Monday, February 27, 2012

1st Race of my 31st Year

So I decided to take advantage of having the hubby around more than usual by running a 5k for fun this month. If you were gifted with an extra few hours to yourself, that’s what you’d chose to do right?


But then my competitive side took over, and it turned into me running two 10k races on back to back weekends.


Anyway, this week’s race left me feeling more satisfied than last week, and I’m glad I came out for it. I didn’t place, or even get a PR, yet I’m still very pleased with how it went.

I ran smart (well, smarter than usual anyway) and finished feeling STRONG. Totally the opposite of last week race, when I thought I was going to drop after finishing.

The Charles Harris Run is a popular 10K in Atlanta. It’s a point-to-point race with an overall net-downhill, so and draws a lot of runners looking to establish a good seed-time for the Peachtree Road Race.

The set-up is a little different for this one, as you park at the finish line and they shuttle you to the start. I got there a little later than I’d hoped, and only had time for a quick 2 laps around the school track before the race started. The temp was just creeping up past 40 degrees at this point, so at least I was able to defrost my blood a little bit.
I was able to give a quick hello to Kristy and Jaime as everyone was milling around before the start. Then I found Lee, and settled in next to her at the starting line.

I love how the blogging community has turned into a real life one now. It’s added incentive to show up when you know you’re going to have familiar faces there to greet you.

We chatted for a few minutes as I went through my standard pre-race dance of tightening my shoelaces and adjusting my ipod a billion times. Then we were off!

I guess we were a little farther back then I thought because it took few seconds to get moving, and then there was a bunch of bobbing and weaving to be done for the first half mile or so. Despite what felt like a slow start, it was actually a perfect first split, 6:49.


Around mile 4, I caught up to Kristy, who was already blazing the way to a new PR for herself. I tried to utter hi, but was sucking too much wind to get anything out. Instead I just spooked her by tapping her on the shoulder and giving a thumbs-up.

We had been mostly going up and down rolling hills to this point, and I was able to maintain a relatively even pace for those. Then just when you need it, mile 5 has a nice, long downhill for you. Still feeling like I had fuel in the tank, I was really able to take advantage of it.

As you turn the corner at the bottom of that hill, you’re met with two more small uphills. They look innocent enough on the elevation map, but they make you dig deep one last time before the finish.

I was so focused on the finish line, but about 40 feet before we crossed, all of a sudden I was like “Hey a ponytail!” I realized there was a girl just a few steps in front of me and I gave it all I had to pass her, and finish with an official time of 42:54.

After taking in a few swigs of water I headed out and ran an additional 5 miles for a cool down. I wanted to hit 35 miles for the week.

You can’t be in racing shape year round, and you’re just asking for a world of problems if you try to tell yourself otherwise. I feel satisfied with this performance, and that I ran it to the best of my current ability. This was just what I needed to get the some competitiveness out of my system, so I can focus on basebuilding until August when official marathontraining starts. At the ripe old age of 31, I hope to have some more PR’s ahead.

How do you define a successful race?

I was happy to finish feeling strong, but I have to give a shout-out to Lee, Kristy, and Jaime who all rocked it with sizeable PR’s J

Official time: 42:54
Pace: 6:55/mi
Overall: 138/948
Gender: 27/367
AG: 7/59

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Coincidence (10K Race Recap)

My official finish time for the race I ran on Saturday was 43:54. That’s EXACTLY the same finish time of my New Year’s Day race. Crazy right? Especially considering my mile splits were all over the place again.

Well, before I get to that, let’s backup a minute.  Run the Reagan is actually a festival of races. There’s a 5K, 10K, and half marathon to choose from. I wanted to run this half marathon last year, but it just didn’t fit with the husband’s schedule.

Really my only goal for the year is this, and I don't have intentions of doing much else.

 Hopefully having a schedule free of races will quell my desire to push the pace on I know it's counter productive, and yet I can't resist.
But the Mr. happens to be on vacation this month.  It’s not often I get a Saturday morning to myself, so  I decided take advantage of the opportunity. Just one little race couldn't hurt....
With the mileage I’ve been running, I would have been fine physically to run the half marathon this year, but psychologically, I just wasn't feeling it.  In fact, the 10k was more distance than I felt like tackling.

This looked to be a decent sized event, and a short, sweet 5k sounded good. I haven’t raced one on my own since last September, so that’s what I registered to run.

As I was figuring out the race logistics early last week, I realized the 5k wasn’t scheduled to start until 11:00! Somehow I’d overlooked that important detail. Plus, the venue was an hour drive each way. I wanted to have a morning to myself, but I didn’t want to kill half the day being away from home. I emailed the race director and he was kind enough to switch my registration to the 10K which started at 9:15.

Like I mentioned before, I was excited for the 5k. The 10k required a lot of pep talk to get me out the door. It was forecasted to be a rainy weekend, so the night before I gave myself an “out”. If it was raining when I woke up I wasn’t going to go.
Nope the weather was perfect. Low 50’s and overcast. I got suited up, grabbed my waffles with peanut butter, and shuffled out the door.

My plan was to go out at 7:05 for the first mile, then 7:00 for the 2nd and 3rd, then give it everything I had for the final 3.

Nope that didn't happen. U-G-L-Y.

The course was a straight out-and-back. The first half of the course was slightly downhill, meaning we had a climb back to the finish line. Knowing this, I consoled myself the fast start was ok, and it was good to have the time in the bank for the way back.

I was passed by one woman around mile 2 and another one shortly after the turn-around.

Watching my pace slowly creep up was a big confidence crusher.  I should really retire the Garmin when I race. My best races seem to be the ones where I didn’t have it. However, I had both the women who had passed me locked in my cross-hairs. They were my motivation to keep going.

Around mile 4, I passed the first woman who had passed me. She didn’t put up a fight. I passed the second woman in the last half mile. We played leap frog for a bit, but I was able to open up a 10 second gap on her by the end.

Official time 43:54. The same time I ran on New Year’s Day after staying up past midnight drinking champagne.

So I went from not caring about my 10k time and doing it for fun, to feeling like I should’ve done better and wanting a do-over. I’m now signed up to run another local 10K this Saturday in a second attempt at a better race.

That’s the problem with having Type A personality. Your greatest nemesis is yourself.

I was still quite happy to leave with a new little trinket though.

Chip time: 43:54
Pace: 7:04/mi
Overall: 26/711
Gender: 3/367
AG: 1/49

Sunday, February 19, 2012

One Big Party

Just when you think you’re done with the holiday season, February rolls around. In our house that means a month long party.

The first half of this month it’s been all about Emily’s 3rd birthday. First it was her party with family in NY.

Then we celebrated her birthday at home during the week, before going to NJ to celebrate with my side of the family.

Little does she realize Valentine’s Day is not all about her as well. Yet another party at school with balloons and goodies.

I was hoping to do a lot of running while I was in NJ since I’d have some very reliable babysitters on hand. I did get to run, although not the 10+ milers I was dreaming about.

When we first arrived on Thursday, my mom took us to lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. Yeah, at this point I was still dreaming big that I’d run some of that off.

Then we walked to a nearby kiddie salon for her first haircut. I'd been putting it off since I didn't know where to take her in Atlanta.

Just a little off the back please.
I started off Friday morning with an 8 mile run. It was 26 degrees when I stepped outside. Brrr, I’d forgotten what real cold felt like.

Then we took Emily to an indoor kid’s play-place to burn off some energy.

And shopped for her party afterwards, and put together party favors.

Cupcakes, in a cup. Simple idea that ended up being a hit.

Between preparing appetizers and decorating the house on Saturday morning, I squeezed in a quick hour on the treadmill. I covered a little over 7 miles doing a mix of sprints and incline changes. We had gotten snow Friday night, and the streets weren't clear enough to go outside yet.

About 30 friends and family members came to her "Princess Party"

We caught an early flight back to Atlanta on Sunday morning.

Jackpot. Love when this happens.

We were all pooped after the previous day's activities, but I couldn't pass up the relatively balmier 40 degree weather and ran another 8 miles around our neighborhood.

The only solid New Year’s Resolution I made for 2012 was to keep track of my mileage. While I can look back in the blog to see snapshots of the workouts I was doing at different periods in time, I’ve never tracked my workouts consistently in any format.

It’s not high tech but it works.

January's Stats: 132.8 miles run and 2.5 hours of cross training

February to date: 92.2 miles, 2 hours cross training

I think these totals look good, even without previous year's numbers to compare. I feel like I'm running a lot, in a good way, even though I’m not training for anything specific at the moment. I love running in chilly weather, so I enjoy the time outside.

How much cake I have consumed/intend to consume is usually a driving factor in how I plan workouts these days. I'm only partially kidding when I say that. My birthday is coming up in a few days as well. Gotta offset that too……..

Do you have a mileage goal that you aim for each month when you're in "maintenance mode"?

Do you do big birthdays or prefer to keep them private?

I love throwing big parties for other people, but I don’t like a whole lot of attention on myself when it’s my turn.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Home Gym Trifecta

After the busy holiday season, and traveling for Ragnar, I was just feeling rather bleh the rest of January. It wasn’t a bad month, it was just uneventful. I had a lingering cold that completely sapped my energy for about a week and a half, and we had nothing on the agenda aside from routine stuff at home.  I wasn’t feeling much inspiration for blogging, so I didn’t.

Speaking of routine stuff, we finally talked some cleaning projects we’ve been putting off. The previous residents left some crazy crap behind in the attic. We had TWO pick-up trucks worth of junk to take to the dump. We found things like their bankruptcy paperwork (um, yeah they filed once I the 90’s and then AGAIN in 2007….and what exactly do you buy for over $100K at places like Macy’s, Dillards and Best Buy? No joke, those were 3 of their main creditors).

Also things like family death certificates, journals, adult VHS tapes from like 1982 (totally ick), and tons of other stuff covered in sensitive personal information.

With their credit situation, maybe they weren’t too worried about anyone wanting to steal their identity anymore? I don’t know. It was some weird stuff I would’ve wanted to keep private if I were them.
So what do you do after you clean out your house? You bring new junk in of course. Well, Mr. Blondie may beg to differ, but I don’t think this is junk at all.

So I’ve put my grandiose vision of learning to cycle “for real” on the back burner for now, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to buy a used spin bike when I saw a friend looking to get rid of his.

She might not be pretty, but she works perfectly, and is all mine now.

I did my research, and refurbished this bike goes for about $600-800. So for $200, i thought this was a fair deal for a third-hand bike.

Lucky #13 here started off life as a fitness center bike.

My friend had swapped out the pedals long ago to work with his cycling shoes. Since I don’t have cycling shoes, I stopped at Performance Bicycles on my way home to see if I could buy toe cages for the pedals.
Well, when I got to the store I told the salesperson swayed me away from the toe cages and showed me a pair mountain biking shoes on clearance for $40 that would work better.

And once you have shoes, then you need the cleats. If you’re paying $25 for just the cleats, then you might as well pay $40 for the cleats/pedals combo right?

The pedals have seen better days, so I was down with that logic.

This sports equipment stuff is a slippery slope.

So $285 later I still think this was a deal. If I use it great, if I don’t then I won’t feel too guilty. I like having another cross-training option at home though.

It doesn’t look like it, but it weighs a TON. I lightly scratched my car bumper wrestling it out of the trunk, and I’m most likely going to lose a toenail from setting it down on my foot as I dragged it into the garage.
We’re not quite sure how we’re going to get it up the second floor, but eventually it'll join the treadmill and elliptical in our gym/office/guestroom. And unlike the previous owners, we'll be normal people and take it back down when we move out the house too.
So have you ever found anything crazy while cleaning out a closet or storage area?

Are there any podcasts or videos you could recommend for indoor cycling workouts?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

My 11 Randoms

Thank you Amber and Nicole for tagging me (oh and Brittney too!).  I think y’all know the rules of this meme by now.

It was fun to let my mind wander and see the nonsense that resulted J

1.) In middle school I wanted to get a second set of holes pierced in my ears. My mom said no, so I did it myself with a sterilized safety pin. They turned out fine, so she let me keep them. Years later she told me she was impressed with my tenacity.

2.) In high school I wanted my navel pierced. My mom said no. Nope, I wasn’t brave enough to do that myself, but any guesses about what I did my very first weekend in college?
3.) When people beep at me on the road I know it’s because I left something on the roof or trunk again. You’d think I would have learned my lesson, but I have driven off with coffee mugs, diaperbags, purses, shopping bags, etc. up there. At least it hasn’t been my kid.  

It’s pretty wild how it stays nestled in the roof rack like that.

4.) I never wanted a sister growing up (I have one younger brother). It would have meant I had to share more things. I think it would be fun to also have a sister now though.
My "Little" Bro

5.) I ended up giving birth via c-section. It wasn’t that bad. Stitches in the hooha sound even worse to me, and I get queasy thinking about it. The only thing that made me upset is that I had to endure 24 hours of labor before they let me have it.

41 weeks, 2 days pregnant. Get this baby outta me!

6.) I hated peanut butter and jelly with a passion until I was about 16. Then one day a friend offered me a piece of her sandwich at a track meet and I suddenly realized that, in fact, they’re amazing.

7.) Mr. Blondie and I sleep in a full size bed. The only time it was really uncomfortable was when I was 9 months pregnant (see above).

8.) I was once a contestant on a, episode of a dating show called “Change of Heart”. It was on the WB for 2 whole seasons. I’m sure you remember it.
9.) I once appeared on Good Morning America…wearing a wedding dress and diving into a 16ft tall cake in the middle of Time Square. It was a contest and  the woman who found the specially marked ring box inside the cake got $50,000 for their wedding. Yeah, I didn’t win the money. Luckily, I left with my hair and skin in tact, unlike some other participants. OMG, there were some ruthless bridezillas.

10.) I don’t like Star Wars, and I especially hate the Lord of the Rings movies. I’ve actually been tortured with seen every one of the movies, but could barely maintain my attention, so I can’t even recall the full storylines.

11.) In fact I don’t care for watching movies at all. I can’t remember the last time I was in a theater. At home, I need to be doing something else at the same time because I can’t sit still on the couch for that long.

Now the questions for me:
If you could have dinner with any one person (dead or alive), who would it be? My great-grandmom (grandfather’s mother). She passed away long before I was born, but I would like to know more about our family’s history. My grandfather doesn’t recall much from his early childhood. He was born somewhere in Eastern Europe, lived in Brazil until he was a teenager, and then his entire family moved to the US. I’d love to know what precipitate the moves. He also thinks he had two older siblings that passed away before he was born, but he’s not sure.

What/who is your favorite band/musician? Dave Matthew's Band. The Mr. and I have traveled to at least one concert a year since we started dating 8 years ago.

What is your favorite thing about being a "grown up?" Having the confidence to stand up for myself when I think something is wrong.

What is your least favorite thing about being a "grown up?" No longer feeling immortal. I’m concerned about cancer, disease, etc., and that it CAN happen to me.

Describe your best friend(s).

Mr. Blondie of course. We share the same values, but our personalities are completely different otherwise. Our relationship works so well because our traits complement each other instead of clash head- on.
Next would be my mother. I know she’s a reliable and honest source on everything from clothes shopping to child rearing advice. 

Early bird or night owl?

Definitely an early bird

Do you have a secret talent or just a talent that is unique?

No secret talent that comes to mind. I’d like to think I’m a jack of all trades…..yet I’m a master of none.

What is your favorite holiday?

Christmas. Even as an adult, I think it’s a magical time of year.

Have any tattoos?

No,  but I’d get the rings if I ever went to the Olympics, or the Ironman symbol if I ever did an Ironman. Safe to say I will never have a tattoo.

Why did you start blogging?

As a training log of sorts. And who doesn’t like to talk about thenself?

What is your favorite meal?
I could eat pizza 3 meals a day, everyday.
As far as restaurants go, one that stands out in my mind is Creolina’s in Ft. Lauderdale (recently renamed Bourbon on 2nd) I’ve never been to New Orleans so I can’t vouch for it’s true authenticity, but they have some awesome food.

Also, the Fountain Restaurant at the Four Season’s in Philly. My college boyfriend had a relative who was the manager there. Every now and then we’d get dressed up and stop by to “say hi”. Any food or drink we ordered would magically be comp’d to the price of a couple beers. Over the course of four years, I think I tried almost everything on their menu. Yeah, it was an awesome hook-up to say the least.

Yeah, I'm going to cop out......If you’re reading this and would like to join in this meme, then consider yourself tagged!

1&2) What did you want to be when you grew up, and are you that now?
3) What is your favorite month of the year?
4) What quote would you want people to remember you by?
5) Sweet or savory?
6) Do you like to celebrate your birthday or do you keep it quiet?
7) Where is one place you’d dying to visit?
8) Right or left side of the bed?
9) Dark, milk, or white chocolate?
10) Name one thing on your bucket list.