October Roundup

October is over! That means a recap of my month is due! You can catch up on all previous months’ recaps here: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, and September.

With 3 miles this morning, I finished out October with 103 miles, which is my second most miles in a month, ever! The highest mileage I’ve run was in March of 2014, with 119.  103 miles this month is my second most, followed by 102 miles in February 2014, and 100 miles in August of this year.  With 103 miles this month, I’m up to 816 miles for 2015, and right on track to meet my goal of 950 miles, and hopefully exceed that and reach quadruple digits, 1000 miles!! I need 184 more miles to reach 1000, which averages out to at least 92 miles for November and December.  My last 5 months have been in the 80s, 90s, or 100s, for milage, so I am confident that if I stay healthy, I can reach 1000 miles this year!!!  To reach my goal of 950 miles, I will have to run at least 67 miles each in November and December.

Photo Oct 31, 4 35 33 PM

I started off October by going to Milwaukee to visit my sister.  We ran together twice, and I was able to volunteer with her at the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon finish line, which was a huge inspiration for me to want to commit to completing my first full marathon next fall.  I also took my second ever cycle class, taught by Kristen.

Photo Oct 05, 8 42 44 AM

I had one race in October, the KC Half Marathon.  I PR’d this race by over 10 minutes, and felt more strong and confident than I’ve ever felt during a half marathon.  Running this race solidified my desire to complete a full marathon next fall, and I will do so at the same race next October.  You can read my race recap here.

Photo Oct 17, 10 57 53 AM

My longest run in October, besides the KC Half Marathon, was a 7.5 mile run in Milwaukee, with Kristen, on October 4.  I ran with KC Running Co. 8 times, including 2 really great feeling speed workouts.  I’ve been continuing to see the chiropractor about every 1-2 weeks, and I’m having marked improvement with my left IT band/hamstring and my right glute/hamstring.  We’re making progress!  I was only able to make it to 2 yoga classes in October; I need to get back to yoga once a week!

Photo Oct 24, 3 09 10 PM

Looking forward to November, I have the Cliffhanger 8k tomorrow, November 1, which will be my first 8k (4.97 miles).  Then, I’m flying to Las Vegas with Mom and Kristen to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas 5k and Half Marathon! I’m really looking forward to a girls trip, runcation, and VEGAS!

I’m going to try to keep my mileage steady to end the year with at least 1000 miles, and try to stay healthy and keep my ailments on the mend! Let me know how your October went, and what your goals are for November and the rest of the year!

KC 13.1 Recap

Grab a chair folks, because this one’s a long one.  Time to recap the KC Half Marathon! Friday, after work, I met Amy at Crown Center to go to the marathon expo.

Photo Oct 19, 7 29 15 PM

Photo Oct 16, 5 23 45 PM

After spending a while (and some money) at the expo, we got some groceries and went back to my house.  Mom was driving in, and arrived just in time for spaghetti, wine, and the Royals!  After dinner, I laid out flat Renee and got all my gear out before bed.  Bed came a bit later than I would have liked, but Mom and I stayed up ’til the end of the Royals game and watched them win game 2 of the ALCS.

Photo Oct 19, 6 48 38 PM

Saturday morning was race morning; bright dark and early we dressed and ate a bit, and then headed to Crown Center.  We got there and parked with about an hour before the start, and stayed warm inside Crown Center.

Photo Oct 17, 6 13 48 AM

When it was closer to race time, we used the bathroom one last time, checked our bags, and hopped into the race corral.  Literally, we hopped the fence into the corrals, because everyone was stuffed in like sardines!

Photo Oct 17, 6 20 24 AM

As I was waiting in the corral, I remembered that last year, I started the race (in the dark) without my sunglasses, and by the time I wanted to wear my sunglasses, the cool air paired with my warm body made lots of fog.  So last minute, just before the start, I adjusted my sunglasses on my face.  Race start was at 7:05, and the sun comes up around 7:30, so I figured sooner or later, it would be okay, and then I wouldn’t have to worry about it.  Turns out, this was a perfect plan.  No adjusting my sunglasses later, and no fog problems!  Plus, I am positive I looked like a badass wearing my sunglasses in the dark, running a half marathon.

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

I brought two Gu’s with me, safely tucked away in my Running Buddy, and took the first one around mile 3, which was right at the breathtaking Liberty Memorial part of the course.

This course, by the way, is gorgeous.  This was my second time running the KC Half Marathon, and I love this course.  It’s hard and hilly, and it’s a breathtakingly gorgeous way to run KC.

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

After the Liberty Memorial and Trinity Hill, we wound our way down through Westport, and onto the Plaza.

My outfit for the day included compression capris, a KC Running Co. Groupie tank top, compression arm sleeves, throw away gloves that I never threw, my visor, and a KCRC headband over my ears.  I wore my Hoka Clifton’s, had my Running Buddy Pouch, and my sunglasses that did not fog!

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

We left the Plaza and ran by the JC Nichols Fountain, then ran past the Nelson Atkins Museum.  Mom paused during the run to snap a few pictures, which is why I have awesome course photos!

Photo Oct 17, 8 43 40 AM

Photo courtesy Donna Fleharty.

Photo courtesy Donna Fleharty.

Photo courtesy Donna Fleharty.

Around mile 7.5, the marathoners split off and went further south, and just after their departure, close to mile 8, I took my second Gu.  The half marathoners started running back north, and we were over halfway done!

I was feeling really good at this point.  I hadn’t walked at all, not even through the water stops.  The water stops were about every 2 miles, and were all very well organized.  I’ll pause a moment to thank the volunteers; they were all so amazing.  The course was also lined with spectators, lots of fun signs, and they were full of cheer.  I was very thankful for the great volunteers and spectators, they definitely helped make the run easier!

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

Around mile 10, my problems began.  Now, before this race, the most I had run before walking in a half marathon was about 5 miles.  So to get past mile 10 was HUGE for me.  I didn’t walk a single step until mile 10.5.  Physically, I was feeling great.  My paces were on point, my feet, knees, and hips felt ok, fatigued, but ok.  My stomach was great, my water, gatorade, and gu intake was great.

But my head… I got a massive dizzy spell around mile 10, and even with slowing down through the first half of mile 10, I was still dizzy.  By mile 10.5, my steps began to falter and stagger.  I really didn’t want to pass out, so I went over to the right side of the road and slowed to a walk.  I was disappointed that I had to walk, because everything else felt great, but I was also pleased that I didn’t push through when my body was obviously telling me that something was off.

There was another water stop around mile 11, so I decided to walk to the water stop, catch my breath and slow my breathing and heart rate a bit, then grab some gatorade and hit the road again.   Well, water stop came and went, and I started running again just after mile 11.5.  So I walked just over a mile, all at once.

Once I started running again, I had just over a mile and a half until the finish.  This entire mile and a half was spent calculating what my time would be for the finish, and whether or not I would come in under my goal of 2:30.  Had I not walked, I would have been closer to 2:25, but I’m confident that I made the right choice by walking and allowing my dizziness to subside.

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

I came across the line and stopped my watch, and it said 2:30:00.  Like, exactly, 2:30:00.  So did I make it? What would the results ticket say? Did I get under 2:30? I had talked with my sister, when I was in Milwaukee, and told her that I was considering doing a full marathon next fall.  She told me that if I beat my previous half marathon of 2:40:42, and ran anything in the 2:3x:xx, I would have to sign up for the full next fall.

She texted me, minutes after the race, and gave me the news, I came through the line at 2:29:58.  I beat my goal by 2 seconds, and ran the most I’ve ever ran during a half marathon, and felt STRONG!  I later joked with her that since I didn’t run in the 2:3x:xx, I didn’t have to sign up for the marathon, because I ran in the 2:2x:xx.  She didn’t find it funny.  =P

Photo Oct 17, 9 56 02 AM

After I got my heat sheet and my medal and water, I found Amy, and we made our way to the spectators near the finish line to cheer on our friends.  We saw a few KCRC friends come through, and cheered Mom on to her finish.  We ended the day with all of us meeting our goals, Amy PR’d, I PR’d, and Mom met her time goal.  Great finishes for everyone, and lot of smiles after getting our medals.

Photo Oct 17, 10 24 10 AM

Left to Right: Jenn, Mom, John, Amy, and Me.

Left to Right: Jenn, Mom, John, Amy, and Me.

We changed into some dry clothes, and tried to keep warm.  The sun was out, but it was a chilly morning in KC.  We got our results printed out and made our way to the food tents.

Photo Oct 17, 10 50 05 AM

Hamburgers, beer (not for me, ewwww), and chick fil-a made our bellies happy.  After taking some pictures at the banner, we headed hobbled to the car and made our way back to my apartment.

134211-165-015h

Photo courtesy ActionSportsImages.com

Lots of picture sharing, instagramming, face booking, and calling family from my living room, as well as foam rolling.  Jazzy partook in the Lacrosse ball rolling.  After Amy left, Mom and I showered and I found several spots on my body that had chafed.  That was not really a fun experience in the shower.  Ouch.  Mom found some chafing too, but was smarter than me, and put Aquaphor on before her shower.  Pro Tip: put Aquaphor or vaseline on your chafed areas before showering!

Photo Oct 17, 3 29 48 PM

Later in the afternoon, Mom and I went to Joe’s KC for BBQ, and watched the Royals game.  On our way home after stopping at Scheel’s, we went to Yogurtini, and ate it at home after changing into PJ’s.

Photo Oct 19, 7 20 56 PM

Bed was early on Saturday night.  Sunday morning, we ran a couple miles on the trails with Amy, to shake out our legs, which felt really good.  Then we went to yoga at Lululemon with Maylo to stretch everything out.

Photo Oct 19, 6 51 27 PM

Half marathon #6 is in the books, and it was really and truly a great half marathon.  I enjoyed the entire weekend, the pasta dinner, the race, the relaxing afternoon on Saturday, followed by a great Sunday.  Couldn’t have asked for anything better.

I finished the KC Half Marathon and met two goals in the process: I finished in one piece, and I finished with a PR and under my time goal of 2:30:00.  I wasn’t able to finish without having to walk, but I was very pleased with my performance, and know I can run the whole thing without walking.

I’ve also committed myself to the KC Marathon next fall.  The full marathon!  Read about that decision here.  It’s going to be one heck of a ride!  Congratulations to all my friends who did the KC Half and Full on Saturday, I’m so incredibly proud of everyone!!

Half Marathon Tips

The KC Half Marathon is right around the corner! 2 days!  I’ve completed a handful of half marathons so far, so for today’s Thursday’s Things, I want to share some tips I’ve learned, and some tips I’ve heard that I’m going to utilize this weekend.

Photo Oct 18, 10 18 28 AM

KC Half Marathon, October 2014.  My second half marathon.

My #1 main goal for a half marathon, any half marathon, is to finish! My #2 goal is to run the whole thing without walking.  So far, I’m 5 for 5 on my #1 goal, and 0 for 5 on my #2 goal! I feel like I’m in the best running shape I’ve ever been in, and am going into the KC Half Marathon with high hopes, but I’m not putting pressure on myself.  I want to go out there, have fun, enjoy the beautiful October weather, and run with thousands of my running buddies!

Start slow.  Don’t start out too quickly.  It is nearly impossible to “bank time.” Usually, you run too quickly, positive split, and run out of energy in the tank.  It is hard for me to slow down at the beginning, because the excitement of starting a half marathon and tons of people around makes me want to run faster.  Use that garmin and make sure you start slowly!

Photo Oct 30, 8 44 58 PM

Hydrate before and during the race.  The days and weeks leading up to a half marathon (or any lengthy race) are very important.  I pride myself on drinking lots of water and staying well-hydrated, but in the weeks, and especially in the few days before my race, I up my water intake even more.  And during the race, it is important to drink, and fuel, for that matter, BEFORE you are thirsty, and BEFORE you feel like you need fuel.  In the past several weeks, I’ve been using fuel on long runs to know what my body can handle (more on this in another post later) and to practice my water and fuel intake.

Nothing new on race day. Nothing at all should be new on race day.  No new shoes, no new outfits, no new fuels.  Don’t eat something weird or new before the race, don’t try running with (or without) music if you’re not used to it.  Race morning needs to be as routine and boring as possible.  Race morning is not the time to try out a new sports bra or a new pair of running shoes.

Get some good sleep.  And be nice to your body in the week leading up to and the week (or two) after the race.  Sleep, and being rested, is very important, but really, who sleeps well the night before a race? I sure don’t!  Research has shown that a good night’s rest two nights before the race is more important than the night before.  Be nice to your body, don’t do any crazy new workouts the week before a race.  Respect at least a bit of taper; slow your times down and/or run less mileage the week to 10 days before the race.  This allows your body and legs be rested for race day.

Photo Oct 13, 1 23 19 PM

Always use the bathroom before the race. Always a good idea to use the bathroom or port-a-potty at least once before the race starts.  I have a nervous tummy, and use the bathroom approximately 240957 times before a race.  Don’t pass up that opportunity, because you don’t always know if there will be a spot to stop on the race course when you might need one, and who wants the time to keep ticking while you’re doing your business?

HAVE FUN! Remember, most importantly of all, running is supposed to be fun! You’re racing for fun!  Unless you’re an elite athlete, where running is your career, the rest of us mortals are running for fun!

Now, there are hundreds of tips, tricks, and things to remember for training, racing, fueling, running, etc.  I only highlighted a few that I find very important, and want to remember, going into my sixth half marathon this weekend.  If you have a tip for me or the readers, please leave a comment!

For those running or racing this weekend, GOOD LUCK!