Race Report: Nike+ Women’s Half Marathon

My city. My terms. My Nike+ Run.

Sunday, 15 January 2012, was the inaugural Nike+ Women’s Half Marathon. This was a virtual race – each participant would run a half-marathon at any time from 12:01 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, 15 January 2012, and log the run with Nike+. Participants could run anywhere so some runners who were already signed up for a race let that race do double duty.

I hesitated about signing up for this race. My runs lately have been to build a base for the half-marathon training that will start in a couple of weeks. I didn’t want to sign up for the race and then not be able to finish it or injure myself in the process because of my inadequate training.

I compromised by signing up for the Nike+ challenge because I could log the miles without paying the entry fee. After all, was the finisher’s bracelet worth $40? Then, last week, I reminded myself that I could do the distance, that I had completed the distance on minimal training before, and that I could walk to the finish if need be. I decided to go for it and registered for the race. I was official.

I chose to do my run on a treadmill, in the evening, after the football games. Since I hadn’t been training for this race, I decided to treat it like a long run and go at my long run pace instead of pushing my race pace. I thought that I would do a run/walk ratio of 9/1. That’s 9 minutes running, 1 minute walking. The morning of the race, I changed my mind because I knew I was going to be running at just a twitch above my long run pace and decided that my run/walk ratio would be 14/1.

After watching the Green Bay Packers lose miserably to the New York Giants, I put on my running clothes, laced up my Asics Gel Nimbus 13 – the next pair of shoes in the rotation, not my usual race shoes – popped my Nike+ sensor into my bean pod, and strapped on my Nike+ SportBand.

One small hiccup, though. I recently moved my treadmill to the garage and the idea of staring at a blank garage wall for 2+ hours was a bit daunting. I don’t have a television out there (yet!) and I’m anti-i so I don’t have an iPad. I’m also cheap so I don’t have a tablet. I had hoped to use my Nook to watch movies on crackle.com – not the best solution because of the Nook’s lack of flash – but even that idea was stymied because my treadmill is now too far away from my wireless router to get a good enough signal to connect. Luckily, I had my phone and was able to watch old episodes of NCIS during my time on the treadmill.

The run went surprisingly well given my lack of training. I stuck with my run/walk ratio of 14/1 and ended up pushing the pace well beyond my easy run pace because I was feeling so good.

I ran until my Sportband read 13.12 miles, ended my run, and then walked for a few more minutes to cool down. When I logged my run, though, instead of uploading 13.12 miles only 13.05 miles were uploaded. That, of course, freaked me out because I wanted to be counted as a finisher! In retrospect, I should have kept the Sportband on while I walked my cool-down – it’s what I do during my regular runs, after all.

Post-race soreness wasn’t too bad and I was able to do an easy 3+ miles on Monday.

I’m glad that I signed up for the Nike+ challenge. I’m glad that I registered for the race. I’m glad that I have a treadmill. The successful completion of this event makes me look forward to the half-marathon in April.

Happy Running!

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#oneword2012

English: Two New Year's Resolutions postcards

I’m not anti-New-Year’s-resolutions. I just don’t do them. For as long as I can remember, I’ve set goals for each calendar year and tracked my progress along the way. Things are no different this year.

For 2012, I identified 7 categories that are important to me and established 3 to 7 goals for each category. I know that I’ll be stretched as I try to attain my goals for the year. That’s usually what I have in mind when I go through my goal-setting exercise – things that take me out of my comfort zone, things that will make me a better person, things that will stimulate me.

As I was refining my goals, I learned about a new concept through a women’s leadership group on Facebook. The idea is that you pick one word and you use that word to guide you during the year. In her 2007 post, Christine Kane called it a Resolution Revolution. The WLI group’s #oneword2012 was gathered and turned into a Wordle.

My #oneword2012? Risk.

It’s a word that I’ve had in mind for many years because I’ve felt that as I’ve become older, I’ve become more cautious and content. It’s a word that I think of – along with “fearless” – whenever I watch young children learn new sports. Or 20-somethings who hop from job to job because they’re looking for something that their current job doesn’t give them. Or 40-somethings who leave a stable, satisfying job to pursue a lifelong passion. Somewhere between childhood and middle age we lose our appetite for risk. The risks we take become more cautious, more calculated, less…well, less risky.

So I chose “risk” for my #oneword2012 to remind me that the safe choice is not always the satisfying choice, that the pragmatic option is not always the passion-fulfilling option, that the expected decision is not necessarily the exceptional decision. As John A. Shedd wrote in 1928, “A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for.” I hope that my #oneword2012 is a constant reminder throughout the year to push and stretch myself and to move out of my comfort zone.

What’s your #oneword2012?

And the thought processor churns on . . .

Help! I’m Being Attacked by…

Italiano: Trespolo per rifiuti English: Garbag...

Image via Wikipedia Trash can

I’m being attacked. I’m running and I’m being attacked. No matter how fast I go, I can’t escape. I dodge first to the left then to the right but it’s hopeless. There are too many of them. And each evasive maneuver only serves to move me closer to one of them.

No, I’m not dodging snowflakes or slow walkers or crazy drivers. I’m being attacked by litter on my run around the pond. Plastic bags swirl in the wind. Napkins and crumples of paper roll around each time a car passes. Take-out boxes jammed into bushes along the sidewalk rustle with each gust of wind, eager to be free, to take flight.

I cannot escape the detritus drifting around my ankles, over my feet.

As I run, I wonder who dropped that Jack-in-the-Box bag next to the garbage can. Whoever it was, it’s obvious they didn’t make the varsity basketball team. The crows have gleefully swooped onto the bag, ripping it open, looking for scraps. Surely someone too lazy to put the bag into the trash bin will have left bits of food amongst the discarded wrappers.

Plastic bags flutter as I pass, weighted down by something I can’t see. Don’t worry, I think as I keep running, the crows will get to you, too, and set you free to float along.

I suddenly find myself wishing that I was walking and that I had brought a garbage bag with me to clean up the mess that other people have carelessly left behind, thoughtlessly thrown out of the window of a passing car, inconsiderately dropped as they walked along.

And just as suddenly, I realize another benefit of my treadmill – no litter attacking my ankles.

Happy running!