The Hardest 2.06 Miles

Two workouts in a row I’ve managed to pull myself out of bed an hour early to get my miles in before work. I wouldn’t call it a habit, but today was certainly easier than Tuesday. I woke up and felt the crisp breeze through my window and I was down right gitty. It’s Fall! I changed, laced up and hopped in the car. The thermometer in the Sentra even confirmed it was destined to be a perfect running morning.

Hi, Fall! I’m not even mad you showed up early.

I started off to Anna Sun (my favorite run track of the moment) and loved the fact that I could just barely see my breath as I ran up the first hill. For the first quarter mile, my run was perfect. And that’s as perfect as it got.

Around a half mile I suddenly felt defeated. My legs were lead blocks, and my asthma started flaring up. There is a big difference between asthma flares and bad cardio. On good days, I can run 5 miles with no breathing problems what so ever. Today, I took my 60 second walking break 8/10 of a mile in, and my chest still felt tight. I picked it back up, “ran” for 2 more songs (if we can even call it that) and then took another 60 second walk.

I wish I could pin point why this mornings run went the way it did. I was in bed by 10 last night. I didn’t work out last night and burn myself out. In fact, Super Specator Caitlin and I went to go see the Bourne Legacy. By see, I mean we drooled over Jeremy Renner for two hours and established that the girl in the movie really didn’t have it that bad if at the end she’s on a boat with him in Fiji. It all worked out.

I pushed through the second mile when I really just wanted to call it quits, which helped my mental game a little but physically my body didn’t seem to want to play along. By the time I was back at my car I felt like I had run a 10K. Which isn’t a normal feeling for 2.06 miles.

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Not great.

I’m going to try to do another run tonight and see if it goes any better. I know everyone has off days but I really want to get out an feel like I conquered a run. I’ve had some ok, just “routine” runs lately, but it’s been a while since I felt like I really crushed it. And with Newport a little over 6 weeks away, I really want to feel like I’m ready.

On a better note, I did receive this gem in my inbox. If there’s anything that can motivate you for a second workout, this is it.

I’m coming back!

Hope you all had better morning workouts than I did!  How do you power through the not so great runs?

All About the Future

I try to live in the moment as much as I can, but some times you’re forced to stare the future straight in the face. Like when I caught the bouquet at the wedding we went to this weekend. I take that stuff as a joke, but suddenly there were 10 text messages from certain family members making it clear they were expecting an announcement soon; I realized some people don’t. Sorry guys. Not anytime soon.

Kidding, Guys! Except about the flowers. Those I caught, kept, and they’re pretty.

Sunday marked 7 weeks until the Newport Marathon and I realized I’m getting closer and closer but not feeling much stronger. Jim went for his first training run last week. 6 miles in 47 minutes. Not bad for a first time out. I’m still cruising along at my 10:20/mi without getting any faster or slower. Some days I feel like I’m flying, other days my legs feel like lead, but I’m always hitting 10:20 give or take :10.

This morning I managed to pull myself out of bed at 5:45 to get in a couple miles before work. I really want to get back in the habit of morning workouts. Yesterday I woke up after staying in bed until the last possible minute and walked outside to 58degrees and crisp dry air. I died inside. As much as I love summer, running in heat and humidity takes a serious toll. Knowing I missed the first fall morning of the season felt worse than a DNF. There is nothing quite like Fall running, and I’m so looking forward to the next couple months of it.

I promised myself that today would mark the start of morning workouts. The alarm went off at 5:45 and I shot up with more enthusiasm than I’ve had in a while. Fall running! Cool breezes, dry air, sweating a normal amount! I laced up, ran down the stairs, opened the door and – Whack! I probably should have checked the forecast before getting myself all excited for weather that didn’t actually exist. In fact, this morning was exactly the opposite of what I was expecting. Unless Fall suddenly means 78 and 80% humidity. I figured I’d made it that far, may as well work out anyways.

I hit up the cemetery and felt surprisingly strong for the first song on my playlist. It’s a newbie and I’m kind of in love with it. I suggest you check it out.

If you watch HBO you have heard this song.

I went with my new routine of run 3 songs at MGP, walk 1 min, run the rest of that song and the next 3 at MGP. I’m still really nervous to re-tweak my knee so close to race day, and with Boston training quickly approaching after that. I got my confirmation yesterday that I’m officially entered into the 2013 race, and that is crazy to me. One, that a date that seemed like forever a few months ago snuck up so quickly, and two- I’m agreeing to 6am wake ups on Saturday mornings all winter again. Eep.

This morning I was slower than I would have liked for the second mile, but I’m still taking the fact that I started a new routine as a win. Small victories still count- right?

Do you work out in the mornings? How long did it take you to get used to it? I know that whole 28 days to make or break a habit thing, but I can’t be tired 27 days in a row!

Not The Healthiest Week

I am a pretty healthy person in general. I eat salads more than pizza, drink my recommended 64oz of water each day, take the stairs whenever possible and even sneak in a long run once in a while. Sometimes I even get 8 hours of sleep. This week, none of those things happened. In fact, if I were to have a physical today I’m pretty sure there would be multiple causes for concern.

As has been pretty typical over the past month, this week was just busy. I have 3 launches over the next 4 weeks and that goes hand in hand with long hours at work. Jim and I also have a wedding to go to this weekend, so Monday night we decided the time had come and he needed to buy a real suit. Taking him suit shopping was one of the greatest things I’ve ever been able to do. He didn’t hate it as much as I thought he would have, but by looking at his face you can tell his was less than thrilled with the whole concept.

He was OK with this, I promise

After 5 options and me acting like this was a GQ photo shoot, Monday was gone and my run was missed. Tuesday was a going away dinner for a co-worker who I’ve worked really closely with for the past few years, so Tuesday was a bust as well. That led to Wednesday, which was the annual Marshfield Fair Supercross race. The boys race, and I… well I eat fair food. This years dinner was a baked potato filled with cheese, bacon and broccoli. It was delicious. Then my little cousin dragged me to this glorious stand…

This is my inner fat kid Mecca

That’s right. Deep fried sweets. By the end of the night I had a deep fried oreo, a bite of deep fried cheesecake and half a deep fried pickle. That was Wednesday. I’m pretty sure my arteries are still mad at me.

The delicious outweighed the guilt

When I finally made my way to the gym last night I expected to be a little lagging. I knew it had been an off week and I probably wouldn’t repeat my glorious 7:40mile. Have I mentioned I ran a 7:40 mile? I’m still pretty excited and it was amazing. To say I didn’t repeat that glorious feat is an understatement. My 2.03 miles were not only slow, but kind of painful.

Not good.

I put the fancy treadmill on “Random Hill” mode which adds a few solid inclines, but still no excuse for that performance. It’s certainly not a confidence booster for the 12 miles I’m hoping to knock out tomorrow morning before Jim and I head to the cape for the wedding. I’m going to try to get those done by 8am so I can shower, nap and get my legs rested for the dance floor madness that will be my night.
I’m trying to get down to Newport the second weekend in September and do my final really long run on the actual course. #RhodeScholars- want to make a day of it? Let me know!

So that’s my week. I will be healthier next week I promise.

Have a great weekend everyone! What’s your mileage looking like for you fall marathon training?

The Liebster Blog Award

Over the weekend, one of my favorite bloggers Paulette sent me a tweet that made my day!

Up until that tweet, I had never heard of the Liebster Blog Award, but it’s such a great idea. This Liebster Blog Award is a chance for bloggers to bring attention to other smaller blogs and help them grow their following. It’s a great opportunity to write something new that helps people get to know what you’re all about pretty quickly. It breaks down to three sets of 11 things.

The first thing each blogger has to do is write 11 random facts about themselves. Here goes.

1.     I have (one more than one occasion) skipped going out to a bar or dinner because a Harry Potter movie marathon was on TV.

2.     I was voted worst driver of my high school senior class. I have improved in certain areas, and probably gotten worse in others.

3.     I wear hoodies year round. It’s August 14 and I’m wearing one today.

4.     My first ever road race was the Chicago Marathon on 10.10.10

Because I obviously can’t pin a bib without stabbing myself.

5.     Every time I see an English Bulldog puppy I try to find a way to steal it. No luck yet, but I really want one.

6.     I have a multigrain bagel from Dunkin Donuts for breakfast every single day. I eat half in the morning, half in the afternoon. Every day.

7.     The second and third toe on my left foot are slightly webbed.

8.     Worst race prep decision I’ve ever made was Chinese food for dinner the night before. Thankfully it was only a 5K, because my legs cramped up a little less than a mile in.

9.     My post race meal is always a cheeseburger and fries or tater tots.

10.  Peyton Manning is my celebrity crush. I realize how strange that is. I don’t care. I love him.

Love.

11.  If I see a little old man eating by himself in a restaurant I will cry. A lot. It gets me every time.

The second portion? Answer these questions!

What is your favorite race? So far, has to be the NYC Half. Having Times Square shut down for you to run is truly amazing. I’m also a sucker for Central Park runs.

What is your least favorite race? I have to say the Falmouth Road Race. I ran it in 2011 and it was terribly organized, no one who was working the event could tell you how to get back to the parking areas (turns out it was a 4 mile walk), they ran out of water long before I got to the finish line and it was an hour wait at the start for a 7 mile race. Wasn’t worth the registration fee to me.

Do you have pets, and if so what kind? Not at the moment, but I want an English Bulldog so badly I plan on making it my first purchase when I get my own place. Before a couch.

Where did you go to school? Suffolk University in Boston.

What is your favorite long run fuel? Gummi bears. I put one for each mile in my pocket and eat one at each mile marker. The little boost keeps me going without leaving me with that gross, sugary feeling a lot of those chomp blocks or Gu flavors give you. Once or twice during a marathon I’ll have a Vanilla Bean Gu, frozen if I have a super spectator waiting for me.

Name one thing on your running bucket list. The Goofy Challenge. The Disney World Marathon holds a half marathon the day before the full. If you do both, it’s the Goofy Challenge. I’m thinking 2014.

If you could vacation anywhere for a week, where would you go? Australia. And that’s where I’m going to ask to go when I win my bet in October!

Coffee, tea, or none of the above? Coffee. Black if hot, milk and two splenda if iced.

What sparked your commitment to healthy living and fitness? During a relationship in college I put on about 20lbs, and after the break up I lost 40lbs in six weeks. Neither was healthy for me, but the weight loss reminded me how great working out makes me feel. I started to put the weight I needed to back on in a healthy way, but never again lost my love of hitting the gym.

What hobbies do you have outside of running & fitness? During the summer I don’t sit still. Going to the beach or being out on the boat give me a chance to unwind a read a lot, which I love. I’m an amateur cook though I make a mean chocolate chip cookie.

Why did you start blogging? When I started training for the Boston Marathon a lot of people suggested documenting my training so I would have something to look back at and remind myself of all the work I had put in when training got tough. If nothing else, I figured it would be a fun way to help me stay accountable and motivated for my workouts. Turns out, blogging also helped introduce me to a great community of runners and a support system I may have never known was out there.

So who are my favorite 11 bloggers? I’ll be honest. There aren’t 11 health/fitness related blogs that I follow. And I’m not going to recommend you read things I don’t. So here are my favorites.

Be Fresh Fit!

–       Ali On The Run

–       Meals for Miles

–       MWRun6

–       LiveRunLoveYoga

–       So Just Keep Running

–       Undressed Skeleton

–       Skinny Runner

–       RunPrincipessa

I hope you have enjoyed learning these random facts about me and post the answers yourselves. And if you know about a great blog I’ve never heard of (which I KNOW you do) post it in the comments so I can get reading!

Small Accomplishments Are a Big Deal

You can’t win ‘em all. Everyone learns that at one point or another. Lately, in work, running and life I’ve been so overwhelmed that looking at the finish line just seems too daunting. At work I’ve been working on a project for the past year and a half that launches at the end of the month. This means we’re currently in panic mode over every small bug, typo and misaligned gradient that we come across. Instead of looking at the looming public launch date, I’ve chosen instead to look at the staging pushes between now and then. It makes the whole thing seem much more achievable and less panic attack inducing.

In life, I’ve been looking at condos and talking with a realtor and gearing up to start the whole mortgage pre approval process and becoming a… home owner. Even the title terrifies me a little bit. It’s the final sign of real, no-turning-back adulthood. I don’t know how on board I am with that concept. Though I am on board with being able to decorate the way I want and make a grilled cheese sandwich without my mother asking why I’m not having a turkey sandwich instead. Yes mom, I know turkey has a shorter shelf life than cheese. My fat kid instincts just don’t care at the current moment. Which is why when my brother offered to grill last night I didn’t hesitate.

Pretty dang amazing.

I’m taking the same approach with my Newport training. The thought of 26.2 in a somewhat respectable pace is other worldly to me right now. I know I have a lot to work on between now and October 14. If I try to focus on all of it at once I’m going to accomplish none of it. Last night, I decided to give a speed workout a try. I hit the cemetery and put on my favorite running track of the moment.

Not a normal running track. I know. Not stopping me.

As I started the initial uphill my legs actually felt lighter than they have all week. By the time the first track ended I knew I was much further along than I normally am by that point and I still felt pretty good. I picked it up a little more and changed up the route slightly so I wouldn’t know my exact distance at any point. Sometimes with running I feel ignorance can be bliss. If you know the route you’re running like the back of your hand you can tell your exact pace without ever looking at your watch. That can work for or against you depending on the day. If you have no idea where you’re running you have no concept of how far you’ve gone. I felt like if I didn’t go as fast as I was hoping this would be slightly less discouraging.

Turns out, I had no reason to be discouraged. When my little Nike+ lady chimed in to tell me that I had completed my first mile I stopped dead in my tracks when she said my time.

 

Seriously?? Who knew I had it in me!

I won’t lie. The second mile went significantly slower than the first. I was focused on speed that first mile, not a sustainable pace. This was by far the fastest mile I’ve run (before this was an 8:01) and even adding a second mile on top of it I felt was a serious accomplishment.

Next week I have another speed workout with Caitlin. In her triathlon training she said she needs to work on distance, and I need to work on speed. Together, we will run 5 miles and I will probably die. I made her promise she won’t laugh at me and she agreed. I’m holding her to it.
In the mean time, I’m looking forward to the weekend, time on the boat, time with the family. Any maybe some more lobsters cooked at midnight by my two favorite guys.

Jim and my brother cooking a lobster and sides. At midnight. While slightly drunk. I love them.

Happy Friday, everyone! What did you accomplish this week? I want to hear all about it!

Last Minute Racer

I’ve been debating for a while of running a half marathon this month to help in my Newport Marathon training. I had to miss the Jamestown stop of the UHC Triple Crown (of course, the one I was looking forward to the most!) and I’m trying to get my competitive running juices flowing.  I know, I don’t really have competitive juices. A girl can dream.

While I was looking through half marathons I was thinking about the last distance race I did- The Providence Half. I went into that fresh off an injury, a bow out from Boston and an overall question of why I bother running. I “ran” it just to finish it, and I affectionately refer to it as my “walking tour of Providence”. Before that was Boston training, and before that was the NYC Half Marathon. In 2011. It’s been 18months since I really raced a race. There has been tons of training, lots of long runs, even a few races; but nothing I actually went into wanting to race. This is an issue.

I’ve been running and training for Newport, and I’m going into this to race because of that little side bet I have going on. While I am confident I can race Newport, I don’t think I should go into it without having raced anything else first. I need to figure out how to really push myself and not take the safe route I’ve been comfortable in. After over training for Boston I’ve been hesitant to up my mileage very much. My longest run this training cycle has been 14 and I have zero intention of going above 18. The one part of training I’ve really improved on this cycle is listening to my body. If it hurts I rest it. If it doesn’t feel right I lay off. It seems to be working for keeping me healthy, but doing very little to help me get speedy. On a brighter note, my knee is feeling good thanks to a new trick I’ve taught myself. KT Tape plus an IT Band strap means no knee pain for this girl. And it’s pretty. That helps too.

My KT Tape matches my sneakers. We’ll pretend that’s an accident.

If I’m going to start racing that also means I need to start fueling and cross training better. Summer is always hard for me because there are lots of cookouts, lots of cocktails and lots of time on the boat.

Boat Life = The Good Life

None of this makes me sad. It does make me the slow kid on the track, though.  It’s hard to fit everything in, and Yoga has most certainly taken the biggest hit. Remember that New Years goal of 100 hot yoga classes? Not even close. Dinner last night? Salad. And fried brocilli cheese bites.

Heaven in a deep fried coating.

 

There is a lot I need to work on over the next 10 weeks leading up to Newport. I need to focus on pushing myself. I need to get outside of my comfort zone. I need to go back to Yoga so I can touch my toes without feeling the stretch anymore. I need to not eat everything in sight that is covered in cheese. I need to foam roll more. I’m also approaching the 8 week mark where I try to cut out drinking. Oh boy.

So- what do you think- is a half this month and next month a good idea? If so, what are you racing in the New England area this month? Any awesome races I need to check out?