Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Roundup

Last Thursday I ran the Elvis Is Alive 5K for the third year in a row. This year I did it by myself  - my original running partner was unexpectedly deployed and spent last week preparing to leave, and none of my other potential running partners could make it. I had a great run but the party would definitely have been better with company! Next year if I can't find anyone to do it with me I'll just head home after my post-run beer.

Next year I will also find some way to get into the Elvis spirit with my attire, I loved all the things people did. Even if it's just adding in sequins. Or maybe I'll run in my Graceland t-shirt and find some way to jazz it up a bit. I have a note on my calendar to start thinking about it a little earlier.

On Monday I did my first long run using a run/walk method, 18 miles. So much better than my last few long runs, even though it was just as humid and hot as those have been. I felt so fresh for the first miles that I definitely took them faster than I should have, so I have got to rein myself in for the first half. The last 6 miles still hurt but not nearly as much as before, and I was able to stay pretty much on pace (I was also listening to a podcast at that point which always slows me down). Then my last mile was the second-fastest of the day, unbelievable.

For those who are interested, I used a 5:1 run/walk ratio.

I have a couple of shorter long runs in the next weeks and then my 20-miler on September 22. And then that will be it before the marathon (My weekly mileage has ramped up and I'll continue with that but I don't have any good opportunities for really long runs in the next month.) I'll continue with the run/walk strategy for anything over 12 miles and practice not going out so quickly. Everything else seems to be working (vest, bladder, hydration/nutrition) so I don't think I need to make any changes there. I have changed my anticipated time and moved down into a slower start corral. My goal is to have fun, keep a steady pace, and hopefully break 5 hours, since I was so close last time. I have been thinking of this as an adventure rather than a race and I think that will also help me have a better experience than last time.

And then we'll see about doing any more.

I wrote last week about doing a bucket list and I will be putting that up as a separate page shortly. I had gotten excited about putting some running goals on there (which is what I was referring to in my post last week) but as the week went on I realized I didn't want to get so specific about particular numbers or locations of races. Our bodies, while capable of amazing things, are also fragile vessels sometimes, and I never want to value specific physical endeavor over all else. So my revised list is much more general in scope now.

But I'm still posting it! There are some things on there that surprised me when I first started thinking about doing one, dreams I've had for a while without fully acknowledging them, and I don't want to let them go into hiding again.

Any item on your "bucket list" that surprised you?

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

10 Questions

Sweet Ali tagged all her readers with these ten questions...

1. What is your ideal weekend?

With kids, or without kids? The answers would be very different. But I think in either scenario it would have to include time to run, time to read, time to sew/paint, good food, some kind of fun outing, and then snuggling with The Dude with a movie in the evening.

2. When you were in school, what was your favorite subject?

High School - English. College - Art History.

3. Name one teacher who you remember - for something positive - and tell me why you remember them.

Barbara Kellum - Art History. She made me feel that I had worthwhile things to say about art.

4. What was your first race?

2005 Miami Valley Turkey Trot 5-miler. I ran this with The Dude on my first Thanksgiving at his mom's home. It was rainy and cold and he totally carried me through it. I still have the t-shirt (beginning to shred) and love it. We have not been able to do it since though almost every year we make plans to.

5. What is your favorite takeout food?

Thai. Almost anything.

6. What's the earliest you've ever gotten up to go for a run?

No idea... For the past several years I can only go running after I drop off the kids so I get up early to get other stuff done. I'm looking forward to being able to get up early to head out early too.

Oh, I've gotten up early for races... maybe 3:45?

7. What's the latest you've ever headed out for a run?

Can't remember... I used to run at night so I imagine fairly late, maybe 9:00pm or so.

8. What is something you've accomplished that you're proud of?

This is not exactly an accomplishment per se, but I am still proud of myself that I pursued The Dude as fiercely as I did (very forward of me) because the rewards have been so many.

9. Who is your biggest cheerleader/motivator/supporter?

The Dude! Without a doubt.

10. If you could go back in time and change one event from your life, what would you choose, and why?

I have regrets for things I have not done, not for anything I have done. Unfortunately I feel I have a number of those...

Now questions for you!

1. Favorite movie, and why?
2. Any place you would like to visit that you haven't yet?
3. Artwork that has made an impact on your life.
4. Happiest childhood memory.
5. Proudest moment.
6. Perfect weekend?
7. Favorite dessert food.
8. Favorite piece of clothing.
9. Most despised chore.
10. What do you most want to accomplish?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Feeling Loverly

I am feeling on top of the world.

No right to be, really, work is stressful this week and I'm behind on stuff with no expectation of getting fully caught up until next month sometime.

But who cares today!

It's a beautiful day. My oldest and his dad are playing hooky to go see a baseball game. In a few hours I will leave here, stop by Fleet Feet Sports to get my Elvis Is Alive packet, and pick up the GooGoo monster.

My extra weight is coming off steadily and slowly, I feel good about how I'm going about it and good about how I feel.

I just registered for the Ready To Run CARA supported 20-mile run September 22, exactly three weeks before the marathon, with a run/walk pace group. I had not planned to do any group runs but I was having a hard time figuring out when I was going to do my 20-miler. Our weekends coming up are packed and quite honestly it's hard to recover from a long/hard effort with the kids around, which is why I've been taking half days at work and doing most of my long runs on Mondays. But this run is fully supported - water stations, pace groups, food/beer and massage afterwards - so by the time I get home I should be in halfway decent shape to roll around with the rug rats.

I've finished one quilt I've been working on for over two years (photos soon) and have planned out another one.

And I've figured out my bucket list... that's been on my mind since Ali wrote about hers... there was one piece that I couldn't quite articulate and it fell into place last night, so I've been buzzing on that. I then had a dream that I told the family about it and everyone was like, yay, mom, that's great, we'll help! Didn't have that reaction when I told The Dude about it this morning, ha. Don't mean to be cryptic but I don't have the time right now to post on this (that work stuff I mentioned before).

Hope you're having a great day!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Some Photos

It's been a while since I shared any photos... I wouldn't say these show us at our most attractive, but certainly with our typical energy!

The room that had a grocery delivery guy ask if I ran a daycare.

That belly!

That grin!

Ready for a big day at Kings Island

"Resting" at Kings Island

The family at play.

That Half (Whose Name Shall Not Be Spoken)

Getting the recap out of the way, 'cause it's a crazy week and I want to move on to other things.

Good news: I had a good strategy and executed it well.

Bad news: The course/event was poorly organized and in the end I don't trust the results. (Won't go into a lot of details but I think the course was short based on my Garmin and the reports of others around me. Or if not short then something went wrong with all the turns out there. Plus lots of other little things.)

Lesson learned: Stick to events I know will be well organized (Fleet Feet or the major Chicago races or word of mouth) or if I'm doing it just for fun.

It was a beautiful day. It was close enough to walk to so by the time I got there I was completely warmed up and ready to go. I took the first third conservatively, eased up to goal pace for the middle third, and then went faster in the last third, especially in the last mile and again in the last quarter mile. I felt good but definitely left it all on the course, which also felt good. Their results aside, I shaved at least a couple of minutes off my previous half. I used my race vest with bladder and felt like I was getting adequate nutrition/hydration throughout. My plan of walk breaks every mile seemed to help with the heat - I definitely got hot but never felt close to overheating, and was able to skip a couple of the walk breaks towards the end.

I wanted to report on something I experienced at the end of the race, in the last third. I worked those first nine miles, I felt very conscious of the effort I was putting out there to move up to pace and then try to stay at pace. And of wanting to slow down and not doing it. (Except mile 8, I seem to always slow down in mile 8. Plus I needed to retie my shoes, which I never need to do. Three times to get it right!)

And then I hit the ninth mile and started to fly. It just felt... effortless. Beautiful. Heavenly. Wow.

Very grateful.

I walked the two miles home which meant a total of 17 miles on my feet that morning, which makes me just that little more confident about the marathon now only 8 1/2 weeks away. But only a little bit. Mostly I think, am I crazy? Or wish that I could properly race it instead of enduring it, but I'm not that good and am not willing to put in the effort to become that good, I've got other things I'm working on.

So why do another marathon?

I guess, as someone in my online running group wrote, for the adventure of it.

And maybe, just maybe, another taste of that wow.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Three Days To Go

...before my next half marathon.

Two days ago I was a bit worried. There's been a wee bit of stress in my life this last week and my sleep was suffering horribly, every day I was waking up more tired than the day before. Monday I even had to skip my run which I almost never ever do.

Thankfully some of that stress was resolved on Monday (work stuff) and I've been sleeping better since then and also making a point of going to bed earlier. Amazing what a couple of nights' better sleep will do for my mood. So now I'm beginning to be a bit hopeful again.

The weather forecast is for 77 degress, a bit cooler than the half I suffered through in June. We've been having on-and-off rain all week so it's a bit steamy out there right now, which worries me more than the heat, really. I'm hoping that eases a bit in the next couple of days.

I plan to run without headphones and have been doing all my recent runs without to get used to running "naked" again. I also think I have a more accurate idea of what I can hope for pacing-wise, so I'll be more conservative at the start than I was before. I plan to take walking breaks every mile, and I'll have my water on my back instead of on my chest, which will be more comfortable. The course is also near me, on the north lakefront, so it will be familiar to me (and offer more shade). So all-in-all, I think that I'll be better able to enjoy this half, regardless of what my end time is.

Though of course, ahem, I'll be hoping to PR.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Under Water

My swimming has taken a hit over the last month as I've upped my running mileage. I'm tired and have no "kick". That doesn't surprise me.

I have been surprised at how choppy my swimming has been, I just cannot get into a groove. I think some of that is because there are just a lot more people in the pool in the summer - more people at all different speeds. The water is more turbulent and I constantly have to be aware of people passing me and trying to pass people.

I also think my body has changed. I know I have more muscle in my legs and butt and am a bit lighter on top. When running upright that doesn't much impact my sense of gravity, but in the pool I'm very aware that I'm not riding in the water in the same way I used to, and I haven't managed to rebalance myself. Same thing happened when I've been pregnant, too.

Well, the swimming is the only thing keeping my body from being completely given over to aches and stiffness right now, so I'll keep at it. But it is hard to enjoy feeling so unnatural in the water.