Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Night Running

I recently had the honor of joining the PVJH cross-country coaching staff. I coached two years ago but then entered graduate school, and there was no way I was going to try to take two classes and coach. This semester, though, I am down to one class, so I jumped at the chance to coach again. I love it. Cross-country gives me the chance to get out of school, do a bit of running, and see the kids in a different setting. There are close to 100 runners on the team, so one more body was needed to help wrangle them in!

Today was a tempo day for the runners, and I took the kids who need to work on running continuously. I stood between the two ball fields and yelled "Go!" and "Stop!" The great thing about this was that I could see all of the kids and encourage them as they came around. The bad thing was that I couldn't do any running of my own. Therefore, when I got home I talked David into taking Sam to the dog park so I could run and meet him there. Since the jh kids did a tempo workout today, I figured I'd try something like one too.

My splits were as follows:  Total distance - 6.0 miles. Total time:  50:55. Average pace - 8:29.
Mile 1 - 8:19
Mile 2 - 8:11
Mile 3 - 8:10
Mile 4 - 8:50
Mile 5 - 8:35
Mile 6 - 8:48

Now, in my defense, the route I chose is uber-hilly. I mean, after three miles, it's pretty much all uphill. I ran from home to the bike path, got off at Devil's Glen Road, and then ran to the dog park at Crow Creek. I considered the last mile and a half as a faster cool down. 

This was a solid run. I felt great the entire time and I tried to push the hills. I signed up for the 5-mile at the Run with Carl and I'm confident I will push myself. 

As my watch was locating satellites, a neighbor and his son were out for a walk and we had a nice chat. The boy rode up to the corner on his tricycle and yelled, "Hi! Hey, hi! Do you want to pet my dog?" I hesitated because I wanted to get going, but after a moment I agreed. I'm so happy I did. We chatted about his dog, his new bike that he got for his fourth birthday, and his sweet seahorse temporary tattoo. 

This past week I had a 40 mile week - all running miles. I'm really proud of myself. I don't know if I've ever run that much in one week, and that was with Monday off. My long run of 16 miles I ran on Saturday morning, meeting up with Leslie for ten miles of it. I'm more of a lone runner when it comes to shorter runs, but I love running with people on my long runs; the conversation makes the miles fly by. David needed to get in a long run of six miles on Sunday, which was a perfect way for me to get the lactic acid out of my legs. I'm hoping to get in another solid week of running. David is really upping his mileage and has been awesome at getting in his workouts.

If you haven't already, please check out my LU Race Team page. I have less than a month left to reach my goal of raising $700 for charities around the Quad Cities. I'm getting close, but I'm not quite there yet. Click on my badge below to get to my page. Thank you so much for your support!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

OUCH Half Marathon

Well, race number six of seven is crossed off of the LU Race Team list. Yesterday was the OUCH Half Marathon. I'm happy to say I reached a PR of 1:57! The course was actually short by about .27 miles, but since it is an official race, I'm counting it.

I talked Adrienne into running the race with me, and we both had excuses before the start of why we were going to run slowly. Adrienne had pulled a side muscle and I had allergy stuff up the wazoo. We decided to make this a training run and aim for a 9:30 pace. This is a slower pace for both of us, but you know how it goes when motivation isn't knocking at your door. I wanted to set a low goal so that I knew I could make it. What generally happens to me is that I have strong training runs and then I fall apart during the actual race. I work myself up so much, stressing out about my time, how I'm feeling, if I drank enough water the past two days - you name it. So for this race I expected nothing.

Neither Adrienne or I had run this race before, but luckily my dad told her the route. We started at a slow pace and made our way from Trinity into my neighborhood. (If I had known the route, I could have told David to walk 1/4 mile and cheer us on.) Adrienne stopped to use the restrooms at Middle Park, which cost us at least two minutes. But I didn't care. I grabbed some Gatorade and watched people go by. A high school girl came out of the bathroom and her friend said, "Come on! Half of the race just passed us!" I laughed, but then I realized she was right. Just then, a group of four runners went by and I looked down the bike path --- no one else was there. The end of the race just went by! Adrienne popped back to the table and I told her we needed to get going!

The miles ticked by quickly and we were able to talk until we reached Belmont Road. This was the beast I was waiting for. My car can barely make it up this hill. Seriously. I have to turn off the air conditioner and pat the dashboard. I remember when I got my Giant and Dad wanted to take us for a bike ride. We ended up riding UP Belmont and I thought I would die (or fall over). Well, the trek up was not as bad as I thought it would be. I kept my knees up and pumped my arms.

The worst hills, in my opinion, were the ones on Middle Road and 53rd Street. Adrienne and I were able to talk until mile ten, when I had to focus on moving my legs and she had to focus on getting to the finish so she could get to a bathroom. It was around mile ten that Coach Troy popped in my head and I decided I found my new mantra:  "Now's not the time to slow down! Now's not the time to quit! Now's the time to dig deep and show some character."

The finish continued the story of my life - Adrienne dropped me going up the last hill and finished 20 seconds ahead of me. Honestly, I'm okay with that. I came around the turn and some of my former students were cheering for me, and once I saw the clock under two hours, I attempted to kick it into another gear (which turned out to be pretty much the same as the gear I was in) and finished under two hours. That's all I was going for.

Okay, so that was the race. Now I know that I am capable of going faster in the middle of the race, so hopefully I can PR again at the Quad Cities Half Marathon in September. My goal for this week is to get up three mornings to run.

David needed to do a five mile long run this morning, so Sam and I decided to join him. I can't say it was a good idea, but he was able to run much faster than he has been running. However, now the world knows that he can run faster, so he's a bit disappointed that he can't run super slow and just have people think that's as fast as he can go!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Here's to Another School Year...

This past week has been an interesting transition into the new school year. Much of the junior high has gotten quite a renovation, and over half of the teachers moved, so "change" is the buzz word. I moved to a renovated room, and I was able to get in on Thursday. I spent early last week dealing with paper things so that I could spend time later in the week getting my room set up. I will miss the students from last year, but I'm excited for the change and excited for a new school year. For the first time, I will have a co-teacher and am teaching two classes instead of one (though the classes are extremely similar). My team is also digging into the Iowa Core, which means completely changing our curriculum. This is something that needs to be done and will make our curriculum stronger in the long run, but it seems like we have changed our curriculum every year!

Running-wise, I'm getting back into the swing of things. I must make myself get up in the morning, though, because by the time I get home, the last thing I want to do is go running. Yesterday, I registered for the Rails to Trails Marathon and David registered for the half marathon. If you're open November 4th, consider it! This weekend brings the OUCH Half Marathon, which raises funds for wound care around the world as well as here in the United States. Check out the Wound Reach Foundation for more information. I'm actually nervous for this race - 1) I have not run a half since the Quad Cities Half Marathon in May, and I totally crashed and burned on that course, 2) I ran twelve miles a week and a half ago and took a few too many days to recover, so I am questioning my fitness level, and 3) The course takes participants up BELMONT ROAD! My car can barely make it up that hill, so how am I going to keep my legs and arms moving without falling over or tumbling backward down the hill? Ha! So, I'm going into this "race" with the mentality of treating it as a training run. I'll take whatever I can get, and I won't get too worked up about it.

If you have not yet done so, I encourage you to check out my Live Uncommon Race Team page. I'm currently running to raise money for seven worthy causes, and I only have two races left - the OUCH Half Marathon this weekend and the Quad Cities Half Marathon in September. I appreciate any and all support; ALL of it goes to worthy causes, and your donation is tax deductible!

Well, wish me luck as I begin another great school year! I'll have one of my sisters teaching at my building this year, which is extra special, and I will (hopefully) finish my master's degree in May.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

LSR - Run Dedicated to my Parents

This morning Adrienne came down to run with me on the bike path. We ran the first five miles together, and then she turned around and I went another mile with Sam before turning back. I didn't have my Garmin watch this morning, so I really ran based on how I felt. It was nice, but I prefer to have my watch on my long runs to ensure I don't go out too fast. Sam ran the entire way - 12 miles - and had no problem. Adrienne came back on her bike to bring us water with about a mile and a half left. I started feeling the run around mile ten, and that makes me feel good. Adrienne really picked up her pace on the way back, so I would like to run the entire way with her to see if I can stay with her. Total distance:  12.2. Total time:  1:53. Average pace:  9:14. I'm estimating on the distance because I didn't have my watch. After mile five, I ran for ten minutes before turning around.

Here are the races on my schedule for this fall:
1. OUCH half marathon
2. Run with Carl
3. Quad Cities half marathon
4. Rails to Trails marathon

So, today's run is dedicated to my parents - Tuesday is their 30th wedding anniversary. Thirty years is a long time! My family met at Thunder Bay Grille for brunch and then most of us went to The Dark Night Rises. Brunch was pretty good, but the movie was awesome! It's something I can't wait to watch on our new television that David conveniently bought while I was on my trip. :)

My dad is a principal and is probably the most hard-working person I know. I remember he got us into running, but he was so surprised to hear that I was going out for cross-country in high school after Erin graduated. My dad is now on a weekend training schedule, and he has been for probably the past five years or so. He tends to get long runs in just to be ready in case someone wants to run a race. It's funny because his three oldest children have followed him into the education field and he wants us to succeed. He started his career as an industrial technology teacher, and whatever "off" time he has is spent working on someone's house.

My mom works at the Camanche Post Office. She stayed home with us and worked at a preschool while we were growing up. I remember her putting on our Christmas shows and making our dresses. For my mom's 50th birthday, my immediate family ran the Des Moines Marathon, and my mom and I ran together. Growing up, my sisters and I loved wearing her old running tank tops, and I still have one - a blue Quad Cities Angels tank.

Today at brunch, we talked about when my parents got engaged and married, and what our early vacations were like. They did not have any money, but they still made sure we went on vacation every summer. It's fun discussing our family vacations because it seems like each one has its own stories - my dad almost losing our camper off of a drop-off after driving over a bridge held up by crushed cars, my dad almost taking off the top of the camper at the Denver airport, eating cold-cut sandwiches and drinking Schweppe's Ginger Ale in the parking lot at Disney World, swimming at the Y with the rope swing in Colorado... My parents would do anything for family, and they want to be a part of our successes.

Happy 30th anniversary! Here's to thirty more years...

Mom and Dad at Jessica and Kyle's wedding rehearsal - 2011

At Jessica and Kyle's wedding reception - happy parents!

The parents with David at districts - 2011

Grandma Simkins, Mom and Dad, and Grandma and Grandpa Zimmer -  anniversary brunch August 2012

Our ridiculous family