Winter Park Road Race 2 mile and 10K

Yesterday I was able to participate in a double race in Winter Park, Florida:  The Zimmerman Kiser Sutcliffe Winter Park Road Race 10k and 2 Mile Presented by Florida Hospital.  I didn’t realize it was such a huge event!  It was definitely bigger than some of the recent 5K’s that I’ve ran.  There were thousands of people there, a lot of business and community support.  The race consists of 2 races:  A 2 mile run, and a 10K.  You can choose to do both because they start at different times, the 2 mile at 7am and the 10K at 7:30, but you have to make sure you finish the 2 miler on time.  You can sign up for either race, but if you do both it’s the “Distance Dare” and you get an extra medal.

I signed up for the Distance Dare with one of my co-workers, Ali.  We planned to run together, but our training and goal times were different, so I ended up running alone.  I waited in a really long potty line before the race and had to run to the 2 mile starting line.  Just to get started it was tough getting through the huge crowd of people.  For the first mile I was just shuffling through people.  I wish I had gotten to use the bathroom earlier so I could actually get to the front of the starting line.  Especially since they used the clock time, and not the chip time as the final result of the 2 mile run.  I know because my Garmin said I finished in 17:06 and the result on the final results said 18:24.  That’s a big difference.  And my chip and gun time were the same, but I wasn’t even at the front of the line….  Anyway, that’s annoying, but whatever.  It was also very dark this time of morning, and some of the streets were not lit very well.

I figured the 2 mile run would be a good warmup.  The second part was a 10K.  Again, the starting line was crowded, but I think the road was a bit wider.  It was already 71° out, a temp that I have not been used to running with in a long time.  I felt like the last couple months I’ve been getting my speed back, but I don’t do well in warm weather, at all.  I held my pace pretty strong for the first 4 miles, but I could feel that my body wasn’t used to this distance at this pace.  Mile 5 I slowed down a bit, and I caught my second wind in the last mile and especially at the last 0.2 miles.  I really focused in on my rhythmic breathing.  It has helped me immensely.  Here’s the splits from my 10K.  And technically I have to tack on the 2 miles from the previous race, because they were not at a “warm-up pace”.  The distance with that speed was pushing it for me.  Not to the point of pain, I was quite comfortable, but it took a lot of effort.  So it’s a total of 8.2 miles.

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The best part of the race is the gorgeous 10K medal.  I was told it was designed by a runner who lives in Winter Park.  It’s definitely one of the most beautiful ones I have.

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And here’s me at the end!  This is my first 10K, and I love this distance.  It’s not too far that it takes a long time to complete, and you don’t have to worry too much about an official training plan and distance/endurance training.  And it’s fun.  I’m looking forward to more in the future.

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Renewed Love

I’ll try to keep this short, but so much has happened!

So, I’ve been a little MIA with the blogging the last few months.  My passion for running kind of went down the toilet after the Lake Nona Half.  I was feeling slow, sluggish, fat and having horrible knee issues with my left knee.  I was having sharp debilitating pains under my inner left knee cap.  I was continuing to train anyway because the Disney Marathon was coming up in January.  When December rolled around, I was getting to the critical time where I needed to hit my 20 mile mark and then start my taper, but there was no way that was going to happen in the condition I was in.  I made the decision not to run, to save myself from worsening the injury.  I did end up going to the Disney Expo to pick up my bib and shirt, and I had the opportunity to meet Jeff Galloway.  He asked if I was going to run, but I told him I had an injury and I was not going to run.  I had to hold back my tears.  He said that it was a good idea not to, and get healthy, but that I could maintain my endurance by just walking.  I purchased his nutrition book (which I have yet to read, since I’m currently reading another running book) and he autographed it for me.

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By the time the marathon had come around, I had been rehabilitating my knee, about 4 weeks had gone by.  My knee was starting to feel much better.  I would wear a knee brace to work, and I was still running, but very short runs and very slow, as well as a lot of strengthening exercises, like lunges, and squats and core workouts.  I would Rock Tape my knee with each run.

About 2 weeks after that, and I was running with very little pain, and it was time to run the Celebration Half Marathon.  A “shorter” distance of 13.1 at this point was much more doable for me.  I was not going to attempt a PR or Sub-2 anything.  I was just going to go and do it, and definitely take my time and enjoy the run.  I kept the pace extremely easy.  My “training plan” was very basic and was a 4 week plan.  I ran 3 days, mostly 3 milers, and a day of cycling.  The weekly long runs went: 6, 7, 5, 10.  There wasn’t time for a taper, but I was comfortable with the 10 miler with no pain, I knew I would at least finish.  My net time was 2:13:33.  I even had a restroom stop where I waited in line for a good 2 minutes, so I was very happy with my finish time.  It was a great turnout with many friends that ran.  My good friends Alex and G ran.  Alex’s first half and G’s comeback marathon since having back surgery.  So proud of them, they did amazing!

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After that I took a mini break for a couple of weeks.  I signed up for a 5K.  It was just something for me to gauge my fitness level and keep me accountable and motivated.  It was a very chilly morning, about 42°.  I am currently reading a book called “Running on Air” by Budd Coates (which I will have to post about at a later time) and it has a lot of helpful tips on proper breathing techniques to help you run injury-free and run to your best potential.  Well, I implemented the techniques I learned for the 5K.  I didn’t try to run too fast, just comfortably fast, concentrating on my breathing.  Well, when I finished, I felt pretty great.  When the results were posted I was shocked to find that I had placed 1st in my age group of 30 – 39!  I could not me more excited.  I actually teared up.  I also met a very sweet lady (she placed 2nd overall for the women) that is just started a running group, so I’ll be joining them weekly for runs.  (Again, I’ll talk more about that later.)  My chip time was 25:42.3.  Not a PR, but so much better than I had hoped for!

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Earlier that week, I got a text from a friend asking me to run with her and her friends for another half marathon.  And of course, crazy me decided to do it.  I ran a few times that week, making my longest run about 5 miles.  I knew it would be at a slower pace than I’m used to, so I could wing it.  We also did a lot of stopping to take pictures, and a lot of run/walking.  It was a great time.  We all held hands at the finish line.

Yesterday, I ran another 5K.  The Sham Rock N’ Run in Oviedo.  It was a 2 lap course.  It was perfect weather and a fun run to wear a costume.  Even though a chip time was used, I think the finish time was based on the clock time.  I spent the first few seconds re-tying my shoelaces because they were too tight.  I ended up placing 9th in overall females.  It was an awesome time, and my hubs was there to support me.  Time was 25:34.  Actually my Garmin said it was 25:16, and only 3.03 miles…  But I still think it was faster than the last 5K.

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I have another race next week, a 10K, and I think that will be it for races for a while (I signed up for a half in October).  I am really going to focus on running regularly, try to get stronger, faster, rehab my knee and lose some weight.  I am so happy that these races have jump started my running again, and my love for it.  Especially since I’ve been able to place in some of them, it’s been highly motivational for me.  I started running with the run group today, and it’s been so amazing and helpful to have people to run with and push me.  We ran 6 miles today, so I feel comfortable with running next week’s 10K.

Last thing:  I noticed my medal rack is looking a lot different these days.

October 2013 medal rack

October 2013 medal rack

March 2015 medal rack

March 2015 medal rack

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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.

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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 ;).

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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

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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.

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

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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)

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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:

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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