MIA

Wow – it’s been awhile since I’ve posted.  Time sure flies!  Things have been busy, but good (mostly).  Updates:

  • I’m super busy.  I’m in an intense graduate program, and adjusting to its pace (and a long commute) took awhile.  I finally feel like I have a handle on it, though I’m still swamped all the time!
  • I thought I had kind of figured out work-life balance when I was at my last job, but it turns out that I will have to keep working on that one.  I suppose a certain amount of it is the nature of the beast, but I have had to rely on Jeb like never before!
  • My strength workouts have been going well.  I hit some big PRs over the summer when I was getting good nutrition and sleep, but I backed off a bit once school started back up.  I hit 225# on both my squat and deadlift!
  • My running has not been going as well.  It did at first – I was in a good routine and enjoying my workouts.  But then, in early October, we lost our sweet Wendy.  It was devastating to both of us and, since she was my running partner, I kind of lost all the enjoyment I normally found with our runs together.  It seemed like every spot on every run holds some sort of memory after 3 years of running together, and I couldn’t seem to get through a workout without breaking down in tears.  I significantly backed off the running after that, but I’m starting to get into it again.
  • We have a new dog!  Fiona is a Sato (and some kind of Shepherd mix), and so sweet!  I’m hoping to get her out running with me this spring, though she is very timid so it will be slow and steady progress until she gets comfortable.
  • I’m running the Nike Half in DC (in April!).  I thought it would help me get on track with running.  It did, and then I got a raging bronchitis for 6 weeks and lost all my training.  Gulp.

Do I need a goal race?

Since I started running regularly, I’ve always had a goal race – something to focus my training and keep me motivated when life got busy, the weather got crappy, or I just started feeling a little burnout.  For lifting, I can keep on track if I choose strength goals or simply latch onto a progressive program.  Right now, though, I’m wondering if I need more – at least for running.

And, don’t get my wrong – my workouts are going well.  I’m stronger than ever (including before my injury) and enjoying my runs.  But, I’m getting an itch.  I feel like I need a running program.  It keeps things fresh, and helps me push myself.  Without a program, I usually run 2-3 miles on specific routes in my neighborhood.  WITH a program, I am forced to progress (and also to find new and interesting places to run!).

But then the questions start – should I sign up for a race?  If so, what?  I would love to run the Nike Half in October, but I’m not sure if finances will allow for travel to San Francisco.  I could also run the Rock and Roll half in Providence with my sister.  Or, I could try a 5k or 10k – there are appealing options (read: fun) for each distance on October 4.  So, what to do?

This is something I will be turning around in my head for the next few weeks.  On one hand, I love having a race to keep me honest.  On the other, it is nice to not be stressing about a race!  In the meantime, I’ll keep training.

Oh, and good news – Jeb has decided to start running.  We run together, which is great for me.  Even though my endurance is much better than his, he is naturally faster than me so my runs with him end up being great workouts (almost like a speed session)!

 

So, what do you think?  Race, or no race?

Snagged Some Sun

It has been raining here lately… a lot!  Normally, I like a bit of rain (hell, I used to live in Ireland – if you don’t like rain there, you’re screwed!).  I’ve also appreciated that there haven’t been too many oppressively hot days yet this summer. And, every day hasn’t been rainy (just most of them!) – we got in a hike on Sunday (during a quick reprieve from the rain), and have been less distracted by outdoor adventures enough that we’ve found time to go to the movies.  We saw Iron Man 3 and Star Trek: Into Darkness, and liked them both.   BUT, I’ve been lame and have not been running in the rain.  

Now, don’t get me wrong – I often really enjoy running in the rain, but I haven’t been feeling it (or any of the hassles that come along with wet clothes and gear!) and am really trying to keep things simple this summer.  So, for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been focusing on my lifting (cross-training) and yoga.  

Today, though, we had sun for about 4 hours (yippie!), so Wendy and I scooted out for an easy 3-mile run around the neighborhood.  It was nice.  Lifting is really helping with my running.  While my calves were screaming (as they always do when I take a break from running – even if only for a week), the rest felt great.  The same pace requires less effort – so, what would have been a really tough gut-busting workout has now become a relaxed run.  Why, oh why, did I put off getting back under the bar?!?!

When we got home, I had a nice glass of chocolate milk and read a magazine on the deck until the clouds came back!  Not a bad way to spend an afternoon! 🙂

Keeping it Simple

I’m keeping it simple.  After following a pretty strict training plan for the last 6+ months, I needed a break.  The structured training was great for recovery from my injury, and gave me great confidence with my running progress.  However, since I don’t have any races scheduled, I’m taking it easy.

I’m lifting pretty hard, so I’m taking it easy on the roads.  Over the years I’ve learned that I have to listen to my body – the times when I haven’t is when I’ve gotten injured.  Wendy and I are enjoying our runs, and they are restorative and fun.  It’s nice to not stress about times or distance.

But, my little sister is running the Rock and Roll Half in Providence in September… and I’m starting to get the itch…  we will see what happens…

Iron

I’ve been hesitant to lift heavy since my injury. As I’ve mentioned, I still have some residual pain. Plus, I am terrified to get hurt again! But, I’ve started having some niggling pains in my joints and muscles and I know that lifting can help offset any muscle imbalances from running. SO, I started a new program. This lifting program focuses on glute and hamstring strength, which can only help my running!

Since I started lifting, the pain from my injury has gotten significantly better. Also, my running pace has increased significantly… and it feels effortless! This is nice – especially since the Nike half is coming up, and school is cutting into my training time.

Seems like a win-win to me. And lifting is so damn fun…

30 days to go!

Um – see that over there?  My countdown is truly on now – my goal race is only 30 days away!  Yikes.  To be honest, I am not feeling as ready as I expected when I signed up (though, does anyone ever feel REALLY ready for a race?).  There are a couple reasons for this:

  • My injury is not fully healed.  There are limits to how much I can train in certain ways.
  • I was rock solid about my training from November to February.  Unfortunately, I was also terrified that I would make my injury worse again or get reinjured.  This really affected my progress – although my endurance got better, and I REALLY enjoyed every workout, my pace did not increase.  I simply wasn’t pushing hard enough.  Lesson learned.
  • I’ve been feeling crazy swamped and overwhelmed for the last 4-6 weeks.  Sometimes, my workouts just haven’t happened.

Ah well.  No matter what, I know I have put in the time.  I just hope that my progress will be good enough.

 

In other news, Wendy and I are BOTH really enjoying the warmer weather. 🙂