Monday, May 30, 2011

Where it began...

A quick recap to bring you all up to date.

Let's start with my running story.  I was nearing 40 and there was the subconscious (because I would push it back down there whenever it rose to my conscious) knowledge that I was getting older and... ummm.... softer. Somehow I decided that running would fix that.  So I signed up for a 5k and bought a pair of running shoes (yes, I called them sneakers but that's because I grew up in New York).  It was winter in the Pacific NW so I hopped on a treadmill and started off.  The girl next to me was gliding along and looked like a runner - exactly what I was hoping to achieve.  So I assumed whatever she was doing was good.  I peeked at the settings on her treadmill and copied them.  What I did wasn't exactly gliding but I hung in there until after she had completed her (thankfully short) run and left the gym.  Then I immediately slowed it down.  But, I went back the next day and put it all back and tried again - determined to last longer.  Rinse and repeat for almost 2 weeks before I realized that something was wrong.  I had passed the everything is sore stage and now something HURT.  Long story short, I had created some nice stress fractures in my right foot.  Into a boot I went.  Fast forward three months and out of the boot - we're now 6 weeks away from the 5k that I had signed up for.  I'm a little stir crazy from dragging around that boot. So I go out running.  A few times.  Maybe a bit too fast and/or a bit too long.  Race day comes and I'm about 1 mile into it when I feel pain radiate up my right foot and I slow.  Yup - I fractured the same bone again.  Back into the boot.  Lesson learned.  I waited a good 6 months before trying again.  

Late one night I got an email from a coworker/friend.  It said something to the effect of "I know you wanted to start running and have been resting a while. Want to run a half marathon with me?"  I replied with a quick, "Sure!"  She sent back the link for registration.  I happily clicked through, filled out all of the information and paid.  I went to sleep with a smile on my face - I had a new goal!  A couple of hours later I woke up in a panic.  I realized that I had no idea how far a half marathon even was!  A quick google search increased my heart rate and a fine sweat broke out on my brow.  13.1 miles?  What was I thinking?  So... back to the computer and more googling led me to a running training group.  I shot off emails to a few friends to recruit others into this endeavor with me and went back to sleep.  Over the next few days I bribed and cajoled TWO friends into joining and we went shopping for running gear.  We showed up in our shiny new clothes and matching gear every Saturday morning.  We trained slowly and not only did the stress fractures never show up again but injury was kept to a minimum.  My less-than-auspicious start to running had evened itself out and now I was raring to go.  A few smaller races before the half marathon all went fairly well.  Race day itself?  Of course I had two goals - one public and one private.  I actually beat the private goal by 5 minutes!  Whoo hoo.  Somewhere after that I decided that if I were ever to run a full marathon I'd better do it soon.  So... I did.  And now... follow my story as I continue to set goals and challenges and (hopefully) meet them!  :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Shamrock 5K - March 13, 2011 - Race Recap

Race Review: Shamrock 5K

I went for a run with 30,000+ of my best friends today - with most of us decked out in our Shamrock green finery!  It was a typical rainy and windy day in Portland but spirits were high and lots of money was raised for the Doernbecher Children's Hospital Foundation.

The race is so packed with participants that even with wave starts you will not be getting a PR here - I felt a bit like a cow being herded for at least the first 1/2 of the race.  Instead of racing this one, plan to run with a friend and take time to look around at what everyone else is wearing.  Trust me, I may look all decked out in my greenery above, but my ensemble was very tame compared to many runners!  Think full-on leprechaun suits, red beards, humongous green bow ties, tall foam hats that look like mugs of beer... you get the idea. 

Shauna decided to go with her college colors and skip the green but we added a few touches on her anyway (doubt that Shamrock perched on the tip of her hat made it even a mile into the race).  I was hesitant to wear a running skirt, but they are so adorable and comfortable. I couldn't help myself.  The cotton tee was cute, too and since I've never had any issues with chafing and wore a sports tank beneath I was sure I'd be fine (and I was).

The Shamrock Run is the second largest race in Portland, OR.  The 5k course is a nice course - primarily flat with a good short (1/2 mile) hill at the end - and this is the only event I know of that holds separate events for 5k runners and 5k walkers.  The 8k course is pretty similar with the same hill.  The 15k?  That's the race where you climb the BIG hill in Portland.  Up Terwiliger! Two category 5 elevation increases = 550 feet of elevation over the race.  The beauty?  A nice fast downhill finish.  I'm saving that race for another year...  ;)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

RaceCenter Expo and Product Review: The Stick

Attended my very first RaceCenter expo today!  First we went for a group run with Foot Traffic University and then the expo was held at the Foot Traffic NE store.  Lots of races were represented - a little overwhelming for us newbies but we found a few great deals and registered for a couple of races!!!!  Eeek!!!

Yes, that's a new face with us!  Our friend, Gretchen joined us for the group run!

This is an annual event so if you missed it this year be sure to attend next year!

Product Review:  The Stick
 After we all had a great time testing out "The Stick" I decided that I definitely needed one so purchased their 24" version (called The Body Stick) and brought it home.  Although you do need a couple of helping hands to get your back rolled (see below for recommended usage), it works GREAT on tight calves and hamstrings.  Keep in mind, The Stick is made of hard pvc-type pegs stacked onto a non-flexible stick with a handle on either end.  This is made for deep pressure, so primarily to be used with mid to larger sized muscles.  Running it up and down my sensitive shins brought a shiver to my spine.  Digging deep into my hamstring brought that weird kind of GOOD pain.  The size makes it nice to tuck into my duffel bag and always have on hand.  There are a few different sizes with varying degrees of flexibility.  Do some research before purchasing one, but do buy one and keep it around - you'll find yourself using it more than you think you will.  

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Product Review: Camelbak Bottle

The day that I noticed our Camelbak water bottles matched our running outfits 
MAY have been the first time I was called a "Fastanista"....

Seriously, we LOVE these bottles.  They are large enough to hold a liter of water and made of a durable hard plastic.  The inside is taste and stain resistant so even after being filled with Nuun it's simple to throw them into the dishwasher (top shelf) and they come out clean as can be. The bite tube is a nice way to ensure they don't leak and to control how quickly you drink (sometimes after a run you want to guzzle and that's never good!).  The bite section and the tubes are both replaceable (although a little expensive) but the bottles themselves seem to last a LONG time and are very durable.  I love the little loop at the top that you're able to slip a finger through and carry the bottle easily even when you have hands full of other things.  Even is great when running on the treadmill! 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine Fanconi Anemia 5K Run - February 13, 2011 - Race Recap

Race Review:  Valentine Fanconi Anemia 5K Run

The Fanconi Anemia 5K race takes place on the waterfront in Portland, Oregon but feels like a smalltown gathering.  We met under one of the bridge overpasses and saw tables of homemade cinnamon rolls, chopped up bananas and lots of water waiting for us to finish our run!  The bib pickup happened at the race start and was a smooth process.  I had pre-purchased a pullover hoodie that fit well and was an awesome purple color.  Since it was a cold and rainy morning I knew that would be much appreciated after the run!  :)

The course is a nice and flat out and back - as you can see, right along the river.  Lots of pedestrians surprised to see a race happening stepped out of the way and cheered as we ran by.  Lots of supporters (like our co-workers shown below) had easy access to prime viewing spots.

Stowe and Jane came out to cheer Katie and I on!

What Not to Wear:
Okay... so it seemed like a good idea at the time?  I'm going to say fashion fail for the capris with the argyle socks (these were just cheap knee-hi socks, not compression socks).  As you can see in this photo, by the end of the race the socks were beginning to sag which led to the just below the knee peek of my very white skin.  :P

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Quick Tip: Headband OVER your hat!

Quick Tip: Headband OVER your hat!

Check me out (I'm in the middle) - rocking the headband OVER the hat look.

I actually stole this idea from a good friend (Renee) who showed up to a run wearing her headband over her hat.  I tried it the next time I ran.  Was it comfortable?  YES!  Did it keep my ears warm? YES!  Did my hat stay in place?  YES!  Is it the most fashionable look? ummmm.... well, not exactly... especially not when your hat is white and headband is black.  But this photo shows exactly how to rock the look - put your hat on first, slide headband over it and you're ready to go.  Quick tip. :)

PS - we're at a LRR (Local Running Retailer) for a group run.  These are a great way to meet other runners, get in some miles with company and see all the great new products available!  Some offer raffles, free beers, discounts, etc.  This was actually the first day of our 1/2 marathon training program, which we paid to participate in, but the stores also have lots of free group runs!