Marathon Reflection…Uh Whatever Day This Is: 45 Days Until Boston

This week has been weird.  Typically, I sit at a desk for 8 hours a day and take an hour long lunch break where I can blog stalk, but this week I’ve been out of the office (in a warehouse moving and staging office furniture) with a 20 minute “standing up” lunch break and no computer access. But hey, I’ve gotten to wear running shoes and workout clothes to work all week! I don’t feel so bad for not getting Marathon Reflection Monday out somewhere in the vicinity of Monday, but I do feel bad for not having the chance to get caught up on everyone’s training.  Hopefully everyone is doing well! 

I’m not going to say that I’m injured, because I don’t necessarily think that I am.  I don’t think anything is broken, torn, or sprained.  But I think I’m slowly falling apart.  I feel like the runner equivalent of The Wicked Witch of The West, slowly melting into a giant puddle of green mush.

I did something on Saturday that I’ve never done during a training cycle before (dun dun dun). For the first time ever, I didn’t complete a long run that I started.

Truthfully, it was one of those runs that seemed to not really want to happen in the first place (check it out…foreshadowing!).  We had 19 miles on the schedule.  I woke up and had no energy. Aaron handed me the sunscreen and the thought of reaching my arm out to grab it seemed exhausting.  It wasn’t tired in the “I just woke up” sense.  It was a tiredness that affected every bone in my body.  But, I kept getting ready and we managed to get ourselves out the door.  But of course my Garmin beeped “low battery” as we headed out.

The run started off ok.  It wasn’t as fast as last week’s long run, nor did it feel as effortless.  But we soldiered on.  We made it through the 7.5 miles of uphill,  turned the corner, and had started on the faster, flatter part of the run.

And then it happened.

Right as we hit the 9.75 mile point, a painful spasm engulfed my leg and stopped me in my tracks. Stemming from under my knee, it felt more “nerve” related than muscle related, and it made me cry out in pain.  I tried stretching for a bit, tried running again, even tried to convince myself that it didn’t hurt THAT badly (it totally did), but as my Garmin beeped “10” (and then died…much like my run), I knew there was no way I could run another step. This, on my good leg…the leg that hasn’t been giving me any problems this whole training cycle.

Unfortunately, we were just over the halfway point of our run, and almost at the farthest point out.  From where we were, our house was about 5 miles away.  So, Aaron and I walked home, hand in hand, looking like the most over-prepared walkers with our fuel belts.  It was a moment that made me completely grateful for my husband.  I would have been crying had he not been there to help me laugh the situation off.

At a few points along the way, I tried running again, but I would only make it a few strides before the spasms started.

Saturday’s workout ended up being 15 miles in something like 3 hours and 15 minutes (at least I got lots and lots of time on my feet!).

After getting home and analyzing the situation, I’m positive that nothing is broken/torn/strained. But after stretching/rolling/yoga, it is very evident that my leg muscles are tighter than they have ever been.  I’m positive that the tight muscles in my right leg caused me to over compensate with my left leg, tightening those muscles to the point that other things were  getting pulled, causing the spasms.

Sunday, I decided to do my miles on the treadmill so if something weird happened, I wouldn’t have a long walk ahead of me.

I only ran 5 miles…in other words, I didn’t get anywhere near my target mileage this weekend.  I still don’t know if it was the right decision to keep Sunday’s run so short (or if it was the right decision to take Monday and yesterday as rest days).

But every muscle in my legs is tight right now and running won’t loosen them up.  And the incredible number of injuries that I’ve seen over the last month are making me perhaps more paranoid than normal.  A painfully tight muscle today is just waiting to turn into plantar fasciitis, a stress fracture, or a myriad of other issues.  I’m taking all of the proper measures (icing, rolling, massage, rest, etc. etc. etc.), but I haven’t run without pain since last Saturday, and it is getting old.

It is kind of funny though.  Before that happened, I had a great week of training.  It seems that when I have a really bad week of training, my long run feels great.  When I have a great week of training, my long run hurts.  Just another reminder that I have a long way to go before I figure out how in the heck to train for marathons.

Workout Recap

Monday: 4.5 mile recovery run

Tuesday: 4 mile tempo run with 1 mile warm up and 1 mile cool-down (6.1 miles total, 8:14 pace).  Tempo pace ranged from 7:20-8:00

Wednesday: 1 hour spin, 1 mile walk

Thursday: 4 miles at half marathon pace (overall average pace 7:53)

Friday: Organized group workout: 2 hours of weights/abs/treadmill (I walked)/body pump/body jam/spin…I took this workout as easy as I could without looking like a bad sport.  The trainer in charge of the treadmill section even asked if I was ok since I was walking so slow.  Perhaps I didn’t take it easy enough?

Saturday: Long run (ish): 10 miles running, 5 miles walking, 3:15 hours on my feet and a bruised ego

Sunday: 5 not-so- fast miles

TOTAL MILES: 36.6 (should have been 44)

Marathon Goals:

Despite the terrible long run, this was a great workout week.  I’m hoping that I can finally hit a 2 week streak this week!

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*ALSO I’m trying not to make this a pity party.  I do feel a weird sense of guilt for not completing an important long run, but I have to remember that it isn’t the end of the world.  I think I’m just in a grumpy mood in general this week (being on your feet all day is actually really tiring), so that isn’t helping. And I’m thankful that even though everything DOES hurt, at least I’m not actually injured (KNOCKS OBNOXIOUSLY LOUD ON WOOD).

Have you ever had to cut a long run short? 

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Public Service Announcement

In case you didn’t know, today is National Margarita Day.

Post 20 miler margarita in San Antonio

Post 20 miler margarita in San Antonio

{Also, I really know that sometimes my blog makes me sound like all I do is run or drink.  I’ll let you draw your own conclusions…but I can say that I work full time, so that is at least 8 hours of the day that I’m not doing either!}.

I really am typically a wine/beer girl (wine is an antioxidant and beer is a hearty source of carbs), but I have a special spot in my heart for margaritas.  Maybe because I live in New Mexico and Mexican restaurants come three to the city block.  Maybe because I can pretend that I’m on a beach in Mexico while drinking one.  I don’t really know.

I tend to not drink them very often though because double yikes on the sugar/calorie content (plus, you know how much booze goes into a glass of wine or beer…there is less standardization with a margarita).  But you know, since it is a national holiday, I think I’m gonna have myself a nice margarita on the rocks after my organized group workout tonight.

Also, it was on this day 1 year ago that I realized that I would never be so serious a runner that I would pass off celebrating such an important holiday.  A year later, it remains completely true, especially when National Margarita Day falls the day before a 19 mile run.  (Also, so happy that I’m still blog friends with most of the people that commented on that post!).

Hope you can all celebrate accordingly! Also, thanks for making me feel less crazy about my race t-shirt superstitions! We really are weird.

Have a fabulous weekend!

Also, if you do partake in National Margarita Day, be a responsible driver! (I figure if I call this post a “Public Service Announcement,” I should probably throw a real one in!).

Death by Race T-Shirt

Last weekend, my parents and sister headed to Austin (one sister is already there) for a visit and also to run events associated with the Austin Marathon.  My dad ran his second half marathon, and my sisters ran the 5-K.  Seeing all of them there running one of the bigger deal races the country while I was at home struggling through my uninspired mid-distance Sunday run KILLED me.  But I guess that’s neither here nor there.

My family is proudly nerdier than yours.

I’m so excited that my family is getting the racing bug.  I won’t begin to presume that I’ve inspired that hobby in any of them, but I love seeing people (my family and others) take the leap into running.  For me, running is the activity that gave me more confidence in myself than anything ever has before.  Plus, the running community is one of the most amazing and supportive groups of people.  If other people can discover that for themselves, then I’m happy!

But that’s not what this post is about.

If you’ll look at that picture, you’ll notice that all three of my family members are wearing THIS YEAR’S race t-shirt at the race.  In fact, they do this for every race.  Despite my best efforts, I can’t get them to stop (p.s., they love me.  Even when I write posts about them and their questionable race day fashion choices.  They have to.).

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AT Run for the Zoo

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AT The Shamrock Shuffle

AT The Turkey Trek

I have an irrational fear of wearing the race day t-shirt on race day.  Granted, most race shirts are cotton (I won’t run in cotton), so the only ones I’ve worn for training runs are from Rock n Roll Arizona and Chicago (both technical and made by either Brooks or Nike), but it has never even crossed my mind to wear a race t-shirt to the race because… SCARY.

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Pretty Chicago Race Shirt…I’ve worn it exactly once.

Potential reasons for this irrational fear:

1) Chaffing: Lord knows how that shirt will behave in the latter miles.  I like to wear clothes that I’ve tested.

2) Bad luck: I’ve heard that wearing this year’s t-shirt is along the same lines as breaking a mirror over a black cat on Friday the 13th.  The t-shirt is a memento for a race that you RAN. Past tense.  By putting it on before the race, you are making a mighty big assumption that you will actually finish.  Apparently this is a temptation of fate. I personally need all the good luck I can get for a race…tempting fate isn’t an option.

3) Runners start to all look the same anyway since there are only so many ways to style running shorts and a racer back tank.  Wearing the same t-shirt as half the other runners makes it harder for your cheerleaders to determine which of those sweaty people you are.  On the upside, maybe you’ll get some cheers that were meant for someone else?

But, much like those spirit days in high school where everyone gets giggly over wearing the same shirt and same school color face paint, there is something kind of cool in seeing a bunch of people collectively wearing the race t-shirt. Like, “Hey! We’re all in this together!” Kind of.

And it is quite possible that I am the only person who feels this way.

And it goes without saying that I’ll still love my family and be proud of them for getting out there and staying active (and likely even pose like weirdos in pictures with them) even if they continue with this trend!  I just don’t want them to experience death by race t-shirt!

What’s your take?  Do you wear the race t-shirt to run this year’s race?

Marathon Reflection Monday: 55 Days Until Boston

First, I need some grammar help!

I always kind of throw a title into my blog posts at the last minute without too much thought.  I called my last one “The Caddywonked Way By Which We Are Getting to Boston” in much this fashion. But then I suddenly woke up at 2 in the morning worrying that I was committing grammar travesty (this is by far not the weirdest thing that has panicked me in the middle of the night).  I won’t say that I’m a grammarista.  I’m definitely one step above the two/to/t00 people, but ask me to determine participles, or prepositional phrases, and I’m going to have to Google it first.

So, when trying to determine if my title was correct or if “The Caddywonked Way WITH Which We Are Getting to Boston” was more correct, I came across lots of explanations about inanimate objects, direct agents, passive voice, etc, but none of them really helped me out (and yes, I did start googling at 2 am).  Does “the way” get us to Boston, OR do we get to Boston using “the way?” So, I tried switching into the active voice (I think) to see which sounded better: Are we getting to Boston by a way or we are getting to Boston with a way.  Instinct is telling me “with” (so I’ve changed it), but I’m not completely sure.  If any grammar people out there can tell me what the right answer is, and most importantly why, I would appreciate it!

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One of the reasons I dislike training for marathons is the fact that I never feel completely healed.  Just as soon as something gets better, something else starts hurting.  And even though I’m trying super hard not to freak out about every little pain, I am in fact starting to freak out about every little pain.

Last week, I had the weird sore throat (I even went to the doctor to confirm that I wasn’t dying). And I had the heel pain.  Then,  just when everything seemed to get back to normal, the side of my tibia really started bothering me and I started to have sharp pains while running. STRESS FRACTURE was my first thought.  So, I laid off the running for a couple of days (this started happening on Wednesday…right after I had just been to the doctor of course).  After a pain free long run on Saturday, I’ve determined that it probably isn’t a stress fracture, but now both my IT bands (which haven’t hurt since October) are both tight and annoying.

Thanks, Running. I needed that.

Half Marathon Land doesn’t hurt this much. Just sayin.

But, all that being said, I am consistently amazed at how much easier this whole thing is the second time.  Yes, my body does hurt 100% of the time, but I don’t feel anywhere near as miserable as I did the first time around.  I hate to say it, but I can kind of see now how people agree to do this more than once…or twice!

Coincidentally, Chicago registration opens up tomorrow at noon CST.  I would be lying if I said I wasn’t itching to sign up again.  I would get to run in B corral this time!  It will take a lot of willpower to step away from http://www.ChicagoMarathon.com tomorrow.  Last year it sold out in about 6 days, so if you are considering this race, make sure to sign up right away!

Workout Recap:

Monday: I was convinced that I had strep throat, so I took a rest day just in case.  WEENIE AMY.

Tuesday: 7 easy miles.  By this point, I was actually going crazy, and I needed to run.  I also knew that the upcoming 26+ weekend wouldn’t be so good without some mileage during the week.  So I put in 2 miles before work and 5 after work.  It was my first “two a day” workout, and I think it was a good solution.  I got a decent amount of miles in without putting a lot of strain on my body.

Wednesday: 4 easy miles.  By this point I was diagnosed with a simple “virus” so I knew I could workout without any major problem.  Until my tibia started hurting.

Thursday: I had good intentions, but only managed 1.5 miles before having to shower up for work.  Being a good Valentine takes a lot of time and effort!

Friday: This is about when I was convinced that I had a stress fracture.  I had been planning on a very easy 3, but decided day of not to risk it.  I didn’t want to break myself.  I did go out for a 2 mile walk though.

Saturday: Aaron and I set out for 17.5 miles.  I couldn’t have asked for this run to go any better.  Nothing hurt, I managed to keep a decent pace along the long uphill stretches, and the miles flew by!  Average pace was 8:57, making this the first sub-9 minute mile marathon long run.  I only hope the last 3 long runs are just as confidence boosting!  I also think maybe taking it easy during the last couple of weeks really helped.  Being sick isn’t fun, but boy does it feel great when you’re running on fresh legs.  We headed to the hot tub at the gym afterwards, and my muscles were just a bit sore, but otherwise everything was working properly.

IMG_0614{Mile 12 water break.  I promise I didn’t ask him to take this picture! Also, check out that sun! I got pretty sunburn, but at least the weather is getting warmer! Also, could my smile be any doofier?}

Sunday: 8.69 miles with an average 8:42 pace. I  don’t think I was properly hydrated or fueled for this run, and I wasn’t feeling very motivated to push the pace.  I had wanted to be closer to the 8:00-8:25 average, but that’s ok.  My IT bands did tighten up later in the afternoon though, so now I’m dealing with that.

TOTAL MILEAGE: 41.69.

Marathon Training Goals:

I don’t know what happened this week.  Was it the mystery illness that turned out to be nothing? Or maybe the holiday also known as “eat lots of chocolate and drink lots of bubbly day” in the middle of the week?  Whatever happened, I neglected my goals.  I could tell by Sunday that those hamstrings that I’ve been working hard to establish were fading, and my abs were starting to soften. (It makes me so angry that muscles take weeks to build up, but start going away with just a few days of neglect).  I actually considered hopping on the elliptical on Saturday afternoon (after the 17.5 mile run) to get the cross-training in, but managed to convince myself that doing so would completely defeat the purpose of preventing injury.  I’m very happy that common sense won that battle! I’m already back on track.  I think the constant threat of injury is helping me stay motivated!

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Hope everyone’s week is off to a fantastic start!

The Caddywonked Way With Which We Are Getting To Boston

(SORE THROAT UPDATE: I went to see the doctor on Wednesday, and she said it was just a virus that I had to wait out.  I kind of feel like an over-dramatic hypochondriac.  Indulging on WebMD is one thing…but actually going to the doctor when I have a relatively minor problem is a whole different level of crazy.  Oh well.)

With just two months to go until the marathon (!!!), we decided it was probably time to start making travel arrangements for Boston.

I won’t pretend that this trip hasn’t been stressing me and my little wallet out.  For one, since I was one of the last people to register for this race, all of the hotels through the marathon website were already booked.  After checking daily, a room finally opened up after about a month. I made our reservations even though the overall price was a bit out of our budget.  But, I guess maxing out my credit card is better than spending the night before a marathon sleeping on the streets.  I think.

I’ve continued to check a couple of times a week to see if a cheaper room would open up…until I realized after some research that our hotel was on the cheaper end.  Turns out The Boston Marathon is kind of a big deal and the city celebrates by making everything considerably more expensive just for that weekend.  So what might be a somewhat affordable vacation otherwise turns into quite the high-end ordeal.  I truthfully don’t remember Chicago being that hard to swallow, but we did have almost a year to plan for it.

And plane tickets from here to Boston weren’t easing my anxiety anymore.  Prices were looking to be $700 each to fly out!  I mean, I realize that Boston is pretty much across the country, but yet again, this wasn’t in our budget. I was waiting to purchase tickets, hoping for a miraculous Southwest sale, but getting worried as Marathon Monday crept closer and closer.  And then! Southwest announced a sale last week! I literally dropped everything, grabbed my credit card and was ready to pay just about anything cheaper than $700.  But then, this:

Southwest

Southwest blocked out Marathon Weekend for Boston, and the two other nearby airports (Providence and Manchester)! Thanks, Southwest for ruining my life.  But, after some calculations, the savings of flying out a day earlier/leaving a day later with extra hotel nights were greater than buying tickets at full price with less nights at the hotel.  So, we figured we could stay in Boston longer than anticipated.  BUT, that still meant more nights in a very un-cost effective hotel. And we still needed to figure in transportation, food (since eating at McDonald’s for the entire trip doesn’t sound too appetizing), and other various purchases.  

I started looking at alternate accommodations.  Months ago, Dominick recommended AirBnB.  I started there, but all of the options were to stay with someone in their house.  With them.  Sharing the couch.  Sharing the bathroom. One guy even established a curfew. Maybe some other time, but I wasn’t up for it during a marathon.  I googled “apartment vacation rentals Boston” and came up with all sorts of websites and listings.  For the most part, you can rent whole furnished apartments for about $185 a night! Maybe if I had tried booking a couple of month ago, it would have worked out, but most places were sold out, and the ones that weren’t were charging an extra $300-$1000 because of the Marathon, making the cost per night more expensive than the hotel.  (I have decided to check into this more for upcoming vacations.  Most require 6-7 day minimum stays).

I was pacing around our house, crunching numbers trying to figure out ways to not go broke in the process of getting to Boston while simultaneously realizing that the amount of money we’d be paying could fund a week long all-inclusive vacation in St. Lucia complete with our very own Butlers.

And then Aaron offered up a fresh prospective.  Why not fly into somewhere NOT Boston, Providence, or Manchester and take the leisurely scenic route into the city.

Suddenly, my anxiety started fading away.

We could fly into NYC (though, the likelihood of that being cheaper was about zilch), or we could fly into Albany, drive through upstate New York, into Vermont, then across to Boston in time to get my bib, run the race, recover, and then head back to Albany.  We’d get the freedom to fly whenever since Albany didn’t have the black out dates.  By staying in Vermont, we’re literally paying $150 less per night than we would be in Boston, and even the rental car will not push us over our budget.  Albany is less than 3 hours from Boston.

Plus, I’ve never done the East Coast thing.  I’ve been to The District and I’ve been to Manhattan (and all points in between on the New Jersey turnpike), but that’s it.  (Growing up, Aaron spent his summers in upstate New York since his Grandma lived in the Andes Mountains, but he hasn’t been in years). And we get to actually eat at decent restaurants without worrying that our cards would come back with insufficient funds!

So, our Boston Marathon vacation has turned into a New England vacation.  Plus, I will get to cross off my bucket list item of spending a weekend in a place I’ve never heard of since, aside from Montpelier, the state capitol that I memorized in elementary school, I don’t know any towns in Vermont.  And I hear they have some amazing microbreweries in the area! And if you’ve spent any time here at all, you know that I love a good carb-loading local microbrew (non-IPA of course) before my races!

I am obsessed with covered bridges, but I’ve never actually seen one!

SOURCE

And we’ll still have plenty of time to explore Boston (and I’ll be spending a good 3.5+ hours running the streets).  We’ll do the Freedom Trail and we’ll throw around the word “wicked” like it is going out of style.  And I’m hoping to meet as many of you who will be in town that weekend as possible! (Incidentally, my bff’s at the Today Show were in Boston this morning which made me 10,000 times more excited!).

So, since I know NOTHING about this part of the world, I need suggestions! Stuff to do in Upstate New York, stuff to do in Vermont, stuff to do in Massachusetts  (though, maybe not Plymouth Rock since it looks pretty unimpressive) and stuff to do in Boston.  Breweries, restaurants, historical points of interest, whatever.  Since it seems like advance planning is required in order not to go broke for this marathon, I figure I need to start making arrangements for EVERYTHING since now.

I hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day, and I hope you all have a great (hopefully long) weekend!

When The World Starts to Shine Like You’ve Had Too Much Wine

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore! 

Valentine

Happy Valentine’s Day to all you love birds out there!

May all of your expectations be met, and may you enjoy celebrating this day of LOVE (unless you hate Love.  In which case…enjoy the candy!)

Also, enjoy this slightly less romantic version of “That’s Amore” complete with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.

Marathon Reflection Monday: 62 Days Until Boston

(This was supposed to go up yesterday.  So we are now 61 days out from Boston.  All other information is basically the same).

ALSO: I‘m guest posting today on Hyedi’s blog while she’s off vacationing in the sunshine! Hyedi is one of my blog besties, and she actually ran her first marathon the same day that I ran Chicago, so we were virtual training buddies! Make sure to stop by and say hello!

So, this week of glorious back down off it turned out to be much more of a back down than was scheduled.

First, it started with a bit of heel pain last weekend.  Just some minor little aches like I’ve had before.  By Tuesday I was a bit more worried but continued icing and stretching the calves.  I’m always super paranoid about plantar fasciitis, so I was doing all the exercises just in case.  (Rest is a big part of these exercises).

Then, on Saturday I woke up with a sore throat.  Kind of out of nowhere, but I usually can fight off the offending cold before it moves into my sinuses.

But, because of both of these things, I took my usual rest day on Friday and decided to take another running rest day on Saturday just to make sure (we went for a half hour walk).

Sunday I woke up with the sore throat still lingering. I know that you’re supposed to be able to run as long as symptoms are above the neck, but running just didn’t sound fun at all.  I put it off all day, but then I started watching the Grammy’s and they had some really great acts going (the Levon Helm tribute was one of the best musical collaborations I’ve ever witnessed), and I didn’t run. I did do my abs/weights/strength/stretching during the commercials though, so yesterday wasn’t a total loss!

Today I woke up with my new bff, the sore throat still hanging out.  And now I’m about 55% sure I have the streps.  I haven’t had any cold symptoms (BUT I also haven’t had fever or the gross stuff at the back of my throat, so….?).  And it is starting to get the the point where I’m not really interested in eating or drinking anything because it is less painful to starve than swallow.  Yum. (UPDATE: Tuesday morning and I still have a sore throat.  WebMD tells me the other options are tonsil issues or throat cancer).

I couldn’t get a doctor’s appointment until Wednesday, so in the meantime, I’ll just hang out and eat soup and carry a tube of Clorox wipes with me wherever I go.

So, this week’s mileage was mediocre, which is sad because I was actually feeling really awesome during the speed workouts.  We kept pretty busy this weekend, but I just didn’t feel like running.

If this had to happen, at least it is 9 weeks ahead of time?  I don’t know.  I probably should be more concerned than I am, but life will go on and training will go on. Just keep swimming (or not, since I can’t swim…)

Workout Recap

Monday: Easy 3

Tuesday: 6 x 800’s.  I actually really enjoyed this workout which was really surprising because I typically HATE 800’s and want to punch them in the face.  But I kept at a steady 3:30 minute 800 pace and it felt great.

Wednesday: 1 hour spin class

Thursday: 25 minute tempo run with a mile warm up and mile cool down.  Kept the tempo pace between 7:20 and 8:00.

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Walked 1.3 miles

Sunday: Rest

Marathon Training Goals:

Despite my lack of running enthusiasm, I kept almost completely to my training goals.  I didn’t get my yoga in, but I also didn’t give my muscles very much reason to be tight.  Total miles: 16.7.

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I’m looking forward to hopefully a much better and healthier week this week!  Hope everyone else is doing well and on track!

What’s Your Sign?

Muchos Gracias to Jen from Luv What You Do who nominated me for a Leibster award! Jennifer lives in the Chicago area and comes up with some crazy innovative recipes on her blog in between running and robbing FroYo joints (just kidding…kind of…).

So, first, my 11 Random Things of the moment

1) I liked Season 1 of Downton Abbey more than Season 2 (does it bother anyone else that the Turkish dude died VERY suspiciously and no investigation has ever been done? Or that the random solider showed up and said he was Patrick but then left?  I guess we can all assume that he was a fraud, but wouldn’t the family press charges or worry that he’d come back and rob the house?)  We’ve finished with Season 2 and the Christmas special, so now we just have a few episodes of season 3 before we are completely caught up and I  can go back to being on twitter on Sunday nights (ahem, Christina).

2) I’ve only killed one indoor plant so far this year (as in, since January 1st), and I am very proud!  The trick is to buy a lot of succulents.

3) I wish I could live inside Pottery Barn. Their room designs are always so perfect.  I also wish I could afford to buy furniture at Pottery Barn.

4) I really want to buy a pair of boat shoes (like Sperrys) to wear around Boston.  I don’t even know if people in Boston actually wear them, but doesn’t it seem like the Bostonian thing to do?  I also want to buy everything in argyle.  That seems Bostonian too?  I’d hate to hear what people think New Mexicans wear.

She screams “I’m in Boston!” to me

5) I cheered for San Francisco on Sunday because of my undying love for the city.  But it was happy when I realized Big Mike from the Blind Side plays for the Ravens.

6) I always buy an actual race photo print to ease my guilt in posting “proof” pictures on the blog that clearly state that I’m not supposed to use them.

7) Apparently Brooks Adrenaline is my running shoe of choice because I just bought my second pair this week via Holabird (yikes…even discount sites are getting more expensive).

8) I have always been terrible at spelling.  Since Google Chrome will check my spelling at all times, I no longer find it a necessary skill to have.

9) Growing up, Full House was my favorite TV Show.  It may have also been one of the reasons for my San Francisco obsession.

10) I took piano lessons for about 7 years, but I’m seriously terrible.  I wish I knew how to play the violin.

11) I really don’t like raisins.  There is a very specific type of disappointment associated with grabbing a chocolate chip cookie only to discover that it is actually raisin oatmeal.

Jennifer’s 11 Questions for me to answer:

1. What is your astrological sign?  Do you fit the description?

I am a Virgo.  One description I found said,

“Virgo exists in the mind, everything is inside. To the world, Virgo presents a calm and collected exterior but on the inside, nervous uncontrolled intensity in the mind, trying to figure things out, how to improve everything, analyzing and thinking. Virgo can tire itself out without even moving! Virgo has a constant drive to improve and perfect, this can lead to extreme pickiness and finickiest. They are pure, their motives are honest never malicious and they want to accomplish something.”

So basically I sound anxious, and stressed.  Hmmmm…

2. What is your favorite winter activity?

I really don’t like being cold.  I used to love skiing, but I haven’t gone in about 6 years, so I think I’d spend more time being terrified than having fun.  I enjoyed snowshoeing when we went for New Year’s, but I think my favorite winter activity is curling up next to a fire with a cup of hot chocolate/wine/beer and watching the snowfall (it snows like once per year here).

3. Flats or Heels?

I’m a little person, so I wear heels everyday just so I can reach stuff and see over counters.

4. Who was your first kiss?

????

5. If you could get rid of one form of social media, what would it be?

…I’m kind of getting tired of facebook. Otherwise, I don’t mind anything that I have an account for.

6. Last race you participated in?  What race are you doing next?

Last race was Rock n’ Roll Arizona.  Next race is likely going to be Bataan Memorial Death March, but I haven’t registered yet.

7. What is your favorite gift to give others?

WINE!

8. If you won the lottery, what would be your first purchase?

Absolute first purchase would probably be plane tickets (location depends on time of the year, but most likely a beach at any given time).  Everything else can be purchased online while I am sitting at said beach.

Rio sounds nice right about now

Rio sounds nice right about now

9. What is your favorite meal?  Breakfast, lunch or Dinner and Why?

I think breakfast food is my favorite.  Breakfast burritos, huevos rancheros, pancakes, waffles, hash browns, bacon, etc. etc. etc.

10. Do your friends, family and coworkers know that you are a blogger?

Friends and family, yes.  Hopefully not coworkers.  I get along with (most of) them, but I don’t want them to know anything about me outside of the workplace.

11. What do you like most about blogging and what is the hardest part?

I absolutely LOVE connecting with people.  It is amazing to find friends with similar interests from all of the country and all over the world.  the hardest part is trying to keep up with everyone! All of you are always on the go, reaching new milestones and finding new and creative ways to solve problems.  If I turn off the computer for a long weekend, I feel like I miss so much!

Thanks again, Jen for the lovely award! I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend.  If you are in the Northeast….GOOD LUCK!

Marathon Reflection Monday: 69 Days Until Boston

First, I wouldn’t be an American if I didn’t mention the spectacle that took place last night (because really, even if you hate football and Beyonce and commercials and an excuse to eat 10 bowls full of queso dip…not that I did…, at the very least you know that all of that took place AND you probably even know that there was a blackout if not who won).

In my “I have a degree in communication and took at least 1 adverting class” expert opinion, this year’s Super Bowl commercials were pretty creative and well constructed as a whole (except for that first Go Daddy commercial. You know what I’m talking about.  Yuck). I really  liked the M&M’s ” I would do anything for love” montage, the Audi kid who enjoyed every second of getting a black eye, the Live Mas Taco Bell commercial (esta nochhhhheeeee), and the Clydesdale horse commercial.

And the outage. I was actually laughing in an “ARE YOU SERIOUS?” type of way.  Event Coordination Fail.  I also thought Beyonce did a spectacular job and her on-stage light show was out of this world.  And  HOW AMAZING WAS IT WHEN MICHELLE AND KELLY POPPED UP ON STAGE?!?! I was the perfect age to be a big Destiny’s Child fan in the early 2000’s  (much more so than I’ve ever been a solo Beyonce fan), and even though everyone pretty much knew it was going to happen, I still got a bit emotional when the girls all sang together on stage…even though Beyonce’s microphone was obviously louder, but did anyone actually expect otherwise? Destiny’s Child, not children.

Ok.  Obligatory Super Bowl mention done.

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I think the most appropriate thing I can say right now is thank goodness for back down off it week this week.

This weekend was the first real long run duo of marathon training: 16 miles on Saturday and 8 miles yesterday.  The runs themselves weren’t so bad, but my body seems to be rebelling a bit and punished me by making it difficult to walk yesterday.  I’ve been rolling and stretching right when I get back, but for some reason, my left calf just completely knotted up.  I’m looking forward to today’s recovery run, and a shorter mileage weekend.

Speaking of  mileage, January was the first month that I’ve been actively tracking how many miles I run/walk.  It looks like I hit 98.64 for the month (yes, I am slightly annoyed that I didn’t hit an even 100).  I’m not really too concerned with what this number implies or doesn’t imply.  I’ve determined looking around blog land that I’m a pretty low-mileage marathon trainee (which served me fine the first time around). I usually base my progress on how much faster I run (determined by race times or the number of sub-8 miles I can hit during training) over how many miles I run since I’m more of a quality over quantity type person, but it is interesting to see the overall monthly total.

Anyway, this was an ok 2nd week of training.  Last week was a really crazy week both professionally and personally, and my mind was elsewhere.  I’ve always thought that running successfully comes down to a strong mental will, and I didn’t have it this week.  I’m hoping for my own 49er’s post-blackout moment!

Workout Recap:

Monday: 3 mile recovery run

Tuesday: 1 hour Spin class (cross-training)

Wednesday: 5 quarter mile hill sprints.  Mentally, I wasn’t into it at all.  4.5 miles total

Thursday: 3 miles at half marathon pace, 1 mile walk.  4.4 miles total

Friday: REST.

Saturday: 16 miles.  My Garmin died at mile 10.36, so I have no idea what my pace was.  My feet really started hurting at mile 14 (I was wearing my less supportive shoes) but otherwise, it wasn’t too bad for a long run.  I also could have run the last 5.5 miles at an average pace of 14 minute miles, but whatever.

Sunday: 8 miles.  The first 4 miles were pretty hard and I had to stop and stretch every half mile or so, but the last 4 felt great! I’ve been really trying to push hard on downhills in order to prepare for the Boston course, so I actually had to put effort into the downhill miles.  We also did yoga Sunday night which helped stretch out the sore muscles.

Marathon Training Goals:

My strategy this week was to do as much as possible early on since it is harder to eat clean during the weekends and doing squats after long runs feels about as fun as it sounds.  Mondays aren’t usually fun anyway, so eating clean wasn’t too hard to tack onto an already lackluster day. I can’t tell if any of this is actually making a difference, but I am glad that I’m starting to feel stronger again.  And I *think* I’m actually getting more flexible!

And I managed to have a perfect marathon week! I got all of my workouts in, and I achieved all my goals! Thanks to the checklist (and knowing that I’ll post it up here), I’ve really made a commitment to following through with everything even when I’d rather sit and veg on the couch (MUST DO PLANK OR BLOG FRIENDS WILL JUDGE!).

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I hope you are having a wonderful Monday! Because of last week’s craziness, I am super behind on blog stalking/paying attention to my own blog, but I hope to catch up very soon!