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.
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Brrrrr…

Well, I got out there for a quick (but cold) run.  Despite every local forecaster’s prediction that the weather would start to warm up, it was still only about 15º F.  I bundled up and, honestly, when the wind wasn’t blowing, it wasn’t TOO bad.  Unfortunately, the wind was blowing about 75% of the time.

I was also really worried about Wendy getting too cold.  She wore her coat, and I put a thin layer of vaseline on the edges of her ears.  Apparently, that can help prevent frostbite, and it made me feel better to do anything I can to keep her comfortable.  Even still, her feet definitely got cold, so we came home early.  I washed her feet, covered her in a blanket, and she is sleeping soundly now.  I think the short workout was as good for her as it was for me!

Either way, we covered a nice, quick 2.25 miles and, despite the cold, it felt great to get back out there.  Now, to enjoy one of my last Saturdays before I get swamped with work again!

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.

Meet Wendy

This is Wendy.  She is my running partner.

I have two dogs.  Duke is a Cairn Terrier.  He is sweet and cuddly, and is a wonderful companion.  Duke follows me around the house, and spends every possible moment sitting on my lap (or at my feet).  Wendy is a “hound-mix.”  No one really knows much about her heritage – the shelter said she is part bloodhound, but she also has some qualities of a Rhodesian Ridgeback.  She has webbed feet.  Everywhere we go, someone tells me that she “looks just like_____,” but no one REALLY knows.  Most importantly, Wendy LOVES to run.

I started running with her about a year ago, but we both took a break when I hurt my back and had to stop running.  Once I regained my strength, I began taking her again – and never looked back!  She loves heading out for a workout, and is definitely very motivating on the days I am feeling a little bit lazy.  When we come home, she is so relaxed and happy – like me, satisfied by her efforts.

I’ve read that dogs with her body type can run upwards of 20 miles if they are properly hydrated.  This gives me hope as I build my mileage (not that I intend to see 20 miles anytime soon!).  I don’t know that I could bear to leave her behind!