Parade. Picnic. Pool.

We had a great Memorial Day today. We started out going to the Memorial Day Parade in Hudson – such a cute parade. Zach wanted to be in the parade so we dropped him off at our church float which was actually a boat!

Then Mike, Henry (6 month old puppy dog) and I took our usual place right outside of Bruegger’s bagels. Henry was a good boy with the people and the dogs while we were waiting for the parade the start. Then as the Hudson High School band started Henry was not pleased. Let’s just say Henry does not agree with “Loud is Good”. He was sort of done with the parade after he was spooked by the band. So after the parade he relaxed in the air conditioning while we enjoyed the annual picnic at our Pastor’s house. Good time as always with great food and great fellowship…and a nice, cold, adult beverage! It was just so nice to talk and relax even if it was hot. We enjoyed riding in the Jeep with the top down.

I was hoping that since we stayed for a good part of the afternoon at the picnic, that I might get a reprieve for going to the pool this afternoon. But, nope, Zach still very much wanted to go…so we put our suits on our very white bodies, slathered on the sunscreen and headed out for a couple hours. First pool day was a hit – hot, but good.

Great family day. Now, it is about 8pm and I’m almost ready for bed!!

Me and My Kicks on Route to 26!

Mon, May 30
Ran 40 minutes
Distance: 3.63; Average Pace: 11:02

Okay, week one, workout one – check!! It felt pretty good, once I shook the rust off of my legs. It was a beautiful morning, about 64 degrees and pretty humid, but I enjoyed all the different smells outside – especially the honeysuckle. I did my normal downtown route and saw people getting their chairs out ready for the parade – at like 7:30am, a little bit early for my tastes, but hey, good for them. The normal parking side of main street was blocked off by cones so I took a cue from another runner and ran on the street – very cool – felt like my own race track.

So, in honor of my post title here is a picture of my running shoes…

They are Nike Pegasus, size 6 1/2. Normally I wear size 6, but when I was fitted they told me to go up a size for running shoes. I have another pair exactly like them, plus three or four other older pair that I just can’t get rid of. The newest of the older pairs I use for cross training stuff, but the blue babies are only for running. The other pairs I use for random things, but I should probably ditch them. I alternate pairs of my current ones and I keep track of how many miles I put on each – they are marked with a #1 or #2 on the sides of them. Yes, I am structured, but it works for me!

I have had great experience with these shoes. I got my first pair at Second Sole in summer of 2009 where the woman “prescribed” them for me by looking at my old, clunky New Balance cross trainers that I reluctanly brought in to show her. She looked at the soles and said something about the way I “pronate” (still not exactly sure what that means, but it something to do with the way my foot moves), but she said I have the type of foot that is not prone to injury. That I remember! So, I’ve stuck with them. I didn’t know it at the time, but they also have a cool little spot in the sole that holds the chip for the Nike tracking thing that is compatible with the iPod. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with my iPod nano ever since.

Anyways, these kicks have served me well. I read all about those webbed/toe ones and other fancy varieties in running magazines, but hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?! I see another new couple of pair in my future – probably around mid July. Those will be my marathon race pair (gulp). There I said it!

Go Big or Go Home!!

I wanted to blog last night, but for some reason I could not get through on blogger so finally here we go…

I decided to go for the FULL marathon in Akron in September!!! After much thinking and deliberation and after much support and encouragement from friends I decided to just go for it! The final nudge I needed was getting the “go for it” from super runner/trainer/coach – Jenny Hadfield. She’s my facebook friend, you know (along with ya know, 2600 other people so we are pretty much best friends). Anyway, my new friend Lyn originally told me about her and encouraged me to ask her advice about the FULL. I did and she gave me the thumbs up too!!

Cut to last night. I bit the bullet, took a leap of faith and signed up! The fee goes up after 5/31 so I wanted to make sure to get in on the cheaper price before then. I’m pretty stoked and ready to get back into training mode on Monday. Before any Memorial Day fun happens I’ll be starting my first official run for what will be a 17-week training program. Did I mention that I get a sweet jacket? Check it out here: While you are at it, sign up for a race to if you are game!!!

Now to figure out a theme for this training program blog series. Hmm. I have already found a mantra song that I love. It is Lady Gaga’s new song “Edge of Glory”. Say what you want about her, but she does have some pipes. I really like this part:

“Its time to feel the rush, to push the dangerous
I’m gonna run back to, to the edge with you
Where we can both fall over in love
I’m on the edge of glory, and I’m hangin’ on a moment of truth
I’m on the edge of glory, and I’m hangin’ on a moment with you
I’m on the edge, the edge, the edge, the edge, the edge, the edge, the edge!!
I’m on the edge of glory, and I’m hangin’ on a moment with you
I’m on the edge with you”

My Next Move…Want Your Opinion!!!

So, I’m trying to discern what my next goal (race) should be. I know I want to set a goal and register for a race. I have learned that I’m much more motivated to keep with a program if I actually set a goal. My dilemma is I’m just not sure what to do next. I’ve been mulling it over the last couple days, as I’m wont to do, but still not sure. So, I thought I would put it down on paper (okay, the screen) and maybe that would help bring some clarity to the right decision for me at this time. I do feel a sense of urgency to make this decision because the training programs of the fall races I’m interested are starting like now.

These are the options so far:

1. Run the Akron 1/2 marathon on Sat, Sept 24. This is totally doable time-wise as the program is 14 weeks. The pro is that it is a new course for me, a distance I’ve already run successfully so it could build my confidence. The con is that I’ve already done 13.1 miles and might want a new challenge. Cut to #2.

2. Run the Akron FULL marathon on Sat, Sept 24. Just thinking about this makes my heart beat faster!! So exciting to be able to do a full. I definitely would like to check this off the bucket list sooner than later. The pros for this is that it is a cool course, a well organized local race and you get a sweet jacket! Not to mention the thrill of just doing this and of course getting the 26.2 sticker for the car. The cons are the amount of time for training – it is a little on the short side. The program I found for beginners is 20 weeks and I have only 17. So, I’d be 3 week’s short – and just start 3 weeks in, I imagine. Plus, the whole fear factor thing. The “OMG that is a long time to run” factor. But, that is what I said going into training for the half. The added complexity to this is the “if not now, when?” factor. I’ve decided that training for a full would be more doable for me for a fall race, when the weather is more favorable for outside long runs. I am too much of a baby in the winter and we all know my track record for indoor tracks and my strong dislike of treadmills. This would mean that my next shot at a full would not be until next year at this time. I’m not getting any younger, ya know!

3. Run the Columbus FULL marathon on Sun, Oct 16. Now, this date would definitely work with the 20 week training program. That is a definite pro. My sister also lives in Columbus so that would be cool! I also know a woman (and her friends) who is running it and I also like that it is a Sunday race. The only con I can think of really is that it is not local (well that and the whole fear thing). I would have to travel, albeit not very far, to go to it. But I could probably stay with my sis and fam. It also could be kind of chilly in mid-October and you don’t get a cool jacket as a give-away.

4. Run the “Stomp the Grapes” 1/2 marathon on Sat, Nov 5 in Hartville, OH – This sounds really fun! First off, you get a couple of glasses of wine after the race – need I say more! The race starts and ends at a winery so that just sounds like fun. I think I know someone that has done this one before and liked it. The distance is doable and obviously there is enough time for training. The con is that it is almost too far away. November feels really far away and it could be really chilly then too. But, then again, there is the wine.

Ugh. Just not sure what to do and I’m looking for opinions. If you have an opinion, please share it with me. And no, option #5 – “doing nothing but sit on my ass” is not an option, so don’t even suggest that!! Maybe the option with the most votes will win!!

Me Time

I did yoga yesterday and got really sweaty!! It is such an awesome thing – I just cannot express how much I’m enjoying this. I only wish I would have tried it sooner in my life, but I was always skittish about it. Isn’t that so true about life, though. Sometimes we put off doing something because of fear. That really is a lot of energy wasted. Why not just try it? The worst that can happen is that we find out we don’t like it and then we can move on to something that we do enjoy.

What is it that you fear doing? What are you putting off because you are uncertain about it or fear the unknown? Don’t waste another second! Either try it today or make a plan to try it today. You may discover something wonderful!

Recovery Week

Sat, May 21
Ran 3 miles today outside at 8:45am
Time: 32:03; Average Pace: 10:41

Today was the first time running since Sunday. My legs felt iffy at the beginning, but it felt good during the run. I had felt like kind of a slacker during this week with just doing yoga, but I know that was the best thing. My legs felt really achy later in the afternoon so I had to take some ibuprofen. It was also starting to get hot today during the run. I need to try to run earlier in the morning and I need to start bringing water with me, especially for longer runs. I’m going to check out one of those water belt things at Dick’s, I think.

I’m following the four week recovery program that was on the bottom of my training schedule. I figure, why not, right? It gradually works you back up to 7 miles on the last long run. That gives me four weeks to figure out what I want to train for next. I sorta want to train for another 1/2, but I’m not sure which one. The Akron one is Sept 24 and the Stomp the Grapes one in Hartville is Nov 5. I don’t think it would be advisable to do both. I also am not sure if I should do another tri. I think that the Portage lakes one is in September too. Part of me does not want to do the training for the biking and swimming part, but I don’t know. I also want to do the Hudson 5K that is in July and the Firecracker run July 4 in Stow. I guess I first need to settle on which 1/2 to do and plan accordingly and then maybe look into 5K and 10K runs to practice on during the summer.

Sounds like a plan and boy do I like those!

Stinky Noisy Yoga

I did yoga at lunch today – the first activity since the big race on Sunday. It felt great to be doing something! I’m following my recovery program which calls for lots of days of rest mixed with some days of cross training this first week. Saturday finally calls for a 3 mile run so that will be good. True to form I’m going to stick with this recovery program – it is four weeks long. During that time I’m going to figure out what my next goal will be….

Meanwhile today’s session was interesting because I had two distractions…a woman who continually popped her gum during class and a man who stunk badly of body odor. Now, first I don’t know how the woman could manage to chew gum while practicing yoga. But, it was pretty loud and annoying. Second, the man wasn’t just regular sweaty and smelly. I mean I don’t judge anyone on the sweat factor – as we know I’m a sweaty girl, myself, so more power to you! I mean he came in stinking already…he had dred-locks (again, not judging – after all I went to Ohio University with many awesome hippies) and looked (and smelled) like he hadn’t showered in awhile (a long while). Now this might be okay for another type of group exercise class, but for a class that is very focused on BREATHING, it is not that pleasant to breathe in unpleasant odors for the whole class. Yes, a little distracting. However, I managed to have a good workout and a good experience in spite of these factors.

So you want to run your first 1/2 marathon?! Read this first!

So I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no expert when it comes to running. Far from it, actually. I definitely still consider myself a beginner. What I have done is complete my first 1/2 marathon and I thought I would share a few tips that I have learned along the way. I would have liked to read something like this as I was preparing to undertake this goal. The other thing I want to say is even though I mention the 1/2 marathon in the title, I think these tips really could apply universally for training for any distance. Whether you want to run your first 5K, 10K or whatever, these things may be able to help you get started on the right foot, if you will (pardon the pun).

1. Be realistic – Think about where you are in terms of fitness and plan accordingly. While you want your goals to be lofty, you also want to set yourself up for success. If you are new to running, you may want to start out with a 5k and save the 1/2 marathon distance for a few months down the road. I started running in May of 2009 and ran my first 5K in September of 2010. I started training for the 1/2 in Feb of 2011.

2. Sign up first! – Once you determine what distance you are shooting for, sign up for a race!!! I would recommend doing that before you start training rather than vice versa. It helps hold yourself accountable and gives you a goal to shoot for so you’ll stay motivated. If you wait to sign up when you “feel ready” in terms of training, you are giving yourself an easy out and you just might not ever sign up! There are always tons of races going on around the local community and beyond. is one good site to check that lists races. I signed up for the Cleveland 1/2 Marathon in January 2011 for the May race date.

3. Find a good training program – No matter what the distance, it is important to have a training program! It keeps you on track, keeps you motivated and gives you some structure. It also helps keep you from doing too much too soon which can happen easily. There are tons of on-line training programs out there for free for all levels of runners! You can google them. I used the one that was linked to the Cleveland Marathon site for beginners. It was great!

4. Get support! – This is huge! If you live with others have a conversation with them about your running goals. Explain to them what you need in terms of support in terms of training and encouragement. Let them know how they can help you because they cannot read your mind! If you live alone, seek out help with running groups, fitness clubs, magazines/books, on-line groups or social media. There are tons of people out there to support you – you just have to seek it out. I involved my family in my training by putting the chart on the fridge and checking the workouts off as I went. I talked to my husband about my goals and we worked out a plan to be able to make it work. Plus I leaned on my runner friends on facebook and at Weight Watchers for advice, support and motivation. It is amazing how many cool people you meet along the way!

5. Cross Train! – Okay, to be honest, before I started training for this race I was not even sure what “cross training” actually was besides a type of shoe! I learned that training for a running race involves much more than running. Cross training is an activity that you like that does not involve running or walking. It is important to strengthen other muscle groups besides your running muscles in training. It could be things like the elliptical, strength training, pillates, or yoga. I did mostly strength training and yoga as my cross training activities.

6. Don’t give up! – This sounds like common sense, but it is not always easy to do. I’m here to tell you that you will have some bad training days. Just know that going in. There will be some days that you just don’t want to do it. Do it anyway. Put the time in even on yucky days to get the result you want for your end goal. I promise you, it will be worth it.

7. Listen to your body. – This is a hard pill to swallow for a lot of runners. We like to push ourselves and sometimes we do so in spite of our body saying, STOP! No matter what people say, you really should not have to run with pain. You will eventually figure out the difference between normal muscle soreness which comes with the territory and an actual injury. But the first thing to do is to listen to your body and act accordingly. If you are having an issue, talk to someone about it. I would recommend talking to other runners, a physical trainer, a massage therapist or all of the above if you have any problems. I had a calf issue towards the end of my training that got resolved by lots of advice, a really good therapeutic massage and rest.

8. Be flexible. – Even though the training program is rigid in black and white, you don’t have to be. Be patient with yourself and allow for modifications in your schedule if you go out of town, go on vacation or have a change in your home or work schedule. Have other options besides your “go to workout” that you can replace and still stay on track. I was fortunate to be able to have a couple of times in the day to potentially get my workout in. I preferred early morning, but could also make use of my lunch hour as my schedule permitted. The important thing is to get it in somehow because life is messy sometimes!

9. Go at your own pace. – Running is very much of an individual sport. I like it because you can set your own goals and compete with just yourself. Whether you have a time goal, a distance goal or just plain old want to finish, your goal is your own. This one has been especially hard for me. I am competitive and always seem to want to compare myself with others. I think through this last race, however, I have finally realized that I can own my pace and be okay with it. You will too!

10. Celebrate! – Some training programs can be very lengthy so it is important to celebrate along the way. This will keep you motivated and ready to start that next week of training. Whether you treat yourself to a massage, some new running clothes, a new book, or a night out with friends, it is important to celebrate small goals in order to stay motivated. Figure out what works for you and do it! I found that tracking my training was a motivator for me. I blogged about my workouts in order to keep myself on track and share my progress with others.

I hope these tips can help you in your running goals. I also hope it can inspire you and give you the tools to make that decision to reach for a lofty goal that you never thought was possible. I have found running to be such an empowering thing for me. It has really changed my life for the better. It can change yours too! See you at the finish line!!!

Do the Math: The Final Chapter…for now!

Okay, so I need to include the final chapter of my training tracker summary.

In weeks 9 – 14, this is what I did:

Worked out 30 times (skipped 6 workouts either to rest or to help heal an injury)
Did 7 Bootcamp classes at Life Center
Did 6 Yoga classes (ahhhh)
Swam 35 minutes at Life Center
Did 30 minutes on the elliptical at Life Center
Ran a total of 84.38 miles

So first week running total: 56.74 miles
Second week: 64.13 miles
Third week: 84.38 miles

Grand total for the 14 weeks of training: 205.25 miles

Wow, I wonder how many those full marathoner’s ran during training? Double??!!

The Cleveland Half Marathon 2011: My Incredible Journey

So all I want to really do right now is go to bed, but I figure that I probably should blog about my 1/2 marathon experience while it is still fresh in my memory.

What an incredible experience! As you may know it was also my birthday today (42) so that made it extra special. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We got up a 4:30am in order to get the dog out and get downtown by 6am. Mike and Zach dropped me off and then went to find a parking spot. Their plan was to meet me at the finish line! I was meeting the group of the “Living Person” runners at the cathedral for a picture. This group was coordinated by Father H.Paul Kim from John Carroll – his goal was to get at least 125 people to run in either the 10K, Half or Full marathon to commemorate the 125 anniversary of John Carroll University. It turns out, he got 155!! He is such a great guy. He even had a special Mass last night for runners and their families followed by a pasta dinner. We attended to support the group and it was a very touching service.

After the picture, we made our way to Brown’s Stadium – about a 15 minute walk. When we arrived we had just about enough time to go to the bathroom before starting (which is very vital for me! Only twice this morning, however!!). The national anthem was sung and then we started. I was concerned at first because I was outside the fenced in staring area at first, but that worked itself out. Thankfully my iPod worked as it was supposed to and I was off. It was an emotional start. I was overwhelmed by the size of the crowd of runners, and the size of the crowd of spectators cheering us on and overwhelmed by the wonderful feeling of getting to this moment after such a long time of training. My legs felt good and strong and I started to hold myself back from going too fast. That was the big warning that everyone kept telling me about. The adrenaline of the day and running with that big group can make you have the tendency of running faster than you really should. I finally settled in about mile 4 and felt really great. It felt like it was really going fast then. I remember seeing the clock at the 6 mile marker and thinking that I was okay for time. I finally took a water break then and again at mile 9 and 11, I think. Some was powerade and some was water. That seemed to do the trick. I did not need to eat the “sports beans” filled with caffeine that I purchased at the Expo the day before!

The route was pretty cool. I enjoyed going through the neighborhoods a lot. There were a bunch of people out with their coffee cups cheering us on and some random bands playing in the neighborhoods too. Plus it felt pretty easy in terms of hills. There were just a couple and they weren’t that bad. I think I’ve run worse ones just in Hudson!

I felt myself getting tired around mile 11. At that point I just got into my music and focused in on seeing my family at the finish line. I saw Zachary hanging over the fence cheering for me and I held back the tears again. I pumped it and finished strong as I was trying to beat 2:30, but ended up a bit over that – 2:31:12 to be exact. I’m happy with that for my first time for sure!! Plus my other big goal was to do it with no walking. Aside from taking a few steps to get the water, guzzle a couple of sips and toss the cup, I ran the entire thing with no walking. That is a win.

After the finishing line, I was handed my medal, which is way cool (the guitar spins!), and I grabbed some water and chocolate milk and found the fam.

Even as I write this I cannot believe that I did this! I cannot believe that I, Lisa Pillsbury Ramsey, the girl who despised running in gym class, and the woman who did not start running until two years ago ran a 1/2 marathon – 13.1 miles without stopping. I remember signing up for this back in December and really second guessing myself. At that point the furthest I had ever run was 4 miles. I couldn’t conceive of running that far or for that long! I remember thinking, I could either drive to Columbus or run 13.1 miles – yikes! The fact that I accomplished this has little to do with my abilities, that is for sure. It is all due to the fact that I was diligent with a realistic training program, had great supporters and advice givers, and was just plain old determined to do this!

I firmly believe that if I can do this, anyone can. You just need the desire, the commitment and the plan. So, what is my next goal? Not sure yet, but I know one thing. There WILL be a next goal. I’ve got the bug now. But first, a reward – tomorrow is my spa day. Goal setting will have to wait for a day or so!!! Mama needs a massage!