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Monday, February 24, 2014

Spring Tune Up 8K

Saturday was the ATC Spring Tune Up 8K and 15K.  This race used to be known as Spring has Sprung and was in March.  Part of the ATC restructuring, this race moved and I think it is good because the Publix Marathon and Half are coming in March so for those running the Publix in ATL this is a good training run.

I felt pretty good going into the race. I have been back on my regular running schedule and eating my usual healthier diet so though I am still a little tired and some lingering stress from the last few months remains I felt good about this race. Hubby and I had decided to run separate races, so he could run how he felt and I could run my own race.  We would meet at the finish line.  This race is the hilliest race of the Grand Prix season with multiple long steep hills.  I was hoping my recent hill training in my new hilly hood would pay off. 

Neither hubby or I are training for any distance races and it is the hilliest race of the season so we opted for the 8K.  Also we had to get back to meet the contractors at our house so they could finish up punch list projects.  That is an experience for another blog!!!

ATC is kind of known for well organized races and I will say this one was a little bit of  a disappointment.  The races have been really crowded lately, with a swelling membership, and so they have been starting in self-appointed waves.  Hubby and I were supposed to race out of wave B (7:30-9:00/mile).  When we arrived parking took forever because there was not enough parking to accommodate the crowd.  We got our number a little later and ended up in the endless porta-potty line late, though 30 minutes seemed like it should have been plenty of time.    There were too few facilities. Long story short we missed wave B's start and ended up sprinting from the porta-potties to run with C everyone over 9:00/mile. 

As a result the first mile as a lot of bobbing and weaving.  Hubby and I started out saw a friend, chatted while the crowd spread.  On a nice early downhill I saw the last of hubby about 1/2-3/4 mile in, he was channeling his inner Mo Farrah.  I said good-bye to our friend, collected his compliment on my "love running for life Chi Running" shirt and decided it was time to actually run. 

I have to admit I was tense at the start.  I was mad about parking, missing our start wave, the lines at the restrooms.  After the first two hills I was reminded of how painful and endless this race will be if I continue to run this uptight.  I shook it off and reminded myself this is for fun.  I think it was something like , "Oh yeah.  Hey you!  You are no a competitive runner so relax!"  Sometimes everyone needs a good dose of cold reality. 

I did manage to enjoy the race and starting 10minutes in gave me the opportunity to practice my math skills while I ran at all the mile splits.  After mile 1 at around 9:30 I could see I definitely got free of the crowd and my splits were decreasing to below nine and then right around 8 at the end.  The key to this race is to resist the downhill.  It is so tempting after climb after climb to fly down the other side.  The secret here is to keep it steady and use that to coast and recover so you can maintain a steady pace on the climbs.  I could definitely feel the benefit of my hill runs every morning. 

I finished around 44 minutes a course PR for me.  Hubby and I were heading out but I mentioned the parking... Seems we were parked right where the 15K people started their second loop.  We had to wait until the last 15K runner passed our road. So I grabbed my jacket from the car and we went up to the AG awards for the 8K.  Based on the start of the race, I was just glad to finish.  I was surprised when they announced my AG and I saw the girls blank stare as she looked at my name (Nguyen) and said, "Kathy...umm, umm, Nyan?"  Hubby knew right away.  We don't usually stay around for AG awards so I when I place they usually just mail it.  It was fun to be there and get my little medal.  More fun to put it around hubby's neck when he said "can I wear it?  I never get bling."  Of course he had raced great that day also and had finished 5th in his AG around 41 minutes.  His AG is ridiculously fast.  My AG was again the largest with 69 runners doing the 8K, something about 40 year old women and running.  In April I will be in the 45-49 AG which is ridiculously fast so I will enjoy this while I can.

Hope you had a great running weekend.  Does  anything at a race stress you out?  Can you put it aside?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Are You a Creature of Habit?

I most definitely am.  Fortunately for me and for my husband I am back to my normal routine. Apparently severe deviation from my regular routine really throws me off.  This is where hubby says "wow! That's breaking news."  I am not by nature a go with the flow kind of girl.  When you ask me what do you have planned today?  You better really want to know.  I don't know that I have ever said "oh you know whatever.  I haven't given it much thought."  Only if not giving it much thought means I have not had a chance to place the days task in a carefully weighted matrix  that then populates a carefully crafted Gant Chart. 
I always knew in my work life I was this way.  Maybe even knew I was this way with keeping up with domestic chores, but I always thought when it came to running and fitness and was a free spirit.  Turns out not so much.  The last few weeks of personal upheaval and a climate conspiracy have really cut into the routine I love so much.  After a concentrated effort I finally found my mojo again.  Where was it?  It was snuggled up sleeping in the comfort of routine. 
It was so dark in my new neighborhood that since the move my early morning run had been curtailed.  Enter knuckle lights.  They are comfortable and all of sudden I can see and once again enjoy beginning my day with a beautiful pre-dawn run.  Love them. believe me the folks at work are happy to hear I get to run in the morning before we all get to spend quality time together. 
The other thing thrown off was my nutrition.  I love to cook and I especially like knowing we have had a healthy meal with plenty of veggies and fruit throughout the day.  With little time to eat and temporarily stopping the delivery of our organic produce I felt like a slug.  Silver lining for a while I am not thinking what am I missing by not eating that crap.  I am reminded that eating well and feeling good trumps any temporary satisfaction I think I will get from a forbidden treat.
So all that is to say I am back on track.  Back to running everyday, doing my strength training, eating and fruit and veggies.  Sometimes veering off the track is the only way to fall back in love with the same old same old?
Are you a creature of habit?  Can you tell the difference when you veer of the healthy path?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Seriously, It is Colder here than Sochi!

Broadcasting live from the future sight of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Atlanta, GA.  Oh no, well I might be confused because the last week it has been colder, icier, and snowier here than Sochi, the current winter Olympics venue.  Yesterday I ran the treadmill for a couple of reasons.  The first we were in hour 8 of what was an 18 hour ice event followed by a 12 hour snow event.  I run on snow.  I don't run on ice.  The second reason I wanted to run in a tank top and running skirt and pretend that I live in Atlanta.

Well all in all we survived Icepocalypse/Snowmageddon 2014 part B.  I mean two winter storms two weeks apart. Am I living in New Jersey?  Oh no, just confused, because most of the bridges and overpasses were closed down the last few days.  We maintained our power most of the storm.  We lost it in the early hours this am, but still in the early hours GA Power had it restored.  I have lived here off and on for 30 years.  I have never seen a winter like this. 

Just as you think I can't take this anymore!  You wake up to this. The view out my bedroom window this morning.
All southerners say the same thing, "well better get out and enjoy it.  I mean how many times are you going to see this in Georgia?"  Bad year to ask that, by the way.  Enjoying it for hubby and I meant really embracing the fact we live on the Silver Comet trail.  A brief, snowy hike through the wooded back yard, no luge practice in our cars, and a three mile run on the Silver Comet with snow still gently falling.  I mean how many times are you going to see that in Georgia?  Did I just say that out loud?

If you are in the path of Winter Storm Pax I hope it takes it easy on you. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Trying to get my Mojo Back

So seriously the running universe has been conspiring against me.  I haven't blogged much because I haven't run much.   I am just in a place I rarely am.  My life has been so chaotic.  First the second robbery, finding a place to live, the snow storm that shut down Atlanta, a very FRUSTRATING moving experience and oh yeah bonus! I was also sick.  Running was at best sporadic.  I did not run Friday or Saturday and then it was a balmy 70 degrees here on Sunday ran with hubby, after poor diet and poor hydration.  Then on Monday after no sleep, moving chaos, and work. I really felt sick.  Oh yeah and had to take care of my mother post eye surgery.  No running Monday or Tuesday.

Yesterday I could not take anymore and I decided to head out after "nursing" duty and check out my new route at the house.  You have to love all sidewalks.  We have sidewalks everywhere here so I can run in the AM without taking my life in my own hands.  I am pretty sure all the hills will make me a stronger runner.  My old AM route ended with hills but was pretty flat for most of it. This route has a lot of rolling hills up and down.  The only problem is that it is a little dark in places. I never used a light before but now I think I need one.  Only problem not sure what to go with head lamp or knuckle lights.  I need it to be every season ready and not too cumbersome.  Anyway yesterday afternoon I did not set out to really run, but on rested legs, and a need for endorphins I found myself running around 8:30/mile.  It felt good.  It is the first time in a week I actually enjoyed running.  Here is hoping my life is settling down.  Hoping to go back to cooking and eating like I usually do.  Also look forward to getting the house set up and resuming a routine. 

I just don't remember a more stressful time, where everything seemed to just be mounting up.  Running yesterday and again this morning gave me a little peace of mind.  I am looking forward to finding more of that.  Also I can't believe that stupid ground hog saw his shadow.  Isn't is spring yet?

I hope you have had a more peaceful week. I welcome any suggestions on a light.