Friday, May 25, 2012

Dear Compression Socks,

Wow. What can I say? I always wanted to wear knee high socks, but I had never worked up the nerve to actually do it. It takes a certain kind of person to pull off knee highs. Athletes, school girls, strippers, skinny legged luckies (coining that term!). Those types of chicks can pull it off. I never could... until now.

I guess this means I fall in the category of 'athlete', because I am not a school girl, stripper, or skinny legged lucky. I first became aware of compression socks at the Run, Forrest, Run 5K. I saw all these runners wearing knee high socks on and I immediately wanted a pair for myself. I wasn't even aware that they served a purpose- I just thought they looked fun!

So I googled 'knee high running socks'. Ha. Little did I know. They weren't just knee highs, they were scientifically designed compression socks meant to keep blood flowing. Apparently, these stockings were first designed for diabetics. They're good for helping circulation.

Rumor on the net was that these cutie socks would not only make me 50% sexier, they would also make me run faster, better, stronger, longer. I was skeptical of their powers, but I plunked down $38 bucks for a bright pink pair, because HEY worse comes to worst? They're still really cute.

Welll. WELL. They are miracles. I've worn them twice now. The first time, I ran 3 miles and didn't feel tired afterwards.

Today? I ran 2 miles at my fastest time ever (2.18 Miles @ 9:37/mile) but you know what? I didn't feel like I was anywhere near hitting my wall. These socks really work!

So, my dear compression socks, I would like to say thank you. Thank you for taking my running to a whole new level, and for finally giving me a legitimate reason to wear knee highs for the rest of my adult life.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Zulu 5K Run To Ride

(Max before the race!)

This Saturday, Max and I woke up at 6:30am, hopped on our bikes and rode to Zulu Headquarters for the Zulu Run to Ride 5K.  Yes, we are hardcore.

This race was the smallest one we've participated in yet. The crowd was about 1/3 what it was at Run, Forrest, Run 5K and about 1/2 what it was at Étouffée 5K two weekends ago.

The bike ride was really nice, and it was a great way to warm up our legs before the race. We'll definitely be doing that again when we run the Fat Boy 5K in two Sundays in City Park.

There was a rainbow-themed slip 'n' slide set up for the kids. I was tempted to go for it, but I didn't want to be wet before the race, and after the race I was pooped! Here's how the race went for me:

The race route was great for the first 1/2. Max took off from the starting line immediately and I only saw him again when he passed me at the turn around point. The race went along this channel that goes along the bottom edge of City Park. I  think it's called Bayou St. John or something? It was really pretty!

The problem was that by the second part of the race, the SUN was out in full force... my mile times went like this:

mile 1 (not too hot): 9:59/mile "I'm feeling good!"
mile 2 (sort of hot): 10:02/mile "I'm gonna finish in 31 minutes!"
mile 2.25 (hellishly hot): 10:17/mile "What happened? I want to die!"

The Zulu race was full of characters- as expected. There were lots of people in grass skirts and coconut bra tops (worn over their regular running gear). There were also a few familiar faces in the crowd! No, not NOLA buddies- just people we recognized from previous 5Ks.

Max crossed the finish line at 27:20, which is pretty freaking amazing.

We don't have a finish line picture of Max because he finished before me, so who could take a pic? (We need a spectator friend! Taking applications now, NOLA buddies!) Here he is after the race. The amazing thing about pic is that Max was really, really wiped afte the run. He really threw all of himself in to beating his PR, which he did. He was really, really exhausted and weakened by the run- and yet look at him! In this picture he's smiling!

(Best finishing photo ever! Thx Max!)
This isn't to say I wasn't totally wiped out from the race myself. As I said above, the heat took it's toll on me. I could see the finish line ahead of me, and I could see the clock ticking away... 31:40, 31:45, 31:48.... my goal of finishing in the 31st minute was so close. I was 100 feet from the finish line, but I couldn't go any faster without fear of puking/fainting/both, so I had to stay even-tempoed and ended up finishing with a time of 32:02.

(Max, put the camera down and take this from me!)
As soon as I crossed the line, I collapsed in to Max's arms. :-) He escorted me to a spot in a gas station where I could sit down. I was hot, tired, sun stroked, and so freaking happy, as seen in this picture here:

We went back to Zulu headquarters. I recovered pretty quickly, but Max was really feeling crappy because he was running an 8.7 min mile, which is a lot harder on the body than a 10:17 min mile, so I fetched him many Gatorades while I ate a free fudgesicle.  We still don't understand how people can finish a race at 9am and then start drinking free beer, but once again everyone seemed more than willing to drink up. We waited until Max and I felt steady again and then rode our bikes home.

We showered, and then I made us our favorite meal. Blueberry pancakes!!!!!!!!!!

We've ordered compression socks which are supposed to make us and our recover times faster... stay tuned for our results from the Fat Boy 5k this Sunday, 5/27, so see how they affect our times.

Peace out, runners!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Race Day tomorrow!

Can't wait to run in the Zulu Run-to-Ride 5K tomorrow! I took this morning off because I want my legs to be happy for the race.

Lately my shins have been killing me! But I think that pain comes from me kicking so much ass and running so much faster than I ever have before.

I'm staring down a 9 minute mile. I really, really want to run a mile in 9 minutes.

I want a 9 min mile to happen tomorrow at the race... but I'll settle for breaking my 5K PR of 33:20. What would make me really happy is a time of 31:00, which would mean that I stuck with a 10 min mile pace the entire race...

Baby steps.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

2 miles @ 11:50 mph

Ran 2 miles this AM with Max and Lucy Dog. My leg muscles were so tight that it was hard to get moving, but by the last mile I was almost 100%. Glad I didn't opt to sleep in another hour instead.

I suppose it's because I upped my miles slightly, but I have been getting beaten down by my runs lately. They've lost that "yay" feeling and are back to feeling like "why?????"

The good news is that I have a 5K on Saturday that's keeping me motivated. If I beat my PR, I'll want to train hard for the next race on the 27th. If I don't beat my PR, I'll want to train hard for the next race on the 27th.

It's the motivation version of win-win. :)

Friday, May 11, 2012

3 miles @ 6mph

I am getting faster!!! I can't believe I'm actually running a 10 minute mile consistently now! I was stuck at 12 mph for so long!

The secret is Max. He's stupid fast and his stupid fastness is rubbing off on my plain stupidness.

Or, what I meant to say was: Max's speeds pushed me to keep up with him. And even though I still can't keep up with him, I am running faster. I guess I wasn't pushing myself hard enough to go faster before!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

3 miles @ WTF MPH

Did 3 miles before work today.

Am I the only one who wants to kill the Nike+ app sometimes? And I'm not even hating it because of the sucky GPS (I'm pretty sure that's NOLAs fault...?)

I'm mad at Nike+ app today because before my run, I purposefully went into settings and changed it so that clicking on my headphones would pause my workout (so I could eliminate the minutes from my workout where I'm just waiting for Lucy Dog to do her business) and yet BOOM, I go to pause the workout when Lucy needs to pee and TA-DA! no pause. So now my MPH are all fucked. I swear, I don't run an 11:30 mile anymore! I'm better than that!

I went to run 3 this AM to prep for the two 5Ks I have coming up, but now I have no way of knowing if I was going faster or not. Thanks, Nike.

I guess if I compare the Nike+ app to the Nike+ website it's a dream come true, though. For a company that loves Apple, they have the clunkiest Flash website of all time.

They keep promising a new, better, faster, smarter website...

Still waiting, guys!

ED NOTE: Turns out the reason it wasn't working is because I put my phone to sleep before I put it in my nike running shorts pockets. Still stupid.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

New Running Top(s)

I just realized I need to get a couple new running tops. I usually only run in my blue tank because it's mesh and breathable, but looking over the pics on this blog it is kind of weird that I'm wearing the same shirt in every picture!

I promise I wash my workout clothes every time! I have ensuite laundry!!!!


Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, bitches.  Here's what I eat for breakfast (after I get home from running):

At Home:
1/4 cups worth of Bob's Red Mill 10 grain pancake batter (makes 4 mini cakes) - 90 cal
1/2 cup of blueberries for the pancakes 40 cal
1 1/2 large eggs for pancakes 108 cal
1/2 tbsp Maple syrup 26 cal
1/2 OJ 41 cal
TBSP of milk for coffee 20 cal
Coffee 0 cal

Once I arrive at Work:
1 twelve ounce smoothie 325 cal, lovingly prepared by Max with these ingredients:
Chia Seeds
1/2 banana
(all fruit is frozen)

I eat 1500 cal every day, and approx 630 of them come first thing in the AM. I follow this power breakfast up w/ lunch, dinner, and snacks each worth 300 cal for a daily total of 1500 cal.

2 miles @ 5.6 mph

Woke up and went for a run with Lucy this morning. Even though I didn't want to get out of bed, I reminded myself that I would regret it all day if I didn't run. Max is injured (calves, as usual) so that made it even harder to justify getting out of bed and running...

I got myself out of bed, though, and had one of the best runs ever! I felt great. I can really feel my legs getting stronger and faster.

Lucy and I got back home panting and sweating, respectively, and then I showered, got dressed, poured Max and myself coffee, made whole wheat pancakes, ate breakfast, did my makeup and listened to the Stern show.

Life is good.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

5K Race Photos

Max pulled a Sherlock Holmes on me and found some pictures of us running in both of the 5Ks we've completed:

First up, our FIRST 5K! This was taken about 30 seconds in to the race. This is the worst part of the race- all the walkers and runners and joggers and strollers are all clumped together. This is the closest I'll ever come to being a fish. Upstream, baby. Upstream.

Max and I realized pretty quickly that we'd have to come up with a strategy to break away from the other fishies, so we spotted the Dad in yellow pushing a stroller and drafted behind him. Strollers cut a wide path, dontchaknow!

(In blue, behind the Dad in yellow)
(Don't mind us, we're just drafting... yes our dog can also draft!)
It's funny to have that memory of the race, and then see it here in a picture. What will them come up with next? Moving pictures????

(Me in blue, Lucy Dog in bandana, Max in black, in the shades)
Close up so you can see Max and Lucy! I love that Max looks like he's my secret service detail.

And from the start of our first race, cut to the finish of our most recent race:

(Here I am crossing the finish line with Max cheering me on!)
Here's the funny thing about this picture: You see that chick in turquoise just ahead of me? She had just run up behind me and literally jumped in front of me in the last moment before we crossed the finish line and are corralled by the ropes. In this picture, if you look closely, you can see me giving her the stink eye. She really almost tripped me!! See you next Tuesday!! at the race.... next Tuesday... yeah.

But I didn't let it bother me too much (obviously) because my main man Max was there cheering me on. It's hard to stay mad at anyone when you've just crossed the finish line of a race and your boyfriend is there to cheer you on and steer you towards a dry spot in the grass where you can collapse.

Can't wait for a picture of me where both my feet are off the ground

Monday, May 7, 2012

5K Etouffee

(Heading to the race!)
Well Max and I ran in our 2nd ever 5K this Sunday. The second best thing to come out of the race (besides the fact that Max and I both set new PRs) is that I can now spell Etouffee. 

We planned on waking up at 6:30a and biking 5 miles to Audubon Park, where the race was held... Well hold on to your hats and glasses because THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN. Instead we just hopped in a cab and saved our legs for the 'race' thingamajig. (Fun fact, Spellcheck is totally fine with the way I spell thingamajig!) 

It was a great morning to race, as see here:
(Shoes tied? Check!)
(Lots of kids at this race.)

Max and I took pics of each other before the race started, but Max's photo had a weird shadow where his... crouch is so it has been redacted. Here's mine: 

We lined up for the race and got treated to the best/worst version of our National Anthem ever. The chick just started wrong and it kept getting worse. There were more than a few chuckles from the crowd.  It was awesome. 
(Our view of the starting line.)

Max and I started off together, but he broke away after the first mile and finished at 28:28, which was good enough to earn him 93rd in the men's division. Pretty awesome! I came in at a blistering (not literally) 33:20 which earned me the 75th place in the women's division. (There were 169 women and 177 men running the race.)

After the race, I felt weak but not as weak as I did after the 5K last week. The weirdest part was after the race my hands and fingers swelled up so much my ring was hurting me! I'm not worried, though.

(Victorious Max claims tree as sofa!)

(Victorious Val claims T-shirt as medal!)

We ended up walking 2.5 miles back towards our place before we couldn't take it anymore and called a cab. I was then in and out of consciousness for the rest of the day. I'm not sure why running 2 miles before work feels awesome, but running 3.1 miles on Sunday AM feels like I just worked in the coal mines... but it sure zapped my energy to do everything except eat 1,000,000,00 bowls of Red Berries. 

We had a blast, wished Lucy was with us, and decided we should run another one again ASAP! 

Friday, May 4, 2012

2 miles @ 10mph

Another good morning run. Getting in to a routine is the difference between success and failure. The more days in a row Max and I get out of bed and run the more likely we are to continue the streak.

Felt good today, although Max and I were both feeling a little sluggish. Personally, I was held back by the heat. Max was held back by his calves. Even though we've been using The Stick on him, they were still tensing up. So the plan is for him to really stretch and massage them all day today, and then we'll take tomorrow off so he's in good shape for the 5K Étouffée race this Sunday in Audubon Park.  

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I just compiled all of the data from my runs (I use Nike+, Map My Run, and my own spreadsheet to keep track of my workouts, depending on if I'm working out on a treadmill or running outside).

In August 2011 I started this crazy "running" thing and by year's end I had run 96 miles.

It's now May 2012. So far for 2012, I've run 200 miles.

For those who suck at the maths, that's 296 miles since August 2011!

2.18 Miles @ 6mph

Max, Lucy and I did 2.18 miles this morning along the Mississippi River. Lucy got to try out her new doggie backpack. Of course, she loved it! She loves getting suited up for runs. And obviously, because she is the best dog ever, she got lots of smiles from passing strangers!

Max and I felt great on the run even though it was freaking HOT at 7a. I surprised Max by buying him The Stick. That thing is magical! His calves and my Achilles were calm during our run after using The Stick last night and this AM before the run. Magical, I tells ya!

I tried adding tempo to my run today. I ran 'comfortably hard' for the first 3/4 mile. Felt good. I'm doing a 10 min mile consistently now, which is awesome considering in August I was running a 13 or 14 min mile.

Now I'm chasing down a 9 min mile.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

1 Mile

Max and I got our asses out of bed at 7a and did an easy 1 mile jog today. It was our first run since the race on Sunday.

We ran to the park and let Lucy off the leash for a bit. Lucy is the best.

I was/am having pain in my left achilles. It's been really tight since the 5K.

Max's calves can give him trouble, and they were definitely talking to him this morning. He speed walked most of it while I jogged next to him.

Max is an amazingly fast walker. We were going at a 12/mile. That used to be fast for me. Now? It's my easy pace. Progress!