Wednesday, November 9, 2011

World Running Day, November 6, 2011

World Running Day was on November 6, 2011. I remembered running for National Running Day in June at Memorial Park with my old running partner. But this was WORLD RUNNING DAY. Thankfully, I did run, because that's alot of pressure to not run on the World Running Day.

I was supposed to do my big 8 mile run that day with Haley, but she got ... from the previous night out. Instead, I spent all day FINALLY fixing my running playlist on my ipod so that I can run alone. I just didn't think it would take me all day to do it. On a side note, I found out that I really do like my ipad once I learned how to use it. Somewhere around 2, I was preparing to run. Okay, really, I was sitting on the couch, loving my body molded to the couch and wrestling with whether I should or shouldn't run. I pretty much counted out trying to do a long run since I had to be at my brother's house for dinner at 5. After about 30 minutes of being lazy and wishy washy, I finally said, "I'm going!" I just decided that I will go for a quick 1.98 mile around the loop that I'm used to running. However, I will run it at a faster pace so that I can work on increasing my overall speed.

I grabbed Remington and headed to the park (driving, of course). I did a quick stretch, got my ipod up and running, and then let him do his bathroom business. We walked for about 50ft before we picked up the run. It didn't start out so well since Remi kept stopping to sniff or pee, but finally we got in to a rhythm. However, the constant stopping and starting made me sluggish. Plus, I was still feeling out of it from my 5 mile run on Saturday and being sick.

Even though there were stops a plenty in the beginning, we did manage to run the rest of the way around. My ipod played alot of the rock songs, which I was more in the mood for the hip hop/pop songs. But then...Eye of the Tiger came blasting on my earphone. I pictured myself as Rocky running in the snow ready to defeat the Russian in the name of America. I kept on pushing and pushing, not allowing myself to stop even though I was arguing in my head to stop and Remi was certainly getting slower and slower. Then, the Rocky training montage came on and I felt invincible. I picked up the pace, dragged Remi, and headed back to the starting point. It was not the best of runs (having alot of those lately), but it was something.

I did some minor stretching, but I need more. When I got done with this run, I noticed that my calf muscles were hurting. In fact, they are still hurting. It's like shin splits, but for the calves. I don't know what's going on, but I hope this doesn't get worse.

I hope everyone marks this date on their calendars for next year. Lace up those sneakers and get to running!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Run in the Park Recap...I'm Sexy and I Know It

On November 5, 2011, Haley and I participated in the Run in the Park held at Hermann Park. This event was created to raise money for the park. The best part was that we could walk up there from my apartment; however, we drove up there due to the temperatures and not knowing how we would feel about walking after running a 5 mile run. We also layered up, too, which in hindsight was not the best of ideas.

This was a cool running experience for me, because it forced me to run on the other side of Hermann Park. I've actually never ventured to the other side, not because I was scared that it was the dark side or anything (I'm all for Darth Vader), but more because I just got set in my ways and knew my running track. And it's a shame, because this part of the track is really quite beautiful and reminds me of Washington D.C. or something. With the cold temperatures, it really reminded me of D.C.

Haley and I got there 30 minutes before the race started. That was our opportunity to stretch out good, warm up, and take some pictures (okay, me).

Haley is the new 2011 Hermann Park Heisman Winner.

To warmup, I was running in place...this is the outcome.

And now, I have added high kicks.

Isn't this so beautiful?

Our standard before shot.

This race was also special, because they were debuting a new running/walking trail called The Hermann Park Trail.

Dedication ceremony of the new Hermann Park Trail.

They played the National Anthem, which I still wasn't sure if it was sung live or by recording. It was really cool, because these flock of birds just circled the flag and flew off at the end of the song. Some say it was beautiful, others might say it was a magical moment. Finally, the race started and we ran at a nice pace. Every so often, I would get caught up in the speed of the crowd and Haley would tell me to slow it down. After a while, I said, "Does it seem like we are getting passed alot?" Then, we hit the 1 mile marker...10:46 minutes. Haley said, "That's why we are getting passed." So, we were kindof slow this race. I know it had a lot to do with me being sick all week; my chest was tight, my nose was stuffed, and I just didn't have the energy to move fast. We basically had a 10-11 minute mile for the entire run (maybe we got faster on the last mile). There was this one girl that cheered us on loudly and happily. The other supporters were just blah, no emotion, didn't care why they were there. Haley even told her that she was her favorite.

Haley and I didn't stop and just kept on going. I would tell her that I needed to slow it down, but we didn't stop. We didn't even get any water. The park was really quite lovely, but I wore too many layers. My thermal shirt had a death grip on my arm, which was causing me to get tingles in my fingers. I kept having to wiggle my hands and thought I was going to have to stop to fix the shirt when Haley (my hero) fixed it for me. I'm guessing it was due to the sickness, but I just felt out of my element, uncomfortable. Even my hat was starting to bother me. So, I tried to focus on my breathing and controlling it.

Sometimes, Haley would sing out her favorite running song, "I'm sexy and I know it" by LMFAO (not the official video, but where you can hear the song), which is now our theme song. So, we just kept singing that to take our minds off of the run. Here is a link to the official video, because it is freaking hilarious. Wiggle! Wiggle! Wiggle! Wiggle! However, I throw caution to the NOT watch if you get offended easily. It's graphic for sure, but tastelessly funny. I constantly hear that in my head now when I run...thank you Haley.

We were coming up on the last 2 miles and I was now feeling it. I didn't think I had anything left in me and that's when Haley springs the news on me...we are going to push it for the last mile to make up some time. WHAT? I'm pretty sure I have whined this whole time about losing steam yadda yadda yadda. And then THEY showed up...the talkers. Normally, runners are encouraged to talk to their running partners, especially when gauging your speed and how it's affecting your body. If you can't hold a conversation, then you are going to fast. But these 2 people talked incessantly and loudly. I don't think they even took breaths. She had this deep southern LOUD twang and he was just a loud talker. They talked about the most annoying stuff ever. Unfortunately, we couldn't leave them for a mile. Finally, at the 1.5 mile spot, I had had enough. I started to speed up to at least clear some distance. could still hear them talking and we were away from them. I was beginning to worry that I was using too much of my already limited energy to get away from them and I wouldn't have anything left for the last mile. However, once the last mile came, Haley and I just picked up the pace even more. I know it had a lot to do with the fact that we could still hear the guy talking, but we finally got away from them. Thank you secret stored energy from an unknown place.

Our favorite cheerer was coming up and she just said, "Okay, 6 more minutes." NOOOO....we need distance, not time. But she was so excited that we truly didn't care. Finally, we were on the home stretch, that last hoo-rah. Haley asked me if it was okay if she picked up speed and I didn't mind at all. In fact, I stayed with her for awhile until the final turn. I increased too soon and sputtered out early. She sped ahead and I held back letting all those people I passed now pass me. At the last 0.15 mile, I dug deep to increase the speed. I could see my time on the clock and I didn't want it to go to the next minute. I crossed the finish line at 57 minutes, but my official time was 57:06.5. Haley's time was 56:58.6. Full race results are here.

This was not my best run, but it was my best PR for a 5-mile run (who cares that I haven't done an official 5-mile run before). If we would have kept this pace for a 10K, then I would have been under 1 hour, 10 minutes. That is my goal people. So, I'm still happy with the results.

Haley and I taking our post-run shot.

Afterwards, we decided to get the complimentary massage and stretch and it was sooooo worth it. I'm going to do that as much as I can after each race. We also finally tried the Muscle Milk, Honey Chocolate and it was really good. It had less sugar than regular chocolate milk and lots more protein. I think I'm going to add it to my list of things to start drinking. I also got a compliment about my shirt and lots of stares (I'm guessing the girls weren't staring at my chest).

That's me getting an awesome stretch.

Haley and I feeling good after our complimentary massage and stretch.

The rest of the day was a busy one for both of us, so we didn't have much time to chill out after the race. Overall, I need to get better so that I can survive the half marathon...which is coming up VERY SOON. EEK!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Most Epic Run...EVER

The conversation went something like this with MaloRee at the beginning of the week (paraphrasing, of course, because I don't remember the exact words used)...

KW:  I'm alittle worried because I haven't ran over 6 miles and I have that half marathon coming up December 4.
Mal:  Kristi (in a scolding voice like my mother does), you need to start getting on this.
KW:  I know.
Mal:  You need to run 10 miles this week.
KW:  I know I do (sticking out my tongue to the phone).

So, I set out on a mission to at least run 7 miles this week, because I really didn't think I was up to running 10 miles.  It's not good for the body when you push it from 6 miles to 10 miles in a couple of days with little training. I enlisted Haley to run since she's running the half marathon with me and could use the extra miles, as well. I'm pretty sure she hasn't ran 7 miles either. After a few debates, our destination was decided; we would use the NASA track on Sunday for our big 7 mile run. How cool is that? I mean, it's no skydiving in to NASA, which I have done, but it's still cool. However, Sunday came. Due to my excessive fun time in to the wee hours at a Halloween party (thank you Nick and Melissa), I didn't get my car until after 1 p.m. on Sunday. 

Everytime I look at this picture, I crack up. It's the last picture in a series of this particular shot. And yes, that's Waldo in the background...sans hat.

By then, Haley decided to come over to my house on the condition that I run the entire 7 miles (whining, screaming, and hitting was allowed); I can do the slow slow slow jog instead of walking. I also would come to NASA on Thursday evening and Sunday to run. The feeling is that Haley comes over to my area to run alot and I don't go there. I thought I would be nice and return the favor; however, I think I'm getting screwed on this deal.

The plan was to run the 1.8 miles up to Hermann Park...yes, that's right, I said run. Then, we would run around the "3 mile" loop around the park (which is only half the park). I put that in quotes, because we learned that it wasn't 3 miles at all, but really 1.98 miles. After our first loop around, we realized that it was probably close to 2 miles (and that's what we used to calculate how many loops we needed to run) even though I was sure it was 2.5 miles. We would do the 2 loops or adjust where we needed and then run back.

Haley got there and I was in a cleaning frenzy. So, I had her help me take out the trash. Then, we stretched and started walking for our warmup. I realized that I hadn't eaten since 9 a.m. and questioned whether I should go back to eat a quick PB&J. Of course, logical reasoning was totally thrown out the window so that we could get this day (run) started. Hey, at least I wasn't running with a hangover, but I probably could have drank a little more water. Okay, I could have drank a lot more water.

As soon as we got out of the apartment complex, we started running. It was so cool outside, but totally sunny. Thankfully, I had my hat on since I lost my new running glasses (found them btw, in case you cared). We ran passed a construction zone and got hollered at for being cute. I waved and thanked him for the compliment. Finally, we got to the park and started running around. We just kept a steady pace and every so often, I would tell Haley to slow it down or bring it back. I'm not sure what all we discussed, but it was a lot since it kept my mind distracted. Once we got near the zoo, it got a little crazy with traffic and kids and kids in costumes (Annual Zoo Boo was happening). Some guy yelled out the car window, "RUN." I assumed he was talking to us since we were the only ones running. I wanted to give him a 1 finger salute, but there were kids around. So, I thanked him and waved back. At this point, I mentioned why I like running in Memorial Park better, because everyone is there to exercise. You don't get yahoos yelling out the window at you or barking at my dog (which they have done to Remi). We ran in to this couple looking for the golf clubhouse, which I vaguely pointed them in the right direction with a shortcut. Later on, we ran in to them and he gave us a "nice shortcut." I thought he was being nice and Haley thought he was being rude. After I thought about it, I think he was being rude, but hey, it wasn't my fault his wife wore high boots to a walkathon at the zoo and dressed your baby up in a hot, brown velvet pantsuit. I sent the golf club employee over there to show them where to go. Haley told us to speak of it no more, because we have done what we can.

Haley and I still kept up the pace even on the second time around and I was actually feeling good. We just kept on running without a stop. However, I was still telling her to slow it down, bring it back. When we were passing the pagoda, Haley wanted some water and I was right there with her, but the fountain wasn't for awhile. So, we did pick up the pace and had our only stop at the fountain (can't drink and move like that successfully), but it was short, very short. I don't consider that a stop at all.

We got back on the path and all of sudden, we heard this loud bird noise coming from the trees to our right. It sounded like a hawk and then we saw this majestic bird swoop over to the tree and start a fight with another hawk (I said mating, but whatever). It was loud and crazy and then the hawk left. I was dumbfounded. I turned to Haley, "Was that a hawk? I mean, that was a hawk, right? I'm not crazy that I just saw that, am I?" She said that it was a hawk. How cool was that to see hawks on your run in downtown Houston?  I think it's totally cool.

As we were getting close to the point where you head back home or do another lap, we decided to just run home. I think in hindsight, we should have ran around 1 more time and then walked home, but whatever. We still kept the pace and I stupidly mentioned how I was feeling good even though we did a lot. And at that point, my left knee started hurting. I was already missing the running path and how good it feels on your knees and legs. We kept on running all the way to the street by my apartment where we had our one and only true stop to walk. All in all, we ran 7.1 total miles without stopping, but 7.6 miles total of everything. This was a huge accomplishment for me since this is the most that I have ever ran before in my life. But this isn't the only first for this epic run. It was the first time that I ran to the park and back (normally, I walk up there to run and here lately, I've been driving) and it was the longest that I have ever ran without stopping. The only thing I can say is that I need to rest for a walk much sooner, because my knee is still killing me after 2 days.

When we made it back to the apartment, Haley and I stretched good for several minutes before we went inside. And this is where I started to get sick...oh and I could barely move or stand up straight. I ate to eat, because I needed something in my system, but I felt nauseas. I almost puked a couple of times. After a couple of hours, the feeling subsided and I ate pizza rolls. I know they aren't healthy, but I needed something quick for my ravenous appetite. Haley tried to eat everything in my pantry.

Next up, we are going to go for 8 miles on Thursday and if not, for sure on Sunday. I think I'm finally getting less nervous about the half marathon.