Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Trail Running

Sometimes I enjoy trail running.

It's a hot, sweaty summer day and the canopy of the trees provide some nice shade. I'm staying at camp for the week and the woodsy trails are my only choice for a light jog.

And sometimes I just like to get off the concrete and give an uneven, rooty, dirt track a try.

However, there are reasons I prefer sidewalks to swamps, pavement to pine forests, highly populated areas to ghostly abandoned backwater trails.

I went to Google to prove my point:

Kiwi (1/6/2012)
Missouri (12/20/2011)
California - Calabasas (9/4/2011)
Hollywood (1/21/2012)
Milwaukee - East Side (9/11/2011)
Milwaukee - OC (1/24/2012)

Tell me I'm overreacting (I am). Tell me it's a rarity (I suppose it is, relatively speaking). Tell me I watch too much Law & Order (that's definitely true).

But trail running, especially early morning trail running, never fails to make me imagine what I would do if I were the unfortunate one who found a body in the empty forest.

This, in turn, leads me to pack my ID and cell phone before I head out - two things I (regrettably) rarely bring with me.

This train of thinking then makes me wish I had some sort of small packable weapon to bring with me *just in case,* not to mention makes me rethink living alone (you then there's at least someone on the planet who knows when I don't return on time).

Then I think about how glad I am I live alone because then there's no one to be angry when I lose track of time and turn my planned 3-miler into a 6-miler.

Then I remember to pack along some cash in case my 3-miler actually does turn into a 6-miler and I need to stop at the gas station for a bottle of water.

This, in turn, makes me wish my SPIbelt was one of those fancy ones with water bottles attached, because then I start thinking about how many plastic water bottles we use and throw away every year.

Then I start thinking about how I live in a concrete jungle and once, just once, it'd be nice to run surrounded by nature - smelling the fresh air, hearing the birds chirping, and occasionally spying a cute little bunny.

Then I end up right back where I started, mapping out a trail run at any number of Milwaukee's local parks.

And now you know the frightening reality of how my mind works.

____________________________________________________________Mandi Current Couch Potato | Aspiring Runner
Mandi recently completed her first marathon! Her next goal is running a full half marathon (no walking!) by her next birthday (May 13, 2012).

Follow her journey.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Race Recap: Icebreaker Indoor Marathon Relay

Guess what friends? I just finished my first MARATHON!

Okay, so it was a relay and I had the help of 3 other fabulous ladies (@mkemom, @rshill37, @bananza...look 'em up), but it was still 4 hours of fun running in circles.

The Venue
I've never run in the Pettit Center before and I wasn't sure what to expect. The track was a narrow two-lane, which was better once the faster teams finished and runners thinned out. The air was colder than I'm used to and very dry.

The Marathon
My team broke up the 26.2 miles, or, 96 laps, into 4 sets of 6 laps each. Four laps would've been nice and comfortable for me as I didn't really train as much as I should've (story of my running life so far), but it was nice to push myself.

Because the air was colder than I was used to, my lungs were the biggest hurt and by my 4th leg it was hard to catch a full breath, which, in turn, affected my muscles. This continued the rest of the evening - me not being able to breathe deep - until the lung inflammation settled down. I'm sure that's super dangerous and bad news, but I'm still alive.

The run itself was rather nice. It was great to circle around the track and see SO many people I knew. There were at least 4-5 other teams I knew who were all situated at different points along the track, so it was motivation to go and get your cheer on. FitMKE and Team Challenge had great representation.

Team "Avoid the Lap" finished at 4:11:andchange...nearly 2 hours after the fastest team (seriously, I think those guys were doing it's a FUN race, right? AmIright?). We had a great time cheering each other on and eating rice krispy treats.

The Recovery
I recovered better from this race than I did the half marathon in July. Likely because I was going in short spurts and only completing 6.55 miles to July's 13.1. The one thing I would do differently is bring a chair or yoga mat and sit during the down times. The laps weren't so bad as running on concrete isn't any different from running outside on pavement, but standing for 3 hours in between the running is what hurt my feet. Before my last leg I figured it out.

The Lessons
As I said before, one thing I would do differently is to bring something to sit comfortably on during the down times in order to rest my feet. Another thing I would do differently is train more in cold weather. I have a VERY bad track record on ice - nearly all of my broken bones (4 out of 7) are from encounters with ice in which the ice won. So you can imagine why I'm a little gun shy when it comes to training outside once winter hits. Because of this I've spent the past month in the gym, which, as I stated earlier, didn't help my lungs come race day. It is what it is, they're still not 100%, but I'm alive.

And that's about it. My team members had excellent advice pre-race, so I brought a bunch of layers to bundle up with in between laps. I brought lots of beverages and food as I prefer to not eat much before a race. And my only goal was to finish, which I did.

Looking forward, my next goal is to run a full half marathon by my birthday, and I'm looking at the Lake Geneva Half on May 12th, as that's the day before. Yes, my birthday is on Mother's Day this year.

____________________________________________________________  Mandi Current Couch Potato | Aspiring Runner
Mandi recently completed her first half marathon, traveling to California's wine country to benefit the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. Her next goal is the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon Relay in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in January.
Follow her journey.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

This Just Got Real

Saturday is my marathon.

Three little days away.

Make that 21.2 miles away.

Because I predict that I'll be able to run about 5 miles before I die. I am, ahem, a "bit" unprepared.

Luckily I have a team to run with, and, with four us I only have about 6.5 miles to run total. And we're planning to switch off every 4 laps (approx. every mile).

This is good.

I'll still be slow, I'm sure.

For those of you wondering how an indoor marathon relay works, here are some tips.

I'll let you know how it goes after the fact.

____________________________________________________________  Mandi Current Couch Potato | Aspiring Runner
Mandi recently completed her first half marathon, traveling to California's wine country to benefit the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. Her next goal is the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon Relay in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in January.
Follow her journey.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2012 Fitness Goals

I finally did it. I broke down and bought a gym membership.

I used to think that throwing on my gear and heading out the door were enough, but then winter would hit. And we all know my track record on ice. So if there was ever the least bit of ice on the ground, I'd be too scared of breaking my face (or arm, twice) to brave the outdoors.

So then I would go 4+ months not running, and by the time Spring came back I was happy to continue sitting on my arse with all of my indoor projects.

This year I pledged to be different, and, finally, I put my money where my mouth is.

I signed up with a team to run the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon Relay (our team name is "Avoid the Lap" ~ Jimmy Dugan), and am committed to train. A few weeks ago, at the first sign of snow (granted, a small one), I signed my credit card and first born child over to Anytime Fitness...mainly because I can use any of their facilities with my membership, including the one conveniently located a few blocks from where I work.

Now that 2012 has come and I'm staring down my 30th birthday, I've devised a set of fitness goals I'd like to achieve this year.  They're not resolutions, because those are dumb. I made a few of these goals a few months ago, and now am making them official via the interwebs. In no particular order:

Twenties in the Rearview, Fitness Goals:
  1. Run all 6.55 miles of my Icebreaker Marathon Relay commitment - I gots a team and they need me to RUN!
  2. Run a full half marathon by my birthday - this one will likely be the Lake Geneva Half, as it's where I work and will allow me to reach my goal on May 12th, the day before my birthday 
  3. #Runstreak - So far I'm 5 for 5 in 2012, and I want to make it at least to my 30th birthday. I'm taking a  page out of the Beer Runner's book and justifying my oat soda consumption with mandatory exercise. Thanks for being my accountability partners. 'Sides, it's no accident my new gym is right across the street from Ray's.
  4. Take part in an Inter-state run - This one will likely be the Gopher to Badger run in August. I was thinking the Ragnar Relay that crosses the WI/IL border, but the distance makes me twitchy.
  5. L-L-L-LAMBEAUUUUU! - I want to do the Packers 5K again this year so that I can, once again, run through the tunnel and around the field. I considered the Green Bay Cellcom Half for my birthday run, which would've also taken care of the Lambeau fix, HOWEVER, Lambeau's not a part of their route this year. Made that decision easy.
  6. Sausage Race - In any other city this would be a black mark on your record, but in great ol' Milwaukee it's a golden goose. I'm not going to lie. The main reason I want to do the Brewers Sausage Race 5K is for the t-shirt.

For now I think that's enough, don't you? I might add in some goals for personal training sessions, but for now my wallet is satisfied with the cost of a straight membership and entry fees for all of the above.

What are your goals in striving to stay fit and live a healthy life?

____________________________________________________________ Mandi Current Couch Potato | Aspiring Runner
 Mandi recently completed her first half marathon, traveling to California's wine country to benefit the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. Her next goal is the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon Relay in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in January.

Follow her journey.