Wednesday, September 3, 2014

August In Review

August in Review

Running Miles: 132.68
Strength Training/Cross Training Days: 3
Cycling Miles: 96.34
# of Workout Days this month: 18 (58%)

Running Miles: It’s marathon training season. But I’ll admit, this might be the highest mileage per month I’ve ever had since I started keeping track of my miles last year. I even purposely took a couple short runs out because I wanted to rest my legs from two high mileage running/cycling weekends. So I’m pretty proud of how I feel right now about my training. I feel good. My legs feel (relatively) good. And I just did my 18 miler this past weekend. With that 18 miler, I ran about 6 of the end miles solo. I’m still trying to utilize my “run happy” mantra I’ve worked on this year and, even when I don’t feel quite so good, it’s helping keep my head on straight and power me through the runs (most times). I’m only human so a couple of shorter runs, I was pretty miserable. It happens.

Strength Training/Cross Training Days: Well, 3 is a pretty sad number. This includes all other activity besides running, so cycling, yoga, etc. I know I’m running A LOT, but how hard should 15 minutes of Abs or yoga be?? Come on Amanda, get it together! My back is pretty weak from when I hurt it last year and I want to incorporate planks and supermans into my daily routine. However, I will say, I have been stretching about 80% of the days. I just didn’t include that in here. I’m trying to keep this pesky piriformis issue at bay.

Talking about the piriformis, my chiropractor told me to have my boyfriend jab his elbow into my piriformis (aka butt) to work it out like she would. And I had him do it 4-5 days per week. When I finally saw her again, she pulled down my pants (yes she did!!) and noticed I had a bruise there. She was quite impressed with my boyfriend’s skills of pain infliction! Moving on…

Cycling Miles: I had 96.34, which is pretty good for me. But actually, this was only 2 cycling days. I did the Venus De Miles bike ride (66.28 miles) and about 1 week before, got some training cycling miles in with a 30.06 mile bike ride.

# of workout days this month: Um…only 18? I missed 13 workout days! I’m slightly embarrassed by that. It’s my lowest amount of workout days per month this year! But I know it’s because I took a few extra rest days due to all the running. I was just tired. It’s totally understandable. So I will cut myself some slack in this area. BUT…goal is to do better in September but getting some of that core workout in (planks, superman, etc). Hey, even 5 mins counts! Just do it!

I can’t believe it’s September already. I’m hitting up vacation starting tomorrow by traveling to San Antonio, Texas to visit my boyfriend’s brother and his family. It should be a good time. I’ve never been so I’m pretty excited! I was told that we are going to visit the toilet seat museum…. Um… Texas Fun!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Three Things Thursday...on Wednesday

I was going to wait and send this post tomorrow but it's done, so why wait!

Three Things Thursday... on Wednesday

1. I participated in the Venus De Miles, an all women bike ride benefitting Greenhouse Scholars. I rode the whole way with Melanie of See Mommy Race and my boyfriend (er... girlfriend? More on this later) Derek. I did the 64 mile ride, which is the longest offered, but there were 2 other shorter distances for those not up to the highest distance yet (or just wanted to get back for the food and fun earlier).
My favorite photo of me and Melanie!
I will preface the next few photos by saying that Derek was part of the "Men-in-Drag" support crew, so if any of us helpless ladies needed something fixed, he would stop and help them get back on track with their bikes.  He stopped a couple of times but another fellow Man-In-Drag was helping so he was able to keep biking with me. However, he did have to help one damsel in distress, me! My chain popped while I was switching gears after a hill and I'm useless when knowing how to do things pertaining to a bike, so I flagged him down and he helped me. It was somewhere around mile 60.

Me and Derek

Forget it ladies! He's all mine!
Overall, I had a lot of fun but after riding 2 rides longer than 60 miles, I have to say that 30-40 miles is the perfect long bike ride distance! This route had a lot of hills too (A LOT!), and our legs were so fatigued by the time we got to mile 50. And we missed a turn at the end and had to backtrack a bit, which brought my total miles to 66+. I was happy to be done! :)

2. I bought a new bike!  Unfortunately, I didn't have it for my really long bike ride. I got it the same day but afterwards. It's not brand new either. It's a 1995 Trek that's in pretty good condition. And unfortunately, I haven't ridden it yet since I got it. I'm hoping to change that this week.  My old bike was a cheepy, very generic, bike that we got online. I have to lean too far over on the handlebars and put too much pressure on my arms. The trek bike lets me sit a bit more upright and I noticed right away that I'm not putting any pressure on my arms!  I'm so excited!

A picture of the same bike I bought, just not my actual bike
3. Marathon Training. I'm now in week 10 of my 18 week training schedule! Wow! That's moving fast! I'm feeling pretty good so far (knock on wood). I'm never feeling perfect but that's because my body sucks. But I've been consistently running hills every Wednesday for 6 weeks (is that all? Seems like longer!), which is going well. I've also been changing up my long runs (location and people) every once in a while. That could be partly because of half marathons that I had in the last couple months. I love running with "my girls" of course, so when I can meet up with them, I jump at the opportunity. I have my longest run since last year (17 miles) on Saturday and runs over 15 miles always tend to freak me out a bit. Trying to remain calm. I know I can do it. I've done it before (several times)... ok maybe not 17 miles but I've run 16 and 18 miles. I'm doing the Hal Higdon Novice 2 plan and the long run miles are a bit different. Looking forward to telling you all about the great run I'm going to have this weekend! (See what I did there? Trying reverse psychology on myself. Don't tell me).

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Zooma Chicago Half Marathon Race Recap

It should be no surprise to you all that I am a 2014 Zooma Ambassador. This was the first race I was an ambassador for and I couldn't have asked for a better experience.

I was fortunate enough to win a room at the host hotel for the night before the race. This was great as I would be able to wake up about 1 hour later than I normally would have. I headed to the hotel after work on Friday to check in and pick up my packet and several others.
The squigly hotel is the one I was staying at. Radisson Blu.

Part of the lobby

My room
I don't get out much. I needed to take a selfie in the hotel robe.
Ok, enough of that... let's get on to race day. The shuttle was really convenient for me as it was located at my hotel. I arrived early enough and wanted to get in an additional two miles before the race (marathon training). I forgot my race belt and my fellow run friend Nicole was nice enough to bring one for me.  I ran my two miles and came back. After I "checked out the bushes" (if you know what I mean...the potty line was super long at that point), I noticed I didn't have my belt on anymore! I checked the bushes and it wasn't there. I didn't have anything really important in there, only my gu and hotel room key, but I panicked as seeing I wouldn't have any fuel for my 15 miles of running!  Luckily, I was told a fellow race ambassador Zenaida had some extra gel's. Thank you so much Zenaida!! I headed over to her and she graciously gave me a hammer gel. I felt bad that I lost Nicole's belt but I knew she didn't use it anymore. And I was glad I hadn't put my phone or ID or anything in there yet.

Zooma Ambassadors (L-R: Zenaida, Kelly, Meghan, Me, Laima)

FNRC pre-race
I started the race running a bit with fellow ambassadors (and friends) Kelly, Meghan, and Laima.  For the first couple miles, I would run on and off with each one of them. The path was a bit crowded at first but that's to be expected. I wasn't pleased that a few cyclists were yelling at us for taking up the path. I mean...there was a race going on and there were signs posted advising everyone that there would be a race that day. I was a bit annoyed at first but didn't let it bother me.

I came across the first couple aid stations and noticed how short the table was which made it difficult to get over all at the same time to grab water from such a small station. At least there was water so just a small annoyance. Right after mile 3, the course turned to go back the other direction. I had looked at the course map prior to the race and was aware of this. I kind of liked the change as I felt it broke up the race a bit.  Also some time after mile 3, I ran into Emily and ran for several miles with her (maybe 3-4 miles). After getting a side cramp that I couldn't seem to run through, I told Emily I was going to stop and try to walk it out. It was about mile 8 at this point.

While running to the last turn around about mile 10, I noticed the lack of water in the second half. Luckily there were a few water fountains on the course and we were able to drink from those. However, between miles 8-12 (approximately), there were no water fountains and no aid stations! The sun was blaring at that point and looking around me, I knew everyone was feeling it. When I got to the mile 10 turnaround, a woman next to me yelled, "UGH! I NEED WATER!"  I said something back to her and she told me that she was sure that there would be water at the turnaround. I thought so too but there wasn't.  I just kept trudging along until I finally got back near a water fountain and was able to get something to drink.  In my opinion, it is dangerous to have a half marathon in August in Chicago and not have enough water stations.

Around mile 12, I saw Emily in front of me. I didn't think I would be able to catch her but she started to walk. I caught up to her and asked if she was alright. She said she was but the last mile was really hard!  I know I was feeling it too as I had walked often in the last few miles. She started running with me and I just told her we were almost done! I saw the shuttles and even though the path was a bit windy...I knew it wouldn't be long. We just had to hang in there. I always think running with someone helps push to keep going. There was a water station just before mile 13 and I thought that was unnecessary at this point so Emily and I just ran past it.  And we finished!

Very cool medal! (Photo credit: Nicole F.)
FNRC post-race

I'm not sure if this is wrong but one of the things I was most excited for post race was the free Barefoot wine!  I got in line and had the most deliciously cold cup of wine (Summer Red). A bit later, I got back in line and had more Barefoot wine (Crisp White).  Thank you Barefoot!

Clearly there were some pros and cons about this race. The only major con for me was the lack of water.

There were a lot of pros about this race. 

- The swag was awesome! We got a sweet bag, hat, shirt, and feetures! socks (which have always been my favorite running sock). 
- The course was not crowded at all with the exception of the first mile or so (which is expected).
- It's a woman's only race (there were a couple men that were registered). I've never done a woman's only race but really enjoyed that everything was geared towards woman.
- Barefoot wine after the race. "Nuff said!
- They had snack boxes with veggies sandwiches and chips.
- Muscle Milk Light was available after the race as they are a sponsor.

I enjoyed running with various friends throughout the race. My finish time for the half was 2:18 which I was completely fine with given I ran two miles beforehand and was just using this as part of a training run.

(Side note: I checked at gear check after the race and someone had turned in my race belt!)

Afterwards, a few friends went to lunch and headed for a photo by the bean. You know...because we can!
L-R: Jennifer, Nicole, Me, Linda
I will be honest, with about 1 mile left in the half (and about mile 14 that I had run that day), I wondered why I was training for another marathon and thought, "I don't even want to run 15, let alone 26.2!"  Ha! Stay tuned on my marathon training!

(Disclaimer: I received a free race entry from ZOOMA as part of the ambassador program. All opinions expressed are my own.)