Monday, February 28, 2011

February recap

Welcome to my first ever monthly recap! A lot of firsts here recently--so fun. :) I'm stealing borrowing this format from the many of you who use it, with a few minor adjustments so it fits me. Thanks for the inspiration!

Miles planned/ran: 98/90
Rest days planned/taken: 8/10
Highest mileage week: 30.3
Long runs planned/ran: 4/3
Pace workouts planned/ran: 4/3 (did one as EZ by mistake)
XT days planned/done: 4/4
Tempo or interval runs planned/ran: 2/2
Favorite run: I'm gonna have to say my Tempo run from last week. (read it here)
Current goal: Get better about pacing my pace runs!
Current obsession: My Nike Be Strong Dri-fit pants. I love them so much.
Current need: A technical fabric ear warmer/head band
Current excitement: hitting that 18-miler before the Martian half and going into that race crazy prepared!
Current bane of my existence: early morning work meetings messing with my running schedule (although I love my job!)
Current wish list: For the new Garmin to arrive!! I sent The Vengeance back on Friday.
Current indulgence: I've been updating my clothes & shoes recently and I'm about to shop for some new accessories for our half bath. It sounds small, but it feels pretty indulgent and it's fun.

A lesson learned. Maybe.

I've had THREE, count 'em, three firsts on my runs recently. 
  1. I saw someone I know while doing my pace run last week. I was shocked! And thrilled! 
  2. I topped 30 miles last week. Believe it or not, this was a first for me! Like I said, kicking a** and taking names this training cycle! Look for a February recap probably tomorrow.
  3. This past Friday night Mr. Joanna and I hosted a new city/new friends get together at our house. It was so nice to feel like we've met enough people to throw a party like this. And it felt so good to laugh with friends. Even the kiddo had a blast, and upon waking up Saturday morning asked if he could go downstairs to see all the people. Say it, collectively, awwww. He's adorable. But enough gushing. How does this pertain to running? It meant that I was not getting up early Saturday to run 14 miles. So the 14 miles got put off until Sunday afternoon. This is where the lesson learned/first while running enters the scene.

    I got through my 14 miles more or less unscathed. There was some fatigue in places, but nothing unusual or unexpected. When I got home I grabbed some water, stopped to put my distance into Running Ahead, check email. Then I realized that my stomach was cramping and I was freezing. Time to quickly jump in the shower. I tried. I really tried to take a cold shower to help my legs. But I was so cold to begin with that I just almost cried when the water hit me. I could only stand it for about 15 seconds before I had to turn up the temp at least a little.

    For at least 6 hours after my shower, my stomach hurt and all things digestive were off. So here's what I need to know--was this caused by:
    1. The fact that I consumed 3 Gu's during the run--one before, one at mile 7 and one at mile 13, and all 3 had caffeine in them. 
    2. The fact that I did this run on Sunday afternoon and probably hadn't eaten enough (since 7am I'd had a bowl of oatmeal and a PBJ, the run started at 1pm)
    3. The fact that I'm on a zpack for the sinus infection (yes, still--it turns out I was allergic to penicillin, but that's a whole other story). 
I think the lesson learned is not to take 3 caffeinated Gu's, but I don't know. All I know is that it was an awful experience post-run, and I want to do everything in my power to avoid it happening again. Have any of you ever had this happen? What went wrong?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


The title of this post is at my husband's insistence. As you can see, there have been some changes around here. As he says, "it's been glitterfied." See, the simple truth is this: I love the shiny. I also love the completely outrageous, the sarcastic, and the oddly comical. Think of this as an unfiltered rendering of my brand of humor....applied to running.

TWELVE WEEKS UNTIL CLEVELAND!! I am beyond excited. This is sort of the kick-off of the love fest that's only beginning re: Cleveland. I've kept it under wraps this long. But no more. As the title says, booya!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Updates & Product Reviews

As promised, I have all sorts of updates for you. A few of you have asked how The Vengeance is doing, and I have a big update there. And some other runner-geek things. Here's what we're going to cover. And yes, I saved #4 for #4 so you menfolk can stop reading and not miss anything else. Thoughtful!

1. The Vengeance
It's a long-ish story at this point. If you're new to the blog, let me get you up to date. My Garmin Forerunner 405, which I named The Vengeance, stopped recording all graphs sometime after Thanksgiving. At first I thought I'd just run on an overcast day and hadn't gotten a good satellite signal. Then (with the help of Garmin support), it looked like I just needed to update the software on it and my Training Center. When that hadn't worked either after a few runs, I called Garmin support back yesterday. I was on the phone with them for TWO HOURS. When the first tech support guy ran out of suggestions, they transferred me to the more advanced support group. They had an entire group of tech people around the phone going through every permutation of every setting and fix they could think of. At the end of two hours they decided that it must be something that's broken inside the watch. They actually said that no one on the tech support team had ever heard of this particular problem happening. Since I've had it less than a year, they are replacing it. So....parting will be such sweet sorrow. It will go back to the Mothership sometime this week. I've spent so much time with her that I feel almost like I should throw a going-away party. Even though this is all unfortunate, I have to say that Garmin support is freaking awesome. Everyone I talked to was sincere about wanting to help me fix the problem. They were never disinterested or rude. And they are replacing the watch! Excellent customer service.

2. The shirt
I picked this up a few weeks ago from a sale bin at Target. It's one of their Champion tops. When I first put it on I thought it was ridiculously too long, but it turns out that it's pretty cute with tights/running pants. For $7, this technical fabric top was a great find.

3. The pants
I had a Groupon to my fave local running store and I was out of Gu, so we headed up there yesterday morning to stock up before my long run. While there, I decided to use my Groupon for some new running tights or pants. My only pair of running tights are great, but they're thermal and really much too warm for temps in the 40s/50s. I tried on a few pairs and decided to get the Nike Be Strong Regular Fit training pants. They are fantastic. They are absolutely everything I wanted in a pair of running pants. The waistband is wide and super comfy and flattering. They are snug through the hip but a little looser through the mid-thigh and  straight-ish through the leg. It's a really flattering cut for my body type. And I love the length! All around, they are absolutely everything I wanted. I want like 6 more pairs. :)

4. The sports bra
Back in September I reviewed the Under Amour Heatgear Endure sports bra (read it here). At the time I said I probably wouldn't wear the bra for a long run. In the meantime I've lost 6 pounds (and counting!!) and the fabric has stretched a teeny tiny bit. I wore it for my 12-miler today and had no problems. It has morphed into  a really great sports bra. I highly recommend!

That's the end of my updates. Oh, except the most important: TWELVE WEEKS UNTIL CLEVELAND!!! I can't freaking wait!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

One-week challenge wrap-up

BIG CONGRATULATIONS TO RUNNINGFIRST. He did it. He ran a solo 16 miler today (read it here) and with that, has won the challenge. Keep up the good work!! Go get those PR's this spring!

Here's the break-down of the rest of my week's workouts. It was a tough and rewarding week.

Thursday was my rest day.

Friday was a 6 mile pace workout. The plan was to run one warm-up mile, 4 miles at 9:09 and 1 cool-down mile. But I ran the first three miles much too fast. I slowed down almost far enough after that, but the damage was done. The result of the workout was that I was sore last night.

I HATE that I have to say the following. HATE it. But here goes: I had no business trying to run my 12 miler today. For one thing, I had a fever (which I didn't bother to actually measure with a thermometer, but took the sweats/shivers as a sure enough sign). For another, I'm fighting an infection. I'm on amoxicillin for what turned out to be the worst sinus infection of my life. Third, one of the two runs I missed when this sinus infection was a bad cold was the 9 mile long run that was meant to prep me for this step-up in mileage. And finally, I ran entirely too hard yesterday. The end result of all this was a 12-miler that I got through successfully, but it took more effort than usual. Average pace of 10:06, which is right on target. Here I am when I got back to the house.

I give you this picture as a teaser for tomorrow's post. I have two new product reviews, an update on The Vengeance, and an update to an old product review. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

One Week Challenge Update

Semi-daily update for my One Week Smackdown Challenge with RunningFirst. 

Today I had a tempo run on deck. It was, honestly, a lot of fun. I got to run it outside in shorts! It was 45 degrees and lovely. I ran the warm-up and cool-down on sidewalks and the faster part on a 1/3 mile outdoor track, to ensure that I wouldn't get caught at a light and get slowed down. Sometime I will really have to post pictures of the track, mostly for its view of downtown. 

Mile 1: 9:48 (warm-up)
Mile 2: 8:55
Mile 3: 8:42
Mile 4: 8:41
Mile 5: 8:41
Mile 6: 10:02 (cool-down, got caught at a light)

After I settled into the workout, I was really consistent on the mile times, and it felt good. This was definitely a confidence booster of a run. And a bonus--since I was basically the only person on the track, I got to switch directions every mile, just as a special shout-out to my ITB. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

The challenge

Three posts in three days. JoannaRuns is getting out of control. I know. But isn't it fabulous?!?

Today's fabulousity comes to you courtesy of RunningFirst. See, yesterday I called him for some input on fine-tuning my training schedule. In the course of talking we somehow ended up in a Mile-for-Mile Challenge for the week. I'm not entirely sure how it happened, but I'm all for it. You can read his preamble to the challenge here. Since he helped me make my training schedule he knows well what's on it: a 29 mile week for me. So that's what he's trying to beat. 29 miles.

He's doing a Daily Challenge Update, so in the name of good sportsmanship, I will do the same. :)

Today: 5.17 miles

I had to walk for about 2 minutes to get through a big icy patch, but otherwise the roads/sidewalks were clear enough. It was great to get outside, though kinda weird not to have the ground moving at a perfectly constant pace underneath me...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

One minute inside Joanna's mind

Man, this weather is amazing! It's 55 and sunny!! The ice is melting!! Maybe I could go for a run. 
Go for a run? Are you completely crazy?
No, why? Why not go for a run? OUTDOORS, baby!!
For one thing, you have a huge step-up week coming. 
Just an easy run. Just a few miles. It couldn't hurt anything.
Twenty-nine miles. That's what you have on deck for next week. Twenty-nine miles. 
Huh, is that my--
Yes, you *******, that's your ITB. It's sore. Perpetually. Remember? And did I mention the step-up week?
Maybe I could ice it first.
Maybe you could go home and sit your Type A a%* down on the sofa. 
I hope there's time between putting away the groceries and hanging out with the kiddo and getting ready for dinner. 
No, no there is not time. You know what there's time for? Sitting your Type A a*& down on the sofa. 
Maybe I should skip the run. It's supposed to be nice again tomorrow. I really don't have time today. 
Yeah, maybe you should skip the run today. Maniac. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Do I jinx it??

So, a few weeks ago I tempted Mother Nature by suggesting that I might get off the 'mill and back outside soon (read it here). Then the Midwest's Snowmageddon happened (Snowpacalypse? Storm of the Century?). Soooooo......didn't go back outside. I am beyond impressed by those of you who live up north who have braved the elements.

StL has this city-wide policy of not plowing neighborhoods. Like, at all. I understand it and don't necessarily criticize them for it, but it does sort constrain the limits of running safely. Our streets (and most sidewalks) have been a solid sheet of ice for weeks. It was only today that I finally saw someone even attempting to run outside. He still had a lot of ice to dodge, but I was really energized by seeing someone try it. C'mon spring!! Do I jinx it?? Do I say it looks promising to make it outside this week?!?

Today concluded Week 3 of training for Martian/Cleveland. I listened to you all and kept this past week as a cut-back week. Y'all were right--next week is a huge step up, and I couldn't risk being tired going into it. I bumped up today's long run by one whole mile, just to situate myself a little better for the transition. Bring it, week 4!!

I don't have any pictures for today's post, so instead I'll leave y'all with the highlight of my week last week. On Tuesday night, around 2:30, I woke up abruptly because....I punched myself in the eye. Hard. I woke up quickly enough that my arm was still moving, so I knew I'd done it. And it hurt!! I think I was lying on my back with my arms at my side and had a muscle twitch in the crease of my arm, and my arm bent quickly at the elbow and flailed up and hit myself full-speed in the eye. Yep.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

XT love!

First things first--you guys are much more concerned about my blog name than about my Kick Assphalt shirt. Therefore:

  1. I will refrain from changing my blog name. 
  2. The Kick Assphalt shirt goes to....Jessie! Send me your shipping info at!
Moving on to the XT Love, I don't have much time to post, but wanted to post some love for yoga! I went to my Tuesday morning yoga class today. It's so humbling to be in the class and know that I can run my ass off, but have absolutely no core strength. And then the stiffness that comes with running. Oh my. Even though I've only been doing yoga for a few weeks, the chronic pain I've had in my "left buttock" has decreased. YOGA LOVE.

One of my co-workers just wished me luck on getting through today's pack of cigarettes. NO, I DON'T SMOKE. Stop freaking out. I just sound like a pack-a-day smoker with this cough. But it's much better than it was over the weekend and I can't stand to miss any more days of running. So I'll be back on the training schedule tomorrow with my pace run. Question: this was supposed to be a cut-back week. Do I leave it as a cut-back or try to make up my missed miles?

Eight weeks until Martian and 14 weeks until Cleveland!! 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Some random thoughts

  1. Don't forget my giveaway. Free technical shirt, people.
  2. I got an email from Barnes & Noble earlier this week. The subject line was "Nothing says LOVE Like 10% Off!" Does anyone else find this deeply disturbing??
  3. What Would Kara Goucher Do? Being a mommy is pretty awesome, but one of the downsides is picking up colds from the kiddo. He seems to have given me a nasty cold while we were hanging out earlier this week during our snow days. I've been running anyway (no asterisks or footnotes to the training schedule!) and have been crazy run-down. That made me think twice about this morning's 9-miler. So when I finally dragged my congested, haven't-slept-well-in-days self out of bed this morning, I decided to get some Coach Mike (RunningFirst) input. We had a longish text conversation that went something like this:
    MeNasty cold. Should I run?
    CoachIf you have the cold, probably not. Running will wear you down and you won't get better. If the nasty cold is outside, run inside. And then cheer for the Steelers tomorrow. That will help. 
    Me: It's me that has the cold. I've been running anyway and am really worn-down. I just hate to miss a run. Two weeks of perfect training, you know?
    Coach: Rest. You'll feel better in the morning. 
    Me: Ok, I'll stay in today and reassess tomorrow. 
    Coach: And?
    Me: Root for the Steelers.
    Coach: There ya' go. That will help, too. 
  4. I'm going to start my full monthly recaps at the end of February. But I can tell you that I ran 47.4 miles in January, compared to just 29 in January of 2010.
  5. Training is going really well so far! I've hit all of my workouts and felt great about them. Eight weeks until the Martian Half and 14 weeks until Cleveland!! I cannot tell you how excited I am about this pair of races. I will get to meet lots of runner bloggers at both and I hope to PR both. SO freakin' excited!!
  6. Last but definitely not least, I need some input. I'm considering renaming my blog. I know, I know, this is generally frowned on once your blog has been established for a while, but here's the thing. When I started this blog I had no idea it would live for so long! I started it for the singular purpose of fundraising for the 2007 Chicago Distance Classic. I put zero thought into the name. So I need some input here. 
    1. Should I rename the blog at all?
    2. If so, what should I rename it? I'm leaning toward MoJo[anna] Running, or perhaps Running from the Crazy. I need your input!!