Five Days Until Richmond!

I can’t believe race day is almost here again! Almost all of the miles are done, the gear has been checked, the weather is being stalked.  Yikes!

Here’s a random hodge-podge of a mental dump….

How awesome is my race shirt?

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I’m a huge Tom Petty fan so this seemed quite fitting.  Seriously, 85% of my playlist will be TP.  I’m pairing it with this skort from InknBurnw-dapper-skirt-side2__08588-1493246784-1280-1280

Kinda BA, no?  Of course, it’s now supposed to be freezing at the start – which is good because I prefer cold but… whew, that’s cold!  Thank goodness I bought a new pair of heavy arm warmers!  They kept me cozy on my cool and drizzly 8 miler on Sunday so I am hopeful they will be enough.

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See the knee strap?  Yeah, that’s been bothering me for about 3 weeks now.  It’s getting better but I still can’t run without it.  I plan to tape the crap out of my leg (red and black skull KT tape!) and then put on the strap.  Just keep it together, body!

My goals range from 4:15 (pie-in-the-sky, perfect day) to 4:45.  Hell, I’d be “happy” with anything less than 5:xx – but I know I can do better than that!  The trick will be staying out of my freakin’ head. I need to do my best and forget the rest!

I’m planning to follow the same nutrition as I did for Blue Ridge, since it served me well there.  I’ve started my caffeine fast today and will start my NOx load tonight.  It is supposed to improve your blood flow.  When I’m doing a load, my veins get super big and it’s a bit freaky looking.  But, if it helps…

On Race Day, I will primarily use the Isagenix AMPED line – e+shot at the start and one or two during the race, the AMPED Fuel gels, AMPED hydrate in one of my water bottles (plain water in the other), and a few other things in case I need it (fruit bar from Trader Joe’s and some peanut butter pretzels).  I’ll also have some electrolyte capsules but I probably won’t need them if it is as cold as predicted.  I will also have some toast with almond butter and honey in my room and then a banana at the start line.

My family will be spectating (with my son wearing a Peanut Butter and Jelly costume and handing out fruit snacks and Nutter Butters for part it!) PB&J

I will see some of my MRTT sole sisters on the course.  I sure am lucky to have such a great support system.  I’ll be honest, though, I will be looking for the guys with the Jim Beam again!  They saved my bacon last year! 😀

Of course, my thought in the final .2 will be “don’t trip!!!”!

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Hell of a downhill finish!!

See you on the flip side!

 

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Burning the candle at both ends

So, I went from a season of sloth to running full-tilt, with about 24 hour’s transition time.

My BRF and I have decided to take on a 3 times a week weight training plan to improve our strength before marathon training begins and we’ve decided to train for a “fast 5K” somewhere around July 4th weekend, to improve our strength.  While both of these are “good”, both together is a bit tough to schedule.

In all our planning, we have recently discovered a distinct lack of rest days.  We are on week 3 and our burn-out risk is super high!

It’s so difficult!  We want to do all of these great things but we just don’t have the time!  As much as I hate to say it, I think either my beloved Friday boot camp (and optional Wednesday one) will have to go or be replaced by a weight day.  So sad! (I never thought I’d see the day where I was sad about missing boot camp…)

What’s the point of this post?  Hell if I know.  I’m tired.  And hungry.  (Ohmygod!  I’m more hungry now than during marathon training! Send food!)

Meanwhile, my new FitBit is getting snarky with my routine 6 hours of sleep.  It actually told me that one day’s workout was going to hurt worse because I didn’t get enough sleep in a certain stage the night before.  Not helping!!

So, that’s my news.  Oh, and I apparently have a trail half marathon in two weeks.  Huh.  Good times, y’all!

 

 

Just a Little Stressed

I finally had a stress dream about the Blue Ridge Marathon last night.  In my dream, I was late to the start, I was wearing the wrong clothes (including a sweatshirt!), and I was worried that I shouldn’t even start since the race started 20 minutes ago and I was “so slow” that I was sure I’d not make the time cut off (which is 7.5 hours, btw). Throughout the dream there were actual, literal signs that reflected the true stressors that I’m working through right now.  Uh, Dr. Freud, your slip is showing….

I’ll admit that I’m not handling things well right now.  I’ve spent a lot of time crying.  I missed my workout yesterday.  I’m tempted to just throw my hands up in the air and walk away from it all.  (I’ll admit that I am more than tempted by that last one.)

So not healthy.

So, what can I do?

I can eat well.

 

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Dinner – pork egg roll in a bowl with sauteed mushrooms and broccoli
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Having fun with my shakes – my version of Mexican “hot” chocolate!

I’m feeling antisocial but I can kick my own butt in classes.

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Fun in this morning’s bootcamp

I can support others.  Even though I don’t really feel like it and the weather will be rough, I will be out spectating at the DC Rock n Roll half marathon tomorrow (sorry, the marathon starts too early for me to get there with Little Runner).  The weather will be gross so they will need extra love.

I can try to get out and enjoy some nature.  Granted, that was easier when it was 70 earlier in the week but I still plan on my lunch walks in the rain.  My goal is to find something pretty or amusing during each walk.

So, that’s my plan of attack for the next few days until I figure this shit out.  Burning the ground and salting the earth is still SUPER tempting but I’m trying to save that for a last resort.  We shall see.

Plans for 2017

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I don’t make resolutions because I always break them.  Instead, I like to make goals and plans.  It may be totally semantics but, whatever.

My first goal is to move more during the day. I think a lot of my problems with my hamstring is from sitting in my office chair so much.  I’ve changed to sitting on an exercise ball but I still need to get up more. (Speaking of sitting on an exercise ball, there’s just no graceful way to pivot on one of those, is there?  Any time I have to move from my computer to the front of the desk to greet someone, it’s very… awkward…)

My second goal is to cover 2,017 miles in 2017!  I joined the Run the Edge challenge and am super excited!  I know that I can’t run all those miles but, related to goal 1, I can walk and do other things!  I am now walking two miles almost every day at lunch and a mile or two at night, if I have time.  I have already covered a total of 40 miles this week!

My third goal is to lose some tonnage so running isn’t so hard on my body.  I think goals 1 and 2 will help but I’ve decided to give Isagenix a try – don’t worry, I’m not selling it – and am on day 3.  The basic plan, for those who don’t know, is a shake in the morning and one at lunch plus 2, 100 calorie snacks during the day and a dinner of about 500-600 calories, with the goal that all food be “clean” and whole food.  There are two, 2-day “cleanse” days which have limited food during the 30 days but I haven’t gotten to them yet.  So far, it’s going okay.  I’m upping my calories by having a bit extra snacks due to my training (for example, an extra handful of almonds before my swim yesterday) and I feel fine.  I’ll give more of a review later, if I think it’s worth it.

My fourth goal is to find the joy in running again.  I think I lost that in the second half of last year when I was chasing my elusive time goals.  I’m hoping Blue Ridge works it’s magic again for me this year and I can run happy!

Speaking of Blue Ridge, it was getting tedious printing out the training plan a bit at a time so here’s the spreadsheet of the master plan in an Excel spreadsheet. Let me know if it doesn’t work for you!  brm-training-2017

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope your 2017 is amazing!

Be sure to follow me on Instagram to follow along as I work on my 4 goals!

December Reset: Week 1

 

I’m one week into my reset so I thought I would give a little update on how it’s going.

1. Walk at lunch at least 3 times a week.  Score: Goose egg.  I have not walked at all during lunch in the past week.  I finally remembered to bring a pair of walking shoes today but I can feel the excuses building already.

2. Engage in at least one group exercise activity a week.  I got in two group activities this week! Once was an impromptu spin session on Friday and the second was part of a group run on Wednesday.  I’m not sure I can count that as I was running *near* others but not actually *with* anyone.  I was close enough to hear conversation, though, so I think I’ll count it.  It was the runner’s version of parallel play.  Is it possible to be lonely and anti-social at the same time?  I seem to hit that combo quite often.

3. Complete 1,600 miles for the year.  I will not likely complete this.  I needed to run 35 miles a week for the rest of the year to get it and I only managed 16 this past week.  I’m not too broken up about this.  As one of my BRFs said, our goal should be to “be more awesome than last year” – in that case, double check!

4. Do a modified Whole 30.  Mostly good.  I had to do a massive baking session on Saturday and did end up sampling a bit but I haven’t been sneaking extra bites and I ignored an entire Costco cake at one of the THREE retirement parties we had this week at work.  Bonus: I’ve lost 3 lbs!  I know, it’s water, but still nice to see.  I would love to lose 4 more before the month is done but I know my body hangs on to every last ounce so I’m not too set on it.  I need to be careful, too, because I’m getting weird with food again.  I wound up not eating dinner last night because I was paralyzed over what to eat (after I realized too late we were out of spaghetti sauce so I couldn’t make the baked spaghetti squash casserole I was planning on).  I wound up eating a banana and a packet of Justin’s Almond Butter with Honey before bed.  Not ideal

5. Add magnesium back into my diet.  100% – I have been having magnesium every day and am up to full dose.  I’ll know in a few weeks if it will help with my PMS anxiety and migraine cycle.  I hope so because I’m getting pretty tired of it.

Overall, I think things are going well and I feel more centered.  I’m also feeling more optimistic about this next training cycle and am looking forward to having a non-goals race with friends.

Speaking of training….  Monday will be 19 weeks until the Blue Ridge Marathon (or half, or 10K or 1 miler – or double marathon, if you’re nuts!)  Stay tuned because I will be giving away one free race entry to the distance of your choice!!!  I will also be kicking off an All Things Blue Ridge series of posts that you’ll want to catch if you’re thinking of running next year.

December Hard Reset

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I’m still alive.  I am working on my race report from the Richmond Marathon and it is taking for-ev-er!  Also, with a busy second half of November, loss of daylight, and other “stuff” going on, I’m finding myself slipping into my annual December slump.  This month kills me every year – and not always for the same reasons. I’m trying a new approach to even things out this year, though. A little preemptive strike, if you will.

It’s always risky to try “challenge” events during heavy social months but I think this is the best way for me to approach the month.  Tomorrow is December 1 and, from then until December 24, I plan to to do the following:

1. Walk at lunch at least 3 times a week.  I find myself chained to my desk for the entire day and that is not healthy.  I will walk at least 20 minutes, at least three times a week.  If the weather is decent, I will up the frequency.

2. Engage in at least one group exercise activity a week.  With my marathon training on hold for a few more weeks, my exercise schedule has been spotty, at best.  It has also been very lonely.  I plan to join at least one group activity (either a group run or cross training) a week.

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So sad

3. Complete 1,600 miles for the year.  I’m currently at 1,466.  By the 24th, I plan to have only a reasonable amount of miles left for the month.

4. Do a modified Whole 30.  I’ll drop added sugar and processed foods but I won’t be super militant about every tiny ingredient. For, perfect is the enemy of good.  I’ll be more along the line of cutting out Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s and no more bites of my kid’s meals.  Oh, and if you haven’t tried it yet, don’t even bother trying Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Joe-Joe Ice Cream.  It’s horrible.  Honest!  😉

5. Add magnesium back into my diet.  I started adding some this morning.  I think it will help with my mood and my migraines.  If you decided to try it, too, just be careful to start with a super small (1/2 tsp) dose or you will have stomach problems.

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My supplement of choice

So, that’s my Big 5 for the reset.  Nothing too crazy.  Nothing unmanageable.  I plan to check in here once a week, to let you know how it’s going.

How are you handling the holiday stress?  Are you planning some sort of “reset” of your own?

Not a typical race report: Ragnar WV 2016

If you want to read about Ragnar Trail WV, check out my 2014  report.  It was pretty much the same but less rain (only once and only one delay!), better food with coffee through the night, and better service on the port-a-johns (since the mud didn’t keep the trucks out).  If you want to read my ramblings about my relationship with my dad and a bit of a trip down memory lane, keep reading…

Here’s the thing: when you are running a relay race that spans 36 hours, you’re going to have a lot of down time to think.  When the race is in the woods, you’re going to have a lot of alone time to think.  Basically, it’s a great time to work some shit out.

I’ve mentioned here before that my dad was diagnosed with cancer right before Christmas.  This has been a blow that I haven’t really known how to process.  Over the years, we haven’t been terribly close, for a number of reasons.  I spent a lot of time last weekend thinking about that and remembering.

On the yellow loop, my first leg, I was thinking about my parents and old hurts.  I was thinking about how hard it must have been for them to have kids so young – both my parents were fresh out of high school when they had my oldest brother and they soon had 3 kids in eight years.  I was thinking about how hard it is for me to raise my son at the ripe old age of 41.  I can’t imagine the challenges they must have faced raising triple the amount (and triple the attitude – because we’re all about the same, in that regard).  Somewhere in the first few miles of my run, I acknowledged that they were doing the best that they knew how to do, just like I am doing, just like almost ever other parent does, and sometimes that falls short.

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Yellow and Red start

I’m not a religious person, somewhat related to my clash with my parents.  I haven’t been to a church, other than for a wedding or funeral, since I left home.  Running in the pine grove on the yellow loop, though, was as close to a religious experience as a person could get.  I think my dad would greatly enjoy a Sunday spent out here.  I think in this place, we could find some common ground.

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Pine grove in the dappled afternoon sun

Growing up in the middle-of-nowhere Michigan, we spent a lot of time outside and found our own amusement.  Seeing the various mushrooms and lichen on the trail reminded me of the time we had a giant puffball mushroom growing in our back lot behind our house.  My dad picked it and fried it up in butter even though it was as big as my head!  I did see one little puffball on the trail – I left it alone but it made me smile.

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There were so many neat mushrooms and vegetation!

My overnight run was on the green loop.  It was supposedly the “easy” leg but, in Ragnar, there’s no such thing as easy!  It’s quite the ankle turner and a lot of people fell in the first 1/2 mile (which happened to be right behind our tents so we could here the “ooofs” and expletives as people went down).  One of the creepy interesting things about night running is when you shine your light to the side or behind you and see glowing eyes looking back. My dad used to be quite an avid hunter (deer and pheasants, mostly) so I’m sure he would have not been spooked by the eyes.  I, on the other hand, just ran faster!  It was hard leaving the fire pit – where they had s’mores and were showing Top Gun – but it was worth it!

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Playing with fire. It was perfection.

I am the oldest of 3 girls but for eight years, I was the youngest child and the only girl.  I was often lumped in with the boys (until I was old enough that this would no longer fly) and was expected to work, too.  My brothers will maintain that I was spoiled but I remember many a summer day  spent clearing brush, hauling wood, etc.  This meant I was pretty strong for my age and I think that strength stayed with me, even during my sloth years.  I was very grateful for my peasant lineage and the strong work ethic that was drilled into me as I scrambled over boulders and rocks.

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In the Mother of Crack section of the Red Loop

In the middle of the red loop, the longest and most difficult leg, I was faced with a mile long hill that was very steep in some spots.  I was tired from being up all night. I was hungry.  I was so incredibly hot.  I really wanted to sit down and not even finish.  And then I thought of my dad.  I knew that at that moment, he would give anything to go tromping in the woods or  go fishing on his new boat but side effects from the chemical cocktail he has had to endure for the past several months have (temporarily) stolen that from him.  I may be hot and tired but I was still strong.  The least I could do was finish this run for those who don’t have that privilege.

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Strong finish

Where does that leave us?  I don’t know.  I do know that everyone is bruised and a bit broken, but closer – both my Ragnar family and my biological family.  I do know that stubbornness is a very strong family trait and we Silvermans relish a challenge.  I do know that whatever the next few months bring, we can endure.  I do know that we are stronger than we know and we can do hard shit.

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My dad and son earlier this year

Maladjusted

This weather! It’s a bitch, isn’t it?  After chilling out all spring we are suddenly in the horrible throes of summer. It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.  Wrong!  It’s both!

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I thought we would start adjusting to it by now but it still smacks me around every other day.

Sunday’s 9 miler, though shaded, was so freaking hot that I had to make my running buddies switch to intervals – and I could barely make it even at that!

Today’s run was to be a 6 mile tempo with two miles of warm up, 2 miles at 9:00-9:15 pace, and 2 miles cool down.  The warm up went “okay”.  I had mapped out a 1 mile out-and-back by my house so it was easy to break the whole workout into thirds.  I left my water bottle at the start.  I took things nice and easy.

Mile 1 – 11:40

Mile 2 – 11:07 (I was trying for a legit warm up, for a change)

Time to hit the tempo pace!

Mile 3 – 9:17.  What the eff? I knew what my effort felt like and I was shocked by that number.  I was sure I was 9:05, at the slowest.

I knew the return mile would be more difficult because it is a gradual up hill.  I had planned on getting the first mile closer to 9 and then the second one closer to 9:15.  I quickly realized that the second would be much slower than that.

So, I let the floodgate of negative self-talk fully release and I was mentally done.  I ran  for a hundred yards, stopped my watch, berated myself, adjusted something (everything was bothering me – my music, my flapping and squelching arm fat, my soaking wet glasses – yes, it was so humid, I kept soaking my glasses), and dug further into my hole.  Finally, at mile 3.48 – I NEVER stop on an odd number like that! – I said, “screw this” and walked home with my tail between my legs. I didn’t even do a slow jog.  I just walked.

Oh, when I got home, my coffee maker broke.

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Salt in the wound

Needless to say, I was back to questioning all my life choices…

And then I read NYC Running Mama‘s post on heat acclimation .  Very interesting!  According to her charts, my pace should have been 9:15-9:30.  In that case, my 9:17 was perfect and not even close to being worth my little hissy fit.  Perspective, yo.

What does this mean?  It means I need to suck it up and get it done and that my mental game sucks.  Thankfully, this is something that I can fix.  And, if a chart gives me mental “permission” to pull it back a bit or to not beat myself up, you can bet that bastard is going on the fridge today!

As for you?  I’m giving you all “permission” to be kinder to yourself on these hot and horrible runs.  Do you best but don’t load yourself down with unrealistic goals.  Stay hydrated – maybe slip in your favorite frosty beverage a few times – and be patient.

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Summer Goals

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I’ve spent the last 6 months or so cruising my short to mid-distance runs in the 9s.  I will get close to 8 and then have to back it off.  I really want to hit a 25 minute 5K this summer but that means a pace of 8:02 (28:12 is my current PR) so I have decided that I want to work on my speed this summer.

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Ol’ Will is full of it

This morning, my first mile was 8:49 (Great!) but then I started burning out and ended up walking a big hill in mile 4 so my average pace was 9:41 (not as great).

They say that in order to run faster, you just have to run faster (helpful!…) but I’m having a hard time coming to terms with being that uncomfortable.  So, what to do?  Maybe get on a 5K plan (gah), definitely add in more speed work, and see if I can squeeze out two 8 minute miles in a row and then try to snag a third.  Supposedly, I did that when I ran a 10K last year (Across the Bay 10K) but I believe their course was short.

Here’s an interesting list of tips on how to run faster.  I already know that my core needs work so I’m hitting that hard in my cross training.  I’m also trying to focus on “quick feet” moves.  I am curious to see how effective they are.  Even if they help me get into the high 8s, I’ll be pretty happy.

Here’s to summer goals!  What will you be focusing on this summer?

Race Week!

Race week is finally here!  This training cycle feels like it has zoomed by, and while it has definitely had its challenges and set backs,  I think we are ready to tackle the Blue Ridge Mountains!

Yesterday’s last long run was just eight miles but it had some nice, long hills built in to it. Mile 4ish took us down a road called Hillside.  Any guesses as to the terrain??  I remember the first time I attempted Hillside.  I ran down it okay but practically crawled my way back up.  Yesterday, I felt great!  We kept super even splits and I never felt like I was dragging myself or that I was lagging (too terribly far) behind my running partners.

Honestly, this was the best and happiest run I’ve been on in a while.  The sun rose while we were running and, while it was crisp, the sky was clear and there was no wind.  I tried to just soak up the sights and enjoy the morning – and store up some “good” feelings for Saturday.

I know Saturday will be far from easy but this is a “joy” run for us.  Our plan is to run with light feet and a grateful heart and I, for one, will be thankful every step for how far I have come!  I won’t be the fastest but the fact that I’m even there is pretty spectacular!

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