Saturday, December 31, 2016

Another successful month of running build!

Late November and early December was The Month of All the Sicknesses: 24-hour flu, then strep throat, then a cold, then an allergic reaction to maybe the amoxicillin or maybe something else, then a cold sore. So, I was lucky to get in any running at all.

But I rallied later in the month and was pretty consistent with my routine of running two days in a row and lifting on the third day. Today I did an easy 4 OUTSIDE with my husband to smash my goal for December of "run 90-95 miles." Yeah, I did consider doing 8 to make it an even 100, but my left knee felt a little tender today so I took it easy.
This was a great way to end the year!
If you're keeping track, that's 666 for the year. Yes, I did that on purpose! Ha ha! I wanted to end the year on a round number but that was even better.

Anyway, for December, those runs are mostly 5-7 milers on the treadmill, doing a variety of easy runs and speedy-ish runs — nothing too difficult. I did a 9-miler on Christmas Eve, my longest run since the Freep Half in October. I don't have anything on the schedule, so I don't see a reason for me to be doing anything longer right now.

I feel like I have been running steadily enough, and being consistent enough with my strength training, that I can make 100 miles per month a goal for 2017. Yeah, I know I got set back by SI joint and IT band issues in late 2015/early 2016 and didn't make my goal then, but it's a whole new year.

Happy new year!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

My first swim in a LONG time

It's my day off from running and my muscles aren't quite back to normal from my last weights workout, so what was I to do for training today? I decided on a recovery swim, which was my first time in the pool since early August.
Shockingly, I didn't forget anything.
It was interesting. I never thought I would miss swimming but it was nice to be back in the water. I did my usual warmup/drills for 1000 meters and did another 7 x 200 for an even 2400 meters. I practiced flip turns for a couple of minutes, too, since I still can't do them.

I was slow as you-know-what, but hey. When the bar is low, you can only go up from there.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A new favorite speed run

I haven't done a whole lot of speed work since I transitioned to running two days in a row and taking a day off after the Freep Half in October. Once or twice a week, I was doing something I call "sixes and sevens," which is 0.75 miles at 6 mph, and 0.25 miles at 7 mph (on the treadmill, of course). Not too challenging, varied enough to be interesting, not so complicated I couldn't concentrate on whatever Netflix series is my current treadmill show.

Today, I decided to kick it up a notch, and increase each interval by 0.1 mph for 7 miles (I wanted to hit at least an hour). So I went from 6.0/7.0 mph for the 0.75/0.25 intervals, to to 6.1/7/1 mph, ending with 6.6/7.6 mph for a total of 7 times.

I'm not going to lie — I wasn't sure I could pull this off. I don't think I've run 7.6 mph (a 7:54 minute per mile pace) on a treadmill in years. But I decided eh, f--- it, I'll hold on for as long as I can, and the speed intervals are only for a quarter mile anyway. Verdict: Success! It was a great run and I cooled down feeling great and proud of myself for trying something new.
This speed workout plotted out.
I'm a cold weather wuss, and I expect to put in many more miles on the treadmill these next few months. I'll need fun and challenging speed workouts like this one to help keep it exciting.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The lamest virtual run ever

The temperature got into the 50s yesterday, so my husband and I had grand plans to go for a run to do our annual virtual A Christmas Story 5K. Sadly, it also poured rain most of the day, and we never made it outside.

So we got up early-ish today, headed to the gym, and ran our own versions of 5Ks on treadmills next to each other. Lame, I know.

At least we get to wear the shirts now?
Cool swag, at least.
Better luck next Christmas.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Week in review Dec. 19-25: Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas if you celebrate! Otherwise, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, or blessed be.

I lived through the week. I worked Monday and Tuesday, then took Wednesday and Thursday off to spend time with my sister, in town from out of state. We did our family Christmas on Wednesday and ate way too much turkey and homemade coconut milk-maple syrup ice cream. (But it was delicious.) Thursday we lounged around, watched Christmas movies, wandered downtown, finished our respective crocheting and knitting Christmas projects, and ordered in barbecue. Exciting day!

Friday my sis and bro-in-law were out the door shortly after 4 a.m. to catch their plane (shudder), so it was pretty much back to normal. I went to a barre class at a special late-morning time since everyone had the day off, and the rest of the day Friday and all day Saturday were Christmas prep with a couple runs sprinkled in. I did surprisingly well running-wise this past week, considering everything else going on. I even managed some evening Christmas yoga last night after I got home from multiple family celebrations.
Not bad for a holiday week.
It worked out to be:

Run: Four times, all on the treadmill, for 28.25 miles in about 4:27. This was two easy-ish building runs, one speed workout, and a 9-miler. I haven't broken the 30-mile mark any week since I started building again a year ago, but this is the second-closest I've come. I'm not too worried about it. My main focus is staying un-injured.

Weights: One barre class for about an hour.

Yoga: One solo session of about a half hour.

Total: 6 sessions in a hair less than 6 hours. Not bad! Considering two full days were dedicated to family, with big chunks of other days lost to holiday preparation, I feel good about getting in almost an hour almost every day.

This week is the best week of the year because my office is CLOSED. I have grand plans to work out every day, plus do some reading (I have a ginormous stack of magazines to get through) and finish some nagging tasks and minor household projects. I'm probably heading out to see my grandmothers tomorrow, but should be able to get in some miles beforehand. I may or may not get back into the pool or on the bike — we'll see what the week brings.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas, Part 1

I survived the first couple days of "Christmas." I skipped out of work Tuesday knowing I wouldn't be back for another two weeks. I had taken the rest of the week off to hang out with my sister, in town from out of state. Yay!

We did a mini-family Christmas Wednesday with turkey and some of our presents. I got in a decent run beforehand, which was nice. After dinner, my parents' dog and my dogs generously tried to help put the turkey away:
We help with turkey.
My sister and brother-in-law stayed at my place Wednesday night. We hung out Thursday and did a little bit of shopping and watched some Christmas movies — nothing too exciting. Sadly, they were out the door shortly after 4 a.m. this morning to catch their plane, but it was good to see them while they were here.

There was a special barre class today assuming everyone would have the day off so I went. It was a great way to get the day going.
Barre socks!
I had to run errands afterward, but did get in a treadmill run later. I'm assuming I won't get to run on Christmas Day, so I ran today and will tomorrow hopefully, to preemptively burn off some treats.

The next few days will be busy with family celebrating, but I am confident I can run most days and get some weights in, too.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Week in review Dec. 12-18: Christmas prep craziness

Not spectacular but decent.
Like pretty much every other week, I started off last week great, workout-wise. I nailed a run, a weights video, and two more runs after work during the week, and was feeling good. I even got Christmas cards out the door one of those nights.

Friday after work I dedicated to running holiday errands and I was just too tired to do much else by the time I got home. Sleeping in and regular errands took over Saturday morning, and I didn’t get on the treadmill until much later in the day than I had hoped. (I’d had good intentions to run outside but the roads and sidewalks were still a mess.) So, I only got to do part of my body weight routine before heading out to a Christmas party.

I had high hopes to do something, ANYTHING, on Sunday, but I just ran out of time. I finished up Christmas shopping and did a decent amount of cleaning in advance of family coming over for the holidays, so yes, that was important stuff. But after adding in a few hours of food prep, I was already getting to bed way too late. No time to run, no time to lift, no time for anything. Ugh.

On the plus side, after tomorrow I’m off for nearly two weeks. Hurrah! So not only do I get to sleep in and work out whenever I please, but I also get a reprieve from food prepping for a couple of weeks. I really want to spend a decent amount of time catching up on my reading and playing with the dogs during my time off.

I told my husband yesterday that my life would be a lot easier if we just ate out fast food every day for lunch instead of me washing lettuce and grilling chicken every other freaking day. But it’s important to me that we eat healthfully. There’s always going to be something that eats up those hours in the day, and overall I feel good about making the decision to make healthy meals ahead of time rather than go for my fifth run of the week. The time has to come from somewhere.

By the numbers, it was:

Run: Four times, all on the treadmill, for 25 miles in almost exactly four hours. Nothing spectacular here – some easy, some medium effort, some bits of speed sprinkled in.

Weights: Twice, one video and one part of one heavy/body routine, for about 1:10 together. Nothing out of the ordinary here, either, except that I was able to move up a few pounds on a few moves in the video, and add another rep here and there for assisted chin-ups and the like.

Total: Six sessions in about 5:11. I mean, it wasn’t terrible? It still averages out to about 45 minutes a day. Of course I’d like to do more, but this is where I’m at until I can afford that live-in chef, live-in maid, and personal shopper.

I am hoping for a break in the weather this coming week so I can move a few runs outside. Most of Christmas prep is behind me except for waiting on a few deliveries and wrapping, so I am looking forward to a relaxing few weeks – fingers crossed!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The year's last weigh-in

I see the scale as a tool, not the be-all, end-all. Even so, it was nice to see, on what was probably my final weigh-in of the year, a number I haven't seen in a while. In a good way.
Going in the right direction.
I'd been having some health issues that I believe contributed to the extra pounds. To try to get to the bottom of that, I've eliminated a lot of foods that showed up as allergies and switched out some medications. As a result, I'm feeling better than I have in a while and am weighing less than I have in a while. Success!

I'm planning on getting back in the pool and back on the bike soon. I was having hyperventilating attacks in the pool and had to DNF a swim this summer for a panic attack, so I decided to take a break. I am hopeful that those were just additional symptoms of the existing problem. One way to find out — hop in the pool and see.

Now, to see if I can end the year at the same weight, considering all the yummy holiday treats coming my way!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Finally, a string of workouts

Finally, some decent workouts.
In the past two and a half weeks I've had:

- The flu (thankfully, a 24-hour version on a Sunday so I didn't have to miss work)

- Strep throat (sadly, I did have to miss work until I was no longer contagious)

- A cold

- A random allergic reaction to something that make my entire face break out into hives

So, yeah. It's been a difficult few weeks to get any training in. You can imagine I was thrilled today when I knocked out my fifth day in a row of either running or doing a weights video. No, it's not amazing, but it's better than laying in bed with a fever.

I'll probably take the day off training tomorrow to finish Christmas shopping after work. It's been single-digit temps this week and I just can't handle that, so I've been on the treadmill. It's supposed to "warm up" to the 20s on Saturday so I may try to get in a decent run outside then. We'll see. At the rate I'm going, I'll end up with some other illness or another before long.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Week in review Dec. 5-11 -- work, sick, shop

I'll make it quick since I had a pretty lame week: I only ran twice. I had a work event, and then I came down with strep throat mid-week. I haven't had strep since I was like, 12.
I was feeling better by Saturday so I did some much-needed Christmas shopping with my mom. By yesterday the strep was under control but I felt like I was coming down with a cold. I'm still feeling sniffly and runny today.
Double ugh.
I can't win.

So my grand total for the week was 13 miles in two treadmill runs for about 2:06. Eh.

'Tis the season for getting sick, so Lord only knows what bug I'll come down with over the next few weeks.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Week in review November 28 - December 4

I'm sick in bed, again, this time with strep throat. I'm tired and grouchy and swallowing hurts so I'll put last week on the record and be done with it.
Not great, not bad.
Run: Four times, all on the treadmill, for 17.6 minutes in about 2 hours, 52 minutes. This included a couple of easy runs, some pickups, and a short and speedy run.

Weights: One barre class and one body/heavy weight session for about 2:20 total.

Overall: Six sessions in a bit longer than 5 hours.

It wasn't a terrible week: I haven't been feeling great, and ended up relaxing Friday instead of working out to try to fight off whatever bug was going around then. Short term, it worked, and I got a nice day of training in Saturday. Sunday was full of errands, Christmas prep, etc. and I never did get in a workout. Grrrr. My biggest limiter is and will probably always be hours in the day.

I can't even go back to work until tomorrow afternoon when I've been on antibiotics for 24 hours, so I don't expect to be doing much training this week. Frustrating, but 'tis the season for picking up every bug that comes along.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Looking back at November: Decent running, decent weights

Ugh — I was a bit cocky thinking the first cold of winter hit me hard and then left just as fast, but I took a turn for the worse last night and took a nap after work. I am feeling fine today but I was a bit worried that I would be under the weather again.

Looking back at November, it was a good month! I got in a bunch of running, a decent amount of weight lifting, and even some yoga. I'm still not back to the pool or the bike, and I didn't do any pre-hab this month, but I feel overall I had some good numbers.

Minutes for the month. Not bad.

I ran 17 times in November, mostly on the treadmill as the weather got colder. I also ran twice on the trail, including one race, which was a ton of fun. I increased my overall mileage by another 5 to a total of 85, which makes me happy.

Side note: I ran 5 more miles in November in LESS time than my overall October running. After my husband and I finished the Freep Half Marathon together last month, I'm doing most of my running solo and at my own pace, which is bringing the pace up a bit.


I lifted a total of 7 times, which breaks down to 3 barre classes, 2 videos, 1 heavy/body weight solo session, and one round of plyo moves. This is actually really good for me, which is sad, but at least I'm making improvements. Once or twice a week is nothing to sneeze at, and I'm improving and lifting heavier. Success!


Just four times, all solo sessions in the living room, for 1.5 hours total. This is the same as my total last month. An average of once a week isn't terrible, but I'd like to double that.


Something like 23 hours of training, which is an average of about 45 minutes a day, which is better  than the average lazy person, so I can't be too mad at myself. Plus, November included a few days off for a mini-vacation.

I don't have any big goals for December except to keep doing what I'm doing, increase the running mileage a bit more, and maybe get back to the pool and on the bike. I'll have all the usual holiday parties and visiting family members to negotiate, but I still think I can make it a great month for training, too.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

85 running miles for November!

My running build was a success for another month! I added another 5 miles from last month's total to make an even 85 for the month. And I even had a day to spare.
It's been slow but steady and most of all, I am happy to be running decent mileage again without injury (knock wood). I ain't a spring chicken anymore and my high-mileage months are probably long behind me. All the more reason to enjoy these miles now, right?

I want to increase my mileage another 5 for next month to make 90 for December, while keeping lifting weights into the rotation. Yes, it will be busy with the holidays, but I also have a decent amount of time off, so I have hope I can do it.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Week in review Nov. 21-27: Through Turkey Day and getting sick

Yay, running!
This past week was definitely… interesting. I got in a decent amount of running, including a race, and some yoga and lifting. Somehow, I did all this around cleaning the house for Turkey Day, doing a massive amount of cooking and baking for Black Friday, and even getting sick yesterday. I’m kind of surprised I managed to make it to Monday unscathed.

I did not keep up with my run-run-lift routine – I had to shuffle too many things around this week to accommodate rest, recovery, and spending time with family. But I plan to hop right back into it next week. I am enjoying the routine and the challenge and starting to see results from getting lifting back into the regular rotation.

Anyway, it was:

Run: Four times, three times on the treadmill and one race (race report here!), for a total of 23.6 miles in about 4.25 hours. I had to shuffle one treadmill run to butt-early in the morning because I had a family commitment in the evening, and mixed up the other two with intervals and a slow build so they wouldn’t be too boring. My current treadmill Netflix series is Narcos, which definitely helps keep it exciting.

No, treadmill running is not ideal, and I would much prefer to run outside. But I don’t enjoy being cold, and running solo as a woman I have to be careful about running in the dark. I plan on taking advantage of the odd warm day but it’s probably going to be mostly treadmill running for a while yet.

Weights: One Jillian Michaels video for about 55 minutes. I don’t know why I thought it was a good idea to increase the weight on a few moves but I was feeling it the next day for sure.

Yoga: Twice for a half-hour each time on my own in the living room. I took some time to myself after everyone went home on Thanksgiving Day, and after I started to feel better on my sick day.

Seven sessions, something each day, for 6 hours, 12 minutes. Not bad for a holiday week!

I am already feeling much better today and ready to take the last few steps (ba dum tiss) toward my goal of running 85 miles this month. If I can manage that plus a few weight-lifting sessions, I will be well on my way to wrapping up November feeling good about it, and getting December off to a good start.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Black Toenail Friday 7.5-miler race report

I hate shopping and I especially hate Black Friday shopping, so when I saw there was a new Black Friday trail race I jumped at the chance. Plus, it didn't start until 11 a.m., so I could sleep in. Plus plus, it had hilarious sweatshirts and medals that any real runner could appreciate:
Don't pretend you wouldn't do a race just for this awesome swag.
We found out a few days ago that the race had actually sold out, even in its first year, so I was glad I had signed up early. This was the first full trail race for both my husband and I, not counting the races we've done in the past that have had a small stretch of running on trail. I had reached out to the directors beforehand to ensure it wouldn't be too technical, and they assured us if we had done some basic trail running recently, we would be fine. We had done one technical 5.5-miler a few weeks ago and lived to tell the tale, so we felt prepared enough.

Although my family went out to dinner for Thanksgiving, we used our place as home base. So, I still had to clean, and later I made some special desserts for me after everyone went home. As a result I got to bed way too late the night before, as usual. The alarm went off at 7:15 a.m. Friday, inconceivably late for a race day, but that was still plenty of time to make a carb-heavy breakfast, take the mutts outside, and head out. We found the park without any problems and had plenty of time to pick up our numbers and use the restroom before the race meeting at 10:50 a.m.

It was a small race, a couple hundred people max doing both the 7.5-miler and the half marathon, so they counted us down and sent us off with a siren. We hung back and started at the rear of the pack and settled into a slow pace to accommodate the mud, rocks, slick leaves, and slippery bridges. It was a chilly day but not too cold, and although it was cloudy the rain was holding off. It was a great day for running!

The park was gorgeous and the trails were never unrunnable. There was only one hill so large we had to hike up, and the mud was never so bad we couldn't just hop around it. I tripped over a few roots but I was able to remain upright throughout. Since we weren't in this for the time (and since it was the first of the distance for us and a guaranteed PR, haha), I stopped to take a few pictures:
I'm a sucker for a pretty water crossing.
Crooked and slick, yet pretty bridge. 
Cool air and still water.
It was awfully brown and gray, but still pretty (I think).
Another bridge through the marsh.
The half-marathoners did two laps of the course, and toward the end of our race we started getting lapped by the fast runners. We called out a couple of "Woo!"s and encouragement to the leaders. We were definitely feeling the trails by mile 6 or so, but we never felt like we couldn't finish. Up one hill and the finish line was right there already! We crossed the finish line with big smiles on our faces and headed over for bananas and hot tea and cocoa. That was a nice touch.

There were some slight adjustments made to the course to avoid super slippery spots, so it ended up being closer to 7.6 miles. I forgot to turn off my Garmin at the end of the race so I had to guesstimate time and pace based on the info I had. It ended up begin about a 13:30 minute per mile pace, which is almost exactly the same pace as our more technical but shorter run a few weeks ago, and landed us both dead last in our age groups. But considering that we were there to have fun, and that we stopped to take pictures, and that we aren't trail runners, we didn't even care.

TL, DR: This is a great race! Pretty course, not too challenging for a trail race, fun swag, and WAY more fun than waiting in line at zero dark thirty for a a few bucks off a crappy TV. If it comes back next year I'm signing up for sure.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Week in review Nov. 14-20: Some running, some traveling and some celebrating

Some running and a bit of lifting too.
It wasn’t a great week, but it wasn’t terrible. I lost Monday to traveling home from our mini-vacation, and I took Friday off to celebrate my husband’s birthday. (We had plans to visit a few upscale bars, but there was an event downtown and people everywhere, so we just hung out a friend’s apartment.) Despite all that, I still managed a decent five workouts.

Sadly, the weather also took a turn for the snowy later in the week and I just couldn’t muster up the energy to deal with it, so I moved to the treadmill for most of my runs. Ugh, it’s going to be a long winter.

Run: Four times, once on the road with my husband and three times on the treadmill, for a total of 18 miles in a hair less than 3 hours. I did this treadmill workout twice: 0.75 miles easy, then 0.25 miles at a challenging pace, times 5. It was just exciting enough to keep things interesting, but not so complicated that I couldn’t also watch Narcos on Netflix. It’s not quite a speed run, more “easy with pickups.”

Weights: One barre class for about an hour. There were about 6 of us there that night, which meant the instructor kept coming over to adjust me. Which means that things burned and shook more than usual. By the fourth or fifth time I was like, “GO AWAY!” I kid, I kid.

Total: Five sessions in just less than 4 hours. Not great, but I still got something done most days of the week so, success?

This is going to be another interesting week with Thanksgiving. I’ve already moved one run to butt-early this morning to free up the evening for shuttling my cousin home for the holidays (alarms that begin with a 4 are always painful), and I don’t expect to get any real training on Thursday. If nothing else, we have a race Friday and no plans for Saturday or Sunday, so I am looking forward to logging a few miles and doing some yoga in between leftovers-eating sessions.

May your work week be short and your turkey eating be glorious!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Some good news, weight-wise

Heading downward. Yay!
I don't live by the scale but still, it is nice to see that number go down occasionally.

At my weigh-in a few days ago, it was a number I haven't seen in a while, in a good way. I still have a ways to go but it is nice to be moving in the right direction. I have been making overall changes to improve my health and this is reassuring to see.

To keep it going down during the holidays will be a challenge, but hopefully I can use this as momentum to be successful.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Week in review Nov. 7-13: I’m not dead, I just went out of town

Hey, guys. I didn’t post last week because my husband and I headed out of town for a few days. The first part of the week was dedicated to cleaning, laundry, errands, and all the other tasks that need to be done before you skip town. I also made sure to get two runs and a weight-lifting video done before we left.

I packed running clothes to make sure I got some exercise on our trip. I only went for one easy run, but at least I didn’t bring my running clothes for nothing. I did a decent amount of walking around town, but no real training otherwise. Oh well – it was a nice few days of eating sushi, hanging out with friends, and watching football.

I’ll keep it quick since there wasn’t much going on:

Run: Three times, twice easy on the treadmill and once on the road with my husband while out of town, for 11 miles in just less than 2 hours. Some boring miles in my legs and an easy jaunt to take in the sights, nothing special.

Weights: One video (Bob Harper’s Pure Burn Super Strength) for about 1 hour, 5 minutes. If you use enough weight this one can get very challenging. I was definitely feeling it the next day.

Total: Four sessions in 3 hours.

I’m not going to beat myself up for taking some time off, and I’m glad I got in a run while on the road. But, especially with the holidays coming up, I’m looking forward to getting more serious running mileage in and lifting weights regularly again. I’m signed up for a race the day after Thanksgiving and I don’t want to embarrass myself. Plus, with all the turkey I plan on eating, it won’t hurt to go into the holiday with a calorie deficit! (I kid, I kid.)

Monday, November 7, 2016

Week in review Oct. 31-Nov. 6: Keeping up the run, run, lift routine

Lots of running!
Last week was great. For the most part, I kept up with my routine of run, run, and lift on a three-day rotation. I ran a total of five times and lifted weights twice! This is amazing for me!

The week started with Halloween but I needed to get in 1.15 miles to make 80 for the month. So I did what any crazy runner would do and ran the 1.05 miles to my friends' house to pass out candy. After another friend dropped us off I ran 0.1 miles up and down the block, of course. And then I felt less guilty about eating the kids' Jolly Rancher suckers.

I took Friday off training because we celebrated my dad's birthday after work. I was supposed to run that day, but I ran and lifted the next day, Saturday, while my husband was at the football game. It actually worked out perfectly; I even got to sleep in beforehand. I did my first trail run in years the next day, Sunday, and while I was a bit sore starting out, it was nothing a few miles couldn't shake out of me.

Anyway, by the numbers it was:

Run: Five times (twice on the road, twice on the treadmill and once on the trail), for 23.9 miles in about 4 hours, 20 minutes. It's a bit slow for an average pace for me, but I attribute that mostly to the slower trail run.

Weights: THREE times if you count one round of my plyo moves alongside one barre class and one round of heavy/body weights while watching football (on TV) and finishing The Get Down. It took me about 2 hours, 40 minutes in training time, not counting goofing around, TV-watching time between sets.

Yoga: Twice, both self-guided quickie sessions, for 30 minutes total. Not great, but at least it's something.

Total: 10 sessions for about 7.5 hours. Not bad! It's more than a session a day, and more than an hour day, so I'm doing better than average. Ha!

This coming week is going to be slow since I need to rest today from all the running and lifting, and I'm going out of town later in the week. But at least I got a decent week under my belt beforehand.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

My first trail run in a loooooooooooong time!

I haven't run trails in a loooooooooooooooooong time. Four summers ago, one of the five triathlons I did had the run on a trail, so I did a few runs beforehand on one of the local hiking trails. The only "trail running" I've done since then was when a race happens to have a bit of trail as part of its route.

But there's a trail race I want to do later this month. So, today, I dragged my husband out to a popular hiking/mountain biking trail to do a 5.5 loop just to see if we could do it.

Verdict: Success! We tripped over roots a few times, and the hills were a lot higher and steeper than I remember, but we made it back to the trailhead unscathed. It was fun and hard, and the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I am already feeling it in those unused muscles in my feet and legs.

I stopped a few times to take some pictures, because it was a gorgeous fall day:
Most of the leaves are off the trees already.
Gorgeous yellow leaves.
Pretty river crossing. 
It was only 3:30 or so when I took this, and the sun was already starting to get low. =(
Another pretty river crossing. 
Up and down and up and down. Probably one of the hilliest trails in Southeast Michigan.
We both had a blast. I wish these trails were closer because they are a whole new challenge and we would get out there more often. It was a great day!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

October in review: A decent amount of running

80 miles of running, boom.
October was all about the final push to get ready for the Freep Half Marathon, recovering from that, and then starting a run-run-lift three-day rotation. Not surprisingly, October was mostly running with a few “other” workouts sprinkled in.

Run: Most of the month’s training was spent running, with 16 runs to hit 80 miles in a sliver longer than 15 hours. This averages to 5 miles per run, which isn’t bad. A lot of this was slow running with my husband for our final training miles and the half; not surprisingly, our two slowest runs were our longest. I did get a few faster, solo runs in there, too, and we did one fun race the weekend before the half. After the race and some recovery, I hopped on the treadmill for a few easy runs afterward on cold, dark and/or rainy days and took my dog out a couple of times. Nothing out of the ordinary here.

Weights: I lifted twice early in the month, took time off around the race, and lifted twice more at the end of the month, for a total of four weights sessions with an extra plyo session in there in about 5 hours. This is great! Sadly, this is the most I’ve lifted in about a year, but at least I’m getting there. This works out to two rounds of body/heavy lifting, one video, and one barre class, in addition to that plyo session.

Yoga: Four times, all self-guided sessions, for a total of 1 hour, 10 minutes. A once per week average isn’t terrible, but I should be doing more and/or longer sessions.

Bike: Twice, both on the trainer, to warm up for 20 minutes each before a body/heavy lifting session. Nothing special there.

Overall: 27 workouts in almost 22 hours. That’s almost a workout every day and almost 45 minutes every day on average. Not Ironman-training numbers, to be sure, but I’m doing better than the average fat American, so I’ve got that going for me.

I'll be out of town for part of November, and will very likely be stuffed with turkey for another part, but I'm still hopeful I can make it an even better month.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Week in review Oct. 24-30: A much better week

Run run lift, run run lift.
Yesterday was nuts – figuratively and literally with all the Halloween candy – and I’m behind in pretty much every aspect of my life. I didn’t have time to write Sunday because I spent a few hours in the kitchen again prepping food, and yesterday we went to our friends’ immediately after work to pass out candy for Halloween. I know – excuses, excuses.

Overall, last week was great! I kept up with my three-day rotation of run, run, lift. I got a tiny bit of cross-training in too, but nothing to write home about. Mostly, I'm excited about the consistency and finally getting in a few decent training hours.

By the numbers, it was:

Run: 5 times, three on the road and two on the treadmill, for 26 miles in about 4.5 hours. This was a good mix of a speedy-ish solo run, a couple runs with my dog, a couple runs with my husband, and some zoning-out runs on the treadmill watching Netflix.

Weights: 2 times, one video and one round of my heavy/bodyweight routine, for about 2 hours, 15 minutes. Twice in one week! YES! I can't remember the last time I did this.

Bike: 1 time on the trainer for 20 minutes to warm up for my heavy/bodyweight lifting.

Yoga: 1 session for about 15 minutes. This is not enough! I just ran out of time by the end of the week.

Total: 9 sessions in about 7 hours, 20 minutes. I mean, I can't be too mad since this averages out to more than an hour a day. It's definitely progress.

I am feeling good, knock wood, and am hoping to take this momentum with me for another week.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Two rounds of run/run/lift and lots of cooking

Run, eat, run, eat.
I'm on day 6 of my run/run/lift plan and it has been successful so far! I've run two days in a row  twice, and haven't noticed any ill effects, and lifted twice. I didn't get to my weights until late-ish today, but at least I did.

I also cooked dinner every weekday this week. So, of course, I didn't cook a thing today: We went out to brunch, then to a friend's house for game day munchies, then ordered in nachos for dinner. Oh well.

Back in the kitchen tomorrow. And back in my running shoes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Unofficially picking up my run training

Tentative training schedule.
For the most part, I haven’t run more frequently than every other day since more than a year ago. After I had some SI joint and IT band issues at the end of last summer, anything more than a few miles, separated by a few days, was painful. So I was rebuilding very, very slowly.

Now that the Freep Half is behind me, and training my husband for his first big race isn’t my main concern, I’m going to try out a 3-day rotation of run, run, lift. I’ll keep the running mostly easy, adding another mile or two to my weekend runs until they’re back in the range of 10-12 miles, and throw some speed back in occasionally. (Well, "speed" right now means "less slow" running, but you know what I mean.) Basic stuff.

For fun, I went back through my training logs to the last time I was consistently running more often than every other day. Twice in the last 13 months, I took out my crazy lab to (try to) tire her out a day after I had done a few miles myself. One other time, I went out with my husband the day after I ran by myself, probably trying to be a good motivational coach. I have to go backward to September 2015 to see more than every-other-day running. In fact, in September I was still running 6 days per week, 6 days in a row, which is what got me injured in the first place.

I’m not a spring chicken anymore, and those days are probably behind me. Let's try the two on, one off routine and see how it goes.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Week in review Oct. 17-23: An easy week back to reality

Not much but at least it's something.
I had a few random twinges following the Freep Half, which is a bit odd for me since I usually run faster and/or longer, so I didn’t try running again until Thursday. Add to that a busy week that included a haircut one night, a work event another night, dinner with friends another night, my husband’s homecoming all day Saturday, and a full day in at the grocery store and in the kitchen on Sunday, and, well, training wasn’t high on the priority list.

I feel like that’s OK, though, for now. I’ve been doing low volume for the past few months as I got my husband trained for the half and got some health issues sorted out. With the race behind us, and now that I’m starting to feel better, I’m looking forward to doing more running, more often over the next few months. Of course, just in time for it to get colder and darker out. Sigh.

Last week included:

Run: Twice, both on the treadmill, for 8 miles (4 miles each) in 1:20. Nothing special here – I ran Thursday night to get my legs moving and blood pumping again, and Saturday morning before our full day of homecoming-ing. It was raining Thursday and cold and dark Saturday morning, and I didn’t feel like dealing with any of that outside.

Yoga: Once for 15 minutes. I really wanted to do another round last night, but I spent so dang long in the kitchen prepping for the week that I just didn’t have time.

Total: Three sessions in 1:35. My lightest week in probably a very long time.

Eh, so it wasn't a rock star week. I got a lot of rest and took care of some errands. You win some, you lose some. On to the next.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Race report: Detroit Free Press Half Marathon

Ugh, it’s already been A Week. I was a little more sore than expected after the Freep Half Sunday; I have a shin splint in my right leg that is only now starting to feel better. I had a work event last night before the debate, and the rest of the week was quickly filled with food prep, getting a much-needed haircut, and (let’s be honest) lazing around and eating junk food. This report kind of fell by the wayside.

But ANYWAY. On Sunday, my husband and I completed the Detroit Free Press Half Marathon and had a blast! It was his first half marathon and first big race. It was my first open half marathon, too, although I’ve done 7 fulls and a 70.3. It was fun, and it was a learning experience, but most of all I’m happy that we did this together.

Leading up to the race, we did a few easy runs of 3.5, 3 and 3 miles. It was nothing too strenuous – just enough to keep the legs warm and mobile. We opted not to go to the expo Friday night, instead meeting up with some friends of my husband in town for his high school homecoming. We got home WAY too late and slept in Saturday, eventually enjoying a nice big bacon-filled breakfast. We headed to the expo in the afternoon and picked up our packets without incident, even buying a nice finisher's jacket for him. We met up with a different set of friends later who were hosting a huge kielbasa-smoking party (yes, I’m serious). I made sure to eat a large helping of potatoes as well as the delicious sausage.

We relaxed for the rest of the evening and organized our running stuff. We got to bed early and I was up at 4:30 a.m. Sunday to eat something, get changed, use the bathroom, take the dogs out, and check for the 15th time that we had everything. I was taking the role of logistical manager and sherpa; my pockets were filled with Gu, my phone, Kleenex, our IDs, a bit of cash, our keys, etc. All my husband had to do was run.

We found street parking easily and headed to the start line with about an hour to spare. Yes, we probably could have left later, but like I said, this was my husband's first big race, and I wanted him to experience everything. We walked around, we ate our bananas, we danced in place to the music — you get the idea. It was also fairly warm; he was comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt, and I had capris and a t-shirt underneath a throwaway long sleeve. It was much more enjoyable than getting snowed on waiting for the start last year.

About 20 minutes after the first gun we were off! The first stretch is a straight shot to the Ambassador Bridge, where we would cross into Canada. The very first aid station had already run out of cups and were offering to let runners drink for the gallon jugs, or have water poured into their mouths. Uh, no thanks! I was alarmed we would be fluid-less for the race, as I sure wasn't drinking out of a jug God knows how many people's lips had touched before mine. Luckily every other aid station had cups. 

I took my phone out of my magnetic pocket to catch the sunrise from the bridge (about mile 3), and just ran with it, switching hands, for the rest of the race. I wanted to get some pics to remember the big day, and I honestly barely noticed it. The crowd support for the 4-ish miles in Windsor is always great and we saw a freaking DOG running the race with a bib and everything! Of course I got some pics. (Note: I always stepped off to the side when taking pics and NEVER stopped running in front of people. Etiquette, people.)
Gorgeous sunrise from the bridge ramp.
Now here's something you don't see every day. (Actually only once per year.)
I thought this was a cool pic running back toward the water. 
A dog running the race. REPEAT: A DOG RUNNING THE RACE 
Windsor isn't a bad little town.
The tunnel to get back to the U.S. was hot and stuffy, like always, and it never really cooled back down. We could see clouds coming in from the west and it felt like the humidity was rising. I only half-joked to my husband that we better hurry to miss the storm. The next few miles (8-11) were all about putting our heads down and getting it done. It was starting to warm up, and he was starting to slow a bit, but we kept shuffling forward. I'd try to encourage him by reminding him that all we had left was a lap around the neighborhood, our usual morning run, etc. to hopefully help him feel like the remaining distance wasn't insurmountable. He didn't yell at me to shut up, so I kept at it.
In the tunnel under the Detroit River, almost back home.
Back in the fresh air!
We made the turn to head back to downtown. He was really starting to struggle and his knee was starting to hurt, but I did the math and realized that if we held a 13:00-ish pace, we could come in under our goal of 2:45. I tried to be encouraging but not too hard. Still no yelling to shut up. The crowd got bigger and bigger and the cheering got louder and louder. The full marathoners turned off and for the first time I've done this race, I didn't follow them. We turned right for the final shot to the finish. We had about 90 seconds to make our goal. More encouraging words. We picked it up a bit to the finish and ... success! We made it with about 35 seconds to spare.

I was so proud. He worked hard, pushed through discomfort, and never gave up. He did it.

We got water and snacks and shuffled back to the car, and headed home for showers and food. After eating pancakes and relaxing for a few hours, I actually got some stuff done in the kitchen, including making sauce with tomatoes from our garden and some cleaning. Afterward, we headed to our friends' house, where they treated us with smoked pork shoulder and macaroni and cheese. It was a wonderful way to end a wonderful day.

We have been reveling in our accomplishment all week. We are officially half marathoners!

And pancake eaters.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Week in review October 10-16: Run often, run long

Since 100% running is a pretty boring chart.
It was a great week for running. Not only did my husband I manage four runs, Sunday was the big day: The Detroit Free Press Half-Marathon (race report coming soon). We finished upright, smiling, and under our goal time!

Through Saturday, however, we didn’t do much else. I didn’t do a single other workout other than those runs. Part of it was because I didn’t want to overdo it and risk a bad race, and the other part was that I had a lot going on: a work conference one evening, a gathering with friends another night, etc. Eh, the important stuff was that we kept the legs warm and fresh for our race.

For posterity, it was:

Run: Four times, all on the road, for 22.6 miles in a bit longer than 4.5 hours. This included three easy runs during the week and the half-marathon on Sunday.

I’m dealing with some random niggles still, so this week will probably be a light week as well. No worries – it’s more than a month until my next tentatively planned race. Tis the season for taking it easy and resting up until I’m ready to dive back in again.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Detroit Free Press half marathon done!

13.1, baby.
We did it!

My husband and I finished the Detroit Free Press half marathon, his first big race. He didn't have to walk and we came in under our goal time of 2:45.

I'll do a full report later, but for now I'm staying off my feet, eating all the things, and laughing at him as he hobbles around the house.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Race review: Run Scream Run 10K

A+ swag.
My husband and I decided to do the Run Scream Run 10K at the last minute. I wanted to run 7-ish miles as our last “long run” before the Freep Half this weekend, and then I got an email reminding me this race was happening. Honestly, what really sold me was the scary-face pumpkin medals. I mean, come on. And they glow in the dark!

We were to bed early Friday and up butt-early to take the dogs out, have a mini-breakfast, and hit the road by 6:45. This was the first time either of us had done the race, and I wanted to leave extra time for parking and picking up our packet. As it turns out, we probably could have slept in a bit. Packet pickup took all of 60 seconds and we headed back to the car to stay warm – it was about 48 degrees, which is actually perfect running weather.

When I looked up our bib numbers the day before I discovered that my sister-in-law was running the race, too. She decided to run with us, having signed up for the day for fun rather than a PR. We chatted, people-watched and admired all the people running in costume (the extent of our costumes was some skeleton gloves I found). I admit I was a bit nervous that we would be dead last in this race, considering the light crowd when we first arrived, but it turned out that everyone else was also keeping warm in their cars.

A few minutes before the start I realized I had left my Garmin in the car. Eeek! I ran back, against the steady flow of people walking to the start line, and grabbed it. THEN my husband decided he wanted to ditch his athletic pants. I told him I wasn’t going to wait for him, but he made it back in plenty of time. The three of us lined up at about the 12:00 minute/mile pace marker and within a few minutes, we were off!

The first mile was pretty slow as we weaved around 5Kers in costume and running four across. I was a bit annoyed, but reminded myself that this was a fun shakeout run, not really a race. We also went through part of a haunted hayride, and after a giant, fake snake jumped out at us, I overheard one little kid ask her dad if they could get one for their house. As we were running by the car my husband decided to ditch his sweatshirt – and ran off the course to throw it on the car! I was annoyed (again) that he didn’t think to do that when he ran his pants back. My sister-in-law and I were feeling generous so we decided to wait for him at the first water stop after the 5Kers and 10Kers split up. He actually wasn’t that far behind us – we lost a minute at most. Plus, he got a better idea of what running clothes are appropriate for what temperature, which will help us next weekend.

After the haunted parts, it was a pretty course going through a park, on some paved trails and some dirt trails. There were a few “hills” (southeast Michigan hills) but nothing that we couldn’t handle. There was a slippery spot or two and one or two scary downhills, but we just took it easy. We chatted and cheered for my husband, who was keeping a good pace. Not many 10Kers were in costume but we cheered for the occasional Ninja Turtle or vampire we passed.

Everyone was ready to be done at about mile 4.5-5 but we just put our heads down and kept running. After a while we could hear the finish line. We looped back through another part of the haunted hayride with more scary snakes and clowns, and kicked it in for a finish line sprint. We were done, hooray!

We took some fun pictures, enjoyed cider and donuts, and headed home. When times were posted later, we learned my husband took 6 FULL MINUTES off his 10K time, which is amazing! A batch of pancakes and a nap later, and we were as good as new.

Overall, this was a really fun race and I’d definitely do it again as a shakeout for a big fall race. It was great for people watching, the course was a nice mix of trail and paved without being too challenging, and the cider and donuts were a nice touch. It definitely put me in the Halloween spirit and ready for the next race.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Week in review Oct. 3-9: A last-minute 10K but not much else

Eh, not great.
It was another classic week of doing OK training-wise for the first part, then fizzling out by the end. I spent a decent amount of time doing food prep Tuesday night, and had to work late Friday (although for a very fun event!). We went to bed early because we had a RACE SATURDAY MORNING which was super fun (full report coming soon) and all day Sunday was errands, coffee, grocery shopping, gardening, food prep and swearing at watching the debate, with (sadly) no time for training.

Since I am really only doing short, slow runs with my husband right now as we taper for the Freep Half, my running mileage has been pretty low. After our race I plan to pick up the running a bit; I’m still not sure when I’ll get biking and swimming back into the equation. Honestly, I don’t see any reason to rush, as I’m not planning on any big multisport races any time soon.

Anyway, last week’s “training” consisted of:

Run: Three times, all outside and all with my husband, for 12.2 miles in about 2:20. This included two easy evening runs and a 10K race Saturday which also served as a shakeout for his big race next weekend.

Weights: One barre class for about an hour. I didn’t leave this one feeling quite so shaky and exhausted, but we did a lot more arm work than other classes. Gotta shake (heh) it up.

Yoga: One 20-minute session on my own. I really wanted to squeeze in another Sunday night but we were at the garden late, which means I started with my food prep late, which means this got postponed. Boo. Well, at least I did something.

Total: Five sessions in about 3:40. Not great, but I did change it up a bit.

This coming week will probably be another easy one, as it’s technically taper. After that, I plan on putting together a training schedule for the upcoming races I want to do in November and February. I like the easier approach I’m taking to running lately, but I do miss the satisfaction that comes with putting in speed sessions and longer runs. The challenge will be continuing as the weather gets colder and the days get shorter. So, let’s see how it goes.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

A last-minute 10K

My husband and I were planning on running 7-ish miles this weekend as a last long run before the Freep Half Marathon next weekend. Then, I got an email about a Halloween-themed 5K and 10K taking place not far from our home. I’m not one to use races as training runs, but this looked really fun AND the medals are glow-in-the-dark scary pumpkin faces!!!

Amazing medals!
After a bit of discussion, we agreed that the fun race atmosphere would help motivate us to get out of bed and get our long run out of the way for the weekend before college football starts. Plus, it’s supposed to be perfect running that morning. Plus plus, there will probably be donuts and cider.

I couldn’t talk him into wearing a costume, but it still should be a good time.