Saturday, April 18, 2015

Giveaway Saturday!

Next Saturday, April 25th is the 6th annual Run with the Cops Not From Them race on beautiful Belle Isle. There is a 5k and 10k option.  Come on out to run and bring a friend, too!

If you'd like a chance to win a FREE entry* for either the 5k or 10k, answer the following question: Who do you run with?  Comment below and a random winner will be announced Sunday night.

*Race entry courtesy of RUNdetroit

Monday, April 6, 2015

Face Your Fears

As I stepped outside for my run yesterday morning, my head was full of anxiety.  I was nervous. My stomach was in knots.  This wasn't race day, so what was the big deal?  

I had to do 8 miles, my longest run since October.  I was excited about the distance but nervous because I hadn't run more than 5 on my own since I'd started running again post-PRP.  I've run 20 miles solo so why did 8 seem so daunting?  I guess I've gotten used to running with people in the past 6 weeks - Brian, RUNdetroit group run, Detroit Tough Endurance friends.  Sure I've run by myself a few times but not 8 miles.  

I was also off my routine, having eaten breakfast and drank coffee pre-run instead of the usual post-run Starbucks stop.  Was that causing the knots?  Should I wait to run while it settles?  

What I didn't really want to admit was that the biggest source of my anxiety was actually fear.  Coach Terra wanted me to run 8:00-8:15/mile pace and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to do it.  I was afraid I wouldn't have the endurance to keep that pace for 8 miles. Maybe I'd be huffing and puffing or my hamstring would start to hurt.  I might completely run out of gas and say, "Screw this!"  I might trip and fall, something that happens more than I'd like to admit.  Basically any scenario possible went through my head.  Remember, I hadn't run 8 miles since October.  Anything could happen.

Yes, anything could happen.  Thankfully it was a beautiful sunny morning.  I put on my brightest shoes, one of my favorite shirts, and my sunglasses.  I'd made a special Spring playlist just for the run.  I turned that on, started my Garmin, and I was off.  I easily slipped into my planned pace and I felt at peace.  I ended up having the best run I'd had in a long time.  

Before leaving the house I'd felt a little crabby because I'd been so worried about the run.  I hadn't wanted to fail.  I'd been afraid to fail.  I just needed to have a little more faith. Faith in myself and faith in Coach Terra's plan.  She wouldn't ask me to do something I'm not ready to do.  

Face your fears.  Run at them head on.  Again and again and again.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

On the Run: Rock CF 1/2 Marathon Relay 2015

Emily Schaller, you've outdone yourself yet again.  Emily is the tireless race director who expertly executed a 5th Rock CF that was somehow even more spectacular than last year's event.  I always encourage any runner to participate and I wouldn't miss it for anything.

When I had my PRP injection in February and was looking at recovery time, I started panicking about Rock CF.  I am already missing Boston.  Missing Rock CF would actually be worse.  There was no way I would be ready for a half marathon but thankfully this event is more than just a half marathon.  There is also a 5k and a half marathon relay, split into legs of 7.7 miles  and 5.5 miles.  At first I planned on doing the 5k.  The distance would be good.  Then my friend and Girls Running Club coaching partner asked if I would relay with her.  Nicole had planned on the half but hadn't been able to train enough.  The relay would give me more miles, plus alleviate the anxiety of a 5k.  If I ran leg 2 (5.5 miles) I wouldn't have the pressure of starting a race, either.  I could either race it or just run it depending on how I felt when the day came.  No pressure.

Leading up to race day I'd been following my coach's plan of running easy, base-building miles.  My last 4-6 weeks have looked like this: 6 days running 4-5 miles at 8:30-9:00 pace, biking a few days a week, and Mechanics at Detroit Tough 2 days a week.  One day of rest.  For the race I would start at 7:30/mile and see how I felt, hoping to drop down from there (keeping in mind I'm still not 100% healed).

Similar to Corktown earlier this month, I didn't approach this race like most other races. I was running leg 2, so I wouldn't be starting the race at the same time as anyone else.  That was a bit of a game-changer.  It threw things off a bit in terms of warm-up, fueling, bathroom, etc.  Much of that would be done at the relay exchange point while I was waiting for my runner to come in.  

Because I wouldn't need to do those things until the exchange, Brian and I took the opportunity to volunteer at race-day packet pickup.  We're always there early for parking so we figured we may as well do something productive!  One of my goals this year is to volunteer at more races and what better race to start with than Rock CF.  We had so much fun with the other volunteers and loved helping runners and wishing them well on their race.  We got cool shirts for volunteering AND Emily even surprised me with a bib from the Groundhog Day race that didn't get to happen last year due to icy conditions.  

Brian stayed to help man the table until 8:00; however, I left a little early to get in on a RUNdetroit group photo and board the shuttle bus.  Waiting on the bus was probably the hardest part!  It was nice and warm but just sitting wasn't an ideal way to get ready to run.  Finally I had to get off the bus.

The only other relay I've done was The Great Lakes Relay in 2013.  I kind of forgot the excitement that comes with waiting for your runner to come in.  I was standing in the chute, trying to remember what Nicole was wearing, when I heard the announcer say her number.  I started jumping up and down and yelled to the person on my right, "1641!  That's my runner!"  When I saw her coming I shouted to another random runner, "There she is!  There's Nicole!"  I told Nicole how great she did but she was waving me on telling me to go go go!  I was so excited I almost forgot to run!  

So then I was off!  (And eventually remembered to start my Garmin.)  I ran through the water station and and into the stream of half marathon runners.  It was a gorgeous day.  The sun was shining and the water was to my right.  I was so happy to be out on my favorite race course again.  I was doing well running 7:30's and although I'd hoped to drop down, I quickly realized that wasn't going to be realistic.  My hamstring felt good but I was pushing hard to maintain my pace.  I didn't want to overdo it.  What I was feeling more than my legs, however, was hunger.  That is what slowed me down more than anything. I hadn't fueled properly and it was taking its toll.  So I listened to my body and did what I could.  I wasn't going to let anything take away the enjoyment of this race!

I wasn't on the course long before I made it to the Naval Station Hangar, which is the start of the 5k race hosted by RUNdetroit.  Justin Craig, RUNdetroit co-owner and 5k race director, was outside the hanger to cheer and offer support.  Only another 3.1 miles left?  Wow, this race was going fast!  Although it was a chilly day I was really warming up with the sunshine.  The wind had died down so my gloves came off.  I had already seen a few fellow RUNdetroit Flight Club friends (easily recognizable by the distinctive wings on our jerseys) on the course and saw several more as I made my way to the river.  

Due to snow on the track, the race didn't finish in the usual location.  Instead of finishing on the high school track, it ended at the middle school.  This meant more of the course was along the river at the end.  I loved this change, especially since I didn't get to run along the river starting the race.  The new finishing chute was pretty amazing, too.  Nice and long, with great crowd support all along.  I felt like a star running through it!  The first person I saw when I was done was Emily, watching each runner cross the line.  I found Brian.  Nicole was waiting for me.

I think this was my happiest Rock CF finish ever!  No worries about PRs or placing.  Just happy running, pure and simple.  



Banana, CLIF Shot (vanilla)

Nobody Really Cares if You Don't Go to the Party / Courtney Barnett
Birth in Reverse / St. Vincent
I've Had it Up to Here / Weezer
All Hands on the Bad One / Sleater-Kinney
Bitter Rivals / Sleigh Bells
The Middle / Jimmy Eat World
Youth Without Youth / Metric
Blood for Poppies / Garbage
Anklebiters / Paramore
Man / Neko Case
Jaded / Green Day
Run Right Back / The Black Keys
The Feast and the Famine / Foo Fighters

*Official time, based on 5.5 miles.  Garmin shows that the course was 5.23 miles for an average pace of 7:23/mile.  That's more realistic!

For fun, check out my other Rock CF posts!

Did you run Rock CF this year?

Friday, April 3, 2015

On the Run: Corktown Race 2015

On Sunday, March 15th I ran the Corktown 5k, my first race in over 4 months.  This was a race of firsts for me.  First pain-free race since injuring myself by running the Novi 1/2 Marathon last May.  First time racing with Brian (we ran side by side from start to finish). First team event with my gym, Detroit Tough.  Most importantly, this was the first time in years I raced completely happy and carefree, not trying to push myself too hard or worrying about what place I finished.  

For those of you not from the Detroit area, the Sunday before St. Patrick's Day basically IS St. Patrick's Day.  That's when Corktown celebrates with the race at 10am, followed by the parade at noon (drinking and shenanigans all day).  I ran the race for the first time last year but have never been to the parade.  Honestly, I'm not up to dealing with all the craziness!  

Brian and I parked at Mudgie's to stay warm and have some pre-race coffee.  I've never had coffee before a 5k but hey, there's a first for everything!  From there we could walk the few blocks to the gym to meet everyone, take a group photo, and head to the start as a team.  I loved that Brian got to meet a lot of my Detroit Tough family for the first time!

We had just enough time to get in a warm up run, do some run drills (high knees, butt kicks, walking lunges), and squeeze into our corral with a few minutes to spare before the start.  This race is huge so they have several corrals based on your finish time.  We were in the first one but toward the back.  Brian's goal was to finish in 25:00, which would be a PR for him.  My goal was to make sure he did just that.

Because of the rush at the beginning, we started out faster than planned.  Brian was doing great so we just kept it up.  I chatted the whole time, waved to people, thanked volunteers.  The people-watching was great - lots of costumes and crazy get-ups.  We paced a guy in lime-green spandex and an orange mullet for most of the race.  It was awesome.  He beat us - but not by a lot!  We ended up finishing under 25:00.  Brian beat his Mustache Dache time by over a minute and he also beat me by 1 second!  He was NOT letting me win this race.  haha.  

We got our medals and saw a whole group of Detroit Tough friends waiting for us.  
Like Megan - my amazing new friend!  We also saw several fellow RUNdetroit Flight Club friends too!

After the race we headed back to the gym for a potluck brunch - and a little monkeying around!

Running a race with my friends and family - after so many months of injury - filled me with such joy and happiness.  No nerves, no stress, no worries.  Among the (many) things I've learned from my injury, one lesson is this: not every race has to be your own.  Race with and for someone you love.




none (first race without music!)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Finding Strength

12 days post-PRP.  12 days of not being being able to bike or swim.  Those were my saving graces in the 13 weeks that I wasn't able to run.  I spent the first three days after my injection trying to be as immobile as possible.  According to my doctor and what I read online, those days are most critical for healing to occur.  It wasn't easy to be still but I knew it was important.  I used the time to rest, cuddle with the kitties, and finally get back to reading Born to Run, which I started reading about 4 years ago.  Now that I know a lot more about running, I'm finding it much more interesting and enjoyable than when I started reading it.

I knew I was healing and tried to remain positive; however, sitting around for 3 days with little movement started to mentally wear on me.  I started to panic.  If I was going this stir-crazy after only three days, what was I going to do for two weeks?  Sure I could use weights for my upper body but I was craving some heart-pumping cardio.  That's when I remembered the machine at the gym that is rarely used but would be perfect for me: the arm bike!

My spirits lifted when I thought of this!  It isn't the cardio I'm used to but it's something.  Since last Saturday, I've been at the gym every day, pedaling away for 30 minutes on the arm bike.  It's harder than it looks!  I get some cardio benefit while working my chest, shoulders, back, arms and core.  I increase the watts to make it more challenging and sometimes try one arm at a time for variety.  I found an article about arm bike benefits here.

I've also been working on strength training.  At home I use my dumbbells for biceps, triceps, and shoulders.  I have to be careful with core moves but can do crunches and Russian twists (feet on floor).  Yesterday I went to Mechanics at Detroit Tough and Coach Terra put me through a rigorous arm workout.  I did 4 circuits of biceps, triceps, chest, wall pushups, crunches, Russian twists, and shoulders (Y and T raises). My warm-up was 5 minutes of wall angels.  I'm feeling those today!

I know a lot of people get injured and can't run.  When that happens there are cross-training options - bike, swim, elliptical.  I never imagined I'd see the day when I couldn't do any of the above.  Instead of feeling sorry for myself (even though it was tempting to do so) I chose to embrace this opportunity to focus on strengthening my upper body.  

I may not get to run.  I may not get to bike or swim.  But I get to use to arm bike!  

Embrace your strength.  Focus on what you get to do.