Fun(draising) Friday 8/30/13

My fundraising is at an even $800! Thank you so much to everyone who has donated already! Since I’ve raised over $500, I was able to get my Team Challenge training shirt. They look pretty cool! I’m in the process of brainstorming some creative fundraising ideas to get my fundraising to the next level. What cool fundraising ideas have you seen?

Team Challenge training shirt
Team Challenge training shirt

Whew, it’s still hot here! Had to do an evening tempo run on the treadmill this week since it was so hot out. The treadmill is fine, but I definitely prefer to be outside. I was able to get in a morning run yesterday (Thursday) while it was a little cooler. Still pretty humid (even after we got some rain overnight), but was nice to do my 3 mile run out in the morning air. I had a chance to test out my new running shorts from Athleta. In support of the start of Gopher football season last night, I also wore my Minnesota shirt from the Big Ten 10K. Must have been good luck because the Gophers did win. 🙂

Go Gophers! And new shorts!
Go Gophers! And new shorts!

The shorts fit well and are a good length for running. One thing I didn’t realize until I put them on is they don’t have a zipper pocket like my other pair of Athleta shorts, but that’s why I have my SPIbelt. I thought this was a good plan, but then realized the slippery fabric of the shorts was making my SPIbelt move around a little while running. May need to tighten the belt if I wear it with these shorts in the future. I think I’ll keep the shorts, but that’s one thing I love about Athleta is they have a “Give it a workout guarantee.” If you don’t love it, you can return it for free. I feel a lot better about spending a little more money on quality workout clothes knowing I can return them if they’re not perfect because no matter how much you jog in place in the fitting room, you don’t really know how things (like shorts) are going to work until you actually run in them.

Well, I’m looking forward to this heat wave being over. While I’ll be sad to say good-bye to summer, I do LOVE fall! (Can you believe September is a day away?!) The start of football season is making me want fall weather even more. Fall is my favorite season for so many reasons, and I’m looking forward to some fall running and getting to cap off the season with my two half marathons!

What’s your favorite season? Are you excited for football?

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Something is Better than Nothing

Some days you just don’t feel like working out. Yesterday was one of those days for me. Even though I had a pretty low-key weekend, I woke up feeling really tired on Monday morning and was feeling even more tired after work. I think I’m still recovering from a couple busy weeks of working, traveling, and running.

I ran 2.93 miles on Saturday and 6.28 miles on Sunday, so when I looked at the half marathon training plan and saw that Monday said “strength and cross training (optional),” I was very tempted to forgo the cross training. I got home from work, put my stuff down and ran through my options in my head:

  • Option 1: change, make dinner, and lounge on the couch
  • Option 2: change, go workout, then make dinner and lounge on the couch

The inside of my heel had been bugging me a little after my long run on Sunday, so I knew I didn’t want to do anything high impact and wanting a rest day was a good excuse for going with option 1. But, I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to get a workout in tonight because of plans after work, so that pushed me towards option 2. I also knew that I had leftover pasta in the fridge, so dinner would be quick and easy after a workout. It literally felt like 100 degrees outside, but I couldn’t really use that as an excuse to not workout because I have access to a workout room and indoor pool. So, I was pretty much out of excuses for not working out and made the decision to throw on my bathing suit and swim some laps.

Just keep swimming :)
Just keep swimming

While it was only a 20 minute swim, I felt a lot better about doing something rather than nothing. It made relaxing and watching old episodes of Bones that much better. And I still got some strength training in while watching TV. 🙂

There are always excuses for not working out, but I’ve found that I usually regret the workout I didn’t do more than the workout I did do. Now that Ragnar and other races are done, I’m trying to really focus on the half marathon training and want to stick to the training schedule as much as possible so that I can have the best chance of achieving my goals. Sometimes doing something small is better than nothing to keep yourself on track and keep moving!

What motivates you to go workout when you just don’t feel like it?

Beat the Heat

It’s hot out there today! Glad I got my run in this morning before the thermometer hit 90 degrees (and kept climbing).

Sunday mornings are our group runs for Team Challenge. I’ve had to miss the last two weeks, so I was excited to be able to make it today. We met at Como at 8 a.m. to run around the lake. The training schedule called for a 6 mile run, so that meant four laps around the lake. It was already 80 degrees when we started running. Thank goodness for a nice breeze and some decent shade on the path. I made sure to bring my handy-dandy water bottle with me for today’s run.

Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!
Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!

Of course, I had to refill a few times at the water fountain, and I definitely splashed some cool water on my face a couple times. I felt good on my run. My legs were a little tired for the first mile, but then I hit my stride. The lake was great to run around and I was very tempted to just jump in after the run–would’ve been refreshing. 😉

Our clinic after the run was on massage/bodywork. Meredith, a certified massage therapist, talked a little bit about massaging our muscles to alleviate soreness. Along with just using your hands to massage your muscles, she talked about using a foam roller, tennis ball, or other ball. I’ve used a tennis ball to massage the bottom of my feet (especially the arch) when they get sore. We’ll be having a special clinic to talk about foam rolling soon that I’m looking forward to.

I got home and guzzled down some water with nuun to replenish some electrolytes after sweating a lot on that run.

Tri-berry is my fav flavor (so far).
Tri-berry is my fav flavor (so far).

Not looking forward to it being really hot this week. Might have to move some runs inside to the treadmill or make myself get up early for a morning run.

What do you do to beat the heat? Do you run with water?

Fun(draising) Friday 8/23/13

TGIF! It’s been a busy week. After the craziness of Ragnar Relay last weekend, I worked most of the day on Monday and then jetted off to Atlanta for the National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing & Media. It was a great conference, and I’m really glad I got to go. Along with some really interesting sessions, I got to hang out with a couple of great friends and – as you can see – we stuffed our faces with some awesome southern food.

Sun in my Belly: Water in a mason jar :) ; fried green tomatoes w/ pimento cheese; fried chicken, collard greens, mac & cheese;  lemon and chocolate cakes for dessert. YUM!
Sun in my Belly: Water in a mason jar 🙂 ; fried green tomatoes w/ pimento cheese; fried chicken, collard greens, mac & cheese; lemon and chocolate cakes for dessert. YUM!
Fox Bros. BBQ: Texas fries; pulled pork, baked beans, mac & cheese; jalapeno corn bread. Again, YUM!
Fox Bros. BBQ: Texas fries; pulled pork, baked beans, mac & cheese; jalapeno corn bread. Again, YUM!
Mini grad school reunion with Hyedi and Kate :)
Mini grad school reunion with Hyedi and Kate 🙂

After taking a couple of days off to recover from Ragnar, I was able to get in a couple of morning runs in the fitness center at the hotel. I had such a good time at Ragnar and in Atlanta, but I’m also a bit relieved they’re done so I can focus on my half marathon training and fundraising. I continued to make progress on my fundraising this week and have raised $780, 21% of my goal! Let’s see if I can break $1,000 this week!

 

Ragnar Relay Recap

Happy (and proud) to say I survived Ragnar! And I can still walk. 🙂 Actually not as sore as I thought I’d be after running 16.1 miles in 36 hours. We lucked out with great weather. It was a lot of fun and a completely new running experience.

Our team was the Lumberjack Heroes. We had 12 people split up into 2 vans for the relay race. I was in van 2. Van 1 had to take off early in the morning to get to Winona, WI to start the race at 8 a.m. Van 2 met at 10 a.m. to load up the van and head to Modena, WI (exchange 6) where our first runner started around 2:45 p.m.

Van art! Lumberjack heroes
Van art! Lumberjack heroes

Leg 1 – 4.5 miles

At 6 p.m. it was my turn to run my first leg. Felt so good to finally start running! I had been anxious and excited all day watching the other runners in my van take off for their first leg. The ‘baton’ for the Ragnar Relay is a bright orange slap bracelet (yes, an old-school slap bracelet!). They announced that our runner was coming, so I made my way to the exchange point and waited for the hand off. I got the bracelet and was on my way. I found my stride and was feeling pretty good. Near the end of the leg, the road became a gravel road. This slowed me down a little because I was worried about my footing since the gravel was a little loose. Definitely not a fan of running on gravel, and the fact that there was a mean hill didn’t make it a lot better.

Overall, I felt good about this first leg. I ran the 4.5 miles in 46:30. A lot of teams keep track of how many runners they pass while doing their legs and they’re called ‘road kill.’ We called our road kill ‘stumps’ to keep with our lumberjack theme. I had 4 stumps on this first leg and was pretty pumped!

About 9 p.m. our van rolled into Ellsworth, WI where we had some downtime before our second legs. We took to the opportunity to try and get some sleep. We were at a school and had the option to go inside and sleep in the gym, but it was such a nice night that we decided to grab our sleeping bags and sprawl out on the football field. It was pretty cool to be lying under the stars. I had been sleeping for about an hour when a volunteer came up to the field and told us the school didn’t want people on the field, so we had to move. Totally could’ve used another half hour of shut eye, but I did feel energize for the next round of running.

Leg 2 – 4.9 miles

Our second legs were during the overnight hours, so we had to wear safety gear: a reflective vest, a tail light, and a head lamp.

Ready to run the night leg!
Ready to run the night leg!

I got geared up and was ready to start my second leg at exchange 22 in Hudson, WI around 4:20 a.m. I was kind of excited to run at night, but a little nervous too. I took off and after a few steps my tail light fell off. I grabbed it and reattached it to my vest. After a few more steps, it fell off again. I picked it up and tried to turn the light back on but it was not working. You have to wear all the safety gear on the night legs, so I had to text my team and ask them to bring me our other tail light. They caught up with me after a few minutes, I put on the other light, and was finally off.

The whole light debacle kind of rattled me. I was so paranoid that the light was going to fall off again that I never really felt like I hit a comfortable stride. This leg was actually kind of tough for me. Remember the road kill (stumps) I talked about? Well, if getting passed actually made you road kill I would’ve been that gross, unrecognizable animal on the highway after this leg. I was getting passed a lot. I had to keep reminding myself that I needed to run at my own pace and not worry about what other runners were doing. Along with that my legs were already tired and this route was almost all uphill. It was truly a mental game to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I was relieved to get to the next exchange, pass off the bracelet, and put that leg behind me. Because of the setbacks at the start of this leg my RunKeeper was a little off, so I’m not exactly sure what my final time was.

After our van’s last runner was done with her second leg, we had some more downtime and attempted to get some sleep. We were at another school and went into the gym. The floor was hard, so it was tough to get comfortable, but I managed to get a couple hours of sleep.

Leg 3 – 6.7 miles

Yes, my last leg was also my longest. One good thing about this leg is it actually followed part of my regular running route in St. Paul, so I knew the terrain. This leg started about 2:15 p.m. and the temp had reached the mid-80s with lots of sun and a light breeze. After a less-than-stellar second leg and the warm weather, I was fairly nervous waiting at the exchange. I took off planning to start out a little slow so I could get warmed up. I was happy when RunKeeper said my average pace was 10:30 after a half mile. I was feeling good so I picked up my pace a little and was averaging about a 10:05/mile pace the rest of the route. This was faster than I was expecting! I even had 5 stumps on this leg!

I carried a small water bottle with me, but because of the heat I also had my team meet me halfway through the leg to give me more water if I needed it. I was glad I did this. I drank the small bottle on the first half and it was great to have more water for the second half.  I felt strong along the second half of the leg and was excited to spot the “One mile left” sign. I reached the exchange and was so relieved to be done! I ran the 6.7 miles in 1:08:56.

Our last runner took off and the rest of us hopped into the van to head to the finish line. Van 1 met up with us at the finish. As our last runner approached, our whole team joined her to run across the finish line. So nice to finish the relay as a team!

At the after party we collected our medals, grabbed our free pizza and beer and sat down to enjoy our victory. I think we were all pretty tired, so we didn’t hang out too long. The rest of my night included a shower (the best shower ever!), laundry, and I treated myself to some (more) pizza. Felt so good to sleep in my own bed that night too! 🙂

Finish line!
Finish line!
So happy to be done!
So happy to be done!

It was a long and crazy couple of days, but so much fun. I’m so glad I did it, but I’m also glad it’s over so I can focus on my half marathon training. Will take it easy for a couple days to recover from the weekend, but then training will be in full swing again!

Have you ever done a race like Ragnar Relay? Would you ever? 😉

Fun(draising) Friday 8/16/13

I’ve continued to make progress in my fundraising efforts this week! Thank you so much to those who have donated! I’m up to $580, 16% of my goal!

I heard that a couple of people had some issues donating online (not being able to select the correct state while filling out their information). I apologize if anyone had issues! I let our team coordinator know about the problem and they are following up with the website folks. She also mentioned trying to use Internet Explorer when donating as some other browsers don’t work as well with the site. I believe they’re working on fixing the issue. I went in to the site this week and it was working for me, but just let me know if you have any trouble.

On a different note, a friend sent me this article from BuzzFeed, “The 26 Stages of Taking Up Running,” and it’s pretty funny. It’s also pretty accurate. I definitely started at stage 1: thinking I had no interest in running. But, I eventually gave it a shot and I’m happy to say, I think I’ve made my way to stage 26! 🙂

Which stage are you in?

Ready for Ragnar

This pretty much sums up my weekend ahead: 200(ish) miles, 12 people, 2 vans, 1 crazy relay race.

This weekend I’ll be running the Ragnar Relay. Basically, we have a team of 12 people who are running a relay race covering about 200 miles. We split up into 2 vans (6 people per van) to make our way along the course and one person is always running. Each person on our team is assigned a number (1 through 12) and runs 3 legs of the race. I’m runner 11, so I’ll run legs 11, 23, and 35. The distances are different for each leg and for each runner but can range from about 3-9 miles. My legs will be 4 miles, 4.9 miles, and 6.7 miles respectively. (Of course my longest leg had to be my last.)

A race that lasts almost 2 days requires some pre-planning for what to pack. I’ve been keeping a list all week so I can write down stuff as I think of it. We’ll have 6 people “living” out of a minivan for those couple days, so packing light is key to being able to fit all of our stuff!

This was a great tip for packing your running outfits – put them in a gallon size Ziploc bag to keep everything together and then you can put them back in the bag after running.

Running outfits
Running outfits
Ragnar packing
Ragnar packing

Keep an eye out for my recap of the race early next week. I’m sure there will be a lot to share!