Monday, March 28, 2011

8 days a week...

Hi, all!

As most of you know, my training plan was written by my mom, referred to on the blog as Coach Mom. The key to my training plan was flexibility--there's one day on my plan per week that is just blank. That day can be a day to make up a missed run, or to cross train, or to rest, whatever I need to do.

Sometimes, though, I burn through all the flex days, and I'm left with mileage to make up. This week is an example of one of those times.
It comes with a pretty interesting story, though!

Last week, my fiance's alma mater made the Women's Division II Basketball national championship game. He was a big follower of the team for the majority of his time in undergrad, and has still followed them post-graduation. When they won the semi's, I knew he would try to go to Missouri for the game.
Sure enough, I got a text as I was getting off work Thursday night telling me he hadn't found anyone to go with him, but he was going anyway. A voice in the back of my head started yelling at me to go with him, just in case something happened along the way, so he wouldn't be alone. 2 hours later, we were on the road headed to Ames, IA to stay with a friend along the way.
3 hours later, just north of Albert Lea, MN, my premonition started to come true. One by one, the electronics in the car began to shut off, and the next thing we knew we were dead along the side of Interstate 35. As far as he knew, his insurance didn't have roadside assistance. Thank goodness for my AAA--he called them and we got towed in to town and taken to a cheap but thankfully warm and clean hotel. We learned the next morning that the alternator needed replacing, and the guys at the repair shop got us fixed and on the road very quickly! 6 hours, and 1 stop in Ames to pick up our friend (who now was coming with us), we made it to St. Joseph, MO to watch the game.
While Tech lost the game, the environment was incredible. SO many alums, families, friends, and even current students made the trip--it was like being back in Houghton again!
After the sad defeat, we hit the road to make the trip straight through back to Duluth. We tried to switch off drivers and sleep, but neither of us slept much. We made it home at 6:30am, I took a brief nap, then I was off to work at 10. All in all, it was a 36 hour, 4 state, 1 new alternator, 1 new battery, and 3 bags of Swedish Fish adventure. Despite the lack of a national championship, it was completely worth it. We won't always be able to make spontaneous plans like this, so we need to do it while we can!

Now, to tie this back in to running: my original plan was to run my long run on Friday (10 miles) and my last short run (4 miles) on Saturday. Obviously, there wasn't a chance to get 10 in on Friday (or, at least I didn't think there would be--I never banked on our random stop!) While I brought running clothes with me to work and meant to run on Saturday, it just wasn't going to happen. On an hour and a half of sleep and having just worked a 7 hour non-stop shift, I looked and felt kind of like this:
It just wouldn't have been smart, so I went home and crashed.
I did make up the 10 miler yesterday, but that left the 4 mile run... what to do with that? Well, I have just decided that today is the 8th day of the week, and I made up the 4 this morning. It doesn't matter WHEN I get the runs in. What matters is that I get them in, and after today, I have. Now, on to next/this week!

Sunday 3/27: What. A. Beautiful. Morning! After nearly 12 hours of sleep, I felt rested and recovered from the road trip. I was having some stomach issues, though, so I opted to walk to the Lakewalk and run from there, rather than driving to my starting point from my last long run. That way, if I had to call off the run, Brandon would have the car to come pick me up. Thankfully, once I got out and going I felt fine. The run felt great, the sunshine felt great, and it was awesome to get another 10 under my belt. You know what else felt great? A hot shower and compression socks after the fact. I am officially in love with those ugly socks. 10 miles, untimed.
Monday 3/28: Make up day! I made up the missed 4 on the Y treadmill. Nothing really spectacular, just 3.5 miles easy, and then a practice kick, where I gradually increased the speed. 4 miles in 35:47.

Time to get some food and head in to work! Have a great day, all!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Children of all ages, I have an announcement:

Upon completion of today's run, I have hit 200 miles for the year. Last year, I hit this milestone on July 22, so I got here 4 months faster than last year. :) I still have a long way to go to double last year's yearly total of 450, but I'm definitely on a good pace to get there. 
I'm also on pace to have this be my biggest mileage month ever, as I'm already a full 10 miles over my previous record of 70, and I still have a full week to go, including a 10 miler later this week. I can't lie, this makes me pretty darn happy. 
Saturday 3/19: After work, I headed out on to the LakeWalk. Nothing special, just a nice, relaxed, easy run. I felt good, no real soreness from the previous day's long run. 4 miles, untimed.
Monday 3/21: I wasted a gorgeous day and ran on the Y treadmill. Blech. Meant to do 6, but realized I wasn't going to have the time. I also tried to hurry the 6 along by throwing in 400's at an 8:00 pace. Dumb? Probably. Fun? In a sick way, yes. Was I tired the rest of the day at work? You betcha. 4 miles in 33:53.
Wednesday 3/23: I really did mean to run yesterday with the training group at work, but the wind was just too heinous for me. They went anyway, I wussed out and hit the treadmill this morning. I felt pretty flat--no gas in the tank, really. Despite this feeling, I did a tempo run: 1 mile warm-up, 4 miles at just above goal pace (8:27), 1 cool down with a practice kick at the end. 6 miles in 51:33. 

I'm pretty pleased with how things have been going. :)

Sorry for the short post. I hope things are going well for everyone reading this! 
Have fun, all!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Recaps, and I Deserve It!

So, I've become terrible at blogging. It was so much easier when I wasn't working! Not that I would go back to that for anything--I love my job so much, and I learned during the few months leading up to being hired at the store that the stay-at-home thing is not for me. I will respect anyone who takes that path, but it is definitely not mine.
Life is pretty good at the moment! I've hit my stride at the store, I think. I'm definitely still a rookie and I'm still definitely learning, but I'm still enjoying the environment and getting to know both the team and the customers. We had a great event at the store this past weekend, I'll talk about that more in my recaps.
So, with no further ado...

Run recaps:
Thurs 3/10-- I did a practice run for the Pub Shuffle with my bosses and their dog. This was just a super easy jog, really, mostly done in the name of learning the route. 3.7 (?) miles.
Friday 3/11-- the first double digit run of the year! I had to go super early because we had another road trip adventure planned for that day. The run went very well, it was your quintessential long slow distance. I also tried a new energy gel, as my beloved Gu gave me a ringing headache the week before. I tried the Gold flavor of Honey Stingers, and I was really pleased with these. It was just honey, so it didn't have the unappealing texture I've found gels to have, and it didn't give me the caffeine headache or nausea I would get from other gels. I will probably use these again! I also got to see a new part of the LakeWalk, which really made the middle 4 miles go by quicker. Mistake made: I didn't have my traditional red PowerAde waiting, I didn't take in any fluids on the run (my bike crew opted to sleep in...), and I waited faaaaar too long to eat anything after the fact. 10 miles.
Sunday 3/13--The 1st annual DRC Shamrock Pub Shuffle! I signed up for this event last month, and when I did that I never would have thought I would be a part of it the way I was! The non-competitive event went in 4 waves--7 min/mi, 9 min/mi, 11 min/mi, and walkers. I helped lead the 9 group, which was huuge! All in all, the event went so well, and nearly $2000 was raised to help build a handicap accessible baseball field in West Duluth. Add in the fun time I had afterwards with my co-workers, and we have the recipe for a great day. 2.9 miles
Week total 3/7-3/13: 26.7 miles. Biggest week ever, accomplished!
Monday 3/14--Back to the Y, time for a... fartlek? I guess... I'm horrible with the terminology. Basically, I did 4 2:00 surges at an 8:14 pace during my run, and the rest was done at about an 8:40 or 8:50 pace. I felt kind of flat in the last 1.5, and I really wanted to stop, but I didn't. 6 miles in 52:46.
Tuesday 3/15--again at the Y, tempo run time! Mile 1 was at 8:34 pace, the last 3 were at 8:27 with a slight kick at the end. All in all, I felt pretty good! 4 miles in 33:59.
Today's run--today is my day off for the week, so I took the chance to get my long run in. I made a classic rookie mistake today. I felt fantastic, so I took off like my hair was on fire, and by about 1.25 miles, I was pretty tapped. I reminded myself that long runs are not done for time or speed, and I slowed down. I would have slowed down anyway, but I made a mindful effort to slow down. I saw a fox along the trail, and about 34509834 awesomely cute dogs, and a kid on a hotel balcony singing his heart out, and I capped it all off with a trip to Caribou Coffee. A great morning, all in all. 8.2 miles in 1:22:53.

I'm on track for another big month for me! After today's run, I'm at 66.9 miles, which is a 5K shy of tying my biggest. As I have a 4 miler on the docket for the weekend, I'll have topped my biggest mileage with a full week and a half to go. That's actually kind of awesome.

I leave you with this--the shoes I will be receiving shortly:

Aren't they pretty? Meet the Saucony Mirage, a lightweight stability trainer. I have been told it would be great for short runs, speed training, and races.
Now, I can't lie... there's a voice in the back of my head asking me if someone who is only planning on hitting 1:50 in a half really needs a shoe specifically for racing. It's not like I'm an Olympian or anything. But, every time I hear that voice, I mentally smack that doubter and think, "Midpack runners are just as deserving of nice things!" I will get a lot of use from these shoes--in 5Ks, in halves, short runs. Me getting these shoes is not a bad thing, it's not a waste, it's fantastic. 

Have a great weekend, all! :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A, B, C!

Hi, all!

I've seen this alphabet thing floating around, and I thought it would be fun! So, with no further ado...

Age: 25

Bed size: Queen! We just got a new, real bed, and it is unreal how comfortable it is!

Chore you dislike: DISHES! I loathe doing dishes, yet I always am the one who ends up doing them. Bleeechhh...

Dogs: None :( our lease says no. My family has always had dogs, though, and I'd love to have one someday when we're somewhere that allows it.

Essential start to your day: coffee, and usually one round with the snooze button.

Favorite color: My default answer has always been blue, but I don't know. I'm partial to my school colors, green and gold.

Gold or silver: Generally silver, but my engagement ring is gold, and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Height: 5'3" if I stand up perfectly straight. I'm a short one.

Instruments you play: Once upon a time, I played the flute and piccolo. I don't really play anymore, even though I still call myself a flute player. I'd love to learn guitar, too.

Job title: Sales Associate

Kids: None for the foreseeable future. "Not ready for kids" is really the understatement of the century in my case.

Live: Duluth, MN. It still feels strange to not say "Michigan".

Mom's name: "Coach Mom" ;)

Nickname: my family calls me Fifi. A lot of my other friends call me Diva, a play off of a username I have on a forum I frequent.

Overnight hospital stay: not since birth. *knocks on wood*

Pet peeves: purposeful rudeness, singing during introductions, not pushing in chairs and other small forms of cleaning up after oneself.

Quote from a movie: It's so much better just to watch it:

Righty or lefty: Right handed for writing, pretty ambidextrous for most other things.

Siblings: one of each, both younger

Time you wake up: 6:45 most days.

Underwear: yes, I have been known to wear it...

Vegetables you don't like: cauliflower, raw broccoli

What makes you run late: the internet, usually.

Xrays you had: teeth and my wrist.

Yummy food you make: Sweet Potato Fries! I also make some pretty killer oatmeal ;) I have an awesome stir fry recipe that I haven't made in years because the fiance doesn't care for it, I don't think. :(

Zoo animal favorites: don't really have one, I just love animals!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I'm Still Standing...

Hi, all!

I swear, I'm still alive. Things have gotten SO busy now that I'm a working woman again.

Things are good, though! Time for some recapping!
So, the last time that I posted, I mentioned that I was taking the day off because I was feeling run down and my legs hurt. I didn't say either, but I was kind coughing a bit. Well, it turns out I was in the early stages of the flu! :( I kicked that off by passing out in the bathroom at work, which was rather embarrassing for the third day. I should have known better--I'm kind of sensitive to different cold medicines, and I had taken a dose of DayQuil before I left, which I think combined with the fact that I hadn't eaten enough that day, down I went. I wound up going home and spending the rest of that day and most of that weekend asleep either on the couch or in bed. It was not fun, but by Sunday night I was starting to feel human again.
Sadly, due to the flu, I missed my long run that week, and I rescheduled a shorter run for Monday to a different day just to make sure I was really good to go. So, missing those two runs, I ended up with a February mileage total of 69 miles. In my ongoing battle with perspective, I had to remind myself that while this was short of what was planned, that 69 miles was still a) more than I ran the month before, b) WAY more than I ran last year in February, and c) my 3rd biggest month ever (July 2010 was 69.4, and August 2010 was 70 miles). I should not be getting myself down about that number, I should be fist pumping all around my apartment about that number!
My new job is AWESOME. I'm learning SO much about shoes, foot biomechanics, running and triathlon apparel, and other gear. It can be a bit overwhelming at times, but it's going well. I'm also getting the chance to try on lots of shoes and other gear in the name of product research, and as a part of the job I'm asked to wear test some items and give my feedback to the owners. Pretty sweet deal, I'm not going to lie.
This is the part I'm most excited about-- the store also has a running team. Their philosophy is to have members who, regardless of ability, are active in races and the running community and would represent the team and the sport in a positive light. As a member of the staff, I have the option of being on the team. It really sounds like something perfect for me and like an incredible opportunity, and I'm thinking I'm going to go for it. :D So awesome. Again, the new gig is fantastic, and I'm so happy to be there.
March is off to a great start on the running front. Coming back from the flu was a bit rough initially. I felt sluggish and slow on my first run back, which was to be expected. Then, after that run, which was in the early evening, I tried running again the next morning. That was a disaster--I had no speed, my legs felt flat, and I just felt like garbage. I had to cut my 6 miler down to 5 because I felt so awful. I made up the missed mile on my next run 2 days later, and by that point I was starting to feel myself come back, and the next day I did my long run for the week (8 miles), and while it was a long and slow run, I felt great. :) Last week's total came to 22 miles.
This week, barring anything going wrong, will be the highest weekly mileage I've ever put down, 24 miles. I'm already at 10, and I have a 4 tomorrow and a 10 on Friday! I can't believe I'm already at double digit runs for this training!
So far this week:
Monday- 6 miles on the Y treadmill. I had to do 4 2:00 surges in this run, and I did those at an 8:34 pace, with the rest of at anywhere from a 9:15 to an 8:57 pace. I felt really strong in this workout, and I finished at 53:51.
Tuesday- 4 miles, again at the Y. I felt like I was wasting a beautiful day outside, but I wanted to do more of a tempo run, and right now it's easier for me to do things like that on the treadmill. I did a warm up 1/2 mile at 8:57 pace, and did 3.5 miles at an 8:27 pace. I originally meant to do just 3 at that pace and then cool down at the 8:57 again, but I felt so good that I just finished the run at that pace. My time was 34:07, my fastest 4 miler to date.

So, that's what's new over the last week and a half or so!
I hope you all are doing well. What's new and good with you? If you're in training, how is that going?

Have a great day, all!
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