Monday, January 30, 2017

Week in review Jan. 23-29: Lots of running, again

Another 30+ mile running week, and it shows.
Since I now have the Gasparilla Ultra Challenge on my race calendar, I’ve had to shift around training goals. Running and running long back-to-back are priorities one and two right now.

As a result, I’ve been running more than I have in a LONG time. For the past two weekends I’ve managed a medium-distance run on Saturday and a long run on Sunday. Shorter runs, yoga and weights fit in where they can, and swim and bike are not in the rotation.

I figured out that running yesterday for 13.75 miles was the first time I’ve run more than 13.1 miles since my last marathon in October of 2015!!! Three of the four weeks in January have been 30+ running miles, which I haven’t done consistently in at least a year and a half, since I was building for that marathon.

I’m not going to lie: I am a little scared that something is going to pop up. My tailbone got a little cranky at the end of my run yesterday, and my knee was feeling tight afterward. Both made me nervous. But I can’t NOT train back-to-back long runs for a race that IS back-to-back long runs! (I am reassured that I feel almost normal today.)

So, my plan of attack for the next month is to cut mid-week runs down to two, so I don’t overdo it; keep up with the stretching/yoga at least twice per week; and do ONE weights session per week, mostly to make sure my glutes behave. I want to make sure I’m getting enough rest, and it seems kind of silly to add anything else to my plate right now.

TL, DR: Last week was a lot of running.

Run: Four times, three on the treadmill, for 33.25 miles in about 5:25. This bulk of this comes from a medium run (8 miles) Saturday and a long run (13.75 miles) Sunday.

Yoga: Twice, one private class and one self-guided, much-needed session after my long run, for 1:30-ish total.

Weights: One video for about 1:05.

Total: Seven sessions in almost exactly 8 hours.

For better or worse, this will all be behind me in a month. It’s going to be a lot of work, but I am SO excited for this race-cation, to hang out with my sister, and to attempt a new challenge. It will be an adventure for sure.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

My first 100-mile running month in a year and a half!

On today's medium distance run I passed the 100-mile mark for the month. I haven't done that since August of 2015, when my IT band and SI joint decided to go rogue.

I was diligent with rehab and now I am in a regular rotation of weight training again. I rebuilt slowly and smartly. I don't run six days in a row anymore. I never, never want to be back in a place where it is painful to run.

Every day I can run is a good day. I won't forget that.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Getting my om on

Yesterday I did something I’ve never done before: I had a private yoga class. And it was amazing.

I’m no stranger to yoga; I’ve been practicing since high school. I’ve tried many different iterations: studio classes, college classes, downloads, etc. Most recently I haven’t done anything more than take a few minutes here and there to try to open up my hips and get some movement in my back.

But, it’s been a LONG time since I attended an actual yoga class. It’s a shame, since there are several good ones in my neighborhood. I already belong to the entire Y chain and go to the occasional barre class, for goodness sake, so I just can’t justify yet another fitness-related cost to attend a yoga studio.

So when a gift certificate for a private class got re-gifted to me for Christmas — I ain't even mad — I was excited. And it was a great experience! After chatting with the instructor and getting a feel for what we wanted to accomplish today, we did some centering, sun salutations, hip openers, and balancing poses, which I remembered in a hurry that I'm really bad at. The hour flew by and I left feeling like a new woman.

I don't have the budget to be doing these too often, but if Santa brings me another private class next year, I won't complain.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Week in review Jan. 16-22: A complete change of plans

I had been doing well with my three-day rotation of run, run, lift in recent weeks. I didn't do anything else these last two weeks, but that was OK since those were my priorities.

But I've had a complete priority shift since I got an open spot for the Gasparilla Ultra Challenge next month. I ditched a planned weights workout on Sunday for extra running miles, and I'm not even going to try to swim or bike right now. Runs, long runs, yoga and weights — in that order — are my focus these next five weeks.

SOOOOOO, that's what I ended up doing last week:

Run, run, run, do some other stuff.
Run: Three times, once on the treadmill and twice on the road, for 25.75 miles in about 4:11. I lost an evening to a hair appointment so I didn't hit 30 miles again, but I'm OK with that.

Weights: One barre class for about an hour.

Yoga: One 20-minute session on my own.

Total: Five sessions in about 5.5 hours.

Not bad. I got done what needed to get done (namely back-to-back longish runs) and fit in a few other things. That's about all I can hope for in the coming few weeks.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

A long run conundrum

Since I'm suddenly running 30+ miles in two days next month, I had to completely re-haul my training plan. I want to do back-to-back long runs for the next few weekends so I'm at least a little prepared.

I had done 7 yesterday and I wanted to do 11 today, since I had done 10 last weekend. As the miles ticked by, I thought, "The races will probably be two hours of running on Saturday and three hours on Sunday. Since I did just over an hour yesterday, shouldn't I do two hours today?"

I figured I would be OK adding an extra mile to make 12. But I was ticking off miles in the 9:5X range. So do I do an extra bit to make 2 hours, or stop at 12 miles and have to look at a 1:59 run time?

In the end, I decided to run an extra quarter mile to go over the 2-hour mark. It was kind of funny at the very end, because my mileage was getting to 11.97, 11.98 and 11.99 and I was still at 1:59 for time. I could have slowed down, I guess, but I actually sped it up to make that extra 0.25 worth my while.
2 hours or 12 miles? Decisions, decisions.
My knees and tailbone are a little cranky afterward, but it's reassuring to know I can handle 1 hour and 2 hours on back-to-back days. If I can increase both a bit in the next few weeks, I'll feel a lot better about being prepared for the challenge.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Gasparilla, the day after: What have I done???

I was on cloud 9 last night after a spot opened up in the Gasparilla Ultra challenge next month and I signed up. Then, I started doing the math. Then, I started getting scared.

A 15K and a 5K on Saturday. OK, that's 12.4 miles. I can do that.

But the next day is a half-marathon and and 8K, which is 5 miles, so that's 18.1 miles total. Wow... that's a lot. I've only run double-digits once since the Freep half marathon in October. Will I be able to pull something out of my rear end in the next five weeks?

I have a couple of things going for me. One, I'm not taking this too seriously. This is for fun and for a race-cation. Two, I've been doing well with overall mileage lately. I've run two 30-mile weeks in a row, and have been feeling OK.

I think my plan of attack for the next few weeks needs to be a focus on back-to-back long runs. In the past few weeks, I've done a bunch of 7 mile/7 mile runs on consecutive days, a pair of 6.5 mile/9 mile runs, and one pair of 10 mile/7.5 mile runs. At least I'm not coming from nothing.

I'm going to try to add a few miles on those consecutive days runs for the next few weeks and see how it goes. I did 7 today, and I'll try to do 11 tomorrow. If I add 1 per run per week for a couple of weeks, and am still feeing good, I'll feel a lot better.

Wow — 30 miles in two days is a lot. I hope I can handle it.

Friday, January 20, 2017


Besides The Big Thing I was depressed about today, I just wasn't in a good mood -- I have a zillion work projects, my weight loss has stalled, I haven't been sleeping well, etc. etc. But late this morning I checked my email and found this:
I squealed with delight and raced into my boss's office, where I was able to babble out what had happened. Once my boss gave her OK I responded to the email to say YES I was still interested! After work this happened:
The Ultra Challenge is four races over two days: a 15K and a 5K, followed by a half-marathon and an 8K:
I was on vacation this summer when the race announced they only had 100 spots left, I missed it, and it sold out. I had asked to be put on the wait list but when the weeks to go got down to single digits I started to give up hope. You can imagine how surprised I was today when I got the email out of the blue.

Training is going to be... interesting. I've run two 30-mile weeks recently, which is good, but I've topped out at 10 miles. So I have a few weeks to get into race shape. I want to add a few miles to my long runs, do some longer runs on consecutive days, and maybe do a few two-a-days to prepare.

Making it a race-cation will be fun. I'll stay with my sister, and I already have plans to hit up a spring training game while I'm down there, too. I haven't been to Florida in two years and I'm overdue for a visit.

Yay! This seriously made my week! And now I have a fun goal to get me through the next chunk of dreary and cold winter training.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Week in review Jan. 8-15: Another week of run, lift, and nothing else

Run, lift, blah.
It was an OK week. I got in lots of running and lifted weights twice, but I didn’t do a single other thing. My husband is taking a class a few weeknights this month, so I feel like I should spend time with him on the other nights. One night we spent a wild night buying him some new clothes. How do I handle all this excitement?

So far my goals of doing yoga twice per week and swimming and biking once each per week are not going well. I did some yoga on New Year’s Day but haven’t rolled out my mat since. I swam and rode once each last month while I was off for Christmas break, the first time in the pool since August and in the saddle since October. But I haven’t done either yet for 2017. Sigh.

I don’t know what else to say except that I need more hours in the day. I’m prioritizing running and lifting, going to the job that pays the bills, prepping healthy food, sleeping almost enough, and my marriage. Skipping a swim is less expensive in the long run than a divorce, I guess!

Last week’s workouts were:

Run: Four times, all on the treadmill, for 30 miles in about 4:52. This is my second 30-mile week in a row; I haven’t done that in a year and a half. And, everything feels good. Concentrating on landing mid-foot and not reaching is making my knees happy. Whatever was going on with my tailbone seems to be feeling better. So, I’m going to run (ha) with it.

Weights: Twice, one video and one round of my heavy/body weight routine interspersed with a run, for about 2:15 total. Jillian Michaels is never easy no matter how many times I do that video, and I have been adding reps and weight as I can for my own routine. I am starting to get back muscles I haven’t noticed before, which is pretty awesome. This consistency is paying off.

Total: 6 sessions in about 7 hours, 7 minutes. This includes two days off so I don’t think it was that bad. Yeah, I should have done a little yoga on those two days off, but… I didn’t.

Some other good news: It’s only halfway through the month and I’m already 61 miles into my goal of running 100. I want to bank a few miles because I’m sure I’ll come down with at least one more cold, but so far, so good. We’re supposed to get warm weather later this week so I hope to get outside at least once, but I have Netflix to entertain me on the treadmill if we don’t.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Not a whole lot going on this week

I haven't had much to say this week. It's been work, run, walk the dogs, try to sleep, repeat.

I did shake things up for my workout today. Instead of running and then lifting, I decided to run 2 miles, do some of my weights moves, run another 2, do some more moves, etc. Verdict: Not bad! It was nice to shake things up and try something new. And it never got boring. I'd do it again.

Overlapping workouts.

Yeah, this took me longer than it should have because I got sucked into Orange is the New Black between sets. What can I say... it's Sunday, I can take it a bit easy.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Week in review Jan. 2-8: Run, lift, and that’s it

Run, lift, blah.
I have mixed feelings about last week. Overall, I got a decent amount of stuff done and a decent amount of training in, so yay me. (Having Monday off work helped a lot.) Bonus: We only went out to eat once and that was to catch up with a friend, so double yay for eating healthfully and saving money all week.

But, I didn’t do anything training-wise besides run and lift, and I feel like there is SO MUCH left to do that I just plain don’t have time for. I don’t understand how normal people get in a full night’s sleep, plan out their meals, do two workouts a day, build their core muscles, and that’s not to mention stuff like cleaning out their pantries and friggin’ bullet journaling. Let’s be real here: WTF? Who the hell has time for bullet journaling? Do they not have full-time jobs? I’m serious – I don’t understand.

So while I had a great running and lifting week, the yoga, the pre-hab, the goal to swim and bike once each per week, the pantry-cleaning, the clothes-sorting, the wall scrubbing, etc. all got put to the side. I ended up taking two days off from training: Tuesday to celebrate a friend’s birthday (with a home-cooked dinner at another friend’s house, so it was ideal) and Friday because I was just so over it by then. I hesitated making a crock pot dinner on a Friday but I was so glad I did – there was no temptation to order in barbecue after a long week.

It worked out to be:

Run: Five times, once outside and four times on the treadmill, for 31 miles in just longer than 5 hours. This is my bright spot of the week because this is the first 30-mile week I’ve had since my last marathon in October of 2015; the last time I hit 30 miles training was a month before that, when I was almost certainly running too much for what my body can handle. Yay for building back my running smartly!

But Saturday-ish the left side of my tailbone started acting up, which made running uncomfortable. I stopped halfway through Sunday’s 7-miler to stretch it out, which helped, but it still feels like something in my tailbone is out of line, or I have an inflamed nerve, or something. I had SI joint issues last summer on the right side, but it doesn’t feel quite like that. Maybe I overdid it lifting Saturday? Maybe my form is a bit off with the increased treadmill running? Today is a day off anyway, so I’m going to rest it and see if it feels better tomorrow.

Weights: Twice in about 2 hours, 20 minutes. This was one barre class on Monday, my last day of vacation, and a round of heavy/body weight lifting on Saturday after I was done with my errands and before the Lions snatched defeat from the jaws of victory once again. I added a rep or two here or there and added weight for some other moves. Being consistent with lifting twice per week most weeks is starting to pay off.

Total: 7 sessions in about 7 hours, 24 minutes. I mean, this still works out to more than an hour a day, so it’s not all bad.

I sound a little bitter this week. I’m not sure if it’s the cold (we have had single-digit and negative degree wind chills all week), or the post-holiday post-vacation blahs, or what. I do have warmer temperatures to look forward to later this week, so I will try to get in at least one outdoor run. As far as the pantry-cleaning, that might have to wait.

Friday, January 6, 2017

January 2017 vs. January 2016

Last January I was rebuilding from some random overuse injuries and ran 16.5 miles.

As of yesterday's run, I'm at 17.5 miles for the month. And it was only the 5th.

I have high hopes for the month!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Oh yeah, 2016 is over or something

This week was back to real life after almost two weeks off. We squeezed in a little bit of fun celebrating a friend’s birthday Tuesday evening (and eating way too much amazing slow-roasted chicken), but yesterday and today have been work, errands, run, eat, food prep, go to bed way too late. At least tomorrow is Friday already.

Since we’re almost a week into 2017 it seems a bit silly to look back at 2016 now. It wasn’t a great year for me nor my training. The highlight was pacing my husband to his first half marathon, a fun Black Friday trail race a few weeks later, and successfully building my running mileage back up from 17 in January to 96 in December.

But I didn’t complete a single multisport event after I skipped my usual spring triathlon and DNF’d a swim race I have done three times already. This the first calendar year since 2009 I didn’t run a marathon, and it was my lowest mileage year since at least 2011, when I was out for months with a tibial stress fracture. It’s the first year in four I didn’t break 1,000 miles (although hitting 666 miles is pretty funny). I struggled with health problems this year, which I believe was the cause of the anxiety I had swimming, and am only now feeling better after cutting out some foods I am apparently allergic to (wtf!) and switching up medication.


Before I dive back in (heh) to the multisport lifestyle, I admit that I’m having a kind of triathlon existential crisis. If I’m not very good at swimming and am a crappy cyclist, why do I keep doing this? If I can stay in shape just running (which, admittedly, I am not very good at either), lifting weights, practicing yoga, and doing the odd random sport or athletic pursuit, than why don’t I?

I don’t have an answer to that yet. One of my January goals is to swim and bike once per week. If I really, really hate it, I don’t have to do it anymore. This is a hobby, not a job. But… I suspect that after a few spins and swims I’ll start to feel The Itch again. Maybe I will make some ridiculous goals for myself. Maybe I won’t. There is still a lot of 2017 left to experience and we'll see what happens.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Week in review Dec. 26 - Jan. 1: Happy New Year!

My brain isn't sure what day of the week or day of the year it is. I totally forgot it was Monday and that I should do a week in review until I got the email from Daily Mile. Oops!

In short, last week was great. I had the week off work, and I did pretty well with training overall. I had FIVE family gathering and friends' parties (including New Year's Eve) so it was busy. But, I got in a nice variety of workouts to end the year on a high note. Plus, I got back in the pool!
A bit of everything.
Run: Four times, three on the treadmill and once on the road, for about 21.75 miles in about 3:32. This brought me to 666 miles for the year, and yes, I did that on purpose.

Weights: Twice, one video and one body/heavy weight session, for about 2:25.

Swim: One VERY slow session of 2400 meters in about 1:11, including drills and everything else.

Yoga: Three times, all self-guided, for about 1:10.

Bike: One 30-minute session to warm up for a weights workout.

Total: 11 sessions in about 8 hours, 50 minutes. Not bad!

Tomorrow it's back to real life. I've spent most of the evening in the kitchen prepping food for the coming week, I did laundry earlier, I did all my grocery shopping for the week, etc. I'm hoping that I planned ahead well enough that a few easy runs and weights videos after work should be easy to fold back into my full-time work schedule. And if not, well... at least it's only a four-day week.