Run Happy

These happened.
These happened.

So I mentioned in a few posts that I may be trying something new to me.  As a huge Saucony lover, I have been faithful to the Saucony Hurricanes for a couple of years now.  I usually have two pairs in rotation. I have a brand spankin new pair of the 15’s sitting in my closet. I have tried the Mizuno’s and my legs (primarily my knee…see this post) did not really adjust well to them. I really wanted to love them, but I just didn’t.  No hard feelings. I still wear them at work and for walking.  I went back to alternating with the Hurricanes. I have also realized I need to work hard on my running form and my foot strike. I want to do more mid foot striking and less heel striking. Like every other good runner. I have heard and read nothing but great things regarding Brooks.  Hub’s first pair of running shoes were Brooks and he refused to get new ones for years. Enter, the Pure Cadence.

So. Pretty.
So. Pretty.

Race Swag

They also took me through this half mary…

Brooks, Run Happy!
Brooks, Run Happy!

I love them.  We have a great time at the track. They are light and encourage the proper foot strike. My feet felt great after the Women Rock half.  I enjoy having these shoes in my rotation. I think my legs enjoy them as well. I plan on keeping them in rotation for the next round of marathon training. However, my go to shoe really is the Saucony Hurricanes. I just love them. I love everything about them.  I really want to try Newton running shoes…anyone want to send me $$$$ to buy them??!!

Now you know my thoughts on shoes, and my favorite running shoes. I am never opposed to trying new shoes or brands…I just really love Saucony.  Anyhow…to liven this post up just a bit…I saw this the other day…

Um... really?
Um… really?

Look closely at the gentleman in the orange shirt. Do you see what I see? If not…I will tell you. If you ask. Nicely.

What are your favorite running shoes?

Have you tried a new brand lately?

Do you rotate running shoes?

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Mankato Half Marathon Recap and Review

Good morning! I figured it would be best to get this down while it is still fresh in my head! This past Sunday I ran the Mankato Half Marathon. I am proud to say that I have been a part of this race since the beginning…ok, so this was only its fourth year, but still. The first year I ran the half, the second year I volunteered as a bike medic, and the third and fourth years I ran the half. Yes, I plan to have some part in this race every year! Whether I volunteer or run. Either way, count me in. Moving on…Saturday I went to the expo with my sister. Nothing too exciting. It was small but nice.  I think they do a great job! We stopped so she could look at the Scheels shop for a headband. Weather was supposed to be 36 at the start, 40 at the finish. We went to pick up our packets and race swag.  We wanted to listen to one of the speakers Dr. Cindra Kamphoff. She is an amazing marathoner and a sports psychologist. She gave a great presentation on mental toughness and went through positive self talk. What a way to get positive for crappy weather and hills!! Embrace them, because you can’t change them!

I am also a sucker for buying things at race expos. A Mankato Marathon coffee mug and a Punkeelove headband came home with me. Seriously, best headbands ever. They are adjustable and they do not slip. Every other headband slips off my head, but not these! We also ran into an older gentleman who has ran over 320 marathons all over the world!! What an inspiration! I asked if he was running the full. He said he doesn’t run full marathons anymore, but he was doing the half. He said “Just leave the lights on for me because I’m not speedy!” I wasn’t sure how old he was until I looked at some photos and captions. I saw the man and he is 88 years old! Amazing! Ok Ok….time for the race.

Throw away clothes
Throw away clothes

This was my best selfy at 0530am. My beautiful throw away outfit. My $2 thrift store wind pants from 1990 and a long sleeved white shirt I’ve had since 2003. Please don’t ask me why I remember the year and the place I got that shirt. It was chilly in the morning and I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to wear. It was either a long sleeved running shirt, or a tank with arm warmers.  I opted for a throw away shirt over my tank and arm warmers. I also bought a cheap pair of gloves so I could ditch them later. Anyhow, there is plenty of parking downtown so I parked with zero problems, hopped on a shuttle and arrived at the starting line. I saw my sister, who was running the 10K and they started a half hour before the half and full marathon. We tried to stay warm until it was time for her to run her very first 10K!!

I really had three goals for this race. Goal A. was a ridiculous ifeverythingfallsinplaceandifeelamazing goal. B. was finish better than last year goal. C. was just to finish. I knew the first few miles would be chilly with a head wind. I ditched the pants at the starting line (I should probably tell you I had shorts on under those pants!) and kept the shirt on for a few miles. I also wanted to start out slow and keep the first 3 miles at an easy pace, with the intention of the last 3.1 miles being faster.

The first three looked like this…8:03, 8:12, and 8:24. Oops. The first mile I always go way too fast. I didn’t feel like I had to dodge so many people this time! The first three were cold. I almost regretted not wearing something a little warmer but I reminded myself that as soon as we turned out of the head wind I would warm up.

I wanted to speed up after the first three, but I knew that I had a good downhill and some shorter, steep uphills to conquer the next few miles. Miles 4 through 9 look something like this…8:00, 7:52, 7:38, 7:49, 8:08, and 7:57. I felt really good through all of these miles. This course is really stunning. The fall colors and running on the Red Jacket Trail really makes the hills worth it. Now remember, my version of hill training (since where I run is all FLAT as a pancake), is wind training. So the wind ain’t got nothin on me! But those hills….This was my hill mantra, and yes, I did repeat it over and over…and yes, it worked wonders and got me through every single hill…”I eat hills for breakfast”. I remember hearing or reading it somewhere, but I have no idea where it came from. It came to me at the start, and it got me through to the finish.

After mile 9 my quads were sore and my legs were really starting to get heavy. I was trying a new fuel strategy…during the half mary I usually take 3 Clif Shot Bloks at mile 6 or 7 and the other 3 at mile 10 or 11. I remember that not working so well during Women Rock so I thought I would try 2 at mile 4, 2 at mile 8, and 2 at mile 10 or 11. Well, I dropped one at mile 4. Took 2 at mile 8, and 1 at mile 11 because I almost choked on 1 and wasn’t sure how close I was to the water stop. Whoops. Next time I should probably plan that better. I really wish I could just swallow and not gag on GU’s. I may have to try them again.

Anyhow, back to the miles. After mile 9 I thought to myself, “What?! Only 4 miles left? That is my normal easy distance. I got this.” I was feeling incredibly strong! As soon as I got into Sibley Park I knew there just a couple of short but steep inclines and then I could fly to the finish. Um….my legs had a different story. After I choked on the shot blok, I did go through a water stop and take in a Gatorade. I got to the next hill at about mile 11.5. I repeated my hills mantra, powered through, passed a guy (thought to myself, “You just got chicked….on a hill”), smiled, and embraced that I only had a little ways to go! My legs were tired, but my mind was going strong. The last few miles look like this…mile 10 was 7:43, 8:07, 7:59, 8:09, and the last .3 was 2:10 (7:22 avg pace). The last mile was the toughest. My legs hurt. I tried to push through that pain, reminded myself that it was temporary, and continued on. I tried to run fast to the finish but I just didn’t have much left in the tank. My mind was strong but my legs were about done.

According to Garmy my time was  13.3 miles in 1:46:15 with an average pace of 8:00/min miles. Official time 1:46:18. Not my best, not my worst. But, I beat last years time by about 5 minutes, and I finished!  My sis snapped a photo of me coming into the finish!

Photo credit to my sis
Photo credit to my sis. I am not the girl in purple on the right…But I am heel striking like a pro!

I absolutely love this race. I love the course, the course support, and the volunteers. The local Center for Sports Psychology team does a great job. They have motivational posters throughout at least the half marathon (I have not done or seen the full course, so I cannot vouch for the first half), and they have people throughout giving great mental support. Great job Mankato Marathon peeps!! And I would highly highly recommend this small, local race to everyone!

My sis and I had to take a few pics, and after we were done we went to go refuel…

Post race!
Post race!
Post race rehydration
Post race rehydration

There may have been some pumpkin Cold Stone Creamery in there too…but no picture because I ate it too fast.

Did anyone else race this past weekend??  Do you have any upcoming races?

 

Women Rock Race Recap

Almost two moths later, I finally have a Women Rock half mary race recap and review for you! Half Mary #6 is in the books.

Women Rock 2013

Thankfully this race was located about a two hour drive away. I booked a hotel room through one of the sponsoring hotels and Hubs was crazy tired when we arrived so I went to the expo while he napped.  The expo was smaller than I expected!

Welcome to the Expo
Welcome to the Expo

I walked around, bought a couple of things and headed over to pick up my race packet.  The goodies for this race were pretty much the reason I signed up! They gave us a Women Rock jacket and a necklace with a tiny diamond and a ruby on it. This went pretty smooth.  I walked back to the hotel and checked out our view of the Mississippi River and Harriet Island.

Hotel room view
Hotel room view. I am an amazing photographer.

We walked downtown for supper and a little carb loading…

Pre Run hydration
Pre Run hydration

After supper we went back to the hotel to relax and I could get ready for the morning.

Start Line
Start Line

I never ever run a race with my phone, so consider this a treat that you actually get a picture of a starting line. I should tell you why I do not run with my phone except when I’m on a long run in BFE…this girl sweats. A.LOT. Like so much that I have actually ruined iPods due to moisture from my sweatiness.  I do no need to ruin my phone due to me being a Sweaty Betty.  However, during this race I made an exception for three reasons. First, I decided to run with my handheld water bottle and I had a place to store the phone (which is also a first during a race). Second, it was HOT. The start wasn’t bad, but my mile 8 and full sun, it was hot. I figured IF something were to happen to me or I wasn’t able to finish or crawl to the finish, I could call Hubs.  Or 911. Whichever was appropriate.  Lastly, there wasn’t really a great way to find Hubs afterwards so if I needed to call him, I could’ve.  Anyhow…moving on.

Aside from my very first half marathon experience, this was my toughest.  Mentally and physically. I do not run well in the heat.  I have avoided the treadmill because I knew I was running this race and wanted to run in the heat (Wait, what?!). I was also taking it easy because I wasn’t sure how my left foot would do with the distance and I had different shoes on (more on that later). I had two goals for this race. A. I wanted to finish under 2 hours and B. I wanted to finish! Lofty goals huh?!  Here is a look at how the miles went down:

 1.8:21.6
 2.8:14.1
 3.8:05.8
 4.8:27.7
 5.8:24.2
 6.8:27.1
 7.8:54.7
 8.8:58.9
 9.8:58.1
 10.8:38.3
 11.9:15.8
 12.9:20.3
 13.8:15.8
 14.1:11.1
Finisher gem!
Finisher gem!

 

Official time was 1:53:14.  Yikes. Look at those splits!! Way to positive split like a pro! However I reached both goals and finished. And, I got handed the necklace above by a spicy, shirtless young man.

Since it was two months ago, I can’t recall what went down mile by mile. Except I didn’t go down. Thankfully.  All I know is that I was so glad to see the finish line. As far as how well the race was organized, I THINK (do not quote me as I really have no idea what I’m talking about) I read that this is only the 2nd year for the race. However, it is put on by Team Ortho, which also organizes a series of races in the Twin Cities area throughout the year. It wasn’t bad, but what do I know, I haven’t been to very many. The only thing I didn’t care for was the lack of water stops and volunteers at the water stops.  They announced on their website they would have two extra stops, and I did not see them. I didn’t bag drop so I’m not sure how smoothly that went, but it looked well organized.  The half marathoners were shuttled to the starting line, but the hike to the shuttles was a little far. However, it was a nice little warm up. There were plenty of porta johns and water at the start.

After I finished we went back to the room so I could shower and change.  We checked out and headed to the Great MN Get Together aka the MN State Fair (for all of you non-Minnesotans).   I had to celebrate finishing the half in proper style…

Post half mary rehydration
Post half mary rehydration

Yes, I do have a plastic beer cup koozie. Be jealous. It’s amazing.

The BEST strawberries with real whipped cream
The BEST strawberries with real whipped cream

These strawberries and real cream are the whole reason I go to the fair. (That isn’t true, I go because Hubs goes every single year). But I do have to eat these every year. Except my cream was starting to melt before I could finish the strawberries. Lovely.  But tasty. Very tasty.

So, finally, a Women Rock half mary recap! Not my best time, but not my slowest.  It was a fun atmosphere and next year I would love to make it a girls’ weekend!!!

I thought this was where I write…

So sorry…again..that I have been MIA. Not to make excuses (but I will again anyhow), but school started for me again, and life has been a little overwhelming right now. So…onto a more positive note…

I believe we left off with I was about to run the Women Rock Half Mary on August 31st. Which I did! I didn’t die…although I won’t lie, there was a time or two I thought I wanted too. I will do a full recap when I get off my lazy bum and download some photos. I will tell you, it was probably the hardest half mary I have done (with the exception of my very first one). There was a lot of self talk and mental battles for 13.1 miles. 1:53:14 later, I crossed that finish line, headed directly for the chocolate milk and food (um…which is ALWAYS the first place I go after a race. So if you ever run with me, and you look for me after I finish, chances are, this is where I will be).

So what’s next??!! Because you KNOW there is going to be something next…I’m going to bust out this ol’ thing…

LEXA!!
LEXA!!

And TRY my damndest to NOT fall over. No guarantees though. I will tell you how that turns out. On this coming Sunday, weather permitting, I will be participating in the Mankato River Ramble 40 mile bike ride. It is a fun ride (I’m used to typing Fun Run…which is more fun because run rhythms with fun. What rhythms with ride?!!) No racing here, I just want to finish the miles. Lexa may have to get a new seat on Saturday. Since the current one hurts my girly parts 5 miles into every ride. Sorry…not happening for 40 miles.

And….on October 20th, if you have nothing better to do, you can always cheer me and my sis on at the Mankato Half Mary!! This will be her very first half marathon. And…to be expected, she is nervous!! But I know she will do great! She will be running it with a friend of hers and I cannot wait to see them finish! 

I’ve run that course twice, and it is one of my favorites. It is a relatively new course (it is in its 4th year).  I’m not sure if it’s a favorite because it’s close to home, or because it’s the first half I had under 2 hours, or if I just love the course. I also volunteered the 2nd year they had it. I was a bike medic on the final 3 miles of the course and it was so much fun to encourage runners at that point! Although I now know what most of them were saying as they ran away from me… The course is pretty. Especially in fall. Weather is kinda unpredictable (um…possible tornadoes tomorrow in our weather forecast. In October. Really? And I’m pretty sure a snow storm is on its way.) If you have not done this course, you really should. Because I say so. And because you can have really good celebratory beer afterwards.

I see a lot of this happeningMmmmm…..beeeeeerrrrr.

Believe it or not, I do not have anything on the calendar for running after the Mankato Half. I think I will be taking it easy the rest of the year. Resting my foot. And trying to get my running mojo back. I am going to focus on some strength training and yogaing. I will be running, just not as much. My goal is to get stronger and leaner so I can accomplish a BIG goal next year. Anywho….enough about me.

What are your race plans for the rest of the year??

Are you setting any goals for next year?

 

Cheers!

Hello!! I just thought I would pop in and remind everyone that I am running the Women Rock Half Marathon this weekend!! We are in the middle of a lovely heat wave right now so I sure hope I don’t melt on Saturday morning. (I might melt. If I do, please note that I will actually be running a race with my Nathan handheld water bottle AND my phone. AND my ID. I NEVER run with them).  Please note: I am NOT complaining about this weather. I have not once complained about it simply because I promised myself earlier this year (um… after our 30,000th snow storm and we completely skipped spring and went right into summer) that I would not complain about the heat this summer.

Well…ask me on Sunday if I said one word about the heat and humidity. Simply because the race is Saturday morning and we are going to the Great MN Get Together aka…MN State Fair after the race. We are supposed to have about 80-90% humidity and the high for the day is 95F. I think I will wear my snow boots and parka swimsuit. Is it acceptable to wear moisture wicking, comfortable running clothes to a fair when its that hot and you’re surrounded by 200,000 other people? Seriously. I might. No matter what anyone tells me. Or if Hubs tells me it’s trashy.

I foresee this as my rehydration plans for after the race. I need to replace the sodium right? Um ok…I will alternate. One beer. One water. One beer. One water. At least I won’t feel guilty about consuming massive amounts of fair food.

I see a lot of this happening

Cheers peeps!!!

Good luck to everyone else racing this weekend and stay hydrated and healthy 🙂 If you are racing, where are you running?! Will I see you at Women Rock??!!

Don’t go away mad. Just go away.

SO…last week I did this…

Actually...I did Ripped in 30. Just wanted to show Jillian off.
Actually…I did Ripped in 30. Just wanted to show Jillian off.

Then…my hamstrings started to hurt. Bad. Like, really really really tight. I’ve done Ripped in 30 many times before. I did level 1 for cryin’ out loud. 1. ONE. I stretched. I went to work. and walked. So why, WHY the tight, sore hammys?? Running was slow the next couple of days and my speed workout at the track was nothing to be proud of. It went something like this:

 I was going to do Yasso 800’s, I opted for 400’s. Sounded easier. Yeah. Right. I ran my warm up of 1.5 miles (8:19/mile pace) to the track. Got there, realized the football team was practicing. On the infield though. I still had the track to myself. I did 10×400’s with 1:30 rest in between each lap. Here are my laps:

 1- 1:42 (6:50/mile)

2- 1:45 (7:00)

3- 1:48 (7:15)

4- 1:49 (7:17)

5- 1:48

6- 1:48

7- 1:46 (7:05)

8- 1:48

9- 1:46

10- 1:43 (6:54)

Cool down 1.4 miles with 8:49/mile pace.

Let me tell you a little bit about this workout. It was hard. I was hot. Drenched. Thirsty. hungry. Felt like vomiting. But by gosh, I got it done. And I felt amaze balls afterwards. I do wish I could’ve gone a little faster. That was last Thursday evening.. My hammy’s were still tight.

So…why not be a good little runner and throw in a long run on Friday morning. Just for good measure ya know. That long run was hell. It was hot. And I knew I would be slow. So I went into the run not worried about my pace. I just wanted to log the miles. 10 miles. No more. No less. I did it. SLOWLY. I even walked some. 10 miles in 1:32 (9:15/mile). Told ya I was slow. but guess what, I’m ok with that. I am proud of every.single.footstep. It was warm out, I carried my 20 oz. handheld with me with 1 Nuun in it. Drank that. Filled up at a water fountain 8 miles in. That was almost gone when I got home. Drank a 12 oz. glass of chocolate milk when I got home. And still managed to weigh in 3.1 lbs lighter than when I left home. NO Bueno. Dude, told ya I sweat a lot.

My hammy’s were still incredibly tight on Saturday, and by this time my lower back started to ache. So I did a little Jillian’s Yoga Meltdown level 2 before I went to work. That felt good. Wanted to run Sunday before work. Until I attempted to get out of bed. STIFF. My back was so sore I took a rest day. I don’t like to take rest days when I work that night. But, I did what I thought I needed to do. Monday was another rest day and “visit the chiropractor” day. Now, I have hardly ever had a chiro tell me I was hard to adjust. (I did when I was younger and much less active and had been in a car accident. This is different). He told me I hardly moved and he’d like to try again. ICE. Rest. See him again. So, I see him later today.

Tuesday I ran 5 miles in the lovely welcomed back humidity. Not too bad actually. My back felt good, but then when I sit down it starts up again. I have also been trying to convince this little thing called Plantar Fasciitis to go/stay away. I can feel it. It’s on the edge. It’s not painful. But it’s there. GO AWAY. More ice, lots of stretching. Don’t go away mad, just go away. Please. and Thank You.

  Maybe I just a little more love from this guy.

my pup and me

Next Half mary is in 10 days!!!!!

Whew that was close

Check out the new, updated Races page!!! About time huh? Here was my view today…

Perfect Ice Cream Day
Perfect Ice Cream Day

Except we were on the motorcycle. Not in a car. And I got to eat it outside. Enjoying the 84 degree (not so humid) weather! Whatever MN’s weather is doing right now, I kinda like it. It is welcome to stay. Cool at night, beautiful during the day. Pretty sure our normal 90% humidity has headed East for the summer (well…for the time being). Let’s hope August 31st at 0730 is a beautiful morning 🙂

I took an impromptu rest day today when hubs called and asked if I wanted to take a bike ride (HIS version of bike ride, not mine. I LOVE both versions though. One is motorized, one is not) to go pick up golf balls for a tournament this weekend, and supper. Sure 🙂

Just a little bike ride ya know.
Just a little bike ride ya know.

Tomorrow will be a speedwork day I think. I have some exciting news in the running shoe department. But I can’t share yet. Just need a little more time, a few more miles, and then I can share.

Just a little runners humor for you. True story. Cannot make this crap (pun intended…keep reading) up. This stuff happens to me (and most other runners. But I talk about it. So Tuesday I had to drop my car off to get some new brakes. Figured instead of ask the hubs for a ride home I would just take advantage of it and turn it into a long run day. Good intentions. The morning went ah hem…as planned. Coffee, pb and toast, banana. Bathroom. Check. Deed done. Should.be.good.to.go.for.a.long.run. Well…I dropped my car off, turned on Garmy and iPod (which is ticking me off, so if anyone can help me by getting it to sync podcasts and new music without having to reset it every.single.time. I would appreciate it. Thanks.) and headed down the road. The first few miles were tough. My legs have been incredibly tight since doing 1, yes ONE Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 level ONE workout. Turns out you need to do these workouts a little more often and pay attention to form every time. Yikes. Anyhow…back to the run. Apparently…my stomach did NOT care for the toast (I usually eat an english muffin, not toast. Big difference apparently. Weird because my stomach usually isn’t that sensitive). The first few miles my stomach was just doing flips. I thought about turning around and cutting it short. Nope. At this point my stomach started to feel a little better. The mental battle started. I wanted to quit. For no.good.reason. I had nowhere to be. Nothing to do, other than run. It was cool, a little humid but not bad, and it was a little drizzly but actually felt kinda nice. I kept going on the route I had planned. Then my tummy really started to do back flips. I realized I was NOT going to make it home without having to stop somewhere. I was in the middle of BFE. Surrounded by the occasional car and the cornfields. I was going to try to make it to the campground about 1.5 miles away. Nope. Not happening. Was contemplating which ditch or field to duck into when my phone rang. HUBS! Called to see if I was stuck in the rain and if I needed a ride. So sweet. Who cares about the rain, but I need a bathroom. NOW. Bless.His.Soul. He found me, picked me up and took me to the campground. I get out of the car and I hear someone shout “Cheater!”!! At that point I couldn’t even look to see who it was, I just waved and replied, “I know!!” and sprinted to the bathroom. Did my deed. Had a much happier stomach, and proceeded on my run. Caught up to said person, who I found out I know well and was laughing at me 🙂 I told him it was an emergency bathroom stop and I had to cheat 🙂 I got my 10 miles in. No more. No less. In 1:25 with an 8:31/mile pace. Slower than what I wanted. But I just kept reminding myself that I do not need to run every long run at my goal pace. And yes, I stop Garmy when I have to walk so I don’t crap my shorts.

Do you stop your Garmy when you have to take a walk/bathroom/water break?

Please share your “close call” stories. All runners have at least one!