Runner's High?

It's the only explanation I can muster. Am I really considering signing up this?


13.1 DONE!

I should change the name of this blog to i RAN thirteen miles. And it was exhilarating! There are few times I've felt as awesome as I did this morning when I crossed the finish line. And truthfully the full trek down New York Street's "Victory Mile."

My official time was 2:50:56. That's with one bathroom break, two bumpy kisses from Brett and one giant hug at the finish line. Oh yes, and 13.1 miles of wind gusting up to 30 mph at times.

My run/walk interval plan worked. I ran the first 2 miles and then made myself walk roughly to the 2.5 mile point before starting to run again even though I knew I could have kept running. I did this throughout the entire race and when I got to the 12 mile mark I was able to run to the finish. And that last mile felt incredible. Don't get me wrong, I was beat by that time, but I was moving. And that final mile of today's half was mile 8 of the 15k last month, where I was in pain and walking.

In the final stretch the distance was marked. 3/4 mile. 1/2 mile. 1/4 mile. I found a burst of energy and booked it (well, in perspective) to the finish line. Except the banner marking the finish line had apparently blown away so I didn't even realize I'd finished until several strides later. No matter. By that time I'd heard Brett calling my name and ran over for an across the fence hug.

I may have to go back on my claim that I won't do another half-marathon. The high was incredible. And seriously? I just finished a half-marathon.

Registration is now open for the 2011 500 Festival Mini Marathon.


truth be told

One week to go. And there is nothing I'd rather do less right now than run. I'm ashamed to even admit it, and I hate it, but it's the truth. I seemed to have lost my motivation after the 15k, rather than it getting me excited for my next race. A couple months ago my training was going well and I felt strong. Not now. The past few weeks have been rough.

I could come up with all sorts of excuses. I was sick, busy, tired, out of town... Nothing different than anyone else could come up with I'm sure. When I should have been decreasing my mileage in preparation, I was just holding steady, trying to get in a run here and there. Those runs have been fewer and shorter than ever. It's not that I don't want to run at all. Going out for 3 miles is fine, I even enjoy it at 5 or 6 miles. But my excitement wanes considerably when I see the numbers 8, 10... 13.1.

I've been mad at myself more than is worth typing. Mad that for the second year in a row I've set a goal and not gotten to where I want to be. And this time it wasn't an injury outside of my control. But I am proud of where I am now compared to where I started. As a teenager, and still five years ago, my jeans were a size smaller, my face was a little less full. By my definition that meant I was in better shape. Yea? That me couldn't run a single mile. Take that 22 year-old self.

I'm still going to do this race. I know that it will still be an accomplishment, no matter what the clock reads when I finish. But realistically I know I won't be able to run the full 13 miles. I think I could probably get about half way through with my training thus far, plus race day adrenaline. But that leaves quite a distance to the finish line. My plan now is to do the half marathon with a run/walk method. I know it's not a great idea to switch things up at this point in the game, since I really don't have a chance to try anything out. But it's pretty much what I've been doing on my runs the last several weeks and at least now I'll be doing it with intent. I also figure this isn't truly a change as if I were pushing my body too far too quickly, wearing new shoes or eating/drinking something different on race day. From what I've read here and here, this may be my only hope right now to finish strong, and possibly salvage a decent time. Exactly the opposite of what happened on my last race day.

So here's what I AM looking forward to:
(Please forgive me that I couldn't come up with a full Top 10 list.)

5. Running because I enjoy it, not because I feel chained to it.
4. Going on a walk or bike ride with Brett and not feeling guilty for not using the time to run.
3. Seeing the finish line.
2. Visiting with a friend I haven't seen in 5 or 6 (or 7?) years. I'm so excited to catch up with her when she's in town for the Mini.
1. Guilt-free carbs. All week.


sitting on ice

Yes, literally. I've got myself propped up on the sofa with an ice pack on each hip, a couple packs resting on my knees and ibuprofen in my system. Yesterday's 500 Festival Training Series 15k was rough. In the past 3 weeks, I had run fewer than 9.3 miles total (darn lingering sinus infection), and I covered that distance in less than 2 hours yesterday morning.

I hurt.
I look funny when I walk.
And I'm sitting on ice.

I ended up walking a good portion of the race, and the majority of the last couple miles. To this point in my training I've been doing well at conserving my energy, starting off slow and runing through the end, even picking up pace in the last mile. But aside from the shorter BigTen 5k last month, this was my first long distance race and I definitely learned a few things for next month's half marathon.

(Any other new runners? I would definitely recommend doing a training series or 1-2 shorter organized races before your goal race. It's much different than running along city streets or recreation trail.)

1 - I won't be carrying a personal water/gatorade bottle. During my longer training runs I have. It's never bothered me and I've been glad to have it. But the 15k aid stations were so well-spaced that I really didn't need it. Plus I found it annoying and heavy.

2 - S.L.O.W. Down. I was definitely anxious on Saturday morning. I had no idea what to expect as my last long run had gone well, but my training lately hadn't been. My adrenaline took over and I did my first 2 miles in 20 minutes. Much faster than my 11-11:15 training pace. I never recovered and finished with an average 12:30 pace.

3 - Drink more water all week. In general I know I don't drink enough water. I keep a sport bottle with me almost all of the time, in my purse while running errands or between meetings and on my desk all day. I'm conscious of the fact I need to drink more, and half the time I still don't finish it by evening. But with training I need to be drinking even more, and not just on Friday when the "Crap, I'm running a 15k tomorrow" thought kicks in. Cramps plagued me all morning, starting around mile 2. With 7.3 miles still to go...

4 - Good or bad day, I will cross the finish line. I will also likely spend the next couple days icing down my body.

Finally, thoughts and prayers for the man in the final couple miles of the race. As I approached, I saw a couple of people huddled at the curb ahead. I figured someone was ill, but as I got closer I saw they were frantic and performing CPR on a man lying on the ground. An ambulance was right behind me. Thankfully that part of the race route is very near a hospital. I haven't seen anything reported, but I pray he's now recovering.


It's all sunshine and running shoes

Can I be completely honest?

Before a run, there are about one thousand things I can think that I'd rather be doing. And in the first couple of miles? It doesn't feel good. My muscles haven't warmed up yet and the distance/time ahead of me is daunting. Those are not the feelings that make me go back out time after time.

It's how I feel when I get to the point on my way back that was near the beginning on my way out. It's the feeling I have when I finish and realize I've made it further than I did last time. It's when I take a little perspective and realize no matter the one thousand things I'd rather be doing, it's the one thing that I did do. That's what sunshine and running shoes feels like to me.

But enough already, right? It's NOT all sunshine and running shoes ALL of the time.

Last weekend I finished the Big Ten Hoops Day 5k at an 11:20 pace, right on track for my race day goal. Though it'd feel awesome to break 11 minutes, I'm not going to push my luck. I'm drinking the kool-aid my friends at The Running Company are selling and focusing more on the distance, less on the time.

That means I'm trying really hard to not focus on the disappointment that my overall pace was 12 minutes this morning. Instead, I'm trying to remind myself that I ran a distance of 7.5 miles and for 90 minutes. I did take a couple short water/stretching stops along the way so I'm sure my actually running pace was slightly faster that 12 minutes. But I had figured I'd get 8 miles in today and I didn't. But I did get seven.and.a.half miles in today. These legs and lungs have never felt a run of that distance. And I lived to blog about it!

I've been taking it easy on the weekdays, and I haven't made all of the runs on my training schedule. After Sunday's 5k (in place of my usual Saturday run), I ran another 5k distance (3 miles and change) along the Central Canal on Thursday. That was shaving 15 minutes off the week's longest scheduled run and completely missing the other two. The me training last year would have been pretty down and out about that. But the me of last year also got injured and didn't get to run the race. Lesson learned. They aren't making it up when they say it's better to let your body rest and heal, than keeping pushing further when it's screaming at you to slow down.

Long post here, but if you're still with me I'd love to know what's on your iPod when you run. It's funny how the songs that sounded fast tempo while sitting on the sofa don't feel so fast in the moment. I'm going to look through my playlist, do some deleting and then share a few of my favorites. (Hi Sara!) Ahem, there will be no making fun of my taste in music when I share said favorites. In the meantime, does anyone want to share what's on your playlist?



Why hello-o-oo. While I haven't been writing, I have been running! And it's been going pretty well I must say. Last week's runs were short, which was a good thing because so was my free time. I'm not sure I'll ever understand the science behind all this, because the way this mind works, if I'm cutting back on my time/miles, it doesn't make sense how my body would be prepared to then increase time/miles past where I was to begin with. But regardless of Karissa Science, I was in fact able to push myself further and longer on yesterday's run.

We took a different route along the Canal Towpath, rather than the Monon so I'm not exactly sure on my distance.

And the stopwatch on my running watch stopped at exactly 30 minutes, but I don't know when that was so I'm not exactly sure of my time.

Based on the runners around me, I ran somewhere around 60-65 minutes and somewhere between 5.5-6 miles. Almost HALF the distance of the mini marathon! (I'm working hard at see that as a good thing. I'm almost half way there!!! Rather than this: You mean I have to run twice this much plus a bit in just 2 months???)

With the recent heat wave and all (Sunshine! 30 degrees!), I shoved my gloves in my pockets during the first few miles and in the last couple I noticed I'd lost one. That must mean spring is here and I cannot need my running gloves any more this year, don't ya think?


bad day..

I've heard over and over - listen to your body, some days will be harder than others. I heard my body loud and clear this morning, and just a half-mile into my planned 5.25 miles. There was the piercing ache in my right side, my shins making themselves known and my breath escaping my lungs but not returning. I know, sounds like I'm overreacting in massive proportions. Maybe I am.

Maybe my muscles are still recovering from my Pilates class yesterday? Though I always go to Pilates on Fridays before my Saturday runs.

Maybe I didn't drink enough water yesterday? I'm sure last night's salty homemade popcorn didn't help.

Maybe it was just a bad day.

I ran/walked my way home, not evening breaking the one mile mark. I'm going to stretch, drink a few gallons (exaggeration) of water and try again tomorrow.