Monthly Archives: February 2015

I Love This Commercial and Update Before Things Get Cra Cra

Watch this and try not to get all verklempt.

Seriously, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this commercial and what it stands for. Sometimes, aren’t we all the guy who comes in last but just never gives up? Does it matter what place we get? Isn’t the most important fact is that we are out there trying and busting our butts to get to where we truly want to go?

I love this commercial. This could be me in a few short weeks as I run my marathon. This could be me when Ironman Florida comes around. But you’ll never find me giving up. Hell no. I’ll never give up on my dreams. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.

By the way, I had yet another interaction with Hal Higdon. I took a screen shot of it. Err merr gerrrd, HAL HIGDON AND I ARE ALMOST BFF’s!!!!! ūüėČ The subject was about fashion and races.

See, Hal is talking to ME!

See, Hal is talking to ME!

The weather has been quite difficult for those of us without gym memberships. Tuesday, school was cancelled because of the threat of ice. I didn’t even know we were supposed to get any bad weather at all until I got word on Monday afternoon that there was no school Tuesday. So much for those 800’s. It was 30 and raining and windy, so I decided to save myself from pneumonia and had a good, hard workout on my bike.

One hour with 4 x 7 min intervals at Z4

One hour with 4 x 7 min intervals at Z4

My friend, Amanda, and I decided to tackle her tempo workout together on Wednesday. Gulp. It was 5 miles at 7:30 pace. I figured that would be just as good or better as my two mile repeats I was planning for Thursday, so we got together Wednesday to get it done.

Man, isn’t running with someone else so much better than on your own? I mean, I love to run on my own, but for difficult speed workouts, it’s so much better to have someone to run with. We ran at Wrightsville Beach, since that’s where she lives and there’s a good straight road where we don’t really have to worry about traffic or making stops.¬† No one likes to be interrupted during a speed workout.¬†¬†Right before we started, we both looked at each other with that “well, here we go” face. I have to admit, it didn’t feel terrible. It didn’t feel GREAT either, but it’s really not supposed to.

I forgot to mention that we had a lot of freezing rain on Tuesday and there was ice everywhere but the roads. The power lines and plants and trees were covered.

Ice at the beach.

Ice at the beach.

My kids had a lot of fun eating the¬†icicles and I’m sure ingested tons of dirt along the way.¬†¬†Nothing new. At least they were hydrating. So anyway, as we were running, a piece of ice fell from the power line and hit Amanda in the head. We didn’t find out til later that it actually cut her and made her bleed. I guess Ralphie’s mom WAS right, those icicles can be dangerous. Thankfully, she was ok and it was not a major cut, but it made us pay more attention to what was above us when we were running.

Two and¬†a quarter miles into the tempo, I wanted to stop and breathe, which I slightly feel guilty¬†about and am justifying with “it was a better tempo run than the two mile repeats” but I really wish I hadn’t stopped. It was maybe a minute or two and we headed back to finish our 5 miles with no more stopping. We ended up at 7:22 overall pace for the 5 miles. Whohoo!!!! And my legs felt it. When I got home, my dog was waiting for me, so I figured a good way to stretch out was to jog¬†a little loop with her. She loved it.

Had to take a few minutes to enjoy the view and ocean sounds after our run.

Had to take a few minutes to enjoy the view and ocean sounds after our run.

There’s a reason why you don’t have two hard workouts in a row. My speed schedule is all off because of the dumb weather, but I knew I couldn’t do another speed workout today. I also didn’t really know what to consider the bike workout. I knew it wasn’t easy on my legs, but it wasn’t running. So, ????¬† I decided to just do the 5 miles on the schedule for yesterday. It didn’t feel bad, but I could tell my hammies and quads were tired. I could see how having back-to-back hard workouts can cause you to get injured or burn out. I did the smart thing and didn’t do it.

I’ve got 10 pace on Saturday and 20 on Sunday. THIS, my friends, will lead into my taper for the race. I think I almost threw up. It’s almost here. My son is turning 9 years old on Saturday and I have a lot to do to get ready for the family stuff we’re doing, the company we’re having, and the awesome Seattle Seahawks cake I’m going to make him.

Anyone else get hit with icicles? Running long this weekend? Want to come over for pizza on Saturday?

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Categories: anything is possible, follow your dreams, go for your dreams, hal higdon training plan, interval training, ironman florida, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running, running buddies, running with friends, training for marathon, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

There’s Something Satisfying About Being Completely Exhausted

It still sounds like I’m plugging my nose when I talk, but at least my ears have started to pop and I can hear again. It’s funny that you don’t realize how much you can’t hear until you can actually hear again. This weekend was a doozy, in a good way. I think I need a vacation from it. Nah, just kidding, it was a really good weekend.

My Friday night ended with my family watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail (“It’s merely a flesh wound”) and me dozing on the couch and finally calling it a day.¬† At a whopping¬†8:45, I headed to bed. ¬†I felt like total crap. I had a big weekend planned so was hoping to get a good night sleep and wake up all bouncy and fresh.

I didn’t wake up bouncy and fresh, but I woke up feeling better on Saturday morning, thank goodness. I had to get up early to get a good 6 mile run in. I checked the temp and it was 20, a tad warmer than Friday but without any wind. I layered up and headed out, hoping to get a few tempo miles in since I missed them last week. Man, it was cold. Yes, I know, North Carolina’s version of cold is very different than many, but 20 is literally freezing, so I¬† stand correct when I say it was FREEZING. ūüôā The first mile felt good and I didn’t have a cough, so I picked up my pace and ended up with a mile at around 7:10. I rested about 30 seconds and started jogging again. I slowly picked it up and after a half mile, went for another fast mile, this one closer to 7:00. But I didn’t feel great after that. My LEGS felt fabulous, but the rest of me needed food. I hadn’t eaten much in over 12 hours, so I decided to just finish the rest of my run at a decent pace and not push it anymore. I was HUNGRY. 6.2 miles at an average 8:21 pace. Not too shabby.

I had enough time to get cleaned up, eat my smoothie, and get my stuff together for the swim clinic with Sheila Taormina. I was a little nervous, but this was just the classroom session, so at least I didn’t have to worry about snotting all over the pool. The first two hours was in a conference room¬†where Sheila discussed the¬†science behind the swim strokes and why we have the stroke we do. Or at least the one we should have. Basically, the entire time was discussing what to do with your hand/arm when your hand slides into the water until it comes out of the water. There wasn’t much talk about kick or anything else for that matter. I found it fascinating and I learned a TON. Now for translating that into being able to actually DO it. We then had a tubing session (I was disappointed there was no lake, boat, or tube) where we practiced our newly learned stroke with tubes that provide resistance. She looked at each one of us individually and told us anything we should be doing to correct it. Ok, I could do it right OUT of the water, so I was happy. I was SO GLAD I had the opportunity¬†to attend¬†this clinic.

Sheila showing us proper form while tubing.

Sheila showing us proper form while tubing.

I came home all excited to be able to swim better and MORE EFFICIENTLY. I yammered on and on to my husband as I showed him my new practice tubes and Sheila’s book. I’ve wanted to buy swim books before but didn’t because they didn’t make any sense to me. I didn’t even know what the swim term “catch” was before Saturday. Now that I understand what she’s talking about, I’m guessing the book will be helpful as I gain skill and check with the book THAT I NOW UNDERSTAND to be sure I’ve got it right. She even signed it for me. Ahhh, my brush with fame.

Finally, a swim book I can understand.

Finally, a swim book I can understand.

A few hours after I got home from the clinic, the entire family headed to meet a few other people at the theater to watch McFarland, USA, probably one of my new favorite movies. It’s a true story about a coach and his immigrant cross country team and what they go though.¬† It’s about hard work, it’s about perseverance, it’s about going for your dreams, it’s about family, it’s about trust, it’s about RUNNING.¬† My only advice is TO JUST GO SEE IT. It’s a Disney movie, so it’s kid safe. My personal favorite part is at the end when they show the real coach and team and where they are now.

After the movie, we went to dinner with a friend and his kids, and by the time we got home, it was pretty much time for bed. I had to get up early for my 12 mile run and then 2 hour swim clinic in the pool, so I appropriately fueled on popcorn, wings, and beer, then headed to bed.

Sea fog, or at least that's what the weather people were calling it.

Sea fog, or at least that’s what the weather people were calling it.

Sunday’s weather was weird. We went from cold and static-y to warm and damp. I even wore shorts and a t-shirt to run in, and it was soaked when I got done. I met with a group and ended up running with someone I didn’t know. Evidently, my pace pushed her, and it was great to get to know someone new. I would have like to maybe go a little faster, but when it was all said and done, I ran 12 at a sub-9:00 pace and it felt good. That was exactly what I was supposed to do, so I was satisfied AND got a friend out of it. A friend who has done TWELVE, yes TWELVE iron distance races.

Nice and calm for the run on Sunday.

Nice and calm for the run on Sunday.

I got home, ate a smoothie, and got ready to go to the pool.¬† What do I say about the pool session? Difficult? Yes. Annoying? Yes. Tiring? Yes. Amazing? Yes! This is where we put into practice what she was talking about the day before, PLUS the other parts of the stroke.¬†We did drill after drill to drill the proper form into our muscle memory.¬† I mustered to the end and was literally shaking when I got out of the pool. Can you say, GOOD WORKOUT? Holy hell, I learned so much and was exhausted! But this is the first time I’ve EVER been exciting about swimming.

Learning at the pool.

Learning at the pool.

Not long after I got home from the session and ate my weight in lunch, the family took advantage of the warm weather and headed to Carolina Beach State Park. We walked the trails, explored, and had a nice time outside IN OUR SHORTS. The poor dog was so tired from smelling absolutely everything possible, she crashed as soon as we got home. I gave my kids hair cuts and then made Mexican pizza for the first time (I seriously was missing something because YUM), and we hung out, watching some TV.

I was tired. Damn dog tired. But doesn’t that feel good? Isn’t there something to be said for being busy, doing all sorts of new and fun and difficult things? I think so. And now it’s Monday, I have a HUGE list of things to do to make up for my time off last week and my youngest son’s birthday this weekend. Funny, 9 years ago today, I couldn’t bend down to tie my shoe because of my ginormous belly fully of baby (and about 45 lbs of “other”) and today, I’m a month out from running a marathon. Of course the weather is off her meds again and it was rainy for my run. It wasn’t one of those pelt you in the face, make you miserable, wish you were on a treadmill rains.¬†Yet.¬†Hello, cold front. This morning’s temp was the high for the next few days. Blech.

Monday's rainy run.

Monday’s rainy run.

What did you do this weekend? Even been to a swim clinic before? New song: The Creator by Pete Rock and CL Smooth – it’s in a pretty cool ad, which is how I found it thanks to Shazam.

Categories: follow your dreams, hal higdon training plan, iron distance, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running, running buddies, running with friends, swimming, training for marathon, training for triathlon, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Walking Around With A Balloon

And¬†that balloon is¬†my head. The cold I tried so hard to avoid came down on me on Thursday morning. It had been waiting in the shadows since last Thursday, so I told it on Wednesday night, “Just shit or get off the pot.” Really, this half cold thing was just annoying.¬†¬†I guess it decided to take a big shit on my head. I slept good Wednesday, but on Thursday, I woke up feeling like total garbage. I’m almost relieved, though, because it’s not a 20 mile run weekend, and it’s far enough away from the marathon that the cold should be far gone by then.

I haven’t been sick in about three years. It’s been so long, I actually can’t remember, but I think it was before the Houston Marathon in January of 2013. That’s a long time to only have a sniffle here or allergy thing there. The longest EVER for me.¬†I knew I was due, and was just glad it wasn’t the flu. So when I got up feeling like crap on Thursday, I decided to take a sick day. Basically, I spent the entire day on the couch either dozing or watching TV. It was sort of awesome in it’s own since I just don’t take sick days because I feel guilty, but of course, I’d much rather be super busy and feel good. I had my big fuzzy pink blanket (and the revolving door of cats cuddling with me) and¬†getting off the couch was accompanied by huge shockers¬†since our house is so dry because the heater never turns off because there’s no insulation and the downstairs is freezing which is why the heater is always on.¬† I did get a casserole made though.

Vitamins and Kleenex. My two favorite things.

Vitamins and Kleenex. My two favorite things.

I slept really good on Thursday night and woke up this morning feeling like a had a huge Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon for a head. If I had a choice, I’d either pick Garfield or Hello Kitty. But I wish I could jam a big ice pick into my ears to relieve the pressure and give myself the ability to hear again. I don’t think it works that way though. I’m lucky, this could be so much worse. I didn’t feel good about missing my Thursday workout, so I decided to get out for a run and just see how it went before I decided how many miles to go. It was 17 degrees with a breeze, so I dug out my mask that was in the very back of my closet from those Iowa years.

I gonna rob you. I tried to run with it like this but my glasses kept fogging up.

I gonna rob you. I tried to run with it like this but my glasses kept fogging up.

Layered up, covered up, and ready¬†to go.¬†Surprisingly, my legs felt great. I mean, they felt really, really good. I was envisioning the marathon this morning. I thought of pushing myself, pushing hard, and meeting my goal. I saw myself¬†crossing that finish line and crying.¬†I hope it really happens and I’m crying because I met my goal. Having a vision of your race is a powerful thing.

I decided to go 6 miles, ended up being a little farther out, so ended up with 6.4 miles and it ended up being in race pace range, 8:25 . How did that happen?  No complains from me.

Goofy face, but it was frozen. Just glad to have a good run today.

Goofy face, but it was frozen. Just glad to have a good run today.

This weekend’s workouts are lighter, but I think I’m going to try and work in some tempo paces since I missed it this week due to both kinds of cold. It was so cold here, the kids even had a one hour late start. On a day they get out early. So much for doing anything productive (besides running) today.

Unfortunately, I have a head cold, which means my head is super full,¬†and my nose is behaving like a faucet. I truly don’t undersatand how you can be congested with a runny nose at the same time.¬†¬†I have¬†a swim clinic to attend both Saturday and Sunday. I’m hoping I can get the faucet to be a little less leaky as snotting in the pool with my friends isn’t something I’m super interested in doing. I’ll see how it goes, but I know the clinic will do me good. I just wish I could’ve gotten in this week to practice from my lesson a few weeks ago. I have to run 6 on Saturday and 12 on Sunday, hopefully with some good pickups I mentioned above. Other than¬†running and the clinic, we might go check out the movie McFarland, USA with the kids. Looks super inspiring and what’s better than going to a movie? Going to a movie about running.

What’s everyone up to this weekend? Tired of the cold? Anyone been sick recently? It sucks, doesn’t it?

Categories: anything is possible, Boston Marathon, go for your dreams, marathon, marathon training, qualifying for boston marathon, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running, swimming, training for marathon, Uncategorized, wrightsville beach marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Sometimes It’s Good To Not Have A Choice

I guess I had a choice, but I wasn’t giving myself a choice on whether or not I ran on Sunday. And after looking at so many other posts about the polar flavored air up north, I feel a little bit whiney. But Sunday was cold. And I had 20 miles to run.¬† And I didn’t have a choice to do it or not. I HAD to run.

So let’s back up to Saturday. I felt like I had been fighting off a cold since Thursday. Seems many people are getting something, a cold, the flu, something. I was extremely and unusually tired on Thursday evening, so I knew my body was trying to fight off some sort of bug and I had been exposed to about a zillion different viruses at the airports and planes full of¬†sick people on Monday coming back from Vegas. I felt ok on Friday, but again, felt pretty tired for no apparent reason. I set my alarm for Saturday morning at 6:30 so I could get my 10 mile pace run in, and when¬†the alarm¬†went off, I threw¬†my phone¬†on the floor turned¬†the alarm¬†off and went back to sleep. For TWO MORE HOURS. Holy cow, when I woke up at 8:30, I was sort of pissed, sort of happy. Happy because I got the sleep I evidently needed. Pissed because I was just getting my lazy ass out of bed at 8:30 and had 90 minutes of running to do.

Saturday morning was cold, but the sun was out and it quickly warmed up. I started my run and immediately knew I was overdressed, so came by the house and changed. Another mile later, I swung by the house again and changed again, into shorts and t-shirt. It was almost hot. Several f-bombs later (I should have effing started effing earlier then I’d be effing done with this effing workout), I was ready to finish my effing 10 miler. I had a shitty attitude, and I didn’t want to run, I just wanted to make heart-shaped pancakes for my boys and drink coffee. I know myself and I’m not one to skip workouts, so I effing got out there and got it done. My stupid watch pace was all over the place, so I quit looking at it and tried to dial in race pace on my own. Two costume changes and 85 minutes later, I was done. Whew, race pace dialed in at 8:22. THAT is why I do my workouts, even when I don’t want to. They always feel good when they’re done.

The weather was pretty nice on Saturday, but the cold was coming. I had tried to change the long run to Saturday, but my friend couldn’t so I knew I had to get it done Sunday. It was going to be super windy and cold. Yes, all you northerners, cold is a relative term. Many of you would probably LOVE 20-something temps, so I apologize for my whining. Honestly, I don’t mind the cold. It’s the freaking wind that I hate. I HATE WIND.¬† I had my pre-long run and pre-race burger on Saturday night (delish) and got in bed all hydrated and ready to brace for what was coming the next day – 20 miles in the cold wind.

Wasn't too crazy about the cheese on the pasta, but the burger was goooood.

Wasn’t too crazy about the cheese on the pasta, but the burger was goooood. Goldie is in the background.

I woke up and it was just crap out. I felt fine, so I was happy about that, and I was meeting other people, so I knew I couldn’t get out of it, delay it, anything. I knew I had to just get out there and run. It was almost a relief to not give myself a choice. I had asked a friend/coach to run with us¬†too, and she is the one who always seems to push my pace on long runs. She’s my dangling carrot, so to speak. I didn’t know if I could keep up or if she would care about pace on a crappy day, but¬†I knew it would be good to have a group to run with. I brought all my clothes, got my fuel ready, and headed towards the beach. I don’t think I even pushed the gas pedal beyond a tap the entire way there. Wind. When the group of ladies was all there, we headed right into the 25 degree,¬†25 mph wind. We knew it was better to head into it first, but man, it was effing cold. My face, hands, and toes were cold. A few miles later, we headed into an area that’s more sheltered, so for the rest of the 12 mile loop, it really wasn’t bad. The last few miles getting pushed was pretty awesome. Some of the ladies were done, so three of us headed out for a 6 mile loop. It was so nice to talk and chat and keep our minds off tired legs and how many miles we had done/had left.¬† It wasn’t “conversation pace” but maybe “labored conversation pace”, but¬†I never checked. Soon, 18 miles were done and the two ladies remaining were done. I had two to go solo. I ran towards the beach and felt pretty good. Wow, 8:05 minute miles at the end of a 20 mile run? Hmmmm, fishy. Yup, I was getting pushed by the wind, but I was also happy to be feeling good. Until I turned around. Yikes. “One more mile” and “I can do anything for just one mile” kept going through my head¬†and some other thoughts like “this is bullshit” and “FUCK” were sprinkled in. Mom would be so proud (sorry mom, it’s dad’s fault). But I got my run done. When I met with Amanda, who waited for me to finish, she told me we were rocking our paces. Holy cow. I didn’t give one thought to pace because of the weather, and it turned out to be one of the fastest 20 milers….ever. And I was so worried.

20 miles, DONE. And you can see my cat's tail back there too.

20 miles, DONE. And you can see my cat’s tail back there too.

20 miles at 8:35 pace? Pretty damned awesome if I do say so myself. I was thrilled and it boosted my confidence for the race.

Me and Amanda - evidently my face froze into a strange look during my last mile.

Me and Amanda – evidently my face froze into a strange look during my last mile.

After hugging Amanda, I passed up stretching and immediately got in my car, turned up the heat, turned on the heated seats, and headed home. I did NOT want to get cold, as I knew it would take me several hours to warm back up if I did, and I was afraid I would be more susceptible to that little bug I’d been fighting. I have¬†a few friends who swear by Ultragen recovery drink, so I drank a bottle on my way home.¬† I didn’t get sore the day of my last 20 miler and this time, I didn’t get sore either. I blame it on Ultragen, so that’s my plug – drink it and you won’t be sore when you run 20 miles. Really though, I like the way I feel after I drink it and it really does seem to curb the soreness that’s been normal for me.

I had five easy miles on Monday for a recovery run and decided to, again, ignore any pace on my watch and just run. It ended up being a sub-9:00 mile, so I guess that’s good.

Today, I was planning to do three 2 mile repeats but again, the weather was just not looking good. The cold that was trying to overtake me was not overtaking me, but was trying to settle in my chest/lungs. It was cold, windy, and wet out.

My back deck. Yuck.

My back deck. Yuck.

I asked some peeps on my Facebook page if it would be pansy or smart for me to stay in and have a tempo ride on my bike, and the response was overwhelming to ride my bike indoors.  So that is exactly what I did, and it was a good ride. I warmed up 10 minutes, then had four 7 minute repeats at Z4 with a 3 minute recovery (the 4th was a full 10 minutes at Z4), ending with a 10 minute easy recovery. I did run a little with the kids as they had their running practice after school since the rain ended and it dried up for the most part.

Tomorrow¬†is an easy 5 miles and then Thursday, bum bum BUMMMMM, the 2 mile repeats. And the high is going to be 29 (really, super cold for us here). I’ve already planned to meet¬†Amanda and get these cranked out, so there’s no excuses.

It’s been a good week of workouts, the marathon is in LESS THAN 5 weeks now, and I’m feeling good. Of course I’m nervous, but I’m ready to get my work in and see it pay off. I haven’t been able to get to the pool (that’s a story in itself so I won’t even start but I really wish it was warm enough to open water swim), and my swim clinic is this weekend. Exciting!

Anyway, if you haven’t already, check out my Running Boston and Beyond Facebook page (and hopefully LIKE it)¬†HERE.

Categories: hal higdon training plan, marathon, running, running with friends, training for marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Mile-And-A-Half Repeats – Even Funner Than Those Mile Deals

I think I’m done punishing myself for being so leisurely about marathon training while in Vegas. Besides my house being a total disaster that I should be cleaning but instead, I am sitting right here and totally putting it off, we’re pretty much back to the same ole. Yippee.¬† The weather needs to go back on its meds, too. It’s cold, windy, rainy, warm, freezing, warm, then this weekend is going to be super cold. Like a high of 32. I know, I know, all you northern people are shaking your gloved fingers and stocking-covered heads saying, “You don’t know cold, lady!” But it’s cold…. for us. And for what I’ve pansied myself to since moving south.

Tuesday was the really good 10 mile pace run, and Wednesday’s “easy” 5 mile run¬†turned into a pace run, simply because¬†once I started at a pace, I didn’t think I should slow down. Because that makes sense.¬†¬†Then today? Erg. Today I decided to build on my mile repeats from last week and tackle mile point five repeats. Four times.¬†Because I like to torture myself train. I knew it would benefit me more than 800’s would. I¬† knew it would be good for my mental strength to push myself really hard and not talk myself out of doing them or reducing the number.

I REALLY tried to talk myself out of the workout. REALLY. But I want to cross that finish line in just over a month with a PR. It takes work to do that. So it was time to get off my ass and get it done.

I headed back to UNCW’s campus, parked at the track,¬†and warmed up for .7 miles. It was WAY warmer than what I thought it would be, and¬†I forgot my short sleeved shirt at home, so¬†I pulled up my long sleeves and dealt with it.¬† After whining to myself.¬†There’s a paved trail that goes about 2 miles and then hits a road, so I figured that would be the best place to take on my 2400 m repeats. I put on my good playlist and got the party started.

What can I say about where my mind went during that first one? It’s not rated G for “good language”, that’s for sure. But I nailed the first¬†mile and a half¬†at a 7:02 pace. I was worried about my Garmin not working in the trees, so I was happy to see that the pace was accurate. I know the difference between an 8 min mile (I can talk a little) and a 7 min mile (I cannot talk a little), and am familiar with what’s in between, and it always pisses me off when I know I’m going faster than what the thing registers. I walked quite a while to recover from the first set (I was supposed to run .5 mi but I didn’t), was happy to have my breathing and heart race come down fast, and headed back to start set two. Here I go!

Set two had some head wind coming back, but I was able to keep the pace well. Garmin would change from 6:30 to 7:45 without me changing my pace, so I was slightly peeved about that, but the end time showed I did pretty much the same¬†as set one. Then my Garmin had a tantrum for sets three and four. I have a landmark for one mile and¬†the distance¬†was off,¬†but I think I pretty much stayed at the same pace, if anything, slightly slower, but still within the range I wanted to go. I REALLY wish I had an accurate measurement for the mile point five, so I knew exactly what my pace was, but I guess I’ll just have to measure a few times with all my Garmins to get it right next time.¬†When I’m going in the lower 7 mm pace, and it tells me I’m going 7:45, 8:30, I get pissed. Is there a niner in there? How many times do you think I can use the word pace in this post?

After my workout.

After my workout. But at least the sun was shining.

I think¬†I think I dialed it in pretty well today, and I’m really looking forward to having tomorrow off before the deep freeze 30. Thirty miles to run this weekend in the cold. BUT I get to run with some friends on Sunday, so I’m pretty happy about that. I may even head to the pool to do a little practicing of my new skeelz from¬† my lesson a few weeks ago, but will have to see how I feel. I’m in denial about the swim clinic I’m going to next weekend with Sheila Taormina. Yeah, I’ll be swimming with a freaking Olympic medalist (ya know, JUST the GOLD) and world class triathlete. I might wanna practice up a bit as to not completely embarrass myself. I know the point is to learn from her, but it’s still a little, oh, overwhelming to know SHE will be looking at ME while I’m swimming.

I know everyone has enjoyed me complaining about my Garmin and how hard my¬†repeats have been, but really, I love them after as much as I hate them during. Doesn’t everybody? I know they’re working, so that’s really what it’s all about. Next week is a set of TWO MILE repeats! I’m already procrastinating that one!

How do you handle crazy weather changes? Do you like mile point five repeats? Would you be nervous about showing your skills/lack of to an Olympic gold medalist?

Categories: interval training, marathon, running, training for marathon hal higdon training plan | Tags: , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Leaving Las Vegas

The great birthday surprise of 2015 went perfectly.¬† Read the reveal story HERE. He never found out what I had been planning for months, and we had a great time. Of course, we’re a little more tired, our wallets are thinner, and I can’t speak for everyone, but I know my belly is a little rounder. It was worth it! I love Vegas. I grew up on acreage where it was quite and serene and now live 15 minutes from the perfect ocean view, and I enjoy that as much as anyone.¬† BUT, I absolutely LOVE the energy of Vegas. There’s ALWAYS someone up, something to do, somewhere to walk. I love to watch people, go see different sights, and of course, I do like to party, responsible adult-style partying anyway.

My husband and I went running the first two mornings we were there, and I was actually surprised at the amount of runners out.

The running was perfect. Perfect weather, perfect company, and perfect environment.

The running was perfect. Perfect weather, perfect company, and perfect environment.

We chatted (mostly me purging telling him all the things I hadn’t been able to since last summer when I planned this whole thing),¬†enjoyed the sunshine, and wandered through Circus Circus since I’d never been in there before. The three hour time change REALLY messed with both of us, especially since we had to get up so early (and I woke up extra early¬†at 3 am the day of) to get to the airport on time, so on all nights except the last, we were up in our room and asleep by probably 8.

By 8 pm, we looked like this poor guy in the airport.

By 8 pm, we looked like this poor guy in the airport.

That meant we were up bright and early at 6 am, ready to get on with our day. Most mornings we had a beer in hand, casino card in the other, and were seated at our favorite penny slots by 10. I’ve never let myself play slots before since I know it’s just throwing money away, but I planned all along to let the purse strings go a little and have some gambling fun. I had been hoarding money for just this too.¬† And it was fun. I didn’t come away with any winnings and didn’t even break even, but it was something new for me, and it kept me entertained for hours. I won, I lost, I won again, I lost again, I watched my dad play the same silly slot time after time and do the same exact thing.

My favorite slot machine.

My favorite slot machine.

My parents haven’t been to Vegas since the early 80’s and my sister/brother-in-law haven’t been at all, so it was fun to watch them see the “Vegas sights” the first time, including the big guy wearing a teeny bikini complete with a bunny tail.

A friend from Wilmington and two friends from Des Moines came as well, so it was fun to hang out with everyone. We¬†went to the Carnival Court outside Harrah’s since we were told that we just have to. Wow. It was worth it. We had so much fun watching the bartenders do their thing “Cocktail” style and the music was perfect. And I may or may not have had a shot poured directly in my mouth ūüôā

Andy's the tall one in the back, then from left, Katie, Sonia, Me, and Del at Carnival Court. Made a lot of memories that night (afternoon).

Andy’s the tall one in the back, then from left, Katie, Sonia, Me, and Del at Carnival Court. Made a lot of memories that night afternoon.

On Sunday, the others had things to do, so just my family went to Fremont Street. I’d been there before but was only there for maybe 30 minutes¬†so didn’t get to experience the entire thing. THIS time, we stayed there for quite a while. It was pretty damn awesome.¬† I never though lil’ ole’ ME could sit at a Blackjack table and play with the big dogs, but there I was, playing Blackjack IN LAS VEGAS. ¬†And I knew the rules! Little did my husband know two months ago WHY I wanted to re-learn how to play Blackjack – so I could play on our secret trip!¬† Let’s just say I didn’t come away throwing $20 bills around. The stupid dealer was just too hot. Oh well, it was a new experience for me, and well worth it.

My sister and dad zip lining near the ceiling of Fremont Street.

My sister and dad zip lining near the ceiling of Fremont Street.

I hate to admit it, but I missed my 12 mile long run on Sunday. I felt guilty, but not guilty enough to do anything about it. I know things happen during training and this wasn’t an essential long run, so I let it go. We got home late Monday, and I can honestly say we were there the perfect amount of time. I was glad to be home! Too bad the weather here is horrible. Not a nice homecoming, that’s for sure. To punish myself for missing the long run, I knew I needed to make today’s workout count. So I ran 10 miles at marathon pace, or 8:15. It was rainy, really windy, and about 45 degrees. No excuses.

It’s time to get serious about this race that’s in just a few short weeks. I have two 20-milers left, a LOT of pace and speed work to do, and some major yoga to go along with it. I keet thinking to myself that it will be all worth it when I cross that finish line with a nice shiny new PR.

My luggage was just delivered from it’s extra long trip back, so I guess it’s time to unpack. Ugh, reality!

My hubby and me on his 40th birthday.

My hubby and me on his 40th birthday.

When you go on a vacation, do you plan to run/bike/swim?

Categories: las vegas, marathon, running, training for marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Secrets and Lies

I’ve been keeping a secret from my husband¬†since August 1st. It involved lying about and hiding¬†money, several “lies of omission”¬†and talking about him behind his back¬†to our friends and family. I had to clear the cache on the computer several times because of my internet trolling, and my secrets almost slipped out so many times, I just had to stop talking about certain things.¬†I felt bad. I was tired of the lies and secrets. So this morning, I got him up early and told him to pack his shit.

I told him he had one hour and we were leaving. We threw our crap in the car (after kissing our sweet little sleeping boys g’bye),¬†picked up my sister and brother-in-law, then we headed to the airport. When we got to the airport, I got up to the agent first and told her to keep¬†our final destination¬†quiet because I’d been lying and keeping secrets from my husband for so many months, to have one of them blab it before I was ready would be insulting. It worked. We got on the plane and landed in Atlanta.¬† I gave him the gate/flight number and had him figure out himself where we were going. Heh heh, evil, ain’t it?

My friends, on August 1st, I purchased a vacation to Vegas for my husband’s 40th birthday. It’s finally freaking here because one more week of keeping secrets and lying was gonna kill me!¬† And by the way, I arranged for his parents to come visit “for his birthday” and watch the kids for us. I owe this trip to them.

This trip is going to fit right into our "Epic-est" Year, that's for sure.

This trip is going to fit right into our “Epic-est” Year, that’s for sure.

So for the next several days, we are going to be having way too much fun celebrating life, having fun with each other and the few friends/family who could come with us, and oh, yes I brought my running shoes.

Las Vegas strip, here we come!

Las Vegas strip, here we come!

SUPRISE AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY BEST FRIEND, MY LOVE, MY HUSBAND!

From our trip a few years back.

From our trip a few years back.

Categories: las vegas, marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Mile Repeats: Do I Love or Hate Them?

My legs are tired. I’m distracted (more on that in the next few days). I’ve been neglectful in reading y’alls posts and responding to¬†your comments.¬†It will make sense soon.¬†Since my last post on Friday, I’ve run over 45 miles, all averaging less than a 9:00 mile. That’s pretty good considering I wasn’t doing any speed work just over a month ago. Speed work. Yeah. I’ll get to that in a sec.

OH!!!! Remember I told you that I got a Facebook message from Hal Higdon himself??? Well, I emailed him the information he requested. Then what do you suppose happened?? HE EMAILED ME BACK. EEEEK!!!! It’s like if when I was a teeny bopper and one of the band members from Poison would have LOOKED at me (or in my general direction). Uh. Muh. Gawd. If I could bronze an email, I would.

On Saturday, I had a 10 mile run at no specific pace. I decided to let my legs decide what to do and didn’t look at my Garmin pace at all. It felt really good, probably due to lower mileage the week before,¬†and I ended up doing them at an average of 8:24 pace, which is right where I want to be for the marathon. Yeah!¬† Saturday evening, I had a swim lesson that went REALLY well. I’m actually looking forward to putting some of the learning into action in the pool.

To keep me entertained before the 10 miler, I had a Garmin race to see which one I would wear.

To keep me entertained before the 10 miler, I had a Garmin race to see which one I would wear.

Sunday was my 20 miler, and I was lucky to find some people to run with. Overall, it was a really good 20 miles filled with friends who made the time pass a lot easier than if I was running solo. Average pace was 8:54, which was faster than what I planned, but I was happy to go faster rather than slower.

I smile, but I'm not happy. My feet were frickin cold.

I smile, but I’m not happy. My feet were frickin cold.

I soaked in my 44 degree pool for 5 minutes, which is the most I could handle without my feet literally freezing and then they’d fall off and I’d have to go get one of those fake feet and it would probably look like one of those things you find in really nice men’s dress shoes.

Pre game cat nap. See what I did there? Cat. Nap.

Pre game cat nap. See what I did there? Cat. Nap.

I was happy that my long run fell on the Super Bowl Day, well, vice versa, so I was happy to eat a lot that night. I’m not a huge NFL team follower, more of a college fan myself, but we always eat, drink, and play silly games until the halftime show. I actually enjoyed the show this year, minus the Katy Perry beach ball outfit. I find it strange (at least for ME) that you are dressing your boobs up as beach balls. I guess she can, so more power to her.

My legs felt good on Sunday, even though I’d put 30 miles on them over the weekend. I ran an easy 4 on Monday morning and they still felt pretty good. Yeah for training!¬† I looked at my plan for Tuesday, which is tempo/speed day, and I had 7 x 800’s on it again. Hmmm. I really didn’t know if it was going to get me where I wanted to be for this marathon. I consulted a friend of mine who is VERY fast and has put together plans for herself and others. I asked her if I should do mile repeats, a tempo run, or more 800’s. She suggested I do mile repeats. Six of them. SIX. Oy. But after talking a little more, well, even before that, I knew it would be very beneficial to me if I did them. At a 6:55-7:15 pace. I think I threw up a little after reading that. But I want this marathon PR, right? Hell yeah!¬†Well, you gotta do the work. It’s not going to be easy and it isn’t always going to be fun. So just do it.

Tuesday morning, I headed to the UNC-Wilmington track. There’s a one mile loop around campus that I wanted to run on so I wouldn’t have to look at my Garmin much and I could also grab water between each set. I was nervous. I always am, so there’s nothing new, but I got my game face on and prepped my mind to push hard. I’m glad my friend told me they were hard for her. I know they are, but hearing someone say it prepared me more. But running a marathon isn’t easy, so training for one shouldn’t be either.

I warmed up and started my first repeat. There’s some turns and a tiny bit of traffic to consider, plus a cold breeze, but I ended up finishing the first one in 6:52. Then the others followed. 6:55. 7:05. 7:05. 7:05. Then the last one. I have no idea what happened since I didn’t feel like I was struggling, but I ended up at 7:16 for that one, which pissed me off since I ALWAYS try to at least maintain if not pick it up for the last one, which is what I thought I was doing. Oh well. I did it. I freaking did it. And I wasn’t dead when I finished. I¬†ran an easy 800 to cool down, and headed home to stretch, eat, and stretch more.

I love little teeny flowers.

I love little teeny flowers. I grabbed this pic after my mile repeats.

So anyway, do YOU like mile repeats? I don’t. But I do. But I don’t. But I do. I hate them AND I love them. You can learn a lot about your mental wherewithal during mile repeats. I went through all the stages of grief during those repeats. Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance. It’s kind of funny how it works. All I know is that I wouldn’t let myself give up. I REALLY wanted to slow down, to quit, to tell myself that I couldn’t do it that fast, that I could just do five instead of six. But I didn’t. I REALLY want someone else to run with me for next week’s set of 1.5 mile repeats. Seriously, that could make a big difference in the perception of how hard they are. Hopefully that will come together, as I’m already working on¬†finding a ¬†partner in misery.

What kind of speed work do you love to hate?

Categories: marathon, qualifying for boston marathon, running, training for marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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