Tag Archives: exercise

How to PR a 5K

3-5 months prior

1 month prior

  • Casually mention race to your boyfriend.  Suggest that you run the 10K relay as a twosome.   Subtly infer that you will beat him.

2 weeks prior

  • Run your first half marathon.  Live to tell (and write) about it.
  • Decide that the twosome is a dumb idea.  Tell boyfriend it won’t work out for scheduling reasons.
  • Have boyfriend convince you to re-consider.  Confirm with him that he’s serious. 
  • Sign up both the bf and  yourself for the race.  Realize there’s no turning back.
  • Convince some friends to sign up.

The week before

  • Run exactly twice.   For no more than 3 miles.  Call it “speedwork” even though you’re going at an 11:30 pace.

The day before

  • Remind your friends to hydrate. 
  • Drink lots of coffee.
  • Fail to hydrate yourself.

The night before

  • Go out for happy hour.  Have approximately 5 beers.  Fail to eat dinner.
  • Get greasy drive through burger, fries, and mozerella sticks approximately 10:30 p.m.
  • Go to another bar and have 2 more beers.
  • Wait up for the boyfriend to get home.
  • Go to bed around 2:30 a.m.
  • Toss and turn all night.

The day of the race

  • Get up at 8 a.m. with a MAXIMUM of 3 straight hours of sleep.
  • Attempt to hydrate.  Take some Tylenol.  Let the dog out.  Will the room to stop spinning.
  • Fail to find armband for the iPhone.  Decide this run doesn’t need to be documented.
  • Get the bf up at 8:30.  Calmly mention the race starts at 9:00.
  • Drive to race site.  Listen to boyfriend complain about agreeing to sign up.
  • Arrive at 8:45.  Find friends.  Give boyfriend keys.  Make way to starting line.

During race

  • Start the first quarter mile or so with super-speedy friend.  The one who just had a baby and still runs WAY faster than you. Begin to eat her dust as she pulls out ahead.
  • Realize that although the course is a boring loop you’ve run three times before, it’s not so bad.
  • Pass Mile one.  Get time.  10:12.  Not bad.
  • Pass the halfway point.  Hear people yell your name.  Realize it’s not the boyfriend. Momentarily worry that he has actually fallen asleep on the ground somewhere.
  • Pass Mile two.  Get time.  21:00.  Not bad at all.  Feel PR coming.
  • Decide that if you push it you can get in under 30:00
  • Feel a teeny bit pukey.  Decide that 30 is maybe pushing it a bit.
  • Near the hill at the end.  Realize you’re almost there.  See your super-speedy friend who has already finished.
  • Receive encouragement from a lady in a sports bra and biker shorts as you charge up the hill at the end.
  • Pass off your baton (aka tongue depressor) to the boyfriend.   Ask for your time.
  • Feel vaguely like puking.  But hold it in.
  • Do not receive a time.   Ask for it again.
  • Hear some random person say 32.  
  • Realize that this is almost a 3 minute PR.  Continue to hold back puking.


  • Grab some water and wait for your friends who are running the open 5K to finish.
  • Remember (too late) that they finish at a different spot.
  • Meet up with friends to wait for the boyfriend to finish.
  • Curse the fact that you didn’t look at your watch at the beginning.  Nor did you have your phone/RunKeeper.
  • Get in trouble for ogling a good-looking roofer.
  • Respond “no” when someone asks if that’s the boyfriend coming towards the finish line.
  • Realize that you do not recognize your own boyfriend when he’s running.
  • Cheer boyfriend on as he crosses the finish line.  Offer water and cookie that are respectfully declined.
  • Ask boyfriend what the final time was. 
  • Do the math in your head.
  • Lament the fact that said boyfriend, who is not a runner, and hasn’t trained ONE MINUTE for this race has beaten you. 
  • Listen as boyfriend describes excruciating pain he’s in and states that he’s never doing anything like it again.
  • Go to derby practice and revel in the fact that he will be unable to walk the next day.

That, my friends, is a sure-fire way to break your 5K PR.  It’s *technically* my 3rd PR in 6 weeks (the other two were default PRs since they were new distances), but I don’t have official results since only the relay is timed.   I’m 100% confident I could’ve broken 30 if I hadn’t been hungover, sleep deprived, and just a teeny bit bored.

Thank Goodness

First things first– I got my 9 miler in this weekend. Yay!  Thanks for all your words of encouragement.  

I was a bit nervous about the run, but I did a few things that I think helped get me out of the funk:

  • I set out to run for time, not distance.  I didn’t even look at the map before I left.  I just put on my watch and said I wasn’t stopping for two hours.
  • I ran a different route including parts of the half-marathon race route that I’d never run before.
  • I switched directions. (I usually run in a counter-clockwise loop from my house. This time I went clockwise)
  • I made a new “long run” playlist for my iPod.
  • I slowed down… WAY down.  Someone commented that I should just jog or shuffle when I get tired.  My run = jog and my jog = shuffle.  I was slow, but I knew I could get the miles in.
  • I ran in the morning, which I usually prefer, but haven’t been able to do lately.

It was one of the best runs I’ve ever had.   The weather was perfect (for me)– a little cool at the beginning, overcast and breezy, but not windy.  The first hour literally flew by– I was running through unfamiliar territory and just soaking in my surroundings. I was smiling as other runners passed by, completely taking in the experience.  

At about mile 7, I was certain that I could run 10.  I was even composing the “double-digit” status update in my head.  At about Mile 8, I was back in my neighborhood and I knew how much further I’d have to run.  This kinda set me back, but I wasn’t stopping until I was I was 100% certain I’d run 9 miles. 

I ran for almost 2 hours and then stopped about a mile from home to cool down.   When I stopped to check my RunKeeper app for my phone I was muy disappointed–  it didn’t work :( I have no data from the run and I ran through some “unchartable” areas, so I don’t  have completely accurate data on my run.   My best guess is 9.1 miles (which I think is conservative) in 1:51.   I missed my goal of running for 2 hours, but I made my mileage for the week and I feel great about it. 

I also passed a rabbit statue in the park and a dead bunny on the side of the road, which I thought was uber-appropriate for an Easter  run!

I’ve lost much of my muchness

I’ve been struggling with my runs lately.  Blame it on the time change, weather change, travelling, roller derby, illness, whatever.  But the simple fact is, I’m not IN IT like I need to be.  To steal a phrase from Alice in Wonderland, I’ve lost much of my muchness.

I haven’t hit a weekday run in over two weeks.   I cut short both of my runs while I was in Louisville for work (one on a treadmill and one–gasp– with a coworker).   I did manage one stellar 8 mi run BEFORE work last week, but that was the last time I actually felt GOOD about a run.

Last night was especially brutal.  I felt good.  My legs were fresh.  The weather was nice.  I hadn’t planned on running, but I felt like it.  I figured it would be just what I needed to get back on track.  I planned a nice 6.5 mile route and told myself I’d run at LEAST 5 mi of it, if not more.    I made it just over 3 mi.  I wasn’t especially tired.  My legs/lungs didn’t hurt.  I just gave up.   Then I decided I’d walk for a bit and run the second 3 mi.   Gave up again.  All in all, I ran about 4 mi and walked the rest.   “Real” runners were passing me and smiling at one another.  I felt like a loser.

I used all my “tricks” to get me through the run– counting songs, visualizing finishing the race, “bargaining” with myself for just another 20 mins.  But none of it worked.  Running is mostly mental and my mental game is just not there.  Lack of muchness.

There are less than 40 days til the half marathon.  I KNOW I can do it, but right now my confidence is waning.  Big Time.  What if I have a “bad run” on race day?  What if I can’t get back into the groove for my 9, 10, 11 mile runs?    I def need a  plan for getting me out of this slump.

Running through my mind…

Due to a SUPER fun weekend in STL, I missed my long run on Sunday.  I have some “bonus” weeks built into my schedule, but since I missed my long run *last* weekend, I decided to buck up and do it on Monday after work.

I had 6 mi on the schedule and after much debating I decided to take my run outside.   I knew I wouldn’t last long on the treadmill and the thought of running 24 laps around the indoor track was only slightly more appealing.  So I geared up and headed outside.  

The cold/wind didn’t bother me as much as I thought they would, but by the time I hit the turn around point at my neighborhood park, it was getting a bit dark.    The following internal conversation ensued:

OMG, it’s dark. And the trail isn’t lit up.  Maybe I should just turn around.
No, there’s plenty of light from that house, I’ll be fine. Plus, it’s not totally dark…yet.
Oh, crap… it’s dark.  And I’m running through a puddle.  I hope I don’t twist my ankle.
I don’t see any other people on the trail.  No one to hear my screams.
Oh, wait– there’s someone.  But why is he crouched down?  Surely he’s going to rape and kill me.
No… that’s just a garbage can.  Thank God.
Whew… there’s someone else on the trail. He said hi. Certainly he’s not going to murder me.
If I did get attacked, what would I do?  I don’t have my phone on me.
I also don’t have an ID.  How would they know it was me?
If I went missing, would the boyfriend be able to identify the clothes I was wearing?
Probably not. He might be able to tell them I was wearing running tights, but I’m sure he  has no clue what shirt I’m wearing.
What’s that in front of me?  
I think it’s a coyote.
Can I outrun a coyote?
Not now, I’m getting tired.
Oh, just a regular dog.
I hope it doesn’t attack me.
No… it’s on a leash.
And he has an owner.
Hi, Nice guy with dogs on the trail.  Hope you can hear my screams when I get murdered/attacked by a coyote.
But you wouldn’t be able to identify me.  Or know who to call for help.
Lessons learned:
1) Don’t run at night on dark trails
2) Start carrying ID on outdoor runs
3) Carry phone in case of emergencies
4) Buy armband for said phone.. STAT!

The one where she talks about roller derby…

Lesley kinda tipped my hat in the comments.  But for those of you who don’t read that far– I’m going to be a roller derby girl!!

There’s a new roller derby league starting up in C-U.  My friend Laura is on the team and she invited me to practice last weekend.  I couldn’t make it, but I attended a “meet and greet” a few nights ago and I went to my first practice today.

It is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much fun!!

We did some open skating, some drills and just got a feel for the sport.  This was an “open” practice, so anyone could come and they had 30+ girls there, which was record attendance.  They also have “closed” practices on Wednesday for girls who are committed to derby.

A few things . . .

  • The league is just getting started, so there are no bouts planned just yet.
  • You use quad (4-wheeled) skates, not roller blades
  • No, I haven’t learned to block or “take out” people yet
  • We skate on a flat course, not one of the ramps that you see on TV
  • All the girls aren’t hard-core b!tches
  • Yes, I fell…. once
  • You don’t have to be a GREAT skater to do derby, but there is a proficiency exam for when we start bouts and stuff.
  • I’m a *much* better skater than I thought I was.  I was a little shaky at first, but I was skating with the best of them at the end.

One concern…

I *LOVED* practice today and I’m super pumped to be a part of it. It’s something different, the girls are really cool, and it’s a pretty good workout.  My only concern is trying to fit in bi-weekly practices with my half-marathon training.  It absolutely counts for my cross-training days, but I’m afraid it will affect my long run schedule (currently I prefer to do long runs on Sat and rest on Sun, but now I’ll have to do derby on Sat. and the run on Sun.)

And, a request. . .

All derby girls need a derby name. They don’t have to be family-friendly.   Right now, the top-runner for my derby name is Bitch E. Rich, but I need a second choice… and any other suggestions you might have.  There’s an international registry of derby names and no two girls can have the same name.   So, get your thinking caps on.


The one where she talks about running… again

It’s OFFICIAL:  I’m training for a half-marathon.

I’ll be running the half distance of the Illinois Marathon on May 1.   This is the same race where I had my first 5K a year ago.  Nothin’ like adding another 10 miles, eh?

I’m in week four of a plan modeled after Hal Higdon’s novice plan.   The plan seems fairly doable.  3-4 runs/week plus some cross training and some strength mixed in.  If all goes as planned, I’ll be at 13.1 about a month before the race.   For the most part, things have been going well.    I’ve been getting my runs in and have been fairly successful with cross training.  (strength?  not so much)

Until Tuesday.

I fully intended to get up early and go for a short 2-mile run.  Instead, I talked myself into staying in bed a bit longer (it was my birthday, after all) and promised to get back on track the next day.

Wednesday morning my alarm went off at 5 a.m.   I begrudgingly tore myself out of bed and got ready to run.  It was really dark, kinda cool, and there was a threat of snow so I headed to the gym instead.  Big mistake.  I let myself quit after 2 miles. I wasn’t tired. I wasn’t sore. I was just BORED.  And couldn’t talk myself into going longer.

Afterward, I was really disappointed in myself for giving up.  And then that night I went out with some friends and missed my next morning run because I was hungover (note to self:  drinking and running do not mix).

But, guess what?  I went for an outside run on Thursday after work… and it was GREAT!    I’ve got my running mojo back.

This weekend: 6 miles.  Let’s pray for one day of decent weather so I don’t have to sweat it out on the treadmill.

Carich Likes/Dislikes

LIKES . . .


Modern Family, Better Off Ted, The Big Bang Theory American Idol, Jersey Shore, Grey’s Anatomy*
Being home to make dinner every night Working out at 5 a.m., cleaning up from dinner
My Real Friends Facebook-only “friends”
Working out at the gym—yes, even the treadmill! Being sore from working out 4 days in a row
Sleeping Work
Sporcle, Wheel of Fortune, Family Feud, Scramble Facebook “games,” Xbox 360 shoot-em-up games
Blog lurking Blog writing
My incredibly unfashionable snow boots, striped purple cardigan, oversized hoodies, and wooly red socks Just about every other item of clothing in my closet
Warmer weather, no snow Rain (and corresponding headaches)

*to be fair, I’ve only watched 1-2 episodes of each of these shows… but enough to know I don’t get what the fuss is about!

Ignorance is bliss

After an over-long hiatus due to injury, work trip and Thanksgiving, I’m now officially back in the running game.   I decided to pick up at week 5 on my training plan and just go from there.

For the most part, the week went well. I hit (or almost hit) all my scheduled distances AND managed to fit in both days of cross training (including a Cycle class that totally kicked my a$$) and two days of physical therapy.   So I didn’t feel too bad about going out both nights this weekend and putting off my long run until today.

I *totally* procrastinated on the long run, though.  The schedule called for 4.5 miles, which is longer than any of my previous runs… and I haven’t rum more than 3 miles in over a month.

Instead of focusing on the distance, I decided I would just go out and run for an hour–not worry about distance at all.  I put on Hayes Carll, laced up my shoes and took off.  I ran a slightly different route, so I wasn’t fixated on how far it was from point A to point B.   I figured the album would last about an hour.   When all the songs were done, I felt great.  So I decided to keep going.  I was getting close to home, so I challenged myself to run all the way to my front door.  And I did.

When I got home and Google Mapped my run… it was 5.6 miles!  Which is over a mile longer than scheduled and WAAAYYYY longer than I’d ever run before.  I felt great.  And my overall pace wasn’t bad, either.

By focusing on how I felt and not fixating on being “fast” or going “far” I was able to clear some of the mental hurdles I’ve had in the past.  I guess ignorance really is bliss sometimes.

Doctor’s Orders

I went to the Sports Medicine doctor today.  He *ordered* me to run tomorrow.  Yay!!   Bad news is that he ordered me to run so that I would be in enough pain for him to assess the hip injury.  Good news is it’s absolutely not a stress fracture.

I’ll probably just  do my usual 3 mile loop.  And maybe I won’t even make it the whole way.  But I’m excited to give it a try!


It’s official: my “minor hip pain” is a sports-related injury.

I went to the Dr. today and she referred me to Sports Medicine, told me to take Alleve, and said NO RUNNING until I can get in to have Xrays– on November 11.  She said I can walk on it and do the elliptical as long as it doesn’t aggravate my hip.   So I guess I’ll be hitting the gym for the next few weeks.

Or not.  Tonight, I drowned my sorrows in a bowl of ice cream.