Sunday, April 30, 2017

100 running miles for April

Today I figured out that 11.75 would put me at exactly 100 for the month. Although rain was moving through, there were a couple dry hours in the afternoon, and I went for it. It was humid but otherwise I didn't get wet.

That makes 100 for the month! Yay!
3/4 so far this year!
Not too shabby of a build after from my IT band issues last year, and I'm happy to run 100.

Let's see what we can do for May.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Water woes

It was a beautiful day yesterday and I was lamenting working in a cubicle. When I was done for the day I skipped out of the office and headed to the trail. I am trying to be safer by not running the same route every day, and wanted to shake it up a bit anyway, so I parked at a different location and headed the opposite direction.

I wanted to do at least an hour which is usually about 6.25-6.5 miles for me. I didn’t bring any water because fountains are scattered along the trail. I started out, concentrating on good form, and was pleasantly surprised to see an easy first mile beep at 9:13. I am amazing! I am getting faster! I love running!

But as I kept running, my thought process turned to, “Dang, it’s hot!” My miles started getting slower. And I started thinking… am I SURE there is a water fountain on this trail???
Ugh... it's HOT!
Like an oasis, at the 3.4 mile mark, there appeared a restroom and water fountain building. “I guess I am doing 6.75 today!” I thought. I took a break to enjoy a nice drink and headed back. I wasn’t overheated, but I was definitely warm. Obviously, it's early in the season and I’m not acclimated yet.

Public service announcement: When in doubt, bring the water! Michigan weather is a fickle beast and there is just as much chance getting overheated as there is getting snowed on in April.
Partly cloudy, mostly sun beating down on me.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

So, um, I bought a bike

I found this guy on Craigslist the other day.
Oh yeah.
A couple of emails back and forth and I headed out (with my husband, just in case of axe murderers) to check out the bike. It was in better shape than I expected so I forked over the money and we were on our way.
My dog is a little less excited about it.
I wanted a roadie anyway so I couldn't resist the deal. It probably needs a tuneup and I'll want to buy new pedals, but I can handle some minor repairs and upgrades.

After three seasons on my tri bike I'm still not comfortable on it, so I may or may not switch over permanently. Either way, it's not a bad idea to have both a roadie and a tri.

And everyone knows the correct number of bikes to own is n + 1.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Week in review April 17-23: A much better showing

Lift, bike, run, not necessarily in that order.
Last week was difficult to review since I didn't have much to log, but this week I made up for it with decent running and trainer riding and even some weight lifting, too.

This was in spite of losing Wednesday to an all-day work event (I mean all day, too: I worked from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.), having a family event Saturday morning and afternoon, and having plans with friends Sunday evening. I didn't run every mile I wanted, but I was pleased with what I accomplished and even surprised myself once or twice.

By the numbers:

Run: Four times, all on the road, for 27.75 miles in about 4:20. I ran way too many fast (I mean, "fast") miles this week with a tempo Tuesday, every other mile speedy Friday, and a fast finish yesterday. My knee that has no cartilage is feeling it today. I am not a spring chicken anymore and need to listen to my body telling me to run fast once per week, max. I would rather be running slowly at age 90 than need a knee replacement before I hit 40.

Bike: Twice, both on the trainer, for what my Edge tells me is 31 miles in about 2 hours, 30 minutes. I doubt very much the mileage is correct, but it's fun to try to push the speed and look at all the data later. I have been making sure to inflate my tire to the same PSI before each ride so even if it's not correct, it's consistent.

Weights: One round of all my heavy/body moves except abs (I just ran out of time) in about 1 hour. Two days later and I am still feeling the pull-ups in whatever those muscles just behind the armpit are. I am definitely regretting the month since my last heavy weights workout!

Overall: 7 workouts in a bit less than 8 hours. Not bad! This averages to once per day for more than an hour per day, and I can't be mad about that.

The last time I trained this much was the week of March 6-12, more than a month ago. The 7-10 hour range takes some finagling but is doable at this stage in my life, with no races on the horizon yet still juggling a full-time job, food prep, family and friend events, etc. Even giving up good-sized chunks of my week I was able to log some decent training.

I'm planning on taking it easy early in the week to recover, but later in the week — barring any day-long work events or family outings — it's on!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Getting in what I can

I definitely have a perfectionist personality at times, meaning that if I can't do things exactly how I want to, I don't want to do them at all. I'm trying to be more lenient with that attitude in my workouts; if I don't have time to ride for two hours, I'll do an hour and a half. If I can't run for 12 miles, I'll do 8.25.

That was exactly what I did this weekend, and it all worked out. I got a late start to my run Friday night, and it was colder than expected, but I still gutted it out and had a better run than planned.

I had a family event that took up most of my day Saturday, but I still squeezed in an hour and a half on the bike. And since my husband got delayed, I did most of my weights workout, too!

I wanted to do a 12-mile/2-hour run today, but I just didn't have time, so I did 8.25. I managed 7 at a moderate pace with the last 1.25 as a fast finish. And I ran it in SHORTS!!!
Why you no take me with you, Mommeh?
This weekend was a big reminder to me that something is better than nothing, even if "something" isn't exactly what I wanted to do. And sometimes that "something" turns out better than expected, anyway.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

A not terrible "speed" workout

I was looking forward to a run all day yesterday (Friday) and although it was cooler than anticipated, I bundled up and headed out for a couple laps around the neighborhood.

My feet felt like they weighed 100 pounds each and I thought about bailing, but I decided to push the pace every other mile just to see what happened. I affectionately call this workout "puking leapfrog" because I always want to barf by the end of the last fast mile.
Not terrible.
Some funny things to note:

- Overall pace was 9:08, a 3:59:59 marathon pace, and my ultimate goal.
- My second fast repeat was 8:23, exactly my BQ marathon pace.
- I had a couple recovery miles at 9:34/9:36, which is my PR marathon pace of 4:10.
- The 8:19 gets an asterisk because I had to stop for traffic.

Anyway, it was great way to kick off the weekend!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

It's early, but mild success so far this week

Where does the time go? I can’t believe it’s Thursday already.

The good news is I am already at double my running mileage this week compared to last week after running Monday and Tuesday after work. Monday I went back to a path I hadn’t visited in a while. At the end of last year, there were a few attacks on female runners and I have been apprehensive about running those routes alone since then. I stuck to a well-populated area and didn’t see anything fishy, and it was nice (well, kind of) to run some of the very few hills in southeast Michigan again. My usual route’s elevation gain is something like 10-20 feet.

Tangent: It infuriates me that I have to alter my routine out of safety because I am a woman. I have been researching self-defense classes and group runs, and otherwise running close to home and/or with my dog or husband. But honestly, it’s a giant load of BS. OK, that’s a rant for another day.

Tuesday I ran what I’m going to start calling “rage runs.” My day got lousier as it went on, I didn’t find what I needed at the grocery store, etc. etc. etc. By the time I finally went out for a run my blood was boiling. I headed out a bit faster than usual and decided to sustain it as long as I could or for an hour, whichever came first.

I ended up holding pace at just faster than 9 minutes per mile, which is pretty good for me lately considering I can’t even remember the last time I did any actual speed work. I just wish that pace didn’t feel so difficult. It seems like an eternity ago I was seeing anything that began with a 7. It makes me a little sad, but this is where I’m at right now. If I keep working at it I’ll get faster. If I don’t, I won’t. It’s running, not rocket science, right?

Yesterday (Wednesday) I worked a very fun but VERY long day, so I had no time to do anything else. Tonight (Thursday) it poured rain and thunderstormed all afternoon, so I got on the trainer and played with my new bike toys again. I was dripping sweat after an hour. Whew!
It's still fun, so I'm going to go with it.
I'm hoping to run tomorrow after work, although I don't have a good track record with Fridays. Saturday I have a family event and Sunday is a friends event, but I'm hopeful I can fit in some running and riding around the gatherings. The weather will be on my side.

Let's see what the rest of the week has in store.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Week in review April 10-16: Not a very “hoppy” Easter week of training

This week is difficult for me to look back on. It was yet another week that started off great and devolved into a disaster training-wise. By the time I headed to bed last night I was frustrated with myself, my training, and how I just can’t seem to get my act together to string together a decent week of workouts.

I had run long the Sunday before so Monday was a nice trainer ride playing with my new toys. Tuesday and Wednesday I went for jogs around the neighborhood with my husband. Our last miles were a 10:04 Tuesday and a 9:52 Wednesday, which may be the fastest miles he has ever run. I am very proud of him and glad that I am rubbing off on him =) to come over to the dark side and become A Runner.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday can be summed up with: Emergency errand making me miss barre, family plans most of the day, regular Saturday errands and another emergency errand but at least I squeezed in a trainer ride, and family over for Easter. I could have gotten up at my usual 5:55 a.m. but, honestly, I didn’t want to on my days off. I could have canceled plans with my mom. I could have declined the emergency errands. I could have not taken a nap and not prepped food Sunday. Could have, could have, could have but didn’t, didn’t, didn’t. I don’t know if this is a litany of excuses, poor timing and circumstance, or a combination of the two.

The end result was:

Run: Twice, both on the road with my husband, for 6 miles in just over an hour. SIX. MILES. That’s it. I haven’t run that little since I was on vacation last August.

Bike: Twice, both on the trainer, for what my Edge tells me was 27.59 miles in 2 hours, 15 minutes. At least I had a bit of success here.

Total: Four sessions for about 3:17.

No yoga, no barre, no swimming, no pre-hab, no nothing else. This is not how to prep for a spring race. This is not how to lose a few extra pounds. This is not how to keep building strength. Hell, this is barely meeting the American Heart Association’s recommendations for physical activity. I am a triathlete and marathoner, for pete’s sake – I laugh in the face of “30 minutes of exercise a day.”

Logically, I know getting mad at myself won’t solve anything. There’s nothing I can do but try to do better this week. I’m already off to a good start with a run. Let’s see how far I can get.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Week in review April 3-9: Not terrible, not great

Decent running, blah other stuff.
Well, this week wasn’t terrible. I only ran three times, but one of those was a long run. I didn’t make it to the pool, do any pre-hab, or do any yoga, but I DID do a weights video and played with my new bike toys, so it wasn’t a total non-running loss.

Since I didn’t feel great the weekend before, I did a weights video on Monday because I hadn’t lifted in a while. Tuesday was a nice, boring run. By Wednesday everything in my life was going to hell, so after getting home late I couldn’t summon the mental energy to do anything more than order in dinner and become one with the couch.

By Thursday all my new bike gear had arrived so I did an hour on the trainer. I ran for what I am 99% sure is my first Friday workout of 2017. But, everything went to hell again on Saturday. I was up early and ready to get on the trainer again for a bit, but my husband and I had a few last-minute errands/situations pop up, and I never did carve out enough time before meeting with friends for a planned dinner.

Not going to lie, I was super bummed and mad at myself for not prioritizing a workout. This is the second Saturday in a row I haven’t done a thing. But it also felt good to relax and hang out with friends, and shouldn’t weekends include some of that, too? I’m still working on finding that balance without beating myself up for doing too much of one or the other.

Yesterday (Sunday) I did a lot of food prep and kitchen stuff but was able to rally for a 12-miler later in the afternoon, which was my first time doing more than 10 since training for and racing the Gasparilla Distance Classic in February. I was good with 11 but at about mile 10.5 I saw a very familiar face – my husband had also rallied and headed out to join me for the last bit of my run. I was happy to spend a few miles doing what I love with someone I love.

By the numbers, it was:

Run: Three times, twice on the road and once on the treadmill, for 24.5 miles in a hair less than 4 hours.

Weights: One video for 1:05.

Bike: One trainer ride for 1 hour.

Total: Five sessions for slightly longer than 6 hours.

It averages to an hour most days of the week, so I can't be too mad. I just learn from it and move on to the next week. And maybe better anticipate Saturday shenanigans that can derail my plans.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Random long run thoughts

12 miles in a tank top!
Today was a gorgeous day. I headed out a bit late, but still managed 12 miles in a tank top! And I wasn't cold at all!

My mind always wanders when I run long and today was no exception:

- I ran past an apartment complex, in front of which a few little girls were playing. They called out "Hi!" to me and I said "hi" back. I started thinking: How many other positive fitness role models do those girls have? How many other women run by and make them think they can run, too? Of course, what do I know... those girls could have a mom that's a weightlifting champion and a mom who's a marathon runner. But maybe it does put a bug in their ear some day

- An ambulance went past and the turned around in front of me. My first thought was, "Damn, I don't look that bad, do I?" Then I started thinking... "What if I died a mile 1 and don't realize it yet, and am doomed to run laps of my neighborhood as purgatory?"

- My husband caught up to me at mile 10.5-ish and we ran another 2.5 together. Yeah, it dropped my pace a lot, but I am still working on making him A Runner. It was a beautiful day to run, especially with someone you love.

Happy running!

Friday, April 7, 2017

I think that was my first Friday workout of 2017 (yes, really)

Why you no take me with you to run, Mommeh?
I haven't been able to get it together on Fridays yet this year. Plans with friends, not feeling great, tired, too dark to go run outside, etc. etc. etc., blah blah blah, excuse excuse excuse.

Today, though, I was ON. I knew the weather would be OK, I knew the sun wasn't setting until 8 p.m., I was feeling fine, I had gotten enough sleep, and I didn't have any plans. Even though I worked a long day and had to spend several hours working a special event where I — gasp — had to interact with and be nice to people, I knew today was a perfect day to go run.

I headed out after work and did 6.5 around my neighborhood in juuuuust less than an hour. Nothing special, but it felt good to be alive in the crisp air, with my legs moving and my blood pumping.

Now I'm doing this:
Yum yum.
Happy weekend!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

New bike toys!

First ride with my new toys!
I bit the bullet and ordered a Garmin Edge 25 with a speed and cadence sensor. I got all my goodies and set them up for a ride today.

It's embarrassing how slow it was, if it's anything close to real life. But having all this data for an indoor ride is so, so cool. I will probably eventually sign up for Training Peaks, although shooting for a goal cadence and speed was challenging enough. And now I have a baseline for improvement -- you can't improve what you can't measure, right?

When I got off the bike the Edge alerted me that I had set a bunch of new records. Haha! Thanks, Edge.

I hope to use this as a tool to get better, stronger and faster. Right now I just want to play with my new toys on the bike, so I'm going to roll (ba dum tss) with the motivation while it's there.

Ride on!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


My weigh-in a few days ago wasn't great.

I'm not gaining anything significant but I'd rather that line be heading downward. I haven't been eating anything out of the ordinary, and I know I'm not gaining that much muscle. I guess the reduction in running mileage from 125 in February to 75 in March is catching up with me?

Maybe I need to get my butt back on the bike and back in the pool.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Week in review March 27-April 2: Fitness vs. Fun, Family, Friends and Feeling Frail

Run a lot, yoga a bit.
Do you like my fun title? Last week was typical in that I had a strong start, then got distracted by events, family and friends as the week went on. Feeling like you-know-what for a few days didn’t help, either.

It started off well: Monday I went for a nice run with my husband and even did some yoga. Tuesday I went for a speedy run fueled by some anger from a bad day, but I came back feeling like a new woman and was happy to see some fast-for-me paces.

Wednesday is my usual weights video or barre night but I got a text from my friend in the morning wanting to go to Jay and Silent Bob Get Old downtown that evening. I’m a huge Clerks fan but originally didn’t want to go on a school night…. But she and my husband talked me into it. We made it a fun evening out and although I was exhausted the next day it was totally worth it.

I wasn’t planning on running Friday so I did 6 speedy miles Thursday to round off at 75 for the month; it was my lowest mileage month since September but I’m totally OK with that. Everything must have caught up with me on Friday because I felt like absolute garbage all day. I considered calling in sick which I NEVER do. I was so tired my eyes were burning, I was sniffly and had a sore throat, and just felt lousy. Was I was fighting off a cold, just exhausted, or starting to get hit by seasonal allergies (yay)? Who knows. After work I laid in bed for a while before rallying long enough to make a quick dinner and go to bed early.

Saturday I felt better but not great, so I did plenty of lounging around and relaxing. I was right at the point of no return for deciding whether to get up and do some kind of workout vs. crawling back into bed and committing to being a lazy bum (don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about) when I got a text from my uncle that he and my cousins were heading into town. Well, that solved that problem for me. We actually had a nice time visiting and walking around the neighborhood, but I did lie down and snooze for a bit after they left.

By yesterday (Sunday) I was feeling like myself again. It was a full day of food prep and errands, and I managed to squeeze in a 10-mile run before heading over to our friends’ house for dinner. If taking it easy Friday and Saturday helped me to feel better on Sunday, than I’m glad I did. Plus, it felt good to be able to bang out a 10-miler for the first time in 3 weeks, feel perfectly fine, and keep a decent-for-me pace. It was gorgeous weather and I was happy to be outside running in it.

By the numbers, it was:

Run: Four times, three outside and once on the treadmill, for 27.25 miles in about 4:26. Honestly, this is a lot better than I was expecting mileage-wise. Getting in a few solid runs during the week goes a long way.

Yoga: Once for 15 minutes. Meh.

Total: Five sessions in about 4:40. I lost a total of three days between events and not feeling great, so this still works out to more than an hour each day I did anything. But still, it’s not a lot.

I don’t have anything planned this week and because I’m totally lame I’d like to keep it that way. If I can lift weights a couple of times among some running that would be great. If I can make it to the pool that will be awesome. If I can do some yoga and pre-hab too I’ll be amazed with myself. Let’s see what happens.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Looking back at March: Not great running but some other good stuff

March training by hours, ish.
I didn't hit many of my goals for March. I didn't run 100 miles, I didn't do yoga twice a week, I didn't do as much pre-hab as I wanted.

But, although my run numbers were down, I did a lot of building up in other areas. I managed to lift weights 6 times, twice as much as for February. And I finally added some biking back into the routine.

By the numbers, I managed:

Runs: 13 total, 8 on the treadmill and 5 on the road, for 75 miles in about 12.5 hours.

Like I said in my previous post, part of the reason that I have low speed and mileage is because I've been running with my husband a lot, and I'm totally OK with that. Between that, and missing runs here and there, and recovering from my quadruple race weekend, that chipped away at my goal. I'm a little bummed but not going to dwell on it. I'm still ahead of a 100-per-month goal for 2017.

Weights: 6 times, working out to 3 heavy/body sessions, 2 barre classes, and 1 video, in just less than 7 hours. This averages out to 1.5 times per week, so I'll take this as a mild success. I got out of the rotation once or twice, but was able to bump up a few weights and reps over the course of the month.

Bike: 3 times, all on the trainer, for 2:30 total. 2 of these were warmups for weights, and the last was an actual 1.5-hour workout. It does feel good to get back on the bike and work some different muscles again.

I decided I am going to get more serious about training and just spent my REI dividend on a new computer, a cadence sensor and a speed sensor. More to come.

Pre-hab: 4 sessions, 3 on my own and 1 runners' clinic, for about 1.5 hours. This was pretty far off my goal of 3 times per week, which is a big bummer. But... it's still twice as much as I did in February, so I can't be too bummed.

Yoga: 3 times, all self-guided, for 1 hour total. Like everything else, I would have liked to do more, but at least I did something.

Total: 29 sessions in about 24.5 hours. When I look at it that way, that I averaged something almost every single day, I feel a bit better.

Overall, a decent month. As always, I'm limited by hours in the day and just need to do the best I can. On to April.