Monday, April 27, 2015

Happy Monday! This week is starting off way better than the last two. I'm not sick, and I'm not overly tired -- but I am a little worried about MY NEW KITTY.

A friend of a friend needs to get rid of their cats because the new baby is allergic. There are three, although one might stay. And we might take the one we didn't take, but we have to get the first one acclimated!

Meet Sullivan:

He's around 7 years old, and he had a ROUGH day yesterday. We went to his house, and he was super-nice and sweet with us. So of course we steal him and take him to our house. The good news is that Duncan is FANTASTIC. I am so proud of him. I think he's sad that Sully doesn't want to play. In fact, Sully hasn't done anything yet. He was behind the couch when I left.

Normally I would have him separated, but I don't want to freak him out any more by forcing him to do something. And Duncan isn't going to hurt him, he's mostly ignoring him, although he's meowing a lot more. (And I'm not going to lock up Dunks all day. When I get home tonight, though, I will lock up Duncan and try to lure out Sully with some canned food. He needs to eat!)

Duncan: "I'm sad. I know there's a kitty here."

We'll just hit the weekly recap here since I didn't do much after Sunday's half-marathon and subsequent illness.

Monday - rest
Tuesday - rest
Wednesday - 4 miles, 10-minute pace, Saucony Zealots
Thursday - rest
Friday - 1-mile walk, Saucony Triumphs + strength-training
Saturday - 12-mile run, slow, Saucony Zealots
Sunday - rest

See? Not much to talk about. This week will be more normal, but I'll barely hit 100 miles this month. CRAZY. But I'm back at it with renewed purpose (more on that later -- once I really figure out what that means!).

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Athens Half-Marathon Recap

(And recapping last week is kinda worthless: Ran Wednesday and Saturday, strength-trained & walked on Thursday.) 

Athens is done, and I can't really complain too much about the way things went. I had a sore throat going into the race, but the illness mostly held off until Monday/Tuesday of this week so no complaints.  Let's back up... Saturday morning started bright and early with a 3-mile shakeout run. The training group had 12 miles, so Aaron and I met them to start them off. I didn't feel great, but it was okay. Then we ran a few errands and got on the road around 1:30 or 2.

First stop: Weasel Boy Brewing.  This is a new tradition, and I love it! Aaron and I worked with Lori many, many years ago, so we have quite the affinity to the place. Our whole crew met there, so that was fun. We had a beer or two, ate some pizza and growlers to go and then headed to Athens -- just to miss packet pickup.

 No big deal as we're staying in the host hotel and there was also packet pickup on race day morning. We did our annual Chinese meal (although it's probably no longer the choice as one guy had issues with it two years in a row) and got to bed early. I didn't sleep that well Saturday night, but that's to be expected. I'm never that comfortable in hotel bed. We got up at 6am, got dressed, ate, got our packets, etc. We were ready to head to the start and got there in plenty of time to hit the restrooms beforehand. Perfect.

Going into the race, I wasn't feeling very confident. I had abandoned any hopes of PRing, so I just decided to take it easy. I ran the first half at a pretty easy pace. My breathing was good, my heart rate seemed good. At the turnaround, I picked up the pace some, but not as much as I wanted. I ran pretty steady for the second half, so that's good. First half was around a 10-minute pace, the second half around 9:40. My watch says 9:37, and my official pace was 9:42. Given my fitness level and the fact that I'm sick, I can't really complain. I did what I set out to do: Run the race like a long run with negative splits and feeling good.  But man, I didn't feel well afterward. My right hamstring was a disaster. My cold came on full-force (along with a hangover from our victory lap in Athens). I'm turning the corner now, though.

Kinda embarrassing to be running while that dude's walking.
Or maybe it's the other way around. 

Aquariums at The Pub with a much smaller crew this year.

Next up is the Salt Fork 10 Miler and the Cleveland Half Marathon. Judging from Athens, I am not expecting anything great (especially since getting to trails seems to be pretty tricky for me). I'm still not 100% that I'm even running Cleveland, and I'm tempted to ditch Salt Fork (but that's mostly because I'm scared of how poorly I'm going to do). 

I took yesterday Monday and Tuesday off from running. I would have run Tuesday except I was laid up on the couch all day. (It was bad.) Running Wednesday, maybe something Thursday, maybe not (might have post-work plans) and then figure out the weekend. I'm keeping this week very loose since I'm sick and "recovering" from Sunday. I use quotes because it was more a long run than a race effort; however, my right hamstring was a disaster. I'm hoping a lot of that worsened by dehydration from the victory lap Sunday afternoon/evening. We'll see as I run this week, right?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Five Thing Friday

I started this post a couple of days ago and never finished it. With that in mind, I’m using a crutch to finish and post -- and also delete a lot of my rambling (but not all!).

Thing 1: The Athens Half Marathon is Sunday. It’s looking like rain, I have a sore throat and I’m not as trained as I would like. All that actually makes me feel calm about the race. It’s really just for fun. No real PR in sight, but I hope to run a strong race. I plan to start around PR pace (9:20) and go from there. Hold on or get faster -- it’ll all be fine. Hopefully I won’t fade, but if I do, it’ll be okay too.

Thing 2: I started reading Ready to Run after a running seminar at Crossfit Independence earlier this week. I set up the seminar for the training group, and it was originally going to be an intro workout. It evolved into a running seminar, so I’m still interested in doing an intro workout. In any case, the book is about running for life, being a well-rounded athlete and not skimping on maintenance (i.e., mobility and strength are not optional). (Also, next week, I’m planning to join this box on a group run, so expect an update on that.)

Thing 3: The seminar also got me thinking about why I run, where I am with running and where I want to go. I am at the point that I can run slowly for a long time, and that’s an accomplishment. My easy paces used to be difficult for me, and I’m actually seeing miles that start with an 8 on a more regular basis. That’s encouraging -- and getting faster is what I want, but I also want to run forever (meaning, when I’m old, not necessarily ultrarunning). I want to be the “old lady” who finishes surprisingly fast. But I’m not doing the things I need to do to make that happen (and... we’re back to Ready to Run).

Thing 4: I need to update my iPod Nano for Sunday, but I don’t know if I should bother. If it’s raining, I won’t bring it. But embarrassingly enough, I want to purchase “Shake It Off” and maybe “Blank Space” (along with “Uptown Funk,” which I have absolutely no shame over). I like a mix of stuff, and I feel like those along with my standards -- “Bernadette” and “Like a Prayer,” for example -- would be fun. I should have time tonight to look at this. Maybe I’ll look at podcasts or books on tape, but typically the volume is so low that I wouldn’t be able to hear/follow those very well.

Thing 5: I am STILL tired from last weekend, and I’m hoping that’s all this sore throat is. I often get sick when I don’t get enough sleep. If I can get my ass to bed early tonight, hopefully that’ll help. The problem is that whenever I go to bed early, I invariably wake up confused. Sometimes I start getting ready for bed (again), like trying to take out my contacts, wash my face and brush my teeth.

And that’s it! I’m off to finish up my day and then enjoy the weekend. I have the training group tomorrow morning, a few errands afterward (including Panera for cinnamon crunch bagel for Sunday’s breakfast) and then we’re on our way. First stop: Weasel Boy for a beer and a growler. Then we’ll head to Athens. Have a great one!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


In 2015, I haven't taken two days off in a row at all, and I don't think I've done it since after the marathon.

This is my third day off in a row. Guess I'm really tapering this week.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Weekly Recap

Aaron's brother got married this weekend, so I am exhausted after driving back from St. Louis yesterday. It was a quick trip -- we left Thursday morning and came back Sunday. That's okay -- a short week of training: 22+ miles, no cross-training unless you count all of the dancing on Saturday night.

And given how sore I am -- those heels, man! -- it kinda was crosstraining.

Monday: 5 miles, 47:24 (9:27 pace), Saucony Triumphs
After work, I ended up running 5 miles at a pretty decent clip, finishing up with an 8:38 mile. I ran in the Triumphs for the first time, and they felt pretty good.

Tuesday: off
This was supposed to be a gym day, but I couldn't take my outdated phone any longer. New phone procured, gym skipped. (It always takes so long.)

Wednesday: 7.13 miles, 1:11:02 (9:58 pace), Saucony RunShield Kinvaras
I ran 2.5 with the training group, continued out for another half-mile and then ran back by myself, trying to run "at pace." Those 3 miles were 9:03, 9:02 and 8:47. I have no idea how I could run 13 miles like that. Then I finished up with someone in the group for 7+ miles on a Wednesday. Not bad.

Thursday: off - traveling to St. Louis

Friday: 7.25 miles, 1:13:51 (10:10 pace), Saucony Kinvara 6
The first run in my new Kinvaras! I think I prefer the fit of the 5 better, but I think the 6 will be more successful. Anyhow, I was pretty sluggish, under-fueld and maybe a little overheated. We ran in Forest Park, which is a fantastic resource.

Saturday: 3 miles, 27:08 (9:02 pace), Saucony Kinvara 6
Just a quick solo jaunt before the wedding. I ended up running more quickly than I expected. Guess fueling up with two cold chicken tenders and an iced latte wasn't such a bad idea after all.

Sunday: off - traveling home

This upcoming week is all about rest and hydration, I guess. Athens is Sunday, and right now, that seems daunting. I am also bummed that I can't really sleep in until the 26th.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Preparing for Athens

Athens is coming up very quickly -- less than 2 weeks! -- and I do not have any grand plans of coming in under 2 hours. I know I can cover the distance, and coming in under 2:10 shouldn't be an issue. Aaron thinks I should still go for 2, but I don't know.

I tried last year and fell apart pretty badly, coming in around 2:03. I keep thinking I was in better shape last year, but a little examination of Garmin Connect doesn't show that definitively. I do know that last year, I had better long runs. I do know that this year, I haven't done a run over 6 or 8 miles at 10-minute pace or faster. My last decent long run was a 10-miler at 9:57 -- that was November, about a month after the marathon. I've been doing all of my long runs with training group so I have plenty of time on my feet, just nothing quick.

In any case, I don't know where I am. I have visions of doing 8 miles on Friday and trying to hit 9-minute miles for the middle 6 of that run. We'll see. We'll be running in St. Louis, so it's always trickier to plan workouts like that. Easy runs just fit in better.

But ultimately it doesn't matter. There's nothing I can do, training-wise, to make the race go better, so I should focus on what I can control: sleep, diet/hydration and foam-rolling.

I'll really hit the hydration next week, although generally I'm pretty good with that anyhow. I've tried going dry before, and I don't think it helped at all. I am limiting the amount I drink (although the wedding in St. Louis will be tricky) -- no need to drink more than one or two at a time. I will try to eat better, get all of my nutrients and vitamins.

But what I need to do is make sure I'm well-rested. I'm not tapering this week -- travel will do that well enough -- but I will try to sleep more and better. This week is just the lead-up, next week is the real deal in prep.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Weekly Recap

This week ended not being too bad. Nothing speedy, of course, but I'm okay with it.

5 runs (1 trail), 1 walk, 1 strength, 1 total rest day = 31.75 miles

Monday: 5 miles, 9:33 pace, Saucony Zealot
I met a friend after work for a pretty consistent 5-miler. I was a little tired from the Buckeye Trail the day before, but my legs shook out.

Tuesday: total rest
We had a beer dinner at Bricco in Kent.

Wednesday: 6 miles, 10:35 pace, Saucony Zealot
This was a training group run where I paced someone on the hill (4 miles) and then got in a little extra running in someone. When I ended up with 5.3, I figured I should just run out and get to 6 miles.

Thursday: 3 miles, 9:44 pace, Saucony Kinvara 5 (coral)
Just a quick 3-miler at work. I stopped at Brust Park on the way home and ran on the Bike & Hike there for the first time. It's a little hilly, especially compared to most Bike & Hike trails. Definitely negative splits: 10:37, 9:39, 8:55. It was WORK getting that mile under 9.

Friday: 2 miles (walk), Strength, Saucony Kinvara 5 (coral)
I was off Friday, so you would think I would have gone for a run, maybe a good trail run. But I didn't. I was tired and I knew I was running long the next day. I did manage to convince myself to walk for a couple of miles before doing some weights, so that's kind of a victory.

Saturday: 10.5 miles, Saucony Zealot
The training group had 10 miles on the schedule. It was an easy run with a negative split. Then I ran out to get another member. It was the first long run in the Zealots, and aside from how dirty they got, they were good. I took a vanilla orange Carb Boom gel just after 5 miles.

Sunday: 5.25 miles (trail), Newton Boco
I would love for Sunday trail runs to become a new tradition, but that's not likely (definitely won't happen the next two Sundays). Anyhow, Aaron and I went out for a 5.25-mile trail run at Sand Run Metropark. Our look uses the Valley Link, Dogwood and Mingo trails and starts with a quarter-mile on the jogging path. After Saturday, neither one of us felt great, and I was disappointed to see how slow the run was.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

How to Prepare for a Trail Race in 5 Weeks

The Salt Fork Spring Challenge is a race that I've been looking at for months, but I finally pulled the trigger recently. Between a Twitter promo that saved me $10 and the fact that the cost of the race was going up soon, I couldn't resist. The race falls the week before the Cleveland half, which is the last "long" run and it's only 8 miles, and I normally don't like to miss that run with the training group. It's fun and it's short and hopefully it gets them pumped up. But this group doesn't have too many newbies, and many of them are doing the Cleveland 10 Miler at the end of April.

In any case, I am not prepared. My endurance isn't great. I can run slowly, on the flat, all day long, but throw in steep climbs and I'm toast. Because of the training group, long trail runs aren't going to be possible either, but here's my plan:

Tip #1: Keep Running
Duh. I regularly run 25-35 miles/week, and I'll keep that up. I almost always have one run that's at least 9 miles, and it's usually slower. So I have the time on my feet.

Tip #2: Incorporate Hills
I've been hitting the Brecksville Reservation hill recently, and I'll keep that up. I need to resist running on the flat for short runs. I only ran 3 miles tonight, for example, but it was on a hillier section of the Bike & Hike instead of the flat section near my work.

Tip #3: Run Trails
Another duh, but I have to put it here. I always try to do trails, but usually end up with one or two trail runs per month. I would like to have one or two per week. I'm starting off well -- I had two trail runs last week. I'm off tomorrow, so I will likely do a short trail run if the weather cooperates. My legs are TIRED though so it won't be pretty.

Tip #4: Do Intervals
I'm going to do short, hard intervals with running recovery to get used to pushing myself (like on a steep incline) and actually running afterward. I think I'm going to start with 60 on/60 off intervals and see how that goes. Often, when I do intervals, I walk the recovery, but I want to train myself to KEEP RUNNING. I also like giving myself permission NOT to do tempo runs or mile repeats. Those are definitely the better workouts for distance races, but I'm not sure how helpful they would be right now. I haven't done this yet.

Tip #5: Drop 5-10 Unnecessary Pounds
I have time to drop 5 pounds without starving myself. However I ate dinner at Ray's, and I have a pint of beer and some chocolate staring at me right now.

I realize those are common-sense, but let's be honest: I haven't been doing some of these things. Maybe writing them down will help. I don't want to be completely trashed after Salt Fork so I need to prepare myself as well as I possibly can with the limited time available. Maybe I'll do a post about recovering from a trail race in one week since the Cleveland half is the next weekend. I don't have any goals for that race, as I said earlier; I'll just wait and see how I feel.

I'll let you know after Salt Fork if these tips helped. There is a time limit -- 3 hours, which is 17:xx pace. My goal pace is 12, but how can I have a goal when I haven't been training? Realistically, I'm guessing 14. I should be happy with that.

I think I've rounded up a person or two to do the race with me (not Aaron). That should help things. We can drive down together the day of the race and then drive back (one girl has to work that night -- luckily she's a lot younger than I am and in better shape; it would be impossible for me to do it probably).

Anyhow, that's the plan for the next five weeks or so. We'll see how it goes. I have Athens in between (I am formulating a plan that is realistic -- and doesn't get me to sub-2 but hopefully sub 2:03).

Review: Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the second, maybe third time I've attempted to read this book, and for some reason, this time it clicked. I think I had trouble with the playful format that covered some serious topics. (Plus I couldn't keep a lot of the parents straight, although I think that may have been intentional.)

It's been awhile since I read a book with several likable characters, so that was refreshing. I found the ending a little unsatisfying, particularly with two of the main characters, but I don't want to give away too many details. (Actually, maybe I didn't care for the ending much at all.) Still, a decent read, and I continue to like the author's work.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Spring Schedule

I haven't done many races since October's marathon (hmmm, where's that recap?). I did the Bernie Shuffle right after (untimed fun run), the Home Run for the Homeless (I think I PRed, but barely) and the Shamrock 15k a couple of weeks ago (about 35 seconds slower than last year, which is disappointing, but expected).

But spring is filling up, and I possess a disturbing lack of preparation.

First up is Athens Half Marathon on April 19. I had all of these visions of finally going under 2 hours, but now I'm not sure I can even PR (2:03). I'm just going to go out at 9-minute miles and try to hold on. (That didn't work well last year when I was in better shape, so I'm not sure why it will work this year.)

Next is the worst idea ever: Salt Fork Spring Challenge on Saturday, May 9, which 10.4 miles of trails. Real trails. I am not prepared, and that's in 6 weeks or so. There isn't a whole lot I can do with less than 6 weeks, but I'll do another post on that.

The week after Salt Fork is the Cleveland Half Marathon on Sunday, May 17. I do not intend this to be a goal race at all. I'm just going to wing it. I will likely still be very tired from Salt Fork, and the week between will be spent recovering. I will probably run with someone from the group, and I'll figure that out depending on how I feel.

I don't know that I will get a spring 5k in, but perhaps. I can't see how I could PR. Aaron's working the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, which is when we usually do the Marietta 5k.

So spring is set!