Thursday, January 31, 2013

My family room is evolving into a gym

Week 5 of marathon training is going well.  4 miles easy on Monday, 6 mile tempo yesterday, and 3 miles easy today.  I have 16 planned for the weekend.  I'm planning on tackling that on Saturday so I can concentrate on making lots of food for my Super Bowl party. 

We are getting smoked wings from our favorite barbecue place, but I am making the rest of the food.  There will be a taco bar with beef and chicken and all the fixins'.  I am going to make a huge batch of guacamole, a huge batch of salsa, and the everyone-loves-to-make-fun-of-it-but-loves-it-anyway Velveeta and Ro-tel.  There will be deviled eggs made to look like little footballs.  For sweet stuff, I am making Chex Mix Muddy Buddies (you know, with the peanut butter, chocolate, and coated in powdered sugar).   There will be beer and wine for the big kids and strawberry lemonade and Capri Suns for the DDs, preggos, and little kids.  Feel free to stop on starts at 6:00!

Back to running stuff..............

I am finally getting this strength training thing a real try again.  Only this time, I am not doing it by conventional methods.  When I belonged to a gym, I would strength train almost every time I ran.  I would stretch for a few minutes after my run and hit the weights for 30-40 minutes.  Now, I have set up the family room to do my weight training while we (re: Adam) watch TV in the evening.  I had just a set of hand weights, but I got a stability ball last week.  The ottoman has become my bench and one of the side tables is great for calf raises. 

I know that it might lose its luster after a few weeks or months (if I'm lucky!) so I have to just try to tell myself to do a few repetitions of a few exercises each night.  Once I get started (just like running), I usually complete a bunch of sets.  Plus, if I keep up the good work, I plan to reward myself with new toys like perhaps a kettle ball? I'm open to suggestions.  I've used almost every 'regular' piece of gym equipment from free weights to all the Cybex and Nautilus machines.  But I would like something smaller that I could stash under the coffee table or in a corner.  The blue stability ball is a little obnoxious, but I figure anyone coming over to my house already knows that I'm a crazy runner girl.

Monday, January 28, 2013

A few photos of this week's marathon training

Last Wednesday, after a farewell run with my Brooks Pure 1's, I headed to my local Fleet Feet (did I tell you how much I love my Fleet Feet??!) and got a pair of Brooks Pure 2's.  When I got home, there was an Amazon box on the front porch with my new rain boots.  Yay shoes! 

I have now gone for 3 runs in the shoes.  An easy 5 miler, a hilly 6 miler, and a wild little 4 miler.  So far, so good.  I am still experiencing a little soreness in my left bunion area, but this comes and goes for me.  The tenderness in my footbed has subsided, so I think I am just going to have to get used to the idea that I cannot put 500 miles on my more-minimalist shoes.  Sigh....

As for meeting my goals last week of hills, strength training, and running my LSD slowly, I actually succeeded!  Part of it was that last week was a cutback week so I had no long run (automatic check!).  But I did manage to do 2 sets of arm strength training and 1 set of legs.  Mind you, I am still working on getting back to a decent regimen so I set a goal of doing 2 strength training sessions per week to ease into it again.  I also had one hilly run this week--which is easy when I just walk out my front door to run:

Today, I convinced Adam to go to the Greenway with me.  He could walk with Luxy (the 10 year old Boston) and I could run with Torrance (the 4 year old Boston).  I was only going 4 miles which a nice run for Torrance.  She has done up to 7 with me, but I think 4-5 is a good distance for her.  We went all sub-8:00s!  She was pulling the first 2 miles and then I pulled the last 2. 

Adam and Luxy managed to walk 2 miles while we ran so it was a good day for all of us.  The most senior animals (Josie the 15 year old lab mix and Duncan the 16 year cat) stayed at home, but I'm sure they appreciated a few minutes of peace without the BTs running around like Tasmanian devils.

We stopped at the bagel shop afterwards to pick up a dozen and because they were going to be closing soon, I got an extra free bagel! I decided to try the French toast flavor-yum!  'Free' food is always delicious.
This week, in addition to today's run, I have a 6 mile tempo, 3 miles easy, and a 16 miler.  I am hosting a Super Bowl party so I am hoping that moving my schedule up will make it possible to do Sunday's long run on Saturday.  Not that the Super Bowl foods require too much work, but I get a little carried away sometimes so I want to be able to relax and enjoy the commercials too!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Silly confessions

My past few blogs have actually sort of had a point.  Not that I would ever promise to keep having well-structured entries, I kind of have a point with this one today.  I'm sure that sleepiness/too much wine/too little coffee will lead to a regular ramble again shortly.

What I conjured up on today's little 6 miler (8:01, 7:59, 7:39, 7:43, 7:39, 7:36) was how to continue to balance the craziness/zaniness/childishness/fun side of me with the studiousness/sensitiveness/responsible side of me. 

I want to live life to the fullest and experience as much joy and exuberance as one can stand.  But at the end of the day I still want some groundings that often require 'adult sensibilities'.  So I started thinking about some of the things that make me silly and some the things that make me bor-ing.

Some silly confessions: I somersault into bed sometimes, I dance obnoxiously in the living room when Adam isn't home, I drink wine with a crazy straw, I really want a trampoline, I will find any excuse to set off fireworks, I make baked goods just to lick the batter from the bowl,  I like driving really fast, I do handstands like a boss at the pool, I'm a sucker for 'dare you', I watch videos of Boston Terriers on YouTube for embarrassingly long periods of time, I am proud of my Taco Mac beer list (180ish different types)

Some serious confessions: I read a paper newspaper everyday and do the crossword, I eat cereal with a banana religiously for breakfast every morning, I actually floss every single day, I've been contributing to my 401k since I was 22 and put an additional $50 per pay period into my emergency savings fund, I really love NPR, I have never played hooky from work, I actually don't mind mowing the yard

This is just a tip of the iceberg folks.  I could delve way further into my weirdness, but that might scare away my 2 readers. 

Part of this eruption of my brain started when I got to thinking about my letters project (where I wrote 365 letters to 365 different people in 2011) and how I could do something similar, yet different.  I don't want to be confined to such stringent parameters, but I kind of thought it would be cool to send a package to a random friend/acquaintance/family member each month this year.  Like I could send Dave some pie accoutrements or Shaun some headbands or my college-aged cousin a big box of ramen noodles or my ex-Atlantan friend some Atlanta beer.  Just something I'm twisting around in the old noggin....  It would be pretty silly to just send things to near strangers, but I'm silly, so it fits!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

You're the inspiration

I'm lucky enough to keep finding ways to be inspired to run.  Part of it is my own mindset--I am always looking for an opportunity to be inspired.  But the other part is some really great people that have made me the regular runner I am today.  And it's time to thank a few of the people that have inspired me to keep putting on foot in front of the other.

The only 4th grade girl that ran faster than me::::I'm probably the only person the planet that remember how fast they ran a mile during one of their Presidential Physical Fitness tests.  Mine was 8:08 in 4th grade.  I was pretty pleased with my time until I saw the results posted for ALL the girls in the gym.  I was #2.  Let the competition begin!!!

My dad::::He started training for a local 10K in the late 80's and did some of his running at the high school track (the sights! the smells!).  While he ran his 6.2, the rest of the family did the mile fun run.  Admittedly, I was more proud of my t-shirt than crossing the finish line, but how else was I to learn about swag???

Mr. Morris::::My high school track coach sophomore year.  After I was decidedly not cut out for short distance running, I opted to try long distance track.  Mr. Morris can be accredited with almost any sort of 'skill' that I might possess related to running.  He taught us to keep our fists unclenched and to act as though we were hold a potato chip in each hand.  He taught me the value of varied workouts (hills, speed, long easy, short easy, time trials) and what pace was all about.  He taught me to find a mantra and use it (stronger, longer, faster!) and that a training log can help you learn a lot about how to make yourself a better runner.  Lastly, he taught me that running is 80% mental and that your body can handle a lot more than you think.

Adam::::I can't imagine life without him, so I can't really imagine running without thanking him.  Besides being my chaffeur to early morning races and learning to never put my sports bras in the dryer, he's to thank for buying me an iPod which basically was one of two catalysts that got me running again in my 'adult' life.  I'm still trying to convince him to come over to the dark side, but I'm optimistic that he can become a late learner.

Lisa Jhung::::I started reading her blog on and slowly started to catch the marathon bug.  I specifically remember a blog she had written that talked about a hilly 16-miler and I was like, I want to run a hilly 16-miler!  She made other parts of her life accessible which made it seem possible that you could be both a marathon runner and not just drop all other aspects of your life.  Running wasn't just for losing weight or keeping in shape, but it was for feeling strong and pushing your body to do amazing things.

ForeverRun (aka Sara)::::The first Loopster that I read regularly.  Like Lisa, she blogged mostly about running, but she also talked about the ups and downs of her life.  I was amazed that this amateur runner could be so fast!  She wasn't getting paid to blog or run, but she was so dedicated and so good all while being extraordinarily humble.  Her stories unfolded like a well-scripted movie--tales of triumph, sadness, injury, and happy twists of fate.

Flying Tomato:::The first Loopster I met in person.  Uninspired by latest marathon endeavor and miserable with my work life, he listened like an old friend and coerced me to run when I needed a push.  I can thank him for my first half-marathon and for reminding me that I don't have to always take running so seriously.  Sometimes people come in and out of your life for the right reason and you never know why until you have some time to gain perspective.


In marathon training news, I just completed week 3.  Hills? Not really.  Strength training? Just hauling the pool floats. Not running the LSD too fast? Oops.

So this week I sucked at accomplishing my goals.  Oh well.  I am too happy about my amazing run yesterday to care.  14.11 miles in 1:47:40 with a 7:38 pace.  I'm not entire convinced of the pace because I used RunKeeper instead of my Garmin, but the distance was dead on and so I can only assume the time/pace was correct.  If anything would be awry, it would be the GPS.  I forgot my Garmin at home (something did feel missing when I left), so I used the app instead. 

I started out fast to warm up my freezing toes.  And then I just kept feeling good.  I slowed down for a little while to try to pace myself, but then I just decided that all arrows were pointing to run fast.  I saw a kid running full tilt with his tongue sticking out sideways and I decided that he had the right idea.  Just go and go and go and go because I can.  Splits: 7:44, 7:35, 7:38, 7:44, 7:42, 8:06, 7:46, 7:44, 7:50, 7:33, 7:34, 7:18, 7:14, 7:17.  Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeet!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Secrets from the treadmill room

Pluck ate my first blog.

It was like, whine, whine, whine, I don't like getting up early any more, I hit the snooze button way too much, I forced myself to run at night this week, but I had the ability to complete all my runs on the marathon training schedule. 

The other part of the blog was about the weirdness that I am able to have while running on the treadmill at home.  I know, I know, all you purists and only running outdoors are much commended. 

But the dreadmill is a great alternative for me and ensures that I never have an excuse to miss a
workout.  I was lucky enough to get one for my birthday almost 2 years ago so I was able to cancel my gym membership.  What I didn't realize was all the crazy stuff I had been holding out in because I was in public before.

--I can yell out the number of the song that I'm on when it starts. Another weirdness is that I like to keep track of the time of my run by how many songs I've listened to.  Songs are generally 4 minutes each so an hour-long run is about 15 songs....

-I can break out into random song. 

-I can grunt when it hurts.  Like a cavewoman.  Adam still comes to bed with me every night so I guess this isn't too strange.

-I can randomly hurdle over imaginary objects.

-I can dance during my cool down.

-I can immediately stop mid-run and take care of business.

-I can immediately stop mid-run and go get something to eat.

-I can let my dog jump on during my cool down.

Harmful? No. Eclectic? Yes.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Trashy tacos mixed with speedwork

Speedwork. Scary, fun, amazing, tough, great, and daunting.

I rarely do any official, regimented speedwork when I am not raring up for a race.  Some of my runs are naturally tempo or full of farleks, but I don't ever do mile repeats if I don't have a race on the horizon.


Mostly because I have an enormous fear of failure (big surprise) and like to keep my off-training running stress-free and without limits.  It's easier to run just to run.  After all these years of running, I have a good sense of what 'normal' running is for me.  Some days I run fast as hell because it feels so good to have a lung-searing session and other times I just bop along like the big goober that I am.

But now that marathon training is in order again, it's time to ramp up this 'official' business and try to stick to the plan.  I've (smartly) rearranged my running days this week to accommodate work and illness so today ended up being the speedwork day.

I would have gone in the late morning, but we ended up taking 2 of the 3 furkids to the vet for their check-ups/vaccinations.  That was fun....  After we were finished, Adam wanted to get lunch and against better judgement, we got a giant box of tacos from Taco Bell.  Doritos Locos are so trashy, but I think we all know that my food tastes run the gamut from foie gras to french fries.  Fast forward an hour and a half and I decide that the Falcons are doing great (20-0) and that I wouldn't miss much while I did my run.

It wasn't too bad.  I felt a little queasy at the end of the 3rd repeat, but I was pushing myself so I'm not sure that it was taco-related.  I did a mile warm-up, 3x1600 with 800m jogs in between, and finished with a mile cool down.  My goal was to do the 1600s in 7:38 and I hit them at 7:20, 7:04, and 7:09.  Woot!  I might have whittled those down to sub 7s if it was cooler (70s with 80% humidity in January, ugghhh!!!) and I ran pre-tacos.

This week I have a couple of easy runs, a tempo, and a 14-miler.  I'm not worried about the 14-miler since my base mileage has been great in the past few months and I ran a 16-miler a few weeks ago without issue.  It's the 18+ long runs that start to make me feel like, whoa, I AM marathon training. 
No hills for me this week, but I did get 2 more sessions of strength training in even though I felt like poo for 4 days.  And I stuck to my plan of not running my long run all kamikaze-like.  I'll take 2 out of 3 goals accomplished this week.T

Friday, January 11, 2013

Gasp! Running doesn't cure illness?!

Did you know that sinus infections cannot be cured by LSD runs?

I tried, but was unsuccessful.  See, I had this tickle in the back of my throat on Monday, but I kind of felt that way all last week and nothing transpired.  I even felt 'regular' over the weekend.  So I pushed the thought aside that I might be coming down with something and rocked out my 13.5 miler on Tuesday.  Wednesday said, 'oh no you didn't!'.  Big head of boogers, tender checks, coughing, sneezing, and the itchy throat got much more noticeable.

I hauled myself to the Minute Clinic at CVS--this was the second time I've been and have had awesome luck with great people working there.  I was feeling rundown, but we had a corporate visit on Thursday AND I was not contagious so I stuck it out at work.  It wasn't pleasant and I was absolutely exhausted when I left.

Yesterday, I felt about the same in the morning, but thought I could manage at least a 3 miler when I got home.  I was supposed to be doing 6 miles of speedwork, but that was clearly not in the cards.  I muscled through the 3 miler, ate some dinner, and blobbed on the couch the rest of the night.

This morning, I still felt like big ol' boogers, but I met some girlfriends for breakfast at Waffle House.  I had a waffle and some bacon with coffee.  Fast forward a few hours later after I've done my self review for work (uggggggggggggh) and I decide that I could push the speedwork off again and do it on Sunday, thus 'freeing up' Sunday's 5 miler for today (are you still following?).  I get on the treadmill--it's raining and I'm feeling wussy--and start going.  My stomach is hollow and I am so hungry at the 2.5 mile mark that I ran downstairs to eat a granola bar.  I then run back upstairs and finish my run.  It was ugly, but I did it.

Now I have to face the 6 miles of speedwork on Sunday.  Hopefully the antibiotics will kill this thing and I will have some spring in my step.  I'm definitely worried about hitting my times even though they have no bearing on anything else other than personal pride.  In fact, I know I could just skip the speedwork this week and be just fine. know I'm going to be pushing myself to get those times!

Peace out, it's date night time!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Runner math: 12 rounds up to 13.1

When you work retail and are training for a marathon, some Tuesdays end up being long run days.  I'm on week 2 of 'official' marathon training and so I had a 12 miler to do this week.  So after sleeping in, getting my coffee and breakfast, finishing reading the newspaper and doing the crossword, it was time to run.
I complained about losing my thoughts once I arrived at the white screen in my last bloop so I tried really hard to connect the miles with my insane thoughts.

Fair warning: bodily functions are mentioned in this post.

Mile 1: It is cold. I cannot feel my feet. Why didn't I wear gloves? I am such a pansy; it is 40 degrees outside and some runners are fine in subzero temperatures. 

Mile 2: Find a cadence. Find a cadence. Find a cadence.  Oooo, I like this song.  I wonder if people would tell me their favorite speed song and/or their favorite LSD song if I posted a question in Loopville?

Mile 3: Oh hello fingers, it is nice that you have feeling again.

Mile 4: 2 dudes with their shirts off running.  Guess it got warmer huh?  Nope, there's a lady walking and she's bundled up like an Eskimo.  I like this new shirt.  I should buy more of them in other colors.

Mile 5: My favorite part of the Greenway.  Wheee!!! I really, really want to jump the fence and run through the cow field one day.  But I'm afraid of getting in trouble.  And I'd probably leap into a cow patty.  Better stick to gleefully running next to the cow field.  Would it be weird if I laid down on the sidewalk and took an Instagram photo of the wintery, watery boardwalk? Yes, I should probably not lay down and take pictures.  Besides, then I'd have to stop.

Mile 6: Well, I could just stop at mile 6 and turn around like my training plan says. Orrrrrrr, I could go to the end of the trailhead and use the facilities AND run 13.1+.  Well, 12 is practically 13.1.  I might as well do a half--what's another 1.1 miles?  And thus, the blog title is born. 

Mile 7: Definitely a good idea to keep going. The facility is much needed.  My apologies to the lady in the stall next to me... Refilling my water bottles is a good idea too.  Eat a lemon-lime Gu.  It's cold and doesn't squish out very easily.  I rush off on the second half of the run.

Mile 8: Pull myself back. Start thinking about how even though I don't really do organized religion, I do spend some time talking to God while I run.  We talk about all the insane stuff that fills my brain and sort a little bit out at a time.  On the euphoric runs, I am most thankful that we can chat about how lucky I am.

Mile 9: It gets silly.  "Call Me Maybe" inspires a whole different line of thinking.  I miss the Olympics and baseball.  How many days until spring training? I really, really want to do a cartwheel in the middle of my run.  How cool would it be if I did a cartwheel across the finish line of the marathon? This cannot be an original idea...I must remember to try to see if there are any YouTube videos of such antics.  Chrissie Wellington would body roll over the finish line, so this isn't too crazy, right?

Mile 10: Running across the intersection, jamming to my music, blowing a snot rocket.  Oh my, did I just blow a snot rocket in front of like, 15 cars? Could I not have waited 90 seconds to go around the curve and do it out of the view of others? Yup, I just blew boogers all over the place and didn't think twice about it.  Where are those shirtless boys now?

Mile 11: I definitely want a smoothie when I get home.  Kale, pear, and mandarins.  Yeah, that sounds good.  And a piece of leftover pepperoni pizza.  Ha!  That reminds me of my tweet last week: water cancels beer, celery cancels wings.  This fantasy world I live in is absolutely fantastic!

Mile 12: Well, I haven't really been paying attention to my Garmin today, but I suppose I could see what's going on.  Oh fancy, I'm running just slightly below the pace I ran my Thanksgiving half in! Sweet, if I push the next mile, I will easily slide right under.

Mile 13: Run, run, run, run, run, run.  There is no time to think when I am pushing the pace 40 seconds fast this mile than the previous 12 miles.  Good thing my brain finally shut up! It gets so crazy up there!

Mile 13.5: Ahhh, that felt so good.  I want to give that run a hug!!!! Look ma, marathon training can be so much fun!

Splits: 8:17, 8:17, 8:26, 8:06, 8:18, 8:15, 8:11, 8:18, 8:08, 8:08, 8:10, 8:13, 7:29, last .5 in 4:00

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Oh crap, I'm marathon training again?

I have all these great ideas for blogs when I'm running, when I'm driving in the car, when I'm falling asleep at night, but then BOOM!  They all fizzle when I'm met with the blank page.  Once again, here goes all the random:

I stumbled upon marathon training this week.  I knew it was on the horizon and sensed it was coming soon, but it really snuck up on me.  Tuesday was the day I was supposed to officially start according to the plan that I've used every year.  Basically the first full week of January begins the first full week of marathon training.  On Tuesday (New Year's Day), I was planning on doing a 10-miler for the Christmas Calorie Challenge.  After I completed the 10-miler, I was like, hmmm, maybe I should go ahead and plug in my Smart Coach stuff and print out a calendar.  The first long run is always a 10-miler so I knew I could just check that bad boy off the list.

I ran a 6 mile tempo on Thursday night that was pretty good.  It was a 1 mile warm up, 4 miles at just over 8:00/min miles and 1 mile cool down. I have been a slave to my bed and the snooze button this winter.  I am so unmotivated to get up in the mornings.  My punishment: evening runs, which I normally feel terrible.  But I suppose my first realized marathon training run was enough to get my body and mind in the right place and I felt it went well.

I decided to do my 5 miler today (this 'schedule' thing is very loose) instead of yesterday.  I had the day off work and knew I'd feel better than trying to squeeze in another run 8 hours after the tempo.  Friday night is always date night so I didn't have any time after work.  Today was great!!!!!!! I had breakfast and coffee late in the morning and headed out just before noon.  I didn't look at my watch except for where I neared the turnaround.  Listening to my body proved to be good as I ran faster than my tempo today.  Whee!  7:47, 7:36, 7:34, 7:43, 7:03.  I really wanted to go sub 7 on that final mile except I didn't realize how fast I was going until I check my watch 1/10th of a mile from the end. Oh well. 

I did do 2 sessions of strength training this week which was far better than I had been doing (re: 0).  As part of my marathon resolutions, I am hoping to keep up strength training at least twice a week. I did run the hilly course for my tempo today--another resolution--so I feel like I'm off to a good start.
I forgot to mention some of the gear that I got for Christmas that I've been putting to good use.  I got a new Brooks long sleeve that is perfect for the 'cold' days in the South.  It has little thumb cutouts which I find to be super snazzy.

I also got an armband for my phone as I found that streaming Pandora does not kill my battery life and is perfect for when I get tired of my own iPod mixes.  The armband is waaay too big so I am going to have to get creative with the strap piece.  I have strapped the tightest it will go and it still slips some.  This makes me sound like a smug skinny-armed be-otch, but I think it was just poor design/made for the XY gender.  On the flip side, I got some rain boots (non-running variety) that were too tight for my (super sexy muscular) calves.  Yeah, I was feeling a little body conscious about those 'cause I thought rain boots were supposed to fit loose and these were cutting off my circulation.  Upon checking the Amazon reviews, I discovered that this was a common complaint and thus, reinstated my self-esteem back to normal levels.

I got a new wristband for my Garmin because the old one was 2 years old and starting to smell funnnnky! I think the fabric band is more comfortable, but that is the one major drawback.  Fortunately, it required only a minor in engineering to change out and now my wrists are stink-free for at least a few weeks.

Lastly, I got some more Balega socks.  Have I mentioned how much I love Balega socks?  I could totally be their spokescasualrunnerwoman. 

This week I have a 12 miler, mile repeats (eek!), and 2 easy runs.  This year I feel much more happy about my running.  I was kind of loathing it last year and definitely on the fence about giving it my best effort.  But now that I've taken the stress out of not PR-ing every time, I feel much more relaxed.  I always want to PR, but I know that I can just go out there and have fun too!!