Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 in Review

2010 has been a HUGE year of transition, change, and growth in my life.

Oct of '09 I made the decision (one of the hardest I've EVER had to do) to leave what I had been doing for 3.5 years since I graduated college, nutrition consulting, in search of something different. While in my quest, I served at Melting Pot to have some type of income coming in. Shortly after the new year I found out I got the position I had applied for in Nashville, TN- a health coach. I was currently  living in Louisville, Ky (and loving it), so  I had  1 months notice to pick up my life, leave my circle of friends, and move 2.5 hours south- and another 2.5 hrs farther from my family (dayton, oh). As of February 1, I began my role as a health educator / coach working with 5 different companies hoping to improve the health of their employees. I love what I do, and am proud to say I enjoy coming into work everyday. As for the serving- nice to have cash in hand, and great socialization aspect, but don't miss the hours of putting up with customers crap :)
Outside of office- parents came down for a visit

HUGE transition. From Oct '09, up until the day I moved to Nashville end of January, I partied almost every night (especially when we found out I was leaving) Get out of work anywhere from 10pm-1am, hit the bars, go to someones house, get to bed b/n 3-5am. REPEAT.  This was an ongoing routine for 3.5 months, and I have some of the most amazing memories from those crazy nights, bar hopping, dance parties, late night chats, Heroes and True Blood marathons!
some of the crew! 

one of the many nights hanging out at our spot- Old Chicago

basement parties at least once a week. 
It was nice to have the core group of friends to always go out with, and when I moved that was extremely hard to adjust to.
Was crashing with one of my best friends Natalie, and we worked together, so I was always used to having here around.
Nat and me! 
 Now suddenly I'm living by myself, in the middle of a state I know nothing about and the only person I know is one of my good friends from high school RJ (thank God he was around). Up until June I worked from 1:00pm to 9:30 pm, so there was no socialization at all during the week. I literally woke up, went to work, came home, went to bed- miserable. I lived for the weekends because that is when I actually had a life- I researched all the concerts / events coming into town, and because of this, I know more about Nashville then I ever did about Dayton Ohio (lived there for 16 yrs) and Louisville (2yrs).
Now I've met a few people here that I'm close to- I'm close with my co-workers, but its a completely different dynamic. I no longer drink myself silly- however I do enjoy a good quality beer and finding new ones to try.

What a huge change here- went from hardly eating at all on some days, binging on the next, late night cravings, and massive amounts of alcohol to eating well. Although a nutritionist, I didn't really practice what I preached till 2010. Just by eating sensible both with food choices, frequency of eating, portion control, and cutting out alcohol, I lost 15lbs my first few months into 2010. (I'm not overweight to begin with, so this was a great accomplishment) I got back into working out in April- ran my first half (hated it), decided to join a running group to learn how to run the race properly, and have done 4 more halfs since. I was really discouraged when I started getting back into running because I use to be a strong and devoted runner in high school and I was afraid I would not be able to compare. Although I don't think I'll ever be able to be as fast as I was (21-22 min avg 5ks), I definitely am building more endurance and gaining my strength back. After achieving my first moon in the Half Fanatics club, was excited to try to run a half in each state- 2011 will be crazy busy, however it gives you something to work toward and to feel motivated with a purpose again!

I became an aunt for the  first time aunt twice over! Both my brothers are in Ohio, 5 hour drive, so I don't get to see my little nephews as much as I like- but it is more motivation to make the drive when I'm able.
Oldest brother Eric, 33, had his first baby boy in August- Joseph.
1 week old! 
First time feeding him

He is absolutely adorable, well behaved, and has the cutest little smirk! How can you say no to this face?

my brother calls him his little 'mega mind'
Now Andy, 31, had his son, Codyn, 8 weeks later. I have only got to meet him twice since he doesn't live near mom and dads, but hes a little stinker who changes in looks everday. I'm so excited for when his eyes better focus on you when you're holding him!
Look at those eyes and hair! 

Still working on him not crying every time I hold him

bundled joy
Its so cute when they're together. Its amazing how what a difference 8 weeks makes in mannerisms and developmental stages!
Fist pumps! 

side by side- Joseph and Codyn
                                                                          All the kids
Courtney, Andy, Codyn. Me. Eric, Joseph, Tracie
And the grandparents aka mom and dad

Enough bragging about my nephews- they're awesome and I'm looking forward to the talking, walking, and then spoiling when they can appreciate it. 

Aside from all the obvious changes in my life- I especially learned a lot about myself and relationships with others- which has been one of the greatest gifts of all. 

I'm hoping 2011 I don't experience as much change as 2010- although all good- its just crazy to see how DIFFERENT my life was 1 year ago. I've had fun, I know I will continue to have fun, but more importantly I'm just looking forward to my growth as a person AND a runner. I'm excited about all the upcoming travels and sites that running will enable me to witness, and hope to meet some great people along the way. 


Thursday, December 30, 2010

2nd time is a charm

A few days before Christmas I went on my first run with my Newton running shoes- major fail. My first mistake was not reading the instructions before running in the shoes. The gentleman at the shoe store had given me some tips and I just assumed that was good enough- wrong. The directions say to start out small with only doing 1 mile, and then building from there. As stubborn as I am, I thought since I have some miles under my belt that 2.5 would be no big deal. To add to my 'uneducateness' I thought I was supposed to run on my toes (specifically says in the directions not to) - so add that on top of too many miles to start out with, and you have one extremely sore 'right calved Lisa'- took me 2 days for the tightness to dissipate.  Exactly one week has passed and went out to do my 2nd run in Newtons for my lunch run with Becca.
Now I have no way of knowing if my feet are adjusting, or if  its bc I wasn't running on my toes this time, OR bc its first time wearing compression socks, but I felt great. My left leg / calf was extremely comfortable, right one, eh- but much better than last week. I don't know if its bc my right leg is shorter than left, but it seems to take a majority of the impact when I run- before these shoes I never noticed until post 1/2 marathons bc my right hip would be killing me. Now I feel it when I run- motivation to fix it in time for races. So one hour after my run, proud to say I am not sore at all- looking forward to doing my next run in them, perhaps a 5 miler.

sidenote- also 2nd time running with my Garmin- getting used to it, however there is still a lot to learn, at least now I'm comfortable with wearing it for next weeks race in Mississippi.
Lot of firsts in the past week- newtons, garmin, compression socks- and new years day will be first time running with my fuel belt- breaking in the New Year with something new (and it will be 60 degrees!!!!) :)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! As you can see from above picture, the running Santa was very kind to me. I remember when I was younger and there was a lot less technology / gadgets involved. If you would have told me 5 years ago that you if you get compression socks, a watch w/ a gps in it,  'reaction technology shoes' and a fuel belt that it would have helped improve my running I would look at you with a blank stare.

Still figuring out the GPS watch and all the features to go along with it- my only hope is that I have mastered it by the time of my next half marathon on January 8th.
As for the Newtons- went on my first run, 2.5 miles, on Christmas Eve. To be honest, wasn't exactly sure how to run in them, so majority of it was spent on my toes- which I now know is not the best way. I tried to wake up early this morning to do a Christmas Day run, but my right calf was in a large amount of pain. I've gone over it with the stick a few times and its starting to feel a bit looser. I'm always up for a challenge, and it appears that mastering these shoes might be just that.
As the new year approaches, all I can hope for is mastering the art of becoming a STRONG and CONSISTENT runner (being faster would be great too)

From my family to yours, wishing everyone a great holiday! And of course, good luck with all of your running goals :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Inspiration to Run

Awhile back B lent me this book that she read a few years ago. It inspired her to do more long distance running, so she thought it might be a good motivator for me. Up until our road trip for the Charlotte half marathon I never had the time or patience to read it. Since we had a 7 hour road trip ahead of us, I figured no better time than right before a race to dig in. Although I only read about 1/3 of the book before our race, it was enough to help influence and change my mentality.

I'm a sucker for giving into pain while I'm running and will walk when I see fit to give myself a break. After reading what one man, Dean Karnazes, put himself through on a daily basis just to test his own strength and endurance- my own pain didn't seem so big. Words that stuck with me through my race were "if you feel good, you're not pushing yourself enough.... pain is just weakness leaving your body."
Cheesy as it sounds, I did tell myself several time this during my Charlotte half marathon, and as a result its one of the best and most consistent races I've run yet!

I actually finished the rest of the book on the road trip back and the last 2/3 were equally as inspiring as the first 1/3.  I can't do it justice by describing all his accolades, so if you are looking to have your love of running strengthened or renewed I highly recommend picking it up, or checking out his website Ultra Marathon Man

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Thunder Road 1/2 Recap

Thunder Road 1/2
December 11, 2010
Race State #4/50

I was so exhausted by the time I went to bed around 10:30pm, that I slept straight through the night until my alarm woke me up at 5:30 am - this rarely happens on race day! Do my stretches and put my race gear on.  Both B and I were excited to break in our running skirts for the race. I did wear one for a 5k, but never for a half due to being scared of chaffing- horrible feeling if you haven't experienced it. Since my skirt only has bloomers built in to them, I purchased a great pair of Nike compression shorts to go underneath to ensure I wouldn't have to worry about 'chub rub'
Our reflective 'runners' kept ruining the pic
At 6:30 in the morning the temperature is only 30 degrees, so we each had a zip up to at least be a little warmer, in hopes that it would actually reach the 'high of 50' as promised for later in day- haha didn't happen. Grab our 'breakfast' and hit the road. As a nutritionist, you learn all the 'secrets' companies use to make their products look healthier than what they really are, especially when it comes to 'bars'. After coming across Lara Bars and finding something that actually is natural and has a good balance of protein, carbs, fats, and REAL sugar (from fruits and not sweetners) you could say I'm obsessed with them and it is my staple before race food. Today I chose cashew cookie :) 
We manage to get downtown easily, find a parking garage right around the corner from the finish line, and follow the massive herd of people to the convention center to seek out some warmth. During our trek I really start to second guess my choice for a skirt, and now see the value of dressing in layers and doing bag check right before race- something I've yet to partake in. At least 1000+ people are all seeking out shelter inside the convention center until right before race start. I finally have room and warmth to get a really good stretch out so my legs can loosen up. 
When we bought our embRACE bands the day before at the expo, the owner said if we get pictures of us with the bands they will post them on the website. B and I tried several attempts, but unfortunately I never fixed the settings on my droid after it updated, so the quality is just not there :(
B wearing black, me wearing white

Our eyes glow when we're officially ready to run- must be about that time! 
So we finally follow our way outside and head to the start line. OMG- what a huge CLUSTERED MESS!!! So when B and I walked outside the convention center to go to start line there were probably HUNDREDS of people still left behind, not to mention all the people that were behind us in our walk. We followed the signs for half marathon and came to a stand still and couldn't go ANYWHERE. To make matters worst this lady began singing the Star Spangled Banner (side note- not that great) and no one would budge. The announcer guy comes on saying we're about to get started with the race as soon as he says "Ladies and Gentlemen, start you engines" and we are no in a position conducive to just hop on into the race. Hard to explain, but you have all the runners facing one direction- lets say north, and here we are, amongst a group of 100-200 people all staring at the runners as we are facing east and there is a fence separating us from getting to the start line- thank goodness this is chip timing! 
Announcer guy comes on the megaphone, says his 'start your engines' then fires the gun. B and I just laugh because we're standing there and slowly trying to make our way toward an opening in the fence. After a lot of pushing and shoving we finally get in a coral and are making our way to the start line- didn't know it at the time but it took us 1 min and 40 sec for my foot to hit the start line in relation to gun time.
My plan was to go out slower this time so I didn't wear myself out early and have to resort to my walk / run technique- don't get me wrong, this technique definitely works, however its frustrating to know that your time could be so much better if  you just ran all the way through. With a 7,000 runner sold out cap, going out slower wasn't too hard considering I have yet to perfect the art of 'bobbing and weaving' through large crowds. I also knew the elevation that lie ahead of me, and didn't want to die half way through the race. 
Anyone care for some hills?
As you can see the first mile was pretty much downhill- which was a nice warm up- but since I don't have a watch I really couldn't tell my pace- luckily this race had a clock at every mile (LOVE it when they do this) 1st mile comes, 9:30, feeling good. Thank goodness I didn't know that it was really about an 8 min mile or I would have freaked out that I was going too fast. In fact, all my mile splits were around 8-9 min, damn. I was getting nervous because I was definitely going faster than normal, my breathing was heavier due to the extreme cold temps, and I couldn't feel my legs. All I could do was just push through it and ride out my energy while it lasts. Just to be on the safe side I packed 3 gus in my skirts, and a special gu that one of the workers at Fleet Feet HIGHLY recommended Gu- Roctane- flavor, pineapple. So it may be coincidence, OR it may be the gu, but generally I always do a gu at mile 5 then 9- since there was no water station until 6.5 I was forced to take it then, but I felt great and didn't end up needing the other two.
Course was absolutely BEAUTIFUL- ran through some amazingly wealthy neighborhoods that surprisingly made the hills not as bad. Crowd support was pretty large and encouraging, always makes the run a little easier. Saw a handful of people dressed up in holiday spirit, even a few Santas.
For the first time, I was actually enjoying the race. I was keeping a good pace and had a positive mental attitude the whole way- which I think running is extremely mental in the first place so that definitely helped. From mile 4 to mile 12 this 7 foot dude kept pacing with me- I didn't mind because I knew I was at least being consistent, but he kept trying to talk to me. I finally turned to him and told him that if we finish together we can talk, but now its running time hehe. Hey I needed to save my breath.  
Only other 'out of ordinary' event during the race was my daily miler / blogger 'siting'. One of my DM friends and blogger who I follow was going to be doing this race w/ her sister, so I knew there was a possibility of seeing her. Saw the first glimpse of her right before the first water station around mile 1.5- I sped up to run next to her, but she stopped to get water and I just ran by. Next time I saw her was when I had stopped to take my gu and wash it down w/ water at mile 6.5- she passed me as I was standing there so I sped up to catch up. For some reason once I reached her I just kept going and didn't say anything. Then comes one of the last MAJOR hills around mile 11.5 (although it doesn't show on elevation profile)- shes right behind me, catches up to me, then we're running side by side. I wanted to turn to her and say "Hi I'm Lisa from daily mile", but I just didn't have any breath in me. I had been booking it and when I hit mile 11 the clock read 1:40- knew that I was going to PR, so pushed it in mile 11, however once mile 12 hit I had no steam left. DM girl took off and I trotted along just hoping my legs would carry me. Finally reach mile 13, see the finish line, see the clock 1:54 and change and knowing I already PRed by at least 5 min, I don't have the energy to 'kick' it in. 

First race that I finished where I was 100% proud of myself- I didn't walk, I didn't beat myself up, I really did leave EVERYTHING out on the course!!! After the results were posted I realized that fellow running skirt girl was not my DM friend, but indeed her sister haha. At least someone secretly pushed and motivated me! As for B- she PRed for the year as well- so we were both on Cloud 9 after the finish and on the drive home! 
Nice medal and personalized Bib

Official time 1:53:02 - last PR was 1:58:57!!
Overall Finished 844/3227
Division Finish 67/355
8:38 total pace :) 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Thunder Road Charlotte, NC Day 1

A few reasons why this race was an easy choice. B's boyfriend's family lives there, so he was willing to drive us the 7 hours (score), and we stayed at his folks place so one more expense out of the way. (double score) We decided to make a weekend of it and left Friday morning at 6:30am. Had the entire back seat to myself so I was able to stretch out and even fit in a nap along the way.
Drive through the Smokey mountains was absolutely gorgeous, and it didn't seem too long before we hit North Carolina. We had to make a pit stop for gas, bathroom, and snacks (I was massively craving chocolate milk). Despite the fact that I live in Nashville, I guess you're not considered the 'real south' until you have this in your gas station
Get your boiled peanuts!!
I was informed by the lady in black that they are actually not very good... good to know. Within the hour we arrive at Mike's folk's place- 'Ds house'. After some chit chat and unpacking we go and pick up Mike's bro so they can show us how to get downtown and head to the expo. 
Downtown is a surprisingly short drive- we find a parking garage and they direct us where to go and leave the car with us for the evening. Thunder road expo is held in Charlotte's convention center- which is both spacious and nice. Theme of the whole race is 'race cars' since Charlotte is home to the Nascar Hall of Fame. 
Entrance to the expo.
Of course we have to capture the moment and get our photo in front of expo sign... probably the 100th people to get it done.

Race packet pick up was actually a breeze and the rest of the time was spent looking at different vendors. B and I got these great running headbands by EmbRACE bands that were guaranteed to stay in place (something that all other brands I tried up until this point failed to do) Bands were either $10 a piece or 3 for $25. I got 3 and opted for all sequined ones- white sequined for race day, then pink and blue for future races / training runs. I will say that after one race staying in put, I am now hooked on these :) 
This bad boy actually stayed in place as promised :) 
Only other good buy I got was a trigger point wheel by the people that make 'the stick' - same concept as the stick, only its for small pressure points- esp joints. Still figuring out how to use it the best way, but great on face and neck. 

Packs a lot of torque for a little guy
After looking around at some of the race specific merchandise I came across two of the race shirts that got me a little nervous. I knew this was a hilly course, but seeing it in frnt of me, obviously re-enforced
this fact into me.

Elevation profile?!? looks more like an EKG 

I was already planning on trying to go out slower this race for 3 reasons- learn my pace better, colder weather, and lots of hills- looks like more reason to stick to the game plan. Finally finish up at expo and had to get our photo with the token race car before heading out. 

Showing off car sans bikini

Decide to 'explore' downtown Charlotte,  but there wasn't a lot to do. There were a surprising amount of amazing statues and sculptures that were unique, and of course a gigantic over-sized Christmas tree!
I look tiny in comparison!

We stop into a bar for a quick drink, something I NEVER do a day before a race, and end up staying for our dinner. B and I aways carb load 2 days before, so as long as I make sure something I eat is a carb pre meal, I don't really scrutinize too much about what I eat. We get our food and find out the guy we're sitting next to is doing the full marathon tomorrow. He (Bob) is also on a similar quest as us- to run in each state, however he is doing marathons and we're doing 1/2s. So far has 17 under his belt, and his goal is to just finish each state by the time he's 50... didn't think to ask how old he was currently. We swap stories about races and realize we'll be seeing him again in March for the Little Rock full and half- small world. I absolutely love running into people who have passion for some goal they set for themselves- especially when it comes to athletics! 
Leave the bar a little after 7pm and make our way back to Ds house. Watch some tv with mama and papa D then head up to lay everything out for race day in the morning! 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Rudolph Run Recap

Rudolph 5k Run
Temp- high 30s/ low 40s

Its been since labor day since I've done a 5k race. I've been a bad girl when it comes to speed training, so generally what happens is I go out fast and die around 1.5 miles. I figured since I only had one race in December it would be nice to do something different, plus it kicked off the Nashville Christmas parade so it would surely be a pretty run.
B and I decided to 'get in the spirit' and be festive in our attire to make the run more fun! Day before the race my red plaid running skirt came in the mail- perfect Christmas attire so decided to break it in!
Pretending like its not cold out 
Getting ready to run (opting on wearing antlers for actual race) 

This is our 'deer caught in headlights' look

I made the comment I felt like a slutty school girl- so this is our 'bad pose' 
When we get to check in to get our bags, I was AMAZED at how many people dressed up- many of which I still don't know how they were able to run the whole race in. I did manage to get my picture with one of the best 'couple costumes'
Ok -so I know there is a taboo of dressing up like Mary and Joseph and carrying a baby Jesus, but it definitely was creative (How 'Mary' ran with baby 'Jesus' I will never know)
Ironic that absolutely NO ONE we spoke with knew where the start line was since it was changed from previous year, but once we discovered it, everyone came out of the woodwork, about 1200 runners.
Start line was a cluster since they had part of the road blocked off to create a 'chute' for us to funnel into- at least being smooshed into people created warmth.
When gun fired I literally felt like I was part of a big herd of cattle because we were going so slow. Once we get out onto the main road- I realize its all uphill (I really need to start reading course maps and elevations) I speed up just to get in better position / make the long hill go by faster, but yet I still felt comfortable so I didn't want to push it. I was told prior to this race that we would be running up 2nd avenue- for those who don't know Nashville- its pure TORTURE and last race I had to do 2nd avenue (women's 1/2 marathon) I walked up majority of it. As we're approaching 2nd I realize we're running down it- Hallelujah!!
In anticipation for the Christmas parade to follow the 5k, both sides of the streets are lined with spectators cheering us all on- helped greatly. Once I get on 2nd ave I realize there is going to be no easy way to run down the hill, so I just let me legs carry me down and pray I don't go too fast and tired myself- yup exactly what happened. As soon as we hit Broadway we had to turn onto it and run UP Broadway- something I have never done, and hope I never have to do again. Although it wasn't as steep as 2nd- it dragged on for longer, and sad to admit that combo of breathing in cold air and muscles tensing up, I had to walk a little bit of it. Good news is that what goes up, must come down, so we reached a turnaround on Broadway and were able to run the rest of the way back. Bad news is that we had to run back up 2nd ave- SERIOUSLY?!?! 3 major hills in first 1.5 miles?!? I tried to slow myself down to save my legs, but I still had to walk once- at least I did better on this hill then my last race.
 view of all spectators and lights lining 2nd ave
Finally reach the top of 2nd and ready for some downhill action. I didn't have a watch, nor did I see the 1st mile marker, so I assumed they weren't marking the race and I had no idea where I was in relation to finish line (both time and distance.) I pass the 2 mile sign and get severely discouraged- LONGEST 2 miles of my life. Exhausted and mad- decide to walk again and catch my breath- note to self: train my lungs better for cold weather.
Approach LP stadium, only have to run around it before finish line- go through my normal 'why do i put myself this torture' pep talk and walked twice more before finally turning the corner and seeing the finish line. I actually do have a kick and managed to pass 4 people- score.
Time was 26:03- considering I felt like crap and walked 5 times in a 5k (who does that?) I guess its not bad. I get so frustrated with myself though because I do this every race- go out too fast and die. My first 3 miles of my 5 mile race on thanksgiving was 23:20- and I still had 2 miles left. My excuse- don't train for 5ks so i'm used to a slower pace haha.

I try to learn something valuable from each race though, and from this one I took away an important lesson to try for next few months: when its cold outside I need to go out a little slower to let my lungs get adjusted to the heavy breathing in winter weather, and once I get my rhythm  there THEN I can speed up... next time

Monday, December 6, 2010

Huntsville Recap

Huntsville Half

This was my first race chosen after I decided I was ready to make the leap to do a half in each state. One of my past high school running teammates, Tom,  happens to live in Huntsville, Al and told me about this race. Aside from the fact that its a quick 1.5 hour drive and I have a place to stay for free, I was really excited that the course was extremely flat with  a rolling hill or two!!

Packet pick up was on Friday till 7pm @ the Huntsville Fleet Feet, so I made arrangements to leave work earlier that day so I could get there with plenty of time to spare and potentially browse around their fleet feet. (LOVE the store) Although I have a Gps built into my phone, I constantly forget and rely on mapquest to get me to new places- big mistake. There is no easy way to Huntsville, but visiting once before I at least remembered that I had passed into AL from TN via the main highway (65) and then drove for a bit on the highway before reaching the exit I needed to take- not the case this time. Mapquest had me take some exit while still in TN that was a small, dark country 2 lane road for 30-45 minutes before reaching any type of substantial civilization... lovely. Finally get on track and getting closer to a connecting highway I need to take. Right when I was getting onto the final connecting highway I realized a few seconds too late that the sign said north and i needed south. Because it was rush hour traffic it took a few exits for me to get over and turn around so I could head in the right direction. After 30 min of driving aimlessly not finding any of the signs listed on my mapquest print out it finally 'clicks' in my head to type in Fleet Feet's address so I can GPS my way out of nowhereville. Turns out I was going the right direction the first time and the sign was just wrong (gee how am I supposed to that?) 35 min later I'm approaching the shopping center Fleet Feet is in and my car started over heating and is starting to slow down on its own- seriously?!!? How I managed to at least coast into a parking spot in enough time I guess is pure dumb luck, but I made it- 6:50pm (talk about stress) Got my packet, bought a few gus since they weren't offering any on the course, and finally purchased 'the stick' for my muscles.

After I'm done there I call Tom to meet up for dinner and then make my way to Cheddars- car was thankfully behaving again. Pre race dinner is a little embarrassing- chicken tenders (which were HUGE and they gave me 6 of them) with fries, side of loaded baked potato, side of garlic bread, AND a side of steamed broccoli. I definitely know how to eat when the time comes for it, only had to box up a few of the chicken tenders. Follow Tom back to his place and then watch a few episodes of The Office before heading to bed.
Woke up at 5:45, got dressed, and stretched. Weather was going to be high 60s / low 70s, so I opted for compression capris with a blue tank and a zip up to keep warm till race time. Do my pre race meal- Lara bar, cherry pie... just enough to keep me satisfied without weighing me down. Tom was nice enough to actually get up with me and take me to the church where the race start / finish was at, and even stick around through the entire race. When we get there I realize that there is indeed NO chip timing, and no clocks on the course. There were however going to be timers at certain mile markers shouting out times, but what good is that if your time isn't EXACTLY the gun time?!?! The icing on the cake was there were no headphones allowed- I need music to keep me going, motivate if you will, as well to keep the focus off my breathing. I was extremely upset because this was the first race where I had a specific goal finish time- under 2 hours, and a better idea of how to pace to get there. Tom let me borrow his Ironman watch so I would have at least that to keep me accountable for pace, and then I decided I would still have my mp3 player (my phone) on my armband and just listen to it as normal just without the headphones, so everyone else could hear my music.
Warming up before the race

This is a smaller race- just at 1,000 people. An elderly man was in charge on the megaphone gathering all the runners to the start line. Instead of having people line up based on pace they just kept telling people to scoot back so we can accommodate the 'stragglers' who are slowly making their way to the start line- really? I listened to directions and got to the start line in a timely fashion and you want me to move farther away from the start line when there is no chip timing? That makes one irritated Lisa. The pastor of the church that was the host of this race led us all in prayer before we were able to start. (a first experience for me before any type of race)
Gun went off and it took me 20 sec before I got to the start line and I could begin the watch. These Huntsville folk don't mess around- SUPER fast. It was extremely hard for me to remind myself not to get caught up with everyone else's pace and go out just as fast. The first mile was fast, but felt great at 8:45, 2nd one a little faster with 16 and change. First 2.5 miles was run throughout a neighborhood and then passed the start line again to begin our 'out and back'. Slowly the crowd was thinning out as everyone was finding their own pace- good news for me because I felt so awkward running next to people with Britney Spears or something equally as girly blasting from my arm as I approach other runners. 5k time was 26- still doing great. I feel like I'm going faster than ever before, but yet I'm not tired- the smart part of me would say to take it easy because I need to conserve my energy since I'm not even half way through the race- the 'Lisa Logic' in me said- screw it, this is a flat course so take advantage and just go for as long as my body is willing. Around 5 mile took my first gu, vanilla bean my absolute favorite, looked at watch and time was 43 and change.  Literally right after I passed mile 6, 51 min, the first place runner was already making his way back- wow! 6th mile to a little before 10th mile was all run on the 'greenway' which is flat pavement trail through woods and fields- quite serene actually.
I think my fast pace mixed with the heat reaching 70 degrees was finally starting to slow me down- whew I was getting tired. Mile 7 had water and gatorade- drank both and decided to do my 2nd gu- espresso love. First time ever having the gu, but I wanted to try it out since it was double the caffeine. Word to the wise, make sure you have plenty of water when having this flavor. There wasn't enough water in my cup to flush out the taste, so unfortunately the taste stuck with me for 2 miles until I had double-backed to the same station. As I get further on the greenway, more people are making their way back- great sight to see because it means that I too am getting close to the turnaround point. Around mile 7.5, I see a little kid (after looking at results I found out he was 11) who was already heading his way back- wow thats incredible.
after seeing this picture from the sports photographer it made me angry to know that I wasn't using my stride! 

About mile 8.5 is the turnaround- it always feels great when you start heading back and you know you are beating that many people. My body is starting to give way now and I have to walk. I tell myself 30 sec. tops, however once you start walking its like 'breaking the seal' and then your desire/ 'need' to walk more increases. I get a little pass mile 9 and hit the hydration station again, down a gatorade and water and feel rejuvenated for all but maybe 2 minutes and its back to walking again. This 60 year old women catches up to me and I decide to pace off her- I succeed for about 1/2 mile and then she leaves me in the dust. When I hit mile 10 I look at my watch and realize that if I want to reach my goal of under 2 hours I would have to run faster than a 25 min 5k- this was a longer course, 13.28, so technically I'd have to run even faster than that.

Tired, hot, feet completely numb, tight calves, and discouraged I mini gave up. I started walking for 30 sec every 2 min or so. I dont' know why I ALWAYS do this to myself- go out hard, die later. You would think the phrase "Its not where you start its where you finish" would be engrained in me by now, but it just doesn't stick. Mile 11 I pass the last hydration station and more and more people are walking due to the heat. I tell myself to suck it up and I slowly start to pick up the pace- that last for .5 mile and I walked again. One of the runners from the Fleet Feet store came up behind me and said 'you're body is going to hold up, you just have to put your mind in charge!' ~ simple but so true. That phrase stuck with me and actually did motivate me to pick up my pace. It worked- I hit mile 12 and I had about 8 min to run 1.28 miles- I was determined. I started passing people telling them "X number of min to run under 2 hours!" I was really excited that I might actually reach my goal after all.
Right when I started to get tired DMX "Up in here" came on my mp3 player- super old school but also apparently what I needed to keep up the speed. I hit mile 13. I reach the start line and Tom is standing at the corner screaming "You're gonna break 2hrs, just kick it in 200m!" I shook my head, but since it was guaranteed I was going to get under 2 hours, I couldn't bring my legs to kick much. Crossed the finish line with my watch time of 1:58:37- gun time 1:58:57- I did it, I did it!!! I actually accomplished my goal despite the longer course and all the walks. This was my 4th completed half marathon, and the first one where I actually felt proud of my performance; an amazing feeling :)
Got my medal, (kind of small) gatorade, and banana. They actually had GREAT after race food- bananas, grapes, bagels, muffins, and pizza- I'm never that hungry after I run so I kept it simple. Met up Tom who helped share my victory! I was so excited, that I called my parents immediately following- I feel like I'm back in high school again, giddy with joy.
Showing off my medal 
My legs were super heavy after the race, so had to prop them up against the fence to help the lactic acid build up. Stretched, massaged my feet and calves, and ready to SHOWER!!! When we got back to Tom's I used my stick for the first time, and all i have to saw is WOW!  Not only did it 'hurt so good', but it was the first time I was able to completely walk normal the next day. My biggest issue is knots and tightness in my calves, along with sore hips. I couldn't do a lot about my hips, but my calves felt loose and great only 1 day later!
Lucky number 446! 

After I got cleaned up I said goodbye to Tom and hit the road back toward home. Decided once I reached my exit that I would reward myself with Waffle House- Bacon egg on wheat toast, double order of scattered and covered (onions) hashbrowns, AND a chocolate chip waffle... I devoured it all :)

I'm glad I chose this race, however, they definitely needed to add chip timingand more water stations for future years. I do like smaller races since they are less crowded, but then you have to account for it probably will have a few kinks that need to be worked out.

Friday, December 3, 2010

My running Wish List

With Christmas around the corner naturally what is on a lot of people's minds is 'what do i really want?' After creating my list I realized everything I want, with a few exceptions, is all related to running. I can't put EVERYTHING down on my Christmas list that I really want because I don't want to seem greedy and it would get costly, so I decided to make my own 'Running Wish List' of things I can collect over time to help my performance. Some of these items I did ask  Santa, so I'm hoping come December 25th I can cross some gear off :)

1. Garmin 305 Forerunner - I desperately need to learn to better pace. Luckily I'm blessed with speed, unfortunately I don't know how to use it properly. My first mile can range from 7:30-9:30 and then its just as erratic from there. I would consistently like to continue to run sub 2 hour half marathons, however, I think that will only  happen if I figure out what pace works for me. I like the fact that it has a GPS built inside so at each mile it beeps at me and tells me my time / pace- genius.

2. I've yet to find a shoe that agrees with me when running longer than 8 or 9 miles. I finally made it to 10 miles in my Alabama half before my feet when numb- longest thus far, but still had to run 3.28 miles afterward on numb feet. The cause was the way I run and how it puts pressure on my feet, pushing down on a nerve (which after prolonged pressure turns my foot numb) Newton running shoes was highly recommended to me by some of my fellow DM'ers because it has the 'action-reaction technology' which simulates more natural running. What that means for me is less pounding on joints, decrease in injuries and sorenss, faster times! After having my gait and foot strike looked at, found out the best for me is the Gravity Performance Trainer. 

3. Another item that will help prevent the 'going numb' feeling in my feet, as well as less cramps is my calves are CEP compression socks, These help with increase bloodflow and circulation to do allow for longer, more pain free runs! Found a pair of black ones back home and put it on my wish list, so if I get those, then will just get white so I have 2 different pair. 

4. From about April to November the weather in Tennessee ranges from hot, very hot, humid, very humid, then just warm. Although it sucks running in less than ideal hot temps, your body becomes accustomed and I find it much harder now to run in the cold. Nervous about how my body will adjust to  Dec- March temps so its time to get warmer gear. Came across Mizuno compression tights and they are amazing! As with all tights they conform to your body, but the 3 great features I like about this brand is the side zippers to make it easier to put on,  its moisture and windproof but yet breatheable, inside has a special material that is WARM! It helps that it has the back pocket for gu too!

5. Nathan Fuel Belt - I was fortunate this summer to be a part of a Fleet Feet Running group that provided water stops every 2 miles for our long runs, however that is not the case anymore. I generally do my one long run a week with my partner in crime, Becca, and we either just share the water from her fuel belt, or make a pitstop at Belmont University for a water fountain break. It would be nice to have my own so we can choose different routes, but also so I don't have to be dependent on her for hydration. I like this one because its a stretchy snug fit, water bottles are 10oz so I'm getting 4 more oz than a lot of traditional 8oz bottles, and the pouch is big enough to hold my phone in addition to my gus.

6. Have you ever felt the old droid phone? If you haven't, its quite heavy! That is my MP3 player I use for runs. The armband I use to hold it, is actually stretching out, so sometimes now during my run it falls down and I have to readjust- wasted energy. Saw the Ipod shuffle at target awhile back and LOVED how lightweight and tiny they are! Bonus- its cheap and has a clip so i can attach it to my clothes and not wear a stupid arm band! Green is one of my favorite colors, so thats the one I'd like

7. All my high school medals are sitting in plastic bags underneath my bed- don't want the same to happen to my half marathon ones. Found this website through another blog and thought the concept was great! Allied Medals makes great wall hangers so your medals can be displayed neatly. Several designs I would go for (and i'm sure i'll need more than one) so its a toss up for the first one to be "believe" or "1/2 marathon"

8. Running skirts! Recently found 2 websites that have a wide selection was having a cyber monday sale and I got 2! Realized too late that the running skirts have bloomers underneath, whereas the athletic skirts have compression shorts- oh well still cute. Other website Skirt sports has a huge section with the compression shorts underneath, and they appear to be a little longer than running skirts. Both have pockets for gels, gus, tissue and have so many pretty designs- got purple and red plaid from running skirts, and my favorite from skirt sports is picture on right.

9. Since I bought myself great breathable running gloves (complete with nose wipe for the really cold runs) and long sleeve compression shirts, the only item left to complete my winter running wardrobe is a warm headband. Not real picky on who makes its, as long as its warm, breathable, and stays in places. Nike seemed to have a relatively cheap deal for theirs.

10. Although I know that no one is going to get this for me because its up to me, cheap air fare! Lot of states that are nowhere near me that I have to run in to complete my half in each state. So if anyone every sees some deals with different airlines- let me know! :)

I think every 3 months or so I'll update my list- both deleting what I have purchased, and the fun part- finding new goodies!