Thursday, October 30, 2014

Tattoo or Bust?

Big fat freaking BUST.   I decided to get a half marathon related tattoo.  I should say that I decided against the tattoo I posted in the last blog. . . at least I had decided against it.  On Saturday.  When I made my appointment for 5PM.  I had decided on a different tattoo.  I had recommendations for 2 people from 2 different friends.  Rick, the first recommendation, and I chatted on FB.  He's an apprentice but has been doing this for years and does good work but it's not his full time job.  He told me 1-1.5 hours for my design. He did not answer the question though regarding if that was all needle time. lol.  The other guy, Bert said it would take 15-20 mins.  I knew that was needle time.  Bert was cheaper.  Bert was not an apprentice.  Bert has a LOT of pics on his FB page and the work is good. Bert works full time at Screamin Demon Tattoo.   I chose Bert.  I couldn't call till noon on Sat.  I was leaving the barn just after noon (I had to ride one more time before I couldn't stick my foot in a boot for a couple days!) and I called from the parking lot.  He says to come at 5PM.  Didn't take my name (which he knew from FB I guess), didn't take phone number. . . just "come at 5".  

My husband is harvesting, but he wanted to quit a few hours early to come with me.  I was pretty nervous.  If for some reason he changed his mind, my mom would go.  I had a few hours at home to sit and ponder this whole things. . . alone.  I got nervous.  I had a complete meltdown.  I decided to drink a mudslide to chill out.  I was sitting on the couch.. . . I got warm. . . it was 81 degrees in the house.  I was hot.  I texted my husband... . we agreed to turn the air on since it was going to be in the 80s for a couple days. . . I start crying. . . do I really want to do this?  ha ha. I'm messaging a friend on FB and she talks me off the ledge.  I don't know what my problem was.  I think I worked myself up over the pain.  When a friend posted her foot tattoo on FB and said it felt like "razor blades scraping my skin off" . . . well what would you think?  Pain!  I also have this fear of having another tattoo that I hate.  I have a tattoo on my lower back and while I don't hate, I don't love it and no one really knows what it is.  I hate explaining tattoos.  I also asked way too many people their opinion on my design.  So I was unsure what I wanted to do regarding that. . .  I read too many forums about foot tattoos and pain.  What if I couldn't handle it?  Would I end up with half a tattoo?  Lol. 

So meltdown over.  I'm happy again and my husband gets home.  We leave . . . we stop at a gas station down the street from the tattoo shop cause I forgot anything to drink and I figure I might need that at some point.  We go to the shop and it's this small rinky dink place.  No real photos of anyone's work.  There are 2 ladies waiting in the waiting area and a receptionist that  really looks like she doesn't want to be there.  She tells me I can sit down when I tell her who I'm there for.  I see her post-it note schedule and I see "5PM work for Bert".   In a few mins Bert comes to the waiting room and doesn't really acknowledge me.  He speaks to one of the ladies waiting. . . Then he goes to the receptionist.  I only really know it's Bert cause I know what he looks like based on stalking his FB page.   I hear them chat. . . he then speaks to the woman. . . apparently both women want a tattoo (the same one I think) and he only has them down for 2.  Bert and bitchy face receptionist chick talk some more. . . I hear them mention the 5:00.  They call me to the desk.  I see Bert talk to another artist who says "I don't have time".  Bert tells me that John (I forgot his name, but let's go with John) is going to do me.  He doesn't ask if this is ok.  He just tells me.  I'm like what?  I mean don't you choose your artist based on their work?  I don't see any photos around of anyone's work.  I chose Bert cause I got a personal recommendation. . . cause I stalked his work on FB and I liked it.   Bitchy receptionist hands me a clipboard with paperwork.  I sit down and tell my husband I don't want anyone else to do this.  Meanwhile John went back into one of the rooms and he's yelling to see my design.  Bitchy receptionist tells me to go back and show him.  2 people follow behind me (his next appt I guess, I have no clue at this point).  I show him. To say this guy is a prick would be an understatement.   He's like "oh well I thought this was some complex design".  No it wasn't. I wasn't getting a huge several hour long tattoo.  I say I can reschedule with Bert. I think I say this at least twice.  He's like "fine, reschedule".  He may have said "I don't care".  I don't know.  The guy was an asshole.  I go back to the waiting area, tell my husband we are leaving.  I throw the clipboard on the reception desk. . . . I have no clue where that crabby chick went.  We walk out.  We left.  I was in tears because I felt horrible for my husband quitting harvest hours early to come with me and now we have no tattoo.   I cry because I cry for every emotion I have.  I'm a crier.   I'm pissed off.  So I'm crying.  I understand being late. . . tattoos can take longer than you planned.  But those ladies (well at least one of them) were the 4:15 appt.  And here's the thing. . . I will not be rushed.  I told my husband that before we left. I didn't want to be rushed through the design process.  I wanted to LOVE this tattoo.  So let's say I waited for Bert. . . did he have anyone after me?  Did he have plans after work?  I don't want to be rushed.  And I certainly wasn't letting jackass John do it when he said he didn't have time! So in 5 years I can look at my foot and say "well this would have been cool if he had had more time".  No thank you.  No way.   And if I didn't want Bert to tattoo me I'd have walked into any shop and taken the next available person!  I chose the artist for a reason dammit!  And I made a freaking appointment!!! (but I did have this feeling . . . this whole come at 5 bullshit wasn't going to work out) Bert did send me a FB message minutes after I left.  But let's be honest, he barely spoke to me while I was there, so the content isn't even worth mentioning.  He isn't any better than asshole John in my opinion at the moment. 

So there you have it.  Total BUST and I have a naked foot.  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Post race thoughts

It's been a few days since my run.  I'm still kind of dragging.  It's been a busy week I wish I had taken Monday (the day after the race off work).  I think I was the most sore on Sunday afternoon.  My hamstrings hurt more and more as the day went on.  I realized that when I crossed the finish I grabbed food (bananas and a power bar) and gave them to my husband standing outside of the barriers.  I never ate any of those.  Even the Noosa yogurt (did I tell you Noosa is the BEST yogurt ever!?!?!) we brought back home with us.  I drank 2 cans of Michelob Ultra Light though! :)  But I didn't eat.  I would estimate it was an hour or just over till we ate lunch.   I probably should have eaten something immediately following the finish line.  Not that it would help with my soreness, but probably my level of energy later. 

Living in this area my whole life I've always thought it was flat.  I remember growing up and we'd get a lot of rain and things would stay wet for a long time.  My grandparents farmed (as did my own parents for many years).  They both raised pigs at some point and the pig lots would get so sloppy.  My Granny would say "we live on the flat part of the round Earth".  Lol.   I'm here to say that St Louis is NOT flat.  And it sure drives like it's flat.  It "looks" flat.  It's not.   Here is what my Garmin says - the top is the elevation chart for my KY Half and the bottom is St Louis

That's quite a difference when you are on foot.  That makes me super proud that I beat KY by 6:20 mins.  :)   I will say that I'm quite sad I didn't make the 2:30:00 finish for this race but with the Garmin being off by 0.1 miles and at times my confusion over how fast I needed to run to make that time, I'm not sure I could have pulled it out.  But I was just so close!  I'm almost tempted to find a flat flat half marathon in Nov to do so that I can try to make that time, but I don't know if I'm that crazy!

Monday I went to work and I think I was brain dead.  Certainly stiff and semi sore.  I went to the barn to ride Eli after work and my legs were *so* tired. My calves didn't hurt till I squeezed them the first time when I was riding. Ouch!  Overall though it loosened me up and was a good thing, even if it was an awful ride. 

Tuesday I took Eli to my trainer's barn about 1.5 - 2 hours away (2 hours with road work this time) for a saddle fitting and a lesson. 

The driving made me stiff but we had a really good lesson and my body felt good after.  It seems the longer and more I run, the shorter my riding legs get.  I had to shorten my stirrups a hole before the half marathon and it felt like I needed to again after,  But I refuse to go up 2 holes!!

Last night my trainer was at my barn and I got another lesson.  *happy dance* for a lesson 2 days in a row.  But Eli and I were both tired and it wasn't that good.  Eli did really correct work on Tuesday.  He hadn't been anywhere in 2 years and I was super proud of how well he did.  But I think the long day tired him out.  

I'm thinking of running 3 miles today after work.  I signed up for my first virtual race and it's a 5K.  I could just do it tonight.  The medal is already in the mail to me: 

My husband signed up too and I will not let him have his medal until he runs the 5k!  I think that's one thing I don't like about this type of thing.  It's kind of like buying a medal.  But you better get your butt out there and do the work.  For me I do races because of the atmosphere.  The shirts are fun.  Medals are a plus.  Well medals are a *must* for longer runs and so fun!  This last weekend was the first time I got a medal for a 5K.   So I'm not sure how I feel about just running a 5K from my house to earn this medal.  But I'm going to give it a go!  

So one thing I wanted to do after my *first* half was get a 13.1 related tattoo.  When I finished the race I thought "that was a fluke" and I didn't earn the tattoo.  I'm whacked!  The training I put into this distance, the time commitment and the actual run are all worth it.  But I signed up for another just so I could make sure it wasn't a "fluke" and earn my tattoo.  I'm kind of having second thoughts still on whether I should do this.  I still don't consider myself a runner.  But . . .  currently this tattoo is tops on my list (I have many pinned on pinterest).  However, when I show this to people they really do not see what it is.  (I'd use 13.1 instead of 26.2 obviously).  I don't want a tattoo I need to explain all the time.  I already have a crap tattoo that no one can recognize.  Maybe that's why I have cold feet. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Rock and Roll St Louis

This weekend was the Rock and Roll weekend in St Louis.   I wrote about my plans to run (walk) a 5K on Saturday and run a half marathon on Sunday.  It's now Sunday and thankfully the weekend is over! lol 

Yesterday the 5K started at 8:00 am.  I live about 30-40 mins from St Louis so we left fairly early, but not as early as today.  My husband ran the 5K with me.  I told him he could just go on ahead of me, as I wanted to walk.  He wanted to stay with and I found out I have no patience for walking a 5K.  We did run a few times.  I tried to keep the running to 1 mile or less mixed throughout (like when we were going downhill!) to save my legs for the half.  

I was really just doing the 5K for the medal and the extra remix medal for running both days.  I say the 5K medal because this is my first 5K to receive a medal. :)  I thought they were pretty cool!

The race this morning started at 7 am. I was so worried about how early we had to get up (4:15) that I was afraid I wouldn't sleep so I took a nap in the afternoon after the 5K.  I never nap! 

So we got up early. . . we wanted to be parked before 6 as the packet said road closures would start at 6.  I actually told the guy at the parking lot on Saturday that we would be back on Sunday.  LIE! The roads were closed when we got there at 5:45.  Ugh.  There was literally no where to go.  Everywhere I ran into a closure.  I parked in the Ballpark Village parking lot as it said it was $5.  LIE!  It was $9 when we left.  

It was in the 40's this morning.  Fantastic running weather! And yes, I wore a tank top.  I'm hate hot running!  It was much more crowded than the day before.  I did manage to run into an ex-coworker which was fabulous and a total chance given the crowd size.  There were a *lot* of porta-potties but the lines were still long. I'm paranoid about having to pee on course.  So I managed to go twice.  The race started in waves, which was much better than my previous half and helped space out the crowd.  It took me about 15 mins after the first wave to get to the start.  I felt really good at the beginning and was trying to control my pace. I knew there would be hills, but I didn't think there would be so many or that they would be so long (if not steep).  I had my own water this time just in case the stations were a hot mess.  But they were well run and I was able to get water and gatorade easily throughout the course.  They said there would be Gu at mile 7.5 and the official flavor was salted watermelon.  Mile 7.5 comes and what do you know?  LIE!  No Gu.  No table.  No nothing.  Other runners (that were in the front of the race) also said there wasn't Gu.  I was disappointed.   I started to drag at mile 8 unfortunately.  But I was making good time and was really trying to make my goals.  I did meet up with the 2:30 pacer but couldn't hang long :(  In my previous half, my calves hurt SO bad during the last 2 miles.  I mean I thought they would explode.  I did not have that problem this time and I felt stronger.  Maybe that was due to training 4 days a week (instead of 3) and doing some hill work on some of my shorter runs.  Hindsight is that I should have done longer runs with hills, but the town I live in is super flat. 

I had 3 goals in this race.   The first goal was to not walk.  I ran the whole thing minus a few seconds in a few water stops which is expected.  Goal 2 was to beat the time of my first half marathon.  I accomplished that (by just over 6 minutes!).  Goal 3 was to have a finish time of 2:30 or less.  I just missed that as my official finish time was 2:32:05.   Dang it!  I told you I couldn't keep up with that pacer.  I was somewhat disappointed, but I know if the course was flat I'd have totally done it.  

Speaking of going to the bathroom. . .how does anyone do this during a race?  The lines always have a min of 5 people. . . if I stopped to pee (I felt like I had to at mile 9) I'd have probably not PR'd.  

Here I am right after the finish.  I'm still in the secure finish area. 

Here are my splits.  A bit more varied than I had hoped.  My Garmin said I ran 13.23 miles and during the run people were talking about how off their watches were.  Some more so than mine.  Initially the mile markers were 0.05 miles off. . . as the race went one they were a consistent 0.1 miles off.  It's so tough to know you really have to run 0.1 more than you were planning!  I was really really dragging it at the finish line.  I felt like I was running in place.  The final part of the run was uphill. . . my guess is for a half mile. . . till we turned a corner for the finish and that part was just 0.1 or so. . . I was never so happy to be on a flat road than at that point. 

Here is a combined photo of my Garmin results and the official results on the bottom. 

The finish time is super close and I think I started my Garmin just before I crossed the start. There were two of those rubber strips to cross and I started min on the first, which wasn't correct I think. 

The official avg pace is 11:36 and I like the Garmin pace of 11:30 better :)  I've really been trying to keep my longer runs at or below 11:30 min/mile. 

Here is the half medal.  I love it!  So St Louis-ish! :) 

Part of what I was looking forward to with the Rock and Roll half was the bands about every mile on the race.  I didn't find that as motivating as I expected.  I often just let my own music play. . .when I turned off my music I wasn't that impressed with the bands.  We had received an email that they had to relocate the bands between miles 6-9 due to neighborhood issues.  I didn't pay close enough attention but it seems there was a lot of time without any bands. 

The crowd support also wasn't nearly as strong as my first half in KY.  I found that disappointing.  Those of you that know runners - if you can get out and cheer them on, please consider it.  I was thrilled to have my husband waiting for me at the finish.  But I don't think people realize what an accomplishment this is.  And how much this means to the person running the race.  I know my parents don't.  I had mentioned to my mom, when I signed up, about coming along.  I would have loved to have my mom, or both her and my dad, waiting at the finish - or cheering me on somewhere on course.  They also don't really care much when I show off my medals.  I do get FB comments from my mom. . . but . . . well support your running friends and family when you can. This is hard work. For me this was a cumulation of 12 weeks of training. 

So remember I said if I ran both days I got a 3rd medal.  Here is the remix medal.  The middle part turns!  It's a fabulous medal and I'm so glad that I did decide to run both days (I was worried that was the wrong decision)

And just cause I want to show off - here are all three medals. 

When I stopped my Garmin I got the notice that I had three new records!  I knew one of them would be the fastest half (duh) but I didn't know the other two.  I beat my fastest 10K record and then I got longest distance.  I should have realized the longest distance, but wasn't expecting it. 

Michelob Ultra gave every runner a free beer.  I so *love* beer after I run.  As the day goes on, I'm getting more and more sore.  I went to get a pedicure and the lady really massaged my calves. . . unfortunately she didn't massage my feet at all.  I was so disappointed!  I've taken some meds to help with soreness.  I was going to ride Eli today, or I was hoping to, but I gave up that idea.   

I'm wondering if I should consider trying to meet my goal of a 2:30 half somewhere flat?  :)  I tend to forget the pain of running when it's over :) 

I'll leave you with this random photo of some head we ran into on the way back to our car.  Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 10, 2014

New Record!

I love when my Garmin tells me I have a new record. That doesn't happen very often.  Mainly because I don't run fast.  Also because there aren't that many records it tracks.  It tracks fastest mile, 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon as well as Longest Run.  

The *very* first day I wore my Garmin was during the Hot Chocolate 15K in Dec last year.  I had just got the watch and my last few training runs prior to the race were in the gym due to the icy weather.  So I was unable to actually try my Garmin before the race.  I hit start, ran the 15k, hit stop and had no idea really what the Garmin was telling me.  I didn't know my average pace till we were at breakfast and I decided to see if I could figure it out. Lol!   So that run set a few records.  It was a great run for me.  I ran a fast first 5K in that run. 

Then yesterday happened.  I had a 3 mile run that I wanted to do during lunch because I had a massage after work.  It was a terribly rainy morning and I wasn't sure I was going to be able to run at lunch.  I may have said before, the town I work in is hilly.  So I like to do some short lunch runs to train on the hills.  There is a 1 mile loop at the park and I started off and I felt *really* good. I've yet to be able to predict when I will have a good run, or a bad run, or know what creates both of those.  As I was running I saw my pace, felt like I could keep it, decided to stay on the paved path for 3 laps (sometimes I'll run a mile loop into the town and back to the park).  I didn't want to mess up my mojo so I stayed on the track.  I thought I knew my fasted 5K record, but I wasn't totally sure since it's been there for so long.  I never tried to beat it really.  But again I don't run that fast.  However, I felt like I was going to beat it.  So I tacked on the extra 0.1 mile. . . hit stop. . . and "1 new record" appeared on my Garmin.  *happy dance*

My previous record was 33:33 with a pace of 10:48.  My new record is 32:52 and a pace of 10:35.  That's fast for me! I was super duper excited!!  And I loved how even my splits were as well. 

I wish the Garmin would track a record for 15K as well, but it doesn't.  The Hot Chocolate run from last year now currently only holds the fastest 10K record.  It did hold the fast mile for a while, until I just tried to run one super fast mile in the week before my previous half marathon. The week before is always really light on the running schedule so I did a mile out and back run and decided to see how fast I could run the first mile.  The record is 10:12.  Maybe someday I'll get something in the 9's.  

This weekend I have 10 miles to do and I'm not sure if I'm doing that Sat or Sun.  My half is next Sunday so I feel like my last long run should be one week prior - on Sun.  So that's probably what I will do. Plus we are going to a ballgame on Sunday so why not burn the calories that morning :) 

Have a great weekend!

Monday, October 6, 2014

2 weeks. . . 5K and Half Marathon

Hey everyone!  It's been a *long* time since I posted.  Mostly cause I haven't done jack with my weight loss. Total stall.  Slight gain.  Slightly bouncing around.  I struggle to lose weight during half marathon training when I have longer and longer runs.  I think in some way my body is always in a state of inflammation.  I will gain 2 lbs shortly after a long run. . . try like hell for a week to get it off and then have another long run.  Sucks, but it's life.  I'm hoping to really buckle down once the race is over.

So here's what happens in 2 weeks.   I run (well I think I will be walking to save my legs) a 5K on Saturday the 18th.    I get this medal:

The next day I run a half marathon and I get this medal:

But because I did both I also get this remix medal.  Apparently the middle part spins.

Who doesn't like race bling?  That's the *only* reason I'm doing both of these - for the bling.  First of all I have never done a 5K and received a medal.  My very very first 5K that I ever signed up for, gave away medals.  But it was rained out.  I still got my medal.  And I cried!  No joke.  But eventually after doing a few races I threw that medal out.  It didn't count.  My husband is doing the 5K with me and I think this will be the one time he finishes before me!  I'm really worried about putting those miles on my legs the day before a half.  Last month we did a Run or Dye (one of those color runs) and we walked quite a bit of that.  My legs were sore.  You use different muscles to walk than run.  So I'm kind of torn on if I should really walk this 5K.  I've not fully decided yet.  It will be hard to walk it cause I'll have fresh legs and I will want to run!

My half training is going well.  I'm following Higdon's novice 1 plan. I followed this the last time as well. However, I had just finished a 15K using his plan for that distance.  And I ran 3 times a week.  The half plan calls for 4.  For my last (and first) half marathon I tried that for 2 weeks and just couldn't commit to 4 days.  So I tossed the really short run in the middle of the week and did 3 days.  I figured it worked for 15K - 9.3 miles, why won't that work for 13.1?   It did work.  I mean I have no reason to believe it didn't.  But this time around I'm doing all 4 runs.  I have hopes that getting my weekly base mileage up will help those last couple miles of the race where I was just dying the first time around.  I should note that really I'm only doing the runs on this plan.  Not the strength and cross training too.  I wish I had the time for all of that, but I have too many other commitments. I ran 9 miles on Sat and I looked back at my 9 mile run for the first half (cause let's be real, I never run 9 unless I'm training!) and my avg pace was faster.  So maybe the 4 days is helping.  I'm not going to lie, it's hard.  I've really struggled last week.  And I struggled in the last 2 weeks of the plan the first time as well.  So I have a 10 miler this weekend and my fingers are crossed!   I really want to PR this half, but I know the course will be more hilly and I will be running alone (I had a friend with me the first time) so I really don't know what to expect.  I want to run the whole thing first and if a PR happens then that will be great.

Last but not least - any baseball fans out there?  I'm a new baseball fan.  This is really my second year of paying attention in a way that I can knowledgeably talk baseball, I can identify the players on the field, etc. The St Louis Cardinals (my home team) are in the playoffs.  I'm going to game 4 of the 5 game NLDS series tomorrow.  I have tickets to 2 games for the NCLS should we make it that far.  I'm not sure we will.  The Dodgers are tough, among other things.  But my fingers are crossed.  I'm struggling with my soda drinking habit, so I was thinking I may give up soda once the Cardinals are done with their season.  I haven't fully decided. It's such a drug.  It's emotional for me too, but sometimes I just *want* a soda.   In the meantime Go Cardinals!