Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hello 2012 - My Goals for the Year

Time goals

1. 5k in 27 minutes (avg pace of 8:45 mpm) (current PR 29:19, avg pace of 9:19)
2. ½ marathon in 2:10 (@ avg pace of 10 mpm) (current PR 2:25:47, avg pace of 11:04)

In 2011, in the 5k I went from a 32:12 (9:51 mpm avg) to 29:17 (9:19 avg) so I think it’s do-able.
The half goal feels really ambitious, but I’m gonna dream big. ;o)

Distance goal:
1200 miles run (and/or walked) in 2012

Daily Mile has me at 1111 in 2011 but that includes bike miles and a few skateboard miles. I ran and walked 1004.26 miles in 2011. 96 more for 2012 doesn’t seem that bad…. Just need to do 24 miles a week every week, and I’ll have it. ;o)

2011 mileage breakdown:
1111.15 total miles  = 821.85 running miles + 182.41 walking miles + 100.23 cycling miles + 6.67 skating miles

Goodbye 2011

Squeezed in a 2 mile run this afternoon as my last run of 2011. Logged it into Daily Mile, and saw this as my total miles:
Thought that was pretty fitting total for the year. :o)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Thinking of trying out another running shoe...

Love my Nike Pegasus but I'm thinking about trying out some other brands. Gonna save the ones of looking at here, so I have them all in one place. :o)

Saucony Kinvara 2 Women's Running Shoe

Nike Free Run 2

Saucony Cortana

Monday, December 26, 2011

2011 Goal Recap

I know the year isn't quite over yet, and this goal review may seem a bit premature, but oh well; it is what it is.

1. Read 100 books
Since there's no possible way to read 22 more books in the next 4 days (I'm a fast reader, but not that fast!), I'm going to have to say I didn’t quite make it to 100.  BUT I did finish 78. Discovered that training to run a half marathon takes up a lot of reading time. :o) Wasn’t the 100 that I wanted, but it’s still a lot of books.

2. Run Charleston Distance Run (15 miler)
I focused on some other things this year (like goal #3) and deferred this one to 2012, but I don’t think I’ll get it then either. Due to scheduling and other events, I don’t think it’s a good idea. It’s only a few weeks after I’m due to finish the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk for the Cure (60 miles in 3 days).  But someday. it'll happen.

3. Run a half marathon
Done! I ran the Marshall University Half Marathon on Sunday, November 6, 2011. Had a goal to finish in 2 ½ hours, and I finished in 2 hours 25 minutes. It was hard. It was painful. It was challenging. It was probably one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. I can’t wait to run the next one.

4. Pick up the pace to 10mpm
Done and then some (for a 5k anyway)! Worked on this one all year. First 10 minute mile 5k was the Great Teays 5k on July 16 (finished in 31:07, average of 10:02 per minute). 2 months later at the CDR 5k I got under 10 mpm: finished in 30:42, which is an average pace of 9:48 per minute. And I only got faster from there. Ran 3 more 5ks in 2011, and finished all 3 in under 30 minutes. Finished 2011 with a 5k PR of 29:17, average of 9:19 minutes per mile.

Still working on my goals for 2012, but I will say that they will involve some hard work and determination. ;o)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Racing Thoughts

Trying to put together a race schedule for 2012.  So far these are the races I'm shooting for:
  1. New Years Resolution 5k - January 7, 2012
  2. Winter Series Race 2 (8k) - January 8, 2012
  3. Winter Series Race 3 (10k) - February 5, 2012
  4. University of Charleston Half Marathon - April 29, 2012
  5. Komen Race for the Cure 5k - Saturday of Mother's Day weekend 2012
  6. Dirty Dog 15K trail run - May 19, 2012
  7. Run with a Cop 5k - June 2012
  8. Great Teays 5k - July 2012
  9. Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure (60 mile walk) - August 3 - 5, 2012
  10. Charleston Distance Run 5k - Saturday of Labor Day weekend 2012
  11. Marshall University Half Marathon - 1st Sunday in November 2012
  12. Huntington Turkey Trot - Thanksgiving Day 2012
  13. Run Run Rudolph 5k - December 2012
  14. Winter Series 1 (5k) - December 2012
Now that I've got it all written out, it looks like a lot. :-\  Is it too much?  Looks like I've got some more thinking to do....

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Winter Series Race 1 (5k) Race report

For some reason when I sent in the pre-registration forms for my winter races, I didn't realize until after I mailed them in that I now have 2 weekends where I'm running races both days - this weekend was the first of those.  Run Run Rudolph was yesterday morning and the first race of the Winter Series was this afternoon.

While yesterday wasn't exactly a bad run for me, it wasn't a great one either.  Today I felt more rested and more prepared, and was ready to run.  I didn't have any big plans or major goals for this race, except for maybe a course PR (last race on this course was the Run with a Cop back in June, which I ran in 31:36).

I set out at what felt like a nice easy pace and just ran.  It was a "Forrest Gump" kind of moment - "I just felt like running".  Started out farther back today than I did yesterday, so I didn't feel the pressure to be super fast at first, and I could just run my own pace.  Looked at the Garmin a few times, and was surprised to see the numbers that I did.  I wasn't sure I could keep it up, but I did, even managed negative splits.  

About half mile or so from the finish, a random guy running next to me looked over at me and said "let's pass those guys", so I took up the challenge and picked up the pace and passed those guys, and probably the next 4 or 5 people too. 

I don't know who he was, but I owe him a big "Thank You!!"  Not only did he give me the push to give me a new 5K PR, but he made me see that I can probably run the whole race  faster than I have been.  I'm starting to think about  my running goals for 2012, and I may need to revamp my goal 5k time to be a bit faster than I was planning  :o)    Three cheers for improvement!!!  So excited that I'm making so much progress.  And I thought I'd never be a runner!

Garmin Time:
3.14 miles, 29:17, avg. pace: 9:19
Mile 1 - 9:39
Mile 2 - 9:28
Mile 3 - 8:58
Mile 0.14 - 8:32

Run Run Rudolph 5k Race report

Saw an advertisement for the Run Run Rudolph 5k somewhere and thought it sounded like fun.  And I wanted to run some races in winter to keep myself  motivated to get out and run.  If I don't have something to look forward to/train for, it's way too easy for me to give in and stay snuggled up warm on the couch instead of heading out to run.  So I pre-registered myself for this race and a couple of others.

Since it was a race with a Christmas theme, I had intended to wear a red shirt, green skirt, and some really awesome red & white striped socks.   But I couldn't find my black tights (I've got multiple pairs of black running pants, but apparently no tights... and the socks just wouldn't work with regular pants)  So I switched and wore purple, with some awesome stripey socks, and my green santa hat:

Saturday morning was cold, so I added my running jacket to the above and hit the road for Huntington.  There were all kinds of activities going on with the race ("Reindeer Games" as they called them) and there was a lot of fun to be had.  Kids running everywhere.  Santa was there.  Rudolph was there.

I had decided I wasn't going to run this race hard or try for a PR or anything; i was just going to run for fun and see how it went.  At the race start I was a bit too close to the front of the pack so I took off a little faster than I probably should have, and by mile 2 I was feeling tired and had to slow it down.  Mile 3 was a little easier.  The running crowd was great and stayed close to the same bunch of people the whole way.  I was totally inspired by the blind runner I saw; absolutely amazing (I think she ran the Marshall half too...)

This wasn't the best run for me: I felt tired; I should've left the jacket in the car because I was hot; I wasn't properly hydrated.  In spite of all that, it was an opportunity to run and I mostly enjoyed myself - the atmosphere was awesome.  And even though I didn't feel the best and felt it was a tougher run, I still managed to squeeze in an under 30  minute finish (barely, but i made it!)

Official time: 3.1 miles, 29:54, avg. pace: 9:38
Garmin time: 3.09 miles, 29:59, avg. pace: 9:42
Mile 1 - 9:36
Mile 2 - 9:52
Mile 3 - 9:42
Mile .09 - 8:58

Friday, November 25, 2011

Huntington Turkey Trot 5k - Race Report

Since running the half marathon, I had been looking for races to add to my schedule.  I thought about doing a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day, but wasn't sure I could fit it into the schedule for the day.  But sometime in the few days before Thanksgiving, I decided I was going to go for it.  I had heard good things about the one in Huntington, so that's the one I chose. 

I had been running slow and easy since the half, and didn't really know how much speed and continuous stamina I had in me (been doing a lot of run/walk-ing lately and not a lot of all out running).  My goal all year has been to run a 5k in under 30, but I didn't have a lot of expectations heading into this race. Marc was convinced I could do it in 29:something; I wasn't so sure. 

I got up early on Thursday morning and grabbed the first warm-ish running clothes I could find.  My Athleta Windwarrior skirt had just arrived on Wednesday and it was the perfect choice (fits well, was warm, and looks good too); wore it with capris from Target, and one of my Nike running hoodies.  By the time I got to looking for socks, I was running behind and just grabbed the first 2 that were a pair out of the "to be folded basket" (which turned out to be a mistake: too loose at the toes + bad seams = bad blister on right baby toe).  Lesson learned - always lay out all clothes the night before!

On the drive to Huntington, I got off the wrong exit of the interstate and took an unplanned tour of the city.  Luckily I had plenty of time to get there.  Finally made my way to Ritter Park and found a good parking spot.  Decided to leave my gloves in the car until after I registered; this turned out to be the second mistake of the day.   I had no idea this race would be as big as it was, and registration took a little longer than I thought.  So I didn't think I had enough time to go all the way back to the car to get the gloves and back again before the start time. Turns out I was wrong, since the race ended up starting late due to all the people needing to get signed in.  So I had super cold fingers all morning (for the record, the rest of me was cold too).  Lesson learned - if it's cold, take the gloves with you!

All the runners were just standing around by the start line patiently waiting, when all of sudden the start gun went off.  No warning, no announcement that it was coming, just "BANG", which made for a kind of chaotic start.  But I was off.  I started off a little closer to the front than I usually do, which helped me get to a comfortable pace and into a "groove" faster, since I wasn't weaving around people so much.  

I was just cruising along, feeling good, running easy, and all of a sudden a mile was done.  When I looked at my Garmin and saw the average pace for the mile, I was a little concerned and thought I might have gone out too fast.  Still cruising nice and easy at mile 2; checked pace again, and it was faster than mile 1.  At this point, I decided I was going to negative split the whole thing.  Mile 3 wasn't quite as easy, since I was pushing myself a little harder, but it still wasn't exactly what I would call hard.  I don't usually pass people in the last mile, but this time I was, and let me tell you, it was a little exhilerating.  I did have the thought in the back of my mind to be careful that I didn't run out of gas and have all those people pass me before the end (I didn't run out of gas, but some of them did pass me, but most didn't).  I was running along at my fastest pace of the day when I saw the finish clock; it was at 29:20.  I sped up and started to sprint hoping to cross the finish in under 29:30, but didn't quite make it - at least not officially; my Garmin time was 29:21; offical time 29:33.

It was a great race; lots of people, a nice easy course, supported a good cause, and was a lot of fun.  It was the race where I finished in less than 30 minutes (a goal I'd been striving towards for 6 months).  It was a negative split race (a rare occasion for me!)  I went home happy and hungry and ready for the Thanksgiving feast with family and friends later that day. 

Garmin Stats:
3.11 miles, 29:21, 9:27 avg. pace
mile 1 - 9:50
mile 2 - 9:25
mile 3 - 9:13
mile .11 - 8:07

Official results:
Place  Name                No.  Age  Gender  Time    Pace
303    Melissa Fuentes 838  36      F          29:33  9:31

Last Personal Record:
Charleston Distance Run 5k - 30:42

New Personal Record:
Huntington Turkey Trot 5k - 29:21 (or 29:33 if you're a stickler for official times)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Schedule for my favorite Holiday Specials

  1. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is on Thanksgiving Day (11/24) at 8pm on ABC
  2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (cartoon) is on Monday 11/28 at 8pm on ABC
  3. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is on Tuesday 11/29 at 8pm on CBS
  4. the Grinch is on again on Friday 12/2 at 8pm on ABC Family
  5. A Charlie Brown Christmas is on Monday 12/5 at 8pm on ABC
  6. Frosty the Snowman is on Friday, 12/9 at 8pm on CBS
  7. Rudolph is on again on Saturday, 12/10 at 8pm on CBS
  8. the Grinch is on yet again on Tuesday 12/13 at 10:30pm on ABC Family

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Race Report: Marshall University Half Marathon

I did it! I am now officially a half marathoner. For someone who never thought she COULD run, never thought she would want to run, and never imagined she would love to run, that’s a huge accomplishment.

I totally under estimated how hard this race would be. Not the physical part (although it was), but the mental part. I’m used to running my long runs with either my husband or music, or both. Due to Marc’s late night work schedule, early morning races aren’t something he’s able to do; and according to race rules, ipods and headphones weren’t allowed. So I was without both of my main motivators to keep me going strong. Running alone and quiet leaves me too much time in my head and I dwell on how much farther there is to go, how tired I am, how much this foot hurts or that knee hurts, or whatever. And, this is probably a bit TMI but it is what it is, the appearance of my “monthly visitor” sometime during the race added to the emotional and mental difficulties.

Anyway, I digress from the recap… Here goes:
I woke up at the ungodly hour of 4:45am and left the house at 5:30, which got me to the race with plenty of, almost too much, time to spare. So I sat in the nice warm car for a while before venturing out in the cold to warm up a bit and head to the starting line. I had the garmin set for 3 minute run intervals with 1minute 30second walking rest intervals, which is what I had been training with and works really well for me. I decided before the start that I wasn’t going to look at the garmin to see how far I’d gone, how far I had to go, or even what my pace was; I was just going to listen for the beeps and run or walk when it told me to, and hope for the best. I had a goal (finish in 2:30) but I totally wasn’t going to push it – all I really wanted to do was finish.

The first 7 miles were awesomely easy. Running through the gorgeous yellow fall foliage in Harris Riverfront Park was breathtaking (in a good way); wish I had had a camera to take a picture. Since I’m not all that familiar with Huntington, the fact that I didn’t know exactly where I was or where I was going made that section of the race easy. But after mile 7, I entered familiar territory, having participated in a couple of Huntington’s Critical Mass rides, I had ridden my bike through that part of town, and knew just how far it was that I had to go. And as I said, without my music and my running buddy, I got too into my head and dwelled on it way too much. Another difficulty for me was the trail through Ritter Park; for some reason I found it hard to run on. Time #1 when tears threatened – it was cold, I was getting tired, I was lonely.

After finally getting to run on the solid surface of the road again after leaving the park, I brightened up a bit. But when we turned away from the stadium, things started getting hard again. Add in a fairly long straight stretch ( I hate long straight stretches) and I was down in the dumps again. Time #2 for almost crying – especially when I saw the 11 mile marker; didn’t think I had 2 more miles in me – I was tired; I was starting to hurt; I was still lonely. At this point I decided I was going to walk through my next running interval – better to walk then instead of walking at the finish. The extra 3 minutes of walking was just what I needed.

The return trip through Harris Riverfront Park was just a pretty as the first time. And I have to say, the full marathoners running past in the other direction (on their 2nd lap) gave me a little boost of motivation (their “you’re looking good” ’s and “keep it up” ‘s were helpful. But then it was back out onto another long straight stretch and the stadium looked SO far far away. I kept going but was feeling incredibly done with the whole thing. A full marathoner’s remark of “less than a quarter mile to go” was not as motivating as I’m sure he meant it to be. Time #3 for wanting to cry – I felt like I couldn’t go another quarter step, let alone another quarter mile. But I soldiered on. And there, parked on the side of the road was my mom and dad’s car (time #4).

The stadium was now an attainable goal – it was right there! Crossed the street, and at the corner I saw Mom & Dad. Amazingly, seeing them made me smile instead of cry (yay!) And they managed to catch a smile and a wave in the pic they took. On to the finish line! This small section there at the end was quite chaotic, with all the people who had already finished hanging and walking around. But I found my way into the stadium (that short steep downhill into it was kind of cruel – can we say painful) and out onto the field (Astroturf is also hard to run on in my opinion). Rounded that last corner and saw the clock: I was under my goal time! They announced my name (sort of, nobody can pronounce it right, but that’s ok) and I crossed the line. I was done! I did it! I can officially call myself a half-marathoner! And for those of you wondering, I finally let the tears win and cried when I saw my mom after the finish. Tears of relief that I was done; tears of amazement at what I had done; tears of pain and tears of joy.

It was hard. It was painful. It was challenging. It was probably one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. I can’t wait to run the next one.

Garmin time:
13.18 miles in 2:25:47, average of 11:03mpm

Official time:
2:26:25, average of 11:11mpm


Mile 1 - 11:23
Mile 2 - 11:21
Mile 3 - 10:42
Mile 4 - 10:53
Mile 5 - 10:49
Mile 6 - 10:36
Mile 7 - 11:16
Mile 8 - 10:52
Mile 9 - 11:27
Mile 10 - 10:40
Mile 11 - 10:57
Mile 12 - 11:57
Mile 13 - 11:12

Not so Random Random Pic of the Week

Nearing the finish line at the Marshall University Half Marathon

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Melissa's Bookshelf: The First 10 Books for Sale

Check out my other blog, Melissa's Bookshelf, where I'm selling some of my books to raise money for the Komen 3-Day For A Cure. All money for the books will go to the Komen Foundation:

Melissa's Bookshelf: The First 10 Books for Sale: Paul Clayton: White Seed: The Untold Story of the Lost Colony of Roanoke , 2009, softbound trade paperback, very good Deborah Harkness: ...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Training for the Half - Weeks 1 & 2

Today marks the end of the first 2 weeks of my half marathon training, and I'm well on my way to being more than well prepared for the race.

Instead of my usual, "I'm gonna run until I feel way too tired to go on, and then walk for a short time, and then run again" non-structured pattern, I decided I needed to do something different. I know myself well enough to know that if I went out with my usual non-pattern style of running/walking, I'd run out of gas way to early and would have to struggle to finish.

So, I've adopted a run/walk interval of 3 minutes running and 1.5 minutes walking, and it's changed my whole attitude towards the long runs: they actually feel easy! And I finish with an average pace that's faster than when I throw structure out the window and try to run as much as possible. (and as my husband says, if the run/walk thing didn't work, Jeff Galloway wouldn't be where he is today...)

I may tweek the timing of the intervals a bit in the next 5 weeks before the race, but the 3/1.5 seems to work really for me. We'll see how it goes.

Training Runs:

Week 0:
Sunday, September 18 - 7.01 miles, 11:42 mpm

Week 1 (7 weeks to go):
Tuesday, September 20 - 4.56 miles, 11:36 mpm
Thursday, September 22 - 5.01 miles, 11:18 mpm
Sunday, September 25 - 10.07 miles, 11:28 mpm

Week 2 (6 weeks to go):
Tuesday, September 27 - 8.17 miles, 11:13 mpm
Wednesday, September 28 - 4.01 miles, 10:43 mpm
Thursday, September 29 - 8.2 miles, 11:41 mpm

On to Week 3! 5 weeks to go! I can do this!!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Komen 3-day Walk for A Cure

In August of 2012, I’ll be participating in a very special event called the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure®.

I'll walk 60 miles over the course of three days with thousands of other women and men. Net proceeds from the 3-Day for the Cure are invested in community-based breast health programs and breast cancer research. The research funded focuses on decreasing breast cancer incidence and mortality in the next decade.

I've agreed to raise at least $2,300 in donations. So I need your help. Would you please consider making a donation or sponsoring me. As most of you probably know, I’m a runner and I already put in a lot of miles. I run about 100 to 125 miles a month (sometimes less, sometimes more). I’m looking for people who are willing to sponsor my monthly miles by donating $1 (or any amount) for every mile I walk or run in each month between November 2011 and June 2012. I keep an accurate record of all miles I run/walk using (my profile is here:

If you would like to sponsor a month (or two, or three), let me know via email (mkfuentes1 at or through this blog. At the end of the month you choose, I’ll let you know how many miles I completed in that month. You can make your donation online at ( Or I can provide you with a donation form for you to mail to the address on the form. You can also call 800-996-3DAY to donate over the phone.

Several women in my family have fought this disease; some won the battle, one did not. I walk because I can; I walk for those who aren't able. I walk to help in the fight.

Without a cure, one person will die of breast cancer every 13 minutes in the United States. That's why I'm walking so far. To do something bold about breast cancer. I hope that you'll share this incredible adventure with me - by supporting me in my fundraising efforts.

Thank you in advance for your generosity!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Not so random random pics of the week

Marc crossing the finish line in the Milton Mile skateboard race

September 25, 2011

Goofin' around on the unicycle between the skateboard race and the parade.

September 25, 2011

(photo by Dennis Blevins)

Random thoughts for today

1. Been home from the beach for a week, and missing it dreadfully... It was a super awesome, relaxing week. Normally we go to Myrtle, but the past couple of years, we've tried different spots (Virginia Beach last year got a bunch of thumbs down); This year we went to the Outer Banks and absolutely loved it. Great beach, great house (with an awesome pool), great weather, just great everything. (plug for Village Realty ( if you're going to the OBX, use them for your rental - they go above & beyond.)

2. I'm 6 weeks away from my first half marathon. Training is going well. Ran my first double digit run in a long long time yesterday, and it was awesome. Implementing a structured run/walk interval plan really helps out. Totally ready for the next week of training. Right now, my goal is to finish in 2.5 hours. That means I have to run 11.5 minutes per mile. I think it's doable. We shall see as training progresses.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Taking running to a new low...

Normally, when I run, my elevation profiles look similar to this:
Starting at about 700ft and going up to close to 800ft and up and down in between:
Last week, I took my running to a new low:
Starting at 9ft going down to 7ft. Can't get much flatter or lower than that. :o)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Not So Random Random Pics of the Week

Just got home after spending a week on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Most of the week, we had absolutely gorgeous weather:

But Friday was cool and windy and the ocean looked angry

Monday, September 5, 2011

Long overdue race reports

Back in July, I ran 2 5ks that I never bothered to write up. Don't know why. Perhaps I thought they weren't important enough, or I got too busy, or whatever. Who knows. But today I've got the time, and I feel like writing. Every race (or run in general) is a great accomplishment, no matter how small or how unimportant it seems. So every race I run deserves some kind of record of it's happening. So here goes.

Charleston YMCA Corporate Cup 5k - July 23, 2011
Earlier this summer, before it got so blasted hot, I was going for runs during my lunch hour. It was after one of these runs, while I was still in my running clothes, I got noticed by the office Corporate Cup coordinator. "You run?" he said. "Yep," I replied. "Wanna run the 5k for Corporate Cup?" he asked. "Ummm, I guess," I said. Not sure if that's exactly how the conversation went down, but you get the point = I ended up signed up to represent the company in the run.

To be honest, I wasn't looking forward to the run. I knew the track & field events for the Corp. Cup were held at Laidley Field, and for some reason I had it my head that the run was going to be on the track. I was absolutely dreading having to run 12 1/2 times around ; I hate feeling like a hamster in a wheel - running and running and getting nowhere. But on race day, I was pleasantly surprised to find out there was a course set out outside of the field and I didn't have to run in circles all morning after all.

It stormed the night before, so the morning of the race was hot & humid. Didn't think it was too bad weather wise when I first got there, but as the morning went on, and the race start got later and later, it got hotter and hotter. So it was pretty miserable by the time we actually started running. I had already decided that I wasn't "racing" this one, I was just "running" it as a training run. Since it was hot, I took it easy and didn't push myself, walking when I felt I needed to. Finished in 32:20, which was slower than I knew I was capable of. I finished 7th place in my company's division, so it wasn't all bad.

Family Counseling Connection Race Against Rape - July 30, 2011
Decided I would start off an already busy Saturday by running a race up at Kanawha State Forest. My niece's birthday was set for that afternoon up at a stable outside of Canaan Valley (she turned 8 and loves horses). I double checked when the party was going to start, figured out how much driving time we (mom & I) would need, and decided that I could manage to get the race in if I ran it around 30-35 minutes and didn't stick around for the awards (which I figured I wouldn't win anyway).

Mom said she would meet me there so she could watch me race, so I left the house and was at the turn by GW when she called and asked if I could pick her up. So much for my intention to get there early with plenty of time to register and warm up. I turned around, picked her up, and headed back to the forest. (Even with the detour, I still had plenty of time to do all the pre-race stuff that needed done).

It was another sticky humid summer morning - 74 degrees and 92% humidity - so I knew it was going to be a tough run. The KSF 5k course is deceiving - you think it's flat and easy. But it's not. The first half - from the pool lot to the entrance - is a slight downhill; the second half - back to the pool lot - is, obviously, a slight uphill. It's not steep, but it's enough to make that second half a whole lot harder than the first. Especially when it's hot humid & sticky.

As I usually do, I picked a random runner out of the group to follow as a sort of pacer. Ended up running with her for the first half and chatting a bit. Unfortunately, she "fell victim" to the incline, and I left her behind on the second half (i feel a bit guilty about that, but oh well). The incline got to me too - I was hot, I was tired, it was tough. I looked at my garmin and told myself I could walk when I got to 2.5 miles. Reached that point, and kept running, telling myself I could walk at 2.75 miles. When I got there, the finish line was in sight, and I wasn't about walk that close to the end! So I didn't. Crossed the finish in 31:31.

It was a small race, and Mom thinks I could've possibly placed in my age group (based on her observations and assumptions on how young/old other finishers appeared to be), but we didn't have time to hang around for the awards announcements if there were any, and I never saw any official results. Not that it matters, I was happy just to have finished pretty close to my goal time.

I'm running a half!!

It's done. Yeah, I did it. I took the bull by the horns, so to speak. I "manned" up as they say.

I have now officially registered for the Marshall University Half Marathon.

62 days. A little more than 8 weeks. About 2 months. That's how much time I have to train for this sucker.

Very excited and a little nervous, but I truly believe that I can do this. 13.1 miles here I come!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Race Report - CDR 5K

Saturday morning September 3 was the day for the Charleston Distance Run. For most of the year it was a day I was looking forward to, because it was going to be my first distance run and my first "long" race. But summer came and life intervened, and I wasn't able to train the way I needed to run the 15 miler. It was a big disappointment for me to have put my goal on hold for another year. Felt like a failure, even though it wasn't.

So when yesterday came around, I was a little sad and disappointed in myself that I was "only" running the 5k. But as somebody said, 15 miles or 5k, you're still out there running. Just what I needed to hear.

I'd had it in my head all summer that I wanted to run a 5k in under 31 minutes, so I set that as my goal. I didn't do much speed work or any real intense training for the race; just my normal running schedule. One rare evening with cool temps and low humidity, I did manage to pull off one training 5k in 30:56 - just barely making the goal time. But even so, I thought I had the race down, since it was early in the morning and in September, when temps "should" be more reasonable.

Ha! Mother Nature decided to laugh in my face. Weather forecast for Saturday said it was to be the hottest day of the year. Temperature at 7:00am, when I was getting out of the car: 71. Humidity level: 93%. Yeah, so much for cool early in the morning. It was brutal; sticky sweaty and steamy. Kept my goal in mind, but told myself I wouldn't be too disappointed if I wasn't able to pull it off because of the ridiculousness of the weather.

The cannon went off and off we went. Started out too far back in a really slow bottleneck, so it took a while to get moving and find an open space that I felt really comfortable in. But I found my spot, and picked out my random runner to keep in sight as a pacer. And promptly passed her. Found another random runner to be my pacer, and promptly passed him. And again, picked one out, and passed. Decided I needed to forget that strategy and just run.

Other than being sweaty and hot, I hit mile 1 feeling good, with an average pace of 10:08. A little slower than I hoped for, but I figured it was due to the slow start, and kept chugging along at a comfortable pace. Mile 2 average was 9:40. Whoa! Didn't know I could go that fast without feeling strained (which I wasn't at all). Awesome! Who knew I had that in me in heat & humidity? Didn't want to over do it and crash and have to walk at the finish, so I tried to keep mile 3 steady and even; which I managed with ease. Mile 3 average was 9:42. Entered Laidley Field with enough left in me to sprint to the finish. Finished in 30:42.

Felt awesome the whole race; yeah, it was hot, yeah, I was soaking wet with sweat, but I felt great. Heart rate felt reasonable; never got out of breath. Finished thinking I could've pushed it harder and run a faster pace. But I'll save that for my next race. :o)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Not so random Random Pics of the Week

Nine years ago today, I met this guy:

Since I met him, he's taught me to do this:

and this:

5 years ago, we did this:

And have been happily riding, skating, running, etc. together ever since

Here's to the rest of our lives!

Love you babe!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Random pic of the week - if the shoe fits...

If the Shoe Fits - Buy it in Every Color:

I take the phrase to heart with my running shoes. Nike Pegasus

New pair on my foot (holding off until mid-August to start wearing them ;o) )

Current pair the middle

everyday wear pair on the top

I should have scrounged around the house - I have three more pairs of the same shoe not in the pic (my last pair (from spring), my black gortex winter pair, and my trail pair)

Monday, July 18, 2011

I'm Not Quitting - Just Extending My Timeline

To anyone who may think that my decision to not run the CDR was based on one bad run or me wimping out when the going got tough:

So not true.

The decision was based on pain, struggling with endurance, and reality checks.

I didn't really have a bad run on Sunday. Sunday's 7 miles was not even supposed to be a training run. It was just a Sunday afternoon out in the sunshine with Marc. I went out with no focus on pace or distance or anything related to training whatsoever; running when I felt like it, walking when I felt like it. But even the easy, relaxed pace was a struggle, and it shouldn't have been. My body needs more rest than I've been giving it. More time to adjust to increased mileage. More time to develop the endurance and strength it needs.

I enjoy the challenge of pushing through the hard, long runs. I just need more time and more long runs than I can feasibly accomplish in just 7 weeks. The challenge of pushing myself through the hard, long runs needed to be prepared for the race in that short amount of time just isn't going to be possible. It's not worth it to injure myself to get ready for one race. As I said the other day, I'd much rather not run the race because I wasn't ready than not run the race because I was stupid and ran myself to an injury training for it.

I'm not one to give up just because things get hard. Once I've put my mind to something, I pretty much accomplish it. I'm pretty tenacious and stubborn like that. I may take some detours and go about it in some weird way, but I get there and I get it done.

So make no mistake: I'm not quitting; I'm just extending my timeline.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Reality Sucks But There's Always Next Year

I came to the realization today, as I struggled on a 7 mile run, that my goal of running the Charleston Distance Run is more than likely not going to be met this year. At the rate I'm going, I won't be ready in time. It's a hard decision to make, because it feels like failure.

But, to be ready, I'd have to push myself harder than my body is ready for. No race, even one that I set a goal to run, one that I really want to run, is worth making myself sick or injured over.

So instead, I'm going to focus on shorter, stronger runs for the rest of the summer (Look out 5k PR - you're going down!) and then work on the CDR for next year

Not so Random Random Pics of the Week

Last year's trip to the Falls at Hills Creek and Cranberry Glades. It's a yearly tradition. Hoping to go on this year's sometime in the next few weeks.

Middle Falls, Falls at Hills Creek, 2010

Bree's 11th Annual Trip to The Falls of Creek, 2010

Cranberry Glades, sign at the start of boardwalk, 2010

Happy puppy enjoying the Glades boardwalk, 2010

Bree and Marc on the Glades boardwalk, 2010

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Race report - Great Teays 5k

Quite a few years ago, my dad ran this race and got a t-shirt. It was too small for him, so he gave it to me. Being a t-shirt loving girl, I wore it a lot. Sometimes when I did, somebody would ask if I'd run the race. And I'd have to say no. Not anymore.

I can now legitimately wear my own Great Teays 5K shirt. And I can wear it with pride.

I was told this was a kind of tough course, with some hills and offroad mulchy sections, and it would be tough to make my goal finishing time. On top of that I've been taking it easy this week because I've been trying to head off a potential injury. So I was a little nervous about running the race at all. So glad I did.

Even though I took off a bit fast at the start (like always... trying to work on that), I had little to no trouble with the hills. Only walked a couple of times throughout the course and for a very, very short distance/time each time. Kept the person that I had picked to keep in sight in sight the whole time (thank you, whoever you are! you were a great pacer!) The mulch that I was told was so hard to run on was actually hard packed dirt/gravel and wasn't an issue at all.

My goal time was 31 minutes. I came around the last turn and saw the clock. It was under 31 (around 30:40 or so i think), but could I make it? I thought probably not, but I was sure going to try! And try I did. Picked up the pace and sprinted to the end. My garmin was at 31:07. official race results say 31:08.

Another 5k PR. Ok so I've only run 4 of them, but I'm very happy that I've been able to get progressively better. Shows that all my hard work is paying off and I love the feeling of accomplishment.

Race 1: Black Walnut Festival Nut Run, 10/11/09 - 38:09
Race 2: Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, 5/7/11 - 31:39
Race 3: Run with a Cop, 6/11/11 - 31:31
Race 4: Great Teays 5K, 7/16/11 - 31:08

Splits & other technical info for GT5K:
Mile 1 - 9:41
Mile 2 - 10:04
Mile 3 - 10:27
Mile 4(0.1) - 8:39
Total time - 31:07
Avg. pace - 10:01

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thoughts on Running Smart vs. Running Long

Nike+ miles for this week: 6.05
Garmin miles for this week: 6.06

Daily Mile miles for this week: 6

What do these 3 pictures tell you? (other than the fact that I have an addiction to tracking my miles...) They tell you that I'm not running much this week. Only 6 miles logged, and I'm half embarassed to admit that only 2.89 of those are actually miles run. The others are walks for the dog.

On Tuesday, I was supposed to run 6 miles. I ran 1.01. Tonight (Thursday), I was supposed to run 10. I ran 1.88.


Because my body is telling me to take it easy.

My mind is not liking it much. I have 7 weeks to get ready for the Charleston Distance Run. And my mind says I need every one of those weeks. I need to be running long to prepare for the 15 mile distance.

However, I've made up my mind that if I don't feel ready for the CDR by August 15, I'm not going to run it. Hard decision to make since I've been looking forward to it all year. But if I'm not ready, I'm not ready.

I'd much rather not run the race because I wasn't ready than not run the race because I was stupid and ran myself to an injury training for it.

So I'm doing the hard thing and listening to my body instead of my brain, and taking it easy this week.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Random Thought - on running alone

In the almost 2 years that I've been a runner, I have run the majority of my runs with my husband, Marc. But in the past couple of months, I've started to run more solo runs: some training runs during my lunch hour, some 5k races that he hasn't wanted to run, etc. And since Marc is dealing with an injury I've had to run my last two runs alone while he's healing up - a 9 miler on the road in KSF on Sunday and a 3 miler this evening in our neighborhood.

The 9 miles in KSF was a refreshing, renewing, great run; even though it was a lot of miles and it rained the whole time. The 3 miles in the neighborhood was lonely, hot, and more work mentally than it should have been.

The interesting conclusion I've drawn from this: I'm perfectly fine with running by myself away from home, but have a really hard time with it in the neighborhood. Which seems a little backwards, but I guess it matters what you're used to.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Random Thought - Snack Time

I think I found my new favorite snacks today.

Took these to work with me to snack on throughout the day:Awesomely delicious.

And then this evening I had these:

Dipped in this:
Again, awesomely delicious.

Snack happy!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Not so random random pics of the week - In honor of Father's Day

Me & My Daddy

Dancing at my Uncle Phil's wedding - 1984

On the banks of the Mighty Mississippi, Memphis, TN - 1992

At the Pavilion, Myrtle Beach, SC - 1993

Looking for fishies in the creek, Smoky Mountains, TN - 1996

Roasting marshmellows, Canaan Valley, WV - 1999(?)

Trying to figure out where to go next, Boston, MA - 2000

"Giving me away" at my wedding - 2006

Hanging out on the beach, Myrtle Beach, SC - 2009

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Random Thought - on water bottles

As I sit here sipping from a lovely insulated water bottle, I had an interesting thought on the progression of drinking vessels.

As a baby, we drink from a bottle.
We grow up and as a toddler, graduate to a cup.
We grow up more, become an athlete(runner, bicyclist, etc) and suddenly we're back to a bottle again....

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Random Thought

I hate to keep bringing up the dead squirrels from yesterday's run, but for some reason they're really bothering me.

I mean, seriously people, it's a residential neighborhood... Are you really driving so fast through those streets that you can't slow down for a couple of seconds to let the squirrels run by? What if they had been a kid, or a dog, or cat???

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Run With A Cop 5k - race report

Ran with a cop this morning. Actually, I think I ran with a bunch of cops and some sheriffs. And some regular folks (aka not cops). And some dogs. And quite a few dead squirrels (gross).

Had some health issues this week, so I debated whether or not I was actually going to run this morning right up until this morning. Told myself that if I was feeling tired or crappy when the alarm went off this morning that I'd turn it off and go back to sleep. But I slept well and was feeling fine, so I decided to go for it. My race goals - to start and to finish. Wasn't going to worry about time. If I started to feel bad again, I would walk, or even drop out if I had to.

As I was leaving my neighborhood, there was a lot of traffic. I know why I was up and out at 7:00am, but where were all these other people going at almost the crack of dawn on a Saturday? Don't they know they're supposed to sleep in? (Yard sales. They were going to yard sales. Bunch of them this morning). But I digress...

I got to CAMC Memorial, got signed in, got my lovely t-shirt, but no number. My scrapbooking friends will be proud of me for this thought, but I was quite disappointed in not having a number. I want one for every race to put into the race scrapbook I'm going to start. (Friends scrap, I don't, or didn't, until I had something interesting to show off. But they've rubbed off on me and now I want to give it a try). And yet again, I digress...

As we lined up at the start , it looked like a big ol' storm was coming in. Dark clouds, wind. But the darkest clouds blew over with no storm. Race would start with a countdown of "1... 2... 3... or maybe it'll be 3... 2... 1... and go on the whistle" (race director got a little confused with his counting. hee hee) Whichever way he chose to count, the whistle blew and we were off.

Started off well and feeling pretty good. Started to get tired somewhere in the first mile and decided to break the race up into sections. At some point, it start to rain; a nice cooling easy rain; actually made it nice since I didn't get hot at all.

Section 1: Make it to the water station at Mile 1: still running and feeling ok. Managed to spill most of the water on myself instead of actually drinking it. Made a mental note to walk and drink next time.

Section 2: Make it to the turn around: started to tire out a bit had to walk a bit, but not much;

Section 3: Make it back to the water stop: Ran some, walked a little. Took a water, and actually managed to drink this one instead of spill it. (Water stop question: Anybody else feel guilty just dropping the cup on the ground? Being taught as just little tike that littering is a bad thing, I have a hard time just tossing the cup willy nilly....)

Section 4: Make it to the finish. Yay! I did it! Even ran the whole way from the water to the end. Got my little popsicle stick with my place on it (83) and stopped all my running gadgets.

Interesting sights along the way: A yard sale with shoppers watching us all run by; the looks on their faces made it clear they thought we were nuts. Gross sights along the way: several squished roadkill squirrels. Poor little things... Again, I digress (and not pleasantly)

31:35. Not bad for not feeling my best and having to walk. Ended up being a pretty good race for me. I think it was even a PR (gonna have to start keeping better records.... going to have to research), which is totally awesome.

But after it was over I started hurting and not feeling good, so I turned in my stick (goshdarnit, there went another lovely artifact for my scrapbook...) and headed home to take a little nap. Waiting for official results and pics to be posted.

Run with a Cop 5K
Mile 1: 9:50
Mile 2: 10:21
Mile 3: 10:18
Mile .12: 9:16
3.12 miles, 31:35; avg pace 10:08

(and for the record, official Komen 5K results say I ran it in 31:39; So, this was a PR by 4 seconds. YAY!!)

Official Run with a cop results: 82nd 31:31 PR by 8 seconds. woo hoo

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Random Thought

I spent most of today in the Great Hall of the WV Culture Center watching my niece perform with the WV Highland Dancers. While waiting for her to dance, I wandered around a bit and spent some time in the section of the museum dedicated to the Kennedy brothers and their trips to WV while they were campaigning. There was a large display on the wall made up of various quotes from JFK, and this one stuck with me.

Let me just say, I'm not a political person at all. I don't take sides; I'm not affiliated with any party. But this quote sums up what I do believe politically. I've voiced the same sentiment in the past, but Mr. Kennedy put it much more eloquently than I could:

"Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future."
- John F. Kennedy

(Thus ends my first and probably only politically based statement. We will now return to the regular randomness of this blog)