Tuesday, February 9, 2016

We haven't really talked since last year...

Oh haiiiii!

I'm back. 

New Year, New m.. 

Nope. Old me. Since the half marathon, I had been taking it pretty easy around here. I'm wasn't killing myself waking up at 4 to workout, although I probably need to get going on that honestly.  It's been lots of shorter, more intense workouts.


You know, a whole lot of nothing. The holidays flew by and now we're back to the new year. Clean slate. Fresh start.

I haven't really been to the gym much ever in the last 10 years, but a few weeks ago one night when we took the kids to the Y, I was shocked at how packed it was at 7:30 in the evening. Sardines. 

Then I remembered what day it was-
January 7th. Barely into the new year. Of course. Now, I think it's great that people have made resolutions to get healthy and stay active. My hope is that it continues.

Funny thing is, once you make exercise a regular part of your life, January doesn't feel much different, which is actually kind of nice. 

We have lots of running plans coming up in the next year and I've been meaning to get back on track with consistent running but I haven't managed more than a few miles a time, maybe a few times a week. The going's been slow, people. S-L-O-Wwwww. <insert turtle emoji>. 

Last Monday, J asked me if I wanted to run the Tacoma city, which kind of caught me off guard. I know he'd been planning on signing up but we hadn't discussed if I would run as well. Races aren't cheap and we already have lots of $$$ allocated for summer and fall races. Anyways, I said yes, of course, because a slow half marathon can't keep a girl down. I figure it would be the perfect motivator to keep me in running shape for when our summer running really takes off. 

I did some quick perusing of training plans, and found one that worked well with my schedule. I've always had the best luck with the Another Mother Runner plans. Love em.  I worked backwards from the day of the race and calculated back 13 weeks, which is the duration of the plan. The plan start date was 2/1, which of course was last Monday, the day we discussed running the race together! 

So, i ended up starting off strong with a rest day. But the next morning, my alarm blared at 4am, and once again I found myself in the cold but welcoming garage gym I've come to love accept as my chilly morning training ground. I know I only have had one week of training but the 20 miles I logged last week was really the kick off I needed and have been waiting for to get my ass going. 

I love the AMR plans because I feel like they truly do take into account that we all have lives that coincide with running, and that sometimes the other part of our lives - kids, husband; work- need to take precedence. It helps you figure out the perfect balance as well as give perspective. Who doesn't need perspective, especially when you're wrangling on your sports bra at 4:05 in the dark, dark morning as you're trying to not wake up your snoozing husband as well as avoid tripping over piles of semi folded laundry. Ah, kid chores. 

Let's mix it up, shall we? I usually I recap the week in the beginning but it kind of didn't fit that way soooo, here is a recap of last week.

Week 1:

2/1: rest
2/2: 4 miles - 2 mile x.25 rest. 

5 rounds 
        Kb - 10 swings. 
       10 upright rows

2/3: 5 miles ladder workout
        1 mile WU. 1,2,3,2,1 x2
        .25 finish 47 min
        30 sec rest, 1.5 min recovery jog for            rest intervals 

2/4: Rest

2/5: 8 miles. 1:15+ 

2/6: 1 mile warmup, TM. 
        20 min Emom
         -20 KBS 25#
         -3 squat clean thrusters - 45#

        PM: 5 rounds, 8 lb
        Shoulder raises
        Lateral raised
        Bicep curls. 
        Hammer curls

2/7: 2 mile recovery. 19:44 
        5 rounds
        5 Deadlifts-95#q
        5 Push press- 45#

        20 shoulder taps
        20 mountain climbers

Total miles: 20
Rest days: 2
Strength: 3

Thursday, December 3, 2015

When you just run instead of race.

Week 10

11/23: Rest
11/24: 4 miles 
11/25: xt. Gym time w the kids 
11/26: 4 miles, strength
11/27: Rest
11/28: 2 miles, strength 
11/29: Race. 13.1

Well. It's over. Seattle Half Marathon 2015 has come and gone. I can't say I'm sad it's over, but I'm certainly glad I did it. 

Two years ago, this race humbled me. I had trained hard but not the right way, and the hills at the end ate me alive. So last year, I was determined to conquer the course. I trained hard, followed my plan, and met my 2 hour time goal. 

I have this habit. I have a solid winter running season, and then I start to fall away from running around the spring time. I lose my momentum, run junk miles during the warm months, and then find myself starting almost new around fall.

It happens every year, and this year was no exception. Even with Rainier to Ruston and Ragnar, I was not consistent in my running. This year, I postponed my training until later in September which only gave me 10 weeks instead of 12. 

Immediately I knew that I would not be mentally ready to hit 2 hrs again, let alone sub 2. I trained when I could, incorporating more weights and cross training. I was stronger in some ways but definitely not faster.  My long runs were decent, but my speed work and hills were lacking. The week leading up the race, I had a moment of clarify and realism. I wasn't going to blow this race out of the water. And decided, that it would be alright. 

During my last 13 miler, I had an epiphany. Despite pounding the pavement for 2 hours in the pouring rain, I ended the run smiling. I didn't push myself to the point of pain, but ran comfortably. It's funny how running can make you feel so weak, and yet so strong. After four years of calling myself a runner, I can finally say that I understand. It's not about getting faster or stronger (although, who doesn't want that) but it's like art/sport imitating life-  isn't it all about learning to enjoy the journey? 

I had friends who trained for this race along with me, and it was nice I have someone to commiserate with on long runs, sore muscles, cold hands. I had running buddies who patiently listened to my daily ramblings about miles and weights and the snoring man on the train. I had a supportive husband and kids who yawned and turned over in bed when my alarm would blare at 4:00 every morning. Little volunteers who would massage my legs during evening story time. 

This race, this training - it wasn't all about me. They say it takes a village to raise a child but it is the very same village who makes life possible. Sure; I could have done this all on my own; but at what expense, and at what enjoyment?

So. Sunday. I covered my watch with my shirt sleeve, and just ran my feel. I had one of my favorites volunteer to wake up early, wait in the frigid cold to meet me at mile 8, and run to the finish with me. Please let it be known that this is the only way I will ever be able to cross a finish line with Miss Sam. #speedywhitehairedrunner

J, who has run this race with me the two years prior, opted this year to be my cheering squad. He stood next to me at the start, held my puffy coat, and snapped a couple of pictures. He tracked me using an app, and knew when I was rounding to the finish,  and took video of myself and Sam running down the finish shoot. I was a little surprised when I saw the time on the clock (almost 8 min slower than last year) but I was happy to finish to my buddy by my side, and have that medal placed around my neck. 

This time, pace meant nothing.

Running, it meant everything. 

Thank you to everyone in my life who keeps these legs moving, the wheels of life turning, and my heart so very full. 

*best parts of this picture - matching strides, with gloves/hat in hand, and I'm apparently I'm enjoying myself so much I'm whistling through the finish line.

*My sherpa, with my puffy coat in hand. XOXO

Monday, November 23, 2015

Let's (hurry up) and do this

Week 9: 

11/16: Rest
11/17: 4 miles, easy. 38+ min
11/18: Rest. Hamstring pain
11/19: 5 miles 
11/20: Strength, 1 mile TM. 35 min
11/21: 8 miles
11/22: Rest

Not exactly the high mileage week the plan called for but whatever. I've actually only hit the prescribed weekly mileage for this half training cycle, maybe... twice?Most weeks have been hovering around 20 miles/week, which feels comfortable. 

However comfortable, the steady (low-ish miles) have translated into less than stellar paces for most of my runs. My legs were very heavy for most of my morning runs, although my long runs were... Decent. Not great, but not sucktastic. 

Let's be real, I'm kind of ready for this Sunday to just come already. I won't be breaking or making any speed records but it's ok. 

I was able to run with two of my Beast Runner ladies on Saturday, and it was wonderful. We met at the trailhead at 6:55 bright and early. It was a balmy 27 degrees and perfectly clear and crispy. Pace was the last thing on my mind. I just wanted to get some miles on my legs, and i ended having a wonderful conversation with my running buddy. It was one of those pleasant, perfect runs - ideal weather (once we warmed up a bit), lovely conversation, and a pristine crisp morning. I felt like I could have kept running for miles. For a moment, I almost wished i was doing a really long run a  how insane does that sound. It was the kind of moment that makes you cherish the ability to run. When the run was over, J was so kind to treat us to hot cups of green tea. I have the nicest friends. A perfect way to start the weekend. 

Whatever happens this weekend at the race,  I'll be ok. I will do the best I can, and that will be good enough.

So. Now it's taper time. Starting the week strong with a rest day. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Two weeks left

Week 8: 

11/9: Rest
11/10: 4 miles, speed work/hills. 37 min. Strength. 15 min 
11/11: 4 miles. Abs. 50 min ttl 
11:12: Strength (1 TM miles) - 40 min (mc fit)
11/13: Rest
11/14: 13 miles. It's complicated 
11/15: Strength 35 min

I'm pooped. 

I woke up this morning to extremely tight hamstrings, and I could picture them snapping with one wrong move. Good thing I took a rest day but some serious stretching is in order tonight. 

I didn't fit in any longer weekday runs last week. Looking back at the last couple of weeks, I don't think the added mileage was beneficial at all, not in the way I was running them anyways. I wasn't pushing myself or using the time wisely, instead just trying to bank the miles. Last week I just decided to run a couple of four milers - short but smart: they weren't spectacular or exceptionally fast but they were workouts with purpose. I felt good about the two sessions, and then added a pretty solid strength session on Thursday. Friday's are usually rest days if my long runs fall on Saturdays. 


It rained.

Like, A LOT.

All. Day. Long. 

Normally for a longer run, I wake up early and try to get out the door before 8, but this time I decided there was no rush. We had no plans, there would be no break in the rain showers and it would most likely be dark-ish and colder the earlier I started. 

I let myself sleep in until 8, leisurely enjoyed my coffee and pita bread w jam and almond butter, and strolled out into the steady rain around 9:20. 

For the next two hours, I would pound the soggy pavement, step in a massive puddle, get sprayed at least four times by passing cars, and run up and down the same strip of neighborhood 3.5 times. Also, I would forget to start my garmin after a stop light, and proceed to run the next 1+ mile with the watch on pause.  

It's funny how a stupid watch and silly numbers can really mess with your mind because I almost quit after seeing that I hadn't received "credit" for miles 8.5 to 9.75. But then, how ridiculous is that. It's not like I didn't actually run those miles, I most certainly did! 

Proceeded to bust out the rest of the miles at a steady pace. There would be no fast finish: in fact, this training cycle had been filled with anything but fast anything. 

I don't know the exact time of my run since my garmin and I are not currently on speaking terms but the data suggests my pace was 9:35 overall. Decent. I'll take it given the circumstances.

Oh, and I took an immodium before I started my run. I sipped on two Gu's at miles 5 and 10 (jet blackberry, and salted watermelon) and had no water. Thirsty! I experienced very mile stomach distress about an hour or so after finishing but much more mild than usual. No other ill side effects from the run, aside from being frozen solid the rest of the day. Brrr.

Threw in one more strength circuit on Sunday. I probably should have run a few miles to shake out my legs but I just was not feeling the treadmill, and we also woke up to 37 degrees and a dusting of snow yesterday! 

One more long run left, Turkey day, and then it's race time!

Monday, November 9, 2015

And on a Sunday

Week 7:

11/2: Rest
11/3: 6 miles - 1 mi WU. 3,4? 800's. 200m recovery. 1.5 mi cd. 55+min
11/4: 4 miles,  easy 
11/5: 1 TM. Circuits. 45 min
11/6: Strength circuit. 40 min. PM
11/7: Rest
11/8: 11 miles- 1hr45. 

Total weekly mileage: 22

I wish I would have started training a couple weeks earlier than I did. I keep looking back at my training journal from last year and I can't remember hitting those paces, and I certainly don't remember it being as hard as it has been this time around. During yesterday's long run, I had lots of time to think about the race, and decided I may need to revisit my goals. In my experience, I race exactly as I train. There are no race day heroics or surprise performances. What I practice comes to fruition. Every single time. So unless I can (literally) turn it up a couple of notches, I will not be meeting or beating my time from last year. I think I'm ok with that, based on the fact that this training cycle has been so different (especially with the addition of more and heavier weight training. It's funny how I can feel so sloggy while running, but still strong in other times. The other day, I even noticed baby biceps forming on my normally wobbly old lady bat wings. Even J noticed and was pretty impressed. 

So. Baby steps. I don't have everything figured out quite yet (will I ever?) but I think that's ok. I am healthier than I was even a few years ago so at least I have that for which I'm thankful. 

I also think since I am running less weekly mileage - replacing the short 3,4 mile runs w XT- this might also be affecting my endurance/mental strength? Who knows! Just a thought. 

So. Last week. 

This time around I have been working out on Mondays, which normally would be a rest day for me. However, last week I started the week off with a rest and decided Tuesday would be my speed day.

My "speed" session was not easy. 800's are hard! I lost track of how many I did, but even 3 is a lot. I think I definitely need to throw in some real speed work into my rotation on a consistent basis, not just when I'm training. I need to remind my legs what it feels like to move faster than a snail. 

I did try to keep Wednesdays 4 miles easy. I always start my first mile at a 6.0 on the treadmill (10 min/mile) and hovered around 6.3, 6.4. 

Thursday workout details

Workout courtesy of Megan - munchercruncher on Instagram

Um. Way harder than I thought it would be. And took me longer too! Total workout was 45 minutes. Solid. Also. #wobblylegs

Friday workout details: 
     5 rounds
      20 DB cleans #20
      10 squat and press #15
      10 burpees 

      5 rounds
       12 bicep curls
       12 hammer curls
       12 upright rows
       12 push-ups
       12 triceps dips
        40 min total

Our scheduling didn't line up this week so I had to postpone my long run to Sunday, which tends to stress me out. I like to get my long runs out of the way first thing on Saturday so I can enjoy the weekend. You know, eat out, have a glass of wine, etc. . But, since I really had no other choice, I decided to try and look positively at the situation.  I took the opportunity to sleep in on Saturday (until 9:15!!!), make pancakes for the kids and just lounge around the house. I took W to a birthday party, made my favorite sweet potato chili, hung out with the kids and then later in the evening we had dinner out for my mom and brother's birthdays. I made sure to carb load on lots of sushi and noodles. 

Sunday I quite literally rolled out of bed at 6:07, had a cup of coffee and two small leftover pancakes w a smear of almond butter, and then was out the door by 7:20. I looped around the adjacent neighborhood twice until I hit 2 horrid warmup miles and then headed out of the neighborhood for 9 more very inconsistent miles. I tried to relax and take it easy but the beginning miles were a struggle (aren't they always). Around mile 4,5 I started to hit the groove. I had a vanilla GU close to mile 6 but no water. I didn't feel thirsty during the entire run but I'm sure I could have used some hydration. I can't stand any water belts so I may have to cave and try a handheld. Anyways. Mile 9 was a long uphill and I managed to keep it 10 minutes although last year at this time I was closer to 9. Womp. Oh well. That was last year. Anyways, I really had to dig for the last two miles. Mile 10 felt very long and then by mile 11 I just wanted to be done. I put my head down, pumped my arms and tried not to implode. 

Of course when it was done, I was super proud of myself for not giving up its toor letting myself stop, except for one stop light. I managed to finish about a mile from home, so I walk/jogged to cool down and let my body slowly recoup. When I end the run right in front of my house, I tend to rush inside and take a shower  without bothering to stretch or cool down. I've also been more mindful about making sure to refuel right after my hard workouts. I've finally found a protein powder that is gentle in my stomach! Hallelujah. However, running in general is not kind to my stomach, so especially after long runs I tend to use the facilities a few times more than normal. I might try to take Pepto or Immodium before my next long run, to see if that helps any. 

11 miles this past Sunday.

11 miles? Or the peace sign?

Or. Both?

13 this coming Saturday. I can do it. Right. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

27 days left

Week 6: 

10/26: 7 miles. 2 WU. 3x1, 800m jog, 1 mi CD (Did this wrong. HMP, not 10k pace)
10/27: 30 min, strength circuit
10/28: 3 miles, indoor track. Strength. 3 miles, TM. 6 mi ttl 
10/29: Rest
10/30: Rest
10/31: 9 miles. TM. 9:20ish
11/1: Strength (8 rounds)

Something's not working. 

I'm not sure what it is but I have just a few weeks to figure it out. This cycle has been different in that I've been incorporating more weight training but I think that is also what is causing the struggles. I don't think I've quite figured out how to balance the two. Plus, I think not eating meat has come to a point where it really is affecting  me with this increase in miles (and I'm not even running that many!)  I always feel sluggish and heavy, and I know I'm not (any more) heavier than last year. I do feel like I'm more muscular and not skinny fat like I was when I first started running but shouldn't that make me feel stronger? Anyways, I discovered I should be taking a vitamin B12 supplement since I am a pseudo vegetarian. It's supposed to help red blood cell generation and it's something typically only found in animal proteins. I do still eat eggs and some dairy, but I definitely think something is lacking in my nutrition. I feel like I eat a good amount, and a varied diet but maybe with my working out and busy schedule, maybe it's just not enough. So, I'll stuff myself with the vitamins and see what works. 

So. Ok. Running. Last week was mediocre. I decided to do 7 TM miles on a Monday night, but ended up running the miles at HMP, not 10k pace, so the workout wasn't as hard as it should have been. 

Tuesday I thought it would be a brilliant idea to do the crippling leg workout from a couple of weeks ago, and again, I was sore for two days afterwards. I was off from work Wednesday for a field trip with W, but managed 3 indoor track miles (21 laps- hamster time) and some arms on the machine with a friend who met me at the Y! The time was cut short since I had to pick up the kiddos but once I got home, I forced myself to squeeze in 3 very painful sloggy TM miles to get to 6 for the day. 

In more positive news, busted out new Brooks Launch for the treadmill. They are super light and cushy, albeit a tad ugly? But this color was on sale, and the price was incredible so in this case, I was cheaper than I was vain. But juuuust barely. 

Thursday and Friday ended up being rest days (sore cowboy legs!) and then Saturday's 9 mile run was forced indoors due to the blustery winds and sideways downpour. Normally I don't mind running outside in any weather but the vain part of me did not want to get my new shoes sopping wet. Here is where vanity wins. 

Old season of at TBL in the background!

9 ugly miles on the treadmill. 1hr24 min. I stopped the treadmill a good handful of times and had to convince myself to run the extra mile to get to 9. I'm always pretty happy once I'm done but the first 30-40 minutes of any run are an eternity. 

I considered a slow shake out run on Sunday but I settled on some weights and upper body. Aside from the sore leg struggles, I have noticed that my upper body and shoulders especially are stronger when I'm running longer distances. I just need to figure out how to put it all together, this running and weights thing.

A dash of this, a pinch of that.. Boom, crash...Voila?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Choo Choo chugga chugga

Week 5: 

10/19: Strength/TM - 2 miles
10/20: 4 miles. Indoors. YMCA
10/21: 6 miles; outside. 4.5 w D. 1.5 solo
10/22: strength 10 minutes
10/23: rest 
10/24: 10 miles, outside. Slow minutes
10/25: strength/stretch

Monday's details: 
5 rounds
10 squat cleans
10 push press
10 SA DB swings #20 (each side)

Ended w .75 to total 2 miles 

Thursday's details:
5 rounds
10 front raises #8
10 fly raises #8
10 hammer curls #8
10 squat and press #8

When O was younger, he was obsessed with trains. I cannot count how many times and how many episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine and Choo Choo Soul have been burned into my brain. I think he really craved the order and synchronicity of the trains itself - all lined up in a row each with its own specific purpose. He has since outgrown his obsession love with trains but he definitely still exhibits the same obsessive tendencies. Kind of annoying as a parent, honestly, when your kid is so insistent and focused  that he won't give up, even when all signs point to Game Over. Dead End. Full Stop.

Training feels like that to me sometimes. As annoying and overbearing it gets in my life, I still crave that order, the knowledge of knowing that next stop. Often think I must be as annoying to my friends and family as I felt(feel?) Oliver was to us back then when he always and only had trains on the brain. But, now I understand. It will bode well for him in life, this personality trait. Doesn't make it any less annoying though. ��

With each training cycle, I try to make sure that the schedule doesn't overtake and control the rest of our lives, but.. When you're the mom and certain responsibilities lie with you, juggling it all and making time for what is important is... not necessarily a struggle, because it's all worth the perseverance and hard work, BUT! It's tiring. I'm tired! You'd think after all of these times I could have found the recipe for this...

Last week was a super slogfest. I'm starting to think this heavy dead legs feeling is not all from weight training. I've really started to realistically study my diet and its affects on training, and my overall health. I am starting to be more diligent about vitamins, drinking enough water and really thinking about my protein intake. So much work, but if I want to see results I have to put in all the work, right? Right. So, stop eating the sugar, LB. 

I was psyching myself up over Saturday's 10 miles. It's been a while since I've ran 10 miles, let alone outside and alone.  I had to mentally pep talk myself all of Friday and even Saturday morning. Luckily, we didn't have plans until the afternoon so I was able to sleep in a bit, make pancakes for the family and then head out around 9. In the rush to find some working earbuds, I left the house without any fuel. Whoops! Turns out, you don't need fuel as much when you aren't running very fast. The GU could have helped but I was really ok without it.

The first two miles always suck in major ways, but I found my groove around mile 4, and ended up doubling back in the middle to knock out some miles. My legs didn't feel great but I felt.. Ok. Not like death,  but not like a rockstar. Somewhere in the middle, like your average pedestrian suburbanite. My main goal was not necessarily pace (although, isn't that always really the goal) but to finish strong those 10 miles. Save for two brief stop lights, I ran the entire way and for a moment, I even #ranhappy, if you can believe it. 

So, first 10 miles in the training cycle are on the books!

This week's 10 miles are scheduled for the treadmill.

Hold meeee