Mrs. RandBall trains for the Twin Cities Marathon.

From 5K to fabulous!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I've Recently Learned I Can Run 15 Miles... The Hard Way

Meet my new compression shorts found at They come highly recommended.

We ran two half marathons two Saturdays in a row. This was not only the furthest I had run upon first completion, but the longest I had run in a one week span.

We were registered for the second half marathon in advance, but the first one was a spur of the moment ordeal. We were in Grand Forks visiting Michael's family, trying to plan out our morning 12 mile run. We mapped out a good route, and checked the city website for any conflicts that might arise due to the area festival going on: Catfish Days. Turns out the festivities involved a 5K and half marathon. So, we woke up early, and registered on site.

We managed the first half marathon in Grand Forks through the late morning heat, coming in at just over two and a half hours. The second half marathon was the Urban Wildland Half Marathon in Richfield, MN. We beat our previous time (due to confidence, a shaded course, and optimal weather conditions) by about 8 minutes, about two hours and twenty five minutes.

Now, we were sore after each of these long runs, but I had never experienced the ankle pain I've been experiencing since the second half marathon.

A week later, our training schedule dictated a fifteen mile run. I was nervous about pushing myself with painful ankles. Two days prior, I opted to exercise on the elliptical at the gym instead of doing the scheduled eight mile run. I stopped at the drug store, purchased some athletic tape, and taped up my ankles. I went to the gym prepared to run eight miles, and do an hour workout on the elliptical. Instead, I surprised myself and ran the entire time. The first five miles were the worst, but as I loosened up, the pain went away. In fact, I couldn't feel much of anything. I think it was the adrenaline. Midway through, I used some Gu, and when it came to the last mile, I was completely out of steam and walked the rest of the way. Afterwards, I felt proud of myself for the accomplishment.

Today was my first run since the fifteen miler. I decided to try running with ankle braces (the ace bandage variety). The pain was pretty intense for the first couple of miles, but at about mile three, I was pretty comfortable. By the end, I found my stride, and felt comfortable running. I'm not entirely sure the ankle braces helped. In fact, my feet looked pretty blue when I took them off, and if I'm not mistaken I believe our feet need circulation while we exercise. Hmmm.

Instinct tells me I should rest my ankles--that I pushed myself so hard over the past few weeks and that my ankles need a break. However, I'm able to push through the pain and run pain-free once I break through the 3-5 mile point. I'm not quite sure what to do, but I know that no matter what, on October 3rd I'm running 26.2 miles.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Running in the Rain

Now, I discovered something over the weekend. There is a very select subgroup of people within the running community who actually run outside regardless of the weather. I like to think that I am an honorary member of this subgroup... well at least for one day. On Saturday, I was slated to run 7 miles. When the rain let up a bit, I drove down to Lake Harriet, ready to run around both Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun alone. Although the rain seemed to be stopping, it did just the opposite. At first I pleaded with the rain to stop, but when it persisted I cursed the skies and powered forward. There's a feeling that washes over you when you decide to do the unpopular thing. A feeling like you've purposefully taken the more difficult path, and are proud of it. I ran until my indignant pride fueled each step, and each step quickened my pace until I began running faster than I ever would've run in the sunshine.

And, as I said, the people are different. Not that those who run in the rain are different than those who run in the sunshine... but they've changed. One young man high-fived me as we passed in opposite directions. A young woman smiled at me, as we pushed through a treeless pass at Lake Calhoun. Another young man complimented my running attire, "very good outfit." (Well, he wasn't a runner and I'm not entirely sure what he was doing at the lake, but how could I leave out such a perfect quote?)

As I rounded the final curve around Lake Harriet and toward my car, I was filled with a strong sense of relief. All I wanted was a warm bath, and that is exactly what I did upon returning home.

Running in the rain. It's no picnic, but it comes highly recommended, if only for the sense of satisfaction once it's over.

Tips for running in the rain:

- Wear a hat. I think I wiped the rain from my eyes and forehead about 5,000 times.

- Definitely wear a long sleeved layer. I was thankful for my soaked, but warm outer layer.

- Launder your clothes like a normal person. I rinse my running tights in the shower, and hang them to dry. Since it's difficult to fully rinse the soap from the fabric, my pants began to lather with the friction. Ummm, embarrassing!

Photo from:

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Official Training Begins Monday!

It's been about six weeks since RandBall and I signed up for the Twin Cities Marathon. Let's focus on the positives first: my muffin-top is decreasing, I'm fitting into one clothing size smaller, and we both have a great tan! My number one accomplishment thus far is the development of defined calf muscles (as evidenced by the photo at the right.) It's been 13 years since I've been on a soccer team. Ever since I stopped playing soccer, my calf muscles slowly disintegrated into a foamy, pliable mass. My legs didn't get bigger, per se, just mushier. I'm most proud of my new calves, and I plan to show them off with my new (one size smaller!!) capri pants.

Now, the downside: it's getting hotter outside, and as the temperature increases, and the humidity gets higher, the harder it is to breathe out there! We're doing our best to train outdoors, but once (so far) I opted to go to the gym to run on the treadmill. Also, we took a trip to Arizona for a friend's wedding. In an attempt to avoid getting behind with our pre-training, we hit the trails near our hotel. Not only is it tough to train on the road, but it's also a reminder that even when we're on vacation, we're not on vacation vacation. What I mean is, when on vacation, most of our dining rules do not apply. For instance, RandBall and I try to limit our french fry intake to only one serving each week, and generally like to eat healthy, balanced meals. We also do our best to limit our alcohol intake to weekends and special events. On vacation, all those rules go out the window--or at least they did. Now I notice how the indulgences slow me down on the next morning's run. I'm starting to think that our indulgences here an there will have to be measured and limited in the eighteen weeks of our official training program. Realize, I'm writing this post during Memorial weekend, the unofficial start of summer, where people celebrate by eating large amounts of barbecued food accompanied by several beers. I'm not making any promises, but I can say we'll do our best.

Important upcoming dates:
- Dew Drop 5K, Saint Paul, MN, June 20th
- Urban Wildland Half-Marathon, Richfield, MN, August 7th
- Bear Water Run, 20 Mile Race, September 11th