Where did my muscles go and it’s windy

This morning I did Jillian’s 30 Day Shred level 1. It was a tiny bit easier than yesterday, but also a bit harder since my arms are sore. Where did my strong swimmer arms go?? Oh yea… they went away when I quit swimming competitively at age 18 (6 years ago).

My last year of swimming… can you tell which one is me with our caps on??

After work I ran 4 miles with Barry at a 9:57 pace. It warmed up to the high 40’s today, but it is really windy. We are currently having gusts of up to 26 mph with sustained winds of 16 mph. That makes it feel more like it’s 34 degrees outside…. but I ran in shorts anyway. What can I say, I’m a beast! (or unintelligent…)

Mr. Boy joined us for around 1.5 miles of our run. He was actually running with us when the white pitbull-mix (who was loose again) charged us. Luckily Mr. Boy distracted him and they ran off into a field to run some cattle. They need to be careful, though. People will shoot a dog for messing with their cows.

Now dinner is in the oven and I am ready to grab a hot shower and crawl in to some soft fleece PJ pants. As I’m sitting here typing this, I am snacking on some homemade sweet pickles (not homemade by me). Yum!

What kind of cross training do you do?

Did you play any sports as a kid?
Mainly soccer and swimming, but I also played field hockey in high school (and miss it like crazy)

What are you having/did you have for dinner?

Happy President’s Day!

A few more tidbits about the Blacksburg Classic 10 Mile: there were 194 participants in the 5K and 267 in the 10 miler. How cool is that?? I haven’t looked at any stats, but I don’t think it’s common to have more participants in the longer option, especially with a smaller local race. There were also 29 runners who finished in 1:10 or under. This area has some pretty fast runners! I dream of being that fast.

What do you think of the new design and layout? I tried to clean things up a bit and spread stuff out by putting a sidebar on each side of the post. I also added a “contact” page. I really like the mountain background, too. It reminds me of the area we live in:



Mountain overlook near our house
Other side of the overlook near our house
View from our back deck



Today started out really cold, with the temperature in the teens this morning. I had the day off work (Happy President’s Day!) and started off by taking my car to an early appointment to get my state inspection. I spent the rest of the morning enjoying some coffee, re-designing my blog, and catching up on other blogs. This afternoon I did my weekly cleaning and my first ever Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred workout!

I got the DVD for Christmas but hadn’t opened it until now because honestly Jillian scares me. She is intense. I did the level 1 workout and it was tough. I think I’m going to try and actually do the workouts for 30 days and see where it gets me. I should invest in some hand weights- today I used two cans of apple pie filling (the heaviest canned food we had two of). It seems a little ironic to work out with apple pie filling, haha.

It warmed up nicely into the low 50’s today, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take the dogs on a walk. Once Barry got home from work, we headed out to the state park trail. Hank and Scout did lots of sniffing- bloodhounds are known for their noses and are amazing trackers. Did you know they are one of the few breeds who’s testimony can be upheld in a court of law?

Tomorrow it’s back to work and back to following a more specific training plan for my upcoming half marathon- the Blue Ridge Half Marathon on April 20! Since I started this blog I have just kind of been running whatever distance I felt like on whatever days the weather allowed me to run. I do a lot better when I am following a predetermined training plan, though. My typical training plan has me cross training on Mondays, running Tues. through Thurs., and doing a long run on the weekend, so that’s what I’ll be doing. Different things work for different people, and this works for me.

 
 

Blacksburg Classic 10 Mile

Bear with me because this is my first-ever race report. Hold on to your potatoes, this will be a long post! Don’t worry, there are a lot of pictures at least. A few “action shots” are blurry… sorry about that!

This was the second year I have run the Blacksburg Classic 10 Mile. Today it was 29 degrees, a little windy, and it was flurrying on and off. I really enjoyed being back in Blacksburg, which is where we moved from last May (also where I spent 4 years of college and 1 summer of high school). The race starts and finishes in front of an elementary school and is run primarily on my old stomping grounds: the Huckleberry Trail, a paved bike trail with rolling hills. Barry was so nice and ran with me the whole way and even snapped a few pictures of me! Check out the race elevation.
 
 

The race has an afternoon start time of 1 PM. Since February is typically colder, this gives the weather a chance to warm up a bit. When a race doesn’t start in the morning, it can be hard to figure out what to eat and when, but I felt like I handled it pretty well today. I got up around 830 AM this morning and had my usual morning coffee. I also had apple cinnamon oatmeal for breakfast.

 

Around 11:30 AM it was time to head up to Blacksburg, and I brought a Wild Berry PowerBar along with me to eat around noon. Usually when I’m doing a race/long run in the morning I’ll eat either a PowerBar or a Luna Bar about an hour before I’m planning to run, so I mimicked this by eating at noon today. It worked out well and I never felt hungry during the race.

We got to Blacksburgaround 12:15 PM and headed in to the elementary school gym to pick up our packets/race bibs and use the restroom. After that we made the short walk back to the car to drop off our stuff. I pinned on my bib, grabbed my water bottle and iPod, and we headed back to the school to keep warm inside until the start. Around 12:55 PM we left the warmth of the school and made our way to the start line. Just a little after 1 we were off!  

 

Miles 1-3 were on gentle rolling hills through the neighborhood area. I felt relaxed, my legs felt good, and my breathing was steady. At mile three the 5K’ers split off to the right and head for the finish and the 10 milers turn left for another shorter loop through the neighborhood.

mile 1: 9:53

mile 2: 9:52

mile 3: 10:09

 

Just before mile 4 we turned on to the Huckleberry trail, where the rest of the race would take place, for the most part. I was still feeling good through miles 4 and 5, but my pace was slowing. After mile 5 we got into the hills of the trail and I started feeling more tired. At this point my average pace was still right where I wanted it to be- setting me up to beat last year’s time of 1:40:40. At the top of the first hill there was a girl standing on a bench, with a maraca-type noise maker, cheering everyone on. She was really enthusiastic! As we passed mile 6, I ate two Cliff Shot Blocks (1 orange flavor and one mountain berry). I had 3 others with me, but I never felt the need for more.

mile 4: 10:21

mile 5: 10:20

mile 6: 9:58

A picture of “maraca girl” Barry snapped at the finish area.
It’s hard to see, but the noise maker is in her right hand.
 

Mile 7 was flat and I tried to pick it up. We reached the turn around point and we u-turned and headed for home. We had more up hills and down hills during miles 8-9, and my pace really shows it. We saw maraca girl again, still on her bench and cheering her head off, just before we hit mile 9. After we passed her, we went down a hill and then hit a significant up hill. This hill used to be where I would end all of my long runs when we lived in Blacksburg (we lived 2 tenths of a mile from the top of this hill), so I am very used to running up it on tired legs. It makes things easier on the mental side, but doesn’t make the physical task of doing so any easier. When we topped the hill we had about 3/4ths of a mile to the finish. During this part, I kept feeling like my right calf was about to cramp up. I felt like if I pushed any harder I was going to be in some serious trouble. It never did, though, and I pushed on. With about 3 tenths to go there is a gradual incline and then you turn the corner and head for the finish line.

mile 7: 9:54

mile 8: 10:47

mile 9: 10:42

mile 10:10:20

final incline
 
heading for home with the finish line in sight

I finished in 1:42:17 which is a 10:14/mile average pace. Not my best work, but I did meet 2 of my 3 goals: I finished, and I ran the whole way. I guess I’ll work on breaking 1:40 next year. I am happy with my time and my effort today, as things have been rough with my running lately. Having Barry with me really helped, and I was also really glad to have my music. I think the weather may have helped as well. Call me crazy, but I’d rather run in 29 degrees than have it be 79 degrees, as long as I’m not battling any crazy wind. It was actually kind of fun running in the soft snow flurries that were coming down.



eyes closed… what can ya do?
 

After the race, we headed in to the elementary school gym and grabbed some post-race food. They had orange slices, whole and sliced apples, bananas, bagels, granola/chewy bars, and cookies available.

 

We hung out and watched the awards ceremonies and waited for the raffle. RunAbout Sports (the local running store) always has some great door prizes at their races. I’ve never won in the past, but today I was a winner!

 

My very first piece of Oiselle apparel! I’m pretty excited to have this, as I have seen/heard about their apparel on other running blogs. All of their stuff is really cute and I’m excited to get to try out one of the shirts. Now I can run with my “head up, wings out”, a Oiselle (pronounced wa-zell, french for bird) motto.

After the raffle Barry and I headed over to a local restaurant in town called Cabo Fish Taco. I love their beer battered shrimp tacos and that’s exactly what I ordered. Come to think of it, I’ve never actually ordered anything else there. I guess I like them so much I just don’t want to try anything else. I brought one home for me and it may or may not make it to tomorrow 🙂 

 

Now we are home, enjoying being inside and warm. I think we’ll spend the evening catching up on our DVR shows…. I can’t wait for this week’s Modern Family! It’s my favorite. I’m feeling pretty good after today’s race. My lower back and hips are a little sore, but other than that I’m feeling alright. We’ll see what I have to say when I wake up tomorrow morning.  

I just had to share this one last picture. I snapped it of the kids as they took off for their 1 mile fun run before our race started. Running at it’s purest right there!

And here we go!

The decision has been made: music!

Hopefully this will keep me going during the tough parts! It’s currently 30 degrees and snowing steadily, but I’m okay with that. Last year’s race was sunny and in the 50’s and I ran in shorts and a t-shirt. I didn’t bring my own water and I remember the water station we ran by at 4 miles had run out (both the 5K and 10 Mile utilize this water station, and the 10 mile uses it twice at 2 and 4 miles). The next one wasn’t until 7.5 miles or so, and it’s all I could think about. Even though it won’t be as hot this year, I’m going to carry my handheld water bottle. One less thing to worry about, right?

Goals for this race:

-Finish! (that’s always the first goal, no matter what race it is)
-No walk breaks
-Beat last year’s time of 1:40:40 (this is the time I had myself at; the race had me at 1:41 something, but it’s not chip timed, so I’ll go by my watch).

The race starts in about 2 hours. Here we go!!

Music or no music??

So tomorrow is that race I’ve been talking about lately- the Blacksburg Classic 10 Miler. I’m excited and nervous, but I get that way about every race no matter what the distance is. However I am also feeling very unsure about it. With the way my running has been recently (highs and lows) I just don’t know which version of me is going to show up at the start line tomorrow. It’s also kind of a weird race in that it doesn’t start until 1 PM.

One thing I cannot decide is whether or not to bring my iPod along. Quite the dilemma…. I know. I didn’t run with my iPod during last year’s race, but I ran the first half of the race with Nicki. I knew we would be running together for some of the race, which is why I didn’t bring any music. I seldom run with music, even when I have to do a long run by myself. But I do occasionally run with my iPod during training runs. I have only ever run a race with my iPod one time and it was last June when I ran the Varmint 1/2 Marathon. I knew the race was in a rural area with very few spectators. It was also a very challenging, hilly race and I was so glad to have music to keep my mind from taking over.

After last year’s Varmint with our age group sheep trophies… it’s a very small race.

Tomorrow’s race will be similar to the Varmint HM. From what I can remember from last year, there are a fair number of spectators at the start and finish line, but not much in between. The last half of the race is an out and back on a bike trail, so runners do get to encourage each other as they pass, which is really nice. But I’m thinking I may want my iPod tomorrow. If I crank up the tunes, maybe I can quiet that voice in my head that’s been throwing off my runs lately.

Anytime I do run with my iPod I always keep one earbud out so I can hear what’s going on around me. During a race it’s important to hear instructions from course marshalls, any possible approaching vehicles (the first few miles of tomorrow’s race are on neighborhood roads), and runners around me. I also want to hear if any spectators cheer for me so I can acknowledge them in some way! Have you ever spectated a race where it seemed like everyone had their earbuds in and you cheered and they didn’t even seem to hear you or see you? I have and it definitely lessens the experience for both spectators and participants.

It looks like there’s a chance of rain/snow tonight and more snow showers tomorrow through the afternoon. They’re predicting the high will be 33 degrees. This could get interesting!

What do you think I should do tomorrow?? Music or no music?

Do you regularly run with an iPod?

Do you use music during a race?

"I've opted for fun in this lifetime." -Jerry Garcia