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Chicago Marathon Training | Week 18

8 Oct

To tell you that life has been busy lately would be quite the understatement. Sometimes I find myself standing there in a daze, trying to remember what’s next in my long days. Thankfully I have a handy iPhone to remind me of my next steps. If only my iPhone could get me some sleep and some much wanted time with my lady friends!

On the bright side, tapering means I’ve been able to sleep in an extra 30 minutes or so on run days … and running less mileage means I’m not as tired afterwards. I’ve even noticed my coffee intake reduce … slightly.

It helps to remind myself to take everything one day at a time. If you happen to see me out in public talking to myself, here’s what I’m likely saying:

You can do this. Just take it one day at a time. One. Day. At. A time.

Marathon day you’ll find me talking to myself saying something very similar:

You can do this. Just take it one mile at a time. One. Mile. At. A time.

With that, here’s how week 18’s taper went:

Tuesday / Track Easy Run (3 mi)

I could not get up for track. I just couldn’t. I tried. On only a few hours of sleep, I dragged myself out of bed and brushed my teeth. Then after some delirious consideration, I texted my running mate and told her I was going back to bed. Those were the best extra two hours of sleep ever. Then I woke up in a panic … surely if I don’t keep up my training schedule something awful will happen. Pains will appear out of nowhere or my muscles will freeze up or my leg will just plain fall off! So I threw on my running clothes and went for an easy run around my ‘hood.

I’m happy to report that aside from just feeling really tired, my legs were fine. Nothing locked up. Nothing fell off. 😉

  • Distance: 3.22 mi
  • Time: 39:45.64
  • Avg Pace: 12:20/mi

I can’t help but notice that I’m getting slower by the day.

Thursday / Pace Run (6 mi)

I have class Monday and Wednesday nights after work and our group meets Wednesday nights after class. Basically, I didn’t get home from my day until almost midnight. I didn’t fall asleep until almost 1 AM. But because I had cancelled Tuesday, I couldn’t bring myself to do it again. So I dragged myself out of bed with only three hours of sleep with the promise that if we ran fast, I would have time to come home and sleep again.

I love making that promise to myself because I know it’s never true. When I get home I almost always opt to have a really nice long stretching session. That’s alright. Lying to myself seems to work.

  • Distance: 5.36 mi*
  • Time: 01:00:49*
  • Avg Pace: 11:20/mi*

* So… I kinda did it again. I forgot to stop my Garmin and drove a quarter mile down the street before I remembered to hit stop. I think we ran just over 5 miles and our average pace was closer to 12:20/mi.

Saturday Sunday / Long Run (9 mi.)

There was no way I could make it to Saturday’s morning run, so my Chicago Marathon training partner, Beth, and I decided to run on Sunday instead.

We switched things up and decided to run around downtown Orlando (usually we run in Winter Park). It was fun to run my old running routes. I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed running by Lake Eola and seeing the fountain, which Beth compared to a giant bidet. I will always now imagine a giant stopping his destruction of downtown Orlando to wash his bottom.

After hitting up Lake Eola, we headed towards Lake Highland Prep and hopped on the Orlando Urban Trail for a couple of miles. It’s been ages since I first ran the trail, so it was nice to run it again.

Before we knew it, our run was over and I was off to shower and start a crazy busy day.

I didn’t have my Garmin on me and I’m too lazy to text my friend and ask her how long it took us to run.

This week will be my final (19th) week of training. This morning I ran a hot, sticky three miles with Beth and Thursday we’ll do the same. And then before we know it, we’ll be standing at the start line of the Chicago Marathon.

What a crazy ride this has been. I can’t believe I’ve survived the summer marathon training without self-combusting. I really, really, really hope that our race day weather gives us some relief from hot and muggy.

Here’s the current forecast:

Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 8.19.44 AMHere’s to hoping the rain holds off too!

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Race Recap: Orlando Half Marathon 2012

7 Dec

After running last year’s Orlando Half Marathon with a good friend and seeing what a great race it would be to get a PR, I was determined to try and do so this year. But then life happened and I ended up having to train for a half marathon in one month. My goal quickly morphed from ‘get a PR’ to ‘just finish and around 2:30 would be nice.’ Last Saturday morning, I set out to do just that.

My morning started off with a mad dash to the red pagoda by Lake Eola. What did I tell you? I’m either a hot mess on race mornings, or calm and zen. On this morning I started off calm and became a hot mess when I realized I was leaving my house late. I had zero cash on me, so I knew I was going to have to find a free parking spot on the street.

Luckily, I found a spot where me and D used to park for Magic games. As I pulled up to one of the last available spots on the street a fellow runner directed me to park as close to his car as possible, leaving space for one more car behind me. Ah… runners… always helping each other out.

When I stepped out of my car, he asked me if I was ready. This man was a complete stranger and I’ve never talked to him in my life before. But I knew exactly what this fellow runner was asking: Was I ready to do a warm-up run to the start line? I nodded and took off behind him. I had a red pagoda to reach soon or feared losing my ladies that were patiently waiting for me.

I arrived at the pagoda to find my friends smirking.

Oh! Look who’s here!

I never imagined you would be late.

Hemarie? No, she’s never late.

Clearly, their sarcasm reinstated my reputation for running on Puerto Rican time. 🙂

As we walked to the start of the race, my friends asked me if I was cold because  I was wearing my favorite Lululemon No Limits Tank. It was around 60 degrees. I laughed and pointed out that I was hot already… I had just run. I heat up pretty easily and rarely ever wear long sleeves to a race. The closest I came was at the Disney Marathon when I had to wear arm warmers at the start (and later removed).

Here was the view as we made our way to the start:

Walking to the start.

Walking to the start.

We had a few minutes before the race started so I snapped this photo of the ladies:

The ladies: Beth, Emily, me and Kim

The ladies: Beth, Emily, me and Kim

Emily (second from left in photo) just ran the Space Coast Marathon Thanksgiving weekend. To her, this was just a shakeout run. 🙂

Beth and I both knew we weren’t going to PR, but wanted to push our pace with this race. When I heard Em mention our fast past in the first mile, I figured the inevitable would happen… we were going to split up. Shortly after, I was thrilled to see Beth keep her pace with me when the others dropped back.

It was a gorgeous morning to take a 13.1 mile run:

orlando_half_2012_running

We started running at an 11:27/mile pace, and slowly settled into an 11:00/mile pace. We ran 5 and 1’s (run 5 minutes, walk one minute, repeat) and felt great. We settled into our conversations about life and the miles seemed to pass us by.

The Orlando Half Marathon course tends to change almost every year, and I noticed that this year’s course was very different from last year’s. I couldn’t help but think that some of these roads weren’t exactly the nicest roads to showcase Orlando for any out-of-town runners.

When we hit mile 8 of our run, I saw that we were running in pace to come close to my PR of 2:27. We did a mini celebration, knowing we were only 5 miles short of finishing.

orlando_half_marathon_mile_8

Along the way we saw familiar faces both on the course and off. I made sure to smack our former running group member, Sammie, in the tush every time we snuck up on her. I made sure to duck afterwards in case she turned around swinging. 🙂

Somewhere in the middle of mile 10 I started to feel drained of energy and stopped talking. Beth must’ve felt similar because she stopped talking as well and suddenly we were running in silence. Our pace started to creep up between 11:30 and 11:47 in our intervals and I forced myself to eat my vanilla stinger waffle. It almost made me gag. It’s funny how being tired can turn the tastiest of treats to a turd.

Speaking of which, these port-o-potties made me laugh:

orlando_half_potties

Think D and I can get some of these for our wedding? 😉

Around mile 12, I started to feel a pull in my left IT band. Since I didn’t run longer than 9 miles in my one month training program, I forgot that this happens. Damn you IT band! I started to focus on picking up my feet.

As we hit the final mile, we started to pick up our pace again and dropped back down to an average of 11:00/mile. I broke our silence:

Me: Only one more mile to go. We can do this, right?

Beth: Yes! We can do this.

Yes, there was doubt in there. And while Beth replied optimistically, she later admitted that she too was dying inside.

The end of the course had us rounding the corner of Lake Eola and finishing with a straight shot. I told Beth I wanted to take a quick 30-second unsanctioned walk break to the corner so we could run out the rest of the race. I got no objection from her.

As we rounded the corner and picked up to a run again, we saw the finish line in sight. I waited patiently for that point where I knew I could sprint out the rest of the race without dying and tried to focus on my breathing. It is often at this point of the race that I start to pray that I don’t pass out right there in front of the finish line. Because that would be really embarrassing. I certainly don’t want a YouTube video of me going viral.

I also must’ve been super delirious, because this picture at the end captures me smiling:

orlando_half_2012_finish

I was happy to catch a glimpse of my love just before I crossed the finish line. It helped me get those last couple of steps in.

And just like that (or two hours and thirty-six minutes later) I finished my fifth half marathon. It wasn’t my best time, but it wasn’t my worst either. I’ll take it!

Race stats:

  • Distance: 13.1 miles
  • Time: 2:36
  • Avg Pace: 11:47/mi

PROS:

  • Local half marathon
  • Get to sleep in my own bed the night before
  • Easy for your friends and family to come cheer you on
  • Easy, flat course
  • Nice, long-sleeved tech shirts
  • Track Shack always puts on a good race

CONS:

  • With all the road closures, your spectators have to get around by foot or bicycle
  • There are stretches of shared roads with vehicles
  • The middle of the course is not the most scenic of routes

After the race I headed to get my post-race refreshments:

Not pictures: chocolate milk

Not pictures: chocolate milk

And as always, it was nice having my number one supporter waiting for me at the end. I can’t wait for this man to become my husband:

The future Mr. and Mrs.

The future Mr. and Mrs.

I will definitely run this local half again in the future!

Did you run this year’s Orlando Half? How was it?

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?

Comfort Zone

27 Apr

If you know me well, you may be surprised by the following statement: meeting new people is terrifying to me.

I’ve been this way since I was a wee little one. I can’t really explain why it makes me so anxious, but I can explain why I force myself through the process anyways: because I love people. I love learning from people and I love laughing with people and if I didn’t bypass this little fear of mine I would never get the joys of meeting some pretty amazing people.

Now this would be shocking to friends and family because they never see this fear. What they do see is a loud, chatty girl always telling stories and laughing with the group. I would credit this to my ten years of hospitality work. Every day I had to go to work and force myself to walk up to a table with a big smile on my face and talk to strangers. And when I moved into tending bar, I had to work on the art of small talk, as well as entertaining large groups. While talking to complete strangers did get easier through the years, my jitters are still there. And I still have to overcome them.

While stepping out of my comfort zone is almost never easy, it’s always worth it in the end.

I almost quit Marathonfest ten times before I even started for fear of meeting my running group. Now those women (and our one token guy) are such a great support system and I spend countless hours laughing with them every week. I’m even traveling to Cincinnati with some of them next week for my second marathon, Flying Pig Marathon.

I was scared to death of trying yoga for the first time, until Carolina from Peas in a Blog let me tag along with her to a class. Now I’ve got a new addiction.

And most recently (last night to be exact) I walked into a room full of strangers, (well… some of which I know only through their blogs that I follow) and I met a group of lady bloggers here in the Orlando area. Now, I’m not as brave as I appear… I dragged my BFF Rox there with me so she could  protect me can pick the brains of seasoned bloggers, which I’m happy to say she was able to do so (on both counts). I got to meet some lovely ladies, learn some new things and laugh a lot.

I look forward to the next meet-up. Thanks to the ladies for being so nice to the noobs!

So the moral of this bloggy blog: if I never stepped outside of my comfort zone, I would miss out on so many opportunities. I will continue to tuck my clammy hands into my pockets, put a smile on my face and start simple with “Hi, I’m Hemarie…”

When was the last time you stepped outside of your comfort zone?

A Foggy Tuesday

28 Feb

20120228-140827.jpgThis morning I decided to run solo around my end of town. We run so much in Winter Park that I tend to forget how nice it is to run in my own ‘hood. Plus, this would let me sleep in a couple of hours because I was running on my own schedule.

I dragged myself out of bed around 6:25 and was out the door twenty minutes later. As soon as I stepped outside I noticed the fog. It engulfed everything around me. It blurred the end of the street, so that looked like I was running to no where. Let’s say that this morning’s four-mile run featured fog.

I love running through a sleepy city, especially when fog is hugging its buildings and trees. The world was extra quiet this morning and I was very aware of my breathing and the sound of my every step hitting the pavement. When I got to Lake Eola, I stopped to take in the view. The setting of the lake and fountain with the buildings in the background blurred by the fog looked like one of those pictures where the edges are blurred, the birds disappearing into the mist. It was beautiful.

I ran home feeling ready to take on my day.

I don’t have my borrowed Garmin near me, so I’ll update this post with the real stats later.

Here’s my best guess:

  • Distance: 4 miles
  • Time: 46 minutes
  • Avg Pace: 11:30/mile

What workout has left you in awe of your city?

A 10-Mile Run and a Boat Tour Kinda Day

23 Jan

Saturday marked the official start of Marathonfest Spring Training. It only being two weeks since my marathon, I was unsure of how Saturday’s 10-miler would go. Lucky for me it was a great run:

  • Body parts felt good: check
  • Easy breathing: check
  • Maintained pace: check
  • Completed 10 miles: umm… does almost count?

Technically we ran 9.86 miles or something like that. However, I didn’t feel like running up and down the street just to hit that 10-mile mark (though I have done this plenty in the past) so I counted it as a run complete and called it a day. Don’t ask me how long it took because I didn’t charge my Garmin so I ran with a naked wrist. Hmm… I wonder if that’s why the 10 miles went so quickly…

Afterwards I skipped our group’s usual breakfast outing to rush home and shower and prep for the day. D and I had talked about taking a day trip and I had to get home to get ready.

In the end we dilly-dallied until noonish, making it too late to head to St. Augustine or St. Pete, so instead we decided to do some sight-seeing in our own town.

Since my Saturday runs having us winding through the streets of Winter Park, I’ve noticed canals that I never knew existed. My running group seemed surprised to find out I’d never taken the Scenic Boat Tour in Winter Park and suggested I go on it. Since Saturday was a gorgeous day, this is exactly what we decided to do.

The dock for the tour is only a couple of blocks from Park Avenue. Tickets were $12 per adult and the tour was approximately one hour. The boat captain also doubles up as your tour guide, serving up cheesy jokes and a plethora of Winter Park history bits for your enjoyment. On several occasions we commented on how we felt like we were on the Jungle Cruise Disney ride.

When we got on our half-filled boat, we were surprised to find that no one had taken the front seats. I can see how the front seats would be bad during muggy or hot weather because of the bugs, but with weather like Saturday’s I jumped on the chance to sit up front. Because of our front-row seats we got lots of great pics and video.

My favorite part of the tour were the canals. I’ve only first noticed the canals this past year during our long runs, and riding through them made me feel like we were somewhere else in the world.

I took two videos in the canals. If you listen closely you can hear our tour guide.

Afterwards we walked over to Park Avenue and tried out a new restaurant that I’ve been wanting to try: Prato.

It was around 3:30 pm when we stopped in. Their kitchen closes down from three to five, so you can only order pizza between lunch and dinner. That’s okay, we had the most delicious pizza: the Widow Maker.

Last year after reading about adding an egg to my frozen pizza on a blog, I decided to try it for myself (I blogged about it here) and have been enjoying it ever since. Well, this pizza kicked my frozen pizza’s butt! With toscano, fennel sausage, kale, farm egg, romesco and a perfect crust, I would have to say this is the best pizza I’ve had in a while. I also discovered my new favorite stout: Southern Tier Mokah. The stout has an amazing chocolate aroma, and the mocha taste is amazingly smooth. If you love stouts and mocha, I suggest strongly suggest this!

Next week is a 12-mile run. I sure do hope it’s as fun.

Do you have any suggestions on hidden gems to visit in Central Florida? 

What are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

30 Dec

I’m starting my New Year’s Eve with one last longer run before my first marathon! Let’s hope that this 10-miler won’t be as frustrating as the last 8-miler and the 10-miler before that. Why, oh why is it the shorter long runs are getting to be so much harder than the really long ones?

Afterwards I need to get my nap on because we are joining friends in ringing in the New Year at the Enzian’s James Bond New Year’s Eve Party tomorrow night. I’ve been scouring the internet this afternoon looking for ways to ‘Bond Girl’ my outfit. You better believe I’ll be sporting some Bond Girl eye liner and red lips!

2011… I hate to see you leave, but I love to watch you walk away! 2012 welcomes me to my very first full marathon.

What are you doing for New Year’s Eve?