September Races #10 & #11

After not racing all summer and focusing more on training and fitness as a part of my scale-free summer, I have run two races so far this month — NFL Back to Football 5K Run on September 4th and Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon on September 15th!  Running both of these races has definitely shown me that my speed is improving daily.

Race #10 – NFL Back to Football 5K Race – September 4, 2013

For those of you who don’t know, I am a crazy football mama and a member of the Ravens Nation!!!  This means that when I found out that there would be an NFL Back to Football Race which ended on the 50 yard line of M & T Stadium I knew I had to be there.  I was very excited when the Black Girls Run! Baltimore crew created a team for the race.  What’s better than running a race affiliated with football?  Running that race with 100+ of your running buddies!

The stadium is walking distance from my job so I was able to change at the office and walk down with plenty of time to hang out before the race.  It was like tailgating with a run thrown in.  Besides my BGR crew, I also ran into one of my twitter buddies – Meghan.

2013-09-04 17.42.032013-09-04 18.19.16

2013-09-04 23.10.00

This race was loads of fun! Even though I stopped a couple of times along the course to take pictures of the stadium, it was still a PR at 40:40!2013-09-04 19.49.00

Race #11 – Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon – September 15, 2013

I have been looking forward to this race all summer.  Although my speed work &  training plan is focused on the Baltimore Running Festival in October, I was hoping that I would be fast enough by this “flat & fast” race course to PR.  This was also my first girls’ weekend race ever.  I got up early Saturday morning to take the bus to Philadelphia.  I was staying with my sorority sister and fellow runner for the weekend.  When she picked me up, we headed straight for the Expo at the Convention Center.

2013-09-14 10.08.402013-09-14 10.46.12

I managed to stay within budget.  I scored some really cool earphones from Auria which hang on the ear and allow you to still hear ambient sounds.  I will be trying them out over my next few runs and reporting back to you on them.

When we left the Expo, we got mani-pedis and then headed back to the house for naps and hydrating.  I finally was able to do the least amount of running around the day before a long race.  A perfect pre-race day.

The next morning we were up early of course and rode along with another sorority sister to the race start.  After a quick stop in the Starbucks bathroom, we headed to the starting line.  I was assigned to corral 22 but in order to not be too far behind each other we all started in corral 14.  It was the first time I ever moved up from an assigned corral and will probably be my last.  I was overwhelmed by the faster runners when we took off.

I ran for about the first quarter mile then started my timer to do my 1:1 ratio of running and walking.  My Map My Run app clocked my first mile at 10 minutes which is really fast for me so I started to slow down.  Halfway through the race, my music turned on by itself and the app had me 2 miles ahead of what the mile actually was.  It turns out I had sweated into my phone case – oops! Because I didn’t realize that the app was malfunctioning until later in the race, I took a few extra walk breaks in the beginning to slow my pace down.  However, it turns out my pace was right and the app was wrong.

Good – The course through Philadelphia was beautiful.  It really was as advertised – “flat and fast.” The RnR team had inspirational signs throughout the course. There were bands and music.  There were also cheer leaders along the course encouraging us which was really cool.

2013-09-15 09.46.56

Bad – Some of the water stops were out of water and breaking down by the time we got there.  From what I heard from my BGR sisters who were in corrals further back, it was even worse for them.  The music was not spaced out well.  There was a lot in the downtown area but very spread out on the Eakin Loop.  Kudos to the lone drummer on the far side of the loop!

2013-09-15 11.55.19

Although I didn’t PR, I am proud of my time – 3:08 as it is definitely faster than my time at the Frederick Half Marathon in May.  After the race, we headed to 7-11 for coffee and took the train back to the house.  After a shower and change, we were all smiles as we picked up a well deserved chicken cheesesteak for the bus ride back to Baltimore.

2013-09-15 15.01.10

Have you run any races lately?  Drop me a line in the comments about your most recent run or race experience.

Baltimore Ten Miler = Lucky Race #7

Last weekend, I ran my seventh race on my quest to run 13 races in 2013.  I ran the Baltimore Ten Miler.  Last year, when I was beginning my journey as a runner, I volunteered at a water stop at this race.  I remember being in awe at the ability of the runners to do 10 miles.  It was one week before my first 5K and I couldn’t even fathom running much further than that.  Fast forward to this year and I’m running the race.

I picked up my packet from Sports Authority on Monday before the race.  It was both the closest location and the only day I could pick it up as I was travelling the last half of the week.  I ran into one of my BGR Sole Sistas, Trish at packet pickup.  We both started with BGR on the same day – June 2, 2012.

2013-06-10 20.21.40

2013-06-10 20.16.50

After a great run with Twilight Tuesday and dancing at the Kings of the Mic concert, the rest of the week was spent tapering and being a PhDiva at a symposium.  The only problem with travelling was not being in complete control of what I ate on Thursday and Friday.  Friday evening, my family stopped at Don Pablo’s for Mexican on our way back to Baltimore.  Carb loading but not too much.  I couldn’t resist the sangria.  It meant drinking a lot more water that evening to try to insure not getting dehydrated.  I laid out my clothes and made sure to be in bed before 10pm.

Flat Mama - 6/15/2013

On Saturday, I woke before the alarm, had my chia breakfast bowl, and headed to Druid Hill Park in more than enough time to pose for pictures with BGR.  The thing I loved about this race was that it runs through my part of the city.  The route goes from Druid Hill Park to Lake Montebello and back winding past Johns Hopkins University and Greenmount Avenue.

Before Pics:

2013-06-15 07.20.342013-06-15 07.13.00

Even though I had run this distance before many times and had even trained on the course, this was not my best race.  Every long run I had done this Spring had been in cooler temps.  So my body wasn’t fully acclimated to warm weather running.  Add to that the fact that miles 8 & 9 are HILLY! You will understand that it was a hard race.  When I ran the route in cooler temps the Saturday before I finished in 2:15 which put me on pace for a PR.  However, the heat and the hills combined led me to finish in almost the exact same time as the Cherry Blossom on April 7th.

Baltimore 10 Miler June 15 2013Baltimore 10 Miler 2013 results

I’m happy that I finished and that my time wasn’t worse.  I still have a few more races left in this year to PR.  After the race, my BRFs and I celebrated with free beer and music at the after-race party.

Baltimore 10 Miler group June152013Baltimore 10 miler with rhandi and rachel

All in all, I had fun! And isn’t that the real reason why I run? Smile

Have you raced in warmer weather?  How do you tackle hill running?  Share your favorite thing about racing or running.

A Hysterrunner in San Francisco

The week after Memorial Day, I travelled to San Francisco for the Society for Prevention Research conference.  For those of you who may be new to my blog, in my non-running life I am a prevention scientist.  This is my fourth time attending this particular conference.  There is always a group fun run/walk on the Thursday hosted by the organizers which I’ve participated in each year.  But this year was different.  Last year, the conference was in Washington, DC.  I mostly walked the 3 mile loop from the hotel to the Mall and back.  This year, I am in much better shape as a hysterrunner.  So I did so much more than participate in the run/walk.

I arrived in San Francisco on Tuesday afternoon.  I checked in to the hotel and grabbed my yoga gear.  I had arranged to take a Muscle and Flow yoga class with my friend and Under Armour Women sponsored trainer Dr Shauna Harrison.

2013-05-30 07.57.442013-05-28 15.43.07

The view from my hotel room!

I had been wanting to take this class with Shauna for a while.  When I realized that I would be in the Bay Area, I knew this would be my chance.  The train ride to get to Redwood City was uneventful.  The class was AWESOME!!!  It is not your average yoga class.  It is a fusion of different styles of yoga coupled with hip hop and R & B music.  If you are ever in the Bay Area, make it a point to get to this class. My only complaint was that about halfway through the class, jet lag hit me like a ton of bricks.  It got really hard to focus as my body started to shut down.  I had to spend a little time in half lotus pose resting to catch myself.  Other than that, I loved this class.  Shauna is going to be in the Baltimore area again at the end of this month.  I am going to try to get to the Hip Hop Cycle class that she’s teaching while she is here.  I was so tired when we left that I forgot to take a picture of us together.

2013-06-01 23.48.20

Above is the view from the train & a pic that Shauna tweeted about the #sweatpink laces I brought her.

Wednesday was spent completely involved in the conference.  I presented that day so there were no additional exercise breaks.  Thursday, however, more than made up for it.  I was able to get in TWO RUNS for the first time ever.  The first run was 3.39 miles from the hotel to Fisherman’s Wharf and back as a part of the fun run/walk.  I was able to explore the Embarcadero and even saw sea lions.

2013-05-30 08.04.31

The second run was possible thanks to a twitter connection.  Mizuno was hosting a Sunset Run in conjunction with Fleet Feet San Francisco.  There was a tweet about the Sunset Run which led to a series of tweets and DMs between me, Fleet Feet, and Seth and Jeff of Mizuno Running.  The Sunset Run was at Chrissy Field along the Bay near the Golden Gate Bridge.  The weather was perfect.  Every one there remarked that it is usually chilly and foggy when they host them.  I was glad that the weather held up.  The run was from 3-5 miles to the base of the bridge and back.  I was able to get 4.5 miles in total.  But, the best part about it is that I was able to try some cool new Mizuno Wave Inspire running shoes.  They felt great to run in.  They gave me the support that I need as a moderate pronator but they were so much lighter than my Sauconys.  I felt like  I was cheating on Team Saucony but that Mezamashii feeling was great.

2013-05-30 18.12.052013-05-30 18.12.17

2013-05-30 19.15.32

2013-05-30 20.32.59

I wish I didn’t have to give back the shoes.  I really want to know how they would feel on a long run.  I did get a really cool glass and washcloth to bring back East with me.

If anyone had told me last year that I would not only be completing the fun run while away at a conference but also that I’d be fitting in time to do yoga and running twice in one day, I would have said they were crazy.  Now look at me!

How do you fit in exercise when you travel?  What is your favorite way to sightsee?  Tell me about it in the comments.

What A Difference A Year Makes…

Today is National Running Day 2013!

natl running day

Last year, after my high blood pressure scare, I was cleared to run on May 30th.  My first run with Black Girls Run was the next day – June 1, 2012.  It was a celebration run as BGR: Baltimore was celebrating its one-year anniversary with a fun run hosted by Charm City Run.  It also coincided with National Running Day.  I was just excited to be running again.  I did my first 3 miles using the Galloway method that day.  Two weeks later I ran my first 5K at the Baltimore Women’s Classic.

Today, I ran just under 3 miles in less than 40 minutes which after the year I’ve had is incredible.  I may have been sidelined by health issues but I have come back.  Throughout my recovery, running has been key.  Whether I run 1/4 mile or 13.1, I am a runner.  Running has helped me to stay sane despite my health challenges and to become healthier in the process.  I am several pounds lighter and my HBP is under control.

2013-06-05 21.58.09

The pic on the left is from 6/1/2012; on the right is from 6/5/2013.

To celebrate National Running Day, besides my run, I registered for the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in Philadelphia.  Last year, I would have never thought anything longer than a 5K was possible for myself.  This year, I have already run 6 races out of my #13in2013 goal, including 2 10-milers and 2 half marathons.

RnR half natl running day

I am truly proud of how far I have come.  I am looking forward to continuing to become that fit chick!  I love being a hysterrunner!

Did you go for a run for National Running Day?  How has your running progressed in the last year?  Share your responses in the comments.

My Medical Progress & Monthly Goals

I haven’t written official monthly goals in a few months.  But, it’s May, the month for mothers, especially mother runners Smile! So I ‘m writing them down.

I still have some twinges of pain in my incision from time to time, especially with extra exertion, like in a race.  In fact, after I was finished with the Iron Girl, it throbbed for a while to a beat which felt like my run pace.  I spoke to my Gynecologist at my follow-up appointment last week about this.  He said that I should expect to feel throbbing for up to a year.  He said it would be ok if I worked on abdominal work, though.  I had been trying it intermittently, with the exception of Bikram Yoga, because it hurts.  The night before my surgery I did 175 different types of crunches because I could.  Now I can barely do 10.  However, I have no adhesions and have healed well so I can focus on building back up my abs. Woohoo!

I had my follow-up general practitioner doctor appointment on Monday, the day after the Iron Girl.  I wore my medal to the appointment, of course.  My BP is down to 120/80!!! We were both very excited to see those numbers.  I still need to stay on the single medication for now but we will be reassessing in 4 months.  My task until then is to take my pressure before and after a few runs as well as to do a few test days without medication and take my pressure on each of them.  The research scientist in me is looking forward to collecting this data. LOL!!!

Now that I have a clean bill of health, here are my goals for this month.

Running – Frederick Half Marathon on May 5th ~ Race 6 of #13in2013 then to maintain my distance and do some speedwork to be prepared for the Baltimore Ten Miler in June.

Abdominal Work – I’ll be adding 15-30 minutes of ab exercises to our post-Twilight Tuesday runs starting in May.  Looking forward to working with my sole sisters of BGR on a common goal.

Bikram Yoga – Get in at least 3 sessions this month.  I love Bikram.  It helps me to be more flexible and I always feel centered after these sweat pink sessions Winking smile!

Strength Training – Help! I need to figure something out that is consistent.  This is my weakest link!  My goal this month is to figure out how to be strong.

Do you set fitness goals?  Have you dealt with coming back from illness?  Share your experiences in the comments.

Travelling & Tapering

I wanted to post another Wordless Wednesday but this one needed words to go with the pictures.  I spent the weekend in Brooklyn, New York visiting my family.  Erika at Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss was kind enough to share a running route with me.  However, we didn’t have enough time to do a full route.  So my husband and I set out on a shorter, make it up as we go along, route which covered about 1 1/2 miles around my Mom’s neighborhood on Monday morning.  The route took us around Brower Park so we had to stop on the playground to get some core work and strength training in.

My core work has SUCKED since I started back about 2 weeks ago.  The night before my surgery I did my last 175 crunches (different styles).  Now, I can barely do 10 at a time of any kind.  UGH!!! Anyway, I have managed to get 2 Bikram Yoga classes in in the past 2 weeks which has helped me to ease into core work.  At the park, I worked on some push-ups and planks.  I got 5 planks in of about 30 seconds each.  My core still hurts!  Here we are:

20130401095945

Me- Planking in Brooklyn

Hubby - Pushups in Brooklyn

Hubby – Pushups in Brooklyn

Since I’m tapering for the Cherry Blossom on Sunday, I have one more run left on the schedule for this week.  I will probably get about 3-4 miles in tomorrow at lunchtime around the Inner Harbor area of Baltimore.  Then, no more running to have fresh legs for the race.

What about you?  How do you train when you travel?  Any one tapering for the Cherry Blossom this week?  Let me know!

December 2012 Goals

December is one of my favorite months of the year! It is now Advent, a time to be still, reflect, and prepare. Sometimes the preparations get dwarfed as everyone goes straight from Thanksgiving to Christmas. I try to make sure to celebrate each season individually.

I usually spend a lot of time focusing on my family and our holiday traditions in December. Even when I don’t want it to, it can get overwhelming at times.  Since I don’t want any health setbacks, I really intend to stay focused more on my family and traditions inside my home while saying NO to pressures outside my house. I also plan on keeping up with my health and fitness goals for both my recovery and sanity. That being said, here are my goals for this month:

1. Running – I’m aiming for 10 miles a week again. I slowly have increased my runs back to about 3 miles each. This month I start training with the Road Runners for a mid- Winter 10 miler. Hopefully, in following the plan, I will be able to hit this goal. Plus as a part of the Runner’s World Holiday Run Streak, I am aiming to do at least a Mile a Day for this month so I should definitely be able to get my mileage up. My Mile a Day challenge is what I’m doing for the #DecemberDoubleDown challenge for Girls Gone Sporty this month. You can join me!

2. Upper body – I’m going to try to work my upper body at least 2 times a week not counting Water Aerobics.

3. Elf4Health – If you haven’t noticed the logo on the right, I am doing the Elf4Health challenge from Nutritionella this month as well. Each day there are small steps to take which are good for your own health. Today’s task was to track your fiber intake and aim for 14 grams for every 1000 calories consumed. I got 20 grams of fiber! Tomorrow’s task is to eat a salad and make your own dressing. I’ve already put together a salad in a jar for tomorrow’s lunch. Yummy!

4. Race Goals – I will be finalizing my 2013 races and registering for them. I plan on running at least one race per month in 2013 because I can. There are many women who are more sick than I ever was who can’t walk or run much less race. I will be dedicating my races to them.

What are your health and fitness goals this month?

image

Never Say Never November Goals Update

With 2 days left in this month, it is time to assess how I did on this month’s goals.  Overall, despite a few setbacks, I did pretty good.  I didn’t hit my goals exactly but I did make really good progress back to fitness.  Here’s how I did:

  1. Running – This month I aimed for 10 miles a week by running 3 times a week, especially Twilight Tuesdays with BGR.  I started November just relearning how to run with my “new” body.  I did manage to get a run in 3 days a week; however, I didn’t hit 10 miles yet.  As I wasn’t consistently ready for 3 miles at a time when we started the month, it wasn’t as realistic as I thought. Most of my runs averaged 1-2 miles with a “long run” of 3 miles each week.  However, yesterday I got almost 4 miles in and felt great! I have joined in on the Runner’s World Holiday RunStreak.  So I’m going to keep this goal and potentially aim higher in December.
  2. #LungesforLeftovers – Girls Gone Sporty had a cool challenge this month.  “Earn our Thanksgiving Leftovers” by doing as many lunges each day as you can.  I started out doing 20 static lunges – 10 on each side.  I really took to this goal.  I am able to do not only static lunges but walking lunges and lunges in the pool!  I definitely can feel a difference in my booty!
  3. Strength Training – This is the one area that I fell short.  In getting back to work and life, it was hard to fit upper body exercises in as well as my other fitness goals.  I barely did this once a week this month.
  4. Aqua Aerobics – AWESOME.  I absolutely LOVE my Wednesday evening class!  It is more than just aerobics.  It also includes water running and lots of upper body strength exercises with water weights.  When it is done,  I definitely feel it all over!

I may not have hit my goals exactly but I definitely feel like I accomplished a lot fitness wise this month.  Compared to the end of September through October when I was on bed rest and recovering, I did really well! I’m looking forward to next month as I will start training for a 10-miler with the Baltimore Road Runners Club in preparation for my half-marathon training which starts in January.

How did you do on your Never Say Never November goals?  Leave me a comment to let me know! 

exercise makes me stronger

Why do I run?

If you had asked me a couple of years ago to go for a run, I would have laughed.  Invite me to a group exercise class – Zumba, Pilates, BodyPump – sure, no problem.  But, run?  You have got to be kidding me.

However, over the past few years, I realized something about myself.  Outside of attending group classes, I don’t like gyms.  Trust me, I’ve tried different types – women’s only, BIG BOX, meat markets, you name it.  I just don’t like them.  So between classes, I would walk for additional exercise.  Then, I became a run/walker and now a hysterrunner.

This week the Zooma Women’s Race Series posted a video from Dimity McDowell of Another Mother Runner.  Check it out below:

2012 Zooma Great Lakes

This video got me thinking.  Why do I still run?  After my hysterectomy, I could have chosen to start back with any other exercise but I didn’t.  The whole six weeks immediately post-op all I could think about was when I would run again.  I realized that running has become a friend to me.  It’s a space to clear my head, time to just be me with no obligations, no worries, no…  Running is my getaway.  So, why do I run?  I run to give time to me!

Never Say Never November Goals –

So far so good! I have gotten two runs in this week thus far which puts me on pace for my mileage this week.  The Girls Gone Sporty #LungesforLeftovers challenge has been a bit more challenging.  I have gotten 20 lunges in most days this week; 30 yesterday.  I have done my upper body arm exercises completed on opposite days from my runs, with the exception of Tuesday.  I completed my exercises and ran on Tuesday – a twofer! 

It wasn’t as easy as it sounds to get through my goals this week though.  It is also my first week back at work.  It’s been difficult adjusting to sitting at a desk the majority of the day.  By halfway through, the dreaded swelly belly becomes aggravating and my incision sometimes starts to throb.  I’m grateful that I can be a bit flexible and leave around 3pm instead of 5pm.  I have been coming home and relaxing, even napping at times, then logging on to work email one last time before focusing on my personal stuff – family, fitness, etc.  I am looking forward to being able to go straight through the day.  However, I realize that it is still not time for me to reclaim my SuperMom cape.  One day but not today.

Hysterrunning–Finally there

Never say Never November is here and so far it is definitely so good.  I have been chosen to be a Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador.  I look forward to working with GGS to promote fitness and share my experiences as a hysterrunner.

I kicked off the month RUNNING!  On November 1st, exactly 6 weeks post-surgery, I had my first run!  I got 1.4 miles in around the Lake.  I promised my doctor that I wouldn’t do more than 1 mile my first time out to test how my body was healing.  But, the Lake is a little over a mile and I completed the loop.  I felt good like I could do more.  I followed this up with 2 miles the next day and 1.6 miles on the 3rd.  Short distances, yes; but, long enough to not stress out my still healing body.  From what I have read and discussed with my doctor, I won’t be fully healed until about six months post-surgery just in time for my birthday in February.

The key to running this soon after surgery is to wear supportive gear.  Abdominal binders may be good when you get off a bedrest but aren’t conducive to exercise, especially not running.  Girdles are fine to deal with the bloating and help you fit back into your regular clothes but they also are not for running.  Compression gear is the way to go.  So far I have run in Saucony Amp Pro tights and Nike Hyperwarm Dri Fit tights.  They both provide just enough support without being restrictive and irritating my incision.  I haven’t run in my CW-X tights as yet.  I’m saving those until when I get to my longer runs.

exercise your right to vote

Today is Election Day here in the US.  I chose to Exercise my Right to Vote by running a 5K for my home town of New York.  I donated money to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief fund and decided to run4nyc.  This was a virtual 5K which was perfect for my first attempt as a hysterrunner. I am glad that my first 5K back could be dedicated for a good cause.  If you are still looking for ways to help Sandy victims, consider donating to the American Red Cross.

I joined my Twilight Tuesday Black Girls Run Baltimore group for a cold, dark run/walk around the Lake and the surrounding neighborhood.  I completed my 3 miles in 41:51 which is faster than my last race pre-surgery!!!  Lack of pain and cramping coupled with the cold air worked for me. 

I’m looking forward to my progress in my new body.  I am now officially a HYSTERRUNNER!

Previous Older Entries

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon

Race # 10September 15th, 2013
Aiming for a PR!