Still Alive

I can’t believe it has been almost 3 weeks since my last post!  Life has been crazy lately.  Between all our homework for our kitchen remodel, my sister’s bridal shower, and an obscene amount of homework, I just haven’t had time to get on here.  So, some updates:

  • I (finally) found out that I was accepted into my top choice for graduate school!!  I have spent the last academic year completing prerequisites, and I will start my new program in the fall.  I’m excited, and a little nervous.  It will be hectic, but SO worth it when I’m done.
  • My running has been going fairly well.  My speed is improving a little bit.  I’m still not as quick as I would like (need) to be for my goal race in a month (!), but I’m getting there.  I have to keep reminding myself that it is ok to have slow progress – I’m not even fully recovered from my injury yet, and it would be dumb to push too hard and set myself back.
  • My sister’s shower was beautiful.  We had a good turnout, and, although life got pretty crazy during the last couple weeks leading up to it (as is usually the case with these things), it was perfect.  My sister is one of those people with a positively effervescent personality, and it is so nice to watch her have fun.
  • The kitchen project is coming along.  We are still getting quotes and trying to figure out the best way to maximize our budget (any tips are welcome!).  Unfortunately, our kitchen is small, and we’ve found that some vendors tend to take us less seriously once they realize that we won’t have to spend $40k on cabinets.  Progress is slow, but it is moving in the right direction.

Moving forward, I hope to post more consistently, though there still might be sporadic periods over the next 6 weeks or so.  I hope everyone’s training is going well!

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Last Run in January (Mid-week Long Run!)

My running schedule is a bit off (because of the weather), so I had a long run scheduled for today.  I’ve been feeling a bit out of whack the last couple of days – achy feet and trouble staying hydrated – so I was a little nervous for the workout.  After drinking my Nuun (my favorite way to hydrate before/during workouts), having a good dynamic warm-up, and doing a bit of foam rolling, I headed out.

It. Was. Glorious.  Seriously, it was tough, but it felt SO good.  The weather was wacky – unseasonably warm, but kind of stormy.  It rained a couple times, and was VERY windy.  I think Wendy was a little alarmed when the wind picked up, but she did a great job sticking with me.  With a good audiobook playing, the time flew by and I finished my run – 8.2 miles.  I always shoot for a little farther than I am supposed to go (according to my plan) because I’m worried about reaching my house again before I finish the distance – that’s why my runs are always an odd number (8.2, 4.36, etc.).  Today’s goal was 8 miles.

Also, today’s run was my last one in January!  I can’t believe how quickly the month went by, and how close we are to spring!  This month, I ran 52.52 miles (13 runs with an average distance of 4 miles).  Not bad, and definitely my highest mileage since I returned to running after my injury.  For reference, I ran 33.88 in December, 25.9 in November, and 26.61 in October (but one of those was the NWM 13.1).

Oh, and for all the endorphins and whatnot from my run, the VERY long, hot shower after I got home was pretty amazing too.

Keeping Calm… or at least I’m trying!

I missed my run today.  It was extremely cold (below zero with the wind chill), and when my face started to hurt after a 5 minute walk across campus, I decided the risk of frostbite was too great.  Plus, it turns out that dogs can get frostbite – especially dogs with long, floppy ears.  I couldn’t take that risk with Wendy.

It is frustrating, though.  This was the first run I have missed since NOVEMBER.  I had quite a streak going!  Plus, Wendy is very used to her every-other-day runs, and she gets a bit of cabin fever if she misses one.  (Yes, I consider how these things affect my dog – but it also helps me get out the door when I’m not motivated.  It’s hard to let her down!)  Also, I’m really starting to feel the pressure of my goal race in April.  I know I have plenty of time, and I’m not even a little bit worried about having to cover the distance.  I’m worried about my speed.  I need to get my pace faster… and not get injured.  I’m trying not to stress about it, especially since everything I read says that winter running is about building a base (endurance), not speed.  Still, I thought my pace would be faster by now.  I improved pretty quickly after the NWM in October (by roughly 2 min/mile), but I walked most of that race.  Now that I’m running more, it is concerning to me that my pace isn’t continuing to increase at that rate.

So, this is my plan (because I always have a plan):

  1. Relax!  Stressing about it isn’t going to help.
  2. Finish my half-marathon training plan, as written.  That means no speedwork.  I’m on week 8, and should finish in early March (weather permitting).
  3. Remind myself that I have to be a bit more flexible with my running because it is winter, and I live in New England!
  4. Continue adding in cross-training whenever possible.
  5. Research ways to gradually improve speed.  Implement them as appropriate, but plan to do a speed-focused plan for March and early-April.
  6. Tighten up my nutrition.  Weight loss can only help with speed.
  7. Oh – and relax.  I have to remember to relax.  I have 95 days to figure this out.

Tired Dog!

We went for a long run today, as planned.  I wasn’t really feeling it, though that tends to be the pattern lately.  Either way, I knew I needed to do something so I headed out.  The schedule said 6 miles, but it is kind of hard to plan exact routes now that parts of my normal loops are snowed in, so I ended up a bit over (6.4).  It felt good… no, it felt great!  I felt strong throughout.  Wendy seemed perfectly fine for the distance too (it was her longest run ever!).

We’ve been having some warmer weather lately, and I really enjoyed the higher temps during my run.  I think we got close to 50º F today – not too shabby.  It was foggy too, so the whole neighborhood had a very quiet and peaceful feel.  My phone said the humidity was 100%, which felt surprisingly nice.  I’ll have to remember this in the summer, when the humidity is high along with the temps!

I feel good about my run today, and optimistic about my progress.

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Resting after a job well done!

 

 

I think I need to start cross-training (more)

so go get stronger.

Yep, pretty much. I should get on that.

I KNOW cross-training is good for me.  Running is great and all, but strength training and other forms of activity are really good for overall fitness and health.  Plus, it can help prevent muscle imbalances that can lead to injury.  On top of that, some forms of cross-training can help with speed.

I have to be better about this.  Right now, I have it built into my schedule, but often decide to do yoga, stretching, or take a rest day instead.  While those are all good things, I think it is time that I bite the bullet and get back into some strength training.

Now that my cold is getting better, I am going to commit to 2 strength workouts a week!  I also plan to add one dedicated hill workout each week.  Depending on my schedule and how I am recovering, I may count a hill workout as one of my strength workouts, but only if I include some upper body lifting and core work when I get home.

I have a couple days to plan, and will begin with my new training week (starts Monday).  This is a little tricky for me because I used to be heavily into powerlifting (so I tend to overthink strength training), especially because I am so overly cautious about injury-prevention.  I probably  just need a couple days to mull it over, and I should be good to go!

Short and Sweet

I kept it short today – didn’t quite finish my planned workout (going for 2.5, stopped at 2.42 because I reached home too soon – whoops!).  Today was one of those days that I just didn’t have all my “i”s dotted and “t”s crossed.  Ah well.  I did some stretching, and had a delicious dinner (more on that soon!).

Every mile counts!

My Goal Race

NWM Half Washington DC 2013

I’m in!  I am running the Inaugural Nike Women’s Half-Marathon in April.  This will be my third Nike race, and I’m so excited!  This is a very popular race series, but I have been lucky enough to not have to enter the lottery for any of them (so far).  I will be running this one as part of the college program (benefits of a career change!).  

This will be my third half-marathon.  I am apprehensive about this one.  I trained hard and was so excited for my first one… then I got food poisoning.  It derailed my entire race, and I had to walk a significant portion of it to avoid major cramping.  I shook off what I felt was a bit of a failure/setback, and began training for the next year…. then I got injured.  I spent all of last summer stuck in bed, and couldn’t even begin training to WALK it until September (6 weeks before the race).  Considering how far I had come since my injury, I saw that race as a victory, despite having to walk the majority of the course.

Being injured (and recovering from injury), I started to learn how to train smarter, rather than harder.  This will be my mantra as I prepare for this goal race.  I am progressing very slowly – frustratingly slowly – as I am so afraid that I will have setbacks and not be able to race.  Following my PT’s advice, I am not running on consecutive days, and I am following a run/walk plan for now (currently at 4 minutes running/2 minutes walking).  This makes it difficult to get my pace to where it needs to be to finish the race – sub 15:00 miles – since I am not exactly a speed demon on my best day.  It is frustrating and even a little embarrassing to have such a modest time goal, but I would rather get to the starting line than try to push my speed too hard and too fast, only to end up sidelined again.

Sometimes, holding back like this is so frustrating.  But it has its benefits – I am enjoying my runs quite a bit since I’m not killing myself on every workout.  Plus, I have done enough running now to know that I just have to stick with the plan, and trust my training – I will get there.  Finishing any race, especially a longer distance race, is so satisfying.  I know that this one, after the setbacks I have already faced at this distance, will be especially sweet.

Now I just have to hope the weather holds up enough that I can stay consistent with my training!