Sunday, February 26, 2017

Gasparilla Ultra Challenge DONE!

All my medals!!!
I did it!

I have to get back to hanging out with my sister and otherwise enjoying sunny Florida, but I did it! I ran all four races for a total of more than 30 miles over two days.

I am tired and sore but reveling in my accomplishment!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Gasparilla is half done!

First two races done!
I've been having so much fun in Florida hanging out with my sister and running, I haven't updated. Oops!

After we landed and got settled at my sister's apartment Thursday, my husband and I went for a very easy run to try to get acclimated to the heat and to shake out the legs. We saw a snake! My husband hates snakes so he was not happy about it, but I laughed and laughed. (It was just a big garter snake.)

Yesterday we drove into Tampa to hit the expo and pick up all my shirts and the Ultra Challenge jacket, which I can't wait to wear! After I finish, of course. We hit a Cuban place for some of the most delicious pork I've ever had and tried to go to bed early. 4:30 a.m. came early, but we found parking and used the real bathrooms in the Convention Center with plenty of time to spare.

The 15K was fun! It was crowded and starting to get hot, which my Michigan blood isn't used to yet, and my hamstring isn't 100%, so I took it easy and tried to enjoy the day. I found my husband at the finish line, and we had enough time to drop off my medal at the car and use the bathroom again before getting in a VERY long line for the 5K.

The sun decided to come out and I was glad I had sunscreened up beforehand. We had a bit of trouble getting into a groove because there were SO many people running. But, it was all about having fun, and we took our time and enjoyed the views.

Overall, it was a great day for running. I don't know how I'll feel at 4 a.m. tomorrow, but I'd say the first day was a success!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Week in review Feb. 13-19: I tapered a bit too hard

Less running, but still mostly running.
Last week was definitely easy on the running. On Tuesday, instead of my usual 5-6 on the treadmill, it was nice enough that my husband and I went for a very easy run outside. It was a bit windier than anticipated, so we called it at 3. It was getting late, anyway, and we were hungry.

I kept up with my “Wednesday weights” tradition, and after work Thursday I went to a runner’s clinic instead of doing my usual speedy run. I didn’t know what to expect, but it ended up being mostly lecture with a few static exercises. It was informative and helpful, but I didn’t get in any miles that day.

Saturday we were a bit crunched for time with a commitment in the afternoon and evening, and I wanted to cut down on my back-to-back long runs anyway, so I called it at 6.75 miles. The last two Saturdays have been 10 and 11 miles, so this was a decent decrease. It got up to HIGH 60s!!!!!!!!!!!!! so I enjoyed the time outside. In fact, I was way too overdressed and sweated through all my clothes.

Sunday was another gorgeous day in the mid-60s, and my husband decided he wanted to do our usual 7-mile route. (I wisened up and wore a t-shirt and capris and was perfectly fine the entire time.) I did a speedy 2 after I dropped him off for 9 total – a far cry from the 15 and 16.5 I did the previous two Sundays.

So, while I ran 37 miles two weeks ago and 37.5 last week, I hit “only” 18.75 miles this past week, which I just realized is exactly half of last week. I didn’t mean to taper quite that hard; I was shooting for 25-ish. But, eh, I needed the rest, so I’m not really sad. Plus, I can’t lie – it was wonderful having to dedicate 2-ish hours to running on a Sunday rather than closer to 4-ish.

I was finished with all of my food prep by 9:30 p.m. last night (Sunday) and didn’t know what to do with myself, so I did a bit of yoga and some glute exercises from my running clinic. I can’t even remember the last time I did any pre-hab. I have the same problem with pre-hab as I do with my heavy/body weights routine: I come up with this elaborate routine that takes way too long, get frustrated that it takes too long, and never do it. I have much better success when I can pare things down to 10-, 20-, 30-minute chunks that I can fit in whenever. This happened to me with yoga, too; I never did my hour-long class downloads, so I never did anything, until I started doing 15 or 20 minutes at a time.

Strangely, I never have a problem “fitting in” running… that always seems to find its place in my schedule.

Anyway, last week by the numbers was:

Run: Three times, all on the road in gorgeous weather, for 18.75 miles in about 3 hours, 22 minutes. 10 of these were slower miles with my husband, but I don’t mind because I kind of like him.

Weights: One video for about 1 hour, 5 minutes.

Yoga: Twice, both on my own, for about 45 minutes total.

Pre-hab: I’m totally counting the 10 minutes of glute exercises I did last night because I say so.

Total: 7 sessions in about 5 hours, 22 minutes. It’s still almost an hour almost every day so whatever. Plus, that includes a very easy yoga-only day and what was essentially two rest days.

I have a normal first half of the week and we catch a morning flight Thursday to head down to Florida for my big races. Of course, every little twinge and sore muscle is terrifying me right now. I am SO excited to see my sister and hang out in Florida but SO stressed already with all the stuff I have to do beforehand, and of course SO nervous for race weekend itself. EEEK! I just have to prioritize. If the fridge doesn’t get scrubbed out before we leave it’s not the end of the world.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Random mid-February stuff

I haven't had anything to say lately. It's been a quiet week so far: I did some yoga Monday, went for a super easy run with my husband Tuesday, and did a weights video Wednesday. The usual. Ho-hum. Today I kept up the tradition of not working out on a Friday.
Glutes all day.
Yesterday I went to a clinic for runners about glute activation. We were advised to dress for movement, and I didn't know what to expect, so I showed up in running clothes and even brought my Garmin — lol! It was a very interesting session about how important our glute muscles are and how most of us underuse them, but overall we did about 4 minutes of static glute exercises and nothing else. Oh well — I'm tapering, anyway. If nothing else, it was a reminder that I need to continue to make my glutes a priority if I want to keep running.
It's February! What!
Look at this ridiculous forecast! 61 tomorrow! 56 Sunday! 59 on Wednesday! I am looking forward to running outside in gorgeous weather. I'm almost sad I'm on my taper and already did my 11 miles/16.5 miles last weekend. Almost.

One week from today I'll be in Florida, tossing and turning and trying to sleep before my first two races. I am so excited to see my sister and fart around at the beach, but just today I got my first hit of nerves. The, OMG 30 miles is a long way, what was I thinking, kind of nerves. But I have a busy weekend planned and a full first half of the work week, so hopefully I won't have too much time to think about it.

I'm tired and every twinge in every joint is giving me a panic attack. I am hoping to get a good night's sleep tonight. It will be nice to run for "only" an hour and a half or so on Sunday and not 3 hours. I'm casually thinking about a spring marathon since my training is already mostly there, and then I think, "But 3-hour runs on the weekends, probably in the snow," and the idea goes out of my head for a while.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Week in review Feb. 6-12: Lots of running and some yoga, too

Great running last week, and decent other stuff, too.
Overall, last week was great for training. I hit all my goals: Four runs, two of them long; one weights workout; and two yoga sessions. That's about all I can hope for as my main focus is the final stretch before the Gasparilla Ultra Challenge.

I had one very long day at work, but I lucked out on the weekend with decent running weather. I made it to barre once. And I hit my bonus goals of using my crock pot once per week (this week it was bone broth) and eating organ meat or shellfish once per week (this week was chicken livers and onions). We even took the mutts to the vet for their checkups!

I think the difference this week was having manageable goals instead of trying to do 100 things and getting disappointed. I also upheld my tradition of not working out a single Friday in 2017 yet; this week I crawled into bed after work and didn't come out until my husband had brought home barbecue for dinner. Oh, well — I was feeling myself again by Saturday.

It shook down to:

Run: Four times, two on the treadmill and two outside, for 37.5 miles in about 6 hours, 23 minutes. This included two easy mid-week runs (the treadmill runs) and an 11- and a 16.5-miler on the weekend. I am pretty sure that's the most I've run in a weekend, ever, including marathon weekends.

Weights: One barre class for about an hour. My glutes and thighs were screaming for mercy.

Yoga: Two solo sessions for about 50 minutes total. These were mostly bends, twists, dogs, and whatever else I could think of to open my hips and loosen my hamstrings.

Total: 7 sessions in about 8 hours, 13 minutes. WOW! The biggest chunk of this was easily the almost-3-hour long run Sunday.

By session:
Fully 1/3 of my training was Sunday's long run, and another 1/4 was Saturday's medium run.

Overall, not too shabby! Lots of running, hopefully enough to help prepare me for my big race, and some other stuff, too.

I'm looking forward to taking a bit of a break from running, but I'm also looking forward to race weekend, and all the fun that comes with a race-cation.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The hay is in the barn for the Gasparilla Ultra Challenge

Today was not a good run. It was brisk and very windy, and the wind pierced all my clothes. But I didn't want to do 16.5 on the treadmill.

I got sprinkled on for the first few miles. I had to pee almost immediately, and since it's February it took almost 6 miles for me to find an open restroom. The trail was covered with water, mud and ice, and much of it ended up in my shoes or on my tights. I could feel blisters forming on one of my toes from rubbing against my wet sock. My hamstring and tailbone were killing me. And for good measure, it snowed on me at the very end.

BUT, I also had a lot of good things happen: My bad knee felt fine. My endurance was fine. My pace was decent. The new gels I tried worked fine. I saw some ducks and geese. No creepy guys were waiting for me in the parking lot.

And, this was the last LONG long double run weekend before Gasparilla. The hay is in the barn and I'm officially tapering.

Considering I got in only four weeks ago, I'm pretty pleased with what I've been able to accomplish. I added a mile or two on to each of my weekend runs to build up to 11/16.5 this weekend. I got lucky with good weather and got to do all 27.5 miles — the most I've run in two days, ever — outside:
Some nice long runs on the weekends for the past four weeks.
It was a tough run but I got it done. It's a good harbinger for race day: It might not be pretty, but I'm confident I can run, walk or crawl across those finish lines.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Three years and a bad run turned good

Well, yesterday marked three years of blogging. I came into the game very late, but I feel it’s been a fun exercise for keeping myself accountable and following through on my goals. It's interesting to pull up entries from a month or a year ago and see if I have accomplished anything I wanted to.

I had a really bad day on Thursday. I had to be at work at 6:30 a.m. for a special event, didn't get to eat breakfast until hours later, and still had to work my regular day. I came home to find someone in my parking spot, so I parked in the spot of my neighbor who is never there. Ten minutes later he was sending an email to our entire building threatening to tow my car. GRRRRR!

I had wanted to do 7 miles of speed work, but I just couldn't summon the mental energy. I bargained with myself to get on the treadmill and do 5 at a very easy pace. One episode of Orange is the New Black later and I felt like a new woman. No, it wasn't ideal, but at last I did SOMETHING on a day when I really wanted to do nothing.

Success is the sum of small efforts right? Or small runs, even on craptastic days.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Some old goals I had made for 2016

Eating leaves once a day AND playing with the mutts: Two for the price of one.
Cleaning out my email inbox today, I found this list of 2016 goals. Some were better accomplished than others:

Drink more water than coffee: Successful most days!

Use moisturizer: I think I meant on my hands, which I was pretty good about.

Wear gloves when I go outside: Complete fail. I almost never wear gloves because I want the ability to grab dog leashes or steering wheels. This makes my hands super dry in the winter, which was probably the reason behind the previous goal.

Get to work on time: Ummmmmmmmm no. But it's usually within 10-15 minutes, I'm usually there before my boss, and I don't punch a clock. So I don't think it really matters.

Eat leaves at least once a day: Successful most days!

Get 8 hours of sleep: Utter and complete failure during the week. I think I've actually gotten worse at getting to bed on time. I'm just really bad at shutting everything down and off early enough. I'm generally a pessimist in life but I'm way too optimistic about how much time I need to fit in 100 things. (See also: Get to work on time.)

Read for pleasure: Sadly, no. I have huge piles of books and magazines to get through. On the plus side, I only bought a few books this year, so the pile didn't get TOO much bigger.

Play with the mutts every day: I did this when I could.

Get back down to race weight: This is a work in progress. Nailing down some health issues has really helped.

Don’t eat crappy chocolate or drink crappy wine: Success! I don't bother with the mass market junk anymore.

Don’t drink wine on a school night: Ahem, successful most days.

Hard stop on caffeine at noon during the week, 2 p.m. weekends: I actually did pretty good with this. I'll finish my cup if I'm still working on one past noon, but I don't pour anything after 11:45 a.m. or so during the week. I allow myself a bit of leeway on the weekends because getting late morning/early afternoon coffee is a guilty habit of my husband and me.

I think I'll just copy and paste these as my general goals for 2017. Except the gloves. Gloves are dumb.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Week in review Jan. 30-Feb. 5: A maximally efficient weekend to focus on running long

Run run run, run run run.
I’m getting into a routine of starting off the week easy and building the intensity. Since I’m doing back-to-back long runs on Saturday and Sunday, Mondays have been for either rest or yoga, the last couple of Tuesdays have been easy runs, and Wednesdays and Thursdays have been moderate weight routines or runs with a bit of speed to them. I haven’t worked out yet on a Friday this year, but that’s OK because those have been reserved for movie-watching with my husband.

With the Super Bowl last night (being a Detroit resident, I’ll probably never have a vested interest in the game), and a friend’s party to attend, I knew I would have to find another time for my usual Sunday evening food-prep routine. My solution was to organize the whole weekend with military precision, giving top priority to both runs and fitting in everything else around them. The end result was that everything that needed to get done, got done; every mile that needed to be run, was run; and no one went hungry.

Saturday: Up early. Farmer’s market. Brunch out with a friend. Grocery shopping. Grocery organizing. 10 miles on the treadmill (it was cold). Dinner. Prep a crock pot dinner for Sunday and bake/make some fun stuff to eat.

Sunday: Up early. Breakfast. More food prep: breakfast for the next few days and a veggie tray for the Super Bowl party. 15 miles outside (it was a bit warmer). Eat crock pot dinner while prepping salads for tomorrow’s lunch. Go to Super Bowl party! Ignore game and commercials, play with friends’ kids. Try unsuccessfully to cajole friends’ kids into eating the carrots you chopped. Try not to fall asleep. Head home because the game is boring. Check on game. Stay up to watch the surprise comeback.

I had to sacrifice a bit of sleep and relaxation but I am feeling a LOT better about the quadruple race weekend now that I have a 10-miler and 15-miler under my belt. And really, I only have one more big weekend before a cutback weekend and the races. Next weekend should be a lot less busy anyway with fewer sports-related activities.

By the numbers, it was:

Run: Four times, three times on the treadmill and once on the road, for 37 miles in a bit longer than 6 hours. WOW. This is a lot of running. I was definitely feeling some discomfort in my tailbone/glute/hamstring by the end of my long run yesterday, but when I focused on running carefully and gently, it was less uncomfortable.

I’m also 99% sure that the 25 miles is the most I’ve ever run over two days, not counting my marathons. Even when I was training for a 70.3 and a marathon at the same time I’d alternate between 2/20 and 6/12. So, although I a little stiff and sore today, I’m reminding myself that I’m not this sore after “only” running 15 miles, I’m this sore because I ran 10 miles followed by 15 miles.

Weights: One 55-minute video. This is about as good as it’s going to get until March, at least.

Yoga: One solo session of about 20 minutes. I should have gotten in at least one more session, but I was already cramming so much into the week. Maybe instead of chopping veggies no one ate I could have been stretching then? Ha!

Total: 6 sessions in about 7 hours, 20 minutes.

Of course, I'm limited by hours in the day, but I feel like I'm making progress prepping for my big race. There will be lots more running in the next few weeks, and by then maybe I'll be thinking about the next big race.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

A bit of good news

2017 weigh-ins.
Well, I had a bit of good news the other day when I got on the scale for my twice-monthly weigh-in. The number was lower than it has been in a while.

I am running more mileage, and I am trying to nail down some health issues, so I'm sure this is a result of both of those. Plus, I am feeling better overall, so that's good no matter what the scale says.

The scale isn't my main tool, but it's one tool, and right now it's encouraging to see I'm hopefully heading in the right direction.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

January wrap-up and February goals

All I do is run.
I had good intentions to get back in the pool and back on the bike in January. I wanted to add in at least one of each workout per week, while maintaining the focus on building back my run and lifting weights twice per week. My run build was going well and I was starting to see improvements in my weight-lifting abilities (and muscle-flexing abilities).

Then I got THE email getting me off the waiting list for a two-day, 30-mile running challenge (are you sick of me talking about it yet?) and my priorities got completely shifted around. My focus went from a three-day rotation of run-run-lift to fitting in back-to-back medium and long runs. That meant weekend lifting time got re-allocated to additional running miles; that also meant I’d have to be happy with one moderate weights workout per week for now.

The good news is that knowing that I just can’t think about swim and bike right now, some (some!) of the stress of “fitting it all in” is gone. I run both weekend days and hopefully twice during the week; one off day is a weights or barre day; and I do some yoga when I can. And that’s all I have to worry about for now!

One side effect of the upcoming races is that I WAY overshot my January running goal. I was hoping for 100 and ended up at 125 even. No doubt that most of those extra miles are from the sudden back-to-back weekend runs; instead of running for 3 miles and lifting for an hour on Sundays, I’m running for 12-14 miles. But, I’m being smart, resting, stretching, and not trying to be a speed demon.

January goals recap:

Run 100 miles
– ran 125 after re-prioritizing running.

Keep up the run, run, lift rotation – I actually DID do this for the first half of the month, but then had to de-prioritize lifting and settle for once a week for the rest of the month.

Practice yoga twice per week – I ended up at 5 times for the month, so not terrible, but there is definitely room for improvement.

Swim and bike once per week – did not happen. I really don’t have an excuse for the first half of the month, either.

February goals:

Run 100 miles
– Pretty sure I can do this again.

Finish final build/taper/race for Gasparilla – I don’t really have a choice; I will have to do this one way or another. =)

Practice yoga twice per week – I think this is more easily attainable if I’m not trying to also add in swim and bike.

Lift weights once per week – Again, I think I can do this if I’m not also trying to add in swim and bike.

Don’t be a hero – I’m not going to win the thing, so I DON’T want to run myself back into an injury. Be smart. Rest. Take some Mondays off. Be content with walking the dogs some days. Read. Relax. Sit on your butt once in a while. It’s OK.

Onward to another great month.