Lake Nona 13.1

Well the Inaugural Lake Nona Half came and went.  It kind of snuck up on me, so I can’t say I was very prepared as far as training goes.  I figured I’d just wing it and do the best I can at that moment.  I was pretty satisfied with my finishing time of 2:09:31.3.  Not a PR but definitely better than expected considering my non-training.  Seriously, over the last 30 days I’ve run 4 times….  That’s one run a week.  Pretty sad.  I’ve also gained about 15 lbs.  I’m wondering what I could have done if I actually had been training consistantly?  Oh, well.  It’s now in the past, all I can do is look to my next race, which is the Disney Marathon.

Now onto the Lake Nona Half.  For the longest time, my friend G and I thought the race started at 7am.  I kept getting these emails about final instructions, but I didn’t actually read them until a few days before packet pickup.  Turned out, the race actually started at 6am.  And the location being about 30 minutes from home, it was gonna be an early morning.  Since Fall is finally here in Central Florida, the sun doesn’t rise until 7:30-ish so it made for a pretty dark run.  I was bummed because I actually brought a headlamp, but forgot it in my car when we swapped cars at G’s place.  We went with 2 of her work friends also running the race.  G thought it would be fun to dress up in costume since Halloween is close by.  So our costumes consisted of Batman and Robin, Superman, and I went as Wonderwoman.


All prepped and ready to go

I wish I had a before picture in our costumes, but I’ll have to bum it off someone when a photo surfaces.

The weather was perfect, the morning started just below 60°. I remembered to bring a trash bag to keep warm. The course itself was nice and flat, and there were a couple slight inclines as it went over a interstate bridge. Water stations were laid out about every 2 miles. I think they could have included a few more portable pottys along the way. As I mentioned before, the start time was 6am so it was mostly a sunless run. There was street lamp lighting for the most part, but there were a few areas of pitch darkness. A headlamp or knuckle lights would have been perfect for these spots.

Here’s my splits:
lake nona splits

I started a bit too fast out the gate, but it was so cool out and the rush of adrenaline and everyone around me got the best of me.  It was at mile 9 that I stopped for a quick potty break.  For some reason, at mile 13 I got my second wind, and I was able to speed up a bit to finish.  There was a spike in my speed in the last 0.1 miles even.

I’m a crazy girl, because I wore a brand new pair of shoes with new insoles for this race.  I’ve only worn them once before, to work.  I didn’t even adjust the laces.  That’s how much I trust Brooks brand and those shoes ;).


Brooks Adrenaline GTS 14

Not sure if it was the Red Robin burgers from last night, but before I went to bed I was having all kinds of gas issues, and now it’s giving me GI issues the rest of today.

Here’s a few some post-race fun:

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The medal is pretty cool, it has a center portion that spins:



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Plantar Fasciitis and my Dorsiflexion Socks (Strassburg Socks)

I know, I know, where the heck have I been?  Busy.  Working.  Running.  Etc.  Well, not running much, I guess.  11 more days until the Lake Nona 13.1.  I’m not entirely ready, and my time won’t be that great, but…  eh.

For the last few months, probably >4months I’ve been having a lot of pain in my left arch and heel.  I knew I was developing plantar fasciitis.  I thought maybe it was my shoes, so I started wearing my current Brooks training pair to work.  I still would have pain at the end of the day.  Massage wasn’t really helping either.  Honestly I didn’t even bother looking for a solution.  I figured I just needed new shoes or some in-soles.  I went to my local Fleet Feet and the associate was so helpful in giving me tips.  He suggested in-soles for arch support (I got these ones), stretching exercises, and Strassburg Socks.  The point of the Strassburg Sock, or dorsiflexion sock, as explained to me was that plantar fasciitis is caused my micro-tears inflammation of the plantar fascia on the bottom of the foot.  In order to get the fascia to heal, you need to keep it in a position where it can heal.  He explained it like getting a cut on your knuckle, it will keep busting open when bent, but if held in a position where new tissue can develop, it will not continue to break open.

And I’m on a budget, so I couldn’t see myself paying $35 for each sock.  If you’ve seen my race costumes, you’d know I’m a pretty crafty person, so I figured I could make a version of my own and save some moolah.

I bought a pair of knee high socks from Target for $2.50+ tax


I found some different versions online of people that made their own, with pretty complex designs, but I was like, “Ain’t nobody got time for that…”  So I did mine without all the pulleys, velcro, clips, etc.  Just used some ribbon I found in my craft stash.


1.  Take a piece of ribbon, about 6 inches long, and create loop and sew it securely to the top middle of the sock.


2. Cut another piece of ribbon, about 2 feet long, fold it in half and sew the folded side to the toe of the sock securely.  (btw, I used a candle to melt the frayed edges of the ribbon)

IMG_7904 IMG_7903

3.  With your foot in the dorsiflex position, pass the ribbon through the loop and make an adorable bow.  The toes should curl up slightly.  If your toes feel numb, loosen them up a bit, they shouldn’t feel like that.  **Disclaimer:  This is not recommended for people with circulation problems, history of blood clots, people with diabetes etc.  Please check with your medical doctor if any type of device like this is okay for you to wear**

AND Voilà!  A cute dorsiflexion sock.  I’ll be wearing these at night for the next month or so (we’ll see how my husband feels about that).  I was told it could take a month or more to start feeling relief, so I hope this in combination with stretching and the new insoles, does the trick.

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I Hate Running…

…Well not really.  Don’t worry.  I’m not quitting or anything.  I’ve just been really frustrated recently with my progress.  I saw this shirt at Pink by Victoria’s Secret Store:

i hate runningIt actually kind of pissed me off to see it.  Are they trying to teach girls to hate running? Oddly, it’s truly how I’ve been feeling about running the last couple of days.  I felt like I had a really awesome run on Sunday.  I rested Monday.  Tuesday the weather was ridiculously hot, almost reaching record highs for the summer.  I was supposed to run then, but I opted to go to my husband’s band practice.  Yesterday we didn’t start cases until later so I was able to complete a key workout early morning before work.  They were Marathon paced miles: marathon paces for 1 mile, recover in 3 min, MP 2 miles recover in 5 min (and repeat), MP 1 mile recover in 3.  I started before the sun came up, but it was already 77° and I ended with the weather being 81°.  I felt pretty good about maintaining the paces for the first and last miles, but I was pretty disappointed with my 2 mile paces.  I’m 11 weeks into training and sometimes I feel like I’m not making any progress, not getting any faster.  And I know it’s because of the blasted heat.  Today was another scorcher, so I decided to wait it out.  But it started to rain, and continued throughout the night.  The rest of this week I just don’t feel like running.  I don’t want to and not sure what I’m going to do.  Ugh.


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Level 9

I’m always happy to get in a good strength training session at CrossFit, especially when it involves my legs.  I feel more comfortable each week that I’m able to accomplish the workout.  Wish I could go more often, but I do need to make time to run, and with work, you know how that goes.  This week, as part of the warmup we did Front Squats.  I used a 75 lbs barbel.  We had to do 7 sets with 5 reps.  I think the last time I did this workout I was only able to squat 55 or 65 lbs.  This is an example of a front squat:


The WOD (workout of the day) was only 10 minutes.  It consisted 500m rowing on the stationary rower, 400m run outside and then Hang Power Cleans, as many as you could do for the remainder of the 10 minutes.  I used a 55 lbs barbel and was able to do 62 reps.  My thighs were pretty sore for the next few days.  It’s weird because I like the soreness.  It just means I have to look forward to building muscle.  Here’s an example of the hang power cleans:

This week I was really bad about getting enough sleep, and I remembered that I wrote that as one of my “Steps for Success” in the beginning of the Training Journal. I’ve also been overeating junk food a bit too much recently.  So since it’s a new week, I am re-reading my goals and steps to make this week successful.  I already started out with a terrific long run, but I’ll talk about that next post.  Here’s how Level 9 went:

  • Sunday – Key Run 80 easy with my girl G.  Avg 10:04 min/mi.  The weather was somewhat decent 79° and 89% humidity.  I actually felt pretty sluggish starting out, but once warmed up I felt ok.
  • Monday – Rest
  • Tuesday – Key Run Fartlek 3 brisk 2 easy, 8x.  Had to be done after work.  It was 88° and sunny.  The heat was disgusting, and ended up walking during the “easy pace” intervals.  I actually was pretty happy and comfortable with the brisk paces.  When I got home I did PiYo DVDs; 20 minutes upper body and 20 minutes lower body.
  • Wednesday – Cross-Train + run 15 easy.  This was CrossFit day (as mentioned above) and the warmup already consisted of some running drills anyway.
  • Thursday – Rest.  Legs were way too sore for anything.
  • Friday - 40 minutes with 6×20 sec strides.  Had a good steady pace for the most part.  It was 82° overcast with 74% humidity.  My fast strides could have been a bit faster, but I attribute that to the leg soreness.
  • Saturday – Rest

This week I threw out my  blue Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12 shoes.  They were my first pair of runners I got fitted for.  It was bittersweet.  I tried to hang onto them to wear to work but my feet were too achy by the end of each day, and I knew it was time to just let them go.  They will be missed :(

I can’t believe I’m already on Level 10!  That leaves me to 10 weeks for the half marathon and 21 weeks to the Disney Marathon!

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Level 8: And Running Rivals

Runners are funny people.  They’re helpful and encouraging to each other, but they also can be competitive against each other.  I know, because I can be too.  When I trained for my first half marathon, I knew going in that I was going to run with one of my friends.  I followed her on RunKeeper, (she lived in a different city so we couldn’t run together) and at the time she was training while pushing a stroller.  That was one of the things that made me get out and go on my training runs knowing  she was training hard.

Well, about a year ago a co-worker told me about someone she knew that also was a runner and that I should check out that person’s page on a social network site, and maybe I could run with them sometime, if we were at the same fitness level.  (Can you tell I’m trying hard not to give too much away about the person?)  Well, I finally broke 2 hours in the half marathon last December, and that person also did earlier this year.  So I’ve been following them and their races.  Well, today, for the first time, I actually saw this person on the trail I normally run.  It actually fired up that little competitor in me again.  I signed up for a race in the fall knowing that this person is also running that race.  I guess you can say they’re my running rival, they just don’t know it, ha.

Also a weird thing happened a couple weeks ago.  I was doing an A.T. run, it was just going to be 5 miles.  I started with a 10 minute warmup, it was about an 11 min/mi.  There’s an older Asian woman I frequently see on the trail that always looks hard core.  She passed me during my warmup.  When it came time to bump up my speed, I passed her since she was maintaining her same pace.  I figured I’d see her again when I came to my turn-around point, but I never did until the very end of my run.  She said hello, and asked me how far I ran.  I said 5 miles, she replied, “Only 5?  I ran 5 too, I ran up here and back and ran down that street and up this street…”  I was just thinking, OK….  and?  I smiled politely at her.  We exchanged names, she asked what race I was training for, I told her the Disney Marathon, she said she was running that one also.  She said she was from Thailand and she wanted to send her friend a video of herself running.  So she gave me her phone and I recorded her running past and running back.  She thanked me, I said it was nice meeting her….  I saw her on the trail today, but we made no eye contact.  LOL.

I read an interesting article a few weeks ago on the Runners World website about getting a running rival to help push yourself to train harder and give yourself motivation to get out there.  It’s so important to remember that in a sport like running, you are constantly competing with yourself, and that can be motivation enough.  But it’s also very fun to add in an actual person to compete against (even if it’s in secret).

I had another hectic work week where I had to stay late a couple days, and because we were involved with music practice, I missed out on some CrossFit classes and runs.  I made due with enough points though.  Here’s Level 8:

  • Sunday – Key Run 75 minutes.  81° 89% humidity.  Having an awesome running partner, G, makes the time pass so much quicker.  She ran with me for 60 minutes then headed off to a Jazzercise class, (that girl is hard core!), I finished the last 15 minutes alone, but all-in-all it was a great run, I felt comfortable.  I pre-fueled this time with a chocolate peanut butter Gu.  First time I tried that one, and I really enjoyed it.
  • Monday – Cross-train, PiYo video workout.  I did a 30 minute “Hard Core on the Floor” workout.  It’s basically core muscle workout that’s mostly on the floor.  It probably wasn’t the best idea since my abs still hurt from my Ab Mat workout in CrossFit last week, but I guess it can only make me stronger.
  • Tuesday - Track workout 1200m Repeats.  10 min warm-up 1200m, jog 3, repeat 6x.  This run was awful.  It was 78° with 89% humidity.  The first interval was doable, but there was a cloud covering the sun.  After the first set the sky was suddenly clear, and there is hardly shade where this track is located.  Each interval became more and more painful with the sun blazing on me.  I only managed to do 4 sets, and thought maybe I should try running in another area of the park that was shaded, but I had nothing left in me.  I am still counting this run and it’s points because I feel like I’m justified by the heat factor….  I’m sticking with that ;)
  • Wednesday – rest
  • Thursday – A.T Run 10 easy, 30 brisk, 10 easy.  It was stormy outside so I took my run indoors on the treadmill.  Since it was post-work time, there was actually a line-up for the treadmills, in which case you’re only allowed to do 20 minutes out of courtesy for others.  I did a 10 minute warm-up and set my pace to run the next 10 minutes faster.  When I looked out the window it looked like the heavy rain hadn’t started so I decided  to try running outside.  It was drizzling slightly and cooler, but lightning was flashing everywhere.  I could feel little pulsations of adrenaline each time it did.  I felt really great for the last 20 minutes and then the cool down.
  • Friday and Saturday were very busy days, so I rested.

I feel really good about going into level 9.  22 weeks until Disney, 11 weeks until Lake Nona Half.

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Level 7: Reloaded after a Recovery week

“Listen to your body” The Level Up Training Plan and Journal frequently tells me throughout the book. They recommend a recovery week every 4 weeks. But, once I got started on the plan, I didn’t feel like I had enough weeks to do the plan and fit in all the recovery weeks. So I figured it was OK to skip one early on. Definitely not a good idea. After my long work week and skimping on some sleep for a few days, when the 70 minute key run came that Sunday, there was not much left in me. I ate well and hydrated well the day before. But when it came to the run I felt extremely sluggish and fatigued. I usually get up pretty easily even early morning, but I found the few days after it was getting tough and I was getting to work a bit later than normal. My husband said, “When’s the last time you took a rest week?” “I haven’t yet. I was trying to catch up for lost fitness,” I replied.  We both agreed that it was probably better for me to take that much-needed rest week. So, instead of doing a prescribed “recovery week” where you scale down the workouts. I did absolutely nothing. Hubs said, “Take a rest, and think about how strong you’ll feel when you start running again”. Boy, he was right!

This is how my recovery week went:

Sunday: Key Run 70 minutes.  Started out late so it was already 80° and quickly heated up to 85°.  I knew I was going to take my time since it was later, but I felt horrible and tired the whole time.  I partially think it may have been due to a faster paced run the day before.  Even though time and time again I’ve told myself, I know I shouldn’t be doing a tougher workout the day before a long run.  Anyway, I guess that’s what happens when you push yourself too hard.  Here’s the splits from that run.  The last 2 miles were especially tough.  I just tried to keep trucking along.

 level 7

Monday – Saturday: REST.  Much needed rest.

Level 7 Reloaded

Sunday: Key Run 70 minutes.  Felt much better, weather was a couple of degrees cooler but not much.  I definitely felt stronger.  Here’s my splits from that, run, what a difference.  Even ran almost 0.7 miles more!

level 7 redo

Monday: Rest.

Tuesday: 50 Brisk.  Had to be done on the dreadmill treadmill.  I couldn’t wake up any earlier before work and strong storm hit after work.  As I ran on the treadmill, looking out the window, it looked like I was standing under a waterfall or something, that’s how hard it was raining and falling off the roof.  The fitness center was warmer than usual, and I didn’t have a fan.  I couldn’t keep my pace consistent, I basically did intervals because I slowed to a half-minute walk breaks.  I watched some shows on Hulu to help pass the time.

Wednesday: Rest.

Thursday: Key Run Goal Pace 1 mile, jog 3:30 (4x).  It was an evening run and after the sun set.  But also after a long day at work and 1.5 hours after eating supper, so I was belching quite a bit.  Started to have side-stitches halfway through.  It was still very humid, and the gnats were driving me crazy.  The jog intervals ended up being jog/walking.

Friday: CrossFit.  It was a ladder of Power cleans and weighted (ABMSU) AB Mat Sit-Ups .  I ripped a little bit of my palm open with the barbell.  Oh CrossFit injuries…  I used a 25 lbs weight.  This is how they’re done.

I did my Power Cleans with a 65 lbs barbell.

We had a 15 minute time limit, I was able to finish in 13:10.  I really need to work on my core.  It was a ladder of reps, so it got easier with each set:


It was actually a pretty fun workout, and a lot of strength training, not so much cardio, I get enough of that ;).

Saturday:  Rest.  I was able to go to a CrossFit competition downtown Orlando, the War on Wall Street.  Some of our coaches and people in my class were competing in it.  It was really fun to watch.  There were a lot of muscly (is that a word?  lol) people in one area.  Downtown smelled like sweat and beer.  Haha.  The team placed in the top 10.  Very impressive for their first competition!

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Level 6 and PiYo

Had a good work week, it was very busy the first half, but thankfully it tapered down the last couple days that I even went home early a couple of times.  I took full advantage and enjoyed some naps, foot massage and chair massage, got my hair done.  As much as I love running and get my “me time” while I’m running, I always try to squeeze in some pampering time and time to relax.  Quite honestly, I sometimes feel like running on a plan can also feel like “work”.

Remember when I told you about my fun dance workout called Turbo Jam, well the creator of that, Chalene Johnson has created another fun workout called PiYo.  The name comes from Pilates and Yoga, so a lot of the moves are derived from those types of workouts.

“PiYo gives you hardcore definition, intense calorie burn, and all over strength—without weights, without jumps, and without destroying your body.”

-Chalene Johnson

Here’s a promo for the series:

I’m totally NOT a BeachBody coach or work for that company in any way.  I saw the videos and promos and thought it looked like a fantastic way to workout without high impact.  I get enough of that while running and doing the Turbo Jam videos.  I really wanted to try something that would help me strengthen and tone.  Especially with my busy lifestyle, it seemed like a good idea to fit in the workouts when I had the time.


I ordered it the beginning of last week and received the kit in the mail a couple of days ago.  It comes with 3 DVDs that have several workouts, a meal plan, a measuring tape, and a bonus workout DVD.  I’ve watched the intro video and did the first leg workout yesterday, and I’m liking it so far.  I’ll have to talk more about it when I get through all the DVDs.

Here’s how Level 6 went for me this week:

  • Sunday – Key Run 65 minutes.  Ate too much the previous days before including some parties where I stuffed my face with desserts and caffeinated drinks.  Had a horrible time getting out of bed and only had 5 hours of sleep.  Felt incredibly tired the whole time, but didn’t feel weak or out of breath.  Lesson learned: avoiding caffeine again and made sure to get to bed on time the rest of the week.
  • Monday – Cross Train Turbo Jam, 40 minutes.  Did it after work.  Felt very high energy and never out of breath, glad I’m getting better at it.
  • Tuesday – Key Run Fartlek 2 min brisk, 3 easy.  Did it after work.  77° and 83% humid and sunny.  Felt my brisk pace of was manageable, but did feel a bit nauseous the last 2 intervals.
  • Wednesday – REST
  • Thursday –  35 easy. got up at 4am to run in the darkness.  Very comfortable pace.  Later in the day I attended CrossFit.  Warmup was a 500 m row, 400 m run.  Workout was Curtis P’s EMOM (every minute on the minute) with 3 ring dips, I used a 55 lbs barbell.  Here’s a good example of the set.  (Hang Squat Clean + Lunge + Lunge + Push Press).
  • Friday – PiYo Intro Alignment video, and PiYo Define Legs video
  • Saturday – A.T Run – 10 min easy, 25 brisk, 10 easy.

Happy that I had a full week.  34 points this week and looking forward to Level 7, now off to work!

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