Event: OUC Orlando Half Marathon 2012
Date: December 1, 2012
Location: Downtown Orlando, Lake Eola Park
Division Place: 7th out of 289
Gender Place: 44th out of 1,661
Overall Place: 244 out of 3,193
This was a great and well organized half marathon put on by Track Shack of Orlando. It was a refreshing change from the over crowded and chaotic Disney half marathons, which are the only other options in Orlando. I had no problem parking, hitting up the port-a-potties and getting to the start line with enough time to do some stretching.
The weather was absolutely ideal and the course was nice and scenic! I ran this one last year with a time of 1:54:38 (it was my 2nd race and 1st half marathon after having my baby boy in May). I still had an extra 15+ pounds of baby weight to lose at last year’s event and it was only my 2nd race after taking a full year off from racing and 9 full months off from running altogether.
My time at this year’s OUC Orlando Half Marathon was obviously a vast improvement and it was my 8th half marathon since last ‘s years! I attribute training and running all these events to losing the rest of the baby weight plus some extra!
I hit my all time PR of 1:39:41 in May of this year and came close again in September at the Chicago Half Marathon with a time of 1:41:35…1:54 away from my PR. I came even closer at the OUC half…54 seconds from my PR! I felt I did MUCH better at the OUC compared to Chicago, even though its only a 60 second difference, because the Chicago Half Marathon was a totally flat and easy course. The OUC Half was a nice course but it got pretty challenging after mile 10, when my legs start to get tired anyways. Right after we crossed mile 10, we were met by numerous hills and about 2.5 miles of brick pavers! The pavers make it a little more slippery, a lot more uneven and there are definite hidden drop offs and some of them are coming up so it’s easy to trip. Even though I was consciously pushing myself to run faster, I could feel myself subconsciously slowing down. I knew I was going to be awfully close to my PR when I crossed mile 11 so I tried to speed it up as much as I can; it worked on the last mile but I lost speed during miles 10-12 so it just wasn’t enough to PR. Either way, this is my second best time of all time so I am happy with it!
I went in to the race fairly prepared. My training has been on target (I’m training for the 2013 Disney Marathon next month) but my stretching and recovery methods haven’t been great. That’s something I’m always working on. My legs did feel a bit heavy up until the 3rd mile but loosened up after that.
Next Race: Walt Disney World Marathon January 13, 2013
XOXO The Glam Runner
Have you ever thought taking spin classes could help your running performance? I have taken spin class for the past 9 years and have been a huge fan since my first class. I actually have been spinning longer than I’ve been running.
Of course spin class or biking outside can be a great cross training activity for those days that you don’t run but believe it or not spinning can actually help you with your running speed. Some cases have proved it to improve 5k times by 3% and 10K times up to 9%! That’s a pretty significant percentage in a shorter distance race. Spinning and running are different because obviously running is very high impact but spinning is virtually impact free. You get a killer cardio work out that almost duplicates running sprints and pushing high resistance builds strength in key areas of the legs used for running.
I attribute my ability to do as well as I do in races to my years of spinning. I only started running in 2009 yet I am a competitor in my division in pretty much every local Orlando race. I went in to training for my first race with my cardiovascular system in top shape because of my 5 years of spinning prior to running – I really only had to get my legs used to the soreness of long runs, the impact of running and figure out my pace when I first started running outside and training for my first race. I even got my cardio system back fairly easily after taking a full year off from running after having my son. I started out with spin classes to get my cardiovascular system strong then I trained for the 2011 Hot Chocolate 15K. I am now faster than before pregnancy.
Spinning is pure interval training. In a good class you are doing a variety of “drills”. You climb hills, you sprint (always with resistance), you do longer faster paces or short bursts of speed with various levels of resistance and there are times where you’re pushing it as hard as you possibly can followed by a bit of recovery. It mirrors running repeats and will increase your endurance as an athlete. If you’re taking a good class from a knowledgeable instructor they will remind you to always keep a level of resistance on your bike. Sprinting with too little or no resistance can take your safe no impact work out to a knee injuring work out and really you’re not doing anything if you don’t have resistance anyways. A sure test to see if you have enough resistance is to make sure your butt doesn’t bounce in the saddle when you are riding fast; if it is you need to turn the resistance knob to the right!
Spinning also helps strengthen the muscles used in running. Now, spinning is not meant to replace lifting weights but when you’re pushing resistance you are gaining strength without the impact. As runners, our bodies need time to recover from pounding the pavement every time we run but with spinning you can get some of the same benefits without needing that impact recovery time. I usually will take 2-3 spin classes or ride my spin bike at home during half or full marathon training.
Studies have also shown that there is a connection between pedal stroke cadence and foot cadence while running. The more times your feet strike the ground the harder it is on your body and the more likely you are to get injured. In a perfect world we would be working on trying to lengthen our stride so our feet strike the ground less but that is not always easy to do without a coach. The more times you are able to get that pedal around is supposed to help you have a higher foot strike cadence making you less prone to injury.
I hope all the runners out there who haven’t yet tried a spin class will try one and see how it affects your running performance. Personally, I think spinning has a lot to do with my speed and endurance as a runner.
XOXO The Glam Runner
Everyone has their own running essentials, mine have to do with making my runs as comfortable as possible in the hot Florida heat.
Here are 7 of my must haves:
1. Lululemon running clothing. I wear the Run Speed Shorts and Energy Sports Bra almost every time I run. The sports bra you choose will be your personal preference and they have many to choose from based on the level of support you need. I needed the TaTa Tamer right after I had my son but now I’m a huge fan of the Energy Sports Bra. The run speed shorts are super short and I need that running in central Florida. I am one of those people who cannot stand feeling clothing or any kind of gear touch me when I run. I feel like my body runs about 10-15 degrees warmer than the actual temperature outside so even when it’s cooler out I still wear shorts. Lululemon’s shorts are all very flattering and comfortable on both men and women. There are so many different styles to choose from like the Run Speed or even the Turbo Shorts, which are the same as the Run Speed but just a little longer. They also have a wide variety of very cute running skirts as well. Another great thing about all Lululemon athletic wear is the pockets. The Run Speed shorts have 2 pockets in the front that I put my iPod Nano in and the other is for my energy gel (if I’m doing a long run). The back zip pocket is perfect for my iPhone and key. They are always evolving too; so when phone styles change Lululemon adjusts that back pocket so the most popular phones fit snugly. Go to your local store and talk to the associates, they are always extremely knowledgable and helpful about their products and even fitness facilities in the area. I’ve been to Lululemon stores all over the country and the staff is helpful every single time.
2. Lululemon pony tail holders. I have long, thick hair and a regular pony tail holder doesn’t do the trick, not even 2 or 3. Going along with my I don’t like anything touching me when I run theme, I don’t like feeling my hair touching me either and I need it to stay in place when I’m pounding the pavement. The Lululemon pony tail holders are very strong and sturdy so just one holds my pony tail in place then I make a bun and secure it with another pony tail holder. They come 3 to a pack.
3. Lululemon headbands. I’m obviously partial to Lululemon but they have excellent products! Wearing a headband (a wrap style sweat band type headband) catches some of the sweat during my run that would otherwise drip in to my ear and make my headphones fall out of my ears. I bought one just to be cute for the Disney Princess Half Marathon this year and now I can’t go on a run without one!
4. Kiehl’s Cross Terrain SPF 50 Sunblock. I am all about protecting your skin from the sun and I get more sun during my runs than I do from going to the beach so I like to wear a sunblock with SPF 50. Normal sunblock or even normal mainstream sports sunblock does not stay on for me and get in my eyes but the thick texture of the Kiehl’s Cross Terrain stays on great. The texture is somewhat like Vaseline but it works and stays on. It is also meant for use for skiing, the beach or any other outdoor activity where you would sweat a lot.
5. GU Energy Gels. I only use energy gels on runs of 12 or more miles. I’m not sure if it really works or if it’s a mental thing but I take a GU brand Energy Gel at the first feeling of my legs slowing down and I’m always able to get another good 5 miles in before I start slowing down. They have a bit if sugar in them and amino acids to get life back in to those tired legs. I found that GU doesn’t upset my stomach either as long as I take them with water. I do suffer occasionally from “runner’s trots” during long runs but GU seems to be the best for my stomach as well. Always remember never to take an energy gel with a carb drink or electrolyte drink like Gatorade! The double influx of sugar will more than likely upset your stomach. Take your energy gel with water then if you need it, you can drink your Gatorade drink after a few more miles.
6. Poliquin Electrolyte Px 2.0. I generally do not drink Gatorade or Powerade after my long runs. There is way too much sugar and additives that the body doesn’t need. I take Poliquin’s electrolyte replacement. It comes in a powder form and you mix it with water. There is only Sodium, Potassium, Phosphorus and Magnesium in this electrolyte supplement. I usually mix it with a little bit of Crystal Lite powder to get rid of the sodium taste. I will say, since taking in Poliquin Electrolyte Px 2.0 directly after my long runs, my legs do not get as sore. I’m not sure if that’s what it’s supposed to do but it’s a huge plus for me. I forgot to take it after my long run on Monday and my legs still hurt pretty badly. You can purchase this electrolyte replacement as well as other great quality supplements by going to www.charlespoliquin.com
7. iPod Nano. Everyone has their favorite iPod they like to use when running and some even use their phone but as I said, I don’t like anything touching me while I run so I can’t do the iPod or phone on an armband. I love my tiny little pink iPod Nano that holds 1,500 songs and it fits perfectly in the front pocket in my Lululemon shorts.
I’m interested to hear about everyone else’s running essentials too, so leave me a comment if there’s something I’m missing and you think it’s a must try. I’m always up for discovering new products. One item that I haven’t found yet is a good pair of headphones that are good for running. I’ve found some that I like but they quit working a couple months after using them.
XOXO The Glam Runner
Have you ever signed up for a race and put forth the effort to train then the few weeks leading up to the big event life gets in the way and you’re not able to run? I can say that has happened to me numerous times this year.
It happened the first time leading up to the 2012 Disney Half Marathon in January. I went to Chicago for Christmas for a couple of weeks; I did not do my long runs and did not eat properly at all. What’s even worse is, I didn’t do ANY training runs the week before the half marathon either. I was not in to this one at all and ended up walking the last 5 miles. If that were to happen now, I’d be ok but that was only the second half marathon after a full year off from racing to have my baby. I still had an extra 15 pounds to lose at that point as well. I won’t post my time for that race but it was my worst time by far of all time. Then came the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February and I was back on track. My extra weight was gone and I had trained hard with a respectable time of 1:47:42.
Now let’s fast forward to my spring half marathons. I ran the First Midwest Bank Southwest Half Marathon in May of 2012 in Palos Hill, IL during a work trip to Chicago. I didn’t do any runs the week of and did not practice healthy pre race habits however somehow I finished with a PR of 1:39:41. I trained extremely hard for this one and was below pre pregnancy weight so I don’t think that week of bad habits and no running had any effect on me. I ran the North Shore Half Marathon in Highland Park, IL June 6, 2012. Unfortunately I was only able to squeeze in two 5 mile runs in a 3 week period and didn’t do a long run for 2 full weeks – long story as to why. It was a VERY hot day that day and the course was extremely hilly but I still ended up finishing in 1:49:40. It was definitely not my best time, but even if I ran as I was supposed in those 3 weeks I would not have had the best time due to the hills (which we are not used to in Florida) and extreme heat (which we are used to but I still can’t push it to my limits on that kind of weather).
I ran the Chicago Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon in July, 2012 with another bad running week, the week before the race due to being out-of-town for work again. It was another super hot and humid day in Chicago and I ended up finishing in 1:53:07. My lack of running the week before my race was catching up with me. It didn’t help that my IT band and knee started bothering me at mile 8 either and I was practically at a “fast walk” the last 3 miles. I regrouped and made sure I was at home the week of my next half marathon which was the Chicago Half Marathon on September 9, 2012 and flew in the Friday before the race instead of the week before. I did my long run the Sunday before, tapered properly and ate like a champion the week of and I finished in 1:41:35. Finally back to my comfortable time!
It happened again leading up to my 5 mile race I did today where I couldn’t run for a week because I was out-of-town for work then I ended up getting a painful blood blister on my foot. I ran once the week of but still finished with a respectable 35:51.
If you find yourself faced with a race that you slacked off for the week of or even couple of weeks leading up to it, if you trained properly for the months leading up to the race you will more than likely be fine. A week is not going to take away all the hard work you put forth, especially if you are running a full marathon and you’ve been training for 18 weeks or longer. The rest might actually do you more good than harm.
Here are some of my tips when you have slacked off a bit leading up to the event:
- Never try to cram in miles you weren’t able to run. If you were forced to take some time off and it’s only a week before your race just do your moderate taper runs. If you try to make up mileage and cram it in to that week or 2 before you will either exhaust yourself and not do well in the race or you’ll injure yourself.
- Eat like a champion and drink plenty of water. The increase of carbs leading up to the big race (I’m talking 10 milers, half marathons, 20 milers and full marathons. There is no need to card load for 5Ks or 10Ks) will store that much-needed glycogen to keep you going and if you’ve trained properly leading up to the race, your body is already ready for the mileage. Also, being completely hydrated a few days before the race will keep you going strong as well. In any situation, rather it be perfect where you were able to train 100% correctly or not, you need to be hydrated in the days leading up to the race. Not the morning of.
- If you only missed your longer run the week before the race, try to at least keep your legs going with short taper runs. This will keep the blood flowing and keep your legs in running condition. You’re going to taper anyways so just be sure to keep with the lower mileage and don’t do anything more (as I explained in the first tip).
- Stretch and keep your muscles loosened up. If you aren’t able to run the week or couple of weeks leading up to your race, make sure you stretch and keep your muscles from tightening or cramping up. Don’t over do it though and try not to stretch a completely cold muscle.
- Make sure to get in a warm up mile the morning of the race. Warming up will get your body familiar to what is about to happen. I know if I haven’t run in a couple of day then just go straight to race pace with out warming up, everything on my body will cramp up. This will be especially true if you haven’t run in a week or 2.
- Lastly, don’t dwell on it and trust in the training you did do leading up to your break. As I stated, if you’ve trained properly for months, a week or 2 isn’t going to totally kill your ability to run a successful race. If anything, learn from what happened and get it right for the next one! As my graphic says, just get out there and do it even if you think you’re going to do poorly. You can end up totally surprising yourself.
XOXO The Glam Runner
U Can Finish 5 Miler
October 14, 2012 7:30AM UCF Campus Orlando, FL
- Finish Time: 35:51
- Age Group Place: 4th/138
- Gender Place: 22nd/756
- Overall Place: 106th/1,385
I ran the U Can Finish 5 Miler (Presented by Florida Hospital) this morning. I only did a 6 mile run this week due to being out-of-town for work, a painful blood blister on my pinky toe and ankle pain after my 6 mile run on Thursday (I need new shoes). I went in to the race feeling very well – my body felt rested. I can run 5 miles with my eyes closed but my goal is to finish as fast as my abilities allow me to and to place in my division (Women 30-34) so I was nervous because I slacked on my speed work for the last 2 weeks. My initial goal was a finish time of 34:27 but that might have been a little aggressive because this was the first 5 mile race I have ever run plus the heat and humidity is still going strong in Orlando. I cannot push myself to my ultimate limit in humidity – my body just doesn’t allow it right now.
I still did end up finishing 4th out of 138 in my age group (I missed 3rd place by 35 seconds) and even though I ultimately wanted to place in my division, I am happy with finishing 4th. Today just wasn’t my morning. I am more and more confident that I will do very well in the Chicago Hot Chocolate 15K on November 4, 2012. The weather will be cool and the humidity will not be a factor that time of year in Chicago.
I need to learn to realize where my limits are and to push them safely in the heat and humidity. At the end of the day I am only in competition with myself so this is a great starting point for me to beat in the next 5 Mile race I will run…when ever that may be. Running races in Florida definitely helps me in those races that I run in the cooler months here and in Chicago. I end up feeling great almost like I was training on hills and am running a totally flat course!
Next Race: Run Nona 5K October 27, 2012 Orlando, FL
Let’s talk confidence. I’m not talking about strutting it in your party dress with style, I’m talking runner’s confidence.
You pick out a race to run in, you pick out a training program, do your training runs, long runs, you eat well, get your healthy carbs in and drink plenty of water throughout your months of training. You stretch, you taper the week of the race, you pick out your race outfit, pin your bib on your clothes and lay everything out the night before, carb load the few days before your race and get to bed early…then it’s race morning! There is nothing more exciting for runners than race morning! It’s time to do it; time to get out there and do what you’ve been training for all these long hard months!
If you’re anything like me, you doubt yourself every single time you get to that start line. Did I train hard enough? Did I pick the right program? Should I have run more or less the week of this race? Maybe I should have stretched more? Maybe I ate too many carbs the night before because I feel heavy and full? Will I meet my goal? Will I PR? The questions and doubts are endless! Then that horn goes off and I’m off – no turning back. It’s me, the open road and the hundreds or thousands of other runners who are all running the same race. I love and hate that feeling at the same time. I do feel that the “doubt” I put in myself helps me to run stronger and harder however I finish every single race picking out what went wrong, what I did wrong and what I could have done better. I do this if I didn’t do as well as I expected or even if I PR’d. It all has to do with the confidence I have in myself as a runner.
I’ve always been told, if I did the training, put in the miles and taper properly I will do just fine. Just fine isn’t good enough for me; I’m an athlete, I’m a competitor, I am a runner. As a runner I should be confident in myself – I train very hard and I have talent. I only started running in 2009 (with an almost 1 year break while I was pregnant) but I finish in the top 3% in my age group, top 3% in the overall female group and I generally finish in the top 8-9% overall. Why don’t I have more confidence in myself as a runner? I can’t answer that question right now but it’s more than likely my competitive spirit but sometimes that can take the fun out of running.
It is very important for those of us who struggle with this runner’s confidence issue to overcome it because the races we run that we enjoy so much will become a chore and no longer enjoyable. Runners have a unique train of thought; who else loves something so much that hurts like hell, that you might hate (more of a love to hate feeling) every single second of and not be able to walk when you’re done yet can’t wait until the next race? Most of us who run are doing it for fun, it’s generally not our job to run and you’re not going to get fired if you don’t PR so why stress so much over racing? I’m not saying to go in to it not caring about how you do and to not train hard; I’m saying to realize that if you don’t PR this time there is always the next race to PR in. Go in to it confident in your training and your abilities, push it and do your best but don’t dwell on it if you didn’t perform your best on that particular day.
There are many factors that go in to not doing as well as you expected to. If it’s hot and humid out, you can’t expect to PR and you’re really not supposed to push it to your limits when it’s hot and humid out anyways. Also, you can’t compare all courses – you cannot always expect to PR when you PR’d on a flat course and you’re running a hilly course at your next race. It’s different and the hilly course is obviously going to be much more challenging. If you’re getting over an injury or you’re not feeling well on race day you can’t expect to finish with a killer time as well. When you have these factors working against you, do as best as you possibly can in those conditions but don’t let a less than impressive time ruin your day.
If you feel as if conditions are perfect, you trained as hard as you could and prepped well and you still didn’t do as well as expected, learn from what went wrong. You will be able to figure out why you didn’t do as well as you wanted to, learn from it and work towards making sure it doesn’t happen again in your next race. It’s all you can do plus it keeps you working hard. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger and makes us better runners. If you PR’d ever single time there would be nothing to work towards.
I can say I have major confidence issues in full marathons. I am a great at running 5Ks to half marathons but there is something about 26.2 that scares the hell out of me. I have ran in 2 full marathons (Disney World Marathon 2010 and the Minneapolis Marathon 2010) and I didn’t do well at either one. My times for both are actually quite embarrassing comparing it to my half marathon times. My knee/IT band gave me major issues during Disney 2010 and I was forced to walk the last 6 miles – I was going so strong and enjoying myself until the 20th mile then it all went downhill once my knee started to hurt. I was humiliated and incredibly disappointed but I gave the full another try a few months later. I ran with a great pace group in the Minneapolis Marathon, I was going strong and getting “in the zone” until “nature called” around the 18th mile. I ended up losing the group I was running with and lost my momentum – again, I was devastated. I told myself I would never run a full marathon again but I decided to sign up for the next Disney Marathon (January 2013). I will complete 8-9 half marathons this year so I need to challenge myself a bit more. I am training harder this time around and working with people who know how to dominate the full marathon. I need the moral support and I need to take advice from other runners who know what they are doing. I am going in to the big one with confidence and I know I will do as well as I can. Disney will be a test and I will go for a big PR and goal at the 2013 Chicago Marathon – I can’t wait! I might not be a long distance runner and I might need to stick to medium to short distance races but that isn’t going to stop me from trying.
Trust your training, trust yourself as a runner and trust that you will do as well as you are able to that particular day. Make a goal for every race and strive to meet that goal but if you don’t there is always next time. Trust that you are great, you will run great and enjoy yourself out there!
I am going to read my own post before I walk out the door for my 5 mile race on Sunday and I am going to trust that I will do well and that I am a strong and confident runner!
XOXO The Glam Runner
In September I ran 3 races: The Chicago Half Marathon (Chicago, IL), The Autumn Rock n’ Run 5K (Orlando, FL) and the Miracle Miles 15K (Orlando, FL). Today, I want to discuss my experience in each race, my goals, what I learned from each race and what I’m doing to meet my goals.
The Chicago Half Marathon September 9, 2012: Finished 1:41:35/44 out of 1,295 in age group/193 out of 6,815 females/1003 out of 12,105 overall
My goal for running the Chicago Half Marathon was to finish around my PR of 1:39:41 (May, 2012). I was pleased with finishing a little over 2 minutes over my PR – I had some IT Band pain that ran in to my knee throughout miles 5 and 6 and I know I slowed down during those 2 miles. I am confident I would have PR’d if it weren’t for that pain. After 2 disappointing half marathon times before this one (North Shore Half Marathon: 1:49:40 and the Chicago Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon: 1:53:07) I was so happy that I finally made it back to that range. I prepped for the Chicago Half marathon by eating perfect for a runner, stretching more and keeping up with my training runs the week of the race. The weather was also perfect which also helps.
The Autumn Rock n’ Run 5K September 15, 2012: Finished 22:36/5 out of 151 in my age group/34 out of 996 females/152 out of 1,705 overall
My goal for this 5K was to PR – my PR is 21:23 (April, 2012). It was very disappointing because I thought I had done much better. I was pushing it but I felt fairly well through the whole race. I finished 22:09 in my previous 5K and I was tight, sore and the entire race was uncomfortable. I was very surprised that I finished slower at this one. 5Ks seem to be a little more tough for me. You don’t have time to warm up so you have to get a good mile in beforehand, which I did not do. If you start slow, there is little to no time to make it up. You have to start strong and finish strong in a 5K. I started incorporating speed training twice per week to improve my time. I do a Tempo run on Tuesdays and repeat sprints on Thursday.
The 14th Annual Miracle Miles 15K September 22, 2012: Finished 1:10:58/7 out of 188 in my age group/31 out of 920 females/134 out of 1,678 overall
My goal for this race was to finish between 1:08:00-1:10:00; I had only run 1 other 15K in my life and that was my first race after having my son and taking a full year off of racing so I really had nothing to compare my time to. I was pleased but not thrilled with my time. My shoe came untied and I had to stop to tie it just as I was getting my comfortably fast pace and getting “in the zone”. That definitely slowed me down along with my IT band pain coming back at mile 8 and making the last 1.3 miles pretty difficult. It was hot and humid as well – I don’t run to my full potential when it’s hot and humid. I am hoping my speed training will help me with my next 15K (Chicago Hot Chocolate 15k November 4, 2012). I know the temperature will be ideal for running. I also switched to a slightly more supportive shoe to help with my IT Band as well as working on my flexibility.
I ran 3 races in September 2012 and for the conditions, I feel I had fairly successful races. On average, I finish in the top 3% in my age group and in my overall gender group and in the top 8% in the overall group. I am working and training harder, the temperature should be improving in Orlando and hopefully working on my flexibility and getting a more supportive shoe will all help me improve my time and ultimately get me a 1st place win in my age group again.
Next Race: U Can Finish 5 Miler October 14, 2012
Set goals for yourself, work towards them, keep improving and keep running!
XOXO The Glam Runner