Thursday, June 30, 2016

Ragnar Trail Relay.....REALLY?!?!?!?!?!

So earlier this year, I took a look at what I completed last year in my running adventures (a half marathon, half relay, 15K, 10 mile, a few 10K's and a bunch of 5k's) and decided that I wanted to go down a different path.  I decided that I wanted to do a Ragnar Race, I had 2 options Trail or Standard.  I decided that I wanted to try Trail Ragnar.

After speaking with some of my running friends, we decided to get a group together and try this thing out.

We are running Northwoods Ragnar Trail Relay Sept 23rd in Wassau WI, holy moly!  Seeing has how I still consider myself new to running and that I've NEVER ran trails, I decided I need to do some major trail training.

My friend Carrie and I decided that we would sign up for the Endless Summer Trail Series Races in Minnesota (its one race a month on different trails) and do the Ragnar Training.

With 2 races under my belt the Lebanon Hills 6Mile, and the French Park 5K, I fully know where my weakness's are.  HILLS, HILLS, HILLS!

I decided to start the 12 week training plan a week early (only because I had already put it all in my planner).

So this is 13 weeks prior to Ragar...This is what my training looks like this week...

Sunday: Cross Training: 60 Min of Kettlebox.....Kettlebox kicks my butt every week.  Its a warm-up, then 15 minutes of kettle bell work outs, then 30 mins of boxing/kickboxing followed by cool down.  I love the class!!!!! Go New Hope YMCA

Monday:  Hills (20 Mins).....Did I mention that Hills are my weakness?!?!  They stink, they are horrible and I have a hate/hate relationship with them right now.  My knees are bad and I have to wear braces to run hills, and lets be honest I am over weight still and running up hills leaves me huffing and puffing...My mind is set however that at the end of this I hope to have a Love/Hate relationship.  Let me for the record say that 20 mins of Hills seems like a really long time, and for those 20 mins I was only able to go 1.3 miles

Tuesday:  Active Rest......I decided that I need to do some stretching and foam rolling today because holy heck were my muscles sore after those hills...I also biked 10 miles to keep my feet moving

Wednesday:  20 Tempo Run....This is new to me, so 5-10 of warm up walking/jogging and then 5 mins of running, 1 min of jogging back and forth up to 20 mins.  I didnt mind this as much as I thought I might.  I was pretty sleepy during my run, I decided to get it done before work so I was out running at 5AM.  I was rudely woken from my sleepy slumber however when the sprinkler system decided to kick on and spray me completely!

Thursday: Active Rest......Today I am going to walk for about an hour


Saturday: 40Min Long Run....I decided that I am going to be doing half of my long runs on trails and half on the road.  I am signed up to run a half marathon in October so i want to use this training for dual purposes.

Why did I take this on again??!?!?!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Run #4 Lolas Half Marathon - 13.1

I dont know what emotions seasoned and expierenced runners feel when they run a long distance but man oh man have my emotions been across the board.

So i'm a little neurotic when it comes to being early for a race.  I like to get there at least an hour before the race starts.  I need time to use the potty a couple times, run around, warm up and stretch and to relax.  I think I was driving my friend Jess crazy because she decided she didnt want to get up at the crack of dawn to ride with me!  I don't blame her!

Friday night, the night before the race I thought I would be super nervous and not be able to sleep (the night before the Hot Chocolate race I was up till 2AM with nerves), this was not the case.  I was alseep by 10PM and infact I slept right through my alarm!  As I was driving to Waconia I started getting nervous.

I was definately early, but that helped to calm me down.  I ran a few blocks to warm up, got some good long stretches in and was able to potty three times before the lines got crazy long.

I lined up with 2:30 pacer, thinking that I know at this point thats a little agressive but lets see how long I can keep her in my sights.

As the race started, I put my playlist on and away I went.  I was able to keep up with the pacer for the first 5 miles and felt really good.  Then things started getting a little hilly, I talked to a couple people that lived near there and they were like oh yeah the hills are fun!!!!  The HILLS WERE NOT FUN!!!!  The hills were evil.  The course was well marked, and it was a great day till the sun came out.

I got really hot at mile 5 and started to feel sick, to the point that I wanted to quit.  I kept telling myself when I get to the relay exchange I am going to tell them I need to stop.  I got to 6.5 where the exchange was and decided to keep moving, I came this far I couldnt stop.

At this point were actually running along the lake and its beautiful, the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing and it was blowing the nasty fish stink all across me!  Again I was asking myself why i was doing this.  As I looked up I saw a couple of hawks that just kept circling ( I called them the death eaters, meaning if I stopped they were going to eat me up!)

Mile 8 I started to feel great again, minus the HILLS.  Those Hills totally sucked.  I hit mile 9 and thought woohoo I did a 15K!!    At mile 10 I ran in to a young lady who was on the side of the road crying. I had seen her a few time during the race, I would pass her, she would pass me but she seemed fine.  I stopped to talk to her and she told me her story and it was a very emotional one that had me tearing up.  We ended up walking, jogging, talking together for the last 3 miles and before I knew it we were back in town and getting ready to cross the finish line.

I finished my race!  I crossed the line at 3:03!  I did it, it felt great and I can now buy gear that says 13.1


So I mentioned that I hurt my knee, well it was 2 weeks before my half-marathon and still my knee was hurting like crazy, swollen and I was afraid that I wouldnt be able to run my race (the one that i have been busting my butt for).

So after seeing my GP and doing the xrays, mri and ultrasound and feeling no better I decided to self refer myself to an Ortho.  I heard great things about Twin City Othopedic and decided that I needed to get some answers.

I called in, made my appt and met with Dr. Wolfe.  Dr Wolfe was awesome.  He took some new xrays of my knee and did some tests and then told me that I basically have little cartlidge in my knee and that when I twisted it, I casued a trama too it that caused the swelling.  He also said that its kind of the facts of life and its gonna be there.

So after talking with him about my exercise options (he kind of yelled by not yelling about the intensity levels I was maintaining for my work outs), and then we decided to drain my knee.  It sounded gross, looked gross, and after removing 66cc's of fluid and having a cortisone injection my knee looked and felt like a brand new knee again.

2 Weeks to race day!

Run #3 Remember the Fallen 5K

So I have a month left till my half marathon.  My knee is still bugging me....Did I mention that oh yeah I hurt my knee.  Something happened during my long run on Saturday and my left knee just blew up on me.  It hurt to walk, hurt to bend, hurt to do just bout anything.  It caused my calf to swell and the whole nine yards.

After going in for an MRI and an Ultrasound they found no ligament damage and said rest for a week and you'll be good to go.

So I rested and while I was resting I came across this website .  This is a place where you can sign up for the race that they have going on that month.  You sign up for the distance your going to run and you run it.  They send you a bib, your track your run and time and then you upload the results on their page.  They send you a medal for completeing the race and the money for entering to to a particular chairty for that month.  The race for May was the Remember the Fallen, anyone that has served in any branch of the military has my utmost respect and this race sounded like a good one.  The proceeds went to Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

About the Charity: The Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) was established in 1980 after a daring attempt to rescue 53 American hostages in Iran tragically ended when a helicopter and a C-130 aircraft collided, killing eight American heroes and leaving 17 children without fathers. What started as a battlefield promise to take care of those children has become the noble cause of the SOWF.
The SOWF ensures full financial assistance for a post-secondary degree from an accredited two or four-year college, university, technical or trade school, as well as family and educational counseling, including in-home tutoring, to the surviving children of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps special operations personnel who lose their lives in the line of duty. The foundation also provides immediate financial assistance and support to ensure that severely wounded personnel are able to have their loved ones at their bedside during recovery.
I completed my race (with a still very swollen knee, the dr lied its not all better) in 34 mins. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Race #2 - Hot Chocolate 15K April 18th

Ok so I really upped my mileage for the next race.  I decided that I wanted to see with a 6 1/2 weeks left if I was anywhere near ready for this darn race.

Let me tell you, RAM Racing was great!  They were so organized, and well prepared that you almost felt pampered.

So the night before the race, Deb, Becky and I went to the EXPO, we picked up race bibs, got a little pre-race massage, picked up more things that I didnt need but wanted and then we headed out to Doolittles and had a pre-celbration dinner, some carbs, sunshine and wonderful company.  I was fine at the dinner, I came home, took my shower and then it was time for bed (5:00AM comes soon).  I laid in bed till almost midnight, unable to sleep, I guess I was a little anxious!!!!

Well of course the morning came way to fast!  I got up had my self some breakfast (english muffin and Peanut Butter) then promptly thought I was going to throw up.  Why was I putting myself through this, who in their right mind would choose to get up super early, drive to a location, jam pack your self in the corrals like sardines and go run for 2 hours...  Was I crazy?!?!?  Then I figured out, I think I'm a runner.

I think I'm a runner now, that put a huge smile on my face, and I immediately said to myself but I'm still a slow runner, and everyone's going to beat me.

We got to Boom Island (after Carrie picked me up, and Deb's husband quite graciously offered to drive us down there) and of course I had to use the bathroom again (I think I already had gone like 6 times this morning)

Deb was running her first 5K in years so we were cheering her on as she got in her corral, then we headed to ours.  I was in my corral, doing some stretches, trying to mentally block out all the other people that were there making me nervous.  They were talking about PR, the last one did they last week, the marathon their training for, the way they can't stand slow runners in there way, etc....  Well headphones in, music on, and away we went.

I ran without stopping for my first 2 miles (this is a first for me, I've never run 2 miles without stopping to walk before)  I started to relax a little bit, look at the huge ferris wheel thats in the middle of NE Mpls (yes, apparently theres a restaurant called Betty Dangers, and it comes with Ferris Wheel Rides might have to check that out later).

The race was awesome, every mile marker I passed I felt stronger and happier, until mile 7.  Mile 7 is when my back and shoulders started to tighten up on me.  I ended up walking most of mile 7, and chatting with some nice people.

The craziest thing happened.....As I was coming down to the last .3 of the race people were walking on the sides and they were encouraging, saying great things, making me smile.  As I crossed the finish line, hearing the emecee say my name I started crying,  Yep crying, I couldnt turn it off either, it was like this huge release in my body.  I know that it wasnt the half marathon but I also know that there's not that many crazy people out there that would run 15K's just because.  It was a huge accomplishment for me and I was so happy.

My race time as 2:08 to finish with a 13.45/mile.......up next the half!

Monday, May 4, 2015

My First Race of 2015 -- Goldy's 5K Run

So I said that I wanted to run some races before the BIG one in June.  What a better way to start than with a 5K.

By this time April 11th, I had been running for 2 1/2 months and was pretty confident with being able to complete that.  Note that by this time I had lost 20 pounds from all my exercising and I realized that I dont really care if I hit 52 pounds lost or not.  My bigger goal now was whether or not I would finish the Half Marathon.

So April 11, we all piled in my car (Me, Jess, Donna, Jim and Liz) and we drove down to the University of Minnesota Mpls campus and got ready to run our races.

During my running I had come to a realization that most of the time, I prefer to run by myself.  I feel bad when others have to run slower to keep up with me or I feel sick if I tryto keep up with them.   I have to keep telling myself that its okay to be slow that I've only been running for 10 weeks, and I'm over-weight and doing the best I can.

While we were lining up for the race, after decided that I didnt want to wait in line for the Porta Potty, then changing my mind, all those things came flooding back...Why Running, What if all my race friends beat me, What if they get tired of waiting for me, What if, What if, What if.  I had worked myself right in to a nice little panic.  So instead I put my earbuds in and started my music, time to tune out the What ifs and get to now instead.  As I ran across the starting line I started to relax, I smiled and started out.  I'm not a fan of trying to dodge people that like to stop right in the middle, or walk in a string, but I forged ahead and just kept going.

Guess what happened, all my friends running the race (Jim, Liz, Jess and Donna), they all finished before me, they all crossed the line, got their water and medals before me. But they didn't get mad, or annoyed, they waited and I crossed the finish line 39:07 with a pace of 12.36/mile.

I was happy and excited and ready to keep going!

Training Schedules

Well after we picked that race, I decided that I better be prepared when it comes time to actually run my race.  The race by the way is June 6th!!

So again, after scouring the wonderful world wide web, I decided on this schedule:

I have been modifing it to fit my needs,  added more weeks, since I was more than 16 weeks out, and HELLO  I can't cut out my Zumba, and after some research I found out that Zumba is good cross-training!

I decided also that I needed to run some races between then (Jan) and now (May) so that I could make sure I was ready.

The first 3 weeks of running were horrible.  I asked myself countless times WHY.  Why did I choose to do this?  Why Running?

The pain in my shins and calves were horrible, which was remedied by getting a new pair of shoes (I love my Hoka's).  I still couldnt run more then about .3 of a mile at that point with out stopping and come on I just wasn't a runner.

Then I started running outside on Saturday's with New Hope YMCA run club.  That was interesing to  say the least.  My snot froze to my face, my legs were pink in patches and I kept thinking WHY?

Well, on week 4 I came to a new realization.  I enjoyed being out side..Sure it was cold, but only for the first mile, until my muscles warmed up.  I still couldnt run very far without stopping, and it hurt, but it was my hurt.  Everytime I finished a run I would say the same thing, at least I finished and I know, I'm not that fast.  My friends kept telling me to not worry about my time, that will come when it does, to focus on the finish.

That's a hard thing to do when your running with a run club and there all out of site and its only been 5 mins in to the run!