Thursday, October 9, 2008

Narrowed it down

So, I've got two contenders for a first marathon - either the Breast Cancer Marathon in Jacksonville, Florida in February or the Washington D.C. Marathon in March. Here are the pros and cons for each:

Breast Cancer Marathon
Raises money for a good cause
Warm weather
I'd get to travel for it :)
I'd have to travel for it
Might not be enough time to train
More expensive than DC with travel and lodging, etc

Washington D.C. Marathon
I could drive and stay with Byrno
More time to train
I know D.C. so the course wouldn't be a total surprise
D.C. in March? Potentially really icky weather
March might be a little late, I might like to do one sooner

So I'm kind of stuck right now, I don't know which to choose. If anyone actually reads this blog (and I don't think anyone does, lol) go ahead and weigh in on which one you think I should sign up for. Obviously I'm not insane, so I'm not going to do both, but I am going to do the Pittsburgh Marathon the first weekend in May (mile 19 comes right past my house, I'd be crazy NOT to run it!).

In other news, I got an email that my photos from the Great Race are online. They suck. I'm not even in the foreground of the finish one! Haakan's got like 5 photos, all of him looking like a runner. And they only got 1 of me, and I'm in the background. Guess you need to run with a much faster time in order to get a decent photo.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Lots has happened

So, since my last post months and months ago, I've run the Ikea Half Marathon AND the Pittsburgh Great Race, and I'm very pleased with my performance in both. The half marathon I finished in 2:14:35, which works out to 10:17 minute/mile. Not super fast, but I finished the race fairly easily and it wasn't anywhere near as bad as I thought it would be. Actually had a very nice chat with the woman running next to me from miles 7 through 13.1. I'm definitely looking forward to doing another, since I know I can run it much faster now, as my whole pace has improved a great deal.

The Great Race was the weekend before last, and I smoked my previous 10k time by a good 6 minutes, finishing in 55:17, which shocked the hell out of me since I had to stop and take a walking break right near the end. I just felt like I was going to throw up, it was not pleasant at all. I think I just pushed myself too hard, since my pace was 8:54 minutes/mile, which is pretty freaking speedy for me. Had I not had to stop and walk, I think I might have finished in under 54 minutes, but alas, I'll never know.

So now I'm on the lookout for a marathon to run in January or February. Haakan is going to run the Harrisburg Marathon in November, but there's no way I'll be ready for that (though I probably could do it if I had to, I think it would suck big time and I'd probably injure myself), so I'm looking for something a little bit later in the year. I want to do one before I do Pittsburgh in May, just to have one under my belt. I don't really want Pittsburgh to be my first, given that it's a pretty challenging course, but I haven't found a warm-weather one that I want to run yet. Maybe there's something in the Bay Area or something like that.

On the way to my marathon goal, I ran 10.25 miles yesterday, and I felt pretty good at the end, though I was seriously cold! I definitely need to get some cold-weather running gear - more long sleeved shirts and such, because it's ridiculous for me to be out running and get chilly like that - really puts a damper on the whole thing. I'm fighting some kind of annoying stomach bug, too (Haakan has the same thing), so that's also not helping things. I had miserable cramps the other night after I did 6 miles, but I felt pretty good after my 10 yesterday.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hitting the wall?

On the edge of my first half marathon (next Saturday), I feel like my get up and go has gotten up and went. My milage this week is shaping up to be very sad indeed. Didn't do my long run the past two weeks in a row, both because of timing issues. This seems to be a crucial problem for me - go too early in the day and I'm still tired, too late in the morning and it gets too hot, too late in the evening and it gets dark on me. It's just so hard to fit it in with kids and dinner and other things I need to get done during the day. And I want to make running a priority because I enjoy it, but I have so many other priorities already, how can I really put anything else up at the top of my list? And I know another part of the problem is that I've been staying up much too late at night, waking up multiple times with the kids, and I'm just exhausted. No wonder I'm ready to throw in the towel after 3 miles, I'm just absolutely beat! My pace isn't suffering all that much, though, which is nice, but jeez, I need to figure out how to work things better so that I have time to run, time to sleep, and time to do everything else I need to do in my life.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

5k number two under the belt

Well, I did indeed improve on my last 5k time - 32:20 - but didn't come close to breaking 28 minutes. Finished the Run Around the Square in 29 and short change (let's just say 29:00 since it took a little bit to get across the start). The first mile was super fast - 8:50 - but then the second mile and a quarter was ALL up hill and it totally sucked. I mean it sucked BAD. I had to stop and walk for a little bit right after the second mile marker because I was just beat. And the signs said there was going to be a water stop, but there wasn't! I might not have slowed down to a walk had I not thought there was going to be water (which I had to stop to drink, anyway, otherwise it just ended up on my face). The last bit was all downhill, and in retrospect I really could have floored it and probably finished at least 30 seconds faster, but hey, what did I know at the time? It'll be better next year, right?

With only two weeks until the Ikea Half Marathon, I'm in a little bit of a panic. 13.1 miles is a LONG way to run, way farther than I've ever run before. I probably should still do it, just to see if I can, but wow, it's not going to be pretty. Definitely there will be no records set at this one, at least not by me.

Friday, August 22, 2008

5K tomorrow

So, I've stopped putting my stats in every post (obviously, since I haven't posted in a while), but anyone who's curious can see them here, thanks to the good folks at Runner's World.

Since I smoked my first 10K a few weeks back with a finish time of 1:01:26, which is like 9:58/mile (also known, by me, as wicked fast), and some of the fastest splits I've ever run, I'm very much looking forward to tomorrow's Run Around the Square in Regent Square. I did the Race for the Cure back in May, my first 5k, with a finish time of 32:20, and I definitely run my regular runs at a faster pace than that, so I'm shooting for at least 28 minutes tomorrow. Haakan's shooting for under 20, but he's crazy like that. I like to keep my goals attainable. By me, anyway.

We're kicking around the idea of running a marathon in Harrisburg at the beginning of November. Can't decide if this is a good idea (sooner marathon, don't have to wait until May, not too far to drive, my aunt and uncle can probably watch the kids) or a bad one (it'll be November in central PA - not a time I usually think about going outside to run really long distances for fun in the snow vortex that is Amish Country). Either way, I'll at least be doing the Ikea Half Marathon next month, though I'm not sure how great of an idea that is. My longest run to date is 9 miles, and I failed miserably at my long run yesterday, barely slogging through 3 miles before I gave up and came home. I did much better today - a fast 4.7 miles - but having had such a bad run kind of freaks me out. Guess it's not worth dwelling on, though.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tuesday 7/15
Goal: 3 miles
Ran: 3 miles (with the single jogger)
Where: reservoir upper track
Time: 32:37 minutes
None too shabby for running with the single jogger. Oh how I loathe that single jogger. It pulls so badly to the right, I feel like my arms are getting more of a workout than my legs. It just kills me because it's so lightweight compared to the double, I could be just pushing it along if the stupid thing would just go in a straight line.
Saturday 7/12
Goal: 5-6 miles
Ran: 4.5 miles
Where: upper reservoir track
Time: 50 minutes (11 minute mile-ish)
Sunday 7/13
Goal: 2 miles
Ran: 2.25 miles
Where: upper reservoir track
Time: 22 minutes
That long run on Saturday just about killed me. In retrospect I think I made a few fatal errors. First of all, I waited too long to go. I wanted to go at like 6am and just get it over with, but Haakan slept in, then he wanted to come, too, and when all was said and done we weren't out the door until like 10:30. I just got too hot and tired by the end. Plus, the bikram yoga class I went to with Jessica left me sorer than sore, which definitely didn't do me any favors. I'm going to have to rethink having my long run the day after that yoga class. But at least Haakan was able to carry my water for me, which is always nice. But when he left after the kids got restless, I had to carry my own water bottle, which just annoyed the hell out of me and didn't help my mental state any. So I felt like a big loser for not doing the whole 5 miles, but hey, live and learn, right?
Sunday was a bit better. Still sore as hell, but at least it was only 2 miles that I had to do, and since mile 2 comes up before the end of the lap, it's easier to just do the extra quarter mile so that I don't have to walk in the sun any more than necessary. I do need to get myself a couple of new sports bras, though. Oliver seems to actually be afraid of my black one. When I came into his room wearing it to get him dressed, he backed away from me saying "I don't like those" and pointing at my chest. he kept eyeing me distrustfully even after I'd put my shirt on. No idea what that's all about, but I guess the lack of support in the stupid thing IS a little scary. I could spend a fortune on running clothes, and I probably should invest in at least a couple of bras and a few more pairs of shorts, but I think it'll have to wait a couple of weeks at least. Let's see if I can keep things up before I plow a ton of money into snazzy running clothes.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I conquer the double jogger

Wednesday 7/9
Goal: 3 miles
Ran: 3 miles
Where: upper reservoir track
Time: 29:00 (9:45 minute mile-ish?)
Thursday 7/10
Goal: 2 miles
Ran: 2.25 miles (WITH the jogging stroller. Whoot!)
Where: upper reservoir track
Time: 24:something (left the ipod downstairs)
Since Haakan had bowling tonight, I decided to take the kids running with me, rather than try to fit it in after he got home. My first mistake was not getting up early and just doing it at like 6am when Oliver informed us that it was time to get up and eat pancakes. Mistake number 2 was probably running without putting on sunblock, since I'm sporting some nice sunburn from my run on Wednesday, during with I also got rain poured down on me during a torrential thunderstorm. Kind of unfair to have gotten sunburned AND soaked. But I digress. Since today was only a 2 mile run, I decided I could definitely do that with the kids in the double jogger, and I set off around the upper track at the reservoir. And the kids were great, a total dream. Oliver was sweet, Elliot was happy, and for a good 5 minutes, they were laughing together as Elliot kept putting his leg over onto Oliver's side and Oliver would grab it and tickle it. Truly warmed my heart, made me feel like this was why I had two kids, so that they could have the opportunity to play together and laugh with one another. There were a whole bunch of baby ducks up there, so after the run everyone got out to look at them. Oliver was counting them, asking me which one was the mommy duck, which ones were the babies ("the little ones or the big ones, mommy?"), and Elliot just pointed and yelled "BAA!" at them, and then tried to vault himself out of my arms and over the railing. If it wasn't for the fact that I'm pushing over 80lbs with the weight of the kids and the stroller, and the fact that they are, unfortunately, rarely this well behaved in the stroller together, I would take them jogging with me much more often.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Starting a program

Goal: 3 miles
Ran: 3 miles
Where: upper reservoir track
Time: 29:58 (basically, a 10 minute mile)

I talked to Haakan about it, being that he is my running guru (though I really don't want to tell him that, he doesn't need the ego inflated), and he told me to just pick a 10K training schedule and then see how I feel once we get closer to the half-marathon. I have exactly 12 weeks until the Great Race, and I do fully intend to run that, and I think the half-marathon is like the weekend or two before that, so I guess we'll just have to see. So I picked the program in the Competitive Runner's Handbook that Haakan picked up a while back, and since the 10K and half-marathon training is basically the same for the first few weeks, I'll just see how it goes. It's kind of nice to see training with achievable goals, makes me feel like I'm in better shape than I probably am.

So I did my run around the upper track at the reservoir today, mostly because it's flat and I did miserably last time I tried to run up and down the hills on the lower track. Didn't help that someone's chihuahua chased me past a barbeque and I kept having to dodge car doors and misbehaving children. And I still haven't figured out if I prefer to run it clockwise or counter-clockwise. Downhill-big uphill-downhill vs uphill-big downhill-uphill. Probably six to one, half dozen the other, but I think that one is mentally easier than the other. Or maybe I'm just kind of pathetic that way, who knows.

But the run today wasn't bad at all. Weather was nice, not too humid or anything. There were teeny tiny baby ducks (and no dead ones this time, which is always nice, since then I can try to forget that I saw the dead ones last time) and not too many walkers or runners, so I didn't have to dodge around people too much. The fountain was inexplicably not working properly on my last lap, but it was still a pretty good run. I could have eeked out another lap if I really had to.

Here's my OT question of the day: when you see big hunks of acrylic hair lying on the ground, where on earth does it come from? I fully expected to see a bald woman when I got to the park because it seemed like every few feet there was like a handful of red curly hair. I find hair on my street all the time, and it just puzzles the hell out of me: who loses big wads of hair while walking down the street? Or is there a lot of hairpulling going on that I just don't know about? Or do those chunks of weave just kind of randomly come loose? maybe the glue melts in the sun if they're not sewn in right. There was no bald woman at the top of the hill for me to ask, so I guess I may never know...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

bad long run

That about sums it all up. Bad long run today. Not even a long run. I tried to do 6 miles around the lower track at the reservoir, and instead only made it 3. I should know better than to try to do a long run on the hilly course like that. Doh! Got a nice blister on the side of my foot, too, which I'm sure isn't helped by the fact that my shoes are like a year old (not that they got much use in the past year).

I've been looking into doing the Ikea half marathon in September. Is it bad that I just don't want to commit to it yet? I think I'm just going to do the 10k training and see how I feel after a couple more weeks. I need to find the time to actually go and run regularly, preferably without the kids in the jogger, since that seriously handicaps me. And usually puts me into a bad mood because one or both of them usually ends up yelling to get out and go to the playground before I'm done.

So for this week, I ran 2 miles with Elliot, 3 miles yesterday, and 3 miles today. I really ought to be keeping better track so that I know what my base milage is. I think I'm supposed to be starting at like 15-20miles a week as a base for the half marathon training, and I'm pretty sure I'm not doing that, but give me another couple of weeks to get back into the swing of things.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A marathon? Am I crazy?

Now that I don't have a newborn in the house and am getting back into shape (now losing the pre-baby weight, aka the "grad school weight") I thought maybe it would be a good idea to have a goal for when I'm running. Cool, goals are good, right? So what do I shoot for - keeping in mind that even when I was running every day in college, I never did more than 3 miles and no faster than a 10 minute mile. I did the Race for the Cure on Mother's Day, and that was alot of fun (though my time of 32:20 wasn't great), so I thought "sure, I can do this again." And the hubby and I are going to sign up to run the Great Race in September, maybe I'll do the Run Around the Square 5k in August. But then what? A 10k seems like such a modest goal and since we're going to wait at least a year to have another child, I think I can aim a little higher, right?

A few weeks ago, I heard on the radio that after a few years hiatus, the Pittsburgh Marathon is coming back again since they finally found some sponsorship. Mile 21 (or maybe now it's mile 19 - they redid the course a few years back) comes almost right past my house and we've always watched the runners going by, since the time I was a kid. So wouldn't it be cool to actually run in it? Forgetting for a few moments that the farthest I've ever run is 6 miles, and it took me a little over an hour to do that, wouldn't it just be cooler than cool to run an actual marathon? Wouldn't it help to put me and Haakan on equal footing in the running department, since he did the Columbus Marathon 3 years ago, right after Oliver was born? Wouldn't that give me a little bit of bragging rights? And help to get my saggy ass back into shape? And be a good excuse to buy some cute new running shorts?

Ok, so some of those reasons are stupid. But here's the reason I'm going to run the Pittsburgh Marathon next spring. Because I want to, damn it. Because I think I can. Because if I gave birth to two children with no drugs, a marathon ought to be right up my alley. So what you have before you is the blog I'm hoping to keep while I train for the marathon next May. I think Haakan and I are going to run a half marathon in March to prepare for the one in May, but other than that and the Great Race in September, the next 10 months is wide open as far as races, etc, goes. Hopefully I'll be able to keep track of everything here, and all the 30ish moms who happen across my little blog will find some inspiration that you don't have to be a natural athlete (which I am certainly not) to be able to accomplish something.