I am still alive!

I am back from my two weeks of travels, family and friends. Last night, I completed my first run of Week 13. This Sunday I will run 16 miles, then the next Saturday I will run 18. Finally, two and a half weeks from now, I will run either 18 or 20 as my final long run of marathon training before tapering. Lots of work ahead, but the good news is I have company for the long runs! My running buddy has to run 9 miles this weekend, so she will join me for more than half of my run. Another friend who will be running in the marathon but lives out of town is coming up next week to run the 18-mile distance with me. Just knowing I will have company on these runs restores my confidence. I am a natural introvert… but 3 hours is a long time to be running alone!

Let’s see… another update… last week I went to a local running shop and got fitted for new shoes. I’ve been a solid fan of Mizunos for the last year, but with the increasing mileage, I started to feel the need for a bit more support. I am enjoying a pair of New Balance shoes, and also experimenting with Superfeet. My running buddy also picked up some new shoes, and we broke them in last Thursday on a relaxing trail run (mine are the white ones on the bottom):

Besides preparing for upcoming long runs, I am finishing up a load of projects at work and anticipating the buzz of activity that normally occurs each September when the school year returns. Speaking of fall, it’s been breezier in the evenings and very pleasant for runs after work. Looking forward to the cool temperatures again!

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Training in Warmer Weather

Yesterday I enjoyed a fantastic and easy 4 mile run. It was a great way to welcome Week 6. Now that 4 is my new 3, and 5 is my new 4, I don’t dislike the 4-mile distance as much. Makes sense, right? Sunday I get to run a half marathon and I am so excited! Okay, moving on to my topic…

Running is slowly helping me to overcome my aversion to shorts. Two-thirds of the year, I am dressing for dark and cold weather. I remember wearing full-length running tights under fleece leggings in the dead of winter several months ago. Summer is here, however, and it is a steadily warm and clear (some years we have very cold summers). It’s time to shed some layers and run in cool comfort.

Here are some clothing items I like for summer:

1. Long Shorts. My good friend owns these, and they are phenomenally flattering. I love these Danskin bike shorts–they are great for running and also provide good coverage.

2. Breathable Singlets. I am obsessed with my new singlet from Janji. My favorite running t-shirt is also from this company. Great quality clothes and profits go to admirable causes. It’s a win-win.

3. Quality Socks. I love my SmartWool socks. They treat my sweaty and tired feet so gently. No blisters. No raw spots. When I am going on a shorter run or cross training, I am loyal to my cheap and numerous Champion socks from Target. I did not expect these socks to be wonderful, but I really like them and they have never caused me problems.

4. Hydration belt. I love this hydration pack. I wear it with the bottles/pack on the small of my back and I don’t even notice it is on.

5. And where would I be without my Mizuno shoes? I am on my third pair now. Also, I feel one degree closer to the awesomeness that is Wendy Davis.

What summer gear is a must for your training?

Marathon Training: Week 6

Yesterday I completed my longest training run so far: 10 miles! Since I didn’t have to work on the holiday, I decided to make the most of my day off and tackle the distance. I ran along the bay the entire run–some of the route plucked right from the Bellingham Bay Marathon course. I’ve found a really nice out-and-back run that can be lengthened as long as I want, so it will work for the longer runs ahead (16, 18, 20 miles). It’s a good mix of roads and trails, which is great for my knees. The first few miles were a bit tedious, but 3-4 miles in, I really started to enjoy myself. The second half of the run was really fun. I also ran with my fuel belt and I am glad I did. I drank both bottles of water and was very grateful for a little snack at the halfway point. What made me especially happy was that I had a negative split and I felt really good after the run… ready for more!

fuel

I ran out of GU, so I ate the Sport Beans instead.

thursday2At the halfway point, and already very sweaty.

Tomorrow I will wrap up Week 5 with my mid-length run (5 miles).

Week 6 will culminate with a half marathon in Seattle, even though the prescribed long run is 11 miles for the week. To avoid overuse, I am cutting back two of the shorter runs and adding those two miles to the long run. Therefore, when all is said and done, the cumulative mileage will be at 24.

Monday: 4

Wednesday: 3

Friday: 4

Sunday: 13

Total Mileage: 24

I hope everybody had a great 4th of July yesterday! I will be back next week to discuss Week 6. Yowza, I can’t believe I’ve been marathon training for more than a month–it is flying by.

friday5

It’s FRIDAY!!!!!!

Marathon Training: Week 5

Tomorrow morning I will complete Week 4 with a long run (8 miles).

During Week 5, the long run jumps up to 10 miles. That means two episodes of This American Life! Podcasts are quickly becoming my favorite entertainment during long runs.

Monday: 3 miles

Wednesday: 3 miles

Thursday: 5 miles

Saturday: 10 miles

I am taking advantage of Thursday’s holiday (no work) and completing my 5 mile run at that time. Wednesday will be a stroller run, but 3 miles is a great distance with the stroller. Saturday will be a great opportunity to train with a fuel belt.

HAPPY FRIDAY!

Hump Day Update

Just a quick check-in from Week 4… I am 3 runs down. Just the long run (8 miles) left, which I will complete on Saturday. Today I went for a 6 mile trail run (it was supposed to be 5, but I went on a longer trail) with the jogging stroller. I rarely run with the stroller because it is so difficult! Today was definitely a challenge. However, when we came home, my daughter proudly proclaimed “I went running with mama!” and that made it entirely worth it.

Wednesdays I am home and away from the office for the summer, so I foresee many more stroller runs to come as I fit in those mid-week miles.

Midway through the trail run. By the end I was pouring sweat!

The woods in May

Yesterday I shifted gears and went for a family hike in the woods rather than running through them. There is nothing like the woods in May here in Western Washington. The green is brilliant, and the air hangs with a dew throughout the day. Even the skunk cabbage blooms coyly through the pond lilies, hungry for slivers of sunlight. The air was warm enough that the recent rainfall started to steam up from the trails blanketed by pine needles.

I got good exercise, of course, packing an additional 30 pounds on my back.

Also, my wonderful husband gifted me with an amazing new toy for Mother’s Day. Really, the best jewelry there is:

Mama got a green Garmin! Oh, I am so in love. I can hardly wait to take it on a maiden voyage tonight for my after-work run around the neighborhood.

My plan this week is to get a few 3-4 mile runs in and to go to the pool at least once before heading down to Portland on Saturday for the half, which is Sunday morning. My intentions this week are to eat well, sleep well, stay healthy and keep an ear close to my knee.

How was your weekend?

Recovery

Yesterday I went for a 2 mile jog to get some blood pumping to my muscles in an effort to aid recovery from Sunday’s half.

sunnyrun

This evening I will go to Zumba and hopefully I will feel back to normal by tomorrow’s track workout. I wasn’t very sore yesterday, but today my quads are pretty stiff. I want to incorporate more strength training exercises, such as squats, to build up the backs of my legs so that the burden of force is more evenly distributed during my long runs. I’ve also been working diligently to break in my new pair of Brooks, which I am alternating with my Mizunos for running. So far, so good. I like both shoes for entirely different reasons, perhaps I’ll write about that at some point.

brooks

Yesterday’s events are still weighing on me, as I am sure they are on you as well. I take some comfort in knowing that runners are some of the most tenacious and brave people on this earth, and the good and camaraderie nurtured by this lifestyle will only be strengthened when all is said and done.

I have a fun run 5K this Saturday that will be a pretty awesome event–runners and members of the police force are running together to raise money for families of fallen officers. Looking forward to doing this one.

Happy Running!

 

Aqua jogging, feel the burn! Splash your friend!

I had a wonderful workout at the pool last night. I can feel the good kind of soreness all over. We did several different types of aqua jogging exercises last night:

-The classic running in water

-Running with hands out of the water (think bank robbery style), which is a killer core strengthener

-High kicks

-Knee to opposite elbow

My legs felt like noodles after, and I slept pretty darn well. I have decided to go to the pool at least once a week–today I feel so strong! I think this will be a fabulous cross-training, particularly in the summertime.

Last night I had a dream that I was four hours late for the half marathon, and I was scrambling to get there and try to run it before the course shut down. Of course getting to the start was not easy! I had to take several ferries, and when I got to the final bridge, it was incomplete and I had to swim part of the way to the start line. I woke up before I ever made it there.

So, note to self… set two alarms for Sunday morning 🙂

Tonight I am going to make sure (and double, then probably triple-check) that my bag is packed with all of my clothing, my running shoes (of course!), my body glide, GU for fuel, and my iPod. So excited about this race and the weekend to come.

Happy Friday!

Happy Monday!

Well, you have probably noticed that my blog updates have become more sporadic. I guess it is time to level with you, my readers, and open up about what is going on. I have decided not to run a marathon this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

APRIL FOOLS!

🙂

Happy Monday! It’s going to be a great week for running! Yesterday I celebrated our unseasonably warm early spring day by going for a 6 mile trail run. It was incredibly beautiful. I spent the rest of my day digging up the yard and planting lilacs. Needless to say, I slept very well!

lake whatcom

One of the breathtaking scenes from yesterday’s trail run.

As we venture into the lighter months, I am making a commitment to continue what has emerged as an unintentional pattern: a trail run every Sunday. Getting out to the quiet and serenity helps to focus me before the chaos of the work week. Additionally, I think the trail run offers so many benefits for training. It’s a nice way to juxtapose the monotony of the track workout midweek (I do love the track workout, I just think the scenery is boring!).

My intention for this week is to really pay attention to stretching and taking care of my muscles after running. I am much more diligent about warming up, but stretching is an important aspect to avoiding injury. I’ve also noticed that stretching affords me the pause to gather my thoughts and emotions from the run I just completed and take something salient with me through the rest of the day.

stretch

I’ve got a fun 5K through the tulip fields coming up this weekend. Also, I can’t believe the Whidbey Island half is only two weeks away! Where did the time go??? I am hoping to shave another couple minutes off of my time and finish in 2:15 or under. I finished my last half marathon at 2:18, so I think my goal is attainable. I know my mile is getting (gradually) speedier day by day!

One last thing for this grab bag of a post… I recently invested in some new running pants because my Funky Running tights are too big now (I kept almost mooning people on my runs!). I got these cropped pants from Brooks. They. Are. Incredible. So flattering and just the thickness I like! Maybe I’ll take a selfie in them one day so I can show you what they look like on a Real Woman 🙂

Happy Running!

Happy April!

It’s raining, it’s pouring, and I’ll be cross-training tonight!

I think the subject says it all. It’s a rainy mid-March day, and I am happy that I will be at Zumba this evening and not outside 🙂

I enjoyed the nicest little run through my neighborhood last night. It was so light outside! I even broke out my funky running tights in celebration (but let’s be honest, do I even need an excuse to wear these? They are always a good idea):

tuesday 3

No big updates or thoughts for today. What are you doing this weekend? Anybody have some Green-themed runs?