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.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Next up...

...Asics GEL-Kayano® 15!

SO basically I love my Asics...and love my GEL-Cumulus® 10s even more. Especially the fact that they are orange, which is why my whole blog was orange and such. ORANGE! Anyway, I wanted to either find the same exact pair, or bump up to the new Cumulus 11. But I figured going with the 10s would save me money, like they'd be on sale or something, being the old version and all? Not so much. I scoured the internet and basically they were going to cost $95 no matter what, which is what I paid for my pair last March.

Well, I got a coupon for $20 off $100 at FleetFeet in Brookfield from racing in the Steve Cullen, so I thought: "Omg what if they have my shoes! That would be a savings of a lifetime!" Drove on out there, but not so much. They're a fine establishment, but they don't really have too many Asics in general. Ah well. Luckily there's a Sports Authority right down block. They did NOT carry my Cumulus, but what's this? Kayanos that are normally ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY DOLLARS on sale for $99.98???? SOLD!!!!!

Well not exactly sold until I researched them a little on my phone first. But I mean for $140, they better be good right?! So I tried them on and literally ran up and down the shoe aisles for awhile. Mama likey! And the pink is always's no orange, but I dig it.

I got these Saturday, so I was actually kinda bummed that I couldn't try them out right away on my Sunday long run...but I didn't think busting out 8 miles in a new pair of shoes would be quite the stellar idea. So I'll start the break-in on my 4 mile tomorrow. Speaking of, it's actually a 4 Mile Virtual Race for Haiti! Because it's through Map My Run (the site I use to keep track of everything), you just plug in your info once you're done and post it to the race site. It's $30 and 100% of the proceeds go to the cause.

SO yes, I've changed up my blog to match my shoes, just like any fashionista would (I am like the exact opposite of a fashionista). And I will leave you with the most geeked out photo new shoes receiving an imaginary torch from my old know cuz of the Olympics and all.

oooh, white and shiny!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Half Training - Week Five

This afternoon I officially ran the furthest and longest of my little running career thus far, with 8.18 miles in an hour and a half! (Up till now, my furthest/longest was 7.22mi in 1:07 back in Sept.) For some reason, I was really nervous about this run all day. I don't know why I was building it up in my head, as it really isn't all that long. Perhaps because it WAS the newest mileage "personal record" since Sept. But once I got out there, the nerves melted away and the run felt fab! I definitely decided to cut it waaaay back pace-wise. I've been doing my regular week runs averaging a 9:30 pace. Well, I Half-Marathon-Shuffled it up big time and it felt wonderful. Just so relaxing! And even knowing I'd probably be running at LEAST an hour and a half, it was really nice not paying attention to my watch too! The whole thing just made me love running that much more.

So most of the route consisted of the path right next to the lakefront in my neighborhood. A couple miles of it run right along this beach and I actually almost transferred myself on over there because the path was ridiculous. It started out ok, but the snow and ice just got worse and worse. It's a good thing I was down with going so slow because there's no way I could've scampered along that path any quicker, trying not to roll my freaking ankle!

At the halfway mark, I had run for about 48 minutes, so that obviously works out to 12 minute miles. This is most definitely the slowest I've ever run, and while it is hard swallowing my pride in that sense, I know its good for me. Half Marathon Day is one thing, maybe I'll bust it out, but training, I just really gotta take it easy.

While breathing was an absolute picnic the whole time, what hurt was various odd parts of my legs: my inside right groin area, my left outer hip area, and the bottoms of my feet. At about an hour into the run, I stopped cold to stretch out my hips because it was getting really uncomfy! That helped, as did the Espresso flavored Hammer Gel I tore into once I stopped! Oh my YUM!! I decided to try it after a blogger pal's positive thoughts...I've always heard mixed reviews about Gu and my stomach can get iffy on runs, so I wasn't sure where to start until she mentioned this stuff. Not only did it NOT do any weird stomach things, it was so easy to ingest. See, I already have trubs swallowing my own mucus on runs, I had no idea how I was going to swallow something even more viscous (that's what she said?) But afterward, it was almost like I didn't eat the gel at all...there was no weird aftertaste or throat-grossness! Plus it was just absolutely delish. I have a few other flavors as well, so I look forward to trying those!

The funny thing about the Hammer Gel, however, is the part where I tried to follow these directions to pin the package to my running tights. I did everything just fine except for where I rounded the edges. Well I must cut a teeeeny tiny hole in the corner because when I reached for the package on the inside of my tights, there was a nickel-sized glob of it that had oozed and attached to my skin and tights. CLAAAAASIC Katie. Luckily, since it was like 30 degrees out, it was virtually frozen there and not going to like smear all over the place or anything. And when I got home, I just ran super hot water over the spot in my tights and it melted away with ease. I tell ya.

The one thing I wish I had, and hope to have access to soon, is water. I really shouldn't be running over and hour without SOME kind of water. But I just don't have the money right now to spend on a Fuel Belt, and I just don't like carrying anything in my hands when I run. (Uh Katie, isn't discomfort better than dehydration? Hello!!) I'll figure it out. The hilarious thing is that I was dealing with a classic: "water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink" scenario because snow is quite abundant, but all covered with droplets of God knows what. I could've stopped to dig into the four foot high snow banks for some fresh stuff, but I was over it. "I'll down a bunch when I get home," I thought to myself. Currently I'm almost through my 32oz bottle of water with more on the way. I figure it's not SO bad since I'm not sweating all the much.

Ok! So that's about it! I feel better about Week Five after this long run because I took it WAY too easy. Two 4 milers, yes, but barely ANY cross training and too much alcohol on Friday night ;) Tomorrow I'll try to write a shorter blog post (geez) about my NEW SHOES! I'm at 300mi plus on my current pair, but I'm really thinking I need to change it up with my leg pain and now foot-bottom pain I'm experiencing. Maybe I just wear shoes out faster, I don't know!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

t'shirt weather and bad runs

Not to make this blog completely negative (AGAIN), I will first say that:
1. it's gorgeous outside! Ok it's like 35 degrees, but with the sun it just feels warmer! SO warm, in fact, that a mile and a half into my run today, I had to take of my jacket and tie it around my waist! T'shirt weather!! The last time I wore a t'shirt was the Halloween run on Oct 31st.
2. Tuesday's run was awesome!! I felt good and I did 4mi in 37mins!

Today was another 4mi run, and I thought: bah, piece of cake! But my Lenten give-up squeezed itself into my running world because this was not so much a piece of cake. On a good note, I was so happy for the sunshine! I had officially bought a pair of MEN'S Dockers sporty sunglasses for $15. Trotting along, however, I just couldn't get into the groove and it kept getting worse. My legs felt horrible, a mixture of stiff and rickety like an old prison cell. Yes, that's it, I felt like my body was a prison cell and my happy-sunny-runner inside couldn't break free!!

About a mile in, I wanted to just turn back. I rarely get this feeling, but it's like an overpowering fear...just the simple three more miles ahead of me felt overwhelming and I wanted to stop. But a. I felt too lazy to turn and walk back (which sounds funny to me...walking more daunting then running?), and b. I was wearing running tights...there is no walking in running tights. I don't want people to laugh at me?? So laziness and fear of embarrassment kept me going. Into mile 2, I thought about just cutting the 4mi short, but I decided to focus on the mantra that, when training for a half marathon, distance is far more important than press on dear padawan! So I decided to just take this opportunity as a blessing in disguise to practice what I think I'll call my "Half Marathon Shuffle." Little slow steps that decrease my pace and conserve energy. Well this didn't really help at all and actually made me feel worse, I have no idea why. Mile 3 my legs continued to hurt which was a surprise to me. Whenever my knees hurt, they always get better halfway through my run, as my body loosens up...and then I finish feeling good. In this case, they just felt worse and worse and the pain spread all the point where slowing down (yes even MORE so)--or God forbid, stopping at a crosswalk, was murder. It took every ounce of energy to do it.

I surpassed the 37 minute mark with a quite of bit left to run. In my head I had already given up (but what the heck am I giving up on if I'm STILL running? I ask myself now!) I got to the last block...I always ALWAYS sprint the last block, roughly 6:30min mile speed. I couldn't even muster so much as a quick jaunt. I basically tumbled to the imaginary finish line feeling super defeated. I looked at my watch, and my brain read 45:02...a far cry from my 37 minutes from Tuesday. I wanted to curl up in a ball, I couldn't bare the thought of getting cleaned up and changing and going back to my desk. I seriously wanted to cry...I was completely depressed...which never happens after I run.

Then......WHILE getting dressed, I just so happened to look at my watch again. 42:05. Wait what? I literally had to stare down at it for a good 30 seconds to make sure my dyslexic brain in its depressive fog had truly mixed up the numbers earlier. Indeed it did. And that's when I absolutely laughed out loud at myself. How ridiculous ARE you, Katie? Getting depressed over something so silly and not only silly, but false. Because it seriously doesn't matter if I ran 4 miles in 37 minutes, 45 minutes, or 42 minutes. It's that I ran 4 miles at all. And if I'm going to be running 13.1 miles, I better as hell spring for an attitude adjustment.

With that said, I'm trying to stay positive about my 8mi run on Saturday. I'm wondering if perhaps I was dehydrated and low on calories today because of fasting yesterday and that's what did it. I also didn't wait long enough between eating lunch and running, which could've made me feel logey. Whatever the excuse, I think a positive attitude goes a long way, and the break from city running will probably help if I add more serene park paths this weekend.

Speaking of the weekend, I wish my tiny handful of readers happy running and happy weekends :)

** I would like to add to this post, that I happened upon the website, and these absolutely incredible stories have truly cheered me up. While I haven't run a marathon, or even a half marathon yet, I feel so honored to be a part of such an amazing and inspirational group of people: Runners. (And yes, I'm currently weeping at my desk, but for good stuff, no longer bad...)

Monday, February 15, 2010

8K Race and Half Training - Week Four

Alright alright! I'm sitting in a Starbucks, using some free WiFi, sippin' on an upside-down Caramel Macchiato! I just finished building my boyfriend a light box for his photography stuff. He's been talking and talking about making one, and while he was at work, I just went ahead and did it for him ;) Post-Valentine's Day gift?? We had a blast this V'day weekend...pulled a 500 Days of Summer and tooled around Ikea for more hours than most people probably do.

"Doesn't my new living room look lovely?"

"But our sink doesn't work!"

"Hey I ran a 5mi race today."

It was funny because we stopped at a 'Bucks afterward and the barista was like "What are you guys doing for Valentine's Day?" "Uhh, we went to Ikea?" Haha!

ANYWAY...I bring up the light box because I had off of work today for Prez Day, and it appeared as though I had plenty of time to take my 4mi run...but the day just gets away with you, especially when you sleep til 10am WHOOPS! So instead of running, I built the light box, and I'm at Starbucks WRITING about running. Ah whatevs, the weather absolutely sucks right now, so I'll just do it tomorrow.

Week Four of training, as I've already written about, has gone very very well! I'm feeling back to my old running self and have good vibes about how the rest of the training will go. My knee seems to be getting better too...which I'm hoping is due to the cross-training I've been doing. The fun kickboxing and dance dvds I work out to are murder on my quads and those are precisely the muscles I need to build up to balance out my muscular hamstrings, so my femur isn't rubbing against the back of my patella OUCH! I wanna vom just thinking about that! So anyway, Week 5 will entail two 4mi runs during the week and an 8mi this weekend. Now 8 will officially be my longest run to date (I ran a 7.5mi this past fall). I'm very excited to cross that line! And SPEAKING of crossing lines.......

My 8K!! I did a lot better than I thought I would! Let me set this race up for you in a three-pronged discussion:

1. According to this article in our city paper, the Journal Sentinel: "'This is a who’s who in the local running community.' In recent years, the Cullen [8K] has developed into competitive early-season test for the top runners in the area." So basically, it's not really a race for your casual runner. Al's Run is packed every year because it's a huge cause, very much in the spotlight. This Steve Cullen race is not only in the middle of winter, but it's longer. For example, despite it also being in the winter, the Sampson Stomp at the Mke Zoo being a shorter distance makes it more popular for casual runners. ANYWAY, omg Katie move there were only 500 runners in this badboy and many of them were elite.

2. In addition to this fact, the course is difficult!! Al's has a mild incline for the first 2-2.5 miles, but nothing too distracting. This one kicked into a steep hill right after the first half mile and it felt like it went on forever. You could hear people huffing and puffing already! It was pretty brutal! After that there were a bunch of significantly shorter hills scattered throughout. And then at the very end, the Big Monster. I swear this thing is at a 45 degree angle. And the Finish is at the top of it, so you see it looming, and you're just dying running up this monstrosity to get there!

3. And finally, most of the race was a park path, so say 4-5 ft wide? And said park path was, of course, covered in snow and ice. Some parts were traveled enough to allow the grippy asphalt beneath to come through. But sometimes it was on the left side, and this race was one of those "double back" types, so the fancy elite athletes were running toward you and you had to move back over to the right.

Alright, so Al's I ran in 42:41. Crazy impressive for me. This one I ran in, according to MY watch, 46:29. And I think that's awesome considering the addition of all the crazy hills AND non grippy snow/ice surface!! Ok enough blabbering, I will provide my stats here to let you see what I mean:

bib number: 356
age: 30
overall place: 307 out of 518
division place: 11 out of 32
gender place: 97 out of 226
time: 46:50 (This makes sense because I took note that I crossed the start 15-20 seconds after the gun. I'M saying 46:29!)
pace: 9:26 (Again, I'M saying 9:16!)

~link to my stats

So basically this is nowhere near my usual percentile (my typical age div/gender is in the top 20% and then like 30-35% overall).

I get really crazy about stats...I should probably stop :)

After the race, and after the barf-up-my-Huevos-Rancheros feeling wore off, I shuffled into the warming tent for my bowl of chili and two beers :) I also grabbed a cup full of candy hearts for my boyfriend who had so lovingly gone through the ridiculous horror that was trying to drop me off, and then pick me up. The race Start/Finish was nestled into this park, so there really was no access by anything other than foot. SO I had to run a half mile to get to the race (we got there late-ish), this INCLUDED the aforementioned Big Monster by the by! And then I ran another half mile AFTER the race to get to my boyfriend's car. Interestingly enough, when I slumped into the passenger seat, I looked down at the cup o' candy hearts I had been juggling and at the top was a larger heart face up which said "You Rock"...awesome :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ooooh gift ideas!

Quick post, via Beth Risdon's column. [I'm going to double up and probably post a couple of these at my Love on a Budget blog, but it's more relatable here first.]

Some super awesome and rad gift ideas for the girly runners in YOUR life (hopefully our mates read these blogs hey ladies?) The one I most particularly like is the charm idea. So cute! Stuff like that is always so thoughtful. A friend/coworker of mine mailed me a "Runner Girl" bumper sticker awhile back and it just totally made my month! It makes you that much more motivated!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I was thinking today's run would not need a blog post...thinking it'd just be a typical 3.5mi and nothing to write home about. Oh but it was. I've been a total Negative Nancy today and it's not going to stop now haha!

As I said before, I moved my run from yesterday to today because I knew the sidewalks would probably be more clear, AND it would be sunny which helps when it's extra cold out. Oh the sun was my enemy today my dear friends. The run started out better than usual because my knee didn't hurt. But around the 4th block, I had to start doing some fancy footwork because, what's that, oh yeah the sidewalks WEREN'T clear. This is downtown Milwaukee people, not like the forest trails! So trying to jump over one of the snowbanks blocking the intersection I needed to cross, I landed on my foot all weird which triggered the knee trouble a sharp, but aching twinge. After a mile, I got so sick of trying to manage the walks and intersections, I just decided to run in the street which is a little awkward with downtown traffic. Meanwhile, I'm not sure if it's because of the cold or the awkward footing, but I felt so slow like I was running in lead. Well, before I knew it I WAS running in lead!! Ok no I wasn't, but basically the lakefront path that's on my route was not cleared, and it was too late to take a different here I was, trampling through snow a foot deep...I think I was running on the grass part? I have no idea! So that went on for about a quarter only like a few minutes at least.

Switching directions now, I was running into the sun. So all I could see were blazingly shiny puddles. I couldn't escape them! I tried looking upwards or closing my eyes, but the terrain was far too uneven to "guess" what was next (sometimes when I'm running long paths that I've done a million times, I close my eyes to relax and it's very calming!). Back to the shiny puddles. So about five minutes of this, it ocular migraine. Oh how I loath these. They start in the middle of your vision as a sparkly mass, like if you accidentally looked at the sun or a bright reflection (AKA: A SHINY PUDDLE!), and then work their way out to the periphery of your vision. Here's a good photo of what it kinda looks like:

It's more sparkly than that though, and there are more jagged edges. And it's blinding. The whole mass is a giant blind spot, which clearly isn't any fun at all. Anyway, once the sparkly mass hits the edge and goes away (20 minutes), this is when the headache may or may not hit. Usually I don't get a debilitating migraine, thank goodness, but I do get a mild feels like I'm underwater...a general pressure.

The remainder of the run was just as frustrating as ever. I hit all the traffic lights, the snow and slop was everywhere, and people would NOT step aside. Finally I got so fed up, I shouldered this poor Asian girl standing in the middle of the sidewalk not paying attention. I said sorry. I was mostly just annoyed with the migraine because I know what the rest of my day will be like. It's not bad at all, so it doesn't warrant going home by any means, but the headache just sits there hovering in a very annoying way.

Well despite all that, I ended up going 3.65, at 9:40min miles and that's actually pretty impressive CONSIDERING all that hullaballoo! So I'll kick Negative Nancy outta here and get Kalm, Kool, and Kollected Katie back in the mix. I rewarded my trubs with a 60¢ Nature Valley granola bar from my work's vending machine, so I'm already feeling better :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Because who doesn't love winning stuff?!

Via C.E.E.'s kickass blog, the following link is a kickass giveaway for the three runners that probably read my blog: WIN FREE CHAMPION GEAR HERE!

Meanwhile, yes, quite a boatload of snow happening here. Yesterday I rocked out inside to a dance dvd (I am literally the worst dancer ever...why don't I have coordination?!) and today I'm using my one rest day, so tomorrow hopefully the sidewalks will be a little more cleared out for my 3.5mi. Speaking of...I ran 3.5mi on Monday at 9:05 minute miles. I am seriously back to Runner Katie again and it's awesome motivation!!

And finally, I'm like a friggin stalker checking up on Maggie's Half Marathon Update, but nothing yet! Soooo curious ;)

Saturday's my 8K race and it's funny that I built Al's Run up in my head to be this giant crazy goal, which it was don't get me wrong, but now that I've got this new insane goal, running an 8K is less worrisome. I will NOT be running it in 42:41, however. No way!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Half Training - Week Three

Before I get started here, I just want to wish a fellow running blogger a very special good luck on her Half Marathon this weekend. She just started running this past August, so it's quite a feat for a noob. Oddly enough, it's BECAUSE she's a novice doing a Half that I'm doing my own. I've got a competitive streak and I'm definitely one to be inspired by the goals of others :) Anyway, I'm very excited to see how it goes!

Ok sometimes I like to just blabber on about my every little detail. Clearly people reading could really care less about these stupid little observations, but I find them entertaining. And that's what I like about running. Each run is different in some distinct way. Sometimes this part of your body hurts while this part finally feels great. Sometimes people around you are annoying and making cat calls. Sometimes you come across a bizarre situation. Sometimes you run into someone you know. In any case, in this particular post I'm in the mood to talk about tonight's little details.

Tonight was my 6 miler and let me start off by saying that it was virtually perfect. I felt great, even better than last week's 5 which was all awesome n' stuff. This is because if tonight's run was a vacation spot, it would be the Bahamas...aside from the temp of that I took it eeeeaasy like Sunday morning! With that said, reason why I took it easy: my first step onto the pavement. Nightmare. My left knee just shot with pain immediately...step after step after step. So much so that I was limp-running! I was like: uh this isn't good...but me being me, I just dealt with it and ran super slow and super light, like ginger baby steps. This went on for a mile, so I probably did it in like 11-11:30 minutes! Yipes! The great thing about this, however, was that my breathing felt like laying in a hammock on a June day in the late afternoon...ahhhhh.

Next up was the part where I passed a condo's gym with giant windows and inside I saw an older gentleman walking the treadmill with a button down, sweater vest, and khaki slacks on?!?

Then my running tights felt like cactus and were reaching into areas I didn't know existed, until I literally had to stop (which I hate doing) and adjust everything.

And then, because a large snowstorm is approaching and because I ran downtown and on the lakefront, it was blustery as all get out. Luckily I was running with the wind...unluckily I had decided to put my hair in a ponytail instead of two pigtails like usual. So my bangs don't really stay up. So here's the gale force winds whipping my bangs into my eyes and mouth until I let out an extremely frustrated sigh and tried to re-ponytail everything WHILST keeping up my pace (which is still like 10:30 min miles, mind you...haha!). I ran another mile and it just didn't work. I know bangs in your eyes and mouth probably sounds like a walk in the park, but I seriously wanted to start throwing things, what I wouldn't GIVE for a couple of barrettes. Finally I took all of my hair down and started over, putting the two sides into pigtails. STILL running! And because I was running, it took me forever, and the people I passed by probably thought I was nuts!!

After that, I said to myself: alright Katie, let's get the heck out of this hammock already! So I picked up the pace. Approaching the last mile and a quarter, I looked at my watch: 49:00 Aw crap! I'm so NOT going to do this in under an hour am I?? I kicked it up several notches. I crossed my imaginary finish hour, one minute, fifty-five seconds...deece.

Ahh, I crack myself up. Anyway, Week 3 was great! I'm up to two 3.5mi runs during the week. The second one I did at a 9:30min mi pace which is really getting back in the swing of things! I'm truly getting back to my old self and it makes me feel great! I did some more kickboxing this week too which was a ton of fun! I'm learning the moves and I don't feel so stumbley!

I had to do my "weekend" long run tonight because tomorrow I'm heading to Madison for the Wisconsin v Michigan Hockey Classic in Camp Randall as in outdoors! I can't wait!! So WALKING (and beering?) will by my cross-training tomorrow ;)

Ok! One of my near-future goals is to get a new pair of shoes. I'm starting to notice some slight discomfort and it'll be good to break in a new pair for the Half. Thanks to ANOTHER fellow running blogger for the advice!! :)

*SIDEBAR!! THIS JUST IN! I looked at my MapMyRun training log and for Week 3 I ran exactly 13.1 miles!!! It like suddenly hit me: Ok! That's what you did this week, in nine weeks, you'll be doing all that in ONE DAY!!!! WHOOOOOOOOSHHHHHHHH!!!!!