Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I am a Morning Person

In the next 36-48 hours we're supposed to get somewhere between 3 and 12 inches of snow, depending on the report. ummm BARF. Is this an APRIL FOOL's joke??? Honestly, this winter, in Albany, was awful. They got more snow than they know how to handle. And winter is far less enjoyable when your dad isn't around to shovel/brush off your car. however, the snow broom was an awesome advantage.

That's not me. It may be Tonya Harding. Watch your knees.

Anyway, it was like 55 this afternoon - likely the warmest it's been here sinces like september or something. So, i decided to run outside after work. Normally, i'm hauling my ass out of bed at 5/530ish to go to the gym (soon outside, i hope). Now, the transition to getting up early sucked. And some mornings, it still sucks. a lot. But, it was NOTHING compared to my miserable afternoon run.

I still ran a 10:24 pace, which is good! its right in line for where i need to be for my steady pace runs, according to mcmillan. However, since i had that kick ass 5k (on the same loop) a few weeks ago, anything less is a disappointment. Anyway, the crutch of the problem was I was super crampy. as i have been on other times i've run in the afternoon. But this time it was bad - not just "oh i have a cramp from running" but god-awful stomach cramps. That does not happen in the morning, ever.

So, see ya afternoon runs, you suck.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Just dropping in real quick to let you all know there was a slight misunderstanding regarding my taxes and I *AM* getting a small refund back.

You know what that means?



Monday, March 28, 2011

Shamrock Shuffle - Glens Falls,NY - Race Report

Well, I finally got in my first official race of the year! woo!

It was a fun, albeit FREEZING, day. The best part about this race is that it didn't start till 11. No waking up super early! I got up at 7 so I would have enough time to eat breakfast since the race started so late, and GF is an hour away.

Unfortunately, running bud, Natalie, is slightly injured and the dr said no race. :( boo! However, she's healing up, and sent us text message encouragement before the race. YAY!

I got to GF super early - 945 - which enabled me to luck-the-hell-out and get a parking spot literally AT the starting line (course was a loop so this was also the finish line). I woke up feeling stuffy and my stomach was in knots (probably nerves) but i felt a little groggy all day, so I def wasn't at 100% which irritated me. But I met up with other running buds (all inspirations because they are wayyy faster than me) and we chatted it up until race time. It was sunny but cold. Not so cold that I had to wear a hat though, thank goodness. I hate running in a winter hat. My head gets all itchy. Plus, the one I have for running accidentally went through the dryer and doesn't really fit. haha.

Caitlin was nice enough to start out jogging with me for maybe about a quarter mile. But she is a super awesome runner and ended up finishing in 36:23. Beast! Then I just zoned out and kept going. This is the first time I've ever run the race in a "pack." Previously, I've always been so slow there's really no one else around. The pack + the roads not being closed off and super narrow shoulders + snow still on the ground made passing people without getting hit by cars a bit difficult. Also, it turns out, that while I knew I wasn't very competitive, I'm also not very aggressive. I probably could've passed more people, but I didn't want to shoot ahead too fast and then fall back. I probably could've given myself a bit more credit on that one. Lesson learned.

This is also the first, in my limited race experience, time I've run a race that wasn't chip timed. So, I really didn't have much of an idea of what was going on, pace wise. I've never raced with my ipod before. But I think that I will in the future, esp if the race isn't chip timed, so that I'll at least have a stop watch feature. Or I could just get a free garmin in the mail - anyone, anyone? hehe.

The race was very well organized. The people from the Adirondack Runner's club were super nice. There were mile markers shaped like shamrocks, and people with stop watches at each mile yelling out your time. Which was good, since my first mile was way too slow. There were two water stops (or 3? I think just 2) and there were tons of volunteers at them, and directing traffic and telling us to smile. Spectators were a little sparse for the bulk of the race but the ones that were out there were loud. :) A definite plus.

The course it self started with a few small rolling hills (seriously, Nat, they were small and rolling, none of that Brock Trot deception!), a nice gentle downhill after mile two and was then pretty much flat. So it was pretty easy to cruise.

Now, keep in mind I wasn't feeling great. So I overall i was pretty irritable. And this lanky 14 year old in front of me kept getting in my way. She refused to let me pass. Whatever. As I made the last turn I really ramped it up, and sprinted past some DUDE in the last 100m. Sorry guy, but that felt great. I missed the clock at the finish, so I ended up driving home with no clue as to how I did. Which added to the irritability that was now being supplemented with a nasty cough. I often am pretty coughy after a cold run, but this cough hasn't really gone away. It is now supplemented by achey ears and a headache. Hopefully the roomie keeps that fever to herself (sorry, Q).

I finished in 53:03 (gun time, results posted on line by this morning - super fast), which is way faster than my 10k paces from last fall. So I'm satisfied. I know I could've run a bit faster, but lesson learned. The best decision I made was to bring dry clothes for the hour long ride home. Nice forethought, Jen! :) (yes, i occasionally talk about myself in the 3rd person, it's normal, trust me).

This race really inspired me to start amping up my training efforts. My blog creeping has introduced me to the McMillan running calculator, and since I have 0 concept of pacing, that should help with my goals. The half marathon isn't until June, so I've got plenty of time to improve. Next race is a 10k in Saratoga. Mid-April will hopefully prove to have slightly warmer race weather.

I'm pumped, now for some vitamin C and to nip this pending cold in the butt!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Three Things Thursday

I've never done a three things Thursday post before, but what the heck. I'll give it a shot.

1. Blog-inspiration. I could not fall asleep for the life of me last night. I was barely able to keep my eyes open during American Idol, but then when I went up stairs and laid down, I was wide awake. I ended up reading until about midnight. The alarm went off at 5am. It would have been soooo easy to just reset that alarm for 7 and go back to snoozing. But I'm training for my first half. I have read a bajillion runner blogs where these awesome athlete/bloggers write about how they *really* didn't want to get up/go out/run, but they did, and felt better for it after. So I channeled my blogosphere, and got my run in. I did feel better after, though slightly nauseous because I tried a new energy bar - no dice.

2. First race of 2011!!! This sunday is my first race of the year! I'm so excited. Its a shamrock shuffle 5 miler up in Glens Falls. It's supposed to be freezing (high of 34, yuck). But a bunch of friends are doing it, and I'm really looking forward to it. Yay! Then I'll get to do my first race recap post!

3. Are you an animal lover, in particularly a cat-lady, like me? Here's an article to bawl your eyes out to. Do not read at work. I made that mistake. Now I look like a hot mess.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

speed work

I'm pretty new to running, so speed work isn't really at the top of my list. However, I like speed workouts because, hey, who doesn't want to be faster? They also made the time go by faster and the treadmill more bearable through the winter months (which are apparently still going on. grr).

I had previously been doing sprint for one minute, jog for 30 seconds. Which is fairly challenging to this newbie. However, it was recently suggested that I try 400s. So today I did. On the treadmill.

Well, today was the first time I ever thought I was going to puke at the gym. HOLY COW, those were hard. I did 8. Although, to be fair, the last interval was more of a quick paced tempo than an actual sprint. I just wanted to be able to say I did 8. ha.

I'm hoping that in a week or two (probably a little too optimistic about this) I'll be able to do these on the track in the morning, (or even afternoon) once a week. Then I'll alternate with hill repeats since there are a lot of hills in the LAKE PLACID HALF MARATHON :) that is 10 weeks away :)


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Long run and the best tuna salad E.V.E.R

Today's long run was 7.5 miles. I've been looking forward to it for days. My route was kind of hilly (yea def forgot about those hills on south main - during mile 4). However, it went really well! the last mile was pretty rough. But, i finished in 1:24:23. So that's an additional half mile from last week, and only an additional minute in time! woo! 11:15 pace. taking a rest day saturday instead of running a PR training 5K prooooobably helped in that respect.

The only other downside to this run was that it ended about a half mile from my house. When i planned it out that seemed fine - cool down, ya know? However, i reallllllly just wanted to sit down. My ankles were killing me. But, alas, I made it home. stretched out my legs and back, showered, drank the biggest glass of chocolate milk and iced my ankles until my toes turned blue.

I'm doing remarkably ok. my calves are sore, obviously. And I'll foam roll in a bit. But overall, i have fewer aches and pains than i did last week at this time.

So, I just ate lunch, and I decided to try a new recipe. I made Mediterranean Tuna Salad. I'd like to credit this recipie to the proper cook book, but I photo copied it from one of my mom's 8 million cook books and I have no idea where it came from. Generally, I'm not the biggest fan of tuna. I don't hate it, but I eat it because it's good for you. Honestly, I think the problem is, I don't really like mayo (traditional canned tuna preperation). However, problem solved here.

Here's how it goes:

2 6oz cans of tuna (packed in water)
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped pitted kalamata olives

2 1/2 table spoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large tomatoes

Combine first 4 ingredients into a large bowl. Add lemon juice and next three ingredients; toss gently. serve over sliced tomatoes. 

**My modifications/suggestions** I used bottled lemon juice: I definetly recommend using fresh squeezed from the lemon. Also, next time I'll add more kalamata olives, because I freaking love them. If you are not an olive fan, a splash of lime juice or apple cider/red wine vinegar would probably add the "bite" you'd get from the olives.

As you can see below, I also added red leaf lettuce (that's what I had, spinach would also be excellent), and an english muffin. I made it into kind of an open faced deal. It was AMAZING.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Working for the Weekend!

"Working" should be defined very liberally. We're still "on hold" which means I spend most days looking around for other jobs where you actually have to do something and I don't have to go to bed guilt ridden because I spent all day reading running blogs and got paid for it :(

Today at work, I mapped out my long run for Sunday. 7.5 miles. I'm going over it in my head, and I've written it down so that I can memorize it, and I like to know where the mile markers are. All of this would be alleviated by a garmin, if someone would like to give me one. Just sayin' ;)

Now, I will get myself mentally prepared. Amp myself up for the run. Plan out some healthy, proper fueling meals for today and tomorrow. Make sure I have sufficient recovery food. (read: chocolate milk)

Today I did 4 miles at a 10:15 pace. I'm pretty satisfied. particularly since I am out of a few things, so I didn't have anything to eat before the run. My goal pace for the half is about 10:18. So yes, satisfied. I'll take it!

I received some encouraging words from my dad last night via email. "mind over matter" sage dad advice - it applies to pretty much everything, but particularly so with running. Other wise-dad-isms include "patience is a virtue" and "silence is golden" though those don't really apply to running as much as they did to me being an impatient, overly annoying teenager some 10-15 years ago (wow, I'm old). Another great dad phrase is "if your arms are moving your legs are moving" - my dad's mantra for dealing with tough hills.

I really enjoy the fact that my weekends revolve around running. I don't have much else to do really. I don't have any family in the area, no dumb boyfriend to take up my precious "Jen" time, and no kids. So, I guess this is the prime time to get my train on. Every other weekend I volunteer at the cat shelter (which I LOVE. Yea, I know this paragraph puts me in the crazy cat lady category; I've come to accept it). So run and kitties, what else could one possibly need? AND to make this weekend EVEN BETTER abc family has a harry potter weekend. Hello recovery on the couch!


Monday, March 14, 2011

The 7 mile stretch!

I had a really awesome running weekend, I'm not going to lie. I was high off of my awesome 5k time on saturday until sunday morning when I found out that I was going to owe both the fed and state gov't in taxes this year :( Wahhhh! I wanted a garmin!

Oh well.

I'll survive. I can certainly survive tax season if I survived Sunday's 7 miler! This run was windy, through the trashy Albany "student ghetto" the day after the St. Paddy's parade (read: garbage and walks-of-shame everywhere), hilly and freezing. All of my skin was bright red from the cold after. Even the parts covered with clothes. But I did it, and I finished strong :) Sooooo much easier, and more fun, to run outside than on the treadmill!

The coolest part about being a running newbie is that everything is an accomplishment. From now until my half marathon (lake placid!! woot woot!) every long run will be the longest I've ever run. That's kind of exciting. Every single weekend I get to say, heeeey I just ran the furthest EVER!

I find that exciting.

What's also exciting is a chance to win free CEP Compression socks

Check out SkinnyRunner to get a bunch of chances to enter the drawing :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Have you ever had a run so good it made you cry?

Because I just did.

I ran a 5k in 30:25, that's a 9:48 pace. Remember the other day when I was all excited about running a half mile at 9:49? Well, turns out I can do a lot better than that. :D

Literally had tears in my eyes when I logged my run in daily mile and got my pace calculation.

This leads me to validate this theory that i've had for a while - the treadmill is all mental. Now I KNOW I can run at this pace. I just went outside and ran it without staring at any silly numbers on the screen. And when I got to the point where I usually sprint, i switched my ipod settings back to the stopwatch saw that the first two numbers were a TWO and a NINE! I swore out loud in shock and then sprinted my tail off. :D

Still glowing. I'm so excited.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I feel like I waited too long

Everything at my job got put "on hold" yesterday, pending the outcome of the New York State budget - which isn't even due till April 1, and is often late (last year it didn't pass until like August.) So that means I have nearly nothing to do all day. Which is ok today, because I don't feel all that good. So I started following (read: stalking) a bunch of new blogs (mostly running related). And now I'm updating, from my work computer. Nice.

Anyway, I'm lamenting a bit about how long it took me to get into running. I just ran my first races last year. I'm running my first half marathon this year (Lake Placid, baby!). I'm 28, it took me a while. I thought about running track in high school but I never did it. I often regret that non-decision. However, what really irks me about not getting into it is that my dad is a runner. A really frigging good one at that. But, he can't run anymore :( He had foot surgery, and cancer, and now he cycles (yea right that my dad would give up endurance activity - he stopped running after the foot surgery and gained like 20 lbs, what felt like overnight haha)

When I was young I occasionally remember being dragged to my dad's races by my mom. But I didn't really know what was going on. We didn't go cheer him on when he ran the NYC marathon (3:09 time, only his third marathon ever, and he was 44) :( My poor dad. I feel like I missed out. I did miss out.

It was my dad that encouraged me to choose the Lake Placid half as my first half marathon. My parents love Lake Placid (they went to the Olympics there in 1980, they'd just gotten married and my grandfather was the technical director for the Olympic hockey team!). So my dad tells me it's a really pretty course, and despite the fact that there's a huge hill at the very end, I should do that one. Ok, it didn't take a whole lot of arm twisting.

The Lake Placid Marathon/Half-Marathon is in its sixth year. The first year, 2005, my dad ran the half and my great-aunt ran the full. (she is also awesome - click
here for her super inspirational story). I went to LP with my dad for that race. It was super pretty up there, and I remember looking down the hill at the end of the race for him and Aunt Mary to finish. (it is a beast of a hill). So, I decided to check up on it, see what kind of time my dad ran - now that I know what I'm talking about with all this running lingo, pace times, age groups etc.

It turns out my dad is pretty dang impressive because HE CAME IN 6TH!!!!!!!!! IN THE WHOLE RACE.

He finished in 1:21:25.2! WHAT?!?! He was 46 YEARS OLD !!!!!!! Turns out I've some pretty big shoes to fill.

I'm kind of sad that I can't run races with my dad :( But he's a big supporter of my running and he's got some knowledge to share! I want to find a team triathlon event. Do they have those? My dad can cycle, I'll run, and my little sister is a stupid awesome swimmer. It would be fun! A family team :)

Well, I'm off to my lunch break on this *very strenuous* work day. Mostly I just want to run home and see if/how badly our basement is flooding since it's been pouring out all morning. Fun.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Case of the Invisible Neighbors

Today I did a 3.5 mile run. For like the last 10 days I got some wierd notion in my head that I "couldn't" run 2 days in a row. I'm not sure where that idea came from or why I thought it, but it's gone now. Silly brain. I started at a 10:54 mile pace and bumped it up every half mile. By 2.5miles I was running a 10 minute mile! WOO! I thought I'd just coast that out for a mile, but I was feeling really good! So, I did the last half mile at a 9:50 pace. I'm AWESOME. Natalie got to the gym as I'd just started this last half mile and I waved her over "look how fast I'm going!!!" She's such a good cheerleader! :) My left leg was a little sore after because I feel down the stairs yesterday (I fall down stairs with a certain amount of regularity) :( I think I'll survive.

SO, my roommate and I live in a townhouse style apartment. We have an end unit, which is nice, because we have more windows. A few months ago our drum-circle, onion-heavy-cooking, gospel-singing neighbors moved out. The apartment next door has been vacant ever since. The maintenance crew has been in and out, sprucing the place up. However, a week or two ago we noticed someone had put up blinds and curtains. Hmmm. Then we started hearing footsteps. And showers running. The bathroom and kitchen lights are often on after dark. Last week the porch light turned on and off. And yesterday, I did see a screen door opening, from the couch. haha. However, I've yet to see a person. This is doubly curious because Monday and Tuesday the roomie and I were both home randomly throughout the day dealing with the flooding basement.

Still no sighting.

No new cars in the lot.

No moving vans.

No moving stuff in.

No banging on the walls as if pictures or shelves were being hung.

No new people.

I'm letting my imagination run with it and assuming it's been transitioned into a mob safehouse. I'll keep you updated on potential shootouts CSI: Miami style. Maybe Heratio will show up with his bangin' sunglasses!! One can hope, right?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Floods and glaciers

This weekend's long run was not as awesome in real life as I'd imagined it being. I ended up opting to do it inside since it was supposed to pour. It did not pour, and the treadmill is torture on long runs. I so miss running outside. :(

Monday was supposed to be a cross train day, but when I woke up at 5am, Sunday's mid-40s snow melting weather had transformed into a giant ice/snow covered world. It would've been really pretty - if it was December. I'm so over winter. So yesterday got transformed into rest.

Today I did speed work. It was good, hard. Bumped up my last set of intervals to a bit faster pace. Rocked it.

In other news, our basement flooded. :( there was about 1.5 - 2 inches covering about a third of our basement. Lots of stuff was ruined. The maintenance dude basically said it happened because the ground was saturated and it'll probably happen again. Its supposed to rain and be warm all the rest of the week. UGH! I'm going to spend the better part of today flood proofing the basement. So not excited about this. I just want warm weather! dry ground! sunshine! and runs free of sidewalk glaciers!

Seems but a dream at this point............

Friday, March 4, 2011

Something I've never done before

Well, I went to yoga this morning at the gym. At 5:45. (something I've never done #1). I'll be doing it again, as long as there's a new instructor next week. The girl from today is UBER preggo, and today was her last class till the summer.

I need to do laundry reallllly bad (again, with the laundry on friday nights! ugh!). So I wore leggings to yoga (something I've never done #2). I'm not talking like workout legging thingys. I'm talking about the kind you get from express to wear under your sweater dresses or long drapsey tunics. Whatever, they turn the lights off for yoga anyway.

Let me give you some of the story from yoga this morning. Because it was a great way to start the day. I love the stretchiness of yoga, and the deep breathing. Corpse pose at the end gave me a chance to relax and figure out what I needed to get done at work. Easy peasy.

Anyway, the good stuff. I go into the group class room and set up my pretty purple yoga mat and take my shoes off and attempt to warm my freezing self. There's already a pink mat laying on the floor. But I'm the only one in the room. So then a dude comes in. We'll call him Yuri, because he said hello in a very thick russian/eastern european accent. He seemed nice enough. I've seen him there before. It's not unusual for guys to go to yoga at my gym. Ok cool. Instructor comes in. Lights off. Mountain pose, Breaaaaaaaaaaaaaaathe. awesome - the pink mat is still not claimed. just before we start active poses, this GIANT 6'5" 275lb black dude walks in. The pink mat is his. This may seem like "ok, whatever Jen, who cares." But at 545 am, it was hilarious. Made my day.

Something I've never done, #3 - this is the big one. Long run this weekend is 7 miles. The longest I've ever run is 10k. Gulp. And apparently it's supposed
to pour here and flood everything all weekend :( I'm trying to prepare myself for this, mentally. I think I'm going to do it on Sunday. GULP. I need your positive energy, blogosphere! wish me luck :)

After my run, I will spend the rest of my day looking like this - except human, hopefully.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

leg day and animal interactions

I love leg days. They are hard, but I just feel they are making me super strong. And they probably are. I used to lift much heavier when I wasn't focused on running. So now I lay off a bit, lighter weight, higher reps. I don't want to be too sore because I need to run!

Do weighlifting days count for cross training? When I do upper body, I will do the elliptical or something after. But legs take forever, and my legs are jelly by the end. I count them as cross training, hope that's ok :)

My back is not as bad today. A little tight ish, but not as much pain. I just foam rolled the crap out of my legs and hip and did some yoga stretches so I'm feeling pretty good.

In other news:

There's been a bit of tension in the house the last two days. My roomie got a dog. Toby. He's a carrin terrier (think: Toto). He's a really sweet boy.

However, Dinah has always been an "only pet." So she's had some adjustments to go through. We've had Tobes for about 5 weeks. Sometimes they do nose kisses! so cute ( I do not have a picture of that, it doesn't last long). But, last week Dinah tried to play with Toby - cat playing looks a lot like cat attacking from the dog's point of view. So that hasn't really worked out.

Well yesterday Dinah was sitting under the coffee table by my feet (I didn't see her) and Toby ran over demanding attention from me. Dinah was not having that - afterall, Toby chases her out of the living room if she comes withing looking distance of his stupid raw hide bones. So, Dinah starts hissing like a psycho and SWATTED at him! hahah. He didn't get hurt. I don't even think she made contact. But she's stopped being scared and started staking out her territory. Like last week when she puffed up and chased him out of the bedroom threshold. He's not allowed in my bedroom, that's very well established DINAH space.

Overall, they are coexisting quite well. The transition is much better than I anticipated. I do heart Toby. But Dinah is my precious sweet! How could you not love this face?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tossing and Turning

I slept HORRIBLY Sunday night.

This is not uncommon. I've been dealing with sleep issues since I moved to Albany 6.5 years ago. HOLY CRAP! I've been here for 6.5 years?!?! blech. - that attitude may have something to do with why I sleep poorly.

Anyway, I woke up what seemed like every 20 minutes, and tossed and turned like a psycho. My poor cat was huddled up in the furthest corner of the bed in the morning. I also threw myself about in such at tizzy that I've done something to my back. :(

Now, I hurt my back when I was 15, and it's just never been quite right since. I used to go to this awesome doctor in Syracuse that does orthopedic manipulations. It's much more gentle (and in my opinion effective) that chiropractics. You only have to go once a month or two (depending on the severity of your issues) and it helps to train your muscles to hold your skeleton in the proper position instead of just forcing your skeleton around. I haven't been in over a year. So, yes it is likely that simply tossing and turning in bed caused something to go out of whack. And by something I mean my lower right pelvis. I can FEEL it. I can feel it all through my hip and knee, and into my shoulder and neck - I'm just off kilter.

I did some yoga stretches last night and this morning and they helped. I could feel things shifting back toward a more normal position. I did run today. I did some intervals. But i stopped earlier than planned (1. because I forgot to eat before I ran, and 2. because it just didn't feel right). I'm hoping more yoga stretching, some heat, and gentle exercises the doc suggested will help ease it back into alignment - especially since it takes like two months to get an appointment, and Syracuse is a 2 hour drive. I make it though, this doc is so worth it.

Tomorrow I'm making up for Monday's missed leg workout. Wish me luck!