Tuesday, November 30, 2010

An evil piece of equipment

Torture device.
Finally! After several days of excruciating pain following any tickle in my nose I can finally sneeze without simultaneously grabbing my stomach and cringing. Of course my cold is gone, so what's the point, right?

About a month ago I was having some issues with my ankle so I bought one of those inflatable balance boards. After about two weeks of nightly calf raises it went the way of so many other pieces of home equipment -- kicked into the corner to collect dust.

Then I tried yoga, and practically fell flat on my face. I guess I can mind-numblingly pound my feet on the pavement for 10-miles plus, but I can't hold a tree pose to save my life. I had tried some stuff on the BOSU at Aspen. Same deal.

Me = Uncoordinated loser.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

So not ready for Salt Fork... but haven't I said that before?

10 mile trail race, what on earth was I thinking! The Salt Fork run is next Saturday. 

Then again, I made this post about a week before the Nu Race Trail Run, and this post shortly before the Indian Run. 

Before the Nu Race run, I simply wrote: "Yalp"

Before the Indian run I wrote: "I think I'm in over my head."

After the Nu Race run I wrote: "My first 1st place finish!"

After the Indian Run I wrote: "I can't believe I did it in under an hour"

And believe me, I was saying similar stuff before my first 5k. So yea, I'll be fine! 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Race Report: Cleveland Turkey Trot

Sometimes, it's more fun to hang back and talk to the giant turkey running beside you.

In this case, I mean that literally.

I ran the Cleveland Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning and had a blast. This was my sixth race since I resumed this insanity in May. In the other five I was all about the time, how fast can I go? Can I PR? How many women are in front of me? (In only one case was there the correct amount: 0).

A number of factors aligned to show that I would not be racing this one:
A) I was fighting off a nasty cold
B) My big race is a week from Saturday
C) I wanted to stick with my little sister, this was her first race since having a baby (note to self: Stop calling her "little". She's a mom now.)
D) There were 2,000 people there so there was no way I was going to win

The race started at 9:30. After a relatively hectic morning, which included hitting up everyone in my house because neither of us had any cash to park, we pulled up at about 9:20. Parking was a pain, there was a long line to get into the lot so we parked a good half mile away (we didn't need that cash after all). We met up with my college buddy, Evelyn, as the bullhorn was going off. Yay for chip timing, we stood back to avoid getting trampled then jumped in with the fray.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

More cheap gear

There is more to my life than shopping, I swear it. Just not this week. So when I went into Target tonight I had just paper towels, dish soap and makeup on the list. Whoops.

$15, 100% polyester, wicking fabric. Their clearance rack was loaded too, got another cute sweater.

The Turkey Trot is tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wet turkeys

With the exception of my first 5k which took place in 90 degree heat, I've lucked out with the weather for all of my runs. Even the Mohican one, where I secretly hoped it would rain so I could relive my high school cross country days of running through the mud.

This good luck, it appears, is about to run out. Forecast for the Cleveland Turkey Trot Thursday, according to Accuweather:

5 miles of rain and cold, it must be wintertime in Ohio, yipee I can wear my new jacket!

Friday, November 19, 2010

What I love about Maine: Cheap LL Bean loot

It's not the overload of seaside shanties selling lobster and crabs, even in November.

It's not the people, who are always beyond friendly and willing to help you at every turn. (I was at the Gap and my LL Bean bag broke, five people rushed to help.)

It's not the ocean.

It's not the tough nature of people here, who will look at 3 feet of snow and walk outside like it's 60 degrees out and sunny. (Seriously, Ohioans, it's only cold white fluffy stuff, toughen up already).

It's not the scenic, long, 2 lane curvy roads. (Unless you get stuck behind someone from Jersey).

It's not the Kennebec River Rail Trail. The hills will kick your butt and leave you grinning at the end.

It's not Sen. Olympia Snowe, who remembered my name after meeting me only once. "Jessica, that girl in Norway who asked all those really good questions."

It's not the high cost of heating oil (In this case I'm not kidding, it's absolutely not.)

Well yea, it's all of those things except the latter. But above everything else, above the exaggerated "As" and the absence of "R"s, unless of course they're called for, "I have an idea'r", it's the LL Bean outlet store.

How I miss thee.

I went down to Freeport today for some good old bargain hunting. And I made out like a bandit.

What does all this have to do with running, you ask?

Let's start with non-cotton fleece pullover, $20, bright yellow for running at night:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Further proof that I am completely out of my mind

Who agrees to travel across the country a year in advance to then climb into a van with complete strangers and run 6 miles three times, most likely in the middle of the night, down a mountain and to the beach. Who, I ask you, who?

**Sheepishly raises hand**

Hood to Coast teams are selected by lottery. Here's my logic. I never win anything, ever ever ever. So, if I see something I really want to do I better start entering now to further improve my odds of getting in down the road.

But when I woke up this morning, this was in my inbox...


*Giggles with excitement*

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Teaser "I did it" post

One week ago represented a quiet but significant milestone. I stepped on the scale and it read 129. On February 1 of this year I weighed 179. 50 pounds, gone gone gone gone gone and never coming back. I started to write a blog post about it. I've refined it, and refined it, and refined it. I'm really struggling with how much personal information I want to throw out to the world. I'm getting closer, still not right though, and the delay is kind of killing me. But I've had a burning desire to do an "I did it" post. So here is a teaser, the rest will come when I'm ready!

I normally don't buy stuff for the label, but on Thursday I found this at Kroger and it was just too perfect to celebrate with:

I'm in Maine this week. Had a fantastic, fantastic day today. I finally got a sports therapy massage, which felt amazing. Except that I got read the riot act on flexibility training and stretching. My IT band, calfs and shins are super tight. I've got to work on that. I got a balance board for home, which I've been doing calf raises on to strengthen my ankles for trail runs. The Y offers a BOSU class. I'm intrigued.

I ran 8 miles on the Kennebec River Rail Trail today. Felt like I could have gone further, but it was getting dark (and it wasn't even 5 p.m.) It was a fantastic run. I started out in Farmingdale. The trail goes along the Kennebec River and snakes through the town of Hallowell. The best part is that there is a gap in the trail, so you have to run down Water Street -- Hallowell's Main Street. It is such a beautiful, quaint town. It is always busy, but it is also very progressive. The road has designated bike lanes, and I wasn't the only runner going through town, so I didn't feel self conscience in the least, like I do when I run through Newark.

To the left is a photo of my favorite bar on the planet, The Liberal Cup. I have lots of fond memories of that place when I was covering Maine's political scene. More later!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I'm visiting Maine this week. Man I miss this place, right down to the obnoxious accents. Towns like this in Ohio are few and far between, with the exception of Granville.

I'm watching a news report right now about the state budget and seeing a lot of my old sources. I even miss the politics here! Nothing in Ohio is the same.

Today I ran on the Kennebec River Rail Trail. It was beautiful out, about 45 degrees, a bit chillier by the river. I started where I'm staying in Farmingdale and ran down to downtown Hallowell. I was never a runner in Maine but I walked the dogs on the path all the time. It's gorgeous.

I'll take a few pictures tomorrow of my old stomping grounds later this week.

After a long time in the car, my legs are feeling horrid. Yesterday I just did two miles on the treadmill at the Y here just to shake my legs out, yay for the away program. Today running was really hard, I was incredibly achy and sore. Four miles was incredibly difficult. I may try to get a sports massage while I'm out here tomorrow, if I can find a place.

I'm also going to head down to the LL Bean outlet to get some cool new running gear.

Friday, November 12, 2010

27 miles this week, and preparing for the long run!

As in, THE long run. The Cleveland Marathon is now 183 days away. Took a couple steps in preparing today. I'll get to those in a minute. But first...

This week marks a new record in weekly miles, 27! Old record was 25. I actually did two long runs this week -- did 11 Monday to make up for a miserable day Saturday, and 10 today. Of course, my short runs were very short, I did 2 miles of hill repeats on Tuesday, normally I do three, and Thursday was an easy four miles on the treadmill.

The old record was 25. Here's the graph:

Today's run was wonderful. I ran the bike trail but took a different route. I started at the Y and ran five miles out, all the way to the cow pasture. I was off today and I have a feeling this was one of the last times I'll be running in the sunlight for awhile. It went well, nothing hurt and I'm not really sore now. Just tired.

Then I went to Columbus. Fleet Feet put a note up on Facebook that there was a new model of my shoe out, the Asics Kayano, so they were closing the one I have out for wicked cheap. Of course when I got there they were already out of my size! But I'll poke around online and try to order a couple pairs, I'm sure it's out there.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Switching health clubs

I joined a new health club this week! I'm now a member of the Licking County Family YMCA (actually I think it's just The Y now) in Newark. It's wonderful, they have so much there. Two pools, two fitness centers, including one for just women and youth, racquetball courts, an indoor walking track, and a remarkable amount of classes. And -- perhaps the best part -- a sauna!

The bike trail starts right outside too, so it will be really easy to do my strength training right after my runs.

I have heard so many good things. Plus I toured it at two times I normally go -- in the morning and after work, so I know it doesn't get packed and the crowd is bearable.

I was going to wait until next year to make the switch but they were waiving the joiners fee this month so I went ahead and signed up.

Of course, it's triple the price of Aspen Fitness Centers in Heath, where I was up through today. My needs have changed since I first went fitness club shopping a year ago (namely, I was looking for something not too expensive because, face it, I probably was't going to use it.)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Race registration: All about the shirt

Just signed up for the Holiday Run at Sharon Woods in Columbus Dec. 12. More because it looks like fun and less because I want to race it.  It's the week after the 10-mile Trail challenge at Salt Fork so I'll absolutely be taking it slow! Plus they give you a long sleeved tech shirt, the one I got at the Mohican Nu Race Trail run is perfect for running in the cold so it would be good to have a second.

I hardly ever wear my cotton tees anymore while running or at the gym.

This one looks like fun, and the course looks very scenic. You get hot chocolate, cookies, and Michelob Ultra is the sole sponsor so there better be some adult beverages involved!

Monday, November 8, 2010


There's nothing like being paranoid about being lost, dodging traffic and having a running buddy to make 11 miles seem like nothing. I am feeling 10,000 times better!

Ok, it wasn't that bad. It was just enough to keep me distracted to complete the distance. It was probably just about 11 miles.

I was meeting up with a friend from work to run. Since I wanted to get a long run in, I ran 3.5 miles to her house, ran 3.75 miles with her and then did the 3.5 back. Most of it wasn't bad, I just need to find a few good side streets in between Waterworks Road and the road leading up to her place so I can stay off Mount Vernon and 21st Street. Not very pedestrian friendly, but that was only a short ways.

I think I have a nasty blister, otherwise I'm feeling pretty good.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Abstract bricks

Every time I've failed to complete a run I've known I was doomed within the first two miles. It's actually pretty good motivation... because once I make it past those first two I know I'll make it the rest of the way.

I hit a wall today, though. I went out for my first 12-miler, per the training program, and I just couldn't do it. Couldn't make the legs function. I survived the first mile, albeit barely. Forced myself to stretch for five minutes. Made it another half mile beyond that, and then my legs just quit. Felt like I was wearing giant bricks instead of shoes. I was achy, nothing in particular, just really, really tired. So that makes my weekly mileage a pathetic 17 miles.

I know I'll have off-days from time to time. Still it's discouraging!

I thought I did everything right... ate carbs out the wa-zoo yesterday, took yesterday off from any activity, drank Gatorade beforehand, etc. So what went wrong? It could be any number of things.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Lately I've been wicked stiff after my runs. I think a lot of it has to do with the cold and my body cooling down faster.

Anyway, I found this stretching routine and it has been a godsend. My muscles feel so good after. I used KeepVid.com to put it on my iPod, which forces me to do the whole thing each time.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Climbing hills

If there's one thing I've learned from the Mohican race Saturday, it's that if I want to keep doing this insane trail running stuff I've got to run more hills. 

I've been pretty good about running them once a week on the treadmill, but when it comes to picking a route for my longer runs I'm all about the flatness.

This is what I did today, stepping it up a bit. The last four weeks I was doing the same, one grade down on all.
1 mile @ 6 speed and 5 incline
2 x 1/2 mile @ 5.5 speed and 7 incline
4 x 1/4 mile @ 5 speed and 9 incline
Walking .1 to .25 miles in between. 

Usually I finish in just under an hour, and it burns a ton of calories. The intervals also help break up the prolonged agony I've come to equate with running on the treadmill.

I've been doing some reading though, and Runner's World suggests more of a rolling hill approach, so maybe I'll try that out next week. This article also has some interesting tips on form.

I really need to make it a point to find more routes around here with a hill or two, most importantly so I can practice running down as well. Horns Hill is two miles from my apartment, though I don't know if I'm that crazy. Also I've gotten a few tips from people in Granville. I hear the Denison campus is a doozy, and probably safer to run at night too, which will become a factor very soon.