Friday, December 10, 2010

Join the Club?

As much as I do enjoy running alone, sometimes I miss the social aspect of running with a group. I remember in high school when I used to run cross country. Our coach would tell us to just go out and run for an hour and my friends and I would hit the trails and just gab (or even sing!) the whole time. It was so fun and that hour just flew by! It was also fun chatting about running and having someone to talk about your goals with. I mean, for each meet we would all set target times and cheer each other on towards reaching them. It was a great motivation and we built wonderful friendships. I do miss that! As great as my DH is about listening to my running rants, I'm also well aware that he does it because he loves ME, not running! And as far as running himself...well he'll be the first to mention that he just does not like running. He'll run a mile or so to get warmed up for a workout, but beyond that, he'd probably have to be chased by something ferocious to go any farther! Since none of my other close friends or family run, I was thinking about joining a running group.

I decided to look online at some local running stores to see if they sponsored anything. It turns out that as I checked out my local Fleet Feet's website, I was psyched to learn that they are beginning some training sessions. They have two different training groups, both of which are geared towards running a specific race. The first is a beginner's 5K but the second is for a half marathon! I thought, YES -- that's perfect for me! Then, check this out -- the specific race they are training for the Cleveland Clinic Health River Run Half Marathon! That is the EXACT race I wanted to run for my first half! (I mean, I've even already listed it in my "Races of 2008" blog list! Just look!)It's like destiny! So I clicked on the link to find out more. Here's what it basically says,
  • Cost is $100 which includes all coaching, training schedule, clinics, support, "goodies" and race entry fee.
  • Participants in the program also receive a 10% discount off all Fleet Feet purchases during the training period.
  • The sponsor this year is Saucony and all registrants will receive a technical t-shirt, water bottle and a shoe bag.
  • Group runs every Wednesday evening and Sunday morning.

What do you think? At first I was thinking the $100 was kind of steep, but then I saw that the $100 includes the race fee which I was assuming was going to be around $40-50 anyway. Then you get all kinds of stuff like the tech shirt, bottle, shoe bag and of course the coaching which I am kind of psyched for! It's one thing to prepare for a race by reading about it, but to have someone coaching you along the way is pretty cool! And to do it with a bunch of other people who all have the same goal -- very awesome! I mean, can you imagine how cool it will be on race day to run with people you've been training with and to cheer them on (and of course have a little cheering section for yourself too!) I'm pretty excited about checking it out. There's an informational meeting in about 4 weeks, so it's still pretty far off. The Fleet Feet store has group runs on Wed and Sun regardless though, so I think as soon as school is out (3 more weeks!) I'll go check it out! I think it'll be a great way to improve my running, and who knows, maybe I'll make some new friends too! :-)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I Survived My First 10 Mile Race!

Well, I survived it! Here is my official Hermes Cleveland 10-Mile Race Report.

When my DH and I arrived downtown, we met up with a friend of mine. We went to get our chip timers and to hopefully find a bathroom. Much to our dismay, the lines for the restroom were a mile long! We decided to try the porto-potties (ICK!) by the starting line, but when we got there, the line was even longer! With just 10 minutes left till the start, we figured we'd either have to just hold it, or find a very discreet spot! (We did the former!) Anyhow, as the race started, the clouds grew darker and the rain began spilling down upon us. I thought, "Oh GREAT!" Lucky enough though, the rain only last about 1-2 minutes and then it was done for the rest of the day. :-) Here's a break down of the rest of the race...from what I can remember!

Miles 1-3: Course went through the streets of Cleveland. Weather was great and course was flat. Tons of racers! I focused mostly on just setting a good pace and enjoying it. I still felt like I had to go to the bathroom, but I figured I could stop at a porto potty if I needed to more towards the end. (Turns out while I thought there were two porto stops, there was only one! I had no choice but to hold it!)

Miles 4-6: Ran on a long straitaway along Burke Lakefront Airport with the wind at my back. Felt great! Had some Sport Beans at about mile 5.

Miles 7-8: Ran back the other way with a strong headwind and all uphill! UGH! This is where I started depending on my trusty new Timex Ironman to get me through it. I just focused on getting though 1 mile or 10 minutes at a time. I also noticed too that my legs felt STRONG on those hills! I swear those Firm videos (AKA: Squat workouts from Hell) seriously prepared my legs to push up those hills with really little effort!

Mile 9-10: Steeper hill, but we were now back downtown so I knew I was close to the finish! I thought, this is it! I dug down and really pushed it in for the last mile. There was a really nice runner who had already finished and was standing on one of the streets. She was yelling to us all, "The finish line is right around this corner! You can do it!" I looked at my Timex and thought, "That can't be right -- my split for this mile is only 8 minutes...I still have another two minutes..." I trusted her though and really put it into gear. Sure enough, as soon as I turned that corner, I saw a huge crowd and the finish clock. I don't know what came over me, but I found a gear that I never knew existed and seriously sprinted to the finish! I heard the announcer say, "Whoa, look at this girl come in. And she just ran 10 miles folks!" I was so excited! I was happy too to see the clock and my Timex time which both had a time lower than my goal time! My goal time was 1:45 and my official finish time was...(drum roll)...1:39:35! Woo hoo! Not bad for three weeks off of serious running...bum knees...and seriously having to pee by that point!

Anyhow, here are my not-at-all-consistent splits via my Timex Ironman:

Mile 1: 9:50
Mile 2: 10:05
Mile 3: 9:57
Mile 4: 10:25
Mile 5: 9:40
Mile 6: 10:05
Mile 7: 10:05
Mile 8: 10:12
Mile 9: 10:24
Mile 10: 8:53 WHOA!

Thanks for reading my LONG RR. Didn't I say this was going to be short? Ooops! Sorry! :-)

WAIT, ONE LAST THING! I do want to take a moment to say how totally awesome my DH is! He drove down to the race with me today, carried an insane amount of my stuff, took the job as my personal photographer, and cheered for me the whole way! He told me how proud he was of me at least 10 times and even took me to Wendy's for a frosty after the race! I am so thankful to have such a supportive husband! THANK YOU! XOXOXO

Monday, December 6, 2010

Avoiding My Run!

I had such a bad day at work today! Actually, I hate to say it, but I've been having a couple of bad days now! The school year is coming to an end, and unfortunately, the kids think school is already over. "Who needs to do WORK?! Rules -- What are those? We're not here to learn -- we're here to chat with friends and hook up!" AHHHHHH! I'm pulling my hair out! And as much as they hate listening to me nag/yell at them, trust me, I hate having to do it! I'd love to just sit back at my desk and not be frustrated with the fact that I've asked them to be quiet 3x and they're STILL talking...I've asked them not to pass notes and there they are, passing them not more that 3 feet away...I've asked them to be where they're supposed to be, and yet instead I find them roaming the halls when there not supposed to, or even inviting kids from other classes into ours to chit chat. WHAT?! And then when I call them out on it, they're going to (a) lie through their teeth or (b) yell back at me?! Oh goodness. Anyways, today was enough to put me in a major funk. At the end of the day, once everyone left, I just put my head down on my desk. I did NOT want to lift it up! I contemplated doing my 4 mile run. At first I figured that I would just skip today and go running tomorrow. But then I remembered that I have a chiro appt tomorrow and won't be able to run. So, I begrudgingly marched to the closet/restroom and changed to go running. Just as I mustered the courage to walk out the back door, I noticed it looked a little gray out. The forecast said no rain until later... Well, as soon as I walked out, it started raining. I thought, "Well, this is my omen -- no running today." Well wouldn't you know it, by the time I drove to the end of my school's driveway, it had stopped raining! UGH! I thought, "Well, that's fine. I'll just run at home." Well after I got home, I still couldn't shake my bad school day. I was just so frustrated. I peeked at Accuweather and once I saw the radar and wind gusts, I decided to scrap my run. I probably should have gone, but oh well. I was just too mad! (It's hours later and I'm STILL fuming!) At least I only have a few more days left of school...14 school days to be exact.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Scrapbooking...Oh Yeah, I Remember That!

I used to love scrapbooking but haven't had time for it in a LONG time. I also got kind of bummed because it seemed like a didn't have any fun stuff going on to scrapbook about! That's when I started doing little projects. Those were fun. The last one I did was a set of letters that I altered for our guest room. They turned out a little more "girly" than I had planned, but oh well! I had fun making them!

Now that we are in November, I know that Christmas is right around the corner. Every year I say that I am going to make my own cards. I am hoping this year I will actually do it! I think it'll be a fun project!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Is It Time for A Hobby Switch?

AHHH, it has been a week since my last post. Very bad -- and it has been even longer since I've posted any crafty stuff. WHOA. And here it is...the first symptom of what I've deemed, "the hobby switch". My husband laughs at me about this, but I just can not stick with one hobby for any long period of time. For awhile, I was really into my fishtank and aquascaping. That kept my busy through the winter, but once spring came around, I was all about gardening. When fall came, that went to the wayside and I got into knitting. After about 20 scarves, I got into scrapbooking. Love that, but lost some of my mojo and started reading. Read about 20 books in two months and then started scrapbooking again. The winter months were still waning on though and I missed plants, so I started growing African Violets...lots of them! Now they are doing their own thing and I tried to get back into scrapbooking. Not a lot of pics to scrap though, so I started making cards. Well, that's been fun, but now I have this goal to run a 1/2 marathon, so now running has become my new obsession. In the past three weeks, I bought new running shoes, clothes, and have subscribed to Runner's World mag. Until I get it, I've been reading back issues from the library. What's funny about all of this though, is that I totally focus ALL of my energy into that one hobby of the moment. Since I finished those scarves, haven't picked up a needle since then. Since I finished my last of those 20 books, not a single one since then. I have been all or nothing baby!

Through all of my "hobby switches" though, I have always run. Maybe not so much in the winter, but while it's nice out, I usually try to get in 2-4 miles every other day. It's only now that I'm really started to think competitively about it again. SO, I am hoping this isn't a TOTAL "hobby" switch. For one, I'd like to think that running isn't just a "hobby" for me. I've been running off and on since high school, which for me has been about 10 years. It's the one thing I've stuck with to some degree this whole time. I'd like to think it is more of a lifestyle for me. I am hoping with this new goal, that will solidify it for me. The other reason I hope this isn't a "hobby switch" for me is simply because I still like scrapping and cardmaking. I just need to make sure to find time for it in between work, keeping this endlessly messy house clean, (how does that happen with just two people living here?!,) and running. Wish me luck!

Anyhow, here is an Easter card I made a few weeks back. It's actually cuter in person. I used some spring themed paper I got a Target.

I hope to have more to share soon!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Why Am I Doing This Again?!

Today was the second speedwork day of my training plan so far. The first traning session was terrible. The track was covered in snow, so I had to do it on an unmarked path. I only had my Nike+iPod to help me. I had two big problems: (1) I miscalculated the distance and instead of running 800s, was running 750s, (2) I could not judge or calculate my pace -- it was all over the place! Using the timer on my iPod was too hard while running. Mistake #1 I can live with -- 50 meters -- no biggie. Mistake #2 -- well if you are running the speedwork "laps" at all different times, well, that kind of defeats the purpose! I think I was running them too fast because I couldn't even finish the last one. :-(

Well, luckily the track was clear today so I was able to do my speedwork there. I started with a mile warmup which was a breeze and then started my first 800 meters (1/2 mile) run. I had my trusty $10 Walmart watch to help me keep time and that worked WAY better. I had the goal time of 4:00-4:14 minutes per 800 in my mind. I hit my first one at 4:04. Not bad. It wasn't too fun though. I took a 400m recovery jog and tried my next 800 -- hit that one at 4:06 but it was tough! When I finished that 800, I didn't even think about it -- I automatically started walking after crossing the line! NOT in the plan! I let myself walk a little though, then started jogging again. Too make a long story short, I pushed myself through the next two 800 meter sets with times of 4:09, then 4:14. It was really hard and I had to use a lot of positive "atta girl!" self talk.

At one point, I actually thought, "What in the world am I doing out here?! Nobody else is here...I'm not training on a team so it's not like anyone is depending on me...And yet here I am, pushing myself through complete discomfort / mild agony to do what? Run faster? For who?!" I didn't come up with any obvious answers, except of course, "For me!" My husband and family could care less how fast I run an 800 in. They'd love me just as much whether I ran them in 2 min, 4 min or 10min! (And I am very thankful for that!) My friends, while supportive, could care less -- none of them really run. So again, why am I out here? I guess the answer, "FOR ME!" will have to suffice for now!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wilton Cake 1: Please Don't Laugh!

So yesterday was my first real Wilton 1 Decorating Class. I say, real, because for the first one, we just watched our instructor decorate. Last night, we finally got to play with some frosting! Before that though, I had to bake and frost a cake. I baked the cake on Tuesday, and headed over to my friend's house the following day to frost the cake and prepare our icings before class. So it was me and four other girls and we thought 2 1/2 hours would be pleeeenty of time to do all that. Yeah... not so much!

As soon as we all arrived, we immediately started making the frosting. A few people worked on that, while the rest of us trimmed the cakes, cut them into layers, filled the cake, then stacked the layers. (I filled mine with a lemon meringue pudding. YUM and super easy!) Once the cakes were all set, we finally started icing. We quickly found out that one bowl of frosting was not going to be enough. DUH! We started making frosting like crazy! Confectioners sugar was flying everywhere! It was hilarious! Well once we had enough, we continued frosting. The instructor made it look so easy when she showed us. For some reason, mine didn't quite look like hers! :-) None of my other friend's cake did either, so we all just laughed! After that, we speedily made our colored icings while stuffing pizza in our faces. We cleaned up, packed our bags, and raced out the door without a minute to spare.

As I ran out to my car, I placed my cake on the roof of the car to arrange all of my supplies inside. I placed my keys in the ignition and was just about to rev her up and I remembered my cake! I nearly drove off with my cake still on the roof! AHHH! I would have totally cried if anything happened to my cake! Luckily, I saved it though. After grabbing my cake, I finally headed over.

Once we got to JoAnns, we set up and got to work. Long story short, the instructor had us practice making stars and writing letters. Let's just say that I have a whole new appreciation for the girls at our local bakery! :-) We finally got to work on our cakes. I wanted to just make some fall leaves. We had more trouble than I thought sharing the icings in the time we had, so I just used two colors of leaves instead of three. I didn't place my leaves on the way I wanted to either. Oh well! I also seem to run out of time too. I wanted to put a top border and a bottom border, but I was only to finish my final leaf with a few minutes to spare. I could have put on the border if I REALLY wanted to, but I have to admit, I was pretty tired by then. After a long day's work, a crazy cake frosting episode, and a two hour class, by 8:30, I was D.O.N.E!

While the people over at Ace of Cakes, or even, my local grocery store bakery are nowhere near in danger of losing a job to ME, I think my cake turned out at least half way decent. I still think it looks like a 4 year old did it, but everyone keeps saying it looks good. They must feel sorry for me! Oh well, I can only improve from here, right?!