Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Injury Free, Hit by an SUV

Tuesday was just like any other Tuesday. I went for a run in the morning, went to work, and came home to catch a run with Aaron before his 800m workout on the Dilworth Speed Loop. Aaron stopped and soon we left my house to start our run. We hadn't even run but 5 feet when the scariest 5 seconds of my life were about to take place. From the title, you can tell I was hit by an SUV. I know that is an extreme statement and you might be wondering how I could have walked away without a scratch on me. Let me explain.

At Seventh and McDowell, Aaron and I had the crosswalk signal indicating that we had the right of way to cross the street. Out of habit, we looked both ways and did not see any cars coming. We got about halfway through McDowell Street when suddenly I heard Aaron screaming. I looked up and I saw an SUV (think Yukon) coming straight towards me. Now that it's after the fact, Aaron told me that the reason why I heard him coming is because the driver was taking the left turn too fast and his tires were screeching.

I only had a matter of two seconds to consider my options before the SUV was going to hit me. In those few seconds, I realized that this car was going at least 20 mph, heading right towards me, and that he had not even started braking yet. In fact, the moment that I noticed him is the same moment that he noticed me, so he had about 3 seconds to brake even though he was about 10 meters from me. In my head, I knew that he was going to hit me no matter what and I calculated that if i kept going straight in the cross walk, that it would give him less time to brake, and therefore hit me while going at a faster speed. So, I decided it would be best to run sideways, in the direction away from the SUV coming at me. That decision alone allowed for me to still get hit by his front bumper, but with less impact. So, if you picture me running sideways, I was eventually hit by the front bumper in my left hip, thrown about five steps in front of the car. Somehow I just stumbled and never actually fell.

After I was shoved by the force of his car, I came to a stop and I pulled up my shorts, expecting blood or a bone protruding from my skin. Miraculously, there was nothing. Not a bruise, not a speck of blood, not a scratch. The whole time this was happening, Aaron was watching and screaming because the car was going so fast that Aaron had already decided that he was going to watch me get hit and thrown onto the asphalt and then have to take me to the ER. To make matters more complicated, the SUV driver never rolled down his window or opened his door to see if I was okay. Once I got out of the road, he drove off.

Like real runners do, Aaron and I continued on our run, but Aaron filled the silence by updating me on what's going on in his life because at that point, I was too flustered to make a logical sentence.

So, my running friends, I share this story with you for you to know that although by law pedestrians have the right of way in the cross walk, you really don't have that right of way until it's too late - when you are in court suing someone for violating that rule, with a broken leg or worse. Be cautious when you cross the street and be especially careful when you have your ipod on because you won't hear that car screeching towards you.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Simulation Run

Goal: 15 miles at Goal Marathon Pace (6:18) and learn how to eat Gel and Gatorade on the run
Actual: 15 miles at 6:11 average and choked down the Gel and Gatorade

Before I go into the details, it would be most appropriate to start this post by thanking everyone who came out to support me. Major kudos to Jordan Kinley, who ran with me the entire way, showed me how to pinch a cup of gatorade, explained the basics of eating Gel, and provided words of encouragement when my breathing was getting wacky. Not to mention four other huge workouts that he's helped me out with, I'm fairly certain I owe Jordan about 48 beers or so by now. A trip to Costco is in order. Shout outs also go to Billy Shue, Stephen Spada, and Justin Breland for jumping in with me for numerous parts of this workout. Finally, Mark Hadley and his son, Bryce, were the best water boys I could have ever asked for by jumping around to three different locations to ensure that we had gatorade or water every 3-4 miles.

I also cannot leave out the other Charlotte Running Club members that were out there for a run, who cheered my entourage on during difficult portions. It's so amazing how much the running community has transformed since Fall of 2008 compared to today. I feel like we are all part of a team, each of us happy to help the other succeed.

So now I need to start at the beginning. The night prior to this, I ate everything as though I would before my marathon in five weeks. I had a big spinach salad and then a nice bowl of whole wheat pasta with sesame tofu . Obviously in Minneapolis I won't have my own kitchen, but I plan on going to Whole Foods and eating something from the hot bar. If that fails, Olive Garden is always a nice alternative.

The next morning, I ate a bowl of oatmeal approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes before "start time" and drank tons of water. I hopped in my car to meet Jordan, Mark, and Stephen at McMullen. Steve and I ran around for about 9 minutes for an easy 1 mile warmup and I explained the course: to run to the Starbucks on Rea Road, and then run two loops around the big Church and back past the Starbucks until we looped back onto the course again. It would be a perfect 15 miles. The loops around the Church were hilly, located around miles 6-9 of our run. Soon, Jordan arrived and we started promptly at 7am.

1 - 6:36
2 - 6:20
3 - 6:10
4 - 6:16 (taking a gu)
5 - 6:15
6 - 6:07
7 - 5:58 (uphill on Rea Road)
8 - 6:00 (downhill/flat near Starbucks)
9 - 6:02 (uphill on Rea Road)
10 - 6:02 (back onto the McMullen Trail
11 - 6:20 (taking a gu)
12 - 6:10
13 - 6:09 (1:21:40 half marathon split)
14 - 6:10
15 - 6:01

I don't want to bore you with an analysis of each mile, so I'll summarize the main themes.

1) Stay under control. We went out great for the first two miles - 636 then 620 - but then dropped to a 610. On race day, it is critical that I stay around 615-618 pace for those early miles so that I can run the 605-615 pace miles later and feel more relaxed. Also, even though today I felt great on the hilly portion of the run around miles 6-9 and dropped some 6 min miles, at Twin Cities, I'd rather not run 6 min miles until after the halfway point.

2) Eat gel slowly. I took the first Honey Stinger Gel too fast, but it didn't bother my stomach. I dreaded taking the second Honey Stinger and Jordan instructed me to take it slowly, even over the course of an entire mile, and I wanted to chuck that Gel onto the path and stomp all over it, but I didn't. I'm really going to have to will myself to take those things.

3) Stay relaxed. In miles 11-14 I started to tense, which affected my breathing. Given the fact that I will not have the luxury of Jordan coaching me how to relax, I will really need to focus on keeping my body relaxed so that my breathing will stay controlled during the final miles of Twin Cities.

4) Positive thinking. At one point, I really wanted to call it day at the 13.1 point of the workout. Come race day, I need to keep the end in sight and repeat the magical words that Jordan told me today: "Only 20 more minutes of running, only fifteen more minutes of running, etc".

5) Place gels in safe spots. Keep a Gel in my bra, but not on my hip. The one on my hip fell off after two miles and I was fidgeting with it from the get go.

In the end, I didn't have any bathroom issues (my stomach kind of hurt at the end, but it went away after I cooled down three miles), so that was a success. Obviously, I still need to run 11.2 more miles to get a marathon in, but this was a good indicator as to where my fitness stands and what my realistic goal can be going into the marathon on October 3.

Unfortunately, I am writing this 15 hours later, and I can't sleep because my stomach is growling so much that I had to get up to eat more food. Even though I feel like I consumed tons of food, apparently I miscalculated that one...Off to eat my toast and peanut butter with flax seed....

The day before the simulation run, I paced Meagan for a 5:30 third mile of the Greek Fest 5k

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Garrett Bullock Update

Garrett in his Pink Jersey for Breast Cancer Awareness Night

Season Stats through 8/24/2010
IP: 39.1
ERA/WHIP: .92/1.12
K/BB: 36/11 (3 were IBB)

Garrett has not allowed an earned run in twelve consecutive appearances.
If you'd like an autographed copy of his baseball card this year, please let me know!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My New Ride

No, it's not what you think. I did not replace the Redbirdmobile with a newer, fancier car. Although my windows are broken, my cigarette lighter out, my cd player dead, and my gear shifter in pieces, I still am rocking my Red Oldsmobile.

My new ride really is a new pair of shoes: the Karhu Forward Ride. I haven't tried any other shoe besides the Nike Pegasus in over 7 years. I decided to try this shoe out after I compared the bottom to my Nike Pegasus Wide shoe, and to my delight, I found that they were the same in width. I did the typical things a runner would do; I put my inserts into the shoe and walked around in them for a couple of days before actually wearing them on a run. Finally, I was ready to lace them up for the trial run. During an hour's worth of running, I was able to determine that (1) the shoe felt just like my Nike Pegasus and (2) the shoe did not cause any blisters and (3) they are cute. For me, that's all I need so now I'm a believer. Next I'll have to try out the racer, but they don't sell the women's racer in Charlotte.

You can get Karhus at Charlotte Running Company. Oh - and if you like watching Jordan Kinley race - you could support him as well by buying a pair or two.

Three Miles Repeats - Take Two!

Goal: 3x3 miles at 605-610 pace with 4 min rest
Actual: 3x3 miles at 18:53 (640, 613, 600), 18:17 (611, 618, 548), 18:00 (607, 606, 547)

This morning Mike Beigay was kind enough to meet up a little bit earlier than usual (for me at least) at 530am at the Dowd YMCA. This meant that I needed to wake up before 5am so that I could be out of my house at 518am to run the 1.5 miles over to the Dowd and meet him. For the first time in a while, our workout group was just a pack of 2. Lat Purser joined in eventually, but I'll get to that later.

Mike and I headed down Morehead and onto Kings to conclude our warmup in front of the tennis courts. Since the Booty Loop is just shy of 3 miles at 2.88, we wanted to push our starting line back so that we didn't have to go through the stop light at East Blvd and Kings. Turns out we picked the perfect starting line because we ended just short of the traffic light.

Mike and I came out to the Booty Loop on the assumption that it would be as well lit as a modern city should be. Well, we were wrong. We took off on the first set and realized immediately that Queens Road has 1 street light every 400 meters. This made it for a tricky footing situation as we trekked up the Queens hill in the pitch black. To make matters worse, when cars approached, their headlamps blinded us so that all we could see was a beam of light. This explains the 640 first mile split. Hey - at least we went out relaxed! On the flat portion, we cruised to a 613 and then closed on the downhill mile with a 600. I could tell by Mike's breathing that he was relaxed and controlled.

After a swig of water, our 4 minute rest had already ended and we took off again, with just enough light so that we could see the divots in the sidewalk. Again, on this set I felt relaxed and controlled. I felt my glutes and quads in the second mile of this set, and both Mike and I were startled when someone came sprinting behind us. Lat Purser was our surprise accomplice who had chased us down from the start of this set. He conquered his first interval and we cruised to the finish. I still couldn't hear any labored breathing coming from Mike. He was on fire!

For the third set, we ran a negative split perfectly. Mike warned me before the 2 mile that he was going to take off for the third mile, so for the last mile I was by my lonesome, but it was fun watching Mike switch to a different gear and watching Lat react. I didn't feel nearly as spent after this workout as I did the last time, so I feel like that it a step in the right direction. I'm pleased with how the workout turned out and I don't feel nearly as exhausted as I expected I would.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

OrthoCarolina 10k Race Recap

My mom got in a bike accident and fractured her shoulder, so she's got lots of time to read my blog. She asked that I update my blog since she is bedridden and this is the one thing I can do to make her feel better while her shoulder aches.

Today I laced up my (fairly) new Nike Pegasus to toe the line at the inaugural OrthoCarolina Classic 10k Race. In the early morning hour of 645, I met up with Aaron and Jay to pick up our packets and to warm up through the first 1.5 miles of the course. We picked up Allen Strickland and it was nice to have him join us for the easy jog throughout the streets of Elizabeth.

Once we got back, we found an entourage of CRC running fans. If you want a testament of the camaraderie that the Charlotte Running Club exhibits, then check out this list of people who came out to support the members racing: Billy Shue, Jason Martin, Mark Hadley +2, Alice Rogers, Adrian Stewart, Justin Breland, Lauren Robbins, and Jay’s Dad. If you count correctly, you’ll see that ten people woke up to cheer us all on. Pretty impressive stuff.

After we said our thanks, we all parted to our vehicles to pin our race bibs, to attach our D-tags, and to take that last swig of water. With the expectations that the race was starting at 745am, we meandered over to the poorly marked start line and waited….and waited…and waited until almost 8am when a strong police man got out of his undercover car, walked up to the starter and said “You are starting this race now.” Apparently they were waiting to get the timing equipment from the finish of the 5k race, but with the cop’s orders we took off without that equipment.

I went out in a casual clip, situated behind Alejandro, with Jay and Aaron pulling away as they took off with some Queens kids. Chris Lamperski passed me in the first 400m and I asked him what pace his Garmin said we were going. He said “5:20.” Crap. Too fast. I slowed down (and you’ll see just how much when you get to the mile split). I passed Alice’s cheering squad (Justin, AJ, Jason) and maintained my pace through Elizabeth Ave. At some point, a woman pulled up alongside me and she told me she was visiting Charlotte and asked if I was from here. I asked her what pace she was looking for, and she said she wasn’t sure and then I told her I was looking for 550 pace. Well 50 meters later we came through the mile in 609 so I immediately said “Crap, I’m too slow, I gotta go!” In hindsight, that was probably very rude, so I do hope that Emily Potter understands why I took off in a mad dash: I had goals to meet! I never got to talk to Emily more, so if she sees this, I hope she emails me (I couldn't find her on facebook).

The rest of the race could be categorized as a race against my own mind, in no man’s land, with the exception of two miles in which Justin was kind enough to keep me company.
Continuing on with the race, for Mile 2, I took off and ran a 548 through Plaza Midwood. At mile 3 (550), I was still solo, with Alejandro as the next person in sight - a distant 200m ahead of me. Fortunately, at mile 4 I got picked up by Justin, Alice, and Jason who ran with me through the downhill mile. We cruised to a 544 split for the 4th mile. We saw Aaron walking up one of the hills because he was done pacing Jay. Out of the goodness of his own heart, Justin decided it would be a good idea to stick with me through mile 5, which features a couple of nasty uphills. Boy, was I grateful. We went through in 550 and Justin was telling me really encouraging things. Aaron was behind me for the 6th mile but this did not stop him from cheering me on. It was really great! I finished up with the clock stuck on 36:33 - a full minute than what I ran last year at the Hit the Brixx 10k, which is a comparable course. I was pleased. (Editor's note: pictures to come!)

I regrouped with my boys and we cooled down for a good three miles. The awards ceremony occurred immediately after we got back from our cool down, which is something that I'm not used to. I'm very appreciative of the gift certificate and the check they gave out to the top three male and female finishers. Once I grabbed my award, I got lots of free goodies that were out for the post-race expo. I was impressed with the variety of vendors and the variety of free items available. Look forward to running this again next year!

Later during the day, I ran a nice 5.4 miles with Jordan and my legs felt great!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Steam Bath

Plan: 10-8-6-4-2-1 with half rest...starting at 610 pace and getting faster on each interval
Actual: 10-8-6-2-1 with half rest...starting at 554 pace and getting faster on each interval. Paces for the intervals through the mile marker:
10 - 554 (1.70 miles)
8 - 549 (1.38 miles)
6 - 533 (1.08 miles)

After enjoying an impromptu family dinner with Meagan and Jordan last night, it was time to bust our chops bright and early this morning. Fortunately, some of Charlotte's finest women (we still need to get them all out together though!) came out to join me for a little jaunt in McAlpine Creek Park on a very muggy day. Of course, Jordan wanted in on the fun so he came along for the ride with Meagan, Pezz and I. I shouldn't leave out the fact that Jordan was under the wrong assumption that there would be other people out there to keep his feelings of male bravado up, but no other male companions showed so Jordan was left to run with the girls.

Pezz and I met before the sun was up at the Main entrance and went off towards the Sardis entrance to meet Jordan and Meagan halfway on the greenway. I fortunately had my headlamp so I served as the light source for the first fifteen minutes of the warmup. After a pit stop at the restrooms, everyone was ready to get going. During our strides and drills, Meagan and Jordan decided it would be "fun" to jump in the workout with us - Jordan for the entirety and Meagan for just the 10 and 8 min portions - despite the small fact that they had both done hill repeats the day before. Apparently when runners date each other they get a little crazy with their workouts together.

We set off for the first 10 minute interval at the start line of the course and came through the mile in 554. However, we all seemed pretty relaxed and our breathing was controlled as we continued to add on the addition 4 minutes and 6 seconds that were left. Despite going out a little faster than what we had anticipated, we recuperated very nicely with the 5 minute rest and geared up for the 8 min interval. I told myself that once I had the 10 and the 8 out of the way, the rest of the workout was a piece of cake. Fortunately, we continued by quickening the pace and ran a 549 through the mile split. We got a little but more rest here because we were waiting for Pezz to change her shoes. In the next 6 min interval, we were rolling! Meagan and I pretty much ran perfectly even to a 533 and Pezz was a couple of strides ahead of us. Meagan called it a day and then Jordan and I closed with a 2 and a 1, while Pezz did the 4-2-1.

Overall, I was very satisfied with this workout going into the OrthoCarolina 10k this Saturday. We did a great job of working together while working to drop the pace for each increment. I'm looking forward to more workouts with this group!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Owning the Booty Loop

Plan: 3x12 with 2 min rest at Booty Loop at 12:10-12:40
Actual: 3x2 mile with 3:00-3:30 min rest at 12:08 (600, 608)...11:42 (550, 552)...11:33 (543, 550)

This workout almost felt tougher than the 3x3 mile workout! The plan was to meet Meagan, Justin, Lat, Beigay, and Billy for a 3x2 mile workout on the infamous Booty Loop. We wanted to run the loop two times and stop when Mr. Garmin beeped for Mile 2. I warmed up 3.5 miles from my house to the Dowd and then to Freedom.

To start off our first set, Meagan and I volunteered Mike to lead because he's good at the whole pacing thing. We started at the bottom of the big hill on East Blvd and I felt terrible for the first incline. Once the mile split passed, we all knew why: we went through in 6:00 flat. At this point, Meagan put on her team captain hat and used her words to calm us. She told us to just relax on the next flat mile so that we wouldn't crash and burn on the next two sets. Sure enough, we relaxed back into a 6:08 for the second mile of that set. (Side note - I've decided that Meagan would be a great coach or personal trainer because she definitely knows what to say to keep us focused and positive).

For the second set, we made a collective decision and decided to take 3:00 rest instead of 2:00 so that we could recover from our studly 6 min mile on a filthy incline. This set featured a downhill first mile and an uphill second mile. For the downhill mile, we came through in 5:50 and then the second mile on this set was tough for me. The core group of Meagan, Billy, and Mike began to gain about five meters on me, and Lat pulled ahead to join them. On a slight downhill, I made a burst to tuck in behind them again, only to find that when the final uphill came into sight, I was maintaing my pace, and they were increasing their pace. I came through in 5:52, which is pretty good considering it was uphill. Meagan and company probably came through in 5:48.

For the third set, we rewarded ourselves with 3:30 rest. This set featured a flat first mile and a downhill/flat second mile. Apparently we all felt prety good, with Mike and Meagan leading the way, we came through this mile in 5:43 (this wasn't even on a downhill segment!). At this point, Mike and Meagan split off again on the downhill portion while I maintained my 5:45 pace. We reached the East Blvd / Kings light and Lat and I got stuck so we had to slow down a bit before we crossed over into Freedom Park. With the slower jog, Lat and I still posted a 5:50 final mile (Meagan probably got a 543 and Mike a 538). Overall, we all ran pretty awesome, so Mike, Meagan, and I should feel pretty good about our races in Twin Cities in less than seven weeks.

We finished with a nice walk to the water fountain, reassured Billy that his workout was great, and went our separate ways back to our cars. I cooled down a little over 2 miles and even walked the last block to my house. It was glorious.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Garrett Bullock's Domination

For those of you who don't know me, my family is scattered across the big ol' US of A, which results in a conglomeration of posts that update them on my boyfriend's MiLB updates. This is especially important considering that until just three days ago, my dad had not seen Garrett in over two years and my mom not in over a year and a half. They ended this streak and drove to Princeton, WV on their way back from Snow Shoe Mountain, to see Garrett for approximately 14 minutes between his doubleheader. In that time, my mom managed to give Garrett three bags of granola, two bite size "man-chaser" brownies (courtesy of my Aunt Marcie), and a handful of cash, all the while maintaining a conversation that ranged from pitching to a vacation in Costa Rica. Apparently Garrett was on good behavior because my parents arrived in Charlotte glowing!

After this, I realized my family members deserved an update on all of Garrett's accomplishments since his arrival on the Greeneville Astros team. His accolades are so plentiful that I cannot say them with one breath.

Garrett's List of 2010 Accomplishments

1. Garrett Bullock has not allowed an earned run in eight consecutive appearances. Editor's Note: You can read about this at Wake Forest Sports - but this is not as up-to-date as my list of accomplishments

2. Garrett Bullock won Astros Player of the Month for July, an award that is named by the Houston Astros Player Development Department and chosen by the field staff for each respective farm team. He shrugged this off as not a big deal, but I personally think it's pretty awesome.

3. Garrett Bullock was listed on Minor League Splits as having one of the top five Astros Pitching Performances on 8/6/2010. Editor's note: Garrett was featured on this website another time, but the archives are not available online for more than two weeks in the past. Update: Featured on 8/13 as the number one pitching performance for all Astros Minor League Affiliations.

4. Garrett Bullock was named "Man of the Match" by the acclaimed Houston Astros Blog Astros County for his July 17th appearance against Bluefield where he struck out six, walked one, and allowed three hits in 3.1 innings pitched.

5. Garrett Bullock caught the opening pitch from his girlfriend, after he cheered her on to win the Astros 5k. This is probably an experience that will never happen again, so it is an accomplishment.

This summarizes Garrett's list of accolades and so now you are all in the loop. You can continue to track his progress as the season winds down by tracking his individual stats.

Negative Split at McAlpine

I'm debating using the blog as my running log, mirroring the format that Meagan Nedlo and Jordan Kinley showcase in their respective blogs. However, I am weary to do this because I'm afraid that my blog would get really boring since I don't have much humor in my writing. If anyone has any suggestions or opinions for one way or the other, let me know!

Until I make a decision, I'll maintain the potpourri posts that cover any topic from workouts, long runs, baseball, and family vacations. Today's theme: a workout.

During my Monday morning run, Meagan and I figured out our training schedules for the week. Specifically, I switched up my Tuesday workout to sync up with Meagan's workout outlined in her training plan that she recently received from her coach. In exchange, she swapped her 2x3 mile workout for a 3x2 mile workout with me on Thursday. Since we seem to work out really well together, it makes most sense for the two of us to blend our respective training plans into a Mark Hadley / Scott Simmons hybrid plan.

With that being said, I woke up Tuesday morning at 519am to Katy Pery's "California Girls" and completed the necessary pre-workout tasks that would ensure I felt as awesome as possible during the 800m repeats. John was supposed to meet the early group at 530am, but I could tell when I went upstairs that he hadn't even awakened yet. He would eventually get up and make his way to McAlpine by 615am, which is still awesome because he rarely joins the early morning workouts.

Following our standard pattern, I parked at the Main entrance and met one of our smallest workout groups yet - just Meagan and Thomas - halfway on the McAlpine bike path. We warmed up by scoping out each and every 800m stretch between the 1.75 and .25 marker, eventually deciding that the stretch between .75 and 1.25 marks featured the best footing / solid terrain. Keep in mind that this terrain was much more difficult to run on compared to the asphault at the Dilworth Speed Loop that we ran on two weeks ago.

After 27 minutes of warmup, we stashed our water bottles full of Nuun next to the mile marker post and I did a couple of light strides and other drills. A couple minutes later, we toed the imaginary starting line, acknowledged the pain we were going to endure telepathically, and sprinted off into the distance.

The first repeat felt terrible, but Meagan reminded me afterwards that the first one always does. Once we got into the groove, Meagan, Thomas, and I created a tight pack for the first four intervals and maintained 242-243. For the second set, we managed to run faster than the first set, getting a nice negative split into the books. For 5 and 6, we pushed too hard for the first half, so we decided to make a conscious effort to go out more controlled on intervals 7 and 8. It's amazing how those intervals felt so much better, even though we were posting the exact same times for our splits. Pretty cool that just by convincing ourselves that we were going easier made our bodies feel lighter.

243 (200)
243 (200)
242 (200)
242 (159)
240 (159)
241 (229)
240 (229)

Compared to the 6x800m workout Meagan and I did two weeks ago, this felt much more strenuous and difficult, most likely due to the change in terrain. Overall, we, the three amigos, left feeling satisfied with our times and completed our cool downs together until we had to part ways towards our cars. I luckily managed to find John en route back to the Main entrance so we got to catch up on our respective workouts. It was a nice treat to run with him for a couple of minutes. We picked up Billy along the way, who misinterpreted a 5k workout and crafted it into a marathon workout by absoluting dominating it.