Wednesday, March 31, 2010

This is T-shirt and shorts weather!

Instead of running earlier this week, I spent my evenings on the phone doing battle with claims representatives from my health insurance provider. They were trying to tell me that my health plan only allowed a regular adult physical every other year. Um, no. Try every year. But two battles later, they finally saw the light and agreed with me.

Which was a good thing.

Because today? It was in the mid-70s and sunny. Gorgeous! And unheard of for March 31 in Wisconsin. So I was determined to take advantage of the weather. I brought my running gear with me to work, actually took it to my desk with me and when quitting time rolled around I dashed off to the bathroom where I ditched the work clothes and threw on the shorts and a T-shirt.

I was set.

I headed out to the Wiouwash Trail again. Running it this weekend reminded me how much I like running on the trail. It's kind of nice not having to worry about being run down by an inattentive driver and becoming roadkill.

The run went really well. As is my habit, I started out fast and logged a 9:40 first mile. Seriously? 9:40? And you know what? It didn't even feel like I was running that fast! I slowed it down after that first mile, because I knew I could never keep up a 9:40 pace for the entire 5 miles.

I did however remain amazingly consistent. My splits? 9:40, 10:15, 10:41, 10:18 and 10:18. And that 10:41 mile? It was when I was running into a fairly brutal wind, so I knew it would be slower. I was actually pretty surprised when I downloaded the info off of Gus. I didn't think my pace would be so consistent and in the low 10s. Needless to say I felt pretty darn happy with my run today.

Of course it didn't hurt that the weather was absolutely gorgeous!

I didn't pass any other runners today, but there were a bunch of bikers and dog walkers. And of course all of the fishermen who take over the bridge. I almost got whacked in the head with a fishing pole as someone was casting. That could have been ugly.


Seriously, I can't believe it's the end of March. I had a really really good month running wise. In March I logged 72.5 miles, my highest running mileage month EVER! I'm still behind on the Tall Mom's 1,000 mile club, but I'm creeping closer to where I need to be.

Let's look at the numbers for the month:

Run: 72.5 miles
Bike: 38.1 miles
Swim: 325 yards

I need to start putting in more time on the bike - which will be much easier now that the weather's getting nicer and I can actually take my bike out of the garage - and I really need to get back in the pool.

And how's the year looking?

Run: 178.3 miles
Bike: 134.6 miles
Swim: 663 yards

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Nine in the books

As I get closer to the half marathon, the weekend long runs get longer. And the sense of accomplishment I get when I finish them keeps growing.

Today I had 9 miles on the schedule. I haven't run 9 miles since a few weeks before the Fox Cities Half Marathon in September 2007, so it's been a while. And looking back at old training logs, I realized that other than my first attempt at 13.1 miles, I've never run longer than 9 miles. So in a way, I'm starting to step into uncharted territory.

But enough with the perspective. On to the run.

The run. Which almost didn't happen this morning. After waiting patiently until 1 p.m. for the temperature to go up (I finally gave up around 45 degrees, figuring the weatherman was wrong...again), I started to get ready for my run. But before I could go, I wanted to synch my iPod with some new tunes. Too bad the iPod was being a bit cranky - it decided to freeze, so I had to figure out how to unfreeze it because seriously, there was no way I was heading out for 9 miles without music. And then syncing it? Was taking too long. So I gave up.

Out the door with the old play list. Which was fine by me. It was music. And that's what was important.

To mix things up a bit, I headed out to the Wiouwash Trail. I did a good chunk of half marathon training on this trail the first time around in 2007 and it's a nice, gravel/dirt trail that goes through a rural part of the county. I run by a lake and some farms and fields and trees. Pretty relaxing. And besides the first bridge you cross over by the lake where everyone likes to gather to fish, there usually aren't a ton of people out there.

Today was no exception. For the majority of the run it was just me.

I had planned an out and back with plans to take some Gu at the 4.5 mile turnaround point. On the way out it was fairly easy going. And I kind of expected that. I paused to stretch a moment around the 3 mile mark and then kept running until I got to mile 4.5.

I took my Gu - today's flavor was Chocolate Outrage and it's a safe bet this is what I'll be taking with me on half marathon day - and instead of stopping to take it, I started walking. So a nice little break. But once the Gu was gone, so was the walk and I started running again.

And I suddenly realized why the way out seemed so easy. The wind was at my back. Seriously, I can't seem to plan a run to account for the wind to save my life! Oh well. That which doesn't kill me only makes me stronger, even if it means running into the wind for the final 4.5 miles of a 9 mile run.

I took a few more stretch breaks on the way back, about once a mile and did throw in a short walk break (about 45 seconds) around Mile 7. And the wind on the way back? It also made it a bit chilly, so my hands were getting cold.

The last mile was tough. I was ready to be done. But I passed the final mile marker, weaved my way through the fishermen on the bridge (like 12 of them, and this isn't a big bridge) and I was on the home stretch. Almost went head over heels when a stick got caught up in my shoe, but I managed to stay on my feet.

When I got back to the parking lot by my car, Gus the Garmin beeped, telling me the 9 miles was done. And I have to admit, I was glad. Take a look at the splits:

Mile 1 - 10:24
Mile 2 - 10:47
Mile 3 - 11:23
Mile 4 - 11:18
Mile 5 - 11:47 (took a short walk break as I downed by Gu)
Mile 6 - 11:38
Mile 7 - 11:32
Mile 8 - 11:41 (took a short walk break)
Mile 9 - 11:40
Total: 1 hour, 42 minutes, 15 seconds

Overall I'm pretty pleased. I stayed fairly consistent (you can totally tell where I hit the turnaround and was suddenly running into the wind on legs that were starting to get tired), especially over the last 4 miles. Next week I venture into the double digit mileage world. And it's a bit frightening, but I think I'll be OK. Besides, that's 7 days away. And right now my legs are telling me it's time to be lazy for the next two days and watch some basketball.

And I'm going to listen to the legs.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. Hello Treadmill. I can't say I've missed you. It was cold today. And windy, which made it feel colder. So when it came time for my 5-mile run, I headed over to the YMCA. The run itself went pretty well. Took it easy the first mile and then held consistent 10 min/miles, throwing in a few intervals at a 9:13 min/mile pace. Finished up the 5.1 miles in 51 minutes. All with the hovering woman standing right behind me for the last 3 minutes. Yes. I used those last 3 minutes. And a whole 30 seconds of my "cool down." I didn't miss you either hovering woman.

2. Remember my New Year's Resolution about traveling more? Well in two weeks I hop on a plane and head out to the Oakland/San Francisco area to visit my old college roommate. Super excited. We don't have a ton of plans set, but we are heading out for a night tour at Alcatraz (what can I say, I write about criminals, I HAVE to go to an old federal penitentiary that housed notorious criminals) and may go to Point Reyes National Seashore. There might even be a run, since she's getting together with some of her co-workers to run The Relay, a 200 mile run along the California coast. Needless to say I'm excited.

3. It will be a good weekend of madness. Not only is there the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight for the men's basketball tournament, but I can't forget the NCAA men's hockey Frozen Four. Now I just need to find myself a place that carries ESPNU so that I can watch my Badgers take on Vermont in first round action tomorrow.


Head over to Running Diva Mom's blog for a giveaway full of super cool stuff!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Trying out some new gear

It was cross training night. And although it was pretty nice out and I've been totally jealous of all the bikers I've seen pedaling around town, I had to head over to the YMCA after work since my bike is still in winter mode.

But I was OK with that. It gave me a chance to try out a pair of Sugoi tri shorts I won in a giveaway back in December over at Steve in a Speedo?! Gross! I won a Velocity tri tank and shorts and just haven't gotten around to trying them out yet (that whole winter thing). But when I packed my gym bag this morning, I threw the shorts in since I knew I'd be logging a longer ride on the stationary bike.

Granted the workout almost didn't happen since I left work about an hour late. But I resisted the urge to just head home and went to the YMCA.

The shorts were very comfortable. And were very light weight. It feels weird to say it, but it almost didn't feel like I was wearing the shorts. This was the first time I've ever worn any shorts that have the chamois and I admit, when I first looked at it, I was worried it was going to be bulky and uncomfortable. But I barely felt it and I think my body will thank me for it since I didn't ride 13 miles and then get off with the soreness I sometimes will have after a long bike ride.

So two thumbs up on the Sugoi shorts. I like them and am excited to get to use them more this summer! *

Even though I had treadmill envy, watching all of those other gym-goers running, my growling stomach won the battle and I headed home for dinner after the ride. I had a surprise waiting for me in my mailbox though. My RoadID came today. I can't wait to use it, although it'll have to wait for the weekend since I think tomorrow's run is going to be on a treadmill since it's going to be cold and windy.

* Note: Sugoi did not pay me to say this. I really did enjoy the shorts, which I won in a giveaway.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

An attempt at logging consistent miles

And on the 23rd of March I discovered this thing called consistency.

I headed out after work for a 4-mile run. Now, it always happens. I start a run and my first mile is always my fastest. Not intentionally. In fact, most of the time it feels like I'm running slow, but then when I plug in Gus the Garmin, he tells me I was super speedy on the first mile and then just got slower. And slower. And slower.

So today I wanted to do something different. I didn't want to get slower throughout the run. Faster would be nice. But I'd take steady.

Turns out steady was the plan for today.

Like always, I took off and felt like I was running at a comfortable warm up pace. But when Gus chimed after a mile, I glanced down.


Yeah, not slow for me. More like speedy. But still, it felt good. So I kept running with the plan of keeping my pace in the area of a 10 minute/mile. And honestly, I didn't do too badly. Splits came in at 10:11, 10:14 and 10:17 with the final 0.1 of a mile at 1:07 for a total of 41: 42 for 4.1 miles. Not bad. I'll take it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The bracket's busted, but the legs feel fine

My bracket has been officially busted.

I maybe could have overcome the 21 of 32 teams I had left standing after the first round. And even though Kansas getting knocked off Saturday night by Northern Iowa was painful, it wasn't the end of the world. Yet. But the dagger was today. Bye bye Pitt. And Maryland. And Texas A&M. And my Badgers? Painful to watch. It was bad day to be a team moving on in Badgergirl's bracket.

I've got 7 teams left in the Sweet Sixteen. And only two of my Final Four are still alive - both on the same side of the bracket.

But I can't complain too much. Because the basketball? Has been amazing to watch. I mean seriously. As much as it blew up my bracket, watching Northern Iowa pull off the upset yesterday was a highlight of the day. Same with ST. Mary's knocking off Villanova. Same can't be said about Cornell - but that's got more to do with them brutalizing my Badgers.

And after watching the Big Red kill my Badgers with a buzz saw, I was glad I opted to go for my 7-mile run before tip off. Because I'm not sure I would have had the will power to do it after.

While I may have been spoiled earlier in the week with temps in the 60s, today was actually pretty nice out. It was hovering right around 40 and sunny with very little wind. I headed out with two layers of long sleeve technical shirts and my running pants and was quite comfortable the entire run.

Since it was the weekend's long run, I kept an easy pace, averaging between 10:15 and 11:15 minute miles. Overall the run felt pretty good. And the legs don't feel too trashed tonight.

Unlike my bracket.


Even though my run was 7 miles, I didn't take any Gu with me today. But Running Diva Mom's got a great giveaway going on. Gu. Lots of flavors! Head over and check it out.

Friday, March 19, 2010

It's official

It's official.

At some point on May 16, somewhere around Mile 12, I will be running through Lambeau Field. I'll take a moment to touch the tundra before I head off towards the finish line of the Green Bay Cellcom Half Marathon.

Eight weeks and change to go before I tackle that 13.1 miles.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. Thanks for the input on carrying ID and other stuff while running. A lot of you mentioned a Road ID. And honestly it's been something I've been meaning to get, I just haven't yet. In my mind since I've spent a good chunk of time running on the treadmill at the YMCA lately, I didn't think it was absolutely necessary. BUT. You all will be happy to know that last night I placed my order for a Road ID. A black one. With my info and emergency contact numbers. And it's supposed to ship on Monday. Can't wait for it to arrive!

As for the other stuff I carry, normally I don't take anything with me when I run. But with some longer runs during half marathon training, I need to take along some Gu, get myself ready for the race in May and figure out what works. And I wouldn't take my cell phone, but lately I've been doing my long runs while I'm at my parents' house. And while they don't live in the middle of nowhere, they do live on the outskirts of town. And my Mom worries, so she'd like to see me have my phone with me. And because I'm a good daughter, I do. I'm going to look into some options and when I make a decision, I'll let you know!

2. It was t-shirt and short weather tonight when I headed out for my run. Gorgeous! Too bad Mother Nature is going through a grumpy phase. There's snow in the forecast for the weekend. And colder temps. Grrr. Hopefully if any of that white stuff does fall it melts quickly.

3. The Madness. It's started! So happy. And a bunch of upsets this morning. Seriously, Old Dominion? Murray State? Villanova barely squeaking by Robert Morris? I love it. Time to go watch some more.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A quick run and looking for some help

While my sleep schedule is still a little messed up, I'm loving Daylight Savings Time.

Seriously. What's not to love about leaving the office at 5:15, coming home and taking my time to change into running gear and still being able to head out for a 3-mile run before the sun starts setting?

I'm not complaining. Love it!

So the run went well. The legs were still a bit achy from Sunday's windy 8-miler, but once I started running (in shorts, again!) and warmed up they felt fine.

I do need some advice from you folks though.

With it getting warmer out and my runs getting longer, I need some option to store stuff like Gu, an ID, cash and a cell phone. My running shorts? While they do have a pocket in the back, I tried it out on Sunday and it wasn't the most user friendly pocket. I could shove my cell phone and ID in the pocket, but then it felt like I was running with a weight on my behind that was pulling my shorts down. Not good. And no place to shove the Gu (thankfully my long-sleeve tech shirt had a small pocket).

So what do you folks use for storage in the warmer weather? I'm thinking of getting some kind of belt thing, but I don't want anything too bulky or anything that's going to be annoying due to bouncing. Any suggestions?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A windy 8-miler

Last time I checked the calendar it was mid-March and I was still in Wisconsin.

So when I headed out for my 8-mile run this afternoon I was a bit confused. It was sunny and temperatures were in the 50s. I'm not complaining about that. But I was dressed in a pair of running shorts. SHORTS people! As in a piece of clothing I probably haven't worn (outdoors) since September!

I'm still not complaining though.

The long run was actually scheduled to be Saturday, but when my alarm went off and I could hear the rain pounding and the branches from the bush next to the window crashing against the window, I made the decision to postpone the run. After the 6-brutal miles I logged on the treadmill Thursday night, there was no way I was going near that thing any time soon. Besides, I had a wedding to go to Saturday afternoon and the weatherman told me it was supposed to be nicer Sunday.

Postponed it was.

The wedding was a blast - lots of dancing in a pair of heels made me worry how the legs were going to feel this morning though.

So I slept in today and waited for the temps to creep up a bit before heading out. It was right around 53 degrees when I finally left. And sunny. And it didn't look windy. So I threw on my running shorts and layered a long-sleeve tech shirt over a tech T-shirt and headed out.

Yeah, that windy thing? Totally wrong. The constant 25 mph winds made me think about cutting the run in half, but then my iPod started playing Kanye West's "Stronger" and just hearing the lyric, "That don't kill me / Can only make me stronger." Yes, there's a reason why I use that song as my "kicks me in the butt" tune.

So I kept running along the 8-mile route I had planned.

The first four miles actually went pretty well. I kept a nice steady pace and at the turnaround point I stopped for a few minutes and had a chocolate Gu, some water and stretched a bit. Then it was back to the road for the final miles.

Immediately I knew why those first miles didn't seem awful. Turns out the gusty wind? It had been at my back, meaning for the next 2.5 miles I was running straight into the wind. Talk about tough. But I kept putting one foot in front of the other until I could finally turn the corner and have the wind hit me from a different direction. Granted those last two miles were just as tough since the legs were starting to get tired. At least it wasn't a combination of tired legs and nasty wind to contend with. I ended up finishing the 8.1 miles in 1 hour, 32 minutes.

For my long runs, I'm shooting for paces in the 10:30 to 11:30 minute mile range. And today's run kind of fell there. My average pace was 11:25/mile and the splits were:

Mile 1 - 10:05 (always tend to start out too fast, gotta work on that)
Mile 2 - 11:00
Mile 3 - 11:04
Mile 4 - 11:34
Mile 5 - 11:39 (hello wind)
Mile 6 - 11:56 (wind, you're starting to get old)
Mile 7 - 12:04 (the wind disappeared, but the legs are starting to get tired)
Mile 8 - 11:58 (are we done yet?)
Mile 8.1 - 1:08

Like I said, I expected to slow down the last two miles, especially since I haven't run anything over 6 miles since I trained for the Fox Cities Half Marathon during the summer of 2007 before The Monster came and caused havoc.

I've got two months until the starting gun goes off at the Green Bay Half Marathon. As the mileage goes up, I expect some seconds to disappear from my pace. I'm kind of liking where I'm at at this point in the training schedule and am looking forward to the next two months.

And Mother Nature? It'd be nice if you didn't give us those strong winds on race day.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. The fog is still out of control. And since it was dark and I was alone, I headed over to the YMCA for my 6-mile run on the treadmill tonight. That's the furthest I've ever run on a treadmill. And that last mile? It was tough. Good thing I had some college basketball to keep me entertained.

2. Is anybody else excited for Daylight Savings Time this weekend? A whole extra hour of lightness! That means I can start running outside after work and won't run the risk of becoming roadkill on the side of the road because some driver can't see me in the dark!

3. I've got a date with my tax returns tomorrow night. I've been putting off doing my taxes for way too long. And I know once I sit down to do them, it won't take me that long. I'm just procrastinating. But tomorrow night? Me, my W-2 and other tax stuff have a date. It'll be an exciting Friday night.


Head over to Anne Marie's blog, Goals for the Week, and check out a cool running apparel giveaway!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A creepy, but cool run

Tonight's run was a bit creepy. But at the same time, very cool.

I met up with my friend Jess and our original plan was to head over to a monthly fun run put on by the local running club. I went over to her house after work, changed into my running gear and we were set to make the half hour drive to the run.

But five minutes into the run, we made a U-turn and headed back to her house.

See we've been having a problem with fog here the past few days. Something to do with melting snow, warm temperatures and the rain we got all morning. And the fog today? Pretty bad. As in you really couldn't see the car in front of you very well. And considering there was just a 38-car pile up last week that involved foggy conditions on the highway we needed to drive on, we didn't really want to be involved in Massive Car Crash Part II.

So we headed back to her house and decided to do our own version of the fun run.

And fun it was, especially since we didn't have a clue where we were going since we really couldn't see more than two houses away due to the fog. We just followed the street lights and hoped cars slowed down when they got to the intersections.

We headed out, stepped in a few massive ice-cold puddles, got soaked feet and managed to get a bit lost on the way back (blame it on a super twisty, turny street). But 4-miles after we started, we ended up back at her house.

Running through the thick fog was really cool. Kind of creepy, horror movie like, but very cool. Although it's definitely something I don't think I would do on my own. Call me crazy, but I kind of like the idea of safety in numbers when it comes to braving the super thick fog. And having a running pal was nice as well. I run alone so often, and even though we were both plugged into our iPods, we still were able to carry on bits and pieces of conversation, so the time passed by pretty quick.

Tonight's foggy run was fun, but tomorrow I'll be returning to the treadmill to log my 6-mile run, unless of course the fog lifts and the rain manages to stay away for an hour or so. I'll cross my fingers.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Bring on the randomness!

Ms. Ironman-in-training Leana over at Runner Leana tagged me with the Gorgeous Blogger Award. Thanks Leana!
I'm supposed to tell you six random things about myself. As this award is spreading through Blogland, some folks have been putting together their six random things based on a theme. So here it goes, six random things from my weekend.

1. I had to make one of those expensive Target runs this weekend. Seems like it always happens: I run out of a bunch of stuff (body wash, shampoo, toothpaste, face wash, moisturizer, etc.) all at the same time, leading to an expensive Target run. This was one of those runs. On the plus side, I may have splurged and come home with some Reese's Peanut Butter eggs.

2. I love coupons and grocery store sales. I had to get some cereal for breakfast. I had a coupon for $1 off two boxes of Frosted Mini-Wheats plus some Personal Perks grocery store reward. What that means? I got a free box of cereal!

3. If you think about seasons in terms of cooking, spring has officially sprung. I went to my parents' house for dinner Sunday (well, and to hijack their TV to watch the Badger game) and we had brats on the grill. First time since last fall!

4. I really wanted to finish reading "Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen" by Christopher McDougall this weekend. So close. But not done yet. Really interesting book by the way. While it's a great book, I don't think I'll be tossing my shoes in favor of barefoot running anytime soon.

5. I'm going through Olympic withdrawal. Good thing March Madness starts this week with conference tournaments leading up to Selection Sunday!

6. I feel a little guilty about skipping my long run this weekend. I've even tried rationalizing that the three short runs I did do Saturday and Sunday add up to the mileage I was supposed to do, but that isn't even helping.

There you go. Six random things I did or thoughts that ran through my head this weekend. Now it's time for me to pass it along...

Teacherwoman at Dare to Tri, Libby at From 0 to Runner, Suzy at Running on my Time, MCM Mama, Mel at Tall Mom on the Run and and Anne Marie, you guys are it!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Free swag and some new shoes

Honestly, I'm surprised my feet haven't rebelled and just refused to run.

My shoes? They're bad. As in they probably should have been replaced about 300 miles ago. But I've been putting it off. Once I hit the 100 mile mark for the year at the end of February I told myself, "You must get new shoes. Now."

And at first I was going to wait until I got my tax return back. But the feet were hating me last week. So I changed my mind and decided to get some new ones this weekend.
And it just so happens it was the grand opening celebration for Fleet Feet Fox Valley.

I hear grand opening and I think, ooh, maybe a sale.

But then I heard they had a fun run organized for Saturday morning. Just a 2-mile loop on a trail near their store. And the first 50 participants would get a free long-sleeved technical T-shirt.

Sign me up. I like things that involve the word "free."

So Saturday morning I headed over to the trail. There were about 35 people gathered (score, shirt was mine!) and a good range of runners. From super hard core folks to people like me to some who were just starting out with running and would probably be walking the trail.

The run was good. A little icy in places, but a good run. I even met Chelsey from - my first Internet/blogging meet up - and chatted with her a bit.

After the run (20:49 for 2-miles), I headed over to the store to claim my shirt and pick up a new pair of shoes. But first they had a spread of food for us to dine on - bagels, muffins, yogurt, juice - and then we lined up for the shirts. But we were pleasantly surprised. Not only did we get a long-sleeved technical Saucony shirt, but we also got a drawstring bag and a steel water bottle. Score!
I wandered around the store while waiting for my turn with the shoe fitters and entered my name in the raffles (crossing my fingers and toes that I win the sunglasses!). Then it was my turn for the shoe fitter. She took one look at my shoes and declared they were trashed - remember I told you I probably should have replaced them about 300 miles ago.

I sat down, told it would be really easy. I've been wearing Asics Gel-Nimbus. I love them. No problems. They work great. All I wanted to do was get a new pair. She looks happy. Goes to the store room. Comes back.

"I've got good news and I've got bad news."


The bad news: Apparently Asics didn't make enough shoes last year. They thought with the crappy economy people wouldn't spend money on things like running shoes. But people did. In fact, running stuff, wine and chocolate are the three things that actually saw an INCREASE in sales, she said. Who would have thunk.

What this means for an Asics wearing runner like myself. There's a shortage of shoes meaning stores are having a hard time getting shoes in stock. And my luck? Fleet Feet Fox Valley didn't have an Asics Gel-Nimbus shoes in a size 8 in stock and doesn't have a clue when they're going to get some in.

The good news: The store did have a pair of Asics Gel-Cumulus in my size. Which are like the Nimbus, but one step below. They don't have quite as much cushioning as the Nimbus, which are apparently the Taj Mahal of that style of running shoe that Asics makes, she said. And the better news is that they were about $30 cheaper.

I hesitated for a moment. I love my Gel-Nimbus. They've gotten me through a lot. But the pair I have right now? My feet are starting to hate me for. They're dead. Trashed. Making my feet hurt. Do I try to go elsewhere to find a pair or do I take a chance on the Gel-Cumulus, named after a type of cloud (the big white fluffy ones I believe) and would hopefully feel like running on clouds for my feet. And let's be honest, the Green Bay Half Marathon is in 2 months - the mileage isn't going to be going down anytime soon.

So I took a chance. Bought the Asics Gel-Cumulus, some Gu and a package of Gu Chomps.
I didn't bust the new shoes out for yesterday's indoor tri, I gave my old pair a victory lap. But I did take the new shoes on their first run today. Since I skipped my long run Saturday, I was originally hoping to do my 7 miles today, but my legs were feeling a bit sore after the tri today so I opted for a 3.15 mile run instead.

And the shoes? They felt fabulous. Like I was running on a cloud. This might be the beginning of a beautiful running shoe relationship.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

YMCA Indoor Triathlon - March Race Report

While I did not bring home any hardware with me from the YMCA Indoor Triathlon, I still was very happy with my performance.

A quick refresher: They started holding these indoor triathlons at my local YMCAs last year and in that time frame, I've earned a full set of medals - bronze, silver and gold. It's set up with an 8-minute swim followed by a 10-minute transition before a 22-minute bike. After a 5-minute transition the event ends with a 15-minute run.

So the swim. Yes, I admit. I've been slacking in the pool. Slacking as in today was the first time I dipped a toe in the water since the last indoor triathlon in mid-January. Oops. So I was winging it. And apparently winging it means dealing with goggle malfunctions during the first few laps and realizing how much swim endurance I've lost. Oh well. I took it slow, fixed the goggles and managed to finish 325 yards in 8 minutes. Not my best, but remember, winging it.

The bike went well. Nothing too surprising here. Legs were feeling pretty good and I was sweating buckets. Kept my cadence in the 120-125 rpm range the entire time and snuck in a bit of time in the 130 range. Finished 10.1 miles in the 22 minutes.

The run. Oh my gosh. Looking back I'm not entirely sure this was actually me running. Yet, this is why I'm happy with my performance today. Here's why. The seven of us in my wave lined up at the starting line and the timer yelled "GO." They all took off, leaving me in the dust. Yes, I was in a speedy group of folks. And remember, me? Not so speedy. So I ran. But I pushed myself. I wanted to run at my pace, but I also wanted to push myself and not get too far behind. I was running hard. But at the same time, I wasn't struggling. The faster pace? It felt good. A mile was 12 laps on the track we were running on, so when I finished that 12th lap, I glanced down at my watch.



I just ran a 9:29 mile? During the first mile of a run during a triathlon? And I had already gone for a run this morning (more on this later)? Is my watch malfunctioning? Because I don't know if I've ever run that kind of mile?

I shrugged it off. Kept running. Kept running at that faster pace. And I still felt good. I was getting close to the number of laps I needed to log 1.5 miles and I glanced down at my watch again. I still had 2 minutes left. What was happening? Who is this runner and what did she do with Badgergirl?

I ended up running 18.75 laps in the 15 minutes. And assuming my math is right (math was never my strong point), that's just shy of 1.6 miles. As in, I was running at less than a 10 minute/mile pace during the run portion of a triathlon. And I wasn't dying. I felt good.

I like it.

So maybe I didn't walk away with any hardware this time (the organizer said my 30-39 age group was stacked and we were all right in that 11.5-12 total miles range), but I'm pretty happy with what I did during that run today.

Made me a happy Badgergirl and got me thinking, who knows what could happen this year.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. I need to vent for a moment. I had plans today people. The weather man told me it was going to be sunny and 40. So I planned ahead, not only packed my gym clothes, but also a set of outdoor running gear. Because my plan was to take a short lunch and sneak out of the office a tiny bit early so I could change into running clothes and head off for my 5-mile run right from work in order to take full advantage of the spring-like weather.

That plan ended up being a total failure when I was stuck at work an hour longer than I was planning on. Meaning it was just starting to get dusky when I finished up. And even though there were sidewalks, I really didn't want to run outside by the lake in the dark. Especially since I was going to have to rely on Gus to tell me when my 5 miles were up.

So I headed over to the YMCA and even though I didn't want to, I did my 5 mile run on the treadmill. Kind of grumbling in my head the entire time. Took it nice and easy (hey, the plan says an "easy" run). Finished up 5.4 miles in 56 minutes. This weekend I will return outdoors for my 7-mile run.

2. I haven't watched The Office since Halloween. Too many things going on, not enough time to sit in front of the TV. But I had to watch it tonight. Because Baby Halpert was born. And I couldn't miss that. The result of watching the episode? I was instantly reminded that I need to find myself a Jim (both character- and looks-wise) and I need to catch up on the episodes I missed and start watching regularly again.

3. I just realized that I have an indoor tri on Saturday. Oops. I feel like I'm ready as far as the bike and run go. But the swim? Yeah, the last time I dipped a toe in the pool was back in January. During the last indoor tri. So I guess I'm going to wing it in the pool and hope for the best. And of course, just have fun.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

February reading recap

Between running and watching the Olympics, I found some time to read in February.

I finished two books in February at a total of 1,068 pages. That brings the yearly total to five books and 2,294 pages, which is ahead of the two books and 1,033 pages I'd read by the end of February 2009. I'll take it.

So what I'd read between my Olympic watching marathons? Take a look:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos

I've read the final installment of the Harry Potter series before. I devoured it in something like 3 days when it first was released. But I've read all of the other books in the series a couple of times and wanted to go back and read the last chapter again. And I took my time this time. As in it almost took me all month. But I enjoyed getting to read it again. Love Walked In was some fluff recommended by a friend. But good fluff. The kind of fluff I needed post-Olympics.


Today was a cross training day so I just hopped on the bike for 15 miles. I think my legs were thanking me for that decision. They were grumbling really loudly this morning when I got out of bed. Oops!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Grumbling legs and a look back at February

The legs were totally rebelling tonight when I stepped on the treadmill.

Are you crazy? You just made us run 6.2 miles yesterday and now you want us to run again? Haven't you ever heard of a rest day?

Yeah, that's what they were screaming at me when I stepped on the treadmill tonight. But I didn't listen to them. The training plan said a 3-mile run was on tap today. And darn it, screaming legs or not, I was going to do the 3 miles.

And the legs apparently figured out it was a lost cause to keep screaming, because after an easy 1.5 miles, they felt pretty decent. So I played around with the speed a bit and when the numbers on the treadmill flipped to 3 miles, I was still feeling pretty decent, so I opted to throw in an extra mile.

Overall 4.1 miles in 42 minutes tonight. And aside from the initial unhappy legs, the run felt pretty good.


So February's done. Ummm, I'm still trying to figure out where January went. So let's take a quick look at the month.

Run: 55 miles
Bike: 29.5 miles
Swim: 0 yards

Oops. Totally slacked on the swimming. I'm going to change that in March. Really I am. And the biking went down a bit, but the run totals? Considering February only has 28 days and I pounded out 55 miles compared to 50.8 miles during the 31 days in January. I'll take that.

Let's take a look at the year:

Run: 105.8 miles
Bike: 96.5 miles
Swim: 338 yards

I'm a tenth of way towards the 1,000 mile running goal for the year. Yes, I'm still behind. But I'm hoping to catch up a bit this month. The half marathon plan has me running 70 miles this month if I follow it exactly. And well, I've never been too good at following it exactly. Take for instance tonight. I was supposed to run 3 miles. I ran 4.1 miles. Goals for March include getting back into the pool, upping the bike mileage again and sticking with the half marathon training!