Sunday, December 8, 2013

Running and Training

This is a new record. Two posts in one 24 hour time period? Go me.

As I mentioned a few hours ago when I was supposed to be sleeping but wasn't (so salty)... half marathon training is fast approaching.

I've lost all my endurance from the 2.5 month break so I need to be smart about training. Something I've yet to figure out... the smart thing, that is. And this 2.5 month break will be close to three months before I actually start running again. Soooooo... here's my plan in no particular order:

1. Wear shoes that are broke in but not AARP status. I make stupid mistakes, learn from them, and then make them again. That pertains to running and life, for the win. For some reason, I can't help but run in new shoes... they are just too pretty not to lace up. But, inevitably, plantar fasciitis gets all up in my biz when I make such a mistake. Lesson for me: Break my shoes in and retire them when they've lost their light as a cloud feeling.

2. Watch and listen (the hard part) to this clip every week. every week. "And when your time comes and a thousand different voices are trying to tell you you're not ready for it... listen instead to that lone voice of dissent. The one that says you are ready, you are prepared. It's all up to you now. So rise and shine." Lesson for me: Stay motivated or feel the wrath of the 13.1 in March.
3. Slow slow days and fast fast days. What does that even mean? I run too fast on my mileage days and too slow on my speedwork days. Enough of that nonsense. I'm not some speedgoat and I'm surely not one of those bloggers that runs 276 marathons a year so 2014 is my year to train based on MY body. My mileage days (the days in training designed for a runner to just be out on their feet) are going to be jogger slow. I'm ok with this. My speedwork days (the days designed to push a runner to their ultimate fast pace) are going to be super freakin fast. Like Jimmy Johns fast only I'm not a sandwich. Lesson for me: Check your ego at the door and train smart. 

4. Believe in myself. I DNF'd early in 2013 and since that race Steffi done lost her groove. Well, I'm going to get it back. How? I haven't quite figured that out yet... but I'm determined so there's a start. Lesson for me: Focus on the positive, learn from the bumps.

And now I'm hungry so I'm off to eat some chicken pot pie. You're so jelly right now.

Hugs and love, 

Insomnia--I Take Zero Responsibility for the Content of This Post

Hi from planet earth--it's 1:50am and I'm STILL AWAKE. I've never had insomnia. In fact, I'm more of a narcoleptic than an insomniac any day of the week and twice on Tuesday. 

So, WHY, in the name of everything good in this world, can I NOT sleep? I'm blaming pain killers. I had some surgery a couple weeks ago and now that I'm off those retched things I can't sleep. Let's keep score... how many times does she write "can't/cannot sleep" in one little post. Bet the house, folks.

This is great news for AHL, however. Because now there's going to be a current post. Albeit, terrible, but still current. Let's take this time to race recap life in my corner of the world... blogs are really self-absorbed, by the way. I know, I'm quick. 

Berlin Marathon 2013 Race Recap Lowlights:
1. I got sick with a cold that turned to pneumonia the Wednesday before the race. 
2. I picked up my packet on Thursday and immediately cried inside when I was placed in corral H--the very last corral. Why this bothered me, I have no idea. I'm ridiculous sometimes.
3. p.s. There were 40,000 runners registered... and over half were assigned corral H. Again, I'm ridiculous.
4. The race began, I felt ok. The first 13.1 were nothing spectacular but I was on point to come in sub-4:30, which at the time felt freight train fast. 
5. And then 13.2 hit. Actually, I started to feel sick to my tum tum around mile 8. Miles 5-10 are usually my favorite... 
6. Aside from pooping my pants, fainting, or breaking a bone I pretty much experienced every other icky marathon problem the latter half of Berlin. Nausea, zero desire to eat anything due to said nausea, cramps in my calves, wheezing, a garmin that was inaccurate by 2.5 miles (read-MILES) so when 26.2 hit I still had 2.5 miles to go (worst. ever.) and so on and so on. 
7. But, I finished. And that, my friends, is the one highlight of Berlin 2013. I believe my time was 5:17:34 but I could be wrong. That's a long flippin flapjack time to be "running." 

So, yeah. There's that. 

I haven't done much (read-zero) running since the marathon. But, I have a half in March so there will be training in my near future. I think I'm excited?

p.s. I can't sleep still.

Hugs and love, Steffi

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Catch Up - Princeton 5K Race Recap

There are advantages to knowing a course before you run it. Grab some popcorn, get your comfy pants on, turn off your cell phone, and enjoy the featured program.

The Princeton 5K is near and dear to my heart. I helped (a tiny little bit) in the planning of the event and with setup and tear down. But, because the Race Director is also my neighbor and friend... he let me volunteer for AND run the race. Like literally run... not let me be in charge of it... that's scary.

With all that being said, I knew the course and I knew it was HARD. Like make you pee your pants a little you're so scared HARD. I also knew the hard hills came at the beginning and middle but the last mile-ish was all downhill/flat. 

I also knew who was racing because I had my paws in the registration piece of the race. What I didn't realize is one particular 13 year-old girl (yes, you read that right) was racing and I have NO chance of beating her ever in this lifetime or the next one or probably even the one after that.

But, I knew the course so life was good. We started on time and everyone raced off on the flat starting area... only to be met with the first of many hills .2 of a mile in. I had six females in front of me. I knew about five of them. 

One by one I picked them off. On uphills and downhills I passed them. I asked at the only water stop how many females were in front of me and I was told one girl. "WHAT?!" I totally thought I was in the lead. 

And then I saw her flying downhill as I was trudging up hill. She's quite incredible. So I gave up my plans of winning it overall for the chicks and settled for second place overall female and first in my age group. Official time: 25:52. Not my best, not my worst. 

Overall the race was awesome. I can't wait to run it again next year. And volunteer for it. Lesson be learned: Know your course. If only that it's hilly, flat, windy, or in between. Plan your pace accordingly so you don't get chicked by someone like me.

Hugs everyone! Next up, Berlin Marathon, Germany!! More to come on that... after I finish it, of course.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Race Recap: Madison Mini Half Marathon 2013

Welp, looks like AHL has been diminished to a blog capturing my incessant need to talk about my races and only my races. In my defense, this is my blog so I get to do whatever I want. scary.

The Madison Mini was my first race in over two months. That's a long stretch for me. obsessed with racing comes to mind. But I did get married and honeymooned and all of that so racing was set to the side. excuses excuses.

On to the actual Madison Mini 2013 race recap. hallelujah. 
Nice little setup for the expo and a great shirt. Pic coming as soon as I wear it. I went with my girl, Angela, and while she was signing herself up for a free hat another half marathon I was buying what will very likely be my Berlin Marathon shorts. special things happen at expos.

Angela also won a free pair of socks. lucky! Me? Nothing. typical. 

All in all the event was decent. We stopped by the Fellow Flowers booth and bought some flower power. Umm, parking sucked. We found a semi-legal spot and it worked well because we didn't get towed but parking still sucked. Move in week for students does not make parking downtown Madison anything but a suckfest. 

Everything was going peachy until I was about a mile from my parking ramp. My stomach decided to throw a party. a naughty party. I started searching for portapots but couldn't find any.... DUN DUN DUN. This is the stuff us runners talk to each other about but rarely mention on the interwebs. I say rarely because well, here I go...

I was seconds from squatting in a parking ramp when I saw a dude in his car three stalls down. not my shining moment. So, instead I pulled myself together and started running.

And that feeling, that horrible horrible feeling, stopped. so, naturally, I kept running. 

I had on some warm throw-away clothes (big oversized sweatshirt and flannel pants) when some random guy asked me why I was still in my pajamas. Don't mind me, I'll just be over here winning at life. 

I finally found a toilet. No need to elaborate further. thank you god.

I chilled with a couple cool cats in our corral waiting for the start. Yes, I'm an Alliteration Goddess. And yes, I just said corral. This is the 5th year of the Madison Mini and the first year they tried start corrals. Tried and succeeded. Thumbs up, Madison Mini. 

The start was a bit congested but nothing to complain about. There were great aid stations with tons of volunteers and YUMMY Gatorade Series Pro 02 Perform at each station (along with water). Gatorade Perform has two times the sodium of the Gatorade Thirst Quencher Series. Sodium and I work well together in distance running... so I was thrilled to taste this delicious drink of the heavens during the 13.1. 

This is a hilly course. don't kid yourself. Please consider this my official apology if you were one of the many runners that passed me in miles 1-3 and ate my dust as I passed you hitting your wall at mile 11. sorry mates. Pacing is huge for this half. 
my pretty face. and my new brooks shorts!
Speaking of pacing... this half runs the WRONG direction through the beautiful arboretum. Run it the opposite direction and you descend more than you TRUDGE UP HILL AFTER HILL. wisconsin is not flat. I leeched onto a couple runners pacing roughly 10 seconds faster than I wanted to run at that time. This is a trick I use quite frequently in races to push myself. The last hill in the arboretum they were left in my dust. my humility is flowing.

And then I had .1 of a mile left. I should've been feeling tired and ready to be done but I was going for extra credit. I was tired, ready to be done, and about to toss my cookies. It was like running in quicksand for the last tenth. 

I crossed at 2:00:29 (I believe. I'm too lazy to look it up.)
yes, it's upside down. i fail.
Yes, 2 hours and change. If only I could've pushed it... just kidding. I'm happy with this time. I was in a major fist fight with her highness, The Half Marathon, before this race. I can now happily report that we had a long two hour chat in which she apologized and I apologized. We're again the bff's we were only a year ago. 

p.s. They had great post-finish food and drink. Bananas, cookies, granola bars, popcorn, water, chocolate milk, and beer. one free beer to all my drinking runner friends. 

I think that's quite enough of the longest race recap ever. A little over a month and I'll be in Berlin, Germany running 26.2. beyond excited. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Meb's in Town!

The story goes something like this...

I'm chatting with one of my clients, at her house, when we start on about the Bix race. The Bix 7 is tomorrow and it's a pretty big deal. First of all, who races 7 miles? We love the 3.1, 5, 6.2, 10 miles, etc but 7? Weird. 
Because 7 miles isn't a super popular race distance and because the Race Director, Ed Froehlich directs one kickass race, this Bix 7 in Davenport, IA attracts the big dogs. Think Bill Rodgers, Desi Davila, Meb Keflezighi and so many more. whoa.
The Bix is hard. I realize this is Iowa and not Colorado but, trust me, we have hills that will make you cry. Just one more reason the Bix is so popular with people who actually do this running thing for a living.

I digress, back to the story.

I make a comment about the Official Bix 7 Race Vehicle across from my client's house and she's like, "Oh yeah, Meb stays there."


"WHAT? Meb? Like THE Meb? The one that I can't pronounce his last name but I know it begins with a K, Meb? Olympian? Runs a 4:50/mile marathon Meb?"


We start talking about how she sees him on training runs... and then it happens. Before I know it I look out her front door and after hearing her say, "Hey look, that's Meb running right now!" 

heart stops. is this happening? heart starts again.

We run to her master bathroom and watch stalk him as he dances up this beast of a hill like it's flat. I mean, effortless, folks. MEB KEFLEZIGHI RUNNING for my eyes only

I really wanted to join him but I was afraid all the drool on my face would scare him off. Forget the fact that I'm a stranger in a car asking if I can drive along side him while he continues to run. That's not creepy or anything. Carry on.

I kind of feel like a celebrity now. I mean, I pretty much had brunch with Meb today. We go way back. I run, he runs. We're besties. Tonight, I'm camping in the backyard of the house he's staying at. He invited me, I mean... he kind of looked my way so that counts. Right?

Question: Do you ever get starstruck? 

I would really like to believe I don't but clearly that's a lie. For me, it's athletes that make me go all jelly-legged. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

I think something's different.

It's been a minute, AHL. I've missed our chats... the ones where I do all the talking and you do all the listening? Yeah, those are my favorite.

A few things have happened in the past couple months... 

1. Mauka has remained injury free. KNOCK ON WOOD.

2. We rearranged our living room, again. And by we I mean Brett.
3. I discovered my love for Watermelon Nuun. Serious, heart-stopping, mind-blowing love.
4. Oh yeah, and we got married. 

WE GOT MARRIED! I'M MARRIED! TO MY BEST FRIEND. To the only man patient enough to put up with me. God bless him.

We had an absolutely incredible day. Everything was perfect and the best part is we ended up hitched when it was all said and done. Here are a few photos from the day... the ever talented Andrea Paradowski was our photographer friend. She's pretty brilliant, eh?

Notice how Brett and I are both "flying" in the pic above? Totally awesome.

Now onto other things, like running and yoga. Oh yeah, those things. Those things that take the back burner when a bride is planning her dream wedding. Marathon training? Who needs the first 8 weeks... not this girl, apparently.

Yoga? What's a sun salutation again? You mean, I can practice on my mat without going to a class? Shhhh, don't tell anyone this or I'll be out of business in no time. 

In all seriousness, I have been running a little. And I have been practicing a little. It's just the frequency and consistency have been lacking. Baaaaaaaad.

But, I got that covered. If you don't know what that thing on my wrist is... you will in my next post. I'm OBSESSED. And I've had it less than 24 hours. 
Would you exercise/walk/workout/run more if someone or something was tracking your every move? Or would you be a little freaked out about the whole tracking thing and sit in the corner and cry?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Midnight Run

Workout Yesterday:
Race for the Cure 5K - Check
8 miles at Midnight - Check

Rewind time five years... I would've punched you in the face laughed at your face if you told me in 2013 I would run 8 miles in the dark, half on country roads. LAUGHED AT YOUR FACE.

One, because I simply wasn't a runner. That happened in late 2011 when my first ever race sucked me in... and from there, I was under the spell. 
and Two, because I had more important things in life... like shopping and drinking.

A few things have changed in five years. 

One, I'm a runner now... a marathoner to be specific. 
and Two, I don't drink and I only shop for our wedding. are we there yet, are we there yet?

If you would've asked me before the marathon if I was a runner yet... I would've told you no. I felt like a wannabe. In my loco mind, I had yet to achieve anything great. I didn't lose (notice how I did that there? lose... not loose? yes, that's an important distinction in the English language) weight, I hadn't completed the big 26.2, and I sure hadn't learned to love running. I felt fake. 

Even after completing the marathon I felt like I was missing the true runner bug. If there even was such a thing.

Last night, I got bit. hard. by that elusive runner bug.

I completed a 5K in the morning with some awesome friends... and needed to put down another 2 miles to complete my training for the day. If sitting on the floor wasting time on facebook for five hours equates to 2 running miles then yes, I put down those 2 miles with style. 
I checked the forecast for Sunday morning; thunderstorms and ickiness most of the day. It was 9:30pm on a lazy Saturday evening and I had this insane thought...

"Why not go for a midnight run?"

By 10:05pm I was out running. So not exactly midnight but I'm old so it felt like it.

I wore a headlamp around my waist (yes, you read that right) and one on my back that flashed so all the drunk drivers cars could see me running on the quiet country road. Only I don't think it worked because, although I could see the light from the headlamp, the cars pretended I wasn't there. I guess five years ago I would've done the same thing. #sadface 

Not to mention, the country roads create shadows and make noises in the middle of the night that are McCreepy.
I turned around and headed back to our small town a little before two miles. One, because I realized this might not be the safest decision and two, because I was scared. Picture this:

"Holy shit, I'm going to get eaten by a bobcat. I think I just heard him (always a him) over there."
...turn headlamp to look off into a field but keep running so you see nothing...
"Yes, that was definitely the bobcat. And now he's following me."


"I bet that car that just drove by, that didn't move to the other lane to give me space, is going to turn around, come back, and kidnap me. I just know it."

yes, I'm totally sane. 

Oh, and there actually was an apparent bobcat or cougar sighting I was made aware of right before my run. by one of my neighbors. awesome.

After I was back "in town" I ran the next six under street lamps feeling much safer and much more responsible. gooooood little runner. 

I finished those 8 miles and realized something... only a runner, a real, live, in the flesh runner would run at night. 

Holy pepperoni, I'm a runner! and even more importantly, I LOVE RUNNING.

Hugs and kisses, Steffi