Monday, March 31, 2014

The Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon: Travel Details

Well, here we are at the end of March. We have less than 4 weeks to go until my goal race for this Spring racing season, the Owens Corning Half Marathon, part of the Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon.
Now that we are drawing nearer to the actual big event, I think it might be beneficial to anyone who is attending to learn a little about where to go, where to stay, the course itself, where to park. I know that sort of thing is helpful to me when I am traveling to a race, even if it is in my hometown (Toledo) or where I currently live (Cincinnati).

The host hotel for the race is the Ramada Inn and Conference Center, which is on Secor Rd (and fairly close to the University, where the start and finish are located!). They are offering rooms to marathon participants (and their families) for $82/night. This rate is only available until April 4, so if you are planning on booking one, you only have a few days left!

As far as the expo and parking are concerned, the easiest way to show you is to show a campus map.
Red is parking. Circles are good places to park (I always park up in area 2, myself) and the red "x" is a no parking section - as that is where the the post race celebration will be set up! The green circle is the Glass Bowl, that is where the finish line is located with the pink line right next to it (the start line for all races!). The blue circle is Savage Arena, where the expo and packet pick up will take place.

Now, here is some advice that I need to take myself, since I have now run this race for two straight years, and I have not managed to get it through my head. Leave early. Especially is you are going to park off of Douglas Rd (the east side of campus). Traffic gets pretty backed up there, and there are typically a lot of people parking in that garage there, so if you want time to warm up and stretch before the race, I recommend leaving yourself plenty of time. Or you should check on what time the race actually starts so you are not hanging out in your car until the start (whoops, did that last year).

Navigation around campus is pretty easy, and there is plenty of parking, just be sure to allow yourself enough time!

Any logistics questions? Let me know, and if I don't have the answers, I will get them for you!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Race Recap: 2014 Heart Mini

Ok, now that it seems I have gotten back into the swing of writing, it is time to recap the OTHER race I recently ran. The Heart Mini!
Source

This is my 4th straight year being involved with this race in some capacity, and I feel as though I have come a long way in my running over those 4 years. (Also, a long way in my blogging!)
2013 Race
2012 Race
And the 2011 race was prior to me consistently blogging about running, but you can see a picture of me running in it (in the rain!) here. It is the very first picture.

This year, I had registered for the 15K at the last minute (about 4 days before the race) because of J's work schedule. I had no idea if he would be home to be with Addie or not, and I wasn't sure about me being away the first weekend that he had at home all year long. Regardless, he came back with a positive response when I asked him if I could register, and so I did.

The race was pretty early in the morning, around 7:30 am. I planned on parking at J's garage downtown so I could park for free.

It ended up being MUCH colder than I had originally anticipated when getting dressed, so I was very glad that J's car had a pair of gloves and a hat hanging out in the back seat. Now, they were not running gloves or anything, but I was certainly glad that I had something to cover my hands. I walked in the cold to where Karen said she was when I text her, and she was in line for the restroom. So me, being bad, line jumped so I could go too.

We got outside and lined up at the start with about 3 minutes to spare, as far as we were concerned, perfect timing. I settled myself in, right around the 2 hour half marathon pace team. I was not running the half, but I figured that was a good pace to attempt to hang out.

The race had changed slightly since the prior year (nothing all that noticeable however) and luckily it did not revert back to going up the hill at Torrence (that was AWFUL). My goal for this race was a PR, which I felt capable of, since when I ran last year I was pregnant. (This is also why I selected this distance. I knew I was capable of a PR at it, while with the half, I was not sure that I was ready for that yet, and the 5K, I had just tried my hand at that the prior weekend). I was running watch/app free, so I had no idea how I was doing while running. I know that the first few miles were rough, my body was feeling tight. But by about the 5K mark I was starting to feel pretty good and ready to start pushing the pace a little bit more.

Coming back was difficult because within the last mile there is a decent climb, which you always forget about until you actually are at its beginning. But I was able to keep up my pace, at least it felt like I was as I was not wearing my watch, and come in strong. I finished the race in 1:18:54 which was a 10 minute PR from last year. In addition, I finished in the top 10% of my age group, which allowed me an extra tech shirt (I was excited about that as it was the first time I ever got one!)

Overall, another successful heart mini, and I am looking forward to next year!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Running, It is a Choice

I am making an effort this week to hit my running schedule. I am not sure where everything is going to shake out yet, as it is only Wednesday, but Monday I went to the gym for my regularly scheduled workout. Monday is always a track workout day, and since I am working out at lunch lately, rather than in the morning, I usually do a track workout on the treadmill. The additional plus to that is that I can control the speed exactly to ensure that I am hitting my goals!

I had 300m repeats with a 100m recovery (at 7:05/mile pace) on tap. With a warm up and cool down, I ran for 5 total miles in 44:15, which averaged out to be 8:51/mile. Obviously, I never (not the entire 5 miles!) ran at that pace, but that was where things ended up, and I left the gym feeling pretty accomplished about it.

I am hoping that today's workout (which I am swapping a tempo run for the maintenance run that was originally prescribed) goes similarly well. I am swapping the workouts because it is still rather cold today, so I am planning on hitting the treadmill. Tomorrow, it will be warmer, so I plan to run maintenance miles outdoors.

The tempo that was on the calendar was a warm up with 5:00 at 8:28 and a 1:00 recovery. After 4 rounds of that, I was to cool down.
These days, just getting ready to workout is half the battle, so once I had my shoes on, I was halfway there!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Life Catch Up

With the recent "complete lack of blogging" that has been going on around here, I have decided to do a little update in the life department. So here is a rundown of all that is happening in the life of Emily, since we last caught up with her.

House
So our house sold at the end of February with a closing date scheduled for April 18. We have gone through inspection, had some repairs done (with a few more to come) and are packing things up. Our dining room is currently full of boxes and pictures are starting to come off the walls (slowly, but things are happening!)
The day we finalized the offer on our house, getting the price that we wanted/J had hoped for, we put in an offer on our top house contender. Admittedly, I went back and forth about a million times on whether or not I was ok with this house. Reasons for that?

  1. It was priced at the top of a budget
  2. J was not overly thrilled with the basement layout, and this was something important to him all along.
  3. It will be about a 35 minute commute for Addie and I on a daily basis - current commute: 6 minutes.
  4. The school district is not so great, so Addie will be sent to private school.
So yes, that seems like a lot of things to be hesitant about, however, we were CONTINUOUSLY thinking about this house and planning it out ever since we went out to see it for the first time. Overall, it is the best home that we saw and the perfect home for us. It has everything that we could have asked for, and I am so excited to be moving into it. In addition, it is on a golf course, so we can check one of J's bucket list items (live on a golf course) off the list. And the private school things isn't too bad, after all, it will be cheaper than daycare!

Addie
Someone is now more than 7 months old! Not sure HOW that happened. She has two teeth (the bottom middle) and uses them to let me know when she is done nursing - yeah, might be time to keep going forward with weaning! She can sit up and get onto all 4s, although she isn't crawling yet. She can hold onto something and stand, but doesn't pull herself up there yet. We are getting there though.

She is completely mobile despite not crawling yet. She scoots around pretty well, and rolls everywhere! The dogs pay more attention to her now, and she loves them right back. She likes to see Zeus especially, I think she thinks he is funny.

She certainly is a pretty baby, and I love her even though she is exhausting!

Running
This aspect of my life has sucked. I have really been lacking the long runs pretty much all winter long with J working on Saturdays. And my work life has been crazy, so escaping for a lunch is definitely limited sometimes to... not at all. I am really hoping that life calms down again soon and I am able to return to running. I am not sure yet if I will meet my goal at the Glass City Marathon, but I am still going to try!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Bockfest 5K Race Recap

Ok, this post is LONG overdue. I have been writing it since March 10, and it has just been sitting here in edit mode for that long, unfinished. So this race was on March 8. Just keep that in mind as you are reading.

I raced for the first time this year over the weekend. J and I started our journey to becoming Brew Hogs for the second year in a row, and I learned a few things.
The beer series sponsored by Christian Moerlein started this weekend. J and I ran this last year as well, and it is pretty much the only group of races that I can get the man to run with me. And they are super fun, so I am glad that we are doing them again.

The opening race of the beer series is the Bockfest 5k, always held Bockfest weekend.
So what exactly is Bockfest? Basically, it is a big beer festival to celebrate the beginning of Spring, held here the first full weekend in March (full weekend includes Friday). But if you are really interested in the History, you can check out Cincinnati's (Zinzinnati?) page dedicated to this history here.

So why not celebrate such an event with a race through the brewery district and beverages at the end to celebrate? This year, it's second, the Bockfest 5K was a sold out event!

The race starts and ends at Bockfest Hall, which is adjacent to the home of the Christian Moerlein Brewing Company, and it also houses the Cincinnati Brewery Tours (which I have not done previously, but really want to!) I arrived downtown at approximately 9:20 for the 10 am start. I parked at one of the suggested locales (Washington Park). There was a shuttle from there to the start, but having run a few other races from Bockfest Hall, I felt confident that it was not that far away and that I could get there and get a nice little warm up run done in the process.

With a few zig zags, I got where I was going and was happy about it. I did not head directly to the hall, as I wanted to get something of a warm up completed, so I did approximately 1/2 mile and arrived to the starting location with some time to spare.

I found some friends of mine who were also running this race, and we hung out and chatted a bit, including getting our IDs checked and wristbands for the beverages after the race, until it was time to wander over to the actual starting line. Randy and Andrew set themselves up toward the front, and I wandered back a little bit, not sure what kind of 5K shape I was actually in. I hadn't raced a 5K since I was unknowingly 4 weeks pregnant on Thanksgiving Day 2012 - I actually PR'd that day and ran so hard I almost puked at the finish!

I was planning on using this race as a gauge of my fitness. I was not sure how fast I could run, and this winter my training has taken a hit because of the baby/J working all the time.

Following a few announcements about the race (including the fact that it was completely sold out!), we were off. I hadn't looked at the map prior to the race, but I assumed that it was the same course as the prior year. It started off the same with us heading up Liberty Hill. Following the climb, we came back down a little and ran past the Horseshoe Casino and we were quickly through the first mile.

The second mile had a few hills, but none that you would necessarily think about as we weaved up and down the streets of downtown. In this mile, I past Randy. That was actually right around the OTR Bar, the Senate, that I keep meaning to check out. I was surprised to be passing Randy as he usually is much faster than I am. But no time to worry and I breezed through the 2 mile sign. 

At this point I worked really hard to kick it up a notch and really bring home the last 3.1. The strava app mapped the race at 3.2 and I finished in 23:14. 
Mile 1: 7:35
Mile 2: 7:24
Mile 3: 7:09
Final 0.2: 6:52

Not that far off my 5K PR! And that was earned on a very flat course. So I am super pleased!

Have you ever run FAR better than your expectations?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Yikes. Long time.

Honestly, I have been doing a really awful job keeping up with this blog. Work has been obscenely busy right now. I haven't been able to actually sit down and focus on writing. I miss writing right now so much, but I suppose my "real" job probably needs to come before my fun job. But I think things are starting to clear up finally.

With things getting more relaxed, I have high hopes to get things turned around. I want to get much more consistent in my writing as well as with my running (which has definitely also been suffering big time!)

But in the meantime, here is a little 7 month old girl with two teeth (and two more on the way in!)
How gorgeous is that baby? She's still my Baby Addie even though she is getting to be such a big girl. I still can't believe that she's my gal.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

February Look Back

Well, February was a rough month for me when it came to making progress in my goals.
I pretty much checked NOTHING off this list in Febraury.
I ran ONLY 57 miles (ugh).
I did not finish (or read a single page of!) the book I was in the middle of.
I did not make any new recipes.
We did not have a date night.

The only thing that I would say I made some progress on was weaning. Addie is eating cereal and fruits/veggies daily, and I have cut out one pumping session at work. So now I only pump twice per day instead of my previous 3 times.

So, Annual Progress:
Running: 146.11/1200
New Recipes: 1/12
Books: 1/15
Date night: 1/12
Blogging: 2/4

I guess I will just have to pick it up in the coming months!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Weekly Workouts: Week of February 24

Somehow it is already March. That is hard to believe. This year is flying by! And here I am, plugging ahead, trying to get everything done with my training for the Owens Corning Half Marathon, which seems to be coming up quickly!
I was given a rough reminder when watching the weekend news and they had all kinds of Flying Pig Marathon folks on to talk about the race since it was only 8 weeks away. The Pig is in 8 weeks (less than that now)??? That means MY goal race is even closer than that! Less than 7 weeks! That is enough to stress me out a little!

I set a goal to run 4 times last week. I wrote it down in my new Erin Condren planner. (PS, this planner is amazeballs. I freaking LOVE it, and yes it is worth the $50 - but I had a coupon.) And I reached that goal. It was not perfect, it was not the complete mileage that runcoach called for, but 4 runs were done as I hoped.
Monday: 6 miles, speedwork
Tuesday: off
Wednesday: 4 miles treadmill
Thursday: off
Friday: 4.25 miles, tempo
Saturday: 7.31 miles long run
Sunday: off

4 total runs. 21.56 total miles.

Over 20 miles! Yahoo! And I started out March feeling good, getting a "long run" done, so that is a great thing. It puts me on my way to getting 100 miles this month, which is my goal. I am going to start there, with this month, since February was just not a good month for running.