Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Gorgeous weather
My beloved park
3.8 miles @ 8:59/mi pace*
Black Cherry smoothie at Panera on the way home
Less than 4 days until race day
All during lunch break on my work-from-home day.
Could life get any better than this?!

* I was not trying to run at a sub-9 minute pace 4 days before a marathon. I truly was not. I think I've just gotten faster over time. It was glorious and easy. I promise. Tomorrow will be slooooooow.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Product review, men need not read

I am not a member of the IBTC. Consequently, it's hard for me to find a good sports bra for running (dudes, I warned you not to read this!). Last year Runner's World published a product review of different bras categorized by cup size. So, I clipped the article and kept it for future reference.

Maybe 6 weeks ago I spotted one of the reviewed bras at REI. I tried one on and brought it home. I've run in it enough times to get a sense now of the pros and cons. So here you are, a product review of the Under Armour heatgear Endure. (I paid for the product and have no connection whatsoever to Under Armour).

The pros:
  • When they say no bouncage, they mean *no* bouncage. None.
  • It is meant for and responds very well to hot weather. Which as you all know, we have here in the summer.
  • Individual cups. No uni-boob.
The cons:
  • The straps cross across the back, which provides support, but also means that they push inward at the shoulders. They are a little tight for my liking. This may however also be because I fall between a medium and large and bought the medium.
  • I don't personally like the zip-front closure. For one thing, the zip-pull sometimes sticks up and pokes me (easily fixed though). For another thing, it is sometimes hard to get closed. I actually delayed writing this review on the hope that it would stretch after a few wearings and be easier to close. Only a little, it turns out.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this bra for women in similar circumstances as myself: not waify, and living in a warmer climate. I would strictly recommend it for mid-week runs, not for long runs, on account of the tight straps. It's one that I will keep in my collection and continue to wear.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

My send off

Maybe it's because when I trained with the Team, the last track practice & long run before a race was treated like a big send off. Who knows. But my "long" run (of 6 miles) had the distinct feel of a send off this morning. It was just me and me, preparing myself mentally for the journey ahead. Coming to an end of the marathon training cycle, and giving myself some closure on that. I just breathed it all in, the morning, the sunshine, the cool air, the park, my me time, and savored it.

A six mile "long run" is an oxymoron, by the way. Long runs are meant to be LSD (long slow distance) running. Usually slower than race pace. But at the end of a marathon training cycle, 6 miles feels very short. It's hard to run that distance and not feel like I need to tear through it. But I heard the good angel on my right shoulder (and Coach Paula) telling me to hold back. Good thing there were two voices on that side to reason with me.

For a while now I've been wanting to share a little more of the park I run in. The problem is, I hate running with a camera. Solution: send my boys with a camera when they walk down there to go to the kids' play area during my long run. This is what they came back with (this is one entrance). I seriously love this park. More pictures will come. After the race.

529.6 + 3.5 + 4.0 + 6.4 = 543.5 miles

Just a couple of 3-4 mile runs this week and then RACE DAY!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

A very special announcement

I am pleased to announce the launch of my new blog, JoannaScraps.

I decided to create a separate blog for scrappy reasons described on the welcome post over at the new blog (which I encourage you to read). But there are some running-related motives as well. See, I have the distinct joy of having two hobbies that I love. But I get that running and scrapbooking do not go together for all runners, especially those of you of the male persuasion. I wanted to be able to blog about both without boring all you fabulous runners to death. Or just simply confusing you with the intermittent post about my beloved Slice. Or adhesives. Or border punches.

Should you feel inclined to stay current on all things crafty, I've created a link to JoannaScraps, which is in the right sidebar here. Page design will be evolving over the coming weeks. Stop on by!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Three Things Thursday

I know, I know. A lot of you are totally consistent about doing Three Things Thursdays and/or other themed blog days. I am not. But from time to time I do enjoy participating. So here you go.

1. THANK YOU all for the comments about my taper. I know it's a necessary step. I know it's going well. I know I'm reasonably prepared for race day. So, per Coach Paula's instruction, I'm gonna chill out. :) 10 days to go!

2. Here's a quick glimpse into my life. #1: The little magnets at the top are from The Beastie. #2: The WV magnet under that is from The Original Bestie. #3-4: The two under that are because I'm a runner. #5: Penn State Forever. #6: Katrina clean-up, because I believe in helping people when they're down. #7: kdot, ODP, and the Princess of Detroit. *love them*

3. I'm considering the Martian Marathon in Dearborn Heights, MI in April. Well, the half actually. Does anyone know anything about it? Any MI people wanna meet up and run it with me? I'm undecided.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Weekend Update

Oh, I miss Norm MacDonald.

I have a heapin' handful of updates for y'all. So, per the unpredictable nature of SNL, here there are in no particular order.

1. More Taper Freak Outs
Taper Freak Out #4: That I'll eat so much between now and the race that my shorts won't fit.

Taper Freak Out #5: That I'll get to the start line and realize that I forgot to Body Glide.

2. Cutting down on miles
Yesterday over lunch I crammed (and I mean *crammed*) in a 3-miler. It felt unnatural. I honestly can't even remember the last time I stopped after 3 miles. Probably right after my appy. This cutting back on miles thing kinda weirds me out. Is that just me? Thought so.

3. I love Dove chocolates just as much as the next girl
...but this is bullshit

4. The collective need to harass RunningFirst
One of my old TNT teammates/coaches has filed two DNS's this year and has registered to run L&C with me in 15 days. To date, his long runs have peaked at something like 15 miles (which he ran-walked once). Injured? Nope. Without running buddies? Not a chance. So what's the deal? I have no idea. I dialed down the harassment for a while. Maybe I shouldn't have.

5. Spring Races
So, a while ago I asked you to stay tuned for a spring race announcement. Well, the decision I thought I'd made got un-made. Hence no update yet. I haven't forgotten. Far from it. I'm just trying to figure out what the crap I'm going to do. I like the pattern I did this year: spring half, fall full, possible second half before or after the full. Smaller races as the desire strikes me.

So here it is: I'm asking you to nominate spring races. I'm generally open to anything in the Midwest, particularly Michigan, Illinois, or Missouri. I need a plan.

6. My totally Type-A son
Is still totally Type A. This CRACKS ME UP. I make a point of not going on ad naseum about my kid, because I get that it's not interesting to most of you. But this cracks me up. This is all him. Oh, and the other day he got a napkin to wipe the liquid off the kitchen floor when he dropped an ice cube. Did I mention he's 2?!?

7. Pain in my rear end
After my fall races are over, I'm going to a sports medicine person. My left hip/butt bone has hurt almost constantly since spring. It is definitely related to running, but doesn't hurt when I actually run (except when I'm starting out it's crazy stiff). But basically every other moment, it hurts. It's like my hammy is ridiculously tight where it inserts at my butt bone. What in the world is going on?? Anyone ever had this happen before? It's getting old.

Mileage: 509.7 + 4.8 + 3.0 + 12.2 = 529.6 miles

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Taper Freak Outs--The Beginning

Taper Freak Out #1
That all these slower-than-marathon-race-pace miles I'm running are going to seriously eff with my ability to PR the US Half in November.

Taper Freak Out #2
That I'm going to trip again but actually for real seriously injure myself and be unable to race.

Taper Freak Out #3
I retired my previous "race" sports bra, and I'm terrified that anything else will chafe in unpredictable places after 26.2 miles.

All of that, my friends, within a 4.75 mile tempo run this morning. 18 days and counting.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

On your recommendation...

First things first: I thought you would all want to know that I have banned Statement Tees from my running wardrobe until L&C and the US Half are over! A few of you recommended this move and I think it's a good call. :)

I also decided to do more of my mid-week runs in the park, which has neither concrete slab sidewalks to trip on nor traffic. So I headed down there on Wednesday. It was one of those days...I got to the edge of the park and realized I was grinning ear to ear. The weather was gorgeous. The trees were beautiful. The park was calm. And I was just gliding through it. I didn't set out to do a tempo run, but when I realized how comfortable the run was, I turned it up and did a tempo run for the day.

Friday morning I got up super early to run before a hectic day at work, only to find that it was raining just a *smidge* too hard to run. Coach Paula told me to rest up last week anyway, so I figured it was all good.

I'm so anxious to get to this part of my week, I'm sitting here smiling. After work on Friday we packed up and headed back north to C-U to visit friends! We had a baby shower and a birthday party to go to. It was a fantastic weekend. I got to see Ears (& her hubby, who I don't have a nickname for), RunningFirst, The Minnesotans, MJ and a group of people I'll collectively refer to as the World's Biggest Illini Fans. I think this is my favorite pic from the weekend--Ears playing with the babe while I got The Princess of Detroit's birthday present in the mail.

It was a great weekend. It was so comforting and fun to see our friends, laugh, gossip and catch up. *love you all*

So that left me this morning to get my all-important 20-miler done. How to put this positively...I am going to have to trust the logic that a bad dress rehearsal makes for a good race day.

Miles 1-6ish were fine. But the energy just wasn't there after that. I totally hit the wall at mile 12 (scary early, I know) and took 2.5 more miles to snap out of it. Miles 15-20 went easier than the middle chunk at least. The whole thing was slower than I'd have liked. I don't know. I'm nervous now about L&C. I don't know if I'm ready. I don't think I've done enough speed work. I think I had an insufficient base and didn't average enough mid-week miles through this training cycle. On the other hand, I'm WAY more prepared than I was before Detroit. No question about that. I'm just...nervous. That's normal...right?

So stay with me through the taper! It promises to be hilarious. I'll keep a list of all the crazy things I freak out about. We can laugh together. 21 days until L&C!!

485.8 + 4.0 + 19.9 = 509.7 (and YEAH let's hear it for breaking 500 miles!!)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Irony, how I hate thee

I know the title begs explanation, but I'm going to leave you in suspense on the running front for ONE minute while I give a shout out to Lucky Girl Crafts (boys, stay with me, I promise we'll be back to all things athletic shortly!). Not only did my July kit (which I just ordered last week at a sale price) arrive in lightning speed, but they have some great products and blog fun going on. Not to mention a fabulous design team (that may or may not include The Beastie). :) Thank you again for doing such an awesome giveaway last week!

Ok, the irony and the running. After my 18-miler on Saturday I was feeling pretty good about things. I decided to do a medium-distance recovery run today. The weather was beautiful. I was breezing through my run, just enjoying the time. Exploring a neighborhood I don't know very well. Then, out of freaking nowhere--again--my shoe caught a chunk of uneven sidewalk and I went flying. Unlike last time, however, I got up to discover that my hand was bleeding fairly spectacularly. "Didn't anyone see me fall? Can't anyone tell that I'm bleeding?" I thought. Then I saw an older couple walking a dog, and it looked like they were heading back to their house. So I approached them for help. They seemed a little skeptical for about 4 seconds, until they saw my hand, then they helped me get cleaned up. I was so thankful that they were there.

So, what's the irony in all this? My shirt. My freaking shirt.

The bandage my neighbors helped me with, before telling me to just run in the street for safety.

And the wound itself. It's actually much worse than it looks in this picture. I'll spare you the details except to say I'm on about my 3rd set of band aids today. And btw, why in the world am I smiling?!?

Seriously, couldn't I have put on ANY OTHER running shirt today? Did I really have to tempt fate like that?

So I cut my planned 5 miles back to just over 4 and called it a day. Wish my poor hand a speedy recovery!

481.5 + 4.3 = 485.8 miles

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Oh YEAH! That just happened.

I just beat my 2009 total mileage. Today. September 4. With nearly a third of the year to go. YEA, that just happened!

In 2009 I ran 463.3 miles total. Today I ran 18.1 miles, bringing my 2010 total to 481.5. Woo!!

To say I was apprehensive about today would be an understatement. My 16-miler last weekend was pretty awful, so I'd talked with Coach Paula in the middle of the week about how to handle the rest of the training cycle. I thought I should repeat the 16-miler and peak at 18 miles. She convinced me to just go for it--do the 18 and 20 milers then start tapering. She felt confident that my difficulties last weekend were more about the weather than about my fitness.

It looks like she was right. Today it was about 15 degrees cooler than last weekend, and it helped SO much. I was also running the neighborhoods/parks near my house, so I was on more familiar ground. I did three loops, each beginning & ending at my house so I could hydrate/Gu. The first went through a neighborhood a lot like mine, then through the park. The second went through our own little Beverly Hills then the park. The third loop, I went over to the Brewery (and didn't even get lost this time!) and back, with another pass through our mini-Beverly Hills. The third loop was the best, which I'm taking as a good sign that I was ready for the distance.

And the day wasn't over yet. Next up, family trip to the zoo. Featuring my favorite quote of the day, from the babe, "bye-bye elephants!"