October 31, 2011

Day 36 (Oct. 30)

I didn’t think a 10-mile run could be better than last week, but I was wrong.
This week’s run rocked, and I knocked it out in 7 less minutes than the week before (I think I also cut 7 minutes off my drive to our meeting spot due to running late). Thanks extremely cool weather! Oh, and thanks previous 12 weeks of training.
This was especially awesome because I didn’t go to sleep until 2 a.m. due to Halloween fun at the senior prom with a bloody twist-themed party. Much like the week before, I had a vow to only have two beers and leave by midnight … I stuck to the two-beer rule. But, darn! That party was so fun! I kept extending the time we were going to leave. It ended up being 12:45 a.m. by the time we left.

(On a side note: after the initial fear of looking like a panda or raccoon, I ended up looking less like a cute, cuddly animal, but still not really frightening ... and perhaps still like a panda. I’ve never really been anything scary for Halloween (it was a big no-no growing up).)

Then, I did not account for the excessive amount of time it would take to de-bloody-twisty me. That hair color spray turns what was once soft, freshly washed hair into a crispy, rats’ nesty mess. It took thorough brushing, then washing, and then gobs of conditioner and a comb to get my hair back to normal. Not to mention washing off all the face paint that didn’t want to come off. So, after all that madness, I went to sleep in the wee hours of the morning to wake up less than 5 hours later.
This is where cutting time off my drive to our training group meeting spot came into play. Since I didn’t want to wake up after less than 5 hours of sleep, I kept delaying it. Well, I delayed it too long. And, I turned what is normally a 22-minute drive into a 15-minute drive. Thanks, cops, for being somewhere other than on my route.
After arriving in a frenzy, the run was so peaceful and enjoyable. A little chilly at first (near 60 degrees to begin the run), but that’s perfect (for running purposes only). There was also a breeze, which helped to keep things cool.
Again, I must express my love for the GU Chomps. I’m so happy I found these delicious little nuggets of energy! They’re easy to eat and help me avoid that choking-unable-to-breath feeling of the energy gels. I pop a few along the run, and I’m good to go.
And go I did (for 10 miles)! I felt great throughout the run, even with my faster than usual pace. I started to tire a little bit toward the end, but I guess that’s to be expected.
It was a great run, but I still did not spot Derek Jeter. I’ve got one more long run (11 miles next week) to see him. It’s your last chance, Jeter. Show your face. Step out of your house. Drive by. Something.

October 28, 2011

Day 35 (Oct. 27)

This run sucked. I really don't have much to say about it except that I hated it.

We ran 55 minutes: 10-minute warm up, 30-minute tempo run and a 15-minute cool down. OK, maybe I was being a little harsh. I liked the warm up, but I definitely hated the rest of it.

I don't really know what went wrong. Except it was hotter than usual, and I didn't drink enough water. Oh, and I felt nauseous. Sounds like a recipe for a great run.

Since this run bit, I didn't take any photos or want to remember it in any way.

So, I'm including a happy photo. Today, we dressed as a pack of Zorros at work. It rocked.

October 26, 2011

Sad no more

I find myself getting depressed because my training is coming to an end – not excited because my first half marathon is approaching. I should be pumped – my half marathon is less than a month away (Women’s Half Marathon in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Nov. 20), and I feel ready to rock this race. But, I’m just sad. I don’t want this to end.
(This is an old photo, but my dog and I were feeling sad about something … just like I am now.)
So, what’s a girl to do? Sign up for her next half marathon training and race!
I’m going to be rocking and rolling in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Feb. 12 at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon! And, I’m staying with the same coach and training group to help me dominate this race. Yay! Feelings of sadness gone! Feelings of excitement, fun and challenge are back!

October 25, 2011

Day 34 (Oct. 25)

Oh, you dreaded speed workout. Oh, you pesky intervals. You’re definitely not my favorite. In fact, I’d rather run 10 miles than deal with you most days.
It takes pumping myself up in the car and taking awkward car photos to prepare myself. 
Our training group workout today: run for a total of 55 minutes with a 10-minute warm up, then five, four-minute hard intervals with a four-minute recovery jog in between each. Whatever time remaining is used as a cool down (I guess I could do the math and figure out the minutes, but my brain isn’t ready or willing to do complicated math at this time of the day … anyway, I think you get the idea).
After mass confusion at the beginning (due to a changing start time that some people knew about and some didn’t or maybe it affected only the marathon runners and not the half marathon runners … I’m still confused), the run turned out to be pretty great. I ran with a different group tonight because our groups were split (the marathoners and some half marathoners took off before the rest of us … like I said, I’m still confused). I went way faster than normal at the beginning. This, of course, led me to go slower toward the end. I’m still not very good at establishing a good fast interval speed. Well, it didn’t help I was with a faster group either.
Overall, it was still a good workout. I’d like to find my happy pace on those faster intervals at some point, but I guess I’ll just keep trying.

October 24, 2011

Day 33 (Oct. 23)

I rocked my first ever double-digit run on Sunday (10 miles), and I’m calling it my best run ever (well, best double-digit run anyway)!
I managed to not overdo it at the Halloween party the night before (only two beers), and we left at a decent time (my goal was 11:30 p.m., but it ended up being close to midnight, and then 12:15 a.m. by the time we went back for the cooler we forgot ... oops). After washing the green spray out of my hair (I debated leaving it in, but the smell and the thought of green color running into my eyes during my run that day convinced me to wash it out — excellent decision on my part), it was 1 a.m. by the time I got to bed. But, I was ready for our run at 7:30 a.m.

The weather was awesome. Gone (at least for a few days) are the dreadful heat and humidity that plagues Florida so much of the year. Replacing it was a wonderfully cool and breezy day. Temperatures were in the upper 50s to begin the run — chilly!
I ran the first 5 miles by myself, which kind of sucked, but I managed to get through it. I determined I’m not good at pacing myself (probably because I think about it way too much). But, if I have someone to run with, which I did the last 5 miles, I don’t think about it because I am talking or listening or just keeping up with the other person. Looking back at my Garmin, my first mile was painfully slow, but the second and third were fast (for me), and the fourth and fifth were back to slow and then fast again. But, my remaining 5 miles were a consistent, steady pace, and I felt the best during that time.
Due to my disastrous 9-mile run a week ago, I made some changes to my diet, specifically my diet the day before a long run. I made sure to eat a decent meal for dinner, and oh my goodness! The difference it made! I had energy, which is really kind of important when running. I also brought along some GU Chomps (the watermelon flavor — yum, yum, yum!), and ate a few of those along the way to sustain my energy. I tried energy gels during my previous runs, and I hated that texture in my mouth while running. It just sat in my throat and made me feel like I couldn’t breathe (uncool while running … or anytime, really).
I felt super strong throughout the run. I think I even felt stronger toward the end. If needed, I think I could have picked up the pace or sprinted the last bit, which is so different from my wanting-to-throw-a-temper-tantrum last mile of my 9-mile run a week prior. I didn’t think of stopping to walk — even when I got to that pesky, hilly bridge.
The only disappointment of the run: no Derek Jeter spotting. Come on, DJ! Don’t you want to be ogled by some random running girl early on a Sunday morning?!? I know he does, so I have faith he’ll make an appearance at some point. All he needs to do is take a few steps out of his house.

October 22, 2011

A scary prospect

I love costumes, so Halloween is my kind of holiday. I'll dress up even if it's not Halloween, so it's nice to have a time when people don't look at me so strange. Oh, wait ... they still do. But, not because I'm wearing a costume at an inappropriate time.
This year, I have two costume parties. The first is tonight, and it's just a general costume party. I didn't know about it until late (a boyfriend's coworker's friend's party ... or something like that), so I haven't really been planning a  new costume. But, I do have plenty of options to choose from.

My next party is next Saturday, and the theme is "senior prom with a bloody twist." I have some ideas, but really haven't started on a costume for that. I'm excited about the possibilities, though.

What I'm not excited about is that both of these parties are on a Saturday night. I have long runs on Sunday mornings at 7:30 a.m., and we're getting to our longest runs of our training (10 miles each for the next two Sundays). These are important runs, but these are also important parties. So, I've got to enjoy myself at the party (with limited or no adult beverages) and call it an early night. I'm not good at that normally, but especially when costumes are involved.

October 21, 2011

Day 32 (Oct. 20)

I needed Thursday’s run to be good, and thankfully, it came through for me.
Our workout: a 55-minute run with a 10-minute warm up, a 30-minute hard run, and a 15-minute cool down. I went a little slower than I had in past weeks, but I still got a good workout. My running partner and I were talking about how amazed we are at our progress. We used to always have to walk at some point. Now, it’s not even a concern. In fact, we wanted to run more than our 55 minutes.
Of course, the weather rocked (and it never really has for any Tuesday or Thursday night run to this point). I did not sweat through everything I had on. In fact, I barely sweat. For a major sweater, this was quite the accomplishment.
We run in a pretty peaceful place (for being in the middle of a city). Well, aside from the occasional jet taking off, which is rather loud and obnoxious and fumey (yep, I just made up that word). It’s pretty, open and green. Pretty soon, though, we won’t be able to see it (due to daylight savings time). I’ll take darkness blacking out my views as long as that big, scary sun is out of the sky.

October 20, 2011

Day 31 (Oct. 18)

Ah, the Tuesday run that wasn’t.
I’m not really sure what happened. I was feeling a little blah-grumpy-annoyed (for no reason), my stomach was a little iffy, and I had it in my head that there were going to be heavy thunderstorms (the weather people told me this – I didn’t just make it up). After the last heavy thunderstorm incident, I’m a little hesitant about driving to my running group meeting location (without a boat). So, I guess all of these factors played into me not going to run.
Of course, when I left work, there were no thunderstorms in sight. There was a sprinkle here or there, but no significant rain (lying weather people!). And, no lightning to be seen (thank goodness – I hate that stuff). So, the weather wasn’t really a factor. It was just my attitude. And, that irritates me.

I know I would have felt better had I gone to run. I always do. I just couldn’t get myself there. Man, I was unhappy with myself for not going. I still am, actually.
I'm even more unhappy at myself for not making up the run (55 minutes with four, five-minute intervals). I guess this is my first skip of running group. But, knowing how I felt for skipping it will definitely make me never do it again.

October 19, 2011

A few good decisions

I’m not the best decision maker. In fact, I can count on one hand the good, major decisions I’ve made in my life (this doesn’t include daily decisions like choosing to drink a Diet Dr. Pepper or watching the Miami Dolphins to get a glimpse of Reggie Bush – these are obviously both excellent decisions, though). I’m talking major, life-changing decisions. I’m terrible at those, just terrible.
Here are my only good decisions on major issues in my life:
1.   Choosing a college. Kansas State rocked my world, and it prepared me for life. I loved every minute of school, and I appreciate the programs, professors and life at Kansas State.

2.   Getting a dog (both of them). Maggie came first, and she was the best thing in my life. Then, after her death, Chloe came along at just the right time. She rocks, and I’m happy every day I spend with her. (On a side note, a number of years ago I was asked to list five things I’d like to accomplish in the next five years. Number one on my list: Get a puppy. This wasn’t greeted with enthusiasm, as I was told this was a “serious” exercise. Well, I was serious. And, I’m happy I accomplished this goal every day of my life.)

3.   Changing jobs. My last job wore on me. Well, not the job itself, but the work environment: home. I know, I know. It sounds so great. No commute. You can start laundry or dinner. You don’t have to dress up. All of those are nice. But, the one thing I think people tend to forget: no human interaction (besides the UPS guy ... poor guy). After three years of working at home, I need coworkers. Real, live coworkers. Thankfully, with my current job, I have them. And, I enjoy my job (most days).

4.   Joining a training group for the Women’s Half Marathon. I’m happy every day I go to my running group. I’m amazed at what I’ve accomplished – things I never thought I could do. This program made me a runner for life, and I’ll be forever grateful.

October 17, 2011

Day 30 (Oct. 16)

Sunday was definitely not my best running day, but I managed to run 9 miles.
When I say “not my best,” I mean it was really pretty terrible toward the end. As in, I debated about sitting on the ground, crying and throwing an all-out temper tantrum about finishing. As in, if there was a serial killer driving by in a kidnap van who asked if I wanted a ride, I'd say "yes" without hesitation. But, I finished, and I feel a total sense of accomplishment. And, it seems ridiculous that I wanted to throw a temper tantrum or was willing to take a ride with a serial killer.
The run started out fabulous. The weather was beautiful and the big, scary sun was hidden behind the clouds. There was even a nice breeze.
And, the views along the run were awesome. I saw a dolphin in the bay. Unfortunately, I did not see Derek Jeter (he lives in the area where we run), but I’m still holding out hope.

Things were going really well. Then, around mile 6, I started to feel all my energy disappearing. After another half of an energy gel (thanks to my running buddy, Caroline), I powered through for awhile longer. But, my energy was fading fast. My legs felt heavy. And, when the pesky bridge appeared, I had to walk up it and down it before starting again.
I ran for awhile longer, but then had to take another walk break. After encouragement from Caroline (and some electrolyte drink from her, too — it’s time for me to invest in a water belt; my baby bottle just isn’t cutting it anymore), we ran the rest of the way (1+ miles). It was during this last mile that I was considering my temper tantrum or ride with a serial killer. I just didn’t feel like I had the energy to complete the run. I wasn’t in pain; I just didn’t feel like I could lift my legs, which is rather detrimental when trying to run. It was the best feeling to hear that Garmin watch beep at the 9-mile mark and arrive back at our starting point.
It’s amazing how quickly you recover. After stopping and doing some stretching, I felt great. Happy even. When people asked how the run went, I even replied, “Good.” Completing the long run makes me forget how bad it may have been during. That feeling of accomplishment just overwhelms me, and any troubles are forgotten.
As per usual when I have a bad run, I started evaluating what went wrong. I think I easily pinpointed the problem. I just didn’t eat much on Saturday. I really need to work on fuelling myself properly for these long runs. I don’t eat breakfast the morning of a long run, so what I eat for dinner is extremely important. Remembering that feeling of heavy legs and being on the verge of a temper tantrum hopefully will help me to never forget the importance of having the right fuel.  

Day 29 (Oct. 13)

I highly dislike Thursdays. We even started the I Hate Thursday Club at work. Seriously, it’s that bad. Maybe that’s why I like running on Thursday. It helps get rid of all that awful workday stress.
This Thursday, we had a 50-minute run with a 10-minute warm up, 25-minute hard interval, followed by a 15-minute cool down. The hard interval was tough, but manageable. I maintained about a one-minute faster pace than normal during the hard interval.
My reward (besides running) for making it through Thursday: sushi + “Jersey Shore,” which equals happiness to me. As much as I dread Thursday workdays, I love Thursday nights (as long as work doesn’t spill into the evening). After running, I make a stop at the grocery store to grab sushi (yes, it’s actually really good), take a walk with my dog, and then I head to the Shore. This show fascinates me. I laugh at every episode – even though I probably shouldn’t.

Thanks to running, sushi and “Jersey Shore,” Thursdays became more bearable.

October 12, 2011

Day 28 (Oct. 11)

Lately all I’ve wanted to do is sit around and eat Peeps. Yum.
Thankfully, I’ve kept my Peep intake to a minimum so far. Notice I wrote “so far.” I love them so. And, candy corn. Yum. I haven’t been around any candy corn yet this year, and I know it’s for the best. I have the desire to eat massive amounts of it.
After last Thursday’s tough run and the resulting tired legs, followed by Sunday’s frustrating run, I became a little unmotivated. I was really hoping for good things after my brilliant 7-mile run two Sundays ago, and I feel like just the opposite has happened. Hence the desire to sit around and eat Peeps and buckets of candy corn.
Fortunately, I didn’t sit around and eat loads of Halloween candy. Instead, I went to my training group on Tuesday, and I had a great run, which lessened this desire for sugared goodness.
We had a 50-minute run on Tuesday with four, five-minute speed intervals with four-minute jogs after the intervals. I forgot my Garmin watch (Well, I didn’t forget it, technically. I’ve temporarily misplaced it. Eek!), so I had no idea what pace I was running. I just had to do it by feel and by my position to other runners. I’m at the point where I know who should be in front of me and by how much, so that really helped in terms of pacing.
It was difficult (especially that last killer interval that felt like it lasted 15 minutes), but I felt really good about how I did. I felt great the entire time, and my legs finally feel back to normal. Yippee!
In my quest to include more photos, here is a picture of happy me post-run at home. I avoided the awkward, in the car pre-run photo this time.

I think this is the happiest part of my day. I have such a feeling of accomplishment and a stockpile of all those great running endorphins. And, I have the rest of the evening to myself. Well, mostly myself. My dog demands some attention, which I gladly give her.

October 10, 2011

A rest day with Tad Hamilton

Well, in my debate to make up my 8-mile long vs. not make it up, not make it up won.

My legs have felt fatigued the last two times I ran, so I figured I could use the rest. Also, interval Tuesday is tough! I don't know if I could handle it after running 8 miles the day before. I can barely handle it on its own. 

So, instead of squeezing in 8 miles on a Monday night, I rested ... while cleaning my turtles' tank, washing dishes and watching a very underappreciated movie, "Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!" I love this movie. This totally solidified that I made the right decision by choosing a rest day. Thank you, Tad Hamilton.

It's probably cheesy and unrealistic, but I find it quite humorous. And, I can't pull my eyes away from anything that stars Josh Duhamel. 

I know I'm supposed to want Rosalee (Kate Bosworth) to choose her true love, Pete (Topher Grace), but I think she makes a terrible decision. Absolutely terrible. Pete over Tad (Josh Duhamel)? Puh-leaze. Pete is whiny, annoying and unattractive. He grates on my nerves. But, Tad, beautiful Tad. Ahh, he's just so darn appealing. I know he's the wrong choice, but I don't care about being right in this instance (and I'm pretty darn competitive, so this is a big sacrifice ... huge). 

But, I digress. I hope I don't regret hanging out with Tad Hamilton. Ahem, sorry ... I was dreaming there for a second. I hope I don't regret taking a rest day. This was my one week to run 8 miles. Next week, we're up to 9 miles. Eek! 

October 9, 2011

Day 27 (Oct. 9)

After last week's Best. Run. Ever., I was excited to tackle 8 miles this week for our long run.

Problem: I didn't go to the group run, which is always so much better than running by myself. I think it could have been rained out; I'm not sure. I woke up and received a weather report from a reliable source (my boyfriend) that it was raining in Tampa. I live in Clearwater, which is about a 12-minute drive to Tampa. I debated, but I finally decided it wasn't worth the drive with such a high possibility of the run being rained out anyway.

But, since I was already awake, and it wasn't raining in Clearwater, I decided to run my 8 miles here. In my neighborhood, we have a 2.8-mile sidewalk loop, which is nice in some ways and daunting in others. I like not being far from home at any point in my run. But, I don't like the idea of needing to run around the same route almost three times to get in my mileage.

My legs still felt fatigued, but I was determined to get my long run in to stay on track with my training schedule.

It was overcast, but not nearly as cool as last week. Boo! And, the run wasn't nearly as smooth as last week. I didn't feel great from the start, but I stuck it out ... for awhile. At almost 3 miles, it started sprinkling. I decided to head back just in case the rain got harder (advantage: loop). Smart decision on my part. By the time I got home, it was pouring.

So, I started thinking about my options. I could: (a). wait for the rain to stop to finish my run, (b). hit the treadmill in the craptastic gym, or (c). give up and call it a day. I opted for (b). Surprised, right? I know that I go on and on about the craptasticness of this gym, but it seemed like the best option. I thought that if the fan was fixed, and I could find an old "Beverly Hills 90210" episode on TV, it might even be fun.

I got all psyched to run while watching the drama unfold between Kelly and Brenda or Donna and David or Brandon and Steve. And there is always the wonderful possibility of catching one of three episodes Dean Cain appeared as Rick. Problem: both of the treadmills were in use. Argh! There's never anyone in the gym (for good reason), but I guess the rain brought everyone there.

So, I'm now down to option (a) or (c). I went for option (c). I feel like I gave the run a valiant effort. But, at this point, I was frustrated. Considering it's still raining three hours later as I'm typing this, (a) wasn't going to work either.

Instead of an 8-mile run, I did a 3-mile run. Not exactly the same. Now, I'm not sure what I do ... do I try to run 8 miles on Monday? I don't even know if I have the time to fit it in on a weekday. Do I want to run 8 miles Monday, and then do a speed workout on Tuesday? Is that too much? Do I need a rest day after a long run? Is it OK to miss that long of a run? Ahh! Pesky rain brought on all kinds of questions.

Day 26 (Oct. 6)

After a crappy day at work (with more crappy work to follow later that evening), I really needed to run on Thursday night. The plan: run a total of 45 minutes, consisting of a 10-minute warm up, 25-minute tempo run and a 10-minute cool down.

I think I was so happy to be running that I took off too fast. My warm up was quicker than usual. When I got to my 25-minute tempo run, I went faster ... and it felt really good at first. There's something about really stretching out your legs that feels so good. But, it didn't feel good for long. My legs were tired 10 minutes into the 25-minute hard interval. They just felt fatigued. I managed to keep going at a decent speed, but slower than when I started my interval. I made it 20 minutes into the interval at a decent pace, but then I had to slow down to a ridiculously slow jog for the remainder of the time.

I just felt like I didn't have any energy, and my legs were tired. They weren't sore or painful. It just felt like they were over it (as I was with my work week).

Whenever I have a bad run, which is thankfully a lot less frequently than it used to be, I always evaluate what I did that day that could have contributed to it. So, after evaluating my day, I came up with three possibilities: (1). I didn't get much sleep the night before (or really all that week, actually); (2). I didn't eat on my usual schedule, and I ate a different lunch than normal; (3). My legs actually are fatigued especially after playing beach volleyball the day before. All seem like reasonable explanations, not excuses (I hope).

I decided I need to include some visual element in each of my posts. So, I decided to start taking a picture of myself before or after each run. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, our training group meets at Fit2Run in International Plaza, a rather spiffy mall.

So, I figured I'd take a picture of myself before I headed in to meet the group. I felt like such a 16-year-old taking a picture in my car. I got embarrassed, but I still took a few shots because of my vow to include photos. I'm dedicated to enhancing my blog posts, darn it!

The resulting photo cracks me up! It says, "I'm totally doing something a teenager would do, and I'm embarrassed because I'm over 30."

Oh, well. I'll keep working on the photos. And, try to start acting my age ... nah, that's no fun. But, I will start trying to get more sleep. Sheesh! Talk about dark circles.

October 6, 2011

New kicks!

I love shoes! But, this is first time I've been super-excited about running shoes. Mainly because this is the first pair of "real" running shoes I've bought.

My first pair was an impulse buy at Off Broadway Shoes. Yeah, not a running store. Not even a sports store. Just a shoe store. They were Asics. They served me well. They got me running. They were with me for my first race and my first training group. They were comfortable. I never had an issue with them.

Then, I started noticing everyone's spiffy shoes in my training group. And, my coach mentioned that I am a moderate overpronator (my  foot rolls inward too much while running, which can lead to knee pain or injury). This called for a shoe with support, my coach said. My Asics were a neutral shoe. I finally gave in and last week, I went to my training group early to try on shoes at Fit2Run, the store that puts on my training program.

Since my coach already evaluated me running, I didn't hop on the treadmill in the store, which is what normally happens. I did step on a machine that evaluated where I put pressure on my feet and my arch level. I put more pressure on my heels, which is normal, and I have a high arch.

I tried on three shoes that met my moderate-overpronating, high-arch feet. I tried a pair of Asics (felt pretty good), Brooks (felt better) and Nike (yucky).

After making a fairly easy decision, I went with the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 11th edition.

Sadly, after evaluating my feet, the store employee said I needed to go up a size from my previous shoe. Ugh. Really?!? I'm a size 10. I really, really, really didn't want to move up to an 11. It just sounds so huge and boat-like. But, after trying them on, I knew I needed to go with the bigger size. Just don't tell anyone I wear a size 11!

I really was hoping for some of the cool, bright-colored shoes. Unfortunately, these are pretty plain. And red. Blech. I don't care for red (Side note: as I was talking about my shoes to people at work while walking down the hall to get coffee, I said, "I hate red" just as a guy in a red shirt walked by. Oops. Sorry, dude.). I have no red running clothes. I turn red when I run. I don't need to wear a red shirt and look like a giant tomato (as much as I love tomatoes, I don't want to look like one).

Aside from the color (and on to more important things), these shoes are comfortable! And supportive! They made me feel like I was running on two pieces of crap before (no offense to the Asics shoes; I think they were just old and worn out).

I wore these on my Tuesday run (50 minutes total with three, five-minute speed intervals), and I loved them. They were supportive and comfortable. I guess I really didn't know what it is like to own a real pair of running shoes that I was evaluated for and picked just for me. I couldn't believe I could throw them on and hit the road. No issues whatsoever. No blisters or sore feet. Just running in wonderful comfort.

Day 25 (Oct. 4)

Tuesdays are dreaded speed intervals day!
This week’s workout involved running a total of 50 minutes. Easy enough, right? Well, throw three five-minute speed intervals in there. It was difficult, but manageable. I made it, and I was really happy with my time. My hard intervals were significantly faster, and my warm up and recovery times weren’t too shabby either. Yay! Improvement!
Since I always include pictures of the crappy gym, I thought I should include a more pleasant photo of my Tuesday-Thursday route.

The big, scary sun is really big and scary. It’s getting less big and scary with somewhat cooler temperatures, but it is still my enemy. I’m pale. And, I sweat a lot. These are two things that are in direct conflict with the sun.
But, I think training in the hot sun beginning in September will make running in cooler months a breeze … or so I’m hoping. If Sunday is any indication, this theory is coming true.
Aside from the big scary sun, you can see a nice flat road. I like flat roads. At least for running, I do. Our group of about 20 girls runs along this road every Tuesday and Thursday. We actually run on the road for about a mile before we hit a sidewalk. There isn’t much traffic since it is an airport service road. I’m thinking of investing in some fluorescent running clothes before the time change. I always wear black pants and a darker shirt. I’d prefer to not get hit by a car, so maybe some bright colored shirts are in order.
I don’t care if I have to deal with a big, scary sun or traffic; it’s still better than the craptastic gym.

October 3, 2011

Fancy pants and sweaty runners

So, this happened a few weeks (um, almost a month) ago, but since I was behind on my posts at that point, I forgot to add this to my post when I caught up on all my posts (another reason to not fall behind on posts again).
Our running training group meets at Fit2Run, a running store at International Plaza. International Plaza is a spiffy place. So spiffy that I usually don’t shop there. It has nicknames like million-dollar mall, where rich people shop and fancy mall (OK, maybe I just made those up). It has stores that make me mad (I haven’t decided if this because I can’t afford them or because they really irritate me). I mean, if I had millions of dollars, would I feel the need to buy a Burberry jacket, Gucci hat and Louis Vuitton purse? I don’t think so. And, I think I’d still feel the prices were ridiculous, and I think they’d still make me mad. I think. I don’t know because I don’t have millions of dollars. If someone wants to give me millions of dollars, I’ll let you know if I still feel this way. Thanks.
Well, this particular Thursday, I noticed the parking lot was fuller than usual. People were pulling into the parking lot at an alarming rate. And everyone had their fancy pants on. People usually dress pretty well to go to this mall, but these people were a step up from usual. So, I really stood out in my running gear.
When I got to the door to the mall, a sign on the door stated that by entering the mall you are giving the property rights to use your image in promotional videos. Um, yeah. I don’t think they want an image of a girl in running clothes in their video. Since I really wasn’t concerned about being used in a video (and because I didn’t have a choice), I walked in … and onto a red carpet. Ah, lovely.

It was Fashion's Night Out at the mall.
I ducked into the store and found my running group. After waiting longer than usual to make sure that everyone had a chance to find a spot to park, we headed out.

After completing our run, our assistant coach let us know about events happening in their store and the mall. He said it was a big deal, and that Jessica Simpson was at the mall.
Eeeeeeek! Jessica Simpson?!?! I LOVE her!

I tried to ignore some of the other girls degrading comments about not finding a parking spot due to Jessica Simpson, and I tried to contain my excitement that Jessica Simpson was IN THE HOUSE (or the mall, as it may be).
After grabbing our post-run smoothie in the store, one girl asked if anyone wanted to try and hunt down Jessica Simpson. I, of course, said “Of course!”
So, we headed out into the crowd of fancy pants in sweaty runny gear.
We hit up Dillard’s, thinking since her clothing and shoe line is there, she’d probably be hanging out in the area. Even though I felt some disgusting glares from the fancy pants crowd, I didn’t care. I just wanted to see Jessica.

Dillard’s had a fashion show happening on the lower level in front of the store, and we searched for Jessica. No luck. We asked a Dillard’s employee. She said if Jessica was there, she’d be at the fashion show. Hmm … Since it was the last fashion show of the night, we figured we could have missed the lovely JS. I managed to hold back tears (OK, not really. Really, not really.), and we went back through all the fancy pants to get out of the mall.
Somewhat disappointed, I headed home. Then, I started thinking. I’m a big Jessica Simpson fan. Huge. I’m friends with her on Facebook. I’m on the Jessica Simpson Collection email list. I check her website. How could I miss her appearance in MY city?!? I couldn’t is the only answer.
After some research, I found out that a “designer from Jessica Simpson Collection” was at the mall. That doesn’t mean Jessica Simpson herself. Pesky assistant running coach got my hopes up!
So, I guess the moral of this story is … never be ashamed to go anywhere in your sweaty running gear. You ran. That’s more than those people in their fancy pants can say (well, maybe they ran earlier, but it's more fun to say they didn't). Oh, and Jessica Simpson rocks!

October 2, 2011

A must-have shirt

I found an awesome shirt for me! (Someone I know would say I have more than enough shirts, but this someone is a boy, so what does he know about the proper number of shirts?)


Check out this shirt and a bunch of other cool running-related apparel at this rockin' website.

Day 24 (Oct. 2)

Best. Run. Ever.

I realize I may have said this before, but this day tops anything prior.

Up until this week, we were dealing with almost 80-degree temperatures and high humidity at our 7:30 a.m. Sunday runs. When we met for our long run this morning, temperatures were in the low 60s. And, almost more mind-blowing, the humidity was 0%. Living in Florida, you get used to 90%+ humidity. Every. Stinking. Day. Having none feels heavenly.

Due to these glorious temperatures, running felt like a breeze today. I still cannot believe I ran 7 miles with no walk breaks and without feeling like death. It felt easy. It felt fabulous.

I tackled that pesky, hilly bridge with no issues. I tackled the entire 7 miles with no issues.

Oh! And, I took 9 minutes off of my time from last week. Yes, 9 whole freakin' minutes!

I want every run to feel like today. I loved every minute of it, and I even wanted more. Call me crazy. Or call me a runner.

Day 23 (Sept. 29)

I'm so happy pesky work didn't get in my way of making it to my training group on Thursday. It is so much better running with a group than by yourself. In a crappy gym. With no ventilation.

I was just so happy to be there, I really wasn't that worried about the run. We had a 40-minute run on our schedule, with a 10-minute warm up, 20-minute hard interval and a 10-minute cool down. I was able to keep up a nice pace during the hard interval about 1-1:30-minute faster pace than normal. I slowed down quite a bit for the 10-minute cool down, but I kept running.

The Women's Half Marathon also has a 5K associated with it, and the 5K training group just joined our half marathon group. It's so cool to see people just starting out, and even though I feel like I'm still a beginner runner, it's amazing to realize how much progress I've made.