Blue Ridge Training: Week 4-5

Life went sideways for a bit so I didn’t have time to do much besides take care of my family and get my runs in.  We’re back on track now so here’s my recap for weeks 4-5!


Planned:  Cross training plus 3

Actual: Rest


Planned: 3

Actual: 3 with my Muffin Runners in the freezing cold!  Then the personal shit hit the fan and it took me a bit to find my legs.  I also had my first lap swim class with a new coach.


Planned: 35 minute tempo

Actual: Rest


Planned: 6 miles

Actual: 3 mile slog on the treadmill


Planned: swim

Actual: swam 600 yds


Planned: 6

Actual: 6. My friend was running her last long run before her final half marathon in her quest to do 12 halves in 12 months.  Despite having horrible workouts most of the week, I just had to join her!  And I was so glad I did!  The run was hilly and the company was fantastic!  It was just what I needed to find my bearings.


Planned: 13

Actual: 13, with some detours.  My training partner and I decided to set out at 6 am for a hilly long run but we were quickly thwarted by a washed out trail.  A quick re-configuring of the the route and we were still able to get our full 13, even though 2 were at the nearby track because we couldn’t figure out where else to go and we couldn’t stomach another hill 😀  Our average pace, even with the nonsense, was still 11:04.  I’ll take it! Oh, and oddly enough, it was a HOT and steamy run and I was down to a tank top by mile 2.  Wait, weren’t we just freezing a couple of days ago?

Little Runner was fascinated by the thoughts of the trail being submerged so we walked back later that day to see but it was dry.  He did try his hand at some boat racing, though.

The water was down but it was still fast!
This was entirely underwater when we came to it a few hours earlier

Total for the week: 25


Planned: Rest

Actual: Rest


Planned: 3 + swim

Actual: 7, due to poor planning, plus a mile swim.


Planned: 4 x hill

Actual: 4 x hill plus I tried not to eat everything that wasn’t tied down!

8 was scary! 


Planned: Rest

Actual: rest and Paint Nite with some running friends!

Always a class act!
I think my first attempt at being a bit more well-rounded went well.


Planned: Swim

Actual: Swam a mile in 45 minutes


Planned: 7

Actual: 7 but my legs hated me for the first half.


Planned: 15

Actual: 15.5 as part of the MLK 5K and JFK 20K at the C&O Canal towpath!  I ran the first race too fast and paid for a bit in the second but my pace was still where I wanted it.  It was a lovely day and I even got the snow I wanted at the 6 mile turn around in the second race 🙂  I decided to run the whole thing without music and I just had the best time taking in the sounds of the water and the birds, runners, walkers, etc.  Just lovely!

5K finish.  I was trying to jump but, not quite.
So pretty!
It had started to snow but you can’t see it.  I think my polar bear hat brought me the snow 🙂
20K finish
And, exactly one year apart, on the same course, at the same time (and wearing the same pants!)  Wow!

Total: 32.5

They are calling for Big Snow on the east coast this weekend.  My polar bear and I stand at the ready!


Surviving the Big Chill

First, you drink a lot and hope to break into stardom by playing an uncredited corpse… Oh, not that Big Chill!

The unseasonably warm weather (shorts on Christmas day!) has left us and we are in a  little arctic snap right now on the east coast.  The change in weather has left a few of us confused on what to wear so I thought I’d break down what I wore on today’s 3 mile run (13 degrees with strong winds for a real feel of 0 or negative 5, depending on the weather app).

Bottom, up…

I knew I was only going for 3 miles and wasn’t sure of my pace so I wanted to keep my feet warm.  I wore wool Balega socks and wrapped a layer of saran wrap over them, to block the wind.   I would not do this on longer runs because my feet would over heat.  It was nice for this distance, though!  My toes stayed warm!


I wore fleece lined Sugoi tights with Asics wind resistant pants over them.  The Asics were too small when I bought them a few years ago and I’m happy I was too lazy to return them!  They fit fine today and the swishing noise was worth the extra wind protection.

Up top, I wore a long sleeve tech shirt, a matching flocked half zip (both from Target courtesy of some retail therapy this weekend), and a long fleece vest ($5 from Old Navy a few years ago. Ugly but long and helps keep my butt warm).  I was just fine in this and almost got a bit warm on the fast first mile today.

Hands were cheapo Target gloves with a  disposable handwarmer and covered with wind resistant Saucony gloves.  My finger tips were cold for the first mile but then warmed up.12489870_10153140704222470_294271007_o.jpg


Head was a long Buff around my neck/face (though I pulled it down rather quickly) and a heavy hat that comes over my ears.

Post run. I think my nose matches my top!

This combo worked quite well for me.  I usually run pretty warm and, as I said, my core got a little warm so I would have either unzipped the vest or even removed it if we had gone longer.  My butt was a bit cold but that’s to be expected.  Everything else was pretty comfortable!

Tell me: what is your favorite piece of cold weather gear?  Or do you prefer to stick to the treadmill when the temps drop?

Blue Ridge Training: Week 3


No relevant pictures this week so I’ve included a few things that made me smile.


Planned: Cross training + 3 miles (option)

Actual: I’m back in the Monday doldrums so went with cross-training only


Planned: 3 miles

Actual: 3 miles with the Muffin Runners


Planned: 4 x 800 repeats

Actual: Confession time.  I have done sprint intervals but I have never done repeats like this!  I was a bit worried going into them but I was happy that I was able to do them all. I was between 4:11 and 4:30, which is where I thought I’d be.  Higdon says to run them like Yasso 800s. Now, according  to that, I should be able to run a marathon around 4:30.  While I’m not 100% convinced of this, it is food for thought!

Oh, and special shout-out to my running buddy, H, who also did 800s for the first time!  We’re going to rock our races this year!

New tights from Just Live make me happy!


Planned: 6 miles

Actual: Fairfax Four Miler.  You all know how that went.

Farro with Shrimp, Lemon, and Spinach makes me happy! Not being able to finish my fire cider does not.


Planned: Swim

Actual:  3 recovery miles with a friend who is rebuilding her base. It was a delightful way to start the new year!


Planned: 6 miles

Actual: 6 miles with a Magic Mile at mile 4.  Boy, that was stupid.  I want to try a magic mile again but not after a fast race and not after already running 3 miles and not when it is 27 degrees!  I came very close to a full-on asthma attack and the pace wasn’t much better than my fastest mile at the four miler two days before!  Oh, and it also indicates a 4:35 marathon time for me… I’m sensing a pattern.

Crocuses make me happy! Even if they are confused by the crazy weather.


Planned: 8 miles

Actual: 7.25.  Have I mentioned my hamstring issues?  That I’ve been having since MCM 2013?  Sometimes it’s not bad and sometimes it’s very bad.  It’s been acting up lately (hello, track!) and was cranky going into the run on Sunday.  I was having emotional issues (again!) and had finally gotten my head in the right space when I tripped over a tree branch at mile 6ish.  While I didn’t go down, nor did I push my running buddy into the street, I did land with all of my weight on my bad leg and felt a pop.  I managed to run/hobble back to our starting point and iced it while having my coffee.  Visions of a ruptured hamstring were dancing in my head.  Luckily, I think they were just hallucinations.  I’m still sore but it’s not that much more than my “normal” level of soreness (yes, I am a bad runner. please don’t lecture.)  I’m resting a bit but I don’t think it will affect my overall training or race plan.  I may rethink this week’s hill repeats, though…

New trail shoes for cheap make me happy!

Week total: 26.75

I feel like this week’s theme is “There’s nowhere to go but up!”


Goodbye, 2015

This is another long and rambling post…

Due to a few different factors, I have been battling a pretty severe case of depression since the end of November.  This is the worst it has been in quite a few years and I have been a bit worried.  Not only can I hardly keep it together to get through the entire day without needing to walk out of the room and count to ten before I start crying, I also am having a hard time completing my workouts without wanting to sit down on the curb and just sob.  I always manage to keep going, but just barely.

Last night, I was scheduled to run the Fairfax Four Miler for the third year in a row.  I was seriously not looking forward to it.  Right up until we started, I was extremely tempted to just walk back to my car and go home.

Even Batman and a glowing tutu weren’t doing it for me

I was surrounded by a huge group from my running group but I think I said about ten words before the start.  I was so miserable.

After a brief wait, we were off!  Since I knew the course, I knew it had the potential to be fast but that there were some hills.  Mile 1 was 8:43 and mile 2 came in at 8:11!  I couldn’t believe it!  The hills at mile 3 were tough but I still finished with an overall (unofficial) time of 8:56 average!  That was a huge course PR for me!  Even going by the official times, it was still a 1:08 PR.

I am pretty darn proud of this race.  Not only did I do it completely alone – I didn’t even have music – but I feel like I raced my depression and won! At least for now.

I don’t know what 2016 will bring but I am already making a concerted effort to start things on the right foot.  I intend to foster existing friendships and forge new ones, on and off the road.  I want to give as much as I receive and find a real place in my community.

To that end, I started the year off with 3 recovery miles with a friend who is coming back from a very difficult year.  Nothing like some good conversation and Starbucks to set you off to a good start!  I think I’m ready for 2016 now.12366083_10153922355969379_5919816650605742540_o.jpg

By the way, the tutu was a huge hit (which is funny because the last time I wore it, I just got weird looks) – this is the one I have