Couch to 5k

 

Week 1, Day 2
Week 1, Day 2

So, I guess this running thing isn’t a fluke! After not running for 13+ mo, I have now ran three times in less than 10 days.

It feels great to be back.

I’m taking things slow with C25K and spacing out workouts as to not overwhelm my ankle. The last thing I want to do is re-injure it!

I headed to the gym because I can’t handle this heat, especially since I don’t have much lung capacity right now in the running game (with asthma). Today was Week 1, Day 2:

  • Walk 5 min (All walking at 3.0-3.3mph)
  • Run 1 min, Walk 90 sec x8 (increased speed each interval… starting at 4.2mph and ending at 5.0mph!)
  • Walk 5 min

SQUEEEE YOU GUYS!

I’ll be posting a photo with C25K deets on Instagram and my Facebook page… so make sure you’re following me there!

Oh, and one of these days I’ll finally blog about gaining back all the weight I lost. I’m not ready to totally own up to that right now, so I’m just going to pretend like it never happened.

 

30.

Tonight marks the last day of my 20s. I’ll be honest. It’s bittersweet.

Part of me is FREAKING OUT. The other part is asking, “DOES THIS MEAN I’M A GROWN UP NOW?”

I don’t know who to listen to.

In true big girl style, my last meal of my 20s went like this: peanut butter straight out of the jar with chocolate chips, water and a late night trip for froyo.

This past year has not gone as I planned/wished/hoped. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve just been re-evaluating my priorities and need to figure out where all the pieces of the puzzle fit.

Where do I focus my time? Efforts? Energy? This is big time grown up shit, people!

Oh, and my ankle gave me a birthday present: an MRI appointment next week. Lovely.

__

Before I bid my twenties adieu, let’s review my 29 things to do before 30:

  • Continue to work out, eat better, get healthy. – meh. kinda sorta. See every post I’ve written about injuries in the past year.
  • Run a marathon. Shit.
  • Run a half marathon without walking. Shit.
  • Run 100 miles in a month. See above.
  • Run/walk/bike/elliptical/etc 1000 miles in 2012. See above.
  • Run a race in at least 3 different states – check. check. check.
  • Do a duathlon, triathlon or “extreme” race.
  • Complete my work’s Get Well Incentive Program. Holler! I’ll be getting a HSA bonus!
  • Go vegetarian or vegan at least once a week.
  • Write more.Yes. And No.
  • Take a class (or attend a conference). Checkity Check!
  • Network with education professionals- YES!
  • Complete a 365 project. Ha. That’s funny.
  • Document 2012 weekly using my Instax. See above.
  • Make pretty thingsI’ve been knitting/crocheting up a storm!
  • Pay down debt. Making some progress. Still not great, but ok.
  • Create a budget. Ummm…
  • Support local and/or small businessesI could do better.
  • Family time. 
  • Help people. 
  • Friends. Make time for those who truly matter. Reconnect.
  • Faith. Pray. Worship. Devotion. But I should do better.
  • De-Clutter.
  • Find and settle in to an amazing apartment.
  • Get a tattoo… JANUARY!
  • Read. Catch up on RSS feeds. Read books. Read the paper. Read blogs. Avoid JSOnline comments. Those bitches be nasty. And I can’t stay away.
  • Travel. Bonus points if travel involves any of the following: Road trip, Besties, Running, Airplanes, Booze. Wish there were more trips.
  • Make time for me. 
  • Laugh. It’s the best medicine.

Ok, now that I look at the list, I did ok. But I know I could do better.

Where’s the 30 things to do before 31? I’m not ready to look forward to the first year of my 30s just yet. I feel like I’m still finding myself. I need to do more reflection before I plot out the next few years of my life!

The marathon that wasn’t

I has a sad.

Remember when I said I wasn’t running the Lakefront Marathon (or Madison Mini or Brewers Mini) anymore?

Well, back in August I didn’t realize just how hard this weekend would be for me. I thought that, after two months of knowing the marathon wasn’t going to happen, that I would be over it by now. But this wave of emotion took me by surprise. I mean, I knew this weekend would be bittersweet for me, but I’ve missed races before due to injury and figured I would have a twinge of pain, but would be able to get through it without much thought.

So much energy and hope was focused on training for and running this race. I know it would have been hard. I know it would have been painful. I know it would have taken me FOREVER to finish. And I do realize it would have been even harder if my training stopped later than it did. I am lucky that I was taken out of training before the major marathon build-ups began (more than 13.1 miles). That fact doesn’t make this weekend any easier though.

Today was the race expo – one of my favorite things about big races. I love looking at all the gear, trying samples of different products, and experiencing all the excitement from having all those runners in one room. Everyone is happy – nervous – excited.

I experienced none of that.

In all, my first marathon race expo lasted less than 5 minutes. Here’s how it went:

  • Park car
  • Limp to MSOE’s Kern Center (expo location)
  • Get race packet
  • Limp to car
  • Cry
  • Head home

Throw in a teary call to my mom and you have my first marathon experience.

I’m not supposed to be on my feet for extended periods of time. Doctor’s orders are for me to be sitting or elevating my foot whenever possible. I may be off crutches, but I’m still not out of the woods. My doctor said right now it is critical I not do anything that could send me backwards again. Both he, my mom and a couple of close friends have told me NOT to head out to cheer for the race tomorrow (for my physical and mental well-being).

But some of my dearest friends are racing tomorrow. I want to be out there to support them. I want to show them all the love they’ve shown me.  I want to be out along the course to cheer for my friends who are racing for PRs. I just don’t know if I’m strong enough to do so. I hope they’ll understand if I don’t make it out. I’m trying to mend a broken heart, and a fucked up ankle.

Race Report: Madison Mini Marathon Race Recap

Note: While I’m still sad I wasn’t able to run the Madison Mini Marathon last weekend, I am happy to tell you I still have a race recap to share! Remember when I gave away a race entry? Well, the winner, Keegan Korthauer, agreed to share HER race recap! And guess what?! SHE PR’D! #likeaboss.

Here’s Keegan, rocking her 2010 Madison Mini shirt and enjoying a beer post-race.

Amy of Losing It Without Losing Me graciously provided me with a free entry to this race!  I have participated in this race since 2010.  In 2010 I ran the half, and it was my second ever race, first of that distance.  I came back in 2011 to try out the 5K, and this year ran the half again.  I was worried about the weather for this event, given the extreme heat we’ve been having here in WI this summer (and having had the Madison Marathon cancelled on me in late May), but it turned out to be the most perfect running weather.  Low 50s at the start, sunny and a very light breeze.  I arrived at Memorial Union around 6:30am for the 7am start, jogged ½ a mile, and lined up at the porta-johns.  There was actually a huge line, and there was some question of whether I’d have time to go or not.  Luckily everyone sensed the urgency and the line sped up!  I had just enough time to speed-walk up to my corral.  The corrals were big enough that we weren’t packed in like sardines (this was an issue for me in the 2010 race).

The gun went off at 7am on the dot and we headed straight for the Capitol square and alongside the lovely farmer’s market.  I got to high-five Bucky and hear the UW pep band.  There was no bottle-necking or snags of people to get around at the beginning so I was able to pace myself appropriately from the very start.  The route then continued down State Street (the main drag of town) where there was great crowd support. A sign that said “I’m proud of you, perfect stranger” made me smile!

After meandering around the south end of the UW campus, we ventured into the Vilas neighborhood toward the Arboretum.  This provided a few very scenic miles, though lacking in crowd support. It was actually a little chilly (though refreshing!) since it was more shaded.  Some rolling hills were involved, but nothing too noteworthy.  I made an effort to speed up on the down-hills to make up for the slower pace on the up-hills and keep the overall pace consistent.

Here’s Keegan running the Haunted Hustle.

After exiting the Arboretum, we made our way back on to neighborhood streets toward campus.  I saw a ‘Call me maybe’ themed sign which made me laugh.  When we passed the ten mile marker, I noted that I had just PR’d in the 10 mile by almost a minute and realized it was a legitimate possibility for a PR in the half.   I skipped a few aid stations here, as there were more than enough.  I had just been taking a few sips of Gatorade here and there but wasn’t really thirsty since it wasn’t hot out.

Heading toward Picnic Point on the shore of Lake Mendota, I started feeling pretty fatigued and unsure I could keep up my pace.  Around then, thankfully, I spotted the 1:45 pace group, which gave me a boost of confidence, and I just tried to keep them in my line of sight as much as possible.  It also helped that the last 1.5 miles or so are on Lakeshore path, which is part of my regular running route and I knew it was all flat until right before the finish chute.  Unfortunately I knew there was also a little hill right before the finish chute which was very rough.  I did my best to sprint it in, but I don’t think I really sped up!  I must have looked spent after crossing the line, since a volunteer asked if I needed help.  I was fine after a few deep breaths, and ran over to my friend who was a volunteer medal distributor and gave her a big, sweaty hug!

I quickly grabbed all my swag – water, banana, chips, cookies, beer, etc. and rounded up my cheer section.  We chatted on the terrace overlooking the lake before setting out on a walk around the farmer’s market.  That made for a nice cool-down!  My official time was 1:45:50, which was a PR by just over 2 minutes.   They also recorded some splits which confirmed that this was the most evenly-paced race I’ve ever done: 5 Mile – 40:06 (8:02 pace), 10 Mile – 1:20:54 (8:06 pace), and last 5K – 24:56 (8:03 pace).

Keegan is a running machine!

Thank you, Keegan, for sharing your race report! And, congrats on your new, shiny PR!

Race Recap: Rock ‘n Sole Quarter Marathon *PR

All week long I was nervous about this race. I have only ran once (maybe twice) since RAGNAR two weeks ago. I had a charlie horse during that race and couldn’t finish my last leg. I’m recovering from a quad strain. I moved last weekend. Blah Blah Blah.

Pacers and besties
Before the race, the Milwaukee Art Museum looked like a space ship.

I knew I wasn’t going to skip this race, I just had to decide if I was going to run the race I registered for (half marathon) or drop back to the quarter marathon at the split. As the week progressed, I started leaning more and more towards the quarter. I need to be smart. Marathon training only calls for 6 miles this weekend, so a quarter marathon is RIGHT ON TARGET. But most of my friends doing the race were running (or pacing) the half. I realized that I had to focus on me and what was right for me at this point of my training.

As I lined up in the middle of Corral K (we were not corralled by last name, as I originally thought)… the LAST corral… I was still pretty sure I would be running the quarter marathon… but there was a little part of me that thought if I felt AWESOME at the split (around mile 5) I would think about keeping on in the half. I talked with Michelle for awhile (who was also unprepared for the half, but who kicked some ass anyways)… and my sis-daughter (college sorority) Bethany, along with her in-laws. I wasn’t nervous, despite the daunting task of running over the HOAN BRIDGE… TWICE… in my immediate future. I am not one for training on hills. EVER. So, running up a bridge in the first quarter mile of a race? Not something I would prefer to do. But I did.

Approaching 794

The race started (I can only assume, as we couldn’t hear the gun or see the front of the race in the last corral), and I began running. I told myself to stay smart. Don’t push the pace, especially UP the bridge. I ran the first half mile or so and had to take a walking break, which I fully expected. I have asthma and elevation changes (along with running, duh), affect my lungs pretty severely. The foggy mist didn’t help. I walked for a minute and kept going. The fog began to dissipate as I reached the apex of the bridge, under the big yellow arches. I felt good. My hamstrings and glutes were not very happy, but I kept on keeping on.

Zombie apocalypse in 3…2…1…
There it is!!!

I walked through the first water stop, felt great. Had a little gatorade and a cup of water. And took off running again. We began to see the front of the pack approaching in the southbound lanes (headed north). I saw many friends and waved. I felt surprisingly good. My quad didn’t hurt at all. I began to get in a groove. I was ACTUALLY PASSING PEOPLE. You faster people might not understand what a BIG FUCKING DEAL THAT IS FOR A SLOW RUNNER. I smiled with glee. I couldn’t believe it.

I am such a dork!

I headed down to the turnaround in Bay View and saw Annie and Marty cheering! YAYZ. Then I rounded the corner, walked through the water stop and headed back up onto 794.

 

As I neared the top of the exit ramp, I was in awe by what I saw. There was MY city. Laid out so pretty. The fog/mist was nearly gone. The sun was shining. The city never looked so damn beautiful. AND I WAS ABOUT TO RUN TOWARDS IT! I was seriously in awe of the view at this point of the race. Normally, when you take 794 to downtown, you’re in a car, driving 50+ mph. I got to run (4-5mph) and really soak it in. I fricking love Milwaukee. I really do. I could have HUGGED it. I love it so.

I approached the yellow arches of the Hoan Bridge with determination. I felt REALLY great. I knew I was going to rock the rest of the race. As I headed down to Lincoln Memorial Drive, I couldn’t help but smile and be proud of what I had just done. I RAN OVER THE HOAN. TWICE. EEEK.

I saw the half/quarter split point, and as much as I was tempted, I knew I needed to be smart and follow the quarter course. BUT OH WAS I TEMPTED.

At this point, I started to pick up speed. I saw paces in the 12s and 13s on my garmin. DURING THE LAST 2 MILES OF THE RACE.

YES SHOUTY CAPS.

EEEEK.

I turned up Michigan and ran past Discovery World into Lakeshore State Park (one of my FAVORITEST places to run). As I ran past the lagoon, I could feel how close I was to the finish. I still had strength, so I willed myself to pick up the pace. I kept hearing Marty‘s voice saying “LAST MILE FASTEST.”

I began to run faster. I passed nearly 10 people during the last mile of the race. AGAIN THIS NEVER HAPPENS. I GET PASSED. I DONT PASS PEOPLE. I had a BIG OL’ STUPID SMILE on my face as I entered the finish chute.

I got my medal and water and started walking to the bananas. (My nemesis, but required post-run food). I looked at my medal and saw that it said HALF marathon on it. I realized that the volunteers probably saw my half marathon bib and figured I did that race. Let me tell you, there is no way I will every finish a half marathon in the time it took me to finish the quarter marathon today. I went back to the medals area and told the volunteer I couldn’t accept a half marathon medal for running the quarter distance. It just wouldn’t have been right. I was able to switch medals and continued through the finish line area. As I grabbed some chocolate milk, I had two separate women approach me and tell me that they used me as their pacer for the last few miles of the race. They each told me that they saw me looking so strong and willed themselves to keep up with me to the finish. They said in the last mile, it just got too hard to keep up with me when I took off.

I can honestly tell you guys that I was *this close* to collapsing in tears. These women I don’t know told me that I was their inspiration to keep going in the race. They saw me not giving up and they knew they couldn’t either. Even recalling our conversations now, I am tearing up. Ladies, I don’t know who you are, but if you happen to see this, please know that you made my day. You can’t know just how much those kind words meant to me. I could have hugged you both but I thought it might be weird of me to do that.

I finished my first quarter marathon with a time of 1:38:24, a 14:50 pace for 6.63 miles. I have NEVER EVER seen an overall pace in the 14s for any distance more than 4 miles.

Only time you will ever see my name, “half marathon” and a time in the 1s. LOL.

I WON YESTERDAY. I WON.

It was so great to see KristaRochelle, & Matt J. (2:10 half pacers), Tracey G. (who kicked ass and had her 2nd fastest half marathon time!), Renee H.Sara K.Aaron K.Karla With A K., Mo, Katie B., Paal, Michelle, Bethany, Jennifer, Brianne, Alicia H.Tony V.Jeff M., Eric, Jessica G.Annie and Marty at some point before, during or after the race!

Dailymile: http://www.dailymile.com/people/amykant/entries/16034477

 

5k PR *POWERED BY BACON*

Wahoo! PR by almost 2 minutes! Gun time was 44:41, but I didn’t cross the start until about 52 sec after the gun… so HOLLER for a PR, POWERED BY BACON.

I felt pretty good out there. Just kept my head down and kept on trucking. Slow and steady. Only walked through the water stop, though I wanted to walk a little more, I waited until I had sprinted to the finish. Today, I actually passed people. That never happens.

Good to see so many friends out there – Annie Mandi Mike C. Agustin J S. and volunteers Marty andRochelle! (And I think I saw Rebecca H. too!)

And congrats to Tim C. Matt J. Renee H. Tracey G. Sun T. and btw Sara K. you placed 3rd in your division! ROCK ON WITH YOUR BAD SELVES.

No clue on splits, due to my forgetting my garmin. I bet if I wouldn’t have walked those 30ish seconds of the water stop, I could have had an overall pace in the 13s, which would have been bad.ass.

Roll Mobile’s Rick Rollers

It’s that time of year again… RAGNAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRR!

Friday morning, I’ll begin a 200-mile, 30-hour journey with 11 friends from Madison, Wisconsin to Chicago, Illinois!

Last year, we were 12 Sweaty Nuts. This year, we are Rick Rollers.

Yep. The image above WILL be printed on giant magnets for our vans.

If you want to follow my team’s shenanigans (trust me, it’ll be hilarious), follow us on Twitter @RollsRickRoller. You can also find us:

Amy’s 36 Rules for Running a Ragnar Relay

 

I’m writing this post not only for my own benefit, but also for any of you Ragnar Relay virgins. There’s a few things you should know, that I didn’t know or didn’t want to believe going into the Madison to Chicago Ragnar Relay last summer.

Amy’s 36 Rules for Running a Ragnar Relay*:

1. Get two 15-passenger vans for your team of 12.

2. Find a driver for each van.

3. Bring a GPS (and pre-program all the exchange points in it).

4. Pack one running outfit for each leg you’re running (bottoms, top, sports bra, underwear, socks).

5. Pack each leg’s outfit in a separate 1 gallon Ziploc bag. This makes it easy when you need to change – no digging through your bag – and it keeps the stank contained.

6. You can pack toothpaste/toothbrush/soap/shampoo but you’ll be pretty damn lucky if you get to use any of it.

7. Embrace the stank or take a whore shower (aka babywipe bath).

8. Bring gum. You and the rest of your van will appreciate it (see above).

9. Don’t expect any more than 1-2 hours of sleep. If you’re lucky.

10. Pack one set of sweatpants/sweatshirt or lounge gear. This will be good for in between legs and for at the finish.

11. Bring an extra pair of running shoes in case it rains.

12. After dark, take a headlamp or flashlight to the port-a-potty. You don’t want to know what happens when you try to go in the dark.

13. Hand sanitizer. See #12.

14. Baby wipes. Get a big ol’ box of them. They can be used as toilet paper if you find the port-a-potty or yay-omg-flush-toilet is empty.

15. Deodorant. Use it. Love it.

16. Body Glide.

17. Bring a car charger for your cell phone, iPod and/or Garmin.

18. Don’t overpack, whether it be running gear, food or other supplies. Bring only what you need. The extra bags/coolers/etc will get annoying.

19. Plan for fun. Ragnar isn’t just about running a race. It’s the experience. You’ll want to have some fun games or other activities you and your teammates can do – frisbee, whiffle ball, kickball, foursquare, etc.

20. Give your drivers/volunteers a thank you gift of some kind – whether it’s a gift certificate to their favorite store, a team shirt, or picking up their tab at the post-race party, make sure they know how much you appreciate them!

21. Car markers – have fun with them, but know that you will have to clean off your van before you return it to the rental agency.

22. Perhaps you should spring for a carwash on the ride home, rather than cleaning the van with baby wipes. Yeah, that happened.

23. Take lots of pictures and videos. You will want to remember the experience days…weeks…months…years later.

24. During night-time runs, especially along dark paths, wave your hand infront of your headlamp as you approach another runner. It’s a nice heads up that you’re behind them.

25. Designate one person from your van to bring a foam roller and/or running stick. See #18.

26. Bring your ID if you want to drink at the post-race party (trust me, you will).

27. Have each person in your van bring a refillable water bottle and/or whatever hydration method they use for running (fuel belt, Nathan handheld, Camelback, etc). Then, bring a few gallon jugs of water to use for refilling. You will save the environment by not purchasing a case of bottled water.

28. At every exchange, get out of your van and cheer on your teammates. They will appreciate your support, high fives, and ass-slaps.

29. Bring a hat or visor. It will keep the sun out of your eyes during the day and, if for some reason it rains, will keep the rain out of your eyes.

30. Plan for 1 cooler per van. You only need to keep perishable items cold, in addition to whatever you plan on eating or drinking next. See #18.

31. Have everyone in your van sign up to bring certain food/drink items, or designate one person to pick it all up. Stick to your list. This ensures you follow rule #18. (Have you noticed #18 is important?)

32. Get team shirts made or wear similar costumes. Think of it as a team uniform.

33. Follow safety guidelines established by Ragnar. Use the flags when crossing the street. Wear your headlamp, tail light and reflective vest. Make sure people see you!

34. Many legs of the race are classified as “non-support” legs. Pack your own race nutrition! I’m a fan of shot blocks.

35. Make sure someone in your van packs bug spray and sunscreen!

36. Have fun. Ragnar will be one of the craziest weekends of your life. Soak it all in and above all, enjoy it.

 * Why 36? Why 1 rule for each leg, of course!

Have you ever done a Ragnar Relay, Hood to Coast or a similar relay? What advice would you have for newbies?

Note: Read my 2011 Ragnar Journey here.

Suck it, quad

If you follow me on Twitter or Dailymile, you know that I haven’t done much running in the past couple of weeks.

I’ve been going crazy with this whole not running thing. My chiropractor thinks it might have been a microtear or quad strain… and we’ve pinpointed it to an “easy” 4 mile run that was done half on very loosely packed gravel. The extra effort it took to push off each step on the gravel is what likely caused my knee/quad funk.

I’m going to have a biometric assessment with a specialist this week and hopefully will be back running soon (my goal is next weekend). Ragnar, 3 half marathons and Lakefront Marathon await me!

Right now, I have to figure out WHAT IN THE HECK to do. Walking hasn’t seemed to aggravate my quad, so I might end up covering the miles that way. How frustrating.

I’ve been following a RICE regimen and I’m going stir crazy. Praying I can get back running soon, or I may have to rethink some of my summer races… which is the LAST thing I want to do.