Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Not exactly what the plan called for

So the last week? It hasn't been exactly what I was thinking it would be running wise.

I haven't run since last Tuesday. Which I would be OK with. Except I've got a half marathon to run on Sunday. Yes Sunday. A few days from now. Eek!

First I bailed on the windy, wet and cold Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. I meant to make up the miles on the treadmill in my parents' basement. But I went back to sleep after making my decision and ended up sleeping too late to get it done before the holiday festivities took over.

Friday was a crazy day. Work. Meeting up with old friends for a happy hour. Some more family stuff.

Starting to feel a little off on Saturday. Slept late. Had to get a few things done before watching the Badgers wrap up a share of the Big Ten championship and (most likely) a trip to the Rose Bowl. No time to run at night due to some plans.

Sunday was set aside for cleaning the apartment, watching the Packers lose and putting up my Christmas tree. I'd normally do that this upcoming weekend. But since I'll be in Las Vegas, that wasn't going to happen.

And Monday? I woke up feeling as though I'd gotten smacked by a truck. Stuffy nose, scratchy throat. Kind of achy and super tired. I felt a little better mid-day and contemplated getting a short run in, but by the time I left work? Feeling just like I did when I woke up. So no run. And repeat for today, except you can add in a headache.

Not the ideal time to get sick a week before race day. And considering I'm already sick I guess I should have just sucked it up and done the cold, wet and windy Turkey Trot. I'm hoping I start to feel better soon. Preferably before I board a plane to fly out to Las Vegas on Thursday afternoon.

And no running since the Santa Scamper last week? I admit, it's got me a bit nervous. Talk about taper. I'm hoping to sneak in two short runs yet this week though. I'm not working Wednesday, so I'm hoping to get in some kind of run. Maybe not too long, just long enough to remind my legs what it feels like to run. I'm hoping to repeat that on Thursday morning before heading off to the airport. Because the next time I'll run? It'll be Sunday morning at the stating line.

It's getting so close!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Three Things Thursday: The Thanksgiving Edition

1. I'm thankful for the family, friends, members of the blogging community and other assorted people that I've come in contact with during my life. Whether it's been the shoulder they've offered me to cry on during the rough patches in life or the support they've given me as I've chased my dreams, it's meant a lot to me. And even those random people who I've crossed paths with a handful of times have played a role in the life I've built. I take away something from every interaction with people I meet. Thank you for helping me become the person I am today.

2. I'm thankful for my health. Sounds kind of cliche, but after going through the scare with The Monster, I don't take my health for granted. And while revisiting the time when The Monster controlled my head isn't something I'd like to do, it taught me things and helped make me a stronger person.

3. I'm thankful for the extra couple of hours of sleep I got this morning. I was supposed to do the 5-mile Turkey Trot. But when my alarm starting buzzing at 6:30 a.m. it was cold, windy and wet. Not ideal conditions. Had it been any other Thanksgiving I would have toughened up and went for the run. But I leave for Las Vegas a week from today and I DO NOT want to get sick. So I opted for bailing on the turkey trot, getting the run done later on the treadmill and some extra sleep.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Santa Scamper Race Report

It's not really a race, more like a "fun run," but I'm pretty sure I ran the fastest mile of my life while I was scampering after Santa last night.

Every year on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving Appleton has it's Christmas parade. And before the parade is the Santa Scamper, a one-mile fun run down the parade route past all of the people who are bundled up and waiting for the parade to start and Santa to come down the street.

And the weather Tuesday? It was definitely the kind that the jolly old elf who lives at the North Pole likes: Cold. Windy. And did I mention cold?

The Santa Scamper didn't start until 6 p.m., and even though my Mom had set out our chairs earlier that morning, she still wanted to head down fairly early to get a somewhat decent parking spot. I talked her into 4:30. That was still an hour and a half waiting in the cold to run a mile. And sitting in the 22 degree weather with bone chilling cold, steady, winds was harsh. I admit, at one point I grabbed her keys and went and sat in the car for a bit. What can I say, I didn't have the luxury of wearing my boots and long underwear!

Eventually about 20 minutes before the Santa Scamper my brother, his wife and their kids showed up and we took off for the starting line. We got in a bit of a warm up run when we were still 2 blocks from the starting line and heard what we thought was the announcer telling the runners to get ready. A bit of pre-Scamper "Jump Around" and we were set to run.

I was lined up with my brother next to a man holding a neon yellow sign indicating the 6 minute mile pace. Umm, yeah. Not me. My brother laughed. We stayed put. Turns out it didn't matter since there were a bunch of little kids and walkers I had to dodge during the first block or so.

I kept a pretty decent pace though. Handed out some high fives when I ran past my Mom and The Rugrats. Was booking it as I ran downhill and stayed strong during the final quarter-mile straight away before taking a slight uphill to the finish line.

I crossed the line. Hit stop on my Garmin and glanced down at my time.

8 minutes, 56 seconds.

Huh? There must be something wrong. Maybe it wasn't a full mile. Nope. The distance read 1.0. I just ran a sub-9 minute mile. That's unheard of for me. On a good day I can clock a 9 minute, 30 second mile, but I can't remember ever running a sub-9 minute.

Needless to say, even though I didn't find Santa, I was pretty darn happy with that Santa Scamper result.

Monday, November 22, 2010

An interesting week in terms of miles and weather

It's a holiday week. But that doesn't mean I'm taking a holiday from running. Oh no.

I did an easy 5.2 miles on the treadmill after work tonight. The run felt pretty good. Nothing too special. It's starting tomorrow that things will get interesting.

I was bad and skipped my long run this weekend. But I have the day off of work tomorrow, so my plan is to get up at a reasonable hour and get 10 or 11 miles done by early afternoon. Ideally I'd like to do this outdoors, but it's supposed to be cold. And windy. So it might be done on the treadmill. Or maybe a combination of outdoors and treadmill. We'll see what Mother Nature throws at me.

But I won't be done running once I get those miles in. Tomorrow night is the Santa Scamper, a one-mile fun run down the parade route before the Appleton Christmas Parade. And since it's at night it'll be dark, most likely colder and probably still windy. Yeah, that Dairy Queen Dilly Bar I get at the finish line will be just what I want. More like hot chocolate. And a winter coat.

And Thursday? Well that's the 5-mile Turkey Trot. Which wouldn't be bad. But the weathermen? They're using words like winter storm. And snow. And, oh yeah, cold. Let's just say I think I'm breaking out a pair of older running shoes for this 5-mile jaunt. And the remaining 2 miles I've got to run to make it to 7 for the day? Probably will be done on the treadmill. Inside. Where it's warm.

Add on another 6 miles sometime during the weekend and that's it. I'm crossing my fingers I get all the miles in and survive. Then it's a relatively easy week of tapering before the Las Vegas Rock n Roll half marathon! In just over a week I'll be flying out to the Sin City!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Two thumbs up for runs with friends

My friend Jess said it best. Run dates rock.

I don't get a chance to run with other people very often. And most of the time I'm OK with that. For me running is my me time. My time to de-stress. Not think. Or think about things that need to be thought about. Time to just put one foot in front of the other and lose myself in my music, my thoughts or just my surroundings.

I kind of like being a solitary runner.

But every so often I crave a running partner. A lot of times it's those weekends when I've got a long run staring me in the face and I'm kind of lacking the motivation to lace up my shoes and get my butt out the door. But other times it's just the companionship I'm craving. While it's nice to run alone, sometimes I just want to be able to share the run with a friend. To help distract each other from the miles looming ahead because neither of you is really in the mood to run. Or just to have time to reconnect.

Tonight I had a run date. And it was just what I needed.

After I was done with work I headed over to my friend Jess's house. We've run together before, but hadn't had the chance to do it all summer due to conflicting schedules. After hanging out at Diva Night together last month, we decided a run date was in order.

It was a great run. Four miles in the park along the lake in the dark. We were even greeted by a pair of two huge owls sitting in the tree when we reached the midway point at the end of the point. Let me tell you, those owls were HUGE! And the hooting? Kind of creepy, but very cool at the same time.

We both had our iPods with us, but there was absolutely no need for music since we chatted the entire time, catching up on what's been going in our lives, boy stories, upcoming travel adventures. You name it, we probably talked about it. Well that may not be true. The one topic we didn't touch on? Work. And let me tell you, that was fabulous!

We both agreed the run date rocked. And we'll definitely do it again. Hopefully it won't be 6 months before the next one! What's your thoughts on running with others? Like it? Hate it?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Unintentionally doubling the miles

Hello. My name is Badgergirl and I totally jinxed myself.

Yup. Remember I Thursday when I was super happy about hitting all my runs for the week? Well the long run for the weekend? It didn't happen. Saturday it was cold. And windy. And rainy. And cold. Plus I was way too focused on watching the Badgers clobber Indiana 83-20. And by the way, for a fitness related Badger story go read this Wisconsin State Journal story about the Bucky Badger mascots (two were on duty) who had to do a combined 535 push-ups. It's a good read.

I had intentions of doing the 8 miles on Sunday. But after I did a little bumming with my Mom, I ended up with a somewhat nasty headache and wasn't in the mood to run. So I didn't.

I kind of figured the 8 miles would just go down in the "I should have, but didn't" category. I didn't even think about getting them done tonight after work. In fact when I went over to the YMCA, I only intended on doing 4 miles - just like the training plan called for.

But then I started running. And it felt good. I didn't really push the pace, just kept it at a nice steady speed. And all of a sudden I'd been on the treadmill for 42 minutes, hadn't taken a break and had covered 4.1 miles. And I still felt good.

So instead of wiping down the machine and heading home, I started it back up. Set the timer for another 42 minutes. And ran. The only pain I felt was on my legs which were screaming at me for not using any Body Glide. Oops. Guess I should take that as a hint to slather myself in Body Glide even if I'm only planning on doing a short run.

Because tonight's 4-miler? It turned into 8 miles. It felt good. And it kicks off what will be a crazy, intense week for me running wise. My last long run (11 miles) before taper kicks in for Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas. Which is in 20 days! So close. So excited!

In sum, the run got done tonight. And tomorrow? I rest. And maybe even catch up on some blogs!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. I don't want to jinx myself, but I've hit every run on my training schedule this week. All that's left is the 8-miler this weekend. I can't think of the last time that's happened. Probably never. And the runs this week? They've felt good. And knock on wood, that crazy leg pain I was feeling Monday? It hasn't returned.

2. Las Vegas is getting close. It really hit home today when I was sitting in a planning meeting for work. We were talking about budgets and what stories needed to be written and when deadlines are. Let's just say I've got A LOT to do before I take off for my Las Vegas vacation on Dec. 1! Eek!

3. I was held captive by the city's Christmas holiday parade tonight. I got out of work a little bit later than usual but with 7 miles on the schedule, I figured I'd be at the YMCA long enough for the parade to go through and the streets to open up to traffic. Nope. I ended up having to take a really roundabout way to get home. Going super far north just so I could cut over a few streets to turn south. And by the time I got back to where my office was (and the parade mess), I was hitting all of the post-parade traffic. Ugh. It took me almost 25 minutes to get home. On a normal night? It's a 7 minute trip.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thanks for the input!

Thanks for the advice on the IT band issues guys.

I admit. Me and any kind of strength training? We don't get along very well. I always have good intentions, but never seem to follow through. I think I might look into the fitness class options offered at my YMCA and see if I can find some kind of class that will help me out. Or just suck it up and stop avoiding the weights section at the gym. And yes, my foam roller and I have become friends the last few nights.

On a positive note the leg isn't hurting today. I don't know. Maybe I just tweaked something during Sunday's 10-miler. Or maybe I was just stiff. Or maybe my legs forgot what it felt like to run double digit miles. Who knows. There's a short 3-miler on the schedule tomorrow, so I'll see how it feels. And maybe venture into the land of weights after.

I do know that I followed through with my planned rest day today and enjoyed being lazy. I was done with work early, hit up the grocery store and made a decent dinner. One that provided me with leftovers! Afterwards I crashed in my recliner and lost myself in a book.

Now it's time to pack a gym bag and crawl into bed for the night.

Monday, November 8, 2010

My legs probably don't like me very much right now

My legs were a little angry with me this morning when I rolled out of bed.

OK. Not both legs. Mainly my left one. It was kind of screaming at me when I took a step. The three flights of stairs I have to take to get to my office? Ouch. I'm not exactly sure what it is. It's on the outer side of my leg from mid-thigh to just above my knee. After doing some scientific Google research, I think it might be in the area of the IT band. But I could be wrong. I wasn't sure if I was going to do my run tonight. Since the thought of running kind of made me cringe. But the pain went away after lunch. I'm not sure if it's because I took some ibuprofen and used some BioFreeze or what. But by the time I left the office at 5 p.m., the stairs didn't hurt anymore.

Anyone have any advice on how to deal with an IT band issue?

So after a quick stop at the library, I headed over to the YMCA. I wasn't planning on anything long. Maybe just an easy 3 miles. But once I started running, it felt good. So I finished up with 4.3 miles - just like my training plan called for. So far tonight it's not hurting, but I think just to be safe, I might pull out the not-so-friendly foam roller and torture myself. And of course totally enjoy that rest day that I get tomorrow.

Oh and I almost forgot. As a result of tonight's run I hit a milestone. I finally broke 500 miles for the year. Officially I'm at 503.1 miles. Yeah, it's a little late. But it's a milestone I've never hit while running. So I'm a happy Badgergirl.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Gettin' it done

I had absolutely no desire to run today. Even though it was World Run Day.

I got up semi early. Read the Sunday paper. Watched way too many episodes of TLC's Say Yes to the Dress. Thought about going for a run around noon since the Packers were playing on Sunday Night Football. Ultimately decided to take a shower.

I was dressed. Clean. Then my Mom comes home, mentions it's absolutely beautiful out. Asks me if I went running. Ummm. Beautiful outside? It's November. And way to make me feel like a slacker Mom.

So I decided then and there, even though I had just gotten out of the shower less than an hour ago, I would go for a run. I wasn't sure how far I'd go. Maybe 3 or 4 miles. That way I could switch out Monday's 4-miler with the 10-miler I skipped this weekend.

I started running. At first, running into the wind, it was a bit chilly. I'm sure it didn't help that I had loaded up my handheld water bottle with not only water, but also ice. Yes, my right hand was freezing. But I kept running. By Mile 2 the ice had melted and it was time to shed the long sleeves. I stopped to do the shirt switch and when I was done, I started running again.

And it was actually feeling good. So I thought I'd go a little farther than I originally planned. Maybe 6 miles. But then I started thinking. I was feeling good. It wasn't painful to run. And it was perfect running weather. I'm not sure how many more days like this I'm going to get. And then there's the thought that Las Vegas? It's less than a month away.

So while I initially set out with the hope to just sneak in 4 miles, I ultimately decided I just needed to git 'r done. So 10 miles it was. I wound through some neighborhoods, tacked on the miles. Of course the first two miles were my fastest and then I got slower as the miles added up. No surprise there. I have problems pacing myself. But the splits stayed somewhat consistent, even once I started adding in the short walk breaks. And most of them were kind of in that 11:30/mile pace that I'm aiming for in Las Vegas. The "outlier" would be the last mile, but I was getting tired, took an extra long walk break. I ended up finishing 10.05 miles in 1 hour, 52 minutes, 30 seconds. Not too shabby.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the run. Especially considering I had absolutely no desire to run when I started.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Three Things Thursday: The Vegas Edition

1. A month from tomorrow, at o'dark thirty in the morning, I'll be lining up at the starting line and getting ready to run the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon. I'm getting excited. My training's been going well. And I'm going to try to hit every run these next four weeks. That being said, I wish December would hurry up and get here!

2. The race has been registered for. The flight has been booked. The only big thing left to do is book a hotel. And I'm this close to doing that. I think I've made my decision. Let's just say I'll feel like royalty staying there.

3. In not so good news, my iPod was acting up tonight during my 6 mile run. It decided to die 1.5 miles before I was done running. The battery indicator was telling me it still had life in it, but it just refused to play. Not sure what was going on. Maybe it was cranky with me because I had basically been plugged into it all day at work and then didn't even give it a rest before my run. I guess iPods can get tired too. But it got me worried. What if it decides to pull this in a month in Las Vegas? I don't know if I can run 13.1 miles sans tunes. Yes, there will be bands along the course, but it won't quite be the same as my pre-determined half marathon play list. I might have to look into a replacement iPod. Maybe a shuffle?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I'm ready for the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge. Are you?

Anyone up for a bootie busting challenge?

Then go over here. Because it's time for the 2010 Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge hosted by Run to the Finish. I had a chance to participate in last year's challenge and it was a great way to keep me on track during the crazy holiday season. I'm hoping it does the same this year and helps me avoid that spell of utter laziness I sometimes find myself in after a half marathon.

What are you waiting for? Come on and join the challenge! It'll be fun!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A different kind of Election Night

Tonight feels weird.

I'm a reporter. I work in the news business. So for the last eight years? When Election Night came around, whether it was a primary or a general election or in the fall or spring, I was usually pretty sure I'd be working. Either sitting in my office waiting for results to come in and make those hectic phone calls to touch base with candidates in the few minutes I had left before deadline or else I was out at a candidate's election night party, waiting to hear the candidate make a victory or concession speech.

Tonight was different.

Oh there were races. Big ones. Folks in Wisconsin were voting for a new governor. And we had a pretty high profile U.S. Senate race along with other races.

But me? I wasn't working. Huh?

I worked a day shift and was officially the "on call reporter." The one that would get the phone call from her boss at 2 a.m. if that U.S. Senate race went into the wee hours of the morning waiting for a winner to be declared. And that phone call? I'm crossing my fingers I don't get it, but the night's still young.

So as I left my office at 7:30 p.m. (had to stick around for the newsroom tradition of pizza on election night), my co-workers were heading out to their assignments. I almost felt lost. But I had thought ahead and my gym bag was in my car. So I headed over to the YMCA for a run while watching the election results start to pour in.

The run was good - 5.3 miles to make up for the run that I skipped yesterday. Thankfully there weren't many other people at the YMCA since they would probably have questioned my choice of socks. Somehow forgot to pack my running socks so I ended up wearing my black work socks. Classy.

And the results? Oh boy.

Monday, November 1, 2010

If you want to be a Badger....

Just come along with me.

It was a football bye week, but I still ended up going down to Madison on Saturday. Not for the football. Not for the annual Halloween chaos now known as Freakfest (there were no such things as police in riot gear, tear gas or mounted officers when I was down there - it was utter chaos when I was there). Nope. I was still going to be a Badger, but I was heading over to cheer on the hockey Badgers.

My friend Amanda graduated from Michigan Tech, so each year when the Huskies are in town for the weekend two-game series, we head down for the Saturday night game. I'm of course decked out in my cardinal and red and Amanda cheers for her Huskies. Each year she thinks they'll make a game of it, but the Badgers usually end up on the winning end after three periods. Although there was the one year they managed to win and I threatened to that she'd have to walk back home to Beaver Dam. :)

Anyway. Saturday night. Badgers. Hockey. Good times.

We got down to Madison a bit early and hit up State Street. They were putting the finishing touches on set up for Freakfest, and even though it was still daylight, plenty of people were running around in costumes. Great people watching. We also did a little window shopping. And I initially swore I was going to be a good Badger and not buy anything. But we stepped inside a corner store that is full of Badger gear. And I saw it.

The perfect shirt.

I tried to resist. I really did. But Amanda? She can be a bit convincing. So I bought it. I think it was an appropriate purchase. Don't you?

Purchase complete it was time to watch some hockey. The first period? Ugh. Sloppy hockey. Slow hockey. Not fun to watch. Michigan Tech would take the early lead in the second period, but Bucky answered with three quick goals near the end of the period and notched their final goal early in the third for the 4-1 win. Let's just say the hockey got a lot more fun to watch as the game progressed. And that's not because the Badgers started winning.

And you can't beat the pee wee hockey game that takes place between the second and third periods. Adorable!

So overall I'd say it was a good day to be a Badger. Iowa knocks off unbeaten Michigan State on the football field, I find a shirt that I swear was made especially for me and the hockey Badgers beat up on Michigan Tech. And I got a chance to catch up with a good friend.