Friday, April 29, 2016

Zero Week

I always have the best intentions when it comes to posting, but things have really gotten away from me lately.

I did spend the last two days on the couch with a sore throat and fever, but otherwise I don't have any good excuses.

Tom and I ran a trail race last weekend with a bunch of my Rivertown buddies. The Leatherman's Loop is a 10k (it's actually a little longer, but they say it's a 10k) that runs through wooded trails, mud flats, water crossings and sand hills. It is a lot of jumping over tree roots and making sure you don't trip on rocks.

Tom was a little undertrained, and I was still recovering from the Hook Half the weekend before, so we ran together. We did not have an amazing finish time, but it was a lot of fun! It would be nice to run when my legs are a little more well-rested.

The muddy shoe aftermath:

Photo Credit: Sue Chiarulli

In house news: I've been working away at the painting that needs to get done in the upstairs. I feel like it's taking me forever, but that's because when we painted the primer there were three of us working. 

This is the hall bathroom. There's going to be wainscoting on the bottom part of the wall and a shower enclosure around the tub, I'm not just incredibly lazy in my painting. 


I had plans to get the master bathroom painted this week too, but my body had other plans.

Buddy loves it when I'm sick. He gets extra couch time, even if he takes up half the couch.


I was feeling better this morning so we went for a (very) short walk. Buddy collapsed like we'd been running for miles when we got home. He's so dramatic.


My unplanned couch time led to an unplanned zero week when it comes to running. I haven't run a single mile since last weekend. I'm hoping to get some easy miles in this weekend, but we'll see how quickly my energy comes back to me. I don't have any races until June, so I'm not too worried about the lost mileage.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Feelin' Funky

I've been in a bit of a running funk lately. It actually started right around my half PR last month, but it's really been hanging around.

Every once in a while I hit this wall with running where I feel like I will never run fast again, and that I will never enjoy running again. It's nice to be able to take a break when I get in these moods, but I had already signed up for the Hook Half before I hit the slump.

Now that I have a bit of a break (my next half is in June), I'm trying to mix things up a bit. I am planning on doing more strength training (2x a week), running 4 days a week, and doing yoga most days. It is surprisingly easy for me to fit 15-20 minutes of yoga in when I put my mind to it.

I'm hoping the variety will help my running and help me get out of my funk.

I actually had a good run today. Ok, so I had three kind of blah miles and one mile that felt great at the end, but that more than makes up for the other three.


Buddy and Tom ran 5 miles today. Buddy has barely moved since they got home, but he is always so excited when he gets to go running. Soon he'll be up to enough miles that I will be able to bring him with me on some of my weekend runs.


Monday, April 18, 2016

Hook Half Marathon Race Recap

I ran a half marathon this weekend. You might not have known since I have been completely slacking on my blog posts lately.

On Sunday morning I woke up at 5 and was out the door at 6 to make the drive to Rockland Lake State Park. I was super early (on purpose) so I didn't even have to wait in line to pick up my number and my snazzy race shirt.


Then I went back to my car because it was 38 degrees out and I still had almost an hour before race time. It was a chilly morning, but was supposed to get fairly warm. Most people were in long tights and long sleeve shirts/jackets. I assumed that most of them would lose some layers for the race, but most of them were still pretty bundled up when we started. There were even some people who chose to wear the long sleeve, cotton race shirt to run the half marathon.

I would have died.

I was wearing shorts, a tank top and my Legend Compression sleeves (affiliate link) - and sunscreen, because this pale skin hasn't seen a lot of sun lately.

I knew going into it that the race wasn't going to be easy - it does have the word mountain in the name - but it ended up being a lot harder than I expected.


The first four miles are fairly flat around Rockland Lake, and then there are rolling hills until the big drop down Hook Mountain. Mile 6 drops over 200 feet in elevation, though most of that drop is over the course of less than half a mile. It's not so bad, but you know you have to run back up it later.

Miles 7-10 are mostly flat along the river. It was really hot during this stretch and there was no shade and no wind. The turn around spot has an unwelcome mini-hill. I did't feel awesome at any point in this race, but this stretch was a major suffer-fest for me. It takes me a few weeks to get used to running in warmer weather, and even though it wasn't actually hot, it was still too warm compared to the temperatures I have been running in lately.

The death march up Hook starts right around mile 10. Pretty much everyone around me (myself included) walked up the vast majority of the hill. I was feeling mostly terrible at that point so I was just happy that I managed to convince myself to start running again once we got to the top. I knew my goal of being under two hours was out the window, but I didn't want to just give up and walk.

Ok, I did want to give up and walk at the time, but I'm glad I didn't.

The last two miles run back around the lake, and are mercifully flat. I managed to pick up the pace a bit and passed several people during the last couple of miles. I had a strong finish, but ended up finishing almost 10 minutes slower than my last half just three weeks ago.

They only had a finish line mat, so my gun time was 2:06:39, no chip time.


A couple of gripes: The water stations were confusing, The volunteers were all mixed together with Gatorade and water and it wasn't clear who had what. I ended up accidentally grabbing Gatorade a couple times, and each time it was a different flavor of Gatorade - I wish they had at least stuck to one flavor.

By the time I finished, there was only half a box of bananas and less than half a box of (dry) bagels left. I have no idea what the many runners behind me had to choose from, but it was slim pickings when I was there.

Overall, it is a really well-run race, and the scenery is beautiful, but it is definitely a tough course. I may have to run it again with a little more preparation (hill training) next time.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I Love/Hate Running

I have not been behaving like a person who is running a half marathon this weekend - but I am. I'm running the Hook Mountain Half Marathon on Sunday.

On one hand, I have been trying to take it a little easier to let whatever is happening with my calf/shin totally heal, but I could definitely be running more than I have been.


It's not like I have been just sitting around on the couch - I have been doing a lot of work around the house, and I'm still doing yoga and some random youtube videos. But I have definitely been using more excuses than usual to skip out on runs.

This is how Buddy lets me know that it's his dinner time:


I bought a kettle bell the other day. I've used it once, so that's something. I'm really trying to do more strength training, because I know it's good for me. Consistency is not my strong suit.


Tom's mom came up and helped us paint again today. It's good that she came up because it got us to actually paint. We powered through and finished all the primer in the addition. Now we can actually start painting the new master bedroom and the new bathrooms.



Tom pulled the recessed lights down so we wouldn't paint them, they're not some fancy/weird spotlights.


I can't wait until this bathroom is finished - that 6 foot bathtub is calling my name. 


Progress is exciting :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Our New (Old) Living Room

Things have been a little crazy around here lately. We got a lot done in the house though.

As a reminder, this is what the living room at the back of the house looked like before we moved in.


There was dark wood paneling, filthy carpet and not one, but three doors to the yard. The wood paneling has been down for so long that we actually forgot that it used to be there.

Tom powered through the rest of the painting over the weekend and on Tuesday we pulled up the old carpet. It took a while to pull up all the tack strips and staples from the carpet pad, and there was enough sand to fill a sandbox - for some reason. 


After a lot of swiffering and mopping, the floor is mostly clean now. This was before it was clean.


We even ended up moving things back into the living room last night. It feels so much brighter now! We still need to get the trim and the baseboards in, and we'll probably end up getting a bigger rug, but it feels good to see progress.


Friday, April 1, 2016

Marathon News and Paint

So, I didn't get into the Marine Corps Marathon for this year. I'm not terribly sad about it though. I already registered for The Steamtown Marathon and have hotel rooms reserved.


Part of why I'm excited is that Steamtown will be during my mom's visit in October, and she's going to come with us! It will be fun to have here there, and then I won't be trying to train during the rest of her visit. We usually only get to see each other once a year, so I like to be able to make the most of her visits.

I have been taking it easy this week when it comes to running. In fact, I've only actually made it out the door twice this week. My calf/shin, which gave me a pass for the race over the weekend, tightened back up early in the week so I am trying to actually let it recover.

My next half is only a couple of weeks out at this point. There really isn't a lot of information out there on how to train in between races, but I found this website and have been loosely following the 3 week plan.

We started getting the living room ready for painting the other day. I swept the drywall (including the ceiling) to get the majority of the dust off and ended up looking a little grey.


Tom's mom came over and helped us get started painting today. It went pretty quickly with all three of us painting!

We have the primer up and will hopefully have the room fully painted by the end of the weekend. I took these pictures while the primer was still drying, so there are some patchy looking areas.



Buddy has been helping me with my yoga lately. He's not in the way at all.


Good thing he's cute.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Sleepy Hollow Half Marathon 2016 Race Recap

I was up at 5:45 on Saturday morning, drank a couple cups of coffee and ate my usual English muffin with peanut butter. I left earlier than I needed to because I would rather be early than late and stressed out.

The race didn't start until 9:30, so I had oodles of time to pick up my number and race shirt. I actually ended up sitting in my car for about 20 minutes after packet pickup to stay warm while I waited.

The Sleepy Hollow Half is run by my weekend running group, Rivertown Runners, so it was fun to have a bunch of runner friends there with me. There was a whole group of us together at the starting line.

My two best running friends and I before the start. It's impossible to get a good picture of all of us.

Photo Credit to Joe Golden

The course was different from the last time I ran it. A couple of years ago we still had snow on the ground, so a lot of the trails were not included.

The first half mile or so is mostly uphill on the road. After that we hit the aqueduct trails which are packed dirt. It was pretty crowded for the first few miles, especially once we were off the road and on the narrower trails. I think some people were a little nervous on the trails, but since I run them every weekend I passed a bunch of people by running on the edge of the trail.

It was mostly rolling hills until just before mile 5, where we were serenaded by a bagpiper as we dragged ourselves up a long, steep hill. My friend kept telling me to pump my arms, but I was not moving very quickly. From mile 5.5 on we were back on the roads.

There's a bit of a stretch out and back on a highway that really seems to drag. The way out was a gentle, but endless uphill, which at least made the way back a long downhill. It's about a mile and a half each way.

Around mile 9.5 is a really stupid hill in a hospital parking lot. It's just so unnecessary.

After running through some neighborhoods, the course runs along the Hudson until the final mile. The last mile is mostly flat until the last .2, which is up the worst hill of the entire race. It's known as the Pocantico Punisher, though I know a few runners with more colorful names for it.

Photo credit to Jared Johnson

My race plan was to just run. I set my watch to show the clock time and didn't look at any of my mile splits. I ended up running the entire race within about 20 feet of one of my weekend running buddies. Our trio all had the goal of just being under 2 hours at the finish line. We naturally alternated who was in the lead and ran side by side from time to time. Sometimes talking, sometimes alone with our music. He told me around mile 9 that we definitely were on track to come in under two hours, and later asked me what my PR time was.

In the last couple of miles he told me it was only going to be a question of how much I would beat my PR by. I was definitely getting tired by the last mile, but nothing really hurt, I was just tired. The last hill took a lot out of me, but I saw 1:56:xx on the clock and broke into a smile and a sprint and finished just behind my friend. We actually ended up with the exact same chip time, my new PR - 1:56:35!


It ended up being a great race day - perfect weather (though I did end up with a bit of a sunburn), zero pain, a fun run with friends and a new PR! Can't ask for much more than that!
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