I'll get to meet up with many other people from the Running of the Ears (ROTE) website (I'll be wearing my bright red ROTE hat!), some I've already met once at the Royal Family 5K back in March at WDW (Princess 1/2 weekend). They might not recognize me though, I've lost weight since then plus I was dressed horribly that morning...I knew nothing about dressing properly for running and was wearing an oversized cotton tshirt and running skirt that day-once I saw my pics i just cringed as I kinda looked like a big boxy thing. Now I know better...although I'll be bundled up that morning anyway. The low marathon morning is supposed to be in the upper 20s! Yes, here in Florida!

I tested out a pair of stretchy Nike Dri-Fit legging-type workout pants on my run today and it seems like they will keep my legs warm so I'll most likely be wearing those with my running skirt on top of them. Then either a long-sleeved (if I luck out and find out tomorrow after work) or short sleeved top with the ROTE red tank top over it. If our ROTE tops don't come in on time then I have another tank to use. I got a sweatshirt to wear over those until I get too hot, then can toss it. Also got kids knit gloves from Target (2 pair for $1.00, such a deal)...might hold on to those though, they will probably fit in my Spibelt especially once I start eating my gels. And of course my red ROTE headsweats hat!

Since I'll be wearing the sweatshirt, I plan on picking up some "toggles" for my Spiblelt at the expo---they clip onto the race number bib so you can attach it to your Spibelt...then I won't have to worry about my number being hidden by the sweatshirt so I won't have to dredge through tons of pics on the ASI photo site afterward trying to find myself.

Anyway, I'm about 2/3 of the way packed, just have bathroom stuff and then my electronic stuff left. Will probably do most of that when I get home from work tomorrow. Going to hit the sack blog will be my race report!

Walt Disney World Half Marathon, here I come!!!