September 29, 2011

Day 22 (Sept. 27)

Due to a pesky thing called work, I missed our group training run on Tuesday. Boo!
But, I was determined to stay on track. After getting home late, and after it raining buckets during the day, I decided to hit the craptastic gym for a treadmill run. I know, I know. I already said I highly disliked the treadmill and that sorry excuse for a gym. But, it was after 9 p.m. by the time I was ready to run. And, there are some deep puddles around the neighborhood from the buckets of rain we’ve been getting lately (How do I know this? I stepped in one while walking my dog. It was a foot deep, seriously.).
When I arrived at the gym that looks more like a kitchen, I noticed the fan was unplugged. Since I sweat an extreme amount last time, the first thing I did was plug it in and turn it on. Well, there was a reason it was unplugged, it didn’t work. Argh!
I had some issues getting the TV working, too, but thank goodness, it eventually came on. After finding the Rays-Yankees game (Go Rays!), I hit the treadmill. After my last incident with the safety key on one of the treadmills, I decided to give the other one a shot.
Tonight was a speed interval night: four, three-minute hard intervals followed by three-minute jogs, with a total run of 45 minutes. All was well for about four minutes. Then, I started sweating profusely. Darn! This so-called gym is blazing hot!

I ran a 10-minute warm up, and then I started in on the speed intervals. I ran two of the three-minute hard intervals with three-minute jogs in between each. After my third three-minute hard interval, I walked the three minutes (solely due to sweat recovery) instead of jogging. Sweat was beaded on my arms. Sheesh! I did the next hard interval with a three-minute recovery walk (again to try and control the sweat). I ran the remaining time slowly (and sweat profusely). Man! I’m OK with the limited equipment, kitchen-like appearance, and cheesy artwork, but get some decent ventilation in this place, people!

Knowing for certain that this ridiculous amount of sweat would come across in a photo, I snapped one after the run.

Um, hmm. Maybe not. Sweaty, yes. But, it really doesn’t convey the level of sweat that was occurring (although it does showcase one of the causes – the broken fan).
I’m glad I got the run accomplished, even if it was in a sauna setting. So many nights after working late, I crawl home, watch a little TV and hit the bed. Things are changing, though! This training group keeps me extremely accountable – I don’t want to fall behind. I’d highly recommend a group to anyone training for a race (or just wanting to run, period). It really is changing my life (ha! That sounds so dramatic and so not me, but I really feel like this).

September 28, 2011

Day 21 (Sept. 25)

The day: Sunday. The time: 7:30 a.m. My mission: run 7 miles.

Mission complete!

I'm so happy I made it to our group run on Sunday. It's so much better to run with a group and knock out the run early in the morning.

The first 2.5 miles of the run were really smooth, and then I hit a hill. I know I said Florida is completely flat, and it is. The hills are bridges. Since we added more mileage to our runs, we have to run a bridge across the bay (a very small portion of the bay) to get to an area to increase our mileage. Curses! So, I hit the hill, and I walked.

Once I got across the bridge, I wasn't sure of the route, and I lost the faster folks in front of me, and the slower folks were too far behind me. So, I had no idea where to go. I picked a route, which was a very bad choice (lots of street crossings). I ended up getting to an area where I could run along the bay fairly uninterrupted, but it was a frustrating process getting there. While frustrated, I walked. I managed to get my 3.5 miles in, took an energy gel and headed back. 

I missed the bridge entrance on my way back (argh!), but managed to realize it and correct myself in a  reasonable time. I walked the bridge again. Pesky, hilly bridge!

But, back on the flat land (and after a water refill it was blazing hot by this time), I managed to run the last two miles without a walk break. I was super-impressed at myself, as was my assistant coach (who ran with me). Yay!

And, I'm super-impressed I felt as good as I did. My legs weren't sore. And, they weren't sore later in the day or the next day. I defnitely felt like I did some physical activity, but they weren't overly painful. Sweet!

I learned three things from this run:
  1. I need a bigger water bottle. My baby bottle didn't cut it (despite its cuteness). Thank goodness there is a water fountain (with surprisingly cold water) along the route, so I could refill it.
  2. Plan your route before heading out on your run. Kind of a duh!, I realize, but I never really experienced the misfortune of not doing this. It is extremely frustrating to not know where you're going or stumble on a bad route.
  3. Training really works! I never thought I'd be able to say I ran 7 miles (with minimal walk breaks). And, not be in excruitiating pain from it. Mind-blowing!

September 25, 2011

Day 20 (Sept. 22)

A thunderstorm rolled into the area about 4:30 p.m. I thought it was the typical Florida afternoon storm, and I thought the rain would clear long before our training group's 6:30 p.m. run. I thought wrong.

When I left work about 5:50 p.m., it was still raining. After walking to my car and trying my best to avoid the rivers and lakes that formed in what used to be streets and parking lots, I started toward our group meeting place. I figured the rain could clear. If not, our coach has indoor lesson plans. This is when things started going downhill.

Traffic was a nightmare (as it usually is when it rains). I finally got to my exit, and traffic was backed up on the exit ramp almost to the interstate. I figured there must be a wreck at the bottom of the ramp. I figured wrong.

While waiting on the ramp, I noticed a raging river. Problem: no river is usually there. I noticed this raging river flowing along the ramp and wondered where it was going. I found my answer at the bottom of the ramp: the road I needed to take to get to our training group.

After watching other cars drive into the deep water, I thought I'd give it a shot. I didn't really have any other options ... unless I wanted to wait for the water to go down. I'm not patient, so this wasn't going to work for me. Thank goodness I have an SUV, so I made it through. Problem #2: the next intersection was the same ... maybe worse. At this point, I made the decision to just go home. But, I still had to get through the water. After turning left through more deep water (off of the flooded road), I thought my troubles were over. I was wrong yet again.

The road I was now on was clear for a bit ... then I hit more water. This was definitely the deepest water I encountered. Cars were stalled. Some were just waiting it out. Eek. Since I knew I wasn't waiting, I had to make the decision to go through this deep water or turn around and go through the other two sections of water that I went through to get here. As mentioned, since I'm not patient, I really didn't feel like going back into the traffic mess I just managed to free myself from. I waited and watched other cars try to make it through. Most cars failed. But, trucks, SUVs and vans seem to be able to make it. Having a smaller SUV, I was still nervous, but I gave it a shot. It's a strange feeling driving through deep water and a bit unnerving to look around you and just see water. But, thankfully, I made it. And, thankfully, the rest of my trip did not involve flooded roadways.

When I finally made it home, I decided to run (must have been the adrenaline from the flooded roads adventure). But, since it was still sprinkling and lightning some, I decided to hit the treadmill.

I haven't used a treadmill in my training, and now I remember why.

I did find an Ashton-free "Two and a Half Men" on TV in the condo gym (I use this term very loosely), so that rocked. (Side note: I love Charlie Sheen and all his craziness. I watched the first episode of "Two and a Half Men" starring Ashton Kutcher, and I thought it sucked. Ashton seemed so dull and unfunny. Maybe I'm biased, though.)

Other than the superb viewing option, I liked nothing else about this experience.

I needed to do a 10-minute warm up, 15 minutes hard and a 20-minute recovery/cool down/normal pace run. The 10-minute warm up felt like it lasted hours. Even with Charlie, it was still boring. Ugh. I started in on my 15-minute hard interval, and it went really smoothly.

Until this:

The pesky safety key. I understand its use and realize this could be a good thing. Could. Not in my case.

Despite the air conditioned room and a fan, I sweat. A lot. I think I sweat more inside than I do outside. One of the many times I was wiping sweat off of my forehead, I hit the string to the dreaded safety key. And, I went from running at my fast pace to a dead stop. Argh! I was just getting in a groove, too. I started running again, but I lost all my data on the treadmill, and I had to estimate how much time I had remaining in my interval.

The rest of the run went smoothly. Until I hit the blasted safety key again. Argh. But, I got the run in. Despite being extremely boring (and that dang safety key), it went well.

I felt the sweatiest I've ever been when I finished, so I took a picture to document it. Hmm. Massive amounts of sweat don't really come across in photos. I think I look pleasantly dewy here. Not drenched in sweat like I was.

Also, you can see the crappiness of the gym in this photo. That is all of the equipment (aside from one treadmill that was beside me). And, this gym feels like a kitchen with the linoleum and cabinets, but at least I have it. I guess I shouldn't complain. I tried to get the TV with Charlie in the picture, but I missed it. Darn.

Day 19 (Sept. 20)

Oh, the dreaded three-minute speed intervals!

We started out with a 10-minute warm up. Easy enough. That, I can handle. Then, the workout really begins. We had to do four, three-minute hard intervals with three-minute recovery jogs in between each.

I managed to do all four of the hard intervals (struggling mightily during that dreaded fourth one). After the fourth interval, I walked the three minutes instead of jogging. I needed more recovery than a jog allows. But, after walking those three minutes, I ran the remaining time for a total of 45 minutes.

Typical of most every Florida afternoon, there were thunderstorms in the area. It wasn't raining where we train, but there were dark clouds and rain in the distance ... and lightning! Lightning is a great fear of mine. Yikes! I scream like a girl and run if it gets too close. I was on the verge of screaming and sprinting inside, but after two strikes (that honestly probably weren't that close), it stopped. Whew. I'm glad I didn't have to blow people away with my speed. I'm at my fastest when lightning is near.

September 22, 2011

Day 18 (Sept. 18)

The Saturday glass of wine with dinner turned into two (or three, ahem). This type of activity on Saturday night encourages one to blow off their run on Sunday at 7:30 a.m. But, I didn't ... well, I wasn't really intending to blow it off. I made myself get up and get dressed despite having a headache, being dehydrated and being super sleepy. I was ready to head out the door when I realized my keys weren't on the key rack where I always put them (I'm now realizing always probably isn't the best word choice in this instance). So, after searching my purse and a few other spots with no luck (and allowing no time for such activity in my schedule), I gave up on making it to the group run.

Since I was already in my running clothes, I decided to drink some water and go out running on my own. Bad idea. I made it one mile and turned around and walked the remaining mile back home. Ugh. I did not feel good. At all.

So, I figured my next shot was running that evening (after it cooled off). I tried to hydrate during the day, and 12 hours later, I went out to do my six-mile long run. I didn't feel great again (not nearly as bad as I did that morning, but it just wasn't a good running feeling). I got the mileage in, but I did some walking intervals. I felt much better during the second three miles than I did the first. I'd expect the opposite, so that was kind of strange.

Oh, and I found my keys (on the floorboard of the car).

September 20, 2011

Teach me to fly

After our group run, a girl came up to me and said, "You need to teach me how to fly."

My brain started scrambling ... did I tell her about a sweet deal I got on a flight (I am a serious bargain shopper when it comes to flights. OK, I'm a serious bargain shopper for everything.)? Did I look rather pilot-like today (I don't think so ... unless pilots are wearing capris and tech shirts these days)?

Finally, she said, "We start out running together, and then you fly ahead of me."

Wow. She's implying I'm fast! This is a moment. An emotional moment. Never have I ever been referred to as fast. Ever. So, when I think of flying and being emotional, I can't help but think of this song.

Cheesy, yes. Sorry, I can't help it. And, I don't even really like the song that much. It just popped in my head. But thankfully, I started thinking about the singer (R. Kelly), and then it lead me to think of this mega-jam. I love-love-love this song.

But, I digress. Did I mention someone inferred that I'm fast?!?

Of course, to others, I'm slow. To others, the same pace. It used to bother me that I'm slow. But, I guess the important thing is, we're all running, no matter the pace.

September 19, 2011

Day 17 (Sept. 15)

This song sums up my run (Note: please excuse the harsh language. I can’t find a censored version).

OK, so not exactly. I don’t have a drop top or an AK. And, the Goodyear blimp didn’t read “Jina’s a pimp” (although it should). But, other than that, it basically sums it up. OK, so not exactly. But, the basic idea of the day being a good day is true.
I was nervous about running a 10-minute warm-up, a 10-minute hard interval and a 20-minute cool down. But, the first mile was a breeze. And, I made it through the 10-minute hard interval, running 1-1:30 minutes faster than normal. Then, I ran the remaining 20 minutes.
Today was a good (running) day.

Day 16 (Sept. 13)

Since I felt like death during the previous speed intervals one week ago, I was a bit nervous about adding one more interval (three, three-minute speed intervals). But, I did it (and felt less like death) and managed to run the entire 45 minutes. Sweet!

Day 15 (Sept. 11)

On the Saturday before long-run Sunday, I went to the University of South Florida-Ball State football game. I didn’t think making it to run Sunday morning would be a problem. I was wrong. After some beverages and going out after the game, I wasn’t feeling my best at 7:30 a.m. So, yeah. I didn’t make it to run with the group.
View from the $7 seats
Instead, I slept in. But, I did run my scheduled 5 miles later that day. I made the mistake of running in an area with a bunch of strollers and tourists and ended up getting frustrated. I ran super fast to get away from them, and as often happens when starting out running too fast, I tired sooner than normal. So, I didn’t run the entire 5 miles. But, I got the mileage in, and I figure that’s the important thing.  

Day 14 (Sept. 8)

This 50-minute run seemed easy after speed intervals. I never thought I’d say something like this regarding a run, but in comparison, this seemed simple.
I didn’t go fast (especially since I did the intervals the day before), but I ran the entire way. Rock on!

Day 13 (Sept. 7)

I flew back to Florida on Sept. 6 (a Tuesday and a group run day). I landed about 3 p.m., and I thought I could make it to the group run at 6:30 p.m. Timing-wise, sure I could have made it. No problem. But, I just didn’t feel up to it. I was tired, and I knew I hadn’t eaten properly or drank nearly enough water. So, I skipped it. I really didn’t want to since this was our first day of speed intervals, but it just wasn’t happening for me.
So, thanks to some tropical storm-wave-depression-high-pressure-system, it rained quite a bit on Tuesday and Wednesday, and it rained out beach volleyball. But, it wasn’t raining that evening so I could make up my run. And, my best running buddy Caroline went with me.
The plan: run 45 minutes with two, three-minute hard intervals with a three-minute jog after each hard interval. So, after a 15-minute warm-up run, we started the intervals. Three minutes felt way longer than it ever has before. Yikes. But, we made it through them and kept running (OK, running could be a bit strong, but it wasn't walking) for the remaining time. That was hardest running workout I’ve done to date.  

September 14, 2011

Day 12 (Sept. 4)

I’m still in Kansas, and I need to run 5 miles — my long run for the week. I hit the Shunga Trail, which really rocked (aside from those portions where they were replacing sections of the trail and had blockades and no trail).
It was a cool day (a breezy 70 degrees). Yes, 70 is cool for me. If you’re used to dealing with 90 degrees with 100% humidity, you’d find this almost chilly. And, this made running a breeze. I guess all those people that kept telling me that once it cooled off running would seem easy were right!
I went 2.5 miles in one direction and turned back for the remaining 2.5 miles. I walked a few portions (those mentioned portions with no trail and blockades). I also walked a few sections that had an extreme uphill portion to come up from under a road — extreme uphill could be an exaggeration, but when you’re used to flat land, any hill is extreme (or so says Jina). I tried running them, but I swore I was just making the running motion and staying in the same spot.
This trail took me through neighborhoods, soccer and baseball fields and wooded areas. It really was an enjoyable way to see the city.

September 13, 2011

Progressive run (Sept. 3)

As part of my plan, I’m supposed to do a 30-minute progressive run (get faster throughout) on either Friday or Saturday. I’ve not been great (OK, pretty crappy actually) at accomplishing this. But, this Saturday (Sept. 3), I did it. Well, not exactly. I attempted it.
I was in Kansas for Labor Day weekend, so I didn’t have my usual running routes at my disposal. My dad and I went searching for places to run. I found two that I thought I’d give a try (one Saturday and one Sunday). The site of my progressive run: Cedar Crest trail, a 2.7-mile trail in front of the governor’s mansion. I thought I’d get one loop in about 30 minutes. Well, somewhere along the way, I went on a different trail and ended up back where I started in about 10 minutes. Also, I went up a gigantic hill (OK, gigantic is most likely an exaggeration, but it sure felt gigantic). People say Kansas is flat. They are wrong. Florida is flat. Kansas is hilly. I’m used to no hills or inclines of any type. This was killer. After the first 10 minutes, I gave up on getting any faster since I had to deal with the hills. After my first loop that was a little less than one mile, I stuck to one stretch that I kept running back and forth for the remainder of the time. It was somewhat flat, but gravel, so that was a little different than I’m used to, too.

I ran 30 minutes, but not progressively. Not exactly what I was supposed to do, but I’m happy I at least ran.


September 12, 2011

Sunday is a treat

After my long runs on Sunday, I feel like a deserve a treat. I mean, I woke up early. I ran _ (anywhere from 4-11) miles. I think I earned this treat. So, I treat myself. This treat is nothing major, usually just watching some guilty pleasure on TV with a glass of wine, which suits me just fine.
A few weeks ago, “Jersey Shore” aired on a special night: Sunday. Fist pump! Yes, I am a regular viewer of this show. I tried to hide/deny/not talk about this for quite some time, but I’m out in the open now. I like this show, and I’m not afraid to admit it (anymore). GTL, baby!

This week, my treat: Cowboys vs. Jets game. I love the Dallas Cowboys, and I love Sunday night football. A fabulous combination (especially with a glass of wine) … or so I thought until I watched the game. Ugh.

This is a picure from last year. I was not smiling last night.
After the game, Tony Romo, quarterback of the Cowboys, said, “I’ve got to get better. That’s the bottom line.” Yes, Tony, you do. Please. DO. IT. A fumble on the one yard line, an interception and a bobbled snap all in the fourth quarter is totally unacceptable (you dumping Jessica Simpson on her birthday is also totally unacceptable, but that’s a different rant).
Maybe next week's treat will be less frustrating.

September 9, 2011

September running schedule

This is my schedule, and I'm sticking to it!

Slacker: update-wise not running-wise

I’m a bit (well, maybe more than a bit) behind in my running updates. I went to Kansas over Labor Day weekend for football and family time, and I promised myself I’d update while I was there. I broke my promise to myself. You suck, self! But, the important thing is I ran. And, I ran really well (so at least I don’t suck in that regard). I have notes, memories and photos to document these runs, which I will eventually do. Until then, here’s a beautiful photo of my time in Kansas.

I graduated from Kansas State, and there is almost nothing better than going to football games there ... except when they play as crappy as they did last Saturday (OK, it was still fun and exciting, and the crowd chanting “K-S-U Wildcats” at the beginning of the game in such thunderous unison still gives me goose bumps, and I’d still rather be there than almost anywhere else). But, the Wildcats looked U-G-L-Y (not their uniforms because purple is always beautiful)! A 10-7 win over Eastern Kentucky is … a win. But, they’re going to need to step it up when they play Miami in a few weeks.

September 8, 2011

Day 11

Best. Running. Day. Ever.
I ran the ENTIRE planned 45 minutes. Technically, I ran continuously for 46 minutes and 35 seconds. And, I felt awesome. This is the farthest I’ve ever ran. Yes, ever!
All of the negative thoughts I had about my suckiness at running disappeared. I rock at running, and if I can keep it up, I’ll rock even more.
I needed this day. I’m so thankful for the overcast skies and occasional sprinkles that made it possible. Oh, and those previous 10 days of training. Thank you, thank you very much!

September 1, 2011

Day 10

I guess because it was overcast and cool (cool is a relative term), I thought Tuesday’s run would be easy (easy is a relative term). I was wrong.
I struggled … the entire way. It just wasn’t a good running day. And, I’m trying to realize that bad days happen. And, I’m trying to not get down on myself. The entire 45 minutes I was attempting to run, I had negative thoughts swirling in my head: “You suck. You can’t run. Why did you ever think you could run a half marathon?”
Two days later, I’m ready to give it a shot again. Looking back on it, I still enjoyed running – even if it was a struggle. It’s a constant challenge, and I love that. As long as I keep trying, I’ll be happy because I’m running.