Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Back at it...

So, yeah, December has been a nothin' month...

All the various levels of crazy converged to make it such that the only runs I could make happen on a regular basis were our Saturday-morning-with-the-Math-Teacher runs.  There were a couple others spattered in there, but yeah... not much.

But all told, I do not in any way consider that to be a failure.  Given that my usual pattern of the past several years would have been to stop running sometime in October and not begin again until, oh, March, I'll call a few single-digit weeks a rousing success in the "maintaining consistency" department.

But... after that zero-mile week last week, enough is enough.  I got back into it with a Monday morning "Saturday" run with tMT and her lovely daughter (aka the speedster).  Easy three miles, no big deal.  But I'd forgotten that it would count for Kiley's Christmas Virtual 5K!

So.  Pretty pleased about that.

Took yesterday off (I don't think I got out of my pajamas yesterday).  Today I'll get in a few miles while the kids swim.  I've got several weeks of base-building to get in before starting my training plans for a May half-marathon and the Portland Marathon in October (yep, those are my A-races for 2013). 

So.  Back at it...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

So much for that...

Seems I picked a bad time to declare a running streak.  The general craziness of life added to some low-grade ick combined to kill the streak this week.  I got a full week in - and then I got to 9pm Friday and realized that I hadn't been on the treadmill.  And I didn't have it in me.  I didn't have it in me on Saturday either (six hours standing at a swim meet will do that).  So the streak was thoroughly busted at that point.

This morning I woke up to a break in the rain and a house of still-sleeping people. I got dressed and headed to my favorite path to catch the sunrise, all ready for a great run.  Except... that great run didn't show up.  The five miles turned into a painful 1.5 out and a walk back to the car. So, counts for a run in December - but not much else.

Coincidentally, I forked over the cash for Portland Marathon entry yesterday.  Great day for a bad run.

Obviously, something's up.  Not sure what, exactly - could be a bunch of different things (flu season, work stress, poor sleep, REALLY poor eating choices...) (oh, gee, maybe the combination?  Smart, I am.)  Hopefully I'll be able to sort that out over the next couple weeks so this blah-streak doesn't last into the New Year.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Streaking past forty...

So, I turned 40 on Black Friday.  Pretty darn perfect (in a good way), if you ask me.

Thursday morning, as the Math Teacher and I were getting out for our unofficial Turkey Trot, we talked through how we're going to keep going through the holidays.  Lots of kid activities, holiday stuff, messed-up schedules, and other craziness are certainly getting in the way.  However... MT's turning 40 next month too.  (I think she's relishing these two weeks where I'm nominally older than her.)

After a little counting, we realized that from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve this year is 40 days.  So, why not run each day?  So that's our plan.  We're running at least a mile each day from last Thursday to New Year's Eve - and then probably adding New Year's Day too. It's like birthday candles - one for each year, and one to grow on.

I'm making it a little easier on myself, though.  Friday, while my husband and daughter were out doing the Black Friday thing, I stayed home and in my pajamas all. day. long.  It was wonderful.   I found myself down in the playroom, which is crammed with stuff and stuff and more stuff, working my way to the stash of Christmas presents that need to be wrapped (we're actually pretty darn close to done shopping for the kids, just need to figure out one or two more things for the boy).  I had my music, I had my peace, I had plenty of time.  And next thing I knew, I had two corners of the room fairly well organized - the one with the presents, and the one with the treadmill.  I'm not joking when I say it has been YEARS since that treadmill was available for use.  It was cold and wet, and I didn't want to go outside, but neither did I want to abandon the birthday run streak on day two, so I changed into my running clothes, sent a child to get the fire extinguisher (just in case), and plugged it in.

It worked.  Miraculous!

So now I have a backup plan against the crazy wet cold weather the Pacific Northwest tends to deal out this time of year.  No better way to start the next decade of this wonderful life.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Getting my mojo back...slowly...

Seriously, it can't be nearly a month since I posted.  And yet... it has.  Yikes.  Long, boring story short, it's just been nutty around here.  The running's been up and down - twenty miles one week (including the Cupcake Classic, that was fun!), then eight, then a big fat zero.  But that ended today with a slow-and-sloppy three-miler.  Yea!

Tomorrow - I'm jumping in at the last minute on a local 10K race.  This is the first time I've ever done anything off the cuff like this - it's exciting!  I'm picking up my friend at 7:30 - a wholly civilized time, especially with the extra hour from daylight savings - and heading to the local trail to register for a 9:00 am start.  LOVE it.  This ought be fun.

One last thing - Amy at Run Mom Run is hosting a giveaway - Yurbuds earbuds.  I TOTALLY want to win this (might make the treadmill a touch more bearable, eh?), so please DO NOT feel you have to go enter. :)  Or, y'know, protect your own interests and enter.  Could be fun for you.

I will get back to this.  I need to give you a recap of our fun Cupcake Classic, this race we'll do tomorrow, a fun evening run with Christmas lights in October and a "for rent" sign on the cemetery... and whatever else comes up in the next few runs.  Until then, friends...

Saturday, October 6, 2012

That which comes next...

Realized this morning that I haven't written anything in two weeks.  It took a while to find my groove after the race - and I was floundering there for a bit.  Once I realized that the "oh, sure, I'll keep this up with no structure whatsoever" plan wasn't going to work (like it ever would with me), I realized I needed an actual plan.  And some actual structure.  And maybe some actual goals.

Toward the end of the last training cycle there were a bunch of things I wanted to add, but I didn't want to screw up the race by adding something novel and botching it, or injuring myself, or... whatever other convenient excuse was easily backed up by all my reading (there's a stack of running books and magazines on the bedstand).  Now would be the time to add them, right?  What I've got on the list:
  • Cross-training - pretty much anything other than running. Cycling or swimming are obvious potentials.
  • Strength work - whatever it may be, machines at the Y or kettlebells in the living room.
  • Flexibility work - oh, yeah, I need this in a bad way.  I have never in my life been physically flexible (the other kinds of "flexible" don't come easily either, but I'm pretty set in those ways).
  • Nutrition - every so often I have to re-focus on what I'm eating in relation to what I know about nutrition (quite a bit, actually).  Usually that time to re-focus comes when I realize I'm not in any way following what I know.
So guess what happened?  I looked at this list and got completely overwhelmed.  I don't have any legitimate excuse to not tackle any of this - I have gear and videos and knowledge and even the gift of time (three and a half lovely dedicated hours per week at the Y when the boy has his swim practice).

It's not coming easily, though.

I have managed to get started.  Mostly by setting aside all that stuff up there.  I looked at a couple training plans and just picked one to follow, even though I'm not planning any big races until next year.  I'm reinventing my running schedule, and my only goals right now are running at least 15 miles and at least 3 times per week (achievable, but requires planning).

Once I get settled again, I'll work on adding to this.  But for now, this is enough.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Training recap – September 17-22

Oh, that race was a BLAST.  I’ve been on a high all week.  I even turned my finisher medal into my keychain charm.  But I was ready for a break – no thinking about training, about mile counts, about remembering to take my antihistamines at night so I could run the next day.

The plan was:  absolutely nothing.

The reality: 

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday – ZILCH
I started the week in rest mode – at least for exercise, because everything else (aka work) was nuts.  I wasn’t nearly as sore as I thought I would be (gee, could I have run faster on Sunday?  Guess I’ll have to do another and find out, huh?), just a bit of tightness in the quads going down stairs.  By Tuesday it had nearly dissipated and Wednesday I felt completely normal.  And I was so very much done with resting.

Thursday – 3.0 miles, 28:14
By now I desperately needed to run.  But I realized on the way over that (a) I still don’t have the eating-in-the-afternoon-for-an-evening-run thing organized and (b) I’d been giving my body a break from the antihistamines that keep me from itching on a run.  So… this was going to be interesting.

I decided to keep the pace easy, so as not to trigger the itchies, and just got going.  It felt pretty good – it actually felt odd, like my body was made of stiff parts with no give, and clompy, as though I’d forgotten how to run.  But I’m getting used to this feeling being my “oh, you took a few days off? Silly you” feeling and am gaining confidence to stick to it with the hope that it will dissipate.  Which it did, pretty shortly.

But here’s the thing – what feels like an easy pace now has dropped to 9:15-9:30 miles.  Again, when did this happen???  Yet another reset for my head this year (there’s been a LOT of those – I love it, but I know intellectually this can’t continue forever).  Got a tiny bit of itchies on my legs about 2.5 miles in, but I walked for a bit and it faded quickly, so then I finished out the 3 miles and walked in the last few hundred yards.  That 2.5 mile point is also when my body decided it was hungry.  And I mean HUNGRY.  I found myself craving french fries as I walked back to the car… and since there were 45 minutes until the boy was done with his practice, I jetted out to grab burgers, fries and a chocolate milkshake.  It was SO YUMMY – not at all healthy, not at all good nutrition, but a nice treat all around.  And I TOTALLY made the boy’s day when he got to the car and saw a sack with burgers and fries – “oh, Mom, I LOVE YOU!!!” “You love me anyway.”  “Yeah, I love you more. Nom nom nom

Saturday – 3.16 miles, 34:38
Back at it with the Math Teacher.  She was cranking on speed and feeling good!  Me, I was pretty tired (read, nutty week at work) and ran out of steam as we approached the 3 mile split.  I told her I was stopping when my watch chirped, and she went all Coach on me – “oh, no you’re not!  We’re making it to the finish!  Let’s go, step it up, woman!”  I truly think she enjoyed it, with a lot of schaudenfraudic glee.  She was also talking about the next run, suggesting a local race in early November.  I may have to commit to that – she did, after all, indulge me on You Go Girl, least I can do is repay the indulgence.  We might even get our kids to run that one too – if we can fit it around their swim training.  Lots to determine in the next several days.

Planned for this week:
If – big “if” – I commit to the Turn Back the Clock run, I need to start training for that – it’s six weeks away.  So this weekend’s task is to find an appropriate 6-week training schedule toward a … 5K? 10K? I suppose I also have to decide what distance to run, and whether anyone (ie son, hubby) intends to join me.  So… likely a few short easy runs and some decisions.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Race recap: You Go Girl!

Third time’s the charm – what a blast!  All the anticipation and training paid off, and I crushed my break-2:20 goal with a  2:11:50.  And so many other sweet bits to the weekend.

PACKET PICKUP – I’ve actually been planning this day for awhile now.  Little girl and I had haircuts early in the morning, then headed to Tacoma for pickup and lunch at her fave place – Olive Garden.  It was a sweet morning.  I’ve mourned my son’s growing up (seventh grade this year was harder than his first days of childcare, no joke) but almost overlooked my daughter’s transitions as she moves to third grade.  She’s just – more herself.  She’s always been incredibly talkative, but her conversations have a new depth. Her mannerisms are older. Spending a morning with her with minor, shared distractions (can’t get to no distractions, that’s just about impossible with us) was sheer joy.

Our morning started early, as it usually does on haircut days.  Starbucks is a must, and carefully planned into our timing.  Haircuts are always fun – since my head is under the dryer I have no idea what she and Miss Diane are talking about, but what is clear is that she’s motoring on and Diane’s cracking up. 

All done up, we headed toward Tacoma; got a little turned around, but found the place (I need to remember, it’s by UWT. how hard could it be? I’ve spent enough time in my life on that campus).  Nice little expo, got all our goodies.  Little girl took care of her own packet, thankyouverymuch, then helped me carry the additional six bags around.  (Really, I didn’t intend to play packet packhorse this year.  But six is way better than the twenty or so I had last year.)

One of the thing I love about this race is running into friends all over.  Coordinated an impromptu get-together with two of my besties-with-daughters; caught up with T while S and Little Girl played in the plaza, then found C and K (they got lost too, it wasn’t just me!) and we headed back into the expo.  Little Girl took S and K to get their packets (wow! Big girls taking care of themselves) while T and C did their own packet-packhorse duty.  Once all the packets were in hand and daughters were securely reunited with mothers, Little Girl and I took off for our lunch date.  Got lost (again! Seriously, I’m not so directionally-challenged as all this may lead you to believe), got sweet parking, carbed up while we chatted.  We definitely got our money’s worth – never-ending pasta bowl plus kids-eat-free coupon made for a lovely, HUGE lunch.  And truly, this child knows how to carbo-load: Fettucine alfredo and mashed potatoes with chocolate milk.  Kid’s definitely an endurance athlete.

Got home, sorted through packets to pull out my own stuff, laid out gear, confirmed my ride, showed D where to park for the finish line, found camera, munched potato chips, craved chocolate cake, found gels, took nap, ate pasta leftovers for dinner (see? Definitely got money’s worth) with wine for pre-race dinner.  Spent.

RACE DAY – wasn’t an early wake-up by any stretch, but it was hard to get out of bed.  I eventually convinced myself that it was time, by golly, and thankfully all that laying-out-of-gear made for a no-brainer morning.  The only thing that required thought was to go to the pantry and choose a jam for my PB & J (the apricot jam I opened earlier this week hadn’t gelled – so it’s more aptly a lovely dessert sauce, not for sandwiches). 

My darling husband drove me to get a mocha and meet up with the Math Teacher and her daughter, Miss M, who chauffeured me to the start line after a pit stop back at their house for an errant hat.  Easy parking, and early enough that there was no line for the potties (yea!!!).  Then it was time to set about finding our buds, especially A, the one whose chip and bib I was holding!  As sometimes happens, as if by magic, our group began to coalesce, introductions were made, and soon it was time to line up.  A and I took our place in front of the 2:20 pacer – her foot has been hurting, so she chose to start back at my super-slow-for-her pace (thank you, A!).

Mile 1: 9:07 -  love the downhill start, it felt soooo easy!  But we knew we were moving out too fast… but it’s downhill, it’s easy, what can we do?  A’s foot felt good and she seemed quite happy to pace with me, so we settled into our rhythm.

Mile 2: 9:44 – Miss M caught up with us right before the first mile marker, having left her mother in the dust.  She settled in with our pace and we chatted about hair, boys, stuff…  Still moving strong, out to the first turnaround with another downhill respite.

Mile 3: 10:03 – The long uphill slog – I just kept chatting, and hoping not to horridly annoy everyone not involved in our conversation (yes, I’m THAT runner, I distract myself and everyone else with all my mindless chatter).  At one point the 2:20 pacer played traffic cop to let a local resident get her car out of the stream of runners; one person snarled “well, I’m  not stopping!” and she and her cohorts barreled in front of the car.  Seriously???  Holding up for ten seconds is going to blow your time goal in the third mile?  Perspective, people!  Races run on the goodwill of the folks we’re displacing and annoying – lacking respect for that just gets our races canceled.  And I like this one too much to get it canceled. (stepping off soapbox now…)

Mile 4: 10:17 – So you hit a water station right before the third mile marker, turn a corner, and are confronted with a steep hill worthy of San Francisco fame.  Holy heavens.  It’s four blocks STRAIGHT UP.  But, it’s only four blocks, and then you have a lovely stroll around gravel paths in a beautiful park.  This is my favorite part of the course – AFTER the four-blocks-straight-up part.  I started to get a side cramp and had to walk briefly, but powered through. 

Mile 5: 9:38 – what goes up, must come down… and the long, lovely downhill is a blast!  Passed the water station again, and this time took advantage of the pit stop opportunity (darn morning bladder).  A's foot was feeling better and speed was calling, so she kept going when I stopped, but Miss M waited for me (thanks, sweetie!).

Mile 6: 9:22 – More downhill.  Caught up with C, whose husband had run ahead.  We all ran together for this mile.  Miss M wanted to take off toward the finish, C was hurting a bit.  I worked on keeping a steady pace, making sure I didn’t lose sight of C.  Miss M sprinted a touch too early and was walking off a side ache when we caught her; I told her to pace C into the 10K finish, and off they went.  I almost blew off the water stop, for some reason I thought there was another one just over the hill, but realized they wouldn’t place them that close – so I stopped, choked down a gel and washed it down.  

Mile 7: 10:25 – My husband and son were waiting at the 10k/half fork, both with cameras.  Such a sweet surprise!  I hadn’t expected them until I was closer to the finish line.  But man, did it feel quiet as the bulk of runners peeled off toward the 10K finish.

Mile 8: 10:24 – Ah, now there comes the return pack.  The leaders started passing us – looking very determined.  I am amazed by their speed and strength.  Also, it’s just so fun to have people to cheer for as they pass you!  I do a lot of yelling encouragement toward others to stay out of my own head.

Mile 9: 9:36 – Still looking for all those people I knew were ahead of me – saw several, including Mel of Tall Mom fame, yea!  I recognized Mel’s shirt coming at me just behind the 1:50 pacer and shouted at her as loudly as I could (sorry, Mel, couldn’t resist!).  It was like a little celebrity sighting. J

Mile 10: 9:46 – It felt like the turnaround came quicker than last year – a pleasant surprise.  The volunteer at the cone was yelling, “You’ve got this!  Just a 5K to go and you’re done!”  I LOVED that!  Reframing the effort – and just what I needed.  I can knock out a 5K in my sleep on a bad day, and this was way better than many of the “bad days” I ran through this year.

Mile 11: 10:03 and Mile 12: 10:23 – felt good, but I was slowing down a bit.  I began counting footfalls, counting people ahead of me, trying to keep one foot in front of the other.

Mile 13: 10:11 – When the twelfth mile split chirped on my Garmin, I hit the wall. That last mile seemed sooooo long, and I just wanted to be DONE – a sentiment echoed by many of the other gals on the course near me!  I allowed myself one more walk, picked my spot, and started running again.  I tried to pick up a fellow runner as I caught them, encouraging them to join me in that last little push, but they just returned the encouragement and pushed me ahead.  I’m not yet at the point where I can pass gals at the end of the race without just a little bit of guilt.

As I hit the overpass on the last bit, I saw my son sitting on the jersey barrier with the camera.  I hollered his name, he jumped out of his skin – apparently I wasn’t quite yet expected!  He ran ahead playing papparazi, catching pictures of me with a huge grin on my face.  At the turn, my daughter jumped up and down yelling to me.  I called her out and she ran to join me, so we could run through the finish chute in our matchy-matchy skirts.  The picture of us crossing the finish line, holding hands, is one of my favorites ever.

Mel was sitting on the hill near the finish chute, chilling and watching folks kick it toward the line.  We chatted a bit, actually introduced ourselves IRL, but slowly my group seemed to camp out next to her spot.  Sorry if we crowded you a bit, sweetie, but it was fun to meet you!

We waited for the Little Girl’s race to get started.  My girl was so excited for her first race.  She lined up at the front, took off hard, and pounded up the hill.  When we saw her on the return she was still running hard, stuck her tongue out at her brother for a picture, and chased along.  I couldn’t quite figure how to get to her, but her brother had run with her all the way through the finish so he was able to coordinate everyone.  We took our leave and headed to the car.

On the ride home, the kids told me their funniest moment of the day, when the finish line announcer called out: “There’s a line at the Naked truck for free shirts…” whaaa???

overall place:
207 out of 487
division place:
45 out of 92
2:11:50    (Garmin read 2:09:33)


I didn’t even really think about crushing my goal – I’d recognized that at the turnaround.  I even allowed myself to think that 2:05 was within reach, and then shook that off – there is no reason to take a smashing success and in any way turn it toward a defeat.  I am super-happy with what I accomplished today, and for what it represents – the accomplishment over the summer of actually training, sticking to it, and following through on my stated goal.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Training recap – September 10-14

As Rafiki would say, “IT IS TIME!” 

The race is Sunday.  Oh. My. Heavens.

And yet at the same time – I’m so ready.  Tomorrow my girl and I go up to get our packets and have a girl day!  And then Sunday my family will be at the finish line when I cross, so my girl can run her 1K.

The plan was:  to run a couple or three times, keep it short at 2-4 miles per time, and just see what happens. 

The reality: 

Monday – 3.0 miles, 29:48
So where the heck did this come from?  Suddenly I’m super-nervous for the race Sunday.  Like, butterflies and weak knees nervous.  Is this really going to stick around all week?  Oh, golly.  So, when confronted by irrational anxiety, what better to do than get out an easy run?  Not sure this helped – my breathing was off, my effort felt rather too high for the pace, but it did feel good to stretch my legs.  Aaaand…. Another Monday run done.

I sat on the porch with my hubby that night and told him I was suddenly all nervous.  He said, without so much as a thought, “Oh, honey, you’ve got this.  Stop it.”  I love that man.

Tuesday – 3.1 miles, 29:27
Better than Monday. “Hardly an impressive distinction, AJ.” (thank you, Aaron Sorkin.)

Back to school means back to swim, and now with my boy it means back to extra evening swim practices.  This meant my run was at 6pm, not my usual lunch hour or early morning.  My evening runs haven’t been as reliable as earlier in the day – I’m often not as good about “fueling” as I should be and I pay for it at the end of the day.  But this run was okay – I kept a good pace, just like Monday, but the effort felt easier.  I realized too far along in the route that I could have easily bested my 5K time from June - which is a nice reminder that this summer's work has prepared me for the race.  Just what I needed. (Only) slightly less nervous...

Thursday – 3.21 miles, 30:20
Back to swim practice we go.  Today I managed to get through the entire day on a latte, scone, one ounce of cheese and four celery sticks.  I did that math as my stomach growled LOUDLY on the drive to the pool.  Oops! So I sat in the car, listening to news coverage of the Benghazi embassy attack (so very sad, and such a complicated mess) while I scarfed the yogurt from my briefcase. 

Oh, and did I mention it was 80 degrees at 6pm?  Yeah.  I briefly considered the treadmill, then realized I would never want to trade away a lovely evening.  The heat was already losing its punch; I started out with a wonky sattelite reading on my Garmin, which meant it was registering a 6:55 pace (NOT) at a half mile in.  Oh yeah, RIGHT.  I didn’t get a good sense of my pace and was moving too fast, but I didn’t catch it until almost 1.5 miles in.  Between that fast start and the complete food failure for the day I ended up walking at mile 2.5 (!!!). But after walking just a short stretch, I was on pace, in stride, and feeling good.  Too bad I was only a quarter mile from the finish when it all kicked in. J

With that comedy of errors out of the way, I know I can recover and get back on track.  Yet again, confidence bolstered.  I feel pretty ready for Sunday. Bring it on!

Planned for this week:

Sunday – RACE. Then – nothing.  No plans beyond a rest week.  If things feel good, I might get out.  But it’s time for a break.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Training recap – September 3-9

Penultimate week – stepping back a bit, but keeping up the fun.  Add to that a holiday, the start of the school year, busy at work and a sick kid at home.  Oh, and it decided to get summer-hot for a few days.  Craaaazy…

The plan was:  to run two or three times during the week, 3-4 miles per time, and do 7-8 miles next weekend.

The reality:  

Monday – 4.78 miles, 54:05
Labor Day showed up bright and clear, and the Math Teacher was back from her weekend jaunt to the big city.  I thought we were doing three, she thought we were doing five.  We decided to split the difference and came up with a flat, easy four-mile route.  Love running and chatting and catching up… and then we missed the turn for four miles, which meant we double-back (never!) or just keep going.  So.  Nearly five miles.  Good for the soul, right?

Wednesday – 2.3 miles, 21:22
Yeah, I wrote about this one.  A pleasant early-morning run is a super-nice reward when you almost blow it off and sleep in because [insert bestest excuses here].  But yes, I do need to figure out my low-light running gear, because the dark days, they are a-comin’.

Saturday – 7.43 miles, 1:20:52
Since the Math Teacher is running the 10K next week, and I’m doing the half, our long-run plans are pretty different.  Our game plan for today was for me to start out with three, then to meet up and run the next five together.  It worked pretty darn well, from what I can tell!   

first part 2.83 m in 28:00 (9:53 pace) – the vest was too much for the temperature, and my (#*$% run belt refused to stay on my hips. GARRROOOWWWLLLL.  Finally got fed up enough with it to double back to the car and drop it all off, putting the gels in my pocket instead (I love RunningSkirts! Just sayin’).  But now, my three-mile plan was messed up, so I started randomly running around various blocks until I thought MT would be at our meet-up point.  I don’t think I left her there too long… (sorry, friend!)

second part 4.61 m in 52:56 (11:28 pace) – much improved gearwise, and generally uneventful.  Except we kept MT at near-redline pace.  And we ran The Hill without stopping (her first time!  And only my second! We ROCK!).  And I wouldn’t let her ease up at the end on the downhill – I told her we were “practicing our finishing kick” when really I just REALLY wanted my coffee. J  And when she reads this, I’m totally gonna hear it.  (Hee!)

Planned for this week:

Oh, wow, it’s race week.  I’ll be honest, I don’t know how to structure a race week.  I think I’ll run a couple or three times, keep it short at 2-4 miles per time, and just see what happens. 

The other thing is to start considering what comes next.  I know the races I intend to run next year (Capital City half in May, You Go Girl! in September, Portland Marathon (full!) in October).  I’ve got some goals I’m kicking around for the short term in regard to things-I-need-to-work-on and things-I-ought-to-be-doing, but there has to be some manner of things-I-haven’t-tried-yet and things-just-for-the-heck-of-it.  So I’ll be kicking around ideas this week and trying to put them to paper this week. Or next.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

on not saying no

I almost didn’t run yesterday.

The night before, when realizing this no-school Montuesday had messed with my schedule and the week was packed with meetings and the weather was turning hot (really, summer? You wait until after Labor Day, after school starts, to get your second wind? Gah.) I recognized the only definite opportunity I would have to run would be Wednesday morning.


Now, dear reader, of all the beautiful routes available around here, running from my house is not my favorite (by a long shot).  It’s a lovely road with wide shoulders that runs along a lake, yes, but it’s also a busy rural arterial with rolling hills and blind curves.  And it’s a FAST road – the posted 35 MPH speed limit is widely ignored.  The only time traffic is reasonably quiet is first thing in the morning, and only on Sundays does “first thing” extend past the 7:00 am commute.  However, there's not time to drive to one of my preferred routes on weekday mornings when there's work and school to get to.  So, a weekday morning run means a run on my street.

Anyway.  Back to Tuesday night.  Super-busy work day, left early for the back-to-school open house to meet teachers/see friends/hug fellow moms and catch up a little.  Home to get kids fed, get showers, set out clothes, pack lunches.  Then bedtime, except…can’t sleep.  Brain won’t stop.  AAAUGH.  Up to couch with a chamomile tea latte and the laptop for an hour, then back to bed. No luck, still awake.


Right about then – 1:00 am – is when I said “no” to that planned 5:45 am run.

Dozed a bit over the next few hours, but when the early-run alarm went off I slapped it down.  Twenty minutes later when the normal alarm went off I slapped it down, too.  Realizing the futility of laying there any longer, I got up to make a large pot of coffee and drown the night’s sorrows in it.

You can still run, my mind whispered.

I looked out the window.  Only the tiniest line of light on the horizon.  I’d forgotten – it’s September, and the sun doesn’t rise at 5:00 am anymore.  I had not prepared for dark.

No. too dark, my inner grouch shot back.

Washed a few dishes while the coffee perked.  Wandered toward the couch with a cup in hand and lingered at the window.  Starting to brighten.

Sigh.  No.

Sat down with the laptop.  Not much new in the five overnight hours since I last checked.  Looked at the clock – 6:07 am.

There’s still time…and if not now, when?

…and before my grouch could shut me down I got up, changed, grabbed my son’s reflective vest and whispered to the kids that I’d be back.

It was chilly and perfectly clear, the entire sky was  light but the sun hadn’t yet crested the horizon.  I startled a young deer in the driveway and watched it bound across the meadow with her sibling. A slight haze of fog hung over the bottom of the driveway, but the road was clear.  I headed toward a marker about a mile away.  The mirror-still lake reflected the apricot sky and trees on the shoreline and the mountain on the skyline.  Just a few cars passed me as I ran – as well as four school buses headed out to pick up their charges for the first time this year. A few cyclists commuting with their panniers nodded and waved.  Near the finish a line of cars passed, held back by the one in front driving the posted speed limit.

I could not believe I almost let this go.

The rollers were barely noticed, the run felt easy at a good clip.  The vest was comfortable to run in, my shoes stayed tied, my key didn’t jingle in my pocket – none of the usual annoyances.  I didn’t stop running until I was back in my driveway.  Almost perfect.

Back at the door, my final reward:


To think, what I almost missed.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Training recap – August 27 - September 2

Woohoo! 22 miles on the week! As far as running, this was the week when everything clicked.  Just what I needed after a couple tough ones – and a huge confidence builder headed into the tapering stretch.

The plan was:  A 5-miler, a 3-mile or two, and a 10-mile long run – my longest run prepping for the half-marathon.

The reality:

Monday – 3.34 miles, 36:09
Met up with Soozan for an easy lunch run for the first time in a few weeks.  So good to chat with my friend and catch up!  She’s got her big cycling trip coming up and she is SO ready.

Wednesday – 6.2 miles, 59:38
Yeah, I wrote about this one.  Just. Awesome.

Thursday – 2.8 miles, 28:10
I was sore after Wednesday’s effort, but wanted to enjoy the day.  Finally managed to dial back the first mile pace to an acceptable warmup and accelerated as I went.  Splits were 10:27, 10:15, and 7:28 (9:24 pace).  And since the cafeteria had stuffed baked potatoes for lunch (yum! And what better recovery food, really?) I just put my money in my pocket and finished my run there.  Got some awesome looks for that one, I tell ya. (hee!)
Saturday – 10.0 miles, 1:40:41
I wrote about this one, too.  This was a great one to get done.  It was long, I was alone, I was having difficulty with the equipment I was carrying, but got through it all and kept about a ten-minute average pace (“average” being the operative word, splits ranged from 8:09 to 11:33 and not in any particular order).  After this run, I am fully confident that my A-goal for You Go Girl! is within reach as long as I execute properly (i.e. don’t screw up).

Planned for this week:
Time to start scaling back a bit.  Plan to run two or three times during the week, 3-4 miles per time, and do 7-8 miles next weekend.  Oh – and Portland Marathon registration for 2013 opens this week.  I WILL be registered by the end of the week.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Ten miles – DONE.

Done, done, done.  Love saying that.  Love the way it rolls off the tongue, how it feels in my mouth as I say it, how it feels in my legs (that “good hurt” thing, yeah right), how it feels in my lungs.  That’s a good feeling.

It doesn’t feel “good” when I’m running, necessarily.  Sometimes that “good hurt” is missing the “good” part.  Sometimes slogging through ten more steps feels like a step too far.  Sometimes it’s not a nice feeling to be alone on the sidewalk, no one in sight, no cars passing – less peaceful, more lonely.  It occurred to me this morning that I will need some strategies for that as I keep going toward the marathon.

Speaking of which… according to the newsletter, registration for the 2013 Portland Marathon opens today. I am so excited!!!  BUT – the website hasn’t been updated, no matter how many (dozens of) times I refresh the page.  Bah.  But maybe waiting will have its advantages.  I am toying with the idea of using my marathon training as a fundraising vehicle for a small non-profit I like… sort of like the “Team in Training” model, but not quite… obviously I need to do more research.  That’s in progress.  (But, yeesh, couldn’t I at least see the fees???  There are budgets to plan, people!)

The run itself – it was a tough one to get done.  I think I psyched myself out a bit – ten miles! All by myself! Oh my!  The Math Teacher is off for the holiday weekend, but I still kept our usual starting time.  It was chilly starting out, not quite 50 degrees, and being tired I decided to keep my jacket on.  I started out by reversing my usual route, so that lovely mile-long downhill-to-Starbucks that I usually finish with was my opening mile uphill.  Before that first mile was done, my jacket was tied around my waist, my Nuun bottles were leaking and splattering down my legs, and my belt pack was trying to ride up past my navel.  GAH.  Thank heavens it was 6:30 in the morning, far fewer people heard me muttering bad things at all of it.

I short-cut the loop slightly so I could get back to the car as quickly as possible, so when I dropped all that crap gear back in the car I was shy of 4.5 miles.  (Oh, but so worth it – the sheer lightness of running with just a Gu and a car key in my fanny pocket…)  As I started back out the “normal” way, some of the running groups were out.  It’s fun to watch organized groups – or even the less-organized gaggles – running together.  I was never much of an athlete, and seeing the camaraderie of the team is inspiring.  Had to add a bit to the return route to make my ten, but managed to correctly do the math in my head and hit the target spot-on – even before coffee!

Smartest move of the day – bringing dry clothes and compression socks to change into at the coffee shop.  I’d arranged to meet a friend for coffee at the end of the run, and it was so nice to sit comfortably.

Not quite the same run recap I usually do – here’s the splits, for the heck of it…  Kinda all over the place, huh.  Something else to work in the next phase.


I’m ready to get on with it.  I’m ready to start tapering and get to the start line.  Antsy, even.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I ran a 10K on my lunch break!

That’s something I didn’t think I’d be able to say in this lifetime.

By my plan, I needed to get in five miles today.  Since I’m sorta drawing from three or four similar training plans, I reviewed them all to see what the goals ought to be 2.5 weeks out from the race.  One plan had “6 miles total, 4 @ HMP”, which intrigued me.  Hmm… my half-marathon pace is slated at 10:15… I could do five miles at that in an hour, easy… and I think I could maintain that time…okay, that’s the plan. 
Then I thought – is there a way I could do six?
I checked my calendar.  Bookended meetings, to be sure, but there was a lovely 90 minutes free between morning and afternoon.  I’ve got the flexibility to make up time before and after official hours, so if I added a mile, I’d have some buffer time built in… why not just decide on the fly?
I’d already been managing my food all morning (that’s been an issue past few weeks, so being VERY CAREFUL to eat a good amount of run fuel), so I thought I’d be okay.  Chowed a cheese stick while I changed, and stuck a Gu in my skirt pocket.  Chose not to carry water, since there’s four easy fountains on this route.  Okay, got Gu, got a water plan, got hat, got watch – GO!
I set my watch to show lap pace for the first mile, to try and get a handle on the going-out-too-fast issue.  That helped me be aware of it, but it was calculating wild swings as it locked on to satellites (I assume – or it was just having a day. Whatever.) so I switched back to the regular display.  It’s easy enough to gauge 10-minute-mile pace in the first couple miles from a total time and a distance display, right?  Even so, with trying to pay attention, my first split came in a bit too fast.  But it didn’t feel awful – that’s a good sign.  I dialed it back for a little bit and that worked.
Almost to the three mile mark, I ran into a colleague I hadn’t seen in years.  Loved the chance to stop and catch up!  (She retired!  How had I not known?  Must pay attention more.)  Quick sweaty hug after a few minutes’ chat, then back to it.  I was only about 50 feet from the water fountain, so I pounded my Gu while I walked that bit.
Next up was The Hill Mile, but I felt good.  My pace was still super-fast, so I knew I’d be fine to take the extra minute on this mile.  Except – I didn’t need it.  I RAN THE WHOLE THING.  First time!  No stops, no walks, just kept moving forward.  I teased myself  out – you can walk when you get to the corner.  No, you can walk when you get to the bridge.  No, you’ve gotten this far, you can make it to the stoplight. 
So now, it’s decision time.  Five miles, or six?  I checked my watch – I only needed to add about .6 miles to the straight-in route to hit six.  Time was still really good – no danger of being late.  Okay, go for six!  Detoured into a neighborhood to add some distance.  I thoroughly enjoy watching the houses in the area go through their seasonal changes, watch the enhancements, the new paint jobs, the gardening projects, all of it.  I hadn’t run through this area in several months, so the differences were obvious.
Almost done… and it occurred to me – wait, just need two-tenths for a 10k.  You don’t have  a time for a 10k.  Why not?  I started looping through the last few blocks like a playlist on repeat, watching the distance on my watch until I saw it turn to that magical “6.20”.  Timer off, gasp, walk, check the time – NO WAY.  I really just did that in 59:38?  LESS THAN ONE HOUR???
Cue major giddiness.  Cue coworkers asking where the bear came from that must have been chasing me.
Lots of wins in this run:
  • The Hill Mile?  Yep. I’ll say it again: RAN THE WHOLE THING.  Didn’t stop even once.  Yet another first/PR!
  • Didn’t get distracted at the running store when I grabbed water, either.  ;)
  • I think this qualifies as my first (accidental) tempo run.  And check out those last 2 miles!
  • Not to mention, since I have no 10K races under my belt, that makes for an instant – if unofficial – PR!

So.  The morning after.  Ouch – I’m super-sore and my legs were twitchy all night, so I gave up on sleep at 4:00 am.  I REALLY must take the time to stretch or cool down or something after runs.  However, the particular logistical shenanigans required to use an only-slightly-extended lunch break to run for a full sixty minutes AND still clean up (thank you, baby wipes) and be on time to the post-lunch meeting don’t really bode well for any after-sixty-minutes-running ramping down, unfortunately – so I don’t see a lot more six-mile lunch runs in my near future.  But it felt important to get this one in, to make the miles for this week, and also to clear my head after a particularly challenging assignment (note to self – brainstorming sessions are aptly named, they can be of varying strength from showers to hurricanes and usually have a lot of aftermath to clean up).
But what strikes me about this run is that I set a stretch goal, with several truly-legitimate opportunities to reduce it, and I chose to hit it.  CHOOSING to hit the goal I set, especially in athletic endeavors, has never been my strength.  The giddiness I had from hitting this run lasted ALL STINKING DAY (just ask my co-workers) and through the night. I’m still giddy, actually – just a tad more tempered in my expression of it.
Today, I will run three very-slow very-easy miles on that lunch break.  And I will savor every minute of it.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Training recap – August 19-26

This was supposed to be a relatively high-mileage week.  This was supposed to be 18-20 miles all told.  Unfortunately, if you looked at the last few posts, you saw all that went to pot pretty darn quick.

The plan was:  A 5-miler, a 3-mile or two, and a 10-mile long run – my longest run prepping for the half-marathon.

The reality:

Monday – 3.0 miles, 32:00
I’d taken the day off of work, so I was free to go out in the afternoon while my kids were at their practice.  I took off with every intention of four miles.  But… mid-afternoon and 82 degrees clearly did not agree with me. Neither did my gear. I could not stop messing with my bottle belt – it kept riding up toward my ribs rather than staying where it was supposed to on my hips (it apparently doesn’t like my running skirt. Boo.). I struggled hard to find a pace, I struggled hard to remember to breathe.  And then I just gave in and walked the last mile back.  And while I walked back I began obsessing on why my Monday runs were so rotten the past few weeks…

So I lost a night’s sleep on this.  And then I looked up “insomnia as overtraining symptom”.  Yep, I did.  And then I wrote a post, begging for input from the blogosphere.  And then I lost another night’s sleep.  (Because, yeah, my tendency toward insomnia far predates any running experience… grrr….)  And then, after some point, I clicked on my training log on Dailymile.

Oh.  Huh.  So, I went from averaging nine-to-eleven miles per week, to two weeks no running, to two straight 16-mile-plus weeks.  Think that might have something to do with this? (duh.)

Wednesday – 3.0 miles, 30:21
So I still wanted to keep some running this week, but I knew I had to step it down just a bit.  Wednesday’s schedule didn’t lend itself to a mid-day run, so instead I ran after work – eked out two laps and willed myself to keep moving.  I still prefer morning or mid-day runs, but it seems like I can make it through these evening runs without completely dying. 

Saturday – 5.0 miles, 59:24
So I took the rest of the week off from running, rested, ate, lost my car, yada yada.  On Saturday when I met up with the Math Teacher I had a hankering to run – a good feeling after two days off.  We had originally agreed to five miles together, and stuck to that plan.  It was chillier than I’d expected, and I was glad I’d decided on a long-sleeve shirt.  We kept near 11:30 miles and only walked The Hill and only partway – success!  When we finished I felt like I could have run longer, but I chose to stick to the plan for the day.  And I had fun playing dress-up in my new capri running skirt and my new shoes – how much better can it get? J

Planned for this week:
I think the low-miles week did the trick – I’m better rested, and longing to be out in the air on a run.  Since last week’s plan went south, I think I’ll repeat what I had planned for it – two three-milers and a five-miler during the week, and then get my 10-mile long run in next Saturday.  It’s less than three weeks to the race!

Friday, August 24, 2012

what running does for me...

(as noted by its absence, anyway)

So, I've been good.  Didn't run yesterday, didn't run today.  Focusing on resting my body and eating (yeah, forgot about that a little bit too).  All for the good, right?

Mmmm... notsomuch.

My brain is fuzzy.  My concentration is off.  I'm easily distracted.  And I keep thinking, Hm, maybe I should go for a run.

The best part?  (You'll love this one.)

Left work tonight and headed to the parking garage.  Exited the stairs on the second level and pressed the "unlock" button on my key.

No sound.

Press it again.  Crickets.

Walk over to my "usual" parking area, saw all the other "usual" cars, but not mine.

Was my car stolen?

Standing stock still in the middle of the driving lane (!!!), I'm trying to retrace my morning steps.  Dropped the kids, skipped the Starbucks... got on the highway... so if I got on the highway, I would have come in through...


Back to the stairs.  Down to the third level.  Step out of the stairwell and hit the button.

beep beep!

Yes, people, I was on the wrong floor.

I think that's enough data for a correlating relationship between running and memory, as demonstrated by lack of both.  And this, my friends, is why I run.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

of mileage and misery (and new shoes!)

Wow.  I think I figured out what might be going on…

I suppose bumping my average from 10-miles-per-week to 17-miles-per-week will take a toll, huh… {facepalm}
The scratchy throat, sneezy nose, and general headache/bodyache could either be my fighting something, my fighting fatigue/insomnia, and/or the goofy weather swings (yeah, highs of 95-on-Friday to 68-on-Saturday will do crazy things to a body).  So all that’s being paid due attention, along with plenty of fluids and vitamins.  I might even go crazy and just wear jeans the rest of the week. J

New plan:

·         This week – lower the volume, maybe 11-12 miles.  Did three today, plus my three on Monday.  Not sure if I will run again before Saturday (we’ll play that by ear) and then Saturday’s run will be five miles – more only if I’m really feeling good.
·         Next week – 18-20 miles, with the ten-miler long run over Labor Day weekend.
·         Week following – start taper – maybe 15 miles-ish, long run at 7-8 miles
·         Week after that – RACE WEEK!!!  So a couple three-milers earlier in the week, then get ready to go!

(Wow.  It’s really that soon.  I need to get my energy back so I can get excited!)
Today was slated to be a five-miler, but after a nutty day of back-to-back-to-back meetings and the aforementioned sneezy-scratchiness, it took every ounce of energy to go change into running clothes.  I stopped at the lake on the way home and eked out two laps (and again, it took everything I had to start that second lap).  So, 3.00 miles, 30:21.  Nothing overly special.  (and yes, I cannot believe that I’m referring to 10:07 miles as “nothing overly special”.  Wow, my running expectations have changed in the last year!)

And in other fun news – new shoes! 

My pretty purple Asics Gel-Landreth 7 arrived today!  Bummer that I found them as I got home from my run (on the neighbor’s porch, no less – really, UPS?) but I’m sooooo excited about the shoes.  (Don’t worry, I know better than to think I’m going to wear them for this race.)  Back in about 2006 I began beating a pair of Gel-Landreths into the ground – I still have them, with Speed Laces, and they’ve got about a gazillion miles on them (they are now my gardening shoes, recently retired from being my under-the-desk walk-around-the-block shoes at work).  My absolute favorite ever pair of running shoes, and the new version feels lovely and cushy-soft on my feet.  I’m packing them in my run bag for the rest of this week! (along with a broken-in pair, just in case.)

So, that’s my (running) life right now.  How’s yours?