Sunday, January 26, 2014

Week 13 Recap

Week 13 went by fast thanks to some surprise days off!  I mostly recapped this week in other posts, but in case of a PR I want to be able to look back and see what went right.  My fastest half marathon training notes are lost on my old college laptop, but to be honest, I don't think I'd find much there.  I just ran when I felt like it and added a mile each week to my long run up until 10 miles and then ran my half.  I had never needed or used fuel, and probably stupidly, took a gel for the first time at mile 9 of my race.  I felt fine afterwards, other then being pretty sore.   Apparently, my life should be fueled by nachos and margaritas in order to achieve perfect running balance.

I miss these days so much.

Monday: 5 hilly miles in my neighborhood.  Slow and steady on tired legs.

Wednesday: 11 miles on the 'mill.

Friday: 5 miles on the 'mill.  I pushed a little bit, but mostly just ran at an easy pace so my legs don't start to hate me later.

Total for the week: 21 miles.
Total for Shamrock Training Plan: 204.96 (Guys, you have no idea how much that .96 annoys me.  I'm tempted to go run down the street to fix it.)

Week 14 is two 45 minute runs and a 10x800 run.  Hopefully the weather will start to cooperate so I can hit the trails again soon!  I'm starting to get cabin fever!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Five Things about my Long Run

1. It happened on a Wednesday.  I was snowed in my apartment complex (I don't go anywhere when it snows) and decided to go to the gym to just get out for a little bit.  I kind of joked to my sister that I might as well get my long run out of the way, but didn't really think it would end up happening.  Then, I got to the gym and it was a ghost town.  I figured no reason not to do it when there was no telling what the options for a run would be this weekend (it's so cold.  I'm pretty sure the trails won't be passable and the 'mills are always more packed on the weekends).

2. Yep.  It happened on a treadmill.  11 miles.

3. I broke it into two sessions of 5.5.  It made it seem a little more bearable that way.  I listened to Wait! Wait! for the first half and my music for the second half.  I started with my Shot Bloks at miles 3 and took one every mile and a half to two miles with some water.  I didn't feel perfect afterwards, but I didn't feel absolutely disgusting either.  Maybe I'm starting to figure it out?

4. It felt pretty good (especially the first 6 miles).  I took the whole "long runs shouldn't be a race" thing to heart and took it nice and slow.  I really want Race Day (less than 50 days away now!) to go well and if it takes holding back a little on long run days then so be it.

5. Maaaan I wish I would have planned ahead a little better.  None of my "good" sports bras were clean so I just went with a random one I hardly ever wear (not the best choice) and when I got home I found that none of my sweat pants were clean.  You can't run 11 miles on a snowy day and put on clothes other than sweat pants.

Maddux says all that matters is that you nap afterwards.

Any fueling advice?  I think I need to start using Gatorade on my runs in addition to water, but I'm wondering if I should switch it up from Shot Bloks a little.  They've been working ok, but I'm thinking there might be a better option.

Does this count??

Happy Friday! Be sure to swing by the blogs of the Friday Five hosts: Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia!  You will not be disappointed!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Week 12--Check!

Race Day is only 52 days away!  While it may SEEM like there's a lot of time, in reality I know these next few weeks are going to fly by.  Week 12 felt a little bit stronger than Week 11, but I'm still feeling a little tired.  I haven't been settling into the paces that had become the norm for the first half of training as easily (or at all) and it's been a little discouraging.  I think as Race Day approaches I'm just going to have to keep reminding myself that I've put in a lot of hard work and to trust my training.

Tuesday night I hit the 'mill and while it wasn't my fastest 5 miles it felt significantly better than last weeks' did.  I tried to just relax and enjoy my beloved Wait! Wait! podcast and soon I was done.

On Thursday I did the 15 minute Nike Training Club "Butt Buster" workout followed by some various ab and arm exercises I did at random.  Whatever they were they must have done something because my abs were SO sore on Friday! I guess that's what happens when you neglect them for so long.  Oops.

Saturday made me one happy girl because there was a ton of sunshine!  Maddux and I headed out to one of our favorite parks and while we froze our butts off (it was in the low 20s and pretty windy!) we got almost an hour hike in thanks to the shield from the trees.  I loved watching my pup have such a great time!  After I warmed up for a while I bundled up and headed to another of our favorite parks to get in a 5 mile run.  Even though it was cold, it was just too pretty outside to do a treadmill run.  While it took my body quite a while to get warmed up, my last two miles ended up being right around where my pace had been for weeks and the miles seemed to go by really fast despite the cold.

I really love this place.

Sunday was another sunny day!  I had an 8x800 workout on the plan and at first figured I would do them on the treadmill to be sure that I would hit the paces that I needed.  I hated the thought of running inside (especially since it was warmer than Saturday!) and remembered that my Garmin has a virtual pacer option on it.  I had never used it before and wasn't quite sure what to expect, but it ended up being a great tool.  While I'm not sure I'd use it during a race (I could never get it QUITE right and it beeped.  A lot.) I will definitely use it for my upcoming intervals.   It was really nice to have a good, strong workout and I was proud of how well it went.  After a quick nap, Maddux and I headed to the park and got in a nice walk.  He got lots of compliments from a family walking their dog about how cute and well behaved he was.  So proud of my boy!

Today marks the start of Week 13 (I do my weeks Monday-Sunday) and while I would typically take a rest day after a harder run, I knew I had to take advantage of the last sunny, warm day we're supposed to have for a while.  I took a nice easy 5 mile run around my neighborhood and while my quads screamed at me for the majority of it, it was nice to have it checked off.  After a quick shower, Maddux and I headed up to Baltimore to meet up with my cousin and her husband to explore the Soldier's Delight park, one of the trails in our Doggin' Maryland book.  We had a nice, muddy hike and it was a great way to end the long weekend!

I hope everyone's week is off to a great start!

Friday, January 17, 2014

It's the Weekend!!

After a ridiculous long week (aren't they all before three day weekends?) it is finally the weekend!  After traveling and having lots of different things going on, I'm excited to have a no plan weekend.   I'm looking forward to getting back into some of my regular weekend routines like:

1. Making pancakes.  The best way to ensure weekend happiness.

2. Going to the park.  I haven't been in AGES.  I do a lot of my long runs on another trail because I don't have to repeat as many sections, but I'm really looking forward to heading back to one of my favorite spots.  I'm hoping the weather holds out for me.

3. Hanging with my favorite guy.  I know technically we haven't been apart minus the whole working thing, BUT I'm hoping to have some nice long walks with my pup.

4. Reading.  I read The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton a while back and LOVED it.  I recently finished The House at Riverton and it did not disappoint.  I have another book of her's waiting for me, but I think I'm going to save it until after some of my library books become available.  I have a couple on hold and I think they'll be available any day now.

5.  SLEEPING.  I can't wait to catch up a little.  I've been so tired the past couple weeks.

Maddux says he's got this one covered.

What are you looking forward to this weekend?  Exciting plans or glorious nothing?

Be sure to check out the fabulous blogs of Mar, Cynthia, and Courtney, the hosts of the Friday Five Link Up!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Week 11 Update

I'm officially over half way to race day!  I can't believe how fast the time is flying by.  It seems like it wasn't that long ago that I was sitting and planning out how my plan was going to go.  After 11 weeks (and no missed runs woo!) I think I'm finally going to have to make some minor adjustments.

This week running was TOUGH.  I'm not sure exactly why (although I'm guessing I might be on the verge of getting a cold), but I've just been really tired.  I can't complain that the first 10 weeks of my plan felt basically strong overall, but it was a little disappointing this week having legs that felt like lead.  Even my arm workouts were hard!  I swear somebody added some weight to my little 5 pounders ;-)

I did a good job planning ahead this week.  I made sure to get one of my runs done early in the week so I wouldn't have to worry about fitting it in if life got busy (when the treadmills are open you have to snag 'em!).  I had plans to meet my college roommate and another of our sorority sisters to try on bridesmaids dresses on Saturday and since I wasn't sure how long it would take and the weather was less than stellar I decided to knock out one of my weekend runs on Friday.  It was nice to be able to just hang out with the girls without having a workout looming over my head.

Can't wait to see this girl a TON for wedding fun this year!

Saturday night I might have had just a little too much fun, so I shouldn't have been surprised that my long run felt so hard, BUT after a glorious, speedy (for me) 9 mile run a couple of weeks ago I couldn't help being a little disappointed.  Yes, it felt good to have my 10 miles done, but it would have been nice for it to have felt a little better.  I need to make sure that I'm taking care of fueling during my runs.  I only had two shot bloks left, and while it ended up being ok, I think it definitely would have helped to have a couple more, even just for motivation's sake.  I did keep a muffin and some craisins stashed in my car and ended up eating them on the way home, so that helped a little, but I was nervous to eat them during my run!  I didn't want to make matters worse!

*Embarrassing side story: I had to take my nice friend to the airport and headed straight to the trail afterward for my run.  I guess I took hydrating a little too seriously because I thought I was going to wet my pants by the time I got to the trail.  I figured I would be able to make it to the Portapotty, but by the time I got to its location I realized it was GONE.  I quickly hustled to the next one about a mile down the trail and it was gone, too!  At this point I'm in a complete panic (I mean, there aren't a whole lot of options along a somewhat crowded trail..) and I ended up crashing a baby shower in the little community area.  Luckily, they were just setting up and were the nicest people ever, but maaaaan.  Not my favorite moment haha!  At least that first mile or so was fast!!)

This weekend I have an 8x800 instead of a long run.  I'm debating switching this for an easier mid distance run.  I'm going to wait and see how my body is feeling before I make any decisions.  Maybe my body was just tired, it happens, but I want to make sure the majority of my runs left in this plan are strong and if that means easing up a little then that's what I'll do.  I realized that my 21 week plan is actually a 20 week plan as I was entering dates in (oops) so I had to adjust the end a little bit by switching a speed workout the week before for an easier run.  I'm also going to have to plan out my runs a little better coming up because I have some fun travel plans coming up!  I just found out my brother is coming along, too, so I'm even more excited!

We plan on reenacting this moment.

Happy running!!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Motivational Mantras

Today Mar, Cynthia, and Courtney decided to mix it up a little on the Friday Five and do a theme: Motivational Mantras.  I know at least Mar and Courtney are currently training for marathons and they are probably looking for some good ones, so make sure to give all their fabulous blogs some love!

To be honest, I'm not much of a mantra girl, BUT I will give you five things that get me out the door and keep me moving once I'm out.

1. "You'll only regret the run you don't do."  True story.  While I have had some crappy runs, I definitely have not regretted any of them.  I'm always glad I went. There have been some that I missed that I kicked myself for later.  Having my training plan on the refrigerator (I visit that area often...) has helped with this because I don't want to see any runs that aren't checked off!

Definitely did not regret this run...

2. "You only have to make it to that (light post, mail box, street sign, etc).  Oh, you thought I meant that mailbox?  I meant that one up ahead...."  My dad used to say this to me ALL the time when we were running.  It annoyed me to no end back in the day, but now I find myself using it quite often when I'm ready to stop.

3. "You just have to make it to x mile and then you get a piece of candy/snack!"  Long runs are my favorite because I get my Clif Shot bloks during them ;-)  

4. "If you run x amount of miles outside then you can buy a new running shirt!"  I love workout clothes and would wear them all the time if socially and professionally acceptable.  New running clothes are even better.

5. RACE DAY.  Guys, I need a win in my book so bad.  (Obviously not a first place win, but a GOOD race.)  It's been so long and I've been working really hard this time around.  Whenever I think about running lately I just get excited about the possibility of that PR waiting to be taken.

Other things that help me on my outdoor runs are just trying to enjoy the scenery, working through problems, thinking about family and friends, and just zoning out completely (if you aren't thinking then it can't hurt, right?)

Hard not to pay attention to the scenery here!

What helps you get through your runs, walks, and workouts?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Baby, it's Cold Outside!

Ohhhh my goodness.  I'm not sure I'm going to survive this winter.  The weather reporters are calling this nonsense a polar vortex, which makes it sound about a million times worse than if they just said "freakin' cold."

After I snapped the picture, it dropped to 3 degrees.  I think it was mocking me.
Also, I do wear my seatbelt, I was just waiting for the car to warm up.

Driving back home from Alabama I was none too pleased to see the snow and ice piled up alongside the road, but didn't think too much of it.  Then, on Saturday I geared up for my usual 45 minute run.  I didn't feel like dealing with the treadmill because I really didn't have time to wait around if they weren't available (my nice friend and I had a work event to go to that evening) and since the main roads were mostly clear I figured I would just give it a shot outside.  I would have loved to seen what I looked like attempting to run outside as I'm sure it was quite the sight to see!  While my pace was slow, I definitely worked up a sweat trying to stay on non-slippery areas of the road.  Pretty sure I looked like a track star jumping hurtles of ice.

On Sunday I was forced to the treadmill to do my 6x800 workout.  My nice friend and I headed to a trail that has a nice half mile loop, but it was still completely iced over.  Perhaps my repeats would have been faster had I been able to slide the whole way, but we just weren't in the mood to find out.   I was a little disappointed that I had to stay indoors because I was dying to try out my new running pullover I got for Christmas.  It's made for running in colder weather and is super warm.  I actually ended up changing my long sleeve shirt I was wearing out for a tank top because I figured I would probably be roasting after cranking up my speed for my run!  Despite everything, my workout ended up going really well and I felt strong the whole time.  I think it helped a little that I made a brand new workout playlist (new phone = time to mix it up).  10 weeks down without missing a run!  Officially less than 11 weeks until race day!

Thumbholes and a fleecy inside. Sounds perfect for this cold weather!

I have a feeling I will be sticking to the 'mill for the majority of my miles this week, but I am really hoping the trails are clear (and it doesn't feel like negative anything) for my 10 miler on Sunday!  

*PS: If anyone is thinking of registering for ZOOMA Annapolis (or any 2014 ZOOMA race), you can get a free tech tee if you do it before January 17 and enter the code Tee14.  I got the bonus shirt with my registration last year and LOVE it.  Last year's has a nice slim fit and is really comfortable.  I wear it to the gym all the time.

Happy running!


Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy New Year!

It's hard to believe that 2014 is here.  2013 sure did leave in a hurry!  I ended the year the best way possible and headed to Alabama to visit my family.  It was exciting to see my parents' new home and I always have a great time hanging out with them and my brother and sister.


Most of my time was spent just hanging out, but since the weather was great (unlike the frozen tundra I found when I returned home...) we got to take the pups to some nearby parks for hiking.  The first park we went to was a little tougher than Maddux and I are used to, but the sights were worth it!  The second park had trails around a canyon with gorgeous waterfalls.

Trail dogs! 

I got a decent amount of running in while I was away.  My brother and dad joined me for some of my miles around the neighborhood and a lake in their community and my dad and sister were nice enough to walk their dogs on a trail while I did my long run.  I was pleasantly surprised that my overall pace for my 9 miles was 9:18.  I'm hoping I can keep it up as my runs get longer!  I'm ready for a shiny new PR this year!


We ended the year with our family tradition of dinner and a movie (I highly recommend Saving Mr. Banks!) and then played games until midnight hit.  It was the perfect way to end a fantastic (and fast!) year.

I suppose now that the new year has begun I should start making my yearly goals.  Since it's the Friday Five with Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia (First of the year!  Can't be missed!) I'll go ahead and give you 5 of my best.

1. Stay focused on the happy in life.   I am a generally happy, positive person, but I also worry way more than what's probably normal.  Every day I'm going to take a few minutes just to think about the things in the day that made me smile.

Taking silly pictures with my brother and sister makes me smile.

2.  Be proud at the end of my races.  I really want to make a goal to PR (ok, let's be real, deep down it is), but I think more importantly at this point in my running I just need to have some races I can feel good about.  2013 didn't have many of those and I want to look back at my 2014 runs with a smile on my face.

3. Attend at least 3 Lucky Dog Animal Rescue events.  Whether it be fundraisers or volunteering at an adoption event, I want to make sure that I am giving back to the organization that brought my pup and me together.

4. Make a better effort in my relationships.  I have some pretty amazing people in my life, and too often I let weeks (or even months) go by without some effort at keeping in touch.  I want my family and friends to know that they are a priority.

Family far away means more FACETIME! :)

5. Try new things.  I tend to get stuck in ruts.  I find things I love and then I stick to them like glue.  I have a bunch of trails in my Doggin' Maryland book dogeared (haha) and I would really like to take Maddux to another class so he can learn some new things.  There are some classes I have my eye on this summer, and there are a bunch of places around here that I've been wanting to go to and haven't managed to find the time.  This year I'm going to get my butt off my really comfortable couch and go.

I know some of these are really open ended (and even vague), but this year I really want to focus on letting go of some of my anxieties and just be really and truly happy.  I put so much pressure on myself to be perfect sometimes that it backfires completely.  2014 will be my year to just chill out and relax.  I would love to hear your goals for the new year!  I hope everyone's year is off to a fantastic start!