Monday, March 31, 2014

50K Training Week Thru March 30

My Next Race - My 1st 50K!
Hog's Hunt 50K Trail Race (Texas) May 10 (less than 6 weeks)

When I stand at the starting line of my next 50K, it will be my second time to be there. In 2012, I made it halfway through the race after hurting my ankle on a tree root. (Here's the recap.) Even though it was a DNF (my only one so far, so yay!), I feel more confident about trying a 50K now that I have some experience with that race. Hopefully, that will pay off on race morning!

Exercise Videos I Used This Week

Core H Routine: Coach Jay
Myrtl Routine: Coach Jay
Single Leg Exercise: Sally McRae

Post-run Snacks
For chocolate milk, I sometimes I like to use homemade chocolate syrup. The recipe at Comfort of Cooking is good and easy, too. You heat up and stir together 1/4 cup cocoa powder, 1/2 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 1/8 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. vanilla. After being refrigerated, it thickens. Sometimes I add chia seeds to my chocolate milk, but just some milk and a banana makes a good snack, too.

Summary of This Week's Training

3/24- strength training
3/25- 20 mile run (2nd half faster, some trails)
3/26- 4 mile run (shin hurts so I didn't run my planned 10), strength training
3/27- strength training, cycling 1 hour 21 minutes followed by a 5 mile run (shin is fine!)
3/28- 8 mile run
3/29- 10 mile run with 6 miles on trails. Running trails makes the time go by faster!
3/30- 8 mile run, strength training

Run- 55 miles
Bike- 1 hour and 21 minutes
Strength Train- 4 sessions
Nature: coyote, 5 deer, spring flowers including the Texas state flower: bluebonnets

Thursday, March 27, 2014

My 20 Mile Run

My First 20 Miler of the Season
I averaged 10:05/mile and the second half was the fastest part of my run. I ventured into the woods a little here and there, but I was on an asphalt road in the park most of the time because I can run faster there and I need to work on my speed. Since I'd like to run a 50K trail race on May 10, running through the woods is good training, though.

Wild Animals
When I was running through the woods, I scared a deer so I started calling out, "Running through!" Then I saw a coyote - my first I've ever seen at the park! And then I saw a great heron with a big fish hanging out of its mouth. It flew away with the fish hanging out of its mouth the whole time, which looked kind of funny.

Zoe, the Weimaraner
In the top photo, my dog is on one of the trails through the woods. She's got her eye out for deer or maybe even a coyote!

Fuel During the Run
Now I've used Tailwind Nutrition on a 16, 18 and 20 mile run. This time, I mixed Tailwind Nutrition Raspberry Buzz (2 scoops) and Unflavored (1 scoop) for 300 calories and 75 carbs total in my 24 ounce bottle. I liked this combination, but in a race I might only use the raspberry flavor because it's caffeinated. The raspberry is fruity and a little salty. The unflavored has a bit of taste to it, but it's hard for me to pinpoint what it tastes like. They were both good. Together, the taste was a mild, fruity taste. Starting at mile 3, I drank a little every mile. I felt good for the whole run!

Monday, March 24, 2014

3 Faves: Running, Recipes & Reading

Running Outside
I've especially enjoyed the scenery this week! While running, I've seen the sunrise, spring flowers blooming, 5 deer, an armadillo, a big turtle, bright red Cardinals and a bald eagle. That was really special since I haven't seen a bald eagle since August.

Garmin Connect Tip
Did you know that if you already record your mileage using Garmin Connect, you can see your yearly total on it? Click on the Plan tab, go to goals and set a mileage goal for the year. This will keep a running total of your miles towards your goal. This week I ran 50 miles and this year, I've run 435 miles. It might be fun to run 2014 miles this year, but being able to do that depends on my body. So far, so good, though!

New Recipe
Something that I'm pretty sure that I can manage in 2014 is to try a new recipe every week. This week I used a new Greek marinated chicken recipe that uses yogurt. It was delicious and I'm sure I'll be making it again.

A Good Book
This week I learned a lot of information about spies that I had never heard about before in George Washington's Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution. I'm glad I was able to find it at the library and to read it on my computer at home using Kindle.
Head on over to iRaced, my other blog, for links to 15 race reports - everything from a 1 mile race to a 100K race!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

18 Miles, Then 10

This Week's Long Run
I ran 18 miles for my long run. It's kind of funny how your feellings change during a long run. With 5 miles to go, I knew I'd finish. With 4 miles to go, it seemed like I'd never finish! With 3 miles to go, once again, I was sure I'd finish. It was a good run, though. The weather was nice (50-67 degrees) and all day long people kept talking about the perfect weather. My Asics Nimbus 14 shoes (on the left in the photo) kept my feet cushioned on my run.
Berry-flavored Tailwind Nutrition 
Before the run, I ate a bowl of rice. During the run, I used my 22 ounce Nathan handheld bottle filled with two scoops of berry Tailwind Nutrition. Berry has a fruity taste and isn't too sweet. Last week, I tried mandarin orange and I like both flavors. At mile 2, I started sipping my drink every 2 miles. At mile 9, I started sipping every mile. I looked forward to counting down each mile and drinking more as I ticked off the miles.

Then I Ran 10 Miles
The next day, I ran 10 miles without a pre-run meal or any food on the run. My legs felt nice and light. Maybe part of the reason for that is that I was running in my comfortable new Brooks Ravenna 4 shoes with a good-sized toe box. (Lately, I've been rotating the two pairs mentioned in this post.) I finally started feeling tired in the last mile, but knowing that I made it through 18 miles the day before and that I was about to complete my 10 mile run made me feel great.

I saw two or three deer during each run. One day, they ran in the same direction that I was running. It felt like I was running with them!

More Tailwind Info & Blogs
Here's a Tailwind Nutrition reviews page, in case you'd like to know more about it. Besides nutrition information, I found some new blogs that I'd like to visit on that page. You might, too!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Running, Riding & Chia Chocolate Milk

Weekly Summary

Last week was a good workout week. I looked forward to my workouts and finished them feeling strong. I ran 45 miles, rode 13.5 miles and strength-trained, too.

Ramping up the Miles 

I ran a 16 miler on Tuesday and then I ran 8 miles the next day. Next, I'd like to do long runs followed by 10 milers the next day. I'm training for a 50K trail race on May 10 here in Texas: the Hog's Hunt.

Riding and Running

In addition to running, I like to ride my bike every week. I think it's good to change my exercise routine a bit and it's fun to ride. Saturday I rode 13.5 miles. Immediately after that, I ran 5 miles. After 1/4 mile, my tired legs felt normal and I was able to run negative splits. Those miles were some of the fastest I did all week.

Chia Chocolate Milk

After that ride and run, I was in a hurry so I drank my already prepared chia chocolate milk while I got ready to head out the door for some Saturday fun like going to the local running store and out to lunch with my husband.

I mixed the following ingredients together and then I let it sit overnight so that the chia seeds softened.
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • chocolate drink powder
  • Yummy optional add-ins: peppermint extract or peanut butter

Want to do a trail race in Texas, too?

You can listen to Operation Ultra Podcast to hear about trail race course descriptions including the Huntsville Rocky Raccoon ultra near Houston. That race is held in the same location as the Hog's Hunt that I'd like to do.

I hope you have a great week full of fun running!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

First Run with Tailwind Nutrition

During this week's 16 mile run, I tried something new. Since the five 4-serving packets of Tailwind Nutrition that I ordered on Saturday arrived on Monday (fast!), I used it this week.

A hand-written note was included with my Tailwind Nutrition. Little things like that are a nice touch. I told my husband about the note. I'm telling you. It was a great first impression.

To prepare for my 16 miler, I put two scoopfuls of the Mandarin Orange flavor into my 22 ounce Nathan water bottle and topped it off with water. I started drinking it at mile 5. One serving, or one scoop, is similar to the average gel in the number of calories and carbohydrates that I normally use. The small packets that I bought didn't come with scoops, but 1 scoop equals 2.4 tablespoons.

3 Reasons I Like Tailwind Nutrition (Mandarin Orange flavor)
  1. It mixes easily.
  2. It's clear. No fears about getting orange stain on my clothes.
  3. I like the mild orange taste. It isn't too sweet or too salty. The first taste was salty, but after that it was fine. There are 303 mg. of sodium per scoop so I won't need a salt pill.
Time/Pace for the Run
Tailwind Nutrition is all that I needed for my 16 mile run, which took me 2 3/4 hours at a 10:26 average pace. I picked up the speed towards the end with two miles at sub-10. 

The Verdict on Tailwind's Mandarin Orange
I like everything about the orange flavor and I can't wait to try the other flavors: lemon, berry, unflavored and raspberry (caffeinated). This gives me something extra to look forward to for next week's long run. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

5 Reasons To Like Fitbit Flex

New Activity Tracking Gadget 

I have a new gadget for tracking my sleep and daily activity. It's the Fitbit Flex. I can set the Fitbit to track daily steps or active minutes. The active minutes option might be good so that I know that on days that I haven't run that I've still gotten in 30 minutes of active exercise, but I haven't had much experience with that yet.

5 Reasons I Like Fitbit Flex:
  1. It tracks a restless night.
  2. It tracks daily exercise/active minutes.
  3. There's a (nearly) silent alarm setting. 
  4. It fits my small wrist with 2-3 holes to spare. 
  5. My husband has a Fitbit, too, so we compare our results just for fun.  

My First Two Weeks with Fitbit Flex

Looking back on the stats, I can see that Sunday night was great, but last night I was restless. Last night I slept 7 1/4 hours with 8 restless minutes. The night before, I slept for 6.5 hours with zero restlessness plus I had a long Sunday afternoon nap. According to Gadgets for Collecting Data on Sleep, one thing activity gadgets can be good for is knowing how restless you are while sleeping and that's something that's been interesting about the Fitbit Flex.

Sleep and Books

Lately, my sleep has improved and I'm happy with the amount of sleep I've been getting. I wish I could say that all I had to do was go to sleep earlier, but my problem is usually that I wake up in the middle of the night. That's when a good book is my only option. At least I have gotten a lot of reading done that way. Between sleepless nights and listening to books while I run and ride, I've read and listened to 31 books so far this year!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Back At It After a Half Marathon

Feeling Great
What a difference you feel after running a half marathon compared to the marathon! After running the Woodlands Half Marathon on Saturday, I took a long walk through the woods with my husband and our dog. My legs felt fine.

14 Mile Run
Yesterday I ran 14 miles, fueled by a handful of dates. It was an easy run to do because it was 30 degrees cooler yesterday than it was on race day. Today I ran 8 miles. I'm gearing up for a possible 50k race in which I'd want to get in a few back to backs where I'd run two days in a row with some decent mileage.

On one easy 5 mile run this week, I accidentally ran up quietly upon 6 deer. This startled all of us!

Strength-training (3 sessions this week with a focus on arms)
  1. Tank Top Arms at Fit Fab Cities blog
  2. Arms at Run Salt Run blog
  3. Overhead Tricep Press (30), Bicep Curl (20), Standing Chest Fly (10) 
Running This Week (after the race): 40 miles
It's been great to get right back to running after the half marathon!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

My New (2nd) Blog: iRaced

I started a second blog in January: iRaced! On my new blog, I post links to runner's race reports. You can check it out at iRaced.

My new blog is on Wordpress, but Gotta Run Now is on Blogger. It's been a fun way to learn about It's too soon to say which I like best, though.

My Blogs
  1. iRaced: a place to find motivation and inspiration for running races from other runners. 
  2. Gotta Run Now: a personal blog where I write about running, training for races and other aspects of healthy living like eating right. 
I hope that both of my blogs will inspire runners to go for a run and to have fun while they're at it!

7/20/14 Update
I've moved the race reports to this blog, here at Gotta Run Now.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Woodlands Half Marathon Recap

The Race: Woodlands Half Marathon, 3/1, 7AM

This was my 7th half marathon and the 2nd year I've run this race. Here's last year's recap.

Results: Chip Time: 2:10:36 (9:53 average pace) 

Course: Mostly flat course with some gentle hills.

Weather/Clothes: 67 degrees, overcast, humid, Skirt Sports Women's Adventure Girl Skirt (lots of pockets!), 
Nike top and hat,  Asics Gel-Nimbus shoes, Experia Thorlo socks 

Pace Group: I didn't run with a pace group. I planned to start near the 2:00 pacer, but because I was a little late I started near the 3:00 pacer. Towards the end, I saw a pacer ahead of me. I tried to guess who it was: 2:00? Nah! 2:30? Probably. When I saw that it was the 2:15 pacer, I was happy and I had a new goal: get ahead of that pacer. And I did! 

Spectators: The few that are out there are especially appreciated on a quiet course like this one. I heard my name called out a couple of times (our name was on our bibs) and caught a high five, too. 

Fuel Pre-run: Pancakes with maple syrup and peanut butter, 1/2 banana 

Fuel During Race: Powerbar gels at mile 4 (berry blast) and 8 (tangerine), Gatorade (2 gulps)

Post-race Food: After I nibbled on the huge plate of food they offered and drank the chocolate milk, I went to a Mexican restaurant (Lupe's) for a chicken tostada, rice and beans. 

My "Oh!" Moment - I Found My Husband

How I Need to Improve: I need to arrive at the race earlier next time. I left home at 6:05. At 6:42, I had to hop out of our car and slowly run to the start with a stop at two porta-potties (the first line was too long so I gave up and ran to a second porta-potty area). I made it to the start at 7:05 and crossed the line at 7:11. 

My husband finally found a parking spot and ran to what he thought was the start since there was an announcer talking to a huge group of racers. Then he realized that he was at the finish line so he missed seeing me start. We both had "tales of woe" to share after the race, which probably made it more fun!

Race Needs To Improve: I ate a gel and ran to the mile 4 water stop where I had to wait for the water to get there. I gave up and ran to the next water stop at mile 5.5. Not a big deal, but this happened last year, too. 

Mile 13 Happiness - First Time to Spot My Husband on the Course

Expo: It was a small expo. I picked up my race bib and my shirt and walked through the expo hall twice in less than 30 minutes. Here are some of the expo freebies I was given: a running hat, a granola bar and lip balm. Packet pick-up was better than last year.

What Went Well: I liked how close the race is to my home (within 1/2 an hour's drive), the gentle hills to provide a change on the course, the ease of packet pick-up and the post-run food (includes Chick-fil-A sandwiches and Borden's chocolate milk).

Since my pace has recently slowed down, my goal wasn't to PR. Instead, I worked on negative splits. It didn't work out perfectly, but it was a good goal to work on out there.

Having my husband there to drive me (so I didn't need to stress about parking) and at the finish to take 130 photos (really!) made the race more fun than it would have been without him.

Just before I saw him on the course, I was going through a strange "I think I'm going to vomit" feeling after running by a couple of stinky buildings. When I saw him, I forgot about it and I sped to the finish with my fastest pace of the day. It was a fun race day!

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