Monday, October 27, 2014

A 40 hour whirlwind to Poughkeepsie

Eerily similar to my Rehoboth adventure last December, I attended a wedding the weekend prior to Marshall. I was even traveling with some of the same cast of characters. Except this time, we were headed to Poughkeepsie instead of Miami.

The flight was at 6:45am on Friday morning so we were awake at 4am to get to the airport. Someone please note my friend Frank Tebowing in between Adam and I.
We flew into LaGuardia and managed to catch morning views of Manhattan as we cruised into Queens.
The group picked out the finest swagger wagon we could find in the parking garage (re: Dodge Caravan) and Adam slipped into his old NYC driving habits. Everyone chirped happily along during the couple of hours it took to get to Poughkeepsie. The views of fall in upstate NY did not disappointment.
We checked into our hotel, grabbed lunch, and had a little down time before getting ready. I was too inundated with coffee to nap, so I played with my hair and my forward facing camera.
At some point, we rallied back at the minivan and headed to the ceremony.

Then, it was onto the reception. We caught a few minutes of sunset overlooking the Hudson which was absolutely stunning with the fall foliage. With a bourbon-laced glass of cider to warm my hand, I was pretty much in heaven.

After the cocktail hour, we retreated indoors for dinner. Pulled pork and chicken, mashed sweet potatoes, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, and cornbread. It was insanely good.
Conversation flowed and everyone was having a great time mingling.
The dancing intensified throughout the night and the bride and groom were clearly having the time of their lives out on the dance floor. I may or may not have found additional uses for the guest book decorations.
Having been up since 4am + a long day of traveling + a long evening of dancing + a long evening of bourbon ciders=sleepy Carissa. I hit the pillow hard.

Unfortunately, I slept terribly and kept waking up not knowing what time it was because the alarm clock was on Adam's side of the bed. I tossed and turned and fought with myself about getting up to run.

Ugggggggggghhhh. So much bourbon and so much dancing in heels.

When I finally convinced myself to just go and do 3 miles, I got all my gear on and stood in the alcove next to the door for a minute. Finding satellites. Deciding if I needed gloves or a jacket. Deciding if it was too late to go back inside.

Instead, I walked out into the brisk morning and took off. I had looked up possible route ideas the week prior and while I was sad I wasn't going to be able to get out to the rail-trail, I knew the residential area would be pretty picturesque.

I wanted to minimize my turns since A) my brain was feeling fuzzy and B) I didn't bring my phone. When I got about a mile in, I decided to make a left off Sharon and took a mental note. Eventually, I turned left on Ferris and then started to figure out when I was going to turn around.

3 miles was growing to 4 miles and then I was just past where I'd be for 6 miles when I decided to turn around a finish the last few near the hotel.

Even though it was painful to get going, it was of course, worth every minute. Leaves blanketed the lawns and pumpkins adorned each doorstep. Old Victorian homes provided beautiful backdrops for wonderfully spooky Halloween displays. Thanks Poughkeepsie for a great run!

After I got back, the gang loaded up the van and we made a quick jaunt to Sleepy Hollow. The cemetery where Washington Irving is buried was hosting a fall festival and we lucked out on a beautiful day to wander around.

After dinner at a diner, it was time to take a few final pictures and head back to NYC to fly home.
Then, 40 hours after we'd left, Adam and I pulled up to our house.


Friday, October 17, 2014

#11 taper time and running celebs

Sunday night, Adam and I attended a gorgeous wedding at a winery the North Georgia mountains. The ceremony was romantic, the food was ah-mazing, and the wine was flowing.

I grabbed the first photo off the website as A) I don't have a helicopter and B) it was quite cloudy as you can see from the second photo. Plus, we were all dressed up so we didn't get a chance to go meandering through the vineyards.

I definitely enjoyed my fair share of wine (duh) and so my wake-up-early-to-run-before-work alarm was really over as I was setting it the night before. Thus, the Monday morning run got moved to Monday night and I was faced with October darkness since I was closing the store.

To the treadmill I went.... I ran 3.5 miles. Was just going to do 3 because we still hadn't eaten dinner and it was nearing 9pm. But I was feeling so good that I didn't want to stop. So I compromised with just a teeny bit more...

Then I finally decided to pony up the cash for Marshall. Marathon #11 could be quite memorable if a certain dude BQs. (And a selfish side note--if I'm there to witness it!)

Tuesday, I decided to do mile repeats. 1 mile warm-up, 6:49, 400 recovery, 6:40, 800 recovery, & 6:27 with a 1200 cool down. Awwwwww yeah!!!!

I rested Wednesday and Thursday. Spent quality time with Adam and the puppies.
Today, I went out for my final long run of this mini-cycle. I was feeling dead-legged until....wait for it....mile 18. Who the eff gets their mojo kick at mile 18?!?! The rest of the run wasn't awful, but it wasn't great either. Truth be told, I kind of like having a not-so-great feeling last long run before the race. It gives me hope for race day.

I'm happy to see my splits so fairly consistent and even with the few pit/water/traffic stops, my total time was only 7 minutes more than running time. I'd be completely bananas to not be happy with all sub-8 splits on a 21.5 mile training run when my marathon PR pace is a 8:08. But I still have self-doubt--it's a terrible side effect of being human.

But regardless of the outcome, I'll still be me on November 3rd and headed for the next adventure!

This evening, I headed over to a local running store, Totally Running, to meet 1972 Olympic Marathon gold medalist Frank Shorter. I'm kind of a history nut (random side note: it was my minor in college) and love soaking up the running stories of the past. This a really cool opportunity to meet a little slice of running history in my backyard.

Admittedly, I actually got a little tongue-tied and couldn't think of something awesome to say (shocker!). So I stood there for a few extra minutes and listened to him talk to a few other people that were there getting autographs. Derp. But at least I got a cool memento and a stalkerish pic to commemorate the occasion.

Now, it's time to whine about tapering for 2 weeks. Wahoo!!!!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

It was a good burp flavor

Ever have a perfect week of running? Well, neither have I. But this was pretty darn close. 2 buddy runs, a killer speed workout, and a confidence-boosting long run makes me a happy runner girl this week.

Plus, I had time to putz in the kitchen and get all my work done. It's been busy, but good busy.

Sunday, I made slow cooker chicken chili (1.5 pounds of chicken breasts, 2-15 oz cans of diced tomatoes, 1 diced onion, a few tablespoons of cumin and chili powder, salt/pepper, and a bottle of beer) that was ready when I got home from work:
Monday night, I stopped at my LRS (Fleet Feet) to buy some GU and inquired about trying on the Kinvara 5. They didn't have my yeti size in stock, so they offered to bring a pair over from another location.

Tuesday, I went running with my RB at the Greenway. While it was chilly for my 10-miler on Sunday, it warmed back up again this week. But we were shaded and it was still pretty comfy. Plus, running with a friend always makes the miles exponentially better.
I wore my Kinvara 4s to give myself a little comparison when the 5s became available.
The BTs wondered why I was taking selfies and not pictures of them:
Later in the day, I whipped up some meat(loaf) and potatoes along with an Oreo cake because, well, just because....

Wednesday, I fell victim to the snooze button and ended up doing my run in the evening. Unfortunately, it is now too dark to run at the Greenway after work if I close the store. So I decided to do speed work if I had to be relegated to the treadmill.

Honestly, I hadn't done any real speed work since um, April? I had no clue if I could gut out a quick enough turnover to feel good about 800s. But after a mile warm-up, I managed to hit 3:15, 3:14, 3:11, 3:07, 3:05, and 3:03. I recovered with 400 "jogs" and did a total of 6 miles. It was a hard workout, but I felt super strong after I was done. Hello anaerobic endorphin kick!

Thursday, I went to Fleet Feet to try on the Kinvaras. I changed into my running clothes after work so that I could run after I went to Fleet Feet. The employees thought I was there for the group run when I walked through the doors. After trying on and subsequently purchasing my shoes, it was decided that I could be the sole participant of the group run. Since I had to run anyway, I decided it would be better to run with someone. So Sydney, a recent college grad, and I ran 3 miles on the rolling hills of Johns Creek. 3 miles at a 7:42 pace. Not too shabby...

Yesterday (Saturday), I had the good intentions of getting out early, but it was thundering and lightening at 7am. When the storm cleared, I headed out. It was muuuuuuggggggyyyy (re: 83% humidity). And the Greenway was full of slippery leaves on the boardwalk. But it was overcast and below 80 degrees so I tried to maintain a positive attitude.

My feelings about a run can be summed up based on this awesome graphic I created:

I was feeling in the red zone for the first few miles, but then found myself in the purple for awhile (yayayayayayay!). The final few miles, I was feeling more green--the soles of my feet started to tire. But luckily, I never felt yellow.

I picked up some Salted Watermelon GU at FF to try.
It reminded me of a watermelon Airhead or Blowpop. And it wasn't a terrible tasting burp a mile later like other flavors (I'm talking about you, peanut butter!). Much like the color of my shoes or coordination of colors in my running clothes, I have flavor preferences, but it really doesn't matter. Whatever keeps me running keeps me happy!

So one more long run before I taper for Marshall. You know, the marathon I'm probably going to run that I haven't signed up for. I still have 3 weeks to decide...hah!


Sunday, October 5, 2014

What's Your Happy? Version 2.0

Awhile back, I wrote a post entitled I ask, what's your happy? It was a small list of random specific things that make me happy.

But you know, people evolve. Our tastes and desires change over time and that's okay. I looked over the few things that I shared on that list and realized that most of the things have rung true for quite some time. Aside from the 4 years I was a vegetarian in high school and would have not found the medium rare ribeye enticing....

Why are you bringing up this particular topic QC?

Twofold people, twofold.

1) I enjoy thinking about things that make me happy.
2) I feel like my running is only just beginning to evolve.

1) Here are a few more things to add to the list: a hoppy IPA, the crackle of a campfire, a midday nap with the windows open, a cheddar cheeseburger on a toasted bun, impromptu dance parties in the kitchen, a perfectly toasted marshmallow, the first daffodil of spring, crossing the finish line, driving fast with the windows down, a baby giggling, cinnamon brooms, a summer blockbuster with a large popcorn....

2) It's kind of crazy how my running has exponentially evolved. I've been running 20ish years, but became a 1000+ miles per year runner in 2006. I was cool with just running for fun and fitness until I ran a marathon in 2009. Because normal people begin with the marathon distance right? Then, mostly thanks to the jokers I met on the internet and their annoying positive peer pressure, I went from running my 5th marathon in March 2013 and will likely end 2014 with #12.

I've always been intrigued with the endurance needed for an ultra, but I think about crossing the line at 26.2 and cannot fathom going further. But after Boston, I will need a new challenge, right?

Shameless cute Boston plug:

I looked at The List today, aka the bucket list, and realized that it was glaringly missing run an ultra.

Many of you might be all like, duuuuuuuuuh... snooze....we all knew that. But to newbie runners (dream big!) and those full of years of running wisdom (keep evolving!), it's always fun to look forward to the next chapter, right? I love the anticipation as much as the event itself! I'm not sure what 2015 has in store for me, but I'm excited to keep conjuring up new adventures.

For now, I'm doing a modified 8 week plan to gear up for Marshall (um, still 100% committed, but well, you know...). I'll do 16 Saturday, 20 on the 17th and taper for 2 weeks. Goal: 3:30-3:35 if I feel good.

This week I ran 21 miler that was really warm. I drank 2.5 liters of water during the run. I had a weird toe cramp. And I just was over the whole thing after mile 11. I ran a really great pace, but I just never found my groove. I consoled myself with a Frosty and french fries in the car and later in the ice bath, a beer and bag of potato chips.

I spent the rest of the day eating and rehydrating.

Thursday, I ran after work. My left hip was feeling oddly tight all day and I was hoping the run would help loosen me up. It didn't hurt, but it didn't
I was going to run yesterday, but my hip was still feeling a bit funky and let's be honest, that snooze button was far too alluring. We spent Friday night checking out our friends new loft downtown and I didn't get to bed until 1AM.
And I worked until 7:30pm, so by the time I left, it was getting a bit dark to run outside.
So, naturally, I just ran 10 today! It was sooooooooooooo nice to run in 40 degree weather. First capri run since, um, March? April? It was like the 18 miler I had a couple of weeks ago. Strong, awesome, and absolute runner perfection.

And now dear readers, much like in my first post, I have to know What's Your Happy?