Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Personal Duathlon

Today I rocked my very own 16 mile Duathlon!  This is quite a feat considering I could hardly get my butt out of bed this morning.  I'm finding it easy to be lazy with the kiddos at Grandma's house for the week.  However, I'm determined to make the most out of the week, allotting time for activities I normally can't do with the kids.  So this morning, I loaded up the bike and headed to the Rock Island Trail.

It was a beautiful sunny morning with temps in the high 60's.  Oddly cool for this time of year, but I'm loving it!  I ran four miles out and back on the trail, happy to cross paths with my friend Cathy for high 5's.  The gravel trail was a bit muddy in spots from all the rain, so I had to do some side-stepping and jumping.  My whole body felt good, and I remember thinking, "Is it wrong that I seem to be happiest while running?"

I love trails with mile markers!  I kept nearly all my mile splits under a 10 minute pace.  That's pretty good for me on an 8 mile jaunt.
9:44 - 9:40 - 9:52 - 9:16 - 8:52 - 9:48 - 10:09 - 9:52

I swung back to the van for my bike, and headed down the trail once again.  For those of you who don't already know, I'm not a fan of biking.  In fact, I'm kinda scared of it!  Something about it makes me feel like I don't have control... and I simply dread falling. But today I felt so free, like a little kid, whizzing down the trail on my mountain bike.  I went the same 4 mile route out and back, bringing today's mileage up to 16 miles.  Sixteen seems to be a good number for me these days!  (see Saturday's long run post)

Total 16 mile Workout:  1:56:58
8 mile Run: 1:17:15
8 mile Bike: 39:43

After all that, I felt like this...

No, I'm kidding!  Really, I felt amazingly GOOD and HAPPY!

A Duathlon is defined as an athletic event that consists of a running leg, followed by a cycling leg, and then another running leg in a format bearing resemblance to triathlons.  Okay, today's workout wasn't exactly by definition a "duathlon" but I'm calling it that anyway!  :)

Have you ever done a Duathlon, team or individual?  
If not, would you like to?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Vacation 16

I had such an awesome weekend that I hardly know where to start!  
Good Times.
Good People.
Good Food.
Good RUN!
Can I just hit "rewind" next Friday?

On Friday, we packed up the camper and headed north to Wisconsin for our Family Reunion.  The first night is always the best party... and there I was drinking water, hydrating for my long run on Saturday morning.  After visiting until about 10:30 pm, I rallied the kiddos into the camper, popped in the ear plugs, and crashed for the night.

This trail covers over
1000 miles, giving an
awesome scenic tour of
the state of Wisconsin.
At 5am, my alarm chirped and I snuck out of the camper (not exactly an easy feat).  I had slept in my run clothes, so all I had to do was slip in my shoes and head to the bathroom.  Fellow blogger Rachel (visit her blog here) lived in our "vacation town," so we arranged for her to pick me up.  We immediately hit it off, chatting away as we drove to catch the Ice Age Trail in Janesville, WI.

The morning was beautiful... absolute IDEAL running weather.  High 50's at dawn, but the sun (and run!) warmed us quickly. Our long run goal was 15 miles.  I was a little nervous for the long run since I hadn't run over 13 miles since the Illinois Half at the end of April.  I knew I could go the distance, but not sure what pace I could hold... and now here I was, running with someone else.  I always worry about being the "slow poke" on a run!

The Ice Age Trail was super pretty, running along water, through parks, some marsh areas, a little residential... a nice mix that made for a neat run!  The trail was wide pavement with mile markers, so I timed our splits with my stopwatch.  Rachel and I chatted away for the first 4 miles (averaging about a 10:30 pace), and then we got down to business.  Both falling quiet, we naturally picked up the pace a bit.  Even with one ear plugged in to the ipod, I could hear our steps in unison.

The trail had a lot of splits that were connections for subdivisions. We accidentally picked up a couple dead-ends, giving us some bonus mileage.  About 8 miles out, we made the turnaround and headed back.  I managed to clock several of our mile splits on the way back and we were holding a consistent 10 minute pace.  I was pleasantly surprised with that!

For mid-run fuel, I tried out the Sport Beans for the first time (fruit punch flavor).  They tasted good (really good!), but like GU Chomps, I'm not a fan of the chewing to get them down.  So by mile 11, I reverted back to GU gels, but tried out the Jet Blackberry flavor this time (not my favorite, but good).  I also gave nuun a trial run... popped one tablet in my water bottle at the start.  The lemon-lime flavor was okay, but the fizziness made me slightly burby.  But I did run cramp-free, which I've been having problems with lately... so I'll give nuun another run.

Ten miles in and I was working (my legs told me so), but cardio-wise, I felt great!  And Rachel... she was giving every biker and runner a cheery "good morning" that we passed, so I knew she was doing well too!  Rachel is the perfect running partner for me. I just wished she lived closer... but now I'll look forward to our next camping trip in Edgerton so I can run with her again!

The last half-mile, we slowed to a jog for a nice cooldown.
16+ miles in 2:42, averaging a 10:07 pace
That's SIXTEEN miles on the books, my friends!
Neither of us run with a Garmin so exact mileage is questionable, but based on the mile markers and our little detours, I'm positive we went a little over 16, making it my longest run ever!  It was exactly the confidence run that I needed to complete week 3 of marathon training.  I was kinda floating on a cloud the rest of the day.  

I quickly showered and changed out of "running gear"
and joined my big fabulous family for our Saturday Luau!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

3 Things Thursday

1.  I'm so excited about a new running group in my town for women... Sole Sisters!  My friend Marianne is spear-heading the group, and asked me to be one of the group leaders.  Last night was our kickoff party at Running Central... The first hour was sport bra and shoe fittings, then after an quick speech and introduction, we ran our first mile together.  OVER 70 WOMEN showed up for the inaugural run! Many said it was the first mile they ran since high school.  I'm so proud of every one of them.  It takes courage to make those first steps... and I hope the comfort of a women's only group will allow beginners to find the love and empowerment of running as I have.

If you run, you are a runner.  It doesn't matter how fast or how far.
It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for twenty years.
There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get in.  You just run.
~John Bingham

2.  Tomorrow we leave for another camping weekend... but this time it's a Family Reunion - luau-style!  The kids are really excited, as am I to see my whole family.  I'm trying to plan out the food situation, so I don't totally tank this weekend.  Long run?  I have 15 miles to squeeze in, and am excited to run somewhere different.  I just love vacation runs.  Thankfully fellow blogger Rachel also lives in the small Wisconsin town where we'll be camping.  What's the chances that she also has 15 on her training schedule and we run the same pace?  Um, yeah... we were destine to run together.

3.  I got my butt out of bed at 4:45 am this morning.  No joke.  No emergency.  No sick kids.  But I did have my friend Angie waiting in the drive...  We got in nearly 7 miles before hubby had to leave for work.  Now showered with coffee flowing through my veins, it feels so good to have my run done for the day.  How many miles are on your agenda today?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Order Up!

Part of responsible training is taking care of your body... giving it the right amount of rest and the proper nutrition.  This week I’ve been focusing on everything that hits my plate (and even that which goes directly down the hatch!).  After three days, I’m feeling really good already.  The more I train, the more I’m in tune with my body.  I notice it reacts quickly to changes in the diet.  Feed it right and it will be good to you...

I love reading what other runners are eating, so without further ado, What's on you plate? Wednesday is here!  I'll share some of my favorite meals and recipes from the week with you... Bon Appetite!

LOADED OATMEAL - always one of my favorites!  I start with an instant packet of Quaker Raisin, Date & Walnut oatmeal.  Once cooked, I pile on more raisins, walnuts, bananas and strawberries.  Yum!

BAKED PARMESAN-ENCRUSTED TILAPIA with steamed broccoli & a fun salad.

Little Girl and I tried out new BANANA MUFFIN recipes.
This Banana Oat Nut recipe below was my favorite.
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 t. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed bananas
  • Combine dry ingredients.  In another bowl, beat egg slightly & add the last four ingredients. Stir in dry mixture until just combined.  Bake 400 degrees 18-20 minutes in muffin pans.

I love summer lunches!  Toasted Everything Bagel with turkey, cheese, cuc & lettuce.  
Skipped the chips and went with watermelon & carrots!

The kids really wanted tacos one night... so that's what we did.  
I limited myself to only one, but filled that tortilla to the seams with chopped veggies!

Colorful loaded salad for lunch!  I was starving after Spin class today & this totally hit the spot.  And I'm loving how My Fitness Pal computes every last calorie for me (below)...

I also figured out that if you're going to cheat... make it last!!  I cut this Reese's Peanut Butter cup into EIGHT pieces and made that 100 calories take a full 30 minutes to consume!  Bahaha!

So what's on your plate this week?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday Marathon update

I am now starting my third week of training for the Quad Cities Marathon... Only 14 short weeks away!!  I have a feeling this summer is going to really fly by?!  Part of the reason I started this blog was to hold me accountable - the good and the bad.  And I've had both in the past two weeks.

Week One = 14 miles + 2 spin classes + 2 strength training sessions
Week Two = 34 miles + 2 spin classes + 1 strength training session
In week one, the days got away from me and I never got my long run done, resulting in a poor week of miles.  In week two, I went out hard on Monday, determined to get back on track.  Throw in a 4 mile race and my mileage is probably a little high for this point in training.  During my long run yesterday, I could feel it in my knees... although that may be from the substantial amount of hill work I ran this week.  I haven't been real loyal to the Run Less, Run Faster plan, but I do plan to get intervals back in the plan this week.

Side note... I surpassed the 500 mile mark for 2011 last week!

Week One = down 1 pound
Week Two = up 2 pounds
Seriously, does that make sense?  I burn over 5000 calories this week and GAIN weight?!  Okay, okay, my food intake has been lazy.  Today, I logged back in to My Fitness Pal.  If you use MFP, be my friend here and we can help keep each other accountable!  I was pretty successful during the early part of the year with balancing weight loss and training.  I need to get back to that... counting calories and making sure the every morsel of food I put in my body is pure fuel.  No empty calories!  This is so hard during summer with the busy schedule and social gatherings.  To get to my race weight goal, I need to shed 1.5 lbs each week.  Will Power... ACTIVATE!

During this quest to the Mighty Marathon...
I must have the discipline to train properly, which includes 
the responsibility to take care of my body throughout the journey.

In my head, I'm totally in this game!  I'm still super excited for this challenge.  Yesterday, I dragged my sorry butt out of bed at 5am to head out for a 11.2 mile long run.  I did not want to, but knew it was my only run window on Father's Day.  Once I got running, it felt so good.  I keep telling myself, "You are training for a Marathon."  It always makes me smile.  During the Steamboat race expo last week, I met Joe, the race director for the Quad Cities Marathon.  It was so motivating to chat about the marathon with him, someone even more invested in the race than I am!  I finally took care of the little details and got my hotel booked too!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Race Recap: Steamboat 4m

I ran the World's Fastest 4 miles yesterday!  My goal was to finish in under 36 minutes, and I squeaked in at 35:55 chip time.  I ran approximately an 8:59 pace, which has become the norm for me in these short distance races.  Must admit, I was secretly hoping for a little better than that, but I'll take it.

The night before, I was up and down all night with an upset stomach.  By time the alarm went off at 5am, I had just found sleep.  We arrived downtown around 6am.  The temperatures were low 70's, but humidity was high.  Rain was on the horizon, but thankfully it held off until after the race.  After a warmup jog to the start area, we chatted away with numerous friends.  It's fun running a race in your hometown because you know so many people running!

I lined up between the 8:30 and 9:00 pace corrals next to the group of Peoria Firemen (see photo below).  The crowd moved fairly quick out of the gate.  My legs felt strong, but lately I've been having problems breathing in the humid summer air and today was no exception. I tried to not make it an excuse and pushed on.

Always a favorite, the Peoria Fireman run in full uniform to honor
the fallen of 9/11.  This year, some of their brothers from
New York joined them for the classic run.

The mile 2 turnaround by the park statue was pretty congested and I nearly turned an ankle on the uneven pavement.  During mile 3, there were four water sprinklers giving runners a nice cool mist. I never stopped for water drinks, but I ran through every sprinkler for relief.

Shortly after the mile 3 marker, I saw a friend came up on my right.  Right there, I said, "Oh-no, he is not going to beat me."  I took off and never looked back.  Turning the last corner onto Hamilton, the final 1/2 mile was all downhill.  There was a nice gap along the edge of the road.  I took it and zoomed past people like crazy.  I was having fun at this point.  I suddenly found a huge bucket of energy and tried to use it up before the finish.

As I approached the final turn, a group of guys formed a wall in front of me... One of my race pet peeves is people who run a race like this... and then to top things off, they were jogging with only a block to go... another pet peeve.  I was frustrated and lacking energy to get around them.  So I yelled "GO!"  Startling them, a couple guys turned around to look, opening a small hole in their wall.  I bolted through it and sprinted to the finish.

Mile 1 - 8:49
Mile 2 - 9:02
Mile 3 - 9:11
Mile 4 - 8:53
Chip Time: 35:55
Gun time was 36:18, placing me #1095 out of 3382 in the 4 mile race.  Top 1/3.
In my age group, I placed #29 out of 221.  Happy with that one!

The Men's Winner, Kevin Chelimo from Kenya, finished in 18:02
(World Record was set on this course at 17:24 in 1995)

The Women's Winner, Diane Nukuri from Burundi, finished in 20:41
(World Record was set on this course at 19:28 also in 1995)

The most disappointing part of the race was THE WATER!  We had to walk a good 1/8 mile past the finish line to get water... and then it was WARM.  I mean almost hot.  I nearly spit out my first drink.  They need to put the beer guys in charge of the water... Thankfully the free beer was ICE COLD.  

I hung out by the finish line cheering-in friends and watching the leaders of the 15K race roll in.  Then I made my way to the party area, chatted with friends, and drank as much free beer as I could!  What a fun day!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Race Week in Peoria!

It's been an exciting and busy race week here in Peoria.  On Saturday, my town hosts the annual Steamboat Classic 4 mile and 15K race, which is the biggest race event Peoria hosts.  I've been involved in the race's training program Building Steam for the past eleven weeks, and it has been so rewarding!  I've made some great new running friendships and had the pleasure to watch our team grow through the weeks.  I'm so excited to see them all cross the finish line on Saturday.

I will be running the 4 mile course, which holds all the World Records for that distance here.  Can you say FAST?!?!  I'm always excited for a race, but this one has had me pumped up all week!  My goal is to get under 36 minutes.

On Wednesday night, our 10:00 min pace group had our last training run together, followed by the stuffing of 5000 goodie bags.  Last night, the Race Committee hosted a happy hour and dinner for all the training leaders, sponsors and dignitaries.  The energy in the beer garden was high and fun to be a part of!

The most exciting part for me was the arrival of elites.  We were introduced to Tim Broe, who serves as the race Elite Recruiter.  Broe, originally from East Peoria, IL, had a great career as a US distance runner including an Olympic finalist in the 5K, 12-time US National Champ, and a 12-time NCAA All-American.  His PR's... 3:58 mile, 7:39 3K and a 13:11 5K.  Seriously?  An honor to meet him and be in the same beer garden as him!

During dinner, I was lucky enough to get a table by the window overlooking the beer garden.  As the night unfolded, elite after elite continued to arrive.  Honest, I'm not a stalker, but it was cool to watch them reunite... they have a club of their own.  But even they are not above the invite of free beer!

This pink color is called Hottie,
but I'll be wearing the Turtle Blue.
Ok... so I still haven't figured out my outfit for Saturday's race. Lately none of my running tank tops seem to be fitting right.  My old favorites have gotten too loose.   (And too much fabric hanging under the arms equals chaffing, my friends).  I've picked up some new ones, but I'm not a fan of the slender cut through the core that seems to be the style this year.  So yesterday, I stopped by Dick's Sporting Goods to see if they had anything new.  By-golly!!  They rolled out a TON of tank tops since my last visit... by far the biggest selection in the relaxed fit style I've seen in local stores.

I tried on at least 20... and fell in love with the style and comfort of Reebok's Play Dry Core Run Sleeveless.  It's super lightweight for summer running.  It's contours to your body shaped, yet is relaxed that it's not showing every tummy roll.  The Play Dry fabric promises to move moisture away from your skin, accelerate evaporation, increase ventilation and reduce chaffing.  Winner!  Dick's had a 20% sale so I bought four. Then immediately took one out for a test run...  6 miles on the trail in 85 degree sun.  Comfortable + no chaffing.  I highly recommend!

So I think I found my race shirt for the Steamboat race, sponsored by none other than Reebok!  Perfect fit, wouldn't you say?

Today I work a couple hours at the expo for packet pickup, but more importantly, rest up my legs to KICK SOME BOOTY tomorrow!

Are you racing this weekend?  Good Luck!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I Run on Technology...

I need to be hooked up and online please...
I've been a bad blogger this past week... although it's not entirely my fault.  My high-speed service went haywire last Thursday, and completely gone by Friday.  What a blessed sight was the internet repair man on Monday morning.  (I refuse to give my provider any name mention, free PR, because I think their service stinks!)  But can you just imagine an entire weekend without internet, email, blog?!  Okay, I did have my iPhone, but it's not the same...

Sticking with the No-Technology theme for the weekend, I ran a 3m obstacle race, Pair Up For Health, on Saturday morning... naked... no watch, no music, just me and the birds (oh, and 200 other people).  It was my first trail race ever, set in the beautiful setting of Wildlife Prairie State Park, benefitting the Junior League of Peoria.

It was a small race with some really cool obstacles along the way... 
Hay Bale Hurdles
Barrel Zig Zag
Military Crawl
Agility Running Rope
58 foot Slide
Wall Climb

My friend Angie & I before the start.
It was a nice morning with temps in the 60's.  However, it rained the night before so humidity was high and the bridge crossings and the railroad tracks were a little slippery to run across.  Somehow the winner still managed to do it all in 17 minutes?!  Official times are not posted yet, and I paid no attention to the clock... but I was a good 13 minutes behind him.

Not the best race I ever ran, but I got my first trail race in the bag.  It was a fun change of pace, but I think I prefer the pavement of road races.  With marathon training in front of me, I was very cautious of my foot steps.  Last thing I needed was a twisted ankle or something.

Here's some race day photos...
It's like a "Where's Waldo?"  Can you find me?
Just might be the only race photo where I don't look like I'm dying!
Scaling the wall!
All sweaty at the Finish and happy to be done!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

ISO My Sanity

In Search Of... 
My Sanity please!

I'm a military wife, so I should be used to this.  Each time my hubby leaves on a trip, the girls and I take a couple days to find a way to co-exist our happy pace, and then we're pretty much good as gold.  This week, however, my three year old is testing my patience (which I have very little of to start with...)

I can't possibly be talking about this little dolly, right?!

Yeah, this is more like it!

Stress level high, work piled up, alone with the kiddos and ITCHY beyond belief from this healing poison ivy... I missed my intervals yesterday.  Great.  Marthon Training Day #2 and I'm already slacking.  

Today I woke up pretty focused... Need. To. Run... Find. My. Sanity... so we were  heading to the gym by 8:30am.  I jumped on that Spin bike and took off.  I pedaled hard and fast today, even on the hills.  My legs were cooked, but I jumped on the treadmill for more.  Midway through a 5K, I realized I was really running angry.  Maybe it was the fact that my kids threw all their bath toys into the toilet this morning?  Or squeezed out their yogurt into big piles on the table and then decorated with their fruit?  Or that we changed outfits 3 times before got out the door?  Regardless, I had 15 minutes left to find my mommy sanity.  I bumped it up to 7.6 mph on the treadmill and ran like hell to the finish.  There.  Much Better.  Mommy is Back.  

Running is the best (and cheapest) therapy I got.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Journey Begins!

Back on May 1, I put the wheels in motion by registering for my first ever marathon... Quad Cities Marathon on September 25.  It seemed like a long ways off, until you start building a 16 week training plan.  I knew I had the month of May to completely slack rest up from my spring training.  It was an easy month (only 78 miles), and now I'm ready to refocus for the next 110 days...

Today is the official start date to my 16 week marathon training.  I've decided to once again follow the Run Less, Run Faster method.  See my detailed plan here.   My goal is simply to run the entire 26.2 miles in September.  To Finish.  I'm trying not to focus on a time goal, but as as runner, that's nearly impossible.  A finish time somewhere around 4:22-4:30 is bouncing around in my head that I feel pretty confident about (10:00-10:18 pace range).  I really want the marathon (and the journey) to be an experience that I remember fondly.  I want to just run... because I like it.  Take in the view.  Soak up the sun.  Oh-yeah, and shed another 20 lbs in the process.

"Instead of focusing on all the things I can't control, 
I am enjoying the moments in front of me. 
The marathon is going to be an amazing journey
and I get the chance to write the ending. " 
- Shalane Flanagan 

So today I'm excited to get started!  Day 1 was pretty simple - Cross Train.  I signed up for a Triple Threat class (Spin, Strength & Stretch) at the gym on Mon/Wed mornings to fulfill my cross training of the RLRF plan.  I'm more inclined to get the XT done if I make a paid commitment.  Today I got in a great workout, but am excited to RUN intervals tomorrow!!  (Wait, did I just say I'm excited to do intervals?!)  

The poison ivy I broke out with last week is still an issue, but much better.  The hot summer sun seems to "burn" the rash on my arms, so I'm trying to stay indoors as much as possible.  Hubby is traveling for work this week, so looks like it will be a treadmill week for me.

"Accept the challenges, so that you
may feel the exhilaration of victory. " 
- General George S. Patton

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

RuN HaPpY!!

Why do YOU run?!
First of all, Happy National Running Day to all my fellow runners!  I got up early this morning and hit the pavement with my friend Angie for a quick 5 at 5... aka 5 miles at 5am.  Tonight is my Building Steam training program, so I'll tack another 4 miles on with that group.  What a great way to celebrate the national holiday of running!  :)

Did You Know?  In honor of National Running Day today, the Rock 'n' Roll Series is offering a one-day registration discount!  No coupon codes needed.  Super cool, especially if you were already planning to run one and just haven't registered yet!
Save $26 on any Marathon
Save $13 on any Half Marathon
Save $10 on any 10K
Save $5 on any 5K

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend.  Mine started off great (see Friday's blog), but quickly went sour.  It rained on our camping, so we came home a day early.  I spilled a pot of boiling noodles all over the kitchen.  And then I got a bad case of poison ivy, with a side of sun burn...
Poison ivy everywhere above the waist!

But always looking on the bright side of things...
• We did get to trial-run our new pop-up camper.

• The kiddos got to see their beloved Yogi Bear...

• I got a bunch of yard work done.

• We had a nice cookout with friends (and I held my limit of two beers this time!)

• My legs got some nice rest after Friday's long run, making this morning's run feel fabulous!

• Official Marathon training starts in FIVE days!!  Yes!

Last day to vote... please head over and give me a click!!  Vote here.
How was your holiday weekend?
Any fun plans to honor National Running Day today?