Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Getting Psyched for Park City Half Marathon

I am not ready ...yet, but I'm training for and so excited for 
the Park City Half Marathon on August 17, 2013!

Elevation here in New Jersey: 197 feet above sea level
vs.
Elevation in Park City, Utah: 6, 372 feet above sea level
I am not Half-Crazed,
I am absolutely NUTS!

Segue to:
I can do this!
I can do this!
I can do this!

I ran 14 miles on Sunday, and climbed about 500 feet. I am preparing to climb that first 6 miles! Yes this is the race elevation:
Do you see this? 
I need your votes of confidence!
Have you ever been so intimidated by a mountain?
Geeze, it's not like my kids
 - it can't even talk back!
I read on the half2run website about someone who thought it was a great half marathon. He loves to climb. I sense we are not the same type of runner. Dude: I'm sucking down Tart Cherry Juice to deal with my aches and pains, here! Anyway, he went on to explain that it was so beautiful, and there were hot air balloons in the background. I already know, if I see a hot air balloon, I will not be all goose pimply as this guy. I will be more like, "Breathe Half-Crazed, just freakin' breathe!"

I can do this!
I can do this!
I can do this!

I'm really, really, really
Training Smart Today!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Official Trigger Point TPTherapy Affiliate!

You had me at Cold Roller!
Yes, I love Tom!
He's so yummy! Sidekick knows my passion for Tom, so he likes to bring up the fact that he beat him (actually won by Major Decision = >8 points) in a high school wrestling match. And yes, Girlfriend just graduated this past June from the same high school that Tom Cruise graduated from!
Girlfriend singing the National Anthem at her high school graduation!
Hey Tom, she can act, too!
Seriously, though. I saw The Cold Roller at the Boston Marathon Expo. and I fell in love. 
TPTherapy Cold Roller
This little device combines myofascial release with cold compression. It has definitely helped me through my proximal hamstring injury and hamstring tendinosis. You can bring it to the track with you and roll after doing speed work 'cause  it stays cold for 2 hours! This Cold Roller is like Graston meets Foam Roller! It does not give in when you roll on it. It is tough! But it really helps to restore muscle elasticity and strength. 
After the salesperson explained the Cold Roller,
he went on to explain the Total Body Package
TPTherapy Total Body Package
Of course I ordered it! This kit is great, too. It helps you address trigger points along 12 key areas of the body from your lower leg to your pecs and lats. I follow the DVD's that came with the package - they are pretty straight forward. After rolling, I feel so relaxed - like I had a Shiatsu Massage, but better 'cause it's not as expensive!
The best part:
You learn how to unlock muscle tightness that messes with your kinetic chain! 
You haven't heard me complain about my knee lately, have you? 
Confession: I use the KTTape during races as a precautionary measure, but I thank TPTherapy Total Body Package for happier knees! The muscles around my knees aren't tight because I've "released" them using the QuadBaller, FootBaller, and TP Massage Balls. So the muscles no longer pull on my knee cap. My kinetic chain is functioning better because I'm increasing the structural integrity of my muscles. When your kinetic chain is functioning well you optimally transfer force, and effeciently and effectively release your strength, aka. faster running!

This total body package is not fancy foam rolling! The TP Massage Balls, QuadBaller, and FootBaller really penetrate deep into your muscles! You will need to stick to the deep breathing routine they explain, or else you'll find yourself holding your breath and biting your lip when you releasing trigger points buried deep in your muscles. But after, you feel great. And for runners, this is cheap ART. I was spending tons of money going for Active Release Therapy. Now, I just spend 30'-40' a couple of times a week, in my own house, saving my $$$!

If I didn't believe in it,
I wouldn't have become an Affiliate.

Next product: The GRID
TPTherapy Foam Roller
This is a foam roller, but it is very different from other foam rollers. It has a technology that features Distrodensity Zones and Matrix Technology. Crazy terms - but they really just mean that they're designed to maximize blood flow due to the channels in the foam roller. If any of you have suffered with tendinosis, or a proximal hamstring pain, like I have, you know the number one reason these injuries are so hard to get rid of is because there's such little blood flow going to that part of your leg. The GRID Foam Roller can help maximize blood flow to help heal those overworked, overtrained, sore muscles. The GRID is durable - it doesn't sink in the middle like other foam rollers, and it's "Green" 'cause these foam rollers are hollow on the inside. Combine The GRID with the Cold Roller, and you got maximum blood flow! And we all know what that means:
Blood Flow = Healing
So, tool around the TPTherapy Site. Check out the Cold Roller, Total Body Package, and The GRID. Invest for yourself! I read a Michele Obama statement the other day. It went something like, 'If I had to get up for work, I'd get up for work. If I had to get up for my girls, I'd get up for my girls. So why not get up for myself?' The First Lady was talking about making time in the morning to work out. Well, this is about making a purchase for yourself to do what you love to do ...
RUN!
So
Train Smart Today
 ... invest in yourself!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon

State #15: Maine!
The trip to Maine was lots of fun. On Friday, we stopped off in Boston to pick up Mini-Man from his seven-day Carl Adams Wrestling Camp at Boston University. Mini's was hungry, so we took him for a bite to eat once we got settled into the hotel, The Seaport Inn.
Mini-Man @ Whiskey Priest, Boston
I was surprised at how windy and cold it was. I was hopeful that Sunday's race was going to be cooler than the Jalapeño Half. On Saturday, Girlfriend and her boyfriend met us in Boston. We tooled around town for a bit, and then headed up to Maine. On the way, we stopped at Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Portsmouth, NH is so charming!
Of course, we stopped into the Smuttynose BrewPub.
I unlocked a badge in the Untapped App.
I'm a certified Brew Traveler!
I only had one. Maybe I should have asked Side-Kick to stop here on the way back from the race. He had the Purple Haze, and if I weren't racing, I could have enjoyed that one, too! Too bad they couldn't give it to us in a growler to go! But, they did give us some coasters! Our waitress, Corinne, was so sweet!
Make mine a Smutty!
Next stop: Maine
When we got to Maine, we checked into the hotel, and went down by the water, where the race was going to be held. I've never been to this part of Maine before. It was so beautiful.
Portland, Maine
So Beautiful!
Wow! How fortunate was I? I was going to be able to run along this beautiful coastline! It was still cool, too. I was really hopeful that I'd be running in 60*F temps in the morning.

Of course, it was lobster and pasta for dinner ...and a night full of restless sleep. I woke up constantly between 3am to 5:30am - in fear that my iPhone alarm would malfunction and not wake me up for the race! Ech!

At 5:40am, I decided to get up, and dress for the race. Side-Kick and I ventured off, first with him questioning if my straw pocketbook was the only bag I brought, and why I forgot the cool sport knapsack? I reminded him that he's such a great supporter to all my goals, that I love him dearly, and besides the straw bag really didn't clash with his Sperry's! (Thanks, for carrying my bag, baby! I love you!).

It was a bit warmer than the day before, and there were no clouds in the sky. If I were going swimming, I would have been psyched. But, I was going to run 13.1 miles! I was really nervous. I didn't want to feel like I did when I ran the Jalapeño Half! Fortunately, this race was amazingly well-run, and there were lots of water stations.

We started about 7:30-ish. They had us start according to our anticipated pace time. Even though I sulked, having to pass the 7:30'mile pace, I was happy that the race organizers started the race like this. It makes sense ...as long as everyone is honest about their pace.

When I took my place in line, everyone was talking about the hills. There was one about 2.5miles in, and then one that started about mile 5 and didn't finish until mile 6! Oh, boy, I thought ...There goes my time. With the tendinosis, and the proximal hamstring strain, I have such a hard time powering up hills. I was just going to have to do the best I could.

There were 3,000 people running this half. I found out it's the 3rd year for this race, and really gaining in popularity! To film the start, the organizers operated a remote control helicopter with a camera. I never saw anything like that, before. It was adorable!

The 1st mile it was tight, but it helped me start with good pace. It was already hot - about 70/75*F - and I knew I would be in trouble if I pushed - especially with the hills. I took it easy. I'm glad I did 'cause the friends I made at the start, weren't kidding. The first hill, was about 2.5miles in. It wasn't long, but it was really steep: We climbed 120 feet. I was gasping for air at the top.

After that hill, I held onto an 8min mile pace for the next 6 miles, but after the hill at mile 5 that climbed 92 feet up to mile 6, I lost speed, and sunk into an 8:30'/mile pace. One thing I didn't expect was the sandy road that circled around Back Cove.
Shipyard Old Port Course
I'm not used to running on anything, but blacktop - anything else, makes me run very cautiously - I don't want to turn my ankle, and I don't see that changes on the road (too many eye operations - I can't see the little divots). By mile 8, I had enough of the sandy road. I felt like I was dragging. I don't usually eat Gu on my training runs - but I stuck one in my shorts for this race. I ate it slowly, through to mile 9. I read that you should eat them slowly so to not upset your stomach - and I didn't want to repeat being as sick as I was in Texas! I think that eating the Gu slowly really helped. I started doing some Fartleks to pick up my pace, and finished mile 13 with a 8.14'/mile pace!

This was my second slowest half marathon, 
but I still managed to pull off 3rd for my age group. 
The prize: A Buoy!
I wanted one of those buoys, so bad,
you have no idea!
If you get a chance to run this half, I recommend it. Except for the woman who asked if I wanted a bath, and then threw a pitcher of water at me (almost soaking my Garmin) at the mile 9 water stop, the race, race organizers, townspeople, and After Party were wonderful! At the end of the race, there was a tent with water misters, people offering massages, a live band, pizza and the best frozen Greek yogurt: Yasso -six grams of protein, probiotics, and low fat! It was delicious! Of course, there was that 'ole Shipyard beer...
My Recovery Drink:
 Shipyard Summer Ale!
Shhh, don't tell, anyone!
I got a great running shirt, water bottle, and an adorable medal! 

I also met some great folks at the after party, one of whom works for Yasso! So yummy!
...and, thanks to the Shipyard Summer Ale, 
I unlocked another badge!
Summer Fun!
It was a great day,
and a great half!
Train Smart Today!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Pre-Race Pet Peeves

Yes, Jalapeño Half:
Half Marathon #14!
!st place age group winner!
Next stop: Maine
Old Portland Half Marathon
Half Marathon #15!
I hope at 7:30 am, this half is a lot cooler than this last one in Texas! And, I hope my stomach doesn't blow up on me! Not to worry, though, I already checked out that they have a Port O John at mile #5! I am in luck! Yeay!

I don't really get too nervous about finishing, or my time, or placing. Don't get me wrong, I like to do well. I put a great deal of training into running these races - but how well I do is based on me, and the me that shows up on race day. Bottom line: I'm really grateful I can run. I simply love running. I use it to make sense of things, purge unwanted emotions, think creatively about work & life, plus it keeps me in shape!
There is one pet-peeve I have.
Something that I really get nervous over.
It's annoying & absolutely horrifying: 
Oversleeping, on race day!
Yes, I set my alarm. Side-Kick sets his alarm, too. And, I set the alarm in the hotel room! Still, each night before a race, I either dream that I miss the start, or wake-up throughout the night thinking, "Get up! You overslept!" Only to find out it's just 2am, 3am, or then 5am! It's awful!
Maybe by Half Marathon #33, 
I won't be such a Nervous Nelly over this? 
I mean, I haven't overslept so far. I hope this Saturday I can sleep, and not wake up constantly worrying that I've overslept!
Do you have a pre-race pet-peeves?
Any suggestions?

Train Smart Today!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Jalapeño Half in Ft. Worth, Texas

There is only one word to describe the Jalapeño Half Marathon:
HOT!
I had to put off writing this post because I didn't want it to sound like one big complaint. Plus, I wouldn't want to tick off these guys ...
Pre-Race Photo.
I was so unsuspecting!
If I complained through the whole post, I know for sure, lots of runners from this half would have no problem commiserating with me. But, since I wanted to run in Texas to honor my dear friend, Anne, who lost her battle with brain cancer in February, I must uphold her motto: Bark Less, Wag More! So, I will end on a positive! 

First, the dark side ....
* There weren't enough Port 'o Johns, so the lines were enormous! This made me late to the start.
* About mile 2, my watch quit. I hated my Garmin and for the next 11 miles and contemplated ripping it off, and throwing it into every body of water I either ran by or over!
*  My Crohn's reared it's ugly head like nothing I have ever experienced before in a race! It felt like I was running with a charlie horse in my intestines! It still hurts :'(
* There was no water or Power Ade at mile 2, 4, 7 or 9. And it was at least 80*F with 86% humidity.
* The entire race was in the sun - in the dead, hot, heat known and feared in Texas!
* Even though my legs said, "Run Half-Crazed, Let's Gooooooo! What is your problem?" My stomach answered and said, "Shut-up and just hobble along in a doubled-up position, and squeeze that sphincter!" (Yes, my intestines talk, and everything they say is simply filthy!)
* By mile 9, I was really nauseous from the heat and sun. I started screaming at the volunteers riding in the golf carts and checking to see if anyone was suffering heat stroke. I lost it. I was yelling with spit (what little I had left) flying out, "You needed more water stations! It's crazy hot here! What were y'all thinking?"(Like my colloquialisms?)
* I ran the slowest time I have ever run in a half marathon race!
Almost there!
Keep Hobbling!
On the bright side ...
*I met lots of nice people standing on the Port 'o John line. Everyone was super friendly. Of course they were, it's Texas!
* It's lovely not to be tied to a watch when you are running in a race! (Repeat 100X ... could be believable)
* I stopped only for water, Power Ade, and the Port 'o John (@ mile 5). So, you could say that I ran, or at least hobbled, the entire race.
* There was water and Power Ade at mile 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, and 12!
*There was a bit of shade - it was for maybe the first 600 meters of the 1st mile, which was also the last 600 meters of the race! Woohoo!
* I didn't have any butt pain and my legs were strong - they really wanted to move!
* I got the cutest medal for finishing!
Texas Jalapeño Half 13.1 Medal
* Once I resumed composure, I was able to stand a little straighter, change (in the car, of course), and politely ask for a photo!
* I stood tall and proud in that photo, and why not ....
I took 1st place in my age group!
Train Smart Today!