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.


barefoot running & the Big Ten 5K

Before you even think it - I'm not planning to run the Big Ten 5K barefoot. But I am planning to run the Big Ten Hoops Day 5K. Should be fun. (Still gets to me to put running and fun anywhere in the vicinity of one another.) Plus the Big Ten is a very cool, big deal, good-for-the-city event in Indianapolis. Yep that's a sales pitch for you to do it with me. You can sign up here or on site the day of. So at 11 a.m. on March 14 if you're not at the starting point in front of Conseco Fieldhouse, just remember that I will be. (I can be guilt-tripped into running, anyone else?)

I've talked Brett into running the 5K with me too. (He can also be guilt-tripped into running.) I reminded him of his "Sure, I'll do that with you." this evening and he quickly agreed to go out for a run with me before dinner. It may have been nicer for me than him. You see he's 6'3" and I'm 5' - our strides are slightly, okay not-at-all the same. I fully expect him to take off ahead of me in the 5K, but that's okay. Selfishly, I know it will keep me going - to see how quickly behind him I can finish.

So anyhoo - that barefoot running comment was for a reason. I've been hearing more and more talk about the practice and this came across my Twitter feed today.

Long-awaited barefoot running study finds sneakers are harmful

A good friend of ours is a trainer and has talked to me about our human evolution from running barefoot to our modern practice of decked-out running shoes. (Mine with extra stability thank you very much, I run on the insides of my feet.) And yes, it is fairly modern. Seems that while the proper fitting and supporting shoes can help with some aches and pains and perhaps some injuries, wearing them changes our natural human stride of striking with the ball of the foot and we exert that impact instead on our heels. That in turn causes different pains and the potential for different injuries. For example I used to wear just any athletic shoe from a department/athletic shoe store. Honestly, I picked them based on the which colors I liked. I have a runner friend who did marathons when we were in college. I knew how much her running shoes cost and I didn't want anywhere near that. But when I would run (it was an infrequent at best habit) my legs and feet would hurt and wear out before my endurance did. Fast forward some years to me signing up for a half marathon when I'd never run a 5K and I decided I'd take any help I could get and was fit for my first pair of running shoes (at The Running Company). No picking colors here, it was "these are the shoes for your feet and your stride. And by the way you were wearing a full size too small." (Feet sweat and swell, they need extra room.) Voila! No more shin splints. And when I stop running it's because I'm spent, not because my shins are hurting.

However, since I've started running more, I have experienced a stress fracture that ended my mini training last year, and my knees have started to bother me. I'm not saying it's my shoes. I love my running shoes. And I think they've improved my running. It's probably because I, like most, strike with my heels first. I'm not quite ready to adopt this practice of barefoot running, especially not midway through training for the longest distance I've ever run, but I do find this interesting. Perhaps I'll give it a try sometime this summer. Or maybe when I run out of these shoes I'll invest in a pair of Newtons. I'm intrigued by them and plan to ask around. The price tag is pretty steep, but they do cost less than the co-pay was on my insurance claim for the doctor visit and x-rays when I fractured my foot last year. You know, for perspective.

60 minutes/6 miles on Saturday!


frost on my eyelashes. ice in my water.

This past Saturday was my best run yet. And I really needed a good run. I'd been feeling overall discouraged with my progress, only fueled by a complete lack of motivation, again fueled by my feeling discouraged. It's like debating if the chicken or the egg came first. I even tried to bail when my alarm starting crying at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning. I was just thinking of how bad I'd feel if I couldn't complete my run, and there I was on the Monon with everyone to witness. Brett literally poked me until I got up.

Even before we got out on the Monon, I was glad I'd gotten my bum out of bed. Our running coach at The Running Company chats for a couple minutes before we get started, and it's like he was in my brain when he said this is about the point it starts getting hard because the novelty and adrenaline of signing up is wearing off.

Umm. Yes.

But then another Mini-Marathon veteran pointed out how much progress we really have made by the 4 mile mark. From our downtown starting point, the race path weaves it's way west and we'll make a loop around the 2.5 mile famed oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. By 4 miles we'll be making a turn from (or to?) Holt Rd and we'll almost be to track. That's pretty darn close to the half way point because after that loop you're definitely on the homebound path!

Saturday's goal was 40 minutes or 4 miles, depending on your pace. And it was a whole 11 degrees on Saturday morning, making the muscles a bit resistant to warm up! Roughly into the first mile I set my eyes on a couple gals just ahead of me and made a goal to keep them in my line of vision. Having a moving target was awesome, and just like that I was to the half way point and on my way back.

Then I saw the wildest thing. About mid-way through the -back portion of my run, I passed a gal running in the opposite direction and it looked like she was wearing thick white mascara/false eyelashes. I thought that to be an odd for a Saturday morning run. (It was early. And cold. And I'm clearly a novice in the running world.) But that made me notice my own eyelashes, and that could actually see them through my line of vision. I started noticing more and more of my fellow runners with white eyelashes, and white hair, and white shimmers on the shoulders of their running fleece. I couldn't believe it, our own sweat was freezing on our bodies. Even my water I was carrying had started to turn to ice! Oddly enough, that was the motivation I needed to turn my spirits around.

I ran the full time and covered a distance of 3.6 miles. (I use MapMyRun to plot each of my outdoor runs.) If I had a fancy schmany iPhone there's an app for that and it will calculate as you run. I'm sure there's an app for my Droid too, but I run with my iPod rather my phone. That puts me in the neighorhood of an 11 minute pace. I'm happy there.

Now if this snow would just let up a bit...



Ok, I'm done with this "to run outside in the elements or in the climate controlled indoors deal-io."

I had a 40 minute run to complete on Saturday. Given Brett and I had celebrated our birthdays with a nice dinner out Friday evening, I was not about to get my bum out of bed at 7 a.m. to meet my running group on the Monon when I have dozens of nicely paved and wide sidewalks in my own part of town. I'd like to tell you I'm that dedicated but I'd be lying. So I slept in. And when I rolled out of bed at 9 a.m. it was an entire three degrees outside. Yes, as in one...two...three degrees. Hauled my bum down to the treadmill, yes I did.


I wasn't even to a single mile and I was willing it to be over. There was no setting a landmark a few blocks ahead before I'd make a turn and set a new landmark another few blocks in the distance and repeat. That works for me. A giant television screen with bad Saturday morning programming and a treadmill that I feel moving beneath me while I make no visible progress whatsoever. That does not work for me.

I'd love to know if this is just my own crazy mental block or if anyone else has a strong liking toward one form of running vs. another.

And I promise to file this topic away after tonight.


spring's cameo

It was a balmy 55 degrees with a hint of sunshine on Sunday afternoon. I'm sure that weather was special-ordered for the beating of the New York Jets by our Indianapolis Colts. (HelLO Super Bowl XLIV!) Monday morning we awoke to a friendly reminder that it IS January, and this IS Indiana. I had another friendly reminder staring me in the face all day: my training schedule.

Week 1 - Monday: Run 30 minutes or 2 miles.

Last time around I mentioned that I preferred running outside in the cold to running on a treadmill. But for the most part our winter was considerably un-Indiana like last year and I wasn't sure how I'd handle below freezing temps paired with the white stuff. No time to dwell though, by afternoon the snow was falling, the wind was blowing and I see this come up on my Facebook newsfeed from the 500 Festival.

With the winter weather hitting Indianapolis again, don't be afraid to train in the snow. A few tips would be to run with a partner and wear moisture-wicking fabrics on the inside and moisture-shedding fabrics on the outside. Also, don't worry about running fast, just cover the distance. The extra fabrics will slow you down but add resistance.

Well darn't, no excuse now. Plus, I did spend a few dollars at Dick's Sporting Goods in recent weeks on cold weather running attire. So I ran. It was cold. And my Droid was not playing music as I had instructed it to do. (Must set up playlists on my iPod. Must.) The very rare human sighting resulted in odd stares that said "I'm walking my dog, what's your excuse?" But you know, I'm going to stand by my claim of cold-weather running. The snow in my face sucked, true. But the cold kept me running, it was my source of warmth.

I did 2 miles instead of 30 minutes. But I did 2 miles, which is 2 miles more than I ran last week. And 2 miles closer to 13. Oh happy cold day in Indiana.


back at it

I started to think about training a couple weeks ago. Which means I spent some time reacquainting myself with the treadmill one Saturday morning, and I bought some new running clothes. It may sound ridiculous - it did to me at first - but spending a little bit of money on good equipment (read: cotton-free everything and fit-to-your-foot-by-someone who knows what he (or she) is talking about shoes) helps. A lot. I suggest raiding the clearance rack at Dick's Sporting Goods. Having well-fitting, good-looking running clothes doesn't mean dropping THAT much money on a pair of running tights. Seriously. They do not flatter thee thighs. And personally, I'd much rather spend THAT much money on a fabulous pair of boots or new skirt!

So anyhoo - I digress. (If you know me in real life you are not surprised right now.)

I did actually do more than just think about training. I ran! Two whole miles. My training program with The Running Company starts on Saturday, and I didn't want to show up having not put the left foot in front of the right foot, at an above-normal pace, in several more months than I care to admit. I made it a running date with my old roommate, it'd been too long since we'd gotten together to chat. We successfully accomplished both. Catching up with her was great, and chatting for two miles helped us both keep pace.

A couple observances so far. First, this part is familiar. The anticipation, completing the first mile(s), feeling like I own those thirteen(pointone)miles. The day-after sore muscles (Yes, I stretched!). I know there will be some hard days when the feet don't really want to keep going and my breath can't come fast enough. The difference is I now know I will get through them. Second, I just feel stronger. I've been going to Pilates class once a week for much of the past year. And having moved downtown last summer, I walk more often than I drive. While I know those two activities alone are not enough to keep me in tip top shape and good health, it's more than I was doing before I started training last year. I'm going to up the Pilates class to twice a week while I'm training, and since I'm fortunate to have a pretty decent workout room in my apartment building, I'm going to make use of it. I know now that having a strong core is key to my being a strong runner.

One last thing, if you're still with me. Visit my friend Joyce and give her a shout out of support too. She's taking on these thirteen(pointone)miles too, and I found a few smiles spread across my face while reading through her posts.