Week 26: 2017 Goals Check In!

Yesterday morning, I ran for the first time in over a week. I needed to rewrite my schedule, because other things became priority when I knew better. 

Yesterday morning, I took back control of my goals.  

My health has always been important to me, but little things can fuck that up if we allow them to intercede.  

I started out with a goal, of at least 0.5 miles. I set my Apple Watch Nike Run app to 1.0 miles for a target, and headed out. The first 0.25 felt ROUGH, but I knew it would, which is why my goal was so little. I was pleased to hear my half-way mark had me pacing close to a 10:00/mile, because the pain was an indicator of my speed and not entirely my lack of endurance. 

IMG_1346.JPG

It's okay to restart our goals, we only fail when we give up and stop.

I want an elevator in my house

HAPPY SUMMER!!! Yesterday was my longest long run EVER: 16 miles. My thighs would really like an elevator, or they're threatening to make me sleep on the couch instead of climbing up the stairs to bed. I didn't plan the day enough, but it seemed to work out in the end.

The day 6:00am alarm: overnight peanut butter oats, get dressed, put in contacts, put water bottles into Fuel Belt, grab bag full of dry clothes, flip flops, wallet, post-run protein recovery, and face wipes.

7:30am: get in car and drive to group run. Error #1: I left 10 minutes late, and stopped at the post office not along the way to make sure I dropped off a package, and realized I forgot a water for the drive. I toughed it out, drove amazing, and arrived 2 minutes before scheduled beginning time.

8:13am: About of us 5 out of the 13 that showed up headed out from the store on our planned route. We started at Mill City Running, you need to go here if you're in MN and have never been, it's an amazing local couple that run this cute store. This store offers supported long runs once a month, they open their doors early only for the group, have aid stations along the route, and allow you to hang out inside smelling funky until you cool off. It's great. For this privately planned shorter long run, they offered only one aid station at mile 3.5.

Since I was the ONLY person out of everyone who needed to run over 10 miles, I knew I would be running alone for most of the time, and felt great about it. Error #2: not paying attention to the route I would be running alone to find water and bathroom accommodations. I remembered what I was told should be my route, but I didn't pay attention to signage while I was running. I knew the path I was running would go on for a very long time so I just stuck with it, even though the breeze and shade were lacking. Sixteen miles, which means I was looking forward to mile eight because it was my HALF WAY POINT.

Error #3: Not knowing where to refill my water in case I needed more water than I carried. I carried 40 ounces, 8 ounces in each 5 bottles, and I was planning on using one bottle for every 3 miles. And then the humidity set in, by mile 6 I knew I was going to need ration. I was running along a bike path, equipped with tire pump stations but zero water fountains, so I started backtracking my route in my head to see where I would be able to fill up. I knew at mile 14 there would be water fountains, and MAN was that a long way to go but I figured it out and stuck to the new plan.

At mile 10 I passed by this cute park I remembered seeing a bathroom sign at when it was mile 6, and there were these neighborhood ladies taking care of the Primp Your Park flowers. They pointed me in the direction of the water fountain, and I refilled 4 out of the 5 bottles I was carrying. I'm still not sure why I didn't fill that last bottle. I drank two mouthfuls of water while I was there, too. Clearly that should've been a clue to refill that last bottle.

The shade of miles 10 through 12 were great, trees galore and even a little wind! The view was amazing, you had no idea what type of neighborhood you were running through but it felt like it should be upscale. At mile 12.5 I saw it, the aid station Mill City Running left! Oh, all I could do was hope there was still water in that giant jug and hopefully some Nuun left in the gallon bottle! And when I arrived, THERE WAS!!! The water in the jug was still cool, and the Nuun was still lemon-lime tasty! GLORIOUS!!!! I drank a cup of Nuun, filled up all of the bottles, drank a cup of water, and headed to finish this thing.

[embed]https://instagram.com/p/5kYJsiFhxs/?taken-by=emilyrunfree[/embed]

I felt so strong now that I had enough hydration to finish the day, a lesson in marathon training I never want to go through again.

I ran a half-marathon. Again.

May 23rd, 2015. Stillwater, Minnesota. I dressed for what I thought the weather would be like. Note the patriotic colors. :)

The forecast was in the 60s and moving into the 80s, chances of spotty rain showers, which means humidity and clouds. It was an 8 am start time, and I had to drive about 40 minutes to my friends house so her mom was able to drop us off at the start. The start line drop off was race-illegal, the start location was not ideal for on-site parking or drop off, but we made it work by walking a block from where we were dropped off. Definitely better than the 10 minute yellow bus ride most other runners had to take. We waited in the port-o-pottie line for about 15 minutes, because there were 8 of them for everyone. Eight. Craziness.

You could get 3 people wide through that, it was a slow start.

The start line was also not close at all to the finish line, which isn't uncommon, but the weird part was that we ran mostly on a bike/paved trail. The cheer zones were when the trail crossed the road, which is also where the fuel/water stops were. It was a bit amusing, I'm assuming, for our cheerleaders finding where they would be able to see us, getting there, avoiding the road closure/traffic stop. But they were at each possible cheer zone, and it was amazing!

The run itself wasn't the greatest, to be honest. I had prepared to the best that I could according to the elevation they had posted on the race website, but they changed the posted course on the website on race week. The original race started in a neighborhood and followed roads the entire way, which is easy to train for if you're able to replicate (or run the actual course). The actual race was on a bike trail, which isn't as easy to replicate DAYS before the race.

A downside to having a tree lined trail, is the lack of a breeze. Since this day was cloudy, it held the humidity in, and the trees kept the breeze from giving us any sort of break. My girlfriend started to overheat pretty quickly, so this was difficulty number 1. At about mile 3 I was at max for the heat so I ditched my shirt, thankfully friend's mom happened to be right there so I handed it off to her. Friend apologized profusely for slowing us down, and told me to keep running, but since I told her we would walk the entire thing if we had to because I didn't sign up to do the race alone and she had zero reason to be alone. It was a run for fun, not for time, and I was going to stick by her side unless she decided to leave the race early. She said she would have felt terribly for a long time if she quit, so we ran/walk for random periods of time when she felt up to it.

This trail is beautiful, well paved, tons of miles to take on, and there is an unpaved portion for horses which makes it even more majestic. The trail is also hilly, and not the every once in a while big hills, it was filled with the small frequent hills. There was a hill at least twice a mile. My girl friend had sciata issues going into the race (she never told me it was for at least a month before hand, probably knowing I would've told her to stop training), and those little hills put her in a lot of pain. I went into the race with tight shins, and those little hills flared my shin splints. Welcome difficulty number 2.

When we started the road portion of the race, there were a few big hills, which are expected in Stillwater (if you know the area, you know they're actually called bluffs), but after the first 8 or so miles having a lot of hills my shins were SHOT. Welcome the stupidity that I tell myself: ignore the pain and push on.

We slowly ran the last mile, most of it was down hill. I kept checking my Nike+ Running app, and told her the time we were coming up on. We finished the race at 3 hours, give or take a few seconds. When I told her at the 13 mile mark that if she walked the last few feet that she would surpass the 3 hour mark, she gave me the look of disgust and pushed through it.

Not the best, nor the worst, finish line photo.

While it wasn't the prettiest of runs, it was a beautiful scenery, and I'm so glad I stuck with my girlfriend to finish the race together, since we started this adventure together. She's taking the rest of the summer off, except a few fun 5ks, while I start marathon training officially on Monday.

The Birdtown 8k - There will be hills

Last year was The Birdtown's inaugural event, I ran the 8k last year and felt it was a good race for the weekend before my half-marathon on 5/23/15. When I registered for this year's: I forgot about the hills. I forgot how too-fast I ran. I remembered feeling good afterwards.

I wasn't mentally prepared for this race, my sleep was lacking because one of our cats decided a lot lately that he wants everyone to walk up at 5am, and since I rarely have a reason to be up that early, I do not go to bed earlier enough to get a lot of sleep. We left about 15 minutes later than I really wanted to, but I was the reason for that because I didn't have my bag packed the night before like I usually do.

I forgot that the main road to get to the parking area would be blocked for the half-marathon and 4k that started before the 8k, and that the typical road to take as an alternate was completely shut-down for all of the distances. We had to park 5 blocks further away than I would have liked, so we had to walk that much further to get to the start. We arrived at the start line 1 minute before the gun went off.  One Minute.

The weather was okay, the temperature was in the 60s, there was some wind, but the humidity was higher than it should be in May in Minnesota. I was deciding the final 2 miles if I should run without a shirt, as I usually would run with only a sports bra for a top in that kind of weather, but since that required exertion I decided to just think about it instead of act upon it.

Thankfully, I did run this event last year, so I remembered how many potholes and uneven the pavement would be for a majority of the course. I also remembered how little vehicle traffic there would be so I could run on the road for portions that the sidewalk was not comfortable, and run on the sidewalk when the roads wear really uncomfortable. This was MAJORLY beneficial.

Since we arrived one minute before the gun went off, I didn't get to use the port-o-potty before the race like my body is accustomed to, so I had to pee immediately. I didn't see a single port-o-potty until mile 3, which was mentally tough fighting my bladder on all of the hills before getting to 'go.' But once I was relieved, my mood lightened, until I remembered the final hill.

My chip time was 2 seconds slower than last year, even though I did take walking breaks, I also stopped to use the port-o-potty this year, so I did run it faster. What was I thinking? I probably wasn't, but I still felt good mentally. Until 4 hours later when I sat through my brother's college commencement for 2.5 straight hours, my shins started feeling very tight.

Birdtown Results

My shins hurt a lot last night when I finally returned home, and was getting more difficult to walk up the stairs. I slept with my Zensah Calf-Sleeves on for compression, and turned on heated mattress cover to keep the muscles warm. I woke up and they felt healed! I spent an hour in heated yoga this morning, and my brain and body are all sorts of happy now!

Side note: I realized I ran 85.5 miles in April, my highest mileage month to date. WOO HOO!

Next week is the half-marathon, I'm hoping to keep this peacefulness my brain is currently in through the next 7 days. :)

Happy Sunday!

Stirrup pants are back in my wardrobe!

When I was little, I LIVED in stirrup pants. I cried when I wasn't allowed to wear them any more (out grew them, and they stopped making them)!! I remember how warm they kept my ankles, such an important detail about pants. Warm Ankles! Well, I've brought them back into my life! While they're not exactly back in fashion, I'm going to ROCK them!

Here they are, my beautiful stirrup pants!!

"Emily, why would you buy SEE THROUGH stirrup pants?"

Well, because these aren't just ANY stirrup pants. They're compression tights!! They're the Nike Recovery Tight, to be exact. A few weeks ago I started to seriously research recovery pants/tights for marathon training, and wanted to get them in time to really test them out to see if they would incorporate into my training. I had a few brands and styles in mind, but hand to get my hands on them, and my legs in them, before really deciding.

I had some time to kill before picking up boyfriend from the airport, and decided to pop into the Nike Store at the near by mall. I had actually never heard of these, but saw them on a mannequin and thought they were for yoga. I thought they would be phenomenal for yoga by how they looked, and asked an associate where they were in the store to buy. He informed me they were definitely not for yoga, but were practically medical grade compression tights. MY WHOLE BODY WAS ECSTATIC!!! He showed me where they were, and told me a bit about them.

They come in this case:

It's a hard case! Would be great for iPad or Kindle safe keeping.

I took them out of the case, looked at them for a few minutes, saw the price tag ($140!), and told him I'd need to think about it due to the price. I did some further research online about compression tight pricing, and happened to go across the Nike.com page showing these tights happened to be on sale (at the time of this writing, they're no longer on sale)! I went to an outlet store to see if they happened to be selling them, they weren't but I was informed Nike purchases online or in-store have a 30-day return policy so if you try it out and it doesn't work (and you don't trash the product) you can return it!

I jumped onto the website, and hit purchase! The first day I tested them out, I wore them under sweat pants. Since they're dry fit, they didn't add much warmth at all and did wick sweat.

The second day I wore them out of the house it was a bit warmer out and I was going to a Fun event, so I wore this:

Dress! Cover-Shawl/Sweater

I had on a pair of low socks to be comfortable in the boots, and I was SET! It was fun, and they worked great! These will also be fantastic for long travel days, we're going on a road trip (14+hours) as well as a few LONG flights (10+ hours) and I'm excited these will be helping me out!

I highly recommend doing your research into big purchases, even if your definition of BIG is more than mine ($50). You never know what kind of deals you'll get on something you already want!

Do you have compression pants/tights? What fun ways do you dress with them?

March Assisted Long Run (ASL)

I participated in my first group assisted long run last Saturday morning, March 14.  It was a cooler March day, which means I had to wear long-sleeves, fleece-lined pants, and an ear band.  I've been running since 2007, and participated in organized races since 2011.  The fact that it's 2015 and I'm just now joining group runs might show you a trend: I incorporate something "new" into my running every 4 years.  This may or may not be as effective as the elected officials' who are in office 4-years or longer. ;-) An assisted long run (ASL) has at least one water stop, and, if you're lucky, fuel.  This particular group I am now part of has both on their ASL's, which are held once a month.  If you're in the Twin Cities area, you may have heard of Mill City Running.  This is an amazing place for all things running, and they have weekly runs, various in type and distance.  I love going in there just to window shop, and now that I'm running with them it gives me even more opportunities to browse the beautiful selection of gear.

Back to this ASL: since this was my first group run, I was not familiar with their route.  They did a route preview in-store just before heading out, and there were many people that were 'elected' as pacers.  It was a large turn-out, too.

For my training, I only needed to run 6 miles, but they had a 22 miler laid out if someone wanted/needed to go that distance.  It was a lollipop route, which means it looks like a lollipop!

Here are some of the photos I took along the way, since this was a new route for me, and I adore it!  I plan on running along here many days to come, with or without the running group!

Do/have you run with a group?

56 Hour #Fast - WHY?

Monday morning I decided I needed to Fast, and I decided on a 56 hour Fast.  For me, that means not consuming a meal until Wednesday (today).  Purposefully not having a meal for an entire 56 hours, but if you really think about it I fasted for 64 hours because I slept 8 hours before waking up on Monday.  So I will now call it a 64 hour fast, but not retitle the blog post. :) The reason I chose to Fast is because I am getting ready to do some MAJOR training, I have thrown my name into the lottery for the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon which is June 20th.  I have also registered for the Medtronic Marathon (here and here).  Going through a Fast gets my head into the game, makes me really plan what I need to achieve nutritionally, and to clean my body and mind of any nasty cravings.  I'll be doing a 64 hour Fast once, every other week.  The amount of inflammation alone that is removed through urination is AWESOME!  Professional athletes complete a 24 hour Fast on their "rest" days, so I may switch to those once my actual 12 week training program begins.

I successfully completed my 64 hour fast when I woke up this morning, and had an amazing breakfast to replenish the natural nutrients I need.  I had a vegan protein shake, and a Protein Ice Cream Shake.  The Ice Cream shake counts as my snack for the morning, too.  I did a little research into the history of fasts, because some people question why do them, and it's the Christian Faith that really populated my search feed.  I encourage you to do a search of your own, in case you're on the fence.  I don't nutritionally deplete my body, I follow a system that includes herbal remedies (that taste good, to me) infusing the body with healthy nutrients.

During my short research into Fasts, I also found this little picture, and noticed the Fast side is basically how I already function.  I have nutritional meal replacements (~250 calories each) for breakfast and lunch/dinner, have a few small snacks in between, and then a sit down lunch/dinner (~400-600 calories).  I'll need to be conscience about the meat, but I believe I can handle it.  Now I consider what to 'give up' for Lent.

This is already how I eat, except the meat part.

Are you able to follow this type of Fast pictured? Would you follow the fast I just completed? Are you abstaining from anything for Lent?

2015 Race - Finally registered for one!!

Happy Tuesday!!! I usually have 5 races I've registered for by this time of year, but considering how drastically my life has changed in the last year, race registration is going to be a LOT different.

So what did I choose for my first race of 2015???

The Hot Chocolate 15K!! (http://www.hotchocolate15k.com)  This will be my first Hot Chocolate Race, and I'm excited!!!

I'll be running in Minneapolis, but they have 14 other cities you can run in!

Next week is the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon lottery entry, and I'll be throwing my hat in that ring.  It would be a phenomenal deal if I was able to run that, and then I'm also considering running the Medtronic Marathon in October.  Those are my only plans so far this year, a lot different than the past two years.  I have my reasons for not running several races that I have in the past, but a lot of it has to do with now owning my own business.

Have you ever ran a CHOCOLATE race before??

Sick Day turns into Zombie Week

Hey!  What day is it?!  If it weren't for my phone, I honestly would have no idea until I turned the TV on and checked the channel guide.  I'm hoping this post doesn't confuse you, too much. I flew home from California the 20th, and on the 22nd I had this horrible congestion in my lungs.  I did the usual: pop zinc, drink tea, drink warm water, take it easy, nap, get fresh air in small amounts, and lay in bed with the heating pad on.

Yesterday, I tried Mucinex D.  BAD IDEA!!!  1. It has pseudoephedrine (Sedafed) in it, which DRIES you up at the same time as making your sinuses DRAIN.  I went through 3 boxes of kleenex!!!  And my chest did not break anything loose, the entire day.  Since it's a 12-hour regimen, I thought perhaps the first tablet was the starter and it would maybe increase the medicinal attributes, so I took a second one at the time it was supposed to be taken.  BAD IDEA!!  I was up almost the ENTIRE night, nothing came out of my chest, and by this time my nose was RAW from blowing it so much.

I even carry a full kleenex box in my purse, because those tiny little ones wouldn't keep up.

Maybe that's why I am having trouble thinking today, I literally blew all my brains out. :')

Needless to say, when I woke up this morning (after sleeping 4 hours, thanks to doing a toxin cleanse at 2am when I determined the Mucinex needed to be flushed) I immediately called my clinic to be seen as soon as possible.  Thankfully, the 'float physician' was available right away.  He did his questions, and simple tests, and told me I have what is very COMMON right now, and I'm probably only stuck with it for a few more days.  It's a virus.

There wasn't anything he could give me to make it go away, as it is with viruses, but he did give me somethings to make my life easier until the crud gets expelled from my lungs (which could take a few weeks).

1. He tells me that coffee will soothe my throat.  SWEET!  He says honey in coffee is sometimes better than cough syrup itself, as far as making the throat feel better.  NICE!

2. He prescribes me cough syrup with Codeine which will mean I can sleep at night (finally!).

3. He prescribes me these little throat suppressant pills that will calm my throat when the cough syrup isn't needed anymore.

4. He prescribes me an inhaler, since I do have asthma and do not have an inhaler anymore.

The appointment took less than 20 minutes, I was even at the Pharmacy before they opened waiting for my meds to get bagged up!  What makes this whole illness even harder, it's been in the 40's this whole time and I can't go run in it. :'(

Hope your day is going better!

#runthisyear half way point

I joined the #runthisyear 2014 challenge and I have a goal of running over 300 miles this year. As of this moment, I'm just over 160 miles. Yay!!!I would like to thank my new protein powder for making me a faster runner, helping me recovering faster, and for pure bliss post run. I've recently had to go up in sports bra size to accommodate my larger obliques so I can breathe and function better in the rib cage area. :/ Not sure how I feel about that.

Where are you on your 2014 goals? What is new in your world that has helped your end game?

Packing for a Runcation - #RunnerProbs

I make lists for my lists; I want to have as much with me that I have when I'm at home. This way I can keep to my routines, as much as possible, and that calms me and helps make vacations more fun for me.Packing for a four day vacation for me fills a suitcase; three pairs of shoes minimum. And my pillow. And we're going to Las Vegas. Since I can't predict the color mood I'll be in, and moods decide what I want to wear, I have to have more than 1 shirt/outfit to choose from for each day. So packing for a race for me, well, this sums it up: 20131111-185138.jpg So here's what my carry-on bags will consist of: 1. Normal Carry-On Bag: 20131111-191825.jpg Entertainment (unless it's an hour flight, my ADD goes nuts and needs toys to play with): iPad loaded with movies and magazines, Kindle loaded with books, iPod (in case the other two die) 20131111-191818.jpgI'll be carrying this bag separately through the TSA CheckPoint, since it will all need to go in it's own bin. Afterwards, I'll take out my purse from the black bag and put this inside. I think I'm pretty fantastic at packing, it's a life size game of Tetris, even though I wasn't super awesome at the video game. Snacks (required): Jolly Ranchers, dried fruit, gluten free pretzels, protein powder, ProBar's Meal Bar, Pro Bar's Fuel Bar, Gluten Free Garuka Bars (aka Mouth Gasm), Brookside Candy, green tea bags, and other randomness from the pantry. I'll be buying a Caribou Coffee and a salad from somewhere before departing Friday morning, as well. Water Bottle to fill up: I drink at least 1 liter of water for each hour of the flight, and I'll carry this around during the vacation. Purse: It's a mini-suitcase for everyday adventures! Something has to hold snacks, camera, cell, water bottle, lipgloss, and monies while wandering around. MakeUp 20131111-191812.jpg It's expensive, and I'm not willing to go through the trauma of replacing it all at one time. Blanket I'm a freeze baby My check point liquids Liquid Makeup, Bengay cold therapy for after the race, Lip Balm, etc. Jewelry See Makeup reason 20131111-191752.jpg 2. Race Day Bag (I'll gate check this, Delta always offers this for free once you get to the gate. Has to be carry-on size, though.): 20131111-192258.jpg Race Gear Everything I want to wear and have with me during the race is here. I do not want to risk having my luggage lost so these are staying really close to me until we get to the hotel room. Everyday snacks I eat every 2-3 hours while I'm awake, snacks are required and these suckers are staying within reach as well because it's pretty expensive to stock up my pantry. We have everything listed above, but in multiple quantities. Change of Clothes I have to wear something in case my luggage gets lost. We're on a direct flight, but you never know what might happen. Vitamins and Supplements Not losing these, & expensive to replace. 20131111-192252.jpg

I'm counter checking my normal suitcase, that sucker is FULL and might be overweight. Fingers Crossed TSA doesn't give me too much of a hassle about my snacks, I am worried they will dump my bag and possible confiscate but we shall see!

What Runcation tips do you have? What's one/a few things you've done that did not work out?

TC Medtronic 10K - The Fall Course you MUST RUN!

Happy Veteran's Day.Thank you to each and every Veteran, non-Veteran's are in debt to you!

Something I am thankful for is the outdoors, and the beauty that is nature. A course that embraces the beauty of nature is the Medtronic Marathon, and some day I will be one of those crazy people. Until that day, I will continue enjoying the shorter distances along that course.

The Medtronic Marathon weekend is the first weekend each October, a wonderful time of year in the upper Midwest. The air is crisp, the leaves are in the midst of changing, and the sun still wakes up early with you (and keeps you warm on those early morning runs).

I had never been to a race expo before, so my girlfriend and I decided we should do that and pick up our packets as we needed to still do that. We went on Friday after work, and both were pleasantly happy with what we saw. I was mainly just a tourist and voice of opinion, she was the shopper of a fuel belt and fuel goo as her stash was running low. We sampled some PowerBar products (always start with the salty and end with the liquids, by the way), conversed with a few other vendors, and tested two fuel belt brands before she decided upon one that held water and her phone. As we were leaving, we passed the Caribou booth (Caribou is a proud sponsor of Medtronic Marathon weekend, and are a Minnesota company, and have AMAZING coffee) and we both purchased a coffee travel cup and I bought a bag of Marathon Blend coffee. 20131111-162953.jpg The TC10K, Twin Cities 10K, is the only distance I've so far participated in along this course, twice. This past October 5th, 2013, at 7:30 a.m., with the threat of cold rain in the hourly forecast, my girl friend and I were standing in front of the state capital building, in the starting corral, waiting for our turns to cross the start line. Your first stretch after crossing the start line is UP HILL, but this is also the same hill you will descend to get to the finish line so you just have to imagine how good that hill will feel the next time you see it. The houses along this course are historic, literally. They are registered historic homes. 20131111-164451.jpg They are beautiful, and the roads they are built upon are hilly, curvy, and sometimes cobblestone. 20131111-164508.jpg 20131111-164520.jpg The sun was out, so the temperature was perfect with the teeny bit of breeze that came through the course. 20131111-164540.jpg Below is the finish line in the distance, with the State capital building in the background. It's hard to take non-blurry photos while running. 20131111-164551.jpg Right after we crossed the finish line, our chip time was a fantastic 1:01:35, it started to drizzle and the temperature dropped shortly after I cooled down. I spent the rest of the day hanging out with my brother and we had supper with mom & dad.