Thursday, September 29, 2016

75 running miles!

I got up at 5 a.m. today to get on the treadmill. It was pouring rain and storming, and I knew I was going to be busy this evening. It was going to be one of the last chances I had to make my goal of running 75 miles this month.

Four miles later, I had done it!
I have been steadily re-building my mileage this year and because I've been smart about it, I feel like it's been a success so far. I'm still running no more often than every other day, and even my long runs are only 10-13 miles. The vast majority of these have been easy, slow miles.

Eventually, I'd like to run regular 100-mile months, but I'm not in a rush. I'd rather go slowly and steadily than run myself into an injury again.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Week in review Sept. 19-25: Run and sleep

Lots of slow miles.
It wasn’t a great week, health-wise. I have a condition that usually managed with medication, but lately, I still feel lousy. (I have more doctors’ appointments this week to total FOUR in 2.5 weeks. Ugh.) Twice this week I came home from work and was barely able to walk the dogs around the block before collapsing on the couch. One night I was too exhausted to make dinner. It … hasn’t been great.

To add insult to injury, almost literally, I felt good enough to go out for a “speedy” run by myself on Thursday. It was challengingly fast but I appreciated the chance to work hard and feel some speed in my legs and lungs again. I came home feeling alive and like a badass. Then, I checked my average pace: 9:09 minutes per mile. The pace I need for my ultimate goal, a 3:59:59 marathon. And five miles felt hard. SIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGGGHHHHHHH.

I don’t doubt I’ll get that speed back in my legs eventually, but it’s still frustrating to be at this point. Not long ago I was doing actual speedy speed work and 20-mile long runs with fast finishes. I do take some comfort that the only races I have coming up are fun races and I probably won’t do another marathon for at least a year, so I have some time to work toward those goals once again. Still – it's discouraging.

Not only have I been exhausted in the evenings, I also lost an evening to my mom being in town and Saturday to my college homecoming.I have zero regrets about that day because I got to see some of my best college friends and their kids, say hello to a few casual friends I ran into, and reminisce about the good ol’ days. The sports center I spent MANY hours in for tennis practice has been completely revamped with a whole new weight and cardio wing. It’s amazing!

Through all of that, I did manage three runs and a bit of yoga this week:

Run: Three times, all on the road, for 21.1 miles in a sliver under 4 hours. This included that “speedy” 5-miler, and a 3- and 13.1-miler with my husband at his pace. I tried to talk him out of doing 13 since he only did 10 last week, but he’s as stubborn as I am and REALLY wanted to hit that 13.1 milestone. Now we know there is no doubt he can run the entire Freep Half in less than three weeks.

Yoga: One self-guided session of 30 minutes, consisting of my usual routine of bends, twists, pigeons, dogs, etc. This was much needed!

Total: Four sessions in about 4.5 hours.

I am hopeful these doctors’ appointments will have me feeling better soon. I will have to do some run schedule finagling around appointments to hit my goal of 75 miles this month, but two runs oughta do it. Even if they are slow I am getting out there.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

If you want to go far, go together

Power couple.
This past Sunday, my husband and I ran 10 miles together. It was my husband’s first double-digit run. Ever. EVER!

We’re signed up for the Detroit Free Press International Half-Marathon. I’ve done 7 marathons, and one half-marathon at the end of the 70.3 I finished two years ago, but I’ve never actually run an open half.

He’s the one that convinced us both to sign up for the Freep Half. Before he got more serious about running this fall, his longest run was probably around 6-7 miles, so I tried to talk him out of it. But stubbornness runs in the family and he said he wanted to try. Oh, the irony, considering I started and finished in a respectable time the full last year, after IT and SI joint issues sidelined me for a month before the race. If I could try, he could too. It was only fair.

He has really committed to doing this race and we have been doing a lot of our runs together. I’ve forgotten about the “newness” of preparing for your first big race and all the excitement that goes along with it. It’s like being a little kid experiencing Christmas for the first time again! The emergency bathroom breaks – what a story! The gel taste testing – which flavor will reign supreme! The blisters and chafing – I didn’t even notice the pain at the time! The planning your running routes based on drinking fountain availability – gotta stay hydrated! The runner’s high – I am amazing!

I forgot how exciting it is when every one of your long runs is a new personal distance record. And how you feel like a complete badass for running double-digit miles before most people drag their hungover selves out of bed. More than once I have been out for early miles and ran past people coming home for the night.

I forgot how awesome you feel when you COULD use your long run as an excuse for a face full of nachos, but you decide to keep making healthy choices. (Not that my husband has ever talked me out of ordering fries from the local BBQ joint. Ever. Certainly not two days ago.)

I forgot how satisfying an afternoon on the couch can be after you rocked a 16-, or 18-, or 20-miler earlier that day. Or how delicious pizza tastes after a training run. Or how wonderful that nap feels.

However, I did NOT forget that feeling when I stood at the start line of my first marathon 6 years ago, listening to the national anthem, goosebumps on my arms, thinking, “This is what real athletes feel like.” In four weeks, my husband gets to experience that feeling, too.

He had to remind me once a few years ago not to be a snob about running after I made a snide comment about someone excited about finishing a 5K. He was absolutely right. It wasn’t THAT long ago that finishing a 5K was a big deal for me, too. And I want him, and everyone, to experience how awesome running is, whether it’s a mile or an ultra. He only gets to experience these “firsts” once and I want him to enjoy them.

Before I get all emotional, here’s my favorite running quote:

“If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.” -John Bingham

Monday, September 19, 2016

Week in review Sept. 12-18: Football and friends

Football games and barbecues not included.
Sorry I’ve haven’t been on here too much lately. I had a good start to the week last week, and then I got busy with plans with friends and family. How pesky!

Actually, I regret nothing. I took my cousin to a new-to-her brunch spot, went to our first college football game of the season, and ate delicious barbecue cooked by our friends. Blogging and all those boring everyday tasks like cleaning and cooking fell to the wayside, but clean houses are overrated anyway. We also had my parents’ dog all last week, which complicates dog-walking duties since I can handle two mutts at once but not three. He went home last night, to the great happiness of our own mutts, who now only have to share belly rubs and cuddles two ways instead of three.

Training-wise, it was an OK week with three runs, a tiny bit of yoga and a barre class:

Run: Three times, all on the road, for 19 miles in 3:27:34. This included one cool morning run with my husband, pacing him on his first double-digit long run, and one solo fast-ish run playing “beat the sunset.”

Weights: One barre class for about an hour. So much glute work! My booty hurt all the next day.

Yoga: My usual pigeon, bend, twists, etc. routine of about 20 minutes. I could have used 100 more of these!

Total: 5 sessions in about 4.75 hours.

I also did a lot of walking around to and from the football game and tried to do a bit of stretching here and there at work.

This week is going to be another tricky one as I have a work event Thursday evening and I’m going to my college homecoming all day Saturday. I see more early morning runs and quick weight workouts in my future. Hopefully I can keep it going all this week instead of petering out by the weekend. However, if my friend offers to cook us barbecue again, training is going to fall to the wayside along with cleaning and cooking. Yum!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Week in review Sept. 5-11: Run and run around

Not a bad running week.
It was a weird week. I’m looking back at my calendar, thinking, “What the heck did I DO all week???”, but I did manage four runs and some lifting. I had family in town Friday and Sunday and a very fun wedding of two friends Saturday, so I didn’t make it a priority to write a post. Sorry!

I got off to a good start being off work Monday for Labor Day and getting in a long run. I kept to an every-other-day running schedule and ran Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, too. So, my mileage is a little skewed this week with two “long” runs of 10 and 7 miles, Monday and Sunday.

I ran twice in the morning before work, but I didn’t do anything in the evenings. I grocery shopped and food prepped one night, and met with an attorney another night. WHEEEE! I honestly don’t even remember what I did Thursday. I think that was the night Serena lost? I probably watched that. Maybe I was abducted by aliens! Who knows? I don’t remember.

Anyway. By the numbers it turned out to be:

Run: Four times, all on the road, for 23 miles in about 4:18. Most of these were with my husband at about a 2:00/mile pace slower than my usual, but they have been fun and I don’t really care about speed right now anyway. My Monday long run was 3 miles with him followed by 7 miles on my own in the heat of the day. Whew!

Bike: Once, on the trainer, for 15 minutes to warm up for a weights workout.

Weights: One run-through of my usual body/heavy weight routine, in two sessions (I ran out of time to do abs on Saturday before the wedding), for about 1:15.

Total: 7 sessions (counting separate bike/weights on Saturday and run/abs on Sunday, for a total of 5 hours, 48 minutes. It’s an average of almost an hour a day with a day off, so I don’t think it’s THAT terrible. They’re not Ironman training numbers, but they are normal-person-staying-in-shape numbers, so I’ll take it.

I am sad that summer is almost over but am looking forward to not sweating quite so much during my runs, so that’s something to enjoy this coming week.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Week in review Aug. 29-Sept. 4: Some running and some bumming around

Not pictured: Watching tennis and shopping.
Labor Day has passed and summer is unofficially over, sad face. It’s so depressing to look at the calendar and not see another day off until Thanksgiving, more than two months away. Ugh.

I did nothing useful over the long weekend except help my mom shop for a monster barbecue, sleep in, and eat tacos, twice (fresh on Saturday and leftovers on Sunday!). Detroit has a big labor history, especially with the big 3 car companies, and Bill Clinton was in town for a parade! But crowds and people in general annoy me so I kept to myself and went for a run.

Anyway, last week started off decently for training, with runs Monday and Wednesday and lifting weights with a bike warmup on Tuesday. My uncle was in town to pick up my cousin, who is attending college down the street from me (already going home on her first weekend – ha), so we hung out a bit and went out for burgers and fries. I could have worked out afterward, but eh… I don’t even remember what I did that night. I probably watched tennis and went to bed.

The laziness continued into Friday – I just ran some errands and watched more tennis after work – but my husband and I were up bright and early Saturday morning to go for a run before watching college football all day. I enjoy college football, but after a full day I was ready for a break. On Sunday the only training I did was walking around Costco and calculating cheapest prices for 16-count packs of bratwurst. I didn’t do a long run over the weekend, instead saving that for Labor Day, so that will skew numbers both this week and the next week.

By the numbers, it was:

Run: Three times, all on the road, for 13 miles in about 2 hours, 23 minutes. This is not a dig on my husband, but he is a slower runner than I, so 8 of these miles are at his pace. But, I don’t care, because I am not training for anything fast right now anyway.

Bike: Once for 20 minutes to warm up for a weights workout.

Weights: One round of my body/heavy routine (pullups, pushups, deadlifts, squats, abs, etc.) in about 1.25 hours. I hadn’t done this in 3+ weeks and the weights were heavier than I remember.

Total: 5 sessions in just less than 4 hours.

Of course I could have done better, but this worked out to running every other or every third day, with weights on an off day, so I can’t be too mad. Plus, I spent a lot of time with my family, so I shouldn’t complain too much. Maybe I could have watched a bit less tennis or college football but… oh well. On to the next week.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

August in review: Run, lift, run, other

I'm a bit behind the times. It's been a busy few days with family being in town and the college football season starting. Today I dedicated most of the day to hitting up Costco and the grocery store with my mom in preparation for a monster barbecue with family tomorrow. Brats: check. Guacamole: check. Taco salad: check. We are ready!

Anyway, August was a decent month for running. My main success was hitting my goal of 70 miles. I also signed up to run the Detroit Free Press International Half Marathon with my husband, which should keep my training honest for the next few weeks. I had a few twinges in various joints, but, knock wood, ended the month without any overuse injuries.
Running over the last few months. I'm getting that mileage back up, slowly but surely.
It was an OK month for weight training: I lifted a total of four times, twice doing my own body weight/heavy weight routine, once to a video, and once in a barre class. I would have liked to do twice a week, but once a week is still more than what I had been doing.

Everything else got a "meh" for the month. I only swam once, as a recovery swim. I got on my bike twice, but both times were only to warm up for a weights workout. I didn't do any yoga or pre-hab. Meh. Now, to be fair, I was out of town for a good part of the month, so I wasn't expecting big numbers, anyway.

By the numbers, I ran 14 times, 11.5 on the road and 2.5 on the treadmill (I did the majority of one run on the road and finished up on the 'mill when it got dark), for 70 miles, in about 11 hours, 44 minutes. Even though the runs with my husband are a good 1:30-2:00 per minute slower than my solo runs, I enjoy doing them. Plus, I run enough on my own that it doesn't pull my average down TOO much. Ha!

My goals for September are to run 75 miles, keep lifting in a regular rotation, do some yoga, and continue to swim and bike occasionally. I also need to be better at prioritizing sleep and eating healthfully, including drinking more water. Easier said than done, but I'm getting there.