(Half) Marathon Reflection Monday & Other Stuff

WELCOME TO CHRISTMAS TIME!

I will be the first to admit that for me, Christmas time started right after Halloween.  I’ve been watching those high quality holiday movies on the Hallmark Channel, listening to Christmas music, and plotting ways to make this year’s holiday season the best ever.

Aaron has very politely indulged me, even giving up his Saturday nights to watch Eloise at Christmastime and not getting mad when I switch his Pandora station to Christmas music.

But now, my Christmas cheer is completely socially acceptable.  Thanksgiving is over, so I can prance around in Christmas happiness without fear that some Bah Humbug will squash my dreams.  However, I still haven’t put up a tree unlike everyone on Instagram/facebook.  We’re real tree people, so we always wait until December to make sure it doesn’t look dead by Christmas. I’d like to think this makes me slightly less crazy.

Meanwhile, on the running/half marathon training front, things have been going ok.

On Thursday my whole family (aside from my mom who was busy on Operation Thanksgiving Dinner duty) ran our Turkey Trot 5-K.   A few weeks ago I was thinking I was going to use this race as my attempt at a sub 21.  But I got out on that course, fell into a solid 7:00-7:15 pace, and was feeling really good.  I remember what it felt like for me the one time I did hit 21:05, and I decided I didn’t really want to get that awful sick feeling again.  So, I didn’t.  Maybe not the most competitive thing I could have done, but I’m ok with it.  I dread 5-K’s more than anything, and I don’t want to anymore.  I came in at 22:18 (7:10 average pace).  Still better than my last few 5-K times, and definitely a confidence booster than I can run 13.1 miles at a 7:15 pace in a couple of months.  Plus, I think this is my first ever 5-K that didn’t make me want to hurl.

To celebrate the amazing weather we’ve been having (still in the low 60’s during the day) we decided to get one more climb up our mountain on the La Luz Trail.  Typically the top is snow covered and dangerous by late November.  It is a little sad that our weather is so dry that we don’t have any snow on our mountain but it made for perfect hiking conditions. This hike is about 8 miles up a 3,600 elevation gain.  My dad and sister made their way up for the first time!

Yesterday’s long run was a little harder than it should have been after the climb up a mountain.  We had 8 miles on the schedule, so we headed to the most flat course we could find, and knocked them out.  I had an average pace of about 8:38, so I was going a just bit faster than last week.  And definitely minutes faster than I was running a year ago.  I felt pretty fatigued, my face got sunburn, and after we finished, my calves tightened up to a point suggesting I’d run much harder/faster than I really did.  I spent the morning doing some intense rehabbing just to get myself back to walking like a normal person.  But definitely on track with where I want to be right now.

On the non-running front, I’m pretty sure I did something very close to swimming last week! I’m working on a breathing rhythm, and after a few failed attempts (and lots of inhaled water through the nose…very yucky feeling), I think I’m getting the hang of it. I’m hoping that with a few more lessons, I’ll at least be able to not look like a drowning abomination on Indoor Tri Day!

Otherwise, our Thanksgiving week was pretty normal:  I baked! (gluten free pumpkin snicker-doodles), two dinners with two families, late night Black Friday shopping, football watching (GO GIANTS!!!), and planning my annual gingerbread house (you can see last year’s HERE).

We’ll take some of that turkey, please!

Muppet Christmas Carol is a Thanksgiving tradition.

Aaron is obviously adopted

Macy’s at about 1:00 am. 

Hope everyone is having a minimally painful Monday!

P.S….there *may* be a giveaway coming later this week! (And by may, I mean I’ve already agreed to do one in exchange for free stuff, so…)

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(Half) Marathon Reflection Monday

I have definitely had to change my way of thinking now that I’m back in half marathon land.

While training for a full, I was able to “take it easy” for the first few repetitions of intervals to save energy and take miles slower because there were so many more to go. But in half training, every rep has to be maxed out and warm-up miles become warm up mile.

Our Friday speed workout was hill repeats on the treadmill.   We put the incline on “10” (I’m not sure if this means 10% or 10 feet or just level 10 or what).  When Aaron said that we only had to run 20 seconds on the incline at a time, I had feelings of happiness.  Considering we were running up quarter-mile hills just a few months ago, this seemed rather lenient.

But I have only two months to reach my lofty goals, and I’m not even close to being ready. So, each 20 second hill must be pushed to the max. With each rep I increased speed to the point that I had to put every ounce of effort I had toward not get launched backward, and the exact moment the 20 seconds were up, I HAD to grab onto the nice little handle thingies or risk falling down.

It sucked obviously.  I felt sick afterwards.  But I know that I pushed it as hard as I could.  I was able to hold 10.3 mph for 20 seconds (I tried 10.4 but couldn’t keep up), and there was no way I could go faster.  It felt great to know that I put that level of effort into a workout.  I celebrated with some Costco pizza for dinner.  I feel only a bit awkward admitting that we go to Costco for dinner sometimes.

We did our 7 mile long run #2 on Saturday.  In order for me to confidentially go into this half, I will want my last long run to be at an 8:15 average at an easy pace (in other words, I shouldn’t be “racing” my long run).  Saturday’s pace was an 8:40 average and I definitely pushed it on a few of those miles. It is nice to obsess over those long run paces slightly more guilt free now that endurance isn’t as much of a factor.

I still have a lot of speed to program into these little legs, but I did do yoga (check!), strength training (check!), and cross training (check!).  I need to work on my core, but for the most part sticking to my goals.

In other related news, Aaron and I had a discussion this weekend about what our “events” are, or rather, which race distance is our strongest. I knew the moment I crossed the finish line for my first half marathon that I enjoyed 13.1 far more than 3.1.  Even though I’m more open to running marathons now that I’m not training for one (and I can walk again), the half marathon distance is my favorite.  I have no interest in running really strong 5-K’s, and for some reason I can’t ever get my act together for 10-K’s.  But I feel like I’m in my element in halves.

It was also at this point in our conversation that we decided to look up the weights of Olympic runners.  Aaron, who is a pretty trim dude, is not really thin enough to be a strong distance runner.  Ryan Hall is about the same height as Aaron, but  is about 30 pounds lighter. Let me just say I’m really ok with Aaron not weighing 30 pounds less.

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I’m particurly excited this Monday morning because of this gloriously short week, even though it will be a test of our ambitions. With so much Thanksgiving Cheer (and, you know BLACK FRIDAY), will we keep to a consistent workout schedule, or lay in a happy food coma?  Will I remember to eat veggies, or will pumpkin pie be my best effort?  At least, thanks to our green shake breakfast, I’m finally back down to my pre-marathon weight.  I can see that all going out the window this weekend!

Apparently this says that I have to run a marathon to burn off  Thanksgiving. 

 

What’s your favorite distance race?

Have a wonderful Monday!

What I’m Loving Wednesday, November 30

Linking up for What I’m Loving Wednesday at This Kind of Love.

With Christmas in the air and the amazing 60 degree weather we’ve been having (until tomorrow and Friday when the high drops down to an almost unbearable 38), there is so much to love! (and some stuff not to love too).

Black Friday: Yes, we drove to Santa Fe at midnight, got back into town by 2:30, went to Target then the mall, got home and in bed by 5, after a 5 hour nights sleep, got up and back out to ABQ Uptown by 11.  We caused some SERIOUS damage, but got some RIDICULOUS deals! My favorite purchase was the aerater/decanter from William Sonoma that was 50% off! I’m not really crazy.

Thanksgiving Dinner: We had dinner with my family and then dessert/wine/games with Aaron’s family.  Easily gained 5-10 pounds. But it was so tasty! (and my mom manages to make Thanksgiving dinner look like art!)

Minted Christmas Cards:  Friend (and graphic designer) Katie referred me to Minted for my Christmas cards, and WOW, what a great experience.  I submitted my order, got an electronic proof designed by a real person, enjoyed Thanksgiving (a day when no one works or gets mail), and got my beautiful cards, all within 6 days.  Aside from my wedding invitations, this is the most excited I’ve been to send something out.

The Nutcracker: We went with my family to see The Nutcracker at Popejoy Hall on Saturday.  I  hadn’t seen it since I was 6.  The show, the costumes, the music, everything, was perfect! They even had explosives to keep Aaron interested!

Seeing my house transform into a Winter Wonderland: We won’t buy our live tree until this weekend to make sure it is still fresh for Christmas, but Aaron spent Sunday putting lights on the house, and my Department 56 Dickens Village is out, so it is beginning to look like Christmas around here!

My soon to be gingerbread house: I used to make a gingerbread house every year.  The last 3 years I’ve started and haven’t finished.  In 2008 I was proposed to right in the middle of my baking. in 2009 we were coming down off our wedding/honeymoon and I was just TIRED. Last year…I don’t really have an excuse. But this year I am determined! Baking will start this weekend! (this is my last complete one from 2007).

MEANWHILE….Stuff I don’t Love today: (I tried to stay positive, but…you know).

Comcast.  If they weren’t almost the only option available, we’d switch. They wanted to charge us for something we don’t have access to, and then charge us to fix the problem.

ABC for cancelling Pan Am! That was the only new show I’ve continued to watch this season.  Filled with some of the more independent, intelligent, compassionate, stylish female characters on T.V., I’m sad that I won’t see the flight crew navigate through the social and political turmoil of the 60’s.  Yet Jersey Shore lives on?

Winter Weather: Seriously? 60 mile an hour winds tomorrow? 38 degree highs on Friday and Saturday? Massive amounts of snow? Did I move to Chicago and not realize it? YUCK.

My Training: My next half marathon is in 7.5 weeks…and I haven’t done a long run (or anything except a few 3-4 mile runs) since San Francisco.  Am I trying to sabotage myself? I can’t imagine I’ll be particularly inspired by the Antarctic weather conditions coming up either.

HAPPY DECEMBER!