Sunday, December 30, 2012

Lost in the Woods.

Today's run called for 14 miles. I was extremely anxious about this run because it's the longest distance I've done since my marathon last March.
I got a great amount of sleep and awoke to crazy, strong winds outside. It was COLD. As much as I wanted to stay inside and hope the wind calmed down, I knew that I had to man up and get it done so I could get home and have a nice day with my family.
I made the drive to Cedarville State Forest. I figured that a trail run would be easier, mentally and physically.
I had planned to do the 7 mile trail loop, come out for water, gel a quick stretch and do it once more.
Until I came across this....
Apparently my 7 mile loop had been washed out. :-\
I decided that I would just run to another trail and do that one. I really should have gone back to the trail head and looked at the map instead of running blindly in the woods, but my adrenaline had taken over. I ran, and ran, and ran....I ended up getting lost in those damn woods for almost 11 miles. By the time I emerged I was REALLY thirsty, but feeling pretty damn good.
I slammed half a bottle of water and half a Clif Bar and went back for more, this time taking care to look at the signs:-)

The trails weren't too technical. There were some seriously muddy spots and a few hills but nothing that made it too difficult. In fact, I only fell 3 times! In a 2 hour span, I take that as a win!

I guess the freezing cold wind had scared everybody else because for the entire two hours I ran I only saw one couple hiking. Of course it was when I had decided to pop a squat....haha!
I sported my Nike DriFit Hoodie, Brooks Running Tights, Under Armour Gloves and long sleeve shit and a winter running hat from Target.

I definitely enjoy running in the woods. The ground is easier on my body and I don't realize the hours passing by. I maintained an 8:22 pace and felt amazing. I even ended up running over half a mile extra.
One long run closer to my second marathon and a new PR!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Running Through Crazy Weather.

First and foremost, I hope that you and your family had as great of a Christmas as mine did.
Secondly, I've not been posting much recently because there wasn't much to talk about. The Wednesday before Christmas I finally went to the doctor and had that nagging cough checked it. As it turned out, I did have bronchitis so my running was put on hold for a couple of days.
While I have been running since that Friday, none of them have been absolutely fabulous. The treadmill runs went ok but when I hit the streets, my pace was around 8:45 most of the time, even when I felt like I was really going fast, not something that I was proud of.
While I can't be sure if it was the sickness still taking it's toll on my body or just having an "off" week, I can be sure that the recent weather has not been helping anything.
The past few weeks have brought 60 degree days, 30 degree days, wind gusts so strong I felt like I was not even moving at some points during my run, wet snow chunks that soaked my shoes and clothing, and sleet (which is something I refuse to try and run in). Either way, not resorting to a treadmill every single time has surely made me a more of a seasoned runner.
The only thing I can do is dress the best I can to combat the elements and keep those legs moving.
Some of my favorite cold weather running clothes are the Nike DriFit tights and zip-up that I have. Both are very lightweight but once you get moving, they really hold your body heat in while keeping you dry.
You can't really tell but there are snowflakes covering my legs and the ground is wet. Too bad there is nothing I can do to keep my feet dry. Once they got wet they were FREEZING. Nothing like pounding the concrete for an hour and a half with numb feet.
I really have a love/hate relationship with my surrounding neighborhoods.
There are hills EVERYWHERE. This is just one of the many that I have to climb.
Sometimes it really sucks because there are no leisurely routes, but I also love it because there are no leisurely routes. If I can get in a comfortable pace running these, when I meet a tough hill during a race it's going to be a piece of cake.
One day, when I'm a serious runner, I'll get a Garmin and I can see the elevation changes. For now, I'll just charge them blindly.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

You Gotta Keep Moving.

Monday = Cross Training.

This Monday, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. Nothing sounded fun to do for 60 minutes. So I decided to switch it up.

I started out with 15 minutes on the elliptical. Knowing that I only had 15 minutes to go really made me push myself. I did my usual routine, started at level 5 and turned it up each minute. 3 minutes forward, 2 backwards.

After I was done on the elliptical I walked over to the weights and did 20 leg lifts on the bench. I know that sounds easy, but my core is probably the weakest part of my body. I make sure to go really slow (especially lowering them) and keep my muscles contracted.

After abs, I did 30 speed squats without weights. Those bad boys will really work those glutes;-) Then I moved on to free weights (shoulder lifts with 10 lbs and bicep curls with 15 lbs).

**If you keep moving and take minimal breaks you will keep your heart rate up and work up an awesome sweat**

The next cardio machine I moved to was the bike, then the stair master (where my glutes continued to burn), then the row machine. I did 15 minutes on each and the same set of weights between them. By the time I was walking into the locker room I was beat.

Today I was supposed to run 3 miles. It didn't happen (this seems to be a common theme with me...) but I'm not mad or disappointed even a little bit. My baby girl came down with a nasty virus AND an ear infection. We were up all night and spent the day at her doctor's office and pharmacy. This poor thing has been on antibiotics all winter.....

Once we got some more rest and pumped her full of ibuprofen and augmentin, we got some homework done....

She had to make an animal out of boxes. I am the LEAST creative person ever so this was really tough. It's a dalmatian.
Then I made some cookies to bring into her class tomorrow. I am going to help the kids make sleds using graham crackers, white frosting and candy. I'm always excited to see her at school!

 I used the recipe here, except I used the new White Chocolate Peppermint M&Ms. I'm not much of a peppermint fan for my sweets but you could put damn near anything in white chocolate and I am going to love it!
Let's hope that they are a hit!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Good Food, My Run - Not So Much.

Sunday morning I had 12 miles to do. I really wanted to kill this run. The past week I have not had much success. Saturday, I didn't even attempt my 6 miles. I got up early and went to eat breakfast with Santa and my baby girl.
He was the shortest Santa ever and baby girl was just as nervous as she looks. A big thank you to Ft. Belvoir Hospital for putting this cute event on!
After breakfast, the boy and I hit the mall and got a good amount of Christmas shopping done. SCORE. By the time we got home, it was pitch black outside (and only 5:30 PM, I hate that) so I opted to stay home and make my man some dinner and have some quality time.
 Sunday's run had to go well.
My boyfriend and I took our time getting up in the morning. By the time we got up and got the coffee maker going, it was 9:30 AM, and it felt great.
Since breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and I love cooking (especially for that man) I took my time and fueled up with some runny eggs, sausage, home fries and toast. Plus a couple cups of black coffee of course. Addicted:-)
After I let that mountain of food settle and kissed the boy goodbye I hit the path. I didn't take my phone with me, so I don't have pictures of the trail but you can see it here.
The trail is mostly dirt, some gravel, and some blacktop. It is a 4.7 mile loop, so between the 2 loops  I ran some of the streets within the park, sometimes a change of scenery makes a run all that much better.
It didn't really work this time.
While I didn't feel terrible, I wasn't on my game. My pace was about 8:40, which is not good for me. I typically try to run about 8:15 for my long runs. I was coughing quite a lot and wasn't feeling it.  I managed 11.5 miles and headed home...with a nasty blood blister under one of my toe nails. Clipping and draining it was really fun. (I'm kind of sick haha) Good running socks are seriously important.
At least my recovery meal cheered me up.

Kashi Berry Crumble Cereal, Sliced bananas and Justin's Maple Almond Butter. Topped with ice cold milk after the picture was taken. It's odd because I don't really like milk too much (I usually eat cereal dry) but sometimes, when I'm in a cereal mood, it's money.
I also took a picture of dinner, which was this bad boy, because it was the best salad I've had in a long time.

Spinach, red, orange and yellow pepper, onions, tomatoes, pine nuts and tuna. The tuna MADE IT. I mixed it up with a dab of mayo, mustard, relish, seasoning salt and garlic salt.
Wish I had another one tonight.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Running is NOT always fun.

This week has just not been my week. The days have been long and the motivation has been gone. I'm not even just talking about running. Being nice and putting on a smile seemed tough a couple times. I was straight up bitchy and there was no excuse for it. Sometimes this just happens...right? (Please tell me I'm not alone here)

I tried my best to snap out of it. I made myself stick to my training plan every single day, telling myself that all I needed was a good sweat fest.

Monday: Cross Training (45 minutes on the elliptical)
Tuesday: 3 miles + strength
Wednesday: 6 miles
Thursday: 3 miles + strength

Tuesday's strength training was no joke. I tore my quads up doing the lateral leg press (140 lbs, 15 reps, 4 sets) and this little kneel and twist move I learned from P90X that is basically a lunge-type move. I don't think they have ever been so sore. Looking at 6 miles for Wednesday seemed ridiculous. I forced my ass on the treadmill and cranked out 4, then turned the damn thing off. I had a public fight with myself right there on the treadmill. Going back and forth. Do I run, do I quit?? (I'm sure the people around me think I'm crazy....). Eventually I sucked it up and cranked out two more miles.

I tried to foam roll it out afterwards. Damn, that thing hurts. Wednesday night I waddled around my apartment like a 90 year grandma while my boyfriend laughed, but I'm still proud I stuck to it.

This is what is discouraging to many people who start running. It's not always sunshine and rainbows. I don't always get that high I'm chasing or feel strong and powerful. Sometimes, I feel physically and mentally defeated. I feel drained and worthless and like my legs are filled with legs.

These are the runs that make or break you.

As cliche as it is, nothing worth having comes easy.

If I can force myself to run while my mood is terrible and my legs are sore while walking, just imagine what I can do in a race? Just think about how much further I will be able to carry myself when I'm in a crowd of people fighting, with adrenaline pumping, fighting for a faster time than those around me.

The area that I didn't conquer today. My sweet tooth. The craving hit and it hit hard. All I wanted was a damn cookie.

I asked my daughter if we should make some tonight, and she happily agreed.

Now I have to find a way to get them all out of my house.....
Hey, at least I found motivation to do something!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Should You Run If You're Sick?

This weeks training went almost exactly as it was planned. I logged 34 miles, and was shooting for 35, so I'll take that as a win. (I lost one mile on Saturdays 6 miler due to GI issues :-/)

I'll admit though, today's 11 miler almost didn't happen. Friday and Saturday night I got very little rest due to a nasty cough that started on Thursday and has gotten progressively worse. I woke up this morning, and had no intention of running, I could hardly breathe as it was. I was coughing nonstop and coughing up phlegm, although it was clear so I took that as a good sign.

I woke up, drank my coffee, took a hot shower, and chugged water and started to feel like things were getting better. Around 2 PM I asked the boy if I should go and do my run. I really love to put this man in a tough spot. He knew that I would feel like crap if I didn't do it but that if I did and crashed and burned during the run it might be worse. He replied with "how about you just go do 4 or 5 miles and see how you feel?".

I decided that he was right. Any run was better than none. I didn't have a fever, I didn't have aches, or stomach issues. In fact, when I'm feeling like this a run usually helps me feel better. So I head out.

The first 3 miles kicked my ass. I could get my breathing, I couldn't get my stride, mentally, I just wasn't in the game. I ran 4.5 miles and decided to run into a Dairy Queen a grab a cup of water and stretch really quick. At this point, I had two choices. I could turn around and go from where I came and log 9 miles, or I could keep the way I was head and shoot for the full 11. If you're going to do 9 miles, what's 2 more??

At 7.5 miles I decided that a gel would probably be a good idea. I had only had a couple of eggs and toast at 8 AM, not enough fuel for an 11 miler at 2 PM. I brought one of the Hammer Gels a friend had given me (Guess I knew I was going to go for the full run!) so I decided to give it a try.

I never really enjoy a gel. They never taste good and the texture really weirds me out. I can't stomach an entire one either. It's just too much gross. Once I get past the gross factor of them though, they really do the job! I ate about half of it and it was a life saver.

I finished with 10.5 miles. I maintained an 8:22 pace and I felt great when I finished.

I truly think that if I am on the verge of catching a cold, a run really helps me feel better. I researched it before writing this post and the common consensus is "if it's above the neck it's ok to run". While mine is in my chest a little bit, I think the decision about whether or not to run is common sense.....If you feel like you're going to die, don't run. It's not worth it. If you don't feel horrible, give it a try and really listen to your body.

I'm glad I put in the effort this weekend.

While I wasn't running, I was busy getting my family in the holiday spirit.

Kaitlyn and I decorated the little Charlie Brown tree for my apartment.

The boy got a real tree that we decorated for his house.

The kids painted pictures and themselves....

beat up my boyfriend.....

played in boxes.....

and decorated Christmas cookies.
Absolutely amazing weekend with awesome people. I am sad today is Sunday.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Marathon Training - Week 4

I have a confession to make. I have fell victim to the current obsession that is the 50 Shades of Grey Trilogy. It's not something I'm proud to admit, but it's why I haven't posted recently. My thoughts on the book.....not too much of a fan. I have to say, I'm really over the "and they all lived happily ever after" endings on movies and books. Things don't really happen like that.

The "scenes" though, well damn. Some are INTENSE.

I digress. This Monday started out week 4 of my marathon training. Where has the past month gone?? This past weekend was a bust. My allergies were kicking my ass (why is it 65 degrees in DC in December?) so much that Sunday morning I woke up and had to use my daughter's asthma inhaler because of the wheezing....Like a turd, I tried to run Sunday afternoon. Fail. I was set out to do 6 miles, called it quits at after 5 because I just wasn't in it.

Given my crappy weekend fitness-wise, I woke up on Monday morning ready to show my body's whose boss. My training plan called for cross-training, but since I put zero effort in this weekend and it's still early in my training I decided to try those 6 miles again.

I was weary heading outside because of my performance the day before but how can I run inside when the weather is like this?? I hit the streets of DC and decided to try a new path. I just kept going and going straight until I was forced to turn left, since I have gotten lost running in the city before. Before I knew it I was 3 miles in.....and realizing the neighborhood around me was not the best. Oops!! Needless to say I hit the gas and got the hell out of dodge. Still, a great run.

Tuesday was 3 miles, which I hurried up to get done on the treadmill and hit the weights. I am determined to keep up with my strength training during marathon training. (You can check out my Daily Mile page to see the circuits I've been doing) While I'm no expert at weights, I usually pick 3 or 4 moves that I know how to do with proper form, do them for 12-15 reps, and repeat the circuit 3 or 4 times. I usually take a break in the middle and at the end to stretch.

Today, Wednesday, called for another 6 miler. I really should have gone outside to do it but I just had to get it in and get it done because I had an appointment to donate blood today. They were 6 gloriously sweaty miles at an 8:10 pace.....although the nurse did have a few choice words for me about an intense workout before donating blood because she thought I'd be dehydrated. Although this wasn't the case because I am always a crazy water drinker, now I know.

Tomorrow calls for 3 easy miles, then I plan to hit the weights hard!! I love doing that the day before a scheduled rest day because I can tell myself it's ok to rest since I'm sore:-)

If all goes to plan, and it will, I will end up with 35 miles logged this week. Pretty excited about getting those numbers back up there!