Monday, April 30, 2012

Marathon Training: Week 17 in Review

Wow.  17 weeks down, one week to go.  This morning the little countdown on my cell phone says "6".  How scary is that? Scary + exciting, all at once, I believe! 

I am now trained.  I have run 20 miles (+!) more than once.  I am comfortable with what I have done, I feel confident that I can run a course that is brand new to me and run it successfully.  I know where I am going on the "racetrack" at least in general, but it will be run backwards from the course that we ran a few weeks back.  But still, I feel like my familiarity with the course is decent enough that I will manage.
Here are the workouts of the week:
I covered close to 28 miles last week, which isn't too bad for the week before a marathon.  And it doesn't really feel like I overdid it or anything.  I just feel pretty good and ready to run next Sunday!

Today will be a short 2-3 mile run at lunch.  I am focusing on simply keeping my legs moving right now.  Keeping things loose and comfortable until I have the race next Sunday.

Any one out there have any week before the marathon tips for me?  I am very excited, but very nervous as I have never done this before!!!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Last long run... Till the LONG one

This morning is our final "long run" training run before the Flying Pig.  I am pretty sure that I am going to be covering it solo for the most part, but I am honestly not really bothered by that.  I guess I have learned that about myself during this training process.  I CAN do long runs by myself, even when they stink really bad.  I guess it's good to know because I am not sure how the race will be next week.  I have a feeling Jes and I won't even start together based on corral placement.  I overestimated where I thought I would finish back in October when I was still in a boot, and I think I put something like 10:30-11 min/miles, which I have not run for ANY training runs so far, but can you blame me?  I truthfully had no clue at the time!

So now that I am 8 days out, I know that 10 min/miles is most likely going to be the SLOWEST that I go (and I hope that stays true!) so I might need to do a little weaving the first few miles.

The plan for group this morning originally was 13 miles.  Our theme for the day was a potluck.  I stopped and picked up my potluck item on the way in to the shop!
I just got my baker's dozen bagels with two tubs of cream cheese!  I figured Steve has been supplying us with bagels for the last 4 months, the least I could do was bring them in.  :-)

We ended up decided to shorten the run to an 8 mile loop.  The coach was tired and we all agreed that just 8 was fine.  We just cut our 13 mile route a little short.  I, naturally, couldn't keep up with the speedys that were averaging a faster than 8 min/mile, so I ended up going about a half mile further than them by not turning to head back at the same point.  So I ended up around 8.84 miles to their 8.29 miles. 

After arriving back at the store, Stephanie, Brett and I did a 10 minute ab workout.  It was rough!  I definitely plan on using this in the future because it was a tough one! 

When I got back home, I decided that I really ought to hit that 13 mile goal, and ran another 4.36 miles.  Over the 13.2 miles that I ran, I averaged a 9:06 pace.  Just one second per mile slower than I ran last week.  Awesome.  I think I am ready for next Sunday.

I got home and cooked some eggs and ate my lunch/breakfast.
This trader joe's hummus was on the side.  So so delicious.  I feel like I probably could have eaten the entire tub, but after a disastrous day on the food front yesterday, I stopped myself after the one serving that I dished out.

There is a girls night later tonight.  Looking forward to it!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Two more Workouts

I ran sprint intervals on the treadmill yesterday to get my run in.  I wasn't originally sure what I was going to do, but when I knew I had no husband to complain about early morning noise, PLUS it was a little chilly, I figured the home treadmill was just the thing to get me through my workout.

Although I haven't done any work on the track yet, I figured a little speed work wouldn't hurt, especially with how fast my runs have been this week so far.  So I decided on just three miles with 5x400m worked in there.  I wanted to do the 400s at under 8min/mile pace.  I am going to GET this 25 minute 5K this summer, I am SURE of it. 

I had a workout scheduled with a trainer at lunchtime yesterday.  They had called and offered me a free session, and I was in.  I mean, why not?  It was yet another workout that was completely unlike the strength workouts that I am accustomed to.  I am a heavy regular weight lifter and this was a lot of the full body movements with jumping and throwing and stuff like that.  It was tough, got my heart rate up, and had my shoulders especially BURNING. 

The hardest thing he had me do, he said that he had never done with a female before.  I don't know that I buy that, but it definitely was tough.  I was laying stomach down on the floor, ready to do the "up" of a pushup and then jump my legs in (the second half of a burpee without the jump up at the end).  So Brad (the trainer) rolled a 6 lbs medicine ball at my face and once it got close I had to jump up, grab the ball and hurl it back at him and pretty much finish the burpee.  On round two of that exercise I had to bounce pass the medicine ball to him.  It was some tough stuff.  I never let the ball hit me in the face, although I was so tired I was tempted to, but I did lose my balance and almost fall a few times.

I was tired and out of breath for sure.

But it was a good workout.  I miss having a trainer.  I admit that.  I wish I could afford to have one, because I need someone to push me just a little bit harder than I push myself.  I tend to be kind of fearless at the gym, but at the same time, I am used to what I do, and that is just how I do things.  So I need a push every now and then.  I am considering adding in $100/month of training once our wedding rings are paid off!  We shall see.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Another 6 Miles

So yesterday at lunchtime I got outside for a 6 mile run.  It was what was on the schedule, so it was what I planned to cover.

Here is what happened on yesterday's 6.
Whoa.  Another speedy one!  I was definitely surprised to see myself going that fast and not feeling terrible.  Now, I am not saying it was easy, it was definitely pushing myself, but I used to push myself to get to 9:30 miles on 6 miles outside of a race!  So now to push for 8:45 miles?  Nice!

It makes me excited for post-Pig speed workouts.  I plan on doing track workouts for 1 workout per week.  I am pretty sure that I am actually going to follow the Hal Higdon plan this time, but maybe step it up a little.  I don't know though.  I was just checking the Hal plans, and you don't get speedwork/hill work until the advanced plans, so maybe I will just incorporate it in somehow.

I dunno...  I sort of feel like this plan is going to be a little bit more by feel than the first one, which I followed like crazy because I didn't want to mess up my first marathon.  But next time, I feel like I might be more comfortable following myself and trying to achieve ALL of my goals at one time, instead of being focused 6 days/week on running a marathong and nothing else.

What do you all think?  Can I find the fitness balance and still reach every goal I have for myself?  (Not to mention hold a job, have a life...)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Exercise as Cancer Therapy

For the first time EVER, I have been approached asking if I take guest posts, and while I have not previously, this topic was too important to skip. 

Today's very informative blog was written by David Haas, an awareness program advocate for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.  You can find more information about him as well as other articles he has written here.  David has also included a few links with some additional information regarding some of his research.
Exercise as Cancer Therapy

A growing body of evidence supports the benefits of exercise as cancer therapy. Numerous studies have examined the relationship between exercise, cancer recovery and quality of life. The findings are positive and extremely encouraging.

Many studies have followed cancer patients who added exercise to their treatment plans. These studies have included patients and survivors or breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer and more. Generally, exercise had a positive effect on their physical and mental health throughout the treatment phase of their disease. Continued research seems to confirm the earlier findings.

Physical and Psychological Benefits

Physically active cancer patients report more energy, less nausea, lighter moods and a better sense of control during powerful treatments like radiation and chemotherapy. They are typically stronger and leaner, have lower heart rates and enjoy better functional capacity than sedentary cancer patients.

Active patients experience positive psychological changes like fewer mood disturbances, less anxiety and stress and better sleep quality. In fact, the psychological differences between active and sedentary cancer patients are the most notable differences.

This is important, because good mental and emotional health are essential for recovery. Even patients with advanced cancers benefit from the positive outlook that exercise promotes. Regular exercise enables patients to cope with the stress of cancer. It enables them to tolerate treatments and look toward survivorship.

Exercise Guidelines and Cautions

Some patients are unable to exercise. People enduring treatment for mesothelioma cancer, or those battling other advanced diseases, are often bedridden. Doctors usually advise them to rest. Many people, however, can manage at least a little movement. For most patients, exercise is excellent complementary therapy.

Exercise cannot cure cancer, but some patients call it a wonder drug. Many medical doctors and holistic practitioners agree. Exercise should be a regular part of a comprehensive cancer treatment plan. Doctors and professional trainers can tailor cancer fitness programs to individual needs and abilities. The intensity and duration of exercise naturally progresses as fitness levels improve.

Most cancer patients can exercise from the day they are diagnosed with their illness, and doctors should encourage them to do so. Physical activity goes a long way toward managing treatment side effects. As patients complete their final rounds of chemotherapy, exercise helps them handle the long-term side effects of treatment and recovery.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, better known as the CDC, recommends two hours and thirty minutes of aerobic activity every week. They advise strengthening exercises at least twice a week. If 150 minutes seems like too much exercise, patients can break up the time into shorter segments spread throughout the day. Ten-minute increments are a good place to start, and the duration will increase naturally in time.

Is exercise really a wonder drug for cancer? More research is needed for specific cancer and treatment types. However, the majority of health professionals now encourage exercise as good cancer therapy. While patients should use caution and always get their doctor’s approval, exercise offers few risks and many benefits that extend well beyond cancer.

So what do you think about exercise and cancer patients?  Personally, I believe its a wonderful idea, even if simply for the added endorphins that will make you feel good. 

Disclaimer: I did not write the above material.  I am just posting information from a reader who had a message that he wanted to get out about his industry and knowledge surrounding these topics.  Please reach out to him here with any additional questions.

A Super Speedy Run + Heavy Lifts

So as I wrote about yesterday, I decided to go for my run at lunchtime yesterday.  I had no idea how my legs were going to feel or anything, so I just planned to run as much as I felt like.  You know, get it done, but not worry about my speed or pace at all.
And then this happened:
8:45 average pace.  Speedy Speedster.  I honestly have no clue how that happened the day after a race, but I felt good, so I just kept running.

I saw my first mile tick away in about 8:35 and was feeling super impressed with myself.  To be honest, they kind of slowed from there, but all three miles were under 9 min/miles, which I was very pleased with.  I do not feel any worse for wear this morning, either, so I have another lunchtime run on the agenda!

When I got home from work, a surprise was waiting for J on the front porch.  It's his race attire for the marathon!
Lol.  I found it on Cafe Press a few weeks ago.  J laughed and told me that he was a professional and could not wear such an ensemble in public.  I told him it was my day and he will run whatever I want him to.  So yes, he will be wearing this in downtown Cincinnati on race day.  I want a picture of us (me with my medal, him with this shirt) together after the race.  I am pretty excited.

This morning - as mentioned above - I didn't run, and decided to hit the gym for a little core + legs.  I am so close to the marathon at this point, that any added strength that I can get I will take!  Here was my workout:
Pretty good workout, and I felt really good afterward.

Ok, now I am off to squeeze in my run.  I am trying to cover 6 miles today!

The Book Thief - in Review

For Julie's April Blogger book club selection, we read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. 

This book has been on my list as one to read for quite some time, probably since the summer of 2009.  It came up as a "recommended for me" on goodreads, so I added it to my "to read" list.  This book club has finally given me the excuse to read it (in case I didn't have it before!)

From Amazon:
It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.
It was one of those books that kind of touches your heart.  Leisel "acquires" her first book on the way to meet her foster parents with her little brother.  Her brother dies, right in front of her, and at his burial she finds the book on gravedigging.  Her new foster father finds the book and decides (even though I think he might be a little creeped out by the content) that a good way for her to learn is by reading the book TO her. 

Hans Hubermann, her foster father, seems to align himself with Leisel through the books and music.  Initially the connection is him coming to her when she wakes herself screaming because of the nightmares she is having.  But he works on her and is there for her and continues to develop his relationship with her which is ultimately fulfilled with the accordion and reading.  I wondered throughout the book if he spent so much time trying to develop a relationship with her due to his own absent children, especially Hans Jr, a member of the Nazi party.

While the entire book is overshadowed by the death and destruction happening in Germany at the time, and there are some obvious signs of it, it is definitely not too overpowering in the book.  I believe it is there to show what was happening at the time and to show the proper context of the story.

What did you think of the book?
Did you think Nazi Germany was too prevalent?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Marathon Training: Week 16 in Review

Not sure, now that I only have 2 more weeks to write about, that this will be a recurring feature as I continue to train for Columbus once the Pig is over, but I have enjoyed recapping my training week by week for the blog since the beginning of the year!

Here is the week in review:
And yes, I crapped it up this week running wise, scoring only 25 miles, which just feels so light when I had been doing week after week of more than 30 miles!

However I did manage to get in 3 (!!) circuit/strength workouts this week, courtesy of the Tone it Up Girls.  They have a lot of great workouts on their website and I did three different ones to round out my week of training.

And oh, what is that I see?  A little bit of cross training?  Did I get myself on the elliptical for the first time in MONTHS last week.  Yes, I did, and it was just as boring as I remember it being, but I am still glad that I sucked it up and did it.  I felt like I needed to workout, but I did not feel like running was going to happen with the little bit of pain that I was in last week, so off to the gym I went.  Plus I feel good when I go to the gym at least once per week.  It keeps me from feeling guilty from spending money on a membership!

All right, so I am 16 weeks into this thing with only 2 more to go until the Flying Pig Marathon!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Glass City Half Marathon Race Recap

So this morning was the Glass City Marathon.  I had signed up for the Half all the way back in August, before my wedding, before my fractured foot, everything.  My cousin (in law) Danielle was set to run with me, she had also signed up.  So this was the goal race before the Flying Pig entered my life. 

So even though I was not specifically training for this race, it was pretty close to what I was doing this weekend as part of my taper, so I just planned on sticking with the race and running it.  After all, this race was in my hometown and was going to be a nice flat, fast course.

I was already in Toledo, I was up there for Rachel's shower (recap of this tomorrow) which I threw.  I hit the expo that morning before the shower, which was a pretty good expo for the fact that it is not as big of a race as some of the others that I have been to (like the Heart Mini!)  So after the shower we hung out at my mom's house.  My dad came over and both of my brothers for my brother Matt's birthday, and I was busy taking "carb-ing up" seriously with some baked potato soup.  It was awesome. 

Since J had gone to bed really early on Friday night, leaving me up with the dogs, I decided that it was my turn last night, and went up to bed early.  I just laid there, trying to get my head in the right place for the morning.  My mom had some clif bars, so I had that planned for my breakfast, and I got out all of my gear for the morning, including a fleece that had been in my mom's basement since I was in high school.  I was going to wear that for the beginning of the race because I would not feel bad tossing it a few miles in when I was too warm. 

My alarm went off at quarter to 6 and I got up to take care of the dogs before the race.  They both went outside and I ate my clif bar, and I headed back up to get dressed for the race.  I got into my tights, got my Hudy shirt on, wore one of the new sports bras that I got last week, and body glided in various places.  I wanted to be on the road by 615 at the latest, figuring it would take 15 minutes to get over to the University and I could be starting to warm up around 630, which would have me feeling pretty good afterward. 

Unfortunately, EVERYONE was trying to get to the University and even though there was a cop at the insection where you entered campus, he was not doing anything.  So it was a bit after 630 when I got there.  I thought about going into Savage Hall to use the restroom, but I was starting to get a little anxious about how long it took me to get parked that I did not want to miss the start!  So I kind of had to go to the bathroom, but I figured it would be fine.

I did not even wear my garmin to the race because I did not want to worry about my time or anything for this race.  Since it was a training run and the "real" race is 2 weeks from now, I didn't want to cause myself any worry with my running or anything.  I just wanted to run the race because I said that I would, and that's it. 

So when it started I was in a group of people that I knew.  There were lots of high school friends and relatives all hanging out with the 9 min/mile pace group.  I had set myself up there, and figured I would stay there as long as I could.  And if I couldn't keep up, no big deal. 

The gun went off and away we went!  With no garmin, I had very little way to tell how fast I was going.  I had set my twitter account up with my bib number so it would post where I was at certain mile markers.  After about 1 mile, I took off the fleece and tossed it into the grass.  I am pretty sure that all of these things god picked up by goodwill, based on the goodwill truck I saw full of hoodies and gloves on campus after the race, so that made me feel pretty good too. 

At the 2 mile markers (and the first water station) I stopped at the port-o-lets to take care of what I was too nervous to do before the race, and dropped my gloves at that point.  I know I lost a few minutes at that time, but I have no idea how many.  When I came out of the bathroom though, I felt re-energized and raced for a little while to try and get back with my "group" which I honestly did not find again. 

Miles 3-7 were through the neighborhoods of Ottawa Hills, and we ran past this huge house with a big stone gate and stuff that I remember going to a party at when I was in college.  It was at this kid Tim's house after a show.  What a house!  There were lots of people hanging out in their lawn chairs at the ends of the driveways.  They were definitely helpful along the course. 

We then crossed the street over to Wildwood Metropark, the same park that I ran my 13 mile solo run at.  We ran through the park over some of the trails there and up to the manor house.  It was scenic and there were a lot of people in the park, which was nice.  As we ran out to the bike trail, I saw my Aunt Cindy sitting on a picnic bench and yelled to her as I ran by and she cheered for me a little.  The half and full split once we got to the bike trail, with us headed back toward the University. 

The bike trail portion of the race was nice and fast and flat, but it wasn't too exciting.  There were trees on both sides of us.  There was the occasional group of people, but not too many.  Once we got back on campus though to cover the last mile and a half of our race, things got much more exciting with a lot more people!  My two cousins, Rachel and Becky, snuck up behind me (I had passed them around mile 10 when they stopped for a bathroom break!) and we agreed to finish the race together, all three of us.

So we did.  And all three of us crossed the finish line in under 2 hours.  And I felt amazing.  I am so glad that we finished the race together, and that I got myself a shiny new PR without feeling like I was pushing myself too much!  How amazing!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Tapering Stinks

I am learning what taper is all about.  In some ways, I just cannot force my body to go any more, to run any further.  I am tired.  My legs just ache.  I am starting to get a small pain in my right foot (the same one that was hurt previously).  I am suffering from trying to stay up at night and spend time with my husband, and getting up super early in the morning and therefore not getting enough sleep.  I am just tired.  I want to keep running.  But I know now that if I want to get through this race, I can't. 

And I feel guilty.  I feel guilty that I am short 8 miles this week from what my schedule says.  I am feeling guilty that I only ran 3 days instead of 5 this week.  I feel guilty that when Leah B asked me how my physique was feeling yesterday compared to when I was lifting so heavy all the time and my response was soft.  She was surprised at that, saying that she normally feels like a brick wall when she is doing a lot of running.  For me, I know this is 100% diet related.  I have been lax.  Not so lax that I have gained weight (I am down about 3 lbs), but just eating higher carb meals, drinking more beer, living my life more the way that I want to live it than I was then.

I know that despite the fact that I really miss training and eating and lifting competition style, I am much easier to live with as an endurance athlete.  That is because I still spend time goofing off and enjoying myself through food and drink as an endurance athlete. 

My friend/training partner Jes told me to warn J in advance that I might be moody or emotional during taper.  I think I am a little but mostly just feeling sad that it is almost over.  I will have spent hours and hours and hours and hours training, and only hours running the race.  And then, when its over, I get to start all over again!  But it is nice to know that it won't be from scratch this time.  I know that my body is capable of the race. 

I just want to be able to continue to perform the way that I am now and continue get stronger, run faster, run further.  It is going to take time, and I need to get through these next two weeks and the race.  After the race I can start formulating my next plan of attack.  I need to keep reminding myself of this.

I decided to skip out on speedwork yesterday.  I am not sure what I was thinking when I started to come up with it being a good idea in my head.  I am two weeks out from my first marathon.  I have never done speedwork before outside of 10 HIIT sprints once per week when I was in competition mode.  So once this is over.  SPEED. :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

New Sports Bras

As planned, yesterday I left work around 4 pm to head up to one of my favorite places (Buckeye!) to see Steve and Stephanie, get nuun for my half marathon hydration project and try on some new sports bras (moving comfort was 30% off!).  They say you should replace your sports bras once a year.  Yeah, I have not been so good about that in the past, but last spring I bought three moving comfort sports bras from another running shop, and loved them, so I figured that I should get a few additional ones out there to finally rid myself of the ones that I bought at Target 4 years ago (or more!)

The sale was a good time to go.  Steph and Steve were both there and I got to meet Dominik (Steph's little boy).  He is very sweet.  His babysitter was picking him up at the store so Steph could work for a few hours.  So she and I browsed through the sports bras for a few minutes and she showed me the ones that she likes, and told me that since I am small chested (not that she was insulting me, I am very open about it!) I should just select based on color and then I could try them on for feel.  So I picked out two bras (a black one and a pink one) and went into the back.  I put on the pink one first, which was definitely more more supportive of the two.  It had a hook just like a regular bra.
I walked back out into the store in the bra, I mean, we're all friends.  I told Steph how flat I felt.  She agreed and said that this particular bra really does kind of hold you in, which was a selling point for her, but she has a much larger chest than I!  But she checked all my straps and and me jump a little and we were in agreement that it fit pretty well.  So back to the fitting room I went to try on number 2.
So this bra actually makes it look like I might HAVE a chest, which is a rare occurrence for a gal like me!  It kind of pushed things up a little, which was great and I felt really good and confident in it.  The other tricky part about sports bras, I think, is the fact that they are supposed to be so tight, but you don't want it to be TOO tight or it will get pinchy and that's not a good look.

So I ended up with the second bra and I bought it in two colors.  The black, like above, and also an orange one! 

So I did not end up taking yesterday off completely, I found a strength training workout that I could do at home that was another circuit workout.  It was a lot of combination arm/leg moves to his both things at once.  And it was kind of tough! 

This morning was back to normal with three miles outside, but for about a mile and a half I did some fartleks to try it out! 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sore Back-of-the-Knee

Yeah, that is what is hurting me today.  A small limp is going on as well, which is definitely not a favored thing at the moment.  I mean, I am down to the wire right now with the marathon.  I have ONLY 18 DAYS to go according to the little countdown on my phone.  I started this countdown when I registered for the marathon back in October.  At the time, I was still in the boot, so there was no way that I was running AT ALL at the time.  I have to be careful, but I am feeling weird about not running today.  I think I am going to take the day off completely, and then maybe run tomorrow in the morning, and do speed work in the evening which will probably make up for what I missed today.  Well, that is, if I am not limping anymore!

I have my stuff with me right now, so maybe I will go to lift at lunchtime or something?  Cross train?  Lord knows I have not done enough of that lately!

Hell.  I don't need cardio.  I will do a little full body (focus on upper body though!) strength circuit when I get home tonight.  That's kind of what I ended up doing yesterday too, but focused on lower body!  I found another little routine online today to go with the one that I did yesterday, so that will be my plan.  Whoop!

I am headed up to my favorite running shop around 4 pm today.  I am a little nervous to even go up there, as I know once you get Steph and I in the same place there is a decent chance I won't leave very quickly, but I guess I am leaving at the end of the day, so as long as I am home before Jason, everything is ok!  I want to get myself a new sports bra (they have a sale right now!) as well as some nuun to try out for the half this coming weekend...  And well, you know me, maybe some other stuff too.  You never know!

What I WANT is a new marathon top.  I can test it out for the Glass City this weekend and hopefully it will be super sweet to wear for that and I can transition it to the Pig!  18 days away and I cannot wait!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

6 miles - Pre Work

Another day, and another 6 miles checked off my schedule.  I woke up around 2:30 am and went to the bathroom.  And then I lay awake until 4:30, kind of tossing and turning (I apologize to my husband for that!) when I got up, 5 minutes before my alarm went off.  I dressed in my favorite pink shorts and purple tank (yep - pink and purple AGAIN!) and went downstairs for shoes and a pullover.  I am wearing my asics through the marathon I think.  I love love LOVE my sauconys, don't get me wrong, but their slightly less cushion combined with all of the running on bricks that I do (PS - Blue Ash and Montgomery - I understand this looks pretty, and it does!  But this is a RUNNING COMMUNITY!  We're the home of the local fleet feet and all of their training groups for goodness sake!) is killing my shins and calves.  I am going to spend post-marathon runs adjusting to them, I think.

So yeah, asics to marathon or bust! :-)

I had 6 miles on the schedule this morning, and my plan was to use it as a little test.  I wanted to see how I felt running 6 miles in the morning.  I think I have only done it one other time before today.  I mean, in the morning, I obviously have run 6 miles.  When the Pig is over and I try to keep up my running fitness as well as when I try and begin my training for Columbus, I want to run 3-4 days per week.  Maybe 5.  Because I know that once I start I won't want to stop.  But that means covering greater distances every day that I do run during the week to make up for the occasional 2-3 miles that I won't be running! 

Here are the results of this morning's 6 miler:
Success?  A 10K.  Certainly not a 10K PR time, but pretty average with what I have been running them in (the last time I ran one for real - in August!).  I am not counting Thanksgiving since it was my longest run post-injury at that time.  Plus Jes was still hurt.

I would say this was fairly close to a tempo run.  Which is good since it was supposed to be.  1 mile warm up, 4 miles tempo pace (10K tempo!) and 1 mile cool down.  Splits are as follows:
Mile 1 - 9:38
Mile 2 - 9:11
Mile 3 - 9:20 (boo...  too slow!)
Mile 4 - 9:09
Mile 5 - 9:10
Mile 6 - 9:29
Mile .20 - 9:03 (wanted to call it a 10K so ran this extra!)

I mean look at that.  3/4 of my tempo miles were exactly where they should be for a 10K.  So pleased.  Now to work on that for longer distances!

Monday, April 16, 2012

For the Curious

Here is the map my run data from Saturday's run.

Find more Run in Cincinnati, OH

If you are running the Flying Pig in three weeks, I suggest you check this out.  It was a good one!

Marathon Training: Week 15 in Review

Well, I have less than three weeks until I will be hitting the starting line in downtown Cincinnati, preparing myself to run for 4+ hours.  And it will be easy easy easy training until then.  Week 15 (of 18) marks my final 20+ miler of the training period, and now I am running some lighter weekend routes until then.  It's weird, and I know it will feel weird, and possibly even have a mental effect on me.  I hear taper is hard on a lot of people. 

Here is the week in review:
I started out the week so strong with all of my strength training, and then my body gave up on me for a day.  I am not completely sure what happened, but I just could not drag my rear end out of my bed on Wednesday (or Thursday or Friday for that matter!  Those two days I ended up running at lunch!)

So our final 20 miler was on Saturday.  We actually ran it with about 4 other running groups, which definitely added to the fun.  They had bibs and water stops and everything.  I tried nuun for the first time - it was at 3 of the stops - and I really liked it!  I might be trying that again.  In fact, I have already made mental plans to go to Buckeye and buy some!

So Saturday.  Ugh.  It was pretty tough with all of the pig course.  Well, not all, but 75% of it.  Here are my splits:
So at miles 10 & 14 we stopped at water stations and I let the watch keep going.  After all, my chip will be running even when I stop during the pig.  Mile 4 was all uphill (and pretty close to my steady goal pace anyway.  Miles 17-19 we had made a conscious decision to slow down, just like in our first 20.  I actually was WALKING between 19.2-19.5.  Then I started running again and made up for some time.

So, Em, why were you walking?, you ask...  Mile 19.2.  We are headed toward the airport down Eastern Ave and can actually SEE the airport from where we are and we run over a few sets of railroad tracks.  And Jes caught her toe on one.  In an effort to avoid hitting her bad knees, she tried to roll and ended up in a potential worse position as she rolled over on to her head.  Steph and I both stopped and walked with her after helping her up and making sure that everything was ok.  And then Steph encouraged me to finish the course running since it is my last long one before the Pig.  So I listened. 

We ended up spending a chunk of the afternoon in the ER with Jes, but she came out just fine.  Bumps and bruises. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

What to do about a body that is rebelling?

I totally think my body is rebelling against waking up early.  I guess I have been forcing it up daily for more than a year now at 4:30 am.  It is just not working out these days.  Not sure what is wrong, and I need to get it back.  So needless to say, I did not make it out for a run again this morning and I packed my stuff for a lunchtime jaunt again.

Last night I went out to dinner with my friend Carol.  Now I love this woman, and she has definitely talked me off of a ledge more times than I care to admit, and she definitely helped with that again yesterday, and I like to think that I have done the same for her a few times.

We met at Slatt's, which is a restaurant 3 skips from my home, so I just walked over there.  I was late to meet her because I wound up working a little bit late (till about 5:45) and I was originally planning on meeting her at 5:30!  I absolutely HATE being late, but there was nothing that I could do about this.  Sometimes work just MUST be a priority. 

Carol and I enjoyed a dinner and a few glasses of wine together, talking.  It was one of those nights where we both were feeling a decent amount of frustration relating to life in general, and I was working hard to try and help myself out from that.  Being with Carol was good, and she did help me realize a few things about my future, not to mention the future of my family that I need to think about and J and I definitely need to discuss in the near future.

Because of laziness, I made breakfast at work this morning instead of making it at home and bringing it with me to eat!  I try to make this breakfast fairly similar to what I eat on most days, but made from work ingredients.
Does that look gross or delicious?  Its a strawberry chobani with a cup of cheerios (regular cheerios) mixed in and a bit of granola on top.  It taste pretty good, and the cheerios stayed fairly crunchy which is how I like them.

I think I am going to cover somewhere between 3 & 5 miles here in a little bit at lunchtime today.  It is 11:30 now, and noon seems like a pretty good time to go.  We have our final 20 miler this weekend though, and I am looking forward to having a nice, solid run, unlike last week's!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Running Slacker

I haven't run for the last two days.  I shouldn't say that yet as I do have a planned run for today.  But I didn't drag my lazy, warm, and cozy self out of bed at 4:30 this morning to get in the 6 miles I wanted to do to make up for yesterday's miss.  When I opened my eyes when the alarm was going off, I had a horrible headache.  It was like a pain behind my eyes that has slowly moved to encompass my entire head. 

I went back to bed at that point.  When my alarm went off again an hour and a half later, my head felt even worse, but I got up and took care of the dogs.  It was cold out too, and there was a bit of ice on my car from overnight, which made me slightly MORE confident that I made the correct decision to skip running. 

Oh, wait, wait, wait, this just happened:
Not a great shot, but I have the shakes, so it got a little glare.  I was stressed and so I got my running gear on for lunch time.  I just ran until I was done running.  Well until I had to stop because it had been over an hour so I needed to be done.  7 miles.  9:30 average pace.  It just felt good.  It did not feel like I was really pushing, but it also didn't feel super easy, it just was a good pace.

I am pretty proud of myself.  7 miles is the longest I have ever run during the week! :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Back to Running, after the Strength PUSH

First things first, happy birthday to the first puppy in our household, Teek!  She is two years old today!
Speaking of Teek, she was my running buddy yesterday, helped me to get in my run when I really did not feel like running much.  It was definitely a little test as we had never run together before. 

I decided it would be a good day to try a run with Teek since I only had 2 miles on the schedule.  She tends to sprint all over our backyard, so I thought it might be an interesting run with her jumping out and going crazy fast to start and then wearing herself out. 

I was pleasantly surprised by her.  She stayed just behind me at a nice even pace for the entirety of our run!  I think it was a little because she did not know what was going on, since we had not run together before... ever, and she wanted to make sure to stick with it.  We held a nice steady pace for our two miles and then walked back to the house.  Admittedly, I was a little nervous because she wasn't sprinting ahead, so I stopped, had her sit, and pet her a little before we walked home, but she continued with a little spring in her step back to the house, had a big drink of water, and then was back to normal, fighting with her brother!

There you go, under 10 minute miles for both of us, and felt pretty good about getting them all in!

When I woke up this morning, my legs were feeling a bit sore, especially the hammies and inner thighs.  I put on my running stuff, stretched a bit and thought about what I wanted my goals to be for the morning.  I decided that I knew it was not going to be as fast as yesterday because of the DOMS, so I wanted to work on consistency.  Holding a consistent pace for a full 5 mile run.  I did pretty well with this, however if you look at my splits, it is interesting.  Start quick, slow in the middle, then speed up.  I did not realize this while running.  Splits are as follows:
Mile 1 - 9:20
Mile 2 - 9:33
Mile 3 - 9:39
Mile 4 - 9:22
Mile 5 - 9:15

Is that really weird or what?  Normally I get faster in the middle.  I also did my regular 5 mile route backwards in order to take advantage of the uphill of some steeper hills.  We've got 20 coming up this weekend on the Pig course, so I know it is going to be tough and fun!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Marathon Training: Week 14 in Review

It was not so long ago when I was saying "4 weeks down, 14 to go!" and now I am here in the opposite space!  We have less than 4 weeks to go until my very first marathon, and it will be here in the city I live in, the Flying Pig! 

Here is my week of slacker workouts:
Yeah.  No strength training.  No yoga.  It was a BAD week.  I got all of my running in, and I had some decent paces, but it was just a rough week.  35 miles total though, which is good for a personal best mileage wise.  Yes - I know some of you out there run 60 miles or more a week, and I just finished that Kara Goucher book and she is running 120 miles, but I am definitely still a newbie. 

This week it is my goal to BE BETTER.  That's it.  I just want to have strong days where I lift.  Good runs where I feel comfortable, and a good positive week before we start to taper.

My 16 this weekend stunk.  I want to address that here and now.  I mean, we had a killer pace and we finished the run strong, I just DID NOT feel like running.  I don't know what happened.  I felt good when I got to the shop on Saturday morning, I even felt pretty good our first mile or so...  But not too long in, I just kept waiting for us to be DONE.  Around miles 4 & 5, I think it became painfully obvious to those I was running with that I was ready. 

Steph, who is one of our groups coaches, told me around mile 7 that I better take some gu and try and get my energy back up.  I listened, and that helped for a while.  And even though our pace was quick for that distance, I still felt like I was just DRAGGING.

But it is accomplished and today I am moving on to a new week, a new personal best for weekly distance (go Em, go!), and the last long run before we start to taper off for the Pig.  I can't wait.  Less than 4 weeks to go!

Back to Strong

I made a switch today.  I have been sorely lacking in strength training, even when I am doing it three times a week.  It is just not to the level that I adjusted to doing when I was training for a competition.  Running has definitely made me strong, but strong in a completely different way, and I miss regular hardcore strength workouts.

So I had two miles on the schedule this morning and I chose to skip them, at least for now.  I think I will get them in quickly when I get home from work.  2 miles is pretty minimal, so they should definitely be doable after work and still fit in cooking for J and I as well as working on the cookie jar favors for Rachel's shower.

Weight wise, I did not go as heavy as I have in the past.  After all, I do still need to keep my running up, but I decided to use my full 45 minutes in the gym for strength instead of running for 20 and lifting for 10.  It felt great and reminded me about how much I love to lift and I love to feel strong.

So I did a lower body and core workouts.  The exercises I did with the weights are below:
The weights that are the same color were done as a superset/giant set.

Once the pig is over I plan on changing things up a little.  I am not going to run 6 days a week like I am now.  I plan on running 3-4 days including a weekend long run.  I am going to continue to run with my group, at least for the most part, and just try and enjoy running, even though I will continue to be training for the next marathon on the list.  This one should theoretically not be as difficult because I will have already run one, and it will be a nice flat course (i hope!)

I also plan to get back on to regular HARD strength training.  I miss my muscles.  I mean, they are definitely not all gone or anything, but they are not the same. 

I am thinking I want to write a post about the differences between my life training as a runner and my life training as a potential figure/bikini competitor.  They are vastly different, but kind of shockingly similar.  So look for that in the coming days. 

I also owe you the week 14 in review!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Whoa... bad.

So it was a hard weekend. In all ways. I am not even sure how to write an entry that explains everything that was hard.

My run was hard. Taking care of J was hard. Cutting the grass was hard.

I'm going to drink my Blueberry lager and just try and forget so i can be back in business at work tomorrow.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Wisdom Teeth give you Wisdom?

My J got his wisdom teeth pulled yesterday, so I was rather distracted for the entire day.  That is why there was no entry yesterday.  I was in the dentist's office till 10, then running around trying to get prescriptions and soft foods.  Then I was trying to take care of J and get a little bit of work done around the house and just work, work. 

While I was at the dentist, I finished up the book I was reading.  I was there for well over an hour, so I had time to get through the book I was working on.
I enjoyed this one even though it took me a pretty long time to get through it.  I have enjoyed ALL of Ken Follett's books that I have read and all of them are 1000+ pages! 

I was called to the back when he was waking up, and went over some instructions with a nurse.  I felt kind of nervous almost immediately.  There was just so much involved!  Changing gauze, no spitting, no rinsing, then salt water rinsing, three prescriptions, gah!  Then the nurse told me to pull my car up to the door and they would wheel him out.

The entire ride home, J was trying to talk to me through his mouth full of gauze.  I hate to say that I was humoring him, but I definitely was.  I could only understand one out of every three words that he said!  He was definitely getting flustered with me humoring him though, I could tell!  I have no idea how aware he was of himself at that time though, considering he had been out completely and probably still had a bit of lingering medicine in him.

Someone in my house was EXTREMELY worried about him though, and would not leave his side for the entire day.
She seriously just stayed in that spot in our bed for the entire day.  Well, when we weren't changing the gauze in his mouth.  Apparently the smell of blood (nasty!) is very intriguing to a pup!

I got one of Rachie's shower gifts in the mail yesterday (I already bought the rest at Bed Bath and Beyond last weekend!).  I am very excited about it, and admit that I got the idea on another blog!
Have you seen these before?  It will be for her to hang her wedding dress on!  I am really excited about it, and I hope she loves the idea! 

I headed out for 3 miles at lunch today.  I had three, easy, on the schedule today but was feeling a little bit inspired by the new book I am reading.  Kara Goucher's Running for Women, and decided to throw in a little bit of hill work (1 mile).  So I ran over to the hill which was about a half mile, then charged up and down it for a mile (up hard, down easy), and then just kept running till I reached three full miles.  I wound up here:
Whoa.  My fastest three mile run for sure since my injury and potentially, ever.

16 tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Rachel's shower update!

My twitter feed would definitely lead you to believe that I am having a really awful 24 hours (started at around 6:30 pm last night) and that would be true. :-( 

However, I don't really want to get into that, so let's talk about happy things instead!

I went home at lunchtime (3rd day in a row!) and there was a big box on the front porch.  I knew what it was, obviously, and it is a happy thing for sure!
My ball jars have arrived from amazon!  (And also, I am finally on instagram - emnix2!)

These are going to be used for my sister's bridal shower, and they will have m&m cookie dry ingredients in them.  I have found the recipe that will work best, and now I need to fill them as well as make little tags that will tell the guests how to finish them off.  Looks like egg, butter/margarine and vanilla will be the only remaining required ingredients!  I want to make the little instruction look pretty, so that might involve a little bit of scrapbook paper (just a few sheets!) to glue the directions to, so it looks nice and has a little bit more stability. 

And I have run 9 more miles this week (other than the 3 I wrote about yesterday).  I figured since this blog is about my fitness as a general rule, I should keep you up to date!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Post 20 Training

I was not sure how I was going to feel at lunch yesterday when I got out for my first run after the 20 miler on Saturday.  I had been up really late (for me) on Sunday, so I didn't make my usual 4:30 am run, and decided lunchtime was a good time to do it!  Especially because I had to go home and get dinner into the crockpot anyway. 

I got home changed into my current favorite "I am not sure what the weather is doing, so I better be prepared" pink and purple outfit, and set out to get my three miles.  I didn't know how my legs would feel or what they were going to do, so I just let it go.  I just ran for three miles.  And it ended up being quick, especially considering Saturday!
Splits were as follows:
Mile 1 - 9:16
Mile 2 - 9:14
Mile 3 - 9:12

I am quite pleased that my legs felt like running in that manner yesterday.  I was not expecting it at all. 

Here is a pic of the pink & purple after the run.  I do <3 this outfit!
Those pink shorts?  They are asics and have a little piggy on them (flying pig, baby!).  I got them at the heart mini expo because they were on clearance for $5.  Best money spent ever.  Seriously.  The liner in them is longer than your standard running shorts, which helps with chaffing, they are super comfy, and I like how they fit me.  I feel like they make my legs look strong!

After showering and stuff, I threw the meat in the crockpot and made myself a quick lunch (which was repeated for breakfast today!)  GREEN MONSTER!  I drank it in the car on the way to my office (and finished it when I got back, after all, I work only 1.5 miles from my home!
Tonight J and I have a date night and we're seeing the Addams Family!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Marathon Training Week 13 in Review

Wow.  I have less than 5 weeks to go until the marathon.  I am beginning to feel nervous about it as well as comfortable that I can do it.  This weekend's run obviously had a lot to do with that! 

Here is the week of workouts:
You see that?  We got our first 20 miler of this training session in.  (We have one more to go!) It was my first 20 miler EVER.  So this weekend Lance Armstrong does a Half Ironman and I run 20 mile.  Seems appropriate, right?

Well, tell you what, he might have been disappointed with his 7th place finish, but I was in NO WAY disappointed with my 20 miler.  How could I be?  I haven't ever run that far, ever, and it made me feel like I am really ready to run a marathon.  Really and truly. 

Let's talk about that 20. 

We met at Buckeye at our usual 8 am time.  I think some folks were pretty intimidated by our schedule, because only the usual suspects showed up.  There were 6 of us.  We grabbed our turn by turn directions that Brett, our coach, put together and headed out.  Jes and I stuck with the boys initially.  They were planning on a 9min/mile pace, and we can do that for a while (as we proved during the heart mini).  We went out and did the first two miles at 8:35 and 8:47. 

After that, Jes and I realized this was NOT maintainable, and they started going even faster.  Luckily, Jes and I had the same goal in mind.  10 minute miles for all 20 miles.  So we slowed to about 9:30 and kept it there because that is a maintainable pace for us for a long-ish run.  We were not sure how it would treat us for 20, obviously, but we were going to give it a try.  We ran for 10 miles, then took the advice of our caoch to stop, just for a few minutes, gu, drink some water, and stretch a little.  Plus we looked at our upcoming route to make sure we knew where we were going! 

And back out we went. 

We covered the next 7 miles in what felt like no time, and I had Jes telling me that we ought to run our last three slowly.  Not super slowly or anything, but around a 10:20 pace.  That was the pace we ran our 5k at after our half marathon a few weeks back, and we both ended up feeling pretty fresh after that, so I knew she was right.  She kept scolding me when I would start to get a little faster (which I was grateful for... I will never regret a recovery pace, even if it feels slow at the time!) 

And then... we did it!
And I couldn't be more proud of myself.  My longest run, my highest mileage week.  :)