Sunday, November 28, 2010

WDW Half Marathon Training - Week Eight: Family, Friends, Food, & Running

This was a full week of family, friends, activities, and food.  It was a relatively easy week training wise.  The plan for this week was pretty similar to last week, but I made a few adjustments because of my schedule.  My IT band was still feeling a bit sore, although the foam roller has been a life saver, seriously.  If you have any kind of sore muscles I highly recommend getting a foam roller.  It does hurt, but feels good at the same time.  
  • Monday I took it pretty easy with a treadmill run for 44 mins.  It felt pretty good - no pain.  I made sure to foam roll after.  
  • Tuesday was cross training for 40 minutes which is just an increase of ten minutes from previous weeks.  I did a circuit workout with lots of arm work.  I added a few squats, lunges, and crunches as well.  I focused on my arms so much that they were shakey after the workout session.  I made sure to add in some leg exercises and stretches that are supposed to help with IT band and runner's knee issues.  Some of the ones from Healthy Tipping Point and Runner's World.  
  • Thursday my family did a local Turkey Trot together and had great time.  The recap is here.  We finished around 39 minutes so I just jogged five more minutes to get to the scheduled 44 minutes.  I did however completely forget about the stride drills I was supposed to do.  I only realized I had forgot to do them when I checked my training plan later that night.  After our Thanksgiving meal I decided to go on a nice, long bike ride.  I indulged quite a bit and decided a simple bike ride would make me feel a bit better and it certainly did.  It ended up being around 40 minutes.
  • Friday was supposed to be another cross training day as well.  We went bowling for about 45 minutes and since I went on a bike ride the day before I felt like I covered my 30 minutes that were scheduled.
  • Saturday, I got up early for my long run which was four miles.  Saying that four miles is my short, long run, is both strange and exciting.  Four miles right now feels like a comfortable distance.  It is weird to think that just two months ago four miles felt like such a long distance- and in reality, it is, in fact, a pretty long distance to run!  I went with the run 3/ walk 1 ratio and the run felt very good.  It was overcast and quite humid out, but there was nice breeze.  I kept a comfortable pace throughout and my legs felt good too.  I had a long stretch and foam rolling session when I got home and made sure to ice my knees.  One of the best things about this training plan is how accomplished I feel.  I haven't even completed the race yet, but there are many small things in this journey that make me feel strong and happy, both physically and mentally!  Sure it is hard work sometimes (like last weeks pains & long run), but overall I am really enjoying running and training.  
This week a friend and I are traveling to Chicago to see the city and check out some areas to live.  We are planning on moving to the city some time next year; it is one of my favorite places.  I am really excited about the four day trip!  (If you have any places to see or things to do in Chicago, let me know!)  I am getting all of my winter clothes together because it is going to be chilly up there, including workout gear.  I have an eight mile run scheduled for Saturday so we will see what happens with that in Chicago!

What do you like or dislike most about training?  

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Race Recap: Turkey Trot 5K 2010

I am thankful for so many things including my wonderful family, my fabulous friends, the friendly, supportive people of the blog world, and my healthy lifestyle! 

Today we have lots of eating and family time planned, but we started the day off with a local Turkey Trot.  We did our first Turkey Trot about two years ago and now that everyone is back here this year we decided to try another one.  It was 5K race around Lake Eola in downtown Orlando.  Proceeds from the race benefit Senior's First which provides meals to seniors in the Orlando area.  It is quite a fun event and supports a great cause- because everyone deserves to have a warm meal!  I also think the race is a great way to begin Thanksgiving day.  Your workout is done in the morning so you can enjoy the rest of your day!

I was really excited about this race because my mom, step-dad, sister, brother, and I were all doing the race together.  (Plus I wore my new contacts to the race, it was quite a different experience!)  This year we decided to dress up a bit to add some festivity to the day.  I went as a chef with a cooked turkey on my head, my sister, Caroline, went as a Native American, my mom and step-dad, Andy, went as Pilgrims, and my brother, Patrick, went as a turkey.  We had a fun time coming up with costumes and doing some small arts and crafts to put them together.  
The Family in Costumes Pre-Race
This race was fun!  The race route weaved through some nearby neighborhoods, brick roads, and finished around the lake.  I did have a training run today so I kept to my pace of run 3/ walk 1.  I felt good throughout the race although running on the brick roads was a bit precarious.  We actually saw a few people trip and someone even had a police officer helping them off the track.  It was quite crowded - 5200 people were racing this morning, which made for a busy race route.  I tried to limit weaving around people, but it was necessary a few times.  We didn't stay together the whole time, but four of us ended up finding each other near the end.  I thought we were going to cross the finish line together, but Caroline decided to run ahead and we all sped up to try and beat her.  Andy ended up passing her and crossing the line first followed by Caroline, mom, me, and then Patrick.  We finished around 39 minutes.  
There were free Panera bagels available after the race and we each grabbed some and walked back to the car.  We stopped by Starbucks for some post-race drinks and picked up a newspaper to check out the Black Friday deals!

We are currently preparing and cooking our Thanksgiving meal.  I see some game and Wii playing in our future as well.  It should be a good day!

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you are having a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend and enjoying time with family and friends and, of course, some tasty food!
What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

WDW Half Marathon Training - Week Seven: Halfway There

Well, I have reached the halfway point of my half marathon training program, which means there are only seven more weeks until my first half marathon.  This is what was scheduled this week:
Monday: 44 mins run 3/walk 1
Tuesday: cross-train 30 mins
Wednesday: REST
Thursday: 44 mins run 3/ walk 1 + 4 stride drills
Friday: cross-train 30 mins
Saturday: 7 miles run 3/ walk 2
Sunday: REST

This week was honestly quite tough.  At the beginning of the week I was still fighting a sinus infection, so I wasn't feeling that great.  
For Monday's run my legs were still sore from the 10K we did Sunday, so I took it easy and kept a nice, slow pace on the treadmill.  It was not the best run, but it sufficed.  
Tuesday I took it easy as well, because I was still feeling a bit stuffy, fuzzy, and sore.  I did a circuit workout.  I didn't add many cardio bursts and instead focused on abdominal and arm moves.  I actually felt much better after the workout than I had all day long.
Thursday's run was OK.  The running ratio was good for most of the workout, but I noticed I felt a little tired near the end of the run.  My strides went quite well.  I ran my fastest 30 second stride so far!
Friday my mom and I went on a bike ride around the neighborhood together.  She was on her road bike and I had the mountain bike.  I worked much harder than I usually do on my rides, trying to keep up with her.  For the last mile we switched bikes.

And then there was the long run Saturday.  Oh boy this one was tough, mentally and physically.  I had planned on getting up around 7 AM, going to WW and then going out for a run.  Well, I must have been tired because I slept right through my alarms and didn't get out of bed until 9:20 AM.  I did not feel like running.  I got dressed and drove over to see if I could make the end of the last WW meeting, made it just in time, and then headed back home.  I still did not feel like running, but knew I needed to get it done.  
I ate a cranberry orange Clif bar and drank a big glass of water.  Since it was now later it was a bit warmer, so I went upstairs and changed again.  After getting my iPod, shoes, knee straps, and G2/water ready, I finally headed out the door at 10:40AM.  As I was warming-up I said to myself, "You can do this Cate.  It is only one more mile than last week.  Stay positive."  I made sure to start off slow, because I didn't want to burn out too fast.  The first few miles were OK, but about halfway through I was hoping it was going to be over soon.  Here and there I had some feeling good running sections, but around mile four my right knee began to hurt.  I stopped for a second, stretched a bit, and adjusted my knee strap.  It also began to get a bit warm at this point in the run, as it was nearing noon, which didn't make me feel much better.  As I continued the pain got a bit more uncomfortable and by mile six I felt pain along the outside of my thigh, around my knee, and down my calf.  I ended up taking longer walk breaks for the last mile; I was just ready to be finished.  I did a slow jog to complete the seven and was so very happy to be done.  
The cool-down walk was a bit painful too.  I don't know what happened, because I have never had leg pain like this.  I looked it up on Runner's World and I think I may be having some iliotibial-band syndrome.  I made sure to stretch, ice, and foam roll when I got home, which has helped.  I am also going to try some of the exercises that RW suggests.  I know I don't want to make it any worse than it is so I am going to take it day by day to see how my leg feels. 

On a happier note, I am so glad that it is the week of Thanksgiving!!  I get the whole week off from work and my younger sister and brother are coming home Tuesday for a week of family fun, festivities, and food!  We have plans to go to the eye doctor (I know exciting right- I am considering a new pair of glasses and maybe contacts), a trip to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One (super excited about this!  I am a huge HP nerd!), a family 5K Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning, some Wii Sports and Guitar Hero playing, and lots of delicious homemade food!  It has been awhile since we have all been together, so it should be a fun week. 

Have you ever had IT band issues?  What worked for you to help with the pain?  What Thanksgiving activities do you have planned?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

WDW Half Marathon Training: Week Six - Knee Pain

This has been kind of a tough week.  I have felt quite sore all week long, and to top if up I have been having some sinus/cold issues.  This week's schedule was pretty much like last's except for the six mile long run.  

Perhaps you have noticed in some of my race pictures that I wear knee sleeves, so this is a bit of a back story on what is up with my knees.  Early this year, after working out consistently for about five months, I increased my walking and soon developed some pain in my knees.  I cut back on the walking, but continued to attend my Body Tone group fitness class.  I couldn't seem to do all the squats and lunges as well as I used to, and my knees were sore after class.  I didn't want to stop working out, because I really enjoyed it and I feared that my weight loss would slow.  I decided to take a week off and see how I felt after.  My knees felt better so I went back to the fitness class and picked up my walking routine again.  Unfortunately the pain in my knees came up again.  The fitness instructor noticed the week I was missing and asked what was up.  I explained my knee pain to her and she suggested a few step exercises that could help, so I tried them.  I cut back on my walks and did modified versions of the moves in class.  The pain subsided a little, but I was just so confused as to why I had sore knees at 22 years old!  I was finally getting healthy, exercising, and losing weight, it just didn't make sense to me.  I feared that I would just have to live with the knee pain. 

I finally decided to go to the doctor and he suggested I get a knee sleeve and try some strengthening moves.  He told me that I had patellofemoral pain syndrome, or runner's knee.  This is when the kneecap (patella) is mistracking, which then irritates the surrounding bones and cartilage.  In my case it was probably caused by overuse, or doing too much, too fast, and weak thigh muscles.  My outer thighs muscles are pretty strong, but it was the inner ones that needed to be strengthened.  So I got some knee sleeves, which definitely helped with the pain, and kind of did the strengthening moves every once in a while (not as often as I should have).  The pain had decreased, but my knees were still achey probably because I was not really working on my thigh muscles.  I tried a water fitness class so there would not be as much pressure on my knee, and it ended up being pretty good.  

After graduation I discovered the healthy living blog community and found a post about knee pain on Caitlin's blog, Healthy Tipping Point.  The pain she described sounded very similar to mine.  In this post she shared lots of wonderful information that has helped me.  I had the knee sleeves part down, but she demonstrated more strengthening moves, besides the one my doctor told me, and recommended icing your knees after every run.  I began to ice my knees and do the exercises and the pain pretty much disappeared!  (If you have similar pain, you should of course visit your doctor!) Icing my knees after a workout really helps and the exercises have been beneficial too.  As long as I wear my knee sleeves I am good!  

Monday's run was tough.  My body felt quite sore and the run seemed hard.  Also in the last 15 minutes or so my right knee began to feel sore.  No good.  I have been thinking about why they would all of sudden begin to hurt again after months of no pain.  I have narrowed down to three things: my increase in milage because of training, my knee sleeves are old (like 10 months, they are the first ones I bought), and/or I have not been as consistent with the strengthening exercises.  I think all three reasons make sense as to why the pain is back.  I don't want to stop training because the pain isn't that bad and I really enjoy training, so I am going to see if I can fix the other two to ease the pain.  My sleeves are pretty stretched out and probably aren't supporting my knee as well as they could.  I am also going to make sure I do my strengthening exercises more often.  In the meantime I am trying not to push myself too hard by running at a slow, steady pace and making sure my cross training activities are not too strenuous on the knees.

Cross training for Tuesday was the wonderful Multi-Tasking Workout (courtesy of Your Nutritionista).  I seriously love this workout!  I switched up the moves this week, by doing a few of them for two minutes and I even added an 18lb body bar into the routine.  Thursday I was still a little sore, but not as bad as Monday.  All my runs this week have been run 3:15/ walk 1:45, which has been good.  For Friday's cross training I went on nice bike ride around the neighborhood.  It was nice and cool outside which made for lovely biking weather.  

For the long run I completed my first 10K race!  The recap is here.  It felt really good and luckily my knees were OK.  There was a twinge of pain in my right knee a couple of times, but it faded quickly and they felt fine after.  

This coming week the training plan switches things up a bit.  I will be changing my run/walk times to 3 mins/ 1 min, plus I have a 7 mile run next Saturday!

Have you had any aches or pains when running?  What do you do about it?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Race Recap: Celebration Florida Hospital Founders' Day 10K

I did it!  I finished my first 10K race - 6.2 miles, the farthest I have ever run!  
It was a great race and I felt good running it!  

The race began at 7:30, bright and early this morning, in Celebration.  I did not get to sleep as early as I wanted to last night, because I was wrapped up in a magazine and then had to see the end of the FSU vs Clemson game (GO NOLES!).  I have been having some sinus/cold issues this week and woke up at 4:30 AM with a bad stuffy nose.  I tried to get back to sleep, but only got about 30 more minutes before it was time to get up anyway.  I took some medicine and drank some water, hoping that if I started moving, I would feel better.  I enjoyed a tasty cranberry orange nut bread Clif bar for pre-race fuel and we headed out the door.  On the ride over I continued to drink water and finally felt the medicine start to kick in.   

Before the race
Once again it was a family event as my mom, stepdad, and I, were all running the Founders' Day 10K race.  We got there with plenty of time and started walking over to the hospital and then headed for the starting line.  They lined up in the 9 minute running group and I stood with the 10+ minute group.  The race began and we were off!  There were over 1000 people running the 10K this morning, so the start of the race was a bit crowded, but I tried hard not to weave around people.  I wanted to make sure not to start off too fast and found a comfortable pace.  I decided to go with run/walk ratio of 3:10/1:50.  I pretty much stuck to that whole race, with some runs going a bit longer, especially toward the end of the race.  The crowd thinned out after the first mile and I was feeling good.  Something I really like about a race is the different people that run.  I do all of my training runs by myself so it is nice to run with other people in a race, at least for some friendly competition.  In a race I like to set mini goals as I go, such as "keep up with the girl in the pink shirt" or "I am going to pass this lady."  I think it makes the race exciting!  

The race path was really nice and the weather was great!  There were not many spectators, but a few people came out of their houses to cheer us on.  We ran through the cute neighborhoods in Celebration and even through downtown.  A couple houses already had their Christmas decorations up!  They were neighbor houses, so I assume there is a bit of a competition between the two.  I had to snap a picture of them quickly, since Christmas is my favorite holiday! 
While heading into mile five I looked ahead and saw a group of people holding signs.  As I got closer I noticed they were some employees from the lululemon Outlet.  They had some great signs like: "Don't stop now - people are watching," "You're almost there!"  "The finish is just ahead" (or something to that effect).  I wish I had taken a picture, because they were wonderful signs.  The ladies were cheering us on and it encouraged me to push a little harder.  I happened to be wearing the running crop pants I recently bought there and while waving to them I shouted out that I was wearing lululemon pants.  A few of them gave me a thumbs up and they cheered a bit louder.  It really gave me a burst of energy to keep going strong!  

The race track got quite a bit smaller as we were running next to the street, so the last mile or so was pretty much on the sidewalk.  There also happened to be a 5K race that was starting soon and the 10K race path went right through the parking area, so it got a bit crowded near the end.  I had to weave around a few people who were walking to the 5K start.  As I made the final turn (I feel like there is always a turn right before a straight shoot to the finish) I picked up my pace and sprinted through the finish.  The announcer said my name over the speakers as I finished in 1:21:15!  I know it is not a super fast time, but I am happy with it because it was my first time running that far.  I wanted to finish under 1:30 and I did just that!  Plus because this is my first 10K it is a personal record (PR); I really think it can only get better from here!  
At then end of the finish line one of Track Shack owners, Betsy, was there to applaud the finishers.  After she congratulated me, I told her it was my first 10K and she gave me a double high five!  She was very friendly; just another reason why Track Shack is awesome.
I can't believe I finished 6.2 miles!  It really didn't seem that long as I was running.  I was a bit worried about the race, because my runs hadn't been great this week, but luckily my knees felt pretty good and thanks to medicine my sinuses were not a problem.  I am proud of myself for completing a new distance and feeling so good throughout the run! :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

WDW Half Marathon Training: Week Five - Trying to Find the Right Pace

This week of half marathon training had a few new changes.  Here is what was scheduled:
Monday: 45 mins run 3/ walk 2
Tuesday: 30 mins
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: 45 mins r 3/ w 2 & 4 stride drills -run 30 secs w/ 1min walking
Friday: 30 mins
Saturday: 5 miles r 3/ w 2

My two runs during the week increased by another five minutes.  This is good because I am slowly building my endurance.  After reading Marathoning for Mortals I was trying to decide between the run/walk or run plan for the half marathon.  I can run longer than the times recommended on the plan, but I decided to go with the run/walk schedule, because I am still a new runner.  I also know that long distance running is different and that it will be a challenge for me.  For the actual race the plan has me running  four minutes and then walking one minute continuously.  So, I figure I can either run at a faster pace for a shorter amount of time or run at a slower, steady pace for a longer amount of time.  I haven't decided yet.  I have been feeling pretty good about my running so I decided to change my running times this week.  For my weekday runs I went with run for 3:10 and walk for 1:50.  It was a good pace.  I know that is not a huge time difference, but I want to slowly increase the pace to see what is going to be the most comfortable for me to run the race. 

Tuesday for cross training I did another wonderful multi-task workout.  I still LOVE this workout but I think I need to vary some of the strength exercises or maybe increase the time or weight I am using.  Some of the moves are already feeling easier and I want to make sure that I am challenging myself just a bit.  Friday's cross training was only ten minutes, because I went from work to babysitting and did not get home until midnight.  Once the kids were asleep I did a few strength exercises and yoga poses though.  

For the long run Saturday I split it up into two different runs.  I ran the RUNNONA 5K, which was really nice and then followed that with a two mile run.  I actually just ended up running two miles from the race site since it was such a nice area.  Then got picked up for the ride home.  As I mentioned in my race recap I ended up changing my running ratio for the race.  My plan was to run 4/ walk 1, but throughout the race it ended up being around 5-8 minute run with 30 sec - 1min walk breaks, and it worked out pretty well for me.  The other two miles I went with a 3:30 run /1:30 walk pace, which felt good as well.
So the pace and timing thing is still something I am working on.  I guess it is just trial and error to figure out what works best for me.

Next week I have a 6 mile long run scheduled and guess what?  I am running another race!  I have signed up to do my first 10K!  I will be running the Florida Hospital Celebration Health 15th Annual Founders' Day 10K.  

How did you or do you find your running pace?  If you have any tips, articles, or stories about finding a good race pace, please share.  

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Race Recap: RUNNONA 5K

Well another 5K is complete and boy it was a chilly one!  We had a cold front come through and this morning we ran in 50 degree weather.  I got to pull out my running pants, long sleeve shirt, and jacket for this race.  

It was another good race put on by the wonderful local running shop the Track Shack.  RUNNONA is a relatively new, small, race in which you get to see some of the new developments happening in the community.  This was the third year of the race and my first time running it. 

I have been excited about the race since signing up because I wanted to see how my half marathon training has benefitted my running.  The day before I had a full day of work followed by a night of babysitting.  I didn't get to bed until 12:30 AM.  We woke up around 7AM, so I didn't get a ton of sleep.  As soon as I took the covers off I was cold.  It got down around 42 degrees, which is quite chilly this time of year in Florida.  I tried to shake the cold off and quickly got my outfit together and pinned my bib number on.  I ate half of the seasonal, pumpkin spice Clif bar; it was OK, but I probably won't eat it again.  I also made sure to drink a big glass of water.  
A bit chilly before the race
My mom, step-dad, and I all drove over to the race site enjoying the ride in the warm car.  We headed over to the starting line where the UCF Marching Band was playing.  I tried to keep moving around to warm-up before the race.  After a few minutes we were told to line up.  My mom and step-dad headed up closer to the front and I waited somewhere in the middle of the pack.  After listening to the National Anthem we were off!  I brought my iPod touch with me for this race so I could use the Nike + system to record my run, I just put it in my jacket pocket (this was fine for most of the race, until the very end...).  
My plan was to try and run the race using the designated run/walk ratio for the half marathon, 4/1, but I ended up feeling really good and only took a walking break every eight minutes, give or take a few.  Once I started running I didn't feel as cold either; the weather actually felt quite good.  The race path was on newly paved roads that went around Lake Nona and the hospital - it was a nice run.  So about my iPod, as I was getting ready to turn the final corner and sprint to the finish my iPod crashed to the ground!  I must have caught the headphone cord with my hand and it slipped out of my pocket.  It does have a case, but that split apart, so I scrambled to pick up the pieces.  Luckily, my iPod is OK; no damage, but it took me forever to get all the pieces up (or at least it felt like forever, it was too long).  I was so frustrated!  I had been having such a good race and then this happened.  I sped back up and finished the race strong though in 39:04.  The announcer even called out my name as I crossed the finish line!  
This is the best I have ever felt running a race - it wasn't too hot or too cold, there was a good race path, and I didn't have to take many walking breaks, and I am happy about that!  I am bummed about the iPod fall, but I guess I learned my lesson to make sure it is secure! 

My mom and step-dad did a really good job too and finished the race around 26 minutes.  We walked around the tents and grabbed some free food, water, mini first aid kits, and these neat water bottle holders.  We also got to try the mix1 protein shakes.  They were quite tasty!  They have lots of different flavors and they can be used pre- run or post-run.  I think I am going to pick some up to try.  I then decided to run my two extra miles to get to the five miles planned for the half marathon training.  

Hope you are enjoying your weekend!