Second Home

Back in high school I ran with the Second Sole group from Rocky River twice a week. Our coach was heavily involved with Second Sole and offered this as an optional training day during the summer. This became a tradition throughout high school and we spent Tuesdays and Thursdays running in the metro parks, followed by Mitchell’s for a little post run snack. After I left for college, and took some time off from running, I stopped running with the group. Lately I’ve been thinking about going back, but was always afraid they’d smoke me.

So  yesterday I finally decided I would run with the group again. I had no idea if I would know anyone, what distance they were interested in or how fast they’d be running. I showed up early and there were just a few guys. First thought, can I still back out, I can’t keep up with them, they look way too fast. Eventually more people started showing up, and they mentioned only 3 miles were on the schedule for tonight, no one wanted to over do things before Sunday. They also broke off to pace groups, and I fit comfortably in with a group of 6.

We started off, and the group asked a few questions, they wanted to know if I was running Sunday and what my goal time was. They also wanted to make sure I was in the right pace group and if I was hoping for more miles. We ran a short three miles, 10 minute pace on the way out and negative split on the way back. As soon as we started, I felt comfortable, I felt home. I normally don’t like running in groups, but running with a group that cares just as much as you do is amazing. There was no competitiveness, just the path and the runners.

I loved every moment of running with SS and made a promise to myself that I would join them as much as I could. I may not realize it now, but these runners could very well help me when I’m struggling to do 20 miles later on this summer.

Cleveland training may be over for many, but if you have other races coming up or the motivation to keep running, then Second Sole running group is a great opportunity. To find out which days work best for you, check out their site. I’ll be there Thursdays!

Hey Colorado!

Tomorrow I leave for the great state of Colorado! After 15.5 weeks I’m ready to take on 13.1 miles of high altitudes and a new adventure. I’ve been looking forward to this for months, as if my blog didn’t already show it. I’ve got my list of everything to pack, iPod is ready, and I’ve checked the weather about a hundred times.

I’ve had ups and downs in training, but I’ve come a long way. In no way am I expecting a PR on Sunday, but I don’t plan on just coasting through it. I’ll be running in altitudes that I can’t even imagine, and although the course is rumored to be flat, I guarantee it will be a challenge.

I’m excited to explore Denver and see this amazing city that so many people rave about. I’m even more excited to see things through a runner’s eye, find out why so many runners go out there to train. More importantly, how running in Denver will hopefully make running in Ohio much easier.

I’ve come so far, cutting down my mile pace by at least two minutes. I’ve used Gu on more than one occasion, and I’ve spent many nights with my foam roller. I’m back to the point in my running where I can just feel where a mile is. I’ve already run two PR’s this year and I haven’t even hit the peak of race season.

The greatest thing…

After running this weekend, I’ll be mentally ready to start training for my marathon. Every race this year is a challenge, and training for those wonderful 26.2 miles that await me in October.

I can tell myself to be cautious, to make sure I pace myself, drink lots of water and Nuun all weekend. But honestly, I’m going to enjoy it, soak up every single moment, and just do what feels right. I’m ready.

Platte River Training: Week 15

This is it! The final countdown. This time next week I will be in Colorado for the Platte River Half Marathon. Words can’t even describe how I feel right now, excited, nervous, scared, anxious…the list could go on. I felt pretty good this week, and by good, I mean 3 of my 4 runs were sub nine pace! Despite the ups and downs of pains, I think I’m in the best shape of my life, post college, and I’m ready to kick off half marathon season.

This week I kept the mileage short again, hoping to work out all aches and pains. I actually think I did better in the colder weather, so I was glad it wasn’t 70+ degrees. I even had a little 5k action to look forward to, so I knew I had to get some decent workouts in.

Monday: 3.61 Miles

Tuesday: 4.18 Miles

Wednesday: 2.21 Miles

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 3.1 Miles-Go the Distance 5k

Sunday: Rest

The goal for this coming week is just to enjoy myself. I’ve got to prepare physically and mentally for the weekend. Here we go, final training week!

Platte River Training: Week 13

Three weeks to go! The race is within a month and the nerves and excitement are knocking on the door. This past week I kept the miles short and easy. I didn’t plan it this way, but it appears that the pain in my arch has made its way up to my knee. It’s been a little sore since St. Malachi, and I don’t think it plans on leaving anytime soon. I’m hoping that as long as I take it easy this next week I can avoid doing any other damage.

I did however have a little fun this week when I took Elayna out for a 3 mile run. I was pretty proud of her for making it the whole way. I have a secret plan of making all of my non-runner friends into runners.

Runner in the making

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 3 Miles

Wednesday: 3 Miles

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 3 Miles

Sunday: Rest

Plan for the next three weeks? Run at least 2 more long runs and just take the rest by how I feel. This Saturday is the Sole to Soul 5k in Avon, not sure how it will go, but I’m hoping for around 9 minute miles, hopefully a little quicker!

Platte River Training: Week 12

Week 12. I can’t even believe how quick training has gone by. It’s hard to believe that I only have 4 more weeks until my first half of the year. And even after that point, it is a continuous roll of half after half!

This week was a little tougher than I anticipated. My legs felt tight during my first two shorter runs, but I’m pretty sure it was because they were still in shock from the hills of St. Malachi. Needless to say, I was able to stay around a 9 minute pace for both runs, I’m glad my body is adjusting to running faster. My weekend runs were both in Wooster this weekend, so I was able to change up the view and try my legs on even more hills.

Saturday I had my first uneasy encounter during a run. Wooster, as far as I’ve known has been pretty safe. I had no set pace or distance that I wanted to do, just wanted to shake out my legs and make sure they were ok with Sunday’s long run. I started down a country road across from Darren’s apartment. I felt great, managed some small hills and took in the beautiful views. On my way back in, I went through some housing developments, and this is where it turned weird. Every time I turned a corner, I had a car full of high school boys either following me or passing me. My guess was that this happened about 4-5 times, in two different developments. While I’m sure it was just a bunch of boys up to no good on a Saturday morning, it still bothered me, so I booked it home.

Sunday  I was ready for my long run, but more nervous for the hills, lots of hills, so 12 miles would be tough. I decided to split up my run so it wouldn’t be as over whelming. The goal was a 4 mile loop, refuel, 4 mile loop, refuel, 4 mile loop.  Well while this seemed like a great idea, no matter where I turned I had hills, so after mile 8, I split the last 4 in two so I could stretch and refuel. Unfortunately I didn’t quite make it to 12, just short of 11. But after all the hills, I knew my legs got a workout, they were begging for forgiveness a long time before I was finished. Overall it was a 9:43 pace, not bad for my first real hill experience of the year.

Hills anyone?

 2.68 Miles

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 4.25 Miles

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 3.06 Miles

Sunday: 10.75 Miles

Hills and high school boys may have been my biggest obstacles this week, but overall I’m pretty pleased with how the week went. I know I should be doing more miles during the week, but I think what I’m doing is paying off.  I also made a decision on the Cleveland 10 Miler….and this year I’m going to pass. I’m pretty confident my legs will be exhausted after Colorado and Earth Day Half and I’ll end up not enjoying the race. But it is definitely on the calendar for 2013!

Four more weeks to go!

Platte River Training: Week 11

I must say that I can’t complain with this week of training. Week 10 ended with a tough long run, so I took this week as recovery and a way to regroup before I hit the 12 and 13 mile marks the next couple of weeks. I kept the mileage this week relatively low, and ran every other day. My legs were a little tight in the beginning of the week, but I think with the way I planned things, I was able to really benefit towards the end of the week.  Each run felt great, even my 4 miles on the treadmill. One of the best moments, was the run I did on Tuesday. Apparently I had my fast pants on because I saw a sub 8 number on my Garmin, haven’t seen that in a while!

Hello speedy!

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 2.5 Miles

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 4 Miles

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 5 Miles-St. Malachi Race

Sunday: Rest

The week ended with St. Malachi, race recap to come tomorrow. This week I’ve got a 12 miler on the schedule for Sunday and need to decide on the Cleveland 10 Miler before race fees go up. But even more excited, only one month until Colorado!

A pair of shoes and desire

Ten months ago I made the decision I was going to run a half marathon. Looking back I never thought I would accomplish so much. I set the goal to run those 13.1 miles and had no idea if I could even make it that far. Running was a passion that slowly faded, and I was hoping it would come back.

I remember doing base miles on the treadmill, struggling with the fact that I was no longer as fast as I was in college, or that I lacked the endurance to go out for five miles and feel like it was nothing. But the more I ran, the more I felt that running a half marathon would be a possibility at one point.

May 15th was a whirlwind. Less than four months ago I wasn’t running at all, I fell out of love with running, and there I was at the starting line, ready for whatever would come my way. Moments of excitement, nervousness, doubt and pride were constantly fighting to be the center of attention. I did it, I ran my first half marathon. And as soon as I crossed the finish line I knew I wanted more. I was in love with running again, and I found my new favorite race.

Over the summer I signed up for a few 5k’s, but it wasn’t enough, I was aching to run longer, so I set myself up for the impossible. Not only did I want to run another half marathon in the fall, I wanted to run twenty-five more, in twenty-five states. I came up with the 25 Challenge and knew if I trained harder I could get this goal accomplished. But I couldn’t wait until the following year, I wanted more now.

I signed up for the River Run Half Marathon and the Nationwide Columbus Half Marathon, hoping I’d be in better shape by fall. And by persuasion I added the Akron Marathon Relay to the schedule. I thought I bit off more than I could chew. I had so much doubt that I wouldn’t be able to run all these races, but somehow I was going to do it all.

I ran the River Run Half Marathon, and while I worked on improvements, I wasn’t satisfied with waiting until October to get another shot. I signed up for the Sandy Ridge Half Marathon the following weekend. Nothing else felt so comfortable. I enjoyed it so much, I wanted to crush those 13 miles again.

The Sandy Ridge half marathon went through my streets, the streets I trained on during high school and college. The pavement I pounded in rain, snow, heat, stress and relaxation. The same streets that I learned to love running. I never felt so confident during a race, I knew with every stride I was getting better. This was my race.

The time in between my weekends of races and the Columbus half I struggled with keeping an injured knee manageable and trying to recover so my body wouldn’t be drained. I had second thoughts about running the race, but with finishing those miles I would be a half fanactic. And while it may be something that is overlooked and insignificant, it was something I wanted to work towards.

In Columbus I ran the hardest race to date, but it made me so much stronger. I became a half fanatic, and supported friends who were running their firsts, just something I did months ago. I knew it was time to give my body a break, but I went out giving it all I had.

Ten months ago I thought about running a half marathon. A week and a half ago I finished my fourth half marathon. I went from being scared to death of the distance, to not being able to get enough of it. Running one half to four. I found the passion again, the feeling of accomplishment that so many miss out on, the runner’s high.

Even with training and putting in the miles, I would be no where today if it wasn’t for all of the support I received. Friends, family, strangers. Every single person that wished me luck or congratulated me after a race, I owe it all to you. The support and love from having fans or a cheering section goes so much further than miles some days. Without support, it wouldn’t have meant as much. Thank you.

Ten months ago I made the decision to run a half marathon, thinking it would be the farthest I’d ever run. Twelve months from now I’ll run my first marathon and fall in love with the sport all over.

Moving On Up

I apologize for being a horrible blogger. I’ve tried to write posts multiple times, but this time I plan to finish it. This past month has been crazy, and here’s the best way to break it down.

  • I started my new job and LOVE it. I get to go to California next month for work…yes!
  • I’m one semester away from having my MBA!!
  • I’m really excited for the fall because I have some amazing races coming up…..and I’ll actually stick to the race calendar this time
  • I’ve moved into my new apartment, which is fantastic, and is only a few minutes from the city where I grew up so I’m back in familiar grounds
  • I’ve finally found some great running tanks for summer (Target & Nike) I don’t like to run in shirts, so this is a first 🙂
  • I’m really sad about Borders closing. I loved going there for hours, so I had to stock up on some running books before the doors are shut.
  • I’m doing the WooMan Tour this fall, the 20 mile, in Wooster. Everyone should do this, make a weekend out of it, I know some great places to eat down there!

I’m hoping that I will pick things up again in the blogging area of my life. Things are slowing down a bit, but exciting things are right around the corner!

>Only in Ohio can you have all four seasons in a weekend

>This past weekend was a very successful one, the exact training that I needed. Friday was bound to be a day that I needed to run, but because it was just a few flakes short of a blizzard, I didn’t think I would be running, let alone going anywhere. We shut down our office early, so after digging out my car, which became an exercise in itself, I was able to get home and got ready to run. There were three college guys in there, as they didn’t have classes because of the weather. And I’m pretty sure they hadn’t showered since the morning before. I got on the bike while the treadmills were full. After 5 minutes on the bike, just enough to loosen up, the room was empty. I did the treadmill for 15, and I felt ok. Didn’t feel great, but glad I was there.

Saturday the streets were clear and it wasn’t too cold. I ran with another Muskingum Alumni, we ran to the college to see the OAC Championship meet. There weren’t really any sidewalks, and drivers thought we were crazy for running outside, even on the road. It felt nice to get outside and run compared to the treadmill staring at the mirror the whole time. And of course, what better way to finish a run, but to get some pancakes.

Took yesterday off, my legs were a little sore, but the weather for the next couple of days looks promising, ok, by now, anything above 30 looks good in my book. Is it spring yet?

>Consistently Inconsistent

>I was finally able to get into the workout room last night. I decided on the bike, I knew with my inconsistency that this wouldn’t make me want to stop in 5 minutes. I started off with listening to some Anberlin, my favorite music, and really got going. Within a matter of 25 minutes, I had gone 6 miles, and was biking at a 14.2 mile average speed. It felt great. Looking back to last summer, the fact that I did a 30 mile bike ride with no training, I should be able to do a 13.1 run with training. It’s just the fact of actually doing it.

After this, I attempted the one machine I could easily go without. I hate the treadmill, but because I was the only one in there, I tried it without being too embarrassed. Bad idea, my legs were tired from biking, and I was mentally breaking myself down with not being in shape. I did 10 minutes, decided that was enough.

Upside to all of this, I was able to bike 6 miles, and run 10 minutes (as of now, its more of the time than the mileage) and ate a pound of pasta without any guilt 🙂