Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Having Fun When You Can't Run

We left off with my foot in massive pain following the Valentine's Day 8K... since then I've been taking a lot of rest for my foot and focusing on swimming and even some aqua-jogging to keep up my fitness.

On Friday, there was a call put out on Facebook to help staff the water stop for the Half Marathon training group.  I had been joining the group on the weekly long runs until my injury and have missed seeing all the newbies.  There is something so energizing to see people who are running that distance for the first time ever.

It's fun to chat with them on the run too.  They are soaking up knowledge and so eager to complete their first half marathons.  It is a very unique group and I'm so very lucky to help volunteer with them.

Our water stop was set up on the trail where they got to pass by us twice.  It was a very cold morning on cold that the water we spilled froze on the trail sidewalks!  We had a good group of people working the water stop and cheering on the runners.  Check out this video that Chuck from Podium Images made of the run.  He is a great athlete and artist...the editing he did is amazing! You'll spot me in the video in my red jacket handing out the cups of water. I swear I was having a lot more fun than it looks like in that particular pic!

If you are in the area, don't forget you still have time to sign up for the Bentonville Running Festival Half Marathon on April 6th! Sign up at

3rd Annual Bentonville Running Festival

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Valentine's 8K Race Recap

The City of Bentonville recently launched a race series and last weekend was the kickoff event, the Valentine's 8K.  There will be seven races in the series and will cover a variety of distances up to the half marathon.  I'm really excited to see our running and race community growing!

I hadn't done an 8K in over 10 years so I went into the race with very little expectations.  If you remember, I injured my foot at the end of January and had been resting a lot for the two weeks prior to the race.  I ran on Monday for a short easy test run so that I could know how my foot was doing for my follow up appointment on Tuesday.  My doctor okay'd me to run and we even discussed what distance would be appropriate given my 25K planned for the next weekend.
Sunrise on a beautiful race morning! 
 Race morning dawned cold and chilly with temps in the low 30's.  Wouldn't you know that the majority of the Rush team picked the same outfit to wear in the chilly temps.  I guess none of us were willing to race in singlets in that cold!

Jody, Kim, and Me
I was aiming for some extra mileage so I got to the race site about 30 minutes early to allow for a warm up run.  I was careful to time my warm up because I didn't want to finish and stand around and get cold before the start.  The race started from the downtown square and covered a new course route.  There were two options either a 4K or 8K distance.

The 4K race started about 5 minutes before the 8K.  It was confusing since the split start was a last minute decision that the race organizers hadn't communicated.  They definitely needed a better sound system with over 650 runners...there was some confusion for sure.  One thing that the change provided was the chance to watch the 4K group head is so awesome to see the street full of enthusiastic runners.  I never stop loving that sight at the start of a race.

I didn't have a race plan for this race.  I ran along with friends for the first mile or so and then we turned into the wind.  I felt my pace slow and watched my friends pull away.  It was okay though because I had my own demons to tackle that day.  My foot was not happy and it soon let me know that.  As we entered Memorial Park I had thoughts of ditching the race.  I could tell that my foot hurt but I was able to keep up my pace and not alter my stride so I kept going.  Around that time Caleb from the Rush team caught up to me.  He has recently recovered from a stress fracture in his foot so we talked a little about the pain that I was feeling.  It felt good to hear some of his experience with recovery even though I was praying that I wasn't going to be in the same boat.
My friend Mandy was running so fast I completely missed her in this pic! 

We came out of the park and ran around the round-about and then headed towards the highlight of the race route...a trip to Crystal Bridges.  Crystal Bridges is a beautiful art museum right in our backyard.  It is a true gem and this race was the first to ever cover the main drive as part of the race.  The museum has a lot of art in the outdoor spaces including sculptures along both paved and natural trails.  The driveway however doesn't contain that much art...but the one piece it does contain is spectacular.   I was looking forward to it so much that I carried my phone with me during the race to take it's picture.
This sculpture is called Yield and always amazes me when I arrive at the museum.

What I didn't realize was that it was a downhill jaunt down the driveway.  I was surprised by the return trip up the driveway but had fun cheering for others as they passed on their way down.  One women near me asked how I knew everyone in the race.  I told her about the Rush team and told her my theory that if you put out positive energy for others you'll get it in return.  It has taken me a long time to realize that a smile truly can change your mental picture in the middle of a race!
Cheering on Kayle! 

We returned to 2nd street for the race finish and I knew that I was in for another hill treat.  Yes, this is another Bentonville race course that managed to finish on a hill.  I tried my best to push for the finish and I didn't even pay attention to the clock.  I actually never even saw the clock!  I stopped my watch but in the post race blur of tired body and foot pain didn't pay much attention.  After removing my race chip, I was given a carnation flower by one of the volunteers.  It was a great touch for a Valentine's race.  I hung out with some of my Rush friends and cheered others in to the finish.  My foot was now in serious pain and not happy with me at all.  Eventually I decided to check out the race results which were posted near the finish.  My chip time came in at 48:00 flat or a 6:00 min/k pace.  Yep, per K pace which meant nothing to me.  I just limped away happy with my overall time.
Rush teammates and awesome friends! (clockwise from lower left)
Kayle, Mandy, Jody, Shannon, Matt, Mark, Pauline, Me, and Cord

  Later at breakfast I checked my Garmin to get the minutes per mile conversion and was really happy with my performance.  My group of friends had breakfast together at one of the coffee shops off the square.  They have a simple selection of healthy breakfast dishes and its one of our post-run hangouts.

Overall, I thought the city did a great job putting on the race.  They had the streets virtually closed to all vehicle traffic.  The city crews were out at all the intersections and it was great to see them being so supportive of all the runners.  There was one water station that we passed by twice which was perfect for a cool day.  We also got a 1/4 zip long sleeve pullover instead of a t-shirt.  It will be nice to have another light weight long sleeve to run in.  The only change that I would make is to start the race closer to the Downtown Activity Center so that runners could have had a warm building to stay in until the race start.

About my was a huge PR by over 6 minutes! I hit the Interwebs to find my previous time from the Potomac Valley Track Club's Go Fourth 8K in 2002.  That race was in the heat of July just outside Washington, DC along the Potomac River trail system.  It was the only race when I have ever stripped off my t-shirt and ran in just my sports bra...until just before the finish line when I put my shirt back on.  My friend Mary and I ran the race and after I think we went outlet shopping with her parents.  Below is my 2002 performance...hard to believe that my bum foot 34 year old self kicked my 23 year old's self so big!!!

I'm seriously very proud of myself for staying in the race and dealing with the pain in a healthy way during the race.  Mental strength during races is something that I have been working on.  I didn't pay much attention to my pace during the race but focused on staying strong, not walking, and sharing positive energy with others.  My foot is slowly getting back to normal and the race was probably too much too soon after the injury.  I'll go back to rest and plan a smarter comeback and try to prevent any more setbacks like this one.  It did mean that I had to take a DNS on my 25K planned for yesterday.  I was bummed out but knew that my foot could not handle it.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sea Wheezin Plans

Last week some friends mentioned they were planning a girls half marathon trip for later this year.  The race was one that one of the girls had done last year and she loved it.  I really don't have a structured race plan for the year...I have an idea of some key races but I have lots of space it was easy for her to persuade me to sign up.

With just 30 minutes of conversation I was sold on the adventure.  Several things intrigued me about the weekend.  This is an international race and I have never done a race in another country.  I also liked the idea of doing a race with my friends and getting to explore a fun city.  Without any further ado...I'm officially registered for the SeaWheeze Half Marathon sponsored by Lululemon in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

SeaWheeze Half Marathon

The race is on Saturday, August 10th and is part of a weekend full of activities.  From the race site, here's what you get with registration:

  • one Incredible weekend
  • a pair of SeaWheeze special edition run shorts
  • a SeaWheeze app to help you build your training program
  • access to our official yogi and run trainers
  • a fully supported race route complete with aid, water, and fueling stations
  • a post-race runners brunch
  • an outdoor Oceanside concert and after party
  • yoga, yoga, and more yoga

How about you?  Are you looking for a fun, international race with friends.  The SeaWheeze could be the perfect answer for you too!  But don't delay...registration is filling up fast.  It's already 80% full and has only been open for about one month. Let me know if you are going!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Swim Training with The Worm

Do you remember The Worm?  If you grew up in the 80's like I did then I'm sure you saw The Worm in music videos and on the dance shows that still were around then.  It involves lying on your stomach and then moving your upper and lower body in a wave like fashion...but you all already knew that I'm sure!

So yesterday after spending the afternoon visiting dog shelters with my brother in law and niece we were hanging out at my sister's house.  They have a rug in their front hallway that is the official dancing rug.  I don't know why but it is the perfect spot to get your dance on.  And for some reason yesterday I thought that I could do the worm.  I should have watched the video above because now it looks so easy.  My brother in law Scott proceeded to die of laughter and tried to get me to do it again on video.  I'm smart enough to say no to that one since my version of the Worm had no wave in it whatsoever!

Well it all connected today when I headed to the pool to get my swim on.  The workout that I had planned had lots of variety in distances and so I planned to mix in stroke when I could.  I have been trying to work on my butterfly for the last few months and I'm just not making progress.  Tonya was on deck for an indoor triathlon the fitness center was sponsoring so I talked her into filming my butterfly.  She is a certified coach and has given me tips before on butterfly. 

Clearly from the video...I don't have the right body rhythm and kick going on.  My sad attempt at The Worm is a perfect demonstration that I need to work on the wave rhythm to improve at this stroke.  I think I need to try and slow down too and get more of a glide.  I feel like I sink myself when I take a breath so my solution has been to take fewer breaths. 

It takes time to learn a new skill and that's what this will entail for me.  I'm determined to improve at butterfly and now I know that for my dry land training I just need to turn on the music and work on The Worm!

In other swimming news, I'm super excited to announce that I will be working with SBR Sports in 2013 as a sponsored athlete.  I love the entire line of products...TriSwim is always in my swim bag, TriSlide is always in my race bag, and Foggle isn't just the way I feel after a hard swim - it's what I use to keep my goggles clean!