Sunday, March 27, 2011

Umstead Walk

Yesterday I started with some of my Raleigh Galloway friends at the Old Reedy Creek Rd. entrance to Umstead State Park. I've never been to that area of the park before, so I had a very enjoyable walk. (The only downside was the lack of bathrooms at the start!) Once I got past the gravel road leading up to the gate, the trail was packed dirt. The flowering trees are starting to blossom, and there was a good bit of foot and bike traffic, but it wasn't overly crowded. I hear that the airport overlook is off of this trail, but I didn't make it quite far enough down. Check out this webpage about this end of Umstead and the airport overlook.

I ended up going 3.26 miles in 1:09:01 with no toe pain.

Mile 1) 21:28
Mile 2) 21:09
Mile 3) 21:00 (the Garmin called this mile 20:60!)

Afterward, I met up with the rest of the group (they ran longer) at Panera for lunch. After lunch, George and I grabbed our bathing suits and went to the Gold's Gym at North Hills, where they have a saltwater swimming pool AND a saltwater hot tub! Ahhhh!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Race Report: 2011 Tobacco Road Half Marathon

Toni White and Lesley Looper
 This past Sunday, March 20, I participated in my third half marathon, the Tobacco Road Half Marathon in Cary, North Carolina. The weather was perfect, and the volunteers were wonderful!

This was my first race with the custom orthotics I picked up in mid-February. I was curious and concerned about how things would go, since I hadn't trained beyong 3.5 miles with the new custom orthotics in my shoes. I wondered if my right toes would hurts, and how my feet and legs in general would handle the orthotics. Mostly, I was concerned about my lack of training in general this winter, but I was determined to start the race and see what happened.

George and I parked at NetApp in RTP around 5:30 AM and caught the shuttle bus to the park where the race would start and finish. (We were glad we got there early, because others arriving later had problems with the shuttles and late arrival to the race.) We didn't know until we got there that the bus drop-off was about .7 mi. from the start and finish line, an unexpected hike, both before and after the race! The race itself started about 15-20 minutes later than expected, as we were waiting on some of the late shuttles to arrive.

Before the race, George and I had a good visit with Emily, Jon, and Ashby. At the start line, I saw Barbara and Toni too. Toni, pictured with me above, is the cousin of Danny, someone I met on the Outer Banks Half Marathon course back in November 2010. Danny introduced the two of us through Facebook, and Toni and I met for dinner in Raleigh a few weeks ago. It was a lot of fun to walk with Toni for the first half of the race (her first half marathon)!  (Thanks for Cara Greening for taking the picture! Cara was a water stop volunteer at Mile 6.)

Speaking of volunteers, there a lot of Raleigh Galloway runners on the course, both participating in and volunteering for the race. It was a lot of fun to see so many people I knew out there!

My right toes starting hurting a little before the Mile 6 mark, and the tendonitis in my right ankle started bothering me as well. At one point, I was glad I didn't see a bench, because I might've succumbed if I'd seen one! When I told my mom about the pain later, she asked, "Well, couldn't you have stopped?" Yes, I could have, but the truth is, I didn't want to, not really.

With about a mile to go, George found me! He finished a while before I did, and after a stop at the first aid tent for his knee, he walked backward to find and walk in with me! How sweet was that?! :)

I finished the race with a chip time of 4:50:06, my worst time ever in a half marathon, but I was mighty glad to finish! I've been thinking about it over the past few days, and here are some things I learned from this race:

1) It pays to train! My longest walk since my last half marathon was 3.5 miles. Even though I've been crosstraining, nothing beats time on your feet when you're training for an endurance race.

2) The extra weight I've gained had an effect, and I don't like it. I need to find a "healthy way of eating" (avoiding saying the "D" word) that works for me.

3) The pain in my right toes came several miles later, a good sign! Time and training will tell if that's the new norm.

4) When my tendonitis gets better, I need to work on building stronger calves, and continue to work on my upper body and core strength.

5) I continue to love, love, love Race Day and all the runners and walkers out there. I pay for it for a few days afterward, though,  in "recovery" since, by nature, I'm an introvert. I think I've been quieter than usual  the past few days as I've tried to recharge internally. I've also been much more physically tired than usual since the race, so that probably has something to do with my quietness too.

6) I want to stop my trend of slower and slower half marathon times. I'd like at least one more that's faster than the last one!

7) I found out last Thursday that I got into graduate school, and today when I registered for classes, I learned that one of my classes in the fall will be every other Saturday. It'll make training a little more interesting, but the things that are important to me will rise to the surface.

Meanwhile, I haven't exercised since the race on Sunday, but George and I are planning to meet for water aerobics this evening. Should be a good way to start my comeback! :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Icing My Ankle

I've been icing my ankle throughout the morning--under my desk at work (thanks to my efforts in yesterday's Tobacco Road Half Marathon)! I did finish, although it wasn't my prettiest race. A race report will be coming sometime in the next few days.

Meanwhile, I'll be giving my ankle a little more TLC!

Clipart from

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Getting Ready for Tomorrow

Tomorrow morning I'll be attempting my third half marathon, the Tobacco Road Half Marathon in Cary, NC. My training has been less than stellar this winter, but I'm hoping for a nice 13.1 mile walk on a beautiful course. I'll be introducing my new custom orthotics to their first race, though I think my feet have adjusted to them in daily life. I also have a new ankle support that I've been wearing today only, but I think I will try it out for the race anyway, and see if it provides adequate support for walking the half marathon.

George and I went to the expo last night, and saw several people we knew, which was fun. One fun surprise was seeing my freshman year roommate, Lisa! We hadn't seen each other since college, but we've been Facebook friends for a while. She's doing the Tobacco Road Half too, and this will be her first! How exciting!

I've also set up race alerts for Facebook and Twitter, hope it works!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Missing That Lost Hour of Sleep!

Yesterday, we changed to Daylight Saving(s) Time, and I'm really missing that hour of sleep I lost! I had an industrious workout at the gym (50 minutes on the elliptical, 3.85 miles, including some intervals, and some upper body strength training) yesterday, and I'm feeling a little sore in the arms today. On another positive note, I've got a professional massage on tap for this evening, and I'm really looking forward to that! I have a feeling that I'll be tempted to come home and go straight to bed after the massage!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Walk on American Tobacco Trail

I had a nice walk this morning on the American Tobacco Trail (White Oak Entrance). I started with Meri, Bert, Jon, Susan, and Linda, but did my own pace. It was a chilly, but beautiful morning out! I didn't feel any pain in my right toe bridge (yippee!), but the achilles tendonitis (I think) in my right ankle DID bother me. I return to the podiatrist on Monday for a followup on the orthotics, so I'll ask him about the tendonitis. (Meanwhile, I'm icing as a type!) Today's walk: 3.54 miles in 1:12:00.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

More Water Aerobics

George and I did a water aerobics class last night at Gold's Gym, and Kathryn from our Galloway running group joined us! It was another pretty good sized class, not like two weeks ago when I was the only one. I enjoyed knowing one more person in the class, and Kathryn had a nice time chatting in the sauna for a few minutes afterward. I tried the heavier water weights during the class last night, and I can feel it this morning! Not too bad, but I can tell I had a good upper body workout last night. I need more of those, since upper body strength is a weakness of mine right now.

Meanwhile, I've finally started having some success with my latest Weight Watchers venture, down 6.8 pounds on my own scale. I continue to be consistent about weighing myself daily, even when I've gone over the points allowance. I'm not enjoying tracking what I eat and drink, but I think it's helping me be more aware of what I eat, which is a good exercise right now.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

I'm Tired!

I finally made it to the gym last night for the first time in this week's exercise cycle. I've been pretty tired from last weekend's workouts (bike & running clinic on Sat, elliptical workout on Sun.), so I took Monday off from working out. I didn't want to take two days in a row off, so last night I hit the gym a bit later than I like, but I did an easy session on the recumbent bike, and am glad I did. Good to move the legs just a bit, a slow, cruising 5.26 miles in 37:00. I'm still pretty tired this morning, but I do plan to go to water aerobics with George tonight. Another running friend might join us, hope she does!

Meanwhile, early to bed tonight!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Elliptical Love

I arrived at the gym a little later than I'd planned, feeling tired and uninspired, tempted to go back home and take  rest day. But since George was working out in the pool, I decided to head upstairs to the cardio machines and get moving on the elliptical machine. Once I started moving, I felt sooo much better! And I'd forgotten what a great workout the elliptical machine can be! I ended up doing 3.15 miles in 45 minutes on the elliptical, and followed it with some stretching, dumbbells, and ab crunches. I felt good AND tired when I got home!

I feel a lot better about my training looking forward, now that I've rediscovered the elliptical machine. I think that, as someone who wants to return to running, the elliptical may be a better workout for me than the bike on most days. I love how my weekly total mileage can hike up with bike miles, but it's not always about the high numbers, right?

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Some More Speedwork

This morning I joined some running friends for another speed clinic, and it was very helpful. We did some stretches after a warm-up on the track, then did some 400s. I was pretty pleased with my splits, even though I was the last one to finish each time. It was fun to see that I could go faster than I expected. I need to keep working on it.

Before the speed clinic, I worked out at the nearby Gold's Gym, a different location from my normal Gold's Gym, but still in the network of gyms I can visit under my membership.That's one of the nicest gyms I've ever been to! I was very pleasantly surprised! It's much bigger than my location, with cardio machines both downstairs and up. The women's locker room is huge, with amenities like lotion, mouthwash, and Qtips. The steamroom has eucalyptus spray available, which was sinus-clearing and smelled great, and the pool (they say) is salt water! The whirlpool was indoors by the swimming pool. The weight machine area was expansive, with at least one machine I'd never seen before. Ever.

And then, there's the fact that I rode the recumbent bike (4.55 miles in 31:01 min) in the cardio theater, with a James Bond movie playing. I have no idea which one, but it was interesting to experience. At first I thought it would be neat to watch a movie while I exercised, but since it was dark, I couldn't see the buttons on the recumbent bike. I had to use my iTouch as a flashlight to start my workout, which was a little frustrating. Also, my bike pace was a good bit slower than usual this morning, and I don't know if it was because of the movie, or because I was being cautious before the running clinic, or maybe because of my slightly tired legs at the time. *Shrug*

Anyway, very nice gym experience, too bad it's 30-40 minutes away, with gas prices the way they are. "My" Gold's Gym is less than 10 minutes away.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

A Little More Running!

This evening, I met with the Triangle Turtles Meetup group for the first time, at the Fleet Feet Raleigh Thursday Social Run. It was fun to meet some new people on this chilly evening. Once we started, I was at the back of the pack, as usual, but I was focused on getting a good workout in and didn't worry about anyone else. Since I didn't have my interval timer, and it was soon too dark to see the time on my Garmin, I just ran and walked by feel. I ended up going 2.24 miles in 42:01 minutes, an 18:44 average pace. It's nice to be under 19:00, but I still have a way to go. My right toes started hurting around 1.75 miles (earlier than before), but it wasn't very sharp. I don't know if it was just orthotic adjustment, or if the toe pain is here to stay. Time will tell. I'm icing now, and will take some ibuprofen before bed.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Good Crosstraining Day!

This morning I went to the gym before work, and did 35 minutes (6.25 miles) on the recumbent bike, and followed that with some upper body strength training and much needed stretching. On a work break, I I walked 1.5 miles. After work, George and I met at the gym and took 60-minute water aerobics class together.  I am worn out and ready for bed!


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