Race Recap: Women Rock – Starlet Challenge

Women Rock is the first 10K I ever ran.  I first ran this race in 2013 and it was the first event I ever trained for consistently.  In 2013 the 10k was the longest distance I had ever run.  It gave me the confidence to spontaneously register for and run a half marathon only a couple weeks later (didn’t train for it, but did survive and finish!).

Last year I ran the 10K again and beat my previous time.  This year I wanted a new challenge and registered for the Women Rock Super Starlet Challenge.  The challenge involved a night 2.5K race on Friday night, followed by a half marathon and a 5K on Saturday.  My hope when I registered for this in December was to PR my half on this race.  However, this time last week with my injury I was thinking I wouldn’t be running it at all.

In light of the injury I down graded back to the 10K along with the other races which would fulfill the Rock Starlet Challenge (minus the “super”) and still earn me 4 beautiful medals.  My coach advised walking the 2.5k night race followed by walk run intervals on the 10K and 5k.  Not wanting to ruin my chances at running the upcoming marathon, that’s what I did.  And it worked!  I finished the races, had fun with my friends and the ankle still seems to be on the mend at this point.11947689_10207394826725719_3750133041126512164_n

No race video on this one.  I was really focusing on taking it easy and avoiding further damage.

I honestly thought at this point in the game I would be racking up the PRs and setting new records for distance.  As it stands, I still have yet to run a distance PR through any of my marathon training at all.  (My longest distance in training is the 16 miles I ran on August 16th which earned my injury.  My longest distance ever is 16.86 miles I ran for a trail race in April.)

This struggle in the road to 26.2 is not what I was expecting at all.  I was assuming I would work through scheduling issues with finding time for long runs and mentally pushing through exercising through long periods of time.  Instead I am babying this ankle and am an emotional wreck due to my disappointment in myself with these injuries.  I know this is causing major setbacks in my mileage in these remaining and very important final weeks.

But, it’s still an experience and I’m learning what to do and what not to do for next time, if there is one… we’ll see. 🙂

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Chicago Race Weekend Adventure

I ran with some good friends in the Chicago Rock and Roll Half Marathon yesterday but this is not a race recap.  I know we all love a good race recap and there will be one!  This however, is just a summary of how this fun girls weekend away went. 🙂

Friday

Tara and I left work early to get on the road to Chicago.  Met at my house, loaded the car, swung by the gas station for snacks and were on the road by 1:00 pm.  All was going well until this thing fell partway off the bottom of the car and started flapping.

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Called the hubs who said it was fine to drive without it.  Tara was able to rip it the rest of the way off the car and we threw it in the trunk.  As we were about to pull away a police car pulled up behind us to make sure all was well.  We explained the situation, showed her the thing and were off.

As we came into Chicago we got a little lost downtown trying to get to our hotel.  Turns out GPS is pretty much garbage in the underground roadway system below the city.  We asked a homeless guy for directions.  He was extremely nice and helpful.  Meant to give him $2 but gave wound up giving him $11 by accident in my flustered-lost-in-Chicago state.  I’m sure he needed it more than I did though so I don’t feel guilty.

We left the car with the valet at the hotel and hauled our luggage in to the front desk only to find out that we were at… dum dum DUM!  The wrong hotel.  Turns out there is a Hyatt Regency Chicago and a Hyatt Regency McCormick Place within a few miles of one another.  We were at the former but had reservations at the latter.  Back out with the luggage we went, waited for valet to bring the car back and were back on the road within 15 minutes (that felt like 4 hours).

Finally made it to the right hotel, checked in, ate at the hotel restaurant (amazing meal!) and went to bed.

Saturday

We slept in before grabbing a quick but expensive (8$ for yogurt and a water!) breakfast from the hotel cafe before heading to the race expo.

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The expo was probably the most exciting I’ve ever experienced.  So many vendors!  And free stuff! And games!  And samples!  I’ve never seen anything like it.  The Humana Rock and Roll series certainly knows how to put on an expo.

I could only handle the excitement for so long before I was expo’ed out.  Tara kept shopping (and shop, she did!) while I called the kiddos back home.

Later we walked to Kim and Carlos’ hot dog stand and had real Chicago hot dogs.  We didn’t even ask for ketchup (which is apparently taboo there).  And… we loved them!  I couldn’t believe putting so many random items on a hot dog would taste good but I’m glad I tried it.IMG_0856[1]After lunch we boarded a tour bus to see more of the city and found ourselves at Navy Pier for a couple hours.

Then it rained.  A lot.

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Interestingly, Taylor Swift was in Chicago for her 1989 tour.  We didn’t meet Taylor but we did see throngs of Taylor Swift fans on our way eat dinner with a couple friends from our running group.  Speaking of dinner, we learned Giordanos Pizza is pretty darn popular.  So popular, the wait we were quoted was an 1 hour, 45 minutes just to sit down.  Very long story short, we did get to eat the popular pizza but it actually took closer to only a half hour to get a table.  We also learned deep dish pizza takes 45 minutes to cook.  But, it was well worth the wait.  Hooray for pre-race carb loading!906044_10207313500382164_4269535551185497722_o

Sunday

Sunday we were up early for the race.

IMG_0894[1]The cafe was out of bagels so I inhaled half a cheese danish while we waited for the shuttle with our other friend from our group who was also running.  At the start area we went through all of the normal race rituals – porta potty, selfies, find the corral, etc.

Ran.

Yup.  That’s all I will say about it for now. 🙂

After the race we took some more selfies before heading back to the hotel to shower, pack and check out.  On the way home we had fun entertaining ourselves with games like ‘would you rather’.  For example: “Would you rather have a tiny rhino or a giant hamster” (Tara wants the rhino and I’ll take the hamster.)  Hey don’t judge – when you’re in the car for 7+ hours you need these things to survive. 🙂

That was it!  It was an amazing weekend of fun and fitness with fabulous friends.

Of course the week would not be complete without the weekly video update. 🙂

Race Recap: Lebanon 10K Trail Race (with video)

The Lebanon 10K trail race is one of five races in the Endless Summer Trail Run Series (ESTRS) hosted by Twin Cities Running Company and Rocksteady Running.

Looking back and reviewing my thoughts on this race I realized that it gave me a lot of firsts for one little 10K run.

  1. This was my first race where it rained through the entire event.
  2. First race I’ve ever gone to completely solo.  Drove there myself.  Check in and packet pickup on my own.  Started running alone.  After party of one.  Drove home by myself.  There are pros and cons to this.  I had the freedom to do things on at my own pace and didn’t worry about where anyone else was or how to meet up or any of those coordination items.  That said, it was super lonely!  I don’t think I would go it alone again if I could avoid it.  The after party was especially lonely.  It was a great event with pizza and beer and I just didn’t have anyone to share it with and recount the race with.
  3. Not my first trail race but it was my first trail 10K!
  4. First 10K that was a 3 mile loop twice.
  5. First race on a Tuesday evening after work.
  6. First race while recording with a GoPro.

The night before was a Monday evening.  I packed everything I would need into my gym bag instead of laying it out as I would for other races simply because the race was after work and not my first item of the day.  I also knew it would probably be rainy so I brought my rain jacket, a plastic sandwich bag for my phone and a towel for after the race.

After work on Tuesday I drove over to Lebanon Hills Regional Park and parked in the overflow lot.  Check in was IMG_0376seamless.  I gave the volunteers my name and bib # and was good to go.  Race registration also included glassware from Solomon.  Since my car was at the overflow lot, it was raining, and I didn’t have anyone with me to hold my stuff I hid my glass by one of the picnic tables.  Felt very sneaky for doing this but it worked out fine and was waiting for me when I finished.

I have to give race directors a shout out for starting on time.  And I mean really on time.  Super punctual.  The race was scheduled to start at 6:30 and we started exactly at 6:30 pm.

The race started on asphalt and quickly progressed into the trail through the woods.  It had been raining for 4 days in the Minneapolis area prior to Tuesday.  The mud was out of control and it was very difficult to not slip and fall.  Great workout but made for some slow running.IMG_0386

The first 3 miles felt like they flew by.  I had turned off the voice notifications on my Map My Run app to avoid bothering anyone and I didn’t notice any mile markers.  If they were there, I didn’t see them.  The whole time I didn’t know how far I was which I think made the time seem to go by faster.  Aid station was great (back at the start/finish) with water, gels, and really supportive volunteers cheering.  The second loop felt like it went by more slowly.  I think this was because I knew I was repeating everything I had just run through, I was more tired, and more soaked by then.  (Disclaimer: It wasn’t pouring, just a heavy mist/drizzle.  If it had been an outright downpour I might not have stuck it out!)  The park trail was beautiful despite the weather.  Picture lots of green foliage with wood bridges throughout.

I finished in little under an hour and 17 minutes.  Not too shabby for me considering the muddy trail and rain!  It was a great workout and I am proud of my time.IMG_0385

Afterwards there was pizza and beer.  Pizza and lemonade for me since I was driving myself home.  I have to say though, it tasted like the best meal ever after running in the rain for an hour!  This was a very well organized race and I truly enjoyed myself.  The volunteers were so nice, helpful, and encouraging.  I would absolutely run another ESTRS race again.  Next time though, I’m bringing some friends! 🙂

Hot Chocolate > Hot Dash

IMG_0098Yesterday’s Hot Chocolate 15K race went so much better than the Hot Dash 10 Mile.  It’s amazing what putting in effort and training can do.  The weather was gorgeous yesterday.  My best running friend (I call her “the instigator” – she signs up for these races and I just copy her :)) and I left my house at about 6:30 am.  All went according to our race agenda (we even found the perfect parking spot!) and were at the start with plenty of time to spare.  Even got to meet some friends of hers who are also running fanatics.IMG_0118

I have stuck to my marathon training plan religiously these past 6 weeks putting all of my fitness focus on running.  I was pretty excited for this race.  I have never been in any type of qualifying coral but my previous race time in the Sioux Falls half marathon got me bumped up to Coral J which was the first coral at the 15K race.  It was super fun to start out with all of the fast people.  Most of them passed me quickly but a few of us finished together!

hot chocolateI didn’t feel like I was pushing or going out too fast at all.  Looking at my splits, I probably could have pulled back a little more in the beginning but felt really good at the time.  Usually I die a little every time someone passes me (which is often because I’m slowish) but yesterday my montra was “my race, my pace”.  I focused on going as fast as I comfortably could.  After the first few miles the rest just seemed to fly by.  Every water stop also had gatorade which was really nice.  Since it was chocolate themed, each stop also had candy.  I skipped the sugary stuff for the most part except the very last water stop.  At mile 7.5 Sugar by Maroon 5 thrummed into my ear buds just as I was approaching the break and I took it as a sign.  I indulged with a good 45 seconds of snacking and Adam Levine fantasizing before continuing on to the finish.IMG_0117

Finished strong with an average pace of 10:30 per mile.  A huge improvement over my average pace at Hot Dash of 12:04 per mile for about the same distance.  And no blisters or injuries this time!

To “sweeten the deal”, the post-race snacks were totally awesome.  Hot chocolate, chocolate fondue, bananas and real water bottles.

That’s all I have for now folks.  GOOD LUCK to those of you running Boston tomorrow!  Have a phenomenal race!  I can’t wait to read all about it. 🙂

 

Sister of the Year

What a great, awesome, fantastic, amazing, super-fun long weekend!  My sister (I’ll call her Pan because I can :P) lives super far away from me on the east coast but was able to take a few days to visit me all the way out here in Minnesota this weekend as her 2014 Christmas present from her hubs (totally felt like MY present too!).  We were lamenting today as she was heading out that we wished we took more pictures or did a better job documenting her time here.  We just generally spent the weekend enjoying ourselves instead of hamming it up in with selfies and facebook check-ins.  Which was a LOT of fun but now I wish we’d done more hamming!  So before I forget how awesome our weekend was I’m going to save it here instead.

Her flight was a bit delayed but she made it in more or less on schedule on Thursday.  I happened to be just getting to the airport as she got her checked baggage (super lucky, that never happens!).  Picked her up, she hadn’t had dinner yet so I fed her some left overs (sister of the year right here folks).

Friday we went grabbed some coffee at carribou, dropped my dog off at the groomer, then headed down to the city in search of some cronuts since neither of us had an opportunity to try them yet elsewhere.  Cronuts were super delicious!  Not what I was expecting but yummy.  I would say better than a croissant, but not as good as a doughnut, in my opinion.  After that we went to Panera Bread for some real food.  Pan also needed to get some productive stuff done and I needed to work on homework so we hung out there for a bit before heading back up to my suburb.  Got back to the house and caught up on a bunch of stuff – laundry, car wash, picked up the dog (See?  I’m building my case for sister of the year here).  Next we picked up the kids, took them to see the new live action Cinderella flick before finishing the day with dinner at our favorite pizza joint and some Pictionary at home.  (Hubby was at the Wild game.)

Saturday I hit the pavement with a 35 minute run in the morning.  Finally, after years of searching I found the perfect 5k loop through my neighborhood.  No busy intersections.  Virtually no overlapping and half of it is through the bike trails to get a change of scenery.  The route starts at my front door and ends at 3 miles right back at my house.  1mappicOnce everyone was up and at ’em, Pan and I ran to Target (not for the last time this weekend) for syrup and other breakfast essentials and made a big brunch with my hubby and kids.  Spent some time doing some leisure reading and hanging out then decided to go to liquor store  to grab a bottle (or three) of wine.  My 6 year old was with us and wanted to go to Target (Target run #2)  where Pan indulged him with a science kit.  In the afternoon we all went to see the Huck Fin play at the Children’s Theater.  The acting was terrific and the whole family enjoyed it.  Had some all you can eat sushi for dinner with cupcake for dessert.  Oh my goodness, so much eating but also so much fun!  Pan and I wrapped up the evening with a couple glasses of wine while working on a puzzle of Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow. (After spending over an hour trying to figure out where this nostril goes and where that chin hair goes I will never look at the man the same way again.)  One of my favorite parts of the weekend.  It was really wonderful to just relax and catch up.  I really wish we could have more time like that (love you Pan!).

Sunday we slept in before going to a nice brunch out.  Pan helped the boys make slime from the science kit.  (I let her have this as special time with my kids and didn’t intervene on their slime time. Yup, sill going for sister of the year.  :D)  Later we went to Target (Target visit #3) to pick up a present before going to the birthday party for said present.  Had a great time at the party visiting with friends.

Throughout the weekend we had been playing the who-can-pay-for-stuff fastest game.  She definitely won more than she should have.  Last night we had an arm wrestle throw down for who could pay for late night hot wings.  She WON!  Grr.  (Need to get back in the gym asap.)  We hung out, scarfed hot wings and played some card games with my hubby before we called it a night.

Today we got some coffee and swung by my favorite nail salon for some pedis.  It was great to just relax and chat.  We stopped back at the house to get her luggage, my hubby and kids then drove her to the airport.  Bummer.  Worst part of the weekend.

So there you have it.  One of the best weekends ever.  The sister of the year award definitely has to go to my sister Pan.  I couldn’t be more grateful that she took the time to come out to spend time here in Minnesota with us.  She is heading into a bunch of exciting but stressful changes and I just can’t say how much I appreciate her.  She may be my little sister but I look up to her in more ways than one.  Since we were kids: She’s into Irish dance?  I think I want to try that.  Through adulthood: She’s a runner?  I want to be a runner.  She’s getting a Ph.D?  I think maybe I’ll do that too.  I only wish we could have more cronuts, more pedis, more time for chatting and hanging out.

Outside!

Capture1Wow.  Wow wow wow.  37 degrees, in Minnesota, in JANUARY!  The weather today was the very best present I could have asked for.  And it truly felt like a gift to be given a spring day in the middle of winter.  I went for a fabulous run with a good friend and let me tell you, the experience was just phenomenal.  I invested in a nice treadmill with some really cool features a couple months ago and it’s been great and super convenient.  But let me tell you, nothing compares to that fresh air, wind in your hair, sunshine on your back feeling of a good run in nice weather.  My pace wasn’t great.  I didn’t achieve any personal records.  I didn’t run any huge distance.  But I ran.  I ran outside and I had fun.  It was a great day.

Measly Mileage

Type the word measly into google and here’s what you get: paltry, meager, scanty, miserable, inadequate, insufficient.  This perfectly describes my running mileage this past week.  Reviewing my mapmyrun app I put in about 5 miles.  That’s generous, let me rephrase: barely 5 miles.  5 miles on a goal of 15-20 is not so hot.  Rest assured though, I was not napping all week!

Here’s what did happen while I wasn’t running those additional 10+ miles:

  1. Started my finance class.  Put in at least 15 hours on this class this
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    Hubs watching our 8 year old’s game with our 6 year old.

    week just reading and putting together my outline.  I still have a little less than half the paper left to write later tonight/tomorrow.

  2. Started my new weight lifting routine.  Managed to get every work out in.  Had to cut the last workout of the week short because my 8 year old had a stomach flu so I couldn’t go to the gym as planned and I don’t have all of the equipment at home.  So I got in what I could and called it good.
  3. It was our first week on a new initiative at work.  Crazy busy with lots of new meetings and activity.  Definitely well over the 40 this week but am very excited about this project.
  4. I did get my 2 HIIT sessions in without issue – yay!  Felt good to meet with my trainer again.
  5. Went to 5 hockey games for my kiddos.
  6. Went to my monthly book club meeting with my girlfriends, went to my husband’s company party and we also had date night tonight at the Minnesota Wild Game.  (Yes, the fun stuff counts too!)
Date night!

Date night!

Here’s the good news.  I still have 8 months or so before the actual marathon.  5 miles is better than none and next week will be better. 🙂