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Mission: Abs

05/01/2012

My quads are pretty sore after Sunday’s race, but you know what is the MOST sore? My abs. When I finished the Century Marathon in October, my core actually took the longest to recover. My legs were fine–I even went out for run with the double jogger the next day–but for a week or so, it hurt to laugh, sit-up, and turn from side to side. This didn’t surprise me. I’ve always been a slacker when it came to my midsection and your whole body takes a beating during 26.2 miles. But to be this sore after 3.1 miles? Weirdsies.

Ack!

Or maybe not so weird–maybe I just need to step up the core work. Since the new year, I’ve been trying to finish my workouts with a couple of planks, and as of yesterday I’ve logged 305 in 2012! But I definitely avoid side planks and don’t typically hold the pose longer than 60 seconds a pop. Good… but not good enough.

Last night at Girl Scouts we had a yoga instructor come in and do a program with the troop. During one part she had us get into plank position and then walk our feet up the wall behind us. We only held that pose for a few moments but I thought “This would be a KICK ASS plank!” and decided to try it at the end of my workout today in place of my standard forearm plank. And WOW! It was tough! Holding that decline position really engaged my entire body–quads, hams, glutes, abs, back, arms! It was like a MEGAPLANK! So I did two! And I also decided that it is time to bring it!

Official Declaration I am Declaring Right Here Right Now: In the month of May I will do 100 planks!

(…And I will stop pretending I don’t own Jackie Warner’s Xtreme Crunchless Abs DVD.)

For I will become an Ab Machine Sent From the Future to Destroy, um, Things! You cannot stop me! You can only hope to contain me! I will be the Female Ryan Gosling!

Unfortunately, RG has a bigger chest than me.

Gauntlet thrown.

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Don’t Call it a Comeback… Yet

04/30/2012

I haven’t been very posty lately, but I finally have something to post about. Huzzah!

I ran my first post-injury 5K yesterday. I had not planned on running this race because The Very Good Run Fast Shoppe is an event sponsor making it is an All Hands on Deck kinda day. But when I got scheduled to work at the store in the afternoon instead of at the race, I made the 11th hour decision to enter. However, immediately after registering, I became really nervous. Would my hip hold up? What should I wear? Where should I park? If I ran like shit would all my running store coworkers laugh at me more than the time I made The Great Ice Cream Sandwich Announcement of 2012? So! Much! Pressure!

I had three goals going into the race:
1) Hip would not fall off.
2) Run sub-23:00.
3) Finish in the top 50.

With race temps in the low 30’s, I decided to wear tights and an Under Armour top. And I found parking very easily in a garage maybe a 1/4 mile from the starting line (if I didn’t walk there on a tangent). Even with the logistics solved I still had a lot of anxiety, but when I got to the Blue Cross Arena a bunch of my coworkers were there collecting bags. I hung out with them, joking and laughing, and I almost forgot all about the race and my hip and being nervous. Almost.

Even though I was dressed in winter gear, I couldn’t warm-up. I jogged around for about 15 minutes before heading to the start line and I still felt cold. As soon as the race started I knew it wasn’t going to be my day. I felt like a block of ice. I felt tight and hunched over and slow. I was shocked when my first split was a 7:14. If I could just hold that pace I’d hit my goal, but a half mile later my whole body just locked up. This is why I love racing in July! To everyone else it was the perfect weather, but it was the complete opposite of what I consider idea race conditions. Bring on the hot hot heat!

Despite how I felt, the course was great! Just after the first mile, runners entered the Susan B. Anthony District and the sidewalks in front of her house were lined with cheerleaders dressed in period garb. The costumed fans gave extra words of encouragement to the ladies who ran by and I managed to crack a smile with my frozen face.

Fight for your right, ladies!

The course had minimal turns and was mostly flat. There were a few up and downs, but nothing too crazy. The largest incline came at 2.6 miles and–of course–a race photographer was stationed at the top. I am sure that picture will be stunningly beautiful and Nike will immediately sign me to advertise all their new awesome gear because Nike loves models whose chins disappear into their necks while running.

Really really ridiculously good looking at the start of the Flower City Challenge 5K.

The only other course notable was the 3 mile mark. It is right at Dinosaur BBQ who, for some unknown redonkulous reason, was cooking meats at 8:00 AM. Typically the smell of smoky BBQ goodness is a-m-a-z-i-n-g but when you are at the very end of a race and breathing all phone-sex heavy, it is the grossest smell ever. I kinda sorta wanted to puke.

I managed to suppress my gag reflex and turned the corner to head home, totally out-kicking a 14-year-old and a 10-year-old. I expect Alberto Salazar to call any day and invite me to the Oregon Project. Someone’s gotta fill the spot Kara Goucher left, and edging out some kids for a 23:44 finish proves I am just the athlete to do it.

Despite showing those kids who is boss (no, not Tony Danza–I mean ME!), I didn’t hit my time goal. And I didn’t finish in the top 50. And I was pretty disappointed about it… until I was doing my cool down. I was running backwards along the race course (on the sidewalk because I’m not a dick) and I could see all the No Boundaries runners coming in. No Boundaries is a Learn to Run program and before  they started in January many of the participants had literally never run a step in their lives. But 12 weeks ago they started training and yesterday they were doing what they previously thought impossible–finishing their very first 5K! Seeing the look of joy on all their faces truly put my crappy sour puss attitude in check. They were so happy just to run. Why wasn’t I just happy just to run? Especially when for 10 weeks this winter I couldn’t run. And for 2 of those weeks, I had to lift my leg to get out of the car because the pain was so severe. I am nowhere near an elite runner but I am competitive, and I like to do the best that I can do. But I need to keep perspective. No, yesterday wasn’t my best–but I was out there. I was running. And I needed to be proud of that.

With my cry baby moment over, I headed back to the Blue Cross Arena to collect my bag and watch the half marathon finish. It was really thrilling! The top male came in at 1:05:21, smashing the course record! And it was a tight finish for the women, with the top two clocking 1:20:37 and 1:21:04 respectively. I saw so many runners achieve new Personal Records and first time half marathoners achieve a dream. It was especially exciting to cheer for Abs Sarah as she crossed the finish line of her very first half marathon in a amazing 1:46!

Before heading home, I stopped to peek at the results for my age group to see what the top times were. I was truly surprised when I saw that I took first in the Female 30-34 category! Any disappointment I had over my time was quickly wiped away when I showed my kids my medal. Madylin, Sean, and Amelia were so excited and Amelia kept shouting “You did it, mommy! You got a medal! Yay, mommy! Yay!” Really, how could I not be happy?

Modeling obviously runs in the family.

Flower City Challenge Wegman’s Family 5K
Time 23:44 (7:36 Pace)
Age Group 1st (of 86)
Gender 13th (of 713)
Overall 57th (of 1046)

The Week in Workouts (4/23/12 – 4/29/12)

04/30/2012

Monday
Ran 3.3 miles/30:00, Stationary Bike Bike (level 4) 8.4 miles/30:00, Low Plank 3 x 0:60

Tuesday
Bike (Ride in the Park level 10) 45:00/12.8 miles, , Sit-ups x 75, Low Plank 3 x 0:60

Wednesday
AM Ran 3.4 miles/30:35, Upper Body Weights 30:00, Bicycle Crunches x 50, Low Planks 3 x 0:60
PM Stationary Bike (Ride in the Park level 10) 50:00/14.2 miles, In & Outs x 100, Low Plank 2 x 0:60

Thursday
Stationary Bike (Strength Intervals level 8) 35:00/9.3 miles, Crunches w/3lb dumbbell x 50. Flutter Kicks x 100, Supermans x 50, Clams each side x 50, Hip Bridges x 50, High Plank 2 x 0:60

Friday
Ran 3.5 miles/32:15, Rodney Yee’s Daily Yoga DVD 43:00 (Build the Foundation 25:00, Strengthen the Core 18:00) , Low Plank 1:15

Saturday
Rest

Sunday
Flower City Challenge 5K 3.1 miles/23:44 + 2.4 miles/25:22 Warm-up & Cool Down

Weather is dumb.

04/23/2012

All winter long I felt like Mother Nature was taunting me. I was sidelined with my hip-thang and couldn’t enjoy the unseasonably mild temperatures and fluky (flukey?) lack of snow. But I was excited that spring had (seemingly) sprung early I was back running just in time for shorts and t-shirt weather. A meteorologist or Sylvia Browne I obviously am not, otherwise I would have seen that winter still had some last licks.

No, you don't need to adjust your Dilbert desk calendar. It is April 23. And we have a Nor'easter.

Saturday was very cold and very rainy. The prospect of running around my town seemed less than exciting so I drove to work to run with the Saturday morning training groups. As much as I don’t love company, misery loves company and Saturday was miserable. I tucked in with a small pack of runners and we trudged through the persistent April showers. At the end of 7 miles all of my layers were soaked through, I was chilled the bone, and my hands were frozen. I chatted with my coworkers for a bit but as soon as my fingers thawed out, I headed straight for a hot cup of coffee and an even hotter shower.

Yesterday I went to spin. I was glad it was a cross-training day because it was another chilly, wet, dreary day. Today, however, I was scheduled to get out for a short run. I’m not nutso about strictly adhering to a training plan so in the case of a Weather Advisory situation, I will rearrange my running days (especially this early in the week)–but I registered for a 5K on Sunday and I want to go easy on my hip and avoid back-to-back runs. So I layered up and headed out in to the wintry mix.

I am nothing if not spectacularly beautiful after running through sleet at 6:00 AM. At least I got to wear my cool Asics hat.

The sleet stung my face as I started my run heading into the wind. It wasn’t too bad–as long as I didn’t look up. But if I didn’t look up I didn’t see the monster puddles lining the sidewalks and streets. Total lose-lose. There was no wind coming back in but the ground was now covered in slippery slush, and my feet were freezing from a lake-sized puddle I failed to avoid. Even Darn Toughs can’t save you when your foot is fully submerged in icy water. As much as I love running, I was happy when this one came to an end. And I’ll be happier Wednesday morning when this nonsense weather has moved onward and upward to torture Canada.

Blerg.

The Week in Workouts (4/16/12 – 4/22/23)

04/23/2012

Monday
AM Stationary Bike (speed intervals, level 3,  3:00 RPMs 85-95 : 1:00 RPMs > 105) 60:00/16.5 miles, Low Plank 2:30
PM Ran 3.67 miles/30:00, Low Plank 2 x 0:60

Tuesday
Jillian Michaels No More Trouble Zones DVD 55:00, Low Plank 1:30

Wednesday
Rest

Thursday
Ran 3.68 miles/31:48, Abs 15:00, Low Plank 2 x 0:60, High Plank 0:60

Friday
Stationary Bike (speed intervals, level 4, 3:00 RPMs 80-85 : 1:00 RPMs >95) 45:00/13.0 miles, Upper Body Weights 30:00, Low Plank 0:60, Single-leg Plank each side 0:60, High Plank 0:60, Reverse Plank 0:60

Saturday
Ran w/Fleet Feet 7 miles/63:21

Sunday
Spin @ Cycledelic 56:00/17.0 miles + 6:00 warm-up/cool down

Where are my shoulder pads and Easy Spirits? I’m no longer a SAHM.

04/18/2012

So the big news these days is that I am changing my work status from part to full-time. For some unknown reason the very good people at The New Very Good Run Fast Shoppe want to see more of my face–38 hours a week’s worth of my face–and they’ve asked me to come on full-time. I had previously thought I would not return to work until after Sean started Kindergarten, but after crunching some numbers (and crunching my abs because I am all about time multi-tasking) MY HUSBAND and I decided it would work and I gladly accepted.

Aside from my first library job (which was an amazing place to work filled with fabulous people to work with), I haven’t enjoyed the subsequent positions I held “in my field.” There was co-worker drama, patron drama, funding drama, and llama drama. As I agonized over state reports, asked patrons to refrain from clipping their fingernails at the computer terminals, and plunged toilet after toilet, I was miserable. When Amelia was born, I couldn’t imagine putting her in daycare too so I could earn a marginal salary (saying “Pennsylvania does not pay its librarians well” is a gross understatement), I decided to stay home with the kids and work part-time evenings and weekends.

After we moved to up yonder here late last summer, I took a part-time sales position at TNVGRFS and immediately loved it. It was so much fun and my coworkers were all really fantastic people. I (obviously) love running and being able to learn more about the sport, the gear, the people was a total win! And honestly, there are a lot of parallels between working the reference desk in a library and helping a new runner find the perfect pair of shoes. For example, I loved when I would recommend a book to a student and he or she would come back the next week and check out every other book by that author. Now I love when I fit someone for a pair of shoes and they come back and say how great they are. One customer even came back to the store and hugged me because she finally (after a very exhaustive search) found a pair of shoes that helped her run pain-free. Although I’m not a fan of human contact, I appreciated her appreciation.

So in the next week or so I’ll be firming up babysitter plans, and starting the week of May 6 I am going to be all sneakers all the time. Oh, and I’ll be joining a woman’s basketball league.

The Boston Marathon made me have feelings. And I don’t like it one bit.

04/17/2012

I’ll probably be getting a lot of traffic on Run Fast and Don’t Fall Down today because Jogging Jeans gave me (and some other bloggerific ladies) a shout out this morning. In a post titled “Chick Blogger Love,” Jogging Jeans Jill lists her favorite penisless authored blogs. The one thing these sites all have in common is their cascading rainbows of positivity… all except mine.

“Suzanne – Run Fast and Don’t Fall Down. Okay, maybe Suzanne is A LOT cranky but she does have hints of sweetness. She is one of the funniest bloggers I know and I love her lots, so she gets to be on my list.”

Obviously, I’ve been completely overhyped. After reading Jill’s blurb people are going to expect to visit RFDFD and find a whole bunch of ha ha’s. Instead, they are going to find a stressed-out mom in desperate need of a haircut (haven’t gone since OCTOBER(!!!) and these split ends aren’t going to trim themselves!). At least she got the cranky part right.

But since Jill mentioned that I have HINTS of sweetness, I am going to tell you about my robot heart experiencing human-like emotions yesterday, even if it destroys my street cred.

By now everyone knows that the Boston Marathon was run in record-breaking temps yesterday. And if you don’t know, what the hell? While last year’s race boasted ideal conditions (cool with a tailwind), those runners tackling Beantown yesterday faced stifling heat and humidity. This wasn’t a case of people being wussies–it was hot and race officials were truly concerned about the safety of the participants. They offered a deferment program, beefed up water and aid stations, and trained 500 runners in CPR.

I wasn’t so much a fan of the deferment program because that is now 4000 fewer slots for next year’s race. My thought was that race-day temps are always a gamble and it was what it was. Runners needed to be smart and realize that it just wasn’t a PR day. The upside? There was now plenty of time to stop and kiss the Wellesley girls without a time goal looming overhead.

As the race got underway, even the elite runners were suffering. Last year’s winner–who blazed the course in a 2:03, the fastest marathon time ever run–dropped out at mile 18 due to cramping. The overall female from 2011 was seen walking part of the course near Fenway Park. Obviously conditions were tough. I was really nervous for my friend and coworker Anthony. He trained so hard for this race and was ready for an amazing day–but he was not ready for July weather in mid-April. Even with a mild winter, acclimating to a sudden, exponential rise in temperature–especially when you live in a very unbalmy Rochester–is impossible.

I tracked Anthony’s splits online, which were updated every 5K. After the 25K mark, Calves Sarah and I started messaging back-and-forth and refreshing the Athlete Tracking page every 3 seconds (give or take a second). We had noticed that Anthony’s pace had dropped off and while we know he is strong, we were so afraid the heat would overpower him. As we waiting for the 30K split to come in, both of our stomaches were in knots! It was nerve-wracking! With a sigh of relief, the next mark was posted–and then we anxiously awaited 35K. The 20 minute gaps between updates were truly agonizing! It was only when Anthony crossed the finish line an hour later that we were able to breathe huge sighs of relief.

I think it was one of the first times (maybe the first?) that I was so crazy-insane nervous about a race that I wasn’t even running! When we sent Anthony off with well wishes last week, we wanted him to run a kick-ass time. But given the brutal course conditions, when it came to race morning, we just wanted to know he was ok! We didn’t care if it took him 2:30 or 4:30 or 6:30. At one point Sarah (probably only half-joking) suggested we hop in the car and meet him at the finish line with a hose.

We are all so proud of Anthony for finishing and I really can’t wait to hear his recap from the front lines later this week. And I am also very glad not all of my friends run–because if I don’t think my stomach can handle having all these FEELINGS and being all CONCERNED and CARING and SELFLESS and THINKING OF OTHERS. Everyone I know should stick to benign activities like making latch hook rugs so I can go about my egocentric business in peace.

Wesley Korir after winning the 116th Boston Marathon

Winner Sharon Cherop and Jemima Jelaget Sumgong (2nd) at the finish line

Me sitting on a giant robot