Note to self: Less Beer (maybe)

Dan and I were planning for a relaxing Friday night, watching an outdoor movie at the Art Museum. However, at 745, the sky opened up and it started pouring. The idea of watching an old movie for $7 inside the Art Museum seemed lame. So we scrapped that plan, and headed to Raleigh Brewing Co.
I’ll do a quick beer review, while I’m at it. Dan and I got the Big Squeeze which is a wheat beer fermented with orange juice in the brewing process. Like a sophisticated Blue Moon. They did a similar beer last year, but I think it was an American Pale Ale, so it had more punch. I liked the Big Squeeze. I’d give it a 6.5 out of 10 for my taste. For a drinkable summer beer, it was great. I think I’ll have to try it after a group run there. It was really well executed.
Mainly, I forgot how much wheat beers affect me the day after. I had two beers, and woke up feeling like I had 7. Note to self, next time.
I was intending to start my long run ‘regimen’ Sat morning. And make it a habit to run, starting 7-9am.

That didn’t happen.

After a failed attempt to get started, I managed to get my butt out of bed Sunday morning. With dreams of a Bloody Mary to get me through a long run, I got up.
Sunday morning seemed like an omen for a bad run. I just didn’t feel like getting out of bed or checking the time, as the sun shone through the blinds in our bedroom. I finally rolled out of bed at 730, after Dan had started the coffee.
I finally got out the door at 9, and didn’t feel too great (GI).
As soon as I got downstairs, I had to pee. I took off running anyway. I made it about a quarter mile to a wooded creek area, squatted under a bridge, and hoped no one came around the bend.

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Then, finally, I was really off. And hoping I wouldn’t have to drop a deuce on the run too (which would be a first).
I kept my pace in the 10:50s, and let me legs guide my pace. Some uphills felt harder than others. On a few uphills, I felt peppy and dropped my pace a little. I was even able to drop my final mile to a 9:48. Another ten miles done. And I walked almost a mile back to our apt as a cool down.
It was hard. It was hot, but I felt good after it was done. I earned my blood Mary today. When I finished, I felt like I had rolled in sand. I am such a heavy sweater, and a very salty sweater.
A couple good things about this run- I didn’t chafe. At all. That’s unusual for me for a hot long run. The overdose of Ointment A&D must have worked. I also didn’t get any blisters, which is unheard of on long, hot, hilly runs. I had a little something left at the end. And I love long runs like today. They boost my confidence. I also didn’t experience any abdominal pain, which is always fabulous.
This week, in general, was a good workout week.
17 miles
(3 miles of 8x200s, 4 miles easy, 10 miles long)
2 cross-training days
(500ft gain in 2 miles on the bike Wednesday and 3.33 miles Saturday)
My goal for this summer is to add 1-2 more runs per week, while maintaining cross-training.

run + beer + grill = awesome

Dan lives just near Trophy Brewing Company (a cute new brewing company in Raleigh, though all our hipster friends point out the numerous breweries that keep popping up in Raleigh, I still like it). A few of us met up one week on a Wed night for a run at Dan’s, and wandered over the Trophy. The next week, Dan, Bruce, and I went for a run, then immediately following for a beer. There were other runners. We had even seen them out on our run!

What?!
How dare other people run and drink beer in our vicinity?

A week later, I noticed on their facebook page that Trophy holds a run group every Wednesday night. Just a note- they must have started that the week we noticed them, because we would have noticed sweaty people in running attire before then…

So Wednesday, we decided to join their social run. (If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right?)

We overheard her explaining the pace groups and mileage to people. Cheetahs were sub-8, Gazelles were 8-9 minute pace. I stopped paying attention then, but I think Lions were 9-10 minute pace. Then she asked each person how far they planned to go- 1 mile? 3 miles? 5 miles?

I’m a quick study.

I just grabbed the sharpie and wrote my name (no one can ever guess that “Shan-Dee” is spelled Chandi), GAZELLE, 5miles. And she (shocked) took the sharpie back and directed her line of questioning to Dan and Dave. “Don, is it?” … [picture Dave and I calling Dan “Don” the rest of the night, as if it were hilarious]. Dave wanted to contest that he was not a Gazelle. I said loudly They are Cheetahs everyone; they’re just sticking with me tonight. I’m a gazelle. Sorry for the confusion. The check-in girl didn’t get my humor.

Typical.

She handed out route cards. I glanced at it, and made an eye for the Cheetahs, thinking I could keep them in sight, as Dan and Dave slipped their name tags into their pockets. And finally, everyone checked in, donning their name tags, holding hands, and skipping through Glenwood South. Kidding! Just the name tags.

We started off a nice little route, past Moonlight Pizza Co., and over through Glenwood South (a slow steady downhill), then made our way over to Peace/Clark, which is a slow, grueling, steady uphill (for about 2 miles?). For some reason, I was the pack leader. Maybe because none of the boys in the frilly Gazelle group wanted to hold a piece of paper. Either way, I was setting the pace for us. And somehow ended up in front of the Cheetahs. 8:08 for the first mile. In the second mile, I tried to push it since the Cheetahs were still behind (8:33), and I think it’s common courtesy not to stop/slow on an uphill if it’s congested and paces haven’t really split yet. Finally, in the third mile, the Cheetahs passed, and Dan, Dave, and few other guys were able to slow/mellow a little (8:38).

We made a few turns through the Cameron Park/ University (NCSU) area, and eventually back down Dixie Trail to Hillsborough. At that point, I was experiencing that stupid cramp again. And every time I slowed, the pains were worse, so I pushed the 8:30 pace. And told the boys, I was going to slow at Hillsborough. I didn’t slow down any, but they sped up. Dan and Dave finally took off, showing their true Cheetah prowess, hunting down a few gazelle… (See what I did there? Yeah… Yeah, You’re welcome for that!).

When I got past the 5 mile marker, I slowed and jogged it in around the last curve until I saw Dan and Dave and the others congregating outside Trophy.

We chatted a little. Everyone was shocked that we went 830s, but then agreed that it felt hard, so maybe it wasn’t so shocking (they were trying to go closer to 9s, but maybe a tiny girl [me] gave them a little motivation to go faster/harder).

Overall: 5.12 miles, 43:38

I stole this from their facebook page. Thanks guys!

I stole this from their facebook page. Thanks guys!

What did I think about the run?

  • It was a great route (I did the 5-mile), showcasing some nice neighborhoods of Raleigh, and lower traffic areas for a downtown run.
  • It seemed like a fun, laid-back group of people (but then who isn’t when it’s a run with beers after?)
  • It was well organized.
  • [Don’t tell anybody this, but…] I kinda like that they make you wear name tags. It creates a social atmosphere, where everyone is there to meet other people. Which is nice. And it’s kind of like initiation, and I guess you could (in theory) glance at a person’s speed before falling in tow with them. Whoa! He’s a Cheetah, 5miler! I only want to be a Lion, 3miler tonight…
  • Trophy’s beers are pretty good. It’s a laid-back environment, and they seem to have a good “tap turn-over”, so there are 3 or 4 that are always available (i.e., Trophy Wife, Best in Show, Biggest Flirt), plus 2-3 that seems to rotate out very quickly.
  • I’ll definitely go again. It’s too convenient not to go. And they have a 1-mile, 12-13 minute option, which is PERFECT for newbie runners, but ranged up to (I think this was everyone in our group) half marathon and marathoners, looking to work a little speed.

And then Dave had brought over a steak and chicken. Thanks bro! So we grilled out, and baked some amazing asparagus and sweet potatoes. We hung out on Dan’s patio, catching up, drinking Dan’s beers, while he grilled. Yum! Thanks boys!

Hello spring!
I have missed you so so much!

When planning a relay

Quick background on what a relay is. If you already know, scroll down πŸ™‚

The idea is almost always the same. You get 12 people (unless you’re crazy or just want more leg room in the van, then you go with less people, as few as 4). And two vans start at one location, and basically take turns running until you get to the end point- usually 200 miles away. It’s split up into 36 legs. And most legs range in length- about 3 to 10 miles, though some are longer.

What that really means is you spend 24 hours in a van with 5 other people. You run through the night. And there’s not a lot of space, so you only bring the necessities. The roads aren’t closed, so you get extra cool points for wearing dayglow and reflective vests, headlamps and blinking lights. Other rave attire is optional (remember those glow-stick necklaces… heck yeah! we will be rocking those!)

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I had never heard of a running relay before. I would have pictured the olympic relays- in which they run once around a track and hand-off the baton… It was a Girls Night at our local Fleet Feet (running store), and my running buddies were congregating around the champagne and Sarah said “Hey, this looks fun. Do you guys want to do it” while holding a flyer for the “Tuna 200“. I laughed and said sure, as long as I didn’t have to do any long legs or any runner recruiting… I seriously thought she’d never actually follow through with it.

And a week later, she brought it up on a run, and a few others were interested. And eventually we had so many people interested, we had to split into two teams of 12.

Signing up for 2013 already right?!

The Tuna 200 is an inaugural event. For those who didn’t go to college, that means it’s the first year. Ever. And things aren’t really set up way in advance like they are for other seasoned races. It runs from Raleigh to Atlantic Beach. The reason it is called Tuna- they provide a Tuna beach party with local brews from Mother Earth. Mother Earth has exceptionally delicious beers, so this will be very nice Saturday afternoon. We haven’t gotten our official start time, but we are thinking it will be 7-8am on Friday morning, and we will take turns running until 2-5pm on Saturday afternoon.

The race is Oct 19 (next Friday). We just got an updated/ finalized course map on last Saturday (Oct 6)- 13 days before the race. We expected minor changes. Instead of a few of the 36 legs being adjusted, there were pretty significant changes to about 15 of the legs, and minor changes to another 5 legs.

Anyway, so I had been envisioning a 9-miler to start out. Then 6.5 miles later that evening, and finally a 6.5 miler at sunrise. In my head, a slow easy 9 miles, then two tempo runs (at a sub-9 pace). But, now, I will be running 9.08 miles at ~1030am, 9.96 miles at ~10pm, then finish up with a speedy 3.33 miles at 5am.

courtesy of AMCTV. At least I’ll be better dressed

For the night runs, I will just imagine I am a post-zombie world like The Walking Dead and running from zombies on a country road. In that case, maybe the blinking lights is not such a good choice. (BTW- why are zombies attracted to light and sound? Good thing I’m a stealthy lightweight/minimalist runner…)

I even got in a 3.33 mile run on the treadmill last Monday. And including a 11:00 pace warm-up, I finished in 29:25 (which is a sub-9 minute pace, if you’re counting). And my legs felt like death at the beginning of it, but I managed to pump out a 6:45 pace for the last .25 miles. Okay, honest time here- I am faster than I really tell people. I could probably run a sub 8:00 pace; just not for long, and am too lazy to work that hard on a regular basis.

Other things to know about life relays- You will never be as prepared as you want to be. There will inevitably be something you “need” but didn’t grab and tons of things you grabbed, but never used. So, back to the post-apocalyptic zombie world; I will pack as little as possible. My packing strategy- what would I absolutely need? Okay, now what else would I grab if my apartment was burning down, and I couldn’t go to the store… (bare essentials and then one more thing haha).

Just add a hoody, running shoes, deodorant, and toothbrush, and ready

We sent out list upon list upon list. Mostly the email thread was jokes like “I’ll kick you out of the van if you bring a blanket!” or “I’m building a fort of pillows around me. And my espresso maker” But Allison and I finally came up with a list. And went shopping Tuesday; which went like this-
Allison: “Should we grab ____? We might need it…”
me: “I think we’ll be okay without it”
Allison: (warily) “Okay, but I might bring some just for myself”
me: “Okay, you’re right. We should grab a pack of ____”
Allison: “Do you think a 88-count is going to be enough?”
me: “um, yeah. I think so” (laughing)
Allison: “Well I use them a lot”
me: “Then you should buy more πŸ™‚ ”

All in all, we will probably have to stop. At one point in an email chain with Sarah, I asked her if there was a pending apocalypse that I didn’t know about. Are we not going to be able to stop at stores? Are the stores going to run out of basic supplies like water?

So our line-up:

Runner #1- Allison (aka “Turtle Killer Turner”). She is bright and cheery, and will probably be the most stressed out and the most prepared. Also my long-run and Richmond-marathon-training buddy. She likes turtles. Total= 20.44 miles miles. Plus a few hundred yards here and there at about mile three of each run.

Runner #2- Dan. He is our veteran relay runner. He has done three before, but when we ask him for advice, the comments are generally I don’t know. Yeah, you don’t really sleep. I think I maybe ate a doughnut? Yeah. He was roped into it byΒ  Dave, who once played kickball with Sarah aka “Champagne”. Total= 20.79 miles. And speedy too.

Runner #3- Olga. She likes to drink diet mtn dew, and is bringing a 12-pack. Which I picture her chugging like a frat boy and PBR πŸ™‚ And has done two Blue Ridge Relays, so I am envious. SheΒ  is our speedy/shorter distance runner. Total= 9.46 miles. Also, she ran three 5K’s last weekend. Clearly dedicated to practicing for Tuna πŸ™‚

Runner #4- Sarah (aka Skipper or Champagne). Too much for me to even start with here. But she is pretty much awesome, and oh- she’s ran a relay before. Which she apparently got on a plane with one backpack for the whole weekend of festivities. Pretty badass right there. Total= 15.32 miles.

Runner #5- That’s me! I feel really prepared and am ready to be the anchor of distance for our team. I’d say my pace is about a 9:30, but I tend to be faster than I think I am… I am also probably the crankiest one of the bunch. I’ve already told people like 20 times “Don’t touch my food!” But I’m in the zone, and will be fine. As long as I get my 3 doughnuts after my 9miler. For real, even though I’m skinny, I like my food. Total= 22.37 miles.

Runner #6- Dave. Dan and Dave are all bromantical and do almost everything together. He’s the youngest. And hardly ever runs more than 6 miles and has only been running for a year. But he does crossfit, so that’s like the same right? No, he’s the youngest, so he’ll do fine. (I hope) Total= 16.79 miles.

And that’s Van #1.

There is a Van #2, but let’s not kid ourselves- they’re not important.

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