Monday, April 23, 2012

Bye Running with Corgs!

Hi Readers!

Please visit me at my new website:

I can't wait to see you all over there!  Once I figure out how to add a 'follow' button, please add me!  Thanks, friends!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

My First Spin Class!

Today I tried a brand new class at the gym I just joined Friday.  I joined the YMCA in Evans primarily because they had a good class schedule.  I really like taking yoga - I used to go every Thursday night in Pittsburgh when my bff Caitlin lived there - because it helps me recover from running workouts and builds upper body strength.  I'm sure it helps prevent injuries, too.  I also took a body pump class with Caitlin when we were both living in Pittsburgh.  It was great because it was primarily for women and used lighter free weights and crazy things like resistance bands and step blocks.

One class I will probably never take is Zumba.  I seriously struggle with learning dance moves and always end up going the opposite way everyone else is going.  It took me 6 classes to get down 'the grapevine' warm-up routine in body pump, my feet always seemed to get tripped up over each other!

Today, I tried a 45 minute spin class for the first time!
of course I had to throw on the Boston jacket on my way to the gym

I never really got why spin was so popular, but I understand now.  When I use the bike or elliptical at the gym, I just can't seem to push myself and it is so incredibly boring.  Today, we did all kinds of crazy spin moves - climbing hills, doing jumps, resistance intervals, riding in different positions, doing squats - I had no idea you could do that much on a bike.  The instructors were hilarious and we worked out in a dark room with a blacklight, listening to really fun music.  I felt like I was at a dance club.  It was also a great class because you can push yourself however hard or easy you want to go, by adjusting the resistance on the bike. I was super sweaty I was done.

Depending on my work/running schedule, I would like to start trying to fit one of these classes into my workout routine each week.  I still believe that running is the best way to become a better runner (i'm old school that way) but this is a fantastic way to get your heart race up and gain fitness.

While I was out and about, Mister Bruno had the important task of guarding the home.

the best little watch dog
Happy Sunday!  Anyone else like spin classes, too???

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Grass Hog

This morning: two mile easy run around this awesome yet hilly crosscountry course by my house.  Then 5 hours of yardwork!
downhill.  I really like this course because it is a trail but very wide

Blanchard Woods Cross-Country Course

It is strange to take a break from running. It's a little sad, because nothing puts me in a good mood like a great run. For me, it's very beneficial that I take a few days off completely from running after a marathon, then ease back into it. Sort of like a reverse taper.

Of course, I am unemployed at the moment so I have even more free time right now. When you are employed, you wish you weren't and when you are not working, you wish you were. Just can't win! Too bad I can't get paid to run all day, that would be the easy solution. However, I have been interviewing over the past two weeks and have pretty much decided which job to take over the summer until the school year starts. But it still doesn't start until May 20th, so I have been trying new activities.

My newest hobby is weed wacking. Most of my life, I have been convinced that the second I try to use it, I would cut my foot off. I envisioned a huge machete type blade spinning around the bottom. I was shocked to find that there is NO BLADE! It is actually a very thick piece of something like fishing line that moves really fast.
love to the grass hog!

Our new yard is significantly bigger than our last home's, but the biggest difference is the sheer number of mulched areas that need to be weeded and remulched. Not to mention this hillside that needs some attention:
the jungle

To make it worse, it seems all our neighbors use a professional landscaping service. Most of their lawns look like the Augusta National Golf Course. That's why my newest hobby is weed whacking/ landscaping!

Unfortunately, I ran out of mulch so the final pictures will come another day. I weeded for about 2 hours and then edged everything with the wacker. I spreaded mulch, then spread pebbles on the trim around the patio. I potted some plants and rearranged the patio furniture. When it was all done, I filled up the baby pool for the pups to cool off, since they were hot and sweaty from all that weeding!
my fur babies in the pool...yes I'm a crazy CorgLady

Is anyone else out there a Weedwacker enthusiast as well??  I'm gonna guess no...

I am still obsessing over if you didn't get the chance to read all about it, click here!
 Boston Marathon Race Recap

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

B.A.A. and People of Boston: I LOVE YOU My Boston Race Recap

In 1906 the Boston marathon was referred to as "The Inferno" when it rose to 97 degrees during the race.  In 1976, it was called "The Run for the Hoses" when temperatures were 100 at the start and residents took garden hoses out to the streets to cool down the runners.  In 1982, it was a slighter cooler mid-70s with a blazing sun, named appropriately, "The Duel in the Sun".

I am not sure if the 2012 Boston Marathon will earn a special nickname, but it will be a very memorable one for me.

I qualified for Boston the past few marathons I have ran, but didn't fully understand what the big deal is about this race.  I respected the tradition of the race, being the longest running marathon.  I loved that the past running greats participated in this race.  I love that, in 1967, Katherine Switzer secretly entered the race, was confronted by the race director on the course, and still completed the race.
An her ovaries didn't even fall out!
I loved reading about this race, tracking the elites on race day, and reading about all these legends that choose to run Boston.  But I didn't totally understand why the race itself was so fun, and how those spectators can really be so amazing.  I run for myself.  I am competitive enough to push when no one is around.  I don't need any help during a marathon!
That was before I ran a marathon where the temperatures reached 89 degrees on a course with little shade.

I woke up before my alarm Monday morning, around 5:30.  I slept very well, but was feeling very nervous.  I was most nervous about racing in the heat, with all the heat warnings I was very paranoid I would hurt myself or not finish the race.  The B.A.A. sent out many e-mails warning us to be very, very careful.  It was hard to stop wondering if I made the right choice to run.

I got dressed, making sure to cover myself in tons of sunscreen.  I am pasty white (when I don't use self-tanner) and I burn very easily.  Many sunscreens have failed my skin or made my face so greasy my eyes stung, but this is my absolute favorite:

Neutrogena UltraSheer, the UltraSheer means you have absolutely no greasiness!
Going for the half-naked look
Getting to the start was kind of an adventure.  Our hotel convienently offered a $10 shuttle ride to the Hopkington State Park.  From there, we took another shuttle closer to the start.  From there, we walked for ten minutes or so to the Athlete's Village.  It was a nice warmup and I got to talk to some other runners.  Of course, I chose to wear an all gray North Hills sweatsuit so I could just throw it away and avoid checking a bag.  I kinda looked like I was trying to be a thug and everyone else had on bright, drywicking spandex.  Maybe that's why I sat by myself for the next couple hours!

I waited around a long time in athletes village, but it was a cool place to be.  Something really random and hilarious happene a little bit before my wave and corral was called to go to walk to the start.  The Peru Master's racing team asked me to get in a picture with their captain.  I thought he meant take their picture.  No, he wanted a picture with me.  I am not sure who they are, but they were so funny and sweet, who knows - maybe they are secret runningwithcorgs readers.

The walk to the start was not fun, neither was waiting the fiften minutes in wave 1, corral 8 before the race.  I broke a sweat walking slowly to the start.  We were all very close together and the sun was directly overhead, not a cloud or tree in sight.  At the start, we were packed in even closer, and there was no breeze at all.  I was sweating at this point, and I wasn't even moving.  I wasn't feeling very excited or encouraged anymore.  Right before I crossed the start line, they told us it was 80 degrees.

The first two miles were filled with anxiety.  There was little shade, and not many spectators yet.  They didn't have the first water station until around mile 2, due to congestion when you start.  We were also very close together, since everyone in my corral ran about the same qualifying time.  Very little breathing room, and I felt very warm already.  It was hard to see because I had no sunglasses on and the sun was so bright.

Mile 1: 7:30 Mile 2: 7:47

Right after mile 2 was the first glorious water station.  It was super crowded with runners and there were cups everywhere.  Usually during a race I run right by and scoop up a cup of water easily.  That was  not going to happen during this race.  I figured the trade off for slowing down a few seconds each stop was better than getting heatstroke and carted off.

I drank Gatorade at every other stop to get electrolytes on this hot day, something I usually don't do, but it worked very well.  I did not get an upset stomach.  I sipped water at every stop, and dumped the rest on my head, neck, and chest.

After stopping at mile 2 for water, I soon was getting thirsty already.  That's when we started to approach all the crowds in Framingham.  I quickly began to feel that I might be okay during the race.  There were enthusiastic fans EVERYWHERE.  Not only were they cheering, but they had garden hoses on to cool us off, they had orange slices, cups of ice, cold towels, baby pools to soak in, popsicles, candy and snacks, kids with waterguns, sponges soaked in cold water....this amazing support continued the entire race.  Never have I ever seen spectators so willing to help you.  They were there to work and help us get through the race and I really don't know if I could have survived the day without all the extra help.  I ran through every hose and sprinkler on my side of the street.  The B.A.A. set up many of their own misting stations, and many fire hydrants were opened for the day.  I ran through every one of those. I took in water and splashed it on my body at least every half mile.  I took a gel every 6 miles, taking a half of a gel at mile 24.  And my secret weapon?  The ice the ladies were handing out went directly in my sports bra. This helped keep my body temperature from rising.  They thought it was so funny when I stuck them right down my shirt, too.  A lot of people cheered, actually.

I felt more and more encouraged by the mile.  Bikers drinking beer cheering us on, girls outside Irish bars dancing on picnic tables, college kids offering you beer....what a party! It made me want to run faster!
random picture of the elite women!

I had mile 10 to look forward to in Natick, where my family planned on watching me.  The next miles I focused on staying relaxed and keeping wet and well hydrated.  They went by pretty quickly, especially since I was focusing on dousing myself with every liquid I got my hands on.  It was a little discouraging to see people starting to get sick, pull off to the side, or begin walking slowly at only mile 3, though.  It was hard not to wonder if you would be next.  I kinda felt like it was the Hunger Games, without the murder and mean competitors.

Mile 3: 7:50 Mile 4: 7:36 Mile 5: 7:50 Mile 6: 7:39 Mile 7: 7:46 Mile 8: 7:39 Mile 9: 7:37 Mile 10:7:41

At this point, I got to see my family and give them the thumbs up.  I told them earlier if I got overheated and felt like I needed to drop out, I would go with them here.  I screamed hi to them and told them I could do this and I would see them at the finish.
saying hi
Jordan made this sign to let me know that the kennel reported Penny and Bruno were doing great!

At this point, I was fully committed to finish the race and was feeling pretty great.  However, I still had 16 miles left.  I decided to keep my effort level the same until I got through the Newton hills and Heartbreak Hill. I had no idea how bad those would be, so I wanted to make sure I had enough in the tank to get up them!
Mile 11: 7:49 Mile 12: 7:36 Mile 13: 7:49  HalfMarathon: 1:41:23 (Here I told myself I would be pretty happy if I ran the next half at the same pace, a 3:22:46 would be a good time for the conditions)

Mile 14: 7:35 Mile 15: 7:40 Mile 16: 7:25
 The hills started around here.  Hopefully I don't sound like a jerk saying this, but I enjoyed them because my poor quads had a break.  I kept a steady pace up the hills and there was a lot of crowd support.  I remember thinking the first hill was kinda rough but the rest flew by, since there were some nice downhills thrown in there.  Plus, there were thousands of spectators telling you how awesome you looked as you went up.  I couldn't believe the hill I just went up was Heartbreak Hill, I actually had to ask the guy next to me.  I think training in Pittsburgh makes these hills a piece of cake!

Mile 17: 7:46 Mile 18: 7:56 Mile 19: 7:30 Mile 20: 7:45 Mile 21: 7:54 
Finishing the hills and arriving into the masses at Boston College was my favorite part of the race.  I high fived so many college boys here and was rewarded with extra cheering.  They were insane.  They were fun and probably drunk, but actually knew what things we wanted to hear when we ran by: You've got this Pink! You don't even look tired!  You own this race!  7149, I love you!.  Go Little Blondie!  This crowd kicked off the best 5 miles of a race ever.
All through Brookline, massive crowds were going totally crazy for us.  There were also some very nice downhills in this section!  I had no choice but to smile and enjoy the moment.  My legs were totally short but it was easy to pick up the pace, the energy of the crowd truly pulled me through and I finally understood why Boston is so amazing.

Mile 22: 7:14 Mile 23: 7:23 Mile 24: 7:13 Mile 25: 7:35 Mile 26: 7:22
Making the left onto Boylston Street was another memorable experience.  A lot of times a long straight away at the end of the race makes me discouraged, but I was able to look at the crowds 10 deep lining the long straight away, take it in that I was indeed finishing my first Boston Marathon in these yucky conditions, and treat it as my victory lap, speeding up with a kick but with a smile on my face!
Last .2: ran at 6:14 pace
Finish Time: 3:20:23
Overall: 1,860 out of 21,554
Women: 167/8,966 

Although this was far off my PR of 3:13:42, I never felt more happy with a race when I crossed that finish line. I wasn't sure that I was going to finish that day, and to negative split over that last half really made me proud of the way I ran the race.
I was spent after that race and was bummed to have to walk what felt like another marathon to get food, medal, and to the family meet up area.  But I was on my runner's high so it was all good.
Some pictures after the race with my family:  Thanks for watching!!!

Thanks, paparazzi


#1 Husband

Brother, Mom, Me, Dad

Running Buddies!
After this, we had to walk to the train and take a 30 min ride to our car.  My parents picked us up from the car and drove to the hotel.  I changed at the hotel and drove with Jordan to the rental car place.  We took a shuttle to the airport.  We got through security and I finally got to sit down.  What a hassle!  But everything we went through over the weekend was worth it, to finish the Boston Marathon strong and be part of such a crazy race.  It lived up to the hype to me, and again, I don't think I could have finished the race without the fabulous support from the B.A.A. and the awesome spectators.
ecstatic I had a seat on the subway!

Thanks for all the cheering and message of support from everyone, you guys are awesome!!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Boston Results

Had a great time in Boston today! Will write all about it tomorrow when we are home... It was a crazy hot day in Boston, it was 87 at the finish!
I ran a 3:20:23 which is 7:39 pace.
My half was in 1:41:23, so I was able to negative split through the Newton hills!
The B.A.A. site says I was 1860th overall and 167th woman.
Time to get on the plane to Charlotte, they are letting anyone who ran the marathon board first! So awesome!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Boston Decision

So unless you have been living under a rock (or don't watch the news, read the paper, go on Facebook, or just don't care one bit about the Boston Marathon) the temperatures tomorrow will rise into the 'danger zone' for participating runners. The temperature seem like it will hover between 78 at the start and around 84 or higher at the finish for me. These temperatures put runners at a much higher risk for heat related injuries.
The B.A.A actually sent an email telling participants they could defer their entry to next year, due to health concerns. All day yesterday I thought about what I was going to do. I was upset because I trained to get a PR for this race, which is something you should not try for when the temperatures are this high- plus, it's totally unrealistic. Two of my friends, who are ridiculously fast runners, suffered heat related injuries in Chicago 2010 when it was super hot, and I did not want to go through what they did. I went to bed sure that I was going to defer and try another race in a few weeks.
When I woke up, I magically had my answer. I really, really wanted to earn a Boston marathon jacket. We spent all this time, money, and effort trying to get to Boston, which included switching our plane tickets from Pittsburgh to Augusta. Penny and Bruno had to spend the trip in the kennel. I spent everyday since December 10th preparing for this day. Above all else, I felt that going on that plane without a medal in my purse, around all those other runners that did get to race, would really, really, really make me upset.
My new plan tomorrow is to race, but race smart. I will be running a pace that challenges me, but does not overheat my body to a ridiculous extent. Fast racing does that to you. I might feel cool and comfortable the first 10 miles, then really have to slow down as the temperatures rise. That will be okay. This race will probably be the most challenging one I complete, ad I will be very proud to take my medal home to Georgia.
By the way, if you are running Boston and decide to defer, I totally 100% agree that you are making the right decision. I hope I run in such a way that makes my personal decision the right one for me!
Because of all the drama regarding the weather forecast, the trip has not been the most relaxing time. In fact, I think this is the most nervous I have felt before a marathon! But I know once I finish tomorrow it will all be worth it!

Some pictures of our trip below. We had an awesome dinner at P.F.Changs last night! Got to see my twin who flew in from D.C. and of course, my parents. We went to the expo today where I purchased the coveted Boston Jacket - there is no turning back now! They gave us really awesome fitted technical shirts in our bags, too.
Oh, and those weird pictures of running heaven and people play harps was from the Brooks "running heaven" it was pretty sweet/ridiculous.
We also took a walk around the harbor after the expo, so pretty!
If you would like to track me via text message, text "RUNNER" to 345678 then when you get the auto reply, text 7149 for my bib number.
Good luck to everyone running and remember to take care of yourselves tomorrow!

(my pics aren't loading up... Will add them in when I'm home!!)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Important Race Decisions

One of the most important decisions for any race is what to wear.  For me, the item of most importance is to wear lots of pink.  I find that the more pink I wear, the more fans I get to cheer for me.  Usually, they refer to me as Pinky or Blondie and the lady spectators especially seem to like my outfit.  I have a pink sports bra top, pink spybelt (for my 4 vanilla gus) and either a pink visor or pink, glittery headband - TBD.  I will be wearing new, Nike Dryfit shorts that are gray with pink trim.  Jordan gave me these for my birthday.

In addition, I will be wearing the Newton MV2 racing flats for this race.  I wore them for the Augusta half marathon, and they worked out great.  The only thing is that they are built for 10ks and half marathons.  I really wanted a lighter Newton to race in, since I wear them on my training runs all the time.  THe shoe guru that I purchased them from told me I should be okay based on my size to wear them for the full marathon.  I definitly feel faster in them!

If you are running Boston and are anything like me, you have been checking the weather every 7 minutes to see if there is a cold front moving into Boston Monday morning.  Right now, the temperature could get up to 88 degrees on Monday!  I personally love running in brisk weather, but am trying to be optimistic about this forecast.  Obviously, I will have to adjust my PR goals and focus on running a strong, smart race where I can place well in my age group and have the luxury of passing others the last part of the race.  I also will be aiming to NOT to visit any medics.

 Any race temperature over 60degrees negatively affects race performance.  I found this neat calculator online that calculates, based on the temperature, how your goal time will be affected.  I was surprised that for a goal time of 3:10 in 80 degree weather my time would only slow by 6 minutes.  I will be putting this theory to test.

Check out the calculator HERE

After doing my extensive research today, I realized I have two things going for me regarding running a race in the heat.

1) I have lived in Georgia for a whole two weeks and ran two speed workouts and one long run in over 80degree weather.  Today it was 72 when Jordan and I ran and I hardly broke a sweat - of course that was only 3 miles at 8:25 pace!
2) I am small, and female.  I read that taller, larger males have the hardest time in the heat - more body surface to heat up, I guess!

I will be spraying myself with sunscreen before the race and of course take care to stay hydrated - while avoiding over-hydrating - which can lead to death!  I will be wearing a sports bra so I can get a cool breeze on my belly and am thinking about wearing a visor, I still can't decide if it will help me by shading my face, or if it will add more heat to my body.

I will still be hoping that the weather changes, but am very excited to run Boston for the experience of it.  And I will certainly be pushing my hardest, even if it isn't reflected by a PR. There is always the jacket to look forward to!
2012 Boston Marathon Jacket
Sadly, we had to take our puppies to the kennel today since we are leaving early in the morning.  I am not worried about them, I just miss our little buddies!  Its so weird not having them follow us around.  Mister Bruno was very upset to go to the kennel, while Penny was so happy to meet new friends.

Poor, unsuspecting pups
Tonight we will be relaxing (which calls for me checking the weather every 15 minutes) and having day 2 of our homemade meatballs and sauce, one of the best things about tapering!!
Cooking balls of meat
Any thoughts on running marathons when it is HOT?  Visor or no visor?  Ohhh the important decisions I have.