Friday, October 29, 2010

Finally Got a Run in this Week!

  Our long runs are supposed to be on Sundays.  Well, Sunday we drove to the destination for our 10- miler-- Old Mine Rd in the Delaware Water Gap, and parked the car at Millbrook Village.  Sometimes wurvy curvy roads get my stomach a little iffy, especially when it's empty, and that's exactly how I felt when we started off on our warm-up walk.  Millbrook Village is a neat, old touristy town, and this coupled with that special feeling in my tummy made for an excellent excuse to skip the run, explore, walk around and take pictures.

Of course, the sun was setting and we did end up jogging a little ways back to the car.

   Fun Sunday. Then Monday, Tuesday, run. Did some other fun stuff like make donuts, play music, visit my sister and hang out in Times Square.  Thursday came, and it was a perfect day to finally get that long run in! Got off work relatively early, with plenty of daylight to spare.

  We drove over to the North Beach at Paulenskill Lake and hit the trail for some adventures.  I didn't set my expectations too high, after having not run for like four days straight, started off with a side stitch right away (which I never get), and felt generally uncomfortable.  Thankfully, that feeling went away after a couple miles, and I slipped right back into enjoying the run.  Listened to some running podcasts- Phedippidations and Run Run Live, both highly entertaining and distracting.  

  Running these trails are the best because you get so much change of scenery the entire time, while the course pretty much stays flat.  The old rail trails go through the woods, but also through some farms and behind large residential properties.  The deer were everywhere, watching us from ridges above, hills in the distance or darting across the trail in front of us.  We past lots of cows and horses..and even discovered an alpaca farm!! It was great..there were four of them hanging out on one side of a field having a stare-down with about five or six deer on the other side.  I'm sure as soon as we stopped watching them they continued whatever game they were playing.

  At one point, a beautiful red Irish setter ran down the hill and out of the woods toward us.  A very friendly dog, we got her to run with us for a little while.  We weren't sure if she was lost, but figured probably not, with the jingle bell on her collar and all.  A big barn was nearby, and we stopped to ask the lady grooming horses.  She assured us the dog was a neighbor's and frequently likes to run with people.  Someday it will be nice to have a dog of our own to bring with us!

  Other than that, what else stood out on this run? We saw another runner! That's always a rare gem!  He passed us twice, so he must have been out on a long run as well. What else? A giant, random flood in one chunk of the trail..difficult to get around. Lots and lots of horse doo doo. And the sun set fast on those last couple miles.. I think I was more worried about stepping right into one of those massive piles than encountering a black bear in the dark.  I guess that's about it. Oh, and I made Tom promise that he'd never let me not run for a long period of time straight..I didn't like how I felt after taking four days off and I really don't want to lose the progress I've made.  Can't imagine starting from scratch!  I enjoy running too much to let it go too easily and refuse to let myself forget it. So that's all. : )

Thursday, October 14, 2010

World Wide Festival of Races- Half Marathon Challenge

WWFoR Video    <---Watch our race here!

    Alright! Four days later and finally a chance to sit down and process Sunday's big race!  I've just finished my lunch here at Panera, asking myself why I had to order the soup in a bread bowl.  You know, when there's like nobody in line and they're just waiting on you? Well, I tend to get ordering anxiety and just ask for whatever happens to look good at first glance.  Not only was it just entirely too much bread, but somehow I managed to spill a spoonful of black bean soup all over myself trying to eat the thing. Nice.

     Switching gears. Sunday. 10-10-10.  I first heard about the WWFoR on The Runner's Round Table podcast, and was kind of confused about the whole thing.  After checking out the website, I began to get the feel of what this race was all about.  "Think global. Run local." Very cool. It's not every day you get to run a race with people from around the world.  Plus, I was really intrigued with the idea of seeing photos of where all these people run. At the time, my husband Tom and I were training for our first half marathon- the Philadelphia Rock N' Roll in September. So we decided, "Hey let's do the World Wide Half in October, too."  This will be the first race where we stick together for the whole thing.  Tom and I always train together, but on race day, he's wayyyy ahead of me.

      Tom mapped out our run ( to cover ground that, for the most part, we had never really gone over before. We left the car at Swartswood State Park, where we've actually run a 5K or two several years ago.  The temperature was nice and cool and the sky was perfectly clear. We took a bunch of pictures before heading to the 'starting line,' and planned to come back later for a picnic by the lake when we returned to pick up the car.  The course would take us 13.1 back to our home neighborhood.

     We synced our iPods to listen to Phedippidations "As the World Cheers" together at the start.  Being cheered on from both new and familiar voices was so incredibly amazing! It pushed us forward, encouraged us, entertained and inspired us and made us laugh. Though, somebody called back with a joke, something about a comedian?  Tom and I just looked at each other and shrugged. Haha..maybe we missed something.  I really enjoyed the music- Black Lab and the special running song at the beginning..hehe.  Chris Russel's entry on the Mid-Packers was awesome.  Oh, and whoever said to give the next car a goofy thumbs up- I so did.

      Our course through Sussex County was beautiful.  We passed lakes, hills, horse farms and just amazing fall-foliage mountain views.  The first, and only, other half marathon we've run was pretty much flat the entire way.  This course was not, but we've done the distance before, and we weren't really pressuring ourselves for any particular finish time.  We ran the entire thing, though, and only stopped to give a couple drivers directions.

    We really enjoyed ourselves, but there are a few things I've taken away to learn from.  Somewhere, probably about five miles in, I felt blisters coming on.  I've discovered they're only a problem on the inside of my left foot, and only when I run hills. First half marathon- no blisters, but then I can run 5 miles on a hilly road and have several of them. Maybe this is a shoe issue? Or running form? I have no idea, but wow are they painful to run on.  Then there was the thigh chafing..oh my gosh. Again, sometimes it's a problem and sometimes not, even in the same shorts. It has seriously never been this bad.  I just had to keep my mind outside the pain. Going to have to get some other kind of shorts or try some anti-chafing products. Actually, yesterday I tried something from the last race goody bag.. it kind of helped.  Probably not so affective since my skin is still recovering from Sunday.

     It didn't really occur to us till the morning of the race that we would need to bring our own water or sports drink with us.  We typically never feel the need to bring anything, and for our longest run yet we had just taken water and Cytomax from the aid stations.  Tom decided to wear a shoulder bag type back pack and said it was comfortable the entire time.  We packed a bottle of water and a bottle of fruit punch flavored Cytomax, which was another goody bag sample.  The lemon-lime flavored Cytomax was great in Philly, so we didn't think twice about the fruit punch.  I asked Tom to pass me a drink around mile 6 and took a big swig.  How do I describe this?  All I can say is that for the next quarter of a mile I was seriously questioning whether that was laundry detergent I mixed with water or if it was, in fact, a sports drink.  I asked Tom, "Why does it taste like flowers????" And the taste stays with you for a bit as if you were drinking perfume. Needless to say, I stuck with water the rest of the way..

     Most of our run was on the road, but around mile 10 or 11, we headed into the Sussex Branch Rail Trails.  We run here all the time, but not typically 10 miles into a run.  The change of scenery was nice, but with the blister and chafing pain, my legs were not at their best. I felt a little lazy and actually tripped and fell once. Gotta pick up your feet a little more on the trails!  We exited the trail, back onto the road probably less than a quarter mile from our finishing line, but Tom had the course take us like half a mile or so the other way first before we turned around. Then it was a mile from the middle school to the post office- our blessed finish line, which we crossed at 2:24:36 (1 minute and 28 seconds longer than my first half marathon- not bad, considering the hills!)

     From the post office, we walked all the way up the hill to our home.  So many times I have walked up this hill, cooling down after a run, while beating myself up at how out of shape I've let myself become or just asking myself, "when does a person start to enjoy running?" All the while my husband has encouraged me," You look great" or "You just ran 3 miles. Not everyone can do that, you know."  It's so neat to look back and see how far you've come.

     By the time we got back to the house, the exhaustion set in. We were totally beat. I looked in the mirror and told Tom, "Wow, I look like death."  Never has a shower and a nap been so refreshing. Then after waking up, I discovered the sunburn! October in northern New Jersey, and I got a sunburn. Unbelievable. Everything is a learning experience.

     So, Branchville, this is where I trained for my first 5k over 5 years ago, and now, on the same stretch of road, I've finished my second half marathon with my husband and hundreds of other runners around the globe!  What a thrill! I've enjoyed so much looking at all the pictures that have been posted. Thanks to all of the entrants for their encouragement and thanks to Steve Runner and all you other running podcasters that have done so much to bring us together.  Already looking forward to next year!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Finishing up my first 10k.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

August 11, 2010

Haven't blogged in awhile, so I need to get this a little more up to date real quick. Let's see. We're now in our 9th (of 12) week of training! Wow, this is going fast. Our longest run yet was 8 miles this past Sunday. That was a tough run. We picked a trail we weren't familiar with, and it was much more difficult than the even rail trails we've gotten ourselves used to. This one was near Crater Lake, up in the mountains. The plan was to swim afterward, so we chose a trail close by to save time. about rough. We ended up turning back around because it got to the point where we couldn't run, just kinda marched through these rocky areas along the mountainside, quite ridiculous really. Actually, it was ok..until my Nike+ decided to give out just past our half way point. The iPod and Nike+, I've discovered and confirmed by reading others' cries for help, does not do well with perspiration. Go figure. So it stops recognizing the receiver somewhere around 4 miles, and we just had to estimate the rest of the way. We decided to run another 40 minutes. Typically, we tend to run a 10 minute mile (together, that is. Tom's much faster on his own.) We're pretty sure we cheated ourselves, though, because with the hills and a little walking, it's doubtful we did an additional 4 full miles. Oh well. It was definitely an intense workout.
So that was Sunday. On to today. Wednesday. By the way, we took Monday as our rest day this week instead of Friday. It was a very enjoyable day! Tom picked out his *free* pair of running shoes at the runner's store (umm, forgetting the name here). He won the shoes at our last 5k, because the first place winner for his age group never came up and he was second. So he got a $100 pair of New Balance trail shoes free! Nice : ) Of course, you have to dodge all the sales pitches. Tom did all the fancy shmansy "shoe dog" measurements, ran on the treadmill and was videotaped. They even made him personalized insoles. (Come to find out-at the register-those insoles were going to cost $80! Sorry, no thanks.) Overall, the store was a nice experience. We like those places. You just feel like you have to remind the sales people, "Hey, one of the big reasons we run is because its an inexpensive way to stay in shape!" There are a lot of unnecessary extras out there.

Anyway, didn't I say back to Wednesday? Yes. This morning I ran by myself for the first time in a few weeks. I also ran on the roads for the first time in quite awhile (since this was a lone run). I wasn't sure how it was gonna go, but today was a beautiful morning. I decided to just go down run road 2.5 miles and turn back around, instead of weaving in and out of roads. This took a little bravery because I hadn't been more than a mile down this road before and wasn't really sure what to expect. I decided, "Ok, whatever it is, I'm gonna run it. That's that. 2.5 then turn around and run back." I found myself going down a lot of hills, thinking maybe I had made a bad choice. But then I found myself talking to those hills. "I'm gonna beat you on the way back. Don't worry, you're not gonna get me." Haha..yeah. The steepest hill was just about at the half way point. I made it almost up the hill, then I hear my iPod "Half way point." So I turned around. Then I started getting back to all those hills I had just run down. I started talking to them again. "You're not as bad as you look. I can do this." I knocked down every single one! This is huge for me. Yes, I did slow down quite a bit, but for me not to avoid the hills and to face them head on was a really big deal. It's really all a mental game. You have to picture yourself having finished that hill and tell yourself, "No, you were never really going to start walking. It was built into you to finish running it from the start." When you're thinking this, it makes it kinda like a give-in that you will just run the hill. I don't know if that makes sense.. but it worked for me. For every up hill, there is a down hill that you are going to enjoy so much more if you endured the run up.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Week 3, Day 5

Training is still going well. We mixed up a few days this week, but it worked out fine. That's just part of it- knowing where you're at. Sometimes you're too sore after one days workout to do a longer run, so its better to just go for the 2 mile cross train. Learning to listen to your body is better than forcing yourself to adapt strictly to a training plan. Of course, we are being diligent with the overall plan, but part of that is just being flexible throughout the week, without really compromising. So far, so good.

Something I'm also learning is that I can get bored too easily. When I know I have a set amount of miles to run, I can't just go half way and turn and run back. I have to trick myself. Run, just run till I feel like turning around, so that I don't know where exactly the mileage is going to end. (Nike+ lets me know how far I've gone along the way.) Otherwise, when I know I'm half way, its harder to finish and the run becomes less enjoyable. I want it to be an adventure. So what if the cool down walk home is a little longer.

This also leads to needing to find new places to run. Or at least starting in different places. This evening we were going to run on the trail along the creek in Branchville. It was just after 8:30, though and during our warm up walk, we were on the lookout for bears. Not even 5 minutes into it, we saw one just across the creek from where we were and turned around quickly and did our run through town instead. Oh well. Unfortunately, the sighting will make us both a little more paranoid about running at night, even through Branchville. I really enjoy all this nature, but yeah, don't really need to get attacked by a bear, even though that's fairly uncommon.

So we ended up running past the school, the graveyard, the abandoned psychiatric home, some old abandoned farm and an eerie looking pond. I told Tom I think this place is a hundred years away from being a real ghost town. Pretty creepy. Made for a great run though.

Friday, June 25, 2010

One of these days I'm going to make this blog look nice.  Just some quick thoughts before going to bed..
We ran on a trail today. Actually, Fridays are supposed to be the 'rest' day during this training, but for two weeks in a row we've swapped Thursdays and Fridays. So today was just a 3 mile run + strength back at home.  So yeah, the trail. That was fun. Saw lots of deer and bunnies. Something weird and annoying happens to me though. This particular trail is mostly a narrow path but there are a few sections where it kind of opens up. Well, I find that, in those areas that are more open, my pace immediately slows down. Some kind of psychological effect I guess? There is no incline.. maybe it's the extra sunlight? I don't know, but when I feel closed in, I run faster and its a positive thing. My night runs are always faster too. Go figure. I have to break out of this though. The last quarter mile of our run was back on the road, and once pace totally drops and I feel a lack of energy.  I don't like to end a run that way. Anyway, running on the trail was really fun and the time went by so fast. 
I've really been enjoying listening to podcasts on my long drive to work.  My favorite right now is the Runner's Roundtable.  It seems like every episode there are a different group of runners and its really encouraging to hear where they're at, what their experiences are like, what they're training for, etc., etc..  really cool.

Anyways..time to go to sleep. Tomorrow is a lonnng day at work. 10am-9:30pm. The morning in the pharmacy and the evening cashiering (yay.). I'm really hoping to get a full-time pharmacy position. There's a possibility I could be a 'floating' pharmacy tech for the district which would be very cool- going to the four different stores as needed (and getting paid for mileage and travel time).  so tired.. goodnight. :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Week Two, Day One

Strength First:
Lunge With Dumbbell Reach (5 lb) 3 sets of 15 on each side
Single-Leg Dead Lift (8lb)                3 sets of 15 on each side
Dumbbell Ice-Skaters (5 lb)             3 sets of 10 
(^ Those are tricky, but I'm getting the hang of it- takes a lot of coordination.)
Reach Squat (8lb)                               15 reps on each side
Bench Press with Crunch (8lb)         3 sets of 10
Push Ups (Yes, the girly ones)          3 sets of 10
Some extra weight lifting with a 15lb

Yoga/Pilates Stretch Bands-
Shoulder Warm-Up
Side Bends
Abs & Arms
Hamstring Stretch
Abdominal Activator
Leg Press
Arm Pulse
Short Spine
Some other random stretches

So that's it for today. I didn't really time myself, but I guess it was about an hour.  Feel good. Kinda stinky. I hope I'm not in as much pain tomorrow as I was last Tuesday morning. We'll see. Oh and these strength exercises are pulled out of a bunch of magazine articles I've collected over the last couple years.  The stretches come with the stretch band manual book. The bands are kind of fun, but your hands really smell like rubber after using them.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Week #2 (6/21-6/27)

So this is what next week will look like.  It's exactly the same as Week #1.

Monday: Stretch & Strengthen 
Last week I was sore from this all the way to Friday..

Tuesday: 3 mile run
Last week we did this on a high school track and I was surprised how easy that was.  The mosquitoes were horrendous though.

Wednesday: 2 mile run or cross training
Most likely we will just run.

Thursday: 3 mile run + strength

Friday: REST!! 
(Last week we swapped Thursday and Friday due to extreme soreness left over from Monday and Tuesday.)

Saturday: 30 minutes cross train
Last week we went hiking.

Sunday: 4 mile run

Blog #1

Gonna keep this one short and simple.  I've had this blog account for a few years, but have just put off blogging anything till now. Not sure why.. I guess I haven't really seen a need to blog on MySpace, facebook, my own personal journal AND blogspot. But now I see an opportunity to help myself in accomplishing kind of a bigger challenge.

Tom and I decided to start a 12-week half-marathon training program.  This morning we completed week #1 (hurrah!!). I know it's going to get harder and harder, but we're up for it.  I feel like I need this in my life right now to make me feel like I'm accomplishing something.  Something that takes a lot of commitment and focus.  Anyways..more to come.