Finding My Running Groove

Even though I never intentionally meant to take a running hiatus, I kind of did.

Running Hiatus

Week 8 was the week of the Gasparilla Half Marathon. The past few months I have run but only as much as I felt like. I spent a lot of time in the gym restarting New Rules Of Lifting For Woman. I am racing a bit this summer, you can read my race recap for my two most recent 5K’s here. There are two more races in that series and then I will officially be in training for a fall half.

So after this running hiatus, I feel ready to start a training plan again. Both mentally and physically. I have not decided what that plan will look like yet but am reading ( Run Faster From The 5K To The Marathon by Brad Hudson and Matt Fitzgerald) and working to put together a plan. This cycle, I really need to make sure to fit in at least two full-body strength training a week and one day of yoga. The weight lifting is something I am really starting to enjoy, plus having my arms less chicken-like is a huge plus. Yoga is so helpful with keeping everything loose, especially when you are as inflexible as I am.

So for the tl:dr version of this brain dump on running:

Ryan Gosling Motivation

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What’s Going On

Lots of exciting updates around here. Like this.

Justin and Dina Graduation

After three long years, J graduated from Law School. I am so proud of him!

Now the fun part begins where he spends the next 10 weeks studying full-time to take the bar in July.

The cats are also equally impressed by J.

Cats Are Impressed with J

(Something scary happened when I went to find the above picture on my computer. I typed in the word cat and thousands of pictures came up. I may have a problem.)

J’s parents came down from Connecticut to see the graduation which was nice. We do not get to see them that often because of the distance.

Family for graduation

We celebrated by finally eating at First Watch. J and I have meant to eat there for years but it is hard to get into Orlando for breakfast.

French toast demolished. Graduation day for my husband.

Even though I have not been writing about it much, there has been running. I am currently reading Run Faster From The 5K To The Marathon by Brad Hudson and Matt Fitzgerald.

Run Faster From The 5K To The Marathon by Brad Hudson and Matt Fitzgerald

I will be running sub-30 minute 5K’s this summer if it kills me (which it might, it is Florida.)

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K 2013

The first race is June 1st and I am ready to race.

Cover image taken from goodreads.

Scenes From A Run

The little town where I live in Central Florida is the host of Ironman Florida 70.3.

Ironman Florida 70.3 Haines City

The park where I do a lot of my runs, hosts the race. It is so fun to see all the people riding and running in tri-suits around the park. I like to think they are discovering what I have known for years, that Lake Eva is a really beautiful place to run.

Lake Eva Ironman Florida 70.3

Lake Eva Ironman 70.3 running path

Lake Eva Ironman 70.3 trees

Lake Eva Ironman 70.3 lake

Lake Eva Ironman 70.3 pretty trees

I ran a little over five miles thinking about how much fun it would be to do a triathlon. This year I plan to spectate again, the race is about five minutes from my house, but would love to do a triathlon someday.

Have you ever done a triathlon?

Weekly Playlist

Sorry to anyone who is still dealing with cold weather but it is starting to get hot in Central Florida. Having the inability to get up early enough to miss the heat, I just end up pushing through it (or giving up an running in the air-conditioned gym.) One thing that helps pull my slow ass through sheets of Florida humidity is a great playlist.

Ryan Gosling Motivation

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Are you listening to anything new this week?

The Post Where I Find Some Motivation

There may have been more of this lately.

Pizza Dominated

Than this.

Bathroom Selfie Runner

March was not a great month for me. I had a sinus infection that would not quit. I wasn’t sick enough to stay home from work but felt just crappy enough that working out just wasn’t happening.

Daily Mile Chart March 13

Nothing like seeing it in graph form.

I am feeling like myself again and slowly getting back on track.

Motivation PUSH

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I need to come up with a new plan for the next few months. The only thing I am certain of right now is that I am running the 18TH Annual Summer Sunrise Watermelon 5K Series.

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K 2013

If you are in Central Florida, you have to run this series. The dates are June 1, June 22, July 20, and August 17. The races take place around Lake Hollingsworth and are put on by the Lakeland Runner’s Club. You can register online here for the series ($30) or the first race on June 1 ($10).

This series really helped me get through the I can’t believe how hot it is Florida summer while still getting my butt out there to run. Races really help me stay motivated. You can read my recaps of this series from 2012 here, here, here, and here.

Running Around

I hope everyone had a happy and healthy holiday season! Mine was very low-key but full of fun.

J and I Cinderella's Castle Christmas Lights Disney Magic Kingdom

J and I spent a lot of time admiring the lights at Disney which makes even Cinderella’s Castle prettier. (That night was so cold and I actually was able to wear my winter coat. Yes, it does get cold in Central Florida.)

I decided to run Gasparilla again. It was the most fun race I ran last year and I needed to put something on my schedule to keep my motivation up.

Gasparilla Half Marathon Medal 2012 Tampa

My training is going well but strength training has fallen to the wayside. I find that it is easy to stick to either a lifting schedule or a running schedule but putting them together something gives. The Smart Coach plan from Runner’s World has runs five days a week and I have little motivation to go to the gym on my one off day. The solution is probably to lift in the morning before work and run after. I just cannot seem to get up any earlier to actually make it to the gym. So that is something to work on in 2013.

The following are Weeks One through Three of this current cycle of half marathon training. I like that Smart Coach has pace ranges for each run based on your most current race time. Sticking to those paces has helped me feel like I am getting faster. My A goal for Gasparilla is 2:14.

Week One Half Marathon Training December 2012

Week Two Half Marathon Training December 2012

Week Three Half Marathon Training December 2012

Do you have a race on the schedule?

2012 OUC Orlando Half Marathon

Going into OUC Orlando Half Marathon, I was very unsure of my training. (I vented about it here if you are interested.) I was all over the place with changing my training plan, getting sick, and feeling like I was never going to get faster.

Pity Party

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Like most things, it was much worse in my head.

I started the race day off by waking up at the ungodly hour of 4 AM (in which I ask myself, why do I have to live in no-mans-land Polk County which is far from everywhere?) Had my typical pre-race breakfast of peanut butter and toast. I went back and forth on what to wear because the morning was in the low 50’s, which is chilly in the land of sunshine, but went with a t-shirt and shorts. I would much rather be chilly to start and comfortable during the race than sweating buckets because I am overdressed.

I got into Orlando with few issues and was lucky to be able to use J’s parking pass to park in a lot for free. (He goes to Florida A&M Law School which is in downtown Orlando.) The lot is a half a mile from Lake Eola so I counted that as my warm-up. The bathroom situation at the start was ideal, a fairly short wait for real bathrooms (no wait on the men’s side.) I love not having to use a porta-pottie.

I fought my way into the starting corral, lined up in between the 9-10 minute mile signs. There were so many people that I couldn’t even see the start, only the back of the heads of those in front of me. I was pretty cold in my shorts but luckily the wait was only a few minutes and then we were off.

I tried to start slow, my goal was to stay at a 10:30 pace, but did get caught up the the starting frenzy. It can be so difficult at the start to not get caught up in the frenzy of moving forward but I get better at every race.

OUC Orlando Half Marathon 2012 Race Route

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The race route was lovely and took you through some beautiful neighborhoods in Orlando. I loved everything about it minus the very painful brick roads. The last few miles had plenty of hills with bricks which may have caused me to swear. I get so paranoid running on uneven surfaces because I am a tad bit clumsy and likely to trip over my own feet, let alone uneven brick.

A few signs of what I consider a successful half marathon:

1. Not needing medical attention (this is one that I have for everyday life too.)

2. Not needing to pee (or at least being able to hold it until the end.)

3. Not bonking

So how did I do?

OUC Orlando Half Marathon 2012 Splits

I was a little slower than my goal to average a 10:30 m/m but I was able to avert a diaphragm cramp. I only am able to do this with some walking, so I walked a little.

My official time:

OUC Orlando Half Marathon 2012 Official Time

My official time of 2:23:29 is a half marathon PR of eight minutes! I hoped I could PR but really was unsure if it would happen. This gives me so much hope that I can drop my time even further for Gasparilla in February.

The medal:

OUC Orlando Half Marathon Medal

The race shirt:

OUC Orlando Half Marathon 2012 Shirt Race

Cool towels being handed out at the finish line:

Florida Milk Refuel Chocolate Milk Towel

So horrible, painful brick aside, I had so much fun running half marathon number three, the OUC Orlando Half Marathon.

Losing My Run

Training for my third half has been frustrating. Writing about this frustration may have helped but I tend to internalize self-annoyance and could not find the right words.

I have maintained a somewhat decent weekly mileage while loosely interpreting three different training plans.

Half Marathon Training Weeks 1 through 14

Weeks 43 and 46 were both weeks that I was sick.

I had a difficult time sticking to one training plan having changed three times in fourteen weeks. The issue is that my body is capable of running five or six days a week but months of that is draining mentally. (Plus it sometimes causes my husband to claim he never sees me and that I spend more time out of the house than in it.) That coupled with all the stress of the election (as the President of the Polk County Young Democrats and being in charge of the DEC weekly newsletter) was biting off more than I could chew. So what is the solution?

I want to get faster and to do that I know I need much higher weekly mileage. For slow pokes such as myself, fitting 40 miles per week in is a serious time commitment. I need to find a better way to increase my mileage and not feeling like the only I do is run. I also want to see some results and know that will require pushing myself outside of the comfort zone of 11 minute miles when I know I can run faster. (Sometimes I feel like I’m afraid of the discomfort of running faster. If that makes any sense.)

The plan so far is run the Orlando Half Marathon this coming Saturday. I will run it with few expectations but secretly hoping to PR (2.31.38 from March of 2012). Then find a new and better fit training plan for Gasparilla Half Marathon in February.

So there it is, all the reasons why I haven’t been posting and have felt bad about my running.

Chill Out

Active Warm-Up And Goals

Training for my first half marathon, I developed a constant tightness in my IT band. It became painful but using a foam roller and finding a post-run Yoga routine helped for half number two. I found something that worked for me for after the run, what about before?

This video from Runner’s World came up in Google Reader last week.

It is full of dynamic stretches that open up your hips. It also gets your blood pumping and heart rate up before you start to run. I have done this routine before my last few runs and noticed an immediate difference. I feel ready to run immediately, rather than a mile or two in. My legs feel much loser and the tightness that I normally experience does not come.

One of my recent goals (beside finding suitable employment) has been to do more strength training. I have fallen off the wagon of regular strength training and need to get back on. It is becoming obvious how much strength I have lost and I would like to get it back.

So far this week I completed the fifteen minute full-body routine from Jackie Warner’s Power Circuit Training.

Jackie Warner Power Circuit Training DVD

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This is first time in months that I was able to motivate myself to do strength training after a run.

I even had a day of cross training with Jillian Michaels: Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism and am still sore two days later.

JillianMichaels Banish Fat Boost Metabolism

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Hopefully I can keep this momentum going.

As an Android user, I am really excited to finally be able to download Instagram. Please follow me at DinaRuns and I promise lots of pictures of cats and beer. (No trout pouts or hipster glasses though.)

Gasparilla Distance Classic 2012 Race Report

Saturday night I attended a charity dinner and left super early.

Polk County DEC Obama King Fundraiser

I had a small speaking part which was scary and awesome at the same time. I really need to get better at public speaking because my heart nearly beats out of my chest at the thought of it.

Polk County Obama King Fundraiser Program

I went straight from the event to my Mom’s house which is about a 20 minute drive from the race start.

I attempted to fall asleep but it was still pretty early and couldn’t sleep until 10:30. The weather was really loud and stormy plus I kept waking up assuming I slept through my alarm. Anytime I sleep in a room where I can’t see the time, this always happens.

My alarm did go off at 3 AM and I got up for coffee and breakfast. The wind was howling so loud that my Mom got up to check if I was still going.

I got into Tampa and the parking garage with no incident. I guess I was lost enough on Saturday, so Sunday went smoothly. As soon as I got out of my car in the garage, it started to rain. It was raining really hard and in combination with the wind, it was raining sideways. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I hung back in the parking garage to see if I could wait it out. It was starting to get late and I wasn’t sure how long the walk to the start would take me, so I decided to suck it up and get wet.

After getting drenched and of course my shoes were wet because of all the puddles, I made it into the convention center where most people were waiting. I actually ran into Carissa, which was nice because I had someone to talk to while we waited. Finally, the march over to the start began but it was still rainy and windy. I had on shorts and a tank top, so I was nearly frozen. It only got colder waiting in the last corral but at least the rain stopped.

As the race started, it was pretty congested. There were also a lot of puddles that people kept avoiding. The race begins with a fairly narrow bridge over to Davis Island that was a huge bottleneck. The good part was the bridge had to prevent people from going out too fast because people were squished together and there was no way around. The bad part is that there was definitely time lost trying to get over it.

After the bridge, people started to spread out. The run through Davis Island was relatively uneventful but it was cold and pretty windy.

Gasparilla 2012 Half Marathon Course

Crossing one more bridge, this time much less crowded, onto Bayshore was a nice change. The homes and water views on this road are just beautiful. I may have been fantasizing what it would be like to live in one of those houses and wake up to Bay views everyday, through most of the race.

At around mile seven, I needed to pee. I was making good time and every porta potty had a decent line. I decided that I would not stop unless I felt like I would burst. Around mile 11, I was at bursting point but it seemed crazy to stop so close to the finish line. I assumed there would be porta potties close to the finish. Of course, I had to go through a gauntlet of food vendors to get there. I ended up going in the convention center and nearly running (hobbling) up the stairs to the bathroom.

My pace throughout the race felt comfortable minus the crazy wind whipping me in the face. I did end up walking for a minute or two around mile 10 because of a massive stomach cramp. Slowing down for a few minutes pretty much made it go away.

Gasparilla 2012 Half Marathon Splits

I am surprised with my splits. My goal pace was 12:10 with a finish time of 2:39:29. I noticed early on that it felt comfortable to run a bit faster. I think the main difference besides typical race adrenaline was the weather. I ran the vast majority of my training runs after work when it was still quite hot out. Running in the dark with massive winds felt good. I was confident that my training was solid and was really prepared. These two factors made a big difference.

My official time was 2:31:38 which is a PR by 15 minutes and beat my goal time by eight minutes. I am so happy to see such an improvement because it can feel like you are working so hard but not improving. (I get like that at the end of a training cycle. Did I do enough? What about this run I missed? So much second guessing.) It gives me confidence that even though I am on the slow side, that with the right amount of training and effort, I can get faster. Being a slow runner is difficult mentally because many of the training runs, especially long runs, can take a huge chunk of your Saturday. For me, 14 miles is a three-hour process and that can be a lot of time to dedicate regularly. (I can’t even imagine marathon training at my pace. Would need to continue to be unemployed to do it.)

The Good

Organizers did a great job with terrible weather.

We started on time even though the weather was crappy.

Water stops were plentiful and the volunteers were very prepared.

Bad ass medal.

Gasparilla Half Marathon Medal 2012 Tampa

(So freaking cool.)

Little traffic congestion entering or leaving the race. (As someone who often gets lost, I appreciate this more than I can express.)

The Bad

Need to do a staggered start. The way runners were broken down was over/under a two-hour finish time. There was supposed to be a five-minute start time difference between the first and second corral. This did not do enough to help with the slow down crossing the bridge to Davis Island.

Bathrooms closer to the finish line. I cannot be the only person who crossed the finish line feeling like they were going to pee on themselves.

I really enjoyed the Gasparilla Distance Classic and can see why it is so popular in Central Florida. Will definitely be running this one next year.