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.