Monday, May 28, 2007

Chicken Playing Squirrels and A Skirt Ambassador

I have been wearing my running skirt to the WTP for the past several weeks. People rarely comment on it although last week, one person did.

I am not sure why tonight was different. Maybe it was because there were less than 100 women rather than the nearly 300 usually there. I had so many people ask me about my skirt tonight. Several ladies said they have thought about it but worried about comfort. Don't worry! They really are comfortable..more so than skirts shorts (no one caught that error for a few days!) by a long shot.

Tonight we actually ran the Women's Distance 5K course. It is mainly out on the W&OD with a few little detours off on the side. It is a nice course although I don't much care for the incline at the 2.5 mile mark. It is not steep but it does go on for a bit to get you up and out of Sugarland Trail and then up and over the Fairfax County Parkway.

I went out entirely too fast although it didn't feel fast. I was running under 11:30....way too fast. I made an effort to slow down. Slow down? Why??!! Because this was a training run and I would rather run it easier than run it like a race. I ended up running at a 12:24 pace for the run. I would like to actually bring up my miles and bring down my time just a wee bit for the actual race.

It is hot and humid here, just like in Tennessee. The nice part is that I live right near a very shaded trail. There are parts of the run that are not shaded but big parts are shaded. Of course, there are also these annoying little black gnats too. Yuck!

Kaitlyn and I ran the Sugarland Trail last week and had a squirrel play chicken with us. We were almost up to the squirrel, who apparently was not aware of us (and we had not seen him) He started to dart out in front of us, which startled me and caused me to do the girly shriek thing, jumping back. He back up when I did and we stared at one another for a split second. Just as I started to move forward, he decided to try darting forward again. I waved my arms and he scampered off into the woods rather than crossing the path. Not even 2 minutes later, there was another squirrel sitting in the path, looking at us approaching. This stinker decided to stare us down until we could almost touch him before scampering off. Bold little squirrels in Virginia.

Did I mention that Lorrie, who I met in Cincinatti, convinced me to try running with a hat? I don't like wearing hats. She was firm in the belief that if I would try it, I would like it. She encouraged me to get a mesh hat. I found a lime green Runner Girl hat that I liked but I object, on principal, to paying nearly $20 for a hat after shipping is factored in. So, I resorted to eBay, where I got a Nike mesh hat, sherbert orange. I would like to find it in raspberry or lime but sherbert orange works. I have worn it a few different times and I have to say, it is not making my head nearly as hot as I though and it is really good at keeping my hair out of my eyes, sweat out of my eyes and the sun out of my eyes. So, for now, I will keep wearing it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Running Skirts

I bought a running skirt a few months back from SkirtSports and really liked it. I got it in the winter so never actually wore it outside to test it out. It is currently MIA from moving but I know it came with us. They are kinda pricey, even on sale. I was very pleased to see that Target now carries a running skirt and an even nicer surprise, they carry them in larger sizes.

I went to two different Targets near me and scored a plain black running skirt and a navy blue with sky blue trim running skirt. I was a little apprehensive about going out in public but I took it for a spin around the trail.

It was really, incredibly comfortable! There was no riding up at all. It is a little shorter than my shorts are, so if nothing else, my tan line will be up higher this year. I even wore my running skirt last night to my Women's Training Program class.

For those looking, Wal-Mart also carries a running shirt. It is not as nice as the one from Target and only comes in black or white. In both the Target and WM version, the shorts underneath are not as form fitting as I would like. Still for under $20, they are worth checking out if you are considering a running skirt.

Someone asked me Why would you run in a skirt? Why not? I am a girl, why not look like a girl when I run? Beyond that, they really are comfy.

So last night was our second night of WTP. I ran with the beginning runners. At the start of the run, the coach said the front part of the pack would be at about a 11:00 while the back would be closer to a 15:00-16:00 We started running so I moved towards the back. We went just over 2.5 miles and looking, we did not run anywhere close to a 15:00! The slowest my Garmin said I went was 12:25. I don't think anyone was running slower than a 12:40 mile. It was a good run though.

I am in the air over renewing Fitness Journal for another year. It is Fitness Journal that has my map of running across the US. I really like that feature but there are so many FREE fitness logs, I don't think I am going to renew. I did add a ticker with miles run. It is not as cool as the map across the US but is that map really $40 cool? I don't think so. I have maybe 2 weeks left in my current membership and then I am not going to renew it.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Women's Training Program

I joined a local Women's Training Program to get the oomph back that has been sorely lacking. The goal is a local women's 5K at the end of June.

Based on my last beginning running class, I was expecting maybe 50 ladies to be there. WRONG! There were over TWO HUNDRED!

After a short course outline, we seperated into 4 groups - walkers, walk/runner, beginning runners and advanced beginning runners. Right at the get go, they said "Speedy demons, if you run faster than a 9 minute mile, you are not welcome here! We have a different class for you" Hee hee

One of the instructors was a lady I had run with out on the club weekends, Tina, so it was nice to see a familiar face.

We did an easy half mile, then stretched, then did an evaluation mile to see if we needed to go into beginning runner or advanced beginning runner. I already knew I belonged in the beginning runners (11 min - 16 min mile pace) and since I did the Half yesterday, I ran it very easy and slow. We then went as a group for about a mile.

I think I am really going to like this group. We are free at any time to join a different group. If I am just not feeling it, I can go with the walkers. If I am feeling speedy, I can join the advanced beginners. The only man in the class is on a bike and he patrols the courses to make sure no one is left behind. There is a high number of coaches in each group so no EVER runs solo. Even during the actual 5K event, these coaches will be on the course with their group and make sure that everyone is doing well. We will get to run the actual course in a few weeks.

I thought of Clare, a friend up in Canada, during all this and wished that she had something like this near her. Clare has joined a few classes in her local area after being assured that someone would be at her pace and she would not have to run solo. In each case, she had no one at her pace and when an instructor ran with her, they made comments about her running faster and catching up. I know she was frustrated with her local running classes.

So, if anyone is thinking of joining a running class, be sure to check it out!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Flying Pig Half Marathon

When I made the decision to go for the Flying Pig, I didn’t know that we were going to be moving. Even when I found out that we would be moving several states away right as I needed to begin training for the full, I was confident in the fact that nothing was going to keep me from getting my training runs in.

Bwahahahaha…I was WRONG! Absolutely anything and everything that could possibly arise and keep me from running jumped out of the woodwork at me and threw themselves right at me again and again. I decided to skip the full and go for the Half instead.

Even a few days before leaving, I was debating on if I should even go because really, I knew that I had not put in the miles I truly needed to have been running in order to run the Half the way I know I could have ran it. Still, I decided to go for it, slow down, not worry about time and just have fun.

The Expo was great and I had fun wandering around it after picking up my packet. Some members of a Forum I belong to were going to be meeting at 2 pm for a course tour but I had no idea where so I called Luis, the coordinator, who was somewhere in the Expo. He told me where he was so I wandered that way to meet him. Since more of us were on the tour than he had expected, we went in two groups…Full and Half. Boy, let me tell you, taking to tour of the course certainly helped. It was nice knowing what to expect the next day.

After we went on the tour, we headed over to the house to meet up with others and head off to dinner. Dinner was totally insane. There was a lot of food, talking and a lot of noise. After dinner we all went our respective ways.

Sunday morning, Luis came by the hotel at 5:10 am to pick me up and off we went to Meters and Miles, the running store. I handed off my bag to Luis and caught a ride to start line Tanya. The amount of people was staggering. Mary and I hit the surprisingly well organized lines at the portapotties for one last stop before the start. We never saw any pace groups, other than 3:15, so we just kinda milled at the back of the pack. There were a lot of spectators still mingling among us when the gun went off and we had to weave around them to approach the start. I think we were about 6-8 minutes behind the gun when we finally made it to the start. The crowd support was really great.

I knew I had not really prepared like I should have (bad me!) so I was determined to take it easy. Take it easy, I did. I had allergies kicking up, giving me a pseudo chest cold, not fun but running helped. I saw Karen at Mile 3 and said hello to her. Just past mile 5, the lead runner of the Half passed by to many cheers. About 10 minutes later, the lead female whizzed past us on her way to the finish. Mary and I were close together until about mile 6, the climb up to Eden Park. That was the last time I saw Mary since I slowed on the hills and she just kept on going.

It was at this point in the race that I took some water from the water station and nearly hurled. Apparently, the water had been taken from the hose and it was foul and nasty. No kidding, my lips were numb and tingling and it smelled and tasted horribly of chlorine. I dumped it out, ate some Clif Blocks to get the nasty taste out of my mouth and continued up, up, up.

Now, I am not a fast runner to begin with and hills will make me even slower. I am putting out the effort but my pace suffers. Walkers pass me by going up hills, no kidding. One asked in a tone of disbelief why I didn’t just walk. I smiled and kept going. Later, two women walking behind me decided to discuss my running and go on to state that I should walk rather than just run slow because it is so much better for my body. Hellllooo! I have ears, I can hear you.

Things continued along well, I took some Gatorade over water because even though I don’t like it, it was better than the nasty water. About mile 11, my left calf started to cramp. I tried stretching it but it was bound and determined to cramp so I just ran through it. About Mile 12, I saw Karen yet again and knew we were almost done. You could hear the crowd revving up and that certainly spurred me on. When I could see the Finish Swine, I made my tired legs give everything they could to sprint past the line. My final chip time was 3:06:26 Since I didn’t have any grand expectations, I wanted to finish at around 3 hours so I was pretty pleased with my time.

I got my medal and then had to find where to get my chip removed (missed it twice before I found it) and then walk a pretty good distance to find some water and food. I knew my bag was somewhere and eventually asked a runner wearing a store shirt where the tent was. I found the tent but my bag was not there. I had to wait almost 2 hours before Luis came in and I got my bag. I looked for others but there were so many people that it was impossible. We should have coordinated that a little better.

Over all, this was a fun race for me. It was slow but I ran it slow. I felt good, I was not stressed as much about the time like I was in my last Half and I had fun. I saw the photographers on the course and posed for them, chatted with people around me occasionally, thanked the volunteers and police on the course.

While at dinner, Tanya said she had spoken to the one of the winners of one of the Flying Pigs, a marathoner who won several marathons. He had asked her what she was running and what she expected her time to be. She told him she hoped for under 6 hours but it could go to 7 hours. He told her, in all sincerity, that he envied runners like her! What? She questioned him on this and his reply, I thought, was pretty interesting. He was envious because he said he CAN'T run for that long, he could only run for about 2 and a half hours. Hmmm, I never thought of it that way. Still, given a choice, I would go for faster speed over longer time :grin: