Archive | Really Long Slow Runs RSS feed for this section

Running Dinky

12 Nov

Until yesterday, I cannot remember the last time I did a long run by myself. No water support, no friends, no mapped out run. Just me, my little water bottle, and my memory to recall my route.

In training for the quickly approaching Orlando Half Marathon, I was scheduled to run seven miles on Saturday morning, but I woke up late and with a hankering for pumpkin pancakes. Rather than fret, I pushed my long run to Sunday and got started on some deliciousness.

Sunday morning I got a little bit later start than I preferred. I woke up around 8:30 AM, ate half of an apple with some peanut butter and sat down at my computer to map my run. I visited my old friend www.gmap-pedometer.com and stared at my screen. Since we recently moved to a new part of town, all of my old long run routes no longer worked so I had to think, which without coffee doesn’t happen easily.

I recalled a recent conversation I had with a new friend about the new Orlando Urban Trail. When they inaugurated the trail to the community with a free 5k, I was struggling with an injury and not running (or even walking much for that matter). Then with time I forgot about it. Since then, every time I’ve driven down Virginia and saw the crossing, I have said to myself, “Oh yeah… I want to run this trail!” And then I forget again.

This time I remembered to add the Dinky Line portion of the trail to my route. I looked at my route, tried my darndest to remember my turns and headed out the door around 9:30 AM.

I’m happy I remembered to apply sunscreen and grab my sunglasses before I left, because the first thing I noticed were the clear blue skies and the bright sun. I’m so used to running before the sun comes up or as it’s setting that I sometimes forget how frustrating running while looking straight into the sun can be.

On my way to the start of the Orlando Urban Trail, I noticed this:

I silently judge election candidates whose signs still clutter our streets.

Yep, I totally silently judged each of those candidates for leaving their signs up.

A mile later I arrived at the trail:

A map of the Orlando Urban Trail and how to get to nearby trails

I love any excuse to run over a bridge

You know you’re running in FL when you spot a gator on your runs

Crossing Virginia. Made a detour to the left to buy water at the 7-Eleven.

Learning about the Dinky Line

Behind Lake Highland Prep … Check out that Orlando skyline… Ha!

I’m not sure if I missed the other water fountains or what, but it wasn’t until I hit the Lake Highland Prep portion of the train until I noticed the first water fountain. Since I had already bought a bottle of water at the 7-Eleven on Virginia, I kept running.

I jumped off the trail shortly after and started to head back home around Lake Ivanhoe:

Ducks chillin’ on Lake Ivanhoe

A view of the Orlando skyline from Lake Ivanhoe

I used to live in the pink apartments off Lake Ivanhoe and that was my view walking the dogs in the AM. Not too shabby eh?

I had started my run doing 5:1 (run five minutes, walk one minute), but around mile five of my run the sun started to get to me and I started to take a few unplanned 30-second walk breaks when I thought I needed it. By mile six, I was doing more walking then running, but at this point I had to get home. I made a mental note to start my long runs by 6 AM. I’m pretty sure I’ve made this mental note before. Eh, what can I say? Sometimes I need to be reminded of things.

There’s a drugstore store near my house so I stopped in and grabbed one of these:

Chocolate milk is perfect for your post-run fuel.

The cashier asked me how far I had run and I told him seven miles, but the last mile had been more walking then running. He laughed and said that even six miles was six miles more than he ran. We chatted briefly about his days of running with the Army and how he had hated the bland food but it had been perfect for all that running. I laughed again, knowing how true that statement is. When he said he wanted to get back into running I told him that I had started by just running light post to light post and wished him luck. I left that drugstore feeling a little bit better about my run.

I came home and had myself a nice, long stretch while drinking my chocolate milk and trying to avoid Rex’s kisses. I tell you what, that pug has no respect for personal space. 🙂

I stretched. Rex tried to lick my face.

Overall, I loved running on the Orlando Urban Trail. It was nice to only have to keep your eyes peeled for oncoming cyclists, which I much prefer to oncoming cars. There were some nice views along the way (lakes, and gators and skylines, oh my) and my legs appreciated a break from either running slanted on the side of the street or running down a brick road. I will gladly run on this trail during daylight hours. However, I would not recommend running by yourself while the sun is down… too many nooks and crannies to disappear into.

Have you run on the Orlando Urban Trail? What did you think?

Dance Marathon

29 Apr

Saturday morning I ran ten miles. According to my right IT band, that was about four miles too many.

I woke up at the awful hour of 4:30 AM, tossed on my running clothes and headed to the kitchen for a quick pre-run breakfast. Due to a lack of planning, here’s what I ended up with:

The Real Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast pretty much went like this: one bite of banana followed with a lick of peanut butter from a spoon and repeat. I learned this nasty (yet delicious) habit from my gluten-sensitive boyfriend, who gave up bread late last year. The fortune cookie was not a part of my breakfast, rather it was remnants of my pre-run dinner, chicken lo mein.

Our group was extra small this week (there were only three of us). We took off on a 10-mile loop.

Less than five miles into the run, I started to feel that familiar IT band nagging me. Around mile six I tightened the straps on my knee (I had two IT straps on one leg). That surprisingly relieved the pain for a mile or two. I managed to make it the entire 10 miles, but not without wondering how in the world I could do another 16.2 miles like that.

Here are the stats from our run:

  • Distance: 10 miles
  • Time: 02:10:13
  • Avg Pace: 13:01/mile

I’m going to stick to strength training and yoga for taper this week and rest my leg. I’m also going to ice my leg three times a day, and foam roll my legs and hips twice a day. In fact, I’m icing as I type. My leg is mighty chilly.

Healing feels like a full-time job sometimes. Let’s hope this does the trick, or I may have to reconsider switching to the half marathon, which I really don’t want to do.

Last week a friend sent me a link to the video below. Not long afterwards, I tried to dance walk across 17-92 on our way to get coffee. However, I stopped when my co-workers shunned me. I’m now considering dance walking (or running) all 26.2 miles of the Flying Pig Marathon.

A Letter to My IT Band

29 Apr

Dear IT Band,

I ask you to please quit playing games with my heart. One day (Thursday) we’re all buddy buddy and I think we’re getting along just fine and we might just have a beautiful friendship after all and then two days later (Saturday) you’re being a bitch again.

I prefer the good ol’ days when we used to run the streets in glee. When together we would conquer our mileage, one step at a time. The days when we would skip off into the sunset laughing. Where did those days go? How do we go back to that?

I hope that we can work out whatever it is that is causing this tension between us. I miss us.

Best Regards,

Hemarie

Gettin’ My Run/Yoga On

21 Apr

Sweatin’ pretty… I’ve been doing a lot of it lately. Special thanks to this lovely summer-time Florida weather and a big shout out to yoga.

Yesterday I woke up just before the sun rose to set up for yoga in our Florida room. It was dark, and perfect for getting focused.

Don’t worry, the sun rose in time for all the good stuff.

I was feeling great and super focused… until the wonderful aroma of brewing coffee wafted towards me. After that, all I could think about was getting my hands on a cup of joe. Mental note: Ask my boo to hold off on the coffee brewing until I’m done.

This morning I woke up late, so breakfast was just a banana and some peanut butter. I walked outside and was happy to see that it hadn’t started to rain like my weather app was forecasting. In fact, it never did rain. But the day has looked pretty ominous, like we’re on the verge of a storm.

My first run back started off well. It was muggy, but a good breeze kept us from being too hot.

Around mile seven I felt that good ol’ familiar IT band twinge in my right knee, so decided to run back to the car before running became painful. One of my group leaders, Sue, was out riding her bike as support so she rode it in with me.

Sue was riding her bike because she’s running a 12-hour ultra tonight. You gotta love her. To me, she has the perfect combination of wit, smartass, intelligence and crazy. Yes… crazy. You have to be crazy to want to run 12 hours through the night. Occasionally I have crazy moments where I tell Sue I’ll run an ultra with her one day. One day I hope that crazy sticks long enough for me to actually do it.

After the run we had some breakfast then me and fellow runner Erica headed off to meet up with Carolina from Peas in a Blog, who invited me to a donation-only yoga class being offered on Rollins campus by the Rollins Yoga Club. They were raising money for Water Project, a non-profit organization that builds wells and provides clean water to under-privileged villages. Full Circle Yoga instructor Rob Hefele led the outdoor class.

I loved yoga on the grass. It was perfect with Earth Day being tomorrow.

Nature's Yoga Studio

Yoga outdoors

Rob moved us through a series of positions and moves that kept my muscles guessing and stretching. The flow was faster than I’m generally used to, but loved it! And every time we would love over our shoulder to the “back of the class” this is what we saw:

Rollins Campus

Beautiful!

Technically, for the first half of the class we saw the Rollins lacrosse team pulling weights and doing sprints and such, but they eventually cleared the field for a more peaceful experience.

Note to self – when doing yoga outside please remember the following:

  • A towel to lay yoga mat on so that it doesn’t get too wet if the grass is dewy.
  • Don’t take shoes off until you are stepped fully on the mat. Otherwise you will have to wipe your feet off with your dirty socks because you forgot a towel too.

After winning a spa raffle (what??? I never win anything) and a jaunt down Park Ave. back to our cars, I was ready for a shower. Freshly clean and belly full, I’ve spent the last several hours icing and compressing my poor leg.

On my next run, I’m going to run with my new NB Minimus shoes. What if all of this is just a sign that I should’ve already done the switch, rather than waiting until after Flying Pig Marathon? Eek!

In Sue’s words, “Won’t you feel stupid if you went through all this pain and you just needed new shoes?” Why yes, Sue, yes I would. Let’s hope that’s the problem and I’m back to running strong in no time. 🙂

Do you have any special plans for Earth Day tomorrow?

It crept up on me again this year and it’s going to be rainy all day. I’m blank on ideas.

A Strong Fourteen Miles

1 Apr

Earlier today I posted my April Fool’s blog for the day, announcing that I was going to quit running. If you read down to the bottom, you caught that I would denounce this decision by Tuesday morning, when my next run is scheduled. Hee hee.

And while the reasons were quite honest (I really do hate waking up early and I miss sleeping in on Saturday mornings), I do believe that the benefits of running far outweigh these cons. Besides, running keeps me from going cray cray. 🙂

Since yesterday’s long training run was to be 10 to 14 miles, I set out for our run at 6 AM with the intent to run 10 miles. This is what happens when you give me a range… I mentally commit to the lowest mileage.

However, the stars were aligned yesterday and I felt so good that I ran just over 14 miles. Aside from the bug that stalked me for two blocks, I thoroughly enjoyed the run. Maybe it was my new favorite yummy running snack, the Vanilla Organic Stinger Waffle, that put a pep in my step. Or maybe it was the Mexican food I had for dinner the night before. Whatever it was, it worked!

Around mile 13 I convinced my wonderful Marathonfest group leaders to pose for this pic with me. I’m pretty sure they were welcoming the sit down break. 🙂

My group leaders, Emily and Sue, and I cheesin' at 13 miles

It really was the perfect day for a run! And with the Flying Pig Marathon only five weeks away, it was good to have a positive run!

Afterwards, one of my group mates and I doubled back to Panera. We wanted coffee badly.

Here were my run stats:

  • Distance: 14.29 miles
  • Time: 03:18:01
  • Avg Pace: 13:51/mile
Afterwards I headed home to begin a weekend of much needed rest.
Did you get your sweat on outside this weekend? 


I Ran 18 Miles and Didn’t Want to Die!

20 Mar

Yes, it’s true. Almost every time I’ve set out to run anything over 16 miles, the run usually ends with me feeling like I’m going to die. Or at least feel like I’m going to pass out in the middle of the street.

Except for this past Saturday. This time, the stars were aligned and everything felt okay. Well except for the horrible blister I got on my right foot from wearing a cute pair of flats earlier in the week, but that’s not running related. And I may never, ever wear those shoes again. 🙂

We were starting our run at 4:30 AM, so I woke up at 3:15 AM and did some foam rolling and ate my favorite pre-long run breakfast: a toasted wheat bagel with peanut butter and banana slices. It was nice waking up with so much time, so I wasn’t rushing around the house like a mad woman. Well, except for the part when I remembered I needed to find some green earrings so I didn’t get pinched during our St Patty’s Day long run.

I met part of our group at 4:30 and off we went for a 10-mile jaunt. We would circle back around and pick up the rest of the group for the final 8 miles. This time I remembered to start my run with my IT band. And my borrowed Garmin.

This was the first long run where we had so many runners joining on the back half. I loved it. They were fresh and still had pep in their step, which kept me motivated. If you’re running with someone and they are only running a portion of your distance, I suggest you try meeting them for the back half of your run!

Along the back half, we came across some poor little kids and a dog that had been turned into statues by an evil witch. I had to stop and take a photo with them!

My group leader insists that these are merely replicas of the house owner’s niece and nephew, but I don’t know if I believe that. Poor kids.

Oh, and only in Florida (and some parts of Georgia) do you find energy sources decked out in camo:

Ha!

However, when my wonderful, but slightly evil group leaders tossed in some slight inclines (or “hills” as I say) in the last 3 miles of the run, I may or may not have started to say expletives. I’m sure that they would point out that the Flying Pig Marathon has hills and they were only doing me a favor by exposing me to them in our training run to which I’m sure I would respond with an eye roll too and  a “Pfshh.” Nevertheless I do appreciate it now that it’s over and done with.

We restarted our watches after the first part of the run, so my stats are broken into parts. We are not the kind of runners that stop our watches each time one of us has to use the restroom, or wait to cross an intersection, so our paces are slightly faster then what’s reflected below. And by ‘slightly’ I mean hardly at all. 😉

Part 1

  • Distance: 10.33 miles
  • Time: 02:22:47
  • Avg Pace: 13:49/mile

Part 2

  • Distance: 8.38 miles
  • Time: 01:57:50
  • Avg Pace: 14:03/mile

TOTAL DISTANCE: 18.71 miles <– Wait! I was tricked into running more than 18?

After our run we celebrated with breakfast at Panera Bread. Rachelle brought this little piece of motivation to remind us what we’re working for:

Me posing with our Flying Pig Marathon motivation

Only one more long training run scheduled before race day!

Do you keep any items in plain view to motivate you? Generally I usually just hang my training schedule, but I think I want to find a little pig to put on my desk.

I Was Bad This Weekend

12 Mar

This past Saturday I missed my long training run (10 miles). I simply woke up, felt that my back was achy, and decided that this was a good enough reason to go back to sleep and do what most normal people do on Saturday mornings: sleep in, roll out of bed and drink coffee in my PJs with disheveled hair.

So I did just that. I slept. And when I finally did wake up, I didn’t jump out of bed with the startle of one of my many alarms. Instead, I took my time with arising from my slumber. No alarm, just the aroma of coffee to awake me.

Unfortunately, I did not send the obligatory “I’m not gonna show” up text that I should’ve sent my group. For that, I feel badly. I wish I was the lying type. I would tell them later that not only was my back cramped, but so were my poor fingers and I couldn’t type out a text. Or perhaps I would play the “Oh, you didn’t get my text?” card…

Training-wise I did feel a little guilty for skipping my run at first. I even made plans to run an “atonement run” (my group leader’s name for a make-up run) on Sunday morning. However, when I woke up Sunday morning and saw I had the obligatory “I’m not gonna show” text from a running partner and it was raining… well, heck, I thought “this is my lucky day.”

So instead of a make-up run, I laid in bed listening to the rain as it fell for what seemed like forever. And then afterwards I got out of bed and drank coffee in my PJs with disheveled hair for the second day in a row.

So, to all you crazy runners that dragged yourselves out of bed in the wee hours of a Saturday morning to run before you started your weekend, I salute you.

As for me, I enjoyed my weekend of being bad.

Do you run weekend mornings? If so, what do you miss most about sleeping in?

Fail Run

4 Mar

Yesterday’s long run was scheduled to be 18 miles.

In the end it was 14 or so miles.

I can’t confirm the exact distance or time because my run started with realizing that I hadn’t charged my borrowed Garmin. My run ended with an irritated IT band because I forgot to wear my IT strap. Quite frankly, it would’ve ended sooner, but I forgot my iPhone.

There’s a lot of forgetting when you wake up late and don’t allow yourself enough time to properly think in the morning. I need to start going to bed earlier.

Afterwards, Donnie and I went to the beach where I soaked my left leg in ice cold water. Hands down, that was my favorite “ice bath” to date.

Twelve and Long

26 Feb

Yesterday’s training run for the Flying Pig Marathon was supposed to be an 18-miler. However, one of my running mates had prior engagements so we swapped out our long run this week for next week and only did 12 miles this week. I was totally onboard with this decision since I’m still feeling a little wiped out from last week’s double hill run.

I met my group at 5:30 am for a quick two miles, before we swung back around to get the rest of the ladies for 10 more miles. I thought I started my watch for the first two, but I didn’t (one of the hazards of running before coffee) so I only have stats for the final 10 miles. Here they are:

  • Distance: 10 miles
  • Time: 02:11:14
  • Avg Pace: 13:07/mile

Afterwards I came home, did my slacker minimalist strength training and then Donnie and I headed out to enjoy a delicious breakfast from Brian’s Restuarant in Ivanhoe Village. I had my usual one egg, bacon and cheese sandwich on an everything bagel:

It was delicious, as always.

Only ten weeks until the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati, OH!

Do you have any recommendations on where to visit while in Cinci? 

Whose Idea Was This?

19 Feb

Me, at the top of a Clermont hill.

That’s mainly what I was asking myself at the top of the hill in this photo.

You see, our training schedule for the Flying Pig Marathon called for a 10-mile long run yesterday on hills, which our group ran in semi-hilly Apopka. But then someone suggested we also run seven or so miles in much more hillier Clermont this morning. I’m not sure whose idea this was, but I know it wasn’t mine and I think it was a horrible idea.

Our Apopka hill run yesterday morning ended up being just under nine miles, which was fine by me. It was a muggy morning and I spent most of it thinking about coffee and breakfast.

Our group has started to name our runs. One of our group leaders, Sue, is particularly talented at this and I think she hit it right on the nail when she dubbed our run The Apopka Run featuring Ganja. This was prompted from an impromptu turn down a new street at the end of our run, which resulted in us catching a whiff of some pot being smoked in the wee hours of the morning. This likely did not help my munchies.

Here are stats from the run:

  • Distance: 8.74 miles
  • Time: 1:51:55
  • Avg Pace: 12:48/mile
  • 5:1 intervals

Fast forward to this morning. I had contemplated skipping the Clermont hill run, mainly because I thought it was ludicrous to run two days of hills in a row. However, after last week’s Fail Hill run, I wanted a second chance at it. So, I begrudgingly dragged myself out of bed this morning, threw on some running clothes and drove out to Clermont. Let’s just say that my disposition this morning was not quite as sunny as yesterday’s.

I have no official stats to share because I forgot my watch. But I can tell you this:

  • Distance: somewhere over 7 miles
  • Time: forever
  • Avg Pace: snail-like
  • 5:1 intervals plus extra walk breaks thrown in for good measure (and survival)

Clermont apparently did not get the memo that Florida does not have hills. And to my dismay, the Clermont hills were brutal. At least it gave us a nice change of scenery and I got to get some fun pics along the way:

Going downhill

BP water break

My view when I turned around going uphill

Had to get a pic of the lake

Because every front yard should have a lion statue

I'm not scurred

I skipped breakfast at Cracker Barrel after our run, opting for a Starbucks breakfast on the rode and a long shower instead. And then I napped, which I rarely do mid-day. It’s been hours and I’m still wiped out.

What’s your favorite (or least favorite) hill run?