Tuesday, August 31, 2010

thanks & praise~a baby in Detroit!

I'm doing a Two Things Tuesday, even ON a Tuesday this week. I am so excited, I can hardly contain myself! Here's why:

1. THERE IS A BABY IN DETROIT! My brother (ODP) and sister-in-law (Kdot) were expecting their second child to arrive sometime around last Tuesday. As last Tuesday came and went, my level of excitement and anxiety multiplied. Last night around 12:30 my time, I got the call--the baby had been born and it was a girl! Mother & baby are doing fine. I just got off Skype with them, so I sort of got to see everyone. She is a beautiful, perfect little thing! (can you tell I'm excited?!?) I don't have pictures yet, but in the meantime, here is a very pregnant Kdot. How could you not love this chick??

2. The second part of my Two Things Tuesday is drastically less exciting, but really, unless I learned to shoot fire out of my eyes, what could possibly compete with a healthy, beautiful, brand new niece?

After my run this morning, I am officially over 100 miles for August (101.4 to be exact). I'm pretty sure this is a first for me. Also, I'm only about 20 miles from surpassing my 2009 total. Pretty pleased about that!

Mileage: 454.8 + 4.4 = 459.1 (rounding error annoys me)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Smell that potential

As a Runner's World article once said, new running shoes still in their box have the smell of such limitless potential. Breathe it all in, then lace 'em up and head out. Yes, folks, the day finally came for me to hang up my 500+ mile pair and switch over to these gorgeous new things. I really felt like my old ones were still just fine...until I put these on. "What...what is that?" I thought to myself. "Oh, that's funny. These shoes come with arch supports. Huh." It's funny how after a while you forget what they ever felt like fresh out of the box.

And what did I do with my limitless-potential-shoes? I went out for a 16-mile long run and simultaneously explored a park (a park? Not just a park. A gigantic park that includes a golf course, zoo, civic opera, history museum, visitor's center, and something called the Jewel Box that I haven't quite figured out yet). The park is about 5.7 miles around its perimeter, so my plan was to complete the perimeter twice then do a partial out-and-back loop. Here's the breakdown on how that went.

I wasn't looking for them, but when I parked I noticed that the local chapter of the Team happened to be using the same parking lot for their meet-up spot. I sort of nervously went over and introduced myself, and MUCH to my delight found out that alumni are welcome to train with the group! No need to fundraise in a town where I know no one! I am thrilled about this. :) This week I will get in touch with them via email and see how it might work out. YAY!

Lap 1: Mile 0-5.6
My first 5 mile times are a good indication of the rest of the run:

When I started, I underestimated the heat. I passed water fountains thinking I was just fine. By the time I realized that I needed water, the only fountain I could find didn't work. I rehydrated when I finished the first loop, but it took a while to really cover.

Lap 2: Mile 5.7-11.3
Mile times ranged from 10:40 to 12:40 on this loop. I stopped as often for water as I could find fountains. It turns out that there are plenty of fountains in the park if I'd just looked for them the first time around. The frequent stops are part of why the mile times are so slow.

Lap 3: Mile 11.3-15.7
I decided to run 2.2 miles into a third lap, turn around and come back. And honestly, by this point, I cared little how much of it I ran and how much I walked. So I walked up most of the hills and ran the flat and downhill areas. And stopped for water as frequently as possible. It was slow. And hot. And hilly.

At the end, I found a snowcone stand. Perfect! So there I sat, feeling like 8-year-old Joanna with my red raspberry snowcone.

I think I'm going to be sore for a day or two from this run. I also think I need to try another 16-miler before I up the miles again. I keep reminding myself, I only trained to 16 miles before Detroit, and I only ran that distance once. And I still finished. So, even though I don't have as many runs at high mileage as I'd like before L&C, I WILL be better prepared than I was last time around. So it will have to be ok, right?

434.4 + 4.4 + 16.0 = 454.8

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows

As of this morning my Wednesday morning face plant has produced bruises on my left palm, elbow, hip, and knee/shin area. Battle scars, I tell you.

But I don't even care! Why? Because the birds are chirping and children are singing. It was 66 degrees and sunny when I left for my run this morning! Can you say gorgeous?!?

I attempted to run to the brewery and back, but couldn't quite remember how to follow the route used on the hottest long run in history. I got there, just with a few extra twists and turns.

16-miler on deck for this weekend! Wish me luck. Rock your races this weekend, everyone, whether you're running or going as support. That first taste of the fall racing season is upon us!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hit the ground running

On Monday I decided it was too nice out to run on a treadmill, so I tried a new course--about 2.4 miles from my office to downtown, turnaround and head back. It's a hilly 4.7 mile loop, with portions of shade and only a few intersections that really require you to stop. I liked it so much that I decided to repeat it this morning, but with more effort on doing it faster (hills! tempo! yeah!). So there I was, gliding along at that coveted "comfortably fast" pace (averaged 9:03/mi), enjoying the cool morning air, charging up hills and racing back down. And then, out of freaking nowhere...

BAM! I was face down on the sidewalk. I totally bit it on some uneven pavement.

So there I was, processing what had just happened and slowly starting to peel myself back up off the sidewalk. Checking to make sure all my body parts were still attached. Making sure nothing was bleeding too badly. Dusting off some of the dirt I acquired. Standing all the way up and assessing my ability to run back to the office. I decided I was in pretty good shape, so I picked myself up and continued on. I'm not going to lie. I wish I could have been all gangster and hauled my sorry carcass back at the same fab pace I'd been keeping. Yeah, not so much!

I'm not sure whether it's a sign of the times or a blessing that no one asked if I was ok. The only thing really damaged was my dignity. And my wedding ring! Apparently I hit the ground hard enough to scratch platinum. You're impressed that I bit it that hard. You know you are.

In other news, I found a local running store that carries my not-ungirly-at-all size 10/2A Brooks Adrenalines. They had to have them transferred from one of their locations out in the 'burbs. They should be in tomorrow or Friday. I'm excited about new shoes (500 miles and counting on the current pair...), but more about having a good excuse to go scout out a local running store. Nerdy running excitement? Maybe. And it feels great.

424.9 + 4.7 + 4.7 = 434.4 miles

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cut-back week

I think we're all aware at this point that my training for L&C has been a little more uneven than I would really prefer. First there was The Incident, then the Epic Move of 2010, and one weekend lost to illness after that. Despite all this, I've been consistent enough to build up speed and mileage and progress well enough toward race day.

This week I was just wiped. Exhausted. Beat. So I decided, in the name of self-preservation, to take a cut-back week. I hadn't intentionally taken one in some time, and The Team took one last week and I'm a week behind them. I did about half the mileage this week that I've been doing and I think it was a good call. Today's longer run included some fast miles and felt easy.

But the week still had its moments of drama...

#1: Logistics FAIL on Monday morning
As usual, I planned an early Monday morning run before work. On these days, Mr. Joanna takes the babe to school on his way to work and I leave a bit later. I usually try to make it back from my run before they leave, at least, because otherwise I wouldn't see my little boy at all until after 5pm (he's usually still in bed when I leave for the run). So I was thrilled when I turned the corner at the end of our block and saw Mr. Joanna's car still parked in front of the house....until I realized he was in the process of taking the babe back out of the car. Turns out our completely unreliable automobile wouldn't start. Cue panicked rush to get them my car keys and get them re-situated, and then my complete ignorance of how to get myself to work. Should I attempt to navigate the bus system on the fly? Should I call a co-worker? In the end I called a co-worker who was beyond gracious about it. We've since adjusted to life with 1 car...for the time being.

#2: Treadmill time limits
Whaaaaat???? WHO EVER THOUGHT THAT TREADMILL TIME LIMITS WERE REASONABLE?? As I was leaving the gym after my 4.1 mile treadmill-enhanced hill workout on Thursday I saw this polite little sign hanging on the back wall of the cardio area: "Rules...Please limit time on each piece of cardio equipment to 30 minutes, and to 20 minutes during peak periods." What kind of workout is 20 minutes?? I have a completely biased, angry rant on this subject, which you can probably imagine fairly readily. I've decided that the diplomatic solution is to pretend like I didn't see the sign unless there are people waiting for a treadmill. 'Cause this chick ain't voluntarily subjecting her ITB to the 7-laps-per-mile indoor track. What would you do in this situation?

#3: 10, 2A (Narrow)
My Brooks Adrenalines are size 10, width 2A (narrow) (note: my street shoes are NOT a size 10. A fact I feel compelled to point out. My pretty shoes are a more feminine 8.5, thank you). This is, apparently, a size REI does not sell. Although my current shoes still feel fine, they have over 500 miles on them, so I'm cutting them off before they cut me off (right, Stephanie?!). Those of you who order running shoes online, where do you order from? I'm going to try a local running store tomorrow, but if that doesn't work I'm going to turn to the powers of the interwebs to help me find new kicks.

mileage: 410.1 + 4.3 + 4.1 + 6.4 = 424.9 miles

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A haunted run...and not the Halloween kind

With a high of 98, today was a day to celebrate the invention of the treadmill and do my long run inside. Seeing as to how I was going to be on a treadmill for 2+ hours, some music was clearly in order. So I dug out my mp3 player and threw it in my gym bag.

When I started my run I was greeted by My Chemical Romance with The Black Parade, which is a clear favorite of mine from things that have come out in the last 5 years. I was smiling. Two songs later, Dave brought me Eh-hee, an absolute favorite that I hadn't heard in a while.

And then something strange started happening. I started getting lost in the memories I have attached to all the songs I've lovingly collected. It was bittersweet--reliving some of my best memories but missing the people in them. Then the very need to have music made me miss Meg terribly. As a guy I knew in college said, "songs are the bookmarks of our lives." These were some of my bookmarks today:

Live, All Over You~and the awesome time my brother, Gene and I had going to their concert at Penn State soooo long ago.
System of a Down, Chop Suey!~which always makes me think of my neighbor Steph during sophomore year, who is an amazing dancer and had used this song in a show.
SR71, Right Now~my college roommate and I saw them open for Dexter Freebish (or the other way around) one time. We had SUCH a crush on the guy from Dexter Freebish.
Johnny Cash, Ring of Fire~my friend Shelley's daughter, at the age of maybe 6, proclaimed that the ring was love. Cracks me up every time.
Garbage, Special~reminds me of my brother and our shared love of Garbage.
Bonnie Tyler, Total Eclipse of the Heart~I've always loved this song, but it usually makes me think of a night out while visiting Penn State in 2007 with the girls. I got some looks for knowing all the words....
I've had the Time of my Life~my wedding reception was held at the resort where "Dirty Dancing" was filmed, so my sentimentality over this one is obvious.
Leonard Skynyrd, Freebird~ALWAYS takes me back to the KHS band bus, and our goofy goofy male classmates getting us pumped up for a competition. And yes, I'm a little bit redneck. I love redneck rock.
Fastball, The Way~reminds me of The Beastie, because she hates this song with a passion.

I could go on ad nauseum, but you get the point.

And what was the point for me? I need to find some local friends. I'm enjoying spending my free time getting settled into our new place, and I've talked frequently with my friends who are now far away. But I need some peeps here. My mission to coerce all my existing friends to move here appears to have either failed or is off to the slowest start in history. So here we are.

As to the run itself...have you ever spent 2+ hours on a treadmill? After a while it gets embarrassing. I was sure a staff member was going to approach me and ask when I was going to wrap things up. People enter the gym and you're running. They leave and hour later and you're still running. I was the only person there who brought their own Gu. And "sweaty" would be an understatement of the final product. Even so, it is much better than the alternative of running outside in extreme heat. I'm going to say that the fact that I got it done, and at an average pace of about 9:35/mile, puts today in the WIN column. Go teim! (yes, an intentional misspelling, and one of my favorite of ODP's jokes)

mileage: 396.1 + 14.0 = 410.1

Friday, August 13, 2010

How do you know?

This is a question I've mauled several times in the last few weeks--how do you know when it's time to replace your gear? I've replaced shoes after 250 miles, 300 miles, and my current pair has about 485 on them and they are just starting to break down. I would shudder to think how many times my running shirts have been washed and worn, or how much sweat they've dutifully wicked over the course of their lifetimes.

**TMI alert**
Recently I've started wondering about one of my sports bras. I've loved it. It's accompanied me through most if not all of my races in the last 3 years and gets worn at least once every week. The last time I wore it I noticed a little extra bounce. This morning when I headed out for my 3-mile recovery/easy run, the bra and I had a firm discussion about our upcoming divorce.

It will be swift. It will be a clean break. It will be hard for us both to move on.

But I have younger, more attractive things to move on to. You see, the new bra I've had my eye on (thank you, RW reviews!) happens to be one of the few running bras sold at REI. Which is right next to Whole Foods. And I am in love with the entire experience. I've never been much of a foodie (which makes me terribly un-hip, I know), but just the thought of the sandwich I had at Whole Foods the other day makes me salivate. And the REI sells a good range of Gu/Chomps/etc flavors for a decent price, plus they carry my beloved Brooks Adrenalines and this bra I've been coveting.

I suppose this is the beauty of moving to a city?!? Who knew?? It just makes me love running that much more.

In other news
I've been running! (duh) After the 12-mile treadmill run last weekend, I followed up on my plans to buy a 1-month membership at the rec center at my work. I used it to do a 5k tempo run (plus w-u and c-d) on Tuesday and a mid-distance run (5 miles) on Thursday. This morning I did a 3.3 mile recovery/easy run around my neighborhood.

About the tempo run--I want to thank you guys, especially Music Says it Best and (the gimpy but fabulous) Sarah the Savage. After my last post you guys reminded me that I need to keep my knees happy and need to stay focused on speed work if I'm going to PR both of my fall races. I needed both of those reminders. Thank you for helping me stay focused!

383.8 + 4.0 + 5.0 + 3.3 = 396.1 miles, and clearing 400 this weekend. Something I didn't do until the Detroit Marathon last year. Which was, uh-huh, in OCTOBER.

Monday, August 9, 2010


I just finished reading the August issue of Runner's World cover-to-cover. The [Beat the Clock] section has a training plan for breaking a 2:00 half. And I want it. Bad.

It's a 10-week training plan. I have only 5 weeks between L&C and the US Half, and I need to take one week after L&C to rest. So I've decided to do the last 4 weeks of the Runner's World training plan before the US Half. Is that reasonable? Can I PR? The goal is definitely to PR, but can I also finally beat 2 hours?

AND IF THIS DOESN'T WORK, or if it does, I plan to do the whole 10-week plan next spring. I'm close to picking a spring half-marathon (yes, insanely early). Stay tuned for an announcement!

And in the name of full disclosure, I did my long run this past weekend on a hotel treadmill and it was everything I thought it could be. So today I marched myself over to the rec center at work and signed up for a one month membership. I am planning to do hill workouts outdoors and other runs as the weather allows. Otherwise, this chick is headed indoors for a few weeks! You know what that means? Working on a playlist using the fabulous Shuffle my very-much-missed Meg gave me when we graduated.

Mileage: 371.8 + 12 = 383.8
I should clear the 400-mile mark this week!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Recap: The running date

I was so excited, I woke up 40 minutes before my alarm and couldn't really fall back to sleep. But as soon as I stepped outside I knew I was in for it. So here it is--the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Mile 0-0.65, run from my house to the neighbors to meet up.

Mile 0.65-2.5ish: Ran about 30-40 seconds/mile faster than my marathon race pace. I told my neighbor that it felt fine, but could not be sustained for the whole run. We ran past one of the very groovy landmarks of the run, the brewery. Yes, that brewery! My thoughts exactly. Until we ran past an exhaust fan and I caught the smell of beer. And then I wanted to hurl. But before I knew it we were past the brewery and headed down a gentle hill.

2.5ish-3.5ish: It started occurring to me how totally screwed I was. I was carrying Gu but no water (I hate carrying things when I run). And I was sweating unlike anything. Somewhere toward the end of this stretch we ran past a Panera, where we ducked in for a drink of beautifully cold water. (Thank you, Panera!)

3.5ish-5.8: As you approach downtown on foot or by car, the Arch is visible from some distance. Which I knew. But I had forgotten how on relatively flat land, things do look deceptively closer than they are. I kept thinking we must be close, it must be close. The Arch was our turn-around point and water stop. By the time we got there I was absolutely soaked with sweat. But, it was my favorite part of the run. It was the first time I've been up close to the Arch, and the sun glimmering off of it is captivating. Then, just as we made the turnaround to start the loop back out of the park, the sky turned dark behind us. Over the river we saw a big storm rolling in. We were sort of afraid we would be caught in it, but as we ran we saw it blow past us on the other side of the river. Gorgeous. And it brought a breeze. And then I got to run through a sprinkler. All things of beauty.

5.8-8ish: Walk breaks were becoming frequent. By the time we got back to the Panera the heat was becoming a serious problem. I felt torn. Do I do what I know is safe and not push myself in weather that cannot be reasoned with, or try not to look like a complete wimp on the first run with my ultra-running neighbor?

8ish-11: We walked most of the last mile back to the meet-up spot. As I told Mr. Joanna later, it's sort of an extreme decision for me to walk 2+ miles of a long run. But the neighbor wasn't concerned about it and by mile 10 I wasn't either.

11-11.8: I slowly ran the path from the meet-up spot back to my house, and it wasn't bad. We stood and talked for just a few minutes before going our separate ways. After just that few minutes of standing to stretch and talk, I saw that I had accumulated an impressive pool of sweat on the sidewalk. I've honestly never seen anything like it. I've NEVER come home that drenched from a run. I looked like someone had thrown me in a pool. Then I saw that it was currently 87 degrees with 64% humidity. No doubt it had been even more humid earlier, and probably not much cooler.

I appreciated the chance to go explore and the chance to get to know a runner/neighbor a bit. He seems like a good guy to know, and is very easy to run with. And I am VERY glad I got that missed long run crammed back into the schedule. But all the same, I think I'll probably head indoors for this weekend's long run. One last thing to leave you with--thank you all so much for the comments on my hill workout and the enthusiasm about my running date!

mileage: 357.7 + 2.4 + 11.8 = 371.8 miles

Monday, August 2, 2010

Quick update

I'm doing a Two Things Tuesday.

On a Monday. What, I totally knew it was Monday when I typed that.

Look, semantics. That's not the point. Two quick updates, because I have to get back to beating my forehead on my desk in an effort to make my data cooperate.

1. I spent the weekend traveling, having a blast, and being sick. I thought I was going to be smart and skip doing my 12-miler in unbearable heat & humidity and instead do it on a hotel treadmill. Until I realized I felt way too much like poo for any kind of 12 mile run. So...that didn't happen. Which leads me to my second update:

2. I have a running date for tomorrow morning to do said 12-mile run!! When I came back from my run this morning there were two runners standing in front of my house talking. Turns out one owns (& leases out, she actually lives in MD and was here visiting) the house next to mine and was the former running buddy of the other person, who lives a few blocks over. We stood and talked for a little bit and the one that lives a few blocks over and I decided to do the long run tomorrow! I'm SO excited (can you tell?). It's a path he knows and goes through some areas I haven't explored yet. So excited!!