Running on gluten-free carbs…

Archive for February, 2012

150 miles of road behind me…

150 Miles

150 Miles

I have to blog about the amazing race that I ran in on Saturday that helped get me to this point…but thanks to an outdoor run last night and a run this morning, I have reached yet another milestone toward my running goal for the year.

This morning…I topped off the tank at 150 miles.

I’m here on the cusp of March and already down to just needing 350 more miles to achieve my goal.  With four half marathons already booked this year, and one more as a possibility, this goal is looking more achievable each day.  Now, that’s not to say there won’t be days that I can’t run…or don’t.  With upcoming events comes the build up and the taper off.  And with that miles come and go.  So, while I’m wracking them up currently, I have my first half marathon in May and recovery to follow from that.

I’m excited.  And seeing my goal edging closer and closer just only makes me want to lace up my shoes again and head out on the road.

If this sort of weather keeps up, that might be feasible.

Also…in an upcoming blog, I have a new Monday routine thanks to me going out on a whim last night, stepping a little out of my running comfort zone, and just…making myself do something I normally wouldn’t.  And in the end…I had fun and got in a great run in some unseasonably mild February weather.  It was just what I needed.  And, thankfully, I have a good support system in my roommate who, even if I fight it, tells me to go out and run because I’ll feel better.  She’s right.  I always do.

150 miles is a strong start this year.  I hope I can maintain my health, remain injury-free, and keep it up.

Looking ahead now…towards the next 50 miles.  Thank you, feet, for carrying me through these 150 miles.  Onward…upward…and forward!


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A Family Affair

Making Tracks for Celiacs 5K Race

Making Tracks for Celiacs 5K Race

In just a couple of hours, I’m hitting the road.  Not running.  At least…not yet.  I’m hopping into the car and driving South.  To beautiful Birmingham, Alabama.

Why?

Well, for starters, my family lives there.  My parents, siblings, their spouses, and their offspring.  All of them.

And on Saturday morning…bright and early…something amazing is going to take place at Veterans Park in Hoover, Alabama.  What might this glorious event be?

A race of course.

More precisely, it’s the Making Tracks for Celiacs 5K Race.  Benefits for this race go to Center For Celiac Research and the Birmingham Celiac Disease Support Group.  And for this gluten-free runner, this is a big thing.

But that’s not the reason this race is so important.

This race will mark the debut of my brother-in-law, Bryan Morrow, as a road racer.  Yes…he took up running a little while back and he’s actually quite good at it.  I had the honor of being able to run with him when I was home at Christmas time, which was a nice treat.  My runs are usually solitary, so it was nice to have a little relaxed conversation and just hit the road with another person outside of a race.  I’m so excited to be a part of this event that will welcome him into the fold of races.  I hope it only makes him want to enter more.  I know after my first race I was hooked and ready for another one…and then I just kept searching and finding more and more to enter, working up the miles slowly, until I ran my first half marathon back in September.  I want this for him. Maybe not at the pace I took for myself, but I do hope that he fines the joy I did through running.  Taking time to enter a race is a great start.  I love the race atmosphere and just can’t wait to get his take on the event.

And then…something else amazing happened.  I got a phone call from my dad last night.  He informed me that my grandpa, the one I wrote about in my past entry about my road hero, is going to be in town.  He was just going to stay one night, and then my dad told him about the race Bryan and I are doing.  He said he’d just have to stay for that.  Then he inquired if I’d mind if he ran it too.  Of course, grandpa is no longer running, but the option for him to walk it is there and I hope that he takes advantage of it.

These are exciting days and I’m so ready to get on the road, get to my family, and have a great race day tomorrow.

If you are in Birmingham, Alabama and want to check out the Gluten-Free Expo (on the campus of Jeff State Culinary and Hospitality Institute) or participate in the 5K Run/Walk…head over to the Web site and check it out:  The Great Gluten-Free Expo – Birmingham, AL.

And Bryan…I’m proud of you.  I can’t wait to run with you again!



100 miles down the road

100 Miles

100 Miles

It happened this morning on a longer-than-usual run for a weekday, thankfully before the hill hit.

100 MILES!

On work days, I usually can squeeze in a speedy 5K and then head into the office.  But I didn’t get a lunch on Monday due to one of my customers, so I have some time to kill.  I was going to do a normal run, and my roommate encouraged me to push on for 4 miles instead.  So, I did.  And it was a great run.

And at mile 2.9, I reached another mile marker in my quest to run 500 miles this year.  I was high fived by my roommate, and I think I threw my arms up in the air in celebration, but pressed on.  I still had 1.1 miles to go on my morning run and I was in the zone now.

So, what does 100 miles mean?  Well, aside from the fact that I’m now 1/5 of the way to my goal of 500 miles for the year I’m just a couple miles short of having run from Louisville, Kentucky to Indianapolis, Indiana.  Yeah.  How cool is that?  100 miles is an Ultramarathon!

But the key now is to remain focused on my training, keep up my good habits, change my bad ones, and not get injured.  This means slower runs, days off and all that, as I have been doing.  But it also means that I’m well on my way to reaching the goal for the year.

100 miles is huge.  If you asked me 10 years ago about what I would be doing in 2012, I never would have said running various races of different lengths, training for 4-5 half marathons, preparing myself for my first marathon in 2013.  Yeah…it never would have crossed my mind.

But my greatest joy in life these days is when I have my running shoes on and I’m out the door.

100 miles.  And only 400 more to go!  I’m so ready!



Snowman Shuffle 4 Miler – Louisville, KY (February 4, 2012)

Reaching the finish line of the Snowman Shuffle 4 Miler - Cherokee Park - Louisville, Kentucky

Reaching the finish line of the Snowman Shuffle 4 Miler - Cherokee Park - Louisville, Kentucky

Race: Snowman Shuffle 4 Miler

Place: Cherokee Park, Louisville, KY

Date: February 4, 2012

Time: 33:17

FINALLY!

Yes…finally!  After about a month off from having a race on my calendar, my second race of the year finally arrived.  I had been out running every day prior to this, tapering the week of the race to keep my legs in shape, but rested at the same time, and mentally preparing myself for the hilly wonder that is Cherokee Park in Louisville, Kentucky.  I swear, that last mile and a half is always straight up hill.

As I mentioned yesterday, I wasn’t feeling the usual bit of excitement that preludes a race.  I don’t know if it was other things going on in life, or the usual grumpiness from not being able to clock the miles that I normally would, but I was down.  Like, down and out down.  So, when the alarm clock went off this morning, I shut it off and had to have a pep talk with myself to get out of bed, get dressed in my running gear, and down a light breakfast.

But, I managed.  And, as I had heard that we were likely to get rain today, I thought to wear my older pair of running shoes instead of the new ones.  My old pair have seen me through many, many, many wet races.  What was one more, right?  But, at the moment, no rain was falling.  In fact, it was rather dry outside.

Until I polished off my bowl of Cinnamon Chex with a splash of almond/coconut milk.

Then, as if on cue, the running gods joined forces with Mother Nature to make sure that they made up for the gorgeous weather we got to run in back in January for the Frostbite 5K (or race #2 of the Polar Bear Grand Prix).  Today, the Snowman Shuffle 4 Miler (the third and final race of the Polar Bear Grand Prix) would be run…in the cold, pouring rain.

Sigh.

Oh well.  This is second hat for me.

I decided (thankfully) to wear my running jacket over the tech shirt I had on.  I didn’t think it was going to be that cold, so I had on a pair of my shorts.  Wow…was I ever surprised.  So, if my legs were going to be frozen blocks of ice, at least my torso and arms would be warm.  Oh…no gloves either today.

Call me unprepared.

The entire drive to the park, I keep hoping the rain will let up.  But it didn’t.  So, it was going to be a wet, cold race today.  Four miles wasn’t too bad though, so I sucked it up, went and got my bib number and the backpack we got as swag, then hurried back to the car to keep warm for a little bit.

Stretching commenced about twenty minutes before the actual race kicked off.  I limbered up and then went to head out to line up at the start with the few runners who ventured that way.  As the race got closer to kicking off, the stream of the rest of them joined in.  There were a total of 650 finishers at this race.  It was one of the smaller ones, probably due to weather.

The race kicked off right on time, and I started off slow.  I finally got to a point where I could break away from the pack of runners that were all crowded together and find a good pace.  I had my iPod going on my running mix and as I came up on the half mile mark, U2’s “Beautiful Day” began to play.  Given that it was in the low 40s and raining, it made me smile.  And it really lifted my spirits.  I don’t dislike running in the rain.  Most of my best times have been accomplished in such weather.  I just don’t like doing it if I don’t have to.

Mile 1 ticked off fast.  I couldn’t hear my time as I ran by, but I didn’t care.  The rain was splashing all over me.  The wind was starting to pick up, but I was off and running.  Coming up on Mile 2, my hood came down and I just let the rain pour all over me.  I was feeling great.  And then…the hills hit.

Cherokee Park…your hills will always hinder me until I get more accustomed to running them.  (Note to self: Run more hills!)  This did slow my pace some as the last 2 miles are pretty much a steady climb.  Up.  Up.  Up.  Mile 3 passes.  You start to wonder if or when it will ever level off.  And you keep thinking…eventually you have to go back down.  And then you reach the peak…you see the fountain where the race kicked off.  You can see the finish line just ahead.  And finally, the terrain levels.  I sprinted as fast as I could manage then to the finish line.

And totally blasted my previous 4 mile time by a full 3 minutes 26 seconds!  How is that for an improvement?

So, despite the rain, despite the cold, and despite my attitude the day prior…I ran the hell out of this race and I had a  lot of fun doing it.  Yes…even the dreaded hills.

My roommate met me at the finish line with a towel (bless her!) and my dry hoodie.  I got out of my very heavy, very soaked running jacket and hunkered down into the warm (yes, warm…she ran them under the hand driers in the park bathroom) towel and hoodie until I got back to the car.

We went to the local running store, Blue Mile, where they were kind enough to let me use their dressing room to change into dry clothes for the rest of the day.  Thank you awesome people at Blue Mile.

I really think all the hard work, dedication, and joy that I find and put into running is really paying off.  I am definitely improving speed-wise.  I know there will be bad races and bad running days, but I also know that I can overcome them and press on.  And, in the end, I’m there to run.  That simple!

Thank you, Polar Bear Grand Prix.  I had a blast doing my first ever winter runs!  See you next year!



Building up and breaking down

This week on my designated gym days, I’ve had some pretty amazing runs.  I’ve run strong.  I’ve run quick.  And it’s felt amazing.

On my non-gym days, when I just go for an easy run, the runs have been challenging, but good.

And tomorrow…I race!

And normally, this is an exciting thing and I’m bouncing off walls and it’s all I want to talk about.  But today, it’s different.  I’m not excited.  I’m not thrilled.  In fact, I am sort of dreading it.  Some of it may be the weather prediction for rain.  Not that I haven’t run in rain before.  Most of my races have been in downpours.  But, perhaps, the combination of cold and wet that’s getting me down.  Two things that my body dislikes, especially congruently.

But such is the life of a runner, right?  And I know when I get to the race, I’ll get more in the mood for it.  I’ve been feeling fantastic about this race all week and then…BAM…Friday hits and it’s like every ounce of excitement and readiness I felt throughout the week leaves and I’m just down and not really feeling it.

I’ve run strong and great this week.  Why the sudden blahs?

Well, whatever the case and whatever the weather, I’m going to hit the 4 mile Snowman Shuffle run tomorrow morning and hope for the best.

For now, I’m going to attempt not to let my mood affect my running.  Cross your fingers.  Wish me luck.