Monthly Archives: April 2012

Decision made

Well, a decision has been made.  A while ago (actually a reeeeeeeallly long time ago) I mentioned how I had a few races that I wanted to do, but wasn’t ready to commit.  The Harper’s Ferry Half Marathon was one that Sarah and I were debating, and I was also thinking about the Frederick Half Marathon.

Well, the decision has been made.  Harper’s Ferry, we’ll see ya next year.  Frederick, I’m cominggggg!

Next Sunday, I will be heading up to Frederick, MD to run 13.1 glorious miles and to hopefully do it in under 2 hours.  Well, assuming that they don’t sell out before I can buy a bib.  (Online registration is closed to I have to wait until next week to buy one in person).

I’m not gonna lie, I’m pretty excited about the race schwag.

So now, I turn from despair over my 10 miler performance, to excitement about doing a half-marathon! Haha! But for real, I’m excited! The last half I did (ING Miami Half Marathon) I was still struggling with ITBS.  So, I wasn’t able to run as well as I wanted to (I had to stop and stretch the IT Band like every 2 miles).  This is going to be my chance at redemption! Okay, maybe that’s too much pressure on one race, but I am really excited to see what I can do!

Do you have any upcoming races you’re excited for?

 

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Race Recap: GW Parkway Classic

The day finally arrived.  Yesterday, I woke up to a drizzly DC morning to head to Alexandria, Virginia for the GW Parkway Classic 10 Miler.

The day before (Saturday) was a beautiful day, with rain starting in the early evening.  However, the rain slowly stopped, and my hopes for a dry race started to increase. I had known for days that it was supposed to rain on the morning of the race, but I still had to keep my fingers crossed for the better.

Kevin and I stopped at Vapiano’s to pick up some pre-race dinner.  So, in addition to no more rain, I had a yummy pasta dinner.  I was starting to feel excited for the race!

Pasta with spinach and tomato in a light basil-pesto cream sauce.

I stuffed my face while watching Happy Endings online.  I was full and happy, and ready for bed! Fingers (and toes) crossed for good weather!

I woke up bright and early, and immediately checked the weather.  I was super excited to see that it was only 20% chance of showers at the start! Yay! So I quickly got dressed and Kevin and I headed out.

Well, it had just started sprinkling when we walked out of my apt. :( But that’s okay, it wasn’t raining hard, and it was about 51 degrees, so it wasn’t terribly cold.

Kevin drove me to Alexandria, where I boarded the runner-bus to Mount Vernon.  For the entire bus ride, I just tried to stay relaxed, and excited for the race.  I had done it last year, so I more-or-less knew what to expect.  The problem was, I haven’t been able to accurately asses my fitness level as compared to last year.  But nonetheless, I was ready.  I hopped of the bus, visited the port-o-potties, checked my bag, and then hopped in the corrals.  Within 10 minutes, we were off!  I was ready to have a great race and make it to the finish line!

Miles 1-3

OMG it was so hard.  I felt like I was working so hard, but in reality, I think it was just me warming up.  I was literally waiting for each mile to pass.  I think these were also the hilliest miles, so that didn’t help.  Not having fun yet.  And it was still sprinkling.  Not too much rain, but enough to let you know that it was there.

Miles 4-6

Started falling into a rhythm and feeling good.  At this point, I thought to myself, “don’t get too comfy! This is a race!” Still sprinkling though.  Which, at this point, actually felt nice because I was starting to get warm.  I had a tank top on underneath my long sleeve, and I debated taking the tank top off.  Decided not to, because I thought it would be too much work.  Also, I didn’t want to have to fiddle with moving my bib.

Miles 7-9

The rain started to fall a little bit heavier, and the wind picked up at times, but it was okay because the course sort of flattened out a bit.  I decided to push the pace on these miles, because I figured, why not!  Plus, somehow, I convinced myself that I can run a challenging pace for 4 miles, no problem. Haha, riiiight.  To prevent myself from falling off, I latched on to a girl that I had seen around me a few times during the race.  It looked like she was picking up her pace a bit, so I thought it would be perfect.  And since I didn’t have a watch, it was super helpful to have something to keep me moving forward.  So a HUGE thank you to this fellow runner! I really would not have been able to finish as strong without it! (I was also strongly motivated by brunch!)

Mile 10

Last mile! I really upped the pace, and forced myself to keep it to the end.  We made the final turn, and I opened my stride because I thought we must be close.  I was wrong.  I def started on my last gear too early, and it hurt to keep it going.  But I did it and finished! So glad to cross the finish line!

rocking the new blue compression socks!

Finish time: 1:28:50.  Average pace of 8:53.  I’m okay with it, but certainly not happy.  For one, did not earn a new watch :(.  I needed to go under 1:27 to do that.  And second, for how I felt, I would have thought I was going faster.  There are a million excuses (weather, hills, illness, no watch, etc) I can make, but I think the only one that matters is that I didn’t train as hard as I could have and SHOULD have.  I really failed myself on that front, and hopefully I will be able to learn from it. I think I need to re-evaluate my training schedule and see what may not be working.

After I crossed the line, I grabbed some gatorade and high-tailed it to the bag check.  It was still rainy and 50 degrees out, so I knew that pretty soon I was going to get VERY cold.  I quickly found Kevin (thanks race photographer!) and also found Rachelle while waiting in line.  After I grabbed my stuff, we headed for cover so we could stretch it out, and quickly recap our races.

I promise one day I'll stop making these ridiculous faces

After a quick stretching session, we headed to meet some others for brunch.  Brunch is easily the best part of racing! :)

All in all, it was a good race.  It was well-organized, not over crowded and the scenery is really awesome.  I’m so glad I got out and ran.  It was a great experience, and it’s always nice to get out and race to see where your fitness really is.  Thanks to Pacers for putting on yet another great race! I’m sure I’ll be back next year (and much faster!)

How was your weekend?  Did you have good weather?  Or were you stuck with rain clouds like DC was?

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Can HEELS and RUNNING be friends?

I love shoes.  And because I’m almost 5’3, I love heels.  Pumps, wedges, platforms, all of it.  Anything that gives me an extra few inches in height is a friend to me.

But last year, when I was training for the Marine Corps Marathon, I decided to cut heels out of my wardrobe 6 weeks before the race.  I was super nervous about running 26 miles AND I was starting to have problems with plantar fasciitis.  So for those 6 weeks, I was flat on the ground, stuck at my almost-5’3 height (except for the occasional kitten heel :) ).

Since then, I’ve reintroduced heel height, and in the recent weeks, I’ve been wearing heels as much as 4 times a week (never on casual Fridays!).  However, in recent weeks I’ve started to notice some calf tightness and achilles tightness.  I thought it was part of the transition period to my new-ish Brooks Pure Connects.  So I’ve been taking it easy with them, and using my massage stick like CRAZY on my calves.

And I even got some compression socks to help with it!

Awesome pink socks!

So I thought that was it.  Problem solved, right?

WRONG. (you had to know that was coming)

Last week, I dragged myself out the door for an attempt at a tempo run.  I say “attempt” because the watch was (and still is!) out of commission, so I planned to do it based on feel.  I started with a 1 mile warm-up, and my calves immediately felt tight.  I probably stopped to stretch them every 2 blocks.  It was so uncomfortable.  And I probably looked like I was making excuses.  I told myself, that if they still felt super tight by the time I got to the Mall (about 1-1.5 miles), then I would just turn around and go home.  Luckily (or unluckily, rather) they loosened up, so I proceeded to begin the tempo portion of my workout.  Turns out stretching every block works. Well, temporarily.

My breathing felt fine, but my calves felt tired and VERY tight.  I knew I was going at a moderately fast pace, and that I should expect some resistance from the legs, but this was different.  My legs felt like I was asking them to do a 15th rep of 400m, AFTER having run 10 miles.  I kept going for as long as I could, but eventually I had to walk it out and stretch.  It felt like every muscle below the knee was contracting.  In the end, I think I only managed 2 miles of “tempo” pace.  I don’t know if it was the shoes (Brooks Pure Cadence), my pace (which wasn’t necessarily controlled) or the result of wearing 3in heels all day, but something screwed up my workout.

So, as soon as I got home, I googled “can wearing heels make your calf stronger?”.  (Actually I streeeetched my legs like crazy first) And there were many, many results.  Some legit, some speculation, some just observation.  The gist of it is that yes, wearing heels can make your calves stronger.  You’re essentially in the up-position of calf raises, all day long.  BUT, they can also shorten your achilles, which can lead to many problems (some speculated a snapped achilles could be the result – eek!). In addition to creating a shortened achilles, a lot of articles mentioned that ankle problems could result too.  Sounds like a lot of negatives for only a few positives, huh?

The solution? In moderation, I think.  And coupled with tons of calf stretches throughout the day, and more calf strengthening (something other than 3in heels), I think I should be good.  I will admit, I’m not the best at following through on my stretching routine.  And by the time I get to the calf portion, I’m usually over it, and only stretch for like 5-10 seconds.  Obviously, I need to pull myself together and stick with the full 20-30 seconds for each calf and each achilles.  And I’ll def keep up with the massage stick.

This past week I’ve taken it light on the heels – only wore a pair on Tuesday, and my calves feel so much better.  I was even able to knock out a 5 mile run in my Pure Cadence’s.  So I guess it’s all about sloooowly getting back to the heels, and increasing calf strength.  Oh yeah, and actually stretching too.  Duh.

Which is great, because I sure do love my heels :)

*I’m not any sort of medical professional/doctor/calf guru. This is just something that I THINK might work for ME. *

Flats or heels? What’s your preference?

Have you experienced any running/fitness problems from wearing heels?  If so, what did you do to fix it? 

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Call me Race Photographer

Yep. I found a new career path, photography.  Specifically, RACE PHOTOGRAPHY.  :)

Kevin and his friend Brian signed up for the Primal Mud Run out in Warrenton, VA.  It was a 4+ mile run, complete with a dip in a pond, a jaunt over some walls, and a crawl through some mud (so I’ve heard).

Kevin tried to get me to join in on the fun, but I politely declined.  I like the idea of having a different challenge other than a distance race, but this one seemed to be a bit more than what I could handle.  It was rumored that you had to scale a 12ft wall AND carry a log up and down a hill.  Remember my guns? Yeah, I can’t barely carry a water bottle.  But apparently it wasn’t that bad and I totally could have handled it.

Oh well, next time.  Maybe.  Probably not. :)

After waiting forever Kevin and Brian finally came around the bend to the final obstacle.

And then they tackled the mud pit, taking care to stay out of the way of the barbed wire that was hovering above their heads.

Some didn’t do so well avoiding the barbed wire.

But all in all, they both had a great time tackling the obstacles and getting down and dirty.  And I had a great time photographing it all.  Next time you need a race photographer, don’t forget about me!

Have you ever done a mud run? Would you do it again?

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Baby steps

It’s all about the baby steps :)

For a few weeks now, I’ve had serious trouble staying motivated and getting out to run.  Mostly, it’s been the hard days that I’ve skipped.  Which is so silly, bc the hard days are the ones that get you the PRs! Anyhow, I realized last week, that a great motivator for me is new things.

New shoes?  Sure, I’ll go for a 6 mile run to come back to that!

New compression socks? Well, I’ll go for a run to test them out!

I clearly like receiving things in exchange for a run.  So, if it’s not broken, why fix it?  Just work with it! And work with it, I did! I promised myself, that if I did a speed day AND a recovery run this week, I could earn a new pair of compression socks.  I did my tempo run yesterday.  Although it sucked (ALOT), I powered through, thinking about my new sweet socks.  So this afternoon, around 4:30, when all I wanted to do was fall asleep, I quickly thought of those colorful compression socks.  And then I went out for a run :)

And now, a new pair of compression socks will be mine! :) Which color should I get? Blue? Green?

So you see, that simple step has me one step closer to my race goal.  Which, btw, has been altered a bit.  Originally, my goal was to get a PR for the GW Parkway Classic.  Last year, I finished in 1:27, so this year I wanted to go under that.  Since I don’t think my body is where it was last year, I’ve changed it to just go under 1:30, which is about a 9min/mile pace.  1:27 would be great, but I’m not willing to hurt myself for this PR.  I still have MCM to look forward to!

AND, if I go under 1:30, I will have earned myself a new running watch!  I’m already doing lots of research in preparation!

Granted this new method of motivation will prob make me poor really quickly, but it will also make me run! And a running Daphne is a happy Daphne! :)

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Trying new things!

First things first, I did not make use of the crock pot this weekend. :( I know, I’m sad too! I had such high hopes for all the crock pot cooking I would do, and none of it has been realized yet.  BUT, there’s still time! Maybe this week, or this weekend? Who knows when it will finally happen, but I will DEF share it when it does! :)

On Saturday morning, I slowly emerged from my bed and pushed myself out the door for a long run.  And by slowly, I mean slooooooooowly.  I woke up at 10 (sleeping in just feels so right) and didn’t actually head out until 11:30.  What was I doing for an hour and a half? Good question! I know I got dressed, and sipped on some Gatorade, and I guess putz-ed around (is that a phrase?) for a bit.  Anyway, eventually I hit the road, with the plan to do 10 miles.

I headed down Independence Ave, hopped on the Mt Vernon Trail, passed by Arlington Cemetery and circled around Iwo Jima.  Let me tell you, running around there brought back some good/awful memories from MCM.  The hill right before you hit Iwo Jima is just cruel, but also makes you feel powerful.  And I will admit, I did get very excited for MCM round 2 this year! :)

The rest of my run went through Rosslyn, across the Key Bridge, through Georgetown (bad idea), along the Rock Creek trail, and past the Lincoln (another bad idea).  That’s the point when I realized A) tourist season is in full swing, and B) time to find new running routes (or run earlier in the morning!).  I dodged more tourists than I care to remember, and even had to stop and walk bc I got stuck behind a pack that just HAD to walk 5 across. :(  I’m not going to lie, angry Daphne started to emerge.  It was incredibly frustrating.  So, if there are those of you that are planning to visit DC and do the whole monument tour thing, I have a few suggestions.

How not to piss of DC residents, and still enjoy the city:

  • Look up.  Please, please, PLEASE watch where you’re going.  Your eyes should be looking in the direction your feet are moving.  This is critical.
  • Don’t take up the entire sidewalk/path.  I know you’re traveling with your entire family, but you all don’t NEED to be shoulder-to-shoulder the entire time.  Please be aware that there are people behind you that want to pass.  If you’re not aware, just know that someone might come barreling into you. And I’m stronger than I look. (Okay, no, that’s a lie)
  • When riding the metro escalator STAND ON THE RIGHT.  Please don’t try to rationalize why DC people can’t take the time to patiently ride the escalator.  Just let me save my precious 30 seconds by not having to (angrily) wait behind you.
  • If you’re lost, just ask for directions.  I may not look very friendly, but I will certainly help point you in the right direction, should you need it.  Besides, when you’re standing in the middle of the path, looking at a map you can’t read, we all know you’re lost.  But now you’re lost and in everyone’s way.  Don’t be that idiot.

Other than elbowing dodging hoards of tourists, my run was fantastic! I finished with 11.3 miles and really felt great for most of it.  I say most of it, because for the first 2-3 miles, my legs still felt tired (I had done hills 2 days ago).  The only downside is that I don’t know if it was a fast run.  My watch is still out of commission (locating a watch battery has proved to be quite difficult), so I have no idea of time.  This reminds me, I’ve been using the Garmin FR60 for about 2-3 years now, and it works using a footpod system, which doesn’t always accurately calculate the distance.  I think I’m ready to finally upgrade to GPS, and suggestions?  Right now, I’m considering the 405CX, but is there another model that you really like?

In other news, I did my very first ice bath! After finishing my run, my legs were dead, and certainly in need of repair.  I was unsure of how to proceed, aside from bathing with ice, so i resorted to my good friend Google for help.  Google led me to Emily at Sweat Once A Day, where she did a very informative post on how to do an ice bath.  Armed with knowledge, and a bucket of ice (well, and a few other things) I headed to the bathtub.

Tea is necessary.  It kept me warm enough so that I didn’t think much about how cold my legs were.

Entertainment is also necessary.  And if you’re me, watching clips of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding is SO necessary.  I’m now obsessed with this show!

Next time, I will make sure to either make more ice ahead of time, or buy a bag from the store.  The few ice cubes that I did have melted pretty quickly.  And I think the water could definitely have been colder.  BUT, I will also note that I think it not being too cold made for a tolerable experience.  It certainly was cold, and my legs were stiff when I finally got out, but I think more ice would prob be better.

Have you ever done an ice bath? Any tips to share? 

Also, current tv obsession?  In addition to My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, lately I’ve been watching a lot of River Monsters, and it makes me want to go fishing in a remote area of Africa.

Garmin suggestions?? 

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Let’s get motivated!

Today was a very long, slow, boring day.  Around 3pm, I decided that I was going to take a nap after work, and then maaaybe go for a run (read: probably not).  After chatting with this lady for a while, we decided to challenge each other to work out.  She promised to go to the gym and I promised to hit the roads.  So when I left work this evening, I knew what I had to do.

I arrived at my building, stopped to get the mail, and was greeted by this little guy:

NEW SHOES! I had ordered some shoes from DSW and they came! Nothing fancy, just new black pumps (my old ones look tired), but I was still SUPER excited to try them on!  I immediately told myself that I had to finish my run first, before I could open the box.  Motivator #1

Already super pumped to get this run over with, I walked into my room, and was promptly greeted by this sight:

That would be the clothes I set out for my Tuesday morning run.  Yep, the Tuesday morning run that didn’t happen.  That was motivator #2.  Make up for my Tuesday morning failure.

And then I remembered about this beauty!

I finally found the infamous Cookie Butter that everyone has been raving about! I can honestly say that it IS as delicious as everyone says! And I promised myself, after my run, I could enjoy a small spoonful of Cookie Butter.  Motivator #3

And with 3 things to get me out of my apartment, I was off! Since my watch is dead, I had no time/pace/anything.  Just me and my trusty iPod.  I’m pleased to say that I had a great run.  I just ran at a mildly hard pace, and I felt strong the entire time.  The last two miles, I really dug deep, and tried to push the pace.  Unfortunately, since I don’t have time, I don’t know if I was actually going fast, or if I was just working waaaay to hard.

(Let’s just say it was fast :) )

Originally, I was planning on doing some speed work on Thursday, but I’m not sure my legs will be ready for that tomorrow.  So I’ll just take it as is.  Maybe go for a short relaxed run and see how the legs feel.  If things feel good, then I’ll do some hills and striders (can’t do anything timed, whomp, whomp), if not, then I keep it easy.

SOMEONE MAKE SURE I GO FOR A RUN TOMORROW! Thanks! :)

p.s. totally enjoying some Cookie Butter and admiring my shoes right now :)

How do you get motivated? Shoes and food seem to work great for me!

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It’s been awhile…

I’m back!

Sorry y’all, for the silence.  I’ve been having some mental battles with running lately, and I was starting to let it take over my life/mood.  But, I’m working through it! More on that later this week :)

____________________________________________________________

On Saturday, I was able to get a long run in with Kevin again.  Since we were at his place in Baltimore, we decided to head out there.  Kevin mapped a run that took us to Ft McHenry, around the fort, and then back.  But sadly, by the time we got there, they were already closed for the evening. :(

We could have been here, but it was closed. Whomp whomp.

That’s okay though! We got in a nice 7ish mile run, AND some good core work afterwards (more planks!).  I also felt motivated to start doing push-ups again!

Let's focus on the "guns" and ignore the awk duck positioning of my feet

Yay! I think it’s already working! (note: i am so freaking weak. please do not think i can help you move furniture now bc i did 20 push-ups.  i should prob admit that they were 20 girl-push-ups.  :) )

I was really pleased with the long run because it never felt hard, and I never felt tired.  Aside from the waves of nausea (lesson learned: no gummy worms before a run), I could have kept going. So that was super positive with 3 weeks until my 10 miler.

Sunday morning I got up bright and early to spectate the many, many, many people running the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.  At first, I was still a bit bitter bc I wasn’t running it.  But then, I was happy, bc 7:30 is early, and I was able to roll out of bed much later than race participants.  Yay for sleeping in! (and I still got to brunch like I ran 10 miles)

After brunch, I felt slightly buzzed from mimosas motivated to get my own legs moving.  So, I decided to go out for a 5ish mile recovery run.  My watch battery died the day before, so I had neither time, nor distance.  I headed out, with the plan to run down the Mall, loop around the Washington Monument, and then head back via Constitution Ave.  About 1 mile in, I stopped at a light to stretch and realized I forgot my knee strap!  I decided to adjust, for fear that my ITBS would flare up and affect runs later this week.  I ended up doing 4.1 AND never experienced any tightness or pain in my knee!  Super pumped!

All in all it was a GREAT weekend of running, and a great way to get me motivated again.  On Sunday, I just really enjoyed my time out there on the roads.  I truly felt relaxed AND pain-free, which is quite rare.

This week I’d like to get some good speed work in (bc so far, I haven’t).  However, I’m torn between doing repeat 800′s, or doing hills.  The GW Parkway has a bunch of rolling hills, so I think it would be wise for me to throw some hill work in there.  Maybe a combo of the 2?  A few repeats of hills, and a few 800′s?

What’s a good workout you like to do to prepare for hilly races?

Right now I’m relaxing with The Voice and devouring the rest of the Bubble Up Pizza that Kevin made last night!(Recipe courtesy of Lindsay from Running the Windy City!)

Suuuuch a delicious easy dinner! And it’s also a super easy way to incorporate some leftover fresh veggies! (We made ours with chicken sausage, bell peppers, tomatoes and onions)

I’m laying out my clothes tonight in another attempt to start doing my runs in the morning! I hope I can get up! :)

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