Sunday, May 1, 2016

Taper Begins. . .NOW!

This Sunday I ran my 12 miles before taper.  It was incredibly humid, like running though a jungle, but Heather and I got through it just fine.  We even kicked it up a notch in the last mile, mostly because I was so sick of running by then, and I just wanted to be done.

There were plenty of geese on the Towpath, and they were defending their goslings, so they were mean and scary.  I hate when geese hiss at you.  Freaking snakes with wings.

This is EXACTLY how those geese looked.
We saw plenty of turtles sunning themselves on logs in the river:

Look!  It's the Towpath Turtles! (See what I did there?)
I've been feeling a little soreness around the knees lately, so I pulled out the foam roller and HOLY GOD ALMIGHTY did that hurt like the bejesus!  I felt so much better afterward, though. I've got to bring that foam roller back into play more often.

This starts two weeks of tapering for me.  For those of you who don't know what tapering is, basically you cut down on your mileage in order to rest and recover before a race.  Most runners don't handle tapering very well; they feel antsy, and they want to hurt people.  Not me, though.  I'm cool as a cucumber. Really.  I'll be fine.  I will.

Wanna find out if the taper works out for me?  Join me in running (or volunteering) at the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon in two weeks. I'd love to see you there!  I promise I won't bite.  Much.

Until then, run happy, Peeps!

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Short and Sweet

We've got three weeks until the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, Peeps!  How is your training?

I've had a busy, busy weekend, and with two essays in the bag and one to go for grad school (due by Wednesday--gulp!), I'm gonna make this short and sweet.

1.  Friday I taught for a half day and then spent the afternoon as part of the entourage for Becky Higgins, President of the Ohio Education Association.  I took pictures and tweeted and Facebooked all afternoon.  If I were capable of using my thumbs on my phone, they would have been quite sore.  Luckily, I use my index finger for everything.  That's right: one. character. at. a. time.  What?

2.  Saturday was my daughter's confirmation.  It is the first time in a long time that she wore a dress and makeup instead of a Supernatural hoodie and combat boots.  I hardly recognized her.  PLUS, the heavens didn't rain down fire upon us as she received the bishop's blessing.  Maybe she isn't possessed after all.  hmmm.

3.  Sunday was my son's birthday.  He is nine, and he is still a stinker.  We spoiled him rotten, and in return, he spiked a fever.  Now he's home from school.  sigh.

4.  Sunday morning I ran 12 miles with Shelby.  The weather was gorgeous.  My company was fabulous.  What happens on the long run stays on the long run, but I will share this: my last mile was at a 9:03.  I owe it all to this fabulous woman:

Shelby and I took a selfie in Giant Eagle while looking for protein shakes.  We got a few looks. Of envy.
I've got one more long run next Sunday, and then I'm going to attempt to taper.  Hmmm. . .The taper is something I'm not good at, but I intend to run my best at the 8k on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday, so recovery is very important.

Will you join me either by registering to run or to volunteer?  Tell me I'll see you there.

Until then, run happy, Peeps!

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Medina Half Marathon Test Run

Today I ran 10 miles of the Medina Half Marathon course.  The sun was shining; the temps were perfect.  Heather and I had time for a pre-run selfie:

While we are still happy and refreshed.

 We also took a picture with the whole group:

The dark side of the gazebo.  Can you see me?  NOOO???

Heather and I both share the same problem: we go out too fast.  I told her that I am trying to mend my ways, and I'm trying to keep a deliberately slow pace on the long runs. She listened and totally agreed with me. . .and we still ran the first three miles at a 9:30 pace and under.  It's difficult to see a bunch of people pass you and let them go, especially when you know you CAN HANG WITH THESE RUNNERS.  Just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD.

In mile 4, we caught up with a gentleman named Dick who said he'd like to stick with our pace.  As we ran, he told us his story: Dick started running when he was 69 because his wife thought it would be a nice thing to do with their kids and grandkids.  They all raced together for Dick and his wife's fiftieth (!!!!) wedding anniversary, and then she decided she didn't need to run anymore.  Dick isn't finished.  He is 73, and he is going strong! When I grow up, I want to be like Dick.

Heather and Dick post-run stretch at the Square

Dick is a great example of how running can keep you strong physically and mentally.  That man looks so much younger than his years, and he kept right with us the whole time.  Thanks for talking to us today, Dick.  You inspire us.

All in all, this was a great run.  Heather and I had great conversation, and it was easy to run with her.  All long runs should be so easy!

Pretty soon I'll be tapering for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Race Series.  I'm running the 8k on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday.  Will you join me by clicking here to register or volunteer?  I'm looking forward to seeing you!

Until then, run happy, Peeps!

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Monday, April 11, 2016

And the Winner Is. . .

Thanks so much for your comments on the blog and on Twitter this week, Peeps!  I'm so grateful to you for reading my posts each week and following me on my journey, and I'm so grateful to the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon for allowing me to be a Cleveland Marathon Ambassador.  Check further in the post for the winner of this week's giveaway.

After a lot of thought about what happened to me at the race last week, I decided that I was just going to monitor my situation. . . literally.  I poured through pages of data from my heart monitor to find the last time I had a similar episode, and I realized that it was in the middle of a trail run and I was lacking fuel. I think that this time I went out way too fast, and that is what triggered my reaction.  I am going to wear the heart rate monitor for my next race, which is probably going to be the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon 8k.  If all goes well, I'm good to go for the half marathon the next day.

Looking forward to that 13.1!

Today I went running with Mandy.  We did the Covered Bridge Loop in the Valley.  It was soooo cold, but I really enjoyed the run.  Mandy is coming back from shin splints, so we took it nice and easy.  The route has a few hills in the middle miles, and then it is nice and flat.  In the middle of it, we encountered the Mother Runners, who were doing 40k or something crazy like that.

I call this shot "Oh, Mandy." 

Mandy finished after eight miles, and I kept going for two more.  Ten miles really makes it a good day for me.

Tonight my family is taking me out for dinner for my birthday (which is on Tuesday), and they are being extra nice to me.  I figure I can milk this for about a week since we can't actually celebrate on my birthday.  What did my husband get me?  Stay tuned to find out.

Well, here it is, the great reveal.  The winner of one race entry for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon is

Nina D!

Congratulations, Nina!  I will contact you through email, and when you respond I will send you the entry code.

Didn't get lucky this week?  No worry, there is still one more week left in Cleveland Marathon Ambassador Giveaway.  Check here for the list of Ambassadors.  Of course, you still have plenty of time to register for your favorite race, OR you can click here to share in the fun by volunteering.

Join me, Peeps!  I'm looking to have tons of fun!  Until then, run happy, Peeps!

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @itibrout!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Ambassador of the Week!

Next week is my birthday! How old, you ask?  I'm 98.  Thanks for asking.

This is EXACTLY how I look on my birthday.

Just kidding. This is ACTUALLY how I look.  Just not on my birthday.

To celebrate, I want to give YOU something, Peeps.  The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon has made it possible for me to give away an entry for any one race in the series. This means you can choose from the 5k, 8k, 10k, Half Marathon, and Marathon. Pay attention to this next part, Peeps: If you already bought a race entry, I can't reimburse you, and I can't give you an entry into the whole series, just one race. Details for entry are at the bottom of this post.

I originally was going to post some bio info about me, since there may be some new readers this week, but something happened to me, and I want to know if it ever happened to you, too.

Saturday I ran my first race of the year, the Hop for Hope 10k in Peninsula.  I LOVE 10Ks.  The year I ran the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon was freakin' SWEET(Click here to read about it).  I hadn't signed up for any races before Cleveland, yet I've been in real training for the half in May.   This is a first for me as I usually just run a lot, as fast as I can.  Hey, I do yoga and strength training, too.  Ok, I know I'm not smart.  Anyway, I've been putting in more miles and doing concentrated speed work by the book, and I wanted to know if it would pay off.

The weather was perfect for my running today--40-ish but feeling like 30-ish.  I run faster in colder weather.  The race was in my 'hood, so I could get more rest before leaving the house.  I watched my diet and my hydration. . . yadda yadda yadda.  This was supposed to be my race.

This is EXACTLY how I thought I would look in the race.
This is EXACTLY how I looked in the race.

The siren went off, along with some fireworks (!), and I took off like a shot.  It took me about half a mile to calm down to what I thought was a reasonable pace.  Suddenly, in mile 2, I started feeling faint and nauseous, and my vision was blurrier than usual.  My heart was palpitating, and I had trouble breathing.  Now, I wasn't wearing my heart monitor, but the last time this happened to me was during a training run, and later I checked the data and noticed that at that moment my heart rate had shot up to 245 bpm.  WTF.  I knew what I had to do, but I was disappointed.  I had to switch to running for two minutes and walking for one, something I have NEVER done in my life.  I have never resorted to walking during a road race (except occasionally through the water line, but if I'm being serious at the race, I don't stop for the water).

Ok, I'm not a sloth, but you'll notice my time is about the same as the sloth's.

I was able to come back in the last two miles, but at that point my race was over. I had the WORST. FINISH TIME. EVER.  I just don't get it: I did everything I was supposed to do, and yet I had a sucky race.

I have always thought that a "sucky race" meant that I didn't make my goal time.  I've never had this experience where, for no apparent reason, I feel like I can't even finish the race.  Has this ever happened to you?  Did you cut back on training (my husband's stupid suggestion) or did you just keep on keeping on?  I'm curious to know, Peeps.

Well, I'm also curious to know who is going to win this giveaway!  To enter, click the Rafflecopter and follow the instructions.  May the luckiest runner win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't feel like taking your chances in the drawing?  No worries, you can register right here.  Don't want to run, but you want to share the fun and excitement?  Click here to be a volunteer!  We LOVE volunteers--they are the icing on our cake.  Our runner's cake.  Of pain. Ummm. . . That didn't come out the way I intended.  Until you join me in Cleveland, run happy, Peeps!

Like what you read?  Follow me on Twitter @itibrout!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Big Miles!

This week was my Spring Break.  My kids were still in school for most of the week, so I got a lot of alone time.  What did this teacher do during her Spring Break?

This is EXACTLY how I look when I take a grad school class during break.
But wait!  That isn't all I did!  I set a personal weekly mileage record with 36 miles!

On Tuesday I did my intervals (12x 400s + 1 minute recovery).  Wednesday was lifting day, and I did lift weights and do ab work, but not as much as I normally do.  This is because I powerwalked a hilly neighborhood with Sheila--6 miles of hills, Baby.  My butt STILL hurts, so you know it was a good workout.

On Thursday I decided to do the tempo run, which I usually do on Friday, but the temperature was in the 60s with the prediction being in the 30s the next day.  Ya gotta get it while it's good, Peeps, so I did.  This time I added another mile to the run, and I DIDN'T PASS OUT OR DIE!  So proud of myself.

Something I believe strongly is that I shouldn't be running every day--that way lies injury--so I took Friday off and cleaned the house.  I'm really glad I did because the recovery time gave me the energy on Saturday to do the Chocolate Bunny Run, sponsored by Vertical Runner Hudson.  Joy and I ran 6.5 miles through Hudson with a taste of trail at Hudson Springs.  It was chilly but overall a good run.
Joy, Shelby, me, and Elizabeth inside Vertical Runner
The whole group just before we took off
Afterward there was CHOCOLATE and a raffle drawing for fabulous prizes at Vertical Runner.  I won a chocolate bunny!
See those Dove bunnies?  I won one of them!  I gave it to my kids, of course.
Today I ran Sand Run TWICE.  That's twelve miles of hills, Peeps.  Shelby and I took our time (except at the end when she smoked me, as she always does), and we enjoyed talking to Jen, who did the first out and back with us.

I'm really satisfied with my running this week because I feel like I played it smart--lots of recovery, lots of stretching.  Tomorrow I will definitely enjoy my yoga session.  

Next week I look forward to testing my training with a 10k, my first race since January.  Will the speedwork pay off?  Stay tuned to find out!

What is in your Spring racing plans, Peeps?  Why don't you join me for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon? I hope you blow away your goals!  Until then. . . 

Run HOPPY, Peeps!  (See what I did there?)

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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Running in the Snow. . . in Spring

It's the first day of Spring.

Yay Spring!
Oh, wait. . .

Yay. . .Spring?
That's right--it snowed just in time for my Spring Break, and the forecast isn't looking wonderful for this week.  As soon as I go back to work, it will be sunny and warm.  You're welcome.

Nevertheless, I ran ten miles with Shelby this morning.  We did the old Blue Line loop that I love so much.  We start in Sand Run Park for three miles, follow the Blue Line up Revere Rd. and around Route 18 to Wheaton Rd.  The line continues east towards Akron and then ends with 1 1/2 miles downhill on Merriman and Portage Path.  I love running past the beautiful mansions, including Stan Hywet Hall,  on Merriman Rd., but I can't help wondering who has to clean those houses?

This is my summer home.  Just kidding, it's really Stan Hywet Hall in Akron.
The training is going really well.  I have been sticking to my routine: one day of intervals, one day of tempo run, one long run, one day to run whatever I want, and a minimum of some walking time on the treadmill on Saturdays.  I was exhausted last week, but I think that had more to do with the time change and the week before Spring Break.  I hope to catch up on my sleep this week, although when I look at my to-do list,  I wonder when I'll be sleeping:

1. Get as far ahead as possible in the graduate course I've just started
2. Finish grading
3. Prepare for my daughter's birthday
4. Run MORE!

One last thing: Tomorrow is yoga day.  Wanna see my routine? This is EXACTLY how I look when I yoga:

Yoga for Bboys :D :D :D
Posted by Streetdance-Connection on Tuesday, March 15, 2016

What are your goals this week, Peeps?  We are getting close to the Cleveland Marathon, and the Challenge Series deadline has been extended.  Will you make that one of your goals?  Join me by registering here, and we'll do it together!  Until then, run happy, Peeps!

Like what you read?  Follow me on Twitter @itibrout!