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Really Training Now

I have been training since December 31, 2011 to get back up to speed (following a 3 month hiatus) and to complete a half marathon this spring.  After 4 months of training, I finally feel like I am really training for racing.  Before I may have just been training for plain, old running. 

After yesterday’s long run, I am 4 weeks out from the race and suddenly very concerned about what I am doing when I am not just preparing to run.  I have been eating healthy and hydrating and carbing up for the long runs, but not very well.  I now feel a need to overhaul everything, because for Sunday’s run, I felt the impact of anything I had done in the last day.  In a good way.

I was really focused on grains, veggies and water on Saturday.  As soon as I woke up Sunday, I started to drink while changing instead of waiting until I got to the kitchen.  I prepared little balls of raisins in plastic and thought out when I might need them.

I found that I did not return with my forehead bruised from repeatedly hitting the wall and I cut another 3:40 from the previous week’s long run.  It doesn’t sound like much, but I did work myself considerably harder than usual on Saturday and I still felt pretty good after the long run. 

I also felt like I gained in technique.  I will start the refueling at 40 minutes next time and repeat every 20 with slightly smaller balls.  The Gatorade-to-water ratio was too high for my stomach.  And Saturday’s pasta & meat sauce was a much better last meal than the previous week’s chicken & broccoli with alfredo linguine (too much fat vs carbs). 

I am also looking up side dishes I can make in small quantities to boost protein and carbs during the week.  It’s very hard to feed myself for training and prepare meals for 3 other less-concerned citizens.  On the upside, my 6 yo is determined to come to my side.  We followed up both of my runs this weekend with a mile of jogging together in decent form.  That makes me proud.

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Escape from Blah

I have been held captive by Blah for over a week now.  I am planning my escape.

The first part of my plan is to resume communications with the outside world.  I have answered emails and texts, but not actually tried to contact anyone.  After this, I will call that Mom I never got back to and try to make plans for the kids tomorrow.

The next step will be to create an interesting menu for the coming week.  I have been cooking, though meals have been simple and lacking surprise.  I think we are going to try sloppy joe pockets on Wednesday.  I’ll use a pizza dough recipe to hold the joe.

A step out of my hands is find some sun.  It has been cloudy here for the last week.  And wet, kind of drizzly.  It’s hard to find your “Go” when the weather is consistently gloomy.  The Weather Channel is telling me there might be some tomorrow and Monday before it rains for 3 days.  Again.

A step I have already taken is to wake up on my morning runs.  Maintaining a 9 minute pace did not seem as challenging in February as it has lately.  On Wednesday, my husband woke up shortly after me to get ready for work.  Well I was getting up to do 7 miles and he forgot to tell me he wanted to go in early.  Sorry dear, I’m going to win this one.  So I ran 7 miles as fast as I felt I could without causing myself bodily harm.  And hello, I ran at 8:50 average pace.  So why am I running 3 miles regularly at 9:20?  Clearly I have been sleeping on my runs.

So yesterday I pushed my 3 miles to 26:05.  Not bad me, a new PR by 5 seconds.  This morning I pushed and felt that as long as I finished under 27 minutes, I would be happy.  I finished at 25:45, a new PR.  Sweet!  The best part is that I don’t feel overly spent, so I should keep this up.  Afterall, if I am not working on speed during my 3 milers, what am I doing?  I got the distance down.  Tomorrow, I tackle 10.3 miles for the second time.  Let’s see if I can beat the 1:37 I did last Sunday.

After my run, I grabbed the 6 yo who was dressed and ready to go.  We walked & jogged a mile in 17:40.  I didn’t officially clock the first time we went, so now we have a starting point.  Even better, we did not have to argue about his form this time.  He did great.

Time to eat lunch!  I like carb loading.

A brief rant, which may or may not personally affect you.

The people (I see mostly women) who wear workout clothing (and make-up!) all day look ridiculous, to me.  Why are you grocery shopping like you are between sets at the gym?  Yes, I can see from your skin-tight clothing that you are physically fit, or not.  I don’t care, I can probably tell from your regular clothing.  Personally, I run in the morning before my husband leaves for work.  Then I have to get the kids up and out before I can take care of myself.  I will go to the bus in my running clothes and to preschool drop-off on those days.  I drop my kid and sneak out before someone smells me.  I do sweat when I run and I don’t do laundry every day.  If I was at the gym, I would shower and change into street clothes before re-presenting myself to the world.  It is to you, randomly work-out-dressed lady in the doctor’s office that I dedicate this poster to, as I had not realized it was directed at you the first time I saw it.

On another note, I had a fantastic day with my daughter yesterday.  And I didn’t even see it coming.  I had an involuntary rest day when my cell phone failed to act as alarm clock and tried paper-weighting.  It also failed paper-weighting because it didn’t have any paper.  I should probably stop dropping it so much, then it won’t get confused.  Usually missing a run is not a good omen for my day.

I saw the chiropractor fairly early in the day.  After my husband, no other man comes close to making me feel that good.  If you see one, you know what I mean.  Then we checked out a yarn shop I found in the area.  I liked.  Then onwards to a panini shop I really like.  Then a detour to the beach.  The water is still in the 40ies and there was cool wind off the water, but the sun made the sand hot.

I agreed to move here after I saw this beach.

After school, we grabbed the first grader to go to the library for a book reload.  After dinner, we all roasted marshmallows in the back yard.

This morning I came within 20 seconds of my 6 mile PR.  I look forward to trying again next week!

Hurdle 8: Hurdled!

I am not sure what to say after you hurdle something, but “hurdled” sounds good!

Saturday night, I checked to see the forecast was rain by 2 AM and solid into Sunday.  This was at 10 PM, so I took rain as a sure thing. 

At 6:50 I woke up, or my bladder woke me up.  From across the room, it didn’t look like it was raining out.  Maybe, it wasn’t!  I used stealth-ninja mode to escape the bed without waking the husband or cats and stole to the bathroom.  The windows from the bathroom overlook the backyard, where it was definitely not raining!  I rechecked the weather on my phone to find that the rain was now planned for 10 AM.  Did I say I was upset the weather was not predictable?  I’m glad the forecast failed!  I can actually, finally do my 8 miles.  A distance that has plagued me for a month, through wrong turns and sickness.

After I was dressed and fueled, it occurred to me that I would actually need in-run fuelling.  Looking around and seeing Easter candy, I grabbed jellybeans.  I rolled them into some plastic and tucked them into my hand. 

Watered-down Gatorade and jelly beans. Maybe not the fuel of champions, but I don't see anyone passing out medals in my kitchen.

Now for the first step to success!  I followed the right road this time and felt great!  After 4 miles I decided to break into the jelly beans.  It went well until around 6 miles when the plastic unrolled and some jelly beans were lost to the pavement.  Poor little beans.

The last mile was a little tricky, but I made it with the sort of euphoria that leaves you happy and wanting to tell everyone.  I secretly hoped that one of the few neighbors I now know might ask what I was up to as I ran by.  Of course before 9 on Sunday, most people aren’t hanging about in their yards.

A unpleasantry I am grateful to live without, sweating, does plague me on runs.  It is part of why the plastic unrolled, it got slimy.  I am a very lucky person who rarely sweats, to the point that I don’t actually wear deodorant for most of the year.  I know some of you hate me now, but my husband sweats for 3 people and I do most of the laundry.  I have found a new outlook on my sweat that makes me happy.

If only I could pick which  fat got to cry…

This morning was cloudy with a heavy mist.  Now it has burned off into full sun.  This morning it was 56* when I went out.  Now it is over 62*.

I wore shorts and a tee and quite enjoyed the thick, wet air.  Like running through a mister, except it lasted my entire run.  All those slackers who slept in this morning get to run in the hot sun.  Ha!

I did opt for the 3 mile slow run this morning and I will take my chances tomorrow.  My legs were still sore last night and I decided pushing it wouldn’t help.  This morning I did feel a minor twinge in my right shin and continuing tightness in my right thigh.  Now I remember, I was supposed to make an appointment with the chiropractor.  This is the same pain I felt about 2 months ago.  My hip goes out and pulls my entire right leg with it.  See for yourself –

My right foot wandering off...

The cramps and shin splints will get worse until I get realigned.  The pain helps me to remember better.  I noticed my right foot was doing its own thing last week and I meant to make an appointment for this past Wednesday before it worsened.  I do have 2 kids and therefore can claim “Mommy Brain.”  For anyone unfamiliar with this debilitating syndrome, it is brought on by the hormones of pregnancy.  The result is the walls of the once-proud vault guarding your memory turns to cheesecloth.  Symptoms include forgetting names of common objects and people, what you just ate, and most common, items 2-9 on your 10 things to do list.  I also forgot my phone at the store last night and my keys in the door all day.

“Adopt a kid, Save your brain” should be the what the posters say.

My own son ditched me for his second run this morning.  We agreed last night that I would go do my 3 and then we would do his 1 together.  He was still asleep when I got back and wanted nothing to do with it.  I am not going to push too hard, because I don’t want running to become a chore.  I want getting the eggs at night to become a chore because it looks like a raccoon had a good snack last night.

Enjoy your weekend!

The Trouble with Weather

It won’t be predicted as easily as I prefer!

Today was a nice day for my 3 mile speedwork.  Speed being a relative term as I feel pretty good from 2 weeks ago but not quite back up to a month ago.  Anyway, when I do the speedwork, I really push myself.  Generally I do the speed work days just before a rest day because my legs are a bit sore.  This week my runs are skewed because my husband had to go to work too early on Wednesday for me to complete my mid-week long-ish run.  So I had to push it to Thursday.  That means that Friday becomes speedwork, Saturday is a slow 3 and Sunday is my long run.  Usually Friday is a rest day.

As a side note, I have just learned that I have an itchy spot on my chest today because I am wearing my undershirt backwards.  I didn’t think I was having that kind of day.

Moving forward, the weekend forecast is iffy for Sunday.  “Periods of rain” is a very unhelpful description.  There is also rain predicted for Monday and Tuesday, so a delay won’t help me.

So the big question, do I move the run up to Saturday and run very slowly on tired legs because I need to get the distance in, or do I take my chances with Sunday.  A plus for Sunday is that I do have the entire day off, so if it clears, I could go.  But I don’t like running any time other than when I have pillow marks on my face.

I’ll let you know tomorrow what I decide.  Also, wouldn’t it be great if this really was a big challenge in life, rather than the small one selectively focused on?

Is this seat taken?

I recently figured out how this blogging thing fits into my life.  I never did it before, I didn’t even have a Facebook page until last November.  And, honored to have 5 followers I do not know, I thought I would issue a Thank You!

Prior to last July, I was the assistant store manager for a retail outlet in New Hampshire.  Basically I ran the joint while the manager was searching YouTube on her phone or on medical leave.  I had 25 employees who clambered for my attention, chatting with me about anything in their life or mine at every opportunity.  I sound full of myself, but really, I am a good person and there were lots of tears when I left.

I have been in a void ever since, not knowing anyone in southern Massachusetts and maintaining my dislike of phone conversation.  As much as I love my dear husband and 2 children, they don’t really make for good casual conversation.  That is where you come in.  It occurred to me that blogging is my new conversation outlet.  An alternative could have been sneaking into the cafeteria of a local company and pretending I work there for the sake of maintaining conversation with other adults.

Much like my former workplace, this is also a personal spot for me to share without involving family.  While the good intentions are all there, my sister-in-law “likes” every new thing I post on my store’s Facebook page.  Sometimes my husband and mom jump in there too.  On WordPress, there is no artificial “like” or “follow” because I haven’t told a soul I actually know that I am doing this.  Except for my parrot.  She comes to work with me every day and is not a speaking variety, so my secret is safe.

So. thank you again, for reading.  I appreciate that complete strangers can find my thoughts interesting, without reducing myself to stalking cafeterias.

Me & Mango

Me & Mango, a yellow-sided green-cheek conure, at work.

Also, I am in a good mood today because my six miles this morning went fantastic!