Friday, January 29, 2010

What do YOU want from your local running store?

I believe a local running store should be there for their runners in any way possible because, hey!, the runners are the reason they're in business. By this I mean anything and everything from providing water and gatorade outside the store (for runners and dogs too!), to stocking some of the most up-to-date equipment, shoes, and apparel out there. I don't believe running stores should charge $100-$250 dollars for a training program (half a year by the way) and should, rather, be a place for runners to meet and run together for free and with the help of the store.

I have a few other ideas, but I wanted to hear from you guys!! You're running every day and some of you have awesome local running stores. They host events and have recognition days...

What can your local running store do for you???
~ Provide seats to stop at during a hot day with cold water and maybe gatorade (if they're in a heavy foot-traffic area)
~ Provide low cost (or no) cost running groups
~ ??? What are your ideas???

Be Carefull... that treadmill MUST be on fire!!!

Treadmill Speedwork Challenge!

I usually do Yasso-800's for my weekly speedwork but over the past few months those have become a little tired and local schools seem to be locking up their tracks when we're not in football season :( So... I was left with the mill-o-death.

As you know, the T-mill and I area working on our relationship-- going through therapy, spending quality time, and overall just trying to have a more positive attitude toward each other. I visit it for about 2 of my weekly runs, and it doesn't throw me off and kill me. Deal? Deal! So I thought I would get some speedwork in on my new buddy and see how that goes.

Workout: Speed Ladders on the T-mill ~7:16-7:41 min/mile
I did a ladder rung with about .14 miles of jogging or walking between each set.
Ladder: .25M, .5M, .75M, 1M, 1M, .75M, .5M, .25M
Elevation: Varied- T-mill set on "Random," but I kept it on a lower setting- no mountain climbing!
Total Mileage with W/U, C/D, and .14 between: ~6.25

This is the first time since I hurt my ankle AND since I bought my new VFFs that I attempted to do speedwork. My ankle did get a little tight between the 2- mile ladder rungs, but I iced at the end it it's feeling better. Overall, I finished all my planned rungs and really had the T-mill down in the low 7's... which in real life I consider to be REALLY low 7's or high 6's (I don't trust the speed accuracy on those htings). I finished and was literally ringing out my hair and shirt, but I was very proud to get my first speed session of the year done successfully!!!

I cleaned up in the locker room, grabbed my stuff and very proudly walked by my treadmill friend. Apparently, I turn around for 5 minutes and he's forming relationships with another runner. That's ok though-- she was going much slower, so he wasn't going to have any fun with her. And as I very wittily thought to myself "be careful... that treadmill MUST be on fire!" cause I kicked butt today!!!

What speedwork do you do??? Would love to hear some new ideas to try!!!

.... That's was last night. Tonight I have an easy workout at the gym so I can run my 13-15 tomorrow. I don't want to push too far, so I'm doing 13, evaluating then possibly doing another 2. I'll probably be running on the back side of the flying pig course because I live right on it!!! If you're ever interested in running the Pig let me know... great race, great medals, great bags... just great overall!!!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Vibrams what's up with you??? And Podcast Review: FAIL!!!!

I ran a longer-maintenance run tonight. It was supposed to be around 8, but I underestimated my combined loops and overshot by about 3/4 of a mile. Still good though. Yes, I ran in my vibrams-- I don't THINK I had any embarrassing vibram moments... although, a chiuaua DID chase after me, but he's so short I couldn't figure out if he was actually barking at my feet. I'll be honest- it scared me at first!!! 3 Things on this run...

1) Have you ever had a moment when you're headphone are on and there are loud cars passing, right when somebody comes running up behind you quick. In the matter of .05 second it takes you to turn and realize it's another runner you manage to gasp, jump and think...

 "OMG, I'm about to be mugged and I have no pepper spray. What could they actually take from me? Well I DO love my Ipod-- it's pink and I don't really want to get a new one. It's a 3rd generation and the new ones are just so awkward. Well they have videos-- but seriously!!! Who can watch videos while they run?? Hmm... I would if it had Twilight on it! How can I best hide the jewlry I'm wearing? I wish I had listened when my mom told me I needed pepper spray!!!"

Well I had one of those moment followed quickly with a "oh my god" when I realized it was a group of high school cross country boys. Not only was I embarrased at my yelping and their passing me quicker than lightening, but I was also pretty jealous of their butts and legs-- yes, I DID say high school BOYS. I don't know what they're feeding boys out here but they have the butts and legs of very athletic chicks: Small, toned, curvey. I don't get it. Oh well, moving on!!!!....

2) My vibrams started fighting back. Remember my run through the Mud Pit?? Well after i washed and dried my VFFs they got a little snugger. Good news/bad news. Good news: When they rub they don't actually form blisters. Bad new: when they rub they just straight cut into your foot. Furtunately (or maybe UNfortunately) for me, I don't feel cutting into my feet. I came home with bloody feet and bloody VFFs. Sigh... oh well, I'll just have to get them back loostened up again-- back to wearing my VFFs around work!!!! Yayyyyyyy

3) PODCAST Review #1: Two Gomers Run a Marathon
DL Location: ITunes or above Link
Primary Type (Speaking, Music, etc): Speaking
Location (Home, Running, etc): Home
About: Supposed to be about running-- it's not!
Episode(s): 3 and 4

Opinion Time!
About: This is the first running podcast I've listened to and I just couldn't focus on anything they were saying. This is probably because it was extremely boring!!! I think you can take a running podcast 2 ways. 1) You know about running and you're talking about your methods, giving advice, giving other's advice, presenting different ideas in running, etc. OR 2) You don't know much about running- accept that fact and talk about what you're learning, why you're on the programs you are, bring in other people who DO know what they're talking about... or at LEAST be entertaining!!! These guys don't know much about running (even though they have trained for and run a half marathon). That's fine-- you have to start somewhere, but if you're going to do a show on it, accept that fact and discuss the challanges you're facing and how you're getting through those. These guys spent abouttt 20 of the 50 minutes talking about what shows they were excited to see come out. The only real running related discussion they had were talking about the 5K's they did and essentially only spent time complimenting themselves and each other.

OOH and on a side note: The one "Gomer" (still have no idea what that even means) was discussing the Taylor Swift/Kanye mess (this was the week after he interrupted her award) and the one actually said (in reference to Taylor Swift) "I've never even heard of that person". SERIOUSLY??? WTF


1) What podcasts are you following?? Where do you find them??? Any good places to DL podcasts for Mac computers???

2) WHO would YOU want to hear make a podcast??? I have 2 people/groups:
- I think if B.O.B and The Redhead did a podcast it would be freaking hilarious!!! They would definitely have a mix of "running knowledge" and pure entertainment.
- Tall Mom aleady has a huge following because of her insight and thoughtful nature. She would definitely have one of those uplifting "you can do it" sort of podcasts... you know full of pump up music and ever once in a while you hear motivating phrases like "aspire to inspire" Thanks Mel!!!   

That's all for tonight. Happy Running!!!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

VFF #6- Longest Death-mill run!!!

Workout #6 with VFFs... LongEST death-mill run!!!

Run attempt #6:
Location: 1-Mile to the Gym, then 5 miles on a treadmill!!!!!
Mileage: 6 Mile
Incline: Varied 0.0-5.6 incline
Shoe: Vibram 5-finger classics
Pace: ~8:40min/mile

I think I've (almost) completely transitioned to the VFFs! 5 miles with decent sized hills and some speed work at the end... My vibrams are holding up well. I say almost because I've yet to run an actual marathon in my new kicks. We'll see how that goes. ... that was the run last night

As for the treadmill, I'm giving myself a freaking HIGH-five for 5 miles!!! That's HUGE for me. A few weeks ago I would kill myself to do 1 mile and count down each of the tenths of miles... ok, ok hundreths.

Treadmill Entertainment?
1) Killer hills to Flat: the range keeps me going and pushing through the miles!
2) What NOT to Wear-- seriously, who doesn't love that show? It's an hour and TLC is one of my favorite channels :) TV distracts!!!
3) PODCASTS??? I DL's a few tonight so tomorrow I'll test out the power of the podcast. I can only figure out how to DL on my mac through I-Tunes... DOES anybody else know a good site to get podcasts that work for apples??? Podbean did not seem to. :(

... What helps YOU get through your treadmill workouts??? I would love some ideas on how to speed the time up.

Happy Running!!!!!!!!!!

PS> I may be 3-glasses deep into champagne at this moment (yes, left over champagne from the New Moon board game night) so please excuse any typos!!!!

OOOH HUGE PS!!! I heard back from Vibrams on transitioning. I simply asked if they had a plan for transitioning into running with vibrams and this is what i got back today...

Hi Stephanie,

We always recommend starting as slowly as possible. There is a great website for transitioning runners called 

You will probably find that running in FF will stimulate many more muscles in the feet and lower legs. Because of this, you need to ease into training by running 10-20% of our normal run at first and then building gradually fro there.

I hope this helps and please let me know if you have any further questions!

Georgia Shaw

Marketing Associate, Vibram FiveFinger

Checking out the site and I'll be back for what I learned... I DO find it funny that VFFs require ANOTHER site to help transition. :P

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Vibram 10-miler & Mud Feet

Workout #5 with VFFs... Long Run!

Run attempt #5: First Long Run- 10M
Location: Back part of the Flying Pig Marathon loop
Mileage: 10 Mile
Incline: Varied-- Large up and down hills
Shoe: Vibram 5-finger classics
Pace: ~9min/mile

I completed my first longer run in my new vibrams. I waited until the next day for my "evaluation" of how the run went-- as should be done when transitioning into my new purple feet! As usual, I started off a little tight in my ankle and had to stop after about a mile to stretch it and run my ankle. After that, I stayed pretty loose. I feel confident in building up my mileage over the next 3 weeks, before my next marathon. Post-run thoughts? I'm surprised that my calves feel much more loose than before the run.

Mud Feet!!! aka. Embarrassing story #3 for the week!!!
Ok, I don't know how you'll feel about port-a-johns but I really don't mind them, esp if I'm on a run, need one and ta-daaaa there's magically one there! Like my own little poop-fairy godmother is watching out! Well Hyde Park seems to always have little construction sites going on, so there tend to be random port-a-johns all around. Not gonna lie-- when I find a port-a-john on a long run I get a similar feeling to  discovering somebody has a completely open facebook profile. YAYAYA-- Kind of like that!

So I'm on my run around mile 7-- 3miles from home and I've taken a GU without water-- you can guess what that means. I remember that up the road, along my route, there is a little bit of road work going on and there is a port-a-john that never seems to be used, but always maintained at the end of the week (oh yes, I check the maintenance dates). I think "YESS!!!" But I still have about a mile. I slow down a little when I see a HERD of runners coming toward me. Ugggh! One of the local running stores always has a huge group and they all run on the same roads saturday mornings in my neighborhood. Oh great. Well I start picking up pace because 1) I wanna look good in front of these other runners and 2) I HAVE to get to this port-a-john.

When I make my way through the oncoming traffic running 2-3 abreast (ps. how annoying is that??) I hear about a dozen people say or yell "Vibrams" or "Barefoot running!!!!" at me, which gets the attention of the maybe 2 people who haven't noticed my feet. Well... at least they know what they are and aren't staring at me as I run by with a look that says "why are your feet purple and where are your shoes??" like most people do!

So, I make my way through, get down the road and FINALLY get to my port-a-john (maintained the day before). I do my thang and head out. Well instead of going the 5 feet straight ahead to the road then running, I decide to take a cut through the grass a little... or the dirt, as it appeared to be. Not so much!!! As I start to sink into a foot of mud I realize I've made a big mistake. I make my way over to the road as quickly as possible, wading through the mud. My vibrams are COVERED in thick heavy mud. Now the "purple feet" look isn't sounding so bad, as I look like some sort of Yetti with mud-covered feet! Ick.

I run my last 2 miles to gym, going through the grass as much as possible to try and get the mud off. I can feel the mud going into the vibrams and it's gross. Once I'm at the gym, I gun it up the stairs to the locker room showers to get the mud off my feet and legs. I'm definitely happy I didn't have real shoes because they would have been very heavy and probably ruined. Oh well... at least I really got to test out the VFFs! They cleaned off well, dried easily and don't appear to have shrunken.

Took the day off today for a little recovery!!!

Ohhh and follow up to my photo-friday post? We had a little New Moon pre-gaming action last night, playing "New Moon" the board games (yes, there is a board game) and drinking champagne out of my new moon cup-- I knowwww what you're thinking... "wow this is one classy chick!" Orrrr probably more likely-- "wow, this girl needs a better Sat night life!" No worries, we went out after the game. :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Photo Friday... my weekend drinks!!! & Vibram w/o #4

I took only 2 pictures during last weekends "activities" (I'm sure you'll be able to figure out what said activities are) and they were both pictures of drinks that I felt were good discussion points for my running blog-- esp leading up to another fun-filled (although non-marathon) weekend -- seriously, how can a weekend be fun if you're not running a marathon? pshhhh...

Drink #1) PoMeGrAnAtE MaRgArItA!
Discussion Point 1: The amount of time I spend running in life, is directly proportional to the speed at which I start to get drunk!

1) This is not just a picture of my margarita, this is a picture taken at the exact point that I get that blood vessel/muscle tightening feeling in my legs. Does anybody else get this??? It's the point when alcohol first hits me and my legs are the first place that feels it-- almost a tightening sensation of the muscle or maybe the veins?? It kind of almost hurts. Who knows... I can't be the only person this happens to!!!

2) Also, this isn't an "empty stomach-haven't eaten in hours- so the drink hits me fast" type of situation. I had, in fact, eaten about an hour before this. So I am, in fact, pathetic!

3) Is there anything better than a Pom martini/margarita?? Actually, just yesterday Shut up and Run made a post about the uhhhhh health benefits of Pom juice. hmmmm

*Yes, that's a sugar ring at the top... yummmm*

Drink #2) NEW MOON CUP--- does it really matter whats in the cup?? No- I don't think so!
Discussion Point 2: No, I'm not too old to make a fool of myelf over a teen movie... cup.

1) First and foremost-- Team Edward!!! If you're on Team Jacob we can have a lengthy discussion on why you're incorrect :0P Which team are YOU on?? Do you dare tell me???

2) I did, in fact, scream at the popcorn girl who was filling my coke cup up with a normal coke cup that I "NEED THE NEW MOON CUP!!!" much to Kyle's embarrassment. Do I care? Of course not, I have a really cool cup now!!!

3) I most CERTAINLY kept the cup (It's a hard plastic take home cup) and it was displayed on my living room table, until Kyle put it in the kitchen... I don't think he approves of my obsession/he thought the cup should be cleaned. whateverrrrr

4) What books/movies should you be ashamed of having an obsession over, but don't??

5) I'm determined to find a free audio copy of the twilight series to listen to in  my marathons!!! I can't think of something I would rather do more with my running time than listen to this stuff!! If you happen to know where I can find a copy, I'm all ears!!!! Slash I will love you foreverrrrrrr...
Workout Numero 4 with the Vibrams...

Run attempt #4: 6 Mile Tempo
Location: 2 outdoors, 4 Treadmill
Mileage: 6 Mile
Incline: Slight uphill to the gym 1 mile, 4 mile "random" setting on the mill-o-death, and 1 mile downhill home
Shoe: Vibram 5-finger classics
Pace: 8:00-8:20 min/mile

Bob  was kind enough to send me this link on transitioning to barefoot running. I've been reading up and it sound like you slowly increase your miles then you'll hit a point where your legs say "ok, that's enough" and you're very sore right after or the next day-- primarily in your lower legs. Well folks, my magic point is 6-miles. No biggie though, this is expected and this site actually has different programs to make your transition...

The idea is to test your legs out little by little. I chose the "Average" foot stregth program...

*Sample program provided from the Run Natural Blog.*

My mileage/evaluation period just about doubled this program, but they currently don't have an "advanced foot strength" program. So their day 6 is my mile 6-- I definitely have a little achilles and calf tightening post-run last night and today. So today I'll take an easy day to loosten up then resume my increase on Saturday. According to their site "it only gets easier..." after 4 miles, hopefully that works for my mile 6!

Foot Evaluation: (how are the feet holding up) My feet are taking to the vibrams in a few ways....
1) I'm starting to get an arch in my foot. I wish I had my camera yesterday. It was raining on my way to the gym and when I got inside I saw my footprint for the first time... and there is an arch!!!! Even with the vibrams on.
2) My calves are getting bigger... apparently that is possible!!! I'm so not going to fit into any of my high boots anymore. Ugh...
3) The pads of my feet are gettig a bit torn up... starting to peel and get callased over. Kind of gross, but at least they're accepting the vibrams.
4) I got my first "sore" (blisters/cutes/etc) from the vibrams. I was running in the rain, then came inside and ran. I got a little bit of a nick on the inside of my left foot. May be from how I had the vibrams tightned using the chord in the back.

Vibram Evaluation: (how are the vibrams holding up) I've notived a few things...
1) I have my first small hole (mind you I've been wearing these things everywhere and doing every kind of workout in them... including spinning!). I thought spinning (being up in the saddle esp) would help the pad of my foot get stronger in the vibrams. At some point I must have caused a tear getting out of the bike. oops. Hopefully it stays small
2) Running in big puddles in vibrams had its pros and cons. Pro: They don't hold water like sneakers, weighing me down. Con: It's like running in water shoes-- they tend to rub a little when wet.
3) My toes get cold :( I'm going to look into getting their more covering forms of vibrams-- the classics are very open. Also, looking into getting the Injinji socks!
... so far so good!

Going to try for a 10 miler tomorrow. This will push and test both my ankle and my vibrams! If I can make it through this run then I'll feel much more confident about 1) Running Myrtle Beach in a few weeks at all and 2) Running in my vibrams.

If the vibrams bother me, I'm gong back to shoes for these next two marathons, and the rest of the training on the way. If my ankle hurts, I'm going to see a sports ankle specialist next week. Wish me luck!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

2010 Goal Recap and Race Sched Update!!!

Its been a whole week since I made my 2010 goals and with my ankle coming back to life, I wanted to do a little positive-reinforcement and check out the steps I've made so far!!!

1)Get and Stay Healthy... getting there-- The ankle feels better and I'm hoping to do a little bit of a longer run in my vibrams tonight. Wish me luck!!!!
2) 24 Marathons... signed up for another 3 including Rock-N-Roll Seattle!!! If anybody wants to run and need a $10 discount code let me know!!!
3)120 lbs - get there and stay there. Did a weight check on Saturday, I'm down to 126.5 (lost 1.5 lbs last week with all my non-running classes and high rep weight lifting. Plus eating a lot better. Woohoo!)
4) We've decided on our Alaskan Marathon-- MB, myself, Aunt Terri, and Granama will be going to Anchorage Alaska in August for MB and me to run the Humpy's Classic Marathon!!!
5) 2010 Miles in 2010-- With a week off, I'm low on milage (84.4 miles for the month) but hopefully I'll recover and make it up soon! For now... FAIL!
6) Treadmill!!! Ugh did my first mid-distance run this week! Making progress...
7) Bloggy friends... I've made plans to meet a few (see below sched) for a couple of races! yayyyy
8) Boston? No speedwork started this year with my break I was taking :( FAIL
Extra Goal: 150 followers? Well I had 77, and now I have 86 followers. I call that progress!

... NOT TOO SHABBY. Getting a good start, now I just need to stay focused and heal any injuries!

I was able to update my schedule for 2010. You can always find it in the "Upcoming races" link at the top of the page.. but for now I'll give you a preview and a link here for the full list as well. If you're going to any of the same races or you want to join me for one of the races just let me know. Also, if you're doing a race in a state that is tentative or doesn't have a race scheduled, let me know and I can join you!

February Marathons...
Myrtle Beach Marathon (SC)
Myrtle Beach, SC ~ Feb 13, 2010 <3 <3
Spectator: Kyle
HMRRC Winter Marathon (NY)
Albany, NY ~ Feb 21, 2010
Spectators: Home town groupies! 

March Marathons...
Little Rock Marathon (AR)
Little Rock, AR ~ Mar 7, 2010
Runners: MB

Bataan Memorial Death March (NM)
White Sands, NM ~ Mar 21, 2010
Runners: Team "Beauty and the Geeks" & Kim's Team

Ocean Drive Marathon (NJ)
Cape May, NJ~ Mar 28, 2010
Runners: MB

April Marathons...
GO! St. Louis Marathon (MO)
St. Louis, MO ~ April 22, 2010
Runners: MB

April Tentative...
Vasque Free State Trail Marathon (KS)- Part 1 of Double
Lawrence, KS ~ April 24, 2010

Oklahoma City Marathon (OK)- Part 2 of Double
Oklahoma City, OK ~ April 25, 2010
Runners: MB, Amanda
May Marathons...
Delaware Marathon (DE)
Wilmington, DE ~ May 16, 2010

Fargo Marathon (ND)
Fargo, ND ~ May 22, 2010

June Marathons...
Rock'N'Roll Seattle
Seattle, WA ~ June 26, 2010
Runners: Mel (Tall Mom), Amanda, Marlene, Amanda

For full sched see above link.

IR: Going to try for a longer run tonight-- outside in the vibrams. We'll see how I do!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Garlic-Parmesan Turkey Burger (Yumm) and IR

It's no secret-- I loveeeeee me some red meat. I often gross people out when I stress to the waiter that my burger be "as RARE as you can possibly make it!" In fact... my favorite post-marathon meal is a cheeseburger and fries! Terrible, right? Besides the obvious fat, cholesterol and calories, my new obsession "Born to Run" (really, they should be paying me for all this PR), has found me more reasoning to stray from my red meat habits...

The author is discussing a "traditional western diet" as being full of animal proteins, especially red meat...
"when cancerous tumors are removed by surgery, they are 300 percent more likely to grow back in patients with 'Traditional western diets' ..." ...."Why? Because stray cells left behind after surgery seem to be stimulated by animal proteins."

Ok, now I tried the vegetarian thing, and that just isn't possible, but I do think its possible to find substitutes for red meat without giving up taste!!! I've been making these garlic-parm turkey burgers and they are SOOO good, even a rare-burger-eater will enjoy!

Ground Turkey (Any fat %, but I prefer a very lean turkey-- you really can't tell a difference)
1 Egg
1 Cup Bread Crumbs
~1/2 cup parmesan cheese (I get reduced fat)
~1/4 cup chopped onions
1 Tbsp of minced garlic
Pinch Basil and oregano
salt/pepper to taste
optional: 1/4 cup chopped celery

Easy Steps:
1) Combine all ingredients-- I suggest mixing with your hands-- don't ask why, but I feel it adds taste haha!
2) If the mix is too mushy add more bread crumbs
3) Form Patties--- Turkey burgers need more time to cook through, so I wouldn't make these overly thick!
4) Cook on a stove or grill

There should already be enough cheese in the recipe, but if you want a cheese-turkey burger, I suggest using shredded mozzarella.

IR: Went to the Dr. today. She says it looks ok to try and ramp up the mileage and "see how it feels"... so basically I'll be doing my own diagnosis. She also told me that the area that hurts (I can target it a little better now) is the deltoid ligament ....

From the "Sports Injury Clinic":
The deltoid ligament is on the inside of the ankle and provides support to prevent the ankle over pronating. (Pssshhhh Apparently not!) It is rare for the deltoid ligament to be sprained (HA!) as the fibula bone tends to prevent the ankle from moving far enough to sprain or over stretch the ligament (BAD fibula, bad!!). A deltoid ligament sprain is often associated with a fracture of the fibula or other bones in the ankle.

Well apparently I'm defying all physical odds, since I didn't fracture a bone (acc to the Dr. and the fact that I can run on it- knock on wood).

That's it for today-- took a day off from working out today! I exercised my shopping muscles instead... and boyyyy were they in need of a good workout!

Happy Running!

RE-Learning to Run... Day #3

Day three in recovery mode and with my new Vibram 5 Fingers

Run attempt #3: 4 Easy
Location: Treadmill (kill me now)
Mileage: 4 Mile
Incline: Cross Country Road (aka holy hills!)
Shoe: Vibram 5-finger classics
Pace: 9:20 avg min/mile

Report: If you missed yesterdays post, I opted for the device of torture instead of the road so I wouldn't look like some sort of purple-footed hitch hiking freak if I had to stop and walk. I psyched myself up, convinced myself that the treadmill is just like the road and I could be safe and warm inside! This is going to be just great, really....

Mile 1: Ok, not so bad... it's nice to be warm inside, and we're on a flat ground. My ankle feels pretty good. I do my usual half mile, then stop to rub the tendon/ligament/w.e and most of the tightness goes away and I continue my merry little jaunt...
Mile 2-3: OMG! Have I mentioned that I HATE treadmills??? It was all fun and games until this stupid machine decides to incline at a level I never knew humans were capable of walking, let along running, at! Cross country my butt-- I ran cross country and I never thought I was scaling a building! The good news? My ankle isn't bothering me on the hills-- which combine both actions that usually give me pain: kicking back in my stride and walking up stairs.

Mile 4: Please oh please let it be over soon... Legs, just hold out a little longer-- I promise it will be over soon and I won't do this to you again. You've done nothing to deserve this!!!! Usually when the hill starts decending, it drops by about half the incline-- but not in the last mile!!! They give you a surprise and only drop it by like half a degree, just to feel that extra burn! Gee what fun.

Post Run: Thank god that's over! Ankle survived pretty well and I made it thorugh my first full treadmill workout. That is the longest I've ever run on the torture chamber and I'm glad to be done. My ankle? Not too bad... again, I noticed if I lost form and pronated (as much as you can in VFFs) it would get very tight. Other than that it seems ok... Going to see the Dr. this morning.

Vibrams: I'm definitely getting used to them. I'm currently trying to contact Vibram to hear what they have for a suggested weekly milage & long runs to get acclimated with the shoe. I've read a lot about people's ventures into vibrams... they all seem to get really sore at first from the VFFs. Either my legs are so used to the torture I put them through with marathons, or I haven't gone a far enough distance to feel them yet. I do know (depending on what the Dr. says) I need to decide this week if I'm going to be ready to use the VFFs in 2.5 weeks for my next marathon. If I'm not I need to get back into shoes. One of the most agreed upon suggestions is NOT to switch between shoes and your VFFs regularly. But this is looking days ahead, today the focus is what the Dr. says.

No embarrassing vibram moments to report today!!!!

Road ID- here
Pink Dots Custom Creations here

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A run a day keeps the Dr. away???

Since I did so well the past 2 days of running, I'm going to try to sneak in just 1 more before going back to the Dr. tomorrow morning. I'm going to try for a 4 mile run on the, UGHHHH treadmill. I don't feel confident enough in my ankle to run out in the streets. Just picture it...

I'm 2 miles from home, wearing my vibrams and I have to stop running. I'm going to look like some sort of purple-footed hitch hiking freak!!!! No spanks!!!!

IR: My ankle feels better when I run, but I haven't tried to push too hard. When I press on the tendon/bone/area thing -- it still hurts to the touch. Hopefully its more of a deep bruise and I can run through it.

*If you think you know whats wrong with me I'm taking guesses!!! If I ever find out and you guessed right, you get a prize!!!*
Clue #1: The pain is coming from the inside of my right ankle.
Clue #2: The pain hurt most when I would kick back in my stride (running only, not walking), as well as when I walked up the stairs
Clue #3: There are 2 "hot spots" of pain... the first is on the inside, top of the heel-- if you are looking at your foot, its right to the left of where the achilles meets the heel bone-- there is some sort of tendon or ligament there. The other spot is just above the ankle bone, again on the inside, with about 2 inches of an area that is in pain. I can't tell if its actually on the small leg bone or on a tendon/muscle/w.e that runs along the bone.

Good luck!!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

I DON'T have purple feet!!!! (RE-Learning to Run... Day #2)

Day two in recovery mode and with my new Vibram 5 Fingers

Run attempt #2: 3 Easy
Location: Road
Mileage: 3 Mile
Incline: Varry
Shoe: Vibram 5-finger classics
Pace: 9:00 avg min/mile

Report: I decided to test my ankle/tendon/injured thing out on the road today. I found and easy mile that circles my apartment so if anything happened I wasn't too far.

Mile 1: I started with an easy pace, getting my ankle warmed up. The loop is flat, followed by a long graded downhill, then a long graded uphill back home. Half way through my ankle got a little tight on the long downhill, so I stopped for 10 seconds to rub it a little. After that it started to warm up.

Mile 2-3: I was still feeling good going into my second loop, so I extended the loop a bit, which gave my ankle a good test... the BIG hill near my apartment! Still felt a little tight, but not painful. By the end of the run, after getting more and more warmed up, I wasn't even that tight.

Post Run: After the run I stretched a bit and I could feel my ankle was a little sore, but nothing too bad. The funny thing is, when I press on the tedon/bone area it still hurts as much as it did early last week, but when I use the ankle (running/walking/etc) it doesn't hurt like it did. Not sure what that means, but hopefully the Dr. will tell me its ok and give me the go ahead on running Myrtle Beach in 3 weeks. :)

Vibrams: This was my second running attempt in my vibrams, my first time outside and they felt great. I've always wanted to run on the front of my feet with good running form, but -- let's face it!-- when we get tired our form is the first thing that goes, and we fall back on my heels. Well, the vibrams give you no choice. Try running in your bare feet... you'll notice it's very awkward if you do land on your heel-- much more natural to fall on the front of your foot with very even footing (no overpronation). I also found running on uneven surfaces (the right edge of the road), my shoes tended to wear out on the inside of my right foot... so when I run on flat surfaces, my shoe forces me to overpronate as well. The vibrams don't wear that way, and allow you to run naturally on the uneven surfaces.

Vibram embarrassing moment #2: I know people make comments about my vibrams (or what they usually think are "socks")-- in the gym, at work, walking around the grocery store... but I thought when I ran, nobody could notice!! Wrong... they noticed! I had a few people stare at my feet in stopped cars at a red light. Then I was running by a woman who was getting her groceries out of her car and she came to a dead stop when I was about 10 feet away, followed me with her eyes on my feet, until I was out of sight.

Sigh... I know it must look like I'm running in either socks or my feet are purple, but seriously, when did staring become ok??? I need a shirt that says "No, these are not socks. Yes, these are shoes, No my feet are not purple." I feel that will help answer most questions people are wondering. 

Icing, a movie, then off to bed to get my foot elevated!!! Woohoo.

First Light Marathon... Race Ratings (#23)

Tagline: "If only it was as warm as the people are nice!"
2010 First Light Marathon

Registration Fee: $45 to $60 early ($75 late). Discount for 50-staters of 20% (mail in)!
Overall Race Rating (weighted): 3.1/5.0
Average Calculated Rating: 3.2/5.0

~ I would call this race a very quiet and peaceful run. It has a pretty course of southern suburbs through Mobile. The race organization can use a little work, especially if the race continues to grow (almost 10 years running).

Race Director: Let's place race director...
~What would I have changed if I were race director? For a course growing in size, there needs to be some sort of Gel on the course. Also, the expo needs a little work... if this continues to be part of a double marathon weekend with Mississippi Blues, they need to get a few more vendors. Also, I think there should be some sort of extra medal or Pin for those who complete both marathons--- I think this would be a great way to get more runners as well. This is the same weekend as Disney's goofy challenge-- this could be the ultimate challenge! Runners will come!!!

Event Organization: 2.5/5.0 (now broken into 2 parts, see below as well) As far as "event organization" we'll go ahead and include things like Host hotel, website use, ease of travel to the event and to the actual race, etc.
Distance from Airport to Expo/Race: 13 Miles (25 min)
Rental Car Required: Yes
~ The hotel/expo weren't too difficult to find, and the event was held in a pretty area of Mobile. The website was a little shotty-- slow, difficult to navigate, etc. The airport is also pretty tiny, so there may not be too many flights on the day you're looking.

Race Organization: 3.5/5.0
~ The start of the race is held at the hotel/expo area, so we were able to stay inside, away from the cold, until the race started. There were no GU/Gel stops, so plan on carrying your own. The rest stops were pretty well supplied-- even giving out chicken broth at points to warm the runners. I didn't notice a ton of rest stop... but I didn't need one. The race was pretty well blocked off with cones-- we didn't get the entire roads, but they blocked them pretty well and cars went by slowly, so we were safe.
~Post Race Food: (new sub catagory) There was a bbq-type food area after. You could get chicken/pork sandwichs with different kinds of sides and salads and cookies. They also had different cold and warm options for drinks.

Course: 3.2/5.0
~ I would describe this course as very quiet-- in a good way! It's a very calm, peaceful, pretty course through Mobile. You go through a lot of suburban areas with very pretty houses and lots of people along the way to support the runners. The course wraps through 2 universities and is relatively flat until you get to miles 15-18. There are a few hills at this point, which probably seem worse because of the marathon the day before. Nothing overly special, but still nice. The end is a little rough because its mile long straight aways along traffic.

Spectators: 2.9/5.0
~ Spectators are ok in this race. One thing I noticed was that police blocked off the streets for most of the race, but the last few miles seemed to be patrolled by a biker gang sort of group! Unusual, but kind of cool. Spectators were throughout the suburban streets. The campuses were quiet-- too early for the college students to be up.

Pace Group: /5.0

Runner/Corrals: 4.5/5.0
~ Runners were very friendly and fun. Groups started forming in the race at random for people to run together. One group I paced with for a bit, had a guy who was talking a mile a minute... suddenly he yelled out that there should be music and started to bust out "Eye of the Tiger" -- everybody joined in!! While running a pretty good pace. Pretty funny.

Expo: 2.8/5.0
~ The expo here wasn't huge.. but you could get a few items. There was one table with running gear/equipment and a few other tables with drink samples.
Swag: 2.7/5.0
~T-Shirts: The T-shirt is long sleeve and light blue, but its a regular cotten long sleeve-- not something you should run with too far. The picture on the front was ok, nothing special. 2.7
~Medals: The medal is a wooden medallion with a sticker of race information on the front. On the back, the medallions are painted by members of the L'Arche-mobile community (the charity the race is for). 2.7
~ Goodie Bag: There wasn't really a goody bag, you had the option to take some leaflets if you wanted them, but nothing extra.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

RE-Learning to Run... Day #1

In my Injury Report  (IR) I mentioned that I was taking a week off and trying to mend my pulled tendon-ligament-heel bone area. We aren't exactly sure what is causing the pain, but at first I was feeling a "ripping" sensation every time I kicked back in my stride. Well I've been testing it out and it feels much closer to a tightening sensation. After I warmed up with a 45 Min spin class today, I decided to test it out on the... (dun dun dunnnn) Dreadmill! ugh!

Run attempt #1: 1 Mile Slow Treadmill
Mileage: 1 Mile
Incline: 0-2 grade
Shoe: Vibram 5-finger classics
Pace: 9:30 avg min/mile

Report: I started with a 10 min/mile and felt pretty good so I conducted test #1, increasing my pace to around 8:20 min/mile. I felt a little tightening. I think this is because, the faster I go, the more I lose my form and start to overpronate. I had to OVER-overpronate during the marathon, because it made my knee feel better-- that's how I ended up hurting my ankle! So as long as I run with a forced arch in my foot- landing correctly it feels great. If I let my foot roll in, my ankle hurts.

So then I decided to conduct test #2-- incline! I increased it up to incline level 2-- not a huge amount, but enough to make me really push off with my foot. Not bad!!! A little tightening, but nothing that was going to pull.

Vibrams: My first attempt with vibrams was on the treadmill. I had planned on running with my sneakers, but after a week of walking around and exercising with the Vibrams, the shoes just felt SO heavy. Also, when I started running in the sneakers, I couldn't change my form and it felt very uncomfortable. The vibrams have already started giving me an arch and my shoes have been worn enough to be flattened on the inside, causing my foot to further pronate.

I like the vibrams so far. It felt very natural to run in them and they allow me to run in a comfortable position. Also, they have these little tab like things on the back. Immediately I thought... "oooh blistersss!!" However, I have a scab on the back of my ankle from the chip holder in one of the races last week. If the vibrams were going to cause a blister/cut they certainly would have annoyed the scab-- I looked after I was finished and the scab was fine!!

Overall, I would say Run Attempt #1 was pretty successful... but I have a ways to go. I'm going to try to do 2 tomorrow and if that feels good and my doc gives the OK, I'll try and run 4 on tues.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I may or may not be emotionally cheating...

So yesterday a local radio was talking about different forms of cheating-- one thing they said was that women actually find it worse to emotionally cheat than actually cheat. After a little bit of debate, it was decided that emotional meant-- having feelings for, being in love with, devloping a strong relationship with, etc somebody other than your signif other. Well...

I'm in LOVE I'm in LOVE and I don't care who knows it!!!!
Meet my new love, or should I say loves (that's right, I'm an multi emotional cheater)...

(my right foot isn't weird-- its my compression sock!)
I'm the proud new owner of  Vibram Five Fingers!!! After reading the book "Born to Run " (seriously, read this book!) I had to try these out! Also, with my ankle/heel/tendon/w.e hurting I wanted something that forces stability in the small muscles/tendons of my feet. These are awesome!

The only down side to these: EVERYBODY keeps asking me what are on my feet and calling them socks... they're NOT socks!!!! Ugh!!! I tried to run to the grocery store quickly last night and had so many people stop me.

I've yet to run in them, with my ankle hurt, but walking around in them feels really good. I can already feel it building my arch back up (I have flat feet). Also, the guy at the store said they're kind of hard to get on the first couple times, until your toes get used to it-- but my toes slipped right into them the first day!!!

More to come when I can FINALLY run and let you know how they hold up!

IR: So far, I'm feeling a LITTLE better. I tried pushing off and it feels more like a tightness rather than a ripping! That's good. I'm still resting from my normal running :( Which means I've been doing every non-high-impact class my gym has to offer...

Zumba: The first class I tried. My grandma actually told me that I should try this cause she goes all the time. One thing I learned... GRANDMA is NO LONGER going to these classes!!!!! I will not have my grandma doing "booty rolls" or "dropping it like its hot!!!" Just not acceptable. Do you hear me grandma???

Urban Warrior: I'm a member at Urban Active and this is a high rep, low weight class. Its a scorcher, but fun!

I'm going to "Triple Fit" tomorrow morning and I'll let you'll know how that goes. I can also do a little elipticizing (sp???) and cardio lifting. Woohoo... I'm going to be buff after a week!!!!

Thank you to everyone for your well-wishes and good luck!!!!! Keep it up and maybe I'll be back to running next week!!! *Fingers Crossed*

Happy Friday

PS. Give-a-way lost and found:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mississippi Blues Marathon... Race Rating (#22)

Tagline: "I just want to feel my fingers and toes!!!"
2010 Mississippi Blues Marathon

Registration Fee: $70 to $80 early ($90 late, $110 at expo). Discount for 50-staters of $10!
Overall Race Rating (weighted): 4.8/5.0
Average Calculated Rating: 4.6/5.0

~ This is such a fun, fast, well-organized race! If you're looking for a Mississippi, I would definitely put this on your list! The team though of everything. The course could use some work in entertainment value, but it is pretty fast.

Race Director: Let's place race director...
~What would I have changed if I were race director? The director did a great job on this course, thinking of anything the runners might need. The only changes I would make (if possible) is maybe finding a nicer area to run through? I don't know Jackson, MS too well, so I'm not sure if that's an option-- orrr put more bands on the course! Possibly give discounts or an extra pin/prize with the First Light Marathon for those who complete the "Double."
Event Organization: 4.5/5.0 (now broken into 2 parts, see below as well) As far as "event organization" we'll go ahead and include things like Host hotel, website use, ease of travel to the event and to the actual race, etc.
Distance from Airport to Expo/Race: ~5 Miles
Rental Car Required: Most Likely... all hotels in DT Jackson are within walking distance, so if you can get a shuttle from the airport you're ok wihtout a car.
~ Downtown Jackson wouldn't be my first choice for a marathon-- more than a mile in any direction and you're in a dodgier side of town. There also isn't much to do/see around there. However, the race organization made the most of it- securing discounts and pre-race dinners at local restaurants! Also, if you're at a hotel in downtown, you're within walking (or jogging if you're freezing your who-has off) to the race.

The website was great- very organized and provides all the information from times and expo information to GU/water stops on the race. Also, the people (marathon involvement or not) in this city were just SO friendly-- maybe its a southern thing, but I certainly appreciated it.
Race Organization: 5.0/5.0
~ This marathon organizers faced a very unusual winter storm/wind and still did a great job.
First, the marathon starts off with a count down from the Soldier-marathoners completing a "mississippi blues marathon" in Iraq. About 600 soldiers completed this marathon and counted us down for our race via a video recorder. Very neat!
Hammer Gels (which I'm actually starting to enjoy) and water stops were very frequent. Police were at every single turn, guiding us. I was trying to stay warm and that took a lot of concentration, so I"m not sure about the rest stops, but when I needed one to warm my hands in for a bit, I was easily able to find one. Best of all... the tents at the end of the race were heated!!! I can't imagine those heaters were in the original plan-- but the storm forced them to change some plan.
~Post Race Food: (new sub catagory) Amazing selection from donuts to pizza, hot drinks, sandwiches, plus the usual fruit and cookies. Yummm

Course: 3.6/5.0
~ I liked this course. It would definitely be a fast one if it wasn't for the cold. It has a few little blp hills in the bigginging and a few good sized ones at the end and the middle is all graded up and down along main roads. If you like variety, its a great course... just save a little energy to power up those hills at the end. The course was 0.07 longer than a marathon (running the tengents)-- which is pretty good for race standards (usually .1-.2 longer). The only negative thing I have about the course is the view. There are a couple of spots with really nice old southern homes, but most of the time you're running along a main road or in the dodgey down-town area. Also... there were almost no bands on the course!!! Mississippi Blues should have bands! Than again, it was PRETTY cold so I can't blame them for not coming out!
Spectators: 5.0/5.0
~ The spectators were VERY nice and scattered throughout the whole race! The water stop people were even better!!! EVERYbody thanked us for coming and running their race! It was really cool. I have to give them a 5.0 for standing out in 6-degree weather for hours just to cheer us on! Funny story-- most of them were in hunting pants-- including the women! One woman showed all kinds of her southern-heritage by wearing camp pants with a fur coat!! haha LOVE IT!
Pace Group: DNA/5.0
~ There were pace groups and it seemed they had plenty out there. But... with the cold NOBODY was sticking to their race plan! The faster pacers were sprinting ahead to get it over with and the slower ones looked to be slowed down by the cold. I'm going to give this one a DNA because its just not fair to rate htem on this.

Runner/Corrals: 4.5/5.0
~ Runners in this race are just like the local people... welcoming and oh so nice! Lots of chatter to keep each other going. When my hands were freezing I had a number of people offer me hand warmers from their own gloves!! I declined, not wanted them to freeze too. This was a big race for 50-staters/maniacs because a lot of people do the double with Alabama as I did. You always know it will be friendly when you can see your old familiar friends!

Expo: 4.8/5.0
~ There was a decent sized expo! I've seen bigger races with a lot smaller expos in the past. You could get anything you needed for running (cold or warm weather). There were some local vendors and a stage with live jazz all day! Also, Bill Rodgers was there to give a speach, run, and meet and great the runners. He was very nice and spent a lot of time with us.

Swag: 4.9/5.0
~T-Shirt: LOVED the t-shirts! They were regular cotten, but they are nice enough to wear casually. They are a dark pre-fade (so cool) with a guitar and the marathon info. I loved it. Great sizes for women too! 4.9!
~Medals: The medal (pic left) was awesome as well! As nice as any of the big races. I would venture to say... I like it almost as much as my Mickey!! 4.7
~ Goodie Bag: The bag itself is one of those light back-pack things and has a really cool design on it! I've been using it as a gym bag. In the bag, you als got your own... harmonica, CD, restaurant discounts, and more! .. +0.1

Extra: There were 2 Mississippi Blues Marathons run this year-- 1 in Jackson, MS and one in Iraq for our soldiers who wanted to participate-- titled "The First Wave". For more info please go here

Photo Thursday???... and injury report

Ok I know people typically do their photo Friday on, well... Friday, but I wanted to get a little Friday into my Thursday!

This is my "office" (cube) wall covered with almost all of my marathon bibs. It's a way I like to stay motivated. I remind myself that I want to fill the wall up. I also have colleagues that will come over and say "hey... I don't see any new ones!!!" To which I usually reply "Don't worry, I'll get another this weekend."

Other than my bibs, there are 2 towels- 1 is from the Air Force Marathon in Dayton, OH-- GREAT race! The second I received when I won the Dances with Dirt marathon in Baraboo, along with a Dances with Dirt gym bag, and a few other goodies. Very cool

Between the towels, on the left, there is also a picture of MB and I after the 2009 Flying Pig Marathon, holding our medals up!

IR (Injury Report): Went to our on-site clinic at work. The Dr. took a look at it and said I either have: 
OptionA:  a small tendon tear where it meets the heel bone-- not sure which tendon, the pain is right around the achilles/whatever tendon runs on the inside and attaches where the achilles attaches as well... orrr something.
Option B: I have a small fracture on the inner-top side of my heel bone.

I explained that I have only a month til my next race and I have to be running within the 2 weeks before that. So we agreed to 1 week off from running with a compression sock thing and icing like a mofo. If it still hurts in a week--- I'm going in for Xrays. :( Let's hope its just a little tweak and will get better within the week!

Hope you're all having a wonderful Thursday and happy early Friday!!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New Year, New Marathon Goals... Uh Oh!

I've started off 2010 with a bang... literally-- my knee BANGING the ground in my second marathon of the weekend (OY!). Having had-- well, let's say not the greatest start to my second year of perpetual (some call it "insane" "stupid" "ridiculous.. etc) marathoning-- I decided to will myself to good health and good running by coming up with a goals list.

With my knee hurting this weekend, I did sort of a calf/achilles push, the last 7 miles of the race. Bad idea... my achilles is now killing me. So goal #1...

1) Get and STAY healthy~ Now I know injuries can and likely WILL occur, but I mean serious "sorry miss, but you cannot run a marathon with your hamstring rolled up to your butt" type of injuries. So, I'm going to try my best to...
     a) Strength Train to my body is more used to the breakdown and can handle it
     b) Stretch, stretch, stretch...
     c) Listen to my body and rest when needed! (that's a big one... I'm not too great at that!)
2) 24 marathons this year! Depending on money, I may slip an extra one to round it out to an even 25.
3) Get down to 120lbs. Currently, I'm at 128-- yes, I just revealed my weight for the whole world to see. I'm hoping this will keep me motivated to dropping the extra pudge. Hey-- its 2 second/mile for every lb you lose! I'll take anything I can get.
4) Complete my Alaskan Marathon! (side goal... see a polar bear & a penguin!)
5) If you don't already follow Mel on Tall Mom on the Run, you should! Oh and she's doing a 1000 mile challenge. I've signed up, but I'm HOPING to do 2010 miles for 2010! We will see how that goes!
6) Learn to run on a treadmill! I've printed out a couple of treadmill workouts... UGH
7) Meet some of my bloggy friends at races. I've only met a handful and it would be fun to meet more! So if you have any races coming up in states that I haven't run in, just let me know!!!
8) Boston Time in 2010? I think its a lot to ask my body to run so much, yet run a boston time... but that's my "let's really push yourself this year" goal.

Phew... that's a lot looking back on it, but I'm hoping to make it work. YOUR job (readers) is to keep me honest. If I'm slacking you're allowed to Email me with verbal b****-slaps.

Oooh one more goal.... I currently have 77 followers. :) I would like my posts to get a little more interesting and see if I can get to 150 followers. 2009 was my first year-- 77 is not bad at all! I think I'm up for the challenge! New and interesting posts to come for 2010!

Mississippi Blue and First Light Double... Post Race Thoughts

Wow, what a double! This past weekend I ran the Mississippi Blues Marathon (Jackson, MS) and the First Light Marathon (Mobile, AL). I planned this double as my "southern, warm, winter marathons"... guess what? It was FREEZING!!!!

You may remember my last double in NH and ME went very smoothly. Wheather was a little rainy, but overall I felt great the entire way through! The freezing temperature shot my race plan right out the door. Originally I had been planning to run pretty even for both... around a 4:20. That was I wasn't pushing myself, but I also wasn't spending too much time running and making myself tired. That so did NOT happen...

My Race (if you want to hear more about the races, and less about my personal race experience, please scroll down... I understand...)
Jan 9, 2010. Jackson, MS- 07:00. Temp: 18, with windchill, feels like 6 (acc to the weather channel). OMG... I've been avoiding running outside in Cinci when it has been in the 20's... and now I have to run in 6!!! Who DOES that? So I did what I thought was best and ran HARD. I ran hard for 3 reasons...

1) It's been 6 weeks since my last one... with fresh legs, I thought I was running around an 8:30/8:45 race, but when I looked at my watch it was closer to 7:50. Oops
2) It was so cold I just needed to get it over!!!!
3) It was so cold I could NOT feel my legs (or the pain I was in) til the end.
I stopped twice in port-a-johns just to get my hands out of the cold wind and warm for about 5 minutes. It really didn't help. I thought for SURE I had frost bite on at least ONE finger. I ended the race around a 3:58! With the 10 minutes hand-warming stops, that was WAY faster than I wanted. Uhhhh Ohhhh

Jackson, MS- ~12:00. I've slowly warmed my hands up in the hotel sink- warming the water every few seconds. Then I took a shower as HOT as it would possibly got for 20 minutes... STILL NOT WARM!!! That race chilled me to the bone. However, a little bit later, my legs thaw out and I realize... ouch, I'm hurting a little. Maybe running hard to "get it over with" wasn't the best idea... I have another race in the morning.

Jan 10, 2010. Mobile, AL- 07:30. I'm lined up on yet another bitterly cold starting line with aching legs and a knee thats not feeling wonderful. Crap, crap, crap. Oh well, there goes the start gone and we're off!!! By mile 3 I realize that my whole body aches, but no matter the speed it's going to hurt the same. Oh so wisely I come up with the same theory to the race as yesterday "just run fast and get it over with!"... when will I ever learn!?!?!

Mile: 10. Not only do I ache all over, but my knee is realllly bothering me. It MAY have something to do with the new form I was trying to use (will discuss in a later post, but 3 words... Born To Run). So I decide to take it a little easier.... slowing down to a 9:15. Ok, this isn't so bad... just keep going.

Mile 19. The sun is actually starting to warm me up... YAYY!!!! I take off one layer. This is my 45th mile for the weekend and I'm sort of hoping to go on auto-pilot til its over. Bad idea #2 for the weekend. I go around a tight corner coming out of one of the universities and hit a rock. WHAM!!!! Oh hello ground!!! I don't even think I had my hands out. I was running then I was on the ground. My knee (the bad one) hit first and my ankle got caught on the rock. Loveeeeely. One of the volunteers tries to get me to a table to get somebody to pick me up. I yell at him (oops, sorry!!!!), get up, and hobble as fast as I can away. Ugh... 7 miles and all I can feel is a zinging in my knee and ankle. So I walk/jog the rest of the way to get this mess over with!!!! Not great, but I ended in a 4:45'ish... Oh well, next double we'll see if I can do better!


About the Race... Mississippi Blues Marathon

Pre Race~ The expo was actually a lot of fun. There weren't a TON of vendors, but you could get everything you needed. Also... Bill Rogers was there giving a little speech of sorts. I told Wild Willie that I would love to meet Bill, but I didn't expect him to actually go get the man and bring him over!! New people scare me... especially new people who have won 4 Boston Marathons and made the sport what it is today. He chats with us for a while, we turn to go down stairs and see a man coming up. He looks AWWWFULLY familiar and gives us a little wave and a smile... it's Dean Karnazes!! Woah, I'm in dorky marathon idol heaven!!!
(Pic right courtesy of Bill "Wild Willy" Theis~ Steph, Wild Willy, Bill Rogers, and Pete!)

The Race~ COLD! Ok, not the fault of the marathon. They DID prep as well as they could, offering hot drinks at some spots and heated tents at the end! The course was kind of boring, but I liked the flat/rolling hill mix they had going on. The course was also VERY well guarded, with police men everywhere. And the volunteers? WONDERFUL!!!!... thanking us every mile for coming out and running! Seriously??? You're standing out here in 6 degrees handing us water and YOU are thanking US for coming?? Woah... holy southern hospitality!
(Left: Photo courtesy of Bill "Wild Willy" Theis)

Post Race~ Didn't stay much post-race, but the tents were warm with LOTS of hot food items, including soup, hot drinks, pizza, the works! OOH and the medal? Tooo cool! A guitar medal with a cool lanyard (pictures later).

Thoughts~ GREAT race overall with an obviously fast course. The race organization was wonderful, especially facing unexpected, abnormal cold weather! Great swag and very nice volunteers!

About The Race... First Light Marathon
Pre Race~ The expo here was a little lighter. 1 clothing/running stand and maybe a few people selling drinks. Prior to the race there was a hotel to hangout/stretch in and stay warm.

The Race~ If you're looking for a VERY quite, calm run, this is it! It was just relaxing and fun... well except for the falling part (but that's my own fault). The entire course is just silent... especially in the morning. The cars aren't really allowed on most of the streets we're running. The spectators were definitely fun- scattered through the race.

Post Race~ There was an entire lunch provide after the race! They had pork, chicken sandwiches, different kinds of salads, hot chocolate, cookies... yummm!!! They also had a heated tent for those halfies or early finishers... by the time I was done it was warm and not needed.

Thoughts~ A nice quiet race. Average course, but a fun run.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Best of 2009... Marathon Course Edition!

**I've had a few responses to my request for team names for the bataan marathon... if you haven't submitted on yet, or if you want to send in more, please leave a comment or send me an email!!**

Best Marathon Courses of 2009

This is the 2nd installment of my "Best of 2009..." marathon ratings. This time we're talking courses!!! Every runner is different and so are their course preferences! I personally enjoy a course with a lot of variety, flat, hills, turns, woods, pavement etc. Those "flat as a pancake" courses are NOT for me! So please keep this in mind...

Rating Notes...
I gave 4 courses perfect scores. A perfect score means, for the area and that race I wouldn't change a thing about the course. It has to provide something above and beyond a normal marathon course-- be it course conditions, speed of course, variety, scenery, etc. I also gave 2 course "4.7s." I'll rank the 4.7's in the 2nd and 3rd spots, and put the 5.0's in order.

3) New Hampshire Marathon 4.7/5.0
October 3, 2009
Bristol, NH
Overall Rating: 3.8/5.0
Info: I did this race as part of a back-2-back marathon weekend with ME. If I had done it alone however, I think it would have made a GREAT PR course. I had to keep slowing myself down and still ran a 4:20. The course has a little bit bigger rolling hills, so you get a constant change of position and muscle use. Very very pretty in the fall of the northeast. Scenic and FAST!

2) RI 6-Hour Ultra 4.7/5.0
November 15, 2009
Warwick, RI
Overall Rating: 4.9/5.0
Info: If you're going to be running a 2.7 mile loop over and over, it better be on a good course... and this one was!!! There was SO much variety to this course. It ran through a park that had small and larger hills, stretches of flat, and it was beautiful. It was also VERY helpful mentally to run the 2.7 over and over rather than a flat out course... you only had to push yourself 2.7 miles at a time! Variety, Fun, and Mentally it was a breeze...

1d) Hatfield-McCoy Marathon 5.0/5.0 (4th of 4)

June 13, 2009
Williamson WV (Can count as a KY race for 50-staters)
Overall Rating: 4.8/5.0
Info: VARIETY! made this a #1 course for 2009. The course was so much fun I can't wait to go back and do it again. You run on roads, on trails, through people back yards (no joke), along huck-finn look alike rivers, through old western towns, through 2 states and it's fun the whole way! This is the type of scenery you would expect to get out of old movies! If you run this, take a camera with you!

1c) Vermont City Marathon 5.0/5.0 (3rd of 4)
May 24, 2009
Burlington, VT
Info: I'm still getting over this race (missing BQ by 13 seconds), but I can't hold that against my rating. SPEED is the name of this course. It's just a FAST course with a lot of variety and turns so you can't get too bored. It seemed like all the runners pushed each other, and you had quick uphills with slow rolling down hills that helped you pick up speed. Along with the speed, this course was named top 10 most scenic marathon in the country by RW!

1b) Disney World Marathon 5.0/5.0 (2nd of 4)
January 11, 2009
Orlando, FL
Overall Rating: 4.5/5.0
Info: Let me say first off.. yes, there are a COUPLE boring parts to Disney, however... Can you REALLY rate a course lower than a 5 when it has ALL your favorite childhood characters scattered through it cheering for you? Answer: NO! This course is F-U-N with M-I-C-K-E-Y! You can stop and take your picture with all your favorite characters and you wind through all the parks of Disney!

Pictured Right-- CB in front of Cinderella's Castle!
And the #1 2009 Marathon Course is...

1) Dances with Dirt- Devil's Lake!!! 5.0/5.0 (1st of 4)
July 11, 2009
Baraboo, WI
Overall Rating:
Info: If you've been following this blog for a while you may remember that I actually did a little video montage  for this race!! It was BEAUTIFUL, it had variety, it was tough, it was CRAZY and reckless... I LOVED it. The site states "Weak, wimpy, treadmill running pansies who are afraid to get some dirt in their shorts need not apply. Expect to be scratched, muddied and bruised by the beauty of this unpolished gem." I love this race so much, I've been trying to do the other "dances with dirt" races. I plan to do them all at some point... even if that means repeating states.  (Right-->; View from the top of the stone steps... toughest hill you'll ever CLIMB -literally- in a marathon).

Worst Marathons of 2009...

3) Louisville Marathon - 2.6/5.0
October 18, 2009
Louisville, KY
Overall Rating: 2.5/5.0
Info: The majority of the race was run on concrete (OUCH!!!) The only thing that made up for it (slightly) is that you did get to see a few different areas of Louisville... City, Suburb, Along the river. The course, however, was just SO boring!

2) Park City Marathon 2.5/5.0
August 22, 2009
Park City, UT
Overall Rating: 3.0/5.0
Info: I really did like this marathon, but the course wasn't great. It had very very long flat open spots where you just ran straight toward a mountain for 8-10 miles. There were loose gravel trails for a lot of the race and there was NO shade. That was bad because it was HOT-- 80 or 90 degrees for most of the race. The course WAS scenic... if you could enjoy that in the hot hot sun.

And the WORST marathon course of 2009 is...

1) Sunburst Marathon - 2.0/5.0
June 6, 2009
South Bend, IN
Overall Rating: 3.0/5.0
Info: This was a very boring FLAT as a pancake course. Not a fan. On top of that, it was not planned out well and the course actually crossed the half-marathon course right about when the faster marathoners were passing and the slower halfies were passing... leading to a lot of confusion and a big crash. The one thing I DID like is that you end right IN the notre dame football stadium and get to run through the tunnel.

Pic left: MB in front of "TD Jesus"

Remaining 2009 course in order...
Top 6 listed above...
7) Leading Ladies Marathon 4.5/5.0
8) San Francisco Marathon 4.5/5.0
9) ING Georgia Marathon 4.5/5.0
10) OBX Marathon 4.3/5.0
11) Nashville Country Music Marathon 4.0/5.0
12) Erie Marathon at Presque Isle 3.8/5.0
13) Peak Performance Maine Marathon 3.4/5.0
14) Northern Central Trails Marathon 3.0/5.0
15) Boulder Backroads Marathon 2.7/5.0
Bottom 3 listed above...