Archive | May, 2011

Scenes from a long run

24 May

I learned while training for my first half marathon that long runs can be daunting. The first time you have to run a double digit distance can be scary and exciting at the same time. I ended up doing my first 10 mile run the night before I was scheduled to run it because the thought of running that far had my head spinning. It was all I could think about. Now that I’m training for a full marathon, a 10 mile run is on the shorter side of the long runs I have scheduled.
I discovered a park near my house while I was training for my second half marathon with some beautiful running trails. Now I do all my long runs there for several reasons. First, it’s nice not having to worry about cars and busy intersections. I would plan my long runs before in areas where there was less traffic, but couldn’t ever avoid a couple semi-busy intersections. Second, it’s got some great scenery to distract me while I run. I took some pictures on my last run to show you how awesome this trail is! Finally, the terrain is helpful in improving my speed. I had to think about the most positive way to word that last one. The first time I ran on the trail I was put off by the hills, but came back to run it again because of the first two reasons I listed. During my third half marathon I set a really awesome over 10 minute PR on a course that many people complained about because of the hills. I attribute my ability to run that course so well to the fact that I trained on hills, and my body was used to that type of terrain.
I highly recommend searching for running/biking trails in your area if you haven’t already found them. Sometimes I’ll head to the trail for a short evening run if I’m lacking motivation to run around my neighborhood. My long runs are something I look forward to now instead of dreading them!
Now here are some pictures (Sorry some are blurry, I was juggling a lot of stuff when I was trying to take them.)
The trees help keep it a little cooler during warmer runs

There trail runs along a river, and there are several times the trail crosses the river

It’s hard to tell, but this is one of the steeper hills on the trail. 
What goes up must come down. The other side of the hill.
More views of the river
One of the bridges that runs over the river
I had an awesome 11 mile run here on Saturday! The thought of running 20 miles is still a little scary to me, but at least knowing where I’ll be running those 20 miles can give me some peace of mind.

Running with the Cows 5/14

15 May

This week has definitely brought extremes in weather for spring to my area of the country. For most of the week it was really warm. Highs were in the 90’s, and it was very humid. I had to move my last run before this race to the morning because the evenings were just too hot! Within the last couple days it started getting cool, and this morning it was in the low 40’s and very windy when I headed out for the race. My usual half attire calls for a running skirt, compression socks, and short sleeved shirt. I wore my usual, except I decided to change the short sleeved shirt to a long sleeved one. I was glad I decided on the change, but once I warmed up, it didn’t feel as cold as it was.
This race was about 10 miles away, in a very stereotypical Kansas setting. Once I got off the highway there was basically nothing but fields and a few houses until I got to the church/school that was hosting the event. They promised scenic views, and this was definitely one of the more scenic courses I’ve run. I got to the race earlier than I normally would since they were planning to close the road, and I really didn’t want to try to navigate around unfamiliar roads right before the race started. I spent some extra time warming up since it was quite chilly, then waited inside for the start of the race. I was kicking myself for not having my camera, there were so many stereotypically Kansas parts of this race that I would have loved having a picture of. The first funny thing was the actual cow at the start of the race. It was actually only a calf, but still super cute and totally something you would only see in Kansas. Obviously since this race is called running with the cows, there were cows everywhere (real and fake.) After the race began, we started on our journey 6.55 miles out and back. I had to laugh once I saw the first stretch of road because this race was advertised as being flat. When I think of flat, I think of running in Florida. This race was definitely not flat like I imagined. There were a lot of rolling hills, which are better than the steeper ones I usually train on, but still not what I consider flat. The first half of the race flew by. There were plenty of aid stations with very energetic and peppy volunteers. I was very impressed with all the food along the course at these stations. I saw oranges, bananas, pretzels, and candy. I was running at a great pace and feeling strong through the first half of the race, despite the wind. It was so strong across the fields that it would almost take your breath away. For the first 6 miles I ran at a pace of 9:30/mile and was feeling really good. Right before I got to the turn around I started feeling sick to my stomach. I tried to keep pushing, but eventually had to stop and walk. I ended up walking a good portion of the second half of the race. I was determined to finish, and felt a lot better when I walked, so I speed walked as fast as I could. People probably thought I was crazy because I was walking and dancing along to my music. Most people who were walking by then were exhausted an hobbling along. I know I would have PR’d if I would have kept my pace through the second half of the race, but I didn’t come into the race with any time goal, and this was meant to be a training run for me more than a race.  I ended up finishing in 2:18:49, which is still faster than my first 1/2 marathon that I ran last November, and obviously faster than my princess time since I played all along that course. Needless to say, I’m very happy with my time, and to make it better, taking it easier to second part of the race helped me from being sore afterward!

I’ll definitely be back to run this race again next year. The price was very reasonable, and the race was very well organized. Where else can you get a cowbell at the finish of a race instead of a medal?

This race also helped me join the half fanatic ranks (I’m #1065!) I ran three 1/2’s in 77 days, and have 2 more in the next 35 days! I never thought running 1/2’s would be something I enjoyed so much.
I think that’s it for this installment. Only 3 weeks until my next half, and I promise to have more pictures from that race!