Weight Tracker

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Flower City Challenge Half Marathon Race Recap

Two (ok three now) days later, I'm still having a hard time believing I actually did it. I've been working on this post for a while now, trying to digest everything. So lets start at the beginning.

The night before I laid everything out, and tried to go to bed early. I say tried because I was a giant ball of nervous energy, and I ended up sleeping fitfully. When the alarm went off at 6, I almost turned it off!

The morning was a lot colder than I had thought it was going to be, so I had to modify my outfit slightly. I added arm sleeves under my jacket and an ear warmer under my hat. Both were easily removable if I got too warm,

The Hubs got up with me and started getting himself and our daughter ready to go drop me off. Luckily the toddler was too sleepy to be the usual terror she is when you're trying to get her out the door. My stomach was not cooperating, and other than a few sips of coffee, I could not make myself eat anything. I have never been this nervous about a race before. When we got there, there wasn't anywhere obvious to park, so the Hubs dropped me off and headed to find a parking spot. I headed into the Blue Cross Arena to stay warm. I found some people from a running group I've run with a couple of times, talking to them helped calm my nerves down a bit.

When they announced five minutes to start time, I headed to the corral, and tried to find a pacer to follow. I had planned on trying to stick with the 12 min/mile pacer, however when I got out there, it looked like all the signs were by finish time. That early in the morning, with that many nerves, I could not do the math. So I picked one towards the back of the pack that sounded like it might be around where I needed to be. Spoiler, I choose poorly.

One of the pacers near me was dressed in a big italian flag chefs hat, and had a huge black fake mustache on. I also saw a couple people with I believe in the Blerch shirts.

The national anthem was sung, and we were off. There was the predictable stutter start, lots of chuckling, and then we were really off. I had some issues with starting my app right away, but it did start relatively close to the start line.

I was hanging with the pacer I'd chosen, but I was having a lot of coughing issues. I started to worry that my lungs were not going to hold up for the run. If I was coughing this badly at mile one, finishing the race was in serious doubt. Other than the coughing I was feeling good, although I could tell I was going a tad fast. When my phone chirped out my time into my ear bud, I realized why I was coughing. I had run an 11:12 min/mile. Waaaay toooo fast. So I tried to dial it back. I emphasize the word try there, because when we hit mile two, I found I had actually sped up, finishing mile two with an 11:06 pace. I blame the down hills.

At this point I made a concerted effort to reign myself in, tucking in behind a runner who looked like they were going the pace I needed to be going. It helped that the pack had strung out a bit by this point, and I wasn't constantly being passed by people. As soon as I reigned in my speed, my coughing stopped, thankfully. This mile flew by actually, as I settled into a comfortable pace.

Somewhere around here we exited the "city" city, and started running through more neighborhood streets. Right around the turn off of East and onto Park one of my Co-workers was out to see me run. It was great having someone cheering my name!

I need to note at this point that I wasn't really fueling constantly. I was nibbling at my Honey Stinger waffle occasionally, but my stomach was still unsettled, and would bother me every time I ate anything, so I was kind of avoiding it. I paid for this later.

I was still feeling good at this point, I had settled into my comfortable pace, and was just cruising. I walked through each water stop I came to (I think there was about one per mile, but it's a little fuzzy) so I could actually drink the water.

"Why Yes, I'm running up this hill!"
Walk break on the Hill'o'Doom
Right around halfway through mile six was when we started up the BIG HILL OF DOOM. Yeah I walked most of that. Except for the top
bit, where The Hubs, our Daughter and my Parents were out to cheer me on. I ran that part, cause you know, I'm showing off! You can see in my split pace that the hill really slowed me down. The hill was most of mile seven actually, and really took it out of me. By the time we'd gotten up the hill, I was warm enough to remove both my arm sleeves and the head band from under my hat. I started speeding back up on the back side of the hill though, and got back to close to a comfortable pace as we exited Highland Park and headed into Mt. Hope Cemetery.

The Cemetery is beautiful. I know it sounds weird, but it's kind of famous around here for being amazingly scenic. It's really old and has a lot of famous people buried in it. I was just kinda cruising and enjoying the scenery for most of the run through here. Towards the end of this section was when I started leap frogging with this guy, who was doing  run walk intervals that had him right around my pace. I would pass him when he stopped to walk, and then he'd pass me when he started running again.

I was still feeling ok when we exited Mt. Hope, although I had run out of water in my water bottle. I figured I would be ok with just water from the water stations for the rest of the race. I also realized around here that I had not been fueling enough. I'd nibbled at my Honey Stinger Waffles, but I had yet to finish a whole one.

By Mile 11 the pain started. We had turned to run along the river, and while it was very pretty, it was windier, and I felt colder. Not cold enough to put my headband or sleeves back on, but enough that I could tell if I slowed down too much, my legs were going to start locking up on me. I had to start a run walk of my own. It wasn't a Bonk, per say, just, I had very little left in the tank. I was thirsty, and after this point, there was only one more water station. I tried to start in on my GU at this point (yeah I know way late in the game) but without water I couldn't force myself to actually eat anything.

The only thing keeping me going at this point was that guy in the Orange shirt. We were still leap frogging each other through out the long rolling path along the river. He started to pull away from me as I slowed down, but keeping him in sight kept me moving. I owe this guy so much for keeping me moving. I hope he had an awesome race!

There was one last sharp uphill as the path corkscrewed up onto a bridge to cross the river, and then the last long push back into the city proper and the finish line. My legs felt totally dead at this point, and it was a mental game to keep myself going.

Most Adorable Cheering section ever.
As I got close to the finish line, the crowds were bigger, and I could hear the cheering and the announcer at the finish line. I was able to pick my pace back up, and empty the tank, pushing through the finish line. About a block from the finish line, this guy leans over and says "You see that? What does it say?!" I smiled back "It says Finish", "That's right!" He yelled "It says FINISH!" I kind of half laughed and say "Thank god!" I wouldn't have believed it before this race, but having that crowd at the finish actually energized me! I could feel myself picking up as I got closer to the finish line.
My cheering section, Braving the cold!

My Parents, Hubs and our Daughter had circled around and were waiting right before the chute to cheer me on. I had enough left in me that I could wave, smile and flash a thumbs up.

The Announcer called out my name as I crossed the finish, which felt awesome, and I caught a glimpse of the clock. I was startled to see I had come in under three hours!

I had to convince my body to stop pushing once I'd crossed the finish, I actually kind of half jogged up to the volunteers. As the lady put the medal around my neck I felt myself starting to tear up. I was just so happy to have actually finished.

I grabbed some water, and went to meet up with my family. We went inside the Blue Cross arena to warm up (it was really cold out at this point) and I grabbed some pizza and more water from the recovery zone. I was bummed they were out of bananas, but my Parents had brought animal crackers for me too. There was a 40 minute wait for the massage people, which I decided was too long. Apparently at this point I was kind of focused on sitting down, and ended up grabbing some floor. I stretched a bit, ate my pizza and tried not to cry from joy.

You can see on my Splits that I totally forgot to stop my app until I was actually sitting down scarfing pizza! I had a good laugh about that one. I was a little punchy at that point!

A few things of note about the race, which was awesomely run, the spectators were awesome. Seriously, it was not nice out, and yet there were tons of people out with funny signs screaming their heads off. There were four or five groups of musicians scattered around the course, everything from a high school orchestra to bag pipers to a drum circle.

My two favorite signs: "May the Course be With you" (complete with a drawing of Yoda), and "Run you Clever Girl, And Remember!" (With the name of the woman they were cheering for at the bottom).

I look like I'm in pain,
but I'm just tired
Race Bling!
I actually recovered really quickly from the race. After a hot bath and some stretching, I wasn't that sore. Mostly hungry and sleepy. I'm still hungry and sleepy. I learned a few very important lessons from this race. I need more water, I'm going out and buying a hydration belt asap. I need to focus on making sure I fuel as I run, I'm 90% sure the awfulness I experienced after mile 11 was fuel related.

And the most important lesson, one I totally wasn't expecting: I want more. I want to beat this time. I want to go further. I am totally, absolutely, addicted.

You can see the Hill'O'Doom on the elevation chart.
Another action shot of me running up the Hill'O'Doom

Monday, April 28, 2014

Friday, April 25, 2014

Gearing up for the Half!

My T-shirt and Bib for the Half!
I got my last run before the half marathon done last night. It was a gorgeous day out, so we packed up the munchkin and headed up to the Cobbs Hill reservoir. The Hubbs is still working on getting back into running shape, but insisted on pushing the Jogging stroller for part of the laps we did together.

We started out too quickly, and about half a lap in, Hubbs noticed his foot was starting to bother him. I pointed out that we were booking, and perhaps easing off the pace a bit might help. After that we settled into a comfortable pace for a few laps. There were a couple of pit stops where first I and then He had to stop to retie a shoe. I've never had that many untied shoe laces in a run, it was weird. After 2 laps I handed the stroller off to my Husband and he dropped back to a walk.

I slowed for a bit to get my music running on my phone and then settled into a comfortable pace. Part of this run was for me to feel out what I should be pacing myself at on Sunday. I had the idea that I was
going to try to hang with the 12 min/mile pace group for as long as possible. After a full mile at a comfortable pace my phone chirped out that I had hit a 12:20 min/mile pace. This felt like a pace I could hold for a long, long time.

I spent the rest of my run just kind of feeling myself out. Letting my legs relax into the run, and doing constant mental checks on my status. I was feeling good enough that when my phone chirped out the four mile mark, I decided to see how I felt at five. I wanted to know if I could continue this pace (around 12'30") and still feel good.

And then a great song came on my phone, and I let my legs go. I wasn't all out sprinting, but I really was pushing my pace. I could feel it, just a little, in my lungs, but it felt so good to just be flying around the loop to that music.

When I hit five miles, I briefly considered continuing my run, but decided it would be a better bet to save my legs for Sunday. That right there tells you how good that run felt. I really needed a good solid run too. I've been feeling really insecure about my running lately, and have been super worried about the Half. After last nights run, I'm confident I can finish the Half, which really is my only goal.

Looking back over my splits I was surprised to see that I did that last mile under 12 minutes. It has me at a 11'54" pace for that last mile. I'm pretty happy about that. The only real hills in the Half this weekend come between miles 6-8, so I think pushing my pace like that around mile five was a good way to simulate having to push up those hills late in the race. My training runs have had a similar hill at the end of them, so I'm used to slogging up a hill on tired legs.

I know they say you're supposed to have three goals in a race, the dream goal, the "it'd be nice goal" and the realistic goal,  but really, the only thing on my mind is finishing the race. If I had to pick other goals, I guess the only other goal would be to come in with an average pace as close to 12'20" as I can manage, but that's my dream goal really. I just want to finish this race, and maybe not feel like I'm dying when I do.

If you can't tell I'm starting to get really nervous about this race. I feel under trained and I'm worried about how I'll do on race day. Last night's run helped a lot of that though. Two more days and I'll know for sure.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Counting down till the Half Marathon.

Ugh. Nothing screws up your schedule worse than a sick kid. The good news is I've still been running. I got a good solid four miles in on Friday, the first mile of which was done pushing the jogging stroller, and at my husbands pace (tall husband runs fast) so in my mind it counts double :P. I also got a quick four miles in on the treadmill last night, although my app was all wonky again so I'm not sure what my actual pace or real distance was.

I've got one more run in me (either thursday or friday) and then it'll be time to rest up for Sunday.

I'm not nervous.

Not at all.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Sometimes you forget to hit start

It's been another one of those weeks, where my runs need to take a back seat to other things in life, like a sick kid and a sick husband.

I did manage to get a run in on tuesday, albeit a treadmill run. I set up with my lap top to watch Young Justice (Yes I'm a geek, and yes it's a cartoon ^_^), set the treadmill to my usual cruising speed, hit record on nike+ and started running.

I kinda lost track of time, and ended up watching two full episodes. I was half listening for the little voice to chime in from my arm to tell me I'd hit three miles, but never heard it. When I started paying attention again at the end of the second episode, I noticed I had been running for right around 42 minutes.

I kinda did a double take at that, seeing as I hadn't heard from my app, and there was no way I hadn't hit a mile yet. Also, I was running late for dinner, so I called it at that, and slowed to a walk for cool down. Then I checked my phone.

Yeah, I hadn't actually started the run on the app. Oops.

Oh well, so I don't have the stats for the run, but I ran for about 42 minutes at a comfortable pace, and my lungs didn't bother me at all. So it's all good.

I missed my run on Thursday (see note about sick family), but I'm planning on making up for it tonight. Going to try to keep it light and easy for the rest of the week and a bit until the half. Hopefully my lungs will have cleared out completely by then.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Color Vibe 5k

It's definitely been an off week for me. I did absolutely no running all week, thanks to being completely submerged in sick land. So Sunday, when it came time for the Color Vibe Run, I was not so optimistic about my ability to run the thing.

I was planning on running with a friend, so when she texted me in the morning that she had woken up sick, I kinda sat down on my couch and contemplated just canning the whole idea.

Let me tell you, I have the most amazing husband. He saw my face, and immediately hatched a plan. He was going to run with me, and we were going to take our (almost two year old) daughter with us. Within ten minutes he and our daughter were dressed in "ruinable" clothes, and we were off.

I need to mention here that my Husband just started running again, after not running for a very long time following a serious knee injury. He has run a total of one run, for about a mile with walk breaks. So for him to volunteer to do this with me took a lot of courage.

We showed up early (around 8:15 - first start time was 9:00) and got him and our daughter registered. We hung around in the parking lot near the start, listening to music and letting our daughter walk around a bit. That may have been a mistake, as she then threw a fit when it was time to get back in the stroller to "line up".

They released the pack in "waves". You'd file into the chute, which they had roped off at both ends. Once the chute was full, they'd drop the ropes and every ten minutes they'd start a countdown and off a wave would go. We got in to I think the third or fourth wave. I'm sure there were at least one or two waves behind us.

As soon as we started moving, my daughter settled down. She absolutely loves riding in the jogging stroller, as long as we're going fast! We started out too fast, and I kept trying to reign it in, but my husband has looooong legs. After about a quarter mile, he was feeling it though, and we were approaching the first "color station", so we dropped to a walk. The people running the stations were so funny! As soon as they saw us, they'd get down and veeerry carefully toss or  squirt (they had those big ketchup bottle things you see at restaurants) powder on my daughter, and completely forget to get me and my husband!

We alternated running and walking for the rest of the course, although we definitely walked more than ran. I haven't run with the jogging stroller consistently in a while. I forgot how hard it is! That thing is like a sail on wheels, and it was WINDY on sunday.

I was getting very upset with how badly I was doing with "running" this at one point. My lungs were just not cooperating. My husband was having none of it, and pointed out that a) I am still kinda sick. I was coughing a lot during the run/walk and occasionally (tmi) coughing stuff up. b) I was pushing the jogging stroller, so I was working a lot harder than if I was just running by myself. Most importantly c) It was a beautiful day, my daughter is adorable, enjoy the walk.

And I did. It was so much fun going through the color stations and just getting outside in the surprisingly awesome weather with my Husband and Daughter. We even stuck around a bit for the "after party" and got some extra doses of color. We had a blast, so much that we've already started recruiting some more of our friends with kids to invade the next one planned around here!

I would recommend these for anyone with kids or anyone looking to have a fun run/walk. I don't know how well it would work for someone trying to seriously run it. But again, it's not a timed course so that's not really the point.

Now: pictures!
The Race Packet - Shirt, sunglasses, bib and color pack

Getting ready to run!

Pre-race Dancing!

Post race - Let me get down and dance!

You can see how I got very little color!

The Stroller was COVERED!

My husband also got very little color!

After Venturing into the "color party" for "More Color!"

Back home and Ready for a nap!

Friday, April 11, 2014


I'm slowly crawling my way back out from under teh sick. It whooped me but good on Wednesday, I even had to *gasp* call out from work. Thursday I apparently looked and sounded awful enough that my boss boss (one of the owners of the company I work for) told my boss to tell me to take a half day if I needed it. Today I'm feeling about 80%, although I'm still coughing quite a bit. I'm hoping it's all cleared out by this weekend, since I've got a Color Vibe to run on sunday!

Here's hoping I don't have to walk the whole thing!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Ugh. Ok. So I haven't posted in a while, cause I got socked with the sickness and I'm trying really hard to bounce back from it. My last run was my Saturday long run. I'm not gonna lie it was a rough run. It was cold again, and windy (why is always windy on my long run day?!)

As soon as I started out I felt like it was going to be a battle. I had not hydrated enough before the run, so I was constantly sipping at my camel back. Yeah I know I look like a dork but man am I ever grateful for how much water that thing carries. The wind was a factor right away. It was hitting me head on and sometimes sideways, gusting strong enough to knock me sideways a bit.

I noticed something wonky was going on with my phone when it didn't chime in for mile one until almost where the mile two mark should have been. It also said I was running a 19:20 min/mile. Which I most certainly was not. (I'm relatively sure I was running right around a 12 min/mile at this point.) I figured it had difficulty picking up the GPS or something, but that it'd work itself out (or I could adjust it later at home.)

Once I turned onto the Canal path, the wind died down a bit, and also shifted to slightly behind me, so that was good. I was super worn out from the first "mile" though, so I slowed up a bit to let myself recover. Really this whole section was just "keep moving forward. Stop thinking so much."

Then somewhere around mile three(ish), disaster struck. My music inexplicably stopped. I pulled my phone off my arm to fiddle with it, and actually ended up taking a short walk break trying to fix it, before giving up, strapping my phone back to my arm and thinking "Well at least it'll still tell me my pace and milage", except it didn't. Somehow I had completely locked up my phone.

I think not having my music really took a toll on me during this run. I had nothing to do but think about how awful I was feeling. And by mile five I was feeling pretty awful. It was a new kind of awful though. This time I wasn't feeling it in my joints, or really in my legs or lungs. I just felt tired, sluggish, like every step was extra work. I chalked it up to my increased weekly milage combined with not having my music to distract me, and pushed on.

By the time I hit the uphill portion at the end of my run, I was playing serious head games to keep myself moving. "Just get up this section" "Just to that tree" "Just make it out of the village"At one point I passed some oblivious teens that were walking side by side taking up the entire sidewalk. I said "excuse me" as I skirted them on the edge of the side walk. I kind heard them yelling after I passed, but I'm not sure what they were yelling, or if it was really at me (I was the only other one on the sidewalk though.) I'm going to pretend they were yelling encouragement.

Right when I was hitting the hardest part of the uphill section (for me), my dad drove by, and slowed down to see how I was doing. I flashed him the thumbs up and a smile and dug in just a little bit harder to keep moving.

I took my usual walk break right around mile 8, which is at the very top of the uphill, before heading into a short steep down and then up. I just never have it in my legs to do that steep uphill at that point. Right around here my feet were bothering me. My knees and hips were fine but my arches ached a little with every step, especially on downhills. It also felt like I was running really slowly, but I don't know for sure.

Once I turned into my parents neighborhood I made the decision to try to tack on some extra distance and get close to 10 miles for this run. I turned down a street a couple streets before my parents street and did a little loop around that block and back to the road that leads to my parents street. I wasn't sure how much extra distance it was, but at that point it was all I could add.

Pushing through to the "finish line" took a lot of gritted teeth, but I finished. I walked about half a block to my parents house and practically collapsed on the floor.

One hot bath, shower, stretch session and dinner later, I was feeling better, except for a persistent slightly sore throat. My legs felt tired, but none of the soreness stuck around long.

The sore throat developed into a full blown cold however. I'm not sure if I was actually sick on the run, or if the cold weather I was running in contributed to the cold. Who knows. The effect is that I'm down for the count right now. I did not run Sunday or Monday, and I may or may not run tonight. I'm hoping to get better by Thursday, so i can get a couple decent runs in before I have  the Color Vibe 5k on Sunday, and then it's nothing but short runs until the Half the next week.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

This week in my Running....

I've been trying to motivate myself to write a blog post. Not because I've had a bad running week, far from it, it's been great so far, but I'm just so blah about writing a post right now. I don't feel like I have anything interesting to say about my runs really...although they were both awesome, and unique. And pictures! I have pictures!

Monday, I did not get out of bed. I just couldn't motivate myself to get out of bed to run. So I mentioned to my hubbs that I wanted to get a run in after work. And he said those words every mother runner loves to hear "Why don't I join you?" So after work we packed up the munchkin in the jogging stroller and headed out to Cobbs Hill, which is a nice 0.69 mile around paved track around a reservoir. It really was perfect running weather out. Mid 40's, sunny, and just lightly breezy. Beautiful. It was Hubbs first run in a very long time, so we didn't have a very lofty goal, he just wanted to make it a mile. We ended up doing two laps, so a little over a mile before he called it. I kept running for another 3/4 of a lap, and then did one hill repeat before meeting up with him. I had stopped my tracking app when he stopped running (so I could give him accurate stats for his run) so I had no real idea how much I had run or my pace after I left him. I'm totally ok with that. It was a bonus run.

Tuesday, my SIL couldn't make it so I headed up to Cobbs Hill again by myself. I just put my music on and ran. It was another beautiful day, and there were tons of people out. I was having a really hard time pacing myself, my legs just wanted to fly. I spent the entire run telling myself to slow down and not burn out. I'd slow down a bit for a while, and then I'd get distracted by how nice it was out, or the awesome view, or the happy guy walking grooving to his tunes, or that cute puppy right there, or something, and find my pace had crept up, and I was flying (for me) again. I ended up doing my three miles in 34:16, for an amazing average pace of 11:22/mile. Better was that the run felt awesome. I could have kept going at that pace, but I didn't want to push it too much. Hubbs wants to run again with me on Thursday, and he runs much faster than me, so I'll need something left to keep up with him!

I'm starting to get really nervous about the half marathon coming up. I'm really worried about finishing. I keep second guessing my ability to run the whole distance. I'm hoping my long run this weekend will put my mind at ease.

I also have a Color Vibe run coming up, not this weekend, but the next weekend. I'm really looking forward to it, I'm running it with a friend and it's looking like it'll be a lot of fun.

So yeah...that's what I've been up to.
Obligatory After Run Selfie (I'm terrible at these)