A Little Less Of Me

My quest to become thinner and healthier

Not Weighing In 27 May 2011

Filed under: Musings — lennonzgal @ 11:48

I’ve decided that until I get back to a weight I’m comfortable with (been a couple of bad weeks, weight-wise, and given the fact that in the past two weeks, I’ve only run once, you can imagine why).  I’ll start posting my weight again when I’m happy with it.

In the meantime, I’ll still be popping in to log my workouts.  I can’t wait to run this weekend – although its supposed to be hot, I’m excited to begin training for the next half marathon in September.  The run is on my birthday weekend, so I’m considering each training run as a lead-up to a gift I’m giving myself: a rewarding run.  I can’t wait!!

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I Run 13.1 Because I’m Only HALF Crazy. 24 May 2011

Filed under: Feel the Burn — lennonzgal @ 16:16

Where to begin, where to begin … how about at the beginning?

After I posted on Friday (and after work, too), I headed down to Philadelphia to the Shops at Liberty Place to pick up my race number and take a look around the so-called Running Expo.  The entire ride down, I kept telling myself, “I can do this … I can do this … I’ve done it before … I can do this.”  I was an absolute wreck imagining myself trying to finish a half-marathon, particularly with the lack of training I had in the month and a half leading up to the event. 

I finally arrived at the shops and the first thing I noticed was that I should have brought some good shopping shoes.  I’d never been inside – only passed it on occasion heading from one sight to another in Philly.  I’m thinking there’s going to be a shopping trip in my future!  That said, I  headed straight back to the expo, still muttering to myself.  I’m sure I didn’t look crazy at all.  I was given my number, 1258, and felt good about it.  Before my training sort of came to a slow-down over the past couple of weeks, I’d been hitting somewhere between 13:00-13:15/mile.  I thought having number 1258 (as in 12:58/mile) was a good omen.  I immediately started feeling better.  Got my shirt, got my pins for my bib, and took a look around at one of the more pathetic expos that I’ve ever been to.  The “expo” was in an empty shop probably the size of your local Claire’s.  There was a table in the far back with the bib numbers, another one in the back right for the race t-shirts, and then maybe 5 or 6 other tables, each with a vendor, charity, or information on another race.  I did end up grabbing some of my new favorite socks (I’d add a link here, but I’ll be damned if I can remember what they’re called), and I headed back out.  On the up-side, I only ended up spending $7 on parking since I was only there a half-hour.  It did make me look forward to the expo for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half though – if its anything like it was the last time I ran it, I’ll be at that expo for hours.

On my way home, I definitely felt better, albeit still a little tense.  I think part of the tension was that I hadn’t run in a little over a week, and I was stressed at work – part of what I love about running is the fact that it keeps me sane when I feel like I’m losing my mind everywhere else.  Honestly, I couldn’t WAIT to spend 13.1 miles out pounding the pavement … it was just the uncertainty of whether or not I’d make it back to the finish line without the help of an ambulance.

On Saturday, I kept going back-and-forth on whether or not I wanted Will and Liam there.  I had to be AT the race around 6am for a 7am start time – that gave me enough time to park, walk to the starting line, pee, and get my bag checked before stretching.  I couldn’t ask Will and Liam to be up and out the door by 5:15, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to deal with taking two cars back home.  Secretly though, I wanted them to come along.  I mean, who wouldn’t want their family at the finish line, right?

Fast-forward to Sunday … I was up a hundred times in the night, nervous that the alarm would somehow not go off.  Thankfully, there’s research that tells us that its NOT the night before the race that gives us the energy … its the rest we get TWO nights before the race.  And even more thankfully, I got a lot of sleep that night.  I awoke to the alarm on Sunday, refreshed and nervous as hell.  Got myself dressed (I had laid out my clothes and gear, and pinned my bib on the night before), got breakfast and headed out the door.  I probably got to Philly around 6:15, and was able to park about a quarter-mile from the starting line.  I gathered my courage and headed over, peed, and checked my bag.

I have to say, this was definitely the strangest half-marathon I’ve ever run.  If you take a look at the ODDyssey’s web site, you’ll see there’s a costume contest as well.  I ran with Big Bird, Elvis, a cop and robber, William and Kate, Lady Liberty, some Phillies, and a slew of other unique and really fun costumes.  I spent most of the race either ahead of or right behind a pack of devils.  Very loud, and very fun devils.  The race itself was challenging – the majority of it was on flat ground on MLK Drive.  The first couple miles were in and around the Please Touch Museum, and the last mile, maybe two miles, were straight. up. hill.  Before I get to that though, let me recount the race – I started out probably a little stronger than I should have.  I have a tendency to not like being passed while racing, and so my first two miles were about 11:30/mile.  That’s a full 1:30/mile faster than my fastest long run time, and about 3:30/mile faster than my last half-marathon time.  I realized this and slowed it down a bit, but I stiffened my muscles when I did so and lost all feeling in both feet around mile 3.  add in an extra-long walk to get the blood flowing, and by mile 4, I had feeling in all extremeties again and off I went.  I averaged probably 13:00/mile for a few, then started methodically slowing down … the lack of training over the last month-and-a-half didn’t help, the last time I had a long run prior to that was my 11-miler the weekend before Mother’s Day, and I was starting to feel it.  By mile 8, I was taking 2 minute walks instead of 1 minute walks, and I was almost limping back into the run.  Still, I kept going!

Part of the draw of the ODDyssey is the other fun stuff that’s going on.  They had maybe 4-5 live bands playing along the course, each one getting passed twice by the runners, so there was very little time when we weren’t being serenaded by a talented group of people.  In addition, there was an obstacle course around mile 8-ish that you had the option of doing if you could still feel your legs, around mile 10, there were folks throwing water balloons at us (trust me, its refreshing), and then around mile 11-ish, there was a giant game of Jenga going on.  Lots to look at and laugh about, definitely.  I ended up falling in line with a nice group of people – the aforementioned devils to start with, and then two friends who kept passing/falling behind me.  By mile 11, we were joking about it and counting off the mile markers as they passed.

The best treat, though, was at mile 13.  I was basically limping up that last hill until I saw it:  Will and Liam!!  They had come to cheer me on!  Liam ran up to me, and he ran in the last tenth of a mile with me, asking the whole time, “Are we winning, Mommy?”  Having him hold my hand across the finish line, first or last, I had definitely won.

The champions!

Slow and steady may not win the race, but there's still a damn good reward waiting at the end!

 

We got across the finish line, and the kind people at the race gave Liam his own medal.  He’s been wearing it ever since.  The best part about the medal?  Its a bottle opener … after you got your medal, you got a pint glass with the race logo on it, and you could go into a fenced-off area if you were 21+ to combine the talents of your medal and the glass and have a nice, cold beer.  I can’t hold my liquor when I haven’t exerted that much energy, so I opted out.

All in all, I finished in 3:07:58 from the start, and ended up doing 14:21/mile average.  Not superb, but Will still thinks its the fastest half I’ve ever run, and that gives me a good basis for hitting an even better PR in September. 

And so … back to training!!

 

The Storm Before the Calm 20 May 2011

Filed under: Musings — lennonzgal @ 11:04

I’m not even going to mention my weight this week – after a weekend down the shore and a week of no running (a combination of trying to taper and trying to get over whatever the hell this cough is), let’s just say its higher than I’d like and I’m very much not pleased with it.

In the meantime, I’m in a slight state of panic about this weekend’s half-marathon.  Its on Sunday, and at times I feel like I can do it with no problem, but other times I’m panicking and trying to talk myself out of it.  This afternoon, I go to pick up my number and race packet – at that point, I’ll have no choice but to run, and then I’ll be calmer about it, I’m sure. Generally, there comes a point when the excitement of the race overpowers the panic of possibly not finishing. 

I haven’t run in a couple of weekends – I did 11 miles the weekend before Mother’s Day, and then a measley 4 miles the weekend after because this cough started, and caused a lot of dizziness during my run.  I didn’t run at all last weekend thanks to intermittent downpours that seemed to show up every time I even considered donning my running kicks.  Now that said, I managed those 11 miles fairly well even after not having run at all for the two weeks prior to it, so I know I can do the 13.1, its just that I’d like to come in a little faster than my pre-Liam race times (which generally averaged a pathetic 15:00/mile), and I would L-O-V-E to come in even a little faster than my current runs (which are an only-slightly-less-pathetic 13:00-13:30/mile).  The general rule of thumb is that your long run pace should be 1:00-2:00/mile slower than your race pace.  I also know that race adrenaline and a desire to keep up with the pack tend to increase my speed slightly during a half, so I’m hoping to maybe hit that 13:00/mile mark, but we’ll see.  Having not hit the 12 miles that I wanted to, I’m a little nervous.

Worse-to-worst, I’ll walk it in and at least get the finisher’s medal.  Also, the free beer.  Did I mention there’s free beer at this race?  Definitely a needed bonus at the end of such a long run.  And once this race is over, I’ve already written out my planned running schedule from June until the half-marathon in September, which is a long enough time span that I’ll hopefully manage to kick up my speed ever-so-slightly more, and maybe finish in September closer to 12:00/mile.  That would be awesome.

 

5/10 Workout: Easy Run 11 May 2011

Filed under: Feel the Burn — lennonzgal @ 16:22

Cripe.  I’ve been gone for a while.  Well, I’m back, at least temporarily, to tell you that the half-marathon is just around a week and a half away, and I have bronchitis.  I already informed my doctor that I’d be running in the half anyway, and he seemed to accept that.  His advice?  “Just try to cut back the running until you’re done the meds, ok?”  No problem – got a couple more runs planned this week until Sunday, which will be my last pre-half run.  Then it’ll be walking and cross-training until the race.  I’m excited, albeit rather nervous – my 11-mile time wasn’t as great as I’d have liked it to be a week and a half ago, so I’m just praying for a decent time during the race.

In the meantime, I’m trying to get better fast!  Can’t run while I’m hacking up a lung!!