Entries in Gear (11)


Cross Training and Striders this week

Monday was a strength training day with TEAM Fitness! I did not do any strength training last week because my body was a little tired from the running, and I wanted to be able to run the Chicago AIDS Run on Saturday. It was a good workout! We started with a lot of core work -- planks and sit-ups of multiple variety -- which I know that I need, but boy were the abs complaining!

Then, we did our circuit which was focused on the upper body this time. Oh my gosh! Lats, biceps, triceps, shoulders, chest... they were all burning by the time we were done! Have you ever had to do bicep curls while having to balance yourself on a metal beam? Well, this was my first time. It was tough having to concentrate on multiple muscle groups at the same time. But I figure that for running, this might be a good exercise because balance is an important thing to work on, right? Boy, missing two days of TEAM Fitness is not a good thing!


This week marks something new for my Half Marathon training program. I start doing striders during my Tuesday runs. Meghan had me do two sets of an interval program where (after warming up) I run for 30 seconds at a fast pace, then slow to a regular pace for 1 minute, then repeat three more times. That is one 'set'. Then I run for 5 minutes and begin the entire set again. Then run for 5 minutes and then cool down.

So I did that today for the first time. The first set was difficult because I was still trying to figure out how to do this using my Polar watch to signal the interval changes while still tracking all the activity for the entire run. I was switching between different exercise profiles which was a pain. And, then I realized for the first set, that I was running hard for 1 minute and resting for 30 seconds (the opposite of what I was supposed to be doing). Ugh!

The second set worked out much better! I figured out how to track this and use the watch properly for the intervals. By the time I was all done, I had run for 3.1 miles and completed the entire thing in 42 minutes. Not bad! My right knee hurt just a tad but later on it felt fine. So I reported my experience to Meghan to get her feedback.

She called me back a few hours later to tell me that I had run way too fast! You see, I thought the 30-second fast pace was supposed to be a 'sprint'. WRONG! It was only supposed to be at my 5K pace or a tad more but definitely not a sprint! I was running at a 7:00 pace for those sprints and I didn't even need to! Well I guess that it is why my knee was bothering me towards the end. So, now I know that the 30-second run segment should be more like a 10:00 pace (much easier). I guess if there was one good thing about this morning, it was the knowledge that I 'could' run at a 7:00 pace (for short spurts at least).

My weekend is going to be so crazy busy that I am going to have to adjust my training runs so that I do my regular maintenance run on Thursday, but move up my Long Slow Run from Saturday to Friday morning. I also have my CardioPoint scheduled for Friday morning. So I will do the CardioPoint first, then rest for 30 minutes, then do my 6.5 mile LSR. My schedule for Saturday and Sunday are literally full from 7AM to 8PM each day. So I will have two rest days this weekend.

Race Schedule Change

Last week, I found a 5K race that looked like so much fun I had to sign up. It is in Chicago and is sponsored by the Chicago Policy Memorial Fund -- the support agency for families of fallen police officers. They race is a fundraiser for the fund so that is definitely a worthy cause. I like the name: "The Chicago Police Department 5K Foot Chase". I wonder if they will let the runners go first, and then have police officers running behind us like a real foot chase! That would be awesome! (As long as they aren't carrying batons or anything... LOL just kidding!)

I signed up for another race today. Yes, I must be addicted to this running thing! Well, I was supposed to run a 5K race at LifeTime Fitness on November 24th and a Turkey Trot 5K on the 26th. I figured I would 'bracket' my Thanksgiving Day feasting with two runs to help prevent me from gaining too much weight. LOL (And the runs fit into my training plan in terms of distance/effort so it seemed perfect).

Then I found the North Shore Turkey Trot 5K on November 24th. What a cool race! And their goodie bag has some awesome stuff, including a nice black fleece running jacket! Hmmm... this was a no-brainer -- I gotta go with the timed race and the jacket, right? Sorry, LifeTime. I love you but I gotta go with the swag.on this one. :)

A new watch!

Oh! Guess what? I had a nice surprise on Friday afternoon. A marketing person from Polar USA sent me an email saying that I was picked in a raffle to win a free Polar Training Computer of my choice! When they published the article about me on their Polar People site, they automatically put my name into a monthly raffle. And I won! So I have a new RS800CX RUN watch coming to me in the mail this week. I am very excited! Now all I have to do is figure out how to use it! My current watch is a Polar RS300X... I guess it will be relegated to 'backup status' now.


Race Report: Chicago AIDS 5K Run

You know how you are supposed to get a 'good' night's sleep the night before a race? Yeah, well that didn't happen this time. I joined a few friends to help set up a TV Video Studio at my son's middle school last night (awesome fun!) and did not get home until after midnight. I think I got to bed around 12:30am. So needless to say, when the alarm went off at 5AM, I was very grumpy. My own fault.

Luckily, I actually woke up and got myself out the door at 5:50am for the hour-long drive into the city. i ended up parking in the same lot that I used for last week's race. But the race venue was quite a walk from there -- at least 1/2 mile -- so that became my warm-up for the race. I felt pretty good given the lack of sleep so I figured I would be okay (but perhaps not quite 'Personal Record' ready).

The first thing I noticed was that it was really cold out there, because of the steady wind blowing off Lake Michigan. Thankfully, I was wearing my LifeTime Fitness Run Club long-sleeve shirt and running jacket, which along with my compression knicker and Injinji socks, kept me nice and warm. It was going to be interesting to see how the weather was going to affect my running. Oh, and did I mention that I have a cold!? Stuffy nose and running do not get along.

I hit the porta-potty, checked out the vendors (nothing interesting), and hung out listening to some pretty good performers while waiting for the show to get on the road. I got someone to take a photo of me (I remembered this time) sporting my cool LifeTime gear (represent!).

Finally, after a 10-minute delay, the race began (no national anthem... hmmmm). There were about 5000 runners and walkers in the race, with the runners all together at one Start and the walkers at a different Start location. The 5K and 10K runners shared the same course for the first mile and then we split. The course was very similar to parts of the 10K race last week so I felt pretty comfortable.

I started off at a 10:30 pace and kept that for the first 1.25 miles. Then I started increasing my pace as I passed Mile 2. In fact, Mile 2 made me mad because there was a water station and I went to get some. But they didn't have any cups ready. I had to STOP and WAIT for what seemed like forever until I could get a cup of water! What a time waster that was! And leave to me to decode that I didn't need to bring water with me for a 5K since they would have stations! Ugh!

So of course, after that debacle, I felt the need to make up for the lost time. So I kept gradually increasing my pace through Mile 3. By that time, I was running at a 9:30 pace I think. Then the last tenth of a mile, I threw in the afterburners (what little I have of them). I was holding a 7:50 pace through the finish line! Wow!

My time? I finished in 33:08 (10:40 pace). That's 42 seconds faster than my previous 5K race! WooHoo! I am very pleased with the run, especially given the lack of sleep and running with a cold.

After the race, I got some G2, a banana, and a croissant and just walked around for a bit. Then I went to the Finish to cheer on the rest of the runners/walkers. But by 10am, I needed to get going because I still had to weigh in today at Weight Watchers and they close at Noon. So I jogged the distance back to the parking garage (imagine that), and got back to my neck of the woods.

The Weight Watchers place is right across the street from my club. So I went there first, took a shower, changed clothes, and went to weigh in. Down another pound! Sweet! So basically, my day has been pretty awesome!