I’m baaaaack! + Spring Racing Schedule

I hope everyone had a lovely, fantastic Thanksgiving holiday weekend with loved ones. I had a great time hanging out with my brothers and nephews all weekend. (The sisters were doing their own thing in DC and I missed them terribly. But they missed out on some delicious food and hot toddies…just sayin’). It was unseasonably warm in Indy, just as it has been in Chicago lately. On Friday, we had a toasty high of 63 degrees! SIXTY-THREE!? Absolutely wonderful. I’m glad I brought plenty of running shorts with me as opposed to leggings because I put them to use.

The Drumstick Dash was a success. It was a much different experience this year than last. (Last year involved sideways rain and a lack of preparation apparel-wise on my part. I hadn’t truly gotten into my running kick at the time and just ran the race to have fun. Well, I guess as much fun as you can have running in sideways rain.) I’ve slowly been healing after I was diagnosed with peroneal tendonitis in my left leg and I wasn’t sure if I’d RACE or RUN the Dash. My dad even found me 2 minutes before start-time and asked me the same question. I told him I didn’t know—but I think I did. 🙂 Because I took off runnin’ and got into a rhythm with my tunes right away.

I must be lucky when it comes to running into people I know (literally) because I saw an old high school friend that went to France with me at the time during the race. We chatted as much as we could (I told you I was racing!) and agreed we’d try to catch up afterward. It was nice to see a friendly face and be surprised during the race.

The Dash is only 4.5 miles but it feels much longer because of the small turns you take through the Broad Ripple neighborhood. I had enough distractions and I set my sights on some other runners up ahead to keep the momentum up. By the 3rd and 4th mile, I had thoroughly shocked myself. I looked down at my Garmin and it didn’t budge from a 7:00-7:10 pace. Where was THAT coming from!? It must be the rest I’ve been taking lately with this tendinitis issue. I even managed a 5k PR during a 4.5 mile race. (My previous PR was in August and it was a poor effort on my part. Still, that was my PR at the time). I finished the course in just over 32 minutes.

Age Group: 14th place
Overall finish: 492/5604 *top 9% out of those with timing chips (15000 people registered, 5604 with chips)

I didn’t have much tenderness in my left leg the day after like I did when I first experienced pain there. I’m so happy the pain is going away and I’m able to run longer distances now. I even ran 6 miles before work this Monday! Talk about starting the week off on the right foot…or left?

This morning I got up early and managed to find the time to do both a biking and running workout. I got on the bike for 20 minutes while I waited to snag a treadmill at the gym. I am not on a structured training plan right now (which is awesome), but I decided I would run 4 miles today. I started the pace at 8:30/mile and ended at 7:06/mile. Last year when I started my training in February, my pace for 800 springs was around 7:50. Now that is an easy run. It’s funny what time and dedication can do within a year’s time. I’m looking forward to starting off even healthier this year and working towards a fun spring racing schedule.

Since I won’t be able to register/run Boston until 2013, I’m looking forward to dedicating the spring to my half marathon time. My current half PR is 1:43:48 (average pace 7:55), while my marathon PR is 3:32:53 (8:08 average pace). My average pace for the half and the full definitely shouldn’t be that close. And I know I’m capable of running the half much faster. So, without further ado, my spring racing schedule:

  • Rock ‘n Roll National Half Marathon– March 17th 2012– Rock ‘n Roll always has really well organized races and this will be a good excuse to get out to D.C. and visit my twin sister. 🙂
  • Carmel Half Marathon– April 21– I’m excited about running this one. I grew up minutes away from Carmel and I’ll have a hometown crowd there cheering me on (thanks to my nephews! :-)) The price is right and it will be nice to run a race in Indy again.
  • Bayshore Half Marathon– May 26th–I think I most excited about this race. It’s small (they only allow 2300 runners) and flat and scenic. My brother will be running the full and WILL qualify for Boston at this event. It’s going to be a good day 🙂

I’m sure Coach has a specific pace in mind, but we’ll see how the season unfolds. I feel like there’s a lot of good stuff to come. If this morning’s 7 min pace is any indication to what I can look forward to, it’s going to be a great spring running season.

Have you registered for your spring races yet? What are you focusing on? Do you like having a structured racing plan or play it by ear?

-J

Autumn Loves

Lately I’ve been savoring the little things BIG things. It’s the time of the year to think about what you’re thankful for and what you’ve accomplished in the past 11-12 months. I’ve been thinking about it lately and decided that I’d be silly to think that life is anything but good.

Life is good.

I am super happy about some things happening in my life and the lives of friends & family. It’s easy (especially in the city) to feel compartmentalized and sectioned off from the rest of the world. But everyone is working towards something awesome, it seems. I’m happy to be around people that are driven, know where they want to go, and are figuring out a way to get there. (Again, this goes back to the video I posted last week—I still can’t get over it.)

Short and sweet…I’m thankful for:

  • my sister, Lindsey. My day wouldn’t be the same without our Gchat convos. PLUS she just got hired by a landscape architect in D.C. and she’ll finally have a job doing exactly what she wants to be doing! I’m so excited for her–for real.
  • a workplace with a lax dress code. Because dress pants on a rainy day just don’t work out as well as jeans and boots do.
  • my sweater drawer. I will be thankful for this drawer for approximately the next 5 months.
  • the fact that I survived Bikram yoga last week!!! I’m obsessing over this new workout and love the way I feel after sweating for 90 minutes in a room with a ton of other sweaty people trying to contort their bodies into odd shapes. There really is nothing like it.
  • my puppy. She may be a rascal sometimes (admittedly, she’s not really a puppy anymore), but she always goes crazy when I come home after work.
  • an active family. I’m running the Drumstick Dash in Indy this weekend with my mom and brother. How awesome is that?
  • hot apple cider. ’nuff said (even better when it transforms into a hot toddy)
  • the ability to feed myself good food. I look forward to cooking good dinners every weekday. Good food, good beer, and good company is all I need.

The little things have become the big things.

-J

 

Sunday=Baking Day

I woke up this morning and immediately thought about breakfast. I’m not a “breakfast person”. I usually have to make a conscious decision to put a bagel in the toaster and slather it with cream cheese before heading out the door. More often, I throw some instant oatmeal into my purse and sometimes make it at the office when I’m hungry. Cup o’ coffee & I’m good to go. But today was different. I had a recipe in mind.

Bacon-Wrapped Eggs…

I found this video online about two weeks ago and it’s been on my to do list ever since. Bacon-Wrapped Eggs

So I headed to the store for all the necessary ingredients:

  • carton of eggs
  • package of bacon
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • chives (or any kind of herb)
  • and HUNGER …which was easy

I may or may not have bought ingredients for cookies ‘n cream brownies as well… shhh!

The recipe is very simple. Brown the bacon but avoid making it crispy like you normally would. Create cups o’ bacon on the muffin pan. Crack an egg and plop each one into the cup o’ bacon.

Top with the cheese of your choice.

I used a combination of feta, colby jack, and shredded cheddar cheese. The feta was a risk, but it turned out delicious.

Mmmmmmm. Are you salivating yet?

Ready for the oven.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees and bake the eggs for 15 minutes or until set.

And wait patiently (or not so patiently in the pup’s case)…

What a rascal.

Almost done!

Amazing, right? So simple, so rich, so delicious.

Consume with cup of fresh orange juice and cup o’ joe.

Then? …..NAP!

-J

Staying Active Enough to Feel Healthy

I’ve been feeling sorry for myself lately. And it’s just silly. Out of all the problems I could be having with my running, a little bit of tendinitis is nothing to complain about. Since I my PT appointment two weeks ago, I’ve been bummed. Coming out of my first marathon with a great experience, I was riding high. I ran an awesome 4-person relay for Back on My Feet, ran the Hot Chocolate 15k with my sister (with silly photos to prove it), and reveled in a bit of laziness. I wanted to keep going, run the same paces I was running leading up to the marathon, and dominate every workout.

I guess that all had to come to an end at some point. My body started to tell me that I was trying to do too much. But, in my stubborn ways, I just didn’t want to listen to it. Other people may be able to jump back out there after a marathon and conquer the world with consistently amazing runs but I guess my body is not built that way. I’m allowing myself some down time now and trying to enjoy the rest while it lasts because there are some good things in store for the spring (hint hint).

These past two weeks, I’ve put in the lowest running mileage of my entire year of training. It almost makes me cringe to write that or even say it out loud to friends. It’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of, but when you’re used to putting in 25-55 miles a week, it pains you to see a measly ‘9 miles’ on your Dailymile totals. In my own head: “NINE miles?! That’s it? That’s a normal weekly training run during marathon training! I ran 13 miles before work one day in August!”. I’m working on forgetting all about those numbers and staying active in other ways. This past week, I’ve gone to the gym a few times to double up on the treadmill and bike. While I dread running on a treadmill after running outside all year, it’s refreshing to “be able to” run just a few miles at a quick pace and hop immediately onto the bike to continue the Sweat Fest. Even though I’m limiting myself to 3 mile runs, I’m finding ways to stay active and get that healthy exercise ‘high’. A few weeks ago, I experienced pain even while walking because of the tendinitis. And slowly but surely, the pain is becoming less frequent and only seems to be a problem when I get up in the morning.

I’m going to Bikram yoga tonight. It will be my 2nd time at this studio. The first time I went?….Not so much fun. I spent approximately 25 minutes out of the 90 minute class just laying on my mat trying to work up the motivation to continue with the series of poses. My heart was beating out of my chest and I wondered why people would put themselves through this sick self-torture for 90 minutes. But alas, I hope to redeem myself tonight by only rolling around on my mat for 15 out of those 90 grueling minutes. It’s really time I stopped making excuses and got my butt to the Bikram studio at least once a week (if not more). I’ve certainly got the time to do so now that I’m not officially training for a marathon. Besides…these poses are so simple…right?

It’s harder than it looks ina room over 110 degrees, I promise. Instead of enjoy a peaceful hour and half of relaxing yoga, this is more along the lines of what I think in studio:

I’ll let you know if I survive tonight’s class! 🙂

Oh ya, and about those spring races? I’ve got three half marathons on a tentative schedule and I have a feeling I’m going to be able to pick up on some speed I didn’t know I had.

 

When was the last time you tried a new workout? Did you stick with it? How have you worked through an injury or a set-back lately?

-J

 

Creating Change

I found this post on Cup of Jo’s blog this weekend and I can’t stop thinking about it. Despite the fact that this entire past year has been nothing BUT change, I still feel like there’s always room for more. I’m looking for my own kind. And this video just got me super excited to find it:

Enjoy!

-J

I always thought of myself as photogenic…

This past weekend, I ran the Hot Chocolate 15k with my older sister, Brittany. And, as I alluded to in my previous post, we had a lot of fun sprinting to the end after a nice run through the city. Luckily, there were photographers present to demonstrate how photogenic and how unphotogenic we can be. Proof below…

Here we are. Lookin’ pretty. We may be cold, but we’re put together. Looking forward to getting the race started and running for hot chocolate and fondue.

It’s about to get ugly…

I spotted the Marathon Foto dude. So maybe I am photogenic. Unlike THAT dude who just had to push ‘stop’ on his Garmin at the exact right moment in time. (I kid. I get it. Time is important.)

This is my favorite. Wait for it…….

Bahahahhaa! This is Brittany. After I told her that she should probably use those legs–afterall, she WAS on the 4 x 800 relay team in high school when they hopped right on up to the Indiana State Track & Field championships. Yup, that lit a fire under her butt! (That and she WAS running for chocolate. duh.)

So there you have it, proof that we can be photogenic if we put our minds to it and proof that we may not be that attractive when we lose our minds. But at least we had fun. 🙂

-J

Fancy Words for “Take It Easy”

Confession: Remember last post when I said that I wouldn’t worry about charging Mr. Garmin OR bringing him with me to the Hot Chocolate 15k? Ummm yeah. Woops? I couldn’t help it. And talked myself into it by saying that “I need the data” and “I won’t look at it during the race”. Well, those reasons are both pretty much true. And I can truly say that I only looked at the ‘stats’ 3 times during the run.

It was a nice jaunt through the city and I was happy to run the entire thing with my older sister, Brittany. We both agreed that it’s pretty cool that my family is so involved—both in spectating each others’ events and in actually participating. I was so happy that my mom came up for the weekend and did the 5k, too. Rockin’.

I mentioned recently that I’ve been having some lower calf or achilles issues in the past two weeks. I decided last week to make an appointment and see a physical therapist this week just to be sure I am doing everything I can to take care of myself post-marathon (again, that makes me sound like a wuss. meh.)

This is where the pain is. Nice stock photo, right?

Basically, it’s not an achilles issue because it would hurt if I poked the back of my heel. The pain is really apparent when I pinch either side of the back of my ankle. It’s been bothering me for about a week and a half, which isn’t that long to be dealing with something like this but it’s been just sore enough to where I felt like I needed to do something about it.

Last week, I took it SUPER easy. Super easy= yoga, 5 mile run, 90 minute hot yoga, and a 15k on the weekend. Ok, I know. It’s all relative. But coming off of the Chicago Marathon, I hate seeing weekly mileage anywhere below 20. 14 miles? Puhhhh-lease.

So Mr. PT established that I have peroneal tendonopathy. Sounds fancy, right? There really isn’t much I can do to allow it to heal besides rest. He recommended that I limit my runs to 3 miles, do some mild stretching (not too much) and participate in other activities like yoga and spinning class. When he said “limit it to 3 miles”, all I could really think was “uhhh, you’re kidding right?”. Afterall, 3 miles was a warm-up during my training. (Those last three words are important right now, Jenny).

So, first thing I did after my physical therapy appointment? Ordered Chinese and turned on the Bears game. If I’m supposed to rest, I might as well take it to the extreme right?

Proof.

I kid, I kid. But really, gotta keep myself busy somehow!

Have you ever had to deal with a nagging issue? What do you do to keep yourself busy?

-J

Running a Race Just for Fun

I’m running a race just for fun this weekend. I won’t be racing it. For real, I will not be racing. I promise.

Well…ok, I might race it. The verdict is still out on this one.

Reasons to race it:

  • ‘cuz I want to.
  • ‘cuz I know that I’ll go out fast at the start line like an all-star.
  • ‘cuz it’s in my blood.
  • ‘cuz…how could I not?
  • ‘cuz the weather is going to be wonderful.
  • ‘cuz there’s CHOCOLATE at the finish line. DUH.

Reasons not to race it:

  • ‘cuz I’ve raced enough this year (10+ races is a lot in my book)
  • ‘cuz I just wanna have fun. (but I’d probably have more fun if I raced it…right?)
  • ‘cuz I’m running it with my mom and sista.
  • ‘cuz they won’t run out of chocolate. (although, this might be questionable).
  • ‘cuz I want to give my body more rest and allow this minor calf issue to disappear.

Yup, that just about covers it. So I’m on the fence, but I’ve devised a plan to keep me from running this race all out, which would mean a pace somewhere in the range of 7:30-7:40 for the 15k.

I will leave Mr. Garmin a home. In my nice warm apartment.

Yup, you read that right. Tonight, I will not worry about charging that buddy o’ mine. I will make sure my iPod shuffle is ready to go with some nice fall running tunes and get ready to run for FUN …and for CHOCOLATE.

How ’bout you? Have you ever successfully run a race just for fun and not worried about what your race pace should be? Tips/suggestions?

Side note: I’m going against my better judgment and participating in a RAM Racing race this weekend. Read an open letter to @RAMRacing here and learn why some other Chicago runners are frustrated.

-J