NYC Marathon Training Week #14

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Another week: Another journey.

“Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.” -Arthur Ashe

 

Happy Fall! I LOVE Fall. I got married in the Fall, and on the East Coast, the gorgeous colors we could experience were amazing! We didn’t have to go anywhere to view the foliage changing from green to gold, auburn and crimson because every day the trees would look different, as if a paint brush had touched them in certain spots. The kids and I would collect leaves and press them, but you could never completely capture the vibrant color of the season when they were dried and pressed. Unfortunately, in this area of Texas, we go from green to brown, almost in an instant. There’s nothing in between. So, when I found these frosted sugar cookies at our favorite bakery, I just had to get them. They were yummy!

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Thanks to Judy for sharing Lost Maples, TX for fall foliage viewing. Hopefully, we can get there to get a glimpse of some interesting color.

This week was a great week of training and was a nice change from the brutal exhaustion I’ve been dealing with. No, our weather hasn’t changed…yet. But, for some reason, I had a little more energy than normal. Maybe it’s because I’ve been waking up 15 minutes later for the workouts and make much more concerted effort to go to bed on time. Just 41 days to go until the big day!

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Highlights from this week were that I reached 2,000 km for the year! Woohoo! I hadn’t set any mileage goal for the year, but have been keeping track of what I’ve been doing. Last year at this time, I was close to reaching 2015 MILES for the year. But, this year’s journey is different, and that’s ok. It’s no better or worse, just different. I learn different things from different training cycles, races, seasons, right?

This week, I did 6 days of the NY Times 7-minute workout I shared last week. I’m happy that I’ve been keeping consistent because I am usually completely undisciplined when it comes to at-home workouts. I can feel the difference it has made. There’s no bulging biceps by ANY stretch, but the flapjacks that some would call triceps have taken a hike. I made an effort to do these as soon as I got home from workouts. That way I can direct the school preparation process while I do that. My 8-year-old daughter joined the workout. She does gymnastics, so her core is crazy strong. My oldest son was full of “constructive” criticism on our form. As I’m doing pushup to side plank, I told him he better put his money where his mouth is and put up or….

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This week I ran: 45.7 miles. (Where’s that .3????) and I biked 18.9 miles. For a total mileage of 64.6 miles.

Monday’s easy run felt good.

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Thursday’s run we had temps of 71 and only 85% humidity. It felt glorious. The tempo run on Thursday has been my nemesis. I’m slogging through the hilly course we have, and I haven’t been able to hit my tempo pace for more than a mile. So, I began to dread Thursday workouts. This week, I felt great and was able to hit my old tempo pace for the last mile. My splits were great and best of all, I felt good the whole time.

For Saturday’s run, I decided to do 15 miles. My friend Lesley was doing a trail race, but I hemmed and hawed. I’m not a trail runner, and I’m a klutz on a flat surface. I finally decided not to do the race (I’m sure it’s in my future, though!) and just do a run on my own. I felt great. The temps were 75 and 97% humidity, but I felt good. I didn’t push the pace too much unless I felt like I could. When I needed to back off, I did.

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I finished the day with a 5 mile bike ride with my oldest when the temp was close to 100. I would have kept going, but after 5 miles he was done.🙂

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I’m linking with Holly and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap-up.

Any fun fall traditions?

NYC Marathon Training Week #13

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This week was another good week of training. Challenging, but good. I was tired all week, and the cumulative fatigue of the last 13 weeks of training is definitely being felt in my legs (and my brain). Work was super busy and life was busy, and it was all catching up with me.

This week, I gave myself a challenge of doing a HIIT style workout. I tried this one from the New York Times that I can complete in 7 minutes (in theory). Of seven days this week, I did 6. Pretty good! I felt the soreness in my upper body all week because I usually don’t to push ups and tricep dips. I’m very weak in the upper body! I definitely saw improvement after just 6 days.

Here’s my week:

Monday: Easy 8 miles. Felt good.

Tuesday: 1000 intervals; tired but good.

Thursday: 7 mile tempo. Tired. This has been my nemesis all training season. My paces are not anywhere near my true tempo pace. I’m claiming heat and humidity.

Friday: I overslept and got an extra hour of sleep. I woke up a little after 5 and darted off to meet my friends. Squeezed in 6.5 miles instead of 8. I felt great after getting some extra sleep. I also got some yoga flow done.

Saturday: 20 mile run. This has been my longest run of the training season. This was hard. We had a little pit stop to refill water bottles (I had three water bottles with me but was going through them very quickly). The last few miles were really tough just to keep plodding along. Overall pace was 9:15. Not what I had planned but we got it done. This is how Lesley and I felt after the run.

 

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We celebrated with…tacos..what else?? Recovery was lots of compression, hot bath, foam rolling and stretching. I didn’t do the 7-minute workout because my foot was sore and I didn’t want to push it.

The running group Lesley and I started a few months ago is now 40+ people! The Brazos Valley Runegades now has cute new shirts to wear. We have cotton shirt (the gray) and tech singlets and short sleeves in blue. Lesley designed the logo for the shirt. Isn’t it purty?!?!?!

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Total 49 miles running; 13 miles biking.

That’s my week!

How was your week? I’m linking with Holly and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap-up!

NYC Marathon Training Week #12

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Week #12: I Know I Can

This week, I completed another good week of training. This marathon training cycle, unlike my previous two marathons, has been smack dab in the middle of the summer heat. And, it’s been hotter than previous summers, fo to the sho. So, some runs are good, and some runs… not so much.

And…I’m my worst critic! I go into a run with a goal in mind… and sometimes it doesn’t happen, right? So, after some workouts, even if it didn’t turn out the way I wanted, my instinct is always to focus on the negative. It’s ironic because we encourage one of my kids who tends to be a Negative Norman/Nancy to be a Positive Paul/Polly. But this training cycle, I’m trying to focus on the positive: I finished the run. I hit my pace for a mile. I didn’t die.🙂

But, when I look back at my runs this week, I feel pretty good at how my training is going.

This week, I finished almost 47 miles in running, and did 27 miles of biking. Most days, I try to do some strength training. My friend Lesley and I post strength workouts to our group running group page for the whole group to do. I also tried to do some yoga even though I couldn’t get to the studio.

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Trying to do a handstand.

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Just got this shirt from Running Warehouse.🙂 LOVE.

This week’s workouts:

  • Monday: Easy 8 miles
  • Tuesday: 4 1 Mile intervals, all sub-8 pace, 8 miles total
  • Wednesday: yoga
  • Thursday: 8 mile tempo, solid run, but struggled at the end.
  • Friday: Easy 8 miles
  • Saturday, I ran 14 miles and all splits were sub-9 pace. I averaged 8:40, which was supposed to be marathon pace, but hey, it was HUMID. So, I’m happy.
  • Sunday: 17-mile bike ride.

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I had to capture the sunrise on Saturday. Gorgeous.

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Trying to take a photo while riding and not falling off. This was a busy road so I forgot to smile.

I let my husband take the kids to the football game while I got some work done. With a side of wine.

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How is your training going? Are you Negative Nancy or Positive Polly?

I’m linking with Holly and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap-up!

NYC Marathon Training Week #11

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This Week’s Wrap-up: Feeling All the Emojis

This week, I will be only 2 months away from the NYC Marathon! It’s gettin’ real, y’all.

Last year, as I was training for my first marathon, I wasn’t sure I could actually finish a marathon, much less do it upright. I was googling gurney availability. lol. Seriously. I had heard so many horror stories of runner’s injuries during training or before and during the race that I wasn’t sure whether I would make it through training to the starting line. And then during the race…soooo much can happen that I wasn’t sure what I had signed up for… whether I would vomit from too much gel or too little gel mixed with Gatorade (oh no not the lemon lime flavor!!!) or whether I would soil myself during the race so badly that I would WANT to die of embarrassment. I read about it. It’s for real.

Now, I know that I can finish a marathon upright, even if I have to walk the whole thing, but I’m anxious about getting to the starting line of such a big race in time, with all my things and remember where to go and what to do when. I missed getting to the proper corral of the Houston Marathon this year that we got booted out to the next corral. And we were literally steps away from the corral when they closed it. Bad planning on my part! The mass transportation they have at NYC makes me worried the same will happen again, but I’m vowing to be earlier this time.

Then, there’s the usual emotions:

  • Excitement: This is going to be great! Big race! Lots of crowd support!
  • Fear: Ack! It’s a big race!!!?!?!?! Why did I do this??
  • Doubt: What if I’m not ready?!?! I’ll never be ready!
  • Anxiety: What’s this new ache over here??? That wasn’t there about two minutes ago.
  • Cautious optimism: That run was pretty good. I can do this. Keep plugging away.
  • Overzealousness: OMG. Foam rolling. Check. Post-run yoga. Check. Extra Fluids. Check.
  • Fatigue: I didn’t foam roll last night. Or stretch. Are these clothes from yesterday?
  • Disappointment: That.run.sucked.
  • Overconfidence: Um, yea, I’ll take the two deluxe tacos, a coffee, a milkshake, and two… no, three churros, please. I just ran 15 miles, so… I need the protein…..and the carbs. All of them.
  • Fatigue: I’ll just take a nap after pulling on this compression sock….zzzzzz

All these emotions come through and make me want to burst at the starting line, but in the meantime, I’m trying to keep them to a low murmur.

This week, I did 61.7 miles total, with 49 miles of running. Another good week of training. I love the new Garmin watch! The battery lasts forever!!! I don’t have to charge it every day. I don’t wear it all the time, but when I do, it tracks everything including my steps, which I was curious to see. My job as an editor and writer is pretty sedentary, and although I try to get up a lot, I forget. But, I’m happy to report on many days I was getting well over 10,000 steps, and every hour or so when it doesn’t detect any activity, it buzzes with a MOVE! reminder. I like that it easily tracked the distances of different intervals with a button instead of the touch screen.

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I’m not skilled in photographing while running. I’m not sure how so many bloggers don’t get blurry pictures. Maybe I need to take a class? This was during Fridays 8-mile run.

Tuesday, I did intervals of 400, 800, and a mile repeats.

Thursday, it was tempo run. I started to feel the beginnings of a cold and a husky voice. My 7 mile run when alright, but I was breathing hard, so much so, that I startled my friend as I came from behind with my heavy panting. I made several soups this week, drank lots of fluids, took some extra zinc and vitamin C, plus get some extra rest. By Saturday, I could feel the congestion in my head. It wasn’t too bad at the start of my 18-miler, but I didn’t feel 100%. Luckily, you breathe through your mouth during running!

On Saturdays, The Brazos Valley Runegades (my running group) meet at the local running store, Brazos Running Company, to start the run. This Saturday, we had the first Aggie home football game, so we dressed up for a picture before the run. Running on campus is a nice change of pace from running in the suburbs.

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I had 18 miles on the plan, and Lesley, my usual partner in crime, was away, so I ran them all solo. To make it fun, I chronicled my 18-miler my re-enacting some emojis:

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Mile 6 😃
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Mile 7: 😀

 

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Mile 9: ☺️
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Mile 11: 😓
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Mile 12:😅
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Mile 15:😬😩
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Mile 17: What the hill? 😳😲😱
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Mile 18: 😎🙌🏽

Later on Saturday, we enjoyed the football game!

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How was your week of running?

I’m linking with Holly and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap-up!

Fall Race Schedule

Tuesdays on the Run

It’s still August, but I’m excited about my upcoming fall race schedule! I’m doing a few less races this year than last, which is good for my sanity with all of the kids’ athletics this year.

Oct 16: Nutrabolt Half Marathon: Different course from last year’s inaugural run of this race with a finish line inside the A&M football stadium. There won’t be many times I’ll have a chance to run into a stadium…without the roaring crowd, but still. It’s right here in town, so I couldn’t pass this up.

Oct 22: M2M Half Marathon: I signed up for this race to cheer on my bestie Lesley who’s doing the full marathon. The scenery is so different from anything else I’ve run for a race, so I’m excited.

Nov 6: TCS NYC Marathon!!!!

Dec 11: BCS Half Marathon: This will be my third year running this race. The first year, I did the half, and last year, this race was my first marathon. I opted for the half this time to be ready for Houston just 5 weeks later because last year having two full marathons 5 weeks apart was just silly.

What races are you most looking forward to?

I’m linking up with PattyErika, and Marcia for Tuesday’s on the Run. Be sure to check out their blogs!

Simple Pumpkin Spice Muffins

No, it’s not fall…and yes, I had to start the pumpkin spice mania that will soon be taking over Starbucks and everywhere else.

These muffins are an easy breakfast for those hectic mornings.

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Ingredients

  • 1 box cake yellow or vanilla cake mix (any brand)
  • One 15 oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. Open dry cake mix into bowl of mixer. Add all other ingredients and combine until blended. Batter will be very thick. You don’t need to add anything else. Scoop batter into muffin lined muffin tin. For large muffins, use 12. For small muffins, use 18. (I used small).

Bake for 12-17 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes. Enjoy!

NYC Marathon Training Week #10

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We survived the first week of school! The kids were off bright and early, shiny new binders (we called them Trapper Keepers), crisp notebook paper, sharpened pencils, and with the smell of potential in the air, I sent them off on their way. Not before taking the obligatory FB first day of school photos.

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The kids were singing Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall,” while I was humming Prince’s “1999.” LOL.

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Seriously, I love my kids, and we had a wonderful summer of learning and adventure, but I won’t lie, it had been a long 10 days of single parenthood and I was happy to see them off to school (and they were excited too!) so that they could I could get to work uninterrupted. It’s hard to work at home and mediate every.single.argument.

This week marks the halfway point in my 20-week training program for NYC Marathon. Eek. I’ve confessed that I’m excited, but I’m also really, really nervous about this race. I don’t enjoy big crowds that much. Yes, it was a GREAT idea to sign up for the biggest race in the world.🙂

This week has been very exciting. I had another solid week of training. I’m really happy to be able to keep running. While watching the Olympics, there were a lot of commercials about the paralympics and amazing individuals who have overcome tragic circumstances and obstacles to compete. I teared up every time I watch those commercials. And I kept thinking, I may get a lot slower, but I’m so grateful I felt like all the effort and hard work is starting to pay off a little bit with not feeling like I’m dragging during every single workout.

Here’s a summary: 40 miles running, 15 miles biking, yoga and pushups

Tuesday we ran hills. Oh the hills. They are soo good, but so hard. They are a wonderful way to strengthen your body AND your mind. Every single hill repeat, at the bottom I was like, this isn’t so bad, then toward the steeper part of the ascent, I was like WHAT THE??? One of the worst hills in our little section of town is a doozy, a quarter mile of 300 ft ascent is tough. We did it 8 times. Then I did lunges and squats.
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With the start of school is another form of exercise. We don’t have a bus to pick up the littlest one for school, and I hate the car line with every fiber of my being, so we opt for cycling. It adds up to 3 miles of cycling per day (at a VERY leisurely pace) but still, that’s 3 more than I was doing. Every day, the little says, “I’ll race ya!” as she peddles off the driveway. It doesn’t take long before I’m encouraging her to ride faster.

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When I ran the 2016 Houston Marathon, it was wonderful weather. Sunny, clear, low humidity, 50s that warmed up to 60s. Ideal running weather, but I felt really hot. I love running in a visor, and I adore running in Headsweats visors because of their sweat-wicking terry headband (I’m currently living in them for every workout), but my black hair is a magnet for the heat. So, I wanted to try the race hat. It came in the mail this week. It’s super light weight. I’m not a hat person, but I really wanted to try this, so I’ll be wearing it for my long run next week to see if it helps the I can fry an egg on my head feeling.

I finished my 12 mile run about 10 seconds average slower than marathon pace, but my last 3 mile splits were right on pace and my last mile was 10 second faster than marathon pace, so I was happy.

The run started out in the mid-70s but it didn’t feel too bad compared to the past few weeks. I’ll take it.

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Another exciting development is our running group the Brazos Valley Runegades is up to 30 members! We’re approaching our 6-month anniversary. Never in my wildest dreams did I think so many people would want to join us, but it has proven that our free running group has really found a niche. I’m so grateful for such a supportive group of people! They’re an amazing group of runners of all paces, abilities and experiences–that’s the best part.

I’ve been wanting to buy a new watch for about a year. I originally bought a TomTom watch two years ago. It’s been great to track basic workouts etc. There are some features that were frustrating about the TomTom that led me to want the new watch.

First, you can’t set intervals for hundredth of miles, only to the tenths. So, doing a 400m intervals meant changing the units of measure, which was a big pain. I can run at 5 am, but don’t expect me to be able to do complex watch functions. LOL. When you have a manual lap mode, you’re supposed to be able tap the screen to set a new lap. Because the screen is so sensitive the slightest bit of moisture disrupts the ability to tap the screen and set a new lap. Well, guess how my hands feel after running an all out interval in 90% humidity and 70 degree weather?? That’s right. SWEATY. I tried wiping my hands on my clothes. Also sweaty. I tried drying them in different ways. Nope. So, I couldn’t get an accurate measure of my effort during interval workouts. Not a huge deal, but it became annoying. The battery life was not as advertised either. I remember doing a 20 mile run by myself and booking it to the end of the last stretch. Watching the mileage click up as I glanced at my watch waiting patiently for that next mile interval beep, 19.67, 19. 75…Then nothing. I got the battery dead symbol. Oh the horror.

So, I’d been eyeing the Garmin Forerunner 230, and just waiting for the right time to buy it. It’s hard for me to justify buying a new watch when the other watch does in fact work, and is fine. But…

So, after my Saturday run, I splurged. It was the left one left at our running store. Yay! I’m still learning how to use it after studying the user’s manual, but I can’t wait to try it tomorrow.

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If you could splurge on one running-related item this week, what would it be? 

I’m linking with Holly and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap-up!