One Mile Dog n’ Jog Race Reap

This morning Tim and I got up bright and early to race together! 

I was a little worried I wouldn’t be able to race today.  I was coughing, hard, all night, to the point where my lungs were tired and I was just pathetically wheezing.  Luckily, I woke up feeling pretty okay—I think my cold is definitely on the way out and I just have to get all the gunk out of my chest once and for all.

Anyway, today we were doing a one mile Dog n’ Jog race for the Humane Society of Kansas City.  Tim and I are HUGE animal lovers and supporters of all kinds of rescue, so we were excited to support the cause.  There was also a great fair going on before and after the race.

The scene:

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SO MANY DOGS!  Milhouse’s sniffer was in overdrive.

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He was very well-behaved, but as a beagle, we had to sniff EVERYTHING.  It was funny watching him try to sniff a Great Dane—he was so tall Milhouse couldn’t even reach his butt to give him a good once-over!

Anyway, we walked around and gawked at all kinds of dogs, large and small and costumed and uncostumed.  At 8 o’clock, the 2 mile run started!

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I’d say that probably 90% of the people running were with dogs!  It was funny to see how all the different breeds ran.  Amongst the canine winners of the two-mile race were a Catahoula, a lab mix, a golden mix, and a boxer.  There were some beautiful greyhounds racing (although they’re sprinters, not distance runners), too!

A portrait of the first-time racers:

 

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Anyway, around 8:30, the one mile race started.  It wasn’t the most official race—no chip timing—but it was a lot of fun!   I THOUGHT Tim and I were going to run together, but once the starting horn blew, he took off and left me in the dust!  (To be fair, Tim is 8 inches taller than I am.  He should be faster.  But, hmph.)  Milhouse and I ran the whole way together—beagles are really, really fast when they want to be! 

(I think the one mile race was for smaller dogs.  We passed a few dachshunds, a chihuahua, and a Pomeranian that barked happily the ENTIRE race.)

According to my Garmin, the course was a bit short, but I still managed to pull it in around 8:26!  Not too bad.  (If it had been a full mile, I would have been around the 9 minute mark.  Still not bad, for wrestling a beagle and having a head cold.)  Tim finished just ahead of me, probably around 8:20.  I’m so proud of him!  I think he wants to start Couch to 5K to keep the momentum going. 

Milhouse promptly lapped up a whole bunch of water, and then we went home.  He was definitely tired out!

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When we got home, we both took a nice, long nap.

It was a really fun morning!  I love dogs so much.

Get excited—tomorrow begins a week full of extensive wedding recaps with professional pictures!  One will go up every morning for the next week.

Do you have a dog?  What’s your favorite breed?

Back from the dead

Apologies for my lack of blog last night.

My cold got AWFUL yesterday.  I barely slept at all Thursday night, but I still had to go to work on Friday for various reasons.  I was congested, coughing up a storm, my nose was running, my eyes were swollen, and I was just achy and tired all over.

My boss let me leave work early, so I got home at about 2 o’clock yesterday and promptly passed out in bed.  It was incredible.

I feel bad because I’ve already broken Rule #1 of marathon training—don’t skip your long runs.  I was supposed to do 8 miles yesterday, but I could barely walk without getting dizzy.  It didn’t happen.  I’m not a skippy person (I only bailed on one run in 12 weeks of half marathon training), so I’m not too concerned—I have plenty of time.

I did manage to make a double batch of homemade pizza dough yesterday, though.

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I spent the evening hanging with my boys…

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…under the influence of heavy drugs.

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We went to Target and the cashier was all, “Gosh, you really need this cold medicine, don’t you?”  Grr.

Thankfully, I’m feeling quite a bit better today, despite burning the skin off my knuckles taking the pizza out of the oven last night.  I managed to get out for a few errands.

I picked up one of my new favorite running tops at TJ Maxx.  They’re just called Adidas “training tops” and I really like them.  They don’t ride up, they have a nice deep v-neck, and are modest without being frumpy.  This one is a fun electric blue color.

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Why a new running top, you ask? 

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Tomorrow, Tim, Milhouse and I are racing!   It is Tim and Milhouse’s first race—the one mile Dog N’ Jog benefiting the Humane Society of Greater KC.  Tim has been training for this since the honeymoon and I’m really proud of him!  It’s a pretty casual race—no chips—but I’m sure it will be fun to see lots of cute dogs.  I just hope the weather holds out!  It’s been storming like crazy here lately.  We’re planning on running together and I’m excited!

What advice do you have for a first-time racer?  Ever raced with a dog before?

Children’s TLC Groundhog Run 10K Recap

Well, today was my first 10K.  I had trouble sleeping last night–I couldn’t get to sleep, the dog FELL OFF THE BED at one point, and I woke up an hour before my alarm went off.  But I was excited anyway, jumped out of bed, got ready, and had a breakfast cookie.  We were told to arrive an hour early!

Which made sense when we got there.  Parking was a nightmare.  We had to park about a mile away from the starting line, and it was a cold, icy, and muddy walk there.  Boo.

But we made it!  The whole gimmick was that the race was underground, in the world’s largest underground business building.  Weird.  So, we walked into the side of a hill to enter.

We had about 45 minutes to kill by the time we got there, so we watched the superfast 5K winners (the 5K was at 9, 10K at 10) clock  in at the 15-16 minute mark.  Crazy.  Then we walked around a bit and I picked up some freebies!

Strawberry Gu Chomps, Pineapple Gu Roctane, and Vanilla Gingerbread Gu.  (I have to say, that sounds disgusting.  But it was FREE, guys.  FREE.)

I made Tim take a kicky pre-race photo of me while we were killing time.  You can see the structure of the building in the back–it was supported by these large column-like objects that made you feel kind of like you were in a glacier.  It reminded me of the ice castle in the James Bond movie Die Another Day.

At about 10 minutes out, we lined up at the start.  I was a little confused because they had signs for 8 minute milers, 12 minute milers, and 14 minute milers.  I hung out between the 8 and 12 signs somewhere.

And we were off!  I was super-nervous at the starting line, and when I’m nervous I get bad cotton mouth.  That made the first mile or so pretty unpleasant until I was able to hit the first water stop.  I hit the first mile at exactly 9:40, meaning I was right where I wanted to be pace-wise.  I felt pretty good about that.

Miles 2 and 3 were honestly pretty boring.  I felt good, and I knew I was pacing myself well.  I just kept my head down and ran.  I went with the “walk through aid stations” strategy, which I think worked well.  It gave me a good 10-15 seconds to wet my whistle and catch my breath a bit, but wasn’t long enough to hurt my pace.  Since it was a two loop course, at mile 3, I saw Tim waiting at what would be the finish line on my second lap!  He didn’t see me, though, until I yelled his name.  He commented later that I looked totally calm and normal at that point, which is a good thing.

In other, unrelated news, this is the picture I find on my camera when I leave my camera with Tim unattended while I race for an hour:

Oh, Tim.

At around mile 4.5 I took a hit on my inhaler and took a few extra seconds to regroup at the water station.  I could feel my lungs starting to get panicky, so I wanted to pull my pace back a bit and just relax.

Once I saw the mile 5 marker I knew I could do this.   Just 1.2 miles to go!  This was probably the most eventful mile–I saw a guy on his back on the side of the course with the ambulance roaring to help him.  I hope he’s okay!

At the mile 5 water station, probably around mile 5.5, I slipped on the water slick near the garbage cans and rolled my ankle.  Lame.  I caught myself and kept running, but it did hurt a bit for the rest of the race.  It feels fine now, but I”m going to keep an eye on it just in case.

Finally I made the last turn (yeah, there were a lot of turns on this course) and went down the straightaway to the finish line!

I was secretly hoping to finish in under an hour, and official chip times aren’t in yet (I’ll update when they are), but going by my watch I think I finished in the neighborhood of 1:00:30 or so.  So, I was reallyreally close to my goal, and I feel great about my time considering it was my first 10K!

Immediately postrace, I found Tim, caught my breath, and grabbed some water and an orange slice.  (Really great oranges, by the way.  Note to self: get citrus at grocery store later.)

On the long walk back to the car, my hands felt funny.  I looked down and realized my fingers were incredibly swollen.  I couldn’t get my engagement ring off.  It was kind of horrifying.

While in the car, I googled this and realized it was because my salt was probably low.  So while we were waiting to pick up our food, I amused Tim by shooting a salt packet from the condiment bar.

Not pleasant, but my fingers returned to normal size pretty quickly.

I was craving carbs, so I went for an Everything bagel and a Panera yogurt parfait.  According to my Polar, this race burned 868 calories, so I think I’m more than entitled to a little bagel love!

It was delicious.  But I have a feeling I’ll need a big afternoon snack later!

Overall, I feel really great about my performance today.  I felt like I paced myself really well and ran strong the whole way, unlike my last race where I crashed and burned and managed to get a good time in spite of myself.  I felt very prepared this time!

Anyway, I wish I could just sit around all afternoon, but there’s laundry and ironing and grocery shopping and chicken roasting to be done!   Thank you all for your kind words and well wishes!

Registry and Race Prep

Surprisingly, I didn’t sleep too late today.  I was up around 9:15, which is early for me on a Saturday!

I batted my eyelashes at Tim so he’d make pancakes for breakfast.  I am seriously terrible at making pancakes and waffles.  He is great at it.  We do chocolate chip pancakes, but only a few chips in each one.  Nom.

Then I hit up Macy’s after a shower.  Long story short…we took our fancy wedding china off the registry because the store couldn’t guarantee it wouldn’t be discontinued before May.  We’d already gotten one piece, and I had to return it.  I wanted to get some of our bedding, but that store didn’t carry it.  Good thing, because I came home to buy it online and someone had just bought our entire bed set–duvet, sheets, bedskirt, pillowcases and shams!  Woo!

While I was at Macy’s, I happened to see a display of Nike workout wear…at 70% off! Unheard of.  I ended up picking up two pairs of Dri-Fit capris for $12.50 each!  What a steal!  One is a medium and one is a large–the large is a little bigger than ideal, but still fits fine and it was all they had.  I’ve had to retire a few pairs of workout pants lately, so these are much needed.

I also picked up a New Balance tank (that happens to exactly match my shoes) at TJ Maxx for $15.  It matches my shoes!  Looks like I have a new race outfit for tomorrow.  And I’ll be rocking the pink.  It has a built in shelf bra that actually seems substantial enough to hold the girls in!  I probably won’t risk it tomorrow, but good to know.

I then went BACK to Macy’s and wound up using the store credit from the exchange to get our featherbed and mattress pad.  I’m so excited to be able to use all of our floofy new bedding after the wedding!

I’m actually really looking forward to racing tomorrow.  It’s been awhile, and it will be awhile until my next race, so I’m pumped.  Clothes are all laid out…

…and the playlist is made.  (It is much harder to make a 10K playlist than a 5K playlist!  I had to do some repeats.  Sorry so blurry.)

The course looks really twisty and turny, so I have zero time expectations.  The 5K is one lap, the 10K is two.  Looks like there will be plenty of water stations!

I’ll be back with a recap tomorrow afternoon!  Wish me luck!

Pretzel bread!

Today I went and picked up my race packet for Sunday’s 10K!

I got there just as it was opening and the crowds flooded in.  I have to admit, I felt pretty cool to be going to the 10K side rather than the 5K side.  Woo!  It was pretty busy, since online registration had closed and they have to cap the entrants because it’s an indoor race.

I upgraded to a tech shirt for an extra $10 or $15 when I registered.  I’m so glad I did!   This is a Brooks shirt and it’s so soft.  It reminds me of my childhood blankie.  I haven’t worn short sleeve shirts to the gym very often, but this is light enough I think it would be fine.  I’m looking forward to giving it a go.

After work I decided to try a recipe my aunt had sent me.  I don’t know where she got it from, so if you figure it out, let me know.  Awhile back I mentioned on Facebook that I was craving pretzel bread, one of my favorite Chicago foods I haven’t seen here in Kansas City.

I mixed together:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 T. yeast
  • 1/2 T. salt
  • 1 c. warm water

And let it rise for an hour.  (Best way to make dough rise?  Microwave a cup of water for two minutes.  Then cover the bowl with a damp cloth and set it in there.  The steam and contained environment keeps it cookin’.  It hasn’t failed me yet, anyway.)

Then, I boiled 5 cups of water and 1/4 c. of baking soda.  I formed the risen dough into little balls and dropped them in the boiling soda solution for about two minutes, then transferred them to a greased cookie sheet and baked them for 20 or so minutes at 400 degrees.

Pretty?  No.  Delicious?  Yes.  It tasted like the freshest hot pretzel you’ve ever had.  It was more pretzel than pretzel bread, per se, but still awesome.   I sprinkled a little salt on before I ate it…yum.

Other than my baking adventure, we are having one of those wonderful relaxing nights at home–homemade pizza, television, reading, and animals.  I’m going to do some foam rolling–my quads are still a bit sore–and some reading.   (Now that I am on a set schedule, I’m becoming a huge reader.  I love it!)

What are your hobbies other than fitness?

Jingle Bell 5K

Well, this morning was my second-ever 5K…and I blew it out of the water TOTALLY unexpectedly!

The morning started off nicely.  It was about 50 degrees and cloudy, so great weather for running.  T and I decided to bring Milhouse to the race to hopefully tire him out for the rest of the day.  When we got there, I picked up my packet and we waited around for a little while.  Since this was the Jingle Bell Run, lots of people were decked out in Christmas attire and I was instructed by the race packet pickup guy that I had to pin jingle bells to my bib.  (I did, but man, by mile two I was about ready to rip those things off.  Talk about annoying!)

We had some time, so we took a fambly photo:

Milhouse very kindly sat for the picture like we asked, but the wrong direction.  Oh well.

The Christmas decorations were in full force.  I love Christmas:

Milhouse was excited to pee on the biggest tree he’s ever seen:

He was a very good dog and got lots of love from people.  Everyone thinks he’s a puppy, though!  He’s 19 pounds, which means he’s a tiny beagle, but he is definitely full grown. Poor guy.

Anyway, the race got started shortly thereafter.  I knew there were going to be a lot of walkers and people for the 1 mile “fun stroll” so I lined up near the front.  I was not a fan–I started out WAY too fast and had to slow down.  It was really de-motivating to be passed by lots of people!

When the starting horn went off, the scariest thing happened–a guy towards the front tripped and fell and was literally trampled right in front of me.  He was shrieking in the fetal position.  It was really scary, BUT he must have been okay because I saw him pass me about ten minutes later!

I was also thrown off because there was no starting mat for chip timing, even though there was one at the end.  I’m assuming they just started all the chips at the gun, which is fine because I was near the front.

Anyway, the first mile was sad because I kept getting passed.  However, I did make the good decision NOT to wear an iPod–I honestly think that running without music forces me to focus on my breathing and lets me push harder.  So, thumbs up for that strategy.

T got a good picture of me around mile 1.25 or so:

Around mile 1.5 I could feel the asthma coming on.  My throat was closing and I felt like I was underwater and my chest hurt.  So, I did what I had to do–I slowed to a walk for about 30 seconds through the aid station.  I said, “forget about the sub-30:00 goal, just finish upright and running.”

At about 15 minutes in I seriously considered quitting.  I was in a lot of pain in my lungs/chest and my heart rate had spiked to the high 190s.  Instead, I just slowed my pace.  I also thought about Caitlin’s motto: “Pain is temporary, quitting is forever.”  And I did not want to have to chalk this up as a quit.  I just kept telling myself, “You’re halfway done…you’re halfway done…” until it turned into “you’re two-thirds done…you’re two thirds done…” and “half a mile to go…half a mile to go…”

Around mile 2.25 I had to take another quick walk break, about 30 seconds, up a killer hill.  I didn’t realize how fast I’d been running, so I thought I was doing 10:00 miles and the walk breaks would kill my sub-30:00 goal.

But…I turned the corner for the last .1 sprint and saw 27:55 and thought, “What the eff?  That’s weird.”  I then realized that I’d paced myself with the fast runners unintentionally since I started up front, meaning that the walk breaks weren’t an issue.  Here’s me at the end.  I’m a blur I’m so fast!

My final chip time isn’t in yet, but I think it’s 28:45!  (EDIT: Final chip time was 28:51!)  I feel incredible about this.  This race was really a struggle for me, and at the end my lungs hurt so bad I could barely walk.  But, now after a shower and and my inhaler, I feel great.  I feel bad that I totally forgot my inhaler at home, but I’m new to this whole asthma thing so in the future I definitely will.

Another victory?  A race shirt that ISN’T horrendously ugly.

The logo is a little bit obnoxious, but at least it’s white and not pumpkin orange or chimp-poo brown!

Anyway, that’s it for me racing for a little while.  There isn’t much to choose from around here in December and January.  I did just register for my first 10K at the end of January–the Children’s TLC Groundhog 10K. I am a sucker for races in interesting locations, and this fits the bill–it’s a totally underground indoor race in one of the largest underground structures in the world.  Cool!  I am also looking forward to not having to race in ice and snow.  Also, I am a nerd and ordered the tech shirt for the race, because it was only $20 and it’s my first 10K and it is navy and cute.  And I’ve never been in a race that offered a tech shirt before!  Anyway, so that’s what’s on deck–I’m also looking at a 5K on Valentine’s Day.  Hopefully I’ll find a few more races that will help prep me for my half marathon in April!

What’s been your hardest race experience?  Were you happy with the results in the end?

Cliff Hanger Run 8K Recap

Well, it turns out my fears about this race were totally unfounded.  My body is still in good shape despite my cut back in running the last few weeks, and my lungs didn’t rebel (much)!

I woke up this morning feeling kind of sluggish and not into the whole idea of racing today.  I hit the snooze button a few times before finally getting up.  I debated for a few minutes whether I should stick with my planned long-sleeved tech shirt, or go for the short sleeves, since the high today is going to be 70 degrees.  I took Milhouse out for a short walk and decided to stick with long sleeves, figuring I could always push them up if I got hot.  I ate some blueberry toast with almond butter, and we were on the way!

We arrived about 15 minutes before the start.  T decided to take a fake action running shot of me beforehand:

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Lovely.  As you can see, the scenery was, well, scenic.  The whole race had a lot of very pretty fall foliage.  Also of note: I bought a 2-pack of cheap gloves at Target for $1.50 since my hands froze in my last race.  I wore one pair.  They were nice for the first half of the race, but were a bit hot and itchy towards the end.  They’d be great in slightly cooler temps, I think.  Also (TMI alert), they were lovely for wiping snot off my face and stray pieces of spit.

Anyway, they sung the National Anthem.  And then resumed playing Eric Clapton music?  An odd choice.  And, we were off.

Mile 0-1 involved a lot of jockeying for position.  I started mid-pack, and of course I had to dodge 5K walkers who don’t quite get the concept of “runners in front.”  I picked two guys that I wanted to follow–they looked like they were keeping a pace similar to mine, and they were both wearing KC Marathon Finisher shirts.  I kept with them for the first half of the race, and then kept them in my line of sight for the rest, although they were ahead of me.  I hit the first mile marker at almost exactly 10:00, which is what I was shooting for.  I also saw the people who were clearly going to win the 5K, and dang, they were fast.  I know a lot of people hate out-and-back courses, but I like them because I like cheering for the leaders (especially the lead women) and getting cheered for by the walkers on the back.

Mile 1-2 was mostly downhill, with a slight hill near the end.  I have to say, I was expecting a hilly course but this wasn’t bad at all.  The inclines were gentle and long rather than short and steep like in my neighborhood.  I spent a lot of this mile amused by a couple pushing a double baby jogger with an angry baby in it that kept throwing its blanket out of the stroller.  Eventually the kid successfully got rid of it and the parents didn’t notice, so, hope he wasn’t too attached to it.  We split from the 5K crowd at the mile and a half mark and I had a quick sip of water at the water station.  I hit the mile 2 marker around 19:45, meaning I’d picked my pace up nicely.

Mile 2-3 was probably the hardest part of the race for me, because I kept thinking that I saw the 8K turnaround just ahead…but it wasn’t quite there.  Finally, I hit the turnaround and got a little more water.  I don’t really remember much of this mile, other than just saying, “You do NOT need to walk.” repeatedly.  And I didn’t.  I think I clocked in at mile 3 again just short of running 10:00 miles–maybe 29:45 or so.

Mile 3-4 I remember being somewhat uphill and very twisty–lots of curves.  It was here, I think, that we started to catch up to the people who were walking the 5K.   I remember having to do a lot of maneuvering to pass groups of children, people with strollers, groups walking 4 and 5 across.  It was annoying.  I also recall seeing a “mile 2” sign, which I assume was for the 5K people, but I freaked a little nonetheless.

Mile 4-5 I pushed hard.  I really, really didn’t think I’d be able to hit my initial goal of running the race in under 50 minutes because of the lung problems I’d been having, but when I finished Mile 4 at about 39:50 I knew I could do it if I just kept up the same steady pace I’d been running.  I picked it up, especially after seeing the half mile sign, and once I saw the finish line I literally sprinted.  In fact, I started sprinting so soon that about 50 yards from the finish line I almost had to stop because I didn’t think I had it in me.  But I did!

My final chip time was (drumroll please) 49:38!  I beat my goal without even thinking about it for the first few miles.

Unfortunately, I told T that I’d probably be finishing at about 51:00-55:00, so he wasn’t ready with the camera when I finished.  Instead, he got this highly flattering shot of me about 20 seconds after finishing:

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Oh, T.  One day I will get a photo of me actually crossing the finish line in a race.  I swear.

After a brief investigation to find out my chip time, we hit up First Watch to refuel post-race.  I had an omelet with potatoes and an English muffin, two cups of coffee and a whole lot of water.  Well worth it!  If nothing else, here are before and after shots of my food:

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After:

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Mmm.  According to my Polar, I burned 756 calories during the race, with a maximum heart rate of 202, so obviously I needed to refuel accordingly.  (It’s now maybe 1.5 hours after lunch and I’m already feeling my tummy rumble again.  I think a snack is in order soon!)

Anyway, even though I may have had kind of a shite attitude going into this race, I’m super proud of how I did.  I feel 100% confident that I’m going to be fine for my half marathon in April, and pretty soon I’m going to try to get together some winter/spring races to prep.  I’d like to do at least one 10K before the half, so hopefully I’ll be able to find one that works.

Thanks to all you guys for your support!  I thought of you when the going got tough!