Friday, November 30, 2012

#StripAtNight - ready to go!

Today is the final day of NoJoMo, and I am writing. So although when we were in KC, my entries were kind of short (and written on my iPhone), I still wrote, every single day. I really like this challenge as it encourages me to be a better blogger, which also encourages me to keep better track of myself and my life.

Today, J and I leave for our annual (at least for the 4 years that we have been together) LAS VEGAS VACATION. This time, we are there about a month later than we typically are, and that is for one reason alone:
I registered for this race back in June, the day that early registration opened. I had been wanting to run it ever since last year when my cousin Jill ran the half and her husband Basil ran the full. Well, I have been wanted to run it every since I found out that they were running. I even considered coming back out there a month later if I could somehow get a bib (even though I was fresh out of my boot and had never run more than 9 miles at the time) but that did not happen. So, needless to say, I am super excited to run this race!

We don't really have anything specific planned for this trip with the exception of the race and race expo. I know J will want to watch the Chiefs on Sunday. And that is fine, I just will be watching without beer and greasy foods to try and keep the tummy calm to race in the late afternoon! Not sure when we will be seeing my aunt and uncle either, but we definitely need to figure that out and make some time!

Last night the dogs were not at home, so going to the gym to crosstrain without Teek waking me up first was really weird. I missed her "wake-up" kisses. She and Zeus are both at our friend Becky's house where they are staying while we are gone.

Any "must-do" activities for Vegas regulars?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Quick Adjustment - No Go.

After all of the excitement of yesterday, I think things finally settled down after the gym.

I went to the chiropractor in the morning. I was armed with lots of tips from my trip to Kansas City and my random parking lot neck adjustment (which scared the crap out of the Bengals fans sitting next to us!) so I felt reasonably prepared for what I was going to face when I got there. I entered the waiting room (it was huge with multiple offices because this chiropractor was located inside Beacon Orthopedics. So there was physical therapy offices, a surgery center, this chiropractor, everything! This guy works on some local high school and college football teams and the Cincinnati Reds! So I figured working on athletes, he was a good match.
I filled out a quick new patient form (normal name/address type things) and also a form about me. I need to mark where my pain was, how my pain levels were, etc. Now, I am not in pain all the time. That is not my thing. I just wanted a quick tune up, as well as maybe someone to stretch out my insanely tight hamstrings (since Doc said that is what likely caused my trouble in Columbus). But I filled out the sheet, mentioning running, hamstrings, a tune up, and some knee issues WHILE running. I did the best I could even though it is not a super regular occurrence.

I was called back after not long at all, and sat in the chair in the doctor's office. We chatted a lot and I told him all about my running. Immediately I felt a slight twinge letting me know that I was not sure about this guy when is started to encourage me to run less saying that it was good that I wasn't going to run any full marathons in 2013 and I was going to focus on shorter distances (to me, this means halfs. To him - 5Ks - Ha!) He even got out his little spine model to show me how all of the jostling will affect my joints! (Because that is solid research from when he was in school?)

Yeah, turn off.

So I got on the table and he checked out my back, hamstrings, knees, etc. He agreed that it was definitely the hamstrings that were the issue and stretched them for me (same stretch Doc showed me, so that was a plus!) and told me that I didn't have any back injuries or anything yet, based on his feel. He adjusted my back quickly (lots of pops in my upper back right around where my breastbone is in the front - I ALWAYS pop there) and he popped my right hip as well (right hammie is by FAR the tighter of the two).

Then he wanted to talk about my "plan." E-stim for three visits (in the next WEEK!) and then follow ups (with e-stim) every month.

And I was done. That is NOT what I want. I want some one to help me keep my hips in the right place and ENCOURAGE my running and my running goals, which he was not.

So I am not going back. My hip feels great right now, but I will be looking for (with Doc's help) someone around here that will show me exactly the right treatment.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Maybe I SHOULD have Stayed in Bed!

All righty. In my mission to get 100 miles this month, I have been trying to run just 4 days per week. And my weekend long runs have been around 8 miles, with the exception of the Mason Half. I am very close to that goal right now (after this morning's run, I have less than 4 miles to go!) Because I was so close, however, I contemplated skipping the gym this morning. I honestly wanted to run outside, but skipped that because I do not have ANY reflective/safety gear for cold weather (and didn't think of wearing my hot pink or lime green shirt OVER my cold stuff - will remember that tomorrow!) and I was feeling kind of scared about running alone in the dark. No, this has NEVER stopped me previously, but I have seen a few things recently (and had a few weird dreams) and so I figured I would rather be safe than sorry.

But when I woke up before 4 am and could not manage to will myself back to sleep, I knew that heading in for the gym and a date with the treadmill was the right decision. I got up and dressed and headed out the door.

I drove to the gym and turned off the car. This is what I do every morning because the gym does not open until 5, and I just hang out and listen to the radio until I see the girl who is working come and open the door. I must have been extra distracted though. I got out of the car, hit the lock button on the door, shut the door, and immediately realized... my keys are still in the ignition. My phone is also in the console, so no calls for me!

I am not sure if I mentioned this previously, but after being  at home for the holiday with my family, I left my key ring (with my car key, house keys, and gym badge) at my mom's house. So I am already onto my spare set (and they have to manually log me in at the gym every day since I don't have a badge to swipe). And now those are locked into the car, so it is not like I can call J or something.

I went inside and talked to the girl at the desk. She was very kind, and helped me call the Sycamore Township police (apparently they do not actually have their own police force, so it ended up being the Hamilton Cty Sheriff's department) and one of the deputies came and rescued me. He had no trouble getting into my car and getting the keys out, but his ease definitely makes you nervous for criminals breaking in!

By that time, I only had 25 minutes left before I needed to go home, so I got on the treadmill and hammered out what I had time for. I hope there is time for more running later?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Stepping up to Prep for the Weekend!

I ended up kicking myself up a notch yesterday when it came to workouts. I started Monday morning as I start most Mondays... 45 minutes on the elliptical. I spent a day at work, had Panera with Karen for lunch...
Asian Sesame Chicken Salad with a baguette, YUM!
And I continued my day at work. I made arrangements for Teek and Zeus when we are in Vegas for the weekend (they are staying at Becky's so they will have Morgan to play with. Yay!) I got everything on my "to-do" list for the day completed, I browsed CyberMonday deals online and researched potential races for next year, until it was finally 5 pm.

When I got home, I handled the pups and decided to run a few speedy miles. I warmed up with a quarter mile and then did 4x400m @ 7:30 pace with a 400 recovery. I ended up at 2.25 miles total.
Yep. Home treadmill in the dark.

Then I hammered through the CF WOD from the blog.
5 rounds for time:
20 push ups
30 Lunges (15 per side)
40 situps
50 air squats
I completed this in 18:45 but for the 4th and 5th round I had to modify to crunches. I was BEAT!

How did you step it up?

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Little Shopping and Vegas Goals (???)

After yesterday's home decorating shenanigans, the rest of the day was pretty tame. I went to the mall to return something that I bought for J that I decided was a lamesauce present, I went to target to try and buy him a real present but they were sold out of it.
Dear Target, This game is REALLY IMPORTANT. Please get it back in ASAP. Thanks. PS I am looking on your website right now and it says that you HAVE this game? WTF? Where was it yesterday?

But I did manage to get our Christmas PJs that go along with the matching Christmas PJ tradition that we started last year.
They don't have the Tee that I bought for us online, but suffice to say, it matches. It has Ralphie's head and says "you'll shoot your eye out!"

So I guess that means my shopping trip was semi-successful.

This Friday we leave for Vegas. It is my last long run/race of the year. The Strip at Night Rock-n-Roll Las Vegas. I am running the half marathon. I am not sure on what my goals are for this race yet, since I know it will be really crowded. When I signed up way back in June, I put in 1:55 as an estimated finish pace. At that time, that was a pretty big goal. But now I have gone under that. So I am not sure if I push hard and go for a PR in another half, or if I just relax and run. What would you do?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Beginning of the Christmas Decorating!

Yesterday was kind of a rough day for this girl. J and I planned a party for the OSU v. Michigan football game at our favorite bar. Now, no one actually CAME to our party except for Bryan and Leah, but it was pretty good anyway.
I took this picture from J who is actually using it as the wallpaper on his iphone right now! He loves those "O" gloves.

It was a really big game since it was pretty much the Buckeyes bowl game or Big 10 championship game since they are bowl banned for the year. Granted, this is always a big game, but this year I think it had special meaning to the team since they were playing in their final game of the year. With a big win by the Bucks, J was a happy guy for the majority of the day. It was a rough day only because of the beers consumed. A lot of them. At least some of them were Christmas Ale, because I love that stuff!

This morning so far I have started to decorate my house for the holiday. Things are looking pretty good so far!
 My nativity - LOVES
 My Santa Claus collection. I have been collecting Santas since I was about 6 years old. I have not gotten a new one for several years, but I am always on the lookout for something that I might like!
My Hallmark mini tree!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Turkey Trot Photos

This morning I met up with my group for a long run. It was the last long run before my last long-ish race of the year. Next weekend I will be running my first Rock-n-Roll race, in Vegas. I am pretty much looking forward to it!

But first, here are a few pictures from the Turkey Trot.
Me, my Aunt Teresa and my mom before the race started.

You have no idea how close to puking I am in these photos. haha. 
Here I am at the beginning of the race. I was running pretty well considering the first mile went under 7 minutes. It was weird to see 6:xx on the clock for sure!

I was looking through the photos looking for one that had the trophy table or something so I could post that since I do not actually have my trophy yet, but my mom is going to one of the running stores in Toledo to pick it up for me, so when I go home for Christmas, I will have a trophy. :)

Have a great Saturday, and GO BUCKS!

Friday, November 23, 2012

East Side Turkey Trot 2012: Race Recap

I guess the easiest place to start with regards to this race is with this:

Female 25 to 29
 Place Name City Age Overall Total Time Pace
 1 Emily Nickles Blue Ash OH 29 86 22:35 7:17/M

Oh yes. First place, age 25-29. I waited all day yesterday to see that proof. I knew that I was likely close to that. But we did not stay at the Y long enough to see for certain how things were turning out for prizes!

Anyway...

Going in to the race, I had a pretty good idea that I could PR. After all, I had not raced a 5K since summer of 2011, so more than a year. The only 5Ks that I did after that were the ones that I did right after I got out of the boot, so I had no interest in racing exactly. You know? So my PR for a 5K prior to yesterday was 26:27 or something. I figured I could definitely go under 25, and my BIG goal would be under 24. I even kind of thought I had a shot at the big goal, but I was also trying to not set myself up for any kind of disappointment.

My Uncle Joe (my godfather) was running (I paid for his race entry as a Christmas gift from LAST year - took him a while to cash it in!) and my mom and Aunt Teresa were walking. My cousin Tim and his girlfriend were also running. It was Stephanie's first ever 5K and her goal was to run the whole thing!
The race was starting at a YMCA in East Toledo (hence, East Side Turkey Trot), so parking was plentiful, and they had things all set up in the gym at the Y so we did not have to sit outside in the cold. It was not terrible yesterday, but just standing around would have gotten chilly, I think.

At 10 minutes to 9, we all went outside and lined up at the start. I told my mom and Aunt Teresa that I would see them at the end. I did not know what to expect of Toledo, but I lined myself up toward the front to be safe. At precisely 9 am, the gun went off. I did not have my garmin with me (accidentally left it at home in Cincinnati instead of bringing it to Toledo) so I knew I was just going to have to run and hope for the best.

I crossed the first mile marker around 6:54. That is the fastest mile that I am aware of ever running. I have not ever run a timed mile (I should do that sometime), so to see 6:xx on the clock blew my mind. The course was flat and I kept passing others which helped me to feel confident even though I was fairly certain I had not kept up the same pace as the first mile. When I turned the corner to head back up to the Y (the finish was right in front of the building) I could see the clock at the finish line. I had not seen the time since the first mile.

It was early 22s. I knew that if I hammered the run home, I could definitely finish in under 23 minutes. So I tried to kick it in, but I am not sure that I actually got any faster at that point. But I tried, and as you can see from above, I made it. And was successful in my BIG goal (and then some) plus top time in my age group? That is pretty awesome.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! J and I are in Toledo and shortly we'll be headed over to dinner and one of his cousins house.

The picture shows what the 30 something's bring to thanksgiving dinner!

I ran a turkey trot this morning but do not have any official results yet. I will do a full recap tomorrow of the race! Suffice to say for right now, I PR'd!

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Football!

J and I woke up early on Sunday morning. I honestly wanted to head out for a run (typical Emily) but knew better than to try and navigate an unfamiliar neighborhood when we had some time constraints. So instead I hopped in the shower and dressed in my Chiefs gear (I wore this jacket on top of my Dexter McCluster jersey). I knew that I was going to be the only one in my Chiefs gear (at least in our group) as the fans were having a blackout to protest the GM.
We loaded up the car, making sure we left room for the grills and stuff that we were picking up at the next house and hit the road. We stopped and picked up another one of Tim and J's golfing buddies (these are the guys he golfs with on a long intoxicated weekend in April), Steve, and his grills. He is the tailgate chef and will not let ANYONE take his job! We met up with the rest of the crew to consolidate cars in an empty parking lot, and headed to the stadium.

The guys were all talking about how sad it was, there was hardly anyone in a usually PACKED parking lot when we arrived, and how terrible the team was. I was sad right away, because when I find a team that I care about, I stick with them, no matter what! Perfect example? The 2002 Detroit Tigers. They lost 107 games, and I was in the house for 50 games despite their terrible record.
These guys I am sure will stick with the Chiefs too, but they were being so negative about them having a bad season and it was making me feel sad.

During the tailgate, Jason went to the bathroom at one point, and one of the guys, Doc, asked me about running. I told him what happened at the C-bus marathon and how disappointed I was. He is a sports medicine chiropractor, and he immediately asked me what it felt like and what happened. We chatted about it for a minute, and eventually he had me lay down in the bed of his truck and he worked on my hamstring and hip flexor a lot and really gave me some tips. He recommended that I see one sometimes, maybe just 3-4 times per year for a "tune-up". So I have been researching them and he is helping me find some good ones.

The game was sad, pathetic a little.
(However, the panorama feature on the iphone5 is pretty sweet!)
We ended up leaving after the 3rd quarter and hanging out in the parking lot again. I hope the Chiefs win at least 1 more game...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Saturday In KC

Our trip to Kansas City was a pretty good one. It was definitely too short. And coming home kind of sucked, but I suppose that is part of travel. Right?

We left right after J got home from work on Friday. We ended up on the road at about 3:30 pm. Our plan was to get to just west of St. Louis before going to bed. I had made a reservation at the Courtyard Marriott Westport, which is one that we stayed at once before on our way to Kansas City.

Westport is where the Ozzie Smith restaurant is, and it is also where Albert Pujols had his restaurant. Of course, Albert left St. Louis before this past season. Since then, the restaurant has changed names three times. The idea of Westport seems to be a lot like Newport on the Levee in Northern Kentucky. A couple of restaurants/bars, maybe a movie theater... When we arrived, we decided that we were going to give the former Pujols a try for our dinner. It was called Patrick's and was still a sports bar.

J has high standards for places that serve wings and beers and show games. I mean, let's be honest, it should not be that difficult to do that. When we walked in and noticed that 2 TVs were not working, plus there was only like 8 other people in that big place, J's opinion definitely started forming right away. I try not to think about things like that, to be honest. We ordered a few beers and an appetizer. The appetizer was pretty good, a toasted ravioli with a marinara. I enjoyed it. We ordered our meals then. I ordered a burger with bbq sauce, bleu cheese, and bacon. It was well prepared, I thought, juicy and cooked to the temperature that I requested (medium, so just a little bit pink!) J ordered a prime rib sandwich with no peppers (they come with peppers and onions, but he wanted only onions). They put neither of those things on there. No peppers (good!) no onions (bad!) and he said that the meat was mostly fat and not well cooked. So that was a major bummer.

I would say overall, we had a pretty neutral experience at Patrick's. We were ready to get back to the hotel and go to bed though. We knew we would be having an early morning to head on to KC to see Tim!

The next morning we were up before our alarm, but we had gotten around 10 hours of sleep. It was great. I think that we struggle with sleep when we are at home a lot. Between the Teek deciding when we should sleep and be awake, plus J and I not completely being on the same sleep schedule (read: he is up yelling at the TV during a football game while I am trying to get to sleep) does bad things to our sleeping. But this night we were both out fairly quickly and got a pretty solid nights sleep. We packed up the car and hit the road for 4 more hours of travel.

We arrived at Tim's house at just a little bit after noon. We saw a lot of folks traveling west just like us but they were going to Columbia for the Mizzou game. When we got there, Tim gave us a quick rundown of the plan for the day. We were going to go to a couple of sports shops to stock up on our Chiefs gear, then we were going to pick up Aunt Debbie at home and go meet Brooke and Laura (two of Tim's three daughters) for lunch and viewing the Ohio State game.

We stayed at the bar all afternoon. I have to admit, I was bored. I was not really drinking that much, and that definitely makes sitting around in a bar a bit more boring. 6 hours later (*sigh*) we finally went home. Sleep had to happen fast because we were leaving at 7:30 the next morning to go to our tailgate!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Home

We're home. Real update tomorrow. I owe anyone who sticks with me that, right?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Football!

It is 6:30 in the morning. We are up and starting to get ready for the football game. I got nearly 9 hours of sleep on an airmattress. It was excellent. I am showered, dressed and having my coffee. J is getting ready now.

We are leaving here at around quarter to 8 to pick up a few others before we head down to the stadium. Tailgating starts at 9.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Traveling Post

I am between St. Louis and Kansas City. We are on the road to see Jason's uncle Tim and his family and see the Chiefs play tomorrow afternoon.

As far as workouts go... Yesterday I got 45 minutes on the elliptical, ran 3.28 miles and did a Crossfit workout. Definitely a solid day. It also helped me to hit my running goals for the week since I knew I was not going to run this weekend (that would have upset the husband, I think)

I am typing this from my iPhone which is not terribly easy, so please excuse my errors. And I'll update again tomorrow when we are on our way to a tailgate!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Lots of #running

Yowzers, yesterday was one heck of a day. I made a list of things that I needed to get done at work, as well as home things to get done. We are leaving for Kansas City this afternoon, and so I definitely needed to get everything done so I could leave work early around noon.

I woke up and forced myself to the gym. I really have a goal to get 20 miles at least per week, even though it is non-training for me. And with only getting 3 miles on Wednesday, I wanted to get 5 miles Thursday. I also know that J will really not want me to run when we are travelling (it will bug him I think!), I want to get through all 20 miles before we leave today!

Here are the workouts of the day:
So yes, I pulled off getting in quite a few extra miles yesterday. I also hunted through that crossfit blog to find a workout that would not have any running and would be fairly easy to do at home. And the one I ended up doing is one that I found there. It was perfect. My squats are definitely getting stronger, so I will have to start doing these in the gym soon to have more weight.

I guess when the time comes for that I will have to refigure out how to work my schedule. I kind of have things perfected right now, and it is working well and I am fitting everything in as I want to right now.

And for now, I will leave you with that, because I have a lot to do today before I can leave the office to head to KC! GO CHIEFS!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sick and Taking it Easy

The cold is finally starting to feel a little better. I can breathe through my nose a little bit now, which I am taking as a win!

Yesterday I decided to sleep in instead of hitting the gym early in the morning. I had been struggling to stay awake in a company meeting on Tuesday, seriously. So I figured a little sleep would be good, and I could get my workout in later on. Teek typically has none of that. She is ready for me to get up and get out of bed so she can have her man, J, all to herself. Seriously, I am pretty sure that Teek thinks that J is her boyfriend. That's ok though, I guess. After all, this is my pride and joy:
Awe, Zeus-er... :)

Work yesterday was a pretty standard day, other than it just seemed to drag on and on. I don't know what about yesterday made it seem so long, but it was. I was more than ready to go by 3 pm, but I kept on working and chugging through my to-do list, until 5.

When I got home I took the dogs out and got them fed before getting into my indoor running gear (read: shorts and a tank - NOT appropriate for outside running right now) to hit the treadmill. Because I have been so tired, I didn't want to push myself too hard, so I figured the treadmill which could control my pace was a good thing.

As I was running I kept making up different rules which was extending the time I was running. You have to run for this many minutes, or you have to run this far, etc. Regardless, I convinced myself that I was done after 3.26 miles. Not sure how that happened or anything, but I got off the treadmill and went downstairs to check on my pups and do a little quick at home WOD.

3 rounds
15 kb swings
15 squats
15 push ups
15 superman (back extension)

Not bad at all, and it felt pretty good, kept my arms working pretty hard. I am already noticing small differences in my legs since I started lifting again, which I am proud of. Running can't do everything for your legs, I am seeing that now!

Hopefully next week I can be back to speedwork!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Visit to the Foot Doctor

Today was day 3 of waking up congested. Lucky for me it is STILL all in my head (versus my chest) so working out is still ok. At least, I think so.

Yesterday I got up and hit the treadmill. I wanted to cover 5 miles because I know that I am not going to be getting in too many miles over the weekend. J might be upset if I am trying to get in a run on our weekend trip. We are going to KC for the Chiefs game and to see Tim.

So 5 easy miles on the treadmill. That was what I wanted to accomplish. And I did. I originally was not planning on messing with the speed at all, but then I kind of got bored of it and started playing around. Not going fast in any way, but just not sticking to 1 consistent pace. I ended up finishing my 5 miles at an average pace of 9:18. Perfect for a planned easy run.

So I am trying this new thing. It is called "get dressed for work." I have been living in jeans and tee shirts at work for months now, and I never get out any of my dress clothes, so this week I am trying it. I own lots of dress pants from Ann Taylor (read: not cheap) and feel like I should be making more of an effort to get some wear out of them (this is me justifying the fact that I took none of them to goodwill when we cleaned out our closet this weekend. Not to mention the fact that I have a closet full of very cute dressy shoes as well. I should really work to get more use out of all of these things.

So on Monday morning, I selected a pair of slacks, a pair of heels (nude, round toe, very cute and Kate Middleton-like), a dress top, earrings and necklace (the pearls I got from hubby for christmas last year!). I wore my hair down and brushed it. This was a pretty big deal to me. I came into work, for once looking like I was "dressing for the job I want".

After being at work for around 20 minutes, a calendar reminder popped up on my screen reminding me that I had an appointment with Dr. Brarens (my podiatrist) in 15 minutes. Luckily his office is very close to my office so there was definitely no issues getting there on time.

I think he is kinda handsome? Don't you? Mid-late 30s, runner, foot doctor... I mean, it could be worse...

Source

Anyway, as I was headed out to my car to get to the appointment, I realized - oh Em, you are an idiot! I was wearing my heels (big no no says foot doctors), I didn't even HAVE my orthotics with me which is why I go to him in the first place. He makes my orthotics! So I was headed over there to spend whatever money a doctor's appointment costs, and I didn't even have the things he is supposed to look at and take care of for me. And I was committing a major foot sin by wearing my stilettos.

Hopefully he could forgive me and give me a magic foot rub just to show me that he cares.

When I walked in to the room where I see the doctor, he immediately gave me crap about my shoes and not having my orthotics with me even. But he raised up the chair and took a look at my feet anyway. He even gave me that foot rub that I was hoping for. He actually ended up doing that because of a nodule in my left arch that he wanted to work out. He was afraid it was bothering me. It wasn't, but I am glad to let a handsome doctor rub my feet!

Since then I have been working the nodule with a golf ball under my bare feet. I did it for about 10 minutes yesterday and will be doing it again today shortly. I guess anything I can do to help these kicks remain strong and happy!

Do you wear orthotics or insoles?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hitting a Busy Week

When I woke up on Monday morning, I felt like garbage. Seriously. I was completely congested. I could not breathe out of my nose. My throat was hurting a little as well. I knew that I was not going to sleep anymore, so I got up and hit the gym. I was not planning on running, so I figured the elliptical would probably be ok with my stuffed up nose. My chest was feeling just fine, so I could still work out. Isn't that what they say? If your cold is in your head, continue to work out, but if it is in your chest you should take a break. I know I have read that somewhere before!

I was on the elliptical for 45 minutes and by the time it was over, I was still congested, but at least my mood was a little bit better! I guess it is one of those "you never regret a workout" kind of moments.
I am sure that most people who read a blog like this get it. After all, I know I have read it more than once in other blogs.

It was a long day at work yesterday too. I am not sure why. I got a lot accomplished. I went to meetings and did my reconciliations. I had lunch with our new audit manager, which was extra fun since it was someone that I used to work with sometimes. So I would say that overall, we had a productive day at work. I have a lot to get done before J and I leave town on Friday to head West for a long weekend, but I got a pretty good start on all of it yesterday.

When I got home last night, I did another at home Crossfit workout (that blog has been a gold mine for home workouts!) Yesterday was:
10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps for time
burpees
squats
pushups
sit ups

I completed the workout in 9:39, so I was pleased. It was a tough one though. Especially to continue to work on good form for pushups and squats!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mason Half Marathon Race Report

So yesterday I ran another half marathon. It was my 5th half of 2012, in fact, it was my 5th half ever. It just reminds me of how I have not been doing this for long at all, and that I definitely can (and should) count my blessings instead of continuing to be angry at myself over what happened in Columbus (PS I am extra upset because I have been so strong and solid these last few weeks). Pretty much the whole crew from Buckeye was either running the half or the 5K, so we were all pretty excited about it. Karen and I had spent the entire week talking about it and plotting it out.

I chose to use this race as my virtual race for Hurricane Sandy Relief that Kara and Lora were putting on. I signed up for this as soon as I read about it, and knew that this half was going to be the one that I used for my virtual racing debut.
That is the bib I received via email for this race. Even though I did not wear it, it is a bib that I like and that I am proud of.

I went in to the race assuming that I was not going to race it, I was just going to take it as a nice slow and steady training run. I was injured, I had a few pretty rough runs over the week, etc, so I was not going to go out there and push myself this time. I knew that I was capable of running under 2 hours without too much effort, so I was just going to settle for that.

I was scheduled to meet Karen at 7:30 in the parking lot. It was cold early yesterday (it was about 35* when I got there) but we knew it was going to warm up fast so we came prepared. But it was cold when I got there!
Fleece for the moment. NOT happy about getting out of my car and leaving it there!

We found the rest of our group from Buckeye and lined up at the start. It had already warmed up a few degrees by then, so I was feeling a bit better about my wardrobe choices (and silently laughing at those in tights!) after the National Anthem, we were off!

Mile 1 - 8:44
Mile 2 - 9:03
Mile 3 - 8:53
Mile 4 - 8:55
Mile 5 - 8:43

As you can see from those early paces, I was not just "taking it easy" but in reality, I felt pretty good. I knew these streets in Mason so well from all of the training that we have done there since last January, I know every turn, every incline and decline. I am familiar with the parks, the traffic lights, everything. And that was making this run easy.
Not terrible hills, but looking at the elevation makes them look rougher than they actually were! There was really only 1 hill during this race that I felt made a difference. And we ran up it twice.

Mile 6 - 8:48
Mile 7 - 8:36
Mile 8 - 8:45
Mile 9 - 8:49
Mile 10 - 8:35
Mile 11 - 8:15
Mile 12 - 8:17
Mile 13 - 8:22
Mile 0.18 (per garmin) - 1:14

Half Marathon #5 clocked in at 1:53:59 both via my garmin AND via the actual results. They had one of those machines there where you could go and type in your bib number and it would spit out your results. This is absolutely a half marathon PR for me, and I am THRILLED about it!

I think it might be because of my new socks I wore.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Non-Training Training Week 2

I have survived another week without race goals. It started out a little rough. I was struggling with my running when it started. I only made it two miles on my first run of the week. On the second one, I did a little bit better. But it hurt. But eventually, my groove came back, I think.

Here is the breakdown of the week:
I would say this week shows me accomplishing every single goal that I currently have for myself. I managed to get a good amount of crosstraining, strength training (in the form of Crossfit WODs) and running into the week.

Today I ran a half marathon (race report tomorrow) and set a new PR, so that was pretty awesome. But for now, I am going to revel in a good week of non-training!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Book Review: The Courage to Start

So for the next selection for Jamie's bookclub (well, I guess it is OUR bookclub, but she is our leader!) was "The Courage to Start: A Guide to Start Running for Your Life" by John "the Penguin" Bingham.
This book was one of those running books that really hit me. Hard. Because it really highlights all of the wonderful things about running that I need to remind myself of all of the time. I am definitely struggling with my running and my mindset toward it right now, since I have all of these unclear pictures of what training is for me right now. And this book is helping me to remember all of these things.

When I started this book about a week and a half ago (yes, I slacked, but I also knew that I wouldn't be posting this entry until later on), I even got out my highlighter. I definitely was using it while I was reading and trying to use it to remind myself of different things that is needed for me to continue with my training.

"I've given up on having a plan to succeed. With each step, with every mile, I am making a new plan." - page 26

This one is particularly interesting to me. It was one that I read and reread over and over, highlighted it, and reflected on it. This resonates with me because it is kind of where I am feeling right now. At least, it is what I am trying to feel. I am trying to remember that it is okay to NOT have a plan, to just RUN. It is ok to not have a plan or to make a new plan all the time and to just enjoy what I do because I love it.

And yet, that is one of the most difficult things about being a runner to accept. Sometimes it is just ok to just be without goals without direction. This book is a reminder to just slow down. To do what you love. To do what feels right. That is the best part of running. Running feels good and it is something that calms me, makes me strong.

John focuses in this book that it is not about being fast. It is not about winning. Sometimes, it is not even about racing. It is all about being the person that you are meant to be. Maybe you are meant to be a runner. Maybe you are meant to be an accountant (maybe I am meant to be one). And it seems like John believes that you can use running to find that out.

There is an entire chapter in this book called "finding the balance". In this chapter, John talks a lot about the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears and how everything should be just right. This is related to running in many ways. Shoes being too soft or too firm, not running enough or risking injury and burnout, taking the rest days that our bodies need and coming to terms with the fact that you are not going to use all of your fitness in just the one day that you are off.

John puts finding that balance into the simplest of terms... That is, we listen to our bodies. But if you are anything like me, that will be far more difficult than it sounds. You will often feel guilty about not training enough. On Sundays, which you take as rest days, you will wonder if you should go out and run, just three miles, because why not? Because your body needs the rest day to rebuild it self. And I promise (I am talking to myself here) it will be ok.

This book came along right at the right time for me. I am not training for anything right now. I needed this book as a reminder to keep on going because running is something that I have discovered that I love. It is something that keeps me sane, centered and calm.

Do you struggle with the same things that I do? Taking a rest, being who you are meant to be? Have you read this book?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Good Form Running Clinic

So last night I went to a Good Form Running clinic at my local Fleet Feet Sports.
Good form running started out small from modest roots in Michigan. It was an attempt to run more effectively with less injuries, like ALL of the recent discussion around minimalist running and the midfoot strike. It is now sponsored by New Balance, and you can be trained to teach the other people how to do it, and my Fleet Feet is one of the stores that offers workshops. Recently, they have been around every 2 weeks.
Source
Above is Ricky, he is the certified Good Form Running coach in my local store, and he is the one who led the workshop that I was fortunate enough to attend last night. I have seen Ricky in the store many of the times that I have been in there over the past three years.

Good Form Running has 4 separate elements that we spent some time going over. Hopefully with this in my mind fresh, I will be able to use it to improve my running form and continue in my running development. I don't have any race goals currently, so I think I will be using some of what I learned yesterday to try and become a better runner (since that is my overall goal for this raceless time).

The Elements
1. Posture
2. Midfoot
3. Cadence
4. Lean

These elements we spent some time going over. We started by doing them one at a time (including jogging in place with a metronome to work on our cadence!) and then putting everything together at the end. In addition Ricky filmed each of us just running down the sidewalk. We went through the film of each of us, frame by frame, and he pointed out the good things that we had in our form, and suggested the element that we had the most work to do on. For me, it was cadence because if I quicken it a little bit, I will likely move away from my heel strike.

You can learn more about Good Form Running here.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Time to get ready for the Holidays!

Now that it is already November, J and I need to get to work on our Christmas cards. Here are the photos we are considering.
The pups.
Mexican Coffee + Sombreros (#winning)
A kind of nice one...

Or do we use all three photos? The dog one here is instagrammed but I have the original one and it is nice looking, I mean, they are snuggling and how often does that happen (I will give you a clue - never!) The choice is between two or three photos and those are the finalists. Which would you use?

Like I mentioned in yesterday's entry, I am struggling with my big toe. No clue what is going on there (still suspect the flats though!) but I still wanted to hammer out 4 miles yesterday. That was the goal. No speedwork or anything, just 4 easy miles.

I was actually struggling. The toe hurt a little, but not so much to make me stop running or anything, but I was struggling with the lungs. My chest felt pretty tight, which is something that I have not felt in a long time - unless I have been doing speedwork. I managed to get through the 4 miles and actually had to sit down afterward. It was bizarre! I only averaged 9:13/mile which is a pretty standard pace for me when I am not pushing these days. Ridiculous.
I also hammered out a little CF when I got home, found again from a Crossfit at home site. I am LOVING these even though there are not as complete of a workout as I would get at a box (no warmup or skill practice, just the WOD). They are still getting me some work on things that I would be slacking at otherwise! So I guess I have to consider it a win!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Winged-it Workout

Are you glad the election is over? I am. Regardless of the results, I am ready to get on with my life. It feels like this has been a really long time coming.

So moving on...

Yesterday, being Tuesday is my usual first run of the week + CF.
My run ended up getting cut short yesterday, I was just not feeling very good while I was on the TM. I originally planned on a tempo tuesday run, but my big toe on my right foot was strangely giving me some pain. So when I stopped, I decided to do my CF workout, and then add a few more exercises on to it, so I added some more back and leg exercises. It ended up being a pretty good workout. Not sure what the deal is with my toe, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it is bruised. I wore flats on Monday. I hate wearing flats. I struggle to keep this pair on my feet, but the pair I have that is a half size smaller (and the exact same shoe except black instead of brown) is way too tight! So that is what I think happened.

I made chili for our dinner last night. Just kind of winged it, loosely based on a recipe that I found on sparkpeople. I browned some turkey in a pot and then threw in a bunch of other ingredients and let things simmer for about 40 minutes. Turned out delicious, and the hubs loved it! That = a win in my book (I think I am eating the leftovers for lunch! Double win!)

Tonight is date night!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Christmas Success & a RACE

Christmas shopping was pretty successful yesterday. I think I finished J up yesterday. Well, I still need to pick up one thing, but it is ordered. And then stocking stuffers and he is all set. So I guess it was successful, even though Karen likely had better luck than I did. But I had a better trip than her when we went to the outlets.

Other than finishing J's shopping, I got Tommy (my boss) finished, I got a little something for my mom, which is normal even though we are doing a siblings gift for her. I browsed a few stores trying to come up with ideas for my MIL, but no dice. Seriously. Does any one have Christmas gift suggestions for their mother in law that they have very little in common with? J is no help with this, trust me, and I even asked Angel and she has no idea right now either!

I did however get a Christmas party/New Years Eve dress.
White House Black Market

Omg, it is so cute! The dress is lace. I love love love it. Granted, I spent more money on it than I probably should have spent on a dress today, but ehh...  it is a really cute dress.

Yesterday's workouts were pretty good. They were strong workouts, I think. I was up early in the morning to hammer out 45 minutes on the elliptical. I definitely am working to do different things and get stronger right now, I know that is the most important thing for me right now. Since I am not sure yet what my next plan is, getting stronger, mentally and physically is definitely going to help me out when the time comes to hammer out the next marathon.

I also completed an at-home, no equipment CrossFit workout that I found online.
It was a pretty good one, and I always feel like I have had an effective workout when push ups are involved.  So Monday was right on plan for my non-training-training. I am running a half this weekend (I am going with running versus "racing" because I am not sure that I want to race) with the Buckeye running team, and I think it will be pretty fun. It is all streets that I am very familiar with, so I am looking forward to it. But as a result my mileage will not be QUITE as high during the week this week since I like to get 20-25 miles in a week. I don't need as much mileage during the week.

DON'T FORGET TO VOTE TODAY if you live in the US!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Christmas Shopping + my LR

Yesterday I very tentatively planned out the next year of my life. Granted, at this point, there is absolutely no way to do that. But if things worked out the way that I wrote them all out, it would be wonderful. But because of the nature of the lives that J and I lead lately, we cannot predict this just yet. I am working on it.

Karen and I have plans for this afternoon. We are going to have lunch together and then do a little Christmas shopping. That is how we roll, I guess. We are going to Cheesecake factory. We are both planning on having a piece of cheesecake, so we have planned all of our meals around it to allow us our cheesecake as a lunchtime dessert. Bradley (Karen's son) is coming with us, obviously. He recognizes me now, I guess. At least that is what Karen says, because when we are together he is just staring at me. I like that, it makes me feel good.

Saturday's 8 miler was a good one. I feel like I should talk about that now since I didn't really in any of my entries over the weekend. I met up with my run group at 8 am, as I stated previously. It was the first weekend of tights for everyone. My tights are very long. My socks always go all the way up to the bottom of the tights, even when I am only wearing tab socks. But the guys always seemed to have like 2-3 inches of bare leg in between their socks and their tights. Is that normal? I have no idea...  Karen (because she is crazy!) was just wearing crops! I had gloves, tights, socks, headband (covering ears) my fleece lined pullover, etc on to keep me warm. When we first got started my hands were FREEZING.

It took a really long time to get them warm enough that they were not numb. And here Karen was taking her gloves off while my hands and feet were still feeling numb!

Mile 1 - 9:01
Mile 2 - 9:07
Mile 3 - 9:08
Mile 4 - 9:04
Mile 5 - 8:53
Mile 6 - 8:56
Mile 7 - 8:51
Mile 8 - 8:52
Average pace of 8:58

I was pretty pleased with this being a run where I had absolutely no goals. I was just looking forward to getting out there in the cold with the group and getting a good run in. I felt that I needed some more security in my running. And this run helped me to feel good about things.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Week 1 of Non-Training

So since I am not training for a big race (or a competition) right now, I am non-training. It is all I have talked about this week. But honestly, I am searching for that balance, so I think mixing things up and trying to get better at everything is going to be a really good way of improving and getting stronger.

So here is the list of the workouts of the week!
I honestly believe that this week is kind of the ideal for me for this "off season". I did a lot of strength training, I ran between 20 and 25 miles. I cross trained two days. I took today off. I think that is going to be the kind of workouts that will help me become a stronger, more fit girl, not to mention, faster. I did a tempo run as well as a speedwork session.

After talking to the Coach last Friday (Brett) I came to terms with the fact that 20-25 miles per week was a great place to stay. So that is kind of my goal from here until I start officially training for a marathon again. I just am not sure when that will be yet. I want it to be RIGHT NOW, but I also know that it is not the right time to choose another marathon. Its just... not... right now, which makes me feel a little bit sad.

I know, I am sure of you all hearing me whine about my non-marathoning. I am sorry, but it is just on my mind a lot lately. It is just kind of what I have been spending my time thinking about because I feel like it has given me a lack of focus. I am sure that if you look at the week of workouts above, you might not necessarily see a lack of focus, and I suppose I have to agree with that in a lot of ways. I mean, I was extremely "productive" with my workouts this week. I met all of my nontraining non goals.

I need to refind the real focus though. Whatever that is...  But for now, I will continue to stick with what I have, I suppose.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Off Season Run Group?

I know that pretty much every blogger out here yesterday and today is talking about the NYC Marathon and what do you think about their last minute cancelling, etc, etc, and honestly, I am not sure yet how I feel about it. I know without a doubt I would feel differently, more strongly if 1. I lived in NYC or 2. I was running, but I do still have opinions on it right now, I just have not found the words to describe them yet. I know that it is going to be difficult to get refunds if you have flights or hotels, I am not sure how it will go, allowing all of the individuals who qualified to run this year and will not next year or if deferrals will be allowed, etc. I am sure all of these things will become more clear to me and everyone else in the week's to come. It sounded like as of right now, it is postponed.

I am up now, drinking my coffee and trying to decide if I am going to go to run group or not. I am going to run today, I am going to run the 8 miles that the group has scheduled. But J and I have something going on in the later morning, and I want to make sure that I am home in time to leave and he isn't freaking out wondering when I am going to get here.

We had a run group meeting on Monday night, kind of discussing what our plans were going to be for the next year since we are trying to grow our group. It was a good meeting, and Brett did a pretty good job leading it. Because we are a free run group, we have never had pace groups or anything like that, and unfortunately, we think that has potentially made some people leave our group. I have always stuck with them, even on days when I was running solo because I know these guys now, but in general, our two group coaches have always been really fast, and sticking with the group that is fast. I am not fast, I am somewhere in the middle, I think. But now they want people to be committed to running with certain groups. I did not sign up to be a pace coach, although I did consider it. I am still considering it right now, but nothing is for sure.

I just don't want to commit to running a slower pace, the one that I know that I can maintain, rather than working hard every week to try and get faster, you know? That is why I am hesitating. But I am one of the original group members, training with them for the Pig last spring, right when we first started, and that leaves me feeling a little bit committed to being a leader.

Have you ever been a pace coach? Would you want to be?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fartleks FTW

Oh WOW! Yesterday was the first of November which means another year of NoJoMo is upon us. I am participating, as usual. But I completely forgot that it was time for this yesterday when I wrote, so I didn't really make note of it. I might not again, but I am going for it again this year!

Yesterday, I was feeling kind of wiped when my alarm went off at 4:35. I had every intention of dragging my butt to the track for my workout on Thursday. I had nonscheduled scheduled myself 800s for my workout. 6 of them, with a 400 recovery. Throw in a warm up and a cool down and I was going to be running 5.75 miles. And getting faster. (Fingers crossed for that "getting faster" part) But when the alarm went off and I was beat, I reset it for 6 and rolled over, back to sleep.

I still wanted to get a run in though, so I packed all of my running gear with plans to go out at lunchtime. But no track meant no 800s. So instead of throwing in the towel on my speedwork, I decided to do it anyway. Insert my Fartlek workout. I warmed up for a mile, then ran 2 mins on, 2 mins off seven times, then cooled down until I got to 5 miles total. Here are the splits via my garmin:
I would like to get to the point where all my splits are at that 7:28-ish pace. But this was just a practice, I think. I am not very experienced at running like this, so I was just giving a new workout a whirl. I hope to improve on those times the next time I do a fartlek workout for sure!

I did the CF WOD yesterday, but it isn't really worth posting about this time. It was a good one and it felt pretty good, I am definitely starting to feel a little stronger already. We'll have to see if I do the one from today or not. There is running in it, and I have pretty much already run my allotted miles for the week. It is less than a mile total, so I am considering it.

My dad is coming to visit us tonight, so I am looking forward to seeing him again this weekend! No official plans as of now, but I excited that he is here again!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

My Costume!

So yesterday was Halloween. We were allowed to wear costumes to work, and as a reformed theater kid (which to me, basically means I am still a theater kid somewhere inside, but it has been so long since I have done a show (3 years!) that I have forgotten a lot about it) I, of course, wore a costume.
Snow, obviously. She is my favorite. I found the "prop" in my lunch bag. Hehe. I was pretty pleased with my guts to come into work wearing this dress. I did not leave it on for trick or treat later though. It was way too cold for that! For trick or treat I stayed outside until 7:30...  we didn't have any more kids after that. I was bundled up in my running tights, two fleece jackets, a hat with ear cover things, gloves, wrapped up in a blanket, and I had my pumpkin beer for artificial warmth (it got a lot of comments from the dads, and made me wish we had some bud light or something in cans to give to the dads for their own trick or treat! maybe next year).

I considered dressing up as a runner, but decided since I dress like that every day, I should do SOMETHING different.

I had 45 trick-or-treaters last night. I am not sure if that is good or bad. It did not seem a whole lot different than 2 years ago when J and I handed out candy. It was drizzling on and off the entire time, not to mention how cold it was! When I talked to my mom later on, she told me she had 625 kids! Isn't that amazing? Did anyone out there have more kids than my mom?

Yesterday's workouts were pretty straightforward and simple. I was just planning on an easy run in the morning, and my CF workout in the afternoon, post work, pre trick or treat.
(Like my Halloween colors & font? Oh yeah!)

My not a training plan-training plan is going ok so far. I still feel a little bit lost around it. I know I am doing plenty, but I still feel confused about it. Any advice?