Streaking!

…or, as others would call it, the Runner’s World Holiday Run Streak. I did another run streak in the summer which spanned 38 days from Memorial Day to 4th of July. I was successful in running 36 out of the 38 days, 83 miles in total (average of 2.3 miles per day). This one is 41 days long, beginning on Thanksgiving and going through New Year’s Day.

This means that we have to run on all the holidays, in Illinois and in Fort Worth when we’re there for the World Missions Summit. When I was home in June I ran every day, so there’s no reason why I can’t do the same thing over Christmas.

I have to say, running and I haven’t really been the best of friends recently, but I get up in the mornings to take Missy for a pre-dawn walk so what’s the big deal in putting on my running shoes instead?

On Thursday we’re doing the El Paso YMCA Turkey Trot downtown, with the parade to follow afterward. I think I should sign up for another 5K shortly after the run streak is over; I PR’d the last day of the summer running streak with a 5K time of 27:08. Can I do it again? We’ll see… Who knows, maybe this will motivate me enough to sign up for the El Paso Half Marathon…

Tour of Central Illinois, and the end of the Run Streak

I’m back in Texas after a 10-day stay in Illinois. The last time I posted was the day before the visitation. I’ve rehashed the details of the following two days so many times in my mind that I honestly don’t want to talk about it here. There are some things better left unsaid.

I still can’t believe Grandpa’s gone. I get this question a lot, “Was he sick?” I know people are just trying to make conversation or show concern, but he was actually supposed to come home a couple days later. He was only 84. That’s young in our family. The man had been through bypass surgery among other things.

I stayed with Grammie for a couple days. I expected him to walk in the door after going to get mail, or walk up the basement stairs after getting some needlework that he needed to show me. His place at the table was vacant, and no one was fidgeting with a napkin or piece of paper. We still sat out on the patio after supper and visited, but it just wasn’t the same. So many things, even in my house in Texas, are a constant reminder.

I was able to go see my Nana (my great-grandmother will be 96 this month!) and my Mimi (other grandmother), and my in-laws took me out for dinner on Thursday night, and then we headed to Farmington to visit with Aaron’s grandparents.

I had a good time with Amelia last Friday. She took me on a “scavenger hunt” as a late birthday present…. we went to the tea room in Mackinaw, to Hollands in Washington to get candy by the pound, painted pottery in Eureka, went geocaching (for the first time!) by the lake there, ate at Lou’s Drive In in Peoria, and then to Les Miserables in East Peoria. I have never seen such an amazing show by a community cast! It was fantastic. Leave it to besties for planning a perfect day!

Saturday I got to see my nieces and nephew, and then went to my aunt’s house for the afternoon. She made my favorite, tuna and noodles, for lunch, and we drank tea out on the patio and then watched some Judge Judy. Sunday I spent mostly at home except for Tim and Leah taking me to the so-classy establishment of Steak n Shake. It just sounded good. Frisco melt, cheese fries, and a milkshake.

I managed to run every day that I was home. I used it as an opportunity to reflect and get some alone time. There were two days I didn’t run in the Run Streak: one day when Amelia was here, and yesterday. It’s hard to tell whether the run streak aided in my 5K PR or not, since I haven’t run a 5K in over a year.

This morning for the Up and Running 4th of July 5K, it was perfect weather… cooler, cloudy and with some humidity. It was a hilly course, being on the other side of town, and my official time was 27:33 (Garmin time 27:08). That’s a 23-second PR from last year, where the course had a gradual incline for the first mile and then it was downhill into the finish line. I am content with my time this year; I ran at 4,000 feet, up and down hills, and I had a 10-day trip sandwiched in there.

Stats for the Runner’s World Run Streak:

TOTAL DAYS RUN: 36 out of 38

TOTAL MILES: 83

LONGEST RUN: 7

What’s next?

October 14 :: Transmountain Challenge (13.1 miles up and over the mountain)

March 17 :: Bataan Memorial Death March 26.2 (Still haven’t decided if I’m going to try to run this or walk and carry a 35+ lb pack. Either way I’m doing it in honor of Grandpa.)

Run Streak Week 1

Ok, dudes. I’ve been streaking every single day this week. Sounds like fun, right?

I love this Runner’s World Run Streak challenge.. run at least one mile every day starting Memorial Day and ending July 4th. I signed up for a 5K on July 4th before I knew I’d be doing the streak.

I ran 21 miles this week. During marathon training, that was an average week, if not a bit on the low side. However, I haven’t ran that many miles in a week since Bataan… and at Bataan I only ran 8 out of 26.2. So yeah. I’d say this is good! I’ve been trying not to sabotage my good athletic efforts with horrible eating habits. I’ve been tracking my  food and not doing too badly. According to SparkPeople, I’ve burned more than my prescribed calories for the week, which was 2250. I burned closer to 2400!

Monday (Memorial Day): 5 miles with Aaron on post for wear blue : run to remember.

Tuesday: 3 miles on a paved trail before the sun came up over the mountains. I call that nirvana.

Wednesday: 800m repeats with Jess… oy. That was tough. My goal was to keep my pace while running above 9:00 min/mi.

Thursday: 1 mile with Missy around the neighborhood.

Friday: 2-miler with Missy around the neighborhood. This dog likes running! She always has a smile on her face after we get home. Or maybe that’s just because it’s as hot as an oven outside and she’s trying to get cool. haha.

Saturday: 5-mile canyon run. I hadn’t run the canyon in AGES. Well, a few months. I’m proud of myself for getting my arse out there and doing a “long” run by myself and in the morning! I absolutely LOVE coming down that mountain! It’s around 900 ft of pure bliss on the descent. At one point I glanced at the Garmin and saw 7:30 as my pace… whoa. Just whoa. I NEVER run that fast. Except when I’m a human bullet coming down a mountain…. I ran in the Minimus, too, which means my calves are sore today! Overall I LOVE the “minimalist” shoe. It’s comfortable and more natural feeling. Whenever I run in my Brooks (don’t shoot me.. I know they’re old!) they feel so heavy. Once I wear out the Minimus, I might go for a pair of Merrell Road Gloves….

Sunday (today): One mile around the neighborhood with Missy. It’s a win-win for us… I get in my Run Streak and Missy gets in a little more exercise. Makes my life easier all the way around.

I’m so thankful to have my running mojo back! Lately I’ve been really pining for some corn fields, country roads, and GREEN…. not to mention all my old running routes. It’s funny, whenever I’m in that last mile of a run, or last half mile, or even last .1 mile, I still imagine myself running on University in Peoria. It wasn’t the prettiest sight, the run back to my apartment, but I did it so often and achieved so much on that mundane route that I remember it very well. 🙂

I tell ya what, I’m gonna run like a freakin’ BEAST in the Morton Pumpkin Festival 10K in September… if I can get it together mentally to run at 4,000 ft in 90 degree weather, I can run anywhere!

Silver & gold

Remember that little rhyme/song we learned when we were little? “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold.” Well, maybe you didn’t learn it, but I did.

I kinda feel this way about running partners. I have to say I miss Gabi so so so soooooooooo muuuuuuuuuuuch. Like, A LOT. She and I experienced so many things together and have so many memories. I have snapshots in my mind of some of our greatest moments and runs together, AND we ran our first marathon together. Those are experiences you just can’t take away… someday we’ll run the Prague International Marathon. 😉

Running partners are important, as I realized shortly after moving across the country. Somewhere in the hills of Missouri, or the cow patties of Oklahoma, I lost my running-ness (not a word? HA! Now it is!). It was rough.

However, now Jess and I have been running together and it’s been a great experience! We met in person when I first got here in July (we messaged over Facebook before that). Little did I know that several months later we’d running our tails off under the Hell El Paso sky! She’s been running for a little bit, and our distances aren’t too crazy (I tell ya.. they alllll say they’re not gonna run “that far”… I bet you $10 they’re wrong). Most of the time we run a few miles a few times a week. We’ve found a lovely place on post called the parade field. It’s a field, with GRASS. And a spectacular view of the mountains.

(she took this pic; hope she doesn’t mind!)

This was taken on probably one of the last few cool-ish days before, oh, November. 😉

We’ve done tempo runs, intervals, and today we did 60-120s. Wheewww-eeeee! That was a trip. I am proud of say, though, that none of our 60-second sprints were slower than an 8:00 min pace. It was a fabulous workout.

We’re signed up for the Fourth of July 5K, which starts promptly at 7:04 am. Haha. I’m of course wanting to PR (my PR from last May is 27:56) so I’m super glad we’re doing these crazy interval runs in the 90* heat. Jess I know will do well!

I love sharing the pain joy of running with people, especially friends.

April 20

This week has flown! I’m thankful because that means only two more weeks until Aaron comes home. I fell into my “single” married woman routine pretty fast.

I’ve worked out a total of four days so far this week, which is three or four days more than I have been, and I’ve been more mindful of the food I put in my body. So.

Monday: 30 min run/walk intervals on treadmill; 25 min bike ride

Tuesday: 20 min run/walk on the track; 50 min kettlebell class

Wednesday: rest — the kettlebell class works my legs more than anything!

Thursday: I posted the video yesterday of the pilates workout I did and a picture of the Pinterest workout. I am feeling it today!!!

Friday: 2.12 miles on the track; 30 min supine bike workout

Saturday: I either want to take Missy on a walk in the canyon, go to yoga, or both

Sunday: rest! IT’S MAH B[EARTH]DAY!!! 😉

I really enjoyed my track workout this morning. 11.3 laps equal a mile, which is a little cumbersome to do mental math with, so I kept track of laps. I walked for 2 laps, ran moderately for 2 laps, and picked up the pace for 2 laps. I won’t say I sprinted because I wasn’t going all out… I was probably running at 80-85% effort.

I have no idea what my pace was, and honestly right now I’m not concerned with that. I need to do the cardio so that when I have totally ripped abs (or not….) you can actually see them! Cassey Ho’s POP Pilates workouts are gonna be my go-to at-home workout. If you haven’t seen her workouts yet, check it out! She’s really energetic and encouraging. I love her blog, too.

WIth the warmer weather on the way, I’m considering holding off on races and lots of running training until fall rolls around. Like I posted earlier, I’ll be taking classes May through August, plus working more since the kids will be out of school.

Well, I’m so glad I already got my sweat on for the day! I’m off to get some sewing/crocheting done and then go to P.F. Chang’s for an early birthday lunch date with Jess! 🙂

“We are the battling bastards of Bataan”

“We are the battling bastards of Bataan,

No mama, no papa, no Uncle Sam;

No aunts, no uncles, no cousins, no nieces;

No pills, no planes, no artillery pieces;

And nobody gives a damn.”

I am in awe… of the event, the weather, the volunteers, the survivors who were present, the Wounded Warriors running or rucking… the entire event was so well organized and planned. Of course, they’ve had 23 years to get it down. 😉

If you remember correctly, the Bataan Death March was a forced march of tens of thousands of American and Filipino soldiers during World War II. Soldiers were mistreated, starved, abused and killed point-blank during the 80-mile trek. The Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico is a 26.2 or 15.2 course through sand, dirt, wind, desert and mountains.

When I found out Aaron had orders to Ft. Bliss, one of the first things I did, naturally, was look up races. I knew I wanted to do this one, but I also knew it would be completely different than a race like the Illinois Marathon. We both wanted to do the full 26.2 distance, but Aaron wanted to be a part of the military heavy category, which wears a full uniform and carries a ruck of at least 35 pounds (his ended up being 52. Crazy crazy man).

We trained by running up and down McKelligon Canyon and also Transmountain Road. My running training fell apart, but I still had a half marathon, a 16-miler and a 10-miler under my belt going into this race. Not ideal, but I knew physically I could do it.

I ran the first seven miles or so, walked until mile 16 when I was texting back and forth a little with Gabi and she must have prayed because I ran an incredible mile! I felt like I was in Runner’s World’s Rave Run. Then I walked the rest of the course.

It was rough. There were some paved parts, but most of it was packed dirt and loose sand. There is a “sand pit” around mile 21 that’s 3/4 of a mile long… sand that gets everywhere! I stopped to dump out my shoes at least three times.

I stopped at every water stop and got water or Gatorade and an orange or banana piece. My stomach was not agreeing with me today as every time I ate it would cramp up and I’d get side aches. However, I knew that if I didn’t eat or drink I wouldn’t have the energy to finish.

My quads and hip flexors were very sore, which is why I stopped running and stuck to walking most of it. Normally in a 26.2 race, a walker as slow as I was at the end would be at the end of the pack, but I think I was right in the middle. I finished in about 7:45 clock time. The website shows I finished in 8:26, which is not correct because Aaron finished in 8:23 and I finished about 40 minutes ahead of him… so I’m guessing it’s supposed to be 7:26-7:30.

The last few miles were rough for me emotionally. I’ve never lost a soldier who’s been close to me, but I have a few friends who have so I thought about them and all they’ve been through. And I saw a couple memorials attached to rucks that commemorated the marcher’s grandpa, one of whom was a Japan war camp survivor. I had to calm myself down because I got very emotional.

I’ve done a lot of races, but I’ve never seen a community of volunteers like I did today. They were so helpful, encouraging (which was good because no spectators were allowed on the course!) and dedicated. I think two of the greatest things to be meshed are running and the military… I really felt like I was running (walking… or moving…) for a cause. My grandpa is a Korean vet, my great-grandpa is a World War II vet, and my husband is currently serving.

We marched about a third of what the real Bataan marchers had to go through, and we weren’t tortured and bayonetted… I just cannot fathom how they got through it aside from gritting their teeth and relying on the grace of God. There were amputees, some double amputees running or walking today. The soldiers in full uniform carrying rucks were amazing as well.  I was utterly humbled today. Utterly. I am so thankful I was able to finish and that I wasn’t injured along the way.

I’m not sure I’ll run (or… move…) it again next year, but I would be ecstatic to volunteer. Or….. I could find four ladies who are just as crazy as I am a form a team. 😉 If you’re wondering why I haven’t posted pictures, it’s because I just ran (or walked.. or moved…) 26.2 miles and I’m sore. And hobbling. Check them out here. 🙂

Bataan is on!!!

I was hesitant to sign up for this race, no lie. However, since I have the go-ahead from my cardiologist and the funds to pay for it, Bataan is on, people! I asked my awesome runner-Army-wife-kindred-spirit friend Natalie her advice on prepping for 26.2 in just six weeks. I ran 13.1 on January 14, finishing in 2:19, which is really strong for not having formally trained for that race. That wasn’t even a month ago. I’ve kept my mileage light since then… I guess you could say I’ve been half-heartedly training for some 26.2 at some point….

I have some things definitely on my side for Bataan. 1) That I’ve run a “long” distance race recently. 2) That I have marathon training and racing experience. I would never attempt this if I didn’t have both those things. 3) I’m running this race for a bigger purpose than a PR. In fact, I have no time constraint. The average time for Bataan is 7 hours and 43 minutes. A lot of soldiers ruck this race with 35+ lbs on their backs. I’m running it for the bad-ass-ness of the race (and distance! and terrain!) but also to honor those who have served our country in the military.

It’s gonna be a rough race. Like I’ve posted before, it’s sandy, windy, you kinda sorta gain 1300 ft of elevation, and yes, it’s out in the middle of the desert. Hydration and nutrition are super-important. Recovery after the long runs is crucial. Training on hills or hiking on rough terrain is also priority.

Here’s what my training schedule looks like for long runs: no room for missing them!

Week of….

February 12 — 12 miles

February 19 — 16 miles

February 26 — 20 miles

March 4 — 12 miles

March 11 — 16 miles

March 18 — 12 miles

March 25 —  26.2!

 

And during the week…..

Sunday — long run

Monday — cross train/recovery

Tuesday — rest

Wednesday — run

Thursday — hike/run on rough terrain

Friday — run

Saturday – rest

 

I’m committed. I’m registered. The only other issue is transitioning to the Minimus, which can’t be done without caution. So I’ll go slow at it. No promises on wearing those on race day!

And one final thought….

Is it crazy that I’m kind of looking forward to running in the cold Midwestern air??

Race Recap — Ft. Bliss Half Marathon

Running in Texas ain’t so bad, folks. Aaron and I ran the Ft. Bliss Half Marathon (13.1 miles). I was going into it pretty undertrained… I ran 8.6 miles on December 13, 11 on Sunday, and other than a few 3-5 mile runs I really wasn’t racking up much mileage. I’ve been spinning two times per week which has been amazing! Anyway.

My goal was 2:30, which was an 11:27 mile. Not gonna lie, I was giving myself a lot of wiggle room so I wouldn’t be disappointed. I was looking at it more as just a Saturday morning long run. It’s hard to get all amped up about 13.1 when you’ve done 26.2. Just sayin’.

It was COLD this morning. Well, cold by Texas standards. It was about 24* when we woke up at 6 AM and wasn’t supposed to feel much warmer than 40* by 10:00, when the race would be well underway. I wore leggings (I need new running tights!), shorts over those, a t-shirt and a long sleeve tech shirt over that. I had my cute gray running gloves Aaron got me and my earband. That was all quite enough, as once the Texas sun comes up, it gets warm.

The gun went off. Aaron was next to me for about 2.4 seconds and I didn’t see him again until I was 1/10 mile away from the finish line. He must have been blazing because I couldn’t make him out of the crowd.

I started off slow, around a 11:15-11:30 mile. People were zooming past me, of course, and while there was a 5K in progress at the same time, most of them were the half marathoners. I knew that if I held steady for the first few miles, I’d pass them towards the end.

Miles 1-3 of a long run I consider a warm-up. I get settled in my pace, focus on my form and breathing, and just relax. I walked the water stops too. By mile 5, when we were running past Aaron’s company building, I knew I was going to do well. I felt strong and was keeping about a 10:45 pace.

Mile 7 is when my feet started to HURT. I don’t what I did Sunday on the mountain run, but the bottoms and outsides of my feet were hurting all week, but felt better when I had more support. But, I decided to push through it and by the time I knew it I was to mile 9. Four more miles. That’s nothin’, right?! I was doing a 10:15-10:30 pace by this point and KNEW I had this race in the bag. I started passing a lot of the people that blew past me. I was so proud of myself for holding a steady and decently fast pace (for me).

Mile 10 I started telling myself, “Okay, Elizabeth, bring it in, bring it in!” At this point my goal had now shifted to 2:20. At the 12-mile mark, I had exactly 10 minutes to hit my goal.

I saw Aaron 1/10 mile before the finish line, high-fived him and raced to the end. I don’t have official times yet, but my Garmin reads 2:19:07, or a 10:36 pace. Heck yeah! Not too shabby! And technically a PR. 😉

Aaron told me he finished in about 1:50. Whoa. A sub-2??? Amazing. Downright amazing. And that was his longest distance ever and first half marathon!

This race was sponsored by Under Armour, who just opened a store on post near the PX. The first 200 registrants got a shirt and we all got finisher’s medals. (I do have to say, however, that there was no sizing chart. Also, running apparel should also be in tall sizes because this shirt is too short. Annoying.)

the goods

When results are posted, it’ll be interesting to see if I was even close to placing. I know I ran faster than some who  places in other age groups because they were handing out the cards as I crossed the line and asked me my age. A girl can dream….

I like the on-post races. They’re cheap (this one was only $35 for me; many halfs are $50+) and they have a hometown feel. Many of the runners know each other either from the military or other running groups from the community that participate. The course is only crowded for the first half mile or so, and after that you pretty much have the road tank trail to yourself.

I also decided that I really like the 13.1 distance. This was my first race for that distance, though I’ve run 13.1 before when training for the marathon (I finished that in 2:15, so not too far off!). It’s considered a long distance, but you don’t have to sacrifice hours and hours per week to train. I’d like to stay at a fitness level where I can run a half without much extra training.

I’m going to take off the recommended 13 days (one day for every mile you race) of hard running and do spin, yoga, and other cardio workouts. I still haven’t registered for that marathon that’s over my birthday weekend in New Mexico, but my success on this race was confirmation to me that I can still race long distance and I’m at about the same fitness level as when I ran the Illinois marathon.

My next step is to get a hold of these beauts. I tried them on at the PX and they felt great. The definitely relieved the pain I’ve been feeling this week. Time to retire the Brooks. 😦

new balance minimus

Race schedule bandwagon

I couldn’t help but be motivated by all my running blogger friends who are posting about their 2012 race schedules. I have also been inspired to keep an actual running journal, though I will use the journal I have for more than just running. I want it to record so many things from 2012… feelings, poems (maybe??), thoughts, prayers, Bible verses and sermon notes.

Annyywayyyyy….

This is what I found for races. (Just so you know, the cardiologist has not yet given me a mileage limit…) You know my whole thing about sticking to “shorter” distances (i.e. <13.1 miles)? Ehhh. I might be throwing that out.

Jan 14 — Ft. Bliss Half Marathon — This one was only $30. It’s in two weeks and will be more like a long run than a race. My goal is 2:30, which is 11:27 pace. I haven’t run a distance longer than 2 or 3 miles since December 13.

March 17 — St. Patty’s Day 6-Miler — This is on post. Love race distances between 8K and 15K.

March 25 — Bataan Memorial Death March — Due to finances and my lack of running recently, I’m gonna sit this one out. Aaron’s still planning on rucking it, but I’d like to volunteer.

April 21 — New Mexico/Texas Challenge Marathon/Half Marathon/10K/5K (Lovington/Hobbs, NM) — This is only $15! (Or thereabouts.. that’s what it was last year.) This is the day before my 26th birthday. We can go camping and make a weekend out of it. Aaron said he’d go with me and volunteer.

Sept 3 — Saguaro National Park Labor Day 8-Miler (Tucson, AZ) — Looks like a fun race! Love the distance, plus I LOVE Tucson and Arizona.

I checked out the Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon… $125+ per person!! That’s ridiculous, in my opinion. We’re definitely sticking to cheaper races. This calendar isn’t complete.. I haven’t added the on-post races we might do. I definitely want to add in a 5K somewhere to see if I can PR (gotta beat 27:56 for that to happen).

Here’s to a healthy and happy New Year!

Work Out Wednesday and Adjusting Goals

I had a great workout today. My body was thanking me as my fat cells were crying for dear life. We’re down to one car right now (maybe even semi-permanently) but it’s not all bad. I reluctantly had the day off today, but Aaron worked a half day. So, I took him to work and then headed over to the gym for a 1:30 workout. I haven’t had one that long since I did my 8.6-mile run a couple weeks ago. At least, I think it was a couple weeks…

I started by running/walking on the treadmill. I go to the cardiologist on Friday. My internist said no runs over 2 miles… heh. Whoops. I say, Screw that! I probably should heed his advice. BUT. But. I have a half marathon that’s paid for coming up in two weeks. Even if I don’t race it, at the very least I can run it… ANYWAY. I got this little idea in my head that I’d run 6 miles on the treadmill. I got 2.5 miles in and saw that there was a spin class about to go down. So I hopped off that thing and into the spin room.

With Computer Keiser M3 Indoor Cycle Stationary Indoor Trainer Exercise Bike
We get to ride on these.

It was an amazing workout. I sweat like I pig but I didn’t care. It was worth it. If the display is in miles, I “rode” 17-18. WOW. About five people left during the class and you can tell the instructor looked amused and confused. But I stayed the course and rode my little heart out.

I’ve been pondering taking a break from really long distances (14+ miles). I guess my heart thing kind of made me start thinking about it. I weighed myself at the gym, which is usually a more accurate scale, and it said 165. That’s definitely at the TOP of my personal “acceptable” range. I weighed in on the same kind of scale at 152 back in January. That means a weight gain of 13 pounds. Now, it’s no where near what I used to weigh, but it’s still an increase and I can tell some of my clothes, specifically pants, fit tighter.

I think one of the culprits is the mental part of long distance running. I have a hard time balancing my nutrition when running 14, 18, 20 miles. I think, Oh, I just burned 2500 calories on a run so now I can eat whatever I want. Ehhh. Not so much.

After the half in January, I want to focus on more short-distance races, like an 8K (4.97 mi) or 15K (9.3 mi). I love those distances; just enough to challenge me but also training for them doesn’t take soooo many long runs. I also want to have time to focus more on weight  lifting. Yes, real weights, not the machines. I just have to take the plunge into the male-macho-dominated weight room.

Since I’ll be taking Aaron to work, on Tuesday and Thursday when I work in the afternoons I can go to the gym straight away after dropping him off. I’ll be able to get a good workout in, and maybe even do a group fitness class if the schedules coincide.

So…. barring what the doc says on Friday, Aaron and I are planning an 11-miler for the weekend. Uphill. Both ways. In a blizzard. Haha, kidding about the last two parts, but maybe uphill. Snow? Heck no. It’s gonna be in the 60’s!

McKelligon Canyon, I will again make you bow to me.