32B's Blog

…where I write my words

2012 Soldier Field 10 Mile

This was my first time running this race. I usually try to sign up for different races since the Chicagoland area has plenty to choose from and I think it’s kinda boring to do the same race, same course, same thing every year.  Soldier Field was built to honor the men and women of the Armed Forces so it’s only fitting that their annual run in its 9th year annually takes place during Memorial Day weekend.  It was pretty easy getting to the stadium; I took the Fullerton bus at about 4:32am to the Redline which took me to Roosevelt.  It was about a mile walk to the Stadium….or maybe it just felt like it was a long walk.  But, there were other runners walking with me so I was in good company.

The weather was awesomely cool.  No sun, no heat, no humidity; all pluses for me!  It seemed to take forever to start the race and each corral got its own starting shout-out so instead of my Blue corral starting at 6:40am, my 4th corral of the Blue corral started about 7:15am.  While waiting, we felt drops of rain here and there and wondered if we’d get soaked way before the race even began.  Rain is still better than humidity any day so I didn’t care….just start the race, please!

My mile splits:

Mile 1 – 09:17

Mile 2 – 08:55

Mile 3 – 08:49

Mile 4 – 08:45

Mile 5 – 08:59

Mile 6 – 08:58

Mile 7 – 09:04

Mile 8 – 09:06

Mile 9 – 09:15

Mile 10 – 09:04

As you can see, I started off well for my 1st mile which is very hard to do because the crowd rushes forward and you so wanna go with them, the excitement has built, the adrenaline is flowing, and your legs are fresh!  I talk to myself more times during running than I ever do in regular everyday life.  “Slow down, D”, “Feel your pace”, “Run YOUR race”, “Settle into this speed”, “Let them pass”, “Breathing cool…thighs hurting…time still on pace. Maintain it”, “Don’t look down…look up the incline”, “Ride the downhill”, etc.  The hardest thing to do was find my pace, settle into it, and ignore the people who ran past me because I had to stay in my groove and finish my own race.  I knew I’d “die” if I went out too fast but I also didn’t know at what per mile pace I could sustain for the entire race before my legs felt like giving from under me.  Well, they wouldn’t give completely at first.  They’d slow down slowly but surely ignoring my brain telling them to pick it back up.  Then, my mile splits will increase instead of decreasing or remaining consistent.

Between mile 6 and 7, I sucked down a Gatorade Energy Gel I’d brought with me.  I’d never taken one during a race but my quads were tightening, my splits slowing, and I was nowhere near the 50 yd line of the finish.  I was honestly happy to use the gel because it’s kinda heavy so, hanging from my running belt, it was bouncing with each foot strike I took for the last 6 miles which is really really irritating.  But, I blocked it out of my mind and focused on what was more important…a consistent pace.  I ripped the top off the gel, placed it in my mouth for a small suck, pulled it back out, splashed some on my arm, put it back in my mouth, ignored the need to vomit (not at the taste of the gel), squeezed it all into my mouth mid-run still, and threw the empty pack on the ground.  I don’t think I felt the slightest difference until I officially reached the 7 mile marker which was maybe 800 meters later.  I didn’t stop not once during the race to get a cup of water or Gatorade from the aid stations.  I wanted to see what my body could do esp since this was the first time I’d run a complete 10 mile course without stopping for a traffic light, cars, or pedestrians.

Occasionally, I passed some people and then some people passed me.  The weather remained cool throughout but I was starting to feel the burn literally towards the end.  As you can see from my mile splits, I first mile time became my 9th mile time which means I got faster, peaked, and then slowed back to where I began.  Not sure how good that is but I definitely checked my breathing throughout….it was pretty strong and stable.  That tells me my cardiovascular system can handle a faster pace or push but my legs weren’t feeling it.  My legs, this time around, just weren’t up to par with my breathing.  On the last mile, the spectators and race staff were shouting about how close to the finish we are but I didn’t believe.  I knew we’d finish on the 50 so I wasn’t gonna push it until I was inside the stadium turf.  I got to the last 800 meters and you’d think I’d be overjoyed but my thighs were still burning.  The lady yelled out, “if you have any gas left now is the time to push it in”.  I should have listened to her because right around the next 2 corners was the finish line.  The most beautiful sight ever!  Before I knew it, I was on grass, I saw the “FINISH” banner in front of me, and I saw the huge screen inside the stadium showing us running in.  I even smiled, waved my hands overhead, and forgot all about the pain in the thighs.  Instantly, my body was feeling high….until I stopped running.  I crossed the time-sensor at the finish line, stopped my watch, and was still smiling when I felt my quads tighten and I said “owwww!”

Yayy, I’d finished and I’d finished in 1 hour and 30 minutes (unofficially) which is a PR for me so I had reason to be happy but I also wondered how much faster could I have gone.  I have another 10 mile race I might sign up for in July so we shall see.  This time though, I did a visually and physically painful walk tot he guy handing out water bottles, to the table with bags of after-race snacks, to the gear check to retrieve my running bag I’d brought with me, and to the blanket table to get my Soldier Field blanket which is blue.  Blue?!  Why not green, or, I don’t know…..navy and orange for the team’s colors!?!?!  I took 2 pictures which I’ve posted here and had some comments.  My cousin said, “that’s why you’re still skinny cause you run 10 miles in an hour!”  Was I supposed to be fat by the age of 31?  Thicke?  Curvy?  I feel like I didn’t meet some unspoken accepted standard for myself as I aged.  Others just wanna know how I can run for so long.  I don’t view the time or distance as a “long ass time” but as something I know my body responds well too.  If I am feeling slow, out-of-shape, or like I’m putting on the pounds around my midsection…then I go run.  When I run long I get better results.  I am not one for running fast contrary to most thoughts related to black runners.  I enjoy a slower pace that I can sustain for a longer period of time.  I love the discipline, the strength, and mental battles I face doing something most think is purely physical.  I run alone usually and enjoy it.  There’s camaraderie & encouragement with a running group but imagine the tenacity that is required to be your own coach, cheerleader, critic, etc.  I gain more than a good physical workout

May 27, 2012 Posted by | Life | , , | Leave a comment

Cold Miles

There is nothing like a good sports bra!  I had maybe 4 sports bras – 2 of those from my college days which means they are old as dirt.  I threw out the 2 which had about lost all elastic from that band that sits right under your boobs although they still look good.  Yeah, I could have kept them for regular bra purposes but I hardly ever (never) wear a sports bra except when participating in a sports activity.  Anywho, I went to buy 2 new sports bras from Marshalls.  Actually, I went to buy something totally different not for myself but the force of the athletic section consumed me until I couldn’t possibly resist anymore.  I hate spending too much on anything so I found cute support bras for $10 each – a white one and a pink reversible one.  Why would I ever need a reversible bra?  No idea but I assume it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.  That is exactly my thoughts about this MBA I am getting but that is besides the point.  Both bras are made by Champion, fall under the Medium Impact category, and feel so good!  I love wearing them.  They feel supportive.   They come down enough over an under my boobs so I don’t feel like raising my arms or moving too much will shift the bra itself out of place.  The racerback fits comfortably between my shoulder blades.  The band under my boobs is taut without being too tight and without making me think a boob will slip through midrun.  I do not have one massive smashed together boob but two separate small boobs.  And did I mention the material is super soft?  Yeah, it is great.  Or, maybe this is how all bras feel but I have gone so long without a new one that I’m acting like these bras are the best things since sliced bread.  Whatever the reason is…..I love my bras!

Now that I wrote an entire paragraph about my bras, I wanna recap my run today.  I had to go to the bank and the only way to get there was if I ran there.  Well, there are other ways to get to the bank but don’t tell my feet that.  The bank is about 1.8 miles from my apartment one way so I ran about 3.6 miles today round trip.  It was about 44 degrees today and the first time I wore my Nike running jacket.  I wore my same ole Nike running tights (I need to buy some more of those asap) with my Nike jacket but no hat, gloves, or even ear muffs.  Underneath my jacket, I wore a short sleeve shirt and ankle socks.  I’m sure folks were thinking, “did someone not tell this chick it’s cold outside?”  I swear the hardest part of running outside during cold weather is the beginning of the run.  You yell at yourself not to turn around and put on a down jacket, fleece, and 5 hats but to wait and give your body a chance to warm up.  So, you run and run and run and then eventually you feel….what’s that?!  Body heat!!  By then, I was good.  Next time I will wear my running gloves instead of balling my hands up inside my kind-of-long sleeves of my jacket.  Next time I will probably wear my earband which covers my ears and goes around to cover my forehead and the nape of my neck.  I was pretty comfortable with my short sleeve shirt on though.  As long as my extremities are warm then there is less drama and arguments between me and myself.

From time to time, I would check out my reflection on a door, window, etc and think “I am cute!”  lol  I like athletic wear.  It makes me look strong, fit, athletic (duh!), and like I can possibly kick ass in whatever sport I participate in.  Most of those are probably just assumptions but I hope some of those are true….kinda sorta.  Sooner rather than later, the temperature will drop from the oh so breezy 40 degree weather to 30s and then 20s and then white stuff will fall from the sky and then black ice will appear out of nowhere and, get this, hide itself under the snow.  I will continue to bear the cold miles for the sake of my amateur regular ass at times subpar running career and overall health.  Once the latter part of that list of weather conditions occurs, I will bitch and moan while reporting to the nearest treadmill.  Until then, happy cold running!! 🙂

November 18, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hot Run

Extremely humid today! Nothing compared to the south but I don’t live there so I deal with what I am accustomed to.  The week before last, I did a 6 mile run at 45 minutes which is where I left off before the 2010 winter season so I was really proud of myself.  I am spending more time stretching instead of totally bypassing it and I try to drink more water but that is seriously not working out too well.  Last week, I did the same 6 mile route but it was after almost 9 days with no physical activity so my legs were slow to start, slow to get going, and slow to move in general leaving me at home about 49 minutes later.  Yes, it’s just 4 or so minutes slower than the previous week but 4 minutes is a lot of time when it comes to running.  Today, I tried to drink more water which, again, was a total bust but I tried even forcing myself to drink.  Made it outside and it was not really hot as much as it was humid.  My legs were slow but they came alive eventually only because I didn’t push my pace since the air was dry.  My breathing was great.  Conversational pace the entire time so that was exactly what I was aiming to do.  Just run relaxed and run long instead of hard. 

That said, instead of the 6 miles I planned to finish, I only finished 4 miles in 37 minutes.  Not a good time but I made it home and dang near threw a party when I did.  I stretched and reminded myself to stretch on days when I don’t run much since keeping my legs limber helps my stride which helps my turnover which helps the fluidity of my overall running ability.  That tight feeling as if I have been doing squats is not a good feeling when you have a long run before you.  Thursday should be a good running day.  About 75 degrees, cloudy, and less humid….my kinda day!  My best weather is 60+ degrees though.  I ran in the same itty bitty shorts and fitted tank so the wind felt cool against my skin but it made any fatigue feel like heaven because I wasn’t hot.  I do not do well when I get hot which is why I hardly wear anything during the summer but at least I hardly sweat (which is prb a bad thing).  Not because I’m hooch or like to dress hoochie.  I get hot!  I keep the key areas covered (which isn’t hard to do) and let everything else out to breathe.  The good thing is that I am not overweight so nothing looks distasteful.  Some might appreciate my non-booty region shorts but I would appreciate some of that Chicago wind every now and then….can’t have everything your way.

**TMI moment** I do not know many distance runners personally but I wonder if anyone experience what I do sometimes.  While running mile after mile after exhausting mile, your thighs often rub together creating a decent amount of friction (depending on weight too).  Well, I actually had an upper inner thigh burn because the cotton shorts I was wearing often were rubbing against my skin and, since I don’t have much inner thigh fat or cushion, it stung a good deal.  Skin burn isn’t the issue here.  Orgasmic sensations are though.  I swear the rubbing of my inner thighs against the fabric of my shorts makes this happen and I almost have to stop running till the moment pass.  I never have but it feels like I might have to.  Anywho, maybe it’s just me.  Maybe I am just that sensitive and get “sensations” with little effort.  Ok, I’ll chalk that up to another characteristic I share with no one but myself.

May 25, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , , | 2 Comments

I feel Bunny-licious!

I am sure people are tired of me talking about running but I had such a great run yesterday!  I am still doing my 8.5 miles but I didn’t run Saturday because it pretty much rained all day and it was my last day of freedom before the kids got back so I ran Sunday instead.  I was going to do 6 miles instead since I’d already gotten in 17 miles that week but I did the 8.5 miles knowing that I needed to get used to the distance before I increased it to 10 miles at the end of the month.  Can she go the distance?  Enquiring minds wanna know!  So, I got up, got dressed, and got out the door.  No breakfast.  No water.  No nothing.  I felt good in the beginning making sure I stayed on pace and didn’t allow my feet to go faster too soon esp not on mile 2 when I have 6.5 left to go.  Some aren’t familiar with Chicago streets but I live off a street called Hamlin.  My route east of Hamlin consists of more traffic lights than my route west of Hamlin so I tend to “feel” my run more so on that leg of the run which isn’t great since it’s towards the end.  Not sure which mile marker I was at but I began to feel rejuvenated, like I’d gotten a second wind, like Bunny (my running alias) had taken a deep breath and felt revived.  I was no where close to the point where I turn around and make my trek back home but I did allow my legs to pick up the pace a tad bit.  I was coasting!  It felt good.  My breathing was stable.  My form was right.  I dropped my arms, relaxed them at my sides, and let my legs ride me through the run.  I put in both ear buds (I tend to only run with one in my ear so I can hear & see cars/people better) and turned my music up a little bit.  I was in the zone.

I got to my turning point which left me drained the week before but this time I turned and made my way home without any fatigue or feeling like I wanted to stop.  I felt, for a small period of time, like I was invincible.  Not in a sense like no one could beat me or stop me.  Invincible as though no mileage would fear me.  No pace would shake me.  I felt stronger.  I felt tougher.  I felt some remnants of my old self again.  It felt so good I just let the pace ride until I felt like I absolutely had to slow down.  I wasn’t sprinting by any means and I wasn’t running fast.  Coasting is just letting my body do what it does.  That’s the only way I know it’s time to increase my mileage or push the envelope….when my mind is jogging along and then my legs say “come on! let’s go faster!”  I’m not crazy…..I swear my legs speak to my mind often.  I listened to my legs which didn’t feel like lead this time or begged for a break at the next red light.  They felt ready to push it so I let them push it.  My mind didn’t feel intimidated by the 8.5 miles as it did before.  Instead of thinking about all the businesses I’d pass and how it felt like I was running so far I might be leaving the city limits, I felt like 8.5 was a short distance.  LOL, ok not really but the mental game was absent this time.  I felt so good I ran 5 minutes faster than Thursday!  So, this week, if the rain don’t mess up my plans too much, I will focus more on long speedwork.  I love the 8.5 miles and really need to map out the perfect 10 mile run around my ‘hood prb sticking to the west side of Hamlin with less lights which may take me into Oak Park (ridiculous).  But, I will begin 800m repeats this week.

I have no hills near my apt other than a stadium I used to run track meets at during high school but I doubt they leave it open for the public….but I’ll check.  800 repeats are supposed to be excellent speed distances for half-marathoners when done at race pace.  We used to do them all the time for Cross Country practice.  I should be following a Half-Marathon training schedule since there’s so many out there online put together by notable runners but I don’t like to follow someone else’s schedule….I like to think I can train myself.  Arrogant?  Probably.  I know my body better than anyone else and I have done some distance running before….to a certain extent.  Anywho, 800 repeats at race pace would put me at about 4 mins.  My ideal race pace for the half-marathon would be 8 minute/mile pace.  Ambitious?  Highly!  My thinking is that if I train for a 8 minute/mile pace and fall into the 9 minute/mile pace come race day I will still break my 2 hour time frame.  Where I am totally confused is how much rest to give myself.  I know I should do at least 5 repeats but I need to research sample 800 workouts.  Then, it’s back to my long run this weekend.  Maybe one running post a week is sufficient but I get so excited when I can run for a long time at a faster pace without breathing hard….it’s freakin fracking awesome to me.  My body is amazing.  I am trimming down as far as weight.  My gut (stomach) is pretty stubborn but everything else is slimming down as expected.  I can’t diet even if I wanted to….I’m not disciplined enough to turn down food.

In other news, my company has sold to new owners.  I can’t say anything else about it thus far because it hasn’t been officially announced to the public but I am interested in seeing what happens next.  Who goes?  Who stays?  The company Broker came in to talk to us today (I missed it cause I was running 10 mins late).  New owners will come in later today to meet with the Executives with the corner offices.  I have a cubicle so that means I’m less important.  My manager told me I have nothing to worry about.  I trust him, after all, he hired me and he’s a Boilermaker.  But, nothing is set in stone and no one is ever safe so I shall continue running with the strong azz Chicago wind which seriously is a bytch on my long runs when I’m running against it.  No church yesterday for Easter sunday since I had to pick the kids up at noon from Union Station and went running that morning.  I could have gone to the 8am service but I’m thinking….running or church?  Running or church?  Running or church?  I doubt God is the least bit surprised in my decision. (Picture: ol’ girl looking like someone just pissed her off! lol if I was that guy next to her I’d be very afraid. But, I hope that’s my body in 2 months time 🙂 )

April 5, 2010 Posted by | Life | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment