Sunday, September 1, 2013

Today is Not That Day...

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We completed 18 miles on Saturday. Eighteen. It wasn't always pretty, but we pulled through. Unfortunately, I didn't have my BFF next to me this time. She's been ordered to rest until the doctor gets the results of a bone scan of her foot. He's afraid she might have a stress fracture.

Distance running puts a LOT of stress on your body, so it's not uncommon to get injured. That's why it's so important to 'check in' with yourself as you're running and while you're recovering to see if there are any new or persistent pains. Check in with yourself first and then get checked out by a doctor if you notice anything out of the ordinary.

Check in - check out.

This photo was taken about 16 miles into the run. I was running with Jenn (on the right) and the three runners on the left caught up with us at the last water station. It's kind of amazing how good we all look, isn't it?
I've been feeling some extra soreness in my knees and in the tops of my feet moving into my big toes. I'm keeping an eye on it for now - along with some ice - and will get it checked out if I feel it getting worse or not improving with rest days.

Left to right: Sarah, myself, Duane, Skylar, Stephanie at The CRIM 
Last week, Duane and I (along with Stephanie, Sarah and Skylar) completed The CRIM 10-mile race for our August 'Race of the Month'. It was a lot of fun! Stephanie and I held hands across the finish line and I got to 'adorn' her with her medal which was pretty special.

For September, we'll be running the Run Wild at the Detroit Zoo 5K on Sunday the fifteenth (the day after a TWENTY MILE training run). Crazy? Probably. We'll be running an E-A-S-Y 5K that day!!!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Racking Up the Miles

Running a marathon was never on my Bucket List. It had never even crossed my mind. And when I signed up to run one on October 20th of this year, 26.2 miles seemed nearly impossible.

Not anymore.

Today I completed my longest run yet: 16 miles!
The run went well and we finished with a solid pace. I felt pretty good afterwards, but started getting sore as the day wore on.

That's where the ice bath comes in! Yep, tonight I submerged myself in a tub of cold water with two giant bags of ice poured in. It's not the most pleasant experience, but I learned last week, after our 15-mile run that it's totally worth it. My legs felt so much better after the ice bath. I found it to be more bearable by drinking hot chocolate while I was freezing/soaking. 

In training news...
I've discovered just how important it is to buy new running shoes when it's time. I have 331 miles on my thought I had a little more time). You wouldn't know it by looking at the tread on the bottom - it's all about the cushion INSIDE the sole of the shoe. Not only have my feet been more sore whole running, but my knees were starting to hurt, too - and that's not normal for me. Once I realized that my shoes were the culprit, I went to my local running shop and ordered the new Brooks Glycerin 11s and they came in today! Looking forward to running in them on Monday!
Nike Pegasus+ 29 running shoes and they are shot (I

We've got our August Race of the Month coming up next Saturday. We'll be running the CRIM 10-Miler which is the fourth-largest race of its kind. It's going to be so awesome running with the entire course 3-4 spectators deep!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

I'm A Half Marathoner... X2

As a runner, you learn that you'll have good days and you'll have bad days. It's an unfortunate reality, but it's true.

I was blessed enough to have an awesome day at the Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon last week. I've never run with such a big smile on my face for so long. Every step just felt right.

The day started early with about a half mile walk to the start line from our hotel. The atmosphere was exhilarating and we were all pumped. We had energy chews and a plan. And that was all we needed.

The goal was to finish somewhere around two and a half hours. Jenn, Stephanie and I were running together and Duane was way ahead of us running solo.

About every mile, there was a new band playing for us, so I didn't even bring my ear buds. I let the bands and the crowds keep me going. The spectators were great! We saw so many fun signs along the course. Some were truly motivating, while others were just there to keep our spirits up. A few of my faves:
Keep running, they're gaining on you.
Run like there are really hott guys waiting at the finish line.
There will come a day when you can no longer do this. Today is not that day.
Go, Stranger, Go!
It's not that serious. Just don't suck!
Keep running. People are watching.
 Hearing everyone cheer us on really gave us the energy to finish strong. The supporters lining the course as we approached the finish line were awesome!

The girls crossed the finish line holding hands with a time of 2:34:26 and we were thrilled! As a volunteer went to hand me my finisher's medal, I insisted that she put it on me and she was more than happy to oblige.

Of course, the very next day I drove up to our local running shop and purchased my 13.1 sticker for the back of my truck. I earned it.

In training news...
I tried GU for the first time this week. Blech! Not for me. I had the vanilla flavor which tasted like vanilla mixed with Slim Jim. Delicious on their own, but never meant to be combined. It left a weird feeling in my mouth for the rest of the run, too, so I'll be sticking with energy chews.

Speaking of energy chews: I found a new one that I like. PowerBar Cola Energy Blasts. It actually tastes like Pepsi! It also has caffeine in it (and I don't drink caffeine on average), so maybe it gives me an extra boost? Not really sure, but they're delish!

Oh, did I mention that we ran ANOTHER Half Marathon today? It wasn't an official 'race', but our training schedule called for 13.1 miles today and we ran it with the Hope Water Project team. It was a great run followed by a great breakfast!

Tomorrow is a rest day, and I'm really looking forward to that! Next Saturday, our long run is only 10 miles. Never did I think I'd EVER say, "only 10 miles". Perspective, I guess.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Thirteen Point One in Less Than Two

As I was leaving Yoga this morning at 9:30, I realized something:

In less than 48 hours, I will have completed a Half Marathon.


10 miles has been my longest run so far. On Sunday, I will run that again and THEN add a 5K onto the end of it. No big deal, right? *insert sarcasm*

Of course, I'm looking forward to getting my "13.1" sticker to slap on the back window of my truck. But what's surprising to me is how excited I am for the whole experience. I'm excited about the expo on Saturday, the people lining the streets at the race, the buildings, the bands, and yes: even the running itself - it's going to be incredible!

Since this is the "Rock 'n' Roll" Half Marathon (in Chicago), there will be different bands every mile or so playing all sorts of music - from Dixieland Jazz to Japanese Taiko to Rock. Usually, when running with a friend, I'll have one earbud in listening to whatever music I choose for the day. But I'm planning on leaving my earbuds in the hotel room and enjoying all the live entertainment.

I still have a bit of packing to do. Not that I need to bring much; we're only staying overnight. But one bag that is ready to go is the Snack Bag. Here's a little tidbit of info about me you might not know: I love to eat. I also seem to have developed an irrational fear of running out of food, so I'm always in charge of the Snack Bag and make sure it's STOCKED with enough food to feed an army. (You can see a list of Snack Bag items at the bottom of this post)

When you see a post like the one above on my FB timeline,
"Like" or comment and I'll get cheers!
If you're in the downtown Chicago area on Sunday, you can find us running in our Hope Water Project jerseys. Be sure to cheer us on or stop us before or after the race to say 'hi'. If we're 'friends' on Facebook, you can also "like" my status (see sample post to the right) on Sunday morning (race starts at 6:30am CST) and I'll get a 'cheer' from Nike as I'm running!

For those of you who have cheered me on via Facebook before - THANK YOU! You have no idea how motivating it can be to get a 'cheer' right when I feel like my feet are lead weights.

Weather for Thursday's "Hard Run"
In training news...
Yesterday's "hard run" was hot and HUMID. You can see the screen shot I took of the weather after we finished. We ran around 9pm since it had cooled down from earlier, but that 98% humidity is NO JOKE.

Friday's are 'rest days', but I decided to get my butt back into a Yoga class today and, boy am I glad I did! I forgot how much I love Yoga. It's such a great stretch!

Thanks for stopping by to check in today. If I get a chance and remember to, I'll trying posting from Chicago before the race.


If you're curious to see how crazy I am about food supply, our Snack Bag consists of:
  • Low Calorie Gatorade
  • Chewy Granola Bars
  • Crunchy Granola Bars
  • Nutrigrain Bars
  • Whole Wheat Bagel Thins & Peanut Butter (my  breakfast of choice for long runs)
  • Reduced Fat Cheezits (a fave of Duane's)
  • Reduced Fat Wheat Thins (a fave of mine)
  • Saltine Crackers
  • Pretzel Minis
  • Apple Cinnamon Rice Cakes
  • Orville Redenbacher's Pop Crunch
  • 32-pack of water (okay, so this doesn't fit in the bag)
  • Ritz Crackers
  • Oatmeal (Duane's breakfast of choice for long runs)
  • Shot Bloks (our energy chews for the race)
...and I'm sure a couple more items will be put it last minute.

Remember, we're staying OVERNIGHT and will be having meals at restaurants. This is just for snacking. A bit overboard? Maybe. But I know that I won't be hungry (and neither will anyone else... in Chicago. LOL).

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Card for a Cause: The Best is Yet to Come

If you're style is more elegant and sophisticated, then this Card for a Cause is for you! Perfect for a wedding, graduation, new job, or any milestone moment, this handmade, one-of-a-kind card is waiting for its new home.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Card for a Cause: Think Green

Today's Card for a Cause is perfect for the tree hugger in your life. This handmade, one-of-a-kind card works for any occasion!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Double Digits

Slow and steady crosses the finish line!
Saturday was a BIG day!

Big as in BIG!

I ran my farthest distance yet: 10 miles! It wasn't an easy task, but it felt pretty great!

Starting Thursday, I'd been feeling a little scratch in my throat and knew that with Duane being sick all last week, it was only a matter of time before the head cold hit me. I just prayed that it would hold off until AFTER Saturday's run, and it did. Of course, it hit me like a freight train as soon as I got home, but that's a-okay. I got through the run!

This run was the first time I've tried refueling while running. There are many different forms of fuel you can take while running. GU (pronounced 'goo' - to match its consistency) doesn't really seem appetizing to me. There are many MANY brands of energy chews you can eat during your long runs, and I chose to try Strawberry Shot Bloks.

My review?                     A+

Not only were they delicious, but they were easy to consume while running. They're like gummy bears mixed with Jello Jigglers. Not too chewy. I had one chew every 1.5 miles, so the 6-pack was perfect for a 10-mile run. After the run, I tried a bite of Gatorade's version to compare and wasn't as pleased. They have a bit of a 'grit' to them and are SUPER chewy. I don't want to be wrestling energy chews with my tongue to clear my teeth while I'm running. I have more important things to worry about - like breathing!

Saturday's 10-miler was the first long training run that I ran with my best friend, Stephanie. She was a rockstar and I'm so proud of her. She was originally signed up to run the International Half Marathon in Detroit this year, but is switching to the Full. And after having a challenging, but successful 10-mile run together, she has officially signed up to run the Rock 'N' Roll Half Marathon in Chicago with me on July 21st - just two weeks away! It is going to be amazing crossing my first Half finish line with my BFF.

I've been working on new Cards for a Cause and will have a few to post soon. Thank you so much for your interest and support! I was hoping to work all weekend on new cards, but the head cold has had me down for the count. I'm starting to feel better today and plan on working on them over the next few days.

I've been taking it easy and resting A LOT since Saturday, so I missed today's 3-mile training run. But I know that I need to listen to my body. Suffering through 3 miles today wouldn't help me get healthier. I think I'll feel good enough tomorrow to meet up with Stephanie for our weekly Tuesday run - 5 miles are on the schedule!