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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

Faith & Fitness Friday

Hebrews 12:1

Hebrews 12:1

As I prepare for my first big race ever, this Scripture phrase is becoming more and more of a friend to me.

My hysterectomy and the events leading up to it and recovering from it was a race which I have already endured.  I know that running a foot race is possible.  I know that God has strengthened me in every way to prepare me for this race.  I just need to put my training – physical, mental, and spiritual – into practice.

Good luck to everyone running races this weekend! No matter what kind.

Ice Bath Haiku

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As I have been training for middle distances, my mileage has increased as expected.  When I sat down to write down my training schedule, I wrote the word ICE next to each run that was longer than 8 miles.  I had heard from one of my BRFs, Real, that 8 miles was the distance that brought out the aches and pains during trains.  Anything more than 8 miles and you really feel it.  However, Real trained for her first half-marathon during the summer and raced it in the Fall.  I’m training for Spring races in the Winter.  The thought of coming in from a frosty (20-40 degrees) run and getting into an ice bath just didn’t fly with my brain.  The last thing I wanted after running next to an ice covered lake or pond was to come home and get into ice water.  No way, not me!

In February, I started doing runs longer than 8 miles but did I ice bathe after?  Nope!  I ran 9 miles the Saturday before my birthday.  On my birthday, I had a therapeutic massage.  The masseuse commented on how tight my calves were.  She is a runner herself and spent extra time getting the knots worked out.  I ran the RRCA 10 Miler a few days later to celebrate with no ice bath.  Then, my mileage dialed back a bit for a few weeks.

Fast forward to this month, I ran 9.5 miles 3 Saturdays ago and 10.3 miles last Sunday.  Following both of those runs, I came in and took my warm shower.  I wore my ProCompression Marathon socks to recover.  I made sure to stay hydrated, paid attention to the macros and micros of my diet, etc so that I would recover well.  However, for most of last week my calves were TIGHT!  My speedwork was more like slow-work.  My 7 mile easy run was cut short to 5 miles.  I did Bikram Yoga on Friday with the hopes that the heat and the stretching would help.  It didn’t.

So this Saturday’s long run of 10 miles – the last long run before the Cherry Blossom on my schedule – was BRUTAL!!!  Instead of my calves loosening up after the first few miles, they felt tighter.  I do 1:1 run/walk intervals.  I mostly walked the last 3 miles.  I finished in my worst time ever since February.  I knew it was time to embrace the ice bath.

If you haven’t taken an ice bath before, check here for some Do’s and Don’ts.  I climbed in to my tub filled with cold water, sat down and winced.  I stayed in for a little over 10 minutes.  When I climbed out and warmed up, not only did my calves feel better but aches in my hips which I had only just begun to realize existed were gone as well.  Even more important to me as a hysterrunner, the aches in my lower abdomen around my incision which I have felt since I started running again were also going away.  I thought that they were a permanent ache to deal with.  Turns out they too were just muscle aches due to running!  I’m a believer – cue The Monkees!

The Monkees–I’m A Believer

Have you ever taken an ice bath?  What do you do to recover from intense effort?

Happy Birthday to Me!

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Five months ago, I headed to the hospital to have a total abdominal hysterectomy.  Due to an issue with a perforated uterus and a couple of other details, the TAH was the only type of surgical option available to me for my procedure. Several hours, numerous fibroids, and two thankfully benign but large tumors later, I woke up in a morphine & Dilaudid haze. My FB friends can attest to the interesting status update which I posted from the hospital. LOL!

Over the past five months, I have learned a lot about myself and my family. I was still relatively new to running when I was sidelined. Being on bedrest, I craved running. I even had a girlfriend drive me to the Under Armour Baltimore Running Festival expo so I could be near runners. An excursion which had me whipped the whole next day. But when I was able to run again, a HYSTERRUNNER was born. From my first mile to now being able to run 15-20 miles per week, I have felt myself grow as a runner and as a person learning about my limits and pushing through them. Slowly but surely!

Today is my birthday. My hysterectomy saved me from a life of hemmorhaging. Becoming a hysterrunner as a result has helped me to rediscover me. Next weekend, I will celebrate my second chance at life by running in my first Ten Miler Race with the Road Runners of Baltimore. My word for this year is serene. It is from a place of true serenity that I say:

Thank you God for my life and for the lessons I learn as a hysterrunner!

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Three things I LOVE!

Of course, I love myself first. If I didn’t, then nothing else would matter. It is because I love myself that I am aware of the three things I love the most.

Family– My husband and my son truly are my heart.  I focus on getting better every day so that I can be the best I can be for them.

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I come from a decent sized family.  Talking to any of them – my parents, sisters, brother, cousins, etc – is usually a joy and a blessing that I don’t take for granted.

Faith – I can do everything through my God who strengthens me.  Battling back from my hysterectomy has taken a lot of faith that I would heal.  Daily prayer and going to Mass regularly helps me to remain connected to God.  I hope that sharing “Faith & Fitness Fridays” with you helps you to connect as well.

Fitness – I may not be an elite athlete.  But, I truly love becoming that FIT CHICK.  Whether I am running, doing Water Aerobics, or shaking it in a Zumba class, I love pushing my limits and getting physically back to the way I used to be.  I have been enjoying this journey back to fitness and look forward to the next stage.  Speaking about running…

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The guys over at the runchat have asked this week for us to post things you love about running.  So to elaborate on one of my 3 things I love, here are the things I love about being a HYSTERRUNNER!

  • I can run! It doesn’t have to be fast or far.  But, I can do it.  I have come back from 0 miles/week to just under 20!
  • It has helped me recover.  Being in decent shape because of running helped me to manage pain better immediately after my surgery.  Getting back to running post-surgery has helped me get my body back.  Slowly but surely!
  • I don’t need much equipment to do it.  A good sportsbra & my Sauconys are all I need.  Of course, being that I run mostly outdoors, I have invested in some tech gear/cold gear/etc.  But I can just get out there and run – anywhere, anytime, anyhow!
  • It’s the one thing I have TOTAL CONTROL OVER!!!  My body still has its issues.  I don’t always know when I wake up if my incisions will twitch or if I will have swelly belly and not be able to fit in what I thought I could wear to work that day.  But I do know that if I get out and run even a little bit, I feel better mentally and spiritually which is better for both my FAMILY and my FAITH.
  • I love the running community.  The online community helped me to focus when I was lying in bed recovering and could barely walk much less run.  My Black Girls Run group encourages me and pushes me to run even when I am not sure what my capabilities are.  My Road Runners Crew is always there with tips, tricks, etc.  My offline running friends are always there with personal support.

So there you have it – the Three Things I love combined with what I love about running! How’s that for a Valentine’s Day!

runners_valentine_card_i_heart_love_running-p137917693705586184bfmxk_400http://www.zazzle.com

Faith & Fitness Friday

“I ran and ran every day, and I acquired this sense of determination, a sense of spirit that I would never, never give up, no matter what else happened. The triumph cannot be had without the struggle.” Wilma Rudolph

I love this quote from Wilma Rudolph.  Her story is so inspiring.  If she could become a champion after overcoming polio.  I can achieve my goals post-hysterectomy. (The lovely ladies at Oiselle have this quote on a shirt which I love to wear.  Check them out!)

This week the awesome Erika at Black Girls Guide to Weight Loss’ Friday Five is dedicated to Five Original Fit Chicks Who Deserve Your Praise, including Rudolph.

 

My word/motto for 2013

Serene

 

The awesome blogger and runner rUnladylike posed this question – What word do you want to define your 2013? Our family has decided that our motto would be “All is serene in 2013.”  When I thought about it, I want that to be my defining word as well.

Serene means calm, peaceful, and untroubled.  With all of the medical issues that I had last year as well as those with others in my extended family, 2012 was anything but serene.  We are aiming to approach our challenges this year with serenity.

When I run, especially when I run long, I enjoy the calm, peace and serenity I feel from being in nature.  The picture above was taken in a place called Serenity Lake.  It reminds me of a few of the places where I have run.  In fact, I started and ended my 6 mile run last weekend next to one of my favorite lakes.  It looks sort of like this one in the spring and summer months.

I intend to approach my challenges this year as serene as possible.  Hopefully, I won’t end up yelling like George Costanza – SERENITY NOW!!! LOL!

Have you chosen a word to define you this year?  Does your family aim to live by a motto?

 

 

Resolution Run 2013 Recap

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My first race of 2013 was cool! In order to prepare, I joined a training group specific to this race with a great group of people.  The group started in November about 2 weeks after I was cleared to run following my hysterectomy.  I felt that I needed the support in starting to actively train again.  My Twilight Tuesday runs with BGR were used as a part of this training.  There were a lot of BGR ladies running yesterday as well, many as their first race.  I am proud of everyone that I ran with as it was New Year’s Day.  My time was slow (50:22) which is fine being that I was tired after the New Year’s Eve festivities. Basically – Fried food, 4-inch heels, and fruity drinks -> Fun time was had by all!

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For this race, I was more focused on finishing and not losing the mini in the crowd of runners.  I abandoned my regular race pace and ran when he felt like running and walked when he stopped to walk.  At one point, he took a break to climb the rocks.  I jogged in place until he was ready to catch up.  Here’s a pic of the two of us at the Finish line.

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The Resolution Run was a great way to kick off 2013! It helped me to meet many of my goals early on – spend time with family, focus on my fitness, and help others by donating to a good cause!

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Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon

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