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I ran on Saturday, did my 8 miles like a good bunny.  But I really wasn’t feeling it.  My legs were tired.  My head was tired.  I almost turned around.  So my time wasn’t anything special, but I got it done.Sunday did not happen probably because Saturday was a challenge.  I woke up early and ended up watching ThunderCats with my son instead of charging out the door.  Then I really wanted to get stuff planted, but it was hot.  I did some before I decided that what I really wanted to do was read and watch the kids splash.

They had more toys than pool!

The day of rest, although it did nothing for my future (hopefully) crop of veggies, worked out well for my run this morning.  I was able to do a 4-mile speed workout with an 8:36 minute pace.  I feel good about a 9 minute pace for my half marathon this Sunday, I look forward to making it to 8:30 for a fall half.

I don’t feel terribly fast out there, and my friend who achieved his BQ yesterday with a 3:00:05 marathon in Vermont doesn’t help.  I keep my perspective by thinking about how much I have gained this year (doubled the mileage & 30 seconds faster average pace) and that he didn’t birth any babies.  His wife made a cute one though!

Also, Happy Memorial Day!  Thank you to any service members, past or present, who read this!

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I feel some relief, actually, that the race I have trained 5 months for is 2 weeks away.  Saturday was my last really long practice run until the big one comes.  Having run 12 miles twice now, I see that it will take time before my body is used to the miles I have been making it go.

In the last 4 weeks my calves and thighs have gotten noticebly beefier.  My mommy mid-section has not changed much (bummer) but I can feel a more solid base of muscle under the, um, squishy stuff.  Even still, it takes a couple of days to fully recover from the long runs.  All my runs I have planned before the race I know I can recover from in a day or less.

I am not concerned about making the distance or the time because I know I have trained hard and fairly well, following the plan I set for myself.  I am looking forward to changing my diet a bit after the race.  I’m thinking of going carb-lite, with a lot more fruits and veggies, and with the intention of a small weight purge.  I stepped on the scale this morning because I have been feeling slightly heavier only to find that I am not.  Then I stepped off.  The little stick did not return back to zero.  So I recalibrated and, yes, I have upped a few pounds with the training to the high end of my ideal range. 

Also, I turn 30 in October and my legs are the best looking they have ever been.  I owe it to myself to take the 2 weeks of post-race easy runs and shape up a bit more for summer.  We all gotta have that one year we can look back on and say “I was awesome.”  My goal for the next 15 years is to make every year that year.  At some point, gravity is going to win.

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Yesterday was not a bad day, until I got home.  I started to cook dinner and sent the minions (kids) outside to play.  After a few minutes they came running in to tell me there were feathers all over the place in the backyard.  I had let the chickens out to forage for the day in the morning, so I thought this was not going to end well.  It didn’t.

I found lots of feathers and a chicken who was still alive, but ripped up pretty bad.  I was missing 3 more.  After a search, I turned up 1 body that was not eaten.  Even better, they weren’t attacked by something hungry, this was for pleasure.  I know now that the chickens can no longer be outside the run unattended. 

After I buried the one, I dug another hole.  The injured hen was not going to make it, way too much damage.  And she was suffering.  I couldn’t let her die slowly in pain, so I decided I had to take care of her.  I have seen animals dying and dead, but never have I killed with intent.  It was a hard decision and even harder to pull off.  My husband offered to do it for me, but I determined that they were my birds and it was my decision to let them out, so it was my mess to clean up.

I have struggled with what I had to do since last night, not sleeping well and trying to hold it together when I think about it.  I almost pushed my 12 miler off to tomorrow, afraid that I couldn’t make it emotionally.  I did do it today and I did it well.  I had to work through the emotions a few times and regained control by focusing on the beauty I saw around me.  A pair of Canadian geese with chicks by the shore, a startled blue heron gracefully leaping to flight, a deer bounding across the road in front of me.  And the lake views, flowers, bird song and sunshine stayed with me the rest of the time.

The 2 hours I spent on road therapy helped me to move past the horror of what I had seen and done last night.  I am sad, my ladies are closer to pets than livestock for me and this was our first mass slaughter.  I have 6 left and we will spend this weekend doing what we can to protect them for the future.

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After another rained out Wednesday run, I was eager to get up this morning and make up for it.  I hoped to make the 7.15 miles in around 60 minutes.  Found out pretty quick that I wasn’t going to be quite so quick.

I had made an appointment yesterday to see the chiropractor next Wednesday.  That appointment will be 1.5 weeks out from my half marathon, a perfect tune-up!  I haven’t been feeling too out of alignment, but I want to be totally in for the race.

Shortly after I set out this morning I found that my right leg was pulling funky, creating stiffness from my ankle to my hip.  So I won’t make the time goal for the day, I can still try to be faster than I have been.

I run along woody areas that open into a few lakes and swampy areas, creating fantastic views in the morning.  This morning I saw lots of dead stuff.  Baby turtles, frogs, snakes, even worms.  It was a bit of a downer.  On the way back, I thought about how I had driven up this road yesterday in the rain.  I wondered if I had killed anything.

About 1.25 miles from home, a huge snapping turtle was wandering into the road.  I debated stopping to move it, but I still wanted to make the surprisingly good pace I had maintained.  I looked at it and ran around it and then I stopped.  I suddenly felt somewhat ashamed of myself.  I had been noting the numerous deaths along my route and now I wanted to ignore this animal in the road to make my pace?

So I turned around, grabbed the very large (over 12″ across!) and very grumpy snapper and moved it across the road and down the embankment to the lake shore.  How long did that take me?  Maybe a minute?

I ended up taking a total of 25 seconds longer than the last time I ran the distance.  I estimate that my pace was 8:45 without the turtle, but it was only 8:52 with the turtle.  Still pretty good for me!

I promise to keep my priorities straight when I see a creature in need in the future.

Not my turtle, but you get the idea. Further research tells me it was probably about as old as I am!

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Yesterday, I celebrated Mother’s Day with my 2 children and husband at the Roger Williams Park Zoo.  It was great, baby anteaters are cuter than I thought possible.

I was a little sore still from the 12 miles of long run on Saturday.  And I didn’t give myself the day off to celebrate giving birth, I ran 3 slow miles Sunday morning and then 1 more with my son.  Then we walked the zoo a couple of times.

So I was tired from the weekend of exercise and tired from the allergies that kept my husband up much of the night.  His fault for running out of drugs and then not buying more until AFTER we spent the day outside.  So I ran a little slow, but just to start out.

I probably ran the first 1/2 mile at a 10 minute pace.  I made up for it.  I ran just under 9 minutes on average for the full 4 miles.  So I ran faster at some point.  I am still sore though.

Of course, I saw my son’s bus driver in the first 1/2 mile.  He, who was asking me last week to consider coaching track, waved and smiled as he picked up the high schoolers.  As my son eagerly climbed on the bus, he asked “running a little slow today?”

My first thought was a common reply from a friend – “Shut up, that’s why!”

But I refrained and answered more diplomatically with the mileage and events of the weekend.  I’ve got celebration cake left over from Boca di Beppo last night, I’ll take out my inner rage on that tonight.

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We all know that hormones make life hell for women.  I was just reading yesterday in Women’s Health how much of an effect they have throughout the full cycle.  I know they throw off my eating and cravings and may make me a little crazy on occasion.

Looking back, I now realize that it wasn’t me that sucked on a day when the run was really hard.  It was my body making it suck.  If only I could communicate the fact that I have 2 wonderful children and we no longer need to do this stupid dance.  Another victory for the men’s camp of “how much easier it is to deal with life.”  So I’m a little bitter that I have to work extra hard some days because hormones have decided I need to spend my energy preparing for a baby I never intend to make.

I’ll get over it.  Of course on my side of victory, I did run 12 miles this morning with enough time to spare that I can totally run 13.1 in under 2 hours.  My husband probably ran that far in cross-country in high school 20 years ago, but not since.  So I am kicking his butt, and I treasure that.

I also had a moment of clarity at about 10 miles when I realized that I felt great, hormones & all. 

2 more miles?  No problem! 

Never run this far in my life?  Well I’m going to now!

Was I really panicking a year ago about a 5K?  I’m not standing in my way anymore!

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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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