The strength workouts are really coming along. First of all, I'm back to owning pushups. Pushups are one of those things for me where I can build them up quickly, but if I stop doing them for 2 weeks it's like starting all over again. I always feel like a major badass when I can whip through a set of pushups and hop off the floor feeling great and wanting more. Also, as far as the core strength workouts go, I'm back to planking longer/easier too. Funny how some things come back easier than others.
My running is coming along as well. I did strides again this week and they were much easier than last. I didn't do a fast steady pace run this week, but instead I picked up the pace during the last couple miles of my long run, per the Hal Higdon 3/1 method. The interesting thing about that 9 mile run was I was starting to feel like I was getting stiff and crampy after 6 miles... I was honestly debating chucking the pace pickup and just trudging to the end of the run. But, my hardheadedness kicked in (because I wasn't feeling bad or injured, just blah and tired... it's been quite the couple of days here with the holiday) and I stuck to the plan. Believe it or not - I felt better once I picked up the pace. The stiff/crampy stuff immediately went away and I felt like I was on a fresh run. I finished out the run much better and easier than I originally thought. So, I don't know what was up there, but like I said it was interesting.
Oh, I tried out that Vanilla Clif Shot gel at mile 5 of my run this morning and it was YUMMY!! I also think it worked pretty well too. I was skeptical because it didn't have caffeine and I'm a caffeine junkie (hence my love affair with Espresso Love Gu), but it seemed to do the trick. I don't know how it would go for me on a longer effort, which is why I tried it today, but I'd give it a go. It was thick, delicious and effective for today. Thumbs up!