Friday, August 22, 2014

Upcoming Goal

Summer is screaming to a close and I think the only thing I am feeling excited about is that I will have more time to train when the girls are back in school. Since I am feeling relatively good and I want to keep running with it (pun intended) I set a big goal for myself.

Drumroll please . . . . 

Ladies and gents, I am training to run the Point Defiance 30K in October. It's also on my birthday, so in addition to being a big goal race, it's also a birthday present to myself (and my family's gift to me as they hang out all day waiting for me to run around through the mud and trees!).

30K is no joke. It's 18.6 miles (and from what I read on Lindsay's race recap, it might actually be even farther than that!). That is really, really far. Those of you following along at home might know that I haven't ever been able to run farther than 14 miles in training without injuring myself, so that's definitely weighing on me. Luckily the race also has a 15K option if I just physically cannot do the 30K.

This weekend I will do a 10 mile train run. I keep thinking this is my longest trail run ever, but a couple of years ago or so I ran four loops of the Discovery Park trail, which totals just over 10 miles. Not sure yet exactly where I am running this weekend, but I suspect the options are both a little more tough than Discovery Park. Bring on the challenge, though!

I checked in with my chiropractor this morning and she did a little work on my feet and calves. My plantar fascia is getting a teeny bit annoyed on my right foot, which my chiro says is likely connected to my calf needing some love. She gave it some of that hurts-so-good kind of love in the office and sent me out with strict orders to keep loving on it at home. She also reminded me I have got to start doing my strength exercises again. When I left her office I made a mental note that those exercises are as important as my running in getting me to the starting line (and finishing line!) of the 30K and I need to take it very seriously. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up: August 11-17

Not a terrible week, but it was chock full of runs where I didn't feel 100%, I don't know why, exactly, which is frustrating! Also a little annoyed that I didn't manage to run one more freaking mile during the week to equal my weekend mileage, but I didn't lose sleep over it. Life happens. Didn't get any strength in (again! UGH!) but I am trying to get back in to a routine of my PT exercises most days. I don't know what is wrong with me. My strength and PT exercises are what made me able to run again, why in the world do I have a mental block about keeping them up now?!

Total Miles: 17

Monday: Rest

It was freakin' hot and I was freakin' tired from the weekend.

Tuesday: 2.5 Mile Run

Holy cow, this was way harder than it should have been. I was going to go 3 miles, but couldn't even do that much.

Wednesday: 1600 Yard Swim

I decided to try again to count laps, because instead of swimming for time, I wanted to go a full mile (1600 yards is pretty close). Turns out I actually enjoyed counting laps, with every stroke I literally said the lap I was on in my head. It blocked out all of the "noise" in my head and it made for a really peaceful swim! 

Thursday: 5.5 Mile Run

Hit up my favorite trail, the Discovery Park Loop Trail, and did a couple of loops. The first one I ran way too fast so that by the time I did the second one I was walking a bit about ever .3 miles. Ah, well. It was a wonderful run anyways. One other positive about the trail is that it is fairly well traveled, a big loop and not too technical, so I felt safe running it by myself. 

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Yoga

Yoga on the beach! Was so glad the rain and gloom from the previous few days was gone so it was a sunny morning for yoga. 

Sunday: 9 Mile Run

I met Sally for my longest run sine April 13th (when we did 14 miles). I felt sort of sluggish at the start, like I was running with extra weight.  Sally plotted a fantastic route that took us from Gasworks park, across University Bridge, over to the Arboretum, then down through Madison Park, up through Capitol Hill, back across the bridge and finished at Gasworks. We climbed a monster hill in the middle (I love those hills!) and finished at a minute per mile faster than we started. Luckily I loosened up and felt great by the end. Sally did a few miles before and after meeting me, as well. Damn. I can't wait for the day when we can run our entire long run together! 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Not Looking Forward to Back to School

How is it that summer basically feels over? I am refusing to buy school supplies, don't even want to think about back-to-school clothes shopping, and mostly, well, I just don't want to send my kids back to school. 

The other day we received letters from school explaining some new changes for the school year, one of which was that the start/end times changed and 15 minutes was added on to the school day. This probably doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but over the course of a school year that adds on a few more days of school. And I think that royally sucks. 

We will spend our last couple of weeks of summer enjoying our free time, though. The bucket list of summer activities is no where near completed (but we've been working on it!) so it will be fun to go on a few more fun adventures. 

It's been a wonderful summer so far, which is a relief. Summer break can be tricky for me, because as a stay at home mom, I am used to having a lot of time to do family management stuff and also get in my workouts and appointments and person things without using up time I would otherwise spend with the family (or sleeping!) The girls have such different personalities, summer break can be tricky for them, too. Eloise wants to go-go-go. Iris needs time to chill out. I fall somewhere in the middle of their spectrum. Fortunately they have agreed on some kind of truce for the summer, not engaging in knock-down, drag-out battles as often as they were doing the school year (hallelujah!). I am so very much enjoying having kids at home that are, well, a true pleasure to be around, because they aren't constantly fighting. 

So what have we been up to? I have been posting a good amount of photos on instagram, but we've been to the pool more than once, taken an afternoon trip to Vashon Island (I keep meaning to do a blog post about that!), gone to visit Grandma and Grandpa, done a few amazing summer camps, gone for an overnight with besties to Great Wolf Lodge, had play dates, explored the woods, had lots of dinners outside, jumped on the trampoline . . . and many other wonderful things. 

Four happy girls finishing a ride on the Howlin' Tornado at Great Wolf Lodge. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up: August 4 to August 10

My new thing is I am planning on ramping up my long runs until I am able to run another half marathon. I don't actually have a half in mind, will just keep doing long runs until I am ready, then I will find a half to run. It feels much less stressful that specifically training for a half. Since I just love long runs, I am happy to keep doing them even without a goal in mind! My other plan is to make sure I run at least as many miles during the week as I plan to run on the weekend. So, if I run 8 miles on Saturday, I have to total at least 8 miles Mon-Fri. The aim is to keep my long runs to 50% or less of my weekly mileage.

Total Miles Run: 16.9

Monday: 5 Mile Run

It has been a while since I did an early morning run that was this far and it felt really good! Odd story: for the first about 2 miles before my turn-around I was following a girl who was about 1/2 block ahead. She was dressed in long sleeves and pants and did not appear to be wearing running shoes. Her long hair was down and she had on a decent sized back pack. She was just running. I kept thinking she was running to catch a bus, or a taxi, or something, but nope. When I turned around she was still heading straight. She was easily running 9 min/miles! I was so curious, what was she doing running that far and that fast?! 

Tuesday: Strength

I didn't want to do a full-on, kick my booty strength session, so I did one round of something I read about on called 12 Exercises to Build Your Running Body. I set an interval timer for one minute of work and 30 seconds of rest and it was a hard, short workout! Definitely recommend these exercises for other runners. Extending the workout in to two rounds would be very challenging, as would taking less rest breaks! 

Wednesday: 3.9 Mile Run and Strength

So I have been hearing about this idea of keeping the hard days hard by doing harder runs AND strength all on one day. Started the morning with a two 1/2 mile hill repeats and some more mileage to warm up and cool down. The run felt awesome! And don't ask why I didn't go to 4 miles. I have no idea . . . .

When I got home I did two sets of:

*extension/flexion with a dumbbell
*bicycle crunches
*forearm plank with leg abduction
*jacknife crunch
*prisoner squats (or lateral lunges in the 2nd set)
*donkey kicks
*goblet squats with a dumbbell (or lunges in the 2nd set)

Thursday: 40 Minute Swim

I decided to definitely not count laps at the pool for a while. I struggle so much in so many ways while swimming and counting my laps will mean that I will start comparing the workouts to each other and get competitive with myself . . . and I don't need to do that right now. Swimming is for recovery and cross-training and fun! 

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 8 Mile Run

I met Sally, Alma, and Alma's friend Andy for a fantastic eight mile run around West Seattle. We started in Lincoln Park then went north on Beach Drive before heading up Jacobsen hill. If you're a runner in West Seattle, you know that hill. The exciting part was we stopped to see the goats that live on that hill! They were so cute and a highlight of the run. After the goats we kept going up, up, up and then looped back towards Lincoln Park. The miles flew by, I felt great the whole time, almost like the running was an afterthought to hanging out. Alma and Sally are training for the New York City Marathon, so I hope to tag along on a few miles of their long runs. 

Sunday: Rest

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Grand Ridge 5 Mile Trail Race Re-cap

Elevation profile for the Grand Ridge 5 Miler.

Before I go in to my re-cap, I just have to start with this picture, because HOLY CRAP. That was a lot of climbing, and an insane amount of work. My Garmin showed an elevation gain of 979 feet, where the Evergreen Trail Runs site said it was 750 feet. Who to believe? At any rate, it was a lot of climbing.

Heading in to this race I was extremely nervous. Not having run very many trails I was not only new to trail racing, I am still new to trail running. 

Luckily everything went quite smoothly and I ended up being prepared enough for the race. The website didn't make it clear if we would have any aid stations so I brought a small hand-held water bottle, as well as a gu. It was a good choice, they didn't end up having aid stations for the 5 milers. 

It was a pretty small group for the 5 mile race, about 100 of us, much smaller than what I am used to seeing at road races. We had a pre-race talk (mostly they just told us about the sponsors and the other races that Evergreen Trail Runs puts on and then how not to get lost on the trail) and then a simple countdown and we were off! The first half mile or so was on a wide road, I felt like everyone took off in front of me, but I tried to calm my breathing (and my heart rate!) and keep a slow pace. After about half of a mile we started up the first huge climb. It was nice to see everyone walking on the uphills-- I had heard trail racers do this, but still was worried I would be the only one! 

The first 3.5 miles were a lot of work. Hard work. I could barely catch my breath, even on the relatively few flats or downhills. It took everything I had to run a few steps whenever I could. It was so humid, as well, the air felt thick and heavy. There were moments were that race felt like a very bad idea, because I just might keel over and die. I caught up to my friend Kerrie on the only open part of the course about half way through and jumped in to her selfie:

Kerrie and I, mid-race selfie. Thanks Kerrie for the picture! 

Before the race, in the back of my mind, I thought finishing in a hour would be pretty good, I would be happy with that. As we climbed and climbed and I saw how slow I was going I thought I was so far off with that goal and would be lucky to finish at even 1:15. Shortly after I began feeling defeated about my pace (but certainly not my effort!) the course wound past a volunteer who told me "it's all downhill from here!" and he was right! I started to fly. Well, what felt like flying to scaredy cat ol' me. It was an insane amount of fun to bomb down that last huge downhill, but I was DONE by the time we hit the flat part and had to run that half of a mile back to the finish. I walked TWICE in that half mile, looking at my watch, willing myself to run again so I could finish in an hour.

Course map for the 5 miler. It was a "lollipop"

And I managed to do it: my Garmin read 1:00:37! Good enough for 7th out of 26 in my AG. The inner competitor in me is happy with that, for sure. 

That long downhill to the finish solidified my love for trail runs. It was pure bliss. I can't wait to do it again! 

Happy Hokas with my race bib. 

On a side note: my new shoes were . . . okay. I didn't even notice them at all until that huge downhill portion at the very end. Then I felt my second to pinkie toe on the left foot starting to hurt. I ended up with a blood blister on the end of my toe, and not sure if that means my shoes weren't good for me, or what. Apparently it might have been more user error, as well. Will do a few more runs and see what happens.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up: July 28-August 3

I liked this week of workouts. I had two rest days, a race, a double workout day, a hard strength day. A lot of fun and a lot of variety-- works for me!

Total Miles Run: 13.8

Monday: Strength Training

I met up with my trainer for a workout, knowing I was in for a world of hurt. And I was right. Man, it is so much harder to get back in to strength training after a break than to just stick with it! We did things like pike push-ups, hopping up on to a ledge, side lunges, regular lunges, squats . . . my legs were absolutely shaking!

Tuesday: Rest

Holy cow I was sore from Monday. Like really, really sore. In a way I hadn't been in a very long time! So that was fun and also annoying. 

Wednesday: 4 Mile Run

Tested out my new shoes! Great run, though it was surprisingly hot even at 7:00 am. AND my legs were STILL SORE. I am getting old. 

Thursday: A.M. 1250 yd swim P.M. 4.7 Mile Run

Seemed like a good day for a double workout. Short-ish swim, 35 minutes to do 25 laps. I counted them so I could use it as sort of a benchmark to see if I get any faster. Of course, fiddling with my goggles, drinking water, adjusting my swim cap, once I weed all of my distractions out I might immediately become faster, haha.

My friend Ray met me for an evening run in Lincoln Park. I love running there, but it can get a little boring because you have to re-run trails to get decent mileage in. Running with him made me really push myself so that was extra awesome. 

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 5.1 Mile Run

Grand Ridge Trail Race! Re-cap coming soon. Preview: it was HARD. 

Sunday: Rest