Sunday, April 22, 2018

19 miles to Prep for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon!

I did 19 miles and change in the sun!  I was a little bit worried about going it alone, but luckily, I didn't do it alone. I had a wild turkey, a coyote, a herd of deer, a bunch of turtles, and a bunch of goats to keep me company!

Goats are more fun to watch (especially online) than they are to own. I know this from experience.
I was lucky enough to have human company, too. I knew that there were some groups starting from Hunt Farm on each half hour starting at 7:30, but all of the groups have faster runners than me, and I knew I had to go slow and steady today to reach 19 miles, so I wasn't planning on running with any of them. I pulled into the parking lot at 8:06 (late enough that I was sure there wouldn't be a group hanging out there), and I saw my friend Jennifer, who kindly suggested that I run with them. I told her that there was no way I could hang with that group since I needed 19 miles, but she is training for a 100-miler, so she said that she'd run slowly with me.

Always pick ultra-marathoners as your running partners when you have to do the long, slow distance run. That is my useful tip for you today, Peeps.

We ran seven miles in a group, and two of those miles consisted of a big-ass hill. I walked half of that hill, but I felt really good, and I wanted to run it, but I was afraid that I would tire out later as a result of too much effort in the beginning.

I peeled away from the group at the end of the seven miles, and I started my journey of twelve more miles alone (and with various animals along the way). I ran when I could, and I walked when I fueled, and overall, although it was slow for me, I felt awesome all throughout the run. I tried not to dwell on the fact that I will have to add on seven more miles in less than a month because I know I can do this. I've done it before, and I will do it again. It's a mental game, and I will win it!

Last week I ran Hampton Hills with the Crooked River Trail Runners: Outer loop + inner loop = 5 miles. Angie and I ran together, and it was a gorgeous night.

Crooked River Trail Runners: Tony, Marta, Laura, me, Angie

This gave me a total of 40 miles this week. Although none of it was actual speed work, I did make sure to run a few fast miles here and there, and I kept up with my yoga and strength training. I think I'm doing a good job of balancing the right amount of training and rest.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I smugly say that I'm doing a good job of balancing training and rest.

As for speed, next week I am running the Pro Football Hall of Fame Half Marathon, so I would like to see if I can run a smart race and maybe, just maybe come close to a PR.

How is your training going for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon? You did sign up, right?  If not, use my code, SICLE10, for 10% off registration price. I really want to see you there!

Until then, run happy, Peeps!

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Sunday, April 15, 2018

So Sick of Running in Bad Weather

It is April, Peeps. I should NOT be running on a treadmill!


This is EXACTLY how I look when I'm throwing a tantrum because: Ohio weather.

Last week I had 18 miles on my to-do list for Sunday's long run. To shake things up, I decided to join a training run in the Bedford Reservation for Burning River. It was 15 miles, and I figured I could add on 3 miles pretty easily.  To make it even better, Felicia and Angela (from the Mother Runners) agreed to run with me because they also needed 18.

The weather was a problem. It was 27 degrees at the start time, but the prediction was that we would go up to the 40s or higher, so I couldn't figure out what to wear.  To make matters worse, the weather was NOT what was predicted at all. It probably didn't help that I looked up the weather WHERE I LIVE, not in the Bedford Reservation. Duh. So, we did start at about 27 degrees, and then it got colder. And colder. And then it started snowing. That was our weather for about four hours of trail running. It wasn't until about mile 16 that the sun came out, and that was glorious.

The only moment when the sun came out. These ladies are amazing!
Trail running can be challenging. Trail running in the snow (in April) for 18 miles is exceptionally challenging. I am giving us a pat on the back for being so badass.

Today I had 18 miles again, and of course it was freaking POURING outside. I decided to run the treadmill, so I made a plan, just as I would for an outside long run. I listened to  Wait, Wait! Don't Tell Me! for five miles, and then I peeked outside, where it appeared to me to be just drizzling. I changed into dry running clothes and went outside to finish the rest.


As soon as I was about a mile in, it started pouring again. I was wearing a rain jacket, but damn! I decided that I was going to power through it, so I kept going. I ran 11.3 more miles in the cold, pouring rain before I decided to call it quits. I want to thank Peter Sagal and Mo Rocca (my crush) from Wait, Wait! Don't Tell Me! for getting me through this. I didn't run 18; I ran 16.3 total, and that is just fine.

Next week I need about 19 to feel respectable. Will I do it? Stay tuned to find out!

Whatever horrible weather Ohio is throwing at you, I hope you run happy, Peeps!

Psst! Hey! Are you going to run with me for any of the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon races? Use my code, SICLE10, for 10% off any registration!  I hope to see you there!

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Sunday, April 1, 2018

Race Recap: Fools 25K

Happy April Fools Day! Happy Easter, if you celebrate it!

It is only fitting that today I write about the Fools 25K, which I ran yesterday. This is no joke, Peeps.

See what I did there?
Many of my friends have run the Fools in past years, and until this year, I had no desire to do the same. I changed my mind because the race was moved to Camp Manatoc, and I really enjoyed running the Leave No Trace Half Marathon there. Of course, I was still trepidatious because it is a spring race, and we all know how unpredictable the weather can be for a spring race. My main concern was cold mud. I don't mind the cold, and I don't mind mud, but I don't like the two together.

The weather was chilly with a feels-like of 27 at the starting time of 8:45, but temperatures were supposed to go up to 50 degrees within a few hours. It was difficult to decide on what to wear, but because it didn't get as warm as I thought it would, I did a pretty good job with a long-sleeved tech under a winter shell with attached mitten sleeves.

The course leaves from Camp Manatoc, a Boy Scout camp that only opens its trails twice a year to runners. Runners could do two almost-8 mile loops for the 25K or four loops for the 50K (if you are a masochist). I've run the trails around Manatoc before, so I knew I was in for a treat because they are beautiful and challenging.

I got there at 8:00 and had no problems parking (which is one of my anxieties about races). There were also plenty of bathrooms (my other anxiety). Even better, runners got to wait in the heated lodge until the start. I found the Goddesses there, and we took pictures.

This is Steve, our photographer. He couldn't resist a selfie so we would give him credit.

Carrie, me, Kelleigh, Renee, Jen, Marta

We look even better close up!

The first loop was pretty busy for me. I get really nervous when I'm running on a single-track trail, and I know that there are faster people who want to pass me. I want them to pass, but I can't stop and step aside for every single runner. I try to place myself towards the back of the pack at the start, but I still sometimes get caught. This causes me to try to hang at a pace that I have no business running. I felt pretty good until Mile 4, when my tachycardia set in. My heart rate jumped to a 245, and I know this because I was wearing my heart monitor, so I walked it off until I felt better.  After that, I worked out a sustainable pace. The mud was still semi-frozen, so the first loop finished pretty well with a time of 1:50. Not bad. 

The second loop was much different. By now over 300 runners had hit those same mudspots and hills that I did, so there was lots of slipping and sliding. The frozen puddles had melted, and we were now wading through shoe-sucking goop. For two hills, I chose to slide down on my butt rather than take a chance of falling forward and knocking out some teeth. I tried to tell myself that the mud was a beauty treatment, and I was going to be gorgeous.

I had left the Goddesses early on the course, and by this time I was in my angry stage, where I question why I sign up for races at all.  I was sick of walking so much, but I had to in many spots because of the mud. There might have been some grumbling, and there might have been some swearing, but I got it done.

I got to the finish line intact and ready for some HiHo beer. I changed my clothes before I took the obligatory mud picture, but I did take a picture of my shoes.

I made Butterbean spray these off when I got home.
The Goddesses and I met up again, and we enjoyed our beer in the heated mess hall. The race directors also provided chili, salad, and cookies.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I am happy to be off the trail. I don't know what is up with my headband. My head is NOT shaped that way.
One big plus to this race is the swag: instead of a shirt, I got an enormous duffle bag, and I LOVE IT!!!
This picture doesn't do it justice, but the bag is perfect!
This race has a lot going for it: a beautiful course, great swag, cool medal, nice finisher's party at the end. I spent two hours hanging out, drinking beer, and eating cookies, and I had a good time. Ok, some of that was because I knew when I got home that I would have to clean the house. I really, really hate to clean the house.

The only wild card to the race is Ohio weather, and this year I got lucky. Will I run the Fools 25K again next year? It's possible. It fits well into my training for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, and I now have a time to beat.

Next week I up the mileage again to prepare for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. Will you join me? Click here to register for any of the Cleveland races, including the challenge! Use my code, SICLE10, for a 10% discount on registration.  Join me, and we will drink beer and eat stuff after the race. Until then, run happy, Peeps!

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

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Dial It Back Week

After pushing the mileage for several weeks, this week I decided to take a rest, although "take a rest" may be relative.  Here is what I did this week:

Monday: 2 miles running in place with 2 lb. weights to warm up for yoga.

Tuesday: 4 treadmill miles in the morning; 6 trail miles in the evening. This was super-fun.

Wednesday: 2 miles running in place to warm up for strength training. Then, as it was a snow day (first day of Spring--what???), I went directly to bed after working out, woke up two hours later, ate breakfast, and then put in 4 miles on the treadmill.

Thursday: Tae Bo. It felt amazing.

Friday: 4 treadmill miles

Saturday: 5 miles on the hills of Sand Run (after day-drinking with the Cleveland Marathon Ambassadors! Shhhhh)

We are a fun bunch! 

Sunday: Goddess Trail Run for 13! Yay!

This is EXACTLY how I look when I am happy to be running with the Goddesses.

40 miles of running + strength training + Tae Bo. Not a bad week!

Next week I have the Fools 25K, which I will probably be running with the Goddesses. After that, I need to bring my mileage up to 19 before the Pro Football Hall of Fame Half Marathon in April. Then, I've got the 20 miler the week after the half marathon.  Gaaaaa.  Am I ready? I don't know yet. I haven't gone beyond 16-point-something, but I'm pretty comfortable there, so I think I'll be ok in the weeks to come.

Meanwhile, I'm trying not to eat everything in sight. I weighed myself after today's long run (I ALWAYS go with the Sunday weigh-in while I'm still dehydrated), and I have lost about 6 pounds. Of course, that is water, but last week I was six pounds heavier even in the same dehydrated state, so I'm going with it. I'm trying to log all of my food intake. Some days are better than others (cough, cough, notthisweekend, cough), and I'm getting back on track.

This week is my Spring Break, so I look forward to lots of running and sleeping and reading trashy literature.

One last thing. . .there were people I didn't see at the Ambassador Meetup (and I miss all of you), but I was glad to see old friends and meet new ones.
Pam and I are together again. 

Andrew would never forgive me if I didn't post this picture of us. He really looked forward to talking to me; you can tell.

The wine was lots more interesting than I am. These damn kids.

Have you registered for the race of your choice (even the series) in the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon?  If not, there is still time! Use my code, SICLE10, to get a 10% discount on any race or the series. Come on, you know you want to run with me!

Have you run your 20-miler yet, Peeps? Are you looking forward to it or dreading it?  However you feel about that one run, I hope you run happy, Peeps!

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

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Product Review: Knuckle Lights

Sixty- one percent of my mileage happens when the sun (as well as everyone else) is asleep.  Most of my weekly runs are before 5:30 AM.  I know my neighborhood quite well, potholes and all, and I mostly run on sidewalks, so for a while I ran without a headlamp, even though I own one.

And then I met Elf-on-a-Bike.

It was a guy, dressed as an elf, on a bike, at 4:30 in the morning.
Thank GOD it wasn't this kind of elf.

 I had just rounded a corner, and he was in front of me. He started yelling at me. I was wearing earbuds, and I took them out, but I couldn't understand what he was saying. He circled me a few times and then left. Needless to say, I ran the rest of that route at tempo run pace.

I've seen Elf-on-a-Bike a few times since then, but he doesn't circle me on the bike anymore, although he still sometimes yells at me. He doesn't always dress as an elf either, although he always wears the elf hat.

Anyway, this incident made me think that a light might be a good idea.

There are actually quite a few runners in my neighborhood. During prime training season, I might see 5 or more runners along my route, even at 4:30 AM.  Until Elf-Guy, it didn't occur to me that lights might be beneficial, both for showing myself to other runners way ahead of our encounter and to see runners around me.  Of course lights are good to see the ground on which you run. I do have some potholes around my neighborhood, so lights are definitely beneficial to me.

The other circumstance in which I definitely need lights is during trail running at night.  The first night trail run for me was in 2015 for Ragnar WV Appalachians. That night I fell in love with night trail running, with the help of rechargeable Knuckle Lights. The problem I have with the rechargeable lights are pretty much the same problem I have with my headlamp and my watch: I forget to recharge them.  It's very annoying to realize 15 minutes before your night run that you forgot to charge your lights.

This is where the battery-run Knuckle Lights come in. The company offered me a set of Knuckle Lights in exchange for an honest review, and that is exactly what you will all get.

First, the lights come in four colors: black, grey, pink, and blue. I asked the company to surprise me, and I got black lights.

Here is some more specific information from the webpage:

Knuckle Lights are designed to be worn on the front of your hands, in a perfect position to light your path and be seen on your next walk or run in the dark. Knuckle Lights Original includes:
  • 150 TOTAL LUMENS — The LED pattern is a wide flood beam, putting out light in all directions, providing a steady, even light in front of you that does not bounce, even with your arms moving.
  • 2 LIGHTS PER SET — The units are held comfortably on your hands with soft silicone straps. The straps are easily adjusted to fit any size hand and even over gloves. The units are almost unnoticeable at less than 3 ounces each.
  • 3 POWER SETTINGS — High, Low and Blinking.
  • BATTERIES INCLUDED   Each unit operates on 2 X AAA batteries
  • BATTERY LIFE — 20+ Hours on High Power | 40+ Hours on Low Power | 50+ Hours on Blinking.
  • WEATHERPROOF — The units can be used in any type of weather and will not leak or fail.
They cost $39.99 plus delivery.

I would have to say that these lights are worth the price. I have worn the original lights for at least 5 hour-long night runs, and they do not seem to be fading yet, a problem I often have with the rechargeable lights. I like the adjustable strap that fits to my hands so that I don't have to actually hold the lights. In fact, I feel like I carry myself in better form when the lights are strapped to my hands because I hold them in the correct running position and I don't squeeze my fists at all.

Even though my arms move when I run, the lights don't bounce or move from steady shining on the road/path before me. I feel that they are perfect for my morning road runs because not only can I see and be seen, but I feel like the lights would be a helpful weapon in case Elf-on-a-Bike ever feels aggressive towards me.

As for trail runs, I find that I need both a headlamp and Knuckle Lights to see where I am running. Keep in mind that most trail runners I know use one or the other, and that may be because they are younger than me. I am very paranoid about tripping on roots or rocks, so I feel the need for both a headlamp and Knucklelights on the trail.

In any case, I am very happy for my lights. They help me to run safer both in the morning on the sidewalks and at night on the trails.  I like seeing where I am going, and I think that Knucklelights are an easy way to do that.

As for Elf-on-a-Bike, he had better not stop around me. Those Knucklelights can also be a handy tool for my protection.

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Monday, February 26, 2018

Getting Back on Track

I have let myself go for TOO LONG. I'm currently 13 pounds heavier than I should be, and I can feel it.

I remember the day I fit into single-digit size pants; I promised myself I would never go back. Well, I can still wear those pants, but they don't fit well. The worst part is I've fallen into the feel guilty--eat to feel better--feel guilty about eating to feel better-trap. How did I let this happen?

Things need to change, Peeps; I need to change.

With this in mind, I've set some goals for myself.

Goal #1: This is the most important goal. I need to go back to logging my calories. I lost the most weight when I logged into My Fitness Pal, and I was able to maintain that weightloss for a long time. Then I got away from it, and I am in a Pit of Despair.

This is EXACTLY how my Pit of Despair looks. Don't go down there.
What kept me from logging my calories for so long was the idea that I knew I was going to go over my limit, so in my head, I said, "Oh well. No need to log those calories. I'm going to screw up anyway." Well, guess what? Now my rule is that I have to log all calories every day, and I'm not going to beat myself up when I go over my limit. This is a small goal, and for now it is enough to recognize honestly what and how often I am eating. No excuses.

Goal #2: Remember that Hunger is my friend. That's right. This was my mantra when I first lost the weight. Don't get me wrong; I do not deprive myself. I allow myself all the calories right up until the set limit. My problem is that I am constantly hungry. I was that way as a kid, too.  Is this some sort of psychological problem? Maybe, but the solution is the same; I need to remember that it is ok to feel hungry. I don't have to feed myself every time my stomach turns into Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors.

Goal #3: Be patient. It took me over a year to regain this weight. I can take that long to lose it again as long as I keep my eyes on the prize.


Goal #4: Be forgiving. I beat myself up more than any other person can. I have high expectations and when I don't meet them, I punish myself. It's time to love and accept myself. Honestly, this will be the  most difficult goal.

Oddly enough, none of these goals directly involve running, but they will have an incredibly positive effect on my running. If I treat my body and my mind with more respect, both will provide better results than what I've been getting.

What are you struggling with? What will it take for you to treat yourself with love and respect? How is running part of the process?

Hey, pssst.  Are you thinking about signing up for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k or Challenge? Have you been following my friends, the Ambassadors, for your chance at a free entry? WHY NOT???? If you aren't crazy about giveaways and you still want to run with me (or waaaayyyy ahead of me, more likely), click here to register for your race(s), and use my code, SICLE10, for a 10% discount!



These friends encourage me to be happy with myself while still striving to be a better runner. It's a delicate balance. How's that balance working for you?

Whatever your situation, I hope you run happy, Peeps!

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

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Why Did I Ever Take a Break? Why?

After two marathons, a 16.5 mile leg at Burning River, and several half marathons and assorted other races, I decided at the end of my season to take a break. I told myself that if I continued my high mileage, I would burn out both physically and psychologically, so I allowed myself to back off the running and do other things that I enjoy. Starting in November I substituted some of these workouts instead of short runs:

Tae Bo. Oh, Billy Blanks, you make my heart go pitter pat.
Masala Bhangra Dance. This is EXACTLY how I look when I do Indian Folk Dancing. Notice how both my feet magically lift from the ground. Damn, I'm graceful.
I kept my long run at no more than 10 miles, and most of my long runs were on the trails with the Burning River Goddesses.

Here I am with some Goddesses. . .Oops. We aren't running here. We are posing. Let me try that again.
Here I am freezing my TRAIL off (see what I did there?) with some Goddesses.
I think it was a good thing for me to let go a little bit, but now I'm training for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, and shit just started getting real. Today I ran 14 miles--4 miles solo and 10 more with Mandy--and it just about killed me. I remember when 14 miles was my minimum long run, and I breezed through it. Not today.

I'm trying to think about why it felt so hard. Aerobically, I felt great. My legs didn't hurt at all. My feet didn't hurt at all. I just think it's hard to get that mileage in all at once. I tend to bore easily, so even though Mandy is excellent company, I couldn't get in the zone I needed to enjoy the run. That is where the mind games started. Incentive #1 was the banana I ate after my first 4 miles while I waited for Mandy. Incentive #2 was the Mint Chocolate GU I had at Mile 9, but even moreso it was the promise of walking while I fueled. After that point it got a lot more difficult, so I had to give myself more incentives. Incentives #3 and #4 were short walks for the first .10 of Miles 11 and 12.

I got it done, but I feel wrecked. I'm back to those days where I took a two hour nap after the long run (well, I will be there after I finish this post).

Starting over. SMDH.

It's worth it though, Peeps. In three months I'll be running one of the funnest races in my season: The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. Will you join me? Register by clicking here, and use my code, SICLE10, for 10% off whatever races you choose, including the challenge. Train with me! Tell me I'm not alone! Also, tell me that I still look beautiful, even when my face is red and I'm sweating like a pig.

However you feel during your training, I hope you run happy, Peeps!

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