December 16, 2011

Thanks, running, for keeping me from doing something drastic

Man, the last few weeks have been aggressive. Well, mainly work is aggressive. But, I see the end, the beautiful end. I have two glorious weeks of vacation. I'm elated beyond elated. Seriously, without this break, I could have done something drastic. Like quit my job. With no backup plan. Uncool, Jina. Uncool.

This could be a bit dramatic ...
Amidst all the madness, I kept running (well, I skipped a few long runs, but always make it to my weekly speed workouts). And, I'm thankful I did. It's probably the only thing that kept me from doing something drastic earlier. Like quit my job.

This week's runs:
  • Tuesday: Oh, you pesky intervals. But, I don't hate you as much as I used to. With four intervals (4 minutes hard, 3 minutes easy), I pushed it pretty hard ... I think. I brought my Garmin, but somehow turned the GPS off. Smart. So, I don't have numbers for how I did. Just my feeling, and I feel like our group did well.
  • Thursday: Oh, you pesky tempo run. I think I now hate you more than intervals. I'm just not good at choosing my tempo pace. I feel like my running partner and I started off fast (maybe too fast), and slowed down toward the end. I say "I feel" because I forgot my Garmin. I didn't even have a backup watch. But, after estimating our distance and knowing we ran for 50 minutes, I don't think we did too shabby. Again, I say "I think" because I'm an idiot that forgot her Garmin.
My weekend running plans:
  • Saturday: Oh, you pesky progressive run. It's not the run that I have trouble with, it's the timing. My boyfriend works out of town during the week and comes home every weekend. Weekends are our time. Saturdays are for dog parks, shopping, Mexican food, walks, movies, whatever. Running usually doesn't fit in. But, I'm trying to make it a priority to do this run. I can do it Friday or Saturday. I just have to do a progressive 30-minute run. Surely, I can fit that.
  • Sunday: Oh, you pesky fun long run. This is early in the morning (7:30 a.m., ugh), but my boyfriend sleeps late so it isn't doesn't interfere with our time. And, I actually usually really enjoy this run. Scenic route along the water, early morning air and Derek Jeter's house (I'm still a little irritated I haven't seen him yet). This week, we're running 10 miles.

December 12, 2011

Oh, motivation. Where have you gone?

I've kind of lost some running motivation. I'm still doing my weekly runs (intervals and tempo), but have skipped out on long runs the past two Sundays. I'm not really sure why.

Work is a nightmare lately. That could be it. I ran one half marathon, and I know I can run another one. That could be it. This time of year brings lots of other things to do, and I put running at the bottom of the list. That could be it. But, I don't know if any one of those reasons really is it. I just don't know.

But, I'm working on getting my motivation back. It helped getting this in the mail today.

My new RoadID! Note: I just threw it on my shoe. I tend to act before reading instructions so it might not be on correctly. But, I will read the instructions eventually. I was just too excited tonight.
I won my rockin' RoadID from Happy Healthy Runner (thanks again)!

I'll be sporting this when I run from now on ... which is hopefully more often than it has been.

December 10, 2011


I like to win. But, I rarely win. And, it makes me mad.

But tonight an amazing thing happened: I won. Well, our team won. My softball team that has played together (in some fashion) since 2004 won first place. We are finally champions of our league.

I envisioned what it would be like to raise my finger in a No. 1 and have a big trophy. And, it's even better than imagined. Especially after never winning more than three games in previous seasons. We were the underdogs in every way, and we ended our season 9-1.

I don't see things getting any better, so I promptly retired.

December 6, 2011

Procrastinating pays off

Thanks to the lovely Rachael at Happy Healthy Runner, I'm the proud owner of a RoadID. I'm super pumped. So super pumped I ordered it as soon as I won the giveaway. This is something I knew I needed, but I procrastinated on ordering it (I'm a world-class procrastinator). In this case, procrastinating paid off (and times like this encourage me to continue being a supreme procrastinator).

I debated, but I ended up going with the shoe ID.

If you don't have one yet, I'd encourage everyone to get a RoadID. Hopefully, nothing bad happens while you're out running (or walking or biking or swimming), but if it does, people will know your name and who to call in an emergency situation. Important stuff.

I'm not one for inspirational quotes (because I feel like most are cheesy and totally unlike anything I would normally say). But, I ended up putting one on my RoadID: "Winning isn't everything. Wanting to is." Aside from some grammatical issues, this is me. I LOVE to win. I strive to win ... at everything (this includes family game nights, games of h-o-r-s-e with my brother that end up turning into games of h-o-r-s-e-s-r-u-n-n-i-n-g-i-n-t-h-e-f-i-e-l-d (I keep extending the game so I can try to win), bean bag toss (or cornhole as some people call it), tic-tac-toe, anything. I'm extremely competitive. Annoyingly so. I hate losing. Sometimes I throw temper tantrums when I lose. Not my best trait. But, having a desire to win is a fabulous trait, and this will help me remember to keep that.

Phinley's Holiday Run Phor Phun 10K and 5K, Clearwater, Fla. Dec. 3, 2011: race review

OK, I'll admit it. The reason I ran this race is because it had a finish on a baseball field. A baseball field where the Philadelphia Phillies play spring training and the Clearwater Threshers play Single A baseball. And, this girl loves baseball.

Phinley is the Threshers' mascot. A shark named Phinely. Get it?
I was a bit concerned because I saw three different start times for this race. After emailing the race organizers, I was assured the race time was 4:30 p.m. for the 5K (4:00 p.m. for the 10K). Then, they sent out a mass reassurance email about the start time. Other people must have been confused, too.

Since I knew right where I was headed (I hang out at this stadium a bunch during the spring and summer), my boyfriend and I arrived at the stadium about 4 p.m. Parking was super easy (ideal site for a race since there are many parking lots).

Threshers game with dad
Threshers game with friends
Threshers game with Chloe (bark in the park night)
We walked in the stadium and into a super-long check-in line. Soon, I heard the announcement that the start of the 10K was delayed, and the 5K would start about 20 minutes after the 10K. So, no need to worry about the long lines. And, not really a surprise.

After checking in, getting my number and chip, I still had plenty of time before the race. And, I could use an actual restroom (not the typical race porta-potty situation) since we were in a baseball stadium.

About 20 minutes after the 10K start, they asked all 5K participants to head outside the stadium. So, we all trudged outside to a sidewalk. They asked anyone who ran 7-minute miles (yeah, so not me) to move to the front. Soon after, there was a commotion and the race started. I actually think someone just said, "Go." Seriously.

Even though we had timing chips, we never ran over a mat, so I was kind of confused how they were keeping time or where the race technically started. I started my Garmin watch when I got to the "start line" (where those speedster 7-minute milers started).

The course wound behind the stadium on a trail and under an overpass and into a park. It was really pretty and hilly (for Florida). I was happy with how I handled the hills and with how this race started. I kept a pace under 11 minutes, which is good for me.

Almost the entire course wound through this park. There were two water stops, which I really didn't need, but it's nice that they were available.

At one point, a Frisbee almost hit some runners in front of me. Oops. Apparently, this trail went right through a disc golf course.

I kept up my under-11-minute-mile pace, and I felt really great throughout this race. I was getting anxious to really push myself the last mile. I knew I still had a lot of gas left in the tank, and I knew I could fly through it (I use "fly" rather loosely here).

Then, we made a turn off the trail and onto an uneven grass area behind the stadium. Uneven as in you had to be careful with each step or else you might topple over. For someone who sprained an ankle almost two years ago, and who still feels it, this made me extremely nervous. So, unfortunately, I had to slow down considerably instead of really making that push at that end.

After the uneven grassy area, we turned into the stadium for the lap around the warning track before third base finish line. I could finally pick up my pace, and I was really happy with my strong finish.
I'm in blue

Making the final push amidst all the Santas who yelled "Ho! Ho! Ho!" a good portion of the race
My Garmin time: 33:09, which is 1:23 faster than my fastest 5K time.

The third base finish line (apparently, I was so fast my boyfriend couldn't get a picture of me from the front ... this is obviously a joke)

After turning in my chip (I still didn't understand how it was a chip-timed event), we headed to the post-race party to grab post-race goodies.

Yes, a beer and a hot dog
I loved hanging out at the stadium after the race. Baseball stadiums are my happy place.

There were definitely some issues with this race: three different advertised start times, long check-in line, delayed start, odd start with no official start line and a rough course (uneven grass) with obstacles (Frisbees). That said, I'd do this race again in a heartbeat. This was a fun race for a baseball-loving girl (good thing since it's billed as a Run Phor Phun). I even got a really cool medal.

Remember how I said I was confused about the chip timing? Well, obviously, the race organizers were too. The results have me running a 58:35 10K. I'd love that, but I didn't do it.

December 2, 2011

This baseball-loving girl is in!

I'm a sucker for baseball and mascots and good deals, so I couldn't resist the $10 race with a finish across home plate and a high-five from a mascot this weekend. Oh, I also don't like getting up early, and this is on a Saturday evening. I'm pumped.

I originally signed up for the 10K, thinking it could suffice for my long run for the week. However, once I got my training schedule, I realized this would not. I'm supposed to run 9 miles. I thought we'd knock the mileage down a bit, but I'm OK with it (after the initial shock). I think I'll be better prepared for my next half marathon. So, I switched to the 5K, which will satisfy my 30-minute progressive run on the schedule, and then I'll run 9 miles on Sunday morning with the running group.

A few things concern me about this race, though:
  • I've seen three, yes three, different start times. The site lists 4 p.m. The commercial above, which I would think the race organizers would make or approve, says 5 p.m. And, radio stations are advertising a 6 p.m. start time. Eek!
  • The site listed on to "click for more information," doesn't exist. Eek!
Things like this drive me crazy. Oh, wait. I already arrived at crazy a long time ago. But, they irritate me. The act of proofreading is an important step, people! Consider it. Especially when you're planning an event and actually want people to show up when it starts (not two hours later). Maybe I should start bartering: proofreading for race entry.