Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Guess who went to the gym tonight?

This girl!  I only joined the gym a month ago, on June 30th, so I figured it was time to put it to good use!  I was a little intimidated at first; there was one guy lifting weights who I swear had calves as big as my thighs and it was all muscle.  However, once I got on the elliptical and got into my groove, I didn't feel nearly as intimidated.  The people watching was fantastic, too!  There was a really fun Zumba class going on that I could see from my machine and the music helped pump me up, too.  It was also really motivating to see such varied people at the gym; different age groups, sizes, males, females, etc.

My legs fought me a little bit in the beginning on the elliptical but eventually, the soreness went away and I felt really great.  I did 35 minutes on the elliptical and it did wonders for my spirit today.  It was a bit of a rough day and I was feeling a bit funky, so some cardio did me well.

I think the gym is going to serve me really well in regards to cross-training and strength-training for my fall races.  I have an appointment on Saturday morning with a personal trainer, which should be interesting.  I was observing some of the trainers tonight and they definitely push their clients, which is good, but intimidating.

In other exciting news, I booked my airfare for Napa today!  It's starting to get real and my excitement continues to grow!

My focus for the next few weeks leading up to Napa and then my half, is strength training, cross-training/cardio, and running using a cross between my Napa training plan and possibly one of Hal Higdon's plans.  I want to be strong, fierce, badass, and injury free for my races!

"The most remarkable adventurers keep going - one inch, one foot, one victory at a time."

Monday, July 28, 2014

All good things must come to an end - Vacation 2014

We left for Branson on Monday morning for a much needed vacation and some quality family time and we had a wonderful trip.  It is definitely hard getting back to reality!  Earlier this year, my in-laws invited us to join them on vacation and we were so excited to get out of town for a bit to enjoy some time on the lake! When I started dating Matt fourteen (!) years ago, I soon realized I was joining a fishing family and while I had never been fishing before in my life, I discovered I loved it.  We don't go fishing as much as we'd like, so we were definitely looking forward to getting out on the water and seeing what we could catch.

I had plans to continue my Napa training plan while on vacation since the plan called for a short (ish) run on Tuesday and another relatively easy run on Thursday, and I even brought my running clothes and gear, but I did not go for a run either day.  I'm ok with taking those two days off though, as family time and relaxing were just what I needed after a rough few months.  I will post more about vacation soon, but wanted to share some pictures before I call it a night.

I hope everyone had a great week last week!

I am a beach bum at heart, but this lake is pretty darn gorgeous.  I've decided I just need to live near water (and the mighty Mississippi does not cut it) and this will do! 
The boys exploring the water near the boat ramp
One of the fish I caught

Jack and Daddy fishing 
Nick was fine with the fish he caught (our first of the day!) until it started flailing about.  Shortly thereafter, he decided to hang out on a rocky ledge while we finished fishing.  It was a valiant effort! 
Pure joy jumping off the boat!
The quote below applies to me and any wave; the sound of the waves on the boat and the shore at the lake were so soothing!

"The waves of the sea help me get back to me." 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Let the countdown begin!

Two months from today I will be in Napa having just finished (or being awfully close to finishing) the Ragnar Relay Race with my Badass Mother Runner team!  This has been an exciting week on the Napa front, including the arrival of...swag!  Being chosen to run with Sarah and Dimity is a huge honor in and of itself.  Another fabulous part of winning the contest included some amazing gear from AMR sponsors and our team has anxiously been awaiting the arrival of said goodies so that we can start training with the items.  We got word on Thursday that our boxes had been shipped and we were even treated to a little preview on Facebook.  Needless to say, we were all excited!  I don't think I have ever been so excited to get mail!  I was being a bit of a creeper and stalking the front door since I had checked the delivery status early yesterday morning and was told my package was "out for delivery."  I opened the front door several times to no avail; however, after we got home from swimming for a few hours, it arrived.  I opened the front door as soon as we got home and startled the mailman, who clearly was not expecting me.  If only he knew what was in the box, he would have understood.  Or not.  That's ok.

The magical box 
I could barely contain my excitement when I opened the box!  I was very impressed with Kristin (a fellow awesome Mother Runner who works part-time for Dimity and Sarah) and her expert packing abilities.  I have no idea how she got everything into this box, but I've already asked her in jest if I can recruit her to pack my suitcase for Napa!

So many wonderful goodies from gracious AMR sponsors! 
Our awesome team hat from Headsweats; love the color and reflective trim!  That will come in handy on night runs in Napa!
 I felt like a kid on Christmas morning!  I was especially excited to see our team t-shirt, which had been under wraps for a few weeks.  I adore the team t-shirt and am proud to run in Napa in our awesome ToughGirl tutus!

Yes, indeed. Fear the tutu! 
This tutu is so adorable!  I love the built-in race belt that holds your bib! Genius!  
In addition to the hat, team shirt, and tutu, we also received 110% Flat Out Compression Sox (I am obsessed with these socks! My legs were not happy when I finally took them off), tubes of Nuun, an Ultimate Direction Handy 20 water bottle, some lovely items from Dansko (including a cute bottle opener/corkscrew which will definitely come in handy post-race in Napa Valley), a Soleus running watch, Larabars, GU gels and chomps, Sofsole Socks (my fave!) and arch support inserts, and a Trigger Point Therapy Grid Mini (which I cannot wait to try!!).  I'm so grateful for this opportunity and for the wonderful sponsors who support the AMR community!  Thank you all!

The combo of the team shirt, tutu, and compression socks is pretty badass, I must say.  I can't wait to run in Napa! Be prepared to Fear the Tutu
I am pretty excited, as you can tell.  Please disregard my post-swimming hair! 
I am so fortunate to be able to experience this race, but I am even more blessed to be able to run with my amazing teammates.  We have bonded so much over the past few months and I love them all.  They are supportive, encouraging, hilarious, and just downright wonderful.  JMart (aka Jennifer Martin), one of my teammates had a great post yesterday about the swag and our team and I think she says it best when she says "While our backgrounds and running experiences vary greatly, one thing is for certain…WE ARE A TEAM!"

Yes, indeed!  We are a wonderful team of women set to take on Napa Ragnar is just about two months!  Our 2014 BAMRR (Badass Mother Ragnar Runner) Team is:

Sarah and Dimity (Authors of Run Like a Mother and Train Like a Mother; we would not be here if it weren't for them!)

Smitha Barki, Fauxrunner.com, Georgia

Kim Dixson, New Jersey

Melissa Gilley, Oregon

Jennifer Lewis, Frostedinmaine.com, Maine

Jennifer Martin, rescuingandrunning.wordpress.com, North Carolina 

Kathleen Ojo, California

Lisa Peterson, Colorado

Kelly Preddy, Arkansas

Erin Ranes, Illinois

Jodi Snowdon, 2princessesontherun.wordpress.com, Canada

On another note, I will be out of commission until Friday evening, so unless I can figure out how to schedule my blog posts in advance (I've tried before to no avail), don't fret if you don't hear from me for a few days.  

Here's to a great week! 

Disclaimer:  I received the above products as part of winning the AMR Napa Ragnar contest.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.

"At the end of the day, let there be no excuses, no explanations, no regrets." 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Two a Day Workouts Have Begun

This week, the Napa training plan called for my first two-a-day workout; 2 runs no less than 6 hours apart and no more than 12 hours apart.  The idea is to replicate the Ragnar Race, when you will run three legs of varying mileage over the course of 48 hours.  I was intimidated by the two-a-day workout, but more so in the sense of finding time to do two runs in one day.  I struggle most days to find time for one run, much less two!

The original plan for this week called for the two-a-day on Tuesday and a 5 miler on Thursday, but due to my schedule, I swapped days.  I did my 5 mile run on Tuesday night, took a rest day on Wednesday, and did my two-a-day yesterday.  I was able to get in a run yesterday morning and it didn't require me to get up too terribly early.  I did three miles before work and then after dinner last night, I did the second two miler on the schedule.  I have to admit, the two-a-day was not too bad! 

I was a bit frustrated though, because I am still experiencing some fairly substantial cramping in my calves when I run.  It's been pretty debilitating and as a result, both of my runs yesterday involved a fair share of running and walking.  There is nothing wrong with walking, believe me.  I am just frustrated because I know that I am capable of running long distances and yet, lately, I have been reduced to run/walk intervals.  It is beyond frustrating. 

I have several theories about the cause of this relative set-back:
  • Lack of cross-training and strength-training which has led to a loss of strength in my legs and core
  • Dehydration, although I'm not sure how this is possible because I have been drinking around 80 oz. of water a day
  • Poor nutrition, although, again, I feel like I am eating much better these days. I did not eat before my morning run yesterday, though, and that was not the smartest move I've ever made
  • Need for new running shoes.  I thought I got my Saucony's last fall, but in re-reading my blog, I see that I got them on August 9th last year, meaning they are almost a year old.  It's probably time for new shoes.
  • Weight gain.  I'm carrying about fifteen extra pounds on my body right now and I'm sure that is affecting my running form. 
Although I am frustrated, I know that this too shall pass and I am working through it.  I have Napa to look forward too, after all, in addition to the Halloween half.

Speaking of Napa, a box is headed my way as we speak full of goodies for our training.  I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve and have been tracking my package all day.  I think getting the goodies will be further motivation for me to push on, since it is definitely making Napa feel more "real." 

"The most certain way to succeed is to just try one more time." 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Gorgeous 5 mile run

Somebody pinch me!  Is it really the middle of July?  It's hard to tell by the gorgeous weather we had today, but I'll take it.  It was one of those mornings with a stunning blue sky and a cool breeze that warranted rolling down the windows and opening the moon roof on our drive to summer camp and work.  Yesterday, it was very muggy and gross in the morning, but a few storms rolled through later in the afternoon, which drastically cooled the temperature.

I love watching storms roll in from my window at work!
Today's run on the Napa training plan was the first two-a-day on the schedule, but through a series of unfortunate events, I decided to postpone my two-a-day until Thursday.  Thursday called for a 5 mile run, so I decided to do that run today and do my two-a-day on Thursday.  It was a beautiful day for a run and so I headed out after we ate dinner.

Ah, perfect running weather!
I figured that since the weather was so cooperative that I might have a stellar run, which I could really use at the moment.  My run wasn't stellar, but it also wasn't awful.  I have noticed the past few times I've run, though, that my calves cramp up terribly during the first mile - mile and a half.  I've never experienced this before, but it is almost unbearable.  It's both calves, too, which is odd.  Tonight, they felt so tense and tight and truly heavy, which made it hard to lift them up.  I don't know if this is due to the fact that I am currently not cross-training (for shame, I know) or if it is due to the fact that I am running with extra weight that I haven't had in a while (argh), but it is rather obnoxious.  It eventually goes away and/or I just become numb to it and I can continue on with my run.  I feel significantly better around 2.5 or 3 and fall into my groove.  I'm hoping that with continued training, stretching, and cross-training that the tightness in my calves will subside.

On another note, today was the first, and last (it's already sold out!) day for registration for the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  Congratulations to all who signed up and got in, especially my friend, Stacy, who will be running it.  It will be her first half marathon!  I'm so excited for you and your family, Stacy!  You all will have a blast!  I am looking into the possibility of running the race as a St. Jude's Hero.  I love the idea of raising funds for a wonderful cause and running to show my support.  Has anyone run a race as a St. Jude's Hero before?  I'd love to hear your story and know your thoughts!

I saw the below e-card tonight and it absolutely suited my run tonight.  It was getting awfully dark on the trail when I finished my run, but I was only at 4.6 miles when I got to my car and darned if I wasn't going to get my Garmin to read 5.0, so I ran laps around the parking lot!

"You know you're a runner when you run up and down a street three or four times to get the last 1/4 of a mile in on your Garmin!"

Monday, July 14, 2014

A great weekend

We had a really great weekend, but it wore me out and thus, I didn't blog at all!  Saturday was just the day I needed; it was probably one of the best days I've had in a long time.  Nick absolutely loves trains and has since he was about a year and a half when he started watching Thomas the Tank Engine.  Whenever we visit the Zoo, we, of course, ride the train several times.  I noticed a few years ago that they have an Engineer for a Day program and the age requirements said "ages 7 - 97" so I planned to look into it when Nick got to be that age if he was still into trains.  He still loves trains just as much, if not more, so for the past year or so, he has been asking when he will be old enough to be the Engineer and drive the train.  So his big present for his 7th birthday was a date to be the Engineer for the day this past Saturday.

We went to the main train station at the Zoo at 9 a.m. and he was outfitted with his official Engineer hat, bandanna, and name tag.  We met several of the Engineers and got a special tour of the train shed, which I actually quite enjoyed.  Then, he got to take a few pictures with his train for the day (Engine #48) before he headed out for the morning.  We were able to ride with him or get off as needed, so Matt, Jack, and I rode in the front of the train for a few times around the Zoo and got to watch him collect tickets, count open seats, and sit up front and blow the whistle of the train.  He was a little bashful at first, but by the end of the morning, he was waving to all of the people at each of the railroad crossings in the Zoo.

Inspecting the trains in the train yard

Nick and his train for the day
After a few times around the Zoo, we got off the train and took Jack exploring for a bit while Nick continued to enjoy his day on the train.  We went to visit my favorite animal at the Zoo, the Red Panda, who was rather photogenic that day.  We also went to see the Sea Lions and tried to find Nick as the trains went by.  Jack was very anxious to see his brother and every time he would hear the train whistle, he would shout Bro? Bro?  He was very excited when Nick's train finally drove by us!

Around noon, Nick and his Engineer buddy, Ron, pulled up to the main station and Nick was treated to lunch with his new Engineer friend.  We were able to join them and it was nice to get to know Ron, who was formerly a police officer for the city of St. Louis.  

After lunch, Nick got to take one more trip around the Zoo and so we joined him on the train for his last hurrah.  He had a wonderful day and it was such a lovely day with the family!  I loved seeing the pure joy on his face while he was doing something he loved and I loved that Matt and I spent some quality, one on one time with Jack, too.  I also loved that all of the Engineers at the Zoo treated Nick like one of them; every time he pulled into the main station where the other Engineers were congregating, they would wave to him and say Hi Nick!  The Conductor on the train made sure to announce that Engineer Nick was conducting the safety stop before one of the stations; they really went out of their way to make him feel special.  The last sweet moment came at the end of his day, when the head Engineer presented him with a special certificate marking the occasion.  Such a great day! 

We finished off the day with some swimming at my Mom's house and needless to say, we all slept well that night!

Yesterday, we had a relaxing morning and then went to Mom's for more swimming!  Have I mentioned that we love swimming and summer?  I think we all would be content to spend all day at the pool, enjoying the warm weather and the sun.  

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, too!  

"Family is not an important thing, it's everything." 

Friday, July 11, 2014

The most miraculous thing happened today

Guess who woke up early this morning to go for a run?  This girl!  It's a miracle, one that nearly didn't happen.  I was inspired last night reading some posts from my fellow Ragnar teammates who had gone out early yesterday to do our scheduled hill repeats and I made mention of that fact that I could use some "get your butt in gear" texts this morning to make sure I got out to do my hill repeats.  As soon as my alarms started going off, the odds of me getting up looked slim.  I kept hitting snooze and I was 99% sure that I was going to stay in bed.  Then, my phone started lighting up with Facebook messages and texts from my awesome Ragnar teammates and I got out of bed, put my running clothes on, and headed out the door.  I was about 30 minutes later than I planned to be, but I made it to the trail just before 6:30.

I know I've said it before, but I'm very fortunate to be a part of this amazing Napa Ragnar team.  These women are some of the most supportive, encouraging, caring, inspiring women I've met and I love them already, even though I haven't met most of them in person yet!  We've spent so much time getting to know each other on Facebook over the past few weeks and I can't wait to meet them in person in September!

Proof that I was up that early; trust me, it's a rare occurrence! 
I admit that part of my hesitation about running early in the morning (other than the fact that I love sleep) was a general fear of being alone on the trail with little daylight since it's wooded in parts, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the trail was bustling at 6:30 a.m.!  Everyone was so friendly, too!  Who knew so many people were morning people?  It makes sense, though, that so many people were out to beat the heat.  The weather was really lovely this morning.  I definitely broke a sweat, but the weather could have certainly been worse.

Not too shabby for mid-July!

I had 6 hill repeats on the schedule for today, so I went to my go-to hill from last week and mentally prepared myself for the challenge ahead.  I felt really good on the first two uphills, but it started to go downhill from there (pun somewhat intended).  My legs started to rebel a bit, so the last 4 hill inclines included a tad bit of walking near the top.  I was able to run for the majority of the uphill stretches, though. I was able to complete all 6 hill repeats and get my workout in before I truly started my day!

Lovely sunrise, which I don't see often
Overall, it wasn't too bad to get up early and go run.  The biggest challenge, by far, was actually getting out of bed!  It was really nice to get my workout out of the way and I felt pretty alert most of the day (although I did have a mid-afternoon crash, but I'm guessing that is because I went to bed later than I should have last night).

I've seen the quote below floating around for a while and I had my doubts, but there is definitely some truth to it.  For much of the first half of my run, I felt like I was on auto drive since I was only half awake.  It wasn't until close to the end that my brain finally woke up and realized what was going on!

"Exercise in the morning before your brain figures out what you're doing." 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Trying to become a morning runner

This morning was probably my second best attempt to get up and go for a morning run; my first being an attempt late last summer or early fall when I actually made it out the door and to the trail, only to have it start pouring rain as soon as I got there.  You'll note that I said "attempt" in the first sentence, because I did not actually go run.

I was bound and determined to get up super early this morning to go do my hill repeats, so I went to bed super early for me (8:30, if you're wondering) and set my alarms.  I even set my best alarm, a.k.a. my Mom.  I asked her to call me at 5:45 to make sure I was awake so I could be out the door by 6 a.m.  This is kind of a long standing joke with my Mom and I that dates back to college when I slept through a final exam my first semester of my freshman year.  Whenever I have an important event that requires an early wake-up call, I ask my Mom to call me to make sure I'm up, never mind the fact that I am almost 32.  A girl still needs here Mama and I am so not a morning person.  Never have been and likely never will.

In any case, I had a lovely night's sleep and was somewhat coherent when my first alarm went off at 5:30.  However my throat was very sore and scratchy and I generally felt cruddy.  I snoozed my alarm and when it went off again about 10 minutes later, I sent a text to my Mom telling her I didn't feel good and was going back to bed.  I still felt gross when I woke up, but by the time I got up and moving, I felt quite a bit better.  I regretted not going for my run and felt a bit guilty, particularly since I would not be able to run at lunch or this evening due to a work commitment.  I'm hoping that the general cruddy feeling was just allergies acting up as opposed to a summer cold, but we will see.

I've really got to make a concerted effort to run in the morning, because it is getting hot enough that lunch time runs aren't too feasible, after all, I still want my co-workers to like me and evening running, while feasible now because of the extra daylight, will become more challenging as we move into late summer/early fall.

With that being said, I should go to bed so I can be bright eyed and bushy tailed tomorrow for a morning run.  At this point, though, I will settle for just getting out of bed!

I'm going to give the below quote the benefit of the doubt, even though I really would like to respectfully disagree at the moment.

"The feeling you have after finishing your morning workout is better than it feels to sleep an extra hour." 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

My thought process during a run

Guilty admission time. I did not run at all this past weekend and thus missed out on an easy 3 mile run on Saturday and a long 5 mile run on Sunday, so I was anxious to get back on schedule this week.  Yesterday was a rest day in the training plan and I stuck to that, even though I rested the previous 3 days.

Today's run was an easy 3-4 miles and as I set out, I was still undecided about whether I would go short or long.  As I started out, my legs felt like anvils.  I can't remember a time when my legs felt so heavy on a run and it did a number on my morale.  About .5 mile in, I started to walk and I was so mad at myself.  Why on earth was I stopping to walk?  So I started to run again, only to stop a few seconds later because of how my legs felt.  I walked much of the next mile and a half save for a few very brief running breaks.  At that point, since I was walking, I decided that I could at least do four miles.  The entire time I was walking, I didn't have the most positive thoughts or words for myself.  I started questioning whether I could do a half again this fall and I started wondering how I would get through Napa in September.  It was not a pretty couple of miles for my self-confidence.

At mile 2, I decided to pick up the pace so I could get back to my car and be done with the run, so I started running again.  My legs still didn't feel great, but I kept going and ran the last two miles back to my car.  The last .10 of a mile, I decided to give it my all and I sprinted back to my car.  I felt pretty damn good when I got to my car; I was tired, sure, but I was also sweaty and my adrenaline was pumping and it was just what I needed to boost my confidence.  It was a great reminder that I can do all of the things I set my mind to.  It was also a gentle reminder that I am not where I need to be physically or mentally, so I need to step up my game and that's ok.  Sometimes I just need a little push and tonight's run was the push I needed.

It's time to focus and get back in the game; it's time to start pushing myself mentally and physically; it's time to prove to myself that I can.

"Being challenged in life is inevitable. Being defeated is optional." 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Happy (belated) 4th of July

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July weekend!  Our was lovely, fun, and exhausting!  We had a fairly relaxing day on Friday, squeezing in some time at the pool in between cleaning and baking a cake for Nick's birthday and party on Saturday.  We are fortunate to be able to see some local fireworks from the comfort of our front porch, so we didn't have to stray too far that night!

Saturday was Nick's 7th birthday and we celebrated with a backyard BBQ/pool party with our family and friends.  He requested a Despicable Me 2 birthday party, so we had Minions galore.  They are so darn cute so it was fun to decorate with the Minions!

Minion cake, yum!
My friend, Mary, found a great how-to online for a Minion cake and it turned out super cute!  Check it out here if you are in the need for a Minion cake.  We are very blessed to have wonderful family and friends who love Nick and came out to help him celebrate.  Thank you all for making it such a special day!

After the party (and a little nap!), we went out to dinner to celebrate and had a second round of cake and presents.  Then we headed to see our second fireworks show for the weekend!  Nick loves that the fireworks always fall around his birthday; one of the perks of being born the day after the 4th of July.  I adore fireworks and the 4th of July, so we always try to see as many as we can.  The show on the 5th was a bit shorter than the night before, but it was far less crowded than it would have been had we ventured out on the 4th, and the weather was beautiful, so it was pretty perfect.  Nick said This is the best birthday party ever!  7th birthday = success!

Love the awe on this 7 year old's face!
Today, we had a pretty relaxing day after all of the birthday festivities, but we did spend a few hours at the pool, which was lovely.

I somewhat unintentionally took yesterday and today as rest days, even though my training plan called for 3 miles yesterday and 5 today.  I figure hustling and bustling getting ready for the party, walking to and from the fireworks, and swimming for several hours this weekend count for something!  

"You can protect your liberties in this world only by protecting the other man's freedom.  You can be free only if I am free." 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Hill Repeats

Yesterday (Day 3 of Napa training) ended up being a rest day, if one counts cleaning the house and crafting for a certain sweet boy's 7th birthday party this weekend as resting.  I initially intended on going to bed early last night to catch up on sleep and to prepare for an early morning hill repeat run.  However, I started cleaning, which then led to crafting and more crafting.  It was a productive evening though!

Spend, Save, Give jars for Nick's birthday.  More on these in a future post.  Inspired by these jars.

Minion treat bags for Nick's party
Today, day 4 of Napa training, called for hill repeats.  While I had been running frequently on a hilly trail earlier this spring and getting in a fair share of hills, I have never actually done hill repeats.  I went into today's run with equal parts trepidation and excitement.  I ended up not getting up early to go run, but I did get the repeats in this evening.  Fortunately our weather has been absolutely gorgeous this week and I am so thankful for that.  It was 66 degrees when I left the house this morning, so the boys and I drove to summer camp with the moon roof open.  When I headed out for my run, the weather was a bit warmer, but equally as gorgeous.

Perfect running weather
The plan called for a one mile warm-up, followed by four hill repeats, and concluding with a one mile cool down.  The hill was to be 1/4 mile in length with a moderate 4-6% grade.  I had a particular hill in mind and hoped it met the parameters.  As I ran up the first repeat, I realized that the hill met the length requirements and I was pleased to see a bench at the top.  I treated myself to a quick 10-15 second bench break after each incline.  The plan indicated that you could walk or run down each hill, but I decided to run down each after having taken a break before I headed down.

My legs definitely started to feel like mush and it was rather humorous passing people as I ran up and down.  I ran past a sweet older woman on the way downhill (for repeat #3, if I remember correctly).  As I came back up the hill for the final time, I noticed that she had stopped at the top to speak to a gentleman with two cute dogs.  As I ran past her again, she said Sweetie, are you doing the hill? to which I replied Yes, ma'am.  I'm doing 4 hill repeats and I'm on the last one."  She said Good for you and I appreciated the vote of confidence, especially since my legs felt like jello.

I walked much of my cool down mile and was glad to get back to my car and my iced tea!  I guess I figured since the weather was mild, that I wouldn't need my water, but I was regretting that decision before I even finished my warm-up.  Lesson learned!  The hill repeats were tough, but I felt really strong and great afterwards!

When I got home, Matt helped me calculate the grade of the hill I ran to see if it met the requirements.  See, it pays to be married to a math-y, engineer-y man!  Love you, babe!  I started my hill repeat at an elevation of 452 feet and finished at 522 feet, which was a difference of 70 feet.  Given that 1/4 is 1320 feet, I divided 70 ft by 1320 to determine the grade of the hill.  The grade of the hill I ran was 5.3%, which was perfect based on the 4-6% called for in the training plan. 

After my hill repeats, I had an appointment with Doug at Evolve Personal Fitness to discuss my goals and stressors and then I was able to participate in a small group training session.  It was a great session with energy circuits that were pretty fun. My two favorite exercises were the floor ladder, where you ran through as fast as you can both front ways and sideways, and "the sled" which is essentially just that.  A sled with several weighted discs that you drag across the floor.  It was quite fun!

After the group session, the trainer was kind enough to show me some foam rolling exercises and some good stretches for my hip flexors.  I was having a bit of IT band pain today, which is out of the ordinary for me.  It was pretty uncomfortable so it was nice to massage that a bit and work out the kinks.

I will say, it was a little intense to schedule a personal training session on the same day as hill repeats, much less back-to-back.  #RookieMistake  As I mentioned, though, I had hoped to go run this morning, so the plan was for the two workouts to be several hours apart.  I don't feel too bad at the moment, but we will see what tomorrow brings. 

I was saddened today to hear of the passing of Louis Zamperini.  I listened to Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand while I was training for the half this spring and I loved the story of Louis' life before, during, and after World War II!  I cannot say enough about this book.  It is a phenomenal, inspiring story and Louis was quite an amazing man.  If you are looking for a wonderful read this summer, I highly recommend Unbroken.  The hardback edition and audio book are available now and I discovered that the paperback version will be out July 29th.  Note: I was not asked to review or promote the book.  I am simply a huge fan and wanted to share it with others.

Wishing those of you in the U.S. a happy (early) 4th of July!  

"You were born to run. Maybe not that fast, maybe not that far, maybe not that efficiently as others. But to get up and move, to fire up that entire energy-producing, oxygen-delivering, bone-strengthening process we call running." 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Humbling Run

Day 2 of Ragnar Training is in the history books!  Mother Nature was much kinder today, especially since I didn't get out for a run until almost 8 p.m.  Temperatures were in the upper 70's with some humidity, so it wasn't unbearably hot or humid, thankfully!

Getting it done!  I blame the unfocused nature of this photo on humidity, although maybe I need to brush up on my selfie skills.
The training plan for today called for an easy 3 mile run, so that is what I set out to do.  My calves started cramping up almost immediately and the first mile felt a little rough.  I suppose that is to be expected considering I haven't run since the Race for the Cure on the 14th of June.  I pushed on and got into a groove in the second mile and as I headed into my last mile, I felt strong.  It felt like my last mile was my best, and fastest mile, although my pace did not suggest that.  My Garmin said my first mile was my fastest, go figure!   I wish the run had been a little easier with less of a struggle on my part, but it isn't easy getting back into the swing of things, so I'm cutting myself a little slack.  Tonight's run was a gentle reminder to myself to be consistent with my running so I maintain a strong base!

Tomorrow is my choice of an off or cross-training day, but I am leaning towards cross-training.  The weather is supposed to be gorgeous, so a walk may be in order.  Or I may check out the gym that I joined and see what it has to offer.  A little jaunt on the recumbent bike also sounds appealing!  

"A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor."