NOT RUNNING RELATED
As I'm sure you read in my last post, I totaled my 2007 Nissan Xterra (only 160,000+ miles) in an accident last week. While I still believe she had a few years left, maybe this was the best way for her to go?
I’m not a materialistic person. I’d rather spend my money on food or traveling, and I usually don’t buy things at full price. However, when I purchased my 2007 Nissan Xterra back in December 2006, she only had 21 miles on her – most of which I put on test driving. I named her Bessie, sometimes calling her Blue Bessie, because – well – she’s blue. I was active duty in the Army and had just returned from my first deployment to Afghanistan. I had saved up quite a bit of tax-free pay, some of which I used as a down-payment for Bessie, and some that I used to take my mom to Hawaii!
Right before I bought Bessie, I was in-between cars. My first-ever car, a white 1992 Ford Mustang that my mom lovingly purchased for me in high school, was starting to wear out, and I had borrowed my friend’s Nissan Xterra to drive around while he was deployed. I can’t remember what year it was but it was an older model. While I was driving it, it broke down! At that time, I had to get a rental car while I looked for a new car. Guess what the rental car was? A new Nissan Xterra!! Having that as a rental is what lead me to buy Bessie. I didn’t like the thought of buying a car used, not knowing everything that had happened to it, so I just went for the brand new one!
Bessie and I have been through SO much together, and she has taken me to some amazing places. She has been the most reliable vehicle I’ve ever driven, and I haven’t had to replace anything out of the ordinary – the biggest only being a new timing chain and radiator. I don’t have pictures to go with every story, but I do have lots of pictures that I will share along the way. Below is only the highlights of what Bessie and I have been through; there's so much more.
The Keying Incident (2007)
During my second deployment to Afghanistan (not long after I bought her), I left Bessie at a friend’s house while I was away. LONG story short, Bessie gets keyed from top to bottom by a psycho-ex of a guy I was friends with, who lived in the neighborhood where she was parked – $3,500 worth of damage!
Many mountain biking and kayaking adventures…
The Break-in (2009)
I had just returned from my last deployment, and was in my last few months of being in the Army. It was Super Bowl weekend and I had literally just gotten back into town the night before. I had apparently left the door unlocked. I had all of my deployment belongings in the car, including a laptop w/case that included ALL the digital photos I’d ever taken (this was before I had a smart phone), and a lot of important documents. Some jerk stole everything out of the car. The jerk was never caught.
Selfies and running events…
Felix the Afghani Cat (2009)
During my last deployment in Afghanistan (notice the beginning paragraph trend?), I found a kitten and her mother wandering around our camp. The kitten had a special needs disorder called Cerebellar Hypoplasia (CH), and apparently the only kitten of the litter that had survived. LONG, amazing story short – I was able to get Felix back to the States, and used Bessie to go pick her up in Arlington, Virginia. It was a BIG moment in my life.
Please read more about CH and Felix’s amazing story here, in an article written by the amazing Ellen Piligian, for People Magazine Pets.
Got poop? (2010)
A guy I dated – let’s call him George – had just come back from an overseas deployment and came to visit me. We went out to dinner and were going to go to a haunted house afterwards; I think it was one of his first going-out dinners back in the States. On the way to the haunted house, George lets me know that he wasn’t feeling well and needed to use the bathroom. There was a Walmart a couple miles down the road, so I was going to stop there. All of a sudden, George yells at me, “Pull over! PULL OVER!” So I pulled over on the side of the road where there was nothing but dark, North Carolina woods. He then yells, “UNLOCK THE DOOR! UNLOCK IT!”as he was pulling on the door handle; I think he must have locked the door with his arm during the frenzy. Well friends, he didn’t get the door open in time before he pooped himself – inside the car. He jumps out of the car, taking everything with him (“it” remained secured inside his draws), and disappears into the dark woods. Many minutes later, I look in the passenger side mirror and see George standing there, stark naked, with his hands in front of his “area”. He had stripped off all of his clothes. He comes up to the door and asks if I have anything he can wrap around himself. I had just moved and had a bunch of packing paper in the back. He wraps it around himself and gets in the backseat. I took him home with the windows rolled down. The next day, he went back to the woods to get the expensive jeans he had soiled. Y’all, I’m not creative enough to make this stuff up.
Fire Ants (2012)
William and I went to the beach and stayed with his parents in a beach house for a week, located at Figure 8 Island – near Wrightsville Beach, NC. They rent the same house every year for the week of July 4th, and have been doing so since William was a kid. We drove Bessie there and just kept her parked in the driveway – not driving the whole time. When we left at the end of the week, we noticed a few ants crawling around here and there. That’s weird. Moments later, we realized they were EVERYWHERE! We lifted up the rear seats, and…. INFESTATION!!!! Seeing that many fire ants crawling around was just awful! I obviously had to do a deep clean and eventually got them all out. EEEK!
This was the day we picked up little Gwenie Poo (2016)
Road Trips Across the Country (2007, 2013, 2016)
Arizona 2007: I had to attend a military course in Arizona and just a few months after buying Bessie, I was off from North Carolina to Arizona! It was a great trip and I ended up getting her first oil change while I was out there.
I got to run in some sweet races in AZ!
Colorado 2013: William got a job in Colorado so we moved away from North Carolina. Since we both had vehicles, we had to drive separately. I had Felix and Gus with me, and they meowed a majority of the way there! They still did much better than I expected so it could have been worse!
Getting to Colorado / Bessie with a snowhawk
Parked in the garage of our first home
Anniversary Road Trip to the Grand Canyon 2016: We decided to go to the Grand Canyon for our second wedding anniversary. Sweet Felix passed away the day before we were supposed to leave, so it was a much needed trip. We started off in Moab, UT where we camped with cows. From there, we traveled to Flagstaff, AZ, then up to the Grand Canyon. After a decent hike, we went back down to Flagstaff, then to Santa Fe, NM. We then came back up through the south past Taos, Pueblo, and Colorado Springs. We spent a lot of the five days driving, but we saw some amazing places. Almost 10 year old Bessie handled it like a champ.
Camping in Moab / The Grand Canyon
Camping and 14er hiking: Bessie has taken us to many outdoor adventures here in Colorado. Even though she isn’t 4×4, she can get around pretty well!
Waiting out the rain in Crested Butte
A make-shift Uhaul AirBnB in Salida
We hiked our first 14er (Grays Peak) two days after moving to CO
Other random Bessie facts:
I once swiftly backed up into a light pole, bending the step on the back bumper.
I was rear-ended by a chick on her cell phone while stopped in traffic. Bessie was unharmed but the girl’s bumper was dented.
I was once again rear-ended while sitting parked in a parking space. No harm done.
The above facts all happened within a few months time!
Before the gas gauge was recalled, I ran out of gas at a stoplight, on a hill. Only time she every ran out of gas.
I use to stop and rescue box turtles in the middle of the road, when I lived in NC.
No really, I did!
It may seems silly to some – to write a story about a big hunk of metal and plastic, but it’s the reliability and memories that have me writing this. Bessie is not a person, but she is my friend. She will forever hold a place in my heart and my memories. Bessie, thank you for always getting me from Point A to Point B-Z, safely.
To celebrate her life (and lighten the mood), I will leave you with my Nissan version of the Marine Corps Rifleman’s Creed:
This is my Nissan. There are many like her, but this one is mine. She is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me my Nissan is useless. Without my Nissan, I am useless. I must drive my Nissan true. I must drive straighter than the other driver who is beside me. I must avoid him before he hits me. I will. (Doh!) My Nissan and I know that what counts in driving is not the gas we burn, the noise of our horn, or the exhaust we make. We know that it is the MPGs that count. We will efficiently hit.
My Nissan is human, even as I am human, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a sister. I will learn its weaknesses, its strengths, its parts, its accessories, its lights and its tires. I will keep my Nissan clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other.
Before God I swear this creed. My Nissan and I are the defenders of my ability to now parallel park. We are the masters of our road. (Doh!) We are the saviors of my life.
So be it, until victory is America’s and there is no person who doesn’t use their turn signal.
FULL DISCLOSURE: This is not an ad, but I'm totally going to be touting a product. Sadly, I'm not getting paid for this.
It's winter. I have spring 5K plans. It's winter.
Those of you who know me know that I really dislike running in cold weather. I also dislike running in the dark, trying to find a running buddy who goes my pace, and trying to fit my weekday schedule around a group run. Group runs are great, but the only time I've ever made a weekday group run work was when I paid for speed sessions. And it's cold. It gets dark early. It's cold and windy at lunchtime. Lately, the sidewalks are either snow or ice covered - or both. UGH. I'd have to go inside to have a safe, quality run.
Enter Peloton Digital. Yes, that Peloton. With the $2400 bike and the $4400 treadmill. I do not own either, nor do I have plans to own them. I do have the app, which, let's me take live or on-demand Peloton classes. For the longest time, I didn't do any running classes. But last Tuesday, I thought, if I have to run indoors, I might as well be engaged in something while I do it. The reason why people would buy the bike or the tread is to be more 'connected' to the live classes - then you get to see the leaderboard, and can 'race' others taking the class. Me? I'm usually just racing myself, so having that access isn't that big of a deal to me.
Let me tell you, it has been transformative. It's like I have my coached group workouts again. No pressure to go a specific speed, only what speed works for me in that moment. Do I get challenged? Heck yes I do. And I love it. Instead of just plodding along at the same speed, I'm speeding up and slowing down, changing the incline, or maybe just focusing on my heart rate to really get that endurance training in. It's seriously transformed the #dreadmill into enjoyable treadmill running for me. I really feel like I'm getting a quality workout in, and that I'm improving as a runner.
For example, this past Sunday, we had another round of winter weather roll through, leaving 1/4" to 1/2" of ice along roads and sidewalks. And where water pools, there were mini ice rinks. AND there were 24 MPH winds, gusting to 32 MPH. I don't run in that sh!t. So, the future hubs and I went to the gym, where I did a 10 minute warmup class on the Peloton app, followed by a 45 minute funk run. I ran up and down hills and did some speed intervals, topping out at 5K speed. It's two days later and I'm still on the high of killing that run, which otherwise would have been a boring, 4-mile plod. I've already become attached to one instructor who ran a sub-3:00 marathon in 2017.
All that to say … I'm really excited I discovered the joy of these classes for indoor running. It's injected a new level of excitement that I just really need right now. They also do outdoor guided runs, which I feel like could be nice or be a disaster - what if I'm running a hilly route and they are all like, 'SPRINT!'? But, I will give those a try when it gets nicer.
Until last weekend, we'd only had one little snowfall, and it was just a dusting. I never thought it was possible to have an entirely snow-free bacon season, but it was awfully nice while it lasted. 2019 presents a weirdness factor I haven't had in many, many years - and that's a decision about whether to run based on the weather. Whether it's my age related mellowing, or injury paranoia or something else, I seem to have lost the hunger for bacon. More on that in a minute.
A fun, easy 8-1/2 on the previous Saturday. So nice not to be thinking about the knee every step. I ran through the new trail again. It's still rough and will be messy when it's wet, but it's still fun to go through the woods, even if it's only a half mile long. Not many trails around here. Deer tracks. Flirting with 8 minutes miles.
Been feeling the need to ramp up some miles before training starts. My official build up was supposed to begin yesterday, and I wanted to be fully up to snuff by then. 5 miles on Monday, 4 on Tuesday, 5 on Wednesday and 6 on Thursday for my birthday. You've read about the ultras who run a mile for every year? Sorry, but I'm good with a mile for every ten years.
The meteorologists had been tracking our first real snowfall last week and Saturday was supposed to be the big day, with 3-6 inches and plenty of wind. Not a scary storm, but since they haven't had anything to report on in almost a year, they were understandably excited. We ended up getting about 4. Enough that my snow blower got a decent workout. Discovered that all my gas cans were empty, but I was able to get through almost all of it before I had to go old school with the shovel.
And I didn't run. Knowing I was going to skip Saturday, I did my long run on Friday, 8 miles. There was some ice on the back end of my loop that made the footing a little dicey, but it wasn't a bad run. On Saturday I stayed home and watched the white stuff come down. I'm trying to be OK with that.
On Sunday we FaceTimed with Mac and her new fiance` about wedding plans and then had my birthday dinner and cake with friends.
Yesterday was spent in training for work. The sun was brilliant and the temps were certainly reasonable for January, but as I checked out the sidewalks and neighborhood streets on the way home, I saw too many uncleared sidewalks and too much ice on the roads. So instead of trying to run on it, I stayed inside, ran up and down the basement stairs for 30 minutes. Figured that was at least as interesting as a treadmill and I didn't have to drive to Planet Fitness and re-sign up to use the dreadmills.
It's been three years since I stepped on one of those things. My plan is to go slow, after all. Still freezing, so the ice/snow will be as it was yesterday, but 40 and rain tomorrow. Then it will get cold again and more snow after that. (How am I even thinking about that again? Someone talk me out of it!)
I wrote this at the end of last week, but I figured why not try to recruit some Loopsters to join me for some races.
Happy Friday (Saturday now, but still happy), friends! It’s been a long week, but it’s SO CLOSE to being time to move into the good part. My week has been action packed in every way. Work has been busy (not such a bad thing) with lots of excitement going on. Jen and I are plotting our family vacation this year and are working between Myrtle Beach or DisneyWorld. It ain’t cheap haha.
I’ve managed to run 4 days so far this week and plan on running a semi-long one tomorrow. The early wake ups are starting to wear me down a little and I need to focus on getting my butt in bed earlier if I’m going to keep doing it. I’m still running what I want, when I want, how I want for the most part and I don’t have a training plan. However, I DID sign up for some stuff! April is going to be a busy month.
Race #1 – The Ville to Ville Craft Brew Relay
This will be my first relay ever! The race starts in Asheville, NC and ends up in Greenville, SC for a total of 75 miles. As the name implies, THERE WILL BE CRAFT BREW. I should end up running one or two legs of the race, which means no more than 20 miles or so total. Our team isn’t really all that competitive, so I can run at a semi-leisurely pace and I don’t require a ton of intense training. I like that.
Just tell me how far to the next brewery.
Race #2 – The Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon and MiniMarathon
2 weeks later, it’ll be a trip to Louisville, KY for the mini marathon down in Louisville, KY. I have several reasons to be excited about this!
Special edition whiskey? Sounds better than regular edition whiskey.
There will be whiskey. There are several distilleries that I’d love to visit while I’m there.
I randomly won free whiskey! Shoutout to @therunchat on Twitter for getting me hooked up with that. They can also save you $5 if you decide to sign up by using code CHAT2019.
I’m excited like a kid to go to the Louisville Slugger factory. Baseball bats!!!
I’m on the fence about whether I’m going to really “race” this one and try to PR or just enjoy it. We shall see…
Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!
If you’ve read my last two posts, and are still choosing to read more, thank you for sticking with me and choosing to read the good AND the bad. We all have the good and the bad times and, folks – this is certainly my bad time. Yes, it goes on this week as well. Man, this training has gotten off to a rocky start. It’s pretty typical, as I’ve written before, but the difference will be in how I handle this rockiness and push through it. This training cycle doesn’t have to turn out like all the others. And it won’t. Aside from the happenings of the week, I still had a pretty good week of training.
Monday: I was all pumped and ready to run when I got off work. I even left a few minutes early so that I could be a majority of the traffic and get home with a decent amount of sunlight left. 15 minutes later and this…
This is my car
This was the person I hit
It was completely my fault and the first real accident I’ve been in (driving) – especially where it was my fault. Traffic always slows down right before you get off my exit – I know this. Every day it’s the same. However, I take my eyes off the road for just a second and when I turned back forward, BAM! She was only going about 15-20 MPH and I was probably going 40-45 when I hit her. Luckily we are both ok and it seems to only be cosmetic damage to both vehicles. Although my hood is bent in half, it doesn’t seem like there is any engine damage*. It made it the 15 minutes home and it seems fine. I will definitely have to get it aligned though.
I’m leaving what I wrote above, because I didn’t think it was that bad and it didn’t look that bad. My insurance company sent someone out to inspect my car. After looking under the hood, we discovered that my radiator is busted. That and the cosmetic damage will likely be more than sweet Bessie is worth, which means the car will likely be classified as totaled.
My insurance company sent me a message on Saturday. Yes, she’s totaled. Being a 2007, and the damages that were done, the repairs would have been more than she’s worth. I will however get a good amount for a down-payment on a new vehicle. While I will be happy for an upgrade, Bessie and I have been through a lot together. I’m actually writing a post about her. Yes, I’m writing a post about my car. Stay tuned…
Back to training:
With all that has been going on, I still managed to get in FOUR runs, a barbell class, and hot yoga! I was determined to work the frustration out via sweat. One run was with my co-worker friends, Kelli & Amy, during lunch on Thursday, another was a 5K (and I liked it) on a treadmill on Friday, and I finally got a 10 mile long run in yesterday.
Treadmill 5K: The weather was crappy but I HAD to get in a run. I’d planned to go to run club the day before, but that was the day the inspector came to look at my car. I got to Planet Fitness, zoned out to some tunes, and used my new Jaybird Tarah earbuds for the first time. It felt good!
10 mile long run: It was REALLY cold and icy Saturday morning, so I went to hot yoga instead of running. Then, I got out around 9AM on Sunday for my run. The greenway was still icy in spots, but I managed just fine. It was a gorgeous day and I actually got hot in my tights and thin long-sleeve. I even took off my headband after the first couple miles!
Now that I’ve had time to process things, I’m feeling like things are taking a turn towards positive again. This week must be better than the last two – I just have to ensure that happens. Time to dig in again – 13 miles for the long run this weekend and a half marathon (15 actual miles planned) next weekend!
Thanks for reading,
I ran 2,500 miles last year and only raced once, in March. Okay, well I did a Turkey Trot too, but it was with no bibs or chips, just a timer.
I think I was top 5 though. I started 15 or so feet from the line and had to work my way through the crowd as I gained speed. About 100 yards in I had to dodge a little kid (8yr old?) who had sprinted and was now bent over with his hands on his knees huffing and puffing. With 3 more miles to go he was in for a long morning. I continued passing crowds until about half a mile into it and then found folks running around my pace. First mile was a 6:43. Some downhill and extra effort had me passing a few more folks. A younger, college guy started pacing with me and we traded spots some. Some friends of his cheered him as we went by. Some uphll before hitting mile 2 caused him to drop back slightly, but he was on my heels and stayed there on the next downhill into mile 3. Mile 2 was a 6:33. A flat greenway took us back to the finish. I used to mile repeats here when I lived closer to it. I got into that zone and though maybe a sub 20 was possible, but just ran.
College guy couldn't keep up. I had seen what I thought was the lead guy not too far out, though I knew I wasn't going to catch him nor the 3 or so folks between us. I crossed the line and I think the clock said 19:something, but my watch read 20:04. I figured the clock was not quite right because I didn't start my watch until I crossed the start line, a few seconds after the go gun. There were no awards or anything after, just water and snacks. My son and a nephew crossed a couple of minutes later. I then jogged back onto the course and caught up with my daughters, nieces and sister-in-law who were in fast dog-walking mode. A good day!
I signed up for the local Charlotte marathon which is in November. I haven't had much motivation to start any kind of training yet. However, I have running buddy Tim who is training for Boston, so by default I'm somewhat training for a marthon. My marathon last March got me a BQ, but I was *only* four minutes and 10 seconds under my age requirement. The cutoff was 4:52 under. Oh well, I wasn't dying to go and mainly applied just because of RB signing up.
Tim has high hopes and aspirations for Boston. And so far his training is going well. He wants to possibly place in the top 3 for his age group, which at Boston, ain't easy no matter what your age. He is 63 and needs a low or just under 3 hour finish to do that. So, damn!
Yesterday (Sunday), he had 18 miles with 10 @ marathon pace (suggested target = 6:50) and wanted me to join. I do not have that speed or endurance, but agreed to start with him and fade accordingly. I did cut back the warm up miles to 5ish though. He didn't. I had mapped out a mostly flat and somewhat downhill 10 miles for the fast miles. That worked out well, but the wind yesterday morning managed to situate itself to be in our faces on all of the uphills.
I fell behind as predicted after about 2 miles. I stayed pretty close though through mile 5, then he stayed stronger as I faded a bit more. My goal became to keep the overall under 7 minute pace. My slowest was 7:12, but I finished with a 6:57 average. The last two miles were a gentle downhill plus a tailwind. that helped me keep it under. RB Tim held on for a 6:47 overall! He is inspiring me and this run with him gave me a bit of a confidence boost to work a bit harder and maybe get more motivated.
Winter took a long time to come to Connecticut. It’s now here. Temps are winter-ish but there’s been no snow really, although the forecast is 8-12” tomorrow. I love snow so I’m pumped to finally get some white stuff. The whole family is going snow shoeing tomorrow!
As much as I like snow, it makes the runs a little more difficult. I generally run on the treadmill early in the morning during the week, and run outside on the weekends. Last Saturday I ran what I would consider my first cold long run of the season - 8 miles in about 22 degrees / feels like 12 degrees. My overall pace was 10:15/mile. Considering that it was my longest run in 15 months, I was pretty content with the effort & results. My hands (even with gloves) and face were freezing for the first mile and a half, but then started to warm up. In the end, I chose the right clothing because I didn’t think about the temperature for the rest of my run. 👍
I got two runs in during the week, 4 miles and 5 miles. I was bummed I didn’t get a third one in, but when I look back at it now I see it was a week. I had to go to NYC (about 3 hour trip by car/train) on Monday & Wednesday for work, and I met my mom for breakfast before work on Friday. So that left only 2 mornings available for running. I suppose I could run at night, but I’m beat when I get home, and by the time we eat dinner, hang with the kiddies for a little bit, then put the two younger ones to bed, it seems like it’s 9:00pm already. I’ll stick with the morning runs.
This morning my homemade training plan for NJ Half had me running 8.5 miles. When I checked the weather last night it was supposed to be mid20s with a feels like in the low teens. Basically the same as last week, so why not wear the same thing? Well because after I got dressed this morning, I checked the actual temp and it was 24 / feels like 22. 🤔 I took off one mid layer and was out the door.
As I was driving to where I picked to run, I was enjoying the music on the radio. Oh crap, I forgot the shuffle for music on my run. I wasn’t far from home so I turned around and got it. I sometimes run without tunes on short runs, but I like music on longer runs. During today’s run, I was happy I went back for it.
I ran in East Hartland, a little teeny tiny town about 10 minutes drive from my house. I parked at the only restaurant there and ran two 4.25 mile loops on roads through mostly forest with occasional houses. I haven’t run there in a couple years so I didn’t remember it being as hilly as it was. I checked the elevation on map my run last night but I’m not that good with determining how hilly a route is unless it’s pancake flat or crazy mountainous. Oh well, there was a little walking on the bigger uphills. It was a nice loop, even with the ups & downs. Today’s pace (10:56/ mile) was not surprisingly slower than the previous week’s run on a super flat rail trail. I’m still getting back into running longer and focusing on getting the miles in. Pace will come down as I continue.
That’s pretty much it from here. Hope you’re enjoying your runs as much I am going to enjoy tomorrow’s snow! 😁🤙
First official week of NJ 26.2 training
I’m sure you’ve heard people say, “Just get both feet out the door and you’ll be fine.” I know I’ve said it many times and it usually works. However, it doesn’t always work and certainly didn’t work this week. All I can say is that I’m glad that week is over. I’m abnormally happy that it is Monday.
The week started off great, and I was glad/ready to be back at it and hit it hard.
Monday: It was supposed to be incredibly windy throughout the day, so I’d planned to run when I got home from work. By the time I got off work, I wasn’t in the mood to run. I made myself change into my running clothes as soon as I walked in the door, and forced myself to go run the 5 miles I had planned. I really dislike having to force myself to run, but I think we all have those days. It turned out to be pretty refreshing although felt much faster than a 9:20. Between miles 3 and 4, and if it’s dark, you can always hear an own hooting in this one section. I actually got to see it on the tip top of a tree this time! It was just light enough to see it’s outline and some white on it’s chest/neck. I love owls.
Tuesday: I was excited about this day before it even came. I planned to take two classes at the WC (spin at lunch and barbell after work) THEN meet Kelli and Leah for some drinks and apps before watching the new Mary Poppins! It turned out to be a great day and the movie was awesome!
I’m always the first one in class
I always like to write these posts as they progress in the week – to ensure I capture the fun details. You can clearly see how excited I was on Tuesday and it just took a nose-dive after that.
Wednesday: Was planned to be another 2-fer with this time barbell at lunch and spin after work. However, after taking the barbell class at 4:30 the evening before, and then doing it again at noon on this day, I was smoked. I should have skipped the second barbell and just gone to spin. I’m trying to give it hell in the gym but I need to ease off when my body tells me to. So I did.
I did find out a little more about the group fitness instructor course. They are holding info seshes this Thursday and next Thursday. The course will run every Thursday night from 4:30-7 for four months (Feb – May) – yowza. I know there will be some weekends in there too. I’m going to attempt to get the day of the week changed, otherwise no run club for me for FOUR months! Plus, there are times where I take some time off and leave on a Thursday.
I signed up for a half marathon the first weekend of February – the Ralston Creek 13.1. This will be my second time running it. The first time had very sketchy, icy conditions and I hope that it doesn’t repeat. It was quite dangerous. This leads me to a new 2019 goal! Since I raced in January and will also be racing in April, I’m going to try to do a race every month of the year! The only other time I did that was 2011 and it was so much fun! Any distance counts! Race calendar post, coming soon!
Thursday is where things began to mentally fall apart for me – you can read why from my last post.
Friday: I was going to skip everything again this day because I wasn’t feeling it and because it had snowed all day. However, W talked me into going to the gym with him so I walked/ran on the treadmill for a mile, then did 1000 steps on the Stairclimber.
Sunday: Planned: 10 miles / Actual: 5 miles – I didn’t think it was smart to run 10 miles after only running five (once) the whole week.
It is a new week. Time to get my ass in gear, and get a handle on my shit. A marathon doesn’t run itself.
January 7 - January 13
8.1 miles in 1:03 - A very early morning run before work due to having a full work calendar of meetings today. Legs felt surprisingly good after the big workout on Saturday and LR on Sunday. Cruised around on the hills by our house and stretched out the legs with a moderate last mile.
8.2 miles in 1:01 - Weirdly warm January day in the 60's, I was feeling good and had a frustrating meeting prior to running so ended up running slightly quicker than normal for an easy day. Luckily I didn't go that overboard and kept my HR in the 150's so nothing too strenuous before a workout on Wednesday.
20 minutes in the Normatec boots later in the day.
3 mile WU in 23 + 6.9 in 0:45 + 2.2 CD in 0:17 - Big temp swing, winter is back. The plan was a 15 x 2:00 on / 1:00 off fartlek, the weather was less than ideal however. We had strong consistent winds around 18 mph with gusts up to 30. I strongly considered doing this on the TM but I hate doing workouts with quick changes of pace based on effort on TM. I opted to go outside and just run as hard as I could in the wind. The on segments were in the 5:50 - 6:15 range and the offs were in the low 7's for an average of 6:32 for 45 minutes. Not bad for the wind and doing this in trainers. Not as fast as I wanted but the effort was good.
This workout is a lighter session after last weekend to make sure I keep recovering for the big long run this weekend. This allows me to work on some turnover and get some aerobic work in without being too taxing.
skipped a strength session to go to a happy hour instead... not my proudest moment but sometimes you need to relax right? Doing strength work after a couple of beers didnt seem wise with the amount of balance work I include with the weights.
20 minutes in the Normatec boots later in the day.
9.35 miles in 1:12 - Ran very easy today by HR, only looked at pace at the mile splits. Kept my HR in the low 140's and was pleasantly surprised what the overall pace ended up being at the end because the effort felt like I was running a lot slower.
20 minutes in the Normatec boots later in the day.
7.3 miles in 0:57 - Another easy run, legs were pretty tired today as per usual for the second day after a workout. I spent most of the day anxious about the forecasted snow overnight because I had a long workout planned Saturday morning and wanted to wear Vaporflys. If you read last week you know I've had traction issues in them before.
20 minutes in the Normatec boots later in the day.
20 miles in just under 2:16 w/ a goal of 15 miles at 90% MP - We got a decent amount of snow overnight but they had salted pretty well and it was more slushy than slippery except a few tricky spots. I got to wear an older pair of Vaporflys and took a bottle of maurten. I'm trying to work on taking in a whole bottle in 12 miles or less so I can dump the bottle sooner in a race. 90% of MP is right around 6:50 I think but I had 6:40 in my head and so I guess I ran faster than I should have initially and then progressed. However, the effort felt good and I was cruising around without forcing anything so I am not afraid that I overdid it. I had it in my head that I might close with a mile or two at MP if I was feeling really good so opted for a last mile at 6:15, which also felt relatively effortless considering it was mile 18. Easy 2 mile cool down to finish the day, felt workout tired but not destroyed. Very happy with the day, think I'm in a pretty good spot near the start of the cycle.
This is a Canova special. The idea being you start doing long runs about 85-90% of MP and work on extending the distance and getting faster / closer to MP as the cycle progresses. The distance and pace are the two stressors, you should try to only increase one of the stressors at a time regularly.
8 miles in 1:03 - Easy run by the house on rolling hills. Legs were a little stiff initially, once I got warmed up I cruised around a bit smoother. Just a tiny bit of soreness, nothing crazy but I do expect to have the fatigue hit me tomorrow.
Very good week 2 of training with 73 miles on all singles after a first week of 72. I've completed 5 very good workouts so far and felt like I was finally recovered from CIM this week. I'm currently debating whether to start doubling soon or just go all single runs this cycle since I typically feel better. I think I can reasonably get up to 90 miles on singles without killing myself so I might just go that route. Week 3 should allow me to get some pop back in my legs with a slightly lighter set of workouts. I have 16 x 400 on Tuesday, an 8 mile tempo on Friday and an Easy 20 on Sunday that I should have a friend to run some of it with.
I tried to include some information about the what/why of each of the workouts I'm doing, let me know if there is anything else that would be helpful to include or any other feedback.
Happy training all.
The aftermath of the lost tablet has me up this morning. In the last couple of years I've developed a habit of waking up from disturbing dreams and then not being able to get back to sleep. Not often, maybe once a month or two. This morning (in the dream) I kept trying to change this one password and the website wasn't letting me. This actually happened several times this week. Some sites make it really hard to change a password. Anyway, since it was after 5:00, I figured I'd just get up anyway. Plenty to do. I did finish getting through the last of the password resets last night, so that's worth celebrating.
This has been a good week of running, although in keeping with the new, gentler running Dave, I skipped Monday and Tuesday. It was warm for January but raining. Not a fan of cold rain. So I just didn't run.
The legs must have enjoyed the extra days off. Came back on Wednesday and Thursday (both at 25 degrees, but the sun was out) and ran some good miles. Wednesday my pace was 8:12-20 for miles 2-4. On Thursday, I added an extra mile (5) to the usual, and ran 7:50, 8:06, 8:15 and 8:10 after warming up. All this without feeling like I was pushing. According to Garmin my cadence has increased from 170-ish to 175 in the past month. Don't know how significant that is, but I believe it's an improvement in running economy. We'll see what happens when I start to extend the runs this spring. Was really tired yesterday. Almost took a nap instead of running.
Wrote up a little training plan for a spring marathon. I started with my basic Hansons plan, but switched Monday and Tuesday. Monday was tempo day, with intervals on Wednesday. For this cycle I'm eschewing intervals for a more relaxed approach, so Tempo Tuesday is back for 2019. The other days are all easy/moderate running depending on how I feel that day. I may go harder on Thursday or do some fartleks. Long runs will be easy as well. In the plan, assuming I'm doing Vermont at the end of May, my pikermi fitness test falls on April 13. This requires an adjustment because that's the wedding day. The week after is Easter and there are no half marathons anywhere in the country that I could find. Certainly none in my neighborhood, so I may stay home and do a solo. Anyone up for a virtual race Easter weekend?
There was my week.
I was hesitant to write anything about this, and it isn’t about running (until the end) or outdoor adventure, but I just need to write it out.
I am 37 years old, married with no kids, and am currently on birth control. But you’re 37, and married, and you don’t have kids yet – why are you on birth control??
I was pregnant once, a LONG time ago, but had a miscarriage. 99.9% of my female relatives and friends either have kids or are pregnant. I can’t tell you how difficult it can sometimes be to be me, at my age, with no kids. I’m past the point of being depressed/upset/angry because I don’t have any yet, and am now in a very comfortable place of it’ll happen when it happens and when we are ready. I am also past the point of getting sad when I’m constantly asked when it’s going to happen or if I even want kids.
I’d like to share a “use your fucking head” PSA, in case anyone isn’t aware of what you shouldn’t say to a woman (even if they are a relative or close friend – ESPECIALLY then):
Do you have kids? If someone has kids, you’ll likely find out within two minutes of talking to them.
Do you want kids?
Are you ever going to have kids?
Are you trying to have kids?
Your clock is ticking/you aren’t getting any younger, so you better hurry up! This may be the worst of them all. YES, I actually have people say that to me.
<while holding a baby> You need you one of these. When are you going to have one of these?
You won’t look like that after you have kids or You only look like that because you haven’t had kids yet. Enjoy it while you can! Get the fuck out of here.
You are so great with kids! You should have one.
There are more, many more, but these are the big ones. Just don’t fucking do it. You never know what someone is going through and these words could have a VERY negative impact. If someone wants you to know something like that, they will tell you. I hear that it doesn’t even stop after having a kid because people want to know when you’ll have another one! For fuck’s sake!
I decided to go back on the pill last year when I was still on the Denali team. I was that committed at the time to ensuring I’d get up that mountain. This led us to coming to the decision that we’d wait a little bit anyway because I just didn’t feel ready, and there were things I still wanted to do while my body was still in it’s current condition. Plus, we’ve also thought about the fact that there are SO many people in the world already, and so many kids out there who need parents. It’s an incredibly tough life decision – of course those who love kids would like to have one that looks like them and has their traits. I get that our bodies are made for reproduction, but the world doesn’t currently need more people (in my opinion).
Now for the main reason of writing this post: When I went in for my appointment to get the BC pills, the doctor told me how risky BC is for women my age (over 35) – something about blood clots. I got the pills but they turned out to be the wrong ones. I’ve been feeling very moody since I’ve been on them but just thought I might be going through an adjustment phase. I wanted to give them some time to see if it’d work itself out. It didn’t. This past week has been the worst yet – terrible mood swings, feeling depressed and emotional for no reason, and getting headaches everyday in the evening. I got home yesterday, with the intention to go out for a run, and started sobbing on the way home – for no reason. I got home and just curled up in bed. I couldn’t even force myself to go run. Enough was enough and I think I finally put the pieces together enough to realize it was the BC pills that was doing this to me.
I guess guys go through things, but I just feel that this is an ongoing battle throughout a woman’s whole life. When you have kids, your body and your life is forever changed (not all bad, obviously). If you don’t, people look at you and wonder why and always have to pry. Some days are just harder than others but you learn to roll with the punches. I am very happy with my status as the woman that I currently am. I am healthy, apparently look younger than 37, and I have nieces and nephews (and kitties) that I absolutely adore and can share my love with. I love them all and feel so lucky to be an aunt. I adore kids. I may or may not have kids in the future. They may or may not come out of my vagina. Only time will tell.
Well, I went in a whole other direction than just writing about BC pills making me feel so bad that I didn’t want to run, but I think all of this is really good share. There aren’t a whole lot of late-30somethings in my situation.
Please be courteous. Think before you speak.
Thank you for reading,
Wow. Things are a complete 180 from July 2018. When I look back and read some of my posts, it’s strange to be future me, feeling something completely different. It makes me wish I was better at handling the ups and downs better. One of my favorite poems is “If” by Rudyard Kipling and one of my favorite lines is if you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two impostors just the same.
I’d like to think that outwardly, I kept my cool about it all. (Maybe, maybe not?) And on certain days, I guess I was inwardly okay too. But there were certainly many, many days that I was incredibly frustrated and felt like my body had failed me.
After 5-6 weeks of running, I did start to feel normal-ish again. And after 3 months, I felt like I was where I was about 4 years ago in my training. Which is pretty exciting when you think about how quickly it came back in the grand scheme of things. FOREVER when you are in the throngs of it, but time gives you perspective on pretty much everything.
Now that it has been close to 6 months, I still feel creaks here and there. It’s not perfect, but there are more good runs than bad and the speed that I worked so hard to build is coming back.
Perhaps it’s the confidence of having a coach or it’s the confidence of being benched. Maybe it’s the confidence of YOLO as I reach closer to 40 side of my 30s. And maybe it’s the fitness I had all along, but it was buried under my own self-doubt. Either way, I’ve hit some sub-6 paces in workouts over the past couple of months and it feels pretty darn good. I ran a sub-20 min 5k during a workout Tuesday - something that seems impossible to race, but oddly reasonable in the middle of a training session.
I’m training for things that are basically the opposite of speed though so my weekends are long, slow treks filled full of vert and lately, mud. I’m not worried about hitting X pace with my speed because everything is done on effort and time. It shouldn’t be any surprise that once you remove the governor of pacing yourself by a watch, magic can happen.
My legs are getting stronger, my balance is better, and I can feel the transitioning happening. I’m a long ways still from those big mileage weeks of 2017, but I’m trusting my coach to steer me in the direction of success. And success at this point is a solid finish at GDR, a respectable Boston Marathon, and getting home from the Everest Marathon in one piece.
The first full week of January is the official start of the new year as far as I'm concerned. Traffic is back to normal. The work week is a full five days (apologies for those of you who work retail or healthcare or one of those other jobs that don't operate that way). Most of the holiday goodies are either eaten, given away or trashed. If you're going to start a regimen, better to wait until Monday.
I was actually much more disciplined this year as far as eating and running go, so my new year's start doesn't have far to go. Still looking for some of my mojo. Building my training plan for the spring marathon should help. That's on the agenda for sometime this week.
Running is going pretty good at last. The weather has been decidedly un-winter-ish this year, helping a ton. No ice or snow to battle. Saturday was one of several days with sun and near 50 degrees since winter technically began and with a nasty start to this week forecast (which, btw, hasn't happened - it's cold but no precipitation), I figured I ought to go long. Who knows if it will be the last day I can run in shorts and a T before March? Took it easy. Stopped at McD's for a dump (annoying), walked a couple of minutes half way for a Hammer Gel. Other than that, I just sort of putzed along, me and the road. Started with 8:40s and finished with 8:20s. Not a bad putzing pace. The last few miles were a little tough, but not terrible and made me think I'm ready for another marathon training cycle. Not going there yet, but happy the old bones are getting in the mood.
Here's a story that's almost done. Done enough I feel like sharing, anyway.
On the way home, retrieving T-Rex from Idaho last month, we stopped in Altoona, IA for the night. When we got home the next day, I discovered that my Samsung tablet wasn't in my bag. This is a low end tablet, small (7"), wifi only. I use it mostly for reading. Only $130 retail currently. Not a huge deal but I liked it. The smaller size let's me carry it in my jacket pocket on Sundays and in my winter coat when I want it at other times. Called the Fairfield in and asked them to check Lost and Found, and ask around if anyone on staff had seen it. Sadly, no. That was Saturday. Monday, Christmas Eve, I went to Best Buy and bought a replacement that happened to be on sale for $100. Took it home and had T-Rex wrap it to go under the tree. (merry xmas to me)
I went upstairs to change into running clothes to do a few miles. While I was changing, my phone rang and it was the hotel. They had found my tablet! A Christmas miracle? Apparently it was locked in the manager's office, so no one had seen it on the weekend.
But he'd be happy to send it out. I gave him my credit card info for FedEx. By Friday (I'm a patient man, normally), there was no package and no charge on my card. Called again, and my friend from Monday said he didn't understand because the tablet had been boxed and ready to go for the manager on Monday and then it was gone. He assumed it had been sent. The manager was out but he'd be sure to check with him and let me know. Weekend goes by. I call again (New Year's Eve now) and he says someone had moved it from where he had it ready for the manager and hadn't been mailed, but he'd be sure to send it. This time for real.
Then, on Friday last, I get a text from home. "You're tablet's here!" Happy day. And they decided to pay for the shipping out of guilt for the delay. Nice. It's dead when I get home and open the box of course - two weeks off the charger, nbd - so I put it on the charger (which did make it home from the trip) and planned to get to it on Saturday morning. Reunited with my Samsung. Happy day.
But wait, there's more. I power it on the next morning and the start up graphics look different than I remember. Checking closer, this is NOT MY TABLET! It's a model one year older than mine. Another call to the Altoona Fairfield. By now I'm best friends with my man in Iowa. He assures me that this is the only tablet they've seen in months. No clue who else might be the owner and no clue where mine could be, so just keep it. Fine idea, I guess. I already mentioned the use I have for it, so the previous model ought to do just fine, right? Except I don't know the screen lock code on this machine. Can't get in. I spent a couple of hours online and with Samsung, trying to figure a way. I discover that I can find/lock/unlock mine from their website if it's ever turned on and tries to connect to the internet. As far as this "new" one goes, I'm out of luck. You can wipe/reset it, but without the original email and password from the original owner, ... There is one option, which is to send it directly to Samsung and they can reset the lock screen at the factory. It's free, so I'm about to have my newest best friend in India start the paperwork when I notice the name of a company on a tag on the back. Was this a reseller? Retailer? Maybe they can help.
I google the business, which by another miracle is local to me. It's not what I thought. It's a security consulting company. No doubt some salesman or consultant stayed in the same hotel in Iowa as me and accidentally left his company-issued Samsung tablet behind. So, I'm going to swing by on my way home today and see if they want it back. Then I'll keep my eyes open for the next sale at Best Buy, or maybe eBay/Amazon one for my replacement. I can't be too upset with anyone but myself for leaving it in Iowa.
But where is my tablet? The Samsung search machine couldn't find it, and no one has tried to do anything with any of my accounts that have info about them on it, so I can't imagine it's being used by anyone. Current theory: Instead of on the nightstand where I thought I may have left it, it was probably on the bed and was taken out with the sheets by the housekeeping crew, straight into the industrial washer, coming out of there as a wet, dead brick. Regardless, this also means I'm in process of changing all the logon info to all my accounts and websites, just to be safe.
I said I needed another project, didn't I?
Looks like a rainy, nasty Monday afternoon, so I'll skip today's run in favor of this tablet delivery and then watch the first half of the national championship football game. Who do I root for?
Did anyone else say, “I will NOT let myself slack over the holidays.”, and still slack anyway? I certainly did and gave myself a hard time over it for the first week. I realllllly wanted to keep the momentum I had going on, but just let it slip away once I got back home around my family. I have a nephew (8) and two nieces (6 and almost 2) that just adore me and I find it hard to pull away from them, while also having to tell them that they can’t come with me while I run or workout. Who wants to do that?!
The older two do love running with me when I do hill repeats in front of their house. I only did that one time this trip, and that was the only workout I did the whole TWO weeks I was there. We did go to an amusement park to see lights one weekend and did walk several miles.
Since I was feeling my shin a tiny bit before the break, I finally let myself enjoy the time off and take it as healing time. I went two weeks without running and almost three weeks without cross-training. Ouch. Rest is always good but not THAT much rest, especially when it wasn’t required. And especially when I was getting my fill of biscuits whenever possible. I was supposed to start training for New Jersey on 12/24, but I have shaved off two weeks from the program, making my official start date TODAY!
Last week was my first week back to work and I dove right in to cross-training. BOY did I pay for that laziness! I was sore AF most of last week! I felt almost as sore as I felt after doing the Leadville Heavy Half last year! It felt so good to be back at it and I was even [kinda] thankful for the soreness.
Sunday, I ran out some of the soreness with co-worker/friends Kelli and Amy at the Resolve 10K at City Park! First race of 2019 and the first January race that I’d run since 2011 (thanks Athlinks!)! I’d almost forgotten that we were doing it until I got back to work on Tuesday. I had talked the gals into running the 10K but they both wanted to drop down to the 5K. I almost did too so that I could just fun-run with them, but I changed my mind race morning. The 10K was two of the 5K loops anyway, so I was able to run the first loop with them. We were going at an easy pace, so I ended up picking it up for the second 5K. I really dislike the course because of how uneven the pavement is in a lot of spots. I ALWAYS get blisters there no matter how far I run or what shoes I run in. It’s the same course as the Pumpkin Pie double I did in November where I had to do THREE laps. Ugh. I got it done, got my medal, and we went to brunch afterwards – best part of the day! Splits: 9:43, 9:20, 9:20, 8:41, 8:51 (stopped for water), and 8:40 – pretty consistent on the second half!
Kelli, myself (wearing my owl earmuffs), and Amy
Thanks for reading,
I signed up for the half at the New Jersey Marathon in late April. Looking forward to hanging with Loopster friends new and old.
In order to get ready for it, I put together a training plan. Its pretty conservative since cranking up the mileage too fast never leads me anywhere I want it to. Slow and steady is more my plan. Anyhow, I was supposed to run 7 miles this weekend. Yesterday was supposed to be one of those crappy cold (mid-30s) and rainy days, so I ran a few miles inside on the treadmill with the intention to run outside on the rail trail near my house this morning. Last night I selected all of the clothes I would need to run in the forecasted 30 degrees but feels like 20 degrees windy weather. Got up around 7:00, got dressed, had a banana, and was out the door. 10 minutes later, I was at the trail stretching thinking everything was going great. About to start when I stepped from the gravel parking lot onto the paved rail trail and immediately noticed the thin sheet of ice on all of the asphalt. Oh crap! 😮
I took a few steps and quickly slid off. Looked both up the trail and down the trail as far as I could see and saw nothing different. Went back to the car, checked the temp - it was 32. Hmmm, if I drive back into town and get gas, maybe in the 15 minutes that takes me the ice will melt. Yeah, I didn't think there was much hope for that, but I needed gas so why not try? Of course, when I came back, it was shockingly exactly the same as when I left.
I was running out of time and couldn't think of any other outside options so I went home to run on the treadmill. (On the way home, I saw the roads were no better than the trail but I guess cars are heavier than people so there was no cars sliding on the roads).
I got my run done on the treadmill - fortunately there was something to watch on TV, unfortunately it was a 'greatest NFL games in history' special on last year's Super Bowl that my Patriots lost. ☹️
When I came upstairs, thinking I had about 15 minutes to shower and grab something quick to eat before leaving for church, DW says " I've got to go [somewhere] and DS1 needs to be picked up in half an hour at [somewhere]." OK, so no church for us today, eh? I guess I could have waited for the temperature to go up and the ice to melt, and then run outside. Oh well.
Kind of a odd way to start the day, but I got my 7 miler in, so that's a good thing.
Happy New Year all!
A solid week in running. I haven’t really ventured into speedwork yet, but I will soon. I signed up for the GO St. Louis Half Marathon on New Year’s Eve just before the price went up $10. There is a new course that they just released at a special event on Saturday (available online soon). Since I was running at Forest Park where the event was I got to see it without a special trip. The race is staying on the Missouri side this time and is now a point to point from Forest Park to the riverfront downtown, in a roundabout way. It should be interesting.
It’s been warm this week. No winter weather here.
Monday – 5 to hit 100 for the month of Dec.
Tuesday – 3.5 with a group of runners from right around where I live
Wednesday – 0, first day back at work and I had to take my car in for an oil change before work. I could have run while they were working on my car, but I didn’t want to deal with the logistics.
Thursday – 4.4 back to running in the dark after almost 2 weeks of being able to wait until daylight
Friday – 3.1, my flat easy route.
Saturday – 8.1 with Team in Training. Same distance as last week because my weekday total was higher and I’m being careful.
Sunday (today) – Rest. I should have walked more, but I have work to do for classes again, and we celebrated my dad’s birthday. I did do my core routine. I really need to make sure I do this at least 4x a week, to help prevent the injury situation that kept me out of my fall marathon.
Other news –
Izzie seems better. I finished with giving her the daily antibiotic injections on Friday, much to the relief of both of us. Her follow up visit with the vet is tomorrow. I hope he can tell me the infection looks like it is really gone this time (I doubt he can give me complete reassurance but hopefully his professional opinion is that she looks good).
Cooking with Shalane
I got both of her cookbooks for Christmas and I’ve been trying out some of the recipes. So far I’ve made 5, but I’ll really slow down once work, school and marathon training get going. I’ve tried the Apple Cheddar Scones (good, but I made a couple of mistakes on this one that mean it could have been better), Flu Fighter Chicken and Rice Stew (awesome, will make again), Honey Cardamom Granola* (excellent, but since I didn’t have cardamom, I just used pumpkin pie spice so also different), Turkey Trot Meatballs (so good and I had these for dinner tonight), and Purple Cabbage Slaw (also good, also dinner tonight).
I’ve liked everything I’ve tried so far. But some of the ingredients called for are a little hard to find. I plan on making the black bean burgers, but they call for tahini which I wasn’t able to find at the grocery store. She also points out that sometimes they call for more expensive ingredients, which is worth it for quality and health sake, except that when you make less than a certain amount it just isn’t going to work. So far I’ve stuck with the recipes that call for mostly basic ingredients. I am probably not going to spring for bison meat. Beef will have to substitute. Aldi has some organic beef that isn’t too pricey.
In the mood to do a recap of my 2019 goals and Boston training, not sure how long I'll be able to keep doing this but we'll go with it for now...
2018 was an ok year overall for my running, I ran most of the year, had a setback in June but got back on track in July. I completed two marathons early in the year and a few shorter races, had 0 PRs and ran slightly less than 2017. Not great results in races but grateful to be able to run period so that's why I'm going with an ok rating overall.
I'm feeling very optimistic about 2019 coming off of a unsuccessful trip to CIM last month. I continued my streak of running at least 5K every day, up to 80 days as of today. I ran mileage of 41.7, 56.6, 55.1 and 62.1 leading up to this week which would be the first of my Boston 2019 cycle.
First, goals for 2019.
Enjoy the process
This is the most important
Run at least a 5K every day
I attempted to do this in 2018 but got overzealous with my buildup after Boston and had a calf injury set me back
this one is an arbitrary round number but I want to run more mileage and this would be a decent increase over my 2017 total
PR in the marathon and 2 other distances
I already PR'd in one other distance on New Year's day so had to go with two
I posted a link on FB to my Boston Training outline that I'm starting with, will obviously tweak as I go with necessary changes. Here it is again for the sake of putting everything in one spot:
December 31 - January 6
6.3 Miles in 0:52 - It was raining and I was home alone with my son so did a short recovery run on the TM at home. Had the annual New Year's Day 10 miler on Tuesday that is my benchmark for the spring and is a good workout to start the Boston cycle as it's very hilly.
3 mile WU in 0:23 + 10 miles in 1:02:50 + 2 mile CD in 0:15 (15 total) - easy WU with some surges at the end to wake my legs up. My legs have been pretty tired, probably still carrying some fatigue from December but it wasnt a goal race so not really concerned. A friend of mine came out to the (public) park and ran the race with me which was awesome because we were completely alone from the gun. The race is a 10 miler and 5K and we had a huge lead in both immediately. We kept the race at a tempo effort since there wasnt really a reason to run overly hard and go to the well and stayed pretty consistent with pace until i took a nasty fall on some slick mud right before the 6 mile marker. I then spent most of mile 7 recovering, I ended up tearing my compression sock and had some sweet road rash down my right hip. I took the overall win and apparently PR'd at the 4 mile distance also, clearly I need to race that distance again. Cool down of 2 miles, legs felt pretty good after the effort so I know it wasn't a true race effort. I have been doing some good strength work since mid-December and I think that is having an effect already as my legs handled the hills much better than last year.
1:00 strength training in the PM
7.25 miles in 0:56 - Easy run in the rain on tired legs. My hamstrings were a little tight from the workout / strength work but no soreness. Uneventful run except I got to see two friends crushing a 10 mile tempo, they're both OTQ marathon guys and looked incredibly smooth running around 5:00 pace. Jealous.
9.3 miles in 1:13 - Easy run on tired legs. I usually feel worst two days after a workout so not surprising although my bedtime routine is out of whack from the hoidays and I've been staying up too late also. I need to fix.
15 minutes in the gym Normatec boots after post-run stretching.
7.1 miles in 0:56 - Another easy run on tired legs, went shorter today in advance of a big weekend. Watch was spazzing out and never got a gps lock, think the distance is a little short but not too concerned about a tenth or two of missing distance.
15 minutes in the Normatec boots after stretching again. I am liking them and this is bad, I will end up re-buying a pair for the house.
2.8 mile WU in 0:21 with surges + 2 x 1 mi in 6:03, 5:58 + 6 x 1:15 hills on a 9% grade + 2.4 mile CD in 0:19 (10 total) - the mile repeats was done on pretty hilly roads also, GAP says the efforts were 5:57, 5:45 and the hill reps were all within 4:46 - 5:17 pace. I have no idea how accurate GAP is but if it's close I'm feeling much less pessimistic about my lack of "speed." I have been reviewing last year's training and feel like I have less raw speed this year but a ton more strength, which I think is where I'd prefer to be for a marathon anyways so good?
17 miles in 2:14 - Legs were really tired to start. I did 5 miles solo, mostly on a grass/dirt track at the park before my friend arrived and we did 11 through some rolling hills in the parks. I finished with another mile and a half on the grass/dirt loop. Pretty uneventful except for again, how tired I was. I do not like hills right now, they are hard to get up! Took no fuel during the run, will continue to do this on all easy runs to improve fuel efficiency.
Great first week. I'm tired but that's marathon training and truthfully I love it. I'm taking a big swing this cycle, going back to mostly self-coached and doing harder/different workouts to improve on my weaknesses so I can finally break an over 2 year old PR in the marathon.
Happy New Year and happy training all. Thanks for reading.
Happy New Year, Friends!
I hope your year is off to a great start – I know mine is! I was all over the place in 2018 and I feel like I’d need to write a novel to recap it. I went back to see if I’d actually laid out any goals for the year and I didn’t. My main focus was getting ready for Denali, and we know how that ended, but we also know how much good came out of it.
2018 Stats: I didn’t do the best job at keeping my training log going all year, which has become a new 2019 goal. I’m pretty good at logging everything on Strava but I’m not sure how accurate that really is. It said my longest run was 18 miles but it somehow forgot about the 50K I did – but here is what Strava says:
Days Active – 142
Most Active Month – June
Total Miles – 723.6
Total Running Miles – 522
62,124 Elevation Gain
Races – 9: NFEC D.C. 50K, Colfax 13.1, Mt. Evans Ascent, Leadville Heavy Half, GTIS 13.1, Estes Epic, Veterans Day 5K, Pumpkin Pie 5K & 10K, and Rehoboth 13.1.
Those are some pretty darn good races! No wonder I ended up getting shin splints!
2017 wasn’t the best numbers year, but it was my comeback year. I’ll always love 2017.
Much more consistent in 2018!
After I withdrew from the Denali team, I thought I had something to prove to myself. I was certainly wanting to make some big moves with some very aggressive goals – like Marathon Maniacs and building up to run a 100 miler. How can I go from training to climb Denali to anything less awesome? I’m an open book and not afraid to change goals that I’ve already made public. While those goals are completely realistic for me, I don’t think it’s the right time for them yet. I need to focus on getting as healthy and strong as I can, while also getting there the smartest way possible (I keep saying that, I get it). I’ve never allowed myself to train properly, so I should definitely get that tuned in first.
One of my best-good friends (as Forrest would say), Kelli, is a fitness instructor at our awesome sauce wellness center. She has been trying to talk me into becoming one as well. I’ve been afraid of the time commitment and worried that it would get in the way of other things. However, the more classes I take, I’m really starting to think that I could do it. When I was deployed in Afghanistan, the only thing to do outside of work was to workout and run. When I wasn’t running, I was on a spin bike with playlists that I pre-made just for spinning. I even thought back then that I’d make a good spin instructor. I’ve worked out for a long time, and even took a weigh lifting class in community college WAY BACK, so I’m familiar with lots of different exercises.
Soooo… in February, I will start the ACE (American Council on Exercise) program to become a fitness instructor! I think it lasts about FOUR months! I will be attending an info sesh pretty soon and will have more details. The classes I will likely teach are spin (which I will have to get separately certified for), barbell strength, and HIIT. I’m super excited about this! This will allow me to learn a lot, workout A LOT, and become a smarter athlete!
While I do want to focus on getting strong, I am still a runner (duh). Yesterday, I registered for the Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon which is the last weekend of April! I’d initially had a goal of marathon PRing but I’m not sure I’m officially going for that anymore. I’m already two weeks behind on the start of training – but if I keep training smartly, it may happen on it’s own! I just want to have a happy and healthy marathon. Once I accomplish happy and healthy, then I can start setting time goals.
Things I want to do in 2019:
Become a Fitness Instructor
Work on pushups and pullups – I like to be able to do 50 and 10 correct form/full range
Climb more 14ers in the summer
Run a happy and healthy NJ Marathon
13.1 PR at Rehoboth (of COURSE I’ve already signed up!)
I am still just as fired up as I was months ago, but now I’m ready to focus that fire in the right places. I’m excited about all the places and adventures that I know 2019 will bring! I’ll see some of you lovelies along the way! Best wishes to you all for your own happy and healthy 2019!!
Thanks for reading friends,
I recently read my Top 5 Running Highlights of 2017 when searching for my yearly mileage history list. I was correct when I noted in that post that 2017 would be hard to top! My 2018 running wasn't quite what I wanted, but I have a lot to be thankful for.
My Instagram Top 9 wasn't far off!
My Highlights Were:
With 3,047 miles, I ran my highest yearly mileage ever, surpassing my 2017 mileage by 4 miles (the 2017 mileage was a huge yearly mileage PR). I had 8 weeks of mileage in the 80s, which before this year I had only done for 1 week, in 2017. All other "normal" training weeks were in the 60s-70s; the weeks that were not that high were when I was tapering, recovering, injured, or returning from injury - the majority of those when I was healthy were in the 50s, but several were big fat zeros when I was injured. I am pretty pumped that I managed a yearly mileage PR with 8 weeks of downtime, and I know I can improve it next year if I don't get injured. I counted my AlterG treadmill miles in this total, which feels a little like cheating, but I did run the distance so I'm keeping them (my outside miles are around 160 less).
I ran a huge 10K PR. Everything really came together for the Plaza 10K even though I did not rest for it or do any 10K-specific training. Although I was extremely disappointed that my fall season was cut short, I am so thankful that I got this race in before I got injured. I was thrilled to better my track best on a rolling road course, but more importantly it really showed me how well my body responded to consistent higher mileage training (higher mileage is all relative, I know 70-80 is nothing for some but it is the most I've ever done). I'd been targeting running a 36:59 10K for over a year, but I really never thought I'd be able to run a 36:34 on the road.
I ran two solid marathons. Although I did not accomplish my time goal in Houston, it was a great experience and I'm glad I went for it. I am proud to say that my complete bonk/bad day marathon there was a 2:54. Grandma's wasn't what I dreamed of when I selected the race, but based on how terrible I felt for most of the build up, I am proud that I pulled off a 2:49:08, my second fastest marathon. I sure hope I have more in me as far as marathon PRs go, but regardless I sure enjoy the training process and the races!
I set two Missouri single age state records, in the half marathon at Rock the Parkway and the 12K at the Big 12 12K. Neither are great times, but they are currently the best a 37-year-old female in Missouri has managed. I bombed nearly every run in the months leading up to those races, so even though I don't think I ran good times, I do think I ran really well compared to how I was performing in training.
I persisted. In February, March, and April I had an illness and a slump (which was extra hard since I was coming off of several break-through performances in fall 2017), but I raced beyond what my training said I should have in everything I raced for the first 6 months of the year. I was injured in September, but I did everything I could to strengthen my weaknesses and to return to training.
I learned. I learned how much consistent mileage helps my race times. I learned to be more cautious about running when sick, and about running and racing on potential injuries. I re-learned just how much I love the sport and how empty I feel without it. I learned that my running friends mean the world to me.
I re-prioritized. My biggest goal is to run for the rest of my life. This is more important than any PR. That doesn't mean my Big Goal (2:45:00 marathon) has changed, just that it's decidedly second on the list, at best.
I was more thankful. I still have a ways to go in this arena, but I did better. I've always been pretty bad about wanting more and more, in running and in other aspects of my life. Looking back, I haven't appreciated many milestones and PRs because I was already onto my next goal. The first time I broke 3:00 in the marathon, I left the finish chute ecstatic but also thinking, "I can run faster." I distinctly remember waiting for my flight at the Phoenix airport following my break-through 2:49 marathon emailing my coach saying I wanted to train for a 2:45, instead of relishing in the post-race high. I wasn't nearly as happy about my 2:47 at CIM as I should have been, because it wasn't "enough" compared to a very specific cut-off time. I regret that I didn't savor those moments, but this year I found more joy in my performance at Grandma's Marathon than in any of those marathons, even though it wasn't a PR. I really let myself ride a high after my PR at the Plaza 10K. I do want more, but if I never get more I will still find great joy in the process. I am more thankful than ever now.
I helped others. Whenever someone tells me that I helped them, I am reminded why I was given my passion for running. I typically don't realize I'm doing it, but whether it's by answering running questions, giving training advice, encouraging others, inviting someone to join our group runs, listening to my friends when we run together, helping my local running club, or making individualized training schedules for friends free of charge, I have opportunities to give back often. That has to be why God made me a runner. I know I'll remember all of the people that running has brought into my life more than I'll remember any PR; however...
Bring on 2019 training blocks and goal races! I have a long way to go to get back to my best fitness, but I'm ready to try!
Good morning! It’s Wednesday, but it’s Monday. I’m still trying to figure out where I am and what I’m doing. Jet lag is REAL.
Spent New Year’s Eve on a redeye flight from LA to DC.
Most runners are somewhat goal oriented people, I think. With the new year here, lots of people are reflecting on their 2018 and thinking about what they want to do with their 2019. I figured I’d join in on the fun.
Zero miles through April. I was still quite busy rehabbing my surgically repaired achilles. A lot of work went into coming back., and not just my own. I really have so many people to thank for help and encouragement.
My first “run” came on April 6th on the Alter G treadmill. That was quite an experience and you can read about it here if you have lots of time to kill.
My first REAL run happened on May 1st. Talk about a runner’s high…
I think I was excited.
First race back was a 5k in May. I was a little bit nervous and maybe even a little bit fearful. The race day butterflies were more like race day bats(?). I didn’t get TOO crazy, but it was my first time stepping on the gas pedal.
Right around this point I was officially cleared! I quickly did what any goal-oriented runner would do upon being cleared and I started looking at marathons!
On August 6th, I started training for round 2 of Rehoboth Beach. I had a first marathon nervousness going, but with that came first marathon excitement.
There were plenty of ups and downs in the training process. For the first month or so, I was killing it, then 40 happened. The day after my birthday, my quad and hip started to hurt and they never stopped hurting. The right side hurt, then the left side hurt. I felt like I was running “through” something for most of my runs. I started to hurt even when I wasn’t running and to me that’s a real problem.
I lost hope at times and there were thoughts of shutting it down and not running Rehoboth, but then THIS happened.
Speed happened. Confidence happened.
A fast 5k is exactly what I needed to get mentally ready for Rehoboth. I rested almost the whole week afterward, but that didn’t matter. I felt like I could finish no matter what and nothing was going to stop me from that. So I did…
Rehoboth was full of ups and downs, but also the best post-race party there is. I ran without anxiety, maybe for the first time ever in a marathon. I was happy right from the start that I was back on that starting line. I didn’t care about awards, or BQs, or anything else (although my 3:33 time wasn’t too shabby hehe). It’s a great feeling! That leads me to 2019…
I really liked the feeling of running Rehoboth and truly enjoying it. I’m not ready to give that up quite yet. I ran one little mile yesterday to start out the year. That’s all I felt like doing. As I said on Strava…No Challenges. No Streaks. No Goals.
I’ll be running races for sure. There’s a happy medium where you can run fast and love it. I need to find that place and stay there for a while.
Find your happy place.
Eventually, my competitive nature will win out and I’ll need something more or something bigger. That’s ok. I’ll just enjoy that break while I can.
In many ways I'd like to just forget all about 2018 altogether, move on to 2019 and see what's next, hoping for less drama and less trauma. On the other hand, maybe taking a quick review will help me close the door. Feel free to skim around and look for the high points. No need for anyone else to get all bummed out, too.
I finished the year with 550 miles, according to my spreadsheet. I don't trust either Strava (574) or GarminConnect (533) for my official mileage total. Maybe I'll look into the discrepancy sometime.
In February I was in the second month of a very slow buildup after taking December off with a hamstring strain, when my left knee started acting up. A week off didn't help. Neither did a few more weeks. When I went in to the knee doc, my insurance wouldn't approve his recommended MRI until I'd gone through six weeks(!!!) of PT. That helped exactly zero. The MRI, when I finally had it at the end of May (three months after the first problem), showed some minor damage and the doc recommended letting him go in and scrape it out. What he found once he was on the inside was a small tear of the meniscus. That fixed, it took a lot longer than I expected to recover. Plenty of rest, lots of limping around the office, a few little test "runs" in July, more PT. It was a long summer.
Once I discovered that running didn't make the pain any worse, I started a slow build up at the beginning of September. It sucked worse than any getting in shape period I've ever had. Every single run was a struggle, and I don't mean my knee hurt. That's the only thing that didn't. The rest of me was a mess. But I was undeterred. By the end of October I had my long run up to 9 miles and thought I'd give the half at Rehoboth a shot, if the other dominoes fell into place. They did.
Tried a 5k in November that went better than expected. Not blazing and I didn't feel great, but it was in the lower 20's and I didn't die. Rehoboth went sort of the same. Never felt the joy, but I didn't die and my time (1:50) was decent.
So, I declared my knee 100% and it's been good since, both at work and running. I've been doing short stuff since the race. December weather has been amazing around here. Last week I switched my long run to Friday because 50 degrees and did 9. On Saturday it was 31 and expected to snow/rain. I beat the weather, but with 10 yards or so to the end of the run, that stupid hamstring tried to pop again. So I've limped into the new year for the second year in a row. Did an easy 4 on NYD and could feel it most of the way, although not badly. I'm babying it now with ice and IBU, so I hope if I'm careful and stay slow, it'll recover and get me to spring.
But, hey, I'm running, which is 100% better than not running.
Second, not running.
I assume it was from not running at all in December (after Rehoboth) and really pigging out on holiday food, but my blood sugar numbers were mostly not good when I had my annual physical. Doc had me re-test in April, and although I'd gone out of my way to eat much, much better, I'd improved only the tiniest fraction of a point. Having another reason to run is OK, I suppose, but still.
My PSA was also up from the year before (and the year before that), so he ordered an April retest of that, too. Just like the blood sugar, it jumped again. That resulted in a urology appointment and a biopsy, which was mostly positive, but not conclusive. It also resulted in an e coli infection that won me a 3 day stay in the hospital. Thank goodness for health insurance.
The next weekend (the Sunday before Memorial Day), my mom died. It was an unexpected result from minor injuries she'd received when she and Dad were in a fender bender a few weeks earlier. She'd gone through rehab, had returned home just the day before, and woke up the next morning with breathing trouble. Pneumonia. She lasted about a week after going back into the hospital. She was 82.
In July I saw a dermatologist about a couple of spots on my lower legs that came out of nowhere and weren't responding to anything we'd tried at home. He took them off and had them checked. Basal cell carcinoma. Not a big deal if they don't come back. Big concern of they do. I have to go in now a couple of times every year to make sure.
My October PSA screen showed another increase. Next step was an MRI which looks mostly OK according to the report, but I'm waiting to hear from the urologist before I can declare this item closed, at least for now.
On the plus side, Big Mac, my elder daughter who lives in Seattle fell head over heels for a tall sciency guy and they are planning an April wedding. T-Rex passed two of the four classes she took last semester (we dropped the other two early on). Still hoping for her to reach a more functional level of work/study. My granddaughters seem to get more adorable every day.
I'm mostly comfortable now planning for a late spring marathon. I'd like to stay close to home and do Glass City with Mark and (maybe) Peg, or join the growing group of Loopsters in New Jersey, but those are both at the end of April, and that's a little tight for my slow training plan and the winter training uncertainty. Not to mention that they are two weeks after Mac's wedding and there is no running allowed that weekend - not good for late mary training. At this point I'm thinking more the end of May and Vermont City. I had penciled that in last year before the meniscus, so why not just do a reset? No plans at all for fall yet. I may skip fall and do Disney next January, depending on finances this year. Training will be less intense while my body figures out if it's really old already. I'll switch tempos to Tuesday and skip most of the intervals for the spring race. Didn't get into Hood-to-Coast again, but am still interested. Maybe I'll try to find another of those silly multi-day relays to do and see if it's as fun as I imagine.
As for my non-running life, one more year closer to retirement. I'll keep watching the numbers and hope the economy doesn't crash too hard so I still have some savings as it approaches. Still a few years away unless someone gives me that winning lottery ticket.
December 2018 in Review
Total mileage for the month: 316.3 -- in comparison: January - 207, February - 254, March - 298, April - 307, May - 355, June - 232, July - 290, August - 357, September - 305, October - 10, November - 114. This was a good mileage month, but only about 5 of those miles were fast (I am not even kidding)!
In 2018 I ran 3,047 miles total, which was a yearly mileage PR! I ran 3,043 in 2018 (see #4 here), and I thought because of my calf injury this year I wouldn't be able to beat that, but in the end I did!
Full story: I looked at my year-to-date total on Dec. 2 and although I'd never cared much about yearly totals before then, I suddenly felt it would be a complete tragedy if I didn't make it over 3,000 this year. So I did the math and suddenly had a goal of running at least 62.5 miles a week for the rest of the year, as long as my calf continued to feel 100%. I ended up with weekly totals over that and began closing in on my 2017 total, but I didn't expect to beat it until with 4 days left in the year, I checked it and saw that 40 more miles would get me there. 40 miles in 4 days is completely reasonable, so I decided to go for it.
Nov. 26-Dec. 2: 52.4 (31 AlterG)
Plus 4:05 cardio cross-training, 2:30 strength training
Dec. 3-9: 64.8 (22 AlterG)
Plus 1:30 cardio cross-training, 2:50 strength training
Dec. 10-16: 72.8 (11 AlterG)
Plus 2:46 strength training (0 cardio cross-training from here on!!!)
Dec. 17-12: 75.5 (12 AlterG)
Plus 2:40 strength training
Dec. 24-30: 80.1 (10 AlterG)
Plus 2:16 strength training
Dec. 31-Jan. 6: projected at 70
I had the final DNS of my injury, missing the California International Marathon. This DNS burned the worst by far. I'm hoping to return to the magic of CIM in 2019, though.
Dec. 13 - At the hill closest to the end of my run, I completed 4 x 1:00ish hill repeats. Hill repeats are hard for me even when I'm in shape, and these were tough for a mere 4:00 of hard running! I didn't time them exactly or take my paces on them, just ran from a sign to a mailbox that took me about a minute the first time, then repeated it 3 times before jogging back to where I was parked. Hills are a great way to get speed work with less impact, and I was scared of everything except hills sprints and strides this month.
Dec. 28 - I finally bit the bullet and ran a real workout - 3 mile tempo at 6:36 via 6:43, 6:43, 6:24 (2.1 warm up, 2.3 cool down). I chose the windiest day to do this, but also figured that would mean I'd for sure improve on my next workout. I wasn't sure what to expect so I ran this by feel, as I am usually pretty good at zeroing in on tempo effort. I did look at my mile splits, and my main thought at mile 2 was "I may have lost my speed, but at least I didn't lose my ability to run consistent splits!". This run reminded me that it takes me 2 miles of any tempo to get into a groove and feel good, but I was still sure glad to stop after 3 hard miles! I'm very thankful to be running and to have the opportunity to re-gain fitness, but it's sure hard not to compare. I kept thinking "I have no idea how I used to run marathons averaging paces in the 6:20s!" but I also know that improvements come much faster when you haven't run workouts in a long time...here's hoping [Jan. 1 note - I did improve in my second workout back]! I wore two Garmins on this run: my old 220 and new 235, and they had all of my mile splits within 2 seconds of each other so unfortunately my disappointing pace was pretty accurate.
Doubles on Dec. 18, and 26. My 80 mile week during the final week of the month was the first time I hit 80 with only 1 double!
Strides on Dec. 10, 18, 23, and 26.
Full body strength workouts: I started listing my weekly strength training totals with my weekly mileage above. Most of my strength routine uses body weight (e.g., planks, push ups, walking lunges) or resistance bands (e.g., clamshells, monster walks, glue bridges), but I do some weighted moves (e.g., squats, deadlifts, rows).
I ran 10 miles in this ugly Christmas sweater!
8* is less cold with friends, but apparently
feels colder to me than to Amy!
Dec. 1: I tagged my 7.2 miles (7:36) as a long run on Strava, because when your outdoor runs have been 0 for 8 weeks, 7.2 is long! While the duration of the run seemed short, it also seemed like a long way to run, if that makes any sense at all. It was a nice one, with my running buddies Amy R., Elise, Rebecca, and Claudio on farm roads in 48 degrees. I can't say that I like being the one running the shortest distance, however.
Dec. 8: 12.2 miles (7:39) with my amazing friends Missy and Rebecca on a cold and windy morning! I also ran 10 miles (7:26) for my midweek long run with Rebecca that week, on Dec. 5, which was my first double digit run outside post-injury!
Dec. 15: 14 miles (7:19) with a wonderful group (Rebecca, Missy, Jackie, Danielle, and Claudio...I told Claudio he was in for a lot of estrogen!). Early on some of the 7:10ish miles felt a bit hot, and I sure felt the long inclines in miles 10-11, but my final 2 miles were my fastest (7:05, 6:50) and I was happy to average 20 sec/mile faster than the previous week, going 2 miles farther. The upside of returning from injury is that you improve much more rapidly than when you're fit! I'd had a few daily runs that were around 7:15 pace by this point in my comeback, but they'd been 5-6 milers, so this was really solid for where I was at. I then ended up running 12.2 miles the next day on Dec. 16 (oops - but the pace was slower at 7:57).
Dec. 21: 16.2 miles (7:49) with Missy, before work. This seemed like a really good idea until my alarm sounded at 4:00 a.m. the Friday morning of the run! Shortly after, Missy texted me, "What were we thinking??!" We'd planned on a pace over 30 seconds/mile faster than this, but it just wasn't the day for it. After hearing the wind whipping around all night, we decided that even 8:00 pace would be fine and we'd consider it time on feet. It was very windy, but I think most of my problem was eating crappy the day before at Christmas events and probably also getting used to the miles...after all, I did go from a long run of 7.2 to 16.2 in 3 weeks! It didn't seem that long (thanks to my super long cross-training sessions that weren't nearly as fun), but for the remainder of the day my body sure reminded me that I hadn't run this distance in almost 3 months. But whenever you run 16 miles before the sun comes up, you accomplished something - plus Missy is awesome!
Dec. 24: 14 miles (7:59) on Christmas Eve for an unscheduled but excellent long run! I met up with April to run the Chisholm Trail Marathon course in Wichita while visiting my parents for Christmas, which ended up being the perfect Christmas Eve bonus long run. The course is two loops of 13.1 miles, and she had a 14 miler scheduled so I of course ended up running the extra mile. The run went by really quickly and felt more like 7 miles instead of 14, and we only made one wrong turn when navigating the course from my memory (i.e., the course is very easy to follow even completely unmarked)!
Dec. 29: 14 miles (7:39) mostly before dawn. I ran the first 7 with Elise, Amy, and Rebecca at around 8:00 pace, then did a progressive-ish 6 at around 7:20 pace because I felt good! We ran a 13 mile loop but when I got back to my car I decided to tack on another mile for 14 (funny, initially I'd planned a cut back long run of 12 this week but ended up with two 14s instead). I would have run 15-16, or maybe even 18, if I hadn't been on a time crunch to get home because Jon had to leave...and that was a nice feeling that I hadn't experienced on a long run recently! I followed this up with 11.6 miles the next day.
Favorite long run: All of them! I love every single run!
My new compression socks!
Elise bought the same pack & we both wore a pair on 12/16
I supplemented a little with cross-training as I worked up my mileage, but nothing like the previous two months (thank God)! The earliest I can start running on the AlterG is 6:15 a.m. (and I pulled a lot of strings to make that happen - the first appointment for it is actually at 7:00 a.m.), so some days I ran on it at the beginning of the month I did 30 minutes on the bike or elliptical at home before, because I can't sleep past 5:00 a.m. That died off pretty quickly though, hah.
Reflecting with Amy on 12/13 (it was in the 40s this morning!)
This is why Amy is usually in charge of post-
run photos - Kansas City run w/ Jessi on 12/17
This is how dark it is when we finish weekday runs...
Stopping cross-training was a highlight, for sure! Wow, I need running in my life. I fully believe that nothing helps your running more than running more.
My first week back to running was rough, even though I ran 52 miles (only 21 outside, with 31 on the AlterG though). I felt like I'd lost everything and 3-4 mile easy paced runs were so hard it blew my mind to think that just 2 month prior I'd been running that for my second run of the day after running 3 times as far in the morning. 7 miles was really long on Dec. 1 and I truly didn't want to run any farther. I was very discouraged. The second week, though, I turned a corner and running felt good again! I got super excited for each run and they kept getting easier. The 10 miles I ran on Dec. 5 was easier than the 4 miles I ran on Dec. 2. I felt encouraged. The third week was even better, and so forth! My first workout back was also very discouraging, but I'm thankful I can try to improve.
I built my mileage back up rather quickly post-injury, but my easy pace is slower and I did 5 weeks of easy running without workouts (I finally got brave enough to try a workout at 5 weeks, 1 day).
However, slow running is so much better than no running, and at this point I don't even care if I never PR again. I enjoyed running with friends and never thinking about pace (in general I let whoever I was running with set the pace).
I was not coached this month, and although I enjoyed running whatever I wanted, I was also reminded how easy it is for me to over-train myself. I had a general idea of what I planned to run each day (I even wrote out a rough plan at the beginning of the month), but my approach quickly turned to matching the mileage of whoever I was running with if it was farther. "I planned to do 8, but sure I'll run 12 with you; who cares that I ran 14 yesterday?!", "I was thinking I'd do 10, but 14 works just fine too!", etc.
In related news, I will be starting back with my coach on January 1, as clearly I need someone to save me from myself. I'd considered training myself for my "for fun" March marathon (more info on that to come), and although I can write a good training schedule I am super apt to add things, which can come back to bite me. I hope to build from March for time goals in June and December marathons.
I got a new Garmin for Christmas! I wouldn't have bought one for myself until my 220 died, but my husband thought I'd like it. He was right - I love my new 235. It was the only reason I doubled in Dec. 26; it was windy and wet outside but after opening it in a final gift exchange with my immediate family I was super excited to get out and try it.
Winter running is here! I'll run in about anything temperature-wise, but bitter cold is my least favorite. I've been so thankful to be running I haven't even cared though! Most winters I'm scared that I'll have to run on the treadmill, but after putting in so many miles on the AlterG I'm not even worried about that (although I still plan to/hope to avoid it!). I don't have any more AlterG runs planned, but if the weather forces me indoors I'll use it over a standard treadmill to get miles with less impact once in awhile. This already happened on New Years Eve; I cannot quite manage 38 degrees and pouring rain.
Christmas-themed everything! I wasn't the best at taking pictures, but we did a Christmas parade, put out outdoor Christmas decorations (our tree and indoor decorations were completed in November), and ate some Christmas treats.
Albani had a terrible stomach bug the second weekend of the month so we stayed home all weekend. I could not believe how much puke came out of such a small body, and I felt terrible for her. I ran, read 3 books, and cleaned up vomit all weekend.
For Christmas we visited my parents/siblings from Dec. 22-24 and Jon's parents/siblings from Dec. 24-25. It was hard to narrow down which photos to share! We are certainly blessed.
For New Years Eve we saw an early movie as a family, and I was asleep before 10:00 p.m., which was everything I hoped for.
Cold weather indoor entertainment
Those are my PJ pants!
Gingerbread house building
Stockings at our house
Pre-Christmas church service
Christmas Eve at my parents'
My loves on Christmas Day
Family Christmas Day photo
2018 just wasn’t my year. And not to say that amazingly wonderful things didn’t happen, it just wasn’t the year I anticipated having.
Sober January. In an effort to try to lower my resting heart rate, clean up my diet, and just take a break from booze, I decided to embark on sober January with a couple of internet friends. There were times that I kind of missed it when I’d go out with friends, but it was not that difficult to commit to overall. That being said, I was happy to return to the world of IPAs in February.
I had some top of foot pain following my races in December (er...2017) and decided to give myself a week’s rest the second week of January. Any niggles of pain I’ve had in the past have generally subsided within a week’s worth of rest. This was different. The pain was still there and despite me backing off my effort and mileage, I decided I needed to see a doctor.
After an initial diagnosis of tendinitis, my PT saw that I wasn’t feeling any improvement and suggested I see a podiatrist. Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with a metatarsal stress reaction and sentenced to a boot.
February was a blur of depression. I couldn’t run, bike, elliptical, row, or walk. For someone who thrives on sweating, this was tough. I ultimately found some YouTube videos that allowed me to work up a sweat from a chair and took out all my aggression on weights.
I re-joined the gym so that I could swim and was allowed to bike early on in the month. Ultimately, I decided to nix the bike because the strap irritated the top of my foot. Despite me spending as many hours cross-training as I do during peak mileage weeks, I felt incredibly out of shape when I came out of the boot.
The first few runs were tentative and my heart and head were in another place with Adam’s mom’s passing. It was the oddest mixture of grief over her loss of life and my own selfish joy being able to run again.
It never was out of the question that I would run Boston. The race, plane tickets, and Airbnb were all paid for and come hell or high water (pun intended), I would be there. I had 3 weeks of weight-bearing training when I toed the line. Fortunately, the misery of the elements nearly outshadowed everything else and I was so numb that even if my foot was in pain (which it wasn’t), I don’t know that I would have been able to feel it.
I thought things were looking up in May, but in retrospect, things just never really clicked. Perhaps I was too overconfident after Boston or too overzealous after 2 months of not running. Either way, I had a couple of good runs and a whole bunch of bad ones. As the month drug on, a soreness in my right tibia started to increase. I managed to eke out a pacing gig for Lauren at CJ100, but that was the last bit of strength I’d feel for months.
Sentenced to the boot again for a tibial stress reaction, I halted all exercise for a week. It was strange. At times, it felt all too easy, but well, it was easy. But at the same time, I craved those endorphins and sweat like a coffee addict needs caffeine. Towards the end of the month, I was working out again, but not with the same gusto I had in the first boot. I was in a funk.
Hot, miserable, and not running. Watching everyone go for big mileage and feeling really sad I was not able to be a part of it. The only good news was that by the end of the month, I was able to remove the boot and start weight-bearing exercise again.
Having somewhat learned from my previous mistakes, I started running again very slowly. I mixed in cross-training to stay fit and really tried to be okay with a slower pace. The doctor told me it would take about 5-6 weeks before things started to feel normal. Lo and behold, I started to notice those little things in both running and in regular life that made me feel more like me again.
I had long ago agreed (actually in sober January) that I would be a part of an Ironman relay team and complete the run leg. Unfortunately, with all of my injuries, I had been on the fence for months about actually committing. But, come the first part of September, I felt like I could complete 13.1 and not do any long-term damage.
It was extraordinarily hot the day of the race and I was honestly glad that I was not in peak racing form or else I would have been pretty upset to go after it in 90°+ at noon. However, I was still pleased to finish in a respectable time of 1:40 and help solidify a 5th place finish for our team.
At the end of September, I returned to Hinson Lake 24 where I completed 23ish miles of running before forcing myself to take a break. After that, I did a little bit more running and then a ton of walking. I ended up with 58 miles total and was happily tired, but not broken.
With the NYC marathon on the horizon, it was time to get serious about trying to get in a few key workouts before the race. Once recovered from Hinson, I looked to get in one 20 mile road run and a few speed work sessions before race day. I knew I didn’t have the same buildup of training in my legs as I had in marathons before the injuries, but I also knew there was something to be said for my first “real” race back and the confidence of having run that fast before.
NYC had perfect weather and everything came together for another BQ. I was aiming for somewhere between 3:20 - 3:30 and ended up with 3:24. Happily, I spent a couple of days resting and then did a reverse taper to get ready for Rehoboth. I didn’t fret when things weren’t clicking right away and just waited for my legs to feel good again to push the pace. I ended up running at the track one night because I didn’t want to mess with my headlamp and ran my fastest 5k and 10k according to my Garmin without looking at my watch for any splits.
Magical Rehoboth gave me a solid, healthy race in which I really didn’t feel like I was redlining the whole time. I knew that a PR was not in the cards for me and even a course PR was going to be nearly impossible. So a happy, healthy BQ? Yes, please!
Volunteer/crew/pace > 5 races - check!
Spectate/photos - Suwanee Half Marathon 2.11.18
Bib pickup & finisher medal handout - Run Your Bundts Off 5k 2.25.18
Crew (...ish) - Blind Pig 100 3.3.18
Spectate/photos - Yeti 7/11 3.10.18
Aid station volunteer - Umstead 100 4.7.18
Pacer - Cruel Jewel 100 5.19.18
Spectate/crew - Midsummer’s Night Dream 6.16.18
Aid station volunteer - Merrill’s Mile 7.6.18
Drop bag transport - H9 Dragon 8.4.18
Aid station volunteer/course sweep - Yeti Snakebite 50k 9.9.18
Course sweep - Bull Mountain Epic 10.6.18
Pacer - Stroll in the Park 11.25.18
Crew/pacer - Chattanooga 100 11.30.18
2. Marathon <3:10 - nope
Not even close. 3:24 was my best effort of 2018, but considering the amount of time in the boot, I’m okay with it.
3. 100 mile race (not a 24 hour) - nope
4. 200,000 impression on LinkedIn - nope
Not to make excuses, but my workflow was revamped in March and I become only a supplemental contributor by September. So even if we were at 200,000, it wouldn’t really be my work anyway.
5. Master InDesign - nope
See #4. I got better, but my job no longer required me to use it much.
6. 12 new recipes - check!
Extra checks. I stopped keeping track after the first 13. I bought a few new cookbooks and happily found some new recipes to add to my regular repertoire.
7. Read >20 books - check!
33 and counting. It’s funny that it years past, I’ve had the goal of 26 per year and never made it. This year, I lowered my goal and went above and beyond. Best books: Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison, Open by Andre Agassi, and Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir of Thinking My Way to Victory by Deena Kastor.
8. Prepare financially & physically for Everest Marathon 2019 - check
I slowly accumulated the money I would need to travel and buy gear for my trip. I hit my financial goal a couple of months ago and while I spent a lot of the year physically broken, the last quarter has me feeling much more confident about getting to Base Camp (and back home) in one piece.
9. Camp 2+ nights - not really
I did camp in my tent more than 2 nights. But when I wrote this, I intended to have camping trip that would actually last 2 nights. And all my camping this year has been car camping - where my gear has be extremely accessible.
10. Finish the Georgia Appalachian Trail - nope
I still have Dick’s Creek Gap to the NC border to finish - a jaunt of 8.9 miles. I did finish the Tray Mountain to Dick’s Creek Gap section in two different hiking trips.
11. Strength or Stretch > 30 minutes weekly - check!
One of the few areas my injury actually helped me reach a goal was getting in strength and/or stretching 30+ minutes a week. I had really gotten away from this after getting into ultras and am happily seeing/feeling how it is benefiting my running and overall fitness.
For 2019, I am excited to tackle a big spring of racing and then see where my heart takes me for the second half of the year. If there is anything 2018 taught me, it’s not taking my health for granted and to roll with the punches. For the first time in my adult life, I have a coach and I'm looking forward to a smart training block to kick of 2019.
Many of my goals for 2019 are running-centrified, but as in 2018, I made sure to include other things to keep me well-rounded - to do things for myself and to do things for others.
Here’s what I’m aiming for in 2019:
2019 miles in 2019 - Running miles preferred, but I’ll cut myself some slack if I do a lot more hiking in the second half of the year.
60 minute stretch/strength/cross-train per week - Some weeks were tough to even get in the 30 minutes in 2018 so this will be a challenge as I bump up to 6 days of running per week. But I’m hoping to incorporate more mini sessions of things like core work and resistance bands.
2 weeks (Mon - Thu) of meal planning per month - More running leads to more runger which leads to (often) more careless eating. If I can manage to plan for 8 days out of the month, I will hopefully stay a bit more balanced. I’ll take a free pass when traveling for 3 weeks in May.
Volunteer/crew/pace/spectate 10+ races - It may be tough with my own race schedule, but the goal is to continue to help others achieve their own finish line success stories.
PR in a distance less than a marathon - Considering all of my PRs in distances less than a marathon are very, very soft, this should be the easiest one to check off. But that also requires me to enter a “short” race and race it.
100 mile trail run or marathon PR - I’m carrying this over from 2018. It won’t happen this spring so I will look to the fall to see where my heart lies in my training.
Read 30+ books - I have a minimum of over 50 hours of flying time scheduled for next year. I expect to read less with the uptick in running, but carve out more time by looking at my phone less.
Call and/or write Grandma at least once per month - She’s 96 and is still 100% lucid. Her self-deprecating humor and never-ending compliments are the best.
One no spend month - Back in 2007, Adam and I were saving for our first house and went on “the house diet”. We severely curtailed all spending to just the necessities and allowed ourselves one meal out per month as a special treat. I’m not saving for anything in particular right now, but I also feel like a no spend month would be good to save a little extra cash and make me think twice about things that I need rather than just want.
Get a check up from all the docs - I’m great about my biannual dentist visits, but am pretty spotty about the regular doctor and eye doctor.
Do something kind once per week - It can be anonymous or not. A large gesture or something small. The idea is to be thoughtful about it when possible and to make someone’s day a little cheerier.
I hit half my goals in 2018 and while my intention of course was to hit all of them, I am actually feeling really great about what I accomplished. And that’s what I’m looking to do in 2019. Sure, it would amazing to hit them all. But also just having things to aim for is good too. I keep a printout of my goals at my desk at work as a reminder that A) I have a life outside of work and B) to constantly be aware of what I want to achieve.
Hey guys! It's been a long time since I've been on the Loop. I think I've only posted once on the "new" Loop, which isn't that new anymore, is it? Anyhow, I'm coming back and plan to keep coming back.
2018 was an up and down year. I came into this year off a really crummy 2017 when I had PF for pretty much the whole year, which caused me to run very little until the last couple months. I eventually got past PF and slooooowwwwwwwly built up to running some reasonable miles. It was nice to be running 3-5 miles 2-3X a week again.
I ramped up a bit in the summer to run a 100 mile relay up in Vermont with a few other Loopsters. I've done that race a few times previously and always enjoy it - the challenge of running 3 times in a long day, the scenery, but most of all the camaraderie/company of my team. I look forward to doing it again in 2019.
Things got very busy at work in the fall so the running dropped in priority unfortunately. Not a whole lot I can do about the work situation, aside from looking for a new job (which I am doing). But I'm getting in enough runs here at the end of the year to go over 500 miles for the year. I looked back in my log and see this is more than double my 2017 total, which makes me happy. Hopefully my 2019 total will be up over 1,000 miles like I did a few year back.
I'm itching to put a few races on my calendar. Thinking the New Jersey one in late April will be official soon. Maybe another half in the fall. Or if things go well, maybe my 3rd marathon.
So, that's what's new with me. Hope all of you get off to a great start in the new year and accomplish everything you wish for in 2019!!
I last posted September 6th. That Sunday I ran a half marathon, and then started Master’s Degree classes in Nutrition on the following Monday. Once that started I was writing a ton for my classes, working full time and still running. Loop time dwindled to nothing more than an occasional quick visit to read and comment. It’s been a busy and challenging almost 4 months since then. More downs than ups but given what could be it’s hard to justify complaining. (But oh!) Lots of rain though.
The half marathon was wet, wet, wet – run in the pouring rain and wind of the remnants of a gulf coast hurricane. I didn’t run it for speed on the hilly course – instead I aimed for full marathon goal pace, which I did successfully finishing in 2:14. I did not feel super optimistic however about this being possible for full distance, but I still had until late November to train, so there was time.
Parked and hiding from the rain while I wait for the race to start.
Classes started and I got very busy. 6 hours of graduate work while working full time (with 40 minute commute each way on average) and training for a marathon didn’t leave me much time for anything else. Those graduate classes also meant a lot of time writing on the computer so when I didn’t need to be writing for classes I couldn’t get myself to do it for any other reason. So I didn’t bloop. My classes (Life Cycle Nutrition and Nutrition Science) were challenging but went well. Usually the big due dates each week were the same for both classes but I got A’s in both so I met the challenge. I don’t know yet what the work will look like for the next set of classes. 1 trimester of classes down, 5 to go…if all goes as planned I’ll be done September 2020.
Next up was my first trail half. It was in Kirksville, MO where I went to college. I got to spend the weekend with a friend who also ran the race. Overall it was a really fun weekend. I had been running all summer at least once a week on trails to prepare. Something I didn’t do was run on trails in the rain. I also didn’t buy trail shoes to wear for just one race since they’d been ok on the trails so far. I don’t know if either of these things would have prevented what happened next, but they might have helped. Yet again my race day was pouring rain (no wind this time). The trails were beautiful, but super slick. I fell twice, but didn’t feel any direct injuries from that. However nearly every step on the 11.5 miles of the half that were on the single track trail I slipped and slid. There was so much sideways stress and general instability that I’m not used to. After the relatively easy paced road half that I ran in 2:14, this race took 3:03. It was a hilly race, but almost every bit of that time was because much of the time I couldn’t run because of how slick it was. I expected to be sore in the days after. Initially it wasn’t bad, and I actually felt better than I expected. The 3 hour drive home the next day was uncomfortable, but not terrible. My neck was actually more sore than anything else at this point. (Probably from driving since I hate driving and I tend to hold on to the steering wheel super tightly) I didn’t really take a break from marathon training, just making this a cut back week so I continued to run as planned throughout the following week. My back ached a little but not too badly. Until Friday’s run. A mile in I knew something was different. In denial I kept going for another half mile (away from home!) until I knew this felt a lot like something I was familiar with. But I still had to get home. I made it home, and I knew I was probably going to miss some time running. My SI joint was angry again. Hopefully not as bad as last time but it wasn’t something I’d be able to run through. Despite the final result I’d really like to do this race again. If it’s not raining! This race was super well run, the course was beautiful and super well groomed. It has lots of up and downs and its share of roots and rocks, but is still seems like a good race for all levels of trail runner.
Many chiropractor visits and much downtime later, my full marathon came and went and I didn’t run it. (Actually, it rained for that race too, plus there was a fire in the hotel I would have stayed in, so my friend had to find somewhere else to stay that turned out to be a dump, plus it was cold…it would have been quite the adventure) I was only up to running 6 miles the weekend of the race. This was another DNS for me. Not quite as crushing as the first one but that may partly be because of everything else going on. Since then I am finally back to running relatively normally although I’m still trying to be good about my core exercises that I was given *which I still need to do today. I’m slower again. Frustrating. But small problems.
During all of this there was another challenge in my life. Just before my trail half I noticed my cat Izzie had a wound/injury to her inner left rear leg. A visit to the vet resulted in an antibiotic shot. The wound healed, but then came back. We went around this cycle several times until earlier this month, when it was determined the infection might be coming from the metal implant she got 8 years ago when she broke that leg. We were referred to the same specialist she saw back then. It took 2 more weeks to actually get in to see that vet. They did x-rays, and it wasn’t the implant. But that meant it was still a resistant bacterial infection. Normally they would prescribe pills but giving Izzie pills is nearly impossible. (Even for vets!) So after some discussion they reluctantly prescribed an injectable antibiotic that can cause kidney damage. I have to do the injections, we’re halfway through now. I hate doing it, and I don't think I'm doing a great job, but I don't know if I could get her to actually swallow 2 weeks of pills. It looks better I think, but because of the nature of the wound (it’s small, but a puncture) it takes a while to heal and doesn’t really look a lot different until right before it closes completely. Her follow up is a week from Monday. I will say that through all of this she’s otherwise been fine and acted normally. Cats hide pain well, but she’s never seemed sick at all. I’m trying not to be anxious after practically tearing myself apart over this (and classes and etc) but it’s hard. Even when it heals I will have a hard time relaxing since the skin has healed over before even though the infection was apparently still lingering.
I feel fine. And I really like this ornament. It's mine now.
Next up…the new trimester for school, fundraising, marathon training, trying to be better about keeping the house clean, I could go on. My books are on the way, I still need to make the tuition payment. I need to get started on my new round of fundraising for Team in Training/Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Lord willing, I’m planning on running the New Jersey Marathon in late April. (I hear there might be a few loopsters planning on being there…) I will try to write at least a really short bloop sooner than a post New Jersey RR, but I make no promises…