Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Half Marathon

I completed my second half marathon yesterday. It was a lot different than my first one. My first one was a great experience from start to finish. This one was fraught with frustration, annoyance, and disorganization. The packet pick up was quite the debacle, nothing was ready. People had waited in line for over 2 hours and still weren't able to get their packets. I only had to wait just over an hour at least... Race day was freezing and we had to spend over an hour standing in a cold parking lot waiting to be bussed to the start. There was supposed to be a a heated tent at the start. There was a tent, but I'm certain the only reason it felt a little warmer in the tent than outside of it is because of the thousands of bodies that were packed in there. All told, we stood around waiting to run for a total of 3 hours. We were all thoroughly stiff and cold by the time we actually got moving. Once the race started, things were better, until the aid stations started to run out of things, like water. I really needed that aid station at mile 8 but was out of luck. Oh well. And they started packing up the aid stations towards the end when there was still an hour and a half left for runners to finish. I really had a rough time with this race, finishing 18 minutes slower than my first half marathon. The medal is cool at least. There was more than once that the medal lust kept me going through that race. I've become a medal fiend... I think I'll be skipping this one next year though. There are plenty of other half marathons out there to be run.

One a different note, I am now officially all signed up for the Utah Valley Marathon on June 9, 2012. I'm feeling really nervous, but I have plenty of time to get ready. I know I can do it! (At least that's what I keep telling myself).

Happy running!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I run hills now!

With the advent of cooler weather, I am not as motivated to wake up before the crack of dawn to go running. This has lead me to run after work, since it's no longer 100 degrees in the afternoon. It so happens that there is a lovely canyon just minutes from my home that has a handy path for walkers/runners/cyclists etc. I have walked this trail many times but running it always seemed a bit crazy. There are hills, you guys. Big ones. But all the other runners I know run hills, and they're pretty darn speedy runners. So I was thinking maybe hill running would make me faster. And so far, it has! (I think it's the coming back down them part that improves my time though.) Another thing that makes me faster is getting caught in the canyon after dark. You had better believe I run faster trying to get out! There are skunks, people. Stinky ones. I always picture myself running right into one crossing  the trail in the dark and BAM! Skunk spray in my face. Blech. By the end of my last canyon run, my pace was an incredible 7:45 minute per mile! The threat of skunks is a powerful motivator. Now I just need to be able to run that fast, on flat ground, in the day time, without threat of skunks and I will beam with pride.

This Saturday I have my second half marathon, the Halloween Half, that comes down Provo canyon. I feel much more prepared for this one than I did for my first one. I even did a 13 mile long run last Saturday and felt fantastic afterwards, no soreness or anything! For the Halloween Half, I will be dressed as an astronaut and I promise to take many pictures.

Happy running! (and watch out for skunks!)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Yet another running book review.

Okay. Anyone who's dipped their toes into the running world will know the name of Hal Higdon. He's one great runner. Not such a great book writer... Today's book review is on Hal's Smart Running. I think I would have liked this more if I had read it in a magazine instead of in book form. It's basically a collection of questions that people asked Mr. Higdon and his answers to those questions. Which would have been pretty neat, had I written him a question and his answer was published. I'd probably run around waving the book in everyone's faces telling them how Hal answered MY question. As it is, it was kind of a random, slightly haphazard book. I suppose if you had never talked to anyone about running before in your entire life, it may have some grand nuggets of wisdom.

Now I like Hal, and I follow his marathon training schedule. He seems like a pretty darned good guy. But I can't give his book a better rating than that of 2 Gu's. He has some other books; I may have to see if they're any better. I do have to give him some credit for getting out there and publishing books.  I haven't tried and I'm sure it's not easy.

Happy reading :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Ah yesterday.  A fine fall Monday morning. I woke up at 4:20 am, feeling a tad unmotivated. But I still got myself to the track for my morning run. Once I got warmed up, things moved along so well that I was able to break my personal record for a 5 mile run by 5 and 1/2 minutes! Imagine my excitement! I was giddy all day long, not to mention I also got to go to the dentist that afternoon. (Which I absolutely adore, and no, I'm not being sarcastic. If you had my dentist, you'd understand.) I think it was the finest Monday in the history of Mondays.

Now on to Tuesday. Another fine fall morning. I woke up at 4:00 am today, the earlier time was to facilitate a longer run. Too bad a longer run just wasn't going to happen. The best laid plans and all that... I do my warm up lap, my stretches, and take my first few running steps. Yikes. My muscles were in full on rebellion. I really didn't feel like I had pushed myself the day before, but apparently I don't have a clue when it comes to this body of mine. So here I am, shambling around the track like the unholy undead not even 24 hours after my record breaking morning run. I toughed it out through 4 miserable miles and then gave up and just walked another 2. I didn't wake up 2 hours before the sun came up to quit at 4 miles.

The funniest thing about this morning's miserable zombie-esque run is that I tried to be upset about it. I tried to be angry, irritated, peeved, even miffed. But for some reason, I just ended up feeling grateful I could get up and do anything at all this morning. I felt so glad to have legs that could move me around the track, even if it wasn't pretty. I kept tossing negative thoughts around my brain and every time they were countered by some fuzzy wuzzy feel good statement. Maybe it's all those endorphins. Good run or bad run, exercise still makes you feel fantastic. I think this running thing is going to be really great for my outlook on life :)

Happy running!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Slacker blogger girl.

I think I slacked off on my blogging this week... Oops. Live and learn, and then get back on the blog horse, right folks? The running is going well, no major mishaps or anecdotes to relate for the week. Although, I have decided to put a closer marathon on my schedule. I was driving and saw a billboard for the Utah Valley Marathon. It's next June and I'm going to go for it. I was originally planning on the Park City Marathon next August to be my first one, but honestly that seems so far away. And it always helps me to have goals that are closer so I don't lose focus.

So now, it looks like I'll be running three marathons next year alone. Is this crazy? Is it an unrealistic goal for a girl who's never run more than 13.1 miles? Sometimes when I sit and think about actually running that far, I get really nervous and worried that I can't do it. And then I have to sit and calmly remind myself that I have 8 months to get ready for the first one. And once I've ran one, I'll know I can do another, and another. I'm just glad I have a decent support system to keep me going through the times when I start to doubt myself. Plus, next year I'll bump up into a higher age bracket. I think being a runner is going to help me deal with aging quite gracefully really. I know the only way I will win anything in a race is if I can keep running as I get older and then with a little perseverance I can win first in my age group. I can see myself being the running grandma. I should come up with some fun name to call myself when I get to that point.

I promise to have another book review up soon!