Tuesday, August 30, 2016

My Race Calendar For 2017 (Tuesdays on the Run Edition)

My fall race calendar is really kinda slim for the rest of the year.  But I've already started plotting out my race calendar for 2017, so this link has been very well timed.

For the rest of 2016 I'll probably only have 3 races left on my calendar.  The Marine Corps Marathon in October, Richmond Marathon (or half) in November, and the Surf-n-Santa 5 Miler in December.

As we start rounding to the second half of the year, I'm looking forward to what races I will be doing next year and if I have any goal races.  I've already signed up for two races and am looking at a couple different challenges.

First up, the races I have already signed up for.  I'll be running both Star Wars races from runDisney.  The "Light Side" at Disneyland will be entering into it's third year and the "Dark Side" at Disney World will be the second year.  I have done all of the races and am striving towards the "perfect" 5 years for both races.

Because I will have done the MCM this year, I wanted to try and get the Ultimate Warrior Medal.  This would mean that I would have to run one other US Military organized race and the Navy-Air Force Half (or 5 miler).  So I was looking at the Historic Half (or the Simper 5ive) for the third race.  I have a feeling with what I want to do next year, both with be the 5 milers.

Since I'm not too far from Maryland, I thought I might try the King Crab Challenge.  This would consist of the Fredrick Half, the Baltimore 10 Miler, and the Baltimore Half.

Then there is always the thought of another marathon next year.  I don't have many that I'd like to do, but New York is on my list.  But I may need to take a year off from fall marathons as it has been very hard on me to get the runs done in the heat of the summer.  I also have a lot of halves throughout the year, so it might be a good year to skip.  Maybe look towards LA in 2018?

And then there is always the Richmond Half.  I was actually thinking that if I don't do a marathon in 2017 I might sign up to be a coach on the training team.  Something I've wanted to do for the last few years, but I've always had conflicting goals.

So far, 2017 tentatively looks like this:

January - Star Wars "Light Side" in Disneyland
April - Star Wars "Dark Side" in Disney World
May - Fredrick Half
May - Historic Half (or Simper 5ive)
June - Baltimore 10 Miler
September - Navy-Air Force Half (or 5 miler)
October - Baltimore Half
November - Richmond Half

There might be some other races thrown in here and there.  Maybe a couple of 5K's as I really kind of miss the shorter distance.

What races are on your calendar?  Have you started to plan out 2017 yet?

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Heart Rate Training Week 5 (Weekly Wrap-up Edition)

Well last week didn't start out so good.  I did some gardening on Sunday and pulled my hamstring so I decided to take a day off on Monday.  Even with the extra hour of sleep, I was still tired and very grumpy all day long.  It was probably for the best that I didn't get up and run. Thankfully my PT guy was able to work out my hamstring.

Wednesday brought temperatures in the 60's.  Not only in the 60's, but the low 60's.  It hasn't been that cool since like June.  The run felt really good and I was very grateful to be outside on such a beautiful morning.  And my hamstring felt really good.  My last mile was even under 14.  I haven't seen that in months either.  My heart rate was a little high, and even though I was in Zone 4 for 49%, I felt really good.  A heck of a lot better then Monday.

Friday brought on the hotter temperatures again.  Back in the mid 70's and humidity in the mid 80's.  For the first time during this experiment I started to pay attention to my pace.  I think since I had such great run on Wednesday I wanted to carry that on.  Even though I was pushing it a little my heart rate didn't rise too much.  It was still a very good run, just hot.

Saturday was the long run.  The training team recommended doing the Patrick Henry half, but with the heat of this summer and a cut off of 3 hours, I didn't want to risk being picked up.  I don't think my pride could take it.  So instead of the half, I decided to run on my own.  With the half, the schedule called for 3 weeks of shorter runs.  So I took this opportunity to run longer, 17 specifically. I ran a 10 mile loop so that I could refuel at my car and then a 7 mile loop.  I knew it would be hot so I wore my vest, which made me hotter.

The first 5 miles felt really good.  I felt strong and like I could run forever.  I know how quickly things can change so I tried not to get cocky.  The 10 mile route is one that I run a lot and feel good running it.  Because I started when it was a little dusky, I didn't run with my ear phones in.  I didn't notice that they were out for a few miles so I decided to run again without.  The sun started to rise above the trees so it started to get hotter.

I noticed that my shorts started to rip.  Yes another pair in the same place.  They were even a different brand then the ones that ripped a couple months ago.  I can't believe that it was happening again and on a pair that hadn't been worn as often.  I'm having such a hard time finding new shorts that I like. 

When I got back to my car to refill my water I had a decision to make to quit because of my shorts or go on.  Thankfully I found some ointment that I could use to help stop the chafing.  So I decided to keep going.  I put my earphones in to start listening to a book on tape as I had a feeling with the heat rising I would need a distraction.

The last 7 miles were not bad.  Even though my pace doesn't show it, I felt better then two weeks ago.  I felt like I was running more then I did 2 weeks ago and my heart rate shows.  Two weeks ago my average heart rate was 156 (78% in zone 4 & 5) and this week my average heart rate was 151 (54% in zone 4 & 5).  I really feel like this week was a turning point in the heart rate training.  I feel like I'm able to keep my heart rate down even if my pace is not showing too much.  Probably has to do with the heat.  Not that I'm looking forward to winter, but it would be nice to have some lower temps in the morning.

I was running out of water by mile 14 and tried to ration it out, but it was getting very hot.  I should have dropped some water along the route, but that would mean planning ahead.  Thankfully there was a Starbucks on the route and I stopped in to get some more nice cold water.  Even then, I still finished up all the water right as I finished. 

Temps at the end of the run

As for my shorts, they still chafed me, but not too bad.  I had to yank them down a few times, but since only one side ripped, it wasn't as bad as the time before.  My right hip hurt some as usual, but after some stretching it worked itself out.  It was a good run overall and I was glad to get some extra miles in.

How was your week?  Is it still hot where you are?  What's your favorite brand of shorts?

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Friday, August 26, 2016

August Runfessions (Friday Five and Runfessions Edition)

As a runner we try and follow some sort of code that everyone says you should (or shouldn't) do.  Well This is how I'm being a bad runner.

1. Sunscreen - I don't wear it.  I have red hair and am fair skinned.  I need to wear it walking to my car.  And I don't wear it at all on runs.  And (knock on wood) I haven't really ever been burned on a run.  I think this is because I run early as the sun is coming up and I am almost never in the direct sunlight for very long.  But I hate wearing it cause it gets sweaty and drips in my eyes or I've basically wiped it all away when wiping the sweat from my face.  I know I should and I can hear everyone now saying I need to, but honestly, I don't think it will happen any time soon.

2. Static Stretching Before a Run - Yes I do static stretches.  My hips and glutes are always so tight (especially right after I wake up) that while I'm getting my shoes and socks on, I do the butterfly and stretch my hips and gluts.  I have found this help a lot with my injury prone legs.  I also do dynamic hip stuff too, right before I start running, so I'm not being too bad.

3. Running Alone - With the news this summer of three women murdered out on their run, one of the things everyone has been saying is to run with others.  Well I run so slow, and I don't have anyone that will stick with me.  Besides, I actually, kinda like running by myself.  During the week I'd rather run in my neighborhood because before work because it's faster and I can sleep longer.  When I meet up with groups, I'm always the last one and no one wants to slow down for me.  I do have one guy that I run with sometimes, but between schedules, mileage differences, and injuries, we haven't ran together in about a year.

4. Running Alone in the Dark - Again, as above, with the high profile murders everyone says not to even run in the dark.  The coolest part of the day right now is early in the morning and now that the sun is coming up later and later in the morning, means more to almost all of my run is in the dark now.  All of the runs in the dark AM are in my neighborhood and while I can scare myself, it's safe.  I see the same people every morning and chit chat with them some times (and get cuddles from all the puppies out there).  I wear several lights even though I feel like a dork.  And on top of everything else, the women that were murdered were running in the middle of the day to early evening.  Not dark at all.  And if I can't feel safe in my neighborhood, I really need to think about moving.

5. Running with Traffic - So most of the time I'm really good to make sure I'm running against traffic.  I want to be able to see those drivers, especially the ones that don't like to give more then an inch when I'm running on the road.  Well there is one part of my neighborhood that I feel safer running with traffic.  I have an out and back out to the main road and I run against traffic heading out.  When I turn around, I stay on the same side of the street, now running with the traffic.  I do this because in the morning when I run, most people are leaving the neighborhood on that road to head to work or school.  At that same time very few cars are coming in.  So for every one car that comes in there are at least 10 cars leaving.  So I feel safer on the side of the road with very less traffic.  I eventually get back to the correct side of the road, but after a point where the traffic has thinned out some.

Do you do something you shouldn't?  

Link up with Marcia from Marcia’s Healthy Slice!

Also Linking up with Courtney, Mar & Cynthia 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Race Memorabilia (Tuesdays on the Run Edition)

Race memorabilia.  If you do more then a couple races, there are tons.  Every race you get a bib and most likely a shirt.  Most of the longer races you get a medal.  And then there are all the extras: programs, backpacks, finisher hats, finisher glasses, finisher blankets (or mylar).  What to do with all this stuff????  This is what I have done in the past.

Programs - I think I have only gotten programs from runDisney.  I do seem to keep a hold of them.  They are all in a box with all the other paperwork I can't seem to toss after I get back from a trip.

Drawstring Backpacks - I keep those as they are handy to have an extra small bag when needed.  Either for a trip or everyday.

Towels and Blankets - I've had a few races give out real towels or blankets after the race.  I love getting those cause I can use them in my everyday life.  As for the Mylar blankets, I used to toss those, but I found that they are very useful before a race.  I now keep them and bring along with me just in case.  They are easy to pack and toss when the race starts.

Bibs - I never kept my bibs till after I did my first runDisney race.  They are actually really pretty and I didn't want to toss them.  At some point I started a display of them on my wall.  In all honesty, I'm not sure I really like them, because the different sized bibs are hard to display nicely.  As you can see, I have put them in plastic holders to try and make them more uniform.  I'm still not very happy how they came out, but I love the wooden display behind. 

Shirts - I have tons of shirts.  Shirts that come with the race, shirts I have bought, and even shirts that are given away at booths at the expo.  Some of them I still have to run in or go to the gym.  But if you do enough races they do pile up.  So I have made a couple of blankets out of my shirts.  The first one is of all the shirts I collected over the years.  Most were cotton that I don't wear anymore, so I was happy to make them into something useful.  I did a guest post on Fairytales and Fitness on the process of getting that blanket. 

The second was of all the shirts that I collected when I did Dopey earlier this year.  This probably was a very expensive blanket as I bought all the "I Did It!" shirts knowing I wanted to make them into a blanket.  It also includes the outfits I wore during the race, which were race themed.  These blankets were done by Project Repat.  I have no affiliation with them, but I would recommend them to everyone.  They blankets are done very well and they are warm and fun to snuggle under.  And they are always running some sort of discount.

Medals - I most defiantly display my medals.  My medals started off by hanging on my stair banister.  They would clank every time I walked up or down the stairs.  The hallway downstairs was looking a little bare, so I decided to hang them.   I started this wall out with one hanger of medals....

And then I did my first runDisney races and added this...

And then I added some photos and more medals...

And then I added the runDisney side...

And then exploded into this...

And then the other side of the hallway happened....

Everything on both of these walls have a story...(I hope you like the video, it's my first - and a pain to upload)

The medal hangers are from Sport Hooks.  They are always at the big race expos and everyone there is so very nice and helpful.  They have a design for everyone, even if they have to custom make them.  Again, I have no affiliation with them, I just really like their product.

What have you done with your race memorabilia?   Do you toss them or put them into a box somewhere under the bed?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Heart Rate Training Week 4 (Weekly Wrap-up Edition)

Week 4 was a hard week for me.  I'm mentally getting exhausted of waking up early every morning to either run or go to the gym.  And the fact that I'm tired all the time doesn't help.  Somethings going to have to give soon.  On top of things my HR monitor is starting to act weird.  I really need to see if there is something that can be done about it.

Monday - Sucky run.  That's the only way to describe it.  The weekend before finally got to me.  Part of it was that I was still tired from the heat on Saturday.  I didn't eat a great dinner the night before, read a handful of almonds.  And the heat is just really getting the best of me.  I tried to get my 5 miles in but it got cut short to 3.  I was also trying out new shorts and they chaffed me badly.  Just a sucky run all round.  I spent 35% in Zone 4, which is good considering I just wanted to walk the whole thing.

Wednesday - Another very hot day.  Starting out at 78 degrees even before the sun came up.  My back and glute were bothering me from my PT doing pressure point therapy on me.  On top of trying to make it through the run, my heart rate monitor kept reading in Zone 1, which is not possible while running when it's almost 80 degrees out.  Was in Zone 4 only 29% and my HR was good, though I'm not sure how much of that I can trust.

Friday - A little cooler run on Friday.  Was a good run but still felt very slow.  My heart rate monitor acted up a bit again for this run.  But a good run overall.  Was in Zone 4 for 33% of the run.

Saturday - All I have to say if I had one more person ask me if I was doing OK on this run I was going to scream.  It wasn't a "how are you?" it was "you are walking so something must be wrong".  I started out about 10 minutes before everyone so that I would get in closer to everyone else.  As team by team passed me I had at least 5 people ask me if I was doing OK.  It's like it's bad for anyone to walk if they are on the intermediate team.  I'd explain that I was doing a run/walk and they'd say OK and keep moving.  I know they are just being good team mates, but I felt looked down on for doing a run/walk. 

The run started out good, but by the end I was done.  I'm really ready for some cooler weather to run in.  It was a weird run as the novice team was running the same course as us.  In fact they were doing 2 more miles.  If I weren't doing the MCM and need to get higher mileages quicker, I'd definitely run on the novice team.  They all just seem friendlier.  I ran a bit with a lady and we talked Disney and other marathons.  It was nice to be near someone on the slower end of the margin.  And there are a lot of run/walkers on the novice team. :)  Though I was really glad I was only doing 12 and not 14 with them.

It's just been a hard for the last few weeks.  I'm out the door by 6 and not home till after 7.  Just enough time to eat and get ready for the next day before I crash.  I really don't know how people do it with kids as I can barely get myself through the day.

What do you do when training seems to overwhelm you?  Do you take extra rest days now and again?

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Favorites Of All Time (Friday Five Edition)

This week is a Friday Five to learn more about me.  Here are some of my favorite things.

1. TV - Hmm, this is a hard one, so I may list a few.
Veronica Mars - Revolves around a high school girl that is a private investigator. 
Firefly - A band of outlaws in the universe where outer space meets the wild west.  It's only 14 episodes (plus a movie) so go watch it now!
The Big Bang Theory - Summed up in two words - Geek Love

2. Movies - Another hard one.  I think if I had to really think about it it would come down to 2 (trilogies).  Lord of the Ring and Star Wars (episodes 4-6).  There are so many other movies that I just love as well.  I do enjoy most of the super hero movies that are out as well.

3. Books - I love to read, especially a good mystery.  I've read the Alphabet series by Sue Grafton, I've read the Number series by Janet Evanovich.  I've read Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz.  But I have to say my favorite books are not mysteries.

I have to say one of my favorite books is The Princess Bride.  The movie is amazing too, but the book goes into such wonderful detail.  I do have to mention two other books, ones which I recommend to everyone.  First, The Ridiculous Race by Steve Hely and Vali Chandrasekaran.  It's about two guys who race each other around the world but are not allowed to use airplanes.  It's just a hilarious book.  Second, The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman.  It's about a house (and it's garden) through the years.  It starts off in 1750 when the town (and the house) was founded.  Each chapter moves to a next period of time and the people that live there.

4. Race - I have to say my favorite race of all time is the WDW Marathon.  Even though I was dealing with food poisoning, I think the on course spectators and entertainment was enough to keep anyone from thinking too much about how many miles they were running.  A very close second is the Star Wars Half Marathon in Disneyland.  This January I ran Dopey and then all three Star Wars races the next weekend.  And that half marathon was my favorite race of all of them.  They even had the Cos Players out on the race for some extra entertainment.  I felt so strong and had so much fun that it was perfect ending to a very long two weeks.

5. Vacation - By far, hands down, my cross country trip from LA to VA.  I saw some amazing things, including the Grand Canyon, Graceland, the Joshua Tree National Park, and the Four Corners, to name a few.  Yes the trip was by myself, but that allowed me to go where I want, leave when I want, and drive as much as I'd like.  I did do a travel blog of this trip and have everything but the last couple days documented.  I loved the trip so much that I plan in the next year or two to do it again on the northern route.  Maybe a race out in California and a drive home, hmm, sounds like a dream.

Do you have a favorite book, movie, or trip?  A favorite race?

Linking up with Courtney, Mar & Cynthia 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Race Photobombs (Tuesdays on the Run Edition)

I LOVE photobombing!!  Anytime I can, I'll jump up and be part of some strangers photo.  There was this one race where I jumped in behind the people and the MarathonFoto photographer refused to take the photo till I was far away.  That was a bit disappointing.  I wish I could see some of the pictures that people have gotten that I've tried to jump into, but alas, I never get the chance.

I do have one photo that I love which has someone photobombing us.  This is me and my friend Candace before the WDW 10k (she was doing Dopey and I was going to do my first marathon that weekend).  I love the look on that guys face.  This picture is even on my race wall (more of my race wall to come next week).

Do you have any race photos of me photobombing you?  Do you have a photobombing story?

Monday, August 15, 2016

Mind Over Matter (Weekly Wrap-up Edition)

Last week was a busy week and it flew by!  Lots of work outs and lots of fun to be had.  We had a little bit of a cooler spell last weekend and that was short lived and got to the upper 90's by the middle of the week.  My workouts did suffer because of the heat, but my mind pushed my body to finish.

Sunday - I had to get out there on Sunday because I wouldn't be able to get a run in on my normal Friday.  I knew this would be hard as it would make 4 days in a row of running (including Monday), but it was only 3 miles and it was going to be a very easy run.  My knee was holding up, but I wanted to wear my big knee brace just in case.  The run was very good and I felt good. I have a hard time getting out there on days I don't need to get anywhere.  I want to sleep in, but then it gets so hot even early in the morning.  But I got up and got it done.  Only 30% of the run was spent in Zone 4 (or walking) so I knew it was good.

Monday - The 4th day in a row of running.  My knee was starting to feel it on this run, but not bad, just annoying.  It was another good run mentally and physically.  I spent 37% in Zone 4 and again, my heart rate was exactly where it needs to be, between 140-147.  And this sunrise was amazing, I'm so glad I could see it.  I saw my physical therapist that afternoon and he fixed me right up.  He needled the front of my hip and the pain went away almost immediately.  I so don't know what I would do without him this training season.

Tuesday - Instead of going to the gym for my strength class, someone from the marathon training team was offering a free class of water jogging.  I had started to do some water jogging in the spring when I had a calf injury and still needed to train for a half marathon.  I went into the class thinking he would instruct us on the best way to do it, position and speed and all that.  But it turned out that it was just a normal class that happens every week.  It was fun, he had us do ladder sprints and I actually broke out in a sweat.  The pool was all deep end, which is nice as the one at my gym goes from 4 feet to 6 and I can only water jog in the middle and I'm turning around frequently (in true water jogging, you are not supposed to touch the ground - helps with the stress of the joints).

Wednesday - The heat is back.  It was a hot morning with 95% humidity.  I knew that either my time would be slower or my heart rate would be higher or both.  In the end, both were a bit high, but really not by that much.  My knee felt great on the run.  I did spend 47% of the run in Zone 4, and that was expected.

Saturday - Ahh, Saturday.  Saturday was interesting.  On my way to meet the training team I saw this huge shooting star.  It didn't go very far, but it was beautiful!!!  I wish I could have gotten it on camera or something.  Because of the heat, I decided to start 30 minutes early.  I couldn't leave too much earlier because it was dusky at that time.  But OMG was it HOT already.

Left: At the start at 6 AM; Right 4 hours later at the finish

As you can see by the image above, the feel like was already 86 degrees at 6 AM.  I walked out my door and it felt like an oven.  I got to the stadium and realized that I had forgotten my iPod.  I couldn't believe 16 miles with no music or book on tape to listen to.  How was I going to do this?  I've only done 3-4 miles without something to listen to and once during a half marathon (but there was so much to look at and have fun with I didn't notice).  But this was going to be hard.

I decided just to go easy and listen to my body and heart rate alerts.  I knew this wasn't going to be a pretty run, but we were out there to just finish.  I started out and a couple miles into it a few people from my team had caught up to me.  They had started early too, and it was good to see people out there with me.  A mile or so later, people from the fast group who starts first caught up to me and passed me quickly.  I tried not to get caught up in their speed.  About mile 5.5 others from my team that started on time caught up to me.  Not too bad.

By the time the sun started coming up above the trees and we started getting direct sunlight on us, we were heading over the bridge.  I like being on the other side, as it is so beautiful!  I love seeing the river and nature, it just makes me happy.

A coworker of mine that usually runs on Sundays had caught up to me.  I was glad to see him as he stopped and walked with me for a little bit.  Most people won't slow down to hang with me and he was nice enough to do so for a couple of minutes.  I wish I ran at his pace as he is a lot of fun.

Because I didn't have my iPod, I did have fun listening to little bits of conversations as runners passed me.  These are the one liners I heard from people as they passed me:
"Do you program?"
"It's a mobile platform for travel."
"And that's why we got our mortgage."
"And there was all this foam."
"I'm friendly with Andrea but not that friendly."
(as we approached another hill) "I need a reason to slow down." (and they continued to run up it)

By the second half, I really started to feel the heat.  Most of that was spent walking with a little bit of running here and there.  Most of that part of the run was in the shade, which was great.  And we even would get a breeze now and again.  As we wound about and hit the scary bridge to cross the river again I was almost walking exclusively.  Though I ran over the whole scary bridge cause I knew the more I ran, the faster I'd get over it. 

You can see all the way down!!!

As we came up to the last SAG people were really starting to fall apart.  There were people there to drive the ones that were too over heated to continue back to the stadium.  By this time, even though I was walking almost every step, I still felt strong.  I knew I could finish it.  After the SAG we hit part of the route that had absolutely no shade.  A couple coaches drove the course and asked if anyone needed a ride back to the stadium, some took them up on the offer but even with the sun coming down on me, I knew I could finish.  They say that running is a mental game and I brought mine with me!  I mentally felt so strong at that point and it was good thing as I would have taken a ride if I didn't.  Even though my heart rate and time sucked, it felt like one of my best runs.  Towards the end, I would walk a block and run a block.  I wanted to get done and I knew I could do it.  My heart rate was constantly in Zone 4 by this point and I was just trying to keep it out of Zone 5 as much as I could.  I found what shade was left and put one foot in front of the other getting the16 miles done. 

I saw this at the very end of my run and thought it was perfect.

"Can't Stop. Won't Stop"
I finished strong.  I felt tired and very hot, but I felt good.  I was in Zone 4 for 76% and Zone 5 2% of the run.  I wore my big knee brace just in case and that was a good thing as my knee started to hurt a little on the last few miles.  Again, not painful, just annoying.  An Icee well deserved when I got back to the stadium.  My time was slow and my heart rate higher then I would have liked, but I'm proud of my mental game.  The feel like temp was at 100 degrees when I finished, so to know I finished strong was what I wanted.

When I was back at the stadium I heard stories of those that had a hard time.  One guy said that he laid down in someone's lawn and either fell asleep or passed out.  That sounds scary.  I think the coaches and other runners out there were really looking out for each other.  There was one coach that ran a person in and then ran back out to go run the next person back in.  I'm glad I was able to do this run with a team with the moral and SAG support.  And dinner was well deserved!

What was the hottest temperature you have run in?  Have you run without music and felt like you would do it again voluntarily?  What's your favorite meal after a long run (or race)?

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.