Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Final Race Prep

We're in the final days leading up to the race and I've learned there's quite a bit of preparation that goes into this stage of training.

1. Tapering Off- the closer to race day, the less you run. Prior to this experience, if you had asked me, I would have felt the opposite was true. I've learned that it's important to taper off the amount of running in the week leading up to the race so that your muscles can rest and you can be as strong as possible.

2. Wardrobe Selection- Make sure you know what you are going to wear on race day and the various logistics that go with that outfit. Never race with new clothing or accessories that you haven't trained with before. I've heard horror stories about chaffing and other discomfort that new clothing can cause.

Due to the expected rise in temperature, I purchased my first pair of calf-length running tights for the race. (Up until now, all of my pants have been long.) Today, on my lunch break, I ran 2 miles in them to ensure that they feel good and do not rub me. As an extra preventative measure on race day, I'll use Body Glide on my toes, thighs and sides. This nifty product protects your skin from friction.

Monday, March 17, 2014

One Week Countdown

So I've been very negligent in my blogging lately but it doesn't mean that I haven't been busy training. With a total of 158 miles behind me, I've continued to run at least twice a week (in between weekly snow storms) and am feeling pretty good.

The truth is that first and foremost I'm a mommy, so when I have the choice of sitting in the yard blowing bubbles with my adorable five-year-old or blogging about my past week of running...well you know who's going to win there.

Rather than full write-ups, here's a quick recap so you don't feel left out...

Sunday, March 9, 2014


21 Days to Go - This was the day that I needed to hit double digits. A group of runners had invited me to join them for a 7 a.m. run but H was at a slumber party and I really wanted to enjoy sleeping in on a Saturday. Wendy agreed to drive up from Danville and meet me for a 9:30 a.m. run. As I arrived at the YMCA, the 7 a.m. crew was leaving and they stopped to tell me about their impressive 12-mile run. I was nervous enough about running 10.

Wendy and I set out on the Dick & Willie Passage Rail Trail and made really great time, running at a 8:15 per mile pace for the first three miles. I was actually shocked at how quickly we made it down to the turn around at Mulberry Creek. We've discovered that the more times you run a particular route, your body get acclimated to the elevation changes  We headed back up the trail and began running towards Liberty Street, a new stretch for us.

Running and breathing is challenging enough, running and talking is even harder and Wendy and I learned that running and complex math for us is just a no-go. In our calculations of time, map miles and estimated distance between trail landmarks we severely miscalculated our run. We discovered this error at mile 9 when we were half-way between Liberty Street and El Parral. At that point, there's only one way to get!

During our run back we got to know the hill between Liberty Street and the Uptown Connection Trail well. This hill presented nearly 250 feet of elevation gain over the course of a mile and a half. Despite the fact that we walked up this hill some, ran two miles further than planned and took two restroom breaks during our run, we completed it an average pace of 10:05 per mile. 12 miles.... um, we meant to do that!

Almost there!

#KeepRunning #WeCanDoThis

Monday, March 3, 2014

Making Progress

27 Days to Go - I've noticed that if I go several days in between runs that it is harder for me to get started the next time. Since I ran a 10K the previous day, my son H and I went out for a short 1.3 mile run just to burn some of his energy and stretch my legs. Before the run, I tested out Honey Stingers Chews in Pomegranate. Very tasty!

26 Days to Go - The YMCA training group on this week was moved to Monday night so that we could have a guest speaker. Adam, the owner of a Danville running shop called The Brick, came to speak to us and tell about his store. I fueled up with Honey Stinger Gel which is a pouch of pure honey but just a little thinner than honey. We ran a 6.13 mile route and I finished it at an average pace of 9:58 per mile. This run was great because I had full energy right from the start. Normally the first one to two miles of a long run are rough for me, but this one was really pleasant.Not sure if it was due to the Honey Stinger or not but I'll definitely try that kind again.

24 Days to Go- Our assignment for the weekend was to run 10 miles. To date I had only run seven miles before so I felt that something in between was needed. Wendy, who is in my training group, drove up from Danville to run 8 miles with me. We ran the 8-mile route at an average pace of 10:22 per mile.

My iPhone died at mile 7.91 and I was not happy about losing all the data. Several days later I opened the RunKeeper app on my other phone (it's downloaded to both). The first screen to pop up was my 7.91 mile run asking me if I wanted to save it. Thank you, RunKeeper! So make sure you have the app linked on two devices and you'll always have an emergency back-up.

It's not too late to register for the Martinsville Half-Marathon, Relay & 5K if you haven't already. #KeepRunning #WeCanDoThis

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Uphill Battle

One thing that you need to know about running the Martinsville Half Marathon, Relay & 5K is that it has hills. Not seriously intimidating hills but gentle rolling ones that will sneak up on you. The best way to prepare for this race is to train by running on hills. Our YMCA training team coach, Richard told us that "running hills is speed training in disguise". Get faster on the hills and you'll improve performance on the flat stretches.

Over the past two months I've been tackling more and more elevation. My running buddy Sharon introduced me to Root Trail, training coach Becky showed me the ropes on Ford Street and Richard took us to the one of the ultimate uphill battles in Martinsville, Mulberry.

33 Days to Go - Because of the recent snow fall that week, sidewalks were out of the question again so Richard decided it was time to introduce us to a new street route. I prepared for the run with Peanut Butter GU that was very tasty! From the YMCA, we turned left on Starling, and another left on Mulberry. We would turn around at the 2.5 mile mark to complete our 5 mile run. Because we were running on the street during the 5:30 p.m. afternoon rush, I was very thankful for wearing my brightest colored reflective running top.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Time to Celebrate

This week I reached a significant milestone...

Since December I have run more than 100 miles! No, not all at one time but over the course of my training I have steadily built up mileage. From someone who had not run for nearly two years, that's pretty exciting!

It's wild to look back at how far I've come since Brad Kinkema of the YMCA challenged me to run the half-marathon. (If you're new to the blog, you can read about that here.)

I remember the first day I ran 2.5 miles and Sharon Kirby cheered me on telling me how good I was doing. She said "before long you'll be running six miles like there's nothing to it." I have to admit that in between gasps of air I thought that idea was rather far fetched - but she was right! 

Looking back, I started small and set attainable goals that I could easily reach each week. I ran one mile a day as often as possible to build up my endurance and then gradually lengthened my long runs. By increasing distance by just 0.5-1 mile each run, I've inched my way towards my goal of running a 13.1 mile half-marathon on March 22nd. I surrounded myself with supportive runners that had 'been there, done that" and remembered what it was like just starting out. As a result of that support...I LOVE running! 

While along the journey there will always be doubts but I have proved to myself that I can do it - and you can too! 

If you're interested in running at all this is the time to take action. There's less than one month to go before the Martinsville Half-Marathon, 5K & Relay. Do your best and even if that means walking part of the race- it's ok. Challenge yourself to believe and'll be thankful that you did!

#KeepRunning #WeCanDoThis

Sunday, February 16, 2014


Winter Storm Pax stopped by this week and left us with 14-18" inches of snow in Martinsville-Henry County. My family was fairly prepared for being snowed in a couple days - minus a serious craving for Doritos, which we didn't have. #Didn'tNeedThemAnyway

We enjoyed sledding, snow cream, building snow forts, making a snowman and making snow angels. All this trekking up and down the hill, packing snow blocks and rolling snow balls had to constitute some kind of cross training right? Two and a half days after the snow fell we ventured out to go restock on groceries...and yes, I bought Doritos!

35 Days to Go - H and I were enjoying the morning at home while Darrin went on an outdoor excursion to combat cabin fever. I planned to run at some point during the day but no firm commitments had been made. Mid-morning I received a text from Sharon inviting me to a group run. I knew going with a group would be more enjoyable than running alone so I jumped on the opportunity. H got to spend some time with his Gigi and Pops while I went out for a run.