Saturday, August 31, 2013

First 20 Miler Done!

Today, I did my first 20 mile training run for my upcoming Chicago Marathon.  It wasn't pretty there at the end.  I started having problems around mile 14.  The last 4 miles were really bad.  I had to walk up some hills during those last 4 miles.  I covered 20 miles on foot so it counts! 
I went to a group training run where a route is mapped out, signs placed at turns and water stops provided.  My friend and I started out way too fast, as usual.  I have been telling myself the last few days that I have to slow down for this 20 miler.  I ended up with an overall average pace of 10:48 which is fine for 4:30 marathon training.  I just wish all the miles had been in that area and no walking. 
Next week should have been my 20 miler but I wanted to do an 8 mile race on Mackinac Island because it falls on my birthday this year!!  I rearranged my schedule to fit it in.  I considered running the race course again and then another 4 miles but decided that I'd rather hang around the island the rest of the day so I moved my 20 miler ahead a week.  I'm taking my bicycle so I will probably do some biking after the race.  After this 20 miler, that 8 mile race is going to seem easy!!  I'm aiming to have all my miles under 9 minutes.

Last week there was no group run because so many of the group went to a huge 10 mile race in Flint called the CRIM.  I've run the CRIM before and would have liked to have again but with already having rearranged my schedule for Mackinac Island it just wasn't possible.  I even won an entry and a bus ride up there at a fitness expo back in the spring but decided to turn it down.  Anyway, with there not being a group run, I had to do my long run all by myself.  I ran 18 miles alone.  It was tough, I sure missed the group run.  I ran a 10 mile route first, refilled my handheld water bottle at my car and then ran an 8 mile route.  I even started a half hour earlier than the group run starts.  I ran out of water on the 8 mile portion.  I was really running slow at the end (last 2 miles) but I got through it. 

It's hard to believe that 6 weeks from tomorrow is the Chicago Marathon!!  I registered wayyyyy back in early Feburary. 

Runner Nerd
ran 20 miles

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Quiet House/No Kids/No Kittens

Today, I moved my daughter back to college for the last time!  This is her last semester; she graduates December 15.  Of course, that also means that in 5 days less than 4 months we have to haul it all back out and back here again!
I do miss my daughter but I am glad that her 4 month old kitten is also gone.  What a change it's been having a kitten in the house.  The cat that we've had for 3 years liked playing with the kitten at first but now is just annoyed with him and was always mad at him.  The kitten had no fear of the big beast of a coon dog that we have.  I was so nervous because the dog could have swallowed that kitty in one gulp at first.  He's a little bigger now so he'd be two bites now!  The dog never did anything but sometimes he did snap at him.  He barked and growled at him sometimes.
I've been telling the older cat that soon we'd go back to our adult lives with no kids around!
3 day old kitty back in April

4 month old kitty loaded up and ready to move to college

nervous about 2 hour drive with kitty
All moved in and found a new window to sit in

So, the kid is back to college and I have my space and my quiet back!
The kitten was all over the place.  If I lit a candle, I couldn't take my eyes off the candle or the kitten so I haven't lit candles very often since the kitten moved in.  I had to be very careful just opening the oven door.  Usually, if my daughter wasn't home and I was going to start cooking, I'd put the kitty in her bedroom.  It was like having little kids again.  (although, I couldn't shut the kids in bedrooms when I was cooking!)

So, I'm going to  sit here, read some blogs, see what my friends posted on Facebook today, and enjoy the smell of the candle I have burning as my adult cat sits here enjoying the absence of a tiny sibling!!

Runner Nerd
empty nester once again

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Vega Sport energy gels

Today was another long run day!  I'm 16 miles closer to Chicago!  The run went pretty good but mile 13 and 14 were tough, 15 got better and 16 was slow although I can't really say just what my pace was because my Garmin turned off at 14.95 miles.  I guess it really is time to replace it.  I got the low battery warning at only 29 minutes into the run; that's the earliest it's ever been.  The time was 2:21:13 when the Garmin shut off.  Now I have a decision to make and I need to make it quick so I can have a functioning Garmin before my next long run.  Next week I have to run 18.

One good thing that came from today's run is that I have FINALLY found a fueling product that is going to work!!  I've said it before - I just can't choke down slimy gels.
I recently received samples of Vega Sport gels.  I read some reviews that said that they are like the consistency of apple sauce.   I'm not sure that they remind me of applesauce, to me they are similar to oatmeal, but thinner.  They somewhat remind me of the filling in Nutri-Grain bars.    I am happy to say that I can squeeze it into my mouth and swallow it without gagging and having to force myself to swallow it, like I have to with Gu brand gels.  I tried Raspberry last week and Orange this week.  I like them both but Raspberry is the one I like the most. 
Vega Sport Endurance Gel

The one thing I don't like about these is that the size of the packet is HUGE compared to Gu brand.  I intended to take a pic of one of these with a Gu packet but I forgot to do it.  I can lay the Gu packet on top of these and have Vega packet showing all the way around the Gu packet.  It's going to be hard to stuff 4 of them in the little pouch in my skirt.  I will make it work.
According to the Vega website, they are a plant-based, all-natural energy gel,
From the website:

I am going to have to order them online because I cannot find them in any stores in my area.  I called the company to ask about stores and was told that they aren't in any stores in this area but they are working on it.  They are trying to get them in every Whole Foods.   They offered to send me the samples so I could try them.  The lady I talked to on the phone assured me that if I don't like the sliminess of the Gu brand that I am going to like these because they are nothing like Gu.  The best source I've found is They are 20.99 per box of 12 which makes them 1.75 each.  They offer free shipping with orders over 35.00 so 2 boxes would ship free.  Now, I have to decide whether to order a box of each or 2 boxes of Raspberry. 
I am really happy about this because fueling is the biggest issue I have when running a marathon.  I try very hard to choke Gu down but as the hours roll by, it gets harder and harder and then I end up getting very little down and then I hit the wall. 

Well, I'm worn out.  I had to get up super early to get to running group and run 16 miles.  Tomorrow I am taking my daughter to shop for things she needs for college.  She moves back to CMU on Tuesday.  This is her last semester!  She graduates in December.  I can't believe that it's time for her to go back already.  I'm going to miss her but will be glad that her 4 month old kitten goes with her!!  It's been interesting this summer having a kitten in the house.
Time for bed for this worn out runner!

Runner Nerd
has marathon fuel

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Speedwork and Hills

The Ironmen are tapering so tonight's track workout was a short one.  We warmed up by running over to a neighborhood where we have a 3/10 mile steep uphill climb.  We did that three times; normally, we do it 6-8 times.  Then, it was back to the track to do 3 400s with a 400 recovery between repeats.  I don't know what came over me, my 400s came in at 1:44, 1:43, and 1:40.  Those times equal 6:41, 6:35, and 6:20 pace.  I didn't even think I could run that fast!!  I know I wouldn't have done that very many more times.
It was nice to be done with the workout and be home shortly after 8 pm!

I read online today that it was 10 years ago when there was a huge power outage from the East coast to Michigan.  I remember that day!  I was at my niece's to help her get ready to go on vacation.  She had just put a load of laundry in the dryer and started another load in the washer when the power went out.  I remember that we went outside and some other people were out there and told us that the power was going out all over the state and all over the east coast.  We got into my car and turned on the radio to WJR, the big talk radio station in Detroit.  I decided that my daughter and I should head home since there were no traffic lights and all lights will be treated as 4 way stops.  It was afternoon and would soon be rush hour but with the power outage it was possible that people would be leaving work.  Our power at home came on soon after we got home; I guess we got lucky in this area.  Something I didn't know at the time that I read today is that Detroit was right on the edge of the power outages and we are about 1.5 hour WEST of Detroit so we were spared the worst of it.  I called my niece and told her that we had power so her and my nephew got the laundry out of the dryer and pulled the clothes out of the water in the washer and brought them and the rest of their laundry here.  She had clothes in my dryer and washer and a load in her Mother's washer and in my Mother-in-law's (her Grandmother) washer. She got all her laundry done and they stayed overnight at her parents' house and went back to pack the next day when it was light and then they were off on their vacation.  When the power was back on in her area, I went to her apartment and drained the washing machine that was sitting there full of water.  I remember that it smelled bad so I had to run the washer empty after I drained it.  I also did some cleaning since she wasn't able to finish it once the power went out. 
I saw some pictures online, today, of that day.  They were pictures of a dark new york city skyline against the setting sun and streets with cars with lights on against the backdrop of dark buildings.   There were pictures of the bridges with solid people walking across; I assume that they weren't able to ride the subway so they were walking home.  I don't recall seeing pictures like that back in 2003.  It's hard to believe that 10 years have passed since that day. 

Runner Nerd
ran fast 400s

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Garmin doesn't last forever

My current Garmin
I've posted many pics of my running partner, my Garmin Forerunner 205, which I also refer to as Garmie.
Lately, I've been getting a low battery warning after an hour and a half or so.  So far, she hasn't died during a run.  My longest run was Saturday at 2 hrs and 27 mins.  My runs are going to keep getting longer and then, of course, the marathon is going to require around 4 hours and 30 minutes. My suspicion is that the battery is wearing out.
Tonight was my lucky night, I guess!  I didn't know that a Garmin rep would be at running group tonight!  I got to ask her about my shortening battery life and she confirmed what I was wondering - that it is a sign that the battery is wearing out.  It hasn't even been three years since I got her.  The rep said the average life is 4 years.  I got this one in October, 2010.  My first Garmin, a Forerunner 201, lasted 6 years.
My first Garmin, the 201

The Garmin rep had all the current models with her and I got to try them on and push all the buttons.  The one thing that I really want to be able to do is to change the lap distance like I do when I'm pacing.  99.9% of the time all I want is mile splits.  When I pace, I change it to quarter mile splits.  I would not be able to do that with the Garmin 10 which is too bad because it comes in pink!  I think I am going to go with the Garmin 210; it's so much smaller and thinner than the one I have now.  The buttons are in different places but they are the same buttons that my 205 has so I know what each does; I just have to learn the different placement.  The Garmin model that is the latest version of my current one is the 910XT.  It's just like the one I have now except much thinner.  It's also very expensive.

Soooo, within the next couple weeks or so, I expect to be making an unexpected purchase that I didn't think I'd have to make for at least another year or two. 

Runner Nerd
sad about Garmie

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Prom Night for Runners

Tonight was one of my very favorite races.  It's called the Red Carpet Run.  The theme is the Red Carpet and celebrities.  The run takes place in West Bloomfield, MI. 
This year I found my dress in a thrift shop for $7.00!!  It's sapphire blue and sparkly, my favorite!!
I went to my friend, Erika's place to get ready!  We both wore long gowns this year. 
Erika and I right after arriving:
Arrival on the red carpet
Upon finishing this race there is no medal; there is a champagne flute! 
Erika and I with our champagne flutes:
Finisher champagne flutes
Running group friends:
Crazy runners
I had no idea how I was going to run in that dress.  It wasn't hard to run in it at all; it had enough room that I could run with my full running stride.  It was sunny and 82 degrees when the race started so, of course, I was quite hot and sweaty.  My first mile was 7:59!  I knew I was in trouble!  During the last mile, the lining of the dress began sticking to my legs.  My dress made a swishing noise the whole time!  After I finished and stopped running, the lining was clinging to my legs and was worse than running in the thing!! I ended up with a time of 26:11 which got me 2nd in my age group! 
A "selfie" I took soon after finishing: It shows my tiara and the beautiful necklace I got from the exclusive boutique called Dollar Tree!
After finishing - sweaty in a prom dress! 
It doesn't get any more fun than this!  Now it's back to my regular scheduled programming - training for a marathon! 

Runner Nerd
runs in a dress

Monday, August 5, 2013

The best tempo run

It's Monday again which means that my schedule calls for a 7 mile tempo run.  Last week I ran my 7 mile tempo in 1:02:03 which is 8:51 pace.  While I was driving to where I park, I was doubtful that I could pull this off again.  I'm not sure why, maybe because when I weighed myself this morning I was 5 lbs over my goal weight.  I was so upset about that.  I've been hanging out 2-3 lbs over my goal for a few weeks and it's driving me crazy.  I just want to get myself back under control.  Anyway, I guess I did have it in me because this tempo run, the same route as last week, I ran in 1:00:49.  Less than a minute over 1 hour and over a minute faster.  The average pace today was 8:41.  Next week the distance of the tempo run goes up to 8 miles!  I'm not sure I could keep up that pace for another mile but we'll see!
I wish I'd have taken a picture of my Garmin but I didn't and I've already uploaded it to Garmin Connect so it doesn't show on the screen anymore.
I'm so excited for Wednesday night's Red Carpet Run!  My dress is sparkly and ready!!

Runner Nerd
on the road to Chicago 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

10 weeks to go

Here I am, 10 weeks away from the Chicago Marathon!! I guess I didn't do a very good job of catching up from July 4th until now.
My long runs have been going quite well.  I ran 15.5 miles this past Saturday at a 9:29 average pace.  Most of my miles were in the low 9s until the last 1.5 which were 10:22 and 10:25.  I was beat!  My plan called for 15 miles, the group run was an 8 mile out and back course.  Nobody else was turning around at 7.5 miles so I decided to go all the way to the end since I ran 14 last week and a 2 mile increase would be fine.We took a wrong turn in town and ended up cutting a half mile off; the others went around the block to get the half mile but I called it quits because I was beat. 
Last week my 14 mile run came in at a 9:36 average pace and the week before 12.5 miles came in at 9:47.  I was running with my friend, Erika, and we were running along in the high 8s to low 9s.  It was Art Fair weekend in Ann Arbor which means quite a few streets downtown are closed off and there are hundreds of artists with booths.  Art Fair wasn't open yet when we were running in the morning and the course wound through Art Fair before heading out of town and then came back through on the way back.  As we were heading back into the Art Fair area, I tripped on an electric cord that was laying across a street.  I fell hard, I scraped my left knee just a little.  I was more embarrassed than anything.  After I fell, I never really got back up to the pace I was running, I really slowed down.  We missed a turn and ended up running an extra 1/2 mile. 
My Monday tempo runs have also been going well.  Last Monday, I ran 7 miles at 8:51 average pace.  The week before I ran 6.3 miles at 8:43 average pace at 8pm after working a 12 hour day shift. 
I've been doing speedwork with the triathlon group on Wednesdays.  Last Wednesday, we did 6 1200s with a 400 recovery.  The first 4 came in under 8 minute pace, the last 2 at just over 8 minute pace.  I can live with that!  Oh, did I mention that it rained the whole time and I was soaked and miserable?  The week before we did two 2 mile repeats in a park.  My first 2 miles were 7:53 and 7:46.  The second 2 miles were 7:57 and 7:56.  Pretty good for me!  I was barely moving by the time we got back to where our cars were parked which was almost a mile from where the repeats end.
After all these tempo runs, speed workouts and 9:30s long runs, running a marathon at a 10:15 pace should be easy, right!!  I can only hope! 
Two weeks ago, I did a virtual 5K.  It was organized online by "From Fat to Finish Line", a group of 12 people who have all lost at least 100 lbs and formed a Ragnar relay team and a documentary is being made about them.  It was a Sunday which is supposed to be a short, easy recovery run.  I ran my 5K in 26:26 for an 8:32 average pace!!  Oh well, it was fun! This is the picture/results I posted on their Facebook page:
virtual 5K
I was standing behind my car because that made the sun behind the camera; I didn't intentionally take my picture next to my 26.2 sticker!  I noticed it later when I was getting the picture ready to post to their page!  I made my virtual race bib number -35 because I lost 35 lbs in 2005. 
So, that's about it.  This week is one of my favorite events - the Red Carpet Run.  It's on Wednesday night.  I call it prom night for runners!  The theme is formal wear.  I ran it last year with my friend, Erika.  We had a blast.  Erika and I are going "over the top" this year!  We are wearing long dresses that we found at thrift shops.  Mine is sapphire blue and is sparkly!!  I'm so excited!  

Runner Nerd