20 Miles and a Few Coronas

Bonus points if you sang the title to the tune of “18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses.”

On Saturday, I met up with one of my running partners for the big 20 mile training run. Neither of us had ever run this far before, so it was a tad intimidating. Mentally, I had a lot of importance on this run.

We met at 7:30 at our usual training spot and started off the morning with our four mile loop. We stopped once to help a fellow runner with directions through the park; he was also training for Grandma’s and was already nine miles into his run. Then, we stopped again at a restroom because I needed a pit stop. Sometimes it takes a few miles to get into the rhythm of the run.

Once we returned to the parking lot, we headed out for a long out-and-back of approximately seven miles each way. This stretch was even less eventful.

When we made it back to the parking lot, we were definitely slowing down. It’s difficult mentally to get back to your starting point, only to head out yet again. We used the restrooms, refilled our water bottles, and headed out for a two-mile out-and-back.

Our last segment was definitely the slowest, with additional walk breaks and some little rolling hills that we didn’t have on the first two segments. Our muscles were tired and we were looking forward to stretching and having a snack.

The total mileage for the day was somewhere between 20 and 20.6 miles, since our GPS devices were reading a little differently; so, we kept going until both devices showed a distance of 20 miles or more. We finished up with a walk around the parking lot.

Upon returning to our cars, the first order of business was to get our running shoes off and our sandals on. Then, we headed over to a grassy area with our snacks and electrolytes, to stretch out. We also managed to get someone to take our picture to commemorate surviving our first 20 mile run, complete with smiles.

Surprisingly, it was a good run. Neither one of us had any pain, just general muscle soreness and fatigue. There weren’t any tears. Mentally, we’re both in a really good place regarding the marathon and are confident that we WILL finish this race.

I know I use the word “surprisingly” a lot when talking about this marathon journey, but I honestly went into it expecting misery. Training with my Moms on the Run ladies has been awesome and I wouldn’t be able to do this without them and my other running friends. When I use #LoveMyTeam in my tweets, I’m not kidding. I absolutely love this team of ladies!

The rest of my day was pretty normal for a Saturday. I was able to go to church and shopping with my husband, and relax with a few Coronas while watching Parks & Rec. No nap needed! Well, unless you count my long nap on Sunday afternoon.

Corona

Truth.

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Fit3D Scan

Earlier this week, I had my first Fit3D Scan done at Twin Cities Metabolism. According to Twin Cities Metabolism’s website:

The Fit3D ProScanner is the most comprehensive, non-invasive assessment technology available for tracking body composition and weight loss. With the use of infrared light, a camera scans and measures over 400 points on the body which is then converted into precise body measurements. The Fit3D ProScanner eliminates the human error variable that can occur with traditional tape measurements and ensures accurate and consistent results. Once the scan is complete users will be able to track their data online on our secure web platform.

I first heard about the Fit3D from a gym whose newsletter I receive via email. They were offering the scans as part of their fitness and weight loss challenge. I immediately looked into Fit3D and was intrigued. Previously, I’d wanted to do a DEXA scan, but the cost is much higher. The Fit3D costs $25-$35 per scan, whereas the DEXA is $100 per scan.

Last week, I decided now is a great time to get my initial scan done, since it’s the start of the Moms on the Run season. In 18 weeks, when the summer program ends, I’ll get another to compare results.

My personal results were not surprising. I knew approximately what my measurements and body fat percentage were. However, they also look at body composition based on comparisons such as hip to waist ratio, trunk to leg volume ratio, etc. I learned that those numbers look very good for me, even though my body fat percentage is 10% higher than it should be. At least I have a better way, and affordable, to track progress over using the scale exclusively.

I also learned that my Fitbit Aria scale says my body fat percentage is 3.5% higher than the Fit3D. The Fit3D is typically within 1% of the DEXA, which is considered the most accurate measurement for body composition.

When arriving for a Fit3D scan, I was taken into the private room that housed the scanner and was given instructions on setting up an account on Fit3D.com, which can only be done at a scanning center. I was told once my account was set up, the screen would tell me when to step on to be weighed and scanned. For the scan, it is recommended to wear form-fitting clothing, or no clothing at all. I chose to have mine taken wearing only undergarments. I also had to put my hair up so that none of it was hanging down onto my neck.

When the screen prompted me that it was ready to weigh me, I stepped into the foot outlines on the platform. Once weight was taken, it prompted me to grab the handles on the side, adjust them to the height needed, and press both buttons simultaneously. Then, I had to stand still, keeping my head straight ahead and continuing to press the two buttons, as the platform rotated and the scanner took measurements. The platform rotates very slowly, and is done in approximately 30-40 seconds. Once finished, the screen  prompted me to let go of the handles and step off the platform; then, the platform returned to starting position. At that point, I was able to get dressed again and head back out to the reception area.

At the reception desk, an employee confirmed within a few minutes that my scan was taken properly. She also handed me a sheet that better described some of the terms I’d see on my Fit3D scan dashboard when I logged into the website. I was informed at that point that my first scan was free, though I don’t know if this is always the case.

By the time I went down four floors in the elevator and walked to the parking lot, I received an email stating that my Fit3D scan was available to view. Since I had a 40 minute drive home, I waited until I was home to log in and take a look.

When logging into the Fit3D website, there was a 3D image of my body that I was able to rotate to see all views. I honestly think this was the coolest part of the whole thing! Also on the dashboard are the measurements from the scan: weight, waist, hips, thigh, bicep, forearm, neck, bust, etc. It also gives the body fat percentage, and the body composition scores I mentioned earlier.

FitScreen

This is a sample Fit3D dashboard. No, it is not mine.

The entire process for the scan and being able to view results was less than ten minutes, and that included the clothing change! Overall, I’m glad I decided to have a scan done and am looking forward to comparing results in August.

Of course, Twin Cities Metabolism offers an array of other services, such as thyroid testing and nutrition counseling, but they did not try to sell me on those services. I appreciate the professionalism and lack of salesmanship; because of this I would recommend them if you’re in need of such services.

Have you ever done a Fit3D scan or a DEXA scan? If so, what are your thoughts?

 

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4-H Clover Dash 2017

As I mentioned earlier this week, my family ran the 4-H Clover Dash 5k on Saturday morning. This race raises money for the Anoka County, MN 4-H program. We signed up because we enjoyed this race last year. It’s a fairly small race with approximately 350 participants between the 5k and the 2 mile walk. The course winds through Bunker Hills Park.

I picked up our packets on Friday morning since I had the day off to attend the Minnesota Horse Expo. Packet pickup was quick and the packet consisted of our race bibs and safety pins, along with a cotton Gildan t-shirt, pens, chapstick, hair ties, and coupons from sponsors.

The morning of the race, we got there early enough to park in the Activity Center parking lot, where the race started. Prior to the race, they had photo ops with the Chick-Fil-A cows, Caribou coffee, and silent auction bidding. There are indoor restrooms and a conference room to hang out in prior to the race.

CloverDash

Me and the Chick-fil-A cow before the race.

Approximately ten minutes before race time, they gathered participants outside for brief announcements, then the 5k runners walk across the parking lot to their starting line. After the runners started, then the walkers lined up for their walk. The 5k started promptly at 9:00 am. The race is clock timed, not chip timed.

As I mentioned above, the race winds through Bunker Hills Park, which lives up to its name by being hilly. However, none of the hills on the course are very steep, just quick rollers. For some reason, I have always run well in this park and this race was no exception.

I went into the race hoping for a PR, but wasn’t sure it was realistic with legs tired from the speed work at my MOTR classes on Tuesday and Thursday. During the race, I admit that I didn’t notice much. I was pretty focused on running and listening to my music. I just wanted to run my best race.

I’ll admit I went out faster than I typically do, and was sure I wouldn’t be able to keep the pace the entire time, so I told myself I could take a walk break at the halfway point. I was able to make it to that point and had started running again right before I rounded a curve and saw the water stop. I briefly thought about taking a water break, but told myself that I wanted the faster time more. I then thought about taking another walk break around 2.5 miles, but again decided I wanted the faster time more. I was so very close that I tried to push to hit that PR.

My finishing time was 32:15, which was 12 seconds shy of my PR. But, I gave it all I had for this race and am proud that I hit my second fastest 5k time. I really didn’t expect to see a 5k time like that until after the marathon. This race confirmed to me, though, that I should see a 5k PR by the end of the summer! I’m sure the V02 max training at MOTR will be very helpful toward reaching that goal; maybe I’ll even see a sub-30 5k.

As with last year, we had a fun time at this race and wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. A small local race, with funds going to a program we believe in, is always a winner.

What was your last race? What’s next on your race calendar?

 

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2017 Ambassador!

This week has been an exciting one in my running journey.

First, I ran 18 miles last Sunday, with one of my training friends. We started with an out and back totaling 12 miles, so we could stop for a restroom break and refill our water. Then, we ran a few loops around the park to get the remaining six miles. Our pace was 13:12 overall, but was faster for first 15 miles. In the last few miles, my friend had some stomach issues, so we slowed down the pace so we could get through them all. We got through it and I recovered quicker than I expected.

Next, the 2017 Moms on the Run (MOTR) season started up. I attend class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This year, MOTR is focusing on V02 max training, or speed work. On Tuesday, I pushed pretty hard and had every intention of slowing it down Thursday so as not to burn out my legs for my weekend run.

On Thursday, I thought I was slowing down, but in reality I ran even faster than I had on Tuesday. Amazingly, it didn’t FEEL harder and it’s the very first time I saw a pace in the 7 minute range. Yes, it was only for 30 seconds at a time, but it’s still my fastest pace for any burst of time. I impressed myself!

After class on Thursday, I headed out to meet with another friend for a quick three mile run. My total running total for the day was 7.38 miles, which covered my long run for the weekend since my family had a 5k on the books for Saturday.

While at the Minnesota Horse Expo on Friday, I checked my emails at one point and found out I was chosen as a 2017 Moms on the Run Ambassador! As an Ambassador, I will be representing Moms on the Run at races, chatting with people about the program, and posting on social media. Basically, everything I already do, with the benefit of some gear from MOTR sponsor 361 Degrees. Check out their gear!

ambassador-badge

Lastly, my family ran the 4-H Clover Dash 5k on Saturday morning, along with a few friends. I went into the race hoping for a PR. Did I make it? More on that later.

Overall, it was a very successful week in terms of my running and I’m super excited about the rest of my season and my role as a MOTR Ambassador!

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Running is My Life

Lately, it does feel like running is my life. Even though I only run three days per week, it feels like more because I’m constantly thinking about running. Marathon planning consumes my brain more days than not and it feels like the only time I can shut it off for more than a few minutes at a time is when I’m reading a book or listening to an audio book. Heck, I even talk about it at work because a co-worker is training for the same race and two others have previously run it!

In preparation for the marathon, the nerd in me has researched fueling, hydration, and gear. I’ve read countless blogs about other’s marathon experiences. I’ve read and re-read the Grandma’s Marathon website so much, I almost have it memorized. I know where the water stops, bathrooms, and fuel will be. My poor husband knows more about running and training than he’s ever wanted to know.

In a conversation the other night, I mentioned that it will be nice to have more free time when the marathon is over. I’m particularly looking forward to sleeping more on weekends. Nate then told me that he could see me signing up for another one, or something just as crazy. I can’t deny that what he said sounds like me. I’m hoping that one marathon is enough and I can be a “one and done” kind of person, but I also know that I’m the type to keep pushing myself toward new accomplishments when it comes to running.

To be completely honest, the nerves are now starting to visit periodically. With only three longer runs left (18, 20 and 23 miles) of my training plan, it’s feeling more real. In less than 60 days, assuming all goes well (it will), I’ll be a marathoner. Hopefully, this means I’ll also be less obsessed with running.

What? You don’t believe me? Yeah, I’m not sure I do, either…

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Another Marathon Update

This weekend, my marathon training plan called for 16 miles, which is the longest distance I’ve ever covered in a single run.

I met my awesome training group, composed of other Moms on the Run ladies, at 7:00 am on Saturday. If you know me, you know this is really early for me, especially on a weekend. During the week I arise at 6:30 am and for this run, I was up at 5:30 am. Brutal, yes, but running the distance on my own would have been even more brutal.

We met up at our usual weekday running location and headed out. The plan was 5.5 miles out, then 5.5 miles back, followed by a quick stop at our vehicles to refuel. Then, we would head out for a few loops around the park to get the remaining five miles in.

Our run was pretty uneventful. We chatted the entire time and the time felt like it flew past, which isn’t easy to say when you’re running for 3.5 hours! This group of women have made training fun, which is something I didn’t quite believe possible when they told me that it would be this way. I am so thankful for this group and know I wouldn’t be attempting this without them. During our run, it was fun seeing other groups out training for Grandma’s in their training shirts; there were a lot of smiles, words of encouragement, and cheers between the groups. The friendliness of the running community is a big part of why I’ve stuck with it so long.

After finishing our run, with a 13:08 average pace, we spent some time snacking, chatting, and stretching before heading out to get on with our weekends. Honestly, I can’t wait to be back out training with these ladies tomorrow. I’m enjoying every minute and mile of their company and can’t wait until we’re celebrating our accomplishments after crossing that finish line on June 17th!
This coming weekend, we “only” have to 6.5 miles, then the following weekend jumps us up to 18 miles. Only three LONGER runs left between now and race day!

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Hot Dash 5k

Our family race for March was the Hot Dash 5k on Saturday, March 18th. The Hot Dash, which offers 5k and 10 mile options, was put on my Twin Cities in Motion. The course was around Boom Island in Northeast Minneapolis.

A friend of mine was kind enough to pick up our packets at Fleet Feet Sports in Minneapolis, so I can’t comment on the packet pickup process. The packet consisted of personalized race bibs and a Storm Creek running jacket.

We arrived at the race site approximately an hour before the start of the race and were able to find easy parking about a block away, in one of the recommended lots. It was a short walk to the race village, where there were abundant porta potties, pre-race coffee, photo ops, and lumberjack games. Packet pickup was also offered the morning of the race, and would have been easy, provided one got there early enough to park close.

HotDash

Pre-race photo. I was actually the fastest in the family this time!

Participants in the 5k were asked to line up by 8:45 so that the race could begin at 9:00 sharp, which it did. The start was a bit crowded, and continued to be until approximately half way, which was where the water stop was located. The field loosened up a bit after that and continued to do so from that point on, particularly once we hit the first hill.

The course around Boom Island was pretty and it felt like the race went by pretty quickly. I know that some runners dislike the section that traverses a brick road; I personally have seen people trip on this stretch at other races. However, I found that I felt really good over this section.

I have only two complaints about this race. The first was that people slowed down and/or stopped on the timing mats, instead of running through them. This, of course, backs up the runners who are trying to complete their race. The post-race snacks – water, potato chips, Clif bars, Nut Goodie bars, and bananas – came next and further slowed down the crowd. I feel with the size of the field, the snacks should have been placed further past the food to keep the flow moving over the finish line. A family meeting area, such as a tent, past the finish line chute would have been helpful. Many people stopped in this area to wait for friends and family members finishing behind them, which further back up the crowd.

My other complaint, though a much smaller concern, was that the one beer offering was very hoppy; it’s the one type of beer that I cannot drink. Strongly hoppy beers tend to be a love or hate for most people, it seems.

Once we got past the finish line chute, we wandered back to our car to put on a warmer layer of clothes and sit for a bit while our friends finished the 10 mile. Once it got close to their finishing time, we headed over for some hot dish with hot sauce, which was really good. The hubby grabbed a beer, while the kiddo and I grabbed hot chocolate. We ate and sipped, while listening to the DJ, as we watched for our friends.

After the race, our group headed over to Bunny’s Northeast for brunch. They offered large portions of delicious food and our waiter was very good. It was a pleasant experience and I would definitely go back.
Overall, it was a great race morning, even with the overcast and windy conditions. I would consider doing this one again in the future. My finishing time was 33:49, which I felt good about considering how I’ve been building long, slow miles.

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