Thursday, October 18, 2012

Happy Tangent Thursday

I'm getting ready to head to Birmingham for work all day long then have to drive back tonight (3hrs) followed by work tomorrow then catching a plane to San Diego, (I'm changing my middle name from Ann, to traveler)  so I won't have time to write one my Five for Friday Favorites post, so instead we'll just call it Tangent Thursday!

Lately it's rare when I get to say this, but this has been a great week, minimal stress. Here are my favorite things so far (in no particular order) 

1. I actually was on the ball and finished my double header recaps in a timely fashion. Not that I want to brag or anything (I do) but I beat Kim this go round. She amazes me at her quick turnaround so this time I thought I would emulate her. Delaware HERE, Jersey Shore HERE. Since this was a multi-blogger weekend you can find other recaps of DE, Almas version, and Kims.  Jersey Shore versions: Ts, Kims.(Alma is still working on hers, so check back)  After reading Kim's I realized I forgot to post a very important photo. While we were printing our  boarding passes to return home, I noticed a real classy picture on the shelf behind us--- yup we're in Jersey Shore alright. 

2. After our DE race we decided to drive back through Philly on the way to Jersey just so we could run up the "rocky steps". I took a video of Kim and I singing (poorly) the theme while we ran up it. Alma was running behind us also video recording--- her video is way funnier than ours. Toward the end I thought we were done then realized we had more steps to go... in Kim's own words "dang" 

3. About a month ago I was asked to go to the Hershey Memphis manufacturing site (where ALL the Icebreakers products, licorice, good n plenty's and a few other products are made) and lead a few meetings for their employees going over their benefits and how to navigate their website and answer questions. RANDOMLY last Friday I met a guy at the NY airport who actually designed the icebreaker cube gum box  and the machine that put the gum in the box- weird. We chatted all about the plant and everything that goes on there as he had to go back and forth till that project was done for almost 2 years. Yesterday my boss shared with me that appparently my visit was extremely beneficial and they requested  specifically me to come back in the beginning of November!! Although the drive stinks, last time I came back with free loot, so I'm hoping for that again! 

4. The weather has calmed down here- although it still can get warm, the humidity has died down. Our bootcamp is now back on top of parking deck where we have a lovely view of the changing landscape. Picture doesn't do it justice, so I may have to take my own next time I'm out there. No better way to work out.

5. Saving the best for last: Tomorrow I FINALLY am making a trip out to San Diego to visit M. I don't discuss my love life in detail on my blog here but since it is running related, a brief rundown- we met at Ragnar NW Passage (sort of), reconnected through internet/blog/facebook/skype, he came to visit me 1.5 months ago, and now its my turn to go out there. I've never been to San Diego before so I'm pumped not only to see him, but to explore SoCal for the first time!! I'm sure I'll post some pics next week. 

What are your tangents/ favorite things this week!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Seaside Heights 1/2 (NJ) Race Report.

When Kim agreed to find a race to make our Delaware weekend a double header, I at first laughed at the thought of running a race on the Jershey Shore... cue in hair gel, tanning, and thick accents
Although I don't watch the show- I did see one episode when they were in Italy and they kept saying "she's too young for you bro!"---- anyone who uses the word bro is an immediate turnoff (unless you are talking about your actual brother)

Nonetheless I had never been to the "garden state", so I figured go big or go home, Jersey shore it is and thus Seaside Heights 1/2 was a go. 
The Race:
Seaside Half Marathon
State # 35 New Jersey

I haven't done this in awhile so how about a little good, bad ugly rundown?

  • Pre-race meal Italian dinner meet up: My dad happened to be in NJ that week for work, so he flew in a day early just so he could meet up with me and my running / blogging buddies (ok he probably wanted to see Kim again since they got along so famously when she stayed at our house for the Air Force 1/2) We also were able to meet up with Tonia and her family + Alma's best friend / college roommate--- needless to say we had a great entire weekend of everyone catching up with old friends / family! 

Alma, Me, Papa J

Alma, Me, Kim, T, T's sister Gina

After we said our farewells we went back to our hotel and basically CRASHED from exhaustion. At the time I was thankful we had a 10am start time due to being tired and being able to sleep in... I was definitely singing a different tune midway during the race. 

  • Great scenery BEFORE the race for photos. I know T and G laughed at my excitement to see all the rides and shops since they are from the area- I guess I get that since that is how I feel about the whole excitement with Air Force Museum since I grew up with that. 

Me and Kim

T, me, Kim, G (for the record, we were going for a black and white theme, when I asked Kim what to wear on top she said it didn't matter. Apparently everyone else got a different memo)

Look at me, I'm on a beach- wheeeeeeeee
stolen from Alma

Stolen from Alma

  • Getting to hang out with some fabulous ladies before start of the race 

  • Due to not bringing my ipod charger and needing to save my battery, I ran the first 4.5 miles with music and I wasn't hating it. 
  • I don't remember what mile I was at... maybe 5, but I felt like I was running in slow motion- I said to myself "self, you can go faster than this, suck it up- for 2 miles I had energy out of NO WHERE and passed a ton of people just by opening my stride a little bit which allowed for 35 sec faster miles (yay!)
  • Free pasta lunch for all runners after the race- pasta, salad, and rolls--- it was PERFECT
  • Having my dad there at the start and finish to cheer me on
The Bad:
  • 10am start time- ya its nice for sleeping in, however the heat set in which could have been avoided / lessened with an earlier start. Also it does put a crunch limit on travel plans finishing so late. The 3 of us (me, Kim, Alma) had 6pm departing flights so we played it smart (one of the few times I can claim that) 
  • "line up where you want" start line. The start was crazy congested which made for a hard first mile. Considering I went out too fast the day before in DE, I told myself nothing below 8 min for mile 1. I took it a little too easy and clocked mile 1 at 8:49- a full 1 min slower than normal which led me to freak out and try to "catch up time" the next few miles. 
  • Once we got off the boardwalk miles 3-7 were on a long gradual incline that didn't give until we hit our turnaround. The course was advertised as "flat and fast" so I was confused on why my body felt like it was working really hard- I hate false advertisement.
  • I kept telling myself that once we hit the turn around I would get a nice 4 miles of downhills- seeing all the people running flying on the "back" of the out and back gave me hope that it would get easier. Funny thing... it seemed to be going uphill on the back too! I know this isn't possible, but there was definitely no downhill.
The Ugly:
  • The last half of the race my wheels came completely off. My body was SUPER stiff and I literally couldn't spread my legs any farther apart. I remember this happened to me exactly one year ago same weekend on day 2 of my double header in Rhode Island, (hands down is still #1 in best scenery for the states I've completed) however its not a consistent issue on day 2 of all my double headers so I have no idea what I did differently?
  • With no shade... IT.GOT.HOT. After seeing a few women in front of me sans a shirt, I decided to finally join them at mile 8 and took mine off. I am FAR from where I want to be with my midsection, so I have to be roasting in order to say "screw it" and use my shirt to wipe my sweat. 

  • It's rather embarrassing how much I walked in the last few miles- I just didn't care anymore. It was a mixture of being tired, and having the same feeling my heart is going to explode out of my chest that I had the day before. I remember my dad joking telling me he would have to hit the road shortly after I was done so "none of that running over 2 hours crap"- obviously he was kidding, but that became my goal in the end just to not go over 2 hours. 
  • Finishing on the boardwalk was CRUEL. Some parts of it are new, however most of it is old uneven planks where you have to pick up your feet more so you don't trip. It was exhausting have to look down the whole time and even if I wanted to pick up the pace (which if you call stopping at every water fountain along the boardwalk going faster, than I kicked the crap out of my pace!) it was near impossible with how much extra effort it was going to take. 
 I finished with a 1:57:56- not my best performance but I wasn't going for gold. The race itself was boring, not much change in scenery, no shade, and although there weren't any challenging hills it definitely should not be advertised as flat and fast. I could think of worse things to look at during a race, so its not a deal breaker, but a 10am start time is just way too late. If you are looking at this race to mark it off your states, make sure you register early. They closed online registration 1 month before the race so you are forced to do it race day. I ended up paying an extra $20 on race day, and I received a cotton long sleeve with a boring design vs. the much cooler tech long sleeve that Kim and Alma received. 

After this weekends fun adventures but crappy runs I realized what I truly want out of my running--- I want to go fast. I don't know why I bothered with the marathon, I'm not disciplined enough to put that amount of mileage in, but I do have what it takes to bring my times down. I peaked in May for my Oregon race with a 1:42:54 despite walking a bit and being on day 2 of a double header... I think for fall / winter I'll be training to break the next big barrier 1:40---- there I said it! What's that phrase "so it is written, it shall be done"--- I'm going with that! 
State #35- New Jersey--- DONE! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Run for the Buds (DE) Race Recap

As much as my body hates me afterward, I really do enjoy double headers! This weekend I was knocking off DE and NJ (DENJ) with my constant travel buddy Kim, and the long awaited meeting of Alma. Prior to this race, Delaware was one of those states I was about as excited to go to as Iowa or Nebraska. All I kept thinking about was Wayne's World when they're doing the traveling to cool places montage video and then they get to Delaware (I may or may not have quoted it several times when we were in transit from Philly to DE)
To my unexpected surprise, Delaware actually broke into my top 5 most scenic / perfect weather races... not to mention I had a blast. Who knew? Our race was in Wilmington, so I highly recommend flying into Philly and making the 45 minute drive into DE to save some $$ on your flight.

State #34

This race actually raised money for the Down Syndrome Association of Delaware. They had a 'bud run' where all those who had down syndrome were paired up with a a bud to make sure they completed their race (5k or shorter) and everyone got medals. It was neat to actually see how much support the community had for those living or affected with down syndrome, and the turnout was much bigger than I originally thought. 
Me, AlmaKim

Despite the frigid cold temps early in the morning (high 30s), once in the sun it was actually PERFECT fall running temps by the time race started - 9am. Kim's cousin, Steve, made the commute from VA early in the morning to come cheer us on and be our personal photographer for the day. As an added bonus, that meant we could hold on to our long sleeves as long as humanly possible (I love running practically naked, but I'm a wuss when it comes to standing around)

Kim and Alma had decided they were going to run together, which left me solo with my music (I actually have a hard time racing with people so this was fine by me) I had very little expectations of myself for this race. This would be my first time running a longish distance in my new shoes, as well as the first time really pushing myself due to knee issues in 1.5 months. The night before we were looking at the year prior's results and it looked like there was a possibility that all 3 of us could place in our age groups if we ran descent (they did it by 20s, 30s, 40s etc). Spoiler alert we each placed 9th or 10th in our respective age group. 

The first 5k of the race was an out and back that (pretty uneventful)we also ran with those who were doing the 5k--- they got to go back to finish line, we got to be diverted to another path which actually took us on MANY out and backs throughout the rest of the race. Normally this would annoy me, however this time it was nice because 
A.) it allowed for plenty of opportunities to see Kim and Alma / get some action shots of myself for a change

 B.) The scenery so beautiful - plenty of paths alongside water, changing leaves, and some trails thrown in the mix

Despite the fact that the weather was pristine and the scenery was pleasant- the race wasn't all sunshine and unicorns.. infact not even half way through I was hating life. Apparently when you take time off you lose a little something call stamina. Common sense right?? Tell that to my legs- they wanted to go fast but my lungs just couldn't keep. First 3 miles were 7:40, 7:50, 8:00 and the pattern kept going up and up and up.

About halfway through I could feel my heart beating rapidly through my chest that I was forced to take several mini breathers. Normally I would shrug this off as just being "out of shape"- but the truth is I still somewhat ran at least 1x week and did bootcamp, so it's not like I've been lazy in the last month. The last thing I want is another episode of me passing out on the run again- although waking up in someone's arms rescuing me isn't so bad ;)

This pattern of me running until I could no longer breathe pretty much continued the rest of the race. At mile 10 we were so lucky enough to pass by the finish line only to  have to do the out and back 5k again--- I was hot, there was no more shade, and for whatever reason my right quad / hip was tightening up (hindsight is I think I'm so worried about my knee I was compensating)

By the time I was nearing the finish line there was no one in front or behind me within reachable distance, so my finish line experience was pretty uneventful. I grabbed my water and goodie bag, stretched, and munched while waiting for Kim and Alma to finish
water, apple, mini oranges, pretzel, pb and j sandwich... minus the apple I ate it all! 

Alma and Kim (being an airplane) rounding out to the finish

unfortunately I caught them after they stopped holding hands. 

My official time was 1:54:04- although its not a bad time, its frustrating because it is the SAME EXACT time I ran in Iowa when I gave up miles 2-8 then turned it on again the last 5 miles. There was no "turning it on" during this race... just a slow progression of increased time. 

Despite not feeling the best, there were a lot of perks with this race:
  • Start time of 9am- it was incredibly cold in the morning so it was nice to have it be manageable by the time the race went off. I wouldn't have been upset if it started at 8am... but 7am in Delaware might be a bit much
  • Scenery- so much to look at- great for photos
  • Powerade gels at every station--- I was able to try (and love) their double latte. I may have kept some to power me through day 2. 
  • Volunteers were amazing. We spoke to one of the main race officials for a few minutes before the race- she even took our photo since she was impressed we came all that way for a race
  • 5 minutes after you finished you could go over to one of the laptops and type in your bib number to see your official time and placing 
  • Bling (picture doesn't do it justice)

  • Weather was PERFECT low 50s- last 2 miles I was hot, but considering how much I heat up when I run, I'll take it. 
  • Great backdrop for photos (3 diff poses for diff cameras)
Kim showing 15, Alma doing hang 10, me showing 34

The famous celebrity pose 

Definitely my favorite... definitely. 

So Delaware was proof that you can not run that great, but still enjoy yourself. The company and my surroundings made up for the fact that I thought my lungs were going to explode. 

If you are racing the states, there really aren't too many options to run for Delaware. I know a real popular one is in December, but who wants to run on the East Coast in December. I HIGHLY recommend the Run for the Buds if you're wanting to do a half here. 

Next up Day 2 of double header- NJ

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. Has anyone else been getting a surplus of random anonymous comments on their blog that are really spam and want you to click on their link? In the last 3 weeks I've received at least 2 a day and not sure what is going on with that? I know there is filter so they don't get displayed, however all comments get sent to my gmail account, so spam or no spam, I still see them.

2. Every once in awhile I like to tap into my inner crafty side. The dresser I was using broke, so on a whim I decided to see if I could find a cool SOLID piece of furniture at the thrift store I could fix up and replace. Isn't it a beauty??  I was excited that it was only $40--- hello savings.
 After a LOT of sanding and priming, I wanted a POP of color so I decided to go with a bright cilantro green. I'm ecstatic about the results! I can be productive every once in awhile when I'm not running :)

3. Last Friday I spent 1+ hours at Fleet Feet trying to figure out what shoe is the best for me. Although my Saucony Guides have been my go to for almost 2 years, I've never really been happy in them. They get the job done, but something always feels off in them. After a lot of walking, running, testing, lunging, and people watching me, it was determined that I do not need a stability shoe. Apparently I don't pronate....I start to, then my body corrects itself before it actually happens (supposedly it takes a trained eye to see this because everyone else has told me I overpronate)
They decided on a neutral shoe and she brought me out Brooks Glycerin. In all the years I've been going to Fleet Feet, NO ONE has ever suggested a Brooks shoe. Finally last time I went this spring I asked why and was told i have too wide of a foot. Turns out i don't have a wide foot, just a wide toe box.
I've ran 1 10 miler and 1 5 miler and I'm  pretty sure I'm in love....
 10 miler knee pain was hit or miss, 5 miler yesterday- ZERO (granted it was only 5 milers, but hey, I'll take it!!)

For the first time in a L O N G time I am finally happy in the shoes I'm in. As an added bonus, WAY more stylish than Saucony Rides.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

September in Review

No sugar coating here (when do I ever?) but September just sucked. My knee gave out the first weekend of the month causing me to say goodbye to the elusive marathon and downgrade to the half. Not only did it put off what I've been training for all summer, but I even rested and BARELY ran outside of races and I'm still not back to 100% . This whole "getting older" thing is really throwing off my healing quickly ability <sigh>
obviously this applies to me ;)

Onto the Numbers...

Total Mileage:  59 miles, lowest mileage month in a long time, but at least it was on purpose in hopes of resting.  3 half marathons and a few runs mixed in.
October Mileage: Now that i'm in new shoes, I'm slowly going to be upping my mileage. Weather is FINALLY at that perfect running temp, so i'm going to make it a point to at least get in a lunch run once a week to help bridge the gap of being too exhausted after work.

Highest Mileage week: 26- double header labor day weekend- obviously no other runs were ran that whole week
OctoberI have another double header Oct 13 and 14, so I'm hoping to get in about 30-35 miles with 1 or 2 extra runs before heading out to East coast.

Races Planned / Completed: 3/4: Completed the most exciting states ever, Iowa (#32) and Nebraska (#33)  --- in short its cornfield city and not a lot to do 

And downgraded my marathon to the 1/2 for the Air Force Marathon- 2nd year in a row running with my brother.

I was supposed to run Bourbon Chase last weekend, but a last minute cancellation had to be made due to family emergency allowing 2 runners to not be able to participate and no one else on the team (aside from myself) willing or able to pick up the extra mileage. It was a disappointment for sure, but my body appreciated the extra rest. 

Accomplishments for September:
  • I got over my fear of racing in my bra and finished both half marathons with my shirt off... what an amazing feeling :)
  • After 2 years of never really liking my shoes and always feeling like they weren't right for me, I FINALLY got fitted for what I think is going to be a great match- more to come as I have more runs under my belt. 
  • Met 2 bloggers IRL for first time at AF 1/2 race- Run with Jess, and Jill from Fitness, Health & Happiness (in comparison to my 5'11 frame, they are so tiny) 

Current Book: I haven't had time for leisurely reading this month, but I have a 2 trips coming up for October and am WIDE OPEN for suggestions to make the plane trips pass by quickly. Send suggestions my way :)

Current Excitements/ Obsessions:
  •  Upcoming beer fest in Nashville this weekend 
  • double header Oct 13/14 in DENJ  (delaware and NJ) getting to meet Alma and T for first time
  • Flying out to San Diego to spend weekend with M- first time in So Cal, AND first time I'll be going whale watching :)!
  • Halloween at work-- company goes ALL out and EVERYONE gets involved. It's by far my favorite day to be at work
Last year my team was characters from Candyland, and the year before, Dodgeball- this year I'm on a different team and have no idea if we're doing something together, or if everyone is on their own. 

Current Goal: I'm going dairy free for October to get back on track with food choices and in the process lose about 5-7lbs so there is less weight on my knee. I promised myself that at least once a week I would force myself to go for a run on lunch to get out of office and an easy 5 miles under my belt. I got a major F last month for introducing any yoga, so I'm going to try to do that for this month to help with flexibility and further injury prevention.

Overall September was a very disappointing month in terms of races, discipline, and health. October is my reset month and I'm anxious to get in more miles and introduce running back into my life more full time vs 1x week. I think I am starting to listen to my body more, hence the rest, but its time to slowly push the boundaries and see if I can increase days of week ran. 

How was YOUR September?

Do you have any exciting plans for month of October?

Here's to happy and injury- free  running everyone!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Dairy Free October + Zipfizz winner

 September was definitely an OFF month for me in terms of mileages in hope that resting my knee would do my body good. A combination of not working out as much + being ultra stressed at work causing bad food choices = Lisa being "fluffier" than she would like to be. I decided that for October I wanted to get my diet straight again so I would do something different for the whole month. At some point I do want to do the whole life 30 day challenge, but realistically I have a double header half marathon weekend Oct 13 & 14th and I can't run 2 back to back races without any gatorade, gu, or simple carbs, so that challenge will have to wait till I have a race free month (or at least no back to backs)

1.5 years ago I gave up dairy for lent (explanation on this post). Within the first 2 weeks I lost a little over 7lbs, so I decided to do it again. I don't have a lot of obvious dairy in my diet, so the REAL hard part is absolutely nothing that contains "milk solids"- aka reading the labels on EVERYTHING- dressings, chips, crackers, baked goods,  milk stout beers, chocolate etc. (you'd be surprised how many items 'milk solids' is in) I actually have a lot of chocolate left over from my business trip to the Memphis Hershey Plant 2 weeks ago... they gave me all this free stuff :)

For some reason the picture doesn't do it justice, but it was 3 big totes worth- I ended up giving some to my roommate, as well as the actual coaches who work on the Hershey account, but I kept a bag of almond joys, 2 reece cup bags, and assorted mix for myself---- now its all going toward the kiddos for Halloween. 

Real test comes when I weigh myself tomorrow morning since I forgot today, as well as right after Halloween- anxious to see results.

Do you ever do monthly challenges for yourself to get back on track?
I've done no dairy for a month as well as no meat for a month. I've also done no carbs after 3pm 

Do they ever work?
Dairy worked GREAT. No meat was challenging- I had to end it about 4 weeks in (I did it for lent) due to LOW energy. No carbs after 3pm worked well, really forces you to plan out what you are going to do for dinner. 

Thanks to all who entered my zip fizz give-away. I was going to use random number generator, but then today at work a co-worker kept having me choose numbers from 1-525 to choose an Ipad winner, so I just had him to the same for me. 

Lucky winner # 16 

Dream Big Runner!!

Congratulations- please send me where you would like your water bottle and samples shipped to via