Saturday, February 20, 2010

Race Calendar 2010: I need your help!

2010 stands to be a productive race year for me. So far I've completed 4 races, including 3 5ks and 1 marathon. I finished 5k #3 this morning, the House of Hope Run Around the Pines 5k in Winter Park.

I mentioned in a recent blog post that I wanted to drop one to two minutes from my 5k time of 26:42, giving myself 2 weeks to do so. Great news. I finished in 25:33. Not as fast as I wanted, since I ran a 24:30 while training this week, but I can't really complain because when training, it's rare that you have to elbow your way past walkers and other people who don't understand the point of a stagger start. (HELLO PET PEEVES--how can walkers actually think they're going to complete a 5k at an 8-minute-per-mile pace?)

Anyway, it dawned on me this morning that I have just 4 races left on my agenda between now and May ... and it seems really silly to work hard to lower my 5k time if I don't have more races on my plate. So I need your suggestions for races to add to my schedule.

Here's what I have so far:

Race #1) Tour de Cure, a 60-mile charity bike ride to raise money for the American Diabetes Association. I greatly appreciate any contributions as I raise money for this cause. And even if you can't contribute, I definitely appreciate your moral support, as I am NOT a biker. I'm riding next Sunday, February 28, and I hope to survive. On a cool note, I get to demo a pretty sweet bike.

As a non-biker, I may make a special request for training wheels. Here's hoping I don't die! :)

Race #2) Disney's Princess Half-Marathon, which I'm running with several gfs in 2 weeks on Sunday, March 7. This time, I'll try not to carb-load with jello shots the night before, as I did with the Walt Disney World Marathon last month. :(

Race #3) The Corporate 5k Presented by IOA on Thursday, April 15. Starwood (my company) organizes a huge group to run this. Our team has won in the hospitality division for the past couple of years, and I have no doubt we'll kill the competition again this year. We have some very strong runners. The best part about this race is the post-party. Last year our company played flip cup and beer pong at Lake Eola until after 9 pm. It was a really great way to bond with colleagues, so I'm psyched to do it again this year.

Race #4) AND OF COURSE, THE MUDDY BUDDY, a 6- to 7-mile partner race that includes biking, running, obstacles and a MUD PIT. Best of all, there's a beer garden sponsored by Red Hook Brewery. Do you see a trend here? I do like beer.

I'm still trying to determine who my partner will be for this race, but I am REALLY excited for it.

So here's where I need your help ... I need more races on my schedule! So if you have any fun recommendations, send them to me!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tell Tale Signs of a Runner, Part One: Feet!

After a 3-year hiatus from serious running, I finally feel like a runner again. Why? I lost a toenail yesterday. Once again, I have runner's feet.

Runners have notoriously scary feet. Runners Feet are akin to Wrestlers Ear. Disgusting, but only tolerable due to the love for the sport. Before a race, we cut our toenails as closely as possible to prevent them from falling off as a result of rubbing against our shoes. To no avail. We lose our toenails anyway.

For the ladies, it's futile to paint our toenails. My nails chip after every other run.

And then our heels. When you showering twice a day, a crocodile probably has softer feet. Or an alligator. Whichever is scalier and nastier. I'd rather give a foot massage to a crocodile than to a runner.

I could go on and on about bunions, corns and callouses. But I'll spare you the dirty details. I don't have these yet, but with my toenail situation, I'm afraid that I'm in the midst of a downward spiral. :(

Friday, February 12, 2010

Muddy Buddy Madness

It's time to start planning for The Muddy Buddy. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, it's a 2-person run/bike/obstacle course with a deep mud pit at the end. The smack talking has already begun, as I intend to demolish the Tall Guy Surfing team.

The Orlando Muddy Buddy is May 8 at Disney's Wide World of Sports. If you're interested, here are a few things for your checklist:

A buddy (preferably one of a similar height so you can share a bike)
A mountain bike
Old clothing/shoes
Clean clothing to change into after the race
An appetite for beer (there will be a Red Hook beer garden)

The old shoes are a must. Here's what my legs looked like after last year's race:

If you think that's bad though, check out my face:

My partner pushed me face-down into the mud. :) This year I won't be as trusting. Or I might just have to beat him/her to the punch.

Sounds like your kind of race, but you're not into biking? Then check out The Warrior Dash. It's a race with mud and obstacles and you get your own warrior helmet. Does it get any better than that? I don't think so.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Progress Report

My times are improving slightly, thank GOD. This weekend I ran the Lady Track Shack 5k in 26:42 (an 8:35 pace). Definitely disappointing for someone who used to run 22- and 23-minute 5ks.

But my previous race was the Seasons 52 5.2k, where my 5k split was 28:20 (9:04 pace). So the good news is that I’m getting slightly faster. The bad news is that I really let my fitness slip.

So now I’m on a mission to get faster. I’m running the House of Hope 5k in Winter Park on February 20. My practical goal is to finish under 26 minutes and my stretch goal is to finish under 25 minutes.

Method of attack:
I’m limiting myself to wine/beer just one or two nights per week. This could be a challenge for someone who likes a glass of wine each night, but I’m pretty sure it will make a difference in my performance. I should note, I stopped by Wally’s pub this Friday night and had a drink (one drink there is equivalent to three drinks), and then got just 5 hours of sleep prior to the race, so perhaps that could explain my slow time.

Side note:
I highly recommend running the Lady Track Shack 5k next year. It winds through pretty parts of Winter Park and the tech tee is really cute!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Safety First: Avoid Being A Target For Murderers, Kidnappers and Other Bad Guys

Great news! The murder scene that I stumbled upon during yesterday's run was apparently a criminal justice training exercise for students at Everest University, one of Orlando's finest diploma mills.

Now I can run with headphones again, oblivious to the world around me. Many runners will discourage you from running with headphones in public (use them at the gym instead) due to the fact that you couldn't hear a potential mugger/kidnapper mere steps away.

However, there are some days where you just need some extra motivation to get through your workout. Today was one of those days. And my AWESOME playlist provided perfect motivation for today's workout. If you need inspiration, try any of my tunes from today:

Arab Money, by Busta Rhymes
B.O.B., by OutKast
Beep, by Pussycat Dolls
Break Ya Neck, by Busta Rhymes
Bruised Water, by Natasha Bedingfield
Carry Out, by Timbaland and Justin Timberlake
Faster Pussycat Kill, by Paul Oakenfold
Feel It, by Three 6 Mafia and featuring Tiesto
Fight for You, by Morgan Page
Heads Will Roll, by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
I'll Be In The Sky, by B.o.B
Lose Yourself, by Eminem

Now you can effectively rock out during your next workout.

If you're still concerned about being a target for potential kidnappers when you run with headphones, I have excellent advice for you. Purchase a fat suit or sumo suit and wear it while running. Not only will you look like a challenging kidnapping prospect (fat people are harder to kidnap and are less likely to fit in a trunk), but you'll burn more calories in a heavy, rubber suit. It's a winning solution!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Things that make you go hmmm (and run faster)

Need a little pep in your step for your next run? Try running in a slightly dangerous location.

I work in a somewhat shady portion of Orlando, where the bee-line meets John Young Parkway. I like to run on my lunch break or after work along a trail behind my office building. It's very remote and there's a peaceful path that runs along Shingle Creek.

During my last two runs on this path, I have witnessed suspect things:

1) On Friday, January 29, I stumbled across a long bone. I hope it belongs to a deer.
2) At lunch today, a portion of the path was roped off with police tape. Within the tape? A chalk outline of a body (pics to come) and red splotches on the pavement.

As you can imagine, these sights definitely give incentive to run faster. While some would probably prefer to find a new running trail, I've been impressed at my pace during these runs, so I'll probably keep enjoying the trail.

I mean, could it get worse?