Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A little bit of work

So as a general rule, I like to stay away from posts about my job. It is a pretty personal thing, and we are a relatively small company, so sometimes posting about it might be frowned upon. I think you know that I am an accountant and that I did go back to working full time after the Roo was born, but that might be all you know.

It has been a rough year. Not from a learning, fearing for my job daily kind of place, but just from the fact that we are a company that is in growth mode and I work on a highly functioning, highly efficient team. That means that there is a ton of work to get done, and not necessarily enough time to do it all, but we are making do and doing the best that we can. This year at work has kind of been about powering through and making it work.
(Thank you Tim Gunn for always making me happy. Even as Baileywick on Sofia - which is the main place I get to see you these days)

Things kind of came to a head last week, leading to some intensity, even more hours, and a few difficult conversations with the CFO/President. He and I get along great, and we have a very very good rapport, but that does not necessarily make conversations like these any easier.

I have a lot of high hopes that this conversation will make things smooth out around this place and that we, as a team, can move forward with strength.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My final 20 - onto Chicago

So something happened on Saturday morning. You know the basics from my training recap post, but suffice to say, I ran a 20 miler on Saturday, approximately 2 weeks out from Chicago. I am going to taper HARD into the next two weeks, but after this run, I feel really good. If nothing else good comes out of this run, it was a confidence booster going into Chicago.

I had zero pace goals this time, just "go out and run. Run something that has a '2' in front of it." Those were Coach Jenn's instructions. So, to mix it up, I decided I was going to head out to Lunken, the site of the infamous (and one of my favorite training runs EVER!) Fleet Feet sponsored 20/12. So here is the route I ended up following.
It is different than the 20/12 route because I did not go up into Hyde Park (next time I definitely am!) because honestly, I did not want to climb the hill on Delta that goes past J's old apartment. But when I got downtown, I was feeling brave and decided to go for it with the bridges. I ran the three bridges that are most frequently seen in downtown Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky races including the Thanksgiving Day Race and the Flying Pig.

This included the Taylor Southgate bridge (into Newport), the Veteran's Memorial Bridge (from Newport to Covington over the Licking River - I spied a bunch of crew clubs down on the river as I crossed!) and then the Clyde Wade Bailey Bridge back to Cincinnati.

And here are my splits (all of them).
So while this was not as fast as my first twenty, I feel much better for it than I did after that run. I am SUPER happy with this run. And that is what counts. At least, that is what I think. Although the elevation here does not really show it, the bridges are some TOUGH running, so I am really happy.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Chicago Marathon: Week of September 21

I am through one more week of training. I am one week closer to the Chicago Marathon, and stuff is really starting to get real now. I am less than two weeks out. In fact, two weeks from today, I will be waking up in my hotel bed in Chicago, likely kind of stiff from the events of the previous day, hopefully not feeling too terrible. The marathon will be over. Hard to believe.

But I don’t want to focus on it being over just yet, I still need to get through these last few weeks successfully, so let's look at Chicago training, week...  whatever number this week is, only two weeks to go!
So, after last week, Coach Jenn and I had a call on Monday (well-timed, right?) and once again she told me that I needed to quit being so damn hard on myself. (I know, I know...  she is right, all of you are right...) And we adjusted my long run schedule slightly. She told me I should give an attempt to get one more long run that started with a 2 and another number after it, and just do a two week taper. She said she thought that a two week "hard taper" would probably be good for me because it would give me less time to think about it. Yeah, she is probably right...

Stuff got pretty real on Friday with some of the mail that I got.
So let's look at the week in workouts. Despite adding a final 20 mile run to the schedule on Saturday, we did not alter the rest of the week at all. Jenn thought that maybe being semi-rested on the way in to the long run, I might feel better and be more likely to knock it out. So here was the week:

Monday: 7 miles with 4x 30s strides. 7.45 total miles.
Tuesday: 40 minutes elliptical, strength training
Wednesday: 6 miles easy, 8:47 average pace
Thursday: 6 miles with 6x 45s surges, 7:57 average pace
Friday: OFF
Saturday: 20 mile long run, no pace goals
Sunday: OFF

So I guess that means now it is REALLY time to taper? As of the time of composing this entry (on Saturday), I did not have my schedule for the last two weeks yet, but I am sure I can do this. I am SURE I can do this.

Friday, September 25, 2015

An interrupted tempo

Continuing to review last week... Again, I have had enough of talking about the long run that wasn't... I had a rough weekend. Having my kiddo all by myself, needing to run 22 miles, the heat, everything... I mean, I definitely do not want to revisit that feeling any more. I need to move on from it.

But because I don't want to talk about that, let's talk about my tempo run. I had a rough tempo in addition to the failed long run. It was just a bad week overall, I guess. And that hurts because this was the week that I was really supposed to perform. This was the week that was supposed to make me feel like I was fully trained, fully prepared, ready to take on Chicago.

Instead, the week left me feeling crappy. Questioning the entire cycle of training. And wondering what was happening with me and my mental state. Jenn has come through for me. She has faith in me, but I don't have it in myself. If I am going to succeed, I have to believe in myself. I need that more than anything right now.

So on my tempo. Thursday, I took off from the office. I was having kind of a rough day at work, and I needed the run. I needed it badly. I had my watch set up and I was ready to run. I ran my first mile, about 8:22 and then took off at the mile. After the next mile, my stomach had jumped up into my throat. I was feeling terrible. I stopped, covered in sticky disgusting sweat that was pouring down my face in front of the Jimmy Johns that I used to visit back in our days of living in Blue Ash. I emptied my stomach into those bushes and then stood there still for a few minutes. Eventually, I pushed myself to keep going on to the track.

After running three (of 7) tempo miles and multiple dry heaves into a trash can at the track, I gave up. I laid down on the football field (which was turf, so I actually got all of these little rubbery things all over my back and the back of my legs) and just laid there until I could stand again. There is a chance that I blacked out briefly because when I was able to sit back up, my watch had timed out. I don't know how long that takes, but I know it is several minutes, and it beeps at 10 second intervals before shutting down.

Anyway, I text Jenn, and walked back to my office. It was probably the slowest walk ever. Seriously... I just dragged back to my office. But I got there, and based on some advice from Jenn, I figured out how to finish the run...

That night after Roo went to bed, I did 5 miles + strides on the treadmill. 3 of the 5 were at slightly faster than marathon pace (at 7:41) to make for 9 total miles for the day and 6 at tempo pace.
I was super freaking sweaty, but it was done. At least there was that last week.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Errands with the Roo

So on Sunday, because Saturday was a rough day for me, I set out to do the things with Addie that I wanted to get done over the weekend without her daddy. J was out of town for several days, so we had a few things that we needed to do.

One of the things on our list was to get underpants for Addie. She has been doing awesome with her potty training, and her daycare suggested we get some for her (and they will keep her in pull ups at naptime). So Target was on our agenda for the day. I knew that they would likely have disney toddler underpants, and obviously, all of her favorite things these days are disney. So after a breakfast of pancakes, scrambled eggs and fruit, we got dressed in our matching outfits (running shorts, toms, and zip up hoodies - having a daughter is awesome!) and headed out to Target.

First stop - all things toddler!
Success on the underwear front! She picked Minnie and Sofia the First! I talked her out of Frozen, assuming that they would make those in bigger sizes, whereas they might not make these bigger. We also got her winter coat (no talking this girl out of all things pink. Ugh.) because it was on sale and they had one she liked.

I saw this baseball tee and found it in her size and was CRAZY tempted. But I resisted. The fact that she said it was yucky helped me to resist. She definitely doesn't need more clothes right now.
I love it anyway. I did not see it in the women's or juniors department or I definitely would have bought it.

As we continued through the store, making a quick stop in the entertainment section - trying to come up with some Christmas ideas for the hubs, we were both struck by a preview that was on the TV. "Whoa... PRINCESS" was Addie's actual response, and admittedly, they picked the most awesome part of the whole movie to show while we were standing there, two girls who admittedly can be drawn to pretty things... Cinderella dress transforming into that beautiful blue... It was the new live action one. So guess what we came home with and watched right away.
I have already seen this once on a plane, but admittedly, I was pretty much a 10 year old girl when watching it. I got excited, teary eyed, etc. So...  Yeah, I couldn't help it. I am a girl sometimes about some stuff. Especially movies and music. That stuff always has me emotional. I admit it.

We settled in to watch it as soon as we got home.
Yes, that is her new coat and she is wearing it in the house (because she said "on Momma!" as soon as I got it out of the bag). She got all comfy in her chair and I turned on "Princess Rella!" (as she says) right away. We had a nice morning...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


After this past weekend where I spent all of my time tearing myself down, despite what I posted about Coach Jenn really building me up, I was in a bad mental state. I am honestly still not in a great one, and we are 3 days removed from this. I have talked to Jenn on the phone, we reworked my plan and talked through some of the issues that I am having and what is going on in my head. I honestly feel guilty. Granted, I have no idea what any of her other clients do, but sometimes I feel like I am REALLY counting on her to pick me up when I am in the dumps. I need to work on picking MYSELF up when I am in the dumps. Goals, right?

Anyway... I got a comment on a facebook post today. It was a post that I made on August 15 after a successful 18 mile run. Here is the post.
I whited out the name of the friend I mentioned in the post just in case.
Here is the comment I got.
Got rid of her last name and pictures, again, in case.

So thank you Marilyn for that reminder. (We met in Utah this summer at Ragnar, and she is a Oiselle teammate. Love her.)

And then literally 10 minutes after seeing that message, I got this text.
Yeah... clearly I have friends in my corner as well.
And my husband, looking after me when I told him about the failed 22.

And of course, this little sweetie pie was waiting for me when I got home.
Her selfie game is ON.

So...  thanks to everyone who tries to make me feel better. You have NO IDEA how much it means to me.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

My Mental Game... shaken up by Coach Jenn

So, yeah, I have managed to get over the mental hump that this training cycle became for me. I honestly think that a lot of this was related to the fact that I went into this cycle knowing that I was training alone. My previous two marathons have been constantly trained with someone else, especially on the long runs, running with my group at Buckeye Running, and Jes on the first marathon and Karen on the second.

But knowing that I was running this one alone (all of the gang from my run group is running in Missouri the weekend before Chicago), I really felt like I needed to train alone to work on my mental game right out of the gate.

Plus, working with Coach Jenn, I knew that I was going to have a very different schedule and plan than I ever had before. And I definitely do. My volume is generally MUCH higher than any race I have run before, and I am feeling good. My body is feeling good, that is...  But my mental game has definitely needed more work, and I hope that I am there now.

But like I said previously, things were not great there for a few weeks. I am grateful to Coach Jenn for talking me off the ledge more than once during this training cycle, because I really was ready to throw in the towel. Seriously. There was a week in August when I went out for my run on Monday (first run of the week!) and about 1/3 of the mile into the run, my back started hurting so much that it wrapped around to my chest and I was struggling with my breath. The feeling I was getting took me back to the end of pregnancy just prior to the baby dropping (at least in my case), when you feel like you constantly had feet kicking your diaphragm. I had to stop the run and emailed Jenn immediately telling her about the pain I was having.

She shifted my schedule for the rest of the week, and even helped me when I couldn't get through the long run (I only managed 6) letting me know that I was completely on track still. Sometimes life gets in the way, and working with her, I knew that I could adjust things, move my runs around, and still keep things on track to hit my goals. I have not had to think about it since telling her what my goal was when I first started working with her back in May.

I think  (and Jenn thinks too, since she pointed this out to me) that once this happened, my confidence was somewhat shaken. I started freaking out and melting down over long runs, including one particularly bad 18 miler that I quit on just three miles in. After crying and freaking out for well over a half hour, I ran the other 15. And hit my paces.

The week after that, I was on vacation. I got through two of my three runs when I was gone, but was suffering from shin pain (I attribute this to one of two things, walking around Coronado in Toms and my imagination since I was struggling with my mental game) on the day of the third run. I didn't do a long run that weekend either (I was scheduled for 12, I ran 6). Addie was having a bit of a missing mommy meltdown since she did not come on vacation (vacation post to come!) and I just was feeling off from all of the travel.

Missing this run was it for me. I sat down in my neighborhood at 5.5 miles. I was in someones lawn. I was crying. I was questioning everything that I had going on. And I made the decision that I was done. I was not interested in the marathon. Not interested in my BQ. I was over it, moving on, and thinking "hhmmm. I can always run the Queen Bee in Cincinnati, it is the same day!" I declared my feelings to my running friends, to Jenn, to J, to twitter...  And the next day I got up and ran 4 instead of my planned 10.

By lunch, I had talked to Jenn, and I was back on the marathon train. I ran the last 6 miles (plus strides) that night at home, and I was BACK on track and going for it. That weekend I ran a successful solo 20 miler with 9 miles at sub-8 pace (I was supposed to run them at 7:50, but it was absurdly hot that day) and an average of 8:08 for the full 20.

Having Jenn on my side is the only way that I have managed to survive this training cycle. Yes, I am running the miles. It is my legs and lungs that are out there. But, at the same time, I am not sure that I would be ANYWHERE without her...

Monday, September 21, 2015

Chicago Training: Week of September 14

I have been training for Chicago since May. Granted, the first several weeks were likely Jenn and I getting a feel for each other before she threw true paces and tough stuff at me, but my mileage started increasing almost right away. After running GCM conservatively this spring, I was pretty well based to start kicking things up right away. And we did. And now... here we are... Entering taper.

I am at the three week to go mark. In fact, three weeks from yesterday would be the exact timing. I am super nervous and I cannot believe that we are already here. Admittedly, all of this is self brought pressure by declaring my goals very early on (the BQ!) and I also know that I am the only one who will be upset with myself if I don't make it. Jenn won't care, my bird teammates won't care, and Addie and J will be proud no matter what.

I have to keep that in mind to keep the nerves down. There is no reason to be nervous, right?

So let's do a quick peak week recap.

Monday: 11 miles plus strides. 11.53 total miles at 8:22 average pace.
Tuesday: 8 easy miles, 8:47 average pace.
Wednesday: OFF
Thursday: 9.61 miles including 6 @ 7:41 pace. 4x 30s strides (this run deserves its own entry). 2.6 mile walk SUPER slowly
Friday: Long walk with the dogs - no watch, about an hour.
Saturday: a 22 mile fail. I ran 9 and then was done. I was cramped up still from Thursday, and my legs just felt so heavy. It was not great.
Sunday: another 9 miles. All I could fit in at naptime. I almost quit at 7 when I accidently hit a button on my treadmill, making it reset. I screamed and started crying. Not good.

There was also a BOATLOAD of foam rolling, lacrosse ball action, and core work throughout the week. I did some core (even just a few 30s planks) every single day, and spent about 30 minutes on core strength (including air squats, push ups, and my regular core work) twice.

49.74 total miles. Some unlogged walking mileage (pup walk). strength. core. mobility.

Now...  I don't know WHAT comes next with a multi-fail long run. That caused MANY MANY tears (in fact, I am crying now).

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Mental Block

So, I am not sure how much I want to talk about this...  I failed at yesterday's 22. I made it 9 with 1 at marathon pace. That is it. I spent the entire rest of the day (after I was picked up on the bike trail by my daughter and mother-in-law) annihilating myself for being too weak minded to finish the run. Yeah, I felt terrible, I was likely dehydrated (I consumed what felt like an obscene amount of water), and I could not overcome this knot in my diaphragm that I had since Thursday, but I still spent the entire day crying on and off and generally being lame.

I discovered as a result of this day that I don't think my body is a super fan of cheese. I have had this suspicion for a little while now, and yesterday kind of put the nail in the coffin for me. I think I am generally going to cut dairy, except the occasional greek yogurt. And that will be a lunchtime item, so I have the full day and night to digest it. So yeah, if there is one positive thing out of this, I have made this decision?

I don't know. I definitely spent the entire day being too hard on myself. I got out my Lauren Fleshman "Believe" training log last night to record my feelings on the workout. And again, I just tore myself apart. I know that I should not react like that. I know that is not a good way to be, and likely, it is not going to help me to be better. It won't help me to get over the mental hurdle that is in my way, and it won't do me any good, let's be honest!

Now, I am not sure how to get over this hurdle. I am not sure if I am going to hop on the treadmill and just see how far I can go at naptime (I am leaning toward this plan), but I know that I can get over this. I know that I HAVE to get over this. I know that I am physically MORE than capable of this marathon, and running this marathon as I want to run it. I AM. I have proved it over and over again with this training. It is a complete mental block for some reason.

I was thinking back to last summer, I was out with Karen and Tom and it was the first training run for Columbus that was over the half marathon distance. So it was my first run over 13.1 miles since before Addie was born just under a year prior. Hell, longer than that, since I don't think I ran over twelve since Columbus training the year BEFORE I got pregnant. Damn! I had this mental block about the run. I am not sure what the deal was, and why I could not get over the hurdle, but I just couldn't, at least not alone. I remember my watch died about 5 miles in. That was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. I had to stick with Karen and run blind for 9 more miles. She did not give me any splits for the rest of the run. And by the way, we ran our 14th mile in a sub-8 pace. At the time, that was a HUGE deal for me.

So... how did I get that feeling? How do I push through?

To be continued...

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A quick update

Darn it. Once again, it has been more than a month since my last post. Somedays, I really want to be dedicated to this place. Ok, most days I want to be dedicated, but right now, time seems to be pretty slim. I get time to write early in the morning before my long run (if I was to bring my computer home) or late at night after Addie is in bed and J is out (like right now).

J is in St. Louis this weekend for a work function. Yep. A work function on the weekend... I guess that is what happens when you are pretty important, right?

Regardless, it is just over three weeks to Chicago. When this post goes live tomorrow morning, I will be out on my last long run prior to tapering. I have 22 miles on tap, which is my longest training run ever. I repeat. EVER. Obviously, I have run two full marathons, so I have run longer than that on a training run. And once I ran 22 miles in approximately 36 hours (the Bourbon Chase). But at the same time, that obviously is not the same. So I am nervous for sure about this, but I know that I am more than capable, more than prepared.

And I need to reread that sentence above a few more times... I am more than capable. More than prepared.

That has been the absolute biggest struggle for me this training cycle. Something happens that is discouraging (a less than stellar run, when my back pain was so bad it wrapped around my chest and I couldn't breathe, etc.) and then I was completely discouraged and checked out. If you follow me on twitter, you will know that only 2 or 3 weeks ago, I was completely done. Completely over it. I pretty much cried my way through this and told myself that I had no reason for doing this, I didn't know why I punished myself by signing up for another marathon, etc, etc.

But I have managed to get out of that funk. That is something that I really would like to write a post about soon. I think I need something to really flesh out all of my thoughts on that, but suffice to say, Coach Jenn has been a HUGE help at getting me over this hump. And I feel really good going into the weekend.

Hopefully I will be able to write you a weekly update that give all of the information about what a kick-@ss 22 I ran...  But for now...