Friday, December 30, 2011

The Start of my Uber Delayed Race-Recaps -2011 Borgess Run For the Health of It 1/2 Marathon-

    Seeing as how this race took place the first weekend of May I'm only a little behind on writing a recap lol. If you rememeber right (both of you reading this) I was originally training to run the first ever Kalamazoo Marathon but stupid pneumonia had other plans like not allowing me to run for a month and a half. Not cool pneumonia. Not cool. So anyway I down graded to the 1/2 marathon which I guess is kind of funny because if I had run the marathon it would have been my second but instead it would be my first half marathon. A couple of weeks before the race I was lucky enough to find a group of like minded runnerds who had been training together all winter! After the first group run I made it to I knew my training was going to be so much easier and more fun. Added bonus that a lot of them are faster than I am means hopefully it'll help me speed up just to catch up!

    The day before the race I headed down to the expo (my first race expo attendance) with my buddy Derek. It was kind of cool to see all the runners but it was in a small hotel convention donut shaped hallway and way too crowded so I was a little overwhelmed. We started off by finding our names on the wall to retrieve our bib numbers. I started scanning the never ending list of Smiths. There's a few of us out there but only one Jordan in this race. Problem though....according to the list he's 53.....That's not me I thought....I'm 26 but I bet I could kill in that age group haha. I informed the lady at the bib table of the mistake so they could change it in the computer. As she was writing down the info I noticed she wrote my bib number as 1917....not 1719 which it actually was. AHA! I bet she's the one who typed my birth year in as 1958 instead of 1985 too lol. It's okay I've seen a billboard with Whoopie Goldberg on it that says she "overcaem dyslexia" so there's hope for the bib check lady, someone should probably help the guy who typed up the billboard add though.... ;-) With my bib and shirt in hand, years taken off my life (at least as far as the race is concerned) I ran into a frined working one of the booths for the local running store. They were having a shoe lacing contest. Free pair to whoever does it the fastest throughout the course of the day. After I dropped the shoe for the second time I realized I'm better at running in them than lacing them. Guess I'll be buying the rest of my shoes. On the way out of the expo I saw a couple of guys I recognized from Thursdays group run so I thought I'd say hey. I knew one of them was running the full and one the half but I had no clue what their names were. This lead to one of my most blonde and awkward moments of my life. I approached and said "hey guys, I think we ran together Thursday, I'm Jordan" reaching out to shake hands. The first guy who has brillo pad like red hair and looks to be in his mid 20's says reaching out his hand "Oh yeah, Jordan". This is where it got awkward. No more words were exchanged while I waited for him to tell me his name, you know, the polite response when someone introduces themselves. After I stared blankly at him for a few seconds too long I realized he had just told me his name....I'm stupid. His name is ALSO Jordan. Did I mention I'm stupid. I've met one other Jordan in my life....when I was in Kindergarten. I realize there are plenty of us out there I'm just not used to meeting them in person and apparently it was too much for my small brain to comprehend. After we figured that simple dilema out we talked about the upcoming race. Jonathon, the other kid....the one not named Jordan and therefore less confusing was to run the full and "Jordan 2" was running the 1/2. Plot thickens. I'm slightly competitive from time to time. It happens and now I find out that number 2 (it's easier this way) who is basically the same age as me is not only running the same race, already attempted to Bogart my name but he is also shooting for the same time as I am! Challenge accepted! I should mention that he's a really nice guy and he didn't actually challenge me but in my head I had to beat him....for posterity sake. We were both aiming for 1:35:00 and both running our first half marathons.
     If you had asked me a couple days prior I would have told you I thought it would be no problem, and there were plenty of people I had run with saying the same thing. Then one girl runner I know who is crazy fast said in response to my goal time "wow, kind of ambitious!" WHAT!!! Of course then I start over analyzing EVERYTHING. maybe it is too fast, I mean I did have 6 weeks off....
     The night before the race a couple from the EPIC CREW had everyone over to the house for a spaghetti dinner. It was a good time, good food and good people. I had only met a handful or so at a few group runs so it was nice to meet more of the group in a more social setting.

Race Day
Race morning came bright and early. I met my friend Derek at the starting area. He was also running his first, but hadn't been training as much. We found my parents before too long and talked to them about where they were going to be on the course to give me a honey stinger packet. At this point I hadn't found a Gu flavor that didn't make me wanna yak. The honey stinger brand gel tastes just like it sounds. Honey. It can be a little on the sweet side so if you're not a big fan of sugary sweet flavor it probably wouldn't be for you. I went for a mile warm up and did some light stretching. Said goodbye to my parents and located a few EPIC members in the start corral. Most of them were running the full, but the races started and the same time and followed the same course til the split at 3 miles in. I lined up with a few that I knew were heading for the same pace I was planning on.

    1-3
     The first 2-3 miles is a steady downhill. It's not crazy steep but it's very easy to find yourself cruising along a lot faster than you want to for the beginning miles. Thankfully I had invested in a Garmin 210 the week before! There were plenty of times people were passing me on both sides in the early downhill miles and I had to constantly look at the watch and slow myself down so I wouldn't kill myself early on. I was with a good size pack for the first miles but when it split I found both the rest of the runners more sparse and spectators as well for a few miles.


4-8
   These middle miles seemed to cruise by. I saw my parents at mile 6 and grabbed my gel from them conveniently right before a water station. It's like we planned it that way or something ;-) My dad told me that a the guy in front of me was someone we knew, the father of a couple kids I went to high school with. I caught up with him and shared a couple words, some good luck and continued on. I was picking up my pace a bit and getting closer to 7 min. miles but not trying to push it too hard because there are 2 decent grade up hills in the second half. One just before mile 9 and one in the last half mile.

9-10
    Around mile 8.5 I knew what was coming. I had run this hill in high school cross country a couple of times and I had run a majority of the course the week before with my friend Brett. About 200 yards from the start of the hill I was running along with a kid I recognized from other races. I realized he was pacing someone which explained why he was so far back from the front. The year before he was a top 5 finisher in the same race. As I caught up to him I was feeling pretty good like I was moving at a good clip. Then out of nowhere two girls cruised past us all on our left and they started to storm up the hill! Show offs... my plan was to just keep the same pace through the top of the hill and keep right on at the summit. There isn't an immediate downhill though. That doesn't come for another mile. I passed the too show boaters 3/4 up the mountain hill and kept on cruising. over the next mile I realized there were 4 miles to go and I had dropped down to a 6:59 pace. I realized it was a fast pace for me but I still felt pretty good. I decided I was putting in a 4 mile push to the finish. I just kept telling myself I had to keep it up because it didn't matter if I hit 6:59 for one mile if I had to drop back down to an 8 min mile because of it.


10-Finish
    I mentioned earlier I had run most of the course the week before with Brett. When I reached mile 11 during the race I cursed Brett's name. I said we ran most of the course because we left out a section that went through a park. At the time he said you just go up ahead, turn left into the park down a hill and then back out to the road at the bottom of the last hill. he failed to mention it was 2 miles a mile ahead, then a mile through the park. At this point I was starting to feel fatigued but I was still cruising along and my 11th mile was 6:47. There was a nice downhill into the park and even though it was down hill, I knew there was an even steeper uphill within the next mile and half. I was starting to feel the pressure now and I see at the bottom of the hill a cone 100 meters ahead that we had to hairpin turn around. As I'm heading out to the cone I see a surprisingly familiar face. One I hadn't seen all morning. Jordan 2! and he was beating me! Surely I can't let this happen! Adrenaline boost go! I dropped my pace again with my renewed vigor and set my sights on the prize. Before exiting the park there was a huge group of spectators who had made a human tunnel and were cheering loud and proud for yours truly! I didn't know them and they didn't know me but I got the biggest rush of excitement and energy that start in my thighs and shimmied its way through my body before exploding on my face in the form of the biggest, cheesiest grin you'd ever seen. That was it, all I needed to carry me to the top of the impeding hill. I cruised up the hill passing a couple of people along the way. From the top it's just about half a mile to go. I caught Jordan 2 shortly after reaching the top. I looked at my watch when I got next to him and realized that short of an earthquake (highly unlikely) or a tornado (not as unlikely but not very probable) we were gonna beat our 1:35 goals. I was still cruising on the high I got from the human tunnel and I said "hey buddy lets go get that 1:35!" He told me we were going to kill it! I picked up my pace a bit and cruised down the road. Two turns remained. I saw my dad up ahead on the right with camera in hand cheering me on just like it was HS cross country all over again! There was a bit of a head wind in this last stretch. Strong enough to grab the bill of my hat and make it feel like it was pulling my head backwards. I took off my hat flung it to my dad and I was off! Nothing was stopping me now. I knew I was going to beat 1:35, now I was going to see by just how much. I don't know how many people I passed in the last stretch but I know it felt AMAZING I felt as I was flying to the finish and recorded a 1:32:46! I qualified for start corral B for the Chicago Marathon (my motivation for a 1:35). I found my parents in the crowd and we cheered Derek in as he finished strong under 2 hours.


    I went back out on the course to cheer on friends running the full after I had snacked a bit and hydrated. I decided in between the last water stop and the last hill, about a mile out was the best spot. After cheering a few people on I saw my friend Scott from the CREW come into the last water stop and he wasn't looking too good. I knew he was off the pace he was shooting for and he looked like he'd seen better days. I got him some water and told him he now had a personal escort to the finish line. we cruised up the hill and through the last mile. (as if I hadn't run enough already) I split off from him before the last turn to the finish and he kicked it in for a great finish. 


     Post race celebrations included tailgating in the parking lot with random strangers who needed help drinking some delicious micro brews. Who am I to turn down free beer! Best part is I was on my way to get my ID for the beer tent from my car when I ran into these friendly chaps and their fully stocked coolers. By the time I made it to the beer tent I was already 3 beers deep! Add that to the quickly rising heat and the race I'd just run and it was a good thing I had a driver to take me home! When I got to the tent the first person I recognized was one of my new friends Tim. He was sitting in the grass with a beer in one hand and a gauze covered bandaid on the inside of his elbow. Tim is a trooper, 20 minutes earlier I saw him on a stretcher with an IV in his arm; The reason for the gauze and bandaid! After showers and naps we all met up the bar for celebratory drinks and shenanigans! A great race to start off the season and I was looking forward to the next one. Little did I know at that point it would be a 25k the next Saturday!

EPIC CREW Members who ran the Kalamazoo Full and 1/2 Marathons

Pretty Sweet Bling, the ribbon is my favorite


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What recaps?

I realize outside of yesterdays post I've totally neglected this blog. That's all about to change! I got a new laptop, one that doesn't shut off on it's own when it feels like it! Hooray!!! This means I don't have to use my phone as my sole form of internet! Double Hooray!! Yesterday I kind of vaguely caught you up on the past year and while I was writing it I started reminiscing about the fun and not so much fun times I had so I've decided that over the next few weeks I'll post some recaps from the big races and all the sweaty drama that unrolled every step of the way. I've also got to say that I'm so in love with my laptop. It's way cooler than a desktop, I mean come on right now I'm half laying down on my couch as I type this. Couldn't do that with the DT...then again for the last 6 months couldn't reall do anything with the DT. This on the other hand allows me to realize how many different odd noises my dog makes and how much he twitches while sleeping as close to me as humanly possible lol. Silly boy, must be a good dream, hopefully he doesn't start attempting to "sleep run" like the dog I saw on youtube that runs into the wall while asleep because I'm pretty sure I'd be the wall he'd run into.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Time flies. It seems like it was yesterday I was beginning to train for my second marathon. Truth is it's been a full year! And a full year it was. Full of new friendships, family, work, goals and no shortage of races! In fact it has been my busiest year when it comes to races. In past years I took the winter off from running. I was never a fan of being cold (which sucks when you can't put on body fat to save your life) and the idea of running outside in it never appealed to me. This year was different though, I ran through the winter (until sidelined with pneumonia) and continued to train all summer! I ran more races and miles this year than ever before!

 5k
Shamrock 19:39
Oaklawn 19:21 (right after the 10k)
Blueberry fest 18:27 (new PR)

7k
Run to Climax 28:59

5 mile
Schoolcraft Firecracker 33:33

10k
Oaklawn 40:00

1/2 Marathon
Borgess Run for the Health of It 1:32:46
Sunburst Hall of Fame to Notre Dame 1:33:00 (hace calor!!!)
North Country Trail 1:48:27 (3rd overall!!!)

25k
5/3 Riverbank Run 1:47:43

Marathon
Chicago 5:04:00 (how about that wall!)
Indianapolis Monumental 3:27:48

They clearly weren't all success stories but I learned something from each one. Sunburst I learned how hot it can get in early June. Chicago I learned you can't not run for two weeks before a marathon because you're sick, not adjust your strategy at all and not end up on a cot at an aid station for almost an hour at mile 20! Oh and you'll surely walk the last 6 miles after you leave that aid station. Finally in Indy I learned how an easy pace at the beginning and negative splits (and a lot cooler weather) can make for a much more enjoyable marathon experience. I was honestly ready to throw in the towel after the Chicago debacle but I knew if I just played it smarter next time I could have a marathon to be proud of. I was right; The first week of November I finally completed a 26.2 mile trek around town that made me happy. I have to say too that it was a great race all around! The weather was perfect, the race was well organized and it was a beautiful course for the most part too. I'd never been to Indy before but I quickly found the architecture was quite beautiful. If you find yourself looking for a midwest fall marathon I definitely recommend it!

With the end of 2011 rapidly approaching I've been looking back at the past year. I made some goals for myself 12 months ago and I'm on the cusp of reaching one that should have been crushed a couple of months ago and right now it's coming down to the wire! I set a goal of 1000 miles for the year and I am currently 27 miles short of that with less than a week to go. I know that doesn't seem like it's going to be hard, that's what I thought too until the nagging, sometimes sharp pain in my hip decided to be so annoying during this mornings run that the planned 7 miles turned into a disappointing 1.5. I'm hoping that with some Ice and Ibuprofen coupled with a day of rest tomorrow I can be back on track Tuesday night. Fingers are crossed, wood has been knocked, salt has been tossed. C'mon hip don't fail me now! I should have been able to check this one off months ago but the pneumonia in March that would't allow me to run for a month and a half and the part where I only ran six times between Chicago and Indy didn't help either. Another goal I had was staying smoke free and I'm very happy to announce that I have done just that and it's not looking like that's going to change anytime soon. I managed to meet a lot of the goals I set out for myself. There were a few I fell short on, and some I just didn't even come close to lol. I met plenty of new runners thanks to the Epic Crew and Kalamazoo Area Runners; I ran at least one race in every distance I'd planned on; I ran races in three different states; And I kept track of every mile I ran...in at least three different places...you know... for posterity sake. Looks like this week I'll have to work on some goals for the next 12 months.

I hope you all had plenty of joy over the last dozen pages of the calendar. I know I did! I'll leave you with some pictures to help illustrate the good times.

Epic Crew after the Kalamazoo Marathon and Borgess 1/2 Mar. 
 Having Fun During the Bakers Dozen Beer Run 13.1
 Wearing womens sunglasses after 4 hours of drinking following the Bakers Dozen
Having some fun at the start of the NCTR


Final sprint in the NCTR 1/2 "The Battle for 3rd"
Post race partying has been underway for 5 hours and 10 minutes at this point haha


Chicago Marathon before the "wall"
Made the front page of the Chicago Sun Times for the Marathon! No BS!

I love Halloween! Animallllll!
2nd Anual Epic Crew Bloody Mary Run


Finishing the Blueberry Fest 5K

The Loot from AG wins in the Oaklawn 10K and 5K

Bottle of wine and a big ass medal 3rd overall North Country Trail 1/2 Mar

Finishing 5/3 Riverbank 25K
Finsishing Indy Monumental!

Indy Bling!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Oh Hi There... Here I am

So... It's been a while.... I haven't forgotten you, and I'll do my best to catch you up. It seems like so much has happened since we sat down together! Thankfully I'll start off by letting you know that I survived what I'm referring to as the "Pneumonia Plague". In the end I had to take a good four and a half weeks off from running completely which shut the door on my plans for running the Kalamazoo Marathon on May 8th. Fear not I did not give up or quit. I just backed it down a little and with some help from recently found running buddies I ran the Half Marathon instead and surpassed my goal time! Success! Who are these new running buddies and what was this amazing goal time you ask yourself! Hang on I'm getting there! Lets go back about a month, it twas the week before my Birthday and with the Kzoo race rapidly approaching in less than a month I finally gave in to what I already knew to be true. From all the time off from being sick I wasn't going to be ready and comfortable with running the full 26.2 especially since my longest run of the year was one 15 mile run the day before I came down with the plague for the first time. So I sent in an email and requested a transfer to the half marathon. The race director obliged and informed me that I was a quitter officially registered for the Borgess Run for the Health of it Half Marathon (hell of a long name right?) So anyway I was talking to a friend on facebook who had also been training for the Kzoo marathon and told him the news of my down grade and how my next marathon would now be Chicago in the fall. Upon hearing this information he began to tell me about start corrals at Chicago and how I could qualify for a better one using the Kzoo half marathon to shoot for Corral B. Now I was intrigued and once again had found renewed excitement for the looming race. I then began to research these illusive start Corrals and discovered that if I could run under 1:35:59 in the half then I would qualify for Corral B and not have to start in the throngs of 35,000 plus people! The only question now was could I actually do it? I wasn't sure with month + layoff from running. It was going to take some work. I did the math and figured out that I would have to average 7:15ish miles in order to qualify for B. The start corral info wasn't the only gem of knowledge that my friend bequeathed to me that night! He also spoke of the wondrous people that he's met and has been running with all winter! "What?" I exclaimed! "you mean I don't have to do this all on my own?!?" (I tend to be slightly not outgoing when it comes to meeting new people...they pretty much have to find me lol) So anyway he told me all about this group of lads and lass' that meet almost every day of the week in some form or another for group runs all over the city! They call themselves  The EPIC Crew and it is a group of like minded runners ranging from wicked fast to well.... slow and everything in between. I decided I had to check this group run thing out and boy oh boy I'm glad I did! This is what my running has been missing! It's just like being on the high school cross country team only it's legal when we drink beer after races now! haha. I've been running with the group for about a month now and already my race calendar for the summer has more than doubled! I'm uber excited for the coming year in running. I've been running with a group of guys who are crazy fast but will tone it down a little for me a couple times a week (usually because it's their second run of the day! CRAZIES!) and they have been giving me just enough of a push to keep me improving, and improving I have been! So now I know you've been wondering. "How did my first Half Marathon go?" I killed it!!! I was shooting for 1:35:59 and I did one better! 1:32:46! I'll give a race recap probably in my next post because this is probably getting long, but I'll let you know that I didn't stop with the half because the next weekend we were back out there and I was "convinced" to run a 25k (first ever) up in Grand Rapids (the largest 25K in the US!) How did it go? I'll let you wonder that til next time. So in summary, my computer still blows and shuts off on it's own, I survived the "plague", I'm still running, I've made new friends, and you'll see me starting the Chicago Marathon this fall from "Start Corral B"!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pneumonia Take 2 ugh...

So just a quick update, after taking time off a couple of weeks ago due to the stupid pneumonia I ran on a Friday and then raced the Shamrock 5k. I took a day off and Ran that Monday, two days off then ran 9 miles last Thursday. I felt great during the run Thursday but started to notice Friday my throat was feeling a little scratchy again. I loaded up on the vitamins and OJ and took it easy over the weekend hoping it would go away on it's own if I just acted appropriately. No such luck, the scratchy throat was red by Sunday and the nose was plugged and running all at the same time. Sadly last night the cough returned so I phoned the Doc this morning and he wrote me another prescription and again told me to take it easy. So... here we are again... takin it easy and off from running for another week... at least. I want to make sure this thing is licked this time so I'm going to be sure give it the time it needs. Hopefully since I got meds before it got crazy bad this time it'll be gone quicker and not come back so easily. Needless to say this blows. Grrr stupid immune system.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Take that Pneumonia

I've never had pneumonia before so I had no clue how long it lasts. Every other time I've had a cough/cold it would last for a couple days maybe 4 or 5 tops. So when I kept hearing from friends that they've had it last weeks and even a month before needless to say I was a little worried. Only a little because I tend to think of myself in fairly high regards and surely my immune system coupled with the antibiotics would have this thing under control and out of my system within a week. Well we are going on almost two weeks now and there is still a linger of cough. This has not been good to my training. Not good at all seeing as how the wheezing and coughing forced me to take 11 days off! Not cool pneumonia...not cool at all. Being the stubborn person (stupid) I decided I was feeling better enough on Friday that I would try a couple mile run after work and if that went well then I was going to run my first race of the year on Saturday. So work came and went on Friday and on went the running clothes. We have had pretty good weather lately which has been so refreshing. I knocked out 2.5 miles being sure to not over do it. I felt good, no burning of the lungs or anything and only a couple little coughs after it was all over. (by the way if you're sick see your Dr. and let them tell you when you can run again don't take my story as any bit of advice. I'm no professional) I ran a couple of 50 meter sprints after the run to get my legs used to a quicker pace again since they've been dormant for almost two weeks. I stayed in Friday night and watched a movie. Not necessarily because I was resting up and being responsible but more because when I sat down on the couch to kill some time I fell asleep and didn't wake up until 11 o'clock lol. That happens more than you'd guess too. I woke up for my alarm Saturday morning and had slight mental debate on whether running the Shamrock 5k was a good idea or not. Again being stubborn and remembering how bummed I was that I missed the race last year due to the flu I decided it was a good idea. I wasn't going to let illness get the better of me this year! I had originally been planning on shooting for a PR in this race but I knew that was now a long shot and basically out of the question after my interruption in training. I think most people would say that's a good thing because it takes some of the pressure off but I'm stubborn and still was going to push myself to run my best. The weather was decent, a little chill in the air with temps only reaching 34ish at the start of the race so I wore a thin longsleeve base layer and my longsleeve Nike halfzip, shorts and a hat. There was a decent turnout of people decked out in green, almost 600 runners which was good because this is still a fairly new race and I'm pretty sure that's a record high. I recognized a few of the faster guys who always kick my butt in races toeing the front of the line so i lined up a few people back in the pack. The gun went off and I realized that right behind the "local elites" was the always present group of kids who sprint the first 50 meters and then slow down to a crawling pace and have now become running obstacles. After avoiding running over any little ones and a few more minutes I crossed the mile mark at 6:10! I felt good, strong and no problems. I was passing people still and was happy with my pace. About a half mile later I started to notice a little bit of congestion but kept trucking on. I could hear feet behind me and I was determined to not let anyone pass me. At 12:30 I crossed the 2 mile mark and my amazing arithmetic abilities told me that I had slowed down slightly. The negative thoughts were starting to creep in and I kept thinking about the 11 days I hadn't run and wondering if my lungs would hold out. I could see the next runner ahead of me and just kept focusing on not letting him get any smaller in my vision. The course has a few hills and of course the biggest one starts at the 3 mile mark. Fantastic large hill + tired legs + tired congested lungs = pathetic kick finish. Lucky for me the people behind me weren't speedy finishers either and they didn't pick me off. I crossed the finish in 19:39! Hell yes I'll take that! They soon after posted the results and I found out I was second in my age group so I was gettin a medal! Take that pneumonia! Today they posted the full results online and I was surprised to find out that I finished 12th overall out of 579! Needless to say I'm happy with the results of my race and my lungs/body still feels pretty good today so it looks like I can resume training for the marathon. Obviously I'm going to have to modify my plan slightly to make up for the time off. I'm not sure how yet but I'm going to try and find a happy balance of easing back into it and still getting in enough miles to get me ready for the starting line.  There's only 48 days to go! Hope everyone else that ran this weekend had some awesome adventures!
Sweet AG second place medal

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Really! Again!

St. Paddy's day is Thursday and seeing as how it is my favorite holiday of the year and just two days later is the first race I've got scheduled this season I should be pretty pumped. Right? I should; yes but I'm not as excited as I was last Monday afternoon. So let's back up to last Monday afternoon and see where things went south. Monday work went well, my legs were a little sore from Sundays 15 miler but I was okay with that because the run went in my opinion fantastically. After work I went out for my planned 5 mile run and it too went well, no pain in my shin or anywhere else so I was feeling pretty good. As I was getting ready for bed Monday I started noticing my throat getting scratchy... No biggie I thought just a little dry from the cooler weather. A restless night of tossing and turning was followed by an equally as pitiful Tuesday. The scratchy throat had now become a full on cold with all the fixings. Cough, congestion, sinus headache, runny nose etc... So I made struggled through the rest of the work day, being as careful as possible to not pass on my germs to co-workers. I got home took some nyquil and began the second straight night of tossing and turning. Welcome to Wednesday where things started to seem better, but as the day dragged on the cough started getting worse and was now starting to feel like my lungs were burning with every hack. On a plus note, all this coughing almost counts as a decent ab workout.
At least it felt that way! Wed. night went the same as the last two and as I laid in bed wishing I was asleep at 4 am I decided I was going to have to call in to work and go see the doctor. I forgot to mention I had read an article in the newspaper Wed. that stated there was an extremely high amount of Strep and hay fever cases reported in Kzoo. The funny part was when I called my manager to let him know I wasn't coming in I got his voice mail and since I hadn't uttered a word in at least 8 hours the first thing that came out of my mouth promptly after the beep was about 5 seconds worth of the nastiest hacking and coughing you have ever heard. I had to pause for a moment after I finished because I totally forgot what I was trying to tell him in the message. After finally spitting out the fact that I was not coming in and was going to the doctor I hung up and decided it would be a good idea to text him and advise him that in the best interest of his hearing he should probably ignore the first 5 seconds of the message lol. I was able to get into the Dr. Thursday morning to find out that not only did I have a fever (which explains why I kept waking up sweating in the night) but I also have pneumonia :-( F me. So the good Dr. put me on antibiotics, gave me a note to take Fri off work and advised me to take it easy this weekend and see how things were on Mon. No problem because I didn't feel like doing anything this weekend but getting over this crap.

So now it's Sunday night and I spent the  weekend doing just that, laying on the couch watching movies and whatever sports were on t.v. I'm not a big fan of basketball but thankfully there was no shortage of games to watch to fill time. For the most part I'm feeling much better and my fever is gone. I still have a wicked cough and a fair amount of chest congestion which I'm hoping will pass soon, but I keep hearing from people who have had pneumonia that has lasted weeks and weeks so I'm hoping I just special and a quick healer. Needless to say I haven't run since last Monday, which has been one of the hardest parts of all of this. I can't wait to get back out there and get back to knocking out some miles but at the same time I don't want to do too much too soon and end up back on the couch. Grrr. I'm also severely bummed that it looks like Saturdays Shamrock 5k (which I was going to try and PR at) isn't in my best interest. I'm UBER bummed because last year illness sidelined me from this same race! The quick version is the night before the race I came down with the flu and spent the whole weekend hurling my guts out! Have I totally ruled out running Sat? No not totally, because I'm stubborn and I'm not ready to concede defeat just yet, so we'll see how the week goes. Here's to hoping this hacking and coughing clears up sooner rather than later so I can get on my merry little running way!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Extra! Extra! Read All About It! I Bought New Shoes!

I recently realized that I had been running in the same shoes since roughly....last March... I know! holy long time Batman! Granted I didn't do a whole lot of running over the summer but they were still over due for retirement. I think they definitely may have had a hand (foot?) in causing my shin pain that showed up in recent weeks. So I'd been doing research online about all the new shoes that are on the market. The last pair I bought were just the same as my previous pair of Brooks Glycerine 7's but I was unable to find any in my size this time around. Not surprisingly though since the 8's have been out for over a year now and their replacement is already due to come out this summer! I had grown rather fond of my Brooks and have grown to like most of their products that I've tried so I was hoping I could try on a pair of 8's and fall equally if not more in love with them as I was with my 7's. Life though does not typically work out this way. Not even with running shoes. Not for me at least. In fact of the four different pairs of shoes I tried on they ranked second to last with the mizuno's only being worse due to a funky strap that holds the tongue of the shoe down that felt awful on the sides of my foot. So now that my lead off favorite was out, surely I would end up with a pair of New Balance shoes because they've always fit well. EHH! Wrong again, better than the Brooks but the heel felt awfully loose and tall on the 1080's. This is quite the quandary, the two shoe brands I've been happiest with over my entire running career  which goes all the way back to 7th grade have failed me! Before trying on any shoes I would have even thought that a pair of Mizuno's could have been in my future because I've had decent luck with them in the past but as we already learned they were quickly dismissed.  So what's left you ask? Quite possibly the last brand I would have ever guessed. No it has nothing to do with the age of the company because they've been around the block many times. Simply because I've never, I repeat never enjoyed a pair of their running shoes and it's not for lack of trying. So what brand that was once dead to me has possibly been given new life, or at least a shot at new life?????? Adidas! I couldn't believe it and I was almost shocked and taken back when the side by side comparison left one clear winner. The underdog of all underdogs. I've put three good runs in on the new kicks and I'm very pleased to say that so far so good! They felt great all throughout my 15 miler yesterday (14.92 miles as my sister was quick to point out grrr...), which I must add went better than I could have hoped for all around! The weather was great with sun shining, and a gentle breeze. To top it all off no shin pain while running since the beginning of Friday's run which went away within the first 1.5 miles! Here's to hoping this is the start of a beautiful friendship between me and my new (already not so shiny anymore thanks to today's mud puddles) Adidas Adistar Ride 3's. Well at least until these one's wear out and I'm once again back to being completely wrong about what I thought I knew about running shoes!
picture source

While picking out my shoes I also picked up a couple of energy gels. I've primarily used GU brand in the past but the guy helping me out with my shoes said that if I like honey (duh who doesn't?) then I should try out the Honey Stinger brand gels. So I took one along on yesterdays long run and I've got to say I'm a fan. I had the "gold" flavor...(is gold a flavor?) Guess what it basically tasted like honey (sorry GU but sometimes your flavors are a little nauseating especially mid run in my opinion) so that was an immediate plus. I could also feel a nice pick me up after ingesting the sugary treat so I'd say that's a W! Oh and another first for me, I took my camelbak out for it's maiden voyage. Apparently I didn't clean it well enough before the first use which was evident by the not so great chemically/rubber taste to the water. My ignorance aside it worked well and I was pleased to not have to stash bottles along the course or plan ahead to stop at random businesses mid run and beg for water! I have the Camelbak Fairfax and it holds up to 50 oz of fluid which I feel is a good size because it carries enough at least I think enough so far and it's not overly cumbersome or awkward to wear while running. This may change during the heat of summer but I'll keep ya posted.  Oh and I'm still considering getting some trail shoes soon too because I'd like to get in a lot more off road running this summer for a change of scenery. I'll keep you posted on any new developments on that front as details emerge!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

So That Was February...

2  months down, 66 days to go! How did the shortest month of the year go? Well lets just say I'm glad it's short and I'm glad it's over! It started off well enough, the weather was actually warming up a bit and it was looking like spring was almost here. Then one dark and Tuesday morning I was at the indoor track all geared up and looking forward to my half mile repeats. They had become a nice ritual and the feeling of accomplishment that accompanied me throughout the course of the day was pretty awesome. About half way through  my warm-up I started noticing my left shin was feeling tight and somewhat sore. "No worries" I told myself, it's just a little sore from the weekend runs is all. So I stretched out and while I stretched I noticed it was progressing from somewhat tight and sore to an actual pain. Grrr. So I jogged an extra lap as an extended warm-up and it seemed to loosen up. "Score" I thought. So I started my repeats and didn't notice the pain in the straights so much, maybe a tingle. In the turns on the other hand I could definitely feel more than a tingle. Not cool! While at work that day I started to notice that if I was crouched down in a squatting position (which lately has been necessary at work more frequently) F me the pain in the shin is 10 times worse than it had been that morning! Well I certainly found a way to get the job done without crouching down! Now my mind was trying to think of what it could be. I came up with two most likely culprits. Not excited about either but praying for one over the other. I decided it was most likely shin splints (please oh please let it be shin splints!) or a stress fracture beginning... I've had both before (stress fractures were in both feet in high school so slightly different). Luckily Wednesday is an off day anyway so Tuesday and Wed. I wore my compression socks for some time at night and iced the hell out of em! I jogged a little Thursday but could still feel a sharp pain in the front of my shin. I decided at this time that some rest was in order. So I took a couple days off and then resumed running again the following Mon. This time on the treadmill though. Much to my enjoyment I only noticed the tight feeling for the first half mile or so and then it was gone. It came back a little a couple hours later but I took the fact that it didn't hurt while running as a good sign. I decided to take some time off from the indoor track and opted to do my repeats on the treadmill, thus avoiding the almost constant left hand turns that make up half of the track. I'm beginning to think the two things may be related since it's only that inside leg that has been troublesome. I decided to up it on the treadmill from half repeats to full mile repeats. They went great and running them on the treadmill was almost entirely pain free which was a good sign. again I took some days off and rocked out the compression socks and kept up with the icing. I returned to the roads Monday night for 4 1/4 miles and then mile repeats again on the treadmill last night. I felt pretty good on both runs and haven't noticed to much discomfort anymore so hopefully things are getting back on track!

With the extra recovery days and the short month my mileage was down considerably from January but here's the numbers from February anyway.

Miles Ran - 72

Longest run - 10.10

Highest Weekly Mileage - 28

Races - goose egg

Treadmill Runs - 4

Current Shoe - Brooks Glycerine 7 (to be updated this week...also a good possible cause for the shin pain)

Most Listened to Pandora Station - Zac Brown Band

Looking Forward to the Most - St. Patty's Day and Spring!!!!!!

Upcoming Race - Shamrock 5k 3/19/11

Days til Marathon Numero Dos - 66

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Winter Weather Wednesday AND A Bit About January

This car was a little buried at work eh?

January was cold and snowy but it's over now and we're one month closer to spring! (even if it doesn't feel that way after last nights blizzard!) So here is how January shaped up, and I think it went pretty well for a start to the year

Miles Ran - 107

Longest Run - 8 miles

Highest Mileage Week - 31

Weight at End of Month - 151

Races - 0

Treadmill Runs - 1

Current Shoe - Brooks Glycerine 7

Most Listened to Pandora Station While Running - Eric Church

Pre-Run Snack - Toy Story Fruit Snacks and Apple Cinnamon Nutragrain Bar

Current Guilty Pleasure - Snyders of Hanover Honey Mustard and Onion Pretzel Pieces! They're like little bits of Heaven!
 
Reward for Getting up Early for Speedwork - Panera French Toast Bagel Breakfast Sandwich

Running Want - Trail shoes! Thinking about The Brooks Cascadia

Newest Bit of Excitement - Registering for Chicago 2011!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ben's Cabin in da Moonlight part II

Following my afternoon run and shower on Saturday I got back into vacation mode! On the stove was a GINORMOUS pot of chili cooking on one burner and a perfectly blended spiked cider on the other. What better way to warm up than with a couple glasses of warm cidery booze! The chili still had a few more hours of simmering left so I snacked on some fruit and granola bars for my post run dish.
I'm the Bald Bearded one on the right

Chili Dinner

Our footprints onto the lake

Ben and I

Random new beer we discovered on a beer run!

Obie likes to dance

Someone fell down haha

Bloody Mary anyone?
We had every intention of doing some ice fishing but were lacking in a few key supplies apparently so that never happened. Instead we spent the rest of the afternoon watching classic movies like Dumb and Dumber, and Canadian Bacon. Okay so maybe I'm using the term classic very loosely but hey they were great. After a few games of Apples to Apples and a couple more drinking games the long awaited chili was ready to be served and let me tell you it was worth the wait! My friend Ben is one hella good cook and I'm pretty sure most of the time he just throws shit together. I managed to eat myself into pain three times throughout the rest of the night by devouring copious amounts of chili with a healthy dollop of sour cream and some shredded cheddar. That's right it was that good!
"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy."

I'd also like to point out that I wasn't the only one who did this. During dinner and the subsequent trips to the chili pot we watched a couple bits of the Red Green Show, which if you don't know what that is then you are so missing out of some good ole Canadian humor. After learning new uses for duct tape we watched one of the greatest movies you could watch while in a cabin in the winter in Michigan while drinking beer....That's right the one and only Escanaba in Da Moonlight! Written by and starring Michigan native Jeff Daniels (who was also in our other feature film of the day Dumb and Dumber) this movie is a funny slightly exaggerated tale of a family of Yooper deer hunters on opening day. Between the Canadian accents in Red Green, and Canadian Bacon, plenty of beer and now the exaggerated accents in Escanaba it was no time at all before we were all rockin yooper/Canadian accents eh! We finished the night off with more outdoor festivities on the lake which was basically just running around throwing snow at each other and playing with the dogs.
It was a great weekend and when I got back home Sunday I knocked out 8 miles with no real problems. I had some slight soreness still in my ankle but today I didn't notice it so hopefully that's that. I took yesterday off from running and I think that made all the difference. This morning my indoor speed work went off without a hitch. Much better than last weeks debacle! I'm glad to not have to run again til Thursday seeing as how we are currently going through blizzard by every definition of the word! If you notice on the left side under the upcoming races heading you'll notice I added the Chicago Marathon!
That's right I'm all registered and looking forward to knockin out 26.2 in the Windy City! It also looks like our Ragnar Relay team is almost all set so I'm pretty stoked about that bit of good news as well! The race calendar is beginning to fill up nicely! I'd like to find a half marathon at some point between Ragnar and Chicago so I'll have to start looking into that. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

Ben's Cabin in da Moonlight part I

The ingredients for a great weekend

  • 8 Friends
  • 2 dogs
  • 1 cabin on a frozen  lake
  • 1 extra large pot of chili
  • A whole lot of beer
Mix gently and enjoy!

This past weekend was a great mini vacation with some friends to a cabin in the middleish part of lower Michigan. We had intentions of ice fishing on the frozen lake but that just didn't happen. What did happen was a great time was had by all and I still managed to get both of my planned runs in this weekend!
Friday evening Obie and I met up with my friends Travis, Brent and his wife Caesy at their place and then we all car pooled about two and a half hours north to a small lake near Clare, Michigan. It was close to eleven by the time we got there but watching Super Troopers on the laptop during the drive made it fly by like no time at all! The four people who went up before us had been there a few hours already so it was time for us to catch up. We spent the rest of the evening playing a few drinking games, and running around on the frozen lake.

Saturday morning hit me over the head like a hammer so maybe we played more than just a few drinking games. After a delicious breakfast of eggs, toast and some sort of gravy. While everyone continued to wake up and started drinking bloody marys and beer, I started to attempt to hydrate and fuel up for my run. My one condition I made with myself before deciding to go on this trip was that I had to...absolutely had to get my runs in. While I hydrated I started reading the latest issue of Runners World which lucky for me arrived Friday afternoon. Since it was getting close to 1:00 already I knew it was now or never so I suited up and headed out the door. My friend Ben who's cabin we were at informed me that the road the cabin was on made a two mile loop around the lake so I decided I would run three laps and see if I felt like a fourth or not. When I started out I felt rather sluggish and my head was still pounding but I put myself in this position so I was going to have to deal with it. Thankfully I remembered to pack my Yak Traks! I haven't worn them too often when running close to home because the road has been mostly clear but up this two mile loop of road was covered in snow and the only "plowing" done is however much snow gets packed down when cars drive over it. One thing Ben didn't mention was that there were about three fairly decent hills on this circle of road and they definitely brought the difficulty factor of the run up a bit. The next bit of challenge came from the four dogs who were absent of any restraints that felt the need to chase me down the road when I passed their domiciles. Two were actually pretty cute, but two were anything but and I actually thought at one point I may have a problem on my hands but luckily I was worried for nothing. My phone running app wouldn't work without a cell signal apparently and I left my watch at home so I'm not sure of the time for the run but it felt like a good work out. The only thing I'm not liking is the soreness I now feel in the tendon that runs down the outside of my right ankle to my foot. I doubt it's anything serious and is just from the added stress of the uneven terrain but never the less I shall keep an eye on it.
I felt pretty good that I kept good on my word and got my workout in and could now enjoy the rest of the weekend without worrying about it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Once, Twice, Three Times a Failure

      Today is Tuesday and that for the past three weeks has meant getting up early and taking my run indoors at WMU's indoor track for some half mile repeats. Due to a series of early morning stupidity that didn't happen as planned today. I set my alarm last night two actually one for 5:20 and one for 5:30 in case I miss the first one. (which happens more than it should) Setting two alarms works great if you actually turn both of them on.
     -Fail Numero Uno- When the first alarm went off this morning I simply turned it off instead thinking I had a back up should I fall asleep before getting out of bed. Well I fell asleep and the alarm that was not on did not go off. Obviously. Luckily I woke up at 5:37 anyway so I technically only lost 7 minutes. No big deal I got ready a little quicker than normal, grabbed my things I had set out the night before and was out the door. I was in a good mood because even with the slight over sleepage I was still about 5-10 minutes ahead of last week just like I wanted to be.
     -Fail Numero Dos- Halfway to the track I realized I had everything I needed....except for my running shoes. While dropping numerous F-bombs I promptly turned the car around to race home and get the shoes that were sitting on the basement steps where they had been drying out from last nights run. Okay got the shoes, heading back to the track, still trying to stay positive. The 10 minute buffer I had is gone but that's okay, just motivation to get those repeats done quicker. No worries I got this, I've got everything I need and I'm almost there.
     -Final Fail- I arrive at the parking lot that usually has a number of cars with the ever so runner popular 26.2 and 13.1 bumper stickers proudly displayed. Strange none of these vehicles are here, in fact the only cars in the parking lot are the two maintenance vehicles. I park and walk up to the building only to find one of Westerns sports teams is having team practice on the indoor track! I hang my head return to my car and suddenly I remember that when I looked at the schedule for the Tuesday morning indoor runs that there was one Tuesday that was absent from the list. Today. Tuesday. January. 25th. I proceed to drop an F-bomb that would rival the atom bomb. I thought about just running on the schools outdoor track but 20 degrees doesn't go well with singlet and shorts. Positive thinking has officially been thrown out the window and I'm so bummed. I returned home for the second time this morning and plopped down on my couch completely disappointed and thinking that this is going to be one of those days. after a couple of minutes of self loathing I looked at the clock and realized that I still had enough time, if I hurry, to change into some outdoor appropriate clothing and I can do my repeats outdoors through the neighborhood with help from my phone GPS. It wouldn't be perfect but it was my only way of salvaging my morning. I changed quicker than David Spade on the airplane in Tommy Boy and was out the door. The slush and general shitty road conditions were less than ideal for speed work but it would have to suffice. I finished my repeats, stretched, showered and was off to work with just barely enough time to reward myself with my Panera bagel sandwich! Okay I may have been two minutes late but in my mind it was totally worth it! I was in dire need of a pick me up and from then on the day carried on without a hitch. Which is good too because I'm generally a pretty easy going person and not much gets to me but man this morning I don't know if I could have taken one more setback with out flippin out! Haha Luckily looking back on it and realizing there wasn't really any harm I've been able to laugh about it and have learned a lesson to always check the schedule the night before! Shoes always make sure you have your shoes too. And turn the alarm on don't just set the time. There that's enough lessons for today. Hope everyone else had a smoother morning than I did!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Step #1 to avoid stupid injuries -turn on the lights!

      Last night I went out for my first of many marathon pace runs. Since I'm shooting for 3:30 marathon that breaks down to 8 minute miles. nice, easy round numbers! After work I set out for my six miles at 8 min pace and did so quite well if I don't say so myself. I ended up running 6.25 miles in 49:33 which works out to about 7:55 pace so pretty darn close! Pacing is always something I've struggled with in the past so this year I'm going to really try and focus on running the pace that I want to and not let outside influences change it too much. The biggest thing is going to be keeping it under control during races, I tend to get caught up in the moment and take off like a greased up deaf guy on company picnic day! By the end of the race that usually bites me in the buttocks so this year we are going to work on that every week. Maybe I'll come up with a mantra or something...yeah that sounds good, I think I'll do that.
      Later last night I was walking through my poorly lit hallway (poorly lit because I didn't turn on a light) and tripped over my sleeping dog who blends in with the dark like he's a shadow. This resulted in me flailing arms and legs around like a marionette who's strings have been cut thus kicking a door jam with my right foot. The last two toes on my right foot to be exact. It hurt like a son of a bisnitch! I hobbled into my room and plopped down on my bed praying that I wouldn't look down to find a busted toe or two. Thankfully other than a little swelling and a whole lot of pain it didn't look too terrible. I went to bed last night hoping that nothing was broken since I've been told there really isn't anything you can do for a broken toe. I contemplated the possibility of just cutting off a toe if it was broken because I'm sure that would heal faster and possibly hurt less when running.....hmmm that may be crazy talk.... This morning I woke to find the swelling had mostly subsided and in it's place a decent looking bruise. Still sore and it continued to stay sore throughout the day but it also started to feel better as the day progressed so I'm not too worried about it any more. Never the less I'm going to take today off and give it some time to heal a little more. I'd rather get in my long run miles this weekend instead of a couple today. So instead I'll do some strength training today and hit the road tomorrow and Sunday.
Looks pretty good tonight compared to this morning

       Hope everyone had a great Friday and your weekends are filled with awesomeness!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Quiet Down Debbie, I'm Busy Being Awesome

      As much as I love running, sometimes it seems like the last thing I want to do, or the last thing I should do at that moment. There are mornings I wake and feel so comfortable in bed that getting another hour or two of sleep seems like a much better idea than getting in a few miles. Or maybe it's the afternoon, or after work and I'm feeling sluggish, rushed, stressed or any combination of the three. There have been plenty of times where I've actually dreaded going running. Some of those times I've given in. Over the years there have been quite a few times I've given in to the Debbie Downer attitude. Recently though I've come to realize that so far every time that I've managed to shake some sense into Debbie and get my derriere out the door I've not once regretted it. The same is not true for the times I've let Debbie win. Take this past Tuesday as an example. The alarm went off at 5:30 stirring me from my glorious slumber. ~snooze~ "just ten more minutes". Ten minutes later the all to familiar and annoying "melody" of beeps accompanied by the low tone of the phone vibrating again interrupt my sanctuary of sleep. After a few moments of half asleep internal debate on whether or  not to get out of my cozy warm bed I stretch out and slink out from under my covers and stumble to find my running clothes that I've set out the night before. Which by the way if I hadn't done, I definitely wouldn't have won the debate that took place moments before. I've found I need to have everything ready to go for the next morning like clockwork so that I have no excuses for not getting around early and quickly. After letting the dog out and giving him some food I'm out the door, into the garage and into the car. Sh!t where's my watch?!? I can't do half mile repeats without my watch I think to myself. Yes even after the careful planning of the night before I still managed to forget something. Oops. I scrambled back inside collected the forgotten watch and was back in the car. Welcome to Michigan winter; the roads are total crap. No asphalt here just a wintry mix of slush, snow and ice. This coupled with the press of the snooze button, and the forgotten watch has added up to arriving at Westerns indoor track ten minutes later than I wanted to. The previous week I cut my workout one repeat short due to time restraints and I was starting to stress that it might happen two weeks in a row! Never the less I ran my warm-up and started my repeats feeling somewhat fresh which was nice because I wasn't too pleased with the previous nights workout. (Monday night I struggled through 2.5 miles on the dreadmill at my parents house. I planned on knocking out 3-4 miles but not even the Billy Joel Pandora station could keep me content running on that contraption of boredom!) By the time I was finishing up my second repeat I had almost entirely forgotten about how rushed/stressed I was feeling. Now my mind was bouncing back and forth between upcoming tasks of the day, the pace I was running, and plans for the upcoming year. I felt great throughout the remainder of the workout, finishing all six repeats with time for a couple lap cool-down and some stretching. On my way to Panera to pick up a french toast bagel sandwich (my bribe to myself for getting up early and running) all I could think about was how great I felt and what an amazing feeling of accomplishment I had. I know some of you may be thinking "dude you got up a little early and ran a few laps....la di frickin da!" Well guess what for me it's a big accomplishment so eff off already! Ha ha. I'm just kidding I wouldn't say that. But seriously eff off. This is my blog and I'm not a morning person. So back to where I started, if you can find a way to silence that lazy ass inside of you who answers to the name of Debbie Downer then trust me you will soon be enjoying a delicious french toast bagel sandwich (or whatever else you bribe yourself with because seriously who would get out of bed early without some sort of bribe?) while realizing who AWESOME you are. So there you go. Tell that B!tch Debbie to zip it and go out and be awesome!
      What do you do to motivate yourself when it seems like you're fighting an uphill battle against your inner demon?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Random Ramblings

I realized something today while running. My birthday is April 26th. I knew that part already. The part I realized is that this year I will be turning 26 on the 26th! My golden birthday! Then I realized something else, the Kalamazoo Marathon is May 8th which is two weeks after my birthday. So I've decided that instead of doing much on my actual birthday to celebrate, instead what better way to celebrate turning 26 than by running 26.2? I couldn't think of one so I'll push back the birthday celebration two weeks and get everyone to come out after the marathon for some well deserved drinks. This might actually work as a shameless ploy to get my friends out to cheer on the marathon. It's a two-fer.
This weekends runs went pretty well, six miles yesterday and eight miles today brought the weeks total to 31. Since it snowed quite a bit Friday night I decided to avoid the slush covered roads and drove to the parking lot at the trail head a couple miles from home. Due to construction there is a half mile detour from the parking lot to the trail. Now you've got two options on the detour, sidewalk or the bike path on the shoulder of the road. Guess what, both options sucked and were covered in 4 inches of slush. Awesome. I trudged through the muck the whole time hoping that the trail was in better condition. Lucky for me it was! Though it didn't look like it had been plowed in a few days the snow was packed down and less than an inch deep so running on it wasn't terrible. I finished strong and felt great. After my run I tried out some new workouts from a Runners World article Fully Fit. It didn't seem to bad and wasn't that difficult....except the wrestler bridges. Holy eff they were a struggle and today I can definitely feel the muscles in my back.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Winter Weather Wednesday

Saw this little lady on the side of the trail during Sunday's run

I was surprised she let me get this close!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hood To Coast

I just got back from seeing the movie "Hood to Coast" and I hope you were able to see it as well. It was amazing! One of the most emotionally moving films I've ever seen, and yet it kept an even keel by being comical and inspiring at the same time. I hope it comes out on DVD because it is instantly a favorite for me. For those of you who have no clue what I'm talking about I'll try and fill you in without giving everything away because well that would be a dick move.
          Hood To Coast is the worlds largest relay race. It covers 197 miles in Oregon from Mount Hood to the Pacific Ocean. 2011 marks the 30th anniversary of the race and it has grown to a limit of 1,250 teams, each team having between 8 and 12 members. Each member of the team will run three non-consecutive legs which range from around 3 miles to almost 7 miles. Doesn't seem like a whole lot, until you realize they have been up for over 24 hours and when they aren't running they're riding around in vans supporting their teammates. The Film is a documentary that follows four of the teams on their journey. The teams couldn't be any different if they tried. For me it was almost a roller coaster ride of emotions, but I tend to let myself get lost in movies pretty easily. This one being true made it that much easier to do. All four teams provide humor in their own way, but two of the teams really tug at the heart strings. I feel like if I'm ever lacking motivation to get out and run, all I have to do is think about what they've gone through and what running has done for them and at least right now I don't think anything could hold me back. This movie came at the best time for me. I'm at the beginning of training for my second marathon and my first time training through the winter. I know there are going to be times of weariness and a lack of will. It's not being pessimistic it's just the truth. Nothing in life goes perfect, but I feel like I've just added another weapon into my arsenal of "anti-wah wah"!
         I went to see this movie with one of my oldest friends and former high school teammate and we both agreed that we are going to try and put together a team and try our luck at entering this puppy because it is that AWESOME! Ha ha, have I told you that I'm excited yet? I love the idea of being on a team again. That is the one thing that post high school running has left me devoid of. The feeling of being on a team, the camaraderie that comes with being a part of a group and the team I was on was like a big slightly dysfunctional family, so maybe this will be the way to get that feeling back.
         Okay so now that I'm done gushing about my new favorite movie, how about a training update? I have never been a morning person....ever... I am known for strolling into work when I'm supposed to be there...as in the last second I'm supposed to be there. I just hate getting out of bed in the morning. It's so comfy why would I? That being said, I got up BEFORE work EARLY 3 days last week and once so far this week! The best part is I actually enjoyed it. Not the getting out of bed before I absolutely have to but the part after that. The part where it's 7:30 and I'm at work close to a half an hour early and I've already done my workout for the day. I'm wide awake, energized, not drowsy and ready to go on with the day, knowing that when work is over I don't have running hanging over my head in case there is some setback where it might not happen. It's done and out of the way and at 7:30 in the morning I have a feeling of accomplishment that I just didn't get when I ran after work. It's weird but it almost gives me another reason to love running! So there you have it I'm motivated, I'm excited, and I'm feeling great and ready to kick some winter training ass! Oh and now that I am all excited and motivated....A) it's time for bed and B) tomorrow is a rest day for running ha ha go figure! I hope you all get a chance to see this movie if you haven't already. I know my little preview doesn't do it justice so you'll just have to take my word for it!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Winter Weather Wednesday






Obie loves the snow!



And running circles haha





Monday, January 3, 2011

A Reflection to the Future

     Seeing as how I didn't keep the best of records of my running endeavors from the past year, my 2010 review will instead consist of my new obsessions and discoveries of the past year.

              Music ~ Mumford and sons ~ British accents and a banjo in the band, how can you resist?

Food ~ Penn Station East Coast Subs ~ Move over Quiznos and Subway, These are delicious!

              Candy Obsession ~ Generic bulk sugar covered gummi bears ~ need I say more?

Television (A tie) ~ How I Met Your Mother ~ SUIT UP! ~ and ~ Raising Hope ~ I can't even describe it

              Snack food ~ Garlic Lovers Hummus and pita chips ~ Who doesn't love garlic?

Movie ~ Inception ~ Chris Nolan is my favorite director, he hasn't made something I didn't like

Moment in Sports ~ The Detroit Lions Won 4 in a row!!! ~ Last time you could say that was 1999!

      Just a few of my favorite things from the last 365. Now since the first of the year has come and gone it's probably time I make some goals for 2011. Some are specific and some are more generic.
  • train for and complete kalamazoo marathon
  • maintain running at least 4 days a week when not training for something in specific
  • run at least one 5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon
  • run a race in a different state
  • add in more cross training
  • bike more
  • volunteer at a race 
  • meet more local runners
  • run in the morning at least one day M-F
  • run 1000 miles
  • Keep track of my running totals better (that way I know if I hit 1000 or not haha)