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 :)

- - -
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