“Slow” Work?

A few months ago I was focused almost exclusively on speed work in my running.  In fact I think that it is probably one of the main mistakes I made in my downward spiral that ended with this injury issue I’ve been working through.  I had wanted a fast-for-me marathon finish time for my debut marathon, but instead will now be sitting out completely; an option I didn’t even think was really possible.

At any rate, I’ve been doing what I can in the mean time to recover (video down below).  The slower pace has some benefits too.  Mostly, I’m spending a lot more quality time with my boys and with our dog.  I’ve gone on several walks with my sons and last week my 9 year old biked 6 miles with me.  It was a PR for him in distance! 🙂  He now wants to make it a regular thing we do together, which is so amazingly awesome. It’s been really great to get outside with them and get some exercise together.  No, these low intensity family workouts are not going to earn me any medals or PRs.  I don’t finish feeling sweaty and badass.  However, these workouts are completely priceless.  We’re spending quality time together moving, getting fresh air and talking about things away from the video games.  So right now I’m working on this “slow work”, and plan to do more of it, even when I get back to training.  I don’t need a medal to know we’re doing something good by staying active together.

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What ideas do you have for family fitness?  Always looking for more ideas to incorporate. 🙂

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A Difficult Decision

After a short yet very painful run on Monday I realized this isn’t my marathon year.  Letting go of something I’ve worked so hard for for 11 months is not easy.  This injury has hurt in more ways than one.  I spent a lot of time negotiating with myself and trying to find a way to just run it anyway without the training build up.  After a lot of research and consulting with my coach I just don’t believe that is a healthy option for me at this point.

Once I realized that I was really out of the race, I had a week of what I will just call an adult (okay maybe not even that grown up) hissy fit.  I wanted to run this marathon so badly.  I had honestly been looking forward to this last month of difficult long runs more than the race itself and I never even got to run my longest distance in training.  It sucks.  Am I over it?  Nope.  But I’m definitely  getting there.  Here is a video recap of that decision, and a new (and probably smarter) plan for 2016.

Marathon Training is Hard

News flash!  Marathon training is hard!  This week has been especially difficult because I haven’t done anything.  One might think that a week off of running would feel good after so much running.  Far from it.  I have been loving the increase in mileage and miss it very much.  I’ve had to take the week off due to an ankle injury.  Specifically peroneal tendonitis.  My friend Scott explains it well here:

In talking with my orthopedic surgeon, this happened from the combination of increasing my mileage and also changing my form.  I had been a solid mid foot runner until late last November when I did some research, read some books and figured fore foot running was the new awesomesauce and so I need to do it.  I completely changed my form and specifically my foot fall.  This was okay for the first few months but now that I’m running higher mileage it’s impacting me in a negative way.  So the new focus is now rehabbing this ankle injury, getting back into shoes that I know work (hello Asics!) and getting comfortable with my comfort zone which is the mid foot running again.

I honestly thought marathon training was going to be difficult due to just the sheer volume of extra miles and time on the road.  I was not anticipating any injury (I’m lucky to be a pretty healthy person).  I was also not anticipating the need to find this special combination of things that work.  And there is a LOT of experimentation that goes in to this.  Nutrition, shoes, hydration, socks, speed, form, the list goes on.

And, Summer is almost over.  I decided I wanted to run this marathon last October.  I’ve been working on and dreaming of this for a year.  I still need to get this ankle functioning again, find the perfect combination of everything, and finish building up my mileage.

6 weeks.  I can do this.  Right?

Get Out of MY Park!

View from today's 10+ mile run at about 6 am this morning.  That wood bridge is actually on some sort of pontoon system - challenging to run across (almost made me "seasick"!).

MY Bunker Hills Park in the early morning.

My new coach had a 13 mile run on my schedule yesterday.  While I have run plenty of half marathons, this was my longest training/unsupported run yet.  I left my house at about 7:00 am ready to start my run through the park that backs up to my neighborhood.

Let me take a moment to describe this park.

My park.

Bunker Hills Regional Park is filled with a maze of paved bike paths on undulating hills.  I know these twisting bike paths better than I know the lines on my own palms.  When I started running, I ran Bunker.  I’ve run two 5Ks through Bunker.  I’ve participated in running groups through Bunker.  However, I prefer to run alone.  And it is usually pretty quiet.  Only a few other people pushing strollers, jogging or walking.

Much to my dismay, yesterday the park was packed with people!  Lots of them!  Everywhere!  People riding bikes, people walking, people pushing strollers, people roller blading, people on skate boards, people sitting around, people running.  Lots of other people running.  I literally wanted to shout “GET OUT OF MY WAY!  GET OUT OF MY PARK!”

But as I was heading out of the park (frustrated and sweaty) and on to the next leg of my run I wondered what were they all doing in there today?

And a thought occurred to me.  I bet some of these people are just kids looking to have fun outside on their bikes, just like I was.  I bet some of these mothers pushing strollers are just looking for some time out of the house and an opportunity to work off that baby weight just like I was.  I bet some of these people are learning to run just like I did.  And… I bet at least some of these people are training for the same damn marathon I am.

I knew I needed to check my mental game at that point and I did.  There will not be a field of 1 starting this marathon, nor would I want there to be.  Everyone has their own fitness journey they are working through, and yes some of those journeys happened to be through my park yesterday.

This morning I ran through Bunker again as usual for my scheduled 3 mile run.  It was almost empty.  Which actually made me a little sad.  Come back everyone!  I will share next time.  I promise.  🙂

Chicago Race Weekend Adventure

I ran with some good friends in the Chicago Rock and Roll Half Marathon yesterday but this is not a race recap.  I know we all love a good race recap and there will be one!  This however, is just a summary of how this fun girls weekend away went. 🙂

Friday

Tara and I left work early to get on the road to Chicago.  Met at my house, loaded the car, swung by the gas station for snacks and were on the road by 1:00 pm.  All was going well until this thing fell partway off the bottom of the car and started flapping.

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Called the hubs who said it was fine to drive without it.  Tara was able to rip it the rest of the way off the car and we threw it in the trunk.  As we were about to pull away a police car pulled up behind us to make sure all was well.  We explained the situation, showed her the thing and were off.

As we came into Chicago we got a little lost downtown trying to get to our hotel.  Turns out GPS is pretty much garbage in the underground roadway system below the city.  We asked a homeless guy for directions.  He was extremely nice and helpful.  Meant to give him $2 but gave wound up giving him $11 by accident in my flustered-lost-in-Chicago state.  I’m sure he needed it more than I did though so I don’t feel guilty.

We left the car with the valet at the hotel and hauled our luggage in to the front desk only to find out that we were at… dum dum DUM!  The wrong hotel.  Turns out there is a Hyatt Regency Chicago and a Hyatt Regency McCormick Place within a few miles of one another.  We were at the former but had reservations at the latter.  Back out with the luggage we went, waited for valet to bring the car back and were back on the road within 15 minutes (that felt like 4 hours).

Finally made it to the right hotel, checked in, ate at the hotel restaurant (amazing meal!) and went to bed.

Saturday

We slept in before grabbing a quick but expensive (8$ for yogurt and a water!) breakfast from the hotel cafe before heading to the race expo.

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The expo was probably the most exciting I’ve ever experienced.  So many vendors!  And free stuff! And games!  And samples!  I’ve never seen anything like it.  The Humana Rock and Roll series certainly knows how to put on an expo.

I could only handle the excitement for so long before I was expo’ed out.  Tara kept shopping (and shop, she did!) while I called the kiddos back home.

Later we walked to Kim and Carlos’ hot dog stand and had real Chicago hot dogs.  We didn’t even ask for ketchup (which is apparently taboo there).  And… we loved them!  I couldn’t believe putting so many random items on a hot dog would taste good but I’m glad I tried it.IMG_0856[1]After lunch we boarded a tour bus to see more of the city and found ourselves at Navy Pier for a couple hours.

Then it rained.  A lot.

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Interestingly, Taylor Swift was in Chicago for her 1989 tour.  We didn’t meet Taylor but we did see throngs of Taylor Swift fans on our way eat dinner with a couple friends from our running group.  Speaking of dinner, we learned Giordanos Pizza is pretty darn popular.  So popular, the wait we were quoted was an 1 hour, 45 minutes just to sit down.  Very long story short, we did get to eat the popular pizza but it actually took closer to only a half hour to get a table.  We also learned deep dish pizza takes 45 minutes to cook.  But, it was well worth the wait.  Hooray for pre-race carb loading!906044_10207313500382164_4269535551185497722_o

Sunday

Sunday we were up early for the race.

IMG_0894[1]The cafe was out of bagels so I inhaled half a cheese danish while we waited for the shuttle with our other friend from our group who was also running.  At the start area we went through all of the normal race rituals – porta potty, selfies, find the corral, etc.

Ran.

Yup.  That’s all I will say about it for now. 🙂

After the race we took some more selfies before heading back to the hotel to shower, pack and check out.  On the way home we had fun entertaining ourselves with games like ‘would you rather’.  For example: “Would you rather have a tiny rhino or a giant hamster” (Tara wants the rhino and I’ll take the hamster.)  Hey don’t judge – when you’re in the car for 7+ hours you need these things to survive. 🙂

That was it!  It was an amazing weekend of fun and fitness with fabulous friends.

Of course the week would not be complete without the weekly video update. 🙂

Experiencing the Sandias (w/videos)

I’m in New Mexico for work this week and had an opportunity to check out the Sandia Mountains.  The views here are so beautiful.  I will let the pictures speak for themselves.  I had planned to get a rigorous long trail run in but it just wasn’t that kind of day.   To my dismay, I’m learning to accept that not every workout is going to be completely kick ass.  What’s important is forward drive and constant improvement.

Here are some videos and pictures for your enjoyment. 🙂

And this week’s weekly update from the weekend…because I forgot to post it here. 🙂

Early Morning Running Success Continues

One week of early morning running in the books!  I was up at 5:30 again on Thursday and this morning (Saturday) at 5:00.  I can’t believe how well it’s gone.  It’s been so incredibly nice to have a break from the heat and humidity.  Moving runs to the morning has also helped me stick to my training plan without having to go crazy rescheduling everything.  I’ve also been sleeping better – finally!  I just need to find a way to keep it going now.

View from today's 10+ mile run at about 6 am this morning.  That wood bridge is actually on some sort of pontoon system - challenging to run across (almost made me "seasick"!).

View from today’s 10+ mile run at about 6 am this morning. That wood bridge is actually on some sort of pontoon system – challenging to run across (almost made me “seasick”!).

I’ve also been really making an effort to eat more fruits and vegetables.  I read or heard somewhere that runners eat a lot of fruit.  So that’s what I’m doing.  No other logic really but I’ve felt more healthy this week.

Do you run early?  What keeps you motivated to keep it up?  How do you wake up before the sun day in and day out to lace up and get out there?

In other news, here’s a little video on this week’s paddling club outing.

And of course I can’t leave out the weekly marathon training update.

What are you up to this weekend? 🙂