RnRDC Training: Week 6

Sunday – The family did a local 5K today.  We are preparing for our five miler next week so I decided to play around with intervals.  We did a 5:1 interval with a 12:40 average pace.  It seemed to work well for us!  Oh, and both my husband and Little Runner placed in their Age Group :)

3rd and 2nd ! And they deserve an extra prize for allowing me to dress them as elves :)

3rd and 2nd ! And they deserve an extra prize for allowing me to dress them as elves :)

I was supposed to do 3 more but my legs were killing me from Saturday and I needed to get up the Christmas tree so… crud.

Monday – Rest and taekwondo. I hope to make it twice this week but we’ll see.

Tuesday – 3.1 speedy miles.  I took 20 seconds off from my 5K PR!  My goal is to get it down to 28 minutes by spring.

Wednesday – The plan called for 5 but I miscalculated my turn-aound and only did 4.5.  Since it was 5 in the morning and I knew my coffee was waiting for me, I absolutely COULD NOT keep going past my street for the last half a mile!  I also threw in an extra taekwondo session with LR.  I’ve been avoiding the Wednesday night sparring sessions for far too long…

Thursday – Intentional rest day.  We are doing endurance testing tomorrow in our last swim session for the fall so I want to be well rested and (relatively) pain free.

Friday – Swim! My 300 yd time is 7:16. I have a lot of work to do!

Saturday – Our participation in Surfin’ Santa was nixed due to weather concerns so I ran 5 solo miles and then the family joined me for a MRTT holiday family run. LR ran a mile in 10:20 and then went back out for another one! This is the same kid who was complaining bitterly during the first mile on Sunday…,

Miles for the week: 16.7 -way too short!!

Total training miles: 141.2

Sweat and Tears

**I found this post languishing in my drafts so I thought I’d go ahead and hit publish**

I was recently paid two very unexpected compliments. One person described me as “bubbly” and another said that I am always so calm and always have everything together. I felt like saying “are you kidding me? Do you know the freak show I always have going on in my head?” It’s a wonder that I’m able to fully operate most days.

In addition to my mental neurosis is the fact that I am a “crier”. I can, and do, cry at the drop of a hat. My emotions have always lived very close to the surface and they often get the better of me, much to my chagrin. My brothers used to say that it was never difficult to tell how I’m feeling and I suck at poker.  The quick temper isn’t as egregious, at least I don’t think, as the crying. I hate being perceived as a weepy woman who can’t keep her act together (please note, this is MY perception of ME. I am not casting judgment on any of my friends or readers who are more sensitive).

So, what’s the deal? If I am the walking disaster that I proclaim, why don’t (more) others see it more often? I credit running. I remember a Gidget episode where she has her heart broken over something and goes surfing, saying that nobody notices a few tears with all of the saltwater. I often think of that when I’m running. It’s like my body is expelling the tears through sweat and it helps me keep things under wraps in my “normal” life. If I miss more than two days of hard exercise, I can feel the crazy steam building and the tears getting ready. I have been known to cry while running – usually occasionally not when others are around* –  and sometimes certain songs will trigger a really ugly episode on the trail.

It’s very hard to cry and run, let me tell you!  I’ve finally gotten to the point where I can have a quick cry, pull myself together, and actually pick up the pace for a really good finish.  I don’t know if it’s endorphins or just allowing my body to physically work though my mental shit storms but I think I’m a better person, more calm and even-keeled, when I just … cry.

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*my one running friend is probably thinking “What the hell? I see her cry All. The. Time!” Yeah, sorry about that… :)

RnRDC Training: Week 5

Sunday – I had my first run over ten miles since…I think May!  It was windy and chilly so I was dreading the run but it really wasn’t too bad!  11 miles at a 10:40 pace and I felt like I could have easily kept it up for much longer.  I felt like my legs were moving so slow but I was almost a minute faster than my target pace.  I don’t even know…  I think I’ll have a better idea as to what my marathon pace will be when I get to the 18/20 milers.

Monday – A real rest day.  I have a heavy week this week so I decided to not even do taekwondo.

Tuesday -Hill night was canceled due to weather so I did 3 miles of hill intervals on the treadmill.  I actually enjoyed it – even though I fell off the treadmill when I was trying to wipe my face off while running… I’m pure poetry in motion! :)

Wednesday – Another rest day.  I kinda messed up my planning so I had 11 miles on Sunday and will have 12 on Saturday.  That spikes my weekly miles by too much so I decided to cut this one out. While this was a planned cut, I still feel bad that I missed it.

Thursday – Another 3 miles on the treadmill.  I didn’t fall off this time but I did pop the circuit breaker about a mile into the run!  I was really getting into the groove of the interval and then *poof* everything went dark.  LR was running a space heater in the other room and that’s what shut me down.  I finished my run but wasn’t too pleased about the incomplete data.  Oh well!

Friday – Swim!  1800 yards of sprint intervals.  Intervals in the pool suck just as much as those on the track. Next week is our last session for the fall and we will be checking our endurance times.  I know I’ve made some real progress so I’m looking forward to comparing times! I’ll have two weeks off before the winter session begins but I hope to still do my swim (albeit at a more sane hour) on Fridays.

Saturday – 15K (get it? 12/13/14 15K!) +3 miles. This was a race put on by the local running store. It was their first time using this particular course and their second time using timing chips. My run keeper said it was almost 10 miles with an 11:06 average pace. The chip time says my pace was more like 13 minutes per mile. Now, I know what 13 feels like on that path and there is no way I was doing that! I’m sticking with my distance/time, which means I ran a half marathon without realizing it :)

Miles for the week: 30

Total training miles: 124.5

The Power of Positive Thinking

I was listening to one of the Another Mother Runner‘s podcasts the other week.  In this one, Sarah was talking about her successful BQ at the Victoria Marathon (episode #133 if you go through iTunes).  This was a big, huge goal for Sarah and she has been working really hard to make this race a success.  After the first 13 miles, she was feeling good but knew she couldn’t slack off so she spent several miles talking to herself in the third person.  Kind of like a sports announcer, “And here comes Sarah Bowen Shea, looking strong and reeling in one runner after another” (I’m paraphrasing, I can’t remember exactly what she said but it was along those lines).  And she said it totally helped!

The other week, when I was running in the rain and decided to see what I could do, I used the same trick and finished my third mile a full minute faster than my first (despite rain and dark and impenetrable glasses – and don’t forget the hills!). I thought it might have been just a fluke so I tried it again yesterday on my long run.  The wind was in my face for miles 9-10 and I was a bit tired and sore my run the day before and just wanted to be done.  So, I started doing a little announcer spiel, with many lines about “Unexpected Runner’s strong quads are really helping her to power through this wind!” etc.  Totally worked!  I kept an almost even pace for the entire run and had zero walk breaks.

I was musing with one of my friends about why it worked and she thought it may have something to do with the idea of “being observed” and wanting to perform well for an, albeit imaginary, audience.  I personally think that it’s not that difficult to trick our mind when it’s just being whiney bitch ;)

So, the next time you feel yourself starting to flag or need an extra boost, try talking positively about yourself in the third person and see if it helps! (I’ve heard it helps if you have a fast nickname you can call yourself) And then report back because I need more anecdotal evidence! :)

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RnR DC Training: Week 4

Sunday – This was supposed to be my “long” run for the week and, therefore, slow.  But, running with my favorite bunny buddy around one of the local lakes changed that!  We wound up doing 6 miles with a 10:14 average pace!  Whoops!  What really shocks me is that I have run this trail many, many times and it wasn’t too long ago that I was lucky to gut out a 13 minute average.

Monday – Rest and taekwondo.

Tuesday – My hill repeats were rained out so I just did 3 solo miles instead.  I have decided that I really like running in cruddy weather!  I had my fastest 3 miles with my last mile a full minute faster than my first and it came in at an even 9:00 pace!  This is despite the rain, hills, slippery leaves, and being unable to see much through my wet glasses :)

Wednesday – 4 miles.  I won’t lie, the mid-week miles are the toughest for me.  Add in PMS and stomach distress and, well, let’s just say this wasn’t pretty.  I needed 6 but 4 is going to have to do.

Thursday –  Hill repeats!  I only have a few more weeks of 3 miles on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I don’t know what I’ll do when that jumps to 5…

Friday – Swim!  I didn’t want to get out of bed and was considering bailing but I went and I’m so glad I did!  Some form work with a tough ladder interval at the end made for a very good but tough mile.

Saturday – 6.2 miles. My friend thought we were running 4.5 mile, I thought we were running at a 10:30 pace (no watch) but we were both wrong!

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Do you see that sub 9 mile?? Seriously, people, I feel like some switch has been thrown and I’m finally finding some speed! I’m so excited, I’m almost giddy!

Week 4, and month 1, has been awesome and I am very proud to say that I have stuck to my training plan for an entire month!  I know this is early days yet but I was already blowing off workouts by this time last training cycle. (bad runner!) I’m looking forward to the challenges of month 2!

Miles for the week: 22.2

Total training miles: 94.5

Review: Fabletics

I heard about Fabletics (affiliate link) a few months ago.  It is a membership program for exercise apparel.  You sign up, complete a survey, and they recommend outfits for you.  You can can review their choice for you before it ships.  You can skip a month (or many!) or choose to have it ship. If you decide you like it, you are charged $49.95 but you can easily return pieces if you don’t like them.

I was very curious to try this service.  I tried one once before but the sizing was rather… severe.  XLs fit like Ms and it was clearly geared to the yoga set.  Fabletics offers up to XXL and seems to be more my speed.

I had an Active discount so my first outfit would be $25.  I love a bargain so I decided to give it a shot!  I chose the Eureka top in L and the Camacan capris in XL.

Very nice, vibrant colors. Capris are not see-through!

Very nice, vibrant colors. The top is soft and the capris are not see-through!

The capris had fun detailing on the sides and along the waist.

The capris had fun detailing on the sides and along the waist.

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Pre-run

Pros: The capris fit well and did not fall down!  The waist and abdominal area was a bit loose but I still had no problems keeping them up. I couldn’t have gone smaller because my calved definitely maxed out the stretch at the bottom.  The top fit well and had very long arms that could easily cover my hands (see above!) and could cover my butt when pulled down.  The sleeves were easy to roll once I warmed up.

Cons: I wish the capris had a draw string and a small pocket – but few at this price point do.  The shirt rode up when I had it pulled all the way down but stayed put when I kept it just below my hips. The long arms were nice but I would have liked thumb holes.

Overall: I was very happy with the outfit and kept it!  I feel the quality was just right for the price (even minus the discount) and I didn’t feel like a fashion reject :)

If you’re looking for a fun update to your running duds, I recommend you check them out!

RnR DC Training: Week 3

Sunday – Today was my long run – 9 miles – and it was also LR’s 8th birthday.  After breakfast and presents, I hustled out to get my run done before it was time for his party.  I won’t lie, I was hurting by mile 2.  It has become painfully obvious that I need new shoes as mine felt like they had 0 give in them.  I wanted to quit and head home but I am trying so hard to stick to this training plan!  Instead, I decided to dedicate the run to LR!  I spent every mile thinking of where he was and what he was doing in that year of his life.  I finished mile 9 as “one to grow on” and thought about all I hoped for him for the coming year.  Then we went and ate a ton of cake!

Half chocolate/half vanilla - all yum!

Half chocolate/half vanilla – all yum!

Monday – Rest. I had a migraine and we had to take LR to the clinic for the dreaded pink eye (a direct result of Sunday’s party at a trampoline park, I’m sure!).

Tuesday – Hill repeats. Everyone begged off so I stuck close to home.  I ran over a mile of ladder repeats.  I was able to stick to a 7:20 pace up through the second “rung” 2/3 of the way up and was at 8:40 when I crested the quarter mile hill.  It’s not a monster hill, just under 5%, but I was super excited to see that time on my watch!  It also felt much easier than it did when I did the same workout on this hill a month ago.

Wednesday – We were able to leave work early so I enjoyed the novelty of a mid-week run in daylight. It was our first snow so, of course, I had to run in it! It was fine for the first mile but then the snow turned to sleet and then rain. I was a bit miserable but my new tights kept me toasty!

Thursday – Gobble,gobble!  The family joined me for a local turkey trot. We had a lot of fun and I was glad my husband was able to join us for his first official, timed, race.

Friday – self-directed swim. I was tempted to blow it off but I went and cranked out my mile. My shoulders felt super strong and I loved it!

Saturday – 5 lovely miles. It was chilly but not windy, my favorite running weather! I did a little experiment with positive self-talk and finished the last mile at 9:37, 30 seconds faster than my first mile (which was all down hill). It was pretty interesting and I’ll write more about it later in the week.

Bring on week four and a new month!
Miles for the week: 25.1

Total training miles: 72.3

Best Fleece Tights for a Curvy Girl

Can you hear it? I think there are angels singing because I finally found a pair of fleece tights that will work with my man-calves, big thighs, and (relatively) narrow waist!

This has been a long time coming! I kid you not, I once had to finish a race much faster than I planned because I was losing my tights! :0

I give you the SUGOi Mid Zero Tight.
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They are actually cycling tights but they don’t have a pad so they are perfect for running. They have a high rise in the back, a drawstring, a small key pocket, and grippers at the ankles. I am 5’7″ and wear a 12/14. I bought an XL because smaller sizes strangle my calves. These were perfect! I might have been able to swing a smaller size but these are not noticeably loose and I’m happy to not feel like a sausage! The legs are also long enough that I think they would for someone up to 5’10”.

I have worn them twice, once for a 5 hilly miles, and they did not budge a bit. My only small complaint is that my ankles are thick (shocking) so the ankle grippers pinch a bit. Put the tights on over my socks fixed that problem.

I think I’m going to buy the sub-zero version next!

What is your favorite cold-weather gear?

RnR DC Training: Week 2

Sunday – Sunday was thankfully not as cold nor as windy as Saturday.  I was scheduled for an already registered trail run, the hardest in the series (!), and was feeling a bit nervous because my legs were a bit tired from Saturday’s adventures.  I had planned to run solo but unexpectedly ran into a friend at packet pickup so we just did a slow tour of the 5.5 mile course together.  This trail has a lot of rocks, steep declines, and a couple of stream crossings over narrow logs so I was more than happy to slow it down.  On the plus side, I felt absolutely great when I was finished and not once did I want to just lie down and die :)  ETA: the results were just posted and we were actually 2 minutes faster than when we ran the course in March.  I’m absolutely shocked!

Monday – “Rest” day so that means taekwondo with Little Runner.  At least it’s not running…  I got a little “show-offy” when doing leg lifts and my lower abs were still screaming murder on Wednesday.  Oops!  I guess I need to focus on them a bit more!

Tuesday – Hills.  It was a balmy 27 degrees but I met up with 3 other BAMRs and did a 3 mile workout with a horrible monster hill that I could not crest to save my life.  I now have a new goal!

Wednesday –  5 miles on tap but I didn’t want to run solo so I went to the local track to run loops while some of my running friends did speed work. Unfortunately, my legs had other plans and I only managed 3.

Thursday – I took the day off from work for an event at LR’s school so I was able to unexpectedly join some of my running friends for an easy 5 miles mid-morning.  Oh, the luxury of it all! It was a Very Good Day.

Friday – Swim.

Saturday – I decided to pull out of the Marine Corp Turkey Trot in favor of my running group’s November group run because LR has an early birthday party to attend and I didn’t think I could easily manage both.  I ran an early 7 miles and then my husband brought LR to the meet-up point and we ran, along with a shit ton of awesome mothers, 3 miles.  There were many yummy treats to be had at the end but I stayed strong.  LR greatly enjoy the donut holes, though :)

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Side note: The purpose of the run was to collect food and coats for one of the local shelters and we were able to stuff 2 SUVs full! How awesome is that?

Anther week done!  Woot!

Miles for the week: 22.5

Total training miles: 47.2

A Good Day

Today was a good day.

I had problems with my run last night and was feeling a bit sorry for myself this morning. Luckily, I had already made plans to run with a group who calls themselves the Goldilocks crew – not too fast and not too slow. I see their posts every week while I am sitting at my desk so I knew I had to check out their run on one of my rate days off.

I was so glad that I did! We did 5 miles of intervals along an interesting trail and even had a photo op in a teepee! This was a super fun group of ladies and I am so glad that I was able to join them today. My funk was definitely gone by the end of our run!

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After a quick shower it was time for the reason I took leave – Thanksgiving lunch with Little Runner! The food wasn’t stellar but the company was top notch :)

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We capped the day off with a family movie and some together time.

It may not have been super exciting but it was very, very good.