Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Get in Gear Race Review & A Track Workout

The Get in Gear race has been around for a while- 36 years, I believe! The race scedule includes a 2k, 5k, 10k, and half marathon. The 2k is supposed to be for kids but I swear I've seen adults running it! The 5k and half marathon are traditionally less competitive than the 10k, which attracts a lot of top local and regional talent (the men's course record is 28:45, women's is 32:52). It is a pretty fun day. 

I ran the 10k a couple years ago and my friend Meg and I decided to run it again this year. I've never done a race recap/review before....so bear with me! Also- I checked my bag and phone right away so I don't have many pictures!
This is from 2010. The weather was 100 % nicer this year.  
Like most races, this one offers a price break if you sign up early. We didn't take advantage of this, and instead signed up at Marathon Sports, a local running store. The in-store registration was advertised as including the following perks:

- Bib Number with BibTag (no need to go to packet pick-up Friday)
- Information Sheet
- Get in Gear exclusive running hat – for the first 125 registered
- $15.00 certificate off same day shoe purchase

Meg and I got to the store at noon right when it opened, and only got our bibs (and a random bumper sticker). No hat, no shoe price break certificate. The people working at the store really didn't seem to know what was going on. Now I know I could have/should have brought it up while I was there but...I didn't. So no new hat for me. 

I was forced to wear my old hat instead.
The race starts and finishes on Minnehaha Parkway in Minneapolis. Parking is pretty scare around there since traffic is blocked off, so Meg and I met about a mile away and ran to the start as our warm up. There are a lot of people at these races- I think 6400 finishers for all three "adult" races. The start/finish area is right by a park so there is room to spread out, but it still felt super congested. I checked my bag right away and then we got in line for the porta potty. Since the three big races all started within 20 minutes of each other the lines were crazy long. I think we stood in line for over 15 minutes waiting! I know that isn't terrible but having good bathroom access can be such a nice treat at road races!

Meg and I ran for a few more minutes, and then I had one last bathroom stop (coffee the morning of, plus beer, fries, and lot of baby carrots the day before means tummy trouble). We made it to the start corral with two minutes to spare, but had to go all the way to the back of the corral to get in. Unlike other big races, the start line doesn't separate by pace. We didn't cross the start line until at least three minutes after the start of race. This made things interesting. We wanted to run an easy first mile, which we did (7:30) but with all the weaving through runners it still felt tough.

The course.

The first two miles are nice and flat. No problems here. My second mile was 7ish? and I think I lost Meg here too. The third mile is a little annoying- you have to run up the Lake Street bridge to cross the river. The race was still pretty crowded at this point too. The fourth mile is a pain in the ass. There is a long, steady climb that just kind of hurts. At least you are rewarded with a nice long steady downhill after it! Mile five is flat, and mile six includes another hill to get up to the Ford Bridge to cross the river back to the start/finish area. The race has a pretty great finish- you take a hard left down a hill and then have a nice flat .2 in.

I ended up finishing in 42:26 (chip time), which is 6:50 pace. I am okay with this result, but in reality, I did not set myself up for a good race. I didn't get into a good starting spot, I ate (or drank) something that caused some GI issues, and since my starting spot sucked I was dodging runners/walkers for two miles. Live and learn, right?

Things I like about this race: the course is really fun, a nice mix of flats and hills. There are a lot of people out cheering and it is always nice to have that encouragement. There is good competition (the winners ran 34:31 for women and 29:27 for men). It is organized well and the volunteers and staff are clearly identified.

Areas for improvement/things I didn't like: More porta-potties! If I were a race director, I'd estimate the number I thougth I needed and then add ten. Designating "goal pace" sections in the start corral so that faster runners start closer to the front (I like picking people off but I don't like weaving through throngs to do so). 
Moving on. The next race on my agenda is the TC One Mile on May 9. I LOVE this race!!! It is so much fun- yes, it is a mile so my legs will feel like they're on fire, but still...so much fun. There will be some awesome runners there too- Nick Willis, Boaz LaLang , Phoebe Wright, and Heather Kampf just to name a few...so I will hopefully see some great races after mine is done.

To prepare, my friend Meg and I are going to be running a track workout tonight! Mr. B suggested that we run a ladder workout- so we'll do 200, 400, 600, 800, 1000, and back down. It is 5k total of hard running, and I think we are going to run 5:40 pace for the intervals.

*What are you road-race pet peeves? Favorite aspects?
*Do you follow professional running at all? Do you have favorite runner?
- I like Jenny Simpson, Chris Solinsky, and Kara Goucher

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I need a bike

Not because I am going to start competing in triathlons (I am a TERRIBLE swimmer) but because the most annoying thing happened tonight!
Poor little Mazda.

I was sideswiped!!! I have never been in a car accident and am always super paranoid about getting into one...and now, it's happened. I am fine, the other driver who hit me is fine...but our poor cars are both pretty beat up. My timing is impeccable since I can borrow a friend's car for the weekend (Thanks L!). But it still sucks being without my car.

Before the curious incident of the car and the other car, today was turning out to be great! It's my half day so at noon I enjoyed a 6 mile run (6:45 pace) in our lovely weather. I'm not even kidding about the weather, it was sunny at 50 degrees! Then Rodgy and I hit up the dog park, followed by two hours of dog walking. Just look at this face:
You know you want to cuddle this little honey....

I am so surprised that I still only have one pet.
Husband of the year, Mr. B., shoveling the snow

Other running:

6. 75 miles on Saturday (7:10 pace)
8 miles on Sunday with Meg (7:28 pace)
Snowstorm Monday, did not run-----------------proof-------->
7 miles Tuesday (7:10 pace)

My plan for yesterday was to warm up 15 minutes, then run 30 minutes harder (I was hoping for 6:40 pace) and then cool down for 10-15 minutes. Hmm no. Didn't happen. I felt like crap. The "hard" part of my run felt like sprinting, but when I checked my pace I was running 7:00 miles! In fact, it felt so crappy that I decided to modify the workout into three ten-minute chunks of hard running. And that didn't go any better. I ended up calling it after 15 minutes of total hard running and just did a normal run back in...and the last couple miles ended up being 6:50 pace.

I'm chalking the run up to just a bad day- those happen, I'll deal with it and move on. I have a 10k on Saturday so I hope that goes better!

Have you ever been in a car accident?
Ever had one of "those" bad running days? Are these from being tired? Dead legs? The impending full moon?
Random question:  where do you buy most of your running clothes? Online? Local store? Big-name store like Dick's or Sports Authority? Have you ever bought consignment running clothes?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The past few days.

Needless to say, all the excitement I felt when I posted on Monday was replaced by shock and sadness after hearing about the bombings at the finish line. I am grateful that those I knew at the race are okay and hope that those responsible are brought to justice.


Here in Minnesota, April is turning out to be a real bitch.

Taken on Tuesday....Sunshine! 40 above!

Taken twenty minutes ago. Rodgy is pissed, all his outside toys are snowed in.
It is such a drag! I think I am going to leave my winter tires on until July. I want to do a long run on Saturday but might put it off if the running paths are still snowy/icy/slushy.

Monday: 6 miles, 6:50 pace
Tuesday:  6 miles, 7:00 pace
Wednesday: off
Today: 5 miles on the treadmill (1.5 WU, 4x800 meters at 6:30 pace with 400 m recovery)

Here's a mystery: why can I run outside at 6:50 pace and feel completely fine, but 800 m repeats on the treadmill feel like I'm going to collapse? I don't get it.

I am running a 10k next weekend. I had planned to do this "best 10k workout" but I forgot you are supposed to work up to it over 8 weeks. Maybe for the next one???

Some people post pictures of their meals on their blogs. I think I'm going to post the new beers I try.

Since it's still gross and snowy, I felt that a nice rich porter was appropriate.

1. Do you drink beer? Favorite kind? 
2. What's the weather like in your neck of the woods?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Happy Boston Day!

I love watching races!! Major kudos to the Boston Athletic Association for the great, free, online coverage. I am of course cheering for Shalane and Kara (like we are on a first name basis...) but realistically, I don't think either of them will win it.

Are you watching Boston? Any predictions?

The past week was a little rough for my running. On Sunday I ran 10 miles at about 7:10 pace, then 4 easy miles on Monday, and then my hill workout on Tuesday (that probably totalled 5.5 miles). I ended up doing 8 hills and felt great during the workout.

Then the rest of the week...I did not run. I think I jinxed myself, talking about running 11 days in a row. On Wednesday I took Rodgy to the dog park.

Where are my friends??? Why am I so dirty??
It was nasty and muddy from the rain/snow nastiness so we had it to ourselves. It was actually too gross to hang out for long so we ended up going for a walk.

I honestly can't remember why I didn't run Thursday. Fail by me.

Then it was time for Girls Weekend. For Christmas, my three younger sisters and I got together to plan a fun weekend for our mom. So we booked a hotel room and planned some major estate sale-ing, dinner, and a show (Neil Diamond cover band!).

Unfortunately, besides the estate sales, the weekend was a major bust. The weather was shitty (what a surprise), we all felt sick by Saturday evening, and there was just tension overall. So instead of dinner and a show, we got pizza and beer and wine in our room and watched HGTV (I'm so glad I don't have cable- I would never leave my house if I had that channel).

Estate sale finds from a school closing. These will go to my teacher friend.

My sister and me. We inadvertantly matched our outfits.
My estate sale finds included a ton of sewing patterns, fabric, and a steam cleaner! I can finally get those muddy puppy prints out of my car!

I did run on Sunday with my sister who I am running the half marathon with. We only did about 3.5 miles because I still felt sick. Then I got sick, about 5 times yesterday. I'm feeling much better today so I'm planning on 7 miles after work. We are still having atrocious weather but I can't take any more treadmill time, so I'm hitting the lakes.

Have you ever been to an estate sale? Any good finds?
How sick do you have to be to skip your run?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Running hills and the "perfect" bikini body

What a GLORIOUS day!
The view from my cube at work. Yeah, it's raining.
If that is not bad enough we have another winter storm watch in effect until 1:00 Thursday - another 5-6 inches of snow is on the way. YAY. However, today I will be running hills outside. Hill work is part of every reputable training plan. Hills build strength, which in turn makes you faster and helps prevent injuries. I like how hill workouts can be completed in a pretty short time frame and while they are hard, they don't kill me like intervals do.

For my hill workouts I try to find a hill that takes about a minute to run up, and one that is about 15-20% grade (I think?). I do about two or three miles of warm up, and then run the hill continuously- the only recovery I give myself is the slow walk/jog to the bottom of the hill. Depending on the hill, I will do about 6-12 repeats and then cool down about 10-15 minutes. Is this the perfect or only way to do hills? No, of course not- but it works pretty well for me.

How do you run your hill workouts? Do you like them or loathe them?
On a sort of related topic- last Thursday Jezebel posted an article from the Lingerie Lesbian  (http://jezebel.com/5993383/the-concept-of-a-bikini-body-is-absolutely-infuriating) about the "bikini body" craze that hits magazines and websites about this time of year (warning: the comments on this article get feisty). As a runner, maintaining fitness is important to me. But obsessing over fitness in order to conform to what people view as the "ideal" body seems sad.
I understand that our country has problems with weight and that obesity is a major contributor to increasing health care costs. But calling out women (or men) who don't look fit and toned yet still dare to go out in public in a bathing suit is not the way to combat this problem. It bothers me that so many women and men feel uncomfortable in a swimsuit because of what people might think. Motivation for weight loss or getting in shape should come from wanting to improve health, not to fit some mold of what is appropriate to look like in swimwear.

On the other hand, does it matter what one's motivation is for losing weight, if the end result is better health (I'm giving the entire world the benefit of the doubt and assuming they are going about this in a healthy manner i.e. not restricting/binging etc, and stopping once they have hit a healthy weight)? Shouldn't we all strive to be "healthy"?

What are your thoughts on this?
Do you run or work out for fitness/health or for looks? Is it a little of both?
- I won't lie and say I run purely for the joy and fun of it all. I also run to avoid gaining weight and to avoid buying new clothes.
On a less serious note....

Run Rodgy!!!!!!! Don't worry, everyone was just having a good time. He survived.

All red jelly beans! MY LIFE IS COMPLETE.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Eleven days in a row.

As of yesterday, I have gone for a run 11 days in a row. Full disclosure: I'm not sure if running 2.5 miles with Rodgy can actually count as a run. The first 1.5 miles definitely counts- he loves to go out hard- but at that point he puts on the brakes and it is a slow jog back in. But at least I got out, right??

Are you blaming me for short runs? I'll kill you with my laser eyes.
Anyway. This week I am at 28.75 miles. I know that is not a lot compared to some crazies...but I'll take it!

Sunday: 6.75 miles @ 7:24 pace. I ran from my house and I'll never do this route again. West 7th between St. Clair & Randolph is sketchy by car...and even worse on foot. Broken glass? Old undies on the sidewalk? Pass!

Monday: 4 miles @ 7:45 pace. Treadmill. Nice and easy

Tuesday: 6 miles @ 7:24 pace. I'm nothing if not pace-consistent. I did a treadmill workout- 10 minutes WU, followed by 3 min hard/2 min moderate (six times) and then a short CD to get me to 6 miles. I think my 3 min portions were at 6:50 and the 2 min were at 7:30.

Wednesday: 7 miles @ 7:01 pace. Somehow this run ended up faster overall than my workout. I'll chalk it up to running outdoors, by the lakes, in the beautiful sunny weather, on my half day (oh yeah every Wednesday is a half work day for me!). I also ran about 2.5 miles with Rodgy after but I didn't log those.

** BONUS I bought a new running shirt on Wednesday! It is just a simple one from Nike but I love these shirts. Loose enough to be comfy but not too baggy.

Nike Legend Women's Training Shirt
I even got it in this crazy hot pink color.

Thursday: 5 miles @ 7:15 pace. Another nice outdoor run. I went to the river in St. Paul. It was crazy packed with runners and walkers! That always makes me so happy, seeing everyone out and about.

So, am I going to keep this streak alive? Run everyday for the rest of my life? Ha. No. My legs are feeling a little sad, and I am stressed out about work and therefore did not get good sleep at all last night. So, tonight I will grant myself a day off. Have a nice weekend!

Sketchiest place you have every gone running?
Where do you draw the line at counting miles as "runs"? Is it a certain pace? Distance? I usually say it has to be three miles... but I made an exception for my 2.5 mile Rodgy run.