Boston Week 11: Toughing it Out

5 weeks (& 1 day) to go…

This is going up a bit late in the week because I wanted to get Sunday’s long run/half marathon recap done before sharing the rest of the week’s training. Last week started out with a really great workout and a little concern over what I now think was just a little niggle. It ended with a couple of tough runs where I had to make a decision to pull back on one and to push through on another. Mileage-wise, it was the biggest week of this cycle yet!

Monday:

  • Run: Tempo: w/3M @ 7:10 – 7:20: 8M, 7:44 avg.
  • Strength: Runner’s World Workout x 1 + 1×15 Single Leg Squat + 1×25 Leg Raises Against the Wall (as warm-up)

It was mid-40′s and sunny so…SHORTS! Running without all of the winter clothes made me feel like I could fly! After last Saturday’s long run, I swore to myself I would keep the tempo miles in goal range and pull back if any tightness in my calf was still there. I could still feel a little tightness on the warm up, but running faster didn’t bother it at all. In fact, the further I got into the tempo, the more it loosened up. I settled into my tempo pace and it was faster than I planned, but the effort felt almost easy. I kept trying to make a conscious effort to pull back, but my legs kind of locked in: 7:03, 7:02, 6:59. After I finished and switched from my racers back to my heavier shoes to cool down, my calf felt a little tight again. I remembered from last fall that wearing my heavier shoes bothered my right calf too…may just have to ditch those for a while.

Tuesday:

  • Run: 1:00 Easy: 7.2M, 8:21
  • Strength: Yoga

Another day warm enough for shorts! Nice and easy run with Walter. There was some lingering tightness/soreness in my calf in the middle miles, but it was off and on then loosened up toward the end. Ironically, it seems to feel the best when I pick up the pace a little.

Yoga was the perfect mix of stretching and work and I felt great afterward.

Wednesday:

 After running in shorts two days in a row, this happened overnight:

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Fortunately it was a cross-training day and I took this on my way to the gym :) It was a super sweaty spin class and the time went by really fast. I went upstairs for strength training immediately afterward and went through the full workout. I am definitely feeling like my glutes and hips are getting stronger, as I am able to hold form and control movement much better than when I first started doing these exercises.

Thursday:

  • Run: Speed w/3x1M @ 6:35-40: 8.25M, 8:11 avg.
  • Strength: Runner’s World Workout x 1 + 1×15 Single Leg Squat + 1×25 Leg Raises Against the Wall (as warm-up) + Yoga

It was back to fleece lined tights, double socks and wool base layer for this run. I was really anxious about this workout because I knew that if there was any lingering tightness in my calf that mile repeats could result in a full fledged injury. I promised myself that I would be okay with bagging the workout and running easy if I needed to. Fortunately, there was no tightness at all and I was able to attempt the repeats. Attempt being the key word. The first repeat felt really hard: 6:39. Right on pace, but I knew the next two would be rough since the effort was already way harder than it should be. The second one felt hard in the first 30 seconds and despite being nearly redlined, I still only hit 6:46 (6 seconds off goal pace). I tried every mental trick during this mile. I begged myself to fight for it. I told myself how lucky I was to get to work hard because my body is healthy…something I wasn’t sure about going in. In the end, it just wasn’t there physically. And instead of killing myself on a day when my body wasn’t cooperating, I decided it would be smarter to back off and do the last repeat at tempo pace: 7:11. And even that felt crazy HARD. My body was spent for the cool down and I had to stop twice, walking for a bit the second time. Womp. 

I honestly didn’t feel disappointed in myself for quitting giving up on altering this workout. Partly because I was so giddy that that the calf tightness from earlier in the week was nothing serious. But also because I know that as a runner, these days just happen…even when there is no good explanation. And the best way to handle it is to let it go and move on to the next.

Given my body’s clear communication to me during the run, I decided that I would give it the rest it needs and pass on the yoga class I planned for later in the day.

Friday:

  • Workout: OFF
  • Strength: None

After Thursday’s mile repeat disaster, it was perfect timing for a complete rest day.

Saturday:

  • Run: 45 min Easy in Central Park: 5.5M, 8:23 avg.
  • Strength: None

Beautiful, sunny run in shorts in Central Park. Jenny and I took the subway up to the park from our hotel then did a couple of miles together. When she turned back, I went on for a full loop of the park (walking the last 0.5 or so). It was WARM, which felt great but after a pre-5 a.m. alarm and being on an airplane, it took my body a couple of miles to loosen up and get going. Once I did, I wanted to keep running and not stop at 45 min!

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Reuniting with Jenny after our runs.

Sunday:

Miles: 48.6

Treadmill runs: 0 (Two weeks in a row! Has spring arrived?)

Total Runs on the ‘mill this winter: 12

Posted in bike, Chicago, friends, running, Strength Training, training, Weather, weekly recap, Yoga | 4 Comments

20 Miles & NYC 1/2

When I registered for the NYC Half, I assumed I would race it and (hopefully) PR like I did last year during Eugene training. My ever-wise Coach had other plans and (as usual), he definitely knew what was most important for my training that day. Building up to the weekend, I was itching to race. I believe I have a faster half in me and I wanted to see what I could do. But after a rough speed workout on Thursday and seeing the monster workout on the schedule for Sunday, I was more than content with the plan to run the half marathon as part of my long run with no PR attempt or goal pace miles.

“Race” Eve

Jenny and I flew to New York at 7 Saturday morning, which meant a 4-something wake-up. I was tired, but excited and knew the early morning meant I would sleep well Saturday night. Once we got to the city (via the LIRR from the airport…like locals, yo), we dropped our bags at the hotel then walked the 6ish blocks to the expo. We were in and out and only stopped to say hi to Jocelyn and get more salted caramel Gu.

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Teammate Tim left me a message on the board at the expo!!

After the expo we went for a warm, sunny shake-out in Central Park, followed by coffee and lots of chatting with the lovely Megan. After quick showers back at the hotel, we met Jocelyn and Laura for a delicious dinner at Ovest Pizza. It was awesome catching up with Laura and Jocelyn…the chatter was non-stop and I laughed the entire time {kind of the theme for the weekend}.

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Great friends, pizza, wine. Can’t be beat.

We were exhausted after dinner and I think I was out as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Race Morning

I met Jocelyn outside my hotel to run over to Central Park where we met Tim for more miles. I was beyond grateful to have company for the early part of the long run. We were able to squeeze in almost 6 miles before the race then stop to say hi to Megan and look for Jenny.

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Speedy Megan killed the race with a big PR!

I hopped the fence into my corral about 7 minutes before the race started. Since I was sweaty and it was in the low 30′s, I got cold standing there even for that short amount of time. I was happy when the race started and I could run to get warm again.

The Race

Within the first 10 seconds of the race a guy in front of me rolled his ankle in a divot in the road. No kidding, his foot turned 90 degrees inward. It freaked me out (hello Boston?!) and I felt really bad for him. I paused to try to see if he was okay, but he stood up and was hanging over the barricade to avoid getting trampled, so I ran on.

The Central Park miles all kind of blur together. I warmed up fairly quickly and just tried to take the hills at effort. I remembered them being SO much easier last year when I was racing through the park. The downhills were bothering my calf a little and I was worried that if it got any worse that I would have to stop. Fortunately that went away completely at some point. At mile 10 (total) I couldn’t believe I was only halfway done. I was having a hard time finding a rhythm in the crowds of people and just generally not feeling that strong.

NyC 2014 CP

One of the better shots from the CP miles

After leaving the park, the crowds thinned out a little and I got a boost from the Times Square crowds and entertainment. Despite that, I was feeling a little discouraged by how far I felt like I had run and how far I still had to go.

NYC 2014 TS

haha…strugglefest. Sleeping or running?

Once I got on the West Side Highway, I thought it would feel like I was nearing the end, but it seemed MUCH longer than it did last year when I was flying through there to finish. At some point I got a cramp in my abdomen that I mostly walked out at one of the water stops and was able to breathe through for the rest of the way.

NYC 2014 TS

When you aren’t even racing and that’s the best you can do for a photographer, you might be struggling.

Eventually we hit the tunnel and I knew I was close to the end. When I rounded the corner to the finish, I heard Jocelyn yell my name and was happy to know that she was there at the end to meet me. She was even generous enough to run another mile with me to round out my mileage for the day. 

I finished the race with a time of 1:51:11 (8:32 avg). I walked several water stops (because why not?!) and just generally took my time, but it is still a little weird to see my slowest half since 2010. Total distance for the day was something between 19.5 and 20 miles and my overall pace was around 8:25. I had to estimate distance/pace because the buildings made my watch wonky. My Garmin said the race was only 12.5 miles and was off in the miles before the race as well. The overall pace is a bit slower than where my long runs have been, but I can live with that on a tough day.

Jocelyn grabbed this shot after we finished running the last mile. That is the look of one exhausted runner.

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Once I got back to the hotel, I gave Jenny a HUGE hug to congratulate her on KILLING her half, then changed and headed down to the cardio room to finish the workout. I was dreading getting on the elliptical, but I took it nice and easy and it actually felt good to loosen the legs up a bit. Thanks to lots of twitter updates on everyone’s races and many texts from Jenny and Chanthana, the 45 min flew by.

And since Coach texted that if I didn’t selfie, it didn’t happen…

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Trust me, no one wants a selfie of what I looked like at that point.

Of course we followed the morning with brunch…

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Chanthana, Jenny, Tim, me, Lora

Then drinks on the roof top at Eataly…

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With my dear friend Sofia and her fiance, Thomas

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Runner/blogger/twitter friends. So much laughter!

Then finally more drinks at the end of the evening…

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Jenny and I were pretty proud of ourselves for pushing through the day despite our runs that morning. It was 100% worth it to spend quality time with some really fantastic people. It was an awesome weekend and despite not finishing my run feeling really strong, I was happy to have the big workout behind me and move into a cutback week before peaking then tapering!

Posted in friends, Goals, Race reports, Races, running, Strength Training, training, Travel | 3 Comments

Friday Fun VIII

Happy Friday!! This week flew by, but I couldn’t be happier for the weekend to be at our doorsteps. So many things making me happy these last couple of weeks. Here are a few:

  1. Nuun Energy. My favorite hydration company launched a new product last week. It is essentially the same electrolyte mix as their Active Hydration product, but enhanced with caffeine (crucial for this non-coffee lover) and B-vitamins. As soon as it was available, I ordered a pack of all three flavors. The Wild Berry is good, similar to the tri berry Active flavor, and the Cherry Limeade and Lemon Lime are both every bit as fantastic (more?) as their Active counter parts. And of course Cherry Limeade is currently my favorite flavor, so I am loving that!Nuun energy
  2. Boston Accommodations. Okay, okay. This is the LAST and final time I will bring this one up. I mentioned in my weekly recap that I finally booked housing for Boston. I am super excited because not only is it reasonably priced (all relative), but it is an excellent location, just a couple of blocks from the finish line.
  3. NYC. Tomorrow morning Jenny and I are flying to New York for the half marathon. Jenny is racing it and I am running it as part of a 20-miler with some low-impact cardio tacked on to the end. This is one of 2 really big workouts that mimic the amount of time I will be physically active during the marathon. I am excited and scared all at the same time and glad that I will have the boost of a race for a major portion of the miles. I am also looking forward to seeing tons of friends in NYC and exploring with Jenny and Chanthana. This is the first time I have ever put on a bib for a half marathon and not raced for a PR, but the 3 1/2 hours of total workout time is more than enough to deter me from being tempted to run too fast through the streets of NYC. 
  4.  Nieces. Last Saturday, Brad and I went to Peoria (twice in one week for me) to see our Nieces for their birthdays. One was at the end of February (turning 2) and the other is the end of March (turning 4). We weren’t able to make it for the actual day for either so we had a special day with cake, presents, etc. for both with just the two of us (and their parents, of course). We painted nails (including Walter’s), read books and watched Bubble Guppies. What more can you ask for in a sleepover?
  5.  Nuun Socks! Remember when Ernie was sick and I posted a pic of him with a Nuun bottle? I was one of the #Nuunlife contest winners and I won a fun pair of Pro Compression socks! They are my new favorite compression socks and if they are clean, they have been on my feet every day since they arrived.

  6. Spring! I know everyone loves weather talk, especially this year. But seriously, we have had a couple of realllly nice days here this week (including today). Of course we also had snow on Wednesday and the 10-day forecast isn’t ALL spring-like, but I believe the worst of the cold is finally behind us and warmer days are on the way!
  7. This. photo (7)Every time I get out the foam roller lately, this guy backs his butt up and sits just the back half of his body on me.

Good luck to everyone running long and racing this weekend! I will be keeping a close eye on friends in Jacksonville racing the Gate River Run!

Posted in Chicago, Ernie, Food, Friday Fun, friends, life, Races, running, the boys, training, Travel, walter, Yoga | 4 Comments

Boston Week 10: Speed Work

6 weeks to go…

HOLY SMOKES…only SIX weeks to go?! The time is flying! I finally got our housing booked for Boston which is a major weight off my shoulders. Now I just have to focus on finishing the rest of the cycle strong and healthy!

This week had a tough tempo and a big speed workout, in addition to a fast finish long run. So while, the mileage wasn’t huge, the intensity was definitely there.

I was reminded this week that this was the point in training for NYC where I strained my {right} calf muscle. Coach has made some adjustments during this heavy part of the cycle to avoid injury happening again (4 days of running + 1-2 cross), but I am also doing all the things I neglected on my end (yoga, strength training, rolling) to stay healthy. It was a nice sigh of relief to get through the tempo and track workout feeling good, but with some dicey conditions on my long run, my left calf was feeling a little tight toward the end. I will definitely have to keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn’t turn into anything serious.

Monday:

  • Run: Progressive Tempo: 1 & 2@7:30-40, 3 & 4@7:10-20, {optional} 5@sub-7:10 (or maintain): 9.5M, 7:45 avg.
  • Strength: Runner’s World Workout x 1 + 1×15 Single Leg Squat + 1×25 Leg Raises Against the Wall (as warm-up)

This is the same workout as a few weeks ago, but this time felt much, much better. I waited until the snow stopped and sun came out to hit the lakefront and even though it was {numb face} cold, it was sunny and not windy. I find it amazing how difficult 7:30 – 7:40 pace feels during a fast finish long run, yet how comfortable it feels when it is part of a tempo. The paces: 7:31, 7:27, 7:10, 7:09, 7:02. I tried to just get to the goal pace and let my legs lock in there…hence why the 2nd & 4th miles were a little faster than I planned. I try not to pull back then subsequently have surge too much if I can avoid it.

Tuesday:

  • Run: 1:00 Easy: 7.2M, 8:23 avg.
  • Strength: Yoga

Some days the easy runs are boring and feel like a chore. And some days they are very zen, where I enjoy running without a goal other than to keep it easy and to complete the given time. I did most of this run with Walter and watching how much he loved being out there reminded me how much I love just putting one foot in front of the other and running. It also reminded me to be thankful to be healthy and able to run.

The yoga class was a new instructor who was much more focused on the “vinyasa” than the “power” and it was nice to mix it up. I felt really in tune with my body and aware of my form and breathing, which doesn’t happen every time I practice, but feels really nice when it does.

Wednesday:

 I was too lazy to get up for the 6 a.m. spin class, but had to go to Peoria mid-morning so I rode on a bike in the spin room on my own. I tried to push a steady cadence with some resistance the whole time and then did 15 min of intervals toward the end. I was a sweaty mess. I immediately went upstairs for the strength work afterward and somehow ended up being sore from it, despite doing the same workout 3 weeks in a row?!

Thursday:

  • Run: Speed w/7-8×800 @ 3:20-25: 8.85M, 8:13 avg.
  • Strength: Runner’s World Workout x 1 + 1×10 Single Leg Squat + 1×25 Leg Raises Against the Wall (as warm-up)

I spent the night at my in-laws in Morton and planned to go to the high school track in the morning for my 800′s. When I got up, I decided not to chance that I would waste time driving over and it would be covered in snow. There is a nice flat loop in their neighborhood that is almost exactly a 1/2 mile so I warmed up and did the repeats there: 3:17, 3:21, 3:18, 3:25, 3:22, 3:25, 3:21, 3:25. I switched directions on every other repeat and there was something about going counter-clockwise (the even numbered repeats) that was harder and it shows in the numbers. Maybe it was the wind or the Garmin was off or something, I don’t know. I also had a hard time locking into a pace, which is why the repeats were a bit inconsistent.

Friday:

  • Workout: Spin or Swim: OFF
  • Strength: Yoga

I planned to do some cardio, but Friday morning yoga prevailed and after an extended break from work during the day, I decided to scrap the extra cardio session this week.

Saturday:

  • Run: 2:00 Hilly w/Fast Finish: 15M, 8:08 avg.
  • Strength: None

Brad and I had plans to go to Peoria Saturday morning, so I headed out to Morton Arboretum solo and early to get my hilly run done. I started about 7:30 and it was snowing lightly and very windy. For the first 2 miles of my run, I couldn’t open my eyes more than a squint because the snow was stinging so bad. Eventually the snow and wind both lightened up and the warmer morning (low 30′s) felt great. The warm temps from Friday + snow that morning made the conditions a bit messy. It was fine for the first 1/2 of the run because I could get a decent grip on the fresh snow, but once they plowed out the snow and hadn’t sanded yet, I was slipping around. I fell once, but very cleanly and popped right back up. Then during the tempo portion, my feet kept slipping, especially on downhills, and my legs felt like they were working hard to keep me stable. The fast finish miles were solid: 7:43, 7:38, 7:22. I was happy with that, especially on the rolling hills, but I was not happy that my lower left calf felt tight during the last 1.5 and a little sore afterward. Once I got compression socks on and rested my legs, it felt fine. There is no lingering soreness, but after being injured before, every little twinge sends my i-word radar into high gear.

Sunday:

  • Workout: OFF
  • Strength: None

Rest, rest, rest.

Miles: 40.6

Treadmill runs: NONE!!! Woop!

Total Runs on the ‘mill this winter: 12

Posted in bike, Chicago, friends, running, Strength Training, training, Weather, weekly recap, Yoga | 4 Comments

Boston Week 9: Finding the Joy

7 weeks to go…

After not “running happy” for most of last week, I really wanted to get back to enjoying the training journey while also executing my runs. That came pretty easily when I started the week with two great runs. Being forced to the treadmill for speedwork Thursday wasn’t nearly as bad as I predicted and my long run was about as fantastic as 18+ miles in 20-something degrees can be.

Coach cut my run days back to 4 for the first time since week 2. I supplemented the running with cross training, but the idea is to off-set the longer runs and hard workouts coming up with slightly lower mileage to keep me healthy.

Monday:

  • Run: Tempo w/3M @ 7:10-20: 8M, 7:49 avg.
  • Strength: Runner’s World Workout x 1 + 1×15 Single Leg Squat + 1×25 Leg Raises Against the Wall (as warm-up)

This was a day that I was very happy to be able to pick the warmest time of day to run. I went right at noon and the sun was shining bright, making 20* feel much, much warmer than that. And the run was exactly what I needed. I settled right into the tempo miles and just went with it: 7:08, 7:04, 6:59. I felt like I could have run at least one more at that pace and several more if I backed off to the actual goal range. Not only was I really happy to have strong, smooth tempo miles, but I also felt back to myself on this run, rather than counting the minutes until it was over.

I am starting to get in a good habit of doing some basic strength training as a warm-up before harder runs. It loosens my legs up and being a little sweaty also helps me get out the door on colder days.

Tuesday:

  • Run: 1:15 Easy: 9M, 8:24 avg.
  • Strength: Yoga

Brad and I decided to go to an 8:30 yoga class before work and I really like to run before yoga (rather than vice versa). Luckily the difference in temps between 7:00 and the rest of the day was only a few degrees, so I was able to get out early. It was 17* and sunny with low wind and a great way to start the day. It took a few miles to warm up and get loose, but after that, I felt comfortable and the miles ticked off quickly. I even helped some poor egotistical dude on the Lakefront get his surges in for the day…for 2+ miles, every time I tried to pass him, he sped up until he got tired. Then repeat. I am glad I could help. :)

Yoga was relatively low key and a perfect follow-up to the run.

Wednesday:

I planned to go to a morning spin class, but waking up to a sick pup derailed that idea. Once I got Ernie in good hands at the vet (and bawled my eyes out to the Dr. and her tech), I came home and tried to focus on work for the rest of the day. I finally went to the gym later for an evening spin class and some strength work. I pushed hard in the spin class for the first time in a while and it felt good to sweat out some of the stress from earlier. 

I found out after class that Ernie was doing MUCH better and even though he had to stay at the vet overnight, we didn’t have to transport him to a 24-hour ER. Thank heavens.

Thursday:

  • Run: Speed w/8-10×400 @ 5k pace (1:40-45): 7M, 8:05 avg.
  • Strength: Yoga

No signs of spring in sight. It was 5* with a -16 windchill in the morning and wasn’t getting much warmer, so I went to the gym to do my speed work on the ‘mill. I have never done speed on the treadmill so it took me halfway through the set to get used to the whole starting watch/turning speed up/checking distance thing. Repeats: 1:29 (short), 1:43, 1:39, 1:44, 1:43, 1:42, 1:40, 1:41, 1:41, 1:40. If I HAD to do speed on the treadmill, 400′s at 5k pace was a good time for it, since the workout was meant for “light turnover” (Coach’s words) and not an all out effort.

Followed the run with a perfectly sweaty yoga class.

Friday:

  • Workout: Spin or Swim: Swim 2400 yds. (50 min)
  • Strength: None

I actually got in a pool with goggles and swim cap for the first time since USAT Nationals last August. WHAT?! Surprisingly, despite the now permanent goggle rings around my eyes and faint stench of chlorine, I actually really enjoyed it! It felt natural and not clunky/awkward like I expected it to. It probably helps that I didn’t pay attention to time and just did my go-to pyramid of 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 400, 300, 200, 100 with 10-50 seconds in between. Since I have a tri in June, I am going to attempt one swim and one bike/spin on weeks where I only run 4 times.

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Hello Old Friend. (From my Instagram)

Saturday:

  • Run: 2:30 Hilly: 18.25M, 8:14 avg.
  • Strength: None

The instructions were to go “nice and conservative” (but I didn’t see that until after the run…oops). I did try to focus on holding back in the first 10 miles. I wanted to keep the pace above 8:20 and then allow my legs to let go a little bit if they wanted to after that. I was somewhat successful, but with the rolling hills, there were some faster miles as I let effort determine the pace on the downhills. I felt strong all the way through and the last few miles were even sub-8. But my legs definitely felt like they ran the longest they had in a LONG time.

After getting back from the ‘burbs, I napped like a champ then recovered with friends & BEER at a local beer fest that night.

Sunday:

  • Workout: OFF
  • Strength: None

Sleep. Errands. Couch.

Miles: 42.4

Treadmill runs: 1

Total Runs on the ‘mill this winter: 12

Posted in bike, Chicago, friends, running, Strength Training, training, Weather, weekly recap, Yoga | 2 Comments

Friday Fun VII

Woah. I am going to have do some research on my roman numerals if I keep this tradition going :)

  1. Birthday. Today is my birthday! I guess I am getting old, because I didn’t have any desire for a big get together. Brad and I celebrated quietly last night with an awesome dinner at Fish Bar, my favorite restaurant in our neighborhood. He was supposed to go out of town for work this weekend, which was a bummer, but fortunately his trip got cancelled so we are going to dinner with friends tonight and to a beer fest with Jenny and Manny tomorrow. Should be a great weekend!
  2. Boston Accommodations. Of course this one showed up on my not so happy Friday post a few weeks back. I finally did some research and found a few good options that will work. I was hoping to have it completely booked by today, but I am still emailing with owners to finalize. I am hopeful that this will end up working out just fine.
  3. 18 Miles. Tomorrow is my first 2:30 run of this cycle. This should equate to about 18 miles and I am heading to ‘burbs so I can do it on hills. I know many people training for Boston have already had multiple 20+ mile runs, but I don’t feel behind at all with my training. My mileage is at a solid place and I have incorporated several variations (hills, speed) into my long runs. After NYC training, I am not convinced that a ton of 20+ mile runs are necessary for me to run a strong race. But I do love the deliciously exhausted feeling of finishing really long runs that put big deposits in the training bank. 
  4.  For the Love of it. Last week was kind of a “meh” week for running. On paper, it looked decent, but between Thursday’s rain fiasco, Saturday’s bleh long run and Tuesday’s windy tempo, I was feeling less than excited about training. I may have also been experiencing a little winter blues since we had a taste of spring only to dip back into the throes of winter again. But this Monday’s tempo run was EXACTLY what I needed. The sun was shining, the pavement was dry and even the wind cooperated. After my warm-up I tried to ease into my tempo miles, but my legs easily settled in at a pace faster than planned so I went with it. I finished 3 tempo miles feeling like I could have kept going. A little confidence-boosting, feel good run is exactly what my heart needed to get back at it for 7 more weeks. I truly love running and training for marathons so I was happy that last week didn’t cause me to fall down a slippery slope of burn out.
  5.  House of Cards. I know, I know. I’m about 12 months late on this one. But since Season 2 just came out, there was a ton of buzz and I jumped on the bandwagon. I started Season 1 last week and am already 8 episodes into Season 2. That’s 20+ episodes in a week, folks. It took me a little patience in season 1 to get hooked, but now I can’t stop! 
  6. Roll Recovery. I was first introduced to this at Eugene when Mason brought his over for everyone in our house to use. Then Jenny got one for Christmas and has been nice enough to bring it with her to share after long runs and at recovery gatherings. After Brad saw how much I liked using it (think “hurts so good”), he suggested to his parents that it would make a great birthday present. So now I have one of my own and I have used it everyday since it arrived.
  7. My baby. Yes, we have two dogs and I love them both dearly. Walter is my running buddy and an awesome pup, but Ernie has always been my baby. Since he was a puppy, he has always gravitated more toward me than Brad, following me around the house and cuddling with me at night. So when my little sidekick got sick earlier this week, I was devastated. I cried my eyes out at the vet when I took him in and sobbed all the way home on the phone with Brad. It was scary because he went from throwing up once to critically sick within less than 2 hours while I waited for his appointment. BUT thankfully we have a wonderful vet and now he is all better and got to come home last night.

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    I missed the #nuunlife contest deadline, but he is so darn cute with his bald leg.

  8. New Stitch! I was a little delayed in posting about my last Stitch Fix and it was a short month, so I already have a new one to share! I loved everything in my fix this month and and am keeping it all (bonus discount!). I tried things on using the “casual” styling recommendations from my Stitch Fix stylist (they give both casual and dressier recommendations), which was fun and also helpful to see how I would wear it. I can’t wait for spring so that I can actually wear some of this!
    photo 1 (10)

    Striped skirt. KEEP.

    photo 2 (11)

    Gray cardigan. Debated on this one, but ultimately kept.

    photo 5 (4)

    Red Studded Top. Keep!

    stitch fix

    Green flowy top. Both casual and dressy look. LOVE!

    photo (95)

    I love this little gold elephant necklace. Completely different than anything I have.

    I hope everyone has a great weekend!! Happy Friday!

Posted in Chicago, Ernie, Food, Friday Fun, friends, life, Races, running, the boys, training, Travel, walter, Yoga | 8 Comments

Boston Week 8: Halfway!

8 weeks to go…

Well friends, we are halfway there! This was somewhat of a cutback week for overall mileage and the long run, but it was the longest tempo so far this cycle. Overall, it was a pretty good week but I was lacking a little JOY in my runs until Sunday.

Monday:

  • Run: 1:00 Easy: 7M, 8:26 avg.
  • Strength: Runner’s World Workout x 1 + 1×15 Single Leg Squat + 1×25 Leg Raises Against the Wall (as warm-up)

What a weird morning. The forecast was for 4-6″ of snow starting late morning, so I planned to get out early. Unfortunately a series of unexpected meetings and work commitments interfered and by the time I was ready to run after lunch, we were getting pounded with snow. I changed into shorts and headed to the gym for easy miles on the ‘mill. I guess I accomplished what I should for an easy run, as my legs felt more loose after than before, but even with Netflix on my iPad, I was bored out of my mind for the hour.

The strength was inadvertently split up so half was before I was originally getting ready to go run outside and the rest was a few hours later before I actually went to the gym.

Tuesday:

  • Run: Progressive Tempo Run: 1 & 2@7:30-40, 3 & 4@7:10-20, {optional} 5@sub-7:10 (or maintain): 9.4M, 7:49 avg.
  • Strength: Yoga

Winter warm-up! It was over 30 degrees and super sunny for this run. After a few morning phone calls, I headed out around 9:30. It wasn’t the warmest it would be all day, but I wanted to get out before the wind got too crazy as the day went on. For the first 2 tempo miles I felt like I was jogging, which I learned later was the result of a stronger tail wind than I anticipated. When I turned around for the final 3 (and hardest) tempo miles, I was greeted by a lovely headwind. Amateur move to run with the wind on the way out. I was given the option for a 5th tempo mile “If I felt good” and I went for it. Although I didn’t feel great, I knew that I could push through it and would be happy if I did. Tempo miles: 7:30, 7:28, 7:16, 7:14, 7:11.

I went to an evening yoga class, which helped loosen things up, but was also a little harder than I probably needed after a tough tempo. Fortunately I followed that up with my first ART appointment in a while!

Wednesday:

 Jenny and I met at the gym to do a little cross and strength training together. We rode easy in the spin room, which flew by as we chatted the hour away. Then she took me through her strength routine, where I learned that I had been rushing through some of the exercises that I should be doing slowly. As always, I had grandma hips afterwards, but thankfully wasn’t as sore as I was last week. Gym time is always more enjoyable with a friend! 

Thursday:

  • Run: Speed w/2x1M @ 6:35-40: 7.1M, 8:02 avg.
  • Strength: Runner’s World Workout x 1 + 1×15 Single Leg Squat + 1×25 Leg Raises Against the Wall (as warm-up)

You can read all about this workout here.

I originally planned to do yoga as well, but that workout/weather drained the life out of me so I spent the evening on the couch binge watching House of Cards.

Friday:

  • Workout: OFF
  • Strength: Yoga

I originally planned to take Friday completely off, but after skipping yoga on Thursday, I knew my body would thank me for Friday morning yoga. And it did…I left feeling very centered and refreshed. Namaste.

Saturday:

  • Run: 1:50 Flat: 13.5M, 8:11 avg.
  • Strength: Runner’s World Workout x2 + 2×12 Single Leg Squat + 2×20 Leg Raises Against the Wall (as warm-up)

 It was finally warm (~25*) and dry enough that Walter was able to join me for the first part of this run. We ran 4 miles (and got a side-five from Chanthana as she smoked her long run w/tempo). On the way back to my house, I stepped in a icy puddle up to my ankle so when I took Walter inside, I also changed my shoes and socks. Without too much thought I went from the Fastwitch to the PureCadence and for the first time realized what VERY different shoes they are. I am not sure if it was that or being a little underdressed, but I never really got back in a good rhythm for the rest of the run. I picked up the pace a little around mile 10 and that seemed to help some, but I just felt blah and didn’t enjoy myself at all.

Sunday:

  • Workout: 45 min Easy: 5.1M, 8:50 avg.
  • Strength: None

I really didn’t have a run all week where I truly enjoyed myself. Tuesday’s tempo was okay (but tough) and the others runs weren’t fun for one reason or another. So I was looking forward to just running for my love of running. I took Walter and ran at whatever pace my legs felt like going. I realized after I left the house that I should have left the Garmin at home, but I just ignored it and soaked in the warm sun and running without a purpose for a change. I felt great after finishing.

Miles: 42

Treadmill runs: 1

Total Runs on the ‘mill this winter: 11

Posted in bike, Chicago, friends, running, Strength Training, training, Weather, weekly recap, Yoga | 2 Comments