Friday, June 26, 2009

Knee update

After having completely rested for 4-5 days, much ice, ibuprofen, lots of Tex-Mex, and a few margaritas I took the ole princess (my right knee) out for a spin around the block to see how she did. I over-geared up trying to give it as much support as possible: extra thick thorlo socks, zensah compression sleeves, patella stability band. My runner nerdness was ready to go. My goal was an easy, 3 miles. No records here, just nice and easy does it. I took it slow and played with my pace and stride some to try and find the most comfortable spot for my knee. I finished in 30:33, decent considering. The run was relatively pain-free, but I could tell that the knee is still a little weak. And it's already starting to swell some (that's why it's puffy in the picture). So, I'm slapping some ice on it. I don't think it's quite ready for the long run or any races just yet, but it's progress. I'll keep the runs short and easy over this next week and try to just ease back into things. There's a local 4 on the 4th race that I really want to do next week. Hmmm....may just rest, rest, rest and have a fun race.

Today I LOVE: iced coffee on a hot day.

Monday, June 22, 2009


...for the moment.

I've mentioned this in past posts, but it's back again - I have bad knees. Both are bad, but my right knee in particular gives me the most problems. I've had them both scoped at different times when I was younger - mainly for torn cartilage. The right knee suffered the most damage and had the most cartilage removed. In addition I have a floating patella - meaning my kneecap just floats around willy-nilly thinking it can do whatever the hell it wants and go wherever the hell it wants, damning the pain it causes the rest of the joint. (my knee cap is such a gets that from me).

My knee injuries and pain stem from a number of reasons:
  1. I'm a spazz - I run, walk, crawl, talk, chew like a spazz. Very uncoordinated.
  2. I'm a girl of German heritage = I'm a curvy gal. I have wide hips which means my legs are at an angle (think V). This angle means I put a funky pressure on my knees when I strike the ground.
  3. I have less cartilage which means less joint lube which means bone on bone rubbing.
  4. I should be wearing my patella stabilizer band all the time during runs, but I don't. I'm lazy and impatient and I forget where I put it and decide "ahh, the heck with it" and run out the door anyway.
  5. I think I'm superwoman and can just run and add mileage without any problems.
So, needless to say my right knee is very, very angry and swollen now. My knee had been a little sore last week, but nothing crazy. I noticed it was more sore after the long run on Friday morning. By Saturday it was really sore. I decided to take the day off and just give it a rest. Then it started to swell up. By Sunday it was really swollen. I would ice it and elevate it and it would go back down. As soon as I got up to go outside and help my husband plant it would swell to the size of a grapefruit in minutes. I did a good number on it this time. I'm really not in much pain though - just some soreness and stiffness. I'm hoping if I just lay off of it for a few days it will calm back down. So, looks like I'm stuck to the bike and elliptical for the next few days. Good thing is, I'm on travel this week and I can easily go to the gym and get a few non-impact miles in and I won't feel guilty for not joining the running groups.

I think this is my body's way of telling me to slow it down. I think I upped my mileage too quick, too soon. I think my knees are stupid.

Stop by The Happy Runner's blog for another cool contest and giveaway!!

Today I LOVE: A clean house (ok - my closet's still a mess, but the rest is clean.)

Friday, June 19, 2009

You know you're a runner when... try and coordinate your wedding anniversary celebration and a half marathon! LOL!

Well, I managed to do it. I found a great half marathon that will segue into a nice little anniversary vacation for me and the Hubster. We're doing the Healdsburg Half Marathon this year in Sonoma County, CA. Some super cool things about the race:
  1. We get to run through 22 wineries.
  2. We start at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery. His claret is one of my favs!
  3. We finish at the Wine & Music Festival near lake Sonoma.
  4. It's on Halloween so there will be some crazy costumes
  5. It will be the Hubster's first half!
  6. And did I mention there will be WINE!!
I'm so stinkin' excited about this race. The Hubs is getting all into it, comparing different half training plans. I can't wait to start training with him. We're just doing an easy novice plan to get him into running consistently. He runs on occasion and works out like a crazy person - he's more of a gym rat than I am. But, we just have to work on his running consistency. We're totally going to take this race nice and easy and have fun with it. Mainly it will be a "just to finish" fun race because it's his first and I want him to enjoy it and I want to stop and take lots of pictures too.

The BitchImage of The Bitch via Snooth

So, if anyone wants to come out and join us, come on out!

In other news - it's hot, hot, hot, hot, hot. WARNING: From now until October I will continue to bitch, moan and whine about the heat. Yes, I am a high maintenance, bitchy runner and I want the weather to be 60 degrees with low humidity all the time. Is that so much to ask? So if you don't want to read about it just skip that section unless my whole post is about the heat and they very well could be. You'll just have to muddle through my whining then.

Speaking of heat: it just completely obliterated me yesterday and today. We had our usual Thursday night speed work session last night. It called for 6 x 800 repeats with one mile warm up and one mile cool down. Only three people showed up - one of which only because I guilted her into coming. :) We start at 6:00 p.m. and it's getting to where that's still too early to start in the evening. It was 95 degrees with a heat index in the 100+. We brought water knowing it was going to be bad. She made it through 2 and half 800s. I made it through 4 and we were done. It was just too damn hot and I started to get that light-headed, nauseous, over heating feeling. We just slowly jogged the last 2 800s and then took it back to the shop for 5 total miles. It was bad.

This morning I met the girls for our usual 8 mile maintenance long run. We started at 6:00 a.m. to try and beat the heat but it had different plans for us. It was already 83 degrees F when I woke up at 5:30 and the humidity was through the roof. This run was especially hard today. All three of us had to stop for the occasional walk break and that's unusual for us. We usually keep a good, steady consistent pace. We just could NOT get our bodies to cool down. There was no breeze and no relief. I felt like I hadn't run in weeks. My body was tired, my legs were lead bricks, my head was spinning. It was just awful, awful, awful. We managed to keep a 10:30 pace which is pretty good considering all the short stops and walk breaks.

I think I'm going to take tomorrow off. Either that or just head to the gym for an easy 3 or 4 and maybe some weights/elliptical work.

Today I tried some of the Carb Boom! Energy Gel on the long run. I had the apple cinnamon flavor because a few people had recommended that as one of their favs. I'm generally not a big goo or gel fan, but it's one of the necessary evils on long runs. And I've tried, but I just simply cannot do the chews. The thought of physically chewing something while running just makes me want to urp.

The apple cinnamon flavor was surprisingly refreshing and the texture wasn't as thick as some other gels I've had. The flavor wasn't overpowering and it wasn't sickeningly sweet. It also went down a lot smoother and it didn't take as much water to flush the taste out of my mouth (another thing that bothers me - gotta have a clean mouth. I told you guys I was high maintenance!) These gel packets are bigger too - 1.4 oz as compared to the normal 1.1 oz in other gels. My running shop just got these in and the flavors they had were really limited, but I'd really like to try out some of the other flavors. I may order a few more online to check them out. But, I'm giving it a thumbs up.

AND please go send out shouts of support to RBR who has the Ironman Coeur d'Alene this weekend!

Today I LOVE: That the weekend is MINE to toy with!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Running in the a.m.

Six miles logged this morning - start time 6:30 a.m.

When I started running a few years ago I would talk to other runners and read running blogs about the crazies who got up at 5:00 and 6:00 in the morning to go run. Now I liked to go workout and was an elliptical gym queen, but never in the morning. I tried working out in the morning several times and it just was not for me. I couldn't get up. I would grow faint. I had no energy. I had every excuse in the book. Now generally I was a night owl too. Mornings were not my thing. Ever since I switched jobs and was forced to take on a more "morning friendly" schedule I've had to adjust. Now I wake up at 6:00 or earlier regardless of the day - weekend, weekday - it doesn't matter.

My schedule allows for me to work at home one to two days a week. I love it because I don't have to deal with the hour commute into downtown those days. I gain an extra two hours a day. It's heaven. My long run gal pals are both morning runners. They have convinced me to get up early and start running with them these one to two days I'm at home AND on Saturdays for the long run. I never thought I'd say this, but I'm really enjoying the early morning runs. My main reasons:

  • It gets my butt productively out of bed
  • It's the coolest part of the day (rated in temperature - not awesomeness)
  • The trace is less crowded (less bikers running over me)
  • I get my exercise in and I'm done for the day. No thoughts of the gym looming over my head.
  • The energy I have for the next few hours is amazing.
The only drawback I see is that I am ready to gnaw off the arm of anyone holding anything resembling food all morning. I'm completely famished. So, if you don't want to draw back a nub, don't come into my cube eating a cookie or crackers or popcorn or even have the faintest smell of Cheetos on your breath.

And I have found that if I don't fuel properly before and after the run I get faint during and then crash around mid-afternoon. So I eat a light high-protein cereal bar before and a big breakfast is a MUST afterward. Carrying healthy snacks with me to the office helps too - almonds, light popcorn, fruit, V8 juice (spicy only!), etc.

So, now being all "morningy" (I swear I'm turning into my mom) we decided to up the meeting time to 6:00 a.m. for our long run this weekend. Yup, I'm now a crazy morning runner.

On another cool note:

Between the Miles
wrote a post comparing coconut water and Clif Shot Electrolyte drink powder. This really got me curious about coconut water. I had never heard of it but really liked the nutrition facts and tend to enjoy and consume mass quantities of coconut flavored liquids (Pina coladas, coconut rum, for example...). I figured I should probably try a coconut liquid that doesn't leave me in a stupor a few hours later.

I couldn't find the O.N.E. coconut water but did find the O.N.E. Amazon Acai flavor. My grocery store did have coconut water made by Vita Coco though. I picked up three different flavors and threw them into the fridge to cool down. I just sampled the coconut with pineapple and must say that it was really refreshing. I love the Vitamin C counts (240% PDV) and the potassium is great for a real sweat fest (680 mg) to replenish. The sugars were a little high, but from the ingredient list it must be coming mainly from the pineapple. I'd like to try just the plain coconut water and see how I like it (less sugar and calories). Overall though, I give it a thumbs up for a nice treat away from sports drinks.

AND I learned today that I am a "flexitarian" from No Meat Athlete's blog. I do not eat red meat or pork and only limited chicken, turkey and fish (about 3 days a week). If you haven't already, go check out his blog. He has great recipes, tips, advice for exercise, living healthy and eating healthy (and NO you do not have to be a vegetarian or flexitarian).

Today I LOVE: Target's C9 Long and Lean running tanks. I need to go buy a few more. They adequately cover my bellah without riding up. Love 'em.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Weekend-ish recap

Sorry for all the multi-day posts lately. I'm having trouble keeping up more frequent posts. Darn life's just getting in the way of my blog. :D


Group run speed work was on the agenda for Thursday night. I was seriously tired all day Thursday and my legs were pretty tight AND it was scorchingly hot and humid. I had a case of the "don't wannas" but I made myself go, deciding to just give it my best. The speed work called for 10x400 repeats with a 1:30 minute rest in between each one. Ryan figured out our pace and said I should be pacing myself right at an 8:00 mile for each 400. That felt a little slow for the first few, but I was very glad by the time we were hitting our 6th and 7th ones. Whew. I really didn't think I'd like this speed workout. I'm not a fast runner and not a good sprinter at all. I tend to run flat footed. But, I really enjoyed the 400s. It gave me a chance to open up my stride, but I still had to pace myself. It was a challenge both mentally and physically. I held an average 8:02 for all 10 of those bad boys, in the 90 degree heat and 86% humidity!


Varsity just got the Zensah compression sleeves in the store this week. A few people were trying them out during the run Thursday night. They said they could really tell a difference in how their calves and knees felt during and after the run. I've been toying with getting a pair of compression socks anyway for recovery after long runs but have just been a lazy butt and haven't ordered them online. Since I could now buy them locally I ran by the store and picked me up a pair on Friday - in PINK of course.

I wore them around on Friday night for about an hour just to see how they felt. They do take some work just to get them on. Picture stuffing 5 lbs of poo in a 1 lb bag. :) I was worried I had gotten the wrong size, but once I struggled and got them on (after a bit of cursing, a decent tri workout and some blood, sweat and tears) they felt really good. They really support and squeeze the calves.

I decided to go all geek runner on Saturday and wear them during the long run. I figure if the running cap, huge pace watch and completely unflattering fuel belt didn't geek me out enough, these pink compression sleeves would definitely clinch my status in dorkdome. But, as a runner you tend to get past that. Having to drop trow for unexpected bowel issues or throttling snot rockets so you can breath gets you over that real quick.

The 8 mile run went smoothly (as smooth as can be expected in summer in Louisiana). It took less time for my legs to warm up. Usually it takes a good mile for me to feel "good to go", especially after speed work days. I noticed less calf pain during the first mile too. AND, not sure if this is attributable to the sleeves, but my knees (especially the really bum right one) didn't feel fatigued toward the end of the run - AND I wasn't wearing my patella support band at all.


My test was going to be how fatigued and sore my legs and joints felt on Sunday. Usually I roll out of bed Sunday morning and it takes my legs a few minutes to function properly. I do the old man shuffle to the bathroom and then the stiff, tin-man walk to the coffee machine. I rolled out of bed with...(wait for it!)....FRESH LEGS!! No joint pain. No stiffness.

I. Was. Shocked.

I'm sold on these things. They were a little warm for the run. I'm not sure if I'll wear them during the long runs or just throw them on after to aid recovery. I'm thinking about wearing them during Thursday speed work though to see if they can make me run REALLY FAST. :D

Today I was going to go out for a leisurely 5 or 6 miles, but my stomach is rebelling right now. Not sure if I have a stomach bug or fiber overload. Either way, I can't stray too far from the bathroom (TMI - I know!) Hopefully I'll feel better by this evening.

Today I LOVE: That I have the flexibility to work from home.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

New R&R Mardi Gras!

The original Mardi Gras Marathon and Half Marathon has now partnered with Elite Racing as one of the Rock 'n' Roll Marathons. This is exciting because it will increase the race size, hopefully improve the support and entertainment on the back 13 (which I heard was the worst) and improve race organization (which wasn't terrible but they had a few kinks to work out). AND the first 500 people get in for only $50 for EITHER the half or the full!! I took advantage yesterday and signed up. You can sign up here. I'm also excited because that's one more R&R race that I can do cheaply and work toward my multi-race R&R medal!

I've run the half a couple of times and it's a great, fun race. The course is flat, flat, flat and the scenery along the way for the first 13 is amazing. I wouldn't aim to PR on this one because the first few miles are through the French Quarter which is very narrow and you can easily get boxed in, plus the roads down St. Charles to the park and back are full of cracks and potholes. So, you're dodging obstacles the whole time. But, it's still a really fun race. Something about running through the French Quarter at 7:00 a.m. on Sunday, watching all the drunks come out of the bars to cheer you on is hilarious. I encourage people to come! Even COOLER my friend Sarah is signed up and coming!! I'm so excited!!!

I've pretty much made up my mind to run Tulsa too. I'm just waiting for payday so I can pay for the race entry. Now to decide on marathon training plans. Anyone have a favorite that they can suggest? I'm thinking of using an intermediate plan this time. I've averaging about 25-30 miles per week right now.

I LOVE starting training for a new race. I get so excited. Fall marathons are killer for me though. I'm running my long runs in the killer Louisiana heat and humidity. At least Tulsa is in late November so it should have cooled off a bit by the time I'm hitting 18+ miles.


Yesterday was the first 2 mile race in a four week summer series of fun runs sponsored by our local running store. Yesterday's run was entitled "Mystery Run". The e-mail they sent out said this race would be more of a physical challenge than a running race and the words "chill out" were used, alluding to something to do with water. Ack! I put on some old running clothes and older shoes just in case. You had to have a teammate for this challenge. Susan and I decided to suffer this one together.

They didn't reveal the mystery until right before the race. They had frozen 50 wet t-shirts. The shirts were balled up tightly and frozen in zip-loc bags. The challenge was to thaw out the t-shirt as quickly as possible. You couldn't take off running until you could put the shirt on: head and both arms. One person had to put the shirt on and run with it for one mile and then you had to switch out with your partner at the turnaround for the last mile. It was hilarious!

It took us about 10 minutes to finally thaw that sucker out! I was holding it between my legs. We were rubbing the heck out of it. We were banging it on the ground. We were pulling and tugging on it like crazy (it actually ripped holes in a couple of places). Finally we got most of it free - enough to put in I thought. The neck hole was still frozen up! I'm trying to put the shirt on and it will NOT go over my head and we already started to jog off. Ha! I finally wrangled it free and we took off.

If you've never run in an XL cotton t-shirt that is soaking wet and has been previously frozen and is covered in dirt from banging it on the ground, I do not recommend it. It felt good at first in the 90 degree weather and ungodly humidity. Then it just got icky. It felt like it weighed a ton. It didn't breath for anything and it just made you hotter and sweatier. Ugh.

I really struggled with this run. We managed a crisp 9:00 pace, but I really, really had to push through the pain. I was tired from the 4 mile elliptical lunch workout and ripping that t-shirt apart really wore me out too. But we finished strong and it was a nice, fun workout.

Today = speed work. I don't know if it's 800 repeats or 400 repeats today. The website changed the schedule. I guess I'll find out this evening. Wish me luck!

OH and stop by The Happy Runner's blog for a GREAT birthday giveaway!!!

Today I LOVE: My hot pink cardigan sweater. It keeps me warm in the office and the jolt of color makes me smile.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Shorts Run Race Report

Whew! Another crazy week/weekend just full of activities. Let's see...since I last posted I will catch you guys up and break it down by the day.


Speed work at Varsity Sports again. They called for 4x1000 repeats with recovery in between. Ryan, the owner, calculated what my split times should be based on my last 5K. He said to aim for 5:15 (about an 8:30 pace) for each 1000 and to really just try and pace myself and keep it consistent. Last week I went out too hard and too fast for that first 1600 and just wore myself out. This time (with a lot of help from Minnie and Susan pushing me) I managed to hold 5:15 for the first three and 5:09 for the last 1000. It was a great workout and I was so glad that Susan came again. She and I are perfect pacers for each other. She would push me and I would push her to keep the pace up and consistent. It was a total 5 miles in all with warm up and cool down jogs. My legs were tired, but I wasn't dead like I was the week before.


I had intended Friday to be a rest day in preparation for the 4 mile Shorts Run race on Saturday and to recover from the speed work on Thursday. Thursday night Claudia and Lourdes (my long run friends on Saturdays) e-mail me saying they can't run on Saturday and ask if I can meet them for an 8 miler on Friday. I was off on Friday and figured I would go ahead and run it to get my mileage in. So, I got up at 5:30 and met them at 6:30 for our morning run (yes - ON MY DAY OFF I GOT UP THAT EARLY....I AM a crazy person). We had every intention of running it slow and easy on Friday morning but a nice little cool front had rolled in the night before and really cooled things down. The cool, breezy air just made the run pleasant and the conversation carried us easily to the 4 mile marker. The 4 miles back came just as quickly and easily. I checked Minnie when we got back to the car and I couldn't believe that we held an average 9:47 pace for all 8 miles. I think that's the first time I've broken a sub 10:00 pace for that distance. We all went to Starbucks after to sit outside and cool down and drink some coffee to re-energize. It was a great run.


Susan really wanted me to come run the 4 mile race with her so I decided to just suck it up and go run and have fun on Saturday morning. My legs were pretty tired from Thursday and Friday's runs. She got her booty kicked at boot camp on Friday, so she was tired too. We decided just to treat this race as a recovery run and have fun with it.

I parked about a half mile away from the race start to try and get my legs to loosen up a bit. I snapped some pics on my walk down toward the Lakefront.

This is just a view down the historic street toward the lakefront. I love how it's lined with all the trees and greenery.

Vianne's Tea Room - serves high tea and lunch. Such a cute, cute place.

This always cracks me up! You can get your documents notarized, get married and buy all your Christmas gifts in the same place! One stop shopping!

This little guy was just hanging out on the front porch taking in the morning sun and quiet.

This is a glassworks art studio. The mural is an old soda pop advertisement that they are repainting and bringing it back to life.

Varsity Sports - the race start!

The "official" race course map. I loved that they put "*Drawing not to scale" at the bottom!

Everyone lining up to get their race numbers.

And I was SOOO thankful that they had coffee out there. I was in desperate need of some go-go juice.

Annnddd....we're off!! See - I'm so fast I'm a blur! Heee...

Running along the lakefront.

The finish! Finish time 36:23

I was pleased with my finish time. My legs were pretty tired from the previous two days' runs. I just went out and had a good, fun run with the race. I'm a total middle of the packer in races. I just tried to keep my pace steady and strong. I wasn't aiming for a PR or anything. I ran it in strong and had a great time at the race. Susan had a great race too and finished just a few seconds behind me. It was so good to have her there for the support. We decided to stick around for the awards and bananas and oranges and door prizes. They posted the race results and , yup, there I was right smack in the middle. But, on closer look I finished 3rd in my age class! What tha??? AND I only missed 2nd place by one minute. Argh!! They only gave out prizes for 1st and 2nd in each age group. Had I known I could have totally pushed it. That's what I get. Ha. I'll know better next time. Overall it was a great, fun race.

I'm stoked about my third place finish!

My race shorts (you don't get a race t-shirt with this race, you get a pair of Asics running shorts) and my race number.


Rest day. I was thinking of running another local 5K, but my knee objected. Three days in a row of running (and 17 miles) my right knee was having none of it. I decided to listen to my body and rest. And I had to drive up to Jackson, MS (2.5 hours away) to pick up my niece, so I figured I should rest up and relax for the drive. I had a full two days of non-stop 8 year old ahead of me. :)

Today I LOVE: Rest...sweet, much needed rest.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Lovely Blog Awards

Whooohoooo!! I got an award for something - finally! DC Runner Girl tagged by blog as one to follow. AND I even got a "How cool is that?" from her. Ohhhh the pressure now to live up to the hype. :D And yes, I totally agree with her that the award photo is hideous. It looks like a cross between my Grandmother's "sitting room" (where we're not allowed to touch anything or actually sit in there) and a Southern cotillion chiffon-fest. I can just smell the powder potpourri emanating off of the photo!

The rules behind this award:

1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.

2) Pass the award to other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Here are just a few of the blogs that I think warrant a shout out - new and old. They're guaranteed to inspire you or make you feel guilty for being a lazy-butt and eating that last pint of Bluebell ice cream while laying on the couch catching up on the latest America's Next Top Model (not that I've EVER done that or anything...)

  • Of Course - DC Runner Girl's awesome blog. She's a runner, swimmer, cross-trainer extraordinaire. The girl does it all.
  • My friend Sarahthequeen1's blog Belle of the County. This girl is amazing. She coached and supported and inspired me through my first marathon training. I am forever indebted to her. She is also a morning workout crazy-head. She's one of those 4:30 in the morning type people who can actually function productively at that time.
  • Run Bitch Run's blog keeps me in stitches. She's just freakin' hilarious with her trials and tribulations regarding all the biking and running she does. 'Nuff said.
  • Marlene's Mission to (a)nother Marathon blog is fantastic. This girl just slays half marathons like they're nuthin'! I am constantly inspired my her PRs and hope to one day join her in the sub-2 hour half times.
  • Shut up and Run! is a new one I just found through a blog of a blog of a blog... and I love her already. She's running the San Antonio R&R this year - my first full last year. I'm so anxious to hear her race report and how she likes the course.
  • Planet Ynnep Running gets an award (even if she's a Tennessee fan) because she's a runner, she works UNGODLY hours, still finds time to run and she's a fellow dog-lover.
  • And last, but not least I couldn't leave out See Willie Run. Now Willie, I know this is kind of a girlie award, but you can handle it. Willie is like Flash Gordon fast. And he makes it sound so easy and nonchalant. "Oh - I just went out and ran three miles at 6:30 pace and I didn't even break a sweat and it was an easy, slow recovery run day and..." OK - maybe I paraphrased him a little, but he's super fast and just picks up marathon races at the last minute FOR FUN. He's a coo-coo head runner who LIKES the sun, but fun and inspiring all the same.
Argh - so many to choose from. There are so many great blogs out there. I have a running blog list on the side of my blog and they're all fantastic if you need some new inspiration and great support system.

Group run today. Repeats again, but shorter ones. No 1600s today (Whew!). Oh wait, I take that back, I just looked, 4x1000 meter repeats today. Ugh... Hopefully the rain will let up in time and cool things down.

Today I LOVE: all my awesome running blog buddies. Thanks for always motivating me!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Great group run, bad long run

I had a good week last week. I am starting to slowly find a happy medium between my running and my workouts. It's taking some adjustment, but I'm starting to make it work. I've divided this post into two sections trying to catch up from last week.

Group Run

I decided to go out on Thursday and meet up with the Varsity Sports running group. They hold a group run every Thursday night at 6:00 around the lakefront area. I've been reluctant to go because I'm a slow runner and these guys are crazy, fast, hard-core. I'd be the one huffing and puffing in the back just desperately trying to keep up. They usually just run 4, 5, or 6 miles at your own pace. Recently they started to do speed work on Thursday nights. I generally abhor speed work and usually only do it on a treadmill and only because I'm bored to tears. I decided, what a better way than to share my misery with other folks? And - I'm not gonna get any faster if I don't try. So, I laced up my shoes and drove over to the store.

For the first 5-10 minutes we're all standing out front of the store waiting, stretching, gearing up. I'm looking around and I'm the ONLY girl. Great. Just great. It's a fairly hot and humid day and all the guys are taking their shirts off to run. I am NOT going that far to fit in. My girls will stay double layered covered up, thank you very much! I'm getting more nervous because these guys have super sleek runner's bodies. Not a jiggly thigh or muffin top in sight! Then Susan walked up. Susan is an older woman (I would guess late 40s?) with ROCKIN' legs! Oh - if I could only have an ounce of the muscle she's sporting in her legs. We gravitated to each other and I found out this was her first time too. Sweet! We can get lost together! We determined that we run about the same pace too. Even better.

We started out with an easy warm up run to the area where the mile quarters are marked off. Susan and I kept a good 9:30 pace and just talked away until we got there (about 1 mile away). Then the hell started. Repeats. I never knew such torture existed. The plan was 1600x2, 800x2, and 400x2 and slow recovery jog back to the shop. A total of about 4.5 in all with warm-up, warm-down. I smoked that first 1600 - 8:34! We rested a bit and hit the 2nd 1600 a little slower (9:00). The heat and humidity were starting to get to me. We attempted the two 800s and then my body was done. Spent. Susan was exhausted too. We decided to just slowly jog back to the shop along the lakefront then. It was so great to meet her and run with her. We just clicked and started talking away and supporting each other on the run. We exchanged e-mails and have agreed to meet for the Thursday runs as much as possible. I have a new running buddy. Yeah!

Long Run

Sunday I decided to head out for my long run. My goal was the usual 9 miles - from the trailhead to the next trailhead and back. We've had really nice weather, but it's starting to get warm now. I wanted to walk the dogs that morning before it got too hot. I was feeling a little lazy and was just basking in the morning quietness so I didn't get out the door until almost mid-morning. The temp read 82 degrees, but it felt a little breezy and cool. I got to the trailhead and started my run, holding a great pace. My legs felt strong and I was just enjoying the run. I kept it at 9:30 for the first 4.25 miles. I had to push myself but it felt good. It was starting to get hot and I was sweating like crazy. I stopped at the trailhead and stood under the misters for a bit, drank a ton of water and took my orange Gu (I prefer the chocolate) for the run back.

About five minutes into the run back it hit - exhaustion and waves of nausea. Not good. I slowed it way down. Nope - my body was having none of it. I ended up walking back the majority of the 4.25 miles back to my car. Thank goodness I had a huge water bottle and a powerade waiting for me there. I gulped those down and started to cool down finally. The temps read 90+ with 65% humidity. Ugh. No wonder. I overheated. Not a good run - not at all. 8.5 done...slowly. Summer's definitely here - no more mid-morning runs. 6:00 a.m. - here I come, WITH fuel belt in tow.

Today I LOVE: that my husband makes me grilled cheese when I don't feel well. He's the best!