Thursday, April 12, 2018

Rock n Roll Raleigh


I made the decision I wouldn't formally train for this event for many reasons, but I did have a plan that would hopefully increase my fitness level enough to make it an enjoyable day.
In the end, the race held some awesome memorable moments along with a few tough ones, but I could not contain my smile at the finish of half marathon #21.

In case you are wondering, I did not receive a free entry for this event from BibRave, I paid for my bib during a holiday sale. 💖

In March my long runs went pretty well and I felt particularly strong on the last few I did.
(March long runs)

10 mi (11:37 avg)

10 mi (11:04 avg)

11 mi (10:44 avg)

9 mi (11:00 avg)

I ran 93 miles in February and 90 in March and I made an effort to vary hills, paces, and intervals. My average pace for all my runs in March was 10:50 so I felt like I was ready to hold a 10:30ish pace for Rock n Roll Raleigh...spoiler alert,  I didn’t! 😏 Heading into this I found it hard to go to a race and not have some kind of goal in my mind, BUT maybe I am cured of that now. 💕
I was pretty far off from what I hoped to accomplish.

Saturday it was rainy, cold, dreary and gray. Thankfully it cleared up overnight. I was thrilled Sunday (race day) was a super sunny, dry chilly day!

I stayed in a hotel 1.7 miles from the start line. I was thankful I found a nice young military guy to walk with since it is a bit dark in the mornings and I was not familiar with the area. We chatted the whole way and it felt like we arrived in a blink! I do wish the photographer would have caught him in this photo!

This captured the dim morning skies as I was approaching the start line. I did a terrible job putting on my bib, look how lopsided it is! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I wrapped a hotel towel around my back and it actually kept the breeze from cutting straight to my skin and I was plenty warm.

I got a million comments from people…”is that really helping” “you are brave for wearing a tank top” “do you know it is 30 degrees?” (I think it was 32) but honestly I felt like my wardrobe choice was perfect the whole race. It is only hard when you are waiting around in the cold and I didn't have much standing around time.

Race start was 7 a.m. and my corral was off by 7:06 a.m.

I wore homemade arm warmers and they were the greatest thing ever! You can see them better in the picture below. I used fleece lined tights and cut the feet off and they were sooooo comfy,  they did not squeeze my arms at all and stayed in place, and were super warm.  My dollar store gloves were a little lightweight and my fingertips were cold in the beginning, but after mile two I was plenty warm. The sun came out and I enjoyed the run.
I never gave up my towel. By the end it was only tucked in on one side, but I figured it would be nice to return it to the hotel.


About every two miles there was a band or a DJ along the course. I was impressed by the musical talent :)

I ran the first few miles and then turned on my timer (gymboss) which is always set for 4 x 1 intervals, but I skipped the walk break a handful of times early on because I felt good.

I felt my energy slipping a little at the half way point. I tried to rally a few times but I just started running out of juice. The only thing I ate during the run was a delicious Girl Scout S'more cookie during mile 7. It was handed to me by an enthusiastic little troop member. I hoped that cookie would carry me to the end because my belly was rumbling with hunger by that time.
I did carry my own handheld and started with a tablet of Nuun and I refilled my bottle with Gatorade twice on the course. I am soooo hydration dependent now! I can not believe the first few years I ran I never drank anything, even on longer runs.

Two things really impacted how the day went for me...
First, it was a hilly course and I have felt weak on hills since last year. I keep trying to work on my hill game, but I can not seem to make improvement. Not sure which is causing me the angst, my heart or my feet, probably a combination of  both, but even in the cold weather I have struggled to find my strength running uphill.
The longer the issues continue, the more I realize I just need to accept where I am at.

Second, I did not sleep well the night before the race. I woke up about 2:00 a.m. and was tossing and turning, despite the big comfy hotel bed.  This went on for a few hours until I finally got a good solid hour of snooze time, between 4 and 5 a.m. In the wee morning hours sleep felt more important than food, but sleeping until 5 a.m. meant I didn't have time to go and get breakfast. The hotel didn't put food out before 6 a.m.and we left to walk to the start line about that time.
My breakfast was a small bag of goldfish on the way.

I should have planned better, but even so, I felt really good for about 10 miles and it was a beautiful running day!

The last few miles I felt a sharp cramp very low in my gut. When I tried to push the pace a little towards the end it made for an unpleasant feeling. A little GI distress is nothing new for me on longer runs and ultimately, I felt better within an hour of finishing, but it was enough to slow me down a bit. Maybe munching the cookie was a bad idea, but honestly, I've had the same tummy reaction whether I've run fasted or with a meal/meals in my system.

Here is how it went down
9:38, 10:33, 10:25, 11:19, 10:43, 11:48, 11:04, 11:38, 11:06, 10:51, 12:35, 11:11  - the hills ate me up
The last .31 there was 54 feet of elevation gain (13:00 avg) LOL I was over it!

This photo cracks me up! My over it shines through.
I wanted a banana! and a shower 💦💦💦💦💦💦💦💦💦💦💦💦 😅


So I went to Raleigh hoping to run a 2:18 half (10:30ish avg pace)
and I ended up running a 2:27:58 (11:17 pace) and honestly, I am fine with that.

I loved the festive feel along the course.

I loved every minute of the cool air and sunshine.

I love the cheering squads and music.

I loved the changing scenery.

I enjoyed my walk back to the hotel.

I loved my sting free shower compliments of  pjuractive, the best anti-chafing product ever.

I loved 34,000 steps by 11:00 a.m.

I loved that I finished 13.1 miles.

At the finish line, some friendly smiling soul shoved a medal in my hand, another person handed me a bottle of Gatorade, then water, then a space blanket, then a bag of pretzels, till my arms felt like they were overflowing and when I finally got a hold of my banana I couldn't peel it! I was hungry 😜

I wish I would have planned for breakfast better the night before.
I wish I could have slept better.
I wish it wouldn't have ended uphill! For real...

But most important, I think I really came to an acceptance that races will not be anything like they were for me a few years ago. I really don't care to push my body to its limits anymore and chase a time. I am content  to run and feel proud of crossing the finish line!

I think I am going to become an advocate for finish line bags. LOL 
What is the first thing you want when you finish a race? 
Tell me about a time you walked to a start line? 
Have you made home-made arm warmers? 
Ever have your fingertips hurt when they are cold? Mine hurt during the first mile. 
Does your GI tract get irritated from running? 

Thanks for stopping by and reading! 
Karen 




Monday, April 9, 2018

Cool Running Stuff

If you haven't joined Smashrun yet, you should :)
See your current monthly goal, streak days, and your yearly goal all in one glance. 

It is easy to upload your informtion and you can import from multiple devices :) 

I was excited they picked my Glacier Half marathon photo for the current color picker picture. 
Currently all my graphs are in pretty Montana sky blue. 

I didn't receive a thing for this, I just think it is a cool way to check your stats!



Happy Trails! 
Karen



Monday, February 12, 2018

The Wrap That Won't End

So much happened this past week I am not sure where to begin.
Maybe I should try to stay in order by day! 😅
Tweek!
 
Here are some tidbits...
I decided to switch my training sessions to one upper and one lower session each week, I do some core at all of them. We did 13 sessions all body and I was feeling so spent, I stayed sore...some of that was due to the fall I took in January but I needed to see if more recovery time helped me battle the fatigue and sore.
I was much more energetic at each workout, so I am going with it for a few weeks. I will probably switch back to all body in March. 

I still have one spot on my backside that is getting tight and achy when I run and a spot on the outside of my foot continues to burn every so often...these have been present since the day after I fell in early January. Every time I think I am healed up, that burning shows back up.

Okay now I will try to stay in order.

Monday 
Afternoon Four - 4.31 mi 0:41:58
Training #15 - 0:47:47
Monday, nod to Ice Cube. It was a good day! Sun and lots of working out. I went for a quick run after work, showered and headed to the gym for my upper body work.

I was breathing hard but I nailed it :) 

Tuesday 
Wake up - 2.50 mi 0:25:13
Tuesday after work I was scheduled to get a spot on my neck cut off. I had it done before and it grew right back. It is very different characteristically from the Basil cells I had  removed so I am not worried it is cancerous, it is just an eyesore.  The lump sits right where my sports bra goes so it was constantly getting irritated and bleeding. I woke up to freezing...well below freezing temps, but I bundled up and went for a short run because I knew I wouldn't be able to go after the appointment.

2.5 miles was enough to make me smile! I am 100% out of the habit of early morning runs now.

My Doc decided to try zapping it with freezing stuff I think (?)...and then she zapped like 6 more all around my neck. WHY am I growing so many weird lumps!!??! She said I could workout and sweat as long as I didn't feel any stinging.

Wednesday 
Feisty Four - 4.01 mi 0:39:42
Wednesday night I covered the bumps and went running in the evening...in shorts. Could the weather be anymore back and forth. I was on it :)  My runners high was the best of the week!

The next morning my spots puffed up a bit, so I decided to take Thursday off.  I had a good workout streak going and it was actually hard to take a day and I regret not taking a walk or something to keep my streak going. Oh well...

During my zapping visit I had to face the scale and see I have packed on 8 lbs. since my last visit, which was only a few months ago. My middle is expanding exponentially...even the Doc said all the things she would normally tell someone to do to battle the menopausal muffin top, I already do.  Still in the process of what to do next...
She told me my protruding belly was concerning considering how much I work out and that my calorie intake hasn't really changed much. The girls at work expressed the same concern, especially since I eat a lot of egg whites, carrots, and other healthy things and rarely snack. That led me to see the OB later in the week.

Thursday  - NOTTA!!

Friday 
Pain in my Side - 4.01 mi 0:45:19
Walking - 2.10 mi 0:36:41
Friday I was in the Doc's office after work and we made a discovery - my PH levels are way off. I've had this issue in the past along with very low Vitamin D and potassium, but I have been making progress with the deficiencies...not sure why I can not get in balance. I have some medication and this is also in the what to do next pile...more tests coming. I could say tons more on this, but I guess I will leave that for another day...

Friday evening I wore a thin shirt with my sports bra over it and that worked wonderfully (to protect my neck bumps) No irritation...the problem was my side. I had a horrible side stitch and it would not let go. I had hopes of getting a long run done, but even with intervals I was in so much discomfort I called it and walked. 
There is a sweet spot to eating and running in the evenings. 
1. Eat just enough so you feel a little hungry, never full. 
2. Wait a full 3 hours between. - I have tried  a few times to go 2 , 2.5 hours out and it never goes well. Live and learn.
Saturday 
TM miles - 3.01 mi 0:32:18
Hill repeats - 0.89 mi 0:27:37
Saturday, it poured rain and I wasn't going out in it!

The treadmill is a total mental battle for me. A few years ago, I got to where I could handle 6 miles or so pretty easy, but right now I have to self talk just so I won't stop the entire time.
Mentally exhausting lol and OMG, my gym is so flipping hot!
After I got my steady 3 mi run done I did a few hill repeats, four to be exact, just a minute each with 6 incline and I was feeling them Sunday morning.
HA! I wonder if I am ever going to get into shape.

Sunday 
Dew point 3 - 3.01 mi 0:31:20
Strides - 1.18 mi 0:13:13
Walking - 1.06 mi 0:20:06
Training #16 - 1:16:04
Walking and Talking - 3.40 mi 0:58:08
Sunday the humidity was tough and I was reminded I have zero desire for summer to show up.

3 very warm miles - I couldn't hang on for 3 more - I knew the heat would drain me.
 
I did a mile of strides on the way home for 4 miles total.  I love strides :)
Those quick bursts will make you feel super hero like and I find them to be very effective at fighting off the stiff feeling. You engage different muscle fibers during those speedy  25-30 seconds and it always seems to leave me feeling more energetic....and 90% of the time I walk my recovery. I have done them at the end of the run, but for me, there seems to be more benefit after I give my self a few cool down minutes and then begin.
There is no exact science or timed recoveries it is just off feel.
I could not wait to shower! It was a sweat fest!
Then I put more workout clothes on and went to the gym
After my hour session I showered and put on more fresh clothes and went to meet my run buddy for a walk in the park.
3 more (walking) miles and another shower...my laundry is out of control. 


I get A for showering this week!

6 runs - 22.9 miles

I had 3 pretty amazing runs in a row...Mon, Tues, Wednes, but all short in miles, so it surprised me how used up my legs felt from it.

I fell short getting my long run done (65 minutes) but it really doesn't bother me much. I am not trying to hit paces, just increase my overall fitness. Hopefully I can get my long run in this upcoming week :)  I haven't had a week this strong since December.
 
Actually there is more to tell but I don't want to drag this any longer. Thanks for stopping by!
I am linking up with Holly and Wendy for the Weekly wrap! Join in the fun! Click here for more info


Tell me how your week went.
Did you get your cross-training done?
All your runs?
Ever have a PH balance problem?
Do you break up strength sessions or do all body work each time?
Do you know your sweet spot for eating and running?
Have you done any strides lately?
 
Take care,
Karen




Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Letting Go

Hey! 
I worked out last week but I didn’t get done all I planned, but at this point I am okay with it. I have formulated a plan to help me increase my fitness so I can hopefully enjoy my half marathon in April, but I have no plans to officially train.  Little by little I am letting go of even trying to run a certain time at the half marathon distance.  I am trying to adapt to having zero expectations and just run.

My plan to increase my fitness includes varying workouts, like hill repeats, steady runs, and intervals, but no paces. It is all about mixing things up, but I have no target paces at all when I got out for a run, I am going completely off feel.

Last week I never got to my hill work out and I actually used 4 x 1 intervals for both my evening runs on Tuesday and Thursday. Hills have been the hardest thing for me about a year now and the one workout I will scratch off the list in a heartbeat! I have good hills in neighborhood to run and I am becoming a pro at avoiding them. LOL It is hard to describe how weak I feel going uphill, but I am going to try in very small chucks and see if I can make any progress.

Last year the heat and humidity came in early April and never left until November… so time is of the essence. I have a few months to work on things, once the heat starts I run in one slow survival gear only. 💫

Last year I only used intervals if I was going over double digits, but I decided to use them more often for now. Intervals end up being a fartlek type workout for me. I flip intensity based on how I am feeling and that has made for some happy endorphin filled runs. 

The breakdown last week: 
Mon - Evening Walk - 3.16 mi 0:53:33
Tues - Moonlight Seven - 7.20 mi 1:15:49
            Randomness core and weights - 1:05:11
Wednes - Training #13 - 1:13:02
Thurs - Moonlight Eight - 8.60 mi 1:34:03
Fri - wake up run - 1.55 mi 0:15:37
Sat - Training #14 - 1:19:53
Sun - TM (treadmill) 5K - 3.12 mi 0:33:41
         TM walk - 0.72 mi 0:32:19

I love my evening runs now, and sometimes my tummy still protests more than mornings but having options is so nice!



















That moooon! I was all bundled up last Tuesday night...brrrrrrr! 













Two evenings later it was 55 degrees and still a gorgeous moon. I wore a long sleeve shirt and I was so overdressed lol but it was a good test for my pjuractive anti - chafe gel...and yes it worked perfectly!
My pictures don't do the evenings justice, but that did not stop me from snapping away LOL
Do you ever do that hoping you'll get that one great shot??!
I am in there, can you see me?









I got 20 miles done last week which was about 4 miles of short of what I planned for, but at this point in my journey I am just running for general fitness anyway.  













I am linking up with Holly and Wendy for the Weekly wrap! Join in the fun! Click here for more info

Do you love hill workouts? 
The one type of workout you avoid if possible? 
Have you adjusted your workout times this winter? 
Did you see that mooon!? 




Till next time! 
Karen 


Thursday, February 1, 2018

2skin pjuractive Review

One  of the fun things about being a BibRave Pro is testing out new products!

pjuractive.com

I was gifted 2skin anti-chafing gel in exchange for my review.
All opinions are my own  :)

"Disclaimer: I received pjuractive 2Skin to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"

January was a bust as far as long runs go for me but I did get ONE long done! I made an impulsive decision (because it was going to be a nice day) to sign up for my local Frostbite 15K.
I know I wouldn’t have run that far if I stayed home alone so I am glad I went for it.

I had a dual motive going... enjoy the sunshine and test out pjuractive 2skin.  I did not want to review a product without doing a long run!






I had tried pjuractive on several shorter runs that were under an hour and it passed with flying colors.








I was also able to test it on a few 7 milers, which is about 75 minutes for me. I was anxious to see how this the clear, slippery feeling gel would hold up for the 15K distance, which would put me over the 90 minute mark, it took me 1:39:34 ( my official time 😇 ) to be exact. 

I applied a liberal amount, about a nickel size on my forefinger, and put a coat of  purjactive 2skin all around my sports bra line and under my arms. I waited 10 seconds and put my clothes on per the directions. I actually applied an extra dab under my sports bra clasp for good measure. I opted for a short sleeve shirt. I tend to chafe under my arms especially when I wear any kind of sleeve that will rub back and forth, so this was a great test run.

The temperature was climbing past 50 degrees the first hour and it was abundantly sunny. This is a hilly route so I was working hard! I was a super salty mess by the end, but not one tender spot under my arms or along my sports bra seam.

The sunshine was glorious after all the snow and deep freeze!
Sweaty, salty, and even a little sunburned but not a raw spot on  me!

I am quite impressed with this product. I walked after the race (another mile and half or so) before I headed home and I still had a 100% sting free shower! It is really important to note that one application held up for about 4.5 hours.  I got dressed, drove to the start line, did a quick warm up, ran the event, walked, and drove a half hour home before I showered. Usually no matter what I apply it wears away and I have a few yelps when the water hits me due to stinging raw spots, but not this day! 😊  It is exciting to try something that actually works!


Also important to note, it is a clear slippery gel and it has been safe with all my clothing light and dark colors. 
My initial impression was the bottle is small, but after using it for several applications, I realize the 3.4 oz. bottle will last a long time!  You do not have to use a ton of product to get protection.





It is available in a few sizes.












I even recruited an awesome co-worker who applied a sample application pack and had pristine results after running 8 miles in the warm rain.  No irritated chafe spots on him, and we all know running in the rain can be one of the worst times ever for chafe. 

The bottom line..it works! I think I've finally found a way to enjoy my showers after my humid summer runs!

You can purchase Pjuractive 2skin here: 
If you are going to be suiting up for a TRI this year I think it could really benefit your race day! You can feel confident that this product will not clog pores, is dermatologically tested, and is free from skin weakening emulsifiers.

If you have a specific question click here.  Lots of things are answered in depth on their fact page! 

You can read other Pro's reviews here 
Lindsey-❤

Andrea - ❤

Alastair - ❤

Corey - ❤

Amy P - ❤

Thanks for stopping by and reading!
Happy runs to you 💗
Karen