Monday, September 14, 2009

Work, Marathon Training, and Blogging don't mix really well

We have a diagnosis! I went to the podiatrist last week and it's official, I have platar fasciitis. I also have high arches and the bones in my feet are at a slight angle. So we ordered custom orthotics. They should be in in about 3 weeks. I'm hoping that 3 weeks is enough time to get used to them for the marathon. The nurse showed me how to tape my feet and arches for better support until the orthotics come in. I did that for my long run on Sunday.

Of course, I woke up 20 minutes after the group had already left and ended up out there by myself (and about an hour behind schedule since we had lunch plans with old friends). Back to the tape....I taped my feet and also added a moleskin cut out to provide extra arch support (as directed by my doctor and nurses), but the tape lost its stick and started sliding around and gave me a big blister....problem #1. Then my iPod died.....problem #2. Then my hip started hurting.....problem #3. I'm not sure if the hip issue is from me running funny to try and make the blister feel better or if its from the extra arch support and tape that I'm not used to or if it is from something else all together. The blister actually felt better if I ran, but the hip felt better if I walked. I did a little bit of both and decided that the hip hurt more than the blister and it was better to walk.

I haven't done a whole lot of running since my last post.
Friday 9/4 - I tried to run 18 miles, but my arches were really bothering me. I ended up with 10 miles in 2:18:22.

I took the following weekend off because we were in the mountains of NC for a wedding. My arches started bothering me at the wedding, so I decided to take it easy until I could get into a doctor.

Wed 9/9 - Saw the doctor

Then my daughter got sick and wasn't sleeping at night (and I don't function well without sleep) so running got put aside for a little bit.

Sat 9/12 - Ran an easy 3 miles, pushing the jogging stroller for just over a 12 min/mile pace

Sun 9/13 - Was supposed to be 14 miles, was the above mentioned 8.5 miles with blisters, hurting hips, and dead iPods.

I'm supposed to meet my girls tomorrow for an easy 3 miles to see how my hip is doing. If I'm not feeling up to it, we are going to walk (hey, something is better than nothing, right?!).

I'll try and be better about posting! Oh, any suggestions on how to get used to new orthotics? How long did it take you guys?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

2.5 weeks of catch up

I've been so busy.....trying to catch up on sleep. Haha! These 4am wake up calls and long runs have me a little tired. Of course, if I updated regularly it wouldn't be such a big deal or take too long.

So, here's what I've been up to.

Wed 9/2/09 - 3 Miles - 40:08 (soooo tired, looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow)
Tues 9/1/09 - X-train walk
Mon 8/31/09 - 3 Miles - 37:52
Sun 8/30/09 - 16 Miles - 3:47:01 (we were the walking wounded....between my falling arches, Michelle forgetting her knee brace, and Heather's calves cramping up we were a hot mess and walked back the last 3-4 miles)

Fri 8/28/09 - 3 Miles - 37:01
Wed 8/26/09 - 4 Miles - 46:16
Tues 8/25/09 - 5.7 Miles - 1:09:08
Sun 8/23/09 - 13.1 Miles - 2:48:55

Fri 8/21/09 - Walking
Wed 8/19/09 - 3.7 Miles - 48:59
Mon 8/17/09 - 4.9 Miles - 58:21
Sun 8/16/09 - 12 Miles - about 2:30:00 (the running coach said no electronics!!! didn't wear the Garmin or iPod)

Thur 8/13/09 - 3 Miles - 33:59
Tue 8/11/09 - 6 Miles - 1:15:48

Tomorrow is a rest day and them I'm going to run 18 Miles!! by myself on Friday. We are going out of town this weekend and I won't be able to get the mileage in while in the mountains of NC. Wish me luck!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Worst 12 miles ever!

Maybe that's an over statement, but they were not fun!

Ok, since last post.....

Fri 7/31 - 3 miles - 43:18 (just Ethel and I and she needed to walk, I'm not about to leave her behind, especially at 5:30am)

Sun 8/2 - 10 Miles - 2:02:47 (it rained!!!!)
Mon 8/3 - 3 Miles - 36:58 (legs felt like lead from previous 10)
Wed 8/5) - 3 miles - 36:15 (actually ran after work instead of before, mosquitoes ate me up! and it was hot)
Sat 8/8 - 3 miles - 35:58

Sun 8/9 - 12 miles - 2:38:55

Yesterday's 12 miles were the worst miles I've run in a really, really long time (the only thing I can think of that is remotely close would be the Rock N Roll Half in VA Beach in 2006). And no it wasn't the heat! Although it sure didn't help. Both Michelle and my new friend Heather were not at the group run. I was kinda looking forward to running by myself and slightly dreading it. We were to run 3 miles westbound on the trail and come back to the starting point, then run 3 miles eastbound and come back to the starting point, for a total of 12. I ended up running with another lady for the first 2, 2.5 miles (shortly before the first turn around) and that was nice. Then, she pulled back a little and told me to go ahead, so I did. I was drinking water (at water fountains) and watered down G2 (in my camelbak) the whole time because I was worried about dehydration and heat exhaustion (it got into the 90's yesterday with a very high heat index). Between miles 5 and 6 I stopped to walk and eat some sport beans. I also planned to walk 1-2 minutes for every mile after 6 miles. Around mile 7, I started having some serious stomach issues and had to walk a lot more than planned. And of course there are not many bathrooms along the trail. At one point on the trail, I was less than a mile from my house. I really thought about just giving up and going home from there. I'm also having shoe issues. I can't put my finger on it, but my shoes just don't give the same warm and fuzzy they have in the past. These are the newer model of the same shoe I've been wearing for 3-4 years now. I don't know if I'm the wrong size or got a fluke bad pair of shoes or the latest reformulation just isn't for me. The problem is, none of the other neutral, cushion shoes feel as good. (Yes, I've been evaluated for running needs twice, and I need a neutral shoe.)

I don't know how I finished those 12 miles, but I did. I'm actually quite proud of myself for sticking it out an finishing it even when it was really tough.

I've been playing it over in my head, I didn't do anything different than normal. I ate the same thing I normally eat before a long run with about the same amount of time before the run. I ran with G2 last weekend, and Sport Beans have been my go to "food" for quite awhile now. I was talking with a co-worker and fellow runner this morning and she said her doctor wrote an article on this. Now, take this with a grain of salt since it's word of mouth....but, apparently these horrible stomach issues and bathroom needs plague about 20% of runners and it can come on for no reason what-so-ever. My co-worker recently ran a marathon, almost qualified for Boston but had all these stomach issues on the course. She'd never had anything like it in any of her training runs. Go figure. I know I'm sensitive to dairy when I put in high mileage. I definitely can't eat it a few hours post run. I think I'm going to lay off it pre-run too (ie. no pizza that night before for dinner). The other thing it could daughter had a horrible diaper while we were out Saturday. Horrible! If she had a 24 hour stomach bug, she could have (and probably did) share it with me, as she likes to share all her illnesses with me.

Tomorrow morning I'll be meeting Michelle for 6 miles. Hopefully, my legs won't feel like lead. They are still a bit sore from yesterday.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Runner Chick

I saw this at Frayed Laces and just thought it was too cute not to share!

Ran another 3 miles yesterday (~37 minutes). I think the 6 from the day before really wore me out. I feel asleep on the sofa just after 8pm last night.

My friend Ethel has been joining us this week, too. She is getting ready to wean baby #2 and wants to burn some extra calories. I was super impressed with her ability to hang with us for the 6 mile run and then a 3 mile run the next day (she's been going to the gym, but not really running and building up mileage like Michelle and I have been doing). She is still doing middle of the night feedings, not used to getting up that early, and its been awhile since she ran that far....since before baby #1. We went a little slower and did some walking for both runs, but honestly, I was so worn out, it was definitely welcome!

I have cross training today, rest tomorrow, and 3 miles on Saturday. I'm thinking of switching tomorrow and Saturday with the misguided hope that Sofie might sleep in Saturday morning and I might get to sleep in as well. We'll see if any cross training gets done tonight.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

6 miles!

Whoo hoo! 6 miles done before work. Will recap soon....must run out to Target and pack lunches and I'm beat. Would love to be in bed by 9, but not sure I see that happening.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lots of 3's

So, since my last post....arch/heel/self-diagnosed planter fasciitis is doing much better! Of course in that time, I did more 3 mile runs vice the 5's and 6's that were on the schedule. And last Sunday, I did not do the 8 mile group long run....I went to bed Saturday night with a wicked migraine and there was no getting me out of bed Sunday morning. Not to mention I had a regular headache until at least lunch time.

I've had 6 3-mile runs since I last posted. I had one run that was supposed to be 6 miles, it turned into 4.34 miles with a bit more walking than I'd like to admit. Michelle and I had the grand idea of trying to run 6 miles before 4:30am! Meaning I had to be up at 3:55 to get changed, drive over there, and be moderately coherent. I could not mentally get into it. That is way to early to be up and running. I told her that 4:45 is my absolute earliest before work. As the distance gets longer mid week, I think I will either have to split it up and do part before work and part after, or try and do it all after work in the icky heat.

One of those 3's I pushed Sofie in the jogger. That run was actually supposed to be a 4 mile run, but I was running late (had something else to get to) and I had Sofie. I figured the extra effort of pushing 30lbs of baby plus whatever the stroller weighs (since I'm not really used to it) made up for cutting it short by a mile.

This morning our group long run turned into a race. We showed up and Chip (the coach) said, "You can't plan for everything that happens on race day, so we are racing 6 miles today." It was overcast and drizzly (it had rained all night) and it poured on us from mile 2-4 (which was great, I loved it!). Maybe I should have someone tell me to "race" my runs more often, came in at 1:08:34 with an 11:27 pace (I've been averaging 12 min/miles on the longer runs). I'm always afraid I won't have enough left in the tanks to finish my run, so I hold back. And I think I hold back a little more than necessary.

Tomorrow is a rest day (thank gawd!), Monday: 6mi (before work, I'll give it one more shot before I decide if 5 is my limit before work or not), Wednesday: 3mi, Thursday: 1 hour of cross train (which I normally turn into rest, I know, bad Lauren), Friday: rest, Saturday: 3mi, Sunday: 10 mi.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I'm back

I'm back! Good news is I've kept up the running the whole time I was gone. I just haven't been blogging. If you read my family blog, you already know that I've 2 different sets of out of town gets, my daughter was in a leg splint for 10 days (thought her leg was fracture, but it appears to just be a sprain). So, as I said over there....."I've been running at 4:45am and 5am, rushing home to get ready, drop Sofie at daycare, learning a new job (finally got to meet my client!) and commute. By the time dinner is done and lunches are made, all I want to do is go to bed and start it all over again."

Also, because of all aforementioned sh*t, I did not compete in the triathlon that I was considering. I'm still interested, though. Hopefully I can find one to do before the season is over.

Oh, and I'm fighting severe arch pain and slight heel pain. I've self-diagnosed myself with plantar fasciitis. I taped it this morning for my run and it felt tons better. I talked to my running coach last night and he suggested rolling my foot over a baseball while I sit at my desk. I think that the biggest issue is going back to an office and wearing heels after 2 years of Birkenstocks and working from home.

Check out my side bar for my weekly, monthly, yearly mileage totals. I'll try and be better about updating in the future. Off to bed, Michelle and I are meeting earlier tomorrow since we are starting to increase our miles. Coffee is my friend!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Still here

Still here, still running....just don't have much time to blog. Long and short of it, had lots and lots of house guests and my daughter fractured her leg. Will update soon!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

2 Races in 1 day!

Yesterday I ran in 2 races, the Women's Distance Festival in the morning and the Twilight Festival in the evening. Granted, I only ran the 1 mile fun run in the evening. Marc was running the 4 mile race, so I pushed the jogger and ran the 1 mile fun run to give us something to do while we waited.

The Women's Distance Festival was in town!! And the Twilight Festival was just around the corner. It was nice to run races so close to home. The Women's Distance Festival started at 8 and we didn't leave the house until just after 7. Normally, I'd like to be there by 7, to park, to figure out where I'm going, visit the port-o-potty, etc.

These are all pre-race photos. Marc forgot to take any as I started or finished (but that's ok, I didn't get any of him at his race).

Sofia's Bo-bo scowl. This is the same exact face Marc has when he's getting his hair cut.


We actually got a picture with all 3 of us!

The race didn't actually start at the YMCA. They walked us down to a business complex and we started there. There is a bottle neck towards the beginning so the volunteers were really stressing that you seed yourself appropriately. I lined up with the 11:30 pace group thinking this would be fairly accurate, except I was passing people the whole race! After we looped around the business complex and got through the bottle neck, we were back on the W&OD trail. We turned off the trail to loop around a small, man-made pond (where we passed mile 1), then jumped back on the trail. We turned off the trail again to run through the woods, I think this wooded path is part of the Sugarland Trail. We passed the water stop and mile 2 while in the woods. After we looped through the woods, we got back on the W&OD trail and headed back the way we came. Then we turned back at the Y and were at the finish line....where there was an "Official Finish Line Hugger" (if you enlarge the picture you can see that is what his t-shirt says). I opted for a high five. Official results aren't posted yet, but Gavin the Garmin says 32:57 (10:40 pace).


These are all the goodies I got from the Women's Distance Festival. A pair of socks, a spa robe (thinking I would have rather had a t-shirt, but it is something different), a finishers hat, and a bag to keep it all in!

We ran a few errands and came home to relax. I had tried to nap, didn't really happen. All it did was make me groggy (and I had a headache) and I did not want to go to the second race. I decided I was going to walk the fun run instead of running it, so I didn't dress appropriately. We get there and I get caught up in all the excitment. The 4 miler started and 5 minutes later the fun run started. Of course, I decide to go ahead and run....and I! But I'm glad we ran, we finished in plenty of time to see Marc come through for his second loop. They didn't do official times for the fun run, but they were calling out times off a stop watch and they said 11:something. I'm pretty pleased with that time, I'd already ran a race that day, I was exhausted from the previous 3 days, and I was pushing the stroller! Marc finished with a net time of 30:32! Way to go! (the stinker ran farther than I did and he did it faster!)

After Marc finished, we went and got free burittos from Moe's. We attempted to get our free beers, but the line was ridiculous and we had beer at home.

I didn't get any pictures from this race. But here is a shot of the Clemson Orange shirt.

This morning was another long run with my marathon training group. 5 miles, 59:49 (11:58 pace). Of course, Michelle was a slacker and didn't come. I probably wouldn't have gone either except I paid a lot of money for this program. (I knew it was a good thing to pay for this! It keeps me motivated to go). I had a busy couple of days....moving furniture, painting our bedroom, moving furniture back, staying out late at a baseball game (read all about it here)....I was exhausted and still am. I think I'll be in bed shortly after the lil one goes to bed.

And I've got a stretching question for all 3 of y'all that read hips/hip flexors are super tight since I've been upping my miles. Any suggestions on how to stretch my hips? I'm having a hard time stretching them out.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Another morning run

Michelle and I met at 5am yesterday and ran another 3 miles. We met at the Town Center since it's about half way between our houses and we know its well lit. This is a problem we are having. Neither of us have really run in the mornings around here so we don't have any routes planned out that we know for sure are well lit. I have a head lamp, pepper spray, and a reflective belt. But still, it's a little creepy in the dark. Right now we are lucky. Even though the sun doesn't officially come up until 5:45, it is pretty well lit by 5:15 and we feel safe. When we start getting into the longer weekday runs it'll be more of an issue. Hopefully by then, we'll have figured out a few routes that are on busy roads or shopping centers that we feel safe on even in the dark.

I went to the Nationals game last night and was out waaaay past my bedtime, Sofie decided to get up before 6am this morning, and I'm exhausted. I was planning on doing 3 miles today, but it might turn into a rest day. I have to finish painting the master bedroom today, put all the furniture back in the bedroom, and I have a 5K tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I didn't feel like going to intervals tonight. I was up late (my own damn fault) and this morning was the one morning in 4 days that Sofia didn't sleep in. I have a cross training day on the schedule for Friday, so I thought I'd just switch today's run with Friday's cross train. I headed over to the pool to see if a) I could do the distance and b) how would I feel after the distance.. Our pool is a 25M pool, so it would take 17 laps to get 425M. I did 17 and then I thought, maybe I had miscounted so I did 2 more laps just in case. It took me 14:23. It's no Michael Phelps, that I know. But I'm not sure how slow it is (but I know it's slow) or how it stacks up against others. I think a swimcap would help. I'm still growing out my bangs and they don't stay back in a ponytail just yet. I could breath to the right, but every time I tried to the left my hair got in my way, dripping water. I ended up with more water than air.

Tomorrow is another early morning. Michelle and I are planning on meeting at 5am to get in 3 miles. I'm heading to bed soon!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's been a week?

Wow, I haven't updated since intervals last Wednesday. What have I been up to??

Thursday was a 3 mile run at lunch time (36:04).

Friday was a rest day, and good thing too! I spent the afternoon at the doctors office with a sinus infection. By now the snot and sinus pressure are gone. The cough is mostly gone, although it sneaks up when I push my pace and work my lungs.

Saturday was supposed to be a 2 mile run, but it was so hot and humid at 7am! Add to that the aforementioned sinus infection, and I just wasn't feeling it. I took my bike out for a quick ride, 3.5 miles.

Sunday, bright and early, 6:30 group run at the running store for 4 miles (48:48).

Monday was another rest day. And today was 4 miles again (48:00). I'm so proud of myself. Michelle and I met at 5am! It's so nice to have my run done with and out of the way. I feel like I got an extra hour in my day. I'm sure I won't feel that way at 9pm when I'm ready to crawl into bed.

I also started the Sit-up Challenge this morning. Week 1, Day 1 down.....

And, in biking related news. My bike has a new chain and new road tires (instead of the clunky old mountain bike tires I used to have). I think new brakes are next on the list, but they are ok for now. I'm all ready to give a triathlon a go. I have found one that is 3 weeks away. I haven't registered for it yet, but I'm really thinking about it. My biggest hang up is the swimming. I can swim, that's not a problem. I did swim team growing up, so I have a fairly decent foundation to build upon. But, I haven't been working on my upper body strength at all and I'm more concerned with covering the distance. Maybe I can head over to the pool this afternoon and do a little progress testing.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

It's gone

Toenail is officially gone. Second toenail looks like it might be going too. It's kinda weird how the new toenail grows up from the nail bed and not out from the cuticle.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wednesday Night Intervals

It was so nice and cool and overcast night. But as cool as it was, it was very humid. And (sorry if any guys are reading) I'm PMSing. So, I've got all that going on. Plus, my cold is not completely gone. It's now a barking cough, a sore throat that comes and goes, and some slight drainage. I was so not feeling intervals tonight. But I went, I did it, and I'm glad I did.

Tonight we did 1200 repeats (3 laps around the track or 0.75 miles). We could do this 2, 3 or 4 times. I choose 3. We were supposed to hit these at about the same pace we did our timed mile, just to teach ourselves pace. We could run each lap of the 1200 at the same pace, start slow and speed up with each lap, or start fast and slow down with each lap. Being that I'm not feeling so hot, I just want to run each lap at the same pace, about 2:30, for a total of 7:30. I ran the first set at 7:31, the second at 7:46, and the third at 7:20.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I did it!

I got up and got out the door and did a run this morning! I only had 2 miles (24 minutes) on my schedule this morning and that was perfect because I didn't allow myself time to go any farther. I had to get back so Marc could get to work. But it should start getting easier and easier to drag myself out of bed and get going. And it's a very wonderful feeling knowing that I don't have my workout hanging over my head later in the day. The only draw back is it takes me a while to fully wake up and my pace was slower to being with.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Oh yeah!

Sit-up challenge it is! After having a baby, I really need to get my core strength back. Plus it will help my running. Maybe in a month or so , I'll add in a second challenge. I'm going to do the test sometime this week to see where I am and hopefully start the challenge by Saturday.

Marathon Training

Yesterday was the start of marathon training. There are about 30 people registered for the class, although I'm not sure all 30 were there yesterday...all shapes, sizes, speeds, men & women. Yesterday we were told to run 4 or 6 miles, your choice, on the W&OD Trail at an easy pace. Some people finished 6 miles in the time it took me to run 4 miles and there were still some people who were walking the whole distance. Thankfully, Michelle joined the program as well. She and I run at a similar speed, and we haven't seen each other in a week or two so it gave us a chance to chit chat and catch up.

I do have to say, I'm glad I spent the money on this training plan. Yesterday morning about 3:30am I woke up with a horrible headache. I'm pretty sure it was sinus pressure, but it was localized like my migraines are and is very close to TOM so it could have been hormonal. Either way, it was baaaaad. And I couldn't breath. I woke up again when my alarm went off and fumbled around looking for more cold medicine (since I took the last of the other stuff I was taking the night before). Let's just say, between the horrible headache, the congestion, and being tired (from being awake in the middle of the night), I would not have gone for a 4 mile run yesterday morning if I hadn't paid for this class. And yes, I was congested the whole time and the headache got better, never went away, but it was still a great run and I enjoyed it.

This coming week has me cross training today, resting on Friday and running the rest of the days. Some weeks we have 2 days of rest, some weeks we only have 1. It is definitely a do-able schedule, however, I do need to get some running in first thing in the morning. Next week Michelle and I are going to plan to meet up at 4:30 or 5am and go for a run. We are both hoping that the thought of the other person sitting out there wait for us is enough motivation to get out of bed and not hit snooze. I need to talk to the coach next week and see what he thinks about the interval training I'm doing on Wednesday nights. I'm wondering if I can just do that instead of the runs that are scheduled for Wednesdays.

Now if I can just shake this cold I'd be doing great!

Oh, and a side note.....the Mexican restaurant is 3 doors down from the running store and they do Sunday morning brunch. I see Mexican brunch in our future after marathon training! :)

Friday, June 12, 2009


I'm fighting a cold and not really feeling like running. Add on top of that the comfort food I've been eating and this seems entirely appropriate!

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

First night of Intervals

We did a quick warm-up, some yoga-like stretching, 2 by 400's, a timed mile, 1 by 400, and a cool down. I'm just have to brag about myself here for a sec...well, it is my blog, I'm allowed to brag if I want! My timed mile was 9:32!! Whoo hoo! Don't believe me....go check it out here! Now if only I could sustain, say for a women's only 5K I've registered for at the end of the month. Honestly, I'd be happy with 30-31 minutes. We'll see.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

3 Posts in 1 Day!

Wow, that's a record for me, I'm sure!

I'm considering doing at least one of these, if not all.
So, anyone with me?

Must cross train more!

Phew! I had to ride the bike over to the gas station because I couldn't get our little hand pump to fill up the tires enough. And there is a fairly large hill between the house and the gas station. Man! My quads were tired! Once I finally figure out my work schedule and get a routine going...where I'm going to work, how long my commute is, are there facilities on site in order to clean up if I run at lunch, etc., I'm definitely going to add at least one day a week of cross training, a spin class, a body pump class, a bike ride, something.

But I remembered how much I enjoy biking! :)

Intervals here I come!

I haven't done much running lately. My marathon training starts on Sunday, so I've been giving myself a little break so I don't get burned out once I start marathon training. I went for a little 2 mile run last Friday and I took the dog for a longer than normal walk one day last week. I woke up with a very tight right calf and a sore right knee (like I've been standing with my knee locked all day). I had every intention of running today, but between the lightening and thunder at 5am when I was planning on going and the sore leg, I think I'm going to pass today. I am getting ready to ride my bike to the grocery store so I can get stuff to make Southwest Turkey Burgers for lunch. (Even though part of the reason I got a new job was to get out of the house, I'm still working from home! I have yet to get on with a client and I can do web-based training as easily from home as I can from the office that I was at by myself yesterday. I'm taking advantage while I can.)

Also, Roni really inspired to me to run better/faster. And I've been wanting to get back to my pre-baby speed for awhile now. So, I signed up for interval training with my local running club. It starts tomorrow night!

Oh yeah, on the Weight Watcher front. I finally went back to a meeting over the weekend. They just started doing meetings at my gym! How convenient! I really, really liked this new leader (and this meeting is less than a mile from the house). Granted, it was the first ever meeting at this time and location, so I was the only person there, but I don't think that changed the way Linda will lead her meetings. I'm very excited to go back next Saturday, which I think will really help me stay motivated and on plan. I'm not dreading my meeting or what the old leader may say to me. I hope more and more people start coming to this meeting (ahem, Michelle) so they don't cancel it!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

It has a name....

...and it is Gavin the Garmin


Monday, June 1, 2009

Zooma Annapolis Half Marathon Report

Yesterday, Michelle, Beth, and I ran the Zooma Annapolis Half Marathon.

Our Sunday morning wake-up call came way too early at 4am! Our plan was to be out the door by 4:45, but we were all moving in slow motion and made it out just after 5am (good thing we always plan to leave early so we have some wiggle room). We step out the door and it's pouring....hard! We get all the way to Annapolis with no issues, plenty of time, then we hit traffic. And it's not moving. We finally find a map and figure a back way to the Naval Academy Stadium. It's raining so hard at this point, that Marc just hangs out in the car with Sofie and Lolly (Michelle's daughter). We get out and have to go potty. There is no way I'm starting this race on this full of a bladder. Someone was nice enough to tell us that the real bathrooms inside the stadium have no lines. We squeeze behind the starting line and the race starts, perfect timing.

Immediately, we lost Michelle. The first two miles went by quickly. All of a sudden we were at the first water stop. It was at the base of the Naval Academy bridge (which felt like I was climbing Mt. Everest). We saw Michelle on the bridge, chatted for a second and kept on going. I was also very glad I was wearing my Garmin. There were no clocks at all on the course. The next 2-3 miles were very hilly, like a roller coaster. We'd get to the crest of one hill, just to see the next looming ahead. Finally, another water stop at mile 4. This was smack in the middle of another hill. It's always my plan to walk through water stops. I just can't drink and run at the same time, plus I feel it gives my legs and my mind just enough break. I'm pretty sure this was about the time the rain stopped too. (Turned out to be a great day!)

At this point this I just didn't feel like I was going to have a good race. The hills were beating me up mentally. We turned onto the B&A trail around mile 5, this is when I finally turned my iPod on. Somewhere between here and the next water stop I started feeling much better mentally. We got Luna Moons around 7.5. We also saw more and more people coming back at us, we knew we were getting close to the turn around. We turned around a hundred feet before mile 8. This was where I realized we had to run the whole stupid trail again. I'm starting to wear down mentally again. (The one saving grace of the trail was it was flat! Except for the one spot where it slanted slightly one direction.) We also saw Michelle within a mile of turning around. She was all smiles and looked good.

Beth started having tummy and feet issues. We stopped for one port-o-potty stop and numerous walk breaks for Beth's blister. I didn't mind at all! Remember, I'm having the mental war of the year. Plus, this was Beth's first half marathon. I really wanted to finish with her!

Mile 11 we turn back onto the road and we both start getting excited, we know we can finish this! We had a really good down hill right away on the road and that got us to the final water stop. We pretty much walked up all the remaining hills and forced ourselve to run the flat or downhill stretchs. We made it back to the Naval Academy Bridge (thank God we didn't have to run over it again) and mile 13. We looped (downhill!) down and under the bridge. There's Marc..and my baby! And Lolly! We kick it into high gear and sprint to the finish.

We get arm loads of bananas, oranges, bagels, water, and wait for Michelle to come in.

Official chip times
Lauren - 2:38:29 (yea! beat my unoffical goal of coming in under 2:45:00)
Beth - 2:38:30 (so freakin' proud of you!)
Michelle - 2:53:27

According to our Garmin's (I think they need names Beth, what do you think?), we actually finished in 2:36:34 (since it paused while were waiting at the port-o-potty). And, get this....I burned 1318 calories! Whoo hoo!

I'm still waiting on official pictures, but here are the few I took.

Michelle, her daughter Lolly, Beth, me, and Sofie at mile marker 13. We look pretty darn good for just running 13.1 miles! (Forgot to get a still half asleep 5am pre-race shot.)

The girls took the shuttle back to the post-race party and Marc ran the mile or 2 (what can I say, he was feeling froggy). The post-race party wasn't as much of a party I was expecting. I'm not sure if that was from the early morning rain or it really wasn't going to be big to begin with. I got a new Bondi Band (great for growing your bangs out). We got some free wine (discovered I really like the Barefoot Moscato), free "lunchs" for the runners (more like a snack...and we shared our 3 "lunchs" with Marc, Sofia, and Lolly, so it really didn't go far). We decided to head into town and find some crabcakes for Marc (it was his birthday afterall and he wanted crab cakes and we were definitely in crab cake territory). Sofie and Marc were playing peek-a-boo across the table.


Michelle and Lolly had a mean game of hangman going on.

And I finally made it in a picture (instead of always being the one behind the camera).

After lunch, we went in search of this cupcake place that was supposed to be at the post race party. They were there, they just left their booth before us back-of-the-packers made it. We found the place but the cupcakes didn't look nearly as good as we had built them up in our minds. We opted for ice cream instead.

I am feeling great today! I'm not sore at all! I'm a little tight and could stand to stretch my hamstrings a bit. This is the best I felt the day after any race of 10 miles or longer. I don't know what happened? Maybe I could have pushed myself harder and had a better time? Maybe my body is finally getting used to the pounding of distance running? I dunno. But I do know that I had a great race (and wasn't expecting too with all my mental issues).

Also, I was not a fan of the course. Hills aside, mental issues aside. The out and back and 7+ miles on the B&A trail was not fun. There was nothing exciting to look at. The trail was a wide as a golf cart path (for runners going both directions - hardly any room to pass a slower runner or dodge a giant mud puddle). It's a shame the race didn't go through the historic parts of Annapolis. And, after the bridge, 80% the parts that were on the road and not the trail, were on the shoulder. The road was still open to traffic and the should starts to dip off (not level). Not sure I will do this race next year.

For the rest of the weekend with Beth, check here and here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lunch-time run

Whoo hoo! I got a run in today at lunch. It's nice because the building I'm working in right now is in the same parking lot as our gym and it's right by the trail. I just changed real quick, hit the trail, and was able to shower when I was done. I did 2.77 miles in 30:03 which is a 10:51/mile average pace. I was pretty happy with that pace. I don't know how much longer I'll be working in this building (it's just temporary until everything is approved for me to start working with the client).

I've packed a bag to try and do this again tomorrow. Once this gig is up, I suppose I'll have to start getting up super early and try running in the morning.

Friday, May 22, 2009

MCHH Pictures

These are courtsey of the Fredericksburg Freelance Star and MarathonFoto.

I think this is almost at the half-way's definitely before mile 7.5.

Somewhere close to the mid-way point (look at all that water on the road)

I'm a finisher! (And I had to swipe Sofia's blanket since they were out of mylar blankets)

Michelle and I towards the beginning.

I thought this was a cool way to capture the race start.

Another cool shot, between miles 1 and 2.

Look at all this rain!

Great shot of the finisher medals.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


It works!!! It turned back on!!

On another note, my daughter and I are sharing the coxsackivirus this week. It is quite possible that running will be non-existent.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

MCHH Race Report

I've been a little MIA in blogging lately. That is because I started a new job this week, so I've been trying to figure out schedules and packing lunches and getting Sofia to daycare in time and what to wear. And I'm working full time now, instead of part-time. So, I haven't had as much time and I haven't run all week (hard to blog about running when you aren't running).

But today I ran my first half marathon since Sofia was born. I was a little nervous as I hadn't trained like I would have liked, but I've been keeping up the short distances during the week....3, 4, 5 miles.

All the pictures are on Michelle's camera. (And the official picture people's cameras.) I didn't bring my camera today (I know, shock of all shocks). The forecast called for rain all morning! I love running in the rain, but because of the rain I left my camera at home. Of course, I didn't think to leave my iPod at home....I should have. I think I may have shorted it out. A friend of mine dropped her iPhone in her dog's water bowl and the Apple people told her to put in rice to draw the moisture out of it and to not turn it on for 2 days. And it worked for her! So, my iPod is currently in the off mode, in a bowl of rice, and won't be turned on for 2 days. We'll see how it turns out.

So, on to the race report....

The short rained, I had a technical malfunction, I finished, I'm sore.
If you notice at the top of the map, there is a nice little elevation chart. Yeah, you will also notice we have a major uphill towards the end. That was not nice.

It was an early 7am start (and about an hour from the house!). We had everyone up and on the road by 5:10am. We got there, parked, made it to the port-o-John, and lined up with everyone else in plenty of time. I couldn't figure out how to get my new watch programed for a distance longer than 3 miles but we were already running at this point so I just started it and went. It was overcast as we started, and a drizzle here and there but not really raining. We were at the 5K turn around point in no time (1.5 miles). Between miles 2 and 3 we looped through a neighborhood, which was really quiet. This is also where my Garmin stopped recording or I hit stop or any number of events that made it stop recording. Miles 4 and 5 skirted around Mary Washington University, but you didn't get much feel for being on a college campus. It was more the feel of the neighborhoods that surround it. There was very nice family around mile 5 that was giving out water, tequila, and other beverages. Of course, I'm a slow poke and they ran out of cups right before I got there. Miles 4, 5, and 6 were when the skies finally opened up! (It had been just drizzling until then.) It was fantastic! I love, love, love running in the rain. This also is where the course went up one block and down the next for a while (like feeding through a waiting line at an amusement park). This also meant any hill you ran down this block, you'd be running back up the next block. Of course, my iPod starts flaking out around mile 6 and I'm sure its due to all the water.

There was not mile marker for mile 7. We got free sport beans and then all of a sudden it was mile marker 8! Mile 8! We've got this thing! Mile 8 to 9 was pretty uneventfull. We meet a very nice gentleman from Columbia, MD. He ran with us for a few minutes and chatted. Michelle needed a walk break so he kept on going. Mile 9 to 10 I was really starting to feel good....considering how bad anyone feels after running 9 miles without properly training. I pulled away from Michelle after the water stop at Mile 10. Mile 11 was brutal...that hill I mentioned above, this is where it was. I think 95% of the people I saw were walking. Once up and over the hill, it was clean sailing from there. 2 more miles and I finished.

Again, being that I'm slow, they were out of mylar blankets and finisher coins. They were, however, not out of free beer, medals or free massages. All of which I made sure to get!

I'm a little sore right now...ok, a lot sore! It's hard to get up and down the stairs to take the dog out. I'll post pictures if I ever get any. I'm off to finally read the directions for my watch and get a sweet treat!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Early Birthday to Me!

Marc, Sofia, and I went over to Fairfax Corner because REI was having a huge sale. I ended up getting my birthday present! The Garmin 405 with the heartrate monitor was on sale for $90 off of retail. Then to top it off, they were offering a $50 mail-in rebate. That ends up being a total of $140 off retail. I couldn't let that little gem just sit there for that price. We are going to a family test run in the morning...followed by some chocolate chip waffles.

I'm also the proud owner of my first pair of wick away panties. Suppose I should have purchased more than one pair since they were 30% off, but wasn't sure how I'd feel about them. I can always get more down the road.

I also signed up for my marathon training program through the local running store. I realize I could very easily do this on my own and save some cash, but I think this will really help this marathon be tons more enjoyable. Training starts in a month! (Hard to believe it's already marathon season?!)

Oh and I'll be in the market for a new Weight Watcher meeting. I got home today and realized how much this leader irritates me! Like I said before, I ran to the meeting, and instead of getting a "yea! good for you! way to get some activity!", I got "You can't have your husband pick you up, you should run home." What if running to the meeting was all I could do? What if 3 miles was a really big deal for me? The sucky part is that she does all the Saturday meetings at this location. Guess I will be trying a few other locations.

Recommitted to Weight Watchers

I ran to Weight Watchers today! I'm recommitting to Weight Watchers and I thought the perfect start would be to get my exercise on the way there. According to the Nike+ I ran 3.09 miles, but according the Nike map and gmap-pedometer it was 3.25 miles. And that really big dip would be when I was waiting on the light to change so I could cross the street. And I was down! 0.4 from the time I weighed in during Easter in SC. Anything is better than a gain!
5.9.09 Run

Monday, May 4, 2009

Just don't feel like it

It's wet and dreary here (again...but I'm not complaining, keeps the pollen count down) and I just didn't feel like running this morning. It's a little bit chillier out so I didn't want to run in the rain and I didn't want to run period. Since our gym is so close to Sofia's daycare, I went to the gym after dropping the lil one off at school (my last week of such luxuries...I start a new full-time job next Monday).

On days that I just don't want to work out, I do best to do a few minutes on different machines instead of trying to force myself to do any one thing for a full 30 minutes.

I did 10 minutes on the Cybex Arc Trainer (which I had never used before...very interesting machine....wore out my upper quads and hips rather quickly). I did 15 minutes on the bike (doing a modified version of a training program Beth's trainer sent me). And finally I ran a mile on the treadmill (in 10 minutes 14 seconds). I did 2 arm weight machines (I know my upper body is weak, but again, still not feeling like I want to be working out and not sure which ones to do, which is why I stopped at 2), some abs, and some stretching.

Now it's off to shower and to my bi-annual dentist appointment.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

3 Miles

Sofia and I went out for a run this morning. And I pushed her. :) I've decided that's it's probably good for me to push her at least once a week (even if I dread it)'s my form of interval training. I did walk up all the really big hills though. And we stopped at the 2.5 mile mark so that Sofia could play on the playground for a few minutes, then ran the remaining 0.5 miles home.
5.2.09 Run
I think I'm going to join my local running group in the morning for a 7 or 10 mile run. The do 10 miles every Sunday morning. But they have this group called the Back of the Pack that isn't quite up to running 10 miles, but they run more at my speed (I emailed the leader and she said they are only up to about 7 miles). I really would rather have the distance, but it would be nice to have the company.

Baby is awake from her nap (why won't she sleep just a little longer!). But I'm itching to get out of the house, so it's ok. We'll go do something fun.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Singing in the rain

Well, actually, running in the rain. I love to run in the rain and it was finally warm enough to do it for the first time this spring/summer. I thought it was going to be a bit chilly (at 55 degrees) but it wasn't raining too hard, so it was perfect! I actually got kinda hot and had to take my jacket off. I took my iPod with me so that my Nike+ would track, but I ran the whole time without music. It was such an enjoyable 4 miles! And, it looks like I was hitting about a 10:30-11 minute mile pace, except for the 2 minutes I walked up a really big hill. So, while I had an average 12 minute per mile pace for the entire 4 miles, I'm very pleased that I kept the pace up the rest of the time.

Post-run picture....see, not raining too hard. I can't wait for it to be warm enough to run when its really raining hard.


run copy(2)


Onwards from AKQA on Vimeo<

Monday, April 27, 2009

Earth Day 5K Pictures

They finally posted pictures from the Earth Day 5K. There are some much better ones of Bernie (the Biggest Loser contestant) and there are some of me running and there are some that I liked just because (photography is something that has always intrigued me).

All pictures are courtesy of the Silver Spring Earth Day 5K and Mr. Brian W. Knight.

A pre-race shot - we are in the top right corner by the light post. You can see my teal top and Sofia's hot pink fleece

I'm the one with the teal top, black skort, sunglasses on top of my head



A few better ones of Bernie


These are the ones that I liked just because...



Sunday, April 26, 2009


You know, those nice people that said I looked graceful while I was trying not to fall...well, they also said to be sure to stretch because I would be sore from my 10 feet of bumble, stumble, and not falling. I thanked them, but silently I was thinking "Sure buddy, that almost fall is going to make me sore....nah, the next 3 miles are going to make me sore." Sure enough, my left hammy and my left buttocks are tight and sore.

Note for next time....stretch real good after you almost make a fool of yourself running by the library.

Oh well

So much for running this morning. Marc is running the GWP 10 Miler and the jogger is still in his trunk from when he picked us up at Home Depot Friday afternoon and his trunk is in Old Town Alexandria. Ok, so we'll take the other stroller and just go for a nice walk, let's take the dog since I'm not sure if Marc took him out before he left this morning and he could use the exercise too. Wrong! Jack freaks out when we go beyond our parking lot. It doesn't help that the bus comes to the grocery store across the street (he doesn't like loud buses, delivery trucks, anything diesel). We got maybe one or two tenths of a mile away and he was begging to go home. And I can't very well leave Sofia in her stroller in the parking lot while I run the dog back upstairs. It's just one of those days. Is the coffee ready yet?

A not so fun run

I went for a run yesterday morning. I knew it needed to be a longer run, but I didn't have a route planned out. I was just going to run around the city based on how I felt. Big mistake! I should have a planned route (and I should have worn my camelbak!). My total route was 4.9 miles, but my Nike+ says I did 4.5 miles (probably not calibrated accurately for all the walking I did). After 1.75 miles, I was over by the library and hospital and I was finally finding a groove, it still wasn't a great run, but I'd found a stride and I thought I could stick it out. Then....I tripped. One of the sidewalk squares was raised up from the others and I tripped. I didn't fall, but I stumbled, threw my arms out....I almost fell. It was bad, but some other runners were nice enough to tell me that I looked graceful while I almost fell. There was no coming back. My knee felt like I'd just run 10 miles, not 2. My stomach felt a little off. And I was thirsty. I re-routed myself to the town center so that I could go by a water fountain. Then I picked up the W&OD trail and headed home. It was still another 2 miles home from here....facing directly into the sun. Thank God there is a 7-11 right near the trail. I stopped and bought a bottle of water, then ran/walked the remaining 1.5 miles home.

I definitely think we are nearing the times when I'll need to start running early (6 or 7am) to beat the heat (at least for those longer runs).

I think Sofia and I are going to head out for a short walk before it reaches 90 today. We might run a little, we'll see how we are feeling.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Walking instead of running

Sofia and I were butting heads today, which is odd, since she was such a sweat-heart this morning (giving lots and lots of kisses without being prompted). And to top it all off, she just wouldn't take a nap today (which is probably why we were butting heads). We decided to go for a walk. We ended up at the playground, ran around, had fun. Then, I got it in my head that we should keep walking and go to Home Depot and get some herbs to plant. We ended up walking just over 2 miles from the house to the playground to Home Depot. Marc got off work just in time to pick us up at Home Depot.

I always seem to dread running and pushing the stroller at the same time, so I put it off and don't do it. I think I still have it in my head that I'm still building back up my strength and I'm not where I was a few years ago. Well, after my recent fastest 5K since Sofia was born and how great I felt after the 10 Miler, I am a much closer to being back and I am a runner again. I just need to get my mind to catch up with my body. This is why we tend to go for walks instead of runs, I need to suck it up and just do it.

And on the diet-weight loss front, I'm really thinking about giving "Core" a try. For those of you non-weight watchers, this is a method where you don't count points but you eat clean foods. I know I need to get my protein up and I even though I stay within my points, it's not always good choices and my weight is stagnant. Next week's goal (after we go grocery shopping) is to eat clean/core-like/filling foods.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

3 Miles Down

Glad I got my run in around lunch time. We've been having some good thunder storms around here tonight. The Nats/Braves game has been rain delayed and the animals have decided to stick close to me (you know, in case those claps of thunder should shake the house into pieces, I should be able to save them).

Just did one of my 3 miles loops. I had to stop at the red light and wait for traffic both on the way out and the way back in. And I got stopped to ask for directions. All in all, not too shabby. Not as fast as the 5K Sunday, but if you factor the stops and the legs that felt like lead (thank you Body Pump), I'm happy with my run.


I'm sore today! A good kind of sore, too. I finally gave my Bender Ball a try last night. (Don't order it from the website. I've heard stories of them sending you all kinds of crap you don't need or want. Beth picked it up for me at Wal-Mart. But we also saw the same thing, different name at Marshalls. ) Whew, I can feel it in my lower abs. And I can feel my large muscles in my legs and my shoulders and pectorals from Body Pump. Oh, and when I dropped the lil' one off at daycare her teachers were asking me if I had lost weight. Whoo hoo! Just more motivation to keep at it. (I think I should wear this outfit everyday.)

It's supposed to rain tonight, so I'm going to try and get a run in at lunchtime.

Monday, April 20, 2009

In non-running related news...

I made it to Body Pump today over lunch. I figure there are other muscles in my body that don't get worked from running. Imagine that! I'm going to try and fit Body Pump in at least once a week, if not twice.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Earth Day 5K

This morning we got up early and drove to Silver Spring, MD (just around the Beltway from us) so I could run the Earth Day 5K. And guess who was there? Bernie Salazar from season 5 of the Biggest Loser. He was the at-home winner that season.


It started and ended at a local running store and was an out and back course. The only problem with this was the first mile was all down hill. You all know what that means....the last mile is all up hill! At least the second mile was fairly flat through a park. Each mile came and went fairly fast. I came across the finish line and the clock said 32:00! And I just checked the results....official time of 31:50 (that's a 10:20 mile!!!) This is my fastest 5K since before Sofia was born!

Mommy and Sofie pre-race

We didn't hang around after the race because we had to get back to our side of the Beltway for Marc's baseball game.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Bunny 5K

This morning, we got up at 0-dark to drive to Clemson to run a 5K with Beth, her cousin Jill, Jenny, and her daughter Mattie.

We got to Clemson with plenty of time to spare. We checked in, got our stuff, and we waited for everyone to get there. Beth called, she was having car trouble and we thought we were going to have to go and get her. She was able to get there about the same time as Jenny. I went to find a restroom and Beth and Jill come running up to tell me something. We've had a celebrity siting! Check out that report here.

The race was really small and the roads weren't closed. We had to run in the bike lane and on the sidewalks. I thought this was going to be an issue, but it wasn't! It was great. There was little to no traffic and the weather was perfect. Just slightly chilly, but bright and sunny!

The first mile came and went super fast! Then I took Mattie's stroller from Jenny so she could have a rest. Beth and I switched, and she took the stroller after about a quarter to half a mile of tons of hills. Okay, I know there is supposed to be water at a mile and a half....where is the water?? Ah finally water...must have been farther than 1.5 miles to the water stop because it was a quick turn, down hill, and there was the finish!

Whoo hoo! A great race with great weather and great friends. Come to find out, Marc won his age group, even while he was pushing a stroller. Way to go Marc!

A few post race photos...
Beth and Jill

Jenny (in the shirt that races)

Our girls


Whoo hoo

I'm so proud of myself.....I went out and got a 3 mile run in when I thought I wouldn't get one in at all that day.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Cherry Blossom 2009

Bear with me folks, this is a long one, and picture heavy. But I actually took pictures all weekend! I normally forget when Beth is here to take them until the last minute when she is packing up to go.

Beth, Jeff, and Elaina got her Friday afternoon. Sofia and I did some last minute cleaning/tiddying on Friday....well, I did the cleaning, she found another pair of shoes to keep her busy.


Saturday morning we got up and went to the Cherry Blossom parade.


The girls were not interested. Both preferred to sit in their strollers and ignore the festivities.
(My child is not possessed....I caught her mid blink)

The wind was so bad the tents at the festival were coming off the ground. We decided to skip the festival and head straight to packet pick up for the race.
Sofia got a new headband.

Then we had lunch at Gordon Biersch...yum, garlic fries!


(our attempt at a self-family portrait)

Lunch went straight through naptime....the good news is we only had one meltdown

This morning had us with a super early wake up call and out the door by 5:45am.





(Beth in the Shirt that Races, check out Beth's blog...I'm sure she'll update on the Shirt that Races soon, if not go bug her to do it sooner.)

Here are some mid-race pics with my $9 camera. Not too bad for running and taking pictures at the same time with a crappy camera.


We did it! And Beth did it for the very first time!
Official chip time:
Lauren - 1 hr 59 min 08 sec
Beth - 1 hr 59 min 09 sec
Michelle - 2 hr 04 min 58 sec

Other than a sore ankle and really tired and sore feet (debating about whether or not new shoes are in my near future), I felt great! My legs still had plenty of energy and my lungs weren't burning. I also feel like I could maybe start working on bringing my per mile time down. If I keep up what I've been doing, I'll be in great shape for my upcoming half marathons (which is great incentive to keep getting out there and training, it's not so daunting once you know you can do it). With that being said, I'm thinking of adding 1 day a week of interval type training to help me speed up a little. I'd love to get back to my pre-Sofia pace of 10 minute miles (and I thought I was so slow then! I'd love to be that fast again).




On our walk back to the metro, we took the long way so Beth and Jeff could see some of the monuments and get some pictures. (And by long way, I mean almost 2 miles out of our way....I checked! My sore ankle knew it was more than half a mile or so.)


And what started it all.....the Cherry Blossom

Marc had his first baseball game of the season today (sorry, no pictures). Sofia and I went to watch the second half after Beth, Jeff, and Elaina got on the road. Sofia was so worn out, she fell asleep on the way home. Notice the half eaten nugget in her hand. So tired, she couldn't even finish her dinner!