Run Doodle Run

The long road to 26.2


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Busy Long Weekend!

So although I talk about running on here a lot, I promise I do have a life. It’s been a busy couple of weeks around here, and the move made it even more harried, but here’s what I’ve been up lately to when not running!

Two weekends ago I organized an alumni night for my b-school at the Bowie Baysox, an AA-affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. It’s the first time we’ve ever tried a non-networking social event and had no idea whether or not alumni would embrace the idea. Turns out they did! Here’s some of us down by the field.

The National Aquarium in Baltimore opened its new Blacktip Reef exhibit and we got an after-hours peek!

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upside down jellies

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all of that coral was hand-made!

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this little longhorn cowfish is kind of a camera whore. every time she sees a flash she comes running and poses šŸ™‚ sometimes she’ll even blow kisses šŸ™‚

I found out that our local greeting card storeĀ is selling Christmas ornaments and Halloween decorations… in July…Ā *groan*

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And Husband and I spent the day yesterday at Six Flags Great Adventure! There’s nothing better than riding roller coasters all day, and that’s exactly what we did! It was a gorgeous day to be outside and screaming. My throat’s a little sore from all theĀ screaming and my arms are a little bruised from Kingda Ka, but it was a great day. If youĀ love coasters and haven’t been on Kingda Ka, you have to go ride it. It’s really more of a thrill ride than aĀ true coaster, but it’s great. Ā It’s the world’s tallest (456 ft) and the second fastest, launching you from 0-128mph in 3.5 seconds! The entire ride only lasts 25 seconds, but if you can manage to keep your eyes open it’s a great view from the top! In fact, if you love coasters, this park has got some of the best (El Toro was voted the best wooden coaster in 2012, Nitro was voted third best for the past 7 years). We’re planning another trip later in the summer and I can’t wait :):)

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Kingda Ka

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Looking straight down 456 ft!

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Long post for a long run

Today was a great day. It was the first time I’ve run in quite a while where a) I didn’t hurt to the high heavens during the run and b) I actually felt energized and ready to take on the next run afterwards.

A couple of weeks I joined a training group with a local running store, with the intent to switch to a different location if we had to move. Well, it turns out the move happened a whole lot sooner (and way more unexpectedly) than we had planned. I missed pretty much every run last week and have had a rough week getting back into it this week. Today was my first long run with the new group.

The group has almost 90 people – most of us are training for the Baltimore Half, but there are a few others represented as well. Because there is such a wide variety of runners, our coach set up a system where we self-select into beginner, intermediate, or trained runners. Beginners are tackling their first half and just want to finish, intermediates have (mostly) run at least 1 half before and are looking at a time goal, and trained runners are those who are constantly in top racing condition pretty much year round. I selected into intermediate, but because of the wonky beginning to the training season I’m skewing towards the lower end of the recommended ranges.

On Tuesday evening we did a 2 mile time trial at the track, which went okay. I’m used to running in the morning and in the shade/cooler temps, and the track was right in the sun the entire time. I got a bit dizzy, but made it through in an acceptable (but not stellar) time. Thursday I went out intending to run 2-3, but my legs just blew out on me. I couldn’t even run 1 mile, and had to hobble home the rest of the way. Not exactly a confidence builder. So going into today, I was understandably a bit wary about this run. I’ve never run at this site before, which made me even more nervous.

The course runs through a reservoir which the county closes down for recreation on the weekends.Ā The road’sĀ wooded for the most part and is pretty hilly.
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Amazingly, my Ā legs felt fantastic today and I did so much better than I expected to! I ran this 6 miles about 30 seconds faster than the 6 miler I did in February, which was on a teensy downhill grade. I think having the social atmosphere (and pressure) of the group helped immensely. I did walk a bit, but that’s okay.

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the view of the dam we just ran down from the halfway point on my run

I learned that my hill work has paid off, but I need to focus on longer hills, too. I had great power through the bottoms of hills or when I would start running after walking, but faded before I made a whole lot of progress distance-wise. That’s important because Baltimore is a very hilly course and my downfall last year was the inability to successfully attack the hills. However, I’m already in a much better position today than I was this time last year.

I’m also learning new techniques for keeping my shin splints and tendonitis in check. After Tuesday’s track session, the running store had PTs available to us for brief consultations. The PT gave me some great advice on things to do to get my leg to play nice, including a new icing technique. Rather than just placing an ice pack on the leg, she recommended freezing water in a solo cup, ripping the top 1″ or so of paper off, using to papered end as a handle, and directly massaging the area with the ice. Well, I didn’t have any solo cups around, and even if I did, the freezer is jam packed. So I had to improvise. Enter, the massage mango.

massage mangoYes, the massage mango. It turns out the little nub/hook end is perfect for getting into the tendons aroundĀ  the ankle bone and in the arch. They were already frozen solid in the backĀ of theĀ freezer and this little guy worked wonders. I’m not sure of the longevity of a massage mango, but there’s only one way to find out šŸ™‚


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Product Review – Power Bar Performance Energy Blasts

It turns out that while training groups certainly provide camaraderie and coaching, there’s another big perk – free stuff! Before our long run on Saturday morning we had a guest speaker talk about nutrition and hydration. Best part? Shoe boxes full of free fuel for us to try! Trying not to be too much of a hog (there were still lots of people out on their much-longer-than-mine runs), I grabbed a variety of items that I have never tried before.

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Before my hill repeats workout this morning I decided to try out the Power Bar Performance Energy Blasts in orange flavor. I have never had any Power Bar products before, but I know that races tend to have their products out on the course and that I should probably try their stuff out sometime.

Observation: The bag is one serving, and has about 8 (maybe 10?) pieces in it. Each piece is about the size of a quarter, but about 1/2″ thick and is really quite chewy, like a gummy bear, but has a moist center.

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Opinion: The first thing I noticed is that the serving size seemed pretty big. It probably took me 20 minutes to get all of them down. However, I really liked them. I know you still need water to help the stomach absorb them properly, but it wasn’t like a gel where you NEED the water to wash it down. They sat well in my stomach and I felt fully energized for tackling my nemesis hill.

Bottom Line: I would happily try these again. These certainly aren’t something I could see myself stashing and munching on the run, especially because it took so long to chew each one and the packet it pretty big. But if you’re someone who tends to have a lot of nervous/anxious energy before a race, they could be a great option for pre-race fueling because they give you something to focus on that isn’t down the hatch in 7 seconds. Also good for people who like to pop a small bite on the run more frequently rather than chugging a gel pack every 45-60 min. Just make sure you don’t have a stuffy nose, or it could turn south quick.


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When life hands you lemons…

…apparently the bastards squirt you in the eyes.

lemonsI’m sorry I’ve been MIA these last two weeks. I did so many fun things that I wanted to tell you about, and thenĀ things got unfun.Ā Life is throwing lemons and mangoes and turnips at me right now and I need to get the piles of unwanted vegetation taken care of before life sends me ants, too.

Hopefully after this weekend I’ll get back to it. I promise I’m not ignoring y’all…. šŸ™‚