Sunday, December 27, 2015

All I want for Christmas, is new running shoes!

Brooks Adrenaline 16's are now available, which means the Brooks Adrenaline 15's are on sale!  So one cold, November weekend night the fiance and I went into a Dick's Sporting Goods and found the Brooks Adrenaline 15's in my size on sale.  I asked (or begged) for them to be my Christmas gift along with new running socks and on Christmas Day, my wish came true!


Aren't they beautiful?
I have strayed from Brooks Adrenaline only time and I came right back because they are so reliable and comfortable.  

Years of Brooks Adrenaline running shoes

I love saving money on running gear since races keep getting more expensive, so I don't mind getting the previous version on sale when the latest version is released.  I think I will keep my new shoes in the closet until my training group starts mid-January, and just continue to wear down the current pair.  My first race of 2016 is New Year's Day, so I am looking forward to starting off a new year with a good run.

Happy Holidays!!!


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Half Marathon Training - Spring 2016 Edition

In 2015, I decided to train with Fleet Feet - St. Louis for both of the half marathons I ran this year and I LOVED the program!  You can read more about my experience here.

Fleet Feet's long runs are early Saturday morning with rotating locations and varying mileage according to your pace group and goal race.  Their track workouts are on Tuesday evenings at a local junior high school.  I really enjoyed being a part of this program but my fiance requested that I switch my long runs to Sunday mornings so that I would not wake him up so early on Saturdays.  I knew that there were two other major running stores in the St. Louis area offering half marathon training programs, one of which offers long runs on Sundays, so I agreed to try a different program for my Spring 2016 half marathon training.  

On a cost scale, Fleet Feet is the most expensive at $140.  Their program offers:

  • Individualized training program with a suggested workout for each day for your pace and goal race
  • Discount card for in-store purchases (I believe it was 5%, but I never used it)
  • Training t-shirt
  • At least one coach in your pace group
  • Saturday long runs at rotating locations
  • Tuesday track workouts

Big River Running offers three programs which cost $99, $50, or FREE depending on which level you choose.  I chose the $50 or SILVER program which seems to offer exactly what Fleet Feet was offering me minus a training t-shirt, for almost $100 more!  Even if I ordered the training team sweatshirt, I would still pay less with Big River Running program.

The newest kid on the block, True Runner, offers a FREE half marathon training program with Wednesday track workouts and Saturday long runs.

You get less of an individualized program with both of the free training options above, but you still get some guidance for track workouts and long runs and most importantly (for me at least), you still get the camaraderie that group training offers.

I am very anxious to see how the Big River training program compares to Fleet Feet.  So far my experience has been great.  A few days after I signed up, I received a survey to help determine by pace group and learn about my running history and goal race.  Then a day or two later I received my training plan via Google docs.  I have already emailed one of the coaches several times with questions (this is included in my package), and received quick responses every time.

Our kick-off meeting is January 6th with our first long run bright and early on January 10th.  On January 11th, I also start a 6-week evening boot camp.  Prior to all of that I also have two 5k's lined up, so it time to get back in the gym and stop eating all these sweets and drinking holiday mochas and lattes.  Ugh!

Happy Holidays everyone and happy training!


Monday, November 30, 2015

Hungry Turkey 5K Recap

Bright and early on Thanksgiving Day, I drove downtown to run the Hungry Turkey 5K.  The St. Louis area has many turkey trots, but this was the earliest and it is immediately followed by the St. Louis Thanksgiving Day parade.  The weather was warm for the end of November and the course took us through downtown, into the shadow of the Arch, onto the Eads Bridge, and back again.  Packet pick-up was available on Tuesday at the Big River Running store in University City, but I arrived at 6:45 a.m. to pick mine up on race day.  As the start of the race drew nearer, the pick-up line grew longer, so my recommendation is to pick up in store or earlier race day.  As a result of the long pick-up line, the race started late (it was supposed to start at 7:30 a.m.).  At the start line, the announcer told us that if the 5K takes you longer than an hour, you will be re-routed off the original course because the parade begins at 8:45 a.m. on the same street as the start/finish line.

Overall, I really enjoyed this race.  The course was scenic, the t-shirts were unique and soft, parking was a breeze and only $5 (pre-race emails gave great instructions on where to park and how much it would cost), and I hear the parade is pretty spectacular even though I did not stay for it this year.  Hopefully your turkey trots and Thanksgivings were equally great.  Happy Holidays!!!

The start/finish line at dawn

The super-soft, long-sleeved baseball t-shirt


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The basics of Floating

Before I get started, I should mention that the gentleman I used to refer to as "the boyfriend" is now "the fiance" as of September 12th!  :) 

I search KSDK's website daily for news updates and one day late summer, I came across this article about a new way to relax, unwind, and unplug.  I typically get a massage every month to month and a half, but I am always up for trying something new and totally different.  After watching this news report and searching www.floatingstl.com for more information, I was intrigued.  The next thing I knew, I had booked two simultaneous appointments; one for the fiance and one for myself.  One appointment was for the "genesis pod" and one was for the "at peace spa."

I found myself nervous hours before the appointment, probably because although this spa had great reviews, it was also totally different from anything else I had tried.  I received an appointment reminder via email several days in advance, which included great instructions so that were more prepared as 1st time floaters.

A gentle reminder in the event you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, please do so at least 24 hours in advance. Canceling or rescheduling your appointment within 24 hours will incur a 100% fee of the float rate paid at the time of reservation.

Before You Float
1. It is not necessary or recommended to wear a swimsuit while floating.
1. Don’t shave or wax before your float - because the salt water solution can irritate your raw skin.
2. If anything, only have a snack in the hour before floating because eating will activate your digestive system and not allow your body to rest
3. Remove your contacts before floating - because this will increase your eye comfort during your float
4. Don’t drink caffeine before floating - because caffeine is a stimulant and this counteracts the process of rest and relaxation
5. It is not permitted to float while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Thank you again and we look forward to hosting your float!


FLOAT is near St. Louis University and one of my favorite restaurants, The Fountain on Locust.  When we arrived, you could immediately smell the incense.  We were asked to remove our shoes and leave them in a cubbie near the entrance.  We were given a form to fill out, which also reiterated some of the information included in the reminder email.  When it was our turn, the fiance decided that he wanted the spa, so I took the pod.  One of the owners showed us to our rooms and explained the process in detail.  You shower first (and their shower heads were amazing by the way), put in earplugs, step into the spa/pod, close the door/lid, and press the button to cue the music and start the 90 minute float.

The pod experience is a bit different from the spa, which is more like a room, but when I closed the lid and pressed the button, the light turned off and relaxing music played for five minutes or so before fading out.  Then I just floated in a pod of 1' deep salt water in complete silence and darkness for 90 minutes.

Ninety minutes seems like a long time but believe me, it flew by.  It took me probably 10 - 15 minutes just to allow myself to relax.  At one point, I knew that I was falling asleep because the waves created from my muscles twitching actually woke me up.  From that point forward, I stayed awake.

You float on your back and you can have your arms with your hands above your head or down at your hips.  I tried each position for a while, but was most comfortable with my fingers interlaced and under my head.  It just felt very natural to me, but it is totally personal preference and whatever works best for the floater.  It was so quiet in the pod that I could hear my heart beating like a drum.  I would flex one foot and then relax it and think about how it felt and then tried the other foot.  I spent most of my floating time actually listening to my body for once.  It just made me grateful somehow.  I never stop to think about how my body feels until something hurts, and then all I want to do is fix it as soon as possible and get back to not thinking about my body again.  This time, I actually thought about how it felt to be pain-free, totally relaxed, and not fighting gravity.

Before I knew it, the light and the music came back on to signal the end of the 90 minutes.  As you open the pod, the room is dimly light so that the transition isn't so drastic.  You shower again to rinse off the salt and get dressed before relaxing with water or tea in the lobby.

When I returned to the lobby, I noticed that the fiance was already there.  He wasn't as impressed with the floating experience and said that he just could not get comfortable, so he exited after 45 minutes.  The floating experience isn't for everyone.  If you get claustrophobic easily, you won't like it.  If you can't sit in complete darkness and silence, you won't like it.  If you can't be unplugged and alone with your thoughts, you won't like it.

If you read the journal entries in the lobby, many floaters have found places within themselves that I just couldn't get to on my first try, but I also don't meditate regularly.  Maybe I will discover even more about myself the next time I float.  Maybe I will sleep the entire time.  Who knows!  I just know that I will try it again because it was such a unique experience.

A quick Google search shows me that similar float spas are available in other cities like:
San Diego
Tempe, Powell, Arrowhead, Gilbert, Scottsdale, Sedona, Wilmington
Dallas
Colleyville

Pictured below is the Beginner's Guide to Floating that I picked up and read the day of our appointment.  I enjoyed it and recommend it, but it isn't for everyone.




Thursday, October 22, 2015

My 5th and final Rock 'n' Roll St. Louis

Here's the deal.  I have been over the Rock 'n' Roll race craze for a while now.  I have run Rock 'n' Roll in San Antonio once, DC once, and St. Louis five times now.  At least for St. Louis, the number of half marathon finishers keeps decreasing.  In 2011 there were over 17,000 finishers.  In 2015 there were just over 8,000 even after they offered a Living Social deal.  I had no intention of running the Rock 'n' Roll half in 2014 but then they offered such a great discount that I couldn't refuse.  Then early this year I received an email stating that I would get a commemorative bib and bottle opener key chain if I ran it one more year to make it five in a row.


And so....I ran it one more year and now post-race I can honestly say that this was my last year running the Rock 'n' Roll in St. Louis.  I need to mix it up and run other Missouri races and start back on my quest to run a half in all 50 states.  I also wasn't impressed with the swag we got this year.  It was just ho-hum.  Remember when we used to get the black bags stamped with the Rock 'n' Roll logo for that particular city?  Well those days are over apparently over!

Sweet Swag
Boring Swag

The shirts were cute this year though.



But the commemorative 5-year bib and key chain took stops at three different booths before I was finally directed to the correct staff.  Even during the race, several runners asked where I got my 5 Years Running bib because they never found where to pick it up at the expo.





Despite the ups and downs mentioned above, I did have fun during the race.  I ran with a co-worker of mine who was in the Fleet Feet training group with me, just a different pace group.  I had trained with the 8:1 group (8 minutes running: 1 walking) but I ended up running with her pace group which was 5:1.  The hills in St. Louis never go away, but somehow the time flew (even if my pace didn't:) because I always had someone to talk to.  So in 2016, I will have to find different late-October half marathons to try. On to new routes and roads!  I only have one more half marathon left in 2015, then a few short races to close out the year.  I can't believe it is almost November....

Happy training!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Going Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

My blog is going pink in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

For me, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a month of remembrance for those lost, celebration for those in remission or now cancer-free, and an education opportunity for everyone. 

I remember when my maternal grandmother was fighting breast cancer.  I was in junior high at the time and I hadn’t heard much about cancer at that age and back in those days, I don’t remember cancer being as prevalent as it is today.  I am from a small town, and I remember our family having a benefit for my grandmother to help cover medical expenses. We sold food, baked goods, and even tickets for miniature train rides.  It seemed like the entire town came out to support my grandmother. 

Then I remember her on hospice.  Taking naps next to her in her hospital bed, which was in the living room.  Brushing her thinning hair.  Then I remember that last Christmas together where she gave all of the grandchildren handmade quilts.  I won’t even use that quilt today, 20 years later, because I don’t want to damage it in any way.  I want to leave it exactly the way she gave it to me.

Today, I hear about cancer constantly.  My step-mother passed away due to lung cancer in 2010.  My dad had prostate cancer around the same time that my step-mom was battling cancer.  My great-aunt (grandmother’s sister) had ovarian cancer.  A high school classmate has breast cancer.  One of the instructors at the gym had breast cancer.  The list goes on, and on, and on, and on.  People I am directly related to, acquaintances, and friends of friends.       

Since my grandmother had breast cancer and my great aunt had ovarian cancer, my mom has discussed our family history with her doctor.  If there is anything out of the normal going on with her body, she goes to the doctor.  Now I admit, I don’t do the breast self-exam as often as I should, but I recently went in to my doctor because I was having an unusual pain in my left breast.  The doctor didn’t feel anything abnormal and recommended reducing my caffeine intake and taking Vitamin E and Evening Primrose Oil.  She also said that if the pain continues, I should come back in.  So far the reduction in caffeine and the supplements seem to be working because the pain has subsided, but I was completely terrified as I anxiously awaited that appointment last week. 

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “If you see something, say something” if you have ever taken public transportation in a major city.  I heard it daily on the metro when I lived in DC.  Well when it comes to breast cancer: If you feel something, please do something!  Whether it is a sharp pain, tingling sensation, or just that one breast feels different from the other, get it checked out!  The sooner cancer is detected, the better chance you will have at beating it.

There are many great resources out there for more information, but I recommend this blogpost from the Bankers Health Care Group.  It won't take you long to read and the info-graphic is very concise.  Check it out and be sure to get checked out by your doctor if you have any doubts or concerns. ANY!

Click here for larger version of graphic

Saturday, September 5, 2015

My first experience with TRX Suspension Training

Have you ever heard of TRX Suspension Training?  It isn't a new class at my gym, I just haven't had the time to take a class until this past Monday.  Finally today (Saturday), I am no longer sore.

TRX Suspension Training was first used by the Navy SEALs because of its' portability and because it utilizes your own body weight.  The class I took had a boot camp setup where we spent two minutes at each station.  Throughout the hour, we covered each muscle group at least once, hence my soreness.  I was completely drenched in sweat by the end of the class and my body was so exhausted that I had no strength left in me to complete the last round of pull ups.  It is definitely worth a try if you have it available at your local gym, or the portability intrigues you and you want to purchase the system for yourself.

Click here for more information, including a great video about TRX Suspension Training.

Have a great week!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Where have I been?

So my blog has been silent since May.  Where have i been?

Last summer I was running a lot of 5k's and posting race recaps after each one.  I was pretty busy.  This summer has been the total opposite so far.  I mentioned in my last post that I was battling plantar fasciitis.  It all started when I was training for the GO! half marathon in April and it was only in my right foot.  When I was running, I didn't feel any pain.  But when I woke up every morning, I found that I was limping the first 5 minutes until my right foot "warmed up."  The pain was just awful, but then it would go away for a while.  At my full-time job I sit at my desk most of the time and I am always cold.  When I would get up to walk away from my desk, the pain would return and again I found myself limping until my right foot warmed up to moving again.  Even when I was working at the gym, I could feel that my right foot felt different from my left and sometimes I would feel a little pain.

When I realized that it just wasn't going to magically go away, I started Googling how to treat it and one of the suggestions was of course "rest."  So this summer, I took a break from running long distances.  I kept a tennis ball at my desk to roll my foot over throughout the day, which seemed to help.  I bought the Gaiam Restore Hot & Cold Therapy Kit for use at home, and I LOVED how it made my right foot feel afterward.  Slowly I started feeling like myself again.  Slowly.

Then yesterday, the Fleet Feet fall half marathon training program had it's kick-off party.  One of my co-workers was also returning to the program and since the kick-off did not include a group run, we decided to meet up before the party to get in a quick run.  We ended up run-walking 2.5 miles and it felt great despite the awful humidity!  When we got to the kick-off party, we met our new pace groups.  This time I opted to be in the 8:1 group, which means 8 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking repeated during the long runs.

I am so pleased with the members of my pace group this season.  We have a gentleman that was talked into running his first half marathon by his brother, yet he hates running.  Several runners who are returning after a hiatus from running and other members who are also running their first half marathon.  Then you have our leader has run 31 half marathons.  So a wide-range of ages, paces, personalities, and experiences and I look forward to training with them and getting to know them this season.

As I look at the training schedule they provided us, I like the structure and how each day is laid out with what to do, how long, and what intensity to do it at.  I can follow a schedule fairly well.  Sometimes I still feel pain in my right foot, so I am still going to continue rolling my foot both at home and at work because I want to get back to running.  I have really missed it!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Post race to-do's

It has been several weeks since my first half marathon of the year, but I just now completed the last items on my typical post race to-do list.  Other than posting the race recap to my blog, there are two other things that I do.

Within a few days after the race I also post a race review to BibRave.  I don't remember how I even came across this website, but I enjoy writing reviews for restaurants and businesses so writing reviews for races just made sense!  You can create an account so that all of your reviews are grouped together.  You can choose to follow certain athletes so that you are notified when they post a review.  You can also "Upvote" their review if you found it helpful.  BibRave is much like any other review website in that it gives you a REAL review from a coAthlinksnsumer's perspective rather than the race director's perspective.  It can be helpful when you are trying to decide between races and how to spend your hard-earned money.  Check it out and start adding your reviews today!  Click here to see my profile.

A few weeks after the race, I go to Athlinks to see if my race results are posted.  Most of my race results will post to the website 1-2 weeks after race day, but some smaller races do not show up on this website for whatever reason.  Honestly, I don't know why some are tracked and others are not.  Either way, 90% of my race results show up and I can claim them and save them all under my name,  That way, I don't have to go to each individual race's results page to find my times.  They are all in one place.  Click here to see my account to see what I mean.  Go ahead, search your name to see your results.  Now there may be other athletes with your name, so be careful when claiming your results.

Other than checking the items above off my to-do list, I have been trying to get over the plantar fasciitis that has developed in my right foot so I have been taking it easy and working my way back up from ground zero.  More details another day.  Happy Memorial Day!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Medal Monday featuring Frank

Happy Medal Monday!  Today I am featuring one of the very first running bloggers I met (virtually) when I started blogging myself.  Meet Frank, who blogs at The Fat Runner.  His favorite medal (by far) is the medal from the Walt Disney World Marathon, which was his first marathon.  It is his favorite medal because it was his greatest running accomplishment so far.  He says the Walt Disney World Marathon was fun and as magical as he had hoped.  The last 5K of the race was difficult, but thinking about his family got him to the finish line!




Follow Frank's running adventures by checking out his blog: http://afatrunner.blogspot.com/
Like him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheFatRunner

Do you have a favorite medal?  Email me (willrunforamedal@gmail.com) a picture of you and your medal and tell me why it is your favorite medal.

Have a great week!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

First Power Plate workout

Have you heard about Power Plates?  I had never heard of them until I bought a Groupon to E2 Fitness Studio for 10 Cardio Accelerator sessions.  I started the Cardio Accelerator sessions back in January and was spreading them out, so I used session 6 today.  I would often talk to E2's owner/manager after my session and he spoke highly of the Power Plates that were also in his gym and he tried to convince me to take one of his classes.  At first, I wasn't interested so I said no, but I Googled them because I was curious.  Session after session, I saw the Power Plates in the gym and my curiosity grew.

Last week I emailed the owner to see how many Cardio Accelerator sessions I had left, and he FINALLY convinced me to stay afterwards to try his 30 minute Power Plate workout.  Before class, he explained a bit about the science behind the Power Plates, but you can click here and read more about them yourself.  The exercises weren't any different than what I do on my own or in classes (lunges, squats, planks, stretches, etc.), but the vibration under my body really accentuated each move.  I will keep you posted as I take additional classes but so far I feel great and I am wondering whether or not I will be sore tomorrow.

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

GO! St. Louis Half Marathon race recap

It has been one week since the GO! St. Louis Marathon and Family Fitness Weekend.  Saturday morning was the Read, Write, and Run children's fun run, the Mature Mile, and the 5K all in Forest Park.  I spent Saturday morning working one of the t-shirt pick-up tables at the expo.  It was a four hour shift but because we were so busy, the time just flew by.  Not only do you get a free t-shirt for volunteering but as I mentioned before, your volunteer hours also accumulate and can earn you free GO! St. Louis apparel or free races!


After my volunteer shift, I met my co-worker/training buddy so that we could pick up our packets and walk through the expo.  We then decided to eat on The Hill, which is St. Louis' famous Italian area.  She chose Favazza's, and the weather was perfect for sitting out on the patio.

Favazza's on The Hill
I was excited about this race, but also nervous.  I didn't make it to as many training runs or run as much as the training schedule indicated.  The longest training runs were rough and my legs just felt tight, but I was still excited to be part of the Fleet Feet group and was glad that I didn't train on my own this winter.

The Fleet Feet Training group - Full and Half Marathoners of various paces
This was the 3rd time I have run this particular race but this year's course was different and in my opinion, more interesting since we ran over the Mississippi River into Illinois and back.  I was only able to snap a few pictures at the beginning of the course since I was running with my training group for part of the course and it started sprinkling within the first five miles.



Our 10:1 pace group

Our group started together running 10 minutes and walking one minute before repeating the process again.  I was able to stay with my group until we were crossing back into Missouri.  This is where two of us fell behind and I saw the group slowly disappear in the mass of runners.  At first I wanted to fight to keep up, but I have run most of my races solo so I was OK with finishing on my own.  The great thing about being part of a large training group was that I never felt alone because I kept seeing other Fleet Feet runners and we would yell words of encouragement to each other.  While I was on my own, I wasn't sticking to the 10:1 pace.  I just ran and walked when I felt like it.  Then just past the halfway point, my pace coach appeared out of nowhere. She was at the base of a hill that I had every intention of walking up, but she wouldn't let me walk it.  We started back on the 10:1 pace, but by that point I was pretty exhausted.  Luckily, she is a talker so we kept talking (I was mostly listening) and that helped the miles pass.  There were so many times that I wanted to walk, but she wouldn't let me.  The hills seemed so steep, but she wouldn't let me walk and kept encouraging me.  Her energy and determination to keep me moving was amazing.

Once we were finally making our way to the finish, we ran by the Fleet Feet tent and everyone screamed.  This was a great spot for them because you see the finish line, loop around the block, and then head uphill to the finish and I really needed that last boost before the uphill to the finish.

My coach stayed with me all the way until the finish, and then she went back to find the other woman in our group who fell behind on that bridge.  I don't think I have ever been that happy to be done with a race.  I was just exhausted and so thirsty!  Although my 2:42 time was nowhere near the time I had hoped for, I knew that I wouldn't have even gotten that time had my coach not been there.  I thanked her for being there for me on race day, but I get a little emotional when I think about how great it was to have her there.

The Fleet Feet training experience was a great one, so I am already thinking about joining their fall training group, which starts in July.  I had another half marathon lined up in May in Indianapolis but my parent's kitchen renovations had some unexpected delays and I am moving into St. Louis County next weekend, so this spring is just too hectic for all of us to go out of town.  I was incredibly sore for several days after this race, so I think I may start all over with my training, literally ground zero with a couch to 5K program until the half marathon training program starts again.  I also know that I am not going to get any faster until I can drop some of this extra weight, so I am going to spend more time at the gym and try to eat better too.  So although my time wasn't what I had hoped and the race was literally painful, I learned a lot about myself and have many new goals going forward.




Have a great week!!!!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Giving Back

Over the past several weeks I have been giving back to the running community by volunteering at races and packet stuffing events and I had a blast at each event!  It all started with the locally-famous St. Patrick's Day Parade Run in downtown St. Louis.  My cousin is the course director and I have both run the race and volunteered in the past.  This year I managed to get the boyfriend up VERY early to volunteer with me.  He ended up enjoying it because he had the megaphone and was yelling words of encouragement as well as letting them know that the water stop was on the right.  He loved the power his volunteer assignment gave him!



The next weekend I volunteered at a water stop for the Run for 21K half marathon and half marathon relay.  We had a large group of volunteers and we even had a pom pom group!



The Tuesday and Wednesday evenings after the Run for 21K water stop were filled with packet stuffing for the GO! Marathon and Family Fitness Weekend.  GO! St. Louis rewards their volunteers by letting them accumulate their hours towards free merchandise and most importantly, FREE RACES!  So after the two nights of packet stuffing, all of my volunteering in 2014, and my upcoming volunteer shift at the race expo, I will have 19.5 volunteering hours and you get a free half marathon with 20 hours.  Only one more shift, most likely at the GO! relay this summer, and I can run the half marathon next year for FREE!  So not only is it fun to give back to the running community, but you usually end up with at least free shirt and snacks and sometimes a free race entry in the process.  Give back when you can, you won't regret it!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

1st experience with Endless Relays



This is the track work details I receive Monday via email:

Track Work Details

It is time for a little speed play. Your schedule reads Endless Relays. Here's the scoop.

Purpose of Endless Relays: The purpose of this workout is to provide you with short bouts of moderate to vigorous activity coinciding with short rest periods.

How to Play Endless Relays: Begin by choosing a partner. You will run 400 meters (or one lap) while your partner rests. After you complete one lap, tag your partner who continues the relay by running 400 meters (or one lap) while you rest. The relay continues until the clock dings 40-minutes.

If you can't make it out to the track, simply perform a two-minute work bout, followed by a two-minute rest bout for a total of 40 minutes. Work intensity should be fairly aggressive (a Rating of Perceived Exertion of an 7-8 out of a 10-scale)

Please bring a watch to hold your own rest intervals.



As I am writing this, I am exhausted! My partner and I each ran 8 times around the track to get us to the 40 minutes. It sounds awful, but I wanted her to run her 400's slower and slower because I wanted more rest in between my 400's, but she and I both stayed fairly consistent the entire time. My 400's looked like this (no judging or giggling since I know you would run it faster):

Lap 1 - 2:28
Lap 2 - 2:25
Lap 3 - 2:24
Lap 4 - 2:23
Lap 5 - 2:22
Lap 6 - 2:23
Lap 7 - 2:31
Lap 8 - 2:22

Now that I am done with this workout, I can honestly say that I liked it and will probably repeat it sometime. At several points I wanted to walk a bit of the last turn because I tend to start out too fast and then fade. But I didn't walk because my partner would see me as would all of the other runners waiting at the line for their partners to finish. The other runners and having a partner waiting for me to finish definitely motivated me tonight, so grab a friend and hit the track for Endless Relays!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Medal Monday featuring Charlie

It is Monday again, so I would like to shine the spotlight on fellow runner, Charlie.  Her favorite race medal is from the New York City Marathon.  She didn't skip a single session while she was training for her 2nd marathon, and 1st international race!  She was lucky enough to have her family, boyfriend, and boyfriend's family come to NYC from London to support her and she was even able to see them along the course amongst thousands of spectators.  As a result of her flawless training and the support of her family, she smashed her goal time and cut 45 minutes off her PR!  Charlie is very proud of this accomplishment and hopes to run the New York City Marathon again someday.



Read Charlie's New York City Marathon race recap:
http://www.therunnerbeans.com/2013/11/new-york-city-marathon-race-recap.html

Check out her blog for upcoming races and follow her training: www.therunnerbeans.com 


Do you have a favorite race medal?  Email me (willrunforamedal@gmail.com) a picture of the medal or you with your medal and tell me why that race medal is your favorite.  Include a link to your blog if you have one but you don't have to be a blogger to participate.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Medal Monday featuring Jennifer

Medal Monday returns and today I would like to feature Jennifer, a fellow MO' Bassador.  Jennifer is very busy lady between being a wife and mother, working, and running.  She has been running for over seven years and her favorite medal is from the Divas Half Marathon in Branson, pictured below.  If you are not familiar with the landscape of Branson, MO it is HILLY so any races there have an added level of difficulty.  Check out the course map and elevation chart here.  

Be sure to check out Jennifer's blog: https://livelearnloverun.wordpress.com/
Her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/livelearnloverun

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sick AGAIN!!!!!

It has been over a month since my last post, but it feels like several months rather than one.  I had been so busy in February preparing for my vacation that I just didn't have much to post.  The plan (defined as something that a person intends to do) was to run while I was in San Juan, Puerto Rico and then a virtual half marathon while I was on the cruise to counteract the consumption of crazy-delicious food.  Best laid plans, right?  

This was my reality....I got on a z pack the Tuesday before we left for vacation because what started out as a sore throat had lead to congestion and then a cough.  My last day of the z pack was the Saturday we were in San Juan, which was the same day that the boyfriend got on a z pack because he started to get sick.  The good news is that you DO NOT need a prescription for a z pack in Puerto Rico, so my entire family stocked up.  Quite the vacation souvenir if you ask me.  


We got on the cruise ship the next day and although I was so excited to finally be on a cruise that we had booked over a year and a half ago, I was congested again so the rocking of the ship made me feel miserable for the first couple days.  I still participated in activities and laid out in an attempt to get a tan, but I was so exhausted that I napped A LOT the first couple days.   


I started feeling better on day two of the cruise but then I started having an allergic reaction to the z pack, so I had a lovely rash across my chest and neck.  The ship had a walking/running track as well as a well-equipped gym, so I decided to check out the gym since I was feeling better.  We were at sea this day and I was still a bit congested, so I had a difficult time walking in a straight path on the treadmill.  I ended up holding onto the sides of the treadmill as I walked since my sense of balance was WAY off.  I didn't dare run that day as a result, so I ended with 30 minutes of weight training and rowing.


Although I started feeling better mid-week, I was still coughing throughout the night and I would constantly have a bottle of water at my side to prevent a cough attack during the day.  By the end of the week my coughing started to decrease, so I walked/jogged on the outdoor track a total of ONE time, ONCE.  I felt like such a slacker because I had planned to go to the gym or run on the track EVERY DAY of my vacation and I only went twice! I have been back almost a week now and I haven't worked out once because I have still been so tired.  Luckily the weather turned from snow to 60's this weekend and is supposed to continue this week, so my "plan" is to get back on track this week!

Now if you had looked at the list of my upcoming races prior to this weekend, you saw the Swap House Half Marathon, which I was planning on running the virtual option while on vacation, and then the Quivering Quads Half Marathon which is in progress right now.  I ended up missing both as a result of being sick.  I just knew I couldn't pull off a half marathon today after working out twice over the past couple weeks, so I decided to let my body rest one more day instead. 

As long as I can get back on track, my next race is the Alton Half Marathon on March 21st.  Keeping my fingers crossed!!!

Hopefully your training is going better than mine.  Have a great week!!!!



Wednesday, February 4, 2015

I need your story!

It has been a while since my last Medal Monday post, but I want to get back into the routine of posting your stories every Monday.  Remember these runners:

Erin
Esther
Montana
Gabi
Stephanie
Lynna Do
Helly
Michelle
Kathryn

Please email me a picture of your favorite medal or you with your favorite medal, your name of course, and tell me a bit about why you chose that medal as your favorite.  Since I am preparing for my vacation later this month, I hope to start Medal Mondays again March 9th.

Are you next?


 

 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

I think I fell in love yesterday.....

One of my goals or resolutions for the year was to complete a half marathon closer to my Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio PR of 2:20:16.  That was in November of 2010.  It is now 2015. 

Back in 2010 I was still living in DC and my weekend long runs included running through parts of the National Mall and by the Lincoln Memorial before I crossed over the Potomac River into Virginia to continue my run on the Mt. Vernon Trail.  This trail took me right by Reagan airport, where I often took a short break to watch the planes taking off and landing.  Sometimes I would turn around and head back before I reached Alexandria and other times I would end in Alexandria just so I could walk up King Street to metro back home.  The scenery I came across during those long runs was beyond motivating. 
My runs during the week were primarily morning runs when the streets were quiet and I felt like I had the city to myself.  When I lived on Capitol Hill, I would run by the Capitol Police onto the Capitol grounds, down the hill to the National Mall and towards the Washington Monument.  Then I would turn around and go back up the hill (whew), back by the Capitol Police and then stretch in Stanton Park.  When I lived near U Street, I would run to the Dupont Circle area where the streets were absolutely quiet in the mornings.  I also ran with Pacers Running Store once per week.  Everyone in the Pacers group was much faster, so I fought to keep up.  All of this running plus my weight training at the gym helped me get that PR in 2010. 

In 2011 I moved back to Illinois to be closer to my family and because I was dating a guy from my hometown.  Now imagine my beautiful runs in DC where I prided myself in being able to run by monuments on my weekly long runs that other people would take vacation days to see, and then imagine flat Midwestern farm country with limited trails and scenery.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am the person I am today because I grew up in a small town, but it is difficult to re-adjust to small town, rural life after living in the hustle and bustle of our nation’s capital.  My running suffered because I completely lost my mojo and my motivation to get outside and run.  I couldn’t find that “click” anymore.  The only reason I continued to run was because I LOVED races and medals and races were my reason to escape the country for a weekend.  But my training leading up to each race was nowhere near where it was when I was living in DC, so my times suffered.  I was running under-trained and pretty unprepared.

Eventually I realized that I was no longer fit for small town life and that boyfriend and I parted ways.  In 2013 I found a great job in St. Louis and I moved back to an urban area.  STL is a great compromise; it is close to home so it does not require a flight and someone driving 1.5 hours to pick me up from the airport, but it is far enough away and urban enough for me to feel like "me" again. 

I picked an apartment in St. Charles because it was just across the Missouri River from St. Louis County and it was near the Katy Trail, which connects to numerous other local trails.  The Katy Trail also runs along the river, much like the Mt. Vernon Trail runs along the Potomac.  The Katy Trail is scenic in a “natural” way more so than a national monument way but on the weekends in the spring and summer, the Katy is just as busy as the Mt. Vernon Trail  was.

Even though I had access to numerous trails again since moving to the St. Louis area, something still just was not clicking.  I still lacked motivation to train properly, but I still continued to run races.  I actually signed up for a free half marathon training program through a local running store last spring, but I never went.  Not once.

It was when I went in to Fleet Feet to have my Caloric Expenditure test done that I met Coach Tim who is in charge of many of Fleet Feet’s training programs.  Even though Fleet Feet’s 12-week half marathon training program cost $140 vs. the free program I had previous signed up for, I knew this was a better fit for me.  I thought it was exactly what I needed to get back to the way running used to be for me, and paying for a program would hold me more accountable plus I would get the socialization back that I had been missing. 

Since I signed up for Fleet Feet’s training program, I received emails about training programs from the other local running stores:

http://www.bigriverrunning.com/run/training/full-and-12-marathon-training-teams/
http://www.truerunnertraining.com/default.aspx

I could try one of the other programs next time since they are cheaper, but I think I just fell in love with Fleet Feet’s program and may stick with it for fall training too.  I was immediately impressed with Fleet Feet and their attention to detail.  The head coach and I played phone tag last week as he tried to get me into the right pace group.  We finally settled on the group shooting for a 2:22:00-2:32:00 half marathon.  This group runs for 10 minutes and walks for one minute at a 12:00 per mile pace.  My other option was the 2:30:00-2:40:00 group which runs eight minutes with a one minute walk at a 12:00/mile pace.  I don’t quite understand the science behind training at a 12:00/mile pace and running a race day pace between 10:50 and an 11:36, but that is why I am paying them and following their training plan.  Plus their training plan is far more advanced than my recent training plan of “winging it.”

Coach Tim actually ended up explaining how this training method works in one of the emails leading up to the orientation/celebration yesterday.  Click here to read more.

Orientation and the celebration was at Ballpark Village, and there were more people signed up that I had imagined.  We received a folder with our training group listed as well as our individualized training plan.  I am on the 10:1 Intermediate plan.  


First week of my training plan
My goal paces - VERY lofty goals!
Bagels, energy bars, COFFEE, and water was also provided.  We also received a training t-shirt along with other goodies pictured below.  








Our first group run went well and I really like my group.  Several runners are veterans of the program, with several of us being new to the group but not new to running.  One runner was brand new to long distance running, so we have a wide range of experiences and abilities, which I love.  I am really looking forward to working with this group and am just going to sit back and trust the training rather than question it.

Have a great week!