Monday, October 31, 2011

Beauty in the run + geese attack

Originally I had contemplated on driving to Louisville on Saturday to race in the Big Hit 1/2 marathon with B & L on Sunday. Louisville is my home away from home + I have tons of friends there who I need to catch up with. Ultimately it came down to just having a weekend to relax, organize clean etc since this weekend is TN Ragnar and next weekend I have out of town guests.

I decided to just go on a nice slow run around my hood and just revel in the sights and GORGEOUS weather- 60s + sunny + nice cool breeze---- I will take that any day!

Because all the leaves are changing + rolling hills I decided to make my run more enjoyable by taking some photos of what I get to see- who knew that by doing so it would be my faster run EVER of that distance- 10 miles @ 8:09 average pace!!!  Below are photos taken throughout the run so you can slightly enjoy what I get to see when I go out.

Mile 2ish- Enter McKay's Mills- this portion is cookie cutter homes- reminds me of witness protection

Nice long downhill which turns into a MAJOR uphill--- time to wake up quads! 

Mile 5- this is the hard part of my run because its downhill but I have to run in the grass since the road isn't wide enough- great for working out my stabilizers and makes me conscious of my footing

LOVE when the trees are red 

How gorgeous would this be to come into your housing development everyday and see this waterfall?

This is about .5 mile away from work- on the day of my interview I drove around to kill time and I remember stumbling across this beauty in awe. 

Passing by work- aka exchange 30 at TN Ragnar 

This is part of my run that I do everyday since its right past work - downhill + winding uphill (if you click on photo to see bigger it gives you a better idea of what lays ahead--- I hate it) 

the little pond is so peaceful  today- where are all the geese 

there they are. They didn't like me taking their photo, and no lie, they chased me after it- lets just say that mile split was faster than some of the others.

After my run I rewarded myself with a shower (duh) and $4 bloody mary + food with one of my best friends Stephen- great Sunday

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Who inspires you?

Women Inspiring Other Women

Last week Amanda from Runninghood made a post HERE about women who inspire other women both who she has met in real life, but also via blogs. If you don't follow Amanda yet, you really should. Aside from being a talented woman who juggles a home, 3 kids, a husband and running (she is SPEEDY), she also takes time just for her. She stresses the importance of having an inner peace within  yourself and reflecting on the day and all the joy it has brought. I've learned so much this past year just by reading her posts. 

Moving on: 

She had chosen a few bloggers that she follows to highlight and how they inspire her differently and had suggested if you feel the urge, to do the same.  Ashley @ Redonk Runner hopped on board and created her list HERE- I was so touched to know she mentioned me because I have a tendency to just ramble, that I never thought anyone would actually gain much from reading what I had to say. (Glad to know you do Ash) Again if you don't read her- you should check her out. Aside from her hilariousness, she's candid and has the perfect balance of  introspection, questions for all, and tips shes learned throughout her training. She is probably the most disciplined runner (which I'm TRYING to work on) and just last weekend she ran a half marathon without her Garmin (waiting for a new one to be delivered) and ran 13 min faster than she's ever ran before- KILLING her original goal by 10 min all by just 'listening to her body' and not letting her garmin determine where she should be--- ah I'm learning so much. 

So obviously Amanda and Ashley inspire me, but I wanted to spread the love  to other  bloggers as well. I want to keep adding to this list, so for my first addition I'm just choosing 3 ladies who I've met on several occassions- believe me, there are so many MORE of you that inspire me, but I want to have multiple of these posts.  If you already follow them, great, I hope they inspire you too! If not, check them out to see if you learn a thing or two. 

 B and I have met at several different races and stayed together for our Rhode Island 1/2 a few weeks back. Becka is the first blog I ever found (via daily mile) and although I already had a goal to run a half marathon in each state, it was finding her blog that inspired me to start blogging about it. If it weren't for her, I wouldn't know this whole online world existed! She used to be a smoker with some pounds to shed and now she is itty bitty and has the greatest endurance of all my running friends (umm 50 mile race without ever running over a 50k? crazy) Out of everyone I follow she is probably the one I would say  who wants the absolute most out of her races and is willing to try anything once. She's traveled to Greece, Russia, China, and Bermuda all last year for races, and her schedule for 2012 is even more intense. She ends her journey this may by completing her 50th state in Vermont, and since I haven't done that state yet, you can count on me being there to help be a small part in what has surely been a life changing journey for her! 

Disney 1/2- we ran a few miles together and had some great photo ops

Wickedly Fast 1/2 in Kansas- all inspired by Dorothy 

Matchy Matchy in Rhode Island

Julia is the type of gal that makes you feel like you've known eachother forever. A lot of us know her as the lady who leaves the most genuine and meaningful comments on our blogs. She always has something nice to say. She embodies one of my favorite quotes:
"Truth is, if you come in contact with someone,
you either leave them feeling better about themselves, 
or worse,
but you never leave them unaffected."
In the short time I've had to get to know Julia, I am constantly reminded of how far a compliment can really go for someone. I first met her at a blogger meet up a few months back, and then recently we met up twice at the Vegas Ragnar. We both have a great affinity for Ragnars and the relationships it can build / strengthen with your teammates, that we decided to do an all lady blogger relay! I'm happy to report we are finalizing a team as we speak for this year's Colorado Ragnar in July- so excited to see her again and meet more wonderful bloggers :) 

Finish Line @ Vegas w/ her and Rachelle
Paris Casino! 

Jill is 'technically' a fellow Nashvillian. Truth be told she lives out in the country about an hour outside of Nashville.  I happened to find her in the Nashville network for daily mile and then stumbled on her blog. I first  RANDOMLY met her when flying back from the Disney Princess 1/2. We were both at the baggage claim @ Nashville airport and she actually recognized me and asked if I was Lisa from Because I can- talk about a compliment! Aside from our shared sense of humor and great taste in beer, another reason why I just love Jill is that she goes out of her way to help others- must be the 'mommy part' of her. She has a great amount of determination to not only do whats best for her family, but to strengthen herself as a runner. I'm so excited to see how she does in her FIRST marathon, St. Jude, in December. I'm probably MORE excited to have her on my TN Ragnar Team for next weekend- TEAM TRUNK MONKEY! and of course for our Colorado Relay in the summer!
Jill, Ashley, me, Stephanie @ blogger meet up

At Nashville Oktoberfest

So these 3 ladies have not only inspired me to be a better runner, but also a better person. I'm fortunate enough to have been able to hang out with them and they have transformed from the 'virtual wold' into an actual friend. I hope I'm able to add to this list, but in the mean time, I will have additional posts of others who inspire :)

Any bloggers inspire you??

Have you had the opportunity to make some real friendships via blogging?

Friday, October 28, 2011

What do you learn from your photos?

So I know we've all seen this little beauty floating around the internet:

Since this photo I decided to look at some of my race photos to notice anything worth improving- aside from my signature 'wave' or 'thumbs up' I noticed that my stride is non-existent AND I generally have one foot completely landed on the ground.... basically having to do more work since it takes energy to start up again. 

Case in point:
Flat foot + no stride

Heel Striking

Awful face- but as you can see from my legs being close together, it looks as if I'm standing still

Heel Strike

No stride + heel strike 

Foot completely planted on ground

Foot COMPLETED planted on the ground 

Oh you know.... baby steps

some more teeny tiny steps

traditional foot planted. 

So I think you get the point. It's hard to see these knowing darn well that I don't take full advantage of having long legs and actually using my stride. 

2 weeks ago when I raced the Amica Rhode Island 1/2 marathon- I had a a conversation with Becka about how frustrating it is that people assume since I'm tall that running comes easy to me and that I have an advantage because I'm tall. 
What I'm about to say is general terms- there will always be an outlier out there that disproves this statistic, but for the purpose of this post, just go with me. 

It is HARDER when you're taller to run long distances because you aren't able to use your long stride- it causes you to land too far outside your center of gravity, thus throwing everything off and causing injury. It is also harder because there is a fine balance on where your stride should be, if its too short it puts even MORE pressure on your joints, especially your hips (probably why I have so many issues)  Lastly its harder because you don't have as quick of a turnover as someone who uses a shorter stride.

Anyway since the Amica 1/2 was a relaxed start for us- starting 5 min after gun went off, B and I  cross over the start line together and she commented something along the lines at how she was surprised at how short my stride was--- how do I not notice when I'm running?!?!

So then I made a decision to really focus on opening up a little- it was hard for me to do it too much in this particular race just from being sore- but I did manage to squeak out this photo:

How's that for opening up??!!?

So in short- by just focusing on little things here and there I'm slowly learning how to improve my form, my speed, and most of all my overall success with each run I do. They're not all pretty, but if I can learn something from each race I do, its been a good day. 

Have you ever studied your race photos to notice a positive or negative pattern?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. Just got an email from my Trunk Monkey Nashville Ragnar Team that we are submitting a video- we have to film on tuesday the scene from the end of the Hangover movie when Zach Galifinakas finds the camera and they look at the photos and then it goes into the 'fun times' they had.... I'm playing Zach Galifinakas' role--- dear lord.

2. Its Halloween celebration at work today. All teams must dress up together and our team chose Candyland- don't know what I would do without a hot glue gun

3. I have not made my race schedule for 2012 yet- all I know is I'm for sure doing the Colorado Ragnar Relay. Infact, after next weekend when I complete the TN Ragnar, I have NO PLANS.
I am open to ANY SUGGESTIONS on where to race!!! 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Las Vegas Ragnar Relay Recap

What: Las Vegas Ragnar Relay- #2 in my Ragnar runs
Where: Lake Mead to North Vegas
When: Oct 21-22
Team # 100- "Too Legit to Quit" otherwise known as "Hammer time" to other runners (maybe it was our large hammers we carried around cheering our runners on??

Or maybe it was our Van decorations??

Either way it was hilarious at how many people came up to us either singing Mc Hammer songs, complimenting our outfits, or asking for photos--- a total win for team theme this time around. 

My legs- runner 3
Leg 1- It was supposed to be 5.2 miles, but ran long at 5.4 Total time: 51:00, 9:30 pace
  • you ever have those moments when you're in the middle of a REALLY BAD RUN and you start to question your sanity on why you torture yourself??? This was one of those runs unfortunately. 
  • Starting a run around 2:45 pm in the afternoon, in the dessert, while its over 90 degrees + blazing sun =  good times for Lisa. 
  • I learned that glitter body paint has alcohol in it... translates into the body parts that have been sprayed  (ALL.OVER. my arms) burn and make you feel like you're overheating. 
  • brought my water belt with me and filled it with nuun for the first time- wasn't enough and I ran out shortly.  
  • My leg was pretty much all up hill- then when I thought I had a break, it was an even larger hill. During one of my largest hills my van was kind enough to pull over at the top of it to cheer me on- I shouted to them "This SUCKS!"
  • night run thank goodness for PRISTINE cool weather. 
  • although the first mile was lonely because there was NO ONE around, once I started catching up to people, I was killing left and right. 
  • First time in a long time where I had multiple 7 and change minute miles
  • At one point I was pacing at 6:45 (downhill) and I saw my van pull over but they didn't get out yet. They weren't anticipating my pace so when I passed by I pounded the van and heard one person say  "holy shit whats she doing here so quick?!?!" - Ah Mazing feeling. 
  • I never hit the wall on this run, got stopped twice due to traffic lights, but otherwise I finally ran a consistent pace. This was a HUGE confidence booster for me. It's hard on your ego when you're competitive and share a van with guys who all run in the 6-7 min pace zone. 

Leg 3- 5.8 miles 44:24 - 7:39 pace (seriously on cloud 9)

  • had to use port o potty right before the run. unfortunately I wasn't planning on the lines taking as long. As I made my way toward the exchange I saw Russ looking around calling my name (oops) I shouted toward him and he ran to me and I was off- problem was NO ONE else on my team was nearby so I knew it would be awhile before they gathered up and would be able to cheer me on / give me water. 
  • First mile.... 6:47--- whoa girl! As you may guess, it was downhill :)
  • Second mile I was getting HOT- wore long sleeve because it was breezy, but it was warming up. I tried to take off my shirt but taking off my ragnar vest + a form fitting long sleep top isn't easy. To top it off I forgot to take off our snap bracelet baton so the sleeve wouldn't come off my wrist. I finally had to completely stop, redo it all, then tie shirt around waist- whole ordeal didn't cost me my time as my 2nd mile was 7:27!
  • Now comes the bad news, because I took off my long sleeve (it was bright fuschia) my teammates didn't recognize me. I saw my van drive RIGHT past me (our van was decorated in lights to distinguish and make it easy to spot) How disheartening to know that it would be a LONG time before they realized they missed me and turn around.

  • Sure enough it wasn't until I was into the 4th mile that my van passed me the other way shouting 'sorry we're coming back' and they U-turned and I finally got my water. I know it seems silly to be so needy with water, but the air is much DRYER and dustier
  • Did slow down in the last mile and got HAWKED passed in the last 400 meters by some insanely fast guy... proud to say out of all 3 legs it was the only time someone passed me-- woo! 
The team as a whole did AWESOME- We finished 19th out of 400+ teams with a total time of 
yay Team Too Legit to Quit
after finishing 

walking back to our vans 

So there are a lot of people out there that keep asking about the hype on Ragnar Relays and which ones to do etc. Vegas was personally only my 2nd, however majority of my team has ran Hood to Coast, Tennessee, Florida Keys, Wasatch Back, So Cal, Northwest Passage, and Great River- lot of experience there. So I thought I would give you a combined- the bad, the good, and the downright awesome on this particular relay from both my opinion and theirs.

We'll start with the negatives and end on a great note- brace yourself... way more bad than good.

The Bad

  • When running a relay you have support and non support legs- support = you can give your runner water and anything else they need during their run and non support = you can pull over if you find a spot and cheer from afar. Legs 1-11 were ALL NON SUPPORT due to being inside the state park. This was sucky because it didn't matter what time you started, it was HOT.  Aside from that there were also many more non support legs- much higher in comparison to their other locations. 
  • Hellooooooo elevation!!! When I think of Vegas I think flat. When I think of dessert I think even flatter..... not the case. The constant elevation changes were ridiculous (and I live in Nashville which is hill central) If you weren't running up a steep long hill, then you were running down one- very rare to have a flat leg. I was in van 1 and I can say with 100% confidence that between our 18 legs, there weren't any flat ones. 
  • Altitude- I was NOT expecting it to be a huge difference, but the first run my lungs were burning into mile 2. Maybe its me and where I come from, but they should warn out of towners- definitely would have took the first leg slow then. 
  • Dust- the dessert is dusty, and surprise you breathe that in. They did make a point to put on the website that if you have breathing issues to avoid certain legs for that reason- aka the 7 mile slow incline along a dirt path... majority of runners we passed we wearing a bandanna. 
  • Vegas--- what Vegas? I think there was 1 point during a night run where you could see the Vegas skyline in the distance... otherwise you weren't near it at all for the race. 
  • Huge lack of volunteers / water stations along the course.
The Good:
  • Scenery to look at which can be summed up in the pics below (I will say though, you do get de-sensitized to it after awhile)

Downright Awesome
  • The major exchange between van 2 to van 1- exchange 13 was held at Loews hotel- it was a GIANT pool party. Unfortunately I didn't realize this when I walked in and left my phone in the car, so 1 borrowed photo will have to do

  • this picture doesn't do it justice, but there were 2 huge pools, 1 hot tub, the opportunity to buy different pasta and sandwiches, vendors with free samples, and showers (although I never found them)
  • 1 free beer and free food at the end- not all Ragnars do this for free, so this was a great bonus for us. 
Thats it folks! Despite all the negatives of this particular Ragnar, I had an amazing time. I truly think its all about the company you keep that will determine the time you have. 

I learned 2 things from this race:
1- It doesn't matter what your team name is- its all about being easily recognized. If you have a cool name- great, but can you  incorporate it into van decorations or wearing something for running / cheering?? We had a team we were with for our first 6 legs called "Ma, where's the Meatloaf"- I think thats HILARIOUS, but no decorations nothing special. 

This was my FAVORITE van because it was colorful, I loved the saying on the back, AND they had 2 large speakers playing music on top of van---- not a clue what their name was

I did start yelling to my teammates eventually "Run Hard, Don't Suck"- classic!

2- I also learned that as long as I keep myself mentally tough, I have more potential to race stronger and faster than what I thought was possible due to my lack of training. My stamina is there, but my legs need to be stronger to tackle hills and not get so beat up. Helloooooooooooo weights!

Next up is the Tennessee Ragnar in 2 weeks- Go Team Trunk Monkey!