Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I went... and then I left.

The gym, that is.  I know I mentioned in a previous post that the weather might be crappy today so my run would likely be on the treadmill today.  Well, it rained all night long and was still going when I woke up, so I knew that after I took the kids to the school I'd be heading up the road to play hamster for a while.

By the time I got up to the gym, it was honestly warm (temp was around 40).  I went inside and immediately was overwhelmed with how many people there were!!  This was ten times worse than I'd EVER seen it.  There wasn't even any room to walk around.  There aren't enough lockers for this many people at one time in this place either.  So, I was already irritated and I hadn't even stepped onto a treadmill yet.

There were 2 treadmills available.  One had a known defect, so I skipped that one.  The other one has the quick controls disabled, but I was just like "whatever, I'll deal with it".  I started my run and just got SO irritated.  The treadmill seemed to be skipping all over the place.  All I could hear was people screaming at each other over the blasting craptastic music, and the treadmill I was lucky to have (sarcasm) was right near the door, so I had a constant stream of in and out traffic.  Also, some (I'm assuming female) put way too much Victoria's Secret Vanilla Lace on.  Seriously.  And I know damn well that's what scent it was because I had an obsession with that stuff in the late 90s.  It smelled like someone took a bath in it, smothered every part of their anatomy in a whole bottle of the lotion and then sprayed themselves and all their clothing down in it for good measure.  It seriously burned my throat.

I could NOT get focused.  The treadmills face the parking lot and I noticed that the sun was peeking out a bit and it looked like the rain would hold off for a while.  At this point I was around the half mile point in my run (not even through the warmup).  I thought about it for only a moment before hitting the "STOP" button on the treadmill, grabbing my stuff, and running out of the gym.  I headed over to the park (after putting on a long sleeve shirt) and did my run there.  Yeah, I'm a nut.

BUT - I got my run done and it went pretty well!  I did a warmup, 9 x 400s with 200 recoveries, and then a cooldown (I pretty much just like to hit an even 5 miles).  I'm not gonna lie... it was NOT all easy.  Again, I've been feeling sluggish, and felt it even in the first 400 I did.  I pushed on and gave it all I had, though.  I did have a bout of "blah" around the 7th repeat, and honestly the 9th was really tough - I barely held onto 5K pace that time (1 second off).  I got it done!  And even tough afterward I had to ask Nick "Please tell me this isn't supposed to be easy - it's supposed to suck a bit", I reminded myself that I only have ONE more speedwork day left before my first half!  Next Wednesday is a tempo run and then the week after that I'll attempt 10 400s.  So, I'll be ok.  I'll make it.  haha.

Without posting every single interval I'll just say that in total I ran 5.03 miles in 42:05.  Average pace: 8:21.

Here's to saying "screw the gym, I'm goin' outside"!!

I did a reverse plank today for #plankaday for 2:33.1.  A little shorter than usual, but I was talking to Nick and the cat was weaving in and out (excuses!), so I'm happy with that.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


I'm currently pondering a few things.  Scary, I know.

First, let me say that I did get my run in this morning.  Aside from my shoe needing retied at one point, it went pretty easily.  As usual, I started off fast, but thankfully pulled it back to reality.  Until that last mile of course.

Mile 1 - 9:36
Mile 2 - 9:55
Mile 3 - 9:50
Mile 4 - 9:29
Mile 5 - 8:59  Don't judge me, I was having a friendly cat and mouse competition with someone at this point.

Overall: 5.05 miles in 48:20.  Average pace: 9:33.  Yeah, shouldn't have ran that last mile that hard.  The rest of it was super easy, though!

Speedwork tomorrow.  But the weather is supposed to be crappy (again.) so I may end up on the treadmill. Which will suck.  But I'll get it done.

Now back to the ponderings in this little blonde head of mine...

I still don't think I've found my "perfect" running shoe.  I like my Adrenalines.  They were great during the 10K I did in them and they seem to be pretty good on my fast runs.  However, for my long, slow, and easy runs?  Not so much.  Or maybe it's me, I don't know.  They're just really hard, if that makes sense.  They don't have much cushioning and my feet tend to ache in various places after running in them for long periods of time.  They also don't seem flexible.  I feel like I run very flat footed in them, and not just flat footed, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but hard.  I'm taking what I believe to be an exceptional amount of impact in them.  Now, again, this might be just me whining.  Is this normal for long runs?  I like the sense of stability they give, but I'm wondering if it's TOO much, and that's why it doesn't feel right?  And before anyone asks, yes, I was fitted for these at a reputable running store.  They have exactly 100 miles on them now, so I'd think they'd be well broken in by now.  The other thing that drives me nuts about these shoes is that there is way too much space in the heel for me, so I have to lace the shoes up using a lacing "trick" that the guy at the store showed me, so that I'm not flopping around in the back of the shoe.  This is, quite honestly, a pain in the ass.  God forbid they ever come undone in a race because I'd be royally screwed since it takes me a while to tie them up so they feel "right" enough for me to run.  I'd prefer not to have to go through this.  So, I like the shoe, but... I don't.  Shrug?

I've been researching shoes that are similar to the Adrenalines but might offer more cushioning and a smoother ride.  I came down to the Saucony Guide 6, Nike Lunarglide 4, and Asics GT-1000.  I've been going around reading reviews and trying to make a decision.  Well, last week, I was down at the Tanger Outlets and went to the Nike store.  Wouldn't you know, they had the Lunarglide 4 there and it was on hella sale due to Presidents Day.  I tried them on and they felt great, and for the price, I couldn't pass them up.  Much cheaper than I could even find online (I even looked while standing there - lol).  They're freakin' purple too, so even if they ended up sucking for running I'd just wear them around.

I did my "tempo" (read:  ticked off and just ran) run last week in them, and then I brought them out for my easy 5 today.  I really like them.  They seem to weigh a fraction of what the Adrenalines do and they are definitely more flexible.  And the cushioning?  Wow, it feels like I'm on an air mattress, so no worries there.  I also don't have to lace them up a fancy way to get them to work.  I just tie them like any normal shoe and they are just fine.  The only thing I noticed today on my 5 miler, is that they definitely don't have the level of stability that the Adrenalines do.  My ankle rolled a little at one point, but I was on some cracked pavement then too... I didn't have a problem anywhere else.  I rolled in my Adrenalines the second or third time I wore them too in a bike tire groove.  My knee was bothering me a little bit during my last mile today, but as you can see, I was admittedly running way fast and hard due to sheer stupidity and ego.

So, I'm still like  ????  IS there a perfect running shoe out there?  Or do you just have to take what (mostly) works?  Are the Lunarglides my easy shoe and the Adrenalines my race shoes?  I'm confused.  This is frustrating.

The other thing I've got going around my head is nutrition based.  Just for kicks (and interest and suspicion), I started food journaling again for the first time in a long time.  Well, I had my eyes opened by the fact that I am not eating adequately.  Not for the level of activity I've been doing, especially on long run days.  The other day I was 700 calories below where I should have been!!  I also realized that I've been doing great on protein, but I've been seriously lacking in carbs.  CARBS!?!   Pass the pancakes please!  It's no wonder I've been feeling sluggish and just "blah" in general (other than the whole time of the month thing - sorry guys).  Shame on me for not taking into account my increasing activity level and adjusting my needs accordingly.  What I ate while I was just doing 30 minutes or so of low to moderate activity most days per week isn't going to work the same now that I'm running over 4 hours per week plus doing strength/crosstraining.  Again, my bad.  Facepalm.

So, it looks like I need to spend some time keeping up with a food diary again to get myself back on track.  Back when I did it religiously, I used FitDay.  One of the reasons I stopped (and eventually stopped logging foods totally) is because, like other sites, they started taking away things that were once "free" and started charging for paid subscription access.  That kind of thing irritates the heck out of me.  A lot of people seem to like MyFitnessPal, so that's what I am now using.  So far I really dig it.  It has all the capabilities and more than what I was used to on FitDay.  Awesome.  I really like being able to put my own recipes in there and calculate servings accordingly.  Now, just to be clear, I'm not looking to lose weight or go crazy, but I would like to have a clearer picture of what I'm actually putting in my body and how it may be affecting my performance.

That's what's been rolling around my head lately.  Thoughts and suggestions are always welcome.

Oh, before I close this up - I just have to announce that today was my 100th Day of #PlankADay!  Woohoo!  I can't believe I've dedicated myself to doing this, but I'm glad I did it.  I've seen obvious progress and results.  I hope I'm able to keep it up for 100 more.

My milestone planks - I was trying to aim for 100 secs per side plank.  Tricky to cut it off.
Also a pic of those purple shoes - haha - and the reason my post run stretches get interesting.
Kitty tickles FTW!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Training Schedule Week of 2/25/2013-3/3/2013

Wow, looking into March already!  Amazing!

This is week 9 of 13 of my half marathon training:

Monday:  stretch and strength
Tuesday:  5 miles EASY
Wednesday:  9x400s  <-- you know, the same thing I did 2 weeks ago.  Oops.
Thursday:  3 miles EASY plus strength
Friday:  REST
Saturday:  REST/other activity  <-- this was one of those weeks Higdon said a race can be scheduled, but I can't find a race I'm interested in running this week, so I'm just going to take the opportunity to have an extra rest day.  If anything I'll make this a replication of Monday.
Sunday:  11 miles LONG RUN

My goal this week is to take it easy.  Of course I'll try to go balls to the wall on Wednesday, but the rest of the days I'm just going to be gentle with myself.  I'm feeling like I could use a dose of that this week.  I don't necessarily feel any worse for wear after yesterday's ten miler, but I do feel a little tired.

Today Nick is starting to train for a Century ride, which requires a long time in the gym.  I'm not really feeling up for spending a ton of time up there, so today I figured I'd take some time to get things done here at home as well as get some kind of activity in.

Here's my workout for the day:
20 jumping jacks
40 arm swings
10 arm circles
20 kneeling pushups
45 triceps dips
20 incline pushups
10 burpees
1:00 bridge
50 ab crunches
15 squats
40 lunges
70 Russian twists
20 calf raises
5 "regular" pushups
:30 forearm plank
20 sumo squats
4:43.7 pushup plank (new PR - getting close to my 5 min goal!)

Tomorrow will be my #PlankADay #plankstreak day 100!!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I did it! I did it!

TEN MILES.  10 freaking miles and I ran them all!  haha.

I'm not going to say all 10 miles were easy.  or fun.  Nope, not at all.  But darnit, if they aren't in the bank, and even though I'm a little achy now I'll be happy to do it again!

I actually got out early to do my run today.  Nick dropped me off up at the park and headed off to do some errands (you know, wash the car, etc).

I was all fueled up with a bowl of old fashioned oats with chia seeds, wheat germ, PB2 and a drizzle of honey and splash of unsweetened almond milk.  Yummy.

The weather was ok.  It was cold (high 20s) and there were some snow flurries.

I wore my standard gear, nothing special.  I didn't use my Spibelt because I have huge pockets in my pink zip up fleece.  I had my Clif gel in my amphipod pouch, too.  Other than that, I wore clothes... lol.  Oh, I wore my Adrenalines, which I will talk about either later in the post or in another one (simply put, I'm starting a love/hate relationship with them).

Now, this is me and all, and why would I make something easy on myself, right?  Today I wanted to start off on McKinney hill because I've heard people talk about it, especially since it's at the beginning of my half marathon, and the unknown of it was bothering me.  I told myself I'd go really slow and just focus on getting over it.

I don't know if it's because I had fresh legs, which is a total 180 from having practically dead legs at the end of the Frigid Five for a scary hill, but McKinney was no big deal.  I mean, yes.  It was a hill, so I wasn't able just to sprint my butt up it.  Yes, I went slow.  A lot slower than I typically run.  But I hit the top with no issues - I wasn't winded, didn't stop to walk, didn't feel particularly stressed in any way.  Shrug?

The downhill.... now THAT I thought was more of a challenge.  It's pretty steep at first and my footing was all wacked.  I had to really keep my focus to keep from tripping.  Of course during this part my pace started flying, and if I'm being totally honest here (which I am) I had a little bit of a problem keeping my pace under control from here on out.

So, anyway, from here I just followed the race course.  I did 1 lake loop plus a little out and back to make up the 10 miles.  Negative splits didn't exist, and I was just all over the place with pace, but hey, I'm not perfect.

I ran miles 2 and 3 way too fast.  I should have been slapped for how quickly I took mile 3.  My watch was giving me fits again doing the whole not keeping consistent thing, so I was never really sure how fast I was going until each mile point.  I was able to slow down the pace again over the next 3 miles to the 10K point, and then I was all over the place for the last few miles.  The last half a mile was tough, and I think I was talking to myself a lot, but I completed the run.  Thankfully, this week my gel (Clif chocolate again) wasn't frozen so I was able to get it down quicker and it seemed to have a better effect.  I took it around 5.5 miles.  I still suck at ripping these things open with my gloves on, so I have to take them off, shove them in my pockets or waistband, rip the gel open, suck it down, throw the gel away (for the record, if there is no receptacle nearby I put it back in my pouch.  I do NOT litter.  That is another rant for another time.)  and then re-glove.  It's a little cumbersome, but it works, I guess.

My hips, of all things were (and still are) my most achy part. It's an ache (on both sides) that goes from the outside of my hip then all along the inside of my leg - right in the crease of leg and crotch.  My knees aren't really bothering me at all.

At any rate, I DID it.  I have now ran a double digit distance.  I had runners high all day I think.  I'm very proud.  And I'm relieved to know that yes I CAN do it!

Mile 1 - 10:37  <-- super slow for the hill
Mile 2 - 9:24
Mile 3 - 9:09  <-- BAD!!!
Mile 4 - 9:27
Mile 5 - 9:32
Mile 6 - 9:43 (now THIS is where I should have been the previous 4 miles!)
Mile 7 - 9:25
Mile 8 - 9:21
Mile 9 - 9:16 <--total loss of control again.
Mile 10 - 9:43

Overall: 10.05 miles in 1:36:10.  Average pace: 9:34.

This was a rough week, mostly for personal reasons, but of course that affects my running, so it was just a tough week.  I'm glad I was able to get my long run done and I can put this week behind me.  I really did push myself this week, so I think a goal I have for the coming week is to go gentle, even if it means I have to slog a bit.

This week I ran 27.82 miles in 4:15.09.  Average pace: 9:10.  Highest mileage ever. Getting close to my goal of 30 miles per week.... Speaking of which, I think since Feb is a short month I'm going to get screwed on 100 miles this month.  BOO FEBRUARY!!  lol  Oh well, every week is a PR for me right now and it is exhilarating.  It won't always be this way, so I'm going to enjoy it.  Speaking of PRs, etc - I should get better about posting my planks on here.  I post them every day on Twitter for #plankaday.  I'm almost at the 100 day point!  And I'm SO close to a 5 minute plank.  I'll get there!

Week 8 of Half Marathon training = complete!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Bad News Bears of Running

Yup, that was me today.  All me.  I was so frustrated as it was happening, but looking back on it I can truly see how hilarious it was.

Today was a scheduled 5 mile run at goal race pace that I'd planned to try to keep between 8:50-9:00.  Really no big deal.

Today's challenge was schedule.  My middle kid had an event in the morning a little later than I'd usually get out to run.  This was ok, though, because Spring Thaw (a 10, 15, and 20 mile race) was happening at North Park in the morning.  I'd been waffling back and forth on doing the 10 since that is the scheduled distance of my long run this week, but wussed out in the end.  I don't know why but the whole two digit number thing is really frightening to me right now.  I've gotta get over it, but it just seems SO FAR.  I know I just ran 9.1 last week and it's less than a freaking mile more, but still.  It's just that number.

Anyway, after the family was situated this afternoon I headed out with the intent to just get my 5 pace miles in around the neighborhood, taking my old route I haven't ran in months.  I have now been reminded why exactly this is my old route.  Garbage broken sidewalks, uneven pavement, cracks, potholes, etc.  And for some reason it slipped my little mind that it's Saturday, which means the vehicle and pedestrian traffic would be out of control since I live near some popular city attractions.  I was constantly either trying not to get run over by some jagoff or getting out of the way of the tourists who see you coming from half the block away but can't seem to give you an inch of space to run by.

I don't know whether it was the off time that I ran or the terrain and crowd, but I just could not get into a groove with this run.  I went out ok, but by the second mile I was just all over the place.  I'd be going way too fast, then way too slow, then blazing fast again, then slogging the next.  Starting and stopping at traffic lights and stop signs (which I hate).  Nothing felt good.  I wasn't in any physical discomfort, but I couldn't find a rhythm, cadence, pace, or anything that clicked.  I posted this on DailyMile too, but I definitely remember seeing the distance 1.84 miles complete on my watch as I contemplated just saying "screw it" and either do the run elsewhere later or dump it all together.  But that little part of me that (thankfully) won't let me quit kept me going... if for nothing else just to get it done and over with.

So much went wrong during this run.  Aside from my pace being all over creation, I just had random irritating issues pop up.  I kept getting texts on my phone.  I could hear them (my phone was in my SpiBelt), but I wasn't about to throw myself off even more by getting to them.  But the sound and vibration was irritating the shit out of me.  Then, out of nowhere, my husband comes flying up in the van with the kids yelling out the window "Do you have your house keys?".  I screamed and nodded "yes", and he said "ok see ya later" and sped off.  WTF?  I found out after my run was over that he took the kids swimming (one of the reasons my phone kept going off with texts before I saw them).

At one point I saw a lady in the distance heading in my direction with 2 not-so-nice looking dogs.  Of course they were off leash and just running around.  Ugh.  I figured I'd cut through a dirt path to get out of their direction (and sight).  Good idea - if not for the mud.  As soon as my foot hit the center of the path I started sliding like I was slipping on a banana peel in a cartoon.  Thank God for my sense of balance and stability.  I could have easily hit the ground.  Instead I just went on a little ride and got back onto a sidewalk.

Probably the most irritating then but hilarious now thing that happened on my run was my wardrobe malfunction.  Since it was around 40 degrees, I wanted to wear capris.  Well, the only capris I had clean today were a pair that I keep around but don't really like.  The problem is that they are too big for "compression" gear.  I truly need an XS, but they are a S which is sometimes ok, but not for these particular ones.  They're ok for biking or going to the gym, but I haven't had fantastic experiences with them running, especially since they lack a drawstring to cinch them up that little bit that I need.  Of course in my (obvious) brain dead blonde state, I threw caution to the wind and put them on with a long sleeved top and went out.  I swear I was pulling them up every chance I got.  I'd pull them up and in a few strides they'd be sliding down again.  I'm thankful I at least had the mind to put a long shirt on because otherwise I would have been flashing my ass crack all over the hood.  For the record, they are a Everlast brand from KMart that I picked up on clearance quite a while ago.  You get what you pay for, I guess!

Lessons I've learned today:

1.  Old routes are old for a reason.
2.  Saturdays still suck for running in my hood.
3.  My hood still sucks for running period.
4.  The ground is still mushy.  I obviously won't be hitting the trail again any time soon.
5.  I need to shut my texts off on my phone before I run and tell Nick that if he really has an issue to call.
6.  Those capris need to go in my Goodwill pile or my "Gym Only" stash.
7.  I need new running capris that actually fit my scrawny ass.
8.  I love the part of me that doesn't let me quit.
9.  I need to not be so hard on myself during (and immediately after) a run, no matter how crappy I think it is.
10.  I should have ran Spring Thaw - this is all probably my karma for being a wuss!!  lol

Mile 1 - 8:50
Mile 2 - 8:47
Mile 3 - 9:08
Mile 4 - 8:21
Mile 5 - 9:06

Overall: 5.06 miles in 44:44.  Average pace: 9:49.  Like I said, all over the place.  Oh well.  It's done.  I'm not having any physical repercussions from it, only mental.  I can only hope for a better (10.  TEN!) mile run tomorrow.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Runner Chocolates!

This is old news, but I've been wanting to post about it.  Just lacked the time (and memory, let's be honest here).

I don't "do" a whole lot of Valentine's Day.  I mean, I do, however, I don't see much sense or need in going out for hundred dollar dinners and spending way too much on the standard dozen roses, and other such insanity all with the message "this is to show I love you".  I'm more of a fan of "show your love every single day".  I'd rather a dozen flowers (I like roses, but they aren't my favorite) on a random Thursday than one because a Hallmark said so on a specific day.  That's just me.  Yeah, I appreciate things when given on the day, but I'm more of a realistic and practical person.  Or maybe I just fail at "romance".  Do I really care?

At any rate, you should know by reading my posts last week that I was sick over Valentine's Day.  When I was feeling better, my husband brought me a bouquet of flowers and then he said "I didn't buy a big heart of candy or anything, but I did get you some chocolate.  And it's runners chocolate!".  And then he gave me a handful of these:

Nom Nom Nom.

God love this man when he's smart, practical, and romantic all at the same time.

I do love NuGo bars, btw.

Catch Up Friday!

I think I explained before why my posts are sporadic.  No need to go there again.  Be aware that I whine a lot in this post, so if that's not your thing you can skip by.  :)

My running this week has been going pretty well.  Tuesday I went up to North Park in the morning, thinking I'd get my 4.5 easy miles in and then use the last .5 mile around the lake as a cooldown walk.  On a regular day, this would have been a fine move.  However, there was freezing rain on this particular morning.  The smart thing would have been to take the run inside, but I was already out and there were a couple (and I mean like 2) other people running around, so I just rolled with it.  The run really was easy, aside from the couple of patches of black ice that I did slip a bit on.  I'm just thankful I didn't break anything.  I didn't have negative splits at all, but honestly I was more focused on staying in an upright position than my pace.

I ran 4.62 miles in 43:51.  Average pace: 9:29.  Not a terrible run at all, but next time I think I won't risk the chance of falling on the ice.  Please hurry spring!!

Wednesday.  Oh, Wednesday.  First let me give you some backstory here without going into a million years worth of overdramatic detail:  My MIL has hated me forever.  Seriously, since I've been in high school... and that was quite a few years ago.  The feeling is pretty much mutual, although I've tried on many occasions to put things in the past, see her side of life, etc.  Anyway, here we are 20 years later and she still finds some joy in stirring the pot every now and then in my life and trying to assert her superiority over me.  Well, Wednesday morning I got jolted out of bed at the crack on dawn by my cell phone going off.  It's her.  She's taking the time out of her morning to text me and be absolutely absurd.  Of course this throws my mood right in the toilet for the morning and my eyes haven't even totally focused yet.  So, I get out of bed and start the morning routine.  This would be the morning that my older two kids forget how to get ready for school in a smooth, orderly fashion and the morning spirals into a sea of chaos, power struggling, and frustration.  I checked out the weather, which told me that it "felt like" 2 degrees outside and it was snowing.  Damn.  After Tuesday's slipping on black ice debacle, I wasn't having that, and decided to go to the gym after the kids got to school.  The kids finally got dropped off.  I heaved a small sigh of relief, but was still seething mad at my MIL who was continuing to be a drama queen.

Then I got to the gym.  I know I've mentioned it before, but my gym sucks.  I've been a member exactly one year this month and I can't name anything I like about it other than it's there.  And it's cheap.  Other than that it sucks.  It's teeny tiny and most of the equipment is in some state of disrepair.  You know, like the treadmills that don't have inclines that work or HRMs that work, or the weight benches that you can't adjust the weight on in every increment, just the ones that work that day.  Then there's the crowd.  Right now there's a huge influx of a geriatric population because they had a promotion, and honestly I don't mind them.  A lot of them look confused or nervous but I give them huge props for taking a step in controlling their health and wellness and I hope they stick around.  Other than them, there are 2 main groups of people at my gym with only a small portion who lay outside them.  There's the weight lifting guys who like to talk really loudly about getting drunk and cheating on their wives and the ditzy girls in the matchy match clothes who are trying to get the attention of said guys.  Bleh.  In the year I've been here, I've gotten to know ONE guy by name.  One!  And I got to know him through my husband because they got talking one day and it turns out he is training for the Pittsburgh Marathon and he's considering Rock N Roll Cleveland just as I am.  So, now we talk about how our runs are going/not going and how much it sucks doing the hamster on a wheel treadmill routine.

Ok, I've bitched enough about the gym.  Let's just catch this up and say I got there, I was in a bad mood that went to worse, and I jumped on a treadmill.  That had a malfunctioning incline.  Ugh.  By this time I was so reeling mad that I just ran it out.  I was supposed to do 10 minute easy warmup, 20 minutes at 5K-10K pace, 10 minutes cooldown.  I said eff it and just ran it all up tempo.   I ended up going 4.84 miles in 40:18.  Average pace: 8:19.  And I felt ten million lightyears better.  Sometimes I guess I just need to sweat out the stress and pissy mood.  After the gym, I went to the mall and hit up Vitamin World for new vitamins and found a new pair of running shorts (black and pink - woot!) at JCP.  Life was much better.

Yesterday I went back to the gym for my easy 3 plus strength day.  I was in a better mood to start, which is always a good thing, and they gym was pretty empty - another good thing.  Those 3 miles on the hamster wheel went by like nothing.  Super easy.  It was one of those "I could run all day like this" feelings.  Love those.  I ran 3.23 miles total in 30:07.  Average pace: 9:19.

I took a new approach to my weight circuit, since I don't want to redo whatever happened with my back the last time.  Instead of doing 2 sets of relatively "heavy" (for me) weights, I want to try to see what happens going for 3 sets of lighter weights.  So here's what I ended up doing:

Shoulder Press - 3 sets of 12 @ 10 lbs
Triceps press - 3 sets of 15 @ 30 lbs
Back extension - 3 sets of 15 @ 60 lbs
Abdominal crunch - 3 sets of 20 @ 30 lbs
Biceps curl - 3 sets of 12 @ 15 lbs
Seated Row - 3 sets of 15 @ 25 lbs
Chest Press - 3 sets of 12 @ 25 lbs
Pull down - 3 sets of 12 @ 30 lbs

Overall, I think this was a decent first try at this.  On some of the machines I didn't feel like I was lifting anything at all (specifically the triceps press, ab crunch and back extension) so I may try bumping the weight up a little bit next time on those.  I did like doing 3 sets instead of 2 because on most of the machines, I felt like I got to true fatigue by the end of the 3rd set.  I'll play around with this a bit and I'll eventually settle on something.  I've also been thinking about consulting my old trainer again, but he's busy as hell with new clientele, and honestly I'm just not up for paying him at the moment.  Makes me a terrible person, I know.

Well, that's all the catching up I have to do!  I'm feeling great, enjoying my rest day, and I'm still a little nervous about this weekend.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Training Schedule Week of 2/18/2013-2/24/2013

Week 8 of 13.  5 weeks to go!  It seems like it is starting to go by very quickly at this point.  I have days where I'm feeling awesome and I'm all like "hell yeah I can run a half marathon.  pfft!".  Then I have other days (like during/after my 9.1 mile run yesterday) when I seriously doubt my ability to even make it to a 2 digit number of mileage at one shot.  It's a daily rollercoaster, physically and emotionally.

Monday:  XT (will go into more detail below)
Tuesday:  4.5 miles EASY
Wednesday:  40 minute tempo run
Thursday:  3 miles EASY plus strength
Friday:  REST
Saturday:  5 miles at HM pace
Sunday:  10 miles LONG RUN

What am I most concerned about this week?  Well, it's not any of the weekdays, I'll tell you that.  I'm not terribly afraid of going 5 miles at HM goal pace.  I've done a 10K faster and survived, obviously.  I am, however, apprehensive about going 10 miles (eek!)... especially the day after doing those 5 @ HM pace.  I know some people would suggest upon hearing such a statement that I should switch the runs, or maybe do the 5 miles easy.  But I'm going to do my best to do this as written because I've really liked what this particular plan has done for me thus far.  I know my long run yesterday was rough toward the last bit, but I was still able to power through that dead feeling and conjure the strength to finish.  No stopping.  No walk breaks.  Nothing but sheer will and determination even when my mind is telling me "you're done, you can't do anymore, you can stop, don't feel bad, etc".  I truly blame that mentality on this plan.  Thanks Hal.

This week I would also love it if I could get to the gym for the first time in forever on Thursday so I can get some weights in.  I've been substituting lifting with doing body strengthening exercises at home, and I think that's better than nothing, but I don't know if it's better or worse in the long run.  Most exercise routines I honestly find on Pinterest or through DailyMile friend recommendations.  They're truly not bad.

Speaking of which, today was a Pinterest workout day.  I melded together a core workout and an upper body workout to come up with the following:

20 jumping jacks
10 incline pushups
20 triceps dips
60 pushups - split between "real" pushups, kneeling pushups, and wall pushes
10 burpees
30 arm circles
3 cobras
150 ab crunches
2 x 1:00 forearm planks
2 x :30  side planks
1 x 1:00 bridge
1 x 2:00 bridge
1 x 1:00 pushup plank
2 x 1:30 side planks

This plus stretching took me around 30 minutes.  I broke a sweat and felt like I at least did something.  I'm not feeling any ill effects from yesterday's long run and I think I'm going to have a good run tomorrow.  I can hope!

Week 7 - good riddance!

My training in week 7 wasn't all bad, but I had many circumstances beyond my control that just made the week very frustrating (see those posts on sickness, etc.  bleh!).

I am totally praising God above that as of Sunday morning, my flareup is GONE.  DONE.  Woohoo!  Thank goodness this was a short lived one.  Hopefully I can go another 2 years without having another.  Fingers crossed!

I also want to point out that if my posting is really sporadic lately, there's a reason for it.  It will most likely continue over the next several weeks.  I apologize if you're somehow reading this Matt, because I know you hate people announcing their commitment, but for Lent this year I am focusing on unplugging for the night at a reasonable hour and spending some time actually winding down from my day.  This also allows me time to catch up on reading and prayer.  My iPhone is getting shut down at 6 pm (unless one of the kids is out past then and I'm waiting for contact), and my computer is getting shut down by 9:30.  This obviously puts me at a "time crunch" when it comes to social media and blogging, especially when my 3 year old is going through a phase where some nights he thinks that going to bed is an option, not a need.  So, if my blogs are spread out, haphazard and jumbled, etc, please forgive me.

Anyway, I was able to head out for my long run Sunday.  Whew!  Here's the funny thing.  I've been running pretty much all week in some state of sickness - either getting sick, being sick, or slightly getting over being sick.  My runs have been really good.  This particular day, I have no illness happening, I'm properly fueled (at least I think I was), and hydrated and had a great nights sleep.  This run was not easy!  Granted, I have never ran 9 miles before.  Ever.  Also, the weather was kind of crappy.  It was windy, 7 degrees, and snow was just blowing from every direction.  Most of the time the wind was right in my face and that not only hurts, but interferes with my breathing.  Excuses, excuses, I know.  The first two miles I kept trying to encourage myself that I did NOT have frostbite, no matter how numb my fingers and toes were.  Thankfully I was warmed up after 3 miles and felt ok.  The run went pretty well from there until around 6.5 miles when I started feeling like my legs weighed 50 lbs a piece.  I had planned - as usual - to take my gel around the 5 mile point.  I even had one of my faves - Clif chocolate.  mmmm.  Well, by that point it was partially frozen.  It was even hard to open.  I thought I was going to rip my damn teeth out. It took almost that entire mile to get it down.  It finally "hit me" maybe around 7 miles and I was able to push to the end.  I'm telling you though, I felt like I was running on dead legs until that surge hit. I think running against the wind just took a lot out of me.  I don't know.  It also didn't help that my watch was just giving me really screwed up info every time the wind and snow got really bad - which was pretty often.  I'd say I was going around 9:40, then it'd say 8:03 (no way) and then 17:56 (even worse), so I struggled with keeping my pace consistent.

But, oh well, I can whine all I want, but I got the run done.  I didn't die, didn't get injured, and I now have a new distance record.  I think after the week I've had I did pretty darn good.

Mile 1 - 10:13
Mile 2 - 9:51
Mile 3 - 9:46
Mile 4 - 9:58
Mile 5 - 9:36
Mile 6 - 9:29
Mile 7 - 9:25
Mile 8 - 9:16 (can you say - gel surge?  wee!! lol)
Mile 9 - 9:24

Overall I ran 9.1 miles in 1:28:02.  Average pace was 9:40.  What a way to end this hectic week.

Oh, and another thing to add about this run was that I was wearing my new socks from ProCompression.  I don't know if they helped or not, really.  I'll try them out again next week.  If I have any complaint at all, it's the fact that they made my shoes kinda loose!  I was sliding around in them a bit more than I like.  I wonder if that was part of my problem?

So this week I really sucked at crosstraining.  Granted, I truly felt like I needed the rest day and I took it.  Then me and everyone else in the house got sick.  I can't control everything!  Sometimes you just have to roll with it.  Hopefully next week will be better.  By that I mean sick free!

This week I ran 25.88 miles in 4:00:07.  Average total pace: 9:17.  Hello speedwork.  I ran 4 hours this week!  4!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Ups and Downs

It's been quite the couple of days.  I could get all wordy and go off on every detail, but I'm just going to try to keep it simple here.  We'll see how that works (lol).  I'm not even going to get into what I wore or ate.  Frankly, I don't remember most of it!

Wednesday.  Speedwork day.  I knew I was going to get out later than I usually do because of my bizarro schedule that day.  It kind of concerned me that since I wasn't going to have my first thing in the morning buzz that I'd fall flat on my face.  Luckily, that wasn't the case.  This run couldn't have went any better.  I felt great from the first interval to the last.  I felt so good, that I lost track near the end and ended up doing an extra.  oops!  So, I ended up with a 1200m warmup, 9x400s with 200 recoveries, and then I cooled down until I hit the 5 mile point.  Woohoo!

Since the splits don't matter and I want to move on with this post I'll just say that overall I ran 5.02 miles in 43:00.  Average overall pace:  According to my watch and Endomondo, I even beat my fastest 5K time in there.  Even better.

What's important to note here is that in the days preceeding this run, every member of our household (except me) came down with some stomach virus/fever/puking/explodingbodilyfluids plague.  I bet you can't guess what happened Wednesday night.  Yep... by 6pm I felt like I got run over by a truck.  I had a the whole queasy/fever/barf thing happening.  What a way to end an otherwise awesome day.  Oh well.  Tis the life of a mom with kids in public school.

I stayed in bed pretty much all night and into Thursday (HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!), waking only to hit the bathroom, retake my temp, remedicate as necessary, take sips of water or Gatorade, and try to eat crackers.  At some point early Thursday morning, I was able to scarf down and keep down a cup of applesauce - yeah!  I just stayed in bed and went about my sick routine.  Thursday afternoon my fever broke and I started feeling "ok".  Of course, you know what was nagging me?  "I have a 3 mile run scheduled.  Must.  Run."  I ate some toast and a banana and felt good.  I tried to get back to some normalcy around the house and I'd say I felt around 85% well.  So, what did I do late that afternoon/early evening?  I went on my run after making sure that I still didn't have a fever.  That was either really stupid or really badass.  I'm going to go with a combination of the two.  But, at any rate, I got the run in, and to my amazement, it went pretty well.  Yeah, I didn't feel 100% awesome, but I ran easily and didn't feel too bad afterward.  I even ran negative splits.  For sake of time, again, I'm not going to go into it all, but overall I ran 3.13 miles in 29:27.  Average pace was 9:24.  Again - badass.  And kinda stupid.  At least I was smart enough to skip my strength training.

Now, there's a lovely thing that I don't think I've brought up here before because honestly it hasn't been an issue in exactly 2 years.  I have IBS/colitis.  Thankfully I've been in a "remission" of sorts for exactly 2 years this month.  Last time I had a bad flare up I ended up in AGH on a morphine drip because the pain was so bad and had to take 2 weeks off of work.  One of the things that triggers a flare up is - dingdingding - contracting a GI virus.  Lucky me!

Late Thursday I started to get "the bloat".  Now, a lot of women bitch about being bloated at least once a month.  When I talk about "the bloat" in regards to my IBS, I mean that my belly goes from being relatively flat (thanks planking and other core work!) to looking like I'm 4-5 months pregnant.  Seriously.  Can't button my pants, can't find a comfortable position, can't even freaking EAT sometimes because it feels like there's just no room.  In the middle of the night, the pain came full force.  I was so glad Friday is my rest day because I knew that's all I'd be doing.  Hail to the bland diet, anti imflammatory meds, and prayer.  I do not wish this on ANYONE!

I started to feel a bit better by Friday afternoon.  By Friday evening, my belly had gone down quite a bit.  I wasn't totally out of the woods, but I was hopeful that maybe since I'd be taking such good care of myself these past couple of years that I wouldn't be totally knocked on my ass by this yet again.  I wanted to see how I felt this morning (Saturday) before making a determination on my run.  Ok, who am I kidding, I was going to run one way or another, but I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to do the 4 mile pace run I'd planned or have to scale it back to just a couple of easy miles.

This morning I woke up and felt really good.  Not 100%, but easily 95%.  So, yes, I was running and yes, I was going at my pace (hoping to be between 8:55-9:00).  Yet again, I never cease to amaze myself.  The run went so dang easy!  I felt great from start to finish (aside having a full bladder, which was my own stupid fault).  I came in a little on the fast side, but every time I looked down at my watch it either said 8:51 or 8:47 even though I felt like I was running slow, so by 2.5 miles I said screw it and just ran.  The run was over so fast I was disappointed.  I felt like I could have run many more miles at that rate.  I guess that's a good thing. Overall I ran 4.05 miles in 35:50.  Average pace: 8:50.  Shrug?

I'm sitting here now, after a very stressful day dealing with arguing children and some external family drama that I don't want to get into on here, and I'm thinking I'm starting to get some bloat back.  I'm hoping that it's no big deal and I wake up tomorrow feeling just as good if not better than I did today.  Tomorrow is long run day.  9 miles.  I don't want to have to miss out on that.  But at the same time I know my personal limitations.  We'll see what tomorrow brings!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Strange How That Happens

Sometimes things just happen how and when they're supposed to.  I guess we're not supposed to know why, but when it does, I certainly get a kick out of it.

In my last post, I mentioned how I was looking to buy some compression socks but was overwhelmed by all the choices out there.  I mean, the things aren't cheap, so if I'm going to spend some money I want to make a good decision.  Well, what do you know - I checked my email this morning and got an email with a 40% off PLUS Free Shipping coupon for ProCompression.  Needless to say, I have an order coming to me right now.  At 40% I can definitely take the chance on them, and honestly they're probably the ones I've heard the most good things about so hopefully I just cashed in on a really great deal.  I love it when things just seem to fall into my lap like that.

Well, now that my sock "thing" is taken care of, I'm now thinking about getting another pair of shoes.  Right now I'm going back and forth between my Adrenalines and my Nike Air Max.  The Adrenalines I love!  They kicked serious ass in the 10K race I did this past weekend.  Right now they have around 70 or so miles on them (I'll have to check the exact number later).  The Nikes have 300ish.  I don't hate them, but I don't love them either.  For one thing, they are too small.  They were my first "real" pair of true running shoes and I totally newbied (is that a word? lol) on them and just picked them up at the Nike outlet because they a) looked cute and b) were the same size I usually wear in other shoes (Doc Martens. Don't judge me.).  I didn't realize until I was running more than 2-3 miles at a time that your feet tend to swell a bit and, well, toes rubbing the top of the shoes isn't altogether pleasant.  I do notice that I have more twinges in my knee or IT bands when I wear the Nikes as well.  I've been thinking that's due to them being so worn, though.  The one thing (other than the cuteness) that they have truly up on the Adrenalines is the cushioning.  The Adrenalines are more rigid, which feels good most of the time, but sometimes I want a little more squish there.  I don't know.  If I could blend the 2 shoes together I think it'd be perfect.  lol.  Anyway, I'd like the retire the Nikes officially soon (at least knock them down to "gym shoe" status) and get another shoe into the rotation.  I've been looking at shoes and just seeing what's around.  If I could have the stability and tight around the arch feel of the Adrenalines with the cushion of the Nikes I think I'd be spot on.  Must continue research.

My run today went great.  Pre-run I ate half of a Peanut Toffee Buzz Clif Bar (my favorite - they have caffeine!  haha).  I went to the trail because (at least from the road) it looked ok.  It was just "ok".  It was really muddy in spots and had big craters and grooves in it in other places from bikes and trucks.  My first mile was hella slow because I was just trying to maintain balance and traction.  I turned around before I wanted to and headed back out on concrete to finish the run.  Safety first, folks.  But overall I'm happy with how it went.  After that first slow mile my legs must've thought I was racing again because they went into gogogo mode.  I felt great though - no niggles, nags, twinges, etc.  I came home, stretched and iced and feel just fine even now.

Mile 1 - 10:24 <-- told you!
Mile 2 - 9:24
Mile 3 - 9:26
Mile 4 - 9:16
Last .57 - 9:11

Overall I ran 4.57 miles in 43:48.  Average pace: 9:34. Yeah!  

My #plankaday today was great too.  I felt like going all out on a standard forearm plank again since it's been a few days.  4:17.1

Speedwork tomorrow.  Gulp.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Training Schedule Week of 2/11/2013-2/17/2013

Week 7 of 13!

Monday: I had an extremely busy day and between that and feeling a bit "off", I didn't go to the gym.  I did, however, do a lot of stretching and foam rolling as well as my go-to IT Band Strengthening Routine from Strength Running.  My right side was letting me know it existed over the last day so I figured it was time to hop back on that bandwagon.  I also got my #plankaday in.  Since doing the #PlankAnHour challenge, I've been switching up my planks daily instead of just doing one power forearm plank.  Today I chose to do a reverse plank. 2:45.6
Tuesday: 4.5 miles EASY
Wednesday:  8x400s with 200 recoveries along with the requisite w/u and c/d periods.
Thursday:  3 miles EASY plus Strength (hopefully I'll be able to get back to the gym!)
Friday:  REST
Saturday:  4 miles at HM pace
Sunday:  9 miles LONG RUN

I'm just going to try to take things easy, especially if I get to hit the weights on Thursday.  I think I'm going to scale back on the overall weight I'm lifting and instead lean more toward a "low weight/more reps" approach.  It'll probably take me a few times to get it right, but I'll just go with it.  I don't think, at least while I'm actively training for something, that continuing to pack on more and more weight is a good idea.

I'm in the market for some good compression socks/sleeves.  ProCompression?  Zensah?  Bondi?  Other?  It seems like everyone has a favorite but nothing really negative to say about the ones that aren't their fave.  Pick by favorite color or pattern then? Whoever has the cheapest sale price?  *enter confuzzled look*

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Week 6 Complete!

I flirted with the idea of running today even though I had it listed as an off day.  I know I just a ran a good hard race yesterday and have earned every bit of soreness I feel today (and there's not a lot of it), but there's that nagging voice in my head saying "you only put in 18 miles this week.  Must.  Do. More.".  I thought about it for a while and came to the conclusion that it would just be stupid to potentially injure myself over being greedy, if that makes sense.  I think I deserve, and frankly need the extra rest since I'm into the second half of my training program now.  So, to stifle my guilt, I just did some exercises here at home.  Nothing too extreme, just some general physical activity.

  • 120 jumping jacks 
  • 10 incline pushups 
  • 20 tricep dips 
  • 15 pushups 
  • 10 burpees 
  • 30 arm circles 
  • 15 wall pushes 
  • 3 cobras 
  • 40 squats 
  • 30 lunges 
  • 40 calf raises 
  • 2x 1 min wall sits 
  • 40 sumos 
  • 30 leg raises 
  • 2 side planks: 1:18 on each side
Like I said, nothing fancy.  I've also been stretching and foam rolling.  My right quad is kind of sore, but its not bad and I'm sure I'll be back to normal tomorrow.

This week I ran 18.09 miles in 2:43:42.  Average pace was 9:03.  Seems fast, but that's because I had the race and that tempo run.  I also did the #PlankAnHour challenge with my twitter pals on Thursday and that was a ridiculous amount of fun.

Here's to another successful week!

Scary thought:  My next race is next month.  And it's my first Half Marathon!  Wow!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

RSG1 Valentine's Day 10K

Before I get to race day, let me just say that my nerves were calmed when I picked up my packet at Elite Runners.  They gave out the timing chips with the bibs, so all I had to worry about was getting to the start line by 9:45. I could do that.  Phew.  So, I didn't have to get up at the crack of dawn to get up there wicked early and stand around, etc.

Speaking of the chips, they were customized for RSG1 and super cute (If you can consider a timing chip "cute"):


I wish I could say the same thing about the shirt.  If I'm being totally honest, it's a little disappointing.  Nothing specific to the race, just the logo of the organization.  I'm not totally mad about it, though, it is a fantastic cause and I'll be proud to sport it around.  I also don't think the extra $15 I paid for it was a waste.  One can ALWAYS use more running gear.  I just wish it had something on it with the date, the race, etc.  Oh well.

Pittsburgh Colors FTW.

No goodie bag for this race.  I received an email stating that they were going green this year and instead of a bag filled with paper stuff they were just going to set out a table at the race for you to take from.  That was cool with me!

Race day I woke up at 7:00.  My 3 year old was snuggled next to me as he has been doing lately and I snuggled back in with him for a few minutes.  I didn't feel rushed this morning at all.  I got up, and had my standard pre-race grub:  Peanut Butter on toast.  I'm not going to fix something that isn't broke!  I was smart enough to have a list made and most of my things laid out the night before.  I had originally planned to wear tights underneath a pair of hot pink shorts to help pull off the whole Valentine's Day theme, but when I flipped to the Weather Channel and learned that the temp "felt like" 13 degrees, I scrapped that plan and went with my Nike thermals.  I still did wear my bright pink Nike long sleeved shirt and my hot pink zip up (that I've pictured here before).  Some pink is better than none!

We dropped Victoria off at church at 8:30 and made our way to North Park.  We got there right around 9:00.  Luckily we were able to park not too far away.  I saw the 5K runners start.  There didn't seem to be many people at all.  At about 9:30 I started walking over to the Boathouse, where the 10K starting line was.  It was cold.  Most people were hopping around trying to get warm.  This was what I expected the Frigid Five to be!  Eventually, Kevin from Elite Runners had everyone get in line and then he explained the course.  We were going to make the left out of the boathouse, go up a hill, then turn back in around the tennis courts, go past the boathouse and then make a right and do one loop around the lake.  Sweet.  A route I was very familiar with.

The race started with the typical "are we going now?" shuffle to the start line.  Immediately upon starting up the hill people were whining about it.  I just kinda giggled inside, remembering the MONSTER that was the last 3/4 mile of Frigid Five and thought to myself "this is no hill, just a little bump".  My boys were sitting in the van a little way up the hill and I was able to wave to them as I ran by.  That was cool.  I was passing people and had made my way a good bit through the pack.  I wanted to keep my first mile slow - probably around a 9 minute mile and then work my way down from that.  As we went past the boathouse again and someone said "only right turns now from here", I was still feeling great and threw my hands in the air with a big "woohoo!" and had people around laughing.  Hey, you gotta have fun with this!  Mile 1 split: 9:03.

Mile 2 started the lake loop, which by now I am quite used to.  There's a small "hill" at the beginning and then a nice downhill and then it just keeps rolling up and down and up and down.  It's just enough that it is interesting but not too much (at least to me) that you're dying.  I was still feeling great through miles 2 and 3 as I picked up the pace.  Splits: 8:33 and 8:32.

By mile 4, the runners were very spread out.  In fact, most of the time it seemed as if there were more people on the lake loop that weren't in the race than were.  It was kind of odd.  I found myself running pretty much by myself looking ahead at what seemed to be the front of the pack and not too far behind me was a small group as well.  I pushed the pace a little harder.  Mile 4 split: 8:16.

Around this time the sun came out in full view and I kicked myself for not wearing my Oakleys.  Being blinded by the sun on snow sucks.  It also seemed to be heating me up (or maybe it's because I was wearing all that cold weather gear) and I was getting really sweaty.  I took off my gloves and unzipped my jacket.  I sucked it up and kept plugging along.  I seemed to be catching up to people in front of me.  There was this one guy in a hunter safety orange shirt that I really really wanted to catch up to and get past if I could.  Around the 5 mile point there I started feeling a little bit of fatigue flirting with me.  There was a slight uphill, but I wasn't going to let this get the best of me.  Thankfully, there was a water stop and I grabbed a cup of water from a super nice volunteer.  Her smile and cheerfulness really got me and I remembered WHY I was running this particular race and the people I was running for.  I took a big swig of water and threw the cup to the side.  The ice cold hit was just what I needed and I put the pedal down and shortly thereafter I caught up to and passed Orange Shirt Guy.  Mile 5 split: 8:24.

Mile 6 I just wanted to give it all I had left.  And I did.  I flew past several more people on the last part of the lake loop and in front of the tennis courts.  One of the guys I passed found another gear and passed me up again right before the end.  He must have really not wanted to get chicked.  I pretty much crossed the finish line with another guy.  If I had literally 2 more seconds I would have had him.  lol  But I crossed the finish line smiling!  My 3 year old son came running at me in the finishing chute of sorts screaming "Mommy YOU WIN!!".  Priceless.  Mile 6 split: 8:07.  I realized after I hugged my kiddo that I didn't stop my watch yet, so my time was going to be off.  It said 52:49, so I knew already that I'd crushed my goal of 55 minutes.  YEAH!!  

I grabbed a cup of Gatorade (which had turned into a slushy due to it being 20 some odd degrees and all) and headed to the Rose barn where I knew hot food and heat were waiting.  First I stopped at the table of goodies and grabbed a couple of Raw Revolution bars, a box (yes BOX!) of Emergen-C, some handwarmers, a couple of awareness bracelets and a ribbon car magnet.  Sweet stuff.

Downstairs they had hot pizza, chicken noodle soup, bananas, hot chocolate, water, and heart shaped Eat 'N Park cookies.  I grabbed some water, pizza, half a banana and a cookie.  I only ate 1 slice of the pizza, a bite of the banana, and a chunk of the cookie.  Garrett (my 3 year old) ate the rest... haha  That's ok, I was more after the drinks anyway and had 2 cups of water.  After eating, we went back upstairs where I entered a raffle for a heart monitor and some other stuff (didn't win.  Boo.), and waited for the official results.

My official time was 52:30!  Average pace: 8:28.  I am beyond thrilled with this.  That was good for 6th in my age group (out of 33) and 35th overall (out of 138).  You can't wipe this smile off my face I'm so ecstatic with this accomplishment.

If and when race pics are posted, I will be sure to upload some.  Nick was able to get one of me at the finish line, but he was standing far off and the pic is blurry.  If I can zoom it in some and clean it up I'll post it too.

I'm going to go on feeling rawrsome now.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Oh My Abs!

First off, I want to let you know that I was a good girl yesterday, and even though I was feeling great I did not lift weights.  Nor did I stress myself out by worrying about doing a bunch of extra exercise to "make up" the loss of the weights.  I did do a couple wall sits and the Twitter challenge I'll talk about shortly.  Score 1 for self control.  Just to keep in the habit, though, I did go to the gym with Nick and do my easy run on the treadmill.  It went.  Treadmill.  3 miles.  Not much to say.  Overall I ran 3.27 miles in 31:21.  Average pace: 9:34.  Woopie do.  Felt good, though!

Yesterday I did partake in a fantastic strength challenge.  A group of people on Twitter got together to do #PlankAnHour.  The goal was to do a plank - some kind, any kind - every hour on the hour from 8am-8pm.  I knew I was probably going to miss one and possibly two due to taking the kids to school, etc, but I wanted to give it my best shot.

I ended up only missing the 9 o-clock hour plank.  I usually stick with the forearm plank for my standard #plankaday, but since I was going to be planking a lot, I wanted to mix it up a bit and try some variations.  By the end of the day I realized that I have some work to do on my sides!  I'll get there.

My abs are still feeling the burn this morning, but I did get my #plankaday out of the way early this morning in a time of 3:57.0 (forearm plank).

Here is the summary of my #PlankAnHour challenge.

8 AM – forearm plank 4:15.8
9 AM – missed due to driving around town, etc.
10 AM – forearm plank 4:12.4
11 AM – forearm plank 4:03.9
12 PM – push up plank 3:03.9
1 PM – push up plank 3:09.5
2 PM – push up plank 3:12.5
3 PM – side planks 1:00 per side
4 PM – side planks 1:00 per side
5 PM – side planks (on kitchen floor while cooking dinner!) 1:00 per side
6 PM – reverse plank 1:51.0
7 PM – reverse plank 2:05.5
8 PM – reverse plank 2:09.0

Reverse planks feel GREAT, btw.  However, I have learned that they are best done on a non slippery floor.

I'm headed out in a little while to get my packet for my 10K tomorrow.  I'm kinda nervous about it and I don't know why.  It's supposed to be cold (much more frigid than the Five Miler), but that doesn't bother me.  I think I'm just in panic mode because we have a hectic schedule and I'm worried about either being late or way too early, etc.   Victoria is going roller skating with her youth group and has to be at the church at 8:30.  My 10K starts at 9:45 and is about half an hour away from where the church is.  There is also a 5K going on that starts at 9:00.  So, I gotta worry about parking, checking in and getting my timing chip, and getting where I need to be.  I've been considering having my husband drop me off up at the race area before taking Tori to the church.  I'm probably freaking out for nothing, as usual, but these are the things going through my mind.

As far as goals go for the race, I don't know what to expect because I don't know the course.  I'd love to be able to finish in under 55 minutes, but if that's not going to be realistic then I won't beat myself up over it.  I'm going to PR anyway since it's my virgin 10K.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Ok, So I'm a Drama Queen

I mean, I did earn the award for "Most Dramatic" my senior year in High School many moons ago.  I have to carry on my traditions!

Anyway, my point today is:  my back feels much better.  I can bend backward without pain, I went through my whole stretching routine without pain, I picked up my 3 year old without pain, and I ran (well) without pain.  It still feels a little "off", which I can't explain, but I'm not like "ooh, ahhh, damn" like before.  So, maybe I just pushed myself a little hard and need to recover from it.  I'm not on death's door and I'm going to (attempt) to stop whining about it.

That being said, I'm still not going to lift weights tomorrow.  You know, that whole "play it smart" thing... I'm joining a group of people in doing a #PlankAnHour challenge on Twitter, and I think between that, some squats, wall sits, lunges, and other body weight type exercises, I'll make up for my "strength" workout.  If you're reading this and want to join the party, just do some kind of plank on the hour every hour from 8AM-8PM EST tomorrow and tweet it with the hashtag #PlankAnHour.  Don't forget #PlankADay too so you can get credit for that!  For the record, if you have to work and can't get away to plank every hour or you have something else that will keeping you from participating all day - that's ok!  Just jump in when you can no matter if it's all 12 planks or just 1!  The more the merrier.

I guess I'd better talk about my run today.  40 minutes.  10 minutes easy, 20 minutes between 5k-10k pace, and then 10 minutes easy.

Pre-run I ate a half of an Oatmeal Raisin Cookie PowerBar.

Gear:  Pretty much identical to yesterday - only differences were a black tank under my Frigid Five Miler shirt, bootcut black running pants, cheapo socks, and my white headband.  Everything else was the same.

There was some kind of between snow and ice sleet-type hard pellet stuff coming out of the sky.  Thankfully the roads were much less slushy than yesterday.  Temperature was about the same, maybe a couple degrees cooler.

I did my "easy" 10 minute trot and then threw it into gear for the next 20.  It took a few minutes into it to feel totally warmed up, but once I got there - damn!  My legs just wanted to take off like rockets.  I had to keep forcing myself to slow the pace down.  I do love these days because they amuse the crap out of me.  I wish I knew the magic reason why some runs feel so freaking hard but others (which SHOULD be harder) just seem to come so natural.

I finished feeling fantastic.  My knee was aching a bit, but stretching and icing rescued me as usual.

Splits: (not that they matter much for this type of run, but whatever)
Mile 1 - 9:51
Mile 2 - 8:11
Mile 3 - 8:14
Mile 4 - 8:40

Overall: 4.54 miles in 40:12.  Average pace: 8:51.  Now for the actual interval times:

00:00-10:00 - 9:49
10:00-30:00 - 8:12  <-- a little on the fast side, but felt great!
30:00-40:00 - 9:17   <-- had trouble coming back down to an easy pace
40:00-40:12 - 12:08 <--Fumbled with my watch to shut it off.

Good run!  Looking forward to tomorrow's #PlankAnHour challenge!  Today's plank was 3:49.9.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Boring. Slushy. But done.

I woke up this morning kinda hoping the kids had at least a delay.  Last night the roads got so wicked bad that even the trek to and from gymnastics lessons was treacherous.  But, no.  I looked through the seemingly long list of local schools on the closings and delays list and did not find Pittsburgh Public.  I swear I don't understand this school district.  We will take days and days off for minor incidents and administrative meeting BS, but snow?  Nope.  Arctic windchill?  Probably not.  I feel bad for the little kids who actually have to walk to school.  I only live a few blocks from my children's elementary school and I sure wouldn't have them walk outside today.  The city doesn't give a flip about the side roads and my neighbors don't seem to give a flip about clearing off the sidewalks in front of their homes.

If I'm being really honest here, I'm yearning to get out of this city.  Maybe not the area in general, but definitely out of city limits and certainly out of the public school district.  Maybe out of Allegheny County in general, but I don't know.  After over 10 years of living here, I still don't feel at "home".  I don't like many things about this area and the things I do care about I don't necessarily need to live right next to, you know?  I think my kids deserve a better upbringing than living in a "historic district" in the middle of the city can give them.

But, all that aside, after the kiddos were dropped off at school, I headed out for my run.  These "easy" runs are sometimes just the worst.  I don't mean they are hard, because they aren't.  Some days, particularly when I've had a hurried morning such as this one and I'm not really in the mood to do much, they seem very much like a chore I just need to get out of the way.  And they are boring.  No intervals.  No long distance to look forward to.  No speed.  No nothing but trudging along.  There are days when I do like these runs, but today was not one of them. 

The park was hardly clear.  It was the worst I've seen it, honestly.  You had to make the choice of running through icy packed down snow, slush, or in the middle of the road constantly looking for cars.  I mostly chose the slush, aside from a few times I had to go into the road due to puddles or other people already being in the slush path.  At least it was kinda warm.  By that I mean it was 27 degrees, not 5.

Pre run (before I ran out of the house with the kids this morning) I ate half of an Oatmeal Raisin Powerbar.

I had on tights, blue tank underneath my Great Race long sleeved shirt, and my bright green pullover.  I wore my zebra headband again because I love it and my Manzella gloves.  Avia socks and Adrenalines went on my feet.  I used my watch as usual and put my iPhone in my Spibelt because I had NO pockets in this ensemble.

The run went ok.  Boring and slushy, but I got it done.  My back is still bothering me. 

Mile 1 - 10:05
Mile 2 - 9:47
Mile 3 - 9:47
Mile 4 - 9:11 <-- I was tired of it and just wanted done.

Overall: 4.05 miles in 39:20.  Average pace: 9:42.

Post run I had a banana and came home to stretch and foam roll.  My back feels good when I stretch.  I'll probably do another stretching session later.  Nick's already promised to give me a backrub later so hopefully that helps too.  I just wish I knew exactly what I did and what's wrong so I can get it fixed.  This sucks.

Oh, my #PlankADay today was 3:49.0.  Planking really aggravates the back but I don't want to stop.  I'm around 80 days straight now.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Training Schedule Week of 2/4/2013-2/10/2013

Week 6 of 13 of Half Marathon training is here!  Almost to the halfway point!  Eek!

Monday:  GYM
Tuesday:  4 miles EASY
Wednesday:  40 minute Tempo run
Thursday:  3 miles EASY plus strength
Friday:  REST
Saturday:  Valentines Day 10K Race for the RSG1 Foundation!  My first 10k!
Sunday:  Rest or Gym

I already went to the gym this morning.  I rode the recumbent bike for 30 minutes on a random hill setting.  That felt ok, but my knee twinged on and off.  Afterward, I did my strength training.

Leg Press - 2 sets of 12 @ 55 lbs
Shoulder Press - 2 sets of 12 @ 15 lbs
Triceps Press - 2 sets of 15 @ 50 lbs
Back Extension - 2 sets of 15 @ 90 lbs
Hip adduction - 2 sets of 15 @ 100 lbs
Hip abduction - 2 sets of 15@ 100 lbs
Abdominal Crunch - 2 sets of 20 @ 55 lbs
Chest Press - 2 sets of 12 @ 30 lbs
Seated Row - 2 sets of 15 @ 30 lbs
Pull down - 2 sets of 12 @ 40 lbs
Biceps Curl - 1 set of 12 @ 25 lbs, 1 set of 12 @ 30 lbs <-- new!
Bench Crunches - 2 sets of 20

I felt pretty good but tired after this workout.  And now, sitting here, I'm wondering if I need to back off the weights for a while, or at least some of them, or just cut back the overall weight.  My back is sore.  It hurts to lean back.  The last thing I want or need is an injury from lifting weights.  This is supposed to compliment my running not interfere with it.  I can't help but think I had the ab machine on the wrong setting the last time I used it and lifted like 70 instead of 55.  I'm going to take some ibuprofen and see what happens with that, but I may very well cut the "strength" portion of my Thursday training plan in lieu of some yoga or pilates.  I don't want to aggravate something right before a race.

I'm excited for this race because a) I've never ran a 10K before, so I'll have another PR no matter what and b) it's to benefit a great cause.  Please check out the website for the Remi Savioz Glut1 Foundation and see all the wonderful things they are doing.  Needless to say, glucose and metabolic disorder research and treatment is near and dear to my heart.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Fueled By CoCo Wheats

Sunday. Long run day.  I can't ever decide if I'm excited for this day to come or I dread it.  Maybe a little of both.  Anyway, this week's challenge was - gulp - 8 miles.  I have only ran this distance twice before, both in November, so it's been a while.  I don't know that I was so much concerned with being able to cover the distance as I was concered with doing it WELL.

This kind of challenge called for CoCo Wheats.  I had a bowl with a dash of wheat germ and a splash of almond milk.

I got all my gear together:
Oakleys - I learned during yesterday's run that blowing snow in the eyes kinda stings.
Amphipod with a squirt of sport drink mix in it (Cherry)
Shot Blox (Black Cherry)
iPhone for Endomondo and backup

I wore a pair of black bootcut running pants, my new teal running tank under a purple long sleeved tech shirt, Avia socks, my Adrenalines (even though there was significant snow on the ground, the roads were clear), pink zip fleece, manzella gloves, and zebra print headband.  Stylin'.

I had originally planned to start running on McKinney Hill, but due to the weather conditions (snow on the sides of that road and it was still snowing), I stuck to the lake loop plus and extra 1.5 mile out and back.

My plan as always was to start off slow and then take it from there.  Mile 1 - went right as planned.  Mile 2?  The speed demon came out.  Shoot.  Had to back that up quick.  Those first two miles were by far the hardest because it was freezing.  I definitely need to get more SmartWool.  My toes hurt so bad.  By mile 3 I think they were numb (or I was adequately warmed up), but I was thankful for that.  Anyway, mile 3 went smoothly, as well as mile 4.  The run seemed to be getting easier as it went along.  I was enjoying the snowfall, my legs felt great, everyone around was friendly and cheerful.  Awesome!  Mile 5 has that big downhill in it so my time went back into the fast lane again.  I still felt wonderful, but I reminded myself I still had a bit of a climb ahead, as well as 3 more miles to go.  Between miles 5 and 6 I took 3 Shot Blox.  Mile 6 was another fast one, as I failed to pull myself together fully after flying downhill.  I remember looking at my watch around 6.66 (yeah, bad omen, huh) and thinking "I'm feeling like I'm starting to have to work for this now, I'd better slow down".  Then the song "Bring the Rain" by Mercy Me came on and my spirits just lifted.  I felt great, and mile 7 was just as fast as the previous but felt a million times easier.  Mile 8, I was going back uphill and did manage to slow my pace down so I kept the run easy.

Confession:  My previous run distance record was 8.1 miles.  Now, if you know me, you know I had to get out there and beat that today.  It wouldn't be me otherwise.  I was so proud of myself as I walked back to the van.  My knee was aching a little bit, but I wasn't really in pain.  Stretching and icing helped as always.

Mile 1 - 10:06
Mile 2 - 9:37 <-- tisk, tisk
Mile 3 - 9:55
Mile 4 - 9:56
Mile 5 - 9:38
Mile 6 - 9:37
Mile 7 - 9:38
Mile 8 - 9:46

Overall I ran 8.19 miles in 1:20:13.  Average pace: 9:47.  I felt on top of the world!

Post run.  I did it!!
Post run I ate a half of a banana and a half of a NuGo Mocha Chocolate bar.  It was delicious!

Speaking of PRs - I also had a #plankaday PR today!  3:51.2!  Guess I just had to go all out this week!
Talk about a great week.  Completed all my runs as scheduled.  Plank PRs.  Go me!  This week I ran 22.92 miles in 3:35:58.  Average pace: 9:25.  Proud of myself here!
Next week I have another race, so this lovely 8.1 miler will be my last long run until the week following.  Then we'll see if I can go for 9!  I'm starting to think I really CAN do this whole half marathon thing.  Week 5 of training - DONE.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

No Shadow, huh?

Silly groundhog.  Thank you for predicting an early Spring, but as for this morning, it is around 5 degrees, maybe lower, with the windchill and snowing.  We'll see what the near future holds, I guess.

This morning I knew I was going to have to bundle up for my run so I wore my Hyperwarm thermal pants, UA knockoff shirt, and Smartwool socks.  I wore the pink zip up fleece and my thick white headband.  I wanted to wear my Adrenalines, but I knew better because of the snow/slush already on the ground and the fact there was still stuff coming down.  So, the Nikes went on the feet.  Oh well.

Pre-run (about 2 hours) I ate a bowl of old fashioned oats with a tablespoon of wheat germ and sunflower seed butter.  And coffee, of course.

Despite the bitter cold, there were still lots of people doing the Lake Loop at North Park.  Pretty cool.  You can tell we're knee deep in training season around here.  I'm starting to recognize some faces, and I think people are recognizing me because some of these same people will say hello, etc.

As for the run, well, it was slated to be a simple 3 mile run at goal HM pace.  I started off ok, then on the second mile I went into speed machine mode again, so I had to reel it back in for mile 3.  Overall I came in a little on the fast side, but the run went ok and I felt good.

Mile 1 - 9:00
Mile 2 - 8:43 <-- gogogo!
Mile 3 - 9:09

Overall I ran 3.07 miles in 27:36.  Average pace: 8:59.  Not too bad.

Post-run I ate half of a banana.  No real need for a lot on a 3 miler.

It's supposed to keep snowing over the next day or so.  It'll be interesting to see what happens!

Today's #plankaday came in at 3:37.7.  Yesterday's came in at 3:36.6.  Rawr!

Oh, my lovely significant other bought me this coffee mug:

Well, honesty IS the best policy!
Love you Hun! <3