Sunday, October 27, 2013

Week 10: Into the meat of this pimento loaf sandwich

Okay kids. With 6 weeks left to Rehoboth, and in the nitty gritty of this BQ-attempt business, I am surprised to find myself feeling quite good.

Part of it is that I had a super relaxing vacation last weekend.  Part of it is because I have decided that a high-fiber, super vegetable diet that I somewhat tried in September was not making my gut happy and I have reverted to my beer-and-nacho ways--which for some unfathomable reason makes my running spectacular.  Part of it is the natural ebb and flow of great running following by poopy pants running followed by great running.  Part of it is that I am going to be running Hood-to-Coast next August (OOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooohhhhh. EEEEEEEEEEEEEMMMMMMmmmm. GEEEEEEE)

The poopy pants running really can dig deep into your psyche.  You begin to question your abilities. You question your goals.

I am currently on the higher part of the roller coaster.  Hoping that I either crash the few weeks in between the race or culminate at the race.

Here's the facts:

Tuesday: Plan was 4 @9:13, Actual was 1.33 in 8:57, 1.33 in 8:00, 1.34 in 8:57
Wednesday: Plan was 4 @9:13, Actual was 4 @8:57
Friday: Plan was 20 @9:13, Actual was 21 @8:07 (splits: 8:19, 8:20, 8:08, 8:20, 8:09, 8:14, 8:05, 8:10, 8:13, 8:14, 8:10, 8:14, 8:15, 8:12, 8:12, 8:05, 8:03, 7:51, 7:48, 7:49, 7:30)
Sunday: Plan was 3X1 @7:17 with 800 recovery, 6 total, Actual was 1 mile warm-up, 7:08, 800 @10:00, 7:03, 800 @10:00, 6:58, 1 mile cool-down

Tuesday and Wednesday were regular ol' recovery runs.

Friday was pure and sheer luck that I ended up feeling as amazing as I did.  No planning on Thursday and just got up like a zombie and headed to Greenway.  It was super chilly that morning and I was pretty much numb for the first 2 miles.  Then I just plodded along, clicking off the miles, dreaming of all the food I would inhale when I was done.  I wasn't feeling bad, but I wasn't feeling particularly great either.  However, I didn't notice too much niggling in any of my problem areas and was happy that I was feeling normal for once.

Once I got to mile 16ish, I started to get my mojo. What????????!!!!! Who the heck finds their mojo on mile 16 of a training run?

But those last 5 miles I started to feel really, really good.  It might have been because I wasn't carrying any more weight in my fuel belt or I was only 5 miles away from being done or I simply found my mojo.  I dunno.  I knew that I had the ability to push, push, push and I could keep going at a comfortable near-tempo pace for the final miles without dying.  I knew I was pushing it.  I wasn't in easy territory any more, but I felt strong and able and wanted to finish strong.

Besides, what was not to love about the beautiful blue skies of a crisp fall morning??

It was a lovely day for a run...


This morning was pretty awesome considering I was rocking a McDonald's French Fry costume last night while drinking 3 rum punches, 1 grape Jello shot, and 1 beer:

And then I decided that I hadn't ingested enough calories so I needed some Steak 'n Shake.

When the alarm went of this morning, I was like, what. the. eff? Who decided to schedule mile repeats the morning after a Halloween party? Doh!

But I put on the my running clothes, sulked around a bit (grump, grump, grump), and mustered the courage to attempt to run while keeping all the bad stuff on the inside.

It actually wasn't half bad.  I'm not sure if it was fueled more by punishment or just general haziness, but I got it done.  Glad it was only 3. Pretty sure I would have just called it a day if was 4.

I realized when I was talking with Heidi, aka northern lass, tonight that I have actually done every single work out so far and hit every single goal.  Makes me feel good about December.  There are still 6 weeks to do a lot of dumb stuff, so I am not smug yet.  Nor will I be when I start, but that's the nature of the beast.  But when you are relaxed, around's easy to remember at least part of the reason why we do this:


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Week 9: Anniversary #5 and top 3 win!

I switched up my days in weeks 8 and 9 and ended up with a monster week of 48.6 miles. But don't be too impressed, the week before was only 17.6 because of my switching. The law of averages means....this was just a slight increase in mileage.

After my 20.6 on Monday (see my previous bloop for all that excitement), here was the rest:

Wednesday: Plan 7 tempo with 5 @7:53, Actual 1 mile warm-up, 4 @7:47, 1 @7:41, 1 mile cool-down
Thursday: Plan 5 @9:14, Actual 5 @8:57
Sunday: Plan 16 @9:14, Actual 16 @8:13 (8:51, 8:23, 8:22, 8:23, 8:23, 8:19, 8:15, 8:11, 8:11, 8:06, 8:11, 8:08, 8:05, 8:02, 8:00, 7:38)

Running that tempo after my tough 20.6 miler was confidence-boosting.  I was still feeling a little stiff in the legs, but once I got warmed up, I knew that I was going to be able to make it happen. Thursday's easy run was perfectly easy.

Sunday, I started out with brick legs from the 16 miles Adam and I had biked on Saturday.  Not being a regular biker at all, different muscles in my legs were worked and I felt it for the first few miles.  Thankfully, after I got to the mid-section of the run, I finally started to wake up and warm up.  The last few miles were quite lovely as I knew that I could push the pace and finish strong.

Most of the time when I run on vacation (and especially in Florida--my in-laws live in Miami), I run slower.  I'm eating worse, drinking more yesthisispossible, and out of my element.  I'm sure it has mostly to do with my mindset, but it tends to skew more towards the awful side.  However, this particular vacation run was pretty amazeballs. I mean, it did get a little hot and it was 16 miles--my nemisis, but I needed a good long run after last week.

Anyway, enough about running...........

Because I knoooooooooooooow you want see a little glimpse of the fun of my beach weekend.  Adam and I were celebrating anniversary #5 at a beach house in the Florida panhandle that I helped decorate when I worked for Pottery Barn.  The customer was super duper awesome and let Adam and I stay there 6 years ago--right before we got engaged.  For a very reasonable price, he let us stay there again this past weekend.

We headed down on our anniversary day (Friday the 18th) and I convinced Adam that I needed donuts from our local delllllllllllllllllllllicious donut shop.

I let him have one....

We cruised down listening to fun tunes and I entertained the driver with my sa-wheet dance moves:

Our little slice of paradise was just as we had remembered:

We walked down to Rosemary beach, grabbed a bite to eat, and got settled to watch our first sunset:

Our anniversary dinner was at a not-so-impressive seafood place, but the company was lovely!

The next morning, Adam had the idea to take the beach cruiser bikes down to Seaside--8 miles away.  I was a bit surprised that he wanted to ride so far, but of course, I was game. Nevermind the fact that I haven't been biking since the awful calf injury of 2011... details, details....

It was raining a bit and I convinced him to wait until the drizzle stopped before we headed out.  We lucked out and it was pleasantly overcast for most of our ride.

We had lunch at a little burger shack on the beach, walked around the shops, and headed back after we tackled all there was to do in Seaside.

Adam was definitely spent when we were finished, but I was so proud that he was able to complete the 16 mile ride.  A 5K and a bike ride in the same month?? Wheeee!!!!

We enjoyed another sunset together on the beach and then went to Publix to get stuff to grill.

The next morning, I awoke without an alarm to get my run in.  I knew that I wanted to get out around daybreak and didn't sleep well because, well, I was a bit excited to run at sunrise near the beach.

The road was really, really quiet and while I felt like my legs were bags of bricks, I couldn't help but smile at how gorgeous it was.


When I got to Seaside--those 16 miles on the bike were a great sneak peek for my 16 mile run--I was so excited to see a pit stop.

I made a turnaround just past the town circle:

On the way back, it got a bit sunny and I swear it was hillier on the back half:

I was in a happy place though when I got to the last mile (and perhaps one of the more beautiful parts of the run):

The rest of the day was spent eating half a pizza, driving up to Grayton beach, hanging out poolside, convincing Adam to go to the beach for one last sunset:

Then we headed to the local sports bar for one last beer...

If we back the story up a bit...we can chronicle my story by drinks.

Like caffeine:


Yeah, it's true:

One ridiculously thick milkshake:

And a little vino love:

It was a relaxing and peaceful weekend spent with my favorite person on Earth:


Lastly, before I forget to make mention and in case there is no actual prize, I got a top 3 finish!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is a combined time from my March full marathon and the half I ran a couple of weeks ago.  Granted, there weren't too many people doing both, but hey, I'll take it!!!  Wahoo!!!!!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Week 8: At least I follow the rules when I bake

After my Pikermi last weekend, I was experiencing some major DOMS in my legs and I had a huge blood blister on my right foot. Apparently running like a fool through the finishing chute because some girl is just as competitive as you is likely not good for your legs (and 13.1 hilly miles probably aren't either). I'm the goober on the right.

This was not really how I pictured myself after a half, but I know I didn't really leave much on the table on race day.  I knew that my runs this past week needed to be easy so that I wouldn't injure myself with sloppy form on stiff legs.  I ran on the treadmill a lot because A) it forces me to slow down since I apparently have no willpower on my own and B) it unfortunately is the safer option much of the time.

Because I worked all weekend, I ended up moving my long run to today and switching my easy Tuesday run to Saturday.  Here's what happened:

Tuesday: Plan was 3 easy @9:16, Actual was 3.5 easy @8:34
Wednesday: Plan was 7 tempo with 5 @7:55, Actual was 1 mile warm up, 3 @7:53, 1 @7:47, 1 @7:41, and 1 mile cool down
Friday: Plan was 2 easy @9:16, Actual was 2 easy @9:14
Saturday: Plan was 5 easy @9:14, Actual was 5 easy @8:47
Today (Monday): Plan was 20 easy @9:16, Actual was 20.6 @8:12

The easy runs were all uneventful.  The tempo was hard to start on sore legs, but I actually felt really good once I got into it.  And while I could have pushed a little harder (and likely would have outside), I knew that it was okay to not completely annihilate every single run.  Which is likely why running hard seemed to catch up with me today.

Miles 1-5 were decent.  Highlights: I spilled half my Gatorade over my shorts because I didn't tighten the screw cap, I went pee at mile 3.5, I cursed myself for sleeping in because it was getting warmer, I was happy I wasn't having issues with my music, planned on getting to 20.5 miles because of my pit stop, and I kept having to reel back my speed as it dropped below 8:00. Splits: 8:23, 8:18, 8:02, 8:02, 8:06

Miles 5-9.85 were not great. I was starting to experience the long run blues already and I wasn't even halfway done.  My legs felt the initial stages of cramping and I immediately started to worry if I was going to be able to complete this run.  Lots and lots of self doubt.  Couldn't decide if I was annoyed or okay with not getting a rest break at the single traffic light along the route. Garmin totally crapped out at 9.85 miles.  I downloaded MapMyRun (guess I never added it to this phone) and felt slightly better after my forced 90 second stop. Splits: 8:13, 8:17, 8:11, 8:16, 6:48 for .85 miles (8:01 pace)

Miles 9.85-14.85 were awful. I tried the salted caramel Gu for the first time and while it wasn't bad, it definitely was not the delicious flavor I was anticipating. I had contemplated leaving my fuel belt behind for the second half, but thankfully I took it as I finished all the liquid by mile 13.  Without my Garmin, I had no idea what pace I was running until I had completed a mile.  Because I was feeling a lot of leg fatigue, I was trying to shorten my stride to lessen the impact, but I had no idea what this was doing to my pace. Splits: 8:06, 7:50, 8:22, 8:22, 7:50

Miles 14.85-20.6 were Jekyll and Hyde.  I'd feel great for a bit and then awful. I'd feel BA for running 20 miles and then like a complete fool for doing the zombie march on sore legs.  I started to count off the half miles and using all the tricks in my bag to make sure I completed the run.  I got lucky that there was a lot of cloud cover in the final quarter so it wasn't so hot.  Still, I was cursing myself for sleeping in (could have been running in the upper 50s and not the 70s). When I got the final mile, all I could think about was how good the ice bath was going to feel.  But I toughed it out all the way to my 'official' ending point. Splits: 8:16, 8:05, 7:55, 8:20, 7:57, last .8 in 6:46 (8:03 pace)

The thing is, in looking back at these splits, I know I should have been running slower today. As race day begins to creep up, I am really going to have to get serious about not racing all my long runs.  And while I want to prove to myself that I'm capable of running a BQ pace week after week, it is just not smart. Plus, it has been a long time since my legs cramped up like they did after today's run.  I feel like I'm making some rookie mistakes and I know better.  Easier said than done least if I bloop about it, there is some sort of accountability.

Anyway, enough self-smack-talk....

Let's see what's been going on in my kitchen.

We went to the apple orchard last Sunday:

And Adam and I came home with a 1/2 bushel (4 dry gallons) of apples:

I bought some apple cider donuts out of hunger love for their baked goods:

But I wanted to make some of my own baked goods as well.  I thought about apple butter, but I've made it before and always end up going back to peanut butter as my preferred morning spread.  So, I opted to go the pie route.

First, I peeled and cored the apples:

BTW, if you don't have an apple peeler/corer and either bake with apples or like to eat your apples sans peels, I highly recommend putting this on your Christmas list.

Then I made enough pie crust for 3 pies:

Always from scratch for obvious reasons. Always by hand to keep the dough flaky and light. Always with butter because it tastes the best.

Then I spiced the apples with Saigon cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and a little bit of cloves:

1 full pie and 18 hand pies later, I was enjoying a kitchen that smelled amazing:

Nothing better than snuggling on the sofa with homemade apple pie. The furkids agree:


Monday, October 7, 2013

Week 7: DIG DEEP! aka Race a Pikermi

The really is more about the half-marathon I ran yesterday than overall marathon training, but in keeping with the theme, let's start with the stats:

Tuesday: Plan 4 easy @9:20, Actual: 8:30, 7:51, 8:04, 7:48
Wednesday: Plan 4 easy @9:20, Actual: 8:11, 7:59, 7:48, 7:34
Thursday: Plan 4 easy @9:20, Actual: 8:06, 8:03, 7:57, 7:33
Sunday: Plan 13.1 hard @7:38, Actual: 13.1 @7:45-7:47 (Race results vs Garmin)

I made up this week's portion of my overall training plan knowing that my ultimate goal race will take place in December (no pressure, right?).  However, I wanted to perform as well as I could and decided my A goal was 1:40, B goal was sub 1:45, C goal was to PR (which was 1:48:XX).  I ran too hard each day, but it was so beautiful outside last week that I kept getting caught up in the moment.  I figured with 2 days rest in between that I would feel fresh and ready to race.

Saturday, I sat around and tapered. I put myself on house arrest and entertained myself while Adam was at work.

I did some foam rolling and massage with The Stick:
I watched college football:

I started a puzzle:
And finished it:

I hydrated and hydrated and hydrated:

I decorated my racing bib with a Sharpie with the phrase "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams" and "DIG DEEP!" along with a few stars for good measure:

I ate spaghetti for dinner and a bowl of cereal right before bed.  When I woke up in the morning after sleeping very well (!!!), I ate a blueberry bagel with peanut butter and enjoyed a cup of coffee from a lovely package that I received from SomeKraigGuy.  I naturally choose the blend on the right:

I drank a mini V-8 and had a few sips of Nuun.  In March, I didn't go crazy with the hydration and had the best race so I tried to mimic that feeling.  We met up with our friends Megan, Frank, and Jeff to carpool down to the race area.  We got there in plenty of time and I felt happy that I wasn't rushed.

We got a few pictures taken before the race got started:

I kissed baby Connor on the head and then walked up to my corral.  This race had about 3000 people and the corrals were nicely maintained.  There was plenty of room to breathe.  I found the 1:40 pace group leaders (a woman and a man) and stood behind them while I waited.  I used pace groups in my last 2 races and had a great experience.  They were talking to each other, but I didn't really see them trying to find anyone on their pace group 'team'.

The last few minutes flew by and then I was starting my Garmin as I crossed over the timing track.

I held close to the female pace leader in the first 1.5 miles and it was so dark outside, I could hardly see my Garmin.  I knew we were running fast and I felt thirsty from the get go. I started to let her get ahead a bit as I knew the other leader was still behind me. 7:24, 7:40

I kept up the pace for mile 3 and ran right behind the male pace leader.  But as it started getting lighter outside and I could check my Garmin repeatedly, I realized that I was going to be in big trouble if I tried to keep up that pace on those hills in the final miles.  So as we neared the mile 4 marker, I started to let the little 1:40 sign go ahead and run my race. 7:18, 7:27

Mile 5 I alternated between feeling terrible trying to keep up the pace and giving myself some slack to just relax and run comfortably.  Fortunately, mile 6 was much, much flatter and my body was much happier.  7:48, 7:47

I saw the photographer and did a one-handed wave:

Followed by the ever-awesome two-handed wave:

Mile 7 was good and I started to feel a little better knowing that I was halfway there. Mile 8 was a series of rollllllllllllllllling hills that are likely the major cause of my quads feeling like they are on fire today. 7:39, 7:51

I got a nice quadzilla shot though:

Mile 9 was all puppies and rainbows and I felt really strong.  I was still behind the 1:40 pace leaders, but I was likely not too far off my goal at that point. 7:47


On mile 10, my Garmin started to get all wonky and I couldn't see my pace.  My foot started hurting (where I'd later discover I was creating a giant blood blister-ew!).  I knew that I was slowing down some, but I was gauging it by other runners at this point. 8:14

Mile 11 was awful.  I couldn't believe that I was stopping to walk in a half-marathon.  What the heck was the matter with me??! I didn't stop to walk at all in my last full except going through the water stations.  I walked for probably 45 seconds and then looked at the "DIG DEEP!" on my bib and sucked it up. 8:37


Mile 12 was much better as I crossed paths with other runners who were on mile 7 and there was a ton of crowd support.  With others watching and cheering, I started to begin my countdown to the finish. 8:03

Mile 13 was incredibly long.  I was so ready to be done.  I knew that I was not going to be getting my 1:40 and even though I was going to hit my B goal, my body felt trashed. But I continued to push it. 7:37

Mile 13.1 was probably the closest thing I will ever have to feeling like I am racing like a pro.  A trio of female runners came descending upon me in the final stretch and my competitive spirit took over as one of them started running next to me.  With only 1/10th of a mile to go, I laid on the afterburners.  She was laying down the same fierce kick and we flew through finish chute gutting it out, neck and neck.  I gave it everything I had and it felt so good!

I got a lot of fabulous finishing pics:

We high-fived after we finished and I gushed about how great of a finish we had.  Hopefully my post-race celebratory gooberness was not too scary for her.

I eventually got back together with the group--they graciously waited after they finished their 5K:

I was feeling a bit woozy and my tummy was in knots, but I was happy to have finished with my B time goal:

Here are my Garmin stats:
And here are the stats compared to the field:

12th in my division, 38th female, 168th overall.  Pretty good for a field of 3000!

After we got home, I started to feel bad.  Like, really, really, really, really, I-might-need-to-go-to-the-emergency-room bad.  I felt like I had sudden onset food poisoning and I was hurting in the worst way.  I'll spare you the gory details, but I couldn't really move for about an hour and a half without tremendous pain.  I'm not sure exactly what caused it (something I ate, jostling during the race, kicking it hard in the end, too much hydration, too little hydration????), but I wouldn't wish it on anyone.  I thought I had an iron stomach, but I felt like I had eaten a chili cheese bagel for breakfast.

We had plans to go apple picking with the group and I finally mustered the strength to get up and get moving again.  Once things "passed" I started to feel a bit better.  Adam and I started heading to the orchard and on the way, I was able to get some food and drink down which definitely helped.  Soon, I was feeling back to my normal self:

We walked all over the orchard, picking and eating apples, and enjoying a beautiful fall day in Appalachian foothills.  Hopefully it'll be a long time before I'm too old to climb trees:

My legs are sore today--like I ran a hilly half-marathon--but I'm no worse for the wear.  Onwards and upwards! 2 more months until I make my BQ attempt!!