Monday, December 31, 2012

It's Official!

I'm officially registered for my second half marathon! Training starts this week. I'm super excited!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry RUNmas!

I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas! As much as I love my family, our Christmas was really boring with just the 4 of us.

Anyway, I'M RUNNING AGAIN! Yay. Sunday, I decided it was now or never and bundled up before heading over to Oak Openings and one of my favorite trails. Since I was just dipping my toes back in the water, I alternated 2 minutes walking with 3 minutes running for the 3 miles. Once I got back to the car, I was happy to be out there again, but a little disappointed because then I knew I could have pushed myself harder. Apparently I'm in better shape than I thought I was (insert sigh of relief here).

So, today I was determined to go back to the same trail and pay more attention to how my body felt rather than following timed intervals. I was a little distracted because we were FINALLY getting some snow and I love being in the woods when it snows, but it still went really well. I ran the whole 3+ miles and only stopped twice ... once so I didn't run straight into a flock of turkeys who were crossing the trail and again when I tripped. I was paying more attention to the snow than I was to the trail and I caught my toe on a root that was partially hidden with old leaves. Of course, I went sprawling out. My knee got a little scraped (though not my running tights, amazingly) and my right ankle ached for the next half mile, but I was fine. I wasn't running very fast, but now I know I still have a decent base.

I think I'm going to spend the rest of my runs before my New Years double 5ks working on my speed on pavement. Besides, we're supposed to get a couple inches of snow over the next couple days and it'll be easier if I can just run from home ... plus I can't wait to get back to group run tomorrow night. :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Oh hai!

I decided it was time to start blogging again, even if that means sending in my posts via email on my new phone. So ... here goes nothing.

I have a confession to make. Since I switched over to night shift, I haven't been running. At all. Not even Thursday night group runs. Nothing. But ... I'm still in pretty good shape. Actually, my drivers license weight isn't a lie for the first time in 6 or 7 years. This seasonal package handler job is seriously kicking my butt. I had to buy smaller jeans and dad has been punching new holes in my belt for me.

And here's where I need help/ advice ... I signed up to do the new years double 5k like I did last year. Midnight Special at 11:45pm on NYE and then Hangover Classic at 11:45am on New Years Day. Am I crazy? Any tips on getting ready for this (other than start running again)?

I figure that since my feet are usually so sore when I wake up for the day (I stand on concrete and metal grating all night at work), I'll get in a couple miles doing laps around the neighborhood whenever I get home from work. This job should be over by the end of this weekend, but it'll be good for me to keep myself used to being up late for Midnight Special. I remember being up that late was a hurdle for me last year.

No matter what happens on new years, its time for my running shoes and I to be besties again. I have my training plan tentatively written out for my 2nd half marathon and it starts with the new year. :)

If I don't write again before Christmas, have a wonderful holiday everyone!

Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE DROID

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I'm still alive, I promise. My writing will be picking back up again soon, but I needed to take a break. From everything. I can seriously count on both hands how many times I actually RAN in September. I did rediscover my road bike and spent quite a bit of time exploring the local rail trail (the Wabash-Cannonball Trail for you locals).

Can I ask you a favor? Suggest one or two blogs that you REALLY LOVE reading. It's time I weed out the ones I never read, never post (sorry again!), or have just gotten boring. I'd rather have fewer blogs that I ENJOY keeping up with rather than tons that don't interest me any more and I have to wade through every time I want to read.

Until next time ... Which will be SOON, I promise ... And I promise I'll talk about my first half marathon next time. And get my sidebar and tabs cleaned up and back up to date. :)

Friday, August 31, 2012

It's tomorrow!

I've probably started 20-30 different posts over the last 3ish weeks but never found the time or patience to sit down and finish one. Oh well.

In less than 18 hours, I'll be running my first half marathon. My emotions are all over the place right now. I'm nervous, excited, and everything in-between. I've been watching the weather forecasts like a hawk for the past week, but nobody can agree on what's going to happen because of the remnants of Isaac ... jerk. And it changes every 3 or 4 hours. I'm still not 100% sure what I'm going to wear, either. I'll probably change my mind at least a dozen times between now and when I leave for BG in the morning.

And after the race, I'll come home and shower quick, watch the beginning of the Ohio State football game (GO BUCKS), and finish packing. Then I get to drive 2ish hours to Ft Wayne, IN to celebrate a good friend's wedding! I can't wait to see S! I'm not COMPLETELY crazy, though. I already have a  hotel room reserved where the reception is for Saturday night. After the party, I'm going upstairs and collapsing on the king-size bed and hopefully sleeping better than I have in a long time. I may even have a friend coming down to stay with me for the night and hang out. I haven't seen them in a long time so it'd be nice to catch up ... especially in these swanky hotel rooms! :)

Maybe I'll even be making an extra stop somewhere in IN on my way home? Visit a friend or 2? We shall see.

Next post will probably be a ton of pictures ... and maybe an August wrap up ... and hopefully some jumping up and down excited-ness was well. Send some positive and encouraging thoughts my way, please! :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Garbage Truck Run. And July Recap ... Sort Of.

One month (minus 1 day) until my first half marathon. I go through phases of freaking out and calm confidence in my training.

I decided I needed to run in the morning yesterday since I suspected my day was going to get a bit hectic (I was right). While I didn't get up QUITE early enough to beat the sun (darn thing popped up between my 2nd and 3rd snooze alarms), it was still pretty cool out. Well, at least it wasn't in the 90s. I had mapped out a 5-mile loop of local roads and was pretty comfortable with my choice until I made it up to Eber and saw the line-up of garbage cans on the same side of the road as I was running. Oh boy. I hadn't even gone a half mile before I could smell the garbage truck and then was able to see it after another couple of driveways. I'm not even joking, I almost threw up! And who knew the smell LINGERS 3-4 driveways beyond the truck? Yuck! I was glad to be past it and didn't really think about it again until I turned the corner back onto W-S and heading the last 1.5 miles home ... cue the dramatic music. More garbage cans. And the same truck heading towards me. The driver must have thought it was hilarious because he smiled and waved as I ran by on the other side of the road, VISIBLY dry-heaving. If I could have held my breath without passing out, I would have. Anyway, I ended up running just over 5.5 miles in an hour.

The BEST part of the run was when I got home. Mom had been so caught up on what she was doing that she didn't realize I had been gone a whole hour! lol

Yesterday was another dr's appointment for mom as well. As always, I didn't go past the waiting room [Anyone remember the story of how I almost passed out when they removed the cast on my hand after the first surgery? Yea.] so you'll just have to take mom's word for it. The dr took out all stitches on both feet and MAY consider taking out the pins next week. A week early. We'll see. I remember how many times my surgeon told me "we'll take out the pins in your finger next visit" before it actually happened.

There isn't much to say about July. I ran almost 83 miles which makes it my 2nd highest mileage month after June. I didn't run any races but I DID get semi-serious about biking again and managed to complete 2-in-a-row double-sport PDR weekends. Oh, and I turned 26 ... which doesn't feel any different than 25, except I feel a tiny bit worse for still being where I am in life ... which brings me to ...

My weekend blogging is about to get even worse. I apologize in advance. Something has happened and it's about to kill my Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays for the foreseeable future. It's nothing BAD, just a necessary side-step in getting where I want to go in life. Money makes the world go 'round and I'm tired of not having any. I just need to figure out how I'm going to make this work with my running. :-/

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Schwaggle Deal and Another PDR Weekend

First off, have you seen yesterday's Schwaggle deal yet? 50% off PRO Compression Socks plus free shipping ... which is a really great deal for great quality! I have a couple pairs of PRO Compression socks and I LOVE THEM! They are pretty much neck-and-neck with my Zensah socks/ sleeves and I actually DO prefer them in the warmer months (they're thinner). I may need to talk mom into buying me a late birthday present ... I see a couple colors I want and don't have yet. :)

It was an interesting weekend for me. Besides the Olympics (SO proud of our USA Rowers! Makes me miss that part of my life even more!), I pulled off another double PDR.

Running ...
I've been doing my long(er) runs on the towpath trail to take advantage of the shade and scenery, but there was ABSOLUTELY NO WAY I was going to purposely dirty my "pretties" (how long can you still call running shoes brand new? 20 miles? 50? 100? Until they finally get dirty?) in the dirt and stone. So, I got up early Saturday morning and plotted a BORING route that would keep me on roads and the paved W-C Trail AND within a couple miles of a restroom at all times (thank you, Metroparks). Even with hitting the "snooze" a couple times, it was still blessedly cloudy and in the 70s when I finally made my way outside (a first for this summer). The first 3 miles felt great as I just let my body cruise along and warm up a bit. I even got a catcall or 2 from guys sealing a driveway as I ran by [I sped up after I heard the first one - I HATE catcalls!]. Right around the end of mile 4, I could feel my GI starting to rebel and I remember grumbling under my breath more than once "THIS is why I can't run a more interesting route. #$!&^@ bathrooms!" To make a long story short(er) and less uncomfortable (for you readers), the nearest restroom was almost a half mile BEYOND my planned turn-around point. So, a planned 10.5 mile run became 11.26 miles. It really WAS a nice run, though. I didn't follow a regular hydration/ nutrition strategy, just took a drink when I felt like it and sucked down a Power Bar Gel around halfway. I don't know if it was the cooler temperatures or that I was on pavement instead of uneven trails, but I felt like I used less effort for these 11.2 miles than I used for my 10 miles last weekend. Probably a combination of both. I think I need to complete the rest of my long runs leading up to the half marathon on pavement to get myself ready.

And waiting for me at home, my favorite post-run meal ... 2-egg omelette with bacon and cheese, my beloved diet coke (Save me the lecture, I know it's bad for me. It's one of my 2 major vices [the other is my love of profanity], so sue me. I'm not giving it up any time soon.), and my recovery drink. One note about that omelette, the bacon has to be crumbled up and mixed into the eggs before they cook and it needs to be colby-jack shredded cheese in the fold. Also, that omelette took up 3/4 of that plate when it came off the stove, I swear. I just devoured that much of it before I thought to take a picture. Oops. Same deal with the recovery drink, that glass was full. lol. Seriously, this meal is what I CRAVE after a long run.

I also decided it might be a good idea to take an ice bath. I've read many reports and articles on these and they contradict each other so much it's ridiculous. Actually, the arguments kind of remind me of the climate change debate when the first couple data sets were released. Anyway, I've been experiencing some CRAZY soreness/ stiffness in my legs an hour or 2 after long runs, even with my compression socks and stretching and laying with my legs propped up (usually against a wall), so I figured it was worth a shot. Anything [and I mean ANYTHING] that ends up helping, right? My family, of course, thought this "ice bath idea" was hilarious and ridiculous. Though, I'm not really sure if they were laughing harder at the idea of it or at my reaction to the cold. Cursing is my other major vice and I "let it fly" when I eased myself down into the bathtub. Pretty sure the family was laughing as loudly as I was cursing. I amazed myself and was able to stay in the water until well after the ice had melted. And, just so it's out there - this picture was taken about 3 seconds before my gimp of a mother (she's walking better and better every day, stitches come out this week and the pins in another 2 weeks, hopefully) hobbled upstairs and dumped another cup of ice down my back when I was trying to focus on biting my tongue. So nice, isn't she?

Cycling ...
Saturday is my long run days and Sunday has become my long RIDE day, I guess. I rode all the way east on the W-C North Fork, across the highway overpass past the Fallen TImbers Monument, and down the (ridiculous) hill to SideCut Metropark and back. 18ish miles, another distance record for me. Had I known that hill was there between the monument and SideCut, I wouldn't have ridden it. I even forced myself to RIDE it all the way back up! "It's just another little challenge. Come on, you LOVE challenges." Holy Crap. On a good note, I now know of the perfect place to practice running hills. :)
That big dip there in the center? Yea, that's me going down the hill and coming back up.
The bit of a hill on either side is the overpass. Basically right at the top of the hill. Ugh.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Five For Friday - 7/27 Edition

We now had ATT U-Verse instead of DSL for internet. Some things are running faster, but others aren't loading AT ALL! At least I haven't been kicked offline yet. To be safe, I'm saving everything I do on-line obnoxiously often and still working on my bigger stuff from a coffee shop or on-campus. Dad isn't sure if he likes this new internet service yet, either, so who knows what'll happen.

(1) One (1)

I want to start with the most exciting news ... I spent my birthday money and finally bought myself new running shoes! It was well past time, according to my shins. When I say I get excited about new shoes, it's a bit of an understatement. If we're friends on facebook (under my real name, not the blog name), you know just how ridiculous I was Tuesday night after I bought them.

Saucony ProGrid Ride 5s. I've run in them twice now and I LOVE THEM! They're OBVIOUSLY lighter than my Ride 4s (a welcome change) and I'm LOVING the 8mm toe/heel offset. I'm still trying to decide if I need to get different shoe laces, though - These are slightly stretchy! So I'm not sure if THAT is why my feet bounce around a little bit or if my feet just haven't sunk down into the sole yet. Dad warned me that my shin splints might get worse for a little while, but I haven't noticed it (and I've been running without my compression socks so I can more accurately gauge how my legs are feeling).

(2) Two (2)

Mom is doing well after her surgery last week. She had hammer toes fixed on both feet. Originally, she wasn't allowed to walk around much and spent most of her day kicked back on the couch (we have one of those awesome recliner couches from la-z-boy). Now, she's walking around a bit more, barely using the crutches ... and driving the rest of us crazy. Since dad works all day and Sean is at the new house he and his friends are renting for the next school year, I'm dealing with her the most. My mom isn't an idle person, which is why we laugh every time she talks about retiring soon. So, when she's sitting there "watching" Let's Make A Deal and Ellen, she's making a mental list about a mile long of things that need to be done around the house. Which clashes directly with me busting my backside to get my dang Masters paper done. Lucky me. The better mom feels and the more she sleeps at night, the less sleep I'm getting. As soon as dad gets home at night, I go for a run and then/ or run upstairs and hide in my bedroom until after they both go to bed.

(3) Three (3)

Mother nature is still wonky. One day it's cloudy and comfortable in the high 80s and the next it's 102 and sunny and the next it's in the 70s and freaky storms every couple hours. And don't trust that the weatherman knows which one it'll be next. I need to start getting in my runs in the morning to avoid the worst of the heat and the storms.

(4) Four (4)

Group run last night was a bit of a mixed bag for me. We were the guinea pigs for the new course of the Soul to Sole 5k (being held next Wednesday - I'm not racing) and we had a bunch of new people joining us who will be racing it and wanted a first look at the course. The course itself wasn't bad, but maybe I liked it a bit just because it went the opposite way around the shopping center/ industrial park. It took me a bit out of my comfort zone and I could focus on ME instead of the mileage. I had planned on just taking the 3 miles easy and hanging with one of the others girls, but then THAT mom and daughter wound up in front of me and I decided I needed to speed up.

I can't remember if I've talked about the girl whose whole family runs with us and she's usually ridden her bike along side up until recently. She can't be more than 6 or 7, max and used to annoy the crap out of me by ALWAYS cutting across in front of my WAY too close on her bike. Anyway, I've gone out of my way to stay out of hearing range of this family before runs after I happened to overhear a lecture from the father a couple weeks ago about religion and how it should be a part of all of our lives. Ok, here's my deal ... If you're religious, good for you, but I don't want to hear about it (too much). Maybe if the church hadn't given up on my dad's mother and my mom's mother hadn't dragged our behinds to church a couple times a year just to show us off like little dolls, I would feel differently. But I don't. My cousin is actually a creative arts pastor for the local mega-church (Cedar Creek, if you're from NW Ohio/ SE Michigan) and he's one of my best friends. But I can't STAND when people talk religion non-stop and try to force it down other people's throats. If someone is on campus and tried to hand me a bible, I'm more likely to pretend I'm on the whole and take the long way around them just so I don't have to interact. So, back to the family. Like I said, I've avoided them pre-run after that day. But, now the mother is pushing the daughter to run. And I think it's a bit much. I know some kids are capable, but this little girl is being pushed to run faster than 10min/mi, isn't allowed to stop at the water station (it's been 90+ for the last couple weeks), and OBVIOUSLY isn't enjoying it anymore. And more than once I've heard "Don't slow down! We're doing this for Jesus!". *glare* And people wonder why I NEED my ear phones in at all times? Shoot me.

Would YOU say something to them? I don't want to tell them how to raise their kids, but I feel BAD for this little girl and I'm SO tired of hearing the comments. Being completely honest, I'll probably just keep doing what I'm doing ... avoiding them as much as possible and quietly feeling bad for the kid.

But I had a rocking playlist ... and my new Ride 5s felt awesome on my feet ... and there was just enough cloud cover to make it comfortable ... and Matt set up the sprinkler for when we were done ... so it was a good evening.

(5) Five (5)

I'm slowly catching up on my blog and article reading, I promise. I spend at least a half hour every night clearing out my email inbox and my G Reader.

... cutting this short. A couple of gabbers sat down halfway across the coffee shop and I can still hear their entire conversation with my headphones in. And it isn't exactly a conversation most people would want broadcast to the world. Just about everyone in here is glaring at them and they just don't get it. Time for me to find someplace else to work for a couple hours. lol

Monday, July 23, 2012

Birthday and 2x the PDRs!

I turned 26 on Saturday and I'm still not used to it. It's really weird to think of myself as an "adult", but maybe it wouldn't be so hard if I was out on my own and working a "normal" job. Oh well. Going to have to wait a little while longer for that.

I didn't slack off my long run just because it was my birthday, though I did decide I'd rather sleep in a little longer and then run when it was a little warmer. My training plan called for 9.5 miles, but I've been trying to stay a half mile or so ahead of my long run distances [just call me an over-achiever] which meant ... my first double-digit run. Ever. *insert dramatic music here*
That tenth mile is about 2 minutes longer than the others because I had a moment where I was deciding if I was going to throw up or not. It wasn't pleasant, trust me. I haven't felt like that since the finish line of Happy Trails 5k over a month ago. But, I was able to enjoy the run for most of the time. I had an awesome playlist and there was a nice breeze blowing off the river in areas. It might have been a bit easier on me if I had run on pavement, but there isn't consistent shade on any roads near my house and I knew I could plan in a water bottle refill along the towpath.

One thing about my run that I WASN'T happy about ... it was also the day the metroparks was hosting the bike tours and I was running on the towpath trail that connects a couple of the parks. Most of the cyclists were very courteous of others on the trail, but there were a couple who REALLY ticked me off. I was yelled at to "get out the way" by a group of cyclists who were riding 2-wide in a really narrow area of the trail. I was already on the edge of the stone when this happened so I just held my ground and forced one of them to drop back and slide over. And then when I got closer to the Farnsworth shelter house the cyclists were using for lunch [near my turn-around point], I actually had someone ride down the MIDDLE of the trail [nobody else around] and clip my shoulder with their mirror. Of course, I yelled at him and he just looked back over his shoulder at me like "What?". Come on, jerk. You rode up on ME on a straight part of the trail, so you knew I was there [how could you miss the BRIGHT orange shirt?!] and your mirror hit me hard enough that it moved out of position, so there's no way you didn't notice that you hit me. No "sorry". Nothing. And, yes, I do have a light bruise on my arm. I didn't even notice it until I was leaving for the evening and my mom pointed it out. I have a few friends within the metroparks organization and I sent them an email about the situation. I know they won't be able to find out who it was, and I wouldn't expect them to, but maybe they'll say something to the specific program organizer and they'll stress the "rules of the road" next time around. Metroparks have been stressing the rotr with runners on their trails so maybe the cyclists need to be included in this crackdown.

I did have an awesome evening with some old friends, though. We got Chipotle and took it to a little seating area around the "pond" at the Fallen Timbers Mall, where we hung out until movie time. I've had a tradition for over a decade now of seeing a movie on my birthday, almost always either a Harry Potter or Batman flick. This year is was "The Dark Knight Rises". Freaking awesome. Besides the awesomeness of the movie, I got to see one of my favorite football players (Hines Ward) run across my favorite field (Heinz Field) one more time [PS - GO PITTSBURGH! Less than a month until pre-season starts! :D]. There was actually a kid in the theatre who yelled "Run Hines Run!" I nearly fell out of my seat laughing. Of course, we finished off the night with chocolate fudge cake and my favorite wine from Heineman Winery :)

This weekend was actually a double PDR weekend. I had planned on getting up "early" Sunday and going for a bike ride. I figured it would be a good mental and physical detox after Saturday. Instead, it go put off until the hottest part of the day and I took a route I hadn't so far ... the west end of the W-C Trail loop. A couple days away from the bike this past week must have been a good thing because my backside didn't hurt AT ALL at the end of this ride, so maybe that's the trick to putting in longer mileage rides?

I'll probably set 2 more PDRs next weekend, but I'm going to enjoy these ones while they stand. The double-digit run on my birthday was pretty darn special to me :)

It's official. I've registered for my half marathon. It's slightly more real now. I usually snail mail my race registrations to avoid the service fees, but I just wanted to get this done so I couldn't talk myself into backing out [which WAS a possibility of even with me being halfway through my training plan].

Also - Does anyone use special software or program to write your posts off-line ahead of time? Our internet is iffy at home right now so I've been working from either Panera or a coffee shop a LOT lately (I don't like going into campus unless I have to ... I just feel trapped in that basement lab). Preferably free? This is one of the reasons my posts have been so scattered lately. Sometimes I write out as much as I can in a word or basic text document, but I almost always end of having some weird formatting error or I can't get the post to look the way I want it to in the end and I have to waste time retyping everything once I get to internet. We're supposed to be up and running (and faster than before) by the end of this week, but I have a feeling I'm going to need this option more and more once/ if I get the kind of job I want. I can't spend ALL my time sitting in coffee and sandwich shops on blogger. lol

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Six for Saturday

I know, I've been falling behind on my blogging again. I REALLY need to update my side panel and pages too. *smacks hand* Bad blogger! Oh well ...

(1) One (1)

I SEVERELY procrastinated getting in my long run today. I just felt so sluggish (must have been all that hilarity from my cousin's wife's surprise birthday party last night) I didn't know if I could do it. Most of my aches and pains were probably mental too. I swear I told myself "I'll just get one more thing done and then I'll go run" half a dozen times. Finally, I decided I just had to go do it. By then, it was too warm and sunny to be running the roads around my house so I made the 10-minute drive over to the river and the old towpath trail.

I amazed myself. Once again. As soon as I started running and finding my rhythm, all the aches and pains disappeared, my lethargy melted away, and I realized I mentally needed this run just as much as physically. On long runs, I normally won't eat, drink, or take any walk breaks for the first 3 miles (sort of a mental training thing for 5ks). Today, I reached 4 miles before I even thought to take a sip of my Gatorade. By then, I was almost to my favorite halfway point ...
PS - I can't believe how low the river is right now! You can walk all the way across in a
couple places! Kind of hard to use the river as a post-run "cool down" when the water is super
shallow and almost 80*!
I finished off my Gatorade, ate a couple of my Power Bar Energy Blasts, and took off again. I slowed down twice on the way back, once to dump the water from my smaller bottle on my fuelbelt into my handheld bottle (I'm more likely to drink if it's in front of my face) and once because I somehow got a rock down in my shoe and I wanted it out before it snagged my sock or I stepped on it wrong and hurt myself. 9.58 miles (distance PR) in 1:50:58. That's an average pace of 11:34/mi.

(2) Two (2)

Is anyone else using Earndit? I've been using it for a couple weeks now and I'm loving it. From the website:

Sometimes we could all use a little extra motivation to exercise. While you’d think that the allures of better health and a leaner body would be enough to kick us into action, the reality of the matter is that they’re not. In fact, behavioral economists have a scientific explanation for this called "hyperbolic discounting".
In practice, hyperbolic discounting means that humans discount the value of a reward that occurs far into the future, preferring instead a more immediate reward even if its absolute value is less. For example, if I gave Harry the option to receive $10 today or $20 in a month, he’d probably choose $10 today even though it’s financially wiser for him to get $20 in a month. Hyperbolic discounting is the reason why better health and a leaner body down the road are not compelling enough to make us exercise today.
So we’ve created a system that gives you more immediate rewards for your exercise. Our hope is to foster a more active lifestyle in each of us, and in turn play a small role in improving the health of our users.
Go exercise. Get rewarded. You earnd it.


It really is easy to use. Mine syncs with my Garmin Connect. When it comes to the "rewards", there's some awesome stuff. You can earn stuff for yourself or you can donate your points to a couple causes Earndit champions. I decided as soon as I started on the site that I would donate to every cause before I scored anything for myself. So far, I've donated to Heifer International, Shining Hope, and Christmas in July for US Troops (which is near and dear to my heart).

(3) Three (3)

I've been spending a LOT of time with Roadie lately ... and I love it. I'm slowly cleaning and fixing things as I find issues and riding further and further each time. My butt still hurts if I spend too much time in the saddle, but it's getting better. There's no ache right after a ride, but you can bet I'm feeling it the next time I sit in that saddle again. I think I'm developing a "groove" in my butt. lol.

(4) Four (4)

I've been noticing a bunch of these showing up around our yard lately ...
Yep, that's a hole. Big enough I could shove a garden hose down it. And yes, that really is our backyard right now. We live on the edge of the Oak Openings Ridge (basically, a giant ridge of old sand dunes) and we've NEVER [in the 21 years we've lived here] been able to grow a decent lawn. And this summer's extreme heat has burned the heck out of any grass we DID have out in the open areas. Up around the house, you can tell exactly how far the water spreads out after exiting our downspouts and where is shaded most of the day. Those areas are the ONLY green in the yard, expect for the trees.

But back to the holes ... I finally figured out what they were when I saw some movement around one of the holes yesterday ...
Cicada killer wasps. I guess they prefer really loose sandy areas for their burrows ... and they hit the jackpot with our yard. I actually took THIS picture today, but the one I saw yesterday was in the process of dragging a cicada down the hole. It was pretty cool to watch. I was a little nervous about having wasps this big in our yard, but then I did a little research. Apparently, they aren't aggressive. I accidently put that to the test his morning with this guy in the picture. I was sitting under our pool deck fixing something and this guy flew over and landed on me several times. I brushed him away every time and he never got aggressive.

So, I'm still not completely comfortable with them, but now I'm more interested than scared. We'll see what dad has to say about them when he gets home. I'm pretty sure his reaction is going to be drowning the holes in wasp killer spray and then flooding them with the garden hose, but we'll see.

I'd take these guys any day over the ant assault that's happening in our kitchen right now. The really nasty thing is that the ONLY place they show up in the kitchen IS ON THE COUNTER!!! No matter how clean we keep it, they seem to flock to the area around the sink. Mom put out "bait traps", but that would require the ants taking the material back to their colony. Dad, brother, and I have the philosophy that they shouldn't make it that far. We're having ant-smashing contests and spraying (probably way too much) chemicals. And it's lead to some pretty spectacular arguments over who left dirty dishes in the sink ...

(5) Five (5)

With the parents gone this week and my brother spending most of his time packing up his apartment (he's moving into a house with friends for the next school year), I've been trying to balance "cleaning out the leftovers" and eating healthy. I've ended up with some interesting creations too ...
Ramen noodles with soy sauce, tuna, celery and grape tomatoes. It was pretty good, actually.

(6) Six (6)

I've talked before about taking aluminum cans to the recycle center to pay for my race registration fees. I made my latest run this morning. 43lbs of metal brought me $17.52. The price of aluminum went down again. Drat. Oh well. It's better than nothing and I'm lucky my half marathon will be small and cheap. :)

If we're friends on DailyMile, you know how often the neighborhood munchkins have talked me into riding bikes with them up to Oak Openings (they aren't allowed to go that far alone) for the sole purpose of picking up cans for me. I love that they want to help me and the environment at the same time. I always hope I'm setting a good example for them and this is one of those times I know I am. It sickens me, though, that I can completely clean the 2-3 mile stretch and we can ride by less than a week later and still pick up SO many cans, almost exclusively beer.

I could have waited a bit longer to take the cans in, but dad went on one of his rampages before they left on vacation. With the bags out of the garage, it's one less thing he can blame the ants on. It'll take me a while to build up enough of a stash again to out-grow the old garbage can and worry about bags sitting around. Though, hopefully I can find a semi-steady job soon and I won't have to be so concerned with collecting them for money.

Oh well. The parents will be home sometime tomorrow so I'll be spending every waking moment until then scrubbing and cleaning and organizing. Mom is having surgery on both her feet this week so we want to have the whole house cleaned and stocked before then. I think the plan is to take a MASSIVE shopping trip and cooking marathon the day before. I can cook for myself, and dad can cook for himself and mom (usually), but we're all a bit particular about our food (different medical issues, I refuse to eat beef and starch every night, etc.) that it's just not a good idea to have dad in charge of food for everyone. Or me, for that matter. lol

PS - At what age is counting down to your birthday "immature"?

Friday, July 6, 2012

June Recap and July Goals ... and A NEW PR

I know it's already a week into July. Too bad. I write best when I have a lot pent-up that I need to talk about and I just didn't have that this week. I went out and lived my life and just let things happen. It was refreshing.

First, June.

10.39 miles walked
89.58 miles run

Longest Run: 9.5 horrible miles

Happy Trails 5k ... 29:18
Global Distance Project 5k ... 29:16 ! Yep, that's right. Even with walking up that #$@%! overpass and not having my Garmin, I PRed. I don't care that it's only by 2 seconds. It's a PR. And proof that I'm doing SOMETHING right. :) 94 of 228 overall. 20 of 111 women. 5 of 13 in my age group.

Now, July.

#RWRunStreak is COMPLETED! Woo! I can't believe I did it! :D

I don't have any races planned, which means I need to focus on completing my long runs and figuring out my hydration/ nutrition strategy. I printed out the map of the race course today so

I'm going to work on my favorite forms of cross-training: biking and swimming. These were my loves LONG before rowing and running.

Except for a strained muscle glitch earlier this week, I'll be following along with Amanda from RunToTheFinish's July Challenge: Strong Like Susan's 30-Day #AbChallenge. I'm excited about this because I know my core is weaker than I would like. My abs have always been a sore spot in my challenge to be comfortable with my body too.

It's time to buy new shoes. My poor Saucony Guide 4s are looking pretty pathetic. Now to decide if I'm going to hunt down another pair of Guide 4s or take a chance on the Guide 5s ... or something else.

And my last goal for July ... enjoy my 26th birthday (without blowing up my half marathon training plan). I'm completely in shock I'm this old already. I feel like I should be waking up early tomorrow morning and still going to high school. Sheesh.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

GDP 5k & Apparently I'm Crazy

Today was one of those days where you just wonder what you're doing next because YOU don't even know. And, fair warning, I had this post written out oh so eloquently in my head during my 2nd run, but you know how that goes ... Maybe I should start running with a digital recorder too? lol.

Let's start with Global Distance Project 5k, shall we? I was obnoxiously nervous for this. My cousin C and I have been talking trash all week over who was going to beat who. It was his first 5k race so I thought that gave me an advantage. It was raining when I woke up so I was hoping the clouds would either stick around for a little while or it would at least hold the temperature down until we could get through the race. Problem #1. A big fat NO on both counts. It was sunny and the temperature was already nearly 85* and climbing when I pulled into the church parking lot. I was dripping sweat within 5 minutes. I went to find C and his wife, L, right away. I was expecting all kinds of smack talk, but there wasn't any. We actually had a calm and interesting conversation about how things were going to work (since I was the only one who'd raced before) and what we personally wanted to get out of the race. I think L was surprised we were able to have that conversation without acting like a couple of kids. lol. C and I grew up pretty close (we even had most of the same classes when he transferred to AW for our Sr year of high school) and we tend to act more like bickering siblings than adult cousins. *innocent grin*

From our conversation, I knew C wanted to sub-30, which was fine with me since that was my basement goal as well. We kind of made an unspoken promise to run together, but about a half mile into it, I knew that wasn't going to happen. He took off ahead of me and never looked back. Problem #2. It was around the time that he pulled ahead that I finally looked down at my Garmin and realized something was wrong. It was bouncing back and forth between "searching for satellites" and working normally. When I crossed the 1 mile mark, it was only showing 0.47 miles. Crap. I THOUGHT I hit the "lap" button so I would at least be able to check my splits for the rest of the race. The race was an out-and-back [crossing over a highway overpass TWICE ... UGH] so they set up a water station on either side of the road between 1-1.25 mile mark, which was a much-appreciated idea. When I was making the decision if I should walk through the water station, I looked down at my Garmin again and realized I must have pushed "start/stop" instead of "lap" ... so it hadn't been recording anything! Double Crap! I just made a split-second decision and just shut it off. If I ran great, awesome. If not, it's a training run and a learning experience. To make that part of the race EVEN BETTER, Problem #3, there were only 2 women working the 2nd water station and they never got a rhythm down or pre-filled cups, so I GOT MISSED! I wasn't about to stop dead and wait for them to fill up another cup, so I just kept going. Thank goodness I train with the idea that I will only get 1 sip of water during a 5k and I was able to suck down the ENTIRE cup at the first station.

By the time I reached the overpass for the 2nd time, I was feeling the heat and my nervous-ness at being without my Garmin. I gave up a little since I didn't know my time and walked up the incline. Once I got going again, there was about three quarters of a mile left and I just pushed myself. Once I made the last turn into the driveway and saw the clock click over to 0:29:xx, I just started sprinting.

C says the clock was 0:28:xx when he crossed, but we'll wait and see. The major difference, as I see it, is that he pretty much vegged out after finishing where I got a quick drink and then went back out to the 0.5-miles to go (I think) and cheered for/ ran L in. Gotta work on that endurance, C. ;)

So ... I am currently at the mercy of the Toledo RoadRunners' webmaster to find out my official time. I may have PRed, maybe not. If I didn't, it was darn close ... and it was a gun start/ popsicle stick finish so I don't put as much stock in it as I do in chip-timed races. But, looking back, I'm a little disappointed in myself because I KNOW I would have had sub-29 if I hadn't walked up the overpass the 2nd time. *pouts*

All that being said, I'm still extremely happy. I got to spend quality time with one of my favorite cousins (and his awesome wife). Pace-wise, I know I pushed myself beyond my comfort zone without the help of my little electronic friend. I ran a smart race for all my "issues" and I learned from those things I didn't do right. Seriously, just think about what I could have done today if the weather had been cooler and I didn't have to struggle with the overpasses! An instant PR, I'm sure. And it was a GORGEOUS day, despite the oppressive heat and humidity. :D

Once I got home, I started thinking (dangerous, I know). I'm at the end of the 3rd week of my half marathon training and I've already bumped 2 long runs in favor of racing 5ks. I know it shouldn't make much of a difference this early in training, especially with upping my mileage during the week, but I still wonder about it.

Maybe I'm crazy, maybe I just went into it to see where it would take me, but I decided to get on "Roadie" and go for a ride. Once I got going, I started thinking about how GOOD it felt and I found myself going the LONG way to Oak Openings ...
6.5 miles
 Once at Oak Openings, I decided I wanted to get in a run. To make a dent in that whole racing-instead-of-doing-long-runs thing. I started off with a 2 min. run: 2 min. walk ratio since it was supposed to be a "recovery" run, but after 2 miles, I got tired of this and switched it to 2:1.
2.91 miles
... And then rode home again. The short way.
3.46 miles
And now?

I'm sitting here, smelling the steaks cooking on the grill, drying off after spending the rest of the afternoon relaxing in the pool ...

... and trying not to do anything else crazy today. Trying ;)

Keep cool everyone! June recap and what July has in store for me coming (probably) tomorrow ...

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Five

(1) ONE (1)

It's going to be a low mileage week. I ran the minimum mileage for my #RWRunStreak on Sunday and Monday. Tuesday, I took my new tank top for a a 3.16 mile testdrive at Farnsworth in the gorgeous sunshine. I also got some fun pictures of myself. They aren't the greatest quality (and I'm no model), but let's see you do better with a fuzzy post-run brain and a sketchy self-timer on your camera. lol. I wanted to place the camera another foot or 2 to the right to get more of the old utilities bridge, but there was poison ivy. Dangit.

(2) TWO (2)

Wednesday was my first time back on the Ridge (Silver) Trail at Oak Openings since the tornado. It's been closed for a while so the damage could be cleaned up. Ever since the new park map came out earlier this year, I've been excited to get over there and check out the new re-routes. I knew about the one where the bridge had been taken out by a tree during the tornado (I made a quick trip right after the storm to check out the damage, but couldn't get too far into that part of the park). This sounds lame, and I say it at the beginning of every summer, but running in that part of the park felt like coming home. The Ridge Trail goes through one of my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE parts of the park ... the OLD pine stand. I need to get pictures sometime. The abrupt change is shocking and awesome. After finishing off the Ridge Trail, I finished up my run with a quick loop of Horseshoe Lake.

After 4+ miles on the trail, I decided to get my road bike out for the first time this summer and take it for a spin (I've been giving all my love to my brother's mountain bike). My ex was giving me crap the other night because I call it "Roadie". lol. I had just planned on taking a couple laps of the neighborhood, but it felt great one I got out there and I ended up going over 7.5 miles. Believe me, my backside (caboose, behind, derierre, BUTT) is STILL paying for it. Stupid butt bone. lol

(3) THREEE (3)

The heat around here has been INTENSE this week. I begrudgingly acknowledged that my parents were in the right with turning on the a/c even though it makes my sinuses all kinds of horrible. No joke, my nose will run and my head will hurt and I'll be just plain miserable. Then, I go outside and I'm fine in 5 minutes. It's obnoxious.

Anyway, I've been continuing my runs in the heat. I just saw it as another experience to "toughen me up". I take precautions, though; I make sure I'm well hydrated and I carry water AND gatorade, I try to run in as much shade as possible, and I let myself go as slow as I need. That being said, I knew group run last night was going to be BAD, but I didn't know just HOW BAD. Even with being hydrated and carrying water with me, I had to bail out halfway. After being in the a/c all day, running in that heat (around 100*, even at 7pm) with even more heat radiating off the pavement, it was making me sick. In less than 2 miles, I felt as bad as I normally to after 7-8 miles. I DO have to give a round of applause to Second Sole, the store who sponsors and hosts our group runs. They set up a water table at the halfway point AND rigged up a sprinkler system on the sidewalk out in front of the store for after the run. We had fun with THAT. You can always tell when a running store is run by people who run themselves (ha!). :D

(4) FOUR (4)

Today was just plain nifty. One of our neighbors I "babysit" for occasionally called me early to see if her 7yo and 13yo could hang out with me for the afternoon. They normally spend the summer days with their grandmother, but she's been having some health problems and couldn't take them today. I love these kids, I call them "my munchkins" (much to their continued ire [evil smile]). To them, I'm like a big sister who takes them to do things their parents don't have time for. And really, we don't do anything special. Today, they drove around with me to a couple different metroparks to find codewords and we had a complete blast. I let them be in charge of my camera and they didn't do too bad of a job. I wasn't surprised in the least when I uploaded all the pictures and discovered they were fascinated with taking pictures of the "obvious" wildlife, just like me: deer, ducks, geese, squirrels, chipmunks, robins, rabbits, and random plants. Since I promised their mom a long time ago that I'd never post their pictures online, you'll just have to marvel at a sampling of their photography skills:

(5) FIVE (5)

Tomorrow is the Global Distance Project 5k. I have 2 goals. Well, technically 3. (1) Don't die. Run responsibly. (2) But still push myself. If I PRed on a trail race, what can I do on a good paved course? Too bad this won't be chip-timed. (3) And beat my cousin. This last goal has gotten a little shakier since he told me he wants to finish sub-30. Hrm. I guess all I can do now is be smart and run my race.

Monday, June 25, 2012

10 Days ...

... Since I last posted. How have I not made time to write this before now? Sheesh. And it's not like I've been super busy ... time just got away from me. Oh well. Let me esplain. No, let me sum up! (Name that movie!) I'll include some pictures to make up for all the text I'm about to blast you with.

Ready to go!
Last Saturday was pretty awesome. I ROCKED Happy Trails 5k. M decided to run it WITH me since he was in town for the weekend without the wifey (he hurt his hamstring so he's pouting about running "slow" while it heals). His wife probably isn't going to like this statement (sorry, E!), but I love that boy to death. He was one of the people who pushed me towards running when I was dealing with all that crap in my life and continues to be one of my biggest supporters. He knows EXACTLY how to push my buttons to make me run faster. He knew pointing out those teenage girls at the start line who talked through the National Anthem would tick me off and make me start faster to get ahead of them [proud granddaughter, niece, and friend of veterans and I've been raised to respect all symbols of our country: anthem, flag, etc.]. He knew telling me I couldn't do something would make me push that much harder to do it, even if it meant keeping me ticked off for all 3.1 miles. So thanks, M ... I think. lol. The best part? I beat my "old" 5k PR ... which was set on a relatively straight road course. ON TRAILS! I really think all the trail running paid off. I just FELT strong. You transition from pavement to sand/ dirt just past halfway and while others faded a bit, I pushed forward and felt "in my element." Is it weird that even though I felt like I was pushing my hardest during the race and almost threw up at the finish line (seriously, I was dry-heaving over a trash can next to a vendor booth), I walked away thinking "I could have run that even faster"? I haven't seen any pictures yet, but I'm sure I was grinning like a crazy person as I sprinted through the finish line. I'm pretty sure M and I scared the crap out of the people in the car next to us on the highway heading home because we were getting our dance party on, blasting LMFAO and whatever other crazy songs we could find on my iPod. :)

I hadn't been home more than an hour when I got a phone call saying I had won a door prize from one of the race's sponsors ... 3 canisters of Reliv's innergize (2 lemon and 1 orange). I'd never heard of it before, but I'm slowly learning. Maybe I'll do a review of it someday, but you can check out the link I provided for the product's website for details now. And, really, this little win came at an interesting time for me. Money is a little tight around here, so I've fallen back to my old friend Gatorade instead of spending the money on nuun or Zipfizz. Don't get me wrong, I love nuun and Zipfizz, but they just don't fit in my budget right now. I'm not particularly fond of how much sugar there is in Gatorade (especially with my family history of diabetes and my attempt to cut some sugar OUT of my diet lately), but it's worked for me for years. Our local Sam's stocks the big 76.5 ounce canisters of the Frost Glacier Freeze (the blue kind), my favorite, so I'm good to go for a little while (thanks mommy!). After a conversation with the Reliv product rep when I picked up my prize and a good friend who's a nurse and nutrition student, I decided to take my 8 oz serving of the innergize an hour or 2 before any runs or workouts (up to 2 a day) and rely on my gatorade to get me through the exercise. I've been doing this for a week now and everything seems to be going ok. We've had some obnoxiously hot days and I've done some seriously crazy runs in that heat (which I'll talk about more later), but I haven't gotten any dehydration headaches or muscle cramps. So, something seems to be working.

I had planned on Happy Trails being my last race before my September half marathon, but my cousin's wife messaged me about a 5k they they're going to be running this coming weekend for the church they both work for, the Global Distance Project 5k. My first inclination was to just go watch the hilarity of my cousin running a 5k, but his wife talked me into running it with them. So, one more.

We had 2 days of crazy thunderstorms at the beginning of last week, which of course I loved. Besides loving storms, I really enjoy getting out and seeing how rain water flows through our environment. It's the envrio science nerd in me, what can I say. :) I was out driving around when one of the biggest waves of storms came through so I headed to the nearest metropark, Side Cut. Boy, did I get a surprise!
Bench under water, broken pavement (already broken before storm, but had been
eroded and damaged even more), and  "bridge" about to go under water.
What I'm not showing you is that right above all this are 3 old canal locks. Normally, water barely trickles through them. That day, it was rushing. Somewhere up-run, there was a system that just wasn't able to keep up with the amount of water that was flowing. While I knew this wasn't a good thing, I was absolutely fascinated. I probably spent a half hour wandering up and down the walkways along the locks trying to take pictures from under my umbrella.

The ungodly hot and humid day after all the storms, I went for my normal run at Oak Openings. I should have known I'd find a tree down across my planned trail. *rolls eyes* And, because I was too stubborn to re-route my run, I decided to go THROUGH it (there was no going around it - the ferns were too thick). There was a fork in the branches that I knew I'd fit through, so I went for it. Stupid me. The branches scratched up my right thigh and ankle pretty good (which was really uncomfortable as my legs got sweaty later on the run), but it wasn't until the next morning that I noticed I had HUGE BRUISES striping my thigh as well. This really was the trail run from hell. Once I completed the Sand Dunes loop, I switched over to the Ferns and Lakes loop, which was an even bigger mistake. I really should have just called it a day and gone home. Besides almost stepping on a squirrel AND a snake (only the 2nd time I've EVER seen a snake ON a trail over there), the heat and humidity trapped in the woods just drained me and I had to abort the loop and run back to the car on the paved portion of the all-purpose trail. It ended up being about the same mileage as I would have done, but a LOT less stress and effort.

And, of course, this was also the day we couldn't get any relief from the heat at home either. We found out the a/c was broken when we went to turn it on (house actually got 5* HOTTER), and the chlorinator in the pool malfunctioned and the chlorine got so high your eyes burned just going NEAR it! We completely detached the chlorinator and it's JUST getting down to the level where swimming is comfortable again. As for the a/c? There was a wire broken on the compressor (we suspect dad did it when he decided to power-wash that side of the house 2 weeks ago). It took the repair guy 5 minutes to find and replace it. $85. Ugh. Let's just say everyone in our house was a little testy for a couple days. I pretty much holed up in my bedroom with my 3 fans, cups of ice, and movies when I wasn't freezing my butt off in my basement lab on campus. If I wasn't already intimately aware of the creepy crawlies and odd late-night sounds down there, I may have just brought an air mattress to campus and spent the nights down in the lab. The last time I bothered to look at the thermostat in there (it reads the temp but doesn't actually control anything ... how crappy is that?!), which was Thursday afternoon, it read 62*. I was wearing jeans and a long-sleeve tee all day.

Saturday is, of course, long run day for me. Since I had a 5k last weekend and another this coming weekend, I NEEDED to do a long run THIS weekend. I hadn't really explored the towpath trail between Bend View and Providence so I figured I'd run down to Providence and back, and maybe down to the Bend View shelter house and back depending on how I felt. According to the sign, it was 3.2 miles to Providence from the Bend View parking lot. To keep me from constantly watching my Garmin, I turned it on my wrist. The run TO Providence was pretty nice, actually. Even with the oppressive heat, I was in the shade and catching the breeze off the river for most of the way. Once I reached the dam, I looked at my Garmin. Almost 5 miles. Crap. This was already turning out to be a longer run than I had wanted. Since one of my fuel belt bottles was already dry, I tried to find a drinking fountain around the mill to refill it. No luck. I tried the water from the sink in the bathroom, but it was just plain nasty. I would have thrown up if I tried to drink that on a run. So, long story made WAY short: ran out of water around 7 miles. Walk intervals got longer and more frequent until I decided I couldn't run any more. Inhaled an entire bottle of Gatorade once I stumbled back to my car. My legs felt completely trashed all day yesterday and they're still a little tired today. I need to get better with my hydration and nutrition. Quick. But at least my first 9.5-miler is in the books :)

... And now I need to go because I'm getting trash talk texts about Saturday's 5k. I love that boy, but I'm going to kick his butt! I love my family :)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Fun Stuff Friday

I finally have a chance to sit down at the table and write (despite the pool calling my name oh so invitingly), so this is going to be a long one. But don't worry, there are plenty of pictures too. lol. This week has just been a barrel full of monkeys [No, not the evil little ones that fling poo!]. I hadn't planned to, but I'm going to over-lap my last post a little bit since I didn't talk about everything.

Last friday night was a MUCH needed night out with friends. Whitehouse's Cherry Fest was Thurs/ Fri/ Sat so we took advantage of all the fair food and the beer tent.  We may have over-indulged just a little bit on all the fried goodness and alcohol [the more I drink, the better corn dogs taste], but we were enjoying ourselves. Sarah's husband's siblings were there too, which was kind of fun since I haven't really talked to Eric since high school [we graduated together]. Plus Eric's gf is a riot after a single long island ice tea. :)

Saturday was a little crazy. I had planned on waking up early and getting in my long(er) run before making the 2.5 hour drive to Columbus for my friend's baby shower, but the beer tent the night before caught up to me and I put it off for Sunday. Plus, another friend was out of town for the night and asked me to stop over and take care of her horses and that couldn't be put off. Lyd - You're lucky I love you. Who else would willingly clean out 4 stalls, feed and water, brush, and lunge/ ride your crazy gelding at 7am on a Saturday ... hungover (besides you)? lol.

I got back from Columbus with plenty of time to change clothes and RUN back into town for the Cherry Fest fireworks. Yes, I ran. It's about a mile from my house to the park. I was a little nervous [beer tent, it's dark, lots of people, etc.], but it was fun.

I love when I get packages. Don't tell my dad (he proudly drives semis for UPS and gets annoyed when something comes thru anyone but UPS or the postal service), but I was kind of loving our Fed Ex driver earlier this week. I won Morning Runner's ProFoot giveaway a while back (btw - great job on the marathon J!) and my goodies came! I've already stuck the Miracle insoles in my every-day shoes and OH MAN do they feel nice. I think I'll put the Plantar Fasciitis heel cups in my trail shoes next week and see how those feel. My dad was giving me strange looks because I was impatient to try them out so I was walking around the kitchen with them rubber banded to my feet. Hehe. I haven't had a chance to use the moleskine yet, but I'm sure I will. If not, my dad or brother will. The last couple summers, we've gone through the stuff like paper.

I've found 3 more Great Park Search Codewords ... Side Cut, Botanical Gardens, and Wildwood. I wasn't joking when I said this is helping me with my #RWRunStreak. On days I don't have training mileage planned, I find a clue for a codeword and will run a loop or out-and-back that takes me past the location in just over a mile. Whatever works, I guess. I didn't win Week 1's prize, but there are still 8 more weeks plus the awesome grand prize at the end. *crosses fingers*

I spent a little extra time wandering around and taking pictures too ...
I got lucky and he grabbed a fish just as I was taking the picture :)
I had another reason to spend some time at Wildwood this week too ... Packet pick up for Saturday's Happy Trails 5k! I'm more excited than I can express. This was my first 5k a year ago and basically marks 1 year since I got serious about running. Plus I get to benefit one of my favorite things, my metroparks. :) On a serious note, though - If they keep buying unisex Brooks tech tees, I need to start getting a size small! Or, I know a nice part of these tech shirts are the minimal seams, but I could always tailor/ alter the darn things so they're more comfortable for me. The sleeves are WAY long (like, down to my elbows) and the trunk could do with a couple inches less fabric too. lol

Last night's group run was more fun than expected. Suzy Favor Hamilton is in town for a race tomorrow so she came out to run with us and sign autographs! If you don't know who she is, seriously, go click on the link. Besides being a 3-time Olympian, she's a pretty big deal around here in Big 10 country ... even if she attended Wisconsin. Hehe. The Big Ten Network just picked her as the #19 athlete and the #1 female athlete in the history of the Big Ten Conference. And she really is a sweetheart! I was SERIOUSLY geeking out talking to her.
me and Suzy
And I got another fun surprise in the mail today ... My Target Style Summer Beauty Bag! I THINK you can still request one on Target Style's facebook page. The ADORABLE little bag is packed with fun samples and coupons to use in-store. I have one from spring too and it was just as awesome.

Ok, I'm tired of having my back to the pool and watching the reflected light dance on the wall in front of me. Time to go relax in the cool water and think about my play list for tomorrow morning ... until everyone gets home and chaos breaks out again. Haha. Have a great weekend everyone! :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

It's Wednesday Again?

I feel like my head hasn't stopping spinning in a week and a half!

$6,000+ and a refurbished engine later, we now have dad's truck back from the dealership. Apparently a piston seized in the engine while mom was driving the camper out to Sandusky for Ohio Bike Week. Luckily they weren't far from home and we were able to rig up a hitch for mom's SUV to get the camper the rest of the way there and then home again. According to dad, the only thing more obnoxious than dealing with the truck was dealing with the mayflies. I guess they had 2 different hatchings while they were out at the lake ... and those suckers make a MESS.

I found 8 of the 9 codewords for Week 1 of "The Great Park Search." I never went out to the Bay last week so I never bothered with Pearson's codeword. So far this week I have:

[Funny story. The older gentleman I saw running around with a clipboard last year collecting code words? I ran into him for the first time this year while I was getting Farnsworth's word yesterday. And he recognized me right away. He made a joke about how I was going to be his main competition again this year. I just laughed and walked back to my car. lol]

Mule's "hotel"! They weren't there, though. I think they go "home" on days they aren't running the canal boat.

The granite glacial erratic! I love this thing [Yes, I'm a nerd].

... So I'd say I'm doing pretty well. :)

Great Park Search is helping keep me honest with my #RWRunStreak too. Once I know where the codewords are in each park, I know the trails well enough to know where I can get in a quick mile or so run on my "rest" days. As much as I'm enjoying the challenge of the streak, I'll be glad when it's over. I'm finding more and more how much my legs really do need those rest days, especially as I'm increasing my mileage for half marathon training. I can feel the tiredness in my muscles when I go out for my 3-milers. Probably not a great thing when I have my 5k this Saturday, but oh well. Its more than halfway done and it won't affect my half marathon training in the long run.

This week officially starts my half marathon training. With this, I'm getting serious about recording everything in my journal. I'm still playing around with what exactly is important enough to record. I'm just not sure what kind of details would benefit me being able to read about later. Any tips or ideas?

Hopefully next time I'll talk more about my actual runs and maybe a rant or 2 about trail running in the metroparks. I've got a couple good stories from this past week. lol

What kind of things do you record in your running journal? Every little detail? Or are you a minimalist?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Great Park Search Has Begun ...

... and I'm ALL over it! :D

I decided to check the Metroparks website late last night on a whim, hoping the clues for this week would be up already. They were. And then I spent 10-15 minutes reading through them and figuring out where the codeword easels were located. I know the parks (all but one) really well so it wasn't very hard. Now I just need to GO and get them!

So, today for #RWRunStreak #8, I split up my run and hit my "southern 3" ...

(Please forgive the grainy pictures. I was using my old Blackberry.)

I ran just under 1.5 miles between running from the parking lot TO this shelter house and then back to the car.

Since this location was at the beginning of the Ferns & Lakes Trail loop, I just finished it for 2.8 miles.

No miles here since this spot is less than a 2 minute walk from the parking lot.

So ... I made a dent in Week 1 of the Challenge, got my mileage for #RWRunStreak, and had fun. I'd call that a success. :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

May Recap and This Week's Streaking

I was pretty happy with May, numbers-wise.

Miles Walked: 27.73 miles ... Normally this is just my warm ups and cool downs, but it was exceptionally high this month with the 2 weeks I spent dog-sitting.

Miles Run: 65.78 miles ... Highest mileage month I've had in the past year ... and June is going to be even higher! I'm slightly ahead of schedule to meet my 600 miles in 2012 goal. If I can knock out those miles a month or 2 early, maybe I'll add another 100-200?

Total Miles: 93.51 miles

Races: May was blissfully race-less. I needed this month to reconnect to the FUN of running and to figure out what I wanted next. Both accomplished :)

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My #RWRunStreak is going strong so far. I realize some people (like me) started their streak ON Memorial Day and others started the day after, so my day # may be different than someone else's. I think that's fine. I interpreted the instructions as Memorial Day to Independence Day, including those days, but I guess others saw it differently.

So, since the last time I posted ...

Tuesday (Day #2): I was feeling achey and lethargic and sick all day, but I toughed out 1 mile on the treadmill because I didn't want to let my streak flop so early! Besides the 1 mile and my last post, I pretty much spent the day in bed catching up on sleep and having some crazy-wonky-detailed dreams (one of which has already inspired an interesting short story). Before anyone gets all worried, I know all the sicky-ness this week is my body reacting to the quick weather changes and my meds trying to combat my body's weirdness. I'm used to this. My pinched sinus cavity and I have been to this circus a time or 2 before. Honestly, I'm healthier now, I think, than I've been in a very long time (like, years, possibly a decade) ... thanks to running.

Wednesday (Day #3): It was a gorgeous (but hot) day so I wanted to take advantage of the dry trails and shade over at Oak Openings. I knocked out both the Sand Dunes (red) and Lakes & Ferns (blue) Trails for a total of just over 4 miles running. I ran the Sand Dunes Trail pretty quick for me and really enjoyed picking up my speed to blow by other people. Pretty sure I scared the crap out of the guy walking and wearing a mosquito-net-hat. lol. I was SO proud of myself for running all the way up the dune face and continuing to run the length of the dune crest. That's kind of a big deal for me. I don't know if I would have been able to do it if it hadn't been early in my run, but I still did it. I also spent a LOT of time while on the Lakes and Ferns Trail thinking about how I can improve my trail runs and get more out of them. Some days it's a victory to just run the whole trail without stopping, but I'm noticing more and more that I need mini-challenges to keep myself interested. I know of a couple places along both trails where it's relatively flat and straight that I could use for a random mid-run speed session before settling back in for sandier and more uneven terrain. I tried out one spot at the end of the Lakes and Ferns Trail loop and REALLY enjoyed it.

This is also the day I met a girl on the trail and again in the parking lot after who I felt kind of sorry for. She had bought a pair of knock-off Vibram 5-Finger-type shoes and was running in them for the first time. First, the sole ripped apart in the furthest place along the trail from the parking lot and then on her way back, she ended up with a MASSIVE splinter in the bottom of her foot from some of the pine mulch along the trail. The poor thing was sitting on the ground in the parking lot TRYING to dig this splinter out before driving home and was probably doing more damage to her foot than good. *cringes*

Thursday (Day #4): Group run at Second Sole. Some weeks this run just kills me and other weeks it makes me insanely, stupidly happy. This week was the second option. My mind was clear, my legs felt REALLY strong (maybe it's all the trail running finally paying off? *crosses fingers*). I ended up knocking out my 3 miles with mile times of 10:14, 10:10, and 10:00.

Friday (Day #5): My calves felt tight all morning and I was a bit lethargic, again, so when it came time to log my mile, I jumped on the treadmill in case I needed to stop. I took it nice and slow and amazingly felt better the longer I was running. I ended up running 1.5 miles in 20 minutes. It was an oddly cold and icky day outside, so I was happy to spend the rest of my day helping get things done around the house and getting my parents ready to head out of town for Ohio Bike Week (motorcycles, for those of you not in the know).

Saturday (Day #6): My day of almost near-euphoria. It's been a very long time since I've had a day this ... good! Fueled only by a white chocolate and macadamia nut cookie, banana, some nuun, and a rocking playlist, I busted out 6.84 miles running from home up to Mallard Lake and back. That in itself would have made me happy, but I got giddy excited when I got home and checked out my mile times ... 11:12 (my warm up), 10:44, 10:52, 10:52, 10:23, 10:31, and a 10:15/mi avg pace for the last 0.84 miles. I had a moment of doubt towards the halfway point when I got a stitch in my side for a couple minutes, but I managed to focus on my breathing and get through it. It probably helped that LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" came on just then and it lifted my spirits in a way only that kind of music can. It never really hit me until I made the turn back into my neighborhood at the end just how STRONG my legs felt. I also drank less water on this run than I used to on a 3-miler. The water thing could have just been because it was cooler out (I wore a long-sleeve shirt with my shorts and compression socks) or it could have been that I just didn't need it since I was well-hydrated before and I managed WHEN I got sips of water during the run.

Once I got home, I had just enough time to shower and whip up Grandma's recipe vegetable pizza (I'll post a recipe sometime) [and deal with one more "issue" with getting the parents to Bike Week ... thank goodness my brother didn't have plans] before heading over to Annie and Dan's for the rest of the day. They were having an open house/ bbq/ party thing going on. I had a great time and it was just the thing to cap off my Saturday.

Sunday (Today- Day #7): Because of how late I got home (Mr 3:30 and I met again), I planned on letting myself sleep in until 10:30. Wouldn't you know it, my eyes popped open all on their own at 10:28? Haha. Though pretty darn breezy (mom's wind chimes on the back deck are starting to annoy me), the sun is out and it's warming up again so I wanted to run outside. I went back to another of my favorite places in Oak Openings, Evergreen Lake, and ran a quick loop to get in my 1.3 miles for the day. Though short and quick, I really enjoyed the chance to stretch my legs and check out the progress on the new trail markers being installed. I had planned on jumping in the pool when I got home, but I didn't realize the pool temperature has dropped 20* in the past 2 days! Holy cow! So, no swim for this girl today. If it were warmer and not so breezy, I might go for it, but today I just sat on the deck with my legs taking advantage of the cool-ness.

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My walking mileage is likely to go up again for the next 9 weeks. Toledo Area Metroparks are hosting "The Great Park Search" again this summer and it starts tomorrow. Basically, Metroparks posts clues online, one for each park in the area, each week, and you have to go find the location. There will be a "code word" you have to bring back and enter on a website to earn entries into drawings for cool stuff. Last year, I won a $150 gift card to the Anderson's (a local store that has an AMAZING alcohol collection. They're the only mainland store that carries my FAVORITE wine so I was a very happy girl!)! It's a lot of fun and it gave me something to look forward to on my runs last year when I was really just starting my running journey. And, I plan on participating again this year. I'm excited! :D