A Perfect Long Run

I haven’t had a really good long run in probably a month. This weekend was the weekend between half marathons (I’m an idiot when it comes to signing up for races). I had 11 on the schedule, looked at it, and promptly decided that I would not be running 11 miles. I had a crappy race last weekend and didn’t want to push myself on Sunday.

Sara posted something on twitter about needing to get a long run in this weekend as well. We are both running Tyranena next week so I figured she would be running a similar distance. Several tweets later we had plans. Originally we were going to run at 7:00am on Sunday morning, but she messaged me Saturday night and I happily agreed to meet her at 10:00 instead. Both of us had 8-10 planned, neither of us had time goals, nor really cared where it fell in the 8-10 mile range. It was so nice to run with someone. We just ran the Oak Leaf Trail, which is one of my favorite places to run.  There was a strong wind coming from the south and the wind definitely tried to kill us on our way out, but it was fantastic on the way back. We talked about all kinds of things and the miles just flew by. With the Tyranena Half next weekend and our running speeds and PRs so similar I am guessing we will end up running together again.

Our pace was great, especially considering we both thought we were going to be slower. I’m impressed with how even our splits were. Mile 3 was against the wind and up one of the bigger hills.

It really was the perfect long run. All the pieces game together. It was just what I needed.


Volunteering at Races

I volunteered at the Lakefront Discovery Run on Saturday. It is a fun local race and starts pretty close to where I live. I purposely waited too long to sign up so that I couldn’t sign up. No more 2011 races! (I like to remind myself of this as often as I can). I just figure I should give back. I run a lot of races and know that they wouldn’t happen without the volunteers. Plus I discovered, while injured, how much fun volunteering is.

I volunteered at the Wisconsin Marathon and the Indoor Marathon earlier this year and then the Discovery Run on Saturday. Tracey asked me if I volunteer a lot. I laughed and told her she just happened to run two of the races I volunteered at this year. One of the fun parts of volunteering at local races is getting to see people you know. I saw Tracey, Annie and Rochelle before the start and then again at the finish. I also saw Ginesa and Kim at the finish.

I have been wondering what is volunteering a lot? I don’t really think volunteering at three races over the course of a year is a lot. Plus I have the time and I know how hard race directors work to get volunteers. I find it fun. I like chatting with the other volunteers. It is usually other runners, spouses and friends of runners or people who just enjoy being at the races.

At the Wisconsin Marathon I was handing out the space blankets at the finish and one of my college roommates litterally ran into my arms. I had no idea she had come up with Chicago to run it and she had no idea I was volunteering. How fun is that? I would love to run into a finisher’s shoot and see a friend.

I know not everyone has time to volunteer at races, but if you do, just think about it. Think about the races you have run and the volunteers you have encountered.

Not the race I planned – RnR St. Louis

I have been avoiding writing this all week. This was not my race. This was not my A goal, this was not my B goal, this was not my C goal. I forgot to have my D goal be finishing, which is exactly what I did. It was not a personal worst, but it was not anything close to what I wanted.

I owe Mo a big huge thank you for offering to pace me to a 1:55. She was fantastic for 10 miles when I sent her off on her own. I knew I did not have it in me at that point. (Although I was only about 25 seconds off my Army 10 miler time from 2 weeks earlier). It all went to crap at 10.5.

My splits were great and I was feeling good for most of the first 10 miles. Mo was giving my heads up on the rolling hills that made up the entire course. For the first time ever I considered DNFing the race. I was miserable. My legs hurt, my stomach was upset. I called my dad at mile 11. I am so, so glad he answered the phone. He told me what I needed to hear. I sucked it up. I decided to ignore my Garmin for the rest of the race. I took several waters and several energy drinks at the next aid station. I am glad I pulled it together. I am glad I finished. And I am glad I was smart enough to not dwell on it. I had another day and half in St. Louis to enjoy.

St. Louis

Jenn was an amazing host. And did a great job sharing her city with us this weekend. She picked me up from the airport Saturday morning and took me to breakfast. Then we went back to the airport to pick up Kelsey. Next up was grocery shopping for the post-race party hosted by a friend of Jenn’s. Next up was pick-up #3. We had to get Mo from the train station. We hit up the race expo where I had given myself the freedom to buy something this time around, but was uninspired. Jenn took us to a really yummy Italian restaurant.

After the race we went to Jenn’s friends house and had food and drink. Pulled pork sandwiches, mimosas, beer. It was all good. Except their cable was out so no football. Kelsey, Mo and I decided to check out the Casino. We played some slots and then went back to the hotel and passed out. No alarms the next day.

We took our sweet time, wandered down to the “free” breakfast. It was awesome. The big plans for Monday were to go to the Arch.

I did qualify for Half Fanatics this weekend so there’s that. #1469

It was a great weekend. And there are always more races.

RnR St. Louis Goals and Thoughts

I immediately knew what my goal was for this race. I have wanted to break 1:55 since August of last year when I ran the Bronx Half where I came so close. I am ready for this. I felt great two weeks ago at the Army 10 and really believe I can hold it for another 3 miles. I checked the forecast for the first time today and it looks good so far. I am going to try and behave and not check again until Thursday.

Race Goals

  • A Goal: Break 1:55
  • B Goal: PR – Sub 1:56:30
  • C Goal: Sub 2:00 hours

Weekend Goals

  • Have fun, which will be easy
  • Hang with some of my favorite ladies– Jenn, Mo, and Kelsey!
  • Not get overly stressed about the Badger game. I think this is the least likely to happen. It’s a big one. Possibly the Badgers kryptonite, playing at Spartan Stadium. I really shouldn’t have so much hatred for East Lansing considering I was born there, but I do. Most people are still upset over the loss last year. I still remember the romping in 2004.
  • Allow myself to buy something at the expo as long as it is not Nike Tempo shorts or a running tank
  • Remember to take pictures

Thinking about 2012

I can’t believe I am planning 2012 already. But since race registrations are cheaper when you register early I am already signed up for one and have others planned (and reminders on my calendar for when I can register). By now my guess is you have seen my posts on marathons and why I am not running one this year. I have been doing a lot of thinking about 2012 and if I am ready to go back to 26.2. I have decided I am not ready to commit to the time or the mental changes I would need to make to train for another 26.2.

I have decided that I will be running Ragnar again. I will be running the National Half again (even though RnR bought them). It falls on St. Patty’s day, which also happens to be three days before my birthday. And I get to run with my DC friends. I will be running the Green Bay Half with some of my twitter/blogger friends. I am going to run the IceBreaker Indoor Marathon Relay with twitter friends. I am not going to sign up for too many races like I did this fall. I am going to race smarter instead of just training smarter. I am going to do races with friends and have a good time. I am not going to obsess over getting a PR every time.

Social Media and Running

Social media is an amazing thing. Many people think it is a waste of time, which sometimes it is. Many people don’t understand it. Many don’t even want to try to understand. People use it for all kinds of reasons. Some like social media just to keep tabs on people they went to high school or college with. Some people like to share pictures with and stay in touch with family. I use social media for many different things.

What has amazed me over the last several years is the expansive running community on the web.

I joined Twitter on January 7, 2009. I had no idea what to expect. I joined to connect with extended family who lives far away. (I have since unfollowed and/or blocked them from my feed.) I have no idea how I first found other runners on twitter, but the timing turned out to be pretty perfect. I signed up for my first half marathon and my first marathon in 2009. Once you find a few runners it feels like you can always find more like minded people. I get overwhelmed with 500 followers. I have no idea how you people out there handler 1000, 2000, or more followers. Even with lists I get overwhelmed.

Through Twitter I discovered DailyMile. A social media site dedicated just to athletes? Awesome! And it tracks my workout? Even better. I love numbers and charts. I love looking at my training. (Except for those pesky 4 months last year that are at zero running miles thanks to my stress fracture.) DailyMile, in general, is one of the most supportive communities I have ever been a part of on the internet. People are not judgmental of times and distances, they encourage each other, and fun motivations.

Facebook is very different to me. I limit my Facebook friends quite a bit. I will not friend people I don’t actually know. I will not friend someone just because we have interacted once or twice on Twitter. I check security settings all the time. I also try no to inundate those friends with my running stuff.

I never thought of Meetup.com as a social media venue until last week when I was sitting in a session at a conference and they listed it. When I included Meetup it turns out that I have almost exclusively met people through social media outlets. There are many people in my life that I wouldn’t know without these outlets and I am grateful for each and everyone of of them.

My most awesome Ragnar adventure came about through Twitter and Facebook. Not only did I have a ridiculously amazing amount of fun in those 36 hours I made friends with people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. People that I can call or text or email or tweet if I need something or to talk to someone. People that I call my friends. People that I wish lived closer. The downfall of meeting people through social media is that they live all over the country or world. I met some of my best friends through a running group I found on Meetup.com. I found people to run with when I moved through Twitter.

Basically I can’t imagine my life without social media or the people I have met through social media. I am certain I would not be the person or runner that I am.

What does social media mean to you?

Three Things Thursday

1. Football. We all know I love it. I get a double dose this weekend. On Saturday Jen and I are going to the Badger game. It is Homecoming and they are playing Indiana so the Badgers will probably score at least 70 points. No really. They beat Indiana 83-20 last year. Then on Sunday my dad and I are going to the Packers game. Now having lived most of my life in Wisconsin I am ashamed to admit I have never been to Lambeau Field. This will change on Sunday.

2. My brother is coming home in just a few weeks! I am so freaking excited. While this is the first time in my life that my dad doesn’t have to work Christmas or New Year’s my brother will be gone for both Holidays. I was really upset at first, but it is a great opportunity for him and I am thrilled his job is going so well for him. Little does he know that I will not let him have any free time in November while he is home.

3. Running has been a bit slow for me lately. I had a good race at the Army Ten Miler, but other than that life has just been getting in they way. I have decided to let it go and just get back out there.