I've moved!!
NEW BLOG ADDRESS HERE: runaroundsara.blogspot.com

Monday, July 11, 2011

Git R Done!

In talking with a friend today, she mentioned that she hadn't been getting my blog updates lately. That's because I have changed my blog address and she wasn't following me on my new blog!  

Many of you haven't either!! 

Please go to my new blog 

and follow me there! 

I won't be blogging here anymore and I don't want you to miss out on any of my wicked cool adventures!!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I've moved!!

If you remember correctly, last week I had a contest to re-name my blog. Jennifer and Richelle both suggested some great names and will both be winning a pair of snazzy socks. Congrats and thank you for your ideas!

I have decided on the name Run Around Sara. In fact, I've already migrated everything over to my new blog. Please go visit me there, and of course follow me there as well!!

Go now! 

Oh and I also created a twitter account: @runaroundsara. You know, if you want to follow me there too. Or something.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Running is the devil. It hurts people.

NEW BLOG ADDRESS HERE:  runaroundsara.blogspot.com

As I sit here with ice on my shins, I’m reflecting back to the past few months. I’ve been so emotionally drained because I’m pushing myself physically and yet, still, I cannot run for 3 minutes straight. I’ve been doing this since January. Swimming, biking and trying to run. I’ve surpassed my swimming and biking goals easily. Yet I’m stuck on running. I’ve tried the Couch to 5K program in the past and haven’t been able to move past week 3 because I can’t get up to running for 3 minutes straight. So in beginning this triathlon journey I decided to follow a triathlon plan and work on the running that way. It didn’t work. So I switched to other running plans. I tried running drills, I tried short intervals for longer periods of time, I tried everything I could think of, but I just couldn’t get this running thing done. Finally I decided to give Couch to 5K another chance. I worked my way up through week 2 and I felt strong and confident that maybe I could do this. I had been building up endurance and strength in other areas since January, and now I needed to work on the running. Finally, I hit week 3 and even though I knew I hadn’t been able to do it in the past, I felt confident. Until I tried it again. I’ve tried Week 3, day 1 three times now. I told myself I wasn’t going to go past a day that I couldn’t complete and go about it at my own pace, but that I’d keep to the schedule so that I didn’t do too much too fast and get hurt.

Well guess what. I’m hurt. Last night I went for a walk with my mom and dogs, but decided to do a few running intervals up and down the side streets of our complex. I started having shin pain and had to walk most of the time. Tonight, I tried Week 3 day 1 again and couldn’t run for more than 45 seconds before I had to walk due to the pain in my shins. First, I had a hissy-fit and flailed my arms, stomped my foot (which made my shin hurt more) then cried "Why the hell can't I just DO this?". Finn looked at me curiously, probably wondering if I was talking to him or myself. Then I re-grouped, because now I was crying in public and I tried doing a speed-walker shuffle/pee-pee dance run-walk thing. That alleviated the pain and I was going faster than my normal walking, but it’s still not running. And I’m sure I looked wicked cool. Seriously, just try and picture it.

I started thinking about why I’m having shin pain now, after 6 months of trying this running stuff and I think I’ve found the culprit. Pavement. I’ve done almost all of my training up until now on the treadmill. Besides my 5K races, I haven’t been outside at all before Week 2 day 3 of Couch to 5K. Even though I’m completely discouraged, and pissed off that I can’t do this, I’m not a quitter and I will complete this.

I have two options right now. I can continue my training on the treadmill and finish the couch to 5K program on the treadmill and then transition to pavement after I know I can run for 30+ minutes straight. Or, I can start over. Week 1, Day 1 on the pavement and build up that way. I'm seriously torn between the two. Both have pros and cons. Your thoughts?

Either way right now I need to take a few days off of running so my shins can stop hurting. I also need to be stretching more. Maybe take a few yoga classes like I keep talking about to get myself more limber. 

But no matter what I decide, I will never quit. Quitting is a weakness and I’m way too proud for that bullshit.

By the way, don’t forget to check out my “What’s in a Name” contest. It ends on Friday night. Hurry up and enter, because as it stands, Jenn and Richelle are winning by default as they have the only entries! And really with so few entries your odds of winning are huge! 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

What's in a name?

NEW BLOG ADDRESS HERE:  runaroundsara.blogspot.com

I've been thinking about the name of my blog and I want to change it. I think. 

More specifically, the address. Right now it's http://sariah8.blogspot.com. Since this is a blog about my mission to a triathlon and what I'm doing to train, I'd like it to be something about that and not "sariah8" which is really a username more than anything. And because I'm also planning on a half marathon after the triathlon, I guess I'm in this for the long haul and don't know if I just want it to be all about the tri. But, I'm indecisive. And I also can't think of a name. So I need your help.

Any ideas? I was thinking of making this a contest/giveaway, but I'm new at this and don't really have anything to give away. Um, a pair of socks? YES. A special fun, funky pair of socks. Who doesn't like socks? And I'll choose the socks based on the winner's personality. So they'll definitely be fun, funky & cool! Really, this is a win-win situation for all of us!

Here's the deal, you can list as many blog names as you like. But put each idea/name in a different comment. And follow me too. Yes, bonus points if you're a follower. Who knows, maybe 2 pairs of socks will be given away! (Probably) Actually, yes. I will choose a winner based on the blog name choice and another winner will be chosen at random for a bonus prize.

Okay, let's get organized. First winner will be chosen based on my biased opinion and what I like for a blog name. The second winner will be chosen at random. The prize: besides the sheer satisfaction of being the winner, SOCKS.

Enter as follows (each entry needs a new comment):
  • Suggest a name for my blog (or two, or three, or seven)
  • Follow my blog (and then you'll have to re-follow my new blog once the new name is chosen, haha!!)
  • Promote this contest/giveaway on your blog, twitter, facebook, run through the streets screaming, make posters, etc.

What I'd like:
  • Something clever of course, because you know me. I'm clever.
  • Using my name is good (it's Sara in case you're new around here)
  • Anything dealing with swimming, biking, running, triathlon, racing, etc
  • Catchy is good
  • Play on words
  • What you think when you think of me (maybe I don't want that)
  • Brutal honesty

I'll end the contest on Friday of this week (6/17/11) and announce the winner on Saturday, 6/18/11. A whole week of fun!

I can't wait too see all your ideas!! And GO.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mental fatigue vs. Physical fatigue. Which is worse?

NEW BLOG ADDRESS HERE:  runaroundsara.blogspot.com

Que a serious post here:

Something’s going on with me lately. I’ve been having what I’ve been calling psychotic breaks. Or mental breakdowns. Whichever sounds scarier. I’ve diagnosed myself on WebMD, and it’s true. I’m crazy.

When training for a 5K or 10K or triathlon, or half marathon, or anything really, is the mental fatigue worse than the physical fatigue? I get it that I’m working my body harder than I have before and I’m pushing the limits. I’m getting stronger and I’m able to do much more than I could 6 months ago. But I feel like I’m losing my mind. Like I’m so mentally tired that I can’t control my emotions in a normal way. I’ll fly off the handle and get really angry and scream in a Hulk-like manner, then dissolve into tears for an undetermined time period. And then 10 minutes later, I’m fine. Back to “normal”.

A few things have happened lately that I am not proud of and I debated talking about it here to give the full picture, but decided against it because, honestly, I'm ashamed of my actions. I've done a few things in the past two months that I haven't been able to control and immediately regretted, which causes the tears and hysterical crying. Maybe it's my way of "getting it all out", but it's not cool. I need another outlet. This anger is NOT like me. I don’t know what to do. Yoga? Meditation? Massages? Will that really help? Is it worth my money?

Is the fact that I'm pushing myself physically affecting me emotionally and mentally?

I’ve been slightly more moody than usual too. But I’ve attributed that to stress. And the only stressful thing going on lately is this triathlon training. When I push myself too hard, I get stressed out and tell myself that I need to calm down and take more rest days to balance everything out. But then if I take more rest days, I panic and think that I won't be ready in time. It's a vicious cycle.

I also don't have anyone to talk to about it really. Not in person anyway. I ramble about 5Ks and training runs and bike rides and what I did last night for my workout, but no one that I come in contact with on a regular basis really cares. It's not stuff that anyone is really into, so to them it's boring. It would be like someone passionate about politics talking to me about the debate they watched on TV last night. I'd gloss over and tune them out within 30 seconds because I don't care. So I don't expect anyone to really want to hear my ramblings, especially since this has been going on for the past 6 months. I know if the situation were reversed, I'd be sick of hearing about it. I have a group of people that I'm doing this triathlon with, but we don't train together on a regular basis. We just schedule things every now and then depending on all of our schedules. So it's not like I have someone who's obsessed with this like I am who can understand where I'm coming from. Even though I'm surrounded by people doing this with me, I feel completely alone.

What do you do when you have moments like these and don't know which end is up?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

April vs. May: The ultimate showdown on National Running Day

NEW BLOG ADDRESS HERE:  runaroundsara.blogspot.com

April totals
Swim: 1.45 miles
Bike: 42.16 miles
Run: 18.5 miles
Rest days: 12
Yoga: 20 mins

May totals
Swim: 2.62 miles
Bike: 25.27 miles
Run: 18.03 miles
Rest days: 15

Compared to April, May sucked. I mean, it wasn’t horrible, but my running was less, my biking was almost half, and I had more rest days. I need to work on that hardcore. Swimming looked pretty good though! I really felt like I did more in May. And seeing the numbers puts me in my place. So I need to cut it out and stop with so many rest days. I mean, I know I need to rest my body, and I think I really only took rest days when I was in pain, sick or utterly exhausted (or unless I hadn’t taken a rest day that week and it was scheduled). Except for last weekend. Two of those rest days were complete laziness. But 2 out of 15 isn’t too bad. Should I really be putting myself down for this? Or is it normal? I feel like I should have done better.

I’m stepping up my game in June. I swear. Maybe.

I started that enthusiasm with a run this afternoon. I had a vet appointment for my mom’s cat at 6pm. I get out of work at 5pm, So, I planned to run after I got home from the vet at around 6:30 or 7pm. Instead, I got out of work early around 3:15 and called my vet to get an earlier appointment. They didn’t have one for the cat doctor, but I needed to take my dog, Snickers, in for her yearly exam anyway and scheduled a 4pm with the dog doctor.

Meanwhile, a huge storm front was moving through.

The white X is where I live. On the outskirts of the storm.
By huge, I mean severe thunderstorms and tornado watches. Since it was only sprinkling when I left the vet’s office for the first time, I decided to get my run in before my second vet appointment. I took my other dog, Finn, with me. He’s 7 months old and not a good leash dog, but I figured, practice makes perfect, right? So we set out. It was barely sprinkling as we started and figured I wasn’t going to melt so why not? Well, after about 3/4 mile, it started downpouring. That’s why not. One of my neighbors saw me go by and opened her door and yelled out to me “We’re under a tornado watch! You should get inside!” I replied “Yes, I know, thank you!” and continued on my way.

See those 3 blue spirals? Yup, tornado touchdowns.

Finn actually did quite well on the leash.
New running partner!
Completely soaked.
What was I thinking? I have to admit, I was more concerned with getting hit by lightening that I was with a tornado. I was counting the seconds between lightening and thunder to make sure I was safe. All of a sudden, I saw lightening and counted to ONE, before the thunder snapped all around me. Finn was jogging slightly behind me at this point and he hightailed it up to me and tried to go between my legs, almost toppling me in the process. I was already soaked, I didn’t need to fall into a puddle, thankyouverymuch.

I took that as a sign to turn around and go home. After vet appointment number two, the sun came out. My timing is amazing.

But about the actually running. I re-did Couch to 5K week 2 day 3, since I hadn’t run in a week, but I felt like it was easy. I mean, not easy, but I probably could have done week 3 day 1 which goes from a 1:30 running intervals to 3 minute intervals. And, this was outside and not on my treadmill where I’ve been doing the C25K program. I thought it was going to be harder. I was pleasantly surprised. However, my biggest critic (myself) had been analyzing everything. Either my biking last weekend really helped strengthen my legs and made my running stronger, or, I was running a lot slower than I do on the treadmill. My pace on my Garmin says that I was running slower. WAY slower. Yet my average times are right on point, even faster, than what I was doing on the treadmill. Whatever, who knows. Blame it on the rain. And really, isn’t the point to keep running for longer periods of time, and work on the speed later? Right, I thought so.

I guess it was only fitting that today is National Running Day

I found that out tonight after my run. No, that’s a lie, I heard about it earlier today on twitter, but I forgot about it until I saw people talking about it, and showing off their badges, when I was reading blogs tonight. So of course, I got my very own badge. I mean, really, If I’m gonna do it, I want a medal badge for it.

Uh, not really. I run because I have to. Because it's part of the triathlon. It doesn't feel great. Whoever tells you that is lying. It hurts.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Biking 101: The photo companion

I've moved!!
NEW BLOG ADDRESS HERE:  runaroundsara.blogspot.com

The helpful photo guide for the previous blog post:  Biking 101: Don't bike by yourself in a secluded area. Imagination is a killer.

And, go.
The beginning of the Cotton Valley Trail
So it looks like I go across the tracks...
...and onto this path. 
Nope. I had to get onto the tracks.
But then it turned into this and stayed mostly like this. Very nice.
This was where I had no clue where to go.
Off to the left are rocks.
To the right are the tracks, but no path. WTF?
My leprechaun led me down this path.
And then through this fence, where I was sure I was going to
hit my handle bars and go ass over tea kettle.
And then there was this beauty.
Water on each side.
Nice view, eh?
The end of the trail in downtown Wolfeboro
Then I biked back. For that visual, just scroll up and look at the pictures in the reverse order.

This is the Fernald station. Guarding the entrance to Creepyville

Signs informing where to go and how long it takes to get there.
And....an outhouse. I don't know if it's in working order. I didn't check.

I'll leave you with this one bit of helpful information. If a sign tells you to get off your bike and walk across the platform, you should probably listen. Especially if the railroad tracks aren't even with the path.

Like this...
Because something might happen...

Someone didn't read the sign.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Biking 101: Don't bike by yourself in a secluded area. Imagination is a killer.

I've moved!!
NEW BLOG ADDRESS HERE:  runaroundsara.blogspot.com

I’ve been excited to bike the Cotton Valley Rail Trail in Wolfeboro, NH ever since I heard of it about 2 weeks ago. That’s a lie, I knew it existed before 2 weeks ago, but I have never been on it and I didn’t know anything about it. It was described to me as flat, paved & easy. I figured it would be a nice leisurely bike ride and that I could convince people to bike with me on it. I also have an upcoming 5K and duathlon that will be running along the same trail, so I wanted to check it out and see for myself how it looked.

I checked it out on Google maps and figured out where it started and ended so I had an idea of how long it was and how many miles I’d get out of it. It showed me that it was about 3 miles long, one way. So I knew that if I wanted to get any good mileage on it, I’d have to do an out and back at least twice.

Yesterday, I headed down to one end of the trail and became dinner for 472,389 mosquitos as I unloaded my bike. I kept telling myself that all I had to do was get moving and they wouldn’t be able to keep up with me and buzz in my ears (HATE that).

I started off and was a little surprised that it wasn’t paved. It was dirt and gravel. I figured that it would start off a dirt path, then turn into paved for the majority. Nope. Not one inch of the trail was paved. Luckily I have a hybrid bike and not a road bike. I don’t think I’d have been able to bike it if it was a road bike. About a 3rd of a mile down the path, it went across the railroad tracks. There was a sign that said, “Walk across the wooden bridge” for bikers, but then the path ended. Kinda. I could either bike down the middle of the tracks or cross over it and go into a wooded path. There was a sign pointing me towards the wooded path, so I figured that I should follow it and maybe it would even out and become paved at some point. I followed that for about 20 seconds before it became impossible to ride. There were roots everywhere and there was no way I could stay on the bike and make it out alive. I got off my bike and started walking. After about 2 minutes of walking and constant thoughts of, “This cannot be right”, I decided to go back to the car and head to the other end of the path in downtown Wolfeboro and start from there. When I got back to the railroad tracks, I looked up the tracks and saw the path continue further down the tracks. I thought maybe I was supposed to ride down the middle of the tracks and meet up with the path on the other side. That was exactly what I was supposed to do. So I continued on the trail.

It was strange to be riding on dirt and not pavement. I was worried that maybe I’d pop a tire on a stray rock of something, but everything held up okay. I was riding behind houses and along the water. It was a nice ride and there were some beautiful parts of the trail. But only as it headed towards downtown Wolfeboro. The other way? No. More on that later.

I got to one point on the trail where I was a little confused as to which way to go. Right at that moment, I heard a bell and someone informing me that they were “passing on the left”. It was a little old man with a big basket attached to the front of his bike.  As he passed I said, “I’m not sure where the trail goes from here, do you know?” No answer. He peddled off towards a trail that I wouldn’t have noticed if it weren’t for him. So I said “Oh, this way? Ok yeah, sure I’ll follow you”. It was a bit of an Alice in Wonderland moment and I was following the crazy white rabbit. Or a leprechaun. Either way, it was odd. I had no idea where I was and it looked like it might have been the right path. Maybe. This part of the trail wound back and forth, whereas the rest of the path was straight. With each bend of the path, my little leprechaun man disappeared and I had to hurry to catch up with him. Then as soon as the path straightened out again and started looking like it had earlier, he pulled over to take a rest on a bench and I kept going. I definitely had a “did that just happen?” moment.

I got to the end of the trail in downtown Wolfeboro and stopped for a moment to check out the map. It was there that I realized that the trail wasn’t just 3 miles. It was 3 miles from where I started to where I was at the moment, but if I had gone the other way, it was another 3 miles. I guess Google maps didn’t get that memo.

On the way back, it was still light out, but the sun had gone down considerably and there was a lot of cover from the trees, so I didn’t need my sunglasses. But I noticed that there were swarms of mosquitos (or black flies, either way, not a good time) in the middle of the path, just hovering, waiting for someone to come by. Since I was moving, they couldn’t swarm me, but they sure as hell could swarm together and wait for me to run into them. I put my sunglasses back on as protection. A little later, I passed a woman on her bike and we smiled at each other. A bug flew into my mouth and I almost died. Not really, I just spit it out but, gross. From then on, anyone I passed got a closed mouth smile, which probably looked like a creepy grimace. But, no bugs!

By the time I made it back to my car, I was curious about the other side of the trail, so I decided to check it out. The easiest way for me to say this is: It. Was. Scary. It was secluded and mostly woods with a few houses and warehouses spread out along the trail. I had an uneasy feeling the entire time. It might have started when I saw a man sitting in his car in the parking lot to the trail. My imagination might have started to play games with me. Let’s just say I kept looking over my shoulder to make sure I wasn’t being followed. About a mile in I came across a jogger, and then another biker, both women, so I felt a little better, but I still was a little nervous about my surroundings. I saw a warehouse that looked sketchy with a brand new SUV sitting out front and I immediately thought, “Why is there such a nice car parked at an old warehouse? That’s probably where they take people to torture them, then kill them”. I pedaled a little bit faster. Then I saw a rundown house and thought, “They probably keep a lookout for people on this path and come out here and kill them as they pass by”. For some reason, I kept going. My imagination had already taken a trip somewhere bad and there was apparently no talking myself out of it. As I continued on, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a pair of jeans slung over a fence of some sort. I turned to look and realized it was a barbed wire fence. There was nothing around this area. No house, no road, no nothing. Just woods. So of course I thought, “Holy sh!t. There is a guy living in that house up there that took a woman off this trail and killed her and hung her jeans up over that barbed wire fence as a warning to all other people. And he might get me! But I’m not wearing jeans. Maybe he won’t want me”. Remember, I said there was no house anywhere? In my imagination, there was. Then I started singing to myself. You know like those little kids in movies when they are scared in the dark and they sing to themselves to make everything less scary? Yes, that was me.

As if all that wasn’t enough, I started seeing weird marks on the trail, like the dirt was darker in some places than it was for the majority of the trail. I’m sure it was from the recent rain in the area and the puddles hadn’t fully gone away, making the dirt darker, or you know, mud. But this crazy, insane, scary place that I was in at that moment had me convinced that they were bloodstains from people who were killed out on the trail in the past few months. That was the final straw. I turned around and hightailed it out of there. I tried not to look at the jeans on the barbed wire, the sketchy house or the warehouse with the new SUV in front of it, but I couldn’t help it. I needed to be sure no one was coming for me.

On my way back, I saw another jogger coming toward me. I muttered to her, “Good luck out there”. She smiled and said “Thanks”. She had no idea.

I made it back to my car and saw at the station that the sign said 3.1 miles to Wolfeboro and 7.8 miles to Route 16. Both via the trail. I had only ridden about 2 miles toward Route 16 before I freaked myself out enough to turn around. I can’t imagine almost 6 more miles of mental torture!  I’ll ride the 3.1 miles over and over. That part of the trail was nice. No way in hell am I riding 7.8 miles along that death trap the other way!

Of course for this adventure, I forgot my camera, and my phone. So, no pictures. However, I will try this trail again. Hopefully tomorrow and I’ll bring a camera to capture the picturesque views and oddities of the Cotton Valley Trail. I know you can hardly wait so I’ll try to be quick about it. For now, here’s a picture of the trail headquarters right near where I parked, AKA, entrance to CreepyVille.

Right behind that red building is the entrance to CreepyVille

Update: Check out the photo companion for this adventure!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Stow Run for the Woods 2011 Race Report

I've moved!!
NEW BLOG ADDRESS HERE:  runaroundsara.blogspot.com

I had planned this race because my chiropractor told me about it and that they would be at the race doing massages for the runners. I figured, why not? It’s local, not too hilly, they were giving medals to all finishers, and who doesn’t want a free massage after a 5K? If you answered, "I don't", we aren’t going to get along.

The day before, I was in bed all day with a stomach bug. I was so mad because I really wanted to do this race! And I had already paid for it. But as the day went on, I started rationalizing what would really happen if I couldn’t do it. I at least could get myself out of bed in the morning to pick up my free (kinda paid for) t-shirt. Then I figured if I could get out of bed for a t-shirt, I could at least stay and hang out for a bit and cheer on people that I know (and I suppose people I didn’t know). I debated setting my alarm for the morning and was really contemplating just skipping it when I suddenly remembered. Medals to all finishers. Problem solved. I set my alarm.

I woke up feeling much better. No stomach pains, no nausea. I was glad I didn’t have to try and endure a 5K while feeling yucky. I knew I had to eat something since all I had was soup the day before, so I went with a bland bagel with nothing on it and vanilla yogurt. I couldn’t finish the bagel and halfway to the race, I started getting stomach pains again. Excellent. I got my race number and t-shirt and went back to my car to sit and try to relax before the race.

Look at that. The date. Ten cool points.
Eventually I heard someone talking over a megaphone and I figured I should pay attention. I wasn’t even thinking about not doing the race at this point, because I still hadn’t forgotten about the medals to all finishers. Although, I was replaying the race route in my mind thinking, where I could possibly cut off part of the race and only do, like, a mile. Just kidding. Actually, no, I actually thought about it. But I knew I wouldn’t actually do it, so technically, still kidding. Maybe.

By race time I was feeling better, no stomach pains or nausea, so that was good. And of course there was a guy playing his bagpipes there, so that makes most things better. Or worse, depending on how you look at it.

Yes I sure did get right next to him as he was playing.
I did a fairly good walking warm up before the race so I didn’t have to start out walking. I was doing pretty good with my walking/running intervals and was faster per mile than I had ever been during a race, so I was feeling pretty confident that I’d be able to beat my previous time. Pretty awesome feeling, especially since they were giving medals to all finishers. It would be sweet to get a medal on a day I got a PR.

At one of the loops (the only loop) there was a volunteer cheering everyone on. She had a positive comment for every single person who passed by her and she was funny. I asked her what her name was because I knew that the second I got back to the finish line, I had to tell someone to give Maureen a raise, because she’s an amazing person. So nice, so encouraging, funny, and just amazing. But then I remembered that the race was sponsored by the Stow Conservation Trust, which is a committee, and most likely unpaid. AND, she was a volunteer. Duh. This is what running does to me. I get dumber. But she was awesome!

So, besides by blond moment, everything was great. Until I hit 1.4 miles. Sharp pains in stomach. Waves of nausea. Turning of the head, bending over the bushes. Almost puked. Almost. False alarm. Sucked down some more water to keep it all down. And kept moving.

And then I was fine. Until 2.5 miles. Same sharp pains in stomach. Same waves of nausea. Different bushes. Almost puked again. Almost. Same false alarm. OUT OF WATER. Kept moving anyway.  Then it was downhill for a while. Literally. On the downhill, there was a water station and some great volunteers hooking me up with that sweet, sweet (and much needed) H2O.

After that, I was okay until the end of the race and after, when I tried to eat an orange. Best diet ever, right? Put food in, get sick, and don’t want to eat. Besides the pain, I like it!

I finally heard the bagpipes again, so I knew I was getting close to the end of the race. I saw my friends near the finish line and then I saw the clock showing a time of 48:xx. I actually got excited, because I haven’t don’t a 5K under 50...ever.

The race results have me down for a time of 49:28, but with no chip timing and me crossing the start line after the actual start, my Garmin says I finished with a time of 49:03. As I was crossing the finish line, I was yelling to my friends “Look! Under 50! Under 50!” and I almost stopped. They had to remind me to keep going and actually cross the finish line instead of looking at my time. I’m smart. Right as I finished, there were volunteers handing out the medals. Yes, even with a time of 49:03, I got a medal!

Obviously I'm so proud of myself here.
And wicked excited about the medal!
And I was NOT LAST. I was second to last. But NOT LAST!

I beat my previous 5K time by 2:25. That’s pretty damn good right? 

After all that drama throughout the race, I looked around for my free massage. Yeah, they weren't there. Liars.

Friday, May 20, 2011

It's my party and I'll freak out if I want to!

I've moved!!
NEW BLOG ADDRESS HERE:  runaroundsara.blogspot.com

I just had a moment of freaking out. It was slight. Don’t worry I’m fine. But I just realized that my triathlon is less than 4 months away. Swimming, check (even though I discovered something tricky about the course). Biking, check. Running, stop, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

I’m on track for the swimming. Here’s the tricky part. The course is listed as being 1/4 mile. I wanted to see what the exact distance was because maybe it was 0.22 miles, maybe it was 0.26 miles, but the closest measurement was 1/4 mile. I also wanted to swim this summer in the lake near my house in NH, and I wanted a route to practice. So I had to measure. I used Map My Fitness to check the swim route.

0.30 miles
NOT 1/4 MILE.  It measures as 0.30 miles. That’s closer to 1/3 mile than 1/4. Why not round up? They rounded up for the bike route. That’s listed as 10 miles, but the route is really only 9.9 miles.

Glad I know. I’ll now train for 1/3 mile instead of 1/4. It may not seem like much, but lap-wise at the pool, it’s 9 laps for 1/4 mile and 12 laps for 1/3 mile. If I’m only prepared to swim “9 laps” on race day, those 3 extra “laps” aren’t gonna be fun. I want to be completely prepared. Luckily, at the lake I’d like to train in, in NH, beach to beach is 0.31 miles. Almost exactly the distance for race day. Score.

0.31 miles
Swimming, check.

The biking isn’t impressive, but it’s comfortable. I’d like to get out on the race course to get a feel for it and see how I can handle the hills it had to offer. I keep thinking, “Oh, I have time, it’s not until September”, but IT’s 4 MONTHS AWAY! I will plan a ride out there. I will. If only it would Just. Stop. Raining.

Or maybe I’ll hop on my brand new spin bike that I picked up on the way home tonight.

Sexy, isn't it?
And by picked up, I mean it was on the side of the road with a “FREE” sign on it. I don’t know if it works. We’ll find out, won’t we? Yes, you’ll hear about it, I’m sure. I’ve already injured myself with it and I haven’t even gotten on it yet.

The running business is still in slow mo. But I’m doing it. I decided to start Couch 2 5K again. This is my 3rd time trying it. I’m on track so far, but these 5Ks keep getting in the way. I know it’s good to have 5Ks to do to keep myself on track for the triathlon in September, but I’m starting to wonder if the 5Ks are messing up my rhythm with the C25K plan. I’ve seen running training plans where people to long runs one day a week. Could a 5K be my “long run” for now? Or is that too ambitious for right now? Thoughts? (I’m looking at you, you runner people)

Something is happening though. I’m not too sure if I like it. Today is my rest day. And I am adamant about my rest days. Trust. But I was actually slightly upset that I ran yesterday because, get ready for it, I wanted to run today. Who am I becoming?

I’ve read many places that you shouldn’t run back to back days, especially as a beginner, but I’ve seen running schedules in other people’s blogs where they run 6 days a week with one rest day. How are they not crippled, or dead, or both?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Beach to Beach 5K Race Report

I've moved!!
NEW BLOG ADDRESS HERE:  runaroundsara.blogspot.com

Today I got an e-mail from Active.com asking me what I thought of the Beach to Beach 5K event. It was pretty much a form letter, but I’ve registered for all of my 5Ks with Active and have never received this after a race before today. My first thought was, “Great, I’ve been flagged as a hostile racer and now they’re keeping an eye on me”. Ha! Well, if they want to know what I thought, I might as well not keep them waiting!

Yesterday was my third 5K of the 2011 season. Or ever. However you want to look at it.

The Beach to Beach 5K was in Marblehead, MA. I didn’t realize it until today, but it was further away from me than the 5K races in NH I’ve done. I figured being in MA it would be closer, but nope. Oh well, live and learn.

We got there around 8:30am. Race time was 10am. So we picked up our packets at the registration table. It was very organized. They had envelopes with everything we needed inside of it: Race bibs, safety pins, labels with the t-shirt size we ordered, plus coupons for Road ID bracelets, info packets on other races, and tips for running. Very cool.

We then decided to hit the bathrooms, but there weren’t any port-o-potties anywhere. Excellent. So we asked the registration people if there were bathrooms around, and there were. Right in the middle of the parking lot, there was a brick building. One ladies room. One men’s room. We took advantage of our early arrival and headed over. Out of two toilets, only one was working. Again, grateful for the early arrival. As people started to arrive, it got crazy! Maybe a few port-o-potties would help this situation!! This is the only race I've seen that didn't have adequate bathroom control. Of course because I've been to so many, I'm an expert, so you should listen to me.

Women's room line.
Men's room line.

Juice Plus table.
There were only a few tables set up for things other than the registration, but being sponsored by the Junior Aid society, I figured their goal was to raise money, and therefore, I didn’t expect much. However, they definitely went for quality over quantity! They had a booth set up by Juice Plus who made smoothies before and after the race for people to try.

They used a powder made from fruits and vegetables that had been juiced and then converted to powder for the smoothies. They were actually pretty good. The goal of their company was to get kids to eat more fruits and vegetables and be more healthy overall. I had a nice talk with the ladies who were manning the booth. We talked about the horrific lunches I see some of the kids in my class eat everyday. And they’re right; kids really do need to be healthier.

The Junior Aid society also had a raffle going on with some sweet baskets. I bought 6 raffle tickets.

I didn't win, but they had some pretty cool stuff in those baskets!
There was a DJ there playing music to hype up all the racers and all it did was result in some FANTASTIC dancing on my part. Be sad you missed it.

The race didn’t actually start where everything was set up. It started up the street a little bit. The DJ kept announcing how much longer to the race and even with him announcing the race start every 5 minutes, I was shocked to see that it was already 9:50 and we were still hanging out in the parking lot. Still dancing.

I decided to grab a few pictures of the set up before the race, so I quickly went over to the tables to snap a few shots. This took me about 2 minutes. When I got back to the spot where we were all standing, everyone was gone. And by everyone, I mean the group I was with. The bastards just left me! So I headed to the start line to find them.

Along my way, I saw two women with walking poles. I stopped to talk to them about them and one of them told me that the poles have helped her get back into walking and they take 40% of your weight as you walk.

Pretty cool to see them tackling a 5K!

I met up with my people, but none of us saw a starting line. Rewind. Earlier, we discovered that our race bibs did not have timing chips on them. So we were a bit confused as to how this was going to be “professionally timed” as it advertised during registration. Back to present. We didn’t see a starting line, because there wasn’t one. Hm. Confusing. At one point the started pushing the crowd back because people had gone past the starting point. There must have been a marking somewhere, because the race people knew where it started, but I never saw it. I just started my Garmin about 20 seconds after I started walking. I figured it was close enough.

The "start" line.
We were all standing around talking, mainly figuring out how we were supposed to all start, when everyone around us started taking off. I said, “I think that means GO”. And we started. I decided to approach this race differently that others. Since I clearly don’t warm up before races (because really how can you when you’re clustered together, not moving before a race?), I decided to start out walking and do my warm up as part of the race. I figured I could start my running intervals after I was warmed up, instead of trying to start out running and end up getting too tired too fast, or getting hurt. It worked out well for me. So until I’m up to actually running a full 5K (don’t get your hopes up...not any time soon), I’ll start out walking.

About 15 minutes into the race, I passed the finish line. They were setting up their timing system and it looked WAY complicated. I didn’t stop to look, because, I was in a race! But now that I knew it WAS being timed, I decided to maybe pick up the pace a bit. I had been toying with just walking the race, since I wasn’t feeling 100%, but then in typical Sara fashion, I gave myself a good talking to and decided to do some running intervals. 

Really what kept me going was my insane competitive nature. There was a girl about my age nearby and we kept passing each other. It was obvious she didn’t want me to beat her. And by hell, I was not going to let her beat me either. So chica, whoever you are, wherever you are, Thank you. You got me moving faster.

On the way back, I passed the lady with the walking poles again.  I spoke with her after the race and she said that she didn’t finish, but she got closer than she did the last time and she’s doing another 5K in August and plans to finish it. I’m going to look up that race and possibly go so I can cheer her on! I hope she gets to finish a race soon. She was so inspirational!

I finished the race with a time of 51:52 according to the race timing system (which, by the way, was very efficient given the lack of visible technology. I was impressed!) But according my to Garmin it was 51:28. I’m going with my Garmin since I’m sure they started the clock before I crossed over the invisible start line. Guess what. I WAS NOT LAST! And my time was a full 34 seconds faster than my previous personal best. Yes, I know, exciting.


And the best part of this race? The T-shirts had the year on them.

Beach to Beach 5K 2011.