Monday, September 28, 2015

Marathon Training Week 14

Well, I made it through the first week of the taper, and I'm not crazy...yet! :)

My information packet came today! Race day is SO soon!

Construction is moving forward on the house again. The rest of the roof came down today, and they've started building up the walls to get ready to build the second story.

All the noise has been freaking Buddy out, so I took him for a walk around the neighborhood this afternoon. Now he's more exhausted than freaked out, so I think that's progress.

Today is Tom's birthday! Unfortunately, he spent it pulling out the old septic pipes and putting in new ones.

We're going to celebrate his triumph over the septic (and his birthday!) with whiskey and Death Star ice cubes later. We really live it up around here ;)

And here's what this week of training looked like:

Monday: Cross Training. I got in 30 minutes of yoga, but my mind was on other things so I didn't really enjoy it as much as I have been lately.

Tuesday: 5 miles. The weather is finally a little cooler, and the humidity was low for this run. It went so well! I ran by feel since I ran 20 miles two days before. 5 miles @ 8:55

Wednesday: 6 miles. I was SO tired on Wednesday, and I was pretty sure that I either had a cold or really bad allergies. Either way, I didn't run.

Thursday: 5 miles. Fairly certain it's allergies, I ran by feel and didn't push too hard. Better to take it easy and not make myself feel worse at this point. 5.05 miles @ 9:24

Friday: Rest day. I debated making up a few of my missed miles from Wednesday, but decided I was better off just taking the rest day.

Saturday: 4 mile pace run. Tom was taking a hunting class that he had to complete in order to get his hunting license, so I swapped my weekend run days. Polished off my last double digit run before race day. It wasn't fast, but I felt strong and ran ALL the hills, which I don't always do. I ended up hitting my mileage 2 miles from the house and decided to walk the rest of the way home for a cool down. I never do a coo down, I know I should, but it's boring. 12.16 miles @ 10:43

Sunday 12 miles. I didn't know how this pace run was going to go the day after a long run, but it actually went really well! I went out hoping for a 9:00 pace, but I was feeling really good and pushed the pace a bit. I was pretty happy to check my time when I got home. 4 miles @ 8:30

Miles this week: 26.21

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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Pace or Effort?

I'm having a debate. I'm thinking about covering my watch screen with masking tape or blue tape for the marathon.

My favorite halfs have been the ones where I ran by feel and wasn't focused on my pace the entire time. I only get one first marathon, and I really want to take it all in and enjoy it.

At the same time, I've been told that pacing at the beginning of Steamtown is key. The biggest mistake you can make on the course is going out too fast on the early downhills. If I cover my watch I can't check my pace to make sure I'm not taking off too quickly.

I had a really good run today! I feel like it's been a really long time since I said that. It was a short (4 mile) pace run, and I was shooting for 9:00 pace. I was feeling pretty good and pushed the pace. I ended up running my 4 miles at an average pace of 8:30!

Tom spent most of the day digging a trench down to the septic pipes.

Parts of this trench are waist deep!

The plumber was here the other day, and apparently the septic was starting to back up. We're hoping replacing the old pipes fixes the problem because everything else seems to be working the way it's supposed to.

How was your running this weekend?

Should I cover my watch screen for the marathon?

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Last Double Digit Run

I'm trying to be really careful with myself for the next two weeks. What does that mean? It means I'm not doing head stands or trying any new workouts. The last thing I want right now is to hurt myself doing something I don't need to be doing, and mess up race day for myself.

I'm also super paranoid about loose dogs on my runs. We live in a really rural area, and a lot of people don't have fences for their dogs. That's great and all, but I have had several standoffs with dogs lately. One owner was in the yard and told me that his dog was just a little skittish/nervous. Ok, but your dog is just as likely to bite me because it's scared, thank you very much.

My cold/allergies/whatever it is almost convinced me to skip my run today. Thankfully I didn't listen. It was a little rough for the first few miles, but I got my last double digit run before the marathon in.

It was only 12 miles and I almost headed out the door without my hydration pack because I decided that it was a short run. I'm smart like that.

I didn't plan my route well at all and ended up hitting my 12 miles about two miles away from the house. I debated just running it, but decided that it would be a good cool down to just walk it. Walking is SO slow!

Buddy was excited that I came home. Every time we leave he's pretty sure we're never coming back.

I have very exciting plans to be lazy this afternoon - they're my favorite kind of plans!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Curiosity and My Marathon Shoes

I'm linking up with Jill for Fitness Friday this week - go check out some of the other great bloggers that take part!

Can we take a minute to think about the fact that Steamtown is only 15 days away?

I'm in a weird place about the whole thing because, when I actually stop to think about the fact that I will be running 26 miles and 385 yards in 15 days, I start to get a little freaked out. The thing is, I don't really think about it as often as I think most first-time marathoners do. There are a lot of things going on right now between work and the house, so I actually find that there are entire days where I don't think about the challenge I have ahead of me.

There are more runners out and about in our neighborhood these days. This summer I hardly saw any other runners while I was out, trudging through the humidity. Where have they been? Have they been holed up at a gym on a treadmill? Are they just fair weather runners? Are they training for anything?

I'm very curious about these people.

Most of them are not super friendly. For the most part they give me a weird look when I give them a little wave and say hi as we pass. Don't they know that's what runners do? Apparently these fair weather runners are also anti-social.

I'm so excited that the weather is finally turning! I had more than enough of the heat and humidity this year.

The cooler temps and the lower humidity has really made a difference in my last few runs. My cruising speed is faster than it has been, which gives me hope that I won't end up taking half the day to get to the finish line at Steamtown.

I decided that my Saucony Zealots are going to be my marathon shoes. I decided this right after a really fun run in the rain a couple of weeks ago. They were completely soaked when I took them off and I left them in the kitchen. They haven't moved since.

I miss running in them, but I don't want to add any more miles to them before the marathon. I have plenty of other shoes I can wear, but isn't it always the case? I want what I can't have. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Blanket Forts and Insulation

I'm trying to add a little variety to my diet. Generally I eat two English muffins for breakfast, one with butter and jam, one with peanut butter. The last couple days I have been mixing things up by only eating one English muffin and adding some Greek yogurt and a banana. I know you were all dying to know about what I've been eating lately. 

We're trying to figure out how to attach Buddy's blanket to his bed in a way that he would be able to crawl into it on his own. He gets up in the middle of the night and knocks his blanket off and then we wake up to a tightly curled up pooch in the morning.

Basically, I want to make a blanket fort for my dog.

Tom spent some time pulling the insulation out of the crawl space in the basement this afternoon so the plumber can get in there to do some work tomorrow.

I have some super important reading to do.

I go through phases with magazines where I don't read any for months, and then I randomly decide I want to read them again. One of those crazy $5 for 6 issues of Women's Running popped up back in August and I finally got my first issue today - the day after I decided I needed to buy an issue of Runner's World.

My shoes somehow came untied 3 times on my run today. Once after I had double knotted them. I was both annoyed and a little impressed.

The bulk of the lumber for the addition was delivered today. That's one step closer to our new master bedroom/bathroom being finished (and started...).

What was for breakfast at your house? I need inspiration!

Do you subscribe to any magazines? I know most of it is online now, but sometimes I just want to read an actual print copy.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Slowly but Surely

It's possible that I have the start of a cold. Or allergies. Something like that.

Either way, I was super tired this afternoon and decided that I was better off not running. At this point, getting sick would be a lot worse than skipping out on a few miles.

Tom took the sliding doors out of the living room yesterday. The lumber for the addition is supposed to get delivered on Friday, maybe. The "two weeks" that the construction is supposed to take is apparently 14 work days, and they aren't here every day. Things are happening, slowly but surely.

Buddy doesn't like when Tom goes outside without him. He just stares at the door until Tom comes back.

I've been reading Marathon whenever I'm at the laundromat. I finally finished it the other day. I have read a ridiculous number of running books and articles, so there wasn't a ton of new information, but some of the marathon-specific parts were interesting.

I refuse to think about how soon the race is - that's a good pre-race strategy, right?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Marathon Training Week 13

Another week of marathon training is in the books. A lot of it was not very pleasant, and I am hoping that it's mostly the weather and the fact that I have just been having a low motivation week.

This week was also the highest mileage of this training cycle - 43.22 miles!

Monday: Cross Training. I was lazy and only did a half hour of yoga instead of the hour that I try to shoot for.

Tuesday: 5 miles. I took it easy after the half on Sunday, though I was surprisingly not sore. 5.09 miles @ 9:30 pace.

Wednesday: 8 miles. This run started out super slow, I was pretty much trudging. It was still hot out when I left the house, but once the sun went below the trees I was able to pick up the pace and finish a little stronger. 8.10 miles @ 9:32 pace.

Thursday: 5 miles. This run felt awful, I even walked for part of it. My watch was off - the park by our house is 1.1 miles from the house, it just is - my watch said 1 mile about halfway past the park. I know that doesn't seem like a lot, but it really bugged me at the time. 5 miles @ 9:55 pace.

Friday: Rest day. You know I'm great at rest days - get me a crown and call me the queen of rest days!

Saturday: 5 mile pace run. I should have checked the weather and the humidity level before I set out for this run. Maybe then I would have had more realistic expectations. Or, you know, I could have left earlier in the day, but you know that's not my style. The humidity made this way harder than it should have been. 5.03 miles @ 9:04 pace.

Sunday: 20 miles. My final long long run of the training cycle. I went without headphones and generally felt pretty good, other than on a few of the hills. My Wave Riders started to rub on the arch of my foot around mile 17, but luckily I didn't end up with a blister. And I'm also glad I wasn't planning on wearing those shoes on race day. It probably doesn't help that they have a ton of miles on them. 20 miles @ 10:26 pace.

I'll leave you with this stunning picture that the race photographer took on Sunday. I was really happy, can't you tell? I laughed when I saw it, and it's a good reminder to suck it up and smile at the finish line, no matter how the race goes.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Won't You Take Me To - Taper Town!

I was up bright and early today for my second and last 20 miler for this training cycle. And then I took my sweet time getting out the door and didn't actually leave until almost 8am.

The Steamtown Marathon "strongly discourages" iPods and headphones, so I decided to hit the road without them this morning. I did bring them in my hydration pack, just in case, but I didn't end up using them.

Lately I have been listening to an audiobook during my long runs, but otherwise I have been leaving the iPod at home, so it wasn't a huge adjustment. I had the song, "Holiday Road" stuck in my head about half the time because it's in a car commercial that's on all the time right now. The rest of the time I had "Rain, Rain, Go Away," which was funny because it was nothing but blue skies for my run.

The weather was a bit more cooperative today, much less humid than it has been, but the hills still tried to take me out.

I was hoping to keep my pace under 10:30 since I knew what hills I was planning on running. I even managed to hit an 8:28 minute mile at mile 16 with a little help from a downhill. Other than a couple of the steeper uphills, I felt pretty good most of the time.

Now I'm in the "trust your training" and don't go crazy part of the training cycle, also known as: the taper. I'm looking forward to cutting back on my mileage so I can go into race day feeling strong and well rested.

Apparently I'm running a marathon in 3 weeks - who's idea was that?

Friday, September 18, 2015

A Running Slump and a Snazzy New Hat!

Sometimes I feel really sluggish and out of shape - in the midst of marathon training.

Then I think back to my first half - I was undertrained, and didn't leave my apartment for 2 days afterwards. I wasn't back to running for probably two weeks.

Last weekend I ran a half marathon about 35 minutes faster than that first half, and I was back out and running on Tuesday. I was barely even sore. So even though I wasn't as fast as I wanted to be, I am definitely not out of shape. I know that, but I'm in a bit of a running slump at the moment and I just need to fight my way through.

I let Buddy out when I got home the other day and he just sat down on the porch. Apparently he wasn't in a hurry to get outside.

He did not want to play ball when I suggested it.

And then he did.

We're finally starting to get closer to fall weather. It's been cooling off a lot at night, which means Buddy is extra excited when he gets invited on the couch.

I got a snazzy new hat from Nuun in the mail today. I'm not normally a hat person, but I've been thinking about getting one to keep the rain out of my face when I'm running - you know, when it actually rains again. Perfect timing! 

This is my last big running week before I start tapering, and I'm really looking forward to the taper. I'm ready to scale back on my mileage and spend a little less time out on the road. Remind me I said that when I start going crazy and getting antsy as Steamtown gets closer and closer.

Has fall weather hit your neck of the woods yet?

How do you get out of a running slump?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Fracturing Rocks and The Perks of Running Small Races

I ran in capris this morning - I can't remember the last time it was cool enough for capris. It was pretty exciting.

It was actually cold in our house this morning. Just ask Buddy.

We no longer have a dog, just a blanket that moves occasionally.

There's a big rock in the yard that's in the way of construction. Rather than spend a ton of money to have an excavator come dig it out, Tom bought this crazy stuff called Dexpan that expands as it dries and fractures rock.

He poured it into several holes that were drilled into the rock yesterday, and this morning there were definitely cracks!

The cracks grew more by this afternoon, and then Tom went to work with a couple of metal wedges and a sledgehammer.

He pulled these chunks off. The chain is there because those pieces are so big he dragged them out of the hole with the Jeep.

Now it's about half the size it was. There will be another round of Dexpan to try to break it down even more.

The really weird thing is that the Dexpan crumbles in your hand once it's dry. I have no idea how a crumbly powder can fracture rocks.

In other exciting news, my GU supply has been restocked.

Plus there are 25 GUs in the box and there are only supposed to be 24, so I win.

I also got the Oatmeal's book on running.

I already read a bunch of it, and it's hilarious.

Oh, and I didn't share this here yet - apparently my finish time was enough to place 3rd in my age group on Sunday!

It pays to run small races ;)

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Marathon Training Week 12

This week was a bit of a mess, training-wise. Construction started on the house, we had record temperatures, and honestly, my motivation kind of dropped this week. I'm hoping to hit reset next week. It's the last tough week before the taper, and then I will apparently be running a marathon...

Monday: Cross Training. Does playing/swimming around in a friend's pool count? Because that's all I did on Monday. I also ate a lot, because that's what happens every time we go to their house.

Tuesday: 5 miles. Tuesday was the first day of construction on the house, it was also so hot that we broke records. I did not run. I did move a bunch of furniture out of the living room and tried to avoid going outside.

Wednesday: 5 miles. It was still really hot on Wednesday, and I was not organized enough to wake up early to run. Tom and I ended up doing a quick run in the evening up to the park near our house and back. It was still hot, but we figured it was better than nothing. 2.17 miles @ 9:20

Thursday: 5 miles. This run started out very whiny and grumpy. Right as I hit my halfway/turnaround point, it started absolutely pouring. I love running in the rain, and the second half of my run was not only much happier, it was much faster too! 5.04 miles @ 8:54

Friday: Rest day. I debated adding a run on Friday to make up for the rest of the week, but I knew I had a half on Sunday, so I ended up just taking the rest day.

Saturday: 8 miles. Holy procrastination, I did not want to run. At. All. I put this run off for way too long, and decided to cut it a little short so I didn't go into my half on completely exhausted legs. And ok, I also wanted to be done by noon because I had college football to watch. Priorities. I hated everything about this run, and felt like I was running through water. 5.03 @ 9:36

Sunday: 12 miles. I honestly don't even feel strongly enough to write a full recap about this race. I ran the Putnam County Fall Classic this morning. It's a little small-town race (so small there were only 4 porta-potties!), but it was really well organized, and one of the only races I've run lately that started on time. The course was really pretty, but a lot hillier than I expected it to be.

I started out feeling pretty good. I was cruising along, not even really pushing and knocking out miles between 8:26 and 9:08 pace until around mile 7. The sun came out and I hit a serious hill. I may as well have been running in sand. Everything felt hard, and my right hip started hurting. I walked through water stations, and up some hills. I make it sound really awful, and it felt pretty awful, but my slowest mile was only 10:39, so it's not like I was really dragging.

I managed a bit of a sprint at the end because a woman decided to try to pass me on the last downhill, and I was not in the mood to be passed. She didn't pass me.

I was really mad/disappointed after I finished, but I think a lot of it was the weather. My heart rate was really high the entire race, so I think the heat/humidity hurt me more than I realized at the time. Now it's time to get back into training mode for my last pre-taper week.

13.1 miles @ 9:29

Miles this week: 25.34

Saturday, September 12, 2015

It's Only 13 Miles

So, I'm running a half marathon (The Putnam County Fall Classic) tomorrow. It's weird, because it sort of feels like a non-event after my 20 miler last weekend. I mean, obviously I am planning on pushing and seeing what I can do, but it's only 13 miles.

It's all relative.

I'm so disorganized that I almost ran out of GU and had to go in search of a local store that would have it. Luckily, I remembered that I had one stashed in my car and I found one in the bottom of a box, so I'm good to go. Now I just need to get some before next weekend's long run.

I also realized that it will be my 10th half marathon, and my 4th for the year. This is definitely my biggest running year so far.

I had a pretty terrible run today. On the plan it was supposed to be an 8 mile pace run, but I was going to take it easy because of the race tomorrow. Then I didn't leave the house forever, it was humid, and I felt like I was running through water. I was moving pretty slowly and my heart rate was through the roof.

It was dumb.

I ended up running 5 miles, and I was grumpy the entire time.

Now I'm charging all my electronics, updating my playlist, and deciding which shoes to wear.

The  nice thing about tomorrow's race is that it's only about 20 minutes from our house, so I don't have to wake up insanely early to drive anywhere.

Buddy has been enjoying the break in construction activity and catching up on his sleep today. He's not a big fan of all the change.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

A Construction Photo Dump

This week has been a little crazy. Construction started on the house on Tuesday, and we've been busy! I tried to write this post at several points throughout the day, but I keep getting distracted. I decided to just give you the highlights, rather than no post at all.

The roof was quickly pulled off the living room.

We were pleasantly surprised to discover some perfectly salvageable hardwood floor underneath the dirty living room carpet.

The side door was moved so the living room ceiling could be taken down.

It's crazy how fast demolition happens.

The holes are all dug for the post footings. Both the builder and Tom have fallen in these holes (on different days). I haven't gone anywhere near them.

It has to get worse before it gets better.

I ordered a dumpster yesterday and they ever so gracefully plopped it in the driveway this afternoon.

Between the record heat earlier this week and the construction, I'm a little off on my training for the week. I've managed to get in 2 shorter runs (a 2 and a 5 miler), but at this point in my training cycle, I'm not too worried about a couple of missed runs. Especially short ones.

Steamtown is one month from tomorrow! I can't wait and I'm also totally not ready at the same time.
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