Friday, November 16, 2007

Long overdue

Today I ran for the first time in over two weeks. I think that's the longest I've gone without a run since March. I expected it to hurt, but it really didn't. It felt good.

Meg and I went to Meadowbrook today to get some miles in before dark. We ran one full loop, then 0.85 down one side of the loop and back, for a total of about 3.5 miles. The highlight came at the end. To finish the run, we ran east back past our cars to the trail head, where we'd agreed to finish the run. When we got there, we turned around to face a magnificent sunset. The sky was streaked with color, the darkest of which was a deep red grapefruit color stretching some distance up from the horizon. Upon turning to the west we both wondered aloud at the sky. It was really something.

And the weather--it is pushing Thanksgiving. It was in the mid-40s when we started the run, probably cooling off a degree or two while we were out. The wind was mild through the day, but had picked up some by the time we met. For the first time, I felt like I really needed pants and a long sleeved shirt. My new running pants made their debut! I don't think they're quite like the spandex tights that everyone wears, but I like them. It was certainly better than wearing shorts! I also wore my new long sleeved shirt, the one that made its debut on the choose-your-own-adventure run. I was cold when we started and never did get hot exactly, but it was manageable. Soon, though, I'm sure I'll campaign to move indoors until the spring thaw. For now, I was just grateful for the run, and the time to catch up with Meg!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A choose your own adventure run

Meg and I planned to meet after work on Monday to run. After I got to work I realized that I had left my sports bra at home. Considering that I've owned only one good one this whole time, I decided that my forgetfulness was a sign from the universe that it was finally time to buy a new sports bra. So Meg and I headed to Target after work to get some gear. Target was great for our summer running gear--good selection, good prices. For fall/winter gear, not so much. I bought a long sleeved shirt, but that was it. Off to Dick's it was.

At Dick's, we both found running pants and I found the sought-after sports bra. Meg also picked up a great pink shirt. It was finally time to run. The only problem was our need to change into our running clothes. The only good running trail we could think of that had a decent bathroom nearby was at Parkland.

At Parkland, we used the women's locker rooms near the gym. From there we had to get to the trail. We couldn't drive over, as the parking lot is closed for road construction. We needed to run to the trail head. We had some issues finding our way through Parkland and to the main road. We ended up running through some grass, walking through buildings, and running along the road that circles the college. We finally got to the college's entrance and crossed the street, only to find no sidewalk leading down to the trail. We cut through the DMV lot and across the back lawn of some business that I've never been able to characterize in any detail. At last, we'd reached the trail!

I don't know how long the trail is. It took us about 25 minutes to run. The trail goes through what looks like an old golf course for some time, then follows a railroad track for a few yards, then joins a path that circles a local lake. I didn't know until our run that the path does indeed entirely circle the lake. It's really nice actually--no back-tracking, nice view. Overall, it's a nice trail. I wouldn't want to run it alone (I don't think any woman would), but with a friend it's a nice option for a run.

We ran back to the trail head then back to the college (following a slightly more direct route this time). I loved the run. The weather was perfect for my newly purchased long sleeved running shirt. It was a trail we hadn't run together and I hadn't run in about a year. It was also fun running through, and on, the still-under-construction road to get to and from our cars. Good times.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A three-run transition

There have been three runs since my last post. Things have been incredibly hectic here, so updating the blog has obviously fallen a bit behind. I'm here to catch up!

On Wednesday 10/17 Meg and I did a two-loop, 3.7 mile run at Meadowbrook. This past Wednesday the plans got FUBARed along the way, so we moved locations to my subdivision. It was about 50 degrees when we left my house. The wind was blowing, making us both lament our decision to forgo ear warmers. Even though it was cold, we had a great time! It was fun to introduce Meg to my running route here. And as every fall/winter runner will tell you, there is something inherently rewarding about running in the cold until you're not cold anymore. If we were halfway reasonable people we would have stayed in and brewed hot tea. But we're runners, so we ran. And we had a great time. We put in about 35 minutes.

This morning we headed to the indoor track on campus to run. There was a 40% chance of rain and it was in the low 50's again, so we decided it was time to find a warm, dry place to run. Who wants to run on wet leaves? The indoor track is 200 m, or 1/8 mile. We ran three miles with a short break between each mile. Nothing crazy. It was a nice, easy, Saturday morning run. I think for me, this was the first time in a while that I've done two runs within a few days of each other, so for me it felt more like getting back into the swing of things than it felt like a traditional Saturday run. During training, Saturdays are reserved for long runs, after all! Anyway, the track was nice. There was just one other runner, a sprinter, on the track. I think we'll use the facility more through the winter.

These three runs have been a transition into running in the cold and coping with unsafe running weather. I realized that I need some long-sleeved running shirts. All I have are the few things I bought to train for our half-marathon. So, Target, here I come again! It's weird to think of running indoors until spring, but it's approaching the time to face that reality. I'm sure we'll get a few more outdoor runs in; we haven't even had a frost yet, after all. Yet we're both fully aware that summer, and warm weather, are gone for the year.

Over a cup of coffee after our run we talked more seriously about our next race. We're planning to run the Indianapolis half-marathon next October. I am SO excited!! We're thinking the weather should be reasonable, and the entrance fee is really cheap. We also heard good things about it from one of the guys at Body & Sole (I finally got new shoes!). Meg might run another race in the spring, and we both might do 5ks or something through the winter/spring/summer. Picking our next race, and thus our next training season, makes me so happy. I am so excited to do this again.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


This is a two-for-the-price-of-one special.

A few weeks ago Meg and I decided to meet on Mondays after work to do a quick run. We also said we would continue to run on Saturday mornings when we could. Last Monday we met for our first scheduled run. It was great! We ran about 3.7 miles then went for ice cream. It was a beautiful day and a great run. We met again yesterday for another 3.7 mile quick run. Yesterday late afternoon it was a bit cool outside if you were sitting without a jacket. That, my friends, makes for perfect running weather. We took it easy and enjoyed the time to catch up, the amazing weather, and the exercise. I'm so glad Mondays work for both of us. I have the best running partner ever--I missed her!

Otherwise I've been walking with M a few times a week and occasionally in the evenings with my husband. I was also really active this past weekend with other things, including planting new annuals (asters), re-organizing our master bedroom closet, and attending a football game. For a while I felt bad about not running 4 days a week and cross-training a fifth day. Instead, I feel like I'm being active but doing other things, and still running and walking at least a few times a week. Honestly, I'm really enjoying the mix!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Grab a cold one

A cold run, that is. Yesterday when Meg and I left for our Saturday run it was 37 degrees! Before I started training for the half I was completely unwilling to run when it was any cooler than about 55. Needless to say, that changed yesterday! I wore long yoga pants and a sport fleece over my running shirt. After the first half mile or mile I got past the frigid stage, but I never did really warm up.

Meg and I ran only 4 miles. I was okay with that. It was cold and we're not training for anything. It was a fun little run. I'm glad we went in the cold; I'm glad I can now say that I've done that. It was also nice to see everyone both Friday night (team dinner) and yesterday morning. After our short long-run we sat and cheered for the others, who were running 20 miles. I'm really glad we went.

Until yesterday, it had been quite some time since I had run in cotton (my pants were cotton). Even though we didn't run very far and certainly weren't sweating like we would on an 80 degree morning, I was struck by how much my sweat hung in my clothing. It was a great reminder why, as a runner, I love technical fabrics. It might be time to get winter running gear!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Running in early fall

I LOVE running in the fall. I love those evenings when it would be just a bit cool to eat dinner on the patio without a light jacket, but running is perfectly comfortable. Yesterday was one of those days. The high was 70; it had cooled into the 60s by the time I went for my run. The sun was moving toward the horizon, casting long shadows. I had to laugh at my shadow at one point. The shadow of my legs stretched out for about 5 feet on the pavement while the shadow of my torso was only a foot or so.

I did a 30 minute run around a neighboring subdivision. Some dogs were out (behind fences or tied up, thankfully). Several families were out, playing, working on the garage, watering lawns, or just hanging out. The run itself was easy and fun. All around, it was nothing less than beautiful. I'm so thankful for these fall days, enjoyable to the last drop of sunlight.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

First neighborhood run in a while

On Monday I went on a long overdue run around my neighborhood. It had been some time since I had done this circuit--so long that I'd begun to forget how pleasant it can be. It was a simple 30 minute run. Nothing fancy. Perfect weather. Not even any music. Just me. And it was perfect.

I'm quickly realizing that I need to rename this blog and find some new direction for it. Perhaps I'll turn it into a blog on finding motivation to exercise when there is no finish line to work for. More on this later.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

New questions and new pictures

I see that it's been a while since I added a new post. It's true that I've not been on a regular running schedule since my race. It's also true that I haven't been quite as lazy as the lack of posts would lead one to believe. Last weekend I was out of town (I went to Penn State for the season opener, had a great time). I got back on Monday night. Tuesday I did yoga. Thursday (I think) I walked with Marla. Saturday (yesterday) I ran. Which leads me to the "new questions" part of this post.

Yesterday I ran 3 miles on a treadmill. Last night I got a headache. This reminded me that almost every time I run on a treadmill (it had been a while) I get a headache that evening, but I never get them when I run without a treadmill. Can anyone explain this? It's really annoying and I'd love to avoid it, but I've never come up with a solution. It isn't a hydration problem. Pain killers seem to help only marginally once the headache starts, but do help to keep it at bay if I take preemptive Tylenol. Any help would be appreciated!

On to the "new pictures" part of the post. As I mentioned, last weekend I was back east to visit Penn State. While I was there I also visited my parents. My mom had had her film from the race developed and so gave me a CD of her pictures. Here are some of the better ones.

(left) This is a picture of all of the Team in Training participants for the Chicago Distance Classic. We took this picture right after the Pasta Party the night before the race. Meg and I are in the middle in the back, unfortunately looking the other way.

In the photo to the right Meg is just visible. She's on the right-most while traffic line, wearing the TNT purple top. I'm behind her and am not visible in the picture.
To the left, Meg and I are just about to cross the finish line! Our time on the clock reads 2 hours 15 minutes 25 seconds. Since we didn't cross the start line right at the gun, the finish line clock was a few minutes ahead of us. Our time was 2 hours 12 minutes 0 seconds.

To the right, we're crossing the second mat, right after the finish line. It wasn't totally clear to me which mat was the finish line. Meg is to my left. What a sweet moment! We had finally done it! We had finished our race!

(Left) After crossing the finish line, Meg and I celebrated with a hug. I was so happy in that moment. I was glad my parents were there to capture the moment.

(Right) After our hug, we waved to my parents then headed on through the finishers' area. The finishers' area included sweat towels that had been soaked in ice water, bagels (which I couldn't even look at), and finishers' medals. Once we got through that, we started the walk back to the TNT Victory Tent.

Back at the tent TNT had set up quite the spread! I didn't feel up to eating just yet, but others enjoyed a breakfast. Someone, I don't know who, took this picture of Brett and Meg.

I don't anticipate more pictures, but should any surface I will be sure to post them.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Not so long run

Today was a wonderful break from the heat. I think the high was in the 80s, with heavy cloud cover through most of the day. And thank goodness, since the team had an 18 mile run this morning. I cannot imagine doing that run in the heat we had earlier this week. They all finished in fine form. I was very impressed!

As for Meg and me, we showed up at 9:30 (it was a late night--we had a team dinner then Meg and I hung out). We guessed that an 18 mile run would take at least 3 hours, so showing up at 9:30 would still mean finishing with the group or even before the group. We ran 5 miles, a lovely 5 miles at a 9 minute pace, and waited to cheer on everyone else. Our own run was smooth and easy. We talked through most of it. The wildflowers are still gorgeous and I need new shoes--those were my primary observations from the run.

It was so nice to sit with the team afterwards and talk about the morning's run. We've gotten to know each other. There's a familiarity and a closeness among us. Donnie's back from New York. Judy and Jessica are close to meeting their fundraising goals. The rain is bothering Randy's knees. Allison is at a wedding in another state. Kevin and Steve ran the Mahomet half-marathon this morning. We know these things about each other. I feel like we've become a team, Meg and I included, even though we've finished our race. It's great.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Unreasonable heat

The high today was 91 with something like 55% humidity. It felt like walking through really warm Jello. NO WAY was I going to track practice in that.

Last night was similar but I really wanted to run, so instead my husband and I went for a brisk 30 minute walk. Even briskly walking I worked up a sweat, so I felt ok claiming it as exercise. It was nice to walk with him. I took him around a new-ish corner of the development and showed him some of the less-than-obvious trails and sidewalks I've gotten into the habit of running. It was nice to show them to him, and to spend some time together outside.

I'm feeling yoga-ish. I think I need a good stretch and some upper body toning. I meant to do yoga tonight but made lasagna instead. Oops. So I think tomorrow I will do that, or maybe do some cardio at the gym, in the AC. Stay hydrated and cool out there, people!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

My first post-race run

This morning Meg and I headed out for our typical Saturday morning long run. Since a week has not yet passed since our race we decided to take it easy. We decided to run 6.6 miles, about an hour.

We got to the park around 9:45, just in time to see our Saturday coach packing things up to head home. She gave us some Powerade, a flavor neither of us had tasted before, Arctic blast, perhaps? We both liked it. She said that Steve, one of our teammates, had also arrived late and was still out on the course. Meg hid the Powerade under my car and we headed out.

Somewhere around 3.5 miles we decided that the energy level was pretty low; six miles sounded much better than 6.6. We ran the first half pretty quickly then slowed down to our usual pace for the last half. I definitely still have some muscle fatigue from the race. No soreness, just fatigue. I'm glad we ran 6 today, it was good to shake off some of the cobwebs and get moving again. It was also great to run together again and reminisce about our race. It was a low energy but nice run. Also in our favor was the weather; it was a cool, damp morning, perfect for a long run. Certainly better than the 90+ days we had earlier this week!

After the run we went to Body & Sole and browsed (I bought new socks, that was the extent of it) then walked through 10,000 Villages to kill some time until Custard Cup opened. We sat there and talked for a long while. Yay for running buddies :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

CDC 2007

On Saturday morning I packed up my things and went to the train station to meet Meg. Our train left on schedule. We were finally off to Chicago.

We arrived around 1. My parents met us at Union Station. From there we all took the free local trolley down the street toward our hotel. Along the way we stopped at an Elephant & Castle for lunch--yum! I had a chicken and brie sandwich. From there we took another trolley the rest of the way to the hotel. Before checking in, Meg and I checked in at the race expo, got our shoe chips and t-shirts, and took it all in a bit. My room wasn't quite ready at the hotel, so after a failed attempt to walk around the neighborhood we sat and cooled off in the lobby for a while. Finally the room was ready. I completed check in and went to my room. Meg and I changed for dinner. It was finally the perfect excuse to wear my new white sundress! Meg wore an adorable polka-d0tted black dress she bought during study abroad in London. Here's a picture of us (dresses not completely visible, unfortunately).

The pasta party dinner was nice. Before and during the meal they had a slide show of blood cancer patients with captions like "In honor of" and "In memory of." Each person runs in honor of their patient honoree. Mine is a young boy from Savoy who has so far been successful in his fight against leukemia. Even watching the slide show was almost enough to make me cry. These people have suffered and hoped so much and these efforts we've undertaken to help are at a head. After the dinner a leukemia survivor and half-marathon runner spoke about his battle with the disease and how the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society had touched his life by raising money that sponsored critical research that helped him survive. He talked about his family's support, and his friends in his treatment program, some of whom lived and some who did not. They then showed a video of Team in Training race days. It included patient honorees talking about the inspiration they get from the races, runners finishing and celebrating, the energy and anxiety of it all. Everyone cried. Grown men and babies alike. We all cried. It was beautiful.

It was only about 7:30 when dinner ended, which was far too early to go to bed. Just to spend some time with my parents, the three of us went down to the lobby and drank decaf and caught up. It was wonderfully pleasant and relaxing. Around 9:30 they headed to their hotel (mine was sold out when they decided to come) and I went up to my room to lay out my things (including my half of a diet Coke) for morning and go to sleep as soon as possible. I was falling asleep by 10:15pm.

At 4:30am the alarm clock went off. My roommate and I got up to slowly begin our pre-race routines. At 5am we headed to the lobby to meet the rest of the Team in Training runners and head to the starting line. As the sun just started to lighten the horizon, we settled in around the Team in Training tent near the race start. Just before we went to the starting line a leukemia survivor gave us a Mission Moment. We headed off. Meg, Brett and I picked a place near the 9 minute mile sign. John "The Penguin" Bingham announced the start of the race. It took us about 3 minutes to get to the start line, at which point we started running. I looked back after about a mile and didn't see Brett. Meg and I carried on together.

The first five miles or so were completely mesmerizing. The sun was breaking across the buildings. The streets were closed to traffic, so that all I could see were the thousands of runners in the street in front of me. It was so fun to run through the intersections, the traffic lights turning as if traffic were running through as normal. It was wonderfully cool except in the tunnels. The sound of runners' feet was soft and constant, sometimes almost in sync, sometimes as scattered as rain hitting the ground. I saw my parents twice in the first 5 or 6 miles which was great. The crowds in general were pretty energizing, especially the cheers for Team in Training runners. It made me smile.

Through mile 6 or 7 things were pretty fun. Between 6.5 or so and mile 8 there were no crowds. The miles got long and lonely and hard. Rounding the bend around mile 7 was huge--it meant that we were heading back toward the start/finish and that we were at least half way finished. Around mile 8 I started to wonder if I could run another 5. My calves were so tight and sore, all I wanted to do was stretch them and walk. We started walking through every drink stop, regardless of whether we were drinking or not. I think it was around mile 8 that we stretched for a few seconds. It did a world of good. Between 8 and maybe 9.5 I felt more or less ok again. Around mile 10 I started losing track of miles, I just forgot to look for the mile markers. We walked for a minute or so around mile ten. We were both hurting. At the time I was disappointed in myself for walking, but then I remembered that we almost always stood and talked for a minute during our water breaks on training days, so our walking for a minute wasn't unprecedented at all. When I realized this, I decided it would be ok if we missed our 2 hour mark by a few minutes.

As I said, I had started forgetting (or just not wanting) to look for mile markers. I thought we had passed mile marker 11 much earlier than we actually did. I was so disappointed when I saw the marker. I audibly swore when I saw it, which I think faintly startled Meg. We walked maybe 150 yards at that point and resolved to slowly jog the rest. We walked through the one remaining water stop, but kept up our slow jog otherwise. Near the end spectators lined the path once again. The cheers helped! They also meant that we were close to finishing. We could also finally hear the music at the finish line--I was so thankful! I thought the finish line was around the next bend, which kept me going. We rounded the bend and I could see people running the entire length of the field. I thought to myself, "Ok, it's just up there. Not much farther. You can do this." We neared the end of the field and I saw another switchback and had the same thought again. This happened about three times, until finally I saw the finish line in the distance. Meg kept encouraging us. We put the tiniest lift in our step and ran down the last stretch. My parents were near the finish cheering us on. We finally crossed the finish line. We had done it. We both hurt all over, but with enthusiasm and joy turned and hugged each other. We had done it. We ran 13.1 miles.

We found out later that our time was 2 hours 12 minutes and 0 seconds. Twelve minutes behind our goal. Not bad. :) It wasn't our goal time, but considering it was our first race and neither of us felt fantastic, we would take it. I'm so proud of us!!

Right after crossing the finish line we were given sweat towels that had been soaked in ice water. It felt SO good. I let it drip all over me. Fantastic. They had also set up a huge table of mini bagels, which I couldn't even look at. Right around there we also got our finishers' medals, our first ever! We left the finishers' area and started to walk back down the field toward the Team in Training tent. I started not feeling too good and asked Meg if we could stop and sit down in the grass for a minute. I sat there for a few minutes, then started to get up and continue walking in the shady area toward the tent. I didn't get very far before I threw up a rather intense amount of Gatorade. I continued to do this at intervals all the way to the tent, where the smell of breakfast was as repulsive as anything could have been. Meg and I sat with my parents for a while. Other Team in Training runners and volunteers came to see how we had done and share their own stories. Here's a picture of Meg and Brett, who turned in a respectable 2 hour 35 minute-ish time.

Eventually my stomach settled enough to allow me to walk to the hotel and get a shower. That also helped a lot. Afterwards I felt much better. Mom, Dad, and I moved my things out of my room and headed out for lunch and some shopping. I had fish & chips at the Elephant & Castle near their hotel, where we left my luggage and got them checked out. Afterwards, we went to Filene's Basement for some old school bargain shopping. Around 3:30 I arrived at Union Station to board my train back to Champaign. The trip home was pleasant and easy. I smiled to myself as I left Chicago, reading the card Meg was so sweet to give me before the race, instructing me to open it on my way home. She really is the best running buddy I could ever have asked for.

All around, it was nothing short of an amazing weekend. Yes, the half-marathon was hard. Harder than I anticipated, really. But worth every bit of effort. I wouldn't trade any of this (well, except the nausea maybe) for anything. I know now that I can do this. I know now that I want to keep raising money to fight cancer. I've felt again in my life God's grace and strength to do His awesome will. I've made a great new friend in Meg. This has been amazing.

As I told Meg, it's not like we're breaking up. There will be more runs. There will be more sweat and weird runner's questions. So stay tuned. I hope this is just the beginning. :)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Leaving for the race!

It's been most of two weeks since I've updated the blog, not because I stopped running but because life has been pretty hectic. I can't write much now either, as I have to leave in about an hour to catch the train to Chicago for the race.

Just quick blurbs about two runs. Last Friday and Saturday (a week ago) I did the scheduled runs on a treadmill at the conference hotel in California. The runs both went pretty well. Neither felt difficult. Toward the end of the hour-long run I started to feel like that chick who just never stops running. You've all seen her. She's running when you get to the gym and still running when you leave. I was vaguely entertained by that. Both mornings I ran it was cool outside, but I was dripping sweat on both runs. Felt good.

Back home, I ran 2.25 miles Wednesday night with part of the team, and that's been it. I really haven't done anything else this week. I feel like a cheater about it. I'm so used to running most days it feels really weird not to. At the same time, we've had just outrageous heat this week and I've had the most stressful week maybe ever, and the race is tomorrow, so there's been reason to rest. It does feel weird though.

So I'm off to Chicago here in an hour or so! I'm SO excited about the race. I'm looking forward to seeing my parents, running with Meg, seeing the fans and entertainment, being in Chicago, all of it. I know a lot of people get nervous before their first race. Maybe I should be, but I'm not. I'm just excited. My brother said running this race two days after my doctoral qualifying exam is the craziest thing I could have done. I think it's perfect. What a great way to decompress, celebrate, and start my vacation. Chicago, here I come!!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Beginning to taper

Since I was still so stiff on Wednesday, I took Thursday and Friday off, rather than just Thursday, to recover. That brings me to yesterday's long run.

After last Saturday's long run (the 12 miler) those of us training for the Chicago Half were to begin tapering, which means cutting back on mileage and beginning to rest. The race is two weeks from today. You can't build much endurance in two weeks and the last thing you want to do is fatigue your muscles right before the race. Our schedule said that we were all to run 90 minutes at yesterday's long run. However, our coach emailed us Friday night to say that those of us who are tapering should feel free to cut the 90 minutes back to 60 or even 45 if we were still feeling stiff from the timed run, or just feeling fatigued in general. Meg still wasn't feeling 100% and my legs still weren't really in the game, so we planned to run for 45 minutes. We ended up running for 60. This week, Meg was pushing me along. We ran the first 3 miles at a good pace. After about 4 miles I definitely slowed down a bit. My legs just weren't playing along. My legs feel better today than they have in about a week, so I'm encouraged. I hope and think that the worst of the muscle tiredness is behind me. I have a race to go enjoy! As Meg said, perhaps she had her fatigue, then I just had mine, and now we can move on. On a side note, the weather was pretty nice! It's been humid but cool in the mornings.

And a great update--I've met my fundraising goal! Thank you SO much to everyone who contributed!

Life is a little hectic between now and the race so I may not update this much. I'm really looking forward to a good race day. TWO WEEKS TO GO!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Timed fitness run

I'll get to the timed run in a second. Just wanted to say that yesterday Brendan and I went to the gym together for my cross training day. We have been trash talking each other for weeks about who can lift more on lower body. I was convinced it was me. My legs are more muscular, they are actually a little bit bigger, and he doesn't run. Yeah, he can still lift more on leg press. It seems so unfair! I have to laugh about it. After our "lift off" I did some inner & outer thigh work, abs, some triceps, and just messed around trying out some new things. It was a really laid back workout, meant to be fun.

On to the timed run. Since last Wednesday was so hot and humid (see the post "Hot, nasty, bad-assed speed"), the timed 5k "fitness assessment" run was moved to today. Today was hot, too, but much less humid. We did the usual mile warm-up, stretched, then started the 5k. My time was 25:57, which, while that's my fastest ever timed 5k, I know I can run 3.1 miles faster than that. I don't want to make excuses, but I do think I can explain it. I'm still stiff from Saturday's run. I asked my coach about it. He said that sometimes a step up in long run mileage just beats up the body more than normal and in doing so makes for a long recovery. He said that almost everyone experiences a long run week like this during training. He said he thinks it's good to run hard during one of these hard recovery weeks, that training while tired is a key part of endurance training. Apparently a person training for a marathon typically goes through a hard recovery long run like that more than once. So, I guess it's a good thing after all! Perhaps it means I'm right on track.

Monday, July 23, 2007

That was a surprise

I was certainly surprised yesterday to find that my legs were sore from Saturday's 12 mile long run. My legs hadn't been sore or tired in months. I stretched a few times through the day and forgot about it. Then I set out for a 40 minute run this evening only to discover that they were not up for a hard run. Talk about a surprise. The first mile was sore and stiff. The muscle tiredness never really did go away, though the stiffness and soreness did. There are two things about this episode that make me curious. One, is this a good thing? Does the soreness mean that I'm still gaining muscle? Two, did my massive (and unusual) caffeine intake, coupled with overall fatigue, make it worse? In other words, was this going to happen regardless or did I invoke it by mistreating my body?

The run itself was more or less a good one, despite the muscle crabbiness. My schedule said 40 minutes and I wanted to do 20, so I compromised at 32. After 20 or so I got more into the swing of things, so that near the end I felt like running the full 40 would have been fine. On a side note, we've had very favorable weather recently. Today was bright with a high around 82 I think. It had dipped below 80 by the time I left for my run, which certainly sweetened the deal.

I'm getting so excited about race day! Meg and I have been talking about food and wondering what sorts of crazy things we'll see along the race route. Also, yesterday I found out that my parents are coming to Chicago for the race! I'm so excited to get to share this experience with them!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Longest long run

Today was my first and only 12 mile long run before the half-marathon. The high water mark. It was amazing. The weather was perfect and I felt great. I want to write this post now so that I can record my food intake and everything before I forget it. Today worked so well, I want to repeat the food part of it on race day.

At about 6:45am I had my typical pre-long run breakfast of a handful of dry cereal, half a can of Diet Coke and some water. Meg showed up around 7:15 this morning and we left for Mahomet. Including Meg and me, we had 6 runners and a coach this morning. We stretched a bit and discussed strategy. Would Meg and I run the 6-mile loop twice? Or an 8-mile loop with an additional 4? I finally admitted that I wanted to discuss strategy because I was stalling. I was a bit nervous about the run. Meg suggested that we get started, so off we went.

We ran the first two miles in about 8 minutes and 8 min 30, respectively. We knew this was too fast and it was. By the third mile our bodies had slowed down for us to our typical 9 minute pace. I grabbed a small sip of Powerade after 2.5 miles and a tiny sip of water after 3.5 and 5.5. After about 6.1 (54-ish minutes) we ate our Jelly Belly Sport Beans (today's flavor: orange. Did I absolutely love them? Yes.). This turned out to be a great time to eat them. After about 5 miles I still felt fine but realized that my body was starting to give me gentle signs that it was depleting its sugar supply. By eating at 6 miles rather than 7 I avoided the fatigue that usually sets in at 7.5 miles. At 7 miles I chased the sport beans with some water. We inserted a 2 mile loop at this point, bringing us to 9. At 9 I had a bit more water (all this water totalled no more than 8 ounces). From there we ran back to the starting line (running total: 10 miles) where I had a hearty swig of Powerade before running the last two miles. Since we had the highest mileage of our team today (mileage is based on the event each person is training for) we were the last ones finished. The others were there at the finish line cheering for us. It was so nice! I finished with a huge smile. After the run we did some ab work.

Today's combination of weather and food was ideal. At no point did I feel particularly weak and at no point did I want to stop running. In all honesty, I had a great time. It felt good. Unfortunately my running partner wasn't feeling so great, so she didn't love the 12 miles the way I did. I'm confident, however, that come race day she'll embrace it with me (I hope I feel this good on race day!). Meg said my time was about 1 hour 45 minutes not counting our water stops. As long as the weather holds I feel pretty confident that we can finish the race in under two hours. Here's to hoping!

A 12 mile long run qualifies a person for a fantastic breakfast, which we had. Blueberry pancakes and coffee for me. Delicious. Other than Meg's not feeling so great, it was such a beautiful morning all around. The afternoon wasn't too shabby either--our yard sale was a huge success. With three whole days to spare, I've met my fundraising goal! It's all down hill from here! Thanks everyone for the encouragement leading up to today's run!

Friday, July 20, 2007


I did my Friday run yesterday (Thursday) just so I wouldn't be running 12 hours before the 12-miler. Yesterday was still quite humid, but neither as humid or as warm as Wednesday. The run turned out to be a fairly typical 30 minute run in terms of how I felt. The wind blew pretty hard throughout, as it was threatening to rain. Then last night I washed all of my running clothes from the week. With all this humidity, I didn't even want them in the laundry hamper anymore. Eeeew.

It also means I have an assortment of clean clothes from which to choose for my first ever 12 mile run. I'm trying to get myself ready--I keep giving myself little pep talks about it. It's just an eight mile run (which is fun) with a few miles tacked onto the end. Or like two six mile runs, which individually are pretty easy. I think we're going to run the eight mile course, then back down to the 0 mile marker (1.2 miles), back to the picnic tables (1.2 miles) then to the covered bridge (0.8 miles) and back to the picnic tables. Wish us luck!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hot, nasty, bad-ass speed

"America is all about speed - hot, nasty bad-ass speed .~"Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt did not actually say this. This is a deliberate misquote given to us by the genius that is "Talladega Nights," which I love. Regardless, it's great and it fits the occasion. What occasion, you ask? Oh yes, today's Wednesday evening track workout.

Our schedule indicated that we were to run a timed 5k fitness assessment. When we got to the track our infinitely wise coach said that tonight was not the night for a fitness assessment. It was about 86 degrees and 80% humidity. He sent us to do our warm up while he devised an alternate workout for us. After our standard one mile warm-up and two strides, our coach gave us a choice. We could do a regression workout (5 laps, then 4, 3, then 2) or a two-person relay in which the first person runs a 400 (1/4 mile, one lap at our track), tags the second person, rests while the second person runs a 400, then repeat 7 times. Each person runs only two miles, but each interval is faster than a race pace. The workout itself was short and fun. I was paired with Randy which is always a good time. Afterwards Meg and I did the cool down together.

So the hot, nasty speed. I have never sweated so much over anything. Even after our one mile warm-up I was soaked. During the rest between intervals I just dripped sweat. My shirt was soaked all the way through, as were my shorts, and they are both dry-fit! My pony tail was soaked to the point that I could just barely wring it out. We all felt like we were running as fast as was humanly possible, but falling short of the paces we each knew we were capable of. My times ranged between 1 min 30 and 1 min 45 or so. There are not words to describe the sweat. It was really incredible. At the end Randy was laying on the track with his legs on the fence to stretch. He put a hand up for a high-five from me (since we were partners). As I leaned down to high-five him I dripped sweat on his shoulder. In any other situation this would be absolutely humiliating. Today we all just laughed about it. My coach says that the more fit a person is, the earlier they will begin to sweat in a workout, that sweating is actually a sign of physiological efficiency. I joked that I was going to get a shirt printed that said "I'm this gross because I'm this fit." In summary, it was a short run so I'm not tired now from it. It was like running through a swamp. Despite that, it was fun, the two-person relay.

I did my cross-training workout last night between meetings and errands. I ran about 20 minutes, then focused again on abs, back, and hips. My hips are getting stronger, which is encouraging. It was a short, purpose-driven workout, which as I've said before, I really enjoy.

One more run between me and Saturday's 12-miler...

Saturday, July 14, 2007

a cut-back long run

Just to catch up since I haven't posted in a few days, on Thursday I went to the gym for a cross-training workout. I didn't do any cardio other than 5 minutes of walking to warm up. I focused on abs, back, and hips. I think the ab and hip work is paying off some, even though I haven't done much of it yet. I think I am getting stronger.

Friday I did the normally scheduled run--30 minutes. The weather was perfect. I loosened up after a mile or two and really got into it. I ran around my subdivision some, but spent most of my time running around Sawgrass. I so enjoy running with my mp3 player. I'm just out there with this gorgeous, enormous Midwestern sky, a nice breeze, and some music that I love. It's a good time. After my run we had one of my favorite dinners--skillet nachos. We hadn't had it in quite a while. Yum!

Today's long run was another 8-miler. At this point in the training, eight miles is a pretty good time. Fatigue is just starting to set in at the end of it. Anyway, Meg picked me up this morning and we drove over to Mahomet together. We ran the first mile or so with one of the coaches, who happens to be an 8-minute-miler (we're 9-minuters). So we started out a bit fast and gradually worked our way back to 9 minute miles. We chatted through a lot of the run this morning, which always helps it to go a bit faster. I finally told Meg about this blog. I don't know why I hadn't before. I didn't know her that well when I started it, then because she appears in it so frequently I felt weird about telling her after that. But she knows now. :)

Somewhere between miles 4 and 5, I think, we got to talking about embarrassing things associated with running. These tend to be things that runners can openly discuss with one another, but that get somewhat questionable among a more general audience. This includes chafing, my toes, toenail loss, the visible, grainy salt that forms on your skin after a long run, the riding up of the shorts, ability/inability to eat or drink during a run, getting sweat in your eyes, the complete inability to stand up again after a long run (see my post from our first 10-miler), and burping. I love that runners have heroes, products, and issues specific to running that we discuss.

Anyway, the run went well. We had great weather. We finished in 72 minutes. As with any other long run, I went through ups and downs along the way, meaning periods that were really easy and periods where I had to push myself a little bit more. Overall it was a fun run! Since the full marathoners had a 14 mile day today, Meg and I stayed after to cheer them on. We also shared the leftovers from our bake sale, once stomachs had settled far enough to eat.

We really cherished today since we go up in mileage considerably next Saturday. Next week is our first 12 mile run! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Bursting at the seams with thankfulness

Today was an amazing day to be a runner with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training. I am so thankful and joyful I almost don't know where to start. I'm just sitting here smiling.

First, a fundraising update. Yesterday and today Meg and I held a bake sale at my husband's work. We sold blueberry pie, double chocolate chunk cookies, raspberry brownies, oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and black-bottom cupcakes. We each earned $61(!), and there are leftovers Meg is going to try to sell at the Vet school tomorrow. I am so pleased. I also have a coin box at Dos Reales. I went by on Tuesday to see how it was doing. I left some small change and took $7. I'm going again this coming Tuesday for the final pick-up. The best part--tonight was my fundraiser at Noodles & Company. I think it went really well! I know a good handful of people from church went, they seemed to have good business from people walking in off the street, and I went with Brendan and 4 of my teammates after practice tonight. The girl at the counter said they had been pretty busy for a Wednesday night, and that people were asking about the fundraiser, which was encouraging. I'm going to call tomorrow to see if they have the total. I have to say, too, they were so easy to work with. Very professional, polite. Fundraising with Noodles was a great experience all the way around. I'll update again when I know more!

Second, I should say a bit about tonight's track workout. Tonight was my favorite track workout ever: 400's. I LOVE running 400's. We ran a mile warm-up, 12 400's at 3 minutes each (so we rested in the time between our finish and the end of the 3 minutes), then strides and a cool-down. I ran 11 of the 12 400's at 1 min 45 to 1 min 47, and one (the 11th) at 1 min 40. It felt phenomenal. I should say too that there's no record of a Monday or Tuesday workout here because Meg and I were baking those evenings (picture below, thanks N for the help & adorable labels). I think I'm going to make up the cross-training workout tomorrow, we'll see.

So, as I drove home from Noodles & Company tonight I felt so overwhelmed by the support of my friends and team, and so joyful that I love to run and can use it as a gift to give. I just smiled and thanked God, for the life I have in this town, for the people who have shown me such love and support in ways big and small, for the success of my fundraising efforts, and for the joy I find in running, especially with my team.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Week of the 4th

I have quite a bit to catch up on here! I was good considering it was a holiday week--I did all the scheduled work outs! So stick with me here, I'll get through them one by one, some with more detail than others.

Monday I've already discussed.

Tuesday was (as always) my cross-training day. I LOVED it. Brendan and I went to the gym together for this one. I didn't do any cardio, which, I don't think I've ever gone to a gym and not done cardio. For at least 45 minutes I did weight lifting and abs. Since my lower back/hip issues have motivated me to strengthen these areas I've found a whole new love for cross-training day. Most of the time when I weight lift I feel like I'm going through the motions, doing what I know. That was not the case this week! I was on a mission. It made it so much fun. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think maybe it takes some fire to get into a groove vis-a-vis physical fitness. Tuesday I found that.

Wednesday's track workout got put off until Thursday. We didn't meet as a team to do the workout since Wednesday was the 4th. Instead, our Wednesday coach emailed us some options to do on our own. If I'd been slightly more organized I might have done Paxton's 5k. Instead I opted to do the scheduled Fartlek. It was HOT outside, so I caved in and headed to the gym to do my workout on a treadmill, inside. It was an experience, running intervals on a treadmill. It worked out. I did a mile warm-up, 3 miles of Fartlek intervals, then a mile cool-down.

Friday I was scheduled for a 30 minute run. It was blistering hot out again. I am starting to think I should get up in the mornings and run rather than going at night. I headed out around 6:50 or so, planning to cut it to 20 minutes due to both the heat and the dinner Brendan was so graciously making. Usually when I get to 20 minutes I don't really want to stop, I'm in a groove. Yeah, not so much! It was just oppressively hot. I'm glad I ran. I would have felt like a cheater if I'd skipped it entirely.

Then today's long run. Oh my. Today was a 10-miler for half- and full marathoners alike. It was something ridiculous like 72 degrees and 65% humidity when I left at 7:10am, and 92 degrees when I got home at 10. I don't know what the average temperature was during our run. It was just incredibly hot. Since Meg is on vacation I ran most of the 10 miles with Allison. We stopped every 2 miles or so to get a quick drink or stretch a bit. Even after just 2.5 miles I felt a bit wilted. I had my sport beans at about 7 miles (and, a note to Natalie, I could taste the salt but only because I was trying to, I think. They are just lovely in the middle of a long run. Maybe we can bust open a pack someday just to see what they're like when I'm not drenched in sweat). Mile 9 was absolute torture. I wanted to either throw up or cry. Mile 10 was much better though. I don't know if it was the beans or knowing that I was almost finished, but I definitely pulled it together for that last stretch. Overall, to be honest, it was not a fun run. That said, even with the ludicrous heat, accidentally running ~0.15 miles too far, and all the breaks, I still finished in ~1hour+40 minutes (including the breaks). The target was 1h30, so I was pleased. So it was miserable, sure. But if I could do today's run in a halfway reasonable time, then I can handle a half-marathon. Bring it.

Monday, July 2, 2007

in a groove

Today I was scheduled for a 20 minute run. My right hip hurt for about the first 2-3 of it, then loosened up. I had another great run. The weather was amazing. I felt great. I ran pretty fast since it was a short run. Had my headphones on and my music turned up. I was in a groove, just like Saturday. I had nothing short of a fantastic time. When I got home I told Brendan that for the first time since the summer of 2003 I feel like I'm in a cardio groove. That makes me smile.

I took aspirin before my run and iced my hip after the run. So far it's feeling more or less ok. I know the inflamation is there but it isn't causing me pain, if that makes sense. I'll continue to treat & monitor it and hope it works itself out.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

A glorious long run

This morning we cut back to eight miles from last week's ten. I have to say, this morning's was probably the best run of the season. It was a great run. Fatigue didn't start to set in until about 7.5 miles, at which point I could just power through the last little bit. The weather was perfect. Allison ran with us and helped keep up conversation to pass the time. We held a good, steady, reasonable pace. Allison timed us at 73 minutes, Meg timed us at about 68. Meg stops her watch for water stops, Allison probably didn't. So I'll say we ran between 8m30 and 9 minute miles. All around, it was a great run. Felt great, great weather, good running partners, good pace.

And the hip, how was the hip? I took Bayer before the run and stretched my hip as best I could. It hurt for maybe the first two miles before fading to a dull ache. It really became very manageable. Immediately after the run I stretched it for a long time. When I got home I iced it for about half an hour. I took more Bayer later in the afternoon. Right now (Sunday morning) I can tell that it is a little inflamed when I stand up, but it doesn't hurt much. I'm not limping around the house like I was Friday night. I think the icing/aspirin/stretching plan is working.

And I have fundraising updates! I'm having a Noodles & Company fundraiser on July 11th from 4-9pm. As far as I know I'm still having a Qdoba fundraiser this coming Friday, though I'm still waiting for the fliers from the manager. Meg and I nailed down dates for our bake sale at my husband's work (July 10-11). I'm hoping that the fundraising will come together very soon!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday run, hip flexors

This week's Friday run: 30 minutes. Equipped with my mp3 player I set out to run the subdivision. Mmm, yeah, I need some advice.

For the last week or so I've had noticeable soreness in my right hip. It's the outside of the hip over the hip bone. Every time I get up after sitting for any period of time it hurts. It hurts when I sleep on it. It hurts a little bit when I walk. I thought it would work itself out or loosen up on runs, but it never did loosen up today. I'm starting to get concerned about it.

I Googled my symptoms and found something called Hip Bursitis, which is an inflammation of a fluid sac in my leg. Apparently this is a common injury among runners. I have no idea if that's actually my problem or not. I do know that what I feel matches what I can find about it online. Fortunately it looks like I can try to treat it with ice, aspirin, and stretching. Since I have an 8-mile run in the morning I think I will ice it tonight before bed and stretch again in the morning. I'll definitely ice it again after my run tomorrow. If it hurts too bad while I'm running I may cut the run short. If anyone knows anything about this please let me know!

Wholly unrelated to my hip, I want to go back to the topic of Jelly Belly Sport Beans. Someone told me earlier this week that if you eat them as a snack when you are not engaged in serious exercise they taste strongly of salt. This makes sense. I know (because the package says so) that they are high in sodium content. Runners' gels are high in sodium too, to help you retain fluids. When I ate the beans last Saturday they just tasted delicious. I wonder if I didn't taste the salt as much because I was 8 miles into a 10 mile run or if my taste buds are just that bad. It would be really cool if taste sensation changed according to the body's needs! Meg is bringing some beans tomorrow, so I have another chance to experiment.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

that might have been my unicorn

Today's track workout was the most pleasant of them yet. A mile warm-up, two strides (2x100), 3x1600 (three one-mile intervals), then two strides (2x100). Total: ~4.25 miles. We had to end before the cool-down because the sky was about to open up on us. It started to rain just a few minutes after we left. On man, what a storm! It was actually hard to see the road on the way home!

Anyway, the run felt ok. I was definitely sweating buckets (it was SO humid!), but that didn't bother me. I ran the miles in 7m46, 7m42, and 7m50ish. I suppose I could have run them 20 seconds faster, but our coach told us to pick a pace that we could sustain for three miles. It really wasn't bad!

Just a note, more to remind myself later than anything, that my right hip has been really tight after my runs recently. I haven't found a good way to stretch it yet. Even the day after a run sometimes it is tense, even though my legs never are. Anyone have any ideas?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

running yesterday's run today

Since yesterday was my second wedding anniversary I skipped the scheduled run. Instead, I came home, changed into a nice sun dress, we exchanged gifts, then went to a nice dinner. It was a lovely evening that didn't need to be smooshed by a run and a shower before dinner.

So I did yesterday's scheduled run today. It was a 40 minute regular run. I chose to run around my subdivision and the one right across the street. For about the first 15-18 minutes my quads were just tight and tired, I think still from Saturday's ten-miler. After that first 15 or so minutes the tension relaxed, but I never did speed up much. It was very humid and around 83. I think I also wasn't properly hydrated and hadn't eaten good "energy" foods through the afternoon. Plus Saturday's run isn't quite out of me yet. It was a slow run, but a good one. I worked up a good sweat, got into a groove with it, waved at a bunch of neighbors, and had a good time. Nothing too monumental.

Today I outlined a fundraising plan. I'm starting to get nervous about it. I have about a month to go on fundraising and I still need to raise about $1,000. I'm going to have a Qdoba fundraiser (probably Friday a week and a half from now, be there!) and possibly something at Noodles (waiting to hear back). The new church newsletter should be coming out soon with my fundraising plea in it, so hopefully that will help. Plus the team garage sale is coming up, so hopefully I will get something reasonable from helping with/donating to that. I'm considering asking a few businesses to put coin boxes in their stores. I'm sure it will come together one way or another but I'm not sure how yet. I'm glad I took a few steps today (went to Qdoba and Noodles, submitted a donation request form to Meijer, called my Mom, etc.). Hopefully they will pay off!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

double digits!

Today was my first ever double digit run! That's right folks, ten miles. We had perfect weather--cool (in the 70s, if not high 60s) with a light mist/drizzle. It never did rain very hard on us. I think the favorable weather plus the fact that I was well-hydrated and rested definitely helped Meg and me meet our goal, which was 90 minutes. At shorter distances we run 8:30 miles I think, but the longer run we tried to pace a little bit more moderately. I was SO proud of us. We finished in 90 minutes and about 40 seconds. Our coach feels confident that we'll be able to finish our half-marathon in under 2 hours! It was such a rush to hear our time at the end.

I want to briefly go over some other highlights/observations.

1. I want to send a thank you letter to the person who invented Body Glide. Seriously, it's the most fantastic product. It's right up there with dri-fit fabric and good running shoes. It's like deodorant for your body to keep you from blistering/chafing. I wasn't sure if it would work or not. Fantastic.

2. Jelly Belly Sport Beans rock. I bought a small pack yesterday at Body & Sole (again, the best shoe store ever). Meg and I split the pack after 8 miles. The electrolyte/sugar rush kicked in during the last two miles. I wasn't sure if I would really feel it or not, but I definitely did. Around 7.5 miles my hamstrings started crapping out on me. During the last few miles I got some spurts of energy; I felt like I could push through the fatigue. I'm definitely going to buy more sport beans. We agreed we'd like to have them earlier in the run next time, perhaps at mile 6 or 7.

3. I got honked at by a trucker while stretching before we ran (our starting point is at a parking lot right off the road) and Meg got glared at from head to toe by this really random, snooty looking woman on the trail. That woman was a complete mystery to us. It was odd. She had apparently parked next to the golf course (we assumed it was her car) and just started walking down the trail. Normally I wouldn't think much of that. It's a park. Lots of people go there to walk. But she was dressed in sort of stuffy looking ultra-pressed khakis and a nice Lands End type dress-casual shirt, and was wearing sandals. She was walking slowly. I thought she was looking for berries or something, actually. Then this long, hard glare at Meg. It was very odd.

4. We ran through the same large puddle four times. The first time or two my socks and shoes dried out just fine (let's hear it for technical fabric socks!). The third time Vickie was with us. Meg and I ran through the puddle the same way we had before. Vickie thought she could get around it on the other side in the grass. Not so much. She was in water up to her ankles. She let out this totally disgusted shriek. We all knew it was gross, but it was pretty funny.

5. Meg and I did a much better job regulating our pace today than in the past. We checked after a half mile, mile, two miles, and 5 to keep on track.

6. After our run, since we had burned, oh, somewhere in the ballpark of 1,000 calories, we decided to go out to a glorious breakfast. Meg, Brendan and I went to the Original House of Pancakes (aka, the OHOP). It was everything I thought it could be. We had to wait a while for a table, so Meg and I stood and drank coffee and talked (we were afraid to sit down for so long so soon after running). Breakfast was amazing. I had cinnamon-raisin-oatmeal pancakes and bacon. It was HARD to get up afterwards, my muscles had tightened up so much. It was borderline comical.

Today was hard but rewarding. I'm sitting here smiling as I type this. That said, it's naptime!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

the unicorn

That's right. Tonight I'm writing about the mythical creature that I sometimes think I spot dashing across a field in my runner's universe. Alas, it is not to be captured. My unicorn is the so-called "easy track workout."

Maybe running is just hard. Maybe it's supposed to be hard. Maybe it's just hot outside. Maybe I'm just not built for speed. Maybe we were running too fast. The workout was as follows:

1 mile warm-up
3 miles (12x400), fast for 100 m. of each 400 m. lap, quick for the rest
6 strides (100 meter sprints)
1 mile cool-down
Total: Just over 5 miles

It really doesn't sound hard. Running three miles certainly isn't a problem at this point. Meg and I think it was so hard because we were running pretty fast. Our first mile was 7m50, our second was about 7m40, and our fourth was just over 8 minutes. And it was pretty hot out. There were some highlights! I don't want to whine about it for this entire blog entry! The sprinklers for the football field were on, so we got sprayed a few times as we ran past. That was great. And afterward, I feel just fine about the run. Oh, and the little group of girls (I have no idea what they practice for) was there again, they are SO cute. At the end of the day, we did the workout and we did it at a good pace, so we met the objective. I'm just saying it wasn't easy. Still no unicorn.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

the cut-back week

Time to play catch-up a little bit!

This past Saturday was kind of crazy. Rather than carpool with Meg I drove to Lake of the Woods alone so that I could skip the team breakfast and drive back to see the end of the 1st Annual BS Mini-Triathlon (more on that below). Even at 7:30am it was getting muggy. I was so relieved that it was a cut-back week, which meant that we had to run only 6 miles, rather than 8 like the week before or 10 like this coming Saturday. Shortly after 7:30 Meg and I took off down the trails, starting our 6-miler. We started out fast. I'd say we ran the first 3-4 miles faster than the last 2-3, rather than running a really steady pace. I think because I'd really slacked off last week, the run was particularly hard for me. I felt like I was pushing through every step of it. We finished in 52 minutes, which seemed reasonable. That's a pace that will get us to the finish line in under 2 hours, which is the goal.

So after we cooled down and stretched a bit I headed back to Champaign for the end of the 1st Annual BS Mini-Triathlon. This triathlon was hosted by my friend Sarah and her friend Ben, who she often runs with. They decided to host a non-competitive, friendly event just for fun. It consisted of a 20-minute swim, a 7 (or 10, I forget) mile bike ride, and a 5k run. As something to do, Brendan and Mary Kay went to that in the morning. Brendan participated in the swimming portion. I thought I would get there in time to see the last of the events, but I didn't. I did get there in time for the cookout though, which was quite tasty. :)

Sunday of course I didn't run or work out. Monday (yesterday) I was to do a 20 minute run, which I did in the rain. I didn't run easy, I kept up a decent pace. The rain varied from a sprinkle to pouring. Aside from a slight concern that my mascara was running all over the place (it all washed off) I had a great time. Just listening to my mp3 player, running in the rain. Then I got a shower and we went to the Tapas bar at Radio Maria for dinner with Mary Kay. I'd never been to the tapas side; I thought it was quite good. I particularly loved the flat bread and the goat cheese.

Today was a cross-training day, so Brendan and I headed to the gym after work. I did about 20 minutes on the elliptical, then decided I'd try this "deadlifting" thing all my weight-lifting friends seem to be into these days. Brendan has done it a bit, so he showed me how. As a point of reference, our friend Lynn can deadlift 303 lb. (she's a state record holder, I believe). Lynn's husband can lift over 500 lb. Brendan can lift about 230 (he just started). I lifted only about 105 lb. today, which was really pretty easy. I decided not to figure out what my max was, since I have a track workout tomorrow and really don't want to hurt that much! So I did some bicep curls and shoulder stuff before we headed home. It was a nice workout--a change from running, kind of fun.

Saturday, June 9, 2007


Okay, so I might not have done my Friday run. I did go for a walk. Whatever. That's not the point. Today we hit 8 miles! I wasn't entirely sure I was up for it, but apparently I was. Here's how it went down.

At 7:09am my cell phone rang, waking me up. I looked at the clock. "Hmm," I thought to myself, "it's about time to be getting up. What day is this? Wait...oh, it's Saturday. Crap!" The ringing phone meant that Meg was outside my house to pick me up for our long run. It would seem that I had turned my alarm clock off. I ran downstairs, got the phone and told her I'd be right out, I needed about 2 minutes. I ran back upstairs, quickly brushed my teeth, ran a brush through my hair, grabbed a hair band, threw running clothes on, ran downstairs, grabbed a clean pair of socks from my car (I just bought new ones at Body & Sole), threw a Diet Coke, my wallet, keys and cell phone into my purse, grabbed the box of granola, and ran out the front door barefoot. I don't think it was much more than 2-3 minutes. I put on my socks and shoes in the car then proceeded to eat breakfast. I just had to laugh at myself. I'm ridiculous. I also had to laugh because Meg can't eat or drink even remotely near a run, and here I was drinking my Diet Coke and eating granola on the way to Mahomet (where we run).

So we rolled up to Lake of the Woods in Mahomet. A handful of us (Jaymie and Randy, Allison, Meg and me, Brett, Kevin the new guy, and Paula the alumni) gathered, but no coach. We waited about 20 minutes then decided to start running. Meg and I started off down the trail together. We ran 1.2 miles down, turned around and ran 1.2 miles back to where we started. Just as we were approaching the picnic tables we saw Vicki, our coach. She had gotten lost and ended up parking at the other end of the park. She felt so bad. She asked us to take her car key and get out the Powerade at the other end once we got there. So we crossed the road and carried on, about another 2.1 miles to her car (cumulative = about 4.5).

For the next mile Meg and I ran with and talked to Allison. Allison ran a marathon 2 years ago and is training for another. She's a little bit faster than we are, so it's a push to keep up. But we were talking and carrying on and having a good time, so I hardly noticed the mile go by. It helped so much! By the time it was clear that we couldn't keep up any more, we were at 5.5 miles. At that point, I knew I could handle another 2.5--I was over the hump of the run.

To make the run eight miles we added a loop around one side of a fishing lake. It was a gorgeous morning. Running by the lake was a real treat. Except for the fishing pole I almost ran into. A man had it resting on the guard rail. But I missed it and carried on.

We got back to the picnic tables in just over an hour, including the several breaks we took for water and unloading Vickie's car. Unfortunately, we hadn't gone far enough around the lake, so we realized we hadn't quite done 8 miles. Because we're compulsive overachievers, Allison, Meg and I took off to run another half mile. It seemed like nothing! The guy (who is quite a character) who recently said his goal is to run the race with Meg and me never caught up to us today, and didn't finish out the eight miles (he missed the lake loop all together). It's flattering to be someone's goal pace!

Over all, it was a tiring run but a good one. I'm definitely sore and will be hurting in the morning. More importantly though, I now know that I can run 8 miles. This whole half-marathon idea is beginning to sound feasible.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The "unstructured" track practice

It sounded kind of fun when I got the email last night. Our coach had planned an "unstructured" track practice for us. I wasn't sure what that meant, but it seemed to imply that we wouldn't be running intervals. Oh no. We still ran intervals.

We of course started with our one mile warm-up. Then our coach told us that when he blew the whistle, we were to start running at a pace somewhere between our usual interval pace (pretty fast) and our standard long-distance run. We were to stay at this pace until he blew the whistle again, at which time we would slow down to a slow jog or walk to recover for one minute. After one minute he would blow the whistle again, signalling the start of another running interval. The "fast" intervals would be between two and four minutes. We were to keep this up for thirty minutes.

By the time we were about halfway through I was starting to hate the workout. When we had 11 minutes to go I felt like I could handle it for that period of time, but would plead to skip the cool-down. I was getting worn down toward the end, but I kept running. There was one four minute interval that was particularly challenging, somewhere in the middle. No one kept track of distance--I think my intervals added up to somewhere in the 3 mile range. After the practice, after we had rested for a few minutes and rehydrated I started to feel more human and gave into the cool-down. Meg and I ran that cool-down mile at a snail's pace, but we ran it.

It was a hard workout. I'm not going to lie. But I think it was good. A guy at Body & Sole (the best shoe store EVER) advised me to run short, fast spurts during my race. Today gave me a bit of a taste of what that might be like.

Oh, and yesterday, I went to a Yoga Flow class at my gym. It was definitely harder than my yoga DVD I do at home. It was a great class, actually. I'm feeling it in my shoulders today!

Monday, June 4, 2007

30 minutes EZ

That's what the training manual said, so that's what I did. Just thirty minutes around Boulder Ridge and its adjoining subdivisions. There was a strong breeze from the north/northwest. The sun was bright at times and muted at others. My right knee started to hurt after about a mile and a half from where I hit it on my desk the other day, but it's just a bruise. All told it was a glorious and relaxing run. It felt recreational, rejuvenating.

And the tangential--the street two back from ours is really coming together! Last time I ran our subdivision there were a few houses built. Now it looks like a street, like part of the neighborhood. A few have already sold even. Google maps thinks that there is an entrance to our subdivision from Staley; Google is mistaken. I keep checking back in that corner of the development to see if a connector road is going in. No signs of one yet.

And the REALLY tangential--our garden is starting to look like a real garden! I think we're going to get some raspberries even this first year from the new bush. The tomatoes are looking good. Yesterday for the first time I saw a baby green pepper growing. I haven't seen peppers on the other pepper plants yet, but I'm thinking they should start to appear soon. Yay for fresh, home-grown food! We joke that we should plant some ears of Illinois is short on corn.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Today's long run

Typically I would start with a little blurb about Friday's workout. The problem is, I didn't run yesterday. I was EXHAUSTED when I got home from work. So much so that I just went to bed for an hour before doing anything. Then it was dinner time, then it was dark. So there was no run. It was just a pleasant evening at home with my hubby, watching the first Pirates movie on TV.

This morning, on the other hand, I did a long run. We met at Meadowbrook because it was supposed to be a "stepback" week, meaning that we were to run slightly less than we did last Saturday (Meadowbrook is ok for shorter distances). Meg and I took off to run the grid first. We started on Windsor between Race and Philo. We ran east to Philo, north to Florida, west to Race, south back to Windsor, and east back to where we started. We got a bit of shade in the neighborhoods, which was nice. I didn't mind the sun (it was an incredibly clear morning) until we got back to Windsor going east (it was about 8:15am). After that 4 miles we stopped for a minute to hydrate, then hit the loop around the park. We both felt pretty useless by the time we were about halfway through the loop so we decided not to run a second loop. As an aside, I was soaked in sweat today. The humidity and heat are really picking up!

Total distance for the day: about 5.8 miles. Total time: about 50 minutes. Mile time: somewhere between 8:30 and 8:45. Fast enough to finish in under 2 hours, which Meg and I informally talked about as a goal for the race. Yay!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I finally conquered the track

Soooo yeah. When I got up on Tuesday morning I could definitely feel Monday's run, so I decided that my cross-training day would be a yoga day. Last night I did 45 minutes of yoga and pilates. It was great for stretching my legs and working my abs, which I noticed have gotten stronger since I started training. I felt a lot better about my running life this morning, relative to the past few mornings.

But there was no time to revel in the moment; Wednesdays are track practice days. These are usually pretty brutal. The whole point is to run short distances at faster paces than you run longer distances. Theoretically this helps you to gain speed on your long runs. It's painful, which means I'd like to discredit it, but I really can't. I do think the track practices are fairly instrumental.

Today's workout was the following:
1 mile warm-up (slow)
3x400 (3/4 mi.)
4x100 (sprints/strides)
1 mile cool-down (very slow!)

All together, 4.5 miles. I have to say, I was proud of my pace on the 1200's. I don't know what my time was on the first one, but on the second two I finished somewhere between 5min40 and 5 min 45, so somewhere around a 7:30 minute mile pace. The last timed mile I ran was (I think) around 7 minutes 45 seconds or so, so I've definitely gotten a little bit faster. The "strides" at the end, I just had to laugh at myself. I try so hard! I just can't sprint.

Overall, I felt good today. I felt like I was fast, consistent, and didn't hurt too much. I hate to say this, but I kind of liked it!

Monday, May 28, 2007

this is training

Let me introduce today's run by restating that when I woke up this morning my calves were so tight it was actually difficult to walk. So I wasn't sure what to expect when my schedule called for a 40 minute run today. As soon as I started I could feel how tight my legs were, still from Saturday's six miler. My legs started to cooperate around the end of the first mile. The bigger issue today was just the heat/humidity. It was somewhere in the 80s and very humid. I felt like molasses moving along the sidewalk. According to my trusty watch I was running roughly 8.5 minute miles. I can do better than that, but was pleased with it for today. My total distance was somewhere around 4.2, which is not long for the time I was out. I stopped a few minutes early and used the last mile as a cool down, which is why it wasn't longer.

Tomorrow is cross training. I'm considering yoga...we'll see.

Catching up, and a new distance record!

Wow, ok, so I'm a little bit behind on updating the blog. It was an interesting week for training.

On Tuesday I went to the gym for my cross-training day. I did pretty much the same routine that I've been doing for the last few weeks--20 minutes on elliptical, then about 25 of weight lifting. I swear, weight lifting has become easier since I've started running so much. I think my body is in this rhythm of building muscle, so the lifting fits into that. I upped my weight a little on tricep pushdowns this week.

On Wednesday I decided I'd had enough of track workouts for a while; I'd been to the last three, so I deserved a fun week. Instead of going to the track, I went to Human Kinetics to play handball (not the racquetball-like game. It's more like soccer except you throw the ball rather than kick it) with the crew up there. I had a great time! I wasn't throwing very effectively for a while, but I got better as we played. After maybe an hour a handful of people decided to leave, leaving myself and 5 guys. We played 3-on-2 with one goalie. They discouraged me from playing goalie and put me on the team with 3 people, so I decided I had to step up and prove myself. I took on one person in particular, with decent success. I had a great time! Unfortunately, I also rolled my left ankle in the process. I kept playing on it, the endorphins in full force. Only later did I realize that it hurt.

Not only did I not have time to run on Friday, I was also concerned about the left ankle. So I didn't run. I felt like a cheater about it.

Saturday was our first practice at Lake of the Woods park in Mahomet. It's actually about the same distance from my house as Meadowbrook in Urbana. I think I can get to Mahomet a little faster actually. When I got there it was lightly drizzling. Our coach announced our expected distances: 6 miles for half-marathoners and 8 miles for marathoners. Off we went in the rain. It drizzled on and off throughout the run, never very hard. Meg, the girl I always run with, wasn't there, so I ran alone. Somewhere after mile marker 5 I took a wrong turn in the park and got lost. I was just like, Oh crap, they're going to have to search for me. I found my way back and finished the course. Long story short, I accidentally ran a little more than 6 miles. Later I also realized that the trails all connect eventually, so I didn't have to backtrack. The bizarre incident of the day, someone stole one of our tubs of gatorade/water! Who steals from people running for charity?? It was very odd.

I'm writing this on Monday morning. Yesterday and today upon getting out of bed my calves were so tight that it was actually awkward to walk. It's a good hurt. The six miles definitely worked my muscles hard. We'll see how this afternoon's run goes.

Monday, May 21, 2007

ice cream sandwiches

Before I get started on today's run and the ice cream sandwiches I want to touch on Saturday's run before I forget about it. We ran 2 laps at Meadowbrook again. I was a little disappointed that it wasn't longer--I was prepared for 3 laps. However, Meg and I made the most of the two laps and hit it at a good pace. We finished (3.7 miles) in 31 minutes. Our single mile time trials are faster than that, but that's as well as we've done with the longer distances so far I think. And it was perfect weather. The quote of the day: Vicki, totally serious, says "There is no nutritional value to drinking alcohol while you run." Some not-so-good Samaritan had handed her a beer (people commonly hand out water to runners) at about mile 7 on the Indy half-marathon a few weeks ago.

So, the ice cream sandwiches. Today was a longish run, 40-45 minutes. I planned to run to Prairie Gardens and back plus a few laps around my subdivision to finish out the time. I knew also that today was going to be hot. So what did I do? Indulged in McDonald's chicken nuggets and ice cream sandwiches for my lunch/afternoon snack. THIS WAS NOT A GOOD IDEA. Sugar like that just doesn't help you. Neither does grease and a lack of fruits and vegetables. My muscles just wanted nothing to do with hard running. It was a pretty crappy run. I love ice cream dearly, but it just wasn't worth it. I'm going to have to sequester ice cream eating to evenings and off-days. And Erin, yes I know, it was totally my idea. Bad Joanna. Tomorrow there will be bananas and baby carrots and awesome cross training.

Friday, May 18, 2007

a runner's gripes

To this point I've been pretty factual in my blog posts. I'll do that briefly about today. For those of you who read this though, I want to give you something a little lighter to nibble on, so that's below.

Today: I ran for just over 30 minutes. I ran the perimeter of Boulder Ridge (my subdivision), The Cove (the wannabe subdivision next to us) and Sawgrass (the subdivision across the main road). I tried to push myself for the middle 10 minutes of the run. It was a great run. I'm always amazed by how slowly the first ten minutes seem to go, then how quickly the remainder goes. Today's run came at the end of a fairly stressful day, a day filled with various things that had me unusually riled. Running is somewhat therapeutic for me. Sometimes that therapy involves ranting in my head about ridiculous things that bother runners. Hence the promised lighter stuff.

Things that bother at least this runner:
  1. Sprinklers. Don't water the sidewalk. Not only is it a gross waste of natural resources, it's just annoying. I have to run out into the street or stand there and wait for the sprinkler to oscillate away from the sidewalk. If it were hotter or if I weren't wearing mascara I might delight in running through your water. But the rest of the time it just annoys me.
  2. If you park on the sidewalk I will run through your yard. And I'll not keep it to a minimum. And I'm secretly hoping you see me. And if possible, I'll run close enough to the parked car to set off its anti-theft alarm. It's the runner's equivalent of "We don't dive in your toilet so don't pee in our pool." Classy, I know.
  3. Dogs. If your dog is not behind a fence it had better be on a leash. If it chases me I will read its name off of its collar and stand there and yell for its owner until you or your neighbors hear me. I'm really not into being chased by dogs.
  4. The walkers who refuse to acknowledge me. Honestly people, we're the ONLY two people on an otherwise 100% empty street (empty to the point that the houses haven't even been built yet). What is the deal with staring straight ahead as if I weren't there? I don't get it. At all.
  5. I really thought about listing kids and their toys, but honestly it's usually pretty cute. Nine times out of ten the kids don't know what to do about me and we get a little "deer in the headlights" situation. I mean, honestly, does the basketball hoop need to be in the middle of the sidewalk? Probably not. But the three-year-old who stares at me is adorable enough to excuse the toys.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

progression/regression intervals

Today we were back at the track for another interval workout. The weather was perfect--a little cool if you were standing around in short sleeves. Here was the workout:

1 mile warm-up
2 minutes
4 minutes
6 minutes
6 minutes
4 minutes
1 mile cool-down

I think all told it was just under 5 miles. I ran a pretty constant pace, which is most of the point of doing track workouts. Most people felt like today was harder than last Wednesday, but I felt just the opposite. Perhaps I ate the wrong combination of foods last Wednesday afternoon, or maybe the heat got to me more than others. I don't know. Today was strenuous, don't get me wrong, but kind of fun. I still felt human at the end of it. And my cross-training yesterday (20 min eliptical then weight training) didn't leave my legs hurting, so that helped too.

As to the this post's name, that's what we called this type of workout in high school. Usually the up-side and down-side of the workout are the same (so we should have had a 2 minute interval before the cool-down today).

And fyi, I tried the Goody "stay put" head band with rubber grippies today. It's great for every day use but still comes out when I run. I'm going to try clipping it down next time.

Monday, May 14, 2007

on the grid!

Today, for the first time, I broke out of the subdivision and took to running the grid. It was a good run! For those of you (the very few of you who read this) who know Champaign, I ran just about from Staley & Bradley to Duncan & Springfield (along Bradley then down Duncan). This route had numerous advantages over running the subdivision:
1. "Hills" (going over the interstates, which, incidentally, I got honked at while doing!)
2. Greater diversity of scenery--some residential, some commercial, some stretches of road
3. Less circling about

I realize in writing this that talking about "the grid" is probably pretty Midwestern. Since it's obscenely flat here there is no topographic reason for the roads to curve, so by and large, they don't. In the country, the roads are laid out in a one mile by one mile grid. In town there are traditionally 6 blocks to a country mile.

Two other points for the day.
1. I'm increasingly convinced that anyone can do this. The training schedule is amazingly effective.
2. Running hats rock! Breathable, keeps the sweat out of my eyes, and keeps me from squinting in the sun! I have a white Adidas hat which I bought at Dick's Sporting Goods. It's good stuff.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

new distance record

Today was my fourth Saturday morning group "long run." Half-marathoners were to run 4-5 miles, marathoners 5-6 miles. The loop at Meadowbrook Park is 1.85 miles, without a convenient way to do just one mile. Meg and I ran three loops, so about 5.5 miles! That distance was a first for both of us. No aches or pains (although my hams were pretty sore). It was a little cool when we got there, so I ran the first loop with my zippy on, then did a run-by to drop it off with one of the coaches before starting the second loop. We had just amazing weather this morning. A for the run, I'm not saying I was terribly fast, but that's ok for now.

Meg's been a great running partner. I can't remember running with someone so naturally before. If we're doing intervals, we essentially match pace. If we're doing longer distances, we match pace. We just fall in together and it works. I think we end up pushing each other, so it works.

Today was also the deadline for dropping off fundraising letters to Team in Training. If we turned them in this morning TNT would pay the outer postage for us. I didn't turn in very many. I just don't have that many people to send them to. Some I'm dropping off personally. Many people I meet face-to-face or communicate with by email. I'm a long way from my fundraising goal still. I hope the few letters I did send out bring in some contributions.

At practice this morning we had a "motivation moment." We heard the story of a 21-year old who died of a blood cancer last year. His Mom is running in his memory for the Bloomington team. I'm glad my Wednesday coach doesn't share those kinds of moments with us; it's ok to get them just every now and then. Hearing it today brought back to me one of my motivations. Knowing some people affected by blood cancers connects this experience to THON in my mind. THON is so incredible partly because you know your sponsored child, survivors come and speak, and you know the families who look to you for help and hope. THON has moved me to tears that way. Service and evangelism are both SO powerful when you can look the person in the eye. I thank God so much for showing me the joy of serving His awesome will.

And in case anyone was wondering about yesterday's run, it was fun. Nice easy pace. Only about half an hour. I discovered a sidewalk all the way around a "lake" (read: retention basin) in the neighborhood next to ours. I think it's at least a 1/6 mile loop. While running that loop a dog (Norman) decided he wanted to run and play. He wasn't taking no for an answer, so I finally just called out "Who owns Norman?" A guy came out of his garage and took him. It was sort of entertaining. Anyway, it was an easy, fun run.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

that one hurt

Today was the "hard workout" at the Urbana track, and boy was it! On the surface it doesn't sound so bad--a mile warm-up, 4 x 800, then a mile cool-down. Four miles total. It doesn't sound that bad. I've been running 3.8 on Saturdays without any problem. But I have to tell you, today kicked my ass in a big way.

I don't know if it was the heat, the fact that I ran yesterday (rather than running Monday and cross-training yesterday), the food I ate today, or what. The first 800, my throat felt like it had burst into flames. The third one I was about 10 seconds slower than my others. Afterwards, my left hip is pretty tender, and there was slight chafing for the first time, which, I have to say, is unpleasant.

My first, second, and fourth 800 I ran in 3:30-3:38, which is faster than half my mile time from last week. Donnie thinks that's why 800s are harder, it's still a decent distance but you're pushing yourself harder than you do during a mile. Other goods news--my feet were fine! No blisters yet, which is great. Also, no shin problems today. It was also nice that after my third (my hardest) 800, one of my teammates gave me a little high-five of encouragement because he could see that I was struggling. That was nice.

Tomorrow is an off day! Wooooohooooooo!!! I have a feeling I'll need it. :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Switching things up

I'm supposed to run on Mondays and cross-train on Tuesdays. Yesterday I walked for 30 minutes with my friend Marla at lunch. I had planned to run when I got home, but I had an awful headache. Consequently, I decided that the 30 minute walk would be this week's "cross-training" (ok, so I cheated just a little) and I would do an actual run today.

I was a little hesitant about today's run. It was finally hot enough out that I turned the air conditioning on in our house. It's been quite some time since I ran outside when it was hot, so I wasn't sure how I was going to do. I waited until about 6:30, at which time it was about 84 degrees I think. I was pleasantly surprised--the heat didn't get to me at all. It turned out to be a nice run. My shins didn't bother me, which is great--this is the first time in weeks that my right shin hasn't acted up during a run. There was a gentle breeze the whole time I was out. I saw lots of people from the subdivision. I have no idea how far I ran, since a) my pedometer is calibrated for walking and b) I left it at work anyway. I was out for 30 minutes, that I know.

When I got back I stretched and rehydrated. After maybe 15 minutes we sat down to dinner--Tuscan Lamb--yum! Tomorrow is a track workout in Urbana. It's going to be harder than last week's run, so I'm not sure what to expect. I've heard the track runs get brutal, we'll see.