Thursday, March 31, 2011

March by the Numbers

March is as good as done and since I'm not running today here we go with some fun and exciting numbers! Really, aren't all numbers fun and exciting?  I love them.  Sometimes when I am having a hard time on a run I will run numbers in my head and it usually cheers me up and definitely takes my mind off my run.  Seriously, try doing big multiplication in your head on a run.  You will have to concentrate on the numbers and not on how the run isn't going great.

March was a good running month for me number wise.  I finished up my long runs and tapered this month.  It also turned out to be my first 100+ mile month since August.  Way too long to go without a big month!

  • March Miles:  105.62 (65.45 on the treadmill and 40.17 outside)
  • Days run:  17 (55% of March)
  • 2011 goal:  27% of the way there

Now, in case you have not watched the weather for my little town here in Upstate NY, we are supposed to get walloped tomorrow.  Yet another Nor'easter is coming our way.  Well, I am supposed to be on the road traveling to my race, which is Saturday morning.  It looks like I'll be heading out tonight.  (Any stalkers out neighbor will be staying at my house and I have a big dog that does NOT like unknown people.)  Let's just hope the snow is gone by 9:13 on Saturday morning when I am supposed to run a SPRINGtime half marathon.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

35 Randoms About Me

It is my fifth birthday today (plus 30).  To honor this momentous occasion I will share 35 seemingly random things about me.

1.     I do not like shopping for clothing.  Especially jeans.
2.     I do not self advocate or brag often, but I will a little today.
3.     On Sunday I replaced a toilet.  On Monday I fixed the replaced toilet (wax ring issues).
4.     On Saturday I went to the Honors Convocation for my graduate school.

5.     There were two honors awards given to graduate students in my discipline.  I received one of them. 
given that this is a running blog where in most pictures I'm wearing some amount of spandex and am probably sweaty and in desperate need of a shower...I need to point out that I think I clean up well
6.     The award is already listed on my resume.
7.     I have started tutoring at night since I am no longer subbing.
8.     I enjoy taking pictures.
one of my favorite photos from the past year and a favorite running spot
9.     I used to develop my own black and white film and do my own prints.
10. I am 3 years behind on my kids’ photo albums.
11. I am not a scrapbooker.  I do want my kids to have pictures in an album though.
12. I am taking two gardens out of my yard this year.  Last fall we removed most of the plants and shrubs.  This year we’ll plant grass.
13. If I take two gardens out that means I get to put at least two in.
14. I have 29 books on my shelf waiting to be read.
15. I am currently reading 3 books.  They are not part of the 29 on the shelf.
16. ADP bought me a great birthday gift.
get it?  "Running" On My Time!
17. I need to start doing more races with medals so I can fill it up!  (ADP does have a medal from the half in October, but he keeps his in his office.)
18. I’ll get another medal this weekend.
19. I think frosting should be a food group.  Especially homemade frosting.  The kind made with powdered sugar and lots of butter.
20. My mom couldn’t leave butter (the stick kind that is real butter) out on the table when I was little because I would eat it.
21. I don’t vacuum.  I “make” ADP do it.
22. I like boxed wine.  Some of it is really good.  The benefit: it does not go bad quickly which is important when I only have a glass every so often.
23. I cannot sew in a straight line using my sewing machine. 
24. Even though I cannot sew straight, I have made multiple curtains in my house.
25. I am not surprised that it is still cold here.  There has been snow on my birthday many times before.  Spring is not really here until after I add another year to my age.
26. 5 (plus 30) means I am in a new AG.  This does not really affect me because I am a mid-pack runner.
27. 35 random things is surprisingly hard to come up with.
28. I do not like re-reading books.  Except books that are in a series.  Then I will read the first books, in order, each time a new book comes out.  I read the first Harry Potter book 8 times before I read the seventh book (7 books in the series + 1 because I read it too fast the first time so I “needed” to re-read it).
29. I love doing puzzles.
30. I wear slippers all winter long.
31. I want to go to Tuscany for a month or two when I retire. 
32. We eat in our dining room every night all winter.
33. We eat in the sunroom most nights all summer (it is too hot sometimes).
34. I love playing solitaire…with cards or on the computer or on my phone.
35. I think 35 is going to be a great year!
this and the kids

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Taper and The Plan

The taper happening and normally I feel like this:
It is different this time. I am so busy that I actually missed my run yesterday.  Taper could not have come at a better time!  It is giving me a chance to do everything I have scheduled this week.  I did get out for a run today.  My training plan said 4 easy and since I missed yesterday's 8 miler I ran 5 miles today.  It was supposed to be an easy run.  I ran by feel and did not pay attention to my garmin.  Much to my surprise and dismay my time was not quite at an easy pace, it was more like the pace + 10 sec that I want to run this weekend.

And now, the plan...

I have a half marathon on Saturday morning and I have been training to race my A-race.  I planned on doing it in October and was doing well until about mile 8ish when I got hurt.  I still managed to PR even though I did not hit my goal.  I've been training to run a 2:07:xx half.  Two weeks ago it was weighing down on me.  So, I changed my thinking and although I trained to run a 2:07 half (and I know I can run it) I am aiming to run a 2:09.  I know it is "only" two minutes but it has made a world of difference in my outlook.

There is a whole group of us going to this race. I believe there are 5 running the half (including my marathon relay team) and one running the 5K.  Amanda and I are going to start the race together and see what happens.  We are both going for PRs on Saturday but only time will tell if we run the whole race or only the beginning together.  My plan...8 or 9 miles at 9:50.  When I get past the half way point plus a couple then I will run by how I feel.  If I am feeling good I'll speed up a little.  If I am hurting I will slow down a little.  I may just even keep going at 9:50.

Last but not least, the goals...

  • Overall
    • run happy
    • run well
    • enjoy the experience
  • Time  
    • I can do it:  finish the race!
    • My A-race goal:  2:09
    • If the planets align, wind is at my back goal:  2:07
Next up:  randomness!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Running Necklace for Me!

A friend of mine has a shopping blog, Penguin's Gift, that I follow because she has a knack for finding the perfect gift for everyone.  I definitely do not have the gift of perfect giving.  So, when she e-mailed me about a necklace she saw and she thought of me I had to look.

I went over to the place on the web that scares me:  Etsy.  I went straight to the link my friend Kathryn sent and was instantly intrigued by Resonates and what they do.  They repurpose dimes and nickels into pendants.  What a cool idea!

My 13.1 necklace arrived yesterday and I had to put it on.
The necklace comes in six colors.  For those not into the 13.1 distance, they do other distances and sports.  All their necklaces are custom, so it took about a week for my necklace to be made and delivered.
Yes, I bought this for myself and I am happy I did.  Take a look at Resonates because it is a cool store.

Next up:  the "plan" for my half on Saturday

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Less that 10 Days

Outfit 1, too warm
In less than 10 days I'm going to be racing again.  Why is 10 a magic number?  Because I can now obsess about the weather.  I don't watch the weather or log onto news stations and look at the weather.  I do try to listen to the weather in the morning on the radio, but that is it.  My philosophy is:  winter = cold, summer = hot, clouds = be prepared for precipitation.  It works for me!  When it comes to races I'll check the weather once or twice (or more) a day to see what it is going to be like.  Today the weather report says Apr 2 is supposed to have a low of 42F and a high of 56F.  I'll gladly take that 42 for a starting temp!

Outfit 2, too cool
Other than that, I had a good run this past weekend.  My plan was to go out and run 8 miles at a slower pace (10:05) and then up it to my hopeful half marathon pace (9:45) for the last 4 miles.  I was up and out of the house midmorning and while it was cool out (33F), the sun is much stronger these days so I was over dressed.  I stopped back at my house at mi 6.75 and did a complete wardrobe change before finishing my run.  I had planned on doing all 12 without stopping, but I was just too darn warm.  Here's how I did:

  • 8.10 miles at 10:05 ave (I had to keep telling myself to slow down!!)
  • 4.0 miles at 9:35 ave (as soon as I wanted to go faster I could barely do a 9:45 so I had negative splits for these four miles to hit anywhere close to 9:45 ave)
  • 0.55 mile cool down at 12:17 ave
  • My splits were all over the place as usual (fastest mile was 9:23 and slowest was 10:18...not including my cool down).
Next up, trying to figure out a game plan for my race in just over a week.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

It Happened: A Good Run

So much for yesterday's bah hum bug post.  When I finished writing the post Punky and I did a few errands and as soon as she was on the bus to kindergarten I was off running.

Punky has afternoon kindergarten so she eats lunch at the same time I have a morning snack.  This is what I've been having before my weekday runs.
 Here is a look at the temp (WARM for upstate NY!!):
57.9F outside!
Punky got ready for school and I got ready to run.  I had a 5 mile mid-tempo run planned (9:40/mi goal). I have done very few tempo runs outside this winter due to scheduling, so it was good to get a feel for the pace on the roads.  I said bye to Punky and took off after her bus.  I saw her three more times as both the bus and I weaved through the neighborhood.  I finally turned away from the bus' route after about a mile and went my own way.  Thankfully, party of my normal 5 mile route is no longer ice and snow covered.  It was good to be out on my main circuit again.  Of course, it only got me about two of the five miles I needed, so I turned around and started to loop through my neighborhood.  In all, I ran 5 miles and walked .15 at the end.

I felt like I was watching my garmin the whole time because I was determined to run what I was supposed to.  The last outdoor mid tempo run I did I averaged 9:11/mi instead of 9:40/mi.  Yesterday I wanted to hit 9:40/mi.  I didn't do it, but I was a lot closer than last time.  I averaged 9:32/mi yesterday!  The 40 mph wind gusts did not help; in one direction it felt like I wasn't moving and in another direction I moved like the wind.

Post run was warm enough that I was sweating.
I love winter and cold weather and snow and all that the cold months have to offer.  I do not like the heat, but when it gets warmer there are a few redeeming qualities that will help me get through the warm months.  One of them is tucking my feet into my beloved berks!  I now have happy feet.


Friday, March 18, 2011

5 Things Friday, 3.18

  1. I have not made it around to blogs this week.  I am sorry I have not read them or commented on what is going on in your running life.  I just have not had the energy or time to do it.
  2. I am in the part of my training that I really do not like.  I am comfortable in saying that I actually hate it.  My next race is in two weeks and I am doubting every step I have taken.  I have not had a great (or even good) run in almost two weeks.  Why in the world do I choose to run 13.1 miles?  It is down right insane to do it.
  3. I have one tempo run today and a long run on Sunday and then I start "tapering" for my half on 4/2.
  4. There is one good thing about the race that I have in two weeks:  free beer at the end.  I do not like beer (please, no throwing things at me) so I generally stay far away from beer.  However, I think a beer may taste mighty fine after running 13.1 miles.
  5. I am also mourning the end of winter.  While many of you are getting ready for a spring, summer and fall of races, I am getting ready to stop doing races.  I love winter and enjoy running when it is cold or even cool outside.  Except for a race for fun here or there my half on 4/2 will be my last longer race until fall (probably the Squirrely Six at the end of October).  

Friday, March 11, 2011

I'm Now A Guest Blogger

Yesterday, I was a guest blogger at Diet, Nutrition, and Wellness Journal.  Bob was great to work with and I hope I did running and runners justice. You can see the post here.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Let's Talk Fuel

I keep a food journal (about 50% of the time) and I leave it out on the counter (when it is written instead of tracked on my phone).  ADP and my kids can read it if they really want to.  It helps keep me on track, especially when we have so many goodies in the house these days.

I was 99% sure ADP does not look at it and it was confirmed last week when we were talking about fueling.  We need to get some more gels soon and I fessed up that I had not been using them.  I had not been eating any of the "good" fueling food either. The previous two weeks I had no fueling issues, I felt great running, and my weight was going down.  I looked at ADP and told him that I had been eating a Twix candy bar before running and fueling with Smarties.  The Twix was not the little snack size Twix either.  No, they were the cookie bars that you find in the check out lane at the grocery store.  They were wonderfully delicious.  Then there are the Smarties.  Oh so good and perfectly sweet!

ADP and I kept talking and he seemed to think people would look at me funny if I pulled out a Twix mid-race to eat it.  Really, would you look at me funny?  I don't care so much about what other people might think.  The problem is getting the Twix with me to the middle of the race without melting the chocolate.  I would not want chocolate covered fingers for the rest of the race.  Then there are Smarties, which I love.  Perfect in small doses for a sugar infusion.  Just don't bite down on one and inhale at the same time while running.  You'll be doubled over coughing trying to get the sugary powder out of your lungs.  See, I've "perfected" eating Smarties on the run.  And, they would be easy to keep with me during the race until it was time to open them.

In the end, I was convinced to go back to using gels for the race in April.  I'll miss my Twix because I cannot rightly consume them every other day without running lots.  I am not giving up my Smarties though.  Perhaps they'll become a perfect after dinner treat instead of mid-run fuel.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Sign and a Sticker

I have seen them here and there on various blogs so when I got an e-mail from Megan at BuildASign I was excited.  She offered to let me put together some signs, swag products as she put it, and I was in.  

I was not sure what to expect at first. Their site seemed huge with so many options at first, but then I stepped back and realized I did not know what I was even looking for.  Once I had a few ideas I went back to BuildASign and looked around again.  This time it was much easier and I had no trouble building stickers, signs, and more.  The hardest part was actually choosing what I wanted.  I could have ordered the whole lot because it was so much fun to make the signs and I really did like what I was putting together.

I settled on two things: a sticker and a street sign.  I had just redone our exercise room and there was one long wall (the largest wall in the room) that was completely bare.  I got a street sign for the room.  When it arrived ADP and I were both surprised and pleased at the quality!  I don't know why, but I was expecting something "less."  The sign was also printed on both sides!  Apparently I did not have terribly high expectations and I should have because the sign is perfect.
ADP asked when it arrived if I wanted an apostrophe in runners to make it possessive.  Nope.  I wanted it to be that there are a lot of runners on this path!  It has happened too.  I frequently use my treadmill and exercise room.  ADP uses it weekly during the winter.  And, my neighbor is doing the C25K plan and on snowy days she has come over to use the treadmill as well!  Three runners, one way = Runners Way.

the view from the treadmill - the sign makes me smile when I glance at it during a run
Next up was a bumper sticker.  I have to admit, I'm not big into bumper stickers so this was more challenging than it should have been.  Then I saw that they come in 4x4 stickers and I was intrigued.  I put the motto I try to live by on the sticker.  You'll find my motto on my Road ID and various places in my life.  I strive to live by this mottoe everyday.
I did put my blog address on the bottom for good measure.  I have 10 of these stickers to give away.  If you want one, please comment and leave me a way to get a hold of you.

If you need any signs, definitely go to BuildASign.  They were great to work with and their products are wonderful.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A to Zed

I love these so how could I pass it up.  Here you go...

(A) Age: 34
(B) Bed Size: Queen
(C) Chore You Really Dislike: Anything doing with cleaning the bathroom.  I hate cleaning the shower the most.
Maddie on a run
(D) Dogs? Yes!  Maddie has been with our family almost a year now. 
(E) Essential Start Your Day: Water and then tea…Earl Grey or English Breakfast these days.
(F) Favorite Color: Red
(G) Gold or Silver? Gold
(H) Height: 5'6" or 5’7”  I honestly don’t know
(I) Instruments You Play: Once upon a time I played the tenor sax.  I still play the piano occasionally.
(J) Job Title: Mommy
(K) Kids: Two, Bugs and Punky
(L) Live: Upstate NY
(M) Mom's Name: Roxie
(N) Nicknames: nothing worth sharing
(O) Overnight Hospital Stays? I stayed overnight when both kids were born.  I’ve also stayed overnight with one of the kids; I couldn’t have my baby at the hospital without me.
(P) Pet Peeve: Being interrupted.
(Q) Quote from a Movie: “There will be no foolish wand-waving or silly incantations in this class. As such, I don't expect many of you to appreciate the subtle science and exact art that is potion-making.”
(R) Right or Left Handed? Right.
Youngest, Middle, Oldest..I'm a middle kid
(S) Siblings: Two brothers
(T) Time You Wake Up? 5:42
(U) Underwear: Why, of course!
(V) Vegetable You Dislike: asparagus
(W) What Makes You Run Late: Life happening.
(X) X-Rays: Teeth.  Foot.  Back.  Hip.
(Y) Yummy Food You Make: Fudge, Butternut squash lasagna
(Z) Zoo, Favorite Animal: penguins

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Zoot Goes the Skirt

My running days are all screwed up!  I usually do my long run on Sunday, but it was nice and not raining yesterday so I laced up my shoes and headed out.  It was wet from all the snow melting, it was damp because it felt like the rain would come down at any time, and it felt warm (45F!!).  I stuck it out and finished all my miles outside.

I tried out my new running skirt for the second time.  It is by Zoot and I wanted to see if it would be fine for my half in April.  I ordered navy blue and was surprised to see purple stitching when I opened it.
the side slit is so high!
a pocked on either side...perfect for a gel in each

...and the front
I have to say that I did not like how it fit around the waist, but after a couple miles it settled (a bit lower on my lower back than I would normally wear a skirt or shorts) and it felt more like a second skin than a pair of shorts/skirt that I had to keep tugging on to keep in place.  I think I finally found a skirt that I can wear out of the house!!  Thanks Keri for the suggestion and helping me find the right skirt.

So, back to yesterday.  I decided somewhere along the way that I would run a half every month this year.  Not necessarily official half marathons, but I'd go the distance every month.  January was an official half and February was a half on the treadmill.  March (yesterday) ended up being a wet and windy day.  I finished 14.04 miles in total by the time the day was done.  Here's a little how it went:
  • miles 1-5:  I feel awesome.  Maybe I should look into becoming a half fanatic.  Average pace ~9:50, too fast for a long run around the neighborhood.
  • miles 6-8:  I should look for two halfs in the same weekend!  That would be awesome.  Average pace ~10:05, this is more like it.
  • miles 8-11:  I am out of my mind!  Why do I do this to myself?  I cannot hold my pace AT.ALL.  Pace anywhere from 10:08 to 11:52 (I walked up that hill).
  • mile 12:  I can walk once I hit 13.1.  How am I ever going to hit my time goal in less than a month?   Pace 10:33/mi
  • mile 13:  OMG, the pain!  Make the pain in my left leg stop.  Only a little to go.  Keep moving forward.  Pace:  10:40 (why did I turn this way, there's another hill.)
  • mile 13.11:  Thank everything good in the world, I did it!  Pace ave to 10:54 (no reason to go fast now)
  • 13.1 - 14.04 miles:  walk, attempt to run, walk, attempt to run, practically collapse on my front step.
  • For my own records, I stopped at my house 3 times for water and stopped once mid-run to stretch my left leg.  Hammer gel at miles 4.5, 8.5 and 11.  I stopped my garmin off for these four stops.  Moving time:  2:14:17, 10:15/mi ave.
I think my summer goal may be to figure out how to start slower and actually accomplish negative splits or negative halves or negative quarters...or perhaps just one little-itsy-bitsy-mile at the end of a run being faster than my first miles.  

One of the problems may have been that my normal running route is still under snow and ice.  I chose to run circles in my subdivision (see below).  One of my goals was to try to run down every road in the subdivision and when I looked at the map at the end I only missed two little segments.  That means I looked at roughly 550 houses.  This translates to 550+ garage doors and now I know what I want my garage door to look like (when we replace it in what will probably be 5 or 10 years).
There you have it.  14.04 miles.  My longest run ever.

The weekly plan:
Monday:  10 min WU, 3 x 2000 (400RI), 10 min WD
Tuesday:  rest
Wednesday or Thursday:  1 mi easy, 2 mi short-tempo, repeat, finish with 1 mi easy
Friday:  easy something
Saturday:  rest
Sunday:  10 miles (miles 1-5 slow, miles 6-10 at half marathon pace)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A No Run Day Needed a Run

I am trying very hard to keep rest days in my schedule now that it is March.  I would love to run every single day and I may do it at some point, but I do not want to get hurt and with my last half of my season less than a month away I do not want to get injured.  Yesterday was a rest day and I really needed a run.  Something put me in a bad mood during the morning and I do not like being in a bad mood.  It takes too much energy to be in a bad mood.  I love my life and I try my best to stay in a good mood.  Yes, I get worked up over things, but IMO being worked up about a topic is very different than being in a bad mood.

So, there I was, bad mood and all and none of my usual methods were cheering me up.  I needed to go for a run.  I did not run because I stuck to my rest day schedule.  Thankfully, the UPS truck arrived at 2:45 and dropped off two big boxes of stuff.  I had to reject one because I could tell the items inside were damaged (the hole in the box was that big) which left me one box.  One box of happiness and joy and working with my hands!  Here is what arrived:
lots of stuff that needed assembly
I worked with the kids and tried not to rush them through their homework.  Then I set up my work station.  Yes, the directions are hiding under the drill. I keep the directions close by to hold all the nuts and bolts that come with the things I have to put together.
 It did not take long and this is what I had (yes, I know it is not complete):
I love putting things together.  By the time ADP came home I was getting ready to assemble the second chair.  He helped with a few small parts because it was nice to have a second set of hands to hold things. ADP knows me well enough to understand that on projects like this he can help, but I am the foreman (or should it be forewoman?) of the project.
Two new kitchen stools!  Too bad I had to send the other two back to the store.  Thankfully, when I called the company and told them I had rejected the other box and why, they ordered replacements immediately for me.  So, in about two weeks I'll have two more chairs to put together.  It is not the same as running, but oh do I love putting things together!