Jingle Bell 5k Run Race Report

Sunday, December 18, 2011
This was my first race back as a runner! I was so excited to implement the Galloway run-walk-run method in my first 5k. I knew I wanted to finish as fast as I could, but I also didn't want to over-do it. So, I was hoping to do the 3.1 miles in around 42 minutes. 

Woke up at 6am to get ready for the race. Mom would be walking this one as well, so she was up (not necessarily happy about the hour though, she's not a morning person). I ate my bowl of oatmeal, got dressed and we were out the door just before 7am. The event was taking place at Baldwin Park in Orlando which meant it was about 40 minutes away. Leaving by 7am would assure we would get there with enough time to park, collect our registration packets and put everything but the bib in the car. 

We arrived at about 7:40ish, and easily found a parking spot. We then walked the half block or so to the packet pick up area. We got our packets and timing chips and headed back to the car. Made a stop at the local CVS to use the ladies room and walked back down to the race area. We still had a good amount of time before the 8:30am start, so I went looking for pre-race water which I thankfully found. 

We then gathered near the starting line for the National Anthem. Looking to my left, I realized that Mattia, a friend from dailymile was just a couple of feet from me. I was hoping to see him, so we said our hellos and gave one another a hug. Before we knew it, the race was beginning. The start was full of runners and walkers alike, so I was glad that I was going to be walking for a couple of minutes before I hit my Gymboss timer. I would have been weaving around people like crazy if I was running right from the start.

Once I hit start on my interval timer, I was off running. Before the race, I decided to go with 1:1 intervals, and figured if need be, I'd slow down to 30:30.  I soon realized that I was going a bit too fast on the first mile when I saw the time I hit mile one. I was under 13 minutes. I needed to slow down, my body wasn't used to sustaining that kind of speed for that long just yet. Alas, I didn't listen to myself, because I apparently ended up going even faster mile 2 hitting that mile marker at around 12 minutes. I then took mile 3 a lot easier than my body wanted to I slowed down my running intervals and walked some of my walking intervals a bit slower than usual. Rounding the corner to the finish line, I wanted to cross the finish line running, so I ended up running 30 seconds earlier than my normal interval. I crossed the finish in with a time of 42:09! So, I definitely PRed and made my goal. I felt good! 

After I finished, I met up with another dailymile friend, Lizabeth. This would be our first time meeting up even though we have done a couple of the same races. It was great meeting her. We talked for a few minutes, took pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus and went in search of fruit (which didn't exist! A race without fruit, I couldn't believe it). Then, my mom finished and Liz and I said our goodbyes. I hope to be able to run with her once I put in some more miles of training. 

All in all, this was a fun and festive race. I thought it was pretty well organized and put on. My only complaint would be that they didn't have any fruit like bananas. The only thing they had was junk donuts and bagels. The race organizers need to think about this for next year. A lot of runners want healthier options like fruit after a race. I always look forward to a banana once I finish. Also, they were giving out water bottles at the two water stops rather than cups of water. While it's easier on the volunteers to hand a runner/walker a bottle of water, it's also more wasteful. I saw many mostly full water bottles tossed to the side. Cups would have solved the wasting I think, it would just be a bit more work since they have to be filled up and ready to go. On a positive note, I hope the Arthritis Foundation did well in fundraising with this event.

(I'll post the couple of pics I have soon)

Vegan Athletes and Protein

Thursday, December 15, 2011
 
It seems that not a month (or less) goes by that I don’t read or hear about a vegan runner or other type of athlete that supposedly had issues with being an athlete simply because she was vegan. For example, I just read this on Yahoo! Sports today:
While a vegan diet can be nutritionally adequate, you'll have to be extra careful to be sure your protein needs are met. An athletic friend I knew several years ago started a vegan diet and actually passed out in training after several weeks of consuming far too little protein. It's not something you want to have happen to you.
As you can see here, the author has a story that basically claims that because her friend was vegan, he or she was not getting enough protein, thereby he passed out. I’ve had co-workers also tell me similar stories about how they knew someone who had issues with their running or just getting enough protein because they weren’t eating meat. Here’s the thing, if you are eating healthy and correctly as a vegan, you will NOT have any problems. It’s as simple as that. What people fail to realize is that a lot of ominvores are severely lacking in their health. Look at all the fast food so many folks eat, that stuff is far from healthy.
The bottom line here is, vegan athletes have no problems with their health or fitness if they eat properly. Just as omnivore athletes don’t have any problems when they eat correctly. It’s the same deal, there’s nothing extremely different about it. Vegans get their protein in through foods like beans, tofu, lentils, chickpeas, and tempeh. There is no shortage of protein out there when you educate yourself. Not to mention that most athletic individuals don’t require that much more protein than the average person.
Are you a vegan athlete? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

Second Half Marathon Training

Wednesday, December 14, 2011
After the great experience I had at my first half marathon last month at Space Coast, I’ve decided to take on another one! I may be crazy, but hey, we all are a bit I think. Space Coast was a bit rough at times, but I have to say, I’ve been wanting to do another one in early 2012. Within a day or two of Space Coast, I was already thinking about it. In fact, I’m already registered for the next one. I’ll be doing the Orange Blossom Half on March 4th in Tavares.

I’m already getting a training plan in place for the race. Originally, I was just going to wait until January 1st to begin my training, but I’ve now decided to start on Christmas day. Since I’m going to be running this one, I need to get the miles when I can. It will have been about a month since Space Coast, so that’s a good rest period for my body (well, I hope since I had said I wasn’t going to do any hard training the rest of 2011 J ). The first week of the training won’t be too hard anyway, so I’m not too concerned about pushing too much.

Here’s the plan I’m going to go with after some advice from friends who are more experienced runners.
Week Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
1 CT
off
3 miles CT 3 miles off 4 miles
2 CT off 3 miles
CT 3 miles
off 6 miles
3 CT
off
3 miles
CT
3 miles
off 7 miles
4 CT
off 3 miles
CT
3 miles
off 8 miles
5 CT
off 4 miles
CT
3 miles off 6 miles
6 CT
off
4 miles CT
4 miles
off 4 miles with MM
7 CT
off 4 miles
CT 4 miles off 8 miles
8 CT
off
3 miles
CT 3 miles off 10 miles
9 CT
off 4 miles
CT 4 miles off 6 miles
10 CT
off 3 miles CT
2 miles easy walk off

I’m still up for any further advice to make my training as good as possible. My longest run will be 10 miles which is okay. Not too concerned about the last 5k, I figure worst case scenario is that I can simply walk most of it. But, I doubt that will happen less for potentially more rest breaks. The ten miler on week 8 will be a good test on where I am at that time with the run-walk-run. I’m excited about the race already and it’s more than two months away!

First Magic Mile

Sunday, December 11, 2011
Went out this morning and ran my first magic mile. For those unfamiliar with the Galloway method, it's a run-walk-method and the magic mile is an indicator used to determine your current pacing capabilities. I knew that since I hadn't run in over a year (less for a few sprints at races), this first one would be slower than I would like. That's okay though, because I know I'll only improve as I go along.

I headed down to the local track to do the magic mile. I debated doing it in the neighborhood, but I'm already pretty bored with it, so I knew a change of venue would be welcoming. After warming up with some walking and some run-walk-run intervals at 1:1, I did the magic mile. The track itself was actually a half mile long which isn't traditional, as most running tracks are 400 meters. I was a bit disappointed in that because I thought doing four laps would be easier, but in the end that's not really the case, it's the same distance, so it doesn't really matter (well, less for preference I suppose). I did the first 1/2 mile in 6:30 which was pretty good and ended up finishing with a time of 12:58. Basically, I did the mile in 13 minutes. I really pushed myself and only took about 4 short walk breaks, so I'm pretty proud of myself for that.

Once you get your magic mile time, you are able to calculate where your pacing is going to be. I went to Jeff Galloway's website and put in my time of 12:58. Here's what I got:
5k Pace - 13:31 (41:54)
10k Pace - 14:55 (1:32:27)
Half Marathon Pace - 15:34 (3:23:50)
Marathon Pace - 16:51 (7:21:39)

Since I was walking between 14:30 and 15:30ish per mile, I know that half marathon time is pretty high most likely for me. I did Space Coast in 3:28:50 so even if I do my next half marathon using a 1:2 ratio (run one minute, walk two), I should finish better than that 3:23:50 Jeff's calculations are stating that I will. Speaking of my next half marathon, I signed up yesterday for it! I'll be doing the Orange Blossom Half on March 4th!

Anyway, I'm glad I got this first magic mile out of the way, as it was pretty tough and I know my next one will be better once I'm running for some time. I'll be doing a holiday 5k this coming Saturday, so I look forward to seeing what I can do using the run-walk-run intervals. I'm going to try to do it in 40 minutes or less. I should easily PR though, as all my previous 5ks are walking.

Day One...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Today was my first day running again. I decided to just go out and do an easy two miles. Out a mile, then back. Seemed easy enough. I could even picture the route in my head. No problem, I'd done that out and back mile numerous times walking.

Well, what I thought would be easy ended up being a bit rougher than I anticipated. I walked for a minute or so, then started to jog. My back decided it was going to go numb and not want to go out and play. Great, I thought, what a nice way to start. I kept going though, telling myself that I had been numb a few times before when I had just been walking, so maybe it would calm down. It didn't calm down, but I was able to kind of grin and bear it. I ended up doing the run-walk-run throughout that first mile and it went okay despite my complaining back. I did have a bit of a struggle with breathing, but I figured that was to be expected since I was picking up the pace and hey, I was running not walking.

I got to the end of the first mile and was around a 13 min/mile with the run-walk-run method. Okay, not great, but not horrible for my first mile back I told myself and turned around to head back home. The second mile was fairly similar to how I felt during mile one. I didn't plan well enough on my intervals, so I ended up just sort of picking points to run to basically. Was happy to finish at just over 26 minutes for both miles combined.

So, this was a good learning experience for me. It told me where I am in that I need to do some conditioning most likely before shooting for longer running intervals. And, I need to find a way to let myself know when I need to run until I get my Garmin for Christmas. Might see if there's a podcast I can use for the next couple of weeks or so for that. I'm not disappointed with myself because hey, I got some running in! I know with training that I'll be faster before I know it. Just need to listen to my body and do the work.

Good News Monday!

Monday, December 5, 2011
After being out of running for over a year, I'm finally going to be a runner again! As you may know if you read a previous entry about my longing to run again, I've missed the sport a great deal. Last month, one of the running podcasts I listen to had a write-in question about running after herniating your back. The doctor, who is an sports endurance specialist informed the person that yes, they most likely could run again after some down time.

My interest was extremely up after hearing that. Could I be running again? I had to know. So, after getting a recommendation from a running friend on a back doctor, I made an appointment. Today, I saw the doctor. After looking over my MRI and other records, he informed me that he didn't see any reason why I could not. Further, I'd probably not experience much more discomfort or soreness than I do now with my power walking. The worst case scenario would be that I'd need the shots again (which I may need anyway) or surgery in the future. He said, I should live life and do what I love. His advice really made my day. I walked out of the office with a big smile on my face.

So now, my return to running regime begins. I'm going to use the Jeff Galloway method so I can do a run-walk-run routine which will also be easier on my body I think. And, I'm already planning my second half marathon. I'll be doing the Orange Blossom Half in March. Will be great to do my second half marathon as a runner. :)

Space Coast Half Marathon Race Report

Monday, November 28, 2011
I did it. I conquered the half marathon! Yesterday, I started and completed the Space Coast Half Marathon in Cocoa Beach, Florida. It was an amazing experience, through all the emotions it brought me. As of right now, I don't know if I'll do another half marathon, but I wouldn't rule it out. 


 The day started off early, and I mean early. I woke up just before 2am to get ready to meet my friend, Yolanda in Celebration to ride to the race together. She was sweet enough to offer to let me come along so that I wasn't driving to Cocoa Beach solo. Once I met up with her at 3:30am, we were on the road to the race. During the hour and fifteen minute ride, we had a great conversation discussing just about everything. It was great getting to know her better since we had always missed each other at previous races. 

We arrived and parked before 5am which was great timing. Once we got the rest of our gear on (arm sleeves, hats/headbands, numbers), we walked over to the race area (okay, we made our first port-o-potty stop before we reached said area, but you can never go to the restroom too many times before a race IMO).  We chatted with some fellow runners/walkers and took a few pre-race photos. It's amazing how quickly an hour can go by, and before we knew it we had just enough time to make another port-o-let stop and check our bags before heading to the starting line. Yolanda and I said our goodbyes and good luck and went to our respective pacing points. 

The National Anthem was sung and the shuttle blasted off our start countdown and we were off! Well, sort of. Since I was at the back of the pack, I waited. I waited nine minutes before I hit the start mat. But, once I did, I got moving. I played it smart out the gate and didn't go too fast. The beginning of the first mile was through downtown before we hit the residential area by the water. By the end of mile one, it was extremely windy and it even started to rain! At first, I didn't even think the drops of water hitting me were rain, I thought it was the water being blown in by the water to our left. But, it was rain. It stayed pretty windy for awhile, but the light rain did die down. Unfortunately, it returned a mile or so later. I hit 5k much later than I expected or liked. The clock time, while not my actual chip time, said it was about an hour into the race. I know my first race pit stop didn't help matters (I lost 3-4 minutes because of it since I had to wait for one of them to be empty). So, I picked up the pace. 

The second 5k went okay. The weather could have been cooler, but this is Florida, not much can be done about it unfortunately. I was just happy that the rain had taken a hike. I was enjoying my music and moving along. I hit the 10k mark at a better pace, but I still wasn't so sure I would be able to finish under or even at 3:30 since I thought I was not moving as fast as I wanted. It was about mile 6.5 that the route had a turn around point and this made me happy because once I made it through the turnaround I would be heading back and closer to the finish. There was still quite a ways to go, but this became the start of my mental talk with myself. 

Between miles 7 and the 15k mat, I tried to distract myself with my music. Then, I realized that fellow runners were coming down the other side and now, there were full marathoners. This meant that I would probably see my friends, Yolanda and Kitzzy at some point. Knowing this also helped some. I jammed along to songs like Back in Time by Huey Lewis (from my favorite movie) and even the Cell Block Tango from the Chicago soundtrack. Before I knew it, I saw Yolanda coming toward me and instantly, it brought a smile to my face. She yelled my name and encouragement at me as I waved and did the same for her. It definitely was a bright moment for me. 


I hit the 15k mat not long after that and I was so grateful for that. But, I still had a ways to go. Those last four miles would prove to be the most difficult of all. Mile 9.3 to 10 wasn't too bad, I was still feeling okay, so I guess really it was the last 5k that was rough. My mental talk really had to hit high gear because I was hurting and just wanted to stop. I didn't let myself stop moving though. I knew if I did that, I would likely not want to get going again. My legs were crying out that they hated me, but I told them that it would all be worth it very soon. Not so sure they believed me, but thankfully, they kept going. Right before I hit mile 11, I spotted my friend Kitzzy, and while I tried to smile at her, I'm not so sure I was successful. My back began to kill me not long after mile 11 which sucked. But, I kept pushing myself to keep moving. I kept the mental talk going convincing myself that it wasn't THAT much further, heck, I was just out doing a couple miles, right? Funny the things we say to ourselves to push through during a race or hard workout. 

My positive talk and keeping up to the beat of my music helped me make it to mile 13. This is a brick sidewalk that ends up spiraling around to the finish line. Something inside me ignited and I began to run. I just took off. It felt good despite the pain in my back and legs. I overdid the speed I took my run in, so I had to stop for a few seconds before sprinting back into a run as I saw and hit the finish line. Crossing that line felt SOOO good. I had done it, I had just completed my first half marathon. And, I did it under 3:30! My official chip time was 3:28:50! Getting my medal and other finisher swag was a bit of a blur. They also gave me an ice cold towel which was great. I used it to calm my back and it actually helped. I noticed my pain, well my back pain anyway calmed down significantly once I was done with the race. 

I then joined Jason, Kitzzy's boyfriend by the finish spectator area. He had not only run the half marathon, he was now photographing the finish for all of us which was awesome and very nice of him. I asked him how his race went, and he told me he PRed which was great. We then waited for Kitzzy, Yolanda and some others to finish their marathons. Seeing Yolanda cross that finish line was awesome, she looked so strong despite how she felt (later found out that she was in pain). I then went over and found her after she got her medal and met her husband and son. We took some photos then went back over to spectate and see Kitzzy finish. While we waited for Kitzzy, we met some fellow daily milers, and one that has been an inspiration to both of us. Kitzzy finished despite her struggles and I applaud her for it. She finished her second marathon and that's beyond amazing in my book.

Leaving the race, Yolanda and I found a Starbucks and relaxed for a few minutes with our drinks. Then, we headed back to Celebration. We had another great talk in the car. She really made the race a lot more fun for me, as I got to share the experience with a friend.


No real future plans as of right now. I promised myself that I would take December easy after Space Coast, so that's what I'm going to do. I'll likely do the Jingle Bell Run 5k, but nothing else planned yet. That's not to say that I'm not looking or open to race suggestions for 2012 though. As far as doing another half marathon, well if the right race presented itself, I might be convinced to sign up. :)



On the Eve of My First Half

Saturday, November 26, 2011
I'm feeling a bit nervous. My stomach is starting to bother me which is scaring me as I don't need GI issues right now or especially tomorrow morning during the race. I'm doing my best to think positively as I watch past Biggest Loser Marathons. The Biggest Loser has been and continues to be a big motivator for me and watching these marathons is so great. If these contestants can run a full 26.2 miles months after losing weight, I can definitely do a half marathon. 

I just need to calm myself (and my stomach) so I can get some food down later. I'm trying to decide if a veggie bowl from Chipotle or a plate of spaghetti is a better idea with my stomach being so sensitive today. I didn't expect that it would be so rough on me the day before the race. It has to be my nerves which I thought weren't so bad until now. 

If you would like to track me tomorrow during the race, you can do so via the race website: http://www.spacecoastmarathon.com. They will post my 5k, 10k, 15, and finish times. I appreciate everyone's support and prayers, it really does mean a lot.  





Space Coast Race Playlist

Tuesday, November 22, 2011
I'm trying to add more songs to my half marathon playlist. Here's my current playlist, as you can see, it's quite a variety of stuff. I like upbeat tunes and if they are motivational, even better. Something to keep that energy in my step. Any suggestions? :)

Good Morning (Mandisa & tobyMac)
Come On Come On (Smash Mouth)
Medley: I Want You Back/ABC/The One You Love (Jackson 5)
The Great Adventure (Steven Curtis Chapman)
Hard Knock Life (Annie Soundtrack)
Holding Out For A Hero (Bonnie Tyler)
Rolling in the Deep (Adele)
 
Let's Get Loud (Jennifer Lopez)
Eye of the Tiger (Survivor)
Life's What You Make It (Hannah Montana)
Girls Just Want to Have Fun (Cyndi Lauper)
Move (MercyMe)
Don't Stop Movin' (Jennifer Rush Jacobs)
Come On Get Up (Janet Jackson)
You Should Hear How She Talks (Melissa Manchester)
Moves Like Jagger (Maroon 5)
What Doesn't Kill You (Kelly Clarkson)
Rave On (Buddy Holly)
Behind the Mask (Michael Jackson)
One Way Or Another (Blondie)
Stronger (Mandisa)
Only Girl (Rihanna)
The Way You Make Me Feel (Michael Jackson)
Walking On The Stars (Group 1 Crew)
It's Not Over (Starship)
Band of Gold (Freda Payne)
The Edge of Glory (Lady Gaga)
Run the World (Beyonce)
Tell Her About It (Billy Joel)
Physical (Olivia Newton-John)
Control (Janet Jackson)
Let's Here It For The Boy (Deniece Williams)
The Redeemer (Santus Real)
Breakdance (Irene Cara)
Proud (Heather Small)

T-Minus 8 Days To Race Blast Off!

Friday, November 18, 2011
I’m beginning to visualize race day now. At least I’m attempting to do so. I’m trying to imagine what the experience will be like, at least the overall jest of it. It’s both exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. I’m trying to stay as positive as possible and not let myself get too worried.
 
I already have come to the realization that I’ll get little to no sleep the night before due to not only the excitement of the race, but due to the travel time it is going to take to get to Cocoa Beach. Because of this, I’m planning on getting as much sleep as I can the day or two prior. I am still working out the logistics of that though, as I work the Friday before and will working until 8pm. So, it’s going to be a challenge to not want to sleep in on Saturday. Although, maybe that is the best way to do things that day…again, I’m still working the details out on that.
 
Beyond the whole sleeping situation, I’m visualizing that big jumbo screen with the space shuttle blasting off as we start the race. That is something I’m definitely looking forward to seeing and experiencing. Then, I plan on just taking each mile as they come. I have done 13 miles in my training and while it is not the easiest to do, I’m more than capable of doing it again. Staying positive, and having a good time will make my first half marathon experience all that much better. I’m thankful that I’ll have friends there with me that day doing the full marathon, and I also look forward to being there to see them cross that finish line.
 
Tomorrow morning, I’ve got my last real mileage workout before the race. I am scheduled to do 6-miles before slowing down for the real tapering next week. I’m planning on enjoying it and using it to continue to picture how great race day is going to be, how awesome I’m going to feel crossing the finish line and getting that neat, beautiful medal.

In My Dreams, I’m a Runner

Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Every so often since my back injury in March of 2010, I really miss running and being able to call myself a runner. I miss it everyday, but by really missing it, I mean I have a deep yearning to be able to do it again. Some times, the fact that I cannot gets me upset and I have to distract myself from that line of thinking. I have to remind myself that I’ve achieved and done so much regardless of whether or not I’m a “real” runner anymore.

This very feeling and upset hit me during Tuesday’s 3-miler. I was out on the road pushing myself to walk as fast as I could, and after seeing a couple of others running, I had an overwhelming feeling that something had been taken away from me. I can only compare it to your mom and dad giving you this great present that you have been yearning for and then once you really begin to enjoy playing with it, they take it back and explain that it’s no longer yours for the keeping. That feeling of hurt is intense deep inside of you. It stings of betrayal and upset.

While I know that running isn’t necessarily a gift that was given to me, it was something that I thought for most of my life that I could never do. I would see other people out running and think that they were crazy and not understand why these people would want to run for fun. But, that all changed after I went through my weight loss journey. I wanted to be active and get out there fitness-wise. When I started the Couch to 5k plan in late 2009, I was not even sure if I could be a runner. Slowly but surely however, I began to see that I could do what I previously thought was unattainable. I was pushing my body and mind to do this sport that was not easy, but it was turning out to be exhilarating. Upon returning from the run-walk sessions, I felt so accomplished and knew that I was capable of so much.

When I was told in April of 2010 that I had herniated my back and would I have to give up this thing that I had started to really love, it was devastating. It took me some time to even accept that my running days, even though they were short were over. I guess I’ve truly never accepted it in all honesty. Sure, I can put on a happy face that I’m okay with just power walking the races and just being out there doing them, but that’s just a facade. I still hope deep down inside of me that some great guaranteed surgical procedure comes along and that I can again be a runner. In the meanwhile, I remain thankful that I can at least walk as I know there are people out there who can’t even do that. Also, I dream, and in my dreams, I’m a runner.

Bondi Band Giveaway! [Closed]

Wednesday, October 19, 2011
I’m so happy to announce that my first giveaway on The Girl’s Got Sole is for an awesome Bondi Band! The folks at Bondi Band sent me two bands, one to review and one to giveaway!  They are great for holding your hair in place when you run, walk, bike, hike or whatever you love to do as well as keeping the sweat out of your eyes. Not to mention they are stylish and cute. Bondi Band makes bands that are just solid colors as well as bands that say motivating mantras and the like. I have been enjoying mine thus far during all of my outdoor workouts and have even ordered a couple more for upcoming races! The bands are extremely comfortable and have gotten me some compliments and thumbs up from people.

The band that I’m giving away is right up the alley of anyone who loves to cycle. Whether you’re the casual recreational type, or a triathlete, this band will be a great addition under your helmet or just on it’s own.

To enter, you must follow this blog and comment below what your favorite band is from Bondi Band’s website. Contest ends at midnight Eastern on November 4th and I’ll choose the winner on 11/5 using www.random.org. (Extended entry time! Enter by midnight Eastern 11/5!) 

Rules:
1. Follow this blog.
2. Go to www.bondiband.com and tell me which band is your favorite.


**Please leave a separate comment for each of the following so that each entry gets counted!** 

Extra entries:
+1 Like Bondiband on facebook
+1 Follow Bondi Band on twitter
+1 Follow me on twitter (ShutterbugShann)


Congrats to Courtenay, aka autopilotlegs for winning the bondi band! And, thanks everyone for participating. Hopefully, I'll have more giveaways again soon!

Runner's knee, you will not be the end of thee!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011
I woke up Monday morning to my knees feeling sore and hurting. At first, I thought that it was probably nothing and that it would go away at some point in the day. However, this soreness and pain wasn't what I was used to with muscle aches from a hard workout. I should have taken the hint right away that something wasn't right, but instead, I shrugged it off. 
Today, I woke up still in the same amount of discomfort. I began to rack my brain. Did I hurt myself somehow over the weekend, or do something differently? After some thought and quick research online, I came to the conclusion that I have runner's knee on both legs (mostly on my right though). Thinking back and connecting the dots so to speak, I believe that my walking more on the sidewalk the last couple of walks, not to mention not using my knee support may have been the cause (also, now that my desk has been moved upstairs at work, I'm going up and down the stairs a lot). Also, I have to admit that I didn't stretch much all weekend after my 6-miler or my bike ride on Sunday evening. Definitely not helping my case any with very little post-workout stretching.
So, I'm going to do the right thing here and follow the treatment regime to get my knees happy again. I've already started to take some Ibuprofen, and I'll be icing tonight. Also, my foam roller is going to get some serious attention this week. My right knee has always been a bit weak, but I haven't had this kind of discomfort in awhile from my knees. It's not fun in the slightest, especially with working a desk job where my legs already get too much rest during the day. I've got 11-miles to do this Saturday for my 1/2 marathon training, but I'll have to see how things go as I might be cutting my mileage down for my long run day.

Miracle Miles 15k Race Report

Sunday, September 25, 2011
I did it! After over a week of nervousness and anxiety over the 15k, I can proudly say that I conquered it! It really feels good to do something that you never thought you could possibly accomplish. I've learned in the last couple of years that I am so strong and capable of more than I could have ever imagined I could do with God's help. My faith has aided me so much in my journey.

Mom came with me for this race. I was hoping that my dad would also come along as this was another big race for me after my 10k back in March, but it didn't happen. I was so grateful that my mom gave up sleep to get up so early and wait around for me to finish.

We left the house at about a quarter before 6am since I was told the crowds for this event can get crazy. My parents house is about 30 minutes away from downtown Orlando where the race was, so the drive there was not bad at all. I was pleased to see that we got into a garage fairly quickly without any real waiting. I'm sure if I would have left the house much later it would have gotten more crowded. Parked the car and headed toward the race area. I had a lot of time before the 7:20am start time (I believe it was just after 6:30am when we got there), and that was a good thing. I had plenty of time to use the oh-so-fun port-o-lets, get some pre-race water and just try to relax (not really, but I tried!).

Before I knew it, time had flown by and the 15k race was about to get going. I got behind the walkers sign and got my iPod ready to go. Quite a lot of people were lined up for the race which was nice to see as this race benefits Winnie Palmer Hospital for preemie babies. The starting horn blared and feet began to move. I hit the starting line over two minutes after the clock started, so I took note so I had an idea of my actual timing versus the race clock. I also hit my iPod/Nike+ once I crossed the starting line, so that would be accurate at least on my time.

The first mile came easy, but about mile two, a challenge approached, brick road. I hate walking or running on brick. Especially since the brick is not even in the least with some being broken or loose. When possible, I went on the sidewalk. I couldn't avoid the brick all together though, as there were times that it was unavoidable. Not to mention the hills that seemed to come up here and there (guess Florida isn't COMPLETELY flat). I did pretty well up until mile 4. At that point, I began to have some back pain. I prayed that it would calm down and also massaged it a bit, but it still lingered. Since that was the case, I decided to stop at the port-o-lets at mile five. Since my back injury, having to go can cause back pain for me. While I hated to lose the 40 to 60 seconds it would take to stop, I also wanted relief for my back. It just made sense to lose the bit of time for me. Thankfully, the stop was well worth the time loss, as I did feel better once I got back on the race route.

I was doing pretty well from mile five to mile seven, keeping a good pacing. My back was doing fairly well and I felt okay. Once I hit mile seven, my right leg began to really cramp up. Talk about exchanging one problem for another, huh? I massaged it a bit, but that wasn't really helping. So, I paused for a moment and pulled my knee support down to my ankle and continued walking. My hope that this would aid my leg in loosing up worked! It calmed enough to be tolerable to walk through. I ended up pulling the knee support back up to my knee in the last mile or so, as my knee was bothering me. But, keeping it off for that 10 or so minutes of time was of help.

 By the time I saw the mile nine marker, I couldn't have been happier. Both of my legs/calves were so heavy and tight that I just wanted to finish! I did my best to push myself through the final bit of the route. Once I saw the finish line, I went into a running sprint for it. I wanted to cross that finish line strong! I was so happy to finish, but also very drained. This was a long, rough race! My official d-chip time was 2:21:50. However, the route seems to have been a bit longer than 15k. After seeing that other runners also got more than 9.3 miles from their apps/monitors, the course was more like 9.4 to 9.44 miles. So, I had a pace of just over 15 minutes per mile which I'm so proud of. This was a good race, but very challenging. I'm glad I did it though! I now have my first medal and a new distance high for myself. And, I'm already thinking about my next race. :) (NOTE: Some of my awesome co-workers sponsored me in this race, so big thanks to them for helping make this possible for me and for helping support Winnie Palmer.)

I've got my RoadID!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011
As an athletic gal these days, I like nothing more than to go out for a good power walk or bike ride to get in my calorie burn. While I love working out and being active with others, more often than not, I am a solo athlete, hitting the pavement on my own. I recently began to wonder, what if something happened to me? Of course, I hope it won't, but what if it did? No one would know who I was or who to call since I don't my license during those outings. With that in mind, I began to research what other runners and cyclists carried with them when they headed out the door. A good deal of them have some kind of ID like RoadID.
After debating if the RoadID would be a good fit for me, I was offered a chance to get one for free back in late July. A promotional company that works with RoadID contacted me via twitter asking if I'd like to get my own RoadID. Of course, I was interested and responded back just that. There are a few style options available, I went with the RoadID Elite. Once I conquered the sizing and cutting part of things (the Elite requires you to cut your own once you get the bracelet), I was good to go! I now wear it every time I go out for a walk or bike ride. Sometimes, I even wear it anyway, since it's so comfortable. The first time I wore it, the bracelet did feel a bit heavy on my small wrist, but now I barely know it's there. 
If you are the outdoorsy type and don't carry ID with you, or are seeking a wearable ID, check out RoadID's offerings. They guarantee their products, and the ID itself is easily updated when needed.

Countdown to 15k...

Monday, September 19, 2011
I will be participating in my first 15k race on Saturday. At this point, I'm both excited and nervous about the event. A couple of weeks ago, my 1/2 marathon training called for a 9 mile walk, and I made it through, but it was a push during the last 15 or so minutes. I came to the conclusion that I needed more fuel. By the end, I was not only very hungry, but I was feeling light-headed and tired out since I had only taken one Gu Energy Gel at about mile four. I'm hoping that carrying an additional gel/chews as well as part of an energy bar broken into pieces might help curb those previous problems. Walking for almost 2 1/2 hours takes a lot out of you, and I know now that I wasn't really prepared for that time span.
My only other worry is that my sciatica might cause me some trouble on the course. It comes and goes sometimes, thankfully not as bad as it used to be, but I have had times where my left leg gets numb during a walk. So, I'm doing a lot of positive thinking and praying for this weekend. I know that I have a lot of strength inside and out and that I can do this 15k. I had similar concerns right before my 10k back in March, so I suppose it's just a matter of keeping your head up and knowing that you can and will cross that finish line. I'm thankful for the support that I have in my dailymile running friends. They are great motivators and inspiration for me when I'm having to push through a tough time.

1/2 Marathon Training Update: Week 5

Monday, August 22, 2011
As I enter my second month of training, I thought an update on how things were going was in order. I would be onto week six at this point, but I got sick about week two, so I restarted the week that I only made it partially through. That's okay though, as the Space Coast 1/2 Marathon isn't until the end of November, so more than enough time to repeat weeks when necessary.
I hit my longest and hardest long mile day to date this past weekend. Saturday called for 7 miles and up until that point, I hadn't done anything longer than 10k distance wise. I was both excited and a bit nervous heading out the door at just after 7am that morning. The first 5k went easily, as my body is so used to that distance now. By the time I hit mile four, I was feeling a bit lower on energy, but I downed a Gu energy gel and figured I'd be good to go. The fifth mile is when the real mental push began. I not only started to have tired legs, but my bladder was less than thrilled about continuing on. Really took a lot of pushing to make it those last two miles. The last mile had me imagining how great it was going to be to complete the 7 miles and get off my feet. My music always helps me along, but hitting that pavement for long periods of time really does take some mental stamina. I made it through the full 7 miles and couldn't have been happier about it. It really was an accomplishment, the start of many more to come as well. 
I picked up my first foam roller a little over a week ago and have slowly begun to incorporate it into my after workout training routine. I will admit though, I'm not completely comfortable with it as of yet, and I already know I don't stretch nearly enough before or after my training sessions. That of course isn't good, so I'm making sure to remind myself that my time stretching is just as important as the workout itself. Hopefully, I'll get it better ingrained into my brain in the coming weeks so that it will come more as a second nature thing to me.
Over the weekend, I ended up talking with a fellow walker at Track Shack about race walking. He is a race walker and told me that I would get much better results from my walking if I used the race walking technique. The biggest thing that got me is that he said that I would be much faster race walking. So, I'm going to try to start using the technique during this week's walking days. I'd love to see a faster pace for sure. I may never win anything in the races that I do, but while finishing is the most important thing of all, challenging myself to do each mile quicker is always something on my mind.

Fuelbelt products

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


As my fitness goals and adventures have grown, I've begun to explore the plethora of products out there for runners, cyclists and everyone in between. There are so many great products made for us athetes to help make our training just a bit easier. In this particular blog, I'm going to discuss Fuelbelt and my experiences with their products thus far.

My first Fuelbelt purchase was the Slim Pocket Race Number Belt. I was recommended the belt earlier this year when I was about to take on my first race longer than a 5k. I wore it during the Winter Park Road Race 10k and it was great. I was able to store a gel as well as my phone as I completed the route. My race number stayed on without any problem. A much better solution to dealing with those safety pins. I will likely be one I use during future races as it's comfortable and lightweight.

Since I was so impressed with Fuelbelt's race belt, I found myself leaning toward their products during my search for a bento box for my bike back in June. I did a lot of research both online and in the local bike/specialty shops and found the Fuelbelt Bento Fuel Box to not only have great reviews from customers, but it appeared to have the stability I was seeking for a stem storage bag. Upon recieving it, my only complaint is that since I have a smaller bike (13in women's Raleigh Eva), I had to attach one of the lower velco straps differently than expected. But, once I figured out a secure way to keep it in place on my stem, it's held up well and I use it every time I go out on my bike.

In July, with a big goal in mind of completing my first-ever 1/2 Marathon, I found myself again in the market for another running product. This time, it was a hydration belt. At first, I was torn between just picking up a handheld bottle, but the folks at Track Shack were great at educating me as to why a hydration belt would be a better investment. Then, it was up to me which belt I would go with. Spotting Fuelbelt on the product wall, it didn't take long for me to decide to go with one of their hydration belts. I walked out of the running store with a Helium 4 Bottle Belt. My first workout with it was a bit awkward, I'll admit (my family even thought it looked funny), but I always wear it and carry at least two bottles with me now every time I head out the door for my training. The only downside to the product for me is that to keep the water cold in the Florida heat, I freeze the bottles overnight; this causes them to "sweat" all over my shirt and shorts. Folded up paper towels stuck between the bottle and my clothes have helped some, but not completely.

I'd love to check out other Fuelbelt products in the near future. I'm already very interested in getting an extra pocket for my Helium belt to hold my android phone. Some of the other products that interest me are the Crush Belt, Sprint Palm Holder and Insulated Sahara Palm Holder. I'd definitely recommend checking out their products, especially the hydration and race belts.

The Biggest Loser Connection

Saturday, August 6, 2011

For those that know me well, they know that I used to be a fat girl. I used to live my life eating all the wrong things and not being active beyond walking to and from my car to where I was going. The worst part about it all is that I knew I was fat and unhealthy. I knew that I was doing myself no good in living my life in that way. Days, weeks, months and even years went by when I would say I was going to "diet" and drop the weight, but nothing ever really stuck. I would just put the weight right back on again. I hated who I was and would do any and everything that I could to hide behind bigger clothes and put a smile on my face. All that I was doing was grinning and bearing through life.

I was overweight for most of my life, my gain beginning probably around my middle school years. I was never skinny even before that, was merely running around enough to keep things fairly equal so to speak. Memories will always stick with me of being made fun of in school for being overweight. I felt as though others were judging me for anything I put in my mouth, no matter what it was. I even recall one time when my mom searched for a bag of chips to pack with my lunch that didn't say words like, "big" on it. Didn't want to give the mean kids any more leverage in their taunting.

In high school, I did my best to blend in for the most part. I hid behind the lens of a camera, both video and still through those awkward teenage years. I didn't even go to homecoming or prom because I couldn't see beyond that fat girl. I thought, "who wants to see me in a dress?" Besides, it wasn't as though I had a date, never got asked out, so why bother? My college years just continued the struggle with my weight and social life. Sure, I had some close girlfriends, but I always thought that they were so pretty and I was more like the ugly and fat hanger-on of the group.

Life of course had its ups and downs, some days I thought that I was alright and wasn't so bad looking. I even got the nerve to ask a guy friend out at one point (it went sour, but hey, I tried!). I thought that my weight was the center of all of my woes in life. If only I could find a way to lose the weight and look like all those "skinny and hot girls," my life would be oh so much better. Surely, that one thing, was holding me back from ultimate success in all things. Of course, that's not true, but hold on to that line of thinking, as I will come back to it, promise!


In September of 2008, my life would be forever changed. At the time, I was living in Western North Carolina and was planning on driving down to Florida to spend a few vacation days with my parents and family. One of the days that I was visiting, my dad and I went to EPCOT Center. We both spent the day enjoying the park and taking pictures with his DSLRs. My dad gave me a CD with all of the photos taken from both cameras and when I got back home to North Carolina, I popped it into my computer. As I was going through the images, I realized that my father had taken some candid photos of me as I also took photos in the theme park. I sat at my desk in stunned shock at the images that were on the screen. Was that truly me? Was I really that big? Those pictures really hit me hard with a realization I had never had before. I just didn't believe that I was that fat. But, there I was, the photos were proof. It was a real life changing moment for me. I knew at that moment that I had to change, I had to drop the weight.


Now, I was already a fan of the reality television show, The Biggest Loser. I even attended a mall event in Miami a year or so before and met Suzy Hoover and Mark Wyle. I swore back then that I was going to stop making excuses and get healthy. Ironically, the show even interviewed me on camera. But, I had yet to have that "life changing moment" that I so dearly needed. So, in September 2008, everything just clicked for me. I would not have known what to do or how to do it without The Biggest Loser. Having tried dozens of fad weight-loss drugs and so-called solutions in the past, I knew thanks to The Biggest Loser that it would take hard work to really lose the weight and keep it off.


At first, it wasn't easy, not even close. I would do well some days, and then have a day where I would buy that bag of chips and a jar of salsa like the old days and sit in front of my TV just eating. And then, it got even harder that November. I learned that I was going to be laid off from my job at the beginning of December and would no longer have a way to pay my rent or other bills. Not exactly good news for my weight loss journey. The ups and downs continued until I moved back home to Florida on December 5th. Once I was back in Florida and could breath again, those downs began to dwindle. Well, for the most part anyway. I was now an unemployed adult back home with very little money to my name. The good in that was I had plenty of time to workout. I made working out and looking for work my job until I had an actual one. I got lucky with one of The Biggest Loser workout DVDs I had bought and had a 30-day pass to 24Hour Fitness. I couldn't go there everyday since it was about a 30-minute drive, but I went 3-4 days a week of my month long membership in addition to working out on my own at home.


By early February 2009, my life was looking up. I had again joined the workforce and was succeeding in my weight loss journey. I continued my healthy eating through calorie counting and of course working out. At the end of the summer of that year, I had lost 75lbs! Those last five pounds were a struggle, but one I was not willing to give up on. In October, I went vegetarian for health reasons and then by Thanksgiving, going vegan for both health and compassionate reasons. The veg way worked though, those stubborn last pounds fairly quickly came off within a couple of months of giving up meat.

Now, here I am two years after losing and keeping off those 75lbs and I feel great. It was the best decision I have ever made in my life. No regrets in the slightest, in fact I think I will always remember the turning point, that spark that made me want to get healthy. As far as being a thinner girl solving all of my problems? Not even close. Being overweight is not why I was unhappy or why I was insecure with myself and didn't go to prom. I just didn't love myself enough. I could not look in the mirror at myself and see what an amazing human being was looking back at me.

Today, I'm still working on that girl in the mirror. I know that I am beautiful and healthy, but honestly, it's a day by day work in progress. I became fat as a result of something inside of me. I may have made others believe that I was this happy person, but in all truthfulness, I was not. Deep inside, I was hurt and broken. Losing the weight has helped me become a better person and discover how awesome I am. You have to love yourself first and foremost before someone else can love you. It sounds cliche and is often said, but it's true. I'm learning to love myself as well as seeing how much I am capable of doing when I put my mind to it. If you would had told me three years ago that I would love running, I would have laughed. But, I love it and all of my fitness activities as much as I love writing and taking pictures. I can't imagine living my life without my training sessions despite how much I may hurt later on. They make me who I am. And, I never want to go back to that girl who was unhealthy and always feeling down on herself. I wish I could climb into Doc's delorean and tell that younger me that you are so great, that she is capable of such strength and willpower. Alas, there isn't such a thing as time travel, at least not outside of the movies. All that we can do is take it one day at a time and make the best of those hours. For me, that day involves a good workout and getting my sweat on. :)

1/2 Marathon Training: Week One

Monday, July 25, 2011
Last week, I started my training for my first 1/2 marathon. My goal race in mind is the Space Coast 1/2 Marathon in November here in Florida. After looking around a bit online for a good walking training program, I ended up settling with one from the www.marathonwalking.com website. The training plan is 14 weeks long and incorporates cross-training into the mix. Since the Space Coast 1/2 is 20 weeks out, I figured that I would repeat some of the weeks so my training would be longer. That works out fine for me considering it would take into account any issues that might crop up along the way. So, each week would consist of walking on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Saturday being the long mileage day. My cross-training days would be on Sunday & Wednesday. Friday will always be a rest day, and Monday I figured I would play with between it being a rest day or a cross-training day.

Sunday started off well, with a nice bike ride in the morning. I love cycling, so that is more than likely going to be my primary cross-training workout. Since I felt so good after that workout, I decided that I didn't need Monday off, so I would again do a cycling session. Tuesday was my first power walk workout on the plan and called for 3 miles which went pretty well. I didn't hit the pacing I wanted, but I was around the 15 minute per mile mark which is still good. Wednesday was another cycling workout. This is when I started to feel some exhaustion coming on. Alas, I thought I'd be okay and didn't hesitate to head out the door and onto my bike. By Thursday's 3-mile walk, I knew my energy was lacking. I really felt it the moment I woke up that morning. And, this showed in my 15:51 per mile pacing. My body was telling me that it needed to rest. Thankfully, I did just that on Friday.

I have come to the conclusion that I really might need those two rest days during my marathon training. So, despite the fact that I'd like to be working out six days a week, I'm going to more in tune with what my body is telling me. Friends told me that marathon training takes a lot more out of you than just standard workouts, but of course, I had to learn that for myself. Guess that's the way things are sometimes.

This week, I'm taking Monday and Friday off per the training schedule. If there are weeks down the line where I have the energy and can workout on Monday, that's great and I'll do it, but if not, that is okay. Our bodies need rest to succeed just as much as the actual training miles we put in.

Also, I have a goal set for before my first 1/2 in November. I'm going to be doing the Miracle Miles 15k on September 24th in Orlando. This is a great in between race as recommended by some dailymile/facebook running friends. I am already looking forward to it as it’s going to be my next race event.

Goals & Aspirations

Tuesday, July 12, 2011
It's now more than half-way into 2011, and I thought it would be a good time to put pen to paper (so to speak) on what my fitness goals and aspirations are for the rest of the year. As of this writing, I've put in 373 miles in between power walking and cycling thus far. I have daily mile to thank for keeping my tally up as otherwise, I certainly couldn't even begin to guess that I've pounded the pavement that much.
I'm thankful that this year has been better health-wise than 2010 was. While I have dealt with some back woes, it's not really been too bad. I completed my first-ever 10k just about a year after my back injury this past March, and that success still excites and motivates me. That said, I haven't been as active with my power walks as much as I should be. Since getting back into cycling, I've been more than anxious about riding my bike than walking as of late. Having a new "fitness toy" has really been great and I love being able to get my "speed" on with it. The feeling I get from being on my bike is so accelerating and the new-found confidence that I've gained from Cycling Savvy has empowered me to want to get out there more than ever. I don't want that feeling to fade away, but I also don't want to neglect my other fitness goals.

This week, I've been seriously starting to again consider training for a 1/2 marathon. I've been looking at the Hal Higdon training chart for walkers and I just know that I can do it. Now that I've conquered the 10k distance, doing 13.1 miles doesn't seem so intimidating. Sure, it's not easy, but definitely not impossible. With that in mind, I'm going to start the 1/2 marathon training next week. The program is a 12-week long one, which would put me ready to go for my first 1/2 in October. I think that's plenty of time to do it. The Space Coast Marathon & 1/2 Marathon are in late November, so I'm going to shoot for doing that 1/2 if I'm still in Central Florida then. If not, I'm sure I can find a 1/2 in the Asheville area to complete by the holidays.
My other goals are to do a duathlon this year and of course some more 5k events. I don't think I'm going to do any races until September, but that could change. I definitely want to do the Autumn Rock'N Run 5k with Track Shack on September 10th. I've never done that race and it sounds like a lot of fun with all the music. As far as my cycling goes, besides my duathlon goal, I will be participating in as many group rides as I can with the Commute Orlando group. And, I plan upon riding my bike on some local trails like Cady Way soon.
Question for those who have already conquered the 1/2 marathon and the full marathons, do you think it's best to have a race goal in mind when you are training for a marathon? I may need to find something in October to shoot for as maybe having a goal race in mind is best. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Cycling Savvy

Friday, June 17, 2011
Tomorrow, I take the final session of the 3-part Cycling Savvy course. Cycling Savvy teaches you how to not only control your bike better, but be a safer and more effective cyclist. Sure, we all think that riding a bike is something you don't forget how to do, and while we can all more than likely hop on that old bike in the garage, to be a better cyclist, there's a bit more to it. You will definitely learn more than you might think you would taking these courses.
 
The first course I took was the bike handling session called, 'Train Your Bike.' This particular portion takes place in a big parking lot giving you plenty of room for maneuvering. The instructors teach you how to properly stop and then get back going again without "hopping" around (sound like a familiar tactic you might do? Sure was for me). Other techniques learned during this three-hour class include: shoulder checks, object avoidance, turning, riding straight and emergency stopping. If you don't already know what a "power pedal" is, you will after taking Train Your Bike. I really came out of Train Your Bike feeling that I had a lot more control over my biking than before. I could stop much easier and just overall felt more comfortable on my two-wheeler.
 
The second session was a classroom one, also three hours long. 'Truth & Techniques' consists of videos, animations and the instructors going through not only the laws, but problem solving techniques and traffic dynamics of the road. You get a chance to see some great videos showing actual examples of folks on the road thanks to Cycling Savvy creators, Keri Caffrey and Mighk Wilson. It's an invaluable class for anyone wanted to snap on their helmet and get on the road on their bike. I really came out of it feeling that not was it a valuable use of my time, but that I knew the laws of the road a lot better as well as that I knew some techniques for my rides.
 
That brings me to tomorrow, which is when I'll be taking the 'Tour of Orlando' session. This will put me on actual "main" roads of Orlando. I am looking forward to it, but admit that I am a bit nervous. I know that I can do it, but until I get on the roads with the instructors near me, I won't fully be rid of that feeling. I do look forward to riding with the local cycling groups as often as I can so that I can continue to build my confidence for riding. I have accomplished a lot in the last couple of years for myself in health and fitness and this is just another step in my journey. 
 
 
 
**If you are interested in finding out more about Cycling Savvy, please check out their website: http://cyclingsavvy.org/ **
 
 

Increasing Workouts

Monday, April 11, 2011
In preparation for my vacation in a couple of weeks, I've decided to increase my workouts a bit. Hopefully, I can keep up with this longer than just this month. I have gotten so into just my power walking that I need to change things up a bit. It will also help in case of boredom as well as toning up which is what I'd like to do.
I got my bike back out yesterday and I enjoyed riding it. On Saturday after my workout, I installed the Cateye bike computer I had gotten from my job for my Christmas gift back in December. I had been procrastinating in getting it on the bike and with the weather being the way it is, it's a great time to be out there cycling. Unfortunately, I must have set the magnetic sensor wrong on the front wheel because it's not reading anything. I messed with it a bit, but ended up giving up until later in the week when I had more time. Meanwhile, I utilized an app called Cardio Trainer on my phone which tracks my workouts via GPS. That worked out okay despite it not providing info on my speed of course.
Today, I got up at a quarter to six planning to head out for a power walk. I knew it would be dark out at 6am, but I wasn't prepared for how truly dark it is with daylight savings time and all. Seeing as how I wasn't so sure that going out in the dark was the best idea safety-wise, I opted to do a workout DVD instead. Since my back injury last March, I hadn't really done much in the fitness DVD area. I used to do them all the time, the DVDs were a big part of my fitness regime when I was losing weight. So, I was both excited and a bit nervous about the workout. I hoped for the best and put in a Jillian Micheals workout recalling that I could most likely do most of the Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism DVD without too much of a problem. I did pretty well, only skipping two of the circuits that didn't seem to be the best moves for my injury. I also modified a few of the other sets to ease into the workouts.
During my lunch break today, I was feeling good so I decided to use part of that time to take a power walk since I hadn't this morning. I ended up doing about 1.7 miles in 26 minutes. I do enjoy walking on my break, but it's a bit more challenging not only due to the terrain around work, but due to the fact that I do my walks in whatever I'm wearing to work that day (running shoes of course though). It was pretty warm out and my legs were a bit sore from yesterday's bike ride, so I didn't do a full two miles which I normally would shoot for mileage-wise. Otherwise, it was a nice walk.

Race Report: 2011 Winter Park Road Race 10k

Monday, March 28, 2011
I was excited about this race, as it was my first-ever 10k and longest race beyond a 5k. Unfortunately, I had been battling a bad cold with congestion all week, so I knew that it might make race day a bit more of a challenge. I was thankful though to have gotten somewhat better by the end of the week. The coughing and congestion still lingered though, the former of the two kept me from getting as much sleep as I would have liked the night before the race (of course the excitement of the race prevents some of that as well). 
Race morning, I awoke at a quarter to 5am, revving to go. My stomach was a flutter with a mixture of nervousness and joy at what the morning might bring. I ate my oatmeal breakfast and got showered and ready to go. After a struggle the evening before as to what to wear, I was glad that I settled on the capris as the weather was a bit cool out that early in the day. I would have preferred a better top, but a previous race shirt is always a comfort for me during training, so I went with the one from my last 5k.
My dad came along to this race as my photographer and support and I was more than glad to have him along. He had never been to one of my race events before, so I was looking forward to sharing this big accomplishment with him. Mom would have come along too, but since she had to work later in the day, I didn't want to ask her to lose sleep. Anyway, dad would get pictures that she could see later.
At about 6:15am, dad and I were off in the car enroute to Winter Park. It's about a 45-minute drive from my parents house, so I wanted to ensure that I arrived at the race location with enough time to find parking and to of course make a pre-race port-o-let stop. I cut down on my water intake a bit before leaving home so as to ensure that I wouldn't have to worry about mid-race urgings. 
 
I got to the starting line area about 10 or so minutes before the horn went off which was good. I ended up striking up a conversation with a guy who had just completed the 2-miler and was doing the Distance Dare challenge. I told him that was something I'll definitely be aiming for in the future as I continue to increase my mileage. One step at a time though.
Before I knew it, the horn blared and we were off. As I hit the starting line, I started my iPod with my 10k playlist. While I love music podcasts like Motion Traxx and Podrunner, I wanted some actual songs for the race. I ended up with a variety of upbeat rock and pop tunes that spanned from the 1980s up until current stuff.
The first couple of miles of the route were pretty easy, less for the brick surface that adorned some of the streets of Winter Park. That's the one thing I wasn't looking forward to, the brick road portions. I'm definitely not a fan of brick roads. They are harder on your legs and back. My preference is simple black asphalt like most roads which is primarily what I train and workout upon. When possible during the race, I opted for the sidewalk as it was a bit more comfortable and consistent.
I ended up downing most of my Gu gel around mile two. This was a bit earlier than planned, but I wasn't sure if there was a water stop at the halfway point (forgot to check). I'm still not a big fan of the gels, but I'm getting more used to them. They do seem to help out enough to make them worth carrying along.
The route for the Road Race passed along a lot of nice, upscale houses in the city. I found myself thinking that these folks must be professionals like doctors and lawyers to afford such large homes. A bit more to look at than my usual fairly mundane neighborhood back at my parents home. There were a few spectators and supporters along the way which always makes you feel good when you are out there pounding the pavement. 
Miles three and four came pretty easy for the most part. I did have some slight numbness starting up in my left leg when I was in the fourth mile, but I did a few stretches as I walked and thankfully, it eased up. By the time I hit the five and a half mark, I admit I was anxious to see the finish line. Also, my Nike+ was telling me that I was almost done when I truly wasn't. It ended up being a full 1k off from the actual race route for some reason. Talk about deceptive motivation. The Nike+ voice was telling me I was 400 feet from the finish line when I was not.
As I hit mile six, I started to do a few running sprints. I did two or three of them before my final sprint at about 300 or so feet from the finish line. It's not advisable for me to run, but I do run across the street during my workouts and I find myself inspired to push a bit to do some sprints at the races like this. It makes me feel good to finish strong like that. My dad and friends, Kitzzy and Jason were at the finish line and both dad and Jason got a few great shots of my victory which is appreciated. I love being able to have photos documenting my accomplishment. I did it, I conquered the 10k! My final d-chip time was 93 minutes, which is a bit slower than I wanted (I had wanted to finish in 90 minutes or less), but I'm still happy with that. Now, I've got a time to beat when I take on my next 10k race. 
As an added note, I injured my back almost exactly a year before this race. The last race I ran before getting hurt was the Winter Park Road Race 2-Miler which took place a couple of weeks earlier in March 2010. I was hurt on March 31st. So, this accomplishment, being about to stay strong and get back out there even power walking is something I am thankful for. Being active is a part of my life now. I can't imagine life without walks, bike rides, hiking and other fun outdoor activities.

Race Report: 2011 Florida Hospital Lady Track Shack 5k

Thursday, February 10, 2011
This was my first race event for 2011 and I couldn't have been more excited about doing it. The Lady Track Shack 5k was my first Track Shack race last year and I had such a great time and experience that doing that event got me into doing the local races as much as possible.
The difference this year was that I was a walker and not a runner/walker which was how I approached the 5k in 2010. Funny thing is, I did better time this year power walking than I did last year rotating the walking and running. I attribute that to being in slightly better shape and that fact that I'm now more accustomed to the races.
Since I was so looking forward to the event, when I woke up the Wednesday morning prior in a lot of pain in my right foot, I was concerned. Apparently, I had some tendinitis going on. I found myself limping at times both that day and the next. I prayed and did everything I could in hopes that the foot would be better before the race. I was very thankful that when I woke up Friday, it was about 80% better and I could walk without much pain. I was even happier and more thankful that by Friday evening and upon waking race morning that I felt even better. Nothing worse than being injured and not being able to do a race because of it (happened to me once last year with the back injury).
The weather on race morning was beautiful. It was in the mid-60s which felt great. I wore my No Excuses Wear, 'Shut Up and Sweat' t-shirt and black running pants. A number of ladies were wearing shorts and I came to the realization that I could have worn shorts myself or at least capris. In the end though, I was fairly comfortable, and that is what's important.
Start of the race ended up being a few minutes behind schedule, but not too bad. With almost 2,000 women doing the event, the beginning was a bottleneck. Definitely not like it was at the Turkey Trot in November thankfully though. Once I was able to get some space, I was able to really start moving into my fast power walking pace. I hit the first mile at under 14 minutes which shocked me, I was hauling some butt! I pretty much kept up that pacing through mile two which was nice.
My only real complaint with the route was that Winter Park has a lot of brick roads. This is not the friendliest surface for backs, legs and feet. I found myself thankful when we were back on regular black asphalt. About 2.5 miles or so in, there was an area where you pass side by side with the faster runners who are about a half mile or so ahead of you. It was at that point where I saw a friend, Kitzzy Aviles and we both waved at one another. Kitzzy is an extremely active gal who bikes just about everywhere in Orlando and runs her tail off to boot. It's always nice to see familiar faces during the racing events.
I finished the race at 44:41 which is my best time for a 5k ever. That means I PRed, despite the tendinitis that week! I was all smiles when I crossed that finish line. Every race, it still feels great to me. You need to celebrate your accomplishments in life. Set challenges and goals for yourself and get out there and do them. It's amazing how good you feel pushing yourself to do things that you never thought possible.
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