Sunday, July 29, 2012

I Made a New Friend!

Today Maddux decided we should get up at 7am, an hour and a half earlier than I set my alarm.  After a quick walk and breakfast, he went promptly to the couch.  Guess he didn't want us to miss any more of the Olympics.

Lookin' good, USA
Today, no lies, is a rest day.  I kicked it off by volunteering with Maddux's mothership, which is where I met my new friend!

Meet Bama :-)
Bama is a sweet, sweet girl and I had so much fun hanging out with her today while she waited to find her forever home.  While she was really nervous around new people (there was A LOT going on, who could blame her?), we quickly became besties.  Even though I love getting to love on the adoptable dogs when I volunteer, I'm always thankful to be back with my pup when I get home.

Maddux, you are OBVIOUSLY my #1
Yesterday I took my speed work to the treadmill.  I was nervous to do it outside after my less than stellar outdoor runs this week, plus I knew that I would be able to push myself to meet my times if I was on the 'mill.  You know, run or fall off.  

My ~55 minute workout looked like this:

1.0 incline
.5 mi warm up at 6.3 
.5 mi 7.1 (3 minutes of walking between each interval)
.5 mi 7.1
.5 mi 7.2
.5mi 7.1-7.2 
.5 mi 7.2
.5 mi 7.2-7.6
.65 mi cool down 6.3
~4.15 miles of running total in 35:11

I was really happy with my effort.  It felt hard, but strong the entire time.  I'm actually surprised at how the intervals kept my interest.  I didn't get bored and it was fun pushing myself.  Hopefully this will come in handy on race day :-)

On a more random note, remember that time I made homemade granola?  Well, I found a recipe that I like more AND it was much easier to make.  

Browned, not burnt

Basically, you melt 2 tbsp of honey and 2 tbsp of peanut butter together, mix in 1 cup of oats, 1/4 tsp of vanilla, and 1/4 tsp of cinnamon, and bake at 325 degrees for 7-8 minutes on a greased cookie sheet.  No constant stirring required.  Thanks Julie at PB Fingers for making my life better!  Your recipe rocks.

I'll leave you with another picture of the love of my life since I talked about another dog probably more than he would like.  Hope you're having a happy weekend!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Lindsey Likes to....Walk?

I told a fib.  Yesterday was not a rest day.  I woke up fully intending to take a break, but I had SO much energy.  I'm not really sure where it came from because I've been totally embracing this whole lazy summer thing.  Since my favorite walking buddy is still out of commission, I decided to head to the gym for an elliptical workout.

I'll be here when you get back.

I took it pretty easy, but it felt good to work up a sweat and get my body moving a little.  My 45 minute work out looked like this:

5 minute warm up
1 minute focusing on pushing with arms
1 minute focusing on pulling with arms
1 minute "sprint"
1 minute increased level (from 7 to 9)
1 minute recovery
5 minute backwards 
Repeat until 5 minute cool down

I've found that continuously mixing it up on the elliptical makes the time go by waaay faster and keeps me from getting bored.  

When I got home I made sure to stretch extra well since I was still planning on running today.  Maddux supervised to make sure I held each stretch long enough.  

Excuse me, you're not stretching.
I must have done a pretty good job, because by the time I was done with my stretches this happened:

Sleepy pup.

I also did my usual arm workout  (10 front raises, 10 tricep kickbacks, 10 bicep curls, 10 overhead tricep thingies, repeat to do three sets)  and some planks while I watched Rachael Ray.  I only use 5 pound weights, but it keeps my arms from getting too jiggly :-)

Today something miraculous happened.  I made it out the door and started my run before 9am  (8:50 to be exact).  I even foam rolled before!  The first 15 minutes or so felt pretty good, but then I just started to get hot and I got this weird tightness in my hips.  I took so many walk breaks during the run.  To give you an idea, I ran for 45:30 and didn't finish my run until 9:50.  That's almost 15 minutes of walking.  My (uncalibrated) Nike+ said that I ran 4.16.  Ugh.  However, I don't have too many problems believing it today...  On the plus side, I had a strong finish and made sure to give it my all for the final minute.  

I think the highlight of today's run was discovering some other little pieces of trail that go off the main loop of the park I was at today.  This park definitely has long run potential and it was fun exploring the different parts of the trail today.  There's lots of shade on the side trails and it's SO pretty.  Having great scenery makes running so much more enjoyable, especially when it's feeling tough. 

Thinking about my outdoor runs lately, I've decided that I really need to just practice running in the heat  with real terrain.  While the treadmill runs have been an awesome confidence booster, I don't think it's doing me many favors in training for an outdoor race.  Since I just registered for a 15k during Labor Day weekend, I figure I need as much outdoor training as I can get so that my body doesn't take the heat as a complete shock.  As we've established, in hot weather I have no problem taking walk/water breaks, but I think now my focus should be on figuring out when I really need water and walk breaks and when I just really want to stop for a minute.  Today I stopped twice for water and that felt pretty good for today's heat (low 80s).   

On a happier note, I celebrated being done with today's run with a homemade frappuccino.  

No Cesars included.
Since I've been on my saving money on nonessentials kick, I've experimented a little in the kitchen to give me some alternatives to my beloved Starbucks.  I've found that tossing some ice cubes, strong (cooled) coffee, milk, a hot chocolate packet, and a few chocolate chips has given me something comparable to a $4 sbux drink.  Pour it in a Starbucks cup and it's practically the same thing, right? :-)

I've also been making smoothies a lot this summer.  I'm sure my neighbors are LOVING all the blender noises coming from my apartment lately.

This weekend I will be having a second go at speed work with a planned 6x800!  I'm excited after the last workout.  It's definitely a new kind of challenge for me!  Happy Friday! 


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Running Thoughts

I've been thinking a lot about running the past couple days (probably because it's been extra hard) and I have some thoughts that probably won't blend together as well as I'm hoping so here goes:

Running is hard.

The past few days have been rough.  My legs have felt like lead.  Yesterday I couldn't bare the thought of running on the treadmill after all the quality time I had spent on it Sunday, and I had a 45 minute run to do.  It was hot, but it was also kind of sprinkling out so I figured that it might balance it out a little.  Turns out, it did not.  I felt like my entire body hurt (yes, that's probably a little dramatic).  The little bit of rain there was stopped pretty much as soon as I started so I was left with just thick, humid air.  Ultimately, the run sucked and I stopped.   I contemplated going and finishing up on the treadmill with a huge water bottle and my ipod to keep me company, but I decided it wasn't just a mental thing.  Which leads me to my next thought.

Rest days are important.

Sunday I was feeling pretty good about myself.  It was my first double digit run since March and I managed to hold down a pretty decent pace for a longer run.  My calves were crazy tight Sunday night, but by Monday afternoon I decided that I should do just a little run (literally a mile) to warm up for my yoga DVD I was going to do.  Instead I ended up doing a different workout that included a lot of squats.  Probably not my smartest idea.  I realize that 10 miles isn't all that long for some people, and some people are throwing down double digit runs like it's their job.  That isn't the case for me.  That was a huge deal for this body and I should have just let it rest.  I paid the price for it Tuesday.  Tomorrow I am giving myself a complete day of rest that will hopefully be enjoyed lounging by the pool.

Beautiful days are meant for trails, not treadmills.

Yesterday I checked out the weather and found that I would have almost perfect summer conditions to run in which made me happier than you will probably know.  I've been in a treadmill rut, and I've had this weird need to run outside.  I set my alarm so I would have plenty of time to walk Maddux, drink coffee, and eat breakfast  before I went.  I don't know how people run on an empty stomach.  I feel like I have to eat breakfast right away, even if it's just a granola bar to get me going.  Then again, I live to eat.

My alarm went off, and I promptly turned it off and went back to bed.  Maddux didn't seem to notice, and usually he takes over the job of the alarm clock.  I figured this was a good sign that I should sleep (lazy).  Maddux did pull it together about 20 minutes later and made sure I was out of bed ready to start our day.

Yeah, he got right back in bed after he got breakfast.    
Even though I was excited to run outside on the trail, it was still hard to get out the door.  I know 9:00 is not early by any means, but my body typically isn't ready to break a sweat until a little later.

Maddux refused to look at me until I was back from my run.  Where's the love?
Eventually I made it out to the trail.  Running outside was the best decision I could have made.  The shade made it pretty near perfect for a summer run and it was so nice to see so many people out exercising, whether it was running, walking, or biking.  Sorry for no awesome pictures, but I typically don't run with my phone, so you'll have to use your imagination. :-)  

Although the weather was fantastic, I can't say my run was.  I'm going three for three with tough runs this week.  My legs just felt tight (not as lead like as yesterday) and it took me a long time to get warmed up.  The downhills and flat parts were ok, but I could definitely feel it in my quads on the uphills.  While I didn't take any walk breaks this time around, I did take several water breaks.

When you have a corgi water bottle, you WANT to drink lots of water.

My Nike+ said I did about 4.5 miles in 47 minutes.  I hope this isn't accurate.  I know it was slow, but man.  I can kick out 5 miles in less time than that on a good day.  I know the longer run on the treadmill got me off track a little bit calibration wise, and switching form inside to outside messes it up, too.  One day, I'm going to invest in something with satellites so I get a more accurate reading.  Or I could start paying a little more attention so I can make a slightly accurate guess.  

The rest of the day is going to be for relaxing with my pup and hopefully getting some work done.  Summer is winding down and my to-do list is not.  

Beautiful days are also for lounging on the porch.
I am coming up with my game plan for my 11.5 mile long run next week to hopefully ease some of the boredom and issues I had with my last long run.  Stay tuned for what is sure to be a rock solid, golden plan.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Probably TMI

First off, Maddux is a survivor!  

Maddux was ok with resting.  We love naps :-)

I got in a run at the trail after I dropped him off to keep my mind off what was going on at the vet.  I don't know if I just had too much on my mind or if it was the fact that it was already over 80 degrees a little after 8am, but it was not the awesome run I was anticipating.  It just felt hard.  Normally if I am close to making 5 miles during my 45 minute runs I just keep going until I've hit it.  Not this time.  As soon as my watch hit 45 minutes I was done.  A few hours later the vet called and told me I could pick up my little boy.  I think the vet office workers may have made fun of me a little.  The tech said "Wow, I can tell you really missed him," when I went to pick him up.  Is it that obvious?  Maddux is recovering really well and except for the spot where he actually got the shot, you can't even tell anything is wrong with him.  Woo!

My run schedule got a little off again this week.  My little brother came to visit!  Wednesday it was 104 degrees out, so I managed to convince him to go to the outlets with me for a little shopping.  

There was also beer.  That probably made shopping a little better for him.

Thursday it was still a little warm, but we decided to go and see the sights of DC.  Since we were getting some quality walking time in I decided to put off my run until Friday.  Ben finally got to see the highlights.  We started at the Lincoln Memorial and made our way around the Tidal Basin to the Jefferson Memorial.

Hey DC, meet my little bro!
It was nice to have someone to explore with.  I feel like so often I miss out on doing cool things because I'm over the traffic in this area.  When you deal with it the entire work week you aren't too excited to go back in it later, but I'm pretty sure seeing the sights will never get old.  Days like this remind me of why I love living where I do and how lucky I am.  I like when people come visit me so I can pretend that I am an awesome tour guide.  

I'm pretty sure Maddux is going to be this big after he's done with steroids.

Friday I got my butt out the door for another run.  I ran on the treadmill (surprise) and I was pleasantly surprised that it went much better than I expected.  I had a little bit of a cold the past couple of days, and when I finished up my 5 miles in 46:19 I was pretty excited.  I felt a little tired going in, but after I eased into the run it was actually really good.  Ben is a huge Braves fans, and lucky for him, his visit coincided with the Braves/Nationals game.  

Ben tried to cut out my Nats shirt.  Also, we are happy because it wasn't raining yet.  The Nats also hadn't blown their lead yet.  Gotta say, it was not their best night.

The game ended up going into extra innings after the Nats decided it would be fun to blow a 9 run lead.    I think I hit a record for staying up late.  I'm an old lady when it comes to staying up, but made it until 2AM(?!?!).  Needless to say, I did not get up early to run on Saturday.  I had 10 miles on the calendar, but decided to push it until today because my friend and I were going to Gonzo Fest at Flying Dog.  I mean, "Good people drink good beer."  It was definitely worth postponing the run for good beer and fun.

I kept putting off the run today.  I got to another late start (lazy weekend, anyone?) and was in serious need of groceries.  My fridge looked so sad.  I reasoned that after running 10 miles I would need to refuel so of course I had to go shopping first.  I didn't end up getting to the gym until almost 5pm.  I decided to take it nice and slow.  I wasn't feeling confident at all about this run.  Physically I felt fine.  I was a little worried about my IT band because I could definitely feel a little strain on my run on Friday, but other than that I had no reason to think it would be a bad run or that I couldn't finish.  I foam rolled like a champion a few times today to help alleviate that worry.  I'm really happy to report that I didn't have an ounce of IT band pain this time around!  I kept the incline on .5 until mile 5 and then I wimped out and dropped it back down to 0.  My pace ranged from 6.0-6.2 (10:00-9:40ish) and overall there really wasn't anything remarkable about this run.  There were a few times when I struggled mentally.  I counted to 100 and back to 0 a few times and that helped pass some of the time.  I stopped for water every couple miles and then had a strong finish for my last mile.  I finished my 10 miles in just under 97 minutes.


Ready for the TMI?
After my run I took Maddux out to the dog park.  I knew I should eat something really quick before, but my aunt called right when I was walking in the door and between trying to talk to her and get Mad Dog out to pee, I just didn't think about it.  As I went to pick up after my pup, it hit me.  My stomach cramped and I knew that I had to make a mad dash back to my apartment.  Later, I tried to eat a turkey sandwich and it took me a long time to choke it all down after my stomach finally settled down.  This has happened now several times after my longer runs.  I don't remember having these issues in college, and I will tell you they are very memorable ailments.  I'm not really sure what changed.  I think I'm going to talk to a doctor about it, but I'm thinking that I am losing too much salt during my longer runs.  I am a disgusting sweater (work hard, sweat hard, right?) and even though I try to drink gatorade, I think I need to do a little more to avoid this nonsense.  It's not fun and to be honest, it's kind of embarrassing, especially after races.  I practically had to knock someone out of my way in my haste to get to the bathroom at the Hot Chocolate 15k.  I know, nothing anybody wanted to know, but part of having a running blog is sharing the good, the bad, and oh yes, the ugly, too.

On that note, I will end this oh so lovely post.  Hopefully I will have some answers soon so that there will be more good (and even bad) and not so much ugly up here.  Have a happy running week!  

Monday, July 16, 2012

New Places

So back in May I ran in a local 5k.  Part of it went through a trail and I thought it was really pretty and made a mental note to go back.  Things got busy and needless to say I never made it back out to that trail.  I always like to take Maddux with me the first time I go to a new potential running spot, just to check out the area and make sure it's not sketchy.  My little boy has to go in to get some treatments at the vet tomorrow and will have to lay low for a few months.  I figured today was our last chance to go exploring together for a while, so I took Maddux to the park which is only about ten minutes away from my house.  Why did it take me so long to get there again?

When we got to the park we couldn't find a map, so I figured we would just stick to the shady areas and wander around a little.  There was a pretty lake and lots of trash cans which is a plus for dog walking.  Maddux was so happy and I was really glad we got one last good adventure in before the down time.

 Water Break!

After I dropped Maddux off I decided to go back out to the trail and explore a little more.  There were lots of little families there and it looked like a good place to run from what I saw with my pup.

It turns out that the lake we saw is almost a mile around (with mile markers on the pavement!!), but it branches off at one point to connect to another park.  I didn't really have any plans for this run.  I have this weird thing about making it 30 minutes, but it was HOT.  When the temperatures are up I have no shame when it comes to walking and water breaks.  I tried to relax and just enjoy the park and not worry too much about breaking any records today.  I was excited to see some wildlife on my run.  I live in a pretty urban area, and I feel like I don't see little woodland critters as often as I would like.  I'm definitely a country girl at heart.  I saw a mama deer with her two little fawns and they were so, so cute.  There were also a ton of geese, and not gonna lie, I was a little worried that they would turn on me because they didn't seem phased at all when I ran by.  Not to get too off topic, but I have a very valid fear of birds.  Perhaps we will discuss it one day, but hopefully I won't have a real reason to share my stories.  According to my Nike+, I ran a little over 3 miles in 30 minutes.  I probably lost about 10 pounds in sweat alone.      

Much to my sister's amusement, I made my first (in my opinion) run nerd purchase today.  This little number is on its way to me as we speak.

(Thanks Amazon for the picture!)

I have been thinking about this for a while now.  Back in November I ran in a little 5k, and I realized that my winter pants had nowhere to hold my car key.  Most of my shorts have the little hideaway pocket in them, so I never really thought about it too much.  Then, in March my friend rushed our bags to bag check while I stood desperately in line for the Porta-potties at the half marathon.  Had I had this nice belt, I would have been able to hold my Metro card and car key in there and it would have been one less step.  I feel silly checking a bag for two tiny things.  Anyway, people who reviewed the product said they usually forget that it was on because it stays in place so well and is light.  I will keep you posted.  I am a little skeptical.    

A recent buy that I can rave about is the Champion Racer Back Compression Sports Bra.  

Yay Target and inexpensive, yet effective sports bras!  This is probably one of the least expensive sports bras I've tried, and it's the most comfortable one I have yet.  It's done its job staying in place even on my longer runs and I love it.  I also love how they are in fun colors.  

Now I am off to cuddle my pup before his big day tomorrow.  I am planning on running while he is at the vet so that I don't think too much about it.  Luckily, he has the best aunt ever and we got a nice care package to help us through the tough times! (Chocolate and candy for me and a toy and treats for Mad Dog!)

Wish us luck tomorrow! :-)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Need for Speed

Exciting news: I did my first speed workout yesterday!  My training plan called for 4 x 800s and to be honest, I was really nervous about this.  I recruited my nice friend to run with me because I knew if I was wearing my watch then I would stare at it the whole time and psych myself out.  I also figured I would push myself harder if I had someone there with me.  I know that 4 isn't a whole lot, but it was a great way to ease into this new element of my training plan and I'm really happy with my effort.  It went so much better and my confidence is definitely up.  It helps that my friend volunteered to do some of the other workouts with me.  I find a loop on the trail I run on that is .5 miles (convenient) and it ends on a nice flat surface.  It makes workouts much more entertaining having a good friend and a good location.  

Here's how the workout went:

.5 mile warm up: 4:45
.5: 4:00
Walk 3 minutes
.5 mile: 4:05
Walk 3 minutes
.5 mile: 4:05
Walk 3 minutes
.5 mile: 3:58
Walk 3 minutes
Cool down until my Nike+ watch said 3 miles, but I'm pretty sure it was a little over that.
Total (according to Nike+): 3.05 in 27:11.

Not bad.  I know for a lot of people an 8 mile pace is not a challenge.  My training plan officially said "half mile repeats 15 seconds faster than goal pace."  My goal race pace is realistically a 9:35-9:40.  I'll be really happy if I can hold that down for 13.1 miles and I'm pretty sure that I will be able to PR if I can do that (AH!).  My friend encouraged me to run faster because in his words "you need to push if you want to be your best."   Good point, Friend.  Thanks for running with me.  By the end of my plan I  have to do 6 miles worth of repeats.  Whoa.  I'm hoping those with my increase in miles and by building up (it's one extra mile each time, every other week) that I will be able to keep hitting these faster paces.

That's the news on the running front!  I was sore today so I did my yoga DVD instead of anything hardcore.  I'm planning on going out and running tomorrow.  Gotta start the week off right. :-)  

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Vacations > Running

It's been a busy past couple of weeks.  A couple of weeks ago there was a crazy storm and we lost power for a few days.  It wouldn't have been so bad, except for the fact that we were in a middle of a heat wave and it was brutal.  Luckily, my cousin was flying back into the country after a year in Spain and my aunt and uncle had to drive by my house to pick her up.  They offered to take Maddux and me in for the weekend and we gratefully accepted their invitation to escape sweltering temperatures.

I'm ready, Mom!  Are you?

It was great to spend some time with my family and I definitely ate better than I would have had I stayed at home.  Since we lacked power I was planning to live off peanut butter, chocolate chips, and my homemade granola!  We went enough days without power that my fridge food couldn't be saved. :-(

About 50% of the time I manage to include my finger in the pic.  You know, gotta be the center of attention.  

Just FYI, the granola turned out to be really good and really simple to make, but you really do have to make sure to stir constantly so it doesn't get quite as crispy as my corners did.  By the time I got home power was restored and I was feeling pretty good about life. 

I officially completed the Runner's World Summer Running Streak on July 4 and it felt oh so good.  Truthfully, I enjoyed running the mile (almost) every day and it's kind of funny how since that's been over my running has taken a downhill slide.  My nice friend and I took Maddux to Pittsburgh for the 4th of July week to visit my parents and my sister.  I thought more about baseball and beer than running.

We had to take the non-Pittsburgher to Church.  You may not know this, but on the 8th day of the creation story, man made beer.  Not sure why they would leave that out...

In the short time we were there we got a lot done.  We went on the Mount Washington Incline to show my friend the city and then walked (through a storm...) to Fat Heads.  My family will do a lot for beer.  I'm not sure my friend will ever go back to the 'burgh with me, because I'm pretty sure he is even more convinced that I am crazy, but at least he ate and drank well while he was with me, even if I made him work for it.  By the time we were done with our beer, we walked back to watch the fireworks from one of Pittsburgh's bridges.  My sister takes better pictures than I do so I am using hers.  Also, I was scared that I would drop my phone into the water because I am clumsy and I trust her more than I trust myself. 


Thursday we got to see a Pirates win (in the best park in the world...PNC park) and then the next day my friend and I headed to Kennywood.  From the Rapids ride we spied a haunted house ride and I was super excited because Halloween is my favorite holiday ever and it was like a sneak peek into October. Even better than the fact it was a haunted house, it also let you SHOOT GHOSTS.  The buggy had a laser gun and you got to shoot at targets the whole time.  We may have gone on that ride 3 times...we're both really competitive and had to beat our scores.  Saturday, it was time to go back south, but we got a nice walk in with my parents and our pups.

Sunday, I managed to run again.  It was not pretty.  I did 8.5 miles in about 81 minutes, but man it was tough.   My IT band started being a b again so I've been upping my time with my BFF the foam roller.  Monday I was still hurting going down the stairs, so I figured I would mostly foam roll and relax.  Tuesday I was feeling a little off, but usually I end up feeling better after a run.  Not true in this case.  I will spare you the details, but it was not pretty.  I finished my 5 miles, but then passed out on the couch for the rest of the day.  Today I think will be a rest day to make sure this bug or whatever it is that's ailing me is officially gone so that tomorrow I can champion through.  Happy running! :-)