August 29, 2011

Day 9

Well, it was a crappy running weekend. I tried to do my 30-minute progressive run on Saturday night, and it was a major bust. I ran 7 minutes – not 27, not 17, just 7. A measley 7 minutes. I couldn’t run any farther. So, to sum it up: a really sucky performance.
Then, at our group run on Sunday, I sucked it up too. The goal was to run 4 miles. I did not. I ran 2.5 miles (struggling the whole way), and then did walk-run intervals. I was slow. Really, painfully slow — slower than normal, which is scary because I’m slow to begin with.
I really don’t know why. I can go back to my “It’s hot” excuse, but I’m getting tired of that (although I do think it was hotter than normal on Saturday since Reggie Bush was in town with his Miami Dolphins to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers). I guess I’ll just say it was a bad run (or two) and hope that I do better at our group run on Tuesday.

August 27, 2011

Day 8

After our group run rainout on Tuesday, I thought I'd get some running in later Tuesday when I got home (Florida rain is so spotty that I thought even if it was pouring at our group run location maybe it wasn't at home ... wrong). Then, I thought, "Oh! I'll just wake up early and run on Wednesday morning." Um, yeah. Didn't happen. Mornings are not my thing. Evening was out since I play beach volleyball on Wednesday night. So, I came to our group run on Thursday not having run since Sunday. And, it was OK.

We upped our usual 40-minute run to 45 minutes. I didn't run the entire time. I hit my what-is-becoming-typical 2.5-mile wall. Then, I did some walking-running intervals. I ended up walking a total of seven minutes, which I'm OK with ... I guess.  I'd really like to run the entire time during these early training runs. I'm just worried that it'll never come together for me. 

I need to get in a 30-minute progressive run today (each 10 minutes is progressively faster). Since I woke up late (as mentioned, mornings aren't my thing), I think I'll do it this evening when the big, scary sun sets. 

Our Sunday morning group run is set at 4 miles again ... maybe I can run the entire distance. And, maybe not.

August 24, 2011

Day 7

Tuesday’s run: rained out. But, never fear, our coach had rainy day lesson plans (yes, he used to be a PE teacher). He went into details about our training schedules, nutrition and rest days (since we had one yesterday).
I also learned that I’m an idiot. OK, I knew I was, but I just got further proof of this fact. I thought all of the energy gels were generically called “goos.” Wrong. They are called “energy gels” or just “gels.” There is a brand, GU, pronounced “goo” (which I thought was pronounced “gee-you”). So, excuse me for being an idiot. And, just ignore most of this post (but, even if I’m an idiot, I still think “Goo review” makes a better title than “Gel review”).
Besides me being an idiot, I learned that rest days are good (and help prevent injury), we’re adding speed work to our training in September, and we’ll need to start fuelling ourselves (with energy gels, sport beans or something else I don’t know of yet) during our longer runs.

August 23, 2011

August running schedule

This is my running schedule in August. Well, not exactly. I didn't get my training schedule until the end of the third week of August, so I didn't know what I was supposed to be doing before then. So, starting this week, I will follow this schedule. It seems completely doable, which must be why my coach is the coach and knows what I am capable of running. The Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday runs are with the training group; I'm on my own for the optional Monday run and highly suggested Friday or Saturday run.

August 22, 2011

Day 6

I'm not going to say that I love running at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday ... yet (or maybe ever), but I did enjoy this week's run (maybe because I was more awake and actually remembered it).

The plan: run 4 miles. I ran 3.1 miles, and then I did walk-run intervals for the remaining 0.9 miles, ending with a run. I felt really good throughout. And, I feel like I could have run the full 4 miles. I had it in my head that I was going to run at least a 5K distance because I knew I could do it. When I got to that distance, I stopped. I think mainly because I had it in my head that I was going that far. After stopping, I realized I was sizzling. Yep, it was hot again.

I feel like I'm getting stronger, and I finally feel like I'm seeing some improvement. Yahoo for running!

August 21, 2011


I love "Beverly Hills 90210." Yes, the cheesy '90s show about those pesky rich kids living in California. So, I was super-psyched to find an episode on TV this weekend. Even better: it was one of the four episodes that Dean Cain appeared in as Rick, Brenda's fling-slash-boyfriend after Dylan. I heart Dean Cain, and I have for many, many years. Watch this, and you will too.

Day 5

Thursday: hot. Surprise! OK, not really. I live in Florida. It's summer.

The plan: run 40 minutes with a group about your speed. I was not excited about this. I don't really fall into a group. We have the really fast group, and that is definitely not me. Then, we have the group that does a combo of running and walking (three minutes of running, then two minutes of walking), and that isn't me either. The rest of the group runs, but some stop running before me. Some start out faster than I do. Others just don't run as far. I felt like I'd be taking a step back if I didn't run as far as I could. But, I did what our coach said to do and found a group about my speed.

Our group of three ran at about an 11:30 pace, which was fine by me. We ran 21 minutes, and then stopped to walk (I really felt like I could have gone farther, but I was doing as I was told and stuck with the group). After a three-minute walking break, we started running again for about six minutes. After another three-minute walk break, we ran the remaining seven minutes.

I felt great. And, even though I didn't go as far as I could initially, I felt stronger toward the end, which I guess is a good thing. Maybe that coach of ours does know what he's talking about. 

August 17, 2011

Reliving the past

Since I’m getting rather frustrated at my running performances lately, I decided to live in the past. OK, not really. Just relive some of it. Specifically, those wonderful running moments that seem so far away right now.
Take, for example, the Florida Beach Halfathon and 5K race on March 18 (I ran the 5K).

I love this picture for many reasons, including: 

  1. I’m with my best running buddy, Caroline. 
  2. We had someone at the race to take our picture. The first 5K we did together, we had no one – no one to take our picture or cheer us on (besides Ronald McDonald, but I don’t think he was there just for us). We even had to stash our stuff in the bushes because no one was there to hold it. So, it’s so nice to think back and remember that at this race, we had three people and a dog watch us run. 
  3. The sun is just starting to come up. Look at how darn dedicated we are! We woke up before the sun to run in a race. Plus, the just-before-sunrise period provides excellent lighting for photos. 
  4. I love remembering this race. It was on the beach. Well, not technically on the beach (no sand running, thank goodness), but on trails around the beach. So, a lovely setting. And, it was easy. I never thought I’d ever say this about any running event, but this one was so smooth. As I neared the finish line, I thought: “This is it?” I felt like I could have run miles more than I did. I had the realization that this running thing was finally starting to click, and I could go farther and faster. Exciting stuff for a former non-running girl! 
  5. My red hair. I don’t like my hair red, but I do like to look different. Having the same hair color all the time is boring. So, even though it wasn’t my favorite shade, it’s fun to look back and look different.
Since I feel like I’ve digressed since this photo, I tried to think about the differences between then and now. The only things I came up with (besides having a different hair color): heat and humidity. It was actually cool that morning. So, maybe those people do know what they’re talking about. Maybe I will run better and feel better when it’s cooler. I sure hope so.

Day 4

How was your run? Hot.
I feel like a robot because that is how I answer that question every time. Tuesday’s run was no exception.
The plan: run 40 minutes. I didn’t. I ran about 30 minutes, followed by walk-run intervals for the remaining 10 minutes. At one point, my coach ran by and asked if I still had water in my bottle. I said I did, and he replied, “Good.” That concerned me a bit. Did I look dehydrated and near death?
Again, I felt disappointed with my performance. But, after talking with some other girls in the group, I am attempting to not be so hard on myself. It is tough to run in the heat. When it cools off, it’ll be easy. I’m trying to believe them …
When we meet again on Thursday, we’ll have the same plan: run 40 minutes. I guess all I can do is keep trying. Even though I’m somewhat disappointed in my training runs, I still always have fun and enjoy running, which I guess is the important part.

August 16, 2011

Freak-out of the week

While running (or attempting to run) four miles on Sunday, our coach said: “In 12 weeks, we’ll be running 12 miles.”
My thought, “Holy crapola. What have I gotten myself into?!?”

Day 3

Well, running at 7:30 on a Sunday morning really is as bad as it sounds.
I arrived in a daze to meet the training group. The plan: run four miles; two miles in one direction, and then turn around and end back at the starting point. I started off feeling pretty good (aside from being half-asleep — I kept asking people to repeat themselves because I was so out of it). I ran 2.5 miles pretty easily, and then I felt like crap. I was hot (it’s amazing how hot it is already at 8 a.m.) and nauseous. Yuck. So, I didn’t run the full four miles. After the initial 2.5 miles, I started doing walk-run intervals. Although I’m not sure how much more I ran vs. walked. I had my Garmin watch and started it at the correct time, which is an improvement. I just forgot to turn it off for the drive home … oops. I looked at my watch after a much-needed shower and noticed that I ran 23.8 miles and burned 11,107 calories. Impressive.
Running is such a guessing game. I’m always evaluating how I ran and what caused me to either run successfully or poorly. This time, my guess is that I wasn’t fuelled correctly for the run. I eat at bizarre times on Saturdays. There’s no routine, which is fabulous, because it means it’s the weekend. I also seem to eat less (most of the time) on the weekend. This particular Saturday, I ate a breakfast-lunch combo (two eggs, vegetables, mango) at about 1 p.m. Then, I ate dinner (a rockin’ pork burrito from Taco Bus) about 6 p.m. Aside from some watermelon, I didn’t eat anything after dinner. Those burritos are filling (and delicious).
The morning of the run, I ate a protein meal bar and an energy gel (which wasn’t as nasty as I feared, but it still wasn’t great). When I started feeling nauseous during the run, I also had a very empty, acidic feeling in my stomach, so I’m assuming I didn’t eat enough (and that not-great energy gel wasn’t sitting pretty).
I hope that everything comes together soon, and I can run the full distance of these training runs. I’m feeling pretty pathetic at this point. There are many others in the same situation as me, but I’m frustrated because I know I can run these distances … or I have before. If I can’t run these so-called easy distances, how in the heck am I going to be able to run 13.1 miles?

August 15, 2011

Goo review

I vowed to never have another PowerBar product after my first experience.
Many years ago to promote their brand, PowerBar gave away bars at a football game. We didn’t eat them right away; my brother and I saved our PowerBars for a day when we wanted super powers. When we decided we were ready to blaze around our neighborhood at lightning speed on our bikes, we ate them. And, they were nasty. They tasted like sawdust and glue (and the consistency was the same). After gagging them down, we really didn’t even have the super powers we expected. After that experience, I swore I would never eat another PowerBar product. I’ll show you, PowerBar!
Now, almost 20 years later, I broke that rule. I tried their energy gel or goo (as I think they’re more popularly known). And, their goo isn’t nearly as nasty as those first PowerBars. But, I didn’t love it either. Although this is my first goo experience, so they all could be kind of icky … I’m not sure.
I tried the strawberry banana flavor, and it did taste like strawberry banana. I think the texture is more of the issue. Runny, sticky, clear gel, kind of like snot (I realize this is extremely disgusting, but it’s the best descriptor).
As for its effect, I’m not sure. I felt pretty good at the beginning of my run. Then, about 2.5 miles in, I starting feeling a little nauseous. I’m not sure if it was the goo’s fault. I didn’t have much in my stomach, which could have been the problem.
I have five other goos to try, so I’ll give them another shot ... even that pesky PowerBar brand.

August 12, 2011

Day 2

I can describe Thursday’s training run in one word: hot. I guess there was more to it than that, but that’s all I really remember.
I’m in a training group through Fit2Run, a running store. It’s located in a mall in Tampa, and we run outside the mall along an airport service road. Asphalt. No trees. No shade. Hot.
The plan was to run 40 minutes. I did not. I suck. And, I was really hot (there’s that word again). I also screwed up my watch (I don’t think I reset it), so I’m not really sure how far I went or how many minutes I ran vs. walked. I’m estimating I ran about 25 min., and then did walk-run intervals for the remaining time (ending with a nice 5-minute run — I was proud of this). I stopped running because I felt tingly (best word I know to describe the feeling) all over. I’ve never felt that before, and I was afraid it could be heat related. Heat-related issues scare me. A hurt foot, sore calves or tired legs don’t scare me. I’ll try to run through those. Heat- or heart-related issues are another story.
So, considering the heat, I’m trying to be happy with what I did. I tend to be very hard on myself, though, and I’m actually kind of upset. I know I can run longer. I can run for 40 minutes. I know this. I just haven’t done it in the training group yet. Maybe Sunday is my day.
On a positive note, I think I am hydrating properly for the runs. I drink about four bottles (maybe a 24-oz. bottle?) of ice water throughout the day. About two hours before I run, I drink a bottle of sports drink (as disgusting as they may be). I haven’t been thirsty on the runs, although I did end up buying a small water bottle with a pouch that goes over your hand (so it’s not like you’re struggling to hold on to a bottle while you’re trying to run). I think I’ll need that for longer runs.
The plan for Sunday: I have no idea. It’s our long run of the week. So, longer than 40 minutes. We’re running along the bay, which is nice, but we’re meeting at 7:30 a.m. (UGH).

August 11, 2011

My inspiration

I love turtles, especially these guys: Ralph, Harry and Lucy. They're my pets and the inspiration (well, at least a portion of it) behind the name of this blog. Cuteness overload.

Fun before the run

I trained for my training group. It’s not completely neurotic because you really do need to be able to run about three miles to start the training program. Of course, my motivation for training for the training group was to avoid being the worst runner in the training group. I did well up until the week before the training group began. Then, I went to Kentucky to visit my friend ...
I brought running clothes and shoes thinking I could run two of my four days there. Um, yeah. Didn’t happen. Not even once. And, not only did it not happen, I also ate a lot. And, I ate a lot of bad stuff. And, I drank a lot, too. Eek.
I did have a fabulous time, though. I went to the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum, Churchill Downs and Maker’s Mark Distillery. They all rocked. Hard. Especially the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum. I saw all kinds of awesome baseball memorabilia — not to mention saw Major League bats being made (60% of the bats used in the Major Leagues are produced right there).

One of my favorites: Derek Jeter’s bat. If you think I look extremely happy, it's because I was.


I got back to Clearwater on late Sunday night. I thought I’d have one day to get back to healthy eating and one run in before my training group began on Tuesday. Um, yeah. Didn’t happen.
But, I guess the important thing is that I did have fun. I get the idea that these next few months are going to be kind of intense, so it was probably a good idea to kick back one last time before running like a maniac.

August 10, 2011

A day of eating

Since I already write down what I eat, I figured I’d share that here. This is what I ate on Tuesday (a day I had a training run in the evening). I am by no means implying that I’m eating right. I’m trying to. I’m not sure that I am — especially in terms of fueling myself properly for a run. Our coach said we’d talk about nutrition in our group, so I’m looking forward to that. I think it will be interesting to see how his changes throughout the course of the training program.
Protein bar
Morning snacks
String cheese
Generic version of Lean Pocket
Green pepper
Carmel rice cakes (2)
Pre-run snack (eaten about 2 hours before running)
Oatmeal (1/2 cup) with almonds (15)
Post-run snack
Small strawberry-banana smoothie (one of the perks of my training group — a free smoothie after each weekday run)
Omelet (eggs, Chinese vegetable of some sort, curry powder) (Note: I’m not exactly sure how much I ate … bites of omelet but not an entire omelet. I’m also not even what the Chinese vegetable was. My boyfriend made it, so I was very happy to eat whatever he made)
Grilled zucchini (with olive oil and sea salt)
Baked tomatoes (with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic and Splenda)
Carrots (raw, with vinegar and spices)
Tropical fruit bar (for a delicious end to the day)
Coffee (two cups in the morning – each with two espresso shots, each with one packet of Sweet N Low and 1 T (?) of non-dairy creamer (I add this in a dumping motion, so I’m not exactly sure how much I use))
Water (four large bottles of ice water throughout the day)
Diet Coke (as an afternoon treat)
Iced tea (with dinner)
You can "oink" at me now if you'd like ... I feel like I deserve it.

Day 1

Yesterday was the first training day with my group. I was nervous (as usual) because I always assume that I will be the worst runner. Turns out (as usual), I wasn’t.
After introducing ourselves, we set out with our coach and an assistant coach. It rained all day, but stopped for us to run (but stayed overcast, thank goodness). The plan: run 40 minutes. As we started off, a group took off … fast. I was not in this group. I kept my slow, but steady pace (and didn’t let it bother me that I was the last in line of 15 women — we were short about 15 because of the weather). Not too long into the run, girls in the fast group started stopping to walk. I kept running (slowly) by them. I didn’t wear my Garmin watch, which I love-love-love, because I was afraid it would get ruined in the rain (it ended up not raining). So, I really have no idea how far I ran or at what pace (besides slow).
And, I’m not even really sure how many minutes I ran. I didn’t make it the full 40 minutes. I walked for maybe 5 minutes after running about 30 minutes, and then ran the final 5 minutes (I think). I’d like to have made it the full 40 minutes, but I just didn’t. And, I’m OK with that … I guess. I’m trying to tell myself that anyway. I’m actually kind of disappointed.
So, we meet again on Thursday with the same plan: run 40 minutes. I’m nervous (as usual), but this time about the sun and heat. I’m a night runner, so dealing with the blazing Florida sun at 6:30 p.m. is really unappealing to me. I think I need to bring a water bottle with me, but this makes me nervous (surprise). I’m worried carrying something will affect my running abilities (however pathetic they may be). But, I guess that’s better than death by heat. I thought about a water belt, but two girls in the group that wore them last night said they were really irritating and kept bouncing up and down.
My goal on Thursday: run the full 40 minutes. I’m worried that I won’t be able to do it if it is sunny and hot, but that’s the goal. I’ll try to give myself a break if it is hot, but I’m really hard on myself.

August 3, 2011

Eek! A training group

I enjoy running, but I enjoy running in my comfort zone. I know I can run three miles at a pretty darn slow pace. I’m comfortable with this. So, when I started looking at a half marathon training program, I knew I was in trouble. Pesky program involves running hard and long!
So, I started looking at a training group. Probably the only thing that freaks me out more running-wise than running hard for a long distance is running with other people. I assume I’m always going to be the slowest and worst runner. Then, once I run with other people and realize this isn’t the case, I love it.
After freaking out on many instances (and after getting reassurance from the coach that I wasn’t the only one that felt this way), I went to the informational meeting last night. I met many other women with the same worries as me. Upon learning that, I joined. The coach is extremely optimistic that we can all run a half marathon by November. I’m glad someone is optimistic.
It starts next week and runs 15 weeks. We’ll meet Tuesday and Thursday nights at 6:30 p.m. for training runs. We’ll meet at 7:30 a.m. (UGH) on Sundays for the long runs. I’ll probably freak out again before our first run, and then things will be fine. And, I’ll be running a half marathon in a few months … or so says that optimistic coach.

August 2, 2011

My (short) running history

I made attempts at running my freshmen year of college. My roommate and I would go out most nights and just try to run farther than we did the night before. And, we actually had some success. In the Kansas winter. In our nylon pants that made the swish-swish-swish sound as we ran (why I thought those things rocked as much as I thought they did, I'm not sure). I'm also not sure why we stopped. Probably studying. Yeah, that's it.

So, here I am now in my 30s trying to get serious about running again (or maybe really for the first time). I tried to follow the Couch to 5K plan, but I ended up modifying it. I ran intervals for what seemed like forever, and then, one night it all clicked; I ran two miles without stopping, and I was hooked.

I ran my first 5K race in February, and I added two more to my collection by May. I ran the entire race each time, and I had a faster time each race. After my third 5K, I wanted a bigger challenge. So, I began looking for a 10K (what seemed like the next logical step). Problem: finding a 10K in Florida in the summer is difficult.

A friend (who is a running coach, motivator and person who believes in me when I don't) mentioned she wanted to do the Women's Half Marathon in November. I was adamant that I wasn't going to run that far. I couldn't do it. I just started running. She disagreed, but didn't push. Funny thing: I eventually came around. And, I can add to my short running history.

Rolling with my Hmph! moment

I started this blog in a Hmph!-I’ll-show-you moment. I don’t usually have these moments, so I figured I’d roll with it.
In May, I signed up to run the Women’s Half Marathon in St. Petersburg, Fla. To try and stay (get?) motivated, I liked their Facebook page. So, when they recently posted a call for a blogger to write about training for the half marathon, I thought “That’s totally me! I can write. I’m attempting to run.” Well, they didn’t think so. Instead of my usual I-suck-I’m-a-loser-no-wonder-they-didn’t-pick-me attitude, I went all egotistical and knew the Women’s Half Marathon was missing out on me. I’ll show them (and you).
So, this blog will chronicle my training for running my first half marathon. But, it’ll also chronicle life outside of this (although I’m beginning to wonder if there is life outside of training for a half marathon).