Sunday, January 15, 2012


I just ran my fastest 7 miles ever: 1:02:29! I'm on such a high!! I LOVE running in the cold...felt so great. I was in such a groove, my breathing was so relaxed, legs felt great. I kept thinking about the Olympic Marathon Trials I watched yesterday and how those women put everything out there for 26.2 miles. I started thinking about how I am so comfortable at my 9:23ish pace and never really vary from it. So I  envisioned myself opening up just a little and pushing it just a tiny bit, and all of the sudden my pace was 8:54. Wow. Don't expect that to mean a hill of beans to anyone else, but to me, I just can't believe it! My dream of finishing a half in 2 hours could very well happen. I'm going to keep working the hills, and doing the speed work my friend suggested. I'm very encouraged!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Let's Be Friends, Treadmill

So, winter is here. A high of 23 degrees today and snow. Blech. As much as I do not like to run on the treadmill - or dreadmill - I must. I can dress for the cold and be okay to run (I think), but I don't want to take any chances slipping on ice out there. That scares me.

I got into a conversation yesterday with an old neighbor/running friend. He is a crazy good runner, and his wife is becoming one as well. They are both coming up to run the Carmel Half Marathon - it'll be her first and he told me he will be pacing her. Now I know Erin is an incredible athlete and, even though the distance is new to her, running is not. She is actually training for a half Ironman and this will be part of the training. Out of curiousity, I asked what her pace will be. John said she wants to finish the half...her 1:45:00. Seriously.

Now, I know that is out of my league. That's 25 minutes faster than I finished my first (2:10:47), and I can't imagine shaving that much time off, and I know I've said before that I'm not interested in changing my pace, BUT I can't help but feel a little competitive. I can't be competitive with Erin - just being real. But I can be competitive with myself- part of why I love running. I do dream of finishing a half at 2 hours - that's 10 minutes off my last time, and that is a lot. I'm soooo comfortable at the pace I run, but I can't help but be curious about what would happen if I did try to train to run a little bit faster. John suggested I run 1/4 mile at an uncomfortable pace, then 1/4 mile at my comfortable pace. That sounds doable. And something I can do on the treadmill when I need to. I'll see how it goes and would be thrilled if I could finish the Carmel Half not too far behind Erin and John...but honestly, I would be just as thrilled if I finished at 2:09:59.

*update* I took John's suggestion and varied my speed on the treadmill. I usually do a speed of 5.2...very comfortable pace, at a 2% incline. I did a mile at that pace to warm-up, then upped the speed to 6.0 for a 1/4 mile, then back down to 5.2, and so on. The 6.0 did have me breathing faster, that's for sure, and when I went back down to 5.2 - wow, that felt slow! I did a total of 3 miles, and did the last 1/2 mile at the 6.0 pace. I can see how this will help my pace. Btw, when running outside, I run around a 9:23/mile pace. On the treadmill, it says 6.0 is a 10:00/mile pace. Crazy.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Faux Spring

This sneaky, crazy weather pattern is playing tricks on me! Today, we are having a beautiful sunny day with a high of 55 degrees. Perfect! I mean...I want to go outside and wash the car, plant some flowers, take a nap on the back porch - heavenly. But I realize it's a fluke. This weather ain't gonna last but for a couple more days. Until the Arctic blast of cold air comes our way and shows me what winter in Indiana is really like. Boo.

Until then, which is Thursday, I'm so excited about running in such perfect conditions. Of course, I went out before the warm-up started this morning - still around 40 degrees, but sunny, and knowing the day would be beautiful got me fired up. I drove out to the neighborhood with a bunch of steep hills. I haven't run those kinds of hills in so long, my knees are not happy. I ran a flat three miles before I attacked the hills, and basically went up and down them fives times and ended up with 6 miles. I was pooped. I'm going to try to get those hills in once a week. It's not a far drive...there really is no excuse not to go.

This is going to sound silly...but one of the things that gets me up the hills is when a car passes me, I like to imagine the driver mumbling to themselves, "Omg, she's running up that hill? She's crazy." Because I used to be like that - "Omg, she's running in this weather?" "Omg, didn't I see her like 45 minutes ago?" "Omg, how can she run up that?!" I love being the one out there now, and not just the observer.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hello New Year

Christmas Eve run along Gulf Island Nat'l Seashore, Navarre, FL

Three days ago, 2011 vanished into the history books. It was a ...challenging? is that the word I'm looking for?... year. It began with the loss of my husband's mom - utterly heartbreaking. Then word that we would be leaving TN and moving to IN. Put the house on the market, lost my "favorite" grandmother and attended her funeral in FL, devastated the kids with news of the move, sold the house, set up a new home in Indy, dealt with my oldest's adjustment and school issues...argh.

But through it all, I've maintained my sanity thanks to running. I took up running at the very end of 2010 - nothing serious though. Just wanted to maintain my weight through the holidays, and have a way to avoid the winter blues. I caught the fever though after my first 5k in March of 2011, and then ran my first half marathon in Oct. Running helped me get through all the difficult times, stay focused, healthy, positive and "free" of issues for at least an hour. Can't say that I've improved any - maybe I have a little - but I keep at it and still want to challenge myself with each run.

I'm counting on running to help me get through 2012. A week before Christmas, we found out my husband's company was bought out by it's biggest competitor. At this point, we're not sure exactly what that means. He could be offered a job with the new company he can't refuse and we stay - or they move us. He could very well be unemployed. There is a chance he could get a job with his old company and we move back to TN. There is a slim chance the sale of the company doesn't go through, and our hopes of going back to TN are up in smoke. It's the "what-ifs" and unknowns that drive me crazy, and that's when I put on my running shoes and head outside (or the treadmill, if I absolutely have to...blech). I'm so thankful for running, and I'm thankful my husband understands my need to do it. For Christmas, he surprised me with a new running shirt, and a training log. I love that he went with the running items instead of a Nook or piece of jewelry.

So, for 2012, I'm challenging myself with two half marathons and a quarter marathon. I'm not going to rule out a full, but I have a feeling that will have to wait until 2013. I know little about training for one, but I do know it takes up a lot of time and I'm scared of starting the training and then having to up and move. I want to be settled first. I'm also not going to rule out a third half...we'll see! As far as goals for running, I'm going to keep track of my miles this year (in my new training log!), and just enjoy myself! Of course, I'm a bit competitive with myself and want to do better than I did on my first half - 2:10:47 - but I still don't see myself adding any "speed work". I may add another run to my week, upping it to 4x, and/or finding more challenging routes to get in better shape. I would LOVE to finish at or under 2 hours for at least one half marathon! I didn't know a soul at my first race, but this year, I will know a bunch of people at each of the two halfs, and I think that will be a great motivation to do the best I can.

Here's to a great running year, and getting through all the obstacles with a positive outlook - I'm looking forward to it all!