Friday, May 31, 2013

Real LIfe: 1 Julia: 0

It has been one of those weeks (or one and a half weeks?). I feel pretty much zapped of all energy after a crazy week at work, plus some crazy stuff going on in my non-running/work life...does this mean I'm a "grown up"?? So this post is going to reflect the disjointed nature of my thoughts. 
  • I mentioned that during the Athleta 10 mile race I tweaked something in my left buttcheek area. This is still bothering me- not quite as bad as before, but it is a mild irritation. It might be piriformis syndrome (yep that is a wikipedia link- everything on wikipedia is true, right?) I have been rolling and stretching like a maniac.
  • Because of this, I have kept my running to a minimum. Except for track workouts.   
  • Wednesday I met up with Meg and Larissa to run some 1200 repeats. We ran them slightly faster than 6:00 pace. I believe we did 4 total with about 2:00 recovery between each. This workout actually felt okay until we decided to run the 3rd repeat clockwise on the track. That made it flare up a bit.
  •  To try and avoid worsening my leg, I took it pretty easy the rest of the week- short runs of only 4 or so miles. 
  • Sunday I did 10.5 miles from my house, including some wicked hills. My butt felt okay. 
  • Tuesday: Track workout- 2x400, 2x800, 1x1200, 2x800, 3x400, at 5:55-6:00 pace, with 90 seconds recovery (plus some bonus seconds recovery after the 1200).
  • I wore heels to work yesterday and I think that cured my butt pain. 
  • My sister Kit moved to Seattle for the summer so I have to go to estate sales on my own. 
  • Mr. B and I put an offer in on a house...and it was accepted! I'm cautiously excited... I've heard horror stories of things falling apart at the last minute. Fingers crossed that doesn't happen to us! 
This weekend I'd like to get two solid long runs in, or maybe a long run and a race. We'll see.

How was you past week or so? Is anyone else crazy busy?
Favorite ice cream flavor? 

And to avoid this being a boring words only post:

Get this. You'll thank me later. 

A delicious Odell Cut Throat Nitro from the Groveland Tap.
At least someone like the mud from all the rain.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Athleta Race recap + an amazing new running map

Ten Mile Race Report & Review: The Athleta Race (warning: boring no photo post)

I signed up for this race a couple weeks ago, since it was cheap ($37 since I procrastinated- it was $32 until May 7) and would be a good training run for Grandma's Half in June. It was also a smaller race so there wouldn't be the craziness of a large, popular event. It was drizzling when I got into my car and ten minutes into the drive it was full out pouring. Once I made it to the race I parked and just hung out in my car for a few minutes, to see if the rain was letting up at all. Nope. I had to sprint to pick up my packet.

This brings me to annoyance #1 about this race: Pre-race packet pick up was held from 2-6 pm on Thursday at the Mall of America Athleta, and 2-6 pm on Friday at the Edina location. Not exactly convenient for those with jobs. At least they offered race day pickup.

So anyway. I got my packet and went back to my car. I basically sat in there until 20 minutes until race time, because it was still pouring out. I jogged over to the start of the race, which was a sign on the road-not exactly easy to see. This is annoyance #2: the race was not super organized. The start line wasn't close to packet pickup and it wasn't really clearly marked, so I just ran behind some runners that I hoped were running the ten mile and not the 30k. As it happened the two races started on the same road, but on opposite sides and running towards each other. Recipe for disaster? Sort of. A lot of runners lined up with the wrong race so there was some last minute scrambling.

The race itself was fine- a few small hills, but mostly flat. Of course it was pouring the entire time. But the field was strung out fairly quickly so I could just pick people off as the miles wore on. I felt good but my splits were all over the place:

7:13, 6:52, 7:00, 6:38, 6:57, 6:47, 7:00, 6:45, 6:39, 6:34

I guess I could look at the race as one mile easy, one hard, one easy.... but it felt pretty even to me until mile 7 when I made a conscious decision to run harder. In any case,  I ran 1:08:28. At about mile 6ish something weird hurt in my left butt/hip flexor area. It went away mostly for the rest of the run but reallly hurt on Sunday (I took the day off). Yesterday i ran three miles with Rodgy and it hurt a little during the run. I've been foam rolling and stretching like crazy so I hope that helps....

Oh and I lied....of COURSE I'll add a picture...of Rodgy! He sat in this spot for an hour just watching me weed the yard. He probably was waiting for me to step into a hidden pile of poop. 
so freaking cute!!


Speaking of poop........the greatest running map in the history of 2013:

File:Porta Potty by David Shankbone.jpg
looks like heaven....
A map of all the runner-friendly bathrooms (indoor & porta-potty) in the Twin Cities area! If you have never experienced the panic of needing a bathroom RIGHT NOW then you are lucky and I hope you appreciate your GI system of steel. For those of you who have dealt with that feeling.... this is amazing (as long as you live in the St. Paul/Minneapolis area).

Have you every purchased workout gear from Athleta? Thoughts on quality/value? They seem to have cute stuff but I've never tried any of their stuff.

Do you prefer small races or larger races?
I love the energy and organization at big races but love the lower cost & convenience of small events. How's that for a non-answer?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Racing into shape

Happy Friday! It has been a crazy week and I haven't been this excited for the weekend in a while.

The track workout on Tuesday was successful, and really fun! was also very hot out.

When I got into my car after work...yikes.
I'm not used to running in the heat yet! But there was a pretty stiff breeze so it wasn't terrible. I met up with Meg, her husband, and Larissa, and we decided to run eight 400 meter repeats with 2:00 recovery. We warmed up for about 12 minutes and then hit the track. Our intent was to run the intervals at 1:42. However, my pacing for our first one sucked so we ran 1:31. Since we all felt good, and 1:42 seemed too slow anyway, we just maintained 1:30 for the repeats.

The track was really busy- there was a triathlon group training, some college bros playing 500 on the infield, and some other random folks jogging in lane 7. It was a little crazy but I loved seeing all the people enjoying the nice weather!

Wednesday is my half day so I bought new running shoes (I found a pair of the Ravenna 3s in my size at a local store! yes!!) and ran 7 miles in Minneapolis, around the lakes.
Hello gorgeous.

I took yesterday off and will only go about 4 tonight..because tomorrow I am running a 10 mile race! Yes, I am trying to race myself into shape for the half marathon! Runner's World can explain this concept better than me...but basically, you use races as quality workouts to improve your fitness before the goal race. I'd like to run the race tomorrow in 70:00- the course is supposed to flat so that shouldn't be too much of a problem. Is this a good idea? I guess I'll find out on June 22!

Could you have resisted????
NRR (not running related): the Animal Humane Society had a plethora of adorable puppies when I volunteered on Wednesday, including the little lover above. I am so impressed that I did not walk out of there with another dog.

And a new beer! This is an oatmeal milk stout. It is pretty good- I'd rate it a 7.5 out of 10. It is a little heavy for summer- it might be time to switch to some lighter stuff (or margaritas)!

Favorite summer drink?
- Gin and Tonic with lime

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Track Again!

It is a lovely day here in Minnesota- finally sunny, and finally warm! Maybe we'll get summer after all?

Proof! Sunshine!! And Irish Wolfhounds as big as horses. Yes, I dog creep.  
I took Friday & Saturday off after the one mile. My legs just felt tired so I figured the break would be nice. I didn't avoid running altogether, as it was the conference track meet at my Alma mater!
Go Tommies!
I love track meets...I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority, but I really love watching races! There is so much drama and so much great competition. And at track meets you get to see the intensity of an all-out 100 m dash, the strategy and battle of a 5k/10k, the potential hilarity of the steeplechase, and the perfect timing (or not) of sprint relays.

4x100 hand off between 1st and 2nd leg. So stressful just watching!
Being at the meet definitely brought back some great memories. I love running on the track. I think it is the monotony of the circles over..and over...and can just get on pace and run. Plus it is nice to see where your competition is at all times (unless you are getting lapped I guess). 
With that in mind...tonight I'm running another track workout! I am running with Meg, her husband, and Larissa, a former teammate. I'm not sure what we'll do yet but it will be nice to have a group to run with! As I mentioned, it is hot today (85 degrees!) and I've been hydrating like crazy!
My other running so far, all with old teammates: Sunday 6.7 with Kalsey, yesterday was 6ish with Allie. Not the greatest so far but I'm hoping to buckle down and be consistent this week! Stay tuned...
Just a random picture of Rodgy cuddling. You're welcome.

Friday, May 10, 2013

TC One Mile Race Report

Last night was the TC 1 Mile race! It was so much fun (they had a photo booth type area set up!) even though right up to the gun I was cursing my friend for convincing me to run it. I guess I'll never get over the pre-race jitters!

We don't look nervous, just awesome.
It was the ninth annual running of this event, which is held on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. The race is limited to 3,300 runners who compete in seven different waves (imagine 3000 people all starting a one mile race at once...).

The first two waves (Friends & Family and Corporate Team Challenge) are pretty crazy and packed with runners. The first year I ran this I had no clue what to do so I ran the Friends & Family wave. There was a lot of child dodging involved and there were not a lot of people to run with towards the end.

This year my friend Meg and I entered in the Open wave (described as for "competitive runners under 40). We figured it would be a good field that we could hold our own in. I met Meg at her house and we ran the 2 miles over the start of the race. I had picked up our packets on Wednesday so we didn't have to check in or anything. We got there really early and stood around for a little while with some of my coworkers who I badgered into running the race. It was way colder and windier than I had expected, and I did not dress appropriately! I had planned on racing in a tank top and shorts but wound up keeping my super non-technical hoodie on for the race. I also wore my kick ass new shoes: 

Nike Lunaracer. Just as pink in real life.
I was a little nervous about these since I bought them on Wednesday (yes the night before the race). But I love them! They are super comfortable and still felt fast. There are some other great color combos on the Nike web I might get another pair!

Anyway. Meg and I warmed up by jogging around the block a few times before it was time to get in the chute. They had pace markers so you could line up where you think you should be. We were just behind the 6:00 group. The Open Wave was definitely not as big as the other waves and for a while there we were nervous that we were going to look like idiots and get our butts kicked. I guess everyone was also warming up because more people filtered into the corral and I was confident that I could beat at least some of them.

Our plan was to run comfortably hard for the first 400 and not sprint out and die. Well it felt hard, and not comfortable. My legs were cold and felt all locked up for the first 400- I think we hit that in 1:23/24 ish. However, from that point I got into a good rhythm and just kept rolling. I think we hit the half mile at 2:50/51. No idea what we hit 1200 in, but this is where Meg typically pulls away from me in short races like this- and  yesterday was no exception. She finished in 5:43 and I was done in 5:45. Not too bad, although I was hoping for under 5:40 (next year!). We had a pretty generous tailwind so that helped of course!

Overall this was a great, well organized race. Mile races are pretty rare these days, and I love how many people participate in this one!
For runner nerds: Nick Willis won the men's race in 3:56, and Sarah Brown won the women's in 4:33.3. For a good recap, check out Down the Backstretch.
Photo booths: love them or leave them?
-I love them. The more props, the better.

Do you still get nervous before races?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Track workout report and the Walk for Animals

Confession time: After my track workout on Tuesday I didn't run until yesterday! I think my 'runner' card might get revoked. In all honesty, I'm not super worried about the unplanned break. I *still* don't have my car back from the shop, we got more snow (!!!whatthehell), and I was relying on Mr. B to haul me around. So, I'm letting it go.

However, the track workout went rather well! It was so nice to be back on campus, even though UST has done so much renovation/new construction that it feels like a different place. At least the track is still the same!

Meg and I ran about 15 minutes for our warm up. As I mentioned, we planned the following ladder:

200, 400, 600 (all at 5:40 pace) and 800, 1000 (at 6:00 pace)

We gave ourselves roughly 200 m to recover between intervals but took a little extra between the 600 and 800s. I'd rather finish the workout strong at the goal pace than be super strict on recovery and really struggle on the fast stuff.

Our college coach always wanted us to be on pace right away- if we were way too fast or too slow at the 100m mark, he would call us back to start over and adjust our pace(and we didn't get credit for the 100 m that we had already run). He wanted us to get used to the correct pace for training and racing. So that is how we did this workout- luckily we hit the right time for each interval.

Our 2,4, and 6 were perfect and we both felt really good. Slowing down even 20 seconds/mile for the 800 felt nice, and all the long intervals felt great. I am good at setting a pace for the first part of a workout and Meg is a strong closer, so we swtiched off leading with 400 to go. It is really amazing how much easier it is to sit on someone than it is to lead. Our 800 and 1k ended up being slighly faster than 6:00 pace-I think more around 5:50. But it felt great. Tomorrow we have another track workout planned- probably just some 2s and 4s. The 1 mile is on Thursday so there's not much time to get ready!!

Oh yeah I ran 5 miles yesterday. Nothing else to report on that. Sorry.
I also walked 5 miles on Saturday with Mr. B and Rodgy for the Walk for Animals! This is a big fundraising event for the Animal Humane Society.

Rodgy is taking it all in...I hope he's grateful I didn't make him wear a tutu.

All animals welcome. Even ducks.

Despite the drizzle/wind/general unpleasant weather, the walk was really fun. Rodgy was exhausted at the end of it and passed out on the car ride home. Success!!!

- What is the strangest animal you've seen out for a walk?
- Do you enjoy/ever do track workouts? Why or why not?