For as long as I can remember, I told people "I can't run." But in March of 2009, I decided that this was no longer an option. From my first 5K to my second half marathon, I've endured my highest highs and lowest lows as an official Runner. This year I want to embrace running for something beyond times and distances.

Running is so much more than merely getting out there. I want to get out there and love it.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Half Training - Week Two

To cap off Week Two of my half training...awesome awesome AWESOME 5 mile run!!! I haven't had a run like that in ages! The further I went, the better I felt, and it's those kind of runs you just dream of, right?! I FELT like a real runner out there....instead of a heaving, struggling, sack of crap like my other runs have felt haha! I felt so swift and compact and my breathing was almost effortless...instead of struggling to maintain my oxygen levels like the past couple weeks. Anyway, one reason this happened is because I went slow. I did exactly ten minute miles almost the whole way (the last 1/2-1mi I did faster). Last year my main goal was to quicken my pace so I could get good times in my races. But today some light bulb went on inside my head. This year I'm training for a half marathon (duh) and the key is to maintain a certain energy level, rather than gain speed (duh again). If I feel anything like I felt today on that half marathon day...well then that run will feel fabulous. And I want it to feel fabulous. (And by "fabulous" I mean not-wanting-to-puke-my-brains-out fab, as opposed to sitting-on-a-beach-with-an-umbrella-drink-in-my-hand fab.)

ANYWAY! This Lightbulb Moment really helps me to hone in on my focus in these next ten weeks of training. I know it was just the beginning back there, but I was getting all kinds of discouraged. Classic Katie. This run was just what I needed to make me feel like a runner again!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I ran on Monday night after work, it was probably around 25 degrees or so, but very blustery and tiny bits of sleet were pelting my face. It was a classic "thought I was going faster than I was" run and, long story short, I was really disappointed in my results when I recorded my route and time. The winter was what frustrated me most. I don't know if I just had the end-of-day exhaustion blues or what, but I really dipped low and felt like, how the hell am I going to run this winter?

Well last night I went to Target to find better running coverage for my a head/ear band or something. Every run I've done so far this winter is murder on my lungs. And the wind is like butcher knives piercing my eardrums. Of course Target put all of their winter stuff away (uh hello Wisconsin in January???), but low and behold, I found a balaclava in the winter sports section reduced to $6! It's not at all sexy and I look like a ninja, but it does the job real well! There's a mesh patch right by the mouth which works WONDERS for my breathing. So today's official temp is: "19 degrees F | Feels Like: 3 degrees F | Wind: From WSW at 20mph gusting to 25mph". Ouch. But with my balaclava, my running tights AND yoga pants, my moisture-wicking long sleeve shirt AND jacket, and my running gloves (love that "functional wiping surface!")...I was actually too warm! In the "home stretch" of my runs, I usually go balls out and triple my speed for the final block, and today, I had to take off the balaclava so I wouldn't completely overheat. Then, of course, all the sweat and mucus immediately froze to my face ;) Ahhhh winter runners...we look oh so attractive!

But I run was actually pretty great for once! I'm picking up speed again and breathing isn't as labored as last week. Definitely motivational! And now that I have the proper protection, I feel way better too, particularly about my lungs. Maybe I can finally get over the remnants of this cold virus!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Half Training - Week One

Alright, so first of all, I decided to get super Miss Organizized about this whole half marathon situation. I was hemming and hawing about it for the last few weeks because I'm the opposite of prepared. But because I always need a swift quick in the ass when it comes to motivation, there's nothing like training for a half marathon out of nowhere to kick you swiftly in the ass. Ok, well, not completely out of nowhere. Minus the month hiatus, I'm a couple months shy of a year of running. I've run a small fistful of 5Ks and one 8K. The thing is...13.1 miles ain't no 5 miles. The longest I've run is 7.25mi at around a 9:18min mile pace and it wasn't even that taxing. That was stellar for me. This Sunday I ran 4mi at just a few seconds under 10min miles and it was...kinda taxing. Meh. So for this reason, I need to focus, work hard, and stop looking back. I kind of see this whole thing as me starting running for the first time, like back in March of '09...only on a grander scale.

Oh and WHY am I doing this?? Two reasons. 1. I've already touched on: I hear more and more 'beginner' runners going for this goal this spring, and I'm like say wah?? "If they can do it, I sure can!" I'm a sucker for competition. And 2. I think my running personality is more distance than speed. I have a runner friend who is just so stellar at races and I hope she starts getting all sorts of huge crazy trophies and stuff! Meanwhile, that won't be me, but that's all good! I'll have distance be my running goals. I'm down!

So with that said, the following is a schedule I sort of based off of Hal Higdon's 'Novice' schedule.

The main change I made personally was to up the mileage more quickly so I could get up to 14 miles three weeks before the Half, and then I could taper. I was feeling a little weird about having race day be the day I get up to that mileage...situations like that make me want to vom on race day. And then I read a similar sentiment on a fellow runner's blog, so I couldn't help but agree. Now, for those people out there who don't care about a time, or don't even care if they walk, just so they complete the mileage somehow...then the training becomes more flexible! But I'm psychotic. I can't walk during a race...any race. I can't even walk during my runs! I started my running career with a 10 week walk/run interval schedule, and once I was able to run straight for 3-4 miles, I didn't look back. Thus, it is my personal stance that, for me, this half marathon MUST be a running half marathon through and through. And that, of course, makes it all the more daunting!

In addition to the running, I've got cross of course. Before I started running I did workouts like Pilates and "twist step" (a stair type machine). In the past year, all I've done was run. I think when you boost your goal so intensely, you should probably really cross train hey? So via the magic of Netflix and Roku, I can stream workout DVDs from my internet connection to my tv...awesome. I've got Yoga, Pilates, Kickboxing, Weights, even Dance, that I'll sprinkle in throughout the week. Also, I know putting a smaller distance race into your training is always a good idea, so I'll probably do the Steve Cullen Healthy Heart 8K on Feb. 13th.

At the end of the day, I really have no goal time, and I'm not even going to think about a goal time. Like, I don't even know what a good goal time would BE for someone like me. All I want is to run the crazy thing in its entirety. And not pass out at the end.

ANYWAY! Week One was this past week. I ran three 3mi days (including a 5K race) and one 4miler. I did some yoga, but no other cross. I got that all organized tonight for the remaining 11 weeks. So yeah...we'll see about this whole crazy thing! I'm not going about it lightly. I'm not one to say: yeah cool, I'll do that no problem! I'm scared shitless and it's three months away. But being scared shitless gets me running. And just think...bikini season what?? Hahaha!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Back in the saddle!

A few little updates:

I decided to start running during my work lunch hour. We have a shower here, so that's nice. And right now I just can't run in the dark in my neighborhood...not a good idea. So far it's working out well! I have plenty of time to run at least 3 miles. The hard part is actually doing that. My first time back on the asphalt, after my six week hiatus, was last week Wednesday. The run wasn't actually too bad, but I went relatively slow (9:30 min. mi.) and only went 2.5 miles. Today, I was really focused on going at least 3, and I thought I timed it perfectly. Nope. 2.94 miles. Bah so close! In fact, if I had just gone to the end of the block my office is on, instead of stopping at the door where I started, it would've been 3 exactly. Ah well. In any case, today's run was the WORST!! More on that in a second.

This weekend was the Milwaukee Co. Zoo's Samson Stomp 5K. I believe this event has been going since 1980?? So this year's "30th anniversary" shirt listed all the years and the temperature of that year. While 2010's January in Wisconsin has been forgiving (it was around 20 degrees or so), in past years it's been in the negatives! Two years ago it was -4. Yeah. In any case, the race winds through the zoo and parking lot. It's VERY hilly and that was definitely my downfall. As was the cold damp air (I would've almost rather had it 8 degrees and dry than 20 and wet)...I'm still getting over my chest cold and that phlegm just sat right there in my throat/trachea...awesome! So my final time on my watch was 28:09. Very very disappointing. Only because I ran my first 5K in 27:53. And of course my best 5K was 25:30! So basically I'm in worse shape now and that's just not good at all. But!! Talk about fuel for the fire. Now I'm on a mission to get back to where I was.

So back to today's I was passing the two mile mark, I kind of figured out that my muscles aren't so much the problem, it's my lungs. Perhaps your lungs atrophy more quickly than muscles when you take breaks. Add in the whole chest cold thing, and the fact that the air is so cold right now, it's so hard to breathe. And I didn't even get a chance to ease into it because of the stupid hiatus. Anyway, I have to be confident in the fact that I can get back on track. Additionally, boy have I learned my lesson! Barring any serious injury, I'm never taking that long of a break again!!

The official stats are finally in:
bib number: 999
age: 30
overall place: 384 out of 1097
division place: 17 out of 90
gender place: 101 out of 520
time: 28:03
pace: 9:02
~link to my stats

So within the top 19% of my age and gender (and 35% overall)...that's practically the same EXACT place I was in for the 8K last fall! And that race I did spectacular in! So honestly? I'm not AS bad as I thought after the hiatus, all things considered ;)

Friday, January 1, 2010


Post last published on November 1st, wow that's pretty awful! While I'm not one to make excuses (who am I kidding?), the month of December was anything BUT an opportunity for extra time to squeeze running into the picture. So I took a month hiatus (I believe the last time I ran was on Dec 3rd?) In addition to preparing for the holidays, which included shopping, wrapping, baking, cooking, and hand-making 43 unique Christmas cards, each one different, I packed up my entire life and moved in with my boyfriend. I will tell you right now that the worst possible time for you to move in Wisconsin is in the winter, but worse is during Christmas. I seriously don't know what I was thinking. On moving day--December 26th--of course it had to snow...of course it did. And the cleaning, my God the cleaning. I lived in my old apartment for four years and that is four years of dirt in places you never knew existed. In any case, I am currently as snug as a bug in a really large, gorgeous, Arts and Crafts style second floor apartment, a block from Lake Michigan, with two cats, and a seriously amazing boyfriend.

Now that I'm settled, I can restart my life back up again, and that includes my life as a runner! So with that said, here are some goals for 2010.

-Overcome my fear of running in Wisconsin winters.

I do perfectly well with cold runs, in fact, I really enjoy them because I "run hot," in other words, I run in a t-shirt and shorts when it's 40 degrees outside, and I'm still sweaty. But in the winter it isn't 40. Oh no my dears. Right now it's 12 degrees outside and that's actually not bad. The low for Sunday is supposed to hover right around zero. Now I got a pair of nice cozy running gloves for Christmas. For my birthday, which is Wednesday, my stepdad is taking me to a running store for a little spending spree! So I'll pick up some running tights and a hoodie, and perhaps look into a face mask of some kind because the worst part about winter running is breathing zero degree air into your lungs. Another negative to running in the winter is the darkness. I wake up, it's dark. I get out of work, it's dark. And while Milwaukee isn't the worst crime-ridden city...oh wait, yeah it is! We rank Number 9 so that's awesome and really makes me want to venture out into the darkness.

Now, I thought about joining a gym for two months (January and February are rough here, but March isn't bad at all, that's when I started running, and it was mostly 35-45 degrees, very handle-able!), but a. I don't know if I really want to shell out the money for a gym, and b. you just don't get the same workout on a treadmill that you do in the outdoors (and it's definitely REALLY boring too!) So this winter thing is a biggie, and I truly hope to find the motivation to get out there.

-More races!

I have a really good friend at work who seriously kicks major ass at running. She did 18 races this past year and wants to surpass that goal big time this year. We're not competitive with one another per se because she's clearly a more established runner than I am ;) However, she gives me a lot of motivation to kind of "keep up" with her abilities! So I'd love to sign up for more races and keep my running spirit alive that way.

-Run a half marathon questionmark???

And speaking of running in more races, I recently read on a running blog I follow, a fellow beginner runner is going to try a half marathon in the spring. She recently ran her first 5K, so this is a pretty huge goal! But she set up shop with a trainer and, while it's a huge goal, it's also a realistic goal if she truly puts her mind, spirit, and energy into it! Well this got me thinking: There's a half marathon literally right in my new neighborhood this April. It's SO tempting, but originally my "big running goal" for 2010 was just a 15K in the fall. Now that would be 9 miles vs 13 miles, so slapping an extra 4 miles onto my original goal...and then moving it up six no big deal at all right? Right??

I definitely need a kick in the ass, in regards to the aforementioned winter blahs putting a kink into my routine. I had a good thing going back there and was up to 7 miles, and a pretty easy 7 miles at that! When I was in my prime, around November, reaching the 9 mile mark was going to be a piece of cake. Now maybe not so much, but I don't think a month off put me too far off track. So with that said, I think waiting for my "giant goal" of a 9 mile race waaaaaay off in October isn't as exciting AND we all know that Katie needs exciting goals to keep herself motivated. So with this said, I'm just going to keep my options open. The Half barely costs anything and I can sign up day of, no big deal.

Alright, so that's 2010 for you! This is the year I spend being 30 years old, so it's a red letter year for sure. I'd love to make it count.