Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Let's Get Random!

Had my second Real Appeal webchat group session last Wednesday.  They talked a lot about kids and how they impact your goals and achieving them, so I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to what they were talking about.  Instead, I made new banners for my blog posts!  Ha!  I did learn something new, but now I can’t for the life of me recall what it was.  Ugh.  I need to start taking notes during these sessions.

Speaking of the Real Appeal program, I received my success kit in the mail Friday while I was at work, so I went to the office Saturday after I woke up and picked it up.  I love everything in it, even the stuff I won’t use…which really is just the pedometer because I have my FitBit.  And the portion plate, I’ll use to eat, but not for portioning purposes as the way I break down my macros is different than it recommends.  I am have already put the food scale and body scale to use.  I have my FitBit Aria smart scale that I use every day and that is what records my weight on my trackers for my official weigh ins.  I am using the RA body scale for auxiliary weigh ins.  Like before and after a run to determine my hydration status.  And I’ve been curious about weight gain as the day progresses.  I know it’s perfectly normal to retain water and such throughout the day, so I wanted to see what that looked like.  I don’t get frustrated as the scale goes up over the course of the day, so I don’t think it’s an unhealthy thing.  And I don’t do it every day either.  I have also already used the measuring cups and spoons when I did my meal prep on Sunday.  I have 4 sets of measuring cups…well, actually 5, but one set I don’t use because it’s more decorative and I don’t want to chance breaking them…anyway, since I’m lazy about dishes, the more sets I have the more…well, honestly, probably the more lazy I will be about washing dishes, but whatever.  Haha.

There was also a resistance band, which I think I’ll put in my work bag so I can do some resistance exercises when I work the night shifts on top of the rowing I do on my break while I’m there.  I’m also looking forward to using the single serve smoothie/shake blender at some point.  That’ll probably be a weekend thing…blend up a PB, banana, cashew milk and protein powder shake…mmm!  There are workout DVDs and I KNOW I’ll get some use out of the ab workout ones at the very least.

Some of my INKnBURN items arrived this week…specifically the red robot and the dahlia kit.  I love them all.  I’m a little frustrated because at the time I am writing this, my medieval capris have not shipped yet and yet so many people are posting how not only have theirs shipped, but some have actually already received them.  Ugh!

I discovered my absolute FAVORITE Chobani Flip flavor: Mango Passion Power!  It’s perfect.  However, it’s apparently a limited production, which makes me sad.  So this weekend I went and bought like 8 containers of it.  I’ll go back this weekend and buy some more.  Haha.  The apple crisp one is pretty dang good too, but the store I went to this weekend didn’t have that flavor.  Wah wah.

I seriously need a massage.  I have so much pain in my back and neck.  The muscles are just so tight and knotted up.  I can afford one after my mid-month paycheck.

Not sure I should be talking about this in a public forum, but we have an environmental issue at work and they blocked off that section so now we can no longer access the locker room, which means I had to take all my stuff that was in my locker home.  And now I have to carry all my coffee supplies in my work bag instead of just leaving them at work.  Not a huge deal, they don’t take up THAT much room.  But, that means no more ninja turtle mug at work because I’m not going to carry that around in my bag and risk hitting it on a door frame and breaking it.  So I’ll just put the 32 oz travel mug I bought at a truck stop while on vacation in April in my bag and use that instead.

I managed to snag a bunch of overtime for the next schedule cycle.  YAY!  I have 3 shifts 2 weeks and 2 shifts the other 2 weeks, with hopes of picking up one more shift the weeks I only have 2 last minute.

I’ve decided when I close out each month in my scrap journal that I will do 1 page that chronicles my run stats for the month and, this one will be fun, my favorite selfies from the month on the other.

I went over the weekend to JC Penney’s because they were having a huge sale and I wanted to snag a few pairs of leggings for super cheap ($4 a pair…these are usually $20 each!  Huge deal!).  And guess what!  I WEAR A SMALL in leggings!!!  Regular ones AND workout ones!  How exciting is that?!?!?!

I’ve had some really great runs lately and as a result I’ve revamped my finish time goals for running races!  I know…exciting stuff!  So, let me lay it on ya!  I’m just gonna make a list of it:
5K – 7:24 pace for 23:00 finish
10K – 8:03 pace for 50:00 finish
10 mile – 8:42 pace for 1:25:00 finish
Half marathon – 9:33 for a 2:05:00 finish
Marathon – 9:55 for a 4:20:00 finish 

So, I want to make a little PSA here…to read your food labels BEFORE you eat the food.  Read them in their entirety!  Seriously.  I eat a fair amount of sugar free candies because they’re low in calories, they satisfy that sweet tooth and they’re great for distracting myself.  I usually prefer the hard candies because I can suck on them and they last for a good while before disappearing.  Therefore, more satisfying in my opinion.  Well, I discovered some of those Brach’s sugar free jelly fruit slices.  You know the ones.  They’re most commonly found as orange slices…but there are other flavors.  So, the sugar free ones are individually wrapped within the packaging.  The serving size is 3 jelly fruit slices.  So I ate 3 jelly fruit slices.  About an hour or 2 later I started having cramps.  We had been talking about people we know being gluten sensitive and how me and another girl had been fat, both lost a bunch of weight and how our digestive tracts work way differently than they used to and we’re all sensitive to foods we weren’t sensitive to before.  So, I was thinking, maybe I was having a reaction to gluten as I know it’s sometimes an ingredient in candy.  I found no gluten.  What I did find was a little warning under the ingredients list that stated “may cause stomach discomfort/laxative effect.”  Read a little further and you discover that they recommend that if you’ve never eaten this candy before to eat NO MORE than 1/4th of a serving.  That’s LESS THAN 1 of the jelly fruit slices, folks.  I ate 3 whole ones.  Uh oh.  Let’s just say I was quite amazed when I only registered a .3# loss on the scale the following day.  Haha!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Marathon Training Week 7

Tuesday: rest day.  Just a 2000m row on the night shift.

Wednesday: 4 miles on the tready.  Ran on a good treadmill this time and it said pretty much the same thing that my Garmin said when I was done running.  YAY!

Thursday: another rest day.  However, I did do 2000 meters on the row machine on my overnight overtime shift.

Friday: ran 5.8 miles easy.  Was originally planning on doing the same 5 mile run with the middle mile being full of 50m sprints with short recoveries, but my calves were feeling wonky so I decided to take it easy and not risk straining my calf muscles.

Saturday: same as last week, but instead of just not wanting to go to the gym and do my cross training, I sort of ran out of time.  But, I did spend almost 2 hours walking around my apartment complex.  My gym workout would have taken about the same, maybe a little less.  So yea, I guess I just didn’t want to go.  But, the walk was peaceful and I got to chat with a good friend on FB messenger, so it was all good.  And walking can be considered cross training.

Sunday: LONG RUN DAY!  I’m doing the cut down weeks this time around with marathon training…like I should be doing.  It helps rest your legs if you do a shorter long run every 3-4 weeks.  I know this, I just never wanted to do it.  I just wanted to build the miles up and up and up.  Not this time, though.  I’m getting more ambitious with my time goals, so I’ve got to train smarter.  Anyway, tangent!  I ran 10 miles this day.  I did the first 9 easy, 12+ min/mi pace, then the final mile I did in 9:27!  I was originally planning to do a fast finish the last 2 miles, but I got to mile 8 and my legs were tired, so I didn’t want to take the chance of injury, you know?  Especially with my calves being a little wonky lately.
Monday: my “coach” friend suggested I do a HMGP tempo run.  She suggested 2 mile w/u, 4 miles HMGP, 2 mile c/d.  1) I just ran 10 miles the day before and 2) I had some other things to do before heading to work this day, so I didn’t have time to do 8.  So, I did 5.  I did 1 mile w/u, 3 miles a smidge faster than HMGP, then 1 mile c/d.  I felt great during this run.  Leading up to walking out the door to run it, I was nervous…you know the nervous feeling you get leading up to a race where you have a big goal?  Yea, that kind of nervous.  I like that feeling a lot.  I was afraid I wouldn’t hit my paces.  And, well, my w/u and c/d miles were a little faster than I would have preferred (mid 11’s), but they were comfortable.  Then I went all progressive with my HMGP miles.  “Coach” suggests keeping them as close to the same pace as possible…within a couple/few seconds of each other.  So I’ll make sure to do that next time.


And week #7 is all completed!  I’m getting closer to being halfway through marathon training for the South Padre Island Marathon.  I am always serious about my training, but not SO serious that I risk the chance of running not being fun anyway.  That’s why I don’t follow a super regimented training plan or hire a coach.  Although I am certain I would benefit from a coach, I can’t afford that right now anyway.  But, I have my “coach” friend who does help me out with quality advice from her own experiences of training for marathons such as Boston and from being in formal marathon training groups and working under professional coaches.  For the past 2 years, she has told me that doing a cutback week is essential, but I resisted.  This week, I did my first cutback long run.  I know my legs will thank me, I just hope they thank me by allowing me to hit my paces in November and make my current marathon finish time goal a reality and not just a dream.  I know if I can succeed with this goal, that I can continue to succeed…while I continue to keep running as a FUN activity, just one that I’m pretty serious about and have goals and dreams for other than just doing it.  Although I do love just running for the sake of running, I really do enjoy having a purpose to my running.  I should will continue doing my speed work/tempo runs the day after my long run so I can get my legs used to running faster when they’re a little tired. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Night Moves Trail Half Race Recap

I did something new yet again!  I ran a trail race AT NIGHT!  This was the Night Moves Trail Race.  It included a 5K, 10K, half (what I did), and a full marathon.  This race was put on by the same people that put on the other 2 trail races I’ve done, Trail Racing Over Texas (TROT).  They’re based out of Houston, TX, so most of their races are closer to Houston, but they have them all over the state.  One of their races I really want to do is the Franklin Mountains Ultra (I’d do “just” the 50K…haha).  Anyway, totally off topic there.

I’m very glad that TROT does packet pickup right before their races on top of the regular packet pickups at a local running store the day before the race because I usually have to drive a few hours to get to their races.  If they only offered pre-race day packet pickup, I’d have to get a hotel room because I’m not driving to Houston just to pick up a packet one day and then again the next day for the race.  San Antonio, yes, Houston, no. 

So, packet pickup was super easy and fast.  I got my bib and my shirt and headed back to my car to hang out until it was closer to the start time.  When I made my way back to the start area, I noticed a lady wearing the exact same INKnBURN singlet as me (Zen!), a pink tutu (I was wearing a pink sparkling skirt…was actually going to wear a pink tutu, but forgot it in my rush), aaaaaaand, she also has the Garmin 920 in red and white!  We were accidental twinsies.  Her name was Tammy and I hung out with her and her friend (who had to sit the race out because she was in a walking boot).
The race kicked off at exactly 8:30pm.  We ran down the park road for a couple tenths of a mile before hitting the trails.  The trails here are actually mountain bike trails, so they’re a little…rough and technical.  I wish I had gotten a hotel room or camped on site because I would have loved to have walked the trails before or after the race and taken pictures of what I was running thru so you guys could get an idea of just how technical it was.  However, it probably looks way less “ominous” in the daylight than it did at night.

The first 2 loops were about 5 miles and the third loops was about 5K.  On the first loop, we were in a huge mass of people (or as huge a mass of people as you can be on a single track trail) and with everyone’s headlamps, knuckle lights, etc lights bouncing and bobbing all over the place, it was a little hard to see.  I tripped a LOT on the first lap until we all spaced out into single runners and smaller groups of runners.  About halfway through the first lap, I hung out with 3 ladies for a bit…Michelle, Kristy (it was her 35th birthday…HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!) and BobbyJo (I may be wrong and her name is BillyJo…if you’re reading this, I’m sorry I don’t remember your name correctly!).  They were very nice, but wanted to stop and take pictures at this ridiculous bike jump.  I don’t blame them.  Part of me wanted to do the same thing.  So I pushed on and went solo.

By the end of the first lap I was completely soaked.  This race was in the Jack Brooks Park just outside of Galveston, TX.  That’s pretty much right at the coast of the Gulf of México, so the humidity was crazy.  I could see it in my visor light right in front of me!  Salty humidity for the win!  Haha.  Not so much.  But other than being completely soaked, the humidity really didn’t seem to bother me.  Probably because, like with any trail race, you walk a fair amount.  So, maybe it did because a couple times I stopped to walk was because I needed to catch my breath. 

I do love hills (no, seriously, I do…not joking!) and so I made sure to power up like 97% of the hills.  Even if I was taking a walk break, I would run up the hills.  And, on the opposite end of the spectrum, I was very careful with the downhills.  At about mile 8.25, I did fall.  Thankfully it was an uphill fall so it wasn’t so bad.  Just a small scrape on my knee and dirt all over my super sweat soaked hands.  Oh, the humidity was so salty that I had a layer of salt on the outside side of my hands!  Like, I could scrape it off with my fingernails! 

The last lap, there was about 1.3 miles remaining and another lady came up behind me and asked how much longer we had.  She said her watch said about 1.3 but wanted to make sure.  I confirmed her watch and mine said the same.  Well, my FitBit said the same thing.  My Garmin was ½ a mile behind.  I knew this previously, but had forgotten, but Garmins don’t do well with lots of zigzagging.  However, my FitBit Blaze, which uses the GPS signal on my phone apparently does a little better and seemed to be pretty accurate.  Anyway, this young lady (we didn’t exchange names) and I ran/walked the final 1.3 miles together and crossed the finish line together.  As we crossed, Rob called out “bib 74 and 134, straight from the pool!”  HAHA!  We were seriously soaked. 

Overall, this was a fantastic race and if I decide to afford it next year (as I’ve decided to cut back on my races next year for financial reason…sad, I know…I love running races so much), then I will definitely be running this race again next year.  While it was lots of fun, I was sooooo glad I was NOT running the marathon distance.  My back and neck were cramping from having to look down so much so I could see what was right in front of me (I think a headlamp strapped around my waist for the next time might be a fabulous idea…Tammy did this!  Or a set of knuckle lights…either way, I need something else besides just the visor light). 

The medal is pretty cool and glows in the dark.
I came in 5th in my age group (10 year spread, 17 total females in my age group) and 44th overall (out of 101 participants in the half).  Pretty decent stats for someone who’s never run a night time trail half marathon before!  I’m happy with it!  I even got mention in the “Top Performances!”  I was apparently 9th female overall.  And based on this, the lady I ran the last 1.3 miles with was named Ashlyn.  So, Ashlyn, if you’re reading this great job!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Free-Da's Run Race Recap

San Antonio, TX has a plethora of unique and fun themed runs all throughout the year.  There is so much culture and history within San Antonio that it is so easy for race directors to find an original theme for their race.  They have TWO Alamo themed races, a Missions themed race, a donut race, Dia de los Muertos, Loteria, and sooooo much more!  The one I did recently was the Free-da Run for the Arts.  You may or may not have heard of a lady named Frida Kahlo, but I’m sure you know about the artist with a unibrow.  One of her famous quotes is “Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?”  If there was ever a quote that applied to running said by an artist, this is it!  She also said "I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best."  Running is all about you.  And I will now think of me painting myself as I run along in my own little world from now on!  I will get to know myself even more and become even more of an expert about myself.  Running has taught me a LOT about myself over the last almost 4 years and I am eternally grateful for that.  And I get to learn about new things, like Frida Kahlo and her wonderful and unique works of art.

So, the race was an evening race and had a start time of 7pm-ish.  The kids race started at 7 and the 5K started about 10 minutes later.  Packet pickup was on site from 5 to 7 and was actually pretty efficient.  They had a board and you looked up your bib # and they really quickly grabbed your packet and handed it to you.  They had everything in a large Ziploc-style bag, ready to go.  None of this searching for your bib at one table and then going to another table and waiting to get your shirt. 

There were a LOT of people in costume.  I was in costume, but what I did was very minimum because I was a slacker and didn’t do as much research into Frida as I really should have.  But, I plan to do that research next year and make a KICK ASS Frida costume!  So, all I did was make myself a crown of roses by gluing some fake red roses to a headband (it looked pretty cheesy by itself, but once I put it on I thought it looked fantastic!) and then doodled a unibrow (that looked way better than I thought it would look) on myself.  I wore a red tank top and a black running skirt.

The shirt was an instant favorite for me.  It’s a nice creamy yellow in a ladies cut and I just love the race’s logo.
And the bib!  Oh the bib!  I’ve said it before and I mean it, I LOVE a customized bib.  And not just a bib with my name on it (thought that is pretty cool), but customized to the event.  And this bib did NOT disappoint!  Probably my favorite bib ever. 

After the kids run was done, they had us line up.  I noticed this sign laid off to the side that I thought was pretty cool. 

The race started in the Ladybird Johnson Community Park in San Antonio.  I ran a race in this park a few years ago and really enjoyed it, so I was excited to run in this location again.  It’s a greenbelt paved hike/bike/run trail so it’s not very wide, so it was a little difficult to pass people.  But pass people I did!  I had done a quick little run to the car and back before the race started to drop off my sunglasses because, this being on a greenbelt trail, it was mostly shaded and I wouldn’t need them.  I decided to track that on my FitBit.  I figured I’d track the race itself with my Garmin.  Only problem with that was, my Garmin died about ¼ mile into the race.  Booo!  (I’m going to buy a new one soon.  I will eventually find a Garmin that doesn’t crap out on me after a year or two)  So, since I had that little bit to the car and back tacked on, I didn’t actually know my mileage as I was running, so I just went to the “current pace” screen on my FitBit.  I continued to pass people after the turnaround and felt really strong.

Oh, so it was 97° (with a “feels like” of 103°!!!) at the start.  I went out with the objective of just running my own race and to feel good and run at a comfortably hard effort and just do the best that I could.  There wasn’t a LOT a LOT of people running this race and the age group spreads were 5 years, so I figured I might just have a chance to place.  I at least wanted to give it a good try. 

As we crossed the finish line, these 2 ladies in gorgeous dresses threw confetti on us.  I later discovered that those 2 ladies and the guy in a fancy outfit right next to them were professional Mexican cultural dancers.  They put on a show for us and it was so beautiful!
I checked the results board and was so excited to see that I PLACED 3RD in my age group!!!  My official time was 27:18 which is just 10 seconds shy of becoming a new PR!  And my previous PR was done on a flat course in temps about 40° cooler.  I am definitely faster and fitter than I was then and I’m confident that I can run that sub-27 or maybe even a sub-26 minute 5K before the year is over!  Anyway, this race has a podium for the top 3 to stand on! 

So I got to stand on an actual podium for the first time ever!
I think that says I was 22nd overall female and 70th overall finisher
The medals were super cute!  2nd and 3rd places in each group got these adorable wooden easels with a tiny canvas with the race logo and your placement “painted” on it.  The 1st place finisher in each age group got a little hand painted ceramic skull with a crown of flowers.  Maybe next year I’ll snag one of those skulls!

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