Last week, I was swamped with work and some house projects and didn’t get to write my usual blog posts throughout the week. Boo!
But, it was a good week of running! My friend, Lesley, and I have become “renegades” after having left our running club. We joke about it, but we are both feeling good about the change, and this was our first week on our own. Before last week, I was a bit anxious about going rogue because the last time I ran on my own, I followed an online plan very, very loosely, like so loosely that someone would have asked whether I was truly following a plan. And there was no one to run with me so I was very…liberal in how often I ran. I had low goals = just run so my butt doesn’t start looking like a sofa cushion. The past year and a half, someone has been planning the workouts for us, granted following the Hanson’s plan, but still, it was nice not to think too much ahead and tweak here and there based on my individual plans. But, taking more ownership of our training means we can change things and get more satisfaction out of OUR training.
Now, with another runner to hold me accountable, it’s a different story, but a good one! Plus, we’re both different runners than who we were even a couple of years ago. Both of us are stronger and faster than when we started too. I’m also much more consistent, which is the most important difference.
We planned our workouts together based on our next race, the Diva in Galveston, in late April, and I’ve been sending our weekly workouts so we know what’s coming up in the short-term. We did intervals on Tuesday, a short 6-mile tempo on Thursday on a new route, and the new routine was a nice change.
Saturday, we had a great 12-mile run together at a brisk 8:27 average pace despite the 90% humidity (I’m not exaggerating). We’re normally happy with a little slower than that (because of me), and sometimes, depending on the circumstances, we are quite a bit slower (also…because of me…). But, I look forward to our Saturday morning runs every week. We usually start with a group of people in front of our local running store and visit for a couple of minutes with everyone before we get started and then tend to break off after a mile or so. We talk about anything and everything, sometimes silly and sometimes serious. Our conversation during this run never lulled, and we laughed just as much as ever.
We also talked about our first meeting when I started with the club. I had joined the club because we had just moved to Texas, and I had no opportunities to meet people because I work from home. The first Saturday at 6 am, I met a large group of people in front of the running store. Everyone was busy in conversation, dropping off keys, taking last minute water and bathroom breaks, and not many people talked to me. I thought I would do a 6 mile run at a 9-10 minute pace. Someone took pity on me (must have been the lost look in my eyes) and introduced me to the pace group they thought was 9-10 minute, but was actually 8-9 minute. I started with them, and everyone was talking to each other, engrossed in normal conversations on a Saturday. It quickly became clear after the first mile when my lungs were gasping for air that it would be a struggle to keep up but because I didn’t know the route I hung onto the group as long as I could. I was miserable after I dropped back from the pack a little and when I finished my run alone, I thought I had made a mistake in joining the group. Not many people had talked to me, and I felt lonelier than ever. Lesley had finished her run a few minutes before me, and just as I was about to leave, we started talking as we were stretching. And after a few minutes, I knew I had made a friend. Talk about serendipity! I believe God had a plan for us to meet because she’s been a true friend and a running friend. We often talk about that meeting and how thankful we are for each other. I went home feeling a lot better about joining the group after making just one connection with her. I started out a lot slower than her (I still am!), but soon we became pace partners for a lot of our workouts after I got faster.
I’m very blessed that she’s on this journey with me!
This weekend, we had some guests for dinner, and our weather here has been gorgeous lately, almost like summer, that I wanted to make something light since we were eating outside.
I often buy a big container of grape tomatoes and roast them in the oven with olive oil, garlic and shallots, throw it in the food processor for a delicious spread for sandwiches or a dip. This time, I roasted these grape tomatoes in the oven at 300F with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar for almost 1 hour. They were still tender and sweet, but you could roast them further to dry them completely. I then tossed them with some gemelli pasta, bocconcini mozzarella, chopped basil, olive oil and some lemon juice for a light pasta salad. Yesterday, my daughter and I had a trio of salads (a mixed green salad with mandarin oranges, toasted pecans, cranberries, and gorgonzola with a homemade raspberry and meyer lemon vinaigrette and a tuna salad) for a picnic lunch on our patio.