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!