Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dear Ol' Man Winter: GO AWAY!

Yesterday afternoon, I ran 6.25 miles outside in shorts and a t-shirt. It was somewhere around 60 degrees and it was amazing!

And this is what it was like tonight when I got home from work:

Seriously? Snow again? Don't get me wrong, I love the snow for a very big reason: snow skiing! But if I'm not skiing, I don't really want it here. A couple snow storms during winter is fine, but I've had enough of it this winter! And I think it's even worse because we've had some really amazing and beautiful days. I feel like Spring is teasing me with nice days here and there where I can run outside. And then it is taken away! But, there's nothing I can do about it, so I'll just make the best of it.

A couple days ago, it was a little colder, but I was still able to run outside. I had some new gear that I wanted to try out, so the colder weather was perfect. Here I am after my run:

Yes, I realize that nothing about my outfit matches (even my husband pointed that out to me)! The bright orange Vizipro jacket, the black and yellow Livestrong shorts, the black and blue Amp Pro2 tights and even though you can't see it, I do have a bright pink Sweaty Band on. But, it wasn't about matching. It was about trying out my new jacket and my new tights. The company I work for is owned by the same company that owns Saucony. The fitness center at my office is appropriately named the Saucony Center. And at Saucony, they run! And they have great shoes and great gear!

I wanted to try some of their compression tights, so I chose these HERE. It was only a 4 mile run, but my legs did feel great and the fit is really great as well. And then I got this jacket HERE that I have been eyeing for quite some time! It is really lightweight and it is water resistant, so it would be great if it is raining. It does come with a USB_LED light, but I didn't take it with me this run. The ViZiPRO line is so visible and is just an extra safety measure for running outside. I do run on the sidewalk when I can, but sometimes I can't avoid running in the street, so the better cars can see me, the safer I am! And the reflective strips work great, as you can see in the picture!

So even though my outfit didn't match, I ran at a faster pace than normal. So "Yay" for the new gear! And I can't wait for the weather to get nice so that I can hit the pavement again!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Home Base Raffle!

Stephanie, over at Running to Health, is going to be running a 9K at Fenway Park on May 22nd! She is committed to raising at least $1000, which will go toward treating veterans of war, specifically with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). In working to raise the money, she has set up a raffle with some pretty amazing prizes that you could win! Go over to her blogpost HERE to check it out! And below is a paragraph about Run to Home Base:
From the Run to Home Base website:
"In New England, an estimated 50,000 veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan are affected by TBI and/or combat stress. These invisible wounds of war are extremely complex, highly individualized and extraordinarily difficult for all those affected. Families of veterans suffering from combat stress and/or traumatic brain injury often need support and guidance as they seek ways to better understand and support their loved veteran. Many veterans struggle with the stigma associated with these injuries and the so called "invisible wounds" caused by battlefield experiences. While anxiety and distress may not be as obvious as the physical wounds of war, the scars are just as painful and deep. Such injuries require attention and treatment by a team of providers who are familiar with and experienced in the complexities of combat stress and traumatic brain injury."

You can find out more about the program HERE on their website.

Run over to Stephanie's blog to check out the raffle and help her raise money for a great cause!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Back on campus!

No, I'm not back in college, but I did go back to the campus of the University of Kansas because it was an amazing 75 degrees this afternoon! I don't live in Lawrence, but I really wanted a change of scenery, so I thought running on campus would be perfect!

This was the view out of my sunroof (when I was parked of course) and it was so beautiful outside!
Here is a view of the Campanile. The following pictures are from my cell phone, so they aren't the greatest quality. And I did stop running for a few seconds while taking these, but I wanted to at least capture this run with a few pictures and share them with you! I enjoyed being out in the nice weather and being on campus again.

I walked these sidewalks more times than I could ever remember while in college and it was so great to be back on them again running. It was around 5:30, so there were still lots of people out and about and I had to be careful when crossing the streets with all the traffic. But people driving on campus are used to always yielding to pedestrians, so it was no trouble.

Below is Fraser Hall. If you go to the top of this building, you are at the highest place (in a building) in Kansas. I am not quite sure if that is still the case after they built the Oread Hotel on campus, but at least while I was in school it was. And I had a few classes in Fraser and went to the very top floor to look out the windows a couple times. It was pretty neat!

And below is something new that I hadn't seen before. I did stop to read the plaque in front of it. I can't remember all the details because I skimmed over it, but some artist creates these all over the country. It should be there about 2 years before the tree branches decay and they have to haul it off. It was too neat not to take a picture of it!

And I had to capture one of the many STEEP hills leading to campus. This picture doesn't even really catch how steep it is. I didn't make it running all the way up and even while walking (hiking) up it, I was breathing harder than I do when I run! I had already went down this exact hill and was coming back up when I took this picture. While going down, I couldn't even run fast (make up some time) because I thought I was going to slip from it being so steep and there being sand all over the sidewalk from all the snow we had! Challenging, but different scenery and route for me today!

University of Kansas sign by the Student Union as you're entering campus.

And below, the best place on campus - ALLEN FIELDHOUSE, home of the KANSAS JAYHAWKS! After some challenging hills, some awesome weather, seeing many people, and having time to think back on the time I spent here, I had the most fun 6 miles I've had in a long time! I thoroughly enjoyed this run with it being a change of scenery and the scenery being a place that I hold very dear to my heart! ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

I am not a Valentine's Day fan. I never have been and it doesn't stem from "not having a special someone." I have a very special and completely wonderful husband who would pamper me the whole day...if I would let him. It's not that I don't like Valentine's Day, because I really have nothing against it, but I could do without it. I would rather get flowers on a random day than on the day you are "supposed" to get them! And I really don't need an extra day where it is "okay" to eat chocolate. I do that perfectly fine on my own on a normal day.

But, when you get home from a long day at work and you find these Valentine's in the mail from your nieces, it sure makes the day extra special.

My 4 year old twin nieces and their sister, my 2 year old niece, worked on these at my Mom's house and she made sure to get them in the mail to us. I'm sure they had a great time coloring them at Grandma's house and I loved skyping with them tonight to thank them for the wonderful pictures! It made my Valentine's Day super special!

Melting Snow, Sunshine and a Long Run

I have been dreading my long runs that are coming up. Not the runs themselves, but where the runs were going to take place! I was dreading running 10+ miles on a treadmill in a stuffy, hot gym! I did run 8 on a treadmill a few weeks ago and I actually felt great. But I also know that feeling great in that situation might not have been the norm.

I was getting excited last week when the weather forecast for the weekend was supposed to be really favorable and warm for this time of year. My training plan was calling for a 10 mile run on Saturday and I was planning on running outside in the sunshine. But due to being at a car dealership most of the day, that didn’t happen. It was a good day though because we got my husband a new truck! When I got home, I did have time for a short run, so I still got out in the sunshine and did a couple easy miles.

When Sunday came, it was even warmer than Saturday, the sun was shining, the snow was melting and I headed out for my run at about 10 am. I had an idea where I would run, but the route came together as I went along. Those are my favorite ones. The route I decided on took me on some major hills that I wasn’t expecting, so my 10 mile run turned into a rather challenging, hilly endeavor! But, I would take every one of those hills over a run on the treadmill any day!

Living in a small town, you have to get creative with the longer runs. I mostly had to run on the streets because not everyone had shoveled their sidewalks, and the snow hasn’t fully melted. I would try the sidewalks and would end up having to go to the street anyway, so I just gave up on the sidewalks all together. I had to try to dodge the many water puddles, but after a while, I gave up on that too. I kind of felt like a kid again just splashing through the puddles! The backs of my legs were all muddy when I got done (yes, it was nice enough I wore shorts)! I felt amazing and finished my 10 miles in 1 hour, 41 minutes and 41 seconds. My pace was 10:10 which was way better than what I was expecting, so I was very pleased with that. Maybe it was how fast I was able to go while running down all those hills!

I plan to enjoy this nice weather as much as I can! I also know that living in Kansas means we probably aren’t fully done with winter, but I’ll take the warmer weather any day I can get it!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Childrens TLC Groundhog 2011 Race Report

My 2nd race of 2011 is complete! And even though it was my 2nd race of 2011, the actual type of race was a first for me. It was underground in tunnels in Kansas City! My friend, Miranda over at Living Locally told me about it a while back and I had never heard of an underground race (check out her blog - she posted a couple pictures of the race and tunnels)! Immediately I knew I wanted to do it. There was a 5K and a 10K and I decided to do the 10K. I had been battling a cold all week and I didn't get in all the mileage earlier in the week I wanted to. So, I didn't know how it would go.

First of all, I knew inside the tunnels it stayed around 68 degrees all year round. I didn't want to over-dress. So, I decided to wear my new running skirt that I got HERE. But I also didn't know until I got there how long I would have to walk outside to get to the entrance to the tunnels. It was quite a ways and it was really COLD and windy! I'm glad I brought my compression socks and my Nike long sleeved running shirt with me. So, I put my long sleeved shirt on under my short sleeved shirt and I put my compression socks on so that at least my calves were covered. I also didn't know what it would be like in the tunnels and I was going by myself. I didn't want to have anything extra because I didn't know where I'd put it. So, needless to say, I froze on the long trek to the tunnel. And I could have brought a little bag and left it in the tunnel. Other people were doing that. So now I will know for the next time I do this race.

I was very lucky to find Miranda, Sarah and Heather amongst all the people. It really is a miracle we found each other! Miranda and Sarah did the 5K which started at 9 am and Heather and I did the 10K which started at 10 am. The 5K race had to finish before we started because the 10K course is actually just running the 5K course twice.

I am a solo runner. I always have been. I get anxious when I run with other people because I definitely don't want to hold them back. But it was nice to have Heather to run with! We ran together the first half of the race. Because the race is in a tunnel, the air was pretty stale. And with the cold I was still battling, I was having a hard time breathing. So, when we got water at the water station, I had to walk a little ways to get my breath back, so I told Heather to go on and I'd see her at the finish. She definitely helped me to push myself the first part of the race even though I was slightly uncomfortable. I finished strong and was proud of myself for pushing through and still getting a 10K PR. This is only my 2nd 10K, but a PR is good nonetheless. Here is the race report (I didn't have my Garmin because I wouldn't have gotten satellite signal in the tunnel and I didn't even have a watch, so I don't have the time by mile):

Mile 1 (they did track and post this for us): 10:28
Being in a tunnel and having the race sold out, it was pretty difficult at the beginning to get through and around people.

Total 10K time: 1 hr, 2 min, 1 sec

Average pace was 9:59

I was 781st out of 1160 runners in the 10K (there were 3500 total runners for all races combined). In the Female 30-34 age group, I was 73rd out of 132 runners. I was pleased with my performance and I would definitely do this race again with what I know now and hoping I would be completely healthy next time!

I didn't take my camera to the race, but I had my husband take a picture of me when I got home. There is a picture of me with my dogs and then me sporting my new running skirt!