Sunday, April 28, 2013

One week to go

It’s hard to believe that one week from now my big race will be over and I’ll be back home, doing something mundane like laundry or vacuuming. One week!

Friday I ran up cemetery hill. The last little part to the big mausoleum at the top is always the hardest, but I did it. Then going back down the hill is the second hardest part, but I did that too. May pace for the entire 4.46 mile run was 9:03. That’s pretty good considering I slow way down on hills.

Saturday was a beautiful day. Spring at last? Actually, it feels more like summer. I picked a three mile section of the half marathon to run and added this one hill which used to be really hard for me. It’s probably been four or five months since I’ve run Crestmont hill. My pace alert (10:03) went off just before I crested the hill, but that was it. That hill used to be much steeper. As I was finishing up the run, I decided to run the other side of Crestmont hill which isn’t as steep, but is much longer. Still not so bad. Have I really improved that much? I used to dread that hill. My pace for this 4.08 mile run was 9:00 exactly. Way to go me!

My first goal for the half marathon is to finish. This is my first half marathon and I am both scared and excited. I know I can run the distance, but it will be entirely different doing it with 1,499 other runners. I have never run with this many people before. My second goal is to run it in under two hours. To do this I have to run the entire course with a pace of 9:09 or better. I know I will run the first three miles kind of fast. And I know there is one section I will run kind of slow because it’s long and uphill and my mind will start to wander. Lately I’ve been running under 9:09 without really trying. I’ve been running for over a year now and I guess I’m finally a runner. A nice reward for a lot of hard work.

This is taper down week so I won’t be running anything over six miles, but it’s supposed to be really nice outside so I’ll definitely be running every chance I get.

4.46 miles, 40:21 minutes, 9:03 pace (very steep hill run)
4.08 miles, 36:45 minutes, 9:00 pace (training run)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I did it!

Yesterday it was a balmy 62 degrees. I headed to the park determined to run for two hours. I was going to look at the time only on my watch. Of course, I used my 2-mile loop at the park for my run so I pretty much knew how far I’d gone at any point on the trail. Still, it was kind of nice to just run and not be concerned with miles.

I could tell when I had hit mile nine. My quad muscles start to get a little sore after nine. My right calf was also sorta cramping every so often. Usually my left leg gives me all the problems. I slowed down a little to see if the cramp would go away and it did for the most part. I could still run so I did.

At 1:45 I was still moving along pretty good. The legs were a little tired, but I only had 15 more minutes to go. At 1:58 I decided to check out my mileage. I was just under 13 miles. 13 miles! I only had a short distance to go to run a half-marathon distance. With a time of 2:02, I completed 13.14 miles. Yes! Not only am I read for my upcoming half-marathon, but I might be able to run it in under 2 hours. I ran a little fast for miles 1 and 2, but then slowed down for the rest of the run. I was in no way racing. My time also included walking through four water stops. I place a bottle of water on the hood of my car and use it as a water stop so I don’t have to carry water while I run. So far no one has taken it. I keep a bottle in the car just in case.

Today my legs are a tiny bit sore, but I only notice it when I stand up from having sat for too long. Before yesterday, my longest run was 11 miles at which point I injured my hip and had to stop running for almost a week.

The half-marathon is still over a week away, but I’m ready!

13.14 miles, 2:02:32 minutes, 9:19 pace

Monday, April 22, 2013

Best 5K ever!

Yesterday I had a 5K race. It was supposed to be 50 degrees by racetime. Guess, what? It wasn’t! It was more like 32 degrees. Brrrrr. I had planned on wearing shorts and a sleeveless shirt. I wound up in spandex and two shirts. Where, oh where is spring? At least it was sunny.

The course was as about as flat as can be along a rail trail. 1.5 miles out, turn around, run back. There were probably close to 200 runners ready to run. A nice turnout for a Sunday afternoon. I saw a lot of familiar faces.

Due to the Boston bombing, frustration at work and some personal issues, I had lots of pent up energy. My last race was a very hilly 15K with an injured hip. The hip is healed  now and I was determined to break my 26:16 record for a 5K. I have also gone back to my old style of running. I’m not an elite runner. I have no business trying to run like one. If you want to run faster, then you need to run faster. That was the running tip going through my head. I’ve always worried about running out of energy at the end so I tend to slow down after the first mile. Not this race. For this race, I was going to run a fast first mile and a second mile and even a third mile. Long stride, hands slightly high, how my body likes to run. I’ve been running long distances with a pretty good pace. 5K should be nothing.

I lined up just behind the front runners. When the race director said Ready, Set, Go! I started running. I ran the first mile in 7:46. That’s really fast for me. Everything felt good, except for the cold air burning my lungs, so I just kept running as fast as I could. Cold air be damned. Mile two was run at a pace of 8:08. There was no way I could keep a pace of 7:46, but 8:08 is still very fast for me. Mile two is where I usually lose speed and runners pass me. Not today. A few young guys managed to get by me, but this time I was passing the slower runners in front of me. With the finish line in sight, I decided to try for a little more speed. As the clock neared, I saw a time of 24:12. Woohoo! Finding all the energy I had left, I crossed the finish line with a time of 24:30.

I’m still waiting on the official results to see how I did overall, but there were a lot of runners coming in behind me.

Good race!

3.1 miles, 24:30 minutes, 7:59 pace (yeah!)

Update: Results have finally been posted and I came in 42 out of 131. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Run united for Boston

Group shot taken before the run. I'm in the back behind some tall guy.
I'm the one in yellow. Not sure who
the lady next to me is, but she was
very nice.

On Saturday, I ran with 150 local runners in a United For Boston run. It was a nice run. Way too early in the morning for me, but still nice. And, of course, it was COLD! Enough of this cold weather! I started off running with some marathoners that I didn’t know. Even though it wasn’t a race, people kept passing when they had the chance. Runners want to run their pace. I understood and did the same thing. I eventually wound up with runners I knew. The run was 4.75 miles and it went by quickly. I didn’t bring my Garmin, but we were running along pretty good. I know we ran it in less than 50 minutes. Afterwards there was water and coffee donated by someone. Runners are good to each other. Even though I was hot and sweaty by the end of the run, I needed coffee. Everyone signed a poster and $1,000 was collected and donated to the victims of the Boston attack.

Many people in the run were wearing Boston marathon jackets and finisher medals around their necks. Will I ever be good enough to just finish a marathon?

I've been running for just over a year now. I can still remember the day I ran a mile without stopping. Now I can run 10 miles without stopping. 26.2 miles seems almost impossible at the moment, but so did 13.1 a year ago. In less than 2 weeks, I'll be attempting the impossible.

4.75 miles in less than 50 minutes

Friday, April 19, 2013

Faster, faster

Today it’s supposed to hit 70 degrees. It’s also supposed to rain. Figures. If I can get out of work early and it’s not raining, I plan on trying for 12 miles or maybe even 13.1. I’d really like to know I can run the distance without dying at the end. I know I should be able to. All my runner friends claim that if I can run 10 miles, I can run 13 miles. But I’d really like to know this for sure.

The local running group is sponsoring a Boston run tomorrow morning. It’s just a group run, not a race. It will cover 4.75 miles. The run starts at 8:00 a.m. which is way too early for me on a Saturday morning, but I’m going to do it. So far 141 have signed up. That’s a large number for this area. Some races have seen less runners than that. I’m not sure how it’s going to work because the streets won’t be blocked off and 141 runners will have to stay to the sidewalks. Should be interesting. I will be wearing blue track pants and a yellow shirt (Boston colors). It's supposed to be chilly tomorrow, 40s. My shirt is long sleeve. I should be OK.

Sunday I have a 5K race. Actually, I have two I could run in. One is at 9:00 a.m. and the other at 1:00 p.m. I like the course for the morning one, but it’s in the morning. The afternoon race has a rather boring course, but it’s in the afternoon. I will most likely do the afternoon race. I’m not pre-registered for either so it doesn’t really matter. I have yet to run a 5K in under 26 minutes and am going to try to do that on Sunday. The only way to run faster is to run faster. I just read that yesterday. Running fast is also a good way to get injured which I don’t want to do two weeks before my half marathon. I’m not a fast runner and I don’t have a desire to be a fast runner, but a race is a race and I should probably push myself just a little.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Just run

Last Friday I ran 10 miles. I on purposely tried to run slow, or slower. I don’t think I will try this again. By the time I got to mile 9, I felt more tired than I normally do. My legs don’t like to run slow. And they don’t like taking small steps. When I downloaded my Garmin, I was not surprised to see some very slow times. Yes, I meant to run slow, but my time got slower and slower with each mile.

10.2 miles, 1:40:37 minutes, 9:51 pace

On Monday I watched the elite women run the Boston marathon. Most ran in true elite style. Small steps, very little bounce, arms low. Most. A few ran in a rather non-elite style. Yolanda Caballero from Columbia lead the front running pack for many miles. Her stride was rather long, her step was bouncy, and most of the time her hands were clenched and held high. The same could be said of Ana Dulce Felix of Portugal. Even the commentator for race pointed out the ladies’ poor running form. Felix finished 9th with a time of 2:30:05 and Caballero finished 14th with a time of 2:35:10. Neither came even close to winning, but their so called poor running style made me reconsider changing my running style.

I have long legs. It is more comfortable for me to take one long step than two short steps. My arms and shoulders feel better when I hold them just a little bit higher than what is recommended. And as far as trying not to bounce, well, that’s just not going to happen. I’m a heel striker, although my newest pair of shoes indicate I’m not as bad as I used to be and I’m seeing more tread wear in my forefoot than my heel. I'm never going to be one of those gliding runners, but that's OK. I'm still a runner.

Wednesday was a beautiful day. I headed to the park to run for as long as I could before it got too dark. I didn’t think about my steps. I didn’t think about style. I just ran. At 3 miles, I glanced at my watch to see I was running incredibly fast. Had I been running a 5K, I would have had a fantastic time. At 5 miles, I was still flying along pretty good. The hip felt great. No pain in the knees. There were a lot of runners in the park which always helps my motivation. At 6 miles I was still moving pretty good. Had I been running a 10K, I would have had a fantastic time. At mile 7, the trail was starting to get a little dark. I was at a point where I could do another 2-mile loop of the park, or a half mile back to my car. Not being able to run very well in the dark, I chose the short trip back to my car. My legs still felt good and I had plenty of energy.

When I downloaded my stats I was quite happy.

Forget about form. Forget about trying to run like an elite runner. Just run.

7.35 miles, 1:05:57 minutes, 8:58 pace

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Shattered dreams

It’s hard to know what to say today. Yesterday I was watching the Boston Marathon on my computer and thinking how remarkable technology is sometimes. A few hours later bombs were going off thanks to the same remarkable technology. Anything used for good can also be used for evil.

I went for a short run yesterday evening. As I headed down a sidewalk, another runner approached me. Usually we move over for each other. This guy seemed to be coming right at me. As we got closer, he raised his hand in a high-five gesture. Cool. I high-fived him back. Then he said, “Run safe!” “You too,” I replied.

Runners are good people. We all feel for each other. When we see someone struggling to get to the finish line, we don’t make fun of them. We encourage them. We remember what it was like. When we hear someone broke a personal record at a race, we are happy for them, not jealous. In races, we compete against each other, but we are really only competing against ourselves. There are runners who will always be faster than me. There are runners who will always be slower than me. It doesn’t matter. We’re all runners. Running for our own reasons.

Yesterday was horrible. The scenes on the TV were horrible. I knew people who were in this race. I knew people who were on the sidewalks cheering them on. That runner knocked to the ground by the blast could have been me. The injured people being taken away on stretchers could have been my husband or my friends.

People died yesterday. Dreams shattered yesterday.

And I don’t know why.

Monday, April 15, 2013


I'm am watching the news and I am in tears. I can't believe this has happened.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

To walk or not to walk?

Week after week of cold, dreary weather. I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all.

Friday I got in a 9.1 mile run. There was hardly anyone in the park. Big surprise. I didn’t even want to be there, but the half marathon is three weeks away and I need to run.

If the sun ever comes out today, I’m going for a slow 10 mile run. I need to slow down a little so I’ll still have some energy for the end of the race. I have a hard time running slow in the beginning. My legs just want to run. Then by mile 7, I’m starting to get tired.

I have decided I will be walking through the water stops at the half marathon. I can easily make up the 5 to 10 seconds I’ll lose and my legs might appreciate the short rest. Trying to run and drink out of a tiny cup is hard for me. I've been stressing over the water stops for weeks now. I know I need drink water or a sports drink around 45 minutes and then every 10 to 15 minutes after to avoid dehydration at the end. I really don't want to carry water. So I will proudly walk through the water stops. There. No more stressing. My goal is to finish. And if I happen to finish in under 2:20, that would be awesome.

Boston Marathon tomorrow! And there's live streaming. Hopefully I can watch it while I work.

9.12 miles, 1:25:51 minutes, 9:25 pace

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The hills of York, PA

I managed to get in a 3.6 mile run just before sundown. I had planned to run up the hill across from the hotel and then do loops around the housing community so I would never be too far away and lost in the dark. Well, I did that for a little while, then I was curious to see where this road went. The hillside is terraced with some beautiful homes that got more beautiful the higher up I ran. The road curved up, then down and I ended up this small town about a half mile from the hotel. By then it was starting to get dark and the fastest way back to the hotel was on the main road. Luckily, traffic was light and there was a wide shoulder along the side of the road.

The roads here are nice. No potholes or rough spots and very little traffic in the hills. I ran down the middle of the road for most of my run in the housing area. And it was a lovely 75 degrees. I wore shorts and a very lightweight singlet.

When I got back to my room, I was very pleased with the download from my Garmin. Mile one was run in 9:14. This was mostly uphill. Mile two was run in 9:04. Mile three was back to 9:14. This was mostly downhill. I’m not very good at downhill. The last 0.64 miles were run at a pace of 8:47. I was a little nervous being on a main road with the sun almost down and really picked up the pace to get back to the hotel. The road was also very flat.

Hip update – not even a twinge.

Tomorrow I head for home and doubt I’ll have time for a run by the time I get back.

3.64 miles, 33:11 minutes, 9:07 pace

Monday, April 8, 2013


Spring at last, at least where I am. Today I had to travel south to York, PA for work. I have a meeting with customers tomorrow. When I got here it was 79 degrees. My hotel is in a residential area and I really hoped I’d be able to get in an outdoor run, but dinner with co-workers lasted too long so I had to settle for the hotel treadmill. Tomorrow is probably going to be the same. Perfect weather and I still wind up on a treadmill.

Last week I managed to run a total of 26.49 miles. Got in a 7.05 mile run on Thursday and a very windy 8.15 run on Friday. The wind was insane. I hope to be up to 10 miles by the end of the week, but this trip is really getting in the way of my training. I’ll be heading back on Wednesday, but won’t be able to get in a long run until Friday or Saturday. The good thing about my last two runs is that the hip held up. Just a tiny bit of tightness in the final mile and hardly any discomfort the following day. I don’t want to say it’s healed, but it’s definitely much better. Sunday I tried a shorter, but faster run. It was still windy, but not so bad that I was being pushed backwards. I averaged a pace of 9:12. I actually thought I was doing a little better than that, but the wind never let up.

7.05 miles, 1:06:32 minutes, 9:26 pace
8.15 miles, 1:17:25 minutes, 9:29 pace
3.78 miles, 34:48 minutes, 9:12 pace

Friday, April 5, 2013

Good run

The temperature was 47 degrees. Not 50 as predicted, but close enough. I jumped in the car and headed to my favorite park. So had a million other people. The park was packed. There were runners, walkers, cyclists, dog walkers, rollerbladers and just people everywhere. I had to park on the back side of the park. It didn’t matter. I was ready for a run in the sun.

As all runners know, there are good running days and bad running days. This was a good running day. Only one layer of running clothes, not three, no gloves, my new super lightweight shoes and some new tunes on my mp3 player.

I ran a rather fast first mile, then slowed down a little. I was just out for a run, not a race, although there were enough runners on the trails to make it feel like a race. At mile 4, the troublesome hip felt a little tight, but there was no pain. That gave me the motivation to up the pace a little. I had set out to run 7 miles and at 7.05 miles, I slowed down to a shuffle and then walked back to my car. The hip still felt pretty good.

Today I’ll be heading back to the park for an 8 mile run. Each day a little father, but only a little. When I hit 10 miles, I will up the distance by half miles and not whole miles like I did before. I should be able to make 14 miles by the end of the month. And then it’s just a week until the big race - 13.1 miles. Can I do it?

7.05 miles, 1:06 minutes, 9:25 pace

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Still ridiculously cold. Monday it was 34 degrees and windy. I managed to get in a 5.2 mile run and some grocery shopping. Not at the same time. Today it was 35 degrees and even windier. I did a 6 mile run and felt pretty good despite the horrible weather. There were spots where the wind was so strong I could barely move forward.

The hip gets a little sore around the 4 mile point, but not so bad that I can’t run. I did a few small hills today, but decided not to tackle cemetery hill. The half marathon is one month away and I need all my joints healthy and working by then. I do about 15 minutes worth of knee and hip exercises every evening and bought a foam roller to try to loosen up the IT band. I can’t tell if the foam roller is doing anything or not. Mostly it just hurts the spots that already hurt.

Tomorrow the forecast is for 50 and sunny. I hope I can get out of work early enough to head to the park and get in a 7 mile run.

5.26 miles, 50:39 minutes, 9:37 pace
6.03 miles, 56:49 minutes, 9:25 pace (that's more like it)