Friday, September 24, 2010

Fort-4-Fitness: T-minus 15 hours

I saw the finish line of Fort-4-Fitness, and it was magnificent.


Tomorrow I will cross it. I will. In less than two hours.

Good luck to everyone racing tomorrow. "L" and her girls. Holly. My mother-in-law and father-in-law! A few folks from work and the 7,985 others who registered for the 4-mile and half-marathon races.

Run smart. Run hard. Have fun.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Three Things Thursday: Pre-race edition

Pre-workout breakfast: Slice of whole-wheat toast with honey pre-yoga and a slice of crustless quiche and a grilled sandwich thin
Workout: 30 minutes light yoga and 2.25 miles "wogging" with Denali

1. "I get knocked down/ But I get up again/ You're never going to keep me down." Oh, Chumbawamba. I know your song is about getting wasted or whatever but I reserve the right to use your lyrics as I please. And today, I'm using them as a bit of a mantra. I might have fallen yesterday but I got up this morning feeling good. A little massive fall wasn't going to shatter my hopes. I went out, on the advice of a co-worker and fellow runner, for a bit of leg loosening. I would walk a nice warm-up and then jog at a very moderate pace. The goal was to prevent/alleviate any stiffness from my injuries. I had some pain in my knee from the scrape itself but everything seemed to work OK. I'll do some extra stretching tonight but I think I should be good.

2. I am currently in full-on pre-race mode. First step: Hydrate. Proper hydration begins days before a race - not that morning. I've been downing the water at work and will be adding low-cal Gatorade to the mix tonight and tomorrow. According to Runner's World, "Two to three days before your race, alternate drinking water with a sports drink. Since you are concerned about having too much fluid on board race morning, it is even more important that you hydrate very well prior to race day. "

3. The next part is the fun part ... sort of. Carb-loading. I like to make sure that at least two days out from a race that I start adding in more carbs. Hence the sandwich thin - not fruit - with my quiche and my planned "dessert" for this evening: Pumpkin oats. (No worries about my fruit consumption. I had a banana in my smoothie and there's an apple waiting as an afternoon snack.) According to Fitness Magazine, "Carbs will give your muscles and brain the fuel they need to get through the race. Most women tend to load up on familiar sources like pasta and rice, but (Lisa C.) Cohn suggests considering complex carb sources like tabouleh, oatmeal, and other whole grains."

And down goes Kimberly

Stats for Wednesday ...
Pre-workout fuel: Slice of whole-wheat toast with apple butter
Workout: Ran 4.43 miles in 38 minutes, 22 seconds; average pace, 8:40.

It was my last run of Fort-4-Fitness training. Just a mild-mannered tempo run of 5 miles with 3 miles at an 8:54 pace. It should have been "nothing" given last week's tempo run of 8 miles with 6 below 9:00.

But it wasn't. OK ... it was. At first. I ran a comfortable 0.9 mile or so and set off on the path around campus. My legs felt great and though it was a bit tough, I couldn't help but push myself. I saw paces beginning with a "7" a time or two when I looked down during that first mile. It rolled in at 8:10.

And then ... then I don't really know what happened. Denali got scared and bolted, pulling the water bottle out of my hand. The leash off my wrist. He ran 20 feet ahead. I fell to the ground. Hard.

It took me what seemed like forever to stop the Garmin, get myself standing and call Denali back to me. He trotted to me like nothing had happened.

How wrong he was.

I don't want to get gross but let's say my knee didn't look as pretty as that girl's. My hands felt scraped. I was covered in mud on my entire left side. I retrieved my handheld and tried to rinse as much stuff off my knee so I could go home, which was 2 miles away.

I started to hobble, pain and stiffness radiating from my knee. A few steps was all I could manage - I couldn't walk home that way. Not 2 miles. So, being me, I started to run. Slowly at first ... with tears pouring from eyes. It wasn't the pain that made me cry but the fear that everything I have worked toward for the past 8 weeks would end like this. Injured. Three days before the race.

After a quarter mile or so, I was able to compose myself. No more tears and my pace came back - sort of. And I did the best to "salvage" my tempo run though I admit that might not have been the smartest move. I do get a point for not running past my house and around the block just to hit 5 miles. Go me!

I surveyed the damage once I got home. I cleaned the knee as best I could and moved to my arm. As I wiped away the dirt, I winced. It hurt! And there seemed to be an odd bump, like half a walnut shell protruding from underneath my skin. So I did what any girl would do. I called my grandma, who is 15o miles away.

Grandma, in all her sleepiness, advised an X-ray and so I met my father-in-law at the ER. Lucky for me, he was there with his students for clinic AND he's an X-ray tech. We got some films done, a nurse cleaned my knee and the doctor told me stories of rollerblading with his dogs. (Scratch that one off the list of things to do.)

Thankfully, my arm isn't broken. Just my spirit - and that's just a little bit. I mentioned to the doctor that I was running Saturday and he wished me luck. Told me to take it easy before the race. I can do that.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What's up, shorty?

Pre-workout fuel: Half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat
Workout: Ran 4.28 miles in 35 minutes and 38 seconds; average pace, 9:00.

Parting. It's such sweet sorrow ...



Is that a double-take you just did? Don't worry - you're not crazy. My hair is missing. About 9 inches of it, to be exact. I'm hoping, though, that it will find itself on the head of a cancer patient who will be appreciative of my signature red locks.

This is the second time I've grown out my hair for donation. The first time was about four years ago and then again last week. I decided to do it the first time after my grandma was diagnosed with breast cancer. While we were extremely lucky - with her decision to undergo a mastectomy, she avoided chemo and radiation - I couldn't help but feel so helpless in the situation. I couldn't go to her surgery. I couldn't help her recover. I couldn't make things all better.

I could, however, make things better for someone else. It might mean petty but a good wig can do a lot for a cancer patient. And seeing as I'm always complimented on my hair, I figured I could grow it out and donate it. So I did.


This time around, I was a bit more selfish. I decided to give donation another go because I wanted a reason to grow my hair out and a reason not to cut it when I started to feel antsy. So I began to grow it out last summer and come this month, I had just enough to donate.

Hair appointment. Now. Please.

Call it coincidence or fate or irony but last week (Thursday to be exact), when I got my hair cut for donation, was the same week that my grandma received the go ahead to stop taking her post-cancer drugs. It had been five years, and she is still cancer free. A lucky girl, I am.

P.S. In case you were wondering, yes. Yes, I do like my hair. And no. No, I haven't figured out the best way to keep it out of my face when running. Friday, it was a headband. I tried a hat on Sunday. I bobby-pinned it this morning. All work but the bobby pins make for the cutest look :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

The big 10

Pre-workout fuel: Slice of whole-wheat toast
Workout
: 30 minutes yoga, quick upper body and 2.5-mile walk with Denali

I once read that Madonna uses nothing but 3-pound weights to keep her arms super toned.


Three-pound weights and a lot of repetitions.

And while I normally follow the principle of lighter weights with higher reps, this morning I decided to break out the big guns: the 10-pound free weights. (Yes, 10-pounders are the "big" ones for me.)

I did three 8-repetition sets of the following exercises:

Bicep curls
Overhead press
Tricep extension
Alternating anterior raise
Hammer curls
Alternating lateral raise
Bent-over row
Tricep kickback

When I use 5-pound weights, I will do 12 repetitions per set and also add exercises such as a wide-grip bicep curl, reverse fly, upright row and chest press. But after 10 or 15 minutes this morning, my arms and shoulders were crying out, screaming for the comfort of my usual 5-pounders.

Seeing as every now and again, a girl needs a good cry so I'd say this fit the bill. I might even feel inclined to incorporate the weights on a more regular basis - say once a week. I have some post-F4F ideas that may impede this idea ... or put it in motion. We'll see.

How do you switch up your workouts?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Trials, tribulations and taper

Pre-workout fuel: Slice of whole-wheat toast with peanut butter
Workout: Ran 6.26 miles in 53 minutes, 30 seconds; average pace, 8:32.

Let's just get this out of the way: I almost got hit by a car today. Seriously came thisclose. I reached out and touched the hood of the woman's car.

I was running north on the boulevard when I noticed a car approaching the stop sign at a cross street. I made sure to check that she stopped and, when she did, I continued running. I was half-way across the street when I saw her car began to inch forward. Rolling. Rolling. Rolling. I finally screamed a not nice word, causing her to look up from her CELL PHONE and see Denali and me right in front of her, with Mark not too far behind. There was no way I could move out of striking distance by the time I realized she wasn't paying attention.

While it's a scenario that's played out in my head a million times, it's the closest I have ever come. I am still a little shaken up. I have no idea what I would have done had she actually not stopped. Denali could have been seriously hurt or killed. I could have been injured. Bones could have broken.

The only thing I can say is thank goodness I was approaching the end of a 6-miler wasn't at the end of a LONG run.

Bring on the taper!

Just two runs separate me and the starting line of Fort-4-Fitness. Rather than get caught up in the anxiety that comes with taper (ugh), I thought I'd offer a bit of reflection this Sunday.

One year ago: I was just a few weeks into the Couch to 5K program. It was a struggle but I kept going, motivated by the goal of being able to take Denali for his daily 3 miles and be able to run them. Especially in the winter.

11 months ago: While watching "The Biggest Loser," Mark pitched the idea of running a half-marathon. I thought he was crazy. I couldn't even run a 5K and he wanted me to do a half.

10 months ago: I ran 4 miles the Sunday before Thanksgiving Day -- the farthest I had ever run. I literally thought that I was going to puke by the run's end and it took me about 53 minutes (if memory serves me correctly).

9 months ago: After giving into Mark's half-marathon idea, I sign up for the Flying Pig and draft an extended training plan so that I could build a base and be able to run all 13.1 miles.

8 months ago: I got fitted for my first real pair of running shoes and ran 5 miles for the first time.

7 months ago: My first run with an average pace under 11 minutes. Up until this point, most of my runs were in the 11:30-13:00 min/mile range.

6 months ago: I signed up for a 5K with the goal of finishing in under 30 minutes. I was NERVOUS. I had no idea if I could do it but I had been running consistently for four or five months and had put in the time. Too bad the leaders took us off course and we only ran 2.75 miles. I did, however, run it at a sub-30:00 pace.

5 months ago: I ran 11 miles on Easter morning because I was feeling good and why run 10 miles when you can run 11? It was a challenge, and Mark and I were both struggling come that extra mile but we did it.

4 months ago: Flying Pig half-marathon. It was by far the most challenging thing I had ever done. 13.1 miles, the first four or so in the pouring rain. I lost Mark, did a 2.5-mile climb by myself and stopped at mile 10 to eat some sport beans. I didn't think I could finish but we kept moving and eventually found myself at the finishing line. Words as I crossed: Ain't no way I'm running a full.

3 months ago: Training for the Rock 'n' Roll Chicago ... by myself. All runs now at an average pace under 10:00 min/mile.

2 months ago: I smash my goal (sub-27:00) at the Runners on Parade 5K. I finished in 25:36. Most amazing feeling I have ever had running.

1 month ago: Run RnR Chicago. I improved by 16 minutes from the Flying Pig but could have ran smarter. With the sub-2:00 half-marathon seemingly within reach, I sign up for the Fort-4-Fitness half-marathon and begin training to go 1:59:59.

This month
: I'll let you know in 6 days :)

If the finish line ever seems out of reach, just remember that slow and steady wins the race. It took me time, dedication and consistent training to get here. Who knows where I'll go next ...