April 30, 2012

Would you stop to help?

This is a question we asked ourselves at the Oak Barrel Half because at some point we saw a man down with two other runners helping him while they waited for medical. Eventually a couple other people stopped running as well to help him out.

So what would it take for you to stop a race and help? Hopefully I'm not the most heartless person in the universe to think that stopping is a sacrifice. You work for months to train for a marathon or half marathon, and you don't get bonus points at the finish line for friendliness. Though I wish we did because I could probably work that angle better than the speedy-legs angle.

We guessed that some runners are obligated to stop because they are medical professionals who take an oath to help others. Some might stop because they are running with the person who needs help. Maybe others just feel tired anyway and see it as an opportunity to quit running. Then there are just some really nice people out there who see a person in need and do what needs to be done.

Well, I found the answer to my question (for myself) at Nashville this weekend. Somewhere around mile 22, I came up behind a girl who had stopped running and was weaving back and forth. Three runners before me stopped running to check and make sure she was OK. She waved them off but kept weaving, so then I stopped to ask if she needed help. She continued to say she was fine, so I eventually kept going after she started stretching and wasn't weaving anymore. Nothing earth shattering, but I felt like I was in a zone where I wasn't into my music and more aware of my surroundings. Both of which helped me to be more aware of a weaving person who might have needed help.

I wish I could say that I did something heroic. Pretty much the opposite because I probably should have stayed with her even though she said she didn't need help, but I was glad to know that I'm not totally heartless when it comes to stopping a race and helping someone. Although at that point, I wasn't doing much racing, so I think that put me in the I'm-stopping-to-help-because-I-want-to-stop-running-anyway category. Oh well, it's better than nothing.

This situation reminded me of how independent runners are as well. Mostly when I race with friends (with the exception of my brother, who happens to be an awesome friend too), we do our own thing. We don't feel like we have to stick together, so if one of them got injured, I might never know. Also, if I got injured on the course, I wouldn't want them to stop for me, unless it was something that needed immediate attention. If I just pulled or tweaked something, I would want them to keep it moving. It's easy to say when this hasn't ever happened, so if you are my friend and reading this, this will be like my living will of running. Don't stop. Keep moving. Unless I'm dying. Then stop.

Knowing that I feel this way, it makes sense that the weaving girl in Nashville kept waving us on. She probably feels that similar runner's independence.

At the same time, the thing that helped me make it to the finish line on Saturday was talking with other runners, no matter how brief. I was in desperate need of some motivation, which wasn't coming from within after some point in the race. So even though we are independent as runners, all of us benefit from the help of others at some point in our running, even if it isn't a medical emergency.

I'm looking forward to finish line pictures from Nashville because as I rounded the corner to the finish some runner dude was like, "Let's do this. Push it. Push it. You've got this. Now raise your arms high for the finish." I wondered if that's what it's like to have a race pacer. He was awesome, and I really needed his help at that moment. I could have also used him at miles 18-26. I'm curious to see if it looks like we are a running team in our finish pics because for the last 30 seconds of the race it kind of felt like we were. Go Team Random Strangers!

I've been having a lot of random thoughts since the race, trying to reflect and learn from the experience. So you might get more of these Jack Handey-esque posts this week.

And since I brought him up, here are a couple Jack Handey-isms to send you into the night.

Whenever I see an old lady slip and fall on a wet sidewalk, my first instinct is to laugh. But then I think, what if I was an ant, and she fell on me. Then it wouldn't seem quite so funny.
If you're in a war, instead of throwing a hand grenade at the enemy, throw one of those small pumpkins. Maybe it'll make everyone think how stupid war is...and while they are thinking, you can throw a real grenade at them.

Oh wait, and this one was always my favorite back in the day.

Anytime I see something screech across a room and latch onto someone's neck, and the guy screams and tries to get it off, I have to laugh, because what IS that thing?! 

I think I quoted that a million times through high school and college. Yes, we were nerdy.

Have you ever had to stop a race to help another runner?  

Do you run your races with a partner? I'm thinking it might be nice to have a partner for my next marathon.

Favorite Saturday Night Live sketch? Amy Poehler's one-legged woman. I could never get enough of that.

April 28, 2012

Country Music Marathon, I sort of love and hate you

Just wanted to check in with everyone post race to tell you this one was not pretty. Luckily, I already had all of my excuses lined up (see previous post)! Did I mention the hotness? It felt blazing, even though it probably wasn't that bad. At mile 18, my Garmin quit. For some reason it is not charging properly, but it didn't matter anyway because at some point before that I just decided to make it about having fun and encouraging runners around me. Maybe some of them were annoyed, but I forced tons of people to talk to me during his race. I was just not going to make it to the end without human interaction. I barely (for me) listened to music the entire race because it just wasn't working for me. I needed people! The clock read 4:20 at the end, but I really can't even tell you what time we started, another story for the recap. So definitely over four hours and less than 4:20. But I was determined to smile the whole time, and I think I mostly met that goal. No record breaking today, but I'm super happy to have crossed the finish line.

April 27, 2012

Nashville marathon prep

Listen up, e-people. You're going to really learn a lot about race prep from this post. It's going to be super useful for all of the people who like to feel better about their own race prep. You know how when someone else does something really crappy, you can feel better about your own mediocrity/awesomeness. Well, that's pretty much the purpose of this blog, to boost everyone's running self esteem. No matter what level you are at in running, you will find that at least 110% (it's all about the impossible here) of the time you are better prepared than me.

So here are the how-tos of the ill prepared:

1. Celebrate three birthdays in the second half of April and eat as many cupcakes, regular cakes, spoonfuls of raw cake batter, and bowls of delicious ice cream as possible. Replace one out of three meals with one of the aforementioned options.

2. Don't go to bed before midnight on any night. That goes for the whole month. Except for that one night I tried to watch a movie with my husband and fell asleep during the opening scene.

3. Forget about drinking extra water for a couple of weeks. Drink a few sips at the water fountain after your gym runs, then call it good for the rest of the year.

4. Pack everything in your race bag except for underwear. Luckily all of my running clothes have underwears built in, but I guess I forgot that my jeans don't come with the built-ins.

5. Pull crazy stunts like tweaking your knee in your weekly volleyball match-up. I go into the game knowing that a good tweaking is likely because my signature move is throwing myself on the ground every time a ball nears me. Who needs bump and spike when you can have awkward face dives?

6. Tweak your knees even more at the nightly dance party.

And, yes, she definitely got her moves from me. 

7. Almost crash the car on the way to the marathon because you are driving through possible tornadoes in Tennessee. Just this time last year, we were shocked as we drove by (on our way to the Country Music Half Marathon 2011) the freshly tornado-damaged areas of northern Alabama. So tonight when I heard the radio tornado warning for the exact area I was driving through in Tennessee, I was pretty nervous. It got rough out there, to the point where I couldn't see the road, but we made it. All for the love of running. 

But note that I did not do anything as ridiculous as this Playmobil renegade redneck.

So even though I flaked preparation, I have a couple of things going for me:

1. I'm cycling through some colon blow. There will be no bathroom emergencies on race day.

2. My family will be cheering me on along the course! I carry my iPhone so they can ping it and find me during the race. Hopefully I see them a lot the second half of the race. The first half will be too crowded.

3. This is my first marathon running with my Garmin. Let's see if that little dude can help me out. 

4. I'm having a lucky week. I won a Wrist Saver from Too Tall Fritz and some New Balance 890s from The Boring Runner. Please let this race fall under the Lucky Week category. 

5. My motto for the race is: if you can't PR, just have fun. Let's see if weather.com can help me out with that. I've seen weather predictions from 79-85 degrees for the high. Currently 84 is predicted to be the high on Saturday. 

April 26, 2012

Thrift store Thursday

Just what you all have been waiting for, to see what kind of junk I can get for 5 dolla.

Running junk: 2009 Kara Goucher Runner's World $.39, Old Navy running shorts with built-in unders (don't worry I have a sanitize cycle on the wash) $1.74 after a 30% discount.

I was pretty excited that with this issue of Runner's World I recognized a runner without having to look at the name on the cover. It's Kara Goucher so it wasn't that complex, but I barely recognize regular celebrities much less running celebrities. And those Old Navy shorts look nice on her. She should probably get a size smaller, and people should probably be less nerdy when setting up a picture. 

In case you wonder what else I like to buy at the thrift store, here are some non-running goods I picked up on the same trip. It was Old Navy day at the thrift store. Old Navy skirt $2.98, Old Navy shirt $1.98, Midwives $1.98.

Do you ever wear Old Navy workout gear? Love it or leave it?

What's the best book you've read lately? 

Hate or love Oprah's Book Club?

Would you/have you used a midwife? I used one for my second birth in Virginia, and it was by far my best birth experience. In Florida, it was against the law for the midwives to see me once I found out I was having twins because they automatically classify twins as high risk. Sadness.

April 25, 2012

Statue to Statue 15K, April 21, 2012

The official results are in for the Statue to Statue 15K. My time was 1:13:59.2, just under the 1:14 radar. First place in age group, 69th overall (around 500 runners participated). My goal pace was 7:51, and my times were just slightly slower at 7:56 average pace. Still sub 8, which is what my coach (aka my running friend) told me to shoot for.

Coach and Yo Momma at the start.

For this race, you park at the end and shuttle to the start. A bus pulled up right as we got there, so shuttling was no problem. We had plenty of time to mill around the gas station beside the start line. They had four packed port-o-potties in the gas station lot, and people were lined up at the McDonald's bathroom next door as well.

Team Kick Butt

Finally we heard someone with a megaphone directing us to the start. This race wasn't chip timed, and there was only a tiny sign that noted the race start -- so the start was a little vague. Also, I couldn't hear a preview to the starting horn. One second I was standing there, and then I heard the horn and took off with the horde of people. Maybe the people in the front row had warning.

The start is on a steep downhill with an almost immediate left turn. The craziest start I've ever had because you come out blazing down that hill and have to navigate a sharp turn in the first five seconds.

I couldn't find an elevation chart for this race online, so here it is for you future S2S runners out there. 

My original planget my buns moving in the first 4 miles (7:30s would be nice), wish I were never born miles 5-7, kick it for the last 2 miles (under 7:30s preferably).

And here is what I accomplished.

Miles 1-3 were as expected. During mile 4, I was reserving energy for the upcoming hill, but then it didn't come until mile 6. There was some walking in mile 7 to 8 because of the hills. My stride is so short that running just felt like wasting energy when I could power walk with a longer stride and possibly get up the hill faster. Though if I run it again next year, my goal will be to power through that hill, and I would go out and practice it before race day. 

While the word we got from the race directors was that miles 5-7 were hilly with a 2-mile descent at the end, the hills started almost right at mile 6, and it was the last 1.5 miles that were downhill. It doesn't seem like that extra half mile of downhill they promised at the end would make a difference, but when it didn't come, I almost melted down Charlie Sheen style.

Here is a sample of what my thoughts were like for that half mile: "Keep moving legs, keep moving legs, where is the downhill, around this corner, no, I can't breathe, why am I still going uphill, why does that guy look like he's breathing when that is impossible because there is no air, can't breathe, is my garmin wrong, is that another hill, my legs are burning, do i have to pee, where the heck is that downhill, what's 9.3 minus 2, something with a 6 or 7, if I see another hill I will crap my pants, another hill, I hate you, I hate everyone, how am I still alive because I still can't breathe."

Then my thoughts during the last 1.5 on the steep, steep downhill: "Just move your legs as fast as they will go, why does this road look so rough, if my face hits this road it will rip off, don't trip, don't trip, don't trip, ahhhhhhhhhhh, I'm definitely going to trip, if I trip my life is over, my legs are totally out of my control, there is no way I'm not going to trip, call 911 now because I am falling in 2 seconds, all I see is my head hitting the asphalt, oh a photographer, force a smile, back to scared face, I'm definitely going to trip, I'm definitely going to trip, I'm definitely going to trip, ahhhhhhh, help, seriously my legs are not in control."

At the finish line, I forgot about ripping my tag off of my bib for timing. It's been a while since I've had to do that in a race. Even the tiniest 5K I did last year had chip timing. I think I caused the volunteers stress because I didn't know what I was doing with the bib. Sorry, guys.

After the finish, you had to walk a little piece over to get water. They set up tents in front of the animal shelter, and they had some animals out. Of course, my daughter soon confessed that all she had ever wanted for her birthday was a dog. Along with the animals, they had hot dogs, chips, cookies, drinks, and a trash can of beer. I didn't realize what it was at first, and I was thinking that it was the longest line for a trash can that I had ever seen.

The best part was the bounce house. Perfect for my kids to just jump forever while we waited for results. I was hoping for top three in my age group, but I was really shocked that I got first place. To celebrate, I stayed until the awards ceremony where they gave us our awards (ribbons) in tidy little envelopes. When I first got the envelope, I was thinking gift card! No gift card, but the medal was pretty cool.

You can see on the medal that they've dubbed this the South's toughest 15K. We were joking that it was the only 15K, but afterwards, I feel like I could agree with their assessment. Even if there are others, could they possibly be as hard as this one?

If you've ever run this race, you know what I'm talking about when I say my feet are still recovering from the downhill. I guess some people get sore quads running downhill. Not me. My feet take the beating from the jamming of my foot into the front of my shoe. I've worn compression socks every day since the race, and they are stills sore. Hopefully they recover before the big race on Saturday, and hopefully the hilliness of Statue to Statue was a good training run for Nashville

We needed one picture actually near a statue since even though the race is statue to statue, you don't actually see them on any part of the course.

The ending statue, Lady Liberty. 

Here's one last shot of the race goods. I'm pretty sure this shirt design has been around for several years. We saw lots of runners from previous years who had basically the same shirt only a different color and a different date. If I were redesigning it, I would make the statues more prominent (like on the medals), and I would add lady sizes. These run large, ladies, so order a size down. 

Yes, I would definitely do this race again because of tough the course, the friendly volunteers, and the community feel. It's also not too expensive, only $25 with early registration. The best part is getting to mill around with a smallish group of local runners after the race. Also, I am determined to conquer those uphill climbs next year. 

April 23, 2012

Swiftwick Twelve compression socks

So I'm on a mission to try every single pair of compression socks on earth. Somewhere in my interweb perusals, I found a link to Swiftwick. They were having a free gear contest, and well, I'm definitely into that.

When I contacted them about winning the free gear, they offered to send me a pair of the Swiftwick Twelves to test. I was game, especially since I got blisters with the compression socks I wore at my most recent half marathon. Not baby blisters, serious cover-the-entire-underside-of-my-toe blisters. Not cool. My skin normally is not very sensitive, and I don't blister often. So I was sad that they crept up in the middle of a race and caused pain that may have slowed me down (at least it gives me something to blame for any slow times).

The Swiftwick Twelves came in the mail only a few days after the blisters arrived, and I was excited to test them on recovering blisters. I figured if the socks were really good, my blisters would be like Jessica Simpson and fail at the comeback. 

The first thing I noticed about them is that they don't feel like other compression socks I own. The top of the socks has a tiny honeycomb type of pattern in the weave versus the usual vertical striping of my other socks. The foot of the sock almost feels more cottony than nylon. Is that the magic of olefin? 

From the Swiftwick site, here's the deal with olefin.
Olefin is a polymer synthetic fiber. It is manufactured under several different names, including some very well known such as Tyvek® by DuPont®, Thinsulate® by 3M® and Duraguard® by Kimberly-Clark®. There are several benefits of olefin. It is very tough and hard wearing, colorfast and stain resistant. The lightweight material dries quickly and wicks sweat and water from the skin. Materials made with olefin hold its shape extremely well, making it good for active use. Olefin is also highly resistant to deterioration from chemicals, perspiration, mildew and moisture. Olefin is environmentally “friendly” due to the few byproducts produced during manufacturing. Olefin is also easily recycled.
The retail price for a pair of these is $34.99, cheaper than other similar products I have tried. Pro Compression retails for $50, though you can often find them on sale. CEP retails for $59.95.

I also love that these socks are made in the USA. They manufacture all of their socks in Tennessee, and of course I am thrilled to have such a great sock company as my Southern neighbor. 

On to the socks! When I pulled them out of their package, they looked like the sock on the right. They slipped onto my foot easily, and stretching them up from the ankle to my knee was easy as well. No flipping them inside out or struggling to cram my foot inside. I talked to a runner this weekend who said he struggled to put them on, but he must not have tried CEP socks first. The difficulty is relative. Compared to your everyday socks, more difficult, but compared to CEP, cake walk. 

I'm 5'2" and wear a size 7 shoe (7.5 in running shoes), and I tested the size small. They fit perfectly, and I wouldn't want to go up or down a size. The sizing of their socks is based on your shoe size, so it's easy to find the right one. No tape measures required.

The top of the socks hit just below my knee with no pinching or causing overhang around the top of the sock. For me, the height of these socks was perfect, no folding or adjusting down of the socks so that they bunch at the ankles. You short runners know what I mean.

Here are pictures from every angle from which your heart could desire to see these socks.

Yes, I am spreading my toes in this one.

Swiftwick really focuses on the foot, not just the ankle to knee, in production of these socks. Here's what they say on their website about their testing and dedication to comfy feet: 

To test compression in the foot bed, Swiftwick uses a new three point compression test method developed by the Manufacturing Solutions Center in Hickory NC (formerly known as the "Hosiery Technology Center"). This testing discipline was created at the request of Swiftwick, the only company in America exclusively manufacturing moisture wicking, linked toe compression socks at 200 needles in both a synthetic and natural merino wool fibers.
Swiftwick customers are measured and tested athletes. Our socks are measured and independently tested too, by as many as three different laboratories. Swiftwick has developed and introduced the Managed Compression concept. While other sock guys focus on the region from your ankle to the knee, Swiftwick addresses the entire foot bed first and delivers a targeted compression value where it matters most.

The feet feel very comfortable from the time I put the socks on until I take them off. They compress but breathe at the same time, and they are thin which is absolutely imperative for a performance sock for me.

My first test for these socks was a 10-mile training run, just a handful of days after the horrible blisters cropped up from my half marathon. These socks not only kept my calves feeling great, but the blisters did not reappear. Thinking that maybe it was just a coincidence, I threw the socks in the wash (I used cold water, Tide, and air drying) in time for my 18 miler that weekend. Still no more blistering or agitating of previous blisters. 

Also on that 18 miler, my brother made fun of me because I sounded like a commercial the whole time we ran. "These socks feel so great. They are like an air conditioner on my legs. You should really try these socks. Did you know they're made in Tennessee?" But seriously, my legs never got hot, and they felt cooler than the rest of my body even though I had on knee-high socks. I'm not really sure, but I think the honeycomb pattern from the ankle up is made by magic elves from the north pole. That's the only logical explanation for why my legs felt so cool while running 18 miles. But really, I need answers from Swiftwick. Does the honeycomb pattern increase air circulation? Is it the olefin? Is it tiny elves? Are you magicians? The feeling of air flow on my legs was amazing. Whatever the explanation, I'm taking it. 

Of course, now that my feet have been blister-free in long runs with Swiftwick, I am not going to be able to race in anything else. I wore them for my first-place (in age group) finish at the Statue to Statue 15K this weekend. No blisters, even with the hellacious downhills that jammed my feet so hard they are still sore two days later. Sore but dry and blister free. 

You can spot my Swiftwick wings (that's what I call their logo) while I pick up my first place ribbon.

Other than the air conditioning, blister-free awesomeness, here are some other things I like about Swiftwick:

1. They guarantee their product. If they aren't the best socks you've worn, they will replace them with any sock of any brand you choose. 

2. They're determined to keep their production in the USA, and more specifically, they're made in the Tennessee. The more amazingness we can keep in the South the better. 

3. Their team seems really cool, and I want their kids to hang out with my kids. 

4. They make a product for pretty much any activity you do. Not that there is anything more important than running, but just in case. Also, I didn't see a karaoke sock, and I get really nervous and sweaty when I do that. Something to think about, Swiftwick.

5. You get bonuses for referring friends and spending loads of money. The more you save on socks, the more races you can enter.

6. They will be at the Country Music Marathon expo this weekend. 

And in summary (in case you skipped to the end), these socks kill/repel blisters and get the air flowing to your calves and feet while compressing. I would wear them every day if I was faster at washing clothes. 

Check this Swiftwick dealer locator to see if they are sold near you, or you can check them out online

Swiftwick provided these socks free of charge for review. I received no additional compensation from Swiftwick, and all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

April 21, 2012

Statue to Statue 15K results

My Garmin read 1:14:08, avg. pace 7:55. No official times posted yet, but I won first place in my age group (69th overall). First-ever first place, so I was super excited about that! Thank you, small races, for making winning possible for me.

Love the guy in blue behind me. He's crushed that he didn't win first place in women age 30-34.

Random notes: 

1. I saw more Karhus worn at this race than I ever have anywhere else. Looks like Trak Shak is doing a good job spreading the word about their awesomeness. 

2. Got to meet one of my local blog readers!

She is injured so she didn't race, but her husband was second overall. Bam! I love runner families, where everyone shares in the fun. It reminds me of this quote from Once a Runner.
What was the secret, they wanted to know; in a thousand different ways they wanted to know The Secret. And not one of them was prepared, truly prepared to believe that it had not so much to do with chemicals and zippy mental tricks as with that most unprofound and sometimes heart-rending process of removing, molecule by molecule, the very tough rubber that comprised the bottoms of his training shoes. The Trial of Miles, Miles of Trials. How could they be expected to understand that?
 Isn't it cool when you can share "the secret" with your family?

3. My sports bra is mostly just a giant pocket. Snacks, cell phones, head phones, gels, whatever -- it all goes in the sports bra.

4. Best song for a giant hill (of which there were several in this race): "Till I Collapse" by Eminem, and if you watch this youtube video, please tell me you also laughed at the censoring of the picture. Now you have to click the link, right?!

5. Tried this before the race today.

I give it 4 out of 5 thumbs up. Tastes decent and doesn't have aspartame. It has sucralose (aka Splenda) instead. And enough caffeine to keep me awake for a week.

What do you think of sucralose? Love it, hate it, could care less?

What/where did you run this weekend? Training, racing, to the grocery store?

Have you ever met your online friends?

Punkeelove giveaway winners

Thanks to all of y'all who joined in on the first ever Yo Momma giveaway!

The winners (generated by random.org) are Cori @ Read. Write. Run. Mom., Chacha @ Chasing Imperfection, and Alice.

Email me at yomommaruns at gmail.com, and I'll send out your headbands ASAP.

If you didn't win and still need an adjustable, no-slip headband, Punkeelove is giving 20% of to Yo Momma readers with the code YOMOM. It's a one-time code, so if you want more than one, fill your basket before you enter the code.

April 20, 2012

Racquetball cross training, fresh herbs and free music

Last day to my enter Punkeelove headband giveaway! You have until midnight. So go on and sign up to win a super cool adjustable sparkle no-slip-ever headband.

Workouts: yesterday was my 10-mile marathon pace run, on the treadmill, avg. pace 8:16. I'm still shooting for a marathon where my miles average 8:20. It's in there somewhere. I just have to pull it out, and with the hilliness of Nashville, I'm not sure that's where I'll be pulling it out. Luckily the second half isn't so bad. Maybe it's time to try that negative split business.

Today, I played racquetball with a friend -- her idea. It was a lot of fun even though we didn't play a real game or by any rules. We just tried to hit the ball in any way possible. Usually that meant towards someone's head or off the ceiling. I'm pretty sure the rules require a little more of you than that, but this was a warm-up. I promised myself to learn the rules before we play again, and racquetball opens up one more section of the gym to workout possibilities. If we were really playing, I could see some real sweatiness happening in there. Then I talked my friend into running a mile with me. Just to shake things out. I wasn't planning on running at all today, but I partially suggested it so that I could convert her to running. It may or may not have worked.

Normal lady beside freaky open-mouth smile lady.

We're also growing some herbs in the back yard. In this planter, we put in cilantro and rosemary plants, along with a bunch of cilantro seeds. The other planter has basil, lemon verbena, and mint-iness. Our kids like to chew the leaves for fun or because they like them. I'm suspecting it's mostly for fun.

Fresh cilantro is my favorite herb on the planet.

Last night, my husband recommended using the fresh herbs for tea. That's when I remembered, oh yeah, you don't have to have a tea bag to make tea. My husband grew up on a farm, so he knows that tea doesn't just come in tiny mesh-like baggies. So now I just need to locate a strainer so that I can boil up some leaves and pour.

And to balance out the weirdo picture at the top, here's one more.

The point of this photo was to show you my shoes, but just a slice of them made it in there. I was wearing some zero drop, slip-on Pumas that I have had forever, though I don't wear them for running. I never want those shoes to leave me, but they are kind of falling apart. They're so old that the interweb didn't even offer a picture of them anymore, but I did find the ones I want to replace the falling apart ones. They are my favorite colors on earth so I'm pretty that means they will work out. Also, the velcro seals the deal.

And because you made it this far in reading this nonsense, some free stuff! Amazon is offering $2 in MP3 credit with the code MOMROCKS, expiring April 22nd. I'm gonna use it to buy Hard by Rihanna and Block After Block by Matt and Kim, both for my new marathon playlist!

April 18, 2012

15K race plan

Today's workout: 6 miles, treadmill at 1.0 incline, avg. pace 8:33. Trying to work in some hill practice before my hilly 15K this Saturday. Glad I started practicing so soon. One slightly inclined treadmill will probably really help me out a ton. I might even throw in a spin class tonight to really push me over the edge of just barely prepared.

I guess some people are born prepared.

How the heck do you run a 15K? That's what I'm trying to figure out today for the race on Saturday. I've got my carpool to the race set up, which is important so you don't have to think or call people in the early a.m., but now I've got to figure out the race. This is the one race that lately I've kind of ignored. My friend was telling me the times from last year and challenging me to try and run sub 8-min miles, and I felt weird that I hadn't already looked up the times from last year. I always look up the times. So by not doing that and having zero plan of approach, I am clearly letting this race slip under my radar. Maybe because I'm focused on next weekend, though I'm really not because I don't expect much time-wise from the Nashville marathon. I do expect to have a blast running with the Nashville crowds. They were hilariously fun last year.

So time to buckle down and make a 15K plan.

I started by typing in my best race times into the McMillan calculator. That junk is addictive. Would it show a faster estimate with this race time or this race time? What if I wear my shoes on the wrong feet? What's my favorite color? Can't tell me. Why, McMillan, why?

Using my 1:45 half marathon time, I should be able to pull off 7:51 miles in the 15K. Sub-8 will be the goal because I can't think of specific numbers in my head while running so my goals have to be extremely vague.

But then the course is hilly. This is how they described it in my most recent email from them:

The course is scenic and challenging with a downhill finish. The first 5 miles are relatively flat, winding through scenic residential Mountain Brook. Miles 5-7 are hilly (challenging). After the third aid station there is a 2 mile coast to the finish (aka the downhill). 

So basically I have to make up enough time in the first 4 miles and last 2 miles to even out the crapster times that I know I will have with miles 5 through 7. 

So to summarize the race plan: get my buns moving in the first 4 miles (7:30s would be nice), wish I were never born miles 5-7, kick it for the last 2 miles (under 7:30s preferably). 

Side note: if you live in or near Wisconsin, enter this giveaway for a free entry to The Color Run 5K in Racine, WI. She has six entries to give away, and honestly, do that many people even live there? I feel sure you will win if you enter. 

And of course, of course, enter my giveaway for some super smart Punkeelove headbands. 

Ever run a 15K? What was your race plan? 

April 17, 2012

Lance Armstrong and living

Workouts: track run yesterday, 6 miles, avg. pace 7:48. That was with a 7:06 mile at the end. I was really excited about that. Today, another round of volleyball with my fellow mommas, but with fewer injuries. Today's goal was to not act quite as crazy just trying to get to the ball. Based on the low number of new bruises and aches, goal accomplished.

Tonight is book club, which I adore, and our host even picked a race-oriented book. Can book club be any more perfect right now? We read It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life, Lance Armstrong's biography, but it was published in 2001. So it's interesting to see what has happened between then and now, especially in his personal life. In the book, he is in the first years of marriage to his first wife, which ended a couple of years after the book was published. Of course, in the book they had a perfect relationship, which teaches me to never trust what you read.

But really, his comeback from the edge of life/death and the amazing dedication to racing were the best parts. For a newbie marathoner, some of his ideas on endurance racing felt relevant. I especially liked this segment.

It's so true that time shifts when you are giving all of your mind and physical effort to an event. A minute stretches forever. Luckily a marathon is over in a day. Three weeks -- I can't even imagine competing for that long.

My husband likes to joke that I do marathons to relax, meaning that our house and kids can get cuh-razy, but really he's right. It's relaxing to live only in the moment and to only focus on that next water stop or that next mile. And with all that we demand of our bodies when we are racing, it is about living -- forcing our bodies to reach a higher more efficient level of living and proving that our life/strength is more than we thought it was.

With that, here's some of our last few days of living (in pictures).

Birthday saddle at Texas Roadhouse.
Handicapped bench sitting -- when sign placement goes wrong.
Yo Husband created chia seed encrusted fish, cooked on the grill. 
And he made me a gooey chocolate cake, my love language.
Yo Son creates new hairstyles. Just add water and finger shaping.
Girls' night decorations. Handcrafted by my friend's son. He strategically places stuffed animals all over the room for us to enjoy. Love him!
Invitation to my birthday party, called The Mom. Yo Daughter knows how to throw down.

And we just got back our Oak Barrel Half pictures. Some real beauties are in here. 

I swear my hands don't normally do that when running. Do they? Do they??!! 

And these are my favorite because in the same millisecond, you can look like you are floating on air and then look like you crash landed.

Normal running.
Crash landing.

Don't forget to enter my Punkeelove headband giveaway. I have three headbands to give away to some awesome readers!