Sunday, 29 June 2014

Weekly Roundup

Hey all! 
It's been a long week but we made it through it. I've finally got back into a groove with running. 
Something has healed or loosened up and I've had minimal problems with my IT band. As a result I've been able to increase my mileage for the last two weeks. I've also made it out of bed every morning to run so that's helped, miracles do happen.

It's still horrendously hot here and I'm sure I'll be saying that for the next few months but I made it into the water this week, more on that later. 
Today I tried an out and back on my new trail. I ran the shortest route through the new park because I wasn't sure how far it would be to link up with another path. 4.5 out, far enough to make it to a restroom and top up my water bottles. Even the shortest route added 3 miles until I linked up with another 4 mile pathway. That's 7 solid miles and I could add more. I felt like I was in a running advertisement, running through a Forest alone, it was nice.

Thank goodness I didn't see any of these
I'm not sure what I'd do other than totally freak out if I got a snake bite.

I had to run on a roadway for around a mile and a half but it was really quiet as it led to the park and a boat landing. Thankfully it was shaded most of the way.

I was loosing lots of water so I tried to drink as much as I could.

By the time I was done I was soaked through with sweat, yuck. A nice steady 9 miles at a 10 min mile pace.

Tuesday       5 miles
Wednesday  4 miles
Thursday      3 miles
Saturday       5 miles
Sunday          9 miles

26 miles total

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Homemade Lemonade

It's been another super hot week here in SC. As we live in the South you can be guaranteed you'll be served sweet tea or lemonade at gatherings. I haven't acquired a taste for sweet tea yet but I've become quite the lemonade snob! 
I've noticed the closer to homemade it is the better, so I decided to try make some.

1/2 cup of vegan sugar,
Juice 2lbs of lemons,
4 cups San Pellegino

I wanted to add a bit more flavor so I added a quarter cup of frozen raspberries and a few leaves of crushed mint. Mash up the fruit and mint to infuse the lemonade with flavor.

You end up with around 4 cups of lemonade. It's super tart but really tasty. I think in future I'll add more San Pellegino or sugar. I'm horrified at the thought of adding more sugar so I think I'll dilute it a little more to get even more lemonade. I'll be sure to update with any changes.


Sunday, 22 June 2014

Sunday running

In an otherwise pedestrian/cyclist unfriendly city one thing I love about Columbia is the Three Rivers Greenway system. Columbia is split from West Columbia and Cayce by a river. The different cities are cooperating to build trails along both sides of the river. This is amazing for running as they are about as safe as it gets in a city. All the trails are paved and lit. On the Columbia side there are two separate trails. One I don't like (it's a bit creepy) and the other that's around 3 miles long, I've put more miles on than I care to count.
On the other side there is one long trail around 4 miles long that is a bit more hilly but really nice and shaded. Sometimes I'll run out and backs on one or run from one trail to the other. This network is expanding and I'm really excited especially with marathon training looming. There is talk of the two trails on my side of the river being linked but it doesn't look like that'll happen any time soon. 

Today I ran my long slow run of eight miles. I ran two miles from my house to the other side of the river, four miles on the trails and two miles home. Again the temps were close to 80 and humidity was in the 80s also. Taking it easy (8 miles in an hour and fifteen) it was more enjoyable today.
Naturally my running involves a lot of bridges. In Columbia dodging trains is another good passtime on the way home I barely made it across the track before a train came along, thank goodness, sometimes you can get stuck for 20 minutes.
I got home and ate and since I was going to have to wash my clothes anyhow Boomer got a little haircut.
I found a new expansion of the river trails so we took Boomer out to show off his new haircut.

This could give me a continuous 6-7 miles of running even without an out and back. So we set off to explore and ended up out walking for an hour and a half. The trail was very woodsy and pretty. There is still a bit of construction ongoing in the area and I'll need to run on a dirt road for a mile to link up with the older one but there are sidewalks planned. As long as I go during daylight hours and I bring my phone I shouldn't get into any trouble.

We were all over heating a bit too much and it was three pm without any lunch so we got a treat, so naughty! A lemon filled doughnut and frozen lemonade!

Now for a slightly more healthy dinner. Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Humidity you win!

I have been very diligent this week, running every morning so far. Given that it's the weekend I was a little later out the door this morning at 9am.

It was quite a funny experience because the roads were practically empty but once I turned into the parking lot at the park, BAM, it was busy! I guess I'm not the only one getting their early morning sweat on.

I had five miles on my agenda for today and I did it. Normally I might moan and groan a bit but at the end of the day five miles really isn't far when uninjured. I decided to come to the Columbia side of the river for a change, thinking that the lack of shade wouldn't matter at this time of the morning, boy was I wrong. It was a balmy 79 degrees when I began to run. I could handle it except the humidity was 80%. 
I always forget to factor in humidity when it's this hot. Don't follow my bad example because it makes running ten times harder. 
I took a restroom break at the halfway point and took in as much water as I thought I could handle. For the last few miles myself and two other runners leap frogged each other to the finish as we took 30 sec breaks in shaded spots. They looked like they were dying; at one point one guy stopped and leaned against a pole with his forehead. I'd like to think I looked better but honestly I probably looked about the same :)
However, on a positive note it was a beautiful morning and I felt like I was running in South America or somewhere tropical. Heat, humidity and wildlife everywhere I looked. I would have joined the turtles in the river except I put Boomer in for a swim yesterday evening and the water was warm...I want a freezing mountain stream, please. Now I have a really strong urge to head to Lake Murray for a swim since it should be cooler.

I'm sure all you super runners have heard of the Daniels method. A coworker showed me his book. You calculate a vdot number based on a recent race time and it tells you your training paces and predicted race times. It seems to think I could break four hours for the marathon, I'm not so sure but based on that it said my race pace should be 9 min miles. I decided to go ahead and do that this problem, ha ha 30 sec per mile slower...damn you heat and humidity! Can't wait for fall training. I might start sitting in front of the AC like Boomer.

At least I burned of my chocolate/popcorn extravaganza from last night. We watched two movies, both of which I'd previously read the books. Vampire Academy, yes I do read teenagers books, and The Book Thief. Vampire Academy went the route of Twilight and made such a cringe worthy movie I could hardly watch it, and I didn't find the books half bad! The Book Theif was awesome I'd highly recommend it but have the tissues ready.
All watched on our giant projector, totally worth giving up an entire wall!

Breakfast is over and it's 12pm and I feel like my day is only starting...but I'm sure plenty of people are still in bed. 
Maybe a swim is on the cards!! Hope you are having a great weekend so far!

Friday, 20 June 2014

To join or not to join?

I'm in a kind of limbo land as far as my social life goes right now. The only friends I have are the people I work with. Most of whom are younger than me. There is nothing wrong with that but I would like to have some friends my own age. I'm not interested in dating or partying and I'm not the wild night out sort of girl, so I guess that excludes the bar scene.

I'm pretty shy (at first) so I find it hard to meet people. I've been thinking about joining a running club that I've found, as an easy way to at least have some acquaintances outside work, with similar interests. I have a pretty jam packed running schedule on the cards, until December, so I might only be able to run with them once or twice a week. It would have the added bonus of getting access to a certified running coach for advise and training!!

What do you think? Besides work what have you found is the best way to meet people, that isn't super awkward?

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Weekly Roundup

Lots of hot weather this week. It was just over 80F when I went for a run at 10am this morning.

How I'm coping with the heat:
Run in the morning
Carrying electrolite drinks again and pre chilling drinks before running
Building water stops into the run
Accepting that really hot runs will also be slow
If I'm over heating using water stops to completely soak my shirt with water
Run in shady areas

This has left me very limited on some days especially if I don't get out for a run super early, for example I've been three times to the same stretch of riverwalk this weekend. 
Twice to run and once for a 'rhythm on the river' free weekly concert.
It was fun tho we had a little picnic on the grass and it was nice to spend some time outside enjoying the weather instead of cursing it.

This evening was a slightly different experience I got to go see a piano concert and listen to some beautiful classical music.

I've done pretty good with running this week. I've ran my planned 22 miles without any pain. I missed one morning and paid for it by having to move my rest day. Other than that I've run consistently and managed an ok 7 miles for my long run today.  Time to inch the miles up a tiny bit more next week.

Mon 3 miles, Tues 4 miles (5x400m intervals at 5k pace), Wed fail, Thurs 3 miles, Sat 5 miles, Sun 7 miles.

Any other tips for dealing with running in the sun? I'm gonna need them it's forecast to be into the high nineties 4 days this week!!

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Sometimes anger can be motivating!

So yesterday I had a pretty awful day at work. I came back to the lab from an early morning workshop to find someone had left our freezer open over night. The freezer I had some irreplaceable samples in. Now they might be ok but I have no way to find out and the only way to is to go ahead and do a months worth of work. The fact that they are irreplaceable means I have no choice, I can't just start over.

At first I wasn't angry and then it just built. I alternated between wanting to shout and cry. Shout, because the one thing you do in a biology lab is double and triple check freezers and fridges and obviously someone didn't, and cry, well because I care about my work and don't want to waste time.

Like everything else, when life gives you lemons make lemonade, running lemonade. I might have vented a little but not as much as I'd have liked to, instead I used my anger to sign up for my marathon. I'm pretty sure I could have run it right then and got a PR. Strangely doing this calmed me down, maybe I have a racing addiction. I suppose there are worst ones.

Now I have only one race left to sign up for in 2014. By the end of this year I'll have run 12 half marathons and 1 full marathon. What a year of racing. I don't think I'll go so race crazy next year but it's been fun so far. 

So Saturday December 13th I'll be running the Kiawah Island Marathon.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Morning Workouts: Partially succeeding

Morning workout 2 done at a very soggy track!

Tuesday I dragged my ass out of bed for 3 miles with the pup. Yesterday was a total fail as I didn't get out of bed and then there were thunderstorms the whole of that evening.

Seeing as this seems to be a weather trend for this week, I knew I had to get up this morning.
I headed to the track for a 1 mile warm up, 5x400m intervals, 1 mile cool down. Totalling 4 miles. All my 400m intervals were under 7 min/mile pace which is pretty fast for me so it seems morning temperatures are working in my favor.

My reward, yummy.

My left knee is a bit tender after a little intense massage, on Tuesday, as are my hips :( Even though its not being bothering me apparently my left hip flexor is still super tight...stretching ahoy!!

My Friday rest day is now gone, due to not running yesterday. This week I'm gonna aim for 22 miles. Another 3 tomorrow, 5 Saturday and 7 Sunday. I haven't done anything over a 20 mile week in a month so now that my knee has calmed down I'm going to slowly ramp the mileage back up and see how it deals with it.

I've been starting to plan for marathon training. I haven't registered yet but I want to run the Kiawah Island Marathon in December. I'd have to start a training program in late August. Ive been eyeing up Hal Hidgons Intermediate 2 program. It looks pretty intense with 3 x 20 milers before the race and during those weeks the mileage racks up to 50 miles ekk.
 I'm hoping that coming from a good year of running, at a half marathon level, it won't be any harder than when I did the beginners program last year. I like the idea of the three 20 milers, I didn't feel like one run that distance really prepared me enough to run a full 26.2 last time around. It'll give my body longer to adapt physiologically to those distances as it spread out over 5 weeks with a further 2 weeks of taper before the race.
Anyone else completed this training program, if so how did you find it?

Monday, 9 June 2014

Halfway to 12 Half Marathons in 12 months: Bootlegger Half Marathon,Dawsonville GA

The Bootlegger Half Marathon took place at 7am (7th of June) in Dawsonville GA.

This race was almost a 4 hour car journey from Columbia, soo long. We brought along the puppy so we stayed in a dog friendly Best Western. It was ok. We had to stay in a smoking room as apparently they are the only pet friendly it smelt a little. I never realized what a difference this would make as I always choose non-smoking rooms. However, it was in an awesome location right beside a Dunkin Dognuts and Georgia Premium Outlets. 

I didn't make it in time for packet pickup on Friday evening so I picked up my packet on Saturday morning before the race. One really cool thing about this race was that it started near the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame. Packet pickup was in the Hall so I got to walk around. I don't know a whole load about the US car racing circuit but I love Formula 1 racing, so I can appreciate a good car. 2 free entries to the museum...score!! 
A picture with my fellow Half Fanatics and Marathon Maniacs

The t-shirt was technical and the design was nice. Nothing else to report for packet pickup.

A pretty straight forward race for me. I ran at a good pace walking through the water stations and only once or twice otherwise. The course was hilly but consisted of rollers. I can deal with these, short hills and you know a nice downhill is on the way. Aid stations were nicely space out and well organized. A 4 mile race started with the half and full marathon. The half was a partial out and back with a turn around at around mile 8. Most of the course was on small highways in the countryside which meant I seen a large number of dead snakes ekk! 

Having not run a lot in the last few weeks I didn't know what to expect but I felt pretty good running in the lower morning temps (low 70s vs. 90s here in the evening). I was able to hold a decent pace. My IT band let me know it appreciated my low mileage as it didn't really act up too much at all. I was aware of my left knee for the last few miles but it wasn't painful and didn't slow me down. Honestly it was tiredness that slowed me down. I was tired by the end and my hamstrings were tight. I didn't overheat or get sick. I think I got the fueling/water right. Walking through the aid stations helped as I was able to drink a little more than if I ran. Most stations I grabbed Gatorade, different flavors at different stations :), only cutting it off for the last station as I didn't want to get sick.

I got back with 1:57:something on the clock. I presume this was gun time. My results say 1:58:22 (chip time) so I donno where this extra time came from. I thought the timing equipment was at the start of the finishing chute, with the clock, but even the finishing chute wasn't long enough to add almost a minute to my time unless they were handing out medals before I crossed the timer. I know there were problems with the timing system, I think my time should have been close to 1:57. A little annoying and I would be pretty mad if I thought I got a PR. What's the point in having a timing system you cannot work.

Other than this it was a good experience for me, but this is the first race I ran where I could see cracks in the organization. Martina was at the finish the whole time I was running and saw a lot of stuff. A number of people went the wrong way on the course. One guy running a blistering time in the half ended up crossing the finishing mat after eight as he said no one directed him on course. A bunch of full marathoners got lost ending up at the finishing point when they were meant to be starting their second lap wasting precious time. One guy begged for directions was ignored by officials and had to be directed back to the full course by spectators. I waited over an hour for awards and I saw at least 4 marathoners meandering through parking lots trying to get back to the full course. I was directed three times. Once to go onwards at the four mile turn around, once at the half turnaround and lastly at the turnoff towards the finish. Otherwise I just followed other runners..that could have went wrong but luckily it worked out for me. 
There were understandably some very upset people. One maybe two runners going wrong I'd say ok maybe they weren't listening to directions, 10-20 well something needs to change. I think next year the organizers need to have different bib colors for different help the volunteers direct runners or a few large signs (even handmade ones). A few more directions would also be good at different points. Honestly, I'd be annoyed if my half was f'ed up, especially given my 12 in 12 months challenge, but if I was running a full I'd be devastated. 
A few small changes and a test run of the timing system before the race by the organizers would make this a really great race.

I felt ok at the end, I grabbed water, some pretzels and a banana and immediately started stretching. We hung around for the awards. I got 2nd in my age group, my first half marathon placing yay! By the time we went back to the car I was feeling good. After heading back to the hotel for a shower we went to a grill type restaurant were I got a giant delicious bean burger.

Since our hotel was so close to the outlets it would have been a crime not to go shopping. Our hiking plans were scratched and off we went. A couple of hours in the heat (turns outside with the dog) were enough so we chilled out and watched TV for the afternoon. 

Sunday we all had a lie in and left the hotel around 11. We broke up the long drive home by stopping at another set of outlet shops, an hour into our drive, to go to some shops we skipped the day before. The drive was uneventful and we made it home in time for me to have a two hour nap and get up for some dinner :)

Bootlegger Half Marathon 1:58:22(chip time)

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

New shoes again

Brooks PureConnect. These babies arrived in a super speedy time. I took them out for their first run immediately. 
They felt good but surprisingly different. The arch support is much higher than on the PureCadence shoes I've been running in and I think that is producing a different ride. They also feel more cushioned but that could be just the newness. Either way I'm happy I especially love the color....yes I'm that shallow!

My new sports bra also arrived but I made a stupid mistake when ordering it. I ordered based on European sizes and therefore ended up with a bra a cup size smaller than I usually buy. All was not lost after much struggle I got into it. I think a couple of weeks wear to stretch it out and it'll be fine. I always feel like my boobs are up under my chin with new sports bras anyhow but I guess that's better than the alternative, right?

Both new items performed nicely on a 30 minute tempo run. My first bit of speed work in a couple of months, oh the shame. Running is going well even if I feel like a baby whale. Ok, I know I only need to lose around 4 pounds, but I hate when you can see a difference wearing clothes because somehow those couple of pounds always pile onto the most awkward places :( Well I'll keep trying, consistency with running will eventually peel them off, if only I could snap out of this sugar loving phase I'm going through! 
One day I will post a picture of a lovely toned tummy :)

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Adjustments to summer!

Another hot run today!
 I set my alarm for 6am with the intentions of getting up and running then but as usual when I set my alarm a tiny bit earlier than normal I worry about sleeping through it, so I tossed and turned all night and ended up not getting up! 
2 miles slow, 1 mile <9min mile, 1 slow. A bit uncomfortable, as I ate some toast and drank some water, right before running and of course the heat doesn't help. That made me a bit slow but I didn't hurt anywhere, bonus.
I got back and as usual when I entered the air conditioning the sweat started to roll off of me.
Time to break out the electrolytes. I donno if I tried the orange flavor Ultima Replenisher last year but I had to open it as my lemonade flavor had clumped, after being opened for so long, and looked awful. It was good, a very mild flavor, you just have to make sure it's all dissolved. No one wants a clump of powder mid-drink.

The bugs are out full force too. My garden is literally crawling with ants. I have approx. 30 ants bites on my legs, obtained trimming branches etc along the garden fence line. This sucks as I'm allergic. For me these ant bites swelled to a circle around 3 inches across, even after taking two different anti-histamines (one over the counter and another prescribed to me, they target different types of histamines allowing me to take two). Now the lumps have burst, not pretty, but the swelling goes away then. I hope I don't get a bunch of new scars. I might have to break down and treat the garden but I hate using all these chemicals. 

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Parents and some traveling

So my parents left today. They were here for the last 9 days. It's been so nice spending time with them after just over a year of not seeing my mother and almost 2 in my dad's case. I've slowly been getting more and more home sick so this is exactly what I needed.
I've managed to get a bit of running done while they've been here, yay, without feeling like I've compromised on spending all the time I can with them!
One of my first runs this week was a 4 miler on Monday. My parents came and walked Boomer while I ran the length of the park. Of course Boomer instantly fell in love with my Dad. By the time I met back up with them they were pretty much dying from the heat. This is from two people who do physical work/walk a lot regularly! That kinda made me feel a) sorry for them but b) not so bad about my diminishing pace recently.
So maybe it's not ALL down to my drop in mileage, for the last while, but more to do with the heat. I haven't swallowed the bullet and changed over to morning running but this might just be the week I have human should sweat this much! I also need to start carrying some Ultima Replenisher again, as I need electrolytes but wanna save the carbs in Gatorade for races or longer training runs, luckily I have lots left from last year.

Wednesday-Friday, as a belated Christmas gift to my parents..and me...I got us a cabin near Franklin in NC. This is a little further South on the Blue Ridge Mountains than I've gone to before. It was different, not as super mountainous as I expected, but really pretty! We spent some time hitting up the trails to see a bunch of waterfalls. 
By far my favorite was Secret Falls. The trail was a little overgrown and buggy but it was worth the hike. A spectacular waterfall with a nice pool at the base. I abandoned my shoes for a little dip and wished I'd brought my bathing suit. Since we were the only people there we hung out for a while watching the butterfly's and as a result I got Boomer to actually swim for the first time #proudmoma.

We drove under this, Bridal Veil Falls.

Leaving, of course my parents forced money on me. I'm very proud of the fact that I paid most of my own way through my undergrad and all of my own through my Ph.D, leaving my education without any debt, but my parents are sneaky. Birthdays and Christmas are usually an excuse to slip me some cash and now it seems so are visits. I feel bad because by giving me that money they pretty much paid for everything on the trip and MORE. Whatever makes them happy though, there was no refusing it, I tried. As a result I've caught back up with where my megre savings should be and had enough left over to replace my sports bra (on which some clasps had come off) and buy an extra pair of shoes. For the bra I went with the only sports bra brand I will probably ever buy, as it is the only one that provides the levels of support I like, Shock Absorber Ultimate Run Bra. For the shoes, I stuck with Brooks and also a 4mm heel to toe drop, but this time I decided to opt for the pure connect 3s. This means for once I'll have two pairs of shoes on the go and I'm hoping that switching between a truly neutral shoe (connects) and and slightly less neutral one (cadences) will not let my stride become too set in its ways! 
Thanks Mom and Dad!
 I managed to hold my tears in until I'd driven away from the airport after dropping them off.  It was really hard to say goodbye to them again, even though we talk all the time. But they'll be back next year or I'll suck it up and make the trip home.

Monday   4 miles
Friday      5 miles
Saturday  3 miles
Sunday    7 miles
Not a crazy amount of miles but its a start!!!