Refocusing and holday challenge update

So, since I ran my marathon (more than a month ago? What the heck? When did that happen…?), I’ve been looking for my “next thing”.

Of course, I would love to up the anty somehow. Run 13 half marathons in 2013. Run an ultra. Or something else new and exciting. Honestly, if someone would fund the 13 half marathons in 2013, I probably would do it, but half marathons can get pricey average $75×13…= $1000, and that doesn’t include any travel expenses… I’d rather save that $1000 for something else. New shoes? (Gosh, not one new pair of shoes)

So I started this holiday activity challenge (do something active every day between Thanksgiving and the New Year). And I knew I wouldn’t completely fall off the running wagon since one of my goals for 2012 was to run 1,000 miles. And I’m almost there- 969 to be exact. So 31miles more in the next 20 days (that should be achievable).

My overarching goal for 2013 is to maintain my speed and intensity, and enjoy running (not that I don’t enjoy it now, but more preventing the burn-out and injury). I’ve been running pretty fast lately, for me. I’d like to keep that going.

So what’s already on my plate for 2013?

1. Palmetto200 Agony of De Feet team (not sure how many miles yet, but likely 18+), April 12-13. Oh, and I’m team captain.
2. Richmond Marathon (sub-4:30?), November 16.

So should I add…

1. St Pattys Run Green 8K. March 2 (5 miles through the historic area of downtown Raleigh, ending at one of my favorite little pubs, with a free delicious adult beverage)
2. Krispy Kreme Challenge. February 9 (run 2.5 miles from NCSU to Krispy Kreme, eat a dozen doughnuts, run the 2.5 miles back; all without yuking and under an hour for a prize. That leaves me ~10 minutes to eat all those doughnuts)
3. Raleigh Rocks Half Marathon. April 6 (one week pre-Palmetto-relay, and not likely to be speedy as a result)
4. Lookout Capital Half Marathon. June 1 (first weekend in June)
5. Mentoring Fleet Feet’s Beginner Half Marathon Training Program. Jan 22- Apr 14 (Which would ensure I don’t skip a Tuesday night workout and a Saturday morning workout, though I will likely go a lot slower and it will test my patience with slower runners)
6. Be a rock star and PR a couple 5Ks.
7. Be a rock star and PR a 10K
(This is assuming my Hot Chocolate 10K from 2012 doesn’t count, as I was pacing a slower friend 5 miles of the way, and finished in 1:12, which is a lot slower than I would imagine I would really run)

Holiday Challenge Update:

Alright, I don’t remember where I left off…
Let’s just say last Wed, 12/5 (Though I’ve done something every day, if you include sitting on an exercise ball to work my core one day at work and the pending headache)…

Wed, 12/5: Quick treadmill run. I was going to make it a “as fast as you can mile” but need some warm-up, and completed 1.5 miles in 11:39 (go me! 7:48 pace). I enjoy speed. And it was a 15-minute workout that burned ~200 calories.
Thur, 12/6: I was in Boston, but managed to walk 0.7 miles with my suitcase in tow (9am). Then walked 0.7 miles to work with my coworkers (11am), then wandered from hospital to hospital with coworkers (1pm). Walked the 0.7 miles back to our inn (8pm). Total miles walked: ~3 miles.
Fri, 12/7: Oh, Boston, how I walked you. I walked the 0.7 miles to work (9am). We then walked 1.5 miles to our lunch destination (12pm), and walked the 1.5 miles back (2pm). Then, walked 0.7 miles back to the inn (4pm). We then walked 0.5 miles to get on the green line (430pm), wandered around downtown, Boston Common, the State Building, the Financial District, and eventually back to Fanueil Hall (Fanueil Hall was about a mile from Boston Common, and about 2 miles from our “wait a second… I thought Fanueil Hall was on Congress” moment in the North End). Then we walked to dinner, maybe another half mile. Then! We walked from downtown Boston back to our hotel, through the Back Bay area, through Fenway, etc. A grand total of ~10 miles for the day. (I swear, that might actually be an underestimation; 1.5 miles for work, 3 miles for lunch, 3 miles wandering, dinner, then 3 miles back to the inn)
Sat, 12/8: Walked through the freaking rain! Ugh. That sucked. But I had scrapped my run Friday night, and had not calculated how much we walked Friday night, so I thought we could walk to Cambridge… 5 miles roundtrip.
Sun, 12/9: 9 mile run with Dan. I went out WAY too fast (probably low 8’s), and that caught up with me on the first major hill. My phone didn’t “start” the app, so I don’t know how fast we went out, but Dan (who runs consistent 8:00-pace) said he was out of breath the first few miles and hoping I would slow down. On the way back, I had to walk a little here and there, but we still managed 10:48 (average) with walking, so I’m okay with that. Next time, I’ll go out slower…
Mon, 12/10: 2 mile loop by my house. I tested my headlamp without a hat. But it was still 65 degrees out. It felt good. After a brief 9:30 half mile warm-up, my legs wanted to go fast, and with no training plan, I let them go nuts. 9:00, 8:16 for my splits. I was holding a steady 7:30 pace for the last mile, but decided I’d rather cool-down some, and slowed the pace for an even 8:16 🙂
Sorry those challenge recaps were so long. I feel the need to justify not running, but honestly, I walked twice as much as I would have ran in Boston, so I think it’s okay. My goal for the next few weeks is to increase my mileage so that my long runs seems decipherable (10 miles this Sat, 12 next, etc.)

proof that running always helps

Well, almost always.

Today was a blah day. This weekend was so so great. I hung out (slash moved) my gay bestie and hung out with his mom and dad and his boyfriend, all of whom I love. Then, I rushed to a holiday party Dan was having. Which apparently had a strong turn-out, mostly because they wanted to meet this girl he was dating. Is she real? Did she really run a marathon? And ate three doughnuts, immediately following a 9-mile run in the middle of the day, then run 10 miles later that night?! Okay, maybe they had different questions. But, it was good times, all around.

Then, Sunday, we just hung out. We cleaned the 50 or so beer bottles left scattered around the house and yard, swept the floor, ran the dishwasher, etc etc. Dan made me breakfast with some of the leftover veggies from the veggie platter (my idea). We went to the ArtWalk, which was mostly lame, but there were a few legitimate artists and one furniture place that had great (and reasonably priced) hand-crafted furniture. All of that was nice, but nothing extraordinary. Just a great weekend.

And then, I had to go back to work. And I love my job, but something about going to work after a nice weekend makes you wish it was always weekend. And I went for a slow-ish 5 mile run on Monday.

Tuesday, Dan and I went for sushi. And I remembered as I was getting settled into bed that I needed to do my workout for the day, so hello sworkit (a new app I got). I chose Strength Training, then Core, then 5 minutes. And added some penguins and a few leg raises on the end.

And today, I did a “as fast as I can mile”, but decided to do 1.5 miles instead, and completed it in 11:39. Which is pretty good, but shows I need a warm-up before just jumping into a fast mile. That mile and a half helped the funk go away.

I’m heading to Boston tomorrow for work, and am really excited. I’ll be staying by Fenway, and my goal is to get in one run while in Boston. I have a firm belief that you don’t really see a community until you run in. One of my favorite runs is in St Maarten at 530am (it was still 90 degrees and sunny in July), before all the tourists got up. Running those hills, with the quiet neighbors before the morning hustle and bustle.

So, ever since that run, I make it a point to get in one run in each new town. When I mentioned that I ran the Richmond marathon to my Boston co-workers on a conference call, their reply was You should run the Boston Marathon! And I laughed so hard. Ummmm… I will never be that fast. But you guys are sweet. And they said they’d show me a good running route before sending me on my way Friday night. I was thinking Harvard Square or through BU’s campus, or maybe down to Fenway… We shall see… It will also depend on timing.

How do you knock yourself out of a funk? For me, I run a lot of short runs (2-3 milers), and push the speed a lot. Or do a lot of short (5-10 minute) workouts. There’s less excuses, such as: I don’t have time; The sun is setting; But I really don’t have time for a shower (when it’s 40-degrees out, I find a quick rinse-off works fine if meeting someone); I’m tired; etc etc. All of these excuses are thrown aside when I think But it’s only 10 minutes… And I usually feel so much better afterward.

Boston! Here I come! (Except not the marathon… I’m about an hour too slow for that! haha!)

bad omens to a new group run

I decided to try out a running store closer to me. I always see them when I’m out on a run on Wednesday nights, and with the after-work runs becoming seemingly-late-night-runs (seriously 5pm? Why are you disguised as midnight suddenly?!), I thought having extra people to count on would be nice.

So, every Wednesday, Inside-Out Sports does a group run. The first Wed of the month, they finish at a wine shop and do a wine tasting, and call this whole event “Chase the Grape”. I like the sound of that, so I thought I’d start running with them. And no time like the present?!

So, I got there early, like a true runnerd. And, like a true runnerd, I was dressed in my reflective gear, dayglow green long-sleeve shirt, and headlamp. What’s up Cary?! You will see me coming! Feeling like a nerd, I grabbed my things, and kind of slung my headlamp and armband in my hand, with my iphone (4). And walked about 5 steps across the parking lot.

And dropped my phone. Now, maybe people with crappy (older) phones cannot relate. But, it landed screen-side down. And I had the moment. That Yep, it’s broken moment. And bent down to pick it up (Though I really wanted to admit defeat, and abandon it, like Nope. Not that one. It’s not mine. My phone is new and shiny, and other… there!)

But, I picked it up. The screen was completely shattered. (See picture)

I almost cried. And walked back to my car. Totally defeated. Clearly, I was not meant to run with this group. I cannot run without my phone or a watch (Or Allie and her trusty garmin). Right?!


I decided to run anyway. “The pack” of us was 6 strong. Yeaaaah! Two were a couple in their 60s, who run very slow (like 12-13 minute pace). So I started off at the front of the pack. With guys who had recently had 3:30s marathons, and were mad about it… Their standard half marathon times were 1:40s, and one guy had just finished a 8K (5 miles) in 28-something, and got 13th place overall. Let me say my times for the record- full marathon (singular)- 4:30, half marathon 2:08, 8K 42:30… And those are my PR times… Ummm… This might hurt. But I kept thinking, they’ll go on without me when I am going too slow.

Instead, they stayed with me. And told me I was pushing their speed. Which is sweet, but I knew it couldn’t be true.

The loop itself was torturous, mentally. The store is about a mile from my house, so we ran by it in the beginning (and my body instinctually, picked up the speed) and then, again about a mile before the end.

They eventually left me around mile 4, but I knew my way (as I said, in my backyard). They were usually about 100 meters ahead of me. They were doing an “easy” pace- probably 8s, which is my tempo pace.

All in all, a great run. Though I have no idea my overall time or speed or pace. But afterward, all the guys complimented me for really pushing it and staying with them, knowing my times (which I told them).

But yeah, my iPhone- I’m hoping apple can fix the screen. Or is like “oh god! We feel sorry for you. You still have the iphone 4? …Here’s another, for free. Seriously. We were gonna throw them out…” Here’s hoping!

Oh, Holiday Challenge Update-

(Mon, 11/26) Day 5– core strengthening (had been planning a run, but was hungry when I got home, and it was dark, and it was cold, and I just didn’t want to run, and for me, this whole challenge is a way to enjoy staying fit, so I didn’t go). So I did: 2×20 of a pilates series I’ve done since high school (see picture sequence below- for good laughs), then 2×50 “penguins” (Can you tell I coached gymnasts for six years?  Video here  Thank you Youtube!), then finished it all off with 2 1-minute plank holds.
(Tue, 11/27) Day 6- Had been thinking I would run up and down Dan’s stairs and have him time me for 5 minutes and see how many “laps” I could make. However, I was fighting a headache all day. So, I didn’t do much of anything. But! I did sit on an exercise ball at work for 4 hours, and did at least one “V hold” every hour or so… I mean, that counts for something right? (Wed, 11/28) Day 7- Group tempo run. 5 miles, first three at a sub-8:00 pace super fast, the last two more like a 9-something very slow. But hey, I was running with new people and basically the mile after we passed my house, my brain was telling my body Wait a second… Something’s wrong. We are supposed to be done by now…
Tonight is the fun. concert, so I am planning to go to the gym for 15-20 minutes (for either a treadmill speed mile, or some weights, depending on time). Of course that is after I drop by the doctor apple store, and get the official diagnosis on my phone. I had to look for my old cell phone and charger last night, as I’m using those as a short-term fix. Oh god (funny), I charged my old cell phone last night, and my alarm went off at 5:10am this morning, which is a cruel reminder that I will be waking up that early for work in the spring. I usually get up around 6:30, so I was not a happy camper this morning.

Holiday Exercise Trend

I’ve seen these challenges (every year)- run a mile between Thanksgiving and the new year. Though I like the idea, I think there are more fitness outlets other than running, and if I ran a mile every day, I think I’d get sick of it, get hurt, or just get busy one day.

So here’s my personal challenge-

Do something active every day between Thanksgiving and the New Year

This could be:

Strength Training (at least 2 reps of 10 for it to count)
Hiking (has to be off-road or at a “vigorous” pace)
A 30-second (or more) plank
Dancing (includes backing it up for at least the full duration of a song)
Running up stairs (at least two times consecutively)
Etc. Etc.

The point will be- to stay active other the next ~40 days. And try to be creative. If it can be done in bed or on my couch, that’s not active enough.

So, anyone have any creative activity ideas?… 🙂

Today, I ran 5 miles (with sprinting all the up-hills).