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.

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.

From Iron to Titanium in 1 Week!

This week I ran the Half Marathon at the Frederick Running Festival, one week after running in my first Half Marathon, the Athleta Iron Girl. I made it through the challenge and am now a Titanium Girl!

To recap, I travelled with my family to Frederick on Saturday afternoon. We drove straight to the Fairgrounds for the Expo to pick up my race packet. This was a relatively smooth process. I bought a Titanium Girl t-shirt and….

A special edition ViewSport tank just for the FRF! I can’t wait to wear it on a run when it warms up! When activated, the hidden image says “Run Frederick!” I love my purple long sleeve. Now I have a tank to rock.

We checked out the Kids Fun Run for a few then headed to the hotel. I set out my outfit for the morning. Then, we headed to Applebee’s for dinner. Nothing too fancy; just shrimp and pasta. When we got back to the hotel, I showered, checked twitter and hit the hay by 10. Sleep was a bit rough, though. Next time, I’m bringing my own pillow and sleep mask.

I woke up, got dressed and hubs dropped me at the start. I met up with some of my Black Girls Run ladies and took this pic.

image

It was right after this that I realized I forgot my GymBoss timer back in Baltimore! Ugh! I rely on my timer to keep me at a 13 minute pace. Cue minor freakout! A few deep breaths later, I got on line for the bathroom which was ridiculously long. I barely made it to the start on time. As a result, I started at the very back as opposed to in the 13/14 minute pace group. That was ok, though because I got to see my Soror Cecily in the caboose section!

After the start, I couldn’t find my rhythm for the first mile. Then, just as I did, I realized I was a bit too hydrated. I had to make another pit stop at the Mile 3 water stop. When I came out, I literally ran into one of my professional mentors, a fellow PhDiva who happens to be an ultrarunner. She was pacing another Titanium Challenge girl. I decided to run/walk with them for a bit.

At about Mile 8, we got a police escort. Although we were on pace to finish within the course time limit, the cops starting moving people off the course and on to the sidewalk. I stayed with them until Mile 11. Then, I took off. I ran past the police and caught up with the turtle pack. As I came onto the track, my family was there waiting with signs which was just the push I needed to finish strong. I came in slower than last week but I still finished.

My time wasn’t impressive but for a hysterrunner going from 0 miles to back to back Half Marathons, finishing is a blessing!

image

The turtle with the gecko.

image

The turtle and the caboose - Finishers!

Have you ever feared the sweeper? How were your runs/races this weekend? Tell me about it in the comments.

Ice Bath Haiku

ice bath haiku

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?

February Race Recap

Thanks to all of you for my birthday wishes! I ended my birthday celebrations on a high note.  So much was going on in the month that I haven’t posted since my birthday on February 20th – not even a Faith and Fitness Friday!  I intend to make up for that today.  I will be giving you a recap of my first 10-mile race.

To celebrate life, I have been working towards running 13 races in 2013.  For February, that race was the Maryland Road Runners Club of America Club Challenge.  A 10-mile race in Columbia, MD with runners from RRCA groups from all over Maryland.  I was very excited for this race because it was my first chance to run 10-miles ever.  I’m running the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler in April so this was my chance to get used to the distance.  I was quite excited that this race was 4 days after my birthday and continued my birthday week celebrations!

Two weeks before I had run my furthest difference in preparation for the race – 9 miles.  I kept up with my tempo and speed work in the week following.  Then, in the week leading up to the race – my birthday week – I was overcome by shin splints during my tempo run and had to finish by walking.  (Shout out to Candace @cherishedflight for walking with me!)  My running shoes were overdue for replacement and I had been holding out until after the race.  For my birthday, I bought myself a new pair of Sauconys – same style & size but different color.  I spoke with the awesome folks at Charm City Run about whether or not I should run in the new ones.  We decided that risking friction and chafing was better than shin splints, especially since my feet were used to that style.

20130227083854

20130306192811Old in pink on the left followed by new in blue on the right!

The Good – I finished in 2:30!  I wasn’t last!  This was a decent time being that it was my first time at this distance.  It is a 15 minutes shorter than the pace that the sweeper truck at the Cherry Blossom picks people up at.  Focusing on speed the next few weeks to insure that I meet my 2:20 goal for 10 miles.

The Bad – I started to feel the friction in my new shoes at about mile 4.  I didn’t have any moleskin or bandaids on me. Lesson learned.  At the mile 5 water stop, someone had 2 tiny bandaids which I placed on the area to try to reduce the friction.  I stayed focused on finishing.  I kept reminding myself of how far I had come.  Instead of a 2.30/1 run walk ratio though, I began walking more as the pain increased.  Even still, I managed to get to mile 7 without even noticing when I passed 6!  Then, right at mile 8, one of my BRRC running buddies started calling my name from the sidelines.  She was a sight for sore eyes.  She didn’t run the race because she is dealing with some injuries.  But, she walked and ran me in the rest of the way! Dechen was extremely encouraging.  She made sure to tell everyone we saw on the last 2 miles that this was the furthest I had ever run.  She definitely made the end of the race worthwhile.  The next best moment was right before mile 10 when I saw my coach Jen. Jen is who took the picture of us below.  I hid Dechen’s face because I forgot to get her permission to plaster her face across my blog.  I guess Dechen and Jen made it not too bad!

 

Slide1

The Ugly – An angry red blister on my left foot.  Really never want to get one of those again.  Moleskin is now added to my kit of things to carry during a race.

20130224115622

So that’s it – the good, the bad, and the ugly of my first Ten Mile Race experience.

Tell me, how far have you run? Raced?  Have you ever had a blister?  How did you treat it?

Faith and Fitness Friday

“If you can’t fly, then run.  If you can’t run, then walk.  If you can’t walk, then crawl.  But whatever you do, keep moving.” Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin-Luther-King-Jr-Remembrance

No Hysterrunstreak for Me!

Last night, I made a decision to end my runstreak after 18 days.  I have run or walked at least a mile daily since Thanksgiving.  I intended to keep this streak up until Christmas – a total of 40 days.  Last week Wednesday, I barely made it.  I got the mile in through my 1/2 mile back and forth to my car.  My body was feeling rundown so I didn’t make it to Water Aerobics that day and I LOVE Water Aerobics.  I kept up with it through this weekend.  I got 8 miles in between Friday – Sunday! Great for my training goals; bad for my recovery.  I exceeded my monthly goal to hit at least 10 miles a week for December at the expense of my health. Freezing

Every runner knows that it is essential to build rest breaks into your training schedule.  Your body needs to rest and recover between workouts so that you don’t risk injury.  (For more information about rest from training and why you need it, click here.) 

rest day

I’m still recovering from major abdominal surgery.  I not only need time to rest because of my training but also because of my hysterectomy.  Only a few weeks ago, I needed to nap after conquering the stairs between my first and second floors or walking to the corner.  I may be able to run 3-4 miles at a time again but I am not fully healed.  So that being said, I will not be running today.  I will be going back to my 3 day a week running schedule plus one cross-training day.  This gives me 3 days of nothing but normal activity – family, work, friends, etc.  This will still net me more than 10 miles a week and help me reach my training goals.

For my other goals, I am still doing ok.  Today’s Elf for Health challenge is to drink your weight in ounces of water.  I’m aiming for half of my weight as drinking my full weight in water is not healthy for my kidneys.  I have noticed that a lot of people tend to not drink enough water during the day.  So I would encourage you to drink at least the recommended 8 glasses of water today and every day. 

drink a glass of water

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 15, 2013
Aiming for a PR!