Saturday, August 28, 2010

Notes on a Work Week (Plus 18 Good Miles!)

Another week's lovely training plan, torn up by work. Ah well.

Sunday: 18 miles @ 12:25 pace (yoga).
This went much better than my previous long runs. I listened to The Dude when he told me I wasn't carbo-loading enough the day before my long runs, and made sure to get some extra Gatorade and healthy snacks before this one. It worked! I'm sure it also helped that I went out earlier in the day, so it was cooler for me than in previous weeks, plus I made sure to extend my walk breaks just a smidge more when I took them, but at no point did I feel like I had to stop. In fact, I was feeling so good at 12 miles that I decided to take the last six without walk breaks (aside from traffic lights, natch), and was then even able to push it more in the last couple of miles. Sweet!

Monday: Work/rest.

Tuesday: Swam 0.9 miles. It's been a while since I swam --- this was harder than I thought it would be --- but it was lovely to swim. I paid for my effort though, sometimes when I swim too hard my tummy gets cranky for the rest of the day. Probably also didn't help that I worked a VERY LONG day.

Wednesday: 5 miles (yoga).
Started off briskly and just kept it up from there. A great run, feeling strong and smooth. The only disappointment was in the last mile I kept hitting traffic lights, train crossings, etc., all against me, and after enough of these I couldn't keep my momentum going and my speed up. Ah well.

Thursday: Work. (This was certainly no rest day, I was slinging boxes and bags of school supplies around all day, and running from one end of the church to the other.)

Friday: Ran to work, 8 miles, at 11:00 pace.
Lovely day, lovely run. And I ran into R on the lakefront, heading the opposite direction. What a lovely surprise! We're getting together for breakfast next week to discuss our marathon training.
Saturday: Work. Again, no rest day here --- hauling school supplies around, then out in the hot sun, bookended both times with driving the church van. So glad to come home today.

Friday, August 27, 2010

It's Coming, It's Almost Here!

No, not the marathon, silly! (Though that's coming up fast too.)

Scary Movie Month!

If you're new to this blog, here's a description of what this is all about. Except this year I have actually included a movie with demonic possession among my choices --- after seeing "The Exorcist" last year and not being horribly upset by it, I figure I can probably handle some others in stride as well.

We've been talking about it for the last couple of weeks, and then yesterday The Dude put together a spreadsheet (a spreadsheet!) with a number of different movies across seven different categories (seven!), and asked me to choose one movie in each category (except I ended up choosing two in most). So then he made his choices and now we have our Netflix queue for the month (a month early) --- 32 possible movies to choose from for SMM.

We'll only end up seeing half of those or so, but it's good to have back-ups in case there's a wait on some of them, or if I end up deciding that no, I don't want to see any demonic possession after all.

Here are the seven categories:
  • Classic
  • Super Scary
  • 80's Kitsch
  • Suspense
  • Kids
  • Quirky
  • Comedy
Oh, I'm so excited. A whole month of snuggling up with my sweetie every chance I get, eating homemade popcorn and getting safely scared. I can't wait for Buddy to be able to do this with us.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Balancing Act

For a couple of weeks now, I've been wanting to write something wise and wonderful about balance, the challenge of finding it between work and family and training, needing to adjust things when one area is more demanding than usual while maintaining a calm head and heart. About how I start nearly every day off with tree pose, as a small prayer for balance in my life that day.

I haven't written that something wise and wonderful. I've been too busy. And when I'm not actually busy with work, then I'm busy trying not to be resentful of work, or busy trying not to think about work. Or I'm actually succeeding at those last two and am managing to be in the moment with my husband, my child, myself --- in which case I don't want to be writing about struggling to remain composed at those other times.

The last hectic week in this particular work project is starting, and by Labor Day it will be finished. I go through this every year at this time, and every year it takes me by surprise just how hard it is (and then again in Nov/Dec). I even wrote on my calendar for August, "DO NOT SCHEDULE ANYTHING EXTRA," but then didn't take that quite seriously enough. For future reference, that includes marathon training. Since I can't do anything about Buddy's daycare having their annual teacher training (no kids) at this time.

Time to wake the household and begin.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Notes on a Buddy-Full Week

Sunday: 18 miles (yoga).

Monday: At home with Buddy. 60 minutes strength and balance yoga during his naptime.

Tuesday: 3 miles with Buddy (yoga).

Wednesday: Work day.

Thursday: 7 miles, 4@tempo (9:25 pace). Run on the way to work with a small pack. This was a lot of fun. Plus I got a nice mid-length run in and was still in the office (cleaned up and refreshed) by 9:00. I will definitely be running to work more often.

Friday: Zoo day with The Dude and Buddy!

Saturday: Rest day (yoga).

Monday, August 16, 2010

Long Run #3: Notes on 18 Miles

Three loops, all familiar to me. Lakefront, cemetery, park.

Another hot and humid day in Chicago. Another afternoon run right at the hottest part of the day. I made sure to leave more than enough time for an icebath and shower before dinner, though.

Used a FuelBelt for the first time.
http://www.fuelbelt.com/fuel_belts/images/helium4_large.jpg
It was unwieldy for the first two miles and then I got used to it. Having it on really made me focus on drinking whenever I felt thirsty and on refilling my bottles every chance I got. For the first time on a long run this summer I felt I got enough water.

I had planned stops for refueling at miles 4, 8, 12, and 16, starting with Gatorade and then gels at the other stops, making sure to take water with the gels. GU strawberry/banana flavor (not as bad as it could have been, I prefer lemon/lime) and Accel Gel lemon/lime. I liked the Accel Gel, it had a slightly chalky feel to it but it was more liquid than the GU, so easier to get down. But in the future I'm going to bring more Gatorade with me (now that I've got my FuelBelt), since after two gels I just couldn't handle anymore, but I need more salt/sugar later in the run.

This was a much more pleasurable run than the last few have been, even though I still had to stop and walk a bit more in the last half than I would have liked. I attribute the improvement to better hydration, nutrition, and a better night's sleep than I usually get.

Despite the rest of my training going to plan, I haven't been able to hit my paces on my long runs. Well, I've hit my heat-adjusted paces, but it just doesn't feel the same --- on a long run those extra minutes really add up. I had a bit of despair about this on my final walk home, hurting, especially since I've signed up to do the CARA 20-mile training run on September 19 at a 11:00 pace (MP+30). But I'll just see what the weather is like that day and adjust accordingly.

Of course, my pace wouldn't matter if I were just looking to finish. But I've really enjoyed my training and have started to have ambitions. Like, maybe someday qualifying for Boston. Mind you, that's a lo-o-ong way off... I'm not even in the age group I hope to qualify for yet.

On the iPod: Fresh Air interviews with Sharon Jones, the creators of South Park, Marisa Tomei, and Jackie DeShannon. Cassandra Wilson's latest album Loverly. Then random songs from my running mix.

Next week --- another 18! At least I don't have to figure out a new route.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Notes on a Humid Week

Sunday: 12 miles. Hot and humid again. I didn't get started until way late in the afternoon, so not enough to eat beforehand, and I felt like this run just beat me up. Very disappointing. Got home right before dinner and to a cranky kid/dad, no time for icing, showering, stretching, or any kind of recovery. And I'd mistakenly had a gel with caffeine in it on my run, so then I slept badly that night as well.

Note to self: Next time I get started so late, better to cut short my run, rather than my recovery.

Monday: Swam 0.75 mile (yoga). Exactly what I needed after Sunday's experience.

Tuesday: Biked to work today and back (2 x 7 mi.) It was great to finally get started on the bike again, but I mostly did it because work is hectic right now, and I could save myself some time by making my commute serve as my workout too.

Wednesday: Rest/work day.

Thursday: 6.5 miles, 3@9:05 (yoga).
Humid again! This has been a brutal summer. But it felt awesome to run such a strong workout. I actually had planned to run my tempo miles at 9:30, but my first 1/2-mile lap was 4:20. I kept pulling back and pulling back but just got into a rhythm and finally decided to see if I could finish out that way.

Friday: Swam 0.75 miles.

Saturday: Rest day (yoga).

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

First Day Back!

I rode my bike to work and back yesterday --- first time riding a bike for several years. Only a 7 mile trip each way but enough to get me excited about riding (and for my butt to be a bit sore today).

It will take me a while to learn the best way to travel from my home to the lakefront --- I really dislike riding on Chicago streets. So of course I will need to learn some routes I am comfortable with for longer rides as well. I also think the next step is to have a fit consultation, so I can find out what modifications I can make for better positioning --- or if actually the next best step is to get another bike next year when I start training in earnest. My ride yesterday definitely showed me that I want to be riding lots more!

Quick highlights:
  • Watching the fog roll in off the lake by biking into and through it
  • Going up inclines that previously had slowed me down --- with barely an extra breath needed
  • Seeing all the different people that use the lakefront (and there were some lovely bodies among them, yum)
  • Getting in two quick workouts during the time I would otherwise be on the train!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Notes on a Week

Sunday: Ran 16 miles. (yoga)

Hot, humid. Not enough to drink along the way --- I ended up stopping with a mile left to go and buying a Gatorade at a gas station. Still figuring out nutrition/fluids for long runs.

Monday: Swam 0.75 miles. In the fast lane, but I was not fast today. But it was good to swim.

Tuesday: Ran 4 miles, easy. This was nice.

Wednesday: Rest day, and a chance to go in early to work. (yoga)

Thursday: Meant to run 6 miles, 3 at 9:30. Instead came into work early, and stayed late. Grrr.

Friday: This would have been my second swim day, but I decided to make up my run from Thursday instead. Too tired (three days of not enough sleep) to attempt the tempo run on the track, so I meant to just do an easy 5. Except once I got started I got going fast, so decided to make it a tempo run anyway, 3 miles fast (by feel), with a mile-long warmup and cooldown. Then yoga. Awesome run --- it's getting easier to find ways to push myself to go faster for longer.

Saturday: Usually a rest day, today a work day. Very stressful. I think I will end up collapsing once I get home. I'm praying for a good night's sleep tonight. I have 12 miles planned for tomorrow, but the forecast is for heat. I've been really looking forward to tomorrow's run, but I need some more rest if it's going to be hot as well.

A word about my yoga: I try to practice at least a little bit twice a day, when I get up and then again right before bed. This is my prayer/meditation time and a way to move into the next part of the day. Then in addition I try to practice for a longer period of time (30 minutes) 3-4 times a week. I use these sessions to work out anything that feels tight, to do some strength/balance building, for general alignment (physical and mental), and/or extra meditation time. And sometimes if I'm not able go swimming during the week I'll do an extra-long session instead.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Grumble, Grumble, Grrr

I think nothing gets me crankier than having to miss a workout for work. Especially on short notice. I can roll with the punches on a lot of things (and have gotten even better since having a kid), but not this.

I am writing about this now in the hope that by tomorrow morning I will have made my peace with it, when I am heading to work instead of the track or the pool.

I'm also working late tomorrow (just a super long day all around) so I think some kind of special treat will be in order. Probably involving chocolate. I welcome any suggestions.

At least my nose is feeling a bit better...

Monday, August 2, 2010

And the Wheels of the Bike Go Round and Round

On a happier note, for my birthday, my dearest, darling husband fixed up an old woman's mountain bike he had lying around, and I once again have a bike of my own!

It's a little short and I may end up having to get a new seat with a longer post, but I like the distance from seat to handle --- I have a way short torso and usually if the frame is tall enough for my legs it feels too long for my body.

My last bike, which was stolen, was a monster, heavy and big, and while I bought it to feel safe on the streets I found I didn't use it enough --- it was just too much bike for me. I wasn't too sad when it disappeared.

I so badly want to start riding already, but I need to be careful with my physical activity from here on out to the marathon (10 weeks away!). Especially since August is my crazy work month and it will take all my discipline to make sure I'm getting enough rest and recovery as it is. I need to make sure I've got enough oomph for my long runs and I'm loath to give up any existing running or swimming plans. Maybe on a rest week I'll trade a short run and bike into work instead. Otherwise I figure once the marathon is done I can start commuting by bike 1-2x a week, at least until the snow comes.

This bike is ugly as sin, but she's beautiful to me.

They Bring Nothing But Pain...

I don't even really know how it happened. We were just sitting on the couch watching "Sunday Morning." And all of a sudden Buddy flung himself at me, or sideways, or somehow, I can't quite recall, and I ended up with a big solid crack to my nose and he ended up face-up in my lap, giggling.

Discussion with the Dude and of course the mandatory Wikipedia search on "broken noses" (but no actual doctor visit, are you kidding?) leads me to believe that he did indeed cause damage to the bone (maybe a hairline crack), but not sufficient to result in massive swelling/bruising/nosebleed/etc. You know, anything that looks like I might have a broken nose so I can get the sympathy I properly deserve. Just localized sharp pain and generalized ache since yesterday, slight vertigo and queasiness at odd moments, and a strong aversion to having anyone or anything come near my face.

I will just feel sorry for myself by myself.